Archive for January, 2008

Send In The Clowns

My father is afraid of clowns.  He is, technically speaking, a ‘Coulrophobe’.  The fear of clowns is common in society, largely owing to bscad experiences with them as children and a fear for the general imagery surrounding them.  However, unlike my father, my image of the clown differs dramatically.  In personifying this character, I find characeristic attributes that I can clearly see in myself.  What these are I will leave to imagination.  Be that as it may, It is clear that the clown denotes one emotion externally while harbouring another internally.  This concept is exemplified in fictional characters like the Phantom Of The Opera and V (of V for Vendetta).  Considering the concept of a clown reveals the ability to express oneself in a way that does not reflect one’s actual state of mind.  I think that is something that we are all guilty of in varying degrees at times.  Yet on the whole we reject the imagery of the clown and see it as evil and menacing, sad and inhumane, when really there is a clown in all of us. Isn’t there?

Above: Frank Sinatra – Send In The Clowns [Live]

iPod Touch firmware 1.1.3 & January Software

Within the last few days, Apple released the latest firmware for the iPod touch, version 1.1.3.  At approximately 160MB, the highly anticipated update has been well received.  However, along with the latter update, and a synchronised iTunes update comes the “January Software Upgrade”.  This upgrade, £12.99 in the UK and $20.00 in the USA, offers 5 new applications which have previously been available for free on the iPhone and will ship as standard on all iPod touch devices produced furthermore.  Thus, those who have previously invested their hard earned dollars and pounds are being ripped off and left out in the consumer cold.  However, this is not unusual for Apple, with the recent pricing controversy over the iPhone.  The ‘software upgrade’ itself is a nice addition to the touch, adding considerable functionality and the ability to have an additional home screen is another plus point.  Nevertheless, £12.99 for this is ‘upgrade’ is outrageous and can not be justified.

MOVING PICTURES

“You know what the problem with Hollywood is? They make shit. Unbelievable, unremarkable shit.” Words uttered by John Travolta playing the character Gabriel in Swordfish (2001).  On some levels i agree.  However, this is true of moving pictures produced in all countries.  As a child, i was fixated on the special effects churned out by Hollywood with weak and often formulaic plots.  Since then i have gradually turned to World Cinema, primarily Latin American, French, Italian and Spanish cinema.  Be that as it may, i have not joined the circle of snobs who vehemently proclaim the superiority of world cinema.  Both Hollywood and the European studios produce different art forms existing under one umbrella, and most importantly produce their equal share of shit.  Film genre is not important, it is the creativity that goes into it and the quality of the output, the art, regardless of background.  A growing number of people denote their identity through their association with film genres, music genres, and through various other popular mediums which they feel reflect their personna.  Ridiculous.  Nevertheless, art, and for this arguments sake, film, is an entity to be enjoyed, to provide entertainment and only that, and whether it is the critically acclaimed Hollywood masterpiece “The Departed”, or the equivelant quality Italian picture “The Consequences Of Love”, neither exist within the boundaries of nationality and genre, they are simply moving pictures.

Barclaycard Director quits – JOKING IS NOT PERMITTED

Mark Howells formerly of Barclaycard has been disgraced for making a joke seen as offensive by Muslims.  Howells was participating in a meeting about the credit card company’s quarterly figures when he remarked: “The results were like Muslims, some were good, some were Shi’ite”.  His remark was reported to the highest level and subsequently he left the company before disciplinary action was in motion.

Really, what is the world coming to?  We are rapidly becoming a society of thin skinned namby pamby idiots.  Time and time again the media is reporting incidents of alleged racial intolerance and the actions taken against it.  Quite frankly these occurences are being blown drastically out of proportion and it is more than evident that companies and organisations alike use cases like this to make an example and display their image of being tolerant and accepting of all people.  The discourse in question, though deemed discriminatory, upon interpretation is more an issue of semantics than targeting members of the Muslim faith.  Despite Howells’ distasteful remark, it does not warrant a resignation or media coverage in any capacity.  It is another milestone in the death of a society once founded on the principles of freedom in all contexts.

2008 – etc

Best wishes for 2 zero zero 8.  Let it bring good health and elaborate wealth.

December 31st I went for dinner at the house of a good friend.  At 1:00 am his girlfriend went to bed and the other guests went to a night club.  We opened a bottle of rum and talked deeply about life and business for a couple of hours.  Then i got on the London underground to return home.  Free. Great, cheers Ken.  On the train i saw a group of increasingly familiar Asian teenagers immitating African American hip hop culture in their attire and demeanor.  Stop it.  Arrived home, spoke with the security guard.  Ventured to my appartment, cigarette.  Whisky, cigarette, and several more followed.  Looking at the sky, the same thought occurred to me as on Christmas day, which i have observed since i was a child; on these seasonal days, the sky always looks different.  Sentimental confusion or optical illusion perhaps.  Either way, it reminded me of home.