Just My 2p
Thoughts and commentary on the things that interest me. UK Politics, Technology, Email Marketing, Music, Literature, the Internet, and anything else that comes my way.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
Halliwell's Film Guide
Just picked up (thank you Internet and Alibris books) a copy of Halliwell's Film Guide 7th Edition, fabulous.
For those of you who don't know, Leslie Halliwell took it upon himself to create a guide to movie watching, his Filmgoers Companion (of which I am still looking for a good copy of ), which was a quirky and personal review of hundreds of films that he thought were significant, as well as a compendium of actors, director, technicians and other "crafts".
The films in the Companion were just a Halliwell's personal favourites or in some ways significant. The Film Guide however, attempted to be a more complete work.
Not only did the Film Guide contain many more films, but it included more production details - Director, cast etc. This was an astonishing achievement, given that this was pre-internet and there was no easy way to do this - it took a massive effort to collect all of this data together.
What is really marvellous about these books is the opinion that Halliwell had. He pulls no punches and can be very pithy in his comments. A word of warning though, Halliwell died in 1989 and the series was continued by others - with dire consequences. So the Film Guide is only good up to the 7th Edition and the Filmgoers Companion up to the
This means that these are the kind of books that you can dip in and out of, knowing that you will be amused, intrigued and challenged every time you read them. Not only that, you will end up re-appraising some of your favourite films.
Think of them like IMDB with prejudice (in the best way), opinion and an acerbic wit.
A word of warning though, the editions after Halliwell's death are pale imitations and IMHO not worth the paper they are printed on. Go for the 7th Edition of the Film Guide or earlier and Companion up to '77.
I used to have a 6th Edition, I hope Wendy is looking after it and enjoying it.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Mail-Online taking Liberties with "alt" text
For those of you that don't know "alt" text is an attribute of HTML that is used to provide alternative text for non-graphical browsers and is also used by visually impaired people to understand what an image is showing. They are invaluable if you can't actually see what's on screen and are listening via a screen reader.
"alt" tags are also used by some in the SEO industry to reiterate to the search engines what a page is about. The extra keywords can inform Google.
However, sometimes they are used for more unscrupulous ways. Because Google does look at "alt" text you can use them to add content to Google that you wouldn't normally put on your site.
In this instance the Daily Mail, via it's online rag has added the following alt text to an image
In a story headlined "The dirty tricks dossier: ANDREW PIERCE reveals Labour's union vote-rigging scandal is far more extensive -..."
This picture of Len McCluskey
|has the "alt" text of:|
"Unite has given Labour more than £8 million since 2010. In Len McCluskey, it has a general-secretary whose political heroes are Lenin and Arthur Scargill"
rather than the more accurate IMHO "Unite general-secretary speaking through a megaphone."
Nowhere in the picture is there any indication that his heroes include Lenin.
And what the Daily Mail has done here is make a connection between Len McCluskey and both Lenin and Arthur Scargill that may, or may not be true, and they have hidden it from their readers. For me there are questions about both their motives, and why they felt it necessary to hide it from their readers in that way.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Let's have another housing bubble
We are still suffering the fallout from the biggest asset bubble in modern history, yet the politicians seem hell bent on re-inflating the property bubble in the UK.
We are still living with an over priced property sector, initially fuelled by cheap credit and the idea that property would continue to grow in value at a faster rate than the rest of the economy and now propped up by virtually non-existent interest rates.
Now, these truths are to me self evident, the idea that there is a "property ladder" without a "property snake" in very easy to sell to people. Property never goes down runs the common perception, and the whole industry is complicit in this lie. This is really appealing as it seems to promise endless growth with no risk. The reality is though that your house doesn't get any bigger (and hence more valuable) so any rise in what is considered value is purely a collective delusion.
What continually astonishes me is that politicians of all persuations in the UK see the only answer to our economic woes. The latest example being George Osborne's ludicrous new plan to get the UK taxpayer to underwrite mortgages for new builds. The idea being that the private sector won't take the risk, therefore the taxpayer has to. Bonkers.
This will just lead to price inflation as part of the risk calculation is removed and people can borrow more than is commercially realistic.
It is a policy that is a legacy from the Thatcher years and the rush to home ownership that she ushered in. Those voters who have gained from the massive house price inflation over the past 25 years need to be placated and pandered too by the political classes. If not they stop voting for them.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A life in Advertising
Very painful, but very true
A retrospective on a life in advertising. Mind you, there's a load of bitterness in there that is all about what old men think of their lives and what younger people do.
And hey, don't forget that the world is a different place now and everything really is harder.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Was Lord Farquad really based on Richard III?
Pure speculation on my part here, but was there a connection.
What really brings this into focus is the recent discovery of the bones of Richard III underneath a car park in Leicester.
Having done the DNA analysis to confirm that the bones really were of the reviled English King Richard III, the archaeologists who discovered the remains decided to use the latest facial reconstruction techniques they set about creating a lifelike model of the medieval king.
After many months of painstaking effort they came up with this:
Now the truth is clear for all to see, Lord Farquad from the Shrek movies is clearly Richard III, or is it the other way round?
Co-incidence? I think not.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Yellow Snow Warning from the BBC?
My favourite piece of reporting about the snowy weather we are having is from the BBC web site which states:
There are also yellow snow warnings for eastern parts of England and Scotland, stretching across the Midlands into north Wales.