Amusements

We're off on our hollybobs in a week or so and I'm looking for things that shouldn't be missed in North Wales. I've never been there before so it's quite exciting. What should we do and see?

*I was rather anxious.

Feelings

I've just been reading about We Feel Fine on Russell Davies. It's a beautiful, beautiful site that brings together the way people are feeling on the web and displays it in various artistic ways. It's got a lovely mission - the authors Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kamvar " hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life." The rest of Jonathan Harris's stuff looks amazing too - Lovelines works the same way for love and hate. I always love these kind of sites where there's no business need whatsoever but it does something simple that can appeal to anyone. It's quite hard to do it justice so have a look.

I've never seen the Beatles cartoons before so I'm working through some clips on YouTube. They're great. Some of the animation was directed by George Dunning at the same studio (TVC) as Yellow Submarine so it's really colourful and wiggy. The accents done by US voiceover artist Paul Frees (John and George) and famous UK posh bloke Lance Percival (Paul and Ringo) are fantastically all-over-the-place. They were "Americanised" to suit the US audience but it's more like a mixture of Scouse, Welsh and Pakistani. There are some nice little singalong bits like Paperback Writer and She said she said and as they were made between 1965 and 1969 the songs are some of their finest. Two more clips: Strawberry Fields Forever and And Your Bird Can Sing, and more background on the series at Television Heaven. And for dessert two clips of the real life human Beatles looking gorgeous in Kew Gardens: Paperback Writer and Rain.

OK, my work is done, or half done anyway. I like is all blogged up, with invidual posts, comments, feeds and new improved style sheets (that actually work in Firefox, hooray). I'm hoping this makes it easier for me to write what I want to write as usually I have 3 or 4 posts on the go in my head but only one actually makes it onto the page. I'm also looking forward to comments, but don't know whether to authenticate them or leave them open, or approve them. Any thoughts? I've still got a bit of tidying to do but other than that things should be pretty much as normal. I thought about a proper redesign as this one is 3 years old but then realised I didn't have a single idea in my head which suggests maybe it doesn't need changing. I've also put adverts on the site, which I've dithered about for ages as I don't really like the look of them but I'd like to make some attempt at covering the costs of the site. (Although why does this post about Alain de Botton come up with adverts for Bonnie Tyler?) As a compromise (and nonsensical business decision) I'm keeping them off the front page. I'm also thinking about ditching the monthly likes as they're getting harder and harder to find and I write about what I like anyway. But I don't know, I'm still playing about with things.

I promise the next post will be a bit more interesting but thought I'd better say something in case anyone wonders what's going on. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

99 cents stores

Gallery of LA 99 cent stores. One of many good things in the new Polar Inertia.

Paynes PoppetsPaynes Poppets have had a makeover. It's sort of Icons of England meets I Love the 1970s with spacehoppers, slinkies, furry dice and the like. There are 4 different designs for each flavour ("an industry first" they say), with 4 flavours altogether - raisin, peanut, toffee and orange (coconut and "crunchy" have fallen by the wayside). The packets drive home the nostalgia thing with a message "to help you Remember When?". The one on this packet was about burying someone up to their neck in sand. I like Poppets but I'm not hit by waves of nostalgia every time I bite into one, so this seems like over-egging the pudding a bit. Maybe that's just me. I did find some Tooty Frooties (have they gone away and come back?) and was instantly transported back to the park I used to play in when I was wee. Still, the packets are very nice (they're going into the museum) and stand out a mile in the sweet shop - makes you realise how dull most chocolate wrappers are. For enthusiasts the history of Poppets (from 1937) is on Fox's website.

Very sad - Grant McLennan from The Go-Betweens died at home in Brisbane yesterday. I saw them in Govan Town Hall years and years ago - they were a great band. I still get that that "Tallulah took a shower for an hour" line in my head every time I have one. Some clips from YouTube - Bachelor Kisses, Spring Rain and Right Here.

Nothing To See Here

Well, it's finally here. The new site on going places that I was talking about. It's called Nothing To See Here and with a little help it should turn into the most interesting travel guide around.

I like

Write things with biscuits. You know you want to (thanks Gair).

Alain de Botton has a new series on architecture starting tonight - The Perfect Home (More 4 Mon-Wed, Channel 4 Thu-Sat). There is a book that goes with it The Architecture of Happiness, which I've bought but not read yet. I have however just read his book On Seeing and Noticing, a slim Penguin 70 which covers boring places, sadness and Little Chefs ("ugly places full of bad food that are nevertheless resonant with poetry"). And his book The Art of Travel is one of my favourite books ever. One of these books where I savoured every single word. But back to houses: 1. Does anyone know how I can get hold of The Dilapidated Dwelling, Patrick Keiller's film about housing? 2. My new house: a Flickr set.

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