August 2005

Paint the town red. Spanish style

Spanish paint town red in ritual tomato fight

Tens of thousands of people armed with 100 tonnes of plum tomatoes took part in the Tomatina on Wednesday, joyously splattering each other in the Spanish town of Bunol.

The town hall of Bunol, which lies just inland from Valencia on Spains Mediterranean coast, spent 24,960 euros on the fruit and dumped it the streets for the chanting masses.

Five truckloads of vitamin C and fibre were soon pureed on El Cid Street, the ripe redness smeared over walls and people.

And its a social thing

I feel like I connected with a lot of people today, said Karina Evans, 21, of Australia.

Nothing like a tomato in the face to meet new people and make new friends.

Of course, some tomatoes are better than others

Frenzy erupted around the dump trucks and competition for the edible missiles was fierce. Whole tomatoes on the ground were treasured like ruby Easter eggs.

And you dont just have to throw them

Kate Monroe, 28, and Ryan Altman, 31, both of San Diego, California, reflected the general lack of inhibition by rubbing their barely clad, pulp-slathered bodies against each other.

See you in Spain!

Blog This!

Apparently, 31st August is International Blog Day.

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. In this way, all Blog web surfers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

Im game, so heres my five.

Twitch. Spreading the news on strange little films around the world. This is the blog that my own movie news blog, Film at Eleven, would like to be when it grows up.

Musings of an Idiot, the blog of Amit Tripuraneni - writer and director of Memories of Tomorrow - and one of the most genuinely nice people Ive encountered on this whole interweb thing.

And for Buffydom, comics, pulp and pop culure, Rullsenberg Rules. Hey, I made a pun!

I like Scribble King. Each post starts with a cartoon, which is often entertaining enough on its own. But go on and read the rest, youll be glad you did.

And last, but by no means least, Abroad at Home. I dont know where this guy finds his stuff, but Im glad he does.


Ive just found, via Diferent Day, the StumbleUpon Toolbar which attemptes to find web pages for you, based on your preferences, as rated by other users.

If you dont see me for a while, youll know why.

In the meantime, go watch Icon War.

And democracy for all

Much has been made over the past few days over the disagreements over the proposed Iraqi constitution, but this line from The Independent struck me as being a very positive development.

The Sunnis - who object to the federal structure inherent in the draft, claiming it will leave the Shias and the Kurds in control of the oil-producing areas - have begun a voter-registration drive.

Regardless of the pros, cons and consequences of the proposed constitution, the fact that its opponents are seeking to stop it through the ballot box can only be a good thing. A rejection of the constitution may not help whatever passes for Bushs exit strategy these days, but a ballot and response that reflects the state of Iraqi opinion - and one that is seen to do so - can only strengthen the fledgling democracy.

Auntie gets her groove back

The Independent has a rather positive sounding interview with the new BBC1 controller, Peter Fincham.

Fincham on Origin of the Species - a seven, eight or more episode series due to be broadcast 2009, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwins book:

What can we do thats more ambitious, thats bigger, that goes further, goes deeper than we have been before. Is this something that frankly no one else, no other channel would do?

Precisely. And this is exactly the sort of thing that the BBC is good at.

Fincham on current BBC schedules:

There is sometimes a tendency with BBC One to take the viewer to a darker place, but in the variety of things the BBC is there to do, it is absolutely there to entertain.

Again, very true. As far as the BBCs remit goes, entertain is just as important as inform and educate.

Fincham on Drama:

Drama has been one of the areas in which the BBC has made most progress over the past five years. Its really shed a skin of old-style drama, and there is a lot of modern and very good drama

Fincham on multi-channel TV:

[W]e absolutely want BBC One to be your number one favourite generalist channel, one that offers the full menu, because very few will

Tony Cohen, Finchams former boss at Fremantle Media, on Fincham:

He is one of those rare people who really has a sense of programming, particularly in comedy. He has terrific taste. He just knows it, smells it and hes completely across it in a really impressive way.

Fincham on the type of people that should be running TV channels and companies:

Its when people with no editorial background, but [who] apparently know about business, get involved they often come unstuck. I believe very strongly in that

Maybe its just me, but the future of BBC1 is looking very rosy right now.

BBC Online

BBC TV channels to be put on net

The BBCs TV channels will be made available on the internet, BBC Director General Mark Thompson has confirmed.

He announced plans for the MyBBCPlayer - which will allow viewers to legally download seven days of programmes - at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

He said he hoped the service would launch next year.

Oooh! Im excited now!

How well do you know your European Geography

Can you place all 45 European countries corectly on a map with no borders? Find out here.

I scored 91% With an average error of 75 miles which could have been worse, but sp3ccylad did a helluva lot better.

My new favourite website

I keep looking at the Amazon DVD Rental Service, which looks great but is unavailable to me as Im in the wrong country, which was a bit of a disappointment.

But now my day is made because Ive found an alternative. Same set up, but based in Belgium.

Now excuse me while I go and explore whats available.

Radio Free Europe

Brussels to fund pro-democracy radio in Belarus

The European Commission is to support radio and internet broadcasting in Belarus in a bid to increase the countrys awareness about democracy and human rights.

The programmes - initially provided in Russian, and later possibly in Belarusian - will be channelled through Deutsche Welle Radio, which has been granted a €138,000 contract for a one-year long project, starting this November.

The coverage will include daily 15-minute news items on current affairs in Belarus, prepared by the Radios own correspondents, as well as an internet version.

Its a start.

French left quits politics

French Socialists face split over soul of party

The main French opposition, the Socialists, are threatened with the most serious rift in their 30-year history as they gather for a conference - or summer school - this weekend.

Left-wing and nationalist Eurosceptic factions within the party will try to humiliate and destabilise the centrist party leadership and prepare the ground for a hard-left, anti-European coup at a crucial party conference in November.

A number of hard-left factions hope to turn the PS into an anti-globalist, anti-capitalist and anti-European party, in alliance with the Communists and Trotskyists. If so, two of the partys elder statesmen suggested this week, centre-left reformers should be ready to form a social democratic party of the centre

The hard or real left within the party is divided between at least three currents, or factions, led by the former prime minister Laurent Fabius, the former party treasurer Henri Emmanuelli and, an unctuous, rabble-rousing young lawyer, Arnaud Montebourg. At least two of these factions are divided within themselves.

Looks like the 2007 presidency is in the bag for Nicolas Sarkozy.