October 4th, 2004

breaking bad

Who dreamed it?

I bought one of those boxes that you plug into your TV and you can get digital signals (or something - the technical details escape me). It vastly improved the quality of my TV reception, and it lets me see BBC4. I switch on BBC4, and they are showing The Third Man. Result!

The Third Man is one of those films which is like a Looking Glass Door into a dream reality. There's the film itself, with its characters and ideas, high quality stuff throughout. But also there is this idea of a whole city there, post-war Vienna. You feel it's tantalisingly close, and you could slip through into it, and have a doomed love affair and drink coffee and run about those black and white streets.

Those are the cult films and TV shows, the ones that seem to be a small window onto something much bigger hiding out of sight, like the parts of the parlour that Alice couldn't see in the mirror.
breaking bad

Stroll on

altariel links to a poll of film critics, who rate the top ten British films ever thusly:

1. Get Carter
2. A Matter of Life and Death
3. Trainspotting
4. The Third Man
5. Life of Brian
6. The Wicker Man
7. Kind Hearts and Coronets
8. Lawrence of Arabia
9. From Russia With Love
10. Naked

Yessss. My man, Carter, in at number one. Get Carter is my favourite film ever, so I am so pleased to see it at the top there.

We will pass over 'From Russia with Love' as if we haven't noticed its presence. The rest are good choices, though there is room for discussion of course.
breaking bad

Important elections through history

People have been saying that this US election coming up may be the most important the world has ever seen. Perhaps we won't know until after. If Bush gets in, and if the US turns away from democracy, to some kind of plutocracy or uber-militarism, then we will know it was important. If Bush gets in, but doesn't do anything too way-out, then we'll know it wasn't. If Kerry gets in then we'll never know.

What other elections, world wide, have been of global significance? The election which brought Hitler to power is perhaps #1. happytune rightly points to the first multiracial elections in South Africa, as a demonstration of how ethnic hatred can be contained and overcome.

I think the most significant election in Britsh history was the one which brought Atlee in in 1945. His gov't instituted the NHS, gave independence to India, and established the whole structure of the postwar consensus. The second most significant was the Thatcher victory of 1979 which destroyed it. The third the Liberal victory of 1909 which stripped the House of Lords of Power and introduced the Old Age Pension.

Please disagree, or offer other suggestions

PS Some like cute pictures of kittens, some don't. If you like 'em, click here. From the Poor Man