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Is it strange that scientists should include in their favourite science fiction films Star Wars - 'Its use of science is sketchy at best' - and The Matrix - 'the science behind the fiction is conspicuously absent'? They should have asked them their favourite musicals.

And I have just read BS Johnson's See the old lady decently which he intended as the first part of a 'matrix' trilogy but killed himself before writing parts 2 or 3. Without wishing actual suicide on anyone, can I be transported to an alternative reality where the matrix outcomes are reversed please? Only without the first film either. Frank Kermode in LRB on BSJ is worth a look. According to Peter Ackroyd's review of STOLD, it was 'very fashionable to read and even enjoy BS Johnson' in 1975. And then 30 years in the darkness. Which is preferable to 30 years in The Darkness.

Via about last night, 5 tracks for every 20th century decade. More pleased at the retrospective recognition given to Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, than to the votes for Steppenwolf.
As if to remind us why we're all here, in the classroom web logs are the new bulletin boards.

Olympics-related notice as this is the blog all the athletes are reading: Paula, it's not too late to pull out with dignity. We're not strong enough.

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One day I'll write about David Foster Wallace's Oblivion: Stories, but not yet. I don't think he knows how to end a story and while, oddly, this doesn't matter in Infinite Jest - perhaps because you're so relieved at being able to lay the bastard to one side - it does with these (long) short stories. There's also a review by George Walden, who obviously shouldn't be dismissed for being an ex-Tory MP with ideas above his station, in which he states that 'the absence of an authorial heart throbbing close to the surface is curiously refreshing' which is so completely and utterly nonsense that it could only have appeared in the Telegraph.

On Death in Venice: 'Death in Venice belongs to that group of short novels (or novellas, or long short stories) whose cultural importance is out of all proportion to their length'. If only cultural importance always depended on length.

Also from/via RP, some worst books, being more interesting than best books. My vote's for Brave New World and why itunes is bad for jazz-type liner notes obsessives (via city of sound).

Following on from Communicator's post about the attractiveness of names, some unsuitable ones. What's wrong with Bench?

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On Monday I had a hatful of links to share with the world, or at least that shady corner of the world that might tiptoe across this site, but now they have evaporated and I am tired, I am weary.

I could point towards the estimable thingsmagazine with its pictures of Berlin, French fashion (why can't we all dress like this now?) and things. And some pictures of Bratislava only because I once accidentally, but very happily, attended a vegetarian festival there.

Reputation, trust, network closure - that kind of thing.

For people who like lists, there is an Independent best comic movie adaptations one, a bit of a niche market, but Batman at the top? For the Prince title tune perhaps but only for that.

And now, if you don't mind, I'm going on holiday.

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The German (ZDF) Big Read is both bigger - 200 books - and broader than the mind-numbing, film-led BBC one. They don't limit it to novels and, as you would expect, are much less linguistically partisan - only one German book was on the BBC list and not a very German one at that. They include The Communist Manifesto, Klemperer's diaries, the Duden grammar, as well as all the usual stuff. If it were for best adapted title, it would have to be 'Bridget Jones - Chocolate for Breakfast'. My stomach turns in its grave.

NY Times have the 1,000 best movies ever made, which is taking things to extremes. Splinters links to a transcript of Newsnight reviewing Louis de Bernieres's new book which makes Bonnie Greer seem a wimp and Tom Paulin less so: 'You think, "What on earth is this omniscient narrator in his Georgian rectory built out of the money he has made from his rotten novel and rotten film writing another terrible novel."'.

Travel advice: Don't write the word 'bomb' on a (paper on a) plane in the US. They may be a little paranoid (via elegantvariation).

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How does summer/holiday reading differ from other kinds of reading? I've never understood. If I did I might be tempted by George Bush: Dark Prince of Love. In demand enough to be going for £0.01. Surely, that won't be the case for In Praise of Nepotism: A History of Family Enterprise from King David to George W. Bush.

Which makes me think of Nicholson Baker's new book. One day I want to have form to return to.

The Guardian has some odd hated films. Not sure how you could work up the energy to hate something like Showgirls or Swept Away. Far worse are films that promise and fail to deliver or have 'matrix' in the title.

Thingsmagazine points me to the stupidity of advertising taglines at Designobserver which also quotes Roland Barthes on the pen: "I have an almost obsessive relation to writing instruments." But then deep down I think we all knew that somehow.

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Last week passed me by. This week the world is invited by Prospect magazine to vote on the doubly oxymoronic-sounding 'top 100 British public intellectuals'. They don't really say why. And David Willetts?

They do these things better in Poland - Adam Michnik on democracy and Iraq (via arts & letters). Plus Dutch hoaxes about bribing the Czechs to beat the Germans at some sporting event - as if they needed any help. Odd things people find in books, adaptable MIT buildings, harsh criticism of 1974 design and Eduforge: collaborative e-learning and innovation open access spaces because that's why we're here (via elearnspace).

Interviews: Nicholas Negroponte of MIT on the future, Joel Coen on The Ladykillers, JG Ballard

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I rarely want to be rich but this shower makes me want to be richer (via apartment therapy)

Independent is full of all kinds of things, notably David Thomson on the Coens' decline. I'm not sure he's entirely right. I watched Intolerably Cruelty at the weekend and, although it's nowhere near as good as most of their films, it is a) pleasingly short like the best Woody Allen films b) miles better than the average mainstream American film comedy c) much better than this during the first half i.e. until the George Clooney character falls in love and starts pulling stupid faces d) less irritating than Raising Arizona. And I can forgive them remaking The Ladykillers but not Tom Hanks.

A Sight and Sound article on KillBill2 which is alternately interesting and irritating (that's what SAS is for). Apparently in horror survivor film terms, the Uma Thurman character is the 'Final Girl' because the Final Girl 'always has a gender-neutral or male name'. But she's called Beatrix.

Voting is a lonely business.