25 October, 2008

Staying in - the New Going Out

The other week, I received an invitation to join Bebo from a friend who I lost touch with more years ago than I want to remember. So I signed up to Bebo - and discovered I was already a member. How could I forget this?

Quite easily, it seems, because I signed up for pretty much everything a few years back, when I still worked in what they now call 'social media'.

There was a time when I stopped going out much, I was writing books and realising the advance was never big enough for me to enjoy the process, but I think I enjoyed the martyrdom associated with being tied to my computer. I justified it by saying that I was still socialising - just online. Only a couple of real friends came out of this, but I had fun with lots of casual acquaintances, chatting away, flirting, occasionally getting drunk and making inappropriate comments that I'd later try to talk my way around (lesson to self: when drunk, there's no such thing as 'subtle').

Tonight, I'm supposed to be meeting up with an internet friend to celebrate his birthday; I'm not going. I realised that what I really need is a weekend indoors. If my presence is missed, that says more about the other invitees to be fair, who know this guy in the real world. And that's no disrespect intended, but it's just a fact that we don't actually know each other. Not really. And I'm fine with that.

This has absolutely nothing to do with finally watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and becoming a fan after the first 45 minute episode. I adore this show. It's got that fast-paced, snappy dialogue and conversations in corridors that kept The West Wing so dynamic and compelling, but it swaps the politics for something I understand - television. It's so disappointing that it only ran for one series, but at least I'll know it's a finite thing, as opposed to most American TV shows, which tend to drag on, jump the shark, then pull it back for a final year.

I've also got hooked on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I hear has just been given a reprieve with a full-length second season. Praise the Lord!

24 October, 2008

Sounds Like Brian

In the olden days, when TV was powered by steam and people crowded round a walnut cabinet to listen to obscure radio dramas about nightmares, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop used to create these amazing soundscapes. Electronic humming, musical stabs and other trickery that hammered home how other-worldly the production was trying to be. One of the kings of this kind of music was Brian Hodgson. You can hear the sort of thing he did for Doctor Who in this clip on YouTube from 'The Wheel in Space':

Now, according to BBC News, scientists have found a way of capturing the sounds of the universe - 'music' generated by the stars. And wouldn't you just know it, Brian Hodgson was right.