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August 2010

Year Of The Monkey 2009: Concluding In Cyberspace

Explore tour group SCE9, taken on July 22nd 2009 by Dee[ prologue / Beijing / Xi'an / Li River / Shanghai / Hong Kong / epilogue]

July 28th, 2009: "A couple of hours more, and we'll be back home in London. And then there's one more small job that The BBG and I have to take care of: deciding what you get to see from the 18GB of photos and video we've shot over the last two weeks. We'll get back to you on that one. We may be some time."

August 1st, 2009: "It's currently a week since we got back home, and we still haven't really had time to look seriously through the photos and video we took while we were in China. As soon as we've sorted through the best bits and uploaded them to various places, there should be an epilogue piece with lots of handy links. Might be in August, might be later, we'll have to wait and see."

October 1st, 2009: "And yes, I do realise it's over two months since we came back from China, and the videos and photos aren't all up yet. Like I said, wait and see."

November 1st, 2009: "Meanwhile, those China photos and videos you've pretty much given up waiting for should be appearing later this month... maybe."

December 1st, 2009: "The main problem I'm having right now is trying to find the time to finish off the videos. Ideally, I'd like to get them up on the web before the end of the year, or failing that at least before the next total eclipse. I'll see what I can do."

January 1st, 2010: "If I get them done before the end of January, it'll only be a six month delay..."

July 22nd, 2010: Well, this is bloody embarrassing and no mistake.

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Lego Fussball: World Cup Final 2010

It's Bastille Day today. Regular readers will know what that means: it's the site's birthday. I've been doing this nonsense on the internet for exactly twelve years today. It's the sort of thing that should be celebrated, and celebrated fully. Unfortunately, I'm up to my eyeballs in work at the moment, hence the reduced frequency of posting here recently. I haven't got time to do a proper piece to mark the birthday, so I'm going to resort to the last refuge of the scoundrel: the single link YouTube post.

Lego Fussball has been doing a sterling job over the past month of providing magnificently animated highlights packages from the World Cup matches. Their summary of Sunday's final between Holland and Spain has just appeared on the web. If you've seen the match, you'll know what to expect: doesn't stop it being funny as hell, though. Enjoy.

Simian Substitute Site for July 2010: The Cheeky Monkey


Art: A few weeks ago, I visited the British Library for the first time ever, which is a shocking confession for a literate bloke who's lived in London for over a quarter of a century. To be honest, it wasn't an entirely successful visit. I'd gone there specifically to pick up an Edinburgh Fringe programme, but didn't find out until I got to reception that they were only handing them out to Library card holders. (They've subsequently removed the Library from the list of programme stockists.) While I was wandering around the building looking for a book I could angrily deface, I came across their free exhibition Magnificent Maps (running until September 19th), and it calmed me right down again. It's a glorious celebration of the craft of mapmaking in all its forms: whether it's intended to simply document the known layout of the planet, or force a particular view of it onto people. Londoners should make a beeline for Stephen Walter's insanely detailed depiction of the metropolis, and be prepared to spend at least an hour just scouring that one map for comic detail.

Internet: Three site recommendations for those of you following the World Cup. For live coverage, UK surfers should head to the BBC World Cup site, which provides everything from text commentary to the world-beating combination of BBC TV pictures and Radio Five Live audio. For entertaining post-match analysis, the men to beat are still David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, who are recording regular World Cup Podcasts for Absolute Radio. And finally, visit Lego Fussball for the best-looking highlights packages of this World Cup (or any other one).

Music: Frank Sidebottom is dead, and that's bobbins. His creator Chris Sievey was a much-loved presence on the Manchester music scene in the early 1980s: first with his band The Freshies, playing ace pop tunes with overlong titles, and then as a solo artist. (I still have his 1983 single Camouflage, the first record to include a copy of its own video, in the shape of a 16kb graphics program for the Sinclair ZX81.) But it wasn't until Sievey put on the giant head of Timperley wannabe pop star Frank Sidebottom that he captured hearts nationwide. I've been listening to his music for the first time in ages (via the two compilation albums ABC & D and EFG & H), and it's surprising just how much nostalgia these daft little songs can conjure up. You know it is. It really is. Thank you.

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