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London Film Festival 2010

A London Film Festival advert! On the side of a big red London bus! The only way this picture could be any more Londony would be if there was another advert living next door to it, and the two of them never talked to each other.So farewell then, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch and your seven-year sponsorship of the London Film Festival. It was good in the early years, when you gave away free DVDs of trailers and clips from the Festival films: less good later on, when the foyer of BFI Southbank was frequently ankle-deep in discarded copies of that newspaper of yours that they couldn't even give away. I can see how it was a good move ingratiating yourself with the British Film Institute's constituency, putting yourself forward as a supporter of the literate use of the moving image. But now that you've poached Mad Men off of the BBC, we all think you're a twat, so it's probably best you were off.

Besides: only seven years with the LFF? Lightweight. This site's been there for thirteen.

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Spank Gold Volume 6: Spank's LFF Diaries 2005-2009

Things to do this week: get photo taken outside BFI Studio in preparation for 2015 publication of Volume Four This'll be the last one of these for a little while, I think. I can tell you're disappointed.

Back at the tail end of 2009 when I first started pumping out books through, my plan was to have published eight by the end of 2010: the travel book, three London Film Festival review collections, two Edinburgh Festival review collections, a roundup of all the VidBinges, and a study of my Pick Of The Year music compilations. If you've been counting, this one - the third volume of my LFF pieces - now makes it six in total.

The VidBinge book won't be happening any more: I simply don't think there's enough material to make it fly. The POTY book, on the other hand, has been growing in scope since I first started planning it. The finished product will be a lot bigger than a simple collection of the web articles I've written to date, and will contain at least one third new material. But that's going to take time: and for reasons which should eventually become apparent, it would make more sense to postpone that one until late 2011. So, at least you've got something to look forward to.

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Retubing (Epilogue): The Felix Project Is Dead

An example of the light, whimsical comedy that made this such a popular YouTube feature: here's Felix The Cat attempting to fucking gas himself at the end of Casanova In Hell.Look, I promise I'll stop banging on about the deletion of my YouTube account after this one. But I've already hinted at what I think is the greatest tragedy resulting from that incident: the loss of all my Felix Project videos, and the loss of the huge number of comments and hits that I got from them. (At the time of deletion, the most popular one, Lucinda, had just passed a quarter of a million views.)

It all started back in 2007, when I was scrabbling around YouTube looking for videos for songs on my latest Pick Of The Year compilation, only to realise that I could steal an idea from the Old Grey Whistle Test and make my own from old Felix The Cat cartoons. Since then, I've put together a couple of videos every year, either to accompany another compilation or just because the fancy took me. I never got any real heat from IP lawyers over them - certainly not like I did for the Japanese TV material that caused all this mess. A few of them have had adverts appended for the original songs or for the current Felix rights holders, and that seems fine by me. 

Still, I don't want to take the risk of another bout of copyfighting destroying my newly rebuilt YouTube account. And so, I have an announcement to make.

The Felix Project is dead.

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Simian Substitute Site for October 2010: The Infinite Monkey Theorem


Books: Received in my birthday presents in August (thanks darlin'), but not tested in the heat of Kitchen Stadium until September, my favourite cookbook of the moment is Len Deighton's French Cooking For Men. Yes, that Len Deighton, who produced a series of 50 beautifully designed recipe cartoon strips for The Observer back in the sixties. This book reproduces those strips, along with Deighton's copious notes on the theory and science behind various methods of cooking food, written back when Heston Blumenthal was literally just an itch in his dad's balls.

Movies: It's nearly London Film Festival time again, so you know what this site's going to look like for the second half of October. More details soon, of course. In the meantime, you can expect the latest volume of Spank's LFF Diaries to join Vol 1 and Vol 2 on the bookshelves shortly before that. And while we're on the subject of my literary back catalogue, I guess I should remind you that Spank's Edinburgh Diaries Volume Two (as slagged off by Collings and Herrin) is currently on special offer: get a 15% discount if you order it with coupon code FALLREAD305 before October 15th 2010.

Music: HMV and the Mean Fiddler venues have been doing some interesting cross-promotion recently. It goes like this: the venues organise small gigs by popular bands who've got an album coming out. The only way you can get into those gigs is by pre-ordering the album from the HMV website, whereupon you're entered into a draw for a pair of free tickets. Obviously, it's nothing more than a cunning way of making sure people buy records during that all-important first week of release, to give them a nice high chart position. I wouldn't mention it at all, except that The Belated Birthday Girl and I have won two of these draws in the past calendar month: so we've seen Everything Everything at the Camden Barfly, and Grinderman at the Relentless Garage. Maybe you should keep an eye out for future similar offers, before everyone else cottons on to it.

Video: Aside from all the old videos of my own that I've been plugging (and just in case you missed them...), my favourite discovery on YouTube this month has been David Shrigley's A Short Film About Pringle Of Scotland. "I'd like to see a normal shaped lassie modelling them, with a big bottom and a nice pair of hooters."

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