Blog archive November 2003
just back from the internet cafe. was checking out my sites in IE on windows after discovering how bad they looked on the browsers at work. two things: 1. IE5 & 6 on windows insist on outlining images used as links, thus blowing my careful layout and colours. no browser does this bonehead thing on macs. 2. smallfire.org - all browsers on macs break the lines of thumbnail images to the width of the table, so they flow down the page like text. IE windows lets the images override the table width and strings them out in a single very long line.
the cure for 1 is not to define link colours in the body tag, and define borders in the style sheet. the only cure for 2 is to code the line breaks in - which is a pain since i can't just add an image and have the thumbnails reflow, which was an elegant solution. of course i tested the smallritual code on windows when i first did it, it looked ok then so i assumed it still would. i'm tempted to add a strapline to all my sites 'this site looks a whole lot better on a mac'.
so all those people who complimented me on my site designs are either using macs or liking totally the wrong things! actually the single line of thumbnails thing looks quite cool in a way, but it's not very user-friendly for navigating the site or seeing at a glance what's on it which was the point of the thumbnails. so that and the border/link/colour thing are mistakes to be filed for future creative use.
saw radiohead at earl's court tonight with jonny and mike from grace and our usual gig posse. it was as perfect a performance as i've ever seen, the music flawlessly realised [but not in the clinical sense]. everything in its right place. thom yorke was the lightning conductor for the room, idiot dancing, possessed and bashful, his extraordinary voice only tiring a little towards the end of two hours. the concert covered most of the musical bases. radiohead are the only recent group i can think of to convincingly inhabit both rock and dance worlds, with material at both ends and all points between. most people are in one camp with stylings from the other.
critics talk about the inaccessibility of kid a and subsequent electronic experiments, the way it threw their fan base. i never quite understood why, until i saw the audience reaction to creep. the whole arena sang along, worshipped - there is no other word, it was a hymn - quite electrifying. and something similar happened, in a lesser key, for some of the other anthemic songs from the mid-90s. and i realised that their audience wanted hymns. hymns for blokes, i think. and that's something radiohead did [perhaps unwittingly], and then slipped away into stranger waters.
for me it was disturbing as well as electrifying, to hear songs which i think are quite introverted, private, and tied to very specific personal and cultural moments, treated by an audience as stadium anthems. screwed-up interior monologues take on a sinister hue. "when i am king you will be first against the wall" is an alarming sentiment when sung by thousands of people. for me music is an internal thing, a narrative or monitor of state changes. i feel no need to proclaim or share my emotions and allegiances with a room full of people who will not see the pictures or the nuances. it's a pleasure to hear the songs, but they belong to other times and places not this big singalong [i'm exaggerating slightly but you get my meaning]. i would almost have had that concert played exactly as it was to me alone, in an empty arena. and i would have appreciated it no less.
have started recoding smallfire.org in xhtml and css. should've done it that way to start with. thing is, my first attempt at full css was about three years ago, when a lot of people were still using netscape 4.7 which didn't like it. so i put it aside apart from text styles.
when i've finished changing smallfire section by section it'll be time for a new smallritual. i've got an idea for a tighter design that'll be easier to add to. then i'll put the blog on typepad or something.
here they are. we got five big silver ones and ten small red ones.
oh, and the fatboys were delivered this morning [see 01.10.03 archive entry]. they're filling up the house although they don't weigh anything. we'll have to take them over to the church during the grace meeting tonight.
the bad news is:
the office christmas party is the same night as the grace christmas party.
the good news is:
the office christmas party is in barcelona!
ordinarily i'd go for grace, but...
saw jerry springer the opera with daniel last night. an impulse buy as we were passing the theatre. it's certainly refreshing to hear lines like "suck my cock you fucking loser" sung opera style. first half of the show is wonderful - a musical rendition of an actual springer show, with added obscenities. many, many added obscenities. must've been huge fun to write. culminates with the ku klux klan tap-dancing, a moment of sublime bad taste. the second half is too long and full of tedious poorly-thought-through new age morality. the show is best when it sticks to the obscenity and blasphemy. the devil, we learn, is a cunt. and jesus admits to being a little bit gay.
and with those words, i've removed myself from visibility thanks to your net nanny software. so cover me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians.
saw matrix revolutions last night. let's just say they threw away everything that made the first film compelling - the conceptual and visual elegance - and left us with bog-standard humans-against-machines sci-fi that'll make adequate filler for the tv schedules in the small hours.
incidentally, isn't it time for a film where the roles were reversed? poor machines desperately trying to save their city from the humans bent on wiping them out? which is probably a more likely scenario. make us root for the machines.
photos of the two events in a day or two. i haven't installed the software that goes with my new camera yet. i'm moving my system to os x panther - started last week then reverted to os 9 because i needed to get things done quickly for grace. i have leave from work this week, so tomorrow's task is os x and photo downloading software. then we'll see what the new camera actually produces. can't be too sure on a 1.8" screen. one thing i already note is a tendency to produce over-bright images. the camera tries to give me a 'properly lit' image - as if all the lights were on - which is exactly what i don't want for alt worship! i've been trying ways to make it produce something close to what i see, but it seems to tip quickly from too bright to too dark without the inbetween position that i want. in the end i have to realise it's not a print i'm getting, it's data - and there's more data in a bright image, which i can then easily darken in photoshop.
on saturday grace ten went off very well. the church looked wonderful. if the damned benches weren't so heavy we'd move them every time, because the space is great when cleared. about 70 people came, maybe more. some of the founder members spoke, dave tomlinson spoke [he spoke at the first grace], the bishop blessed us. jenny baker created a brilliant cake in the form of the grace logo made up from individual fairy cakes as 'pixels'. we had fireworks. a good time.
last things first, i was underwhelmed by board-x. it isn't what it was. last year it moved to alexandra palace in north london, a huge victorian former pleasure palace in a park. what they gained was an event in a building rather than under canvas, and enough space for a large indoor skatepark with stadium seating. but they lost pleasant surroundings - the 'palace' is shabby, the big air is in a treeless car park. they lost the buzz that comes from concentration - the snowboard industry downturn has thinned the ranks of exhibitors just as they moved to an enormous building. there's acres of empty floorspace. the venue is miles out of central london, and the half-hour queues to get in have gone. there are fewer top-level riders, the prize money seems to be down. the weather has been poor both years - grey, wet - typical english winter, but at battersea park they somehow had blue skies. the rain makes the dismal surroundings worse. i realised that i wasn't going to better the photos i took at battersea and just watched instead. the real success of the new venue is the skateboarding, partly because of the skatepark and partly because the british skateboarding scene is strong and not so dependent on foreign riders for a show. snowboarding in london was always an effort of will anyway - the climate is against it, too mild or too wet to make it easy to create a jump and maintain its condition. or create an audience and maintain its condition.
grace tenth birthday event tonight. we spent last night setting up the greenbelt installations in the church. looks good. this sign is from church sign generator.
have moved smallfire, so i can expand here again. the change of dns for smallfire.org should kick in in a day or two. those using www.smallfire.org won't notice. others will bounce via the redirect page in the old location.