the diaries of a nobody

Sunday, July 31, 2005

David Sylvian Trophies II | Best Book Ever?


Trophies II - The Lyrics of David Sylvian Cover



Just located the last box in stock of the 1999 book, Trophies II | The Lyrics of David Sylvian. Thought I had sold all copies so to find some more is a surprise.


This really is a beautiful book, as near to a work of art I have seen. Designed by the great graphic designer Vaughan Oliver it is so much more than a lyric/poetry book. Every page with its splash of gold, with designs spiralling in and out of focus...the book has an almost Buddah feel to it.


In the early 80s Sylvian was lead singer in the group Japan. Since then he has pursued a solo career more or less on the peripherals of the commercial music marketplace. With no shackles to constrain him he seems to have pursued art for art's sake. He seems to demand or coax the very best from those he works with and this book is no exception.

The book only ever had a 5,000 print run and has long since been deleted. This is the last batch on the marketplace.


More details of the book can be found by clicking here.


Also available:


amazon.co.uk
(uk)

Working on...

Just finished: review of G.W. Pabst's classic movie Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera).


Pabst is remembered today as one of the three great German directors of the Weimar Period loosely grouped under the Expressionism banner with Fritz Lang & Murnau, but his fame is a distant third to the aforementioned two. Mind you, anyone working in cinema would be a distant runner up to the genius that was Lang (and the first person to have agreed with that would have been Lang himself).


This 3rd place status may also be because as the Second World War approached Pabst had decided to give America a second crack. His passage was booked for 8 September 1939. War broke out on 1 September , and so he was stuck in Nazi Germany. From 1939-1945 he made a number of successful films, but after the War the fact that he had stayed and worked in Germany hindered his career.


So by booking his passage a week late he missed his place in history. From little acorns do big oak trees grow and all that.


But Pabst's work is well worth a look. He was a great director for many reasons but the main one being what has been termed his 'street realism'. If you want a starting point than you can do alot worse than his most famous film, Pandora's Box.


Work in progress: Bertolt Brecht biog.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Louise Brooks


louise brooks


Just added a gallery on the actress Louise Brooks. With her famous bob some of the photos which date from the 20s and 30s don't seem to have dated her at all.


Her biography which you can view by clicking here makes fascinating reading. A big movie star after her Lulu in Pandora's Box, she faded quickly but nobody can really say why (at least I can't see a reason).


She is remembered today but not on the same scale as a Dietrich or Garbo. I don't see why not.

Amazon Associate | The Empire of Pennies


Just read this on the Amazon.com discussion forum from an associate:



"I got a 21-quid gift certificate from Britain! That takes care of my Christmas shopping for the next generation.


And I earned a big 98 euro-pennies in France. It will be a long time before I earn the price of "Nicholas" in the original, I'm afraid.


Later: cah-ching! Germany just weighed in (5:36 a.m. eastern) with a big 10,08 euros. (Don't you just love the way they use commas instead of periods? Always for a brief moment I think I have earned thousands instead of units.)"



Just think: if you work hard enough, put in the hours and perservere, you just might make 100 of those pennies. Now a 100 pennies, that equals the big £1 coin. And 500 of those pennies = well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. That crispy £ 5.00 note is the Holy Grail for all amazon associates.


An associate did make a fiver once but amazon took it away cos they thought he might get big headed.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Become an Amazon Associate...Don't


To any new webmaster seduced by the thought of making a buck from the Amazon associate programme I would say that in my experience it is just not worth the effort on the fingers of pasting the links from them into your website.



An Amazon associate never fails to be disappointed by the disappointment that is Amazon sales and Amazon business practices. 1000s of leads sent over there result in pennies on sales in return. Since February sales which weren't great before are now, well, shit.


What do Amazon get from this programme?


At the last count they had 900,000+ affiliates. For them it is a great idea, a license to print money. They don't have to spend a cent or a penny attracting agents or employing or training salespeople to sell their stuff cos money is only generated through sales. Yeah, they spend some on the actual affiliate programme but it's small change to what a collective almost million mass can generate in sales for them.


In other words, a webmaster can spend hours & hours putting the links onto their site (sometimes on 1000s of pages) and chances are he/she will see little or nothing in the way of payment in return. He/she will think it'll turn out alright some day, all the hours of hard work will pay off, just hang in there...he/she will give Amazon the benefit of the doubt cos their a big company . Then, one day, he/she will realise that the associate programme is crap (probaly on a day when Amazon arrogantly announce another earning's cap) and it's not going to change and say something like: "If I take all the links down again it's going to take the same time as it took to put them up...What the hell am I going to do?" He/she is caught between a rock and a hard place. Conclusion: links stay as it's just not economically viable to takes them down again. Amazon wins.


I don't know any other business where the payments in return for the work done can be so low, in some cases lower than the wages found in sweat shops across Asia churning out products for the Western market. When I say 'in somes cases' I'm really talking from my own bitter experience but have spoken to others caught in the same trap. I/we are not expecting fortunes; just a fair rate for the work we all put in.


My advice on this point is an obvious one: if you still wish to be an affiliate then only place links on one or two pages so they can be removed quickly and donate a small fraction to me of the monies saved by not wasting your time on building more links to be by using the donate button to the right. This site does cost a small fortune to run so all donations are gratefully received! I certainly don't cover the costs of running the site via Amazon sales but you would have guessed that already!


What do Amazon affiliates get from this programme?


Well, I'll list what I have got and others have received or not received to be precise in the last 6 months:



  1. Most e-mails to customer services have been ignored. Anything that they can't answer with their bog standard pre-set answer is left unanswered.

  2. Changes without notice to the associate programme that have a direct result on your website. A few months back Amazon.co.uk suddenly realised that the recommended boxes they were sending us were not the industry's standard size so they changed them. They then told us they had changed them but the result for all of us was that all the existing boxes on the website would have to be changed as they were now wonky and just crap looking thanks to this change. When many of us complained how long this would take us to implement the changes brought about solely by the Amazon.co.uk cock up, and whether we could have the old sized boxes back for at least a short period of time until we had made the necessary changes we were met with a stony silence by Amazon. Again, this meant more time working as an underpaid Amazon associate and changing the boxes knowing we would get back very little in return on sales generated but if we left them we would have crap boxes on our sites which would also give us very little in return on sales generated. That rock and a hard place again.

  3. When we find products that might make us a fair rate of money for the time spent working as an Amazon associate the chances are Amazon will put an earning cap on it. For example, this month they have introduced a £7 earnings caps on the sell of electronics for, well, no good reason that I can see. This measure was introduced with little warning and with certainly no explanation to the Associate as to how he/she was going to make up the lost revenue. On the 30th June he/she would have received £25 for a sale: the next day he/she would receive £7.00.


  4. Be warned, these caps and changes can be introduced at any time and without warning. I would hazard a guess that very few, if any, other business fields could get away with the shark-like practices that Amazon have employed over the last few months.


  5. Any entrepeneurial idea of trying to encourage more business for yourself through your Amazon links, well, forget it. Whatever it is, Amazon will have it covered in their small print when you join. Take 30 minutes out to read it and be amazed at what it covers. Amazon basically frown on any idea that means paying out more commission to you than they absolutely have to.


I get the feeling that there has been a fundamental shift in Amazon's attitude towards their Associates in the last 6 months. They offer few incentives to sell their products, don't seem bothered by our concerns, and through their pay per click campaigns they are competing with us for the very few pennies we make from it. Perhaps the want to offload us as they've made what they want out of us. I could live with that if only they would come out and say so. But as with all things Amazon Associated related they show no inclination in telling us anything.



Whatever their stance, the problem is that e-commerce is controlled by just a few huge companies. It is a monopoly as big as anything witnessed in the history of business and such a monopoly is unhealthy in the extreme. You can't get round them, over them, under them...and they know it. They can do what they like and we have to follow as the alternatives are just not good enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Adbrite v Adsense v Amazon


Click here to use adbrite to buy & sell ads!


Recommend:


As a webmaster I would thoroughly recommend Adbrite to any webmaster wanting to make money from advertising on his/her site for 2 reasons:


  • It actually makes you half-decent money (which, in my experience, many other affiliate sites don't).
  • It's free.


    How it works is you decide which ad products to offer and what to charge for them. AdBrite serves your ads, bills your advertisers, and sends you a monthly check.


    AdBrite specializes in flat-rate sponsored text-links (x dollars for y days) and cost-per-thousand-pageview (CPM) banners.


    Even if you don't sell all your advertising text spaces you can choose to run Adbrite's network ads which you get paid for as well. Adbrite earn their money by taking 25% from sold ads on your site.


    It's easy to place the ads on your site and if an idiot like me can do it I'm sure you'll have no problem!


    I joined in May 2005 and in the first two months I've been impressed. Ok, it's not massive money yet but it sure beats Adsense and is a nice consolation to the depressingly low income yields from the various yet equally dreadful performing Amazons. To put it into perspective, I made more from Adbrite in one month than in a year of affiliate sales from amazon.com!


    Adbrite works on the simple rule that the more traffic you get the more your income increases. Amazon works on the principle that whatever your traffic level your sales are going to remain alarmingly low. Well, that's my experience anyway.


    Just give Adbrite a try. I'm sure you will be at least pleasantly surprised and at the end of the day what have you got to lose?



  • Click here to use adbrite to buy & sell ads!

  • Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Egg Credit Card | Don't Touch

    Getting this card has been a complete nightmare for me and the robotic customer services only makes you feel madder and madder. Anyone else had the pleasure of their customer services? Use the comments button below to tell the world how it left you feeling.


    I got this card because like most people I wanted to take advantage of their 6 month 0% balance transfer fee. Great, I thought, so I transferred 3 cards to this.


    Today, I got my statement from friendly egg and was a little disturbed (sarcasm for 'what the hell is that?') to see I had incurred fees totalling £ 140.00 for this service.


    How so? Well, it turns out that nice old www.egg.com introduced on the 1st May 2005 a fee of 2% of total or £ 50. Unless they tell you their not going to do so. So maybe not everyone has had the privilege of getting this charge but, alas, I had got stung.


    Oh, and sweet Egg hadn't finished yet. Because their charges took me over my limit they charged me an additional £20 because that had taken me over my limit. Very thoughtful.


    You would think that such a new and exoribitant charge would be integrated into their system so that before you clicked onto the button agreeing to the transfer it said you would incur a charge of £ 50 for doing so ('tucked' is the term on the street). No problem with that as long as it is in bold letters DIRECTLY above the agree button. But it's not.


    Of course I contacted 'customer services' and swear I could almost hear Kraftwerk's We Are The Robots droning back at me or that might have been the effect it had on me. Basically, it was the usual bank speak for tough luck and we've got your money so off you go. They weren't budging and to use the poetry of David Gray who used the poetry of Soft Cell I could 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' to my £140 notes.


    I wouldn't recommend an egg credit card to my worst enemy (well I would because I dislike him that much but nobody else). I made a mistake and egg couldn''t give an omelette for my plight. In my opinion the best thing you can do is look elsewhere for a card - someone without the charges.


    That way you'll have an extra £140 in your bank account


    Hey, how's this for a new advertising slogan:
    DON'T TOUCH EGG - IT'S GOT SALMONELLA!


    Somehow I don't think egg will be requiring my advertising services.


    I'll let you know if egg changes its stance but
    somehow I don't think so. It's one hell of a hard egg.
    Alas, my £140.00 is just a rumour, a whisper, in my bank account. Sob sob but I miss it so much. Each and every one of the notes. In fact it's love!


    Remind you of Brief Encounter anyone?

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Merle Oberon | The Most Beautiful?

    Anyone remember her? She was a big film star in the 1930s and 40s but time has seemed to have forgotten her. But I was trying to think of the most beautiful woman of the 20th Century and if she doesn't make at least the play offs of the Most Beautiful Woman League then there must be some sensational Real Madrids about!


    Her gallery can be viewed by clicking here.


    merle oberon

    Pet Hate of the Day

    An easy one. The UK Post Office. It is a third world service; has staff who will do anything behind the counter not to serve you; builds 10 counters and employs 2 people to serve you; creates a bureau de change but uses one of the 2 counter staff to service it whenever anybody wants it meaning 1 counter staff for the rest of us; closes most of the sub offices but still employs only the 2 aforementioned counter staff; gets the 2 counter staff to create even longer queres by trying to sell the punter insurance; and doesn't believe in air conditioning for its customers so you come out with body odour and a stamp.

    London Bomb Blasts

    Today's the calm after the storm. Yesterday must have been the chaos of 9/11 only on a much smaller scale. The panic it induced was sent like waves into the suburbs and reached here in Croydon, south London with the sound of wailing police sirens the order of the day.

    Someone I knew heard the bus blast. Having travelled regularly on the underground I can imagine the fear of those caught in or around the attacks. Believe me, their bravery is something I know I haven't got. If I had been in their position I would have had a heart attack.


    For me, it's the sense of losing control that freaks me. The terrorist has set the agenda and their evil takes away any semblance of control. While it was going on there was a sense of helplessness - no-one knew what or where would be next. It's a horrible feeling - the world you live in in those minutes has been usurped by an evilness you don't understand. They have absolute control.


    From what witnesses have been saying, their only gripe about the organisation in the aftermath was the lack of communication. For a while there was silence for those on the trains that were attacked. 5 mins, 10, 15, 20...silence filled by some who panicked, some who tried to look for solutions, some who screamed in their pain for help, some looking around to see the dead, some blood, some death, some confusion, some thinking they were to die. Someness turning to absoluteness. Time passing without a reassuring voice that maybe, just maybe, it would be alright.


    The trains were packed, many found it hard to breath. The smallness of the area, people all around you, no escape...when they had to walk along the tracks to the nearest station they would have heard, smelt, the rats all around...as one witness said it was like taking a ride into hell.


    The death toll is 48 and still rising. Families shatterd forever.


    I can't begin to imagine their pain.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Olympics

    I'm from and live in surfff London and today it was announced we got the 2012 Olympics. I'm told I should be in such an ecstatic state that it rivals a sexual experience but I'm not. For it transpires that every local council tax bill in London will go up by £20 a year just to pay for it. And that won't even get any of us a ticket for an event to see people running around a track who you wouldn't cross the road to see if it wasn't the sodding Olympics.


    The council tax is so big now (with the only thing most of us get in return is the rubbish cleared badly) that rather than waste time why don't the council just take our wages off us each month and then give us a little pocket money in return.


    Trust Paris to let us down and not win the useless games. I could have had another crisp £20 note in my back pocket to buy an Olympic breakfast at Macdonalds.

    Gerrard Stays

    Regarding my earlier post on Stevie G you won't be surprised to know that my football nickname is 'tickle'. Why? It's slang for the 'fan's that fickle'.


    Everything I wrote is redundant as Gerrard has turned the situation on its head. He's a man on the utmost integrity and honour and is beyond reproach for the sole reason that Chelsea haven't got hold of him.


    If he came to Arsenal then he would almost reach Saint status.


    Ah, don't you just love it when you can say what you like because you are a football fan. Should be used in therapy.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Live 8

    Richard Littlejohn makes a great point in today's Sun that the artists who participated in the event should make a large financial contribution to ending world poverty. He suggests Bono giving £50 million as one example.


    Of course he is right. Today's newspapers are filled with 1,000% rises in sales for the back catalogues of these artists. Pink Floyd (who were excellent) have already announced they are giving these proceeds to charity but the stony silence from the rest of them thus far says it all. They benefit enormously from this event - no 2 ways about it.


    This anomaly is usually brushed aside because of the bigger picture. But why? It's not only governments who should change their way of thinking and doing things but the so-called stars as well.


    If they don't then they are no better or worthy of an iota of more respect than the politicians they're preaching at.

    Steven Gerrard

    So it looks as though Gerrard's leaving Liverpool and, surprise, surprise Chelsea are waiting in the wings.


    The whole thing stinks. I'm not a Liverpool supporter, Arsenal's my team (and I've supported them through the lean times when they were just winning League Cups) but Gerrard's hypocrisy is breathtaking. For months he said he wanted to stay only if the club could match his ambition in winning things (which is a bloody arrogant think to say to a club with Liverpool's history). Well blow me down with a pound, they only went and won the biggest competition in club football, the Champions League! Doesn't get more ambitious than that, methinks. Am I missing the point here? Is there something bigger Gerrard was thinking about? Course not. It was all a smokescreen. He wanted to leave but didn't have the bottle to do it last year but now, at 25, realises this is the time to make the maximum amount of dosh possible, in my opinion. Fuck loyalty if there's a Russian pound to be had.


    I mean, what other reason is there in order to join Chelsea? They're a club with no history, no pedigree, no atmosphere, no fans, no class...they've just bought the league, that's all. So if Chelsea win things next year, so what? They will have bought them. Why the hell would you leave Liverpool for that?


    The most pathetic thing with all this is Gerrard trying to put the blame on Liverpool and becoming 'disillusioned 'with how they treated them. Crap and remarkably similar to what happened with Michael Owen moving from Pool to Real Madrid last year. Liverpool have countered that with details that they offered him £100,000 a week! Disillusioned with that?? Still what does that kind of money buy you these days? 5 million reasons a year to stay at your beloved club to do a job all the fans would do for nothing, that's what.


    Gerrard has behaved disgracefully to all Liverpool fans. For a year he has kept them on tenterhooks with his 'will I stay, will I go' antics. They seem to have had enough and don't seem overly upset. Seems he's overplayed his self-importance for at the end of the day who the hell does he think he is? Patrick Vieira with a World Cup medal and Euro 2000 one in his back pocket? And they weren't bought, they were earned.


    Chelsea have totally ruined football in this country. Their arrogance is unbelievable and they deserve no credit for anything they win. I remember a time when before these money scumbags came along the Premiership was played on a level playing field where any team could win it i.e. Arsenal or Manchester Utd.


    Wouldn't it be great if they would just go away?

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    David Blunkett joins AC Milan

    Ok, you've probaly heard it but just in case:

    AC Milan have announced the signing of David Blunkett, the former UK Home Secretary. He may be blind but at least he can hold a bloody lead!


    Meanwhile, a diehard Chelsea fan who denied being one of the prawn brigade was overheard saying at a recent match at the fortress that is Stamford 'Who's nicked the atmosphere?' Bridge:

    "You can't tell me Robben's signing for Holland. He's on a five year contract."


    Pimms anyone?

    Boiler Vs Wife

    Went passed a mate's house yesterday and noticed he had an old boiler in the front garden. At least, I think it was an old boiler - it might have been his wife. Didn't know whether to stop and make some polite conversation.


    If you're reading this Mark, a word of advice. If your wife does go out in the front garden with a boiler there then put a sign around her neck saying "WIFE" and one around the boiler saying "BOILER".


    Saves confusion.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    The Lavender Hill Mob | Trivia (1951)


    Just watched again:


    The Lavender Hill Mob


    lavender


    Writer T.E.B. Clarke got the idea for the heist plan from the Bank of England itself.


    He'd asked a bank official for advice on how to steal gold - explaining he needed the information for a film - and, to his surprise, a committee was set up to work out the best way.


    Audrey Hepburn was considered for a major role, but was busy on stage. But Alec Guinness wanted her in the movie and arranged for her to have a bit part, one of her first speaking film roles.

    Best Film...At the Moment

    Same thing as worst actor. Mine changes on a daily basis depending on my mood but today my best film of all time is Jean Cocteau's Orphée (1950) because it is magically poetic.


    Orphee

    Worst Actor..Ever!

    Give me your worst actor actor ever and why in one sentence and I'll put it up here.


    I'll start off. Eric Roberts. He overacts so much that if you asked him for the time he'd draw you a sundial.


    Over to you.

    Brand New Hair | Sting's Got It

    How come while us mere mortals suffer from hairloss, Sting, who was going bald 20 years ago, turned up at Live8 with a full head of hair? Not only has he got all the money in the world, he's either found a miracle growth for hair or is using the remaining hairs he possesses in the best camoflague of all time? If that's the case then I hope he's paying his hairs well. They're doing a Herculian job.

    Hitchcock | Sabotage (1936)


    Some random facts on the last film watched.


    Sabotage


    A great Hitchcock spy drama.


    The film is based on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, but Hitchcock couldn't use that title a his previous film was Secret Agent.


    Hitchcock wanted to show London's East End as he'd known it as a boy, so he had an entire replica street built, complete with fully equipped shops.


    The street was built on a slight incline so that traffic could roll by silently, with the sound to be added later. Hitch also had a working tramline made, which is on screen for only a few seconds.

    Electronics Cap | Amazon.co.uk



    Surprise, surprise.


    Amazon.co.uk have announced: "As of July 1st, Amazon is reinstituting a cap of £7 on referral fees paid to Associates on Consumer Electronic units. This change was made in order to control program costs and maintain the lowest prices for our customers."


    Not surprisingly, some associates are hopping mad. Costing them a fortune etc., etc., according to the Amazon message boards. But isn't this type of capping against the spirit of the free market? The price of an item is determined by what the buyer is prepared to pay for it and an affiliate should get the agreed percentage cut if the lead comes through his/her site. What is wrong with that? Why cap it?


    What I love (or hate) about these messages from the huge corporations is the way they always try to dress it up by saying such action will benefit the affiliate in the long run. Statements like: "We've decided to claw back 99% of your commission but in the long run you will benefit because, er, because we say it's good for you so it must be good for you".


    And for me the 'long run' still hasn't arrived.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    The Sincere Insincerity of the Blog


    The few blogs I've read all have one common theme. The feigned surprise.


    Lines such as: "I'm sooooo surprised anyone's reading my blog!"


    To me, this is blog speak for: "I'm hoping everyone will read my blog and my opinion counts and world leaders will make it an everyday task to read my blog to have a better understanding of world events. But until they do I'll pretend to be AMAZED at the success of my blog and be ever so humble as my public would want me to be but I'm not because what I say counts so there."


    Which goes to show that hammy 'sincerity' is not confined to the Oscars.

    Age Limit For Rockers


    Maybe not politically correct but some of the old rockers on Live8 are just too damn old. Shouldn't there be an age limit for this profession? It's depressing watching them for purely selfish reasons as it makes me realise how old I am cos I remember the 1985 concert all too clearly. What wouldn't I give to be able to say like some of the young stars there today that I was in my nappies when the first one came around or, even better, I wasn't even born.


    But if I said that then the reality would be that in 1985 I would have been wearing nappies as a fully grown teenager and that would make me sound like a, well, pervert.


    Mind you, incontinence is becoming more of an issue as I get older. "Honey, get some pads while you're shopping...just in case...shit, I'm dribbling again".


    P.S. Who the hell are Velvet Revolver or whatever they are called and why were they anywhere near the stage. Sure, everyone knows Slash but the rest? Get back to playing in my local you pub rockers!

    Powell / Pressburger





    How is it that today the work of the film directors, Powell & Pressburger is not spoken of in the same revered tones as that of their contemporary, Hitchcock? Sure, there is a cult following but it should be so much more than that. They should be as well known as Hitch and known to all and sundry.


    But such neglect is hardly new. Indeed, in the later years of his life Michael Powell couldn't get projects off the ground for love nor money. Why? Because he fell from grace for making a 'controversial' film, Peeping Tom, miles ahead of its time.


    The picture above is an amazon.co.uk link to their 3 film boxset which is a perfect introduction to their work. 2 (Blimp and Life & Death) feature the equally neglected Roger Livesey, an actor who should be considered a British national treasure but is just a whisper, a rumour, in the annals of movie history. His voice is the voice of the gods.


    A Matter of Life and Death is my favourite out of these. It's a work of art and it's hard to believe it had mixed reviews when it was originally released. Shot in a mix of sumptious colour (Life) and black & white (Death), it's a film that through its light humour beguilingly takes us on a journey through the big issue. Niven in the lead role has never been better; Kathleen Bryon has never looked more ravishing (though I forgot Black Narcissus for a moment).


    Blimp is Livesey's film from start to finish. It's the role of his life and he grabs it with both hands.


    He also takes the lead role in I Know Where I'm Going. While never really romantic lead role material he does a good job but the main strength of the film is the atmospheric and beautifully shot Scottish surroundings. Seldom has the scenery appeared so beautiful and yet so sinister at the same time.


    There is an excellent resource for the work of Powell & Pressburger at www.powell-pressburger.org. It keeps the memory alive and is run not for money but for love of the work (something, I admit, I have never done). The webmaster, Steve Crook, deserves the greatest praise.

    Sir Bob Geldof


    He's only gone and done it!! The cardinal sin! He's gone on stage in Live8 and sung I Don't Like Mondays. I couldn't believe it when I heard "Tell me why" come from his lips!


    Now don't get me wrong. What he has done getting this concert together is incredible. The cause is something most of us subscribe to. But he shouldn't put himself in any position whatsoever to promote the Boomtown Rats back catalogue in any shape or form. The Rats weren't relevant in 1985 for the Live Aid concert and performing then was questionable. But now it is definate no no.


    Ok, in the scheme of things it's a small gripe. But for me at least it doesn't sit right.

    To Be An Amazon Affiliate Or Not To Be

    Well, the last quarter for the amazon affiliate is over and the depressing fall in sales has reached new lows. Thankfully, I have diversified in advertising and don't rely on them but even so, just looking at the stats is a sobering read.


    I'm not alone either. In their own message boards there are countless posts wondering why sales are so low. Many conjecture but no-one knows for sure what the reason(s) is/are.


    For me it's depressing because in the aforementioned quarter traffic went up. Yes, money is tight for many people but the decrease is alarming.


    The quarter didn't start well when amazon.co.uk announced without warning that their recommended link boxes were the wrong size and they would be changing them. This meant that the boxes they had delivered to us up to that point would be the wrong size and would look rubbish on the websites. Someone wrote on the amazon.co.uk messageboard that it would mean him having to manually go through 13,000 of his webpages to change the boxes because amazon.co.uk suddenly realised that their boxes weren't the industry standard. "Sorry about that" was amazon.co.uk's reply. That was it!


    So that made it better then...not. It was a nightmare. Moreover, what came out of it for me was that amazon.co.uk didn't have a customer service for affiliates. Most of my e-mails were left unanswered. They just ignored all pleas to at least continue with the old boxes for a limited time so we all had time to change them to new boxes.


    Pertinent questions were left in the air such as:


    • Why did amazon.co.uk supply us with the wrong size boxes in the first place?

    • Why did amazon.co.uk not give us any warning that the change was coming?

    • When they realised they were giving us the wrong boxes, why did amazon.co.uk not notify us and offer to pay for the time it would take all of us to change the boxes because of their mistake?

    • Why not answer any e-mail that is not the standard reply? If it is a little difficult why ignore it?

    • Why did they not realise that this would be a complete nightmare for affiliates? Someone somewhere in the metropolis that is amazon headquarters must have had at least a flicker of a thought that this would be bad news for us to say the least.


    Despite all this I would still recommend joining the various amazon affiliate sites. It's hard work but, I suppose, they are better than nothing.

    Brigitte Bardot



    bardot


    Is there a more stunning woman to have graced the world than B.B.? She is the type of woman who people will look at in 200 or 300 or 500 years time and say: "Wow, what we would give to have a woman like that around now". Well, maybe not word for word but you get my drift.


    The first time I saw her in a movie was in the Jimmy Stewart movie, Dear Brigitte (1966). Not a great movie and it's really no more than a cameo role for B.B. but her screen presence was such that she eclipsed the averageness of the movie and those around her.


    As time has passed and her looks have faded she still has the ability to fascinate the public and press like no other of her generation. Now, 71 years old, she devotes her life to the welfare of animals. She gives herself completely; something so few of us can do.


    Still, I would like her to make a movie comeback. It probaly won't happen but she could still outshine your Hupperts, Adjanis, indeed anybody who the critics have deemed better at the craft than her. Few are better than her, for she has the mysterious quality afforded only to the gods of the silver screen.


    Star presence.

    Morrisons


    Good to see my local Morrisons seem to have replaced their see-through carrier bags with bags that, er, are not see-through. What were Morrisons thinking of? I mean its a multi-billion pound company and no-one had the sense to realise that not everybody wanted others to know what they were buying. What about the woman buying tampons?. Does she really want to go down the high street telling the world what she has bought? And what about the man who buys tampons? Does he really want to go down the high street knowing people are speculating why he has bought the tampons?


    For my part, I didn't want the world knowing all the junk food I was buying. Someone told me that I could just not buy the junk food. Didn't think of that. But non see-through bags are the easier option.

    Sir John Mills


    Just got my copy of the book Still Memories by the late Sir John Mills. It's a treasure trove of photographs by the great British actor, spanning his long and important career and wonderful life. As he was involved in some of the most important films in British cinema, there are behind the scenes photos aplenty of those that made and shaped a golden age long since past. And his anecdotes are terrific, but that is hardly a surprise as anyone familiar with the man would know he always gave great value.


    I particularly liked the photos from the 1940s when British cinema was at its peak. As so many there in this book are now dead, the faces stare out of the pages like beautiful ghosts. Margaret Lockwood, David Lean...so many...and later, at family get togethers, people like Richard Attenborough, Forbes, Bette Davis, Jack Lemmon...the list is almost endless.


    At the end of the book there are some photos of Mills with Stephen Fry in his back garden at his home from the mid-1970s to 2004, Hills House in Denham Village, Buckinghamshire. Well, when he passed away a couple of months ago and knowing he was buried in the graveyard right next door to his old garden, I went to pay my respects. My god, how the other half lives! I have never seen such a beautiful home! The wisteria-covered Tudor mansion and four-acre garden is on the village main street and when you first enter the enchanting village and turn the corner the site of it almost takes your breath away! It's a place I dream of living in but know I will never have enough pennies to ever contemplate putting an offer in for!



    The house once belonged to the actress Merle Oberon and her then husband, Alexander Korda, one of the godfathers of British Cinema in the 30s and 40s. He was responsible for the creation of Denham Film Studios and at the other end of the village is the place where once it stood, now converted into a business park.


    Sir John's grave is found by walking into St Mary's Church in Denham and following the left hand path passed the church approx 200 yards. There, under a dead chestnut tree you'll find his grave in a corner. To me it seemed a lonely spot though it is at the foot of his old garden. But then isn't every grave lonely, a realisation that we enter the world alone and leave it as such?


    If you peep round the corner you will see golfers in the distance. Life goes on, I guess.


    For me, I can watch any film by Sir John just because he is in it and no matter what the overall quality of the film is. Why? Because he had that British decency prevalent in 1940s Britain that has just vanished from the landscape of today's Britain. He was also a fine actor to boot.


    In his obituaries there was not a word of criticism about him. The decent man you saw on the screen was what you got in real life. The worst thing some idiot said about him was there were no great films. Er, excuse me? Hobson's Choice, Great Expectations, Ice Cold in Alex...in my book they are bloody great movies!


    And he made them great. He will be missed because there will be nobody like him again.