Colour photographs from a B&W world

These colour photographs from pre-revolutionary Russia are beautiful and strange. The Library of Congress has made handsome digital images from the three-part glass negatives left by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, photographer to the last Tsar. BBC4 ran a documentary about him this evening. I expect they’ll run it again.

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Thank you Faruk!

Andrew Murray at PCM – sponsors of this weblog – delivered my new Mac the other day – my third G4 Powerbook and probably my tenth Powerbook in all. This one was a dud, though. Wouldn’t boot at all or booted and then showed me a lot of nasty debug code before it passed out… Continue reading Thank you Faruk!

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Elstein on the Beeb

If David Elstein was a standard issue public service bootboy (like Gerald Kaufman) or a free market storm trooper (like Tony Ball) it might be possible to dismiss his report for the Tories as politics as usual. The trouble is he’s one of the most experienced and intelligent managers in the business and a provocative… Continue reading Elstein on the Beeb

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Picturesque Disneyland

We spent the weekend in a sort of 19th Century Disneyland – staying in a gorgeous, completely bonkers, self-consciously rustic cottage by a placid (and artificial) pond, hidden in the greenest (it’s February for Christ’s sake!) valley I’ve ever seen surrounded on all sides by the sound of rushing, tumbling streams. The cottage is on… Continue reading Picturesque Disneyland

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Our friends in the East

Britain, for the time being, is out on a European limb in regard to immigration from the ten accession states. This is a good thing. There’s competitive advantage in being open to resourceful, economically-active migrants while other Nations aren’t. While the UK economy is still growing strongly and while there are obvious gaps in our… Continue reading Our friends in the East

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The really big deal

I know a lot of you come here for straightforward, unbiased advice on what to do with your next $66 billion so here’s my angle on the Comcast Disney offer: they’re on drugs. Executives in big media firms are addicted to the buzz of the epic deal. Do we not have enough case studies of… Continue reading The really big deal

A bloated Lear

Without the distractions of Hutton and the BBC’s self-immolation we’d probably all have been paying more attention to the Shakespearian Conrad Black saga. Black is an appalling figure. Decades of cringing deference and unaccountable power have turned him into a bloated Lear, raging against the ingratitude of his shareholders and erstwhile friends – many of… Continue reading A bloated Lear

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The BBC adrift

Friendless at the seat of power, rudderless at a time of critical danger. What a difference 48 hours can make. I have no idea how things came to this. A year ago the BBC was certified golden – officially untouchable. The talk was all about how to rein in Dyke’s resurgent, inflation-protected juggernaut. Now, after… Continue reading The BBC adrift

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Saturday Morning Pictures

I took Olly, 5 and Billie, 4, to The Barbican‘s Family Film Club – a sort of middle class mirror image of the Saturday Morning Cinema of your youth. We watched Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last and sat on the nicely-carpeted lobby floor to make wobbly clock towers from card and pipe cleaners in a friendly… Continue reading Saturday Morning Pictures

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