Across Continents

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Puppet on a string

November 1st, 2010

Come to China and you can’t but help become more aware of North Korea. Chinese Central Television doing their level best to put a positive spin on the secretive hermit nation. A country with so few real friends its had to resort to Facebook to bolster numbers. Not sure how that’s going. Can’t access it from mainland China.

One’s a puppet…
Kim montage - web

I did chance upon a promotional film on one channel that seemed to convey Dear Leader Kim Jong-il’s megalomaniac tendencies in a rather endearing fashion. A mad uncle. The sort quite a few families have. Admittedly without a nuclear arsenal at their disposal. By all accounts, and there aren’t that many from the secretive state to choose from, Kim’s been a bit unwell. Which explains the string operated stand-in the movie. An uncanny likeness. Just remember one’s a puppet.

[And the film? “Team America: World Police”. Watchable only for its portrayal of Kim Jong-il. If that doesn’t appeal, then at least watch the news reports for some particularly fine examples of synchronised clapping]

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London calling

October 30th, 2010

As a child I read a lot. Then life kicked in. Now, as the nights draw in, I’ve the time, and the inclination. But no books beyond a small medical textbook. Just too bulky. So, wishing to keep the mind preoccupied, the loneliness at bay, I’ve discovered the BBC iPlayer. Unlike the tv content, the radio programmes are accessible abroad without restriction.

Find myself eagerly anticipating the next episode of 50s sci-fi series “Journey into Space”, or the more recent “Earthsearch”. Catching up on the exploits of Jim Hacker in “Yes Minister”. And lots of other comedy gems on BBC Radio 7. Have even found myself, in more cerebral moments, listening to the world of business in “The Bottom Line“. Something disturbingly soothing about Evan Davis’ voice. Not everyone’s choice of book at bedtime I admit.

I’ve also rediscovered panel games. Favourite amongst them is “Any Questions”. A lively blend of “The News Quiz”’s witty review of the past week’s events and “Just a minute”’s rapid fire ramblings. More irony than straight satire, but amusing nevertheless.

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