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April 24, 2014

Opening night of BBC2, 20 April 1964

"As a result of its criticisms of the populism of ITV, the 1962 Pilkington Report recommended that Britain's third television channel should be awarded to the BBC." Sound doesn't kick in for almost three minutes.

Prior to its launch, BBC2 was promoted on the BBC Television Service channel soon to be renamed BBC1; the animated adverts featured the campaign mascots Hullabaloo (a mother kangaroo) and Custard (her joey). Prior to its formal launch (and for several years afterwards) the channel broadcast 'Trade Test Transmissions', short films made externally by companies such as Shell and BP, which served to enable engineers to test reception, but became cult viewing.

The channel was scheduled to begin at 19:20 on 20 April 1964 and show an evening of light entertainment, starting with the comedy show The Alberts, a performance from Soviet comedian Arkady Raikin, and a production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, culminating with a fireworks display.

However, at around 18:45 a huge power failure, originating from Battersea Power Station, caused Television Centre to lose all power. BBC1 was able to continue broadcasting via its facilities at Alexandra Palace, but all attempts to show the scheduled programmes on the new channel failed. Associated-Rediffusion, the London ITV franchise-holder, offered to transmit on the BBC's behalf, but their gesture was rejected, presumably for pride's sake.

However, at 22:00 BBC2 had no choice but to concede defeat and postpone programming until the following morning. As the BBC's news centre at Alexandra Palace was unaffected, they did in fact broadcast brief bulletins on BBC2 that evening, beginning with an announcement by the newsreader Gerald Priestland at around 19:25. There was believed to be no recording ever made of this bulletin, but one was discovered in early 2003.

By 11:00 on 21 April, power had been restored to the studios and programming began, thus making Play School the first programme to be shown officially on the channel. The launch schedule, postponed from the night before, was then successfully shown that evening, albeit with minor changes. In reference to the power cut, the transmission opened with a shot of a lit candle which was then sarcastically blown out by presenter Denis Tuohy.
Posted by Ghost of a flea at 06:28 AM

How paperbacks transformed the way Americans read

"Half a century before e-books turned publishing upside down, a different format threatened to destroy the industry.."

Here’s a little perspective: In 1939, gas cost 10 cents a gallon at the pump. A movie ticket set you back 20 cents. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the year’s bestselling hardcover book, was $2.75. For a nation suffering 20 percent unemployment, books were an impossible expense.

But in just one day, Robert de Graff changed that.
Posted by Ghost of a flea at 06:27 AM

Violet Vision - Yeled

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 06:22 AM

April 23, 2014

Milton Friedman on Slavery and Colonization

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:28 AM

Vladimir Sorokin

"How important it is, as it turns out, to let the past collapse at the right time."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:27 AM

Lyapis Trubetskoy - Capital

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:22 AM

April 22, 2014

Designers' Worlds: Jean Paul Gaultier and Antoine de Caunes

"Following on from last week's Jennifer Saunders special, today we're delighted to reunite the Eurotrash dream team of Jean Paul Gaultier and Antoine de Caunes; when I was a young boy living in the countryside they taught me everything I know about Parisian chic and sexual perversion!"

(nsfw: subject matter, French humour)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:27 AM

Private label

"'Brand' is something on which leading fashion labels, department stores, and specialty retailers are intensely focused. Every piece that’s produced and placed on the racks needs to carry and convey a brand message that’s true to the company’s 'DNA.' But what’s rarely disclosed is how much some of these companies rely on external suppliers to produce — and even design — their collections. In fashion, this is called 'private label' and it happens at every level of the business, from mass to luxury."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:24 AM

Ruben Fleischer - Vogue Original Shorts: Emma Stone stars in 'A Way In' (2014)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:23 AM

Kiesza - Hideaway

Hat tip to Mr. Percifeld.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 07:22 AM

April 21, 2014

Alan Moore - Comics & The Occult (2007)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:23 AM

Cosmological Natural Selection

"It's tempting to think of the universe as a meaningless repository for celestial objects like planets and stars. But an intriguing theory suggests there's much more to the cosmos than meets the eye — and that black holes play an integral role in what our universe is actually trying to achieve."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:22 AM

London Grammar - Hey Now (Troxy, London - March 2014)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:21 AM

April 19, 2014

Johan Renck - Valentino Uomo, the new fragrance (2014)

Behind the scenes.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:28 AM

Les non-dupes errent

"What a cynic who 'believes only his eyes' misses is the efficiency of the symbolic fiction, the way this fiction structures our experience of reality."

The logic is here the same as that of Anne Frank who, in her diaries, expresses belief in the ultimate goodness of man in spite of the horrors accomplished by men against Jews in World War II: what renders such an assertion of belief (in the essential goodness of Man; in the truly human character of the Soviet regime) sublime, is the very gap between it and the overwhelming factual evidence against it, i.e. the active will to disavow the actual state of things. Perhaps therein resides the most elementary meta-physical gesture: in this refusal to accept the real in its idiocy, to disavow it and to search for Another World behind it. The big Other is thus the order of lie, of lying sincerely. And it is in this sense that "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity": even the best are no longer able to sustain their symbolic innocence, their full engagement in the symbolic ritual, while "the worst," the mob, engage in (racist, religious, sexist...) fanaticism? Is this opposition not a good description of today's split between tolerant but anemic liberals, and the fundamentalists full of "passionate intensity"?

From Slavoj Zizek's "With or without passion: what's wrong with fundamentalism? Part I"

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:27 AM

Rebels of sincerity

"David Foster Wallace called for art that redeems rather than simply ridicules."

Hat tip to Mr. Proctor.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:24 AM

School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 09:22 AM

April 18, 2014

Aparición | Juego de Tronos T4

"Soy el fuego que arde contra el frío, la luz que trae el amanecer, el cuerno que despierta a los durmientes, el escudo que protege los Reinos de los Hombres."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 05:04 PM

There's honey in the hollows

Secret Ostia is bigger than Pompeii.

Italian and British archaeologists discovered “towers, shops, boundary walls and road layouts” beneath the earth of two public parks at Italy's lesser-known site, La Repubblica reported, “revealing all the grandeur of a real city that nobody could have imagined existed until today.”

They said the discovery, which spreads across 70,000 square metres, indicates that Rome was "split in two by the Tiber River in the First Century BC.”
Posted by Ghost of a flea at 05:03 PM

Lacoste - The Big Leap

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 05:02 PM

Faithless - Insomnia (Forever Faithless)

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 05:01 PM

April 16, 2014

FBI - Game of Pawns: The Glenn Duffie Shriver Story (2014)

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released a 28-minute video using the conviction of a 29-year-old Michigan man to warn college students about the dangers of being recruited to spy by foreign intelligence services."

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 08:28 AM

Duck and/or cover

"If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?"

Did you know, for example, that:

1. The WORST thing for someone to try to do, in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion that they survive, is to get in a car and drive away.

2. Unless you're within about a third to a half a mile radius of ground zero and the shelter options are poor, the BEST thing for someone to do is to find a stable location inside a well-built apartment or office building — the majority of which will remain standing outside that half mile radius — and stay there for 24 hours.
Posted by Ghost of a flea at 08:27 AM

Geneviève Pasquier - Warm Leatherette

Posted by Ghost of a flea at 08:24 AM