Tuesday 15 January 2008

Monday 14 January 2008

How capitalism works (and sometimes doesn't)

In his recent LRB article, John Lanchester observes that "under Communism children from primary school upwards were taught the principles and practice of the system, and were thoroughly drilled in how it was supposed to work. There is nothing comparable to that in the capitalist world. The City is, in terms of its basic functioning, a far-off country of which we know little." What follows is a brilliantly lucid layman's explanation of what banks are doing with other people's money in the capitalist system, which leads up to an account of how Northern Rock is getting what it deserves: a bank run.

John Lanchester, "Cityphilia", London Review of Books, 30.1 (3 January 2008), 9-12; http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n01/lanc01_.html [accessed 14 January 2008].

Saturday 5 January 2008

Die Another Day (2002) - ickleReview (TV)

On-the-wane James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, and Rosamund Pike. Bond is captured after an assassination attempt in North Korea, then beaten up and tortured for 14 months before he is released. M (Judi Dench) withdraws his 00 status, so he has to continue on an unofficial basis. The plot feels even more cursory than usual. There's a stupid invisible Aston Martin "Vanish" Vanquish, some badly rendered green screen and CGI, and over-used slow-mo/whiplash camera techniques in the vein of The Fast and the Furious and The Matrix. Alongside this attempt to modernize, there are some nostalgic nods to Bond gadgets from earlier movies, and of coursee Halle Berry's Ursula Andress impression coming out of the sea in a bikini.

Nugget: it's easy to see why this was Brosnan's last Bond.