Pan Am
Christina Ricci in Pan AmPan Am must have been an American TV exec’s dream: A stylish period drama to cash-in on the success of Mad Men; Pan Am was known for only hiring beautiful people so the cast had to be glamourous. Add in international travel and a spy storyline and we are ready for take off.

The critics have not been kind. No one is saying it is terrible but no one is calling it a classic — three stars all around. After watching the first two I agreed. It was feeling a bit forced and dressing everyone in the same uniform made it impossible for me to remember who was who.

A hungover Sunday meant I ventured to episode three and it turned out to be a cracker. The spy storyline had tension, there was nice humour around Maggie’s attempts to meet JFK and, taking things down to the basics, Christina Ricci looked amazing in a black poppy-print dress. I also realised I’d started caring for the characters (something I’m finding hard to do in TV drama these days).

So I’ll be sticking with Pan Am. I hope it is worth it.

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Gig lighting

I’ve been going to gigs for many years now and I still go to many in a year. We are told live music is still booming and it is the big money spinner for the industry. I tend to go to gigs in medium sized venues (KOKO, Brixton Academy, Scala). As venues they are well fitted out and the sound is usually great but I went to a gig last week which made me realise more needs to be done on stage.

I do like a band to have personality on stage but that isn’t important as long as the music blows me away (The Horrors do nothing but play, but boy can they play). However seeing Ane Brun at Scala reminded me what can be done with lighting. I’m not going to attempt to describe it here and photos (like this and this) don’t do it justice but it made such a difference to the gig. My best memory is the back of the stage bathed in blue with the two percussionists in shadow through smoke.

At the end of the gig Ane thanked her lighting director along with band so it is obviously something she cares about. I wish more artists did.

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Flickr
Lonely Pudsey (my most popular photo on Flickr)In the past year, how and when I take photos has changed. Before I never used my camera phone and would only take photos with my point-and-shoot when I was on a trip/holiday. Then Instagram came along and, with my iPhone 4, I had a half-decent camera on my phone. The result is my trusty point-and-shoot has been confined the drawer and I’m taking photos all the time.

Instagram’s app lets me upload my best photos straight to Flickr but I don’t always use Instagram. There’s still a few photos I like to take (like the view from my hotel room) just using the camera. Problem is I never get around/cannot be bothered uploading these to Flickr.

This leaves me with a quandary about Flickr. I absolutely love to be able to look back over old photos on the site. Most importantly it means my photos don’t get abandoned on a hard drive. But looking at Flickr yesterday I realised I haven’t created a new set since May – and it is these sets I look back over. All my photos since then are in an uncollected mess.

Then there’s the $25 I pay for Flickr each year. Admittedly it isn’t much money. But I’m not a ‘power’ user. If you compare what you get for $25 on other online services I’m not getting value. Yet I’m locked into Flickr because if I stop paying I lose access to my archive.

I’m not going to quit Flickr anytime soon but I would like it to do something – anything — to adapt to my new way of taking photos. Selfish I know.

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