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sad news about James Michael Tyler

James Michael Tyler (you know him as Gunther from Friends) has stage 4 prostate cancer, which spread far enough to paralyze him below the waist. It’s so sad. I wondered why he didn’t appear in person at the Friends reunion and well, he explains his reasoning here. I totally get why he waited until now to go public.

I’ve said this so many times before, but man, fuck cancer.

The Millennium Dome

Recently I stumbled across some photos from when my family went to the Millennium Dome in 2000! OMG!

If you’re not British (or are British but very young) you might not know the history of the Millenium Dome. I didn’t until quite recently. This twitter thread sums it all up perfectly:

Essentially the Millennium Dome was an expensive, extravagant, incredibly entertaining disaster right from the get-go and there’s a part of me that kinda wishes it was still there. Just me? Probably, yeah. Sadly I can’t really remember all the details of it very well either, because I was only about 12 I think and there was a lot to take in.

This picture, featuring as it does both an inexplicable sculpture of a squatting child and a McDonalds, pretty much sums up the essence of it.

This was Timekeepers of the Millennium, pretty much the only thing in the Dome that children would be remotely interested in. It was, if I remember rightly, basically a massive ball pit/play area where you could fire balls at each other with air cannons and generally cause chaos. It was of no educational merit whatsoever, which was probably for the best.

It at one point had a television show to go with it! It had the same name as the ride and aired on CITV. Most of it is lost apparently but I have some old VHS tapes to go through and I’m really hoping I might find some of it on one of them.

Here’s one of the Disney-like Timekeeper mascots. (If you’re viewing this post looking for pictures to illustrate something you’re writing about the Dome, please don’t use this one okay? You can use one or two of the others if you message me in the comments first.)

This here was a seaside-themed area. I think it was the first section completed on the Dome, I remember Newsround telling me so back in 1999. It had, IIRC… pretty much the same charm as your average British seaside.

Wonder if kids were allowed to play in the sand, like on a normal beach? I’m guessing probably not.

Now THIS! This is the Body Zone!

The weirdest and daftest section of the Dome. I clearly remember this beating heart (for it did indeed beat) hovering omniously above guests in this area.

WHAT? The WHAT NOW?

Outside in the slightly more fresh air there were some pretty, rainbow-coloured tents which I believe formed a “rest zone.” Probably for the parents who’d left their kids with the ball cannons.

In the very middle of the dome there was a show on every so often! And I remember it was actually really good?

Or at least, it had music and fire and lights, and that was more than enough for my 12-year-old self.

While going through the photos I also found this leaflet:

There’s a little map in there which gives you some idea of the scale of the thing. Might be safe to say the crowds of people drawn on there aren’t completely accurate, though. In many of the pics I have there’s… Pretty much no people in the background at all.

These photos were taken in May 2000 and by December it had closed. During its brief time on Earth it racked up no end of controversy, ended or at least severely stunted a few political careers, and had a gang of diamond robbers crash in with a JCB digger. We will never see its like again. The Sunday Times, which was I think marginally less crap back in those days, predicted the downfall before it even opened:

At worst it is a millennial metaphor for the twentieth century. An age in which all things, like the Dome itself, became disposable. A century in which forest and cities, marriages, animal species, races, religions and even the Earth itself, became ephemeral. What more cynical monument can there be for this totalitarian cocksure fragile age than a vast temporary plastic bowl, erected from the aggregate contribution of the poor through the National Lottery. Despite the spin, it remains a massive pantheon to the human ego, the Ozymandias of its time.

Look On My Wall Of Giant Animatronic Pubic Lice, Ye Mighty, And Despair.

Sweet Tooth

Me, a person who’s just lived through a pandemic, seeing the Sweet Tooth poster: Oh this looks so cute! Kinda Tim Burton-esque I guess, maybe wholesome

Me, a person who’s just lived through a pandemic, actually watching Sweet Tooth: OH OKAY NEVER MIND.

…..

Sweet Tooth is very good! But wholesome it is not. It’s horrifying, really, in that it poses the question “Would the average person accept the killing of an unwanted child if it meant they themselves got to live?” and answers it with a depressingly firm “yes.” It also presents a very bleak view of how people might act in the wake of a truly deadly pandemic, which obviously hits much closer to home now than it would’ve done when the original Sweet Tooth comic was released in 2013. Yeesh.

But APART from the deaths and burnings and plagues and executions and experimentations and abuses it does have a geniunely sweet found-family story at its core, which was lovely to see. It takes the very well-tested plot of “hard bitten survivor must escort special child through the apocalypse” and sure it’s super cliche but I loved it, Nonso Anozie and Christian Convery bounce off each other so well.

Also as a forever fan of The Last Man on Earth I was so happy to see Will Forte in this, and him really getting to stretch his acting chops too. Dude is so underrated as a serious actor, I swear.

People who definitely don’t believe in cancel culture

Pinterest UK rather surprisingly posted this today,

and the responses are absolute gold.

It’s good to know the great British public stand so strongly against cancelling things!

fourteen favourite shots: WandaVision

The MCU is pretty same-y aesthetic wise, but honestly I don’t care because I love the dramatic shots of people flying in the air. Also WandaVision bucks some of the more recent superhero movie trends and gives us bright colours! Really bright colours! Hooray!

Two thoughts I had while making this:

a) I really wish there was more Claymation in the MCU, it can be used to such unsettling effect!

b) Every time Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda looks directly at the camera I feel like I’m about to die.

Final Space 3×13

Oh, it ended on a cliffhanger before we even know if the show is getting renewed! Arrrrgh.

Ash’s journey from cute little kid to unhinged murderous adult has been an interesting ride but I still feel there ought to be more to it. “Good guy joins forces with the bad guy even though it’s very clearly the bad guy fucking everything up” has never really made all that much sense to me. The lack of Evra in the finale also baffles me, where is she? Is she that disconnected from human affairs? I don’t think Ash’s story can feel complete without her.

Thankfully, despite coming close to the edge there with Little Cato, Ash was not successful in turning anyone else to the dark side. I’m going to start calling her Ashakin Skywalker. (Actually I already have.)

Gary and Quinn were perfect in this episode as usual, oh man it never actually occurred to me they hadn’t said “I love you” yet. Also I loved that little moment at the beginning where Gary is just sitting on the bed contemplating and waiting for the action to start. It seems so rare that adult animation shows just like… slow down and stop and let an animated character “act” you know?

I’m not actually afraid for Mooncake (assuming another season does materialise) simply because he’s the character on all the merchandise, the cute little pet of the cast, and even a show as willing to break the rules as Final Space is probably isn’t going to kill off, you know, the “puppy.”

Man, please let there be more of this show. In the meantime why not go congratulate Olan Rogers on all the amazing work he’s done so far:

Today is the fourth anniversary of Grenfell Tower

Here’s the same list detailing the victims that I posted last year. Let’s make this an annual thing.

Fatemeh Afrasiabi
Sakina Afrasehabi
Amal Ahmedin
Mohammed Alhajali
Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi
Mohamed Amied Neda
Alexandra Atala
Hamid Begum
Hanif Begum
Husna Begum
Kamru Begum
Rabia Begum
Leena Belkadi
Malak Belkadi
Omar Belkadi

Raymond “Moses” Bernard
Vincent Chiejina
Bassem Choucair
Fatima Choucair
Mierna Choucair
Nadia Choucair
Sirria Choucair
Zaynab Choucair

Joseph Daniels
Jeremiah Deen
Zainab Deen
Tony Disson
Eslah Elgwahry
Mariem Elgwahry
Abdulaziz el-Wahabi
Faouzia el-wahabi
Mehdi el-Wahabi
Nur Huda el-Wahabi
Yasin el-Wahabi

Logan Gomes
Marco Gottardi
Berkti Haftom
Biruk Haftom

Farrah Hamdan
Firdaws Hashim
Yahya Hashim
Yaqub Hashim
Abufars Ibrahim
Isra Ibrahim

Rania Ibrahim
Fethia Ibrahim-Hassan
Hania Ibrahim-Hassan

Nura Jemal
Hamid Kani
Hashim Kedir
Khadija Khalloufi
Victoria King
Deborah Lamprell
Amna Mahmud Idris
Gary Maunders
Mary Mendy
Ligaya Moore
Denis Murphy
Isaac Paulos
Maria del Pilar Burton
Steven Power
Hesham Rahman
Khadija Saye
Abdeslam Sebbar
Shelia Smith
Gloria Trevisan
Mohamednur Tuccu
Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin
Jessica Urbano Ramirez
Ernie Vital
Marjorie Vital
Ali Yawar Jafari