The Marvellous Alan Moore

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out in Montreal and picked up a graphic novel called V for Vendetta by Alan Moore in a great comic book store. Partly, I admit, influenced by the amazing cover (by David Lloyd) I bought it and got stuck in.

It blew me away. Comic book heroes are supposed to be, well, heros not anarchist, terrorist criminals who dress up as Guy Fawkes. And comic book plots are supposed to be simple escapism. But not V. The whole thing is laced with politics and social commentary.

Then this evening I was listening to Chain Reaction. The concept for the series is simple: starting on 30th December one entertainment personality (it started with Jenny Eclair) interviews somebody of their choosing (she chose Jimmy Carr). Then that person gets to interview somebody of their choosing the week after. Having missed a few weeks I have no idea how it got from there to Alan Moore. But anyway, he was brilliant — well worth a listen again.

Even more extraordinary is that next week Alan Moore will be interviewing Demos friend, Long Now founder and musical genius Brian Eno. I can’t wait.

Everything else is proofreading

Matt Jones reminds me of something I meant to blog over the weekend. Philip Pullman’s wonderful op-ed piece in the Guardian about learning and play.

“It’s when we do this foolish, time-consuming, romantic, quixotic, childlike thing called play that we are most practical, most useful, and most firmly grounded in reality, because the world itself is the most unlikely of places, and it works in the oddest of ways, and we won’t make any sense of it by doing what everybody else has done before us. It’s when we fool about with the stuff the world is made of that we make the most valuable discoveries, we create the most lasting beauty, we discover the most profound truths. The youngest children can do it, and the greatest artists, the greatest scientists do it all the time. Everything else is proofreading.”

Pat Kane would be proud.

Einstein’s Year

It’s a century since 26-year old Albert Einstein had a pretty good year. While working as a patent clerk in Bern, he wrote five scientific papers, each of which moved physics forward in leaps and bounds. BBC Radio 4 have a season of programmes to expain and commemorate his work of 1905.

Interview with Mitch Kapor

Mitch Kapor is an interesting guy. Zillionaire, innovator and philanthropist he’s also one of the biggest advocates of open source through his role as Chairman of both the Open Source Application Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation. I came across him through writing about whether the open source model could be applied to things other than software here and here. Anyway, Cnet have a new interview with him.

Michael, Mel and the People

I don’t quite understand the Peoples’ Choice Awards but watched them on TV last night and couldn’t help thinking that there was some politics going on in the films category. Apparently 21 million votes were cast, which is a staggering number but two films with very different politics won the two big awards.

Farenheit 9/11 won Favourite Movie and The Passion of Christ won Favourite Move Drama. Both Michael Moore and Mel Gibson got a mixture of boos and cheers as they accepted their awards. It seems America is as divided over entertainment as it is over its President. On a lighter note, Shrek 2 pretty much cleaned up in the comedy categories.