Monthly Archives: January 2002

Burning Down The House

Watch out you might get what you’re after
This is where you have a finished script and find people are not only willing to support it–with their time, equipment and even a little grant money–but they’re enthusiastic too.

Cool babies…
Casting. Definitely casting. A parade of hopefuls troupes past your (borrowed) camcorder flaunting their peculiar quirks.

…strange but not a stranger
You look for the ones who have talent and resemble your inner thoughts about the character, emotionally and physically. And more, you look for Presence.

I’m an ordinary guy…
That’s the illusion I’ve created for the outside world.

…Burning down the house
And that’s what happens when you overload someone’s mains with your lights.

Hold tight wait till the party’s over
Hold tight We’re in for nasty weather

You tell an enormous pack of lies ranging from “We’re students” to “It won’t take us long” and “It won’t disrupt your life” to get access to locations. Or you don’t tell anyone anything and just turn up. You risk being forcibly moved on by the police. Filming is hell. You hold tight and do it.

There has got to be a way
There’s always a way. The producer’s job is to find it.

Burning down the house
Re-write the house scene.

Here’s your ticket pack your bag: time for jumpin’ overboard
The transportation is here

Most of the crew don’t have cars. They screw you for expenses. You manage to borrow two vans, a limosine and a new Toyota…

Close enough but not too far, Maybe you know where you are
…then your first AD reverses one of the vans into the Toyota. Yes, you’re in insurance hell.

Fightin’ fire with fire
The manager of the local Toyota dealership is less than happy. He doesn’t want you taking the car out again. You still need those shots of it on the open road. You sic your big loud DoP on to him. After an hour of verbal battering, the car salesman relents.

All wet hey you might need a raincoat
Wardrobe! Never mind, we’ll do the interiors first.

You drive away in the Toyota promising to bring it back in 30 minutes. It’s a promise you have no intention of keeping. You trade lies with the Toyota man for a string of invective over the mobile phone you’ve borrowed while his potential customers head elsewhere without test driving anything. Toyota’s reps throw your crew off their premises…

…dreams walking in broad daylight
…Nevertheless, you get your shots!

Three hun-dred six-ty five de-grees
Damn! That’s a sexy lens. Too bad they didn’t include one in the kit we blagged. You optimistically try to create the illusion of a telephoto lens by telling everyone to bunch up closer together.

Burning down the house
We don’t need no steenkin’ house!

It was once upon a place sometimes I listen to myself
You seriously wonder if the sound editor knows what they’re doing. You want a Dolby surround mix and the person you’re working with tells you you don’t need one or they can’t do one. You hear yourself say that there are too many opening titles. So you cut them out. Now it just says ‘Once upon a time…’

Gonna come in first place
Well, it has to be perfect or you won’t get awards which means no more funding and no career development.

People on their way to work baby what did you except
You can’t get access to a studio to mix your sound. You can’t get the negative cut because you took out all those titles and they need some kind of computer print out. Your editor is on a six month assignment in LA while you’re stuck in London.

Gonna burst into flame
Memo to self: don’t feed the crew with home-made chilli.

My house S’out of the ordinary
Time for a remortgage to cover the non-stop costs.

That’s right Don’t want to hurt nobody
Proof read the credits and phone everyone to double check you’ve spelled their names correctly.

Some things sure can sweep me off my feet
You take your sound to another rerecording mixer to get it Dolby encoded. He suggests the sound tracks could be layed down in a more useful way and improved with better effects. He says the pictures warrant a little more care. You want to hug him.

Burning down the house
Or opt for the less incendiary option of pulling apart the old sound mix and re-doing it to get quality surround sound. Which is what you wanted in the first place.

No visible means of support…
Your edit decision list still doesn’t quite match the video but you convince the neg cutter to start cutting because it must get to the labs for next week.

… and you have not seen nuthin’ yet
You bump into one of the actors at someone else’s screening. He’s given up wondering where your print is after more than two years.

Everything’s stuck together
Everything is in place to get a partially graded answer print next week. You can telecine that to make a video copy which you can give to the sound mixer so nothing will be out of sync despite all your hare-brained re-cutting and re-jigging.

I don’t know what you expect staring to the TV set
It’s a 35mm motion picture for theatrical release!

Fighting fire with fire
It’s time to recruit some interesting characters to your screening and turn it into a lively enjoyable and productive event. You talk to other directors and producers. Everyone is in the same boat. You spark inspiration off each other and you massage your next script into shape ready for another installment of…

Burning down the house
Where you reduce your thoughts about people, situations and events into the ashes of a story and you keep sifting through it all until something wonderful can rise up pheonix-like on celluloid. Which is, of course, what David Byrne was writing about. Wasn’t he?

(with apologies to the Byrne man)

Tuning In

Listening to the radio this week, I heard a musician, Nitin Sawhney talking about his travels around the world. He said an interesting thing about his guitar which I want to paraphrase and remember and maybe think about later.

Being in tune with yourself is like having a guitar. You play on your own and it sounds fine when it’s in tune with itself. However, when you want to make music with other people, like in a band or an orchestra, your guitar has to be tuned in to match up with their instruments.

It’s not enough to be in tune with yourself any more if you want to play as part of a group. Everyone’s pitch has to match. People, said Nitin, are like guitars. You have to tune in to the people around not just to make harmonious music but also to socialize and play together in broader terms.

I Did This, This And This

Yes, I know the film updates are turning into a catalog of events punctuated by my head bangings. I don’t think I’m writing them particularly well, probably because it gets so mundane in my own mind. I don’t know if the ongoing saga of trying to finish Fate & Fortune is either resonant or inspiring for anyone else any more. I’m learning a lot about the process of film making, and in particular surround sound. However, does anyone care?


Lionel and Simon, the writers of Last Train, sent me a new script the other week. ‘Oh, goody,’ I thought. ‘This is nice and succinct.’ It was a neat one-gag outing, like their previous short and we could probably have filmed it in two days. Flash bang wallop.

I asked them to cut out some scenes to save time and money, make the graphics part of the story to save more money and change some dialogue into visuals because that’s the essence of moving pictures. Plus less dialogue, more action means more chance of people in other countries following it all.

I also wanted to make the lead character a person of colour (is that the right phrase?) because it felt right and I also wanted to use an incidental character to create a subplot to tie the whole thing together.

Yesterday afternoon I read the second draft and fell about laughing.

The Car, as it’s called, is now 17 minutes long, has no less than five new characters, four new action vehicle sequences set on the open road, a scene paying homage to The Straight Story and more opening titles than you shake a big stick at. It’s not shorter or more succinct and is impossible to film in two days. But it’s full of funny material and pregnant with possibility.

So I’m faced with two choices: ask them to cut all the new stuff out and get it down to five minutes, or suggest they play with some of these new characters and come up with directions to take them in with the idea of creating a much longer film. Seventeen minutes could be roughly a quarter of a full-length feature. They went for option B, expanding the characters.

Guys, if you’re reading this, stop! There’s writing to be done!


Last night I went to another film maker’s screening of their first short. It was in a flat in Gospel Oak, a few doors away from Michael Palin’s house. Apparently. Anyway, great short story but the actors had all the presence of a used Kleenex. Interesting to see what other people are doing. Encouraging in a way. It’s funny that the first thing you notice are the technical details but then you ignore them and get caught up in the plot.

Next week I’m going to another one. The Tail is a new short co-produced by my buddies at Whatever Pictures. A chance to network, to compare notes and also to see how other people set up a screening before I do mine.


Last week, I did the second draft of my own short based on the short story, Strawberries, which I posted on the net last year. The second draft was less satisfying than the first in that it felt less whole, less rounded out. I found myself changing things mainly to add movement in this draft.

The process of converting thoughts in people’s heads into action meant some of the plotting changed. Film as a translation of literature means some shifts in emphasis and story. Draft three is falling into place in my head based on that. It feels good. Right. I particularly like that it’s a very personal project.


Fate & Fortune to do list:
– check and sign off graphics proof (about six names still to check)
– call neg cutters to confirm they’re happy (tomorrow)
– get LCR Tascam from re-recording mixer (calling them today)
– get LCR Dolby SR encoded (hire studio in London)
– have optical soundtrack made from Tascam
– deliver graphics to neg cutters
– deliver cut neg to lab
– check answer print at lab with Director of Photography
– collect print
– distribute and exhibit
– fame, fortune, awards and next film


Feel free to ignore all this. I’m really just organising things in my own head in these update posts and putting down markers to show myself that I’m making some kind of progress, no matter how slow or slight. It’s that feeling of moving forwards that’s important to me. Change and growth.

No, Not Stereo – It Has To Be Surround

Frick. Frick frick fricking frick frick.

Freaking hell.

Yeah, those weren’t exactly words I used just now in the privacy of my own living room. Here’s today’s nonsense:

I finally got hold of the sound mixer from Last Train to ask him about getting the sound mix from Fate & Fortune Dolby encoded. I told him I had a DAT of the final sound mix. “Oh,” he said, “not a TASCAM?” (using best Australian Quizzical Intonation). “No,” I said, “is that important?” He wasn’t entirely sure, but thought it might be so he gave the name of someone who actually makes the optical film soundtracks once he’s done his mix and suggested I talk to them.

I phone directory enquiries for the number–“Warwick Sound… in London.” “Warwick? W-A-R-W-I-C-K?” “Yes.” (pause) “We don’t have any listing under that name.” I go to the web and find it in zero seconds flat so I call back directory enquiries and ask them to refund the charges they add to my bill whenever I phone them. A-holes.

Then I call Ernie at Warwick Sound. Question: Does the soundtrack need to be Dolby encoded? Answer: yes. They won’t make an optical soundtrack without it. I tell him I have a stereo mix on DAT. He explains why that is useless–a stereo mix won’t reproduce properly in theaters because they all use Dolby SR (or DTS) equipment.

So I need an LCRS (left centre right surround) or LCR mix on TASCAM (which is eight channels instead of DAT’s two). Then I need to get that Dolby encoded for the optical tracks.

So, once again, that’s: “Does the soundtrack need to be Dolby encoded?” Answer: yes. And you need a TASCAM. With the surround mix on it. Not stereo. Surround. Even if there’s no surround channel. Because the lack of a centre channel will screw up the playback in theatres if it’s only in stereo.

Sonofafreakingbichcantmonkeyfarmer! And words to that effect.

So I phone up the rerecording mixer for Fate & Fortune and–Holy Mary mother of Jesus, I get through first time. I explain what I need and what I have. What I need, of course, being what I asked her to provide but she was so adamant I didn’t need. Cheeses. The freaking people who all know better than you but don’t and waste your time, even though you don’t pay them but who the freak cares about that right now when theymakepromisestheycan’tkeep?

Anyway, she thinks a TASCAM might be in the bag of tapes she gave me when we finished mixing. I look. It isn’t. So then she says we might be able to sort it out this weekend.

Don’t hold your fricking breath.

I go and bang my head against the wall now.

Neg Cutting

This is where you take the negative for your precious film and leave it in the neg cutters’ vault for the best part of a year. You then try to find an editor who will work for nothing to sort out the problems you created by not using Avid Film Composer (ie. proprietory technology) to recut a few bits. Finally you find such an editor.

Your editor berates you soundly for mixing images recorded at 25 frames per second with images recorded at 24 fps. You learn the perils of sync and bang your head against the wall until an egg appears–your Knowledge Bump. You watch your offline video and figure you can get away with it anyway.

Next you take the Edit Decision List (or EDL) generated by this (free) editor on their (rare) Avid to the neg cutters who tell you (a) it is way too short being only two minutes instead of the required sixteen, and (b) it runs at the wrong speed. You then phone your friendly free editor and ask him please please can he sort this out. While he has access to the rare Avid. He agrees.

You then phone the neg cutters the next day who tell you the editor has indeed delivered a new EDL to them but they haven’t had time to check it yet. They promise to call you back later. You wait two days and call them again. Not checked yet. Tomorrow. A week of this goes by and on Friday they tell you they have been extremely busy. In January. The quietest month in the film production calender. No one is working. You bite your tongue.

To give yourself some sleepless nights you recall what happened last time the neg cutters said they had ‘a problem with the EDL’. They lost it. Yes. Then they said (chirpily), ‘Oh, please get us another one.’ Which you did. It took three months. Because you don’t actually have Avid Film Composer. Or access to same. Remember the key words here–‘free’ and ‘rare’.

So, on the last call before heading out to spend the weekend partying and drinking to excess, you remind the neg cutters of your lack of professional gear. You envisage them nodding sympathetically on the phone (rattling noises) while they tell you ‘We’ve been having a bit of a crisis this week.’ Uh oh.

Which brings us to today. Still no phone call.

But the first draft of my new script is done.

Today, at last, I finally speak to neg cutter and she has checked through EDL and, yes, it seems to work. In the meantime, I also have a proof of the artwork for credits. So, at risk sounding like it might almost be done… I think it might, possibly, be at the stage where it’s cut.

Shove shove… boulder… up… hill…

Oh, plus I spoke to the director of photography from Fate & Fortune to see when he’ll be around for grading. I also told him I had another script which I’d like to film later this year. His comment: “You’ve forgotten how painful it is, haven’t you?” My comment: “Yes. So let’s do it anyway.”

Rabbit Tricks

Rabbit started university after a year out. It should have been a year out travelling but Rabbit screwed up his grades while learning new card games, discovering the wonders of alcohol and disappearing out of the school window to head for the local bowling alley. During lesson times. Rabbit had lots of friends but his academic record wouldn’t pull anything out of any hats.

Rabbit realised it was time to pellet or bust.

Work loomed nigh and work was a bad word. Work certainly didn’t seem like a good idea. There was only one thing to do to get a grant aided place at a top state-subsidised establishment and spend three years ostensibly studying while out partying to all hours at something other than Her Majesty’s pleasure. Yes, only one thing to do if Mr and Mrs Rabbit were going to cough up their share of the grant money. Rabbit buried his indifference at the back of his burrow and cried the tears of a good green crocodile when his parents discovered his results.

They fell for it.

Really, Rabbit was smart enough to know that on a balance of probabilities they’d rather buy that than the fact Rabbit was a champion slacker who had the potential for anything and all the drive of a clockwork monkey setting out on the foothills of Everest. Why would they buy it? Because no one in Rabbit’s family had ever been to university before. Ever. At least one of Rabbits parents was possessed of a middle class snobbish pretention and the other was smart enough to know his son would do better with a degree. So they bought it and paid for it.

Except a few things happened.

Firstly, Rabbit didn’t go back to school straightaway. Rabbit went to a college of further education to get his grades and the major thing that impressed him was that the teachers treated him as an adult. This was a revelation. School still treated him as a kid. Here he was respected as a person from day one. He could succeed or fail. It was up to him. There was no pressure and there were very few rules. Rabbit thrived. Well, with the exception of mathmatics when Rabbit went to the pub, Rabbit thrived. And even then.

The next thing followed this growing maturity. Rabbit began to realise most of his school friends were very immature and actually not real friends at all for the most part. Rabbit wasn’t called Rabbit but they all called him that and Rabbit could feel it pulling him down to their level. They needed him to be small so they could appear large. Rabbit had to cut loose.

So Rabbit got smart. Rabbit still got drunk a few times and sat under tables at parties but no one minded. Along the way Rabbit started losing some of the ne’er do wells and there were no more tears shed. Well except over the love of Rabbit’s life who wasn’t having any of it at age 18 because she didn’t love him and couldn’t they just be friends? Papa Rabbit had clearly missed out on some of his son’s education somewhere along the line because Rabbit said yes. Oh, yes. Let’s just be friends while my heart breaks. Rabbit’s life was a Billy Bragg song yet to be written in the sand for the tide to wash clean.

Still for a whole year Rabbit applied himself to his studies–a small price to pay for the forthcoming three year vacation coming up–and he got the grades needed for a top university. And off he went. And there he learned Rabbit Tricks.

Because, you see, Rabbit learned from the girl who became his best friend and confidante, that life is all about people. People are the only game in town. Engage them. Romance them. Discover them and let them discover you while you each discover yourselves. Rabbit made lots of new friends. It was a trip. Rabbit came home for vacations to realise he was passing those old school buddies at lightspeed and so he went back to uni–which the trendy called college to play down how smart they all were–and he started his second year.

And in that second year Rabbit learned the next part of the trick, which was no trick really but life biting him on the tushy. The friends you make in the first year are nearly all the same kind you had at school. You fill up the gaps. So in the second year Rabbit did what everyone else had told him would happen, he dropped the friends of the first year. And on into the third year he made new friends. Real Friends. Close Friends. The best.

Then a strange thing happened. Rabbit finished college. It was totally unexpected. No job. No plan. Just a degree and no money. Not enough to buy a portion of chips with peas and gravy. Well just about. Rabbit realised Rabbit was going to have to work for a living, at last, and after swallowing the shock of it, Rabbit followed his academic preparation and finally studied up at the last minute on what to do. Then Rabbit went and did it and–although there was a stint working in a bun factory for a few months until some of the loans were paid off–it went exceedingly well.

Years passed and Rabbit’s career moved roughly in the direction he aimed it and meanwhile the last piece of the Rabbit Tricks fell into place. You see, Rabbit had distanced the school friends and lost the first year surrogates. But then Rabbit had gradually lost touch with the Real Friends too. Marriage. Distance. Work. One by one events had conspired to take them away and at last Rabbit was left with only a few, those whom he considered his closest friends (which actually included two from school).

The final part, however, was strange. For in those three years at college there had been those he openly loudmouth abused and who abused him back. There were enough potential buddies around that some verbal vitriol didn’t hurt here and there. Rabbit hacked people off. And Rabbit got hacked off too.

Yet Rabbit sits at the computer today and Rabbit reflects that there is one person who he would do a favour for from college and who he knows would always put him up in his home and sort out his problems, feed him and provide the all-important beer and sympathy. Or laughter. One person from college still sent Rabbit a Christmas card this year.

Rabbit smiles because it’s one of the first people he insulted and who gave as good as he got for the whole time they shared a flat with an assortment of geeks weirdos and some normal looking chainsmoking medical students. Today two characters can say anything to each other and sometimes they do. It’s water off a duck’s back. They can cut the crap and get to the truth and talk about it and, what’s still important, laugh. Or they don’t talk and nothing is lost either way, although often a smile and some reassurance is gained.

Rabbit Tricks. Speak your mind. That simple. Speak your mind. Only if you do will you discover who’s real and who’s not. It’s a trick that doesn’t work if it’s not honest–it’s not deception in that sense because it’s not really a confidence trick. It’s more a commonsense magical thing because when it works, you find some solid people, some of them more than worthy of being called Friends.

Along with all the rest of you, of course.

Ulcer Recipe

1. Get up at 7am to get into London for 9am. Forget dinner money. Get delayed on nonexistent trains which turn up at crowded platform (and I mean credit card space between people on platform) every ten minutes because of some technical problem.

2. Squeeze on to one of these trains which are already packed like sardine cans because there is no alternative.

3. After arriving late, eventually get EDL from editor. Breathe sigh of relief mistakenly believing that’s it.

4. Take one EDL to the neg cutters. Make the EDL only two minutes long, instead of the full 15 minute duration of the film. Therefore the film can’t be cut.

5. Have neg cutters tell you they need the EDL to be 25 frames per second, not the 24fps your editor has provided. This means the film can’t be cut.

6. Phone up editor to tell their answerphone the above because their phone battery no longer charges. Wait for call to be returned at some random point in next day or so.

7. Have bright idea about sound. Again breathe mistaken sigh of relief at own brilliance. Phone up sound person to be told “They’ve gone to the country.” This means your sound can’t be turned into Dolby SR surround, as you had cunningly planned.

8. Travel on London Underground with trains cancelled because of power lines down, gas leaks, overcrowding (yes, really) and bake head until ready while getting a splitting headache. Wish you hadn’t left money at home earlier in mad rush to get out while stomach digests nothing.

9. Repeat every day for two and a half years while people around you complete films, hold screenings, enter festivals, get agents and go off to further careers.

Looking Back Again

I thought I’d take a look at the list of things I posted on my ‘to do’ list back at the end of March and see how far each of them has got.


Ahem. Okay. What has happened lately? Well, as I said, Last Train is winging its way to festivals around the world. Fate & Fortune–well, back in March I wrote:

Get new EDL for Fate & Fortune to include shorter title sequence, phone editor to arrange

And five months later in July, I wrote:

– this remains. And now Simon’s gone to LA for five months. Agggghh. Yes, I really do scream. The only contact details I have for him are an email address. He knows that I need the EDL, however.

And now it’s January, nearly a year later.

Yesterday I had a brainwave. I phoned up Avid’s headquarters in the UK. Avid, as you may or may not recall for my previous ramblings, are the manufacturers of the edit system Fate & Fortune was edited on. The same edit system very few people seem to possess. I got through to their service department and they provided me with a couple of numbers they thought might be able to help once I explained my predicament.

Phone call number one took me, predictably, to a “Can I ask what it’s regarding?” fielder of calls like mine who deftly nipped it in the bud before I had a chance to speak to the person I wanted. Call number two was rather more helpful and… well, whaddaya know! The guy I eventually spoke to said, yes, he could help me. Yes, he could help in the next week!

I danced the happy dance like a piggy coming home again home again. Jiggidy jig.

So I rang Answerphone Editor to get the materials to send them down to Hampshire for this. Of course, I got the answerphone. Of course, there was no call back. This didn’t stop me dancing the happy dance, however, because she does always call back sooner or later.

Today I got hold of her. Guess what? No, really. You’ll never guess. She actually went into an edit suite equipped with Avid Film Composer last night and another editor and they set out to amend the EDL (edit decision list, if you recall). They set out to do the thing that needs doing. Yes. Yes. Yes! Only… Only… Only they couldn’t. Quite. Make. It. Work.


Why? Because I’d taken some of the original telecined rushes on videotape (25 frames per second) and cut them into the tape dubbed from Avid previously (25 frames per second, but corrected from 24 fps). So they could match the duration. But not the frame rate of the shots.

Does your head hurt now? Mine did.

In short, this means that for one particular shot which is twenty seconds long, the sound will drift out of sync by 20 frames, which is nearly a second. So I have to check it. There’s no dialogue on it and it’s nearly all ambience and foley (sound effects) so it *might* be alright. But it might not. It might. It might not. And if not…

First I need to sit on the floor and weep for the sheer outrageous goddamn frustration of the intractable pointlessness of it for ten minutes because the ‘if not’ would mean that the soundtrack might have to be remixed. Okay, I don’t really have time for the weeping stuff so I do it inwardly, kick myself up the bum and get back to producing–ie. problem solving. I’ll know tomorrow when I can view the tape at work.

Meanwhile the writers of Last Train emailed me a new short film script this morning and I spent yesterday sorting out some previous ideas with a view to forging ahead with another project to be shot this year. There’s some nice ideas there. I particularly like one about a travelling severed head who falls in love with a princess and marries her.

I dance the dance of lunacy. The lunacy that is film making.

January 10th

In short, this means that for one particular shot which is twenty seconds long, the sound will drift out of sync by 20 frames, which is nearly a second. So I have to check it. There’s no dialogue on it and it’s nearly all ambience and foley (sound effects) so it *might* be alright. But it might not. It might. It might not. And if not…

I bet hardly anyone even read that far, did you? It doesn’t matter. It made my brain hurt too. The point was the sound and pictures for Fate & Fortune might not all be in sync. But the EDL is done. Yes. Done. Let me say that one more time. The EDL for Fate & Fortune is done.

Only a few small easy to take steps to fame and glory. Or is that another film? No matter. No worries.

Today I looked at the pictures and took a wild stab in the dark that we can live with the shot where the sound is going to drift out of sync by a second because it’s nearly all non-sync material anyway.

So I arranged to meet Answerphone Editor to pick up the EDL. It didn’t happen. Bang head on desk. Tomorrow. Tomorrow tomorrow and tomorrow. I called the nice rerecording mixer from Last Train to discuss the possibility of getting a Dolby surround mix made from what I already have and also perhaps sorting out this minor invisible-to-everyone-but-me sound sync thing. No dice, he’s off sick.

Tomorrow tomorrow and tomorrow.

I read the new script from the Last Train writers and immediately wanted to make it as a silent movie set in a foreign country. They must rewrite if they want me to do this evil sanity sucking deed that is shooting another low-budget short. Am I limiting their vision? Or creating my own? Haha. Hahaha!


Today I learned a new acronym–AQI. It stands for Australian Quizzical Intonation and the TV presenters I work with have started adopting it.

What is it? Well, it sounds like they’re about to ask a question or continue with a thought but they actually stop in what seems like midsentence on an upward cadence. Apparently it’s very popular with British kids.

I can’t figure out a better way to explain this in print except maybe if you try reading this with a faux-Aussie accent, you’ll get the idea? Just read these sentences as if they were questions? And maybe you’ll see what I mean?

Of course, I’ve been speaking like this all day? I hope it wears off by tomorrow.

Film Update

Last Train is now entered in two dozen international film festivals and I have a large batch of applications still to get through. Fate & Fortune remains in limbo.

I’d rant but I can’t be bothered. Oh, alright–just a quickie. Actually, this isn’t a rant.

I was wondering why the Universal Currency Converter only shows the midprice when my high street bank buys dollars for USD1.67 = GBP1 and sells them for USD1.17 = GBP1, thereby scuffing up my festival entry calculations. So I wrote to them and suggested they show the bid/ask in a future upgrade. And they responded (really quickly!) and said they’ll pass it on to their techstaff.

Cool. Especially for a free internet service.