Five things on Friday #46

Things of note for the week ending November 16th, 2012

1. The Skyfall Island is REAL

Seen Skyfall yet?


Well that’s OK*, this next bit is no real big spoiler so you can stick around if you haven’t seen it.

Like all great Bond villains, Javier Bardem’s ‘Silva’ has a fairly awesome lair. However, not many people would guess that this abandoned island / secret base would actually be a real place in the real world.

But it is.

And quite unbelievably, Hashima – to give the island its proper name – used to be one of the most densely populated places on Earth. But why is it deserted now?

Despite what it might look like, this was not a war zone. There was no outbreak of disease or biochemical disaster here. Hashima Island is the victim of a country’s rapid industrialization. Once a thriving coal-mining town owned by the famous Mitsubishi Corporation, it was home to more than 5,000 employees and their families.

The full story, plus a whole load more photos, over on Messy Nessy Chic.

*Spoiler-free review, just in case –

2. Three videos worth YOUR TIME
First, Paul Simon’s ‘Call me Al’ in Zimbabwe (4mins 55), embedded because it made me smile so much and reminded me of why Zimbabwe is one of my favourite places in the whole world.

Second, The Escapist’s [NSFW] review of Assassin’s Creed III, (5mins 18), not embedded because the site won’t let you (but still worth watching).

Sidenote: I’ve finally crumbled and asked my sister to get me AC:III for my birthday next week. I was hoping to leave it for as long as possible (delayed gratification, innit) but I’m ploughing through Need For Speed: Most Wanted at an astonishing rate and I really need to get my runny-jumpy-stabby-stab-stab on fairly soon.

Third: Precisely why the Daily Mail is evil (21mins 33), not embedded because Cory Doctorow’s US-perspective intro adds that little extra bit.

Actually, scratch that – I’ve just finished watching it – make this the one thing you watch today. Please.

3. Interesting People & Interesting Things

Will Cooke at Rubber Republic – we spoke at length this week about what makes a viral, viral and how things travel through the internet. It was quite a revealing conversation which told me more about my own content sharing habits than I think I wanted to know. Findings of the research should form part of their LOL_PROJECT – something to keep an eye on, definitely.

Dominic Pride (a chap I first met at a mobile geek up in Vegas of all places) and I had lunch to chat about NewsCred – it’s like an iStock Photo/Getty Images but for the written word; branded content marketing. Interesting, and useful.

There’s a decent white paper that’s worth a look also.

Coney Agency; the Show and Tell I went to this past week probably deserves its own post (I have many notes). But I haven’t done that yet so I may as well tell you that it was both scientific without being too science-y and was overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening. You should go.

4. Munich Subway Stations

A great photo set, and one that speaks to my heart, ‘Eerily devoid of passengers’ is ace.

5. To Twitter ‘whom I once loved’
This is a great read –

Oh that night, and the many nights we shared. Of ignoring people we had long known in favour of the unknown, of staying up later and later to never miss a moment together…

That was three years ago now. I’m not saying we’ve changed. Oh, who am I kidding, of course we’ve changed. No don’t look away, you know it’s true. The passion has gone, well it has hasn’t it? We shared everything with each other, not a moment wasn’t recorded and broadcast. Our very location drew comments or people checking in with us but now our relationship is more and more, well, normal. The honeymoon is over.


Bonuses this week are a few my sources of interesting things (this week at least). If you’re on the Twitters, go and follow these people –



Whatley out.


[no spoilers]

It’s been five months since I first blogged about Bond’s latest outing and back then I said the following:

‘Already this looks like quite possibly the most gorgeous Bond film to date… with the tonality of Craig and the emotive & visual depth of Mendes, the third of this generation’s Bond is set to be the best one yet.’

Having just got home from catching up with Bond at London’s BFI IMAX I am ridiculously happy to report that I was 100% correct with my prediction:

SKYFALL is magnificent.

Historically, I like to keep my film reviews spoiler free. This review is no exception; there’ll be no giveaways here.

So, where do I begin? With Bond, of course.

Daniel Craig is perfect.

On form, settled in and completely existing within James Bond, when people cross him and damage the things that matter to him most, you feel his anger and his vengeful determination. The darkness (that must exist for Bond to be true) is present, but coloured with a dark humour. A flash of a wink, a half-smile – this is the 007 that has been stirring underneath Fleming’s pages since he was first committed to paper back in 1958.

It’s true: Bond has never been better.

For this to work however, our excellent hero needs an equally brilliant villain – and in Javier Bardem’s ‘Silva’, we have just that. Flirtatious, dangerous, enigmatic, and bizarrely sexually charged, Bardem delivers a performance that is reminiscent of Christopher Walken as Max Zorin (in 1985’s View to a Kill).

At first I thought it was the hair, but not so. With Silva there’s that same sense of wild destruction, that flair for the theatrical, that reminds me of Walken so. And yet, whilst Bardem never reaches the sinister heights of his career-defining turn in No Country For Old Men, the character of Silva doesn’t really demand it. He’s cunning, meticulous and driven – and a superb foil for our lead protagonist.

However if this film was ever to be defined as a two-hander, it would not be Bardem who would take the co-starring role next to Craig. No no. That role would go to Dame Judi Dench: giving us (and Bond) the most active and versatile ‘M’ we’ve ever seen – allowing her professional veneer to only just cover the maternal pride and instinct she hides throughout, Dench excels as the head of British intelligence.

In fact, I would go so far to say that SKYFALL is more about Bond’s relationship with M than it has ever been (in more ways than one).

As is standard procedure, the supporting characters are also given their fair share of the limelight. Ben Whishaw as Bond’s new Quartermaster plays it with just the right amount of humour that is fitting for the role (ie: not too much, with a distinct air of competence and respect for what is his domain and what is not). I look forward to where this goes, much.

Ralph Fiennes is surprisingly good as governmental envoy Gareth Mallory, as is Naomie Harris as Bond’s agent support, Eve. However, I think a special mention should go to Rory Kinnear, whose ‘Tanner’ is understated, under-played and every bit as believable as he should be.

Which brings us to Mendes. Sam Mendes. It has to be said:

Bond is beautiful.

Several times throughout I audibly gasped at the images thrown in front of me. From the rooftops of Istanbul through to the casinos of Macau, the splendour of Skyfall really has to be seen on the BIG screen to be appreciated (I mean it, if you can see it at the/an IMAX then do so), a fist fight in front of an electric jellyfish is a stand out.

As I type, I’m listening to the Skyfall OST on Spotify and being reminded of just how awesome and lifting it is. Reflecting backwards, and at the same time springing forward – the score is as every bit a celebration of 50 years of Bond as the film.

Visiting the world of Bond through the eyes (and ears) of Mendes is a gift. I said it before and I’ll say it again: the colours, the composition; all of it is just so visually sumptuous you can’t help but be drawn to this film.

It enraptures and snares, it casts all of what you know aside and starts again all over without fear and without folly.

This is not the Bond you used to know, but in a way – it’s the Bond you’ve always known.

Skyfall is incredible.

When the final credits roll, you’ll wonder how the 50 years of Bond on film have passed so quickly and yet you’re left kind of knowing exactly how the next 50 years are going to roll.

Well done, 007.


Very well done indeed.



Five things on Friday #42

Things of note for the week ending October 19th, 2012

1. Antartica like you’ve never seen it before
This is the story of a LocalWiki project named ‘Open Antarctica‘. Yes that’s right, not only is there internet in Antarctica but there’s also a LocalWiki project too! It’s a great story and some of the photography is just stunning. Go check it out.

2. I share my body with 20 personalities
This is incredible.

‘The meetings came and went very quickly, like so much of my life. I was sure Valerie said she worked in fifty-minute blocks, but I barely seemed to arrive before I was home again. The conversations while I was there seemed the weird end of bizarre, as well. I didn’t really know what the therapists’ agenda was, but I quickly got the feeling they were trying to nudge me down a particular path. I couldn’t put my finger on it, so one day Valerie came out and said it.

According to her I shared my body with dozens of other people.’


“No, it’s not like that,” Dr Hale said. “You are not here all the time. Other people take control of your body. They have their own separate lives, just as you do.”

Ridiculous as it all sounded, I couldn’t help asking questions.

“So where do I go then?”

He shrugged. “It’s as if you go to sleep.”

“Why don’t I fall over then?”

“Because someone else is awake and keeping the body going.”


The above is taken from an excerpt from ‘All of Me‘ published on The Atlantic earlier this week. I read it, cried a little, then I bought the book.

I reckon you’ll do the same.

3. Best Skyfall tie up yet?
This, from Coke Zero, is kind of awesome


4. New Global Pages on Facebook
This is a bit work-based, so if you’re not in the industry you might want to skip straight to number five. However, if you are and you want to know what Facebook are doing to help brands with global and local presences, then AnalogFolk have a decent breakdown.

5. Bodyform
You’ve probably been on some kind of media blackout if you haven’t seen the Bodyform Responds video yet, and while the content is quite brilliant, the conversations that have spun out afterward are considerably much more interesting. From the creative minds of Carat and Rubber Republic it’s been seen as brilliance by some, unauthentic by others and – in some corners – the first proof of the fallacy of social media.

How do you feel about it? Is it just a bit of fun and a fairly tongue-in-cheek response to a comedy video?
Or is it just another salty mess in the never-ending daisy chain of advertising?

You tell me.


Bonuses this week are a bunch of videos that people have sent me; James Cordon, being funny for Sight Savers; the Duracell bunny made out of recycled batteries and LEDs, made out of LEDs; and Coffee, made the small way.

Til next time.


New. Bond. Trailer.

Bond. James Bond.

I’ve already waxed lyrical about why Skyfall looks set to be bloody fantastic and now Bats is over, it’s all about Bond.

The latest trailer just dropped and, well, watch it for yourself –

Warning: trailer contains plot points you may not want to know

Alright, it gives a bit of the plot away…
…but holy hell, at last we might have a proper villain.




The Sky is Falling

For Bond, at least; Skyfall.

The trailer has just been released and I can’t stop watching; it is excellent.

Admittedly I am a huge fan of Craig’s Bond, arguably closest to the Bond of the books that there ever has been, but again he looks fantastic in Skyfall.

There is so much in this trailer that makes brings me to the edge of my seat. First and foremost: the imagery. Already this looks like quite possibly the most gorgeous Bond film to date. The colours, the composition; all of it just looks so visually sumptuous the teaser just compels you to watch it over and over and over.

Second up, the feel of the film. Alright the trailer above is only 90secs but still, I get a definite distinct feeling of difference between this and anything, of recent years at least, that’s been before. With Sam Mendes in the driving seat, I am unsurprised. Both American Beauty and Road to Perdition deal with the man-under-pressure (albeit varying degrees and kinds of pressure) situation with equally satisfying self-destructive aplomb and if Craig’s Bond is anything, he is self-destructive.

Several years ago, right after Die Another Day came out, I bought the full set of Bond movies (the one in the fancy metal case) and watched them all, one a night, over three weeks.


Things I learned:

  • George Lazenby is better than people remember (and got a bum deal after Connery)
  • Roger Moore is my least favourite Bond (we’re lucky we made it back to today)
  • Timothy Dalton was unfortunately ahead of his time (and more Bourne than Bond)
  • Sean Connery should’ve quit earlier

And finally, the one thing that stands out is that, believe it or not, there is a single thread that flows throughout. They just connect somehow. Even though they feel different, from film to film, they are all interlock together. So what if Moonraker was brought forward (and taken out of the order of the canon) as a response to Star Wars, who cares if some of the jokes during the 70s were TERRIBLE; the films just work.

Pierce Brosnan did a superb job of reinvigorating the franchise (albeit later than originally planned) and now, Daniel Craig is here and his films are undeniably good. The darker, more vicious Quantum of Solace is a fave.

In closing: with the tonality of Craig and the emotive & visual depth of Mendes, the third of this generation’s Bond is set to be the best one yet.

Between now and then, do yourself a favour and read the books. Go and (re)discover Bond the way he was originally written. Then make your own mind up.

Whatley out.