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Sunday, 25 May 2008

Cyberclinic: Waiting For Redemption

By Rhodri Marsden

There's a website domain name that I'm after. Someone has used it for a website in the past, but they appear to have lost interest in it; they didn't cough up the cash to renew ownership of it and, according to services such as, it'll be available for anyone to re-register in a few days time. The question is, how am I going to be able to get in there and secure it for myself before anyone else grabs hold of it?

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A Nice Green Leaf: Sweet William, Martha, Nigella and Sarah

Dsc_1640jpeg_2 Down the allotment at half seven this morning I suddenly realised that my first bunch of home-grown flowers was ready for the picking. Not my first bunch this year - my first bunch ever. I feel peacefully happy walking away clutching my handful of stems. Sweet Williams are one of my favourite flowers for their patchwork of pinks and rubies, and have one of those perfumes that sums up early summer.

I don't think Sarah Raven should get worried that I'm after her job quite yet, but I feel just as self-satisfied as when I made my very first cake out of Nigella. Raven and Lawson have a lot to answer for in the Martha Stewart-isation of a whole generation of women like me who were brought up to think we should aim at the very least to be Chair of BP. Now, our fiercest ambition is focused on the idea of having our own cutting gardens.

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Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Gutter Sniper: The week in tabloids

Amy Winehouse won an award.
Howard Stern failed to apologise
R. Kelly went on trial
Lily Allen hit back.
George Clooney stripped.
Brad and Ange networked.
Pete Doherty got a red card

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Eat: Jumbo lychees - the pick of the bunch

FruitBy Terry Durack

Lychees are in season from now until July. Lychees are also in fashion . Pret a Manger do a lychee and mandarin juice; L’Artisan du Chocolat make very fine discs of dark chocolate with a liquid centre of lychee and rose; Dinings Japanese restaurant in Marylebone is serving up lychee sorbet for dessert; the whole world is making and shaking lychee martini; and even Lancome do a lychee-flavoured lip gloss.

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The Gutter Sniper: We're sorry but we have to - the psychogeography of Sex and The City

SatcOh jeez. Is there no end to the inanity spewed forth by the Sex And The City bandwagon? We know we said we'd put it to bed but, REALLY, this needs to be seen. We're talking serious news, people. So: deep, two, three, let's go!

A survey by Friends Provident (haven't heard of them? Check the FTSE 100!) has been commissioned to look into - can you even bear the suspense here? - the pressing and no doubt massively relevant matter of British women and their psychogeographical identification with the SATC girls. In other words: Where Are You From And Which Sex And The City Character Are You?

Sounds vaguely familiar doesn't it? Ever-so-slightly Cosmo-Girl circa 2001. But whatevs -if it's full of meaningful insights into the many layers of womankind then, hey, why not? And boy is it it that! I mean there's shopping, there's shoes..there's even sex! What more could you want? Totally multi-layered. Check out our summary, after the jump:

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Keen on New Media: The funniest sock puppet in Silicon Valley

2512351611_32d6dbe51d_mThe funniest sock pupped in Silicon Valley is operated by Loren Feldman, the absolutely hilarious comic who runs the cult website 1938 Media.  Feldman's puppet is called Shel and is the spitting image of Shel Israel, an exubertantly vacuous Silicon Valley journalist.  In particular, check out Feldman/Shel's interviews with CNET editor-in-chief Dan Farber, Digg founder Kevin Rose and All Things D impressario Kara Swisher.

Silicon Valley takes itself very seriously. So it's not that hard to make fun of it. But Feldman is really really good.  Expect him to eventually breakthrough from the Internet into mainstream media.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Watch it! - Cannes: 'Synecdoche'

Hoffman230508 By Jonathon Romney

With one more day of the fest to go, there was only one film left that people were looking to for revelations, and that was Synecdoche, New York, the directing debut by Charlie Kaufman, the  legendarily innovative screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and others. Anyone expecting eccentricity was not disappointed. Synecdoche - named after a rhetorical trope, but you knew that, right? - starts weird and gets progressively weirder, darker and, to be honest, more downright depressing as it goes on.

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Shopping Bag: Designer charity

By Clare Dwyer Hogg

It probably started when people began to call second-hand clothes 'vintage'. It seeped into popular parlance, cast a shimmering fashionable gloss on the tattiest old moth-balled stuff, and suddenly everything a year or two old qualified for the tag. Cue a combination of violent annoyance and amusement from Shopping Bag as she observed shops who like to think of themselves as representing urban cool trying to sell 'vintage' for as much as new.

On the flip-side, the fondness for second-hand has only been good news for charity shops. And while the high street can never do it quite as authentically as the original little shops that charities like Oxfam run, the latter have had to move with the times daddy-o, to keep up with the new generation of customers.

Hence, one superb idea: Oxfam Boutiques. And if you want to get the most exciting stock, be at the opening of their new store tomorrow at 10am on Shawfield Street, west London.

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The Gutter Sniper: Henry Conway branches out from Mahiki

Oh my god! Clear your diaries, Sloane-huggers, for tonight we have a party that promises to be quite the special occasion.' Indeed we could think of few better ways to drown our sorrows/toast the Crewe turnover. To wit: "Boutique club MAYA is taking V-VIP clubbing to the highest of the hedonistic highs over the long weekend, treating night-trotters to the latest on the dance scene featuring World's Finest Series with Supperclub Amsterdam co hosted by" - and this is the best bit - "Henry conway"(sic).

We know! Is it not too splendid for words? There's so much to love. First the introduction -  it's just so...titillating! Especially like the mention of V-VIP clubbing. I mean, are they stuttering? Or is the V for very - as in very, very important person? Or something else entirely? Vacuous perhaps? Valiant? Vain? Venereal? The possibilities are endless!

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Spending Power: How to get money back from the bank

By Martin Hickman

Despite yesterday's bank charges hearing, there are still at least four ways you can get money back from your financial provider. Campaigners think the banks have played "a blinder" by getting the Financial Services Authority to freeze claims for compensation while legal wrangling rumbles on for months.

In the meantime, Which? reckons that the banks have made £1.2bn in charges since the overdraft fees case began on January 14. This is how you can even up the score with your bank a little:

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