Friday, August 05, 2005

from the mailbag...

hiya Neil, already has some of the cast of Beowulf listed!! so much for confidentiality...ciao,heather

They've got the ones who were mentioned in Variety last month, yes (although they don't know who's playing what). But they don't have Ms J, Mr M or Ms L. Or any of the thanes. They don't even have Crispin Glover down yet...


While you may be right in that Moviehole meant to write "king" when they wrote "kind," I can't help but wonder if they were remembering the last lines of the poem (3180-3182):

[Old English thorns, eths, and ashes replaced with "th," "d," and "ae" respectively.]

"cwaedon thaet he waere wyruldcyninga
mannum mildust ond mondwaerust,
leodum lidost ond lofgeornost."

"said that he was of worldly kings
the mildest of men and the most gentle,
kindest to his people and most eager for fame."

Having both studied Beowulf with a number of professors and having taught it multiple times, I know that these last lines tend to get used as a discussion starter -- even sometimes in Ph.D. exams, so it could be that these lines stuck with the writer and that he or she did indeed intend to write "kind."

Either way, I'm looking forward to the release of the Beowulf movie but will have to hold off on reading Anansi Boys until I finish the dissertation. One more thing to squeeze in during the time between when I hand the complete draft over to my committee and when they return it for revision.

John Walter

What a nice person you are, John. A less charitable person would have leapt to the conclusion that it was a misprint. Then again, the fact that the same line shows up in other places as

The film is based on the Old English epic poem about a knight who slays a monster and becomes king.


It tells the story of a knight who becomes a legendary king after slaying a fearsome monster.

leads me to suspect slightly less thought went into it than you've given the author credit for, and that somebody intended to hit the g key.

Hi Neil,

I don't know if you've ever been to Nottingham and, if you have, I don't know if you ever visited the comic shop Page 45. It's the most wonderful shop, the staff are friendly and welcoming and are always glad to give recommendations. In fact you don't usually have to ask, the second you are within speaking distance they'll be there to ask you if you've seen this or that latest release. If there's something you're looking for, they'll always try their hardest to order it in for you. If you have strange comic-book items on your Christmas wishlist, they will be wonderfully helpful to your slightly bemused relations when they go in to try to buy your present for you.

Sadly, I had an email from the Page 45 mailing list this week to say that Mark Simpson, co-owner of Page 45, fell ill and died unexpectedly on Sunday 31st July 2005.

If you've ever been to Page 45, perhaps you knew him and this will have some personal meaning for you. If not, I thought it would be nice to sumbit a small tribute to Mark on your journal. There is very little in my collection of your works that I didn't buy from Page 45. In fact, the same goes for all the comics I own.

If you do decide to post this in your journal and there are any other Page 45 regulars out there who hadn't already heard the news, please do send your condolences to Stephen and Tom. You can find their contact details at Send a card, some flowers or an email. It means an awful lot to them both and the messages are also being sent on to Mark's parents and are giving them great comfort.

Mark will be sorely missed.


I'm so sorry. I've long thought that Page 45 is the best graphic novel shop I've ever been to (I talked about here, among other places), they were the best hosts, and that's sad news indeed.

About the BBC and its revisionist stance on articles:
I know you've already posted one remark about this, but I think what's being overlooked here are the blatant Orwellian implications involved in revising an article to not sound like a jackass. I really can't see how it's different than saying "Of course Eastasia has always been our ally! You must have mis-read last week when we said that we were united with Eurasia against them...go back and look, see?"
If they don't want that article to offend people, they should change the page to say "This article has been removed. A revised version can be found HERE." Ideally, though, I feel like they should stand by their convictions on a piece like this instead of waffling and making themselves look better.

-Shawn McBee,
Sarasota, FL

I think I disagree, but I'm still pondering it. The web is, by its nature, fluid. Sites and information go up and come down. You were sort of convincing me until you started talking about how a news organisation that puts up a story that isn't true should "stand by their convictions" and keep it up. That doesn't really seem like standing by its convictions, more like repeating its mistake each time someone goes to the page.

Stuff on the web changes or goes away. That's not Orwellian. That's part of the transitory nature of the medium -- has been for the last decade that I've been wandering the web, and it's one of the things that makes it different to print journalism. You can change stuff, and fix things (something I applauded when a Guardian journalist did it here), and you can lose them. Whole sites vanish -- sometimes whole news sites vanish. Wikipedia articles change and improve, and mostly for the better. (Which reminds me -- can someone find some decent photos of me that aren't me blinking in the middle of a booksigning for the Wiki entry on me?)

And, of course, on the web things don't properly vanish: a two-second google produced a cached version of the deleted article, which is the original, sillier version of, and which rather mitigates the accusations of rewriting history.

Surely it's better to fix something than not to bother, or even to print a tiny correction on page 2 several days later.

(Having said that, personally I'm in favour of what I've done the few times I've removed something from this blog, which is to leave a note saying that something's gone, but, if it was something that someone wanted removed for valid reasons, not repeating what it was that caused the person to want it removed in the first place.)