Apologies for the confusion, and for moving my blog just a year after the last time I moved it. I promise this will be the last time I move.
I hope to see you there.
I decided I needed to move on from doctorvee, so I have closed it down. All of the archives will stay up, but I will no longer maintain this blog.
Today I received an HTML email that is amazingly user-unfriendly. We have all become accustomed to image-laden emails and dodgy table-based layouts in HTML emails (it is, after all, more-or-less the only way to do it).
But this takes it to a whole new level. Horizontal scrolling is enough of a no-no as it is. I was amazed when this one just kept going and going.
I actually had to take two screenshots and join them together. Believe it or not, the bit where the text jumps around is not where I joined them — my join is pixel perfect.
I can’t imagine what made them think this would make me more inclined to do whatever it is they want me to do with my phone. I haven’t read it yet because the sentences can’t fit on my monitor.
I was going to include the screenshot in this blog post at full size, but it is so bad I decided I couldn’t let it on the front page. However, if you click the more link you will find it over the jump, where I have recreated the woeful user experience.
It is awful that, less than a week after the death of Dan Wheldon, another major motorsport star has been killed during a race.
Unlike IndyCar, I follow MotoGP quite closely and I have watched all of the races this year. I was a big fan of Marco Simoncelli. For me, Marco Simoncelli was the clear stand-out rider in a MotoGP series that is not as exciting as it once was.
Simoncelli had his critics. Some thought he was too aggressive. It is perhaps true that sometimes he stepped beyond the line. But he was still young. As this year progressed he was beginning to become a more measured rider — and he was no less exciting for it.
Simoncelli has single-handedly saved a few dull MotoGP races by actually doing extraordinary, exciting things. His talent was clear for all to see, and I personally thought he would become a World Champion in the future.
Sadly the journey came to an end today. What is especially sad is that in the lap or so up to his fatal accident, he was demonstrating exactly what made him such a wonderful spectacle in a brilliant ding-dong battle with Alvaro Bautista.
Thoughts must also go out to Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi, who collided with Marco Simoncelli. It must be an unimaginably awful experience.
It is always a hair-raising experience watching motorcycles race. It is clearly an especially dangerous form of motorsport. As we see time and again, when control is lost, a bike can go anywhere. Worse still, a rider can go anywhere too. It is always a heart-stopping moment when a rider goes down in the middle of the circuit as opposed to a run-off area.
The skill and bravery of motorcycle racers is one of the things that makes it such a draw. But today, there was another reminder that the quest for more safety can never stop.
Thanks for entertaining us, Marco Simoncelli.
This year everyone has been talking about the Senna documentary, including me. But while praise for Senna has come from F1 fans and non-fans alike, I have been more impressed by another sport documentary from this year — Bobby Fischer Against the World.
Chess may seem like an unlikely game to take to the big screen. But chess comes alive in this riveting documentary about one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century.
The term ‘flawed genius’ may be an overused cliche, but if it applies to anyone surely it is Bobby Fischer. The film tells the story of how a variety of factors contributed to a great man’s decline.
The centrepiece of the film is the famous 1972 World Chess Championship match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. The individual American took on the might of the Soviet chess system, which had dominated world chess for a quarter of century. This Cold War face-off had as much political significance as chess significance, as is cleverly illustrated through the use of archive news footage.
But the chess itself is never forgotten. The significant moments of the match are explained in a very vivid and accessible manner. I would guess that little or no chess knowledge is required in order to enjoy this film. The world’s most popular board game doesn’t have a sexy image, but after watching this film you wonder why.
But what stays with you is the tale of Fischer’s decline. This is where this film excels over Senna. It is a painfully honest assessment of the downsides of Bobby Fischer’s character. In the Senna hagiography, the driver’s flaws are only ever briefly brought up, and even then it is only to sweep them straight under the carpet.
In contrast, Bobby Fischer Against the World in unafraid to shine the torchlight on the enigma of the world’s greatest chess player who managed to alienate everyone he knew. At times it is painful and embarrassing to watch as a successful man becomes a delusional, anti-American, antisemitic and all-round offensive man.
In doing so, the film paints a genuinely complete picture of one of the 20th century’s most significant figures in sport. Senna, in contrast, only skims the surface.
Are hopes for a Korean Grand Prix in 2012 disappearing down the plughole?
Last weekend saw the second Korean Grand Prix. Already there are murmurs that it may be the last. Autosport are today reporting that the Korean Grand Prix organisers are seeking to renegotiate their contract with Bernie Ecclestone in order to stem their losses. Good luck with that one.
Watching the Korean Grand Prix over the weekend, it was difficult not to draw a parallel with the Turkish Grand Prix. It seems to suffer from a lot of the same problems, with an extra few problems on top just to make sure.
Istanbul Park was notorious for being in the middle of nowhere and tough to access. The Korean circuit, located at Yeongam, appears to be similarly remote. Although close to medium-sized city of Mokpo, it is several hours away from the main hub Seoul. This has been the source of some grumbles from within the F1 fraternity over the past two years.
But more striking was the emptiness of the grandstands. It did not seem quite as bad as Turkey, but it certainly was a cause for concern and a topic of conversation over the weekend. It seems as though Formula 1 has failed to capture the imagination of the Korean public.
Apparently, almost no other events take place at the circuit during the rest of the year. So it is not difficult to imagine that the facility might be struggling financially.
A lot of surprise was expressed at how little has been done to the circuit since the inaugural race last year. Even then, the circuit famously faced a race against time to even be ready to stage the race at all. In the end, it is said that corners were cut, raising concerns about the safety of the race.
Drainage was poor, the newly-laid tarmac was slippery, leading to some of the worst visibility conditions in memory. Earlier this year, Fernando Alonso said, “it remains quite shocking what we did in Korea.”
Some elements of danger have clearly not been removed in the past year. The pitlane entrance and exit are both viewed as unsafe. I had expected the pitlane exit at least to be modified following the first race, but no.
I am staggered that such a patently inadequate design to both the entrance and exit has come about. During the BBC commentary, David Coulthard joked that Hermann Tilke must have had his YTS designers working on the circuit.
Hermann Tilke has come up with a lot of goofy circuit designs, but this problem takes the biscuit. How many failed circuit designs do there need to be? You really do wonder how he has managed to be almost the only person involved in designing or redesigning Formula 1 circuits in the past 15 years, yet still manages to come out with stuff like this.
The original vision was for a city to surround part of the circuit. But none of the city appears to be in place yet. Part of the circuit is even described as a “temporary street circuit”, though quite how can you call it this when the streets themselves do not even exist yet?
The circuit itself is nothing special in terms of racing either. At least Turkey had a good circuit, with its instantly-legendary quadruple-apex Turn 8. I was also keen on the last few corners, where there was often some great wheel-to-wheel racing. Korea International Circuit has none of that.
In a way, it was a shame that the Turkish Grand Prix has ended up being dropped from the calendar (although it remains on standby to step in, just in case any more races — Bahrain, the USA or Korea — fall off the calendar). But at least Turkey managed to get seven races under their belt. Korea has two so far. Would anyone miss it if there wasn’t a third?
I was very shocked and upset to learn about the death of Dan Wheldon.
I don’t watch IndyCar for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that I don’t have Sky. If I did have Sky, I probably would watch, and I certainly keep up-to-date with the news from IndyCar in general.
Nothing qualifies me to say anything about Dan Wheldon, as I have never watched him race. But I was fully aware of what he achieved in IndyCar. With 16 IndyCar race victories — two of which were the Indianapolis 500, arguably the most prestigious race in the world — and an IndyCar championship under his belt, it is clear that Dan Wheldon was a class act.
It is difficult to escape the impression that IndyCar is a particularly dangerous category in motorsport. There are some horrendous incidents in IndyCar with high-speed cars, narrow oval circuits and inexperienced drivers. All of these are currently being pinpointed as contributory factors towards Dan Wheldon’s death.
But it would be naive to imagine that accidents like this won’t happen in any form of motorsport. I don’t know how it would affect me if I were to watch a fatal accident unfold before my eyes live on television. It has never happened before to me. With drivers and riders that I know of and follow, in categories that I enjoy, it is difficult enough just to hear the news from a secondary source.
As fans of motorsport, we sit down to watch a race in anticipation of being entertained. Usually it delivers. But instead, it sometimes presents this.
I have heard it said that one reason we love motorsport is because it can cover the full spectrum of human emotions. If only that wasn’t true.
Typical tweets include:
I went to see Friends with Benefits a few weeks ago, and it was pretty awful. The highlight is one funny joke about iPads in the middle. The rest is just mush. No harm in that of course. But the great thing is that I saw it in Dundee, at the Odeon, which is about a ten minute drive away from the DCA.
It’s funny because I was only just thinking about how extraordinarily well-served by cinemas Dundee is. I live about a 40 minute walk away from three cinemas. Two are “mainstream”, and the other is the DCA, which usually shows films that the others wouldn’t. The DCA shows some films that I really like. While the two mainstream ones may not be in the “town centre”, at least they are there.
Where I used to live, in Kirkcaldy, no such luck. There is the Adam Smith Theatre, which shows a small selection of films that were on general release six months ago. Besides that, you had to go to Dunfermline, a half hour drive away, then drive to the outskirts of that to get to the nearest cinema.
Off the top of my head, I think I have seen six films at the cinema this year. Three of them were at the DCA; the other three were at the Odeon (one of these films was also shown at the DCA). Maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe I’m just a snob. But the three I saw at the DCA were by far and away the better three.
I understand the arguments against the public subsidy for the DCA. But the idea that, if the DCA wasn’t there, a multiplex Odeon would magically sprout up in the city centre, is a tad fanciful.
Cinemas are rare beasts these days. It’s no conspiracy. It’s because commercially it doesn’t add up the way it used to because of changes in society (for the positive) over the past few decades. With this in mind, I have felt lucky to live somewhere with as many as three cinemas nearby.
After moving to Dundee a year ago, the DCA quickly became one of my favourite things about the city and I celebrate its existence. The great thing is that, for those who do not like what is shown at the DCA, there are two other cinemas that are just a stone’s throw away (even if they are not in the “town centre”).
I would hate for the most unique cinema of the three to go.