NPIA sponsored programme board trialled and considering ways forward on police mobile data. Mostly for large scale info/lookup/forms applications and a mix of Airwave, BlackBerry, PDA, etc.
Schulze and I often seem to argue about James Bond and Jason Bourne, those antonymous spies, the one suavely wise-cracking his way through intrigues and escapades at the service of a confident nation-state, hoovering up martinis and beauties along the way; the other belonging to more recent, anxious times: a silent missile in a docker's jacket desperately fighting his panoptic former employers and his own nature, no casino in sight.
Jason Bourne is the man-as-weapon, never troubled by indecision or doubt, immediately responsive, unbalancing his enemies' battlefield underneath them. He moves forward constantly, like a shark, and lives in a fast forward that's the exact opposite of bullet-time - blurred fragments experienced at extraordinary speed - and his reactions are all reflex-fast. New Yorker on Bourne:
Summing up the first two films, Manohla Dargis (then at the Los Angeles Times) said that the drama of “Identity” was existential (Who am I?), and the drama of “Supremacy” was moral (What did I do?). I would say that the drama of “Ultimatum” is redemptive: How can I escape what I am?
But there will be little redemption: he may prevail over his treacherous handlers, but the repeated references to and echoes of his history make it clear that he's locked into a Freudian cycle of repetition, that Bourne will not find himself, let alone escape.
I think Bourne's hopeless mechanisms are also hinted in Bond: in the recent prologue film Casino Royale, the fledgling spy JB hasn't yet polished his rough edges, but he is already struggling with guilt. They're both at the threshold of memory: JB will always try to efface the painful memories of Vesper and later Tracy with all the girls that follow, but fail. The other JB tries to draw the veil back to reveal his own story and motives, but doesn't like what the mystic writing pad is starting to reveal. (It can't be an accident that they're twinned initially.)
Because we're usually at the pub, the discourse is distilled into whining about who's better?, and my answer is that they're both great. But the purist Schulze, being somewhat of an inexorable weapon himself, utterly revokes Bond's licence to thrill.
In an interesting article on film-maker Werner Herzog in the Sunday Times 18 Nov 07, there's this metaphor:
Herzog says he is looking for what he calls “ecstatic truth”, and dismisses the cinéma vérité of documentary purists as “films that believe facts alone constitute truth, which is a gross misunderstanding. Otherwise, the phone directory of Manhattan would be the most illuminating of all books. It has four million entries, all of them correct, all of them truthful, and if you call 420 people with the name Smith, they will all answer, ‘Yes, this is William Smith’, or ‘This is David Smith’, and you could corroborate it. But I am not into that. I am after something deeper, something that illuminates you”.
That bit leapt out immediately because I always recall Umberto Eco's book choice when he did Desert Island Discs: he chose the NYC phone directory because the list of names it holds could be used to generate all possible stories. (And even the cassette tape my mum posted to school, with "Umberto Eco Desert Island Discs" in her writing on the label, now seems utterly packed with possible stories - that is, something more than just memories - from the distance of a decade plus, but that's another story.)
So: the phone book as both a repository of provable but opaque facts, and a machine for creating fictional permutations. There's a sense that Herzog means that the phone book is useful and banal rather than beautiful or meaningful. But I imagine that Paul Auster and Gerhard Richter might stand also alongside Eco in finding illumination - or at least: narrative possibility - in such a book.