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The Independent Culture
Sir Ian McKellen


Though written in the third person, this official site is copyrighted by Sir Ian, who is said to be "savvy on both Mac and PC". Full details of stage, film and TV appearances, from A Man For All Seasons (Coventry, 1961) to his forthcoming Peter Pan at the National, plus a potted biography and a gallery with video clips and the Hockney portrait. Details, too, of McKellen the gay activist: "For an openly gay man to have a title in British society is very useful." Media types can share a virtual smoke and a cuppa with the actor, who can also be e-mailed from the site. It's all done as modestly as possible, given the list of his 20 major worldwide acting awards.

Leeds International Film Festival 1997


Arguably, movies are compromised enough by TV, let alone by being turned into real-time video clips. But the Vivo Video enlivening the LIFF's imaginative site is of course just an effective teaser for the real thing, which starts this Thursday. So drop by to sample productions such as A Straight Guide to Queer and the Jane Asher-starring Skip Life - "a scheme to house the homeless in wallpapered skips creates problems in this satirical comedy" - and then see them in full on the big screen. Also here, an introduction from the festival director, and during the event, roving camera clips of interviews and workshops.

Clinton On Trial


An e-mail hotline for victims of unwelcome advances from Bill Clinton has been thoughtfully provided at this site by a coalition of US conservative groups. Those wanting to keep up with the Paula Joneses may make allegations here which, "if credible", will be turned over to the authorities. Thousands of responses are claimed so far, some presumably implying some pretty unlikely stopovers for Air Force One; amongst the dross, it is hoped, there will be more verification for the President's alleged behaviour while Governor of Arkansas. The idea is based on Clinton's own hotline for reporting sexual harassment in the armed forces, here referred to resentfully as a "witchhunt". There are also links to other "pro-Paula" sites with less of a political agenda.

MOPy Fish


A clever plot by Hewlett-Packard to take over your monitor, in the guise of hoplacus psitticus, a rather appealing red parrot-fish with an ongoing appetite. Downloaded, the creature turns the screen into an aquarium, darts about in response to the cursor and then hovers, pouting, until fed with some virtual fishfood. The aim is to inspire not a feeding frenzy but a printing frenzy: MOPy stands for Multiple Original Printing, and the more copies made of a document, the more points are earned to furnish the "tank" with rocks, plants, air bubbles and even a fishy aphrodisiac, which prompts the new pet to leave lip-marks on the screen. An inspired bit of promotion from UK "Virtual Creature" designers Global Beach, there's also some black humour on offer: ignore the fish and it is likely to die and float to the top, while the "un-install" icon is a receptive WC.

Floral Radiographs: The Secret Garden


This site celebrates the beauty of flowers by draining them of colour and bombarding them with X-rays. The result is an aesthetically perverse revelation. Decades ago, dental radiographer Albert Richards first turned his attention from fillings to flora. Since then his images of "the beauty that lies hidden within the blossoms" have enjoyed a successful career in book and greeting card form and now fill these pages with delicate negatives of stamens, petals, and calyxes. Amarylla, Azalea and Columbine all reveal their secrets here, and there's even a three-dimensional Easter Lily, which rewards lengthy, cross-eyed attention.

Bill Pannifer