Phil resolves to get resolved as we ask him for his New Year resolutions.

All the leaves are down, the leaves are gone, though the sky's still blue in our bizarre modern climate. Every tree bare, holding the cartoon skeleton of the electrified, as if napalmed without the usual surrounding devastation; victims of the autumn bomb. Boom, the weather is chilly. The gaps around the cuff and collar are little creepy, seepy, escape routes for the tailored draughts to get in and out of their own cold. They try to get in without a care for the consequence, without a concern for the effects, like too many people climbing into the lifeboats.

So, in other words, it is that time of the year List editors ask for editions of new New Year's resolutions lists to edit. Each year we must think of a list of higher resolution, show more resolve, be resolute, be revolutionary in our resolution. A higher resolution is one of more detail and focus that reveals more. So:

0 Have better resolutions.

0 Research fully resuscitation techniques.

0 Remember to write small at the tops of hand-written pages that will contain lists of things that have an as yet undetermined length, which in itself is an awareness of an improvement and a shedding of old consistent error.

0 Study the designs on coins to become familiar with that which I think I know.

0 Defy ScotRail.

0 Seek ‘victories' over 'technological advances' through aesthetic advances rather than counter methods or simple ignoring-techniques (eg feel free to talk to oneself in a car as nowadays people assume that you are talking to someone on a 'hands free' phone. And enjoy the resonances of said freedom that has been bestowed.

0 Remember to close all brackets that I open in text.

0 Start a campaign to re-locate any cemeteries that may be located on hills where sudden downpour and earth- shifting may cause a release of their recently buried down through the town like ghostly lugers on slurpy mud.

O Rectify the claim that 'Scotland’s Highesy Tower is ugly'.

0 Go to the lmax on mushrooms.

0 Find a way to admire the American's apparent integrated life with the cockroach.

O Involve more undergarments in my wardrobe.

0 Visit the jazz club of Dundee named after the Government produced grass in American Beauty; and learn to name that club.

0 Embark upon modern anthropological study of humans in the same way one

6 THE lIST 5-18 Jan 2001

might study animals:

3. Take measurements of the average distance between the feet of passengers sharing a table seat on ScotRail trains.

b. Measure the time taken to turn and look back at someone you have found so interesting you are willing just to look at their back.

c. Collect hand movements that represent dispassion, and draw diagrams.

d. Time the time it takes a smile to leave the lips of someone after they have laughed out loud a bit at the book they are reading on the train.

0 Fully endorse the idea that 'enjoyment is a major form of understanding’.

0 Allow myself to admire the new signs at bus-stops where the text slides sideways fast, so it passes by the eye to be read like a jogger on a jogging machine, yes; and remember it is simply lights flashing in a cleverly arranged way.

0 To buy fewer clothes that are never to fit me, ie listen to that voice.

0 Paint. 0 Get Ears Waxed. 0 Try 'Yes' albums.

0 Cease to believe there is a machine that could ever do the job of holding a book and turning the pages as ‘well' as or in any of the same ways as a human can for itself, rather dig that there may be, however, a machine to assist the armless in an efficient and humane manner.

0 Re-examine the interface of these two ideas: the angle from which you are approaching a problem may be blocking the birth route of its solution.

0 Devise a method and system whereby it is acceptable and beneficial to be asking people who wear an outfit of black top and black bottoms why they are wearing it.

0 Continue to be aware of haiku that naturally occur. Those that in the everyday speech patterns of associates do come.

0 Get two friends of mine to dress up as Romans and come to my gig so that if folk shout out too much I can yell: ‘Guards! Seize him!’ And they can drag him out.

0 Talk to my Mum again about black holes and the concept of universal truths, and the registration plates I can remember from my childhood off the different cars she drove.

0 Don’t get mad . . . get even madder.

0 Produce a double album of songs entitled: Tunes To Put Your Kids To Sleep To.

0 Must stop wanting to stop smoking.

0 Admire and define the unusually specific nature of the ’collective noun' (pride, whoop/murder) and the words used for animals’ young (kitten/fawn/pup/cub) and the places where they live (dens/sets/hives/drays/bykes.)

0 Fear not The Irresolute and

be not resolutely opposed

to irresolution.

Famespotting Eric Mendelsohn

What's the deal with this particular Eric? He’s wrrtten and directed the low-budget US Independent frlm judy Ber/m, whrch has been showered wrth awards on the festrval crrcurt

Judy Berlin? That sounds like the protagonist of a Christopher Isherwood novel? Actually, the frlm takes place In a Long Island suburb on the day of an eclipse and the trtle refers to a character who rs dreamrng of becoming an actress rn Hollywood, and who’s played by Edre Falco.

You mean Carmel from The SOpranos? The one and only, Falco and Mendelsohn were at school together In Long Island and they both went to the same unrversrty In New York. They've now known each other for twenty years, and she acted Ill hrs student shorts,

Mmm. Okay then, why has Mendelsohn been hailed as the new Woody Allen? He’s Jewrsh, he makes personal frlms about human relationships, and he worked as the assrstant to the costume desrgner on the Irkes of Crimes And Misdemeanours and Bu//ets Over Broadway.

Which directors have influenced Mendelsohn? Mainly European ones like Bergman, De Srca, Fellrnr and above all Jacques Demy, who accordrng to the writer-director, makes 'beautrful frlms about undervalued peOpIe'. Haven't there been one too many films - American Beauty blah, blah - about the suburbs recently? Judy Ber/in rsn't a satire about suburban life, Insrsts rts creator. ’It’s about human berngs, and the richness and confusron of our exrstence Movres,’ he adds, ’don’t show how rnterestrng and complicated Irfe can be.’ So you’re saying Judy Berlin doesn't have a plot? There rs one, even If it’s not recognrsably fOfmUlc'iIC, reckons Mendelsohn. 'The characters go through events and you see them change over the course of the frlm.’ Uh huh. What about his next project? It’s a psychologrcal drama, about a woman who works In a costume shop, and who rs Surrounded by celebrity, beauty and glamour, even though she herself rs nerther famous, beautiful or glamorous. If rt were a prece of mu5rc, rt w0uld be Ravel's ’La Valse’. (Mules Fielder)