Showing posts from 2011

And what can we expect from 2012?

2011 has been a very surreal year with riots, royal weddings, major celebrity deaths and phone hacking filling the headlines. But with 2011 now in its dying days what can we expect from the next 12 months?

Here are the things I am hoping will happen next year:

A member of the Royal Family gets a pie in the face during the Diamond Jubilee:

You might infer from this that I am anti-royal. That’s not quite true, I consider myself more of an agnostic when it comes to the royal family. I’m not a flag waving patriot, nor am I an angry David Icke-like person who claims that they are actually lizard people stealing all our taxes. Despite not wishing the family ill I still think it would be quite funny to see one of them getting a pie in the face as it would lend a bit of fun to an otherwise somber and stuffy event.

Heston’s Cannibal Feast:

Heston Blumenthal is known for cooking up the wackiest feasts, but this time he cooks up the world’s deadliest game: man!

Bankers worldwide admit the econo…

Film sequels that should never be

There are a lot of sequels coming out at the moment. This year alone we’ve seen a third Transformers movie, another Chipmunks flick and a further Mission Impossible outing. There’s also a second, Independence Day in the works as well as further Terminator and Die Hard films too. It’s clear to see unnecessary sequels to well established film franchises are the vogue at the moment. However, it’s hard to say who asked for them?

Whilst it could be argued that this is a further symptom of Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy, what else could we expect to see coming up?

Here are a few predictions with accompanying synopsis:

Turner and Hooch 2

A long overdue second part to the much loved 80s buddy movie. Tom Hanks reprises his role as compulsive police detective Scott Turner and is joined by Hooch’s now fully grown puppy, Hooch 2. Turner is enjoying married life when he and Hooch are called to investigate a sinister animal testing experiment ring. In a bungled raid Hooch is turned into a h…

I just don’t believe anything anymore

I’ve given up suspending disbelief. I just don’t believe anything in the world anymore. I’ve given up full stop. I thought by my mid-twenties I’d be settled in my belief in my own existence and the existence of everything around me but I can’t keep up the charade anymore.

Let’s be fair we live in a time when many anchors we hold true are being unraveled completely. Look at the economy for example. We spent years trusting that the well-to-do gents who went to town every day in their suit and finery had a good idea of what they were doing, but of course as it transpires, they’re as clueless about the magic numbers that are imagined in the stock markets as everyone else. Perhaps even more so!

Whilst banker bashing is like shooting fish in a barrel, I’ve become a disbeliever of nearly everything else. Like Greenland for example, is it really there or just an elaborate prank played on the rest of the world by the Danish? Let’s be honest no-one really lives there, so is it just the case t…

Looking at the T4 Presenter.

Presenters come in all shapes and sizes and act in many different ways, from the doddering decrepit old-time entertainment provided by Bruce Forsythe, to the obnoxious red faced ranting of Adam Bolton on Sky News.

Then you get T4 presenters, who are a weird bunch. As I’ve probably made clear from my past scribbles I don’t really like them. I find them loud annoying and in-your-face (which to be fair, is probably part of their job description). But they persist year after year, coming in as fresh-faced failed radio presenters or models heavily draped in Top Shop’s latest rags, until they are metaphorically euthanized from the line-up at age 24 like an old incontinent farm hound, with an uncertain future of bit-part presenting jobs like the X-tra Factor or popular entertainment oblivion.

After all look what happened to Alex Zane after he was put out to pasture. Now he struts around an empty studio, in a suit that is far too smart for his face, laughing to himself at YouTube video’s th…

The bulletpoint movie, or Rick Generic blows up stuff

Today I felt like doing something a bit different. Now I’m a big fan of action movies and especially love the cheesier variety of this genre, like the Expendables or Snakes on a Plane. As a result I’ve decided to write my own screen play but in bullet point form, allowing me to quickly layout a plot and/or easily make any modifications to the story.

The title for this is going to be Rick Generic Blows Up Stuff. Now, why such a crass name you may be wondering? Well quite frankly I feel it goes with the territory and why spend ages skirting round the issue of what the movie is. With this title you get exactly what it says on the tin and know who it’s featuring.

Now our hero is a chap by the name of Rick Generic. He’s called Rick because it’s a stereotypically dynamic sounding name and Generic is an obvious nod to what this whole premise is; a stupidly self-conscious attempt to deconstruct the Hollywood code for an action film.

So let’s get started:

To set the scene Rick Generic is a…

It all started when the aliens began drinking at my bar

Going to a university which was and still is used as the setting for a flagship British sci-fi series takes getting used to, especially if you’re a fan of said show.
Cardiff University's new vice chancellor was more right wing than his predecessor

Now I’m talking about Doctor Who and Cardiff primarily and as a former student of the University there (Cardiff University not UWIC for any pedants out there) it’s been an odd experience seeing places I recognise mocked up as a historical locations since leaving. If nothing else it spoils the suspension of disbelief.
The case in point came when the first new episode since June was shown – the catchily titled “Let’s Kill Hitler”. Of course this required the eccentric Time Lord and his chums to visit Nazi Berlin, or as I saw it, my old university buildings draped in Nazi regalia. The most ironic fact of all this was in one of the same buildings now “Nazified” as Hitler's headquarters for the purposes of sci-fi is actually named the "…

Ok so the Kaiser Chiefs were right but let's just think about this for a moment

I did attempt to write something on the rioting in London this time last week and well, we all know what happened then. I ended up having to completely re-revise my view whilst glued to the insane fiery scenes taking place in Croydon not more than 20 minutes away from my home.  I couldn’t begin to start explaining what caused the violence and I think it would be incredibly short sighted to claim that there is one overarching reason. One thing that does seem certain is that the riots were not really a political statement. 
Reeves Corner believe it or not was not the center of Croydon’s intelligentsia or political scene, nor was it a symbol of police power.   No, it was just a humble family-owned furniture shop and was unnecessarily gutted by idiots caught up in the thrill of a riot. I might have at least understood the reasoning behind it all if a significant government building had been set on fire (I’m not suggesting people do that either I might add), but this was unfocused opportunis…

NoW this is a mess.

Was anyone surprised that the News of the World could stoop so low, as it was revealed this week that the newspaper hacked into the mobile phone of murder victim Milly Dowler and deleted voice mail messages from concerned friends and family?

The hacks have done it again, but this time the very righteous indignation and powerful human emotion they harnessed to sell thousands of papers has been blown back in their faces in a perfect storm of disgruntlement and blind outrage.

The murder of Milly Dowler was a major case when it occurred and stirred-up public emotion no end. However, the sadness has now become anger and that anger has been aimed squarely at the News of The World and its former editor Rebekah Brooks.

Now, Brooks does not have the best ethical track record in the business it must be said. She is a formidable women who when she wasn’t baiting the public with campaigns to lynch suspected paedophiles on a national scale (leading to innocent casualties), spent her evenings beat…

Lord Sugar returns to savage another set of business mavericks

The Apprentice has burst back onto TV again at its normal time of year – with none of this conflict of interest because Lord Sugar is in the government kerfuffle- and welcomes another shower of business bastards onto our screens; all blustering and purring about how they are unstoppable selling machines and that they will declare war on low profit margins. Things are the same as ever.

This year amongst the contestants: we have an automaton who works 24/7 without switching off and I am sure will kill us all once Skynet orders the termination of humanity, a nutty inventor, a sexual harassment prosecution waiting to happen, as well as a woman who claims to have been taught to achieve a higher purpose personally by the Dali Lama. There were also the usual droves of interchangeable, deluded middle managers with career achievements as realistic sounding as a child telling you he will be a ninja astronaut when he grows up.

This year there is a bit of a twist in the format of the game show.…

To AV or not to AV

I’ve decided to finally write something about the upcoming AV vote as the campaigning reaches fever pitch for the referendum on Thursday.

The campaigning itself has been anything but dignified and has at times perpetuated outright myth. This is true of both sides of the debate unfortunately. The No campaign tries to scare people into voting no, whilst the yes campaign seems obsessed with implying that AV will fix everything wrong with politics in the UK.

Now to explain where I stand on the issue: I am behind the Yes campaign. I feel that AV is a better system than FPTP, primarily as it fixes some of the problems with the current system. It’s been pointed out to me many times that AV won’t affect some constituencies as they already have an MP elected by a clear 50 per cent majority. This is absolutely true but AV cleans up the less clear outcomes in constituencies with a more spread out vote where there is no clear majority and where tactical voting comes into play.

It is surely not…

A Right Royal Fuss

It's impossible to ignore. Flags are appearing hither and thither, wedding themed displays are going up in shops and the media is bracing itself for the oncoming publicity frenzy. The most talked about thing in the country at the moment is easily the royal wedding, especially today on the eve of the event.

The royal wedding either enthralls you with its chest thumping patriotic glee/ romantic fairytale connotations, or gives you that sinking feeling of being an outsider who doesn’t really get what’s going on. After all when you look at the wedding in the cold light of day it really is just about two aristocrats being wed to each other. Do you pay this much attention to the wedding of someone you don’t know (celebrities aside)?

In the scheme of things the hoopla and analysis that has gone into this wedding – including fun little side-quests like betting on what colour hat the Queen will be wearing on Friday – is a little bit weird when you really think about it. If anyone spent …

Advertise this!

Today – for the millionth and first time - I’m going to have a little muse on adverts. Now adverts are interesting things. In short, they are attention bandits looking to distract you towards the wild and crazy things or messages they are trying to sell. You find them everywhere, as they increasingly invade your consciousness like an annoying child trying to sing an annoying song they’ve learned from the TV.

Here follows a collection of the different types of advert you may have seen around the world and what they are secretly saying to you. Most of these are quite obvious, although some carry more subtle messages.

Web banners (especially any that incorporate pop-up sound and video)

What they are: These have grown up with the internet. True, not many of them are as annoying as they could be. Although I’ve noticed that recently advertisers are starting use video ads that have an irritating habit of suddenly taking up most of the screen. As for what they subtly say….. Actually there…

Hacked off

A very interesting piece of journalism was produced by the New Statesman yesterday, giving a worrying insight into the mind of the tabloid journalist and also hinting that several acts of perjury have been committed in the ongoing News of The World phone tapping case. Oddly on this occasion, this was not the work of a trained undercover journalist but was the result of a disgruntled Hugh Grant deciding to record a conversation with a hack called Paul McMullen, who had recently run a story on the celebrity.

Despite not receiving much in the way of mainstream coverage, it was nice to see someone turn the tables on a so-called journalist, who seemed to think he had a god given right to spy on people for profit and then claw the moral high ground by shoving public interest into the debate.

What was worrying however was Grant’s claim that McMullen had said: “phone-hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society”, belying the self important, hypocritical idiocy that tabloi…

It just made suckers of the audience

Over the weekend I visited the London Imax to see the latest Zack Snyder film Sucker Punch. I have enjoyed his earlier films, such as 300 and Watchmen, which were wonderful realizations of famous comic books. Sucker Punch however was based on Snyder’s own story and even before I had taken my seat in the cinema I knew the reviews hadn’t been good. Many had attacked the film for its ludicrous plot and lack of characterization. I had taken this with a pinch of salt as the film looked as if it would be an action spectacular which would sell itself on its spectacle whilst making no apologies for its lack of good storytelling. Ultimately I was right, but I wasn’t satisfied.

There are many problems with Sucker Punch. Firstly there is the issue of gender politics. The girls that make up the main characters are vulnerable (and questionably insane but that link is never proven or disproven, aside from the fact they have been placed in a mental institution) and yet are dressed up in outrageous…


Last Saturday I was amongst the throng of people that descended on London to protest the government’s austerity cuts. Whilst I wasn’t formally protesting with any organization, I still thought it useful to go and see the action for myself.

Naturally, since then many of the grievances put forward by the marchers have been lost in the discussion about violence, and violent acts committed by the almost predictable cluster of excitable idiots that turn up at every protest to pick a fight with the police or the windows of high street chains. This doesn’t tend to win any sympathy for their cause and drags the cause of the actual protest through the mud.

The violent types always make me cringe. I saw a few on the day and they were stereotypical to say the least. Most of them were people of my age or younger with little in the way of a thought out political agenda apart from rebellion in general. They were just angry idiots that wanted to smash things because they saw this as a semi-legitim…

The depressing TV files: Lily Allen: From Riches to Rags

Somehow, beyond all logical explanation, I found myself watching Lily Allen: From Riches to Rags last night. I don't normally punish myself in this way but somehow it just happened.

Now I will say before I begin that I was never a fan of Lily Allen’s music. Her mockney tones – put on despite a privileged upbringing in the well to do Chelsea and Kensington area - and whiney lyrics, which had all the wit and maturity of a group of eight year old girls discussing gender politics in a treehouse with a “no boys allowed” sign on the door, alienated me from her songs, even though a few had at least a half decent tune.

Anyway, Ms ‘Knees-up-mother braaan’ Allen has thrown in the towel with the music trade and has decided to become a fashion retail owner, with her Lucy in Disguise brand. The idea is to loan out vintage dresses to shoppers unable to afford such designs. Seems like a good idea – in a kind of Jamie Oliver class/disadvantage campaign way – although there are several downsides…

Japin' round the UK: Edinbuggery

Having lived in the UK for all of my 23 years I had never visited Scotland until last week. There was no reason for avoiding the country in particular, aside from just how far away it was. I know people (especially those from the US) will be quick to point out that the British Isles are tiny compared to most countries, but 400 miles is a long way to go for a weekend. As a result I flew.

It felt exciting yet strange to be travelling again, and despite the fact I wasn’t leaving the country and I was travelling using very dull familiar transport (aka the local bus and train) it was fun to be on the road again. It was stranger still to return to an airport nearly a year since I was last in one when I had flown home from Japan.

Being on a flight (albeit a short one) is quite similar to life itself I’ve discovered. You just want to ride it out as quietly and as effortlessly as possible, and you might set yourself little goals to achieve along the way to keep yourself active (like reading …

Miserable Mail readers

You know when you have an experience where you find that something really is as bad as you think it is, despite thinking “nah, it couldn’t possibly be as rotten as that”. Well, I had one of those today.

It involved reading a piece of news on the Daily Mail website, which is not something I do on a regular basis, although I decided to see what the vibe was on the home of hate. I decided to jump in at the deep end and read a story based on the recent case where a couple has been denied a foster child because they were "not willing to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing".

Now my opinion on this story is that I agree with the judgement, whilst the couple’s opinion doesn’t make them unfit parents or even bad people, we shouldn’t encourage children to be brought up with such a narrow interpretation of a complex issue. After all what happens if the child itself turns out to be gay?

Then however, I got round to reading some of the comments and …

First Impressions: The King of Limbs

A lot has already been written about the new album from Radiohead, The King of Limbs.

The band’s eighth studio album has been released digitally a day earlier than planned and attention has already been turned to the first music video for the song Lotus Flower, which features lead singer Thom Yorke dancing as if he’s been possessed by the ghosts of Charlie Chaplain and Michael Jackson.

The King of Limbs, like other works by Radiohead, follows a new musical direction to the band’s last work, In Rainbows, resulting in a complex and haunting feel to the album – with the track Codex being a very poigniant example of this.

For many fans it will be an alienating experience as Radiohead once again askews the mainstream for an original sound. However, many will also celebrate the band’s shunning of the norms and will congratulate them on this brave new, weird-sounding direction.

Personally, after listening to the album for the first time, I’d say it is a challenging work to listen to. I…

The half-baked return of Masterchef