Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking at the T4 Presenter.

Heeey Kids! It's time to meet your new best pals.
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 that were popular 6 months ago. He’s the British TV equivalent of Gary Busey.

Its hard to know what logic led to the creation of the T4 presenter. Was it a cynical attempt to cash in on the average half-witted teen looking for the latest repeats of Friends and Smallville, or is it an on the mark representation of what today’s thinking young-adult craves. All I can say is that if it’s the latter I’m going to start praying for a case of mass impotence like in Children of Men.

Overall the only thing that T4 presenters themselves are really guilty of is that they’re vapid, personality vacuums housed in this year’s designer fashion and hair gel encased skulls; armed only with an encyclopedia of pop culture slang. Let’s be fair the female presenters are little more than squawking human clothes horses for River Island. It’s just a shame they’re there to greet me on weekend morning when I’m hungover and purposely avoiding loud colours, and a cooler-than-thou attitude.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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 former special ops Navy Seal (or another oft seen branch of the US special forces) He’s living on his idyllic farm in Minnasota with his lovely wife Miranda and his 8 year old son Skip. He’s happy in retirement and has left his violent past behind, or so he thinks…

· Rick is visited by his old buddy in arms Hanson (who is soon to retire from the forces) & his pregnant wife Julia.

· Hanson implores that Rick come back to do one last mission, to take down an old enemy of theirs Henry Magnum – a notable drugs/arms/contraband ringleader/ industrialist.

· Rick of course refuses, feeling that his family could be in danger if he gets involved.

· Hanson isn’t pleased with the news but warns his family could be in danger anyway. They part and bump fists.

· Shortly after specially trained mercenaries break into the farm and kidnap Miranda and Skip. They also shoot dead his dog “Freedom” and the farm’s corn silo is blown up in the ensuing chaos.

· Realising Magnum is to blame, he swears revenge and calls up Hanson to save his family.

· Using their old contacts in the forces they locate Magnum’s base, which is on a small island in the Indian Ocean.

· Hanson and Rick head to a seedy bar, where Magnum’s drug/arms dealers operate out of to find out more details about the villains plans. Naturally there is a bar fight over someone taking exception to the two newcomers.

· Rick and Hanson chase after one of Magnum’s heavies, who gets in a sports car and drives off. Hanson and Rick pursue.

· A car chase takes place wherein stuff is smashed, people are nearly run over and stuff gets blown up.

· Rick and Hanson capture the man and start to interrogate him using crude makeshift torture tools. The man is about to talk when Magnum – who monitors all his men via implanted chips- remotely activates a chip in his brain that wipes his memory. The man is left brain-dead. Rick punches a nearby mirror in his rage (first of all going to some effort to actually find a mirror in the room).

· Rick is then called by Gadget (an ops friend) who explains more of the Magnum’s plan, revealing that the villain’s island has an extensive security system they’ll need to deactivate first if they want to gain access. Hanson swears and Rick punches another breakable object within reach.

· The code key to turn off the system is held by Magnum’s right hand man Chimp. He happens to be off the island on a bender amongst the bars of South Africa.

· Rick and Hanson hurry to Cape Town.

· Meanwhile on Magnum’s island Henry taunts Rick’s family, who are adamant he is coming to save them. Skip makes several references to how great his dad is. Magnum laughs heavily at both of them whilst smoking numerous cigars and punching a cat to death.

· Magnum reveals that he plans to start selling a new drug that is so addictive that after one hit you are so dependent on it that not taking it can kill you.

· Miranda and Skip insist he won’t get away with it. Magnum laughs heartily and shoots a parrot.

That about does it for a start, hopefully I’ll be able to keep committed to this so that I can develop it further. Whether I do or not is now down to fate and how disciplined I remain.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

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 "Temple of Peace" in real life. Weirder still, in the building next door I spent hours of my life extensively studying the effects of Nazi propaganda on mass media theory and picking apart how it was effective. 

 When the aliens started drinking there it just wasn't the same anymore

This is not the first time I’ve seen this happen post uni. I remember during the episode that saw David Tennant turn into Matt Smith that the Doctor visited my old university bookshop for a book signing and then proceeded to go to an alien bar, which happened to be one of my old night spots. You know you’ve been away from a place for a long time when your drinking holes turn into the Cantina from Star Wars. 

I think the point of all this is that fiction and reality should never mix. 

A real blog post (and not hopeless ramblings) next time.