Showing posts from 2013

Experiencing "The Citizen Kane of bad films" first hand

The Room, written, directed and starring Tommy Wiseau is a bit of an enigma. Is it an earnest attempt to make a decent movie ruined by serendipitously hilarious incompetence? Is it a winking self-conscious parody of the film making art? For that matter who or what is Tommy Wiseau and what planet is he from (a question asked in the film itself)? It’s a little hard to put one’s finger on.

Despite the contrived and repetitive plot, terrible acting and poorly realized characters; The Room has become a cult hit with bad-good movie fans spawning lively midnight screenings and even a fairly faithful flash tribute game. Screenings of the film have been compared to those of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - albeit with less tongue-in-cheek humour and dressing up – given the energy and anarchic experience that you get when you see The Room on the big screen. I was lucky enough to visit one such screening in London's Leicester Square and it was a cinema experience I won’t soon forget.


4 unbelievably conservative books for America's youth

To me - a British person - the USA is a funny place, on one side very proud of its freedom and liberty and on the other frighteningly conservative whilst still aping the former. However in a society full of terrorists, pro-choice views and Barack Obama how does the concerned conservative of today make sure his/her future Ronald or Nancy Reagan is being fed the right messages?

Luckily the ever enterprising publishing sector in the Land of the Free has answered these prayers with children’s books that put the fun back into fundamental conservatism.

Each of these books are 100 per cent real, have been created without any hint of irony, and can be bought with your good ol’ freedom dollars (freedom isn’t free after all) today. Enjoy:

1. The Tea Party Colouring book

America’s favourite band of wacky, politically motivated historical enactors, are back with a book full of laughs, giggles and Tea Party doctrine.

In this children’s garden of colouring (notice it’s ‘colouring’ and not ‘co…

Browsing the free dating apps for Android

Dating sites are no longer the preserve for the weird and dateless. Now everyone is giving them a try and getting their hands dirty in the world of online dating. There’s a lot of choice too now and of course dating sites and app producers have decided to get involved with the mobile market.

Unsurprisingly there’s a huge range of free to download apps you can find on the Google Play Store where you can find Mr or Miss right. Remember however in some cases a lot of the functionality can only be accessed with a premium subscription or a micro purchase, so it’s questionable just how “free” they actually are but here goes nothing!

Here is one man’s view of the Android dating app landscape and some of the choicest apps on offer.

Tinder is one of the hottest apps on the market right now allowing you to simply choose a partner based on a profile image. If you both like each other’s photo then you can chat. However, it doesn’t work for my Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini despite several app updat…

Insurance or not?

A post by Robert Peston got me thinking yesterday. The subject was on the costs of private healthcare and how many Britons may be charged too much for their treatment. Now, the gradual privatisation of the NHS (don’t pretend it isn’t happening) is a matter that’s close to my heart, although Peston’s points have got me thinking about the wider insurance industry – which is to be fair something I don’t often dedicate much thought to - and the effect that it has on our lives.

Peston claims firstly that many of the privately run hospitals face little to no competition, granting them an automatic monopoly in certain areas. As a result patients are being charged top dollar just for being ill in an area which only has a private health centre immediately available.

The wider implication of this is that this system of overcharging is endemic in any private healthcare system, especially if it’s run like the American system. I’ve been lucky enough to speak with doctors both here and abroad who h…

Staying out of Syria

Yesterday something strange happened, as for once I’m actually moderately pleased with my government. As many of you will have read the UK Parliament yesterday voted to abstain on military action in Syria and I actually support this for the most part. If anything I’m pleased that we had a debate about this and didn't heavy handedly force a war upon ourselves, I think we've actually seen real democracy in action.

I use the term moderately pleased for this as I can’t pretend that not taking action on Syria is an out and out good thing. The country is hurting, there are severe atrocities taking place and the nation is locked in a heartbreaking struggle for its future with no standout heroes and villains everywhere. That being said, I find some of the pro-intervention voices a little grating and I will explain why.

Firstly, we can’t pretend that we’re so self-important to think that the world’s weight is on our shoulders. Many people are wringing their hands saying that “we’re the…

A Twitstorm in a teacup: The last bitter stand of hegemonic misogyny in the UK?

It’s been hard to avoid the repeated stories of trolls on twitter threatening to rape and murder several female public figures. It’s almost as if the Twitter sewage pump has burst and now the mess is leaking everywhere with all the misdirected anger of trolls spilling out into your ears nose and mouth. Perhaps they should rename the network ‘Shitter’ given the excrement that has been spewing from it.

Who are the perpetrators? Given Twitter’s anonymity I can only give an educated guess, but if my own internet experience is anything to go by it is probable that teenagers make up the larger proportion, with a smaller group of angry disenfranchised men making up the rest. Whilst the teenagers are just displaying their ignorance of acceptable norms (not excusable but slightly more understandable) it’s the angry masculinists that I find more insidious. Whilst Twitter has rightfully introduced an abuse button, which will do much to remedy the situation, what does this say about men in to…

Is this the beginning of the end of console gaming?

There's been a lot of fuss in the gaming world these past few months as the new generation of video game consoles loomed upon us like a doom bringing wind. Naturally they've all promised much after what was probably a renaissance for the industry as Nintendo's innovative Wii, Sony's powerful but unimaginatively named PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's solid Xbox 360, hoovered up the market with few complaints from gamers - well, barring initial hardware teething problems at first. Then bang, every major manufacturer in the gaming console, ummm.... game had a shiny new box of tricks and excessive processing capability for you to drool over prior to release. The only catch is that each new announcement has been more disappointing than the last, with the tablet-console hybrid gaming device no one asked for from Nintendo to the gigantic middle finger to games consumers in the shape of the Xbox One. Oh and Sony have pretty much more of the same but with a big new graphics …

A balanced opinion on Baroness Thatcher would be nice

On my travels in Latin America I've been viewing the reaction to Baroness Thatcher's death with some interest.As was to be expected opinions and thoughts about her passing have been anything but reasoned and rational; sadly this is true of both left and right sides of the debate. The dichotomy between left and right opinions in the country certainly is as gaping and narrow minded as ever. The left have seized the opportunity to see her time as Prime Minister as wholly negative without considering the possibility that anything positive happened - and attack right leaning people in general - whilst the right have jumped on their moral high horse to simultaneously attack the left and bely a slightly hipocritical reaction to this vilification.The left and right is so obsessive in it's love or hate of her Tory government between 1979 and 1990, that it's almost impossible to work out what good or bad she actually did. On the good side she certainly got the economy moving aga…