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Thursday, June 30, 2005

colonic

well i have to admit i wasn't expecting it, and i have to thank paul for finding it.
there seems to be a website that has my name on it.


http://www.patsullivan.com/

there you go - but be warned it deals with subjects of a personal nature, as well as selling you necessary products.

grumpy

some things that have annoyed me recently (the full list is looong so i shan’t bother you with it),

bus drivers: this is aimed especially those who drive the 25 bus, sometimes they drive as if they are at brands hatch, other time they are going so slow granny mobiles are passing them by. sometimes they hang about at all the stops, sometimes they barely give people time to get on or get off. look lads just make your minds up!

people who wear their sunglasses: there are two sources of annoyance here, the ones who wear them on the top of their head. why? what is the point? i know it is a fashion statement but it is stupid. then there are those people who wear them inside buildings and who are forever peering over them or lifting them up. if you can’t see with them on take them off.

buskers: it’s no longer funny for someone to be sitting down playing a traffic cone, especially if you can’t even remember the tune you are supposed to be doing. move on from that corner and find something else to do to annoy the tourists.
same goes for “world music” buskers just because you are using an ethnic instrument it doesn’t mean you don’t have to have the ability to play it. nothing excuses bad music.
look if i want noise pollution i’ll search out someone playing “let me take you through the streets of london” with a guitar and harmonica.

sportsmen: generally the ones who are always going on about how they should get grants to help them become better at their chosen endeavour. why? you want it you pay for it. apply for a student loan and pay it back when you start earning. trust me some bloke winning wimbledon and earning a fortune isn’t going to change my day unless he is going to give me half of his winnings.

amblers: yes all those people who walk as slow as it is physically possible in busy places and so adding to the congestion of the city. get a move on!
a sub-species of this annoyance are the people who congregate by doors, steps or anywhere that you have to move in to get somewhere else, thus making a busy area even worse to navigate through. i am sure there is a ring in dante’s hell just for them.

litterbugs: now i am not the tidiest person in the world – in fact i suspect i am in the bottom 500. but there is nothing i hate more (well that is not true but using exaggeration here to make a point) than people who drop litter. all the medieval tortures that i might use on these litterbugs pale compared to what i would do to fly tippers!

tories: just goes without saying really.

cyclists: use the road the pavement is for those of us who are using our feet to get from here to there.

mobile phones: look if you have to shout into your phone it either means your mate is deaf (or really couldn’t give a toss about what you are saying) or your phone is crap. either way shut up, your very dull conversation is of no interest to me.

drinks coolers: if you are going to have them in a shop makes sense that you have them so they work, no worries i wanted that can of coke warm anyway.

enough of that.
this rant has a soundtrack of the blue oyster cult.

Monday, June 27, 2005

widdecombe

look i am the first to admit i enjoy the occasional telling off by a stern woman (the pictures of supernanny have almost made me think about getting my tv fixed...).
and i have often spoken of my top tory totty list (which also includes the occasional american neo-con female).
but enough is enough i cry.
what on earth are people thinking: they are going to let ann widdecombe lose on the public, and she is going to go around as an agony aunt.
though she isn't going to tell them what to do she is going:
to "... approach their problems with common sense. I'm not an expert; I just tell people this is what I would do in your circumstances."
(shame she didn't tell any of her colleagues that they were screwing the country up when they were in power!)

furthermore:
"It is this give and take, each party making a compromise, that Miss Widdecombe says she generally recommends."
(again a trait that was never shown when the conservatives were in power - except in the cases where the workers gave up rights and the employers took the piss.)

laura marcus praises ann and says she is a good agony aunt. saying of her:
"She has more warmth and empathy than most politicians - and I say that as someone who is not a Tory".
perhaps the not being tory means that laura is slight further right of the tories?

to be fair ann widdecombe is one of those politicians who has always got an opinion that is distinctly her own. she has not become part of the party machine just to be in power. and she has also proved to be good watching/listening when she is involved in debates. there are few like ann widdecombe - long may she continue.

but i must stress this admiration for her and her recent (very scary dye job) do not put her on the pat's top tory totty list. i may be odd but i am just not that odd.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

monarchy

(title corrected because i was a tit and didn't spell check it - thanks jay for pointing it out.)

£0.61 just 61 new pence. when you put it like that then i am all for keeping the monarchy.
what’s this you are thinking has pinko pat given up the class war. hell no. if there is one thing i admire america for it is because they are a republic and they kicked the monarchy out (though there could be a strong argument that there are a number of political “royal” families who now inhabit american politics). (other things i like about america – its basketball, the fact the best comic books come from there and of course the wwe….)

but let’s look at that 61 pence – with that i can almost get a copy of the independent, i can get a can of coke from my local newsagent and get some change (however if i was try to buy it from wh smiths i would be paying extra – obviously they have no idea how to buy in bulk so that they can sell cheap. what you think that they use their buying power to get a really good deal and then rather than passing that on to the consumers they actually bump the price up to get extra profit. gotta love how capitalism works – adam smith he got it right (blimey second time i have mentioned mr smith recently). perhaps such cavalier attitude is why smith’s has gone through some financial difficulties recently; perhaps i should put them in touch with my newsagent…)
pat pat pat – stick to your point ya hairy lummox!
so with that 61p i can pay for about a third of my medium latte with an extra shot, i am a tenth of the way to buying a paperback….
what i am saying is 61p isn’t much. even if you gather all the 61ps that are available in the country it only comes to £36 million pound (yeah ok it’s a relative only – to me it’s a very big amount but in terms of the country’s gross domestic product it’s not much at all).
according to a recent report the monarchy costs us £36 million pound a year, all things considered not that much.
sure that £36 million (all those 61 pences) could be given to charity, but it could be argued that the work the royal family does with various charities around the place is probably worth the £36 million.
besides the £36 million pales into insignificance when compared with the amounts of monies being withheld from the national treasury buy the various tax avoidance, evasion and haven schemes that many (oh ok all of) the rich subscribe to. according to a recent report “the world's richest individuals have placed $11.5 trillion of assets in offshore havens, mainly as a tax avoidance measure.” that’s something like $255 billion that each exchequer is losing. what’s worse this amount is only based on rich individuals and does not take into account what is in tax havens that belong to multinational companies.
(of course the fact that some of the people who are involved in such avoidance will use their positions to make sure that the poor on social security benefits are vilified a being scroungers – yeah i am talking about you mr. murdoch and you the barclay brothers. but then as the old song says “it’s the rich wot gets the pleasure and the poor wot gets the blame.”
other very rich individuals who evade taxes are philip green, lakshmi mittal (according to forbes he is worth $25 billion), hans rausing ($7.7 billion) and philip green ($1.4 billion).
here for the story http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1446120,00.html
use forbes http://www.forbes.com/ to get the worth of the individuals.

so before we worry about the £36 million we throw at the royal family i think we owe it to ourselves to insist that tax evaders are brought to book first.

but aside from this there has to be another reason for the keeping the royal family, surely you have another reason pat, i can hear you mumble under your breath. yes i do i have several.

1] there is the bog standard one – it is tradition. call me a small c conservative, but i have come to the conclusion that the monarchy is a tradition we need to keep. it grants us a pomp and circumstance unavailable elsewhere.
2] there is the practical reason – a royal family prevents us from having the nonsense of a political first family, or the dubious pleasure of having an “elected” head of state.
(and while i may have had a pop at the political dynasties of american politics it is not like we don’t have our own “problem” over here of something similar talking place – they may not all go into politics but some of these families (lawsons, rifkinds) have members of their families in politics and in the media…
3] the entertainment factor. which comes in two parts: there is the moment when someone like prince charles says something that needs to be said but no one else does say it (his comment about some people expecting something for nothing – was recontextualised as being a longing for the return of a rigid class structure, when what he appeared to be saying was just because you say you can do something, just because you say you want to do something doesn’t mean you can.
the second strand of the entertainment side of it all is the soap opera of the royal family itself (better than the osbournes, better than big brother). who hasn’t thrilled to revelations that prince charles has someone to squeeze out his toothpaste? the hijacks of the two princes, the foot in mouth syndrome that infects prince philip, the oddness that is edward… it is never ending.
4] they sell papers – where would so many of the tabloids be without being able to use the royals in one way or another to shift copies?
5] who else would the sun’s pretend bombers stalk? chances are it would be ordinary folk.
6] where else would fathers for justice go and protest while dressed as batman (well actually anywhere that was high, inconvenient and dangerous).
7] they remind us why we hate class privilege. geez they have all the advantages that money and status can confer and william is the first one to get a 2:1 degree. (in all honesty i can’t really hate the monarchy it’s not their fault they were born into, but those upper middle class bertie types out there – oh i can work up a nice ire over them i can tell you, and that includes the bertie i have to occasionally deal with at work).

essentially in my eyes the royal family has become a nice tourist attraction and as such needs to be maintained and they are worth my £0.61 to make sure they keep going. besides all the anger i know i should have for them is displaced by the dislike (and distrust) of those who go out of their way to avoid taxes..

(the soundtrack to this rant was the moody blues anthology disc 1)

Friday, June 24, 2005

sweat

too hot, too hot far too hot. where is the rain? where is the wind? where is the snow?
no air con in the office, flat is like an oven and not a breeze outside.
hay fever is playing up. feeling like i am being boiled and baked at the same time. worst of all i just seem to feel moist all the time. ugh ugh.

this is all wrong you know there is tennis on at wimbledon and there is cricket one day internationals between australia, bangladesh and england, if all was right with the world the heavens would be opening up and the rain would be pouring.
but no climate change (despite what david bellamy and tammi say) has screwed up one of the few pleasure i have over the summer and that is the sight of seeing dull dumb sporting events being rained off and in the process getting a respite from the summer sun.

yes i know i am a miserable git.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

taxi

there is a report on the bbc news website about the possibility of there being air taxis in the very near future. this is partly due to the fact that there is soon to be what is called very light jets and this combined with improvements in aeronautical technology means that these new small planes can take off from smaller runaways and from locations that do not have air control towers.
apparently we can thank nasa for this.
to the science fiction fan in me it’s an appealing idea the world of blade runner, fifth element or minority report coming true before my eyes (oh hold on none of those were particularly nice world…..)

so just as everyone is bleating about the lack of investment in the transport infrastructure (recently the train companies have mentioned that fares will be going up even as they talk about cutting the services – they were talking about premium prices. bit of a surprise there for those who travel at peak time, paying peak time prices to discover that they might be paying more for a worse service. it is good to see that the free market works in such a way – there is a demand, so don’t fill it, reduce the service, put up prices and make more profit. not quite the way adam smith saw it working but as long as someone is getting rich...)
but i digress (no shit sherlock!)
anyway as i was saying just as everyone is bleating about the failing transport infrastructure – no investment, more cars on the roads, build more roads etc etc and just as climate scientist have been telling us that air travel is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect (it is there tammi no matter what dubya tells you….) we get this.
already i can see the headlines about air taxi congestion in the skies, the endless conversations about fuel prices, how this is a service for the wealthy and not for the ordinary person, the hue and cry when the first crash happens.

but most of all regardless of the new technology that makes these new generation of planes lighter and very economical to fly, no matter what types of electronics that nasa has placed into them to ensure that they can get from a to be safely and easily, regardless of all of that i am betting that you will not be able to get an air taxi to go south of the river.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

24

wow wow oh wow and double wow.
just finished watching the last couple of episodes of 24 and frankly it just has me gagging for day 5 of 24.

the basic premise for 24 is that jack bauer (played masterfully by kiefer sutherland) and the counter terrorist unit (ctu) of los angeles have to save the day in the space of 24 hours. each episode is played out in hour “real time” segments, actually to allow for ad breaks there is only 45 minutes of action but who is counting. so for 24 episodes you are on the edge of your seats and jack and co do what they have to do to make sure that the day is saved.

as i know at least one person who reads this has not seen the last two episodes (hi paul) i won’t say anything about how the show resolves itself this time.

there are many things that come together in 24 to make it a televisual experience. firstly there is the action packed serial nature of the show – it is not enough that they have a tense and dangerous situation to resolve, oh no there is also time enough to get in all sorts of personal issues. which of course means you end up caring about the characters and you want to see them make it to the end of the day.
this works because the casting has been spot on and the ensemble nature of the show works well (ok it is true that kiefer does seem to make sure he gets all the best lines…)
the serial nature also makes it a must watch event as every episode ends on a cliff hanger, and each episode has the ever present clock ticking away letting you know how much “time” is left in the hour. you want to see what is going to happen next but you don’t want the episode to end, but as the time hits 50 minutes of the hour you are just perched on the edge of the seat waiting for the next revelation.
the stories themselves are top-notch and for the duration of each show totally absorbing and believable it is only as the final seconds have ticked off that you can indulge in the game of “what did that mean?” “that was wrong” “that couldn’t have happened like that” etc. the joy is that no matter how farfetched some if it seems it works within the framework of what 24 is trying to do.

so i have seen the end of series 4 (or day 4) and have to say it is the best yet. though my own personal favourite series was day 2, why you ask? well first series was great and set us up for how the premise worked., so by the time day 2 was on i was rushing home on a sunday night not only to see the new episode on bbc3, but also to catch the repeat that was being shown in bbc2. once the show itself had finished then there was pure 24 with the lovely tamzin sylvester (whose mastery of clothes is only matched by one other…) it was a blissful 24 weeks of excitement. the next two series have been better but have been marred by the fact i couldn’t watch them in weekly instalments but instead got them in blocks (thanks jim). even though i have not been able to recapture the thrill of giving up sunday evenings to watch jack and ctu do what is necessary i have still managed to sit agog at the adventures, i have still
punched the air and whooped with delight at the entrance of a character or an event taking place on the screen.

look if you have not already seen 24 – get over to your local video store and see if they have one of them for rent – its worth it trust me….

what is interesting about 24 is how they now play it in the post 9/11 world – it has become a much harsher, more cynical and more willing to portray the good guys as people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter what the cost.
the special agent has replaced the cowboy as the rugged individual who will step outside the lines to do what is right. in many ways jack bauer’s character is similar to john wayne’s ethan edwards in “the searchers” - ethan is relentless in his pursuit of what he sees as the right course but he know in his heart he is not part of civil society even though he will do his best to protect it.

oooh that was deep.

look stop reading this and get out there and see it for yourself: it’s the dog’s bollocks.

for the record my other favourite tv shows include
alias, angel, csi, nypd blue, hill street blues, babylon 5, sunset beach, star trek, prisoner, hr puff’n’stuff., bob mills in bedwithmedinner, game on, between the lines. i suspect that although i have fond memories of follyfoot, timeslip and blake’s seven they will not match up to them if i saw them again.

Monday, June 20, 2005

people

i am not a people person (those who know me will think that a bit of an understatement – more a misanthrope they will cry) and this is somewhat odd given my mix of christian and socialist beliefs, perhaps i would be better being a conservative?

anyway why am i making this confession now? well part of it is that recently i have been going to lots of events, how i love free music events and venues. and the more of these i go to more i end up people watching and being amazed and stunned by those around me.

and before i go any further let me point out that i realise that i am socially dysfunctional, that most of the time i am less than civil and often like the sound of my own voice but have little to say. with that confession made i am also happy to admit that often i prefer my own company.

so there i have been recently sitting down chin stroking away to a mix of laptop and lo-fi avant-garde guitar music at places such as the foundry. around me people just do things that seem to me to be odd (and i fully admit it is all subjective and more than likely i am the one who is behaving oddly).

while i am supping my orange juice and listening i notice a very cute blonde (oh ok emma i know i shouldn’t letch – but at my age it’s the only pleasure i have…) she seems to be waiting for someone or isn’t quite sure what she is doing in the bar (and it’s not like the music wasn’t very good – it was), so she walked in and out a couple of times and then eventually sat down. shortly after she had sat down she was approached by an older bloke, blonde, goatee beard and baggy white shirt. when he sat down beside her i thought lucky bloke to have such a pretty friend. it was only later that i realised that actually he had just gone over to her in order to chat her up. a part of me was impressed as i just don’t have that much front to just plonk myself down next to a total stranger and start chatting to them.
to her credit she humoured him for awhile but the first opportunity she did do a runner on him.
he didn’t seem to upset or surprised by that.
shortly afterwards he was on the phone to his ex missus in the midst of what sounded like a huge barney about all manner of things from her kicking him out of the house, to her taking their child away, to her wanting money, various cuss words were uttered. this took place over several phones calls as they each hung up on the other one. to be honest it sounded like a totally shitty situation that they both found themselves in.
it’s another joy of the mobile phone – it brings your arguments to the rest of the world. me i think there are some things that should be done privately, that is one of them.

mind you there are times when an argument kicks off in a public space – as it did that night between a gay couple. they were sitting behind me and one of them spent the best part of 30 minutes berating and belittling the other one. it would have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact his voice carried so pretty much everyone in the bar was aware of his opinion of his partner.

that particular night was topped off by me ending up being chatted to by a rather attractive blonde. she approached me because i was writing in my journal and wanted to know what i was writing (it was a marketing plan – how dull) as she wanted to encourage her girlfriend to write. we chatted for a bit, i gave her some advice (yeah yeah those who can do those who can’t teach…) and i hope her girlfriend is writing now.
now i would never be able to approach someone like that – partly it’s an innate shyness and partly it’s because i just think after the first few words what would i have to say? but when it happens like that it is fun we had a pleasant chat, made my night and i even got a death stare from one of her female friends.

another night in the foundry i had to listen to a women talking utter drivel, because her voice was a slow down version of foghorn leghorns – so it didn’t matter where you were in the bar you couldn’t help but hear her, yet from her point of view she was just talking normally to her mates. she also had an unfortunately delivery where she repeated, i say she repeated some of her conversation over and over again as if repetition made it more impressive – it didn’t.
(i won’t mention the two late 20s blokes who were talking about bands like oasis, blur and suede as if they were still cutting edge… no i just wanted to slap them…)

recently i even got stopped on the tube by a drunken lady (who facially looked like a very very haggard tracey emin, physically though she looked like she was in need of a good meal, well several) she proceeded to tell me her story. how she had signed herself out of hospital to go and feed a mates dog, how the mate hadn’t told her he had taken the dog, how this was bad because she had travelling dvds and this was going to kill her (nope i don’t know what she was talking about and decided not to ask) she told me she had used up all her giro in dog food, she didn’t drink (it’s a given about alcoholics is that they think if they say they don’t drink or haven’t had one that day it makes it true and you can’t smell the booze on them – i remember my mum saying (often) she hadn’t had a drink when she clearly had a mug (yes a mug) of scotch in the table ..) again i didn’t point out to her she was sizzled. then i heard about her husband leaving her for another woman, she didn’t mind that as she couldn’t have sex with him (those travelling dvds again) but she hated him because he didn’t just tell her he was sleeping around he lied to her, so she had broken his walkman and some other stuff and was waiting in his flat for him. she didn’t mind lying to police of judges as they can take away your life, but was straight with other people, she swore a few times and then said pardon her language (after which it was exaggerated whispered swearing behind her hand). frankly i am not sure what the rest of the people on the tube thought of her but i was happy i had a chance to chat and laugh with her. i have no idea if she appreciated it, but i hope it made her smile a little bit.
i was also impressed by the fact she didn’t try to tap me up. classy woman.

i suppose the most radical approach i have had was while i was listening to laptoppy music at a club run by a friend of a friend. again there i was chin stroking and admiring the return key solo followed by the space bar crescendo when i was approached by an elfin blonde, she strode the length of the club made a beeline for me to ask, well almost demand: “who are you?” the answer was “no one, but my name is pat. what’s your name?” “vika” was the reply and then she left. now i must confess i was a little shocked by the whole event but just chalked it up as “oh the world is full of strange people). my pal joel on the other hand decided to run after her and get me her phone number. (thanks joel).
there is no relationship with vika, we occasionally bump into each at gigs, clubs or record stores and exchange a few words. she is very pretty, slightly odd and from east europe – i have to say it’s a winning combination. however vika is not someone who returns calls or emails seemingly preferring to let chance rule when we next see each other.
so sad to say when she walked passed me in tescos this evening i didn’t say hello. now partly this was down to shock at seeing her in my local tescos on a sunday evening and partly i thought well if you didn’t spot me then i will let you get on with your doings undisturbed by me.
yeah i know – dumb and stupid and yes i did regret it. but that brings me back to where this all started i am not a people person.
i enjoy the chance interaction when they occur but i am not going out of my way to start one up. so long may free gigs continue as they seem to be places where people will talk to people like me.

Friday, June 17, 2005

jackson

so whacko got off. being billed as the best justice money can buy, which seems a little odd as jackson reportedly has so much debt that even african countries are trying to help him out... (ooh topical humour).

if it wasn’t bad enough that you were flat stone broke, that pretty much everyone in the world (aside from a number of deluded dedicated and devoted fans) think you are a kiddie fiddler, that your career is in the toilet and there is a chance that pictures of your willy will soon be floating around on the internet. now michael jackson has suffered a further indignity, perhaps the worst he could have suffered: he has been turned down by pr guru max collins.
it gets no worse than that.

collins is a big of an enigma to me – on the one hand he seems to be an alright bloke on the other he makes money out of other people’s misery (true he also makes sure that some people get what could be seen as their just deserts). i know i should like him, but i don’t. but in this instance i give him the benefit of the doubt and that he turned whacko jacko down not because the singer has no money or because the guaranteed failure to perform a pr miracle for mike would taint max. i believe max walked away because he like the rest of us just think that perhaps mike shouldn’t be allowed to have a come back.

(and no i haven’t relented against the rest of the adults who have been involved in this – all the adults who have now come forward to say we saw this and we saw that but at no time stepped in to either stop the shenanigans or alerted the authorities. all of them carry a bit of guilt for what they say went on…)

so hats off to max.
i expect bob “middle-of-a-shit-storm” geldof will soon be calling on max to help save live8.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

jokes

some jokes i have read recently that have made me laugh.

why did the pervert cross the road?
because he couldn't get his knob out of the chicken.

what did the cannibal do when she dumped her boyfriend?
wiped her arse.

where do you find a dog with no legs?
where you left it.

what's worse than a male chauvinist pig?
a woman that won't do as she is told.

how do you make four old ladies swear?
get a fifth one to shout bingo.

as basil brush used to say boom boom!

normal service will be resumed shortly.

Monday, June 13, 2005

mondays

start of the working week – check.
miserable weekend – check.
hay fever – check.
first coffee of the day – check.
too much work to do – check.
dash of self pity – check.

do i like mondays? about as much as i enjoy every other day.
(keep on like this and i will be writing lyrics for the next nine inch nails album)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

bono

the president of the usa and the prime minister of great britain held a press conference in washington today. in part it was about the forthcoming g8 meeting, in part it was about africa, it was about iraq and the war on terror. mainly i think it was about two allies just hanging out with each other while the rest of the world looked on.
after both had given speeches and both had thanked the other, there was a short q&a session.

andrew marr of the bbc chirped up and asked about africa, live8 and rock stars asking if it was just people like geldof et al mouthing rhetoric and nothing more.
president bush stepped in to partly answer the question.
he commented on how he had met bono and that how bono was a man of depth.

well there you go. high praise indeed mr bono. i am sure bono is all made up about that.

batman

i am a comic fan, i admit it. i read comics, i read lots of them and i am proud of it. i collect comics and have quite a few of them (alight several thousands of the blighters) and i still get excited when i add to the collection. in short i am a comic geek.
for the comics industry the battle over the last 20 years or so has been to bring comics to a wider market, we fanboys maybe dedicated and devoted, but we are a dwindling bunch. at first it was thought that the more adult orientated comics of the indie scene might crack the market open as hip, trendy book reading type people flocked to read crumb, hernandez brothers, bode, pekar, speigelman et al. then it was the turn of creators (some would say visionaries) who took comic clich√© and turned them on their heads and created works of enduring art – this was the time when comics weren’t just for kids. it was the time of creators such as alan moore and frank miller. recently the focus has been on manga and using the excitement and buzz that the recent interest in manga has caused to bring kids and women into comic stores and bookshops. to a large extent it has worked, with manga being one of the fastest growing categories in publishing in 2004.
but the perennial way of getting the outside world interested in comics has been to get the characters that appear on the printed page and put them somewhere else such as radio, tv, computer games and on the big screen. there have been some notable successes and failures in all these attempts.
the most recent two attempts to get comics and put them on the big screen have been wonderful events.
sin city (which i might write about at a later time) is a visual treat – both homage and a pastiche of film noir and pulp novels of mickey spillane. not only does it feature a bevy of babes but also has bruce willis. winner is what i say.

batman begins is frankly one of the best movies that has been made form a comic. i confess i was not looking forward to it. the trailers seemed all wrong being more like an ad for a horror movie than a superhero film. all the information i had seen about the movie made me think that they were about to make the same mistakes with the film that they had made on the previous movies. well all i can say is i was wrong they were right.
from start to finish the movie hits the right notes, christian bale is convincing both as batman and as bruce wayne (though his “batman” voice is not as good as michael keaton’s). the origin is handled very well as is the development of the batman. the rest of the cast is just as good. liam neeson is especially good being as he has to be as hard as nails and twice as mean (though why i am surprised by this i don’t know as liam has done a number of action roles in the past). even michael caine gives a fine performance as alfred. the action scenes are good, the fx are good, the soundtrack is good, the humour works well and comes at the right times. it is a well paced film that establishes the character and leaves us, not only wanting more, but knowing what might be coming up next.
sure there are some quibbles, but all these types of films are filled with plot holes and head scratching huh moments.
but this is a great film, well worth seeing. i know i will be off to see it again.

as to whether or not it will make people go and buy comics and start reading them again, i doubt it, but at least with this movie they get an idea of the magic that is in a comic and why people like me keep reading them month after month after month.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

pepsi

normally i am a drinker of diet coke. i consume quite a lot of it, i don’t do it because i am on a diet (though shedding several pound wouldn’t go amiss) , i do it because i enjoy the taste of it. for some odd reason i think diet coke tastes better than regular coke.
recently the coke family has been added to by the arrival of diet lemon coke (lovely) and diet lime coke (mmm very nice) and unsurprisingly i have drunk a lot of both of them.
the other night, while on the way home from a club/gig where i had listened to some laptop music that had me doing a jazz chin stroke in appreciation (delectronica) i happened to pop (geddit!) into my local budgen’s express (it used to be a 7-11) and decided that i wanted a change in drink and headed over to where they keep the pepsi, i picked out a pepsi max from the less than cool fridge (why do they bother to have these fridges there is they are not even going to be cool?) paid and left. it was only when i got home that i noticed that what i had gotten hold of wasn’t a plain old regular pepsi max. no siree it was in fact a pepsi max lemon and lime twist. and let me tell you something it was a darned fine drink.
needless to say i have been back for more, several more in fact.
it reminded me of an article i once read in one of the marketing magazines that banged on about new product development (or npd in the lingo) and how it was very important, but also very difficult, for mature brands such as coke or pepsi to keep reinventing themselves not only as a brand image but also as a product (or brand extension – think kitkat cubes, or king-size twix (yummy) and you will know what i mean). the article went on and on about how much thought and consideration has to go into these things (think new coke and see how it can come a cropper… mmm should we think of the labour party before tony blair as classic labour ?) that development can take years. now i can see that with new cars or ovens or hoovers but fizzy drinks? come on how hard can it be?
apparently very. which might explain why there is only a limited range of new coke flavours on the market (lemon, lime, vanilla, cheery and for awhile there was a blueberry one). it got me to thinking what other flavours could you have? banana, orange, grape or peach ? peanut or maybe raisin ? perhaps go really healthy and add vegetable to mix diet cauliflower coke? mushy peas or sprouts? cabbage coke (mm not strike that too much foul gas coming off of that one to make it popular…) and then of course there is the perfect match of diet coke flavouring in such things as doughnuts, √©clairs and cream cakes.
i am sure there are lots of other great tastes out there that can be merged with the tasted of coke and pepsi.
i do recommend the pepsi lemon and lime drink though. it’s very very tasty.

pepsi
coke

Monday, June 06, 2005

sneeze

had my first attack of the hay fever last night. ugh.
expect me to be even more miserable and irritable then i have been.
yeah i know some of you might think that is a state of affairs that is not possible: trust me it is.

oh the joys of summer - hate it as much as i hate christmas.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

live8

oh how i hate this.
there is the music lover in me (yes i know i have just written about prog - but it is great stuff) who just looks at the line ups for the live8 events and goes ho hum, dull, dull, dull, dull and at best very best just plain old boring.
yes i realise that in many ways it is not about the music – it is about raising the issue and making everyone aware of it.
yes i realise that the performers who are giving their time and effort for the event deserve praise (well maybe not coldplay).

but already the posing and the posturing is growing to a level that will overshadow any good that comes from it.
unlike live aid this is not about raising money, this is about awareness and getting the g8 countries to help africa out of the terrible state it is in. this can be achieved by debt relief, fair and equal trade policies etc. in order to do it geldof and team want to show the leaders of the g8 that the people in the developed world are concerned about the situation in africa and want to see something done about it.
for some the fact this is coming from the developed countries of the west is seeing as being a replay of colonialism, and for some in this camp the live8 event is addressing the right issues of empowering africans to make the changes they need, but instead it is just another patronising pat on the head of africa.
for others it is just going to be a fashion accessory like the coloured bands they wear, feeling good that they have done a little for a cause, but not quite knowing what it is they have supported. there will that ironic moment when ebay will have tickets being offered for sale at over the odds prices, and naturally the good souls who are selling them there will give the profits to the make poverty history campaign (yeah right !)
for others (maybe the daily mail and such) live8 is potentially seen as being a jolly nice way of criticising the g8 without being anti-globalisation or anti-capitalist.

meanwhile you have bob geldof, bono and midge ure (who? remember him used to be in ultravox and was one of the key members of live aid, except that bob geldof seems to have become the only person associated with it, so poor old midge gets to speak only when the others are too busy or it’s to deal with the local press….) are beginning to shout out their sideshow patter to get people excited about the event, to get people involved in it.

midge has been speaking about the “million” march on edinburgh. the g8 is meeting there and bob and co want a million people to march to it and protest.
of course everyone is asking for the protests to be peaceful. the local police and local council have said mmm a million people might be hard to do, there might be problems, lets think this through properly.
to help accommodate the people descending on edinburgh (coming by foot, car, bus, boat, plane and train!) midge has “ urged every householder and religious institution in edinburgh to offer hospitality to the protesters.
"we want every church, chapel, synagogue and mosque to open their doors and let them in," “ (bbc)
the only question i have is are you opening up your pad to let these people in? well are you midge?
yeah i know i am being cynical – i hope it is a success, i hope it does make a difference. already i am praying that ronnine james dio isn’t looking to do a heavy metal version of this one……

either way i shan't be listening to it - the line up sucks.

prog

for various reasons i am revisiting my prog rock collection. listening to old favourites (yes, elp, king crimson, styx, kansas, genesis, the nice etc etc) and discovering new bands of the prog pantheon.
when you mention prog in polite society you can almost hear the brain of the other person seize up, you can see their eyes glaze over and their silent prayer that the ground opens up and swallows them. it's at moments like these i realise two things:
1] that people who don't like prog are probably fans of crazy frog.
2] that prog is like faith you either understand it or you don't.

for those of you who want to know more about the wonders of prog go here.

time for me to go and listen to a long wig out between guitars, keyboards and epic vocals.