Bullshit & Ignorance

April 28, 2010


A few months back I signed up to LoveFilm (UK equivalent of Netflix) in an attempt to stem my spending on flims. I love to watch films and went through a period where I’d spot something that looked interesting and just buy it. I have as a result a somewhat vast DVD and Blu-ray collection. Signing up with LoveFilm costs me roughly the price of buying a single title on Blu-ray every month and generally I can (although usually don’t, I wish I had the time) get through 16-20 titles a month.

I mention this because this week, on the recommendation of a friend and courtesy of LoveFilm, I watched Pandorum which is the first film I’ve seen in some time that I think I’ll probably buy. The film is set aboard a space craft sent from an overpopulated, polluted, war-ravaged Earth (sounds like now..) on the edge of breaking point. Our hero, Corporal Bower, one of the ships flight crew wakes from some kind of sci-fi plot device hypersleep to find that something has gone horribly wrong. Predictably he then has to go investigate and drama and suspense entail. Sure the film has some clich├ęs and a few ‘lolwut?’ moments, but it manages to maintain a really dark, suspenseful atmosphere throughout.

Some slick production and special effects put the finishing touches on this film; Unlike so many films these days, they are just finishing touches though, the real substance to the film is the story, which has a few nice little twists and turns in it which kept me guessing right to the end.

Well worth a watch, I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a little suspense and horror in their films!

April 27, 2010

And in the Red Corner…

I just read this article from RIA Novosti about the Ukrainian Parliament descending into chaos over the ratifying of a deal with Russia over a naval base and couldn’t help but laugh. Granted I don’t know anything about the situation and I’m sure there’s probably a good reason why many Ukrainians are so angry about it, but still, eggs and smoke bombs being thrown during a parliamentary session just tickles me.

Despite the heckling and jeering from the back benches in the House of Commons, I don’t believe we’ve ever had a full on brawl break out, which is something of a shame. Perhaps if we wind up with a hung Parliament after May 6th, we could decide who gets to be Prime Minister with a trial by combat.

In such an event I suspect Brown would really be up against it. He’s not only older than both Clegg and Cameron, but he’s blind in one eye which must limit his field of vision on that side. Cameron and Clegg strike me as fairly evenly matched; in a straight one-on-one the outcome would likely come down to preparation and conditioning. I would put Clegg ahead as a marginal favourite.

Of course, in the more likely event of a three-way bout everything changes. Raw pugilistic ability would need to be partnered with shrewd tactics. Brown and Cameron have plenty of bad blood between them, perhaps Clegg would be best advised to hold back and wait for Brown and Cameron to duke it out, then step in to take on whomever emerged the victor on the assumption they would have been weakened.

Brown and Cameron may both feel they can best the other, and double-team Clegg to take him out of contention so they can get back to the age old battle of Tory Vs. Labour.

Either way it would be the pay-per-view event of the century. in fact, I’m starting to think we shouldn’t bother with the election at all!

April 26, 2010

Benedict Condoms

The UK foreign office is tripping over itself to apologise to the Vatican following the leak of an internal memo drafted by a junior civil servant suggesting some “naive and disrespectful” ideas for marking a planned visit by the Pope in September. The Daily Fail Mail has a frothy outraged article on it, but I’d read this article by the BBC if you prefer your journalism to contain less fuckwittery.

The suggestions were frankly fairly entertaining, including suggestions the Pope may wish to bless a gay marriage, open an abortion clinic or that “Benedict” branded condoms could be made to mark the occasion. Funny yes, but probably more appropriate to have saved for a discussion with mates in the pub rather than forwarding to Downing Street and a number of other Whitehall offices.

In response to this incident, Peter Forster, the bishop of Chester said in a radio interview that:

“I think that Christianity has been so much a part of the furniture of our society that it tends to be neglected and taken for granted…There’s a ‘familiarity breeding contempt’ in some circles of society about our Christian heritage which leads to the distasteful events we had yesterday with that memo”

So what? Christianity doesn’t and shouldn’t get a free pass to the land of unquestionable respect. The Catholic church might be a religious organisation, but when it speaks out as it often does on issues such as contraception, abortion, homosexuality etc. it goes beyond the spiritual and enters the political arena. Once there it opens itself to satire and ridicule just as any other political stance taken by anyone else is. Also, neglected and taken for granted? I wasn’t aware we were under any obligation to take care of it.

In totally unrelated news, leader of the Daleks, Stephen Hawking has been warning the world of the dangers of trying to contact alien life. Apparently Hawking thinks that there’s a pretty good chance that any aliens that come visiting could well be essentially space vikings, and would plunder our planet for resources before buggering off again. He’s probably right!

April 21, 2010

The Great Liberal Deception

I’m getting quite caught up in the general election stuff at the moment. Nick Clegg’s performance in the leaders debate last week has thrust him and the Liberal Democrat party into the public eye like never before. Apparently this boost in popularity for the Lib Dems has put the frighteners on Tory-supporting-hate-mongers The Daily Mail, who have devoted their “Debate” page to bashing Clegg and his party and politics all under the glorious title of “The Great Liberal Deception”. Guardian blogger Paul Owen posted an article on this which you can see by following this link!

Despite having been a supporter of Liberal Democrat politics for as long as I’ve been able to vote, I can’t see them actually winning the general election. That’s not to say that they might not take a bigger slice of the pie and of course increase the likelihood of a hung parliament thus giving them an opportunity to enter into a coalition with someone – but winning it outright is highly unlikely. As a spectacle I’m enjoying it though; Clegg and his party are like a non-league football team going on a giant-killing F.A. Cup run. Deep down you know they’re never going to go all the way but we all love an underdog and so I’m enjoying the journey, watching them sticking it to the established giants as they go.

April 16, 2010

Election Debate

Last night saw the first ever live televised debate between leaders of the UK’s three largest political parties (Nick Clegg – Liberal Democrats, David Cameron – Conservatives, Gordon Brown – New Labour) as part of the lead up to the May 12 General Election. It’s an idea the Americans have used for some time and despite the rather tacky set and constant sense that Robert Killroy or Jeremy Kyle were about to leap up from the audience, it was rather fascinating to watch.

All three men seemed nervous at the outset, but Brown and Cameron settled quickly as the debate got under way. For a little while, Nick Clegg looked like he was fighting out of his weight class. He remained a little jittery while Brown and Cameron began to speak confidently and fluently in response to the questions posed to them by audience members. I have to say, I was somewhat saddened by that, as while Clegg seemed out of his depth, what he did say struck a chord with me. He seemed the most genuine, less interested in taking cheap shots at his rivals and more interested in explaining the Liberal Democrats’ position on the issues, what they would do and perhaps more importantly how they were going to achieve their goals. I was pleased therefore to see Mr. Clegg growing in confidence as the debate moved on. His body language relaxed and with it his oratory rapidly began to match and often surpass that of his rivals.

When all was said and done, Nick Clegg walked away from that debate with a whole heap more political kudos than he began with. I’m of the opinion he won the debate and according to the various polls following it, including the ITV poll of 4000 voters that followed directly afterwards, most other people share my opinion. I think it’s fair to say that Brown as the incumbent had most to lose going into the debate. He had to defend thirteen years of Labour Government during a time of significant economic upheaval and while our armed forces are engaged in unpopular wars in the middle east. It was never going to be an easy task, but to his credit he fought his corner well; he emerged battered but far from beaten. David Cameron on the other hand had very little to lose and everything to gain. Expectations were high and while he performed adequately, I don’t feel he lived up to those expectations.

There are two more debates to follow. I will be watching with great interest.

April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter is pretty fucking good, I mean a four day weekend? I’m all for that. If you don’t get a four day weekend for Easter, then you have my sympathies, but I’m not going to stop gloating about the fact I do. Easter of course was a Pagan festival to celebrate Spring and all the good things that come with it, before it was assimilated by Christians to celebrate their Zombie Messiah. It is customary at this time of year to retell the story of the aforementioned rising of the dead, so I shall do just that.

The Easter Story

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, there was a fella called Jesus. His father, was the milkman Joseph, was a carpenter and his mother was Mary, who heard voices. Rather than get a job, Jesus grew his hair long, like the big hippy he was, and hung around with his friends doing magic tricks and so on. Jesus and his gang, The Disciples, rode into Jerusalem for a party. During the party, Jesus who was really stoned, started telling everyone that the wine was his blood and that they were eating his body. It was around that time that someone called the police. Judas Priest had been at the party and panicked when the law showed up, they hid their stash of illicit substances in the spacious pockets of Jesus’ hippy robe. Jesus got arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply. Since they were in the Middle East and they’re all a bit mental, he was sentenced by a pretentious pilot to death by crucifixion.

Being crucified is a pretty terrible way to go, but to make matters worse, while up on the cross, Jesus was bitten by a monkey which had escaped from a nearby research facility, which it turned out was infected with the Rage virus. Everyone thought he was dead, until he started eating people’s faces. The zombie apocalypse that followed was terrible, the disease spread rapidly through the bites of the infected. The Disciples, lead by Mary Magdalen, fought their way across the zombie infested Jerusalem with shotguns and chainsaws. They found a secure place to hole up: a secluded cottage in the mountains, where they spent the next few months sewing a giant flag to signal aircraft that might fly overhead.

After a while, all the infected died off as they ran out of uninfected people to eat and eventually, a UN jet on a flyby of the quarantine zone spotted the flag and The Disciples were rescued. From that day forth, a celebration was held at this time each year to commemorate the death and subsequent rebirth as a flesh eating zombie, of patient 0, Jesus and all the infected who perished in that terrible tragedy.