Sunday, December 24, 2006
Today, I could not move without it being mentioned, be it tv, newspaper, internet... Thinking about it, I cannot understand the appeal one bit. People you have vaguely heard of given a dance partner and told to dance then being voted off. Rubbish. Where's the scandal? Where's the loveable dim-witted tart? Where's the fake dancer that was put in to pose as a dancer then ends up marrying a contestant? Where's the page 3 model falling for and marrying a failed popstar who go on to release a hideous christmas single?
I don't know. People will watch anything.
In other thoughts, no-one ever wins on the Great British Quiz on channel 5. They offer ridiculous sums of money, and yet people will still call up and give their answer to a seemingly easy question. Hmmm. Something is going on....
Saturday, December 23, 2006
It amazes me that someone so devoted to peace, prosperity and generally groovy things can be so widely hated. It has to be granted to Bono that he has done some Good Things.
Why, then, can I not help but hate him and those stupid bloody sun glasses and his smug little smile and his bandmate The Edge?
Sometimes I just want a big man to punch Bono right in his mouth.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Monkey Magazine is a new mens magazine.
God-damn I hate those magazines and the sneery, laddish way they revel in their own stupidity. But this is not why I write. Rather, Monkey is to be online only.
This, again, is not really something to write about. So another website has lauched. Hoorah. But there is more to be said yet. First, it is being produced by Dennis Publishing, who also publish, among another titles, Maxim. Clearly they know their stuff in the field of idiot-mags. This marks then an interesting point at which the big magazine publishers are truly begining to see the possibilities of the web. And, finally, starting to take serious notice of their declining sales.
Bizarrely though, the magazine is, well, just that. a magazine. Or at least, a horrible faux-magazine. Complete with terrible page turning animation and a contents page that included page numbers but no links. Why? Why the hell would anyone produce such an over-Flashed product? In the modern internet, there is simply no reason for it. Just make a God-damned website. The internet is a medium, not a way of showing other media. How long untill corporations learn this?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Stephens was interviewed some time ago as park of the background to the case: it appears he was promised that it would not be broadcast and he would not be named.
With a surprising lack of integrity, the BBC has dang old gone ahead and broadcast these interviews anyway.
Mr Stephens should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law; it is not for the BBC to judge these things. And untill that point, his confidences should have been kept.
That another man has been subsequently arrested shows quite how complex the case is, and the BBC had no right to presume to air something they had sworn not to. Least of all because it will jeopordise their chances of getting such interviews in the future.
I don't wish to moralise here, but I think that there is an element to this story that simply cannot pass without comment.
It is true that I am male and, as such, have not had first-hand experience with preganacy. However, all reports seem to indicate that it is a fairly obvious 9-month process. At some point there, one expects the bearer to become aware of the growing child.
Or perhaps I am mistaken.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Amazing. This sounds perfect. Imagine never walking out of your door and encountering gale force winds and heavy rain, also it can be warm all day long.
Going back to the Millennium, instead of building a crap tent and put something inside it, we should have built a giant motherfucker over, say, Scotland. It would have been amazing! People would have flocked there without the constant fear of getting swept away in a gale or freezing to death.
This is what the future is all about. Fuck going to the moon or anything, if we all just club together and build a tent over the entire earth, everyone will be happy. It even beats global warming, as the suns rays can be reflected away from the ground by the tent-ish layer of the atmosphere.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I was very excited about 4oD. It's new, it's bold and it's the future of media, right there in downloadable form. So, did it match up to my dreams?
Kinda, I guess.
The installer is small and intuitive, though one has to try hard to mess up an installer. Even so, so far, so happy.
The interface is pretty okay. It was a little slow and wasn't entierly wonderous, but does the job and looks pretty. Hopefully it will become a little more function-filled in time.
The problems kicked in when I noticed that Whose Line is it Anyway? was available! Not just that, but two of the British series, which make much better viewing than the American one, I think. Sadly however, after paying my 99p, it just plain old refused to download. I don't know why and I don't know what I can do to make it go: there wasn't any informations given.
As I weapt the kind of tears that only come from a lack of Whose Line?, I had a flick through the free offerings. Frankly, they were token at best. Starkey's Monarchy is going to appeal to some, sure, but beyond that Trigger Happy was all that really caught my eye as a "big name" programme. Eventually I settled on Hardeep Does, a very 'meh' show by a comedian who wants to do comedy and thinking, but doesn't quite make the jump across. However, it did download ludicrously fast. 175mb in less than 5 minutes, was impressive. And the quality looks broadcast.
This was where the second problem kicked in: you can only watch the show in the 4oD player which is shockingly bad. There is no way to chose a size manually. Worse, in a quick skip around the obvious places on my computer I just couldn't find the files to watch in software of my choice. I sincerely hope this is changed for the final release.
Overall this is an extremely welcome thing. A couple of minor things, but I'm still very happy.
edit: Just finnished Hardeep Does and it was crazy frustrating. I just wnated to sit down with the man and say where he went wrong. Which I guess is good thinking-making.
And another thing: 40D opens external pages in I.E., instead of your default. Which is absurdly irritating and exactly the kind of thing that makes me stop using software.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Lets go through the list: Monty Panesar, a cricketer who cannot get picked in the England cricket team over the awful Ashley Giles. Andy Murray, only because Henman is worse. Zara Phillips, if she wasn't royalty, she would not be there. Phil Taylor?! Like darts is even a sport. Jenson Button, (the token motor racing entry) won a race. David fucking Walliams is even there for swimming the channel, which although an achievement doesn't give him the right to appear on the list when thousands of professional sportsmen and women strive everyday of the year and barely get a look in. The only positive is that while he was training, he wasn't attempting comedy....
A lot can be said about the favourite, Darren Clarke. I don't mean to offend anyone or appear an inconsiderate bastard by saying this, but the only reason he is in there is because his wife died. That is a fact. Otherwise Ian Woosnam would have been selected as the golf entry. The only one of them who has achieved anything this year, is Joe Calzaghe, who after 42 undefeated boxing matches actually deserves to win the award.
But my main point is, that British sport is in such bad shape. Kids are too fat and lazy to even go outside, let alone have the time to practice a sport in the few minutes they aren't in front of the tv screen. I blame the parents. And the government for not providing anywhere near adequate funding to actually let anybody explore any whisker of talent they have. In the last year, 2 sports centres near me have closed down, leaving a privately funded health club that I can't afford to attend. Scandalous! Rant over.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
And about time too. It's been the future for almost seven years now and I tell you, it still seems just like the present. Where are my meal-pills? My floating cars? Teleporter-related mishaps? Time-travel adventures? I mean honestly. I've not even entered hyperspace yet.
Pull your socks up, Scientists. I demand more future.
Friday, December 01, 2006
There are few things more enjoyable than watching celebrities really being themselves in otherwise utterly artificial surroundings. In the above clip DeVito looks to be drunk as a cunt and is hillarious. And whilst Rosie O'Donnel handles the situation brilliantly, whoever her generic co-host is fails utterly to respond in an apropriate way: spending the entire interview trying to get back to scripted questions, floundering in the face of something TV-school just did not prepare her for.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
A truly delicious idea, exactly what we have come to expect of Ze Frank at his best.
This, for me, raises an interesting question. The slave trade in Britain ended 200 years ago. This means that one has to travel back quite a few generations to reach an ancestor who was around at the the time. Leaving aside questions of whether what Blair said went far enough (though, let's face it, there was absolutely no pragmatic point in not turning his statement into a full apology. There was hardly going to be backlash), I think it is interesting to consider if an apology was necessary now at all. After all, neither he as a person, nor we as a country have had any direct contact with legal slavery and not much indirect contact either.
True, it can be said that as a member of the white middle class, I am enjoying this position because of historical consequences of the slave trade. But even if this is the case - and I'm not convinced that after 200 years it is, though I acknowledge that this is a largely subjective and unanswerable question - I did not chose to be born to white, middle-class parents. That I am in this context is nothing to do with me, it is an accident of birth. So if I do enjoy indirect benefits of the slave trade, it is not my responsibility and not my fault. Nor anyone else's. It is simply the way things are. So why should Blair have apologised for the actions of people he is not connected to in any way, except a sharing of geopgraphical territory over a wide time-span?
Did his statement change anything? I don't think so: no one who had previously been pro or ambivalent towards slavery, if indeed there are any such people, is likely to have been galvanised towards a change of mind.
This is not to say that I don't think actions aimed at neutralising or mitigating historical, social circumstances are anything but necessary, but I feel that an apology is irrelevant - Blairs semi-apology even more so.
Monday, November 27, 2006
This debate has rumbled on for a ridiculously long time now. There is absolutely no way that Creationism should be taught in Science classes. It is not apropriate, by the very definition of science.
I won't go into this debate in any detail: everyone knows the details and everyone has a detail. But it just boggles my mind some times. I just can't grasp how stupid people can be sometimes. A merest flicker of thought allows one to see that Darwin does not impinge on Christianity. A further flicker to see that science should be taught in science classes and religion in religious education classes. Honestly, I despair sometimes.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
How in touch are the BBC with their audience? It is a question I ask myself daily. Well, now we have cold, hard statistical data: http://cgriley.com/bbctouch/.
It's a silly little thing that compares side by side what the BBC thinks we should be reading and what we are. If you ignore the slightly overblown paranoia of "what the BBC tells us" overtones, it's quite fun. Most worrying though, is the level at which most of the audience is reading. Over the past two weeks "Cruise" is second and "Cruise Holmes" third. Today, "Danish" and "Road Safety", the story about Danish road campaigns with topless models is fourth and sixth.
Naturally I also enjoyed the Danish article, but Tomkat? People are idiots.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Gordon Brown, in stark contrast to his usually cautious fiscal policy, has publicly backed the most expensive option available: a full replacement for the Trident submarine force, warning against compromising on the British nuclear deterrent. But the truth is, this is estimated to cost anything up to £40 billion over its lifetime. The important question, then, is are we really getting value for money here? £40 billion is an awful lot of cash to be spending: it is £2billion more than this years’ total defence budget or, to put it in a different light, almost half an NHS. Frustratingly though, the answer is that a Trident replacement is a poor way, an unwise way to spend British tax money. The very notion of a nuclear deterrent is a hang-up from a forgotten era – one of towering superpowers and diametrically opposed, utterly incompatible ideologies across continents. During the Cold War, a nuclear deterrent was seen as vital – theories of Mutually Assured Destruction bounced alongside flashpoints that came scarily close to a full-scale war – the Cuban Missile Crisis for example. But the Cold War is long over and the world is a markedly different place – something which the proponents of a nuclear arsenal fail to recognise. The threat to national security no longer comes to us from large nations visibly hostile to our way of life. There is no USSR-esque bloc of territories that we can aim our guns at anymore. The “Moscow Criterion” no longer applies, even in spirit. The threat now, as our Prime Minister spends so long telling us, is from those ambiguous and elusive terrorists. If, God-forbid, a small cell of perhaps ten people manage to detonate a dirty bomb in a city centre, who should we send our retaliation to? Who should we bomb into submission? Terrorism is borne of alienation and nuclear weaponry is not the most integrating of things.
What else can £40billion buy then? Quite a lot really. Perhaps the best way to decide how to allocate this money is by examining the threats to our nation. Terrorism, yes. But I barely think that the 7/7 bombers had second thoughts when they considered the British Trident submarine patrolling the ocean. Surely an even more compelling danger is that of climate change – this much money would stand Britain in good stead to help tackle the problem and mitigate economic fallout as far as possible. Or maybe our ailing education or health systems could be helped out a little. More and more schools fall beneath Ofsted’s standards, more and more hospitals fail their patients. I’m sure that the fight on terror could use more resources, if security is your thing. There is only so much the intelligence forces can do on their current budget. There are plenty of better, more cost-effective ways to spend this cash.
It is not inconceivable to rid Britain of nuclear weaponry. Indeed, Labour have already started such a programme with the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. The numbers of warheads maintained was dropped by a third to 200; nuclear submarines were limited to 48 warheads, from 96 (though due to technological advances, this was actually a 50% increase on the Trident predecessor) and maintenance of other types of nuclear delivery systems, such as “free-fall” aircraft weaponry, was discontinued. True, this is a moderate reduction, but even this sadly strikes Britain out ahead of the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council – also the other four designated Nuclear Weapon States on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In fact, this is the very treaty that obliges us to reduce our nuclear holdings. The three pillars of the Non-Proliferation Treaty include disarmament, requiring a “treaty on general and complete disarmament”. Of course, none of the Nuclear Weapon States have done any such thing – any such discussion over the last three decades has been shelved on one pretext or another.
What would happen to Britain if she were to shed her nuclear capabilities? Would she be endlessly bombarded with nukes from manifold enemy states? Would she be vulnerable to invasion? Well, dang, the 186 UN-recognised non-nuclear countries seem to get by okay. And maybe if we can step out in front of the pack by disarming our nuclear capabilities, we can start leading the world towards a more peaceful future. Britain may not be a military superpower, but she could be a moral one.
Monday, November 20, 2006
And about time. Since the advent of Bittorrent and YouTube, the internet savvy viewer has had a kind of illegal Video On Demand-lite version. Complete series of major American trash (24, Prison Break, Lost) and British comedies (Extras, The IT Crowd, Snuff Box) are ten-a-penny on the internet and the demand is high. It is shocking, then, that it has taken a major broadcaster so long to capitalise on this market.
I am a very important person. I have places to go and people to see. You know how it is. I am not always available to watch the sophisticated, highbrow television that I desire to. Nor, sadly, can I afford the luxury of Sky+ and it's fancy-schmancy capabilities. Even so, I do love to watch television. But only when I want to, not when a television executive wants me to.
In 2003, Google made £3.2 billion. Money on the internet is not a new thing. This year, Google is expected by some to outperform a major terestial broadcaster on UK ad revenue by £100 million.
Yet it has taken this long to bring together a captive and demanding audience, a lucrative advertising model and a product. Even the BBC missed a step here. They are leaders in the world of new media, even if they are a hulking behemoth of an organisation, and they should have realised a few staff blogs and a handful of podcasts just ain't enough anymore.
Well congratulations to Channel 4 for having the intelligence and courage to take a great big step into this brave new world. The floodgates are now open, and hopefully much more happiness will come pouring through.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Not coming from London, I have no idea what the extent of this problem is, or to what extent this will do to solve it. I just find happiness in the vision of these drivers feeling victimised. Idiots.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It takes a certain kind of idiocy to shout at a televised sport.
I am not talking of the moans and cheers here when fortunes change one way or the other: this is an unavoidable result of engagement with the game. Even I do that. Rather, I mean shouting at the actual match itself. Encouraging one team or player. Berating the other. Berating ones own team. Berating the referee or umpire. Berating the commentator. Berating the crowd, even. So often, just generally berating.
This kind of behaviour surely implies an absence of some vital brain-function that allows one to differentiate between reality and moving images on a screen. Maybe this even demonstrates a defective theory of mind: the over-zealous sports fan cannot tell what does and does not possess consciousness. He does not understand why the pixels flowing over the television screen do not respond to his shouts. His stupidity is one so deep that he not only misunderstands the workings of a television but also to utterly fails to grasp how we can assign a mind to an object. This is a fundamental, metaphysical idiocy on a massive level.
I really detest these people. With their beer bellies and their Carling, I really detest them. Then I feel guilty, because they make up so much of the population. I feel like a bastard. But, really, I detest them and all of their ITV-watching buddies.