Saturday, 30 March 2013

Why there won't be another Hitch Hikers Guide Film for twenty years

Fans of Sci Fi are in a poor minority, the studios don't like risk and to pay for the big budget effects needed for sci fi is foolish when they can cash in on another comic book conversion. This sad reality of a creative industry that is not hampered by lack of creativity but in fact purse strings is not more felt than by the fans of Douglas Adams. Having watched a TV series of Dirk Gently completely miss the entire point of the book commisioned by the BBC we also find we sadly won't see another movie on the big budget scale. The original TV series and radio is the only way you can really engage in audio or visual with this amazing collection of books and having read them more often than my own written signature I can tell you they do not lose their enjoyment. But like anyone I crave new things, I want another film and indeed I think it would be more likely for science to bring Adams back from the dead and have him write out another few books should that be commercially viable.

Why it wouldn't work

Douglas Adams had massive input into the film, he ensured Arthur Dent was an Englishman, not some Yank putting on a duff accent. He wrote new scenes most notably the entire part with John Malkovich and he ensured his close friend Stephen Fry became the voice of the Guide itself. To envisage a film interpreted by someone else is never going to live up to the fans expectations, just ask Eoin Colfer who has been inundated with abuse after trying to resurrect the series with his offering. With such a cult following it is hard to take up the mantle showing the right amount of respect and making the correct decisions about what to leave out the film.

Why it won't happen

Martin Freeman said quite quickly after the original that a sequel was off the cards, with his fame increasing and that of Zoeey Deschanel the budget would likely have to include hefty fees for their main characters. But more than that is the issue of  it commercial success, the DVD sales were not enough to make up for the average viewer response in cinemas.

What to do next?

Well as you can only enjoy the one movie I'd suggest you get a big mug of tea and read the books from scratch.Unless of course you are an exceptional scientist in which case get back to work on that ressurection maching and get the man himself back here to sort out this dreadful mess, his fans are waiting.

So Long and thanks for all the fish!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Can Androids be hot?

We have all seen the weird people who live with life sized dolls and proclaim their love for their rather rubbery companion, but what is the next step in this world of bizarre fantasy. The answer to that is androids. In a world increasingly alone, recent records show more UK residents live alone than live in family units, it is not too far fetched to assume that some clever capitalist will create a robot that looks and acts exactly how you want.

Anyone who watched the Terminator TV series will have thought, I wish I had a cute and friendly terminator to protect and fall in love with me. Androids have come far since the days of Marvin the Paranoid Android and are now seen as something that will be used to fill a hole in our lives. From the Borg beauty 7 of 9 from Star Trek to the Sexy Cylon lovelies of battlestar gallactica there are many references to how robots will become more beautiful and realistic as technology advances.

Ok sure robots will have to be advanced to do menial tasks like cooking and cleaning first, but you can be sure once they perfect the skin to look more life like there will be a huge boom in sales of Robot Companions. Someone to be by your side through it all and never question. 

This raises a number of questions in my mind. Firstly if you live with a robot can you ever really be happy? I know people who enjoy their own company but this is beyond that, this is like playing Fifa and thinking your the next Pele. Its an unsustainable way of life, to put all your emotions into a machine. Of course the irony of saying this whilst blogging is not lost on me, who would we be if we couldnt type furiously our deepest and darkest thoughts into a Facebook status or a nicely compact tweet.

Society needs to engage with each other more, to find ways and means to get real communication working again. I was teaching at a kids camp not long ago and was showing a little kid how to play rounders (you know the easy form of baseball) and he actually said to me "You mean its just like on Wii sports?" I was pretty flabbergasted. I mean yea it is but the point was that he learned games through video games he played by himself first. This is surely the problem of many societies ills, with a more distanced society we are in danger of losing empathy and turning to a right wing nation.

So before we reach for our chargers for companion 3000 perhaps you should go for a walk and try to say hello to a complete stranger, it will be better for your soul and a lot more rewarding. Part of the delights of being part of the human race is the different personalities you come across, the element of surprise on meeting new people. If I could simply choose from an app market which personality i wanted my android to have sure it would keep me amused for a while but the simple process of you having to choose takes all the fun out it. The element of surprise and the constant search for that perfect person to become friends with is all part of the journey of life, perhaps my android will simply be used for carrying my bags.

No doubt this fantasy will have a huge market amongst men, because lets face it women just aren't stupid enough to fall in love with a robot are they? They would never seek pleasure from a mechanised machine? Rampant Rabbit anyone?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

3 Simple and fun activities for Toddlers

Being a parent does not always have to be tiring, you soon realise your job as a games master is key to keeping your little one occupied and it can be great fun. Often activities for kids are either based around television of television characters and you can easily fall into the trap of having your TV act as an unpaid babysitter. These three activities are all simple, teach your kids about recycling and also help them to use their own creative abilities. Ideal fun for days when the weather is bad or the schools are on holiday.

Activity 1 – Build your own animal

This is a fun activity that can utilise some spare rubbish you have lying around the house. Firstly find an old pair of socks, patterned socks works best.

-          Cut the socks half way up creating strands of material at the bottom.
-          Fill the top half with some lentils or other stuffing you have lying around.
-          Place elastic band around the middle to create a bubble at the top
-          Draw your eyes and mouth or use other items of cloth to make these and apply using glue
-          You now have a fun and funky octopus

Ways to elaborate:
If you have a sewing machine you can make any number of animals using socks, from monkeys to cats. But remember for young children sewing is dangerous and should always be done with supervision.

Activity 2 – Create your own art

Art is a great way for children to build self-esteem, by displaying their art in the house they begin to develop a sense of pride and can also make them keener to keep the house looking good. Art is also a good way to help your child develop their own sense of imagination and draw upon their own surroundings. This art is easy to do and shows the difference between ordinary painting and more sculptural art forms.
Take a piece of paper and cut a small hole in the centre
Tear strands of the paper unevenly around the hole
Paste the cut out paper on top of a blank sheet of paper
Cut out from another sheet a space rocket with its fumes blasting from the back of it
Paste just the fumes part of the rocket to the back piece of paper in the centre of the hole
This now looks like a rocket coming out from the page.

Ways to elaborate:

Let your child choose the topic for your bursting art. Add more decoration to it and show them how they can add detail with stars and even space aliens.

Activity 3 – Design your own T-shirt

T-Shirt printing is accessible and cheap and letting your child design their own clothes is a good way to help them express themselves. Key to allowing them to express themselves means in later life they are far less likely to be demanding the latest designer clothes or going through phases of rebellious clothing.
-          Using your laptop open a drawing application like paint.
-          Make sure the template is set to 500 pixels minimum
-          Allow them to draw a picture, or slogan using funky colours and fun fonts (fonts can be downloaded for free here)
-          Once they are happy with this simply send it to a local t-shirt printer’s website and receive their t-shirt.
-          Watch them wear their work with pride telling all their friends how they are a fashion designer!

Ways to elaborate
You can purchase blank t-shirts from a local store and some fabric paints. Have them practice their design on a blank piece of paper first (children are very particular so any mistake may mean you end up using lots of t-shirts). Once they have perfected their design using the fabric paints allow them to paint directly to the t-shirt, often cutting out silhouettes from paper is a good way to ensure a clever finish.

Use this time to bond with your children and share in their excitement, its often fun not to stick to rigidly to any guides and let them use their own powers of reasoning and creative skills to add extras to these simple activities.

Have fun

Thursday, 21 March 2013

World has Gone Video

In the 90's a video used to be a big plastic box containing some film reels that you had to sit and rewind by keeping your finger on the rewind button. Video today is a nice embedded bit of code that can play HD quality straight to your Laptop, Smart Phone or tablet. It has been revealed that over One Billion regular users are registered on YouTube. Most of them will be posting funny videos and clips of things that have recorded on their handheld devices but there are some real benefits to the use of video online.

Why is Video Online Growing?

Video online technology has become far more accessible with improvements in speed of internet connections, the roll out of 4G technology will facilitate this even further. With so many devices getting smaller and more lightweight video is more conducive to viewing than text heavy websites. Traditional forms of television is laden with advertising and the days of waiting a week for the next episode of your favourite TV show are over. With a much wider spectrum of shows, films and clips available online people frequently choose to build their own channels.

Why YouTube?

It is hugely popular and has the weight of Google behind it meaning that it is likely to stay at the top of searches for video for a long time. Whilst traditionally Google was a place for funny clips and TV shows broken into smaller clips against copyright laws it has moved to a platform of expression for the individual. People can easily and cheaply

Ways to Use Video

Before the days of YouTube you had to make do with some written text about how to do things, but with how to guides about almost everything freely available on YouTube you can learn new skills in seconds. Product reviews and launches are also another popular video format on YouTube keeping you up to date with the latest news about gadgets and games. Business advertising has also been boosted by this platform with the opportunity to get your message out there and create some hilarious Viral videos. Finally it also helps political and group movements, with user filmed content to show what is actually happening in different places around the world. So before you think YouTube is all about a monkey falling out a tree or a shark chasing a surfer have a browse and see what you can learn about.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Top 5 Rap Battles You Ain't Ever Seen

Rap Battling took its origins from freestyle rapping over a beat. The idea being that you face off against an opponent and attempt to out perform them with freestyle rap. Often it can be offensive and insulting but mostly it is all very good natured and comedic. The rise of rap battling came to the fore after the Eminem film 8 Mile in which it showcases his earlier career in the rap battling circuit. Like all good things it was imported to the UK and many young rappers began to appear hoping to make a name for themselves, if nothing else this gives people on the street a creative outlet. Here are some epic rap battles from the UK that you haven't seen. If your easily offended you best look away now.

Wee D vs Rob Kane

This was taken from an event in which freestyle rappers had to compete against comedians.

Freestyle Master Vs Dog Shit Johnson

Manchester Football Rap Battle

O'shea/Innuendo Vs Frisko/Eddie P (Liverpool Vs Manchester)

 Wee Man vs Nitty Gritz (Bus Stop Battle)

Hope your enjoyed.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dealing With Trolls

If you partake in any kind of online writing, forum posting or using twitter then you will have come across some idiots who like to insult or pick fault for no reason. I don't just mean correcting your article or disagreeing with your point, I mean they launch a sustained attack on you personally. This has become known as trolling, often in debates people will provoke arguments or pick fault to gain further reaction.

Leo Traynor wrote a remarkable article about this subject that brings to life the issue of trolls online, you can read the full article here. What was most shocking about his encounter was the person at the end of the computer giving him and his family such abuse, a 17 year old friends son. This showcases the unfortunate side of the internet, often abuse and threats come in the form of a neatly written box of words. There is no face and your mind can wonder imagining all kinds of horrible scenarios about the offender. But in reality the majority of these trolls are bored and silly idiots who sit behind their computer believing this gives them anonymity. Leo went to a large amount of effort to uncover his troll but you will find troll outing is something people will help you with as was the case this week.

I can't say I often enjoy reading the news but this story was simply the best story I had read in a long time. English Boxer Curtis Woodhouse lost a title fight last weekend, an occasion that is difficult to manage for any boxer. On top of this he was recieving a number of messages from a troll who had a sustained campaign of hate directed at him. Instead of ignoring, blocking or simply tweeting back, Curtis decided to get his twitter followers to help him find the guys address. Offering £1,000 reward for an address he got this within minutes and proceeded to drive to the street he had been given. When he arrived he tweeted a picture which promted the terrified troll to apologise immediately and beg forgiveness. Curtis had solved the problem once and for all. They appeared in a rather uneasy interview on ITV which gave the troll a platform to apologise and warn others about following the same path. Curtis has since become a folk hero and many celebrities have shown their appreciation for his efforts, of course being a celebrity is deemed to be a vocation that trolling is simply something you have to live with. Curtis showed the world that you don't need to be a victim of this and called out his abuser to great affect. Of course being a Boxer he wasn't likely to find someone at the other end that frightened him, but it is an example of how turning the table of trolls often gets them to reasses their activities online. The other point being that there was never a threat of physical violence, Curtis wasn't saying he was going round to batter the guy, being a professional boxer he knows that he cannot use his skills in this way without losing his licence, he simply wanted to confront the man who had so much abuse to direct at him and ask him to stop.

The internet needs to remain an unregulated free platform for speech and opinions, but there is also something that says humans should have a certain level of decency. So if you find yourself a victim of a troll, try finding out who they are and call their bluff.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

New Pope Revealed

The Vatican is a place of tradition and everyone loves the tradition of electing a new pope. It used to be the case the cardinals were locked in until they reached a verdict but now they stay in nearby hotels. What's interesting about this time is that in spite of the fact the resignation of the incumbent pope was a surprise they didn't take very long to elect a new one. The media expecting them to take days will be dissapointed that they managed to decide on day two.

The white smoke blew out the chimney and a mass surge of people entered to stand awaiting the arrival of the new pope. Many thought that this could be an opportunity for the first ever black pope, with the religion booming in Africa this would have been a sensible approach with other areas catholic congregations in decline.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio

But it was not to be with the first Non European pope elected in over 100 years. An Argentinian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio who will be referred to as Pope Francis 1 from now on was an outside bet and will be recieved by mixed emotions for many European Catholics.

Competative Tiredness - A Couples Biggest fight

If you have a partner you live with then you will realise that bickering is something that can become habit rather quickly. A partnership works when both parties input the same amount of effort, unfortunately you can never quantify effort in a relationship without first understanding the psychology of the other person. Many married couples that have been together years often expect little from their partner, having assumed their respective roles a long time ago, any additional effort is seen as a benefit and treated as such when it occurs. This however is a long road and many couple don't make it beyond the beginning of the argument.

Living with Someone

Cohabiting the same space as another person can lead to conflict, mainly around paying for the services and accommodation, cleaning of the accommodation and use of the elements in the accommodation. First it may start as a niggle, they keep leaving the oven on after cooking or they perhaps don't ever use lamps preferring the glare of the main light. This quickly builds into arguments about frequency of hoovering, washing dishes straight after use so they do not become harder to do later or whose turn it is to take the bins out. If one is using the accommodation more than the other then this becomes a bigger problem as you would expect they should do more than you as they are there more often. Also add in the elements of who pays, if one person is working and the other not then the burden of financial responsibility is placed more into one hands than the others. The myriad examples of arguments possible is endless, but the route cause of the argument is the same. The reason for arguments of this type is because you value your own input more than the other persons. This is not a fair position to take but when new to a situation it is a common issue. There are coping mechanisms you can implement that are less rigid than the usual putting up a rota or having an agreement drafted by a lawyer. Two simple tools you can use to improve your situation are; Put yourself in their shoes and Always show gratitude. Putting yourself in their shoes is a simple one, ensure you can understand their point of view. Often by doing this you will realise the fact they have a tough time and you just take it for granted. Also by showing gratitude you are ensuring they feel appreciated and will actually make them more willing to continue doing tasks you may not want to do.

If you cannot negotiate and get to a good place in this situation do not add the following complications as it is not fair on anybody, especially any children involved. Either continue to work on it until your both happy or remove yourself from it and start again.

Having Children

This often throws a large spanner in the works, sleep deprivation shortens your fuse quicker than watching an episode of Question Time. When your focus needs to switch to your new child it is often easy to forget your partner, take them for granted or expect them to continue doing everything they previously did. This life changing event will mean your life will restructure and you will struggle to find a balance again. Some people feel this is a bad reflection on the relationship but its not, it is natural and negativity will also be something you child picks up on so stop being so down. Communication is key, without it you are basically like headless chickens trying to find the escape door. No matter how tired you are do not play the competative tiredness card. This is where you each take it in turn to tell the other how exhausted you are competing for sympathy from the other. This never works, you should recognise you are both tired and work around this by organising the tasks again. The person who goes to work may think they are entitled to some down time after work, think again. There is no downtime when a child is born, you need to be constantly on call and vigilant. The rise in divorced and seperated parents in the UK can be put at the door of thinking that the rut you are in will never end. But a child becomes far less intensive care as they grow and develop and so hope is there. What it also does is often change peoples personality, if you have a child you tend to stop doing activities you enjoyed as regularly and 90% of your conversations are about child rearing. This can be a source of friction and something that will fade with time, but once you do find yourself with time you may migrate onto others activities and hobbies. Changing in this manner may scare your partner, they may begin to think you are not the same, and of course you aren't. But remember that in a relationship those who are successful are people who can grow together and those that are not grow apart. The strongest will not be those who survive, nor the smartest but those who are best at adapting to change.

When you have a child you should remember that they are your main responsibility, your partner can look after themselves if needed so do not allow arguments or confrontations to spill into your child's world. It is shown that often a child from a conflicted home is less likely to develop social skills when they are older and it can lead to anxiety and other mental health difficulties if arguments are severe.

Working dynamics

The dynamic of working is often one that can make the other person feel under valued, taken for granted or pressurised. Of course the flip side to this is the dynamic of a relationship where neither party works and this is often very destructive as having time apart is a huge benefit to any relationship. Developing conversations and debates, sharing ideas and bringing outside influences into your relationship have to happen to help you further it and still have a sense of self worth. If both are working there is likely to be some competitive edge to your income, with the main earner seeing themselves as being a bigger contributor. They may feel they deserve more from the relationship because they provide more money, but this should not be the case. Earning is not directly related to effort and often the most stressful jobs are not well paid. You should never discuss the issue of earnings as a competition because you have made the choice to be with the person you are with. When you agree this you should commit to support and help emotionally, physically and financially if required. Of course this kind of financial integration should only occur once your relationship has passed the initial phase, I am not advocating that sugar daddies and high spending cougars is a good model for any relationship. Striking a balance in your career, which is something hugely personal to you, that allows you to support the other persons career choice is vital. Set goals and ensure you both discuss frequently where you wish to progress to in your career. Some people are happy at the level they are at, others may want more education and some may wish to put further effort in to secure promotion. Communication is key here, making the other person aware of your intentions and keeping them updated with how you are getting on or what your next moves are. Communication is not simply about telling the other person, it is also about listening. If you indeed listen well then you may even be able to support or help the other person by taking other burdens from them, utilising contacts or just being there to bounce their ideas and frustrations off.  If you support and help each other you will find that you naturally grow as a couple and can develop a much deeper sense of partnership.

In summary if you cannot successfully negotiate these then you are perhaps in the wrong relationship as you shouldn't really be getting as annoyed about it as you are. Admitting defeat is hard but can mean your future happiness is greater than if you attempt to rescue something that is not healthy. If you do negotiate these then your life will be easier and you will naturally filter into your own roles complimenting each other to run a well functioning and happy home.

Good luck.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Home Brewing Guide

So you are sick of spending so much money on water down beer from the supermarket and you fancy throwing a little party of your own? Well home brewing is a great hobby and it is relatively simple to do. The entire process from start to end will take around 4 weeks till the tasting begins but the work involved is around a few hours.

You will find complex instructions on how to make different types of beer and the taste you wish to produce but it can be broken down into 4 simple steps:

Sanitise your equipment
You have bought your kit and ready to go? Not quite. You need to ensure all the equipment is sterile before you begin, as it will be left fermenting for a couple of weeks it may start to grow mould if you do not properly sanitise the kit. To do this you can buy cleaning products and seperate the kit from metal and plastics. Metal can be boiled to sterilise but obviously plastic will melt so you will have to use a bleech based cleaning product.

This is the process of making your raw product, often referred to as the Wort, tasty sounding I know. Crush your grains and put your grains in a net bag (like a big tea bag) and place in your heated water for about 25 minutes. The water should be 2 litres and heated to 65*C. Rinse the grains with a further 4 litres of heated water and then you may discard the grains. Bring this to the boil before adding your salts or hops. This boiling should be left for around an hour, near the end of the process you can add your extract for taste (spices or fruit) and any aromatic hops. Add a further 4 litres of cool water and your yeast, placing it all into your fermenter.

Your fermentor will likely be a big plastic keg. This will have an airlock to stop air getting in and causing mould etc. Place your brew into this fermentor via the airlock and then close it up. Remember to store this in a cool dry place not in direct sunlight. The temperature should be kept constant to ensure best results so do not place next to fire or heating source.

After two weeks you will notice some bubbles around the airlock. This is an indication you are ready to bottle it up. Priming sugar is used to add to the mix before bottling. Once you bottle (ensuring they are sterile) you can put on the lids and store for a further 2 weeks. You may notice some sediment is at the bottom of each bottle, this is the yeast which can be very bitter tasting so either ensure well mixed or discard before finishing.

You are now ready to start the process again.

Well done enjoy getting drunk!

Google Glasses a Stalkers Dream

Your sat in a bar and you notice a pretty girl you wouldn't mind chatting to, you put on your Google glasses, grab a quick pic and do a facial recognition search, you get back her entire online presence including Facebook, handy she hasn't updated her privacy settings so now you know that she is a writer who enjoys walking her dog on the beach. You then Google some of her favourite authors, get a snappy quote and there's your in.

Might sound pretty far fetched but then I wouldn't rule out the technology being widely available within 5 years. Facial recognition search engines exist, they are for the most part, pretty rubbish unless your looking for a celebrity. But as more of our lives go online you will find that someone, somewhere will start to build a big database of all the pictures online and be able to offer an image recognition search engine, bad news for anyone with a dodgy past.

There are of course a few barriers to the plan of being able to do quick searches, like perhaps a decent internet connection. Even if your in Starbucks and using their free wifi the speed isn't going to be great so you may end up looking like someone that has delayed reaction, not a good look for a prospective new date. There also if the minefield of bogus information you get coming up whenever you attempt to search for a person online, do you really have the time to sit and go through 74 pages of Google search to find out that someone likes dogs? If you do then you lack any sort of personality, whats wrong with simply asking questions and getting to know someone the old fashioned way?

This video highlights the funnier side of using Google glasses to impress girls but I'm sure there will be far more malicious things that people do. The best advice is to remove anything about yourself from the internet that you wouldn't want a colleague, Uncle or Stranger seeing.

But be warned once you start using Google glasses there is a chance you will become addicted and it will become like a best friend that is ALWAYS there!


Thursday, 7 March 2013

World Book Represent

As today is world book day I wanted to bring to your attention the artful majestic writings of Douglas Adams. World book day is my second favourite day in the literary calender behind May 25 which is Towel day, a wonderful occasion whereby you notice other well read and likeable people carrying a towel with them.

Douglas Adams is my favourite author and I think reading his books from an early age created an imagination that quite often looks to sci fi for escape. He also opened my eyes to humour, I mean who knew it was possible to read words and actually belly laugh. At the age of 49 he was sadly taken from us but his writing is as relevant today as it has ever been. Not only did he write the Hitch Hikers Guide series of sci fi novels he also wrote a series about Dirk Gently the holistic detective a hilarious and dramatic series which never got the exposure it deserved.

On top of writing some of the most fantastical and other wordly stories he was also an environmental activist and often wrote in Newspapers about the plight of endangered species. He was a self confessed geek that also enjoyed the technology of his time and an atheist with some rather amusing views on organised religion.

His own beliefs were very potent in his writing with a hilarious side story about the search for god's final words on a planet where it had been carved into the side of mountain, it read "Sorry for the inconvenience" this to me hit a chord and should there ever be found a God exists I hope this is the type of thing they would say.

The most quoted number in the history of online writing is 42, the reason for this many people who use this number do not know. It was in fact the answer to life the universe and everything, such simplistic and complex writing combined in his writing to make you question the sanity of the human race which continues to destroy its own home and kill its own kind.

The Hitch Hikers Guide in his story has the words Don't Panic written across it's cover. Two words so strong in their reassurance and comfort that many people have inked this onto their skin, to be ever reminded in life that you should not panic. Wise advice indeed in a world so fast and furious it could make a Monk dizzy.

So if you have never read any of his work, you really need to go and read some, even starting with a google search which will highlight some of his article writing leading up to Hitch Hikers Guide which should be in every bodies book collection.

Lots of schools all around the world encourage children to dress up as their favourite characters from written books. This is a great way to keep alive this kind of art form and ensure that each generation has the ability and opportunity to escape the perils of childhood and let their imagination grow. If you want to stimulate an economy and have a productive society then reading is the tool which can enable this. Reading is an integral part of life and imagination is only limited by your imagination, so go and grab a nice book and escape your worries for a few hours and let someone lead you on a journey into their imagination, you never know it may actually inspire you.

So long and thanks for all the fish....

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Is Slating Justin Bieber a Valid Way to Promote your Blog?

For some reason Justin Bieber has a magic power over his followers to blindly attack anyone who dislikes him. They really are a crazy bunch of fans, probably very similar to what Beatles fans might have been like had social media existed to help fuel the stupid and insane antics egged on by their fellow keyboard warriors.

Not only has there been massive and sustained attacks on many Twitter users who dare to question the stars ability musically but there has only been campaigns to shave their hair because someone had suggested he had cancer, followed by the cut yourself to stop him smoking dope campaign. This has got to the point whereby parents need to start monitoring their childrens use of social media and get a grip on their childs sanity before it is too late.

In spite of the fact the kid is a singer who is given songs and fame by an industry that seems to have taken a normal middle class child and turned him into a celebrity monster that stalks your childs bedroom wall and wears his pants halfway down his legs in spite of his rather skinny frame. He has shown signs recently that he really does not care for his fans, turning up 2 hours late to a concert where the majority of fans are under 18 is irresponsible and how many parents had to sit in streets surrounding the venue waiting for them to finish? He also attempted to take some under 18 friends to a nightclub in London. Now I know some jetsetters get confused about what country they are in but seriously he comes from the US and can't even get into clubs there for another 2 years so what made him think that was the cool thing to do? I won't even mention the fact that the music industry has aimed him and his records at a demographic that is between 10 and 16 and yet he smokes drugs and drinks, something that he is entitled to do if he wasn't sitting on millions of pounds of other kids pocket money and setting a bad role model.

But perhaps there is something we can enjoy about this little fud, he is obviously a pretty good marketing tool for anyone who wishes to gain a bit of exposure. Twitter is a useful tool for information, unfortunately there is just as many people who like to cause trouble and tell lies. So why not try to write an article about him on your blog, tweet him using hashtag for beliebers and basically tell him what you really think of him. It might just get you a thousand new hits a lot of tweets and perhaps some comments on your blog. Not to mention the number of people who will use your link to slate you on their blogs, tweets and Facebook.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Are North Korea the Pioneers of Freedom

North Korea have been in the press alot over the last couple of weeks with a rather bizarre visit from Dennis Rodman and Eric Schmidt (Executive chairman of Google). The most strange however is the breaking news that Pirate Bay have been invited and set up shop in North Korea. The thought of a company which was hounded out of the apparently free speech and democratic countries of the West now setting up their servers in North Korea is surely a thing of fiction?

Well not according to the Logo which now features a North Korean flag on the sails of that famous pirate ship. If this story is true then it is a good finger up to the US who should have protected and embraced the pirate movement and not forced it underground. The exaggeration of those against pirate bay and similar online sharing facilities is that they cost the music and film industry millions in lost revenue, of course when I was growing up I frequently borrowed and lent videos and tapes with friends and this is just a wider extension of that practice. The main point for me is that to claim every download is lost revenue is ridiculous, people who download do so with things they probably would never pay for. Whether it be downloading an album to see what an artist is like or downloading a film that you thought was rubbish, you cannot possibly say that this is lost revenue. Especially considering that most music is free to stream online. If the US and those wishing to seek prosecution had gotten around the table they could have perhaps used this mechanism as a way to work with the industry, not to criminalise it and chase it away to North Korea.

For instance they could have offered free version of films perhaps with advertising that you could then purchase without the advertisements. They could have allowed you to buy a collectors edition of the film providing links so those who have a favourite might want to own a collectors item of that film. They could have used the feedback to improve the industry and stop the constant stream of poorly written and directed films that are pumped out and only made profitable by an awful advertising campaign sponsored by the corrupt media. But instead of trying to negotiate a way to get into this massively popular technology they just want it banned. Considering the Internet is not owned by any individual the thought of Governments censoring it makes my skin itch. Lets hope that North Korea are providing a base for them and that other countries learn something for a change.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Why people don't vote!

There is always a vote on somewhere. Either some politician is found speeding whilst snorting coke or another referendum is provided to the people to ignore. The problem is that due to our over populated calander folk just cannot be bothered to vote. During meideval times you just lived on the land of the local Lord and you got taxed dependant on what money your Lord needed. Usually they would keep increasing until you ended up working full time raising crops for the rich as your kids ate nothing. Since those times there have been many uprisings of people to gain the freedom to vote on those you wish to decide the laws of the land and the direction of the country. It has all become rather complex with different powers being devolved to different levels of government, local councils, devolved parlaiments and then the UK government who just seem to ignore what they promised and those who voted for them and make it up as they go along.

You would be lucky to find 50% of eligible voters turn up to cast their opinion in any election and the problem seems to be the feeling of utter hopelessness. Our media constantly warn us about different things that are definetly going to ruin your life, like economic policies that will make you homeless or immigration policies which will mean you job goes to some romanian gypsy. This constant bombardment of negative press and scaremongering obviously means half the people are hiding behind their couch covering their eyes and shaking like a junkie needing a fix. This however isn't the case in reality. Most folk just live pretty boring normal lives, they struggle to get the kids to school, then they go to some boring job and chat about TV with their colleagues until they get to go home and ignore their family some more as they watch whatever nonsense ITV has decided is a good programme to show at 9pm. People are bored of the lies, they don't see change, well not direct change that affects their life. Nothing tangible happens to most people so why should they bother to vote?

The other half, who actually do vote are mostly really passionate about why you should vote and go around with stalls and knocking on doors telling you who they think is the best person and how much better it will be for you if you agree and make that trip to the local school to cast your vote. They end up totally bewildered by those people who just cannot be bothered. They hate them. Its a bit like having a conversation between an athiest and a jehova's witness where they just cannot believe anyone could possibly be happy by just never thinking that there is perhaps a big omnipitent being making judgement on us all and directing the mundane existance we lead. People are very quick to judge those who do not vote as being poor or unintelligent but what they fail to realise is that they are all part of the problem. If you really thought about it all and wanted to grasp every detail very clearly you would need to do the equivalent amount of reading as you would to attain a degree in art history from Cambridge. I mean the amount of documents the different government parties pump out is absurd. What else is absurd is that in the day and age where i can happily sit in my front room ordering anything I could ever need from toilet roll to a vindaloo and a plasma screen TV we have to actually drive down to some school or library to cast our vote. And how do they know I am eligible, thats right i need to remember to take my voting slip with me. What a carry on all that is for the normal working person. Here's an idea why not just post pictures up with a 6 word sentence about them and let folk vote with facebook likes.

So how exactly do we solve this crisis in democracy, the same democracy we are saying is required by countries that we have spend billions bombing for the last decade. Well firstly we need to find a better way of voting that can perhaps just be a lot quicker and easier. We also need to have a really clear idea of what people stand for, the best way of understanding this is probably just some sort of bio of the person. I have no doubt had the last UK election had some bio profile for each politician David Cameron would not be as nearly important as he is today. After all he is perhaps the most privileged person to serve office in decades. Why would any white van man think that he was going to make the country better for them, knowing he is pals with a bunch of multi million pound businessmen. In the US they like to have a series of elections to whittle down the hundreds of candidates until the final vote where more people come out and decide on the overall winner. There is some merit in this at it appeases both those really into politics and also those who can't be bothered until the final game. Another idea that has been touted during the referendum agreement for the independence of Scotland is letting 16 and 17 year olds vote. Seems fair given they can get married and die for our country that we would allow them to vote. But apart from that it means that schools can get them all excited about it and perhaps this tide of apathy will start to turn. If someone begins voting they are likely to continue doing it, and the only way to break the cycle is to get a new generation of kids from areas with traditionally poor turnout to vote. In Schools there is a captive audience and the school can use the voting as a discussion point for many subjects not just history and social studies but also Maths, English, Science, etc all discussing the points that affect their fields in the coming election. This would then encourage more people to vote, and you never know some of them may acctually go and tell their parents all about it, and when they ask for the lift down to the local voting office the parents themselves may just pop in to cast their vote seen as though they are present. Let's hope the Schools embrace this and the success of this age category for voters is carried into other elections in the future. After all the mistakes a nation makes at the polls will haunt those youngest for longest!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Is TV that bad really?

The answer to that question is yes, it is that bad really. After watching Kelly Brook and Holly Willabooby on Celebrity juice it appears the UK television has now become some weird Japanese game show fest.

Coupled with Channel 4's determined exposure of peoples lives like they are some sort of freak show with the highly watched Undateables (a show about how amazing it is that disabled people can actually date using an agency) and the must see Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners (a show which puts OCD sufferers in dirty houses and see them clean it), it is a sad reflection on entertainment in the UK. Perhaps the recession and the desire to see people less fortunate than themselves fuels this glut of rubbish TV shows, for me its just laziness on the part of the TV stations. With profit the king then programmes need to be cheap and easy to market, often some of the catchphrases can go viral on social media and people watch, not because they want to see but because they don't want to see. Its like real life horror, watching in embarrassment between your fingers from behind the sofa as your cringe at the screen in front of you. Jeremy Kyle is the king of the day time schedule with his catchphrases and bear baiting of guests to ensure explosive viewing, from those poorly dressed guests he has on. Amazing that on a TV show with the size of budget they do that they often don't suggest wearing something a bit smarter, oh that's right they are going for shock not actually caring about the issues they discuss.

Shameless began 11 years ago as one of the most groundbreaking shows about social decay in the UK and now Channel 4 seem determined to exploit those less fortunate for viewing figures. With no commentary to help address any of the issues highlighted. BBC 3 has long been the backwater of reality TV with such shows as Sun sex and suspicious parents, disappointing from a licence fee subsidised channel that makes no money from advertising and should not be at the mercy of the grab a headline TV scheduling.

The only reality TV I want to see on my TV would be documentaries about wildlife, investigative journalism like Louis Theroux and the News. How often now are the stars of reality shows bigger than stars of valid contributions to the world. Also it seems even celebrities aren't famous enough and need to go on random panel shows to boost their celebrity status, like they value themselves by the number of hash tags they get.