Monday, 29 April 2013

Trust what you Eat?

Summer 2011, I was huddled on a park bench in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh getting my eat on with a sausage roll and a steak bake from Gregg's. Fast forward two years and we are in the middle of a huge food crisis, not a food shortage but a crisis non-the-less. The horsemeat scandal hit the headlines and highlighted the gross neglegance of our biggest companies, they literally lied to us to increase profits.

Food production is a difficult process, there are many rules and regulations of quality and safety conducted on food production in the UK. All that can be bypassed by simple import of meat from abroad, meat which is labelled as beef and pork could in fact be anything. The main problem is that price and demand for cheap meat products leads us to more and more risky adventures with our culinary exploits. Meat injected with water used to be the main complaint of cheap supermarket cuts, now it is whether you might find a hoof or a small mane nestling inside your pre cooked lasagne.

The resulting fallout from this crisis has been the total loss of trust from consumers, people can't believe labels anymore and the fines imposed on those found guilty of the lies are laughable. Pre-packaged meals and pastries are two of the main products hit by this mistrust, of course unable to see the meat it is difficult to ascertain whether it is indeed what it says on the tin. Those affected tend to be the least affluent in society, targeted with huge advertising campaigns to tempt them to eat cheaply, it is difficult to ascertain just what immoral individual would actually feed thousands with contaminated meat.

Gregg's the once most loved lunch time eatery for many working professionals has seen a massive decline in sales, issuing a profit warning ahead of their latest results.The fall has been blamed on adverse weather conditions, surprising considering the main product is a hot pastry you might have concluded sales would be boosted by the unseasonably cold weather. Whilst Gregg's has in no way been implicated

The good news is for local butchers and British farmers, who with increased demand have benefited. This impact will also be positive for our local communities and high street retailers who will see increased foot flow with less people purchasing meat from the large out of town warehouses, customer service is better, products are better and price is not as different as you may think.

Friday, 26 April 2013

10 Self Mirror Shots - Weirdest habit ever!

Today's ode to the self mirror shot is sponsored by the letter D, and the number 14. No idea when the trend for self shot images started but it won't seem to go away. Everyday there are thousands of self mirror shots taken, and for the life of my I cannot figure out why. I mean do you not have any friends that could take the pic for you? Are you really proud of your cluttered bathroom, or dirty bedroom and want to showcase it? Or perhaps it's because your taking naughty pictures, in which case get a camera with a timer because arm fat, or weird sideways poses aren't as hot as you think they are.

So we begin our images today with a nice tasteful fully dressed shot of a lassie in her mirror:

OK so you tidied your bedroom up first we see, good move.

We then move on to the Bikini shot, clearly you want public advice on the style, well here it is your swimwear is too small! However your painting of the elephant is really cool!

We then get into a little dress up, this time with a cool Sci fi Swimsuit, but even your dog is embarrassed, turning his back as if to say "Oh jesus really, you've taken like 40 just pick one"

Then we enter the world of irony, this time with an old school camera, clever. I like how the outfit goes with the period genre of your camera!

But your camera is too small, lets take one with an Ipad! Like that would ever fit in those silly little jean pockets. Perhaps you have an enormous handbag?

This guy has the right idea, if your going to be ironic do it with some serious old school props! 

In fact lets not even us a modern device what about a self pic that is hand-drawn? Well it isn't its a programme that makes it look like your good at drawing otherwise you would have looked like this!

If front pictures aren't good enough for you then why not try the reverse angle mirror shot.

Like you didn't know your arse was hanging oot the back of your jeans, that fake oops is kidding no one. Oh and you may laugh now but your dad sees this and your college allowance is stopped!

At the end of the day we all must ask ourselves if self mirror shots are really the way we wish alien life forms to discover us, all living in our lonely pods so devoid of human interaction we have to take our own pictures, a human race forever in the bathroom with their bums hanging out, making silly duck faces or faux surprise looks.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Be the MOST Famous YOU

In case you aren't a sports fan I should open by saying Manchester United won the English premier league on Monday. OK now you know that we can begin.

Clearly not a doppelganger

A nice little Indian man (I say nice I don't know him, but sure he is lovely) has received thousands of messages of congratulations on twitter. His user name is @RVP which many people who don't know how to use twitter properly, or couldn't be bother to check have discovered is not the account for Robin Van Persie, the talisman forward for Man Utd.

Whilst being highly amusing that so many have mistakenly identified someone as this world class footballer, it is just one of a recent number examples of problematic way in which the internet is used to identify people. There was plenty of falsely accused people after the Boston bombers as keyboard detectives surfed the net to find anyone looking shifty in any photograph taken near the scene of the crime. This caused extreme distress to innocent people, many who feared attack from some mob burning torches at their door.

An Iranian woman had to flee for her life, after her photo was used in connection with the shooting of a girl who decided to defy culture and attend school. This case was mainly down to lazy journalism, of course journalists now don't need to leave the comfort of their office to get a story, instead the trawl twitter and other social media asking for permission to use photographs in exchange for a byline. This means they are effectively trusting the publishing source, not a clever idea when the publisher source could be some idiot sitting in his pants stoned out their box making stuff up!

So all these examples of mistaken identity lead me to one conclusion, you must be the most famous person of your name if you want this mistake to never happen to you. Easy thing to do if you have a more unusual name, or a Hollywood movie contract. But spend ten minutes Googling your name and find out who is more famous than you?

Would the real Steven Hill please stand up?

I did, this was the results:

Steven Hill - Hollywood actor, although hasn't been in anything amazingly major my casting as James Bond could outdo him.
Steven Hill - Pottery, famous for making pottery doesn't sound too famous right?
Steven Hill - Porn star, was brutally murdered. Jesus i'm glad I wasn't mistaken for him right!
Steven Hill - Political Writer, funnily enough I have a politics Blog but doubt it is the same standard as this journo.

So there are five people I need to better to get to Page 1 of Google for my own name. At least I'm not called Jimmy Saville, that would be unfortunate.

Incase your still ready Van Persie has twitter account @Persie_Official.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Top 5 Crazy Football Antics

So today football (soccer) was shamed once more, not by fan violence but by the antics of a millionaire footballer. To think that someone with so much money manages to make complete tit of themselves is as scary as it is amusing. The problem with the majority of footballers is they lack the ability to understand their stature, they are role models to many and they are viewed by millions. Whether it is due to the high profile nature of the game, the lack of education of its stars or the fact brilliance and lunacy seem to be inexplicably linked. Here are 5 of the worst British football incidents as well as a showcase of the footballers talents

Luis Saurez Bite

Saurez has form for biting, having already served a lengthy ban for a previous bite he has been at it again. A likely lengthy ban will be imposed by the FA and considering his previous conduct I can't see much hope of him being in EPL for much longer. Sad as it is from a footballer that has some serious talents to offer and is undoubtedly Liverpool's only world class footballer.

Duncan Ferguson Headbutt

Big Dunc was a hard-man, back in the days of a powerful centre forward to play long ball to he was the best. Playing for Ranger's before moving down south he was a great example of a strong physical Scottish striker. The incident left him with a custodial sentence, perhaps the harshest punishment ever given for a football field incident, unfortunately it did not have the desired effect of stopping others, although much more likely to see a feigned injury than a real Glasgow Kiss.

Vinny Jones Ball Grab

Jones, now a Hollywood actor, was the hatchet man for his club. Every English team used to have one in midfield that would be given the task of keeping quiet any skill-full players. The game was far more physical previously and Jones was a master of the dirty foul. It doesn't get much dirtier than when he took Gazza by he family jewels and owned him during a league game.

Eric Cantona Fly Kick

Most footballers would love to have a scrap with some fans, after all they sit for 90 minutes screaming abuse at you. Eric 'the king' Cantona decided he was going to do just that and his acrobatic fly kick marred what was an amazing footballing talent.

Eden Hazard kicks ball boy

More recently the off field antics of one silly little ball-boy was somehow used as an excuse to get Eden Hazard off from his kick. The ball boy was said to have proclaimed his time wasting plan on twitter prior to the game, however regardless of this literally kicking a boy is pretty disgraceful behaviour. The incident was swept quickly under the carpet and Hazard is now proclaimed as a top talent, but like so many others he has a nasty streak.

So let's weigh up the relative punishments for each offence and see if we can decipher what is likely to happen;

Suarez first bite - 7 match ban
Ferguson Headbutt - 3 months prison
Jones Ball grab -No Action
Cantona Fly kick - 120 hours community service
Hazard Kick of Ball-boy - Red Card

So from that we can assume that Saurez will either get a lengthy ban, a prison sentence for repeated offences, or a movie deal. Consistency was never a strong point of football.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Top 7 Sci Fi Villains

A Sci fi film like any other tends to have good guys and bad guys, not often is a galaxy or future imagined as conflict free. Having a good bad guy makes the feature immeasurably more enjoyable, how many of us sit around routing for the bad guy? There are traits that are required to be a good villain; Ruthlessness, technology, intelligence and charm. There are thousands of villains in sci fi but I have selected a list of 7 of my favourites for you to enjoy.

Michael Kenmore

Species – Wraith
Origin – Stargate Atlantis
The wraith are a classic evil race which has enslaved an entire galaxy of Humans and treat them like cattle, vampiric in style they suck the lifeblood from their victims through their hand. Much darker than previously encountered villains in Stargate their Gothic appearance, based on Hellraiser and their vampire style attacks brought a new dimension to the Stargate franchise. The Hive ships they used were akin to Aliens and their intelligence made them formidable foe. Michael was a wraith which had been reverted to Human form using a special anecdote but when he returned to his wraith he became a constant thorn in the side of Atlantis and was conflicted between his human and wraith side, this internal inbalance making him both volatile and explosive.

Scare Factor - 5
Smart Factor - 4
Kill Factor - 3
Likeable Factor - 2

Hal 9000

Species - AI System
Origin – 2001: a space odyssey
Hal 9000 is an AI unit on a space ship with a mission order. Tapping into our fear or reliance on technology for space exploration Hal is the perfect example of computer going rogue. Capable of self-interest and a control of all systems makes this villain both extremely dangerous and cruel. Of course the subject of machine vs man is a sub-genre in itself of sci fi, the difference with Hal is the ability to manipulate actions. Unlike other machine attacks which are all out warfare, HAL uses logic and intelligence to manipulate the crew.
Scare factor - 4
Smart Factor - 5
Kill Factor - 1
Likeable Factor - 1

Borg Queen


Species – Borg
Origin – Star Trek
The borg are a decidedly dark race first seen on Star Trek The Next Generation and have been the most formidable enemy of the Star Trek federation since Khan. A cyborg race controlled by a desire to assimilate all lifeforms into their collective the Borg had the intelligence and technology far superior to any others, assimilating technology from races giving them the most advanced technology. The borg queen was the central head of the Borg race and provided an enjoyable dialogue with the brilliant Captain Picard, who was also assimilated into the Borg Race.
Scare factor - 4
Smart Factor - 5
Kill Factor - 4
Likeable Factor - 1


Species – Scarran/Sebacian half breed
Origin – Farscape
Scorpius is perhaps the longest serving villain in a Sci fi series, constantly providing a hated enemy in Farscape. Scorpius is intelligent, evil and has the masterful skill of survival, often seemingly indestructible. The enemy of John Crichton the Human who find himself in a different universe and imbedded with technology of worm holes he has some classic dialogue with both scorpius and the implanted neural clone Harvey. The comedic element of scorpius gives him the edge of craziness that any good villain should have.
Scare Factor – 3
Smart Factor – 5
Kill Factor – 5
Likeable Factor – 4


Origin – Alien
Species – Human (Mainly)
Ripley was part of a crew that stumble across an alien race, the alien race did not take kindly to this intrusion and began to use the Humans as hosts for their babies.  Ripley ruthlessly slaughtered many of these aliens and the mother (or so she thought). Ripley is both cold, aggressive and gun ho with her attitude to alien encounter
Scare Factor - 2
Smart Factor - 4
Kill Factor - 5
Likeable Factor - 0
Boba Fett

Origin – Star Wars
Species – Clone
Boba Fett is an emotionless bounty hunter working for the evil Jabba the Hut and alongside Darth Vader. With no army or gang as such he is a cunning deceitful bounty hunter who captures Han Solo to return him to Jabba. His back story as a clone is revealed in the prequel and adds depth to his heinous ways.
Scare Factor - 1
Smart factor - 5
Kill Factor - 3
Likeable Factor - 5

Gaius Balter

Origin – Battlestar Galactica
Species – Human?
The problem with Baltar is that he is inherently selfish to the detriment of all others, his selfish acts knows no bounds, as he plays a significant role in many deaths. His constant inner turmoil comes across as a mental health disorder but his strong sense of self-preservation manipulates others around him. Highly intelligent he is able to gain positions of power with ease, the conflict of self-preservation and humanity makes him a dangerous villain.

Obviously all my villains are based in space travel Sci fi and not the fantasy realm. Feel free to comment your own views, opinions and villains.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Google Glasses - Help for Prosopagnosia Sufferers

If you read the titles your probably thinking, I wonder what that is. Well Prosopagnosia is a brain disorder that means you lack the ability to recognise faces. The potential facial recognition software and the usability of Google glasses provides some real help to those who suffer from this. It also opens up a valid debate about technology and the linear view of the media in reporting on such advancements. 

Privacy campaigners would have you believe that perhaps the use of this technology would be to invade the privacy of people you encounter, to stalk people or a myriad of other immoral uses. What they fail to realise is that this kind of technology is clearly helpful to many who may suffer from a huge number of different neurological conditions. Various parody videos would have you believe the main function of Google glasses is to stalk women in bars or ignore girlfriends when on a date but in practical terms there is a valid use for this type of technology.

Imagine the benefit to those who cannot recognise faces to have a name appear in writing on encountering them, this would pull down all kinds of social stigma that is attached to these types of disorders. There is also a real benefit in those suffering amnesia or degenerative memory conditions like Alzheimer's who would have the ability to recall memory, in both written and pictorial detail. Of course the first step would be the development of the technology on a platform that is open sourced to developers who can then utilise the tool to fit the needs of the audience they are hoping to benefit. 

The flip side of the argument is that technology that puts a barrier between yourself and the real world is perhaps going to increase mental health conditions which become more apparent when disassociating yourself from the real world and real people. This is not to be ignored, technology addiction is a serious problem not just from the isolated party but also to wider society which suffers from the lack of input of residents who would rather isolate themselves behind a computer screen as a valid form of communication. Using technology to create lists and reminders may seem like an easy and useful tool but without proper cognitive training your brain is likely to revert to reliance on your technology rather than forcing yourself to improve your cognitive ability. This is where conventional medicine and treatment need to keep pace with the technology and lifestyle choices of people, techniques to help keep focus on counteracting any negative impacts these technological enhancements may have.

The resulting outcome is in fact that technology advancements are not inherently evil, they are not invented for a specific reason but perhaps along the way build a momentum as more interested parties identify the opportunity that exists in their invention. This group of interested parties won't all be good and ethical parties, they may indeed have rather immoral plans for the technology. Like anything in life the item itself and creator of the item cannot be held responsible for the misuse of the item, they also cannot be expected to be beholden to all the different uses for the product. In the same way people use everyday objects to threaten, maim and murder the makers of a Lamp can't be held responsible. Technology should be embraced and the benefits should be highlighted to ensure the technology is advanced in a direction that can add real value to our lives.

Social Commentary in Sci Fi - Elysium

Neill Blomkamp brought us the apartheid commentary laden film District 9 which was a great example of sci fi that is not just senseless special effects. The skill of Blomkamp is his ability to imagine a world in the future set against current and past topics of social commentary.

The film Elysium which is out this summer featuring Jodie Foster and Matt Damon is sure to be a sci fi fan must, but will the social commentary have been left aside in favour of his ever increasing budget for effects and 'A-listers'. Picking up on the popular 99% movement of recent years this film is set in a future in which the 1% have abandoned the planet to the 99% and taken refuge in luxury. The seperation of the 1% physically from the earth is portrayed as being a catastrophic event which left the world as an over populated baron wasteland and Elysium as an eden style paradise.

If we can believe the acting of Matt Damon and the story has enough depth to really get the point across this could be a delight, but if nothing else at least we get to see some cool spaceships on the big screen!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Mobile Phone Signal - How Annoying

The news from Southampton today made me smile. A Falcon has decided to next on a Vodafone phone mast and this has meant it has been shut off until perhaps June or July. There are two reasons that make this story great, firstly we as a species develop too fast for the planet we reside on, bit like flies on a poo we take over and destroy everything in our path. The outrage of people who hear this story fill me with glee, I mean the birds natural habitat has this mass structure put up so we can send a text asking what's for tea on the train home instead of waiting the 13 minutes to find out first hand. The fact the company decided to shut it down I suppose is something although I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have if they didn't know the media would crucify them if they did anything else.

Secondly it makes me wonder that if in Southampton you have a bunch of people desperately trying to get a single bar on their phone. The phone signal is that modern day curse that can leave you looking like a frustrated bear with an itchy back. Some of my favourite ways people try to get signals are:

Putting it to your temple

Putting your mobile to your temple boosts the signal through your own brain waves making you more likely to get a signal....NO thats total bullshit you moron. You would not believe the number of people who believe this. Seriously tell someone it's a fact and see how many try it.

Standing on a chair

Unless your stood outside then this is a stupid idea, go stand next to the window or go outside it works better. Standing on a chair in an office block with three floors above you just makes you look moronic.

Rubbing it on your thigh

Remember when batteries used to run out, your parents would take them out rub them together and put them back in somehow getting a few more minutes of juice from them, it doesn't work with phone signals.

Getting the person next to you to turn their off

I once had a friend ask me to switch my Vodafone off because his Orange couldn't get a signal. I told him to stick to a land line, we are no longer friends.

So perhaps Southampton is now full of people desperately scrambling to stand on chairs and fighting for the space to get a good signal. Perhaps they should just go out and buy a bird to deliver their messages by flight it may be the future! And on the bright side with no phone signal there will be countless relationships still on the go because one of the parties can't send that break up text!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Smart Phones the New Lighters

I go to a lot of gigs, really i do (check my music reviews if you don't believe me Vinyl Puppet) and the one thing I have noticed as I age is that at some point in history we all decided that you can't hold lighters up it must be a smartphone.

So the first step in this weird transition was in fact the banning of smoking from inside, meaning if you raised your lighter indoors your likely to thrown out like some weirdo who would dare pollute the fresh aroma of sweat, vomit and spilled alchohol. The banning of smoking indoors has resulted in a large number of people giving up smoking, not only that but there has been numerous advert campaigns to highlight the danger of smoking cancer sticks, I mean cigarettes. So why would you have a lighter if you didn't smoke, unless you were a full time arsonist or perhaps some survival camper who can't be bothered rubbing sticks together.

At the same time as smoking went from the coolest thing you could do to being the equivalent of taking a shit in someones kettle there was a dramatic race in the technology world. Not only was it enough that you could now phone someone on a device anywhere in the world, apart from that one place in your house were the signal gets sucked down a black hole. They went on to invent the camera phone, the worst invention since glass for ruining your privacy. I mean really you now have to be aware that on any night out anywhere doing anything someone is going to picture you doing it and then upload the picture to social media and tag you in it. What happened to the days of walking up remembering nothing about the previous night and happily going along your way with no recollection, now you wake up and tentatively check those 14 notifications you got on your Facebook and the three texts from your mum telling you she no longer considers you a blood relation.

So camera phones became cool and massively available whilst lighters went from the tool for cool to being a health hazard. Then it began to encroach on your enjoyment of music:

Your at a gig and you have a guy stood in front of you, this guy is pretty tall but "thats ok" you stand to the left slightly peering over his shoulder, the band comes on "wow yea great amazing", guy gets his smartphone out and begins to film it. "Whats this weirdness?" you ask as you try to peek through the gaps in his stupidly thick arms. You also notice he ain't even watching he's watching his camera to ensure he gets a good shot. "What A prick this dude is" does he have some mental illness that makes him disassociate from everything unless he's watching it on a TV screen. "Listen mate mind not filming it's getting in my view" you ask politely and he replies "Stand over there then" he replies without dropping the camera. "Look you idiot just watch the gig and stop filming it, nobody is going to think your the next Speilberg with shoddy camera work like that and nobody will view it on youtube because all they will hear is me abusing you and get seasick from your shaky hands" The next thing you end up tagged in a facebook photo lying on the ground bledding as a tall bloke towers over you with one hand pointing at you and the other pointed toward the stage.

So in essence it's not cool to use camera phone at the gig, the whole point is that you paid to see a bit of history, use your brain to record the memory because believe me watching a repeat on your tiny resolution camera will never be as good as remembering it from your mind, that gets better with age. I like that bands have now started asking people to not use them, in fact they should make it mandatory, not for copyright issues or any of that nonsense just purely because it shows you lack imagination and we already live in a world with too many gadgets, if you want that kind of experience then watch a video on your phone and donate your ticket to a real fan.

You've now read that argument thinking yea your right it is a stupid trend. Well here is actually the best argument for not using smart phonesat gigs, when you used to drop a lighter it would break costing you a total of 45p (like a quid these days) but a smartphone would be a lot more costly, not to mention if you saw a smartphone sliding across the floor at a gig likely that it would end up being stolen, all your videos of all those gigs gone, not to mention that topless shot you did for your ex!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Blakes 7 - The next Battlestar Galactica

The news that Blakes 7 is in production does not come as a surprise for many who see the recent success of other rebooted franchises getting a great reception. Sci Fi Channel commision of this programme is sure to take it in a much different direction from the original BBC programme that aired in the late 70's. Of course technology and effects have moved on since then but there is also a desire for dark sci fi shows with many favourites having a much darker feel than the original.

Battlestar successfully pulled this off with a much more adult version of the show than the original dealing with many themes from sex, drugs use and religion and its overall dark bleak outlook was recieved well by the majority of fans. Of course the 70's and 80's sci fi shows lacked the big budget effects of today's shows and relied heavily on comedy and fun, sci fi was aimed at a much younger audience than today's shows. With the original Blake 7 having a PG rating and shown before the watershed it is unlikely they will keep the show at this demographic. The BBC have a strong link with sci fi and still to this day are having global success with their Dr Who franchise, but being a nationally owned operator does unfortunately have some drawbacks in terms of darkness and budget. The Sci Fi Channel is likely to allow the show the type of creative freedom that will see it move forward and whilst sharing a name with the original it will no doubt be completely separate from the storyline and characterisation of the classic. Perhaps Vila Restal (The only character to appear in every original episode) will be rebooted as a woman, of course a twist like this will alight the forums of sci fi fans across the globe and create a buzz, one of the clever marketing tricks that Battlestar pulled off.

Batman is a great case study of a franchise that shot to fame after a dark makeover. Perhaps its because those sci fi kids that the shows were aimed at are now all more realistic 30 and 40 years olds who would rather some realism in their tv shows, or perhaps its because the world seems a far bleaker place in 2013 than it did in the 80's. Whatever the reason be sure to watch out for developments, castings and trailers to be drip fed to us over the next 12 months

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Farscape on the Big Screen?

Farscape ended in 2003 and left a rather large hole in the lives of many fans. Having come to a conclusion of sorts at the end of the peacekeeper wars it was always known this was the goodbye for the fans of the show. But recently the co-creator Rockne O'Bannon hinted there may be life left in the franchise yet, having recently released his new show Defiance he was asked about the farscape franchise and he admitted he would like to revisit that world but it would most likely be in movie format, siting the success of Firefly movie serenity.

Interestingly he mentions the poor exchange rate as being a barrier to any revisit but given the fan power of this TV show I'm sure they may resurrect it. So much will depend on their own success of subsequent shows to prove to a studio they are indeed worth the investment, so look out for defiance because it may be the only way you'll ever see farscape again.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Paolo Di Canio - Politics and Football

Di Canio first came to the UK and joined Celtic in Glasgow. When discussing political beliefs in football Glasgow is perhaps the most political football city in the world, having over a hundred years of football steeped in the history of sectarianism and Irish politics. This has taken the form of chanting, singing, fighting, parading and even murder. So it seems like an appropriate place to look at how important politics are in football and should individually held beliefs matter?

Di Canio was found guilty of using a Nazi salute to the crowd at a game for Lazio and afterwards was quoted as saying he was a fascist but not a racist. Di Canio denies this and says he was misquoted, he also began his career at Sunderland saying he would not talk about politics but would rather discuss football matters. The press have created a huge furore over his supposed political beliefs and the resignation of Miliband from the board at Sunderland was an example of overreaction at its worst. I'm pretty sure the guy isn't going to start preaching fascist material in the weekly match day programme, in fact I am certain he is likely to never mention the word again. What it shows us is that people are all too often judged for thoughts, how many other EPL managers are likely to be asked about their political or social beliefs, given the huge salaries most of them command I can't see them representing the same political allegiances most of their fans do, especially in the North of the country. So why the witch hunt for this one guy? Partly it is because everyone is sick of the merry go round of managers, Martin O'Neill is a proven manager with terrific record so the issues at Sunderland are unlikely to be fixed by a relative novice in the manager stakes. But I also believe that we have perhaps gone to far in trying to monitor what beliefs people hold, if he was to begin preaching or trying to convert fans to his beliefs then would be the time to act but to criticise him not to do with his ability at his job but rather something he did as a younger man and has already said was incorrectly reported on is ridiculous. So for once rather than the media try to further add fuel to the political fire in Football can we all just calm down and see what he does over the remainder of the season.

So lets celebrate Di Canio as a footballer. Not only was he a master at skill, he also showed the world what sportsmanship is on more than one occasion. He is likely to fail in keeping up Sunderland who without their main scorer and captain are likely to be relegated to the championship.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sci Fi - is TV now better than Film

It used to be the case you had to pay to go to the cinema to see the best actors with the best effects. Now you can get HD streamed right to your tablet and watch it anywhere in the world. This means that there is now bigger money in TV than in movies. HBO were the best at creating movie like TV shows a decade before the rest of the Networks cottoned on that this was the future. Now you are likely to see A list actors appearing on the small screen for years. Part of this is due to the handsome money in it for them, guaranteed future work and great exposure.

This rise in TV status has meant we have seen a shift of genres from big screen to small screen. The ability to tell a decent sci fi story in 90 minutes is a skill, but it all too often leaves fans waiting years for a sequel that never quite captures the magic the original did due to the time lapse between. TV shows on the other hand can shoot series continuously if commissioned and then let you watch 60 minutes of brilliance one after the other until you can no longer stay awake. This rise in TV budgets has meant many of the best Sci fi creations over the past 10 years has been on the small screen. The movie industry has taken a back seat with big budget effects and seem less likely to take a punt on an idea than they previously might have been, instead investing in countless sequels, remakes and the latest craze of re-imaginings which take an idea already done and try to do it better ignoring the original completely.

Lets put to the test the top five Sci Fi TV shows of the last ten years vs the top five sci fi films and see if we can't agree that the small screen is in fact the place to be for sci fi.

Battlestar Gallactica VS District 9

The remake of battlestar was well received and made you almost forget that the original Starbuck was in fact a womanising man instead of a maninising woman. District 9 was a socially commented alien movie that featured some amazing effects along with some great acting. But lets look at the elements and the winners of each.

Originality - District 9 (alien apartheid wins easily as Battlestar was a remake)
Acting - Battlestar (some heavily established names made the acting believable and dramatic)
Depth - Battlestar (in spite of district 9 being a great social commentary Battlestar was able to delve deeper into the issues of Human and AI existence)
Effects - Battlestar (the space battles and jump motion camera is stunning)
Overall - Battlestar was an epic success and wins this hands down.

Children of Men vs Life on Mars

An equal pairing featuring some great acting with little in the way of big budget special effects. Children of Men had some epic fight sequences whilst Life on Mars was more a TV Drama that had sci fi back story.

Originality - Life on Mars (Time travel is much more original than post apocalypse surely?)
Acting - Children of Men (The cheesy British cop thing wore old in Life on mars)
Depth - Children of Men (The story was emotionally evocative and played on our fears of future society)
Effects - Children of Men (The fight sequences were both powerful and immersive)
Overall - Children of Men was a great example of hard hitting future imagining.

Dr Who vs X-Men

Including here are all the different version of the X-Men and their spin offs. Dr Who is the most successful British franchise TV show and X-Men is the the biggest comic franchise so seems like a fair battle.

Originality - Dr Who (Hands down due to the unique storyline each week)
Acting - X-Men (This franchise has some of the biggest names in acting)
Depth - Dr Who (Dr Who is able to touch on far more of societies issues)
Effects - X-Men (The explosions, flying machines and make up are just wow)

Overall - Dr Who because if it wasn't on I'd miss it and I always live in the hope that they will cast the DR as either Idris Elba or Bruce Campbell (can you imagine how good that would be).

V vs Cloverfield

V is a remake of a alien invasion series from the 70's and Cloverfield is a blair witch project of sci fi. Cloverfield was a unique shot film with a low budget whilst V had a big budget from the start.

Originality - Colverfield (Hand held camera of alien landing is pretty unique)
Acting - V (They had some established movie actors enter the small screen)
Depth - V (great commentary on racism and politics)
Effects - V (No contest given the USP of cloverfield being a handheld camera)

Overall - V wins this one easily against a good movie that if you managed to not get sea sick whilst watching on the big screen you were doing well.

28 Days Later vs The Walking Dead

These two are at opposite ends of the zombie imagining, one is a virus that causes rage with superhuman strength and speed, the other is the George A Romero style slow walkers. Both enjoy huge cult following.

Originality - 28 Days later (The opening sequence of a man in hospital wondering a baron land perfectly captured the post apocalypse feel a zombie movie should)
Acting - 28 Day Later (It doesn't have fake accents)
Depth - The Walking Dead (Have you seen the press coverage about its commentary on gun control?)
Effects - The Walking Dead (close up zombie killing at its best)

Overall - The Walking Dead because the new style fast zombies are too scary to imagine so lets stick with the old slow walkers.

So there we have it, TV wins overall and I think going forward the gap will widen further as TV is seen as the pinnacle for actors and Production companies.

I'd welcome your views and opinions or if you think I have missed out a favourite of yours let me know. I'm in the camp of Small screen but willing to be persuaded otherwise if merited.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

T-Shirts - Display your belief

It seems that showing off your particular interest in a movie or a musician is acceptable dress wear in society but that overtly Christian or other religious wear is deemed inappropriate and opens you up to criticism. Sad as this is it is an epidemic in our society to hide faith and never discuss your own beliefs. Particularly in male circles you find that a conversation down the pub is never quite the same once you pronounce your belief in a God, seeing others edge away from the bar leaving you alone with your rather flat pint. 

This trend of hiding your faith is an awkward result of recent terrorism and world conflict that has been done under the guise of religion. Whilst people are quick to judge a crime on the religious belief of the perpetrator they seem to not pause for thought that evil can use religion in this way to marginalise belief. The answer is to hold a firmer grip on your faith and to proclaim it in a more enlightened way. With no positive messages coming from our organised mass churches that media want to take any notice of, preferring to dwell on the outrageous actions of a few that represent that faith. A positive message is a message of love and understanding, to be tolerant of all views but to ensure that your own conviction is not tampered by anxiety or fear. A belief is something that should be shared and enjoyed by many, whilst not aggressive this is often dismissed as trying to convert others. Why can a man not relate their daily experience to that of Jesus in a conversation without cries of preacher at his door? All to easily people are missing out on the chance to engage with the words of different faiths because of this subtle undertones of discrimination.
So to proclaim your faith silently but effectively you can revisit your wardrobe and enshrine your belief in a T-Shirt. A bold proclamation of faith without words, a proclamation of faith that is clearly visible , thought provoking and one that cannot be dismissed with angry words. 

There are two ways of doing this with either a modern twist on media with Christian message
Or perhaps a more subtle message that will provoke action to others who may then go and research your message and find God. 

However you wish to display your faith you should do so with pride, if questioned about your faith use it as an opportunity to repair the damage that evil has done to religion and perhaps you will help some others find their way to God.