Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

Great article on the BBC mentioning charities that are up in arms about new TV show “in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer”
Apparently they reckon it is dangerous to tell people that prayer has cured their diabetes & cancer.

I may surprise you here. Brilliant. We need more of this. Get them on BBC1 at 7 o’clock on saturday nights. Think of the possibilities that will benefit society!

First, anyone foolish enough to believe this rubbish will of course die. If they are going to put faith healing by a conman on a TV over advice by a doctor, hospitals and science then lets get them out of the gene pool before they pollute it any further.

Next, it helps the NHS! In this time of austerity the NHS is desperately overcrowded and underfunded. Lets encourage the fairy tale followers to not clutter up wards and surgeries, but to rely on Bishop Simon Iheanacho laying on of holy oil, exorcisms and battling the “snakes in the body” and leave the hospitals to the rest of us.

So we had a great Halloween, zombie walks in support of NSPCC and stuff. The one blemish on an otherwise great time was our booking for the Scream Factory 2012 extreme tour – essentially a horror walk in some woods late in the evening.

Now before we start, I’m sure it was a great event, lots of volunteers, all had a good time, huge success, and everyone who could get to it before it closed said it was great fun. But (you knew there was a but coming didn’t you) First of all after promoting online sales as cheaper than on the door tickets they dropped the price of door tickets to even cheaper, and offered no refund for the difference, then they cancelled the Friday and Weekend shows due to bad weather, despite the FAQ and the terms and conditions of tickets clearly stating it will operate in all weathers.

Anyway, no problem, stuff happens – we all appreciate that. Just give me a refund. Which they agreed to do both via facebook “due to unforseen circumstances today, we have had to close the doors. Tonight will be the last night. We will sort your refund out. All I can do is say we are really sorry and we are really upset our end as well” and via email. So I awaited my refund…

…After I had heard nothing for a few days I chased the refund. Only to be asked

“Please could you send me your account number sort code name of bank and name on card and i will sent [sic] the money soon as.”

I apologised but I refused to send my complete banking details to someone I do not know in an insecure email. (I’ve also turned down what seems like a nice Nigerian prince who keeps emailing and offering to transfer a millions dollars if I just send him my details!) I suggested either making the refund through the original booking website they promoted for advance bookings, or I suggested acceptable alternatives were via paypal, or send a cheque to my home address. I have even suggested a postal order.

Only to be told they do not have a cheque book, could not use paypal, and no longer had access to the booking website, but they did assure me me that they would delete all my banking details after they had used them!

Really?

Is that the best an events company can do?

Essentially – “Sorry we broke the T&C’s of the event and can you send us all your bank details?”. Sorry but that just ain’t gonna happen!

So with them already promoting their 2013 “Carnival of Carnage” I’m looking forward to much fun on twitter and Facebook as I will be sure to pass comment on their booking system, ticketing prices, all weather capabilities, communications and business payments. Although you never know, I might actually get my refund by next Halloween!

According to the local newspaper, the Gazette, the event was the brainchild of “flood restoration specialist Stephen Tate“, who can be found on LinkedIn here and runs his own company Restoration Force

You do have to wonder about a chap in the business continuity profession who doesn’t even have a reliable plan for coping when his event is weathered off don’t you? Hardly a glowing recommendation for their ability to cope with fairly predictable weather conditions in the North East in Winter. Nor is it a massive endorsement of their business practices that they need all your personal banking details to make a payment!

The email exchange is of course ongoing. Apparently a cheque is now possible, but only when the chequebook holder returns from abroad…

+++UPDATE+++
15 mins after posting this I received my payment via paypal…

So Ridley Scott has signed up to make another Blade Runner film.

 They’re still not sure whether it’ll be a sequel or a prequel yet. I guess the accountants haven’t figured out which will generate enough cash.

 But it got me thinking. We still look at 30 or 40 year old films as the height of science fiction film making. Whilst technology has allowed film-makers to portray their imaginations on the big screen it seems to have gone hand in hand with a collapse in orginality and invention.

 I had a look at total films top 100 SF films of all time according to Total Sci-Fi online

1

 Blade Runner

1982

2

 2001: A Space Odyssey

1968

3

 Star Wars

1977

4

 Alien

1979

5

 Metropolis

1927

6

 The Day the Earth Stood Still

1951

7

 The Terminator

1984

8

 Planet of the Apes

1968

9

 E.T.

1982

10

 Solaris

1972

11

 Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1977

12

 Forbidden Planet

1956

13

 The Empire Strikes Back

1980

14

 A Trip to the Moon

1902

15

 Aliens

1986

16

 Silent Running

1972

17

 Brazil

1985

18

 Akira

1988

19

 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

1982

20

 Total Recall

1990

21

 The Matrix

1999

22

 Tron

1982

23

 The Thing

1982

24

 RoboCop

1987

25

 Jurassic Park

1993

26

 Invasion of the Body Snatchers

1978

27

 A Clockwork Orange

1971

28

 The Fifth Element

1997

29

 La Jetée

1962

30

 Sleeper

1973

31

 The Fly

1986

32

 Terminator 2: Judgement Day

1991

33

 Westworld

1973

34

 Mad Max 2

1984

35

 Return of the Jedi

1983

36

 Back to the Future

1985

37

 WALL-E

2008

38

 Fantastic Planet

1973

39

 The Man Who Fell to Earth

1976

40

 Things to Come

1936

41

 20 Million Miles to Earth

1957

42

 The Abyss

1989

43

 Quatermass 2

1957

44

 This Island Earth

1955

45

 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2004

46

 Delicatessen

1991

47

 Dark Star

1974

48

 The Andromeda Strain

1971

49

 The Omega Man

1971

50

 Stalker

1979

51

 Tetsuo: The Iron Man

1989

52

 Escape from New York

1981

53

 The Invisible Man

1933

54

 It Came From Outer Space

1953

55

 Godzilla

1954

56

 Invasion of the Body Snatchers

1956

57

 Minority Report

2002

58

 Alphaville

1965

59

 Gattaca

1997

60

 The Fountain

2006

61

 Them!

1954

62

 Videodrome

1983

63

 Logan’s Run

1976

64

 Ghost in the Shell

1995

65

 Repo Man

1984

66

 Children of Men

2006

67

 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

1991

68

 Outland

1981

69

 A Boy and his Dog

1975

70

 Mad Max

1979

71

 Donnie Darko

2001

72

 Soylent Green

1973

73

 Cube

1997

74

 Moon

2009

75

 Dark City

1998

76

 Starship Troopers

1997

77

 A Scanner Darkly

2006

78

 The Quiet Earth

1985

79

 Invaders From Mars

1953

80

 Fantastic Voyage

1966

81

 Barbarella

1968

82

 Fahrenheit 451

1966

83

 Twelve Monkeys

1995

84

 Event Horizon

1997

85

 Independence Day

1996

86

 Altered States

1980

87

 The Stepford Wives

1975

88

 Serenity

2005

89

 Dune

1984

90

 Primer

2004

91

 Explorers

1985

92

 THX 1138

1971

93

 Star Trek

2009

94

 Flash Gordon

1980

95

 Galaxy Quest

1999

96

 Cocoon

1985

97

 Stargate

1994

98

 Predator

1987

99

 Trancers

1985

100

 Rollerball

1975

Now while I am sure we’ll all have different opinions of individual films, the gist is correct. But when you compare it by the year they were released… (click image for a better look!)

The 80’s were clearly a halcyon time for SF, 15 of the top 100 classics were between 1980 and 1985, with just 11 since 2000. (and they had to include WALL-E to get that!)

Now the film studios quite clearly favour style over substance, which is a shame, and bad business. Good films with crackign stories are timeless and from their point of view generate income for decades. You only have to look at the longevity of the original Star Wars or Blade Runner. I wonder if originals like Cowboys and Aliens or endless remakes of Planet of the Apes will still be dicussed when they are 40 years old?

 

With all the chaos of revolutions, quakes and wars going on, a piece of news may have gone un-noticed this week.

Nicholas Courtney, better known to many as simply The Brigadier died aged 81. I’ve been listening to my collection of Scarifyers radio shows, in which he stars as Inspector Lionheart, and every time they bring a smile.

I heartily recommend them to you if you’ve ever enjoyed lovecraft, Dr. Who, Doc Savage, Quatermass or Bulldog Drummond. Fantastic rollicking adventures. A marvellous actor who brought serious entertainment to many.

There aren’t many actors who after 30 odd years can still be remembered for a phrase, and I am sure MI-13 and U.N.I.T will be worse off for his passing.

“5 ROUNDS RAPID!”

Another review! It’s been a while since I’ve done one.

Headed off to the ARC at Stockton for the now annual Wildcats Christmas party. Usually a good affair with a blend of beer and jump around Irish fiddle music. Not sure what happened this year, but it just wasn’t happening for me.

Kicked off with the usual packed bar and expectant atmosphere, everyone piling through the doors at about 7.50pm. At which point we waited, then we waited some more. Eventually a young girl crept onto the stage as the support and did a couple of covers on her own. I couldn’t make out her name as she mumbled between songs which was a shame as she had quite a singing voice on her. Acoustic versions of slowish songs not the best support plan though when an ever more inebriated crowd awaiting some raucous fiddle music… after about 20 minutes she headed off to a pretty good reception, all things considered. Then we went back to waiting.

Like any crowd, the audience indulged itself whilst waiting, and I’m sure plenty of beer was bought. Certainly seemed that way by the amount on the deck which now had the traction of the roads on the Yorkshire moors in the recent cold snap.

So the band arrived on stage at gone 9.30pm. Now I’m sure big bands need plenty of time between acts to set up, change back drops etc. but this is the ARC in Stockton going from essentially a busker to an oversize pub band. How long does it take?

So we finally launched into the music, all standard fair, although I thought lacking some of their usual verve and enthusiasm. Till just before the break we had a heartfelt anti-war, in the trenches, Siegfried Sassoon type song accompanied by a scrolling list of the war dead in Afghanistan.

Now of course any death due to enemy fire is tragic. But to use their names in the way is a bit disingenuous. These were professional career forces personnel. I’m willing to bet they were proud of their accomplishments, their units and of their military life. Whilst I’m certain forces families, especially those that have lost loved ones wish for peace – as do most forces personnel (which incidentally is not the same as all). But to use their names in a thinly veiled anti-war piece feels wrong. We should remember and pay thanks for their sacrifice. Honour their memories. Not use them as an emotional underlining to get a sentiment across.

So, as you can imagine, I wasn’t having a great time at this point. Enough so, that I managed to persuade those I was with to head on at the interval… never thought we’d do that at a Wildcats gig…

Wildcats on Myspace

John Lennon has been dead for 30 years today. Lots of comments and memories all over the internet.
Not really my cup of tea most of it, but certainly innovative and interesting. (and I’m sure he would love his stuff apperaring on iTunes and adverts now…)
…but to paraphrase some lyrics that I agree would be a good start

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today …

…Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us

Imagine, John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980)

Rather than yield to my usual pessimism and cynicism I thought some pointers towards websites run by friends that I often visit. Varying subjects but all well worth browsing…So, in no particular order I give you…

First up, Timmy Conflicting Interests. An old friend (or should that be a friend I’ve known for a while?) that I’ve managed to re-connect with recently has a blog on his interests of wargaming, living history and re-enacting (battering people with a historical slant…) A varied walk into Tim’s (on the left) broad interests is a very easy read (you can tell he’s a teacher… good grammar and all that!) and is updated regularly to keep you interested!

Also from Tim is the Spirit of the Game. A hub dedicated to gaming and the various game systems they have written or use. Loads of good stuff and resources to use, or just good fun to read!


Next up is the English System Principles (ESP) Martial Arts.

Darren has been involved with English Martial Arts for longer than I certainly care to remember, progressing from student, to assistant and now instructs in the South Essex area. The website carries a wealth of information and links to the bulletin board and forum. If you ever fancy some physical history, backed up solid principles and research then well worth a visit. All round nice chaps too!

As they say…

E.S.P. is a school of martial arts based on learning and using certain universal principles and truths in order to fight effectively. Its origins are firmly rooted in the teachings and practices of medieval masters, running ‘schools of fence’ both for practical defence and fighting for ones life and country.

There are techniques deciphered from ancient historical texts and plates that have been thoroughly tested and shown to provide solid defence under pressure.

However, the real heart of the system are The Principles and the truths inherent within, coupled with truths and practicalities inherent to every fighting system, laid bare and explained – as a science, rather than a mystical art.

Lastly for this post, Milgeek, a blog of his…

obsession with things military, including my airsoft hobby, family history in World War 2, military gaming, defence news and much more.

For any of you (myself included) this is a fascinating blog of the geeks rampage through Airsoft, computer gaming (especially the shooty variety!) and military history, usually family orientated). With a extra dose of current military matters thrown in for good measure. An entertaining and informative read, and always on my favorite links list on any browser! [although his airsoft stuff needs to be backed up by some more time on the battlefield 😉 !-get better soon]

Well there you have them. All regular reads of mine, and I heartily commend them to such fine discerning readers such as yourselves… after all, you can trust me…right?

[to all the guys – hope you can forgive the blatant ripping off of your graphics and quotes!]

Someone on Britains-Got-X-Pap-Idol-Talentless-Factor has decided to sue.

Well it was always going to happen I suppose. The woman, who volunteered to go on the show reckons

…illness affects her hearing, wants to bring an employment tribunal against BGT and Cowell for disability discrimination.

Now I’m all for anti-discrimination for serious stuff, you know, racism, sexism, ageism (obviously we can persecute Gingers, I’m not stupid…), but surely if you go on a talent show, and display a lack of it, you are going to lose? It’s a contest, thats the point you useless tone-deaf moron. It’s like the England poofball team demanding a replay and a 5 goal handicap for Germany because they’re talentless ponces, then suing the German team for humiliating them by sticking even more goals in the net.

I especially loved this bit…

..She told Sky News she simply wants her dignity back…

I think that ship has well and truly sailed, and she was happy to wave it off when she thought she was on to a good thing. Now she’s adding moneygrasping legal ambulance chaser to her list of uselss, talentless, tone deaf, unrealistic, fame-chasing wannabee biffer.

She said…

“I haven’t asked for a penny for myself. [she has, £2.4 million actually] If I’m awarded anything at all it will go to the charities that I support that help the suffering of animals and people

What? Like all the people who suffered having to listen to a howling screeching witch suddenly thrust onto their TV without warning?

Get a life, and maybe some self respect…

For those of you that still have an active imagination I would like to recommend some audio treats. I have been a big fan of radio, especially comedy but also good drama, for a long while. I realised that for some of my favourites which I have subsequently collected on cd I have lost count of the number of times I have listened to them…

Anyway these are a few of my favourites…

Old Harrys Game
Andy Hamilton’s comedy of life in hell, particularly the first 5 series from the point of view of the Professor who is banished there for his staunch atheism. The comedy often revolves around Satans futile attempts to convince the Prof of mankinds base immorality, or later on to try and stop the overcrowding problems in hell by returning to Earth to help mankind mend it’s ways!

Hut 33
Set in one of the outlying code-breaking huts at Bletchly park during the Second World War. The comedy revolves around the hapless 3rd Lieutenant running the hut, the stuck up Oxford Prof and the working class hero northern maths genius… Listen out for the Polish resistance fighter Minka whose propensity for violence knows no bounds for Germans (“Off to the wood… dig, dig, bang, bang…”)

The Scaryfiers
I only discovered these last year. Ham filled tales of daring-do set in the 30’s as Insp Lionheart of the Met and Prof Dunning take on all manner of demons, ghost, ghouls and foul fiends intent on nefarious deeds. If you love Lovecraft, Sherlock Holmes or Doc Savage then this is for you. There are free downloads on the website, try them out – the trailers give a good feel for the pace and wit of the stories themselves. They even managed to get Brian Blessed to star in the latest story!

The next instalment “the Secret Weapon of Doom” is due for release this summer. I will have it on pre-order, what better recommendation can I give?

Although unlike most other musical tastes I have, I’ve always loved the KLF. A big fan of the Illuminatus trilogy that had a profound effect on their work, and thought their spoofing of the Turner Prize was an act of artistic chaotic genius. Artists? Con Artists? nutters? or possibly all of the above….

Anyway, found this again and remembered how much I liked them, so decided to share

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