Friday, 29 August 2008

spEak You’re bRanes

spEak You’re bRanes is the best idea for a blog I've seen for a while. In their own words....

"This blog is dedicated to the dribble-spattered lunacy of BBC "Have Your Say" discussions. Part of me thinks that the right-wing "blogosphere" of America is encouraging its slow readers to get over to the BBC and add their ill-informed opinions… but another part of me fears that the sample is actually more representative… perhaps the majority of people in the world really are this awful and stupid."

Here's an example....

Many here claim that gays are born that way! Let’s for a moment accept that. In a few years or many years later the following say that they’re born that way and are God’s children too:

~Murderers, serial killers, mass murderers
~Rapists, serial rapists, gang rapists
~Paedophiles
~Necrophiliacs
~People indulging in bestiality

WHERE DOES humanity draw a line? Or is it just a case of ‘enough’ people of a particular type getting together and demanding acceptance from the majority? Tell me!

[KING-of-the-APES], Rumble in the Jungle
As Andrew says, “Rather beautiful really. Acceptance of homosexuality is a slippery slope to people murdering kids and then knobbing the corpses. While giving a dog a handjob.”


I like to imagine that when KING-of-the-APES board a bus, he grabs the driver by his lapels and shouts “WHERE DOES this bus go? Do you stop when ‘enough’ people of a particular type ring the bell? Tell me!” Because that would just confirm that he’s an orangutan’s oozing uterus.

Middlesbizzle vs. Da Potterz

A genuine contender for the funniest thing you'll see on the internet.

"I ain’t know shit else about these smokin’ Stokin’ motherfuckers. I heard they wear red, white and yellow and gots some red-headed forward. Shit, when dat motherfucker pulls on his jersey, motherfucker must look like Ronald McDonald and shit. Bet yo’ motherfuckin’ ass my man Mido will be bum rushin’ him for a quarter-pounder with cheese."

Link

Beeeeeeeez

Uh-oh! This is how The Happening started.

"The British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) says a record one in three of the UK's 240,000 hives did not survive the spring.

The problem is nobody is sure why the bees are being wiped out in such huge numbers."

Link

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Film Review: The Strangers

If there's one thing I hate more than shitty films, it's liars.

Sadly, The Strangers is both.

The super-serious narrator at the start tells us that, "What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the F.B.I. there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005 Kristen McKay and James Hoyt went to a friend's wedding reception and then returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."

This is bullshit. What it actually appears to mean is that, at some point in time, somewhere in America, some people were murdered. What the narrator should have said is, “you have seen this already.”

What we know for sure is that the real-life Kristen and James were probably not as good-looking as Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, two improbably attractive people who arrive at James' uncle's holiday home late at night.

Via a couple of flashbacks we learn that, earlier in the evening, thinking that Kristen would be in the right mood to accept his proposal after a friend's wedding reception, James popped the question. Kristen rejected James’ puppy dog enthusiasm, but for reasons never fully explained, they decided to go along with their planned vacation anyway.

The unhappy couple sit around mumbling and sighing for 20 minutes before there’s a knock at the door from a weird teenage girl. James sends the girl on her way just as Liv realises that she’s run out of fags. James, determined to resurrect his chances of getting laid, heads out to get some, blindly ignoring the fact the mysterious girl is still waiting at the end of their driveway.

Just as Liv begins to kick back with some Joanna Newsom records, she hears scratching at the window and knocks at the door. So discombobulated is she that she forgets to call 911 and it’s not long before she’s in full-on Jamie Lee Curtis mode being chased through the house by two girls wearing doll masks and a lanky, wheezing asthmatic with a carrier bag over his head.

The strangers disappear just as James returns home. But it turns out he’s the weak, silent type who can’t even dispatch three shambling weirdos when he’s armed with a shotgun. The masked pursuers occasionally pop their heads up and James tries to play whack-a-mole with his firearm but it’s not long before he’s disarmed and the pair are tied-up and stabbed to death.

All that sound familiar? If so, that’s probably because it’s almost identical to Michael Haneke’s Funny Games that was given a US remake only a few months ago. Funny Games was just as unremitting but at least Haneke’s film sought to critique itself, the genre and the audience’s complicity in the violence as some sort of moralistic satire. The Strangers is just a two-hour wank from first-time director/writer Bryan Bertino that pales not only to the classics of the genre (Straw Dogs, The Desperate Hours) but to any of the recent run of killing-for-the-sake-of-it home-invasion creepfests like Vacancy, Wolf Creek and Ils.

Bertino fails to add any flesh to the blood of Kristen and James, to establish the gang's logic or even to adequately present the layout of the house, garage and garden. Without any of that, there can be no scares, no catharsis and no suspense. And, indeed, there aren't. We know they both die. So all we’re doing is watching two people get really scared for two hours. Bertino doesn’t seem to understand that there's only so much nihilism an audience can take without some sort of relief.

But even the sick, brainless fucks who get their voyeuristic kicks from watching hapless victims get stalked and tormented won't get off on anything here. There’s no gore and, ultimately, very little physical violence. To present itself as a true story is a crass misrepresentation of the truth undertaken only to set internet forums aflame with gossip. Yes, I know Fargo did it, but The Strangers is no Fargo.

Instead it’s fraudulent from start-to-finish, a despicable practical joke. I’d like to say that I really enjoyed this lightweight, lazy and derivative movie. But then I’d be lying too.

Badu on trial - What Do You Think?

The Boro Six sound off about the news Boro have offered a trial to Ghanaian... erm... sensation Emmanuel Badu.

Link

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Richard Dawkins and his hate-mail

Middlesbizzle vs. Yo! Ville Raps

Even the title is genius.

"Yippee yo yo yo, my nigga S-to-tha-diggy-dizzle gots his ass a little confused, y’all. My nigga tryin’ to kick so many motherfuckin’ scores, he been tellin’ his motherfuckers to bust that shit in they own nets. God damn, nigga, y’all gots to stop this crazy shit, for real. My motherfuckin’ pyramid lovin’ motherfucker M-to-tha-dizzle can’t be bailing yo’ asses out all the motherfuckin’ time."

Link

Friday, 22 August 2008

Liverpizzle vs. Middlesbizzle

"Shit, my nigga Gareth just keeps representin’ motherfuckers from across the globe. He done copped some mad Dutch and French motherfuckers and now my nigga South-diggy-diggy-dizzle done rescued this young buck from the land of drive-bys and bad traffic. If Justizzle Hoytizzle’s skills done shine like his Rolly, he gon’ be some crazy motherfuckin’ player."

Link

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Welcome to London!

Terence Eden was stopped at what looks like Waterloo station for a random stop and search. He had the presence of mind to record it on his phone.

I love how the cop flicks through Terence's book. Presumably looking for words of TERROR!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Boro land Hoyte - What Do You Think?

Ned Griffin's response is a work of utter genius.

Link

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Setanta Sports News phone in

I'm going to be on Setanta Sports News around 7:45pm tonight, talking to Steve Claridge about Boro's 2-1 win over Spurs yesterday and what I think the season has in store for Gareth Southgate's team.

Tune in if you get the chance.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Oh Schteve....

Escape from the limelight to try and rebuild your career as a progressive, forward-thinking football coach. And then you do this.....

Mickey Mouse arrested at Disneyland

32 Disneyland workers, some dressed as characters, have been arrested at the Disneyland Hotel, where they are striking for improved wages and benefits.

Link

Friday, 15 August 2008

Snoop's back!

I thought he might have gone forever, but Snoop's previzzles are back for the new season.

"Yo, big dizzle ain’t claim to be tha most knowledgest motherfucker when it comes to roundball, but shit, even the S-N double-O-P knows y’all need a motherfuckin’ goalkeeper to win some shit. Big Snoop been watching motherfuckin’ goalkeepers come and go this motherfuckin’ summer, even dat chubby motherfucker from these Jewish fools woulda been better than what yo’ asses got: one crazy ass New Zealander look like a motherfuckin’ schoolboy and some other rookie cracker."

Link

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Police break into wrong house, leave note with fridge magnets

Police in Oldham broke into Aaron West's house, while searching for a criminal. Rather than leaving an official note or apology after trampling his back garden and smashing down his door, they used the magnetic letters on the fridge to spell out OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED.

Link

Monday, 11 August 2008

Red Eye's back for the new season

Hopefully he'll stick around for longer than last time.

Anyway, it's good to see the panel back to the original six. The layout with three of them was uggggggleeeee.

Link

Spanish Olympic basketball team

They just don't get racism in Spain, do they?

Link

Game Review: Unreal Tournament III



My review of Unreal Tournament III is up on Planet Notion.

"Arriving eight months late on a console positively bursting with decent first person shooters and lacking key features available on preceding versions, omens weren’t good for the 360 port of Unreal Tournament III."

Read the rest here

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Field Day

I went to the second ever Field Day yesterday. Despite the constant rain, I had a terrific time.

But I would say that, while the organisers have impeccable taste in music, they clearly have no idea what to do with 10,000 people, because there were, once again, problems with the logistics of the event.

The organisers got tremendous flak last year for providing about four toilets and as many bar staff. This year, they can claim they got the number of bar staff right – I didn’t queue for longer than 2 minutes at any point.

Trouble is though, being served more beer makes trips to the toilet more regular and, once again, they were a shambles. To be fair, the male toilets were fine. The girls though, were forced to wait for up to 45 minutes. Smart girls had realised that the guys weren’t using the cubicles and were sneaking in amongst the men. The organisers cottoned on and decided that moving the cubicles and the surrounding wall would be a more intelligent move. It served no purpose other than to cause chaos for twenty minutes. If they’re to put the festival on for a third year, they need to be kinder to the ladies.

The biggest problem though, was the lack of communication about artist withdrawals and timetable changes. El Guincho, Cut Copy and Dirty Projectors all dropped out beforehand and, on the day, it turned out that Dan Deacon and Mystery Jets had done the same. Deacon had had his passport stolen and Blaine Harrison from Mystery Jets had complications with his spina bifida. Both have my sympathy, but the organisers really needed to tell us.

It meant Lightspeed Champion was bumped up to the main stage, which caused havoc with the smaller Homefires stage. Someone put up a hastily scribbled new timetable on an A3 sheet of paper by the stage, but unless you knew where to look - and given the amount of umbrellas, seeing the acts on the stage themselves was hard enough - that really wasn’t good enough. The changes also meant Jeff Lewis and Of Montreal clashed, which was seriously annoying.

The sound systems were a massive improvement on last year, though the shitty weather seriously tempered the enthusiasm of the crowd. On Homefires, Tunng and Jeffrey Lewis took advantage of a break in the rain to bring some joy to the soaked Londoners; on the main stage, only Laura Marling and Les Savy Fav managed to excite the masses. Under the shelter of tents, there was real enthusiasm for Brodinski, Mae Shi and Crookers. My day was made by Jeffrey Lewis's Crass-heavy set, Les Savy Fav living up to their reputation as one of the world's finest live acts and The Field putting on an insanely brilliant show.

Overall, I had a fabulous time, but with London’s weather so utterly unpredictable and Tom Baker’s team still not proving that they know what to do with 10,000 people, I’d be surprised if most people didn’t decide just to buy a ticket on the day next year.

2008-09 season preview in The Observer

I wrote a piece about Middlesbrough's chances for the new season in today's Observer.

"Julio Arca's injured, Mido remains unfit and Southgate appears undecided as to whether it'll be the useless Brad Jones or the inexperienced Ross Turnbull picking the ball out of the net."

If you can't be bothered to head out and buy a copy, you can read the rest of it online.

Link to the article

My pessimistic approach doesn't seem to have gone down that well with some of my fellow Boro fans. We'll see who's right in May.

Link to a rather hilarious Fly Me To The Moon thread

Friday, 8 August 2008

GoateeSaver

"Just chomp on this bit and then you can shave around it for perfect results every time. And you adjust three rollers's width, flawlessly conforming to your face, and also to your notion of what a real goatee looks like."

As soon as they do one of these for sideburns, I'm so buying it.

GoateeSaver.com

Thursday, 7 August 2008

3.5lb hotdog

Available at HillBilly Hotdogs in West Virginia, the Homewrecker is "a 3.5lb weapon of cardiovascular mass destruction. They start with a deep-fried 15", 1-pound dog and top it with peppers, onions, nacho cheese, chili sauce, jalapenos, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw, tomatoes, lettuce, and shredded cheese. Assured intestinal wreckage will run you $14.99. Finish it in under 12 minutes and you get a free burial t-shirt. Do it in under 4 minutes and your family will have an extra $14.99 for the funeral."


More info at Al Dente

Link to HillBilly Hotdogs

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Hand drawn maps

I'm seriously digging the Hand Drawn Map Association.

Apparently this one was drawn by Jeff Werner to "point out to curious Balinese villagers the size and orientation of Canada and the United States."

Hand Drawn Map Association

Monday, 4 August 2008

Film Review: The X-Files - I Want To Believe

There are two reasons why The X-Files will never be remembered as the groundbreaking television series that it was:

1 – It went on for five years too long.
2 – Both X-Files movies have been absolutely fucking diabolical.

That said, 1998’s Fight The Future is a work of genius compared to this ill-judged abomination.

We hook up with Mulder and Scully six years after the last X-Files episode, which ended, let us not forget, with the pair on the run from the government after Mulder had been wrongly tried for treason.

Overlooking that minor detail, Scully is now a paediatric physician and Mulder is a hermit who still enjoys sticking his pencils to the ceiling and scoffing sunflower seeds. Much as he was in the TV show, then, but now sporting the worst beard imaginable.

A local FBI agent has gone missing and the only clues are coming from the addled, apparently psychic mind of paedophile priest Father Joe (Billy Connelly). Agents Dakota Whitney, played by the smokin’ hot Amanda Peet, and Mosley Drummy, played by Xzibit (yes, Xzibit), are set up as the 2008 class of X-Files sleuths.

The unlikely pair call upon Mulder for help because he has experience dealing with psychics. Peet actually name-checks a few psychics Mulder worked with in the show like Clyde Bruckman and Luther Lee Boggs, presumably to remind us of the days when The X-Files was actually good. Given a light prod about his missing sister – who, the writers have clearly forgotten, is actually dead – Mulder agrees to help, with Scully, of course, dutifully in tow.

As it turns out, some pesky Russians (what’s with Russians becoming the de facto baddies in this summer’s Hollywood releases? Is it 1985 all over again?) are harvesting body parts for some Frankenstein-esque experiments that are never fully explained.

And, well, that’s about it really.

No UFOs. No aliens. No government conspiracy. No monster. The only thing vaguely supernatural is Billy Connelly’s psychic paedophile priest. It doesn’t feel like The X-Files at all.

At its best the show was thrilling, spooky and often terrifying, these qualities are entirely absent from this deathly boring film. It’s a sub-par episode stretched out to fill the interminable 100 minute running time.

Duchovny and Anderson do their best – they still possess an undeniable on-screen chemistry – but they can’t redeem this worthless film. Peet and X to the Z are even worse than the Robert Patrick/Annabeth Gish pairing that brought the curtain down on the show. But they’ve both been so painfully miscast that it’s easy to have sympathy for them.

The blame for this slow, leaden-footed build to nothingness must lie with writer/director/producer/creator Chris Carter. Releasing such a rotten film upon a fanbase that remains obsessive is an ugly manipulation of people who clearly care more about his work than he does. By extending the TV series two seasons past its natural conclusion, Carter has form at taking the piss out of his fanbase, but even during its season nine nadir, the show was never this bad.

After a blazing techno version of the X-Files theme and a quick burst of UNKLE’s Broken, there’s a weird post-credits scene with Mulder rowing a small boat while Scully poses in a black bikini. They look up and wave as the screen fades to black.

Are they saying goodbye?

If this is the best the creators can come up with, let’s hope so.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Film Review: WALL•E

You’ve got to hand it to Disney.

Not content with releasing a film that blatantly insults 90 percent of their customer base, they’ve also crafted a movie that warns about the dangers of consumerism while constantly trying to shift merchandise to under-10s.

Truly their balls are to be admired, if not their hypocrisy.

WALL•E is set in 2805 with Earth in a bit of a pickle. We learn that by 2105, humans had fucked the planet up so badly that the entire population was evacuated so that a clean-up operation could be launched. Humans were ushered aboard a fleet of outer-space cruise ships by Buy N Large – the global corporation who run every facility on Earth, including government – where all conveniences and amusements are provided. Back on Earth a crew of Johnny 5 lookalike robots called Waste Allocation Load Lifters – Earth Class (WALL•E), were charged with the task of returning the planet to a liveable condition.

By 2805, Earth is in such a dire state that what was intended to be a five-year hiatus has now stretched to seven centuries, leaving only one WALL•E unit still operational. Due to the extended period of activation, he’s become sentient. So while he continues to diligently turn rubbish into neat cubes he also collects useful stuff like discarded WALL•E parts and a plant seedling, which he replants in an old boot. To wile away his rather lonely existence he watches a VHS of 1969 musical Hello Dolly obsessively.

A sleek modern Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE) robot shows up, sent by the cruise ship Axiom to search for signs of life on Earth. Despite looking like a cross between an iPod and an egg, WALL•E falls in love with her upon first sight; unsurprising really given that his only company for the last 700 years has been a cockroach.

Discovering the plant, EVE enters a state of hibernation and heads back to the Axiom, with the smitten WALL•E not far behind. Aboard the Axiom we get a look at what humankind has become – corpulent, lazy slobs, who ride along in hoverchairs (centuries of reduced gravity have caused the human skeleton to become weaker and smaller), gazing at personal video screens that serve up all their entertainment and communication needs. They eat continually, sucking food from plastic cups through straws, while being barraged by adverts urging them to buy and eat more (“Consume again soon,” a cheery voice calls out). They are, in short, the denizens who right now are wheezing their gargantuan asses around Disney World.

EVE attempts to present the plant to the Axiom’s captain, Captain McCrea (voiced expertly by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin), as proof that Earth is actually inhabitable but finds it has been stolen. It turns out that a few of robots aboard the Axiom don’t fancy allowing humans to become independent of them again and are prepared to sabotage a journey back to Earth. While being chased around the ship by security bots, EVE learns of WALL•E’s feelings for her and soon begins to feel the same way. McCrea, meanwhile, becomes quite fascinated with the idea of returning to Earth and battles with his robotic co-pilot Auto (voiced by Sigourney Weaver) for control of the ship.

Of course, this being a Disney film, WALL•E, EVE and McCrea win out and the Axiom returns to Earth, with the captain promising the other humans farms, hoe-downs and presumably inbreeding too.

If the second-half of the film sounds trite and hackneyed, it’s because it is. But a weak finish isn’t WALL•E’s biggest problem; not since 2004’s Crash has a film so brutally beaten its audience over the head with its message.

We get it. Our ecosystem is fragile and needs to be protected, our species pollutes the Earth wantonly, and advertising and consumerism have become insidious and out of control. These are fine, noble messages, but the irony of a branding-obsessed, merchandise-spewing goliath telling us this is not so much delicious as sickening. Maybe Disney are concerned that people are becoming too fat to squeeze onto their rollercoasters.

And, besides, the film’s message is largely confused by the ending. It’s unclear how these slovenly, pudgy, near-boneless blobs would actually thrive on Earth, let alone be able to rebuild civilisation.

Which is all a real shame because the audacious, dialogue-free opening third is a spellbinding, truly one-of-a-kind passage. While the character WALL•E is a masterclass in non-verbal communication, conducted with all the expertise, wit and precision that you expect from Pixar.

But if I want to watch an hour-and-a-half of environmental propaganda starring a loveable, harmless robot, I’ll stick to An Inconvenient Truth, thanks.