Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Movie / Film Review - Lions for Lambs

Went to the cinema the other night to finally see the Bourne Ultimatum, an excellent film. Whilst I was waiting for the film to come on there was a trailer for the latest Tom Cruise turd, "Lions for Lambs" - can you see which direction this is going?
I think that the last thing the world needs at the moment is anymore American films about Iraq or Afghanistan. No matter how good the intentions of the film maker are (in this case Robert Redford - pretty well known for being an outspoken Democrat) I think that the only films that can really begin to approach this topic are going to be real films about real situations shot in a realistic way that takes a balanced approach to the views of the middle east and the western world. There certainly seems to be an extreme shortage of such films when they are needed this most.
Ok, it's maybe a bit harsh to call this a review of Lions for Lambs when i've only seen the trailer but I must admit i've got a very good instinct for spotting a steaming hot turd of a film from a mile off and this has a vapour trail a mile long.

I've said it before and i'll say it again, Cruise needs to break free from the mould if he really wants to get his paws on an oscar. Lions for Lambs just isn't the kind of films that's going to do it. From his recent film choices it would seem that he's just not really interested in it anymore. Cruise needs to get to grips with playing a homosexual role or a down right bad guy, or even better a down right nasty homosexual that dies at the end of the film. Now that would get him an oscar. It certainly won't be playing some Tom Cruise plays a senator playing Tom Cruise roll??
So, i'll certainly eat my words if Lions for Lambs turns out to be the greatest film ever but I think that anyone who catches even the trailer will agree, it just looks terrible....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

World Politics, Naomi Klein, Consumerism, Anti-Capitalist Movement, Man Good or Evil

What a blog topic if ever there was one! It may be a heafty topic for a Thursday afternoon but I was reading an article on the Beeb regarding a lady called Naomi Klein. It seems she wrote a book called "no-logo" and she's a pretty big advocate of the anti-capitalist movement. I'm not so much moved to talk about her, more that reading about Naomi Klein has made me think just for a moment about the whole big picture.

Growing up as a kid in the 80's was a bit depressing I must admit. There was the obvious unemployment, boys from the blackstuff / bread mentality but beyond that was a child's constant fear of nuclear war. We had things like Raymond Briggs "When the Wind Blows" to contend with and although there was the optimism that it would never really happen, it was always something at the back of your mind growing up. I think the main political theme that I was aware of as a teenager was the battle between east and west, democracy and communism, freedom and oppression. I also guess that in a funny way - probably similar to those growing up in the first or second world wars - I thought that if freedom and democracy won this battle, there would be a bright great future and there would be an end to conflict completely. A bit like the Iraq war, what happens when the battle is won more important than winning the battle at all.

Probably the most important lesson to learn from all of this is not so much that democracy is far from perfect, more that everything cannot be neatly divided into black and white like many people would have us believe. Bush would have us believe that the war on terror is a case of good vs. evil but it's not. No more than the struggle between the IRA and the UK was a struggle of good vs. evil. If that were the case, McGuiness and Adams being in government means that evil has won, yet there's currently peace in NI?

It's maybe true that history's winners get to write history itself (I guess you just need a few select mates at Wikipedia these days and you've done it!) but leading back to Naomi Klein I think it's quite easy to see capitalism as the big evil of our time. I feel though that the problem isn't the neo-conservatives taking advantage of poorer countries and peoples, it's more that mankind quite simply isn't as nice as we'd like to think it is!
People on the whole think that they are alright, nice people who keep themselves to themselves and do little harm to anyone. We watch Tribe and Planet Earth and think that it's a shame that societies and animal environments are dying out. The truth is though that we're all responsible for what is happening in the world, we are better off because someone else is worse off and it's something that some people seem to have a hard time acknowledging.

For those who have a difficulty in "accepting the matrix" as it were, there are little tricks and techniques to help you get over it. These include, innocent smoothies, going on peace and environmental marches and maybe even books by people like Naomi Klein (which I haven't actually read to be fair but I will do to give her views a chance!).

It's a cold, hard, fact but man will most likely multiply and consume the resources of this planet till we either kill each other, move on or die out completely. Let's try not to full ourselves that we are special, or gods children or good at all. Like I said though, it's not all black and white, we do some cool things too, every once in a while...

The War on Fundamentalism - Latest Bin Laden Video

Bin Laden - "It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interest of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations".

Now, I hate to say it but if you stop for a second, forget "the war on terrorism" and have a look at what this guy's saying it's a bit scary actually. He actually has a valid point. Now I don't want my freedom of speech taken away and I quite like the fact that my girlfriend and I are on an equal footing and she doesn't have to walk ten paces behind me all the time. Head scarfs and face masks are also just a bit of a fashion faux pas that although novel, would be rather scary if it were the norm. Despite all of this though, he has got a bit of a point. We are a bit sheep-like in the way that we let corporations run all over everyone else in the name of democracy. It's a tough one, i'll grant you that.

As Jim Morrison said, "they've got the guns but, we've got the numbers!" only thing is that we've got the guns and they happen to have the numbers. Regardless of Osama's plans, this world is going to become a muslim world eventually. The christians aren't multiplying like they used to, aetheists have no voice in society and by their very nature will never unite against any other culture, so it kind of leaves us with Islamic law whether we like it or not. If not tomorrow then certainly in a few hundred years or so.

Looking at both sides from a bit of a neutral point of view, we don't really need a war on terrorism, we need a war on fundamentalism both Islamic and Christian. The main problem though (and this is why fundamentalism will win) is that no one will ever stand against both of these and democrats and liberals tend to avoid confrontation all together. It's a tricky one and something worth having a think about...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Plastic Paddys

God, I can't stand plastic paddys! Ok, i'm from the West of Scotland and I was born a catholic and ok i even support Celtic but I just can't stand this plastic paddy crap, i've had enough of it! Obviously i've got nothing against Ireland or the Irish but you know the type of person I mean. They claim they're Irish when they're bloody well not. Were you born in Ireland? No! Are your parents Irish? No! Well how the fuck are you Irish then, tell me that??? You're as bad the bloody Americans that claim they're part "Scotch". Arrrrgghhh, rant over...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Excrement, shit, loo roll, bog roll on train tracks!

It's something that's bugged me for years but i've never really heard anyone else talking about it. Next time you're in a major railway station perhaps waiting on a train, take a look down at the tracks and the chances are you will see what looks like evident of someone having snuck onto the tracks, done a shite, wiped their arse and then kindly left the bog roll to rot over a long period of time.

I had an arguement with my girlfriend about the source of these railway skid marks and I think the only reason why she argued against my explanation was because she didn't really want to believe the fact that in this day in age we were still dumping shit onto the tracks. Unfortunately it is true - why else would they ask you not to go in the stations?

I remember years ago being on some French and Italian trains that simply had a flap, so when you flushed you saw the tracks going by. However, everyone I know seems to be under the impression that we would never do such a thing in the UK. Wrong - we seem to do it all the time but pretend that we don't. I went looking for some evidence and it seems that having to view the evidence in my local train station was nothing compared to what some railtrack workers have had to endure. On many occassions they have been known to get sprayed by trains on the way past.

If you link take a look at the link to the bbc story above you'll see the great response from GNER....

"There is no risk to the health of passengers..... and track workers have been given health advice!"

Wonder what that advice was? Duck? Find a new job that doesn't subject you to getting human shite sprayed on your face on a regular basis?

Datarock - Gigs - Datarock Gig Review

Been meaning to put a post up about these guys for some time now. In fact, pretty lazy of me not to have mentioned Datarock up until now as I reckon Datarock is one of the best bands i've heard in many a year! I'd certainly say that it's worth catching a datarock gig if you get the chance.

Here's a quick blast of "Fa Fa Fa"...

I think the first time I was at a Datarock gig was 5th October 2006 at the Arches in Glasgow. It was part of the New Wave NME Tour and they were on with the Klaxons (me and my girlfriend left early that night so missed most of the Klaxons, whoops!). The Datarock guys pretty much blew us away that night with the tracksuits, small casio keyboards and a right mix of styles. On listening to "I Used to Dance with my Daddy" and "Computer Camp Love" we were hooked! Anyway, the next time my girlfriend and I managed to catch up with them was in Glasgow's King Tuts which was another fantastic night from the guys as they passed round the mic for a good old Karaoke blast at "Fa Fa Fa".

Datarock's self titled album is great and it's the first time in a long time i've pretty much loved every song on an album. Keep up the good work guys and make sure you're back in Glasgow soon!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Limmy.com Videos - the Edinburgh Fringe Show & New Glasgow Shows!

When I was at the Edinburgh Fringe last week my girlfriend and I went to see Limmy again. We'd been to see him at his Blackfriars show a few months ago and that was a pretty good night. This time he failed to dissapoint again with new videos, characters and short plays from his world or strange slants and recording daytime tv...

I read Limmy's blog on a regular basis but I'd totally forgotten to check out the Limmy.com video section in a while so here are a couple of videos from there. First up is Limmy's take on "An American Werewolf in London", enjoy....

Not bad! Here's another of Limmy's videos. If you want to have a gander through the rest of Limmy's short films click here for his youtube shorts!

Oh yeh, if you want to see him in Glasgow he's doing a show on 20th September in Blackfriars, as part of the Merchant City Festival. One at 8pm and one at 10pm!

Depressed? - Marrakesh Express - Crosby, Stills & Nash

How could this foot tapping wonder tune fail to cheer you up if you were feeling a bit down and under the weather! Yup, Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills and Nash (no Young!) is an uber-classic guaranteed to cheer anyone up if they've got a touch of the Owen Wilsons. Get well soon Owen!

Now a common mistake might be to rush out and get the "best of" based on this recommendation but just be warned that for every artificial high, there's a low lurking round the corner. A prime example is the haunting "
Helplessly Hoping".

It's a bit of a roller coaster for the heart that even the hardest souls won't be able to listen to it without thinking of some missed love in primary school. So Owen, be warned and get a good friend to just download Marrakesh Express from itunes or some dodgy russian site and not the whole album, even if the ruskies are offering it for 10 cents!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Interesting Fact of the Day! No. 16 - Drifter Chocolate Bars

I'm not a big fan of offering free advertising to multinational organisations that suck the life out of new born babies in third world countries just for fun, or use small labrador puppies flung into the air for target practice, but I have to give a big mention to the Nestle Drifter bar! It really is the unsung hero of the chocolate bar world.

It's never had the popular appeal of the Twix or the Kitkat but it just offers so much more than either of these in terms of it's bite. I remember when I was a student and money was tight, I had to buy the bar that was going to give me the most fill for my money. It had to be the drifter every time. It was a few pence cheaper than the rest and by god it tasted great.

So in tribute to this fine snack, here are a few facts for you:

  • The Drifter was launched in 1980 by Rowntree.
  • It takes an hour from start to finish to make a Drifter bar.
  • More than 90 million are sold each year.
  • It currently outsells both the Timeout and the Picnic

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Lai Massacre - Oliver Stone Movie

I was reading the other day there about Bruce Willis signing up for the new Oliver Stone movie which is based on the real life My Lai Massacre that took place in Vietnam in 1968. After hearing about this, I thought i'd go off and find out a bit more about the My Lai Massacre.

In short, it doesn't make nice reading or viewing for that matter. In total between 350 and 500 civilians, mostly women and children were cut down by US soldiers. Eye witness reports from the time said that as locals bowed to welcome their guests they were beaten with rifle butts, women were raped and children were shot as they huddled for shelter. To read more by all means have a look through this further information on the My Lai Massacre...

It's a pretty horrifying story if you take the time to read through it but for me I think the main lesson is that when we think of massacres in this day in age, we tend to think of Darfur, Rwanda or Cambodia's killing fields. Although it wasn't on the same scale, reading this breaks the myth that these acts were only carried out by rougue communist states, right wing fascists or groups intent on acts of ethnic cleansing. Unfortunately if any man is placed in a particular set of circumstances they seem to be capable of these kind of attrocities whether they are christian, jew, muslim, communist or democrat. All too often we in the western world think that we are above this kind of behaviour and for man to move forward I think we have to accept that we are all the same animal.

Anyway, have a read, let me know what you think...