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...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simon Amstell Review - Fringe 2007

Went to see Simon Amstell at the Edinburgh Fringe on Monday night. It was his last night and in fact the last night of the Fringe itself. He was playing in pleasance one that holds a few hundred people. My girlfriend and I got there a bit early so we thought we'd just join the queue that only had a few people in it when we got there. As they started letting us into the theatre, the stewards herded everyone down to the front row and we ended up dead centre, second row in. Must admit, there's always something that makes me nervous about sitting down the front row at any comedy gig (i'd had previously had a rather experience in Benidorm in my younger days when there was only one seat left down the front for some scouse comedian and he'd ripped the piss out of me for half the act!). We'd been to see Micky Flanagan a few nights before and hats off to the guy he'd encouraged people to not be afraid of the front row as he wasn't "one of those kind of comedians". Anyway, Simon Amstell came onto the stage and to tell you the truth it was quite a comfortable, informal experience. I'd only really known him from Buzzcocks and a couple of glances at pop world and to tell you the truth I thought he'd be quite funny but a bit of a prick. Contrary to my preconceptions though, he seems like quite a genuine and funny guy.

The show was called "No Self" and I think the idea was a "i'm 27 and everyone thinks i'm a bit of a prick sometimes but everyone else is just pretending that they're not selfish, i'm just being honest!". He put his case down quite well and although he was funny it was also quite an interesting and honest chat. He had a bit of banter with a few people in the front row, particularly some goatee bearded twat who deserved to have the piss taken out of him (why do these people always turn up to these things by themselves and sit in the front row??). After a while he was chatting about relationships and said "are there any couples here", I looked round at my girlfriend and he homed right in on us, "well you just looked at each other so obviously you are a couple!" I must confess that my heart was racing at this point (I was having Benidorm flashbacks!). Anyway, my girlfriend and I kept our mouths shut and like wasp buzzing round someone doing the standing still trick, he buzzed off pretty quickly.

All in all though, it was a good show so i'd recommend it if Simon Amstell is in your area in the future!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interesting Fact of the Day! No. 15 - Deus ex Machina!

"Deus ex Machina" is a latin term which basically means "God from the machine". Have you ever watched a film or play that takes you down a complicated route and then suddenly when you think that your hero is doomed, some unexplicable and highly unlikely event happens that neatly ties all of the plot together?

A bit like it was the author or playwright's afterthough to get them out of a jam, "Deus ex Machina" is often used as a get out of jail card for the writer.

Arguably a classic example of this is Han Solo turning up to save Luke at the end of Star Wars. A fine moment in cinema history but in reality a bit of a tag on ending.

Like any literary tool, it can be used to great effect. One example is in Woody Allen's 1995 comedy Mighty Aphrodite. The heroine finally meets the man of her dreams when his helicopter is forced to land on the road in front of her car. Allen wryly remarks to the camera, "Talk about a Deus Ex Machina!"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Support your local blog!!

If you have a local blog, I reckon you should support it. Must admit it wasn't something i'd thought about much before but I registered on a rather interesting site called Now I was rather selfish at first as I was just registering in hope that a few people might trip over this site as a consequence but as I started reading on there are some pretty interesting sites in there.

I think i mentioned it before but there's this one site where the guy's explaining what it's like to be in a Scottish prison, he only kept at it for a few posts but it's all gripping stuff.

There are a couple of good local blogs for my local area (G41, and Southside Happenings). Must admit, I stay next to Queens Park in Glasgow and I was a bit ashamed the other day there when I read that the latest update meeting by the park representatives was attended by just three of the local residents.

Hmm, sign of the times I guess. We kind of like of a nice community but when it comes to really getting involved we realise that we're all recluses at heart! Anyway, even if you don't feel like dragging yourself along to a neighbourhood watch meeting just get out there and find a local blog.....!!

Italian Football on Channel 5

I've decided that seen as the Premiership's over for this year (and it's only the 27th August!) that i'm going to give the Italian football a right good go this season. What with the return of "the old lady" from serie B and the old favourite Napoli I think it's a good time to put last year's fiasco behind us and have a good old watch of Italy's finest.

So I sat down on Sunday to watch the Inter game. Now I was prepared for channel 5 coverage but it wasn't till I settled down to the dull nasal speech impediment of Mark Chapman that my bubble kind of burst a bit. OK, so they've drafted in some Italian eye candy in the form of Laura Esposto but as nice as she is, it just makes Mark look uglier and sound more like the man with the perma-cold!

For Italian football you just couldn't beat James Richardson sitting in some Piazza with an espresso and that smug "I've got the best job in the world" look on his face. Once you overcame the smugness he was actually a pretty nice guy and you always respected his ability to read La Gazzetta dello Sport and let us know what was happening in prole speak.

I'll carry on with watching channel 5's coverage (don't get me started on John Barnes commentary) but they might as well have drafted in the prick who killed John Lennon because anything would be better than this shite!

Oh yeh, someone should also tell them that the wall would probably be a nice place to put the map of Italy rather than the bloody floor!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rockness 2008 Lineup

Dunno if you managed to catch Rockness 2007 but it was pretty much fantastic. At first glance I must admit the lineup had stars but lacked a bit of backup from the 2nd tier bands but a sterling performance from the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Groove Armada meant that there was just no way that you could regret going. It also led me and many others to take the gamble of booking Rockness 2008 tickets regardless of the lineup.

As a festival I think it really matured this year. I've read a few reviews that critised the dance led lineup but I think it seemed to keep the crowd good last year, there was certainly a jolly ned free atmosphere and quite a lot of families and older revellers mixing with the hard core ravers.

Ok so the Rockness 2008 lineup's going to have go a long way to beat the holy trinity of last year. I think we can live without the Manics next year as the rather small crowd at the main stage and the near bursting point of the tent proved when Daft Punk took to the stage. In fact it was probably this miscalculation on the promoters front that prooved the only blip in a great festival.

It's pretty difficult to have a stab at the Rockness 2008 lineup but I think that Calvin Harris has to be there. As far as the big guns go it will be a bit difficult. I'd certainly like to see one of the big three return again this year, with probably Groove Armada the most likely to turn up as they seem to love any excuse to come up to Scotland. I wouldn't rule out a return by Fat Boy Slim and I reckon that would probably bolster up what will be a critical year for the festival.

As a couple of outsiders i'd maybe go for the predictable Prodigy (it's the first band everyone seems to be touting for the Rockness 2008 lineup) but I really don't think their later material stands up well enough and what was once one of the finest sounds in the business now seems a bit too harsh and heavy to grace the shores of Loch Ness. My second outsider is Air, who I think would make a good addition to the Rockness lineup for 2008.

Finally I reckon LCD soundsystem would provide a great balance if their talents could be secured. I'd certainly be quite interested to see what other people's thoughts on the Rockness 2008 lineup would be??