Saturday, May 28, 2005

Summer of Bruv

Summer is finally here. It arrived yesterday in a gorgeous display of blue skies and muggy heat. Sadly I was stuck indoors on an 8-hour bar shift. Not to worry though because yesterday evening was another sure sign that summer was here. The annual event that now seems to define the summer (at least according to the tabloids and my TV viewing habits.) Yes Big Brother is back and I’m glad. I dislike most Reality TV choosing properly crafted dramas over Z List celebs desperately trying to resurrect their career.

Big Brother is different though. It’s huge. It can offer an insight into different lives. Last years was a parody of Big Brother of old, BB 6 seems to be continuing the trend. Originally the producers used to assemble a cross section of society under one roof but after the boring collection that was BB4 the producers have changed the direction. For the second year running we have a collection of misfits and polar opposites – and do you know what – I’m looking forward to it. We have an African Princess who despises swearing living with a Hairdresser than loves it. We have someone who hates racists living with some who “isn’t racist” but “hates immigrants.”

Let the games begin…

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Force Is Strong In This One

I wouldn’t call myself a Star Wars fan. My loyalties lie with the United Federation Of Planets and the USS Enterprise – not the Rebellion and the Millennium Falcon however being a general Science Fiction fan I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go to the local premiere of Revenge Of The Sith.

This morning we travelled the 45 miles to Cheltenham to get the first showing. (I live 5 minutes walk from Hereford’s cinema but believe me it’s so crap I’d rather go out of my way…)

So the verdict. It’s good to see a film that finally feels like a Star Wars movie. Let’s face Phantom Menace was crap, it really was. Clones while enjoyable is not on a par with the cinematic experience the original trilogy. Today really felt like I was finally watching the origins of the legendary SF icons that are Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The film is breathtaking. While the previous prequals made a point of showing off the CGI (the pointless podrace for instance) this film actually felt that the CG was justified. Yoda doesn’t feel like a glorified computer character like Jar Jar did – he seems just like an actor. There are dodgy moments. While Hayden Christensen’s acting hasn’t improved Ewan McGregor’s impersonation of Alec Guinness has. Lucas’s ability to write romance is still lousy but his direction has tightened. (Though this may be due to help from Steven Spielburg if rumours are true)

The Wookie scenes were crowd pleasers and Mace Windu’s final battle with the Chancellor was tense as we finally see the moment Annakin turns. The one bit that did stick out like a sore thumb was Darth Vader’s howl of “Nooooooooooooooo!” at the end, really doesn’t feel right - especially as the set exploding around him was more than enough to portray the struggle of Annakin’s emotions.

This is the film that will finally please the Star Wars fanboys and even have the more casual fans like myself excited about the Jedi… perhaps I may purchase the original Trilogy on DVD after all…

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Get Well Soon

I was shocked by this morning’s announcement that one of my idols has breast cancer. It was confirmed that Kylie Minogue is pulling out of her tour and Glastonbury due to this terrible news. I wish her the speediest of recoveries and hopes she gets through it as quickly as possible. It is terrible terrible news but I hope some good comes out of it. Kylie Minogue is incredibly high profile – if the news that even someone as seemingly immortal as her can be struck with cancer means that someone out there checks themselves and finds a lump then it can only be positive.

If she’s open about the condition she can influence thousands of fans to check themselves and potentially save lives. It’s weird as I was going to write a blog last week to say how I didn’t enjoy the Showgirl concert on Channel 4 – despite Kylie being one of my favourite ever pop stars. Glad I didn’t now!

Still I’m sure in the near future we will see another spectacular concert from Kylie showing why she’s one of the nations favourites.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Where Have All The UFO's Gone?

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It’s the mid-nineties. A young teen snuggles up in his duvet under the glow of his television ready for another exciting adventure of Mulder & Scully. Opposite him a poster bearing the words ‘ I Want To Believe’ with a fuzzy UFO in the background. On his bookcase are a number of volumes of the unexplained and case files of The X Files. If you hadn’t have guessed that young teen was me 11 or so years ago. In the brief period of time when the X-files replaced Star Trek & Red Dwarf in my heart. Of course we all know that after Season Three The X Files collapsed under the weight of it’s own mythology and turned from the interesting show it was to the confusing and rambling unwatchable show it became.

Back then the tabloids were littered daily with UFO sightings. ITN News filled a multitude of ‘And Finally’s’ with the latest flying saucer report. Usually featuring a Slack Jawed Yokel bliterhing on about his pigs being worried. There were endless articles over the secrets of Area 51 too.

It’s now the mid-naughties and, it seems, UFO sightings have all but ceased. But how? Since the UFO flap caused by the popularity of The X Files we have easier access to cameras. People have them on their phones and have more sophisticated digital cameras which were barely a twinkle in Kodak’s eyes back then. With more cameras around shouldn’t we be seeing more UFOs?

Is this proof that they didn’t exist in the first place? The X Files served as a catalyst for those who wanted to believe to mis-represent satellites, stars, planes and balloons as UFO’s. Or is it that we’ve moved on to a new stage in the UFO phenomenon.

Since Kenneth Arnold first saw his flying saucers in 1947 people have wanted the truth. It’s out there, I just hope we find it.

UFO News
UFO Resources

Friday, May 13, 2005

Big Black Oblivion Hood

Typical, the week I buy myself a nice new hoody (with the Oblivion logo on no less) shopping centres around the UK start to ban them. I feel like a criminal by just donning the 100% cotton garment. Anyway that's one urban menace that's starting to be dealt with but what of the other? I've written about the foul demons that are Chuggers a few times in this this blog but finally a website - from the makers of has arrived to promote getting rid of them.

If this was an election topic last week it would have got my vote.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Long Term Commitment

Back in February I hinted in my blog that I was about to make the biggest decision of my life. This decision will lead to the biggest commitment of my life – a 30-year mortgage. Yes I’m on the verge of buying a house. 30 years is a long time and it set me thinking about what, up until now, has been my biggest commitment.

My girlfriend? Nope. My longest relationship is the one I’m currently in. 3 years, 4 months and 1 day so far.

School? Nope. Primary school was 1985 – 1991. 6 years. Secondary school was 1991 – 1996, 5 years. Sixth Form a mere 2 years and university 3 years.

Work? Nope. I started at my present employer on April 2nd 1997. It’s now 2005 so that’s 8 years and 1 month.

So what is it then? The answer landed on my doormat this morning. Issue 131 of my favourite magazine is its tenth anniversary special. I have bought every issue, even subscribing for the last 5 years. 10 years of reading SFX magazine is the biggest commitment in my life. If it continues to be as well written, witty and entertaining as it has been for the last 10 years (except for a few years when there was far too much Buffy coverage for my liking) then no doubt in 2015 it’ll still be the longest commitment in my life. By that time though, I will need a much bigger bookcase to store them all on…

Happy Birthday SFX.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Wheelchair Wierdness

One thing that struck me yesterday about my visit to Alton Towers was this weird incident... click away.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Day Out...

I've been looking forward to today for the last two weeks. Why? Well I'm off to one of my favourite places in the world.

Alton Towers here we come!!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Traffic Island Dics

Throughout March and April I did a series of posts based on Album’s that have influenced my life (I will reprise this at some point.) But I have been asked what about a single track? What is my favourite song?

This is a tough one. I have many tracks I love, Wake Up Boo by The Boo Radlys, Eternity, Better Man and Feel are great songs from Robbie Williams. I love the chilling vocals from Freddie Mercury on Queen’s You Take My Breath Away. Dodgy’s Self Doubt and DB Boulavard’s Point Of View and Kylie Minogue’s I Did It Again are regular plays for me.

But the one track that I love, the one track that always makes me stop and listen is Groove Armada’s At The River. It’s a sample of Old Cape Cod by Patti Page. All it takes are the first two lines and repeats them;

“If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air,
Quaint little villages here and there,”

There’s a mellow accompaniment on the trumpet and a dreamy bass line which is the ultimate de stress and chill out track. As I’ve mentioned before I did have a brief period of life back in 2001/2002 where I struggled to get through things. In the evenings I used to return home and listen to chillout music to relax. It’s the sounds of At The River that helped the most.