Friday, December 04, 2009

Out Of Date?

Yes, I kid you not - less than one month left but 2009 calendars are still available in town!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Star Trek Traning

So I now have a 3 month old son.

Most dad's would be starting to wonder how to share their passions with their child. For a lot fo dads this would be football. How best to ensure their son follows the 'right' team etc. Of course I'm not into football instead Science Fiction is my passion. I'd love mini-me to share that interest but how do I go about it? How do I introduce him to Star Trek. Which series do you start with and if you're starting with the original series do you show him the new film first or the old 60s stuff?

Thankfully has this guide to making sure your child is a Trekkie:

10: Talk like William Shatner: “Hey… kids. Time… to… take out the trash.”
They’ll soon wonder who holds the patent on this eloquent way of speaking.
Build a phaser for the school science fair: Chances are, you’ll at least be able
to build a phaser that works on stun. If you throw it at someone.
8: Play
“What Would Spock Do?” All kids are faced with times they have to make logical
decisions, make it interesting by channeling the values of everyone’s favorite
7: Refer to your car as “The Enterprise NCC-1701-A” and going to
visit the in-laws as “going through the worm-hole to fight the Jem’Hadar.”
Nothing says how much you enjoy a visit to the in-laws when you liken them to a
violent warrior race jacked up on drugs.
6: Pay out allowances in
gold-pressed Latinum. - Considering the price of gold, this may be hard to come
by, but completely worth it if you can pull it off.
5: Call your eldest child
“Number 1.” On second thought, this might sound like favoritism, but follow it
up with “Make it so,” and to their siblings it’ll just seem like they are
receiving the brunt of the chores.
4: Make the kids drink Earl Grey tea.
“Because that’s what Jean-Luc drinks.”
3: Dress up like a Klingon and take
them to a Star Trek convention. Nothing tests the bonds of love more than
hanging out with a family member dressed like a Klingon.
2: After dinner
every night have a family discussion concerning the positives and negatives of
the Prime Directive. Most specifically, identify which neighbors would qualify
as “Pre-Warp” civilizations.
1: Teach them that instead of cursing when
frustrated or angry, yell “KHAAAAAAAN!!” Their friends may give them strange
looks, so teach them to clench their fists and furrow their brow to sell

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's Official

Summer 2009 has now begun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Edgar Street Grind

18 months ago I was a huge supporter of the Edgar Street Grid project. A huge scheme to redevelop half of Hereford including a desperately needed link road, new retail centre, multi-screen cinema, affordable homes and transport hub.

It would bring Hereford kicking and screaming into the 20th century, create jobs and aid the retention of 20-somethings that disappear off to uni and never come back.

Now though, things are different and the people behind ESG need to realise this.

Hereford is dying. Over 55 retail units in the centre of the city lie empty while those that remain are struggling. We’ve lost Chadds – our local department store – which has been replaced by a scruffy pound shop. Zavvi & Woolworths are gone. Charlotte’s Bar has locked its doors. Babyland has been aborted. Pubs are closing down, those that remain open are struggling and what was once one of the jewels of Hereford, the Leftbank Village, is lying empty and deserted.

What is the point in redeveloping half of Hereford if the half that’s already there is already struggling? It’s the city centre that needs the TLC not the Edgar Street Grid.

Ironically it is the area that the ESG plan is hoping to rip apart that is thriving. Along Widemarsh Street not one retail unit lies empty – all are small scale local businesses and they’re all doing well. Along Canal Road a new window fitters has opened and converted what was once a rundown garage into a tidy showroom. On Blackfriars Street work continues an old Plumb Centre has been transformed into a bright purple Freedom Cult, sorry, Church. While the cattle market, an ugly blot on one of Hereford’s main roads, is home to a string of successful small businesses.

Yet this is the area of Hereford planners want to tear apart. It makes no sense. Why needlessly uproot successful local businesses?

Hereford council, for the sake of this beautiful and historic city’s future please take a step back and reconsider where this is heading.

Right now it is the city centre that desperately needs the attention and rethinking.

Why not employ the talents of ESG to concentrate on High Town, Broad Street and the Commercial Road/Street area. While a new transport hub, affordable housing and multi-screen would be a great boon to the city what we don’t need right now is a big John Lewis led retail park taking attention away from the city centre. Why not bulldoze the old Chadd’s buildings and put it there instead?  


Bring the focus back to the centre, the heart of Hereford.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Consider My Kipper Smoked

As you can probably tell I'm a huge Dwarf fan. I've met the cast & crew a number of times and was on set for RD VIII and, as you can imagine I was counting down the days until Back To Earth on Dave.

Lets face facts, Red Dwarf had to evolve - it has done in the past and simply returning the show to the screens as it was in 1999 would be a mistake. (And while I'll happily defend VIII to its detractors it definitely wasn't Dwarf at its best)

TV has changed hugely since RD was last around. It was once the only science fiction being produced for UK TV but thanks to Dr Who's return Sci-Fi is now king again. Also shows are now expected to have involving characters with engrossing arcs - think Lost, Heroes, Life On Mars & Who

A new Dwarf needed to entice a whole new generation of fans just as Who has done and I think that's why we saw the Dwarf we got this weekend.

The characters & plot had more emotion, there was more of an element of drama than in the old gag-a-minute Red Dwarf. Look at the superb scene of Lister visiting Kochanski's grave. Very, very touching and an great echo of the more emotional character based moments of Series I & II of Dwarf. (Think of the old scenes in the Observation Dome) In fact I think what we saw last weekend was what RD would have become if series I & II had evolved naturally rather than the shake up of series III that we did get.

I loved it.

Yes it was lacking in gags but the sheer joy of seeing these characters live again was brilliant. Yes there were some cringy moments; Kryten's entry and Rimmer humping the table but there were also moments of gold - the put downs of the TV sales man, the Blade Runner style photo investigation and the comic book shop scene. Also how amazing did the show look considering its budget was less than 3 episodes of Series II back in 1988!

The big mistake was airing it in three parts rather than as one glorious whole - it needed a tighter edit however, this was Red Dwarf for the post 'New Who' generation and I'd welcome more of it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Five Year's Time

In the blog world I’ve been blogging for an eternity. Most manage a week to a month before losing the blogging urge. OK, while I’m not a prolific Blogger in the slightest (last year’s count fell drastically ho-hum) I can certainly claim to have a good bit of longevity.

Today marks my fifth anniversary in the blogosphere. It actually gone quick but, really, it’s a looong time.

A lot has changed in those five years too. Back in 2004 I was still very much in student mode. I’d been out of uni for just over 18 months and beer and pot noodles was still my way of living. Since 2004 however I’ve taken my first step on the property ladder as well as my first step on the radio ladder. That rung loosened though and it’s only in the last 6 months that broadcasting has become a regular part of life again.

Those hazy days of 2004 were all done on Dial-Up too – no high tech broadband back then. In fact the whole web 2.0 bubble was very much in its infancy. Flickr, Facebook and Twitter were unheard of and Lycos was still a popular web destination. Heck even blogger itself was in its pre-google buyout infancy.

Other changes in my life include becoming salaried – a huge change enabling me to better budget for mortgaged life and for the biggest, and most recent change in life – fatherhood.

Where next? I really can’t predict what I’ll be doing in 5 years time. The world is more unstable these days. It seems were heading for economic or climatic meltdown so rather than plan for the future I’d rather seize the moment. One thing’s for sure and that’s that the web doesn’t stand still. Who knows where blogging will go in 5 years. 

See you then?

Saturday, March 14, 2009



That’s the only word that can sum it up.

At 21.55 this evening I became I father.

You’ve all seen childbirth on screen before. Sci Fi fans may remember Worf’s awkward delivery of Molly on the Enterprise. For most though, the TV version of childbirth best remembered will be that of Damien’s on Only Fools & Horses. That’s what I had in my head. The waiting, the swearing, the joyous crying.

Well it’s kind of like that but nothing can prepare you for actually experiencing it.

What no one has ever told me about is the fear and helplessness you feel as the male. There you are watching the person you love go through sheer agony and there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, there’s superficial things like soothing gestures and brow mopping but that’s it, that is all you can do and it is heartbreaking. Then there’s the boredom. You’re in that delivery room for a long time. It was a relief to get out of the room for 10 minutes for my own *ahem* delivery. Finally it’s the fear that kicks in. You realise that a lot can go wrong – especially when it gets to the point that epidurals and c-sections are being discussed.

Still, this long slog is totally worth it for the moment when you meet your child. The image of the midwife whipping him out and over onto Miss Smeg’s chest will forever be etched into my mind. Then there’s the moment I cut the cord before mini-me was cleaned down and, still screaming, placed into my arms. He stopped crying instantly, I however, didn’t.

Here we are, two hours later and I’m still on a high. It’s amazing and I wish words could capture it... oh and Miss Smeg only swore once.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I Hate Trekkies

The thing that really narks me about the forth-coming Star Trek film is that we
know they all survive. We know they go on to have a five year mission. That was
the problem with the Star Wars prequals too... we knew the outcome therefore
there was no sense of danger. Prequals suck.

A typical post on a Star Trek fandom board. It depresses me.

It also makes no sense.

If there's no sense of excitement then how come Warner Brother's Harry Potter series are so successful? Or New Line's Lord Of The Rings trilogy? Both film series where the full outcomes are available to read in printed form should you be bothered.

What of the Star Trek series when they were first shown on TV? We all knew the actors were tied down to 7 year contracts when watching the Next Generation therefore we all knew the status quo would be resumed by the end of the episode - did that really make the story any less dramatic? Of course not.

Only one TV series has ever managed to shock and awe with dramatic exits on characters and that's [spooks]. From deep fat fryers to carbombs you never know who is going to survive an episode - it's genius. But I wouldn't want all TV like that - things would just get too tense.

Paramount Pictures has given Star Trek a second chance (actually it's probably on it's fifth life by now) despite a dull previous film and dreary series in Enterprise the film studio is still willing to pump hundreds of millions pounds into the franchise. We, as Trekkies should be thankful but all I see is constant moaning;

'The warp nacelles are too bulky'
'The uniforms look dumb'
'Kirk should be more rugged'
'The bridge looks like an Apple store'

And to think that one of Star Trek's original mantras was 'infitnite diversity in infinite combinations'.

I for one can't wait. It looks awesome. It looks fresh but most of all - it's NEW frickin' STAR TREK!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009