Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Just A Small Post...

About a really angry subject! I'm shocked, truly shocked at the attitude of some people towards the new release of GTA IV, which is set to be the fastest-selling video game of all time! Watching the news this evening has infuriated me, mostly because of one woman they interviewed. This is what the conversation went like (after the woman had said she'd rushed out to buy "A particular video game"):

Reporter: "It isn't Grand Theft Auto by any chance, is it?"
Woman: "Yes, it is! It's for my son"
Reporter: "And if you don't mind me asking, how old is your son?"
Woman: "He's thirteen. He shouldn't really be playing it..."

Whoa! "He shouldn't really be playing it?" Well, what on earth did you rush out to buy it for him then? Is this just lazy, bad parenting or what?

Thursday, 24 April 2008

A Loss of Individuality

On a recent visit to Manchester with the folks, my dad commented on how drab everyone looked. I say commented, it was more of an hour-long rant about how the city had no style of sense or happiness considering all the fuss that has been made about it by the press (and a load of other people, but mostly the press).

Actually, there were the odd one or two people who stood out. They probably stood out because everyone else looked very, very similar. It has provoked me to ponder whether the fact that we have too much choice nowadays is ruining our sense of individuality and confusing us with what the latest trends really are, forcing us to buy the same thing we always do.

There's a great line in the Simpsons, which I know is a strange thing to quote but it fits in really nicely with this argument. It's from the episode where Marge becomes friends with Ruth Powers. At the beginning, they're watching a telethon in aid of public-funded TV programmes and there's a comedian on it (who reminds me a little bit of Ivor Cutler, in the way that he reads his jokes from a little book). Anyway, he says "He goes into the diner, sits down and reads the menu carefully. And then, he orders the same thing he does every single day". This just sums up what I'm trying to say. When faced with a choice, we're much more inclined to revert to doing what we would normally do rather than being adventurous and trying other things.

Perhaps this is what happened with the Mancunians (or Manc Land as it has now been lovingly renamed - it's seriously not that bad!). They have tons of stores, both designer and high-street and the biggest Primark I'd ever seen (casing point, I haven't actually ever explored London, so that probably has a bigger one still) and yet everyone looked similar. Or at least old, like they hadn't grown up or changed their style in years.

As a result, I received some very odd looks from some of the locals since I was dressed in a bright red jacket. I stood out almost too much against the grey, black and general drab that other people were wearing. I don't know whether to feel sorry for them or not. A malaise like this could only be remedied by someone capable of rewiring the minds of each and every individual, like turning a little light on in their head.

I cast the dullness off as just being because of the bad weather yet in my head I knew that everyone genuinely had lost their sense of fashion direction. It's sad to see that even now people are either afraid or unwilling to try new trends or stand out from the crowd. I think the world would be a much more exciting place if we all decided to be a shade braver.

Gym Class Villains

Arrgh! Aren't these plimsolls just horrible? They have to be the single worst fashion disaster of the past six months or so. They're like the type you might have found in a gym class which is highly irritating - everyone I meet that wears these things makes me cringe, even if they're generally nice people. All I want to do is tell them to get a proper pair of shoes.

The ones from Primark are the worst. I am a firm believer that it's okay to shop there as long as you follow a set of rules:
1.) It isn't a piece of tat
2.) If it does look a little cheap and/or you know everyone else is going to be wearing them don't buy them
3.) You can only get away with a lot of Primark clothes if they're worn correctly

Which leads me to my point. Plimsolls like the ones above break each one of these rules. Most people wear them (shudder) with skinny jeans. Skinny jeans! It's a crime against nature, people! The sheer awfulness of these "shoes" are revealed when worn with leg-hugging trousers such as skinnies. I love my skinnies, but I only wear them with a pair of decent ankle boots/boots over the top. I wore my baseball boots underneath once and I thought it looked rubbish. As do these abominations.

Please tell me that I'm not crazy and that it generally is a horrific piece of clothing. Or perhaps I'm just blinded because they come across as a sort of manly shoe and the majority of women I know own and wear a pair frequently. In any case, I don't think you'd see me dead in a pair of these.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Well, I've been inspired by some blogs that I've been reading lately to talk about (yep, you've guessed it) video games! At least a little bit about the history of video games anyway.

The earliest example of anything remotely like a video game was produced in 1947, and used a screen similar to that of a radar to simulate the effect of playing tennis. Arcade games came more into fashion in the 70s, especially with the release of Atari's "Pong".

Video games have never been flawless and people have always managed to hack into the system of them to cheat in the game (maybe by giving themselves unlimited lives or money). Games also have technical glitches also built into them (although not deliberately) that can sometimes affect the mode and method of play. The most recent example I can think of is in Okami, where little green arrows come above people's heads if they have some good info. But on one of these people, you can't do anything and he just says the same thing over and over even if you complete the task. Annoying, but not threatening.

The age group of video games now is expanding, apparently. More people between the ages of 25 and 40 are playing them, and more women are inclined to play thanks to the release of platforms such as the Wii. It has also been said that multiplayer gaming is a good way to build up social skills and teamwork. Massive online multiplayer games also allow the player to interact with lots of different people from all over the world.

So I guess the video game has always been popular but now more and more people are playing. I wonder just how many people out there actually own the latest consoles.

It's Been A While

At least, it certainly feels like a while since I posted anything here. I've been so busy working on the for-a-while-neglected sister blog that I almost completely forgot to post things here. Anyway, now I'm motivated to write a little post or two right now and get this show back on the road.

So, reading the Guardian Magazine the other day was really irritating. When going through the fashion pages there was a "what's hot or what's not" bar and a double page spread on tie-die (yeah, I don't think that trend will last but the printed tights were nice. Too bad I've got legs that just could never carry off printed tights then). There were also two (admittedly ageing) fashion experts to talk about what they have/have not seen on the catwalks in recent times. The man was just full of himself, saying about how great his fashion sense was but the woman was a little more down-to-earth. Until that is, she started talking about the fact that this season (bearing in mind this is summer) that we should be wearing two different length skirts over each other on top of tights! She went as far as to suggest that if we had a tunic dress we could layer that over a mid-length skirt. Still over tights or leggings though.

What is the fashion world coming to? Layering is supposed to be a beautiful thing, sticking a t-shirt under a tunic, putting a polo under a dress, and even a t-shirt or shirt over a dress to create the illusion that the dress is actually a skirt... not codding your way by layering two skirts over each other - what's the point? Your legs are only going to get twice as hot, and I don't want that in the summer!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Never Cursed

Yesterday I watched Curse of the Golden Flower and was really surprised. I thought it wasn't going to be as good as other titles like Hero and House of Flying Daggers but it was actually better.

You could think of it as a Chinese version of Macbeth, with all the darkness and betrayals in it. Basically, the Empress is slowly being poisoned by her husband, who is using a special black mushroom that sends a person crazy after a couple of months in her medicine for anemia. However, the Empress is hatching a plan to try and get the Emperor to stand down from his post. Obviously, there's a lot more going on than that, but most of the story revolves around this strand. There's a great bit towards the end with a massive battle that's just as spectacular as the final scenes of Hero. The settings are amazing as well. The palace they live in is a wonderful blend of colours with everything laced in gold and decorated magnificently. The costumes are great too, you just have to look at the Empress's dresses to see that (they're beautiful. Really stunning).

How on earth did this film get pretty much panned by the critics? It has much more emphasis on story rather than action, everything is explained well, and when the action does kick in the ninjas are spectacular. Plus it has a really shocking end. I hope some of these film critics re-evaluate their stance because out of all the Chinese martial art films I've seen, this one's probably the best (well, Hero does come a close second...)

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Drinking Excuses

So I watched Withnail & I the other day and couldn't help thinking that if anyone drank exactly what Withnail drinks in the film when he drinks it, they'd be dead (or at least, I'd be dead). But then, lots of people decide to watch it and drink whenever they do so maybe it's not all that lethal (still, please don't try it, I don't want any of my blog friends dying thanks to me).

Moving along from the drinking aspects, it's probably one of my favourite films. I love strange quirky things and Withnail & I is so surreal in some places that tears just stream down your face with laughter (casing points: fishing with a gun, cooking chickens with teapots and having an incredibly eccentric gay uncle called Monty).

But then, if anyone else out there has seen it (I'm sure some of you definitely have, since it's such a cult film), isn't the ending just a little bit sad? You sort of know that when Withnail wanders off through the park that he isn't going to last much longer. Seriously, anyone who drinks that much alcohol in the space of two weeks is going to suffer from liver failure pretty soon.

Ah well, it's probably just me who feels slightly sorry for his predicament....

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Robot Rock

I've just heard a really silly story on the radio. Two guys from Paris (I think their names were Luc and Francois) e-mailed in to say that they had a hard time when they tried to imitate their heroes.

But when your heroes are Daft Punk, it's always going to be hard to match.

Anyway, they went down to the Arc de Triomphe dressed as robots in tuxedos and armed with two acoustic guitars (how on earth they thought they were going to get away with replicating the duo's electronic-dance sounds with only two guitars, I have no idea!). They parked themselves in front of the monument and started playing every single Daft Punk song that has words in it. Considering that a) there aren't many Daft Punk songs that have words in them and b) when the songs have words they generally only consist of one or two lines, they were drawing a pretty good crowd playing songs like "One More Time" and "Around the World".

Well, they thought they were doing well. Pretty great up until the point when it seemed like everyone was booing and telling them to play something good, or to remember the words before they started busking. Another told them that they had been slaughtering the classics.

After a little while, the police appeared and told them that they were a nuisance and were causing noise pollution because their renditions were so awful. They stopped for fear of being arrested and returned home humiliated, wet and without a penny for their trouble.

So I guess the moral of the story is to think about what you might want to play if you go busking, make sure it has more than two lines of lyrics and that you have the proper equipment to cope with complicated arrangements. Happy busking.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Sound of.... Rustling

I was talking about this with my mum the other day because we're both seriously annoyed with the state of cinemas right now. We haven't been in ages, partly because there's been nothing on, and partly because going there is an altogether totally unpleasant experience nowadays.

A couple of years ago, our cinema changed into a Cineworld (shudder) and suddenly the whole atmosphere of the place changed. For starters, it was infested with kids. I don't have anything against kids but unfortunately I think "Oh My God, Help Me" when some come into the same screen as me. They don't shut up, and if they're behind you then you have the ultimate irritant - a constant kicking of your chair. Luckily, I have outgrown (mostly) movies rated for a younger audience, so I'm parlty saved.

What it doesn't save me from, however, is the family viewing of a movie. You know what I mean (if you don't, you will after I explain). Well, this is where we have four or five people, two generally the parents (or parent) of the children, who might be a bit older but then there's normally a little one of about ten or eleven lingering around somehow (whoever changed the 12 rating into 12A needs to be... argh!). Getting on to the nitty-gritty, they buy way too much food. Childhood obesity? Not a problem for this bunch. Here I am sitting with a small bag of minstrels and they're loaded with nachos, litre bottles of coke and enough popcorn to bury me in. Unfortunatley, this results in what seems like hours of incessent rustling and munching. By the time everything's over, my nerves will be shredded!

Please tell me that this isn't an isolated problem? Techically I haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg and I sort of want to go and see something soon. I hope the quality of my trip will be greatly improved. Overwise I might not be the same Scarlet....

Tuesday, 1 April 2008


I feel really sorry for anyone travelling out of Terminal 5 anytime soon. I saw a feature about it once and it was deemed to be the airport terminal of the future. Now it's been branded a disaster!

Baggage in heaps, where no-one can find it. People sleeping on the floors for nights on end because their flights keep getting cancelled. Angry passengers waiting for hours at a time in check-in queues... It's a disaster! But then again, when they said that the baggage system was going to be replaced by a new computerised machine, you just had to think that it was going to go horribly wrong. The thing is, Heathrow isn't a particularly amazing airport anyway. Why anyone would want to actually fly out of there (they have a really bad record for mishaps) is beyond me.

Well, technically there is no end to the compensation and accomodation fees that BA can give out to people who have to spend the night. Funny then how a lot of them are still spending the night on a cold hard tiled floor...