Friday, 28 October 2011

Life After Uni

So I haven't posted for a long time, we'll call it a break while I adjusted to life after uni. I tried my hand at a real job for a week, didn't much care for it! So I'm back in retail for the time being. Which on the plus side allows me to read more which has re-ignited my writerly desires. Which is ideal seeing as I about to attempt NaNoWriMo in a matter of days.
Since leaving uni and no longer having a set of books I am supposed to read and a set of things I am supposed to write about I have done plenty of reading, although little writing. Over the last months I have read the following novels and graphic novels;
A Game of Thrones,
A Clash of Kings,
A Storm of Swords,
A Feast for Crows, (all from A Song of Ice and Fire series)
Heat Wave,
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,
The Wasp Factory,
True Grit,
Walking Dead 1-9,
Secret War,
Civil War,
Secret Invasion,
Killing Joke,
And I am about to start Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. In truth I have read more since uni then I did in my three years there. As mentioned above I am undertaking NaNoWriMO in a few days which should be a huge challenge for me as I have not written a novel before so to do one in a month will be even harder. On top of that I will have the unwelcome distraction of work, not to mention the amount of great tv there is at the minute, oh and Arkham City is still sat on my side unplayed! Sleep may have to take a hit next month.
I am however very determined to complete the novel, allowing me a few months afterward to proof and re-write the thing before I consider the next daunting step. I'll shall be updating regularly on here with my progress. Wish me luck and good luck to anyone else participating.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Zombie Apocalypse

I have just finished watching the quite brilliant TV show The Walking Dead. Although only six episodes in length, the series (or mini-series perhaps?) took the cliche ridden and tired story of the zombie apocalypse and gave it a fresh look. Focusing on the aftermath rather than the inciting incident, the show tells the story of a group of survivors and how everyday is all about just that; survival. The show got renewed for a second season after just one episode was broadcast. If you haven't ever already seen it, check it out.

During an episode, it occurred to me that nearly every male (and many females too I imagine) has at some point thought in depth about they would do in a zombie apocalypse. Plans will have been formulated, discussions between friends about these plans will have no doubt gone on. In the last month or so I can say that I have had this discussion with three different friends on separate occasions. My plans usually involve getting weapons and vehicles before barricading myself and my band of survivors in a supermarket. Although driving many miles to ensure loved ones are okay too has come up. Another more long term plan was take a fleet of SUV type vehicles and flee to the less populated areas, Cornwall or Scotland probably. Of course these plans depended greatly on the breed of zombies we faced. The slow moving, dumb ones made famous by Romero or Resident Evil could be dealt with far easier than the quick horde like ones in 28 Weeks Later or Resi 4/5.  Also whether or not the zombies work as a pack or not and whether or not zombie animals exist all have to be taken into account. Anyone who played one of the early Resident Evil games will know how hard zombie dogs were to fight. When it comes to surviving the devil really is in the details.

If you have not thought about what you would do, maybe you should. You can never be too careful!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

You trying to mug me off Son?

The last decade or so has seen the birth of an almost entirely new genre of film, the film so rubbish it's somehow brilliant. The shining beacon of this genre has to be for me Snakes on a Plane, as a film idea it is absolutely terrible. The scripting is awful and cliched, the acting is hackneyed and amateur at best (Except Sir Samuel of L obviously), one of the snakes even has crocodile teeth at one point. The film should go down as one of the worst films ever made yet for some unfathomable reason it's watched and enjoyed/endured the world over. Perhaps its the car crash acting or poorly directed action sequences but somewhere, somehow the film has an endearing charm to it. It is funny, regardless of whether it is meant to be or not.

I'm not for one minute suggesting that the 'brilliantly awful' or 'awfully brilliant' movie genre is something that hasn't existed for decades, there are of course countless B-movie horror sci-fi offerings from the sixties and seventies. The horror genre in particular is littered with these film, truth be told there are probably more of them than there are actually good horror movies. Teeth, Dead Snow, Spit on your Grave, Resident Evil's 1-4 and all Saw sequels just off the top of my head could all fit into that category, along with anything with ...Of The Dead in it's title.

This generation of movies has given rise to a group of actors that seem to specialize in this field of movies. So who is the biggest 'awfully brilliant' actor? Many might suggest the aforementioned Mr. Jackson but I would disagree. Jackson has done his fair share of bad movies make no mistake but he has also starred in a number of genuinely good films as well, Pulp Fiction, Unthinkable and the 51st State just to name a few. No, the actor I think is the 'daddy' of this genre is Danny Dyer. This is a man who has made a plethora of terribly funny films but (other than some may argue The Business) never been in a properly good film. In fact some of the films he has been in are so bad that Dyer is the only redeeming feature, which when you consider that Dyer is not a great actor in fact all of his characters are pretty much the same person, says all you need to know about these films.

In the last two weeks a couple of friends and I have spent our Fridays watching Danny Dyer movies purely because they epitomize this awful brilliance. After watching The Last Seven we decided it wasn't very good as it didn't have enough Danny Dyer in it for our liking. During this process which shall continue this Friday with Severance and Basement we have concocted the Danny Dyer Drinking Game. Rules are you must following;

every time Dyer looks vacantly at the floor,
every time Dyer or another character uses cockney rhyming slang,
every time Dyer or another character says muppet, mug or drops the C-bomb,
every time Dyer gets punched in the face or acts in a way deemed wimpish,
you must down your whole drink every time Dyer says 'What else was I gonna do?' or slaps a woman.

Try watching Football Factory or Devil's Playground and playing along.
After all, what else are you gonna do?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Batman vs Superman

This is an argument that has come up several times in the last week or so amongst my group of friends. Who is the better hero Batman or Superman? I could think of nothing else to blog about so I figured I would merely recycle the best points from the arguments.

So who would win in a fight between the two poster boys of the DC universe? Well it depends, if the fight was a random unexpected encounter then obviously Superman's Kryptonian powers would give him a distinct advantage. However if the battle was one that Batman saw coming then 'the worlds greatest detective' would ensure he was prepared and play to Superman's weaknesses, either the physical weakness to Kryptonite or a psychological weakness such as Superman's need to see good in humanity. Alternatively Batman would attack Clark Kent instead ruining Superman's alter ego and in doing so bringing the 'Big Blue Boy Scout' to his knees.

Although Batman versus Superman is an interesting match up, in reality the two are uneasy allies (in the Justice League) for the most part and are too busy fighting their own nemesis' to duel each other. Both exist in cities that reflect their personalities or more accurately their personalities reflect the cities they live and their villains who oppose them. Gotham City is a bleak, dark horrible place full of murderous criminals who epitomise the very worst nightmares imaginable. Metropolis on the other hand is a far more hopeful place. Although criminals still exist there they tend to be corrupt businessmen or shady underground characters, but on the face of it the city is thriving. Both men are the hero their city needs, one is the symbol of hope turning people away from crime and the other is a symbol of fear for criminals.

Both men have their vast wealth of emotive back-story and psychological problems that give a vast depth and complexity to their character. Both have an arch nemesis that fit them perfectly and make them whole. I guess in the end no one is better than the other it is just preference. For me Batman has the far stronger rogues gallery than Superman's and Batman's gritty determination in a dark bleak world struck a chord with me that I just never got from Superman's alien loneliness. Plus as soon as a character can reverse time by running in the opposite direction to the Earth's rotation any sense of drama or danger has kind of been killed in my eyes. Batman is twisted by hate and revenge but he is essentially just a man trying to do what he can to make the world a little better. Maybe we should all strive to be more that way inclined. Next time a problem comes up ask yourself, what would Batman do?