23
Apr
14

Heresy of the Week – Marvel conquered the world by giving the people what they want


avengers

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

 With Marvel standing triumphant over the  geek-verse, it bears reflecting on how they have done it. Essentially, by giving the cinema-going, film-watching fans exactly what they want.

Read on…

22
Apr
14

The unravelling myths and misinformation of Nigel Farage


nigel farage

Say what you like about Nick Robinson, but he’s rather good at nailing down a slippery character. From the horse’s mouth:

Nick Robinson: So why isn’t [your wife] taking a British person’s job?

Nigel Farage: Because nobody else could do that job.

NR: No British person could work for you as your secretary?

NF: Not unless they married me.

NR: You don’t think anybody’s capable of doing that job?

NF: What, marrying me?

NR: No, of doing the job as your secretary.

NF: I don’t know anyone who would work those hours, no.

Do as I say, not as I do; isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?

22
Apr
14

03 “Breaker of Chains” (Game of Thrones season 4) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones breaker of chains

After the shock ending of the last episode (is that a spoiler?), it’s a little difficult to remember sometimes that we are only in the very early stages of the season. Most of the face-slapping moments, historically, have happened in the ninth or tenth episode. It’s a mark of just how busy this seasons is/will be that we’re into major plot developments so early on.

That said, the last episode also established that Bran’s story is as dull as ever. So some things don’t change at least.

But on the whole this is shaping up to be the season of broken things, the season where so many things are past the point where they can be fixed.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

18
Apr
14

“Cold Turkey” by Carole Johnstone – A Review


cold turkey by carole johnstoneWhilst I’d be the first to admit that the TTA novella releases haven’t been quite as frequent as I would have hoped (The first was released in November 2012, the second over a year ago in March 2013), you certainly can’t fault the quality.

I reviewed the first two novellas (“Eyepennies” by Mike O’Driscoll and “Spin” by Nina Allan) when they came out, and having been a fan for a number of years of TTA’s periodical publications (Interzone for SF and fantasy and Black Static for horror) I was very pleased that they managed to match the peerless, boundary-pushing quality quality of the shorter stories I loved in the magazine.

Now we’re at novella number 3, by Carole Johstone. Carole has featured in Black Static a number of times, as well as a wide range of anthologies and collections, and I have read her stories myself several times.

And now we have a novella. Called “Cold Turkey”. With a terrifying man (?) in a top hat on the front. First impressions are, you have to admit, distinctly good.

Read on…

17
Apr
14

The Quiet Ones – A Review


the quiet ones

It feels intensely odd watching a new Hammer film. It’s the same feeling that I noted when sitting down to watch The Woman in Black. It feels like a name out of the past, a name out of another age, an old spirit — appropriately enough — risen from the grave.

But we live in strange times, and like so many of subjects of its films, Hammer is making a comeback. The (aforementioned) Woman in Black and The Resident (which I haven’t actually seen). And now, The Quiet Ones.

Now, unlike most I wasn’t blown away by The Woman in Black. I didn’t think it was terribly successful as a horror film, and although I thought more kindly of it at a later second viewing, I still think Daniel Radcliff was the wrong casting decision for the wrong reasons.

Mercifully, The Quiet Ones boasts not a single Daniel Radcliff.

Read on…

16
Apr
14

Heresy of the Week – Darwinist commissioning isn’t giving us better TV


picard star trek the next generation
Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

Which TV shows get made and which get left on the shelf (or binned) is a highly competitive affair. But in the cut-and-thrust live-or-die business, a lot of shows which could have bloomed into successes never get the chance.

Read on…

15
Apr
14

02 “The Lion and the Rose” (Game of Thrones season 4) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones the lion and the rose

Bloody hell.

Considering I was endlessly whining that the last season dragged, stretching out half a season’s story to fill ten episodes, season four hasn’t half started with a bang. The above the spoiler line is going to be short this week, because I have a lot of things to discuss.

So if you’re reading this on the home page, then beware of clicking the Read on… link. If you’ve clicked through to the article itself, be warned: here be spoilers.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers)

14
Apr
14

And we’re off!


southend civic centre

With the local elections this year being later than most due to the European Parliament elections (the vote usually occurs on the first Thursday in May), today has seen the publishing by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council of the notice of election. This marks the “official” start of the election campaign — I say official, but all parties have been laying the groundwork for months. Would-be candidates have now 10 days to get their nomination papers in — with the signatures of 10 nominators living in the ward and on the electoral roll — by 24th April.

There are eighteen seats up for election — one in each of the seventeen wards in the borough, and an extra in Westborough which Independent Martin Terry has vacated in his flight to Thorpe — of which 11 are Tory-held, 5 by the Lib Dems, 1 Labour and 1 Independent.

Most local political commentators — both enthusiastic amateurs like myself, and those sitting on the council — are expecting upheaval after this election. The Conservative majority stands at 1 presently, and they are almost certain to lose a number of seats on May 22nd. What this means for post-election Southend will depend on how the dice ultimately fall, and what alliances can be made as a result.

So there is a lot to play for; expect a lively campaign.

38 days to go.

14
Apr
14

The Borderlands – A Review


the borderlands

I’m a regular listener to the BBC’s film review show on Radio 5live, hosted by Simon Mayo and the acerbic wit of Mark Kermode. It’s a good listen for anyone with even a passing interest in film, and it’s actually what brought my attention to this very film, The Borderlands.

I’m sure I would have found it anyway, the reliable crew of my Facebook friends having discovered it also, but it’s always nice to have a signpost — and it seems only fair to recognise them.

The Borderlands is a low-budget, British horror film. It also uses the found-footage format, so beloved lately of horror. I have in the past been quite mean about it, but I do always usually qualify that by saying that done right it can be tremendously effective.

The question then is which camp The Borderlands falls into.

Read on…

12
Apr
14

Leader of Independents on Southend Council resigns!


martin terry

Sadly, Martin Terry isn’t renouncing politics, and becoming a monk.

No, this is the next step in the ongoing saga of Independent Party Group Martin’s flight to the safer climes of Thorpe ward. On Friday, he gave his written resignation into the council, and formally ceased to be a councillor representing Westborough ward. This isn’t exactly a surprise, as he had declared his intentions to do just so a few months back.

Read on…




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