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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

So Excited!

I'm getting on with a ten-minute script at the mo. That probably seems very underwhelming to you guys BUT this one, this ten-minute script could well be made into a film by media students of Edge Hill University.

I am so excited. I might actually end up with a realization of my dream. Seems too good to be true, like a love I once had, but perhaps this will come good.

Hehe, come good...


[Please note, the picture is not a page from my script, it is just an example of a page of script I can use without copyright infringement]

Thursday, 22 December 2011

(Not John Carpenter's) The Thing


Well, I saw Matthijs van Heijningen Junior's The Thing tonight. Fyi, it's the prequel to the 1982 film of the same name, directed by one of the masters John Carpenter. It follows the Norwegian research team (the one whose camp is explored in the original film) who find a strange 'fossil' buried in the ice and dig it up in pursuit of mega-kudos. The original is one of my favourite films of all time, so here goes an impartial analysis of the brand-spanking-new one...

Well, it's not as new as you might think, there is quite a bit that's taken directly from the first. I mean, apart from the fact that both camps are from the same 'Research Centre's 'R' Us' shop (right down to the gaudy glass lampshade in the rec room). There's also the 'Norris' character (who ends up collapsing and then turning into the thing after being carried away), the 'Palmer' character (who ends up being roasted in front of bookshelves after the whole 'oh no my flamethrower is temporarily not working' incident), the hallway confrontation with the scientists (just like with Gary and Copper) and more. Incidentally, Jonathan Walker - who plays Colin in the hallway confrontation bit - really dragged the tone down with poor acting. It's supposed to be a high-tension scene where suspicions are rife and arguments ensue to try and get to the bottom of it. His lines involved some real clunky ones, pretty much "He is hiding something" and "He is not what he appears to be." He delivered them with such dullness, I kind of forgot there's a world-threatening alien on the loose. Even the soundtrack (by Marco Beltrami) is heavily inspired by Ennio Morricone's original score, but doesn't convey much of the original despair. In fact, in the end scene where Joel is torched, that kind of 'behold the heroine's triumph' music plays, but the idea of the original is that no-one wins, just life's brutality rolls on.

What was new was the way the main character Kate discerns between who is human and who is the thing. Organic matter can't produce inorganic matter, that's fair enough, so fillings are an indicator of humanity. It's not quite as tension filled as the blood test scene, and I found it baffling that the characters would refuse to simply open their mouths to prove their innocence, but I guess the writer (Eric Heisserer) was at a loss for ways to create drama at this point. But yeah, I liked that bit, and also liked the Norwegian stamp put on the film by the director. Some of the dialogue was in Norwegian and subtitled for our pleasure, just thought that gave the film a good flavour and authenticity.

I think ultimately the film is confused about the nature of the thing, which is a temptation when dealing with all the special effects we see in today's modern filmographic reels. The alien is introduced pretty early on in the film and is 'flaunted' loads throughout the film, showing off the modern doofer-computers' abilities. There's even a bit where the thing, in a sort of dog-like incarnation, stalks Joel into a kitchen. This is a shame in couple of ways; hide-and-seek scenes are basic horror, not pushing any boundaries whatsoever, and also the whole idea of the alien is that it's vulnerable out in the open, so it needs to be sneaky NOT just 'Hi I'm Alan, just another run-of-the-mill alien going out for Friday night' (or whatever...).

That kinda sums up the film in a lot of ways; it's not convinced. John Carpenter's The Thing is sci-fi horror, but with a lot the tension and psychological elements associated with terror. The 2011 remake is pure horror. Basic plot, basic acting, basic chills and over-the-top special effects. Go figure. Not a patch on the original, but then I'm bound to say that as a massive fan. If you like the original, sure, go see it. Just because it's not AS good, doesn't mean to say it's not worthwhile. If you like horror films in general, also go see it. If I gave half-stars, it'd get 2.5, but I don't, so I give it 3 (without much of a grudge), so maybe any film-goer should try it. If you can get your hands on the 1982 version, it's a better film, but will not be for everyone's tastes.

P.S. Just in case this rant hasn't got enough fan-based, unqualified opinion to put you off, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is HOT.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Hurt Locker

Sweet mother-of-Jesus, what a fantastic film! I've been wanting to watch this film SO MUCH that I have actually put off watching it for ages, in case it doesn't match my expectations. What did I expect? Well, I expected it to be harrowing, to change my view of the Iraq conflict and also I expected it to be 'pro-America'. The gauntlet was well and truly thrown down when a great mate of mine JW threw down the gauntlet/lent me the DVD.

I don't think I've ever watched a film that has really, unrelentingly captured such unwavering tension before. Not in the likes of Shutter Island, The Departed or John Carpenter's The Thing (to name a few) have I come across such dense, claustrophobic paranoia. As Kathryn Bigelow said (in the extras of the version I watched) she wanted the audience to be an extra person in the team that deals with the constant IEDs that Iraq presents to soldiers. Did it bring me to the front line? No. Did it make me feel what those soldiers feel? No. What it did do was to bring me completely out of my comfort zone, it made me fear to watch the characters live in the jaws of death and, above all, it made me re-evaluate what it is to be human.

The film was certainly harrowing. After managing to get into a good mood, the film certainly depressed me. The film definitely changed my view of the war in Iraq; I head so much about soldiers blown up by improvised bombs, little did I realise the extent to which soldiers go to try and defuse them, despite the fact they might kill everyone within a huge radius. The final, and perhaps most important question when it comes to a film of this type (given that it was from an American soldier's perspective): was it pro-America? There were very few cliche American flags flowing, and none of them were from a victorious batalion, establishing their mark on a hard-to-gain hill. Instead, the main message was about war as it happens to the ordinary man, how they become repulsed or addicted to the effects it brings about on them (i.e. the release of 'feel good' hormones, adrenaline and endorphins), and how they cannot adapt to civilian life afterwards (exemplified in the mundane supermarket shopping scene toward the end).

I bloody loved this film, despite a severe slackening of pace towards the end. That is subjective. What I can promise you, however, is that this film will be in the world's 'Top War Films' for many years to come, and that you are missing out until you see it.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Seriously


WTF is time? Seriously, what the fuck? Where does it get off telling us, being all 'high and mighty' constantly?

I'm looking at this clock on my desk, and it's like 'yeah it's ten to twelve' and, friends, I kept it real. I was like 'no it bloody isn't! It's when I say it is, and now I say it's time to mess around on the internet, casually work and disregard traditional notions that I should be in bed or actually contributing to society in any way.'

Yeah, that'll bloody well show it!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

It's Official

I'm now blogging for Edge Hill University!

I just hope I don't start neglecting this little darling...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Nice One!

Liverpool 1 - Manchester United 1

What a bloody brilliant game today! Despite a goalless first half and then a draw at the end of it, I think the overall match was great and very entertaining. We deserved to win, to be fair, and it was surprising that we didn't but, as Stevie G said post-match, to get a point from the champions of the league is a decent result.

Liverpool dominated in every aspect but, as seems to be an unfortunate trend sometimes, the scoreline. Possession, shots and more were in our favour, but still it was a 'well worked' (and not at all jammy) header from United's Javier Hernandez that denied us our rightful three points. You could argue that Steven Gerrard's free-kick goal was a bit soft, but all I can say is that if you can't get the basics of a wall right (i.e. stick together so you actually block the ball from the keeper), then you don't deserve to have won the Premier League... The way we continue to be treated by referees is, as usual, disappointing but (after the mention of two or three hand-ball decisions being ignored in the box, our goal kick being given as their corner - which they scored from - and a missing yellow card) the less said about that the better!

I think Stevie G deserved man of the match, but Luis Suarez was in with a good shout again. He seems tireless and nearly found the back of the net numerous times. He has such a natural talent, I just hope he realises that and doesn't beat himself up that he hasn't scored. I feel so giddy! The heartbeat of LFC back for ninety minutes, scoring his first goal of the season against the old enemy was simply amazing. The usually underrated Dirk Kuyt had a fine chance too, and the fact he didn't score is more a credit to United's keeper De Gea than it is a discredit to Liverpool.

Keep it up lads, YNWA!

P.S. A long overdue shout out to Matt, hope your own Merseyside team is inspiring you as much as mine is!

Yes, Man!

I've been feeling lately like I'm stuck in a rut. Stuck in some superglue whilst putting together a model of the Millennium Falcon. Stuck, perhaps, in some chewing gum I just sat in on public transport. However and wherever I was stuck, I've felt like needing to shake things up a bit, to stop sitting in the gum and run forward until the sticky gum tendrils snap and I am free.

So yesterday I had a full day at uni, but instead of sitting back and relaxing after this, I went forward. Though it wasn't part of my course, though it wasn't free, I said a big 'yes' to the opportunity to see past Edge Hill Short Story Prize winners read out their work at the Bluecoat in Liverpool and have a discussion on short story writing. The two prize winners to attend were Graham Mort (Touch) and Tom Vowler (The Method).

Unfortunately, Mr. Vowler had to drop out due to illness, but Graham more than made up for this by reading out some of his poetry in the first half. I think the thing that struck me the most was the rhythm of his poetry. I appreciated the considered approach and how his exploration of an image groped forward to an interesting and thought-provoking point. His short story 'The Lesson' (from Touch) was very evocative in a sensual way, with focus on sexual relations, pervading pungent smells, the caress of the sea and so on. It made me think of life as a series of strings, leading to and from a person, so fragile and hardly noticeable that secrets and turmoils are almost necessary (at least for the characters in the story).

All in all, a fantastic experience to see such a master at work again. Imagine where I'd have been if I'd said 'nah, too tired tonight'. Stuck on a sofa with so much gluey crap feeling sorry for myself. Say 'yes' more, embrace life, you only get one!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A. Nother Badminton Post

Been back to bdaminton three times in this academic year. To be honest, the first time was great! Pwnd no0bs as if they were cardboard cut-outs. Next time, not so good. Performed like my hands were tied behind my back and just generally felt as if I wasn't in the room. Tonight however...


Lost one game all night, and that was a close one. One of those where they get a loada points, you battle hard to get the lead, they battle back etc etc until they get the last 'battle back' and win. A couple of the other wins were not exactly foregone conclusions as well. A lot of movement around the court and a few cheeky straight-to-the-body shots to add finality to my drives...

However, one thing I've always maintained is that you can tell a good player by the way he/she deals with a newbie. If they play soft shots to let them into the game but are still not beaten, you can tell they are good. If they don't serve well on purpose, for example, to let someone get a return, and can generally separate good and bad play from the novice to the experienced player, you know they are good but modest. I did that tonight. I was giving invitational shots to the newbie, tried to give returns in the better player's direction. It's only fair.

This probably seems like the ravings of a prick. 'Oh yeah, I'm so good and yet I play beneath me to try and give others a chance!' Not at all! I love the Edge Hill badminton society. Sometimes it's about giving something back. It was still immense fun and I loved it!


Viva la competicion!


Peace out guys and gals! x

Per Annum

A lot can change in a year. You grow older (physically, if not mentally), you might start a new job, you'll probably get some naff socks for Christmas. The Prime Minister might change, aliens might invade (well, more of them might) and maybe even you could win the lottery. Somewhere between the more comfortable changes and the ground-breaking ones, however, you might meet someone new. Someone you love, and who loves you.

I experienced this phenomenon last year. I met my lovely girlfriend about 13 months ago, and on October 7th we were on our first date. We'd actually met up the night before and got pretty damn drunk together, meaning the meal I took her to wasn't finished because we were feeling a bit sick, and the film we went to see after was in danger of causing us headaches. It was still a fantastic day.



Yesterday we relived that first date. We went into Liverpool and, instead of Barburrito's and The Other Guys, we indulged in Pizza Hut and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. One year on and, despite all that's changed in everybody's lives, joy still lives in my heart.


Thank you dear! x

Sunday, 18 September 2011

For the Love of Liverpool!

I've been through this post a few times in my mind. There is, after all, a lot to say about Liverpool's performance against Spurs today. It has, however, come to my attention that there's really only one way to express the latest trip to White Hart Lane.

We had six yellow cards (a few of them baffling) versus their one - despite them having nearly double the fouls -, two of our players being sent off and none of theirs, our bewlidering lack of ability to maintain possession, run with the ball (instead of passing back) shoot, pass etc and, 'more importantly' their four goals against nil. Despite the well-earned credit I give to Tottenham today, the only way this reds fan can sum up the action is with this picture:

Friday, 15 July 2011

The 'Travis Bickle'


If you ain't familiar with the 'wink and sink', it is a move popularized in WKD's televisual advertisement campaign. To complete a 'wink and sink' you need to be playing pool with someone. When you have a shot lined up and want to humiliate/banterize your opponent, you look them in the eye, take the shot and - providing you pot the intended ball and don't foul - you're awesome.

I just did the 'Travis Bickle'. It's where you're having a piss and you line up your shot before looking in a nearby mirror and doing shooting pistol movements at yourself with your free hand in said silver-nitrated pane. Obviously missing the bowl here would render the 'Travis Bickle' a fail, but I didn't fail, and it felt good.

The thing that didn't feel good was age/wisdom. Hardly any of my friends have watched Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic Taxi Driver, and probably not many of my readers have. I'm old, bitter and fed up that most of you probably watch and love 'Glee' more than you do decent stuff...

:-( Boohoo moan moan!

Peace out guys xxx

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Corrections for Oxcliffe Road


1. The BP garage is a garage, not a boxing ring or a shouting contest.
2. Oxcliffe Road is a residential area, not a discoteque, or ballroom or whatever it is you kids do these days.
3. Oxcliffe Road is a way of driving to/from Marine Road, Fairfield Road, Kingsway or further whilst obeying the rules of the road. It is not a bloody drag racing strip.
4. Further to point 3, car tyres work best when gripping the road's surface as opposed to wheen being wheelspun in an attempt to pull out of a garage looking cool.
5. Our garden is a garden, not a bin or tip. Keep your rubbish to yourself you dirty bastards!
6. Your car is a device that endables you to get from point A to B via the aforementioned road system, it is not a speaker on wheels that you should definitely use to blast out similar chavvy crap that the people from point 2 do.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Woop!


Just submitted some stuff for Gumbo Press' second issue! Bit nervous, hope I do well but we'll see.

If you want to check them out, here is their address: http://www.gumbopress.co.uk/index.html

Really sorry, if I was more organized I'd have told you about calls for submission for this issue earlier so you could have submitted as well. But hey, it's a bi-monthly e-zine, so just keep checking the website above and I'm sure you'll have plenty more chances :)

Keep on trucking folks!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My Favourite Song at the Moment


My favourites song at the moment is 'The Weight' by The Band.



Welcome to the madness Kane, and how're you doing after all this time?

Peace!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Does It Make Me a Bad Person?


Yeah, alright, I loved the new Pirates of the Caribbean film 'On Stranger Tides'... There's nothing wrong with that! I know I go on about how good cinema says something about man's struggle, the human condition etc, but don't get me wrong: I've always valued pure entertainment too! Why else would I love Ron Underwood's 'Pluto Nash'?

It's not even as if Disney have completely glossed over real life anyway. The opening scenes of the film show rolls of notes and bags of chinking change buying the services of the court and political ideologists respectively. Yes it was done in a pantomimely-obvious way, but I was still left thinking, "Hey, at least they're showing the world as it is, in a film primarily about supernatural forces amidst the oceans of the world." Okay, maybe it wasn't put so eloquently in me noggin...

These films have a similar appeal to westerns: the illusion of freedom. The wide open spaces of the seven seas (and beyond) and the lusciously shot on-location scenes in various parts of Hawaii are literally lovely to look at. The ideology of the pirates as free men (and women) doing what they want is an appealing, though obviously not completely polarized, spectacle which shows us that we are all free to get into a mess of our choosing, but then have to fight to get out of that mess. Ooh this could almost be philosophical!

Taking the idea of the western further, Pirates of the Caribbean films can compare to some of the best western chase thrillers. I'm taking David von Ancken's 'Seraphim Falls' as an example, purely because I want to mention that I've watched it. Groups, individuals or groups of individuals (there's a difference) are pitched against each other, and as the film goes on, motives, desires and flaws are exposed in the characters leading to the resolution. In POTC, we see how our favourite characters (such as Cap'n Jack Sparrow) get themselves into trouble and are inevitably drawn to supernature and its forces to establish equilibrium for themselves. This is redolent of the aforementioned western because the story's power is making sure you aren't certain who is the hunter or the hunted, who is good or who is bad, who you like or who you don't. Wait, that last one... Of course we love Jack Sparrow. And shame on you Ian McShane! I had you pinned from the start!

Anyways, I've gone on too long. What a fantastic film. It's not a terribly original addition to the franchise BUT I DON'T CARE!!! They set up a fifth in the post-credits ditty and I will go on watching them until they outsource the main characters' employment to Pune in India.

Peace out mes amis!

Monday, 30 May 2011

For the Love of Film!


Good gravy, adverts really piss me off. I mean, apart from being fed the same ones every single break (Heinz tomato ketchup and its excrutiating ditty, EDF Energy's 'Powering the 2012 Olymipcs' advert and Virgin Media's 'laptop use on the toilet' show being some of the most recent and annoying examples), the fact they keep interrupting the flow of what you're trying to watch. Adverts and televisions go hand in hand, they have done since the technology was invented, and as such things written for TV (like soap operas) do not suffer so much. In the few minutes between the first and second half of 'Spaced', for example, you don't think 'Oh bugger I've forgotten what they were on about! Who's he and what's he doing with those paint balls?' Films, however, are a completely different kettle of fish.

Films are written for the 'big' or 'silver' screen, a magical place where adverts and trailers are played before the main event and then there are two hours of complete, unadulterated celluloid awesomeness, aside from people throwing popcorn at you or spit roasting a pig on the back row. I mean, writers of these things have slaved away for frig knows how long crafting this cinematic experience for you with the idea that it will be shown to you as it is in their mind. But then it comes on TV. I wonder if Heywood Gould ever thought, 'What this dramatic scene, showing the characters' conflicting desires, needs is an advert. Yeah, preferably one that the audience has seen a ton of times, so they get really angry and pissed off. Then they won't be thinking about my work, yeah that'll be an improvement!'

I was watching Roger Donaldson's Cocktail (screenplay by Heywood Gould if you wondered where that name came from) t'other night for a few minutes. I say a few minutes because I'd missed the start, but really wanted to give it a go. I love Elisabeth Shue's work so why not give the film a go? I'll tell you why: just as I got into the swing of it, knew the characters a bit and really got interested in where the film was going IT WAS INTERRUPTED BY A BLOODY AD BREAK. I switched over immediately... There's enough competition for ratings out there making it hard to keep a viewer's interest without being put off by repetitive crap about products I really don't give a shit about at this moment in time.

It was like I was making love - dead romantic like - with rose petals, silky sheets and candles. I was completely lost in the act - transcendental joy - when Gordon Brown popped into the room screaming and hit me about the head with a cold, wet whale. It put me off a bit. I'd rather have a trolley load of nitro-glycerin forced up my bum and go for a trampoline sesh than watch these soul-destroying ads again, hence why I changed channel.

Seriously, respect the bloody film! Here's a list of suggestions (bearing in mind having no ad breaks at all wouldn't be financially viable and then there'd be no film whatsoever); have less ad breaks (obvious); have them at well-thought out points (for example, at the two points between the status quo and the confrontation and between the confrontation and resolution) so that the audience can reflect on an act, rather than just when there's a quiet bit; vary the adverts so they aren't like a hammer blow to the back of the head every time (although that should happen all the time). That's about it I think...

Bye bye!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Lexical Enigma


I were thinking yesterday about the importance of not fronting. 'Fronting' or 'putting up a front' involves being/acting like something you are not or 'affecting a style different to your own' usually in order to impress. I wondered, then, whether being true to yourself could be called 'backing' or maybe, given the fact the truth is often hard to behold, 'backsiding'.

Please folks, for the sake of your own dignity and self-respect and for the sake of honesty everywhere, make sure you backside in life. People love you for who you are, not who you aren't, so why not backside?

On an unrelated and recently underused note, the song I have stuck in me head at the minute is George Strait's 'Amarillo By Morning'. Lovely!

Peace out.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Hollywood


I feel really restless. Really bloody restless. I'm doing writing I'm not doing enough writing. I'm being proactive I'm not being proactive enough. I'm reading I'm not reading enough. I say hello, I get to know I say goodbye. I'm not sure who is here or who has stayed. I feel like I want to crawl out of my head.

That's not possible.

How's about some harmless escapism? Hmm, yeah a FILM would go down really well. The problem is, Hollywood will not do. Rowan Woods' Little Fish is on Film 4 as I write. I loved getting lost into the rabbit hole of desperate strangleholds, emotional taughtness and general not-here-ness. But the film's about halfway through. I can't join in now. I've missed the STATUS QUO. I'm dead picky about this.

Another film for the capitalist war machine (my amazon wishlist)... Well I hope this was worth the internet's time. Maybe HOLLYWOOD will have mercy on me.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Liverpool's On Fire!


Liverpool FC, that is. Today they cruised comfortably to a 3-0 win over Newcastle, though their performance was not perfect, it must be admitted.

The first goal came thanks to Newcastle defender Danny Simpson's deflection, otherwise Tim Krul would almost definitely have saved it. The second goal came thanks to Luis Suarez going down pretty easily under pressure from Mike Williamson in the box. Penalty awarded, Dirk Kuyt continued his fine form by totally beating Krul and finding the back of the net. To be fair to Suarez here, though, he had 'good' opportunities to dive that he didn't take, so well done for being a sportsman. The third goal came from the aforemention Uraguayan after Dirk gave him the chance to score from up close.

One lad who'll have plenty to say about this is an ardent Newcastle supporter and close personal friend Arran who has just started writing for a NUFC blog. Check that out at www.nufcblog.co.uk

Peace out!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Monday, 25 April 2011

Royal Sexing


As ye may expect, dear readers, I am not getting all excited about the upcoming royal marriage between Kate Middleton and Prince William. I'm certainly not a royalist, but I won't digress too much. The thing is, we can't get away from hearing about it. I don't have my own TV, but whenever I'm watching it round someone else's house there are these snappy 'the royal wedding's coming' adverts. It's being billed as one of the most important news events of our time (or something like) according to the BBC's smushy, over-the-top teaser. Try telling that to Japan or New Zealand you bloody pretentious oafs!

Then the stupid assertions follow like 'everyone's heard of the royal wedding' or 'everyone's getting excited for the royal wedding'. I'm sure not everyone's heard of it, especially not people who live outside of Britain and, well, have lives. How is everyone getting excited too? People who don't know it's going on aside, why would you be excited about a wedding between two people you've never met, will never meet and will never come in contact with the rest of your family? I know loads of shops are getting excited about it. 'Ooh, lets put a union flag in the window, put up some bunting and give our customers a special offer because of the royal wedding' they all seem to be thinking. If Morrisons reduced the price of its crowns or sceptres or something I might understand, but why the frig are there royal wedding phone deals? There are loads more examples, but the Alcatel 209 phone is now available in a special commemorative edition for the event. Commemorative? It's bloody monstrous! Urrrgh :-(

It wouldn't surprise me if most of you, like yours truly, have been ambushed by a little magazine hiding in your newspaper all about the happy couple and their big day. Mine came in the Daily Mirror and it's so bad it's almost funny. Part of it outlines William and Kate's lives before and after going out with each other. It's just an excuse for a load of pretty pictures and poor puns, such as 'frying high'... Blergh I don't want to dwell on it any more... Another part of this mini-magazine was dedicated to outlining the big day: when people would arrive, when the ceremony would take place and even when they would share their kiss for the cameras. Kiss for the cameras? This even made me think: their whole happy day is not their own, the media, its circus and all the doe-eyed clowns watching it own their happy day, meaning that they have to obey a timetable so it can all be televized and scrutinized. I'm surprized they haven't detailed when the royal sexing will take place so we can tune in on late night telly...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Power!

Haha yes, my friends, POWER! 'The man' has recently been trying to screw me for nigh on £400 for water (H2 flipping O), of all things. What did I do? Roll over and pay? Not on your life. Ask to be billed for a greater amount? Hell no! Eat the bill with a sauce that is a cross between Marie Rose and Hollandaise sauce and a side order of curly fries? Well... No. Sounds quite nice though...

Yeah so I've saved a helluva lot of money from these fatcats.

Liverpool had a fantastic last match. It was a Dirk sandwich as Andy Carroll made an excellent contribution with two goals, the first and the third, and the dutchman netting the second of the night with trademark reliability. Carroll got man of the match, but I certainly think Dirk Kuyt was on the shortlist, always putting in at least 110% every game. Still, well done Carroll and also John Flanagan who made his Premier League debut on the night.

The rest of today's gonna be good, doing a lot of reading and writing so all's well. Things are so awesome I've had to listen to Verdi's 'Anvil Chorus' to calm me down!

Adieu!

P.S. Hi Jess! xxx

Jeremy Dyson

Does he not have a knighthood yet? Why not? Stop spending so much time on the royal wedding and credit this guy! I went to one of his readings recientemente and I am just in so much awe. I'd heard of his involvement with The League of Gentlemen but I ain't such a big fan of that, having never watched any more than sketches on '50 Best BritComs' or some such facile count downwards programme. No, when his name popped up on the Edge Hill University website, other bells were ringing in my head. Where do I know that name from? I've still not really found out but, knowing that The League is a stupendously dark comedy, I figured that I could learn a lot from the guy. Learn I did!

He read 'Come April' from his collection of short stories The Cranes That Build the Cranes. The story is ostensibly about an estranged mother who works in a massage parlour and gives the best blowjobs to her clients there. These blowjobs are so good, she is visited by monks who want to achieve spiritual enlightenment through said act. This was a revelation: so much comedy in a piece so thought-provoking and deep. It reminded me of a 5 minute film script I wrote last year called 'An Institution' where a man in a failing marriage pays to see his own wife at one of these massage parlours. He politely listened to me telling him that as he signed my book, good to see some humility from one so talented!

His Q&A session was also a great help. He divulged the benefits of writing regular - an hour a day at least - not giving up on a story you're struggling to conclude/move forward with and not restricting yourself according to what you think other people think is acceptable.

I'm adding someone new to the living legends list.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Welcome!


Welcome to new readers, and indeed welcome back to those that are revisiting. I've been doing a little study of blogs recently for some uni work and the subject has started to fascinate me more than ever. It becomes apparent that I'm not the only one who struggles at some point or other with the direction that their weblog takes them. I've tried so hard to keep mine focused on something entertaining, above all, and well written. Sometimes it does 'degenerate' into something so self-centred it can't be interesting to outsiders, but that's what you have to work with.


Basically, there's so much info on the net and so many blogs therein, so how do you get people's attention? Well, there's money for advertising, but what I mean is that my 'best', 'most interesting/entertaining' and 'well written' post may not be the one at the front of the rest I have written. Thus, someone isn't going to 'follow' my blog, because they think the rest of the posts will be like this one, boring and a waste of time. I always think you should keep blogs short, but recently I've been talking at length about my 'blogetics'. Not very entertaining, maybe not even interesting, but I feel the need to discuss what I've learned. I also think it's important to include visual stimulus to break up the text (obviously there's not really a fitting one for the subject today, hence its weirdness), but I digress.


I kind of had a point and kind of didn't writing this post. When I had a point, I forgot it, and when I didn't I couldn't quite remember if I had one. Since I'm floundering terribly, I'll leave you with this: blogs are awesome. I really hope you're liking this one, but if not, even I know that there are so many which are so brilliant, there's no excuse for you, dear reader, not to find one to your liking.


Happy hunting!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Monologous: Sports Students

Now, I'm not saying I don't like sports. I love a lot of them, football, badminton and swimming being my favourite. I play them. I watch them. I love them. How is it, then, that students involved in sports degrees are so god-damn annoying? There are so many of them around Edge Hill it's untrue. The uni is supposed to be pretty successful in teaching sports subjects and it bloody shows 'cause they flock here in their thousands.

I've got nothing against each one personally, really. I even know and like a couple of them. However, just because you like chocolate, it doesn't mean to say you'd like all of your things smeared with the stuff does it? Your TV would probably stop working. Your toothbrush wouldn't actually clean your teeth anymore. Your shoes would be all sloppy and sticky. The toilet would be really... brown and... sticky? Hmm, forget the last one then. The fact is, though, we're practically being smeared with sports students here.

Try and get a game of pool in the SU Bar and you can't. They're all there in striped trackie bottoms, hoodies with random cities and numbers stuck on (Osaka 84 being a personal favourite), stupid condom-shaped beanie hats and tufty douchebag beards (well, maybe I'm in no position to talk about the beard...). Try to go to the shop and you've got to weave in and out of them like an 80s pop icon on his way to get his 'Club Tropicana' holiday snaps developed after a toke or two on fine weed. I can understand this bit: if they see you trying to get somewhere and mover out the way for you, they'd be compromising their blessed masculinity. Aw, we wouldn't want to do that, would we? 'I'm big, I'm hard, you are beneath me! Rawr! Walk around me weakling!' It's obviously quite unreasonable of me to expect such a favour...

It even affects trying to write creatively. No, I don't mean that now all my fiction centres around marauding serial killers targeting sports students in a way eerily similar to those ones on TV. What I mean is that they're taking up precious 'state of the art' rooms with computers, projectors and board markers, while we writers get stuck with a broom cupboard on the roof somewhere... There's no-one using the running track right now, why not bugger off there? It appears Edge Hill isn't as highly rated in creative writing as sports degrees, for some reason, but it's obvious by past and current talent that we shouldn't be treated like dirt. We are a credit to the establishment, I'll have you know!

Ooh my wrist aches after this rant, I wonder if there are any physios about...

What Lovely Weather We're Having!

Be honest, who isn't reading this because the title is boring?
It's true though. Sunny rubbish up above...
Given me more inspiration to write more poetry.

If I get far with my work, I'd like to enter some of it into a competition.
Let's see how that goes!

How are you guys? Good, I hope.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

More Randomness!

I discovered a new blog today by a shared love of Scorsese's Taxi Driver. His name is Gary McMahon and surely he is a wise bloke. I just read his post 'Shattering the Myth' which details the writer's struggle against the perception that, say, a novel is churned out in first draft before breakfast. Actually, there's a lot of hard work involved: partly craft, partly effort and mostly fitting it in around the shit that life throws at you.

But anyways, while trying to write a draft of some image-based fiction for class later in the day, I came to a pleasing revelation. Sometime we forget it but; THE HUMAN MIND HAS THE GREATEST CAPACITY EVER. I ain't talking about storing sewage or some shit, I'm talking about imagination! I was writing this draft, which is weirdly centring around past lives etc, and thought 'this is gonna take a lot of work before the finished article.' Then I thought, 'shit, the stuff I've come out with is nothing like my usual stuff. Where did it come from? Even if other people hate it, I'm amazed I came out with it!'

Much work ahead, but please check out my new followee Gary McMahon (hopefully this link will work) http://www.garymcmahon.com/

Bye!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

WRI BLOG: 1,000 Word Self-Assessment

I've been looking forward to my century blog for quite some time now. The reaching of 100 posts is a nice little milestone demonstrating commitment, achievement and, perhaps, an opportunity to celebrate (with bubbly? Nah, probably just a cup of tea...). In some ways, this number has spurred me on to write when inspiration has been having a nap. I wondered, however, whether this was impacting on the quality of my blog. 'What quality?' you ask incredulously. Well, I never said it was a good blog, just that maybe my haste to post has lessened my ability even further than usual. 'Plastic Coffee', as an example was very short. Just a sentence. Three words. This got me thinking about my blog as a whole.

There are quite a few things I'm proud of in my humble little blog. 'Plastic Coffee', as an example again. The shortness of it is its charm in some way. I made it a sentence (or two if you include the title, which I like to use as an extra line sometimes) not to make it a quick blog, actually. To some people it'll have more significance than others; if you've ever had coffee out of a machine more than once you'll understand. Why did you get it again after it was so awful last time? Because you need caffeine. Why do you need that? Because you're tired after uni, or something. In this way, I was trying to create a very short story, one where the blanks are filled in, or left unanswered by the reader.

There are other 'experiments' I've enjoyed along the way too, such as a blog that was so short, it was just a title ('Common Sense and I are Not the Best of Friends'). That said it all. It was nothing I'd done, exactly, it was just a realization. Quite a flippant one.

I've cherished flippancy in some posts, it has mostly just been about fun at the end of the day. In the early days, I struggled to get away from the diary-like blog which, whether interesting or not (probably not, in my case), certainly wasn't all that creative. 'Column posts' (i.e. posts about views and opinions such as one'd find in a Jeremy Clarkson/ Charlie Brooker newspaper column) were a step up, as they allowed for more creative techniques in some ways: (ludic) narrative voice, pace, strange imagery etc. These column posts, and the 'step up' from that creatively, i.e. the fiction/poetry that I've posted, have been more like what I wanted my blog to be about from the off. Really, I just wanted to write the truth creatively and also write the creative truth. 'SCIENTISTS FIND HAIR DYE SHORTENS LIFE EXPECTANCY' is a prime example of writing the creative truth as I presented fiction in the account of a newspaper article to give it an authoritative 'truthful' voice. I kinda didn't want to admit that was an 'untruth' as I have already had people believing it to be otherwise, but I suppose a disclaimer never hurts.

So, like in life, we can never be sure of anything. I'm convinced that I'm getting happier with my blog, I believe that you should check out my followers and followees (as their blogs are, on the whole, much better) and I think that as long as some people are reading and getting something from this blog (like me girlyfriend! I was so proud when she told me she'd read it!) I'll never stop. Mwahahaha!

Peace out.

Urrrgh I'm So Ill...


Everything is a massive pain in my fat arse and I'm crabbier than a sandy beach thanks to feeling ill. My nose won't stop streaming, my head be clanging like a competition between bell ringers for the loudest noise and I keep coughing, because everyone loves to bring up funky coloured phlegm right?

I'm so bloody knackered now though. I can't even throw my snotty tissues straight anymore. In fact, I just threw one on target that managed to knock another one out of the bin as it bounced away. That sums up how I'm feeling nicely. WHINGE WHINGE! I know plenty of people have it much worse than I, but I'm physically drained of the ability to care about anything now...

I don't even care about this post. It's bloody boring...
Urrrgh...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Who Knows?


What is truth? Is it really beauty, John? Is there really such thing as truth? How about reality? Is there really a reality and if so, is reality really real? What does the future hold? Who am I? What is this and what does it mean? Where are we now, where have we ever been? Who the devil invented cats?


Is there such a thing as normality? What's its average, its range, its meaning, its outliers and its value? What are feelings? Are they all chemical? Is there magic and pixie dust, or just flesh and diffusion? What are the blues? When does happiness happen? Is anything bad, or is it just thinking that makes it so? Can things, therefore, get better, or is it all just stagnant? Do we have natures to corrupt and does memory hold any water?


What do we know? What can we know? Is it worth knowing, will it help us, will everything be ok?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Dutch Day Afternoon


Liverpool: 3, Manchester United: 1.

What. An. AWESOME. Match. I knew all along that our last game against West Ham (which saw today's score reversed in their favour) was just the calm before the storm, and that we'd win today. United were without a couple of their regulars, yeah, but they really didn't have anything to offer. Even with the ref helping them out with little decisions and penalizations (that's a word now!), they just couldn't muster anything troublesome.

That's not to dis United, though, it's just a comment. Of course they had decent opportunities, the most scary one being Berbatov's post-hitter, but they were simply out-classed. And what class! Dirk Kuyt with his first LFC hat-trick - well deserved due to his underrated abilities - Gerrard nearly netting a couple himself, Suarez 'lending a hand' in all three goals and nearly scoring besides, Andy Carroll's not unpromising debut, a compact defensive display, passes sticking a lot better... So much praise, so much to congratulate them on! A joy to watch, thanks Liverpool :-)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Shovelling Shit

Against the tide
Sometimes you can worry
About your pride but you can't hide.

Don't worry folks! Life is good. The mere gift of life itself sets us apart from so many unfortunate folk who are, unfortunately, dead. It's a gift from the Lord, it's a gift from your biological parents, it's a gift from the cosmos. It is a gift.

Don't waste it, taste it! Gulp that life down as if you'd thirsted for it forever. Let it slake the parched throat, swell the cell that dwell in your cheek. Let it animate the brittle tongue - the organ of expression! - and even soften the chapped lips. Never be dry again. There are always choices. Rightly or wrongly, choose to live!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Salmon

ME
HATE
DIE
DEAD
DON'T
WANT

FUCK
SHOVE
STAB
CRACK
CRAP

SKIN
SHAVE
BONE
SNAP
BREAK

MEAT
LUST
LICK
STROKE

SCRATCH
SNATCH
SHAKE

Monday, 21 February 2011

Lolz!


I were just surfin' and found this funny advert. Twas for a site called 'Busty Russians' and they were bragging, "We have Ratio of 3:1 Women to Men."




I sure as hell don't want to look at a site that has busty Russian men on it... Maybe they should have explained that a bit better...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

SCIENTISTS FIND HAIR DYE SHORTENS LIFE EXPECTANCY

Earlier today scientists in Oxford revealed the link between using hair dye and living a shorter life. The findings come from a countrywide study into the usage of all hair dyes, surveying men and women over 30. The study clearly shows that the usage of hair dye is certain to affect posture, joints and the respiratory system in a negative way. Crucially, the effect is not caused directly by the cocktail of chemicals involved.

Dr. Nicholas Holt told reporters, "After taking a substantial population for our survey, the results were incredibly clear. It turns out that those with grey hair live much, much longer than those who end up dying theirs.

"We ascertained that our surveyees used services such as buses or trains, then whether their hair had started to lose its natural colour and then whether they decided to go down the route of colouring.

"Staggeringly, 98% of those who grew old naturally lived, on average 15 years longer than those who dyed.

"It is clear that the chemicals are not directly having an impact on the human body, what we are seeing may be less easy to account for. It has been suggested that this is all down to looking old enough to encourage sympathetic passengers to offer up their seat. No sturdy conclusions about causes have been drawn yet, but we hope for a breakthrough soon."

It is expected that the new government advertising campagin warning of the dangers of hair dye will be seen by most of the public by next Tuesday, but Health Secretary Andrew Linsley is already making his point clear on the radio, "Hair dye has been a part of looking great for generations, but this new evidence unequivocally states that we should stop using it at all costs lest we endanger our own lives, and those of our friends and family."

Anyone seeking advice on the issue should call the Hair-dye Hotline on 01665888454.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Pffft...


Well, it sure ain't been the best day for learning. Not really the best week for learning really. Going back to Monday, our tutor got really disheartened and started asking, rather pointedly, 'Are you bored to the back teeth? Is this too easy, too hard?' and then sighing upon no answer. You know, not everyone feels comfortable shouting out answers in a seminar. I don't think not doing so should be seen as a sign of no effort, it's just some people are more comfortable learning in different ways.


That kinda happened today. Granted our 'Writers' Context' module tutor is a little more animated than most, but he was also digging his spurs into a dead horse most of the time. Part of it was what he was doing. He talked about post-modernism (in reference to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot) in a rhetorical/patronising way (which seems to be typical for lecturers unfortunately) and there was no energy to offer. I tried making some contributions, most of which he interrupted, so I stayed silent after that. The main problem was that he started talking about the philosophical aspect of the play, with particular respect to existentialism, but then went on more about the philosophy than the writing. I think deeply a lot, I don't need his 'reading list' to teach me a bunch of crap when I came up with conclusions myself. I find the topic exceedingly personal and don't need some smiling villain to mock me and try to get me to share stuff that he thinks is beyond me.


Pah! Rant over!

This is Not Adieu, but Goodbye


Sorry 'sane people' out there, but here's another football blog.

It is time to say goodbye. It is time to wave sorrowfully and feel a certain sadness, a certain sense of loss and a sense of what could have been. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Torres is leaving Liverpool. That being said, I'd swiftly like to move on to thanking him for his contribution over the years and wish him well for his future. Just make sure you don't do too well at Chelsea ;-)

Hello, though, is next. A warm, firm handshake, a pat on the back and a broad smile to Luis Suarez. He's come over from Dutch team Ajax (that has Classical links, dontcha know!) and is apparently ready for hard work, so I wish him all the best. There's another hello to Andy Carroll, though his is slightly different. He gets a strong handshake, a grip on the shoulder and a stern look into his eyes, just like a brother greeting his precious sister's new boyfriend. The kind of welcome that says, "I want us to get along, but if you don't buck your ideas up with the booze and fighting, we're gonna have problems." No doubt he has talent, though, so let us hope that shines through the brightest in his career.

So, let us hope for the best. As we do in life, we do in football.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Effort

In order to succeed at life, it's not a bad idea to put in a little effort. To succeed at a blog, it is also nice to put in some effort. That doesn't mean that a blog is life, though they are similar in some ways. They are similar in the sense that they can both be tough. Life is tough because of money worries, drought, famine, pestilence etc etc. Blogs are tough because sometimes you can't think what to write.

I was wondering what to write a moment ago. A few ideas flitted briefly around my otherwise-empty head and then ceased to flit. One of these ideas was a shout-out to Jess, whose birthday it is on Monday, or Arran, whose birthday it is on Sunday. Another idea was something in my writer's journal. Oh yes, the journal! Why don't I check the journal for inspiration?

Because the journal is in my jeans which are on the floor away from the bed I lie on. Going over to them would be too much effort.

Granted it ain't the kind of effort that Prometheus made when trying to steal fire from Zeus. Granted it ain't the level of graft that Martin Luther King Jr. made in trying to advance the Civil Rights Movement. Also, it's not the hard labour of an extremely fat person trying to walk to the fridge. However, it is too much effort for I.

Goodbye.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I Smell

And I ain't just talking about 'ha ha' smelly.

Praise Jesus for Jess, who always shows how to be awesome.

Aww, she's so lovely :-)

Bye.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Over 1,000 Page Views!

Yay! A Milestone!!! Just as I was keeping an eye out for my century blog, I reach the 1,000th page view. Thanks to everyone who's looking, thanks to those who're reading and thanks to those who're following, you're all groovy!

Just remember, life is a funeral. It's a funeral of time. Time passes away constantly, it is always dying, it is always dead it is always death.

Diahorreah is spelled 'diarrhoea.'

Goodbye!

Monday, 17 January 2011

DERBY DAY!!!

Though twas actually yesterday, this is the opportunity to say well done to the lads of Liverpool Football Club. They've been having some pretty damn poor luck lately which has cost us points (out of our last three games, we had one loss which should have been a draw and one draw that should have been a win) and, admittedly, haven't exactly been at the apex of their abilities on the pitch. Referees giving goal chances that should never have been and penalising our lads while leaving the other team to cripple and maim freely is a little frustrating (me girlfriend has had to deal with all the bad moods, believe me!).

Come the derby. The Merseyside Derby. The Reds and the Blues together, duking it out. There was a slight hint of controversy surrounding one of Everton's goals that added to the 2-2 final score, but you know what? It didn't bother me. Every single one of our men putting in a good shift was awesome to see. Raul Meireles, a player of outstanding midfield quality who I've loved since his signing this season, netted his first on arguably the most important match of the season. Torres on fire again (I'll also take this opportunity to say screw you to all the Jamie Redknapps who got on Torres' back as soon as he failed to score every game. Bad body language? Grow up and get something relevant to talk about...), having a couple of decent efforts nearly making it 4-2. Jay Spearing getting some very positive exposure and only making a minor, non-influential mistake. They were all great. Well done lads, possibly the best match all season. Great football, and all the evidence anyone needs to conclude that we are still one of the best teams in the game, with or without Gerrard or Carragher.

Of course, well done to Everton too. Their sting lay mostly in the set piece, but it took two to tango and produce such an entertaining game.

Peace out.

Tempus Fugit


Time really pisses me off sometimes. What the hell is it anyway? Who exactly does it think it is? How dare you arbitrarily dictate to me some random scheme of measuring my life! I don't go around strapping rulers to my fingers and haunting everyone with thoughts of impending doom. Take away your hands, your numbers and your quartz oscillators! I want to be free of them!


Here's the time. Here's how much time just disappeared. Here's how long you've got left til your expiration. Seriously! We don't need it! Bugger off! Bah!




[Publication correct at the time of writing]

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Oh, January...


What is it all about? 'Life, the universe and everything'...

Sometimes I feel guilty about masturbating, using a condom or both (it's called a 'posh wank' when you join the two, those of you who like Roger's Profanisaurus or 'Urban Dictionary' for you younger readers) because I might be screwing with a potential life.

Urgh I'm being so self-centred and boring again, talking about me. What else is on? Seems there's not much... There's a documentary on how to successfully cheat and win at sports on the Man United channel. I'd watch that but Howard Webb just sent it off air. There's that western channel. Wild Wild West is on, which is a good fun romp with genuine classic western credentials despite being blockbuster-y. The Desperate Trail is on after that, that's a decent film but I was a little confused as to some of the character's morality, with the marshal offering a genuine dose of sympathy which tainted his bad guy image, and the heroine being a little too at ease with killing, especially when shooting peeps in the back.

Both decent offerings, but none compare to Jeremiah Johnson. One man, disgusted with civilization. What does he do? Cry about it? Not likely! He only bloody goes and turns his back on it doesn't he? Sure he nearly kills himself trying to live alone in nature, sure he learns the hard way, suffers more hardships than he bargained for etc, but god-damnit, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!

Ok, a blog that was gonna be about existentialism has turned into one almost purely about westerns... That's life for ya...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

I Just Crapped Out My Consciousness

Sorry to be so scatological blog fans, but I felt today like I had defecated my consciousness. That is to say, I felt strangely unconscious while on the toilet and the only reasonable conclusion has been drawn thus.

Maybe my sanity has been excreted too...

I have spent a good few minutes now pretending to be a didgeridoo. Well, I didn't exactly go all stiff, wooden and cylindrical (no filth, please), but I was making the noises. It was liberating to say the least.

Then I decided I hate everything.

Now I just feel like I'm walking in a dream again...

Sorry to make such a 'me' heavy blog, I just... I... I don't know... I just thought something. Meh...

Common Sense and I Are Not the Best of Friends