VSX, A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist: Starbuck Powersurge - a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of Viper Squad Ten, a long-disbanded group of stranded timetravelling troubadours, formed to help finance repairs to their time-machine. Now very much stuck in C21...
All text is copyright the Viper Squad Ten blog team 2003-2006 unless otherwise quoted or credited. If we've not credited you properly, please let me know. Throw us a link if you're desperate enough to use this guff...
Orisinal - web games for all.
Sweet bliss! The last couple of days, I've been sampling the delights of Orisinal.com, a truly wonderful collection of delightful web-games. The whole thing is so beautifully presented - its a pleasure just trailing your cursor across the index page. It's a pastel-shaded haven of natural peace amongst the brash noise of cyberspace (if you will).
Although not all of the games are triple A standard, I've found that the good majority of those I've tried to be engaging and some, dare I say it, moving. I'll leave you to discover the best of them - I don't want to deprive you of any of the joys of discovery...
Each game's foundation is a well-executed simple and accessible idea. When combined with some dreamily artistic visuals and, that rarity for web-games, music that is well composed and never out-of-place.
Its good to see a site that looks and feels like a piece of art, as well as housing a diverse collection of unique gameplay content. Its the sort of thing that my grandparents could enjoy as much as my 5-year old nephew. It certainly brings back for me that sense of innocent happiness that is the preserve of childhood.
My internet now feels like a much wider and warmer place!
Its good to see that sections of the American people, sick of being lied to by the Big Brother media, are still proactively standing up for their freedom of thought within the Land of the "Free". Sick of the media's selective dissemination of information, sick of its suppression of intellectual thought, sick of its tactical use of individual truths put together to create a bigger lie, sick of being told only what They wants you to hear...
What they now have is Freewayblogging, a rather good way of getting other voices heard by the masses. You may or may not agree with them, but every side needs a voice. Without it, discussion cannot commence. And surely that's what this "democracy" thing that they keep on mentioning is all about...
The Countryside Alliance in the UK have been doing similar things to drive their political point home, albeit without the conscise and perceptive slogans of the freewaybloggers.... but they really get my hackles up!
VSX band meeting
Well, not quite. But Commander Aardvark, leader of our time-travelling musical combo, made the long trek up from Bournemouth last night, accompanied by the lovely Abi. Also present was Matt, the notorious Hormone Hell lawn-mower-murderer himself, and the lovely Miok, both of whom travelled back from Korea to be there (amongst other things).
Some advice from Aardvark for the website - "put a new logo on - make it futuristic, with a big X splashed across it; and some stuff about Viper Squad Ten itself would help". The former I'll get DJ Tim onto, once he's finished botching together C4's digital Teletext service. The latter I'll cover here - VSX the Band - they're grayte! Give us your fracking money.
Its always funny meeting up with your mates you made at school, decades down the line. It makes you realise how you're never going to grow up. You're just going to be the same old childish pratts that you always were. And that's the way I like it.
Matters weren't helped last night by our visit to Robbins Well, a happy-atmosphered and just-grotty-enough Scream pub. The happy atmosphere was understandable - they were almost giving the drinks away, they were so cheap. Everyone there except for us looked like 15 year olds, and I tend to forget that I'm twice that age when I'm berking around a student pub, doing my Dad's Dance or whatever...
BBC vs Pop Culture
 All New Top Of The Pops is on the telly as I type. Now I'm not going to get bigly critical about it right now - the TV's in the other room, and I feel I can't pass judgement on the current state of this BBC fossil on the basis of some muffled audio coming through the doorway (though it does look pretty shite the few times I've walked past it to replenish my beer, and the presenter's a smug berk - no, wait, he's from MTV, he can't help that.)
No, my problem is with the fact that they've prefixed the Top Of The Pops bit with "All New". Don't the Beeb executives (Andi "Edd the Duck" Peters in this case) realise that "All New" equates in in the viewers mind with "We're Desperate Please Keep Watching This Stale Piece Of Crud We Beseech Thee".
Let's look at the evidence - The All New Popeye Show - desperate (though Popeye always was a git through and through, who deserved a good kicking off Bluto. With an anvil.) The All New Scooby And Scrappy Show - this particular dead horse had already been flogged repeatedly, so here comes the steam-roller to crush the sucker flat; though at least the lovely Daphne returned for this one. Phwoar! All New You've Been Framed - this was actually an improvement on the previous travesties, if you ignore the actual clips, and the fact that the repeats aren't exactly all-new. The All New Pink Panther Show - OK, that had Crazylegs Crane in it, much better than The Ant And The Aardvark.
OK, this argument's going nowhere, and its all pretty futile anyway. Who flicking cares, Starbuck. Most of the aforementioned examples are ancient fracking kids cartoons. And we already know the BBC have no idea about mainstream music shows - just look at the inferiority of Fame Academy when sized-up against Pop Idol. Nothing new. Nothing interesting. I must now make a decision - whether to click Delete Post, or whether to Publish and be damned.
Death to False Metal
What a man Dave Grohl is. Not content with making my whole life when he played drums with Queens of the Stone Age at the tiny Mean Fiddler last year, he has now started his own underground death thrash metal combo outfit called Probot. Who are no doubt awful. But no matter, he enlivened my thirst for silly music because last night I walked into HMV, the absolute anti-dingy record shoppe of yore, and saw the first Probot release, a 7 inch vinyl limited to 6,666 (geddit?) copies and I bought it. With my own money. Memories came flooding back of buying albums in Scorpion Records in High Wycombe just because I liked the covers when I was 16 – Leeway, Excel, Uncle Slam, Suicidal Tendencies, Nuclear Assault; all those dubious bands of my youth – ahhh.
I was so wrapped up in emotion that I was compelled to phone My Illustrious Leader and tell him about it. He was well impressed, I could tell.
So there we are, what’s a blog for but to endlessly relate your boring emotions and inconsequential life experiences to an uninterested public?
Now, all I need to do is buy a record player, and I’d be able to LISTEN to the single as well!
Open message to email spammers
Really, I do appreciate all of your kind offers for viagra, larger breasts, and the rest, but I just don't need it right now in life.
I understand the concerns that you must have for my libido - its heartening to know how caring you are, and I'm sure your offers for the Paris Hilton sex tape are purely of a philanthropic nature, but really, LEAVE ME THE FRACK ALONE, YOU SCUM!
Music made easy
Thanks to the genius of Erik Bunger's Let Them Sing It For You, I've been able to re-record a number of seminal Viper Squad Ten and Dieticians Featuring Fat songs. Oh, what joy to hear our own lyrics performed by a veritable Live-Aid-studio's worth of artists. To be covered by the stars that make up the very firmament of the rock world. Albeit one word at a time.
Unfortunately, timeless VSX classic Fat City Arizona doesn't work too well, as the assembled rock gods don't seem to have learnt some of the more essential words as yet (Arizona, mare, pong, shunt, etc). The idiots. I've been adding lots of inappropriate heavy metal lyrics to their database of words, like the git that I am, so hopefully we'll soon be able to get the entire VSX canon on the internet.
Rather good fun, all the same, although the mishmash of vocals currently singing "So Here It Is Merry Christmas Everybody's Having Fun" are proving even mind-bludgeoning to my sanity than Slade's highly toxic original. I think I'll use it as therapy to build up my tolerance in the run-up to christmas.
(Credits - LINK supplied by Memepool, purveyor of quality links.)
OK troops, just in case any of you were desperately upset that the real-life bullet-time link posted HERE hasn't been working, its now been updated. It doesn't make it any funnier, however...
Also, lots more Pan3Sixy images available HERE, including the lavverly Kenilworth Castle, where I was bought up, by knights. If I was to be unduly harsh, I'd say that some of the vistas make you feel like your stuck in a Playstation-One texture cube, but as that would be unnecessarily untruthful of me, I'll instead say that, on the whole, its a very nice idea/gimmick for those web-site moments when a normal jpg'd be just a tad too dull. More of the net will be done like this in the future. And I should know.
It's scary though, as your cursor drifts across some sitting-duck person in an image, that you find yourself desperately trying to shoot seven shades out of the hapless piece of frag-bait. Or maybe that's just me. I crave unnecessarily bloody interactivity with my websites.
Yawn! Bed-time for Bonzo, I think. I'm rambling like a Rambling Man.
Some things you don't want to hear
I'm just out of the shower.
It's a bit of a shock moving into a hard water area. Its bad enough doing the washing up, your fingers shrivelling to prunes within seconds.
But in the shower today... brrrr... my bits decided to make the awkward journey back up the inguinal canal to their home from the prepubuscent era... yikes!
Another thing which you don't want to hear. A group of us went to a bar in Leamington last night - Cuba. Not a bad place - I felt less old and decrepit there than in a lot of Leamington bars, anyway. Anyway, I'm used to seeing condom machines in the toilets - fair enough. But this place had a vibrator machine in the blokes toilets. Which is maybe fair enough, I suppose, sort of. The things must've been so cheap and nasty though, 'cos they sold them in packs of 5 for £1! The mind boggles...
I'm meant to be putting up some net curtains at the moment. A simple enough task, and one that's probably not taxed even the simpler minds over the last few centuries.
But we just can't work the frigging thing out! Resorting to the internet hasn't helped - the task must be so fracking easy that no-ones even considering posting a "how to" on the web.
Its the same stoopid situation as coin-operated shopping trolleys - designed to be used by even the most imbecilic of imbeciles, and it took me about a decade of shopping after my teenage years to work out how to get one without handing a quid to someone returning their trolley (and Ms Starbuck still can't do it!)
Having just glanced at my Sitemeter referral statistics, it appears someone has come to my page from HERE. Now, its a picture that's always made me chuckle in a slightly sexist way, but still, how that redirected anyone to my page is a mystery. Maybe someone out there knows I'm a bit anal about these things, and set this up as bait for me. But then, maybe I'm also very paranoid.
Alterntatively, and this is more likely, I was thinking about "attempting" some ironing today (I'm no expert, to be sure) - maybe Google's fresh-bot is fresher than I thought. Scary!
Whatever, TheManlySmell geocities site that it comes from doesn't actually appear within any sort of web-site structure at present - there are no actual links between pages - wtf? Talk about minimalist design... But Google reveals its contents, and most amusing it is too.
It's just occurred to me that as a post, this was just a little bit boring for a Friday night. Sigh!
So its time for me to break out the bottle of Pastis, and to knock up some head-blitzing Happy Lager cocktails.
Instructions: Take a few shots of Pastis (alternative ingredient: Ouzo or Raki), pour into a large glass, and add a pint of lager. Mix carefully in the stomach. The happiest of happy drunkeness you have ever felt will rapidly ensue. Repeat to oblivion.
Drink to be avoided if you have an aversion to aniseed. Or drunkeness.
I'm not sure about the new build of (free) ZoneAlarm - it seems a bit "clunky", somehow. The window looms just a little too largely on my screen - it used to be quite dinky, just the way I like my PC tools. Now its a bit of a "brash" bully-boy. And it annoyed me upon install when it tried to pimp its high-class hooker of a firewall, Zonalarm Pro. What do they expect - punters to actually pay for their top-class firewall? Oh yes, I see. Fair enough.
Anyway, there may be some important things going on under the bonnet, but its the presentation that counts.
But I would say that, 'cos I'm thick and beautiful.
A Non-Matrix related post
I've seen TPWIW - very very funny. Was put off at the start, and teh falling off the wall bit is done too many times to really be funny, but by the second half I was belly-laughing like a right one. Who was your guest star? I had Miranda Richardson (cor blimey were that actually true - I've come over all unnecessary).
How can you speak of light entertainers without mentioning Emery and Everett, anyway?
RIGHT, so down to business - Mobil Station is a link between teh machine world and teh MAtrix, not between our world, surely, for crying out loud.
AND this was in a review on Ain't It Cool - whcih I thought was funny, so i'm gonna share it:
"My nitpicks of REVOLUTIONS are so small and petty that I'll only bring up one or two... The first in particular is such a surface nuisance that it doesn't even bring down the scene it is in. This is in the real world, during the confrontation between BANE and NEO. It's a very nicely constructed scene, but Jesus god... Here's how the dialogue goes...
Neo: "Who are you?"
Bane (in a note-perfect Agent Smith voice): "Don't you know, Mr. Anderson?"
Neo: "Tell me who you are?"
BANE: "Mr. Anderson, I think you do know who I am..."
Neo: "No, I don't."
Bane: "Don't you recognize my voice? The Mr. Anderson part?"
Bane: "Black suit? Sunglasses?
Bane: Receding hairline? 'Mr. Anderson.' Any of this ringing a bell?"
Very funny. Very funny indeed. Sponditious, even. Lots of brilliant visual gags, and a non-stop rapid-fire machine-gun assault of (purposefully groanful) vocal gags. I got my hopes up about the special guest - could we really be getting Ian McKellen? Not quite - special guest star of the night was Brian Conley (cue my dad, sitting bemused in the audience - "Who's Brian Conley?"). Heh! "It's a puppet..."
A very good night. And it really brought it home to me how damaging the dimming of the "light" in "entertainment" in this country has been to "entertainment" in general. "!" Yes, stand-up comedy is in very fine fettle, both sharp and insightful (give-or-take the odd comedy terrorist) and the mirthful ripples it has cast have been far-reaching in the rest of British culture. But we no longer have a true equivalent of Morecambe and Wise or the Two Ronnies, entertainment for young and old, thickies and intelligensia. Instead we've got Ant and Dec (who I can't knock without setting myself up for a public lynching - its sacrament to blasphemy, diamond geezers that they are, and very funny and spontaneous, etc. Though maybe we do grant them too easy a easy ride - its like, "weren't they in Byker Grove on kid's TV, weren't they PJ and Duncan, no, wait a moment, they've made me laugh - they must be comedy geniuses." Nope, they're good (lets face it, they sang comedy classics such as "Our Radio Rocks, Krazy Kats and Lets Get Ready to Rumble" during their two-straight-men phase). But they're not that good. Still a damn sight better than Little & Large, Cannon & Ball, and the rest of the light entertainment chancers from yesteryear. End of double-parentheses.) Now, Reeves and Mortimer - when are they going to be accepted as our saviours...
Enough rambling, back to The Play. I don't think I've laughed out loud as much whilst sober in a theatre. Which is always a good sign. Go see it. Unless you live abroad, or they've stopped touring it, or something.
Footnote. I don't know how this tidal-wave of culture has broken across my bows the last few months. I visited the theatre last night. Sunday night I nearly went to see a solo piano performance - admittedly it would have been Christopher O'Riley playing Radiohead, but still, its a classical concert all the same, even if I didn't quite make it (samples on the website, Head-fans). A few weeks ago I even saw my first Woody Allen film (The Purple Rose Of Cairo - very funny, very clever, very very.) I'll be changing my name to Artsbuck before we know it, and pretencing on Newsnight Review. About the bleedin' Matrix.
Push That Bush
I was just looking to delete some of the ATNotes that are cluttering up my screen (if you've not got an electronic Post-It note system installed on your PC, then get to it NOW, chums - you can make the contents of your monitor screen as stress-inducing as the rest of yer workplace!)
Jeez, I've got jotted-down URL's coming out of my ears on this thing, and I don't know why I've got most of 'em. For example, Passagen. I don't know what a Passagen is, my Icelandic not being what it was, if it is even Icelandic (its been a long time since I was in Scan Soc at University); and I sure as hell don't know why its URL is sitting on my desktop.
However, wot with El Presidente Bush's controversial state visit to Britain happening this week, I feel its my public duty to bring attention to the Passagen-page where you can warp Dubya's face to your heart's content. Stunningly fun. Fostora, Dra and Forminska that face til it hurts... ugh! Just don't Forminska Georgie's eyes into tiny brown iceholes - you'll never sleep soundly again.
Pummell lots more stars-in-Scandinavia HERE. Or turn Britney Spears into a very realistic Jabba The Hutt as well. Satisfying stuff. For the very bored.
You git! Not the target of the main link itself (which annoyed me a tad, it almost seeming to be trolling bait for Matrix devotees at times), but for the attached Matrix discussion forums. (plus Revolutions transcript).
I was just getting my head all around my thoughts on this, but keeping it all fairly low in my mental priorities, and now I'm thinking about the smoke and mirror code making up the "real world" and the significance of Sati, and of her having perfected the depiction of sunlight from what only Trinity experienced when the ship went above the clouds, which might suggest that Trinity was AI after all, just very well encrypted so that she can't be detected as code (more cleverly encrypted than the gold-colded Seraph or the skyscraper where "every floor is wired with explosives or the machines in the "real world" that he can sense as light, anyway), and the imprint of Neo's mind being written into the reloaded Matrix, and blah blah blah...
Do you see what you've done? You've started me off again...
But I've got to say that I like the fact that the films leave me thinking, they leave me fantasing, and the stories are alive in my imagination.
What it really reminds me of was trying to get my head around what was "really" going on in William Gibson's Virtual Light trilogy. Trying to get my head around the complex concepts and possibilites that its loose-but-tight framework allowed me to formulate (whether or not the narrative really demanded it) - that was like this whole Matrix experience times ten. A lot of people didn't like what Gibson did there, either.
But then, people work in different ways. Some people want the story written already, and fair enough. That's the normal nature of these media. However, sometimes its nice to be able to write the story yourself.
Real name no gimmicks
Yo Dogg(s), just seen 8 Mile, and as a film I can't diss the muddafrukker - I can see why people have called it the "hip-hop Rocky" - though as an emotional experience it doesn't come close to any of Eminem's records for me (being so used to previously experiencing Mr Mathers at the more "intimate" lyrics-only level). I have just one bone of contention - Rabbit is a pretty damn stoopid name. As sure as I am Starbuck Powersurge I know these things...
Interesting web-site too. Makes me want to do something constructive with my life. Something worthwhile, both for myself and for the world. Let's face it. You only get one shot, so I shouldn't miss my chance to blow. Whatever that entails.
Maybe its the kick I need to get VSX back together. Or to build on the "success" of Hormone Hell to hack and slash my way into the film industry (Douglas Elford-Argent, are you listening?) Let's face it, Peter Jackson cut his teeth on cheapoid horror films as well (Bad Taste and Braindead being the spiritual forebears to his Lord Of the Rings films), so I'm perfectly placed to direct an adaptation of... urm... the Discworld series? Or something.
Just quickly, as I've got a cheap knocked-down near-the-knuckle-use-by-date curry awaiting me, I had to say in relation to Stu's comments on how they got Neo back from limbo - when Trinity and Morpheus jacked in to meet up with the Seraph, they would have jacked Neo in as well, so as to form a conduit for him to return. Surely...
Everything else I'm refusing to think about right now...
It was truly awesome, in the truest sense of the word. I felt both humbled and awestruck, which isn't bad going when its a "believe nothing" atheist who ends up feeling compelled to worship before the sun god! This thing had a deeply-reaching impact on me. It really brought it home to me, just how totally at one with the rest of the human raceI felt, but also how very much aware I am of our insignificant place in the universe. We looked like insects!
It was just so... special.
The Turbine Hall, full of people, families, friends, loners, young, old - all seeming so peaceful, so transported away from the normal concerns of the modern world, the trivia and the shit that beats us down. People playing with their children, or lieing on the floor, gazing up at themselves in the mirrorred ceiling so far away (a bizarre experience that I can only descibe as seeing oneself in Grand Theft Auto 1 (or 2) - so far away, an out-of-body experience, but its you all the same; you and all the others, all part of the same species, doing the same thing, seeing yourselves as you've never seen yourselves before, distant but equal. So easy to get lost deep in thought. But equally difficult preventing that delirious laughter of the truly contended from escaping to the surface.
There was so much to appreciate. The distance of humanity in the ceiling - this was the thing that really did it for me. Or the technical marvel of the magnificent artifical sun, blazing through the mists at one end of the hall. The humanity of a shared, wonderful experience. Seeing the world washed with colour in a manner that just wasn't quite natural, as if light-sourced in some very real computer game. Seeing the look of wonderment on faces, gazing up as if at something fantastic - angels, or aliens.
This is what modern art is about. Something that speaks to the philistines such as me. Something I can't ignore. Truly brilliant.
My answer to Stu
DJ Tim [00:41]
Well, what can I say. Basically I think you were expecting too much. It's a Hollywood film for god sake. Lets look back at the Matrix. In reality it was a very simple idea that had be covered in the (could be wrong here) 18th centaury by Rene De Carte (I'm sure I've spelt that wrong) Yes he's the Monty Python Drunken old fart. The second film introduce a mirade of ideas which I agree were just not answered. But I refuse to except that the last film was crap - I agree that it did not answer all the questions and I agree that the fight between Neo and Agent Smith was crap, but I thought it was fantastic if only for the fight for Zion scene. For me what made the third film was nothing to do with Trinity and Neo but just the whole Zion fight. In some ways I'd got bored with the Matrix because we knew all about it and Neo was all powerful there so why bother. What was interesting was how Zion would survive. As for the end scene (OH FOR GOD SAKE SPOILERS AHEAD LIKE ANYONE HASN'T SEEN IT) I thought it was obvious what happened. The Architect talked about balances. In Destroying Agent Smith Neo had to die or else there would not be balances.
To surmise great film, but take it with a pinch of salt. It's not like its a life philosophy and if you think it is well that worrying.
An old post, transposed in time...
OK droods, I've been getting a bit lazy in my VSX Blog publishing over the last couple of months, what with moving and that. But tonight, with my liver's alcohol-acetaldehyde dehyrogenase working overtime, and my mind as unconnected as Thomas Anderson's to whatever's going on around me, it's probably a good time to just "let my fingers do the talking", and to make a post that I'd wanted to write a few weeks back but didn't.
OK, I know that I've got a tendency of making unneccesarily long, detailed descriptions of my surroundings - you just need to read the slightly-too-botanical diary that I wrote when me and my mate Gill visited China a few years back (to unashamedly link to it yet a-bleedin-gain!). So its no suprise that, on my journey back to London a couple of weekends ago (the first time I'd returned to my old new home in the 3 months or so since I moved back "oop north"), I found myself documenting my experiences as I went along. (Though if you've read this post earlier in the month, you'll already have read a much more concise version, and you'd be better of just skipping to here.)
It was an incredibly crisp and bright Saturday morning that my little Peugeot made its way down the M40. The sun, low in the sky, casts elongated shadows across the landscape of Southern England, revealing the myriad ridge and furrow historical plots striating the hillsides, a geographical archive of the lives of peasant farmers from several hundreds of years previously, still entranched in the upper hillsides where the most brutal of modern ploughs still fear to tread. I find difficulty concentrating on the road, the route that I have travelled too many times before, utterly different under a new light. The Chemical Brothers are thumping out of my speakers, heightening my pulse, keeping me in a serotonin-drenched wonderland. I miss this journey - I miss the thinking space that it provides. I miss the visuals displayed on fast-forward at the side of the road; this time, the motorway was cutting a elegant swathe through the chaotic autumnal patchwork of golds and browns.
And, upon reaching the heart of London, the Thames, driving alongside Battersea Park, the majesty of the trees reaching skyward a stark contrast to the tidally-bereft river.
Driving through to Stockwell, it really strikes me, that things are very different from when I was last here. Although gleaming, glistening buildings have sprung up out of their scaffolding skeletons, most noticeable is the jump that the cycle of seasons has undertaken. You spend several years of your life in a place where your surroundings would always grab your interest, where there was always something new to catch the imagination, then after a few months isolated from the unstoppable but unnoticable incremental changes that occur when you live in a place, the whole city seems painted in a very different style.
Or maybe I'm just drunk on memories. (Or just drunk.)
One thing the trip made me realise, apart from London itself, was just how much I miss my London friends. It was so good to catch up with those who could make it.
However, being apart from my good lady friend, who was representing ourselves at another function elsewhere, just for a couple of days... well, I managed to live in a different city to her for more than a year, but I wouldn't be able to manage it any more.
And returning to Leamington on Sunday night, a town I've know for most of my life due to having been brought up in a village nearby, but a place I've only recently began to live in properly, it felt like I was really returning home.
Which is nice.
I guess that it's ironic that I was writing all this about the arboreal beauty of autumn, on the day that most trees were being stripped of their cladding by the gales that were battering the country. Or maybe not that ironic. As any desperate stand-up comedian will tell you, the most ironic thing in this world was Alanis Morissette revealing her total lack of understanding of the word "ironic" in her 1996 hit "Ironic".
Revolutions - an alternate view
I have to say that Revs was poor poor poor. It sure didn’t blow me away. I have been containing my thoughts on this for a while as I was waiting for the Blogmesiter to post his first, being a gentleman and all.
To address everyone’s comments all in one go, in no particular order.
There were other sunshine scenes, when Neo first came out of the train station and went to see the Oracle – in the car and in the oracle’s flat.
What was the point of the train station (the name of it was an anagram of Limbo – isn’t that just BRILLIANT!?!) I have read that it showed that programs have feelings too, which I suppose it did, but the whole idea of it being a link between the machine world and the Matrix didn’t seem to me to “work” intuitively, whereas, for instance, the white corridors in Reloaded, again pictorial representations of the back workings of it all, did, somehow. The train man, the station, etc were not exploited at all after the opening and that just seemed throwaway. And anyway, how did Neo end up there in the first place?
I’m going to use that word again – “intuitively” – in so many ways the film didn’t work at that level. It felt like there were holes, unplugged gaps, meaningless asides that didn’t progress anything. Back to the station – Neo is in there not jacked in. how will he escape, build up, build up, one quick scene with the Merowotsit (“your choice Merv” – sweet jesus!) and he’s out – no decent build up, again hopelessly paced (as the last third of the Reloaded was).
AND, after "Trin" (oh take me now let it end) rescues Neo, he goes straight to the Oracle, sees her, and then you ahve the scene of him being un-jacked with everyone around him. HE WAS NEVER JACKED IN! Explain that AND DO NOT SAY THERE WAS A MISSING SCENE THAT THEY DID NOT BOTHER TO SHOW BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T CUT IT.
Attack on Zion – is it only me who thought it looked a bit like loads of Lego? Very good Lego, mind. Again, the tension build up was all a bit odd and didn’t feel right.
As to the idea that it’s justified and perfectly okay to splurt out tons of gobbledegook in Reloaded and then not resolve any of it – how can that EVER be described as a strength? Name me a book or other story where that’s happened and it’s been hailed as a masterpiece. Sure, we don’t need to be spoon (ooh – ha ha) fed, but it’s just cheating. It’s “we’re trying to convince everyone that we intended a trilogy when the fact of the matter is we have no idea how to resolve any of this”. If they do a fourth, I’ll take the effing blue pill. (I know that doesn’t work, quite, but you get the idea).
And Harvey, what’s all this “I don’t think what they’ve told us is actually true”? Eh? Again, when do you finish a book where the hero gets the gal and wanders off in the sunset, and say to yourself “well, obviously he ACTUALLY got killed in the penultimate chapter” – when, and how on earth, do you come to such a conclusion ordinarily? It’s trying to justify to yourself poor storytelling.
I think we have to take the ending at face value don’t we, and accept that the final conversation is one that actually happens and represents the actual situation. BUT if so
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
Why on earth would the humans accept that position, knowing that those who did not want to be released would continue to be enslaved? It jus’ don’t fit.
More bad pacing – 1 and a half hours of talking, battles, grrrr, machines will never stop, grrr, argghhh, “oh can you get rid of Smith” “oh of course can we have peace” “oh yes of course” the end. Rubbish.
Final fight dull, but good for the superhero references.
For all that, however, some (genuinely intrigued) questions-
Was Neo the One in terms of just being the opposite of Smith, and Smith’s assimilation of Neo had the effect of cancelling Smith out? If so, it’s kinda self fulfilling, as without Neo killing Smith in one, Smith could not have come back (again that’s never really explained except as this balancing thing) and so Neo destroys his opposite and it’s all sorted – so if there had never been a Neo there would never have been a Smith, so there would never have been an opportunity to stop the war – hmmm I suppose that’s "causality" innit?
(PS to say that littering so called profiund stuff and justifying it "because iwas meant to" or "because i was told taht i would" is cod philosophising is an insult to cod.)
Or did the machine implant something in Neo that destroyed Smith (note a cut scene to the machine and it looking like the jack was turned and Neo flinched). If so, then Neo was only the one as a vessel to convey that code to Smith. I only say this because someone I saw it with came away with exactly that reading of it.
Actually, I have to say that I’ve thought about it loads and loads, which is more than you get out of most movies but cannot shift the massive disappointment I felt at the end. Sorry. I’ll obviously see it at the IMAX, mind. They have, however, f***** the franchise. T3 was better - now THAT'S a film with a daring, un-American ending.
My fellow (sub)-editor Stuart dissed me the other weekend (to my face, the cheeky scamp), for reciprocal-referring to other bloggers (Stu putting on a stoopid voice, but not his usual stoopid voice: "Ooh, so-and-so has mentioned me in their blog, so I'm mentioning them, go and visit, blah-di-blah", to very loosely paraphrase the legal eagle.)
With that in mind, I take great pleasure in thanking Karen from Uborka! for the kind mention on her most-wonderful blog - go and visit now, blah-di-blah.
Why do I do this - bloody Channel 4
DJ Tim [02:20]
For those of you in the know (which is me and half a dozen others) C4 is about to launch a new Text service on it's FreeView service. The bugger is that that we are supposed to be soft launching it tomorrow (which is actually today) but I have to write all the god dam handover documentation before we can do it hence 2:30 in morning I'm on said here blog because I've been online sending files to work that I've been writing all night.
Anyway here's the game. Our soft launch from, maybe tomorrow will be on Channel 50. You will see a 'Tel3text on 4' - coming soon' type of thing. BTW for the first few days it will only be during the day time. If anyone gives me a good enough reason, I will reveal the code that allows you to move through the 'coming soon' screen and into the entire service.
PS Hugh Grant is on set tomorrow. I'm so excited (sarcasm)
Local news for local people...
Sometimes as an upkeeper of a blog, when you happen to check your referral stats, you get a great sense of joy when you realise what a great public service you are providing. The last couple of days, the "mass" of people looking for help on bad mshta.exe scripts and the like, as well as the omnipresent occasional person looking for the Binguan Haoyuan guesthouse in China and the never-ending interest in magicians of the Cook and Brown variety (more coming soon, Magick fans) , has been joined by a tsunami (2010-essential download here) of interest in the Jane's Addiction flashmob going on (sometime) in Covent Garden. S'just a shame that esteemed VSX Sub-Ed Stu is not in the shady realm of the internet at present, as he is our internal man on the Jane's flashmob contact list, and I am just the Dweeb to his Rude Dog, licking up every utterance he squirts against the skirting-board.
So instead, I will use this platform to big-up my favourite curry-house in Kenilworth, England - Seetar Tandoori (55 Warwick Rd), Rolf Harris' favourite local curry house (see also: Bill Maynard's gastronomic urges; and maybe Henry Cooper) - a place with excellent food and excellent service, provided by the most lovely staff. Anyone searching for "best curry house in Kenilworth, then, read my finger-lips - Coconut Lagoon may be exquisite; but only Seetar Tandoori delivers in all culinary catagories. Seetar Tandoori - the Curry House for the Stars! The Curry House for You!
(And if you tell them Uncle Starbuck sent you, I may get a free pint of Kingfisher out of it...)
#We're S.H.O.Pee Pee I.N.G, We're Shopping# (sound of Title Barrel being scraped)
I'm getting too domesticated, having settled in to this new house so well with "the bird".
For the first time in my life today, I got a little bit over-excited in a shop that either wasn't a record/computer/video game shop, or Selfridges in the Bullring at Birmingham (the most incredibly stylish shop, a work of art both inside and out - CLICK HERE for a few external photos from VirtualBrum.co.uk - just don't CLICK HERE whilst you're there if you value your sanity - Birmingham It's Bostin Mate, another trojan into yer internal jukebox from B3ta's Rob Manuel.)
But I digress.
No, the shameful root (a phallic root vegetable?) of my exitement was some lamps and bedside tables in Focus, the Best Shop Ever. And I even bought some fuse wire. Exciting.
Even more exciting was MFI. It was just like walking through a hundred people's living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms (without them being in the nuddy), all joined together as if it was the housing complex of some weirdly social yet personal-space-protecting cult.
Or maybe it was like being on a movie set. Each room had been "individualised" to give it human warmth, including a hypochondriac's study (containing endless books on countering and pre-empting diseases). It was AYCE! If we ever get round to filming the sequel to Hormone Hell (if I ever get the guts to put the miniskirt back on), this'll be the place to sneak the cameras in to - every location, fully furnished.
The only trouble with all this massive shopping excitement was, me being Berk Boy, I'd not had a piss when I had the chance before setting out, as "I wanted to see what the toiletting facilities in Tesco were like". The facilities were the bridge under the canal (complete with scary Matrix graffiti - "We remember thee Zion"); I gave them a miss.
Geeky Matrix observations and that
In relation to DJ Tim's comments about Sentinels not being able to penetrate the clouds, thus scuppering my solar-panelled tower idea, I'd not really thought about that, being a man with much more pressing concerns (such as world peace, rebuilding my time-machine, reforming the band, little things like that). But fair point - a hell of a lot of electro-magnetic radiation going on in the electric storms, which must be a bit of a bugger for them. But then, as detailed in that wonderful Matrix short-story Goliath, they could create a ship that can go through our atmosphere and beyond (even if they put a human in the thing...)
That's all by the by, anyway.
And if my former fellow Radio Redland DJ wants to spoiler away, just go ahead. I'm selfish. (Though if you were feeling kind, and clever, you might want to match the text font colour with the background colour, and demand that anyone wanting to read your ramblings presses CONTROL-A or something to highlight them... I couldn't be arsed with all that yesterday, as my extended family were due to turn up yesterday mid-blog to fix the nearly-lethal-shower - "yup, that's fried all right", at the same time as the electrician was due round to have tea and biscuits, or something like that.)
Matrix revolutions - mmmmmmmm
DJ Tim [01:59]
Oh my God.... I have just had the most amazing two hours. Revolutions was fantastic ..... my heart has not had a chance to slow down yet. The attack on Zion was - well breath-taking.
One might be disappointed that all the questions were not answered. But think about it. David Blains (Richards) street levitation was fantastic until you found out how it was done, then you thought "oh that's crap" If everything was explained on a plate we would all think, oh ok so that's it, I'm bored now lets move on now. I thought the ending was great, so un US (Arghrrr I can't really say what I mean until the main man of this blog (starbuckeroo) let's spoilers on his blog)
Everyone go and see it now
PS Starbuckeroos idea about a tall tower and solar panels does not work. Did you not notice that all the sentilals died in the storm clouds . They obviously could not penetrate it
The Matrix Revolutions review - CONTAINS SPOILERS Starbuck [13:31]
My thoughts on Matrix Revolutions - it blew me away. I must see it again, I'm desperate to see it again, as these things need multiple viewing, but here's my initial thoughts.
If I did feel any smidgeon of initial disappointment, it was that it didn't explicitly answer the questions that Reloaded had tossed into the ring. However, having lived with it for a couple of days now, I don't see this as a drawback, more of a strength, as I continue to attempt to resolve the threads that Reloaded has spun. And as I remember the fantastic emotions that I felt as I watched it.
I'm not going to class it as better or worse than other parts of the trilogy. It was an integral part.
The look of the film itself was stunning; the Sentinels attack on Zion, heroically defended by Gears (the Japanese must have been wetting themselves!), was simply incredible - the most retina-searingly use of CGI that I have ever seen, and very imaginative CGI at that.
Stylistically, Revolutions was the darkness to Reloaded's light; whereas the latter was brightly lit, its action set pieces swamped in "our-world" daylight and backed up by throbbing techno, the world of Revolutions was dark. Apart from the end scene, I recall only the one brief moment of sunlight, that being the moment when Neo and Trinity glimpsed the real unscarred sky for the first time. I guess this further compounded its beauty.
The film knew exactly what it was doing. It didn't do anything to "scare" the casual film-goer. However, for the hardcore theorists left swimming in the wake of Reloaded, it left enough ambiguity to allow the discussion to continue, and it left even more signposts, subtle and otherwise.
Personally I still don't believe the "truth" that we've been told about the Machines using us as batteries. Why not just use nuclear fusion, or fission, or build a really tall tower, coated in solar plates. The short stories have told us they can create space ships as required - why not build a geostationary satellite, many satellites, bristling with solar panels, tethered by cables to the earth below? Or would all this have been too vulnerable to attack? If they do need us for anything, its so that those machine intellectuals who are wanting to ape humanity can extract a perfect pattern of our complexities. Maybe.
And the "real world" is still virtual in my book. Its still a superset. Neo must suspect this. But all he can do is work within the framework he is given. I suppose that's all any of us can do.
I would look forward to the arrival of the inviteable DVD boxset, with the Wachowskis' revealing every single clue and reference. Then the puzzle would finally be completed.
But then, just maybe, everything that has a beginning really doesn't have an end...
# John Ketley is a Weatherman, and so is Michael Fish #
Attention UK readers!
Next time you are watching the weather broadcasts on the BBC or ITV, take a good look at the weather-man or weather-girl.
I think you'll find that they've taken their dog to work with them, bless their meteorological hearts.
Pretty much each and every one of them stands in front of the camera, holding what must be their dog's lead, their canine friend standing just out of frame. Blooming marvellous. It makes me feel so warm and soggy inside!
Picture the scene - a fully-grown adult male in a smart shirt and tie, excitedly leaving work at the University at the end of the day, the campus still bustling with students.
The adult male is so excited by the start of the weekend that he doesn't realise, until having walked a considerable length of Library Road, that the stoopid muddyfunster has been air-guitaring all the fracking way.
I must have looked like Ted's Dad in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.
Post-script - "berk" is such a beautiful, innocent British word, dontchathink? Until you learn that it derives from Cockney rhyming slang for "Berkshire Hunt"...
No Revolution for me today
I'd managed to get myself so damn excited for The Matrix Revolutions this evening. Tickets already booked at the Coventry Skydome for a perfectly-timed evening performance, just 5 hours after its release. A Seat slap bang in the middle of the cinema.To say I was a little excited would be an understatement on the scale of saying George Bush was a little right-wing in his views.
So I guess it's no great suprise that a crisis has managed to intervene at the last moment, scuppering any chance of seeing the damn thing til the weekend now.
It's a question of control.
God, I need putting out of my misery on this one, but not by me chancing across any massive spoilers on the web, or in conversation for that matter. So I'm staying away from the interweb for now, and I'm going to punch anyone who tries to talk to me in real life. It's my only hope.
I'm back, da dang, da, dada dah dang da dih dih dar dey, I'm back in the saddle again...
Starbuck back in his rightful place, sitting in front of his strangely whirring PC, complete with comforting lilac tinted screen display, and that unique disinfectant smell which seems to mysteriously get pumped out of the air vents.
Once more it feels like everything has slotted into place - sod all the chaos arising from moving house (again), or starting a new job and all the rest - all I needed was to be sitting in front of MY machine, with all the endearing faults that comes with it. Other computers messing up on me drive me up the bleedin' wall; when Windows Millennium edition, that oh-so-reliable operating system, goes tits-up on my beautifully bulky beast, its an interesting, sweetly smelling challenge, rather than an odorous stab in the guts. Bless its electronic heart.
Anyway, I've missed being able to write whenever I've wanted to write on this thing. Sod it, maybe its not just blogging I've missed, I've missed defragmenting the little fracker every few days in a futile attempt at squeezing an ounce more power out of its fully-streamlined innards. I've missed a machine of my own to geek on. (And I'd started to feel a little bit guilty continually messing with my dad's machine to ever greater heights of mess-up.)
Enough rambling - I've got loads I should be writing about. I've been accreting thoughts in this ole head of mine at an accelerating rate of late - I'm getting woozy, there's just so many unreleased fuzzy ponderings about nothing-much clouding my synaptic networks. Although, like all memories I strive to keep hold of, I guess most have been absorbed just a little too deeply, and will probably only be drawn to the surface late at night after a few too many Tesco Lagers.
Whatever, I've not got time to write just now. I've got a date with the Animatrix Second Renaissance - its sitting in my video recorder, giving me the big come-on. And what with going to see Matrix Revolutions tomorrow night (19:00 GMT), its a temptation I can't resist.
I am so fracking excited, I'm going to have to get my trousers laundered. I've been waiting desperately for this moment, for, oh, 6 months. Minus a few days.
All the thoughts, all the ideas, all the possibilities that I used to ramble on about on these pages when I had too much time on my hands - we'll soon see what was right, what was wrong, and what was total bollox.
Just don't go expecting a swift Revolutions report on these pages from Uncle Starbuck - we're taking mum and dad out on Thursday for a meal, so they'll probably be the first poor sods to have to endure/ignore my ravings, good or (perish the thought) bad.
And judging by the fact I've got several weeks of other stuff to talk about (moving house, yawn, the thing in the bedroom, snore, what the flipping trees look like in Autumn, zzzzz, the M-bleeding-40, more zzzz, the sun in the Tate Modern, mum, what was that, the London bunch of chancers, snore, Derren (not Darren V) Brown's secrets, et cetera, all my usual drivel - I bet you've been missing this!), maybe it'll be a while before I get back to the present day. I don't want this blog getting all skewed with a Memento-like time-frame. Although I have started tattoo'ing myself with amusing website links and ill-thought-out political rants.
Must go. Get a grip. End this stream of shite, Starbuck.
As Arnie would say, if asked what his favourite animal noise was - "I'll be back (bark)".
That bloke that's always drunk
DJ Tim [02:05]
Arghrrrrrrrr my laptop rebooted itself for no reason while I was writing this and everything disappeared - I hear cheers from the main man of this blog.
Anyway to retype everything. Firstly the Stabuck flash mob was cool. We so freaked him out. We just all like turned up to this pub like and like started to talk to him like. Then we got drunk like and carried on talking to him like it was cool like. Did anyone see if we made the news like, cos that would be so cool like. Richards!
Anyway after I got back I caught a repeat of the Frank Skinner show. It had Mathew Kelly on it. Mathew challenged Frank about jokes that he and David B had made about him on their show Unplanned earlier this year. The jokes were about Mathew's brush with the law (all changes were subsequently dropped). Frank did a marvellous job at making Mathew look stupid. He asked him 'Have you every made jokes about Michael Jackson or Gary Glitter?' Mathew could not answer this question. Frank continued and pointed out the there show was a topical comedy show. Mathew Kelly was all over the papers that week, so what should they do - Not take the piss just because he was a fellow comedian? ( I use that word in the loosest terms)
Anyway I've got hic-ups now and a screenplay to write for the next 7 hours untill the we watch the Kiwi's stuff the Welsh. Night Night.
Oh just remembered have to be rude to Stu, so here goes - you're really, really..... nice (dam can't do it. I'll try again) You're a Richards... hee hee hee