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...
The end of the world American election is nigh. I apologise if you have arrived at these pages seeking highly charged political invective or incisive analysis of the lies and counterlies currently being spewed out like napalm. However I am being removed from my country of residence for a short period of time, and I will be unable to add to the multitude of US election reports and musings.
You should count yourself lucky. The sound of flesh-scorching air being blown through Starbuck's spleen is not a pleasant one.
But fingers crossed the majority see sense. I hope that my next words will be of a relieved and faintly uplifted nature rather than massively depressed and despondent...
I spotted over at The Final Broadcast this fairly chucklesome evidence that Gollum had apparently crossed the Fiction/Reality barrier and infiltrated the British chavclass.
Well, I don't need any cleverly-Photoshopped images to prove to me his newfound nonfictional status - my girlfriend managed to catch some genuine photographs of The Artist Formerly Known as Smeagol over the Summer...
Watch as AFKAS catches fish in the following sequence, and marvel at his speed and dexterity in his natural habitat:
JOHN PEEL R.I.P.
This really is a sad day. We shall never again hear (live) that most beautiful of voices, never see that scrunching up of his face, never witness his Glastonbury commentary; never see him on Grumpy Old Men; or on that program about big trucks.
He's an "institution" for all those things, but of course he's an institution for more than that. He's an institution for having been the only original Radio 1 DJ still working on the station; and for still being the best one on there (admittedly not hard these days). He's an institution for bringing new and exciting music to an eager audience, for playing many a demo tape by an unsigned band and helping them on the way to success, for making many a listener rush to their local record shop and order that album by that obscure band they'd heard the night before. For the sake of completeness; the one of mine I remember was "Things I Hate to Admit" by Victim's Family - sigh. I don't have it any more. It probably wasn't that good after all. Maybe I should buy it again. Or maybe, like many other people over the next few days, that Undertones best of.
Two things: First: I went to see Billy Connolly last night. Literally his first lines were "John Peel is dead". Sceond: the Metro is, as we all know, a poor quality advertisement magazine masquerading as a newspaper. This morning, however, everyone who was reading a copy was showing the face of Mr Peel under a headline "The Day the Music Died". It was a more moving tube journey than most.
All the tea in China
Sunday morning. I sit in front of my computer, a steaming mug of strong tea in front of me, enjoying the feeling of rejuvenation as the PG Tips brew blasts through the shreds of my hangover, caffeine raining down across my over-stimulated Adenosine receptors.
I'd been hibernating in my bed from the ache in my head for some time this morning, drifting in and out of consciousness, the joyous sounds of Fat Boy Slim's Palookaville providing a safety net of distraction for my disengaged mind. Hiding under the duvet from that hanging feeling, and hiding from the droplets of condensation, coalesced on the skylight, ready to drop, ready to intrude on my self-inflicted malaise.
I may have been hiding, but my mind was flying free, and many lines of latitude to the east of where my body lay. There is a reason for the current richness of my daydreams - my Sino-Japanatrial Node has recently been massively stimulated by a couple of wonderfully beautiful and imaginative films. What a fantastic link to some long overdue reviews...
Firstly Hero (Ying Xiong) - one of the most breathtakingly beautiful films I have seen, and worth buying a massive plasma screen for if you didn't see it at the cinema. I enjoyed it a lot more than Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (which is the natural easy point-of-reference for stoopid Western barbarians such as I), although the denouement justifying peace and unity under an authoritarian imperial nationalist regime stuck in my throat a bit when considering the Chinese occupation of Tibet; and anyway, "tianxia" does not translate as "our land" but rather "under heaven", but whatever, I'm not going to patronise by pretending to understand the history and psychology of the Chinese peoples - now isn't the time (click HERE for the correct time to patronise by pretending to understand the history and psychology of the Chinese peoples!) But I digress. What it was was a captivating and artistic piece of filmaking with some brilliant uses of colour. Oh, and lots of people fighting mid-air like gravity-spurning superheros - that's all you morons care about. Classy stuff. (Just to add some balance to the other side of my critical fulcrum, my less overzealous girlfriend preferred Crouching Tiger as a film - it scored much higher in the all-important love-story stakes.)
The other film that's been pushing away at the envelope of my imagination is Spirited Away, another oldie-but-goodie. A lovely slice of fairytail Japanese anime which has flashed me back to how great it was living within the imagination of a child. Get yer kids hooked on it and you won't need an excuse to watch it over and over again. And if you don't have kids its worth getting them for it. Engrossing. And software developers - it would make the best point-and-click adventure game EVER!
Now, I think its time for another little lie down...
Starbie Goes Bananas
As I wrote earlier, its been very windy today. And reflecting on this has just led my stream of consciousness onto John Wyndham (do you see what it did there?!) And when I think of John Wyndham, I think of the terrifying (at the time) BBC TV adaption of The Day Of The Triffids, which fret me up big-time as a child. Walking plants taking over a blinded nation, killing on instinct - scary! And thinking of The Day Of The Triffids got me thinking about my father-in-law-to-be's garden.
He claims to have grown a banana tree, heavily-laden with flower and fruit, slap bang in the middle of Warwickshire. I've never believed him. I believe that he's somehow tamed a Triffid. (Or one of those plants out of the Super Mario games!)
Wind it up
What a wonderfully windy day its been in the middle lands of England today. Bracing and exciting - stirring stuff.
I do love weather where you can see the air that supports our lives. We would never have evolved without it, and we certainly wouldn't survive without it. It is everything, and yet humanity takes its invisible medium for granted. But when the wind blows you can see the weight of this stuff, as fluid flows and gaseous eddies writhe against the landscape, and the flotsam and jetsam of naked Autumnal trees exagerates it all the more. You can hear it, with all the energy of a heavily swollen sea-cliff interface.
Its for similar reasons that I love blue skies - that sense of the constituent makeup of the atmosphere, highlighted by the cyan blueness of sunlight refracted through the globe of trapped particles.
But mostly I like the wind. Though, to be honest, the main reason for this is that my wind-tousled hair makes me look like Keith Flint from The Prodigy. WIND IT UP! YEAAAAH!
Viz a v
Regular readers of my pithy pithtake of a blog may be wondering just where the hell Uncle Starbuck has been; indeed, my sojourns into blogspace have been necessarily brief and restricted.
I would tell you that I've been fighting off relentless Cylon attack waves for as for back as my sleep-deprived mind can remember - when you've only got 33 minutes to prepare for the next hyperspace jump, you don't get much time to write or indeed read weblogs.
However that would be ridiculous. But its the only excuse I'm giving for now.
Whilst I'm here, I may as well write a few words...
Being an avid Viz reader since childhood, I was mildly saddened to READ THIS report at the axing of the Fat Slags in the next issue following the disastrously bad film adaption that some idiot has excreted. As Simon Donald, Viz creator, says, "Even the most idiotic, misguided teenage moron will not get a laugh out of this truly irredeemable crock of horseshit". So R.I.P. San, Tray and Baz. It's been fun. Almost. Now lets have another film about Billy The Fish...
I'm feeling sad now, tracking back to the magnificent Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin heydays of Tank Girl, the best comic book creation EVER. And the massive disappointment I felt when I saw the dismal movie interpretation, the film that killed the mighty Deadline magazine. Cripes, its got me feeling all Shaky "Kane" 2000. ANGER! HURT! Etc.
- - - - - - - - - -
23:43 update: OK, the anger, hurt etc have now worn off enough for me to share this little indignant beauty of a letter from M Webb to the Letterbocks letters page in last month's Viz:
What a fitting tribute the Diana Memorial Fountain is. It looks stupid, serves very little purpose, and hogs all the headlines.
Blimey, I'm glad the working week has crawled to a halt. I'm all out of haust. Sigh! Too many workplace tasks hanging over me that are badly in need of check-marks. Brain feeling scrambled. Got a nagging feeling just behind my forehead, an almost airy feeling, like the surface of my brain is being slowly scratched away by the feather-light but persistent touch of wire wool. It feels like I'm going through withdrawal, it feels like I need a cigarette even though I've not touched one in years, or a strong drink, or a bungee-secured plummet from a bridge, or a night of hardcore banging techno; I need some adrenaline. I think its just a head cold, its work, its all sorts of things.
My internal jukebox has been silenced. This is wrong - my internal jukebox is never muted. But no, all I've got is an internal talk-radio-box, an insistent chattering. Right now its saying "I can give you this information, but under the data protection act, are you aware of the consequences of giving out this information to the wrong person". This mantra, trapped in my neural circuits from the time when I worked for a leading British telecommunications company, providing information for the sales team who tradition and culture and bad strategic thinking dictated would not have up-to-date information on their customers to hand.
Ah, the Data Protection Act. We touched on the DPA during a training session about the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which will be valid in the UK from January 2005, and will allow anyone in the community to obtain whatever information they require from publicly-funded bodies. Its going to be a big headache, especially now that journalists are being trained to take use and abuse it to their advantage, but its just a small part of my big global headache.
Gah! Make it stop, please! Somebody shoot me with a vodka...
copy the list on to your blog, put in bold the ones you have listened to (completely from begining to end) and then add three more albums that you think people should have heard before they turn into their parents - remember, it isn't necessarily your most favourite albums but the ones you think people should listen to... and when we say listen we mean from track one through to the end.
1) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band; The Beatles
2) London Calling; The Clash
3) Blood Sugar Sex Magik; Red Hot Chilli Peppers
4) Think Tank; Blur
5) This is Hardcore; Pulp
6) Moon Safari; Air
7) Elastica; Elastica
8) Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols; Sex Pistols
9) OK Computer; Radiohead 10) The Kiss of Morning; Graham Coxon
11) Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars; David Bowie
12) The Wall; Pink Floyd 13) Setting Sons; The Jam
14) The Downward Spiral; Nine Inch Nails
15) Endtroducing; DJ Shadow
16) The Eminem Show; Eminem
Whilst I'm on the subject of music, may I use this opportunity to vent my spleen against some of the messengers of music over at BBC Radio 1.
However much people hate "the nation's favourite", although its far from perfect, still come a fair way since the days before the Old Guard were unceremoniously dumped. But its faltering...
Two DJ's in particular really get my goat. Spoony has turned into a less eloquent DLT with added shouts. He may be fine as a live DJ, but he should be shot for his crimes against radio. And as for Wes, Christ, he comes across as a less "loved" Gary Davis. KILL KILL KILL! These two are so dumbed-down they make Newsbeat look like Newsnight...
Mr & Mrs
Hello! I'm back from honeymoon a freshly married man. Thanks to all those who read this that came and bought us things and helped us have a lovely day and all that stuff. Thanks also for your kind words Mr Powersurge (and not so kind photos). Speaking of photos; they apparently tell a hundred words (or is a thousand?) and some other mates (Cara, of 100 word reviews fame, and Paul, of her husband fame) have plonked various shots on their site - which is here - there are pic's from the hen and the two stags too (more entertaining than the wedding ones to be fair). Anyway, there we are.
Set adrift on memory bliss
I've had real difficulty getting out of bed this Saturday morning. It feels like its been months since I've had the opportunity to stay in bed and cut my overworked mind some slack. Morning relaxation time is such a precious and valuable commodity that I wasn't getting out of bed for anybody.
Just lieing there, safe and cosy under the duvet, in a place somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, lucidly dreaming at speed. And all the time listening to the sounds around me - my girlfriend in the adjoining shower, the clunks and the motor sounds from the washing machine downstairs, the gusts of wind whipping at the skylight above me. Drifting away, the stream of consciousness (or should that be unconsciousness) finding much of its own way, sometimes guided by my half-aware state.
Now that I am fully awake all that remains of this is ghosts, fleeting images and remnants of my cascade of thought. Duran Duran, time space and evolution, the route that I drive home from work, my friends who I don't see enough of and my family, Eighties heavy metal festivals, a big concrete block that housed a NASA research centre that I was involved with, the woman I love and the moments we have shared. At one point I realised that although I was dreaming there was something that had come to light that I should remember for when I woke up, and I put it on my task-list; my task-list, a lilac box of neon suspended in space, of course existed only within my dreams.
And now its good to be awake, and its good to feel alive.
Its hardly breaking news, but I just wanted to get this off my chest.
You may have recently heard in the news about the evangelical preacher Gilbert Deya. He's the one whose claims to help infertile couples in his congregation have "miracle babies" have been slightly eroded by allegations that he's at the centre of a child-trafficking racket from Kenya; these babies seem to be undetectable in tests until either the holy spirit beams them down to the mother's external undercarriage, or until Mr Deya's cronies smuggle them in by stork.
Maybe "independent" is the wrong word. As she says...
"I have been a member of Gilbert Deya Ministries for more than 7 years... This particular woman, Edith Ezedom, has been a faithful member to our Ministry. I witnessed her attending 3am and deliverance services apart from the main services. She was also a fully devoted choir member. I witnessed her protruded abdomen, and at her age I have never seen a woman with fibroids of such proportion. Therefore, this was a clear indication to me that she was pregnant"
Yup, a professional midwife then.
"When I heard she had given birth in Kenya it was not a surprise to me. It was publicly announced on the platform that the baby could not be detected by the scan that is why she travelled to Nairobi-Kenya to seek a second opinion from the doctors... It is amazing how God is using Archbishop Gilbert Deya and Mrs Mary Deya to do miracles in Jesus? name and yet the scan and Obstetricians could not detect this. Now this has made me to believe that these are miracles because scans and obstetricians were not able to detect the babies when these women went to the Hospital."
Well, I may no longer be a true scientist, but I take it back, you can't really argue with that. Maybe its just coincedental that Deya's wife has also been charged with the theft of a baby from hospital.
You may have also seen his broadcasts on satellite or cable television, where he does the whole ludicrous (IMHO) shouting at the congregation thing until they fall over in rapture (or morning sickness?)
You may even vaguely remember some news story about hate preaching against all the usual suspects (homosexuality, living in sin etc); in trying to unearth that on Google, I instead came across this marvellously badly-written article apparently by John Casey, General Secretary of Gilbert Deya Ministries, in which he states that "we swerve a living God"! The author(s) states in the last paragraph (in an rare moment of out-of-place eloquence) that:
"The ministries have managed to change the heart of some evil British people to Christianity while the Church of Methodist are now closing down for lack of members, the Church of England are selling their premises to Muslims, supermarkets and to pubs and bars, and they are fully busy in their Gay administration."
I have a reason for this unhealthy interest in Gilbert Deya Ministries. Whilst I lived in London we had a similar telephone number to their London branch, and every time a caller incorrectly used "0207" rather than "020" as the regional dialing code (as Londoners tend to do) they would get through to us.
And they were never put off by my cheery answer-machine message - "Hello, G and A can't take your call right now, so please leave a message and we'll get back to you". These poor desperate-sounding brainwashed people would still mumble on about needing to speak to the Pastor. The phone would ring and you knew it was a 50:50 chance that you would end up having a heartbreaking conversation trying to help someone to contact someone who you knew would do them no good at all, trying to explain that they should ring 020 7358 0303 rather than 0207 7etc, only for them to call you back time and again straight after.
It was heartbreaking hearing the sound of their vulnerability, but I felt that I should at least be as helpful and friendly as I could, despite my polar-opposite beliefs - that's just my nature. If I'd have known what I know now I'd have been a whole lot more obstructive.
Nope, I have learnt that the only one good Gilbert in this world.
I'm just back from an outing to a local picture house to see the talkie entitled Dodgeball, and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you how very enjoyable it is.
And I'm sure you wouldn't need to ask the twenty suprisingly well-behaved five year-olds together with the noble parent/guardian, revelling in the masses of extreme slapstick violence. I dread to think what playground games they'll be trying after this! I just hope that the lewder stuff (such as the brown "moustache" on the pub-sign for the "Dirty Sanchez") went over their heads...
But I wouldn't ask the four surly teenagers sitting on the back-row, who spent the ENTIRE film chatting non-stop. Thankfully I was close enough to the front not to make out any of their conversation, but I really felt sorry for the poor sods sitting closer to them. I just can't understand why four people would spent £5.70 each only to ignore the focus of their expenditure, surely knowing fully well that they would be destroying the film for everyone around them, knowing but not caring. That's what I hate about this upcoming antisocial slacker generation that we've fostered. Never in the field of British society was so much ruined for so many by so few, as Winston Churchill would probably have it if he hadn't died 39 years ago. But then he'd be 130 years old by now, so maybe he'd be keeping his sentences shorter to preserve breath anway. I think this analogy has run out of steam, time to bail out. Laters...
Nice Guy Rob has updated his little executable beauty so that the percentage figure appears in the Title and Task bars, so you won't have to worry your cotton socks about leaving the application obscuring your oh-so-previous work. So there's no excuse not to make every second count (copyright Paul Daniels).
If you want a copy, drop me an email me at the address found two thirds of the way down the left-hand side-bar.
Saturday night takes an upturn, & out comes the Jacobs Creek...
I've been hiding up in my room for the last hundred minutes. Starbucketta had been scheduled to go out on an unavoidable "commiseratory evening" for a colleagues who has been given the boot, and they had arranged to meet up briefly at our place prior to going out on the town. I think they lost track of the "briefly" part.
Now I've not been in the most sociable of moods today, at least not when it comes to loud giggly strangers. I've not been feeling at my sharpest; it may help you to understand my condition if I reveal that I couldn't find my trousers when I woke up at the in-laws-to-be's (empty) house - they turned out to be outside, damp (with rain), and I had no memory of why...
So when it came to the Missus' guests tonight, I quickly made my excuses and headed upstairs. I must at this point describe our little house - its very lacking in space. Or doors (in fact there is only one proper internal door - the toilet door). Next to the toilet there is the coat cupboard (where my computer resides) leading onto our lounge, attached to which is the kitchen... oh, sod it, I'll knock up a quick floor plan in Paint for you (not to scale - if it was, the bed would be five times wider than it is long):
So basically there is nothing solid between the bed upstairs and the lounge area downstairs, and very little air for that matter. If you breathe downstairs it could be heard from the bedroom.
Now anyone of the male extraction who is reading this will understand my plight. I was far enough away for them to forget that I was there, but close enough that I couldn't escape from a single word. Endless girly chatter of that exquisitely cringeworthy nature as most practiced by thirty- and forty-something females. After thirty minutes of chatter about who people fancy I was pulling my already-thinning hair out. Robbie Williams, fair enough. But John Nettles? And Bad Gangster Andy from Eastenders?! The mind boggles!
Luckily I remembered that the Sony Walkman had been invented some years back, and managed to escape into Nine Inch Nails' Broken several times over (perfect violent mind-music for my circumstances, though slightly annoying with 92 three second slots of silence hiding the "secret" tracks at the end). So I lay there, selfishly and sadly seething, quietly hitting quiet things for release from my stupidity (tip: rib-cage and forehead are fairly quiet).
But as I started out, YES, I AM FREE! Saturday night takes an upturn. And I'm wasting my time telling you about it. Worst of all, I've missed One Night With Barry Manilow on BBC1...
DJ Tim [20:39]
I have just had the most gorgeous doner ever. Now this is not really an event to mention, but I felt that I should let Starbuck know about this since he is soon to be wed. Why is this relevant I hear you ask? Well after the ring has gone on her finger she has this power over you. One of them is the Doner-No power. This is basically an automatic "no" that comes out of her mouth whenever you pass a doner shop. No matter how drunk she might be - she can still stop you getting that doner on the way home. I think it might be something to do with your breath smelling like shite or something. Well tonight I won - ii had a doner on the way home and it was great.