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...
Well, its been a relatively abstentious Christmas break, thanks to the intervention of Tesco.
A couple of their Cold Relief capsules on top of an empty stomach on Christmas morning saw to that. Empty that is aside from the remnants of Christmas Eve's Speckled Hen and Bomber County swilling around my gastric pits.
Still, a clamped-up stomach's an effective way of stopping one eating and drinking too much. Ugh.
Hope that you all had a good one too.
And with that, may I offer you a personal digest of the televisual treats which on offer over the festive season, as Christmas is a time for children and for the BBC.
Eastenders - I missed Pauline Fowler's departure from this world, which is a shame, as I very much wanted to see the back of the old goat. Eastenders always gets very surreal over Christmas, with freak weather patterns, dreamlike theatrics, and bizarre characterisation, which makes it all the more fun.
Doctor Who - again, I missed the Christmas special, though my nephew has told me all about it. It was good, apparently. [I know that this festive review's not going too well, but hopefully it'll pick up soon when I get to something I've seen]
The Ruby In The Smoke - well, I missed Doctor Who, but I saw the Beeb's adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel starring Rose Tyler Billie Piper. Found it difficulting switching off from her Roseness, though, not helped by her appalling put-on accent making it sound as if Rose had gone back in time and was attempting to fit in, badly. Not to say that she was bad, just bad accented. Very much enjoyed it, though, even if my stupidity meant that I had to keep rewinding to remind myself what the hell was going on.
Dracula - another top BBC adaptation, but again slightly tainted by my inability to remove the key character (Count Dracula) from the actor playing him - this time, Marc Warren from Hustle, whom I spent the whole running time thinking he was Neil Stuke from 1990s flat-share sitcom Game On, and as such kept expecting him to start ranting about "ginger tosser Martin".
Torchwood - hmmm, the festively-dressed episode happened a few weeks back now, and closer to Christmas all of the Xmas decorations had disappeared. Must be something to do with time travel. Or the fact that "there's something in the darkness" coming for Captain Jack... [Jack Harkness... Justin Hawkins... The Darkness... there must be a connection...]
And that's that. And after that I tet you're so looking forward to my festive Film and Music Annual Review...
Matt and Kevin's wedding - VSX EXCLUSIVE
A VSX insider was a guest at the wedding of Matt Lucas and Kevin McGee at the weekend, and I can now exclusively reveal the names of the most civvy-friendly stars in the galaxy of A-list celebrities in attendance.
In no particular order, those members of the UK celebrity stellar firmament who are most likely to start conversations with the "normal" people are:
Will Young Vic Rees Lenny Henry
Each and every one of them was down-to-earth and in touch with their common roots. Or possibly just very drunk.
I've been just so busy of late that I've been meaning to throw up the following picture...
... with the cryptic message "Blogging Paws", followed by a period of enforced silence.
However various things just keep demanding fingertip-time. So you're stuck with me.
Talking of Posh Paws, I was heartened to hear that he will be joining Noel "Manson" Edmonds, Maggie "Cheggars" Philbin, Keith "Extras" Chegwin, John "Countryfile" Craven, when the Beeb resuscitate the stinking corpse of 70s/80s Saturyday morning kids show Multi-Coloured Swaw Shop.
Not for Swap Shop (it's what the "goodie goodies" watched), but for the hope that a Tiswas revival may follow.
Aww, I'm feeling all bottomed-out now, as a distant painful memory from my nursery school resolves into view. One of the kids ripped the dinosaur paw off my Posh Paws. The moment that I woke up to the reality of life. Sigh.
No matter. I will track him down and have my vengence.
Having recently seen "political activist comedian" Mark Thomas on his "As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela" tour (quick review: exceptional; Thomas being much funnier than I remember him from his TV shows, much more relaxed and likeable, and with a good way with portrayal of characters; within 3 hours he can expand around the important points he is making in a manner that just wasn't possible in 30 minutes if TV, where the issue in hand rightly needed prominence; makes me want to head down to Parliament Square and demand the heads of our politicians elected and otherwise; or trolls for Hungerford Bridge. Contender for Starbuck's much-coveted Live Comedy Act of the Year award), I felt the need to do some activision (didn't they make Pitfall?) of my own.
So here's a couple of links [HERE] and [HERE] to papers that Mark presented to the Quadripartite Select Committee (Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Trade and Industry) of the House of Commons, for those who are interested, including the allegations about illegal arms dealing that the Hinduja's buried within the press (thanks in part to the strong bullying arm of Lord Temple-Morris). Or just read his own publication. That'd be easier.
The Habbit - There and Back Again
I don't have recurrent dreams, however I do tend to have a recurrent setting for my dreams.
Most commonly this incorporates a Tolkienesque route that takes me through the picturesque loveliness of Clifton town in Bristol, before the trail is cut by the awesome drop of the Avon Gorge. From there myself and my dream's fellow protagnosists will cross the Clifton Suspension Bridge before walking the road to Ashton Court Mansion. It happened again this morning. The situation may vary, but my subconscious imagination often returns to this scene.
It may be that this flow of varying idyllic environments merging into one another seeped deep into me when I was hitting my second wind back in my Running Bristol days.
More likely is that the annual blissed-out pilgrimage that I undertook to the Ashton Court free music festival in my formative years has left its indelible mark upon my psyched-out mindscape. Man.
Starbuck In Shock Agreement With Tory Homeland Security Spokesman
 "John Reid accused of 'scaremongering'". "Scaremongering" - I like that word. Now that all the other mongers (fishmonger, ironmonger et al) are dieing out, the scaremonger seems to be grabbing all the limelight.
Anyway, there's countless reasons to hate British Home Secretary John Reid, but he's just given me a new one - by making me agree with a statement put out by [holds nose] Conservative Homeland Security Spokesman Patrick Mercer.
In response to Reid's latest piece of fear mongering ("Christmas terror attempt highly likely" - which given the climate that Reid and his mob are helping to create is no suprise, although one might argue with the necessity of heralding each and every attempt one of these idiots decides to take action on), Mercer said:
"If the Government wants to make things more difficult for the terrorists, they have to involve the public in a constructive way. Otherwise warnings like this are nothing but hollow rhetoric.
"Where are the efforts to advise people on what to do in the event of an attack, or what to look out for to help prevent one?
"Where are the instruction posters on the Tube in London? Where are the new radios to allow the emergency services to communicate underground?
"Knowledge dispels fear, but John Reid is giving us fear with no knowledge."
'Mr Mercer also voiced concerns that ministers are using repeated warnings of impending attacks partly to 'soften up' public opinion for the introduction of more sweeping counter-terrorism powers, including another attempt to introduce 90-day detention without charge for suspects in terrorist cases.'
That's the increasingly loud message that we hear from that particular Abrahamic religion each year. Just earlier this week there was a Bishop (not Harold, unfortunately) urging the nation not to take the Christ out of Christmas.
And he's damn right. Taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas" would leave us with "mas", which let's face it is way too ambiguous.
As a cynical old unbeliever on a one way ticket to hell, I'd much rather we took the "Chris" out of Christmas (but not Little (Lil) Chris; I like him.) That'd certainly remove the uncomfortable religious aspect that I find rather taints my Christmas fun(buying Christmas tree decorations without any representation of stars whatsoever is tricky - is a bauble a star?)
And it would leave us with "tmas", which rolls off the tongue better than "mas".
No, wait... "t" looks a bit like a cross, and then we're back in Xmas territory. Oops
Bugger. I'd vowed not to piss off my religious readers this year. Well, I'm sure they can take it. They're the ones with the faith. [And just to prove how good I am, I'll save my contentious "BUT" for the Comments box (look beyond if you dare...)]
Still, having been administered the religious rite of confirmation before turning to the Dark Side, I'm ecclesiastically allowed to take the Chris.
Incidentally, I was interested to see a piece in the Guardian today ("The Phoney War On Christmas", about the media's reporting on the so-called War Against Xmas. As is so very predictable, all of these stories relating to "political correctness gone mad" that flood our rotten media outlets each winter are not quite what they seem. Upon examination they turn out to be lies, prompted by lazy and dishonest journalism, or propaganda being spread by religious pressure groups for their own nefarious purposes.
When will we learn, I ask thee?
If I was a Christian I'd be mightily pissed off with the lot of them for using my religion as a subversive tool. Then again, if I was a Christian, knowing me I'd probably be an Evangelical, eager for that sweet neuropharmalogical hit from the potential conversion possibilities...
"Shopping with PC World is Safe and Secure" - discuss
I've just tried PC World's online site. Rrr, rrrrr, rrrrrrhuuu, rrrrrhhhhubbbbish!
"Shopping with PC World is Safe and Secure", or so they tell us.
Well in that case, why have a website where the whole series of order confirmation pages contain non-secure items, with a scary broken padlock displayed all the way through?
"Connection partially encrypted" as Firefox tells me. Not that they've heard of Firefox.
If you click on the link about secure online shopping, the Security pop-up dates back to the pre-Firefox era, urging you to update your browser if required to Internet Explorer 5.5 (5 for Macintosh) or Netscape Communicator 4.74. Gah!
If you buy a PC from them they will try to flog you crappy bundled security software, but they can't even take your most personal of details without seemingly broadcasting them to the world.