Thursday, 26 November 2009

Down California Way

Throughout the last couple of years, I feel as though my life in education has been focused on two key areas. Of course, I have branched out the other subjects unwillingly, and even in some rare cases, willingly, but I find myself returning to these two things. Every time. Its the sort of phenomena that can convince you of the existence of God. And not that happy-go-lucky God from the bible. Im talking a malicious god. The type you find in Pagan lore. A god whose sole purpose is to torment humans, to test us until one of two inevitabilities occurs; We go insane, or we deal with it and let it stew as a mental illness. I am talking about the two subjects in my education that appear again and again.

1. 20th Century America (and everything encompassed within: The Dustbowl, The American Dream, etc...)

2. The Gothic

The fact that I adore the first and despise the second probably says alot about me as a person, much like my choice on the age-old question, "flight or invisibility?" but the point remains, I have been drawn in by fiction/non-fiction/cinema/music/journalism based around the first choice time and time again, and as of yet, I have no idea why.

This strange compulsion was fed like an angry snake last week, with the viewing of John Fords classic interpretation of John Steinbeck's "The Graps of Wrath". It was a great movie, and whilst it was not as good as the book, as these things often arent, it did give a great visual interpretation of one of my favorite parts; the journey. I've always been attracted to the nature of travel, and I'm still attempting to take "the Great American Road Trip". Obviously this is a little hard when you come from the English south-west, rather than the American south, but I've always been enchated by Route 66, and the journey part of the novel reminds me of the childish sense of wonder I have about travelling. The truth is its damn annoying, it can make or break friendships, and it can be hellishly boring, but its always something that retains its magic.

The film depicts the journey as a time of hope, a time of the anticipation of prosperity, and its strange that despite the deaths of Grandpa and Grandma, the decision to press on is unanimous. Its sort of like the deaths of the Grandparents signify the cutting of the chord, like the family has no place in Olklohoma anymore because their history there has been lost. Or it could just be a way of evoking some emotion at the realistation that these people literally have nothing but eachother. Either way, its an event that Steinbeck really executes well.

Its no surprise that the novel was written as an attempt to show the plight of the citizens of the dustbowl, and its a shame that the message was lost in the financial storm that followed the book. Its a book, and a movie, that continues to feed my love for 20th Century America.

Maybe one day, I'll get out to Californee, see what all the fuss is about...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

When Men were Men, and Boys were scared.

The history of journalism happens to be one of my favorite subjects, especially throughout the days of the American Frontier, because as it turns out, "The West" was really won through the toil at the grubby hands of those grubby journalists, all hoping to grab their slice of America pie. These were the real men, the ones who printed exactly what they saw. If One-Eyed Jack kicked up a fuss in the local saloon, then he would print it.
Of course, whilst these people were brave, taking the blessing of literature and writing to an area where it might have died out, there was a man who took the idea of Frontier journalism as far as it could go, and then some. The illustrious, the fantastic, Mr William Randolph Hearst.

W.R.Hearst really had everything going for him at exactly the right time. Much like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was the right man at the right time. Except there were fewer terrorists. And even fewer hulking Aryan terrorists with silken golden hair that seems so thick and well kept that he could use it to fly.

So the story goes, everybody was poor. Almost too poor, and after New York was pretty much done and dusted, and the immigrants had nothing else to build, there were a few reports of gold in San Francisco, many populated by Hearst himself, and with the San Francisco Chronicle that he published in many, many languages, he was really just hitting every target possible. He was the go-to guy for hokey information, and it seemed that 1849 would be his...golden year. Ahahaha...that's not funny.

Whilst the information as to the possible locations of the gold may have just been wild fabrications, it was an incredibly profitable time to own a paper, especially when the toothless prospectors would have done anything for a slice of the gold.

Eventually our friend Hearst expanded to the east coast, purchasing the New York Journal, entering into a circulation war with Pulitzer, and being thoroughly ironic by claiming to be a man of the people whilst being completely racist at the same time. It was a time of being who you wanted to be, clearly, and racism is not something I condone (in fact its something I'm disgusted by) but you have to respect the man for being what he was regardless of any one's judgement.

It seems strange that I would find a role model in a man who died 40 years before I was born, but the coming of the frontier press is a subject that I am perpetually interested in. In fact, I just bought a book, aptly titled, The Coming of the Frontier Press. A compelling read, no less. Hearst was an icon. His standing in the journalism community is timeless, and at the time of his death, he owned 26 newspapers. 16 magazines, 11 radio stations, five news services, and a monstrous house in Malibu. Its scary how much the movie Citizen Kane captured, with Orson Welles' performance being one of the most enigmatic that I have seen in ages, a true testament to a legendary man, by another legendary man.

I just wish I had been there to see it all happen.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Freud and Friends

Freud is a scary man. Time and time again Mr. Sigmund Freud will come up in one shape or another as a part of my studies. Last time it was science at A-level. The time before that, English GCSE. And every time I will think two things. 

1. Sigmund...Fraud? (I will then laugh to myself like a moron)

2. Is Freud a genius, the creator of modern psychology, the father of some of the most practiced techniques in mental health care today? Or is he just a man, standing in front of a woman, asking her to love him? And this woman is his mother. 

Basically, regardless of whether the man is a nut or not, he certainly did something incredible. Consider this; We have absolutely no idea what happens inside the brain, we don't know why people do the things they do, apart from the odd philosophies that people sometimes chucked out. Instead we just wandered around, doing the things we did, suffering from huge depression, possibly making some sort of off remark about feces, we've all done it. 

Then, Freud came around, and said, "hey, how about dreams?" and thus the Freudian method was born. I have dumbed it down a bit, but when you consider that this was the first of the modern methods. Without that man, there would be none of these psychiatrists with chairs. It would change the face of culture itself. Television would be completely different, films, news, politics.

Its a scary thing to think about. 

Things cannot be un-made, or un-seen. They can be forgotten, however. I cannot un-see this, for example. It is terrifying, and makes me thing of nothing but insanity. Its sort of like looking straight into the mind of Mr. H.P Lovecraft and, like the ending of many of his books, eventually going insane. But that's the point of the video, its a comment on how advertising will stick with you, subconsciously. Imagine how many adverts you see a day. Hundreds! Even searching the Internet for about 15 minutes you see at least 30 adverts, all of them designed to stick in your brain for as long as possible. It gets incredibly crowded in there.

I wonder what Freud would think if advertising was as prevalent in his time as it is now. I think he would go insane.

The last thing I will say about Freud is that if, like the little Freud doll at the top of this post, you ask about mothers, you will get answers about mothers, which will lead you to the conclusion that people are obsessed with their mothers. Its a strange conundrum.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Why I didnt like last weeks Question Time

(Lets get one thing clear before anybody reads this, I hate Nick Griffin. I hate the BNP. I don't personally think that belligerent hate has any place in British politics. Having said that, I also believe in the impartiality of the press, what little is left, and the opportunity that Britain gives to everybody, that of a "Fair shake". I am also a strong believer that a Multicultural Britain is exactly what we need, and that people of all races, creeds, denominations and faiths should be able to cohabit with one another without being harassed. I would also like to give Kudos to the wonderful Bonnie Greer for her insight into a very trick subject, and David Dimbleby, a hero of mine.)

Debates are useful, and so are audience generated questions. Its a fantastic system that can spark some really interesting answers from people that have yet to reveal their true agenda, or at least, not in the form they would like to.

Last week, after much media controversy, BNP leader Nick Griffin appeared on question time. It is an event of such massive scale that I watched it later on Iplayer. I saw this question time as an opportunity for a few things to happen. Nick Griffin answering questions that may or may not have hurt his agenda. Interesting debates about the BNP's true purpose in British and European events, and finally, a chance to see, unedited, how strange and crazy this man truly is.

None of those things happened. Sure, Nick Griffin was hung out to dry. He was publicly humiliated by hoards of rightfully angry people, and it was embarrassing. But it was not a debate, and it certainly didn't harm his campaign, at least not by as much as it should.

Instead of people asking him questions about his agenda, and letting him string himself up, hoist himself by his own petard, we were subjected to an hour of this;

"Nick Griffin, my ancestors came from X and they came here to Britain and did Y, so on a scale of one to ten, how much of a bastard are you"

"Nick Griffin, What kind of bastard does this, you bastard?"

"You sick bastard Nick Griffin, How dare you do X, Y and Z?!"

All those questions did was give Nick Griffin a chance to defend himself, and whilst he did not do it particularly well, but he still did. He was very rightly, "Lynch Mobbed". Which is ironic for him to complain about considering his alleged links to the KKK, but still true. What we should have has was questions like this;

"Nick Griffin, what is your stance on this important government thing?"

To which he would reply with some no-doubt racist and offensive remark, promoting much ooh and ahhhs from the audience as well as a few pantomime hisses and boos. We did not get that, and for what could have been a fantastic chance to show a very nasty man for what he truly was, we got a lot of silly questions that were much the same, and only proved to help his agenda by making him a victim.

And that is why I did not like this weeks question time.

Any questions?

Thursday, 22 October 2009

I am not a Footballer

In the daily process of Googling myself, I came to a shocking revelation. Theres someone like me, just a little bit different. Now when I google my name, all I get is this man...

Luke Garbutt, pictured above looking shocked that he is having his shoes tied for him, is apparently what they call a "media darling", which, given the fact that he is about twelve years old is unsurprising. The shocking part of this is, he seems to have the exact name as I have, except for the comedy adding of "butt". He basically has the name bullies used to call me, as they shoved my head into the spiky bushes indigenous to Somerset.

They were neither bright nor mercifull...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

This is not an exit

Germinal, first published in 1885, written by Emile Zola, represents a tumultuous time in French history, and is seen by many as the harsh but honest truth about the coal-miners strike in the 1860s. Many have praised the book for its honesty, and have seen the scenes of gruesomeness as a very frank and earnest attempt to represent the plight of the miners.

However, some have not been so gracious with their remarks. In fact, they're downright nasty. People have called the novel "Unsubtle" "Crude" "Oversimplified" and "Melodramatic". What a bunch of whiners. Some fail to warm to the novel, instead focusing on the content rather than the meaning of the content, and that's their choice, but I could not help but liken Germinal to the 1991 Bret Easton-Ellis novel, American Psycho.

This may seem like a wild and fantastic voyage to take when comparing the two, but if you'll read on for a few more measly minutes, you will realise the truth. Wow, that was heavy!

So in 1991, American Psycho was published, allowing all of those willing to pay however much access to its pages. Almost immediately, there was outcry. The content was so vile and disturbing, it was even banned in several countries, to spare the people its disgusting disgusting words. And it is disgusting, for you see, instead of miners, its yuppie bankers. And instead of France, its Manhattan. Specifically Wall Street. For those un-versed in the novel, here's a quick synopsis.

Patrick Bateman is your typical 20th century yuppie. He works as a vice-president at a banking firm, earns a ton of money, lives in a fancy apartment, parties at night, and has a loving fiance. Except shes not loving, and he doesn't love her. And he spends his nights murdering and mutilating the less fortunate people in Manhattan. The descriptions of said murders are very...extensive, and there's no denying the content is objectionable beyond measure. Whilst reading the book, I actually had to stop in order to stop myself from having to spend thousands of pounds on mental help. Its nasty, to say the least. But I loved the book. And whilst this may seem strange, its the same feeling I get when I read Germinal.

American Psycho was satirizing the yuppie culture, and ruthlessly and frankly breaking down both the disenfranchisement from morals and respect in the American Youth, and tearing down the foundations of the American Dream. Instead of focusing on the words written in Germinal, one must focus on the deepest meaning behind the words. That's why I found, and still am finding, Germinal so very interesting.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Thesis: The dialectics of nature. Antithesis: Confusion. Synthesis: Panic

The last lecture posed possibly one of the most intriguing ideas I have heard in a good long while. The idea that many of the worlds conflicts, societies and social systems were born of this simple concept of two opposites balancing eachother out with a result.

If we consider that with every action, there must be an equal an opposite reaction, we can see that with the creation of a thesis, an antithesis is born, and therefore the two will eventually combine to form a synthesis. So when a state or ruling body is formed, there will always be a force opposing it regardless of where or when this happens, in the same way that protons will always exist is there are electrons there to oppose them, and thus the matter is always created. Its a system, which despite countless variables, succeeds to occur time after time after time.

The theory works with most things in the world, and is applicable to even to the smallest of situations.

Thesis: Normal human
Antithesis: Cold wind
Sythesis: Wearing a coat

It can also be applied to higer scale situations,

Thesis: Rats
Antithesis: Ignorance
Synthesis: The Bubonic Plague

It is a succinct system. It is precise and it is true. One thing cannot exist without the other, and there is always a result.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Bam, said the lady!

Hey people. Enjoy your summer? No? Ah well. Enjoy a blog post instead.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

A Man with a Plan

It has come to my attention recently that certain people are crazy. People in power. And like an abandoned house, the worms are slowly coming out of the woodwork. It has long been postulated that people who are insane know something we don't, and therefore, their actions, whilst often strange and random, have a purpose and meaning. A method to their madness. However, some are just plain crazy.

Certain people in power have been revealing themselves slowly, in a movement that I feel, is the dawn of a new type of crazy government. All of these people work in separate places, some vying for power, and some already in massive positions of it, and they all meet on Christmas day in the hollowed out head of the sphinx in Las Vegas.

Two of these people come from separate news stories that have peaked my interest throughout this sleepy week. And both of them were either very alarmist or quite strange, and I'm prepared to say that I am now terrified, and am intending to use all my resources to build a crazy proof bunker in my garage. Although I don't have a garage, so it might be a bit of a feat. Also, it should be bomb proof, given the imminent nuclear tide. But I don't really have the money for that either. Zero out of two requirements, and I'm already out of pocket. Perhaps I'm the crazy one.

First up to the batting cages is crazy Nick Griffin. This is a man who has denied all of the logical parameters by being as racist as possible. I saw this man had been doing very racist things, and did a bit of digging. In 1993 a deputy was quoted as saying that the party was "100% racist". That's a bit of a bold claim, considering some of their people must have had thoughts in the lines of "I might not be racist, and then I won't be liked by our greasy glorified leader".

Apparently they have close ties to Neo-Nazi type people, which furthers the opinion that no-one should vote for them. In fact, my absolute hatred for these people has lead me to think that I might be racist. The entire problem with hating a group like this is that you're hating a minority. Any campaign against them is an act of discrimination. "We don't like your types 'round here" is racist no matter who you're directing it to.

Moving from one discrimination to another, Crazy Kim Jong Il. Even now, as I type this, my fingers are shaking from fear. Crazy Kim Jong Il seems like the sort of man who actually WOULD look himself up on google. And God forbid he is sitting at his platinum plated desks surrounded by his harem, seeing this post and tracking the co-ordinates of his next missile launch.

He is a crazy man. From hair transplants, to backcombing, to giant rabbits to nukes, everything this tiny man seems to do can be attributed to a blow to the head as a child, and subsequent madness. I really do think that this will be the man to trigger the eleventh hour, if we are not in it already, and I still am shaking my head as to why this man has not been stopped. I'm assuming that there are men eating and sleeping Kim Jong Il prevention plans, but still I am amazingly scared.

It can be said that the madman knows something we don't, and if this is true, and I really hope it is, Il knows that what he is doing is fantastically stupid.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Movie Review: The Ex

I'm a big fan of Zach Braff. Who isn't? I'm also a big fan of Jason Bateman. So when I found out that there was a film starring not one, but two of my favorite TV stars, I slammed that into my lovefilm waiting list and cranked it up to "Urgent". However, its the first point that makes this zany comedy a little thin on the ground, the two stars are TV people, and ultimately, it makes the film feel a lot like an extra long sitcom pilot. Whilst this may be true, the film hits home, albeit in a slightly roundabout way.

The premise of the movie is slightly typical, to say the least. Tom Riley (Braff) is a recently married and slightly hot-headed slacker, with his wife being played by Amanda Peet, with a slightly forgettable character considering her acting props, and Hollywood status. Although, the word slacker would be inappropriate, considering he has the drive, and the motivation, considering his heavily pregnant wife, but his problem being his temper, which sets in motion the events of the film. Having lost his job on the same day of obtaining a newly born child, he decides to uproot and leave New York for sunny Ohio, taking the offer of a job at his wife's fathers company, an advertising firm, and is forced to be the protege of the paraplegic and slightly strange go-getter Chip (Bateman).

This is essentially what makes the film unique. Usually this sort of movie would be based in another spectrum, from the woman's perspective, with the man taking a bit of a back seat, and whilst the relationship between a man and his wife's ex was explored in Judd Apatow's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Ex focuses more on the rivalry, and the panicky antics in Braff''s life as his mentor attempts to unravel his relationship between his wife. Its a story that we've all heard a billion times, but The Ex is the only movie Ive seen that conveys the frantic panicking, and paranoia involved with meeting your girlfriend, partner, or wife's ex effectively, with Braff essentially looking insane to everyone but him, which is a feeling I, and any man, can definitely empathise with.

The premise is a good one, solid, but it falters slightly in the execution of the different events that take place, with the scenes in the movie being slightly dis-jointed in places, but like many movies, the film is saved by its characters. The amiable Braff has a certain chemistry with the strange and creepy Bateman, and the background players, many of them veterans of America's Saturday Night Live (A long running late-night sketch show for you uneducated peons).

However, the film was a peculiar animal. My history with it has been slightly turbulent, and I'm not ashamed to say that I was scared at some point as the sheer weirdness of the situation. Granted, I had rented it from lovefilm, but I had also viewed it before ILLEGALLY over the magic of the interweb. I wanted to see it again in better quality, this is understanding, I like to watch my films without Japanese adverts floating across the screen almost every second. The strange thing was that when I viewed it a second time, the film was a lot longer. Many more scenes had been added, all of them making the film much funnier than it would have been without it, but they had changed the ending, and changed it for the worst. Part of it could have been to make the film flow better, and give it a concise and definitive ending, and part of it could have been lazy editing. Perhaps the production company was just drunk (and I expect the latter is much more likely) but instead of quite a touching tale about finding out what you were meant to do in life, we are given a clumsy and clunky ending that is overall, very unsatisfying.

Don't watch this film for the subtleties and don't expect anything too deep, but if you do watch it, do it for Braff and Bateman, because god knows they know how to entertain people, even if they cant do anything else.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Movie Review: Smokin Aces

Action movies, generally, are films that are genuinely entertaining to watch. Obviously, the best ones in the genre have a deep and meaningful story but that is not why one watches them in the first place. Its because of the fantastic explosions, or fight scenes, or men getting killed in increasingly creative ways. In the days of old, men could just die in a hail of gunfire, and that was enough for the bloodthirsty public. Then, when that became tired, it was gunfire hitting something explosive. Then martial arts took off, and men were subjected to having their HEAD RIPPED CLEAN FUCKING OFF! Its an escalation, and with all the billions of ways to kill someone, it seems that there will be no end.

Fortunately for the murder craving masses, Smokin' Aces, gives us enough examples of gory and creative deaths. The general premise is that there's a guy called Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven, Entourage), a Las Vegas magician turned police informant, who has close ties with "the mob". A price has been put on his head, so brings in the worlds most notorious hit men to claim the bounty. Meanwhile there's the FBI, CIA, police...something force who want to keep Aces alive in order to use his knowledge to take down one of the most prolific and infamous crime organizations in America.

The cast is where the movie really takes off, with a wide and creative bunch of unscrupulous characters. Star Treks newest star, Chris Pine, plays a neo nazi, among with two others who I don't know the names of. Ryan Reynolds plays the charismatic but troubled FBI agent assigned to Aces' protection, whilst Ben Affleck plays an ex-cop after the bounty. The characters in the movie are ranged, creative and engaging, and somehow they are able to pull off the wide range of people without it being a muddle, and some of the lesser known actors are great at helping us to invest a little emotion in the giant pool.

But its still all a bit confusing. See, like I said, there's the action movies without a plot, that aspire only to create a decent looking movie with explosions and head rippings, and there's the ones with the story, that even the most anal and pretentious people can enjoy mildly. But Smokin' Aces seems to cut from a very distinctly different cloth. That is to say, that it trues very hard to have a fantastic story, but doesn't quite pull it off, it comes very close, but doesnt quite hit the target, with the story zip-zapping all over the place like a ricocheting...bouncy ball. Tired CIA/FBI intrigue, heavy dialogue that would be boring even in a Bourne movie, and overly dramatic acting, are some of the silly choices that deviate from the brilliant acting of Piven. Also, in a strange cameo, there are some fantastic comic acting from the iracable Jason Bateman, who plays a sleazy, sex crazed and drug addicted lawyer, who does well to divert the audience from some of the aformentioned boring dialogue

Overall, its satisfying, but if youre looking for a story driven character piece, search elsewhere, because this party is all about the bullets.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Movie Review: Body of Lies

As far as thrillers go, straight off the bat, this is a pretty classy one. I'm a big fan of these newer, political/war/secret service thrillers, so it really touches on my love of the genre, but despite excellent cast and direction, the story falls a little short when the movie should reach its boiling point.

Body of Lies is a political-espionage thriller, which means you're going to see a lot of the swooping in-and-out satellite camera footage that studios love so much these days. Its a great effect, and fortunately with the spacing between every swoop is just enough so that it doesn't get tired.

As for the cast, Leonardo DiCaprio gives another one of his better performances. Since he decided to make better movies than Titanic, I seem to have seen him in a new light. Gone is the sad-sack of his younger days, parading round steamboats and fairly wild interpretations of Shakespeare plays, in are the deep mercenary types, and the undercover cops with Bostonian accents. Its a real transformation. In Body of Lies he portrays a young, but experienced government agent, but unlike most movies, his character makes mistakes, he gets hurt, and he gets emotional. Hes not perfect, and that's what makes the character great. The second blockbuster performance is by the the irascible Russel Crowe, playing the aged, homebound CIA type. The juxtaposition between him talking international security and taking his kids home from school serves to give his character a very powerful feel.

The film progresses in leaps and bounds, which is good, considering the 2 hour 40 mins run time, but youll find there is an occasional full stop where there will be neither action nor excitement, not compelling dialogue. Many times during the movie I switched off, deciding that fiddling with my shirt was more productive. If youre an easily bored person, you might want to stay away from this movie.

All in all, a polished movie, but it needs a few more goings over with the buffer.

Hey-O, Pancakes

Morning, sports fans. Whilst you enjoy your morning treats of delicious syrup drenched pastry, I thought I'd take some time and mention some of my most favorite things in the world. Boy they are swell.

Winchester Journalism
Winchester MA Journalism
Winchester BA Journalism
Winchester International Journalism
Winchester Studios and Facilities
Winchester Lecturers

Gee whiz.

No joke though, check them out. I couldn't be doing this without such a great establishment putting the wind in the sails of my writing.

There's some OBAMASPEAK for you.


Court: Big Place, Tiny People

Well, there we go. There were no council meetings. Seems I should have listened to Ms. Murray after all, and for that I apologize. I did however get a chance to visit the courts once again, for that slice of reporting action that I crave so very much, so very often. Seriously, its like a drug.

Anyway, the experience started like any other experience involving court reporting. I got dressed up in my finery, or...tie and shirt, and toddled on down to the court like a good little soldier of the fourth estate. The court was just as imposing as I remember it, with the security guards looking down at me with their scarily broad shoulders, and the people wearing wigs, even though they don't need to! There's a strange sort of madness abroad in those halls I tell you.

Anyway, I immediately deviated towards the reception. "What cases have you got in the courts today?" I ask.
"Well, we've got a rape in court 1." she replies.
"Oh good!" I reply. Sometimes I think that a constant flow of bad news has tainted me, like a water supply, but then I quickly quell that thought.

When I went into court 1, I suddenly realized that I might be a bit in over my head at this stage in the game, considering the sheer caliber of journalism that graced the press box during this very controversial of cases. People from the Times and such.

The details of the case is as follows:

Peter Bacon, 26, was being accused of the rape of a 45 year old solicitor in her house in Kent. During the case, several character witnesses were brought forward, all giving glowing reports of Mr. Bacon's gentlemanly persona, and generally niceness towards members of both the opposite and same sex. The three witnesses, who all work with Mr. Bacon, used phrases like "genuine" and team player" when describing his character, whilst a fourth statement issued by his ex-girlfriend Emma Anderson, was glowing, explaining how he "respected wishes and boundaries" and calling him one of her "closest friends".

Since my visit to the court, the case has been dropped, with the jury of seven women and four men taking 45 minutes to label Bacon not guilty. Questions have been asked as to why the case, which cost the taxpayer and estimated £90,000, was followed through, considering the substantial amount of evidence leading towards Bacon's innocence.

The 45 year old woman who raised the charges described herself as a "casual binge-drinker" claimed that on the night of the suspected rape, was "too drunk to remember consenting to sex".

Thus endeth the copy.

Well, in my opinion, this is a "tricky grey area". Its one thing to say that "she was giving me the come-on" and its another thing entirely to have taken advantage. The true fact is that only one person there is capable of remembering what happened, and that was Mr. Bacon. And no ones going to admit to rape. Certainly not one accused of it.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Drinks with Luke

The Luke Garratt Drinking Game!

Fun for all the family (including the children*)

Take a drink every time Luke:

  • Touches his face
  • Runs his hands through his hair
  • Moves his hands from his pockets to his chest, to his pockets and so on.
  • Takes a drink
  • Talks about Lunch/Food/Eating
Take a drink every time Luke says:

  • "Delicious"
  • "Ridiculous"
  • "Incredible"
  • "Oh Yeah"
  • "Good News"
*If children get addicted, Its not my fault, Its theirs. No takebacks.

The End.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Since it's St. Patrick's day, as I'm sure you all know, and recently the blogs have been about evolution, I thought that this would probably be appropriate.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Train of thought when you look for your keys and can't find them straight away

  1. Where are my keys?
  2. Oh, no, I left them in the drawer
  3. Wait, they're not there
  4. On the printer?
  5. No
  6. Ohhhh, in my bag
  7. Shit, they're not their either
  8. Have I lost them?
  9. How would I have gotten into my room?
  10. Did I lock the door when I left?
  11. Oh, yeah I did, because I was drinking some water just after
  12. No, wait, that was Friday!
  13. Crap
  14. Shit crap
  15. In the drawer?
  16. I checked there
  17. Behind the books?
  18. Why would they be behind the books?
  19. Curtains?
  20. No, no, no!
  21. Oh crap, perhaps I put them in the rubbish by mistake!
  22. Oh no! I put the rubbish out last night!!
  23. On the cupboard?!
  24. NO!
  25. In the pile of papers?
  26. Argh!
  27. Check under the bed!
  28. Theres so much crap under my bed!
  29. Aw cool, I thought I'd lost this hat!
  30. No, not under here!
  31. Oh god, oh god, On the sink
  32. Under the sink?
  33. under the printer?
  34. In the printer?
  35. I'm never going to find them. I'm going to have to pay £20 to get new ones, and I'm not going to be able to leave my house for about 4 days!
  36. I don't have enough food for 4 days!
  37. Oh god.
  38. Are they in that drawer?!
  39. They wont be in that drawer! Its useless!
  40. Oh, they were in that drawer.
This happens to me at least once every two days...

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The TV Set

A few meaty reviews, some long awaiting, some that I was bursting to get onto the Internet, and have been for a while. All are juicy and succulent, with layers and layers of tasty morsels for you to savour and digest.

I am incredibly hungry. Strap in, sports fans...

Being Human

You asked for it, and it came to you in a blaze of glory, the long awaited review of Being Human (BBC3, Saturday 9.00pm), a series which brought people together, then broke them apart, and then, big surprise to everyone, brought them together again.

Things got weird.

Being Human was one of those sorts of shows that comes around once every blue moon. A show with a low production value, relatively unknown actors, a basic premise, and compelling story lines. First of all, it had vampires. And werewolves. And Ghosts! but what was incredible was that these three mythical creatures seamlessly translated from screen to real life, as though it was a natural thing for them to be there. Its a weird way of putting it, but the fact that these creatures are living in such a familiar place as Bristol gives a perspective into the idea of secret lives, as well as the show giving deep parallels to the way people cope with disabilities, or addictions. It was all, as the title suggests, about being human. Which was cool, I guess, if you like that sort of thing. You Nerd.

On a final note, the man who played Herrick was fantastic. And his comrades. And the Vampire hierarchy. Honestly, I cant speak highly enough about it, Its on the increasingly handy BBC iplayer, so just watch it, ya lughead.


Ahhhh, Dexter. Where on Earth can I start with this meaty subject. It'd be like starting the worlds best sandwich without any mental preparation. I like American TV. I like it so much I am prepared to sit and wait for the damn Internet to load it just so I can watch it. I like it so much I considered paying for sky, even though I didn't have a satellite, just for the possibility to get channels that might provide me with the great shows being churned out of the US. This migration of great shows was a strange occurrence considering how monumentally shit American TV shows were not 20 years ago.

Dexter was one of the first breaths of fresh air that I had wafted in my pudgy Anglo-Gaelic face, just after Battlestar Galactica, which sort of gave me a bit of rebirth, in the same way that I was revitalised when I discovered Rock music. Except I wasn't 12. Dexter has a strange mystique that resembles the feeling when you watch a hero on screen. Remember when you watched Han Solo in Star Wars? No? Alright, remember when you first watched a really, really cool character in a movie or a TV show. Remember the way it made you feel in your mind, the feeling that you want to be them, to emulate them, to give the same impression on people that your character does. The same curious thing happens with Dexter, to excellent dramatic effect. We're drawn into the characters mind. We want to be the charismatic, cool, attractive Dexter, but he's a serial killer. We know we shouldn't, but we're still captured. It's enticing, and its fantastic.

The characters aren't the only thing that's good, theres the storylines. Each series unfolds slowly, gradually, like a novel, which is actually what the series was adapted from in the first place, which means that instead of having non-sequential episodes, one after another, we have a series of meaty episodes, that take a week to digest. However, despite the clear dramatic aspect of having every episode full of juice, this means that its a very difficult series to get hooked onto. Despite the long-winded recaps, you never get a full sense of whats going on if you miss an episode, so you're pretty much boned if you want to keep watching, leaving you to the inevitable need to surf the crap-pile of the Internet for a streaming episode.

Which will be covered in Japanese writing. And shit.

Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man

A truly remarkable series. A little sketchy at times, in the sense that it makes you feel like you're on a science induced drug trip. The idea of seeing a giant head, and several methods of wave and frequency reading equipment on a beach, whilst a man talks in soft mild mannered scientific tones is incredibly weird, but this is only one of the first of the potent, and often brilliant examples of how the series is able to capture you. By using the unusual scenarios, Bronowski is able to capture an audience in a way that many of the most famous presenters haven't done today, with the ever increasing abundance of technology.

The whole series is soothing, like being dipped in a large cup of just-right tea, that's lined with pieces of a science textbook. Bronowski gives an amazing amount of perspective in a very short time, the lecture style format is something that seems to have died out along with the mainstream broadcasting of traditional documentaries, and I believe that this is really something to be admired. Considering that I haven't seen many of these sorts of things, in all my 18 years on this planet, as well as the fact that I'm very cynical about many, many, many things, I think that my opinion is justified. Essentially, people need to watch it. And its on YouTube. So you have no excuse.

You lazy bastard.

Friday, 27 February 2009

In the Grim Etcetera

Darwin is a fascinating man. He is for his theories and his scientific prowess, but mainly, I believe that he is fascinating because of the level of controversy he has created. Darwin has been the cause of some of the major political, religious, and scientific debates all over the world since he first came up with the idea of natural selection, evolution, and the possibility that intelligent design might not be a correct theory.

In conclusion, hes pretty cool.

As a person that studied Biology at A level, under the misconception I was good at the subject, but also because of the age old reason, I wanted to "make my father proud", I was a student of a Mr. Moore, who was a strong believer in the theories of Darwin, and the absolute empirical belief that he was right. Any person who would take him to task on such information, or try and best him was immediately and severely mocked. After all, Mr. Moore had done a masters, and a PhD on Darwin, so he knew quite a few things. Also, what were those people thinking? theyre in a biology lesson for Christ sakes, what did they think they were getting?

Anyhoo, moving on. Mr. Moore, for all his arguing and reasoning, and the most solid belief that he was correct, still had to give the speech about how "Darwin's theories are just that: Theories, and the theory of Intelligent Design must be considered".

For a Darwin purist, this must have been agony.

Now, for the infamous third lecture in the politics half of my journalistic tutelage, which focused on KINGDOM, and the history of how we alllllll became united and such. The amazing thing was this lesson how I found out how much of a bastard Oliver Cromwell really was. Chris described it as Nazi rule, crossed with something even more dangerous that I have forgotten, and after a little research, Ive found out hes actually more like Dr. Doom crossed with Nazis, Mugabe, Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter. Except he doesn't eat people. That we know of.

But yes, he is a bastard, and I'd imagine that today he'd be killing kittens with battery acid, just because he could, and nothing displays this effect than the recent Channel 4 drama The Devils Whore. Not only is Cromwell shown to be an arsehole, but there was an interesting twist in the portrayal of King Charles I, which showed him as not only a power grabbing tyrant, but also as a very human character. A loving father, with children who see him as such, instead of a tool. Anyway, its definitely worth a look, as it were. And because I cant think of an end to this section.

The next thing I have to talk about is the news that scientists have mapped the modern words that have changed very little in tens of thousands of years. These six words are I, WHO, WE, THOU, TWO, THREE and FIVE. That's great science men, but what about four a-side football? Doesn't that get a look in?

You bastards with your science and your Darwin.

Friday, 20 February 2009

For Your Consideration

I have absolutely no interest in Che. Parts one or two. In fact, I'm not sure I could give a fair review. Also, I haven't seen it, so I'm probably not the best person to ask? Oh, you didn't ask? Well fine. You bastard.

I haven't been watching many movies recently, mainly because the cinema in Winchester seems to have a cross between a monetary crisis and a stick up its arse, showing two movies at a time like it's some sort of selection committee. Frost/Nixon, a film I've been aching to see was in the cinema for a couple of days, whilst The Curious Case of Benjamin Button remains in the theater like a bad smell. I suppose I'm just bitter, because I haven't seen any of these films, but then again, when they only show them for a couple of days, I can't see them, so who's fault is that? I guess its mine.

Next up on the agenda, Jade Goody.

Ahhhh, Jade Goody. Isn't it amazing how since she got cancer we've all forgotten how much of a horrible person she is. This is not to say that I am not sympathetic of people with cancer, quite the opposite. I had a very surreal sort of experience when I was working as a porter in my local hospital, wheeling around patients like a human taxi cab. except they...werent...inside me. Anyway, there was a patient who was a frequent passenger on the Luke express, a woman who was a sufferer of late stage leukemia. When I started wheeling her around, she seemed rather perky, she chatted and such, but then as the weeks went on, she lost more and more hair, she talked less and less, and her husband became more and more sombre. Then suddenly, one week, she wasn't on the request list. It was pretty clear what had happened. I had it third hand and I was still affected.

Jade Goody however, decided the best way to go about her untimely death was to grab as much attention as possible about HER, rather than drawing attention to one of the most curable kinds of cancer. If she really wanted to do something good, she would donate the money from the over exposure of her wedding, and her death, to the cervical cancer fund, and not all to her children.

For God's sake. Perhaps I'm just an angry man, but I really think I have a valid point. When hundreds of people die of cancer every single year, with every case being as sad as the last, and the media focuses on the one person they almost destroyed a couple of years before, without drawing on the serious issues.

Last thing, as this is getting rather long, check out this disgusting little snot. We've all seen this by now. An 8 year old boy seemed to have had a seething libido, and couldn't keep his minuscule member inside his Lonsdale tracksuit, and the product is a child that will be a detriment to the system. I want to smack all of the parties involved in the encouragement and conception of this child on the head. Except not the child, because apparently that's illegal.

And I'm fairly sure I would be raped in jail.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Widgeteer

Ahhhh, economics. After the last lectures misanthropic tirade, the soothing calm of economics washed over me like a warm bath, and I was able to marinade in it for some time, before roasting it on a gentle heat and producing the well cooked blog you see before you two days later.

The economic struggle of this country was something that i really never paid a significant amount of attention to. Of course, I read about it, absorbed the information and understood it (mostly, kinda sorta) but the real fact was it wasn't really that important to me at the time. I didn't need to know, because it wasn't affecting me that much, and so I was mostly indifferent. With that smooth segway, lets move on to this weeks politics lecture.

I'm a big fan of Empiricism. I didn't know that the term existed before this week, but certainly I was a big fan of the underlying concept well before I knew the definition. The idea that you don't believe in something unless it is available to you sensually (which sounds dodgy) is one that can fit into a world that intends to progress into the future. Empiricism allows experimentation, an idea that seems to be wildy discouraged among the God fearin' members of society, which sadly, still has a very significant impact on today's world. If we were all to embrace Empiricism, in one form or another, and the red tape were to come down, then there is no measure to what the human species could achieve.

This brings me onto a hugely controversial subject regarding experimentation. During my university interview process, I was asked to discuss, with a group, a certain scenario. The general assumption was that this would weed out the weak and ugly, in order to allow the confident and powerful people progress to higher learning, where they would gather the skills needed to rule the world one day maybe. I still think it was to see who was a dick and who wasn't, but that's just me.

The question posed to us in this little debate-a-thon, was simple: "Do you think a screening process to see if an unborn child has down syndrome would be morally viable?"

Now...lets make one thing perfectly clear. I respect, and am a strong supporter, of the rights of disabled people to live, work, and pretty much do whatever they want in the world without being bothered, but my answer came under a lot of scrutiny, when i took in a deep breath, and unleashed my bombshell. "Of course" I had agreed with pre-birth screening. The main reason being that if we can rid future people of these life altering conditions, then why wouldn't we? Why would we stop progress? The one answer that came amidst the gasps was "Because its morally wrong. God wouldn't like it"

Maybe not, but considering I don't believe in him, i think him and I can call it quits.

This is why I like Empiricism. People are able to use these experiments without some justice force telling us the "big guy won't like it".

Basically, "Empiricism leads to the scientific method and empirical method leads to highly effective technological advance"

A good lecture on Empiricism:

It also says stuff about Hume, who as we all know thought of a bit of a step up from Empiricism, with a bit more added assumption.

Next up in the batting cages: A Priori. Buh. BUH. It seems non negotiable. Or rather, half of it seems non negotiable. The half which is concordant with Empiricism, that is to say, provisional ideas. As it were. The trancendent part is a little silly. Mainly because I'm an atheist, and the idea that God might exist is laughable. Therefore, it is always laughable. See what I did? That's A priori right? I could later turn into a religious person, which would be...good?

A good example of A priori reasoning in the press lately would be the furthering of the Guantanamo cases. The idea the geoverment seems to have used is that:

Extremist Muslims attack America
Therefore all Muslims are terrorists
That guy looks like a Muslim
Oh, He is a Muslim
Therefore he is a terrorist.

As for Idealists...well some of them are just plain nuts.

In the second part of the lecture, we focused on the ideas behind economics. A large part of the section was devoted to the Karl Marx contradiction to capitalism. I like Karl Marx. Not because of his ideals, but because his name sounds like Groucho Marx, and that makes me laugh.


Karl Marx had a strategy, that I will lovingly copy and paste from the Winchester Journalism site, simply because it is pretty concise. Also funny.
















Now we've all had this friday night.

Monday, 16 February 2009

A Quick Reminder

Evening, Drinkies. After not posting for a while, I feel as though I've let the team down abit, especially since my friend Andrew has bested me in his journalistic ability by posting almost every day, wheras I seem to post once every week. Its not good enough, and rest assured I will be punishing myself severely. I'm not sure how yet, but you can bet it'll involve a whole lot of whips and chains.

And possibly rats. Holy crap, this is scary right?!

Lets move on.

Its recently come to my attention that the BBC website has been doing a very interesting thing, where they put the 5 most-viewed stories of the day on a little chart. How long theyve been doing this for is anyones guess, and im sure the more educated of you out there will know, like the brainiacs you are, and will trump me in a conversation with a mighty "HA" whilst I bow my head in shame and turmoil. Crying will ensue. This (the top five, not the crying) at face value was particuarally interesting, considering the stories involved. It was a real indication of quite how morbidly curious our country (and possibly the world) has become, and how our attention has switched from subjects such as tea, coffee, conversation and knitting a quilt, to the three subjects that all of us read most of all.

Rape, Murder and Child abuse.

It was incredibly twisted. Admittedly, they were shocking stories, and no doubt very important, but with so much going on in todays United Kingdom, the recession, the tax gap, wars, conflicts etc, it seemed weird that the public focused on this. I'm scared of this. It makes me scared. I'm gonna leave this here, because I got off track with a project I'm working on.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Luke Hates You All

Or at least, according to Aristotle, I should. This information is some that is pondered by scholars and intellectuals, and considering I'm neither, and that right now I'm listening to Warren Zevon, this truth is not so self evident. The barbarian concept put forward by Aristotle suggested that the state should be ruled by enlightened men, indeed men that are Philosopher kings, athletes, politicians, thinkers, rulers, all of which do not describe the current UK administration. Take a look, we are in the middle of one of the biggest recessions in a long time, and we are still engaged in an illegal war. Even the new president of the united states is angry at us, and considering he seems to be quite a nice and generous fellow, perhaps we should think of this as a bad sign.

Still, as has been discussed, our current political system is much better than the Babylonian technique of all powerful emperors, or "God Kings" as they are more commonly know, and personally I believe Cromwell did us a favour by creating a Parliament. Democracy will be something i will always defend, to the point where i am threatened with torture, where i will probably say "alright, I guess totalitarian or monarchy is a better method. Did i mention I'm pure British and not at all a little bit Irish. You don't need to check that..."

I'm not sure that'll hold up in front of a modern day Hitler, with his incredible amount of rage for people who aren't "German". It sure is a shame that didn't work. Boy howdy. I mean, who would have thought people would have not accepted that?! Man, damn.

Personally, I'm for whoever can create a state of equal people and lack of poverty. But that's not going to happen, so in the meantime, I say lets all try the Darwin theory. Everyone who is insubstantial, that is to say, idiotic, in this day and age, will slowly be weaned out like an insufferable noise in a spa, and we will all accept the incredible power of evolution in order to continue the species.

God is dead, as Nietzsche said, but we didn't kill him, he was already dead.

Rock on motherfuckers.

Politics Blog #1

Friday, 16 January 2009

Secondly...more profanity

What the fuuuuuuuuuuck?!

For a person who studied biology, this movie is awesome and horrifying for some reason.

Apart from Adrian Lester being replaced...

Just one thing.

Fuck yes.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Re-writes Needed

I am here once again supply you with a healthy dose of Luke Garratt. It has been a while. Lets all of us look at the TV this season, and applaud stupidity, once again, as though it were the last time. Strap in. Strap in to the ever-crashing car of as-aired television.

Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 4)

What a surprise. Its back and its more innocuous than ever. Children, come crowd around the strangers, as we watch them sleep, eat and drink from their pathetic lives. Well, I say that, but this series seems to have some quite interesting characters. And by interesting, I mean, clowns. From a circus. The startling thing is that the assortment of people in the house actually does represent a circus of sorts, the type of thing you'd find touring around rural french towns in the 1900's. The select members that I have researched on the fantastic medium of THE INTERNET show that as a human being I cannot explain their purpose in life. But I will try my best in the next paragraph or so.

Let's start with with the unflappable ULRIKA JONSSON. The only way I can remember ULRIKA JONSSON is a small episode of a reality show in the vein of a "home makeover show" where children were asked to make amends to their parents houses, with their sticky hands pawing over blueprints of such monstrosities as an "Austin Powers Room". Needless to say, I'm sure these children were murdered. The next candidate is one LUCY PINDER. I believe that she was evicted on DAY 8, and I'm fairly sure this was either her incredibly right-wing politics. Whilst this proved that indeed she did have something in her brain apart from air, unfortunately a secondary conclusion had to be drawn. Imagine an, imagine an orange, with a shiny peel, it looks appetising, but having been left so long, to stew and ferment, the contents within the shiny husk is nothing but bitter, seed filled, dry pulp. Also, I'm sure that LUCY PINDER cannot be discerned from a pencil with two tits attached in a lineup, and no one wants a lady who looks like a criminal pencil in a lineup. Next up, VERNE TROYER. Simply small. Just so unfeasibly, horrifyingly small that one cannot fathom how he ever came into being.

The deal with the latest series of BIG BROTHER is the deal that's been with every other previous incarnation of the show. I will hate it, as will many of you, but that's just life. There will always be those who love it, and after about 8 years of having prime time ruled by it in the months that its on, the format has rarely ever changed, so the likelihood is, I'll never like it. THE END.

Spooks (BBC One)

Once again THE INTERNET has provided me with more information than I require, but I have decided to write about this program simply because I had three episodes taped that I did not remember that I had taped. Episodes 2, 4 and 8 (the finale) were the only ones available to me, and yet, I think I can say I've seen all I need to. But I crave more. The thing with Spooks is that it's simply different. Different in a way that most audiences would deem "bad" or even "boring". The style of the entire show is different to every spy medium, and I believe for a very simple reason. It doesn't talk down. It doesn't even talk on the level, but it talks up.

It assumes you know all about these protocols within the secret service. An example is the "Total Deniability" protocol, that seems to be laboured and lauded in every spy movie, book or TV show. There is usually a speech and a "God damn it sir, no" but Spooks deals with this sort of thing in a much more professional way, dealing with these little cliches in a concise manner, so that the seem organic and real. Anyway, I love it, Highly recommend it to any of you who have been living in a cave for 6 years, and I want to see more. Of the series, not of the cave.

Demons (ITV 2)

Huuuuuuuuh. Well. Hm. I had trouble with this. The idea behind is that of VAN HELSING (the guy who talked to Dracula for a while before doing...something) and for the most part it does it alright. The cast consists of a child that looks strangely familiar despite very few credentials, a girl who also looks strangely familiar despite the same vices, and Philip Glenister who is forced to do an American accent...for some reason. The show centers around the boy actor, playing "Luke" is the last decedent of VAN HELSING, and he is tasked with saving people with the help of his American godfather, and his not-girlfriend, and a blind girl in...a...big library? Oh for gods sake, its ridiculous. The main arch-villain of the first episode is supposed to be fearsome because of one thing, a nose prosthetic. Is ITV2 saying that we need to kill all those with a prosthetic nose, indeed, all people wearing prosthetics of any kind, as though they are demons from the deep, dark reaches of hell? Perhaps. But more likely, they're saying "Look, ninja kid guys wheeeeeeeee, you too can be a social outcast with supernatural powers!

...Next up, Jordan and Peter: The sodding never ending story. The tits."

Also, Buffy did it already. Idiots.