Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Con Scene - "It's getting awful crowded in my sky"

Howdy Folks, strap in because this is going to be a long one.  I am a 36 year old Nerd, I live in Dublin, Ireland. I grew up in the 80s and I can tell you now, as a geeky kid who grew up being shunned by the kids at school because I read comics, watched Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek we have never had it so good. The culture has exploded over the last decade, comic book movies fill the cinemas, TV is filled with shows set in far off galaxies or on fantastic worlds. It really is a great time to be a fan of all things nerd.

  The ultimate representation of the nerd or geek culture is the Comic Convention or Fan Expo, the term Comic Con has spread across the globe, is widely recognised and symbolises ever aspect of being a fan of all things nerd, even though the title would suggest it only represents the world of Comic Books, over the last few years Comic Cons have mutated into a much different beast, with the likes of San Diego Comic Con becoming more of an entertainment expo which showcases the next batch of Hollywood blockbusters as well as the next season of fantastical TV shows, other events are more like merchandising expos where retailers of merchandise from your favourite TV series, movie, book or Comic Book can be obtained, these expos tend to also boast an array of guests from popular shows and movies from today and yesteryear so the avid autograph seeker can  meet and greet them (generally for a small fee) To give you an idea of what kinds of Conventions are happening in Ireland I'm going to talk about some of the ones I have attended over the years, they are varied in their content and fan base. These aren't all of the conventions that take place here, just the ones I have attended personally. So lets get the ball rolling.

                 There is a downside to this boom in what was once a sub culture for so long, quickly becoming part of mainstream pop culture, everyone wants a piece of the action, and most of the time when that happens its for all the wrong reasons.The Con scene in Ireland is not a new phenomenon, we have had numerous conventions going for many a year, covering all aspects of geekdom.  Everything from board gaming, anime, Sci-Fi and Comic Books have been well represented over the years by some fantastic fan run conventions.  Of late though we have seen an upturn in the massive marketing machine, organisations like MCM are churning out roughly six to seven shows a year spread throughout England and now Ireland. Using a cookie cutter template for their conventions

                              There are going to be Comic Books at this "Comic Convention" right?

 MCM arrived last year with a Con in Belfast and Dublin and their main rival Showmasters will have their début show in Belfast this weekend, which I will be attending, and If I'm honest I am very excited about it because it has an array of Doctor Who related guests including my favourite Doctor Paul McGann.These massive expos have huge amounts of money pumped into them through marketing deals with distribution companies, I have never attended a Showmasters event before, this weekend will be my first time so I cannot comment on how they run their events, although I have heard nothing but good things about them. I did however attend this years MCM Dublin Comic Con in the RDS in April, I received a press pass through GeekPlanetOnline, the site that hosts The Irish Pubcast, and If I am totally honest I was not impressed with how the show was run. Its exhibition halls plastered with posters of films, some of which have nothing to do with anything remotely geek, posters for Mrs Brown the movie?!  there were a some Godzilla posters which I am a huge fan of so that was fine, the right demographic was reached there, but Mrs Brown the movie was everywhere including being the main signage for the event, it felt like I was attending a Brendan O'Carroll appreciation society rather than a Comic Con. Another gripe I had was the fact that with a label of a Comic Con the smallest space of all its event areas areas was given to the Comic village, with big Comic Book names like Simon Bisley and Glen Fabry tucked away in a corner with no signage with their names on it (Bisley begrudgingly made his own), while a Rock Band and Just Dance station positioned right next to their desks aggravates them, A friend of mine summed up their disdain for the MCM events like this "Why would I want to pay money to attend what is essentially a big shop?"

          There are panels with guests at these shows, some great some I haven't got a clue about and that's okay, there are many facets of geek culture that I have zero interest in, there weren't any engaging events or games being put on for attendees, there was a live stream of some League of Legends, which took up roughly the same space as the Comic Village, and at no point was it filled to capapcity, The few good things that I personally took from MCM was that I was happy I got to meet Simon Bisley and Glenn Fabry as they were responsible for the art in a lot of my favourite Comic Books when I was growing up, other guests at this years event that I was interested in meeting, Danny John-Jules who was a total Gent and happily posed for photos and Warwick Davis who sadly was only there for the Sunday and I wasn't, but I heard he was lovely and was great with fans, but the overall corporate feeling behind MCM turned me off the whole experience and I will not be going again next year regardless of a press pass or a guest list, coupled with the fact that the dates they have announced are smack bang in the middle of two of Ireland's biggest Conventions, Dublin Comic Con and D.I.C.E. which is a bold and frowned upon tactic by MCM, who claim to not have any knowledge of these other two events and when they are being scheduled for in 2015. Both of these events are Irish run,and garner a huge crowd due to the line up of guests from around the world as well as hosting panels and talks which are always top notch and fantastic to attend. Now since MCM announced the dates for next years event (nearly a whole 12 months before the event itself) they have been met with questions and queries about the date change (this years event took place in April), and why it is being sandwiched in between two of Ireland's largest and most well known home grown conventions? Their response has been a strange one. Stating that any other convention that is happening around the same time as an MCM event is always boosted by the publicity yet any mention of either of these two events has resulted in the comments being deleted and if the questions or comments persisted regardless if they were well meaning and polite the user was swiftly banned from commenting further. The outrage in the community has led to this article from ICN

                                              MCM's interaction with the public leaves a lot to be desired

 MCM will only accept people talking about events associated with them, Not the best PR approach really. The current feeling within the Irish community is one of anger, and that is mainly down to how the front facing part of MCM is handling itself. No attempt was made to reach out to any of the parties involved with any other Irish convention due to take place around the dates MCM have announced despite what they themselves are claiming. Another thing to note is that none of the revenue garnered by MCM themselves goes back into the local economy, they are an English company, they take whatever cash they make away with them, they do not employ any local staff, again regardless of what MCM themselves say about one of the organisers being Irish, the only money Irish businesses make is what local dealers that apply and pay for the privilege of attending the event make. If you haven't guessed by now, I am not a fan of this type of Convention, more of a pay to get into a shopping experience and less of a fan event. Sure there were a few guests, and a small Comic Book village, but having experienced it first hand this is not the way forward for conventions, it isn't the way Irish conventions have been run up to this point. Now maybe that is part of the problem I have with MCM, I'm used to a certain type of convention, one that is welcoming and caters for the attendees rather than trying to shake them down for cash and send them on their way,  I can safely say that I know what model of convention I like and what model I don't.

The Convention scene in Ireland doesn't only contain the likes of MCM, it also boasts some of the most welcoming and open conventions I have ever had the pleasure of attending, everything from board and table top gaming, anime, Sci-Fi and its multiple facet fandoms, Comic Books and many many more. This weekend (24th - 27th of October) sees one of the best gaming cons I have ever ha the pleasure of attending, Gaelcon, a fantastic convention for gamers of all levels of ability, easily one of the most welcoming conventions I have ever visited. If you are interested table top gaming, board gaming, Larping, role playing and card gaming then Gaelcon is the convention for you, it boasts a wide variety of games and events, open to all attendees. The first year I attended Gaelcon I took part in a Larp, I had never larped before so I had no idea what to expect. I admit I was a little apprehensive but the group were so welcoming and happy to help me get into the swing of it, and it was a great laugh, and if you ever get the chance to take part in a larp I highly recommend you do, its loads of fun.

                                               All you base are belong to....Look you know the drill!

   Gaelcon also boasts a wide range of table top games which are again open to all attendees, massive areas are dedicated to table gaming, and seeing them all laid out and fully set up is a sight to behold. Role playing games are also a staple feature of the convention, I have rpg'ed at cons multiple times, some of the best games I've been involved in have happened at Cons like Gaelcon, and I put this down to the hard work and ability of the folks who run these games, they know what they are doing and how to wrangle a bunch of strangers into a solid group of adventurers. Gaelcon was one of my first ever cons, I will always look upon it fondly, and if you are interested in any of the events it offers and have yet to attend I highly recommend you do.

If I was to pick one convention that is just a pure celebration of what it is to be a Geek it would be ArcadeCon. Everything about this convention is just pure unadulterated fun. It is a hybrid convention, boasting great guests (past guests have included Pendleton Ward, Robert Picardo, Virginia Hey, Gareth David Lloyd, Twin Fools and Nova Vanderwolf and loads more), brilliant panels, role playing games, a massive video game area, a varied and well stocked merchandise area that is separate from the rest of the event and does not encroach on the convention, which is something other major conventions could learn from. One of the great things about ArcadeCon is that while it does cater for all ages, once it hits the watershed there are events for the older Geeks, with adult themed panels and events, it is one of the few conventions that offers this. ArcadeCon covers so many bases when it comes to events and panels, everything from anime to horror movies to Comic Books, its a smörgåsbord or a convention with something for everybody.

                           What happens at ArcadeCon stays at ArcadeCon, unless its photographed then its everywhere

  I have attended Arcade Con three years running, the podcast I am a part of The Irish Pubcast host panels, Q&As with guests and also help host the closing ceremony's charity auction. It is easily one the highlights of Ireland's convention calendar,, and ArcadeCon 2015 is already underway with the dates for next years event announced for the 3rd - 5th of July and a shiny new venue as well, I highly recommend you try an make it. The organisers of this convention run the geek website The Arcade which is also well worth checking out.

Dublin Comic Con is new enough con, it just had its second event this past August. Its a big expo type convention boasting great guests, in their second year alone they had Kevin Conroy, Ernie Hudson, Alan Grant, Virginia Hey, PJ Holden, Stephen Mooney and Irish section of the 501st Star Wars group. DCC is a fan run convention, but the overall layout and structure resembles some of the larger conventions from the UK or America, the difference with DCC is the numerous groups that band together from the community to help and add to the con experience. The folks from the Arcade generously give their time and gear to the gaming section, numerous cosplayers and prop makers on hand with workshops and panels on how to make and design your own costumes. It is an all hands on deck event and it shows. The Irish Pubcast even got in on the act, running the panels and help host this years Charity auction. It is a huge team effort across the board.

                                                    Now remember where we parked the Tardis!

Dublin Comic Con  boasted an impressive amount of comic book guests this year. Top of that list was Comic Book legend Alan Grant, joining him was Ian Churchhill, PJ Holden, Stephen Mooney, and Ruth Redmond. There were also a load of small press groups like Lightning Strike and Turncoat press. So the scene was very well represented, and were prominently set up as part of the main guest area.  DCC has come a long way in its two years, and only promises to get bigger.

Dublin's International Comics Expo, or DICE for short is easily one of the best full on Comic Book conventions I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Organised and Run by the staff of The Big Bang Comic Book store in Dundrum it boasts an amazing line up from all facets of the Comic Book industry, from editors, artists, and writers. The guest list would require its own blog post to do it justice its that large, but basically everything is represented here from the big labels like Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse to independent press and individuals looking for the big break into the medium. Panels and discussions a plenty, covering everything from creating and writing your own Comic, to equality & representation within the industry. DICE has it all as far as Comics are concerned. The level of expertise and know how behind this Expo is second to none, with conventions outside of Ireland looking to it for inspiration on how to run a Comic Con.

                                You can get up close and personal with your Comic Book Heroes at DICE

DICE has gone from strength to strength each year, and this Expo has been responsible for a a lot of Irish talent being noticed by big Comic Book labels, folks like Spider-man 2099 artist Will Sliney now work in the industry because of exposure at DICE its that important! This years Expo saw Moon Knight and Deadpool artist Declan Shalvey joining as creative director which gave the event a fantastic boost as well as access to some of the top names in the industry. DICE is the only event of its kind in Ireland, the guest list is always impressive, and the guests themselves are fantastic and very engaging. If you have yet to check it out do yourself a huge favour and make sure you check it out in 2015.

There are loads of other conventions taking place throughout the year in Ireland, these are just some of the ones I have had pleasure and some displeasure of attending, other cons included Eirtakon (Anime Con), Octocon (Sc-Fi writers Con), Nomcon (Anime Con), Otakucon (Anime/Gaming Con), Warpcon (Gaming Con). I'm sure I've missed a few, there are that many events. There are also one off events like comic book signings, film screenings, game launches, costume parties and may more Geekcentric events throughout the year. It really is a great time be a Geek in Ireland, we are spoiled for choice. If I was to offer some advice as to what to pick I would always say support your home grown talent and conventions, attend signings of up and coming Irish writers and artists, we are a talented bunch of so and so's and its always great to support what's on your front door step. Engage with Con goers, organisers and events, you are the consumer after all, these events are for you to enjoy. When a convention is run with the passion of a fan that passion will shine through in the final product, yes Convention organisers have to make a profit (not all cons do) in order to continue and return next year, but a convention that is run purely for profit is not a convention is proper sense, it is soulless business that does not respect you as a fan, all they care about is you as a consumer, which is not the way Comic Cons should be run, no those are Cons of a different nature.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Violence in Asian Cinema

The use of violence in Asian cinema is as varied as it is widespread. from live action to animated, comedy to science fiction. It embraces on screen violence with open arms, pushing the boundaries of censorship on a daily basis.But this is not a new phenomena  two of the first short films ever produced in Japan for example Shinin no Sosei and Bake Jinzo while not overly violent the former contained scenes of the resurrection of a corpse. Flash forward to films like Yojimbo (Yôjinbô) or Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) by the quintessential Japanese Film maker Akira Kurosawa and you have scenes of the manic Toshiro Mifune slicing and dicing Ronin and Samurai alike with reckless abandon.

More prominent in recent years films like Battle Royal (Batoru rowaiaru),Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1), Violent Cop (Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki), Visitor Q (Bijitâ Q) pretty much anything my Takashi Miike filling the screen with dismembered bodies with blood squirting from their stumps or the mutilated faces of deranged serial killers, butJapan is not the only source of violent movies, Korean boasts an impressive list of titles, for me personally this list is topped by the outstanding Oldboy, which weaves its twisting plot around an array of breathtaking set pieces, captivating the audience with its intriguing plot as well as some brutal fight scenes. 

Outside of Korean there is the fast paced Raid series, while directed by Welshman Garth Evans boasts an all Indonesian cast, its quick fire action sequences are blindly fast and bone crunchingly ultraviolent.These movies have found a huge audience outside of their countries of origin with acts of violence that would make censors in the rest of the world slap an X or R rating on them quicker than you can say "Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki". The violence would seem over the top in some cases and in others too extreme, but a lot of ways it wouldn't be to wide of a leap to link the violence to Japan's blood soaked history as well, especially in Battle Royal with the disregard for the life of so many Japan's youth, which seemed to represent the drafting Japan's youth during the second world war, but the violence in Battle Royal goes from realistic to cartoon like in the blink of an eye. this is also a common theme within Japanese cinema , the over the top use of gore, and the circumstances in which it is used. For example The Tetsuo series, which takes the genre of body horror to levels of extreme weirdness that would make David Cronenberg blush but at the same time mirrored the over increasing over dependence of Japanese culture on technology, which is seen time and time again in films like Machine Gun Girl (Kataude mashin gâru) and Tokyo Gore Police (Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu)

For a brief period in the early 2000s Asian horror was seeing a surge both at home and in the foreign market. Films like The Ring series, A Tale of Two Sisters, The Host, R-Point, The Grudge series and many more where finding their way into western cinema screens. And the Audiences were lapping it up. Many of these titles were snapped up for what I personally think is one of the most heinous things to come out of the love affair of Asian Horror, the dreaded Hollywood remake.

Animation also plays a big part in Asian cinema , and violence is no stranger here as well. And again it goes from the comedic (Project A-ko) to the extreme 9Fist of the North Star) and sexual (Legend of the Overfiend).  The fact that these features are animated has not led to some of them being scrutinized by censors in the rest of the world

Asian cinema has broken into the western world on a large scale over the last decade and has also influenced directors and writers outside of Japan Quentin Tarantino, Zack Snyder being two of the more well known American directors who have been inspired by films from Japan and have incorporated these influences in their own movies. Tarantino himself played a small part in the Japanese movie Sukiyaki Western Django, which itself was a violent homage to the spaghetti western (which was in itself a tribute to the samurai film genre) The violence is also used to for comedic value as well, in The Happiness of the Katakuris (Katakuri-ke no kôfuku) Takashi (itself a remake of a Korean film) Takashi Miike uses the unfortunate deaths of residents of a halfway house  and the ensuing wackiness of the lengths owners go to to hide the bodies to great comedic value.

Violence in Asian film is common place, and it has more layers than one might think.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A whole new World, Same old Bad Guys.

Howdy, looks like its time for my six to eight month dust off of this bile filled sack of putrid acid that is my blog and take it for a whirl round the block.  So hold onto your butts cause here we go.

 Ive had numerous conversations over the last month or so about Warner Bros announcement that they are planning to follow up Man of Steel with a Batman VS Superman movie, which in turn will be helmed by adolescent that never grew up Zack Snyder. Now when this news first broke the only problem I had with it was Snyder's involvement, that was it. I know loads of folks took to the internet to voice their opinion on the idea of a Batman/Superman film being a terrible fucking idea, but that's not me, my original problem rested purely with Snyder that's it.

      Now I know Man of Steel made a gazillion dollars at the box office, I know that a lot of folks thought it was a great new reworking of the Superman story, but me personally I fucking hated the film. I went to see it twice and after the second viewing I decided yep this film is a piece of effects driven garbage directed by a man who not only doesn't understand the idea of Superman as a character but also took everything else about the Superman story filtered it through draft of a script he bought second hand off Michael Bay and then proceeded to shit it against my eyeballs giving me special effects conjunctivitis of the ooziest order.

      So the idea that this guy and the team he has working for him can take the two most iconic Comic book characters of all time and put them together in one film and do them justice is for me nothing short of a cluster fuck. The man may be able to make a shiny movie, but he cannot direct a character driven story, and as Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon have shown we now want our Superhero movies to have strong central characters as well as the big explosions.

               We will be introduced to a new Batman in the new movie, I mean come on he has to be a new version, because Nolan's Bruce Wayne is somewhere in Italy (where no one knows what Multi-Billionaire Bruce Wayne Looks like) busy polishing his shit eating grin from the end of Dark Knight Rises, Fuck all these rumors regarding Bale returning for a silly paycheck this will be a different Batman. If it isn't then the credibility of this new movie has sunk even lower. The one rumor that I actually hope is true is that Josh Brolin might be tapped to play the Caped Crusader I do like the idea of Mr Brolin playing an older more grizzled Batman, this plays along with the idea that the studio may in fact be taking some story elements from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns storyline, a story in which Batman is obviously the main character and in which Superman plays a small but significant role. 

 Henry Cavill while not bad as Kal-El in Man of Steel, we didn't so much as get a sniff of his take on the bungling Clark Kent that is for me an essential part of the Superman mythos. I have no problem otherwise with Cavill strapping the S on for another outing.

This brings me to what is essentially the meat of this blog post. The supposed villain of the new film, or at least one of the supposed villains who has been hinted at so far. Lex Luthor, a villain who has already been portrayed on the Big and Small screen by numerous actors over the years, Now here is a list of Superman's rogues gallery

Superman's Rogues Gallery

See all those Bad Guys...quite a lot right?

So I ask the following question and quite loudly too.


When Batman was rebooted with Batman begins we got Ra's al ghul, a character we had never seen on the big screen so why couldn't this approach be applied to Superman?. With Snyder's Man of Steel we got General Zod again, granted he was more in line with the comic character this time around but we had already seen him go up against Kal-El before and played sublimely by Terrance Stamp in Superman II in 1980 and in that outing Luthor had been reduced to nothing but a grovelling lackey. So why the fuck does Warner Bros feel the need to bring Luthor to the screen AGAIN. We actually don't even have to go back to Gene Hackman's portrayal of the character, we have already seen return to the screen in 2006 in the terrible Superman Returns this time played by Kevin Spacey and since this was supposed to be a sequel of sorts from Donner's/Lester's offerings Luthor's motives for his evil doings were still about the acquisition of land something that wouldn't really come across as that villainous in this cynical day and age. To really make cinema goers give a flying fuck nowadays you really need something more than a guy who wants to get a foot hold on real estate market

There is one Villain that would be able to go toe to toe with Superman and Batman as a team, pose a real threat to both and be relevant in this day and age, and it has yet to be utilized at all for a big screen outing and that villain is Brainiac. Just look at the state of America at the moment with all this NSA malarkey, Big brother watching everyone taking note of every phone call, every url we enter. Why not personify this into a villain? Brainiac has been around in the comics since 1958 so its not like the character might have slipped under the radar. he has gone through various different retcons and variations, and the character could easily be adapted to fit into something that would hit close to the bone of many a tech using cinema goer and prove to be a proper threat to both the big blue boyscout and the Dark knight. He can stand toe to toe with Superman when it comes to brawn and play tactical mind games with Batman and his cunning.

To me this is pretty much a no brainer (pun intended) . We live in an age where everyone is online, everyone is connected through their smartphones and tablets, so why aren't Warner Bros tapping the one villain that will drag their Comic book properties into the here and now? this would easily start to make them relevant and current and give them the ability to combat Marvel/Disney who are steaming ahead in terms of Comic book movies. Another thing that needs to be done is Warner Bros need to appoint their own version of Kevin Feige to steer the ship with regards to their overall plan for the DC movies that they hope to make off the back of this outing, but this is a whole other angry blog post.

Now I know that a lot of the news about the likes of Bryan Cranston or Mark Strong being tipped to play Luthor in the next film has yet to be confirmed by Warner's but I have yet to hear rumors of any other villain being put forward and with Cranston's current worth as an actor off the back of Breaking Bad lending gravitas to the idea of Luthor being the next Big bad of course a fair few folks are going to say "Fuck Yeah", but if there is any way of getting the word to Warner Bros that they need to try a new Villain on for size instead of giving us the same bad guys we have seen before on the big screen than please point me to it, cause right now my vote is for Brainiac, a role Cranston or Strong could easily play as well or any other talented actor who has the ability to shave their head.


So Ben Affleck has been announced as the new Batman, and the internet has literally exploded with reactions ranging from quiet and serene acceptance to people swearing vengeance on the studio, their families and their household pets.

Now I like Affleck as both an actor and a director. He has shown on numerous occasions that he can pull off roles with great skill, and also give us films filled with great story, emotional impact and Alan Arkin telling us to "Argo Fuck ourselves" . Still the great unwashed of the internet don't seem to be happy, and unfortunately no matter how hard I try on numerous social networking sites my words of sanity don't seem to be getting through the countless Fucktards and their postings  NOOOOO!s or "He was the Bomb in Phantoms Yo!" So Ive taken to this recent blog post to express my feelings.

  First and foremost, Affleck is an award winning writer and an multi-nominated and award winning Director. In my humble opinion he was robbed when it came to his turn as George Reeves in Hollywoodland. I'm trying to figure out what it is that people so vehemently  don't like about him and I guess because I am a fan of the majority of his work I'm either blind to this or there are more people out there who have a severely different measurement of quality compared to me than I originally thought. I mean come on remember the The Town? he was fucking amazing in that movie, a stoic broken character who was just tired with everything, perfect fucking analogy of The Bat in the DKR storyline even if I do say so myself, so why in the living flying fuck wouldn't he be able to portray a character like that again? Like I said at the beginning of this post the weakest link this franchise has is Snyder, the dude cannot see past the shiny effects. All of the actors involved can play each of their roles with gusto, but only if the Director lets them and this Fuck Knuckle cant.

So to finish up, Hey Warner Bros you used dialogue from a Batman comic to announce this sequel to a Superman film, and the first major casting announced is Batman. how about over the next month or so we get some fucking Superman news about this supposed sequel to a superman film and leave the Bat in the cave for a little while.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Record Shop is Dead... LONG LIVE THE RECORD SHOP!

I attended college from 1997 till 2001, during that that time I had two part time jobs that sustained my need for drink, CDs and DVDs. The first was a job in a local butchers, while the second was a nice stint working in HMV.  The latter I remember with great fondness while the former I remember with a great stench of turkey poo at Christmas time.

   HMV has gone into receivership and while its sad in a way to see this last high street giant fall. I'm not too worried about where I'm going to be purchasing my CDs,Blu Rays or Games from in future. A lot of folk have moved on in the form of digital downloads and online stores that sell physical copies of albums cheaper than HMV ever could (hence the reason for their downfall) . Now the overall sales of music and films haven't decreased that much, folks are just going elsewhere to buy them, that being said a lot of folk did use the likes of HMV as their main source for music and the likes. So will there be any kind of knock on effect or will those folks just sign up to amazon and carry on?

Here is the Old man Talbot part of my rant...

                I don't buy that much new music anymore, mainly because the bands I still follow from my youth don't produce a lot of new music or they are dead ... like literally. The music that is being pushed on us by the main part of the music industry is just tripe on a stick. There have been some artists that have popped up that I have picked up their album and enjoyed, but there hasn't been an artist who I have needed to go out on day one of release and had to buy their new offering , that hasn't happened in a long while. When a band I like release an album I will buy it day one, but that's few and far between nowadays.

                                         Music label big wigs would have you believe the problem is that its easier to download albums illegally rather than pay for them. I say bollocks to this, iTunes is the reason why people aren't leaving their homes to traipse into town and browse the CD racks of their local music shop, plain and simple.  Yes folks are downloading illegally I'm not fucking naive , but overall this hasn't been overly detrimental to the industry, if it was they would be up in arms a hell of a lot more than they are and laws would be put in place to prevent it. While some governments have tried to pass SOPA like laws, these have been shot down due to constitutional issues and general freedoms of the public. There is the following factor in the equation  I firmly believe the quality of music and song writing in general has gone down big time in recent years, When a Cuntrag like Rebecca Black (I shouldn't even be aware of this gee stains existence) can release a song that could've be (and probably was) written by a retarded monkey with no fingers and make a copious amounts of money from it you try and tell me that there is nothing rotten in the state of music nowadays I fucking dare you. And with most of the shops on the streets pushing shit like an X-Factor Christmas song or the latest boy band copycats new album of course the room for open creativity in music is going to be quite small. There are some great bands out there that are not part of mainstream music and do have regular album releases, but these bands were not being pushed by HMV when it was open, these are the types of bands you would hear about from friends who heard it from one of their friends who happens to be a member of the forum and regularly posts on the forum of this bands own website and is trying to spread the word. This is how I tend to find my new music nowadays.

The majority of major recording artists I follow are touring more and producing less new music because that's how they make their money. I know that I am not the main demographic of the for where the music industry is right now, and as Ive aged Ive become what my Dad was when I started listening to my new favorite band, but when I have some disposable income I am less inclined to go and spend it on a new album because there is nothing worth spending money on. One of the main reasons behind this was the fact that big retailers like HMV were more and more pushing whatever group or artist Simon Cowell was telling them to push. Stocking and promoting copious amounts of the latest fabricated pop song rather than something actually worth the support it was garnering. Now I know that through some of this rant I may come off as an out and out music snob, but fuck it! I'm glad to label myself a music snob, because good music made by hard working passionate people should be something that is defended, supported and broadcast around the globe and music that is utter trash sung by a clothes horse who is told where to stand, what to sing and ultimately created in order to make a small group of individuals rich should be set alight and kicked into the fucking sun.

Now here is the Young Man of 15 years ago full of hope and promise part of the rant....

Best way to support the good music right now is to the support the artist directly, go to a gig, and not just every gig in the o2 go to the small venues, go see the up and coming bands, buy the CDs they are selling at the door, check out who are trying to break into the industry and support them if you like them. Look at music blogs online, listen to radio stations that aren't playing the same five songs over and over, these are the facilitators of the shit music. I know of maybe two or three stations in Dublin that do play music that is worth your time. I currently signed up to Spotify and have found it to be a decent place to find new music that fits in with your own personal taste as it recommends new artists based on your musical choices, and it also lets you receive recommendations from friends. The current industry model that needs to be destroyed and rebuilt because it is stagnant and rotten, but the only way it will be broken down is if enough people decide to go their own way.
I do understand there are thousands of bands and artists out there, and yes I do support the ones I like, but the problem is these bands are not marketed widely and the majority of folk wouldn't have a clue where to go to find them.The flip side to HMV closing is that now maybe more people will go to smaller record stores, small live gigs or be forced to go online and might be exposed to the larger scale of unknown bands and artists, the knock on effect of one of the biggest peddlers of tripe pop and cookie cutter rock dying might actually be a good one and more unknown hard working artists might been seen.

So the next time you feel the need to buy some music, why not visit one of the smaller record shops where generally the staff there have a personal interest in the shop and the product they sell, and would be more than happy to recommend something to your liking.

At the end of the day the music industry is a money making machine, and it will sell what people are willing to buy, But when the masses are force fed music through a reality show that tries to build sympathetic back stories, scored with songs from other bands on record labels associated with the show to create an emotional connection with what they are selling so when the winner is chosen its more about their journey than it is about the music and how it was created. I know when I bought my first Nirvana single I knew sweet fuck all about Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic or Dave Grohl . I bought the music because it is fucking awesome.  The End. 

Her endeth my rant


Monday, January 14, 2013

Old Wound freshly opened - "Sorry about the Mess"

Look, this is an old issue. I shouldn't be revisiting it after all these years, but Ive been sneaking around some of the darker corners of the internet over the last week or so and after reading a few different comments regarding this topic I feel the need to (vent) point something out (for what seems like the thousandth time) but this blog post is more for myself gaining closure on this fucking idiotic issue than anything else , so here we go.

 In the Mid 90s George Lucas decided that the world of special effects had caught up with his original vision of Star Wars and it was now time to revisit the beloved trilogy and makes some additions and to clean up some special effects. Retrospect is always 20/20 and now with the release of the Star Wars Saga on Blu Ray and further tweaks and additions there is one tweak that caused more controversy than Jar Jar binks surviving in the prequel trilogy. It created Nerd Rage backlash so great that it inspired a piece of clothing that is now seen far and wide spread across the chest of many a Star Wars fan. I am of course referring to the "Han Shooting first incident"

Have a look at this video comparing the original scene and the special edition scene

EDIT: So it looks like YouTube have taken down the video I originally posted below. Instead YouTube is now filled with horrible parodies or Han shooting and other pointless crap so sorry about that.

In the original Theatrical release Han just shoots Greedo, The Hapless bounty hunter doesnt get a shot off , nothing not one laser bolt he just gets shot point blank right in his Greedo balls. Then we look at the Special edition in which Greedo fires harmlessly to the left (his right) of Han's ear and a split second later Han blows him away. Yes in the Special Edition Greedo gets a shot off first, with Han following a second later thus ending the poor dudes Life in a cloud of acrid smoke.

Now here is where my issue with the whole "Han Shot First" malarkey. If Han Shot first doesnt that imply that Greedo gets a shot off? When something is first isnt there a second? So all this Han Shooting first malarkey doesnt even fit in with the original release of Star Wars, it creates another edit in the ongoing saga of edits, all be it one that doesnt exist on DVD or blu ray but hey neither does the original release, but that's a whole other rant all together.

 So anywho there is my little tantrum, and piece of closure on the issue. Here endeth the rant.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Clint Eastwood - LEGEND

The Clint Eastwood Republican conference incident stateside seems to turned people against The Legendary Film star. And since this incident took place he has been the butt of many a joke and ridicule, Well here is my two cents for what they are worth

Personally I don't get it, and this type of shenanigans pisses me off. I don't care what he said or tried to say. Clint Eastwood is responsible for some of 'THE' quintessential moments in Cinema. Who gives a fuck what his political standings are, or what he stumbles over in a speech. He is an Actor first and foremost, I take the same view on incidents like this the same way I look at Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise. I dont care what political party they support, what religion the follow as long as they dont come banging on my front door trying to get me to drink the kool aid let them at it, First and foremost these folks are Actors and when the do their thing as well as they are know to do it , be it Directing or acting they never cease to entertain.

 So when folks get down on an Icon of the unmatched caliber of Clint Eastwood who has just gone 83 in May of this year (could you imagine your 83 year old Granddad getting up at a political convention and making a lick of sense, cause I know mine wouldn't have he wouldve just growled and punched someone in the gut...very Clint like actually ) I am just baffled at the whole thing. I mean come on ! He is The Man with no Name, Dirty Harry Callahan, Josey Wales,Thunderbolt, and Walt Kowalski. I never ever thought I'd see the day I would feel sorry for the man who brought those characters to life, and the fact that he would need me to.  So say fuck the politics. And salute the Legend that this bad ass motherfucker was throughout most of our lives and hope that maybe all of our sorry asses can accomplish as much as this man has in his lifetime. So yeah he stumbled through a speech, he seemed to have lost his marbles a wee bit, To kind of redo the famous Yoda quote, "When 83 years of age you reach look as Badass you will not hmmmm"

Here endeth the Rant.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lets all go to the Lobby during this 7 Minute trailer.


 Long time no rant, figured I was due so here goes.

    Last night I went to see Expendables 2 with a bunch of friends. It was in the largest screen of a main multi screen cineplex here in Dublin City center. We were all sitting snug and comfy in our seats some of us munching on popcorn, slurping on some ice cream shakes, but all of us psyched for the Testosteronefest we were about to be assaulted by. First though we had to endure the trailers, and oh boy what a test of endurance they were. They started off fairly nicely with the surprise trailer for the upcoming big screen adaption of 70s Brit Cop show The Sweeney starring Ray Winstone, this looked decent enough. Then a Still of the new poster for the remake of the total Recall popped up on the screen, there was a slight air of bewilderment amongst the collected cinema goers, A Poster!. Our bewilderment soon turned to normalcy and then into pure blind rage.
                                      The Poster then fell away and a trailer for the movie started, just your average trailer....but it kept going, it kept showing exciting bits of the movie, integral plot points, set pieces, nods and winks to Paul Verhoven's 1990 movie of the same name...It has now been playing for a solid 5 minutes and the crowd are getting restless. Myself and my friends turned to each other and started to do something that as a group we can never condone...We started talking in the Cinema. We talked about anything , the popcorn, the ice-cream, the colour of the floor tiles, anything to distract from the ridiculous display of bad marketing we were being subjected to without our consent. The shameful thing is, this wasn't the first time this has happened.

               Accompanying Prometheus into the cinema was a 5-6 minute trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man, this garnered the same reaction from a packed house as the Total Recall preview had as well "Oh ...Ive seen the best bits of the film now...no need go see it when it comes out" . This rang true with my Wife, I did go and see Amazing Spider-Man ( Granted it was a free press pass courtesy of a friend), but after seeing the extended trailer she opted out. I wonder how many other people felt this way ?

   I don't know what marketing companies are trying to do with these trailers, I will tell you this I doubt it was to garner the reaction received both times I was subjected to them. Please if by any teeny tiny chance someone associated or even someone who knows a person who once talked to a guy who sniffed someone from a movie studio or marketing firm, pass this message on..