Street Battles 2: The Can Opener

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I’ve had this great idea for a film. Picture this; Gollum, from The Hobbit and that, buys up the remainder of the Keystone cops organisation from some auction or something, probably using money he made selling antiques. He then builds the cops up again using young bullies and the more bitter class of nerds off the street, gives them access to all this ridiculous modern technology and basically turns them into a paramilitary group to serve his own selfish need to acquire shit that he can sit and fondle in the dark.

With me?

Continue reading “Street Battles 2: The Can Opener”

Happy 20th birthday Windows 95.

Apparently it’s the 20th anniversary of Windows 95. Love it or hate it (most will say they hate it) it was an important development in home computing. Yes, Apple/Commodore/Xerox et al did it first but they didn’t open up the market the way Microsoft did. In many ways that was what MS always did best;take someone elses idea and put a marketing juggernaut behind it. Continue reading “Happy 20th birthday Windows 95.”

The Death of the High Street

Today we closed the shop, permanently. We shut the doors early at 16:30 so we could parcel up the remaining stock for shipment to surviving stores. I’m now out of work again, with the more long term staff struggling to get placements within the company.

One thing we kept being asked over the past few days, as the customers finally realised upon seeing the dearth of stock and the huge posters stating such that we were actually closing down, was “Where are you moving to?” We had to then sadly inform them that we weren’t moving. We were just closing down. Permanently.

Most of them seemed surprised. “So… You won’t have any other shops in town?”. No. We won’t. Some seemed offended. Like we were part of some conspiracy to deprive them of their right to buy product, but the majority seemed sad. Some shook our hands before they left, or regaled us about just how long they had been a customer, their memories of such and that it was ” the end of an era”. Mostly they were just surprised. Like they hadn’t expected it. The end of a business. It just doesn’t happen…

All those businesses that have closed over the past few years, here in Norwich, in Lowestoft, in Yarmouth… Do the general public believe these businesses just ‘moved away’? They shut. They closed. Forever. They didn’t go to live on the same farm that their parents told them their childhood dog went to. These business failed. Unless they were lucky to get transferred to surviving concerns, these people all lost their jobs. There are towns where the whole high street has largely failed. Established businesses with long traditions closed up forever. In their place, if the units haven’t remained empty as many have done; cash for gold, pawn shops and temporary discount outlets have taken their place. Why are people still surprised by the closure of established high street shops? This recession, some day it may even be a depression, has been going on for over a decade and seen the end of many long established business, yet the public seem to be oblivious. As they take their custom online, or to out of town discount stores, or foreign owned low price supermarkets, or pound shops. They complain about high street prices bragging about how they can get similar products online or at a place out of town where the rents are cheaper and the retailers can buy stock in massive amounts for cheap. Then they feign sadness when the high street dies. When they give all their money to retailers in foreign countries or tax heavens and then complain about the lack of money in the UK.

Prior to working in retail I thought the general public are idiots. Working in retail has cemented that opinion.

The high Street is expensive because it has to be, because you don’t shop there anymore and they have overheads that doing shrink accordingly. Intact they often increase. If you don’t shop there then little of your money is going back into the local economy. It’s going to Amazon, or Lidl. It’s well establish that Amazon don’t pay their fair share of tax in the UK, most of the products are made abroad. Very little of that money stays here. Lidl are a German company. They employ your kids at minimum wage and most of their suppliers are abroad. Very little of the money you spend there goes back into your community.

Spending money in the high street is expensive. Buying local produce is expensive. If you want clothes and other products that are “made in UK” then you need to pay for it. That money is the wages of your children.

You get out of something what you put into it, and if you don’t want to put anything into your country then don’t expect to get much out of it.

If you do, then go and buy something locally from time to time. Yes it’s more expensive but it’s more likely that money will make it’s way back to you, or more likely, your children.

Transmission: haunted house film concept

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A family living in the house Ian Curtis died in. His ghost haunts them through all the radios in the place and makes them all deeply depressed. He wants them to convince Tony Wilson to make New Order record an album of his unreleased poetry, but instead just drives the family to suicide through his inability to accept that Tony Wilson is also dead. Stars Jason Flemyng and Keely Hawes with Burn Gorman as the ghost of Ian Curtis.

Sequel is the same but an American couple buy the house and they survive Ian’s ghostly pessimism by blowing it up or something. Stars Stephen Baldwin and Debra Messing with Burn Gorman as the Ghost. Direct to video.

Second sequel is the same but in an apartment building in Chicago that had been built out of the stone from the original house in Manchester that was shipped to the states… for some reason. Stars Matthew Perry, Adam Baldwin and Kristin Kreuk with Lee Evans as the Ghost. Direct to Netflix.

Third sequel/spinoff is about Tony Wilson haunting the old Hacienda building and terrorising some homeless kids living there by trying to force them to enjoy themselves. The kids need to conjure up the ghost of Ian Curtis to guide Tony to the afterlife. Stars some people who you may remember from episodes of Casualty. Also direct to Netflix.

Age of Ultron Trailer 2

“Guys, the first Age of Ultron teaser rocked the internet. For the second we need to build on that and blow peoples minds completely. Ideas!”

“How about we break out the big guns? Ultron-centric. All those vehicles being crashed then those Ultron robots crawl out of the wreckage and have sex…”

“No, that’ll blow the whole plot early. We need something that gives nothing away, but shows all the main cast looking anguished and tired. Maybe with some bleak music playing in the background.”

“Like the first one?”

“Yeah, the first one was perfect.”

“How about we just put out that alternative version of the teaser we had that didn’t work? Then we can all go home early and play Arkham Knight?”

“That’s it! That’s perfect. Nobody has done that before. It’ll turn the internet upside down. We can’t lose!”

“Awesome!”

“Hey, by the way, what’re you guys plans for when this bubble bursts?”

“Dunno. My dad says there is always a job for me at his store…”

My top ten favourite cult movies I haven’t seen.

Of all the great movies that have been made, this is my favourite list of top classic/cult movies I’ve never got around to watching, but will have an opinion on regardless otherwise people will insist I watch them and I honestly can’t be bothered.

So, in no particular order other than the one they are in…

Footloose

Dystopian musical. The other film that launched Kevin Bacon’s career. He plays a female steelworker who fights fascism in a small US town by dancing and through doing so learns to love/walk/eat solids again.

Top Gun

Erotica. The film that launched Tom Cruise’s career (Legend doesn’t count apparently, even though it was the first film in which Tom Cruise played a character called Jack). In this film Tom plays someone who’s not called Jack who flies a plane and bonds in a non-sexual way with other men through their mutual ability to fly planes.

Godfather II

Family drama. The follow-up to the wildly successful Godfather I. Al Pacino and Robert de Niro play gangsters thus starting a difficult period in which they both had to fight being typecast. Possibly with tommy-guns.

Hackers

Slapstick comedy. Angelina Jolie plays a girl who is also a hacker and faces prejudice in a world where such a thing is not accepted, and also being the daughter of Jon Voigt.

Zulu

Childrens. Michael Caine fights African people in a time when people in the west dealt with problems in Africa by shooting people rather than getting lots of struggling musicians to sing songs together.

Heathers

Existential drama. Wynona Ryder faces confusion in a world where everyone is called Heather for some reason.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Dark thriller. Unofficial film version of Wacky Races but without the name or any of the characters because they couldn’t afford the rights.

Birdy

Satire. Based on a true story where Matthew Modine plays the writer of the Birdy Song and is sent to prison for his crime.

Scum

Romantic comedy. Ray Winstone plays a lovable man with learning difficulties who has a job cleaning the sludge from the turtle tank in his local aquarium. His simple wisdom helps bring a troubled family closer together.

Easy Rider

Sci-fi fantasy. Peter Fonda plays a space cowboy fighting against a parental regime in a star system where long hair is forbidden. Contains flashing lights.

“Untitled”

I’ve written a song. It’s untitled so far, but I’ve put a lot of personal feeling into it. I think it could be a hit on the radio. I just need to get a band together to record it. Or just a sound engineer who’s handy with his thumbs…

Anyway, see what you think.

Continue reading ““Untitled””

Robert X. Cringley’s classic history of the PC

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Like many nerds of a certain age, I watched and was enraptured by the PBS/Channel 4 TV miniseries ‘Triumph of the Nerds‘ about 20 years ago.

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Scrobbling Vinyl to Last.fm

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Since AudioScrobbler first arrived on the scene back in the early naughties I’ve been ‘scrobbling’ my listening behaviour to my AudioScrobbler profile for the interests of fellow music aficionados, friends, prospective employers and the NSA. While this was as simple as installing a plugin or ticking a box in my mp3/ogg/whatever player of choice I’m also a keen fan of vinyl records. As this is an analogue medium they aren’t east to scrobble, but not impossible.

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