gominokouhai: (Inspector Fuckup)

Happy Independence Day, Scotland!

Some of the more pedantic among you may observe, at this juncture, that Scotland has no Independence Day. Well, yes, say I, you are correct inna very narrow, technical sense, but as you know I've never been one to let tedious facts get in the way of a meticulously constructed argument.

That argument commences now.

Today, 24th March 2016, is the day that we would have become an independent country, had we not collectively bottled it eighteen months ago. My feelings on this matter have been made clear, but, more cogently for the current discussion: no true Scotsman that I know would let a weak reason like that get in the way of an excuse for a party.

It is an inconvenient fact that 2,001,926 people voted the wrong way in 2014, because they were either too feartie, or misinformed, or Tories. I see no reaon why that should get between me and my celebratory whisky.

Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation. Be the change you want to see in the world. Live positive. Think global and act local. Act as though you already have what you want.

Fly the saltire. Join me inna dram. Strip the willow down George Street. Whatever takes your fancy, really.

And if you don't happen to have any fireworks handy, I hear that molotov cocktails are the next best thing, if you know what I mean, hint, hint.

#telt

Fri, May. 8th, 2015 22:29
gominokouhai: (Default)

We did what we set out to do: punish the Lib-Dems and Scottish Labour for siding with the enemy. Democratically, of course. And we got exactly the worst possible outcome as a result: trounced Labour and handed a majority to the bloody Tories.

It's a pretty slim majority, and I understand that the Tories have a long tradition of backbench rebellion, so a coalition of the Left still has a chance to keep the bastards on their toes. For that to happen, the Lib Dems and Labour need to demonstrate that they've learned their lessons from last night.

I suppose we got exactly what we deserved: more work! It's the SNP's job just now to speak truth to power, as the largest effective voting block of human beings currently in Parliament. Labour have more seats than the SNP, but they'll be a complete waste of space until they decide what the point of them is—and that's assuming they even decide to be on the left. They certainly haven't been for the last twenty years. And the Lib Dems are dead for a generation.

Also—let's be honest—some of these new SNP MPs are going to suck, at least for the next while. Nearly all of them are brand new and most of them, when they were listed as candidates, were in seats where they didn't have a hope. That all changed and now they're in charge. Nicola will sort them out; I've met her and she's awesome.

~

Gotta say, I am amused at the huge amount of nothing that was eventually signified by all of Ukip's sound and fury. I am willing to put good money on the fact that not a single one of those 3,881,129 Kippers voted Yes in the AV referendum. One seat they managed under FPTP: no pasaran.

~

Yesterday was a 33-hour workday that started at 1pm on Wednesday and continued through until 10pm on the Thursday: the ninety minutes sleep I got in the middle doesn't really count. I finally got off to sleep at 3am and then the bloody taxi driver rang the doorbell at 03:30. Got back to sleep at about fiveish and then was up again for work at six. At some point on Thursday, I got to see Jehane for a whole ten minutes and I managed to make it around the corner to vote. During that 33 hours, $CHEF had made me a bacon sandwich. It wasn't a good day.

I'm still not keen on the SNP. They're too authoritarian for my liking, too nanny-statish, and I disagree with a hell of a lot of their policies. I don't like the way they cosy up to people like Murdoch and Souter and especially—euch—Trump. (Maybe they'll stop doing that so much now.) Ideologically I appear to be a Green— but only a Scottish Green because the party in England and Wales is still stuffed full of anti-science nutjobs. Yesterday, the SNP were the only left-leaning party with a hope in hell, so my vote was obvious. Also I did it to piss off everyone in England. I'd had enough of all the hysterical pearl-clutching anti-Jock media coverage. You're welcome, England. You brought this on yourselves.

So, having cast my vote for the SNP and finally able to tear myself away from the desk at 10pm, it was off down the chippy for a haggis supper, salt an' sauce, anna boatil ay the Bru. I had no particular political motivations for my order—sometimes a man just needs salt an'sauce—but it seemed appropriate. I think I might have gone native.

Yesterday was the first time I've ever voted when the result has actually gone my way. I suspect I shouldn't get accustomed to it.

The next five years are going to be bleak. Look after your loved ones.

gominokouhai: (Default)

So, there was a referendum. That happened. And we voted No. A trillion pounds' worth of international media descended on Scotland for a week—and the weather even stayed good while they were here!—and, as a nation, we had a chance to create a better world and we bottled it. I used to think that it would be embarrassing to be Canadian, but all the Canadians have as a national stereotype is that they are uniformly self-effacing and scrupulously polite. Since 19th September, on the world stage, Scots are craven directionless cowards. All of that William Wallace stuff that we've built up over the last eight hundred years, gone. We are lackeys.

I for one will not stand for it.

It takes time to build up a reputation like the Scots have—like the Scots had. Specifically, it takes eight hundred years. Down-to-earth pragmatists running the world with relentless efficiency in spite of their bewigged imperial masters. Hairy-arsed skirt-wearing maniacs perpetually game for a fight with ye, then a drink with ye, then another fight. The reason the claymore works as a weapon of war is that it's so damn big and heavy that, once you start running with it held out in front, you can't stop no matter how many English cavalrymen are in your way. We pissed all of that away in one night, and now, on the world stage, we are cowards.

I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind at the vote count for the Edinburgh region. It was a long day. The day before had been full of joyous, jubilant, exuberant marches in the Meadows, of hope and excitement, of impromptu mass choruses of Flower of Scotland. The tang of change was in the air. I could taste it. And then, on the great day itself, with history hanging in the balance, I had weighty duties to which I must attend. I'd set an alarm for six a.m. but was up at 5:30. One doesn't get to create a brand new nation every day. Out at 7 a.m. to witness the ballot boxen being sealed. Touring polling stations all day—technically in my organizational capacity as a polling agent for the Scottish Socialist Party, which is something that still confuses me. I'm not part of the Scottish Socialist Party. I only know one socialist and I'm on nodding terms with two or maybe three others. I'm still not quite sure how this happened, but I had an ACCESS ALL POLLING PLACES pass and I wasn't afraid to use it. I may have spent slightly more of my day than would have been decorous waving the pass at people like Wayne and Garth at the Alice Cooper concert.

In the evening, it was off to the Highland Centre to observe the vote count. History was being made. At one stage, I was on the news. During a coffee break (I was on tea because I needed a sustained burn rather than the quick hit you get from coffee) I got to have a lovely conversation with Andrew Marr: I dislike his politics and I disapprove of his philandering but I bloody love his historical documentaries. I forgot to mention that my girlfriend's mother taught him English at Loretto.

The Yes and No campaign activists were given lounge areas on opposite sides of a big room, separated by a sort of concourse where there was a nice lady selling tea and coffee from a counter. I bought a bottle of water for £2. Bloody hell, said I, aloud, they told me the price of a pint might go up. The BBC and ITN news crews, on the other hand, were separated by fenced-off enclosures with scaffolding and big scary signage. I found this amusing: a physical paean to the civilized nature of the entire debate. Ultimately, we are all residents of these great British islands. Who needs barricades when there is a tea lady?

My role—still, apparently, on behalf of the SSP for reasons I still can't quite fathom—was to observe the count and ensure that no foul play was taking place. I can confirm that, as far as I can tell, the vote was scrupulously fair and above board. It was just that every bastard had put the cross in the wrong box for reasons that remain utterly incomprehensible to me.

It was obvious from early on that the Yes side were losing. As the postal ballots first came out, while I was still skittering around looking for a table to attend, one of my Yes colleagues turned to me and murmured: we're gettin' hammered. Surely not, I said. It's early days. We were always going to lose on the postal votes. It's the regular ballots that will vindicate us. Half an hour later, it was obvious even to me. Tally marks on the clipboard in front of me, sampling a ballot box from somewhere in the southside: 202 No to 75 Yes. You bastards. You sold us out, because some fucker lied to you about your pensions to guarantee his own. Fuck the fucking southside, man.

Later: we were always going to lose in Edinburgh. It's the rest of Scotland that will vindicate us. Then Clackmannanshire voted No. Then Shetland voted No (fucking Shetland, of all places). Then Dundee voted Yes, but only by a baw-hair, where all of our polling had indicated a good seventy or eighty per cent. At that point, we knew all was lost. Facial expressions changed. The evening became a slog. I had been up since 5:30 and it was now 4am and everything left was a foregone conclusion.

I'd got chatting to a fairly well-known professor of events management with whom I'd already done some networking for work, and plan to do more in the future. He's also a stunningly nice bloke, and a Yes voter obvs. By the point it was clear that we'd lost, self-preservation took precedence over solidarity. This is the country we live in now, the country that Scotland has chosen: every man for himself. So in the immediate short term, I opted to promote my own career and come back to making the world a better place later, and when Professor Joe offered to chum me back in his taxi at 5am, I agreed.

So I was there—just getting ready to leave—when the announcement came through that Glasgow, fairly overwhelmingly, had voted Yes. It was a brief moment of levity in the midst of a long night of otherwise unmitigated despair. A chant started up in the campaigners' lounge area: Glas-gow, Glas-gow, Glas-gow. Someone shouted: ya dancer! Someone else: Ye cannae fool a weegie!, and then it was time to go. It was a glorious moment. It was the only one. It wasn't enough.

The next couple of days were numb and bleak. I've been clinically depressed before and I know exactly what was going on in my brain. I surfaced from bed every so often to read Twitter for five minutes or so before I couldn't take any more. And then on Monday it was back to work, to catch up on the paperwork I'd missed during the last week, in time to catch a train down south on Tuesday. The last place I wanted to go. As a deeply pathetic form of revenge, I made sure to take scotch whisky with me, and Irn Bru, and lots of Scottish fivers.

We had a chance and we bottled it. But it was a good fight, and it's not over.

And now I have a branded Yes clipboard, which I'm keeping. Spoils of war.

There is an epilogue to this post, but it's going under access lock.

gominokouhai: (Khaaan!)

I was amused to learn, now that it's all over, that Our Eck is a big ol' Star Trek fan, specifically of Wrath of Khan. I wish more had been made of this earlier in the campaign. Full tax-raising power. No, sir! You have devo-nano! FULL POWERS, DAMN YOU!

Liking Eck more and more, now that it's all over. The last few days I've just wanted to give him a hug, because I think he needs one. Then there was his principled refusal of any seat in the Lords, and now I find he has impeccable taste in sci-fi. And he's right: if the promised powers are not delivered, we will chase Cameron 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before we give him up. Personally I'm particularly looking forward to the flames bit. I suspect Dishface is so greasy that he would self-ignite.

Back in the day, when I was a unionist, Star Trek featured heavily in what passed for my reasoning—although I didn't understand this about myself until significantly later, after a good deal of introspection. Obviously, went my thinking, the logical end goal of civilization is the United Federation of Planets, and we get there by heading towards global unity not away. For one thing, I later realized, adopting, as a genuine political model, a fictional utopia created by a somewhat mediocre cop-show screenwriter might be seen as impractical; and for another thing, I was goal-seeking using a naive hill-climbing algorithm. For shame, pajh.

A utopia is also an eutopia, of course, but it's telling that Roddenberry's vision is the one that took root inside my head as the default position to aim for. Naive it may be, but goddamn I wouldn't mind living there. I'm not sure if it's the proto-post-scarcity economy or the implicit communism that attracts me so much. Or the green alien babes. No, it's the skants. Definitely the skants.

I love Star Trek to bits, of course, naive as it may be, but these days my politics are much more in line with Babylon 5. I am prepared if necessary to go as far as Blake's 7, but I hope it won't come to that.

Thinking about this as I type, I should probably make a more detailed inspection of Malcolm Hulke's Doctor Who stories before I fasten my colours to any particular allegory, here.

Obviously I'm deeply disappointed with last Thursday's result, but I've decided we may have been foolish to think we could win against the combined forces of ignorance and cowardice, backed by the full might of the British state. We were not foolish to fight. And we will not be foolish to do it all again in a couple of years, with lessons learned and a new generation of engaged citizens on our side. The future is coming, whether it's got green-skinned babes in it or not. That better world we wanted to create?... independence didn't quite work out, but it's still waiting to be created. We'll do it some other way.

The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.

gominokouhai: (Default)

I've been investigatin electropop lately, most of the current batch of which appears to be Canadian for some reason. I have no problem with this. At least it's not Canadian hip-hop. Movin on from the Canadian theme before I get myself into trouble, at this stage I feel I should mention CHVRCHES, who claim that their band name is pronounced churches, but I know better. They are from Glasgow and they are awesome. Particularly the lead singer, Lauren Mayberry, who is cute and elfin and adorable and basically so much the complete opposite of Shirley Manson that she goes round the back of the spectrum and becomes exactly as amazing. Chvrches spell their name with a V so that you can google for them, which you should do immediately if you've not already done so.

I have this 160GB mp3 player to fill up, and it's an actual mp3 player this time, so I can't cheat by includin the complete Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who and all the seasons of Sherlock I haven't watched yet. It's got to be actual music, and even for me there's only so many versions of the Glorious Ninth I need to carry around with me in my pocket. (A post on which is forthcomin; suffice to say I renounce all former allegiances to Karajan.) Somebody on the Twitters recommended the New Order album Power, Corruption & Lies, which I've not actually listened to. When it was released in 1983, my listenin habits were more or less evenly split between Prokoviev and Pinky & Perky. (I was precocious, but I was also three years old.) That I have not got round to it since then is an omission I knew I must rectify forthwith—but, in my defence, do any of you realize how many different versions there are of the Glorious Ninth?

Listenin then, at last, to Power, Corruption & Lies, three or four tracks reminded me of That Goddamn American Express Advert that I remember seeing once. And then, finally, it arrived in my ears as some part of me knew it would: Blue Monday, the biggest-selling 12" single of all time.

Of course I knew it already. And, because I was cursèd to grow up in the nineties, I knew it already chiefly because of this:

Even back then I was aware that this was possibly the worst advert of all time. I envisioned a cadre of corpulent besuited bastards, cocaine-crazy and caffeinated, masturbatorily manifesting moronic muppetry, thuswise: it's time for an EMERGENCY MARKETING MEETING!

INT. DAY. The MID-NINETIES. Opulent CORPORATE BOARDROOM

(PROPS DEPARTMENT: please make sure there is a RED STAPLER somewhere in shot)

TWAT #ONE is agitatedly pointin a STICK at a FLIPCHART that has some damn GRAPH on it.

TWAT #ONE
Okay, we're the wealthiest and most expensive credit card company on the planet, we own all the money in the world, and each of us has a secondary personal Learjet just so we can ship around the team of flunkies required to wax our primary Learjets, but but we need more. More... flirting?... sorry, that's a whole different advert that hasn't been made yet, with subtler humour than this scene. Anyway. I understand there's an entire new generation of suckers who have money. So: who knows anything about this "youth demographic"?

TWAT #TWO
Well, from what I've read in the newspapers, the Youth Demographic really do like their "music with a repetitive beat".

TWAT #ONE
Excellent. Let's have some of that. Anyone else?

TWAT #THREE
They like... skydiving?

TWAT #ONE
Brilliant. Throw that in there. What else?

TWAT #FOUR
I heard that they really like skin-tight black PVC trenchcoats.

TWAT #ONE
Who doesn't? You're fired. Next!

[VO] prolonged nasal SNORTING noise

TWAT #FIVE looks up from the table, takes a moment to orient himself

TWAT #FIVE
They like... geishas pulling stupid faces?

TWAT #ONE
Give that man some stock options.

~ FIN ~

I have always said that I hated the bloody Nineties: the decade of Westlife and the Vengaboys and Columbine and backwards jeans and Global Hypercolor and pastels and plaid and the Bosnian genocide and the Doctor Who Movie. But! (Even before you start: that was a preemptive but.) To be fair to the nineties, we also had Dark Season (so much pastel! and Jacqueline Pearce!) and Knightmare and Animaniacs and Way Out West and Portishead and we had both Ren and Stimpy simultaneously.

I've made my peace with the nineties.

After all, if we're considrin solely the restricted subset of credit card advertizin, then it could be so very, very much worse.

gominokouhai: (Default)

This video, from 2008, is making a lot more sense now:

Mike Read. Ten minutes. Rapping. And then they got into power and we all wondered how come the Tories were so out of touch with reality.

I say they got into power. We let them. An insufficient minority of the UK population voted Tory, and had we known about this Mike Read thing back then, we could have had those voters all sectioned anyway so those votes wouldn't have counted. Then we had five days of frantic squabbling and Kay Burley screeching that the people voted for a hung parliament before, finally, a dishfaced twat liked by precisely no one went to ask the Queen if he could form a Government full of his old schoolmates.

It was the duty of every responsible citizen, as Cameron headed for the Palace, to rugby-tackle the bastard before he could get there. If for no other reason than to stop him wasting Her Maj's time. For the greatest dramatic effect, leave it til the last minute and do it with as much violence as possible. Your Majesty, I humbly request permission to form a Government on Your behAUGHWOOFH!

I was occupied at the time (they had one from Stewart's Brewery I hadn't tried before, and one from Inveralmond), but the rest of you have no such excuse. Come to think of it, the BBC were in on it the whole time. It's no wonder they gave up on us shortly afterwards and turned evil—they'd done everything possible for us and none of us took the hint. Constant rolling news-helicopter footage of a Bentley slowly progressing along Whitehall. And now we see David Cameron's car turning left at some traffic lights. David Cameron there, on his way to Buckingham Palace, where he is expected to ask Her Majesty the Queen for permission to form a government. His car is now pausing outside the crosshatched box before an intersection. Now he's turning right. The BBC Charter probably prevented them from outright coming out and saying it, but they came as close as they could: THERE HE IS, YOU BASTARDS! GET HIM!

On further reflection, we should formalize this. In the event of a hung parliament, this should be how things are decided from now on: by a drag race down Whitehall. First one to reach Her Maj gets to form a government. All dirty tricks allowed. Gordon trips up Dave before he even gets into the car, then bounces his giant dish-shaped face off the bonnet, just to make sure, before he peels off. Then Nick comes up from the inside and slides sideways, tyres screeching, to a stop in front of the Palace gates. A cloud of dust and burnt rubber puffs down the Mall like papal white smoke. Democracy. Is. Served.

Makes a lot more sense than the current system, anyway.

gominokouhai: (Default)
Probably spoilers )

As for the rest... we'll see.

Same cliff face as The Time of Angels and the same castle as Amy's Choice. Nice.

Goddammit

Thu, Apr. 28th, 2011 15:58
gominokouhai: (Default)

I suddenly find myself unable to continue ignoring the royal wedding. It's got Daleks in it.

A royal wedding street party with a difference will see a Dalek serve up trays of drinks and snacks to guests on Friday - presumably with cries of 'Extermi-Cake'.

More likely, WOULD YOU CARE FOR A PLAS-TIC CUP OF LUKE-WARM CHE-RRY-ADE. Although, the more I think about it, the more this starts to make sense. What better way to celebrate a great British institution than with a terrifying symbol of imperialistic aggression? Particularly, one that some bloke from the Home Counties has spent a week painting red, white and blue?

I am no stranger to those odd periods of mass hysteria that we're all subjected to on occasion. When Diana died I bought Candle in the Wind twice. I saw Titanic three times in the cinema (and each time, because it is a four-hour-long behemoth, I had to go to the loo just before Kate Winslet gets nekkid.) We're all allowed to get emotional beyond the bounds of reason now and then, especially if we blog self-deprecatingly about it years later. But this one just seems supremely pointless. Two people I don't care about are performing a ceremony I don't care about. I'm not invited. I don't get any of the cake. I am unsure what, as a nation, we all gain by waving flags to solemnize the fact that, according to a book most of us haven't read, two young people are now permitted to fuck.

I shall be at work tomorrow. Although I might take the opportunity to have an excuse to rewatch The Princess Bride.

gominokouhai: (Default)

[personal profile] miss_s_b just posted her Political Compass, and reminded me that it's been a while since I've done mine. I know that I've swung significantly more to the radical-left in the last six months alone. So here we go:

The Political Compass

Economic Left/Right: -6.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

The last time I did one of these was 24th August, 2007, when it looked like this:

Moar graphs )

You can, of course, do your own here should you so wish.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Kettling is a tool used solely to stifle dissent. So we now have a handheld Iphone app to avoid kettles.

In Egypt, they shut down the internet. So the Egyptians built their own one.

This is a message to The Man: don't fuck with geeks.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Apparently they're remaking The Day of the Triffids. I loved the book: I remember reading it on my way home from school. That wouldn't be a particularly interesting story, but I cycled.

The franchise is rather beloved across the pond, witters patronizing Yank David Ehrlich, and maybe the closest thing the British have to a genuinely iconic monster. I'm not so sure about that. We've got Daleks and Cybermen. We've got Sontarans, Haemovores, Silurians, Sea Devils, Rutans, Terileptils, and the Nestene Consciousness. I could go on for some time in this vein, from Autons to Zygons, so perhaps I should move on.

The British need a mobile nettle as their iconic monster? We've got Mr Hyde. We've got freaking Dracula. (Okay, Bram Stoker was Irish. It's close.) And we gave the world Margaret Thatcher. We're doing pretty well for monsters.

The 1962 movie took huge liberties with the book and is notable only for having Janette Scott in it, whom, it should be noted, I really got hot when I saw. Based on the trailer, though, it seems that all she gets to do is swoon over Howard Keel. I think I can safely give that a miss.

I'm off to watch the 1981 BBC adaptation again. There are two seconds of sub-par special effects and one bad hairstyle, but apart from that, it's pretty much perfect.

Four Lions

Thu, Apr. 29th, 2010 16:38
gominokouhai: (Default)

Apparently Chris Morris says that attempting to create controversy is one of the most boring things you can do. It seems odd, then, that he never sits down and thinks: for my next project, I'll write about the droll antics of a cartoon dog. Instead, for his first feature film, he's taken on the popular subjects of Islamic extremism and suicide bombing. A rollicking good time is guaranteed for all.

Morris is doubtless going to receive unending flak from the same people who spectacularly missed the point of Paedogeddon by claiming that it was making light of a taboo topic. But terrorism is comedy and has been for some years now. Remember the Glasgow Airport attacks? Two idiots drove their car into a bollard, a wee jakey baggage-handler having a fag break kicked them in the nutsacks, and they fell over. While on fire. That's not terrorism, that's slapstick. With a provenance like that, a film like Four Lions can't fail to have comedy value. But is it good satire?

It doesn't have to be. Morris' satire is uncompromising and uncomfortable; it goes beyond amusing into disturbing when he depicts a bunch of bizarrely stupid people, then turns the mirror around and says, That's You, That Is. You squirm in your seat and maybe come away with a different view of the world, but you don't laugh. This is why I've always preferred The Day Today to Brass Eye; it's sillier, and it bites less. No one can deny that Morris' satire bites with the viciousness of the deadliest shark, but you don't always want to settle down and watch a fun comedy only to find, halfway through, that your arm's hanging off.

So in tackling the very current and pertinent subject of Islamic terrorism, Morris has wisely chosen to use it only as a setting. This isn't a film about terrorism, it's a film about dysfunctional group dynamics. The characters are jihadists, but they might as well be a five-a-side football club or a scout group engaged in some crazy caper. Actually, thinking about it, they might as well be The Young Ones. There's the bossy one, the thick one, the cool one, and the slightly-saner one. As they bumble and bicker their way through doctrinal disputes and IED manufacture, we get to see some wonderfully-drawn character moments and learn convoluted new insults amongst the immensely quotable dialogue.

The plot follows our eponymous Lions through the tribulations of martyrdom: building suicide bombs, trial runs, selecting targets, and avoiding detection. Everything is presented in such a straightforward way that when they finally start to execute their plan in the final reel, it comes as a jarring shift in tone. The awkward juxtaposition of domestic comedy with real horror perfectly mirrors the characters' own feelings towards the end of the story, and thus was probably intentional on the part of the filmmakers. Morris may not always be subtle, but he knows his craft.

There's some incredibly effective use of hand-held camerawork to create an immersive feel, and not in the usual, tired manner in which they lazily emulate the fly-on-the-wall documentary. Since the characters spend half of the film pointing cameras at each other, when your point of view wobbles it simply means that you're standing in the living room with them, a fifth uncredited co-conspirator with another camcorder. The performances are genuine and natural: the characters are just blokes who happen to be making explosives on their allotment.

If anything, that's the message of the film. Terrorists are human beings, just like you: which means that, just like you, they're incompetent, clueless, and foolish, vainly stumbling through life in a harebrained struggle to find some sense to make of it all, an attempt that's ultimately doomed to be an utter failure. Most of the kneejerk criticism from the tabloids is going to be about the fact that the film portrays terrorists in a sympathetic light, but what it's actually doing is portraying people with bitter, nihilistic cynicism, in a heartwarming sort of way.

The climactic scenes are set at a major public event such as that where terrorism might conceivably take place (no spoilers here). They feel like a bit of a copout, as if it's an attempt to cram some extra humour into the film by having everybody in silly costumes at the end. If so, it's a wasted effort: the film is hilarious without help. I laughed a lot. And because it wouldn't be a Chris Morris production unless it made me feel horrendously uncomfortable in some way or other, I laughed a lot, realised with horror what nightmarish events I was laughing at, and then started to laugh at that instead.

It's a very British film. I think it's a very important film, but only in an incidental way. Mostly it's a film with brilliant characterization. If it horrifies us then it's because we find ourselves relating to and engaging with monsters, but we did that in Frankenstein, Downfall, and Dr Strangelove. Sometimes it's good to stare into the abyss, and to realise that the abyss is pathetic.

Just like you.

gominokouhai: (Default)

Lovelace and Babbage!

Lovelace and Babbage, (CC) Sydney Padua

Starring: Ada Lovelace! Lovelace, (CC) Sydney Padua

And Charles Babbage! Babbage, (CC) Sydney Padua

This is quite possibly the best thing ever. And the artist claims that she's not doing a comic. I need all of you to email her and tell her how many copies you'd buy, and convince her otherwise.

Quite long )

Off to the West Coast for the weekend. I need a holiday.

On stones

Sun, Jun. 15th, 2008 15:17
gominokouhai: (Default)

Somebody has left a pamphlet in the office about the evils of caffeine. I'm very glad they did. It reminded me that I have a cup of tea brewing. Mmm, tea.

~

Today's constitutional crisis, threatening to rock the very foundations of the Scottish establishment[0], is that Our Eck reckons that the Stone of Scone is a fake. I'm not sure what constitutes fake when we're talking about rocks. Is it secretly made of plastic? Is it just rock veneer on a cardboard facsimile? Is it somehow less rocklike that we've been led to believe?

I've always thought it was a pretty stupid national symbol in any case. Down south, they have the Crown Jewels in all their resplendent finery. Up here we have a chunk of rock, and we're proud of it.

Mind you, Edward I the Scots-Hammer went to the trouble, in 1296, to raise an army and come all the way up here in order to steal the same said chunk of rock. Who's looking foolish now?

And theories persist that instead of the historic throne of Scottish kings, he was given a toilet seat instead. Who's looking foolish now? I've often wondered how that would have worked. Let's imagine it together, in Braveheart-style glorious Technicolor™-o-vision:

Lights! Camera! Irish Army Reservists! Action! )

From the article, Professor Ted Cowan says: How credible is it that you can just make a replica of something like that in five minutes because Edward I of England is coming to steal the real one? Actually, it's really very credible indeed. It's a rock. You can find them just lying around.

The Professor, we're told, is one of Scotland's most senior historians. And yet he doesn't seem to know the scarcity value of rocks. I think Edinburgh isn't what it used to be.

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[0] Pun not intended, I swear.

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