Tag Archives: unashamed-geekery

Government: The Final Frontier

One of the truly awful things about conference this week was music used for the video photomontages – all three of them – that they insisted on playing before the leader’s speech, all three of which were to the tune of the most vein-opening soft rock I’ve ever come across. Personally, I’d never heard of the first piece they played, although it did sound suspiciously like the sort of thing to be found on the soundtrack to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (which I’m ashamed to admit to owning). The second piece however was much easier to place: it is the theme tune to Star Trek: Enterprise.

My understanding is that this music was selected by Ming’s image consultant Gavin Grant. The question one has to ask is, what next? I confidently predict that at the next conference, all MPs will be forced to wear Starfleet uniform, colour coded according to what policy team they are in. Evan Harris will of course be forced to wear a red shirt. It would be nice to think that our “Lib Dem lovelies” ([c] The Sun) will be wearing 1960’s style Star Trek uniform (i.e. miniskirts so small you need an electron microscope to detect them) but we simply can’t be that lucky. The Liberator crew will be forced to wear Klingon costumes.

More worrying still is what this says about the direction our foreign policy may be going in. Star Trek has always at least flirted with what we now call neoconservativism – in the Next Generation the Prime Directive was always name checked, but most episodes were focussed on how the Enterprise crew found ways to get around it. The original series didn’t bother with such niceties: “we come in peace (shoot to kill)!”.

But Enterprise was a different beast altogether. Very much a product of its era, Scott Bakula even looks like George Dubya Bush. The third series – during which I pretty much lost the will to live (or at least continue bothering with it) – was concerned with the Enterprise going off on a dangerous and uncertain military adventure to find weapons of mass destruction following from a transparently obvious 9/11 type incident. United Federation of Planets? Who needs it?

Before we go around embracing its theme tune, Gavin should note that it was possibly the most reviled aspect of a most reviled TV series, which ended in miserable failure only four series. The omens do not look good.

Judge Dredd: Origins

2000AD is beginning a 6 month countdown to its 30th anniversary with a new Judge Dredd story which for the first time explores the origins of the Judge System, Mega City One and Old Stoney Face himself.

Probably the most hyped Dredd strip since Necropolis, and deservedly so due to its subject matter and being written and drawn by Dredd’s creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.

Seeing as this is Quaequam Blog!, I can’t really get away with not giving it a plug. Shame that the trailer a) isn’t on Google Video or YouTube and b) isn’t very good. But here’s an example of how it should be done:

Man of Letters Dies

I was very saddened to learn that Tom Frame died earlier this month.

Tom was a letterer (literally someone who writes the text in comics) for 2000AD and several other UK comics. For me, he was the letterer for Judge Dredd, and like a lot of early-2000AD stalwarts for a whole generation he will be better known for his droid alter-ego than for what he actually looked like.

So, as someone who helped form a large part of my childhood and adolescence (and arguably too much of my adulthood) Tom, thanks a lot.

Iain Dale’s Lord Levy moment

I do worry that certain bloggers are getting too big for their boots. I’d draw an analogy here with one of my past obsessions: Robot Wars.

I used to love the show for the simple reason that it involved lumps of metal sawing the crap out of each other. Another entertaining feature was seeing the geeks who built the things being interviewed by the rather lovely Philippa Forrester (before she lost all credibility over the Brass Eye paedo debacle). Socially awkward at the best of times, they were all so clearly terrified of her it made truly entertaining telly.

The problem was though that after a few series, the programme started to hit the mainstream. Robots would be invited to open Village Fetes, become the talk of water cooler conversations, have affairs with Z-list celebrities and have embarrassing photos of them climbing out of cars with their undercarriages exposed published in Heat magazine, that sort of thing.

Meanwhile their designers started to believe that they themselves were minor celebrities. They started wearing team uniforms, developing team songs. Worst of all, they all started to think that Phillippa actually liked them. The sight of a sweaty, fat bearded man with no social skills attempt to flirt with an attractive woman 15 years his junior was truly awful to watch.

My question is, is the same thing happening with bloggers? Guido has been bouncing around the blogosphere recently expounding the Power of the Blog. And the lest we forget the supreme pretentiousness of the Euston Manifesto.

As for Iain Dale, he’s been roasted a bit on his blog today for writing a very silly post claiming that former Labour David Hinchcliffe’s decision to take up a non-executive directorship of South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust is an example of New Labour sleaze. His defence seems to be that the press release announcing his appointment claims it wasn’t a political appointment but rather Hinchcliffe was appointed on merit (which on my reading it would appear that he was) and that, um, anyone criticising him is “employed to post on the blog by the Labour Party”. Including me.

Yes indeed. Iain is such a threat to New Labour that they employ people to discredit him, and his proof is that people post on his blog to tell him when he’s being a bit of a berk. He might as well just write a post entitled “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?” and be done with it.

Hubris. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Not as super as it should have been (warning: geekfest alert and spoilers)

I’m afraid I was somewhat underwhelmed by Superman Returns, which I saw on Saturday evening. In part, this may be because I built it up too much, being a fan of both the Richard Donner film and Bryan Singer. However, there are a number of ways in which I think the film took a wrong turn. So, Mr Singer, here’s my constructive feedback: Continue reading Not as super as it should have been (warning: geekfest alert and spoilers)

Coming Attractions

Got the latest Empire this evening. A few film related things:

  • In July we are to be treated to both Pirates of the Carribean 2 and Superman Returns (which is either Superman 5 – after the Quest for Peace – 2.5 – sort of set after 2 – or 2 – the spiritual sequel to Richard Donner’s original disregarding the slight hash Richard Lester made of 2 – depending on your point of view). I can’t wait for either of them.
  • The Spider-Man 3 teaser is now online. Got a year to wait for this one. Looking forward to it as I am, I’m not sure about the wisdom of having 3 major villains. Joel Schumacher’s Batman films show what happens when you don’t exercise enough restraint (on the other hand, both Batman Returns and Batman Begins both have three villains in them and cope okay).
  • Richard Kelly’s first film since Donnie Darko – Southland Tales – was apparently panned at Cannes. Kelly himself is robust, arguing that Donnie Darko got the same response at first. I wouldn’t be so complacent. Love Donnie Darko as I do – I saw it on its first release – Kelly made a complete Horlicks of the Director’s Cut. The good news is he’s cutting 45 mins out of this new film, so hopefully he can turn it around.
  • Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost are back soon in Hot Fuzz. Yay! Intrigued to see Jessica Stevenson claiming they are still planning to make Spaced 3 given how long ago 2 was now. It had entered the part of my brain that is reserved for all those other uncompleted masterpieces such as Halo Jones Book 4 and Sleaze Castle (side fact: Simon Pegg’s character is called Nicholas Angel. I wonder if this is a homage to Shaun of the Dead’s Music Supervisor? I used to know a Nick Angel – I was in a student version of a Midsummer Night’s Dream with him 10 years ago. He went on to edit Matthew Parris’ The Great Unfrocked and I think went on to become some kind of photo-journalist).
  • They’ve cast Lyra for the His Dark Materials films. Looks like they’re actually going to make them. Good news: she’s English. Bad news: she’s called Dakota Blue Richards. Will this series be the next Lord of the Rings or the next Chronicles of Narnia? Only time will tell.
  • Oh, and Empire thinks the Da Vinci Code is shit. Big surprise there then.

Empire also has an interesting looking article about DVD piracy but I haven’t read it yet so can’t comment.

Not dead yet

I’ve been terrible at blogging recently – it’s amazing how quickly you can get out of the habit. I’ve been attempting to write a piece for Hands Off Our Future only to keep getting side-tracked (this evening my excuse being the need to watch the third part of the excellent Tory! Tory! Tory!).

A couple of things:

  1. Get this week’s New Scientist while you still can. A fascinating feature about eco-cities. The broad thrust of this article is absolutely correct – we need to make our cities radically more green to survive – but the devil is very much in the detail. It leads me to ponder if we should be attempting to squeeze ever more people onto brownfield sites at all – wouldn’t we be better turning them into parks and agriculture and instead building purpose-build ecological mini-suburbs in the greenbelt.
  2. Doctor Who was great this week – completely left field. Like Will (whose site seems to be down again atm), it got me whacking on my ELO CDs (never far from my hifi). Still think Horace Wimp would have suited the story better than Mr Blue Sky though. It strikes me that the critics have been giving series two a quite unwarranted mauling, although admittedly most of the reviews I’ve read tend to like the episode they happen to be reviewing this week, just not anything else. Personally, I’ve found the excellent has vastly outweighed the mediocre. It could do with a little more bite, but I get a sense we are leading up to something rather bitey indeed…

Oh, and don’t forget Liberal Drinks this Wednesday.