Sunday, February 19, 2006


Comedy, for a long time, has been stripped and whittled down to it's bare essentials. Simple character development, a straightforward story and a series of obvious, predictable observations and reactions. Fortunately for us those times are changing. With complex shows such as 'Extras' and 'Curb Your enthusiasm' our comedy tastes are being refined to a much fuller flavour. Of course shows such as 'The Simpsons', 'Seinfield', 'Cheers' and 'Friends' will always have a mark on the defining of the genre when it comes to TV, but they have and will, end and be reduced to re-run filler for low viewing times in the channel's schedule.

Amazingly it's shows like 'Scrubs', 'My Name Is Earl', 'Peep Show', 'Family Guy' and 'South Park' that are calling the shots. Low hitting but consistent, getting by on nothing but fine writing and excellent character development. Personally, 'South Park' has been the most surprising of the cartoon comedys. Simply getting by on toilet jokes, shock tactics and celebrity bashing for years the show has matured, and although carrying on the boyish tradition of those jokes, 'South Park' has developed into a clever, quick responsive satire.

Outside of television you have radio. Which is basically television before it becomes television. A forerunner for shows such as Chris Morris' 'Brasseye', Steve Coogan's 'Alan Partridge - Knowing Me, Knowing You' and the platform for comedian development. Gervais & Merchant, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Morris and Noble. The addition of podcasting has opened the opportunities for finding great shows but has also clouded those shows with thousands of bad shows to hunt through.

After television and radio you have stand up. My favourites have got to be David Cross and Sarah Silverman. Although Cross has ruined his reputation with some awful sketches and bad cameos his stand up is untouchable. Silverman has little available, but a search on a P2P will deliver something and if it's anything with Silverman, it definitely is something. With her DVD 'Jesus Is Magic' on the verge of release and world domination, her appearance in 'The Aristocrats' getting around via word of mouth and her Conan O'Brien interview making headlines, Silverman is one to watch.

Unfortunately, apart from Gervais, British soils have been very comedy dry this past year. Morris and Brooker's 'Nathan Barley' had it's moments. If you're a fan of comedy you must own 'TVGOHOME', a tremendously funny Radio Times parody by Brooker. It's selling for insane amounts on the net. I found my copy in Oxfam for £4.00 so it's worth hunting for. Morris has also been seen in 'The I.T. Crowd'. A real over-hyped let down from the creators of 'Father Ted'. If you miss Father Ted I would steer clear from this show and buy 'Big Train', a funnier sketch based show with all your favourites from 'Jam' & 'Spaced'.

No links with this one as you'd be better off Googling them and searching your P2P for examples.
If you couldn't be assed you could always go and make a South Park Character of yourself.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

F**K U Google Maps & F**k U Everyone!

What do you do when someone invades your privacy in such an astonishing way, to such an insane level that you are awe struck at the detail to which you can view your house and back garden?

You tell them to go fuck themselves. That's what you do. You take yourself and few friends to the public park. You journey to the back of that park to the rarely used gravel pitch. A pitch that you once saw a little girl be thrown across when a swing ride at a travelling fair broke and sent her hurtling into the air. You drag your feet through that gravel revealing the dust and dirt below. You speak your small mind.

Fine, so maybe it wasn't done especially for a satellite to take a snapshot and display it to the world. Maybe it's not even man-made, maybe it has been created by the same aliens that have marked circles in farmers fields. Maybe they're fed up with being subtle, decided to stop with the cryptology and tell us all to 'go fuck'.

Further Viewing:

Google States - Go look at your trailer park.
Google Kingdom - Check out the mess of your Council Block.
(Remember to Satellite it!)

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Aw Raugh" - Karl Pilkington

There is a phenomenon crawling it's way across the planet. It's roots may have been planted by Comedian, Writer and Actor, Ricky Gervais, though the stem and flowers are most definitely Idiot Savant, Karl Pilkington. The number one downloaded podcast, 'The Ricky Gervais Show' is not a new format for Gervais, co-writer Steve Merchant and Pilkington, infact it's a very well worn format that first aired on Gervais and Merchant's Show on XFM. Featuring reconstituted formats such as 'Monkey News' or 'Knob News' the show has really only one aim; Ask Pilkington a question and sit back and listen to the reply.

Now on it's 11th Episode in a number of 12, the show had already started to droop with interspersed Channel 4 ads, a regular reading of Pilkington's diary and the increasingly unbelievable monkey career positions in our society. Losing it's appearance of an unscripted, unplanned and conversation based show is the podcast's downfall. Although the format always had the definite resemblance of the radio style banter between songs from which it first arose, it always had the benefit of containing no ads or songs. The show simply existed as a series of infrequently edited portions of themed conversation. Conversations between dry quipping, straight man Merchant, the stupid, ill thought out ideas of Pilkington, and middle man Gervais tipping to and fro from intelligence to frustration to uncontrollable laughter.

With one show to go I hope that the show goes out with a bang rather than a flutter, similar to it's predecessor XFM show when Gervais, Merchant and Pilkington finished early so that Gervais could make an utter embarrassment of himself on the Live8 stage. I have been an eager listener, now finding myself waiting up Sunday night to download the show Monday morning (around 00:03) to listen to in bed. I have had moments of sheer disbelief, joy and repulsion, all coming from a great piece of free entertainment.

My favourite moments all arise in episode 4. Conversations about giving a goat to the poor as a charity gift for a friend or family member leads to Pilkington summing up that there would be three unhappy parties. The gift receiver getting a non-present, the receiving family not being able to feed another member, and the goat, being 'happy over here and then getting over there to barren land'. Or Pilkington's un-interest in space exploration due to him 'not even visiting Scotland yet' saying, "why look in other back gardens when you haven't had a look at your own". All funny, but only a run up to what has to be the funniest segment of the series, Pilkington's inability to choose a super power and find a valid use for it.

Further 'Gripage' 'Bungled' below:
Reader Recommended Karl Pilkington Fansite
Gervais' Website Feature
Bears3 Shorts - Requires Quicktime though.
Meet Karl Pilkington from Politics DVD
XFM Archives
Downloadable XFM Episodes
Animated Monkey News
Knob At Night T-Shirt
Karl's Gob T-Shirt
Monkey Wire - Huge Monkey News Archive

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ouija Podcast

Finally, the Ouija Podcast is ready for it's first listen. A six episode limited series the podcast features recordings of documentary style horror drama. A kind of Blair Witch for your ears. As the series progresses it'll feature more members and a variety of haunted sites.

View iTunes Listing

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Worst Of The Web

If you haven't heard of the Million Dollar Homepage by now you're probably not going to. Just another hyped marketing idea from the glorious lows that are forcing their way into your home via the net. One of the problems with this idea is not the fact that it made quite a considerable amount of money for student Alex Tew, it's that visiting the site and browsing the advertisers shows the lowest of the low in company ideas, internet scams, gambling and dating services. What an awful awful site. Cancer cures, loans, porn, promises of free gifts... why would anyone want to visit this site? Why would anyone want to click any link on this page?

It brings tears to my eyes when things like this manage to take off. I understand why they have. Lets face it, advertising pays well and must work. Reports from advertisers on the site suggest their traffic went sky high when they bought their pixels. That's if it wasn't Tew's family members & friends quoting to push their investment along. Money makes money and if it had been left up to Tew to raise the awareness without the family funding he'd still be like so many other students. Poor and surfing debts of £10,000+.

Like Morrissey suggests, I do hate it when my friends become successful, I also hate when absolute strangers find success in promoting down right abhorent values without creative merit or intellectual value. It seems that the web holds nothing for me anymore. Blogs about nothing, Link sites to useless information and fads that are simple, ill thought and annoying.

Can you believe that when Peanut Butter Jelly Time was parodied in Family Guy by Brian to cheer Peter up I had no idea what the reference was? Oh, how I long for those days of innocence. Days before the hamster dance, days before the mockery of some fat kid. When fads were material. Coca Cola Yo Yos, lo lo balls and Bermuda shorts with pink thermal colour change t-shirts. Gone are the days of innocence when we thought that something was popular because a lot of people liked the idea. We all now know that something is popular because a lot of money was invested to market it to the public. The music charts for instance. Does anyone really believe that the most of the acts featured in today's charts are anything but a marketing ploy to steal the pennies from children?

Fortunately though times are changing. With the over marketing of these products and the overwhelming greed of large businesses, our youth have been forced into a knowing corner. Our children are no longer stupid to the fact that a free gift is given for other reasons than it being free, that all these companies are begging for their cash. The demise of popular music and music sales in general, not to mention the fall of Smash Hits magazine is proof that music could be changing. Will we see a full circle in advertising and the products we buy? I certainly hope so. I read recently in a article in some free travel paper that Coca Cola and Pepsi have arranged to remove children from their ads, and are being forced to remove fizzy drinks sales and vendors from our schools. Maybe it's time for company ethics. We have that right to choose. It's our money, our hard earned cash that these scam businesses are picking at. Visit ethical sites with morals and reason. Buy ethical products from empathic companies. Our money can lead the market.

Look for skill and talent in an idea, is it hard earned? Hard earned ideas are worth hard earned money. It's your call. I hope that by highlighting these ideas and making not only you, but myself in the research, aware of the ideas, that we will find hope and reason to this world for sale.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Role Playing - The New Folk, Which Was The New Black.

It appears that one of my secret shames is finding a new generation of social outcasts to huddle under it's wing. When I was a young teen my only vice was comic books and role playing games. Sure I played D&D and sure I played Gurps too. I also had a bad moment with Star Wars, Marvel and Champions. I don't want to even speak of Teenagers from Outer Space. Galaxy High it wasn't.

Through all these games I was trying to re-live that first feeling of an over active imagination delving into role playing. An experience from what I consider to be one of the most exciting, clever and enjoyable RPGs ever, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other strangeness' or 'TMNT' to those in the know. TMNT was a game were a character (usually a mutant human/animal hybrid) was created initially through chance dice roles to exist in a world were everyone hated and/or feared them, were they lived a life of hiding and rarely had the chance to flirt or do normal things. A weird concept for a fantasy game, probably one that you would consider to be a little un-fantastical.

I remember playing a russian turtle (a very lucky dice role) for a while. Called Gorbachev, he was an insensitive moron with little feeling for others, no love for life, usually depressed and a loner. Having poor language skills I was only allowed to hear a few words from spoken sentences from my team mates. This usually lead to me doing the wrong thing or making war with everyone I met. Consequentially I died fairly early on.

My friends and I bought other add-on supplements. One I remember, a time travelling book called 'Transdimensional TMNT'. It was full of weird machines and old weapons. I remember it having a fairly rough, though interesting time line of the earth which had led predictions into the future. I ended up playing an Ankylosaurus, quite large, slow and stupid. Other characters included a floating humanoid with a white baby face and a huge head. The drawings were beautiful. Eric Larsen I believe... but now I'm boring you.

If you couldn't be bothered with the whole thinking and imagining there was always Fighting Fantasy Books. These 'Choose your own adventure' books were so popular when I was still at primary school. Flicking from page to page, making a choice, picking a number, you would guide your character through numerous possibilities to their inevitable death. The great thing about these books was if you cheated, (Via way of having a look at the choice, and if it was a death or a bad choice, just flick back to the previous paragraph and choose another) you were only cheating yourself. So?

Anyway... What was I talking about? Oh Yeah... Role Playing has now gathered it's fans again. Sure it's still very uncool. Sure it's probably just thirty somethings like myself trying to find our youth, and sure it's really not going to last. The real shock comes from the growth of the World of Warcraft series. So many people are living their lives in a fantasy world. Wasting thousands of hours chatting, exploring virtual environments and even trading and purchasing virtual items/people from Ebay.

One of the latest fads from this genre has been the Leeroy Jenkins phenomenon. Basically a short film showing the demise of a group of players due to one man's stupid actions. I have to say that I don't really know how the game works but when I watched the video I thought it was pretty funny. Being a troller who loves going onto chat sites to get a rise out of people. To annoy and aggrevate them, I felt a real joy in seeing the death of this, what can only be described as, group of nerdy bores.
Just Watch

Fear of Girls holds an Office-esque charm. A short documentary style film, it features Doug & Raymond, two gaming losers with a love for a little 'Blue' Role Playing.

What gamer would you be if you didn't own an Ivory set of RPG Dice?

Or you could try and sue for the death of your geek son.

I know what you're thinking, can I sink any lower? It's the internet, there's no end to the depths of depravity, apparently porn is quite popular. More on that another time...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Flying Spaghetti Monster

I hate to say it but I think Bobby Henderson's Prophecy of an omnipotent 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' may be right. My change of heart? Let's just say cold, scientific proof.

In Singapore, on holiday, I had been taking a lot of photographs of skyscrapers. I was hoping to then combine the images and frame up an amazing long panoramic shot for the flat. I had visited a disturbing Malay/Italian Pizza Booth and purchased a plastic tupperware pot of some kind of hideous mongrel food from both cultures. The sauce was absolutely disgusting. Lets say it was there more for colour than taste, the pasta that was floating in it could only be described as dry. Anyway, I was trying to wolf down this pile of garbage juice and I spilt some of the sauce all over my £550 Pentax. It was a nightmare scenerio, though having calmed down shortly afterward, I realised that it was easy enough to wipe away with the lower half of my t-shirt.

As I was cleaning I had noticed that the sauce had 'lava lamped' the lens. I thought I might as well take a shot as it would probably look cool and trippy. So that was that, I cleaned the rest of my camera up and got on with my holiday. Even through the view finder in my Pentax, nothing looks out of the ordinary. It wasn't until I transferred my photos to paper and CD (In a Boots Chemists in Edinburgh) that I was aware of what I had photographed.

Looking at the sauce lens shot I had seen some kind of tentacled creature, it looked near to invisible and it was massive. I couldn't believe it. My girlfriend and I were pissing ourselves laughing for around a week. I had also noticed it on the CD transfer as well but couldn't see the creature on the stored photo on my camera? I re-visited Boots and asked them if anyone was messing around in the store. They didn't take responsibilty for the tampering, they insisted that that could not happen as it was all done through the Kodak Machine and they couldn't possibly add anything to the image. They asked me did I add a stencil to the photo on the machine. I replied that you probably don't get a 'Add Strange Floating Tentacled Creature' stencil, and that most people would have no need for it.

I decided to maybe try and add it to a paranormal site on the web. The web loves all the crap like this and I wasn't that bothered about my shot. It wasn't as if I was gonna frame it. Who'd want a weird stringy creature on their wall? I had searched a few sites to look for similar sightings of ghosts, cloud formations and weird lights. Then I visited a site that had mentioned the phenomenon of the 'Flying Spaghetti Monster'. I had first smirked at the coincidence but after seeing the resemblence it chilled my bones a little. There was a huge following of this monster. It was very tongue and cheek, and had been created to offend fanatical religious types. Though the picture I had taken in Singapore was definately similar to the monster-god Bobby Henderson had created.

Apparently, through research, the religion worhips this god and believes that global warming is closely linked to the demise of the pirate population. It the 'FSM' religion heaven holds volcanos of beer and a factory that produces strippers. Although an internet fad it has held it's own as more and more people find comfort in the faith. Whether it be through feeling connected or just having fun the monster has gathered amounts of followers that would put shame onto Scientology.

I don't know what this means. Is photographic evidence proper proof to cast off all other faiths and join 'FSM'? Or is religion now just an accessory, the photo above just an add for a beautiful watch?

If you are interested in further knowledge:

Bobby's Original Site
Wiki FSM
The Game