Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brotherly Love

With former Foreign Secretary David Miliband having decided to return to the back benches in the wake of his unexpected defeat in the Labour leadership battle at the hands of his younger brother Ed, the BBC's chief political correspondent, Nick Robinson, has revealed what he claims is the true origin of the fierce rivalry between the siblings. "It all comes down to a childhood argument about a favourite TV programme," he told a clearly bemused Huw Edwards on yesterday's Six O'Clock News. "Like all geeks, the Miliband brothers are both huge Star Trek fans, never missing an episode of any of its many incarnations." According to the chrome domed former Young Conservative, a rift quickly developed between David and Ed as to who was the best commander of the USS Enterprise. "Not surprisingly, dispassionate intellectual David favoured the Next Generation's Picard, with his cool, thoughtful and diplomatic approach to intergalactic affairs," opined Robinson, speaking live from the Labour Conference. "By contrast, hot headed radical Ed preferred the two-fisted approach of the classic series' Captain Kirk, who believed that any problem, no matter how big, could be resolved by beaming down to a planet and engaging in a one-on-one fist fight with alien menaces, before sexually harassing a few female crew members."

Robinson alleged, on the basis of unattributed sources, that David Miliband's campaign team had been shocked when Ed started running his campaign in a Kirk-like manner. "Apparently he kept turning up at hustings surrounded by red-shirted security guards," he claimed, as Huw Edwards desperately tried to cut to another story. "He'd then overact outrageously during the debates, drawing attention away from David's carefully constructed arguments with his histrionics." In perhaps the most serious allegation, Robinson said that he had been told by somebody whose cousin's friend was there, that, during a leadership debate held at a local constituency party, Ed had deployed the 'Corbomite Manoeuvre'. "Unable to defeat his brother by means of reason, he threatened to explode if the older Miliband didn't withdraw from the debate," the dome headed political commentator insisted on telling the studio, in spite of Huw Edward's desperate hand gestures to wind up the item. "Astoundingly, it worked!"

Having finally defeated David in the leadership election, Ed apparently added insult to injury by explaining his victory to his brother with the words: "The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the one." Robinson contended that this quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, dashed any lingering possibility of David standing for election to the new Shadow Cabinet and becoming Spock to Ed's Kirk. "Sources close to David have told me that he's consoling himself with the knowledge that, in Star Trek: Generations, it is Picard's cool intellect, rather than Kirk's all-action approach, which finally won the day," Robinson concluded, much to Edwards' relief. The BBC correspondent's claims have been roundly denied by spokespersons for both Miliband brothers, who claimed that both brothers were actually Doctor Who fans. "Ah, but isn't it true that David favours the measured approach of William Hartnell, whilst Ed prefers the more flamboyant approach of Venusian martial-arts expert Jon Pertwee?" responded Robinson, who has rejected charges of trivialising the entire Labour leadership race by persistently presenting inconsequential tittle-tattle about the Milibands as political comment.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wrong Miliband?

I cannot deny that, if I'd voted in the Labour leadership election, (which I didn't, as I'm not currently a party member and the union I belong to is non-affiliated), I would probably have voted for the other Miliband, rather than the eventual winner, Ed. My reasoning was based on the fact that David had greater political experience, plus the support of the parliamentary party, in addition to having demonstrated great organisational skills during his leadership campaign, all of which I believed would be essential if Labour is to make a quick return to power. His brother's relative lack of experience, I felt, could be a handicap when engaging with political operators like Cameron. So, on the face of it, I might be expected to now be saying that the Labour Party elected the wrong Miliband. However, unlike many doomsayers I encountered on line in the wake of the leadership result, I believe in giving a man a fair chance. Indeed, some of the reactions to Ed's election reminded me of the knee-jerk reactions I heard to the news that Daniel Craig was to be the new James Bond, or that Matt Smith was to replace David Tennant as Doctor Who. Both actors were condemned as a disaster by some, long before either had shot a scene in their new roles. But funnily enough, they've both worked out pretty well.

So, will Ed Miliband turn out the same way? I have to say that, after seeing him speak at the conference this afternoon I'm reassured, if not exactly inspired. I liked a lot of what he was saying. He seems to understand the need for change and appears to have a firm grasp of what the Labour Party is meant to be about. But aside from the content of his speech, what I was most impressed by was how quietly passionate and, indeed, charismatic he seemed. Only last night, I had the misfortune to be forced to listen to some ignorant pub bore going on about how uncharismatic and lacking in personality Ed was. As I've given up arguing with pub bores, (life really is too short), I didn't note that, as he hadn't yet heard Miliband make any kind of major speech or policy announcement, he was hardly in a position to judge his character traits. Mind you, as this pub bore is another of those parochial, small minded self employed pillocks I have the misfortune to keep running into, I doubt that today's speech will have changed his mind. I just wish that his ilk would have the courage to just come out and admit that they're Tories. Anyway, getting back to the point (more or less), the other bore he was talking to, (the notorious 'Ted' I've mentioned here before), came out with the astounding assertion that he had no time for either of the Milibands or Ed Balls because they were 'professional politicians - they went straight from university into politics and have never done a proper days work in their lives'. That's rather like denouncing your GP for being a 'professional Doctor' - he went straight from medical school into medicine without doing a real day's work! I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have my life in the hands of professionals than amateurs and dilettantes. It's one of the great myths peddled by the ignorant that our politicians would be 'better' at their jobs if they'd spent years doing something else before they became MPs. I really don't think that Brown and Blair's time as barristers made them better politicians, any more than Mrs Thatcher's time working for an ice cream company, or David Cameron's time as a PR man for Carlton TV have any relevance to the business of running the country. Overhearing this type of conversation just leaves me thinking 'my God - they actually let these people vote?' But, getting back to the new Labour leader - is he the wrong Miliband? On today's showing, maybe not.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

On The Beach 3: Going Coastal

Finally - the last of my holiday films! This one takes us back to the beach featured in 'Another Beach, Another Walk', this time with the tide out:

For the driving sequences, the camera was mounted on the dashboard, rather than on the passenger seat headrest, as in the previous film. Whilst this gives a better view of the road ahead, it meant that the camera lens was so close to the windscreen that the filaments of the heating system can clearly be seen in the glass, (it gives the impression that there's an interference pattern on these film sequences). Next time, it will be back to the seat mount for the camera.

For those interested, the pipe spewing water into the sea is actually the outlet of a river tributary - the main body of the river empties into the sea through a larger pipe running under the approach road. These outlets contribute to the strong currents swimmers are warned about on the beach.

Finally, the ship seen passing in the background toward the end is the MV Eddystone, a roll on, roll off heavy lift vessel that can be used as a military transport in wartime.

So, there you have it: my holiday encapsulated in nine films, each running under three minutes. Obviously, I did a lot more than is chronicled in the films, but they give you the photogenic bits!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Suicide Exchange

With growing calls for so-called 'suicide chat rooms' - where the depressed, despairing and Goths go to discuss the best methods of killing themselves and form 'suicide pacts' - to be closed down, one internet entrepreneur is proposing to instead replace them with 'suicide exchanges'. "Just committing suicide is so negative and selfish," opines Terry Trapwitt. "I mean, it's all about you - apart from ending your own life and making a few close relatives and friends upset for a while, what does it achieve? Who is going to remember even a few days after the event, let alone a few years?" Trapwitt is proposing a scheme which will allow the suicidal to ensure that their demise has further reaching consequences than simply delaying the 8.15 Woking to Waterloo train they throw themselves in front of, and making several hundred commuters late for work. "You can only commit suicide once - so make it count," he told the press as he unveiled the 'Suicide Exchange'. "We guarantee to put the suicidal in touch with some of the world's top terrorist organisations. Don't just take an overdose, when you could instead be strapping on several pounds of explosives and blowing up a bus in Jerusalem."

Defending his scheme against allegations of bad taste, Trapwitt insists that he is providing a genuine service for the suicidal. "Suicide is such a sad, lonely event, we're just trying to ensure that these poor souls don't die alone," he explains. "Not only that, but they won't be forgotten for a very long time. What greater statement could you possibly make with your own death?" He also argues that the 'Suicide Exchange' will provide the suicidal with a last chance to travel and make new friends. "These people are generally sad bastards, at least this way they get a final few months of relative happiness," he says. "All of our clients will inevitably insist that the would be suicide bombers attend training camps in Afghanistan or the Middle East, where they'll get to mix with like-minded fanatics. Some of the friendships they make there will be lifelong." Trapwitt also believes that the 'Suicide Exchange' will help the relatives of the suicides with their grieving process. "Hell, all these suicide bombers record video messages where they explain themselves," he declares. "Surely that's better than some hastily scribbled suicide note?"


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Black Magic

An Essex pensioner is claiming that he has been subjected to a sustained campaign of racially motivated terror. "It's ever since the council elections - those darkies have had it in for me! I swear they've been using their heathen voodoo to make my life a misery," says sixty-six year old Eric Clecker, the recently elected White British Bastards Party councillor for Basildon South Central West. "It all started the day after I got voted in - I stepped out my front door to find a dead pigeon on my path - we all know that's a voodoo warning!" Worse was to follow, as Clecker found himself gripped by a series of inexplicable pains and illnesses, which reached a crescendo one evening as he returned home from his local pub. "I'd only had a couple of pints and one of Bert the landlord's past-their-sell-by-date pies," he recalls. "But a couple of streets from my house, I was suddenly gripped by the most terrible abdominal pains. Even though I was doubled up with pain, I managed to stagger as far as my front door, but before I could open it, I let go both ends. It was bloody humiliating!" There was no let up from the voodoo attacks, as, for several days after this incident, Clecker found himself afflicted with splitting headaches, disorientation and incontinence. "I was completely bedridden and unable to fulfil my civic duties," he says. "If it hadn't been for the dead pigeon, I'd have put it down to food poisoning." Clecker then recalled that, shortly before the attacks, he's visited his local barber for a haircut. "I remembered that he'd had this black kid sweeping up," he says. "Obviously, he must have taken some of my hair clippings to his local voodoo witch doctor to make a doll with. The bastards must have been sticking pins in it!"

Although the voodoo attacks abruptly stopped, Clecker's ordeal was only just beginning. "It was then that the bloody drums started," he alleges. "Every night - they just kept on banging out their infernal rhythm - it was like they were trying to summon some evil voodoo spirit!" Indeed, Clecker is convinced that they succeeded. "I was watching the telly one night - I had the volume up loud to drown out the drumming - when I glanced up and saw this hideous face pressed against the living room window! I nearly shat myself again!" he explains. "I swear it was the face of a huge black ape. I don't mean some big darkie bastard, mind. I mean an actual ape! I tell you, the pure evil and hatred I saw in its eyes chilled me to the bone!" Although the ape vanished from the window,, leaving no physical trace, this wasn't to be the last the pensioner was to see of it. "A couple of nights later I was in bed when it appeared at my bedroom window," he claims. "It smashed its arm through the glass and tried to grab me! Luckily, I was too quick and managed to leg it to the bathroom, where I barricaded myself into the airing cupboard for the rest of the night!" Two days later, the gorilla returned and tried to break down Clecker's front door. "It was broad bloody daylight! I called the police, but by the time they arrived, he'd vanished again", says Clecker. "Of course, the neighbors all denied having seen anything at all!" Clecker is convinced that the source of the crazed drumming which accompanied the supernatural ape's appearances was a local gospel church. "Everybody knows about the shenanigans which goes on in those places," declares the pensioner. "Christian worship my arse - it's all animal sacrifices, topless dancing and copulation! Anyway, I went over there and had words with their so-called minister. I haven't had any ape trouble since!"

The minister in question, the Reverend Horatio Smith, denies that either his church or, indeed, any of the local Afro-Carribean community, have been involved in any kind of voodoo campaign against Clecker. "That racist git - I don't know about voodoo attacks, with the kind of ill-informed bile he keeps spouting, I'm only surprised that someone hasn't physically attacked him," he says. "He came over here shouting all kinds of filthy nonsense about monkeys and bongos - it was very offensive!" Clecker, who describes himself as an old-school bigot - "I believe in calling a spade a nig nog, I won't have any truck with this non-racial right-wing anti-immigration bollocks the BNP promotes," - is adamant that the voodoo threat won't deter him from continuing to speak his mind on racial issues. "Look, everybody knows these black bastards are a bunch of savages interested only in stealing our women and dancing wildly to hot jungle rhythms," he opines. "I've got first-hand experience of their primitive antics - a few years ago my mate Ted's wife ran off with this darkie bloke, bewitched by his voodoo magic, no doubt. Anyway, Ted went round to his house to remonstrate with him - we never saw Ted again! When I went there looking for him, I saw this huge cooking pot boiling away on full gas, blood on the doorstep and one of Ted's teeth in the gutter! Of course the police did nothing about it!" The police contradict Clecker's version of events, stating that they have fully investigated all of his claims, concluding that his friend Ted had fled Basildon after a violent altercation with a West Indian man whose front door he was trying to kick in, and is currently shacked up with a woman named Chantelle in Colchester. "As for the voodoo drums and ape, well, we can only assume that Mr Clecker became confused after falling asleep in front of a late night TV showing of low-budget British racist classic The Curse of Simba, which involves a voodoo curse in Surrey," said a police spokesperson. "Although we concede this could be unlikely, as the film is little seen due to the fact that it probably contravenes both the race relations act and good taste."


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In The Forest

Another episode in the ongoing saga of my recent holiday. (Don't worry folks, this is the penultimate one). This one chronicles - in under three minutes - a day in the New Forest.

Despite what the film implies, the two main locations are several miles apart: you really can't access the bridge and river through that gate - that's actually somebody's garden behind it. Similarly, the car park the car drives away from at the end is different to the one it parks in at the beginning, (that one is yet another location, unrelated to the others). Oh, and the reason for the lengthy theme music playing over the driving sequences is that I had the radio on whilst shooting them. The music is there to cover up the songs playing on the radio, thereby avoiding possible copyright issues. All in all, I don't think it turned out too badly.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Jiggery Popery

It's nice to know that the Pope thinks I'm a dangerous subversive, threatening the moral fabric of modern society. Yes, I'm one of those atheist secularists he was railing about on his recent visit to the UK. A visit that I - as a taxpayer - subsidised, incidentally. It's bad enough having religious fanatics ranting at me, but I find it doubly galling when it turns out that I'm paying for the privilege. The level of intolerance for any perspective which a reasonable person might describe as 'progressive', shown by Pope Benedict during his visit simply reinforced my aversion to religion. It's knee-jerk reactionaries like him who remind us of just why this country rejected Catholicism. After having to put up with wall-to-wall coverage of his offensive bile, thanks to the news media who seemed to conveniently forget that the Pope is not the UK's spiritual leader, I'm left wishing that Good Queen Bess had burned a few more of the bastards at the stake. And that's the really sad thing - that the Pope's visit has left me with such extreme feelings toward the Roman Catholic church and religion generally. Despite being a non-believer, I've always tried to be tolerant of the beliefs of others, defending their right to worship and genuinely trying understand something of their faith. Pope Benedict has made clear that such attitudes aren't reciprocated. He rails against 'aggressive atheists', but what does he expect when he and his ilk demonstrate such arrogant disregard for our beliefs, (or rather, lack of beliefs)?

Perhaps most offensive amongst his remarks was the assertion that it was thanks to secularists and atheists that the Nazis came to power in Germany. So responsibility for the holocaust lies with us non-believers, eh? Of course, it's perfectly possible to argue that the opposite was true, that the casual anti-semitism promulgated by both the Catholic church and Lutherans in inter-war Germany, created an environment in which Nazism could thrive. Moreover, I'm willing to bet that there were far more Christians (of all denominations) in Germany during the Nazi regime than there were atheists. Let's face it, most of those German soldiers marching across Europe were , at least nominally, Christians, as were the SS men who massacred prisoners and civilians, and the Gestapo officers who victimised Jews, the mentally ill, communists, even catholics, sending them to concentration camps. Oh, and the SS guards at those camps probably went to church on Sundays, as did the politicians and ordinary Germans who all enabled the Nazi regime. But none of that means that the Roman Catholic church supported the Nazis, or even inspired their regime. Such arguments are far too simplistic - just like the Pope's crass attempts to equate atheism with fascism. Most incredibly, the visit ended with our pathetic excuse for a Prime Minister fawningly telling us that the Pope had all given us something to think about. He certainly did - I'm thinking of going out and burning a few priests at the stake...

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bloody Foreigners...

"That's why they don't go to Poland - the Poles don't pay them any benefits like we do," opined a representative from the UK Kick Me in The Head Please Because I'm a Moron Party the other day during an item on my local BBC news programme about illegal immigration. Ah, so that's why they flood here from Afghanistan, is it? (He was actually quite specific about the 'they' in question being Afghans). Just so that they can claim our allegedly over-generous social security benefits. There was me thinking it might have something to do with the fact that we'd invaded and fucked up their country, thereby rendering them homeless and forcing them to become refugees. But obviously I'm wrong. Just as I'm wrong about the fact that refugees and immigrants tend to target the UK rather that, say Poland, is that there's work here, rather than in, say, Poland. Indeed, that's probably the reason lots of Poles came to the UK - for work they couldn't find in Poland. Of course, there are plenty of unscrupulous employers in the UK who effectively encourage the illegals, as they provide them with a source of cheap labour. Unlike, say, the Poles, they can get away with paying illegals well below the minimum wage. After all, who can they complain to? This is what really irritates me about the asinine 'debate' on immigration the media keeps engaging in: it tries to divert attention away from the fact that illegal immigrants are frequently victims twice over. Forced to flee their own countries, whether as a result of conflict persecution, natural disasters or economic pressure, only to find themselves ruthlessly exploited at their destination. Add to this the fact that this 'debate' inevitably fails to mention that the crises forcing these people from their homes usually has its origins in the developed world, and it becomes painfully clear that it is little more than crude, borderline racist, political propaganda.

But it isn't just illegal immigrants who are in the firing line. I was depressed to find a thread on my town's local message board expressing hostility toward our local Polish community. Once again, it was based upon ignorance and bigotry, focusing on the 'fact' that Polish workers here were tacking up a disproportionate amount of NHS resources. Well, bearing in mind that the Poles are paying tax here, they're as entitled as anyone else to use the NHS. Indeed, there is an upper limit on the amount of free at source medical care they (or any other migrant workers) can claim, depending upon the level of contribution they've made. After that, they could be charged. It's the same with unemployment benefit - you can claim it in any EU country, I believe, but the host country is reimbursed by the claimant's home country. However, what offends me most about this anti-Polish feeling is the fact that it displays a terrible ignorance of our country's history. It isn't just bigots on message boards who are guilty of this - in all the fuss being made over the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, our 'Finest Hour', I don't once recall mention being made of the significant number of foreign pilots who fought in 1940 for the RAF. These included two squadrons of Poles, who fought with distinction, many at the cost of their own lives. In fact, the Free Polish Forces made a huge contribution to the UK's war effort, fighting in the Western Desert, Italy and France. And we still didn't manage to liberate Poland for them. But clearly I'm wrong in thinking we might just owe them something. As always in the UK, we're happy to let foreigners spill their blood for us, just so long as they don't expect to live here.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Instant Gratification

So, how has Google Instant been for you? I have to confess that I've switched it off - I found the constantly shifting list of results confusing and irritating. I honestly don't see the point: I know what search term I'm going to put in, so it was bad enough when Google started trying to predict that from the first few letters you typed. Bringing up search results on a letter by letter basis is doubly pointless. For me, Google Instant is just another manifestation of what's wrong with Google these days - it has completely lost sight of what web searching is actually about. What the average user wants are results relevant to their search. They don't want the search engine trying to second guess them, or serve up results based on what 'it' thinks are 'interesting' or 'important'. Contrary to what Google's executives currently seem to think, many of us actually do want to see many sites giving us the same sort of information in their results. That's what we were searching for: a variety of sources, hopefully giving a number of different perspectives and interpretations of the subject we were researching.

But that's just me speaking as a Google search user. Speaking as a site owner, I have to say that the first few days of Google Instant seem to have given my traffic a modest boost. Now, I have to admit that I'm not one hundred percent certain that Google Instant is the only factor behind this recent rise in visitors. I also posted a new story on Sunday evening, which also attracted some traffic, but an examination of my stats seems to show that it hasn't been the main source of traffic over the past few days. Obviously, this boost could prove as transitory as previous increases, but I find it interesting that something which has been characterised as a harbinger of doom in SEO circles - Google Instant - appears, in practice, to have had the opposite effect on traffic than has been predicted by many 'experts'. Whilst 'Mayday' might have been a disaster for me in traffic terms, perhaps the advent of Google Instant might provide a partial solution.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Defence of Imaginary Friends

Have you ever noticed how imaginary friends are inevitably portrayed as being either a symptom of mental illness or sinister supernatural presences. I'm not just talking about horror films here, even soap operas fall prey to these stereotypes. Take Home and Away, for instance. Earlier this year they ran a lengthy story line in which school teacher Miles struck up a friendship with a young girl that, it transpired, only he could see and hear. Now, not only was his imaginary friend characterised as being a symptom of Miles' stress-related mental breakdown but, at times, a sinister motive for her actions was implied. Although to Miles she always seemed benign, the overall impression given by the story line was that imaginary friends, particularly when seen by thirty something men, are a 'bad' thing. Now, I'd beg to differ on this issue. In my experience, imaginary friends are perfectly harmless, not to mention normal. The key thing, of course, is that we recognise that they are only imaginary, not real.

I was put in mind of this whilst talking to the older of my great nieces the other day. I was telling her how, when I was around her age, I'd hidden in a clothes basket, when it occurred to me that was a pretty foolish thing to tell a child of not quite four years old. Worried that she'd try to emulate my idiotic exploits, with disastrous consequences, I emphasised that under no circumstances should she hide in clothes, or any similar, baskets. Her response was that she wouldn't, but her imaginary friend might. But that was alright, as said friend was just imaginary and therefore couldn't really hurt themselves. It struck me that if even a child of my great niece's tender years is able to distinguish the essential differences between real and imaginary people, then there really can't be anything terribly unhealthy about imaginary friends. Now, you are probably thinking that it's all very well to not be worried about a small child having imaginary friends, but surely it isn't unreasonable for adults who have them to be portrayed as mentally ill?

Well, not necessarily. Whilst imaginary friends, in their purest sense of being non-existent entities seen as being external to ourselves, do tend to be things we grow out of as we leave childhood, in a broader sense, they're always with us. We, all of us, have an internal monologue running continuously in our heads, evaluating situations, commenting on people and events, weighing up the pros and cons of decisions. Whilst we like to refer to this as a 'monologue' and perceive it as being the purest expression of our 'self', in truth, it more frequently like a dialogue. I know I can only speak for myself here, but I'm frequently posing questions in my interior 'monologue', questions which are subsequently answered internally. But exactly who am I asking, and who is replying? Obviously, the answer to both questions is 'me'. But it is as if, temporarily, the mind is able to 'split' the self into two separate entities for the purpose of carrying on this internal 'dialogue'. Which is perfectly logical - we'd be constantly 'talking' to ourselves otherwise, wouldn't we? Now, that really would be insane!

Indeed, over the years, I've been very grateful for the presence of my internal imaginary friend - some of the most interesting conversations I've had have been with myself. It really has stopped me from going crazy. The fact is, though, that imaginary friends of all types are actually far superior to 'real' ones. For one thing, as my great niece noted, they aren't subject to normal human frailties - they don't get ill or hungover and they are never offended by anything you say. They never let you down, either - they're always there for you. They're never disloyal, they always listen to what you are saying. They never interrupt. You can always be sure that there are never ulterior motives behind their friendship. So, lay off he imaginary friends. They're OK really.


Monday, September 13, 2010

To The Lighthouse

My holiday may be over, (it culminated somewhat randomly with a tiger hunt, courtesy of my great niece, but that's another story), but the films keep on coming. This one is from a couple of weeks ago, featuring a lighthouse and an old sea fort:

To the Lighthouse from Doc Sleaze on Vimeo.

As you can see, this one is slightly disjointed, mainly due to the fact that I found a fair amount of the footage I shot either 'underexposed' due to low light levels, or 'overexposed' as a result of the sun being so low in the sky, (I filmed a lot of it quite late in the afternoon). I cobbled together what I could salvage as best I could, but I can't help but feel that the fort got a bit short-changed, with lots of its features not properly highlighted by the finished film.

For those of you growing weary of my films, don't worry. There are only a couple more to come. I've got a load of footage taken in the New Forest that I'm trying to make some sense out of, and a return visit to the beach featured in 'Another Beach, Another Walk', this time at low tide and focusing on the main beach, rather than the D-Day relics. That said, as I found last year, having returned to work, I don't have as much time available to edit the footage down into films, so it could be a while before these last two see the light of day. In the longer term, I still have lots of unused footage I shot at random for some future hypothetical projects, which are, as yet, undefined. Meanwhile, it should be business as usual here tomorrow!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

End of Holiday Musings

With my holiday rapidly coming to an end, I'm left to reflect on how therapeutic a few weeks off of work can be. Not only have all the aches and pains I was suffering before I went on leave vanished, but I'm feeling much more relaxed and at peace with the world. Even my libido has returned. All of which just goes to confirm that the Ancient Greeks were right: work is a disutility; a curse placed upon man by the gods. Really, it's horrendous. And getting worse as the modern trend to try and 'de-skill' even clerical and managerial posts continues, and decision-making is ever more centralised into the hands of a few, mostly incompetent, senior managers, continues apace. I've come to the conclusion that there's no escaping it - even vocations traditionally seen as having a high degree of professional autonomy, such as teaching, or even medicine, are increasingly dominated by targets, rigid guide lines and prescribed procedures that can't be deviated from. Initiative is now reserved only for those at the top, not us mere minions.

Consequently, I've decided that work is just something that has to be endured. Deriving some kind of pleasure or even, God forbid, any sense of professional pride, is no longer an option. I increasingly understand why many people get so absorbed in their out of work activities. Whether it's voluntary work or just a hobby, these can be so much more satisfying. That's why I keep churning out material for The Sleaze and continue to maintain this blog - both provide me with a degree of creative satisfaction that few, if any, jobs could ever give me. The same applies to those bloody films I now turn out at a rate any Hollywood B-studio would envy. They also allow me a degree of autonomy and initiative work no longer allows the majority of us. These past few weeks have brought home to me exactly how much I detest my current employment. The problem is that I don't see any alternatives that will allow me me any greater level of job satisfaction. So, as of Monday, I'll just have to grit my teeth and endure it until the next period of leave I take.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Man Who Stalked Himself

Another one of my films, slightly different than usual, in that it has a storyline, of sorts and tries for a Dario Argento-type atmosphere. It also features some very bad acting on my part:

The Man Who Stalked Himself (Director's Cut) from Doc Sleaze on Vimeo.

In retrospect, I think perhaps I should have tried to differentiate the different versions of me in the film, one with a hat, one without, or something like that. That said, due to the fact that footage for this was shot over three separate sessions, you'll notice that in one scene I'm wearing a different coloured shirt...

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another Beach, Another Walk

The title of this film is self-explanatory, really. It's a sequel of sorts to last years 'A Walk on the Beach', although it's a completely different beach and the weather is much nicer. Anyway, enjoy:

Actually, perhaps some explanation is necessary. This particular beach was used during the D-Day preparations back in 1943-44. Not only were lots of troops and vehicles (including some of the DD Shermans) embarked on landing craft and ships here, but the Mulberry harbours were constructed on and launched from the beach. All that concrete I wander around are the remains of the stands where the Mulberrys were built, and some of the launching rails can also be seen.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

On The Ball

I got very frustrated with the news yesterday. First of all, I was surprised by a headline on Ceefax telling me that Wayne Rooney was to travel with the rest of the England squad to Switzerland for this week's international match. Why is that news? I asked myself - as far as I knew he wasn't injured. Upon reading the story, it simply reiterated that he would be travelling, adding that this was in spite of 'newspaper stories about his private life', without elaborating further. For God's sake, you can't bloody tease like that! If you are going to lead with a headline like that, at least have the bloody courtesy to tell us what these allegations are! I should add here that I very rarely read the Sunday papers and I was away from my broadband connection yesterday. In desperation I turned first to the BBC News Channel, then Sky News, in a desperate attempt to find out exactly what heinous crime Rooney was being accused of by the tabloids. However, both proved to be as coy as the original Ceefax story, cock-teasing me in their summary of upcoming stories, implying that they would elaborate on these 'allegations', then failing to do so. The bastards!

Consequently, I was left having to speculate on the nature of Rooney's misdemeanours. Bearing in mind that England were playing Switzerland next, I thought that maybe he had done something to offend the Swiss. Perhaps he had been photographed by the paparazzi drunkenly shagging a piece of underage Swiss cheese, I thought. Although, on the whole, that just didn't seem quite horrendous enough to jeopardise his place in the England line-up. Indeed, the FA could easily have explained such an incident away as being part of Capello's strategy for psychologically undermining the Swiss prior to the match. More likely, I mused, he's done something to upset the footballing hierarchy. Then it came to me - obviously, during a BBC interview he'd whacked off into a bag of Walker's Crisps, then shaken them up, before offering them to England football legend, top BBC pundit and Walker's Crisps salesman Gary Lineker. If that didn't upset Gary 'Mr Nice' Lineker, nothing would, I reasoned. An outside possibility, I reckoned, was that a tabloid had named Rooney as William Hague's 'bit of rough' on the side. Anyway, when I finally got home last night, I eagerly switched on my laptop and looked up 'Rooney scandal' on the web. To my disappointment, it turned out that all he was accused of doing was cheating on his wife with a prostitute. I mean, that's hardly news, is it? Now, if it turns out the prostitute he was shagging was under the age of sixty, that might just be a story...

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Fool on Another Hill

Another day, another one of my films. I'm actually quite proud of the editing in some parts of this one, it's some of the most complex I've attempted so far. Anyway, on with the film:

It's amazing how the atmosphere of something like this can so easily be changed by the choice of background music. The ominous piano tones give this one a real Hammer movies feel, despite the fact that nothing actually happens. The music is from the same source as the previous film. For what it's worth, the location is considered to be one of the country's great follies.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hague Convention

Back in the realm of 'truth imitating fiction' today, I got home from some more holiday-related travels this evening to find a report on the news that an aide to William Hague had resigned amid allegations that he had had an 'improper relationship' with the Foreign Secretary. Consequently, Hague was forced to deny he was gay and that his marriage wasn't a sham. Ironically, I once ended up rewriting a story for The Sleaze to remove similar implications about Hague. In fact, many years ago, when Hague was still Tory leader, I did actually run a watered-down version of the story, which was basically a load of innuendo about Hague's then well-publicised interest in martial arts, implying, none too subtly, that it was all homoerotic. Anyway, I got cold feet about the story and never bothered archiving it. Last year I came across it again and decided that some of the gags, and the basic idea of sex-based martial art, still had potential. I did toy with the idea of doing a light rewrite simply to reflect the fact that Hague was by then shadow Foreign Secretary. However, I still had reservations about libelling him with the unproven homosexuality innuendo.

So, I ended up tearing the story apart and re-assembling it as Wild Man of Westminster, with David Cameron as the protagonist and all implications of homosexuality removed. I quite liked the result, although it was met with the usual indifference which seems to greet all political satire stories these days. Now I'm left wondering what I was worried about! It seems that as long as you claim it is 'news', you can repeat just about any tittle-tattle concerning public figures you like. Just as long as you then add that it's 'merely rumour'. Still, I am getting a bit fed up with my stories apparently becoming the basis for real life. How dare they? Whoever 'they' are. It's all a conspiracy, I tell you! Mind you, with this government in power, it seems that nothing I can come up with is any more ludicrous than the policies they devise on a daily basis, let alone the 'scandals'. What next, David Cameron's secret past as a male gigolo? Ken Clarke's career in porn? You really can't rule anything out.

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