Monday, 21 February 2011

Virgin: Leave Our House Alone

The latest blight upon our delicate British eyes is a travesty of an advert from Virgin, who have taken the lyrics to 'Our House' by Madness and used them as a painful spoken word piece that takes all the joy out of those delightfully arranged words.

While it's nice that Madness will be getting some cash every time the thing is shown, it adds yet another example of a classic song being shafted roughly up the alley by some dull cover (that twee piano version of 'Sweet Child O' Mine' still makes me break out in a cold sweat).

The whole advert would have been better served by actually playing the damn song, not some cursed 'Inspirational' voiceover with a regional accent. The visuals are nice and quite to the point, but the use of the audio just makes me want to take a lathe to my own ears. The song itself is far more 'English' than the swell of strings and the forced dialect that ended up on our screens a million times a day.

Although, a condom advert with 'House of Fun' over it would be brilliant.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Busy Little Hack

Hey all, apologies for the lack of posts this week. I've been in meetings about an awesome new project that is now underway and will be announced shortly. It would seem that my old hobby of comic art has garnered me some very cool work indeed, and I'll be telling you all the details about it very soon.

It has to do with the city I'm living in now- Nottingham - and a certain legendary outlaw. My time this week has thus been split between meetings, working on images for this project (which is, in all seriousness, going to be quite a big thing, and my first legit work as a comic artist and writer), working on new material for the magazine and putting in my time at the dayjob which is giving me so much pleasure at the moment. If you're curious as to what that is, I run an increasingly popular and lovely coffee house/cafe in the heart of the city.

In other news; My two current novellas, DEAD THING and PROJECT HAYWIRE, will be published soon via Lulu and my own Damn Nation Media imprint. These books are currently being finished up and revised.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

X-Men: First Class Teaser Trailer Arrives

Fox have revealed the first trailer for X-Men: First Class via their Facebook page and YouTube, giving us our first real look at how this film will play out. See it below!

My initial reaction is one of huge relief, as this looks much better than previously expected, and I'm very pleased that it looks like Fox still see the other X-Men films as canon (going by the structure of this trailer). I look forward to checking out some dialogue from characters other than Charles and Erik in the next trailer, but for now this has certainly caused me to rethink my previous negative feelings towards this particular project. I hope the movie delivers on the promise shown here!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ten Atrocities Of The Modern Age

There are some wonderful things around right now in the world. Wonderful technological advances, delightful foods from around the world and all manner of cultural morsels that perfectly capture the here and now. Then there are the other things, aspects of the modern age that make me cringe, that encourage me to seethe and fume, swear and flail in incoherent rage.

These things really shouldn't bug me so much, what with me being a sane, rational person and all, but they do. Below are listed ten hideous examples of the tat that pollutes the modern age. By no means a comprehensive list of everything that is wrong with the world, it is a snapshot of the present, and could also be seen as a list of ways to make me angry. Believe me, a seething bald comic geek isn't something anyone wants to see, so do tread with caution.

Plastic shoes that look like they're intended for giant gnomes? Horrible, horrible things. They're ugly, impractical and, well, ugly and impractical. They make the wearer look like they have their foot stuck in some duplo. A blight upon humanity.


This autotune-soaked bag lady has all the musicality of a post-curry fart. That's to say, damp, lengthy and vile. She is apparently aiming at a long career with a future as a singer-songwriter. Hmm. I give it six months before the inevitable sex tape surfaces and bumps up her plummeting sales before she's dropped by her label and ends up doing PAs in scabby little clubs.


"But it's so GOOD!" squeal the faithful. "But it introduces so many people to classic music!" yell the devoted. "But it's so WHOLESOME!" cry the target demographic. Glee is karaoke with some token minority characters added as a big, cynical marketing ploy. The whole thing is about as believable as the lip-synching. It is essentially the Saved By The Bell of the 2010s, minus the benefits of Screech or Mario Lopez' mullet.

Sweet Chilli Everything
I like sweet chilli. I like the taste of it. I just don't approve of the way it has been inserted into everything under the sun of late. What next, sweet chilli body spray? Sweet Chilli washing up liquid? Why not go the whole hog and get some sweet chilli shower gel?


The word 'Jeggings', much like 'Chillax' and 'Guesstimate' makes my blood boil far more than it should. After all, these things are a temporary fad at best. Soon enough they'll go the same way that stonewashed denim waistcoats went- down the waste disposal of bad taste. Hopefully with the wearers still inside them.

Celebrity Autobiographies
Celebrity autobiographies are wonderful when they're by people that have actually had a career to write about. Check the shelves of your local bookshop- they are lined with books by fascinating people, but a growing number of them are by people who have either contributed nothing of worth to modern culture (Reality show contestants, Katie f**king Price) or are far too young to have actually done enough to fill a book (Justin f**king Bieber). Such is fame. You have to be old before you've had a chance to be young.

Hipsters With No Socks On

It's not big and it's not clever. Guys have been wandering the streets of the UK all winter with half a haircut, flimsy sand shoes, low-cut t-shirts, cardigans and NO SOCKS. I realize how old this makes me sound, but you're going to catch your death, you twee little hipster bastards. And no, your 'ironic' beard won't keep you warm. It just makes you look like the pompous, tasteless little twats that you clearly are.

PS: Stop pretending you know who The Smiths are.

Orange People

Fake tan has apparently replaced personalities in a lot of people. It astounds me that you can actually go to places where you pay money to be sprayed with orange paint in order to look like a giant Oompah Loompah in the name of fashion. You don't look sexy. You look like the middle of a Jaffa cake wrapped around some raw meat. It's not convincing at all, and only serves to make you easier to spot when the inevitable zombie apocalypse/alien invasion happens. Run, meat targets- run!

Cheryl Cole

The single most pointless individual on the face of the planet aside from Jimmy Carr, Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Little Miss Perfect is like a blister that just won't pop and sod off. A voiceless, airbrushed personality vacuum, she has built a career on being a violent thug and easy to cheat on. Hmmm, great role model for kids eh?


Facebook is rife with this. Hell, the WORLD is spattered with the misuse of the English language. fair enough if it's not your first language, I can understand typos there, but when you are brought up English or English speaking, there's no excuse at all for getting these words the wrong way around.

Their structure makes perfect sense, and seriously, it's not that hard to find the apostrophe key. Example: ''''''''''''''''. See? Or r u 2 busy sayin stuf lyk dis? Quick, stop trying to be orange while listening to Cheryl Cole, eating your sweet chilli turtle face sandwiches, wearing Crocs and Jeggings and leafing through your monosyllabic celebrity books and learn how to use your own language without sounding like you're typing with your knees.


Friday, 4 February 2011

Captain America Movie Poster Revealed

So here's the first official image poster for the Captain America movie (aka Captain America: The First Avenger or The First Avenger: Captain America, depending where you are and what you read). After not being all that excited by what I'd seen about the film thus far, this poster and the growing reports that director Joe Johnston has worked his magic (Rocketeer FTW!!!) are getting me stoked.

I really hope that the hype turns out to be accurate and we get a real Captain America story set in his native era (WW2) and then a final act that sees him frozen and awoken in the modern age. The stills that have been emerging look very promising, and Joe is the perfect choice of director.

I hope that Chris Evans has done such an iconic character justice. I know he was the Human Torch, but Cap is one of the heavy hitters in the Marvel Universe. I think we're in for a damn fine film, whether you share the patriotism or not. The poster is cool, although I think it says a lot that we aren't seeing Cap in the helmet in the promos yet, as it's more than a little cheesy.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Comicbook Orange: Eagerly Awaiting Series Six

(Photo by Lan Bui)

Something that evokes a sense of longing whenever I update my Podcast list in iTunes is that there is yet to be any new episodes of 'A Comicbook Orange', the marvellous show all about comics, the creators and the industry, hosted by the always entertaining Casey McKinnon.

Casey certainly knows her stuff and has a passion for the medium, and the show features some truly astounding interviews. Here are two examples of why, if you're a comics fan, you should really subscribe, and check out the previous episodes while we wait for the show to return.

Interview with Brian Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim creator)

Interview with Felicia Day (Actress/The Guild creator)

And you should certainly visit too.

Social Commerce: Actually a Pretty Good Idea

Marketing and advertising is changing thanks to the shifting tastes of social media, and the term that is big right now is Social Commerce.

This is basically advertising to individuals based on what their friends and family have bought, displayed via a widget or suchlike linked to various social media entities such as Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.

While stuff like Blippy still scares the backside off me, I think Social Commerce is a pretty good idea.

I mean, the approval of people you know and trust is definitely going to have more clout than some faceless advert, and while it may initially seem a bit creepy for your friends' faces to appear on every site you go on, peering at you from beneath ads, I think it'll be a positive thing for consumers as well as businesses.

It's early days yet, and I'm naturally concerned about how this data could be exploited for negative purposes, but we may well be seeing the start of the next stage of online integration into our daily lives and habits.