‘2017’

It is always difficult to sum up a year, so how do you briefly sum up a year like 2017? Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as 2016 – not quite, anyway. There were no catastrophes like Brexit or the election of Trump; and although the tories were re-elected, it was with a greatly reduced majority. I suppose things could be worse.

And although my prediction that neither trump nor Brexit would last the year proved too optimistic in the end, I still can’t see either stupidity lasting that much longer. I still have faith that, eventually, good sense will win the day. The only question is, how much damage will be done before that happens?

More personally, highlights of my year included continuing to make films, as well as going to see Greenday in July wilt Lyn. Meeting Danny Boyle this summer is something I will never forget; the kind of event which reminds me just how absolutely awesome life can get. I still love the 2012 olympic opening ceremony, especially Happy and Glorious, so to meet the guy behind it after obsessing over it so much, was utterly, utterly incredible. Our trip to Poland in july ruled too, and I also managed to get a couple of short films made this year, which I’m really proud of.

It has also been a year where I have posted a blog entry every day. I tried to do this last year, but a technical glitch caused a gap of one day in my archive (13 November). That kind of got on my nerves, so I made the effort to keep going, and I’m glad to say that my second attempt has proven successful. It wasn’t always easy, and I realise that some days I may have been just posting for the sake of it, but it was something which I really wanted to accomplish, if just for accomplishment’s sake.

What 2018 will bring I do not know, but Lyn and I already have a few plans in the works. I think there’s cause to be optimistic: as I say, surely all the current stupidity in the world can’t go on much longer. Besides, there is still so much fun to be had.

With that, I wish everyone reading this a very happy new year.

A speaking dream come true

I think I just need to congratulate Lyn today, on doing her first online radio show where she uses a speech app. Lyn has been doing online radio for a while now, but usually just plays music interspersed with jingles. Last night she did a show where she spoke directly to her audience using her Ipad. I think that is awesome, not just for Lyn but more generally in terms of communication aid users. It’s quite a step; it increases our visibility and demonstrates we can access any medium and art-form where you need to use your voice. On Facebook, L says that she had fulfilled a dream which she had thought to be impossible, but Lyn is one of those people who quite regularly demonstrate that nothing is impossible.

Seen it! (on the sofa)

Casino Royale was on TV last night, so I’d thought I’d giveit a watch. I still think it’s one of the great Bond films. As I watched it, sitting on the sofa, I thought back to the day, now over ten years ago, when I persuaded Charlie and Tony to drive me from the MMU campus in Alsager to the cinema in Stoke so I could see it. C was my PA, but Tony was just a good friend. He wasthe one with a car though, so I felt very grateful that he would do such a thing out of pure kindness. Mind you, I think they both wanted to see it too.

That seems like a lifetime ago now. The university campus in Alsager no longer exists, and my friends have all gone their separate ways. I still remember how excited I was, though, having seen it, as my friends drove me back to campus: the film’s ending had simply blown me away and made me giddy with glee. I must have been like an excited child after a sugary sweet, being guided home by his concerned parents. Watching the very same ending last night took me back to that moment, as Tony and Charlotte drove me back to the university dorm room which would prove so formative for me, now over a decade ago.

It made me wonder how my friends were, after all this time. Time moves inevitably on, and it feels like so much has changed. The film I wanted to go to see in the cinema so urgently is now just something one watches casually of an evening, before going to bed. Charlie now teaches and performs music; Tony I’m not sure about. For me, the peaceful paths of that pleasant rural campus have morphed into the labyrinthine roads of a vast metropolis. Where the window by my computer once looked out over football and hockey pitches, now I look out onto a road and countless houses beyond. If someone had told the guy who went to see that film ten years ago where I’d be now, I doubt he would have believed them. So much has happened since then too: I have so many more memories and experienced so many more things that perhaps I’m not quite the same naive innocent person I was then. Yet the two moments, one in Stoke and the other last night in Charlton, were drawn into one by a moment of film. That surely is one of the powers of film.

Another year will soon draw to an end, and a fresh one will begin. With all the promise that heralds – or otherwise, on the political level – one must always remember what has been before. Wherever my friends are right now – all of them – I hope they are happy and enjoying theirselves, and that they have an awesome 2018.

voters starting to abandon Labour over Brexit

I’m starting to think that Labour needs a new leader. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent, principled man, and I agree with a lot of what he says, but the problem is his Brexit stance. As the reality of brexit becomes clearer by the day, Labour, as opposition, should be advocating giving the people a chance to change their minds. More and more Labour backbenchers are calling for it, but Corbyn is resisting. According to this Guardian article, a recent poll has found growing numbers of voters could abandon Labour over it.

I get the impression that Corbyn is secretly pro-Brexit, for whatever reason; but that could be his undoing. People are realising what a disaster Brexit is turning out to be, and what the implications will be for their rights. Labour should side with the people, and start calling for them to get an opportunity to reverse this right-wing stupidity. Isn’t that what oppositions are supposed to do, after all? And if Labour’s current leader won’t do that, perhaps the party should elect a leader who will. Public opinion is turning against brexit in a big way, and the opposition has a duty to pick up on that.

Self-importance and arrogance beyond words

From what I’ve been reading on the various Facebook channels, Farage has apparently thrown an almighty strop that Nick Clegg has been knighted, but he hasn’t. While I know Clegg isn’t completely without criticism, especially given he propped up a coalition government which virtually shredded the welfare state, this surely tells you all you need to know about Garage*. I mean, what sort of egocentric prick thinks he [i]deserves[/i] a KBE? They are usually accepted with grace and humility. Indeed, Danny Boyle famously said he didn’t think he deserved one in 2012, despite just having directed the most awesome Olympic Opening Ceremony ever.

For Farage to claim to have been overlooked for a knighthood, then, tells you everything you need to know about the self-important little p’tahk. This is a man who has never been elected to parliament, and whose xenophobic ravings have sewn devision and hatred throughout the country. Intolerance was dying out in the UK, but Farage has given it a sickening veneer of respectability. It was only because of him that the referendum was called, and we’ll be trying to clean up the mess resulting from it for decades. Thus for this embarrassment to human civilisation to act all offended because he didn’t get the knighthood he thinks he deserves is like me making a film about our cat sleeping on the sofa and then demanding an Oscar for it. If you ask me, the scumbag should be in jail for the damage his lies have caused and will cause. His arrogance and self-importance is beyond words.

*Typo left on purpose

A wonderful Christmas day

Yesterday was a great day. It was one of those wonderful Christmas days just spent at home with the person you love, quiet and warm. As he did last year, the owner of the cafe in the park, Michael, brought us an excellent christmas dinner. It was incredible, with gravy and all the trimmings. Lyn did a bit of a mix in the afternoon, and we both just chilled out. Probably the coolest part of the day was a four way Skype conference between myself, my parents and my two brothers. It was great to chat to them all at once – it was the first time we managed it, but we will certainly have to do it again soon.

As for presents, I mostly got clothes, including four or five very nice new jumpers from Lyn. It was precisely what I needed, to be honest. Perhaps the most interesting present I got, though, was a Woody Allen box set. I’ve never really sat down and watched much of Allen’s work, but a few of my old university friends rated him highly, so I’m now looking forward to sitting down and getting to grips with him.

A new day has dawned and the sun is shining; where yesterday was spent chilling at home, I think later I might head out into the metropolis. I have a lovely warm new coat to try out, after all. I know I can get all uppity and aggressive on here sometimes, but days like yesterday just remind you just how great life can get.

The turkeys voted for christmas

I know I shouldn’t get too political today, but this seemed too apt not to borrow, as it sums up the current political farce through a single image.

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Funny, yet very relevant. Happy christmas everyone

Misinterpreting the EU

I realise this isn’t a particularly festive subject for Christmas eve, but perhaps one can better understand why so many voted Leave last year when you consider that they may have taken the EU to represent the entire capitalist system. It is, after all, a body of complex rules and regulations, quite impenetrable to most. It seems dedicated to business, but where some see it as being concerned with business regulation, others may have taken to be a body dedicated to the perpetuation of capitalism itself. Is it any wonder that those disenfranchised with capitalism and beaten down by austerity wanted to come out of the entire labyrinthine lot? In their ignorance and confusion, they took the EU to underpin the entire globalist capitalist system. The tragic irony is Brexit will strengthen capitalism’s grip; deregulation will let free-market economics rule, and see consumers stripped of their rights. Rather than being a capitalist body, the European Union held capitalism’s worst tendencies back; and I fear those who campaigned so vehemently to leave would now see the harshest, most selfish strain of neoliberalism set free in the UK. If the vote to leave was an expression of angst from those disenfranchised by the capitalist system, I fear things are about to get far worse.

Quentin Tarantino might direct the next Star Trek film

Yesterday I came across some news which made the Trekkie in me very interested and excited indeed. My friend Chris sent it to me over Facebook, probably knowing that it would get me going. According to this Empire article, the great Quentin Tarantino himself has been hired by Paramount to make the next Star Trek film. Tarantino is apparently a big Trek fan, and was very interested in doing it. But that’s not all: a little googling later on revealed this incredible news. Sir Patrick Stewart has said he would be interested in reprising the role of Captain Picard if Tarantino is directing. He is often asked whether he would ever play Picard again, and he replies that he would, but only under special circumstances – this apparently qualifies.

How awesome is this? I know it has yet to come to fruition, and it’s largely speculation for now, but a Star Trek film directed by Tarantino starring Stewart would be great. Tarantino would probably want to take the franchise to a much darker, more visceral place, but that could give it the fresh lease of life it currently needs. I feel the same hint of caution I usually get when I come across news like this, of course: it might turn out to be a dead end. Yet the news of James bond appearing at the 2012 olympics and Monty Python reuniting both turned out to be gloriously true, so I’m hoping this will be a similar case. Picard was always my favourite captain; to see Patrick Stewart step back into the role, after all this time, after I dedicated a chapter of my MA to him, after meeting him, for me, would be incredible. This is a story I’ll be keeping a very close eye on indeed.

Lyn will, Lyn will, rock you!

Lyn has been rather busy for the last couple of days. I can always tell that she has something in the works when she gets up as soon as our PA gets here. As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, she has been working on doing live voice-overs for her online radio shows; apparently this will eventually become a full-blown online radio station. From what I understand, the radio website L was doing shows for, Revival, had to close down, so she had to find another outlet for her passion for DJing. This will be a full, 24/7 radio station as opposed to just a two evening a week show, so it will take a while to set up; but it will be part of iHeart. I’ll probably blog about this again when it’s online, but for now, it’s great to see L so enthusiastic about something she clearly loves.