Picard Trailer

Now there’s a coincidence! On the  day we get our first proper glimpse of Star Trek Picard (Data’s back! Cue spastic squeals of excitement!), Marvel announce ten more comic book films. I’m sure you don’t have  to be an arch cynic to note the timing: it’s obvious that the comic book hacks are trying to steal Star Trek’s thunder.   As for the Picard  trailer itself, I’m sure most fans are now  dissecting  it, second by second, for any clue about what is in store. Apart from the revival of Data and return  of Seven of Nine, I don’t think there’s  that much we  can glean from it; but it certainly has whetted my appetite for the return of my favourite starfleet captain. My only disappointment is that we haven’t heard him say ”Make it so” again yet.

Did London-centrism help lead to Brexit?

To what extent could the result of the Brexit referendum have been the result of the UK economy being too London-centric? I just  got back from the massive anti-Brexit demonstration inn Parliament Square. It was a great event, attended by people from all over the country. One of the points one of the speakers made, though, was that people outside of London may have  voted Leave because they felt left behind, neglected by an economy too focussed on the  South-East. I see their point: when you think about it, a lot of the uk economy is focussed in london; most of the country’s media output comes from here too. London  is a world city; a thriving multicultural hub which is constantly being redeveloped and into which vast amounts of money are constantly pumped. Did all this focus on london cause the rest of the country to  feel left behind and ignored? Could that feeling of neglect be one  of the reasons people voted leave? After all, this great city voted Remain by sixty percent, a margin second only to Scotland. But if that’s the case, what can  be done to address the issue, and redress the cultural and economic balance between London and the rest of the country?

Oh to be in San Diego

Oh to be in San Diego this weekend. This weekend sees Comic Con there, and rumours are there will be some major Picard related announcements. Part of me wishes I could be there too: I haven’t been more excited about anything than this show.  This, to me, is like when they announced that James Bond would be somehow involved with the queen in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, or Monty Python were reuniting – only even bigger.

I’m lapping up every crumb of evidence I come across. The word currently is that Patrick Stewart’s fellow TNG cast members  are down to reappear too, but surely that should be an obvious move to make: why just bring back Picard if  we’re not going to see the other members of  the Enterprise D and E crew? It would be silly if we didn’t see Riker, Troy or Laforge again. Getting Michael Dorn into his Klingon make-up again might be a little trickier, but if Bond can meet  the queen,  and if  Python can perform again, surely anything is possible. I just  wish I could  be there in San Diego to see it announced. What concerns  me slightly though is the way the production crew frequently say how different  Picard  will be in this show: they obviously need to change some things in order to avoid just going over old ground; but change him too much so that he becomes a very different character,  and he won’t be the man we admired so much in the first place. Go too far, and what would be the point of bringing Picard back at all?

Exploring Eltham

I just got in from my first exploratory trip to Eltham. Although I’ve now lived in London for nine years, I’ve never really rolled that way. Now I’ll be moving there, I thought I had better go explore. Eltham isn’t that far from Charlton – I can get there  quite comfortably in my powerchair. Truth be told I didn’t know what to expect, but what John and I found  this afternoon was a lovely little corner of the capital: it’s very quiet, low-rise and suburban, but with a well stocked high street. There’s a branch of Nationwide  there, so I won’t have to go far when I need cash. There’s also a wonderful, huge park there, so quiet and peaceful that it’s easy to forget you’re anywhere near a sprawling metropolis. I  found myself taken with the area instantly, and am now quite looking forward to getting to know it.

Cricket and class

I was just on YouTube, browsing videos leisurely. One of the videos which popped up randomly on my homepage was about Lord’s cricket ground. It must have been because I did a search for it a few days ago. I clicked on the video, but what I saw appalled me. They’re currently redeveloping the ground there, so the vid, from 2017, related to that redevelopment. Apparently part of the plan is to build a block of flats just outside the ground, obviously to help it’s financial situation, but on the film all these twits in blazers were saying how bad it would be. They made a couple of vague references to terrorism, but it was blatantly obvious this was a class issue: these arrogant fuckers didn’t want people whom they think they somehow socially outrank in the area. It was a sickening spectacle.

What gave these men the right to make such aspersions or be so arrogant? They seem to think wearing a blazer and talking with a posh accent meant they were better than the kind of people who live in flats, and that flats were somehow linked to terrorism. This, after a couple of days ago a picture was taken at that very ground of Farage and Rees-Mogg quaffing wine in the executive box! It’s obviously fine to have two embarrassments to humanity, who do nothing but stir up hatred, tarnishing the ground, but not ok to have ordinary, working class people live near the ground. If you ask me, Farage and Rees-Moog had no business being there, befouling the ground, smiling for pictures as if they were somehow connected with England’s incredible world cup win. These men add nothing to better humanity; they have deliberately mislead the British people and would impose an ultra-capitalist, class-divided hell on the country. They should be rotting in jail, not enjoying cricket matches.

Yet because they wore the same pretentious blazers as the toffee-nosed p’tahks in the video, they were quite welcome. Such hypocrisy, such class-based arrogance, is what really pisses me off. What did these men do to earn their wealth? What gave them the right to don those blazers and look so arrogantly down on others? Surely such views, such arrogance to judge who lives where based on class, has no place in modern society. I love the sport of cricket, but there is a corner of it’s fandom where such prejudice is rife; men who think sitting in a certain stand, wearing a tie and a blazer, gives them a right to look down on the rest of us. (they don’t even join in mexican waves!). No doubt in such places, Farage and Rees-Mogg were honoured guests, VIPs whose acrid views are agreed with. It’s the last vestige of a victorian class culture which should have died out long ago, and I find it sickening.

My new home

This evening finds me in a very good mood. This morning I went  to view a house in Eltham. It was a wonderfully spacious, newly-built flat. It’s so new, in fact, it doesn’t appear on Google streetview  – all you see is a building site. It looked a bit small from the outside, but when we went in we found it had lots of room. I was instantly taken by it. There was even a specially built-in place where powerchairs can be stored and charged. I was even more enthusiastic when I heard Wifi was already set up. I now can’t wait to move in.

Of course I still feel a bitter  tang of regret when I think about leaving Lyn’s house here in Charlton: I have so many cool memories associated with this little bungalow. Yet that, I suppose, is merely the nature of time – things always change. And those memories simply remind me how incredible life can get. There will always be something to look forward to, new experiences to have and memories to create. I  have a  feeling I’ll create some truly spectacular ones in my new home. Besides, Eltham isn’t far from here, so I can always pop back for a cup of coffee.

Does religion have too much social authority?

Is it time to start worrying about just how absurd things are getting with regard to religion in America? After watching Louis Theroux last night, I can’t help being prompted to say something on here. The way in which christianity is being taken to such absurd extremes is quite frightening, and it genuinely baffles me how intelligent people can be so deluded.

I’ve been mulling this over a bit recently: at the end of the day, all religion is, is a text which people use to award themselves a kind of social authority. In the case of christianity, the text is a series of stories about the creation of the world and a social leader living in the middle east around two thousand years ago. Because these myths give people hope and a sense of certainty, people – usually men – use them as a means to gain a type of authority. Preachers use the authority they borrow from the bible to tell their listeners whatever they like. Because the bible gives people a hope in a pleasant existence after they die, people listen; yet preachers use the bible to tell people whatever they like because it is so open to interpretation. These days such messages seem to be becoming more and more extreme and right wing, but people still listen because it purports to be substantiated by bible verse, which people have been brought up to believe is infallible.

Does that not strike anyone else as highly problematic? People, from doctors to teachers to politicians, usually attain positions of social authority after several years of study; they are also under constant scrutiny. In America especially, it seems any nutcase can call himself a preacher, and because they claim to be deriving their message from the bible and underpinning what they say with a few ambiguous biblical references, people listen to them as though they were a fully qualified authority figure.

That to me seems absurd. There is also an increasing darkness to it, especially given how intolerant and reactionary their messages seem to be getting. Here we have a group of people claiming to speak on behalf of a magical omnipresent deity, insisting they are listened to and given high social status even though they have done nothing to earn such authority. If they were to use any other set of myths or legends to underpin the type of intolerance they spew, such people would be ignored, or perhaps even sectioned; but because their spewings reference the bible, they are listened to. People attend their sermons every sunday, even though they might be spewing the most absurd, intolerant bullshit imaginable.

Of course, I know one has to respect other peoples’ faiths, but given the bible is looking increasingly outdated in a number of ways, isn’t it time this culture was put under the scrutiny it deserves. Absolute, unquestioning faith can be subverted too easily, used to indoctrinate listeners with any type of abominable bullshit people want. The Louis Theroux program last night was about one famous example, the Westboro’ Baptist Church, but I’m sure there will be many, many more, all spouting their own type of hatred, according to the particular biases of the person delivering the sermon. Were it under any other guise, I’m sure such preaching would be subjected to far more regulation and scrutiny. After all, these preachers are talking to some very vulnerable, often highly naïve people; feeding them, in many cases, very dark, reactionary messages. Yet because they claim to speak under the auspices of religion, they are allowed to spout whatever crap they like and awarded the authority of, say, a teacher for it. Does that not strike anyone else as highly problematic?

Superpowers need adult leaders

If what is reported here is true, and the utter ignoramus currently  claiming to be president of america scrapped an important international deal simply to spoil his predecessor’s legacy, then all other countries should be putting pressure on the USA to grow up and get a  proper  head of state. In an act being called ‘diplomatic vandalism’, ”Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal to spite Barack Obama, according to a leaked memo written by the UK’s former ambassador in the US.” I know it’s not much of a blog entry, but bow could any true  statesman be so infantile? The situation, on both sides of the atlantic, really  is becoming embarrassing.

Beta males who think they are alphas

I know I should be writing things like this rather than just linking to them on here, but such excellent pieces of analysis go to the nub of the matter. We have, it seems, a problem with alpha males;  or rather beta males who think they’re alphas. ‘“There are two kinds of women,” Harry explains at one point in When Harry Met Sally. “High maintenance and low maintenance.” “Which one am I?” Sally asks. “You’re the worst kind,” he says. “You’re high maintenance, but you think you’re low maintenance.”’ Both the UK and America are currently being run by people (ok, by men) who think they know what they are doing but emphatically, obviously do not. As the article explains, buffoons like Johnson, Farage and Trump constantly go on about their achievements and prowess, but when you actually look at what these smeg-heads have done, they are strikingly unqualified. In fact,  when you consider that BoJo only got a second class degree, Farage  didn’t go to university  and Trump’s academic record is ambiguous at best, my first class  degree and master’s mean that, academically at least, I top all three (not that such things should be seen as the be all and end all of personal achievement). Ask any of them for any kind of theory or historic underpinning behind their spoutings, and they suddenly become extremely defensive; a prime example being Johnson’s recent carcrash interview with Andrew Niel here. Scratch the surface to any degree, and it soon becomes obvious that none of them have any real idea what they are talking about or the consequences of what they are saying – it’s all bluster and bravado intended to appeal to a limited audience but easily seen through by anyone capable of independent thought. If  these men are going to go around waving  their dicks in the air, they should at least have something worth waving, rather than claiming to  have a six footer, but actually hiding a feeble little pin in their pants.

Fly me to the moon

Not that I want to flag bbc stuff up too regularly, but I definitely think this is worth taking a look at. Fifty years on from Armstrong and co., the Americans are planning  to return to the moon in the next decade. I’m of  course all for that: space exploration is Humankind’s first, best destiny. It’s a fascinating article rich in detail, although you do have to grimace at  the fact that Trump’s trying to politicise things by bringing missions forward to 2024, so they coincide with his hypothetical second term. What sort of wanker would try to steal the credit or glory for such a project?