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Messages - manwithnoname

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Off Topic / Re: Life is sometimes sort of okay because...
« on: Today at 04:18:10 pm »
Some spirited straw manning there, but for many people, TVs are little more than monitors for media hubs, while others have dumped their TVs to avoid paying the bloated licence fee for the BBC propaganda machine - FREEDOM FOR TOOTING! - as streaming services just work out much cheaper, as well as being a more practical use of viewing time than just sitting through whatever shite happens to be on.

I do enjoy those TV-less heroes who claim they shouldn't have to pay the evil BBC their TV licence pound of flesh, but still expect to be able to access BBC i-Player on their tablet, thus demonstrating their uniquely clueless understanding of "how things are made and paid for"

Books & Comics / Re: Whats everyone reading?
« on: Today at 04:15:36 pm »
Akira We know this is a great read so I've not got much to say about it.

Consider Phlebas  This turned out to be okay.  The world building is great and I liked the characters.  The overall conclusion wasn't too far off what I was expecting considering the tone of the book throughout.  It can drag in places and wasn't the easiest read for me, but it's not the least enjoyable or hardest thing I've read by a long way.

The Player of Games  This was so much more enjoyable.  I really loved all the bits that described the games being played and they were certainly my favourite bits.  The rest really fleshed out the story and provided a good amount of tension even though I felt the general conclusion was kind of obvious.  How the book went about concluding was a bit of a delightful surprise, but it still wrapped up much as I was expecting and hoping it would.  It almost seemed like an alternate perspective to CP having the ideological differences of two societies being pitted against each other, but it goes into more depth in this book.  I am also feeling that the Culture is a better representation of a post-scarcity society than the Federation is.  At the least I'm liking it more and questioning it less.

I read "Use Of Weapons" recently. Most enjoyable.

I've read quite a bit of Iain Banks, more of his non sci-fi stuff admittedly, although I've also read "The Algebraist", "Excession" and "Surface Detail".

I'm not really an expert, but I think one of the reasons his hard sci-fi is so popular is that while he does deliver the requisite 2 billion years into the future world-building and what the fuck?! stuff (Sentient space-ships! Emotion clouds! giant gas planets with a sense of humour - all that "made-up space shit"), he never shows any genre embarrassment, or worse, lofty ideals.

All his novels are grounded in emotion and among all the gleaming chatty spaceships and pan-sexual cloud aliens, he often has "lesser" societies, with all their primitive mud, blood and shit gloriousness. And this juxtaposition works.

Even the plots and characters could often be easily transported from any classic fairytale or story, and that familiarity also works, even if it's light relief from all the snippy AI kill-knife rockets or whatever.

"Use Of Weapons" is a great example of this, it even has castles and treachery!

Film & TV / Re: Inside No. 9 (BBC2)
« on: Today at 03:53:04 pm »
To my shame this series had completely passed me by until, on a whim, I stuck the latest 2 episodes on the old iPlayer this afternoon. Quite the best television I have seen for a long long time. I will be diving into the
Netflix back catalogue pretty sharpish.

I think I read somewhere that the back catalogue is being wiped from some online player soon (or maybe it's already happened), but it might be the BBC i-player, so you should still be good on Netflix, whatever they have on there anyway.

Off Topic / Re: Life is sometimes sort of okay because...
« on: Today at 03:50:56 pm »
Or alternatively, the phenomena are connected, because watching non-broadcast TV content tends to be a matter of deliberate active choice, rather than being at the mercies of whatever the schedules serve up at the moment you begin your flick through "<insert number> channels of shit on the TV to choose from". 

The latter broadens one's awareness of what is current, whether you have any existing interest or not; the former leads to one seeking out the things that already pique same, irrespective of currency.

Hmm, but I've never heard of it, and I am subjected to the horrific, manipulative vagaries of broadcast TV scheduling. So we've BOTH never heard of it, and yet only of us thinks that pointing out they don't have a TV is the reason for not having any clue what Spa Wars is.

Like I said, it seemed an odd to think to introduce into a conversation, it adds nothing. It's like me saying "I don't read The Radio Times, so I have NO IDEA what TV programmes are on and when"

Although I have noticed that, much like vegans, people who don't own a TV (or have a TV licence) are easily identified because they'll tell you about it very quickly.

Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: Today at 03:43:36 pm »

It's....er....different. There's a huge polarity in critic reception, which is always interesting before you watch a film, and you can understand why. I went from loving it to hating it across the space of a few minutes, but while it is certainly an acquired taste, it's not a film you will forget easily.

It was reminiscent at times of someone trying to make a horror film in the style of Peter Greenaway.

Off Topic / Re: Life is sometimes sort of okay because...
« on: Today at 03:36:35 pm »
You don't have a TV? How do you watch television?

It's 2018.

What? So you mean he/she might use a laptop, tablet or other device capable of streaming television content?

Why then, does the poster make a point of saying they don't have a TV, and that this lack of TV-ownership is the reason they haven't heard of "Spa Wars"?

I've got a TV and I haven't heard of it either. The two seem unconnected, and any TV-owning causality rendered irrelevant by the fact that TV content is consumed by many other platforms other than a traditional TV.

It seemed like a sort of weird humble-brag about not owning a TV, and this somehow imparting superior taste.

"Oh, I haven't heard of that, because I don't have a TV! My device of choice for consuming A/V content is far more high-brow"

Still a couple of episodes from the end (I'm not one for bingeing!) but I think it's excellent. I'm not sure how much resemblance it bears to Punisher comics in general and he's spent basically zero time in the suit so far but it's a striking depiction of the damage done to men who serve and a brutal de-romanticisation (is that a word?!) of people we generally refer to as heroes.

It's well-written and surprisingly thought-provoking, with some decent action sequences thrown in and some sly commentary on male friendship.

The Punisher doesn't really have much of a suit, unless a black T-shirt with a big white skull on it counts. I suppose it does. That an a large automatic weapon.

Off Topic / Re: Life is sometimes sort of okay because...
« on: Today at 03:11:11 pm »
Bit worried for my wife as she will be featured in the bitchy programme Spa Wars tonight. As they would mock about her guide dog :(
Bit of a delayed reaction - I've never heard of Spa Wars - sounds like a good reason not to have a TV (which I don't) - how did it go?

You don't have a TV? How do you watch television?

Books & Comics / Re: Whats everyone reading?
« on: Today at 03:04:08 pm »
I got the hardcover Dark Knight III - The Master Race at Xmas. Came to it very fresh, having avoided reviews and not reading any of the individual issues, obviously.

It's great. Of course it's nowhere near as brilliant as DKI - how could it be? - but it's far better than the divisive, often incoherent DKII. I'm not sure if that's because Miller ceded more control to Azzarello, or if there was more time and thought that went into it, but one of the big reasons is that Miller's contributions to the art are limited, with Janson inking Kubert's pencils.

This has meant the story is far easier to follow, and there's less art atrocities on show compared to DK2.

The plot is a thinly-veiled ISIS trope, but it still works and the return of Batman and Superman is great to see, as Miller gloriously resurrects both heroes in fine style.

Film & TV / Re: Annihilation (Alex Garland film)
« on: Today at 02:31:53 pm »
Shame that people in the UK can't watch it in the cinema, as intended by the people making the film.

As for "too intellectual", I suppose that that issue has been brought to the fore by the performance of Blade Runner 2049, and also the recent general underperformance of science-fiction releases that don't have any mass cultural resonance, like Valerian and Jupiter Ascending.

I think in Blade Runner's case, it did find its audience, the problem was it isn't big enough, and that's a massive problem when you have a decent sized budget and high expectations for marketing support

It's a strange book, too, quite abstract and meandering. Probably won more awards than it sold copies.

Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: Today at 02:04:14 pm »
I watched two horror comedies.  Grabbers and Deadheads.  Grabbers is a nice enough film with the premise and execution being enough to carry it.  Although isn't drunk Irish people a stereotype?  I enjoyed the characters and jokes more than the story itself, which ends in tiresome cliche.

Perhaps raise your issues regarding stereotypes and cliches to the director, who is from Northern Ireland, and the writer, who is Irish. Don't forget to copy in Northern Ireland Screen and the Irish Film Board, who funded it.

Did you find Father Ted equally "problematic"?

My recent Punisher fix has been via Ennis/ Dillon and The Punisher Max comics, and I really enjoyed what I've read of that run. Started watching the TV series when it dawned on me the family revenge/ Kitchen Irish stuff had actually been sort of covered off in the second series of Daredevil, which I stopped watching because I find that character a bit boring (Batman without the toys).

So I've had to go back to finish that first. I do like Bernthal as Frank Castle, though. Mind you, I quite liked the rather strange Thomas Jane too, in the film that certainly did take most of its cues from Ennis and Dillon.

I've seen lots of people talking about it being slow, or dragging in parts, but I suppose it can't always be bloody carnage.

Film & TV / Re: Inside No. 9 (BBC2)
« on: 12 January, 2018, 11:35:03 am »
The Shakespearian episode was dreadful, but this week's was a melancholy, clever, funny, wise and respectful masterpiece of television.

Had a little tear in the eye at the end. Bravo.

Film & TV / Re: Last movie watched...
« on: 12 January, 2018, 11:33:01 am »
Finally watched "IT"

That was very enjoyable and suitably scary. The book has long been a favourite, although I must confess that it's status as an "all-time personal horror classic" is entirely based on having read it once, when I was 14.

But it seemed to be faithful enough, and Pennywise was great.

Still think it might have been better served as a big budget mini-series, as there's enough content in the 1100 pages for a season or two, but perhaps the feeling is that we've been there and done that already, with the Tim Curry version.

I wonder if the very similar Dan Simmons book, Summer of Night, will get the TV/ film treatment, after the success of this and also the Stranger Things phenom.

Film & TV / Re: Black Mirror Season 4
« on: 12 January, 2018, 11:28:29 am »
I've watched most of the series now, apart from Arkangel, because it looked boring.

They're quite variable in quality, but I'm not sure how they compare to the previous lower-budget series before the Netflix cash and "Hollywood Talent" rolled in, because I haven't watched much of Series 1-3.

I think one of the reasons I have given previous seasons a swerve is that it does seem to be the sort of thing that not-very-clever people on Twitter seem to think is the epitome of very clever science-fiction television.

With a very salient and serious message about society THAT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK DOESNT IT?

And therein lies the biggest issue. It seems to appeal to people who aren't naturally inclined to thinking, and so therefore require being *forced* to think.

And what makes that more palatable is the (genuinely clever) way Brooker does that.

Every single episode takes something obviously recognisable from childhood, so in his case 70s and 80s culture, casting actors you recognise from somewhere, and then a slightly futuristic tech device that shows how society is not always being improved or helped by technological advances, AND IT REALLY MAKES YOU THINK DOESNT IT?

So there'll be, I dunno, what looks like a children's drama like Grange Hill, and we are watching a pastiche of that, but at the end of every episode of Not Really Grange Hill, the viewers are allowed to interact with the stroryline and make the characters do something awful, but actually these digital actors have feelings and stuff!

Should we be allowed to manipulate these not-quite-human avatars? Wow, deep. And then the Not Really Grange Hill digital avatars turn the tables on the viewers using reverse polarity or some bollocks, and we learn to feel their pain, or despair or whatever, and a gleaming, yet dreadful, BLACK MIRROR is held up to show us how awful we are, and how vacuous, cruel and mean society is, especially politicians and white men.


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