A Recurring Nightmare

I have been having this nightmare for several weeks now and with some crap boy-band losing a member so he can go make crap rap records, it seems so much more real now.

There will come a time when a talentless boy-band will cover this song…or indeed any other Manics songs (There will be a clause somewhere hidden in legal jargon I bet you).  You know the boy-bands I am talking about (Ones like Brother Beyond, Take That and the other one where all the members are called Dave)

If you do not think this is likely, may I point you to the awful cover of “Under the Bridge” by that girl band (Eternal?  Possibly not.  There was twins.)

This will mark the beginning of the end of times.

Don’t let the Boy – bands win

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A confusing mess explained

A lot of what I write is me trying my best to make sense of the world around me.  Things were so much easier when I was young.  Since becoming an adult, things have revealed themselves to be not what I initially thought they were.

Now you could put this down to getting older and the world changing as it always has.  I have not stood still, so why would the world.  I am just out of step with it all.

That is why I write.  I may never be able to understand all the weirdness out there but if I can just get my head around a wee bit of it, then that makes me feel better.

Over the xmas and new year period, one of the programmes I watched and enjoyed, was Charlie Brookers Screenwipe 2014.  Mr Brooker is pretty much spot on as how I feel about Tv and what is happening in the world.  During this episode, there was a 5 minute video from Adam Curtis that attempts to explain why things are so confusing.

You can make your own mind up about it all.  All I will say is that this made me think about things far more than any news programme did this year.

Then again…I do like a good conspiracy theory!!

A view from one man in a granite city

As the political scene in Scotland heats up, I found myself wondering what I can do to support the side I want to win.

On Sunday in Aberdeen, there was a large stand for Yes Scotland and beside it was a selection of art from Artists for Independence (I think!!)  Some of the work was very inspiring and I was happy to see both stands as busy as they were.  The past week had been a dirty one in the campaign, with bad internet abuse from both sides.  Sadly I felt I had to point out to my No supporting friends, that while the abuse directed at JK Rowling was awful and wrong, the No side was just as bad.  The abuse that the No campaign had dished out to the Weirs after their donation to the Yes campaign was awful and vindictive (yet was not reported in the media with anywhere as much depth….strange that!).  There are idiots on both sides and the internet allows them to voice their bile in a relative anonymous fashion.  Sadly as we get closer to September the 18th, I can see this campaign getting dirtier and dirtier.

This saddens me as I really wanted both sides to debate in a sensible fashion.  I hoped that those who had not made their minds up, would be able to get facts and make their decision from there.

Not going to happen I think.

As a Yes supporter I see the newspapers and the TV news and Current affairs shows, all banging a drum that puts forward the No side at every opportunity.  It annoys me, not because people do not agree with my point of view but rather that the coverage is not balanced.  It is perceived injustice like this that finally made me start wearing my Yes badge all the time.  I felt I had to pin my colours to the mast.  I got fed up of being told that Scotland was too small, too stupid, too irresponsible to run its own affairs.  My reposting of links on Facebook and Twitter supporting independence has got more frequent as a result.  Almost as if I am trying to keep the tide of No support from seemingly swamping the internet.  Each post or retweet is like a flame and in my mind, I think of the bonfires in Gondor.  My flame encouraging another etc.

Of course it is nothing like that.  The internet is big enough and ugly enough to allow both sides their own space.

I have friends on both sides of this debate and I have no intention of trying to change their views.  I can disagree with them without it affecting my friendship.  I encourage those who are undecided to go and find out facts and then make their mind up.

Getting back to the beginning of this post.

I wondered what I could do to help the Yes campaign and all I could think of was this……

Ach I will tell you about it another day.

Anyhow, on Sunday I picked up some “Aye” badges and went home.

Tories, lies and a spot on explanation of why they want to dismantle the welfare state

I usually avoid politics on here. However with Scotland going to polls to vote on independence or not, things might start to creep in. I will tag all posts as politics in case my left wing, pro independence views offend you.
Here is a spot on comment about why the tories are demonising the poor. Sadly the lib fems are assisting them at every opportunity.

http://alittleecon.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/a-random-cif-commenter-nails-it-on-tory-welfare-lies/

Does anyone not skip the adverts?

I was listening to a show on Radio 5 last night, where they were talking about the changing nature of Radio and how it has had to adapt to the times (Sorry I cannot remember the name of it!!).  One of the guests used the You Tube example of people now choosing when they watch content and how long they watch it for, basically becoming their own content programmers.

It got me thinking about how annoying I find advertising nowadays.  Back when I had Sky and Sky Plus, I never watched any adverts on programmes I had recorded.  Skipped all the ad breaks (and on Sky that seemed to be every 5 minutes!!) and just watched the programmes.  A friend of mine told me how she used to pause any programme she wanted to watch “live” and go and make a coffee.  Then come back and watch it, slightly delayed, so that she could fast forward through the adverts.  It was such a good idea, that I started to do this too.

Now that I do not have this facility, I find myself rarely watching TV anymore.  The BBC channels have adverts for their own programmes more and more and this just irks me.  I pay a licence fee for the ability to watch what I want, not what you are suggesting I watch at some later date.  ITV is just a mess now and when they put on the mean and moody music and try to pretend that they are the home of Drama TV, well….it just smacks of someone desparate to be noticed for something worthy, when in fact they are anything but.  I know that Freeview have their own version of Sky Plus but I have not heard if it is any good or worth the money.  My TV signal is bad enough, despite being in the centre of Aberdeen, that I am not sure the extra outlay would be worth it for me.

However getting back to the adverts and Radio, I wondered if there was any way to have a similar “plus” service for Radio.  I struggle to listen to commercial radio due to the high amount of adverts.  So even though the content can be good, the rubbish that comes with it often makes it not worth while sticking with it.  Also I stopped listening to music radio because, the non commercial channels often played music I didnt like.  So I stick to my own music collection.  I am at an age where I have no desire to hear new bands, so that may well be part of why I feel this way.

I like listening to Football on the radio, both matches and fan phone ins.  I do not like any other sport, well apart from American football but thats never on British Radio, so I get annoyed when I tune in to hear the football results and get rugby or some other sport.  I do occasionally think that each sport should have its own radio station and then we can all listen to exactly what we want, when we want.

So if as a consumer, I have all this power as to what I want to watch or listen to (or at least I am supposed to have), what can be done?

There is no doubt that the internet will become increasingly the conduit for any content that we want to consume.  With that comes advertising and that can just push people into the piracy avenue.  Seriously, I tried to watch something on 4OD and there was 8 unskippable adverts before the programme and 8 in the half way break.  16 adverts in total for a half hour programme.  4OD has such a great range of content but the adverts get in the way of my enjoyment.  You tube has that advert before the video plays and I have yet to meet anyone that does not skip the ad as soon as the option arrives.  When they hit me with an unskippable advert before the video, I just quit out.  I doubt that there would ever be anything on the ITV player that I would ever want to watch and Demand 5 does not seem to have a great range of content available (or at least it didn’t the last time I looked, over a year ago, so things may well have changed).

Now I know that 4OD etc and you tube are free services and they have to make money somewhere but the forcing of advertising on the consumer is possibly going to have the effect of driving people to other avenues where advertising is not present.  Surely there is a better way, just waiting to be discovered.  I just hope the accountants and the people who have to monetise everything are kept away from it.

2013s most pirated TV shows

From this Bleeding Cool Article

I have spoken about this before.  The easiest way for Big Business to reduce the amount of piracy is to make shows available legally faster and cheaper.  Once the show has finished its run, put it out on DVD.  If the show is an American show that no British channel has picked up, then tough, put it out on multi region DVD anyway.  The people who pirate are the people who want to watch it now.  If they know they only have to wait till the end of the run before they can see it legally, then you cut the piracy massively down.

Now I know that you will never get rid of piracy but the anti pirate measures that are put in place just hurts the legal consumer and that is no way to treat people who are giving you money.  If I have paid money for a DVD then I do not want an anti piracy advert on the disc, especially one that I cannot skip (same goes for adverts but that is another post!)

I know over here that SKY often transmit the shows very soon after the US air date, but to be honest there are so many advert breaks, I could not watch stuff live on Sky anymore.  Plus I cannot afford it.  Same goes for Netflix and Lovefilm etc, although with them it is because I do not have decent internet and I have a limit on my usage of the internet I do have.  I will not be the only one that this affects.

DVD is the perfect medium for me.  I get the show I want, no adverts, no breaks between episodes, other than the ones I choose to have.  It is perfect.  I sat and worked my way through Arrow series one in just over a week and a half.  If I was waiting a week between episodes, I may not have given it a chance as I was convinced that I would hate a Smallvill with Arrows.  Thankfully the show is so much better than the Superman lite teen fest that Smallville was.   As for Game of Thrones, the third series does not even come out on DVD until the end of Feb 2014…..a massive missed opportunity to get cash from people who want to watch it this xmas at the very latest

So in conclusion.  TV companies should just release vanilla DVDs of their shows as soon as the shows last episode airs.  Make them region free because the potential audience for the shows will already have pirated the broadcasts by the time their countries TV networks decide to show it, so get the money from those that want the show legally.

We may not have a right to watch any TV show but in todays society, we do not like to wait and that is where the majority of the figures from that article come from.

Arrow – 10 episodes in

This is really enjoyable. It really is. The island flashbacks seem to have purpose and the story is coming together really well. It may not be my ideal version of Oliver Queen but its bloody close.
Of course what has made me enjoy it slightly more is the small bits that involve John Barrowman….oh god I love this man….also finding out who he is in the TV show (no spoilers here)….just made me squee…!
I’m 41!!
Why do I have such a man crush on Barrowman?? Well that will have to be another post.