Thursday, 11 June 2009

no dogs allowed


No, not a rant about ugly women. (not yet) Actual dogs.

Dog's might seem a random idea for a blog, especially for me, but I was inspired by something I saw on tv. The programme was about people in Britain who buy dogs and train them to attack people as well as other dogs. I don't think people in Britain should be allowed to own dogs. I've thought that for quite a while. There has been cases of dogs in Britain killing people including small children. Ellie Lawrenson was a 5 year old girl mauled to death in Merseyside in 2007. The dog (a Pitbull Terrier) belonged to her family (source BBC news). Another dog attack, also in 2007 ended with a one year old baby boy, Archie Lee Andrew Hirst, being killed. This time by a Rottweiler. He was just 13 months old (source BBC news). In 2008 an elderly man was savaged to death by his own Rottweiler, after collapsing to the ground. Passers by did what they could to get the dog off him but the dog wouldn't let go. The dog bit off his nose, ears, and some of his fingers (source The Independent) Man's best friend? I don't think so. This is just a few of countless cases. Many dogs are bought by people, including gangsters, who deliberatly abuse their dogs to make them as dangerous as possible. The dogs are used for "self protection" and even as weapons. Many dogs have been found to have countless cigarette burns on them as they've been used as ashtrays. They have also been found to be missing patches of entire layers of skin after being forced in to dog fights. The injuries the dogs have suffered is absolulty horrific. For both the sake of people and the dogs themselves I think people shouldn't be allowed to own dogs. Not having a dog wouldn't be a big thing. People would soon get used to it. It just means not having a dog. Not exactly a massive void is it? It would mean no dog hair for pet sufferers. And no arguments between family members about "I'm getting a dog whether you like it or not". The fact is many people bring animals into the home despite the fact fellow family members are allergic to them. With no dog hair and dog mess in houses it would mean less cleaning. It would mean less metal tins being chucked in landfills, less animals being killed for dog food, less plastics being used for dog toys, so overall less resources being used...better for the environment! So how would this work? Simply "neuter" all male dogs and don't let any more into the country. The only exception being guide dogs. There are two dogs in my house (against my will!) and believe me, all they do is bark and bark and bark. And snarl when you go near their food. And just think...never having to step in dog's shit with your expensive new shoes again.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Some things to think about

Do aliens have ghosts?

If they do, will we meet them in the after life?

Given the fact we all die, does anything really matter? Or is life ultimately pointless?

If heaven exists why are we not created there in the first place rather than having to live a life of hell in the psysical world first?

Is there really right and wrong or just perception?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Things i'd like to do before i die

Rob a bank. Not for the money but the adrenaline.

Drive a getaway car.

Have a life or death car chase with the police. And Win.

Become a crime boss.

Date a famous model.

Direct the most shocking movie ever made.

Abolish all UK laws and watch Britain descend into chaos.

Be a tyrannical world leader.

Find happiness.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Pulling my hair out

Things that irritate the hell out of me:

Opening my packet of fags and it turning out theres none left, after shops closing time.

People walking infront of me in the street who suddenly stop. (gimme some freakin' notice)

Complete strangers who approach me in the street and ask me for fags and money. (yeah right, what's in it for me) Human beings have a thing called self interest.

Alarm clocks. Worst invention ever.

Sport being on the news. The media are always going on about horror films and video games causing violence. How ironic is it then they are so embracing of something that does literally and directly cause real life violence-football matches. Football is mainly liked by idiots and it being shown every single day on tv isn't helping society to progress. Why should sport be on the news?

Small change. pennies covered in a billion germs. what's the point.

People who nag. (just shut the fuck up!)

Girls who flirt and seduce with no real intent of going out with you. My heart wil never really heal.

Good looking girls going out with complete "chavs" or "neds". You see it all the time. They could do infinitely better.

Bus's. Bus times. Bus drivers.

Smokers. Yes, even as a smoker myself I hate other smokers. Im'e a considerate smoker. I hate people who blow their smoke all over you. I don't want to inhale smoke that's been in someone else's lungs! In Dunfermline, and Glenrothes Every shellsuit, dirty, spotty, tattooed, bleached haired person smokes, many of them with wrinkles on their wrinkes and being in the town is like death. Just being near them makes me feel really unhealthy. (shudder)

The wind. (Stop fucking blowing on me) especially when im'e trying to light a ciggie.

It being too cold.

It being too hot.

T.V. Theres fuck all good on.

Women.

Girls who swear. it's so unfeminine. A complete turn-off. Girls who swear constantly and still attract a man are definately attracting the wrong type of man. Save it for dirty talk in the bedroom bitches!

Standing in Queue's. How much time is taken from our lives doing such mundane stuff?

Strangers who stare at me. (Why, what are they thinking?)

People. Pah! People. Is there anything worse?

Thursday, 30 April 2009

You Swine!

The media began reporting on swine flu just a few day's ago. "Nothing to worry about" I thought. After all bird flu came to nothing. Foot and mouth disease came to nothing. Over the following few day's the reports became greater. As usual all the information seemed confused. "it's deadly" "It's not deadly" "We Should be worried" "We shouldn't be worried" "It could potentially kill millions of people" "but let's not panic about it" To be honest I don't know what to think about it. A lot of people where emmediatly sceptical about swine flu and it's dangers. "it's just another media fabrication my media tutor proclaimed.

immediatly conspiracy theory abound about how the virus was government produced in a laboritory.

I think it's indicative of the state of the government and the media when even the general population are mis-trusting and immediatly skeptical of them.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Prisoner Cell Block H and other prison drama's


The first television drama to be set inside a prison was Within These Walls. A British series, it focused on the lives of the prison staff as opposed to the prisoners. The series lasted for 72 hour long episodes. The first two series are now available on DVD, rated PG.


The success of Within These Walls in Australia apparently inspired Reg Watson to produce Prisoner. Depending on which source is correct Prisoner was produced as a 12 to 16 part drama for Australia’s network ten. Commissioned in 1978 and shown in 1979 Prisoner was an instant success among viewers and the series was immediately extended-it ended up running for 692 episodes, each of which lasted about 50 minutes long. Set in the fictional Wentworth detention centre, Prisoner went much deeper than Within These Walls, focusing on the prisoner’s themselves rather than just the officers. Prisoner gave us some very memorable characters such as top dog “queen” Bea Smith, violent lesbian Frankie Doyle, old alcoholic Lizzie Birdsworth and nasty by-the-book officer Vera “vinegar tits” Bennett. In episode 287 Prisoner introduced one of the most iconic characters in television history-Joan Ferguson. Nicknamed “The Freak” by the inmates, Joan Ferguson was a corrupt, vicious lesbian prison officer who ruled over all the inmates, beating them up, and conducting strip searches with her black leather gloves! Prisoner was subtitled Cell Block H for overseas sales to differentiate it with self-indulgent 60s British spy series The Prisoner. It was the first Australian programme to be sold outside of Australia and was a massive success in America where it won awards for it’s lighting and camera work and ratings wise, was only beaten in it’s time slot by Charlie’s Angels. It was also one of the first programmes to feature lesbianism, drug use, to have an almost entirely female cast and to empower women by showing women as strong, independent characters. The course of Prisoner’s seven year run saw fights, murder, rape, escapes, riots, fires and even a terrorist siege! The feel to Prisoner Cell Block H is similar to that of a 70’s and 80’s B movie but that’s no bad thing, particularly if, like me you’re into B movies! The difference is that Prisoner was much more character driven rather than just being about violence. Prisoner wasn’t shown in Britain until 1986, the year after it finished in Australia. As such the 1978 episodes looked dated to be shown on British TV in 1986 and the programme came under a lot of critical panning. Elitist British critics have come down hard on Prisoner, mainly for having a false looking set. Prisoner’s set is it’s main failing but all programmes from that era have a false looking set, including Doctor Who and Star Trek. Yet those two programmes have always been fully accepted by the British mainstream media. You know why snobby British critics and the British mainstream media have always been so accepting of Doctor Who? Because it’s British! It’s only fairly recently the set’s for TV programmes have become realistic, even then it’s only American programmes-the set’s for British soaps still look 2 dimensional and false. Another reason British critics mocked the series was for having “ugly” actresses but that’s not fair on the actresses who appeared in the programme. And British critics would have been the first to mock the series credibility if it was filled with Barbie doll types. The British media have been so spiteful towards Prisoner, it makes you wonder if it isn’t something to do with racism against Australians. But then this is the country obsessed with making nothing but subtle period dramas for people who are dead from the neck up. Characters such as Bea Smith and Frankie Doyle may be the most associated with the series but I prefer the latter, more modern era of the series which had better music and a younger cast of characters. Such as tough biker Rita Connors and violent but vulnerable top dog Lou Kelly. Controversial for it’s time, Prisoner pushed the boundaries of acceptability and as such it’s legacy can still be seen on television today. The Quality of Prisoner varied not only from episode to episode but from scene to scene. For example one scene could be a brilliantly dramatic, gritty fight sequence combining brilliant incidental music with ahead-of-it’s-time, hand held style camera work. Then the next scene could be cringe worthy because of a false set or forced “comedy.” I think this polarising change in quality accounts for such differing views of the series-you either love it or you hate it! The programme had a lot of outlandish plots, such as The Freak being drugged and having a surreal hallucination, people breaking into the prison to kill or free a high profile prisoner and drugs being smuggled in to the prison using a remote controlled car! Prisoner can be put under four categories, it’s a soap, a drama, a cult programme and one of the weirdest programmes ever made. Prisoner Cell Block H has had a few “best-of” releases in Britain and America and in Australia all 692 episodes have been released in the “largest box set in the world.” Tapes of Prisoner originate from tapes shown on Australian television but the series was cut before it was even shown in Australia so it’s unlikely the series will ever be seen uncut. The series is also being released in DVD volumes in Britain now. Although some content from DVD releases was cut by the DVD distributors before release, such as the cold blooded shooting of Bongo Connors by a prison guard.

Prisoner Cell Block H got quite a few spin-offs. Punishment was a male version of Prisoner and the first episode featured a young Mel Gibson before his film career took off. Sadly Punishment was axed after only 26 episodes. A theory put forward for Punishment not being embraced by viewers is that it was too uncompromising, too dark and serious, and viewers just weren’t ready for that. Where as Prisoner Cell Block H had a lot of comedy relief. HBO's Oz would later prove Punishment could have been a success if TV executives had stuck with it. An American version of Prisoner was also made called Dangerous Women which starred Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers). Dangerous Women was sadly also a flop and neither Punishment nor Dangerous Women are likely to be made available on DVD (though you never know!). There was also a pilot for another American version of Prisoner called Willow B: Women In Prison. Germany also made a version of Prisoner Cell Block H called Hinter Gittern, which is available on dvd but without English subtitles.


When Prisoner Cell Block H finished on ITV the channel needed another prison drama to cover the hole left in it’s schedule (and it’s ratings!) And so they commissioned Bad Girls. And so we’ve come full circle- a British programme, inspired by an Australian programme, which was inspired by a British programme. Bad Girls was an extremely poor imitation of Prisoner which seeked to copy it without realising what made Prisoner special. Bad Girls suffered from bland, still camera work and it’s difficult to know what was more annoying about it, the horrendously irritating characters (the two Julies!) or the abysmal incidental music, which was pretty much unbearable to listen to. One of the main failings of Bad Girls is that it never pushed the boundaries at all. It didn’t push the boundaries of acceptability past what Prisoner Cell Block H had already done between 1978 and 1985! Bad Girls was unbelievably tame, there was very little on screen violence, there was no sex or nudity, the style of it wasn’t over the top enough to keep you from realising how tame it was and it wasn’t intelligent enough to take seriously. Bad Girls was abysmal, it was always too rigid and not fluid enough. The series’ one saving grace (aside from a couple of attractive actresses) was the character of prison officer Jim Fenner, kind of a male version of Joan Ferguson (he even has the same initials). We watch Jim Fenner rule over all the inmates until he buries one inmate alive and inevitably get’s killed off. The entire series of Bad Girls is available uncut on DVD, whether that’s a good thing I’ll leave for you to decide! There’s absolutely no need for the programme to be described as “uncut” other than marketing reasons as the series is remarkably restrained in it’s content and style (there was no way the British board of film classification where going to cut anything out!) Bad Girls made the same mistake of Within These Walls by focusing far, far too much on the lives of the prison officers. Britain is such a conservative country it’s typical of Britain to waste the opportunity offered by the setting of a prison and focus on the dictators rather than the rebellious. A mistake not made by America with their prison drama’s, Oz and Prison Break who realised the potential of programmes which would appeal to a young audience, eager for something more subversive than most programmes on TV…


In 1998 Oz exploded on to the screen. Short for Oswald penitentiary, Oz focused on the fictional Oswald maximum security prison. Named after Russell G. Oswald, the prison warden during the real life Attica riots. Oz was the first hour long drama produced for HBO, paving the way for The Sopranos. As well as being a highly entertaining crime drama, Oz is filled with philosophical conversations about love, life, death and religion and raises many questions about the judicial system. After prisoner Ryan O’ Reily gets caught for murdering the husband of the female prison doctor (who O’ Reily is in love with) a character tells him love’s not a reason to commit murder-to which O’ Reily replies “maybe you’ve never been in love.” A deeply cynical programme, Oz is about deep inner pain people go through that even those closest to them don’t understand. One of the many ironies of Oz is that all the prisoners in Oz are remarkable people from their deviousness to their resilience at surviving in prison. Some prisoners, such as Arian brotherhood leader Vern Schillinger are so feared they feel comfortable, maybe even at home in prison. Pre September the 11th, Oz was the first programme to have a muslim as a main character and launched the careers of Harold Perrineau and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who both later starred in Lost. It Occurred to me, while watching Oz that everything that happens in prison also happens outside of prison. So as extreme as the violence and betrayal is in prison, it happens in our everyday lives, maybe to a less exaggerated extent. Oz acts as a Parable for society as a whole, using the incarcerated to hold up a mirror to outward society. At the end of each hour long episode you’ll find yourself taking in a long deep breath and wanting to sit and think for a while about what you’ve just seen! The influence of Oz can be seen in all of the American drama’s made since. Lost, for example is about a group of people closed off from society, it has big, movie style production values and some hand held style camera work, it has a muslim character and features long conversations between non English speaking characters. Oz creator, writer and producer Tom Fontana seems to realise the power and potential of television, using the power of sight and sound to their full potential, to shock, to entertain, to provoke thought and discussion and to surprise the viewer. The shocking violence, thought provoking dialogue, hand-held style camera work and screeching music make Oz immensely entertaining and infinitely re-watchable. American television became braver after Oz. The picture quality of Oz, particularly in the first season is grainy and even pixilated, performances are very enthusiastic and there seems to be synchronicity issues with sound. For the most part though the first four seasons are perfect television. Season 5 was only OK and season six didn’t offer a satisfactory conclusion to the series. All six seasons of Oz are available to buy on DVD.

Prison Break was promoted as a real prison drama, like Oz, and as such was a real disappointment. Where as Oz took prison drama and TV drama in general a step forward Prison Break took it a step back. It’s pretty much the very antithesis of Oz. Prison Break just isn’t bolstered in any reality. The programme combines elements of different programmes and films. It’s basically a much toned down rip-off of Oz combined with the conspiracy element of The X Files and Michael Scofield is basically a modernised, American version of James Bond…in prison! The feel to the programme is similar to a Saturday morning adventure series, since a run of absurd coincidences constantly occur which keep the main characters alive and as a viewer you “know” Michael Scofield will survive until the end. This makes it very difficult to get into and take seriously. It’s so unbelievably far fetched it’s insulting to the viewer’s intelligence. One of the most annoying things about it for me is how it’s constantly filmed through wide angle lenses, it just doesn’t look realistic enough. Not a real drama at all but rather a far fetched adventure series, Prison Break is an absurd guilty pleasure that’s entertaining despite itself.

A few more, short lived, less memorable prison dramas worth noting are Corelli, an Australian drama about a female prison psychologist, it starred Hugh Jackman before his movie career took off, The Governor, A British drama written by Linda La Plant and Buried, another downbeat, pretentious British drama.

Prison dramas are generally much more “over the top” than most programmes and films, not just in content but in style (offbeat camera angles and loud, bold incidental music) and as such more entertaining than most other programs and films. It’s been said conflict is the main component of a good drama, and you couldn’t find a better setting for conflict than a prison! A prison is the ultimate setting for a drama because it allows for maximum scope for drama and conflict between many varying characters, all in an enclosed environment where emotions are heightened and things happen at a faster pace and to a greater extent. A theory put forward for the fascination of prison drama’s is that we enjoy watching the underdog struggling for survival. Exploiting voyeuristic human nature, prison drama’s allow us to peer behind the walls, to a world unfamiliar to us.

There are four more prison drama’s rumoured to be coming soon. Eden is being touted as being like a female version of Oz. A female version of Prison Break, entitled Prison Break: Cherry Hill, An American remake of Bad Girls (I’m sure they’ll do a better job than us Brits!) and most interestingly of all Women In Chains by From Dusk Till Dawn writer and director Robert Rodriguez, which will have a deliberate B movie feel like those old women in prison exploitation movies. It’s ironic Women In Chains will have a deliberately kitsch feel to it, the very thing Prisoner Cell Block H has been mocked for all these year’s. So your TV might be holding you prisoner for some time yet…

Thursday, 2 April 2009

I'v been asked by my tutor to write a blog about easter and christmas. But to be honest I don't feel either way about the days. I don't like religion or religious people. But christmas has changed and progressed into so much more than a religious holiday. It's about being with family, friends, spoiling yourself without feeling guilty and...presents! And i've noticed that people are generally nicer at christmas. Like, at the back of their minds they know what it's about and that's an endearing thing. So to me christmas isn't about religion. it's taken on a life of it's own. It's about being nicer and enjoying yourself and that can only be a good thing.

As for easter, well that's just about easter eggs isn't it?

Thursday, 5 March 2009

UGLY

"You're ugly"

Can their be two words that are more hurtful?

"He's ugly" "she's ugly" "he looks like shrek" etc etc. People seem to love calling each other ugly. You hear at least one person being insulted about the way they look everytime your outside. Everyone differs in degrees of sensitivity and everyone is different in what their sensitive about. So being called ugly may not bother some people. Some people may not care about how they look. it's just not that important to them. Other people however are not so lucky. Some people become so consumed with the perception of how they look it becomes an obsession. To the extent they feel they can't even leave the house. Their is a name for this: Body dysmorphic disorder. In a way it's unfortunate it's been named because it makes it sound like another thing people use to feel sorry for their selves and get attention. It will no doubt grow in "popularity" by the kind of people who say "iv'e got issues" even though they don't have a clue what it's like. It's a real shame that their being a name for it might cheapen this psychological illness. Because it's effects are far more devastating than you might think. This isn't just about haveing a bad hair day. Having body dysmorphic disorder means you constantly believe everyone is looking at you. Everone is judging you. All eyes are on you. And they are thinking about how ugly you are. Even if their not saying it out loud their thinking it. "I dont look like anyone else." "I look differant", "I look wierd." "like an alien." "How dare I even go out?" "my nose is bigger than anyone elses" "my whole head and body are misshapen" Such thoughts can make sufferers feel suicidal. Such a complete lack of confidence (and that's an understatement) manifests its self in body langauge, always prompting people to think the sufferer is "shy." It's unlikley that being called ugly a few times will make someone feel like this but rather one or more big bad events in someones life can trigger such an anxiety. And when someone is then told their ugly or told "you look like such and such" it feeds their anxiety. Even if someone doesn't seem hypersensitive about their looks it could be secretly knawing away at them. And it's the people who keep things bottled up who things effect the most. So the next time you go to say "you're ugly" or "you look like such and such" Stop, think-don't be a wanker.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The military-aaaarrrrgggggggggg

"Just miles from your doorstep, hundreds of men are given weapons and trained to kill. The government calls it the army." And so goes a quote from the simpsons.

Without the army there could be no war. A simple truth yet that seems to be a controversial and little held view point. At the most the media are questioning of the government but insist on constantly calling the army "our heroes" "our boys" and "brave young lads" etc. Another favourite of the media's is saying "our brave soldiers are fighting for our country" They are NOT fighting for the country at all. Wars have absolutly nothing to do with citizens. They are about politicians fueds over power and money. If politicians have a disagrement with eachother and want to fight about it they should be put in a ring and made to fight it out themselves! Sounds absurd doesn't it. But then so is war. If your son is fighting in Iraq he is out killing and blowing the limbs of innocent people including children. There is nothing honourable or brave about being in the army. And it's long overdue people got out of that absurd mindset. People allow themselves to be brainwashed by the media. If you are in the army you are a tool. Nothing but a Pawn in the governments real life game of chess.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Corporate owned youth culture

Being young used to be about rebellion. About challenging and changing the status quo. Now corporations seem to “own” youth culture. Rather than company’s following what young people like the opposite seems to be true. Company’s are telling young people what to like and worryingly people seem to be following along like good little slaves. Everything from bland, homogenised manufactured pop to whole TV channels are aimed towards young people and unfortunately they seem to be lapping it up. Truly this is the commercial, materialistic age. Channel 4 have their own youth programming block called T4 made up of squeaky clean presenters, loads of sponsors, Hollywood stars plugging their latest mainstream movies and manufactured bands miming to music. Surely if there is going to be a block of programming aimed at young people, showing things such as music it should include no holes barred music videos such as hard rock music and provocative, subversive programmes. But T4 shows manufactured boy bands such as take that and boyzone. Your never going to see Marilyn Manson on T4. Or E4, or any other Mainstream media outlet aimed at teenagers. A slot of programming for young people should be completely unapologetic and risqué but everything about T.V. programmes for young people scream out “we don’t want to offend” everything about youth culture is a plastic, commercial, populist joke. Like a kids show, T4 is on early on a Sunday morning, the very time teenagers are least likely to be up watching T.V. (after a night spent on a street corner drinking buckfast) It's timeslot and the fact T4 is produced by Andy Peters is representative of the fact T4 seems to be aimed at children-not teenagers. In fact channel fours youth programming seems to be aimed at everybody but teenagers-it’s so safe it seems to be aimed at kids and old people. Hollyoaks is very popular among the elderly. In fact I think that’s where most of its audience lies! T4 presenters are just as vacuous and annoying as the show itself. Channel 4 doesn’t have one discussion show to discuss the big issues in life yet when big brother is on they devote an hour of air time every day to discussing it. I’m not saying programming with adult content should be on during the day, I’m saying provocative programmes should be on at night for people to discover for themselves when they have a natural want for something subversive. And I don’t think things like T4 should be on at all. Why should kids and teenagers be forced to endure such rampant commercialism? When a person is a child and a teenager their brain is just developing, who knows what harm trash such as “Temptation Island” is doing?! The idea that teenagers have become complacent slaves to neatly packaged products specifically targeted towards them is an extremely depressing one. Are teenagers really content to sit and watch T4? I sincerely hope not.

Religion-Aarrrrrgggggggggggg

Religions stem from “holy books” such as the bible. Texts that where written thousands of years ago. Texts that proclaim the existence of a god-an all seeing, all powerful being that none of us can see and whom there is no evidence for. If we lived in an ideal world religion might be fine. People are entitled to believe what they want to believe. But have you noticed how religion attracts horrible people? People who want to have control over others. People who want to have control and influence over society. People who will not take part in a mature, civilised discussion-about something that they themselves believe in and the complexities that their beliefs cause! When authorities are making decision they consult religious figures-so called “community leaders.” As someone who is not a slave to religion I find this infuriating. Why the hell should people have a say in the law just because they subscribe to a certain belief. I was never more angry than when, after the 7/7 London bombings muslim “leaders” where invited to 10 downing street to discuss ways to stop terrorism when it was their beliefs that lead to the bombings and people being killed in the first place. Why should people be invited to meet the prime minister and have a say on policies because they subscribe to blatantly absurd beliefs? Those clever enough to be independent thinkers will ironically never have so much say. I think that’s one of the reasons people subscribe to religions-power in numbers! Religion causes countless confrontations, arguments, fights and wars while those sane enough to not believe sit on the sidelines watching. Religion has an unfair power over all of us. For example imagine what TV might be like if it wasn’t for religious prudes who insist on complaining. And how many times has someone got at you for saying “Christ” when it is their religion that has indoctrinated us into us saying that in the first place! And how can the word “Christ” be offensive when their symbol is “Christ” bleeding on a cross!