Friday, February 29, 2008

The Golden Age of My Arse

The Golden Age of Censorship is the worst book I have ever read. I get the feeling that Paul Hoffman wanted to write something about his experiences as a film censor, but realised that some limp anecdotes and half-formed musings on censorship and the nature of film weren't enough to carry a novel, so he bolted on a superficial bit of soap opera nonsense in place of a plot. Said plot only starts to get going about halfway through the book, and isn't worth hanging around for, because it's far too thin and useless to be compelling, no matter how much Hoffman blathers on about destiny and inevitability. There's an absurd twist ending that makes no sense whatsoever, subplots that go nowhere, and the majority of the cast are introduced early on, then ignored for the rest of the book, including the two most interesting personalities.

It's entirely possible that Hoffman is being very clever indeed with this novel, but even if so, he's also a million miles away from being at all entertaining. The worst book I've ever read.

Not the worst book I've ever started, mind. That honour goes to The God of Small Things, which was so staggeringly inept that I gave up about eighty pages in.

In other news, today I finally finished the comic I talked about here. Not the "funky comics project", but the one I was drawing for a friend. Which is not to say that it's not funky, because it is, only a different kind of funky to my funky comics project. Er...

Anyway, it's done, and I'm not too displeased with it at all, beyond being horribly late, of course. Rol, for he is said friend, does some big-upping of the strip here. When Rol first gave me the script, sometime around the abolition of the Corn Laws, I thought it was for something he was going to put on his website; little did I know that he was actually going to be printing and selling it, and I had no idea that I was going to be in such august company. I'm not sure when PJANG! will be published, but I'll give it a plug here when it's out.

Oh! And I almost forgot. Or in fact, I did forget, but came back to add this bit later. The other day, I came home to find that the postperson had delivered my copy of the limited edition hardback collection of volume one of The Rainbow Orchid! It's absolutely gorgeous, and if the completed book is half as lovely, it'll be very lovely indeed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good Lookin'

If you headed over to Comics Bulletin today, you would find that the regular "What Looks Good" column has been taken over, for one week only, by myself. I don't really know why the CB bosses picked me, since I'm never amazingly enthusiastic about US comics these days, but so it goes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Indy Saves The World... For Real!

Steven Spielberg resigns as artistic director of the Beijing Olympic Games:
"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual. At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Now I'm looking forward to Indy 4 as much as the next guy, but I don't think an old man in a hat is going to cut it, Steve...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I wonder how long this new BBC redesign will last. I thought only BBC Three was getting a revamp, but I noticed that even BBC One now has a thoroughly annoying between-programmes ninety second news blip complete with loud music and flashy graphics for all those viewers totally devoid of any sort of attention span. Of course, BBC Three used to have this kind of "news" programme, but it's now been replaced with some sort of bizarre round up of what other news networks are talking about. What? Why do I need a minute of some slack-jawed ex-model shouting the headlines from the Chinese state news service at me?

Anyway, Phoo Action, then. One of BBC Three's new young, hip, yoof drama pilots, it's based on a Jamie Hewlett kung fu comic strip, and I'd assumed that "Jamie Hewlett" and "kung fu" were sure signs of greatness.

What they did, it seems, is take Hewlett's designs and bolted them to, to... I don't know what it was, but it wasn't much good. It should have been funny, but it wasn't. It should have been fast, but it wasn't, and it should have been much more manic than it was. You could see signs of the limited budget around the edges in stuff like the locations, but that doesn't excuse the ponderous yet empty script, the leaden directing and the non-committal acting. The closest thing to which I can compare it is the old Batman series, but Phoo had none of that show's energy and enthusiasm, and you never got the impression that Adam West was embarrassed by what he was doing. It's a shame, because if they had come out with a more impressive first episode, then the BBC could have had something truly unique on their hands. Perhaps it will get picked up, and the actual series will be better, but I'm not confident.

Chronic Lack of Perspective Within US Government Shocker!

US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, talking about the men they're charging over the September 11th attacks:
[There will be] full due-process and defence lawyers and all of the fundamental rights that would bring to justice those were responsible for one of the worst war-crimes in world history.

(emphasis mine)

Never mind that it's not a bloody war crime at all since no one was actually at war at the time, Hiroshima, Dresden, the Trail of Tears and the Holocaust all just pale in comparison, don't they?


By all means bring these men to justice, but try to do it through something other than sheer rampant idiocy.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Heavy Metal Thunder

A lot of my fondest video gaming memories involve not the games themselves, but their soundtracks. The Amiga in particular had some great music ; Chaos Engine and Stardust are classics, and I remember playing through Lemmings mainly for the tunes.

I never had a PC Engine, as they were about as abundant as unicorn tears in Britain; in fact I never even saw one until very recently when one turned up in the window of GameStation. So I missed out on a whole system's worth of games, which I'm slowly catching up with on the Wii's Virtual Console.

I just downloaded Lords of Thunder, which like many PCE titles, is a shoot 'em up. Not one of my favourite game genres, to be honest, as I lack the inhumanly quick reactions needed to be any good at them, but Lords of Thunder is still worth playing, if only because of the absurdly over the top power metal soundtrack. Really, I've heard nothing like it before; it's as if DragonForce have set up shop inside the Wii and are rocking out like the galaxy itself depends on it.

It's sheer silly big-haired guitar-wielding brilliance:

Genius. How the guys at ocremix haven't been all over this game yet, I don't know.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Says It All...

"Good luck staying awake!"

The BBC's Super Bowl presenter, within thirty seconds of the coverage beginning.