It’s Official: Tonight is Pointless!

Lol!

I watch a quiz/game show on the BBC called Pointless in which the object of the game is to score as fewer points as possible by giving more obscure answers. One hundred people are given 100 seconds to name as many things about a particular subject as they can and those that score the fewest are the best answers. Some (in which no person polled has answered) are pointless (IE; score zero) and are worth money to the jackpot amount on offer, or actually are the answers needed to win the jackpot.

In the final round, that days winning contestants get the chance to win the jackpot by providing three potentially pointless answers on a question. Only one of the answers HAS to be pointless, but they get three chances. Following?

Anyway, this was yesterday’s final round question…

THANK YOU!

As two die-hard Bowie fans (Em and I), this question could NOT have been any more perfect! It was just WHICH Bowie albums we thought would be pointless. As Bowie fans we could name ALL his studio albums in 100 seconds, and then some!

The first one I thought of was Pin Ups (and to my surprise the contestants – two young female uni students – came up with the same answer), but then I started thinking about the more recent albums. Black Tie White Noise, Earthling, Heathen (Heathen was pointless FFS!)…all of which ended up pointless.

And then, I thought of this…

Proof (if ever it were needed).

 

And so did pointless host Alexander Armstrong. Em felt VERY vindicated to see this come up. Lol. I still have a bit of time for this album but Em was so “just as I have always said, utterly pointless!” about it. Lol

By the way, the ladies didn’t get the jackpot. Their answers were Labyrinth (showing you the depth of their knowledge, hence my shock of their Pin Ups answer), Space Oddity and Pin Ups. Labyrinth was (obviously) incorrect, Space Oddity scored 7, and Pin Ups – 1! They actually got so close but, alas, no cigar.

The Archers: Not for Lefties!

Well, it appears that way anyway…

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I started listening to The Archers earlier this year. Em has always had an aversion to it for two reasons mainly: 1) It’s about the middle classes and small village mentality (her thoughts) and 2) It’s on Radio 4.

I can’t explain really just WHY I was that interested in it. Perhaps I saw it as an exercise into ‘how the other half live’. Which to a degree it sort of is. I get a giggle out of some the somewhat coservative slant of the characters. I find it amusing. But I am enjoying listening to it.

So much so that I found myself wanting to discuss it with others but because I know NO ONE ELSE who listens to it, I found myself going to message boards. This caused some apprehension in itself as I listen to the Omnibus edition each week, and not the nightly episodes. So I had to be careful not to introduce spoilers.

The official Archers web site has a message board for fans but the people on the discussion board are so like the more prudish and conservative characters in the show (worse than them actually) I find myself very out of my depth and in the minority. Also, most are long listeners and know the characters SSSOOO well – or at least THINK they do (and therefore perhaps judge them way more harshly than someone like me, only several months into listening, only just got to grips with all the characters and still not privy to a lot of back story) – and know them far better than I.

So I thought I’d look at Facebook. If anything they are worse! All a bunch of conservatives! I am feeling very ostracised! Perhaps being Left-wing and an Archers listener is an even weirder notion than I first thought? Maybe it’s akin to Norman Tebbit liking Eastenders? Lol

Post Inspiration?

Hello Peeps 🙂

Since it has been some three weeks since my last post, I thought I’d better post something new up. Only problem is that I haven’t really had anything to post!

I have been holed up in the house since New Year due to the snow and “treacherous” icy conditions. I haven’t been outside since about Dec 28/29. That is until yesterday.

We went out with our friend Stan (well, Em’s friend and subsequently, mine). We had a lovely bite to eat at a pub in Luton that sells Thai food. VERY nice! Then we went and saw a movie. It was a biopic on Ian Dury called (appropriately enough) Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Andy Serkis plays Dury and is quite good. There’s mocked up concert footage and Andy actually does all the singing! If the acting work dries up for some reason he can always make a living as a very good Ian Dury tribute act!

It was quite non-linear and didn’t sort of tell the story from go to woe. But it was enjoyable. LOTS of swearing and even a few c**ts! The music was fab as well, especially (obviously) if you are a Blockheads fan.

The things that made us laugh? Some being attributed in the credits as “make-up artist to MacKenzie Crook”! and a middle-aged punk in the cinema, complete with pink dyed mohican! Aah, those were the days!

Anyway, that’s me for now. Just wanted to post to say that I’m alive and I’d even managed to go outdoors and escape the rabbit hutch for a while!

I will leave you with some Mr Dury.

Doctor Ten: Allons-y! **Contains spoilers**

*******This post will contain Doctor Who spoilers, so only read if you have seen both parts of The End of Time or are utterly disinterested in Doctor Who!*******

Last night saw the end of an era when David Tennant’s reign as the tenth Doctor came to an end. It is also the end of Russell T Davies’ time as head writer and executive producer on the show. And to that I say GOOD RIDDANCE!

Yes, I thank him for returning Doctor Who to our screens, unreservedly. And yes, he has delivered some fine scripts, Midnight and Turn Left being his stand outs for me. But I CANNOT forgive that final 15-20 of schmultz that had the Doctor visiting his companions and friends in one FINAL goodbye. You did that, RTD, with the series four finale (Journey’s End). You really are hell-bent on the emotional goodbye.

The Doctor’s goodbye could have been so much more befitting. David Tennant had made the character of Doctor Ten SO strong. He had gone to sacrifice himself several times over during the last four series without even a hint of regret or unwilling. And then RTD gives Doctor Ten his final words – as of a coward or wimp, “I don’t want to go”.

Before that, don’t give me the 20 minutes of schmultz. That final line would have sat better if DT’s final scenes had been played out with Bernard Cribbins (as Wilfred Mott).

I can pick holes in the whole thing. I can pick it all apart and over analyse it, but I won’t. I can’t stand the torture of it. Suffice it to say that part one disappointed me greatly and part two sat more comfortable with me until the final 15-20 minutes.

Part two should have ended with Wilf and the Doctor post nuclear lock scene. Those scenes there where the Doctor realised his demise was going to be (inadvertently) at the hands of Wilf were wonderfully played out. It should have continued. Once we were aware the Doctor had soaked up all the radiation in the nuclear lock, I’d have liked to have seen him struggle out the door, lay on the ground and have an exchange with Wilf. You could have played in nostalgia there and not let it obscure or overshadow what were glorious scenes with Bernard and David.

Then it was just stupid. Martha and Mickey married! The Doctor saves Sarah Jane Smith’s son Luke from being hit by a car (isn’t he a cyborg?), setting Jack up with a guy from a previous episode (midshipman Alonso Frame), he turns up to Donna’s wedding, leaving her a lottery ticket (WTF??!!!) and then going back to 2005 to a time before he meets Rose to tell her she’s going to have a “brilliant year”.

And of all of that 15-20 minutes, the one that made no continuity sense whatsoever was the Doctor at a book shop visiting a writer called Verity Newsome who’d released a book called “The Journal of Impossible Things” that had been in her granadmother’s (Joan Redfern) possession since 1913. I got the gist of it, was aware of the book and the character of course, but what didn’t sit right was HOW on earth the Doctor knew to go to this particular bookshop and see Joan’s granddaughter. And apart from that, the Doctor wasn’t in love with Joan, his human self as John Smith was!!!

RTD you make me SSSOOO angry.

I just had to vent and air. I could write more, but I need time, so this is enough. Enough to express my anger and disappointment. I wanted so much more for David Tennant’s final scenes.

The one positive I can take from it is that DT’s demise was ultimately SO anticlimactic that it has actually made me genuinely excited about the new series and Matt Smith as Doctor Eleven.

I think in the end David was right to leave when he did. It *was* time. I am SO looking forward to what Steven Moffat is going to do with it.

Goodbye David and Doctor Ten, you were brilliant. RTD, f*ck off outta here! Go on, piss off to L.A. See if anyone will have you there. Good luck and don’t ever write sci-fi AGAIN!

Fun Monday – my first.

I was this on Wendishness’s’s’s’s’s (sorry, lol) blog and thought I’d have a go.

Here’s the deal. There is an exercise involved, as follows:

(1) Share something which you wish your readers would know about you. It could be something you feel you might need to clarify/ share, etc.

(2) Ask three questions to your readers, and I mean all readers, whether participants of Fun Monday or not. The questions should be generic so that all your readers can answer them and that it will help you get to know your readers more.

So here goes…

1) I have an abhorrent fear of escalators. Yes folks, you read correctly, escalators! It’s something that’s manifested itself later in life and I’m not really sure what brought it on. Perhaps it started when I used to visit my brother when he was working at the NRMA offices in Sydney (nearest station is Wynyard which had a VERY tall wooden escalator). I used to take the escalator out of Wynyard station and because it was such a TALL escalator and I’m acrophobic, it used to unsettle me a little, but I was okay.

Then I heard about a fire that happened at Wynyard station. Just looking now there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for one. But I’d heard there had been one, on the escalators (and if you look at the Wikipedia entry here for escalators, you’ll see Wynyard still have the original Otis wooden tread ones, the ones used at King’s Cross station in London where there WAS a fire in 1987, killing 31 people). From then on, I really started to dread taking the escalators. When I’d arrive at the station on the train, I’d take the escalator up to street level (sometimes), but when I’d return to the station, I’d ALWAYS take the stairs.

My fear is so strong, I actually PREFER lifts! I would gladly take a lift any day over having to ride an escalator. The longer and higher the escalator, the more scared I am, as it then combines with my acrophobia to make me have panic attacks. Just looking at some of the images on the Wikipedia entry for escalators was enough to have me panicking.

London is the worst. Travelling the tube is a NIGHTMARE for me. The escalators are SSSOOO fast, and that is another element of the fear – the faster the escalator, the harder I find it to get on. And if the escalator is going down, and is tall…I just see myself trying to get on and falling all the way down.

It didn’t help things that on my wedding anniversary in 2008, I DID have a fall down an escalator. It wasn’t a very tall one either, but it was fast, so it just helped to heighten my fear.

I can’t describe to you how fast the ones on the tube go. Imagine standing there in front of a an escalator and every time you go to step on, you’ve missed the step. A step goes by within two thirds of a second, and although granted, the steps stay flat for about one metre, because my fear is SO heightened, I just don’t believe I’m ever going to get on a level step quick enough. Then add the element of endless passengers stepping on/off the escalator, people beside you clambering and running down them to the left of you (something I could NEVER do, even for a million pounds). Most of the time I have to wait until the masses leave so I can try and get on myself as many times I have to abort my attempts and that would be nigh on impossible with a crowd behind me. I let Em go ahead and sometimes when I abort my attempts, she comes back down the stairs to help me.

My favourite tube station is Covent Garden as there is access via lifts and stairs only. The stairs are spiral, and I’ve been down them before, and vertigo sets in…but I *STILL* prefer that to the escalators!

I wish I was healthier, as I’d take the stairs more often. But some of the tube stations are SO far below ground, the stairs would be 100 metres long. I’d never cope!

The WORST is “down” escalators that aren’t working. I had that just recently when we went to Weymouth. We were at Victoria, having something to eat before getting the coach home, and the small escalator inside the food hall had stopped. Luckily it was a small one, but I still very gingerly made my descent.

Enough of escalator talk (before I have a panic attack).

2) Gawd, I’m not sure what questions to ask.

*What was the best thing you did yesterday?
*Who is your hero or the person you most admire in your life?
*If you had the opportunity, would you move from where you live now, and if so, where would you move to?

PS: Whoops. Think I lost the premise there…FUN Monday…oh, well.

Griffin Bashing and #BBCQT

I did something that I rarely do and watched an episode of Question Time last night. It seemed a “must see” piece of television as earlier in the evening the BBC faced a brunt of protests outside Television Centre with the arrival of Nick Griffin of the British National Party to the studios.

There were about 1,000 people outside the TV centre protesting against the idea that the BBC would give a voice to Nick Griffin on a political platform.

I only took in bits and pieces in last nights programme as I found myself on Twitter watching the cascading flow of tweets on twitterfall whilst people around the country tuned in to watch old goblin face.

The BNP had come under criticism the previous day for using images of Spitfire air craft and Winston Churchill at their party conferences.

The first question posed to the panel, which included Labour MP and justice secretary Jack Straw, Conservative MP Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and Curator of the British Museum Bonnie Greer, was whether it was fair the BNP had “hijacked” Winston Churchill’s image for use in their campaigns.

Jack Straw was first respond. He said that the BNP had no right to use Churchill’s image. He said the BNP has no moral compass and says that WWI and WWII was only won with the help of many black and Asian people. He also said a race-based party has no standing in the UK.

Nick Griffin’s response to defend his party’s use of Churchill’s image was that the party chose Churchill as an image because no other party would, due to some of his political philosophies. IE: that he thought there was a real threat of over-migration and that he was worried about the impact of fundamental Islam. Griffin went on to say “I’m not a Nazi and I never have been.”

Erm…really? Then what’s this?

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He also ended with a personal attack on JS saying “My father was in the RAF in the second World War whilst Mr. Straw’s father was in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler.”

What relevance this had on proceedings was hard to decipher. When host Daivd Dimbleby asked why he made this statement he said “Jack Straw was attacking me and I have been being continually attack for the last week.”

Oh, grow up man! And as for Jack Straw attacking you personally, he did nothing of the sort! I dare ask who was the braver in that time, Griffin’s father for being in the RAF (he didn’t say what role he had – my uncle was in the RAAF, but he was a chef!), or Straw’s for being a conscientious objector?

Still on the issue, Bonnie Greer pointed out that Churchill’s own mother was American and her family had possible Mohican Indian descendants, therefore questioning the BNP’s choice for Churchill’s image being that of a “British white role model” that the BNP was looking for.

Chris Huhne chimed into the discussion with his personal views on what he thought the BNP as a party, represented. He said the BNP is “scape-goating” politics. Peddling hatred and fear. Churchill would be rolling in his grave (at having his image being used by the BNP, or being associated with them). He was never a fascist.

Huhne also quoted Nick Griffin as once saying he thought “Yes, Adolf went a bit too far.” He then asked Griffin what part of “too far” did he think Hitler had gone? Slaughtering millions of Jews? Invading Poland and France? Bombing innocent people in Britain?

Griffin amongst his replies says “I brought the BNP out of being a racist party.”

WHAT THE F**K??

David Dimbleby quotes him as saying (not ver batim) “Let’s start out (the BNP) as being moderate to win votes/support. Then we’ll reveal our true agenda.” When asked about this and his involvement with David Duke he said “David Duke was the head of a non-violent arm of the KKK”. This statement had people in the audience and the other panel members in groans of disbelief.

Nick Griffin would shy away from responses to most quotes read to him of things he’d said. Jack Straw confronted him on this. He said (not ver batim) “When we give a quote of something you said you make a defence of saying ‘Oh, I never said that. That’s not quite right.’ But you are there on YouTube, in videos, actually saying these things. Time and again he (refering to Griffin, addressing the audience) wants to wriggle out of it…This guy is the Dr. Strangelove of British politics!”

A question came from an audience member asking why he believes the holocaust was a myth, Griffin said, “I cannot explain why I used to say those things, I can’t tell you (groans and shouts from the audience) any more than I can tell you why I’ve changed my mind, I can’t tell you the extent that I’ve changed my mind because the European law prevents me.”

This was dismissed as bunkum. He was asked to explain why he’d changed his mind about his denial of the holocaust and he gave some lame excuse about hearing radio intercepts of German recordings or something. Jack Straw said “Why would you need that? Were the images from Auschwitz not enough for you”?

Sayeeda Warsi revealed to the audience that he’d shared a platform with Islamic extremist Abu Hamsa after some time of discussing his views on Islam and what he thought of aspects of the Muslim faith. He said he didn’t agree with much of it. It’s treatment of women, etc.

Bonnie Greer said that Griffin starts his history at around 1700 to bypass Roman rule because it doesn’t fit in with the BNP’s “white agenda”. In Roman times there was an influx of many ethnicities, not just Romans.

Baroness Warsi says we need a cap on immigration. She also said she thought that why many people vote or support the BNP is not because they are racist but it is because they are concerned about immigration.

Jack Straw counters this by saying a party like the BNP has been in the British political system on and off since the 1930’s. That the BNP’s recent success in the European elections was NOT due to people with racist leanings voting for them, but it was purely votes gained from protests over the MP’s expenses saga.

On immigration Griffin said successive British governments were committing calculated genocide on the “indigenous white population” of Britain.

WWWHHHHHAAAAAAATT??

Bonnie Greer quoted Griffin saying the BNP are for the “indigenous Ice Age”. She replied, “But there are no people from ‘the indigenous Ice Age’ in the UK.” The UK was populated around 17,000 years ago from people from the south. They certainly didn’t come from the north. How could they get here? “We all know now that we (the population of the world) are all descended from Africa. You should know this Nick, you have a 2:2 in history. The only people who were here on this continent (Europe) 17,000 years ago, and I use the term ‘people’ lightly, were Neanderthals”. Then, speaking to Griffin personally, “You can come to the British Museum and check. We’ve got a lot of information on it. I wish you’d come.”

Then a man from the audience was offered to ask a question to the panel, he said “Yes, I have a question for Dick, er, sorry I mean Nick Griffin”.

That made all us twitterers have a little giggle. Pretending he was making a mistake with his name. It was childish, but funny.

I’m not sure if the programme itself really got anywhere. It did seem to descend into an hour of Griffin-bashing, but perhaps it was worth it just for that. It was certainly entertaining watching twitterfall for the hour the programme was on.

I’ll leve it to the man himself to finish…

Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.