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.

Nothing Doing.

Just thought I’d stop in and have a little talk and update. Sitting here listening to Barber’s Adagio for Strings at the moment. The only piece of classical music I truly love, that actually tugs at me emotionally. Probably because it’s used in Joseph Merrick’s dying scene in The Elephant Man.

I’ve been going through lists of new release albums in the UK and sampling them on Spotify, and this adagio compilation was one of them. Classical is the one genre of music I’ve never really given enough time to. I’d like to change that if I can. I sampled several albums yesterday, but only really liked one other, from Duke Special. I could listen to that again.

I’ve been listening to “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” for the last few weeks on Spotify and had reserved the album at the library, now it’s finally become available, yay! Now I’ll be able to stick it on my X-Fi.

I’ve been doing a bit of bird watching too. At home in our garden and via a webcam watching the peregrine falcons nesting on Derby cathedral. All four of their chicks have hatched now. I was watching them being fed yesterday and you can see survival instincts kicking in already. Two of the chicks were at the front of the queue, the other two behind them. The two at the front were getting the bulk of the food. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for all four chicks to live to fledge, but I hope I’m wrong.

In the garden we had two baby blackbirds hanging out with dad yesterday. Mr B is a very good daddy. Even though these fledglings were adult size, with fully formed tails, and even displaying foraging behaviour, he was STILL feeding them periodically. Bless him 🙂

We’ve been being serenaded on and off for the last two weeks by a chaffinch (as I’d mentioned in a previous post). Well, I actually got to get a fleeting glimpse at him on Monday! Em even saw him, but it was STILL too brief to get a picture.

Lately I’ve been doing a bit of telly catch up too. Em got all of season three of Dexter for me, which I just finished watching. I never thought after the first season it could get any better, but they just seem to be able to build and build on the plot. I am LOVING Dexter. It’s my fave US TV program at the moment.

I’ll have to finally get onto season three of Medium. I bet season five has been and gone in the US now! Season four has already aired here, but I had trouble recording some and got lost with it, so I’ll have to get season four on DVD now.

I’m watching The Mentalist as well. I wasn’t too impressed with the first episode and almost gave up on it. But I stuck it out and it’s slowly growing on me.

The thing being raved about over here for last few months, even though I think the series has been and gone in the US is The Wire. It started being shown on BBC Two a couple of weeks back. All of series one, now series two started airing as of Monday night. I think the plan is to show the whole thing for the next however many weeks it is to get through the whole run.

Apart from that, I’ve just been surfing, tweeting, etc.

DVD’s I’ve Watched In The Last Two Weeks.

I took a rental holiday over the Christmas period then started my rental back up on January 20th. I’ve watched several films since then in varying degrees of depth (the movie plots that is).

One of the first I watched, which I’d been dying to see was There Will Be Blood. OMG, Daniel Day-Lewis plays such an absolute bastard in that film!! And Paul Dano’s performance as evangelical minister Eli was SO powerful – amazing! It’s a long film, weighty to sit through, but worth it. I was a little apprehensive it was going to be all about oil, but it’s more about family dynamics and business and money. It was really good.

Another film I’ve watched recently was Juno. I can see why it was getting cult plaudits. It was such a quirky little thing. A slightly odd subject seeing as adoption hardly ever takes place in the developed world any more, but it had interesting plot developments. Really liked it. And I loved the way Ellen Page played Juno – brilliant!

Another was The Cottage. A Brit sort of horror/com with Andy Sirkis and Reece Shearsmith from The League of Gentlemen in it. It was VERY gory towards the end, but very funny all the way through. And the “bogeyman” in the film – what a seriously creepy f*cking guy!!! Eeewww A rare film that had me both laughing and recoiling in horror at the same time. I loved it!! And there is REALLY strong language too. Jennifer Ellison must have the C word at least 20 times! lol

On Wednesday night I watched Teeth. I’d sort of heard about it through the ‘net and stuff and it sounded so preposterous I *had* to see it. It lived up to all my expectations. It’s about a girl in one of those “Promise” ring-wearing-sex-abstinent religious cults in which you are meant to keep chaste until you’re married. It helps when you have a built-in chastity belt!! Her vajayjay has teeth!! In the 80 minutes that transpire in the film, her vag manages to “bite off” some 3 penises and a set of fingers from a gynaecologist, as well as an implied penis severing at the end of the film. Through the whole film you never actually see her vajayjay. All the prosthetic penises laying about at their points of severance made me laugh though. Especially the last one – for reasons I won’t elude to in case I ruin your viewing “pleasure”! lol It was so trashy, but it made me laugh!

I’ll let you know what other wonders I’ve watched in future posts.

Despite How It Seems…

I am still alive. I just really haven’t had anything to talk about of late. I’ve just been busy starving myself, hanging around on Blip.fm, getting back into Twitter (I don’t know why either), blended with watching bits of TV and watching all 5 series of Peep Show to bring me up to date.

I am IN LOVE with Peep Show. Can’t believe I never watched it from the start. As Em keeps saying to me, Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) are probably MORE like David and Rob than we should really think about!

There are some really naughty bits in it though that I love, like Mark bumping into Dobby in the stationery room in series 5 and she gets all moochy with him, gyrating her bum against his crotch and proceeds to make him jiz his trousers! I can’t wait for series 6 now!!

I recorded a programme which we watched last night about Paul (rent-a-gob) Morley and his “journey” through fashion. He spoke to Jarvis Cocker at one point about his fashion style, which inspired my subconscious to have two dreams. One earlier in the night, which I barely remembered about me and Em helping Jarvis buy a new wardrobe of clothes. The other, just before I woke up this morning on Jarvis sending us a letter of thanks for helping him buy his new wardrobe! Daft! I’m always amused when my dreams immediately correlate with something I’ve just done or seen the previous day or night!

I did my back in a few days ago. Don’t know how, but it was KILLING me for like 3 days. Finally it has gotten better and I’m okay again now.

Well, I better be off. I’m trying a new recipe for tea tonight. Hope it’ll be good. It’s a pasta dish.

Generalised Update.

No real news to speak of going on. Just spending my mornings and early afternoons on the Internet and my late afternoons and evenings watching TV/DVDs.

Going to go into town tomorrow. Need to deposit a postal order into the bank account. OMG, what a drawn out affair this has been. Right, we sold something on eBay and the man who bought said item wanted to pay for it by postal order. He checked with us that we were okay with that before purchase. We said “fine, no probs”. When purchase went through, we initially requested the postal order be made out in Em’s name as she was the only one with a bank account.

It got a bit lost in translation and the man asked again for payment information (who to make postal order out to, etc). To save confusion, second time round we said my name (the eBay account is in MY name after all). When the postal order arrived we went into to town to cash it at the post office. The lady at the counter said “I can’t cash this for you, it’s been crossed” – which means the postal order has to be deposited into a bank account. FLIP! I don’t have a bank account in my name! And I forgotten all about postal orders being crossed so they can only be deposited in a bank account. I just assumed I’d be able to cash it at a post office.

So we think, quickest solution, we go to the bank and have me signed up as a joint bank account holder. That was September 4th. I got my debit card on Saturday (SEPTEMBER 27TH)!!

In the meantime we’re keeping the buyer informed of what was happening. We keep apologizing profusely, he’s very understanding and feeling sorry for us being without the cash. Finally, after waiting over 2 weeks for the account to be set-up and trying to contact the bank with no luck, we decide to send him back his postal order. We sent it back on Wednesday (Sept. 24th), only for then to have my debit card arrive 3 days later!!! Honestly!

The poor guy has now sent the postal order back to us, so we’re going back into town tomorrow to deposit it. Phew! What a kerfuffle!

Anyway, back to the other stuff occupying my mind. I just finished watching State of Play. A BBC drama that was on about 5 years ago. It was available to watch on DVD. It was VERY good. Really liked it. I’m not normally into political lead dramas but that was good.

I also watched Curse of The Golden Flower, a Zhang Yimou film. I love his stuff. He makes such visually stunning films. This one was a bit of a slow-burner plotwise, but it had a thrilling and brutal end. And OMG the manpower involved in some of the closing scenes. Talk about a crew of extras!!!

DVDs coming up next are Disc 1 of the second series of Doctor Who (DT’s first Who episodes – minus The Christmas Invasion). The first series of Peep Show with David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I never really watched it, so looking forward to catching up with it. The last disc is another Zhang Yimou film.

And I’ve also finally bitten the bullet and getting Medium season 2 on DVD ‘cos it was such a good price and it appears I’ll be waiting a while to get season 2 from the DVD rental store ‘cos they’ve only just made it available and it’s popular.

Anyway, that’s me done for now…all that’s turned out a bit long-winded for a “nothing” post!!

Random!

AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR! Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

 

Got out and about this week. We hired a car for the day and went shopping. First of all we went to Frosts, a garden centre in Milton Keynes. Some of the shelves were cleared and getting filled with Xmas decorations. IT’S BLOODY SEPTEMBER!!!

 

There’s another garden centre just a few hundred yards down the road from there, Wyvale. They were doing the same bloody thing!

 

Anyway, we wanted to look around as we’ve got ourselves a council allotment (strip of land on council property we can use for growing plants/flowers/fruit and veg on). It only cost us about £17.50 for the year. All we had to do was make a £2.50 deposit for keys to get onto the site. It’s a BIG plot of land. I’ll provide a pic later on.

 

There’s quite a bit of weed on the plot and it’s over grown, so we’re trying to weed it without having to deturf the soil. Em says the soil is rock hard, and not of the best quality, so I’m not sure how we’re going to go growing on it.

 

We went to Morrison’s supermarket after the garden centre trips. AGAIN more Xmas stuff on the shelf already! Found a lovely cooking magazine there with some lovely recipes. Last night I had a chicken noodle stir-fry. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs mixed with red bell pepper, onion, garlic, chili, beansprouts, straight-to-wok noodles and oyster sauce. It was really yummy, and hot. I was careful only to use the chili flesh and NOT the seeds though, so it was manageable.

 

There some more fab recipes for us to try in it that can easily be adapted to vegetarian dishes.

 

Got some DVDs to watch. A BBC drama series called State of Play, with Blackpool star (and soon-to-be Doctor Who Xmas special star) David Morrissey, previous DW Xmas special star (and Life on Mars star) John Simm and Bill Nighy, among other luminaries. It was a highly acclaimed series, so I’m hoping it’ll be good.

 

Got the first series of Nighty Night to watch too. It was SO dark! I sort of missed it when it first went out and would catch bits of it here and there, but would like to see the whole thing proper.

 

The other disc is the movie Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and my mate Drew (Barrymore). Just fancied seeing it.

 

I’m SO peed off with the DVD rental place. Just when I got half-way through getting Medium series 2 from the friend of a friend of a friend, they get series 2 on DVD!!! I’ve added it to my rental queue though, as the “friends” copies are not the best.

 

Watched Ugly Betty last night. SSSOOOO loving that Betty’s back! Oh, and Mock The Week was on too, with Frankie Boyle being his usual dark self!

 

Sorry, this one’s a bit of a random post.

 

Bye…

 

Random Musings.

Going through the list of Scottish music I like had me hunting down stuff I hadn’t listened to for a long time. I have completely rekindled my passion for Simple Minds and Big Country. I was listening to their stuff last night. There’s such colour in Simple Minds’ stuff. They can so easily and fluidly travel from new wave synth super pop to thumping rock anthems like no other band I’ve heard. And in a lot of songs, have both elements sitting side by side.

 

It’s strange, because I keep coming back to their stuff in stages. Unintentionally. Last time I was really into them was around the early Naughties. Before that, probably sometime in the mid 90s. Before that, right at their 80s peak, when they brought out “Once Upon A Time” – which I owned.

 

I think I’ve started a new stage. I forget really until I come back to the music, just how much I love them. And I really should own albums instead of “best of”‘s.

 

And as for Big Country, I’m not sure if I can stretch to familiarizing myself with the full back catalogue of Big Country music, but I cannot get ENOUGH of one of their songs in particular.

 

 

It’s permanently stuck in my head!!!

 

I watched Blades of Glory on DVD the other night. I didn’t think I could ever laugh so hard at a Will Ferrell film! They way they have filmed it to make it look like both he and John Heder are competent skaters is brilliant.

 

DVDs coming in the post are, Magicians – with David Mitchell and Robert Webb (of That Mitchell and Webb Look and Peep Show fame). Not really sure what the movie is about, other than it being about magicians, obviously. I love David Mitchell. There’s this thing about him being middle class which he seems to get stick for, plus he’s just sort of geeky. You also see him on panel quiz shows sometimes. He’s a regular on a BBC show called Would I Lie To You? in which teams have to work out whether a statement read out by a member of the opposing team is true or a lie. One of my faves was David Mitchell declaring that his first word was “Hoover”. As soon as he read the card out I thought “Oh, he’s so ANAL, it HAS to be true! PLEASE, let it be true!”

It was…

 

Other discs coming are “The Runaway Bride”, the 2006 Doctor Who Xmas special with Mr T and Catherine Tate. I didn’t watch it at the time. I think I was sick that Xmas and I went to watch it, but fell asleep within the first 10 mins or something. I don’t remember it AT ALL. It’ll be good to see anyway. I’m just intrigued as to how Catherine Tate played Donna back then.

 

The other is This Is England. I’d heard it being talked about, winning awards, etc. Then I saw a preview of it on one of the other discs I rented and it DOES look good, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.

 

I’m spending more time on the Internet than is probably healthy due to the Acer Netbook, but at least I can do it in comfort (surf the ‘net/use a computer). And it’s like a little media machine too, ‘cos it takes SD cards, so I can listen to MP3’s and watch MP4 movies and stuff.

 

Yesterday I busied myself creating a list of favourite comedians in an email to my friend Kelly. I watched SO many little stand-up clips from YouTube yesterday. It was fun though.

 

Here is a little list of some of my all-time Oz faves.

 

Firstly, Bob Downe. We’ve seen him twice. Once in Sydney, moons ago, and more recently at High Wycombe around 2002/2003. He is FAB live.

I love The Kransky Sisters too.

Doug Anthony All Stars (now no longer together, but Paul McDermott still gets around, as does Tim Ferguson as far as I’m aware).

Another quirky gem is Flacco.

And finally, even though there is so much more I could add, The Umbilical Brothers.

Search YouTube for them all and knock yourselves out 😉