Review of the Review of the Year

Hopefull-2012-WallpaperSo it’s that time of the year again where Christmas has passed and the TV big wigs are looking for cheap ways to fill up the schedules while everyone is still of work. They used to rely on rerunning all the old Christmas specials or stand out programs of the year but they have become so lazy that they now show all of that on Christmas day. tbh I’m pretty sure that bits of the queens speech were reused from last year spliced with footage of the Kings speech, not that i was paying much attention. So how to fill the void, how to entertain the masses without spending a lot of money on writing or appearance fees etc. Then one stormy evening it happened, lightning hit the roof of channel 4 tower and they made the ‘review of the year show’. Its brilliant really. There is no need to write any complex and riveting story because it has all ready happened, plus everyone has seen it happen and because of this it makes for easy viewing as the viewer knows what is coming next.

b006t8dlNow there are several kinds of ‘End of the Year’ shows. There is you review quiz, your talking heads look back, your clip show etc. All very simple telly, But what made these reviews popular? They were about years ago but never a flagship show. When did this start? Rise Sir Charlie Brooker, King of the clip show and creator of the new breed of year review. Brooker has taken a very cheap clip based format and made it his own with his unrivaled way to getting his point across and his ‘one of the geeks’ persona which gives hopeless middle of the roaders, like me, giving us hope that one day we too can own a production company and marry a Blue Peter presenter. The BBC gave Brooker his own show with Screenwipe and then the festive special of the same format and since then hasn’t really looked back. Brookers Review of the year is the tv highlight of the festive period for me. And as the years go on and Brooker himself gets more of a life and less time to publicly moan (selfish git!) we get to see less and less of him on our screens, which with the current crop of up and comers, is a real shame.

68d5bed8-1ef5-4808-89e1-825d11255ce2_625x352But its not only the BBC that used this format for cheep tv, no, channel 4 were hot on their heels with their flagship new year battle cruiser ‘The Big Fat Quiz of the Year’. I am personally a fan of 8 Out of 10 Cats which is roughly the same format with Jimmy Carr presenting. Unfortunately Jimmy Carr is about as much as I can take from the “Fat Quiz”. The show itself is not that bad, the questions are fine but they seem to only be able to attract the biggest dicks in telly land. This years tosserfest includes the moronic Jonathan Ross, the ‘as funny as a spanner to the teeth’ Russel Howard and the double headed dickheads Whitehall and Cordon. Its funny that these are the four most insufferable numpties I have ever seen. Believe it or not I will not be watching it this year!

A slightly better channel 4 offering this year is ‘2012 Mashed’. This offering shows original short films outlining the events of the last year made by the best talent of the internet. Or so they say. The show unfortunately only shows clips of these short films so really doesn’t make much sense to me, why not make the show twice as long and show the whole thing? Apparently the whole of the films are on the internet but i can not find them anywhere (well bits and bobs on Youtube). Ah well. Well worth a look if you are a fan of internet films. One of the best being a feed from the Queens Facebook, a little song about Steve Jobs and a tribute to lonesome George (below).

So in review these reviews may need review in future. At least we have “Brookers 2012 Wipe” on New Years Day, BBC2 at 10. Enjoy!

Till next time,

Have a great Hogmany and 2013,

Fall

Xmas at Christmas

pacmantreeSo it’s that time of year again, when beggers dawn festive hats to attempted to part you with spare change and geese get really fat and self-conscious because no one wants to eat them. Christmas is a strange time, for one it is just one day. We know this to be true, it’s the 25th of December and it never snows on this particular date (it’s a scam by the bookmakers of the UK but I have no real gripe with them). The weird thing is that Christmas last ages before and a fair bit after this date. Even me, a self-confessed Christmas miser, will celebrate old Crimbo from about the 1st of December to about the 2nd of January. Others will take it further by putting up decorations up at the beginning of November and try tell you there are only 50 more shopping days. 50 MORE SHOPPING DAYS!!! I do about five ‘shopping days’ a years so i could technically fit this into their life and death warning ten fold. I suppose the only up side to shopping this early is that you don’t have the Christmas panic goggles on. These make the most horrendously crap gift look almost acceptable and as December hurtles towards the big day the magnification on these bad boys gets stronger and stronger to the point where calender with dogs performing everyday human tasks will be a fine gift for about 75% on your list.

I suppose the main thing to do is not to panic. Its easier said than done. Every advert from the TV to the side of buses tells us that if we get the wrong gift for anyone they will instantly disown you, spitting in you face and out you as the scum of the earth when the reality is that they will just silently resent you forever. So what do we do as an intellect society? Do we make things easier for ourselves by telling each other than  it is fine and not to worry, any gift is wonderful as at least you tried? No, we started the most stressful form of festive torture that geeky-christmas-ornaments-collection-7the most depraved and evil minds amongst us could come up with. We take part in ‘secret’ Santa. ‘But Fall, this is anonymous, no one knows you buys what’. Bull shit. Sorry but everyone tells everyone as long as they liked it. Which adds the extra pressure of getting a great gift so that the other person is desperate to find out who their Santa was. If they don’t you have failed and everyone else knows you got that gift. At this point you fail and its time to find a new job as the rest of the office will pretty much disown you. So you need the perfect gift. A perfect gift so that work is bearable for the next year. A perfect gift so that you can look at yourself in the mirror. A perfect gift for that one person in the office you hardly know. A perfect gift for a stranger or be sneered at by the finance department. DO YOU SEE IT NOW? THE STRESS? AYE? Why, why, why do we think this is a good idea. Why not have everyone put in 10% of their wage, split the money evenly and everyone gets to buy themselves something they want? Just a thought!

father-ted-matadorBut from this you will get the impression that I hate Christmas. No, no you couldn’t be more wrong. There are some great things at Christmas. Sitcom Christmas specials being re run every year is probably the highlight. As every year I look forward to Father Ted guiding all a troop of priests out of the largest lingerie department in Ireland and watching what Pixar rip off film the BBC can afford this year for Christmas day. I’m also looking forward to hearing the five Christmas songs that I really like being occasionally played. But my favourite Yule Time tradition, as I’m sure it’s also yours, is watching Die Hard on Christmas Eve. By far the best Christmas film ever made. I suppose a bit of time away from work to spend with family is nice as well and at the end of the day these are the people who matter and will love you even if you do get them a calendar which has a Cocker Spaniel wearing a hard hat and pointing and some metal girders.

Have fantastic Christmas everyone.
Till next time

Fall

A Salute to Mr Weebl

A look at Weebls-Stuff.com and my favourites from the site. 

Weebls-stuff.com is one of those sites that I have been checking daily since I started using the internet and as the site celebrates its 10th year I thought I would give a little salute to a site which has given the world so many memorable characters and songs.  The site was created by Weebl (Jonathan “Jonti” Picking) and not only showcases his own animations but those of Peabo, Skoo, ZekeySpaceyLizard and Wonchop.

Probably his most famous creation is Weebl and Bob. Two egg shaped weebles obsessed with pies, that have small haphazard adventures. Other series on the site include “Catface” and “On the moon” (both below). Weebl is also famous for is one off songs which often make it on Itunes in the shape of novelty albums. Early examples like Badgers and Kenya have been watched by millions and have also been rehashed into animations like Somalia.

Despite the novelty songs weebl has created his own “Gorillaz” style anamated electro band called Savlonic.

So enough waffle, these are my top 5 weebl videos!

5. Narwhals 

Basically I think Narwhals are ace therefore really like this song. Also I ran a birthday party at work where two of the kids were singing this song so it gets in the top 5.

4. On the Moon

On The Moon is one of the recurring animation weebl stuff. It currently has 23 episodes and stars “The Toast King”, “Insanity Prawn Boy” and “Moon Hitler”. Makes more sense if you watch it (Well slightly more sense!)

3. Look at My Horse

This is probably my favourite tune that weebl has come up with. Also has a really good cover version by The Nerd Follia.

2. Catface

Catface is another of Weebl’s stuffs long running recurring animation. Here I have posted a video of the story of episodes one to seven. I does miss out the “Silly Catface” inspirational educational message at the end but you can see these if you watch a non mashed up version from the site (Link at start).

1. Rotate Your Owl 

This is by far my favourite song EVER! enjoy.

So there is a wee look at Mr. Weebl and his magical world (Which also includes Magical Trevor!)

Till next time

Fall

Paranoid Android

A list of my top 5 games on an Android phone.

So not so long ago I needed to make that decision that everyone needs to make at some time, Iphone or Android? I went for a HTC in the end which has beats music and is upgraded to Ice-cream sandwich (Win or yawn depending on how much of a tech-head you are). So its been a while and I have now tried a good couple of games. So these are my top 5!

5. Frisbee 

So this is not my first choice of game when I’m looking to waste 10 minutes at the bus stop but from time to time its a bit of fun. Basically you have a Frisbee and you throw it through all of the floating rings to the end ring. You  can also collect stars to get gold/silver/bronze awards. The best thing about this game is that you control the flight of the Frisbee by tilting your phone. This is what takes this game from a bit of a time waster to being a game that you will probably replay a fair bit. You can also unlock new designs of Frisbee so that is kinda cool too. Great game and free.

4. Bow Man

Well it doesn’t get more basic than this game. You are a stick figure with a bow and arrow. You fire at another stick figure with a bow and arrow. You trade shots until one of you takes to many leg shots or you get a critical hit. It’s all about the angles and power. Nice straight forward game that I remember playing on the Macs at school and can now be downloaded for free. To make it a bit harder you can add walls and wind. Good fun and really easy to play. Well worth a go and free.

 

3. World Of Goo

So from basic to the story of the small construction loving world of the goo balls. Basically you have some goo. It’s in one place and the suction hover thing that you want to collect them with is WAAAAAYYY over the other side. On the upside the goo’s can be stretched to construct a bridge or tower or a mash-up snake thing etc. There is a loose story but it’s basically a construction game with a bit of charm and with out trains crashing to their doom when you make mistakes.  This is a paid game but really good for a couple of quid.

2. Basketball

Its one word. It’s a sport. Is there much to this game? No. It’s a basketball hoop. A basketball. You take shots and you get points if you make it and lose a go if you miss. What I can understand is why this game is so addictive? It’s really simple, you take a shot by pulling away from the ball and aiming with a arching guide that gets shorter as the levels go up. There are 10 shots in each level and when you lose 10 balls the game ends. If you get a “clean” basket you get an extra ball. Nothing more to the game play. There are missions like “get to level 12” and when you complete these you get a new design of ball but that’s not the addictive element. Suppose you need to try it out. As with the first few this is a free game!

1. Quell Reflect 

So this is my number one game. I think something that is important to be number one is that the game has longevity and is challenging. This game is a puzzle game. You basically have bubbles that need to collect silver balls to move onto the next puzzle. There are things in the way like spikes, poison bubbles and infinite loops. There are also different approaches to the levels with transportation hoops and power up balls. Basically it makes every level challenging but also very different. Once you complete the level you can then go back and try to do it in the minimum amount of moves. Its a clean and professional game which is really fun to play. Overall its a great wee game and is only 69p.

Ok so that’s my run down. Do you agree? Have I missed anything glaring (Maybe Temple Run?) let me know.

Anyway, till next time

Fall

 

Muse………Wtf man, wtf

So after a wee dub step bad boy of a teaser for the new album Muse release their new single Survival.

 

Yeah I know. Dam. First bit not great but after first 30 seconds. Nice. So i was excited about the new song but alarm bells went off when i was the official song of the Olympics. I have never heard a good “official Song”. So what  did we get? Well this………..

Its like Butterflies in Hurricanes meets United States of Eurasia. One of the best and worse songs I have ever heard. Actually its like Matt has decided to take Butterflies in Hurricanes and make it into a west end musical. I’m not impressed. Also lots of talk of winning and not losing fits with the tedious link to the Olympics. Mon Muse sort your shit out!

Till next time

Fall

 

Update…. the uneventful life a time waster!

Well its been a while since I have written anything. Sorry about that. First I announce that “I’m Back!” ready to write about this and the next and what happens? I did nothing. I do have a defence though! Ok if you will hear me out…..

1. I went on holiday. Not only that I came home and recognised our flat. The computer was no longer in a room I spent alot of time in. It had been punted to the spare room and with that I kinda stopped writing.

2. I have been quite busy. I happen to be in a wee band called Tag Team Champion and we have played our first gig and done some recording which has eaten up a lot of well used time. (more will follow in coming weeks about TTC) . Also small events like the Edinburgh Cup Final have kept me busy but sadly away from the computer.

3. Its summer. For those of you who live in Edinburgh you know it has done nothing but rain but because of the increase in temperature and light levels I have spent more time doing things like playing baseball and spending time with the girlfriend (which I can only do in day light hour due to……nah you don’t want to know). Also the cinema has been really shit recently so have been opting of xbox instead!

So what has happened since my last post? Has anything pissed me off or made me chuckle? Well yes.

Things such as a dog out witting half the population of the UK to win a million pounds and an old man sang a song in a country younger than he is and was told by a content that he sucked.

Jimmy Carr did a bad thing and got slagged rotten on 8 out 10 cats (if you havent seen the episode catch up on 4oD). The thing I loved about this was that Jimmy Carr took it on the chin and by the end his jokes were dark backhanded slaps about his own chops which gave the episode a edge that has’nt been seen since the Angus Deayton scandal’s coverage on HIGNFY. Only difference being I can see Jimmy Carr coming out of this relatively unscathed unlike poor old Angus.

There has also been a lot of football going down recently. There was a collective sigh of relief that could be heard from space originating from the Gorgie area of Edinburgh at about 4pm on the 19th of May. Unfortunately the resulting inhale infected half east central Scotland with Legionnaires’ Disease. Also we have the Euros running at the moment. Brilliant stuff! Well……. kinda. Some great games but a lot of really defensive teams. Personal favourite moment of the finals so far was Pirlo’s Pen against England. I know, your going to say because it put England out and yes that is part of it. But its mainly because England played such unattractive football, so defensive, and the pundits on the TV were doing my head about unity in this poor team (that’s chances were getting blown out of proportion again) and they were finally defeated by a beautiful moment of class and cool headedness which will be looked back on and marvelled at. Thats what the Euros and World cup are for, a festival of what’s right with football and not backs against the wall to win crap.

Ok so for about 75% of the people I know welcome back after skipping over the bit about football. Last wee bit I my promise that I will write at last once a week and keep updating if you promise to come back and see me! 😀

Enjoy the Euro final when it comes,

Till next time

Fall

 

I’m Back!

The Return of the Mac  Fall

Hello everyone. How are you all? Good! Glad to hear it. Me? Well…… When writing my age I have added one since the last time I spoke to you. I have had a wee break. I went on a little holiday, did a little home improvement and went to see a few gigs, oh, and recorded a single (more to come on that). But now you have all of my attention…..(sort of!)

I have started working on a couple of things now. So in the next few days look out for an overdue review of the recent Graham Coxon gig and my yearly viewing of Oceansfall at the Wee Red Bar. I’m hoping to write about my experience at the recording studio and I fancy maybe tackling Saturday night TV and the lack of new quality shows (or is it something else?). Will also review any films I see. Heard this new comic book film that’s out is ok, something about a Justice League or something ;D

Anyway,

Till later this week,

Fall

Lack of Action

Hello all. You know those times in life where everything happens at once and time is not on your side. Well it’s looking like April is going to be one of those times. unfortunately it means the blog takes a back seat to other exciting projects, a wee holiday and turning 25.

Basically there will be little activity for the next week or so BUT my promise to you all is that I will pick up the pace again once I have been on my wee holiday. So about the 23rd or so. There maybe a film review or something small if I can get time.

Hope you are all well out there,

Wait for me……..

Fall 😀

(p.s. The picture is not really relevant but made me laugh when looking for something that was.)

The Voice of Talent Show Britain

A look at TV “Talent Shows” and why one stands out

Unless you live under a rock or have been in a cave for the last century you will be well aware that every Saturday the UK’s biggest two channels go head to head trying to out do each other with either some kind of singing competition or  a celebrity dancing face off. Throughout this time ITV/STV (depending where you are) have always had the upper hand as far as viewers go. Starting with “Popstars” with the unforgettable “Hear’Say” and then the still slightly-about-the-music-but-only-just “Idol” franchise. This then developed into the hideous “lets all laugh and the shattered dreams” X factor and ironically named Anyone-can-be-famous-for-anything-but-really-its-just-a-singing-and-dancing-comp “Britain’s got Talent”. Although I am not a fan of these shows they do give the viewer what they want. A bit of staged easy to follow drama, people with back stories that would make Hannibal Lecter weep and a nice wee pub singer doing a number before someone runs from the show crying. They are clever, clever television and prove undoubtedly that Simon Cowell is a genius and more than likely the devil. 

But the poor old Beeb just don’t have the same punch that the “Cowell Factor” gives the channel 3 offerings. So far the BBC has churned out things such as the limp “Fame Academy” which had all the evil taken out but also left out the talent so it was a timid affair. Also who could forget Graham Norton’s quest to find a tribute act to play for a couple of months in a Vegas bar. What you can’t? It was “The One and Only!”……still nothing. oh well. After all these attempts they decided to aim for a different market. They employed a wax work that looked a bit like Andrew Lloyd Webber to cast his eye over his prey and whichever contestant survived his grasp would be given a part in a show. These camp-fest musical shows tried to counter the dark side by being overly nice and quirky but ended up alienating much of their past viewers who permanently jumped ship to the HMS Cowell. But to be fair to the BBC it has had a bit of success with their dancing shows such as “Strictly” and….eh…. so Strictly. 

So the BBC have had one last throw of the dice. One last go at toppling the Cowell empire. It’s a Monopoly board. All the BBC has left is Old Kent Road but it’s not over yet. The BBC have given us “The Voice”.

My first exposure to this show what the advert. First thoughts: ” Not another shitty talent show, how can it be different or even more horrible than STV’s shows”. Then I saw Will.I.am turning his back on a singer and it was clear. They were going to humiliate people to such a degree that the contestants were going to vomit their insides out live on TV. Well, it’s a gimmick I suppose. But no, the premiss is that the four judges will not look at the contestants and judge them on solely their voice. The judges will then turn round if they like what they hear and if they are the only judge to do so they will take the singer onto their “Team”. If more than one judge turns then the singer picks their side. Each judge gets to pick a team of 10 and then I suppose it’s a ballet to the death live on the box. 

So who are theses Judges. Well….. The human auto-tuner Will.I.am, walking-insanity-time-bomb Jessie J, denim on denim duchbag  Danny O’Donoghue (of the Script) and God. Sorry better give him his mortal name, Tom Jones. Despite the judges appearing to be pick at random out a 12 year olds iTunes selection they have decent patter between the bickering and it is always fun when they try to work out if the singer is a boy or a girl. 

The dynamic that they can not see the singer works better than you would think as well. Basically each judge can only pick 10 singers so they need to be selective. Sometimes they don’t turn round as they are expecting a person past their peak who is just not good enough and it turns out to be a fresh-faced 17-year-old with a unothadox singing style than could have been moulded into something amazing. The judge’s response of shock and genuine regret make them infinitely more likeable than Piers “Shit grin” Morgan and his rag-tag bunch. 

I applaud the BBC. The show is by no means perfect and I’m definitely not won over to the “reality TV’s Ok” side. There are still the tedious back stories but they don’t go on for to long. The show also has the “Talent power house” than is Reggie Yates, a man who should be on TV as little as is possible to stop his ego from engulfing western Europe. But what the BBC has done is to take all the crap out and replaced it with actual Talent. Everyone can sing and all the judges genuinely want to win and have a right go at it. The feedback given (Will.I.am excluded) tends to be sound and will actually help the singers progress.

It’s a good (stolen) concept and has been executed well, which for the BBC on a Saturday night reality show has been a long time coming.

Anyway,

Till next time,

Fall 

Gig Review – Los Campesinos!

Liquid Rooms Edinburgh, 28/03/12. Support – Tall Ships

So my very social week was rounded off by heading to my first gig since seeing Modest Mouse about a year ago. Sad as it is but most of the bands I like don’t head to Edinburgh that often. This paired with the fact that as I become older and more of a recluse I am less inclined to travel to see a band. So I was delighted when buying tickets for next months Graham Coxon gig to see that Los Campesinos! were playing. Ten bucks (well 12.63 or what ever the “Booking fee” for buying a ticket over a shop counter is) to see one of my favourite bands looked like a dam good deal.

Another reason I fancied this gig was that I have never seen them play coupled with the shocking fact that I have yet to listen to their new album which came out late last year. I decided not to listen to any of the new songs once I bought the ticket and wait to catch them live. I thought it would be an odd experience to know every word of 2/3’s of the songs and have no clue about the other 1/3. Think about how often this kind of opportunity occurs? So on Wednesday evening I left for the Liquid Rooms with a feeling of anticipation as well as the usual pre gig feelings of excitement and a dread of disappointment since it was my first time seeing them (Sometimes bands disappoint, it happens).

I have been to the Liquid Rooms once before when I went to see The Hot Hot Heat about 7 years ago. I remembered the balconied and bar at the back but I remembered the venue being much larger. This has happened to me before with the Garage in Glasgow. I went when I was 15 to see CKY, a gig I can remember really clearly. Yet when I returned early last year to see the Wildhearts the place seemed to be about a quarter of the size I expected. Must be a visual spacial defect of getting older!

Anyway, onto the gig itself.

I got there about ten minutes before the support band. Pretty chuffed with my timing I looked around and found a nice wee space next to a pillar.I then settled in to watch Tall Ships. Tall Ships are a three piece band where both the bassist and guitarist use keyboards and effects to beef up their sound to build up their songs into epic crescendos of noise before breaking down to start the process again. The guitarist used a loop peddle more than any one else I have seen using one. Rather than using it as a gimmick or a bit of fun, it was used in every song. This obviously gives the songs layered complexity but it did mean that during the build up each layer needed to be recorded before everything really kicks off. This can take a while but is all held together with some excellent technical drumming which without over complicating things kept these long build ups from becoming stale. I enjoyed what they did, they played a nice varied set and are comfortably up there with the best supports I have seen in the last few years. (http://www.myspace.com/tallshipsfromfalmouth)

So after a fair bit of set up it was time for the main event. It was time for the 7 piece “Los Campesinos!” to get the capacity crowed moving. Having never seen the band I was surprise by the amount of kit they had on stage. Other than your standard guitars, bass and drums there were two synths, a xylophone and a second drum rig, as well as a selection of odd bits a bobs scattered around. I’m not going to go into detail about every song and how they made me feel or even into great depth about what their music is like. I mean its easy enough to listen to yourselves and form your own opinions. You all ready know that I’m a fan and was not disappointed by their live performance, in fact I thought they were brilliant.  All I will say is that their music ranges from all out bouncy-dance-along numbers to deeper almost poetic songs ( I would recommend  listening the album “Romance Is Boring” to get a feel of this). What I will say is for a band with so many “moving” parts they kept everything really tight while not taking themselves too seriously on stage. They genuinely looked like they were having a great time and isn’t that why any band go out to tour? (I suppose it doesn’t seem that way all the time these days) to find out more head to –  http://www.facebook.com/loscampesinos

Overall I thought this was a great gig. It is always a bit of a victory when the band play your favourite song near the end when you think they had maybe omitted it. (In this case a song called “The sea is a good place to think about the future) Also when a band are a good laugh between songs thats a bit of a bonus as well. So, if you had never heard of Los Campesinos then give them a try, and if you have then maybe give Tall Ships a go.

Anyway,

Till next time,

Fall

%d bloggers like this: