Mike Read’s racist UKIP calypso should be banned!

It shouldn’t be banned. That’s just me indulging in some shameless clickbait headline writing, as well referencing Mike Read banning Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax.

For those who haven’t heard it, here’s former DJ Mike Read’s UKIP campaign song titled UKIP Calypso by his ‘band’ The Independents. If you’re of a nervous disposition I suggest looking away now…

Did you notice such Wildean lines of wit such as Leaders committed a cardinal sin, opened the borders let them all come in, which is well, racist when sung in a cod-Jamaican accent, or in fact any accent you can imagine.But perhaps it’s just the one line that’s racist and the rest is just a jolly ditty about Nigel Farage and UKIP?

Nope, Read ‘sings’ about Illegal immigrants in every town which isn’t just obviously a coded racist line, it’s also something which leads into the astonishing line Oh yes, when we take charge, and the new prime minister is Farage, we can trade with the world again – when Nigel is at No 10 which shows just how far removed from reality UKIP are as we do trade with the world but UKIP’s idea of cutting off the EU and dragging the UK back to 1950 is fucking insane.

The fact Farage has supported a song with obviously racist undertones and writes it off as satire (something he wouldn’t know if it bit him on the arse) but Farage and his supporters clearly do live in an era which most of us thought was over long, long ago. You do have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that it is 2014 and not 1972.You do have to be aghast that although the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are pointless neoliberal parties intent on wrecking the country, they’re not actually certifiably insane as UKIP are.

So what’s the conclusion in all this?

Well, if you live in England you should look at the policies of the Green’s, see how much you agree with them and vote for them. In Scotland, look at Green and SNP polices, and in Wales look at Green and Plaid Cymru polices. The idea that there are ‘no alternatives’ bar UKIP is nonsense. Most of all though don’t bloody buy Mike Read’s appallingly racist song!

 

What I thought of Doctor Who: Flatline

Thoughts about Deep Breath; Into the Dalek; Robot of Sherwood Listen ; Time Heist;The Caretaker ; Kill the Moon and Mummy on the Orient Express

One of the things which is a little bit predictable about this series is how many episodes are set on Earth and this is yet another episode set on Earth. For a programme which is fantastical which is supposed to spark the imagination it’s almost too hamstrung by the restrictions of budget, so the easy way round it is to set stories on Earth. This is some the programme has suffered from since it’s return in 2005 with some good episodes, and some really dreadful ones.

Although Flatline is a relatively cheap episode set on Earth and in fact, Bristol (even though it doesn’t look like it was filmed here in Bristol)  about aliens from a two-dimensional world invading Bristol which sounds utterly average, though the trailers made it look odd, but nothing exceptional.

Thankfully Flatline isn’t just exceptional, it’s the best episode of what is a series of high quality. It’s a fantastic bit of Who that draws upon classic Who a lot, while throwing in bits of Nigel Kneale, Twilight Zone and even a bit of Attack the Block. It’s a brilliantly original episode which seems like a Doctor-lite story as for most of the episode the Doctor is trapped in his Tardis whose exterior has shrunk thanks to these aliens sucking up ‘extra-dimensional energy’. This leaves Clara to carry most of the action this episode and the Doctor is an observer thanks to a bit of technobabble that allows him to hear and see what Clara does as she tries to get to the bottom of the mystery of disappearing people in Bristol.

This is yet another Clara episode, but it’s a vitally important one as she crosses a big line in it and one which is set up to have ramifications for the final episodes. In this, the Doctor discovers that Clara has lied to him about Danny Pink being fine with Clara continuing to travel with the Doctor. There’s a real sense of the Doctor’s outrage as he feels let down by Clara, but also at the same time Capaldi plays it so he’s almost impressed by Clara’s duplicity not to mention the fact she ends up being a very good Doctor.

As for the aliens, there’s some wonderfully chilling stuff going on as the Doctor and Clara work out that they’re not just turning 3-dimensional humans into 2-dimensional images slapped up on disused railways lines, which is a nice touch setting it in Bristol where every kid and their granny fancies themselves as the next Bansky. The moment when the Doctor sees that these creatures are dissecting humans and splattering their nervous systems or skin on walls is a brilliantly horrific moment right out of classic Hinchcliffe era Who.  There’s also a fantastic moment where the creatures are communicating with the small group of survivors that Clara is protecting where they reel off the number on the jacket of one of community service criminals with Clara, and then the camera shifts to show that he’s been turned 2-D. It’s a brilliant moment but one sadly a wee bit ruined when taken out of context in the trailers.

At the end and after the worst CGI train you will ever see, Clara comes up with a plan to use street art to save the world and the Tardis which by now is a small box (The Doctor has put it in ‘siege mode’ to save power and seal it off from the aliens) needs to be saved. She comes up with a solution which restores the Tardis allowing the Doctor to confront these invaders. This is a wonderful scene with Capaldi portraying the genuine anger of the Doctor being forced to send back the aliens (who he names The Boneless) to wherever they came from. It’s another wonderful scene as the Doctor knows he’s given them every chance but he has to stop them and that means killing some of them.

After the baddies and killed/sent home, the Doctor and Clara reflect upon what’s happened and we yet again in the new series see the Doctor turning a companion into a weapon, and Clara shows she’s a very effective weapon as well. There’s a lot which moves the characters on in this episode from Clara’s ingenuity coming to the fore again and Capaldi’s Doctor being not just heroic and compassionate, but actually positive about humans he’s trying to save.

Flatline is a genuine classic and an episode fans will be talking about in ten or twenty years. It’s horrific, creepy (the scenes of The Boneless trying to make themselves 3-D are brilliantly unsettling if somewhat reminiscent of the monster from a segment of the horror film V/H/S) and sets up the final few episodes nicely as the Missy storyline that’s been teased since the first episode pops up again.

There is only three episodes left with next episode being the last before the two-part final story featuring the Cybermen. I can’t wait……

 

What was on Television the week I was born?

The BBC have dumped all their past issues of Radio Times online so it’s now possible to see what exactly was being shown on TV when we were all still squealing pink things throwing up and shitting everywhere. They’ve put all these listing on a site called Genome, which is the sort of Beta site designers throw out that looks like every other Beta site because website designers can’t be arsed.

The day I was born (I’m not daft enough to say exactly when that is) had some crackers.

16.40:JACKANORY

with Rodney Bewes
This week we’re very glad to say
That Rupert Bear is back each day More of his stories old and new He’s bringing specially for you!
Today:

Contributors

Unknown: Rodney Bewes
Unknown: Rupert Bear
Aww, I was born in time for the wonderful Rodney Bewes and Rupert the Bear. I used to love Rupert so maybe this is why?
After Blue Peter there was this.

17.20:CAPTAIN ZEPPOS

A serial in sixteen episodes
PART 16: The Trap
Baral now has both Zeppos and Ariane in his clutches, and makes his preparations to blow up the quarry

What the what now? A bit of research shows that Captain Zeppos was a Belgian TV series.

Err, quite….

Anyhow, after some Magic Roundabout it’s all a bit newsy until Daktari and United, a programme about a fictional football team I’d never heard of til now and as all the episodes were wiped, I’m never going to see it. Seeing however it seems to have been a training ground for Doctor Who writers it’s a pity we never will see this programme again.

Then at 7.30 pm it’s Till Death Us Do Part. It’s quite remarkable today that this programme went out pre-watershed, but it’s quite admirable it did. So after Panorama there’s the news, and a play, The Troubleshooters, Then something called Melodies For You, more news, weather and finally on BBC One on the day I was born, Parliamo Italiano, not to be confused with Parliamo Glasgow.

On BBC Two, the highlight is Play School. Otherwise it’s all a bit, well dull and not worth repeating. On the Light Programme, Rolf Harris has a show at 10 in the morning. Less said about that the better…

Genome is great fun if you want to endless wallow in nostalgia, which to be honest, is pretty much what we all want to do as the future is uncertain, so the warm comforting thought of Rolf Harris broadcasting to the nation as I was born is all that keeps me insane at nights…..

 

What I thought of Wild’s End #2

Thoughts about #1.

WildsEnd02

I really do hate anthropomorphic comics aimed at adults. I really do think they’re twee nonsense for the sort of people who ironically like Adventure Time as if it was the Magic Roundabout of the 21st Century. I hate endless alien invasion stories that rip off H.G Wells and Nigel Kneale.

So why do I like Wild’s End? It’s twee. It’s got funny animals acting like humans, an alien invasion and even worse, it’s full of nostalgia porn for a English countryside that only existed for a short time a long, long time ago. Then why is it so bloody good?

One reason is the jet black sense of humour running though both issues so far, so for example when our characters come across a burning cottage inhabited by an anthropomorphic pig we get this exchange.

wildsend3

Then a short while later we have what seems to be the hero, deliver a speech about heroism and revenge.

wildsend4

If Abnett and Culbard had made these characters human then much of what’s going on would be cliched and frankly there wouldn’t be this association between what’s going on and our childhood memories of reading tales of twee characters in quaint English villages having lovely little adventures. It wouldn’t be so effective in the broad strokes it’s taking because even if we haven’t read such a children’s book in decades we know the fox character is a little bit rough round the edges, the rabbit is officious and the bulldog is heroic.

This issue really is effective playing on perceptions and expectations of these sort of comics which makes the brutality which does happen even more shocking as Clive and his new friends try to get to the bottom of what exactly is going on in their sleepy little village. It’s a wonderful adventure story, but it’s also something best left unspoiled as much as possible because the writer Dan Abnett delights in shaking up the reader’s perceptions.

Wild’s End is a cracking comic and quite possibly one of the best things I’m reading at the moment. It’s a six-issue series and I’d highly recommend picking it up now rather than wait for a trade collection.

Harlan Ellison and Me.

I met Harlan Ellison once at a SF convention in the 1980’s (a story for another time) and he was an extraordinary character who would engage you in conversation if he thought what you had to say was worth listening to. I’m glad to say he did so with me and we had a chat which ended up with him swapping a signed copy of The Glass Teat (one of my favourite books) for my Marvelman badge, which I hope he still has. Sadly I no longer have a signed copy of the book as that was lost in time but I did manage to get myself a rare British copy in Ebay around a decade ago.

Ellison was still a fearsome person but he did sometimes talk bollocks, but it was always entertaining bollocks, or much of the time he says vastly important things about creators and writing that needs to be said and listened to. Sometimes this even reaches the mainstream media as opposed to just the SF ghetto. 

Ellison’s message of paying writers for their work and respecting them is important as ever in a age when journalists are being asked to work for free to provide ‘content’ , and writers are generally not as regarded as well as they should be.

Sadly, Harlan Ellison had a stroke at the weekend and although friends are reporting him to be recovering, the stroke has left him paralysed down one side. I only wish him well and I treasure his writing for what’s it’s given me over the years as The Glass Teat is one of the main reasons I write my half-arsed reviews and stuff on this blog and Ellsion has given me masses of entertainment as well as educating me over the years. I look forward to him giving me loads more and wish him well.

What I thought of Doctor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express

Thoughts about Deep Breath; Into the Dalek; Robot of Sherwood Listen ; Time Heist;The Caretaker and Kill the Moon.

A superficial look at the title of this episode and the fact it features comedian Frank Skinner would make anyone think this is going to be one giant pisstake, but in fact, it ends up being probably the most classic Who of all of Peter Capaldi’s stories so far. It also has a bloody impressive looking mummy as well as Foxes doing a nice cover of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

The episode starts with the Doctor and Clara onboard the Orient Express, a spaceship based upon the train which allows the story to take place in a 1920’s setting without actually being set in the 1920’s. It’s a smart little trick as it could have very easily been set on the real Orient Express, but the space setting makes it very Doctor Who and it all feels very much like Philip Hinchcliffe/Robert Holmes/Tom Baker era of Who which is fantastic as it manages to pull it off.

This is also supposed to be the Doctor and Clara having one last fling before Clara goes off to live her life with teaching, and of course, Danny Pink. til then it’s this one last adventure which Clara thinks is just a visit to something amazing, though it quickly turns out that the Doctor has been invited there by Gus, the ship’s onboard computer to help solve the mystery of the Mummy that is killing people, except nobody apart from the victim can actually see the Mummy, also known as The Foretold. One thing though, once you see it you only have 66 seconds to live.

Eventually when the Doctor realises that all is not as it seems and Gus has brought a load of Mummy experts together in an attempt to solve this mystery, Clara sees the Doctor become the same callous bastard he’s been in much of this series, but unlike last week where the Doctor throws a horrible decision upon humanity, he’s the one making life or death decisions for people as the clock on their life is literally ticking down thanks to Frank Skinner’s character counting down the 66 seconds til their death.

Ultimately this episode is to justify Capaldi’s Doctor for acting like he does. Sometimes he has to be a bastard to make these decisions to save maybe not everyone, but most people. This entire story is basically to teach Clara that sometimes this Doctor has to take these decisions, even if they’re not especially heroic and his previous self in Matt Smith’s dashing young Doctor was the young hero compared to Capaldi’s bitter old realist. Yes, the Doctor does save most of the crew and passengers of the Orient Express but only after getting two of them to describe what they see as they’re waiting for their death in a very, very Tom Baker-esque pair of scenes.

The point of this is to show Clara a bit of reality about travelling with the Doctor. Yes, he’ll show you wonders but he needs to solve these problems and sometimes these adventures are lethal for people around them. He points out to Clara that she’s addicted to it all as he is to all the adventure, though Clara seems to want to leave and have a normal life with Danny, she decides against it to remain with the Doctor, Partly because she really can’t give it up, and also because she knows this man needs someone like her to give him a sense of perspective and humanity. She does this however by lying to the Doctor saying that Danny has said she needs to do this which is really her being a bit of a bastard to Danny, which is clearly something which will be brought up again in future episodes.

There’s also a return to the soldier theme which has trailed through this series which clearly looks as if it’s leading somewhere. I understand there’s still some American fans getting pissy with the Doctor’s prejudice against soldiers but it’s obviously part of the story and anyhow, it’s a sign that Stephen Moffat is actually politicising the programme again. The whole fetishisation of the armed forces is something this series is bringing up, though this is another episode where a former soldier with PTSD plays a major role. I only hope there’s a decent conclusion to where this is going though there’s a number of mysteries to be resolved including just who or what Gus actually is.

All in all this series is probably the best, most consistent since series three and has some of the best scripts since series five. The direction is of a incredibly high standard, though those Ben Wheatley episodes still stand out for some wonderful touches of flair, but overall there’s rarely a flat scene in this series. As for the acting everyone seems to be raising their game because of Capaldi, with even Frank Skinner putting over a nice little performance this week.Yes there’s sometimes a few dud minor roles but on the whole the acting has vastly improved, especially Jenna Coleman who really isn’t the same person making doe eyes at Matt Smith and just ran around crying in short skirts last year.

My only complaint is the scheduling of the programme now. 8.30 on a Saturday night for what is still a kids/family programme really is ridiculous and I do wonder what the BBC are playing at. Ok, this series is a bit more serious than previous ones, but it’s no less grimmer, and it still is enormous fun which is something some critics are missing with Capaldi. He’s clearly loving every second of playing The Doctor without pandering to fan wishes for more of the same sort of thing we’ve seen from Tennant and Smith. It’s a great central performance on display and one which is developing every week as we find out a little bit more about this most alien of Doctor’s since the new series began.

Next week looks to feature killer street art……..

A vote for UKIP will drag this country into the dirt

I loved The The when I was younger, and I’ve been finding myself listening to a lot of Matt Johnson’s songs again recently because a lot of them are still astonishingly relevant today. In particular the song Heartland could have easily been written today, and in particular about the rise of UKIP.

After UKIP’s by-elections successes the media are all over UKIP like a drunk is over a bridesmaid at a wedding, while Labour are talking about going even further to the right which would leave people in the centre and of the left in a bit of a lurch. This is not especially going to matter in Scotland where people can vote for the likes of the SNP, but across the rest of the UK the Greens are the only option left.

Sadly UKIP are very successful on providing an avenue for disaffected voters and/or racists to vent and protest. They’ve also gamified politics so it’s not about politics, ethics or even what they believe in, rather than obtaining power at all costs and then clinging onto it. There’s not a shred of social conscience in UKIP but they don’t care about the working classes or those who have been forgotten about as they’re just a means to an end, and that end is to get into power and drag the UK down to it’s level. They effectively want to rip up the last 70 years and start again while making the UK a backward looking country.

This is course is fuel for the fire of campaigners of Scottish Independence who did predict this before the referendum, and it does offer another possible opportunity for another referendum as soon as 2017 if the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU and Scotland decides to stay in the EU. If the rest of the drags itself into UKIP’s snakepit and falls into the grasp of UKIP’s far-right policies which drags us further into austerity then there’s going to be a backlash at some point.See, the one thing UKIP haven’t actually thought about is what to do when they have power, or can influence power. They’ve ran on ‘being different’ even though they aren’t but it has worked. However if they do enter a coalition with the Tories next year and are the party of power as the Lib Dems are, then they don’t have anywhere left to hide. When they fail (and they will fail) then the backlash against them will be enormous.

Until then though UKIP stand to cause a lot of damage with their scorched earth policies. Until then people have to protest against UKIP because UKIP aren’t for anything as this wonderful exchange on LBC shows the thought process of a UKIP supporter. UKIP are easily burst but it involves taking them on, not deciding to outdo them and that isn’t happening with Labour.

Sadly I think we’re in for the dark times predicted in Heartland but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, though this looks to be a very, very long tunnel.