Apocalypse Now

This..creature, is now the UK’s Prime Minister at the start (if you think the last three years have been bad you ain’t seen nothing yet) of the worst peacetime crisis in UK history.

boris-kipper

Of course the Germans have him nailed.

dpbj

In short; we’re fucked. There is no way out. The Tory Party are closing ranks much to the pain of middle class liberals who thought Rory Stewart would lead a revolt, and Johnson will make any deal he can with Nigel Farage’s lot of dangerous arseholes (I fully expect Farage in government within the year) to keep Labour (who are more interested in some fucked up campaign of political purity anyhow) and other opposition parties out. An election will be held an barring some miracle, Boris Johnson will keep his job.

We’re fucked. Really fucked and we’re not even at rock bottom yet.

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50 years of a man on the Moon

50 years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Adrin walked on the Moon making them the first human beings to ever set foot on a body other than the Earth. Since the end of the Apollo programme there’s been occasional teases that maybe we’ll go back and beyond but til now humanity has been having to deal with the fact manned space travel is not a politically popular thing due to the cost. But with private companies moving in, not to mention a genuine international move towards working together to push us off Earth to the Moon it looks as if this time we may actually go back.

As I grew up in the wake of the landing and pushed on by things like Booke Bond’s Race into Space card set as well as science fiction made me think that by the time I turned into a teenager in the 80’s that we’d have bases on the Moon, maybe Mars, and pushing into the solar system. We didn’t.

earthrise

So here we are looking back at what three men (Mike Collins being the man who went to the Moon but never set foot on it) and tens of thousands of scientists, astronomers, engineers, and just about every profession you can imagine did to  put man on the Moon.

onesmallstep

One major memory of my childhood wasn’t the landing itself as I was too young, though I do remember some other landings. No, it was 1979’s The Space Movie which I adored.

We now have YouTube and the enormous resource that it has become so we get access to glorious documentaries like this.

Or the great James Burke presenting this tenth anniversary programme.

Life and history changed then. We should have become an outward, space-faring race that cared for its home planet instead of what we did become however there’s a spark of hope with the genuine joy and awe of this 50th anniversary.

I won’t be alive by the 100th anniversary but I hope humanity looks back at this one as a turning point as we reached to the Moon and beyond.

The second greatest thing Buzz Aldrin has ever done.

Buzz Adrin is rightfully famous for being the second person to step foot on the Moon. For years though he’s had to suffer various conspiracy wankers trying to deny him, and indeed humanity, the nature of his feat.

With the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing coming, here’s a reminder of the second greatest thing Buzz ever did. Confronted by yet another Moon landing denier he acts like most of us would act if we’d had most of our lives dealing with these type of people.

Good on you Buzz!

Remember when San Diego Comic Con was about comics?

 

This year and 2020 sees a load of significant 50th anniversaries with next year being the 50th anniversary of San Diego Comic Con which started with a bunch of fans getting to gether with a shared love of comics. Today, I’ll bet you there’s people going this week who give a total of zero fucks about comics, the medium or what it can do. For these people the con is about cosplay, buying toys or meeting XXXX from whatever TV/film they like.

Things change of course and the thrust of late capitalism absorbs all but it seems a shame that in all that will come over the next five days, very little reported in the mainstream will be not about comics. But at one point it was all comics as far as you can see. Well, not quite, as it had a crossover with films but it was still rooted in comics.

Look at these back issues!

EC Comics sitting in piles. Carl Barks Disney comics going for $150. Oh for a time machine.

Oh so many comics!

By the 90’s things were diversifying but the core was still comics.

Also, ‘Green Jello’ in that last clip sounds awfully like a foetal Gorillaz.

This aside I’d still love to go as it, like Glastonbury, is one of these Meccas which fans will always hold in a special place but for one year I’d like to see more talk about comics and how the medium beats anything Hollywood can come up with, or is able to come up with but the money lies in film and TV hence they’ll always get the headlines.

Shame. I’d still like the first headline coming out the show to be ‘man buys mint copy of Fantastic Four #50’.

The state of British politics

Watching the Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt debate on Sky it strikes me how utterly and totally fucked we are, and by ‘we’ I mean those of us who aren’t political zealots, careerists, white supremacists, disaster capitalist/socialists, antisemites, Islamophobes or just generally arseholes.

By the end of this month Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister. A man totally out of his depth and unable to do anything that isn’t for his benefit, or the benefit of those who he’s in the pocket of like Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. Meanwhile the Conservative Party will hope Johnson provides the aid they need against Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party who are soaking up support mainly from the Tories and anyhow, Johnson will do a deal with Farage to ensure the Tories remain in power and Farage gets that top job he’s been after for decades.

Good thing we’ve got an effective official opposition then! Oh wait, we don’t. Labour aren’tfit for purpose trapped in an antisemitism scandal that could have been stopped by chucking out some of the SWP types who’ve got back in the party years ago, but they’re now trapped. Anyhow, the leadership and a chunk of Corbyn followers are more interested in political purity than power or any actual concern for people who’ll be fucked over by Brexit.

Hey, there’s the Lib Dems! Well, no. The party has fine remain credentials but otherwise is a swamp of what Thatcher used to call ‘wets’, which basically means the likes of Jo Swinson (potential leader) is happy supporting things like the bedroom tax and imposing austerity upon people because she doesn’t give a fuck about the poor.

Here in Scotland there’s the SNP who have discovered the art of saying much and doing little to progress the fight for a second independence referendum beyond vague rhetoric. The suspicion is that many in the middle and higher reaches of the party are happy with the power and influence they have, and knowing fine well the only way we’re getting independence is via the SNP, are happy stringing things along. After all as soon as we’re independent the political landscape is literally up for grabs and people like their advisor jobs or seats in Holyrood or Westminster or having the ear of Nicola Sturgeon.

Then there’s the Greens, but they’re clogged in identity politics  (which to be fair, the SNP and Labour are too) while seeming happy to sit in the SNP’s slipstream.

With a no deal Brexit coming on Halloween, we seem to be stuck with a mess and nobody with the spine to make a break for sanity. Because we are leaving and it will be with no deal. Johnson’s career hinges on it and he won’t let his career fail even if it means a recession to make 2009’s seem like a blip, plus with the Labour leadership convinced their form of Brexit will be better (kind of like saying AIDS is better than cancer) we really are in a state.

But hey, the sun’s out for now.

Welcome to Nedageddon

Today is the second day of TRNSMT, so getting around in Glasgow currently feels like this.

horde

TRNSMT is now confirmed to be the replacement for T in the Park (TitP) in Scotland’s music calender after that festival was finally put to the sword.  TitP had mutated from the original idea to have a Glastonbury/Reading type festival in Scotland to one where loads of kids piled onto a site drinking as much as possible in as short a time. The problem though was the campsites which were problematic and eventually the festival ran out of goodwill from the powers that be.

This is a pity. TitP in the early years had it developed down the Glastonbury route would have been amazing, but instead it went down the V Festival route as it lapped up the juices from its corporate teat as it became just a drain on resources for police and the local community.

So two years ago TRNSMT was born which sticks a large festival in Glasgow Green in Scotland’s largest city which causes all the problems you can imagine. Sure, it’s a great chance to see some great acts but the prospect of thousands of Glaswegian lobster people affected by the unusually sunny, warm weather means thousands waking up on Monday like this.

stuey

So the sounds of music and the smell of cooking neds fill my wee flat as TRNSMT tries to desperately work out an identiy that isn’t just a big piss up in a park in the centre of Glasgow that sells overpriced piss.

What I thought of Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home acts as a coda to Avengers: Endgame and the first decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole while throwing out seeds for the next phase of the MCU. It is also a film that  messes with the characters of Spider-Man and Peter Parker, and not for the best either.

From here on in lie SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.

The film takes place shortly after Endgame where the world is still reacting to the death of Tony Stark (less so the Black Widow) and the return of half the life in the universe after five years.  The problem lies with the return of people who’ve been essentially dead for half a decade suddenly returned to life to deal with the people who survived. A Spidey film could have been the perfect place to deal with the angst of this through Peter Parker; a comic character who is angst himself but instead we get a few gags as Peter and his pals (who all happened to be main or secondary cast members who died during the Snap) go on a jolly to Europe.

I get the idea to give Peter and co a break as a plot tool to show how the world (well, Europe) has changed but while on holiday Peter is contacted by Nick Fury who has hooked up with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhall having enormous fun), a self-proclaimed hero from another reality who snuck through chasing four elementals after the Snap. At this point Peter is mourning Tony Stark and is vulnerable to another role model entering his life to dish out helpful lessons in life.

The problem is that the very essence of Spider-Man/Peter Parker is that he’s learned his main lesson in life that great power comes with great responsibility due to his selfishness causing Uncle Ben (the man who raised him as his own son) being murdered. Now we don’t need to see Ben die yet again on screen but in every version of Spidey out there this is the core of who he is, even the Ultimate version written by Brian Bendis on which this version is largely based. Up to now things have worked with Peter desperate for a father figure in Tony Stark and carrying on his lesson learned from Ben’s death but here Peter is a lovesick arsehole doing silly things to prove himself to MJ and Mysterio who he barely knows.

Nobody is fleshed out. Nobody has sensible motivations.  Mysterio is yet another bitter villain who just wants revenge on Tony Stark, or on his legacy,  while Peter and MJ’s relationship feels rushed and unearned even though Tom Holland and Zendaya work their arses off to make the best of what they’re working with.

Far From Home isn’t a bad film. It’s a summer blockbuster that is fun and entertaining but the script is a road accident as it feels like it took a desperately quick rewrite after Endgame to take that film into account, not to mention work so it sets up Phase 4. Plot overtakes story and characterisationas these films are made on a production line. That’s one reason why most recent MCU films use a load of green screen work which makes scenes look cheap and rushed. However ignoring the character of Uncle Ben changes Spidey. It takes the guilt and self-loathing (in those Ditko/Lee strips Peter not only hates himself but is often a pretty unlikeable bit of work) out of Peter Parker and replaces it with a whining stupidity that ends up with Peter giving Mysterio the key to Stark’s technology because Peter here is an idiot.

Which is a shame. Tom Holland is a perfect cross between the John Romita and Ultimate era Spidey. He’s a good actor who will clearly be the new cornerstone of the MCU in the decade to come and will hopefully have better to work with in the future but Far From Home feels rushed and more interested in the overall arc of the MCU than telling a great Spidey story.