Watching meteors hit the Earth is strangely relaxing

The website is one of those things that is curiously addictive, especially if you’re still off work poorly as I am and don’t have the concentration to do anything more stressful but make a cup of tea. Essentially the site monitors objects entering the Earth’s atmosphere, be it meteor, space debris or anything else so when watching the live feed, you’ll get a near constant stream of small pings as objects enter the atmosphere with the occasional larger tone as something bigger than a teaspoon hits the Earth.

Of course such a site is open season for UFO hunters and even though on the front page of the site gives a scientific reason for the ridiculously long and heavy results you sometimes get, that isn’t stopping people from believing the truth is out there.

But this is fun to watch what is essentially something burning to a cinder. It’s somewhat relaxing…


What has Doctor Who in common with conspiracy theories, Russia and hats?

Ever since 2001 and 911, the conspiracy theory has entered political debate so with Russia strongly suspected of poisoning the Skripal’s in Sailisbury, tinfoil hats are being passed out left, right and centre.

On the subject of hats, we have #hatgate in which some of the more rabid supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are saying the BBC are making Corbyn seem ‘more Russian‘ by digitally altering the Lenin cap he wears which is so called thanks to Lenin adopting it as I assume he hung around with a load of Greek fishermen. Meanwhile, various Tory figures are avoiding discussing the rather large sums of money many of them have been given by various Russian oligarchs. Then there’s the frantic cry and rush to war from much of the UK media who seem to forget that a war between the UK and Russia wouldn’t even last as long as the career of an X Factor winner. We also have people on the left leaping instinctively to defend Russia even though Russia is now a hyper-capitalist tyranny, while some on the right leap to the defence of some on the left. All the time Putin and the Russians are simply taking the piss and watch this further destabilise the UK, while Putin gets to send a message to his dissidents that you can’t ever escape.

So it would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious but then wading into this quagmire of insanity comes former Doctor Who actor John Levene who played Sergeant Benton of UNIT during mainly the Jon Pertwee era who is on the case in Salisbury in this, well, quite unique video that touches international crime and feeding the ducks.

In this era of fake news and hats, who best to get to the root of the problem but a retired actor? It sort of sums up how we appear to be living in a world where nothing at all makes any sense and we’re so desperate for simple answers that we’ll throw our hat on anything that fits our own personal bias’s.

The genius of David Firth

Imagine Chris Morris’s Jam crossed with YouTube conspiracy channels crossed with the news and you have The News Hasn’t Happened Yet created by David Firth,

Firth is probably best known for the odd webseries Salad Fingers

Firth is one of those creators whose work stands head and shoulders above most others because of not just the originality on display, but because he manages to mix horror and comedy so successfully. This can be seen best of all for me in what his his masterwork, Cream.

So go to his channel and take in the full glory of his work…

Ghosts of the past on Google Streetview

I’m a bit of a Suede fan so YouTube often throws Suede videos at me like a bored petulant schoolchild throwing paper at his teacher. This morning it coughed up Electricity at me, one of their songs from 1999.

The video was film by the sadly departed Astoria club on Tottenham Court Road, and in Falconberg Court, one of those wonderful old London alleyways, which near places like the Astoria used to reek of the history of the place through the smell of sex, urine and kebabs.

I thought I’d see what it looked like on Street View and got this.

The image is from October 2008 when the Astoria was being (in my view, disgracefully) ripped down to make way for Crossrail. This is no longer what this part of London looks like, but Streetview contains this ghost of what was once there and through that it provides an idea of what was lost.

In fact Google has thousands of such images from around the world sitting there reminding us of our mortality, what we’ve lost and how things are changing sometimes for the worst to be recorded in every gory digital detail. We can be reminded of pouring out onto a bust London street at 3am working out whether to make one’s way back to wherever you were sleeping that night, or to stumble into Soho, Camden or somewhere outwith Zone One or Two to carry on drinking and not caring about running the risk of a lengthy treatment of anti-biotics.

These shadows of the past will linger reminding us of better days. Google may have it’s issues, but I for one welcome these reminders of memories that twinge like phantom limbs upon viewing them. In fact you could even write a song about it…

Did Elon Musk rip off the 1981 Heavy Metal film?

Elon Musk’s Space X program had an astonishing triumph yesterday as their Falcon Heavy rockets worked perfectly and he managed to send a Tesla roadster into an orbit that will take it round Mars and into the solar system for millions of years. He;s even managed to put Flat Earthers to shame with pictures like this below that show clearly the Earth is a globe.

But the image of an astronaut in a convertible isn’t a new one. Here’s the opening on 1981’s film version of the comic magazine Heavy Metal.

So does Musk owe Dan O’Bannon’s (the creator of the story and sadly no longer with us) family a few quid? I dunno but I reckon he’s got the cash to chuck them a wee thank you for putting O’Bannon’s idea into reality.

Most Creepypastas are rubbish

Creepypastas are a pretty common thing to trip upon online. You’ve probably come across something like Jeff the Killer or Slender Man who is by far the most interesting folk monster creation of the 21st Century.

These tend to be very 21st Century stories so they’ll be based round a video game, or a lost TV show or a film, or something from the real world or fairly recent history. There are some which are splendid such as the Russian Sleep Experiment.

A lot of these stories are clearly inspired by the likes of H.P Lovecraft, Clive Barker and mixed with elements of pop culture some can be massively effective. Some however are not. Most in fact are shite.

The problem is that a good Creepypasta can run around the internet and get you or your site lots and lots of lovely monetised clicks, but when you’ve read another story with an ending that ends ‘‘and then there was LOADS OF GORE AND BLOOD AS THE PAEDOPHILE MARIO RAPED EVERYONE TO DEATH!!! The End!”.  A lack of talent is often a sign of how much gore and shock value is thrown into a story.

So there’s a handy wee video outlining the worst clichés of something that can be fantastic but is often like wading through fields of crap to get to the few islands of scary joy…

My top 5 YouTube channels

YouTube has been around now since 2005 so a generation has grown up with the streaming service as a platform to publish videos, while those of us digital immigrants have adapted to this newish medium which has helped transform how we view what they used to call ‘motion pictures’ in the olden days. Of late YouTube has had a bad press thanks to wankers like Logan Paul, but there’s a number of really creative channels out there putting out the sort of work which is of such a high standard that it puts most film and television to shame. Here then is a top five in no special order of channels you should watch.

5/ hiimmarymary

Hi I’m Mary Mary is one of the tens of dozens, even hundreds of horror webseries out there but under the jump scare obsessed masses, this takes time to build up a very Silent Hill type of creepiness in a strange scenario before the scares (and the scares are earned) kick in.  The series is ongoing still but here’s the first one which sets the mood.

4/ Infochammel

There’s a touch of the Chris Morris about this fictional channel which is a pisstake of those horrendous shopping channels mixed with daytime telly. It is on the whole, genius and here’s a sample…

3/ Petscop

There’s loads of internet myths about ‘haunted video games’ but few manage to act as a story in its own right as well as acting as a nice satire of that genre of YouTube video where people play through games. In this case the set-up is that someone has found an old Playstation 1 game and is playing it for the first time with us as viewers. This also subverts a genre and the less said about what happens the better as it is a joy…

2/ Don’t hug me I’m Scared

This starts as a kids TV show and then goes places as it tells a story in six parts. It is by far the best thing you’ll see today.

1/Red Letter Media

There’s lots of review channels on YouTube. Most are shite, but this one run by Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman does that trick of managing to critique films, take the piss out of YouTube review videos and do something you can probably only do on YouTube. Stuff like this for example..

There’s loads of crap on YouTube but dig deep enough and you’ll get gems like the stuff listed here and more as we enter a new age where anyone can upload anything and the only thing separating them from the masses is talent, ideas and creativity. All of these channels display that in abundance…