Scotland V England

This Friday Scotland play England in the delayed Euro 2020 and if you watch ITV or BBC you’d get the impression that the only team people want to know about is the English team. IN fact even when other teams are playing at some point, England will be brought up and that fucking Gazza goal in Euro 96, but let’s remember the summer of 1977 and when an English goalkeeper was made to look stupid by a Scotland player.

England vs Scotland: Our favourite classic moments ahead of clash | England  football team, England football, Kenny dalglish

Now that should be shown every five minutes…

When comic book speculators get scammed…

I have an odd relationship with speculators in that I don’t mind them buying my stuff, but I do have issues with the larger speculators who are inflating a bubble so alike the 90s one that when it bursts will be the first ones crying they have tens of thousands of comics, many slabbed, worth vastly less than what they paid for them.

Take as an example Comictom on Youtube. In the video below be details how he was scammed because he was buying a slabbed copy of Wolverine #1 from 1988 for $1000. This is a book which sells for 40-50 quid. He says he paid this money to stop himself missing out when the boom hits (which I’ve done, and indeed, still do) but I don’t inflate the market by spending so much over the odds.

I should feel sorry for him but I can’t. This sort of rampant stupidity sees comics priced out of the range of the average collector and takes an artform meant to be read into just another rich person’s way to ‘invest’ their money by inflating the market. This means for most new collectors the idea of owning a decent run of silver let alone bronze age is next to nothing which means the actual next generation of fans could be put off the medium because it costs too fucking much just to buy what used to be average or low value comics.

We have a responsiblity to ensure the hobby and the medium continues and it won’t if people are daft enough to pay a grand for a comic worth 50 quid!

How low can Anti-Vaxxers stoop?

Image

What sort of brainwashed arsehole so loses their moral centre that they think that restrictions during a pandemic which has killed nearly 130k people and left tens of thousands more suffering from the effects of Long Covid (which we have no idea will ever clear up) is the same as Jews being systematically slaughtered by the Nazis? What sort of utter cunt sits there going ‘hmmm, I need to wear a mask in a shop so that must be the same as being shot in the back of the head or turned into ashes in an industrial death camp?”.

Fuck Amazon for selling this, and fuck the anti-vaxxers who have helped prolong this lockdown with their demonstrations, and what sort of idiot protests in London when most things in London are actually opened up now as restrictions are easing there? Ripping off masks of people working in shops as well? I mean, this is scum level antics and looking at the sort of tin-hatted loonies involved it shouldn’t be a shock that a movement where David Icke and Piers Corbyn are two self-appointed leading voices are attracting these sort of people.

So fuck them, and fuck Amazon.

How not to do a Glastonbury Festival livestream

May be an image of text

Thousands upon thousands of people sat down last night to enjoy a wee bit of Glastonbury Festival with a webcast featuring some major acts. This sort of thing has become common during the pandemic with various acts using livestreams as a way to reach out to fans and raise some sort of revenue at a time when there’s been no live concerts since March 2020. As there’s yet another year without a festival this livecast was a replacement.

And it was a complete technical disaster. People were unable to log in with the code give, so much so that 40 minutes into the broadcast people were complaining on social media and seeing as people had organised special nights only to be treated with error messages, so in this respect it did return the Glastonbury experience of trying to buy a ticket. It was a mess which ended up with a free link being given out so people watched it for free having thrown 20 quid down the toilet.

It shouldn’t be like this but mix Glastonbury and anything related to the internet and it fucks up. I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about tickets til April 2022, but nearly a quarter a way into the 21st century it strikes me still the entire festival would be better off selling tickets through ticket shops. As for webcasts maybe next time make sure the system can actually work instead of hoping it will when tens of thousands log on at the same time.

The aftermath of the 2021 Scottish election

The Scottish election was won by pro-independence parties in the shape of the SNP and the Greens. True, the SNP failed to get a majority by itself but the Holyrood sysyem isn’t designed for single parties to win majorities, so this result is what was expected to happen but the narrative a second independence referendum hinged purely on a SNP majority started early.

There was never a tight contest. This was a lie but it is now the mainsteam UK narrative as the sheer, blind unthinking fear of Scotland becoming independent has been unleashed the last few days with even the eldtritch horror of Gordon Brown stomping around giving the same statements we’ve heard for ages.

The fact is an independence referendum is a long, long way away. The earliest we’re looking at is 2023, realistically 2024 as the SNP have said they’re fine with letting the Covid recovery happen, then putting together a bill, then waiting for the electoral commision to agree on the terms of the vote, including the question then give at least 6 months time to campaign and we’re looking some time just before the next Westminster election. This assumes as well of course there’s little legal action as the UK government are likely to dig in hard so we could see a second referendum going beyong autumn 2024.

Yet even so there is a blind panic because the Unionist side know that there’s 20-30% of the electorate who are ‘soft’ no voters last time who are more open potentially to voting yes this time, plus the demographic is changing as older no voters pass away and younger voters come through who are likely to vote yes. A good campaign for independence and a bad one for the Union means Scotland leaves the UK to stew in the forthcoming insanity of the Tories running riot so for now expect to see delaying tactics pushing this vote back til the next Westminster election, and beyond.

Basically we’re in a big, bloody mess and it’ll take a hard push to get where we need to go just as the post Covid world begins to shape around us and the reality of Brexit kicks in for most people.

2021’s painful Scottish election campaign

Being a political geek this year’s Scottish election campaign should fill me with excitement but with days to go I have to say this campaign is one of the worst campaigns I’ve seen in any election which speaks out as to how awful the thing is. Part of the problem lies with the opposition parties who haven’t a dash of vision or opportunity between them, but the SNP, as well as the Greens have also fought a frankly rubbish campaign in what is a vitally important election for Scotland and one which should beckon independence but won’t.

This election should be about not just the right of the people of Scotland to hold an independence referendum when they want, but also about holding to account the government as well as the opposition, but instead, it’s become a tiresome slanging match with Tories slanging SNP, SNP slanging Alba (Alex Salmond’s pro-independence party) with Labour’s dreary ‘hey guys let’s stop fighting but not really‘ approach. There is also a paucity of ideas not helped by the inter-party squabbles of some SNP and Alba supporters. I feel sorry for my fellow countrypeople in this vote trying to make their mind up.

As for myself I don’t think the SNP will use yet another mandate to fight for independence, far too much for them to lose, plus the Greens are happy in their current relationship so another indy supporting party isn’t a bad idea and indeed, many of those piously attacking Alba now were fully supportive of RISE (another attempt at an indy supporting party) last time around. As it stands my main vote will go to the SNP because there’s a very good candidate to vote for, but my list vote is up for grabs as voting SNP on the list is a waste in Glasgow, voting Green means supporting some policies I strongly disagree with, and Alba is a whole can of worms, so either I’ll hold my nose and vote for one of them or leave my list vote blank. This is not how it should be days before the most important Scottish election in my lifetime when we should be pushing hard for independence before Boris Johnson and the Tories strip devolution apart while further destroying people’s lives.

Boris Johnson wants you to die

Image

The worst possible thing about this headline is that most of us can very much imagine Boris Johnson saying this as the UK has over 125k people dead now and one of the worst death rates on the planet. Yes, The Daily Mail is a vicious rag pushing to cheer on their next champion as Johnson has outlived his use, and his possible replacements are far more terrible, but for now we’re governed by a man who treats most people with contempt and the terrible thing here is we can all hear Johnson saying these words.

This is the sort of dystopia we’re living in and yet,people still cheer Johnson on as some sort of champion of the people. We’re totally fucked.

Support your local football team

By now the reaction to a European Super League featuring the richest teams in Europe (who are not the best teams in Europe) is overwhelmingly negative across the UK and Europe. The clubs involved are being threatened with being banned and fined from their home leagues, and the players banned from playing in international tournaments such as the World Cup.

Yet this has been coming for 30 years since football was beginning to be gentrified. Once people any local love for their teams and instead supported the most successful club out there, or that one Derek from accounts mentioned once in the pub, we’ve had a generation brought up in thinking football is just like picking out a nice pair of socks or the bottle of wine you’ll neck this evening. By the time Sky sunk its hooks into the game and working class fans of these ‘elite’ clubs were priced out, and once the stakes were raised once the likes of Manchester City started playing the game with cheats turned on all it needed was one last push to convince these clubs to break away.

That seems to be the Covid pandemic. Clubs are playing to empty stadia which has killed the atmosphere, but people are still watching games which means buying subscriptions which means the audience is there. These club owners don’t care about the fans, just the chance to make money which means a European closed shop and a worldwide audience of people who don’t care about the histories of these clubs. They just want the team they’ve been marketed to aggressively that they ‘support’ to win.

Now these clubs may back down which is unlikely but possible. It could end up with these clubs gaining a monopoly over the Champions League for a few years before this idea returns in five of six years time but the gauntlet has been thrown and UEFA, FIFA, the English, Spanish and Italian FA’s plus broadcasters and governments need to react fast before it becomes too late.

There is however one thing you as a fan you can do which is support your local side. Not your multinational franchise that charges 25 quid for a burger and chips at half time and a tenner for a bottle of warm mildly alcoholic piss,but your local side where you can a pie and a pint for a tenner, and you’re welcomed because they want and need you to survive. Throw the gentrified clubs away, see who your local club are and give them support. They might not win each week, they might play crap but you’ll be supporting an important part of the community and not a billionaire who just wants your 30 quid a month because it means they can buy the Moon or something like that.

Go back to the roots, turn your back on these clubs and find out that actually, things are not too bad on the front lines of being a football supporter where a result means something to everyone in the stadium. Give it a try.

Death of a Royal

Prince Philip died the other day and much of the UK media went slightly mad. All of the BBC’s channels were suspended on Friday to show tributes, and as for ITV they went full mourning as well so all the UK’s main terrestial channels were given over to this one story as if it’s the 1950’s, not 2021. Yes, it is a major story but we’re also in the middle of a pandemic which has killed 125K people, plus all the effects of lockdown, etc means countless lives have changed for the worst and they all get a couple of minutes of presenters and politicians looking serious. A 99 year old man dies and it’s getting more coverage than that or 7/7 or even that insane week in 1997 when Diana died and half the UK lost their minds.

So pity us stuck on this island which has lost its mind and will continue to make things more insane for those of us still with some sense of reality…

What I thought of Zack Snyder’s Justice League

The whole reason this film exists isn’t just down to a fan campaign like no other since they cancelled Star Trek in the 60’s, but the launch of HBO Max and the cinema closedown thanks to Covid meant that Warner Brothers were looking for a quick hit, and this with a readymade fanbase would be just that hopefully. The 2017 version completed by Joss Whedon is an odd beast that doesn’t work but does have some good scenes, but as a whole it was a mess. Snyder’s departure from the film is part tragedy because of the death of his daughter, and partly business as WB realised a 4 hour epic would not work in most cinemas with a film that came off the poor Batman V Superman.

Which brings us to the 4 hour epic streaming on HBO Max in the US, and Sky/Now TV over here in the UK. It’s a film I’ll probably never watch again, at least in the full version but this is probably the best of Snyder’s three DC films but it is a mess. There is literally no way this would work in cinemas to bring in the numbers Warners want as few casual cinema goers would sit through a film of this length unless it was coming off a massive success which it wasn’t.

Snyder’s JL starts at the end of Batman V Superman with Superman’s death cry ringing out around the world which is a bold opening sequence, however the 4:3 ratio takes some getting used to (after all, this is 2021 and we’re not used to films in this ratio) but it sets a grim, grey funeral tone for the film which I can understand with Snyder’s tragedy being exorcised onscreen. For much of the running time this tone doesn’t relent and with the film having very little intential humour (more on this in a minute) much of the first two hours is set-up and exposition which makes it often a chore to get through. It does give all the League a good backstory or introduction but scenes go on far too long or the construction is so poor that the scene becomes bloated and pompous. In the case of The Flash, it goes over old ground the TV show has done, and done better than this.

There’s two scenes in particular which highlight the problem. One is Aquaman’s walk along the pier during a storm, which just goes on and on and on. It also brought to mind this bit of classic comedy from The Comic Strip Presents.

Then there’s the Wonder Woman scene in London where she saves a class of schoolkids from terrorists which was a short, to the point scene in 2017 and is now a bloated mess with bad CGI terrorists being smeared across walls before Wonder Woman spouts the most inane form of feminism (‘you can be anything’) to one of the survivors. It’s a scene supposedly weighty but it’s a nonsense. It’s the sort of scene a teenaged boy who spends too much time online would find ‘badass’ but it just makes one of the few female characters just another violent killer. And here’s the issue with superheroes. You can make them ‘real’ but you can’t ever make them authentic because the nature of what a superhero is reduces characters to 2D models of what a real person should be.

As for the second half this is when all the set-up pays off, and with Snyder being a fan of Chekov’s gun, there’s a lot of things paying off from Cyborg’s relationship with his father and acceptance of who he is, through to The Flash accepting who he is, or Aquaman accepting who he is and so on. The villian Steppenwolf is a badly designed generic baddie who is fighting for the main baddie Darkseid, who is also poorly designed with poor CG. Both had good and great Jack Kirby designs respectively but this film was born out of DC’s disastrous New 52 reboot, and suffers because it takes so much from that mess. Ben Affleck’s Batman is probably the highlight of the film, though Henry Cavill’s Superman is essentially an extended cameo which is a pity as the best thing which came out of the 2017 version was giving Cavill a chance to actualy play Superman instead of some Emo version of the character via Kid Marvelman.

Anyhow, eventually the Justice League come together after a pointless McGuffin chase, fight the baddie, defeat him in a way which sets up a sequel which won’t happen and then we get a load of epilogues that would make Peter Jackson call time. These scenes set up films which have happened, will happen but not as intended here or just won’t happen like Affleck’s Batman solo film.

Is it the ‘masterpiece’ fans are saying it is? Fuck, no. There is no need for this film to be four hours long. A good producer would trim at least an hour, then there’s the 4:3 ratio which is the Imax ratio which is fine, but why not save that for when cinemas reopen and it can be seen in that ratio? Also the script is awful at times as Snyder is trying to create this great mythic thing (which at times he nearly does) but wooden, empty cliched dialogue does not an epic make then Snyder has never been anything but a visual filmaker. Visually at times Justice League looks extraordinary which makes me wish I could see it on a big screen with great sound as the action scenes are great. I especially like the scenes of Darkseid’s first attempted invasion of Earth which is so over the top that the film, finally becomes fun before it crawls back into brooding exposition. Snyder’s overall vision is to be applauded though, even if much of it is ponderous nonsense. There’s nothing like this directorial vision out there in regards to superheroes, and he takes the fascistic nature of superheroes head on, even if it comes over as ripped from Ayn Rand’s notebook. Marvel try to deal with some of the themes Synder engages but either runs away from the consequences of it or just tries to ignore the logical inconsistancies of superheroes. Snyder doesn’t care so we get the full vision.

As a film Justice League is a real director’s cut. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s appalling sometimes it has an overinflated view of itself but as an experiment it’s an oddity while being one those things that may well end up changing how films are made in a post-Covid world and its vocal, and sometimes aggresively so group of fans did the near impossible in getting a film studio to cough up the millions to make this film happen in a perfect storm. Whether it could happen again is debatable though the film’s early success may not last the week, I’m glad such a thing exists only to push others to do better.

Basically watch this if you’re a superhero fan, or maybe a student of cinema but otherwise this sometimes entertaining, often infuriating, sometimes dreadful film will be four hours you’ll never get back. Be aware of that going into this and commiting to the full experience.