Friday, 29 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Mist

For the final day of the week I'm going to go for a real favourite and the first Stephen King adaptation of the week.

Day 5 - The Mist

Sorry Mr. Kubrick but Frank Darabont is the official master of Stephen King adaptations with The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist under his belt. It's because he gets what the Master of Horror is all about. Certain critics attack King for his style and over reliance on plot but when he gets it right King is all about character. The Shining, Shawshank and even Stand By Me aren't about external threats but about character interaction and how these people play off each other. In his best horror efforts the external conflicts represent the inner conflicts of the characters.

In The Mist all these strengths are played up. A group of people trapped in a supermarket by a mysterious threat soon turn on each other as the threat outside escalates. The great thing that Darabont really manages to convey is that the true evil and the real horror is the result of the actions of these people and not the bugs and octopuses and other Lovecraftesque nightmares rampaging outside.

It's a brilliant film crafted by a director at the top of his game. There are genuinely scary moments, real character drama and a thought provoking message. It also has an unrelentingly bleak ending. I think it fits with the piece but I've known others to disagree and become a little depressed because of it.

In other Frank Darabont news he is behind the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead. Premiering on FX on November 5th in the UK. If it's anything like the comic it'll be insanely brilliant.

Have a great weekend. If you're wondering how I'm celebrating Halloween I'll be watching Paranormal Activity 2 tonight, dressing as a zombie mime tomorrow and then watching An American Wereworlf in London on Sunday.



Thursday, 28 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - Final Destination 2

It's day 4 of Halloween movie week and a mere 3 days until the big day itself. Hope you've got your costumes sorted. If you see any zombie mimes rampaging around on Saturday night come and say hi. I won't say hi back but I will wave.

Day 4 - Final Destination 2

Apart from the Saw films there aren't a massive number of recent horror films that have spawned a true legacy of cinematic sequels. A decent few have had a bit of life in the straight to DVD arena but these are easy to ignore. Final Destination is one of the few horror films in recent memory that can seriously lay claim to starting a real franchise and I'm going to be controversial here because I don't even think it was the best one.

I'm not going to disrespect Final Destination here. I think if anything you want to double bill these two. It's a genius concept - death relentlessly pursuing those who've managed to escape its clutches leading to a series of inventive and gruesome deaths. The plane crash of the original is genuinely quite disturbing although I'd say the sheer scale of the car crash in FD2 outdoes it. It also has one of my favourite deaths of the entire series when the girl is hit by the bus - classic sucker punch. The plot of the original is also a great deal clearer with 2 throwing in a few confusing twists to do with defying death (Though there is a decent attempt to link the films together seemingly abandoned in the following sequels). Yet, I'd say the second is by far the most entertaining of the two films on the strength of its death sequences alone. You can see the filmmakers are far more comfortable with the concept and each gory end is its own mini masterpiece. From the ladder through the eye to the fence dismembering to the flattening with the plane of glass this film has a pitch black sense of humour.

With the sheer glee in which the characters are picked off you have to decide who you're rooting for. It might be a little morbid but I think it's more fun to side with The Reaper.

FILM NERD FACT - The original film was written as a spec for the X-Files. Mulder & Scully vs Death - pretty awesome high concept!

The above pic is from the novelization of the film. Seriously. Who the fuck is going to buy that?

I had to hand back my keys today. I finished my contract as a Temporary Facilities Assistant and I am no longer a white van man or a deliverer of milk. Anyone who wants to give me a non sexual job please get in touch. Jobs involving use of a white van preferred.



Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Just a short one today. A little short on time before The Apprentice.

Day 3 - The Exorcism of Emily Rose

This was a big box office hit in 2005 but I haven't actually encountered many people who've seen it. It falls  into the ghost story, possession, creepy child sub genre which isn't always my favourite. I think when it's done well then it can represent the absolute best of the horror genre (See: The Exorcist, The Omen, The Shining, The Ring) but much of the time films can be too in thrall to these classics. Whenever there's a hit there are far too many dreadful attempts to cash in by doing the same thing. For example, The Ring was fantastic but then I ended up sitting through Hide & Seek and White Noise. The Exorcism of Emily Rose deserves praise for its originality in telling an old story but in a fascinating new way.

It's your typical possession story but framed by a court case dealing with a priest accused of negligent homicide after performing an exorcism where the possessed girl dies. It's especially interesting in two ways. First of all it completely invites the audience into making their own decision. Through the use of different narrators it never completely falls down on who is absolutely right. Also via the use of these different narrators it provides a fascinating view not only of the religious context of the exorcism but also the American legal system and religion's place inside it. There are a few decent frights but it's more a character drama and an intellectual debate presented against the backdrop of classic horror tropes. Worth a look even if you're not into the horror genre.

Has anyone seen the trailer for Series 2 of Misfits? I missed the first series because I was away travelling but the trailer is so ingenious that it makes me want to watch. Very clever.

Local film 'Ghosts of Rome' are looking for people to film short vox pops to make-up part of their project. Check out their website here. I have to commend them for their choice of example film on the vox pop page. That guy is handsome and funny and me. Check it out.



Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - Jennifer's Body

It's day 2 of Halloween Horror Week. Today - Jennifer's Body

It's difficult to say why Jennifer's Body didn't catch on. It had big stars (Megan Fox & Amanda Seyfried), a fun premise (cheerleader possessed by a demon eats classmates) and a script by the Oscar winning writer of Juno. I guess the reason that I enjoy it is the same reason more people haven't seen it - it's a bizarre film. Treading the fine line between parody and tribute the film is like a throwback to eighties teen horror with buckets of gore and a wicked sense of humour - it's genius. I watched it in a large group of people who seemed to think it wasn't so great but to be honest I just don't think many of them got it. There's none of the jumpy scares of a slasher or a ghost flick it's just plain fun in the vein of The Evil Dead. There are a few great supporting turns but absolutely stand out is Adam Brody (Seth from the OC) as the lead singer of the band who sacrifice Fox's central character to Satan.

'Do you want to be awesome like that guy from Maroon 5?'

Also, there's plenty of Megan Fox and though I doubt she appeals to the ladies I think the dudes will enjoy how much skin they get to see.

Overall, it's a really great film and it deserves a bigger audience. Just make sure you go in looking for laughs rather than terrifying scares.

In other news it hasn't been a good day for animals. Paul The Octopus is on his way to the big sushi bar in the sky and our beloved pet the 'Titan of Toilet Drinking' Doobie the Cat passed away at what we guess was the age of 17. I'll do a little tribute to him next week. We're obviously sad but he hadn't been well and it was definitely for the best. I like to think he is annoying Jesus by constantly rubbing himself against his leg and demanding to be fed even though we just fed him.



Monday, 25 October 2010

Halloween Movie Week - The Faculty

It's the week leading up to one of my favourite days of the year - Halloween! It does happen to fall on a Sunday this year but I think every Halloween should be a national holiday. Trick or Treating would be mandatory as well as dressing up, we could all eat Pumpkin Pie and drink Pumpkin soup and most importantly of all families could gather together and watch horror films. If you fat cats at city hall are reading this then take note. It has the potential to be as big as Christmas!

In the spirit of things I'm going to recommend a film each day that you might want to think about watching. I'm going to try and go kind of left field with this. I shouldn't need to tell you The Shining or Halloween are absolute classics. Instead I'll go with lesser known, forgotten, sequels or the criminally underrated.

Today - The Faculty.

I'll admit that I haven't seen this film for a while. It actually came out in 1998 - Christ that seems like a long time ago. I do hold a special fondness for it in my heart though because it was one of the first films I saw when I really started getting into the horror genre. I guess you could even question if it really is a horror or if it's more science fiction. I think one of its great strengths is in fusing the two genres so effortlessly harking back to an earlier era and fifties sci-fi like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. It also does a pretty darn good at nailing the teen coming of age narrative with some great and genuinely funny dialogue. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given Kevin Williamson's (Dawson's Creek, Scream) involvement in scripting.

The film is smart, funny, self referential and at times genuinely inventive (the subversive snorting of the made-up drug as a way of ending paranoia rather than causing it!). There's also some very decent set pieces, the confrontation at the pool springing to mind. Again this shouldn't surprise too much as Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn) directed the film.

If nothing else this film features Usher playing one of the smaller roles. If that isn't enough to convince you then I don't know what to say.



Sunday, 24 October 2010

Shy Ronnie FX

Rihanna & Shy Ronnie from Mathieu Carratier on Vimeo.

Back after a massive weekend of hardcore Lancaster korfing (It's not a sex thing. Click on the link if you don't know what I mean). It was weird being back after such a long time away. I think I had a little tear in my eye when I was sitting on the bus. Depressingly the majority of the current influx of freshers were 13 when I started my degree. Definitely starting to feel a bit old. I think I fooled them into thinking I was cool by constantly talking about the Tinie Tempahs and Flo-Rida. We were staying with the man, the myth, the legend - George Lincoln and he reminded me of the above video. I kind of think this is what Rihanna would be like in person. Happy Sunday everyone. Back next week with build up to Halloween and horror films!



Thursday, 21 October 2010

Fear of Vaginas

There's plenty of talk on the national scale about cuts and deficits. Sadly we here in Jersey are not immune to this kind of thing. One of the big talking points here is a massive reduction in subsidies to private schools. I'm not going to weigh in on the debate here in too serious a matter. Frankly Jersey politicians make British politicians look like upstanding citizens with common sense and vision. What I am going to respond to is an article in tonight's Jersey Evening Post. The good folks at our local paper have sought out a variety of opinions on the matter including asking a sixth form boy educated in public school for his views. As it turns out his views are moronic.

His main argument is that not only did he go to public school and turn out alright (You're a teenager mate. You haven't turned out anything yet.) but that because he went to a mixed sex school he is comfortable with the other sex. Of course if you go to an all male public school and speak to a girl you'll either cry, wee yourself, spunk in your pants or do a messy mixture of all three. He's just wrong and dangerously so. Is there really such a thing as a teenage boy (public or private school, same or mixed sex) who is truly comfortable with the other sex? I think from the Inbetweeners alone we can probably answer that as a big no. I'm twenty three and I've had a girlfriend for nearly three years and even I'm not completely comfortable with the other sex. I doubt any man ever reaches this point. I don't blame the kid writing the article for doing this but surely the editor could have coaxed something a little more interesting rather than boring cliches and undoubted inaccuracies.

The less mature response - If you want to know how guys from same sex schools relate to women then just ask your Mum.

Join us next time for hopefully less vitriolic attacks on teenagers and if you did make it to The Ritz in Brixton tonight please let me know what you think!



Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A Few Thoughts On A Wednesday

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've suddenly found myself between Gallery deadlines writing about Zach Galifianakis, Female Genital Mutilation and Galactic Gigolo (It's a real thing). It'll all become clear when the issue is out.

A few thoughts on the day's big (not big) news.

- Exciting news today as the Piranha sequel was announced under the title Piranha 3DD (Like Boobs!). It's set for August next year which is a pretty fast turn around and has a couple of the Saw writers attached. Surely you can't over complicate Piranha can you?

- Anyone still watching Hollyoaks? I think it's enjoying a renaissance - secret families, unconvincing cross-dressing and confused predatory gang boss homosexuals. Plus *SPOILER ALERT* Warren is coming back from the dead to raise some hell. It might be confusing at first but I think it's time to get back on board.

- I watched Real Madrid v AC Milan. Nice to watch a match without that depressing sense of dread or some over hyped backstory about ungrateful overpaid overgrown children. Jose Mourinho has assembled a team and got them playing his style in very quick fashion and as much as I hate to admit it Cristiano Ronaldo was awesome.  

- Back to Lancaster at the weekend for some hot fresh Korfball action. I hope no one is intimidated by the fact I have now played in an international Korfball match. I also hope my foot stops hurting before then.

- Finally, today's picture is a Marvel meets Tron variant cover. Ultimate Nerdgasm!



Monday, 18 October 2010

From The Ritz to the Glamour

Calling all Londoners! This Thursday you have a rare opportunity to experience some Steveitude in the flesh. It's on Thursday night upstairs at The Ritzy in Brixton. I have a sketch competing against two other sketches in the finals of The Ritzy Cup. It's very exciting - real comedians performing something I wrote for a group of people who've actually paid for the opportunity to be there. Actually, there more likely to be paying to see Abandoman, David Whitney and Matthew Highton but the important thing is they'll actually have paid. Anyway, if you're in London and you're free on Thursday night PLEASE go along and laugh very hard at my sketch (It's about Michael Myers - star of the Halloween franchise) and not so hard at the sketches it's going up against. All the details on the above poster. I wouldn't heckle David Whitney if I was you, he's currently facing charges for head-butting a heckler. For those not in London the sketches are being filmed and hopefully I'll have a link for you sooner rather than later.

So how was your weekend? I'm still feeling tired which normally indicates a good one. I can heartily recommend The Social Network. Brilliant stuff. Here's my usual X-Factor Monday thoughts:

- I was glad to hear a few wild proclamations this week. Simon suggesting One Direction were the best band in the world today was a good one. That's pretty good going given they've only been together for about two weeks. Hopefully this'll be the kick in the ass bands who've been working on their craft for years like The Arctic Monkeys and The Kings of Leon need to get their acts together.

- I found Cher's performance mildly less annoying than last week. I'm still a bit scared to watch her though. She looks like an angry skeleton with her limbs flailing around like that. Kind of like a Halloween decoration.

- I would pay good money for the Wagner vs Mary sex-tape. Especially if Dermot still had to do the post sex interviews. The XXX Factor? Too obvious I think.

- It was all a bit predictable this week. I think we need another twist. Maybe all the contestants could have to care for an egg for a week. They could draw a face on it and give it a name. If they lose or break the egg then maybe a different mentor could pick their song.

If any Londoners do decide to go please let me know how it all goes down. My brother will be there so say 'hi' to him. He looks like me but more Chinese.



Friday, 15 October 2010

Sloth of Allegiance

I'm here today to talk to you fine people about a very serious issue that effects us all. A blight not only on our society but on our whole planet. Today I want to talk about Alcoholism In Sloths.

Now certain 'scientists' will tell you that sloths appear lazy because of their slow metabolism and diet of low on nutrition, low on energy leaves. These people are almost certainly quacks and I'd hazard a guess sexual deviants. There is one clear reason why sloths appear slow and lazy (Seriously? Natural Selection? How did these guys make it? I'll take Creationism thank you.) - That reason is there love of a cheeky couple of beers. Don't get me wrong they're not going to get pissed up and start a fight. These creatures just love having a few and getting nicely toasted. The kind of drunk where you might just drift off in front of the telly. You might ask - what's the problem Steve? Sometimes I like a couple of beers and a nap. I'll tell you. Sloths are like this all the time.

Sloths have the potential to be awesome and acrobatic like monkeys. They could contribute to our society by being in the circus or starring in shows. But they don't. Their love of beer saps their motivation and decreases their ability to entertain. They might have a few grand ideas about things they want to do but they're never going to be sober enough to make their dreams a reality. It's a sad situation and only with your help can we round up these gentle souls and get them into rehab. What are you going to do?

Thanks to Sarah for the artwork that inspired today's blog. I think we should print it on a T-Shirt. We're coming up to our 200th Post! Very exciting stuff. Check back here at the weekend for something of a celebration. Once again Londoners keep Thursday free in your diary. Something is happening in Brixton. I'll spill the beans on Monday.



Thursday, 14 October 2010

Coming or Going

Why doesn't anyone else make videos like OK Go? As if they hadn't already cemented their place in history for 'Here It Goes Again' they then go and do this. It puts all those lazy artists doing literal interpretations or slut-fest videos to shame. The only problem with OK Go's videos is that they tend to overshadow their by and large excellent songs. Check out 'Get Over It' from their self titled debut album. It made it to the dizzy heights of number 21 in the UK Charts about eight years ago so I'll forgive you for not knowing it. OK? Go!

No response from the government regarding yesterday's post. I will take this as a cowardly acknowledgement that I am right. Steve 1 Government 0.

Today I managed to zip my shirt into my jacket. It was unfortunate. Not as unfortunate a wardrobe malfunction as going into a meeting and accidentally taking a women's jacket instead of my own and then having to go back to the meeting to swap. I won't name any names but for those who have been reading the blog you can probably guess. 'What have you done?'

Finally, London readers of the blog should keep next Thursday free in their diaries. An announcement is forthcoming when I confirm all the details. Maybe check out the tube schedules for Brixton...



Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Steve vs The Coalition: Tuition Fee Caps

There's quite a furore over the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition's plan to basically skull fuck students even more by raising the cost of higher education. My extremely attractive friend and former porn mogul Phil Scullion dives into the issue with the same amount of gusto as he normally reserves for diving between a girl's legs (He's a giver). It's actually a well thought out reasoned argument which I find surprising as I thought Phil was just a pretty face. Check it out here.

Now if you expect that level of reasoned debate here then you're obviously new. Welcome. Instead I present to you...

Three Ways to Make Savings Within Higher Education Without Raising the Cost of Going

1. University Jumpers
Everyone buys one of these. A jumper with the name of the uni on it. I didn't even really want one but I still ended up shelling out thirty odd quid for one. Unis need to take advantage of student's inability to resist a knitted garment with the name of the place they are currently at on it. Don't charge £37 charge £4000. People would still buy them. Shit I'd probably buy one and technically I'm an international student.

2. Late Essay Charges
Back in my day being late on an essay resulted in a 10% deduction if within a week of the due date or a big fat zero outside of that. Fuck that. Why not charge people for lateness like an overdue library book. £10 for every day overdue with a 1% deduction per day or £20 per day with no deduction. You could even buy the lateness in chunks for when you're planning some kind of crazy binge around deadline time. It'll also help raise educational standards as cheap students won't want to pay money for something as trivial as an essay.

3. Mugging Students
Instead of figuratively mugging students the government could train a team of ninja bad asses to do it literally. Walking home pissed with a kebab on a night out - you better watch out buddy because the government ninjas are lurking in the shadows! You got drunk and left the window to the kitchen open - well you're shit out of luck because government ninjas have stolen your food and sold it to fund your education. This has the secondary effect of reducing traffic cone theft.

BONUS WAY! - Ralf Little
Ralf Little and a gaggle of former Hollyoaks actors are always hanging around Unis doing shit all but still getting paid money for it. Why not give them important sounding titles and government jobs and send them on a non-stop tour of nightclubs raising the cash needed to reduce the deficit? Only out of work actors and Ralf Little can stop a double dip recession!

On the topic of the government why do they call themselves a coalition? That's totally evil sounding. If they wanted to be cool they would refer to themselves as The Rebel Alliance. What a bunch of tools.



Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Rejected Sitcom Ideas: Baby Out With the Bathwater

Here's the first in a new series of rejected sitcom ideas. Sometimes I like to start with a title and work back from there.

Baby Out With the Bathwater
John Bathwater is the ultimate bachelor. All he's ever known is a playboy lifestyle of the planet's finest things, utmost luxuries and sexiest women. But that's about to change...
When John's older brother and his wife die in a horrific car accident he's left as their 6 month old son's sole guardian. Left holding the baby, John faces the choice of either fitting the child  into his way of life or changing his way of life to fit the child.

If you'd like to buy the rights please contact me with your offer. I really like Steak McCoy's so that might be something to think about.

There's also a new featured blog on our sidebar. Check out Celeste's Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and other good things blog. Go here for some book banging.




Monday, 11 October 2010

X-Factor Extra Extra: Reload

Hey there blog fans. Hope you enjoyed 'March of the Robots'. So far we've had nearly a hundred hits which presuming every single person watched it with 10 to 15 of their closest friends mean 1000 people have seen the film. If for some reason you haven't seen it (Seriously - What's your fucking problem?) then you can check it out here. Hurry along now.

Monday of course means X-Factor Extra Extra. Then ancillary show to the ancillary show that is in no way affiliated with the actual X-Factor. Basically, here are some observations from Saturday and Sunday's lean mean three and a half hours (Christ) of super hot singer on audience action.

- The twist was extremely predictable.Wouldn't it be cooler if the judges could gunge a contestant after a bad performance? If anything reality TV doesn't have enough ritual humiliation.

- The choice of 'Number Ones' for the theme was also pretty uninspiring. How about 'UK Garage Week' featuring So Solid Crew, Craig David, Oxide & Neutrino and DJ Luck & MC Neat or 'Orson Week'?

- After Cher's quite irritating Professor Green song Louis Walsh commented 'that could be a hit single'. It was a hit single... very recently. It's Number Ones week.

- The judges' table seems to have been raised a couple of inches to hide Louis' erection when One Direction hit the stage.

- Wouldn't it be a great twist if Diva Fever turned out to be straight?

Anyway, a solid enough start to the competition. Please God let there be less of it next week.



Sunday, 10 October 2010

March of the Robots

Here it is. The fruit of our labours. Please watch, enjoy and share. Any comments appreciated and please join the group here!



Friday, 8 October 2010

Soundtrack Preview!

Not long to go now. Today here's a cheeky peek at the soundtrack provided by Jersey's finest rap collective Hiphoperation. When we were putting the film together I e-mailed Dan aka Turner Prize and asked him if he could write a song fitting the themes of the piece. Then it turned out he'd already done it. 

Technology by Hip Hoperation

Click on the link and go and have a listen. It's totally moist. Also please join the group here. Happy Friday!



Thursday, 7 October 2010

Coming Attractions: March of the Robots

The time is finally here. The big reveal - what the fuck is happening this Sunday at 6pm? Well I'll tell you. 

Robots, Zombies, Hiphoperation and Josh Franco in his finest acting role to date! This is what's happening. 

March of the Robots
March of the Robots: Tensions run high as three scientists hide in a bunker awaiting death from a robot menace one of them created. However, one of them may have a way to save them and the human race. All it will take is a sacrifice.
So basically the project was born at the beginning of the summer when I was looking for ways to actually make one of my scripts. I spoke to Matt and we decided to make a short film together. I wrote the script, we got our super talented cast together (Basically I tricked Josh into it), we shot the film in my garage and at Petit Port and then Matt did all the hard work editing it together. And on Sunday you're going to be able to view the fruits of our labour on You Tube. 
We learnt many a lesson from this project (I go over them in detail in this month's issue of Gallery). I think the main one is that for your first project you probably shouldn't make a high concept Hollywood blockbuster on a budget of about £50. Still, I stand by my claim that it makes a shit load more sense than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. 

'So what can I do?'

I'm glad you asked. Matt and I have set-up a Facebook group for our Production company (oh yes) - 

Click on the link to head there and join the party. This won't just give you first details on everything Robots but it'll also give you the inside skinny on all future productions (of which there will be many). It'll also be the first place to get the link on Sunday night literally three or four minutes before I post it on this here blog. 

So what are you waiting for? Join the Facebook group and begin the countdown. The world is ending in three days. What are you going to do about it? 



Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sugar Rush

The Apprentice is back! This means I have a reason to post my determined briefcase wanker photo. Sadly even with this photo and my sterling CV of film journalism, kiwi picking and temping I wasn't selected for the new series. Instead you'll have to watch other egotistical bastards babble incomprehensibly about their business acumen and make the type of business decision that an ignorant child with low self esteem and high blood pressure because they never had the chance to have a dog listen to them read would make. Personally, I can't wait. Also, am I the only one who sings along to the theme tune with their own made-up words - 'who will carry the briefcase? who will answer the phone? who will get fired will it be you?'

The big announcement I've been ruthlessly teasing you about all week is coming up tomorrow. I'm genuinely quite excited about this. It feels like I'm actually doing something rather than just shouting random opinions about X-Factor into the abyss (Don't worry this will continue).

Also, I have a new follower. That's 5! Welcome Celeste. It's always delightful to find a new follower or receive a comment so please indulge yourselves. Even if you're a French guy wondering what the hell you're looking at. It's all good.



Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Old Dogs, New Tricks

So as I mentioned yesterday, Saturday night I was out watching the X-Factor cringing as the starlets had their fistful of dreams crushed one by one. My close personal friend Jose Antonio Franco stopped on his way out to the Birthday party of a former Liquid cage dancer where he knew no one apart from the Birthday boy himself. And with him he had a story. To be precise he had this story...

Or at least he had his version of this story. It's quite a weird story as it is. Children reading to dogs in two schools to help them build confidence. Jose's version was a lot stranger. 

Jose Franco on Educational Reform
Dogs are to be introduced to EVERY school as teaching assistants to help children read. Dogs have been chosen as opposed to cats, goldfish or any other animal because they are non judgmental. Having them there stops the children getting stressed and helps reduce blood pressure. They won't be taking any other classes. 

There are many issues here. Even with the real pilot scheme. I'll start with the most baffling and move on from there. 

- Is there a problem with high blood pressure amongst Britain's children? Are dogs the best way to combat high blood pressure? 

- How will teachers know the kids are actually reading? If I was placed with a dog I would just stroke it and rub its belly. It's not going to tell on me. You can bring a supervisor in but then that defeats the object. Also, what if the child is terrified of dogs. If anything this could destroy confidence and raise blood pressure. 

- How will schools afford a dog in every class and how do they make sure they get non judgmental dogs? Do they get the kids to bring in their dogs from home? What if these dogs are judgmental of children who aren't their owners? I can say for sure my cat is very judgmental. 

- Will we see more instances of children being mauled by Pitbulls (not the Hip Hop sensation) for mispronouncing a word? Are we going to teach these dogs to read first? And what if this gives them high blood pressure? The logical conclusion to this is millions spent on hiring other non judgmental animals (sheep maybe?) to listen to trainee teacher dogs read. Is that a world you want to live in? 

So that's pretty much what's happening with education right now. Thank God I escaped whilst I still could.

Thanks for reading friends. Be sure to check back the rest of the week as we build up to something HUGE coming up on Sunday at 6pm. Put it in your Diaries. 



Monday, 4 October 2010

You Have Chosen A Three Wood

Greetings friends, fans and spambots and welcome to an all new week at the Fortress of Steveitude. We've got some fun stuff coming up this week including Jose Franco on Educational Reform and possibly the beginning of something that I've been looking forward to for a long time. Alternatively, I might just bitch and moan about last night's X-Factor. Seriously - what was Cheryl thinking? It's definitely a tad egotistical to put an exact copy of yourself through. I wonder if Cheryl looks at herself every morning in the mirror and says 'I see something special in you lass.' Also, is it me or was dressed as a Nazi officer?

All soul sucking reality TV aside this weekend has been all about the Ryder Cup for me. Why is golf so much more exciting when it's a team sport? (Though I'm not sure about the chanting.) Enjoy this classic Simpsons clip for a more standard reaction.



Friday, 1 October 2010

Minor Characters From American Pie Week - Coach Marshall

It's the end of the week and we say goodbye to this celebration of minor characters from American Pie not with a whimper but with a loud bang. Following in the proud foot steps of Glee Club Teacher, Jim's Mom, Kevin's Brother and Blink-182 - it's the man, the myth, the Coach Marshall. 

Minor Character 5 - Coach Marshall (Lawrence Pressmann)

I've been looking forward to this one all week. All the characters I have selected have contributed to the franchise in their own way but in terms of my own personal enjoyment of the film no one quite matches up to the Coach. He is iconic without falling into cliche. He is quotable without stealing the scene. In one quote he summarizes everything these films are about,

'I don't want any of you boys thinking, that you're gonna score. You don't score, until you *score*!'

There is something profound in the truth of this statement. Some principle deep beneath the surface that mere mortals like us are unable to quite fathom and express but in our hearts know is in everything we do. Take the journey our central protagonists go on. They think that they're going to score with the literal act of sex but they only truly score when they realise that having sex isn't the important thing here, it's the growing up, the emotional and mental journey toward adulthood. 

Also, Lawrence Pressmann has a brilliant name and was in Shaft so I think maybe some kind of lifetime achievement award wouldn't be out of place. 

And so it ends - thanks for joining me on this spiritual journey into what I truly believe is a genre defining film. I'd like to thank all the characters mentioned and everyone who helped bring this film to life. So until Minor Character from American Pie Week 2 or Minor Character from American Pie 2 Week I guess all that's left to say is:

'To the next step!'