Wednesday, 15 January 2014

When we take that man there, and stick him in that box there...

Hey you. Let's talk about Shia LaBeouf.

We don't have to of course. Actually, it would probably be better if we didn't. Because if there's one thing that's become abundantly clear over the past couple of months it's that LaBeouf craves attention the same way Stannis Baratheon craves the Iron Throne (Gee Note: That's right. A Game of Thrones reference. I bet you're totally in to me now, right ladies?)

Problem is though, LaBeouf is a perfect example of (Gee Note: A bellend?) the power of social media. Now people mistakenly think that Facebook and Twitter are some sort of incredible marketing tool where you can reap insane rewards for next to no outlay. All you have to do is get something trending, watch as the shares and retweets flood the netsphere, and wake up the next morning buried under a pile of money. Hooray! Look at me! I'm rolling around in a nest of cash! Thank you interwebs!!!

The lesser spotted "I will stalk you online" bird. 

Except it doesn't work like that. Not really. Take the case of Sharknado. Syfy's (Gee Note: Eurgh. No matter what, typing out that stupid "rebranding" of SciFi still makes me want to kick someone in the nuts. Preferably whoever came up with it) made for TV creature feature about a - wait for it - tornado containing a shit load of sharks caused such a buzz online it was at one point generating 5000 tweets per minute. 5000 tweets. Per minute. Giant turtle monster Miley Cyrus Gamera could pop his head out of the ocean and announce he's signed a deal with Pepsi to promote his new reality show, and it wouldn't cause this much of a stir. Indeed, one would think that this type of mass publicity would lead to a healthy bump in ratings, and those advertising bucks would just come rolling in. Trebles all round for the folks at Syfy HQ, right?

Well, er no. Not at all in fact. Instead the film starring walking catastrophe Tara Reid and Ian "The-guy-from-Beverly-Hills-90210-who-wasn't-Jason-Priestly-or-Luke-Perry" Ziering, pulled in an anemic 1.4 million viewers for its premier, a shade under the equally dreadful but far less talked about "Chupacabra vs. The Alamo" which debuted earlier that year.

(Gee Note: It should be noted that Sharknado did actually set a Syfy ratings record for a repeat when it was aired for a third time a couple of months later, scoring 2.4 million of your human eyeballs. There's no real reason for this, other than ironic hipsters are quite easily entertained that is. Which is why I'm working on a pitch for my new series where Russell Brand sells second hand ukuleles to help raise money for some bullshit charity involving homeless pandas or something. Hispters love that kind of thing. You have my number Channel 4)

Nay fearless reader, the true power behind social media isn't to do with "monetizing your brand", "motivating your customer base", or any other nonsense phrase people in suits use to justify their position and disguise the fact that a raccoon on acid could do their job. It's much better than that.

You see, no matter how hard you try to hide it, eventually social media will out your true nature if you use it frequently enough. Especially if you happen to be a bit of dick.

It happens time and time again. From sulky, homophobic, talent contest winner James Arthur's public meltdown (Gee Note: Which was so spectacular his PR company had to ban him from using his own Twitter account), to IAC's Communication Director Justine Sacco getting fired over an insanely insensitive tweet about the African AIDS epidemic, getting exposed by posting something online any normal thinking person would balk at is like kryptonite to a dick. Even if it isn't that explosive, social media can still be quite damaging to one's self image. Bret Easton Ellis fans know this all too well, having seen their erudite and witty hero dissolve in to a bitter and spiteful shell of a man right in front of their eyes.

Which brings us back to Shia LaBeouf.

Shy and retiring Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is a bellend (Gee Note: Called it). An A-Class, top of the line, no refunds policy bellend.

And I'm not saying this because he's a terrible actor, or because of his rough and rowdy past with the law, or because Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull was yet another crushing blow to the cherished memories of my childhood. No, I'm saying this because over the past couple of weeks his twitter feed has been dedicated to one single subject. Plagirism.

It all started when "The Beef" (Gee Note: As no one calls him) attempted to branch out a wee bit creatively. And so he wrote and directed a short movie called Howard about a disillusioned movie critic, and entered it in to the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012. It received some positive feedback, with IndieWire in particular praising it as a "surprisingly successful movie". But despite that, live action short films aren't exactly in demand the world over and it quietly disappeared without a trace.

Still the former Mutt Williams (Gee Note: Arrrrrggghh. Seriously, is that hard to make a good Indy flick? Whips. Tombs. Daring do. "I hate snakes". It's not quantum physics. But no, instead we get a CGI gopher and a f***ing fridge. Stupid no good George Lucas. It's his fault. It's always his fault) had done himself proud with this mini opus, and there was some serious thought given to the idea that he might have an intriguing career ahead of him as a force behind the camera.

Well it did until some bright spark noticed that dear Shia had stolen it.

In 2008 Ghost World's Daniel Clowes wrote a comic called "Justin M. Damiano" for a charity anthology, a work LaBeouf claims "inspired" him. Problem is it appears to have "inspired" him so much that Howard contains a slew of identical lines, scenarios, and visuals found in Clowes work. So similar were they that the film, largely beloved up until that point, suffered a critical backlash the likes of which not seen since… er... well since the latest episode of Doctor Who (Gee Note: OMG1!!!1! I am sooooo done with this show!! Why can't Moffat write better scriptz!!1!!1).

Beefy McManstick, scrabbling for a defence, claimed that he "got lost in the creative process and neglected to follow proper accreditation" when called on it. Which would be fine except for the fact that Clowes is probably less annoyed about not being credited, than he is about NOT BEING PAID for someone else using his work.

And then, for reasons only known to the artist formerly known as Whitwicky and - oh - Cthulhu I guess, LaBeouf went on a passive aggressive tweeting tirade. First off he issued an apology to Clowes that he cribbed from Yahoo answers, probably thinking it was an oh-so-clever way of pulling the wool over the eyes of those less brilliant than he. When that too got rumbled he lost his shit completely, tweeting apologies pinched from Kanye West, Alec Baldwin, and Robert McNamara. When this obviously didn't get whatever response he was looking for, he picked fights with Patton Oswalt and Lena Dunham and posted a storyboard for a "new short" called 'Daniel Boring', blatantly ripping off Clowes comic "David Boring". This was too much even for Clowes, whose lawyers sent Shia a cease and desist notice. That in turn was duly scanned, copied, and posted on Twitter by the smug idiot.

Finally, having failed to convince the rest of the world that Shia LaBeouf is some sort of genius that exists on a higher intellectual plane than the rest of us mortals, the boy from Echo Park announced that "In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life." (Gee Note: RT if you shed a tear). Yet somehow this retirement doesn't stop him from continuing to tweet silly stuff like his attention seeking wank-athon "Meta-modernist Manifesto". It's like if Heidi Montag swallowed a thesaurus and somehow became even more tedious.

The thing is, I don't get it. I'm sure the ex-Disney Channel star has convinced himself of all sorts of things. He's a champion of justice. A true artist who knows that art should be set free, not contained in a box stamped with a corporate logo. That kind of crap. Hell, according to one his retweets he maybe even thinks that he's "parodied the modern absurdity of our fake apologies for developing the natural progression of art".

Sure. Whatevs dude. There's only one problem. You're not being a hero. You're being a prick.

Because despite all the flouncing and moaning, it all boils down to one simple thing. LaBeouf stole someone elses work and passed it off as his own. Then rather than own up and attempt to make amends, he complained that it's the system that's broken. But it's not. You're just an asshole Shia. And now it's obvious to everyone, thanks to social media.

It's a shame though. Social media could be used for far nobler goals than celebs making tools of themselves. For example, we could use it to find time travelers.

Or at least that's what Robert J Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson - two physicists at Michigan Tech - believe.

Sauron. Keeping it real.

According to their paper "Searching the Internet for evidence of time travelers" submitted on 26th Dec 2013, Nemiroff and Wilson have spent a considerable amount of time scouring the world wide web for (Gee Notes: Pictures of cats. And porn. Because scientists are just like you and me. Except not as sexy) Marty McFly and his Delorean. By searching Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Bing (Gee Note: See? Somebody actually uses Bing) this plucky pair of future hunters were confident that should any time bending mofo's be kicking it out there, they could be identified using only a keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

"But how would this be possible?!?!? And why are you rifling through my trash??!?" I hear you cry. Well according to the brave boffins spotting a time traveler is notoriously tricky. Even everyone's favourite physicist they've heard of Stephen Hawking had a tough time catching these elusive folks, as noted in the paper. Apparently Hawking once held a party but only sent the invitations AFTER the event itself, hoping John Connor would appear and partake in some small talk over h'orderves. Shockingly no one turned up (Gee Note: There ain't no party like a Stephen Hawking party, because a Stephen Hawking party is empty).

So a new plan was devised. One that didn't involve being lonely and sad. It was decreed that - much like that old proverb - instead of bringing Mohammed to the mountain, Mohammed would instead look at the mountain using Google Earth. There was to be a two pronged attack. First time travel from the past to today was discounted, as in all probability if someone had invented a time machine before now we'd have probably heard about it (Gee Note: Unless they only used it to travel back to the 1950's so they can french kiss their own mother and invent rock 'n' roll. Which, I think we can all agree, would be pretty weird).

Instead some hardcore searching had to be done, looking for specific phrases posted online that would show prescient knowledge of future events. Nemiroff and Wilson decided to look up people using the terms "Pope Francis" and "Comet ISON" on social media networks before there was either a shooting star or any white smoke in the sky. Pope Francis because… he's a new Pope, and Comet ISON because - according to Robert and Teresa at least - "Comet ISON is internationally known and has been a topic of popular discussion on the Internet since its discovery" (Gee Note: I don't know about you guys but my Twitter feed practically blew up with non stop ISON talk. It was all Comet this, and Comet that. And then Harry Styles got a new haircut and Janice said it looked rubbish BUT JANICE IS A STUPID SLUT AND DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT and things went back to normal. But still, crazy times).

The second was an open invitation announced in September 2013 to tweet or email the boffins using the hashtag #ICanChangeThePast2 before August 2013. The idea being that should you fancy a break from flying your TARDIS and fighting giant robot pepper pots with plungers, you can go back in time and show off a bit. (Gee Note: Sample tweet. Read it & weep suckas. I be all like yeaaaaahhhh you be all like damn! #ICanChangeThePast2 #Winning #DaFutureIzLost)

Alas here is where our story comes to an end, as despite their best efforts Nemiroff and Wilson failed to unearth any men or women visiting us from the year 3000.

Never fear though, because as the dynamic duo themselves put it "Although the negative results reported here may indicate that time travelers from the future are not among us and cannot communicate with us over the modern day Internet, they are by no means proof. There are many reasons for this. First, it may be physically impossible for time travelers to leave any lasting remnants of their stay in the past, including even non-corporeal informational remnants on the Internet. Next, it may be physically impossible for us to find such information as that would violate some yet-unknown law of physics, possibly similar to the Chronology Protection Conjecture. Furthermore, time travelers may not want to be found, and may be good at covering their tracks. Additionally, time travelers just may not have left the specific event tags that we were searching for. Finally, our searches were not comprehensive, so that even if time travelers left the exact event tags searched for here, we might have missed them due to human error, oversight, incompleteness of Internet catalogs and searches, or inaccurate content time tags."

So... a complete waste of time then.

Still, at least those brave souls at Michigan Tech tried to do something constructive with social media. Which is a lot more than can be said of Shia LaBeouf.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I'm actually a bit of a geek.

I know, I know. For all of you out there who were picturing me as some sort of chiseled, golden haired, man's man who eats cows with his bare hands and reads poetry and is awesome with a screwdriver, this may come as quite the shock. I'll give you a moment to catch your breath. Or regain consciousness after you've fainted. One of the two.

You back with us? Good. Right, I suppose I better explain myself. While readers of this blog may be fooled in to thinking that somebody with this writing style must be a sheer force of nature when it comes to attracting potential mates, the truth is in real life I have the personality of a walnut. And, thanks to a poor diet and a lifetime of neurotic paranoia, I kind of look like one too. In short if you were on the hunt for a man and you saw me making eyes at you across a bar, chances are you would immediately reach for your stash of mace. And that's fine. I don't blame you. Hell if I was you and a fat, cave troll was hitting me with his best "Blue Steel", I'd do the exact same thing. No need to explain yourself. I get it. We're cool.

But to be honest with you that's part of the reason why I love being a geek. Not because all geeks are as horrendously unattractive as I am you understand. Instead the large majority of geeks are actually super hot in a shy kind of way. The truth is though a true geek doesn't care if, say, your nose is sprouting out from underneath your armpit. Especially if you delight in and celebrate the same sort of things they do. Seriously you could look like Joseph Merrick, but as long as your passionate about hot topics such as AvX (Gee Note: Sucks), The Dark Knight Rises (Gee Note: Also sucks), Prometheus (Gee Note: Really sucks), and Iron Man 3 (Gee Note: Doesn't suck), the geeking community will accept you with open arms. It's about embracing and appreciating who you are and being proud of what you enjoy. In short, it's all about love. Man. 

Which is why the recent news of a fracas breaking out between Star Wars and Doctor Who fans at a sci-fi convention in Norwich has struck me as rather… odd. 

You're familiar with Montagues and Capulets right? (Gee Note: Of course you are. You sexy, intelligent, go-getter you. Obviously you have impeccable taste. I mean, you're reading this blog after all. You're like some sort of cultural Unicron. Devouring as much awesomeness as you can. Except in a good and not evil way. Probably. I don't know. Look I don't mean to pry, but I assume the people reading this blog are nice, friendly, sweet-natured folks. Not some kind of megalomaniacal sociopath hell bent on world domination and being mean to cute things. Like puppies. And Sarah Michelle Gellar. What I'm saying is, you'd tell me if you were… you know… a bit of a dick wouldn't you? I'm not judging you, I'd just like to know is all. That way maybe I could put up some more content for you guys. Stuff like "Why harvesting Bigfoot's organs would be a boost to the local economy". And "UFOs, f***ing with hillbilly farmers since 1947". Things like that. Anyway, hit me up if that's your type of bag.) Well instead of the Montagues, imagine they were called "The Norwich Star Wars Club". And then imagine the Capulets were called "The Norwich Sci-Fi Club". And then replace Romeo with a bunch of Storm Troopers, Juliet with a dude with crazy eyes wearing a scarf, and set the whole thing in… er… Norwich. Before you know it, you've got yourself a powder keg waiting to explode (Gee Note: Or the new "outrageous" US sitcom coming soon to NBC. Starring Dennis Quaid. And someone else who needs work. Wesley Snipes probably. Homeboys gotta get that dolla dolla. Taxman be all up in his grill son. And he be like "Don't be a playa hater". But deep down, he knows he's the one in the wrong. He's complex like that is Wes). 

According to BBC website, a convention was put together by The Norwich Star Wars Club, with special invitees Jeremy "Boba Fett" Bulloch and Graham "Him from The Bill. You know the one. No not Reg. The other one. Frank? Was his name Frank? No, I think Frank was the bald one wasn't he? Yeah, pretty sure he was. This is the dude that used to drive the car. Oh forget it. You'll know him when you see him" Cole. These two celebrity guests attracted the attention of four members of the The Norwich Sci-Fi Club, who wanted to (Gee Note: Eat their hearts so they can absorb their amazing powers?) obtain their autographs for a Doctor Who diary they were hoping to auction off for charity (Gee Note: Ah. OK. Sure, the charidee thing. Makes sense). Led by club treasurer Jim Poole, this Fantastic 4 rocked up to the University of East Anglia on a mission to bag them some John Hancocks. 

When they arrived however members of The Norwich Star Wars Club were not overjoyed to see them. You see, there's been a wee bit of history between the two organisations (Gee Note: Although the article never explains what caused the friction in the first place. My guess is someone stole someone else's girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband. This is always how these things start. I've seen Dallas, I know the score here). And so one of the members of the Star Wars Club started to verbally abuse the Sci-Fi-ers. Harsh words were exchanged, an accusation of assault was thrown around, and before long the police were called.

Yep, you read that right. This got so out of hand the boys in blue were dispatched. To break up a potential fight between guys who really like spaceships and shit. Legit, these geeks were totally Godfathering up. It's completely mental if you think about it.

Thankfully, it never did quite come to blows. Says Jim 'The Anvil' Poole, “I was put in a police car. We were both interviewed by the police and told to stay away from each other, This wasn't a fight between Star Wars fans and Doctor Who fans with lightsabers and sonic screwdrivers drawn.” (Gee Note: Which is probably a good thing seeing as lightsabers and sonic screwdrivers aren't actually real. So at best you'd probably just end up hitting each other with plastic toys. The Battle of Little Bighorn it would not have been). In even better news The Anvil goes on to say “"It's a bit sad and pathetic. We're all in the same boat. We're not in competition. We'd like to extend the hand of friendship.”.

And I think I speak for all of us when I say that's a pretty healthy result. Because outside of giving journalists an excuse to come up with wacky headlines (Gee Note: “Darth Brawl” being a particular favourite of mine. Although it's a shame there were no Star Trek fans involved. I bet some hack somewhere has been itching to use “Beat me up, Scotty!” for years now), this whole episode is rather silly. You guys shouldn't be angry. You should be supporting each other. Do you know how many people think you're “weird”? Really do you? I have an extremely talented artist friend (Gee Note: Her name is Ana y'all. Check out her stuff here. In fact tell her I sent you. Unless you're going to be an arse about it. In which case, I don't know you, k?) who was behind a table at a recent comic con and the people next to her where making fun of cosplayers. At. A. Comic. Con. Now the reality is of course you're not weird. You're great. You truly are. But dammit Janet, this kind of bullshit really doesn't help. Not only that, it doesn't make a lick of sense.

Especially considering we're all one big family. You. Me. That strange fellow who lives at the end of the street and owns, like, fifteen cats. We're all related.

We share specific DNA traits that are completely unique to us. All of us do. Doesn't matter if you happen to be a middle aged postie or a young cage fighter. Each and every one of us is connected. Better yet, we're not from this planet. No really. We're aliens. Extra terrestrials. Freaky deaky spacemen from Mars.

(Gee Note: Yo. I just segued the bejesus out of that. Who da man? C'mon, who da man? That's right. Me. I'm da man.)

Or at least we are according to Vladimir I. shCherbak and Maxim A. Makukov, a physicist at the al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan and an astrobiologist at the Fesenkvo Astrophysical Institute  respectively. In their peer reviewed paper (Gee Note: They ain't messing around here kids) 'Icarus', they claim that our genetic code has a hidden “signal”, and contains mathematical and semantic concepts that are simply not found in nature. Or as these boffins put it ,“simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing.”.

(Gee Note: Well when you put it like that... I still have no f***ing idea what you are talking about.)

.... Grandma?

But even if that is true (Gee Note: And who's to say it isn't? Not me. The most intricate thing I deal with regularly is tying my own shoe laces), how can we be sure that it comes from another world? Say the plucky pair, “Once fixed, the code might stay unchanged over cosmological timescales; in fact, it is the most durable construct known. Therefore it represents an exceptionally reliable storage for an intelligent signature. Once the genome is appropriately rewritten the new code with a signature will stay frozen in the cell and its progeny, which might then be delivered through space and time”.

Yeah I'm lost. Thankfully some really smart people have written some articles about it and, truth is, that's helped me out a lot. Put simply, according to these two gentlemen of Verona Kazakhstan, the map of the genome contains things it shouldn't if it occurred naturally. Things like:

Decimal notation.

Logic transformations.

The abstract symbol of zero.

Apparently (Gee Note: And it should be worth noting that along with being physically repulsive, I'm also as dumb as a bag full of novelty paper weights.As such it's taken way too long to put this together) this means that rather than just randomly occurring in the wild, the genome itself must have been designed. By aliens.

Or God.

But God isn't as sexy as aliens so it was aliens.

Or David Icke was right all along and we're living in a hologram.

But David Icke is a bit of prat so it's totally aliens.

The point is this brothers and sisters. Next time your at a convention and you spot a “rival” there, take one moment to stop and think. You're a Star Wars fan. They're a Whovian. And who do they think they are? Liking something that isn't, in your opinion, as good as the thing you like. You should show them a bunch of fives, right?

But wait. There's a chance, an actual chance, that they might be the descendant of a stone cold Time Lord. A real, Tardis flying, Whomobile riding, wheeling dealing, genetic dispersing, Time Lord. How cool is that? That's pretty epic right? You've got to admit, you don't often see one of those sitting behind a table signing pictures for a fiver. So why don't you put down your fist and go and make friends. You never know, you may end up getting along.

After all, you're a tiny part Time Lord too.

Friday, 21 December 2012

I feel fine.

There's these two Mayans. One says to the other "Hey, you fancy a drink?". The other goes "I'd love to but I have to finish this calendar". So the first one says "C'mon man, it's only a calendar. It's not like it's the end of the world".

(Gee Note: BOOM!!! Yeah that’s right. Just when you thought you were safe, I’m dropping comic bombs like a muthaf***a. Y’all should be bowing down to me right now. For I am a wizard of laughter. In fact in tribal times I’d be given the title “Ol' King Funny Man”, carried around on a golden throne, and presented with Curly Wurlys on plates made from the bones of my enemies. Things were better back then is what I’m saying here).

That's right folks, we’re BAAAAACCCCKKK. For one day only I SAW ELVIS IN THE WOODS has taken off its hazmat suit and climbed out of the bunker to claim its rightful place atop of the blogsphere. Long thought dead and buried, instead it rises majestically like some sort of sexy, neurotic, tin foil hat wearing phoenix. The reason? Well, damn son, it’s the End of the World. Or at least it is according to a Mayan calendar, which predicted… something apparently. I don’t know. I tried watching a program explaining the whole thing yesterday but that episode of Futurama everyone loves came on. No, not the one with the dog. The other one.

Regardless a lot of nutbars people think the apocalypse is a-coming, so we’ve decided to do a very special live blog of the day’s events. (Gee Note: Unless of course the planet does actually explode in a fiery ball of death. In which case I’ll probably be too busy rolling around on the floor and screaming in agony to type anything.) So, with no more ado let’s get this badboy rolling.

9:02 AM. Had a dream last night that I got in to a fist fight with a giant salamander over a piece of cheese. Not sure what that means. Anyway a quick peek out of the windows shows nothing untoward going on, except that the fat guy who lives across the way appears to be standing in the street in his underwear again. No dragons, aliens, or flaming meteors in the skyline however, so I’m guessing he simply forgot to put clothes on. Either that or he knows something I don’t. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS YOU CRAZY CHUBBY BASTARD.

9:35 AM. Cup of tea made. Turned on BBC News 24 to find out that there have been absolutely no reports of giant UFOs hovering over The White House. The anchors seem to be talking about how “some superstitions believe the world will end at 11:11 am”. Which I guess is true. But some superstitions also believe rubbing a bull’s testicle on your face makes you irresistible to women. And I’m not sure you should be talking about that kind of thing on the news. After all I rubbed that ball on my face for hours and all I got was a strange rash. Stick to the facts Mr. Newsman, that’s my advice.

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 1. 

NASA were so confident the world wouldn’t end on 21/12/2012 they released a video ten days ago entitled “Why the World Didn't End Yesterday” (Gee Note: Which was chosen over the previous working title “Nah nah-nah nah-nah naaaahhh we told you so”), meant to be viewed the day after doomsday by people who were curious to see why the planet didn’t go kablooey. And, look, they’re probably right. Judging by the lack of leviathans rising from the ocean so far today we’re probably in for a regular rainy Friday. But it does come across as a little bit arrogant. You know, like doing a victory dance before crossing the line for a touchdown. What are you NASA, some sort of showboating glory hog? Jim Brown wouldn’t have stood for this shit. Possibly. Actually I don’t really know who Jim Brown is, I just Googled “famous American football players” and his name popped up. But still, I’m almost sure Jim Brown would be furious with you NASA.

09:57 AM. Loud noise outside. Took me three minutes to work out it was just a car alarm. Thinking of taking the saucepan off my head now.

Reasons why the World ending wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Part 1.

Giant arsehole Alex Jones (Gee Note: The conspiracy theorist. Not the woman on The One Show. Although she can f*** off too) would no longer have a platform to stand on.

While we’re on the subject of gun control, let me just say this. Dear United States of America. I love you. I really do. You gave us blues music, and cheeseburgers, and Zooey Deschanel. All of which I’m very thankful for. So I really am saying this from a place of love. Ban guns already. Just do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t discuss it. Don’t let sociopaths with vested interests bang on about the second amendment and that guns are a part of American life. And please don’t wheel out the argument that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people”. Because the truth is that a lunatic with potato is going to do a lot less harm than a lunatic with a legally obtained firearm. Instead do the smart thing. JUST. BAN. GUNS. People will thank you for it

10:54 AM News lady just fluffed her lines and announced that we’re gearing up for the “aCOCKalypse”. (Gee Note: Pretty sure I saw that movie one time. An asteroid was on a collision course with the Earth and a group of unbelievably proportioned scientists were sent in to space to stop it. By having sex. With each other. A lot. Anyway I’ll give it one thumb up). The Beeb is pretty much convinced that if something is going to go down, it will happen at 11:11 am.

11:10 AM THIS IS IT.

11:12 AM THAT WAS IT???

11:15 AM Yep. Nothing happened. Godzilla didn’t destroy Japan. Aliens aren’t running around shooting things with lasers. It’s not even raining snakes. I’m not sure this apocalypse has got its game together to be honest.

12:22 PM Speaking of Godzilla, guess what turned up on the island of Koh Mai Pei on December 14th.

That’s right, a set of massive tracks. Which could be from a really big snake. Or from that strange motorbike thing from The Dark Knight Rises. You know, the one that has wheels as big as an articulated truck but no roof or doors, meaning it has neither the protection of a car nor the manoeuvrability of a bike. The one that for some reason is Batman’s favourite mode of transport even though he’s a bazillionaire and could probably buy sixteen thousand armoured Ferraris with the loose change in his dressing gown? The one that he uses to entice the law even though there’s nothing between his head and a storm of bullets rocketing towards him? That one. (Gee Note: Bruce Wayne is actually an idiot when you think about it).

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 2.

The US government, who posted an item on their blog called “Scary Rumors about the World Ending in 2012 Are Just Rumors”. The best bit about this isn’t actually the content of the blog itself, but instead the comment section underneath which appears to have turned in to a three-way flame war between the religious, stoners, and the clinically insane. For example…

“Mayan's worshiped Venus, and they based their calendar off the birth of Venus.... Venus wasn't anything. Just a stupid false god that they made their stupid sacrifices to.” (Gee Note: OMG!!!! Ur rite. Sacrifices iz soooooo stoopid)

“Apocalypse, translated literally from Greek, refers to a revelation of something hidden. Perhaps it's us that will change, realizing that every human is precious, fully understanding the benefits of cooperation rather than competition.” (Gee Note: Get a job hippy!)

“I just talked to my dad and he's giving it a 50/50!” (Gee Note: Good... good for you. And him. I guess. Why are you telling us this?).

Anyway, reading this is killing time before the walls start bleeding acid.

13:30 AM Right, forget the End of the World. Somehow the BBC have seemingly dug up and reanimated the corpse of former children’s TV presenter Andy Crane, a man who found success by forming a double act with a hand puppet only to be unceremoniously dumped from said partnership when the puppet went solo (Gee Note: No really. Edd the Duck had quite the successful career back in the day. Crane on the other hand went from appearing on national television on a daily basis to asking people if they would like fries with that). Anyway he’s here to tell us all about kid’s shows being moved from BBC 1 to other channels, and sounds terribly bitter about everything. He’s probably bummed that the Mayan prophecy didn’t come true and offer him an escape from his meaningless existence. At least that’s what the sadness in his eyes seems to be saying.

Reasons why the World ending wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Part 2.

There’s a NRA press conference later on today, where inevitably they will blame the recent Sandy Hook tragedy on anything but guns. Unicorns maybe. Or David Hasselhoff. He always looked like a shifty bugger if you ask me.

People who think the 21/12/2012 End of The World prediction is a load of old cobblers Part 3.

The Vatican. According to the Pope’s main man when it comes to spacey things, Fr. Jose Funes (Gee Note: Who may or may not kick arse for the Lord) claimed talk of doomsday was “not even worth discussing”. Writing for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes stated that although there were signs that the expansion of the universe might cause some problems eventually, it wouldn’t be for billions of years and even then Christians would be alright because of the whole 'ascending to heaven provided they’d led a good and wholesome life and hadn’t stolen their neighbours livestock or something' thing. This isn’t the first time Funes has voiced his opinion on alternative matters, as in 2008 he claimed that the existence of extra-terrestrials wouldn’t contradict the Catholic church’s teachings because God was probably busy creating all kinds of wacky shit back in his youth, and going around saying otherwise was likening the supreme being to a one hit wonder. Like MARRS. Or Owen Paul, mostly famous for failing to mime properly on live lunchtime show Pebble Mill back in the 80’s.

15:24 PM Nothing is happening. Well, OK some stuff is happening, but none of it involves the magnetic poles switching or monsters or aliens or anything that’s actually interesting. The stock market is down, largely because there’s a fiscal cliff approaching in the States and Republicans and Democrats are completely incapable of governing a country without it degenerating in to some sort of playschool level spat (Gee Note: I’m pretty sure that at this point Mitch McConnell goes home every night crying because some “big kid called me turtle face again!”). Gangnam Style has had 1 Billion views online, making it the most popular video ever (Gee Note: Oh sure when PSY does it everyone goes nuts. But when I post a video on YouTube dressed in a leotard while trying to teach a horse how to do the Charleston I’m called a “weirdo”. Fickle internet audience. You make me sick). And a former weatherman is the latest British public figure to be involved in an investigation in to child sex abuse. Not a goddam apocalyptic thing in sight. Seriously at this point I’d settle for a two headed goat suddenly appearing in a field in Canada or something. But no, nothing. Not a bloody thing.

16:30 PM What the f*** was that?

OK so I just watched the NRA press conference, and I’ll be honest with you, this is a complete bag of batshit crazy. Essentially they claimed they were starting a “conversation” but refused to answer any questions, claimed that people kill people because their minds are warped by videogames and movies (Gee Note: And not by the fact that they have easy access to a weapon that’s only reason for existence is to inflict harm upon other living things. No obviously not. Tsk you and your silly ideas), and that they want an armed guard stationed at every school (Gee Note: Hell, why not arm the kids as well? I mean guns IN schools right? Nothing bad could possibly happen could it?). At a time when the world was screaming out for a humble and caring response to one of the worst events in recent memory, the NRA basically did the equivalent of the F*** You I’m An Anteater pose. Ludicrous and in the end deeply insulting, even their grand plan of stationing Rambo on the door of every school in America was ironically undermined when their own security failed to prevent two separate protestors disrupting the press conference. Maybe the world wasn’t destroyed today, but the NRA’s reputation certainly was.

17:30 PM That’s it. I’m done Gus. The world isn’t ending anytime soon. In fact the truth is nothing has really changed. We’re still here, humans that is, and we’re being as brilliant and as mental and as horrible as we always have. Thing is this blog is now a two-time apocalypse survivor and we wouldn’t have made it this far without your support.

Having said that, I feel I should let you know that it truly is time to hang up the boots once and for all. We’ve had a good run, won awards, and made some wonderful friends. During the time I’ve been posting here I’ve gone from being a fat ginger nerd desperately trying to find a hobby and avoid a nervous breakdown, to a fat ginger dad who doesn’t understand why his daughter insists on trying to hug the television. I’ve survived serious health issues, had a lovely new addition to the family, and I still haven’t watched an entire single episode of Game of Thrones despite everyone I know constantly telling me how it’s, like, the greatest thing ever. Over the past two years I’ve probably had less than four hours of rest a night thanks to a child who appears to treat sleep as their nemesis, and my temples are now so grey my hair bears a striking resemblance to a fox’s coat. But even with all that I am immensely proud of everything we’ve accomplished here, whether it’s getting a shout out from “Queen of Werewolves” Linda Godfrey, or winning a National award. And more importantly I’ve had a blast. Really I have, and if you’ve ever read even just a single word on I Saw Elvis, I just want to say thank you. It’s meant more than you can possibly imagine. I truly love you all.

Signing off.

Gareth “Gee” Davies.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 4.

Here then is the fourth and final part of our special series where I watch stuff that can be found online. And then write about it. Monkey see monkey do and all that. 

One of the things that happens to you when you have a popular blog (Gee Note: Or in my case a depressingly unpopular one) is that every now and then a random stranger will email you looking to pimp their latest project on your website.

Now despite the fact that the regular readers of this blog consist of me, my brother-in-law, and according to my stat counter a single person living in a Danish town that I can't for the life of me spell properly, for some reason I also get my fair share of these. And I usually ignore them. Partly because I don’t really feel comfortable with advertising things I wouldn’t personally endorse (Gee Note: Unless I'm paid for it of course. Then you can put whatever the hell you like here and I'd quite happily lie through my teeth about how awesome it is). But mostly because, honestly, I'd be the last person you'd want to represent your products. No really. I'm a tubby ginger nerd who spends most of his time either shouting at the television, listening to 1950's blues records, or drinking inexpensive wine from a porcelain mug. I have no discernible talent, I'm about as charming as a toad setting itself on fire, and couldn't win a beauty contest even if my only rival was Fugly McUgly from Seadonkeytown. My point is, I'd be as much use promoting your stuff as Abu Hamza would be as a keynote speaker at a world peace rally.

So the "Would you be interested in…" pleas more often than not end up in the bin. Having said that here’s the trailer for “Elfie Hopkins”, a new British movie starring Jamie Winstone and Aneurin Barnard.


(Gee Note: Yes. OK. I know. I’m a whore. A filthy blogging whore. But you have to look at this from my perspective. For a start, the lady who sent me this also included a link to her Twitter page, where the avatar is a picture of her wearing a top hat and a monocle. Secondly, I love horror movies. Thirdly Jamie Winstone is in this. A woman who somehow manages to be attractive while also looking exactly like her dad. Which, considering her dad is professional cockney and all around badass Ray Winstone, is a phenomenal achievement worthy of a hearty round of applause. I don’t know. Judge me if you want to but when you add it all up I can only fight against the tide for so long).

Speaking of movies, Mel Gibson was back in the news recently, after a letter written to him by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas was leaked all over the web like a crab trying to scribble down notes with a fountain pen. Essentially the story is that Gibson hired Eszterhas to write a script for “The Maccabees”, a project detailing the heroic efforts of a Jewish rebel army that took control of Judea some 160 years or so before three wise men spotted a star in the night sky and for no apparent reason decided to follow it. A couple of weeks ago Warner Brothers announced the project had been scrapped and floated the idea that Eszterhas’ script was the reason why (Gee Note: Which means it must have been worse than previous Warner Brothers scripts, such as Catwoman for example. Although, let’s be frank, the only way that could be possible is if it was carved in to a block of frozen urine and every character was called “Dude A”). Joe felt this was unfair, and sent a “private” correspondence to Mel claiming that the director of Braveheart never had any intention of making this movie. The reason? Well according to Joe it’s because Gibson is a big ol’ racist who “hates Jews” and freely uses terms such as “hebes”, “jewboys” and “oven dodgers”.

Now the shocking thing about all this is not that Gibson might be a huge bigot, or that Joe Eszterhas might have written a terrible screenplay (Gee Note: Gibson once screamed “F***ing Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” while being arrested for drunk driving. Eszterhas wrote “Showgirls”. So there’s a good chance both of them could be at fault is what I’m saying here), nor the ludicrous idea that Warner Brothers would bench an entire film’s development on the back of one bad script rather than just hiring another writer. Nay faithful steed, the mind blowing part is how this rather silly argument has ignited a war of words on message boards around the globe, including one douchebag who commented “Typical Jews. Something doesn’t go their way and they moan and complain about anti-Semitism. Disgusting.” obviously unaware that Eszterhas… er… isn’t Jewish.

But that’s the thing with the internet. In the non cyber-world there’s often a very thin line between exercising free speech and being a complete dick. On the world wide web that line doesn’t really exist, as hidden safely behind their keyboards people feel safe to voice their opinions no matter how stupid they might be. (Gee Note: Although as in the case of moronic Swansea University student Liam Stacey who was recently jailed for 56 days after making hateful remarks on Twitter regarding the cardiac arrest of professional soccer player Francis Muamba, people might want to think twice about this type of thing. It wasn’t the fact that he posted a tweet saying “LOL. F*** Muamba he’s dead #HAHA” that got him in to trouble you understand. It was the reply to someone who objected to it stating “Owwww go suck a n*****s d*** you f***ing aids ridden c***” that did him in. I know right? It’s like political correctness gone mad. Shit like this wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. Back then you could tell people to fellate anything you wanted to and you were considered a goddam hero if you did. Nowadays it’s all “Don’t tell them to blow this” and “Don’t tell them to blow that”. Entire country’s gone soft if you ask me. Possibly due to the lack of d*** sucking).

YouTube however is a completely different beast. In fact an argument could be made that YouTube shows the best and the worst of the internet. While you have some folks who use YouTube like this.

. .

Others use YouTube like this


The above video is a perfect example of what makes YouTube so special. You see a lot of people seem to forget that if you post a video of yourself spouting off a bunch of controversial opinions then you can no longer rely on anonymity to save you. Mostly because EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR FACE. Now I have no idea if that girl was serious or not when she posted that video. I’d like to think she wasn’t . I’d like to think it was a terrible attempt at a joke (Gee Note: I’d also like to think that unicorns are real and that rainbows are made out of chocolate. But they’re not. The world can be awful like that sometimes). But even if she was at best making a terribly ill-advised parody then, well, I’m guessing her life got pretty rotten rather quickly after strangers started pointing at her in the street and quietly whispering “Ain’t that the girl that hates black people?” .

And yet despite this people still continue to upload videos of themselves saying the silliest things. Here are some examples.

. .

Now while this may seem like an experimental way of telling the story of how one day the Soup Dragon, tired and frustrated by slaving over a hot stove constantly, finally arrived at the conclusion that he was wasting his time making green broth and that he could just eat the Clangers instead (Gee Note: I mean really? That's never once crossed his mind? He's a dragon for pity's sake. He could toast those pink bastard's like marshmallows in about three seconds and have enough meat to see him through to the spring. I mean sure they're his friends an' all, but he's got to wake up and realise he's living on a celestial body with no vegetation on it. Where's the food going to come from when the soup runs out? Companionship schmanionship. It's survival of the fittest), it turns out this strange lass thinks she has the power to channel the voices of a group of aliens known as Pleiadians “Pleadians”. A gift she is apparently displaying here.

Although, honestly, it sounds as if she's making kitten sounds before growling for a bit. But who am I to judge? I tried channelling the spirit of a space cow once. I put myself in a deep trance and connected to the space cow with my elevated consciousness before saying out loud "Oh great bovine of the stars. Willest thouest speakest to me…est". At which point the space cow used my mouth to transmit its message to the earth. Do you know what it said?

It said "MOOOOOOO". Just like a regular cow would. Waste of goddam time really.

Bigfoot enthusiast and Canadian (Gee Note: OK not the greatest description I've ever come up with I admit. Then again, it does sound a bit more respectful than "nutter with a videocamera" which was my second choice) Jim is up next, explaining to us why he doesn't tell people about all the times he's spotted a sasquatch in dem dar trees.

. .

You know I kind of feel sorry for the guy. No really I do. It can't be easy when your peers and colleagues openly tease you for your beliefs (Gee Note: You know, like the time I tried to convince one of Jennifer Love Hewitt's bodyguards that she and I are soul mates and destined to be together. That dude laughed at me too. Well, until he punched me in the mouth because I wouldn't leave and was "causing a scene". Stupid bodyguard. I bet there's not a single romantic bone in his body). So good for him I say. If he wants to spend days rummaging around in the forest looking for giant monkey men then so be it. There's no harm in it is there?

Then it struck me that I was watching him explain that he didn't tell people he'd seen Bigfoot on a computer screen some 3000 miles away from where he filmed it, which 18,000 other people had watched before me. Which caused my brain to malfunction and I had to lie down until I found myself no longer repeating the sentence "Wants to keep his man-ape love a secret so he put it on YouTube" over and over again.

Speaking of which, I don't know if you know this but writing poetry is really really hard. OK that's not true. Writing good poetry is really really hard. Writing terrible poetry is pretty easy. Look, I'll show you.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Dogs go "Woof woof".
And space cows go "MOOOOOO".

"But what about poetry about aliens and the end of humanity/birth of a higher plane of existence thanks to the Mayan 2012 prophecy which actually isn't really a prophecy at all?" I hear you cry. (Gee Note: I don't really. You've probably never said that sentence in your life. It's just I had to get here somewhere and, well, you were a convenient stepping stone. Really don't think of it as being used. Think of it as being useful). Well this chap has given that very thing a bash.

. .

And, er, you know writing good poetry is really really hard. (Gee Note: Although to be fair it's not that bad. And I'm sure his girlfriend is very proud of him. What was that? Well of course he has a girlfriend. Handsome guys like that don't stay single for very long. Oh wait... I get what you’re saying. You're right. He probably doesn't want to be tied down to one woman. Young buck like him. Sure, he wants to play the field a bit. And why not? Probably has a different woman every night. A right little ladykiller that one. Huh… no I'm sorry. I don't understand. What exactly do you mean by "gay"?).

Still he can take comfort in the fact that he's not entirely alone. A lot of people on YouTube are looking forward to 2012. Including this fella.

. .

I don’t know why but every time I watch that guy I hear someone shouting “GET YOUR HAIR CUT AND FIND A JOB THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE DEALING CANNABIS YOU WORKSHY HIPPY”. And then I realise it’s me.

 Learn from my mistakes kids. Don’t get old.

And don’t believe everything your government tells you either. Because they’re a bunch of lying scumbags who went to the moon then came back to Earth and faked the moon landings. Why would they do this? Because they’re drunk with power and just like f***ing with us of course! Oh and aliens, according to this.

. .

Right two things. When Jack Schmidt is talking about “boulders” he’s not subtly referring to hidden extra-terrestrial artefacts on the lunar surface. He’s instead making a joke about the size of his balls. I mean sure it’s not a great joke. But shit no one ever claimed the dude was Jackie Mason. Secondly if you have to flip a picture upside down and Photoshop the bejesus out of it before you can get that squiggle looking a bit like a face but not really, then what you've got is less of a smoking gun and more of a moist flannel to be fair.

Still it’s not just the government that’s fibbing to you of course. Music executives are too. Especially the ones trying to get away with MURDER. I present exhibit A.



(Gee Note: OK. This may make me a bad person, but I had a blast watching that. The “he must be evil because he’s Jewish” rhetoric. The way she describes the passing of Whitney Houston as “unfortunate” in the same way one would refer to a framed picture falling off the wall. The maniacal laugh at the end as if she’s planted a bomb underneath someone’s car. THE PICTURE AT THE FINALE COMING OUT OF NOWHERE. Of course, deep down I know that she’s somewhat deluded and that this type of thing is one step shy of being a full blown hate crime. But dammit if I didn’t howl with laughter all the way through it).

The undisputed King of YouTube conspiracies is of course my good friend (Gee Note: Not really. Pretty sure he thinks I’m bit of a douchebag actually.) Maggador.

. .

Ah Maggy. My old Swedish meatball. I could listen to you talk for hours…

…and I would still have no idea what the hell you're banging on about. Something about Christopher Columbus and a place called the "Vattykan". I don't know. I zoned out after about 30 seconds if I'm honest. Also, I hate to say it Edward, but you're looking pretty tired these days. Remember that young, spritely, lunatic wandering around a field telling everyone he was an alien and that we should all hug each other and sing songs? You ever wonder what happened to him? I sure do. That guy was all kinds of awesome. These days though Maggador you just look angry and sad. Which in turn makes me angry and sad. So much so I have to put on my cape (Gee Note: I say cape, it's more like an old curtain with tassels sewn on to it. But hey, you gotta start somewhere right? Real capes cost a lot of money. Which is why you never saw any of those "Occupy Wallstreet" folks wearing one. Bruce Wayne on the other hand wears them year round. No good moneybags orphan. It's like he's mocking the rest of us) and run around my kitchen pretending to fly until I feel better.

My point is, you need to go back to your roots man. Lighten up a bit. Turn that frown upside down bro. I mean even if the world is controlled by evil doers who are constantly doing evil to us, there's no need to be all Mr. Surley-Pants about it now is there?

I'll show you what I mean. Here we have some of Maggador's Swedish countrymen playing that all time classic Suspicious Minds. In front of what looks like around 50 of the most unenthusiastic audience members since Harry McStack's one man five hour show "Things you always wanted to know about beer mats but where afraid to ask". But does that get them down? Heck no it doesn't. They just keep playing their little socks off until the song ends.

. .

See? Those guys are using YouTube properly. Maybe you should think about taking a leaf out of their book. Form a band perhaps. Learn some great tunes.

Just stay away from spouting nonsense. In the end it just makes you look a little bit silly. 

Friday, 30 March 2012

Adventures In The Stream Trade. Part 3.

Hello. Here's the third part of our special four part series where I review stuff that can be found online. It's like I'm Adam West, the internet is Burgess Meredith, and both of us are intent on fighting each other to the bitter end. Who will win? Find out next time. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Dur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur-nur...

If you live in the UK there’s a strong chance you will never have heard of The River. A TV show that premiered on ABC in the States earlier this year, it boasts movie making legend Steven Spielberg as a producer and Hollywood’s favourite Israeli born profit making machine Orin Peli as its creator. Considered a hot prospect when pitched to the studios, ABC won a bidding war with NBC to secure the rights to screen it and in May 2011 they green lit the production of an eight episode first season to be added to their schedule in early 2012.

In an astonishing development however The River failed to find a home in the UK. Despite an ever increasing number of cable channels popping up on the TV guide like whack-a-moles (Gee Note: Celebrating unethical ways of dealing with pests since 1976 y’all), The River was seemingly deemed too expensive to be worth a shot. And so instead it is now available to viewers here in Blighty exclusively on iTunes, where it will cost you a princely sum of £10 to watch it from start to finish in standard definition on your computer screen.

(Gee Note: I wouldn’t advise it though. Outside of an incredible sequence in the pilot episode where some dude gets eaten by Flubber’s evil twin, The River is a bunch of irritating people stuck on a boat investigating mysteries that wouldn’t have made it in to even the weakest episodes of Scooby Doo. And when you consider that in Scooby Doo 9 times out of 10 the main antagonist turned out to be the caretaker wearing a wig, that’s a pretty damning indictment)

Now this is rather disturbing on a number of levels. Firstly, because British television is incapable of making anything other than period dramas, we rely quite heavily on American genre shows to fill the void. And despite the fact that The River hasn’t exactly been met with universal critical acclaim across the pond, the team of Spielberg and Peli should have been more than enough to attract any broadcaster looking to plump up their autumn line-up a little bit. But despite that, no one in Britain took the bait. Which means that, no matter how attractive the package, UK channels are no longer in the market for new imports without an established audience. Which in turn means that cheaper alternatives will need to be found to occupy the airwaves. One of these will be repeats. Another will be non-scripted reality shows that can be made for next to nothing.

Shows like Our Psychic Family, for example.

Our Psychic Family is the study of the Hamilton-Parkers who “are just like any other British family, except they’re all psychic” according to the opening voice over. The problem is of course, having lived in Britain all my life I can confirm that the Hamilton-Parkers are about as far removed from British families as the Addams Family are from American ones (Gee Note: By the way I originally wrote that as “the Manson Family” and not “the Addams Family”. But then I found a video of Ted Cassidy doing a song and dance routine in character as Lurch and, well, I couldn’t in all good conscience not include it here for you.

See? The sacrifices I make for you guys. And do you ever send me a fruit basket as a thank you? No. No you don’t. I don’t know why I bother sometimes).

Instead the Hamilton-Parkers consist of patriarch Craig (Gee Note: An incredibly dull man who is trying to spice up his image by growing out a mullet, in spite of a rapidly receding hairline. As a result he looks a bit like Terry Nutkins but without the sex appeal. Think about that), mother Jane, elder daughter Celeste, and younger daughter Jack from Mass Effect Danielle. The premise is a simple one. A camera crew follow the family around on a day to day basis capturing the wacky world of the modern medium. Or at least that’s what I think they were going for. Alas the finished product never quite gets there. For a start Celeste has recently given birth to a baby boy and as such is scarcely around (Gee Note: A shame too, as amongst this bunch of basket cases she seemed to be the most sensible one. I know that’s a bit like being named “Prettiest jailbird in Ohio” but it’s better than nothing I suppose), while Danielle is too busy helping Commander Sheppard save the universe from The Reapers both slightly embarrassed by the whole "psychic" thing and about as charismatic as a trout with a lazy eye.

And so it’s up to Craig and Jane to carry the majority of the show, with a little help from their “Psychic Protégé” Nicholas, a camp Asian who has eyebrows so thick they could be used to scrub saucepans. In the opening episode entitled “Fated to Date” it appears Nicky’s main role is to bail the other two out when their clairvoyant powers fail them. As the show kicks off Craig performs a reading with a woman where he correctly guesses that her dad had a bad chest before he died and that she knows someone called “Jack”. But he starts to falter when he gets a bit too ambitious and it turns out her grandson doesn’t have an imaginary friend, nor does he enjoy football all that much. Thrown off his game Craig hands over to N to the Sizzle, who states “I sense that you’re not very happy in your job”, and like Mel Gibson after a PR disaster they’re back on the wagon. “Everything you’ve just said was a hundred per cent right” says the woman, completely forgetting that five minutes ago Papa Seer was clutching at straws so badly he may as well have been feeding a donkey. 

Jane follows this by holding a session with a mother and daughter looking to contact their son/brother who took his own life. Well versed in the art of saying nothing and making it sound impressive Jane mentions the young man owning a hoodie which bowls over the two guests. (Gee Note: I know right? Imagine predicting that someone under 20 would own a hoodie. I nearly fell off my chair!). She then says a lot of stuff about how sorry he is that he committed suicide and how he now realises it was selfish, which gets the two women welling up. This time around Nicholas is a wee bit less spectacular, mentioning that he feels the man in question was under a “lot of stress” (Gee Note: Wow. A suicidal person suffering from stress? I’ve never heard the like. I’m surprised he didn’t go all the way and say “they also had a touch of the gloomies” as well). Still despite being fed an A-Grade line in bullshit Barnum statements, the women leave singing the praises of the Hamilton-Parkers.

I have to admit at this point my patience was wearing thin. Rather than the knockabout Osbournes-esque farce where crazy characters talk to dead people over an afternoon cup of tea I had been expecting, Our Psychic Family comes across as an extended advert for the Hamilton-Parkers’ private practice. The problem is that, on this evidence, they’re not actually all that good at what they do. There’s no stand out moment where you think that they have legitimately contacted the spirit world, largely because there’s nothing that either Craig or Jane come up with that couldn’t have been achieved by even the most incompetent mentalist. So disheartening was this programme that I was ready to turn the whole thing off and find something else more important to do after about ten minutes. Like making a cloak out of an old curtain so I could pretend to be a super-villain who terrifies people with unusually large vegetables. Stuff like that.

So thank the maker above for Johnny.

The Hamilton-Parkers next project is to hold a special dating night in a bar in London. A group of singles get together and are paired off by Craig and Jane using their psychic powers to match those who are most suited to each other. One of these dateless wonders is the aforementioned Johnny. Hailing from “somewhere posh” according to the subtitle (Gee Note: Research is overrated anyway), and looking like a cross between Tim Vine and Boris Johnson (Gee Note: Phoooawrr. Am I right ladies?), the J man isn’t one of those desperate losers who can’t get a female companion for love nor money. No way Jose. The reason why Johnny is still on the market is because he is too selective. According to the man himself, "The kind of girls I normally go for are tall, brunette, slim," he says in a plummy voice "with nipples I can see coming through the t-shirt”.

And with that one sentence Johnny became the best thing I have ever seen on television.

Obviously feeling he was on a roll, Johnny followed this up with some dating advice for the men out there. “I value good breeding which you don’t often find. A good lineage like a horse or a greyhound. People, dogs and horses are very similar I find. You’ve got to look at the pedigree”. By the time he’d finished I was begging the producers to abandon this silly idea of a family of psychics and instead follow Johnny around on blind dates as he gets a variety of drinks thrown over him. Seriously, I’d watch that show every night. I’d tell my friends to watch that show every night. I’d drunk dial random strangers late at night and berate them for not watching it. Bottom line is THIS MAN NEEDS HIS OWN SHOW. He certainly saved this one, as after that point I couldn’t turn away for a second less I miss more Johnny awesomeness.

Sadly more Johnny was apparently not on the menu that night. What followed was five minutes of sheer tedium as the production team checked in with the awkward couples as they forced small talk. One fella forgets to bring his date cutlery. Another attempts to win over his voluntary hostage with lame jokes (Gee Note: Exactly like one of my dates. Except without the rope. And the bolt cutters. And the crying.) Unsurprisingly, despite Craig and Jane sitting at the bar with self-satisfied smirks, only one of the couples agree to see each other again. With the rest it appears the guys are keen, while the women are about as interested as Paris Hilton would be in the history of cement between 1834 and 1902.

Saving the best till last we finally get a comment from Johnny who appears to have made the best out of a bad situation. “I had a bit of a squint around and I didn’t see any tall, well formed, brunettes with really good figures. And as soon as I didn’t see that I realised I had to lower my bar a little bit. If I had my beer goggles on I think I’d definitely reprioritise”. I had to rewind that three times to work out if that meant he had enjoyed himself or not. I’m still not sure.

And then it ended. Now I’ll be honest with you, I felt quite empty inside after it was all said and done. Partly because I knew I’d never see Johnny on my television ever again. But mostly because Our Psychic Family had failed to connect with me in even the most basic ways. I wasn’t amused by people pretending to be all Haley Joel Osment seeing dead people. I wasn’t angered by the sheer cheek of them charging people money for this rag tag, bargain basement, mind reading schtick. I didn’t care that I’d just been subjected to the worst parade of haircuts this side of the 1980’s. Instead it felt like I’d just spent 23 minutes in the television equivalent of a void in space.

Still, if the fate of The River is anything to go by, those of us in the UK should try and get used to this type of thing. After all, this time next year there’s a good chance we’ll be balls deep in shows like Our Psychic Family.

Yeah. I agree. It does suck when you think about it.

Our Psychic Family is available online to both Virgin Media and Sky customers. If you aren't a customer of either of those then watch this instead. Trust me. It will rock your socks.