Tuesday, 27 August 2013

so, who would be a #BetterBatmanThanBenAffleck ?

this article was written for and originally appeared on Faded Glamour

We geeks sure do like to get riled up.

News is delivered to us via the Internet, and then we vent via the Internet, making sure everyone that may be privy to our streams or comments will certainly know exactly what is on our minds.

Ben Affleck is Batman, no different.  I'd seen endless tweets and opinions before I'd even managed to find a legitimate news source to confirm that this wasn't merely wild speculation.

#BetterBatmanThanAffleck was soon trending, animals, emos and slobs all in costume, and memes of Matt Damon filling Robin's hotpants were widespread, but amongst all this, can we have some serious debate?

Although he certainly wouldn't have been my first choice to fill the role, the choice doesn't fill me with horror or nerd-rage, his divisive turn as Marvel's marmite Daredevil seems to be a main sticking point for those against the idea (personally, I liked the film) but memories of Gigli are long gone following star turns in The Town and Argo.  On top of all this, he knows his comics, is friends with Kevin Smith and has a chin that works for a superhero that will have little else on show.

Let us not forget that Michael Keaton had people up in arms when the Beetlejuice star was announced as Tim Burton's vision of Batman in 1989 and any harsh words against Heath Ledger's casting as The Joker following Brokeback Mountain, were soon silenced with his now legendary performance.  But if not Affleck, then who do you seriously want to see in the famous cape and cowl?

Going on the strength of rumours that the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel will draw inspiration from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns (Zack Snyder's big reveal of the planned sequel was preceded by a quote from the 1986 comic miniseries) the aspects likely to be used will be that of an older Batman than we have seen on the screen before, possibly coming out of retirement to face off against the Kryptonian, and one hell of a first fight between a mortal man and an immensely powerful alien.

My initial suggestion of Clint Eastwood (now aged 83) was probably pushing the believability of sci-fi and fantasy to its limits, sure he's got the menacing growl and Gran Torino proved he is still not to be messed with, but swinging from rooftops... probably not.  My next name plucked from thin air was Harrison Ford (aged 71) who could easily bring his best brooding to the film, and the latest Indiana Jones flick shows that he has still got an action hero inside him after all these years.

And then I hit upon a genius casting choice that I can't believe hadn't been put forward already, it's time to really rile up the geeks, and bring back George Clooney.

When he first donned the Batsuit he was fresh out of ER, looking to cement his move to the big screen, and got swept up in Joel Schumacher's neon kitsch-fest that was too busy pandering to Arnie and trying to sell toys to be taken seriously, but times have changed, the Bat-nipples are a distant memory and Bane is now considered so much more than just Poison Ivy's moronic piece of muscle.  And what about Clooney?  He got over it, he came out of a bad situation that sunk the Bat-franchise and could have sunk his career, but instead he took on roles that proved his worth with Out Of Sight and Three Kings.

Now, at the ripe old age of 52 (11 years on Affleck) George Clooney still maintains his chiseled features and eligible bachelor status, perfectly suited for a role as aged socialite Bruce Wayne, time and time again on screen he has proved his versatilty and after 15 years, now could be his chance to return back in black and right the wrongs of Batman And Robin.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Rizzle Kicks: and their part in the world of media's new slave labour

Hey you, youngsters!! You wanna join the shiny exciting world of 'Media'??

Well saddle up for what may well and truly be a slippery slope down shit creek without a paddle, or a paycheck!

I hope that others are likely to find an easier time of things than I have so far, and that everyone can land their dream job in a highly competitive market, but let's face it, a lot of people won't.

For too long I've meandered on the outskirts, quite content to do what I wanna do in my free time, and perhaps my life has happened at the wrong time, but it has given me a unique perspective on an industry that I wish would swallow me whole.

And perhaps the looming shadow of that nasty recession is still hanging over us and clouding our judgements, but even at the tender age of sixteen, when I was considering enrolling at uni in a course on journalism, I was first aware of the hard slog to 'make it' and the fact that you would have to put in a lot of time and effort, getting paid peanuts, just to gain the relevant experience, yet, now more than ever, I see the term 'internship' slung about.

This has always been the favoured route into 'the life you want to lead' and I know people that have travelled this route, and things are looking ok for them, but my life is different, I'm no longer at home with parents, I am reliant on an income to keep a roof over my head and the travel into London alone would be crippling before you double team it with the lack of pay.

I refuse to let this be the end of my dream tho, I want it too much and have let it slide for too long, but among the fiasco in the news about zero hours contracts that is cluttering up headlines recently I can't help but see the proliferation of internships across multiple job sites as taking advantage of this country's rather dire employment situation.

And amongst all this going on, my favourite pop-scamps, Rizzle Kicks have kicked off the campaign ahead of their second album by debuting a new video, proudly proclaiming that it was made by interns!!

The news made my blood boil, I bet it was bloody good fun, and a bloody good experience, but if the economic climate is gonna change for the better then I think we need to start providing opportunities and not just experience to those thirsty for breaking into the glamorous world of after show parties, powdered noses and overzealous exploitation...

Monday, 12 August 2013

Warning Signs

I guess I'm one of those people that sees the signs, and doesn't always know what they mean

And when all signs indicate the worst, perhaps it's time to disembark

In my old job, a furniture retailer, towards the end things didn't look good, and for a long time things weren't looking great, but I was comfortable. the pay wasn't amazing, but it got me by and it gave me an opportunity to save and more than that, it afforded me certain freedoms at times when we weren't busy... freedoms that I took full advantage of and lived a pretty fulfilling life whilst still manning a retail business, assisting customers and hoping to turn over a profit

when things weren't looking so great, I kind-of assumed that being forced out of my job that I was capable of doing blindfolded would be a blessing in disguise, a chance to find a 'real job' that paid 'real money', but the pressures of the 'real world' were too 'real', I had a mortgage to pay, a roof to keep over my head, i needed an income, and pronto!!

the time between being made redundant and being offered a job was extremely demeaning as I began to realise the fuller extent of the recession, my experience seemed to mean jack-shit as I was turned down for the most menial jobs, cashier works , cleaning jobs, and it was with this broken spirit that I scraped into an entry level position at a soul-sapping builder's merchant

less than two weeks into the job and I felt my life was in tatters, and I'm eternally grateful to my girlfriend for making me see sense and quitting, it gave me the time to make myself available for the next job that came along, something much more promising, the interviewer talked sense, appreciated the position I was in and talked about career development within the business

between jobs I was also interviewed for an assistant managers role at a well known stationer, i was offered the position two weeks into my new job but I plumped with the business that seemed to offer natural growth

and a year down the line and my opinions have changed, I can see the warning signs clearer this time around, the people that make the job worthwhile are slowly but surely disappearing from sight and the talk of management roles and training, well the view of them is even murkier, I'm privileged to be in a job that I don't hate, but at the same time it restricts me, suffocates my creativity and ultimately I can see the deception of a tight-fisted business clearly, it saddens me, but I don't belong here.

and so I yearn to take flight

It is a slow, torturous ordeal, but I have faith in a higher power, that what will be will be and that everything will work out the way it is meant to be

I've seen the warning signs

and I'm trying to put my life in reverse, to back up and change course...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

My first ever literary review.... Downloading Nirvana reviewed

Alongside slogging my arse off pre-turning thirty in order to complete my debut album, dedicated readers may also remember i had also promised an original novel of my own creation that should have been published by now

and it sort of has, except you can't order it, yet

some crazy U.S tax laws and stuff require me to file for a tax code and fax it to the moon and back and do a bunch of stuff i haven't done yet, hence, i am the only person able to order a copy...

But in the limited run that i have ordered and am in possesion of, there is one copy doing the rounds for lending purposes, since a book seems rather redundant if it can't be read

and even better than it being merely read, one recipient of this book, Mr Christopher Pennel, has not only become the first person besides myself to read it from start to finish, he has only bloody gone and written a review

so hold tight people.... here is the first ever review of a book that you can't actually order

now that's pretty exclusive!!!

I was given this book by Glen’s mystery girlfriend to whom the book was dedicated.

I admit that I only read it out of curiosity, to see what a book by someone I (vaguely) knew would be like.

I was pleasantly surprised! The book was only short, but you could not fly through it as you need to pay attention because the narrative jumps through time and keeps you on your toes. I was a little confused at times but got used to the way it was written.

It was an interesting story, at first appearing the mundane story of an everyday artist, but turning out in the end to be much more.

The ending in particular, with it’s peculiar resolution, made me smile and laugh out loud. Luckily I was in First Class on the train and nobody saw.

I also feel I have had an insight into Glen’s (Liam’s?) thoughts and feelings, especially his fear of marriage!

I would recommend this book to anyone, it was well written, imaginative and an excellent first novel.

Please write something else Mr Byford.

Chris Pennell
6 August 2013

Thursday, 8 August 2013

the pitfalls of living a disconnected life in a digital age

I've had a phone stolen, put one through the washing machine with my work trousers and lost one under about a foot of fake snow at a New Years Eve party at the Scala.

But when my HTC Desire decided to give up the ghost earlier the week, things were different. This was my first sinister smart phone, my connection to the world that went beyond missing out an a few texts or the odd call. ok, it's a slight hindrance to the way I lead my life, but it's no big deal.

so as me and my girlfriend head our separate ways at Liverpool Street station with half made plans to meet again at a certain time if the fates allow, otherwise I'll see her at home.

I was out and about to witness a handful of Enfield's bands dragging themselves away from the Bush Hill Park Tavern for once, I've seen one of my boroughs most beloved bands struggle for attendance as close to home as Camden, so I thought I'd support my boys, support my friends and make the journey along especially. I'd made no promises to anyone, thought I'd just turn up and surprise them, but it was me that was surprised as I descended to the basement bar of the Spitalfields venue.

The doors opened at half 7, first band on at quarter to eight, it was now quarter past eight and I found myself stood in an empty room, just me and one other guy that told me through a muffled mouth of sandwich that the gig was cancelled.

'band members were underage' i just about deciphered before he swallowed.

I wandered aimlessly for a short while, hoping that a recognisable Enfieldian or two would be propping up one of a handful of nearby bars while I weighed up my options.

On any normal evening I'd have checked facebook and twitter for updates on the rather dire situation, texted or called one of my mates playing, been hopping on the train back to the more familiar and predictable surroundings of Bush Hill Park and let my girlfriend know the dealio.

Most normal evenings don't result in me nursing a pint of ale for an hour and forty minutes, sat on my own reading a book in a pub in Great Portland Street before descending down the stairs to the comic-book wallpapered lower level where my other half is among a roomful of uke players , merrily strumming away and singing their way through a songbook projected at the front of the room.

So whilst, unbeknownst to me, Decoy Jet, Building The Songbird and Echochain turn a soured experience into a show of solidarity in front of a rabid home crowd, I grabbed another drink and settled in amongst the well lubricated throng for mass singalongs of Oasis and Mumford and Sons before revealing my presence to my girlfriend.

Sure, it wasn't a normal evening, but sometimes the simple joy of the unexpected is just as rewarding.

(although all the missed instagram opportunities are killing me now)