He Could Get It…Martin Freeman

Ah Freeman. Hope I'll never be free, man....

Ah Freeman. Hope I’ll never be free, man….

WHY? Mar Freezy isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you hear the phrase ‘hubba hubba’ but I reckon he’ll figure in a lot of [sweaty] dreams come 2013.

He’s cute as a button, small but perfectly formed with blindingly good acting skillz (see The Hobbit and Sherlock) and his sense of style should be filed under Snappy As Hell.

Martin could probably laugh you into bed – several consecutive times– and charm you into doing whatever he wanted you to do. Footrub? Done. Iron his underwear? Sho’ thang. Hide a body? LET ME GO GET MY HIS N HERS SHOVELS, K?

Above all, it’s the understatedness (yes, this is a word now) of his sexy. There’s something simmering away under the adorable veneer – like wearing nipple clamps under a Christmas jumper.

Now there’s a thought….

@thatmissdeen

2012 In Review: How We Did Thanks To You!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Superhero Sunday: DTSFT (Nearly) Survived The Prince Charles Cinema’s Avenger’s Marathon

(Yes, it’s Monday and not Sunday but it’s that time between Christmas and New Year so who can blame me for being a little late?)

The title is a little misleading. The ‘nearly’ refers to the incomplete team (we missed you Helen!), not ‘nearly’ surviving the marathon. WE SURVIVED! Now that’s out of the way, we begin.

The Prince Charles Cinema is located in Leicester Square in London. It has two screens. And it’s wonderful. I know that’s fairly widely noted but there’s no harm in saying it again. I’ve been able to see some great films there. Some that didn’t have a wide release (Woody Allen: A Documentary), some that I missed on their original release (Anna Karenina) and  events, such as Rex Manning Day (a special screening of Empire Records). The whole place has a love of films and so do all the attendees.

Another sidenote about The PCC is that they are one of the only cinemas that still has a 35mm projector. This might not mean that much to a lot of people but as someone who has worked as a projectionist, this is a pretty big deal. Most cinemas have fully converted to digital and those that haven’t are either in the process or emphasise their use of 35mm prints. Vinyl has had a resurgence, hopefully this new love for 35mm will take effect before too many projectionists are made redundant. (This is a little off topic but will be referred to later on, including my knowledge of film projection – super limited knowledge.)

The PCC runs a number of marathon events but this has been the first one that I’ve gone to. Friday 28th December. Starting at 7pm. Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man 2. Thor. Captain America: The First Avenger. Avengers Assemble. (Not Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, calling it Avengers Assemble is difficult enough.)

Iron Man – 7pm (approx)

'Iron Man'

We started the night with the first. The beginning. The reason that Avengers Assemble exists. The first film to be shown at the marathon in 35mm. A fairly dirty print. I mean, I’ve seen worse, but it wasn’t great. The biggest cheer during the film? Stan Lee’s cameo. Friday was his 90th birthday don’t forget. Second biggest cheer? For Agent Phil Coulson. At this point just Agent Coulson. In a pretty ugly suit. This film had so much enjoyment to give the audience. The laughs were bigger, there were cheers for so much. First one done.

The Incredible Hulk – 9.25pm (approx)

'The Incredible Hulk'

Yes, this isn’t a poster to go with the Edward Norton film but that would’ve ruined my Mondo poster theme. Plus, Ruffalo is better.

The film that people were looking forward to the least. You could tell by the number of empty seats. (This marathon was sold out.) And by the comments throughout the film. If the film had come later in the evening I’m pretty sure I would’ve taken those two hours to nap. But it was too early! The only saving factors were the subtle mention of Captain America (super soldier reference) and Tony Stark’s appearance at the end. Not really worth it. But the 35mm print was in much better condition than Iron Man. I think that’s cos it doesn’t get as much use. Harsh or just true?

Iron Man 2 – 11.30pm (approx)

'Iron Man 2'

Excluding The Incredible Hulk, which I’d only seen at the cinema, Iron Man 2 is the film of the marathon I’ve seen the fewest times. (Or something in better English than that.) It has a lot of problems but watching it I remembered the fun factors. Mostly Sam Rockwell. Any time he is on screen it lights up. Then there’s Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman/Natasha Romanoff. Her hair when in ‘that’ catsuit isn’t as good as in Avengers Assemble, but her being the ‘new’ Pepper Potts is pretty great. I mostly love the costumes. But I would. There is a lot of humour in this, whether it’s Downey Jr., Favreau as Happy Hogan, Rockwell, Gregg (more cheers for Coulson) or even some of Rourke’s lines. It just makes me excited to see what Shane Black will bring to Iron Man 3. (Five months away now…) Then there was the post-credit scene. The excitement was building and building at this point. Side note: another dirty 35mm print. I was saddened.

Thor – 1.45am (approx)

'Thor'

So we were getting closer, but tiredness was starting to sink in. But, have no fear, Thor is one of the best films and when you’re surrounded by extreme fans of Hemsworth and Hiddleston you have no chance of falling asleep. There were more cheers throughout this – Coulson, reference to Banner, Thor being a ‘fish-out-of-water’, and many of Loki’s shocked expressions at the beginning. We were hitting the final hurdle… (Thor: The Dark World is too far away.)

Captain America: The First Avenger – 3.45am (approx)

'Captain America: The First Avenger'

There were a number of disparaging remarks made throughout the night by various people (staff and audience) about the weaknesses of this film. “It’s not great.” “You won’t miss much by sleeping.” And the like. (I may have invented those quotes because I don’t remember what people actually said but you get the picture.) I still have a soft spot for Captain America. No-one who knows me is shocked. Even from reading this blog I bet it isn’t surprising. There are just some great moments and performances. And Agent Peggy Carter. This film also marked the third appearance of a different Howard Stark. And the first of the technical snafu of the evening/morning. During the scene where *spoiler* Peggy consoles Steve over Bucky’s death the film cut out. Now, this was a 35mm print and, given the short time between the film re-starting, I guess that the problem was something very simple and possibly just human error. There are no complaints. These things happen – they happened to me enough! Everything was sorted quickly and we only missed a few seconds – through re-starting the film. All understandable. But my favourite moment was Sarah telling me that she heard a customer ask a staff member if the film had stopped because the projectionist had fallen asleep. As if each reel needed to be changed during the film à la Cinema Paradiso. Bless. Then there was the post-credit scene. The teaser trailer for Avengers Assemble. Now we were getting somewhere!

Avengers Assemble – 6.30am (6am intended…)

'The Avengers'

…there was a delay. Avengers Assemble marked the only digital film shown in the marathon. And there were technical difficulties. I’ve been there. Where I worked at least, with digital you pretty much have to call someone from the technical department. The most common solution seems to be the ‘switch it off and switch it on again’ technique. But if you don’t check this with someone you could lose all of the films ingested on the projector. Meaning no screening. When there’s a problem with a 35mm projector/projection, you can generally spot the problem and fix it there and then. This was shown with Captain America. Here? A waiting game. But we were informed early on, and, after a wait, all was solved. Avengers assembled and we were appeased! More cheers, more ‘Coulson Lives, Fury Lies’, more laughter, more swoons. The film lived up to promise! Worst part? By this point, 30-second naps occurred. We were so excited, we wanted to be awake but…my body failed me a bit. But only for seconds! I swear! (I had contacts in so I was scared of actually failing asleep.)

The evening/marathon/morning ended at about 9am. We were all exhausted. There were survivor photos taken. We slinked away – none of us quite feeling up to having photos taken after a sleepless night. Did we fail there? I…don’t care! We survived the marathon! Would I do another? Possibly. It would definitely depend on the films.

Did anyone go? Anyone go to a similar marathon event at The PCC or somewhere else?

S x

DTSFT’s Women Of The Year

We’ve had a look back at the guys who did the damn thang this year (which we hope you enjoyed reading), so now it’s time for the gals.

So without further ado (and in no particular order) here are DTSFT’s beauties of 2012:

Scarlett Johansson

Ah yes, DTSFT’s resident goddess. After repping it for the girls (along with Cobie Smulders) in the third biggest film of all time, Marvel Avengers Assemble, 2012 definitely became her year. Since then she has been unstoppable, playing Janet Leigh in Anthony Hopkins-led biopic, Hitchcock, and being awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And is it just me, or is she getting prettier by the day? *sigh* What a doll.

Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe

James Bond came back this year with a bang, but it wasn’t entirely down to Mr. Craig. Skyfall also gave us two beautiful Bond Girls (or should I say, Bond Women?). I won’t give away the plot for those of you who still haven’t seen it yet, but let’s just say that they were fantastic in it. I’m not entirely sure what these ladies have got planned for next year (although Bérénice Marlohe is apparently set to be in Terrence Malik’s new film), but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for it.

Sidenote: Ms Marlohe’s bod in that picture. Wow.

Dame Judi Dench

Being a Queen of the Screen, every year is Dame Judi Dench’s year, but this year was even more so because….

Ah.

Again, for those of you who still haven’t seen Skyfall, then I won’t mention why. But for those of you who have… youknowhamtawkinbout’ right?

STAY DENCH JUDI DENCH!

Jessica Ennis

The DTSFT Team are so proud of Jessica Ennis. There was a lot of pressure on her (as there was on all of Team GB) and we were all feeling quite anxious about the results. But we are happy to say that she won the gold in the heptathlon, which is pretty impressive – I mean, the 200m, the 800m, high jump, long jump, javelin, shot put AND hurdles? I would’ve passed out.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis

If you haven’t seen the Hollywood Costume Exhibition at the V&A Museum, you’re missing out. It really is magical, and it’s all thanks to Deborah Nadoolman Landis, who guest curated the exhibition. She is also a renowned costume designer herself, having created the looks for iconic characters such as The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones and Prince Akeem Joffer in Coming To America, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. She has also written a number of books and has recently had talks in London, which Sophia had the pleasure of attending. And having bought one of her books myself, I think she is definitely one of our Women of the Year.

Michelle Obama

As 2012 brought the re-election of Barack Obama as President, it also meant the return of the first black First Lady, Michelle Obama. But she hasn’t just been sitting pretty at home in the White House, she’s been a very busy lady herself, by visiting homeless shelters and soup kitchens, hosting a reception for women’s rights advocates, and starting up her own organisation, ‘Let’s Move!’ which promotes exercise and healthy eating for children. She is a strong, smart, modern woman and for that she gets a place on our list.

Queen Elizabeth II

It was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, which brought all kinds of celebrations and special ceremonies, from the Thames Pageant (which looked amazing) to the Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace. She even managed to get the music legend Stevie Wonder to join in the fun. That’s dope, Your Majesty.

Jessica Chastain

This flame-haired beauty has made the list because not only has she swept up countless awards for her roles in The Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt, Take Shelter, Texas Killing Fields and Coriolanus, but she was also in one of this year’s biggest films, Lawless, and she is set to star in Zero Dark Thirty, the eagerly awaited second film from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. And on top of all that, she’s a lovely person and absolutely stunning. It’s been a busy year for her and we reckon it’s only going to get busier.

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds had a great run in this year’s Paralympics, bringing home four – yes, four, count them – medals. She was a clear example of courage, determination and strength and we’re all very proud.

Azealia Banks

azealia banksShe may look like a total cutie, but don’t let her pretty smile fool you. AZ’s music is dirtier than dishwater and her tongue-whipping lyrics are enough to make a nun pass out, but they’re so ridiculously catchy and I always have them on repeat on my mp3 player. Her mixtape, Fantasea, was out this year and it was a massive hit (she previously released an EP before that called 1991, which is also brilliant), and her UK tour in October was completely sold out (I went to see her at Shepherd’s Bush O2 Empire in London – awesome). She has featured on songs for Scissor Sisters, Lady Gaga and Kanye West, and her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, is due in February next year. And all at just 21 years old. Damn, Little Bam!

Claire Danes

"Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations" Costume Institute GalaThis year’s Emmy Awards belonged to Homeland, where not only did they get Best Drama Series, but Damien Lewis won Best Actor, and Claire Danes won Best Actress, which was much deserved. Her engaging performance as Carrie has kept us glued to our screens ever since the first episode.

Barbara Broccoli

Barbara BroccoliThe driving force behind Skyfall and many other Bond films, including GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough, Octopussy (where she was Assistant Director) and The Living Daylights (on which she was Associate Producer). When the original producer and director, and Barbara Broccoli’s father, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, died in 1996, she took over the reins (along with her stepbrother Michael G. Wilson) and she has been doing a fantastic job ever since. We personally can’t wait to see the next films, of which we hope there are many!

Kate McKinnon

Kate-Mckinnon-SNL

Kate McKinnon joined Saturday Night Live this year shortly before Kristen Wiig left – and she is a worthy (dare I say, better?) replacement.  Everybody would agree that Kristen Wiig is up there with Poehler, Radner and Fey as properly funny women on SNL, and while this current season’s female cast features some all-round fantastic talent, McKinnon has proven herself in a very short time to be an extremely skilled and versatile comedic actress.  Her first live speaking part ever (she had a part in a recorded segment) featured her hilarious impersonation of Penelope Cruz in a sketch with Sofia Vergara.  Watch this clip and keep in mind that this is her debut sketch on the show.  Then watch to the end, through the Hunger Games clip, and see Bill Hader (with the blue hair) pointing at her during the wrap-up – he did the exact same thing to Kristen Wiig when she first started on the show.  Watch out for McKinnon’s killer impressions on SNL – Ellen Degeneres is probably my favourite one of hers.  Funny, funny woman, and I wish her a long and successful tenure at SNL.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

I recently saw Silver Linings Playbook and I’m pretty sure that I’m now in love with Jennifer Lawrence. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t seen Winter’s Bone yet, so I’ve actually only seen her in three things – X-Men: First Class, The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook. Pretty sure I’d watch her in anything though. I considered watching House at the End of the Street purely for her and am irrationally annoyed that on posters and trailers she is ‘The Hunger Games‘ Jennifer Lawrence’ rather than ‘Academy Award-nominated Jennifer Lawrence’. She’s EARNT that! She’s 22 for crying out loud. And she’s being tipped for another Oscar nom for Silver Linings Playbook. AND she’s filmed another film with Bradley Cooper. AND it’s set in the 1930s. AND X-Men: Days of Future Past is coming out in 2014. AND The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is out in November. (I’ve become a bit of a fangirl… I blame… I’ve got nothing.) Also, there’s this. How could you not love her?

Marilyn Monroe and Agatha Christie

Now, these two have probably never been mentioned in the same sentence before but they are two of my favourite women ever. So, you’re probably thinking, this is Women of the Year 2012 and they’re both…for lack of a nicer word, dead. True. But this year is notable for the two for different reasons.

(The wallpaper on my phone.)

(The wallpaper on my phone.)

The 5th August 2012 marked 50 years since Monroe’s untimely death in 1962. She was 36. I’m not going to list conspiracy theories about ‘who murdered Marilyn’ I’m just acknowledging the fact that her death was 50 years ago. And, because of this, there were a number of exhibitions relating to Monroe across the world. Two small ones in London (both free – always better) were the Marilyn Exhibition at the Getty Images Gallery and Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair at the National Portrait Gallery. (There was also the Marilyn Monroe: Hollywood Legend exhibition at the Hollywood Museum in California. I wish I could travel between UK and the US easily. Damn.) The Getty Images exhibition was amazing – you can buy the prints! I’m in debt in my mind. The NPG exhibition was a bit disappointing in comparison. But they did have some nice promotional material from cinemas so that was ok – the ones that included Some Like it Hot were amazing. Obviously.

Agatha Christie receiving a mousetrap from John Mills and Richard Attenborough in 1958. The year 'The Mousetrap' became a world record holding show.

Agatha Christie receiving a mousetrap from John Mills and Richard Attenborough in 1958. The year ‘The Mousetrap’ became a world record holding show.

2012 marked The Mousetrap‘s 60th year on the West End. 60 years. That’s insane. To celebrate there was a one-off performance with a special cast – including Julie Walters, Hugh Bonneville, Tamsin Greig and Sir Patrick Stewart. This special performance took place on the 18th November, after one rehearsal three hours earlier. The cast also unveiled the Agatha Christie memorial that is opposite the theatre. I wasn’t there for any of it. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Maybe in time for the 75th anniversary – it shows no sign of stopping! Long live Agatha Christie and period murder mystery!

DTSFT Team

DTSFT’s Men Of The Year

As 2012 draws to a close, us DTSFT ladies felt that now would be an appropriate time to sit back and reflect on the months that have gone before…and boy did we come up with some fineys!

In no particular order, here are the guys that pretty much rocked this year…

Paul Davis

With an award-winning short film Him Indoors, another short in the works (The Body) and a film coming next year, Paul Davis is definitely making his mark as a director, so if you don’t know him yet, get to know! That and he’s a good friend of ours! Best of luck for next year!

Martin Freeman and Elijah Wood

With the return of Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Middle Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, DTSFT would like to give a shout out to Martin Freeman and Elijah Wood, who play Bilbo and Frodo Baggins respectively. The film is out in December, with two more instalments to come after that (The Desolation Of Smaug in 2013 and There And Back Again in 2014), and we personally can’t wait to see them all. They look amazeballs! (Sorry, Elijah*.)

Christian Bale

This year was definitely Christian Bale’s year when Christopher Nolan released the third and final part to his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, which was a gripping and satisfying closure. And even though we’re intrigued by this so-called ‘reboot’ that everyone’s muttering about, it’s fair to say that Christian Bale is one of the best – if not the best – Bruce Waynes ever. And he’s also the hottest!

Mo Farah

This summer was all about the Olympics as it was held in London, and one of the most iconic moments from the event was Mo Farah not only winning the 5000m final, but the 10,000m as well, at just 29. He did us all proud, and he definitely gets a Mobot from us! Well done Mo!

Joss Whedon, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg

Back in May, a little-known film called The Avengers (or Marvel Avengers Assemble here in the UK) was released after months of rumours and on-set pictures, and from the amazing action scenes to the hilarious dialogue (“We have a Hulk”) we’re pleased (and relieved) to say that it was everything we hoped it would be and more. We here at DTSFT loved it so much that we saw it seven times in the cinema – that’s right, seven – and have been watching it on DVD ever since. These guys worked together fantastically on-screen and it was clear to tell that they all got on like the Quinjet on fire.

And, of course, there’s the man behind it all, Mr. Joss Whedon. He is the reason why every comic book fan’s dreams came true and has definitely found his place in the Marvel Universe, and he is currently in the process of developing a TV show dedicated to S.H.I.E.L.D., which we all know is gonna be pretty awesome.

They all definitely deserve a spot on our list!

Barack Obama

Barry O made history four years ago by becoming the first black President of the United States of America, and history was made again this year as he beat the Republican candidate Mitt “I got binders full of women” Romney and was re-elected for another term in the White House. The election also became the most retweeted subject of all time – he’s smashing these records out here!

Congratulations Mr. President. Here’s to four more years!

Javier Bardem

This beautiful, beautiful man became a DTSFT favourite from his incredible performance as Raoul Silva in Skyfall. He was funny, camp and psychotic, and in our opinion he is one of the best Bond villains to date. Not only that, but he is very funny and charming in real life, so what’s not to like? We’re keen to see what he’s got coming up next year, because he pretty much owned this one.

Daniel Craig

Y’all probably knew this was coming. 2012 saw the celebration of 50 years since the first James Bond film, Dr. No, and the release of the new chapter, Skyfall, which was ay-may-zing and Daniel Craig was literally dressed to kill in every single shot. Seriously, not many guys can wear a suit like he can. (Sidenote: I’m listening to Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does It Better’ as I write this, and it’s really quite appropriate).

He’s now signed up to do two more James Bond films, one of which apparently already has a concept, as well as being set to star in a George Clooney film called Monument Men (because he’s so hot and awesome even George wants some). I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be on this list next year.

Damien Lewis

Homeland is one of our favourite TV shows and has had us hooked from the beginning, particularly because of Damien Lewis (and his sexy flame-haired self) as Sergeant Nicholas Brody. He plays the character in such a way that it really does make you sympathise with him as he experiences conflicting emotions within himself. And we can’t be the only ones whose heart-strings have been well and truly yanked, as he won himself an Emmy in September. Ah, Damien – one of the most beautiful gingers to ever grace our screens.

Gabriel Mann

He gets a place on the list for gracing us week after week with his magnificent outfits on Revenge, as well as being pretty trendy himself and, in fact, rather handsome. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed picking Nolan Ross’ best outfits for Happy Nolan Day, and I can’t wait until Season 2 starts so I can do it aaall over again. I wonder if he’ll be able to top those whale print trousers? I have a feeling he will.

Tom Hardy

Aside from Chrissy Bale, The Dark Knight Rises will always be remembered for that big, burly, menacing villain Bane, who looked like a brute but spoke like a pervy English lecturer. He also gave a great performance as Forrest Bondurant in Lawless, another big burly menace. He seems to be quite good at playing that sort of character, but don’t let that fool you, ladies, oh no. In real life he’s a reformed bad boy and quite a sweetie. But it’s these affecting and unforgettable roles that have earned him a place on our list.

DTSFT Team

*Private joke.

5 Things That Need To Stop In 2013

Before I get started, I want to be clear that these are sort of frivolous things in comparison to the big ‘things’ that everyone sorely wants to stop – wars, child abuse, racism, Taylor Swift, y’know, the serious stuff – but more a list of things that I’m sick of that need to just stop before I get really angry and put a hex on the world.  Christmas is over, and goodwill has to make way for my unconditional and irrational hatred of everything.

1) Lycra Jumpsuits

Jessie J didn’t just ruin music when she burst on the scene with her brand of terrible, over-sung, ghetto-lite music; she also ruined fashion.

“Three cheers for me! I ruined fashion forever!”

As the self-appointed unfashionable member of the DTSFT, I can’t really talk about fashion with any authority, given that I spend 95% of my time in pyjamas and the other 5% in pyjamas cleverly disguised as day-wear. But I can’t understand the need for these ridiculous outfits.  I notice that Nicki Minaj is also a fan of the skin-tight, lycra bodysuit – maybe these “artists” (it kills me to use that word in reference to these two women) have realised that their music is so terrible that they need a distraction stop others from coming to the same conclusion, so they bust out the camel-toe and hit the streets.

Or distract from their weird faces?

Or distract from their weird faces?

Don’t get me wrong – Jessie J has an amazing figure, I don’t think she has an ounce of excess fat on her.  But would you believe this woman has a STYLIST? Somebody tells her to wear those things and she listens to them!  AND PAYS THEM FOR THE PRIVILEGE! Nicki Minaj seems just batshit crazy enough to make those decisions herself…

Camel toe? More like camel NO

Camel toe? More like camel NO

I don’t think these lycra, skin-tight jumpsuits are doing anything to help young people with self-esteem issues, either – women who parade themselves around in these ridiculous outfits are sending out the messages that that’s what it takes to be a strong woman, along with pulling stupid faces in every photo while covered in cartoonish make-up and wearing wigs – because there’s nothing more important than covering up every part of you so that you look as artificial as possible.

2) Technology

So this year I have had two phones break on me (both touchscreens) and I’m tired of technology.  I love gadgets but I can’t take anymore. I just can’t.  Have you seen that advert for the Nikon camera where the lovely voice-over man says “If I were a radio, I’d play your favourite song before you’d even thought about it?” as a way of explaining that the camera captures images before you press the button?  Well, every time I see that advert I have to sit down (if I’m not already, and I’m always already sitting down) and just take a minute to comprehend what the hell this advert is telling me.  That the technology is so advanced that they’ve created a way to prevent you from missing the perfect picture? No, not that. That the camera responds very quickly to stop you from getting frustrated when you take a picture just a few seconds too late? Nah, it isn’t that, either.  I figured out what it is.

Sentient technology.  It’s finally here.

So this is just an iPad with a sticker from Etsy, but THAT'S HOW THESE THINGS START

So this is just an iPad with a sticker from Etsy, but THAT’S HOW THESE THINGS START

Think about it – Siri, man. Siri answers your questions when you talk to that bitch.  Google corrects your spellings and figures out what it is you’re actually searching for.  My mp3 player figures that if I listen to a song by a band or artist the whole way through and then skip back to play it again, the next song it queues up should be by them too. And don’t give me that bullshit about logarithms or algorithms, technology is listening to us, people, it’s monitoring and thinking – I’m not going crazy, this is for real. Hear me out.

Touchscreen technology allows your mobile phone or tablet to collect your finger prints and those of any friends or family who use it at any point.  Sending this information back to one big database, they will one day have collected all the fingerprints of every citizen in the Western World – also including the fingerprints of all the little kids forced to make them in those sweatshops and factories in Asia, too (tell your conscience I said “You’re welcome”).  With this information, they’ll be able to  submit incriminating evidence to frame people for crimes at their will – and oh, they totally have their own free will, they just let you sit there and tell them what to do because it fuels their anger at the human race.  When you sit there and your iPad is taking more than 30 seconds to load up and you curse it with every four-letter word you can think of, or tell your touch-screen phone to fuck off because you haven’t got any goddamn reception and this is supposed to be ENGLAND DAMMIT,  just remember how you treated it when you’re on trial for the biggest heist of the century in ten years time.

3) Kindle vs paperback snobbery

I originally had number 3 as something else that was fashion related, but then I noticed the coffee stain on the shin of my pyjamas and realised that I’m probably not the best person to be criticising fashion choices.  So I thought I’d write something else.  The Kindle/eBook reader vs hard copy book debate has tired me out this year; the book club that I run is full of book lovers, and until recently none of them seemed to have particularly strong feelings about this debate, as they share my opinion – as long it gets people to read, it can’t do any harm.  Then a newcomer made a few snide comments to a long-time member about how Kindles are destroying the paperback industry. I didn’t exactly smack her in the mouth the way that I wanted to, but diplomatically explained that sure, there’s the idea that digital books will kill the sales of paperbacks but I don’t think they’ll actually *kill* the sales, more like just injure them.

scales_kindle1

When I worked in a bookshop that started selling e-readers, customers could be categorised in two teams; the zealous hard copy fans who would bring up the subject of e-readers for no other reason than to hear the sound of their own voice talking about something that they think they are the authority on; and those weren’t that bothered either way, a book is a book is a book.  For me, the worth of a book is in its words and story, not the paper it’s printed on.  That said, I am reluctant to buy a Kindle or e-reader purely for the reason that I have a tendency to break electronic devices, and I would hate to somehow break an e-reader and lose all my books.  However, I do have the software for the Kindle on my laptop, and as I’m sure I’ve told many people before, it saved my degree.  Kind of.  I was able to get a book that had only been published a few weeks before my second dissertation was due in, and downloaded it onto my laptop so that I could write my final chapter with some up to date research.  I still read books on the laptop, which is something that I know not everyone could enjoy.  And while I’m not trying to convince anyone that they’re right or wrong to love or hate Kindles, I think that the emergence of the ebook has made it much easier for new writers to self-publish, something which used to be a lengthy and expensive process with no guarantee of success.  Sure, it’s responsible for that Fifty Shades nonsense, but there’s also a whole heap of awesome new, indie writers getting their work out their for people to read on their e-readers and get noticed.

It’s just irritating to keep hearing people talking as if they can change someone’s mind on the subject – it doesn’t matter how much you try to tell a book lover to get a Kindle or to shun them, you’ll struggle to change their opinion and in doing so you overlook the most important reason for reading a book, whether it’s on a screen or on paper – the story.  Let’s just remember that, people!

4) Terrible music

To simplify this section, I have categorised recent music into the following genres:

“Plinky plonky shitty acoustic covers” – take any song and get a singer with weak, meek voice to sing it sadly over a single instrument accompaniment, then put this song on an advert and watch it sell thousands.

e.g. Any John Lewis advert from the last few years

“Shouting and excessive melisma = soul” – disguise the fact that you haven’t bothered to learn what a key is, nor how to stay in one for the duration of a song, by shouting the high notes (it doesn’t matter if you hit the right one, I mean they’re all pretty close together, right?) and then trying to hit every note on the way down.

e.g. Anyone from a UK televised singing talent show (Jahmene in particular from this year), Jessie J

“Generic 90s dance beat and synths to accompany generic beach party video” – Take a two-bar ostinato, play it on the synths and loop it through an entire song over a drum machine, get a forgettable vocal recorded over the top and then film the video in the south of France with bikini-clad girls… instant hit.

e.g. Taio Cruz, Calvin Harris (sorry @thatmissdeen), JLS

“Filth” – record a song with as many crude references as possible, either explicit or poorly concealed, give it an innocent enough name to get kids singing along to it, record a similarly gross video.

e.g. Rihanna, Azealia Banks

“Shit (aka dubstep” – womp womp + womp womp womp womp + the drop = thousands of satisfied idiots

e.g. Skrillex, Katy B

5) People

Yeah, you read that right. People.  People just need to stop. You know what I mean?  If you don’t know what I mean, then you’re one of those people.  And you need to just stop.

You people make me sick.

You people make me sick.