Monday, May 29, 2006

Knives away

It's now a week since the knife amnesty began across the UK, and over 2 months since the West Midlands began their initial amnesty. In the last 3 weeks, there have been SEVEN high profile stabbings.

A police officer was killed in Wembley just over two weeks ago. In the next few days, a pupil was stabbed to death outside his school one afternoon, in front of pupils and parents alike. The DAY after, a health worker was stabbed to death by a patient. In the last week, two students were stabbed on a University campus, a man was stabbed and died on a train, another student was stabbed outside a school in Birmingham and yesterday, a man died after being stabbed, also in Birmingham. And this is in a period where knives are meant to be thrown anonymously into bins at police stations, this knife amnesty.

I may be wrong, but never can I remember so many highly covered stabbings in such a short space of time. Has the knife attention suddenly glamourised the crime? Are young people with knives vying for their 'slice' of the media limelight? (Sorry about the pun).

If things get any worse, people will be carrying knives around for protection, out of the sheer fear of being stabbed. The irony. And, some groups are even advocating girls carry knives for their protection at night. While in the opposite corner, groups are pressing for up to 5-year jail sentences for those caught in posession. Can't be both I'm afraid. And people using knives in 'self-defence' are always going to be in big, big trouble....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Exams: one down, hardest one out the way. Went fairly well, I hope, and I mistakenly felt like the pressure was off when the reality is I have 2 in three days this week. Literature is a pain to revise, re-reading texts I'm not hugely fond of. But it being such a subjective exam makes for much less stress.

The stress isn't helped though by having one and a half days (and that's assuming you get up at a reasonable time - which I won't) to revise for Narrative. Even if you've already revised the topics, going back over them is going to feel stressful knowing the exam's the next day. But maybe it's the presure I've needed. I just couldn't get motivated to revise much before a week prior to my first exam. I had to revise backwards, in a way, what with no time to revise Narrative directly before it, and the pressure just wasn't there.

And the weather's getting better! Revision is going to be so hard with everyone else at the beach. But come friday, and it is so going to be worth it. The word celebration will be forever illustrated by the photos that come from friday night's messy, messy affairs.

Interestingly, and quite worryingly, I can distinctly rememeber blogging about exams this time last year. Where have the last 365 days gone?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hard rock? Hallelujah...

Monsters. Five sisters from Denmark in skimpy outfits. An abundance of cheesey ballads. Short skirts. Politics. Being anti-france. It could only be one globally televised event: The Eurovision Song Contest 2006.

As usual the standard of song was atrocious. Weak lyrical efforts about the heart, disco beats bashed out in minutes, songs based on football terrace anthems: it seems that there is an entire style of song that is only suited to the Eurovision. The UK's entry, jesus christ. 'Teenage Life', it was called, and it was about as out of touch with British teenagers as you could get. The 'rapper' Daz Sampson, looked a) about 35 and b) as if he'd just left the kebab shop where he worked. So PAINFUL. Surprisingly, it picked up a few points and we didn't do as badly as 2 years ago when we finished 2nd last (though that might have had something to do with the Iraq war). Finland's entry, Lordi, bucked the love balled/cheesy disco trend with an all out mock heavy metal song, dressing up like extras from the Lord Of The Rings. And won. Oh.

But the Eurovision isn't, and probably never has been, about music. The tactical voting was out again in ever-so-obvious force: particularly the Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, who clustered around each other all night, exchanging maximum points with each other. The countries with enough clout to go it alone globally (in the real world, you might say, outside of Finnish Orcs and Danish meat) such as France and UK suffered. France in fact came perilously close to not getting a point at all. That would have been the creme de la creme of a night of purely comical entertainment.

It's lucky that the Eurovision is so out of touch with music, because the British votes were diabolical. Surprisingly, in my view, voting in the Irish song (a below average Westlife affair) as third best, we still saved our ludicrous votes for the top 2 spots. Voting in Lithuania's entry as second was a joke. The entry itself was a joke: 6 men all about 40, singing "We are the winners of Eurovision! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!" almost endlessly, in the style of football hooligans. Yet we deemed that to be the second best song. Naturally though, the British and their eye for the ironic followed suit with most other countries and awarded the Finnish monsters maximum points for their Iron Maiden pastiche. Full marks for the dressing up. The British appreciate effort.

Sadly though, it only seemed to further confirmed the trend seen in the other programme where public voting features so much, Big Brother: that the British tv-watching voting public will always vote for the circus freaks, the spectacle and the ridiculous.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Christ, Big Brother 7 starts today.

I am aware of the irony that blogging about a show I hate and think should be taken off air gives it more exposure and means I'm getting involved with it. But at least this involvement is me airing a damning opinion on the bastard programme.

Another three (maybe four?) months of watching nobodies become somebodies because they're a bunch of twats who, if you put them in a house together for several months, are fairly obviously going to have flings, or have fights. Brilliant.

"I know! Let's put a good looking girl in there, and some guys!"
"Yeah, yeah, and we can have a gay guy too!"
"What about someone who isn't English? You know, just to mix it up?"
"Yeah! Lads, we've got a programme and a half on our hands!!!"

The tv feeds the tabloids who feed the tabloid reading masses who care about this sort of bile who feed the programme again. It's a vicious, pointless cycle. I don't know which is sadder: people getting incredibly involved in other normal everyday people's lives, or people watching life play out on the TV, as if it's somehow different to what goes on in real life because it's on TV. It's fucking sad.

Putting a guy in who has Tourettes? Well, that will make funny TV viewing for about 7 seconds, seeing someone who can't help but swear randomly every so often. In the end, he'll probably be one of the cleaner-mouthed people on there, seeing as the housemates this series seem the likely bunch of tarts and idiots that always get on, with the token lesbian, Muslim, vegan or whatever thrown in just so everyone can't get along. Poor old George Orwell. He must be turning in his grave to think that his revolutionary novel is never going to be the first thing to spring to people's minds when someone says Big Brother, and worse, what an entirely circus spectacle it has shockingly become.

I might still watch a bit of this, because sadly otherwise I'll be out of the loop for most conversation that'll take place over the summer. Until June 9th, that is, when the World Cup starts. Ha ha! Have that girls, Channel 4 and Big Brother! Men will be talking about football on BBC and ITV for months, and you'll be stuck with your pointless little people being twats for the cameras. Yeah.

FUCK off, BB7.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tim 1, Blogger 0

A quick post: and I thought I wasn't learning much at Uni...

So I was deleting a comment from my last post because it was an ugly spam comment of no use at all, when I suddenly realised that my links to other websites and other blogs were missing from my sidebar. Upon checking my template, I found that they'd just disappeared. For no apparent reason; Blogger had taken away the carefully organised section of my blog that I'd put in for networking the small group of us that carry on blogging.

However, Blogger, you hadn't reckoned on me being something of an amatuer in Dreamweaver, had you? No longer is the 'edit template' section of Blogger an overwhelming abundance of meaningless numbers, words, and phrases. Thanks to dreamboat Dreamweaver Will, I know a thing or two about code now, and in 15 minutes they were all restored back to normal. It even gave me the confidence to try a fancy link in a comment on Kate R's site. Which worked!

So Blogger, until next time. And to everyone else out there, code isn't insurmountable. Together, we can beat it! And THEN, we can join it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

TV comes the worst possible time

With exams looming and yet more pieces of work still due in, I can't remember a time for ages, certainly not since I began Uni, where TV has been so watchable. Just taking today (Sunday) for example, I got up, watched the Grand Prix, watched Sky Sports News for the last day of football of the season, then had a break til Top Gear at 8, England World Cup Heroes at 9, The Office at 10, and Match of the Day at 10:45- 12:15am! I spent around 4 consecutive hours watching this evening, and around 3 hours during the day. Not how I should be spending my time.

But, more generally, there are more programmes on that I watch regularly now than in a long long time. The fantastic awesomeness of improbability that is Lost series 2 has finally begun, while the brilliant unique laugh out loud comedy of Green Wing is carrying on on fridays (repeated saturday nights). Added to that is the new series of Top Gear, every sunday. And, new student favourite replacing Countdown, Deal or No Deal, is every weekday! Now I won't admit to watching DOND every day, but it certainly hasn't lost its charm. I think the charm relies on the ease of relation to the contestants, in that there is absolutely no skill involved, you just spend 45 minutes seeing how lucky you are on national television. Anyone could be a winner.

That isn't to mention the feast of football that has been on in the evenings recently, and still two more finals to come between now and exams. Thank god the exams are out the way before the world cup starts, or I'd have actually failed them.

I've never been a big fan of TV, especially when it's so hard, among the thousands of programmes on hundreds of channels, to find something good on. For example, ITV is basically The Sun in tv channel format, while Channel 4 is being very hit and miss, not least with the sensationalist style of its news programmes recently. The BBC continues to fuck me off by commissioning some real crap, including Titty Titty Bang Bang, countless bargain hunting/auctioning/holiday home programmes, and the drivel that is Two Pints of Lager and A Packet of Crisps. It has done even better by giving us a new show by the same writers. Brilliant oversight. So, it has come as some surprise to me to find that at the moment, I'm actually spending quite some time in front of the idiot box.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Vote BNP (well, don't, but lots of people are)


Like tempers in the middle of a riot, there has been a sudden flare up of interest in the far-right/fascist policies that the BNP offers as an 'alternative' to the politics of other parties. Coinciding with the upcoming local elections, the pressure seems to be on the favourites to address issues of immigration more seriously in order to avoid embarrassment by losing local seats to parties such as the BNP, Respect and UkIP.

Quite why this has escalated so quickly recently I'm not sure. Maybe it has something to do with a similar US situation just now, where Bush is pushing for tougher laws on immigration. This has, incidentally, resulted in mass protests this week advocating the value of the 'immigrant workforce' and citizenship.

It also ironically coincides with the three linked firebombings recently in London, all Asian-owned business. There's nothing like a racist attack to put things into perspective. Yes, the BNP proposes stronger actions on the immigration issue than other parties. Perfectly aceptable. The trouble is, that's all some people need to be convinced. Dig a little deeper (indeed, just LOOK at the surface, nevermind scratch it) and the racist undertones to the BNP are clear to see. Log on to their homepage, and the first sentence you're hit with is this: Can you just sit there and watch as our country is being ripped apart by the forces of multiculturalism?

For a country supposedly one of the most economically, technologically and socially developed in the world, there's a lot of backwards thinking still rife in certain areas. We can do without more and more people subscribing to such views.