Paris, after the grieving and soul searching, where do we go from here?


Of all the horrors to happen across the world in recent years, this felt all the more horrific. To have such a senseless massacre occur so close to home, not just geographically but also culturally, politically and spiritually. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to live in Paris right now, a city struck not once but twice this year by cowardly terrorism. A city seemingly under siege.

So where do we go from here? For Paris, the best thing to do is to pick up the ‘Blitz spirit’ — having the determination to face this situation — similar to that demonstrated after the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year. To send a message, that we, as a western society (and people) will not be cowed into fear. That these attacks will not weaken our resolve, but strengthen it.

It is also critical that we understand what we are really up against. It is Islamism, and in no way does it match with out 21st century democratic way of life. It is absurd to carry on insisting that this has NO religious link at all and it’s condescending in the extreme to behave as if any such acknowledgment will lead to some sort of Fourth Reich in Europe — it won’t. No one, of any religion or none, should be afraid to walk the streets of Europe.

One final point, I won’t deny the war in Iraq and ridding of Saddam Hussein in some way contributed to the creation, or at least laid the foundations of for ISIL. But this global terrorist network and its actions cannot be blamed on western foreign policy. Why does ISIL kill fellow Muslims in Syria and Iraq?Why does it throw homosexuals from buildings? Why does it kill aid workers helping fellow Muslims? Why is it enacting racial cleansing like that discovered in Sinjar? What foreign policy did any of the above do to merit senseless slaughter? None.

We need to eliminate this ISIL/ISIS/Daesh stain from the world and the obvious first step would be for Russia and the Western world to co-ordinate their efforts. For this global coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy this evil.

My original post.

The UK’s film sector is booming and this is why – Film is GREAT


2014 saw a massive surge in film production in the UK, generating a total spend of over £1.4 billion over the course of the year – that’s 35% more than 2013 and the highest ever recorded. 36 international feature films and 22 high-end television productions chose to base themselves in the UK, these include titles like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, all three Hobbit films, Paddington, 007: Skyfall and Spectre and many more.

The increased investment into UK production has seen the growth of infrastructure throughout the country, with new facilities opening this year including Cardiff’s Pinewood Studio Wales and Church Fenton’s The Yorkshire Studios. In 2014, the creative industries sector employed 1.8 million people in the UK, meaning that c. 247,000 jobs have been generated by the creative industries since 2011.

Star Wars theme park announced by Disney at D23 Expo


ossibly the biggest news from Disney at this years D23 Expo was the announcement that they will be building a 14 acre Star Wars Land. Disney’s aim is to, transport guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.”

8_15_WDI_003-1024x576Every store and restaurant will be run by characters and locals, and Disney has already began casting people to work there and play them. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said:

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars. We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

Star Wars: Rogue One full cast photo revealed at D23 Expo


Disney has revealed a first look at the cast of Star Wars: Rogue One. The photo features cast members Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen. They also revealed a further cast list, including:

  • Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale)
  • Diego Luna (Milk, Killing Them Softly)
  • Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, Mississippi Grind)
  • Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Blade II)
  • Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly, Devils on the Doorstep)
  • Forest Whitaker (The Butler, The Last King of Scotland)
  • Alan Tudyk (Con Man, Firefly)
  • Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Four Lions).


Captain America: Civil War footage shown at Disney’s D23 Expo


Marvel Studios presented fans at Saturday’s D23 Expo with an exclusive preview of their first Phase Three movie, Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios boss kevin Feige was joined onstage by cast members Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie to promote the superhero epic.

The footage opens with Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon dealing with Crossbones as the villain attempts to blow up a truck. During the fight, Crossbones tosses a magnetic explosive at Cap’s shield, and the hero throws it into the air so that the explosion avoids the crowd.


‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will be everything we hoped for and more… #SDCC

l0GBR1Z (2)

This weekend fans at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H were treated to a special behind the scenes look of the creation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Director J.J. Abrams, Producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan were joined on the stage panel by cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.

The behind the scenes footage shows just how much effort Abrams and the Lucasfilm team have gone into reviving the magic of the original trilogy and bringing it into the modern age of film. Using practical sets and props, utilising CGI as little as possible. All of which has been done here in the UK.

The wonderfully talented Titan of cinema Sir Christopher Lee has died at 93

CHRISTOPHER LEE as the Wizard Saruman the White in the fantasy adventure “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY,” a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.

Sir Christopher Lee, the undoubted Titan of Cinema has sadly died at the age of 93.

Lee appeared in hundreds of films through his career, most recently (and probably most memorably) played Saruman the White in Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, and Count Dooku in Star Wars.

He was the cousin of Ian Fleming, the writer and creator of James Bond and was the only member of the LOTR cast to have actually met J.R.R Tolkien. He serves in the RAF during WW2 and joined the SAS on classified missions. He even hunted Nazi war criminals after the war.

On top of all that he was in a heavy metal band that released albums every Christmas.

Legend. Christopher-Lee-christopher-lee-17378721-440-560

Tidal, an overpriced music streaming service that only benefits millionaires.. #TIDALforALL don’t you mean #MONEYforYALL


Hello all, it’s been a while I know. But something called Tidal left me so miffed this week that I felt the need to vent my frustration on here.

As many of you know some of the biggest names in music came together this week to launch a new product which they claimed was “groundbreaking”, “revolutionary” and would “change the world forever” – in reality it was nothing new at all.

The bizarre promotional video for this new project began with some of the biggest artists from the music industry coming together and discussing the new product around a table. Each of them dishes out a one-liner on how this is going to change the world, and then it cuts to clips of them drinking champagne together. At no point do they mention what the product is, or what it does – it instead gives the impression that this is some kind of social justice campaign. That artists are coming together, presumably to make music more accessible to the world. However you immediately identify that these people are egomaniacs – at the very beginning you hear lines like “… it’s like the beginning of a new world”, “this is a historic day”, “change the course of history forever” and then around 58 second mark you hear Beyoncé say “this collaboration feels so ego-less..” Hang on, have you not heard what all of you have been saying?!

Then we have the launch event. Alicia Keys takes to the podium, what follows is four whole minutes of pretentious drivel, followed by a tedious set piece where the artists step forward one by one to scribble their names on a declaration… A declaration presumably to make their pockets all the more deeper with cash.

Ultimately after such a egotistical promotional video and ceremony, we were all expecting something that was going to reinvent the music industry. Instead we got Spotify Mark II with a much higher price ticket.

What has Tidal actually achieved? Its selling points: it’s artist-owned, and higher quality.

If they can produce a system which has better sound quality then great, well done you. But please spare us all this bollocks about revolutionizing the world and changing our lives forever. Its sound quality, hardly a bloody cure for cancer.

Now what do we mean by “artist-owned”.

Physical sales have gone down substantially, why? Downloading is all the more popular and far cheaper and convenient. We can stream entire albums for a few pounds a month and so for emerging talents and indie artists, life can be difficult. If there was actually a streaming site available – a co-operative for musicians to run whereby there was an equal distribution of profits then this would be a different story…

But this is Tidal.. The shareholders are the artists you saw on that stage, with a combined wealth of over $2.7 billion. They are the ones set to profit from Tidal, not small time artists who are struggling to make it in the industry. “This is for the people, by the people” said Beyoncé. What she really meant was it’s for us super-rich artists by us super rich artists, and we the people can pay the extra price.

What makes this all the more infuriating? According to Alicia Keys, Tidal is some sort of crusade to save the world, “Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives”, she said. Madonna then followed this up by posting an image on Instagram with the caption: “If you refer to Tidal as Illuminati, you are paying us the highest of compliments. As I’ve stated before it is another name for ‘The Enlightened Ones’ a group of scientists, philosophers and artists that emerged after the dark ages. They changed and shaped the world for the better! Do the research and find out for yourself!” – I mean c’mon folks really?

Here’s a point, with their combined wealth these artists could help end world hunger. Why not chuck some money at that instead?

I mean sure guys, take on Spotify and see how far you get with your overpriced, relatively average product. But to do it under the guise of some community project, with a higher moral purpose? What planet are you on?

A 1926 London Underground painting foresaw the city’s skyscrapers


Most artistic visions of London’s future have been darkly pessimistic. But this Underground poster painted by Montague B Black in 1926 offered an uncanny – and much more optimistic – view of the modern city.

untitled (74)

In 1926, London Underground published a poster painted by Montague B Black, a publicity artist who also created images for Liverpool’s White Star Line, which imagines London in 2026. A golden sky enfolds a cityscape of skyscrapers over which various types of flying machine hover.