30 Apr

Say No To 0870

You know those 0870 numbers that companies so kindly provide instead of a real geographical number? Have you noticed that they are excluded from most inclusive call packages on landlines and mobiles? You can pay up to and over 8p a minute, and since they aren’t regulated like premium numbers they can keepm you on hold for ages, whilst they get a kick backl for every recorded message they play, since the company (in cash or benefit in kind) gets a kickback from the telecoms provider.

It has always annoyed me to ring a company and then be on hold for 20 minutes and then be passed back and forth, and even more so when it could be costing me more than a quid (Sky are particularly bad at this). Fortunately some consumers have kicked back and launched a site that lists as many of the normal phone numbers for companies that they can find. For example not only do they have the normal geographical number for Sky but they even have an 0800 number listed. SayNoTo0870 is a consumer driven site and whilst it doesn’t have every number in the world, I have find it often gives you a much cheaper alternative.

04 Apr

Brothers Grimm

On the other hand, I watched the Brothers Grimm on Sky today and frankly this was a fantast for me. Slightly mad, wondefully imagined and realised, it mixes and matches fairy tales into a great tale mixing fantasy and the eponymous brothers. If you like rich complex work and liked Time Bandits or The Fisher King then try this.. oh and Matt Damon acts, I mean really acts..

03 Apr

300

I saw 300 at the weekend. I had so wanted to see if that I was deeply disappointed.

I thought it was a storyboard with almost no flow, but a series of muscular poses against CGI backdrops. I felt the portrayal of Spartans as defenders of Western civilization, whilst perhaps true, was unnuanced by the fact that Sparta was a hideous military aristocracy with the majority of the citizenship kept in perpetual serfdom. Xerxes grandad Cyrus is hailed as the first person to espouse human rights and yet the Persian Empire is shown as oppressors. The fact that the Thespians, who stayed with the Spartans for the last stand, were ignored, that the Athenian fleet fighting a sea battle to block the Persian fleet was ignored was all unhelpful. The simple fact that the Spartans and Athenians worked together to plan the blocking manoeuvre and that none of the shit about the ephors (who did exist then but certainly were not lascivious old priests) was true could have been forgiven but wasn’t great. Now, I rarely sympathise with the Iranian regime and I am not going to start now (Holocaust Denial Conference anyone) but the depiction of the Persians was insulting on so many levels. Why were the only baddies black or brown people? Why were the pederast Spartans not depicted as such but the Persians as perverts and freaks? Why does handicapped or disfigured equal evil in this film?

Now I can cope with a lot of artistic licence and I am sure that the argument that this is a narrative told utterly from a Spartan point of view might explain this appaling bias, but frankly does it really excuse making a film that Joseph Goebbels would applaud and Riefenstahl could have made?

It is fascist art, and I didn’t like it. 🙁

Sadly my friend gspearing and I disagreed and I may have put his nose out of joint with my vehemence, which was in no way aimed at him.