Monday, 20 July 2009


It has been suggested that there could be a place for the inimitable Jason Statham in my biblical epic. I confess that the idea did occur to me at the time; but I figured that as we already had Vin Diesel on board, Statham wouldn't be bringing much more to the table.

However, having thought about it a bit more, I now realise that such a pairing would be as cinematically significant as when Al Pacino and Robert De Niro starred alongside each other in Heat. Perhaps even more so.

So Statham gets a part as one of the twelve Disciple All-Stars. As does Goldie. And Captain Rex Kramer.

Mostly, the Disciples are a twelve man wrecking crew of ultimate bad-asses, who roam around enforcing God's will through the most violent means possible; but when they encounter an especially formidable foe, or perhaps stumble across a village whose inhabitants worship other gods - gods not known unto them - they will merge for the kill Devastator-style and open a can of smite-ass on the unrighteous.

Sean Bean will play Judas.

Still struggling to find a role for Adam Sandler; but I think it may involve stoning.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

straight to hell

Went to see the ever awesome 65daysofstatic last week at The Thekla. The Boy and I arrived a bit late, and so missed the first half of support band Let's Talk Tactics' set; though we did get to hear it blaring out from the bowels of the good ship Thekla as we queued. That was enough to convince us that we didn't need to see the second half of their set, and that our time would be better spent getting drunk on the top deck.

65daysofstatic were great, though. They tend to get categorized as a post-rock band, largely due to the clean guitar sound, absence of vocals, and melodies that are equal parts intricate and soaring; but where they triumph is in taking the drawn out and slow build up of post-rock, and replace it all with pounding pounding techno music. Or, failing that, just more guitars. Behold!

Suffice to say, a good time was had by all - apart from the girl whose nose got broken by some towering thug who
really loved 65days, and managed to inflict his love on everyone within a two metre radius by the most physical means possible. Jerk.

The next day I went to Silverstone with like-minded nerds, to watch cars go round and round and round and round as part of the World Series by Renault. We got to watch a variety of single seater and road car races, got deafened by a couple of Renault F1 demonstrations, marveled at the fact that so many French cars and drivers got around the track without breaking down/going on strike, were astonished by the fact that 1992 F1 world champion Nigel "Isle of Man Iron Man" Mansell could still fit into a car, and got to wander down the pit lane taking pictures of cars in various states of undress.

Mmmm... engineering porn...

Some of the cars even looked good with their clothes on.

But most of the photos I took ended up being of an empty patch of tarmac, with the blurred rear quarter of a racing car disappearing off the left hand side.

So, downtime's been mostly pretty fine. And work time?


I've only got four weeks left at grown-up work, and I've pretty much checked out already. Over the past month or so I've been slowly eking out my lunch break, starting it a little bit earlier, finishing a little bit later... I'm now at the point where my lunch break takes up about half the day, with the remaining half made up of various impromptu tea breaks. I spent almost all of Friday last week reading through the
spEak You're bRanes archive, where a pleasing selection of the most alarmist/right-wing/me fail English that's unpossible/ill-informed comments from the "Have Your Say" section of the BBC website are ridiculed by venomously sarcastic individuals, who similarly seem to think that their opinion matters (though I'm sure that the irony is not wasted on them). It is now my most favouritest thing in the world.

Meanwhile, I found what may now rank amongst my least favouritest things in the world (along with spiders, country music, and the taste of earwax) in the staff dining room at the Big Gay Department Store the week before last.

For those of you not gangsta enough to decipher the above title, it's called "The Street Bible". It reads like a bible that's been re-interpreted and re-written by a forty year old with a tenuous grasp on urban culture, in a vain attempt to make it appeal to young people. Because that's exactly what it is. If I may read from Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1:

First off, nothing. No light, no time, no substance, no matter. Second off, God starts it all off and WHAP! Stuff everywhere! -Genesis 1:1

Jeeping fuck. After a while, God speaks to Moses and explains that he's his main man, but he can't come into heaven 'cos of what he done, but he's still his main man, and he needs to go out onto the mountain and lay the Big 10 down for his people.

I don't mind religion, I really don't. It's not for me, but if that's what you're into then go for it. But The Street Bible? Seriously?! Isn't it a bit... well... patronising?

Also, I think it misses the point somewhat. If the objective really is to make the Bible more appealing to youth culture, then just changing the language isn't enough. I think there are far more fundamental problems to be overcome.

The main one being that it's a book, and books aren't cool. It's got to be either a Hollywood Blockbuster, or a first person shooter. Possibly both.

Assuming that we go for a movie (we can always sell the game rights later as part of a massive merchandising deal), we can then set about dealing with the other problems with the Bible. These being, broadly speaking, everything else about it. It's a bit too old-fashioned, kids these days aren't going to want to identify with a bearded sandal-wearing hippy... the whole thing needs sexing up a bit.

So, Vin Diesel will play Jesus. He trundles into Bethlehem in a beat-up old Honda Civic Coupe, and no-one takes him seriously until tha Wise Krew (Chuck D, Xzibit and Antonio Fargas) roll up and bestow him with gifts of alloy wheels, body kit and undercar neon. He then hooks up with Moses (who will be played by Megan Fox, thus providing the all important love interest), and they go on to a series of adventures where they fight crime, preach love, heal lepers with their fists and blow shit up, all through the medium of extreme sports and street racing. The whole thing should run like a series of nu-metal music videos stitched together with some superfluous dialogue.

In the end, the fascist baddies that hate freedom have nail Vin Diesel to a cross because he's just too extreme. He'll stay there baking in the desert sun just long enough for a lingering shot of steam rising from his rippling torso, before snapping the cross over his spine like it was twig. He reveals that he is in fact from outer space, incinerates all the baddies with blinding shafts of white light coming from his eyes and mouth, grabs Moses and beams back to his home planet.

That's kind of the bare bones of it, anyway. It kind of feels right, but I can't help but think that it should have Adam Sandler in it somehow.

Friday, 3 July 2009

ben's nightmares

  • I'm standing in the corner of a field with a load of people I don't know. The field is bounded by a crumbling stone wall, punctuated with simple wooden gates. It's summer; the grass is green, the sun is out, and WWII German fighter bombers are circling overhead. We are sheltered from view beneath the trees, but we need to get to the other side of the field; so we sprint desperately to the opposite corner whilst the German aircraft drop bombs which erupt into billowing clouds of deadly yellowish smoke. Those of us that make it to the other side then have to run back again. And so on.
  • I'm at some sort of adventure holiday camp at the top of a snowy mountain. I'm supposed to be going to do some climbing or something with one of the instructors, but when we step outside men with balaclavas and submachine guns appear. The instructor steps in front of me when they open fire, but the bullets go through her and into me. We're each left with four gunshot wounds to the gut, and I have the bullets stuck in me. I'm not too panicked, because I remember from Reservoir Dogs that it takes a long time to die from a gut wound. After about ten minutes there's still no ambulance, so one of the other guys from the camp drives us down the mountain in his car. It's a flimsy black hatchback; a bit like an old 80's Fiat Panda, but more crappy. The seats have all been replaced with those flappy plastic chairs that you sometimes get at bus stops. On the way to the hospital, the driver stops off at a remote pub. He collects a fruit machine, but it won't fit in the car. I'm wondering why we aren't getting to a doctor.
  • There's a shopping mall. It's in the middle of a rolling green landscape, and is shaped like a UFO; a gleaming white lozenge on stilts, with tiny windows and a set of escalators leading up into its belly. Inside, it is more reminiscent of The Wellington Centre in Aldershot. There is lots of beige vinyl. At the far end of the mall is a little toy shop. It sells loads of the old Warhammer 40,000 figures from the early nineties. I'm buying Harlequins. With power fists.
  • I'm in my parent's house. It's nighttime. I'm looking out of their bedroom window, but the view is different to how I remember; instead of trees and houses and gardens, there's nothing but a devastated cityscape. Fires burn in the shells of ruined buildings. Overhead, a fleet of zeppelins with swastikas on their rudders are divebombing the city.
  • I'm in a ye olde lecture theatre. I've just finished giving a lecture to a bunch of college kids. They seem dismissive. As everyone leaves, I take off my shoes so I can change into my boots; but one of them is missing. Someone's stolen it. I decide to put my shoes back on. Someone's stolen one of them too.
  • I'm in a motorway service station, but it doesn't look anything like a motorway service station. Other people I know are there. The atmosphere is awkward. They sell mice in the service station. All the cages of mice are piled on top of one another. One of the mice escapes. The motorway service station also has a dance floor; it is governed by a single bouncer who is slim, wears a black suit and has a little beard. He leads me out through a long corridor, and tells me that I'm drunk and can't come in.