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Review: Star Trek Discovery

As you can see from my other posts, I naturally commentate on political proceedings but I like other forms of writing as I grow tiresome of the ebb and flow of the ‘what will happen next’ current affairs. I want to do a more lighthearted piece. So I thought about what I spend most of my time doing, watching TV! I gave the new Star Trek on Netflix a watch after being hesitant at first. Part of me felt like they’d ruin it but the better half of me wanted to be immersed in the Star Trek universe once more.

Well I was aggravated but not surprised at what was going to be obvious. Star Trek: TOS pushed boundaries for it’s time mainly down to racial recognition, having one of the first regular stars in a TV show to be Black and one of the first interracial kisses (Kirk and Uhura) on TV (preceded by the kiss on none other than my grandmother’s brainchild Crossroads). Which is all well and good but you could tell they were really going to force the issue in this series. The main character, Michael Burnham is a black female as lead (shocker…!) and then the over representation of minorities goes over board. Her Captain Georgiou is an Asian female, the ships doctor and chief engineer are gay together and the former is also a black male, as the story progresses Michael’s love interest is an arabic male. I could go on but I won’t, I understand that we live in a world where these things happen, but not on this scale and all in such close proximity. I’m a stickler for authenticity and realism in shows and this hums of pandering to liberal attitudes to shows that don’t include minorities. I think it’s quite insulting to the viewer to assume that most of the crew on board a secret ship are to be mostly made up of minorities especially in the chain of command. It feels so forced that it’s unwatchable in certain episodes. The gay kiss served no purpose other than to say they put it in there, as they then (spoiler alert) kill off the doctor. Same with the party scene where they’re stuck in a time loop, they inserted random lesbians making out into the scene. It’s so in your face and the thing is you can almost bet that before this thing went to the editing suite, there was more random footage they cut.

Anyway, once you get passed the overt LGB & BME poster boys and girls, the storyline isn’t all that bad. Discovery is a secret scientific vessel that has warp capabilities like no other. Although when you come to think about it, they did try and introduce transwarp in Star Trek III : Search for Spock, but Scotty disabled it and they left the idea alone. Which makes me think that the spore drive idea will be dumped soon too. Otherwise we will wind up in an alternate timeline away from the TOS timeline, which wouldn’t make sense because they’ve already made links to it. For example (spoiler alert) Michael being Spock’s adopted sister. Which is unlikely but still plausible because he didn’t let anyone know about his crazy brother Sybok in Star Trek V : The Final Frontier.

The continuation from TOS in the sense that they’ve included the mirror universe with the Terran Empire, is one of the key plots that saves this series as it’s hardwired in all Star Trek fans, we all 1) like the idea of the multi layered space/time continuum and 2) love the science behind it all. The mycelial (?) network is a stroke of genius as it creates that never ending feeling of the vast openness of space and/or the universe(s). That is the binding of the Star Trek family, to look up at the stars and have the yearning for exploration. There’s still a pit in my stomach creating the feeling that this could become Voyager though, mainly because Discovery is missing from standard Star Trek history books, indicating that they will get derailed from the network and be stranded in an alien galaxy or gamma quadrant without the spore drive yadda yadda yadda you get the idea.

Moving on, (spoiler alert) great spin on the Lorca character turning out to be from the Terran Empire all along, yet again not surprising that the baddie turned out to be British and white (historically most American blockbusters have a British guy as the baddie, almost like they cling to the idea they have to relive beating the British colonial past over and over). From Die Hard (Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber) to Marvel Avengers (Tom Hiddlestone as Loki) there’s always a white british guy being bad!

Going forward, there needs to be more fighting with the Klingons, as that is the main reason they picked this era. I’m not sure they have it in their budget to have another battle like the Binary Stars but it’d be good to see. Yet again I think they should kill off the other gay character as he is really annoying and condescending, you can tell he isn’t a fan favourite. Although the show’s new target audience might lap up his ‘gay sassyness’ which is really grating and yet again forced. I feel slightly let down as this was made by some of the same guys from Lost and have been involved with J J Abrahms in the past, which makes sense as he had control over the movie reboot. I just thought they’d pay more homage to the existing universe and try at least to keep the existing fans on side.

The one thing I did want to bring up was the ‘new look’ Klingons, which we got a glimpse of in Edge of Darkness. They have carried on with this but you wonder where the natural progression of the species comes into it. I know it’s 100 years before Worf but how can they justify such an alteration to their genetic make up? I understand it’s probably to save time in make up and easier on the actors but for continuity purposes it bugs me. But that’s just me! Overall i’d give it a generous 7/10. Some of the acting props up my argument of them filling a quota rather than going for better actors. It didn’t blow me away like the movie reboot but it’s nice that it’s in a series format, as I feel you get more out of it. However, it does have more of a movie feel to it, almost like they shot a 10 hour movie and spliced it into sections. Whereas in TNG or TOS, they went on a different mission every episode (apart from 2 part end of season finales obviously!), i’m sure it will calm down in the next few episodes, i’m up to date as of this post (episode 10 I think). I will probably turn out to be wrong, as I think they’re slowly distancing themselves from the real trekkies and going for the new ‘all inclusive’ audience, which makes me want to dry heave.

If you’re into sci-fi then give it a watch, if not then i’d avoid it like the plague as without the love of sci-fi it’s probably unbearable to watch.

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No Longer A Beautiful Game

Here I go again, another football post. My last one got me thinking about things. I want to ask a question to people. Should we regulate football clubs and what they spend?

1. Wages – It has been revealed today that Wayne Rooney has signed a new deal at Manchester United, earning himself £300,000 a week, or £1.2M a month. I mean really? I understand world class players deserve to be paid a good wage because football careers are short and all that but still is he really worth that much? He’s not even world class anymore, in my opinion he never was. He was just England’s best striker, but in case you hadn’t noticed England aren’t amazing at international level. I think personally if you set a rate for wages, you’d get more quality footballers out there and bring the game alive again. Instead nowadays you just get athletes who can kick a ball and who are just after money and don’t care about the game. If you capped salaries, only people that were passionate about playing football as a career would play and you’d get real passion back on the pitch. There should be a wage structure in place for the big clubs much like in other companies and organisations. Everyone starts at the same wage, but you get bonuses for goals scored, clean sheets, wins & cups and like in a some jobs you get a raise every year of service for your club, encouraging players to stay at one club rather than going all over the place. Look at people like Steven Gerrard, Tony Adams, etc… one club men, something you don’t get anymore because people are lured away by big salaries. I don’t like that football as a game is run like a business now and it’s ALL about money.

 

2. Transfers – Transfer valuations are ridiculous. How do you value a player? I think they should reset valuations and the best players in the world should be valued at around £25 million. No player is worth more than that to a club. I mean I remember back when I was young, there was a player called Christian Vieri and he was sold for £28 million at the time and I literally couldn’t fathom the amount of money that is, but now that’s not really considered very much money, but just think about that number for a second. £28 million, in fact think of the number £1 million. A million pounds is a lot of money to normal people and after all football is ‘the working man’s game’. I just think that the big clubs ruin it for everyone treating it as a money game, yes Arsenal are included this also, I will happily put my hand up and admit that about my own club, but we aren’t that bad in comparison to some others. I will use the Gareth Bale sale as an example as well of course, do you really think that he is worth £86 million, that’s about the equivalent of 3 Juan Mata’s right? Is he three times the player of Mata, no. It could do with a serious overhaul.

 

3. Contracts – Contracts mean nothing anymore, they should just do away with a “4 year contract” and do a yearly contract with every player so there’s no confusion. What’s the point in having a contract when nowadays most players are bought before it even ends, there’s no loyalty anymore between players and clubs. You should trust the player and that he wants to stay at the club, so when it comes around to the end of the contract, he can decide to stay and sign an extension of a year again or he can move onto another club for a fee.

 

4. Nationality – I know they’ve tried to clamp down on it but it’s not an English game like it once was, I don’t know what percentage of the team has to be English but I don’t think it’s enough. Yes yet again I know Arsenal are bad for this and I know it makes the Premier League one of the best in the world for it’s diversity, but the reason we aren’t great on an international level might have something to do with the big clubs not having enough room for English talent. I’ll use Arsenal as an example as I know the team well, of the starting 11 how many are English (or potential starting 11)? Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade- Chamberlain and Walcott. So that’s 4 of 11. That’s not even half, this is where we are going wrong, if all the teams were made to have more English players at their clubs it would be so good for young English talent.

 

 

5. Tackling – I know this is off topic but I need to put it out there as this is a football post, but I miss a good strong tackle nowadays. If it’s one thing that needs to change about the current game is what is deemed as a good challenge. I’ll use that Wes Brown challenge on Charlie Adam a couple months back as a PERFECT example. Wes Brown committed to a strong sliding challenge and won the ball, which when I was growing up you were taught to do, as long as you got the ball it didn’t really matter too much about connecting with the other player, it’s a physical sport at the end of the day. However, he slightly clipped Charlie Adam in doing so, who didn’t even go to ground I might add, and Wes was sent off for the intent of the challenge, the intent of winning the ball?! It’s just too crazy all these rules that the FA come up with and it’s spoiling the game that I know and love, red cards should be left to an accumulation of yellow cards, violent conduct and straight red offenses like tackling from behind.

 

6. Diving – This needs to be stamped out in every sense. To start they need to change the term from “winning a free kick/penalty” to “being awarded a free kick/penalty” after all it is down to the referee to decide not the players to go out looking for them. If you are fouled whilst trying to play the ball then a foul is awarded, it’s shameful players look for any contact and go down just to get a free kick or penalty. We should be encouraging them to stay on their feet and carry on, then bring the play back and penalise the offender, for my example I shall use an Arsenal vs Liverpool game from my childhood, where Robbie Fowler was through on goal, tried to round David Seaman, Seaman tried to pull out of the way and Fowler lost his footing as he was clipped, instead of making a big deal of it, Fowler went to the referee and said it wasn’t a foul and play was resumed. You wouldn’t even dream of seeing that today, now they are told to win the penalty and go down if caught at all. I think it’s ridiculous.

 

 

Sorry for going so off topic on the last two but i’m passionate about football as a game and hate what has become of this amazing sport these days.

 

My Team And Me

After a long break from blogging i’ve decided to pick up the baton and carry on as it were. After much deliberation as to what I should start on, I thought i’d take a leaf out of my own book and start the way I did before and talk about Arsenal.

Despite what you’ve heard from the media, things within Arsenal couldn’t be much better right now. ‘How?’ I hear you say coming off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich? Well for a start there are more positives than negatives to be drawn from the game. For a start, I believe if Szczesny wasn’t sent off the whole complexion of the game would of been different, considering our defensive record at home is impeccable, it would of freed up time and space for our offensive players to get to work like they did in the first 15 minutes. Let’s say for example that we went on to win that game 2-0, keeping a clean sheet and scoring a couple of chances, people would be writing Bayern Munich off. Considering what happened last year when we famously went to the Allianz Arena and won 2-0, albeit getting knocked out on aggregate, it was a statement of intent being the first English team to do so. So I wouldn’t be so quick to write off our chances this year, with Fabianski taking Szczesny’s place, who incidentally is going through an amazing patch right now (watch the Arsenal v Liverpool FA Cup match), arguably the best defensive partnership in the Premier League Mertesacker & Koscielny, the anchors of midfield Flamini & Arteta, a plethora of attacking talent to choose from in midfield and a promising young talent in Sanogo. If we get off to the same start we did the other night in Munich then expect a very hard fought and surprising result.

Yes, admittedly we lost 2-0 and it will be hard to come back from that, especially if Bayern score first in the second leg. However, I still think that the defeat will kick the team up the arse and evoke a strong response from them. If Oxlade-Chamberlain starts expect him to be a key player in the match. I also expect Podolski to have a good game if he’s involved. But most of all, in the last game I was impressed with Sanogo. I will stand by Wenger’s decision to not buy a striker in the transfer window if Sanogo develops properly and is nourished by Wenger, much like another young Frenchman that came to the club! Also it’s worth remembering that Henry himself didn’t score for 8 games when he first started at Arsenal. Now I shouldn’t compare the two I know, but I just want people to get perspective in regards to the situation and not write the young man off too early. If it’s one thing Wenger knows about it’s teaching and guiding young players, all you need to do is look at Aaron Ramsey, someone who even myself over the years have bad mouthed. He’s easily one of the best midfielders in the league and he’s done that by proving all the haters wrong, Wilshere, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Szczesny all joined at young ages, a couple through the academy others joining from other clubs at around 16/17/18/19, now look at them!

If you look back over our baron trophyless seasons you begin to understand why we haven’t won things and understand what’s going on in the background. I knew nothing at the time only being a young teenager and not looking into how the club was run, me being 23 now and paying attention to most things behind the scenes. The best place to start would be the Champions League Final 2006, not the FA Cup in 2005 as most people say was the start of our ‘downwards spiral’. People forget that the season after our last cup we won, we reached the Champions League Final beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the process (another first for an English team I believe). Yet again in circumstances that remind me of the other night, Jens Lehmann became the first goalkeeper to be sent off in a Final, and we chased a Barcelona team for the rest of the game, had that red card never been issued I believe we’d of outplayed and beaten Barcelona, much like Bayern Munich the other night, but we didn’t and that was the fateful night that started the ‘disbelief’ of Arsenal fans and pundits alike. Bearing in mind though we still went and scored from that glorious Sol Campbell header, if we could score one against Barcelona with 10 men, imagine what we could do with 11. The following season we saw an exodus of core parts of our squad, they were part of the invincibles, the likes of Henry, Cole, Campbell & Lauren. This triggered a knock on effect and we lost our top players each season from then on as we didn’t have a player of Henry’s calibre to bring in big signings.

Yet, this was a mastermind move from Wenger and the board of directors as the fees we received from all of these transfers were paying off the stadium we’d just moved into and creating more revenue, which in doing so freed up funds which are currently available this season. I never understood this obviously as I wasn’t paying attention, and now feel harsh of my criticisms of Wenger when I was a teen. Although I can resolutely say I have NEVER jumped on the ‘Wenger out’ wagon, he makes the club what it is and were he to go then expect to see what is currently happening at Manchester Untied or maybe even worse, considering it’s publicly known that several players have come out and said that if Wenger left they wouldn’t know if they’d stay, causing yet more unstability within the team and any new manager would have an impossible job. Apart from of course, the return of Thierry Henry who recently omitted his desire to return to Arsenal as a manager one day, which would be the only suitable candidate in my eyes. Although, Thierry needs to go and get some management experience under his belt first, but the raw talent and understanding of the game he possesses and his understanding of the club and how it works and our style of play would mean he would slip right in. I only write this as I can tell like many others that Wenger will leave the club in the next 3/4 years. Anyway back to the point, now we have the funds available, we are suddenly a big choice for big names, we proved this with the signing of Ozil. Think about it, we have an amazing squad available, players other players want to play alongside, we play Champions League football EVERY season, we are title contenders, we have a healthy history and a genius manager. One thing I will say, this summer watch for another German to come in, whether it be Draxler, Khedira, Emre Can or Bittencourt, it’s a pattern i’ve picked up on like the flood of french players that came in from the late 90’s/early 00’s who all wanted to play with Vieira, like Petit, Henry, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan, Clichy & Flamini. We already have Mertesacker, Ozil & Podolski, with the emergence of Gnabry, Eisfield & Zelalem from the youth set up. I think it would be fair to say we can expect one or two more German’s to join this year.

So to conclude, the reason I think we could go on and win the league if not any other competition is because we have rebuilt our core and with the funds available are on the verge of adding some real world class players to our already extensive squad, whilst still keeping a good balance! Also Ramsey is yet to come back from injury and could be the deciding factor in the latter stages of the season, only time will tell. Thanks for reading!

Film Review

The film i’ve decided to review is probably the best film out this year so far, Django Unchained. I picked this as my first choice to review as it was probably the easiest due the fact is was so good!! I shall start by pointing out that this is Jamie Foxx’s second best film he has made to date. The first still remains and probably always will remain, Ray. That’s not to take anything away from this performance as it was top class and he really filled the boots and made the character his own, I don’t think I could see many other actors in that role doing it quite as good.

Django : Jamie Foxx
Dr Schultz : Christoph Waltz

The supporting cast is well worth a mention, with Christopher Waltz playing Dr Schultz the German Bounty Hunter to great effect and poise, his character and Django compliment each other well, though an unlikely match up they work well together and like the Doctor says ‘the boy is a natural’. The script is well written and the plot develops at a reasonable pace so that even people that lose interest quickly can be held captivated by what’s going on. Also for the film buff like myself there’s enough to take in and keep an eye on.

The travelling Bounty Hunters
A violent shootout breaks out when the tables have turned

The film also gives a great insight into what it was like back in the slave trade days and the life of a plantation slave, and also that there was a hierarchy within the slaves which is something that I was unaware of until watching this film, you really do learn something new everyday!  This is shown through the loyal head house slave Stephen played by none other than Samuel L Jackson who supports the main protagonist Monsieur Calvin Candie brought to life by Leonardo DiCaprio. This character is depicted as being harsh but fair, he blossoms throughout and grows into the main aggressor and thus ensues the chain of events that lead to the end of the film, in true Tarantino style it goes out with a BANG!!

‘Monsieur’ Calvin Candie : Leonardo DiCaprio

Without trying to give too much away I can only say that this stellar cast really makes you feel a part of the action, there is plenty of action to go round and the only downside I can find with the film is that as you all know Tarantino is a blood and gore kind of director, however if anyone knows anything about guns of that era and what shooting someone with one actually looks like, it’s grossly exaggerated and unrealistic.

Stephen : Samuel L Jackson

This being the only hole I can pick in the movie I shall award a very gracious 4.5/5

Definitely worth a watch and I would recommend this film to anyone that would listen! You will not be disappointed.

Political Review

My final topic is the US and Europe.  This is in light of the rather hot and sticky situation to do with the EU referendum in the UK. I personally think we should leave the European Union for a number of reasons, first off why should we pay a membership fee for something we are not a full member of, secondly because are borders are completely open to any EU citizen which is something I feel strongly about and will come back to in a minute, thirdly we are being dragged down by our position that we are in currently, the ‘sitting on the fence’ not quite in not quite out stance that we have adopted. If we finally get out we can begin to establish ourselves as a major power on the world scene again and make Britain, Great Britain again. First off we should rule over our land and set the laws not devolve the power to the European Courts and have a similar system to America where we have a High Court of the land, much like the supreme court. We can set our own laws and can finally scrap ECHR which rapes our country every day. I believe in keeping certain aspects of ECHR obviously common sense dictates that we should keep the rights to a fair trial and not being brutal savages to prisoners etc… however we should do something about immigration straight away. Completely shut our borders as we are full already, anyone who disagrees is blind as to what is going on.

Truth is we should have shut our borders in the 90’s and it would have saved our once great nation from falling to it’s knees. First thing to do would be if a foreign national commits a crime and is convicted of it he or she should be made to serve the sentence in their own country and never be allowed back into our country, thus solving the problem within our prison system where taxpayers are paying to keep foreign nationals in prisons where they are treated very well and are even paid, where is the justice in that? It would also free up a lot of space in prisons and would stop overcrowding and also phase out the electronic tag which was introduced because prisons couldn’t cope with the amount of people being put inside. Next thing to do is stop all work visas and anyone renewing theirs which would free up jobs for British people, making a dent in the unemployment figures. I will continue this topic another time as I feel I could write about it for hours!

I will bring it back to the original topic at hand, will the US and the UK still have so much of a ‘special’ relationship if we leave? I tend to think not if what Barack Obama said is any indication. I personally think we are just a pawn on the international stage as we have a certain influence over Europe. If we leave we no longer serve a purpose of ‘getting your foot in the door’ of Europe and negotiating trade between nations. However I can see some positives, if it will suddenly cost so much more for us to import things from the EU as we will no longer be a member, we can create the jobs here to do it all ourselves and start up industries or improve the ones we have. We could also potentially find new partners in trade? We should also start up manufacturing like we had back in the 80’s, as we were quite the powerhouse back then before everyone went abroad to employ cheap labour but this could be the shunt we need to repair our economy by making our own money as it seems everything that used to be British has been sold off or merged into larger companies. We also need to look at our expenditure on foreign aid, and before you jump all over that I want to just clarify where i’m going with this. We still supply aid to China and India which in the current state of things are two massively booming countries who are more than capable of supporting themselves? Why should we give money to countries that are better off than us? I really do wonder if the people in power know what they are doing and where all the money is going? One of the only downsides I can see is that if we leave the EU, I think Scotland will leave the UK and gain independence which will be a big blow due to the small amount of oil that we have out at sea in the North sea in Scottish waters.

Everyone has their own views on what we should do, but I think as a so called ‘democracy’ if the people want to vote on something, they should be allowed to as we are the people that put governments into power in the first place we should get a say in which way our country is heading.