Thursday, 26 May 2011


In keeping with the general theme of, you know, everything changing, I thought David Bowie's excellent Changes suits the theme perfectly. Just be glad I didn't go with Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne's trip to Abominationsville:

Right then, back to my main point. So it's all happening for me at the minute! Now that all my exams are finished and second year at the University of Stirling is officially over, I'm putting my new plan into practice! As you may or may not know, I've decided to leave Stirling, and move up to Dundee, in search of new discoveries. (Sorry, couldn't help myself. Thing is, I laughed to myself for about a minute when I typed this. Does that make me a bad guy?)

Anyway, I'm getting off-point here. Basically, I've decided to not go back to Stirling and finish the rest of my Accounts degree. And don't tell me I've made a mistake, because I've heard it all before, in many variations from many different people. My primary reason for moving is that I want to do the English & Film Studies degree at Dundee. "Why not just transfer and do it at Stirling, may you ask?" Because I didn't enjoy the Film & Media work at Stirling. Most likely because in two semesters of Film & Media modules, there was almost no mention of films whatsoever, apart from that one time we watched a film about Al Pacino making a computer-generated actress who happened to win an Oscar. It wasn't particularly interesting. Whereas in Dundee, the FIRST MODULE has you watching Citizen Kane, The Big Lebowski and a Charlie Chaplin film, which would suit me down to the ground.

So that's why I have no interest in just doing the degree at Stirling. It's annoying that I'll have to pay for the first two years of the degree if I get in, but at least I'd still get a loan. But now that I have a job up in Dundee (I transferred to one of the Asda stores up here) with more hours than I worked in Falkirk - I miss that place already and I haven't been away a week - I should work out fine financially after the initial struggle of paying for the set-up costs for the phone/internet/heating/electricity/firing range. (Might not need to worry about one of those costs, it should be warm this time of year.) But after that I'll be fine. I've learned to curb my unnecessary spending, as I've only bought one film in ages (Black Swan!), only paid £2 for Mirror's Edge on PS3 this afternoon (I know a bargain when I see one) and stopped drinking fizzy juice and other sugary nightmares. As a point of reference, I've drank 9 litre-sized bottles of apple & raspberry flavoured water since Monday. A fact of which I'm strangely proud.

We move into the new flat tomorrow (Jesus, it's more obvious when you see it written out before you're eyes), and it'll undoubtedly be an all hands on deck situation all day, and I probably won't get a chance to read a paper. This may sound very trivial, but I actually love sitting down and going through the entire thing, cover to cover. While wearing slippers. Also, on an unrelated note, I'm 70 years of age. Benjamin Button WISHES he could be like me - with the scarily dashing good looks of a young man about town, but the frequent munching of Rich Tea biscuits, newspaper reading and habitual complaining of a man almost four times my age. And now I'm remembering Benjamin Button was played by Brad Pitt. Goddammit.

AAAAAAAAANYWAY, the main point that you should have taken from what I just came up with in my mindbox there is that I like reading the paper very much and not having much time to read it is something that tends not to happen very much, so when it does, I'm understandably grumpy, which really doesn't do wonders for the old man image I'm making for myself. But it won't really take much away from the excitement of getting into the new flat, I can imagine, what with having the TV and PS3 eventually taking pride of place in the living room. Some things will never change. A good thing that's came from three weeks of not having my PS3 readily accessible is that I've been reading more again, which I enjoyed. When I say reading, I mean I've ran through my (admittedly quite small) comic book collection, having just finished Marvel's Civil War mini-series just this week.

I've also made some new discoveries in the world of music this week (another unnecessary Dundee joke - should stop before it goes too far), with three rather good bands, new and old: Passion Pit, The Vaccines, and most recently, Test Icicles, and here's the songs of each band I've listened to the most!

Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra) is delightfully short, so no excuses for having a listen, and Circle. Square. Triangle is difficult to describe, other than the drum beat at the start has you hooked from the beginning, the guitar sound is fantastic and it's just a song that I'd be happy to listen to over and over again. I have actually heeded my own advice, and if I hadn't put the song back to the beginning every time on the Spotify, I'd have ran out the 5-play count for the song about six, seven times over.

Little Secrets is possibly one of the happiest-sounding songs I've heard in a long time - a choir of kids tends to do that - and it's the sound track to a mash-up video of Donald Glover playing Troy Barnes in the best show on TV right now, Community:

Now try telling me you wouldn't want to watch that show.

So yes, I should probably get back to helping out with packing, I didn't expect to take so long writing this as I did, but I rather enjoyed doing it, I must say, since it's been a while that I actually wrote something original that wasn't based on a film I watched or something that other people were doing on Facebook. The last original, non-listy post was in November, hence the good feeling I'm getting at the minute. Also, quick question: If I'm going to be living in Dundee, should I change the title of the blog from Fear and Loathing in Falkirk?

I'll leave you with that question, and this Arctic Monkeys song - that in my opinion could easily feature Chris Cornell singing vocals and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a Soundgarden song - Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Catfish: Too Good to be True?

"They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They'd keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin."

Recently, More4 showed the 2010 documentary Catfish as part of its True Stories season, which is also featuring, among other films, Waltz With Bashir, Burma VJ and the recent documentary Tyson -which has interviews with the man himself - and the Oscar-winning documentary (which I think is about dolphins), The Cove. Here's the link for all of the films in the True Stories series, and some of them are still available on 4OD, but Catfish isn't one of them:

Now the fact that Catfish has been screened by More4 along with these other factual documentaries (which is obvious, otherwise they wouldn't be factual in the first place), I'd reckon that puts the argument over whether the film's fake or not to bed. Because I went into watching the film knowing that there had been a lengthy debate over the film's authenticity for some time, I often found myself throughout the film trying to cross-reference parts of the story and making sure that it all added up, which annoyed me. Granted, there's nothing I could do about this, since I couldn't exactly forget what I'd heard, but it didn't really make any difference. I'm utterly convinced that what happened in Catfish is real, all of it. The only thing I can see that might call the film's authenticity into question is that things develop very quickly and everything seems to come into place a bit too well, but who cares? Are we so concerned with things going wrong or taking ages to happen that when things DO happen with relative ease, it's so difficult to accept? Now I'm not going to spoil any of the film, because luckily no-one spoiled it for me, so it'd be harsh for me to do the same. On that note, I can't remember who did it, but I'll never forgive the person who spoiled Empire Strikes Back for me, even if it was just a passing mention on the TV. Everyone should see that film.

Now, back to Catfish. There are events in this film that will astound you. Astounding because you have no idea what's going to happen, and when it does, you didn't expect it at all. Yes, it was marketed on the premise that "are people who they say they are?", but MY GOD! Seriously, I can say nothing without spoiling the film - which I, again, have no intention of doing, but you just need to find a way to watch it. It's out on DVD if it's not repeated on More4 again, so give it a look.

While I'm sure it's definitely a documentary and not a scripted film, it seems to be part of a trend that's  been happening in cinema over the last couple of years: Found-footage/documentary-style films. Another prime example, and the film that's attracted the most comparisons to Catfish, is I'm Still Here, the Casey Affleck-directed "documentary" about Joaquin Phoenix's short-lived rap career, which gave all the impressions of being real before its release, but all notions of that quickly faded after it came out, when I'm sure Affleck pretty much said it wasn't real. After Phoenix's appearance on David Letterman, you'd think he was being serious enough:

I haven't seen it yet, and to be honest, probably never will, but it's an intriguing concept. But having Phoenix say on Letterman a year and a half later that it was a critique on the media's reaction to celebrity and reality TV, or something like that anyway, seems a bit pretentious, especially when the film made less than half a million dollars, given its wide release. Unfortunately, Paranormal Activity's definitely part of that trend as well, and with a third instalment on its way this year, it seems to be a very profitable trend indeed.

And on a bigger scale, J.J. Abrams' Super 8 is being released on June 10th in the US, but it's not coming to the UK until August 5th, which is annoying. The addition of Steven Spielberg as a producer will undoubtedly help its chances at the box office, since Cloverfield, a very similar found-footage monster movie - directed by Matt Reeves, with Abrams receiving a producer's credit - made $170million worldwide over a $20million budget. I can imagine that because Spielberg's on board, the studio behind Super 8 might expect a fair bit more. I had envisioned myself writing about Cloverfield's box office grosses not expecting much, but $170million is a massive amount of money for a film like that! But then again, it got some heavy marketing behind it...

Monday, 18 April 2011

The 30 Day Gamers Challenge

Day 1 - The Game That Got You Hooked on Gaming

I remember vividly spending hours at a time after school playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, the game that not only got me spending ages at a time playing it, but also kicking off a love of skateboarding games. It's a shame, though, that the series went so far downhill after American Wasteland, and then a couple of years later, EA's Skate came on the scene and I've never played a Hawk game since. I bought THPS2 this morning from eBay, and can't wait for it to arrive.

Day 2 - Your Favourite Game Ever

If you don't like spending a lot of time watching cutscenes, then Metal Gear Solid 4 is most definitely not the game for you. If you do, however, then by God, are you in for a treat. The game's probably got one of the most engaging storylines I've ever seen, and it's one of the few games that's made me actively care about what happens to the characters. I couldn't think of a better way for Solid Snake to bow out. It's also the prime reason I bought a PS3 after my Xbox died on its arse.

Day 3 - Your Favourite Arcade Game

Metal Slug, probably one of the best arcade games ever, always reminds me to the Megazone. If I wasn't downing a bottle of orange-flavoured Panda Pops, munching an ever-present hot dog or looking at the scoreboards to see how badly I'd played, then you could see me playing this.

Day 4 - Your Favourite PC Game

At times, Football Manager 2009 has been the bane of my existence. Every time I start with a new team, I either do amazingly for 5 seasons before the save file corrupts itself, or I just ruin every team I join. Sadly, the second option happens far more often than the first.

Day 5 - Your Favourite Console Game

Metal Gear Solid 4. It is my favourite game, after all.

Day 6 - Your Favourite Game Intro/Teaser/Trailer

I looked forward to Grand Theft Auto IV so much after this first trailer came out. It said so little, but promised so much.

Day 7 - Your Favourite Fighting Game

To be perfectly honest, any one of the Tekken series could have been here, but I picked Tekken 6 because there's so many characters to choose from, and the game looks amazing. Very much looking forward to Marvel vs Capcom 3, though.

Day 8 - Your Favourite Third Person Game

Because you can play Metal Gear Solid 4 in first person as well, the honours here go to Grand Theft Auto  IV. Trying to escape the police with a five-star wanted level while driving a bus never gets old.

Day 9 - Your Favourite Console

The Playstation 3 takes this one, not only because it's the console I'm currently using, but because it plays Blu-rays, has free online play, you can't get Metal Gear Solid 4 for anything else and it has a huge hard drive. Top-notch!

Day 10 - Your Favourite FPS Game

As good as Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops are, their campaign modes kinda suck, given that the stories make no sense whatsoever. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, however, has not only a story that is impressive, gameplay that's easy to pick up and play, but a nightmare to finish on the highest difficulty levels, but also contains the stellar multi-player that spawned a thousand inferior knock-offs.

Day 11 - Your Favourite Game Soundtrack

Nowadays, whenever a decent game has a soundtrack, they end up just having a crappy selection, with maybe one or two great songs in it, in order to appeal to the widest audience possible. Anamanaguchi's soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game does the exact opposite, and I love it for that very reason, among others.

Day 12 - Your Favourite Survival Horror

Yeah, the Resident Evil games are alright, but I just found them difficult more than anything else. Dead Space, on the other hand, is totally solid, but it's scary as hell, and even though I never actually got round to finishing it, I jumped out of my seat on a number of occasions. It's like The Terminator: once I finish it, I'll never play it again. Except I'm now almost 20 years old, and being wee isn't an excuse for being scared shitless anymore.

Day 13 - Your Favourite Driving Game

Both Burnout Paradise and Race Driver: GRID are both so different games, I really can't choose between the two of them, so I've picked both. GRID's much more of a racing simulator, focusing on circuit-based races, but Burnout Paradise is way more of an informal game, which actively encourages you to crash and make as much damage as possible. And I love both in equal measure.

Day 14 - Your Favourite Handheld System

Even though I haven't played the PSP in aaaaaages, it's still way better than the DS, because of its graphics, games, memory stick capability and Internet browser. Plus, it has a fair few Metal Gear Solid games for it too, so there's another reason to love it!

Day 15 - Your Favourite Game Character

Solid Snake. You'll never find a cooler person. Really. That's an open challenge, by the way. 

Day 16 - Your Favourite Shoot 'em up

Grand Theft Auto IV's aiming system's what makes this my choice. With so many other games dying on their arse because you can't shoot properly, it's an important reason as to the game's success. Even though it might not be strictly a shoot 'em up, it's one of the very few games in which firing a rocket launcher into a crowd of chasing police is fun.


Day 17 - Your Favourite Online Game

Like I said before, Call of Duty 4's multiplayer is probably the most fun to play, when there isn't some 12 year-old dick camping or shouting over his headset, that is.

Day 18 - Your Favourite Handheld Game

Set just after Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is the best PSP game I've ever played. The sequel, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, comes a very close second though. You can tell I'm very much a massive fan of MGS.

Day 19 - Your Favourite RPG

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the RPG (after Final Fantasy VIII) that I've spent the most time playing, primarily because it's amazing, but also because there's so many ways to play the game, and the in-game area is gigantic. I can say that because I've found myself lost on multiple occasions. The expansion packs are really rather good as well.

Day 20 - Your Favourite Facebook Game

I don't have one, because I don't play them. The fact that you can buy Facebook gift cards in WH Smith, just so you can buy more cows in FarmVille or something like that horrifies me. Also, considering that Zynga, the company that makes it (and Mafia Wars) is worth over $850million shows how much money you can get for giving idiots something to do. 

Day 21 - Your Favourite Simulation Game

I'd say that would be Football Manager 2009 again, because it's such an immersive game and has so many statistics and options that you can't help but lose yourself in the game.

Day 22 - Your Favourite Puzzle Game

Tetris. No game is more addictive, or fun. It's fun in short bursts. It will destroy your mind if you play it for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Day 23 - Your Favourite Free Game

I have a free version of Tetris on my phone, if that counts...

Day 24 - Your Favourite Sports Game

The FIFA series, in the last two years or so, has finally overtaken Pro Evolution Soccer as the best football game on the market. FIFA 11 is definitely far and away better than PES 2011, I'd say...

Day 25 - Your Favourite Music/Family/Social Game

The Beatles: Rock Band is the most fun music game I've played, and it's even better with friends. Sure, there's a couple of songs that weren't included that might have made the game even more superb, but it's still great to play.

Day 26 - Your Favourite Side-Scrolling Beat 'Em Up

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game came very close to taking this one, but I can't not choose what's clearly one of the major influences on the game: Streets of Rage, on the Mega Drive. When I found an emulator for my laptop, the first thing I did was download the file for Streets of Rage. I'd rarely felt happier.

Day 27 - Your Favourite Platform Game

While the original game was the first PlayStation game I ever owned, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was the one I enjoyed playing the most. Come to think of it, Spyro: Year of the Dragon was also one of my all-time favourites. While newcomers like Ratchet and Clank have seemingly taken over as the top platformer, I'll never get tired of playing Warped, so much so that I bought downloaded it from the Playstation Store, along with Crash Team Racing. With the unlockable abilities, fun boss battles and great variation in the gameplay, you can't go wrong with it at all.

Day 28 - What Game Would You Like To See Made Into A Movie?

Yes, I know that a film based on the Uncharted series, which is probably one of the best action-adventure games ever (and it would have been mentioned earlier if there was a category for that), is currently under development, with Mark Wahlberg playing Nathan Drake, and with Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro playing family members (I think). While, yeah, Mark Wahlberg's pretty good, a much better fit for Nathan Drake would have been the similarly-named Nathan Fillion, who actually looks a lot more like the character anyway. 

See what I mean?

Day 29 - Name The Most Over-rated Game

I liked the Resident Evil series, like I mentioned earlier, especially Resident Evil 4. That was an amazing game for the Wii.Even though the games might have a similar control system, I just preferred Resident Evil 4 in every aspect to Resident Evil 5, from the characters, to the speed of the "zombies," to the setting of the game. It was well-received, but I really just didn't like what I played of it.

Day 30 - What's The Next Big Game You're Looking Forward To?

I watched the 12-minute gameplay trailer for Battlefield 3 this afternoon, and Jesus Christ, it's probably the best-looking game I've ever seen on a console. You'll need to watch in 1080p to get the full effect, but it looks fantastic. EA have said they want to try to break Call of Duty's grip on the market with this game. I'm going to go ahead and say that judging from this gameplay trailer - that apparently isn't even the final code for the game - they don't exactly have their work cut out to do it. Here's the trailer, enjoy:

So all in all, there's the insight into myself as a gamer. I'd say there's a pretty varied taste there, but have a go for yourself and see if any of the games tickle your fancy a wee bit. Cheers!

Friday, 15 April 2011

The 30 Day Film Challenge

First off, apologies for the current trend of list-based posts I'll be putting up. With songs last time, films on this occasion and games after that, you'll no doubt be looking for something else worth your time. It'll come, don't worry, got some ideas rolling about, you know.

Anyway, here's the 30 Day Film Challenge. I'll put up trailers/favourite scenes from each film, and maybe describe them a bit as well, just to fill it out a bit (well, more than the 30 YouTube videos would fill it out in the first place). So without further ado:

Day 1 - Your Favourite Film

This is actually an incredibly difficult question, but the definitive favourite has to be Almost Famous.

I've written so many times about why that film's amazing, so I won't go into it again. It's not even £3 on Amazon, so here: BUY IT, ALREADY!

Day 2 - Your Least Favourite Film

I'm not counting films that are so bad, they're hilarious (Student Confidential, Ground Control, I'm looking at you). Instead, I'll show you the trailer from the one film that actually drove me to snapping the DVD in half after I watched it. I present the WORST FILM EVER, 2012. I seriously hope Woody Harrelson and John Cusack only did this for the money.

Oh yeah, I snapped it because SPOILER ALERT Everything turns out OK at the end. HATED that film.

Day 3 - A Film You Watch to Feel Good

Probably one of the best films of last year (and certainly the film I saw the most often), Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I honestly can't find a fault with this film, and it was one of the contenders for Day 1, I'll have you know:

Day 4 - A Film You Watch to Feel Down

This also could have been in Day 2, but I would only ever watch The Phantom Menace again if I was being paid a substantial sum of money. Why would I EVER willingly watch something that totally ruined the reputation of what was one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time? With such a great cast, it should have went so, so well. Instead, it had Jar Jar Binks on hand to counteract every positive aspect of the film (of which there are few).

Day 5 - A Film That Reminds You of Someone

Hmm. This might be an odd choice, but Shaun of the Dead somewhat reminds me of myself, in that I too come up with zombie survival plans, albeit with none of them featuring a pub:

Day 6 - A Film That Reminds You of Somewhere

Even though it's totally the wrong place, In Bruges reminds me of the Battlefields trip in school. (We visited Belgium for the day, it's close enough.) I also just wanted an excuse to use this film, I loves it!

Day 7 - A Film That Reminds You of Your Past

As far as I can remember, Toy Story was the first film I ever saw at the cinema, and I remember queuing round the corner of the place to get tickets. There started my love affair with Pixar...

Day 8 - The Film You Can Quote Best

"It's all right, Andy! It's just bolognese!" is probably the best line in Hot Fuzz. I have no idea why, but it just cracks me up...

Day 9 - A Film With Your Favourite Actor

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's the name, and here's a trailer for (500) Days of Summer:

Day 10 - A Film With Your Favourite Actress

Easy A, starring Emma Stone:

Day 11 - A Film By Your Favourite Director

See, I don't really have a favourite director in particular, but if I were forced to give an answer, I'd probably say the Coen Brothers, because they really haven't put a foot wrong for the huge amount of time that they've been making films. Here's the trailer for Raising Arizona:

Day 12 - A Film By Your Least Favourite Director

That has to be Roland Emmerich, without question. Here's Independence Day:

Day 13 - A Guilty Pleasure

Moulin Rouge!, which I haven't actually seen in aaaaaages, but it's a film that I really did not expect to like...

Day 14 - The Film No-one Expected You to Like

"Glen Coco! Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco!" Yep, it's Mean Girls, probably the best teen high school comedy of all time that isn't Easy A:

Day 15 - The Film That Depicts Your Life

Leaving this one blank on purpose, because the fact remains that no film depicts my life because somehow I haven't yet been the subject of an award-winning biopic...

Day 16 - A Film You Used to Love, But Now Hate

Transformers. Not saying anything else about it, other than the fact that Michael Bay is just about as terrible as Roland Emmerich.

Day 17 - Your Favourite Drama Film

The Lives of Others, because there's going to be something else in Day 26. Shame that the guy playing Wiesler died a few months after the film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

Day 18 - Your Favourite Comedy Film

The video below has the subtitle "Funny Bits," but that doesn't do This Is Spinal Tap justice. The entire thing's just pure genius, and watching it NEVER gets old. I'm making it my mission in life to one day find the bootleg 4+ hour version of the film. You cannot dislike this film.

Day 19 - Your Favourite Romantic Film

Now I'm really not a fan of romantic comedies in the traditional sense, primarily because THEY SUCK. So here's Definitely, Maybe, a film that kind of turns the genre on its head, with Ryan Reynolds telling his daughter (Abigail Breslin) about how he met her mother, and getting her to guess which of the three women it was. Great film.

Day 20 - Your Favourite Action Film

Because the main character inspired Solid Snake, and it goes to show you that you can to a hell of a lot with a tiny budget, my favourite action film is John Carpenter's Escape From New York:

Day 21 - Your Favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film

While James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day came so, so close to getting this one, the best sci-fi film (and also the best sequel) of all time has to be Irvin Kershner's The Empire Strikes Back, which has a twist ending that M. Night Shyamalan could only have dreamed of having, and yes, Star Wars is really, really good, but Empire was the one film in the trilogy that I loved above the other two:

Day 22 - Your Favourite Horror Film

While this may not have been a horror film, per se, I've only ever watched The Terminator once, when I was about 6, I'm sure. And due to the fact that it scared me shitless, I'll probably never watch it again. It's the metal skeletons chasing Sarah Connor that did it for me. Even remembering it while I type this is giving me the shivers.

Day 23 - Your Favourite Thriller/Mystery Film

Dead Man's Shoes, by Shane Meadows, is just fantastically well-directed. There's twists abound, but best of all, Paddy Considine's performance is out of this world. Love this film.

Day 24 - Your Favourite Animated of Children's Film

I won't count Toy Story 3, because it made me cry. But because of the connection I've always had for Roald Dahl's books, Fantastic Mr Fox takes home the prize, because you don't see enough real character in animation these days (outside of Pixar), and I've always had a soft spot for stop motion films!

Day 25 - Your Favourite Documentary Film

Some Kind of Monster, the film that focuses on Metallica during the production of the often-slated St. Anger, actually makes me appreciate the album more, because it shows how close the band actually came to splitting during its production. Plus it's got Metallica in it, so what's not to like? But Lars Ulrich is a whiny little dick for pretty much all of the film.

Day 26 - Your Favourite Foreign Language Film

Goodbye! Lenin came very close to taking this one, as did Park Chan-Wook's terrifying Oldboy, but it has to go to Robert Rodriguez's debut, El Mariachi. Filmed on a tiny budget, part of which was financed by volunteering for medical experiments, I'm sure, it was the first foreign film I remember watching, and I still have it on VHS. It was pretty much remade in the much better-known Desperado, but I prefer this, and it's better than Once Upon A Time In Mexico by a country mile.

Day 27 - Your Favourite Independent Film

I could have went with Jean-Claude Van Damme's JCVD here, but instead this one's going to go to Kevin Smith's Clerks, not because it's a great film (which it isn't, not really anyway), but because it was the first American indie I ever saw that had a miniscule budget pretty much on par with El Mariachi, and the fact that Smith sold all of his comics and maxed out many, many credit cards to make the budget is a pretty good example of commitment to your craft.

Day 28 - The Most Obscure Film You've Seen

Without a doubt, this one has to go to Student Confidential. With a totally and utterly misleading poster:

(there's no assault rifles, or maces, in sight in this film), to the casting of Michael Jackson and Michael Douglas' far less successful brothers, this film is almost guaranteed to be one you've never heard of. That is, unless you've seen this, the worst ending in the history of cinema:

Day 29 - Your Favourite Film As A Kid

I think that one would still go to Toy Story again, primarily because it was the first film I ever saw on a big screen...

Day 30 - Your Favourite Film This Time Last Year

It has to be Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass:

Hopefully you'll check out a couple of the films there, if you haven't seen them already, that is!

Darren out, saying I want to tell you something I do know about: How to make inordinate amounts of money in the world of business!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The 30 Day Song Challenge

Yeah... So it's been quite a while since I've written anything on here. No excuses, may as well make the first post of the year a big one!

I only saw for the first time on Facebook today the existence of something called the 30 Day Song Challenge. Now given that I only saw this today, and people are already on Day 8, I don't really want to clog up people's news feeds like I did with Twitter (I've learned from that mistake, let's move on.) So instead of just doing 8 posts in a row, I'll just put up all 30 days now! So if you get to the end, thank you for your patience, you'll be rewarded with a great insight into how my mind works, in a musical sense, at least. Here we go!


Now this tends to change all the time, but for the last few weeks it's been this:


Seriously, ever since the abomination that is Glee came into being, I despise this song...


Wake Up. There was no other choice.

Featuring David Bowie - DOUBLE HAPPY!



Kirst, Hyde Park, Pearl Jam, June 25th, 2010. For lack of a better word, awesome...

(Not sure about the video quality, Flash had crashed on Google Chrome by this point)



For honesty's sake, I'm leaving this one empty. I can in no way dance to anything.


I didn't mean to, but I fell asleep to this the other day, if that counts:


Like my favourite song, my favourite band changes all the time, but now I'm very much enjoying these chaps. I actually can't find a fault with these guys.


Boybands are automatically discounted, because they aren't actually bands. However, this unfortunately is a band, and I have the misfortune of actively seeking them out online...


Can't say I've listened to this one in a while, but it's a good 'un. VERY ashamed of enjoying this.


Go back to Day 1. (Kidding.)



I'm leaving this one blank, because I haven't listened to the radio since the Download announcement on Radio 1, and I'm trying to forget that disappointment.


This, just for shits and giggles.






Yes, it's incredibly odd having the same song for two very different occasions, but I just love this song.



...which I'm leaving out.



Because I almost did this once.



So aye, that's it...

Darren out! 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

And There's No End in Sight - The Best of 2010

This, my friends, does in no way do justice to Arcade Fire's performance in Glasgow last night. Seriously, there are no words. Just saying "awesome" won't cut it at all. It was far and away the best gig I've ever been to in my life. I've seen Pearl Jam, Metallica, Biffy Clyro, Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against the Machine, and Arcade Fire were better than them all. Yes, even Bruce. They just put so much into the show, making every single song even better than it is on the albums, and by God, the songs are tremendous on the album! That video's the best quality I could find, but that's from Madison Square Garden a couple of months ago, and I know for a fact they sound awesome there, but they were so much better to hear them actually live.

This comparison might seem a bit weird, but I think it makes sense. Well, to me, at least. Seeing Arcade Fire live was like seeing Toy Story 3 for the first time. It was something I'd waited such a long time to see. Also, it was one of those things where the hype surrounding the event didn't even come close to how amazing the thing actually was. There have been so many bands and films fallen by the wayside, due to not living up to the hype, examples being the vast majority of bands championed by the NME, who rarely fail to disappoint me.

Most of all, what brings me to the comparison of Arcade Fire's live performance with that first viewing of Toy Story 3 is that after I saw Toy Story, it brought a tear to my eye, knowing that the trilogy had ended on the best way possible, and that if Disney have any sense whatsoever, they'll leave it the hell alone, and never make another. Toy Story 3 was among the best films of the year (I'll get to that later,) and one of the best of all time. Arcade Fire brought a tear to my eye, not because I'll never see them again, because I most definitely will, but I can categorically state that I will never see a better band live for the rest of my life. It was such a good feeling, but terrible at the same time for that very reason. Of course, I'll still enjoy seeing many, many more bands live, but not one will ever stand up to Arcade Fire.

Now that I've informed you all of the life-changing experience that is Arcade Fire live, I'll move on to the obligatory Best Stuff That Came Out This Year List, my Best of 2010. It's got games, films, CDs and gigs I've been to, but you can guess the winner of the last one...


Honourable Mentions:

Angry Birds (Android)
NBA 2K11 (PS3)

5. Scott Pilgrim vs the World - The Game (PS3)
One of the best movie tie-in games I've played of all time, and definitely the best downloadable game, by a mile. With Anamanaguchi's amazing chip-tune soundtrack (which is nearly as good as the film's,) four different playable characters, delightful 8-bit-esque graphics. The lack of online multiplayer means it's not higher up the list, but an update allowing you to play as Knives Chau might rectify that problem (I haven't got it yet).

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3)
The eagerly awaited follow-up in the series had high expectations after the record-breaking success of Modern Warfare 2, but manages to surpass them with a story that actually makes sense compared to MW2's, and fantastic multiplayer. Throwing a tomahawk straight at someone's face never gets old.

3. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
It shows there's still life in the PSP, and that big blockbuster-style games aren't only for the PS3. It'll keep me busy until MGS: Rising eventually gets released. Expect it in the list for next year!

2. FIFA 11 (PS3)
Of course, these games are rarely seen as little more than a squad update that you're paying forty quid for, but the improvements brought to this year's edition are noticable and greatly improve the gameplay of what is now the clear leader of the football game pack. Pro Evo has a lot of catching up to do.

1. Red Dead Redemption (PS3)
Grand Theft Auto with horses? No. Better than that. You get bored of GTA after the third playthrough, there's only so many times a six-star wanted level car chase is fun. With Red Dead, there's so many side missions and minigames to play, you're kept occupied for ages. Online is great too. Getting Paul to find me on the map to have a race, only to shoot his horse as I ride away was worth buying the game alone.

Now that you've seen my favourite games, here, my friends, are my films of the year!


Honourable Mentions:

The A-Team (Joe Carnahan)
Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn)
How to Train Your Dragon (Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois)

5. The Social Network (David Fincher)
Andrew Garfield's performance in this film is bound to be at the very least Oscar-nominated. But you knew that already.

4. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
Don't watch foreign films? Start. This French prison/crime story is gripping from start to finish, and puts you in the odd position of sympathising with a guy who murders someone in prison. If Scarface was set in prison, it'd be like A Prophet. But A Prophet would still be better.

3. Inception (Christopher Nolan)
This is why Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the vest actors in Hollywood at the minute. Christopher Nolan more than made up for the disappointment of The Dark Knight with this film, his first entirely original work since his first feature in 1998.

2. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
I've mentioned why Toy Story was such a good film, and so I don't cry, I won't mention it again!

1. Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Edgar Wright)
There's a reason I've seen this film three times, you know. Michael Cera almost shakes off his awkward character traits completely, the soundtrack, well, I'll get mentioned in a minute, and you'll never look at vegans in the same way again. It's out on Blu-Ray on the 27th. Get buying. What else are you going to do with your Christmas cash? Save it?


Honourable Mentions:

Deftones - Diamond Eyes (Best Track - Rocket Skates)
Vampire Weekend - Contra (Best Track - Cousins)
Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown (Best Track - Pyro)

5. Anamanaguchi - Scott Pilgrim vs the World - The Game Soundtrack
I would never have chosen to listen to this kind of music. Hacking Super Nintendos and Game Boys would seem a lot of hassle, but it works here, and fits in perfectly with the game, bringing me back to the good old days of playing Streets of Rage. Good times.

Key Track - The Dark One

4. Various Artists - Scott Pilgrim vs the World - The Soundtrack
Edgar Wright and Nigel Godrich compiled one hell of a CD for this film, with a great mix of old and new, with quite a fitting focus on Canadian bands, like Broken Social Scene, Metric and Plumtree.

Key Track - The Bluetones - Sleazy Bed Track

3. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
James Murphy's last album under the LCD Soundsystem song is a great farewell, and I still credit him with bringing my love for Daft Punk and Justice back, after being away for such a long time.

Best Tracks - Dance Yrself Clean or All I Want

2. The Black Keys - Brothers
Pat Carney and Dan Auerbach finally hit it big with Brothers, an album that completely deserves the amount of praise it's been given. It's more of the same from The Black Keys, but in the best possible way.

Best Track - Tighten Up

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
No contest, nothing comes close. The best band of the 2000's carry on that mantle into the next decade with their third masterpiece, bringing their A-game once again and knocking it out of the park on every track.

Best Tracks - Ready to Start, or Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)


Honourable mentions:

Joshua Radin - ABC, Glasgow 15/10/2010
The Gaslight Anthem - Hyde Park, London 24/6/2010
Manic Street Preachers - Corn Exchange, Edinburgh 2/10/2010

Yet to attend: Biffy Clyro - Concert in the Gardens, Edinburgh 31/12/2010

5. Devendra Banhart and the Grogs - SECC, Glasgow 12/12/2010
By far, the best support band I've ever seen. Think if the Strokes were a folk band, and you're not far off from Banhart's sound. Well worth a listen. Very strong live as well, which impressed me, given that I'd only heard the guy's name before, and never listened to a thing he'd recorded. Fit in rather well as support for Arcade Fire.

4. Biffy Clyro - Concert Hall, Perth 29/4/2010
Awesome. I'm glad I managed to see them in a smaller venue before they started playing in places like the SECC. Some might complain they're headlining Sonisphere next year, but it's deserved. Looking forward to Hogmanay.

3. Rage Against the Machine - Finsbury Park, London 6/12/2010
It helps that the gig was free, but the atmosphere in the park was fantastic as Rage got the crowd going by taking the piss out of the X Factor. Fantastic live band, great show, even though I could barely move for the first few songs of the set, and was at one point elbowed square in the face. Their cover of The Clash's White Riot was a nice surprise, as well.

2. Pearl Jam - Hyde Park, London 24/6/2010
I'd waited 4 years for this, and it was totally worth it. Best birthday present ever. With a combination of their hits, with a few less frequently played tracks, and even a brand new song or two, Pearl Jam fucking rocked.

1. Arcade Fire - SECC, Glasgow 12/12/2010
Arcade Fire are the world's best live band for a reason. The setlist was perfect, with a good mix of old and new, but what does it really matter, since every song's as close to perfect as you'll ever get! For only having a seating ticket, the atmosphere in the place was far beyond what I'd expected, with near enough everyone in the seating area standing up. After the gig had finished, hearing hundreds singing Wake Up outside was all kinds of awesome...

I've missed writing, it's been too long. I should get back into the swing of things. At least uni's over for 2 months, I can't say I don't have the time!

Darren out, saying if I was scared, I would...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Media Essay, Part 2

So here's the second essay of the module, and the one that I actually had an interest in writing. I could have chosen the UK Film Council, but there hadn't been a final decision at the time as to whether it was closing or not, so I just stuck with 6Music. Here it is, in all it's fiery (WTF?) glory, although fonts, etc are a mess for some reason, and it'd take too long to fix. At least it's up...

1812186 FMS9X1 Assignment 2
Q3a) Discuss the significance of the proposed closure of BBC 6 Music.

BBC 6 Music is a national digital radio station launched by the British Broadcasting Corporation on 11th March 2002, and was the first national music radio station to be launched by the BBC in 32 years (BBC 6 Music pre-release website, 2002). As a digital radio station, 6 Music is not available on analogue radio, so does not have an FM/AM wavelength, therefore is only available through a digital medium, such as a DAB digital radio receiver, the Internet, through the 6 Music website or BBC’s iPlayer service, or on digital television. The current controller of 6 Music - and Radio 2 - is Bob Shennan, who took the position in January 2009 as the replacement of Lesley Douglas, the previous controller who resigned after the fallout from the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross affair (Holmwood and Plunkett, 2009). 6 Music has a number of shows, catering to a wide range of musical taste, often with well-known presenters, with past and present hosts including Jarvis Cocker, Phill Jupitus (who also hosted the station’s very first show), Suggs, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Huey Morgan, Bruce Dickinson, Craig Charles, Guy Garvey and Richard Bacon. (6 Music Programmes A-Z, 2010) (Website list of presenters in 2002, 2002)

In early February 2010, plans were announced to “shake up” the BBC, an aspect of which included the closure of two of the BBC’s digital radio stations, 6 Music, and Asian Network. With Asian Network costing 6.9 pence per user hour, compared to 6 Music’s 3.4 pence and Radio 2’s much smaller cost of 0.5 pence per user hour (BBC News, 2010), meaning that running these two radio stations is expensive, due to its smaller listener base in comparison to Radio 2, which as of September 2010, has a 15.6% listening share, the largest for a British radio station (RAJAR, 2010), making it much more financially viable. Despite 6 Music and Asian Network’s large per user cost, their budgets are smaller than that of Radio 2, which spends £40 million on content (BBC News – Strategy Review, 2010).
While the BBC’s strategic review did not explicitly state that 6 Music should be closed down, it however stated that only one in five of all UK residents were aware of 6 Music’s existence, and that more presenters with credibility in regards to music knowledge (Dee, 2010). Following the announcement, a large campaign was undertaken to attempt to reverse the decision, with protest groups forming on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Jon and Tracy Morter, the founders of the successful campaign to get the band Rage against the Machine to Number One in the charts in Christmas 2009, which, as of 28th November, has 883,753 members (Facebook, 2010), set up a similar group on Facebook, in order to help save 6 Music from closure, and also as of 28th November, 2010, the group has 175,030 members. (Facebook - Saved 6 Music, 2010). Twitter was also used in the campaign, in conjunction with the website, with the Twitter account “@love6music,” which has 4,232 followers as of 28th November (Twitter, 2010). In addition to the large amount of support the station received from the British public, the BBC Trust opened the subject to consultation, in order to gauge public opinion with regard to the Strategic Review. Of the 47,933 responses the Trust received online, 78% of these focused on the proposed closure of 6 Music, in addition to 25,054 separate emails and 242 letters, with the “great majority of responses oppose any plans for closure” (BBC Trust, 2010), therefore showing that public response was a major factor in ensuring the survival of the station.

While 6 Music enjoyed large amounts of public support in the effort to keep it broadcasting, the station is not without its critics. George Lamb, a former presenter on the station, attracted criticism for endorsing Boris Johnson’s bid to become Mayor of London, a breach in the BBC’s editorial guidelines regarding impartiality, meaning that presenters cannot endorse a specific party or political candidate while on air. (6Music’s Lamb warned over Boris gaffe, 2008) Lamb’s tenure at 6 Music was also criticised for being very different from the majority of the other station’s presenters, in that his style of presenting did not appeal to many of the station’s listeners, and was more fitting with Radio 1’s audience, leading to the creation of a website that stated the appointment of George Lamb was “against what we believed 6 Music stood for” (George Lamb to leave 6Music daytime slot, 2009), and was also the focus of an online petition featuring over 4000 signatures (Plunkett, 2008), which may have been a deciding factor in Lamb’s decision to leave the station.
The station was also criticised after a producer of The Liz Kershaw Show was dismissed in September 2007, after she claimed responsibility for using researchers as competition winners on the show (Daily Telegraph, 2007), which later led to the resignation of 6 Music’s Head of Programmes, Ric Blaxill (Daily Mail, 2007).
Another criticism aimed at BBC 6 Music is that it was not well promoted, as according to the BBC’s service review of 6 Music, only 20% of the adult population were aware of the station’s existence, with only 1% of the population actually listening to 6 Music (BBC 6 Music Service Review, 2010). Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish, presenters on 6 Music, referred to it as the BBC’s “secret station,” as it rarely appeared in schedule listings, was not promoted at all by the BBC and was “under-promoted across the BBC network” (Dee, 2010).
The Service Review also stated that “6 Music has been criticised for costing too much money in comparison to commercial radio stations,” implying that there are similar stations which provide a similar service to 6 Music’s audience. When interviewed for BBC News, Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC said “It’s not a station that makes sense on a value for money point of view,” which may be interpreted as one of the main reasons for the station’s proposed closure in February 2010. Thompson also went on to say in that interview: “If we build that audience up, the danger is… you run headlong into mainstream commercial radio in this country.” (BBC News, 2010) By making this statement, Mark Thompson may have been stating that instead of spending money improving awareness of 6 Music, its listeners may be better off listening to its commercial competitors aimed at a similar market, and therefore placing itself in direct competition with the commercial stations, such as Absolute Radio. This in itself is very significant, some media figures claim that the BBC is too large, and should reduce its presence in the media. James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News International, the company which owns four national British newspapers and has a 39% stake in BSkyB, the country’s largest satellite TV provider, used the 2009 MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival to attack the BBC, stating that BBC News is “throttling the market,” and preventing competitiors from improving, increasing or introducing their own services, and in particular online (Robinson, 2009). In 2010, Mark Thompson, the BBC’s Director General, spoke at the same event in defence of the BBC, and other public service broadcasters (Robinson and Martinson, 2010). James Murdoch’s, and others’, calls for the BBC to reduce its presence are a point of interest, as Sky has an even larger annual budget than that of the BBC, with the figure of around £5.9 billion taken in subscriber revenue from 2009/10 (Key facts and figures, 2010), while the BBC’s total income for 2009/10 was £4.79 billion (Consolidated income statement, 2010). 
Another reason the proposed closure of 6 Music may be seen as significant is that at the time, the Conservative Party, and Ed Vaizey, the Shadow Culture Minister in particular, welcomed the proposed cuts as “intelligent and sensible” (Martinson and Deans, 2010). Despite Vaizey’s statements welcoming the cuts, he later “claimed he had become an avid fan over the weekend,” and “strongly suspected” that 6 Music would be saved from closure. (Sweney, 2010) While such U-turns are rare for politicians to make, Vaizey’s change of opinion could be seen as having given the campaign another public figure to help support the effort to save 6 Music. The station also enjoyed support of many other public figures and celebrities, including Gordon Brown, David Bowie, Lily Allen and Damon Albarn. With high-profile fans of the station, and tens of thousands of responses received during public consultation, there was an overwhelming majority of support for 6 Music, which the BBC Trust could not ignore, and it is likely that the mass support was a major factor in keeping the station on air.

In July 2010, when the BBC Trust released its initial conclusions of the Strategy Review which recommended the closure of 6 Music and Asian Network, it did not accept the BBC Executive’s plans for closing 6 Music. It would also not consider any other proposals regarding the closure of 6 Music unless Radio 1 and 2 underwent changes outlined by the trust, and more importantly, “reassurance that there would be long-term protection for the type of distinctive content currently available uniquely on 6 Music” (Interim conclusions, 2010). This is very significant, as the BBC Trust views the station as being one which caters to a very specific type of audience, and its content is not similar to any other station currently available (Interim conclusions, 2010).
With 6 Music’s budget of around £9 million per year, the Trust was “not convinced that allocating its budget to spend on other aspects of digital radio will make a decisive difference to digital take-up.” (BBC Trust, 2010) In comparison to other radio station’s budgets, 6 Music’s budget of £9 million is a miniscule amount of the total spent by the BBC each year, which in the 2009/10 Annual Report was stated as £4.79 billion (Annual Report 09/10, 2010), results in 6 Music taking up 0.187% of the BBC’s total budget for 09/10, making the relatively low financial cost in comparison to other BBC stations a case for saving the station.
After the announcement of the planned closure, 6 Music’s weekly audience doubled to 1.194 million for the end of June, a record for the station, and an increase in its audience for the second quarter running. (RAJAR, 2010) (Busfield, 2010). With the 50% rise in audience, and the decision not to close the station confirmed, The Guardian’s Organ Grinder blog saw the proposal to be “the best marketing BBC 6 Music has ever had” (Busfield, 2010), as 6 Music’s audience has risen sharply and had been in the public eye for a number of weeks.

Overall, the proposed closure of 6 Music was significant, as it enabled the public to use social media in an effective protest against the decision. Also, with the large number of responses received by the BBC, a valid case for opening up decisions to public consultation has been made, as the increase in public support for the station resulted in the closure plans to be scrapped. Another point of significance is the difference in opinion between the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive, and whether a governing body is good or bad for the BBC. To conclude, BBC 6 Music is a radio station which caters to a unique audience of British radio listeners, with content that cannot be found elsewhere, and for this reason, it has been saved from closure.
Total word count excluding references and further reading material: 1,936 words.
References and further reading material used in preparation for the assignment

BBC 6 Music - Pre-release Website (Archive) [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

Holmwood, L and Plunkett, J (2009) “Bob Shennan named Radio 2 controller,” The Guardian, 27th January.

BBC 6 Music – Website list of presenters in 2002 [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

BBC 6 Music – Programmes A-Z [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

BBC News – At a glance: BBC Strategy Review [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

Compare My Radio – BBC 6 Music [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

Love 6 Music – Home [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

Facebook – Saved 6 Music [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

RAJAR – Quarterly Listening Figures [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

BBC News – BBC 6 Music and Asian Network face axe in shake-up [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

The Guardian – BBC 6 Music’s audience rises again [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

BBC Trust Strategic Review – Interim Commissions [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

The – BBC 6 Music: is its reprieve a triumph for social media? [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

The – 6Music’s Lamb warned over Boris gaffe [Internet]
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[Accessed 25 November 2010]

The - Tory culture spokesman joins 6 Music fanclub with U-turn over closure [Internet]

Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

Media UK – BBC 6 Music [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 25 November 2010]

BBC - Service Review of Radio 2 and 6 Music [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 27 November 2010]

BBC – Strategy Review [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 27 November 2010]

The – BBC 6 Music Protest [Internet]
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[Accessed 27 November 2010]

The – Organ Grinder blog [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 27 November 2010]

Brooks, R (2010), “Axed radio station BBC 6 Music returns to life,” The Sunday Times, 11th April.

Channel 4 News: Interview with Mark Thompson, Adam Buxton and Bobby Friction (2010) London, Channel Four, March 2nd 2010. [Originally broadcast on TV, but can be found online at]
[Accessed 28 November 2010]

Channel 4 News: BBC Saves Radio 6 Music (2010) London, Channel Four, July 5th, 2010. [Originally broadcast on TV, but can be found online at]
[Accessed 28 November 2010]

Facebook – Rage against the Machine for Christmas No. 1 [Internet]
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[Accessed 28 November 2010]

Twitter – Love 6 Music [Internet]
Available from:
[Accessed 28 November 2010]

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Available from:
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[Accessed 28th November 2010]

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[Accessed 28 November 2010]

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[Accessed 28 November 2010]

Plunkett, J (2008) “’I don’t feel I have betrayed anyone,’” The Guardian, 22nd December, MediaGuardian, p5.

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[Accessed 28 November 2010]

The – James Murdoch hits out at BBC and regulators at Edinburgh TV festival [Internet]
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The – Shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey welcomes proposals for BBC cuts [Internet]
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