Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Wilhelm Scream(s)

I have a great deal of love in my heart every time I hear a wilhelm scream. I also have a great deal of joy in my soul every time I hear A Wilhelm Scream. Oh ho – how confusing that could prove! But it’s not; they’re actually two genuinely great things in the world, and somehow, some way, have the same name. Some say it’s because the latter was named after the former, but that’s the kind of wild speculation I’ll leave to the professionals. I prefer the mystery anyway.

What is the Wilhelm scream (sans ‘A’)? Well, Wikipedia is your friend:

The Wilhelm scream is a frequently-used film and television stock sound effect first used in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. The effect gained new popularity (its use often becoming an in-joke) after it was used in Star Wars and many other blockbuster films as well as television programs and video games. The scream is often used when someone is either pierced with an arrow, or falling to their death from a great height or because of an explosion.

The Wilhelm scream has become a well-known cinematic sound cliché, and is claimed to have been used in over 149 films.

You know that scream you hear in seemingly everything? You’ll know it when you hear it. That’s the Wilhelm scream. I associate it mainly with Stormtroopers, but it pops up all over the place and is generally a welcome addition.

But what about A Wilhelm Scream?

A Wilhelm Scream are a band. They do melodic hardcore, a sub-genre in the punk rock… genre. This may mean nothing to you, so here are some more clues as to what they are like: they have songs called ‘The Kids Can Eat A Bag Of Dicks’, ‘Me vs Morrissey In The Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)’ and ‘I Wipe My Ass With Showbiz’; they have lyrics like “This grin is shit-eating and fleeting like a catamaran”; they exude a genuine air of Not Giving A Fuck about fame – a rarity, no doubt; someone hacked one of their songs into Guitar Hero and it ended up like this, which would make my hands melt or explode.

Or I could just post a video, but that would ruin the guessing game. Oh, here you go – I’m too kind:

I realise it’s not cool to like a band like this – I’m supposed to be into Sigur Ros or talk non-stop about Mono or Mum by the time I’m this old (it’s definitely not just to posture and look cool, oh no – everyone ‘intelligent’ clearly only loves bands like those) and ignore stuff that just makes me feel “RARGH YEAH” etc. But I don’t. I like A Wilhelm Scream. Every time I listen to them, life feels a bit better.

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Promotion (and relegation)

Football Manager (nee Championship Manager pre-split) has been a staple diet of my gaming life since a young age. I graduated from watching my brother play Champ Man ’92 on the Amiga to actually playing it myself – shocking, I know. Soon enough I was the maestro of the 1-4-5 formation, winning games 12-0 and signing as many regenerated players as I possibly could. As well as Des Walker.

But it wasn’t until Champ Man 2 that I realised this game was training me for bigger, better things. It helped me learn basic budgeting, which countries were in the EU and probably some other things I can’t think of. It also helped me to see that winning was fun, and losing to an arbitrary set of numbers and words on a screen could be more infuriating than you could ever imagine.

Champ Man 3 taught me that a game could be ruined by making it far too hard, but the ‘01/’02 update showed me that this could be remedied and indeed turned into one of the best games of the series. It could also introduce the world to Radoslaw Kaluzny.

Champ Man 4 taught me that I needed a new PC, and I actually missed the entire run of the CM4 series.

Then it became Football Manager, and the world became a far better place. Why? I don’t really know. It just did. This whole series has likely eaten up thousands of hours of my time – maybe tens of thousands. It’s made me break one laptop (and many other minor things) and generally be a ridiculous, reactionary prick towards it. But it’s given me something so many other games have been incapable of: a genuine sense of achievement. Promotion, winning cups, screwing Liverpool out of their best players – it has it all.

Anyway, back to the glorified spreadsheet it is.

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Deeds (good ones) part II: DEEDS IN SPACE

Long time listeners may remember a post I made a while back about helping people. It’s here, if you don’t remember. Or even if you do remember, and wanted to remind yourself of how simply heroic I am. Well today we have an update; an addition to the list which will surely solidify my reputation as one of the Greatest Living Humans.

Walking back from a press event with my colleague Ash, a man was stood to the side in the street, turning in circles. I think I remember him faintly saying “help me” or something to that effect, which grabbed my attention (aside from the fact that he was spinning in circles*). I asked if he was okay, to which he responded by collapsing and having a fit. It’s a reaction I’ve had before, but normally it’s after I’ve told a satirical joke and not just when I politely ask a question of someone – hence (and this is probably down to my Dad being a copper and me inheriting his instincts) I knew something was up.

I then spent the next ten minutes or so trying to cushion the man’s head as he slammed it on the pavement, giving him something to grab onto in the shape of my hand (and, at one point, my entire leg. Admittedly I wasn’t so up for that part) and generally trying to be reassuring. Those of you who know me may well know that I’m not very good at sincerity, so the point where he started grinding his teeth was met with a cry of “ahhhh, don’t do that!” by me. Ah, the ever-calming influence. I asked two local rubberneckers to ring an ambulance then kind of stood around like a lemon while this man clawed at nothing, tried to destroy his skull and (sometimes) apologised for having a fit.

It was around this point that a fat man waddled up and immediately proclaimed to us – I shit thee not – “I’m a first-aider at work, I know what to do”. He then went on to tell us we should in fact not stop the man from cracking his skull on the pavement and instead allow him to continue doing that. It’s a good job he turned up, otherwise I would have continued to not allow the fitting chap to fracture his skull like the sick bastard I clearly am.

(Seriously though – I understand that you shouldn’t restrain a fitting person as it can cause more damage, but for fuck’s sake this bloke was smashing his head on the concrete. Well, I should say ‘trying to’, as I stopped it. Call me a renegade if you will, I just don’t play by these first-aider rules.)

Anyway, the paramedics called by the folks in the shop nearby arrived and took over. Fortunately the first-aider was still there to instruct them on how they should go about their jobs, otherwise we’d have all been in a dilly of a pickle! I gathered together my things and we were on our way back to Bournemouth.

This whole ‘giving a shit about other people’ thing is a horrible affliction, and I can only apologise to the city of London for breaking their cardinal rule of ‘Never Help Anyone’.

*Come to think of it, maybe he was just dizzy. Really dizzy.

(As a second bracketed-off section, I would like to offer my utmost disgust to the monumental cunts out there who ignored this man as he was clearly in distress and to those who just kept on walking by as I was trying to help. You are terrible, terrible human beings. How anyone – anyone – can simply stand by as others suffer is absolutely beyond me and just thinking about it now has genuinely upset me. So great, thanks world. You win again. Fuck you.)

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Opinions are tiresome

I had an opinion once. It affected me so badly I fell into a coma that lasted four months. It’s not a mistake I intend to repeat. Still, it seems that just about everybody in the world wants to walk this Line Of Death and voice what their brain is telling them to say, usually stating a like or dislike of something a lot of people know about. It’s a risky endeavour, that’s for sure, and it’s something I am here to warn you about.

So yes, you feel that *INSERT FOOTBALL TEAM HERE* didn’t perform to the standard you normally expect of them. Maybe it was *INSERT NAME OF WELL-KNOWN FOOTBALL KICKING MAN WHO NORMALLY PERFORMS WHAT IS ACCEPTED AS “WELL”* who wasn’t performing as well as he normally does. Perhaps it was down to *INSERT NAME OF REFEREE YOU CAN REMEMBER THE NAME OF*, who you remember because he sent *INSERT NAME OF PLAYER WHO FREQUENTLY GETS CARDED* off – but then, you suppose he always does! Ho ho.

Or maybe you move away from football and instead move on to something like music. You don’t think that *POPULAR BAND A* can’t live up to the success of their last album, especially in the face of challengers to the throne like *POPULAR BAND B*. Maybe if *SOMEONE OFF A TV TALENT SHOW* was involved they’d be able to keep the momentum going! Ho ho.

Films? Well, *INSERT NAME OF DIRECTOR YOU ACTUALLY KNOW THE NAME OF* hasn’t been producing to the best of his ability since *INSERT NAME OF WELL-KNOWN BUT LITTLE-WATCHED FILM*. That really blew you away, didn’t it? Ho ho.

Politics? *INSERT NAME OF POLITICIAN* has got the policies, especially his stance on *INSERT POLICY YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT*, which is something you can really get on board with. And Nick Griffin is a cunt.

I’m just saying, if you all have to keep this ludicrous charade up you’re just going to end up dead in a gutter. It’s not like you can actually get a job where you’re paid to express a critical evaluation of something, is it? If you think there is, you’re living in a crazy land of insane opinions.

That’s just my opinion, mind.

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The five worst comedians

You’ll often see lists extolling the virtues of many stand-up comedians. The most likely chaps on these lists will be comedy gods like Stewart Lee, Yanks like Zack Galifianakis, underrated gems like Sean Lock and “comedy missiles” like Eugene Mirman. Fair enough, but these people are now on every list everywhere, so there’s nothing new to be said now. Plus there’s the fact that people don’t listen to these lists and instead continue to support some astonishingly bad comedians. As this is the case, here’s a list of some comedians you shouldn’t like, as they are shit. All decisions are final.

1. Russell Howard.

A bit mean, as I do actually like the guy, and he is quite funny. Two things though: his act hasn’t changed – at all – in years, and live he gets boring after about 45 minutes. This is fact you cannot argue with.

2. Dane Cook.

For those unfamiliar:

Look at those idiots in the crowd. They’re actually worse than him, as all they do is encourage this utter waste of skin.

3. Peter Kay

Now, being northern I’m supposed to love this guy. I don’t. He has confused the art of observational humour with the act of ‘saying what things are’. Absolute lowest common denominator demi-comedy that would be the worst thing on this list were it not for the next entry.

4. Michael Mcintyre

The reason this list exists. The man is the least talented arse alive and so many people have been drawn in by his… by his what? Well, most likely by his astonishingly boring jokes, his hilarious camp mannerisms and the fact that he’s just a southern Peter Kay (see above). Stop supporting this muppet: I am a better stand-up than he is, and I’m not a stand-up. This tells you all you need to know.

5. Most female comedians

Wah wah sexist: shut up. I’m just being correct, as always. Generally speaking, female comedians (comediennes, whatever) are not funny. See: Catherine Tate, for a quick example. There are exceptions – Lucy Porter, for a second quick example – but there are far too many shit ones for a handful to redress the balance. So there.

And that’s that. Truth has been spoken, Ian has gone done said it all.

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100th episode spectacular

I was originally going to save this for the 138th edition of this blog and pay homage to The Simpsons in doing so, but sod it: this is the 100th entry to this here thing I expected to stop doing after a week. As such, let’s take a wacky, zany and altogether ker-azy look back at some of the most wonderful entries I’ve made. Yay for clip shows!

Of course, this is where it all began. The first entry. The bit where I admit to having copied the ideas of a few people, though neither of the One A Day twosome do this anymore. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

Then what about my still-frighteningly accurate Come Dine With Me menu? I really do need to be bothered enough to eat better. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

The favourite image debate is one that will be raging for months to come. In my head, at least. Still, it’s a toss-up between my love for clementines or the Trian Crash right now. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

It’s not the best thing ever written, but I do actually like my Future Is Sterile entry. So there. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

Then of course there are entries like Biffovision and The Best Joke Ever which you should look at because they give you something to watch. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

I think the most popular post, or at least the one that people mention the most to me, has to be Sweden: The Definitive Review (7/10). I have no idea why, mind you. I think it’s a prime example of how I have grown as a person.

Let’s see what the next hundred bring.

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Battlestar Galactica: the late appraisal

This is about Battlestar Galactica so if you have no interest in the show, stop reading. If you have interest in the show but haven’t watched it all the way through, stop reading. If I don’t like you, stop reading. If you have no interest in the show and don’t care if I ruin it, but also strangely want to read my opinions on something I should have finished watching last year, you may carry on reading. If you have interest in and have watched all of the show, you may carry on reading. This probably means about one of the usual 30 will continue to read this. I’m going to avoid spoilers as much as possible solely because I know Anna will read this and she’s a lunatic who wants to know how things end before she’s even started them (and I will make you watch Battlestar one day, woman).

Right. I finished the final season of Battlestar Galactica today. I’ve got the familiar feeling that comes when you reach the end of a series you really did like quite a lot, and this is exacerbated by the fact that thinking ‘when did I watch that series?’ is usually answered with a different year, when I lived in a different city. I’ve been watching this show for about half a decade. It’s ridiculous.

On one hand, I love it. On the other: the ending. Jesus. Almost literally. What were they thinking? Or not, for that matter. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it was just such a ridiculous jump to accept that after all that – the mini-series, four real series, the Razor special – it finished with some bona-fide deus ex machina. Dozens of hours of my life, some wonderful characters and some of the best, most entertaining television I’ve seen is sent off with a half-baked catch-all explanation. Is that the best they could do? Come on. A programme that examined what drives someone to carry out suicide bombings – to the point that you not only sympathised with, but supported these means – can’t even finish on something better than some contrived nonsense?

I don’t hate the ending – I never could, as Battlestar is such a good series overall. But they were really pushing their luck with that sudden splatter of daftness all over my screen. Poor show, kids.

Right, got to find a new series to watch now.

(next week I’ll be coming up with more blog-based internet-opinions on other things that nobody has been talking about for a year. Well contemporary, me.)

(also, I seem to have put my head on Colonel Tigh without thinking about it. Read into that what you will)

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