Friday, 31 August 2012

Just So You Know

I recently went to the 'Just So Festival' with @Mamacrow and the five youngest kids. My review can be found here ;

Here's my original intro, something extra for all you lovely folks that come here. 

'The Just So You Know, Letting you know about the ‘Just So’.

Hang on to your hats because this is the first interview I’ve done that didn’t involve the police (Joking...I’ve had job interviews too).
No, sorry, that’s a terrible way to start. Let’s say instead that a lovely lady on twitter asked me to give some thoughts on the ‘Just So Festival’ and I happened to say yes. Let’s say you’re reading this and that you need to know what I’m gonna tell you. Let’s start with an introduction shall we?'

I hope you like the review and that it gives you a clear idea of whether you would attend or not. Sadly my picture loading is acting very strangely at the moment so the pictures will have to wait.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Natural Deception

Today/recently/whatever a university research group confirmed they had found evidence/actual proof that animals have 'human like conciousness'. As you can see I'm taking a well researched point here and backing it up with hard facts (such a Lazy bastard).

Looking at this news I had one simple, clear and (to me) obvious reaction; I said, 'yes, of course they do, how the hell is this news?' And it's something that confuses the hell out of me as to how this could even have been in question. How we, as a race, can view other living organisms with such distaste that you deny them the most basic of courtesy's; the idea that they feel.

Animals feel, they feel pain and fear and certainly they have maternal feelings and loyalty and for fucks sake they just feel! Its obvious! See a picture of a mistreated dog or even worse a dog that's been trained to treat anyone other than their owner as a threat and you can see their feelings. Watch an animal that has been trained to hate by a soulless piece of crap human and tell me you don't feel incredibly sad. I do.

Living, breathing, natural creatures like you and me, like birds and bees, like dogs and cats. They all feel. Even smaller organisms like Silk Worms or larger ones like the apex predators of old; the Crocodiles and sharks, with their streamlined brain that drives them on through pure instinct...they still feel pain.

Now I'm sure this research is there to show us that the animals in question can communicate, feel complex ed emotions, can learn and grow and have far more going on than some people give them credit for...I would suggest humbly that those people are not worth convincing.Anyone that transcribes to a biblical ideal of soulless animals or comes from a stance of species based superiority is a bit crap as far as I'm concerned. But let me clarify.

I can see we are smarter, have driven ourselves through an evolutionary 100 meter race and are at this point still progressing but lets face facts. We are not perfect and for us to look down and say 'you're incapable of feeling anything other than what your genes tell you to,' is just incredibly crap. We have people, complex ed members of our society that go around raping, murdering, molesting and killing, people incapable of feeling anything for others...but the furry little bastards are the deficient ones? No.

Now I can see this is going to get too long so I will keep it simple just for me. This announcement means nothing to anyone with half a brain. It should also not be used to try and make me feel guilty every time I stick a burger in my swear hole. Nope. But that's hypocritical you shout! No.

I try to look on it this way; I eat what I can afford and I always try to eat something ethically sourced. Free range eggs. Meat with happy stickers on it. Yes, I try to be ethical in my Omnivority. For me the best thing would be to have some land and then I would keep animals, treat them with respect and love them and when the time came? I'd happily eat them.

We do need to look at the mass production of food sources and ask questions about the ethics of our species growth and the need to provide for our ever more bloated demands. We do need to ask questions about the real issues that will choke the land and bring the pain to our populations and we need to drive towards finding real answers. I don't have them, I wish I did, but I don't.

G.m crops, ozone layers being farted out of existence by cattle and livestock, Halal meat, the fight to find the land we need to provide so that we can provide. These are all questions that need answers. Can I tell you a question that doesn't even need asking in my opinion?

Do animals and birds, and the natural world around us have the ability to feel? 

Yes. Eco-systems have been crushed, species wiped out and yeah, cats have been run over. All these natural things, from the individual through to the wider species or Eco-system have felt the weight of our rise to power. They feel our demands and are at the mercy of our whims. They feel. They think. They fear.

Can I ask a better question? Okay. Here goes.

How do we expect to continue as a race and avoid our own inevitable extinction level events when we can't even look around us and respect the wonders of this world?     

I know there's more to the research, far more to this argument and people a thousand times smarter than yours truly will do a far better job of discussing it. This was my simple, chaotic rant on it. Soap box removed.

Goodnight you wonders of the modern age.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Music Monday

A few weeks ago I was chatting with some of my favourite tweeps (in the form of @Jomakessix and @nigeljh , though @Jehefinner may very well have been involved too) and we landed on the idea of suggesting a list of albums to place before the world from our own c.d collections. Music we loved both old and new, maybe leading each other to new pastures and happy ear drums.

This week I'm placing a list up. Check it out. Most of this stuff you should be able to hear on youtube and try it out. I'd like to think maybe I'll introduce you to a sound that you connect with. Baring that in mind I'm going to try and put a varied mix of sounds to recommend.

I hope you find something you like.

TENACIOUS D: Rize Of The Fenix.

New album and a return to form after the disappointing 'Pic of Destiny'. Comedy rock is hard to do. These guys are at the top of their game.  


An awesome slide guitarist that blows me away. He's one of me favourite's and having seen him live I can say he's one of the most skilled musicians I've ever heard.

MIKE OLDFIELD:Music Of The Spheres.

An album that got much hype given Oldfield's long absence from the musical scene but boy was it worth the wait!!


Early nineties Canadian Industrial is not something that you hear people expounding on regularly, but this is something I love. Its aggressive, negative, moody and packed with long tracks that bleed into each other. Not sold? See? Its an outsider.

Finally we have number five. A soundtrack that you've heard. One that still chimes up when lazy Hollywood types want to give their trailer real impact.


Huge but quite, nautical, impressive, brooding, militaristic...amazing! In the week we lost Tony Scott what else could the soundtrack be?!

That's my five for this week. You want to leave me suggestions on something I can check out? Go for it! Wanna blog your five of the week?! Go for it!

Hope you find something new or remember something old, if not that's okay. Better luck next week.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Marvel Hit the T.V PLEASE?!

With the announcement that Joss Whedon would be writing and directing the next Avengers film coming May 2015 was a further statement saying he would be overseeing the development of Marvel's 'phase two' characters, the coming three years cinematic arcs and be involved in the development of a live action television series.

Its huge news. Whedon has a history of producing excellent television and winning big fan bases quickly; its not something everyone can do. But what can we look forward to? Lets take a wander through my hopes shall we?! Excellent.

What's the best way to go? Obviously I think many will clamour for the obvious Avengers Television show, or the X-Men series but these are flights of fancy. Its not going to happen. Give it up. So as the musical Buffy once asked; 'Where do we go from here?'

Take a universe, yes, a whole universe! That's what Marvel has. This universe is filled with ten of thousands of recognisable characters, from heroes and Villains to support characters, victims, lovers, partners parents, kids and real figures like Obama. The question is not where they go but rather how far they should go? Do you chase down the ultimate characters? No.

First I'd like to see Marvel categorise the characters into fame, suitability and ease of casting. Then they should take some and place them on the 'Movie heroes' pile. The next big things so to speak. That should thin out the pack and leave them with some clear options of where to go.


Phase two characters need to be able to bring something new to the universe, expand the world and the people in it. They need to be strong enough to carry a movie and be potentials for guest stars when the big guys come knocking in 2015, but I'd also urge Marvel to go for ones that can slot into the small screen. They have a unique opportunity to build a television base too that actually has guest stars from big movies! That's a big deal.

For me several people stand up as possible Phase two characters; Black Panther, Ms Marvel, Dr Strange, The Beast, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Shang Chi, The Vision...there are more than a few out there to be honest. So long as whomever you cast to play these characters agrees to do guest appearances on the small screen then go for it.


So to the small screen! At this point I can see two ways of bringing Marvel to the people and their Friday night televisions.

RUNAWAYS: The Runaways are a bunch of powered teens who have powers due to their parents. The 'Rents' just so happen to be evil and each represent a power origin. There are mutants and Aliens, wizards and time travellers. All are in some strange pact with a demon for eternal life or something.

Take this comic and you have a group of kids who find out about their evil parents and go on the run. They bump into Marvel's heroes and Villains along the way and try to find a way to stop their evil parents from killing everyone.

You got powers, teens, a conspiracy that they have to fight against, rebelling against their elders in time honoured tradition. Its easy to see how this would work and if you have 'Phase Two' heroes dropping in, played by the actors from the movies then you have a very marketable product. Yes the characters are little known but that gives you room to move without upsetting the die hard fans that cant accept change.

This is the first option and its juicy...but what I really want is to see something a bit bolder.

HEROES FOR HIRE: Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Dakota North, Misty Knight, White Tiger; Heroes for Hire! These heroes stand up against evil and corruption but they also take paid jobs to keep themselves a float. The group is made up of a very varied mix of power levels and attitudes and it would reflect a cultural melting pot that feels New York through and through.

Cage could easily be a 'Phase Two' big boy but he could also be a lynch pin in Marvel's attempt to assault the small screen. He has it all too; power, toughness, grit, urban authenticity, a main character who isn't a white due? He's smart, a natural leader and a figure you look up to. He. Has. It. All.

Backing Cage comes Iron Fist. A martial Artist...perhaps THE martial Artist of the Marvel Universe? He  could be a' Phase Two' giant too but as a small screen man he could be even better. We are used to seeing a level of Martial Arts that's off the scale but if you could get a real fighter to play this part and bring a physicality to the action and you could blow other shows out of the water while still keeping it accessible for the young teens.

These two can be backed by a host of characters like Dakota North (Gina Carano would be amazing in this role)as the Ex SHIELD agent and spy turned female private detective. Or White Tiger a currently active female martial artist. Perhaps Misty Knight may be a bridge too far though...

Take these characters and have them head around the Marvel universe, bumping into villains, heroes, and solving episodic crimes while working their way through universe driven plots.

Excited yet? I am.

Obviously I'm not saying this is the only way Marvel can fly and certainly they aren't listening to me but if they did I'd tell them to be bold and go for the throat. Knowing you have a huge fan base, Disney's money and a constant turnover of characters and almost endless plots to draw from you have to think they need to push this as hard as they can and make sure they get it right.

They can and if they do it could be amazing. Bowie has a song that fits; 'We could be heroes', I think it fits.

Monday, 13 August 2012

MeMe Lovely...Unlikely

Right, so @slightlysubdad has linked me up to a MeMe thing that @Motherventing linked him to, so in the great tradition of pass me on things I'm simply not going to do it...

Okay, I am. Psyche. The questions are set by Motherventing and we have to do our own answers (if she really liked us she'd forward us the answers so we could just cut and paste them but whatever.)

Welcome to the first MeMe the political Nomad has ever entered into...probably the last too.

1. If you could be any Superhero who would it be?

Tough one for me to answer, I know and love too many! I suppose I have to run at this logically. I could pick a heroes hero but instead I'm going to go flawed but powerful. A man given every gift and yet he so often falls into a bottle, Its got to be Captain Britain.

I envision getting the power and maybe not folding under the pressure. Flight, force field, super strength, blisteringly fast flight, one of the best right crosses in the Marvel universe? Yes please.

2. Marmite on toast. Match made in heaven or hell?

Match made in heaven. Job done.

3.Boris Johnson. Discuss.

Look at the man child stagger and prance, protest and over pronounce his way through an interview and you see a fool...but look closer. See the shift of the eyes, the increased energy that pops him out of trouble, the prepared line that hammers his foolish nature but his political message. See it? Yeah. Yeah, he's no fool.

The problem with Boris is that he is a career Politician and that makes him an arsehole in this Nomads eyes. Its calculated, its the normal guy but with the volume turned way up (like most performers are) but an M.P or a Major shouldn't be acting, they should be feeling it and trying their hardest to make our lives better not playing the fool to get votes.

Bring it down and I don't care he was educated at Eton, good, it means he should know more shit than an A-level student turned bitter voter right? I don't care he's a Tory, I don't mind the Tories, they're arseholes yes, but so are Labour. Pricks in different coloured ties. So what is it about Boris that pisses me off?

He's in politics. That makes him a cock in my book.

But if I have Red ken about to be savaged by a bunch of rabid midgets with sweetcorn knives or I had to hand Boris a comedy hat so he could stager on to camera and belt out a fart joke? Boris gets his hat.

4. Full fat, Semi Skimmed or Skimmed?

Full fat. I work it off and it tastes better.

5. Bum exercises, Squats, lunges or Sofa?

I work hard as a labourer. There's a lot of wear and tear and by the time the day is done I have to flop on the sofa...but I've done all the exercise I needed to already.

I'm done, but I am fully done. Sadly I'm not sure who to pass this on to so I'll let others do that and be content in knowing that I have defended the ramparts, given of my fingers, won the battle and retired knowing better men will continue the war.

Ta for the fun, now I'm done.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Professor Elemental, Fete and the case of the unco-ordinated dancer

Thursday, a day to be remembered, for it was another day used to court fame and eccentricity. What were we doing? Well we (as a family, minus Sauraus) headed to Brighton to help film the new Professor Elemental music video.

What was the weather like you ask? Wonderful, hot, beautiful; a whispy clouded day in which the clouds didn't over step the mark by obscuring the sun or by having a weep. The place? An unassuming primary school field that became host to an extraordinary amount of fun as it accepted more and more alternatively minded people. The Occasion? Keep up, I already told you, we were there to shoot a music video!

Serious though, we packed a car full of kids, some cakes and sandwiches, a home made Fete game 'whack A Rat' and an adorable pink sock that had been transformed into the victim of the day by the mighty @mamacrow (the 'rat', ready for whacking). Heading into the unknown (Brighton) we drove and when we arrived we signed the usual wavers to allow us access. That done we embarked on settling in for the day.

Initially we set up across the field but swiftly we were moved to sit between the circus tent and a steam punk stall manned by two lovely guys. The Circus tent you ask? Okay, it was a small gazebo with a crap load of circus equipment scattered out in front of it but you know what? It was awesome! Mike the circus dude was outstandingly good with the kids, a young lady hung by the equipment and taut the kids Diablos and devil sticks. I did some juggling (I could do four, now I'm down to an unpractised  staggering, drop frequent three), we chilled, the kids learned and laughed and we had a very relaxing time.

I managed to grab a short time with @Moog_peculiar, director of the day and awesome all round fella with legendary facial hair. Chat was warm, friendly and welcoming. An all round beautiful guy that I spent a day with filming the Professor Elemental web series and he was as supportive and chilled on that day as he was on the field. Great fella. Professor Elemental hooked up with us and I would tell you what we chatted about but to be honest its a bit like having a natter with the queen. I can confirm it was a lovely chat but I cannot disclose the subject matter.

They filmed and all we really had to do was chill as they did their group bits, just don't look at the camera was all we needed to do. Easy. Now I could tell you about the wonder of the cuppa from the urn set up on the field or travelling to the shop to get sugar or in fact the amount of lovely people on the field, but I'm not going to. I'm keeping that just for me. You can have the dance number.

We gathered, like zombies ready to devour the young lady showing us when to jump, 'pop', spin, and pose and we shambled, staggered, wandered and balls up these simple moves with style. After many, many repatitions we had a loose grip upon this small group dance number and so when it came time to gather we did so with some mirth. Take sixty people or so, herd them into a formation and get them to perform unfamiliar tasks and what do you get? Something entirely unexpected.

As we repeated the moves and performed for The Moog and Professor Elemental I recognised the bloke standing in the row in front of me. He was dressed in some steampunk garb with waistcoat, victoriana shades and punked hat he cut an unfamiliar cloth and yet...I knew this gent. We finished the routine and walked away and I had to approach and confirm this was indeed an old drinking buddy from SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO. Yup. Seventeen years. Picked it up like it was yesterday.

How weird is that? Now our man is six years older than me making him a mighty forty three, a granddad already and he didn't look like he'd changed a day...okay, maybe he looked a little older, but seriously folks, not really by much at all.

The kids had an amazing day, picked up new skills, made friends and didn't drop a single tear in the seven hours we were there. Not one! That includes Dot who is very 'two' at the moment. Amazing and a testament to the lovely people that swept through that wonderful field.I reconnected with an old buddy and managed to chill with my family all day long.

These are the magical times I'll remember when my days come short and my face turns to the next great step.

So this is a thank you, not an informative blog post. Thanks Prof for inviting me. Thanks Moog for being so cool. Thanks @mamacrow for being relaxed, amazing, married to me and thanks to the kids for just being yourselves; astounding, suprising, challenging, beguiling and above all else incredibly loving.

When the video hits the net it will be here, for now though I'll leave you with the song in question.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Plan

I've had the book out in the wilderness for some time now and have had some lovely, realistic, cool feedback. Its great to think I'm travelling in the right direction, maybe even at the right pace, possibly even at the right time, but as the clock turns I now have to look forward.

Here's the new plan for my direct future (it's not that new but hey), ready? I'm starting another book.

Simple eh? How hard was that? Not hard at all? No, I think I've found the idea very hard. See last time I set myself the task of writing something far better than I had before, something I liked, something that took me out of my comfort zone, something that challenged me. I did just that. It wasn't perhaps the best book you'll ever read (for sure), but it was the best book I'd written up to that point.

That was last November. I hit twitter with word counts and updates on how I was feeling. I spent a two month period editing and then I did something I hadn't done before; I sent it to agents. Can you believe I've been writing for a good few years but never sent anything off? Bizarre. It really wasn't that hard. In fact I quite enjoyed it.

In the months since I've received plenty of rejection emails. Some I hated, others I didn't mind, but all were noted and logged and taken seriously. Each one meant something very important to me, each one showed me I was trying harder than ever before. It was good. I look at my little project and I am very proud but I know it needs work. It needs 'a hard edit.'

This is what's going to happen ; my November baby is going to be worked on for the next month or two and then I'll probably put it on Amazon as a self published author. It will be there that it sits and proves it's worth or proves all those agents and editors right by gathering dust in public. With that done and November looming I will start again.

I chatted happily with @mamacrow last night about the new project. It went down well. If I can execute it half as well as I talk it up then it will be good. Above all else it needs to ticket the difficult boxes that I laid out last year. I'll be back writing something better than last year, something I like, something that is certainly going to take me out of my comfort zone and something that I will find very challenging.

I'll keep you updated as to the status of last years baby, when it becomes available and whether or not I think you should buy it and you'll be able to follow my progress on twitter come November.

I have a feeling this year is going to end on a high.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Silent Sunday part 2

Silent Sunday

The Measure of Excellence

Watching the Olympics has been an experience, I think that's a bit of an understatement. Before the games, opening ceremony and the incredible medal rush I was certainly best described as sceptical. Coming from the area the Olympic park is situated in I found myself convinced that this would be a washout of epic proportions. I was wrong.

Normally I get interested , watch the events that are televised but I don't really look forward to the Olympics. It's a sporting event and that's cool but we see only the minority of events and the focus seems to be on the 'premier events' like the men's 100 meters, the heavy weight boxing, the 10,000 meters, the women's gymnastics. With the 2012 Olympics the BBC have televised ever single event and so I have had the pleasure of flicking from what I would normally watch to sports I haven't ever had much interest in.

Its been great, but I'm not telling you about the weightlifting and how we worked out how many of the kids the guys were lifting in each hand or how my interest in Basketball has been awakened by watching not just the Americans but by other teams and their sweet moves. Nope. I think I'm here to celebrate all the sports men and women who make any event exciting.

Consider the events and who are the ones that are remembered? The medallists right? Yes, that's true, but without a special group of people to compete against these people would just be 'fast runners' or 'great swimmers', it has to be the quality of the opposition that makes an Olympic champion truly special. A true star. 

Take the best people in their fields and put them against each other; the heats become battles of will and skill, determination and talent. When you have the ten finalists then you know they are the ten people performing at their very best and almost certainly they are some of the very best in the world. Its awesome, but there is an attitude that has crept in to the reporting. One that is annoying. The idea that a strong competitor can have their medal snatched from them pisses me off. Its the entitlement placed upon an athlete by the press. Their slice of destiny gifted to them by a dickhead with a pen.

The fact is this; you gather the best in the world, they compete, maybe they get it right and they win. Its taken them years of preparation to get to that point and they are surrounded by athletes who have done the same hours in the gym and on the track, have eaten exactly right, have fought against real life distractions and have come to win too. Coming tenth in the final of the 100 meters tells you something; it tells you that you are the tenth fastest person on the planet. That's amazing.

To win a medal is truly astounding. If we watch someone do just that then we have seen something special. A moment in time that will never be repeated. Not exactly. There will be other races, probably faster runners in the future, but it wont be like when you felt the emotion of seeing someone fight to realise a dream...and actually win.

Winning Gold is amazing, winning Silver is amazing, Bronze? Amazing! Taking part and being next to those legend makers and record breakers? Amazing.

Lets not be silly. Its easy to look at the footballers and say they have it so much better. They have more money, that's true, but that's because they are professional sportsmen, like the Basketball players from America that have a billion dollar team. The Lottery has made a massive difference to the lives and training of many athletes. We can see this in the performances we have been blessed with by exceptional men and women but we can't compare them with someone from another discipline and say they are 'so much better'. 

To take an example I give you Frank Lampard. Now he's a footballer (booooo) and he's incredibly rich (hisssss) and he holds the record or the most consecutive games played in the premiership, 164 consecutive appearances. That shows his consistency, his work ethic, his attention to fitness and his ability to play through the pain barrier. An exceptional player.More athletic than Jess Ennis? No. 

This is one example but all sports have incredible, exceptional players and competitors. The team is not always going to win but the fact is you cant compare Jess Ennis to David Beckham, Ussain Bolt to Ali, Kelly Holmes to Steve Redgrave, the disciplines are different, the amount of money in the sports are different and the frequency of performances they have to make is different.

Today I'm celebrating those exceptional people that have what it takes to excel at a sport to the point where they find themselves competing at the very top flight. I also celebrate those that surround the very best, that fight their hardest and lose and cry and feel failure. In my eyes you haven't failed. You got to the dance. Your a winner.

This one goes out to the winners who don't win. The ones that see years of effort distilled into a circle of metal and the ones that will chase that dream when the camera's have long gone, the lights have faded and they find they are the last person in the gym, the last runner around the training track, the person that lives their dream.

You inspire us all.