Thursday, June 19, 2014

Where there's Smoke...

So I've been doing some TV ads again recently. I've been out of the game for a while so I was worried that I might be a bit rusty. However the finished ads are just smashing directed by the very clever Taika Waititi the NZ Director behind such great NZ films as Eagle verses Shark, Boy and the recent hilarious Vellington Vampire "documentary" What We Do In The Shadows.

So anyway here are the ads I hope you like them. They're dark, funny and I hope they strike a cord with the audience...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Typist Wanted

For many years now I've been making a living as a screenwriter. However it's not a profession that gets much respect from the rest of the industry. Here's a recent example. I got an email from a young lady, a camera operator, who wanted to know if I would write a script for her.

It started off innocently enough with an email...

You'll need to click on these emails to expand them but I promise you it will be worth the effort.

I politely declined. My problem has always been that I'm too nice.  So hot on the heels of this email came another...

Frankly, I don't think I've ever had such an insulting email in my life.

So I send her a message explaining everything that was wrong with this email.

I thought this did a good job of educating this young lady on the error of her ways. It seems I was wrong...

This was followed quick smart by another email...

Am I taking crazy pills here? This person still seems to be trying to get me to "format" her script for her.

Can you spot what is missing from these emails? I did...

Yeah I'm a bit of a jerk here but enough was enough. Would it have killed her to say sorry?

It appears not...

Here in the New Zealand film industry this happens all-too often. Writers are never seen as making any kind of worthwhile contribution to the process, we're just a box to tick or a problem to overcome. Which is why our storytelling suffers.

I hope my pain has given you a few chuckles. I was laughing as I read these emails. Laughing though the tears. The bitter, bitter tears. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What Makes a Hero?

“I only mention it because sometimes there's a man... I won't say a hero, 'cause, what's a hero? But sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right 
in there.”

10 most heroic moments from movies

“No use, Joker! I knew you'd employ your sneezing powder, so I took an Anti-Allergy Pill! Instead of a sneeze, I've caught you cold!” - Adam West as the campy 60’s Batman. 

Movies are where heroes live and here are some of their most heroic deeds. This is by no means a definitive list, it’s buffet. Take what you want and leave the rest. You may find your favourite heroic event missing and for that we’re sorry. Then again some of these you will most definitely disagree with and that’s fine but we do hope they make you think because if we’ve learnt anything from the movies it’s that you don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero. Being a hero doesn’t mean leaping from an exploding building while holding a beautiful woman in your arms. Sometimes saving the day can be as easy as stepping up on stage in front of a crowded room or a stopping a mummy from sucking your best friend’s soul out through his arse. So open your mind and enjoy some pure, heroic moments.

Raiders of the Lost Ark 

There are so many heroic moments in this movie it’s almost impossible to pick just one. Andy running from the giant boulder at the beginning is pure ironic movie heroism. Climbing under the nazi truck? The swim to the submarine? This is not an easy choice but there is one moment in this film where we all found ourselves jumping from our seats to cheer on Indiana Jones. The bit where instead of fighting the giant swordsman Indy simply pulls his gun and shoots him.
Legend goes that during filming Harrison Ford had been suffering from dysentery and exhaustion due to the extreme heat of Tunisia during filming. As originally planned, a scene was elaborately choreographed, with Jones facing the expert swordsman and trying to defeat him with just his whip. Some footage of the planned fight was shot (and was seen in at least one of the movie's trailers) but the filming was proving to be very tedious, both for Ford and the crew, and at some point the star had had enough. It has been widely reported that he said something to Spielberg along the lines of, "I have a gun why don't I just shoot the son of a bitch?" Spielberg liked the idea, scrapped the rest of the fight scene, and filmed the brief sequence that appears in the movie. It sums up Indy’s character perfectly - he’s a hero who doesn’t play by the rules. 

When We Were Kings

"I dun sumthin’ special for this fight! I dun wraselled an alligator. I hospitalised a brick! I’m so bad I make medicine sick!" 
Regular readers will know this is one of our favorite movies and with good reason. It’s the story of Muhammad Ali going to Zaire to square off against George Forman in the famous "Rumble in the Jungle.” The moment of pure heroism in this movie is summed up by a still shot. A photograph that features Norman Mailer and George Plimpton - respected writers in Zaire to cover the fight. Both men didn’t believe Ali could beat the monster that was George Foreman. The photo was taken at the exact moment Ali did just that. Floored Foreman. Both Mailer and Plimpton are rising from their seats with expressions of disbelief and excitement dancing on their faces. It doesn’t come better than that and heroes don’t come bigger than Muhammad Ali. 

Shaun of the Dead

“Take car. Go to mum's. Kill Phil - "Sorry." - grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. How's that for a slice of fried gold?”

Sometimes heroes rise from the most unlikely of places. In the case of this movie Shaun - a hopeless drone in electronic retail shop - gets his call to greatness when Zombies start taking over the world. It’s the classic story boy meets girl, girl becomes disillusioned with boy, girl leaves boy, the dead rise and start eating the living. It’s a Zom-Rom-Com. Shaun’s heroic fate is one I think all of us can identify with, while everyone else is running scared he assembles his friends and leads them to the safest place he knows - the pub. You can’t really get more heroic than that. After all, if the end of the world is happening what better place to wait it out than your local boozer?  

The Last Boy Scout

In the early 90's, there was a definite, consistent presence in action movies: slow motion cinematography, wild gun-play, and funny one-liners. Granted, there are still some of those today, but it just wasn't the same as was back in the heady days of expolison-filled flicks like The Last Boy Scout. Now there are so many special effects in the current action films that it drowns out what used to be the true heart of the "popcorn flick". Bruce Willis character Joe - a jaded, deadbeat P.I. - saves the life of the man who ruined his career, and avenges the death of the guy that fucked his wife. But his true moment of heroic glory comes when he casually tells a villain that if he touches him again he’ll kill him. Needless to say the guy touches him again and Joe does kill him - just a casually as he issued the threat. Classic. The jig at the end after he offs the bad guy into the blades of a passing helicopter is pretty sweet too.

Sin City

Delivered in a blistering ballet of bullets and blood, dames and danger at every turn.  Sin City is a pitch-perfect adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novels based in the fictional town of Basin City. A kinetic masterpiece of pop culture. Chief amongst the town's residents is Marv, who trawls the darkest areas of the city looking for the person who killed his one true love, Goldie. Marv - as played by Mikey Rourke - is a monstrous unstoppable man mountain who bats cops and crooks aside as if they were flies. Marv is covered in scars, mentally unhinged, violent and never far from a drink... or trouble. Hardly what you might call hero material. But when he faces off against the silent, smiling psychopath Kevin then I defy anyone not to feel like cheering. Even when Marv feeds Kevin to his own dog - while he’s still alive - you can help but feel your heart lift almost as much as your stomach churns. The big man himself sums it all up when he says - “I've been framed for murder and the cops are in on it. But the real enemy, the son of a bitch who killed the angel lying next to me, he's out there somewhere, out of sight, the big missing piece that'll give me how and the why and a face and a name and a soul to send screaming into hell.” You can’t spell anti-hero without “hero” I say.   

Field of Dreams

Sometimes heroes do crazy things. That’s what makes them heroes. Come on, no sane person would run into a burning building to save a child would they? Logic often doesn’t play a part in heroic acts. There’s no place for it to be honest. Heroes defy logic and sanity. Never has that been more obvious than in the heroic act that Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costtner in his best role ever) undertakes in Field of Dreams. 
He ploughs under his cornfield to build a baseball diamond - putting his farm, his family and his sanity at risk. Why? Because a voice tells him too. This starts him on a journey that ends with not a dry eye in the house. But this isn’t just a heroic moment because of it’s sheer insanity it’s also heroic because Ray listens to the voice in his head and acts on it. So often we ignore the voice inside us because - frankly - its suggestions are pretty crazy but I think if more of us acted on our inner voices we’d live in a more interesting world. Expect if your voice is telling to buy a semi-automatic weapon and pick off people like ants from a high tower. Don’t listen to that voice. That’s a bad voice. 

Team America: World Police

There is a moment in Team America that rivals some of the greatest most heroic moments in any movie with, or without, puppets. Broadway star and World Police officer Gary Johnston must face Alec Baldwin president of the Film Actors Guild in an “act off” in front of the assembled leaders of the free world. The speech unites everyone, saves the world and defeats the bad guy. Here printed, in it’s entirety, is that speech.  
We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is: they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know this: If you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!” 

Bubba Ho-tep

Based on the Bram Stoker Award nominee short story by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-tep tells the "true" story of what really did become of Elvis Presley. We find Elvis (Bruce Campbell) as an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, who switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his "death", then missed his chance to switch back. Elvis teams up with Jack (Ossie Davis), a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually President John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as a place to feed his hunger by sucking the residents souls out through their arses. 
I’m not pointing to any one heroic moment in this film the movie in itself is pretty damn heroic. An aging Elvis fighting a mummy in a retirement home? It’s astounding that anyone actually gave them money to make this crazy piece of film-making in the first place. But they did and it’s a mad little gem of a movie. The heroic element in this movie is actually one of the most heroic things I can think of - enduring friendship. Elvis and JFK face old age and a soul-sucking demon together. I can only hope that later in life my friends and I can share that kind of friendship. Minus the mummy of course.  

Napoleon Dynamite

The misleading tagline for this film reads - “He’s out to prove he’s got nothing to prove.” Fricking idiots. The marketing boffins that came up with that garbage should be tied to a piece of nylon and dragged behind a school bus. 
Preston, Idaho's most curious resident, Napoleon Dynamite, lives with his grandma and his 32-year-old brother (who cruises chat rooms for ladies) and works to help his best friend, Pedro, snatch the Student Body President title from mean teen Summer. 
Like Bubba Ho-tep this is another movie about friendship amongst many other things, including - but not limited to - cage fighting, ligers, time machines, tater tots, lazy lamas and becoming president. It’s this last thing that brings us to our heroic moment and it’s a doozy - which is why I’ve saved it for last. 
With everything hanging in the balance, Pedro mounts the stage and delivers his student body presidential candidate speech. It doesn’t exactly set the world on fire so ubernerd Napoleon Dynamite leaps onto stage and rocks out to the phat beats of Jamiroquai. He puts everything on the line for his friend - well he risks making even more of a frickin’ idiot of himself. But that heroic act of friendship is something wonderful to behold. Something Awesome. 


Two men in search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves. Hardly a movie you expect to find a hero. After all, can you really only enjoy films where the characters are people you'd happily have over to your home for dinner? Well the two guys in this film would make your skin crawl if they sat down next to you. 
Feature Films are not popularity contests. And sometimes heroes can be people we don’t actually like very much. When the character of Miles (Played brilliantly by tubby every-man Paul Giamatti) steals cash from his mother's bedroom dresser near the beginning of the film do we find him morally reprehensible? Absolutely. But your heart breaks for him when he does it. You can see how much he hates himself. 
 Thankfully Miles redeems himself at the end when he climbs the steps to Maya’s door and knocks on it. This is a moment of heroism equal to every hostage ever rescued by Arnie, ever. For anyone that’s ever been there, those steps are like Everest. The simple act of raising your arm to knock on that door is like lifting an elephant. How does Maya react when she answers his knock? We’ll never know and we don’t need to because the real moment of power, moment of glory lies in Miles plucking up the courage to rap his knuckles on the door of the woman who just might be the love of his life.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sympathy for the Old Devil

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith

“Please excuse me,' he said, speaking correctly, but with a foreign accent, 'for presuming to speak to you without an introduction.” In 1968 the Rolling Stones entered the Olympic Sound Studios in London to record a song written by Mick Jagger a song called “Sympathy for the Devil.” You will know him by his works the saying goes. So to know Mr Jagger first we have to get to know the devil.

The highway baptists will tell us that Rock n’ Roll sings with a forked tongue. It stalks a fiery stage with cloven heels while the stench of the sulfurous pit hangs heavy in the air. Rock bands with their reverse messages and pentagrams are, without doubt, in league with the devil. 

Rock n’ Roll is by it’s nature demonic. From the moment Elvis gyrated his hips and Chuck Berry duck-walked across the stage the christian right have looked at R&R with a troubled expression. There’s something wrong about that there music. It’s the devil’s music I tell you! 

Various upstarts in rock’s fraternity haven’t honestly done much to improve this image. In fact they’ve positively embraced the dark lord. They are Knights in Satan’s Service who worship on the Black Sabbath. But let’s face the Devil is above all else a showman. That’s what R&R and Old Scratch share in common it’s all about getting your soul. 

Sir Mick has a lot to answer for in this relationship. After all he was the first to bring the devil to the party and respectfully request that we show the man some sympathy.  Jagger sums it up like this "'s a very long historical figure -- the figures of evil and figures of good -- so it is a tremendously long trail he's made as personified in this piece." 

And I was round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Jagger is quoted on the subject, “[When people started taking us as devil worshippers], I thought it was a really odd thing, because it was only one song, after all. It wasn't like it was a whole album, with lots of occult signs on the back. People seemed to embrace the image so readily, [and] it has carried all the way over into heavy metal bands today.”

Even he is forced to admit that him and his crew started the stone rolling with their album “Their Satanic Majesties Request.” But it was the “Beggar’s Banquet” that introduced us to the man himself. Sympathy for the Devil was a song that Jagger largely composed himself with a little help from his partner in crime Keith Richards. They cleared a seat at the banquet and the devil happily joined the party. 

The effect of the song sent out ripples that we are still feeling today. Richards himself said it best, "Before, we were just innocent kids out for a good time, they're saying, 'They're evil, they're evil.' Oh, I'm evil, really? So that makes you start thinking about evil... What is evil? Half of it, I don't know how much people think of Mick as the devil or as just a good rock performer or what? There are black magicians who think we are acting as unknown agents of Lucifer and others who think we are Lucifer. Everybody's Lucifer."

These days Mick Jagger is a bit of an old devil himself. He represents the past guard of R&R, a journeyman from a time when excess really was excessive. Our current crop of pop stars are either squeaky clean or just plain tragic. It will come as no great surprise that Mick drank deeply from the well of sex, drugs and rock and roll. But he did it with such a sense of style that not only did he remerge with his life and career intact he managed to score himself a knighthood while he was at it. Not bad for a man who used dress up as the devil onstage. 

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jagger had this to say about Sympathy for the Devil, "I think that was taken from an old idea of Baudelaire’s, I think, but I could be wrong. Sometimes when I look at my Baudelaire books, I can't see it in there. But it was an idea I got from French writing. And I just took a couple of lines and expanded on it. I wrote it as sort of like a Bob Dylan song." Alright so we’ve all heard of Bob Dylan but who the heck is this Baudelaire character? Charles Pierre Baudelaire (1821- 1867) was an influential nineteenth century French poet. This quote sums the man "Personally, I think that the unique and supreme delight lies in the certainty of doing 'evil' -- and men and women know from birth that all pleasure lies in evil."  His most famous collection of poems “The Flowers of Evil”. This book created quiet a stir at the time of it’s release mainly because of it’s principle themes of sex and death. It was the rock and roll of it’s time so no wonder Baudelaire’s work appealed to Jagger.

But the songs roots are more firmly entrenched in the work of another writer. “The Master and Margarita” is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. It tells the story of the Devil visiting the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. It a strange satire filled with a cast of increasingly strange characters.  
Marianne Faithfull - the original motorcycle girl was Mick Jagger's girlfriend at the time and she turned him onto the book. Faithfull came from an upper-class background - a woman of wealth and taste - and exposed Jagger to a lot of new ideas. In fact Faithfull's maternal great-great-uncle was Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the infamous 19th century Austrian  nobleman whose erotic novel, “Venus in Furs” added a new word to our lexicon - “masochism”. 

“The new fashion”, says Jagger, “Is to talk about the most private parts of your life; other fashion is to repent of your excesses and to criticize the drugs that made you happy in the other times.” 

Needless to say Jagger’s relationship with Faithfull was a rocky one but she still had a great deal of influence on Jagger in these early days - for good and bad. Two songs on Sticky Fingers were also influenced by Faithfull: the chorus of “Wild Horses” ("wild horses couldn't drag me away") is said to be based on a phrase Faithfull uttered after coming out of a coma after an overdoes.

As Jagger himself has said, “A lot of times songs are very much of a moment, that you just encapsulate. They come to you, you write them, you feel good that day, or bad that day.” Jagger is renowned for his high-profile, multiple relationships like the very public and tumultuous one with Faithfull.

It’s ironic then that “The Master and Margarita” itself is ultimately about but the emptiness of sensual gratification without love is emphatically illustrated in the satirical passages. The story opens with the Devil introducing himself - ‘Please excuse me,' he said, speaking correctly, but with a foreign accent, 'for presuming to speak to you without an introduction.’  This echoes the opening of the Jaggers song, what’s more forth verse even takes us to Russia. 

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

In an age when popular songs seem to be all about popping a cap in some bitches ass or some teenage wabblings about love it’s hard to imagine a popular musician writing a song inspired by both a french poet and one of the greatest Russian novels of the 20th century. Hardly the stuff of Fiddy’s next hit.   
What’s more the The lyrics' focus on atrocities in the history of mankind, including the pervious verse which covers the Russian Revolution of 1917. Satan’s journey through times of violence and cruelty. Maybe as a passenger witnessing God’s cruel hand or maybe as the orchestrator of those events? The song is unclear - puzzling in fact - with Lucifer asking us rather boldly that he hopes we guess his game. 
The history lesson continues with Satan holding a General’s rank. Although he doesn’t tell us exactly which side he was on. Which is telling. While Jagger has never been overtly anti-war the lyrics to “Sweet Neo Con” on “Bigger Bang.” “You call yourself a Christian, I think that you're a hypocrite, You say you are a patriot, I think that you're a crock of shit.” When it comes to war the devil never takes sides he’s just happy that there’s a war on it seems.

I rode a tank
Held a generals rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

So literature and a history lesson. Jagger, like Baudelaire and Bulgakov, found himself drawn to the darker side. Drawn to Old Nick. Drawn to Diablo himself. Known by a variety of names—Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles—the Devil remains one of the most intriguing and ubiquitous figures in western literature, with such literary luminaries as Dante, Milton, and Goethe finding in him the perfect personification of the human impulse toward evil. Since the advent of the Bible, the Devil has existed as the quintessential adversary, and the ultimate antithesis to goodness and morality. The source of all evil. But in spite of all this bad press there’s something undeniably attractive about the devil. So much more fun than the other guy in the white robes am I right? 
In the movie excellent movie Bedazzled (the original 1967 version) Peter Cook plays the devil as chap called George Spiggott. Spiggott sums up the devil’s relationship with God in the final speech of the film. 
“All right, you great git, you've asked for it. I'll cover the world in Tastee-Freez and Wimpy Burgers. I'll fill it with concrete runways, motorways, aircraft, television, automobiles, advertising, plastic flowers, frozen food and supersonic bangs. I'll make it so noisy and disgusting that even you'll be ashamed of yourself! No wonder you've so few friends; you're unbelievable!” 

Yeah the Devil runs the show cause he’s cooler. Jagger knows this too - you get a lot more attention with brimstone than you do with holy water. 

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys? 
When after all
It was you and me

He’s not telling us anything we don’t already know is he? More people have been killed in the name of god than the name of the devil. It's rather ironic that a religion which so publicly proclaims Absolute Love as its basis should, over the course of history, spawn so much unmitigated hatred and violence. Innocent people die. Good men die. The recording sessions for the track were in progress when the Robert Kennedy was killed, and the words were changed from "Who killed John Kennedy?" to "who killed the Kennedys?" Jagger’s song itself was almost left behind by the events it was documenting. The songs goes on and reaches it’s ultimate conclusion.
Jagger has said “The past is a great place and I don't want to erase it or to regret it, but I don't want to be its prisoner either.” He’ll have to go a long distance before he ever escapes this song. When you dance with the devil he leads not you.  

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me lucifer
cause Im in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste...

Mick Jagger was a much younger man when he penned this song. A song that helped define the Rolling Stones as the bad boys. A song that defined Rock and Roll. A song that defined Mick Jagger himself A song that put the devil in the music. Music we would gladly sell our soul for. Not just Sympathy for the Devil but some well-earned respect. So let’s give the Devil the last line shall we? In the form of George Spiggott again. 
“There was a time when I used to get lots of ideas... I thought up the Seven Deadly Sins in one afternoon. The only thing I've come up with recently is advertising.” 

Take a bow you old devil you. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

10 Things Future Generations Will Learn About Us.

Chances are that sometime in the distant future there will be cyber-archeologists. Talented technicians who will shift through the detritus of data that still exists from the early days of the dawn of the digital age. Like the iron age, this was a time when mankind embraced a new technology and ran with it. By trawling through this information they will be able to piece together snap shots and theories of how we live now. What might might they discover about us? Let’s take a look back at ourselves...

1. They were obsessed with cats. 

Like the ancient Egyptians the denizens of the early 21st century seemed to worship cats. They shared images of cats playing pianos and were continually asking cat-based questions. “What kind of cat are you?” , “What is your cat trying to tell you?” and “Wait until you see what this cute cat does next - share on Facebook to view”. Cats held a special, almost mystical place, in the hearts and minds of all social media outlets. 

2. Before the universal “Yr” there existed two different versions.

Language is always changing. Before text speak there was a much more complicated version of the English language that included words such as “YOUR” and “YOU’RE”. Even more confusingly, there were as many as four different versions of “THR” -  “THEY”, “THERE”,  “THEIR” and “THEY”RE”. The exact meanings of these variations are lost in the mists of time. 

3. People used to pay to see movies.

Believe it or not studios used to spend millions (sometimes billions) of dollars making movies.  With special effects and “actors”. What’s more, people would then pay money to view these. This was before the days when we all just viewed everything for free and downloaded our own content. Why anyone would rather watch two hours of film making when they can just watch two minutes out of focus footage of someone lighting their farts is a mystery.  

4. Having no talent was actually a job.

Incredibly people with absolutely no discernible talent were able to make millions of dollars. Generally this involved a combination of being an heiress, or appearing in a sex tape, or having simply have said something amusing on a TV news show. Eventually these  non-talents ended up marrying someone with talent or becoming a DJ (a task that eventually, in the future, monkeys were trained to do). 

5. Plates of food were extremely important for some reason.

In the early 21st century humankind took more photographs of plates of food than anything else (except cats). This was symptomatic of a sociality preoccupied with food. Humans were either overweight or underweight or simply bouncing between the two. Also there was a section of society (mostly young males) who photographed food once it had been processed by their digestive systems. The exact reason for this is still unknown.

6. They loved to share.

Humankind loved to share their lives with everyone. They wanted they world to know that they were eating a sandwich. Or that how much weight they’d lost. Or endless dull photographs of their children. The world seemed to be obsessed with documenting and sharing everything. While a scarce number of photographs were taken on the moon, millions of photographs were taken in bathroom mirrors. In fact, they were so wrapped up with photographing and documenting their lives often humans never actually saw the concerts, events, weddings and funerals that they attended. Unless it was via some blurry footage that appeared on their social media pages a few days later. They were so busy sharing their lives with others that they forgot to enjoy it themselves. 

7. In order to become a musician you needed to have musical talent. 

Believe it or not there was once a time when musicians could actually read music, they could play instruments, they sang without the aid of autotune and they wrote their own songs. They didn’t need a corporation behind them and they didn’t even need to be attractive. Good songs, performed well was all they needed. They didn’t need the sponsorship of a soft drink or to appeal to twelve-year-old girls. Once upon a time musicians were driven, simply, by the desire to make music. Also, incredibly, people used to actually pay to buy this music.  

8. People used to vote.

Before the world became so utterly disillusioned with politicians, people actually believed that voting made a difference. They discussed politics and had views. However they simply threw away a right that hundreds of thousands of people before them had fought and died for. They refused to believe they could make a difference because a handful of half-witted celebrities told them so. This paved the way for our current kind and benevolent overlords. All hail the corporations and their venerable CEOs! 

9. People believed that posting a picture or sharing a link was the same as donating money. 

Hard to believe we know. Millions of people believed that posting a photograph of themselves was the same as actually opening their wallet and giving money to a charity. It gave them a form of satisfaction and it made it look as if they were doing something when it reality they were nothing at all. They enjoyed the hollow illusion of feeling like they were helping. This is probably why now, in the future, we have no tigers and cancer is still a major problem. 

10. People believed anything. 

It’s true, in the past any information that appeared on line - no matter how preposterous - would be held up as fact. Reading something on line immediately made it real and people would quickly start evangelizing about it. Vaccinations cause childhood obesity. A nuclear bomb went missing in the 1980s and no one ever found it. The voice of Bart Simpson is a girl. Staring at a cat will cure restless leg syndrome. There’s going to be a Jar-Jar Binks spinoff movie. They believe it and, by god, they shared it. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Free Holiday you say?

I just had a random call offering a "free holiday" I told the dude with the American accent that the person they were calling was in hospital fighting to stay alive. I got all excited and told them that the "free trip" was something to live for. Where could I pick up the tickets? I don't believe it the prick still kept trying to sell me on their bogus offer. Then I told him this wonderful offer was making me think twice about turning off the life support. Where could I pick up the tickets? He still kept up the hard sell. I told him I was also dying and this was a shining light in a year of darkness. He still kept up the sell. Then I explained that our kiwifruit farm had been destroyed in the recent earthquake. And that our dog had contracted feline AIDS. I explained that this win felt like a turning point. He still kept it up. Then I pretended to put him on hold. When I got back to him I said the police were at my door and had discovered my meth lab. I asked if I could call him back and he asked when he could call me back! I pretended to ask the police when would be a convenient time and reported back to say I was going to be in prison for a very, very long time. Finally, the guy gave up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Dishonorable Man

So recently I received this message on my Facebook account. 

I'm on Facebook as Nicholas Finlay Thurston Ward. It was the early days of bookface and it told me to input my whole name I really didn't know how to change. It seems that Mr Kozah didn't look at my whole name and assumed my last name was Finlay. No worries because, as I was to discover, Mr Zozah, Attorney at Law, wasn't a man who paid a great deal of attention to the details. 

So I set up a separate Gmail account got started with my correspondence with Mr Kozah.

Seems legit. Although I'm not sure what a western union transfer has to do with using my account to access the late Mr Finlay's unclaimed millions. Still let's go with it. However if  Mr Kozah thought he was going to have an easy ride he was sadly mistaken. 

Mr Kojak seemed unflustered by my illegal plutonium importing.  

I set up a dodgy online account to use with this under the name of Nicholas Finlay. Again totally unconnected to anything that could come back to the real me.

They fell for it!

And so ends my dealings with Mr Kozah. Sadly his email seems to have been disabled. I do hope he's okay. I'm donating his money to the RSPCA you'll be happy to hear.