Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A laugh can be a very powerful thing. R.I.P. Bob Hoskins

After hearing the sad news about actor Bob Hoskins, I popped on my DVD of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and here are some initial thoughts

WFRR is one of my favourite films.  It came out the year I was born, and I’ve seen it a tonne of times over the many years.  What makes is great is a bizarre concept (it’s based on the novella Who Censored Roger Rabbit) of film noir with cartoons.  Maybe this is because Disney had yet to explode with its 1990s boom, and cartoons in general had become more action-orientated (He-Man, Thundercats, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, BraveStarr etc) so there is a whiff of nostalgia tied to the 1947 setting.  This strange combination works so well.

The plot is quite complicated for a young person, but breezes along so you’d tied into the action and suspense.  It’s a PG, despite being full of cartoons the film features sexual references, alcoholism and plenty of murder.

And finally, every time you watch it, you notice another little tiny piece of trivia, another little Easter egg.  The fact Goofy was accused of spying in a newspaper headline, that according to a plaque on the box, Yousemite Sam gave Valiant the Toon gun, the little grumbles that Benny The Cab makes, the little details of the Weasel Gang…it’s a full, colourful film with a straight simple plot that doesn’t make it overcrowded, except the final celebratory scene of cartoonary.

But it’s Bob Hoskins who pins it all together, crafting a bitter, lemon-faced old drunkard spitting and griping, before a charged and keen detective who evolves into a fun, hopeful and heroic clown.  All the time, Hoskins plays off puppeteers, inanimate objects and thin air.  He has chemistry with cartoons in a way modern actors struggle with CGI creations.  Hoskins commits to the role, treats it with all the seriousness of any crime thriller, and it’s that commitment to the drama and suspense alongside the zaniness which makes the whole thing work!

I love him in other films, his little daft cameo in Brazil and his working class mentor-character in Made In Dagenham.  But he’ll always be, to me, Eddie Valiant.  Flawed, grumbling, a serious miserable man in a world of madcap cartoons.

We’ve got to find humour to combat the Judges and freeway-buildings.

A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have.”- Roger Rabbit

Sunday, 6 April 2014



This is my new work-in-progress poem.  NERDS!  PUNKS!  I want your feedback and thoughts!

I love punk rock, I know you feel it
From the age of 16 I was bouncing to the ceiling
But from the age of 11, I was a master Trainer
And from the age of 8, I mastered Age of Empires
And since I was born I wanted to sail on a pirate ship
This is a tribute to the Nerds who don stud jackets
The gamers who also have Mohawks
And the hardcore readers into hardcore

The only time the fist stops pumping in the air is when it rolls the D&D dice:
We’re skanking with a skeksies
And moshing with Yoshi & the Mario brothers
Clash City Nerfherders
Cross-gender cosplayers make better lovers

We feel the same fury hearing
Hey-Ho- Let’s Go
As we do from a battlecry from Liono
Radio radio radio CB Radio
When I got the chiptune, I got a place to go

Beano comics and Punk fanzines sit on my shelf
I made myself a Horcrux, I’m going straight to hell
We’re Henry Rollins the D12
You come at us, you’re gonna hurt yourself
Punk rock is for Orcs, prog rock is for Elves

You racists better know the rules well
You’re playing with half a Magic The Gathering deck
I learnt about equality
From The Specials and watching Shrek
We embrace all cultures
Vulcan, Minbari and even Dalek
Rest assured, we meet a fascist in the street
We’re gonna do more than just a Jedi mind trick

Like The Ramones sang:  I don’t wanna grow up.  But I don’t want to stay a child, I want to stay savage & cause a fuss.  Don’t grow up, evolve, level up.
Singing Colour Me Wednesday in parseltounge whilst chewing out a rhythm on my bubblegum getting drunk at lunch with the Goonies and Chunk
Keep your steampunk and crustpunk Up The Nerd PUNX!

What gigs do Nerd Punx attend?
Last week I had a good mosh
This Riot Grrrl band had vocals from Laura Croft
Alongside Selena Kyle on guitar
Bass featuring Tank Girl
Girls To The Front!
There was Taranga Leela whacking those drums

“Shut up and take my money”
We shouted as we dropped coins into the bucket for donations
Touring bands gotta eat and buy action figures (all limited edition)

But when I got home and went online
An advert read:  Male Gamers Only next to a chained-up half-naked She-Goblin
I saw a meme which said:  Sexy Cosplayers:  If she doesn’t expect you to stare a bit, her naivety isn’t your problem
I’m sick of the male hero saving the day when the female characters have no agency
Seriously, Thou Shalt Never The Read The Comments if you want to keep faith in humanity.
Why are aliens always an allegory of non-white peoples
And as much as Groot is cool, I’m still waiting for a super-hero film with a female lead
Rather than a film featuring a talking tree

Now I’d love to fight in the Thunderdome or join the crew of The Smokers
(I’ve almost got the wardrobe already)
But the way we live, this planet might not have much longer
So let’s be green like the Hulk, and smash pollution
Call up the Ents, get planting those trees!
Captain Planet was the biggest eco-terrorist of the 1990s
The only thing that can stop us…are nosebleeds
(not the short-lived 70s punk band)

No War But The Secret Wars
Winter Is Coming, so probably not a good idea to tour
ACAB:  All Cyborgs Are Bugged
No Gods (except Khorne)
No Masters (expect Admiral Thrawn)

We are not a corner of the market to target
We are targeting you and we’re coming harder
Our bodies, our scenes, our identity, our dreams
A love for the complex, and love for the bizarre
We are not the same, we celebrate the difference
And did you think I could get through a nerdy poem without a Pokemon reference?
Either bolt to the door or take my Thunderbolt, you’re in for an electric shock, these Geodude’s are more rock than you, you’re like a Diglet beneath my shoe, if you were my last Pok√©mon I still wouldn’t choose you
I’ll send you to the grave, coast with the Ghost-types, We’re harder than a bulked-up Chansey, look into my eyes, like Articuno it’s icy, you think Porygon is pricey?  You couldn’t afford a potion, stop causing a commotion like a beached Dewgong I’m ten times tougher than the toughest Rhydon and here come the Egg Bomb:  I’m a master of all 718 Pokemon!
Ok…it’s time to be serious now:
Neo-liberalism has gone too far!
Time for an anti-capitalist revolution
Tear down REKAL Incorporated & the Umbrella Corporation!
Bring down Omni Consumer Products & the Soylent Corporation!
If you wanna don a V mask, fine by me
So long as it’s not made in a sweat shop factory 
We’ll reclaim the past starting with November 5th 1955!
Anarchy mode!  Start9! 
So raise your fist, or hold your palm with three fingers in the air
For every nerd who spent hours alone
Pouring ideas in unseen tidal waves
For every punk who placed faith in rage and three chords
For every nerd who placed hope in stars and space
For every punk who customised their lives
For every nerd who refused to run their race
For everyone who didn’t quite fit in.
Don’t let them copyright the galaxy
Or give dreams a price structure
As Strummer sang:  “Turning rebellion into money”
(And this time I’m not talking about the Rebel Alliance)
It’s my job to keep Nerd Punk Elite 4
I say that feeling guilty
Nerd punk isn’t arguing about who shot first or which translation is worse, it’s about building a safe space for debating.
A place where the outsider kids and awkward adults can escape, if only briefly, the clutch of the mainstream, we will not be assimilated!
Let’s not forget if the sewers were good enough for the Turtles, they’re good enough for us
So let’s celebrate an underground whist infecting the world above.

Up The Nerd Punx!
Come at me bro, we’re coming out fighting
Make yourself as tall as the Colossus Titan
Be like Wolverine but twice as vicious
Make yourself as brave as Tommy Pickles
We’re looking for alternative worlds because the mechanics in this one are broken
We’re earth-shattering and world-builders, nerds and punk rockers

Roll the dice, we’re fighting.  Up The Nerd Punx!