Wednesday, March 29, 2006

You what, Bette?

You what, Bet

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Tuesday evening short story

Mr Henderson's Office

Upon reading the note handed to her by Brian's PA, Helena Gahan immediately felt a sense of impending dread; not for herself but for the happy little girl she'd had the pleasure of teaching for the past 10 months.

But it wasn't just a sense of empathy that was now forcing tears to her eyes - which she fought back with a grim determination to remain both professional and supportive - it was her own memories of that wet Sunday evening in the hospice many years before she had decided to embarked on a career in primary education.

"Elizabeth dear", he said as calmly as she possibly could, "would you come with me to the Head's office please?"

"I'm just finishing this drawing of the French flag, Miss Gahan", Elizabeth protested as she dipped her thick paint brush into a pot of gloopy red paint.

Helena placed one hand on the Elizabeth's head, gently stroking her long brown pony-tailed hair, with the other she carefully took hold of the brush that Elizabeth held, placing it into the cleaning bowl.

"That can wait until later, I need you to come with me now to Mr Henderson's office, your Mother is waiting for you"

"But it's not home time yet is it Miss?"

"No Elizabeth", replied Helena as she helped the sparkly eyed eight-year-old to pack her little red rucksack which was emblazend with a bright yellow star on the front, "I think your Mummy needs to see you about something important".

Before long they were walking together down the long corridor which stretched the whole length of Hemsea C of E Primary School, from the Juniors where Helena taught through to year 11, and Mr Alderson's class in which Elizabeth's older brother Daniel was a pupil.

Elizabeth skipped along, excited at the prospect of seeing her mother again so early in the afternoon. She had tried to find out from Miss Gahan why it was her Mother was here before normal home time.

Must be a surprise, she had decided.

Having held it together so far, Helena took a deep breath before enter Brian's office.

Mr Henderson, a heavy set man in his late forties sat at his desk, and was speaking in a low comforting tone to the person opposite to him who sat with their back to the door.

Helena coughed pointedly to interrupt the conversation and it was at this moment that Elizabeth felt that something was terribly wrong.

It was indeed her mother sitting at Mr Hendersons desk, but not her Mother as she normally was. No, right now her mother Jenny had dark rings around her eyes, which were themselves watery. Jenny immediately jumped to her feet and took hold of Elizabeth to give her a sufforcating hug.

Elizabeth pushed away in an attempt to quiz her Mother about what was going on.

"We're still waiting for Daniel", her Mother replied.

"I'm feeling scared Mummy, what's happening?" Elizabeth pleaded.

Brian interjected that it would be a good few more minutes before Mr Douglas would be along with Daniel, whom had been in a PE lesson on the playing field when his presence in the office had been requested.

"Okay," replied Jenny, as she lifted Elizabeth up and sat her in the chair in which moments before she herself had been seated.

She knelt down in front of Elizabeth so that she could be at the exact same head height, she smiled in a way which indicated anything but happiness to Elizabeth and started.

"It's about your Daddy, Lizzie."

"What about Daddy?"

Elizabeth caught a glance of Miss Gahan put her hand up to her face to cover her eyes before her Mother continued.

"I'm so very sorry Lizzie, but your Daddy died a little while ago."

Elizabeth was confused, "But Daddy's at work?"

"Yes Lizzie, he was, and that was where he died".


Monday, March 27, 2006

Who is Cristina Marquez?

I'm used to spam, as we all are. It's as inevitable as spots on your bum or me never commenting on your blogs. But I've recently had a series of most curious spam emails from a site called Relationships.com addressed to a Cristina Marquez - I am not Cristina Marquez - I am Herge Smith - Angry Chimp - killer of Elf Shorts - Dalek obsessive and Dachshund owner...

So who is Cristina Marquez?

Now, in itself this is no big deal - however, this spam has been generated via an aborted co-op blog that I was briefly engaged in over at Shut the fuck up which I contributed to with none other than miss Cakesniffer herself - or as we've come to know her TINA - crisTINA - see? Do you see? Do ya punk?

And then she posts this - Crazy Hair Seeks Non-Crazy In which she talks about setting an internet dating thing - just like relationship...dum dum duuuumm...

Coincidence?

COINCIDENCE??

Maybe.

Maybe not...

Mind you, do I actually know Tina's surname and it ain't as far as I've been led to believe Marquez.

BUT IT IS EQUALLY FOREIGN SOUNDING!
(my surname really is Smith btw - as boring as that it.).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Sunday evening short story.

Why did you miss the Wednesday afternoon management meeting?
by Herge Smith

There was a man who worked in an office.

He had grey hair, some of which protruded from his nose and ears.

As a younger man, he had many dreams and aspirations but these had been replaced by a mortgage he did not want, a wife he did not love and children he could not understand.

He had a reasonably important position in a big money company somewhere in the city.

His colleagues did not like him and treated him with barely restrained contempt, which he mistakenly interpreted as respect.

On an ordinary Wednesday morning following a heavy autumn shower the man, whilst sitting at his desk contemplating the coming management meeting, suddenly felt a tremendous pain in his chest.

Lydia, the PA to the MD was angry that the man was late for the management meeting, and had blatantly ignored both her emails and telephone calls. She herself had no power in the company; however, she frequently used the MD’s name as a means to vicariously assert an inappropriate and unearned level of authority throughout the company.

Today it would be the man that she would take down a peg or two, she thought as she walked to his office.

Lydia was confused by what she saw as she entered, the man slumped at his desk. She quickly called a paramedic for assistance, although this was a futile act, the man had been dead for many hours.

The company replaced the man within 6 weeks. His wife replaced him within a year.

The man’s eldest child with whom he’d never had a close relationship felt angry that his father had chosen his career over his family, leaving the child with ‘issues’ that would haunt him into his own adult life, whereas the youngest child quickly came to see her mothers new husband as her natural father, (which indeed he was).

The end.

Friday, March 24, 2006

And on the subject of Lost...

I'm becoming increasingly annoyed by Lost. Why not stop watching it? I hear you more sensible folk out there say, - 'cause I'm an idiot is my reply.

But seriously, after watching the season conclusion to The Shield yesterday, and being totally bowled over by the intricate plotting and the superlative characterisation (which was never forced or fake) which lead to a grimly inevitable conclusion, Lost in comparison is stripped bare and left for all to see what it truly is - The Emporers new clothes.

People, it's nothing great, it's the 9 seasons McGuffin of the alien storyline that crippled the X-Files - nothing more.

I still watch it though, just in case... 'cause like I said, I'm an idiot.

And as I said before about 24 - man, it's a guilty pleasure (of sorts).

Keep listing your top five shows people - I want to do bit on your choices in a future post.

Now, about Battlestar Galactica...





(Blimey, this blog is rapidly becoming - TV obsessed Chimp - or worse).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Can't write much... watching The Shield

TV is crap. There is never anything good on. I gave up ages ago; it's all rubbish.

BOLLOCKS.

I agree that there is a lot of crap on Telly, the same way there are an amazing amount of shitty books in bookshops, and an horrific amount of piss poor water down commercially created tunes in record shops. But it is not the case AT ALL that all TV is crap.

But like everything, it's about moderation. Great TV can be in everyway as rewarding as reading a good book or seeing a fantastic play - just be a bit fussy, that's all.

And here are 5 reasons why there IS something on TV;

1. The Wire - probably/ possibly the single greatest TV show ever created. Multi-layered and slow burning, oozing with terrific acting and even better scripting. The Wire is exactly like reading a great novel; the more you get into it the more you get from it.

2. The Shield - the 2nd greatest TV show ever - If The Wire is the Beetles, then The Shield is the Rolling Stones. Exciting, fast moving, hyper-kinetic, The Shield works as great standalone episodes with a structured story arc which tracks across all five series - in fact the conclusion to the 5 season is focused on events throughout the previous 4 series, including in a particularly audacious move, the pilot episode.

3. The Daily Show/ The Colbert Report - Great stuff, simply breathtaking that they seemingly churn this stuff out DAILY.

4. South Park. How long has this thing been on now? And still it has teeth.

5. Battlestar Galactica. My love for this is worrying. And I will dedicate an entire post to it soon.

So, how bad are your viewing habits? What is your current top 5? I bet they are nowhere near as sophisticated as mine.

And don't give me that bullshit about not watching TV 'cause it's crap, or you can never find anything to watch. Fuck me, you'd never admit to never reading for the same reason so get off your high horse.

Mind you saying that most TV is shite, hence the blogging.

What? Fucking off, Angry Chimp can be as much a hypocrite as he likes.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More 24

Dalek and Borg 24 1
Dalek and Borg 24 2

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Angry Chimp’s 24.

The 197th season of the Fox channels acclaimed extreme paranoia inducing TV show 24 is currently airing in both the US and the UK, and probably a bunch of allied countries as well.

Obviously it has been well documented that 24 is split over 24 individual episodes per season with each episode a ‘real-time’ hour in the life of counter terrorist operative (and occasionally dead) Jack Bauer, (Keifer Sutherland - a man who has spent his entire career in his fathers shadow)

Anyway, I like 24 in an utterly guilty way – it’s total trash and for every 24 I watch I would like an episode of The Shield and Battlestar Galactica to be taken into consideration. (More on Battlestar Galactica next week).

I decided last weekend to have a 24 day. Here’s what happened in the 1st 6 exciting hours.

The following takes place between 6:00am and 12:00pm

6:00am – I was asleep.

7:00am – There was sudden thud on the bed, I awake with a start and shout; “Damn it!”. It’s only Daisy. I put her back into her bed and go back to sleep.

8:00am – I wake brief from a dream which I can’t quite remember but has still made me feel quite anguished. I go back to sleep in moments.

9:00am – Get up and let the dogs out, go back to bed.

10:00am – Awake briefly after hearing terrible low long whines and disturbing scrapping/ scratching noises. Realise that I haven’t let the dogs back in and it’s pouring with rain. I get up and let them in.

11:00am – After an hour of wandering around in ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ T-Shirt and boxers, occasionally scratching myself I finally get it together enough to get a coffee. After the ace injection of caffeine, I jump into gear and pull on some jeans and my converse. With fleece in hand I head out into the world to get Saturday morning essentials – A Guardian, a pain au chocolat, some ciabatta, ham and a cake or two.

12:00pm – Return home and collect wallet. Head back out to the Patisserie.

How very exciting is this special addition of 24 so far? Yes, it is true that I haven’t yet stopped for a loo break, but this will be addressed in part two of
Angry Chimp’s 24!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blog - A movie script - Opening scene

Blog

A Blog Script by Bloggers

FADE IN:

Angry Chimp Productions


1. Ext. Space – Looking down on the Earth, spinning slowly in an airless void.

(Silence)

ALICE
In the beginning, there was a word,

And then there were more words, and before long coherent sentences were formed with people asking; ‘What time is it?’, ‘Why did you hit me?’, ‘Does that come with Cheese?’, ‘Sorry I missed that, what did you say?’.

And for a time that was great, but soon some folk wanted what they had been saying to be remembered, even after they were dead, so they wrote the things they said down, and some things they had just been thinking about.

And for a time that was great, but soon some folk got pissed off with no one paying them any attention so they had what they wrote published and got other folk to buy their words and thoughts.

Making some people rich, mostly the publishers.

And for a time that was great.

(The Earth starts to spin more quickly)

But then the internet was born.

(Hundreds of shining lines form around the Earth, interconnecting, expanding and straddling from one side of the Planet to another.)

And everyone could write down their thoughts and have them instantly read by hundreds of strangers from all corners of the planet.

And no one had to pay any publishers a thing. Which made everyone very happy.

Everyone but the publishers, who moaned about this new revolution in publishing on their own little Internet diaries, or web logs as they became known.

(Now strings of words can be seen forming along the lines that criss-cross the Earth, and as the words form so do the voices, speaking along with words. Not many at first, but as they touch an overlapping line they spawn new strings of words and voices with them – young voices, old voices, men, women, children. Voices and languages from every corner of the planet getting louder as more and more voices are added. Each overlapping the other)

VOICE 1
July 3rd. Woke this morning with a slight headache, must have been all the tequila slammers I had last night…

VOICE 2
Tuesday 27th March. She hit me again last night. I swore I’d leave if it happened again but I feel this terrible compulsion to stay with her, it’s like a sickness…

VOICE 3
Monday. The bombing continued until the late hours. East Comer was hit, I fear for all those souls that huddle together their each night for shelter…

VOICE 4
Friday 6th June. Why do all the old buggers decided to go for a drive during rush hour? I know for them it’s like midday, but for goodness sake, they should be banned…

VOICE 5
September 27th. Tuesday morning. I write this with a great weight on my heart. Alas dear readers Amy finally told me why she has been so off with me...

VOICE 6
Thursday. I hate my job. I cannot stand it any longer; I am taking a gun into work with me tomorrow…

VOICE 7
14th April 2006. Whom does the PM think he’s kidding. It was only sixth months ago that he stated precise the opposite and now he’s trying to sell this nonsense as a frame work for a positive step forward…

VOICE 8
Day 8. Buggaboo are the best new indie group around. I saw them down at the Garage and Crow and they totally tore through their set hyperactive energy…

VOICE 9
Saturday 30th Feb. The scars from the operation are now fading, but I still cannot face let him touch me there. Is that weird? I just feel that part of me is missing…

(over the disembodied voices the main title card appears)

MAIN TITLE CARD:

Blog


(The voices are so many now no single voice is distinguishable. Gradually one voice becomes clearer as all other voices fade away. This is the voice of Alice, a woman in her early Forties, divorced with two teenage children. She has the accent of a woman from the Midlands, Northampton to be precise).

ALICE
So, I celebrate my 365th entry today. One-year blogging and what have I achieved? Finally got the official nod that me and Darren are no longer a functioning family unit. Could have told them that years ago. Lizzie is no longer my sweet little girl, but a petulant foul mouthed little madam, although her schoolwork is good. As for Dan, the less said about him the better.

One year on and what have I achieved?

(We pull away from the Earth with incredibly speed, the darkness of space being taken up by huge letters, quickly forming the desk top of a generic blogging tool. The Earth is now in the top right hand corner, spinning round to inform the user they are on line. We can see all that Alice has just said as typed prose. The arrow hovers over the publish icon.

And then more words are added, Alice reading as she types).

In fact, why did I start this blog lark in the first place?

(The arrow hovers back to the publish icon and becomes a little hand which punches down on the icon sending Alice's thoughts out for the World to read).

2.




NEXT: Tina's turn.

(There are no rules here, the story can go in any direction you like - have fun).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Let's write a movie!!

I want us to write a movie together called, ‘Blog’ (appropriately enough).

I’ll start with an opening scene, which will lay down a very bare bones premise and then pass the next scene along to whomever wants to play.

This movie script will obviously end up a rambling mess, but it should be some fun to read.

Okay, an opening scene coming up...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

is a dead chimp...

Dead Chimp

Sunday, March 05, 2006

and whilst we're on the subject of Alan Moore...

V for Vendetta.

From Hell.

Tom Strong.

The League of Extraordinay Gentlemen.

Big Numbers

Skizz.

Marvelman (Miracleman)

The Killing Joke.

D.R and Quinch.

Watchmen.

Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Swamp Thing.

But to my mind, Alan Moore's greatest work was The Ballad of Halo Jones. And this isn't so much because it's a great piece of writing and story telling, it most certainly is it. But because of the medium in which Halo Jones appeared.

But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself.

Back when Star Wars was shiney and new and not sullied by teddy bear allegory for Vietnam or badly acted metaphors of America's current War on Terror smokescreen there was a void in the UK weekly comic magazine market. Until that was with the dawning of 1978 and introduction of 2000AD, a galaxy busting weekly thrill that threw it's predominately young male readership into future scenarios of East Vs West war, Fascist societies with laws enforced by a ruling class of Judges and Dan Dare - whom never seemed entirely at home, cut off as he was from his Eagle.

And over the years the stories developed and the bare boned clich├ęd scenarios started to take on a speck of sophistication; Judge Dredd, a horrific creature of unbending loyalty to the rules and the iron fist of law and order started to make some sense. In an ultra violent society of mass unemployment and over crowded living conditions, you needed Dredd to keep control.

Meanwhile A blue skinned genetically created soldier roamed the chemically polluted battlefields of a far of planet fought over by corporations in the guise of Norts and Southers. Not entirely alone, this Rogue Trooper looked to avenge the deaths of his kin with 3 of his closest comrades personalities in electronically encoded into computer chips which following their deaths at the Quartz Zone massacre he cut from their heads and placed into his equipment.

For comedy relief there was Sam Slade, a hunter of errant robots, he too had a couple of sidekicks, however they were far less helpful than Rogues. Stoogie, a robotic cigar obsessively advised Slade that he should cut down his intake of nicotine, least he damage himself which often occurred party due to his other assistant, Hoagy, a robot who was by no means of a Hal level of intellect. Hoagy had apprenticed himself to Sam despite Sam's insistence that he not.

And a long long time before Joss Whedon came up with a Space Western, there was Strontium Dog. Johnny Alpha, a mutant, thus an outcast from our society which has always and will always find an underclass to demonise and sideline.

Alpha, who had a long and torturous history, along with his loyal business partner/ fellow Stont Wulf Sternhammer (despite actually being a Viking and not a mutant) were bounty hunters, tracking down the scum of the universe for cash. A horrible job which frequently had Alpha and co finding and killing fellow mutants; was in fact the only job Mutants were legally allowed to do.

Strontium Dog, despite being very Sci-fantasy was in fact a western played out throughout the Galaxy and often throughout time and was it seems now based on the best works of Hellman, Leone and Sturges.

The one Strontium Dog story that sticks most resolutely in the mind now, some 20 years after it was first published was called ‘Rage’, and followed Alpha's attempt to track down the men that killed his friend Wulf. The story lasted some 26ish parts, and considering this was a story in which each part was only 6 or 7 pages long and was a weekly instalment it was quite an epic event - 6 months of Alphas hatred for the Max Bubba gang, growing weekly to it's epic conclusion in which Alpha shots Max down.

Except he does not. Alpha inextricably makes a mistake and Max survives. Max, ever the crook robs the hospital that has saved his life and heads out in to the street to enjoy this unexpected chance of more life. But whom does he find waiting for him? Johnny Alpha of course.

"Why are you doing this Alpha?" Max cries out, "Why are you torturing me?"

"Because I hate you" Alpha replies coldly and he guns him down, this time for good.

2000AD was a phenomenon. Yes the comics abroad were good, great even, but they seemed to my young eyes to be predominantly Superhero comics and consequently somewhat childish (although writers that include Moore and Frank Miller did much to change that). 2000AD was all about uncompromising men that fight and kill and always come out on top but always, ALWAYS damaged by the experience in some way.

And then came along Halo Jones in 1984.

Halo Jones was an unemployed teenage girl that lived in a mass housing project called the Hoop who dreamed of getting away from her life of 'increased leisure'. She talked about celebrities with her housemates, went shopping and ended up being the most radical story published in 2000AD.

For a start the only other females to grace the cheap grey newsprint paper of 2000AD up to that point had been female colleagues of Judge Dredd (in the form of Judges Anderson, Hershey and Chief Judge McGruder). Jones was a revelation. And you just knew that Moore knew exactly what he was doing.

Jones did not have a gun, or a political opinion or even a reason to be, she was just like us, an every person trying to do something with her life when the odds are you won't and you can't.

The first 'book' of Halo Jones sees Halo finally escaping the Hoop on a luxury Liner that cruises space called the Clara Pandy.

Is she the captain? or an the chief engineer, or even a guest? No, she is a waitress.

Not to say that Halo Jones was dull or uninvolved, the stories still featured violent acts, mystery characters and killer robotic dogs (or Dog in the form of Toby), it was just that Jones wasn't a super strong super resourceful character - she was quite normal, and we the readers called not only relate to this, we loved it.

We still loved Rogue and Joe Dredd and Sam and Johnny and Slaine and The VC's and Ace Trucking Co, D.R and Quinch (another great more creation about a couple of badly behaved teenage aliens, just out for a good time) it was just that Halo gave the comic class, elevating from trash literature to... erm, well literature I suppose.

Ultimately Halo was dragged into a future war, but it was war as we've seen in Full Metal Jacket, and All Quiet on the Western Front. A pointless generation destroying event that seems to serve no purpose other than that decided by the politicians. Halo soon becomes a pawn in this war, fighting on the incredibly heavy gravity planet Moab, where time is distorted on the battlefield making a 5-minute skirmish last weeks. The characters are further detached and dehumanised by this, and Halo comments that it's hard to get upset by the death of a comrade who died before your eyes moments earlier, who in actuality died months previous.

By the end of the third 'book' Halo steals a space ship and just 'escapes' into space. On her own.

More books were planned but never appeared. Perhaps they would have been as fantastic as the three we got, perhaps not. Doesn't matter cause what we got was so good.

Alan Moore was, is and will always be a terrific writer. Maybe next time I'll talk a bit about how he turned Swamp Thing from a (literally) bog standard man-monster seeks cure comic into a genre bending hit or Marvelman which after a hiatus of 20 years went from pulp 50's nonsense to the herald of modern superhero comics (and more so).

Then of course, as always when anyone speaks of Alan Moore there is Watchmen.