Operation avoid the elephant

17th Jul 2011

Eurogamer 2013

Last week saw over 60 thousand gamers from all over the world taking to London for the annual Eurogamer convention at Earls court.

I got to play a load of new games due to be released soon, and see the Playstation 4 and Xbox one in action.

My favourite stop was the Dead Rising 3 booth ... I had an "off the record" interview with Jason Leigh (Senior producer of Dead Rising 3).

I also met a really cool zombie makeup artist (what a great job) doing the promotional work for Microsoft and Dead Rising, but more on him on my blog later in the week.

I also briefly met (said hi to each other) the comedian Bill Bailey, and the gaming giant that is Peter Molyneux. Two people whose work I admire very much.

Basically, I had a great time.

If you want to know more about some of the games that were on show and what people thought of them, then why not listen to the brand new Smolemon Podcast? Remember it is my first time (at doing a podcast), so be gentle. I'm going to be covering a load of interesting subjects in the future so if gaming isn't your thing, give this one a miss.

and why not find out more about Eurogamer?

Images from Eurogamer 2013

Posted by: Smolemon at 21:40:11 2nd Oct 2013

Del Amitri and Justin Currie

1983: Glasgow, Scotland ... Justin Currie puts an advert up in a music shop to get musicians for his band and founded 'Del Amitri'. The band gained a following on the local music scene, and were picked up by a record company after appearing on John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1.

1985: 'Del Amitri' releases their debut album (... and I was born. Coincidence? Yes).

1992: 'Change everything' is released, reaching the number two spot in the UK album charts. Just being beaten to the Top Spot by Lionel Ritchie (Bet he was dancing on the ceiling when he heard the news! ... sorry).

1995: The single 'Roll to me' is a success in the United Kingdom and an even bigger success in America (at a time when UK bands were struggling to break into the American charts; the song appeared in the US Top 10).

This was the year that the band started to be a big part of my life. My mum heard 'Roll to me' and decided to buy the album. From then on, during every family trip out, I was forcibly made to listen to a cassette tape on a constant loop (Cassette tapes, if you can't remember, are like MP3s but trapped in a plastic coffin). Instead of rebelling, the music grew on me. Since then, their music has connections to many amazing memories from my life (more on that later).

2002: The band goes on an indefinite hiatus after the release of their sixth studio album, 'Can You Do Me Good?' (Which is probably my favourite album by the band).

2007: Justin Currie releases his first solo album and begins touring (singing his solo songs and acoustic versions of 'Del Amitri' classics).

2013: Since the release of his first solo album, I don't think Justin has stopped touring! He has a dedicated fan base and knows his audience. I have lost count of how many venues I have seen him perform.

Justin Currie has been on tour again recently. He has been promoting his new album, 'Lower Reaches' (Available on Amazon). It is his third solo studio album ... and it's great, give it a try if you haven't already.

Justin Currie and Del Amitri discography

Earlier, I mentioned memory connections with 'Del Amitri' ... here are few examples:

'Life is full' - Car journeys with the lads to weekends away

'Spit in the rain' - My Dad and his air guitar around the living room

'Tell her this' - Sat in the attic, learning how to play guitar

Most of all ... 'Del Amitri' and Justin Currie, simply reminds me of my Mum, because she loves them so much. If she can see a show, then she will, and she listens to his music a lot (not to mention the hours of DVD and YouTube footage she enjoys with a glass of wine).

At his show in Harrogate last week, Justin kindly organised after show passes for myself, my mum, and our friend Peter (a huge fan of Mr.Currie) to meet him. It was like Mum's dream come true, and to see my family happy is the most important thing for me, so this was a fantastic thing for Justin to do. I really appreciate it.

We spoke about the new album and his upcoming 'Del Amitri' reunion tour (Tickets available now!). He says that the time seems right for a reunion. Though fans of his solo work need not worry, he says he won't be stopping, just giving it a rest while he concentrates on the reunion; there is more to come from Justin Currie in the future (My Mum was very happy to hear).

Mum said she was glad he wasn't a n*b head (always a worry when you meet your heroes), Though she need not have worried. He was an absolute gent, with a wicked sense of humour. It was an honour to meet him.

Follow Justin on Twitter: @thejustincurrie

Visit Justin's Facebook page

Buy the newest Justin Currie album, 'Lower Reaches' from Amazon (other vendors are available)

Buy Tickets for the 'Del Amitri' reunion tour from See Tickets (other vendors are available)

Posted by: Smolemon at 21:42:51 28th Sep 2013

Inventions that should exist

In the technological world that I see around me, I am amazed by what the human race has achieved. We are truly in a digital age that was unimaginable just 20 years ago. I look forward to what the future will bring; if all the possible inventors in the world don't waste too much time on angry birds (I swear it will be the downfall of man).

But sometimes I think some things should have been invented already ... they seem semi realistic, just get on with it, come on.

-The new tooth-

Tooth ache due to a rotten tooth? No worries ... just rip out the old one and put in a new tooth seed. A few weeks later ... brand new tooth. It may hurt at first but the new tooth would have a ten year guarantee. Sorted.

And you say you want shark teeth? Fine ... go for it, you nutter.

Chances of it happening in your lifetime: Surprisingly realistic according to current research, but will probably just be created in a lab and never made commercial.

Smolemon medical presents the tooth seed

-The no hassle car-

You want a personal vehicle that can get you from point A to B without having to worry about keeping it maintained. You want a car that doesn't cause any hassle, just fill it up with petrol (or electricity if you are eco-conscious) when it requires.

I don't care if it's a flat packed vehicle I have to go to the shop to buy a new one once a year rather than having an MOT, service, and all that other rubbish.

Cars are a lot of hassle to say that they are just glorified meat sack transporters.

Chances of it happening in your lifetime: Hell no, that would be too easy.

A boxed car from Ikea

-The dream recorder-

"I had a dream last night, it was like a film, it was amazing"

"Ohh sounds interesting, tell me about it"

"ok, well, I went to the shops and my girlfriend was there, only she was a walrus ... then Jessica Alba turned up and said she loved me but there was a zombie Justin Bieber chasing her and spitting on his fans as he went ..."

"Stop there ... it doesn't sound interesting at all, it just sounds weird"

"Oh? Let me show you on my dream recorder..."

... *play* ...


"told you"

Chances of it happening in your lifetime: Highly doubtful. Though they can pick up brain waves and try to decipher them ... our brains are just too damned complicated for us (or our computers) to understand. Dreams are just loose ends of memory connections to the hippocampus that are being filed away and attempted to be understood or deleted. Until we truly understand the brain, we won't be getting a HD dream recorder ... sorry.

Dream recorder to record your dreams

But who knows ... there may be a massive breakthrough any day now for any of these inventions!

One day you may be splitting up with your significant other because they looked through your dreams and caught you banging their friend from work in the city of Atlantis.

Anyway, stop reading this article, and get inventing...

Do you have any inventions that you can't believe hasn't been invented yet?

Posted by: Smolemon at 17:35:39 5th Sep 2013

'Elysium' Review

One film that stands out to me as a game changing piece of science fiction over the last decade is 'District 9'. So when I heard that the writer and director of 'District 9', Neill Blomkamp, had another science fiction film coming to the cinemas ... I got a little excited.

To get me even more tantalised ... the trailer looked fantastic and the story sounded like it would be delving into some truly interesting territories.

The film follows Max DeCosta (Matt Damon) in a dystopian future where the earth is overpopulated and Mexican (for some reason) ... meanwhile, a Utopian satellite for the super wealthy elite (the titular Elysium) floats above, out of reach of the poor. When Max is involved in an accident (with a radioactive oven for robots?) he has nothing left to fear ... and decides he's going to live the high life (literally).

Visually; the film doesn't disappoint. It looks glorious! The rotating 'Halo' style ring that is Elysium looks magnificent. The robots that inhabit this world are amazing ... I have no idea how the graphics could be so good, I'm still unsure if they were real or computer generated. Wonderful.

Unfortunately, the visuals were the only thing I could find amazing about this film.

The story of Elysium in muddled and ... well ... it's pretty dull. I found myself wondering when something exciting would happen, and when something exciting did happen it was poorly done and over quickly. The 109 minute run time felt like 3 hours.

The script is convoluted and preachy, with no clear direction on what the message is. There are some interesting moments that appear sporadically but they are quickly rushed off in favour of talks about Meerkats or some nonsensical political dribble.

I felt nothing for the Matt Damon's character, I didn't dislike or like him ... he was just ... there, I guess. Much like the other characters in 'Elysium' ... they are all a bit naff, with no real motivation.

Sharlto Copley did a great turn as 'Agent Turner', but what starts as a fantastic character that gets more brutal and interesting as time goes on; reaches a peak and the descends into pantomime bad guy before the end of the film.

Wagner Moura as 'Spider' was the only stand out supporting character that grows and feels natural, but he is not given enough screen time.

Speaking of screen time ... William Fichtner (a favourite of mine) seems like he is set to be a big ol' baddie (what he does best) but he is quickly pushed to one side in the first act and never given a chance to shine (the only action scene he is involved in has him strapped in a chair looking bemused for the duration).

Jodie Foster ... I can't even be bothered to finish a sentence abou

'Elysium' is visual treat but all style and no substance ... a dull as dishwater, disappointing follow up to 'District 9' and a missed opportunity. Worth a watch for the graphics but worth avoiding for the script.

Elysium review

Posted by: Smolemon at 23:44:55 28th Aug 2013

Top 5 Movie Gates

Every little part of a movie can make or break a great bit of entertainment ... but some things get higher recognition than the rest.

The humans that made the film get loads of attention, even the made up monsters and creatures get people raving about how awesome they are. I was even nattering on about how good the sounds were in 'Kick-Ass 2' last week.

Other things don't get as much recognition ...

The catering company filled up the actors stomachs with quality food and not once do you hear a mention of how full the actors looked. We don't give recognition to the humble napkin that must have wiped the mouth of many performers before the camera rolled. Have you seen how many films have desks with paperweights on them? I never ever see paperweights in the credits and they did a perfectly good job (of, erm, weighting paper?).

These are only a few examples! Without these things ... the movie industry would be in total anarchy!

Well I thought it was time one thing that has been overlooked for many years came forward and took some credit for making movies a little bit better ... the humble gate.

So, without further ado (because I know for a fact you are just desperate to know) I give you ...

... My Top 5 movie gates (with some possible movie spoilers)...

Gate #5: The Exorcist

I'm not even sure this gate makes an appearance in the final film or not ... but if you look closely at the iconic poster for the film ... the gate is in the spotlight, and some pesky priest turned up and got in the way. It is obvious that the gate is in fact the titular Exorcist in this poster ... which leads me to believe that the film was changed in post-production to have a human priest perform the exorcism. When will the film industry realise that audiences will accept a gate as their lead protagonist?!

The Exorcist gate

Gate #4: King Kong

This gate adds an extra layer of mystery to a movie classic. Why does a giant ape, that can climb the empire state building (whilst holding a screaming woman in one hand) with ease, not just climb the wall surrounding the gate? Does he enjoy using the gate or something? I always see this gate as a type of 'blind date' reveal for Kong and his blonde sacrifice (and I bet they don't meet again after that first date).

king Kong gate

Gate #3: Labyrinth

After going the wrong way for most of the films running time (don't take navigation advice from a worm in future, or you'd have gone straight to that castle) Sarah finally reaches a massive gate that will take her into the Goblin kingdom ... and the gate turns into a f*cking kick ass muppet Goblin controlled robot gate and attacks her whole gang, slowly, with a ginormous weapon (and I'm not even talking about David Bowie's codpiece)!

Labyrinth gate

Gate #2: Stargate

More of a stable wormhole generator than a gate ... but it's called Stargate so I get to add it to this list. I don't know if a garden gate would have had the same effect as a sideways, glowy, water wall anyway. It can take you to another planet where you can get licked by a spacecow (an item on more bucket lists than you would imagine, probably).

Stargate gate

Gate #1: Jurassic park

Yep, of course it's Jurassic Park!

Just look at that majestic gate ... it holds the dreams of every child (and child at heart) behind its massive wooden frame ... it screams out "I've got dinosaurs ... come on in" ... and my god, I would, as this would be the gate to my own personal heaven. Welcome to Jurassic Park!!!

Jurassic Park gate

I wonder how long they leave those flames on for ... the gas bill must be massive (spared no expense).

Do you agree or disagree with my list? Can you think of anything else that deserves a bit of recognition? Leave me a message!

Posted by: Smolemon at 23:55:31 21st Aug 2013
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