6
May

Why You Shouldn’t Have Voted No

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Opinion, Politics, Rants

A number of things to point out before I get going on this post:

  • This isn’t a “this is why you should have voted yes” post;
  • It’s not a “this No campaign claim is a lie” post;
  • Disclosure: I vote YES! I would do so again.
  • I thought about writing this post a couple of days ago, I wish I had.

The results are in, all the data is being collated so you can see exactly how your constituency voted in the AV (Alternative Vote) Referendum. Both sides campaigned hard to secure your vote, with both sides effectively lying to the public to get them on board, but for that, there are plenty of websites that discuss those. There were valid reasons on both sides (I’m told…) but equally, there were lots of stupid, idiotic, crazy reasons that people were giving for voting no. And that is what this post is about. Those reasons and why you shouldn’t have voted no if you used one of them.

“Nick Clegg is for AV therefore I’m voting No” (or any variation)

There are so many tweets flying around with people saying “good, I’m glad AV lost because Nick Clegg let us all down.” Hell, I even saw one person say that they were for AV, but because Nick Clegg wanted it, they were glad it lost. This is madness. This decision was never about one person. This wasn’t even about one party. This was about changing the way the voting and the politics are done in this country. Anyone who voted No for this reason is an ass because whether they realise it or not, this referendum was a once in a generation thing.

“I’m not a ‘second place’ person”

This was one by someone on my facebook feed who put: “to be honest, I am not a second place person. When I applied for uni, I made 1 choice- no backup. When I apply for jobs, I apply for 1, and assume I’ll get it. I don’t like the way things are, but if I want to vote- I want my first choice to be the one that counts.”

So many things wrong with that status. For a start, if you only wanted to vote for one candidate, and didn’t want your vote going to any other candidate (in the event of your first choice losing) then you didn’t have to put anyone else. This would have worked no differently from the current system. It’s just a basic lack of understanding about what AV is and how it works. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean this person should have voted Yes, but it’s a bit of a dumb reason to vote No.

“I don’t really understand AV”

If you don’t understand it, either don’t vote, or vote and spoil your ballot card. If you don’t understand what the referendum is about, then you should either take the time to read both sides to see which way you actually stand on it and make an informed decision. Voting No (or even Yes) when you don’t understand it helps no-one. Ignorance is no excuse!

“It’s not good for my party” (whoever their party is)

As mentioned in the Nick Clegg reason, this referendum wasn’t about party policies or individual parties themselves. This was about having a chance to change an old, outdated voting system in this country.

“I don’t really care, just thought I’d vote No”

Like the not understanding reason, this is just stupid. If you don’t care then why did you choose No? Just to make a selection? If you really didn’t care, why did you just not vote?

“AV isn’t good for the big businesses”

Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, again, this is about changing the politics. Any knock on affects (if there even would be any) would be adapted to by the companies, this shouldn’t have affected your choice on which way to vote.

These are the main bullshit reasons I’ve heard. What others have you heard? Bearing in mind I’m not talking about reasons to have voted either way.

SL

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14
Sep

Why Mock The Week Isn’t Worse Off Without Frankie

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Comedy, Opinion

When Frankie Boyle said he was leaving Mock the Week, everyone thought it would be the end of the show. It couldn’t continue without its controversial comedian. None of the other comedians could hold the show together. People would stop watching the show without Frankie’s acerbic brand of comedy.

Well guess what’s gone and happened. The show’s viewing figures are doing just grand, and to be honest, so are the comedians who are coming on the show. Since Frankie left the show, the comedians who have sat in the hot seat have been Patrick Kielty, Chris Addison (x5), Andrew Maxwell, Jack Whitehall (x2), Seann Walsh. All of whom have done a sterling job, with Addison clearly being quite a favourite for the producers. But that’s good, Addison is a good comic with a great satirical mind, which the show greatly benefits from.

Changes are good. They are. We might not always think so, but changes are good. Granted, when it comes to panel shows, though, changes are a mixed bag. Take two popular panel shows that both had big changes made with a change of host, Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, both have, in my opinion, opposite fortunes when it came to their change.

Have I Got News For You had to get rid of its host, Angus Deyton, after allegations of him and a hooker, they made the move to having guest hosts every week. This was met with scepticism at first, but what it did was give the show a fresh take on things every week (although some would argue that freshness is wearing thin).

Then you have Never Mind The Buzzcocks, who really did have mixed fortunes. First they had Sean Hughes leave and be replaced by Bill Bailey, which was a brilliant move, given Bailey’s musical and comedic background. Then, host, Mark Lamaar, decided to call time on his tenure on the show. To start with, they did the same as HIGNFY and had a season of guest hosts, with the ultimate decision to have Simon Amstell as a permanent host. For me, this was the start of the decline of the show, Amstell turned it into the Amstell chat show, forgetting it was a panel show. Bill Bailey then left only to be replaced with Noel Fielding, who, I feel, is no replacement (I know a lot of Boosh fans will strongly disagree).

So we have two shows whose fortunes changed when a show regular decided to leave (or was pushed), and I really do think Mock the Week fits in with the fortunes of HIGNFY. Yes, Frankie will be missed, don’t get me wrong, but he wasn’t the core of the show. Towards the end, it become almost the Frankie Boyle show with him interjecting at every possible point, and now, now other comedians will actually get the chance to make the show more than what it had become. Many fans probably forget that Rory Bremner was the original regular panellist on what is now Andy Parson’s and Russell Howard’s team, he left, and the show survived quite well.

The same has happened with Frankie’s departure.

SL

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7
Sep

Is Comedy The Bastard Child of Entertainment?

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Comedy, Opinion

“They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now.”
Bob Monkhouse

Whether or not you found that joke funny (for the record, it is), the actual setup to the joke is something that is so true when you look at the various forms of entertainment. If a child says they want to be a singer, no-one really bats and eyelid, but say you want to be a comedian, and people look at you as though you must be some kind of scumbag. A comedian? Couldn’t you be a chimney sweeper instead?

This kind of reaction is made doubly interesting when you consider just how emotive comedy is to the listener. If you watch a TV drama and you don’t like the performance, you might just think “I didn’t really like that show/performance,” but if it’s a comedian you don’t like, this brings in a whole other range of emotions. You’ll question how they even make a living when they’re “such a shit comedian”. The subjectivity of comedy is immense, and if a comedian doesn’t tickle your fancy, then woe betide them.

Rich Hall sums it up when he says people used to ask him “how did you end up being a comedian?” “End up?” he would retort, “you make it sound like I made a bad decision, a wrong turn.” And that’s what people think: you do comedy because you screwed your life up somewhere. Forget the fact that making people laugh is one of the hardest things you can do (trust me, I’ve tried it!), that doesn’t matter because you have clearly messed your life up. It’s a ridiculous way of thinking about comedy, something which a lot of people rely on to cheer their days up.

But this doesn’t just apply to the stand-up section of comedy, it also applies to the big screen. In 2009, The Hangover took over $270m at the box office, beating films like Star Trek1; it was the highest grossing R-rated (18 rated) comedy film; it had a 78% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which means 78% of online critics liked it); it got 73% on metacritic (Inception only got 74%!). All of these are all pretty impressive, it did well at the box office, and the critics generally like it. So it got nominated for an Oscar, right? Wrong, of course it didn’t; the academy can’t be having a film that made you laugh in its Best Picture nominations. One of the nominations this year, The Blind Side, was actually rated worse on both metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes when compared to The Hangover.

It’s not like this was an isolated incident, either. In 2005, The Wedding Crashers had similar success to The Hangover, taking $205m at the box office, and 75% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The nominated films for Best Picture at the Oscars that year were, Million Dollar Baby (91%), The Aviator (88%), Finding Neverland (82%), Ray (81%), and Sideways (81%). And you’ll find this all throughout the history of the Oscars (Ghostbusters anyone?2).

So why is comedy always shunned like this? Is it snobbery? It could very well be, and it would go back to the medieval times when you had court jesters who were seen as one of the lowest of the low jobs you could have. For some reason, whether we’re aware of it or not, this kind of mentality, this snobbery, has stuck in society. It might not be as prominent as it was all those centuries ago, but you can still see it and it’s a shame.

Making a whole audience laugh is hard. It really is. Whether it’s a comedian up on stage, or movie goers in a cinema, it’s hard. Just remember, if you go to see a “chick flick” and it doesn’t make you cry, you don’t think ‘that film was rubbish,’ but if you go to a comedy and it doesn’t make you laugh, you will think ‘that film was rubbish.’ So when you do walk out of a gig/film that really made you laugh, just remember how much work was put into making you laugh.

SL

1. You might try and discredit that source as it lists Avatar as having only taken $209m, do please remember that this is for 2009 and Avatar took a lot of its taking in 2010.

2. Ghostbusters did actually get nominated for 2 Oscars in 1985, but they were for visual effects and Ray Parker Jr’s legendary Ghostbusters song. It didn’t win either. But it didn’t get nominated for Best Picture. Extra trivia: Ghostbusters got a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 1985’s Best Picture, Out of Africa got just 63%!

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2
Aug

An Open Invitation to the @BournemouthEcho

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Comedy, Gigs, Reviews

This could be an interesting post for me (or very likely not), but I shall push on with it anyway. This post is basically an open offer/invitation to the @BournemouthEcho to use me, and no, not in that way (well…no, definitely no). Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my comedy, to the point of doing a spot of it myself, and when I’m not performing, I’m constantly going to gigs. Over the next 8-10 months I will be going to a number of gigs around the Dorset area (although specifically, Poole, Bournemouth and Wimborne) and would love to contribute reviews to the Echo for these gigs.

Read the rest of this entry »

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26
Jul

My Top Gear Adventure

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Days out, Gigs

Last week I was fortunate enough to get offered tickets to go and watch the BBC show Top Gear, something which isn’t easy to come by (there’s a 2-3 year waiting list for tickets for the show!). So with the envy of our friends and colleagues, we headed to Dunsfold Park for the recording of the show.

The show was great, one of the best of the series, and the stars they had were totally unexpected and majorly jealousy inducing of our previously mentioned friends and colleagues. Those guests were Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (bearing in mind, those who went a few weeks ago only got Alistair Campbell! Whoopee fecking doodah).

During breaks in filming (and sneaky chance shots), I was able to take a few pictures of the set (and guests).

Once the show aired, I was able to then try and find me in the audience, so with a keen eye (and watching the BBC HD broadcast of the show) I was able to take some screengrabs that show me (or rather the top of my head). Oh, the last picture with Clarkson, Hammond and May, it’s not me that’s circled, it’s my brother. B&*$$%d.

So there you have it, how cool.

SL

PS, like how I’ve done these photo albums? Want to know how I did it? Read my tutorial here about Live Writer and Photo Albums.

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8
Jun

Some thoughts on the new 7650 (I mean iPhone 4)

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Apple, iPhone, Rants

nokia7650[1]So yesterday, the first phone to ever have video calling was re-released to huge fanfare. For me, it was a great decision by Nokia to rebrand the Nokia 7650 and allow a 3rd party company to handle the presentation and advertising. The new 7650, or iPhone 4 as it’s now known, offers a multitude of new features, or rather a serious upgrade of the existing features it had when it first came out, so things like video calling and multitasking have been improved upon from what was in the original model when it came out in 2003.

Before I go too far into this, I would like to say, I think, and always have thought, the iPhone was a nice device, they always have been. My problem has always been the ecosystem, the constant fawning and all the bullshit that comes out of Apple’s marketing system. Plus, the one thing that would tempt me to get an iPhone, well, there’s actually not an app for that, go figure.

In this post, I really want to concentrate on one particular area of bullshit from the Apple marketing department that people are already lapping up more greedily than a porn star at the end of her scene. FaceTime. Video calling. Skype. Whatever you want to really call this new feature, it’s still something that has been around for years and is nothing new or innovative, and yet everyone is treating this as a game changer.

So video calling can’t really be applied to this feature, since it can only be done over wifi at the moment, so this tends to lend itself more towards Skype than to actual video calling. This seems a little strange as Skype already has an iPhone/iTouch app, so it would be interesting to see what they think about this new feature. But here’s the major difference between Skype and FaceTime: Skype can be done to any device running Skype, whether that’s another mobile device or a PC of some description; FaceTime is iPhone4 to iPhone4 only. So they’ve taken quite a good idea (Skype) and poorly implemented it.

The other thing to take note of regarding the Skype/FaceTime thing, Skype is here now. You don’t even need some funky new iPhone on which to use it. It works. And, if you were feeling really peverse, would probably work on your 3G too, unlike FaceTime.

But this is where the Apple marketing bullshit comes in, and even (and I’m bracing myself for a world of comment abuse here) the Jobs bullshit comes in. At yesterday’s keynote, he said that “After growing up with TV shows like The Jetsons and Star Trek I have been dreaming about video calling, and it’s real now.” No, Steve, it’s been real for a while, perhaps you should have been awake a little more than you were dreaming and you would have seen that. It’s all bullshit.

iPhone 4 Design video. ©Apple

Further marketing bullshit can be seen in the above video, coming from, aptly enough, their Vice President of iPhone Product Marketing, Greg Joswiack (who sounds like the cheap imitation Wozniak). In the video, he says that with the iPhone 3Gs they “brought you such features as video recording” and that the iPhone4 is going to “change the world forever, again.” So with the first quote they’re basically saying “yeah, it took us to the third version of our phone to deliver a feature which pretty much every camera enabled phone could do” and with the second quote, fuck off. It’s not going to change the world again. For the most part, the big changes for the iPhone, as demoed yesterday, is the handset itself, there’s nothing that new on the platform to use for developers, unless you’re a mono or flash developer, in which case there’s nothing at all for you.

The iPhone4 is a nice new device, but let’s be honest and realistic here, it’s nothing revolutionary. It’s mostly just catching up with the current devices already on the market.

As an irritating side note, I was having a discussion about this with @jas and was saying about how FaceTime is just the same as Skype, only worse, and went to demonstrate it by installing Skype on my own phone (HTC HD2) with the intention of Skyping him with a video call, just to show that it’s already here without iPhone4. I was very frustrated, and quite angered to discover that Skype have pulled the Windows Phone version of their client for reasons that could have come straight out of Cupertino.

SL

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6
Jun

Media Centre PC For Sale

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Media Centre

P_500I recently upgraded my Media Centre PC so that I could put in a new tuner that would give me DVB-S (Freesat) as well as DVB-T (Freeview). The upshot of it meant that I had to replace enough hardware to warrant buying a new Media Centre rig, and I have to say, I’m really pleased with my upgrade.

But that’s not what this blog post is for. Basically, I’m now looking to sell my old Media Centre PC. I could go with ebay, but to be honest, I don’t really think ebay is the best place to try and sell this really, it’s not the sort of thing people would look for. So I’ve decided to try and sell it through my blog where there will be more of a readership through twitter etc.

Spec

Case: The whole PC is in this case, which has everything it originally came with (apart from the PCI-e expansion slot).

Processor: AMD 4600+ 64 bit processor (Socket AM2)

RAM: 4gb DDR2

HDD: 500gb

Optical: DVD drive

TV Cards: 2x DVB-T (PCI) pinnacle tuners.

This is a really good PC to have as a Media Centre. It handles HD content that comes from the web (WMV, MKV, etc) as well as HD optical media, so if you put a Bluray drive in there it would be fine with that too.

The two TV tuners that it has means you can watch/record two shows at the same time, which believe me, is very handy. And when you do all this through Windows Media Centre, the experience is awesome.

Of course, this doesn’t have to be a Media Centre PC, you could use it as a Windows Home Server as it’s still quite a bit smaller than a normal desktop PC.

So how much am I wanting for this? Well, I’m hoping for about £150, but I am open to sensible offers. If you’re interested, please get hold of me on twitter or leave a comment on this blog post and I’ll get in touch. Pictures can be taken if required.

Oh, one more thing, I’m only realistically looking to ship this within the UK. Sorry for non-UK types.

SL

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7
May

The Times, They Are A-Changing

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Politics

Hi, I’m Scott, I’m 27, and I’ve never voted; but all that will change. Tomorrow (or today, depending on when I’ve managed to get this post up) marks arguably the most unpredictable General Election in the UK. There have been lots of interesting points in the election build up: the first time the main party leaders have taken part in a live televised debate (ala US Presidential Election debates); the media seems to have been less influential than previous with the advocation of social networking; this election doesn’t appear to be simply a two horse race between Labour and the Conservatives, with the Liberal Democrats firmly in the race; there’s a real possibility of a hung election (the first since 1974); it’s the first election I’ve actually cared about.

I think it’s safe to say that there is a pretty high probability that Gordon Brown won’t be in office come Friday morning, which means one of two outcomes (three really but one is one that I cannot see happening): The Conservatives have one the overall majority and David Cameron will have become the UK Prime Minister; None of the parties won an overall majority and we go to a hung parliament. The third option which I’ve dismissed is, despite 3 very good debates by party leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats take office.

Now, one of the big things that Cameron has been talking about (seemingly at every single opportunity) is that this country needs a change, Labour have been in power for 13 years, we need a change, change, change, change. Quite honestly, it’s become a bit monotonous.

image

Cameron wants a change for the country (there’s that word again), as he thinks this is what’s best for the country. But it seems that he wants a change for the country on his terms. And his main term is that the change has to involve him coming to power (By the way, as I’m typing this, Newsnight is on BBC2 and Cameron just said change six times in about 30 seconds). It was very interesting how much Cameron was using this word before the first TV debate, and then after Nick Clegg’s huge success after that debate, how little it was used, speaks volumes (“We need a change, a younger person as Prime Minster, just not Clegg” not an actual quote by the way). So it seems that a change which would be good for the country is only good if Cameron says it is, which means a hung debate is something he does not want and so has been vilifying it throughout the campaign. So a change not necessarily a good thing then, Mr Cameron?

So why would this be? A hung parliament would be a big change for UK politics and arguably a good thing. The ability to maybe overhaul the current parliamentary system is no bad thing. This is how I see a change working, personally. But I can understand why Cameron et al wouldn’t want this. Why would they? The system currently works, for them; for the politicians. Maybe this is a cynical view, I don’t know, but it’s certainly how it looks. Someone said to me (note: he was a tory supporter) that if it does go to a hung parliament, then it just won’t work and we will have another election within 12 months “guaranteed.” And that was his main point for not having a hung parliament, “it won’t work, so why try.” Well I think with the situation that UK politics finds itself in that surely it’s got to be worth a try. Call me naiive if you want, but it has to be worth a try.

Speaking for myself I just don’t like the idea of one party having control of the country when they might have only got the third highest number of votes, or to put it more easily, I don’t want a situation where over half the country doesn’t want a particular party running the country and yet there they are, running the country.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Cameron isn’t the only one doing this, but quite frankly, he’s the only one I can be bothered to write about.

SL

Whilst writing this, I was listening to Bob DylanThe Times They Are A-Changing

5
May

Welcome to my new blog

   Posted by: Scott Lovegrove   in Uncategorized

Hi, and welcome to my new blog. I have made the decision after a lot of grief to move my blog away from http://scottisafool.spaces.live.com and put it in a new home. My reasons for doing this included constant spam comments and no way of preventing them, and for an unexplained reason, I was actually unable to post to the blog for Live Writer. Imagine that.

So anyway, please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds.

SL