Tuesday, 12 July 2011

How To Own PC Gaming: The Rise and Rise of Steam

If it's a fight, they're winning. And the majority are cheering Valve on.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The British Are Coming! Empire: Total War Game Diary

Empire: Total War is a sprawling mess. It's an insanely huge game, upgrading the theatre of war from the country or continent of past Total War games to three enormous landmasses – all of Europe, the East coast of the Americas (the Caribbean and the top of South America included) and the Indian subcontinent. Play the Grand Campaign, and you're having to navigate all of them.

It's entirely appropriate.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Let Me Take You Down: Perdido Street Station / China Miéville

Steampunk gothic horror; the screaming clank of dark iron machinery; birds who are men; cacti who are men; beetles who are men; men who have been remade into creatures of horror. Welcome to Perdido Street Station. How will you sleep at night?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fallen Hero of the First World War: Noel Godfrey Chavasse

About a week ago, the final man to have seen active service during the First World War, Claude Choules, died at the age of 110. With history that is now nearly a century distant it is all too easy to forget that those involved were but human beings who happened to live through extraordinary times. Their actions during those times defined them, and defines our history, and informs how we define ourselves. One such man was Noel Godfrey Chavasse, whose honours were all but unique.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Norman Mailer's An American Dream

Controversial, sexist, vicious, brutal, melancholic. Forty-six years old, it still punches hard.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Vote 2011 UK

Today, a minority of people in the UK voted on local elections, and on the referendum on changing the voting system. The results aren't in yet, but there are several points worth making about it right now.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Sound of the Gunners: Arsenal FC

It's not the most edifying time to be an Arsenal fan, but since the season is almost over, now is a good time to assess where Arsenal stand at the close of 2010-2011.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Better Not Let Him In

People die. That's hard to imagine for a kid like me. They die and we put them in the ground.

A young girl in a red cloak stands on a path through the forest. She is carrying food, and wine. Taking tentative steps, she walks towards the house that she knows lies at the end of the road. The path is asphalt tarmac, breaking into a mud track.

She sees a glimmer of light in the forest wilderness. She leaves the path. The glimmer is a flower, which she joyfully picks. She sees another in the distance, further from the bright safety of the road. It is dark in the forest. She runs for the flower, but in her haste she loses sight of it. She sees another girl though, taller and older than she is. She follows the girl.

Elisabeth Sladen dies at 63

Elisabeth Sladen was, by all accounts, a generous, lovely, and warm woman, and her premature death at just 63 from cancer is nothing short of a tragedy. That her most famous character is essentially a supporting role which she first played over thirty years prior to the modern revival five years ago, does not suggest the depth of her talent, or why she was so important. I never had the pleasure of meeting Liz Sladen and, sadly, now I never will. I will leave it up to people far more suitable than me to talk about her as a person, I can only offer a few reflections on her life on screen.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tilting At Windmills

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."
"What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.
"Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."
"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."
"It is easy to see," replied Don Quixote, "that thou art not used to
this business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid,
away with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat."
So saying, he gave the spur to his steed Rocinante, heedless of
the cries his squire Sancho sent after him, warning him that most
certainly they were windmills and not giants he was going to attack.
He, however, was so positive they were giants that he neither heard
the cries of Sancho, nor perceived, near as he was, what they were,
but made at them shouting, "Fly not, cowards and vile beings, for a
single knight attacks you."
—Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record. Cervantes, Don Quixote.