Trump – The Villain The World Needs

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Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock for the past year or so you may have heard about a certain Presidential race between Hillary Clinton and what I can only describe as an angry, sentient orange with hair resembling that which grows on top of mould. (If you’ve been living under said rock, you’ve missed out – it’s been a hell of a ride!)

Yes – Donald Trump, the walking, golden faced cancer could potentially become President of one of the most powerful countries in the world. Many have had theories as to how he’s ended up in such a position as the Republican nominee along with others doubting he’s even a real person – instead being a plant to rig the election for Clinton.

Continue reading “Trump – The Villain The World Needs”

First half of 2016? (Spoilers: It’s messy)

Well we’re halfway through and it’s safe to say it’s been an eventful year! It seems only yesterday I was looking up at the fireworks in Queenstown foolishly excited for what would turn out to be the strangest six pages of a calendar so far (in my lifetime anyway!).

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‘After all this time? Always’
For any hardcore Potter junkie that line would’ve choked them up since first reading it. 2016 has decided that it had lost it’s novelty and began furiously killing off many popular figures including one of my favourite actors, Alan Rickman. The distinguishable, dry voice of Mr Hans Gruber himself will sadly never be spoken again.
Speaking of voices we lost several legends of music in 2016’s early killing spree with David Bowie biting the dust and Prince also leaving this earth.
Other notable figures include the unforgettable Muhammad Ali, Ronnie Corbett, Harper Lee and Terry Wogan. It doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon either with Caroline Aherne recently losing her battle with cancer. It’s got to the point where if someone is trending on twitter I automatically assume they’ve been beaten by this year too.

Continue reading “First half of 2016? (Spoilers: It’s messy)”

Divided Kingdom (Brexit)

So it’s done, the people have been to the ballots, got their permanent marker pens out and shoved a big fat cross over the ‘Leave the European Union’ box. So now we’re drifting out of the EU like possible future PM Boris on a zip-wire (does that not leave a sour taste in anyone else’s mouth?). Whatever you voted, at least you did and that’s democracy in action.

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There will be many articles and posts regarding the uncertainty of the United Kingdom so there’s no need for another one. This isn’t about what you voted for, what’s done is done and as a ‘remainer’ I know we have to get over it.
I’d much rather talk about one issue I’ve noticed over the past day.

For me personally, I’ve noticed a huge divide to the point of hatred from both sides of the fence. We are quite possibly seeing the end of the United Kingdom with a second Scottish Independence Referendum on the cards and a possible unification between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Do we really need to be hating ‘leavers’ and ‘remainers’ due to having an opinion as well?

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The tension everywhere I went yesterday was silently deadly, as if everyone was trying to work out who secretly farted and getting them to own up by eyeballing them. Nobody wanted to talk about it, yet everybody wanted to talk about it simultaneously. Never in my life have I felt so awkward in public places, it was basically an episode of The Office in terms of unsettling cringe.

I’ve seen people argue furiously and it’s fantastic that people are so engaged in something as important as this as opposed to being completely disenfranchised like the minority. One thing I don’t agree with however, is people turning that passion into hate or spite. Everyone and their Nan is suddenly an economics expert who moonlights as a politician by night and you know what? That’s great, sure a lot will be wrong in what they say but they’re showing an interest which is what matters. Then there are people who are making Facebook statuses and tweets about if any of their friends oppose their view then their friendship is now over or threatening people on the streets.

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Truth be told, a large majority of people will be talking about something else in a couple of days (I for one can’t wait for Game of Thrones as well!) and then the inevitable jokes will come about how people have ‘gotten over it pretty quickly’ or ‘clearly don’t care enough’. So don’t let them. If you agree with the decision or not to leave the EU do some research and humanely talk about possible alternatives that could hypothetically work well or don’t work at all. Debating is healthy, arguing is not.

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We’ve made our bed now, it’s time to grab your PJ’s and lie in it. For example, I think a good solution here would be a similar situation to Norway with a trade deal like the European Free Trade Association, or perhaps focus more on building relationships with the Commonwealth which could even lead to Freedom of Movement within these countries.

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Right now we’re not so much a United Kingdom as a bouncy castle ready to burst. We all need to focus on what we’ve got and how to approach it on a personal level. Whether that involves jumping ship and leaving or powering through and helping out where you can, it’s your decision. Just don’t keep arguing with Fred from down the road about the economy because you might as well be smacking your head against a wall.

Comin’ over here making us read the Quran!

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Immigrants. Muslims. Halal. Islam.
These are just a few key words that strike a nerve with a disturbing amount of the world these days. Look at most articles reporting anything slightly related to these words and you’ll notice they try as hard as they can to throw them into the headline to spark an endless debate. Soon enough they’ll start throwing these words in to get visitors attracted to their websites when they’re not even related to the article. ’10 films to watch this year to stop IMMIGRATION’ or ‘How to make the best pizza that’s not HALAL’. Who can blame the media? Their job is to report what’s in the public eye to gain as much interest as possible to their websites or to buy their papers, yet sadly the public’s focus is on hate and an over the top ‘us versus them’ mentality.
Hang on…that’s not true, the fear and xenophobic reactions are almost entirely DUE to the media.

It’s safe to say that everyone in the world has an agenda of some sort. Whether it’s as small as aiming to be healthy or as large as deciding to start a business – we all have agendas. The media have agendas too, take for example the race obsessed Daily Mail (soon enough they’ll probably report that reading other news sources cause some sort of Muslim cancer pedophilic disease) or loveable old Murdoch and his agenda to destroy the entire world with his monopoly on the media like Sky News, The Sun, Fox News, The New York Post, The Times, The Herald amongst many others all around the world.

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Now without even going into Murdoch and how his brain works it’s safe to say that men like him with that amount of influence will be able to sway the masses into his way of thinking. A politician/celebrity pisses News Corporation off? They’ll dig up anything they possibly can and sometimes even lie about their findings just to destroy people.
To get page views, TV ratings and papers bought these conglomerates have to try to appeal to a large audience. Now remember – nobody’s going to buy a paper, click on a website or turn on the news for them to report that nothing of interest is currently happening. These guys are going to use the most ludicrous hyperbolic language possible along with a tag making sure you’re aware that it’s BREAKING NEWS. In short, they are very clever – many focus groups, research and money has led to one unstoppable human emotion for their selling point – fear.

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Which brings me back to those pesky job thieves! You walk into the office one day and there’s an arabic man sat wearing your clothes doing all your work, turns out you’re sacked because muslims! Those bloody migrants taking all our benefits at their local ‘Money 4 Muslims’ buildings that the government has enforced. Even those Muslims that were born here are destroying the UK! Soon enough we’ll all have monthly memberships to our local mosques that we politely keep paying because like a gym, you want to avoid the ‘cancellation discussion’ at all costs. The media know that there’s an issue with some extremists in the world and what better way to grab a few Facebook likes than to hype it up? Muslims have unfortunately won the award for villain of the decade at a ceremony hosted and funded entirely by those in power who want them to be. Runner ups include the Polish community, cannabis and Ainsley Harriott’s determination to touch everything he can.

First off, yes we all get it. There are those who are threatening our way of life with tragic events such as the attacks on Paris and Brussels, 9/11 and the under the radar bombings in Kabul, Baghdad and Zliten amongst many more all over the world. However, without condoning a single thing they’ve done many have turned to these extreme measures in retaliation to our demolition of their way of life. Furthermore, the real crux of this is that we forget that it’s a minority that are involved in these radical groups. Just like not every Catholic priest is touching your children, not every politician only care for themselves and not every McDonalds burger is made of shi-nevermind, forget that last one.

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Not every Muslim endorses terrorism, and furiously typing a Facebook status about how you’re going to boycott the local takeaway is not going to solve anything other than probably spare you from gaining a few pounds (or losing, economically speaking). Changing your profile picture to a picture of  the union jack whilst declaring how proud you are to be British and that ‘the country is going to waste’ is also not going to do anything of value other than show a lot of ignorance, especially the English that have migrated to Spain and surrounding areas. I’m not trying to offend anyone who does this, chances are – you’ve fallen for the media’s narrative thus feeding their agenda but it’s not too late to stop sharing Britain First links and it’s definitely not too late to  stop  shaving your head and joining the EDL.
I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about anything when it comes to the Muslim faith and frankly I personally don’t agree with many aspects of religion itself. One thing I do know is that we’re all human beings – except Scientologists, I don’t even know what species their members are.
To actively hate another human being that you know nothing about other than their faith astounds me (I understand the hypocrisy regarding scientology here but wow, why do they exist?) and it’s becoming easier and easier to see these people as vermin depending on what nonsense you read.

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If you haven’t switched off your brain by now first off thank you, secondly please spare a moment or two educating someone on the matter if they spark up something they’ve read about all muslims burning poppy’s, banning the word Christmas or petitioning to get Peppa pig off of the air in fear of ‘offending’ muslims. Life is far too short to focus all your energy on hating a community that just want to be accepted. We have a lot of space in the UK available for everyone to live the life they want and it’s easy to forget that many immigrants are here because they fear for their lives in their native countries.

Finally, immigration IS an issue and perhaps our government does need to bring in extra checks to ensure the public’s safety. The danger is real and there are people out there that want to take out their anger and hatred in the worst way possible. That gives you as a person no excuse to stoop to their level but to accept everyone for who they are and understand that this ‘us versus them’ mentality will only fuel the issue.

 

Sexualised yoghurt and the end of the world as we know it.

Back in the 1980s there were ideas and assumptions thrown around about what the future would look like. We would all have robot servants by the end of the century, self drying clothes, flying cars and hover-boards as seen in Back to the Future 2. Some assumptions were correct like being able to video call and automation (more on that shortly) and some were laughably wrong – the robot takeover during the Millennium bug anyone? So now we’ve reached ‘the future’, it’s probably time to get the guessing out of the way for the next generation. Here are three topics I see as inevitable:

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1) The end of cable TV
Five years ago this would’ve seemed ridiculous. Cable TV was growing steadily with more ridiculous channels that you won’t watch thrown out weekly. The start of this downfall is partly due to the networks around the world not balancing their business correctly. They have to appease advertisers with commercial space to stay on air yet they are still forgetting to appease the other party involved – the audience. Nobody wants to sit through 20 minutes of adverts during their favourite programme. It can destroy the atmosphere created through a well written episode with an abrupt cut to Nicole Scherzinger enjoying  yoghurts far too much. You’re lactose intolerant, is she trying to wind you up? You find your blood pressure rising, you just want to scream at Nicole to just get off the screen, so she does. Then we get the tedious Just Eat songs which is around the time you start to consider how humanity got as far as it has. This carries on until all the feelings and thoughts running through your head about the show you were watching are gone. The immersion is over. Sure you can Tivo/Sky+ it but sometimes you just want to watch your favourite TV shows at the same time as your friends and family around the country.

With streaming alternatives like Netflix and Amazon Prime you get to watch what you want when you want. Granted, there are licensing issues right now restricting content that other countries (America mainly) may get but I see this as a short term problem that can be resolved when the transition from standard network TV to streaming services develops. Personally, I’m almost entirely done when it comes to live cable TV – I find myself streaming through Netflix more often than not, minus Game of Thrones of course.

Taking away the content restriction issue, the two giant problems streaming services face before world domination is live sports and news. If they find a way to make a deal with sports/news providers to come on board with the new way to watch then it’s game over for cable TV. They’ve had their chance to shine, they refused to move ahead with everyone else and now they’re paying for it.

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2) Cinema is dying – but it can be saved

This one I’m not too happy about at all but with the advance in technology like the streaming services mentioned above, the day trip to the cinema is seeing its final days. This is happening for multiple reasons besides the streaming alternatives. Whether it be the price, the availability to go out (some parents may find this difficult) or just the lack of anything interesting to see.

One major issue is piracy. Most of us who are computer savvy have probably pirated something at one point in their lives. There is a huge debate surrounding piracy. I think a huge aspect behind this is what type of film people are going to see. Does it warrant the cinema experience? Is it worth spending so much money on? Take for example the new Captain America film – it’s doing fantastically at the box office because it’s a fun, action packed, cinema-type of film. Individuals are going to make the effort to see this at the cinema. People trying to download Captain America at home aren’t going to get the full ‘cinema experience’ whereas if there’s a film like Neighbours 2 that isn’t going to take advantage of being on the big screen it might be better for a home audience. That is where a large part of the issue lies. Is it worth spending around £20+ for a film like Neighbours 2 (plus some snacks)? Almost definitely not, for a start it looks like an awful cash in from the first. This better suits as the type of film you might find yourself turning off your brain cells to watch at home on a Friday night with a friend/significant other on the couch.

This is where ‘Screening Room’ comes in. A man named Sean Parker (founder of Napster) is currently working on a device that will legally play films in the comfort of your own home on the same day of release as the cinema. Not all details of how this will work have been released however, with backers like Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg this may actually come into fruition and reinvigorate the idea of cinema. For each film rented it would cost you around £35 which, if there’s a big group of you may turn out cheaper than going to the cinema. This will also help families with small children who are unable to leave the house as often as they’d like to view a film. This would help cinema chains due to the price partly shared to them to make up for their losses in the actual multiplex. This could mean that filmmakers and production companies will focus more on quality for the cinema experience to be worthwhile to customers. I know that there are films I would prefer to see at the cinema than at home and vice versa.

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3) Automation (or how most of us will lose our jobs)
Automation has been here for many years now however, we’re finally reaching the stage where we are beginning to see the effects. Robotics have advanced greatly, rendering most of our jobs useless – and it’s only increasing.

It’s pretty clear that the ‘self checkout’ counters at your local supermarket are testing the waters for a complete overhaul of the way we purchase our groceries which would put many families out of work. Right now, I prefer humans greeting me rather than arguing with a robot about whether or not the carrots are in the bagging area. Granted, staff will still be needed for now until we are able to pester robots about which aisle the gravy is on so until then, only half of a retail assistant’s job is secure.

Also consider driverless cars for example, fairly new right now but give it a few years and for those long haul deliveries this could be done entirely through driverless trucks. Adding to this – jobs for driverless taxis, buses, trains are all at risk of becoming redundant very quickly. Of course the governments are going to act on this too, they’d be silly not to in regards to the cost of maintenance on machinery to a salary for hundreds/thousands of workers.

Technology is becoming more intricate, even intelligent (check out the first AI lawyer, Ross who has just landed a job at Baker & Hostetler). I’m not saying this is going to end in a Terminator-style apocalypse for humanity but it’s starting to look like a large portion of the world are going to be living in a world without work. Sure, some professions can’t ever be touched by robotics like doctors, teachers, entertainers or sportsmen – even those in certain trades will still be around to fix any issues machinery may have. The whole concept of this idea is alien to the world – how would it be possible to live happily and not work?

One answer currently being thrown about as a Universal Basic Income. This would entitle everyone a certain amount of money per month and to an extent ‘live comfortably’. Compare it to the UK government now where some (not all) honest, dedicated, often desperate jobseekers have to go through hoops just to prove they’ve looked for work just so to receive the bare minimum from the government.
The Universal Basic Income is currently being considered to be tried and tested in Switzerland. The idea doesn’t sound too perfect, but we need to start thinking about a possible future where the idea of a job is rare. That’s not to say if this all comes into effect we as humanity just give up and sit and watch streaming services all day – now more than ever is the time you should invest time in what you really enjoy doing.

A British introduction to the US election – from someone who knows next to nothing about US politics

Fellow Britons, As 99.99% of you are aware (incase you hadn’t noticed article after meme after tweet on the subject), our mates from across the Atlantic have an election coming up this year. That’s right – love him, hate him, nothing him – Barack Obama is leaving his large white office soon enough. However, why do we the British public seem to be informed so much about it? Do we Brits really need to know when Donald Trump has talked about his penis (does anyone?)? When Hillary Clinton has posted on reddit? When Danny DeVito gets applause for throwing a stool at a podium  to introduce Bernie Sanders? (That one was kind of cool, but I’m slightly biased with DeVito) Surely the amount of information thrown at us day by day should be replaced with other newsworthy topics?

Regardless of that, it is what it is. America’s election is a worldwide event so this handy, basic guide should hopefully give you a tiny bit more interest or just infuriate you more!

1) Democrats? Republicans?
If you follow politics here in the UK then you have a lot of understanding in regards to what these two parties represent – if not just hear me out.  The US is largely split into two main political parties with the Democratic party being on the left and the Republican party on the right. I must add however, as of late in the world of politics this left/right business seems to bare a lot less meaning with major parties angling more to the centre to appease both types of supporters. Think of David Brent in ‘The Office’ perhaps, changing his personality to try and appease his colleagues regardless of how transparent his efforts are.

2) Why does it matter to us?
Well long story short, it matters to you as much as you want it to. It’s hard to turn a blind eye to the fact that America is the most influential and dominant country in the world right now. Take for example the media, whether it be your favourite actor/actress/personality/musician chances are you follow these things regularly regardless of the fact they’re currently in a completely different country to you (to think, you probably know more about these people’s lives than some of your actual friends!). The power of American media is huge, so surely quite a few other things could be huge too? (No, I’m not going back to Trump’s little member) Just think of the influence America had over the UK when George Bush Jr and Tony Blair were knocking around. We ended up fighting an illegal war in Iraq due to a lie regarding nuclear weapons. It’s definitely not ridiculous to say our friendship with America helped this happen. It’s kind of like when Mark gets pressured into saying the gym instructor touched him up in Peep Show because Jeremy wants him fired, Mark goes along with it because he wants the same thing for selfish reasons.

3) We’re all in this together
For those familiar with this particular slogan, apologies – but it fits. Following on from the influence America has on us Brits, we share so much with our allies over the pond that when it comes down to it, it’s difficult to foresee what the consequences of the possible outcomes of the US election could be. I need to do some more reading into it myself, I recommend doing so too because this election season is already quite entertaining as it is. Business relationships could break (not always bad), the economy could fall into the depths of the earth, cthulhu could rise from the ashes but we will probably still do the most British thing possible and ignore it with a pint whilst watching Ant & Dec.