Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a 2006 dystopian political action film directed by James McTeigue and written by the Wachowskis based on the 1988 DC/Vertigo Comics limited series of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Alan Moore

Set in an alternative future where a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist totalitarian regime has subjugated the United Kingdom, the film centers on V (portrayed by Hugo Weaving), an anarchist and masked freedom fighter who attempts to ignite a revolution through elaborate terrorist acts, while Natalie Portman plays Evey, a young, working-class woman caught up in V’s mission and Stephen Rea portrays a detective leading a desperate quest to stop V.

An interesting film, especially given it’s focus on events surrounding Nov 5 (Guy Fawkes night). It’s all about order vs chaos and the oppressive nature of absolute power.

Listening to an explanation of the source material, it’s clear they went for a Hollywood ending. But the graphic novel is more subtle. Both V and the Chancellor are similar characters. Both egotistical and bent of sublimating all around them to their will. There is part of the movie where Evey is tortured where that is apparent, but mainly V is portrayed as a heroic character, despite his violence.

And John Hurt as Adam Sutler, the Chancellor is played as a one dimensional bad guy.

The only really sympathetic character is Stephen Rea as Finch the Chief inspector of New Scotland Yard. During his investigation he uncovers government crime and begins to understand V’s motivations. In the end it’s him that partially instigates the ending of the regime.

Stephen Rea as Finch

While the book leave the future unknown, the film brings everything to a neat resolution.

This is a film where the more you examine the plot, the less plausible is becomes. However watching it is an engaging story. An Natalie Portman, while suited to the role doesn’t have much to do but act as an innocent bystander.

 

ST:D 3.02

Star Trek: Discovery 3.02 “Far From Home”

 

In the second episode we are back with the crew of the Discovery and their journey through the time-hole. It’s a spectacular beginning with lots of action that ends with a planetary crash.

Then it’s on with the new plot line. It seems that the previous enemy has been removed. Now the problem Saru has is with Phillipa Georgiou, who wants to take over the planet.

Fortunately there is life in the planet, so Saru and Tilly venture out and find a group of aliens who are oppressed by a man named Zareh.

Georgiou, left behind follows them and turns up at the right time to save them.

Meaanwhile, Paul Stamets, who was put in a medically induced coma by Hugh Culber at the end of the last season, awakens and is nursed back to health by Culber. He then goes on to enter a Jeffery’s tube to replace a cable and magic box. This miraculously restores the ship to its former glory, cleans the decks and fixes the crew!.

Finally, all they have to do is escape from the ice. But wait, someone has turned up to save them. Yes, it’s Burnham, who tells them that she has been in the future a year, and finally found them.

Great, thankfully we won’t have half the season to re-uniting the crew. Now we can get on with the plot.

 

Dutch Diamonds

Chase Baker and the Dutch Diamonds
(Chase Baker #10)
by Vincent Zandri (2017)

Chase Baker runs into fellow author Les Edgerton and get talking about the 1930’s notorious gangster Dutch Schultz and the legend of his hidden treasure which is said to be buried in a little town in Upstate New York.

Feeling fine from a few drinks at the hotel bar, Chase and Les decide to seek out the location of the Dutch Schultz Treasure. Little do they know but another writer, a beautiful and talented author of true crime stories, will tail them all the way upstate.

This story is aided by a partner for Chase, and the two have a rapport and lots of witty conversations that help lighten the tone. Add in another rival and it’s all the ingredients for a good story. Plus there are the cut-out baddies from Russia to add to the danger.

RemixSample

RemixSample from Sweden has no information about who they are and what instruments they use. From the sound and visuals, it’s clear they are using Moog synthesizers. And they do it very well….

Network 23

Network 23 is an electronic music duo comprising Simon Meader and Alan Bruzon. From Eastbourne, UK they play mainly synthesizers producing ambient and Berlin School music.

There are a lot of albums (over 50) on bandcamp. So far my favorites are:

‘Back to Berlin’ a five piece collection that has some rock instrumentation and is in the classic early Tangerine Style.

 

“Calming Sounds for Troubling Times”, a four album set is more ambient, made with guitars and synthesizers.

Bella Donna

Lisa Bella Donna is an American expert in the use of the Moog Synthesizer.  On youtube she is showing them off in great style. Not since Klaus Schulze has anyone been as proficient in the instrument in all its variations.

The best introduction to her work would be Destinations:


It also helps that it has the best album design of her catalogue. All her work can be found on bandcamp.

But for the tour de force, see Mothership II on youtube

Ambient Annoyances

As a fan of ambient music, I have come to realize that there are some things I really don’t like about the genre and will avoid music that has any of these characteristics:

1. Fake Scratches

Emulating something about an antique format that nobody liked makes no sense. Also, it tends to detract from any melody or musical idea as it starts.

2. Twinkling Piano

We have all heard Liz Story’s Solid Colours, one of the albums that defined the ‘New Age’ genre and influenced hundreds if pianists. But now it’s an old trope and can be dispensed with. Anyway, the dynamics of an acoustic piano just don’t work well in ambient music.

 
3. Sounds of Nature

If I want to hear birdsong, I can open the window. Babbling brooks, wind in the pines, willows or poplars are not inventive or interesting. Just drop them, OK

So any ambient music that avoids the above, I am interested in.

Icefall

Icefall
(Dane Maddock #4)
by David Wood (2014)

When the bones of the Magi are stolen from their resting place in a German cathedral, a dying priest’s whispered clue catapults Dane and Bones into the midst of a deadly race to solve a centuries-old conspiracy.

Yet again, our heroes investigate, run, hide, battle and defeat  enemies. This one just feels a bit pedestrian.

 

Jump!

In 1797 André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump, from one thousand meters above Paris.

 

Schematic depiction of Garnerin’s first parachute used in the Parc Monceau descent of 22 October, 1797. Illustration dates from the early nineteenth century.

André-Jacques Garnerin (31 January, 1769 – 18 August, 1823) was appointed Official Aeronaut of France.

 

ST:D 3.01

Star Trek Discovery – Series 3 Episode 1
“That Hope Is You, Part 1”
(or Lost in Space Part 1)

 

Burnham comes through a time portal and arrives hundreds of years in the future. The federation has gone, there has been a war, or possibly some form of breakdown. And most of the dilithium has gone. At first it’s just her. Then it’s some guy that is a Han Solo style smuggler. Obviously they are going to get on (he is good looking, what were you expecting ?)

They journey together for days through a desolate landscape. Then over the hill is a vast city of skyscrapers and floating structures. Now, here’s the problem: where are all the agricultural lands that would be needed to support a city this size (it must be millions). Where is the transportation network. Why didn’t they see and aircraft on their journey ?

Fortunately Michael has something of value to trade. But, as these plots dictate things go wrong and we are treated to a series of battles with fancy energy weapons that can disintegrate a person. Thankfully the baddies have theirs set to ‘Stormtrooper’ mode so our heroes can survive.

Eventually the story ends with some strange CGI creature returned home. And we can all breathe easy and raise the Federation flag and wonder where all this is going.

It looks promising as the jump forward has cleared the decks of previous canon.