You won’t find many music reviews in my blog, actually you won’t find any because that’s not what this blog is about. But in this instance I have just subjected myself to over an hour of a particular album and feel the need to inform the world of this audio puke.
I forgot my hard drive today that I use at work, so no new music for me to listen to. I was happily listening to various albums from a 7.5Gb USB from a friend. Some real gems on there, although some are not my cup of tea, I just like anything new and interesting. The only music that I have on my work computer is the new album from P!NK, given to me by the guy in his mid-fifties sat next to me. I know of Pink, but I had thought she disappeared into bags of coke and wealth years ago but it sounds like things have gone sober for her. Very sober.
This is the whitest sell out rock chick there is, with awful sampled guitars on que and exaggerated multi layered overwhelming digital production. This is the soundtrack for you if you feel you want to let your hair down and get that slightly more expensive phone tariff or take a selfie of yourself with a new messy haircut.
I would be surprised if P!NK has actually met anyone in a studio or personally knows a single musician who plays a real instrument. It sounds like she emailed woops and whoa’s and a little singing attached to an email and then a group of ‘technicians’ put the email into a bucket of sounds and samples and threw it over a bridge. When it hit the floor, the album was almost finished but not before attempting to make a few catchy intro’s and outro’s with a solo piano, to somehow convey the idea that “musicians” are actually sat in a studio “jamming”. P!NK performs these tracks with the same fervour as someone on inconsistent but strong medication. It’s like listening to a bi-polar person rant about everyday life, which contains no context and no motive other than a confused but odious outlook on love and life.
Track 6, entitled ‘How come you’re not here’ pretty much sums up the target audience, it’s a little ditty that contains paranoid rants and vulgar cussing towards both sexes. P!NK supposedly has been left alone in the house because her man has gone out (I’m not surprised because if the last 5 tracks are anything to go by she’s drunk and it hasn’t mixed well with her prescription). She is looking for her current victim under the bed, in the wardrobes but he isn’t there, she proceeds to shout loudly (singing, to the fans) that he should come home before she does something stupid or goes postal.
90% of the tracks are unbearable to be quite honest, perhaps the frequencies of the tracks are unsuitable for a mature ear but I found that simply over saturated pop rock and cuss words don’t do it for me. I can only imagine this is the kind of music for confused and frustrated teens in bedrooms and parties and the odd male hating female over twenty who sports a man’s haircut and boots but hangs around with attractive women. The part when Eminem laid some lyrics down for thirty seconds was the highlight, but this album is so dry it makes the moon look wet.
Putting together this top five compilation has been harder than Jimmy Saville in a school for the blind. Today’s video games begin much like a big Hollywood blockbuster, with running commentary from the main protagonist, several people being strangled and shot, all mixed to a track from this week’s electronic Beethoven. The new game worlds and game engines enable developers to go full Michael Bay and deafen you with cinematic bass, whilst blinding you with strobe effects.
In the past however, there was a time where a more humble approach was taken to video game intros, where original ideas and artistic personalisation were showcased, to convey the right message and immerse the player, given the constraints on hardware and software. They left more to the imagination and in someway become more like reading a novel, unlike modern titles which are much like watching a movie in a cinema, pressing a button when you wish the main character to perform something.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been roaming my shoddy memory banks of the hundreds of titles I’ve played and completed, to make a list of my personal top five game intros and why.
Almost six years after I played my first Strike game on the Megadrive, Soviet Strike, the fourth installment was released on the brand new 32bit PlayStation.
If you never played the series, you’ve missed one of the greatest series of games ever to appear on computer. In 1992 Electronic Arts released Desert Strike, Return to the Gulf. A controversial title that became a talking point for using recent real world war situations to create a game. But Mike Posehn, lead designer, pulled this off perfectly with new slick gameplay mechanics, with visually pleasing graphics and a new era of SFX.
“The lead designer, Mike Posehn, had no video game experience prior to developing Desert Strike. Inspired by Choplifter, he aimed to create a nonlinear game with smoothly animated vehicles. Posehn, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, developed a camera system with momentum to mimic realistic helicopter movements. Three-dimensional (3D) modelling was used to generate the vehicle sprites, which were later touched up on the pixel level with color.”
When the most inspiring video game era began in the late nineties, everyone was eager to lay eyes on the new tech and the next generation of titles. Soviet Strike was one title I would have eaten through a crowd of people to get. It did not disappoint. Utilising more space on CD ROM, the intro video to this game set the new pace, and this was sprinting. The audio and visuals were ramped up to real footage, whilst graphics were used to create a very futuristic look and feel.
Stop the war before it happens
When Grand Theft Auto appeared as a 2D bird’s eye view driving based, one man crime spree, I was impressed by Rockstars new ideas for the free roaming elements and wasn’t overly fussed that graphically it was lacking in parts. What really made GTA stand out from the crowd was the attention to detail, the influential soundtrack and solid sound effects. The media however, saw it another way. It was to be sat on the naughty step in the middle of yet another media shit storm, backed by bored middle aged keyboard warriors, who demonised the game because crime isn’t for fun, it’s only for real life. If anything, GTA taught young people that if you kick someone out of their car and drive at triple figures in the wrong direction, when you collide with another vehicle, it should explode.
You would have hoped that they learned from the game Carmageddon, that it didn’t spawn a generation of boys and girls who enjoy mounting the pavements ploughing through dozens of innocent people. Nevertheless, GTA made its mark in more ways than one. In 2001 when it was announced Rockstar had developed a 3D GTA for the Playstation, I would have broken the law to get my hands on a copy. If I could have grown a beard at the time, I would have emerged from my bedroom looking like Bin Laden.
I mentioned my love for this game in part 10 of my gaming history. Flashback was pretty incredible for the time, with ultra-realistic character movements, an original story line and setting. From the beginning you know you are participating in a great piece of work. The SEGA Megadrive by today’s standards is about as powerful as a musical birthday card, so anything visually impressive meant that a lot of hard work and dedication went into the making of the game.
The intro wastes no time getting going and shortly after the very cool Delphine Software logo appears accompanied by some moody synths, you’re thrown into the action. The main character, so it seems, is being chased, by who we don’t know but you do see lasers weapons, you do see this guy escape on a flying motorbike in space, when sadly he is shot down by his pursuers and left for dead. If that isn’t enough to keep the pad in your hand, then nothing is.
The main menu appears, again with an unforgettable intro track, you then begin your journey as Conrad B Hart, a lone man on a mission to retrace his steps before he purposely erased his memory. It’s blade runner, terminator and total recall all rolled into one, that’s like eating only the marshmallow pieces from Lucky Charms.
If you had access to a PC capable of playing Half Life when it came out and didn’t, you should have been dragged outside and trampled by the North Korean army. The Valve Corporation combined everything you’d ever enjoyed about first person shooters and squashed it all into one disc, it gained a cult following and for good reason. Quite simply one of the best concepts and game designs to date along with it’s equally satisfying sequel. To top it off, one of the most memorable intro’s into a game.It was ground breaking in all areas, graphics, sound and gameplay, the sense of immersion was incredible once you stepped off the train at Black Mesa.
In a nutshell Gordon Freeman, the main character, saves the world with a crowbar. It’s a little hard to explain the full plot here but there’s a lot more to it than bludgeoning things. Black Mesa is the facility where you work and well, your normal working day is about to get very not normal.
I must admit, i hadn’t played any other Fallout before No3 and that was probably partly to do with my obsession with motorbikes and no funding for a PC from the bank of mum and dad anymore. A good friend of mine explained Fallout 3 and it sounded like a fantasy come true, in post apocalyptic landscape, you emerge as a lone wanderer with no real objective only that to explore the land. The intro was voiced by Ron Perlman and your father is non other than Liam Neeson. For anyone who played Fallout will know how it felt when you first stepped out of that vault and into the sun. I think at the time i was wearing a vault jumpsuit and a welders mask for protection. Stoned off my tree I took the long walk into the wastelands, peeking over rocks, armed with only an air rifle and a police baton i found on a corpse. Over two hundred hours well spent.
The great thing about being an ‘adult’, is that you can experience what it felt like to buy something pointless, that makes you giggle like a child again but with the added bonus of feeling what the debt feels like too.
Given to me as a birthday gift this year. Pretty cool if you like cats, or if you don’t, also cool, because it’s a cat, seemingly trapped in a box.
Unlike a real cat he collects your money instead of your soul, which you can collect from the little hole in the bottom.
I like to eat healthy, I am one of these people who do read packaging but that’s only because some ‘food’ that is sold by retailers today, are boarder line ‘food’. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love a selection of meat and potato wrapped in pastry. The classic and satisfying Cornish Pasty is a snack to be reckoned with. I’ve been at the water front in Cornwall, eating the finest pasty, hot and fresh from a dockside bakery and I can say you can keep your Burger King and MacDonalds, that’s serious snacking. Ginsters supply the UK with snack foods, primarily pasties…I remember a time when they were a smaller business and the food was quite reasonable and edible. As the company has grown I’ve seen a rise in the number of products they produce, the quality dwindle and for some unknown reason, service stations and petrol stations UK wide are stocking this stuff as if our lives depend on it. I no longer eat produce like this from where they are sold, i decided to drop them an email.
I am sometimes a bit reluctant to try new things in packets that boldly claim such things as ‘real honest food’. I must say your spicy chicken slice is rather tasty with a can of Cherry coke to wash it down with, but even so, I’ve never tasted spice or chicken quite like yours. I travel around the UK a fair bit and sometimes find myself inside one of the many petrol stations and services that supply snacks. Hungry and in need of something to fill a hole, I’m often greeted with what I can only describe as a Ginster’s shrine. As your recent ad campaign clearly states (all £6.5 million pounds of it) ‘Man cannot survive on crisps alone’, I’m faced with little alternative.
I decided that I should try some other products in your range, out of curiosity.
Have you ever been to Cornwall? Ever eaten a Cornish pasty? I think you would be in for a shock.
Now, I’m assuming all of your food is made by a machine judging by the symmetry and colour of your foods. So maybe you can push some buttons, twiddle some knobs or adjust some levers to get a few things sorted.
Your spicy peppered steak slice, now I like steak and I like spice, but this slice tastes like nothing I’ve eaten before. If you are unable to adjust the volume of whatever ingredient lines my mouth and teeth with a grey, spicy sludge, then at least sell the slice with some mints. I often spot your advertisements in FHM, NUTS and the like. Student boys will never ‘pull’ a women with a mouth that smells like meat that fell behind a radiator.
Your advertising is rather slick, so slick in fact I bought another slice, to which I regret deeply now, my faith in a British born snack is fading.
Your ham and cheese slice, in my opinion you can’t go wrong, this is an ‘honest’ combination. But what kind of cheese is this?! It actually makes my eyes water, don’t get me wrong, I like a mature cheese but this is another level, how do you mature it, in a time machine?!
I purchased today what I considered something even a multi million pound food machine could produce. A tuna, mayonnaise and sweet corn sandwich. I’m writing this message trying my best not to retch and meet your product again on my keyboard.
Let me point out now that there is a big difference between an ingredient, and seasoning. You seemed to have used pepper in this product like there’s no tomorrow, I could hardly keep straight face whilst eating this sandwich, I thought someone was having a laugh.
Seasoning, meaning – ‘something added to food primarily for the savor it imparts’
So this is the end of the road for me and Ginsters, I’ve even thought to myself at times ‘perhaps it was a one off’ but instead I’ve been left with a bad taste in my mouth, literally.
I’ve sent this message to Ginsters and have ticked the ‘Require a response’ Let’s see what they have to say.