A struggling actor, writer, bibliophile, self-confessed coffee addict, lover of European and Oriental Cinema, confirmed bachelor and wannabe blues guitarist.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Rebuilding The Future

    The year 1960 saw the release of George Pal’s imaginative production of H.G.Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’, considered by many to be a classic. At the end of the film, the main character ‘George’ returns to the distant future to help the newly liberated yet child-like Eloi build a new society, taking just three books with him to aid his venture. As his friend comments to another character ‘…which three would you have taken?’. Considering the wealth of knowledge we have access to in the 21st Century, which three books (factual or fiction) would you choose and, more importantly, why?

    • A great topic to consider as it will require addressing the roles of particular texts - do you take manuals, do you take "great literature", do you take religious texts? What is most valuable in literature in relation to history and cultural change and how do we measure this? – SaraiMW 6 months ago
    Taken by SaraiMW (PM) 2 weeks ago.

    Drugs and the Creative Process

    ‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan. A stately pleasure-dome decree…’. It’s said that Samuel Taylor Coleridge composed his classic poem whilst under the influence of Laudanum (an alcoholic tincture of Opium). Similarly such great names as Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron had ongoing ‘relationships’ with the same. What was once considered acceptable behaviour amongst the creative is now legislated against, often for good reason, but many of us today start our daily routine with our drug of choice, i.e. coffee. Narcotics have had a profound influence on the creative mind across the centuries and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future. Consider why the creative mind sometimes requires or even craves external stimulus and why we are frequently willing to ignore drug usage among the creative when enjoying the fruits of their labour.

    • You bring up an interesting topic. I myself enjoy caffeine, I use it as a tool. Likewise, other substances such as, LSD, DMT or psilocybin mushroom are sometimes used as creative tools. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for example used LSD as a creative tool. Drug use today is looked down upon. I think that some substances can be used to help with art but within the right context and environment. – LucaTatulli 3 months ago
    • Being more specific would be useful - are you asking about narcotics/opiates only, or including psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, or stimulants such as methamphetamines, not to mention other classes of substances? What exactly do you mean by 'drug usage'?? – Sarah Pearce 3 months ago
    • Like Sarah Pearce, I was left wondering what the focus of the essay might be: all drugs? narcotics? stimulants? I would also encourage anyone who takes up this topic to consider the roles of drugs (esp. stimulants and hallucinogens) in the writings of the Beats. – JamesBKelley 3 months ago
    • I have so many questions. Are you considering alcohol as a 'drug'? If so, I don't think we 'ignore' alcohol usage amongst creatives. I would also question using the word 'ignore' - why must we ignore drug usage? The question speaks of evident bias against 'drugs' (however you are defining this term) - I suggest that the more interesting questions revolve around the role of various substances in the evolution of human culture and creativity... – Sarah Pearce 3 months ago
    • So first thought I have is that you are working off an assumption that creative types DO crave the stimuli of drugs. If you wanted to work off of that assumption you would need to get peer reviewed research and even then its a bit of a shaky premise. However I feel like your article actually has a different and more reasonable topic hidden in the layers. A lot of the people you mentioned fell into the Romantic period and the Victorian period of literature. So maybe instead of talking about drug usage in all creative types, you could instead discuss the influence of narcotics on Romantic and Victorian literature. – huntingkat18 3 weeks ago

    A Black James Bond

    Daniel Craig became the first ‘blonde’ Bond, but once his tenure comes to a close, a new face will be required to sip those Vodka martinis and put paid to the latest Mr Big’s plans to dominate the world. When considering the many, fine black actors working these days, perhaps it’s time that we had a black James Bond. After all, the CIA operative Felix Leiter was recast in the 2006 franchise reboot, with the excellent American actor Jeffrey Wright proving he was more than capable of handling a darker role (excuse the unintended pun). So, which black actor could become Bond and, more importantly, why? Bear in mind that it is the character of Bond that is the focus, so the choice of actor must be one who can both fills those shoes and yet be able to make that character his own. This is not a popularity contest. On a personal note – I would suggest Chiwetel Ejiofor (‘Twelve Years a Slave’. 2013). He is the consummate professional who possesses a solid, on-screen (and stage) presence. His IMDB profile shows an impressive track record that demonstrates he can switch from comedic to dramatic roles with ease (just take a look at his performance in ‘Kinky Boots’. 2005) and he is ruggedly handsome enough to raise respectful envy from male Bond fans whilst undoubtedly turning more than a few female fans’ heads. Remember, James Bond is an iconic role so your choice and reasons must take this into consideration.

    • I am not sure how many people would like to see a black James Bond, but I am one of those people who would like to see a black James Bond. However, the last time I heard this topic being discussed, there was an opposition for a black actor to take on the role. The main argument against it was that the author envisioned a white person doing this role. But, from a personal point of view, Chiwetel Elijofor would make a great James Bond, or Idris Elba would make a great James Bond. Especially if the character of James Bond is not a character, but a job title that gets filled once the position becomes available at MI6. So, if the James Bond is not a person, but a job position that gets filled up, then yes! A black James Bond would be great. However, if the James Bond is supposed to be a white person because that is the vision of the author, then I would say no because that is the vision of the creator. – nbcaballero 2 months ago
    • Wasn't Idris Elba long rumored to be the next James Bond? He has mass appeal and is a wonderful actor. I think many people would love to see a great actor like him in that role. – Mccaela 2 months ago

    Weasel words - The Art of Tergiversation

    8 out of 10 cat owners, who expressed a preference, agree that a growing body of evidence supports our new and improved formula’s usefulness in combating the signs of ageing with up to 99% accuracy when compared to our nearest competitor…and so on. That sentence is complete and utter nonsense and yet it represents the gobblegook we see and hear every day, whether it be a claim about cat food, beauty products or WiFi. Discuss and analyse the insidious growth of weasel words, especially within the mainstream media, and how this can affect the ability to think critically and stifle independent creative thought. Alternatively, is there actually a place for weasel words (other than the bin)? No animals were harmed in the writing of this topic suggestion.

    • I'm not 100% sure what this article would be about. Is it about combating gobbledygook? Is it asking where such language is used? Politics and advertisement use it all the time. However, my final question is are "weasel words" gobbledygook, or is there an alternate definition for what these words represent? This sounds like an article on rhetoric which I'd be extremely interested to write about, but some clarification is necessary to fully understand what your asking to be written about. – DKWeber 6 months ago

    The Appeal of The Road Movie

    "It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses" (Elwood Blues)

    "Hit it!" (Jake Blues)

    That legendary quote from ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980) introduced the viewer to arguably one of the funniest and most notorious car chases in cinema history and exemplified the road movie as a metaphor for the desire for freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom from authority and the freedom of self-expression. The comically manic, self-destructive joyride of ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ (1981) saw the protagonist taking a thousand mile trip across New Zealand, in a progressively disintegrating mini, just to reconnect with his girlfriend, whilst David Lynch’s gentle perambulation that was ‘The Straight Story’ (1999) was based on the true story of Alvin Straight’s 240 mile trip on a lawnmower across Iowa and into Wisconsin to see his estranged brother. In more recent years we’ve had the eccentric British film ‘Driving Lessons’ (2006), the Bonny and Clyde-esque ‘God Bless America’ (2012), Inmtiaz Ali’s loosely scripted and superb ‘Highway’ (2014) and the somewhat off-kilter ‘The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun’ (2015)…to list but a few examples. What connects all these films is that each is ultimately a life-affirming experience, even if the journey ends in disaster. It is the process of self-discovery, but in these modern times of ultra high-tech surveillance and ever encroaching self-driving vehicles, will we lose that chance to push the peddle-to-the-metal and engage with our thirst for a fleeting moment of automotive freedom?

    • I'd be really curious to know how the road trip movie fits in different cultures' cinema - I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that it was a American connection. – Emily Esten 11 months ago

    The Evolution of The Bank Heist in Cinema

    Whatever happened to the good ole’ bank job? A small team of dedicated villains who cased the job, drew up meticulous plans and (sometimes) got away with the loot. These days we are used to seeing technological spectaculars with the villains often touting hardware and computer systems equal to, or even superior to, that of the Police. The Bank Heist has been a popular movie theme since the days of silent film making, but times move on and so do the brains and specs behind the operation. ‘Bonny and Clyde’ (1967) showed the simple, violent approach to robbing a bank; ‘The Italian Job’ (1969) had a more lighthearted spin and instantly made the Mini car into an icon. In more recent years we’ve had ‘The Bank Heist’ (2011) a Canadian comedy and the Las Vegas-style showmanship of ‘Now You See Me’ (2013), whilst the British films ‘The Bank Job’ (2008) and ‘The Hatton Garden Job’ (2016) both harked back to old school techniques. Of course the list is endless and these are just a few examples. Explore the evolution of the bank heist and not just in terms of the advance in technology over the years, but also look at the characters involved, what their motivations are and why we, the international viewing public, retain a fascination for such villainy. It’s not always about the money!


      Red Dwarf - Growing old disgracefully in Space.

      The British science fiction comedy TV series ‘Red Dwarf’ (1988-1999)(2009-Present) has gained a cult status and follows the misadventures of what are essentially four less than intrepid blokes stuck in Space. With the main characters frequently exhibiting flaws such as cowardice, laziness and downright incompetence, the stories provide a welcome, humorous antidote to the morally upright characters typically found in many science fiction series. The latest series is due to appear in October 2017 and the fact that the lead actors are no longer the spring chickens they once were has not gone unnoticed by the show’s main writer, Doug Naylor, who has already started to include jokes at the expense of his ageing characters. Could this perhaps lead to the birth of a new comedy genre that would playfully examine the inevitable encroachment of advancing years and a second childhood in a Sci-Fi setting?

      • This is an interesting point. One of the newest trends emerging out of the UK has been the changing focus of target audience age groups. One of the best examples of this has been 'Dr Who' with the return to an older doctor with both Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker. In many ways this is a logical choice as the aging baby boomers are still the largest generation and are now progressing into a period of having greater disposable incomes and time, it makes sense then that there is a return to nostalgic childhood, but explored through the aging "grey" actors. – SaraiMW 11 months ago

      Advertising and the Art of Selling...Stuff.

      The world of TV Advertising has become ever more sophisticated and devious as the public has become more media-savvy. From the early days of a product being pushed in front of us and a cheery female voice or a man in a white coat suggesting we buy it, we’ve moved on – through an era of dancing bunnies high on battery power and roller skating young women extolling the virtues of certain feminine sanitary products, to a period when the product was rarely seen on screen and we were bombarded with imagery that seemed to bare no relation to the product being advertised. These days some TV adverts are like mini movies whilst others are projected deep into our subconscious and intended to make us feel slightly inadequate if we don’t continue to play the consumer game.

      However, is the advert break still a convenient excuse to nip to the loo or make a cup of tea? Is the Scientist in the white coat still regarded as an authority figure? Are we, the viewing public, too wise for our own good? Can we still be tricked into buying something we really don’t need and, most likely, will become obsolete within a year? The artifice of advertising will always remain exactly that and yet there have been advertising campaigns that have gained a life of their own and even garnered artistic respect and admiration. Could advertising truly be considered an artform in itself?

      • Is advertising an art form? Yes; it requires creativity and finesse just like film, novel writing, and other similar pursuits. But what kind of art form is it? That's the perennial question, because as you mention, advertising is designed to push people into acquiring "stuff." Can we still be "tricked?" Oh, yes...but I think that raises the question, do we even care we're being tricked anymore? Or would we rather just enjoy a cleverly conceived commercial (or ten)? – Stephanie M. 12 months ago
      • any discussion of advertising should necessarily reference Edward Bernays, one of the original admen who wrote on advertising and PR campaigns as having the ability to manufacture consent and control the "masses." Also an important scholars to reference and read would be Naomi Klein, who literally wrote the book on the evolution of the advertising agency and the rise of branding, "No Logo." – Jonathan Judd 12 months ago

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      Latest Comments


      Damned fine article. It opened my eyes to a few aspects of anime of which I was previously unaware, so thanks for that. We live and learn.

      Queer Representation in Anime

      An excellent article and clearly well researched. You’ve highlighted what, ironically, turned me off TV news programmes. The news ‘show’, for that is what it has now become, places more emphasis on style than content. Over-polished, plastic presenters who look, for the most part, like all the other plastic presenters and flashy graphics simply do not impress me. I prefer radio. Still, thanks for your hard work, it was a good read.

      The Sexual on TV News: Lipstick Matters

      An excellent article and a good read as well. Thanks.

      The Black Death and Sensationalized Medieval History

      Yvonne T. Thank you for your kind comments and you’re welcome. Watch this space, as they say, for there is a further article to come.

      Subtitling for Cinema: A Brief History

      E pur si muove

      this thread is now closed.

      The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Journey of The Hero

      Your opinion has been noted.

      The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Journey of The Hero

      Juan. Thank you for your comments, however, with respect, I think you have missed the point of the article. I didn’t state that Kyon is an ‘alpha’, as you put it. I stated that his heroic journey reflects that outlined by Campbell, so from that point of view, the roles the rest of the characters take do fit into this perspective. Furthermore, what you have expressed is an opinion, presumably based on your interpretation of the overall story arc and, as such, you are welcome to have that opinion. As I’m sure you are aware, there are many different theories and opinions expressed by Haruhi fans, some within the realms of possibility and others somewhat over imaginative in their speculative approaches. I don’t deride anyone’s interpretation. Perhaps you would like to write an article, using your opinion as a starting point. I’m sure there are many Haruhi fans who would be interested to read it.

      The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Journey of The Hero

      The lessons learned from a truly great teacher are those we never forget. I remember a particular English teacher I had who, after a play I had written, was mysteriously destroyed, presumably by a jealous classmate, encouraged me to rewrite it. The result was a second draft that was far better than the first. If it hadn’t been for that teacher, I may well have not bothered to try again. Thanks for your article, it was a fun read 🙂

      Lessons from Our Favorite and Least Favorite Fictional Teachers