Tag Archive: blog



The glamorous side of paintballing

Heroic, gallant, virile. Students who pledge their thumbs to the digital deity Call of Duty are none of these and less. Because to waste such god-given militancy prancing round a pixelated wonderland, knifing the odd dissident, is a sin answerable to Ares alone. As any self-respecting war monger will tell you, true glory can only be won in the smoke and heat of the battlefield. Or in the case of an intrepid band of Durhamites, on the paint-spattered grounds of a Geordie forest that, come nightfall, boasts the North’s highest dogging rate. And that’s saying something.

The paintballing was an impulse buy. Besides a wave of regret that I hadn’t gone to Bristol, paintball tickets were the only thing I had picked up from the Fresher’s Fair. Students who’ve had Durham’s cultural zeal sufficiently caned into them need not concern themselves with paintballing and other soiled distractions of the ‘broleteriat’. True people of Durham wipe their arses with such degenerate filth, before it morphs gratefully into sheet music or a provocative play script on bi-curious terrorists.

Unfortunately I’ve still got some lashes to go and the paintballing base camp was a glorious two-fingered salute to the culture vultures, nested around Durham. Urine-soaked excitement hung in the air, courtesy of marauding bands of adolescents, while the more experienced participants menacingly stroked helmets, or any other SAS equipment they had brought from home.

As chance, or the vindictiveness of the organizers, would have it we were pitted against a crack squad of locals more than twice our number. Their sheer aggression and enthusiasm suggested they were on the back of a monstrous winning streak, including stints in Libya and Charlie Sheen’s pool house, and had been airdropped in for the occasion.

With a bamboo shoot for a family tree, the sorry-looking gaggle of yokels that made up the rest of our team looked more adept at holding a barn dance than a gun. Their leader was a man of deceptive size who looked like Bryan May and took to guarding our extreme rear. He was a paintballer who would not go down in history but, thanks to a gangly ponytail and a moustache that would put Ron Jeremy to shame, he would go down on your sister.

It would be a massacre.

The opening rounds proved true to speculation. Our natural survival instincts took over and led us galloping aimlessly through the foliage like twisted genetic experiments that had gone wrong and been released into the wild for the warped amusement of a Japanese game show. It was not long before we were hunted and felled without mercy by the well-oiled Geordie machine.  Based on that evidence, in Prehistoric times we would have been assigned the foraging duties.

From his entrenched defensive position Bryan May attempted a guerrilla resurgence but soon fell ingloriously in a shower of paint. With his greased locks he may have been the ‘Che Guevara’ in the cut-throat world of dry weather crop-harvesting but he was a 40-something playing paintball and I just couldn’t trust him.

I won’t bore you with the heroic tale of our comeback. For services in the field one of our rank earned the much-coveted ‘Top Gun’ award, which came with its own shiny certificate. Although later reports suggest that he had offered the Warden sexual favours for the prize and, failing that, his packed lunch.

All I will say is we may have been approached by Channel 5 and other mediocre broadcasting stations to televise the account and victory was achieved mainly through the use of paint grenades. Yes you read correctly, GRENADES THAT EXPLODE WITH PAINT!

Now if that doesn’t fire up the loins then we may as well just be done with it and drown ourselves, chained to our games consoles, in a sea of spirits, pederasty and Tesco’s 99p Curry. Or failing that, dress up as pirates and head to Klute. They’re equally degrading.


As Facebook takes its place at the table of business high rollers, users will have to ask how their personal information is treated.


On the back of a successful 2010, including a silver screen debut, the social media goliath welcomed in the new year by accepting a $375 million investment offer from Goldman Sachs. Like sending the two Milliband brothers on a team building exercise in Cumbria, nothing good can come of this.

For one the deal estimates Facebook’s worth at a giddying $50 billion, a potentially inflated sum when you look at the company’s reported revenue of just $1.2 billion over the first three quarters of 2010. But enough with this monetary dandyism, what of the unwashed masses who use the thing? Well, the noticeably gaping numerical chasm between revenue and worth suggests that financial value is being uncovered elsewhere on Facebook. A bounty is slowly collating above the heads of its 600 million usership and more importantly, the keg loads of information Facebook has on them.

Addresses, birthdays, phone numbers. What’s to stop Facebook auctioning its users’ information and details to the highest bidder, flimsy privacy agreements? Goldman Sachs and co. has seen worse. After all, the parents of royal fiancée Kate Middleton were known to derive a sizeable chunk of revenue for their business, ‘Party Pieces’, by selling their clients’ contact details to relevant companies. With more extensive information at their digital fingertips, Facebook could do one better.

After seven years of loyal service; nursing our hangovers, publishing our ethereal musings and inviting us to join groups detailing the post-mortem of a phone lost to the supernatural clutches of a festival bog. Is Facebook preparing to throw us to the corporate lions? Are our witty wall posts destined to be salivated over by a wispy cheeked researcher, hell bent on proving the neo-Nazi tendencies of Generation Y? Not on my watch.

At this crucial juncture I acknowledge this may sound like the ramblings of an apocalyptic prophet, touring the country and living out of a caravan and stockpiles of tinned food. Or even Morpheus incarnate, offering the ‘blue pill’ of online salvation. Unfortunately for any leather suppliers, I am neither. I’m just not keen on the idea of my postcode being bootlegged across the web to any Tom, Dick and Hameed. So when China gets their teeth into global advertising and start sending Viagra discounts to my new address in the Shire, I’ll be Chairman LMAOing.

As a further measure, next time I see a status update saying “just off to the South of France in daddy’s yacht”, I will not be ‘liking’ it. Instead while they are enjoying the sun, I will round up a posse and march on the offender’s home address (conveniently located in the ‘contact information’ section), kick down the door and kidnap the new puppy they put photos up of last week. It’s for the best.

The socially transparent era of tweeting your bowel movements is over, long live privacy!


Foreign filmmakers you should be on the lookout for

When you need a film with ex-plo-sions, who you gonna call? Well, before producers would have Transformer-toting Michael Mann on speed-dial, but nowadays he’s throwing magnesium into Boy Scout’s camp fires to quench his insatiable thirst for destruction. Plus, the audience prefers being made to think while being hoisted onto the edge of their seats.
Enter Brit/American director Christopher Nolan, the mind behind Batman remake The Dark Knight and Freudian thriller Inception. In a Hollywood genre wrought with mindless car crashes and leggy blondes, Nolan succeeded in bringing a touch of class to proceedings, like introducing English gents to wrestle in WWF. Nowadays Nolan has a third Batman film on his radar. As we speak, he is decked in oversized headphones, tracking a flashing red dot that is the caped crusader.

With a CV including the likes of cult sci-fi movie The Fifth Element and Léon , Frenchman Luc Besson is no newcomer to film. I think hitman Leon’s signature phrase, “No women, no children” should replace the chocolate bar Yorkie’s marketing slogan, ‘It’s not for girls,’ merely to enforce Yorkie’s brute masculinity.

However, it is in the role of writer and producer that Besson has found success in recent offerings District 13 and District 13: Ultimatum. The films catapult parkour, the French-originated discipline of street-running, from a YouTube sensation to the big screen. Set in a future where a crime-riddled district of Paris is walled-off from society, Besson strikes a political chord, as Parisian ghettos are often ostracised by the French media for their abundance of drugs and high-levels of unrest. Look out for Besson’s signature stunt sequences, which are untainted by CGI and gift the films a raw edge, exhibited in Besson-written thriller Taken.

The Pang Brothers

As films such as Hero prove, East-Asian cinema is never short of imagination and in Hong-Kong born directing-duo the Pang brothers, the genre has found a rising talent. Comprising Danny Pang and Oxide Pang Chun, which sounds like a chemically enhanced dish served to Chinese Olympic athletes, the pair’s recent martial arts epic Storm Warriors broke Hong Kong box office records on first day.
With cult-horror flick The Eye and Hollywood flop Bangkok Dangerous under their belts, the brothers explored elemental magic such as wind and fire to craft Storm Warriors as a homage to traditional Chinese folklore. With help from special effects and imaginative costumes, it is a truly unique spectacle. Asian legend has it the only way to replicate such levels of creativity is to give the entire Jedi council from Star Wars LSD and lock them in a room full of bendy mirrors.