cat-pricorn one

August 17, 2014

It's a cat-astrophe. Oh yes, I went there.

Here’s Sparecat enjoying one of his favourite 1970s conspiracy theory films, Capricorn One. Next stop, The China Syndrome.

are bt a bunch of fibbing whatsits? you decide.

July 11, 2010

Friends, I offer you the following evidence from BT’s latest advert featuring the gurning ginger idiot who left the sitcom “My Family” to extend his career and, er, be in BT adverts.

The message I am taking away from this advert, entitled “Computer experts” (heh), is that if a video on a website doesn’t display in a timely manner, the only reason is that the broadband provided to your house is at fault. All other explanations are pooh-poohed by Kris Thingumy. “Let’s go to my house!” he declares and they have jolly japes whilst the narrator tells us all that 20Mb* broadband is the way forward (and BT’s is the best).

Last night, I had the misfortune to watch ITV1.

I don’t like ITV1. It’s like Channel 5, but with pretensions to being the BBC. At least Channel 5 don’t pretend. The best they ever want to be is ITV4 and don’t try any harder.  However, the World Cup was on and as my team, the Germans, were playing, I figured I should swallow my pride and put up with Adrian Chiles’ fat face and an advert break every two minutes.

It was during one of these all-too-frequent advert breaks that the Gold-Blend-wannabe advert came on. So I tweeted my disgust at its deceit:

Alf Fairweather boredofjam

BT Broadband. Tell me how you can make the internet work faster if the service you are trying to view is overloaded? Like the ITV play[-er]?

Which is a fact. How can a server designed to serve, say, 100 people at a time, possibly manage to serve 200 people better even if those people have BT Broadband (running at 20Mb)*. It doesn’t matter how fast the end product to your house is. If the thing you’re looking at can’t cope with the demand, you will not see what is on there.

Watch the advert. BT Kris says (and I paraphrase) “No no, dumbass, it’s your broadband! It’s stinky like Adrian Chiles’ socks.”

Let’s face it folks, BT Kris is wrong. Still, I felt happy that I’d told BT Broadband off, and went to bed.

[fade out] [fade in]

I was amused this morning to discover this gem from @BTCare:

@boredofjam If it is overloaded it has reached capacity and you would not be able to make it run faster. Try it again at a later time. about 7 hours ago via Debatescape

Well, that seems to confirm what I was saying. So simply pointed this out:

Alf Fairweather boredofjam

@BTCare: I know this, but your latest advert shown during the World Cup last night appears not to.

A few moments later, I get this:

@boredofjam It doesn’t matter how fast your Broadband is if the web site you are trying to connect to is overloaded then it will be slower about 6 hours ago via Debatescape

And then! This:

@boredofjam This is the website which is slower not your Broadband speed. about 6 hours ago via Debatescape

It’s magic! @BTcare agree with me.

So, the question we have to ask ourselves this evening is, are BT lying to us in their advert? Yes or No.

By the way, BT, how’s that thing going with Phorm? You know, the illegal interception of private individuals’ data?

*Reader, please be aware that 20Mb is not what you think it is. See how that “b” in “Mb” is in lower case? This means that it stands for the computer word “bit”, and there are 8 of those fellows to a byte. Therefore a 20Mb connection is going to be 8 times slower than you think it is, and is actually running at 2.5MB (megabytes).  Of course, this is in ideal conditions and won’t be reflected by the service to your door, but this will be glossed over and mainly ignored by your provider  – no matter who they are.

different episode i guess

April 4, 2010

I watched the first episode of Doctor Who last night. So did IO9. Except they appear to have watched a totally different episode to the one I watched.

1. Matt Smith is not yet the Doctor. His interpretation – for this episode at least – was flimsy, but obviously it requires some time for him to bed down into it. Unlike David Tennant who spent most of his first episode in bed.
2. The story was excellent. A proper story-teller’s tale. And it didn’t involve wheelie bins eating people. This means, by default, without even trying, it was far better that RTD’s opener, “Rose”.
3. Amy’s Aunt knew the Doctor’s face because Amy has been drawing him and building little versions of him all her life. Pay attention.
4. Yer new version of the theme is just wrong.

That’ll do.

PS. Oh yes, apart from the bit which went against everything this British Institution stands for, and had The Doctor say “Who’s da maaaan?” Fuck off Moffat. The Yanks can sort themselves out for that kind of twat language if they want it. I know it was a joke and I know The Doctor said he’d never say it again, but in the entire world of acting, I’ve never seen a line said with less enthusiasm by an actor. And I’ve been to a lot of local amateur dramatics shows.

why 3d tv will fail, annotated guide below:

January 11, 2010

1. You look like a twat wearing those stupid fucking 3D glasses.


January 7, 2010

You like looking at pictures, don’t you?

Picture one, full frontal.
Picture two, rear entry points.

Now, how about you team that honey up with this beauty:

Picture one, titties.
Picture two, arse.

Sexy details here in this obviously-only-geeks-read-this-stuff PDF (warning: PDF). I mean!  As if we’ll fall for the old two-girls-hugging-on-a-sofa ruse? Maybe they’ll snog and undress and love each other in a way that only two women together can…

So, my order’s in.

regarding whowerd

March 24, 2009

Hands up who thinks that David Tennant’s Doctor in the BBC’s eponymous time-travel show, Dr Who, has a touch of the Frankie Howerds about him? All that “Don’t.. don’t… don’t…” nonsense is surely a give away.

How long before RTD gives up completely and we get prime examples of this in an upcoming special?:

“OoooOOoooh! Donna! OoooOoh he’s The Master, he says, oooOoooOOoh! Now… well… you wouldn’t oooh, you mustn’t… mustn’t mock the regenerated, no..”

is starbuck a cylon?

January 23, 2009

Ah, Battlestar Galactica goodness.

Is Starbuck a Cylon? She thinks she is. But we’ve found out that the fifth Cylon is Ellen Tigh, so what can Thrace now deliver to us in the last few episodes of the story? We know that she has a destiny. But that can mean anything (and sounds terribly Star Wars, and she’s already led the fleet to Earth, so maybe it’s done and gone.

Is she:

* A “lost” Cylon
* One of the gods
* A next generation something-or-other
* Just plain fucked up

What we do know is that her scary-burnt-up Earth equivalent, has heat-proof blonde hair.

Dr WHollyoaks

January 3, 2009

It’ll be an interesting series 5 of venerable TV Sci-fi romp “Doctor Who” now that they’ve gone down the employ-pretty-little-boys route.

However, I wasn’t up for David Tennant taking the role, so what do I know?

those dr who rumours put to rest

December 24, 2008

The BBC have announced the new Dr Who and Assistant for the fifth full series.  Jeremy Clarkson will be the Doctor and Richard Hammond will feature as a new character “Hamster”.

Discussing this ground-breaking move of combining the BBC’s two most popular light-entertainment programmes, Lord Attenborough said, “How else to bring the power of Top Gear and Dr Who to new and exciting audiences? We’ll splice their very DNA! Like in Jurassic Park! What could possibly go wrong? We’ve spared no expense!”

A special scene has been filmed between the two new characters and shown to the media. A transcript follows:

Doctor Clarkson: Some say that I’m a mysterious traveller in time, meddling in things that are of no concern to me. Others call me an omen. All anyone really knows is that I’m called… <camera zooms to face> The Doc

Hamster: Doctor, can we, that’s you and me, little me, little Hamstery me, go to Roman times and do chariot racing?

Dr Clarkson: Don’t be so stupid, Hammond, of course not! They’re the cocks of history. Never trust a cock in a toga, that’s what I say.

Hamster: I thought it was cocks in Audis?

Doctor: Well, yes, they’re cocks too. But! If you look on this special wall I’ve had installed in the Tardis… I like to call it the “Cock Wall”… we can see that over on the right side, waaaayyy over there,  the Romans are Massive Cocks, whilst over here on the left, Ford Mustang engineers are little teeny-tiny winkies.

Hamster: So… so, so… What you’re saying… is… stuff history, let’s go drive some proper cars… Cars with big, hot, throbbing engines.

Doctor: Yes. Something with a lot of meaty power. And not at all cock-like. All that thrusting, manly power! And we’ll be sat there, feeling it giving us the ride of our lives!

Hamster: Right! Right! Right!

Doctor: So, let’s go to a Ford Mustang salesroom in the USA in the year 2009! Hear that deep throaty roar! In fact… <looks at camera> let’s stop off… and get <he winks> The Stig…

oliver postgate

December 9, 2008

Obviously, kids these days don’t know they’re born. If they did, they’d probably be more bother than they are now, so don’t let on. It’s relatively quiet where I live.

I woke this morning with a funny sensation in my stomach. I’d been dreaming of Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss. I stared at the ceiling in my room for a while before checking the time. It was 7:14. That meant I’d missed the news and I had overslept a bit (due to being up all hours last night cooking my Christmas cake. Delia, you’re a Goddess, but dear me, can’t you make your cakes cook in less than four hours?).

Slowly I realised I’d not missed the news, but had been in that half-awake/half-asleep mode and that Bagpuss and his pals had been featured on Radio 4. This could not have been good news. It could only mean one thing: Oliver Postgate had died.

These days, with so much computer-generated buffoonery, villages inhabited by every minority possible and seemingly drug-induced Midnight Garden-ing, kids telly is all very very high production values. I don’t mean that a lot of cash is necessarilly thrown at it (I believe it’s cheap enough that Cat from Red Dwarf and Terry Wogan will occasionally read a story), but that it must not appear to be anything less than shiny-perfect.

There is no room for torn-edges or washed out colours. It’s sharp and primary or nothing. And whilst you’re about it, we need a pop band to sing the theme  – and release it on iTunes too.

Indeed, earlier this year, a bunch of feckwads with the terrible name of Coolabi bought the rights to Bagpuss and announced with the omnious and over-enthusiastic blah-speech of people who just don’t know when to leave stuff alone, that they were going to “introduce Bagpuss to a new generation”.

Anyone notice that they’ve done this to Postman Pat this year? No longer Greendale for bachelor-boy Pat. Oh no, dear god. Pat’s got a helicopter, a wife, a kid and probably a jet-pack, some rollerblades and an expensive cocaine habit.

Let us consider what, perhaps, this will mean for Bagpuss:

  • Will it be out with the simplistic animation and the folksy-songs?
  • Perhaps we’ll say so long to Bagpuss’s rather slothful and rotund attitude?
  • Will know-it-all Professor Yaffle no-longer be bossy and no longer know-it-all? (Bossy know-it-alls aren’t acceptable in modern-day kids’ telly, unless at the end of the episode the bossy know-it-all has been taught a lesson and has befriended a lesbian in a wheelchair).
  • The mice will be on Ritalin and will have calmed down a lot.
  • No remake of the infamous chocolate biscuit from butterbeans and breadcrumbs episode. Well, not without the next episode focussing on how good fruit, veg and organic farming are.

So my normal friendly attitude has been wearing thin today under the thought that more of my childhood is about to be presented back to the world as a bowl of vomit from some independent production company’s crazed minds.

The wonderful thing about the original stories, written, drawn, animated and told by Postgate and Peter Firmin was that they were so beautifully handmade and simple.


That wasn’t the thing. That was a good thing, an excellent thing. It is something that should be taught in Media Studies courses and in art lessons.

The thing about Pogles’ Wood, about Ivor the Engine, about the Clangers, was Oliver Postgate’s narration. His voice is not just the voice of Noggin the Nog, or Bagpuss, it is the voice of the entirety of children’s television from the ’60s and ’70s.

I’m sorry if that annoys you Trumpton fans. Brian Cant was good. Roobarb and Custard’s Richard Brier’s was ace. But only Oliver Postgate had a voice which could make your soul cry with wonder and happiness.

Purchasing the Noggin The Nog DVD a few years back, I watched it all in one sitting. On my 31st birthday. It made me cry.

Thank you Smallfilms. Coolabi, beware.