31 January 2013

Retro Grade

Scrolling through my Playstation 3 hard drive I stumbled upon this little gem I can only assume came to me vis PS Plus.

Loading it up I didn't really expect to find much to like but lo and behold I find myself smitten with this rhythm/shooter hybrid.

In a nutshell, it plays like Guitar Hero (you can even play the game in your plastic axe in a dedicated mode). Presented as an old skool 2-D side scrolling shooter the objective is to "undo" your ships shots as time flows backwards. Indeed you begin the game at the final boss and must travel backwards through your missions undoing the laser death chaos you had previously dished out.

This is were the guitar hero aspect kicks in as your shots travel along horizontal lines, right to left, and you line up your ship unfiring these shots, dodging enemy shots which travel left to right all in time to a great 8 bit electro soundtrack.

It sounds complicated, and to the casual observer is totally mind boggling, but one you get past the onscreen craziness and let the feel of the music guide you rather than the visuals, it becomes a joy to play!

The soundtrack really makes the game, I feel its far more inviting to play than it's largely more popular stable mate Dyad, which is tricky at the best of times.

I urge PS plusers out there to give it a go, I'll see you on the leaderboards!

28 January 2013

The Legend of Porno Hollow (Cheadle edition)

Let me tell you a tale from the now distant days of my heady youth. Some names may of been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

It was a summer much like any other. The sun burned high and long as one afternoon melted into another. Towards the end of the previous School term a rumour spoken only by a knowledgeable few in hushed frantic whispers regarding a hidden stash of 'adult' publications came to my attention. Indeed if the story were to believed, Cheadle was sitting upon a veritable Aladdins Cave of x-rated material.

So it came to pass one weary Tuesday that myself, 'P' and 'M' embarked on our quest for the towns low rate 'Holy Grail'.

The rumours spoke also of a code of gentlemanly conduct wherein should said nudie mag stash be discovered, upon leaving the site it must remain as you found it in order that future generations are able to enjoy its fruit. Probably sometime around tea-time later that day.

Our research had pointed us to a secluded tree lined spot on the edge of Cheadle High School grounds. The air of menace as we tip toed cautiously through enemy territory was noted, but P's encouragement of "eyes on the prize boys" egged us on further.

In the distance we saw small pieces of paper dancing along the ground carried by a gentle breeze. The clouds began to thicken and the sky turned ominously grey.

Something cold flapped at my face. Instinctively my hand jolted to wave away the face invader but I met only air. With a grim realisation I peeled the offender from my face. In my hand I held a torn piece of a magazine, no larger than my palm. picturing what looked like a badly kept beard. M came over to check over my mystery assailant, turned a sickly shade of green and refused to go no further. P had ran on ahead and was busy poking a stick into the base of a tree excitedly. He motioned us over, I obliged leaving M shaking his head and muttering incessantly to himself.

What greeted my arrival at that hallowed Oak I shall never forget. A good Catholic boy, I was totally unprepared for the raw, naked truth of late 80's pornographic material. Page upon page of fake tanned, big haired and unpruned females lay scattered about the ground. Those glossy plastic smiles haunt me still.

We left hastily, vowing never to tell the awful truth of our discovery (though I suspect P went back later that day for another gander).

What became of that cache of sin no-one really knows. Some say concerned teachers gathered it up and condemned it the fires of hell. Others say "you know ...druggies" in an unconvincingly accusing tone.

Me? I like to think that even though that area may now be a housing estate, the planners kept that tree and that little piece of urban folklore now takes pride of place in some unknowing householders garden, treasure and all.

24 January 2013

EXIT


                                                                               

The tips of my gnarled trainers catch a blast of frigid air and for the first time in what seems like an age I feel something again. I stand tall, a brief wave of nausea shudders through my body as the drop before me flickers sharply into focus. The streets below me belch thick black smoke, an acrid stench fills my lungs and the taste of burnt meat lingers in my throat. The sky chokes on the cities festering odour, the Sun blanketed by the fumes of decay.

The world decided it had need for me no more some months ago. Deemed too old or to free minded to be a productive member of society my position at the Bureau of Progressive Change was stripped from me. A regular income deserted me almost as quickly as my Wife. The Bitch could rot for all I cared, she was only ever happy when the cheques were coming in. My daughter is the one I missed the most. Days without her were empty and lifeless. Time mocked me by elongating each hour, each minute, stretching each second to allow maximum misery.  As the damp on the walls climbed and the food ran out a forgone conclusion I had attempted to hide from for so long fought its way into my mind and began to dominate my thoughts.

Walking the streets desperately seeking an example that life was worth living I saw a commotion up ahead. A group of four or more white shaven headed youths were pelting a house with bricks and screaming racial abuse at the hidden occupants. One of the group began splashing the contents of a gas can over the front of the house, and in a matter of seconds the house was alight, a beacon of division and hate.

A white face appeared at a first floor window, barely visible through the smoke and flames. A white face holding a white baby.  The orchestrators’ of this flaming monument looked at each other in shock, devoid of ideas and absent of any type of action. The woodwork began to spit and crack loudly, masking the cries of anguish and pain within. A door a few houses along flew open and ejected its angry occupants onto the street. The Indian males of the family made for the visibly stunned group of skin heads with knives and metal bars.

Reaching into my pocket I fished for the crumpled piece of paper with the hastily written address. I knew it was nearby, and now I had my answer. I closed my eyes to the fiery tomb in front of me, the heat attacking my eyelids. Turned my back to the men bleeding onto each other and made my way away from the women cradling their dead sons in the gutter.

The door to the kill-house was firmly shut. The authorities of course knew such places existed, but looked upon them as a form of pest control. Vermin paid to be gotten rid of, lessening the already heaving burden on society. I punched into the key code and made my way to the 15th floor, flat 153.

Graffiti adorned the walls from a time long passed, the ascending stairways were dank and claustrophobic. Oddly shaped objects littered the floor intermittently and the smell of death hung menacingly in the air.

Candlelight flickered and a churlish giggle echoed from somewhere deep inside number 153, shadows danced across the walls allying to the several occupants within. A dog carcass hung above the open doorway marking the point of no return.

Mind now set I entered and was confronted by a large burly man wearing a pigs head as a mask. Flies buzzed and picked at its flesh, the man made a gesture to the table to his right, and another smaller built man to my left urged me forward with the nozzle of his shotgun.  From my brief flirtation with research I understood this to be where you made payment and chose your means of execution for your target. I eyed the handgun cautiously, the steel glinted in the candlelight and beads of damp were clearly visible on the metalwork. The meat cleaver and the chainsaw looked even less appealing, if ever such a term could be used to describe the implements of your own death.

There was a half open doorway further back in the recesses of the flat, a crack of daylight fighting its way into the gloom. I emptied the contents of my pocket onto the table, my life savings and the address fell into a heap over the blade of the cleaver. I nodded to the door. Piggy drummed a fat oily finger on the table, the dead eyes thinking this request over. With a muffled grunt, he took the money in his greasy fist and stood aside. A sharp jab in the ribs, the shotgun again as the clown attired man ushered me towards the battered door in the back of the flat.

I reached tentatively for the handle, turning it loosely the door shuddered open. Daylight flooded my vision and for a moment all seemed tranquil and pure in the whiteness of the sky. My eyes adjusted all too quick and the fetid housing and smog ridden skies quickly reformed again, claiming my dream as its own nightmare.

And now I stand here on this ledge, master of my own pre-determined destiny. Life is cruel, and cold, and remorseless in its punishment. It had given and taken in unequal measure. My choice of death was my final curse to life. I stepped forward from the edge.

Air rushed past my body unable to fight back my plummet to street below. The ground rushed to greet my exit into oblivion. Finally I will be free.

20 January 2013

Rule Brittania?

This is a post I have wanted to write for a while now, but have felt oddly unqualified to do so. I'm no statistician or football historian able to recite results and players from eons ago, I'm not even what some may call a "hardcore" supporter. I am however a follower of Stoke City Football Club and therefore feel thats qualification enough for this forthcoming analysis.

For the past two to three seasons there has become a growing discord amongst a rising group of supporters regarding Stokes' style of play, league aspirations and the management style of Tony Pulis.

On the one hand you have those who agree Tony is the man best placed to steer the good ship Britannia to premier league safety season after season regardless of pitch performances and fan satisfaction, and on the other those who wish he would mix it up a little and go for the throat a little more rather than trying to kill games off and take a point where possible.

Now, whilst true that football is a form of entertainment, most do not choose to follow their team based on high league finishes and silky smooth football (some indeed do but that a whole different debate). Its also true that watching the average Stoke game can be somewhat underwhelming and more than a little predictable, especially away from home.

I believe Tony is a realist. Pretty football can get you bankrupt. You need a lot of financial clout to play nice tippy-tappy football as you need genuine players of top quality to keep bringing in the three points when you take so many risks on the pitch.

The club is in a strong position financially, and although a chore to watch at times, I believe Premiership football is virtually assured. He has done wonders keeping a solid spine in place, lesser managers would of cashed in on Begovic, Shawcross et al.

So to the fans who want high octane drama week in week out, I don't feel Tony is gonna take those kinds of chances that could lead us into a relegation scrap. Football today is also a business. The most successful business grow slowly and don't take rash chances on fads or fly by night ideas.

Stoke fans would do well to enjoy one of the only steady success' this city of ours has at present.





16 January 2013

Introducing the Grand National Burger?

So, it appears unbeknownst to the British consumer some of our 100% beef burgers have been padded with horse meat.

While not harmful to ones health, indeed horse is eaten in vast Quantities in China and Russia. Italy and France consider it a delicacy, but here in Blighty that kind of thing is taboo. We give horses Pet stature, and we are hardly houng to start throwing Lassie and mittens onto the family barbecue xnytime soon!

So why did the burger company add up to 29% (in some cases) horsemeat to thrir supposedly all beef product (also neglecting to add this fact to the ingredients list).

Moral outrage is surely a reason they decided not to go public, and the gamble to hope nobody notices and keeps buying the meat doesn't look to of paid off now. Sales can only fall at this point.

The real reason one has to assume is purely down to cost:

Whole sale Beef cost on average £1.21 a pound.

Whole Sale Horse costs on average 50p a pound.

If you are substituting a third of your product for an ingredient half the price, well the maths is beyond me but theres a substantial saving in there!

So, a means to and end as this possibly family owned burger factory struggles to keep its head above water in these times of recession? Highly likely as the cost of beef and fish is well documented as climbing in price in the media.

My only concern is where else have these types of emergency money saving tactics been employed? Will the Consumer ever find out for sure?



10 January 2013

Out of retirement

So, the Gigolo is back. Or at least will be online again very soon. I ve missed the ones and twos and decided to pick up where I left off.

A few things have changed since my day mind. There will be no vinyl (as I sold it all) and my music collection is a lot more diverse than it used to be. I'll be looking at deconstructing tracks with my sampler alongside the more traditional full on party banging sets.

What struck me is how easy it is to get your music out there these days. Of course that means theres a lot of dj's to rise above if you wanna make it.

I'm under no illusions, my time has passed, but i'm gonna be posting mixes for you to stream if you so wish, and im gonna have a damn good time making em!

Digital Gigolo

7 January 2013

4am

I sleep through the nightmares of others.
Of battles fought in a different time.
Of comrades lost I never knew.
Blindly Carrying out the whim of a faceless Commander, questioning the insanity of man and his unfaltering dedication to a cause that matters not beyond the borders of a nameless land.
I 've watched men die by hands not my own.
Fought for a love my heart never belonged to.
Vivid and loud, a taste of smoke and blood.
Every synapse, every sense on fire.

The waking call lifts me from chaos and I am my own flaws once again.
Grateful my mind holds not memories like this.
My demons pale next to the Ballard of war.