2012, Twenty-Twelve, Two Thousand Twelve.

I don’t normally do an end of year report, or I have never done one before. But they seem to be the trend of today. It’s early in the morning and I have already come across several people’s thoughts of the year.So, this year, I’ve decided to do one. Last year (2011) was an incredibly emotional year, the Christmas/New Year period was too raw and too many things had changed for me to pluck up the courage to talk about it all. It’s still a sore issue and this year has been equally emotional, but I have a long last found my voice.

2012 has been a year of huge ups and downs. One of the great things about this year is, as I say, I have found my voice. I have finally moved along the road of my great ambition to write. This blog is a part of that, and while I don’t post often I still manage to keep it alive. Meeting some other writers in November, as well as getting advice from the professionals has been brilliant. I have written a lot more this year than I ever have before. I’m very close to finishing one story (that I intend to finish today – it really must be done in 2012 or it’s taken far too long) and with some luck and hard work I may feature in an independent anthology next year. I’m really looking forward to writing that story but there is a way to go before that happens yet. I will try to keep everyone posted.

But despite that, there have been some huge downs this year for me. I’ve been to some very dark places (which I guess has influenced my need to write as well as what I write) because of personal things that have happen. I don’t want to go in to too much detail, and I don’t ever want to place blame. 2011 was a horrible year emotionally and that continued into 2012, where things have not go much better. I’m incredibly happy that I am able to be friends with my ex-girlfriend, and happy that she has moved on. But the fallout from everything that happened, 18 months later, still hurts. Lost friends and broken bridges break my heart. No matter how much I try to do the right thing, someone always ends up getting hurt, and for that I’m sorry, I never want to bring hurt to anyone. There are some people I would like to say sorry to, but have no means. As I say, I don’t want to go in to detail, it’s probably not fair. But if you ask, I will probably wax lyrical.

I know some people will probably say “Oh but you’ve had a great year, what are you moaning about?!”. But to them I say, some things in life are more important than possessions or achievements.

This year, my band played the Download Festival. Yes, it was fucking amazing, yes I’m incredibly lucky to have done it! But you know what the worst thing about it is? It was so incredible, so unexpected that it still feels like a dream. I still don’t believe I actually played, despite being there and seeing photographic evidence. And the further it gets away the more it seems like an illusion, like some fabrication of my fragile mind. Also, Download was a pretty sad time for me (again? yes I know, I moan a lot!) Seeing Metallica for the first time in years without certain company was incredibly heart-wrenching, so much so that I could barely talk to those I was with and had to go to the bar to excuse myself.

I guess I do look forward to 2013. There should be some good things happening, with some luck. But I also dread it. I dread hearing something that I knows is incredibly possible, that may well break me and I hate not knowing. I also hate not knowing if long lost friends are okay and I know that will continue in to 2013. But we will see, tomorrow is a day like any other but it is also the start of a new year and who knows what it will hold?

 

I suppose I should finish this with an album and film of the year. My album of this year is Dead End Kings by Katatonia and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. ‘The Longest Year’ from their previous album is still my favourite song and therefore favourite song of this year. It has helped me when I’ve felt down and one of the things I intend to do next year is get the lyrics tattooed on the inside of my left arm (Nothing Else Matters lyrics on the inside of my right arm). I just need to pluck up the courage first! My favourite film by far is the Dark Knight Rises. I absolutely loved the end to a fantastic trilogy of films. The jury is still out on the Hobbit.

Let me give you a sample of the lyrics from three select songs off their new album (but all the songs and lyrics are on the album are beautiful):

The Parting

“In the weak light

I saw you becoming the lie.

Taking it all for granted, like freedom.

It’s something you’ll never have.”

Ambitions

“At night walking on the tracks
Change my perspective
Idle hands with wounds and cracks
Stale
Ineffective
But past the veil
The memories of things
Still so in love with you

So dense this strife
Kicked the life
I feel this weight upon my heart

Indecision
Sow the seed
Aspiration is never within reach
At night there is no other view
Sing a song for the ones who never made it”

Dead Letters

“Dim my lights
Time is frail
You shut my mind
But oh well
Trapped and choked
Erased my trail
Split the chest
My heart couldn’t feel more pale
Only once
Could I see clear

Vexation
Internal void
My dreams are getting darker and darker
And darker”

 

The following are the lyrics I’m thinking about getting tattooed:

“In the nights of old I always wished
In the longest year that had me down
And I would freeze if you ever asked me
That was my way”

Or at least the first two lines.

 

Well thank you for reading and I hope I haven’t depressed you too much.

Happy New Year and good luck for 2013!

 

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Blog

Greetings my dear fellow! It has been an age since we have been on an adventure together! Now I should warn you now, there may be some talk in the form of *Spoilers* in this prosaic discussion of the new Hobbit film. Though how you can really spoil a film based on a book published in the 1930’s is another discussion all together!

 

I should also point out, before I start, that I did actually enjoy the film. It was in all a well produced film that was pretty epic. There were just a few decisions in the process that I didn’t understand. I will be going back to see it again, and see if I fall in love with it like I did the Fellowship, but at the moment I’m not 100% convinced.

The first thing I don’t understand is how some of the people I know can be so sycophantic about it. Yes it’s a great film, I really liked it, but it’s not perfect. I’m probably going to get lynched by a few people for saying this, but they could have done better. The Hobbit was the first book I read as a child and I adore it, I was a little disappointed with a few things they did that changed the feel of it for me. It okay to like something without going all out to ignore some glaring mistakes and bad decisions. You don’t need to tell me how awesome it is, I know; it’s incredible that this film has even been made, it’s something I’ve waited for for years. But I don’t want to just blindly use superlatives to talk about it, let’s discuss it. Sometimes it seems that just because it’s Tolkien, Peter Jackson, Games Workshop, ADB, etc. (I could co on) that it has to be awesome, there is simply no room for alternative.

(Here be spoilers!)

One of the main things that frustrated me a little bit was the opening. Sufficed to say I think I was fairly underwhelmed by the whole beginning portion of the film and was starting to get worried. (It’s okay the rest more than made up for it!) In the Lord of the Rings, we open with a perfectly epic narration to the history of Middle-Earth explaining why Sauron was bad and what had happened, while still leaving enough room for the imagination. All voiced by Cate Blanchett who has a perfectly suited, haunting voice. In “The Hobbit” they tried the same thing again, this time showing what happened to Erebor and basically giving up all the information about what the company were going to go and do, save Erebor! In the book, you are placed in Bilbo Baggins’ point of view, having no idea why these Dwarves were turning up on your doorstep, but enjoying the confused ride as more slithers of information popped out. In the film, you are then left with all the dialogue of this part of the book chucked all together which actually detracts from the epicness of the opening sequence. It also leaves Bilbo as a bit of a supporting character, stood in the background, rather then the lead which he later becomes. It would have been far better to have choice flashbacks like in the book, revealing secrets and depth as we go. (Now I know that you have to change bits in books for screenplays, but this is one time where the original would have actually been better for a more engrossing film!) This is also done as a rather obvious nod to The Lord of The Rings, as Bilbo is recounting the story to Frodo (set just before his birthday party), which leads me to my next point.

Why tie in the films so blatantly to the Lord of The Rings films, then change bits of filming which make those films now seem ‘wrong’? For example, in the Lord of the Rings, there is a flash back to when Bilbo finds the ring. In that film he is crawling in the dirt and discovers the ring, dusts it off and says ‘What’s this? a ring!’. In the Hobbit, the ring falls out of Gollum’s pocket, lands perfectly on a stone. Shortly later Bilbo walks past, picks it up and quietly puts it in his pocket without a thought. It just seems like an odd thing to chance, now the continuity of four films is called in to question. There are a few other examples like this that I don’t need to go in to, such as the mountain trolls being turned to stone in completely different poses to how Frodo and the Fellowship find them in LOTR.

The main thing that bugged me was that Gandalf did not give Bilbo a shove out of the door! He even mentions that he did in the Fellowship of the Ring! Why was there need to change that?! It has such a small effect on the overall story, but is such a quaint part of Tolkien’s mythology. A shame…

Though it must be said, apart from these things, the casting was brilliant. Martin Freeman plays a perfect Bilbo Baggins and I can’t think of anyone better suited to the role. The Dwarves were all perfectly cast, Thorin dark and brooding and the rest giving the needed comic relief. Howard Shore also produces another great soundtrack, that I am currently sat listening to while I write this.

One final criticism that I must voice is this. 48fps must be avoided at all costs! It seems these days that film directors are constantly seeking the next gimmick rather than focussing on great story telling. 3D has taken over, and it can be used quite well in parts, but 48fps is simply awful and must be stopped. The main problem is that it makes everything look like a documentary (which is in fact where Peter Jackson saw the technology being used and decided to use it for the Hobbit). It completely ruins the cinematic experience and gives too much away. Rather than being sucked in to the screen with previous formats and being immersed in the story, you are instead left feeling like you are watching behind the scenes footage. It also gives far too much away. Okay, the wide angle scenery shots are fantastic. But once example of this technology failing the film is the fight of the giants. When there are wide angle shots of the giants fighting it is very difficult to see what is actually going on, despite the individual detail being brilliant. Then when it zooms in to the Dwarves stood on a giants leg, you can clearly see the difference from the CGI; the shot now clearly looks like the Dwarves are on a set. Simply put it is too real, cinema isn’t about reality, it’s about escaping it and therefore certain detail needs to be hidden from the eye.

 

Well that’s my thoughts on the film. As I say, I will be going to see it again (probably a few times to be honest). But I will most definitely be seeing it in 24fps and possibly in 2D as well.

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope I haven’t ruined the film for anyone!

Thoughts

I don’t really know what to write, though I felt like writing a blog. There are so many thoughts and frustrations running around in my head at this present moment in time that I can’t quite put them down to paper.

Firstly, birthdays suck. It’s true that they really do get worse as you get older. I don’t know what I was expecting, that something might give me some brief moment of happiness like ‘hey this isn’t just like any other day’. Today, has been pretty boring and average  and now it’s getting dark. A lot of people reading this will think I’m just moaning. You’re probably right. I’m lucky in a lot of ways, yes I know that. I have a home, plenty of things and a job. But there are more important things in life than things. Yeah I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron, but you know what I mean.

I guess I’m mainly pissed off because I thought today would be a nice day, a bit different to a regular day of being at home being down. I even got up early for some reason. Since then I’ve been sat in my living room, the heating on, which is giving me a headache, watching episodes of Big Bang Theory in an effort to make me laugh. My mum came up to spend it with me, but she has spent most of the day in bed. I know it’s not her fault, and really I can’t blame her for being ill. It just sucks. And now I’m mostly pissed off with myself, for caring too much about things and letting stupid little things get me down. Life just feels pretty futile sometimes. I watch people go by without a care in the world, getting on with their lives and all I can ever do is think.

God I sound like an arse. I really don’t know if I should post this. But I felt like doing some writing and this is what came to mind. Or what was on my mine, or whatever. I suppose this is what a blog is for? to update people and get things of your shoulders.

There is one birthday message that is missing. Stupidly it would have made my day. But I suppose it was too much to expect. I hate burnt bridges, I can never hold grudges with people and I can never understand how other people seem so capable of it. The last two years have been pretty crap for that. I fucked up and ruined my relationship, once again by trying to do the right thing, and a really good friendship and I’ve been lonely ever since. Something about this will always seem like this isn’t how it was meant to be. Like I stepped over to some alternate mirror universe where everything is just wrong. Or maybe I just have the inuring ability to ruin everything? Nothing ever does seem to go quite to plan. Ooops I’m moaning again.

I don’t really know where to go from here except to keep surviving and trying to put on a brave face on things. So I’m going to go for a walk, I need to get out of the house and hopefully cure this headache.

 

Thanks to those of you who did wish me a happy birthday.

 

Here’s to a better Christmas. Thanks for reading and sorry for sounding like a moaning idiot.