The Annoying Little Book

19 02 2014

ZP

I love reading (something that becomes abundantly clear to my regular readers). I like to get lost in amazing worlds and connect with the characters that you meet and greet as you continue to read. I even have ideas of what I think I will read next, I have just started reading The Fire Within by Chris d’Lacey for my bed time reading, while my main reading at the moment is of course the final book in the GONE Series; LIGHT by Michael Grant. As well as both of those I am also reading Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. While all of these books are very enjoyable, there is one book that has cast a shadow over my reading.

Mogworld

This is Mogworld by “Internet Sensation YAHTZEE Croshaw”. I have been a fan of Yahtzee for almost five years now and while my consistency of watching Zero Punctuation has waned over the years, every now and again I get back into watching it, and continue to enjoy it. When I heard that he was writing a book, the moment it was released back in 2010 I picked up a copy of it and instantly began reading it.

Mogworld is a very funny book with a weird bunch of characters and settings and situations. And as the chapters go on things get even weirder, but the one thing that stays consistent is the high level of comedy, no matter what happens in the chapter, there is always room for scenes of laugh out loud comedy. But it’s not just the laughs, the book delves deeply into the world that the book is set in which (this is not really a spoiler as this has been well documented before the book was released) on this occasion is a video game and delves deeply into the culture including in-game finance, politics and how zombies are not as stupid as they look.

So you may wonder ‘what does the above title mean if the book appears to be relatively good?’, well thank you for asking. The problem is that the books in-game structure is very hard to read. The books type text size is very small and there is hardly any spacing, ok for many people this may not be a problem, but it is for me. Due to this it can take almost 5 minutes to read 2 pages. Each chapter has 13 pages and when it can take a while to read them, it does get annoying and I do get very despondent, which after almost four years does begin to get at you. Which is a bit of a shame, because there are roughly less than 100 pages to go until I will have finished reading the book.

While at the moment it is not my main read as such, I do hope to finish reading the book at some point, I am too far in to just stop because it will niggle away at me. In the meantime though, it will be nothing more than a book on my goodreads ‘currently reading’ profile with no end currently in sight, but don’t let this put you off from reading it or YAHTZEE’s second book Jam.

Jam

GENEPOOL





Waldo’s People

6 03 2013

The Waldo Moment

Last week I finally got round to watching Black Mirror, a TV show written by someone whose work I am a fan of and a man who is an inspiration to me; Charlie Brooker. Black Mirror is a show that airs on Channel 4 and I have been wanting to watch since it started but I have not really had the time to get round to it. So for the final episode of the series, I made sure that I would watch it, so I recorded it. The following Wednesday I watched the episode entitled The Waldo Moment and I was terrified.

Charlie Brooker

Explaining the idea of the show to The Guardian, Brooker noted– “If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side-effects? This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The “black mirror” of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone”.   That is what Black Mirror in essence is about; it is about the addiction we all have to our technology, our gadgets. The trailer for the series shows and represents this in a way that is horrifying. In terms of how the series is structured Brooker also noted – “each episode has a different cast, a different setting, even a different reality. But they’re all about the way we live now – and the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy”. When the series’ first began in 2011 and I heard about this structure I thought it sounded a lot like The Outer Limits, where each episode is un-connected and different.

Black Mirror

Returning to the Waldo Moment, When I watched the trailer for the episode I was expecting some kind of deep underground government type thriller but what I got instead was the collapse of someone behind a mask. Waldo is a cartoon character-digital puppet who has a section on a late night program where he interviews politicians under the guise of a children’s TV show character. The man who is the puppeteer of the character is a failed comedian by the name of Jamie (brilliantly played by Daniel Rigby). The character is extremely popular with the audience and he soon gets his own show, despite Jamie being depressed and generally down with life as a whole. The Waldo Moment the title of the show suggests is a moment at a Q&A session with candidates at a local election when the Conservative Candidate verbally attacks both Jamie and Waldo. Jamie (as Waldo) returns fire and verbally attacks all the candidates. The incident gets put on YouTube and becomes a Smash Hit.

TWM

For me the Episode of Black Mirror was simply terrifying. Why you might ask, well; the topic of the episode had this sense of terrifying realism to it which made it incredibly believable yet scary as if it could actually happen. Waldo and the Waldo moment shows how much young people in particular can be persuaded by a character. The character appeals to them particularly in the politics sense because he is saying what they are all thinking, and so he connects with them on a psychological level. Waldo is also a gimmick, a fad, something that given a few years (or more likely weeks to months) will be forgotten. It is something that the young people can talk about, and spread through chat, emails, Facebook as well as through their phones. Something that is popular now that is their thing, their subject, the scene if you will and will remain that way until it runs out of steam, in which case something else will be sought out while the other thing will be forgotten quickly and only remembered by a few and brought up in conversation at dinner parties. But how does this topic connect with the Black Mirror; the Black Mirror is YouTube. YouTube did not start until 2005 and so when I was at High School the only way of watching Videos was the TV. During my time at High School several of the Students used to refer to songs that were in Adverts, and it used to drive me Mad, but they kept doing it and doing it and did not really stop until either the Advert stopped showing all together or a new one came out. I remember them all, Belly’s Gonna Get Ya, Birdseye Potato Advert, Mazda Zoom Zoom Zoom, What Sits On Your Wotsits and others. When YouTube did start the online world changed and within about 2 years it was worth $2,000,000,000. In recent years the term viral has become an established name for specific pieces of content. Viral meaning it spreads, like a virus. Possibly the most well-known of these in recent times being Gangnam Style.

TWM2

The Waldo Moment is a YouTube video which has gone viral, but the show reveals a terrifying as well as potential side of this form of media. The idea that people in Viral Videos could potentially rule the world (seeing as technology has technically already done that).  This idea is shown even more so at the end of the episode, (I won’t ruin it for you). The episode is about more than just a Cartoon Character or an Idea though. The episode shows strong emotional levels within the main character of Jamie. He starts off depressed and continually goes downhill until he reaches a destination, which results in one half of him flying off into space and the other going downhill.

Christina Chong, Daniel Rigby and Jason Flemyng

Altogether the episode is one of the most thought-provoking pieces as well as one of the scariest pieces of television I have seen in years. I look forward to watching more of Black Mirror, but I am also terrified to do so, why? It is so realistic to the world now that while the incidents in the episode may not be real now or may not become real at all in the future, but it is still a strong possibility.

GENEPOOL (You can watch this episode on 4OD)








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