March 2009

Smile, originally uploaded by AndyLane78.

It’s been a busy week, financial year end is approaching and everyone wants their last minute purchases on the books for this year.

Anyway, last weekend was my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday so the wife and I headed down to Brighton for a bit of a party! Got some nice pictures there but on Sunday morning I ventured out to the sea front at the crack of dawn to take some pics (click the picture to see them on flickr).

This weekend we’re going down to London for the day on Saturday, this link should take you to a rough google map of the route. It should take in all the standard tourist attractions as well as passing some of the places I used to work. I’m also planning on a little trip to Canary Wharf.

Should be fun as long as it stays dry …


Council House 2, originally uploaded by AndyLane78.

It’s Monday which means the weekend is over, booo! But it was a nice weekend and I managed to remember to take my camera about with me so I took some snaps of the Old Market Square and the big wheel which is currently taking up most of it

On the bus this morning we had 3 generations of personal music player present. I was listening to my iPod, the bloke across from me had a personal CD player and a girl two seats in front of me was actually listening to a casette walkman! For those of you too young to remember, casettes were what preceeded CDs for the mass-distribution of music and audio in general.

Just seeing it took me back to my early teenage years, slumped on a beanbag making mix-tapes on my dad’s stereo. It wasn’t as easy as it is now, if you were transfering from a casette tape, you had to find the start of the song manually (unless you had a snazzy deck which could tell where one song ended and another started). You had to make sure the levels going out of the “Play” deck were not too high so you didn’t get any distortion on the recording.

You also only had 30 or 45 minutes to work with per side so you actually had to take the track lengths from the the inlay and work out what was going to fit on your tape! Then you actually had to be there, ready to stop the recording at the end of each song and switch the tapes and manually spool the tape forwards past the white leader tape to get the start of the black magnetic part!

Lots of fun though and it actually kept me occupied for hours as a kid. I’m not sure I miss it as such but it’s another thing which the kids of today won’t have as something to occupy their time.

It’s Friday again, Friday the 13th no less! And, for the UK, it’s Red Nose Day – Do Something Funny for Money. Has anyone done anything “Funny for Money”?

Comic Relief

Some Friday the 13th odd-ness:

Have you got a Smoothie


Friday the 13th vs Saw

BonfireNight-117-1, originally uploaded by AndyLane78.

I’ve been thinking a lot about photography recently. Is it somehting I could go semi-professional with or even could I earn just enough from it to fund it as a hobby? I’d really like to get into portrait photography, I mostly take landscapes at the moment and I’d quite like to explore studio lighting techniques with a model of some sort. Maybe I’ll start with my pets, tricky getting cats to pose though!

On the face of it it may look like I’ve fallen at the first hurdle and gone a whole week without posting! I have excuses but no-one likes excuses so I’m just going soldier on as if nothing had happened.

Today I’m going to review Watchmen (2009).

The movie Watchmen, based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated graphic novel, tells the story of a group of masked vigilantes who are now outlawed, and mostly retired, as they investigate the murder of one of their own.

If you go and watch this movie you are going to fall into one of two categories, someone who has read the book or someone who hasn’t. Personally the book is one of my all-time favourite stories and I have read it many times over the last few years so I had some high expectations for the film to live up to. I am happy to say I was not disappointed. 

 Zack Snyder has done a fantastic job of taking the images from the pages and making them move on screen exactly as they do in my head. He has sacrificed none of the complexity of the story nor has he compromised on the visual style of artist Dave Gibbons. Sets, costumes even art direction refer back, directly to the original panels of the comic book.

However, there is something to note, something which fans of the comic book feared. The ending has been changed! OK, not the way the story ends but the execution of the ending. In my opinion it has actually been changed for the better as I do not think that the specifics of the illustrated ending could be credibly reproduced for the cinema and would have likely harmed the wider opinion of the film. I think even the die-hard fans of the novel would agree that the change is acceptable and does not detract from the story or it’s conclusion.

The other notable difference is the exclusion of the “Tales of the Black Freighter” pirate story which runs in parallel to the story in the novel. I noticed a quick reference to the news stand, where the boy reads the comic, in the movie  but the Pirate story itself was not mentioned or referenced at all (not that I noticed anyway). It’s something which could easily be cut out, at no detriment to the story but it was a bit of a shame not to see it referenced, even in the closing credits.

So, what if you’d never heard of Watchmen before your partner/friends dragged you to the cinema to go see it? Will you like it? Well that depends on what you like in your movies. First and foremost Watchmen is a sci-fi/detective movie in a noir style, there’s plenty of rain and even a gritty voice over. You need to be able to cope with there being a character who has real superpowers, in fact he’s so powerful that, in this story, he has single-handedly won the Vietnam war for the Americans. As such the repercussions of his existence are a significant driving force for the “universe” the story is set in. There’s also quite a bit of violence, bones are broken and blood is spilled, it can be unsettling in it’s context at times but the violence is not what I’d call excessive or gratuitous. The story itself is complex and engaging. All the characters’ motivations are clearly explained which leaves you with a real moral dilemma at the end, one which my wife and I argued about all the way home!

All in all then, a great movie, well paced, some good action set-pieces with a plot and even a setting which makes you think. A worthy companion to the classic graphic novel.