Ear, ear – Changes in acceptable cinema violence

Back in 1992 Quentin Tarantino released his directorial debut : Reservoir Dogs. Although this is considered a modern classic of cinema, and rightly so, many people lost their shit when this film came out.

The most notable reason for the hostility towards the film was the infamous ear-cutting scene performed by Michael Madsen’s Mr Blonde on Kirk Baltz’s Marvin Nash – even though the act itself is performed off-screen.

Last night I went to see a recent film release: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (don’t judge me), which itself had a scene with somebody getting their ear cut off. The cutter even talks into the severed ear just as Mr Blonde does. King Arthur, however, is rated as 12A and I bet it wont be denied a video release for three years.

What does this say about modern cinema, or about us as people?

Now I’m not somebody who has any complaint about cinema violence – I bloody love it. It’s fun to watch and unless you have trouble differentiated fantasy from reality, or have an already-existing mental condition, is not going to make you want to replicate violence in the film. If you do find yourself wanting to act out certain scenes, please seek medical advice (I mean this sincerely; I’m not trying to be funny).

I’m not a student of Psychology or Film, but I did find it interesting – when watching that film last night – just how the levels of acceptable graphic content have changed in twenty five years. I think we have generally become a lot more decensortized to graphic content in films – I would make the assumption that it’s due to the inherently graphic nature of the world around us. Also the abundance of visceral imagery shared on social media as shocking events and atrocities occur across the globe.

Let’s face it – the modern world is a great deal more horrifying than any film that could be released (All the ones I have seen at least).

It’ll be interesting, perhaps even scary, to see where those levels are in another twenty five years.

Going through old books – memories of times long past

Yesterday I finally got round to sorting through a load of old books of mine that I have collected over the years. To anyone watching from the outside these will just look like a mess of old books on varying subjects – Clive Barker novels; Derren Brown-recommended psychology books; Music Theory and scale books. To me, these represent certain pockets of my life so far; different interests that have grabbed me and become an obsession at one time or another.

Sorting through these books is the first time in a long time that I have reminisced about times gone by, if only for the moment of time it took to carry them upstairs.

I also couldn’t help but think “What if I’d stayed on that particular path?”, for a given collection of books. For example, as I started to get into Web Development seriously, learning guitar kind of took a back seat to that. Although I do still play, I don’t put in ten hour sessions anymore. Partially due to the fact that I can’t get away with three day work weeks anymore. Boo hoo for me, right? But I can’t help but imagine how much more I could have progressed with the guitar had I stayed on that path.

Then there was my whole Derren Brown phase, where – after reading one of his autobiographies – bought and read most of the books he recommended in it. I practised memorisation techniques; trying to read peoples true intentions through involuntary eye movements. I could even look through a deck of cards, with one card removed, and tell you instantly which one was missing.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not regretful of how things came to be – after all it brought me to my lovely lady. Plus it’s not as though those things are gone, they just need to be awoken once again.

What things do you own that trigger memories of your past?

Retracing my steps with The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is one of my favourite ever TV series. Dark; brutal; gut-wrenching – it’s everything you could possibly want in a series. You may know it already but for the benefit of those who don’t, The Walking Dead is based on a long-running comic book series of the same name.

Since the finale of Series 7 recently, I have decided to re-read the series from start to finish (or at least up to the latest issue).

The TV series is different enough from the comics to enable you to enjoy each for their own merits. Many characters are in both, however, some have vastly different life spans. Some characters in the TV series even perform certain actions that completely different people did in the comic.

I always remember when an old boss of mine, who is still a friend, telling me about his excitement for Negan to arrive. This was back in series 4 when the Governor was the big bad and Negan was a long way off. He used to say how evil he was, but still how charming. How right he was.

If you get the chance, I strongly recommend you picking up The Walking Dead compendiums and checking them out. If you are a fan of the series you will almost certainly be a fan of the original source material.

The 5am Habit

My usual morning routine consists generally of getting up twenty minutes before I’m due to leave for the train station, rushing out and getting to the train barely on time.

However, for the past five days I have been forcing myself into a new routine – getting up at 5am; nearly two hours before I’m due to leave the house. This morning I have found the habit to have reached the next level, as I woke up naturally at 4:57am.

Getting up that extra bit earlier has given me more time in the day to get the things done I want to get done – including writing on this website.

The next step is to plan out the morning during the night before so that I can get up and get stuff done efficiently. This means that anything I would have done on that day’s evening gets done in the morning before work instead.

Getting stuff done before work gets me in a better mood as I feel I have already accomplished some personal goals before my regular day has even begun. Anything else I get done through the day or evening is then a bonus.

I recommend to anybody wanting to get personal stuff done, or even if you have any hobbies you want to commit more time to, to get up earlier and get them done in the morning.

p.s. I was inspired to begin this new habit whilst listening to The 5am Miracle Podcast.

Big bang in Birmingham

During the Second World War many bombs were dropped on the city of Birmingham. Known as the Birmingham Blitz, this three year span did a great deal of damage to many buildings in and around the city. Not only that but thousands of people were either seriously injured or killed. According to the Wikipedia page around one fifth of the high explosive bombs failed to detonate.

Today in Aston, Birmingham one of those unexploded bombs was detonated in a controlled explosion, after being discovered more than twenty four hours previous.

Due to the location of the bomb, the main Birmingham expressway and the train line I use were closed off. Normally when news of cancelled trains hits me I immediately get annoyed with my working location – being from the other side of Birmingham. However, I couldn’t help but be fascinated that a bomb from the World War 2 air raids had lay dormant all this time, waiting to be discovered.

Although this could have been potentially very disastrous for many people, it’s still an interesting piece of history to be uncovered.

How many more undiscovered bombs remain to be found?