RSS

Monthly Archives: July 2014

Film Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

I’m going to have to take a break for my amazingly slow re-watching of Doctor Who, as today I saw a film I’ve been waiting for for quite some time, and so I now have the chance to practice my review writing.

-MILD SPOILERS AHEAD-

A Marvel Studios Film, Directed by James Gunn

Released: 21st July 2014

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro

Review: Sitting down to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, I prepared myself for what could have well been the best Marvel film yet. The film was easily the biggest risk the studio has taken so far, and also the biggest detour from their usual super-hero movies.

In that sense, Guardians is an interesting piece of cinematography; it was funny, entertaining, and didn’t conform to the usual stereotypes like many films seem to do. However, regardless of what others say, Marvel’s best movie yet, this was not.

Let’s start with the storyline.

The film follows the human Peter Jason Quill, abducted at a young age, as he travels through the galaxy as a ‘Ravager’, a band of thieves lead by Michael Rooker’s Yondu. In his escapades as the ‘legendary’ Star-Lord, Quill comes into contact with the assassin Gamora, the vengeful madman Drax and the bounty-hunters Rocket and Groot. After getting past their initial difficulties, the group take a stand against the evil Ronan who seeks to wipe out all life on the planet Xandar with the use of one of the coveted Infinity Stones.

The story is fun and interesting enough, and does a good job of tying together various strands left out by other Marvel movies. The Infinity Stones are finally explained in more detail, and their actual design stays somewhat faithful to their comic-book counterparts, something which pleased a nerdy comic-fan such as myself.

However, the coherency of the story is not quite as clear as the explanations. Although I was never at a loss as to what was going on, a lot of the film felt like it was jumping around just a bit too quickly. There was a lot going on, and most of it had been slapped together rather messily. The individual scene were great, but I found the final product to be wanting.

The dialogue is another problem that I had with the film. Although for the most part, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord and Bradley Cooper’s Rocket present amusing lines with flawless delivery, Saldana’s Gamora and Bautista’s Drax sometimes come off as a bit awkward in their speech. On one hand, I feel like this is intentional, as much of it is used to comedic effect, presenting confusion surrounding the aliens’ misunderstanding of Earth sayings. But some times, it just doesn’t work, and the actor’s come off seeming like they just aren’t putting in 100%.

I like to think Bautista can be forgiven, being a wrestler by profession, but it still doesn’t make up for a lot of things. Another example is the otherwise perfect Rocket Raccoon, who at one point rages about how the other characters have pushed him to ‘weed’ some grass. It comes out not making sense or being particularly funny, and is telling of how the script could have been looked over a couple more times.

But those are just a minor quibbles in what ends up to be a mostly great film.

The casting is phenomenal; despite Bautista’s aforementioned awkward delivery at times, his character of Drax is such that he doesn’t need an A-List actor portraying him. Rocket Raccoon and Groot instantaneously become easily two of the best characters in the film; the voices are spot on, and their CGI depiction is both fascinating and hilarious.

Likewise, the more human characters such as Pratt’s Peter Quill and Reilly’s Rhomann Dey are equally fun to watch. Pratt never misses an opportunity to tickle the audience’s funny bone, and the bigger actor’s like Reilly feel comfortable in the film, despite their odd casting as action-hero-galaxy-protectors.

My favourite thing about the film however (MORE SPOILERS), is its attention to comic book detail. The prison scene identifying each of the main characters is filled with comic-facts, such as Gamora’s status as Thanos’ adoptive daughter, Rocket’s origin and home-planet, and a shoutout to Groot’s original appearance in which he hailed from Planet X. Meanwhile, Thanos’ first speaking appearance is something worth waiting for, as Josh Brolin’s voice acting easily fits into the Mad Titan’s imposing figure. Likewise, other subtler hints are thrown in, such as when the Collector alludes to Groot’s status as some sort of royalty, or when Cosmo the Dog is found in the Collector’s museum.

However, the biggest and most obscure bit of comic book mythology to be thrown in is the post-credits Howard the Duck cameo. Honestly, it’s not worth waiting around for. At all. But it’s interesting to see such a thing being brought into the Marvel Universe.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy hits the nail on the head for being funny, entertaining, and for the most part, decently acted. It draws heavily from the comics like all the best Marvel movies, and remains probably one of the weirder, more ridiculous films I’ve seen in recent years, which honestly, isn’t a bad thing.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Re-Watching Doctor Who: Series One

I started writing this a while ago. In fact, I’ve now finished watching series two, and I’ve been taking it slow at that. I’ll hurry up with my writing, but first, some assurance; the rest of the posts wont be as wordy as this one; I got a bit carried away, but I know what to focus will be from here on out.

Anyway, read on…

Doctor Who 1

Overview

With this new series, Christopher Eccleston takes over the role of the Doctor from Paul McGann. It’s a shame that McGann didn’t get much of a chance to prove himself, but having recently watched Doctor Who: The Movie, I can agree that starting completely afresh was the right way to go. It’s not that the Movie was bad, but clearly, it wasn’t good enough to kick-start the new series that the BBC, Universal Studios and Fox wanted it to. Not only that, but I’m not sure I could happily watched an Americanized version of Doctor Who.

I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love American television for the most part, and I watch it far more than British TV. But Doctor Who is British. Very British. And it should remain that way forever.

The Doctor

But for those of you who aren’t proper ‘Whovians’, the newer Who is not without it’s changes. Gone is the proper British accent used by the Doctor’s of old, as the 9th Doctor takes on a more northern accent. This Doctor is far more aggressive and destructive than his other counterparts, as a result of his guilt over killing all the Time-Lords in the Time-War.

Of course, Classic Who aside, at the time Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of the Doctor had nothing to be compared to, for better or for worse, and so at the time, to new viewers, seemed to be the pinnacle of ‘time-travelling alien-y’ type science fiction. Re-watching the show, I’ve decided that although I do like the ninth Doctor, to me, he comes off as a bit smug, which is not really something I would have gone with when trying to reintroduce an audience to a character.

Another problem is his short stint in the T.A.R.D.I.S.; I feel that if he had had longer, he could’ve become a more rounded character, rather than the Godlike being who can feel “the turn of the Earth”, but does little more than just shouting at problems as Rose or some other character solves them.

Which is another revelation in itself. This Doctor doesn’t actually do much, does he? (Spoilers, I guess? Although this came out almost ten years ago, so if you’re actually interested in Doctor Who, you’re falling behind a bit…)

  1. In Rose, whilst the Doctor does provide the solution with his ‘anti-plastic’, it is Rose who finds the Auton’s secret base, and dispatches the Nestine Consciousness.
  2. The End of the World, admittedly, is slightly different. In this episode, the Doctor’s Time-Lord senses and powers do turn out to be the key to saving Satellite Five, and ending the Lady Cassandra.
  3. But then The Unquiet Dead returns to the same pattern, as once again, the Doctor, besides providing some sort of inspirational patter, is forced to step aside as Gwyneth uses her weird ghost-y powers to get rid of the Gelf, whilst Charles Dickens of all people draws them out with his intuitive thinking.
  4. Aliens of London
  5. and World War Three see the Doctor take a bit more of a progressive role, but in the end is stuck with seeming a bit incompetent. How can he manage to pinpoint the End of the World party exactly right, yet fails to land in at least the same month that he originally took Rose from. I know this has been something featured in the show for years, but his fluctuating skills when it comes to the T.A.R.D.I.S. are just a bit silly at this point (seeing as they haven’t yet been explained in The Doctor’s Wife).
  6. Dalek, again, sees the Doctor as being useless; captured; unable to give proper advice; he even becomes the problem in the end as his hatred for the Daleks is such that Rose has to stand between him and the titular villain.
  7. The Long Game is another example of where the Doctor gives a new character a push to save the day where he again has failed. This time, it is Cathica who is inspired by missing out a promotion to investigate further, and subsequently overheat the monstrous Jagrafess, whilst the Doctor simply stands by for the majority of the episode.
  8. Father’s Day is even more of a failure for the Doctor. He comes up with a plan, only to be eaten alive. What more is there to say?
  9. In The Empty Child
  10. and The Doctor Dances, the Doctor is once again reduced to influencing others to fix the messes he is faced with. Although his role in this episode is a bit more proactive, as he sets out to find Nancy, the ‘sister’ of the ‘Empty Child’, in the end, he saves the day through pure dumb luck, as he would have had no means of besting the child had the nano-genes not identified Nancy as it’s mother.
  11. I’m kind of glad I’m getting to the end of my brief (Doctor’s role in the) series analysis, as it’s making me more and more cynical towards the ninth Doctor. I’m not even sure what happens in Boom Town. His savvy keeps him from getting murdered, sure, but in the end of the day, it seems more like it is the T.A.R.D.I.S. itself that defeats the last Slitheen on Earth.
  12. Bad Wolf
  13. and the Parting of Ways is a bit more redemptive for the Ninth Doctor, and serves as a good end-song, I think. Having spent a whole series being useless, and pushing other’s to defeat the varying alien hordes, the Doctor steps up; outsmarts the game-shows of future earth; masterminds a small breakout; figures out a way to wipe out the Daleks; and ultimately saves Rose from dying by sacrificing himself. Although really, it was him ‘saving the day’ in The Long Game that gave the Daleks their chance to invade… so.. yeah.

Of course, it should be noted that in that last one, towards the end the Doctor does effectively give up and is left to be himself saved by Rose once again.

Throughout the series it seems, the Ninth Doctor acts mostly as enabler, a kind, yet broken man who is able to find the best in others, even when he cannot see the same within himself. Perhaps this was Russell T. Davies’ intent then? Make the Doctor’s inability to deal with all the situations a part of his shell-shock? Personally, I doubt that; I think it is probably more coincidence. But whatever, this all transitions me quite nicely onto my next topic…

The Companions

Rose Tyler. The audiences surrogate on the show; Rose does a good job of helping introduce new audiences everywhere to the ‘Who’niverse. However, as a person who watches Doctor Who for The Doctor, it annoyed me at times when Rose seemed far more capable than the Time-Lord himself. But despite her clearly being older than nineteen, Rose’s youthful nature was probably my favourite part of her character, as despite coming off as a little stupid at times when constantly hanging around the Doctor, she still manages to become a more developed character. Rose makes it clear where R.T.D’s real interests lie, and in this case, it’s not too big a problem.

Adam Mitchell. I suppose Adam really stands on the border of being a companion, as he only actually travelled to one destination with the Doctor and Rose. In a way, he serves the same function as the Doctor; he’s there to make Rose look good, and as such is portrayed as slightly self-centred and unlikeable, I suppose, despite the fact that the majority of people would probably be much more like him than Ms. Tyler.

Captain Jack Harkness. A real fan favourite, Jack brought some real change to the show. Flamboyant, exciting, and action-orientated, Jack is definitely one of the better, and more interesting characters to be introduced by R.T.D (which is probably why he got his own spin-off). And, perhaps my favourite thing about Jack is that for a brief time, he distracts from the annoying Doctor/Companion love affair, which admittedly does get better in Series Two, but frankly isn’t as necessary as all the new writers seem to think. But more on that later.

(Sort of) Companions

Mickey Smith. Back in 2005, Mickey was perhaps my favourite character. To be blunt, as an eleven year old who didn’t really care about character development and all that malarkey, it was probably because he was one of the few main characters, or in fact the only main character at the time, who wasn’t white. Of course now, almost double that age, I have an appreciation for other things in the medium of television. But back then, it was all about who was cool, and how many ‘splosions went off.

But one thing that I still enjoy about Mickey to this day, is his representation of how the Doctor really can ruin someone’s life. Sure, he gets a bit of a better rap in series two, but for series one, he’s just the help; he’s labelled an idiot by the Doctor time and time again and his girlfriend is stolen from him, yet he remains the loyal underdog till the end, never truly leaving Rose’s side.

The Enemies

And then of course, there are the enemies of the Doctor. Let me just say now; I’m only talking about those I deem actual antagonists; I’m not going to talk about antagonists who are just there due to the situation, and thus have no ill-feelings towards the Doctor, a history, or actual evil intent.

Throughout series one, just like any series I suppose. The enemies are a bit hit and miss. The Jagrafess. Bit boring really, isn’t he/she/it? Jag’s just a blob of goo with beady eyes and a mouth; not exactly a compelling antagonist. Same goes for the Gelf, really. They’re a tad more visually interesting, but for the most part, they’re also kind of boring.

But, the 2005 revival did bring some more interesting foes to the table.

The Lady Cassandra is a far more interesting and humorous villain than the other two combined, even more so when she’s further developed in series two. And so for that reason, I’m going to leave her until the next post.

Then there are the Slitheen, another interesting and imaginative creation of R.T.D. Both the Slitheen and Cassandra are good representations of R.T.D’s imaginative mind, and are something that the show is starting to lack in its newer seasons. Plus, they all have actual motives, beyond, “Rawr, I’m evil”. Episodes like the one they’re featured in make the show far more interesting to watch. Plus, as previously stated about Cassandra, they endow the show with a much needed bit of humour.

And then there are the classic villains who make their return. The Autons have never really been the most compelling of villains, but they certainly have that cool factor. They’re one of the more interesting plot-villains, brought out for episodes where character development is key. Even without the generally much-needed character in a villain, they still an interesting enough idea to warrant multiple returns.

The Storyline

But of course, the Autons have nothing on the Daleks. Originally just appearing in a one off as what seemed like fan-service, with a bit of back-story for the Doctor’s new outlook, the Daleks make their big return in the series’ finale, in one of the more different episodes of Doctor Who. The only problem is their defeat. The Bad Wolf powers gained by Rose reduce the Daleks to Auton status with a wave of the hand, something that unfortunately continues on for the rest of the shows new history.

But although the Deus Ex Machina that is the Bad Wolf makes fools of the Daleks, it’s seeding throughout the series is an intriguing part of the show that I definitely miss. Of course, there are over-arching themes in the newer series, but none of them seem quite as thought out or well placed as they were under Davies. The writing and commitment, if a bit silly or basic at times, ends up working far better than Steven Moffat’s. Again, I have more to say about Moffat (whose writing I do love, but have issues with), but that should be reserved for a later series. The episodes tie together well, and Davies seems to take much more of a hands-on approach in the writing, sharing his ideas throughout his team and making sure each episode had some sort of ramification, whether big or small.

At the time I was sad to see him go, but now that he’s gone, I miss Russell T. Davies.

You never know what you’ve got until you lose it.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Re-Watching Doctor Who

With just over a month to go until the adventures of everyone’s favourite time-lord continue, I thought I’d devote the next few posts to talking about my actual favourite show, contradicting and correcting the claim that I made way back in my Modern Family post.

Doctor Who has always had a strong following in my family, so much so that my aunt’s boyfriend told me last Christmas about how he remember’s the first ever episode of Doctor Who being aired. As the theme music started playing all the way back in 1963, he and his friends had got together to piss into the fireplace, curious as to what effect it would have.

Fortunately, the rest of us have a more normal connection to the science-fiction phenomenon. My mum and aunt watched the show when they were young, and as such, were the ones who would later introduce me to it. I became so fond of the programme that when I lived back in London and we would visit relatives in Wales, I would always insist that we visit the Doctor Who museum in Llangollen.

I was always fascinated by the idea of this semi-immortal hero who could change his face and dance about the timeline saving planets with a host of near magical abilities. My love for the show is such that just watching the video released to hype up the 50th anniversary can fill me with glee, excitement and nostalgia…

But back to business.

I’ve actually had this post saved as a draft for ages, but never got round to finishing and posting it. The original draft pointed out the odd timing that occured just as I started giving thought to how the new series would be, a teaser was posted for it at that exact moment.

Spooky, I thought.

But almost a month later, that now seems a lot less believable, and obviously can no longer be proven. But now, with the full trailer released, I’ve once again returned to this post, and started re-watching Doctor Who from the 9th Doctor’s run.

And so, starting here, on my 50th post, I will be looking at each series of a television show with 50 years of history; making observations about writing, characters, story-lines and aliens, and maybe take some guesses at what the incoming Doctor’s new series will hold.

GERONIMO!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Film & TV

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sitting on the Porch: My America Playlist

Towards the end of my trip, I found myself sitting on the chair outside the front of the hostel, listening to music and watching people go by, as I was becoming increasingly aware that soon enough I would be back in Britain.
Despite being unaware of how much needless hassle I would encounter in my native country, I was still pretty down about the eventuality that was coming. The music helped, as it always does, and so here are twenty of the songs that I’ve been listening to that have partially embodied my time in America.

Main Playlist. Part One.

England – The National. The first video I’m going to put down is actually a commercial; in part because seeing this commercial a lot on the first few days of the travel is what drew me to the song and strengthened my idea to be a travel writer, and in part because the piano playing is the best part of the song altogether.

Riptide – Vance Joy. I’ve always thought of this as a general feel good song. At least, I did do before I watched that video. Jeez. Anyway, this helped build my anticipation, due to my ignorance as to how dark they intended for it to be.

Counting Stars – OneRepublic. The anticipation was continuing to build. A track that I had been listening to before I got to America; it made the plane journey a tad more bearable, and got me hyped for my three weeks away.

All of Me – John Legend. Big city life. Sitting on the Metro, travelling from Oakland to San Francisco. It became a routine, and reminded me of living in London again. This was the start of my trip, getting to know America, the city of San Francisco, its people, and all their ‘perfect imperfections’.

Lost in my Mind – The Head and the Heart. It’s always fun trying new things. I’d become comfortable in this new country, and was content to just wander aimlessly and find everything I could.

Budapest – George Erza. New experiences. New friends. The hustle and bustle of the city.

Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men. This playlist is telling a story, and no song is more dramatic and rich in its telling of the tale than this one. This is the end of part one.

Main Playlist. Part Two. 

Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. So we’re sitting round the table, drinking beer, each choosing a song to play, and this comes on. I haven’t heard it in years. I’m already two weeks into my holiday, but this is my first night at the hostel. It signals the start of my second part of my trip, and perhaps the beginning of my true travelling experience. It’s easily my most listened to song on my playlist.

Fake Empire – The National. Five twenty-somethings driving through a scenic forest atop a mountain after a day of exploring. Like something out of a movie. Long-distance shots follow the car as it twists and turns around bends and past spectacular views. This song playing in the background. No one talks. They just sit back and take it all in.

What I Got – Sublime. Paired with Fake Empire. Still on the drive, but people are no longer content to just sit back and listen. The three Americans start rapping along. They love it.

Let Her Go – Passenger. Staying in hostels, you meet some great people. But whenever you meet great people, there are always those that stand out to you more than others. I’d only call it a crush in the most basic of ways; someone who I thought was funny and attractive, and would have liked to get to know more, but alas; the journey had to end some time.

Ho Hey – The Lumineers. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a soppy post about a girl. No, although there are a few love songs on here, cringe-y as it may be, many of these make me think more about the country and the experience of travelling as a whole.

Mykonos – Fleet Foxes. Ever seen Due Date? I knew as soon as I saw it that when I eventually made it to the Grand Canyon, this would be the song that I thought of. And I was right. I was with others, so I thought it would be too rude to whack in my headphones, but regardless, I could hear the song just as clearly in my mind.

Many of Horror – BIffy Clyro. The Grand Canyon marked my last day of the trip, it’s been a good few weeks. I’ve got no more money or plans, but it’s definitely been worth it.

Skinny Love – Bon Iver. This was the end; I didn’t add this on until the last few days.

Goodbye America.

Demons – Imagine Dragons. I’ve never actually watched the music video for this before. Put’s things in perspective.

Human – The Killers. Regardless, back in Britain, I needed something to pick up my spirits, especially after the events of the last post. Goddammit Mobilephonesdirect.

Down in the Valley – The Head and the Heart. Makes sense I suppose, back in the valley. ‘These are the places I will always go’, but that won’t stop me from setting off again next chance I get.

Bonus Tracks. 

Ghost – Ella Henderson. This kept on creeping into my various playlists; I think I added it by accident and then started to like it.

We Are One (Ole Ola) – Pitbull, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte. Not quite fitting with the rest of the playlist, but when I started my journey I was subscribed to the Top 100 Songs on Spotify playlist, and as such, became rather familiar with this track.

It reminded me of one of my last trips overseas; Morrocco. The hotel we stayed at played Pitbull and J-Lo’s last hit to excess, and it became somewhat of a theme tune to my holiday. Coincidental timing then.

Plus y’know; the world cup was on throughout my stay in America, so it’s fitting.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Travelling

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in Britain: Should’ve Stayed in America

So yesterday I left the hostel in America and headed to the airport.

The Troubles Begin

Apparently, it was foolish to believe that Flagstaff was run like literally every other airport I’ve been to, as arriving two hours early, as is usually suggested, I found out that not only were hardly any of the staff there, but also that tickets and baggage checks didn’t even begin until half an hour before the flight took off.

So there I was for an hour and a half, having missed my chance to say goodbye to the majority of my new friends in Flagstaff.

Knowing it could be worse, I ignored that saddening fact and focused on getting home.

A Few More Hassles

So we fly to Phoenix, where the next plane explains that we will be delayed because it’s going to be a turbulent ride, and the computer system has just given out. He continued to list the various problems with the plane THAT WE WERE ALREADY ON and convinced me more and more than it would have been safer to combat immigration and just stay in the United States.

But we eventually leave, and I convinced myself that I was being foolish about not wanting to go home in the slightest, and things will pick up.

The Calm Before the Storm

So we arrived in Charlotte; everything was fine.

I got on the plane to Manchester; kind of tired, but still mostly alright.

The flight was long, but my weird love of plane food was enough to raise my spirits ever so slightly.

I slept on and off for a little under three hours, and caught the end of Avengers Assemble; now convinced that everything would be okay when I got back to Britain. I mean, the sun was out! How much worse could things get?

The Troubles REALLY Begin

A lot worse.

Before getting off the plane, my troubles were mostly just minor irritants mostly focused around my emotions.

Arriving in Manchester, I was held back as the guard closely examined every piece of I.D. I own, because my passport is every so slightly split in a corner, and he believed I might be a perpetrator of identity theft or something like that.

Eventually, he let’s me leave, as I ponder the ‘What ifs’ wherein they may have sent me back to the States for trying to ‘sneak in’ to Britain. Although the more likely option is that they would have arrested me.

After getting out of Manchester station, I thought I’d get a haircut somewhere where people are actually used to cutting black peoples hair (e.g. not North Wales), and gave the man £10 out of my £29 in cash. He didn’t quite give me the cut I want, giving me 0.5 back and sides rather than a fade.
“Whatever” I tell myself, “It doesn’t look bad at all”.

As I set off, I realise that my new treasured hat is slightly loose and liable to blow off now that most of my hair is gone.

With one hand at the ready to grab for my hat in case of a breeze, I headed back to the station, starting with £19, only to get there and only have £14.

The train home is £16. The bus afterwards a further £5.

But I felt sweaty and disgusting, and I really wanted to get home. So I checked my bank account, only to find my last £60 has been taken by EE, subsequently pushing beyond the limits of my overdraft.

Stuck with no money or hair (except the small cut pieces that are sticking to my sweaty face), I headed to the nearest EE store; certain there must be a mistake, as I’ve not even been using my sim card for my period in America.

There’s no mistake, and apparently I’ve spent over 80 minutes on the phone with a number whose owner’s name the lady at EE is not at liberty to give.

I was on the phone to these people for over 80 minutes! Hiding their identity from me isn’t giving them privacy, it’s just being an awkward twat.

So I wondered… ‘Who on Earth could I possibly have spent 80 minutes on the phone to, who isn’t a close friend?’.

At first, I think “no one”. I’m never on the phone to anyone longer than 10 minutes. I’m more of a text-er.

Then I realise. It was those fuck-wits at Mobile Phones Direct.

Dear mobilephonesdirect.com

In case you don’t know, I recently started a contract with a company called Mobile Phones Direct.

Initially believing them to be conning me, I called EE for validation. Which, I’m man enough to admit that I shouldn’t have done; and should have gone straight to the people I bought the phone off instead, as my solution would only have led to more problems.
Resolving the initial problem, EE sent me a working sim card; not telling me what they had actually done was cancel my contract with ‘M.P.D’, and just took me on as a customer.

Instead of getting in touch with me to sort out this problem, M.P.D waited over a month to call me, by which point, the only options were to either give them the phone back and buy a new one (£200) or cancel my ‘new’ contract with EE (£300).

So I bought a new phone. Obviously. They then complained that I had not sent them the accessories after I had already told them that the charger broke as soon as I took it out of the box, and I don’t even remembering getting headphones.

Why I wasn’t suspicious with this company sooner I’m not sure…

Throughout this period, despite having my new phone number, they insisted on calling my house number, meaning I had to call them from my mobile, being in Leicester, which of course incited these numerous charges to my account.

Then, this morning, I got another e-mail from a different member of the company asking the same questions I’d answered a month ago, because for some reason these people don’t feel the need to communicate with one another.

I suppose what I’m basically trying to say is…

DEAR MOBILE PHONES DIRECT,

NEXT TIME YOU HAVE A QUESTION, MAYBE SEE IF SOMEONE ELSE HAS ALREADY ASKED ME THIS COUNTLESS TIMES ALREADY.
THEN, REGARDLESS OF THE ANSWER:
FUCK OFF.

SINCERELY,

STÉPHANE EMRYS MOUNGABIO

p.s. I’m starting to hate you more than TalkTalk, and I fucking despise TalkTalk.

Jumping off the Grand Canyon would’ve have been more pleasant than having to deal with these lot.

So now I’m sitting in Manchester drinking alone and watching the people go by, as the Hawaii Five-O theme plays in the background.

It’s been the highlight of the past 24 hours. I miss America

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Life, Travelling

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

USA, Day 21: The Grand Canyon

My last day was kind of spectacular, it wasn’t as spectacular as I’d hoped, but none the less, it was a fairly good one.

Having a quick breakfast, and chatting with a few of the other guests, I was introduced to the girl who gave me and Johnny all that fancy food the day before. It’s a shame she was leaving soon after, because my first impression of her was a good one.

Returning to my perch out the front of the hostel, I waved her and her sister goodbye, once more plugging in my headphones and typing out yesterdays rather mediocre post.

An hour passed, and I reunited with Fred and Mike to head off to the Grand Canyon. Struggling to stay awake, the journey seemed rather difficult and drawn out, but when we got there, I was in for the sight of a lifetime.

I knew the Grand Canyon would be big. It’s in the name after all. But even so, it was a truly amazing sight to behold. It was vast, majestic, terrifying and utterly incomprehensible.

After taking in its beauty for a couple of hours, we returned to the Grand Canyon Village and watched the World Cup game.

I’m sure you know what happened; it was a massacre; we don’t need to talk about it. Frankly after the first three goals I became more concerned about my steak sandwich; the envy of every man on our table. Granted, there were only three of us, but that’s unimportant.

Returning the the hostel through a scenic but monsoon-wracked drive, I sat down and uploaded all my adventures on to Facebook.

It saddened me a bit, because I knew as soon as I did that my holiday was over.

But there it is. Finishing off my night with a beer and some macaroni cheese balls, I chewed the cud with some friends; discussed future travels, and went to sleep.

So that’s it. The end.

(Not of my blog, just my American adventure, so don’t go anywhere!)

image

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Travelling

 

USA, Day 20: Lazy Monday

Yesterday was my first day in Flagstaff without any definite plans. All I needed to do was reorganise my trip to the Grand Canyon, and then I would be free to explore the town.

Before I could get on with that, Marianna and Peter took me to their favourite breakfast place round the corner. The food was a very interesting arrangement for a breakfast meal; rice, beans, egg (I think), tortillas, and various other Mexican staples thrown together in one delicious mix.

Returning to the hostel, the other two had to get on with work, whilst I returned my attention back to restoring my Canyon plans.

Sitting outside, I rang up the tour company that had taken me to Monument Valley. The price was steeper than what the Hostel was offering, and would get me less of a trip. I expected both of these things. Reluctantly, after checking my bank accounts, I called them back to take the offer, but the phone lines were temporarily busy.

Then, surprisingly, Frederick showed up.

Fred is a Swedish guy who I met previously during my final days in Phoenix, and coincidentally has been staying at the same hostels as me, but just a few days behind.

Like me, Fred also wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, but unlike me, Fred had a car, and no intention of paying a tour company to take him somewhere he was perfectly capable to getting to himself.

So that was my problem solved!

Eager to see the sights, Fred took off for Sedona, whilst I spent a couple of hours sitting out by the front door, listening to music, updating the blog and chatting to Joel about a man who has raised thousands of pounds for a Potato Salad party. That shit cray.

It was a lovely relaxing morning, but I eventually decided that I should probably do something with my day.

That was a very poor decision.

Heading out for a walk, I headed to Thorpe Park, which unfortunately had a lot less roller coasters than its namesake in Britain. However, what with it being monsoon season here in Arizona, I noticed the black clouds creeping over the park and took a hasty retreat.

Unfortunately, I can’t out-walk the weather, and was soon caught in the downpour. Taking shelter in Diablo, a recommended burger restaurant in town, I found many other people had had a similar idea, as the little diner quickly filled up with a host of drenched consumers.

Later, I tried and failed to find a male hairdresser that was open, before recommitting myself to lounging around and watching Arrested Development with Johnny.

It was a bit of a waste of a day if I’m honest, and I definitely enjoyed the morning more than the afternoon.

It was basically the winding down period of my holiday; the time has come. One more day, and then I’m headed home. Back to Wales.

I suppose my whole time in Flagstaff has been leading up to heading home. Everything here has been quite similar to my life in Wales; small town life; increased drinking; laziness; poor weather.

I think the most depressing thing now is once more trying to find a job in Ruthin. Without a car, and with me being a month behind every other returning university student, my opportunities will probably be pretty slim.

On top of that, I’m meant to be heading down to London and perhaps even Amsterdam later this summer. Both are going to be difficult when I’m about £1000 in debt.

Perhaps I’ll be moving back to Leicester to find a job sooner than expected.

Still, one more day before I have to worry about all that. Better make it a good one!

Grand Canyon, here I come!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Travelling

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,