StumbleUpon

It seems like only yesterday (when I was sad and I was lonely...) that I fell head-over-heels in love with the collaborative filtering of StumbleUpon. With it's take-it-or-leave-it social networking, it seemed the perfect tool for me to discover the weird and wonderful of the web. Once I'd learned to shut off messages from those who were not my 'friends' ("it must be heaven between your legs" - um, wtf?!) I was Stumbling like a mofo, the fastest thumbs in the West.

Of course, SU is a well-known tool for bloggers and people I'd had previous contact with sent me the odd piece of their work, politely asking if I'd thumbs-up. There were the odd one or two who sent me every damn thing they ever did, but most were few and far between. As a writer myself, I didn't see the harm in a certain 'returned favour' of asking for the occasional piece born from my own fair digits for the old thumbs-up routine (all's fair in love and Stumbling, right?) And so went the course of SU; harmless fun with a little "you scratch my back" thrown in for good measure.

So how is it, in a relatively short space of time, that SU and I are so far out of the honeymoon period we're on the verge of a bitter break-up? Not so long ago I'd look to SU with big, puppy-dog eyes, now when I see it coming I pretend to do up my shoe laces. Well, people, it's all down to sharing. SU's new feature, which now allows Stumblers to blanket unsuspecting folk with their utter garbage, has gone beyond the reaches of the humble Stumble button and into that most sacred of virtual personal spaces: the email inbox.

Sharing - sounds so lovely, doesn't it? All full of connotations of actions of divine altruism, evenly distributing the goodness. Well, never has a term been so used and abused; the innocence of sharing has, I think, been brutalised down a back alley somewhere. StumbleUpon as a tool has gone from a handy implement of discovery to a bludgeon wielded in the clumsy hands of the talentless. (Share it with me, the best is about to be, so much is left for us to see?..)

It's probably a sign of the times that StumbleUpon, previously used with a knowing etiquette, would be bastardised by the masses as we increasingly move into "me, me, me" times. Every day now, I open my emails to find 15-20 Stumbles with varying degress of lies and demands. "Hi, I found this cool site..." No you didn't, it's your piece of talentless shit and I don't want to see it. Seems the new breed of Stumbler has, for the most part, completely bypassed manners, with a certain expectation and demand commonplace: "review this" er, no.

But it's not just the manners or lack of that is getting to me, it's the sheer lack of creative talent that goes with (again, I think, sadly, sign of the times.) When I've spent hours looking for what I hope is an interesting read, and then crafting it into an original piece which I hope at least someone out there gets a kick out of, it's offensive to say the least that when I Stumble for the sheer relaxing fun of it, I get bombarded with this creative void of regurgitated bullshit accompanied by demands that I not only thumbs it up, but take the time out to review it. Added to this, sent Stumbles seem to take no notice whatsoever of my interests. I have recently been sent hot chicks at car shows, anti-aging creams, celebrity wedding dresses and snake slaughter. Hello, I am neither gay nor old, don't give a shit about celebrity weddings and am an avid animal lover.

Know, reader, that the latter was the last straw and I'm now on a creative cull, deleting repeat offenders. But, judging by public opinion, I think I'm by far not the only one for whom the death knell of SU has sounded. StumbleUpon, with this new sharing feature, you really are spoiling yourself. Sadly, it had been going downhill for a while now, but this is bedlam, and the buffoons have well and truly taken over. Could this be R.I.P SU? I wouldn't be surprised. Still, we had fun, my friend, and I'll always remember the good times we had together. (Tomorrow may be even brighter than today, since I threw my Stumbles away...)


Fantastic Four

So Hollywood's got a new word for the insipid remake shenanigans it's still insisting on plaguing our screens with, and that word is 'reboot.' Yes, the incessant regurgitations, formerly known as remakes, re-imaginings, et al, are now to be officially referred to as reboots. News is the latest round of biliousness to be emitted is that bastard runt of the superhero litter, The Fantastic Four.

Now, I shall begin by stating that I'm no superhero fangirl; I eagerly awaited the one piece of generic cinema that took my fancy for various reasons - Hellboy - and was somewhat disappointed, nay returned to the shadows of disinterest from which I came. Maybe it's because I never had the regular superpower yearnings most kids have (I shunned a wish for invisibility, x-ray vision or the ability to fly for the more desirable credentials of Dr. Snuggles, friend of the animal world,) but this was a fictitious world that never captured my imagination. However, that doesn't mean that I can't see the appeal. Growing up watching the original Incredible Hulk TV series, complete with super-sad theme, the torturous existence of such confliction (not to mention explicit joy of stomping ones enemies) was not lost on me. As a wise frog once said, it's not easy being green.

But back to the future (and indeed the point,) and yours truly having the misfortune of watching both of the Fantastic Four films over the Christmas period. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. Not only were these poor in filmic terms (writing, plot, casting, etc.,) but severely and weirdly misplaced in this day and age. What child nowadays wishes to defeat their enemy by super-stretchy power? Back in the comics' heyday, maybe so, but post-happy slapping surely a darker malevolence would be afoot?

The most fitting word for these sadly outdated superheroes really is 'lame.' They are neither quaint enough to be charming, silly enough to perform as a parody, nor dark enough to be taken seriously. Considering the contemporary context of the genre, following from such cinematic benchmarks as The Dark Knight, I honestly can't see how any studio could offer up another round, retread, reboot or whatever of this kind of fare with a straight face. The title sucks, the plots are naff, Dr. Doom is a lame 'villain' and, most importantly, the superpowers just don't cut it anymore, particularly minus any depth to pad them out. Please, people, let these products of a milder age retire whilst they retain at least a modicum of dignity. Please.


Virgin

It's grim up north. And it just got grimmer.

Bonjour! I hope you're sitting comfortably ce soir, for I shall be indulging in a spot of topical reportage.

I'm pretty sure when The Beatles composed Can't Buy Me Love way back in the 60's, they hadn't expected to be proved wrong all these years later by none other than Warrington railway station. Yes, it would seem that in today's news, under the headline Railway Station Bans Kissing, there is a certain "cash-for-cuddles" scandal erupting in the Cheshire town that's a world away from the amorous ethic of 'free love.'

Employing a "No Kissing" sign to deter woeful loved ones as they attempt a parting embrace, Virgin Rail bosses have clamped down of PDA's (that's 'public displays of affection' if you're over 17 and/or don't read Heat) in an attempt to cut delays. However, let it not be said that the powers that be are that cold hearted, nor blind to the opportunity to make a quick buck in these difficult times, for those who simply can't bare to do without the traditional fond farewell may do so under the duress of the parking meter. Stiff upper lip, folks, time doesn't wait for the lonely.

Virgin Rail - "Love every second"

Britain - "It's getting shitter all the time"

 


LateMags Fi Wilson

A country girl - Gloucestershire born and raised - in the fields is where I spent most of my days…it’s several years later and, ever the country girl at heart, I’ve an enduring love for greener pastures, though these days I’m all grown up and am the ubiquitous urban-dweller with a passion for city living. I spy with my cultural eye and thrive on all that the bleeding edge of modern living has to offer. When I’m not writing for fun or for the mighty dollar, I love to make music, hang out in bars or indulge my love for a more rural slice of life. Ever the self-starter, I relocated to Manchester three and a half years ago post-uni to team-up with my web designer friend on a project to get my name out there and bypass the pitfall that is “running.” We’ve since built several highly successful websites, including Late Film, Late Mag, Breathe Modern and my pet-project, Beyond Kewl, where I wrote in my spare time to indulge my love for cheeky one-liners and titillating copy. I feel now’s the time to further my career.

When I’m not working I love to play. I adore animals (I’ve always longed for a dog) and keep two rats, Clint and Moses (filmicly named, because that’s another passion.) I love to get out and about in the countryside by foot or on my mountain bike, popping into country pubs for Pimms. As I mentioned, I’m very into film, both watching and writing about the medium, and my favourite director is David Lynch (what can I say? I love his beautiful vision and his female characters just set me on fire.)  I’ve been making music for a little while now (you can catch my tracks on myspace,)  it’s something I’ve developed a massive love for and I hope one day to be as good as my downtempo heroes, Bonobo and Kruder and Dorfmeister. I have an eye for and an interest in culture, love to read the papers (especially to immerse myself in a glorious Sunday read,) am keen on art (an artist myself,) am a bit of a design-phile and keep abreast of the media. Travel’s a big love for me, too, and, having spent some time in the Caribbean, feel it’s somewhere I’d like to one day build my dream contemporary wooden home which will be filled with animals and sunshine


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