Published on March 1 2016

Anime's three biggest selling points: Giant robots, pretty boys & philosophical determinism!

Anime's three biggest selling points: Giant robots, pretty boys & philosophical determinism!

As I type, the #1 name in American anime publishing, Funimation, are on the edge of reaching their primary $150,000 kickstarter goal to create a new HD dub for The Vision of Escaflowne. This being the 20th anniversary of the series, it’s hard to conceive of a more glorious and fitting celebration for a fantasy epic that, whilst rather unsuccessful in its initial Japanese broadcast, joined with the Young Adult novels and JRPGs of its day to become a defining Western window into the limitless imagination of its medium. Now considered a masterpiece two decades later, Kazuki Akane and Shōji Kawamori’s tale of divination and robotic warfare was the closest thing to a Game of Thrones or Broken Empire series in my childhood (even in its censored form), and whilst I’m thrilled to finally see the uncut show in English, my excitement travels beyond the usual anime staples of giant robots, bishonen boys and cat girls. It is, above all, a story that dealt with philosophical ideas like determinism, Stoicism and Epicureanism, and melded them all into the most unlikely of places: Romance.

Please note, there will be minor to major spoilers from this point on.

The Vision of Escaflowne follows an amateur high-school track runner and tarot card reader named Hitomi, who finds herself whisked away to a mystical world named Gaea where the Earth and Moon hang in the sky (our planet itself is called ‘The Mystic Moon’ – Pluto must be ecstatic). On the subject of whisking, she also initially meets Van Fanel, the young prince of Fanelia, and later the dashing knight Allen Schezar of Asturia, with all three becoming trapped in a love triangle as their once peaceful kingdoms fall under siege by the unstoppable Zaibach empire. Standard fantasy fare to begin with sure, but Escaflowne quickly takes several turns for the complex as it begins adding concepts like The Lost City of Atlantis, dragon-born energy crises, fantastical racism and human experimentation to the proceedings.

The heart and soul of the series is the notion of fate, where events are predetermined and decreed, and attempts to merge it with determinism, where such events are merely the result of causal chains. In the real world the coexistence of these concepts seems paradoxical, but in Escaflowne their intersection turns out to be the goal of our primary antagonist: Emperor Dornkirk. A not so subtle reference to Isaac Newton, this villain believes that both fate and destiny are governed by a single universal force, and his master plan to is to utilize his ‘Destiny Prognostication Engine’ (or ‘Fate Alteration Machine’) to not only foresee the course of history, but physically change it.

Dornkirk is both the ideal enemy and fellow spirit of Hitomi, whose card reading and pendulum divination turn out to be invaluable assets for her Gaea allies – precisely because she too is capable of altering future events. But whereas the Emperor treats free will like a scientific discovery i.e. something to be found and manipulated with, Hitomi’s eventual character development relies on her accepting fate as natural, and as a “choice” destiny. Her initial entry into the series is that of a immature young girl obsessed with seeing into the future and steering it from danger, regardless of whether she’s predicting whether a boy will like her, or whether a kingdom will see another tomorrow.

After numerous instances in which her fortune telling actually influences events for the worse, fanning the flames of conflict and putting her new friends in further harm’s way, her final revelation as our protagonist is resigning to a concept many philosophers have dealt with over the years – ‘Amor fati’, or “love of fate”. In Nietzsche’s mind, for example, ‘Amor fati’ holds that greatness in human character comes when we accept an un-changing reality, and admiring the beauty that exists simply in the inevitability of loss and suffering.

Admittedly, suffering does take a more subjective meaning when you're a bishie prince with angel wings and a giant robotic dragon. And you thought Disney princesses were entitled...

Admittedly, suffering does take a more subjective meaning when you're a bishie prince with angel wings and a giant robotic dragon. And you thought Disney princesses were entitled...

Escaflowne is so unique exactly because it takes these musings on free will and causality and centers them on romantic attraction. In the first episode, Hitomi posits that if she can beat a running track record, her high school crush will grant her a first kiss. It’s a charming metaphor for putting fate in one’s hands, and an even better precursor for the series latter events. Predestination is explored as a means of linking characters together in various methods, some subtle and others less so. The titular mecha of the series for example, Escaflowne, becomes fused with Van and binds the two’s lives together, and whilst Hitomi’s relationship with Van is of course developed naturally, it’s also finally revealed to be itself destined (indeed, it’s Hitomi’s acceptance of that bond that finally destroys the Fate Alteration Machine).

A pivotal moment is when Dornkirk himself has a go at playing matchmaker. In order to stop the ethereal bond between Von and Hitomi from ruining his ultimate plan – explained momentarily – he alters fate so that Hitomi and Allen seemingly become an item, right in front of poor Van. In order to bring about this classic romance novel misunderstanding, Dornkirk has to stage a similar scene between his subordinate Folken (Van’s brother) and one of Folken’s…leopard servant girls (anime will be anime). The jealousy that erupts from both parties shows off true love not necessarily as the flawed notion that Tim Minchin would mock, but as a multi-faceted manifestation of fate. In the case of the leopard girls, it is a custom of their race to become heavily loyal and duty-bound to their carer, whilst in Van and Hitomi’s case, it’s literally the universe being pulled asunder.

There's the friendzone, and then there's being forcibly DESTINED to be in the friendzone...

There's the friendzone, and then there's being forcibly DESTINED to be in the friendzone...

This mixing of love and laying down new future events might come across a bit cold when written here, but unlike a Christopher Nolan script, it’s kept firmly rooted in the human condition thanks to the quality writing on the characters. Hitomi is, after all, a high school girl, and despite pining for Allen during the bulk of the series, she comes to learn the folly of such fickle infatuation through her fortune telling. When she does a tarot reading for Millerna, Allen’s bride to be, the cards read that the marriage will be unbearable and that Hitomi herself will end up as Allen’s secret lover. Her attempt to lie about the reading and thus change fate (through the usage of a ‘luck’ tarot card) ends up empowering Zaibach’s latest ‘luck’ infused soldiers, thus making her a folly of her own emotional naivety.

This same desire to make the desirable possible is also what ultimately dooms Dornkirk. His eventual plan is to use his science to bring about the "zone of absolute fortune", or in other words to create a utopia. This falsely applied epicureanist philosophy – the wanting of total tranquility – is what supposedly doomed the lost land of Atlantis, and which turns out exactly to be where the emperor draws his power. His final acceptance of a “choice destiny” and the salvation of Gaea demonstrate his character as a tragic case of one man chasing for a perfect future, whilst blinding themselves to the lessons of the past.

If fine story & philosophical depth aren't for you - there's still the giant mech dragon.

If fine story & philosophical depth aren't for you - there's still the giant mech dragon.

Underappreciated in the fantasy realm at large and becoming more of a cult hit with each generation, the decision to bring The Vision of Escaflowne back in a definitive Blu-Ray release grants an excellent chance to re-examine these notions of devotion, and linking one’s destiny to finding a fellow spirit. All of that says nothing of the stellar animation, quality action scenes and industry-class art design.

By the time you finish reading this, chances are Funimation’s Kickstarter will be funded, but there’s still plenty of stretch goals that any diehard fan would want to reach, so I highly encourage you to contribute if you can, with what you can.

Whether they’re for feedback or discussion, comments are always appreciated!

Find out when The Urban Shepherd goes on his next diatribe by following him on Twitter!

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Film Articles

Published on February 23 2016

Well, looks like SOMEONE hasn't been taking their protein pills...

Well, looks like SOMEONE hasn't been taking their protein pills...

Before the notification on my iPad had finished ringing with the news of David Bowie’s death, “Blackstar” was already queued up. Most music nerds probably reacted in such shock, but for me it was equally a kickback of guilt, since I’d already waited nearly 48 hours before listening to the unexpected swan-song album in its entirety.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the title-track’s video is a collaborative effort with director Johan Renck, and typical of Bowie it’s also a miniature sci-fi epic of the most ritualistic sort. The ten-minute story of space theology has been analyzed through and through, with half-truths and retracted comments coming out relating its influence and meaning to Breast Cancer, old Pop-Eye cartoons, and even ISIS. Yet to me the immediate stand-out, and longest lasting image, was the corpse of Major Tom, whose crystalline skull is carried off to be ceremoniously whisked into oblivion. Renck has neither confirmed nor denied whether that was indeed the fictional astronaut, and I agree its better that way. To me, the mere possibility nevertheless shines light on a reflective topic that sits at the very heart and soul of the man's life’s work; that once you jive past the catchy pop tunes, his early avant-garde androgynous value and radically shifting genres, the enduring appeal of David Bowie has always been fuelled by character reinvention.

Every new unveiled persona instilled its own fictitious reality within his work, masterfully bridging the gap between man, music and…whatever the hell Aladdin Sane was supposed to be. The world lost its one truly self-sufficient music artist 45 days ago today, yet throughout the 70’s and 80’s the only people to lose more ‘lives’ than Bowie himself were the era’s video gamers. Whilst each new mask that the Brixton rocker bore was by its own nature a fable, perhaps the reason no other theatrically inclined artist has made the ‘alter-ego’ so essential to their career is because there was a unique, autobiographical grounding behind each of David Bowie’s latest self-imposed roles. Whether you’re Prince, Norah Jones or Chris Sievey, no one could be Bowie quite like Bowie - not even Bowie.

Each character wasn’t simply an escape from his mainstage act or an attempt to trial a new genre. Whereas most artists will retire their creations with as much ceremony as quietly handing back the costume, Bowie made spectacle out of the cycle of reinvention, with death being entrenched as a necessary part of each. The most notorious example was the retirement of the galaxy’s most famous fiery-haired third-dimensional sexual Ziggy Stardust. Even though it was quite clearly setup with the album closer “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”, the extraterrestrial miming rock star’s famous farewell speech at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 3rd, 1973 was ambiguous enough to strike fear into Bowie’s soaring fanbase, but suitably symbolic to suit the concept album and bring it to life on stage.

Bowie would similarly breathe life and reap death with his later creations; the Thin White Duke perished as his creator’s cocaine and red pepper habit finally began to surcease, Halloween Jack ironically ceased to exist after the ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour was renamed to the ‘Soul’ tour, and well, we already discussed the potential astral fate waiting for strung out junkie Major Tom. As these examples are listed off, it’s easy for any casual fanatic to spot the ever present similarities between the artist’s personal strife and those of his characters, although let’s be honest, that job was already long taken up by the music-consuming public, who could start a decade long conversation about Bowie’s sexuality just from Ziggy Stardust’s 1972 Top of the Pops performance, or a controversy of fascist views that were ultimately blamed on ‘the White Duke’s spiraling erratic behaviour.

I tried really hard to not make a pun about Bowie's frequent ch-changes but, well...

I tried really hard to not make a pun about Bowie's frequent ch-changes but, well...

An actor before he was an actor, part of this stems from how Bowie theatrically imbued heavy portions of himself into his alter-egos. His claim that what he did on stage was “theatre, and only theatre…” is perfectly valid, but that just drives the interest in what fueled this actor’s method. Every nervous smile from Ziggy or reference to both Major Tom and his maker’s withdrawing drug abuse ultimately seem rooted in a reality, but how genuine that reality is has often been open to interpretation. I don’t believe Karl Popper ever gave a comment on David Bowie, perhaps in fear that if he acknowledged listening to his work, he may had to upgrade his three worlds concept (the physical world, the mental world and all objective knowledge) to include an additional ‘Bowie World’.

One artist who attempts much of the same biographical blurring in his work as Bowie did is the director Alejandro Jadorosky, who’s aptly titled The Dance of Reality is a must-see retelling of his early childhood living under his strict communist father, embedding every detail with surreal comedy and fantastical metaphor. The great shame is that these two will now never work together, especially since Bowie was capable of carrying on his all-inclusive character creation into even the most obscure of projects. Whilst we all know of Jared the Goblin King from Labrynth or his you’re-a-celebrity-if-you-saw-it theatre portrayal of The Elephant Man, more of Bowie’s strange creations can be found in the 1999 adventure game Omikron: The Nomad Soul (which he also provided a soundtrack and design elements for), or the living magic trick that is Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (a brief appearance that includes ghost transmissions, masked afro-men and the world’s whitest white suit…three minutes with David Lynch well spent).

David Bowie characters: each more predictably unpredictable than the last.

David Bowie characters: each more predictably unpredictable than the last.

One of the most fascinating aspects surrounding the death of David Bowie is that, whilst researching this article, when I searched 'death of Ziggy Stardust', news reports of Bowie's actual passing were what popped up in Google. Despite being his most well known creation, ol' Ziggy doesn't even have his own Wikipedia page - any attempt to search for him simply redirects to the rockstar behind the lightning stripe. Whether this amusing little oddity was deliberately played out or a simple coincidence, I can think of no better demonstration of how much Bowie became his characters, and in turn how they became him.

Even in his latest and last pieces, Bowie was still playing with the create-a-character tool. The strange new figures in “Blackstar” – Button Eyes, the flamboyant trickster and the ‘priest guy’ – may not be his most developed, but they continue his legacy of mixing haunting behavior with something deeper to dig for. Perhaps you didn’t really care much for David Bowie’s canon, and purely enjoyed the fact he could reliably create a great pop beat. That’s perfectly fine – you’re still appreciating the work of an artist who didn’t just refuse to lay down an image, he turned that lack of identity into the core of his brand. Long live the Bowieverse.

Next Time: From Metroid to Mass Effect: How video games tackle Genetic Modification

Whether they’re for feedback or discussion, comments are always appreciated!

Find out when The Urban Shepherd goes on his next diatribe by following him on Twitter!

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Music Articles

Published on February 9 2016

How ‘Warcraft’ and the Blizzard logo could define the next era of Blockbuster cinema

In less than a decade, Marvel went from a comic book publisher licensing out their characters to one of the most formidable Hollywood movie studios.

Could the upcoming Warcraft movie send Blizzard in the same direction?

Preceding my re-watch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (the write-up of which received a very positive response – my sincerest thanks!) was a slog of trailers that would have crumpled my geeky mind to dust ten years ago. Gasping at back-to-back previews for Captain America: Civil War, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and X-Men: Apocalypse is cream dream satisfaction guaranteed for most early-internet comic book fans, even if the multitude of 2016 releases is a clear signal that the curve of this caped crusader craze is about to curtail. The most underappreciated bit of media hype however surrounded the Warcraft movie, due out this June as a combined production effort from Legendary Pictures and the developer of the original video game franchise, Blizzard Entertainment.

This heavily cheesy and somewhat substance-lacking footage didn’t do much to ‘wow’ the audience, nor did the interview-heavy promo video for the flick that followed immediately after. There were two images that did leave a profound impact on me though: seeing director Duncan Jones talking on camera so cheerfully (in light of the recent passing of his father, David Bowie), and gazing at the Blizzard logo, so bold, blue and repeatedly brazen, up there on the big screen. At the moment, any media opinion space that can be spared for Warcraft is spent debating whether this highest of fantasy films can disenchant the spell preventing any video game movie from actually being enjoyable. Personally, I think there’s a pretty convincing case to be made that one great success for Blizzard in the cinema could signal the start of a whole new paradigm for Hollywood.

If any intellectual property were capable of captivating an audience of moviegoers for a protracted, obsessive and (some would argue) unhealthily long period of time, the money would have to be on Warcraft. Every soulless movie studio has at some point rewritten the strategy guide when it comes to amassing the asses perched in cinema seats, but in terms of shaping them to better resemble their thumb-twiddling counterparts, none can truly claim success. The continued struggle of traditional film companies to mine the potential box office gold of video game movies suggests that maybe it’s time for actual game developers to have a go at it themselves, especially when the company in question has the ultimate crafting resource at its disposal: millions of subscription hours spent daily on re-jigging raid plans, endlessly grinding for gear, and much more besides.

Of course the potential success that Blizzard might have with their debut as a film producer lies beyond the fact that their premier product, World of Warcraft, is unabashedly the highest grossing game of all time. Whilst it’s hard to deny that any title from the California developer thus far been less than ‘pretty good’, what’s more astounding is just how forward thinking they’ve been with each new endeavor. Take for instance Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. More than a simple online card-game spinoff, the game’s monthly $20million revenue is partly owed to the way Blizzard fostered its popularity in the larger gaming community, with mad methods such as:

Point is, despite how unassuming they may seem in public, Blizzard are capable of bouncing back from every setback with publicity and financial success twicefold to their losses, whether that be in reclaiming the MOBA market with Heroes of the Storm, challenging the First Person Shooter juggernaut with the upcoming Overwatch, or continuing to pioneer Always-on DRM regardless of how controversial the practice proved with Diablo III. Of course it’s all well and good that a video game maker is good at making video games with a long shelf-life, but how will they be able to make the same clever turns when it comes to film?

Part of the problem with video games as lucrative intellectual property is their relatively young age doesn’t give them that instant ring in the public ear that many named superheroes command. Sure, you can find plenty of Marvel films that were inspired by best-selling comic books arcs, but whether it’s the price of an individual ticket or a multi-million dollar rights contract, people are paying for the character name first and foremost. Warcraft, conversely, may have a fairly famous title, but the majority of punters won’t be pining to see cinematic incarnations of Azeroth, Durotan or the Murlocs (I will be, and if you knew what a murloc was you would too…).

How ‘Warcraft’ and the Blizzard logo could define the next era of Blockbuster cinema

Video game movies to date, apart from failing to impress critically, have also hardly made a monetary case for their own lucrative future. The most financially successful is the mindless Resident Evil incarnations, which whilst profitable, haven’t convinced their hapless creator Capcom to pursue similar, winning strategies to follow-on their adaptations of Street Fighter or Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney. These catastrophes of commercial-cinema come down to several factors, including an astonishing absence of truly accomplished directors, few recognizable elements that actually helped sell the cartridge and CD copies in the first place, and most oddly, very few films being made out of the video games that are best known to millennials and mature audiences alike. The latter has the hilarious exception of the Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993; a box office bob-omb that forever scared Nintendo away from leaving the house and licensing out another of their franchises.

This brings us to the topic of logos that started this discussion. Rather than begin proudly with the round Nintendo icon, the Super Mario Bros. film rather lamely opens its curtains to reveal its production company Light Motive, sticking the familiar Mario theme tune awkwardly in the background. These few seconds probably bare the closest resemblance to the original plumber's platformer, and yet they symbolically represent the original creator’s lack of involvement and care in the project overall. By lending their shiny and spiky lettering to the Warcraft movie, Blizzard have already taken the first step of taking responsibility for whatever ends up on screen, which given their purported faith in Duncan Jones directorial vision, could lead to the first Tim Burton equivalent of video game adaptations. Furthermore, with purported plans to give away all the World of Warcraft expansions to cinemagoers, we start to see a bigger picture of how Blizzard could pull off a Marvel-scale takeover of the box-office.

How ‘Warcraft’ and the Blizzard logo could define the next era of Blockbuster cinema

The notion that video games lack the familiar faces of comic book movies still needs time to fix up, but until then Blizzard’s brand name and cross-promotional strategy gives them an edge. Aside from having a shared universe series of games in Warcraft ala Marvel, each of their titles tend to bare similar core aesthetics, and when a new installment looms on the horizon, gamers are often treated to exclusive content for other Blizzard hallmarks. Even Overwatch stuck a Hearthstone cameo into its Disney-rivaling cinematic trailer, and let us not forget the Emmy award winning South Park episode lampooning World of Warcraft succeeded precisely because Blizzard were on hand to actually help unlock the potential enjoyment of the spoof, rather than just blindly hand over the keys. The involvement Blizzard have in their imminent Warcraft movie-starter pack has been kept quite hushed, but given the textbook examples above of how to achieve cross-platform success, it’s clear that there’s more planned here than just another fantasy flop.

Speaking of, with Nintendo having shot down every emerging rumour that they’re developing a live-action Legend of Zelda series for Netflix, the only rivals to Blizzard on the movie-game front are, oddly enough, themselves…sort of. Aside from Sony’s attempt to resurrect the dying zombie genre with a Last of Us adaptation, the biggest news in movie-game tie-ins was announced last November by Activision | Blizzard (the parent publishing company of Blizzard Entertainment) to create a series of ‘cinematic universes’ based on their best-selling titles under the banner of ‘Activision Blizzard Studios’, with the production frontrunner unsurprisingly being Call of Duty. I would feel very foolish to doubt the dreams of division head Nick van Dyk (who was chiefly involved in acquiring Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm during his tenure at Disney), but with the lack of core branding, characters to establish or names beloved to hardcore and casual gamers alike, this more rushed approach to building a movie-game empire than their subsidiary’s overly calculated, control method seems spearheaded for a very fast game over.

Next Time: A lifetime of character building: Exploring the canon of David Bowie

Whether they’re for feedback or discussion, comments are always appreciated!

Find out when The Urban Shepherd goes on his next diatribe by following him on Twitter!

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Film Articles

Published on February 2 2016

How 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' brings the magic of good Exposition back into film

Like most fanfare revolving around Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this piece begins not just with a spoiler warning, but with an actual spoiler. From particular shots to well executed twists, it’s a miracle that so much from Disney’s latest pay-off actually remains in the brain. For myself however, picking a favourite moment offered little contest:

As Finn, Rae and BB-8 are dashing for dear life from the First Order’s assault on Jakku, our conscientiously objecting stormtrooper points out of frame to a ship with which the trio might make their escape. Rae responds by dismissing the unseen intergalactic spacecraft as “garbage”, but when the snazzier ride in front of them is roundly disintegrated, she changes her tune and they dash towards the ship, now brought into the shot and revealed to be the Millennium Falcon.

I will always remember the audience reaction to that 10 second sequence; a back-to-back chuckle and mini-applause, followed by a heightened interest that lasted for the rest of the running time. To me, it’s a brief reveal that helps fulfill the promise of the sequel trilogy, however flawed the rest of this opening act may be. We obviously wanted to know what became of the most famous kessel runner of the galaxy, but to touch that nerve of nostalgia so expertly (in the middle of an action-chase sequence no less), using little else than some carefully crafted dialogue and bit of camera panning is an achievement I feel has been heavily glossed over amongst all the hearsay, hereditary guesstimations and ‘it’s A New Hope rip-off!’ grumblings.

I should point out at this point that despite being heavily lapsed as far as geeks go, I still consider a second viewing of Star Wars episode VII to be a pretty requisite outing. Now that all my hopes and fears for this installment had been dealt with in appropriate fashion, the difficulty for round two lay in deciding beforehand just where or what my eyes and ears should focus on once the familiar opening scroll faded away. I’d absorbed nothing but speculation and factory-line fan theories before reuniting with Han Solo and co., and since then I’ve seen the film’s story go through every kind of take-down and equally passionate defense imaginable. In the end, my undivided attention landed on an aspect that I think almost everyone has brushed asunder: the filmmaking itself.

Despite racking up a massive slew of records and memes at the jump of lightspeed, it’s nothing short of peculiar just how little the reviews and fan dissections have appraised the cinematic bells and whistles on display. Whilst I’m sure it’s something best left for the DVD and on-demand release, sitting through the film twice offered plenty enough to explore in the way of cinematography, editing and (remember, its J.J Abrahams at the helm here) lighting techniques. Without the freedom to screen-capture and explore all the individual shots just yet, I’d like to focus on an area of filmmaking that, in my opinion, has always sat as the perfect segway between script and screen: narrative exposition, and why Star Wars: The Force Awakens, warts and all, actually pulls it off quite beautifully.

How 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' brings the magic of good Exposition back into film

When it comes to dishing out important plot details with an approach that feels natural and not so (sorry to say it…) ‘forced’, this movie has its work monumentally cut out for itself. Not only does it need to plug up the time gap typical of just about every sequel, but it has no less than thirty years of lost history to account for. Worse still, it wants to ensure we learn as many facts about the new faces as those we discover about our old heroes, to bait us to return for two more thirds of a trilogy, and to provide a ‘Star Warsy’ feeling whose definition no two fans can agree on.

Isn’t it interesting then, that neither of our two lead characters are given any dialogue in their opening ten minutes? Seamlessness is the name of the game when it comes to exposition, and without a single spoken word, the audience gets everything they need to know about Finn and Rae through purely visual storytelling cues. Better yet, their introductions run quite counter to one another; Finn is established as the killer-who-couldn’t through body language, inaction and an abundance of close-up shots (quite outside the image of a Star Wars stormtrooper - the fictional go-to of militarized anonymity), whilst Rae’s role as the interplanetary dreamer is done differently to that of Luke Skywalker in episode 4; with breathtaking establishing shots and a-day-in-the-life-on-Jakku sequence that, again, bait audience expectation using old Star Wars iconography (Star Destroyers, an AT-AT walker etc.). It’s an admittedly cheesy method of rebuilding your fantasy world sure, but one that was sorely missing last time around.

Famed author Jo Walton coined a term that stands as the cornerstone of good narrative exposition: Incluing. Defined as "the process of scattering information seamlessly through the text, as opposed to stopping the story to impart the information", I think the examples I’ve listed so far are textbook standard as far as film is concerned. If you were also looking for a one word answer for what was wrong with the prequel trilogy, incluing is as simultaneously effective and blunt as any lightsaber. Whether you felt more uncomfortable in a Jedi council hall or a galactic republican coffee room, so rarely was any information imparted to the audience through purely cinematic means, perhaps explaining why the CGI rendered ‘single-take’ that opened up Revenge of the Sith probably got more praise than it deserved.

Of course Star Wars as a series has the unique advantage over other blockbusters in that it can actually spell-out plot points from the get go using its opening crawl, yet have it be one of the most thrilling portions of the flick (trade negotiations notwithstanding). Personally, I think this is where our new movie actually outshines the original. Not envisioned as a trilogy, its strange how A New Hope kicks off with the sentence, “It is a period of civil war”, and ends basically in the thick of conflict (though I am aware that George Lucas had other ideas for how it was supposed to read). Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams actually sets up the perfect bookend for film one: “Luke Skywalker has vanished.” And then he is found. Storytelling at its finest!

On the subject, I’ve heard every fan and their mother (and I do mean that earnestly) complain that The Force Awakens tells a story they already heard a long time ago in the exact same, far, far away galaxy. I’ll put my biases on the table and say the throw-backs bothered me far less than others. Whilst a pastiche of old Star Wars tropes was something I only half expected, I rather like the idea of the ‘retro-movie’ that George Lucas himself ironically and deridingly threw out in his Charlie Rose interview.

How 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' brings the magic of good Exposition back into film

In practice though, many of the more obvious reused story beats are not given the same expository grace as the new elements. Sure, the film tries not to waste any time in plainly telling us that Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son, but the reveal of Starkiller Base and subsequent destruction of the Republic, shoehorning Maz Kanata’s cantina into the lull point and setting up a tensionless final X-wing assault wouldn’t feel so tasteless if they were given the same storytelling care as the all important first act of the film, which was happy to let the camera and setting guide the viewer, rather than leave it up to clunky dialogue that pretty much defines the inferior second half.

The most in depth critique of Star Wars: The Force Awakens directorial approach I’ve read is the repeated crowning of J.J. Abrams as the ‘ultimate fan-film director’. Well, to me that implies at least that he is somewhat exceptional at making movies, and an exceptionally made movie is what we got. It leaves me both arrested and cautious for Episode VIII, to be directed by Rian Johnson. Though his complicated 2012 sci-fi hit Looper relied on a narration-led approach that would never fly with Star Wars, it did present symbolic character dynamics and pulpy futuristic-action that could take this premier Hollywood franchise to even bolder frontiers.

Next time: How the 'Blizzard' logo could define the next era of Blockbuster cinema.

Find out when The Urban Shepherd goes on his next diatribe by following him on Twitter!

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Film Articles

Published on June 17 2013

In the opening seminar of an advertising unit I did last year, we as a class were asked why we'd chosen the subject. Most answered "Well, I want to work in advertising...", which is funny considering the first thing we learnt was how toxic a degree is to getting an advertising job, where senior employees prefer to mould their mindmoulders from scratch. 


My answer to the question was simple: "I hate advertising, and I want to learn more about it." That's my philosophy when it comes to most things I dislike in life. The best way to find the subjects people know (or claim to know) the most about is to speak over a pint, and drinking with me will reveal my vast range of knowledge on reality shows, creationism, The Daily Mail and polystyrene cups. But unlike all the formers, knowing a lot about advertising actually requires knowing something


And yet no matter how much you've learnt bout the advertising business, brands and public awareness, once in a while a little enigma comes along that sends your worldview into spirals. I give you the new Cadbury's Crispello ad:



If you have taken a vow of blindness against anything trying to sell to you, the advert can be summed up thusly:




I won't even attempt a full synopsis of this advert, which brings the words 'chocolate' and 'saucey' together in a totally unprecedented manner, as Andrew Falkous of The Guardian already nailed that. But I will immediately acknowledge the most unifying problem people had with the advertisement, and why it's the reason I love it so.


What exactly does shagging swagboys Dad have to do with chocolate?

OK, I see what you were driving at; trying to sell a chocolate product as 'naughty', one that sadly can't be worn around your genitals. But whereas most logical writers might go with chocolate being a guilty treat or doing naughty things with chocolate, we somehow ended up with an attempt to undress a middle aged father.


It wouldn't surprise me if this was the answer: a gifted writer had been storing this golden idea away for when their shining moment, but when simultaneously thrusted with the threat of student loans swapping pieces of his/her tongue for fingers, and the opportunity of writing a cadburys advert, they sold out.


Of course we've all come to expect advertising to be as far removed from the product as possible. What is aimed for is a loose concept designed to humour/annoy/annoy/annoy/annoy, with the slightest chance that the fools might recognize some elements of the brand. It's the shot in the dark approach that led to those YouTube winning, inspirational Asian family of the year adverts...the ones so good that no one even remembers what was being sold. 


The other big talking point about Cadbury's finest few minutes was whether or not it was offensive. Oh that's not a question by the way, it clearly isn't. Rather, what this glorious piece of marketing has accidentally revealed is the greatest way to offend the snobs of Britain is to take their foundations (roast dinners, over careful driving, not-yet-vintage clothing), and confront them with it somehow becoming sexually appealing to liberal son snatchers who travel the woods with their own travelling bands - the embodiment of all conservative nightmares.


In my previous blog post on advertising, I considered that the solution to the adblock problem for online video makers was to start making their own adverts, ones that would be fun to watch, at least to a certain level. One objection to this idea is Jon Lajoie, who in the past has made horribly horrible and funny adverts for companies that you'd think wouldn't give a shit...


 ...but ironically did give a shit, as when Wal-mart asked it to be removed from YouTube. 


It's a shame we can't be a bit more risque with TV adverts. Everytime a new one shows up and gets a few laughs, it's branded a new Marmite monster and complained about constantly for just less than a week. Yet adverts like the Crispello one are actually a total win win. If I lived in the 80's I would never buy 'Life Call', but if it's slogan was "I've fallen and I can't get IT up" then I would remember it fondly..


If more adverts could strive for higher levels of uncomfortablness (particuarly on internet platforms with audiences who'll lap this shit up), then companies could exploit the hype, debate and external humour from their campaign to implant their product into our minds, and we will stop reaching for the remote, or maybe even the adblock. 

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Sociology

Published on June 11 2013

This here is an interview I conducted with Crystal Fighters back in November 2010; during their tour with Foals and just a little while after the release of their debut album Star of Love. It was originally published on Mewbox, a blog for an android music app that just...disappeared

Up until recently I shyed away from strict Q&A interviews, preffering prose, but this was an early departure. Anyway enjoy the read and I hope you've enjoyed their music, both past and present.




Caught just a while before their appearance on stage at Southampton Guildhall as the supporting act to Foals on the 7th of November, Keyboardist Gilbert, singer Sebastian and guitarist Graham from the five piece folk electronic group Crystal Fighters were surprisingly laid back and cadenced considering what a wild charge of energy their stage act was. The group are currently gaining a huge amount of momentum with their fan base and critical reception; their Basque influenced dance music a truly unique result of a wide range of influences and personal inputs. In their own words, the guys really give the full rundown of the type of music they play and just what it sounds like:


Gilbert: It’s fast, energetic, passionate, Basque-influenced, modern, old, dance fun music.
Sebastian: Yes, that sounds good.

How did you get interested in the type of music you play and who were the big influences?

Gilbert: Well basically I met Sebastian, had known him for a while, and then we met Graham in 2007. We’d all had different musical upbringings and music we were interested in and listening to at the time so we decided to get together and make music.

We started out just tried to make stuff that’s fun, trying different ideas here and there. Sebastian’s always been interested in 80’s European music and Graham’s interested in traditional rock and roll, he’s got a background in that as well, and so we’re making all this fun stuff and it was only when Graham introduced us to his friend Laure whose grandfather was from the Basque country and he died shortly after we just met her and she got some of his belongings so she was really enthralled by these things, these books, as she didn’t know him that well. When she showed it to us it seemed really interesting, really characteristic pieces of writing and we started looking into it.

We had all these different influences that we had and we were actually struggling trying to find something that we could connect on, you know we were doing things with one genre and another genre but nothing solid. So when this came around the time was almost there, it seemed such an interesting prospect for us to look further into the culture and musical tradition of the Basque country and to try and combine that with the stuff we were experiencing in London when we were making dance music, and also this stuff that we’d grown up with separately as individuals. So that’s how we sort of got started and now it’s great to be able to make music where we can put in all our different tastes and still have some sort of consistency but not in the more traditional sense of every song sounding the same, if you know what I mean.

What’s your music making process? Where do you get your inspiration for a piece and how do you go about putting it together?

Gilbert: Well we live together so it’s quite difficult if someone’s playing something and it’s good you know it’s quite difficult to avoid and you want to go in there and join in and work on it.
But we’ve taken inspiration from lyrics, passages and sentiments from Laure’s grandfather’s book and then we have also looked towards traditional Basque folk music so a specific piece, specific song or specific melodies, maybe taking bits out of there and trying them…rhythmic ideas as well. But usually it starts with either a big vocal, lyrical idea or a big music idea, like a riff, and then we’ll work from there and sort of get it together.

What’s been interesting for us in writing our album and getting it out is that we play live a lot and it was great developing the songs on the album through playing live. We didn’t set out at first to write an album as it were, we set out to play and make music. How we came to the album was seeing what worked and what we really enjoyed playing.

Critics have noted that the way audiences tend to react really intensely to your music. What kind of atmosphere do you try to create when you play live and what do you hope the audience is left feeling afterwards?

Gilbert: Definitely we try to bring a lot more energy and rawness than you might hear on our records, we feel that’s something we like to do. The whole point is you got to a nightclub and you see a lots of people that aren’t even looking at the performer and all having a great time, everyone’s dancing. Then you go to a gig night maybe and everyone’s looking at the performer and no one’s dancing and no one’s having that good a time. We try to, I don’t know, bring a bit of both situations so the crowd can actually fee involved with the music, hearing it, seeing it, but also take some of our vibe that we bring on stage which is quite deep.

Graham: Well it’s just nice that we hope people leave like they experienced something…unique.

Gilbert: And the thing is that we feed off the crowd completely and our performances to be honest completely depend on how lively the crowd is. That’s at least our perception of how well we’re playing and how much fun we’re having. So we want them to be as involved in the performance for us as we are to them.
Graham: It takes two to tango. (laughs)


The band recently announced via twitter that they’ve been recording some live acoustic tracks to release as a bonus disk with the CD release of their debut album Star of Love in January. Asked if there was any thought of feeling on a follow up album and how it might progress from what has come before they answered:


Sebastian: Yeah I think the idea is that we like the boldness of our first record, and it talks about fairly large time honoured concepts but we’d probably go further into that with grander melodies and larger arrangements and more of the same but wholly authentic. Not that it wasn’t on this one but we were learning how to do things.

Gilbert: More of the same but better.

Sebastian: More of the same but better, exactly.

Your music videos are really striking in their imagery, creativity and just really how unique they feel. Who’s in charge of directing your videos and how the concepts for them put together?

Gilbert: We really like working quite close with the director. When we do video we put it out there with the core idea that we’re going for and see what ideas people have and work with that and we’ve been quite lucky to have met some really cool up and coming directors who’ve done some really nice pieces of work.


Sebastian: Definitely. We like to work with new directors. I know some bands sort of stick with one person but we like trying new techniques just cause the songs have different genres within them so it suits the visual thing as well.

Finally, what is your favourite aspect of the music that you play and what drives you to carry on playing?


Gilbert: I know that playing stuff we enjoy and finding new things within our own ears by combining sounds of one thing that we love with another and trying to put interesting stuff together and, you know, stuff that’s fun and we enjoy listening to.

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Music Articles

Published on October 18 2012

Though it's encompassed a little less of my time and energy than music, I've also dabbled in the medium's celluloid cousin, focusing mainly on reviews of foreign and independent DVD releases, but occasional film screenings, festivals and even conducting the occasional interview. Also unlike my Music publication history these have been isolated to one fantastic website, Rhythmcircus, but never the less I think it's a hefty list.


These are arranged alphabetically and categorized by article type, and accompanied by the date of publication.


Film/TV Reviews


 Alien Vs Ninja - 11/02/2011

Atrocious - 29/09/2011

Dangermouse The Complete Collection, 30th Anniversary Edition - 29/09/11

Holy Flying Circus - 15/02/2012

Lou - 03/09/2011

Lovely, Still - 23/05/2011

Mammuth - 03/09/2011

Mistuko Delivers - 21/06/2012

Ninja Battle - 12/02/2012

Ninja Girl - 07/10/2012

Passenger Side - 28/05/2012

Pieces - 19/09/2011

The Belly of An Architect - 02/07/2012

The BFI Future FIlm Festival - 07/03/2012

The Exterminator - 23/11/2011

The Hunter - 01/03/2011

The Living Wake - 05/04/2011

The Lost Bladesman - 05/08/2011

The Room London Screening With Q&A - 23/02/2012

The Woman - 18/10/2011

United - 09/08/2011




Mark Kermode - 31/06/2012

Tom Kingsley & Will Sharpe (Directors of Black Pond) - 07/03/2012


Anime Reviews

Bleach Series 8 Part 2 - 24/05/2012

Bleach Series 9 Part 1 - 25/06/2012

Bleach Series 9 Part 2 - 18/08/2012

Blue Exorcist Part 1 - 18/08/2012

Clannad Season 1 Part 2 - 18/08/2012

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos - 24/09/2012

Fullmetal Alchemist: Conquerer of Shamballa - 24/09/2012

Ghost In The Shell: Solid State Society - 31/05/2012

Hetalia Axis Powers: Paint it White! - 18/06/2012

Hetalia World Series Season 3 Collection - 18/08/2012

Princess Jellyfish - 24/09/2012

Puella Magi Madoku Magica - 14/10/2012

Shiki - 14/10/2012

Spice and Wolf Season 1 - 18/06/2012

Spice and Wolf Season 2 - 18/02/2012

Welcome to the Space Show - 23/07/2012

Yu-Gi-Oh! Bonds Beyond Time 3D London Screening - 15/05/2011

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Film Articles

Published on October 15 2012

Last Updated 10/06/2013


Articles written for Rhythmcircus:

Reviews of Releases 


All The Saints // Intro Into Fractions - 10/02/2012

The Architects // The Here and Now - 30/01/2012

Crazy Arm // Union City Breath - 03/10/2012

Crystal Castles // Crystal Castles III - 11/03/2012

Crystal Fighters // Cave Rave - 29/05/2013

Don Broco // Priorities  - 17/08/2012

Eyeshine // Tone of Echoes - 25/01/2011

Girugamesh // Go - 17/02/2011

Her Space Holiday // Self Titled - 07/09/2011

Laura Veirs // Tumblebee - 17/11/2011

Mother Mother // Eureka - 26/03/2011

Muse // The 2nd Law - 11/10/2012

Seth Lakeman // Tales From The Barrel House - 03/05/2012

She & Him // A Very She & Him Christmas - 13/11/2011

Sucioperro // Reflexes Of The Dead EP - 23/02/2011

Sucioperro // The Heart String And How To Pull It - 11/04/2011

The Xcerts // Stairs To Noise: The Scatterbrain EP - 13/03/2011

We Are The Ocean // Go Now And Live - 22/04/2011

Timber Timbre // Creep On Creepin On - 22/04/2011


Reviews of Shows


Against Me! // The Talking Heads, Southampton 20th of Nov - 26/11/2011

Bellowhead // The Pyramid Centre, Portsmouth - 06/12/2011

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 // Wednesday and Thursday - 21/07/2011

Larmer Tree Festival 2011 // Saturday and Sunday - 24/07/2011

Larmer Tree Festival 2012 // Wednesday, Thursday & Friday - 23/07/2012

Larmer Tree Festival 2012 // Saturday & Sunday - 24/07/2012

Larmer Tree Festival 2012 // Gallery - 22/07/2012

Laura Veirs // Queen Elizabeth Hall, London - 02/10/2012

Maximum The Hormone // Islington Academy - 26/07/2011

We Are The Ocean // Camden - 06/05/2011

The Xcerts // London Borderline - 30/09/2011




Chandrasonic (Asian Dub Foundation) - 28/07/2011

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo - 26/07/2012

Levellers - 26/07/2012

Laura Veirs - 10/02/2012

Phil Beer (Show of Hands) - 05/08/2012

Roots Manuva - 10/08/2012

Yes Sir Boss - 26/07/2012


Articles written for Drunken Werewolf


Reviews of Releases


Alessi's Ark // The Still Life - 10/04/2013

Beans on Toast // Trying to Tell The Truth (Print Only. Published in Issue #2 of DW Magazine Nov 2012)

Coasts // Paradise EP - 31/05/2013

Dungeonesse // Dungeonesse - 14/05/2013

James Yorkston // I Was a Cat from a Book - 13/08/2012

Josephine Foster // Blood Rushing - 13/08/2012

Joyce The Librarian // They May Put Land Between Us (Print Only. Published in Issue #2 of DW Magazine Nov 2012)

Me and My Drummer // The Hawk, The Beak, The Prey - 22/10/2012

Scott & Charlene's Wedding // Para Vista Social Club - 06/11/2012

The Leisure Society // Alone Aboard The Ark - 13/05/2013

We Are The Physics // Your Friend, The Atom - 19/10/2012




Bastille (Print Only. Published in Issue #4 of DW Magazine March 2013)

James Yorkston (Print Only. Published in Issue #5 of DW Magazine April 2013)

Me and My Drummer - 04/09/2012

METZ (Print Only. Published in Issue #6 of DW Magazine May 2013)

Nataly Dawn (of Pomplamoose) - 15/01/2013

Public Service Broadcasting - 05/11/2012

Scott & Charlene's Wedding - 07/12/2012

Sparrow & The Workshop - 31/05/2013

The Leisure Society (Print Only. Published in Issue #7 of DW Magazine Festival Issue April 2013)

Wolf Alice (Print Only. Published in Issue #7 of DW Magazine Festival Issue April 2013)

Yes Sir Boss - 18/12/2012


Articles written for The Galleon:


Single reviews (Fran Healy // Fly In The Ointment & The Chapman Family // Anxiety) - 02/03/2011

Sufjan Stevens // The Age of Adz - 30/10/2010


Interviews recorded for Pure FM:


Ben Marwood Studio Session - 06/11/2011

Tin Roots - 01/06/2011


Interviews produced* for Pure FM:


Andrew Foster Studio Session - 18/03/2012

Black Stone Cherry - 24/04/2012

Burn The Fleet @ Takedown Fest 2012 - 21/04/2012

Chiddy Bang (pre-recorded) - 17/02/2012

Don Broco @Takedown Fest 2012 - 21/04/2012

Fixers Studio Session - 27/02/2012

I Am The Avalanche - 23/02/2012

Lonsdale Boys Club Studio Session - 16/02/2012

Maverick Sabre - 12/03/2012

Niki & The Dove - 06/10/2012

Proxies @Takedown Fest 2012 - 22/04/2012

Reel Big Fish - 07/02/2012

Rival Sons - 24/04/2012

Underground Railroad Studio Session - 17/02/2012

The Xcerts - 23/02/2012

Yuck - 24/01/2012


*This means, as the station's Head of Music, I was responsible for the organizing of the interview through the relevant press agency, aiding the interviewer/photographer where necessary, editing the recorded interview, publishing it on the website with photo gallery and promoting it through social media outlets and promotions companies.



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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Music Articles

Published on October 14 2012

Part of the joy of the super culture that is the WWW is it's perpencity to mock superficial faults in our behaviour, and our ability to laugh along with them. Generally this requires only the smallest bit of salt as far as we're concerned, but there's that rare time when the particulars are so particular I fear the websites in question have formed sentience and are speaking directly to me. And always my favourite websites! Never the one's I'm pre-disposed to despise.


So the first 'as it comes' instance of this came from the terrific king of nerdy internet cynacism, and their comic about helping others in a time of little need; moving everythign out of a two bedroom apartment, including a collection of books you've been moving from place to place that serve no more purpose than a chiapet.


The comic in question can be viewed by clicking the picture.




The worst part is I've only read two of them.

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Entertainment

Published on June 27 2012

Alright listen up. I hate remakes. It's at best nostalgia gone awry, it's at worst repeating history to make money. Is it any mystery that in the ratio of good to bad remakes, the best are in short supply and the worst are not only more numerous, but often so terribly unforgiveable or forgettable?


If I had any say, we'd only have remakes under three conditions, and even these are stretching it:

  • The remake is of a media property that was either obscure, unappreciated or ill funded.
  • The remake is able to make itself unrecognizeable to the original, but keep its core essence.
  • The remake is of a foreign property.

I won't get too into that, I just wanted to use it as a bookend to explain my new blog series:  

Reefer Remakes.


After my article on Recess proved popular, I decided that rather than seek the hidden adult concepts in kids TV, I'd implant them myself. This is essentially what children shows would have been like had they had extremely heavy drug overtones. That's right, nothing clever or deep about it, just cheap stoner humour.


Childhoods, prepare to die.


Thomas the Bongine


Fucking loved Thomas The Tank Engine. It's the sole reason why Ringo Starr is my favourite Beatle. And I was a hardcore fan; be a badass like me and read the original 'The Railway Series' books. The author's son continued writing them after his Dad put down his pen, and with illustrations they were like proto-comic books but about motherfucking talking trains.


That said if you just read the Wikipedia articles on the different trains, they put my fandom to shame. I have much respect for the railway enthusiast community, but their level of attention to detail is frightening sometimes. Makes the thought of actually riding a train with them a peverse nightmare.


A few months ago I had the interesting idea of what would happen if you slipped a piece of hash in Thomas the Tank Engine's coal fire. Faster than you can say 'steam rolled' I had an entire re-envisioning of the series in which our favourite locomotives are puffing and polluting everything with the illest stink stink. 


What could be more hilarious than a crew of anthromoporphic locamotives baked out of their minds? It wouldn't exactly make it any weirder around the Island of Sodor. Can you imagine if you were a trainee at that railway station on your first day, but had no idea the trains could talk? That would fuck you up for sure, especially when just people act like it's normal.


"Oh the trains? Yeah they're alive. In his spare time Percy teaches hobby crafting, and Toby the Tram Engine just got confirmation on an allotment." 

"Right. And can they fuck too?"

"Probably not. Which is a shame because if Donald and Douglas ever get a civil partnership they're going to miss out on so many of the benefits."



I like to think the trains were already stoned. Most of the time if you look at their expressions they seem overly happy or zoned out about something.


Or maybe the whole show was just the fat controller's drug induced hallucination after smoking some really nasty shit.


Fat Controller-copy-1


But this is a remake, not a truth theory.


Essentially this new version would be the same, only the daily antics of the engines and vehicles wouldn't be about them falling down holes, leaving their signal-guards behind or crashing into barber's shops. Actually it probably would, but they'd only do all that stuff cause they were high at the time.


Because I got high-copy-1


The reason I think it would work is because there's just so many comedic similarties between train terminology and the stoner's dictionary. To demonstrate, here's the rhyme that inspired the original author, Christopher Awdry, to write his first story about the trains in Sodor:


"Early in the morning,
Down at the station,
All the little engines
Standing in a row.

Along comes the driver,
Pulls the little lever
Puff, puff! Chuff, chuff!
Off we go!"


And here's my little revision:


"At 4:20 in the afternoon,

Coached at the station

All dem little bongines

Passing in a row.


Along comes the dealer,

Pulls out a joint,

Puff, puff! Choof, choof!



But what is a good stoner comedy without memorable characters? After all a good time is had with the people you share it with and share with.


Just a few joining Thomas in his hippy circle of friends include:


ganja finished




Henry Hemp


Henry Hemp,






Tomato eye


Tomoato Eyed,




Dutch Oven,




Bung the canniBUS,




The Dealer Engine,




and Harold the Helicopter


For those curious Edward is a narc and won't be part of the crew.



So that's pretty much all I have to say about this particular series. I'll leave these stone rollers to their myriad of wonderful adventures, whether that is to find a takeaway, to grab another dimebag or just finding the will to leave the station.


Next time on Reefer Remakes: The Magic Mushroom Bus

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Entertainment