Tuesday, 27 April 2010
We do indeed live in a wonderful society filled with abundance and convenience. I sit typing this with a full belly, with a roof over my head and safe drinking water just a few feet away. I'm hooked up to an electronic network that can connect me to my friend in New York for a frivolous natter or to a local emergency center should I be bleeding, under attack or on fire. There are a million different ways I can distract myself, from watching Laurel & Hardy reruns to reading the galaxy's greatest comic to getting pissed out of my tree to attending a God awful Enya concert. I used to love this world; being all wrapped in comfort, ease and privilege. It is an easy world to live in and an easy world to love. It is a powerful world, and it is our duty as part owners of that power to ensure it is wielded fairly and with humanity.
We eventually discover, as we grow and our outlook matures, that there are other countries in the world where people aren't as "lucky" as us. Countries where they have seemingly incessant wars, brutal genocides, blazing droughts and murderous famines. Because we know how lucky we are, we throw a few coppers in charity tins and maybe buy a CD of singers we don't like singing songs we detest using money that isn't ours in aid of a cause we don't fully understand. A lot of clever people swim in and out of focus, wafting like infoghosts across the chattering cyclops telling us that it's all about debt relief or local government corruption or tribal rivalries or shifting climate or the fact that they're all just stupid bloody savages with no concept of how to run a country properly or any one of a myriad other factors that might be to blame.
But you get the feeling that this is all bullshit and that, deep down, it's not just "bad luck" at all but really our fault for allowing Big Banking, Big Business and Big Politics to go raping other people's countries in order to keep us in the lap of luxury - because so long as we have nothing to complain about, those people we put in charge can just keep on getting away with whatever it is they're getting away with.
But the cause doesn't matter, really, does it? Look; pictures of people starving and covered in flies staring uncomprehendingly at the camera to the accompaniment of a rock ballad or bloody Enya. Throw a few coppers at the problem. Money always helps, doesn't it? We all know it's not as simple as that, of course. Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, give a man a fishing rod and he'll eat for life. Right on, man. Groovy cool beans. Don't give cash, give goods because cash just evaporates faster the nearer to the ground it gets.
Anyway, it's not our job to fix the world, is it? We've got our own problems: Crime. Global warming. Immigration. The credit crunch. Iraq. Unemployment. Afghanistan. Global cooling. Public health. Fuel prices. Mortgage rates. Tax. Bills. Speed cameras. Computer viruses. The European Union. A volcano. Enya.
I guess my point is that everyone knows that the world we've got isn't the world any of us would want, but it is the world we deserve. We spend so much time arguing, fucking each other over and listening to Enya that we've taken our eye off the ball. We have no vision for the future. We have become small. We have become a species of Scrooges, grubbing about in the dust and shit for coppers when we should be reaching for the stars.
Now, I bang on a lot about the banks being a vampire attached to the very hearts of many of our societies, bleeding us all just dry enough to keep us quiet. Many people don't believe this, and I understand that. I didn't believe it when I first heard it a couple of years ago. I thought the idea was just mad - as mad as thinking the Royal Family are really shape-shifting space lizards who live off the blood of new born babies and control our minds via CIA operated telepathic satellite transmissions of Enya songs. As I learned more, I didn't want to believe it because the very thought that bankers might actually be doing this for real was (and still is) terrifying to me. Politicians and bankers can't be that corrupt, can they? Somebody would have noticed by now if all this had been going on for as long as people said it had. Abraham Lincoln noticed. So did JFK. They both tried to do something about it and things did not end well for either of them. Luckily, I'm a nobody and not worth shooting (hopefully), but I do have to examine my courage every time I post something like this. Well, I'm sure you can imagine how afraid to speak out you might be if you believed what I believe. I don't talk about this shit for fun, you know.
There is still a part of me, even now, that sometimes tells me I'm being stupid and that this can't possibly be. Then I learn a little bit more (such as the fact that the Bank of England pays 25% of its post tax profits to HM Treasury every year, but there's no mention of what happens to the other 75%) and I am reluctantly reintroduced to what I see as a likely reality. I don't expect anybody to be convinced by me or to follow me or even to take me seriously. All I say is that I believe that this country which I love is being quietly sacked by a small band of powerful European and domestic families who own most of the world's central banks. Because they control the money supply, they are above the law. This is what Meyer Amschel Rothschild meant when he said “Give me control of a country’s money, and I care not who writes its laws.” If your bank tells you that your mortgage has gone up, you pay it or the bank takes your house off you. If your bank tells you it's altering the terms of your mortgage (due to paragraph 56, Heading 44c, Subsection F2, line 8 of the thing you signed fifteen years ago without reading properly) you comply or the bank takes your house off you. This is precisely the position governments have got themselves into with the central banks - if governments don't comply, the banks turn off the money supply. The way out of this is for governments around the world to boot out the central banks and start printing their own debt-free money again.
Now, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm completely and irredeemably cock-out-howling-at-the-moon-in-a-tinfoil-hat loopy, but so what? I exercise my right as a free man in a free country to express whichever views I so choose, be they right or be they wrong. I'm not the only person in the world who believes that the human race is being not only held back but brutally damaged by the banking vampires or corporape interests and I see more and more people waking up to the idea every day. I do not see myself as a revolutionary - Hell, I'm not even interested in politics, to be honest - but I do feel very strongly about this one subject. I see myself only as one insignificant human being pointing and saying "look at that." Whether you look or not is up to you. What you see when you look is also up to you, as is what you may want to do about it.
I could go on and on and on about this (er, and I think I just did), but I don't think that what I say is unreasonable or beyond the bounds of possibility. I am disappointed that none of my parliamentary candidates will even talk about the subject. Does this mean I should forget it and just pick a party that's near enough to my views on everything else except this, even though I firmly believe that unless we change the way our country prints money nothing else actually [i][b]can[/b][/i] change?
So, what have politicians ever done for us? A great deal, and nowhere near enough.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The words echoed through his mind like gunshots. With his other hand, Brian held onto the dry root and all his body burned with the effort. Diamonds of his own sweat followed Janet's rubies into the yawning fissure and he imagined the puddle they were making together somewhere in the darkness. Soon, that puddle would me a mess of... No! Don't think like that. People came up this path all the time. There was still hope. He tried to call her name again, but his throat was dry and his lungs were filled with acid.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
He'd known Janet all his life. They'd grown up as neighbours and she'd always been a sister to him. She was to be a bridesmaid at his wedding to Danni next week. He hadn't known how she felt about him. How could he have not known? It was so obvious, now. Now that it was too late.
Her tearful pleas had taken him completely by surprise and, when she'd rushed to embrace him he'd stepped back in shock. Janet slipped, fell against him and pushed them both off balance. Down the slope they'd tumbled, falling away from the mountain path in a chaotic tangle, glancing off rocks and roots and trees as they went. Falling faster and faster towards the edge. Brian didn't remember grabbing her or the root at the last possible second. He remembered the jolt of pain as he arrested their descent. Remembered the terror as he realised their situation. The root protruded from between the rocks of a steep overhang and Brian couldn't reach anything with his feet. All he could do was hold on.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
His chest felt like jelly, now, and his arms felt like glass. He couldn't hold on much longer. He pushed the thought from his mind and tried to concentrate on his screaming hands. Somebody would come, but they wouldn't see anything amiss from the road. Brian listened for the sounds of others climbing the path to the summit, but could hear nothing through the blood-roar in his head. He still couldn't shout. How much time? Not enough.
Brian could feel his strength ebbing away. Knew the sun was sinking. Knew that it was time for a decision. Which hand?
With a primal cry, Brian let go.
Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Monday, 21 July 2008
Tharg’s Future Shocks Script Synopsis
War of the Worlds
By Mark J Howard.
The year is 2019 and Lester J. Smethwick, the 46th president of the United States, has been doing rather well until an alien force invades the Earth.
In true alien-invasion style, humanity has no answer to the awesome forces unleashed all across the planet and can only stand and watch as huge areas are transformed into alien strongholds 100 miles across.
With the detection of a countdown signal, mankind can only wait for the final assault to come. The aliens, however, have no interest in humanity at all and are merely using the Earth as a glorified machine gun nest in order to ambush another alien fleet coming this way.
In the end, mankind takes no part in the Battle for Earth.
War of the Worlds
By Mark J. Howard
PAGE ONE, FRAME ONE: Large frame, half a page or so. The planet Earth seen from space, looking peaceful and beautiful. The International Space Station orbits in the middle distance. All is well.
CAP (HANDWRITING): JUST FIVE DAYS AGO, EVERYTHING WAS GOING SO WELL. I WAS HALF WAY THROUGH MY PRESIDENCY AND MY APPROVAL RATINGS WERE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH.
CAP (HANDWRITING): I’D BROUGHT PEACE TO IRAQ AND FINALLY GOT THE MIDDLE EAST ON THE VERGE OF A LASTING CEASEFIRE.
CAP (HANDWRITING): BY THROWING THE ENTIRE WEIGHT OF AMERICA’S SCIENTISTS AND INDUSTRIALISTS AT THE PROBLEM, I MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR CHEAP AND CLEAN NEW ENERGY SOURCES TO BE DEVELOPED. OUR RELIANCE ON OIL WAS COMING TO AN END.
CAP (HANDWRITING): OUR ECONOMY WAS BOOMING AND THE REST OF THE WORLD WAS FINALLY STARTING TO LIKE THE U.S.A. AGAIN.
PAGE ONE, FRAME TWO: Large frame, taking up the rest of the page. A fleet of massive alien spacecraft (similar in design and size to the ships from the movie Independence Day) heading for the Earth. There are 666 of them, but we don’t need to see them all here, just enough to know that this is an overwhelming force. One of the alien ships collides with the International Space Station, smashing it to pieces effortlessly and with no damage to itself. There is no weapons fire.
CAP (HANDWRITING): I, LESTER J. SMETHWICK, 46TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WAS ABOUT TO GO DOWN AS PROBABLY THE GREATEST LEADER IN OUR HISTORY.
CAP (HANDWRITING): AND THEN THEY CAME FROM OUT OF NOWHERE.
CAP (HANDWRITING): IT JUST ISN’T GODDAM FAIR.
PAGE TWO, FRAME ONE: The alien ships entering the atmosphere, as seen from ground level by frightened people. It doesn’t matter which country is depicted here, as the same thing is happening all over the world. The ships are not firing or making any aggressive moves, just descending and spreading out.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THERE WERE SIX HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX OF THEM. RELIGIOUS NUTS ALL OVER THE WORLD HAD A FIELD DAY WITH THAT LITTLE STATISTIC.
PAGE TWO, FRAME TWO: We focus on one of the massive alien ships descending towards a city. Fighter jets are on their way to intercept it, looking like gnats mobbing a whale.
CAP (HANDWRITING): ALL ATTEMPTS AT COMMUNICATION FAILED.
PAGE TWO, FRAME THREE: The alien ship lands on top of the city, crushing buildings beneath it as if they were made of sand.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THEY DIDN’T SEEM TO CARE WHERE THEY TOUCHED DOWN. CITIES, JUNGLES, DESERTS, ICE CAPS, THE OPEN SEA; ALL WERE MERELY LANDING SITES TO THEM. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD WERE SIMPLY CRUSHED TO DEATH.
PAGE TWO, FRAME FOUR: The alien ship, sitting within the city, comes under attack from the fighter jets and land based tanks and rocket launchers etc. The ship sustains no damage at all and does not return fire, but the remaining buildings around the edge of the landing site are demolished in the attack.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THERE WAS NO OTHER OPTION OPEN TO ME. I HAD TO AUTHORISE AN ALL-OUT COUNTER STRIKE.
PAGE TWO, FRAME FIVE: The attack is over and the smoke and dust is clearing to reveal a totally undamaged alien ship.
CAP (HANDWRITING): WE DIDN’T EVEN SCRATCH THEM.
PAGE TWO, FRAME SIX: Closer on the alien ship, still just sitting there, but focussing on the damage to the city caused by the landing and the attack. Many dead people.
CAP (HANDWRITING): GOD ALONE KNOWS HOW MANY OF OUR OWN PEOPLE WE KILLED, BUT WHAT ELSE COULD WE DO? I PRAY GOD WILL FORGIVE ME.
PAGE THREE, FRAME ONE: An alien ship sat in the Mojave Desert with a stealth bomber approaching. The bomber has released a guided nuclear missile towards the alien ship. The alien ship does not react.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THERE WAS ONLY ONE WEAPON LEFT TO TRY, JUST LIKE IN ALL THOSE CHEESY MOVIES. I PICKED ONE OF THE SHIPS THAT HAD LANDED IN A REMOTE AREA, THE MOJAVE DESERT, I COULDN’T FACE KILLING ANY MORE CIVILIANS IN THE ATTEMPT.
PAGE THREE, FRAME TWO: The alien ship is hit by the nuclear missile, but the blast is deflected, doing no damage to the ship but vaporising the stealth bomber.
CAP (HANDWRITING): IT MERELY DEFLECTED THE BLAST, INCREASING ITS POWER TENFOLD, TURNING OUR OWN WEAPON AGAINST US.
PAGE THREE, FRAME THREE. Another alien ship, this time sat in the English countryside. The ship is beginning to glow.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THEY JUST SAT THERE, FOR THE BETTER PART OF A DAY, QUIET AND INVULNERABLE.
PAGE THREE, FRAME FOUR: The same ship and scene from the last frame, but this time almost hidden inside a dome of energy with the ship at the dead centre. As the dome expands, it annihilates everything it comes into contact with; trees, animals, buildings, hills – leaving behind a totally smooth area.
CAP: (HANDWRITING): MOST OF OUR SATELLITES WERE STILL WORKING THEN, SO WE SAW EVERY ONE OF THE INVADING SHIPS GENERATE A MASSIVE ENERGY FIELD AT THE SAME TIME.
PAGE THREE, FRAME FIVE: London. The energy barrier has expanded to just short of the Houses of Parliament, although now the energy barrier cannot be seen through.
CAP (HANDWRITING): EACH BARRIER RADIATED OUT IN A PERFECT CIRCLE ONE HUNDRED MILES IN DIAMETER. THE BARRIERS LASTED FOR A DAY. NOTHING COULD GET THROUGH THEM.
PAGE THREE, FRAME SIX: Same as above, but now the energy barrier has gone, leaving behind a smooth wall a mile high with the surviving portion of London untouched outside the wall.
CAP (HANDWRITING): WHEN THE BARRIERS DISAPPEARED, THEY LEFT BEHIND CIRCULAR ENCLOSURES SURROUNDED BY WALLS A MILE HIGH AND A MILE DEEP.
PAGE FOUR, FRAME ONE: Large frame. One of the newly constructed enclosures from above. This one has its centre off the eastern seaboard of the United States and the outer wall cuts into New York City. The interior of the enclosure is filled with an alien cityscape of towers and weaponry. Aircraft are trying to fly over for a look, but each one of them is vaporised by alien energy weapons.
CAP (HANDWRITING): ONLY THEN DID THEY START SHOOTING. EVERYTHING THAT FLEW OVER THE ENCLOSURES WAS ATOMISED. INSECTS, BIRDS, AIRCRAFT, MISSILES, SATELLITES... EVERYTHING. WE STILL CAN’T SEE WHAT’S INSIDE.
PAGE FOUR, FRAME TWO: An army radio operator on the ground, close to one of the alien walls, pulls off his earphones in agony as a loud noise rips through all the frequencies.
SFX (RADIO): FSSSS-KKKK-FSSSSS-KWAAAA-FSSSS...
CAP (HANDWRITING): THEN THE SIGNAL STARTED. IT’S COMPLETELY BLACKED OUT MOST OF OUR OWN COMMUNICATIONS. WE CAN’T JAM IT OR BLOCK ITS EFFECTS. WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE ITS COMING FROM.
PAGE FOUR, FRAME THREE: President Lester J. Smethwick sat at his desk in a darkened bunker office, writing in his diary. He looks like a defeated man. The Seal of the US President hangs on the wall behind him. A door has opened and General William Schultz enters.
CAP (HANDWRITING): ALL WE KNOW IS THAT THIS SIGNAL IS A COUNTDOWN, WITH ZERO HOUR IN JUST A FEW MINUTES. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO US WHEN THE TIME’S UP? ARE THEY HERE TO DESTROY US? TO ENSLAVE US? TO EAT US? IF ONLY WE KNEW WHAT THIS WAR WAS ABOUT, MAYBE WE’D HAVE A CHANCE.
GENERAL SCHULTZ: MR PRESIDENT? IT’S ALMOST TIME.
SMETHWICK: WHAT? OH, THANKS BILL. JUST GIVE ME A SECOND.
CAP (HANDWRITING): IT LOOKS LIKE THEY’RE GETTING READY FOR THEIR FINAL ASSAULT ON US. IF ANYONE SURVIVES TO READ THIS, PLEASE KNOW THAT WE DID OUR BEST. PRESIDENT LESTER J. SMETHWICK, JUNE 6TH, 2019.
PAGE FIVE, FRAME ONE: An underground war room. There are many generals and civilians present. On the walls are large monitors, most of them filled with static or very poor images of soldiers giving reports and views of the alien enclosures. The mood in the room is one of despondency and fear. A large CLOCK is counting down and reads H00:M00:S43. President Smethwick enters, followed by General Schultz, everyone stands and the military personnel salute.
SMETHWICK: WHAT’S OUR STATUS?
GENERAL SCHULTZ: FORTY THREE SECONDS TO GO, SIR. ALL OUR FORCES ARE STANDING BY. FROM WHAT WE CAN TELL, THE REST OF THE WORLD’S READY, TOO.
PAGE FIVE, FRAME TWO: Still in the war room, close on the president and General Schultz.
SMETHWICK: CAN WE WIN THIS WAR, BILL? HAVE WE GOT A CHANCE?
SCHULTZ: NO, SIR. THEY WON’T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE OUR PLEAS TO SURRENDER. BEST WE CAN HOPE FOR IS TO GO OUT FIGHTING.
PAGE FIVE, FRAME THREE: A civilian scientist listening to a ‘phone relays information. He is very frightened.
SCIENTIST: MR PRESIDENT! I’VE MANAGED TO GET THROUGH TO A GROUND-BASED OBSERVATORY IN UTAH. SIR, THEY’VE JUST PICKED UP ANOTHER FLEET HEADING FOR EARTH, THOUSANDS OF SHIPS THIS TIME!
SCIENTIST (JOIN): THEY’RE A LOT SMALLER AND OF A DIFFERENT DESIGN. E.T.A. TWENTY SECONDS.
PAGE FIVE, FRAME FOUR: Large frame. The alien enclosures firing at the approaching ships, which are of a completely different design. The new ships are firing at the alien enclosures, doing lots of damage. Massive damage to each side, and massive collateral damage to the Earth also.
CAP (HANDWRITING): WE GOT IT ALL WRONG. THEY WERE AT WAR, BUT NOT WITH US. THEY TURNED OUR PLANET INTO A GLORIFIED MACHINE GUN NEST; SET A PLANETARY AMBUSH.
CAP (HANDWRITING): THE BATTLE FOR THE EARTH HAS BEGUN, AND MANKIND CAN ONLY STAND AND WATCH AND DIE IN THE CROSSFIRE.
And this is what Matt Smith said about it:
Apologies for the brevity of this letter, but I do assure you that each and every unsolicited submission to 2000 AD receives the fullest individual attention.
Thank you for your script submission WAR OF THE WORLDS. Unfortunately, I don't feel that at the moment it is suitable for 2000 AD. I'm afraid I felt the plot simply wasn't substantial enough for an engaging five page tale, with too much of the backstory told in expository captions, when the narrative should flow naturally through the action and dialogue. Also, tje ending made the preceding pages fairly pointless and the story as a whole a little inconsequential...
Well, I can't argue with that. I'll keep posting these painful things if others find them helpful.
Monday, 14 July 2008
That's all very well, but how do you write one? What could possibly be going on in my exceptionally dull and ordinary life that you could possibly have any interest in? Of course, the answer to that question is "nothing." I'm not interested in your life, so why should you be interested in mine? So, I probably shouldn't write about myself, then. Write about what you know, or so they say. Well, I know about misery and failure and loneliness, but who the hell wants to read about that? I've got an 'O' level in English, but nothing much else, so I know how to write but don't know anything to write about.
This is all getting to be a bit of a washout, isn't it? Still, I did at least have the foresight to entitle this blog Sharky's Pointless Musings" (I'm Sharky, by the way) and so I suppose I did get something right.
Sharky isn't my real name, it's a nickname I acquired when I was a lorry driver for an important local cabbage distribution firm. To be honest, I had other nicknames too (Pork Pie, Fatty, Bastard), but I liked Sharky the best and stuck with it. Nobody I know calls me Sharky, so I don't even know why I have a nickname to start with.
See? I told you this'd be pointless.