June TV

July 2, 2016 at 19:59 (TV) ()

  • The Good Wife
  • Last Week Tonight
  • It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (S4)
  • Disparue (The Disappearance)
  • Silicon Valley (S3)
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Gotham
  • Flowers
  • Angie Tribeca
  • Marvel Agents of SHIELD
  • 11.22.63
  • The Americans
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Dicte
  • Wallander
  • Love, Nina
  • The Musketeers

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Glastonbury 2016

June 29, 2016 at 21:59 (Festivals, Film, Music) (, )

Here’s a list of all the acts (and films) I saw at Glastonbury. My highlights are in bold, those in italic I only really saw as I was passing through and asterisk indicate where I didn’t see the whole set.

Wednesday

  • Film: Deadpool
  • Opening ceremony + fireworks

Thursday

  • Arcadia – Metamorphosis Show

Friday

  • Gwenno (Park)
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage (Cabaret) + KT Tunstall
  • Blossom (Other)
  • Michele Stodart (Acoustic)
  • Stephen Frost Impro All Stars (Astrolabe)
  • Ed Harcourt (Acoustic)
  • ZZ Top*
  • Explosions In The Sky (Peel)
  • Aluna George (Peel)
  • Sigur Ros (Peel)

Saturday

  • Cat’s Eyes (Park)
  • Izzy Bizu (Park)
  • Lady Leshurr (Park)
  • (Tried to see Travis at Croisant Neuf but couldn’t get close so only heard Sing)
  • Choir Of Young Believers (William’s Green)
  • The Last Shadow Puppets (Pyramid)
  • Chvches (Other)
  • Turin Brakes (Avalon)*
  • Adele (Pyramid) *
  • New Order (Other)*
  • Philip Glass’ Heroes Symphony (Park)

Sunday

  • Marcus Brigstocke’s Policy Unit (Cabaret)
  • Mark Simmons?  (Cabaret)*
  • Spencer Jones Is the Herbert (Cabaret)
  • Gregory Porter (Pyramid)
  • Marcus Du Sautoy (Astrolabe)
  • Jeff Lynne’s ELO (Pyramid)
  • Låpsley (Introducing)
  • Guy Garvey (Park)
  • Grimes (Park)
  • Coldplay (Pyramid)*
    • Barry Gibb
    • Michael Eavis
  • Doreen Doreen (Summer House)*

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Arkham Knight

June 20, 2016 at 14:09 (Games, Misc, PS4)

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I think it’s fair to say I hated Arkham Knight but with a huge caveat of I also really enjoyed it. This was the first game of this generation in which I had any interest but so-so reviews weren’t enough to make me purchase hardware. When Arkham Knight picked up the Best Game Bafta it felt like a good time to give it a go. By the time my end credits rolled I thought it was embarrassing that this game had won the BAFTA. I didn’t take to the game at all and certainly not as much as any of the other games in the series including Origins. The controls have been mangled so so actions learned over three other games now open pointless menus and makes it so much harder to do simple things like switching gadgets so they just don’t get used. Another button quickly calls the Batmobile which is also something you’ll hardly ever want to do because that is another huge problem with the game. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like driving games but everything about it feels wrong and doesn’t feel like Batman. Any Batmobile section brings the game to a grinding halt and destroys any momentum and forgiveness of other flaws that may have developed.

The story is another big problem. I didn’t like it, it’s uninteresting and didn’t make much sense and was full of pointless and obvious twists. It always felt like it was the story that was getting in the way of the game an idea that was only solidified after probably spending as much time in the game after completing the story. Because when it boils down to what the game actually is, it is still great fun. It’s great to be Batman, everything about the other games is still great here. It just gets interrupted by a car chase, race or shoot out. I did keep coming back for more, it’s unlikely I’ll get to 100% but it felt like it was worth working towards it and again apart from the Batmobile sections (apart from the Riddler trophies the only other part I’ve yet to complete are the mines) they are more fun than the story. It made me realise that nearly every open world game has it the wrong way around and it’s all the smaller side quests that should be the focus. A story could come along and interrupt things and that would make much more sense. The Riddler’s presence is much more prominent than any of the other villains in the game and that should have been the focus. As you’re trying to sort him out other “plot” could happen around you. I thought the same thing about other games such as Tomb Raider where exploring and collecting trinkets was more enjoyable than the story. It’s something I hope the new Zelda game will get right.

So a love/hate relationship. The mechanics (once you get over the dodgy controls and stop opening menus) are hugely enjoyable and the reason why I kept coming back. Definitely more fun once the story was out of the way and the Batmobile was never required.

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Mitch Benn: Don’t Fear The Reaper (preview)

June 5, 2016 at 18:00 (Comedy, Gigs)

The HiFi Club part of Leeds Comedy Festival

Really great show, shame more people didn’t come and see it. I’d have like to have gone to more of the Comedy Festival but all the good stuff seemed to clash with each other or prior commitments.

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May TV

June 5, 2016 at 11:41 (Misc, TV) (, )

Last month’s TV in rough order of preference:

  • The Good Wife
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Togetherness
  • Follow The Money
  • Marcella
  • Vinyl
  • The Goldbergs (S3)
  • Gotham
  • Silicon Valley
  • The X-Files
  • Agents of SHIELD
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Wallander (2/3)
  • Undercover
  • The Last Man On Earth (S2)
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Indian Summers
  • Brooklyn Nine Nine
  • Plebs

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Firewatch

May 28, 2016 at 14:39 (Games, PS4)

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Firewatch has one of the best openings of any game, it reminded me a lot of the start of Up! and it is just as emotional. Once the game started properly I had some issues getting familiar with the controls, this isn’t unusual for me but something here wasn’t quite right. It’s never a huge issue but more than once I missed a piece of conversation or selected the wrong option by pressing the wrong button. The control issues did stop me loving the game the way I thought and hoped I would from the start though. I did end up enjoying the experience though. It’s a shame there isn’t more to do or at least more time to explore, at one point a day ended when I was in the middle of something else which was both jarring and annoying. I played through in three “movie length” sessions so it probably was around 6 hours. The story is well told and has a really satisfying conclusion but at places wish there was more depth.  I’ve realised there is a problem in that I can’t really remember any of the detail (it’s a month later) but perhaps that just means I should find time to play through again.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War

May 25, 2016 at 11:14 (Games, PS4)

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I’d known about Valiant Hearts for a while but didn’t realise it came out back in 2014, I only caught up with it this year when it was heavily discounted in the sales. It’s a remarkable game, simplistic in it’s gameplay but full of depth when it comes to the portrayal of war. Perhaps it’s surprising that something that looks the way this does should feel so authentic but it captured something that so few other things have managed. There are several moments in the game when bombs are being dropped or your characters are under heavy fire and it isn’t clear what you should do; do you just run for it, hold back, step out of the way. It was these moments that really made me feel the hopelessness of war, it’s usually a terrible game mechanic to make progress through trial and error but here it just added poignancy.

The whole game is beautifully designed and looks fantastic. Rather than strive for photorealistic graphics I never understood why developers didn’t aim for interactive cartoons like this. The digging animation is the only weak part but I assume that was made intentionally shonky by design. If there are other problems then my hopelessness with names meant I struggled to completely follow the story (even though I played through it over a short period), it’s a shame because this could have been avoided if the diaries had pictures of the characters or there was some other place to see their names. The historical facts are an interesting addition but the use of actual photos doesn’t sit well with the rest of the stylised world but does add some authenticity to what you are seeing.

A beautiful, moving and educational experience that would also be suitable for people who don’t normally play games.

 

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Travis

May 14, 2016 at 19:15 (Gigs, Music)

Leeds O2 Academy 

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with support from Sarah Walk

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Father John Misty

May 11, 2016 at 20:00 (Gigs, Music)

Leeds O2 Academy 

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with support from Khruangbin

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April TV

May 4, 2016 at 21:29 (TV)

  • Line Of Duty
  • Better Call Saul
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (S1)
  • The Good Wife
  • X-Files (Essential Collection and S10 ep1-4)
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Fresh Meat
  • Parks and Recreation (S5)
  • Penn and Teller: Fool Us
  • Thirteen
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Vinyl
  • Gotham
  • Agents Of SHIELD
  • Last Man On Earth
  • Marcella
  • Walking Dead
  • Detectorists
  • Cuckoo
  • Muppets
  • Indian Summers
  • Plebs

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