Sacking Jeremy Clarkson- a great example to our kids

There’s been lots written about Jeremy Clarkson in the press over the last couple of weeks after the infamous “fracas”. There has also been a lot on social media. One of his columnist chums from the Sun even set up an online petition which had more than 1m signatures.

I can even understand a little how some people have defended him; for example I quite enjoy Orson Scott Card’s Ender series of books. The man himself is a terrible homophobe (for mostly religious reasons I understand) but I put that aside when I’m reading his fiction. People who enjoy Top Gear want to put aside the assault that Clarkson did on a junior member of staff because they enjoy watching the TV show he appears in and I can see the parallel, so it’s not as if I’m immune to understanding what’s going on.

Of course it’s been much worse than people simply sticking up for Clarkson- the poor lad on the receiving end has been subjected to social media hate campaigns (despite the fact he didn’t report Clarkson, Jeremy actually shopped himself)- and it’s not as if the chap was new to the show; he’d worked on it for ten years.

Ten years, imagine if a senior work colleague you’d know for ten years did the following to you:

findings

Via The Guardian

That the media and social media is full of people sounding baffled that the BBC is effectively flushing £50m of foreign sales down the toilet by sacking someone who’s committed common assault, beggars belief. The number of celebs commenting that Clarkson is a character who will bounce back, and offering support for him, is equally strange- it’s not as if Clarkson has been hard done by, he’s lucky plod hasn’t arresting him for assault, so to simply lose his job for what he did is exactly what anyone could and should expect. I’m really disappointed by Hammond and May’s response too. The slightly useless lad bonhomie is ruined by the pair of them expressing their disappointment that assaulting people gets you the sack. What’s the world coming to eh lads?

Reading around it, the assault is bad enough but the tirade about making sure Tymon would be sacked and not work on the show again is also unspeakably horrible. Again, the context is that these are two people who have worked together for ten years.

I’m sad to see the end of Top Gear (in it’s current format) because I liked it. I liked it a lot more 5 or ten years ago before they started recycling jokes and the format got a bit tired but the TG special to the North Pole is one of the finest TV programmes I’ve seen the BBC output; it was genius from beginning to end. But I’m glad that Clarkson has been sacked because I would be completely and utterly stumped if one of my kids asked me “Daddy, why did that man not get into trouble for hitting someone? Is it okay to hit someone?“.

There’s no real answer to that is there?

Bullying is still a real issue in schools, especially among boys, and the idea that a campaign has been run to basically say “as long as you’re popular bullying is okay”, strikes me as exceptionally depressing.

Introducing the kids to…

…The Bonzo Dog Do Daah Band.

Yes, that’s a rather eclectic choice isn’t it? I happened to catch a Sounds of the 60’s on Friday night on BBC4 before I absconded to the pub. It started off with the rather surreal Canyons of Your Mind by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band:

Wow. I have to say, hearing the song, it was instantly familiar but I think my brain had compartmentalised it as a Monty Python song. How wrong I was. I quickly decided to play some Bonzo Dog to the kids on Sunday afternoon to see what they thought of it all.

I selected a best of album (a cop out I know but I didn’t have much time for research) that was on Spotify and pumped it through to our SONOS Play:3.

The chaps could have titled the album something a little less difficult to explain to kids but aside from that it was child friendly fair. Listening to The Intro and the Outro, I thought, this really reminds me of something and I was right- a bit of digging around and I found out that the lead singer of the Bonzo Dog Doo Daah Band, Vivian Stanshall, provided the voice of the “Master of Ceremonies” who reads off the list of instruments during Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. The Python link is there too as Neil Innes, one of the band members, was involved in song writing for the final series of Monty Python.

So the lyrics were kid friendly but did they actually like it? The Boy was generally avoiding me on Sunday as I was trying to get him to do his drumming practice but Fifi and Ned enjoyed it tremendously. There was a degree of strut and swagger in the music that made it easy to dance to and by the third play of Canons of My Mind, Fifi was belting out half the words. Some of them were even the right words.

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band were psychedelic popsters of the finest order. I like to listen to some pretty out there stuff from that era and this is definitely up there with the best of the strange. And the kids approved too, which is a bonus. I was playing Magnet’s Wicker Man sound track album last night and the Boy came downstairs and told me to turn it off as it was too spooky. That told me!

The Parable of the Lost Giraffe

wpid-wp-1426953724984.jpegWe had an early morning trip to Church last week for the Christening of our little nephew. It was a lovely service, even though an particularly wrinkly old lady installed herself on the pew directly behind us with the express intention of tutting as the kids fidgeted.

Still, the Church wardens gave out some exercise books, pens and pencils to the kids and Fifi listened attentively to the sermon before coming up with the illustration to the left.

I have to admit, although I only paid passing note to the sermon, I’m fairly sure it didn’t involve Jesus, his best friend, a donkey and a giraffe. Apparently the giraffe is lost but Jesus and his best friend hopped on a donkey to go and find the missing even-toed ungulate.

 

I think I prefer Fifi’s interpretation because the official sermon involved Mother Theresa, Marge Simpson and the virgin Mary. It was very worthy but not as interesting as something with actual giraffes in it…

Review: Mario Party 10 on Wii U

Mario Party 10

Despite owning every single Nintendo console since my brother won a NES in a competition waaaaay back in the day, I’ve never actually got round to playing a Mario Party game. The fact that Mario Party 10 is obviously the tenth makes this some sort massive oversight on my part. The series started in 1998 with three N64 games, progressed to the Gamecube with a further 4 titles, a couple of the Wii and now the tenth on the Wii U.

There are some great party games about, and the Mario Party franchise has always lead the way. Most of the games were actually developed for Nintendo by a company called Hudson Soft. You might not know the name but if you’re of a certain age you’ll know their most recognisable game- Bomber Man. I have fond memories of playing 8 player Sega Saturn Bomber Man on a big screen in a pub about ten years ago.

Party games are best played with as many people as possible, and where in the past the only people I could game with were an internet connection away, now with a family full of small people, I have a ready made audience. So what did we make of Mario Party 10 then?

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I’m a big fan of digital download, especially for slot loading devices since Ned attempted to ram two discs into the Wii U once and almost ruined the Wonderful 101. We went off and make some cakes while it was downloading. Fortunately this didn’t take long as we’ve on a Virgin Media 150Mbps connection.

The first thing that I liked about the actual games in Mario Party 10 is that is makes all the participants use the WiiMote. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of aggravation we have over who gets the the Gamepad in Mario Kart when we all want to play at once. Anyway, there are 3 game modes, Amiibo party, Bowser party and the eponymous Mario Party. We’ve mostly stuck to playing Mario party, as there is the inevitable fight over who gets which Amiibo. It’s not pretty.

So once you’ve decided upon your character of choice (me: Mario, the Boy: Yoshi, Fifi: Princess Peach), they all hop in a car together and travel around the track/board together, taking it in turns to roll the dice and move the car around. Some squares you land on have bonuses or penalties and some lead to the mini games that are the meat of the game.

There are various sorts of games, from waggling as fast as you can, jumping on the head of the giant thingies (Goombas I think), swinging round on a giant roulette wheel, shooting bombs at a player on a boat, playing golf but having to avoid hitting bombs- there are absolutely loads of them. The boy is better at the fast waggle games, Fifi better and the co-ordination ones.

This is a lovely looking game too; the Wii U is a poweful bit of kit and that extra graphical grunt is used well in big colourful characters and lush scenery. It’s an ideal game for the kids to have a quick 20 minutes or half hour on after school because it doesn’t take as long to get into as some other games they like (the LEGO games for example, give the kids lots of great experiences but you really need to sit down for an hour or so at a time to get the most out of it) but also offers maximum fun in small manageable bundles.

Mario Party 10 is out now and rated PEGI 7.