Archive for the ‘What’s in my head…’ Category

TV is a strange place. That little box (although it’s more like a piece of paper¬†these days…) in your living room brings you a cocktail with more ingredients in it than a long island ice tea – and just as much booze. Only on TV can you see a man make a gigantic fondant covered hogwarts cake, and then switch to a chick standing in a plastic cube while trying to blow a ball-bearing into a hole with a straw. Only on TV can¬†you have bad singing and then bad dancing, laced with bad sob stories… and then flick over to the other side and OH MY GOD there’s a man on a desert island giving himself an enema (seriously channel 4? We did not need to see that).¬†We have TV shows were we watch people watching TV, we have shows with dancing ‘celebrity’ dogs… we even have a show were we sexualize toddlers (?!) and make them compete with each other in order to vicariously fulfil some lady’s self esteem issues.

TV can be messed up. But it is the purest form of social commentary and can occasionally be the greatest form of entertainment the world has ever seen. Sometimes though, it takes a lot of delving through the mud and sludge to find those rare tiny gems that are worth switching on the box and delving in.

This is three of the most underrated, underwritten or unknown show’s you’ve never watched – that you definitely should. And with netflix you have no excuse not to.

1) Nikita 

Nikita is unusual in that it isn’t unknown – it is just totally written off. From pretty much the pilot, Nikita got a bad rep. Being on the CW network meant it was never taken seriously by anybody, and totally missed it’s target audience – and likewise, as it wasn’t a teen TV show, no one who ever watched the CW ever gave it a look in. Marketing for the show also ruined its chances, the network wanted us to think this was a show about sexy women wearing revealing outfits yet being super spies and kicking butt. People said¬†it was shallow and against feminism. When in reality, Nikita couldn’t be further away from that. Three of the lead characters are strong, complex women with dark, traumatic pasts. There is no skimpy outfits or overtly sexual scenes unless they have to for a mission, and even then it is rare. Nikita’s bad rep is totally and utterly unfounded, and here’s why.

nikita gifFirstly, it takes a hell of a lot to make an action show. Especially an action show with a full weekly roster of hand to hand combat like Nikita. I don’t think people appreciate just how difficult it is to choreograph it, get the actors to learn it – as well as their lines – and then bring in the explosions, gun work and stunts. Hell – Maggie Q did all her own stunts. And she got hurt¬†a lot¬†because of that. But Nikita never faltered, from start to finish the action scenes, especially the fight scenes, were always impressive and as good as any you would see in an action movie.¬†I guess that’s what happens when you hire an action star.¬†

alex cage gifSecondly, the strength of the characters meant that it transcended being just an action show. It wasn’t just about a fight against Division, it was about these characters and their lives before, and then after, Division. It was about learning what made them who they are, and what got them on the dark path that led them to end up in prison. Each major character was deeply complex. And in a way, we were probing them all just as Amanda obsessively did over the four seasons. For me, Alex’s story was most interesting. When do we ever have a lead character of a TV show who has a past that involves drug addiction, abduction and sex trafficking? We don’t. These issues are skirted around on a lot of shows, and maybe looked at in depth for an episode or two, but never do we see the soul of a character like we saw Alex. We knew her, and we saw her pain and then we saw her evolve past it and even, in the end, use it. Nikita similarly had a dark past with drugs and abuse, and interestingly we saw how she was moulded by Division into this person who was now so fiercely trying to tear them down. Throughout the series, Amanda goads Nikita by saying Division made her – and in truth they did.

And finally, the writing. It is really tough to write any serial drama, but spy shows have to be complex and they have to keep surprising you. Most of all, the spine of the show has to be the series ark – for a show like Nikita, a mission of the week premise was never going to work without a boatload of story development. Nikita, despite the occasional¬†derailment, did¬†that. The dialogue was great and to cap that, the cast had a great chemistry. Lyndsy Fonsecca – despite her parents having spelt her name wrong – is going to have a long and fruitful career ahead of her. Maggie Q – well, she’s already an action star, but I think she proved she can do drama as well. And that she actually doesn’t need to be wielding her fists to delve some killer blows. Melinda Clarke, as always, plays the slightly odd and manipulative villain fantastically. She’s almost pantomime, and it works. Xander Berkley actually manages to get me to hate him as Percy, even though my heart still aches a little after his (spoiler!)¬†martyrdom in season 2 of 24. Shane West is Nikita’s Romeo, but he also has a painful past and does the tortured soul well. And finally massive kudos goes to Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff who provides some brilliant one liners and at times, some much needed comic relief.

amanda gif

Nikita ran for three seasons, with six farewell episodes added on after it was cancelled to wrap things up. So we thankfully got some closure, and thanks to the great writing you couldn’t tell there was any kind of rushed ending. While it sort of went out without a whimper, with not a lot of people discussing it, and no real fuss – it was sort of fitting. Nikita did the spy thing – pulled off an impossible feat in that it brought three years of possibly the greatest spy show ever on a network usually dominated with teen angst, and with that brought all that badassery (not a word – should be)¬†and then faded into the background. Unseen. Unheard. Untraceable. Sound familiar?

Yes, Alex is drinking milk.

Yes, Alex is drinking milk.

2) American Gothic

The 90s was a revolutionary period in terms of TV. We were gifted with strongly written feminist shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena. The face of procedural and medical dramas changed forever with the beginning of Law and Order and the brilliant ER. Comedy got two of the greats with Friends and Frasier, and science fiction changed forever when Captain Janeway took the bridge and Mulder and Scully opened their first X File. But one revolution that never took off was in the horror genre with the highly underrated American Gothic.

Before there was American Horror Story – the 90s gave us American Gothic. Sam Raimi – before he made us all hate him with Spiderman 3 – had quite the repertoire. Evil Dead, Darkman and this extremely underrated series. CBS are the idiots in this story, after cancelling American Gothic after one season. Ahead of its time, and therefore still watchable now, American Gothic revolves around Caleb Temple (Lucas Black) and the town’s corrupt sheriff, Lucas Buck (Gary Cole). Though appearing affable and charismatic, Sheriff Buck is a murderous rapist whose powerbase is backed by apparent supernatural powers, which he generally uses to manipulate people to “fulfill their potential” and make life-changing choices (usually for evil). Gary Cole plays a villain so well in this show that he literally ruined himself for me in anything else he is in.¬†A very young Lucas Black is fantastic as Caleb, making himself the anchor for this wierd, anything goes series.

American Gothic was basically American Horror Story, but it was the 90’s and the world wasn’t ready for it yet. Hell – it even had Sarah Paulson in it to boot just in case you weren’t sure. The show was the epitome of strange, dark and disturbing all rolled into one. Had CBS had a backbone, no doubt it would have become a cult classic like the X-Files.

Despite its short run, it is still worth a look, and it really is a timeless hidden classic. I first saw this show when I was a teenager, about ten years after it first aired. And I remember being astounded when I discovered it was made in 1996. You really couldn’t tell.

If you get a chance, give this one a look.

3) Vikings

Vikings may be an Emmy nominated show, but I don’t know anyone but me who watches it. Where did this show come from? I didn’t even realise the History Channel made dramas, never mind dramas so breathtakingly shot, wonderfully acted and superbly written that it makes you want to sell all your worldly possessions, grow a beard (I’m a chick and I want one that includes a rather dashing mohawk), live off the land and kill a bunch of English people – a problem when you are actually English.

Vikings follows Ragnor Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) an actual 9th century notorious Viking famous for exploring the west and visiting all parts of Europe and fathering some very famous Viking sons. More notable however, at least in my eyes, is Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick), Ragnor’s shield maden wife who strides into battle even more fiercely than her husband, and is by far the strongest female lead on any TV, in any country at this current time. Winnick, who had a part in the hit show Bones, was otherwise a relatively unknown actress before getting this part. However, she shines as Lagertha, really bringing the character to life and managing to portray a character both ferocious and fragile at the same time. The supporting cast is also flawless. Special mentions go to Gustaf Skarsgard¬†– another Skarsgard, just what the hell was Stellan feeding these kids? What ever it was, keep doing it! –¬†who plays the eccentric Floki, and Jessalyn Gilsig who plays the manipulative Siggy.¬†Fimmel, meanwhile, leads from the front. He gives a solid performance as Ragnor, bringing a light shade to a character that could potentially have been all dark. He does the misunderstood, persecuted farmer well, while always eluding to an arrogance that eventually leads him to lead.
But it isn’t that acting or the weaving storylines that makes Vikings a stand out show. Instead, it is just how breathtaking the show is visually. Week in, week out, we the viewers are treated to shots that surely belong in a photography exhibit or on the big screen. But it isn’t just the lovely scenery gifted to us by it’s Irish location, it’s the vision created by the cast and crew, and the impeccable direction and care given to each and every episode. It makes Game of Thrones look visually unstimulating, and when you can say that about a show as fantastic as Game of Thrones, you know Vikings is bringing something very special to the screen.

It should be noted however, this is a show about Vikings, so expect a lot of violence and sex, tons of Norse mythology and a general distaste for morals. The Viking women were strong, merciless and often rode into battle alongside their male counterparts. They were still looked down upon, but were seen as much fiercer individuals that could earn respect on the battlefield. In their own way, the Vikings were more advanced than any of their Western counterparts – and despite being reviled as bloodthirsty barbarians, it took the rest of us a thousand years to catch up (and in a lot of places in terms of combat – we still haven’t).

Overall, Vikings is brilliant and refreshing and needs to be your newest show.

What is your most underrated show?

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Hello friends! It has been a while. But I recently had an almost lethal overdose – of movies (did you think I was going to say something else then?) and so it is time to empart my wisdom once again about the one thing in this world that I can talk insenently about, even if you tell me to stop. And you probably will. But I am stubborn so there.

When I¬†first saw the trailer for Elysium, I though it¬†was right up my street. Post-apocolyptic. Space. Robots.¬†Its like¬†the movie equivalent of an orgasm.¬†Anyway, it was clear they chucked a lot of money¬†at this film, the special effects were¬†top notch – and the cast impressive. Matt Damon – I’m guessing – doesn’t come cheap, and neither¬†does Jodie Foster¬†(despite not really bringing anything good to a film since¬†Contact back in 1997). Also in the starring line up was City of Gods Alice Braga who has done some interesting films¬†since her big break, and as an actress I think she does the whole¬†damsel in distress well. But the best thing¬†Elysium had going for it was¬†it’s concept.¬†In the not so different future,¬†earth has become inhabitable due to over-population and pollution, and¬†using up resources. As a result, those with the means, moved to Elysium, a space station in Earth’s¬†orbit that is basically like the astro version on Bel-Air. The people in charge are all on Elysium. And they rely on robots back on Earth to govern the people with¬†a literal iron fist.¬†The world has become unjust,¬†third world dictatorship,¬†where the people with means¬†(the 1 percent) live in¬†paradise while¬†trampling on the 99 percent back on the ground.¬†On top of that, people on Elysium have health pods that – from what I¬†gather – can make people live forever. They can heal any person of any ailment. And the rich use that to prolong their lifestyle while the poor have no¬†decent healthcare.

It’s not difficult to see that the whole movie is a metaphor¬†for what we ourselves have become. There is still a huge class divide¬†by where 5 % of the population controls 95 %¬†of the worlds wealth. And those in the developed world are okay with that – a bold statement, I know. But it’s all fine writing a check to a charity every once and a while when you saw the starving child covered in flies on TV, but when¬†the solution to the problem becomes something that impacts¬†on our actual way of life – we start to have a problem.¬†People question how much the¬†government spends on foreign aid when there are domestic¬†crisis’ that are¬†in need of¬†funding.¬†We¬†have¬†our flat¬†screen TV’s, and our games consoles, and¬†our holidays abroad – not because we need them, but because we can and we feel we deserve them.¬†It’s an ugly side¬†to human nature that¬†we all share.

Anyway, back to the movie. The concept of Elysium interested me. And the film had¬†potential in spades.¬†However, I think the execution was¬†flawed. In terms of direction I think Neil Blomkamp did well, but his script was lacking. There was no big finale, just several events that didn’t really climax in any meaningful end. The action was not as exciting as it could have been and in terms of the story development, the whole thing felt very much like it was plodding along at an uneven pace. I enjoyed Elysium, and it definitely wasn’t a bad movie, but it never really excited and enthralled like a big budget action movie should. It is possible that this was purposeful, in order to not overshadow the films message, but the ending wasn’t really moving enough to be memorable. Matt Damon’s character wasn’t particularly likeable, and I hated Jodie Fosters Delacourt much more than I liked him. All the performances were good, and I think the actors did their best with what they had, but there was no winning spark that would have made this a mega movie.

Overall, this movie didn’t live up to hype. But still delivered as a weekend blockbuster.

6/10

Something occurred to me today, while I was laughing away to the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Being a geek… has definitely become a lot cooler. When I was a kid, if you so much as mentioned something about ‘Comic Books’ or ‘Star Wars’ you were either immediately¬†ostracised, forced to spend the day undergoing a make over (actually happened) or compulsory left to get picked last in P.E. class. It was never a positive experience. And so I found myself – especially because I am a girl – purposefully hiding the real me.

“Oh… what music do I like? Erm… Oh what’s that new song they were playing on Juice FM… yeah I listen to Juice.” When in reality I had a room with head to toe pictures of Jimi Hendrix and I liked listening to metal when I did my homework. I know this isn’t unusual – the whole hiding your true self, I mean – pretty much every teen in history has experienced this at some point in their lives. But there is definitely much more acceptance for someone with more geekier¬†tendencies¬†these days than there were, say ten years ago. Take this for instance…

Source: weknowmemes.com

^That, right there, pretty much summarises what I mean. People are actually¬†buying¬†glasses with no glass in them, to simulate the fact that they look slightly nerdy! Why? Do you think it makes you look smarter? …I’m pretty sure it achieves the opposite. Then you get the people on facebook who are actually¬†pretending¬†to like ‘so-called’ geeky stuff. Holding up x-box controllers, or writing statuses like – “Just watching Star Wars… wow I’m so geeky.” …Erm, I have news for you girly. Watching a sci-fi flick doesn’t automatically¬†make¬†you geeky. Being like me and owning a replica light saber, a life size R2-D2 and spending your nights questing on The Old Republic… yes, then you¬†could¬†possibly be a nerd. But you’re not doing those things to be geeky. You’re doing them because you God damn genuinely¬†love¬†them.

I honestly think The Big Bang Theory has kind of added to this trend. People who know absolutely nothing about half the things the guys of the show are into still watch the show. Which, I am not ridiculing. It’s a great show and I don’t care who watches it as long as they keep it on the air.¬†But,¬†my boyfriend is prime example of what is wrong with this. He is not a nerd. He hates Star Wars, comics, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, MMORPGs, Star Trek… etc. He despises it all. Yet he¬†loves¬†The Big Bang Theory. Again, nothing wrong with that, I love it too and we have it in common. The only problem I have with it – is this – He doesn’t get half the jokes. In the beginning, especially, The Big Bang Theory had more geeky references than comicon. Sheldon would say a joke about both Star Wars and Star Trek that would only make sense to you if you’d seen either of them. But still… my boyfriend laughs. I don’t get it… on what level is he watching the show on? Because there is no way he understood that joke.

THESE are geeks! And FYI, I hope sincerely that if you watch TBBT you can at least name all the characters/species they’re imitating! Too much to ask for? Damn. Source: TV Fanatic

So this is my point. People watch a hit show about geeky guys and now, suddenly, they think they’re geeky. It doesn’t work like that people. I mean, in a way, I applaud The Big Bang Theory, for making it mainstream and essentially¬†okay¬†to like Star Trek, and to go to comicon and dress up as a Hobbit. The ridiculing has definitely decreased. I once went to a screening of Star Wars episode I with a face painted like Darth Maul. I was 8. But still I was ostracised for it. I got called names at school. And it was then that I started hiding the real things that interested me. Just for an easier life.

Okay, so I can kind of see why I was bullied. This isn’t exactly normal. But it’s what I wanted to do, so I did it. And I don’t regret it. I just regret hiding my love of all things Star Wars all through my teens.

Things like that seem easier now. At least on the surface. Maybe if you¬†pretend¬† to be a geek you are cool. It’s a strange phenomenon. I definitely like that you can seem to be more yourself now. That kid with the Star Trek lunch box isn’t going to end up eating its contents in a bath room stall, hiding from bullies. Or at least, he’s less likely to.

I think the true moral of the story it this. Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something your not. This cuts both ways. Don’t hide what you truly like, and don’t pretend to be a nerd so you look cool. It’s a hell of a lot more admirable to be yourself, and be self confident and comfortable in your own skin. Because at the end of the day, no body wants to really end up lying to themselves. Life’s too short.

…And on that note, I’m off to go play with my lego star wars set. Because I’m an adult and I can damn well do what I please!

“Look sir… Droids!”

Oh paranoid humans. Thousands of years ago, some people who were way too fond of¬†pyramid-style architecture decided that rather than pointlessly writing in dates thousands of years from now… they’d stop. And go eat a toblerone instead. Now, all these years later – the paranoid world as we know it, now thinks that this day, of no particular importance, will be the end of the world.¬†The rapture. The end of days. It has a lot of names, not all of which have been made into slightly¬†disturbing¬†Arnold¬†Schwarzenegger¬†flicks. Point is, on the 21st December 2012 – the world is going to end. Well, at least¬†some¬†people believe it will end. Me? Well, I think if it¬†was¬†going to end, we would have seen some sort of sign by now. Locusts. River’s running red. We’d have a Tory government and the global economy would continue to plummet…¬†oh wait…

But I haven’t come here to argue the in’s and out’s of an event that may or may not even happen. Instead I thought I would be useful.¬†If¬†some big,¬†cataclysmic event occurs, I am here to help. More specifically, I am here to help you survive.

I know what you’re thinking. How could I possibly be able to help you survive a nuclear holocaust, or a zombie army… or maybe even everybody on the planet suddenly turning into Liverpool supporters (“Oh dear God… NO!”)?¬†You’re right – I can’t. I am pretty sure no one can. But, what I can do, is give you help, advice and tips that may help keep you alive if you do in fact¬†survive¬†this world altering event.

Quick thinking

Now, this may sound pretty lame. But I am guessing that stupidity, hesitation and down right YOLOness will get you killed in this new world faster than you can say ‘Nicki Minaj’. Be smart and trust your instincts. Before any of us were skyping our friends and online shopping, we were animals. Remember that. Ever see a dog get the willies? Or a cat stare at some unknown object for no reason? That’s because animals are much more in tune with their senses. Hunting and sensing danger comes naturally to them. And it will for us again, if the situation calls for it. Listen to your gut, because as well as telling you that you haven’t eaten anything but a protein bar for three days, it will save your life.

Be careful who you trust

Undoubtedly, no matter what the catastrophe, if society falls – so does the socially acceptable code of morals. Be careful of other people, especially strangers. The world as you know it is over – therefore there are no laws any more. All people have to guide them is their conscience, and that can get pretty wacky when people are trying to feed themselves. The animalistic nature I mentioned before? Yeah, well it cuts both ways. People will get violent and dangerous fast. And eventually that will become as normal as your current morning Starbucks. Also, the psycho’s that seem so rare now? Well they won’t be so rare anymore. The¬†vicious ones are undoubtedly the ones who are more likely to survive a post-apocalyptic¬†world because they will do just about¬†anything¬†to anyone to survive.¬†¬†Even more than that, they will likely want some degree of power over people. They don’t have any rules any more. Therefore in their eyes anything goes. ¬†Avoid these kinds of people at all costs.

Fly under the radar

This sounds pretty obvious, but unless you actively go out of your way to hide yourself everyday, you could get a little lax. If no one notices you, you won’t get murdered. It is that simple. If you have to, move at night to avoid detection. And don’t start fights you know you can’t win.

Move on

This one is a lot easier said than done. But it is likely you will lose a loved one in the ‘event’. It is important that you come to terms with not only that, but the collapse of society quickly. No one will come and rescue you. Be realistic. The sooner you realise that the stronger you will be emotionally. Save your hope for anyone who has been left behind with you, and for the coming new world.

Don’t abuse substances

I mentioned a few posts ago about how ridiculous it is that people in movies have sex in a crisis and inevitably die. The same concept exists here. Drugs are not a good idea once the world ends. Yes, it may seem like you need that stiff drink more than ever, but it could get you killed. You’re living in a world that needs you to be alert as much as humanly possible. Drinking, taking drugs, or even smoking, could avert your attention. Smoking – I hear you ask? Well, inevitably you will have to give it up eventually. Withdrawal from nicotine can cause severe¬†irritability, difficulty focusing, headaches and drowsiness – to name a few symptoms. In order to survive, you need to be at the top of your game.

Don’t eat mushrooms

“I don’t feel bad at all for giving you bloody diarrhoea and respiratory failure!!”

Not as broad as the others, but important none the less. Mushrooms are often seen as a good food to gather. In fact, this couldn’t be more wrong. Low in protein – therefore often not worth the effort – never eat a mushroom unless you are 100% certain of its type. There are so few edible types, that it is far more likely you will end up poisoning yourself. Put your efforts into gathering food you know to be safe.

Preparation is key

It is likely you never know what will happen next, and therefore it is important to prepare. You will know when the seasons will change. Prepare yourself for them. It’s all well and good avoiding the violent people left behind, but if you are not well prepared for the climate, you could die of exposure long before you run into trouble. If winter is coming, prepare by finding somewhere suitable to spend it. Store food supplies and warm clothing (think layers), and get ready to wait it out. All it takes is one bad snowstorm and one bad winter – be ready.

Find a group

I know this may seem to contradict some of the other tips Рbut your everyday survival will be strengthened in numbers. Once you can find those people you trust, it will make every day activities like finding food and water, much easier.

Find a knife

…And I don’t mean for protection. A sturdy knife will become essential in the day to day – whether that be hunting, building a shelter or making a fire. A good knife is essential.

Make a survival kit

If you are serious about the world ending, then prepare beforehand. Think about all the things that are truly essential to your survival. Things to make a fire (flint, matches, tinder), first aid supplies and water sterilizing tablets are the first thing that should come to mind. Food isn’t that important in the immediate, but will be necessary later. So if you have space, think about items that could help you get food – like a fishing rod. Obviously it is likely you will be in an urban environment. In that case, stock piling non-perishable food might be a good idea. Also, some supplies for a make-shift shelter are a good idea so that you always have somewhere warm and dry to spend the night regardless of what happens. Carrying these things around with you (aside from the food, of course) will minimise the risk of you not being prepared for anything.

Learn to defend yourself

…Yet there are some people that we know will be okay. Maggie? Wanna be buddies?

Seems kind of obvious, I know. But sometimes no matter how careful you are, and how under the radar you fly – things happen that you cannot stop. If the world does end on Friday – well I guess it’s too late to go out and learn kick boxing, or karate. But there are still a few simple ways that you can try to protect yourself. Firstly – fight dirty. This is your life we’re talking about. There is no fighting dirty in this new world. There are no rules –¬†remember?¬†If your attacker is a man, go for the groin. Hell – if they’re a woman – this still hurts, but is less effective. Eye gauging – although it may be repulsive to think about, it could save your life. Once you have successfully immobilised the attacker – don’t hang about. Run the hell away. This isn’t about being tough. This is about survival. The initial blow is there to allow you to retreat. If possible use improvised weapons to fend off the attack. Like I said, there is no such thing as fighting dirty when its your life. Unfortunately, if you’re female, this section is extra important. The chances of sexual assault will increase. Therefore it is important to be ever the more self aware. Remember, however, your number one priority is to survive. If fighting back severely jeopardises that – be smart, and don’t.

Remember who you are

You will change. This huge traumatic event has happened – of course you will. But it is important to remember the person you were. In a world were black and white will be so blurred, you will need to remember the way the previous you approached things. Likely – if you were any kind of stand up person before – this will be a good gage at making sure you are doing the right thing. The last thing you want is for you to slowly turn into one of the crazy one’s without even realising you were.

Live every day as though its your last

…And no I don’t mean YOLO. It will be the small things that will become important. Do you have a meal in your belly and a warm fire to cosy up to? People you trust around you? Then it has been a good day. Learn to appreciate them.

Evaluate where you would be safest

In movies, often when something like this happens, people travel to some place they think they will be safe. It is a good idea to have in your head before hand possible safe places, each at furthering distance. For instance, if there was a zombie attack (hypothetically… I do know zombies don’t exist!) I would try and find an island to inhabit. Given I live in Britain, it would be one on a lake. But the nearest one is miles from me, so I would have to come up with back ups closer, and then closer again, to home. So, it is important to evaluate your threats (depending on the disaster), and find somewhere suitably safe.

…Yet if you’re a paranoid millionaire, you probably already have this covered.

Get fit

Fitness may not be fun, but it is essential in your survival. It will improve your overall health, efficiency, hunting and gathering, defence and mood. Do your best to keep active, as stamina will become very important.

Don’t go for weapons

Weapons are way down on your list of priorities. Unless there is a zombie apocalypse  you need other supplies way more. The people who head for the weapons are likely the one you would end up needing them against. Therefore, to at least prolong the chance of a confrontation, put finding  a weapon way down in your priorities. If you have one to hand Рgreat. But if not, wait until you are at least partially settled. The food and water and much more important at this stage.

To conclude…

Finally, I just want to point something out – Don’t be afraid of death. It is the only certainty we have in life, and eventually mankind’s time will end. Dying in the cataclysmic event probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Being left behind? Well, that would be much worse. Surviving in a world with no structure, law or society, well needless to say it would be far from easy. If the world does end and you’re one of the lucky ones who goes, without so much as a whimper – count your chickens! If you survive and are left behind, well – good luck. You’re most definitely going to need it!

‘Cos the guys on the Walking Dead look like they’re having a riot… NOT!

…And I hope these tips did more than just¬†terrify¬†you about the impending apocalypse. Oh and remember, if you are worried about Friday – just remind yourself that you’re listening to a bunch of people who died thousands of years ago, and whose past times include painful body modifications and ritual human¬†sacrifice.

Coeliac disease. It’s a bitch. It really is. If I wasn’t so busy right now eating gluten free mince pies and sipping my lactofree cup of tea, I’d be right over there to kick Coeliac disease’s ass.¬†That’s right, you heard me CD!

If I was a superhero I’d have this emblazoned on my chest. Is that sad? Oh damn it…

Don’t get me wrong, there are worse things to have. A mild autoimmune disease where you can’t eat wheat, barley and rye is definitely not the worst thing in the world. But its one of those conditions that has one of the worst adverse effects – it’s so God damn annoying. You can’t take a pill and expect it to go away. Its wired into your system. Like whether you can roll your tongue or not. That shit’s in your genes. You can’t forget about it, because you inevitably need to eat a minimum of three times a day. And you can’t just be a bit naughty and indulge yourself for a little while… No, your intestines don’t allow for that.

So, I got thinking about all the crazy ass symptoms – medical and otherwise that make me so certain I have Coeliac disease. I’m not talking about a positive antigen test, I’m talking about the everyday things that I myself notice. Check it out, and see if you share anything similar or whether I’m just in fact crazy…

5) Nightmares about food. 

I’m not messing. I wish I was. I have had actual full on nightmares where I have casually eaten a piece of garlic bread. Afterwards the whole things turned into the final scene of¬†Braveheart¬† with lots of screams of “Nooooooooo!”, manly tears and the odd bad Scottish accent. It ain’t pretty. The average person is having nightmares about zombies. I’m having traumatic recurring dreams about lasagne.

In the dream I have less hair than Mel Gibson. And bizarrely I don’t look as good in a kilt…

4) Dreams about food. 

Oh it cuts both ways my friend. When I’m not having doughy gremlin type REM¬†sleep, I’m having fantasies about pork pies, pizza and pistachio covered¬†Baklava. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up, dribble all over my pillow, sweat glistening my brow, my heart pounding in my chest… all because my boyfriend picked up the phone and ordered a Domino’s. Yes, when others have sex dreams… I have food dreams.

3) Nervous twitching when someone is  handing out food.

If you have Coeliac disease, you will be well aware of this one. It doesn’t matter where you are; a party, work, supermarket – when the nice lady is slowly coming your way, handing out ‘samples’ of food to people – the twitching starts. I don’t know what it is, but there is a level of panic inside that makes you go from death con five to one faster than you can say sausage roll. Why? Well I guess its a mixture of the fact that you see the woman slowly approaching like a wheat-riddled zombie army, and you have to decide how to act. Do I just say ‘No thanks.’? If I do will they be offended? Do I tell the truth? If I do that, people either fuss or look at me like I’m one of those crazy people who believe carrots have feelings. And then there is the scenario that is out of my control – the person realises my condition, and after holding the plate of sweet smelling goodness under my nose for fifteen seconds, realises and then utters – “Oh sorry, I forgot.” That bitch.

2) Imaginary celebratory high fives when you discover a new food.

I don’t like custard creams. I never really have. In fact, I hate custard so it’s no surprise. But that doesn’t stop me gorging down a whole packet of gluten free custard creams like they’re going out of fashion. It as though, I feel obliged because some company has gone to the effort of making this thing gluten free – solely for me – and so I must buy it. It isn’t enough that the friggin’ packet costs me three pounds. No, I must show my gratitude. I find myself eating things I never ate before just because they are gluten free. It’s¬†absurd. I feel like a heroine addict, desperate to get my wheat-substitute¬†methadone. So if its new, and its got the gluten free sign on it, I’m happy – and I’m eating it. Regardless of whether that said food is in fact kangaroo testicles.

1) Stalking.

Is it me? Or does John Hinckley look remarkably like a more conservative Elton John?

I don’t mean stalking in the John Hinckley sort ¬†of sense of course. But there is something quite perverse that I find myself doing from time to time. I gravitate towards the wheat filled food like its a table of Jodie Foster memorabilia. I find myself staring at it, thinking – “Ohhh…¬†bourbon’s. Nice.” And then I escalate. I find myself gravitating next to the person eating that said bourbon. Its like I’m insanely and pitifully living vicariously through anyone eating a God damn biscuit. Then the staring comes. More thoughts: “Ohhhh… I bet that bourbon tastes real good. Oh it’s been so long…!”¬†¬†And then there’s a look… a disturbed uncomfortable jostling away from me as people realise I’m¬†ogling¬†them like they’re playboy bunnies and I’m Hugh Hefner. Needless to say – people either a) think I’m a lot weirder than I actually am or b) realise totally and utterly how weird I am.

Either way… I’m doomed.

Every time I write down somewhere that I’m a writer, I feel like I am making some sort of big cheat. Its not like the days of Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austen, where you scribbled down a masterpiece on parchment paper using one of those torture devices known as a quill… Those were real writers. No, these days anyone can be a writer. With the internet, laptops, smartphones – instant connectivity to the world – its all so¬†easy.¬†Or so it seems.

Maybe it is in fact harder to be a writer. We live in an age of distraction. There is always something we could be doing, procrastination is the watch word and its on every person’s lips. If you’re from my generation, and you’ve spent any time trying to do pretty much anything productive, you will know what I’m talking about. Its insufferable sometimes. We’ve spent all our time perfecting inside, making life more¬†entertaining¬†and¬†easier.¬†What if we’ve just made things worse?

Every now and then when I’m in a real writers rut, I find myself day dreaming about the real world morphing into the world’s that I write about. Not necessarily a post-apocalyptic¬†nightmare – just simpler. No phones, no computers, nothing but the bare minimal. The whole of life would go by with just one objective – to survive. Finding food, staying healthy, caring for the ones you love, running through the rain and staring at the brilliant nights sky… those are the things I want to live for. Hell, most of us can’t even see the night sky from where we are thanks to all the light pollution.

I’d much rather spend my evenings under this than having a technology riddled monkey on my back.

Truth be told, we have restricted our selves with all the technology and the busy, non-stop lives we lead. We’re constantly reaching for the next goal, so that we never cherish the one we’ve just reached. We update our facebook status instead of calling a friend, we read five minute news stories about events going on a thousand miles away and brush it off as an after thought seconds later. But are we ever actually living? What is living?

Don’t get me wrong… I do appreciate how bold my original statement may seem.

Why I sometimes wish the Mayan’s were right…

Do I want the world to end? Of course not. But I sometimes think that if we were all taken down a peg, if we lost all the unnecessary technology that we rely on for every second of every day – we would be better off. Even for a little while. We’d find each other again. We would find our own thoughts again. And most of all we would rediscover the real world again… the world that we all seem so eager to shut out.

Would Charlotte Bronte have written Jane Eyre if she was getting Facebook notifications about the Bronte family picnic every five minutes? And not only that, would she have even thought of the story to begin with? Probably not, because its so goddamn hard to write about life when you don’t seem to be out there much actually living it. I’m betting Charlotte daydreamed a lot… forming stories and characters in her head. When was the last time you day dreamed?

Life is like an airport. Just as one plane takes off, another is coming in. Is it too much to ask for a blizzard once in a while?

The Internet is like a interracial cesspool of bad jokes, cat videos and cheaply made porn. And that’s not necessarily a metaphor. But sometimes, just sometimes it’s knowledge and power can be used for the good of mankind… Like turning that frown upside down and learning how to make a home made laser gun so you can write your name in a way that’s cooler than Morgan Freeman’s answering machine message.

But alas, things like this aren’t discovered every day. However if you are in need of a daily fix of Internet methamphetamines than here is a list of websites that will surely make you higher than Felix Baumgartner’s highest fart – I’m guessing there was a lot of them… “Zum… Z’I’m Zitting nervous znow.” So check them out and relieve yourself of the ever more increasingly brutal thought that we’re all just tiny organisms living in an infinite universe, spinning around on a piece of rock in front of a dying big ball of gas. Yeah… You may want to check them out sooner rather than later.

1. Cracked.com
Cracked’s motto is that it’s ‘America’s only humour site since 1952’. None of that statement is untrue. Okay it’s a little untrue. With writers like Robert Brockway writing about people getting gerbils stuck in asses and articles about how to survive the incoming zombie apocalypse, it is both informative and essential reading – like checking the lottery numbers or seeing who went from X Factor – Ha! Just kidding… As if I watch X factor subscribe to the ridiculous notion that I will one day win a gazillion pounds and buy my way through the apocalypse-proof realty industry… Because what else are you gonna do with ¬£200 million pounds? Seriously though, Cracked is the biggest breakthrough since ‘they’ figured out how to draw those adorable miniature pictures on grains of rice – and I’m sure equally as useful.

2. Tickld.com
Look! It’s a cow photo bombing a horse that’s stuck in a fence!

So many levels of awesome!

Yeah, that is pretty much all you need to know about tickld. Probably my most viewed website, I have started to see the world in the style of meme’s, similar to how Neo sees the matrix. It’s a special gift. Once acquired you are sure to ruin your chances of ever getting through a serious situation again without screeching “Oppam gangum style!”

Oh look… There goes that job interview.

3. Dailymail

Now before you get all pie throw’y at me, I should be clear… I hate so called newspapers like this. In the real world, this is not journalism, and their homepage frequently has more spelling mistakes than a kindergarten spelling bee. But… and this is a pretty big butt – like J-Lo sized – I also enjoy reading the one-sided ridiculous opinions of the morons of this country passed off as fact in such an obvious way it’s like passing yourself off as a lady called Bob – I mean… BARBara – when you have a beard. It rejoices me so to see that while I may be having a bad day, at least I’m not Diane from Sheffield who thinks we should all just ‘do away with university students ‘cos they’re all just lay about wastes of space’ – oh what’s that Diane? You need life saving heart surgery? Oh dear. Let me put this in a language you understand… WE HAVE NO DOCTORS. YOU BINNED THEM ALL.

The daily mail also has a habit of telling us about the gruesome and deadly encounters of people with dogs, bath salts and tax evading maniacs every three stories which also allows me to act like I live in some sort of Mad Max/Escape from New York dystopian society for a few minutes every day. It makes my gluten free corn flakes taste less mundane.

4. YouTube trends

…because you can never have too many cat videos, flash mobs and finger biting children. WORD.

Nowhere else can you see a girl called “Justin” singing the sweet sounds of hell next to a guy asking the ever more relevant question – But will it blend?

Also, there is nothing sweeter than a moronic YouTube comment.

5. My website

Oh come on… You had to have seen that one coming! No? Do you comment on the daily mail website by any chance?