Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Summer PC

Hello Subscipients!

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that there won't be an individual Summer Chronicle this year.
Due to poor organisation on my behalf, and the fact that Callum, Billy and most of our reporters are away on holiday - there just are't enough people to write the chronicle.
However, have no fear! Plans are already underway for a bumper combined summer and autumn chronicle, which will hopefully include exclusive uganda trip diaries, blogs, rants, articles, photos and comics like never before. Stay tuned on our website for more PC related ramblings, and I hope you all have a lovely summer break!

Joe Cotton


Sunday, 25 July 2010

20 000 Hits!

Just a quick post to let you all know that the site has recently passed the 20 000 hits mark. Thank-you very much to all the people who have contributed recently, and, of course, to everyone who has visited the site.

Unfortunately I am camping for the next week and as such may not be able to access the internet, and with Billy Painter in Uganda we are temporarily website manager-less. However, arrangements are being made and hopefully the site will remain up over the next week.

Thanks again,

Callum MacRae
Website Manager - Painter's Chronicle E-Magazine

Friday, 23 July 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner

Saving Private Ryan

Now, over the past few weeks I have reviewed a lot of very good films. Many of you will look at the title and think that that will continue. I’m afraid not. I don’t hate “Saving Private Ryan” it’s just it’s not good enough to warrant the vast numbers of Oscars it won.

I will say in its defence that the first thirty minutes is brilliant and probably one of the best sequences in war movie history. However, it’s over two hours long and for the rest of it’s run time it just isn’t up to scratch and, dare I say, pretty boring. It’s as if Spielberg filmed the first section then thought “Yeah, that’s the Oscar in the bag, okay for the rest of it just do some fight scenes and an old man in a graveyard”.

“Saving Private Ryan” carries a huge weight around with it and the weight is the quality of the opening section. When you set the standard that high you really need to keep it there for the whole film and I’m afraid Spielberg doesn’t.

The rest of the film isn’t without merit, in fact there are some quite good scenes, for instance the final battle scene, however it all feels as if it is tacked on and not part of the same movie.

Equally it is, in the mould of “Forest Gump”, pretty sentimental and it seems purely there to aid the Oscar pledge. As Kate Winslett parodies in “Extras” it seems that the only requirement to getting an Oscar is to make a film that is a tearjerker and also deals with so called “important” themes. Hence why “Titanic” has got a good few Oscars thanks mostly to dewy eyed factor and ignoring Winslett and Di Caprio’s fairly poor acting.

So yes, “Saving Private Ryan” is fine for thirty minutes but fairly non descript for the other hour and a half.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Desert Island Discs: Sophie Hoyle's Choices

It was harder than I thought it would be to choose just five albums, as I didn’t realise I liked so many so much; in the end I had to think of albums I wouldn’t get bored of at all and that whittled my list of sixteen down to eight. And after much debate I got it to five, so here they are...

Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More

 I have recently discovered this band from hearing one of their songs on the radio and I quickly downloaded their album. The songs are great, but it’s the instrumentation which makes them fantastic and one of my favourite bands yet. 

Cat Stevens - Remember
This is the one album that I definitely had to have on the list, as it’s the one album I remember from my childhood (I’m trying not to sound too cheesy or sentimental.)  ‘Another Saturday Night’ is definitely a song worth dancing to, or at least it was when I was three years old.

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
I didn’t think I’d see myself choosing an Arctic Monkeys album as one of my top five to take to a desert island, but I couldn’t bring myself to cross them off the list. Apart from the fact that they’re actually very good, I think I chose them because their northern accents and lyrics would remind me of my hometown. If you’ve ever listened to them, you’ll know what I mean.

Simon And Garfunkel - The Definitive
This is another album from my childhood and I’ve actually only got this on tape, as my mum used to play it years and years ago. I would take this album merely for two songs on it: Sound of Silence and Mrs Robinson, which my sister and I used to play over and over again, but I suppose the other songs would be new and interesting music to listen to as well.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Legend

I can’t really say much about this album, only that it was one of the albums I had to have. I love every single one of Bob Marley’s songs that I’ve heard.

For my book, I’d like to say I’d take something inspirational, such as Anne Frank’s diary (apart from I’d not read the end) or my ‘Big Book of Knowledge’ so I could die more knowledgeable than I ever had been, but I’ll have to be honest and say I’d take:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling

The reason is, I haven’t been able to bring myself to get down to reading it, and having read the other six books, I feel obliged to. I guess the extreme boredom of being on an island with nobody else would almost force me to read it, and anyhow, it’s a long book and would last me a long time.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner

Pan's Labyrinth

In honour of Spain’s victory in the final of the World Cup I have decided to review a Spanish film this week. I’ve actually only seen two Spanish films (this and Fermat’s Room) and both have been absolutely brilliant. Pan's Labyrinth is a modern day classic, made in 2006 but set in 1944, during the Spanish Civil War. It focuses on Ofelia who has a great imagination which she uses to entertain herself while her parents are occupied; her mother occupied by being in the last months of childbirth and her father is focused on hunting down the Spanish resistance around the hills.

The focus of the film is really fairytales and stories in general. However it doesn’t inhabit a fairytale world, there is much more violence than I ever thought would be in it however it is well placed and thoughtfully conceived violence. That’s not to say that it’s not shocking and sometimes difficult to watch but it always appears necessary and is used to advance the plot.

The film is helmed by Guillermo del Toro who has worked on other great films such as “Cronos”, “Hellboy” and “Rudi y Cursi”. He is the master of mysterious and magical lands and this falls well within his remit. Some of the images that Del Toro conjures are stunning and although they’re CGI they do make you consider that technology has now progressed so far that it’s only limits are the imagination of the director.

After the initial setup which mostly features the lonely Ofelia the film takes a right turn and switches to a much darker tone. It instead focuses on the father (Sergi Lopez) and his battle in the Spanish Civil War. Ofelia’s travels in her fairytale world also take on a much more sinister tone.

Pan's Labyrinth is a brilliant film. I was originally alerted to it by my brother who also loved it. Now although I’m predetermined to dislike anything that he likes I had to make an exception for this. It is absolutely excellent and is a great entrance to Del Toro’s further works.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The World Cup

Well, as I'm sure you are all aware, the World Cup drew to a close last night. It was a surprisingly unsurprising result, given the unpredictable nature of this year's tournament, as Spain (favourites alongside Brazil) took the title for the first time in history. The 2010 World Cup has been a strange one. It was the first World Cup in which the hosts (South Africa in this tournament's case) did not make it out of the group stages. It was also the first World Cup in which the two teams in the previous competition's final (France and Italy) did not make it out of the group stages (Italy were beaten by Slovakia fot Christ's sake. Slovakia.) It was also the first competition in which neither Brazil, Italy, Germany nor Argentina played in the final.

But why this peculiarity?

I think, perhaps, that it stems from the success of league football. The Premiership and the Champions League earn players so much money that they're just not interested in playing for their countries anymore, and are much more willing to put in the effort where big money is involved; the consequences of the transformation of football from a sport into a business. An enormous seven players on the Spanish side we saw yesterday play for Barcelona, and there were very few occasions in the tournament when the total number of different clubs from which the Spanish players originated exceeded four.

Maybe it's a consequence of globalisation. As communications and transport improve, the borders of your own individual country become less important, and people feel less attached to their countries specifically.

I'm not complaining - I think the standard of football is improving massively (the sublime play we saw in the Champions League this year for example) - I am merely wondering what the cause of this change in superior football (from International football to Club football) is. If anyone else has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them and discuss them in the comments section below.

Until next time,

Callum MacRae
Website Manager - Painter's Chronicle E-Magazine

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Michael James On... Libraries

 How big does a library fine have to be before the authorities get involved? In fact, is there any punishment librarians can give you greater than stopping you from taking any other books out until you have paid the £3.50 you owe?
 They probably won’t do anything for a while and by the time your fine reaches a large amount I doubt they’ll remember (it would take almost 2 years to owe £100). The librarians are not exactly going to send debt collectors after you over a few pounds, and after a few months more important issues will have arisen to do with the noisy and distracting children who will realise the library has DVDs.
 Not that I encourage this, but surely if someone’s out of money and fancies stealing something not too expensive (maybe do some shoplifting) wouldn’t popping down to the library and taking the biggest, most costly books you can before selling them over the internet be easier? You know, not having to hide the books from the camera? If you take the books out properly, nobody stops you. Ok, people wouldn’t have chance to do it more than once without creating fraudulent library cards under a fake name, but still...
 I am disappointed that today’s criminals are sticking to the unimaginative and over complicated tradition of shoplifting rather than taking advantage of an establishment literally giving stuff away. What is the world coming to?

Michael James

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Big Night In 2 - Please Come!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner

Fargo is a 1996 film made by the Coen brothers who have directed other gems such as “No Country for Old Men” and “Blood Simple”. Fargo follows a middle aged man called Jerry Lundegaard who embarks on a plan to kidnap his wife so he can get some of the ransom money from her rich father. Now this is a plot that had I thought of it, I would’ve sat for days on end basking in the reflective glory. It is the perfect plot.
As with all Coen brothers films, there is a lot of dark comedy in the film, mostly revolving around the heavily pregnant Swedish/American cop Marge Gunderson, who is drafted in to solve the kidnapping. She speaks in an apparently typical North Dakotan accent which is a mix of Swedish and American phrasing, although I must admit I’ve never heard of this kind of speech and there is some debate about whether it actually exists. However it provides lots of moments of comedy throughout the film.
Another great asset of the film is the two incompetent kidnappers played by the brilliant Steve Buscemi and the idiotic Peter Stormare. They initially appear as dangerous but probably under the surface quite harmless but as the film goes on and they start making mistakes you realise that these two are deadly and I would argue the best “double-act” in a film.
The first time I saw Fargo, I absolutely loved it and it went straight into my top 10 list. The second time I saw it, it went even further up the list and into my top 5. I really think it is a brilliant, quirky and intriguing film that tries to do a lot and succeeds. I would recommend it to anyone, because if you like horror then it has some of that, if you like humour then it has that and if you just like watching great films then it definitely has that. A brilliant film.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Painter's Journey Post

Good morning folks! It’s that time again, time for possibly the most bizarre, random and informal ‘debate’ you’ll find anywhere on the internet on a Monday morning; ‘Painter’s Journey Post’ I can confirm that I am back on the train for this edition, however, those wishing for a swift and quick journey to London I strongly recommend flying with BMI, their service and speed of journey was outstanding.  Well worth considering...
Anyway, I’m going to try and get straight to the point today, as I am rather tired and still half asleep at this time (aren’t we all on a Monday morning I hear you ask!)

Today’s subject is... Eligibility To Vote 

Upon recently taking on a full time job, one of the great benefits I now have is to pay a rather large proportion of my hard earned salary straight to the Government in the form of tax. I was aware that UK taxes were exceedingly high, but by no means did I realise they would be as high as they are. Now, my grumble today isn’t the fact that they are so high, yes they could be a bit lower, but unfortunately that’s the way it is. I’m not whining on about having to pay them because I am like everyone else in full time employment, it’s the way the economy works. The point I would like to make, is, the fact that I have to pay them to the government elected by the British public.  The problem being however, is, did I get to have my say in which party was elected in the recent elections? No.

I’m sure I’m not informing anyone when I say that the current age where people are legally eligible to vote is 18, with no other criterion taken into consideration. If you’re not old enough, you can’t vote, simple. The fact of the matter is though, there is a respectable proportion of the British public working full time under 18 and therefore paying taxes to the Government. However, there is an even larger proportion of 18 year olds and over still in full time education, receiving Government grants, paying no taxes at all and being able to cast their vote. How is this fair?

I’m not saying that the people falling into this category shouldn’t be allowed to vote, infact, I am glad people are urged to vote and participate at a young age, but surely those actually paying money to the Government should be entitled to vote too?

Personally, if I was given the power to create a ruling on ‘When should somebody be eligible to vote?’ I would follow similar guidelines to this:

  • All people in employment and paying tax to the Government should be entitled to vote. They’re contributing to the Government, they should have a say in which political party it goes towards.

  • Should a subject have the required knowledge and understanding of politics when aged 16-18, they should be given the opportunity to vote. Subjects who do not have a good enough grasp of how the UK politics work (I blame the lack of education available in schools and colleges for this) should be encouraged to learn and establish a firm perceptive. The decision as to whether someone has the required understanding should be determined using an online assessment done during full time education hours.
I’ve more or less put across my main arguments there, and could probably ramble on all day, but the idea of these posts is to simply outline the burning issue and allow you to make your own opinions. Writing before the politically minded audience of The Painter’s Chronicle, I am sure many arguments and debate will arise, and I am sure before long the positives and negatives of the ability to vote will arise. 

There are many arguments with regards to the voting age, but, the perhaps the most important matter is that the UK nation get the opportunity to have their say and that the (majority) or political parties are going in with decent ideas and policies unlike some of the corrupt Governments in the world around us.

Until next time, keep thinking, keep asking questions.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Manshackle: Issue 2

I hope you enjoy this fantastic comic from Freddy Vinehill-Cliffe as much as we did (Click to enlarge).