Bar Harukiya is going up in the world, I’ve moved over to barharukiya.co.uk, all of the content that is already here is also there but I’ll keep everything here too, but future posts will appear on the new site.
When we think of Anarchism in the world of comics (or graphic novels, whichever you prefer), we often turn to Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta” and tales of attempts to overthrow those in power due to corruption, however, theres actually alot more to the ideals behind anarchism than explosions, aggression and sticking ones finger up at politicians and its this other side that Nicolas Debon tries to teach us as he tells of the true story of Fortune Henry and the colony of L’Essai he founded, for a brief period of time, in the early 1900’s before the world fell into chaos as the Great War fell upon us.
The book opens with a man taking ownership of a plot of land, thought to be inhabitable and unworkable, he begins to transform it. The locals treat him with suspicion, often talking of the devil or wild man in the woods. But before long a small handful of people begin to take an interest in what he is doing and ultimately join him, as the colony grows, the workload also increases, they build settlements, work the land and sell produce at local markets.
However, its not enough for Henry, he strives for change, people believe in what they feel he is trying to do and his ideals of breaking down social constructs, promoting communism (or socialism, though its definetly the former that he says he is trying to bring to fruition, even to the extent of his first born having “no known parents” on his birth certificate as he “belongs to the colony”). He sets up a printing press, first selling flyers to promote the colony and the ideals it was founded upon, though as ever with such things he begins to take ownership, of his responsibility within the colony and also of his partner, acting jealous when she is around other men and resorting to violence when she questions his motives.
As his message spreads, his views become more damaging to the establishment and he is ultimately imprisoned, once free he finds that, without him, L’Essai has fallen apart and the colonists have moved on.
At around 80 pages, this is a short tale, covering the basics, additional information about Fortune Henry is provided at the back of the book, but you’re given a sort of one sided, almost diary like telling of the foundation and falling of L’Essai, albeit told alongside some beautiful art work that looks hand-painted, the earthy tones used give the impression of the book being hand-crafted and fit in perfectly with both the tale being told and the time period it is taken from and Debon does a wonderful job of just allowing the story to work towards its natural end, picking the exact moments to tell, be it the work and turmoil the colonists go through as the seasons and years progress, or the emotional challenges Henry faces. We’re never forced to endure anything particularly long, instead being given a snippet of the tale of L’Essai told in simple panels, though when Debon does give us a full page panel its always a wonderful piece of art work.
That said, this isn’t for every one. I can easily see people wanting some real history feeling like there’s not enough here, likewise, there’s not alot of incident or action to speak of to excite, its not that kind of tale. But if you want to read something that tells a true story that you hadn’t known of, The Colony will fit that brief absolutely perfectly.
I’ll be honest, I’m struggling this week, both from a writers perspective and with my own mental health, nothing untoward has happened (though there has been a few health issues for my Dad, Brother in Law and my partners Mum in recent months), but generally speaking I’ve been lacking motivation and am feeling very tired all of the time, progress on anything I’m doing is slow and jobs around the house that I wanted to get done just aren’t. As for the writing, it’s not often I do this “Tags”, I’ve nothing against them, I just feel weird joining in on them, I’m never sure who to credit with the tag and I’m certainly always uncertain on who to nominate to join in, for a variety of reasons.
I do have some stuff for the blog in the works, but they’re either time sensitive or require for me to actually finish some of the stuff I have going in order to write about them.
Anyway, on to the tag. I found this one via A Geeky Gal though she credits A Geek Girls Guide with coming up with it. However, I’m going to take the questions from A Geeky Gal’s post as thats where I read it first.
For clarification, I’m going to be assuming “kid” means prior to turning thirteen.
Where did your geek come from? Parents? Siblings? Destiny?
Absolutely no idea, a combination of lots of things I guess. My Dad’s big into his motorbikes and motorsport, so my love of those things, though not considered geeky they have very much become a part of my blog and myself, comes from all the time we spent at circuits like Donington and Mallory as a kid, then watching various motorsports on TV at home. I don’t recall my Mum having any hobbies or interests beyond her listening to music (though that was mostly chart stuff).
As for my siblings, I was always aware that my older sister enjoyed reading, though she was eighteen by the time I turned six so I don’t have many memories of her being at home. My brother played videogames throughout his youth but wasn’t as interested in them as I were, likewise I was introduced to alot of movies at a young age that I “shouldn’t” have been due to him being much older than I was.
The First Geeky Thing You Got Into
Videogames maybe? Reading? I loved to read from a young age and videogames were always available, even if I was always a generation behind (when I weren’t sneaking on my brothers games) due to my brother or a cousin passing their old consoles down to me, so maybe retro gaming was the first thing I got into before it was even a thing? I certainly remember having both a NES and a Atari 2600 when my brother had his SNES and I got a Master System II shortly after the first of those was stolen and the latter went up in a puff of blue smoke.
Favorite TV Show as a Kid
Depends on how old we’re thinking here. I used to be obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, though Diesel gave me nightmares, then it was Thundercats and then Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (as it was called here in the UK)
Favorite Movie as a Kid
Err, again, depends on how old we’re thinking. I saw alot of films when I wasn’t necessarily ready to do so. I remember watching Mad Max on my old dial tuned black and white TV whenever it was on TV, we didn’t have a VCR on the downstairs TV at home, though my brother bought himself one when he started working and I’d watch whatever unsuitable movie he was watching whenever I could do so. I watched Terminator 2: Judgement Day when it first came out on VHS when at my sisters boyfriends house when she was taken care of us one night too (my Dad used to go to the local pub every Saturday and Sunday night for a few hours). I remember enjoying Transformers The Movie and The Nightmare Before Christmas if we’re talking about stuff thats more suited to the age range I’m discussing here.
Favorite Video Game as a Kid
For that time period? On “my” consoles it would have been Digger T. Rock on NES, Rocky on Master System and Centipede on the Atari. I also quite liked the stupidly difficult Turtles game on NES. On my brothers SNES? F-Zero.
Favorite Book as a Kid
I’m not entirely sure I had one. I read anything I could get my hands on and we visited the library an awful lot but there wasn’t anything I re-read over and over again and made an impression on me. Alot of the books I owned were given to me, like alot of my belongings, my little sister and I were the youngest kids with alot of extended family who had kids that had grown up, so bikes, Scalextric, books, games were all passed down to us.
Favorite Memory as a Kid
Holidays in Jersey or Mablethorpe, nothing from them sticks out specifically, they all kind of blur into one but we went to both places every year until I was a teenager (which is when we stopped going to Jersey and started going to Wales instead, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. I also, obviously, really enjoyed the trips out to watch the British or World Superbikes and meeting people like Ron Haslam.
A Character You Looked Up To as a Kid
I dont think I did. My heroes weren’t in fiction, not that there’s anything wrong with that, instead I idolised people like Kevin Schwantz, Carl Fogarty, Stuart Pearce and Ian Wright.
A Character That Scared You as a Kid
I’ve already mentioned Diesel from Thomas the Tank Engine, but a little later on it was Freddie Krueger from The Nightmare on Elm Street. I remember my step brother from my Mums second marriage bringing a tape over when we were both visiting our parents (I lived with my Dad, he lived with his Mum) and whilst my Mum was preparing the Sunday roast we watched Nightmare on Elm Street Part Two. I had nightmares for quite a while after, I couldn’t have been much older than eight or nine and despite watching zombie movies and things like The Lost Boys with my brother, I’d obviously never watched anything like this. My Mum didn’t think anything of it, it was just a film and we watched stuff like Total Recall, Robocop and Predator all the time. I didn’t watch a movie with Freddie Krueger in until I was 18 after that!
Well, there you have it, a bit of an insight into me, and I actually feel a little better for getting something out and onto the site and sharing myself just a tiny bit.
I had a totally different post planned for this weekend, but today isn’t a day for me to be posting about videogames, movies or anime, that can be saved for another weekend.
Yesterday, a young race driver, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert ages 22, lost his life in a Formula 2 race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. I won’t pretend to know much about Anthoine, I’ve not really been able to follow Formula 2 properly the past few years, partially due to the series being behind Sky Sports’ paywall, partly because of having alot of other things going on that meant something had to give. But from all accounts it seems Hubert was one to watch and was likely to find his way to Formula 1.
Before I go ahead, I urge you not to seek out images or the video footage of the crash. It was brought to my attention via a thread on Reddit, but also Lewis Hamilton’s visible concern during a televised interview he was doing after Formula 1 Qualifying as the Formula 2 race got under way (the crash happened on the second lap. I’ve seen the footage, I wish I hadn’t. The Formula 2 race was immediately red flagged and then very quickly cancelled yesterday, whilst the sprint race that was to take place today was also cancelled out of respect, the FIA, hopefully with the consultation of the drivers and teams, to still run todays Formula 3 and Formula 1 races at the same location.
At this stage there’s alot of discussion on Reddit, Twitter etc over what caused the crash and how it took Anthoine’s life, but right now I feel the motorsport community, the drivers, engineers, team owners, and fans need to let the organising body and those called upon to figure all of this out. But it goes without saying, this is a sad weekend for motorsport, but more importantly, for Anthoine Huberts family, friends and colleagues.
I’ll leave you with Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram post reminding all motorsports fans of the dangers these guys face every time they’re strapped into their cars.
People who follow me on Instagram will know that on Monday 29th July I went to a late night showing of The Matrix to mark 20 years since its original release, now that was actually 6 weeks later than its actual anniversary, as it was released on 11 June 1999. I didnt see it until it came out on VHS and my Step-Uncle brought it round and showed us the first scene with Trinity, now he and my Step-Dad were gawping over Carrie Ann Moss in that outfit, I on the other hand, was transfixed by what Lana and Lilly Wachowski were doing with their cinema work.
I’ve watched it many times since, I even spent one summer shortly after the sequels were released diving down a rabbit hole of plot theory, figuring out what each and every scene was going on about, and maybe giving the Wachowski’s writing more credit than it possibly deserved. There’s no doubt they had high idea’s for their story but ultimately its hard to see exactly what they were trying to say. Besides, alot of that has now been consigned to long lost memories and I’d struggle to go further into its lore without spending many more hours digging through the internet, Neo style, trying to find answers.
So, we go back to the original movie, I’ve seen it on VHS, I’d seen it on DVD, I’d never seen it at the cinema before so was very excited to do so.
There were a few problems with the showing though. Vue’s website says it was 4k and whilst I’ve never seen anything in 4k before (that I’m aware of anyway. I don’t have the home set up for it and the last film I saw at the cinema was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at Milton Keynes, which I’ve no idea whether it was a 4k showing or not), there were times I was seriously unimpressed with the picture. The stand-out moment was during the scene where Smith and his cronies have Thomas Anderson in the interrogation room, when Smith mutters the line “what is the point of a phone call if you are unable to speak?” (or words to that effect) the picture of Keanu Reeves, his mouth sealed up, struggling to fight off the Agents, was really quite blurry. Likewise the scene with Trinity I mentioned early didn’t look as sharp and clean as it was in my mind.
These moments didnt detract from the overall experience though, the shift from Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” into Neo’s alarm is still a really cool scene switch that still leaves the viewer questioning whether Neo was dreaming about his meeting with Trinity, the visit to The Oracle is still as mind-bending and funny as it always was “Don’t worry about the Vase” etc, and everything from Cypher’s betrayal to Neo’s resurrection (and his position as a Christ-like figure within the world created by the Wachowski’s) is still seriously fucking awesome.
Obviously the technology on show has dated, the phones and computers we use now compared to what we see within the Matrix (both the machines program and the film itself) are ridiculously more advanced, whilst the technology used to create its visual impact has also aged and been used to death. The costumes have, again, been used to death to make someone stand out as being “cool”, which wasn’t the intention of the costume designer, instead her intention was to create a clear difference between ones appearance in The Matrix and in the real world.
And that aesthetic, and the films theme, still stands true today, maybe even more so as the internet has become a place that one can very easily create an entirely new persona for themselves, only showing the rest of the world, through their social media platforms, what they want the world to see. We live in a world of “influencers” and more than even in the 80’s what you wear and how you portray yourself is the be all and end all. One mis-judged social media post, be it something something untoward on Twitter, or wearing something on a new picture of Instagram that upsets enough people, and that image falls to pieces.
Okay, thats not the central theme of The Matrix, which is about humans becoming an energy source for the very things they created, but there’s not a huge difference.
So, 20 years after the Wachowski’s amazed the world with their visionary masterpiece, does The Matrix still stand up today? You better fucking believe it does.
Looks I’ve been nominated for a “Real Neat Blog Award” by Emily at MonsterLadysDiary, this is the second community event I’ve gotten involved in, the first being my long article about Shadow of the Colossus, this one is a little more personal and its come at a time when I’ve been wondering if my readers my want to know a little more about me. So without further ado, I’ll go ahead and answer the questions Emily has requested of the people she’s nominated.
1. Do you like your media digital or physical?
It’s not something I’ve really ever given any in-depth thought to. I have a ridiculous amount of games that I used to keep in a filing cabinet in my living room, but it looked horrible and alot of them I’d not returned to, likewise the consoles were stored in there with the cables being a right old mess. I’ve since moved nearly everything up to the loft and am in the process of sorting it all out into individual storage boxes, sorted per system, and realising I have far more stuff than I realised. Having three children in a small house means space is limited so I only keep out what I’m making use of, I have a small collection (less than 30) PlayStation 4 games on a shelf and (thanks to PS+) even more available digitally, but I honestly don’t mind. Other media? I got rid of my CD collection years ago and stick to my Spotify Family Premium account these days, films I also got rid of loads of DVD’s. We had a massive clear out of stuff we hadn’t watched in a long long time and just kept the stuff we really liked but books I’ve always prefered reading paperbacks over both hardbacks and ereader formats and have an occassional clearout where I’ll take stuff to a charity shop if its something I’m not going to revisit, someone else in the house isn’t going to read or a family member or friend isnt interested in.
2. If you could learn any kind of dance, what would it be?
I’ve never really been interested in dance, obviously break-dancing looks really cool and old-skool Rock n Roll dancing, but I’ve never really been interested in dancing beyond watching Strictly Come Dancing with my other half and eldest daughter.
3. What do you love most about being a geek?
It’s took me a long time to come to terms with being a geek, I was horribly bullied at school, initially at the first Secondary School I went to for loving to read (it was a rough school) and then when I changed to a much better school it was for how much I liked videogames. But I love that, as a Geek Dad, I can share my passions with my kids.
4. What’s the latest game you’ve got into?
I recently finished Yakuza 0 and have a bit of a backlog on the PS4 but I’ve not started anything since aside from Final Fantasy IX which I’ve been blogging about, I’ve been playing alot of Final Fantasy XIV though. I’ve not quite finished the original game and content and have the first expansion waiting for me, but theres two more expansions after that, one of which came out recently. I also play Gran Turismo Sport most Mondays with the same group of people plus a few special guests. I’m not very good, I’m usually at the back every race, but I’m seeing gradual improvements. For instance the last meeting we had we had a special guest who’s involved in real life motorsport in some regard and I managed to finish on the same lap as everybody else.
5. If you’re a Netflix user, what original series are you most looking forward to?
I am a Netflix user! I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to though, I’m an eternal “Add to List” person, I always add stuff to watch later and never get round to it. I’ve recently finished watching Stranger Things 3 with my eldest daughter (my other two are far too young for it), am nearing the end of watching Neon Genesis Evangelion having not watched it all the way through for a number of years and I’m part way through season 1 of One Punch Man. A few members of my book club keep telling the rest of us to watch Dark so that was recently added to my List.
6. If you could have one thing only from your favourite movie(s) what would it be?
Kaneda’s bike? the Millenium Falcon? a Spinner from Blade Runner? All of the above!
7. What’s your favourite hobby that doesn’t involve a screen?
Hmm, I love to read both books and comics. I’ve never been the fastest of readers so normally set myself a target of 10 books a year but I’ve very nearly doubled that already this year. I read a wide range of stuff too, from Super Hero comics to Sci-Fi novels to sporting biographies (mostly motorsport stars) plus a few historical books thrown in there too.
Now to think of some questions and nominate some people, this is something I really struggle with to be honest. I’m new to the whole community aspect of blogging and struggle to think of things people will have fun answering and I worry that I’ll be annoying somebody by tagging them (especially as Emily appears to have nominated a few people I’d considered nominating myself!)
- What are your earliest gaming memories?
- What TV shows helped form you as a person?
- Any popular books you’ve tried and not enjoyed and what are they?
- If you could be good at any sport, what would it be, or if you are good at sport what sport is it and why do you enjoy it?
- Any skills you would love to have?
- Where would you love to go on holiday?
- What cuisine is your favourite to eat and which is your favourite to cook?
My nominations are
Tuesday May 21st 2019 was an odd day, my eldest daughter turned 15, so it was a cause for celebration and she went to bed that day very happy. However it was also a rather sad day as the world lost a genuine hero, a man who was given The Last Rites and yet came back and didn’t give up. Fuck Jon Snow, Niki Lauda was the last of the Targaryen’s.
I wasn’t even born when Niki Lauda was racing. Actually, thats a lie, he retired (for the second time) in 1985, I was born in ’84. I didn’t even get into Formula One until the tail end of the Senna/Prost/Mansell years (I remember Mansell’s 92 championship fairly clearly). I grew to know of the man through reading more and more about the sport through the mid to late 90’s. I learned of his rivalry with James Hunt and that he eventually became a triple World Champion, which at the time of his final title made him the second most succesful Formula One driver (alongside Jack Brabham and Sir Jackie Stewart, with only Fangio ahead), I knew he drove for Ferrari and McLaren (very few drivers have driven for both, off the top of my head theres Lauda, Alonso, Raikkonen) and of course I read all about the crash at the Nurburgring in 1976 when he was chasing his second Drivers Championship in an intense battle with Britains James Hunt.
For years drivers had been saying the Nurburgring was getting too dangerous for Formula One, Jackie Stewart even tried to organise a drivers strike one year as the death toll in the sport grew and grew and he was losing friends on a regular basis, but still the teams and drivers turned up and raced around a circuit where proper medical help wasn’t able to properly cover the circuit in case of an accident (Lauda himself called foer a boycott of the race during that weekends Drivers Briefing but his appeals fell on death ears). Then in 1976, driving for Ferrari, Lauda lost control and crashed, his car bursting into flames. He was taken to hospital where the Doctors said that whilst the fire had caused alot of damage, the measures the marshalls had taken to put out the flames had caused just as much, if not more, damage to his lungs. The situation was so bad that a priest was called and he was given the Last Rites. They believed he wouldn’t recover from his injuries.
However, and this is why the guy is a hero (or stupid, but, really, there’s very small margin between the two). He missed two races before returning for Ferrari’s home Grand Prix at Monza six weeks after his crash, his wounds still bleeding and oozing through the bandages into his white balaclava, he finished the race in fourth! His battle with Hunt continued, and whilst there was a whole bunch of politics involved in that season (that I may go into another time, but Formula One is full of political backstabbing) Lauda ultimately finished the season only one point behind Hunt, he would maybe have won the title if he hadn’t have pulled in early during the final Grand Prix of the season at a dangerously wet Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji Speedway that only went ahead due to it being broadcast live and the powers that be not wanting to lose that sweet sweet broadcasting money.
I’ve only ever seen highlights of him race, but to even get back in a Formula One car, let alone go on to win a further two championships (1977 and 1984) makes him, in my eyes, one of, if not the, most heroic sportsmen to have ever lived.
FIFA 07 has always been the poor mans option when it comes to football games, its the glory fans dream, its the cash rich Chelsea compared Pro Evolution Soccers rest of the Premiership, you know it plays well, but you cant bare to like it.
Unlike FIFA 07 on Xbox 360, which has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, the improvements current-gen FIFA 07 has to offer are more a case evolution than revolution, with the latest in the series building on the elements of FIFA 06 that worked well rather than starting from scratch. As result all of the positives that in the past have made FIFA the best-selling football game on the planet – the hundreds of officially licensed clubs and players, intuitive controls, superb presentation and killer soundtrack – are all present and correct. But it’s the fine-tuned gameplay and new ball physics that really stand out and make FIFA 07 a great game rather than just a good one.
FIFA 07 is the closest to playing the real game that the series has ever been before. This is mainly thanks to the ball physics, in previous version, the physics were incredibly basic, more or less just bouncing round the pitch. Now, the ball feels more like it would if you were really kicking it yourself, goalies have the potential to fumble a shot, deflections can be unpredictable, and all of them happen randomly rather than being activated by a pre-determined animation. Although you may get that lucky goal from a deflection, just like in real life, the game is more based on skill, skill=goals, something thats been severely lacking from previous FIFA titles where the game was more of a punt the ball to the fastest player, get him to run the length of the pitch before passing it to the guy who plays upfront and has the best chance of scoring, both in game and going by his stats.
FIFA has always been about authenticity, real players, real leagues, real shirts, and this year is no different. FIFA 07 boasts an impressive 500 teams from 27 leagues from all over the world. With most players in their proper squads. You see, not all the players have their transfers finalised, one of note is Ashley Cole, hes still at Arsenal, although this can easily be fixed if you have access to XBox Live or PS2’s Online Network as a squad update will automatically download. This is a great feature, and one I hope EA Sports support even when they’re about to release the next game in the series, although this could actually be the last on the current gen systems so its not actually that important that they do.
The games only major flaw is the clumsiness of the goalkeepers on the default settings. They don’t position themselves as well as you would expect for long range shots, and Free-Kicks can leave them far too easily stumped. If you crank up the difficulty however, this problem is more or less alleviated, but even then FIFA 07 is still a game that features alot of high final scores, 4-4 between Arsenal and Manchester United rings a bell. Games are also unpredictable, and morale doesn’t seem to affect players, on opening day, playing as Arsenal, I lose to Blackburn Rovers 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium, second game was away to Chelsea, which I won 3-0, third game was the 4 all draw against Arsenal, it just feels like too much of a rollercoaster, and much of this carried on through out the season, although I did manage to go on a 10 game unbeaten run near the end which won me the title.
Compared to previous games in the series though, FIFA 07 is a huge improvement, and going on this performance, Konami are going to have to put pout all the stops this year to produce the better football game. Pro Evolution Soccer 6 has its work cut out, and this is going to be the closest “season” in terms of football games in history. FIFA is on the up, and is well worth a purchase for any football fan.F
I’ve made a major change around here, and that is renaming the entire blog. I’ve not been posting regularly for very long, and well, the previous name didn’t really fit. This place was originally intended to be a home for all my Monter Hunter World adventures and screenshots, but it never really became all of that and I begun to post other stuff that I was enjoying or wanted to share. So, yeah, new name, new url, unfortunately any links I’ve shared elsewhere prior to this change won’t work anymore but as I was getting a maximum of 3 visits per new post thats not really an issue, better to change it now rather than be stuck in the mud.
So yeah, I’m now using the name Bar Harukiya, and there are reasons for that. Firstly, the one thing that really got me into pretty much everything, was Akira. I discovered Akira when I was 16. I was at college in Nottingham and they had a Travelling Man store above the Gamestation that used to be near the old Odeon cinema. The first time I went up there (I was always in Gamestation, picking up second hand PlayStation, Saturn and Dreamcast titles, but I’d never ventured upstairs) I was greeted by a number of shelves of VHS tapes but these all had Pokemon style artwork on them (I didnt really know anything about anime at this point), biggest immediate difference was that many of them had the BBFC 15 Certificate logo on their spines. The one that stood out most was a big double VHS box of Akira. My Education Maintenance Allowance money was burning a hole in my pocket (I was supposed to use it for art supplies, ha!) and I needed to know what this video was all about so I stumped up something like £18 and took the afternoon off college to go home and watch it. Needless to say I was absolutely blown away, from that point on I really begun to develop my own tastes in pretty much everything. Prior to that my only obsession was videogames, from then I begun to develop my own taste in music, begun exploring the world of anime and developed a love of cinema that went beyond whatever was being shown on TV that weekend. I begun to buy the Manga (which at £25 a book I took my time buying) and the rest is history, I am who I am thanks to taking a chance on a weird looking film I knew nothing about shortly after I’d left school.
So, now that I have a name that I like and the page looks good with a nice header image (which is the sign outside the Harukiya Bar that Kaneda walks in to at the start of Akira) and I’ve got all my categories laid out ready to be added to I think I’m happy to keep this place ticking, now I just need to get some articles scheduled. I’d like to do two a week plus keep adding to the #NewMusicFriday community.