RRR 216 Make It So

By Roy Mathur, on 2018-08-08, at 13:00:54 to 13:39:43 BST, for Roy's Rocket Radio, Listen

The Non-Elitist, Elitist Tangent: Tesco Goes Downmarket (A Nerd Has to Eat)

Totally tangential, but a nerd's got to eat, and Tesco is my destination of... (no, not desire) necessity, and now they want to compete with Aldi and Lidl. They think they've lost their bottom of the market edge and want to open special lower price essentials stores.

What? Really? Hahaha. Hahaha. Ha. I don't want to sound elitist, but I don't really care as I always maintained there should be a left-wing version of Tatler, and I should be writing a bloody column in it because I am apparently snarky and I have eaten popcorn at the ballet.

Look, Tesco are already right down there, glubbing away in the grey, gloomy bottom of the retail sea bed. I know because I, unfortunately, as a cash-strapped geek, am forced to shop there.

Actually, I don't think Morrisons, Sainsbury's, or Asda are any better; they're just more expensive. And M and S barely, just barely, comes off as being slightly more upmarket.

If I want (seemingly) cheaper than Tesco, I just go to Poundland. I said seemingly, because Poundland lines are often specially made products with less contents. Rip off UK.

Aldi and Lidl, I know very little about as they are both a pain to get to from where I live.

What we need in the UK is a basics supermarket that doesn't actually suck.

Going by Tesco's past record, I cannot see how they are possibly going to pull this off. Why can't they just fix the stores they already have?

Tech's Big Five Are Greedy Tax Dodgers

Apple was briefly a trillion dollar (million million); the richest company ever in terms of a valuation of it's market cap (capitalisation), i.e. number of shares and price of shares. And yet, like its tech mates, pays appallingly little tax.

Large corporations in general pay less tax as they can afford the best accountants and tax lawyers and can afford to lobby politicians. Which means, the richest companies end up paying the least tax. It is particularly galling as companies like the big five always purport that they are doing so much good for society.

As well as dodging tax, Amazon pays little, treats staff badly, and fights unionisation in their warehouses and Facebook pretend they are not a media company and then were turned inside out by their own incompetence and, partly because of that, we have Brexit and Trump.

One of the justifications for paying less tax is that some Americans seem to believe the whole Atlas shrugged malarkey, what says (thanks for nothing Ayn Rand) that a successful business person pulls up the rest of society with them, i.e. the rich make the rest of us ever rich. Has that ever happened? No.

What annoys me is that in exchange for the huge wealth of a few, and whatever philanthropy they throw our way, we are expected to be grateful. Why instead don't they just pay what they owe to the rest of society, instead of dishing out paltry payouts?

I've got nothing against business or entrepreneurship or wealth, but I have got something against naked avarice and greed.

America to Own Space

Dreaming of Star Trek's Federation's socialist utopia? Forget it, the future is going to be more reminiscent of the chaos of The Expanse, or Ben Bova's Grand Tour solar system. US space treaties, started by Obama and continued by Trump, sound like a privateers charter. While they stipulate that no one can own real estate up there, they also say that you can exploit mineral wealth and own what you build.

Sounds reasonable, right?

What if Musk or Bezos builds a bloody wall around that lake on Mars and his base and factory to split water into oxygen and hydrogen right underneath it? While they might not actually own the lake because it's surrounded by private property, guess what? To all intents and purposes, they own the lake. Same for Ceres, the Moon, everything...

Yeah, American companies, or those registered in Luxembourg (the other signatory because Luxembourg knows a money maker when they see it) must be rubbing their hands together with glee as they carve up the space's infinite source of resource wealth.

Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom


It's not as good as Jurassic World, despite it being haunted house with dinosaurs, which really sounds amazing.

There's a Frankenstein theme running deep in this one and, of course, a new monstrous therapod Indoraptor. Yes, the mad scientist has combined the last maniac dinosaur, Indominus rex with the deadliest, cleverest dinosaur of the series; the raptor.

It's not great, but it is fairly enjoyable. And why do I keep getting Dallas Bryce Howard mixed up with Jessica Chastain? I am glad they are different people though and I am relieved she doesn't look too much like her dad, super uber director Ron Howard (though he is forever immortalised to me as Richie Cunningham) because that would be very very weird and very very uncomfortable.

Avengers Infinity War


The plot is simple. Thanos is on a MacGuffin hunt for the infinity gems that will give him ultimate power of life and death over the whole universe. He needs this power because his solution for universal happiness is to murder half the population of the universe. So he's a bit of a git.

This is surprisingly enjoyable, as I'm not into superhero teams, and this one has most of the previous MCU teams mixing it up. And it's still coherent. And you still manage to not get confused.



Christina Ricci! What happened to her? Well, she's still around in this thriller about a middle-class apartment dweller subjected to subliminal advertising and brainwashing. Yes, it's The Parallax View (1974) process for the middle-classes.

John Cusack's in it as a black hoodie wearing journalist/hacker, who pops up a couple of times to help Ms Ricci.

Black hoodie? Really? Really? Admittedly I have several, but still.

Time Lapse


Camera captures the future in this clever budget sci-fi.

This has a bit of everything associated with time travel if a bunch of unsuccessful twenty somethings became entangled in a time travel paradox.

It's good. Sliders and Indiana Jones's John Rhys-Davies is in it playing the photograph of a dead man. Is this the least involved you can get in a film while still being credited in a film? According to IMDB, his scenes were deleted. Hmmm.

Train to Busan


Budget, but fun zombie flick, clearly influenced by 2013 films Snow Piercer and World War Z.

Occasionally weak acting and special effects buoyed up by proper horror and pathos.

Ghost Stories


Refreshing that it is a Brit film, this horror is about a paranormal hoax investigator who bites off more than he can chew.

Paul Whitehouse plays his usual annoying caricature for far too long in this, though Martin Freeman looks like he's having fun.



Terrible Australian alien invasion sci-fi, with this background music that just does on and on and on through most of the film.

Boring, conventional, and pointless.



Alien invasion again, but much better than Occupation.

There is a nice twist, but the same twist was unfortunately used too recently in an episode of PKD's Electric Dreams.

The Bay


Budget, though vastly enjoyable, ecological disaster sci-fi horror that takes place in a coastal town.

Castle Rock


This is Stephen King's horror TV show set in the fictional rural New England town of Castle Rock, Maine; a place oft used in his work. There are also the occasional Easter eggs (Cujo).

I'm finding it enjoyable and interesting and worth watching. My only quibble, and this is a personal one, is that I have read a lot of Stephen King with this rural setting and I have even lived in an even more rural and north than Maine area. For me, the run down towns and sinister landscape are so familiar that they have long since lost their novelty.

New Doctor Who

Run trailer. Aye, aye Captain! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEc-OQ_oqDk).

New Who accent(s): the Gallifreyan entity known as the Doctor is an alien, a xenomorph, and extraterrestrial biological entity. An accent is about the only real way you can differentiate her (in her current incarnation) from the human hoi polloi. If not having him talk in snooty, barely human, RP, then make up some peculiar accent, otherwise he's just too us. This is something the creators of new who can't seem to grasp.

Even David Tennant's Sean Connery-ish Londoner was a bit weird, and I'm saying that as a Londoner. It was even weirder because a lot of Tennant's catch phrases were things I used to hear my Francophone dad say for years. Is my Dad an offworlder? It would not surprise me in the least.

And before you explode with nerdly indignation, wrath even, yes, I know the Doctor's mum is an English human. But maybe I'm wrong. What do you think of the new accent? I do love that the Doctor is being made a diverse character (a Doctor who is not white next, or I'm out), but the accent shouldn't be so... human, so... familiar.

Or am I up my own rocket funnel? Maybe I'm being hypocritical because I love the Sylvester McCoy Doctor. I just don't know! Tell me what to think, please!

The new outfit: I've said this before, but Mork's outfit in Mork and Mindy was horrible and frankly a little creepy, so why is the new Doctor wearing that hideous thing in at least some of the clips?

The new personality: seriously, stop clowning around. Despite my quibbles, I'm prepared to be open minded about it.

Thumbs up or down? Up, you fool, always up! It's better than no Who.

Good luck Jodie Whittaker, and be great.

The Fourth Estate


Brilliant, engrossing documentary series.

As a look into such an important broadsheet newspaper and media empire, and the biggest thorn in Trump's side, this is must viewing.

I would have asked a few more questions. A brief run down on how the New York Times works, and why is everyone in the newsroom, apart from the editor and one woman, white because, frankly, that's depressing.

Available on iPlayer.

Jean Luc Picard Returns!

Ending on a high note, yesterday, Patrick Stewart tweeted that he would again play Captain Jean Luc Picard in a new CBS Star Trek show!

TNG was never my favourite show and, coming from a partially Francophone culture, the idea of a very British tea-drinking Yorkshireman playing a Frenchman was a bit hard to swallow, but it didn't stop me watching the show end-to-end many times over the years. I also think the movie Generations is excellent too, so what do I even know about my own mind?

Excellent news. I await with baited breath. Engage!