RDP219 What's Up at Roy's Dread Tower of Wizardry?

By Roy Mathur, on 2018-09-16, at 14:06:57--15:03:41 BST, for Roy Dot Pod, Listen

What's Up at Roy's Dread Tower of Wizardry

Turns out "Roy.Pod" is too generic. Oh my god, will this ever end?

Also, I'm marking podcasts explicit from now on. It isn't always, but there's enough booze references and what the America's like to call "Mature Subject Matter" from the very first episode to now, that it probably should be so marked. I've said as much before, but now I'm doing it. It's not a marketing stunt, honestly.

As I write this a bloody mosquito is trying to murder me. Begone foul creature! Oh, and the other day I found a wasp in the car...

Bugger it, let's go to the stream of Twitter (which, of course, means if I'm using it means that it, then it isn't just for Nazis, Nazi apologists, bots, porn, Elon, and Trump).

Two seconds of explicit already. It's all gone to pot. No, not 420 for the gods' sake. Watching Elon booze and puff, was like watching a kid with the keys to his dad's liquor cabinet/dope stash, wasn't it? Also, Joe Rogan came off as a bit of a INSERT RUDE WORD HERE THAT I'M NOT GOING TO USE EVEN IF THIS SHOW IS NOW MARKED EXPLICIT. Let's just say his interview technique belongs to the "creepy enabler" school of journalism. Oh, wait, he's a talk show host, not actually a journalist.

Musk? Musk should just stop pretending he's Iron Man. He's a marketing and business genius, like Jobs, and that's it. Remember, he is not the founder of Tesla. Stop being a dingbat Elon, you are heading for a breakdown. Stop it. Also, I'm sick of talking about you on this show. Also, stop demanding that journalist research every damn thing about you; you are not that important. Also, why are you so, so like Trump? Why? See, I'm still talking about him, so I'll stop. Man, that geezer really get's on my wick.

Let's do Twitter. Oh god. Twitter. OK, so here's what I've been doing recorded on the lovely and very sociable social media platform that is Twitter. Thank you Jack Dorsey. And let me just say, Mr Dorsey and Zuck, people who don't believe in free speech e.g. Nazis and fascists do not deserve a platform that expounds free speech.

Where was I?

Ah, Twitter... Look, there's just too much in the damn stream, so I'll use it as maerial for the next show. There is a lot of stuff to get though this week, so let's go!

American Animals


Bunch of bored suburban teenagers think that stealing a work of art is a great way to get rich and break the monotony of boring lives. It goes horribly wrong. Blameless character Ann Dowd is treated badly, but after her constant typecasting, it is impossible to feel sorry for her.

What I want to know is, if one of the crooks who took part in this real life heist and subsequently wrote a book about it, has, in any way, benefited from this? In theory, he shouldn't with the US's Son of Sam law, but he's on Twitter and seems rather pleased with himself.

Apart from that, the film is OK, in terms of filming, acting, and holding the viewer's interest, but watching this catalogue of failure from a bunch of spoiled, useless losers, with zero morals, is not entertaining.

Rock the Kasbah


Talent agent Bill Murray brings entertainment to the troops in Afghanistan.

It's crap and I couldn't even finish it.

Summer of 84


Bunch of young suburban (again? It all happens in the 'burbs) friends investigate serial killer in the 80s.

Clearly influenced by Stranger Things, down to the BMXs and big torches (flashlights, Americans, flashlights).




Something is very wrong with teen's family, so he goes digging. Oh dear.

It is well acted and directed, and is properly disturbing, and it is very well researched. No lazy shortcuts here; so much so that I did go Googling the occult content, which I find fascinating.

But it isn't The Exorcist, so stop calling it that.



Some kids on the run hole up in a creepy old house, but something's not right with the attic.

(This is one of two films, the other being Hereditary, I had on my list, and was recommended when I mentioned the continuing and terrifying noises coming in my attic).

So anyway, I enjoyed it. And, shock-horreur, I enjoyed it more than Hereditary, though I think Hereditary is a better film.

Down a Dark Hall


Naughty teen girls are sent to special school.

No, it's not that type of movie, it's Ms. Harry Potter lite.

It is a terribly conventional, by the numbers script, but I did like the angle they were going for; the actual supernatural thing at the heart of it.

Unfortunately, the big reveal is, er, revealed far too soon, with no surprise and little drama. What a waste.



Loving, but at odds couple; one's a Luddite, the other's a technogeek (how the hell would that work?) experience a tragedy, which starts one of them on the path to vengeance.

It's a high tech revenge flick about the avenger and their enhancements.


Mission Impossible Fallout


Rogue spies (see, you can't trust the buggers, I mean they're spies) are trying to assemble nukes to kill half the world because they're anarchists.

Er... Yeah, but the plot really doesn't matter, because this is just about Ethan Hunt running, driving, fighting, and shooting. If you leave it at that it's OK. If you look any deeper, it all falls apart. Hey, Fallout!

Still, I think the first Mission Impossible film is still the best, but then of course it was directed by Brian De Palma.



"#Mandy: 1980s retro VHS style #ConanTheBarbarian/#FrankFrazetta/#RalphBakshi/#HeavyMetal revenge mashup. Imaginary VO: An evil sorcerer, a vile alchemist, monstrous riders, a cursed blade, a weapon forged in the heart of vengeance... The first #doom #drone #stoner #musical?" https://twitter.com/RoyMathur/status/1041251471558356992

And if that Tweet didn't explain enough, the art direction, the fonts, the very wide angles exposing the wild landscapes, scream epic fantasy or 70s album cover.

Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough are metal heads abused by a Mansonish god squad, but, as you heard from all the references in the tweet I mentioned at the top of this, that is selling it very short. Although it is a very conventional story, it's also a great and very unusual looking film, and we don't have enough of those.

Nicolas Cage was spectacularly Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough tamped down the crazy sexy to a bookish introspection, and Linus Roache amped the creepy.

You should go and see it. I enjoyed it, but it isn't the sort of film I'd watch twice, whereas immense, operatic, epic fantasy films like Conan and Excalibur are movies I have watched time and time again. Consensus? Watch it!

The Bastard Executioner


Medieval period drama about rebel posing as torturer/executioner.

This is made by Son's of Anarchy showrunner, Kurt Sutter, and it's nasty, in terms of violence and, well, torture.

Here's the thing; the "justice" system in the UK, did rely on unbelievably vile punishments for a very long time; even after the Medieval period. I think the show's actually downplaying how bad things were. The problem is, even watered down, this does not make for viewing that is in any way enjoyable.

Remember that show about ISIS, The State? This is even more stomach churning. The show did not last long.

Mayans M.C.


Kurt Sutter's spinoff of SOA about another criminal bike gang.

No, I'm not even bothering. The violent soap opera, Son's of Anarchy, is banal enough, so I'm not even getting into this.

Wait "Kurt Sutter"? That's almost "Sutter Kane" reversed. Do you read Sutter Kane? Google it.

The Purge


The Purge franchise pushed one step to far. It has not had good ratings.

I don't know why they just didn't stick to the films... Oh wait, yes I do, it was the money.


Black Earth Rising


The USA's kick in the teeth to the ICC (International Criminal Court; the court that tries suspected war criminals in the Hague), makes the ICC the hot button topic de jour.

In this thriller, Bubble Gum star, Michaela Coel, plays survivor of Rwandan genocide, adopted by white British lawyer. The conflict arises when the lawyer takes on the prosecution of general who helped stop the genocide, but later became a mercenary.

I'd say it's interesting and topical, but sometimes the acting seems off. Particularly in the first scene, it seems like the star, much better known for comedy, is struggling not to play the role for laughs. Obviously, a highly inappropriate thing to do and it messes up the tone. Later, her acting does get darker, but that early scene almost made me switch off.

John Goodman is in it, which is good, but he seems to play serious by squinting. What's that about? It's like Ed Balls forcing himself to cry by keeping his eyes open and staring. Come on guys, we know all the tricks, try harder.



What if House (as in Doctor House, remember him?) took a more hands on approach to his doctoring?

Hugh Laurie's hair is diabolical is this mashup of The Punisher, Death Wish, The Equalizer, and House M.D.

The first season is OK, if you can get past the glorification of violence, mostly using blades, and then I remember this is from the country of mass shootings, so I suppose a little stabby stabby isn't so controversial. There's also an uncomfortable thematic recapitulation (yeah, I actually said that) of that Peter Coyote's knife fighting film, The Knife (1991). Hippocratic Oath? Pah, who needs it?

The first season is more of a noirish femme fatale thing, though the plot is really obvious and the suspense not so suspenseful, while the second season is a straight out vigilante show. It's Like Buffy the Vigilante, but with a team of two old blokes, and one fat psychopath.



Really interesting thriller, about a stalker, from the stalker's point of view.

You'd have though it not easy for the viewer to engage, because a maniac who spies on women, is not the most palatable of characters. But here's the thing. They manage to pull it off by making the character likeable in every way except that one huge, terrible character flaw. And it works!

I've talked about this before. If you are going to have a protagonist who is evil, you still have to make them likeable, otherwise the viewer's just going to turn off. Another advantage is that, if you do it this way, you have automatic tension built-in because you set up a moral conflict within the viewer.

I'm really enjoying this one.

How We're Not Dealing With Putin's Russia

Plutonium poisoning (Alexander Litvinenko former FSB officer poisoned with polonium-210), Brexit, Novichok poisoning, and we're not going to do a thing. We even know how the Novichok poisoners are (there's a bloody picture of them and they are even doing interviews), but no, nothing will be done.

Oh sure, a couple of toothless sanctions and a strongly worded letter is what we'll do, and that's it. Taking on Russia is..., and no one really want to say this in the UK, like one single gnat (a really small fly), attacking a giant bear.

Still No Gigabit Internet

I was on the trial group until they realised some nitwit had forgotten to cable my house. I think it's down to too many companies and subcontractors being involved, but that's really it.

I haven't heard anything back, though they are rolling out the main, non-trial, installations now, and are posting offers for everyone to sign up now. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I don't know when or if I'm ever actually getting fibre. Thanks a lot CityFibre, Vodafone, and Kelly Services. Absolutely useless.

And, with no roof aerial or working satellite dish, thanks to the idiot who came to fix my dish, high bandwidth TV over internet is the only way I can watch proper TV on a normal TV set at 1080p. So no TV either, except on laptop or smartphone at standard definition.

BT? Don't make me laugh, they still won't acknowledge my noisy line, even when I call them over a noisy line. Pah! Needless to say, I'm listening to a lot of podcasts and radio now.

NES Classic

Finally, finally. Here have a listen to some audio I taped earlier this week.

Very Ancient Doodles

Very ancient doodles, 73,000 years old ancient in fact, have been found in South Africa. Oh, and they were made by people like us.

The oldest art archaeology has discovered so far is only 30,000 years old, so this pushes that date back quite a bit.

The doodles looked like a grid pattern, which means they were ravers. SUPPOSITION!

Maybe there's something older made by Silurians (mostly only kidding, this is science, but Google Silurians). Hey, Silurian ravers! No, stop it Roy.

Apple Event

There are new phones. They are more expensive. They are an update of last year. Also there are updated Apple Watches that Apple are trying to reposition as health devices.

Sorry, I literally slept through the event.

How to Kill Paywalls

Use Tor! Which has the added benefit of killing scripts, and bugger up tracking. Also, if you turn off images, with the "about" hack (Google it), you can kill images. Tor, not just for the grossly misnamed Dark Net (seriously, you idiots, stop calling it that).

If you reach your limit of free articles you can access, just click on the onion icon in Tor and get a new identity.

I'm sure there are lot's of other uses of Tor, that won't earn you a place on a watch list too, but I haven't done that much of deep dive into the subject for quite a while.

The Return of My Writing Circle?

As I went on my daily walk, the other day, I met a fellow author. We chatted briefly about copyright, editorial matters, plotitis, and not overly focusing on the minutiae. Or rather, I waffled on about it. (I think he got bored).

Maybe it's time for me to start an informal writing group again for writer's who don't just need grammar lessons, but probably do need talk more about stuff that's hindering them, and perhaps share a few tips, and, maybe, just depressurise.

I toyed with running my own group back in 2013, but without meetup.com, I had very few takers. Subsequently, I joined a group run by, frankly, a couple of dilettantes (which really is the nicest thing I could say about them) that fell apart when they flaked out. The group reformed into a rather more "this is how to write" group, which is fine, but just not for me.

The thing putting me off about this is that it can be a bit of a drain putting these things on and maintaining some sort of order. I mean we're writers! Trying to organise writers is like herding cats, only harder, even with cattle prods and laser swords. If you decide to do this, make an agenda, be gentle, but make it clear that you are in charge, and then watch as everybody leaves.

And the Submissions Go On and On

The one-a-day submissions continue.

I'm quite pleased that I also found another agent open to submissions for my list.

Which one? Seriously? I can't tell you that because: COMPETITION, but consult the Writers and Artists Year Book specific to your country and use Google/DuckDuckGo, my friends.