Father Ted, A Legacy

 

“It doesn’t sound good, you know: three priests living on an island as a sitcom. If I’d heard about it, I’d hate it.”[1] Graham Lineham, the co-creator of the Irish sitcom Father Ted confesses, slightly apologetically. Nevertheless, twenty years since the last episode aired, its legacy lives on, from the unforgettable protest slogan “Down with this sort of thing” “Careful now”  which still finds its way on signs in protests on NHS cuts, freeing Julian Assange, and the 2010 visitation of the Pope in London, to an Irish band covering the famous My Lovely Horse song. What The Young Ones did to British comedy, Father Ted did to Irish comedy: in an almost punk-rock way, it kicked against the corseting idea of Ireland as a backwater – a remote, tranquil hinterland defined by cosiness and harmlessness.

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The Ten Best Alice in Wonderland Films

This year marks the 110th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s death, and though it might sound a bit macabre, this may nevertheless be a good celebratory occasion to review the best Alice in Wonderland film adaptations.

Perhaps more fascinating than Alice in Wonderland itself is the mind from which the story sprang. Contrastive to his work, Carroll, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), was said to be a rather dry and stiff man. As a mathematician and logician at Christ Church Oxford, he was orderly and meticulous, maybe what would now be characterized as bordering on OCD. But more than adhering to rules and order, he loved to break them, twist them, and turn them around completely until he arrived at the insane world that is Wonderland. Yet, saying that Wonderland is only a trippy celebration of chaos and disorder would be wrong. Alice in Wonderland very cleverly challenges the taken-for-granted logic of the adult world by using a child as a heroine who questions and doubts everything. In this, Carroll brilliantly captures a child responding to a world that has rules and logic that she, other than adults, does not yet fully understand and accept as ‘normal’. Continue reading “The Ten Best Alice in Wonderland Films”

WB Valentine’s Poetry

 

It is no secret that we like good poetry here at Writer’s Block. But if there’s one thing that brightens our day more than good poetry, it’s bad poetry. Luckily for us, there is a special day, every year, which seemingly functions as a magnet to forced rhymes, nonexistent meters and toe-curling similes: Valentine’s Day.

As the editorial board, we process your poetry submissions all year through. Today, we decided to return the favor to the people. Through collective effort we tried to capture the most mediocre, Valentine-y poetry we could muster, in honor of this international day of bad poetry.

We hope you enjoy.

xoxo WB

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Homo Ludens: Exploring The Popularity of Let’s Plays

I guess you can say that this article came into existence by accident. A few weeks ago, one of the Writer’s Block board members texted me asking, “Are you watching playthrough videos again on YouTube, Roos?” I was shocked by this I know what you did last summer-level of clairvoyance and immediately paused the video of two Dutch YouTubers playing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Instinctively, I looked outside as though I would find him hovering near my bedroom window, but the purple stick figure in the right hand cornerdd of my screen told me that I was logged into the Writer’s Block Gmail account which meant that my entire videogame binge session could now be seen by the editorial board. I could not lie and tell him that it wasn’t me; earlier that year I had casually mentioned that during the Christmas holidays I watched a playthrough of some obscure Japanese RPG that I used to play as a child. So there were no excuses anymore. I was the only suspect. I felt caught and for some reason compelled to out myself as a person who spends her evenings watching YouTubers play Skyrim, or Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Continue reading “Homo Ludens: Exploring The Popularity of Let’s Plays”

Hapax Legomenon! ‘University Challenge’ and the Nerd Cult

Watch University Challenge on BBC 2 every Monday at 21.00 (CET).

On April 10th 2017 at 21.00 (CET) you may have missed the event of the year. After several months of weekly matches, people around Britain (and the world) sat down at home or in the pub to watch this match that was hyped with a Mayweather vs McGregor-level intensity. “I have never been this excited since Pacino and De Niro finally came face to face in Heat,” someone wrote on Twitter. It was the showdown of the century: Monkman vs Seagull. Continue reading “Hapax Legomenon! ‘University Challenge’ and the Nerd Cult”

Kanye West – Reanimator

 

The waiting was gruesome, but Kanye never faltered. Every now and then he applied his ear to the chest of the specimen, and bore the negative results in typical Kanye fashion: by throwing a non-sequitur rant. He’d wax hyperbolic about breadth and width of his art, claiming that it couldn’t be contained by mere genre conventions like “life.”

Growing up in a Dutch suburbia, which to friends, acquaintances, and the occasional individual in the pub I often refer to as “The Whitest Place on Earth”, my fascination for Kanye West was only inevitable. As far as our similarities go, we both studied English and once rewarded ourselves with pet fishes for a major achievement. At the age of seven I bought a gold fish with my pocket money after I got my swimming diploma; Kanye purchased an 18th century aquarium with 30 koi fish after the successes of College Dropout (2004). Both well-deserved rewards I would say, but undoubtedly my fascination is more based on the allure of otherness than on the comfort of familiarity. And so I have no illusions that my attraction to the Other is any better than a white baggy trousered teenage boy shouting “Fuck the Police!” from his new housing estate bedroom or any other instance in which black culture becomes, as bell hooks puts it, “a seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture”[1]. Not wishing to participate in this white escapism, my affairs with Kanye are strictly private and rarely find their way past my own ivory white bedroom door. Instead, I indulge in his music the way I experience a Thomas Pynchon novel: from a respectable and self-aware distance but engaged enough to be overwhelmed by the sheer genius of it all. Continue reading “Kanye West – Reanimator”