Thursday, 3 July 2014

Hugo Lloris to Receive New Contract and Captaincy at Tottenham

With a significant number of reports linking current Tottenham Hotspur skipper Michael Dawson to a move away from White Hart Lane, there is a strong indication that the Spurs hierarchy will hand current French captain Hugo Lloris the armband with an improved contract.

The former Lyon stopper, who will lead his national side into the quarter finals of the World Cup this week, has been heavily linked with a move to super-rich French team Paris Saint-Germain. However, Daniel Levy and co are hoping that an improved wage package and the chance to lead Tottenham into a new era under Mauricio Pochettino would be enough to brush off interest from PSG, who could not only offer a hefty wage deal, but Champions League football as well.

Some would argue that it is imperative for Tottenham Hotspur to keep their shot stopper, with Hugo Lloris being one of a handful of players that performed relatively well last season when Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood were unable to capitalise on the £100m spent on new playing talent. It is also logical to hand Lloris the captaincy with him clearly showing he is a natural leader with his previous club and national side. It should also be noted that Hugo Lloris was one of the players who openly criticised his team's performances last season, showing that he endeavours to achieve more with the London club.

However, these reports are coming after Tottenham had been heavily linked with making a move for Swansea City and Netherlands keeper Michel Vorm as part of a three player deal that would also see Wilfried Bony and Ben Davies move to White Hart Lane. This suggests that Levy and Pochettino's preference would be to keep Lloris, but are also ensuring they have a back up.

Watch this space.

Antony Moule

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Alex Chhaya's Top Ten Movies

I'm not really one for movies, I much prefer videogames as a storytelling medium, although that’s not to say I don’t watch movies, I've watched a fair few in my time, at least 30 I'd say. I even like a few of them! As such; I thought it a good idea to share my top ten films so you too can see what I like and maybe give ‘em a go! Or hate them! The choice is yours!

10- Die Hard

Do I need to explain why I love this movie? Okay, fine. Other than being the greatest Christmas movie of all time, it’s also one of the greatest action movies of all time. With Bruce Willis giving it his all and Alan Rickman completely stealing the show. The movie doesn't have any low points to think of and well… it’s Die Hard! I don't need to explain why it’s great.

9- A Clockwork Orange

I love dark movies, and this is one of the darkest, with Malcolm McDowell terrifyingly chewing the scenery in one of the most important movies of all time. It almost seems darkly satirical of brain dead action films like number 10, almost like Spec Ops: The Line, it wakes what we love to see and shows us just how fucked we all are for liking this stuff. And I love it when movies make me feel bad.

8- The Iron Giant

This movie makes me cry like a bitch. This for me is the gold standard of animation, much better than anything Pixar or Disney has ever produced, with a compelling story of a boy and his robot (One that we all know), beautiful animation and artwork and a stellar voice cast; including, in my opinion, Vin Diesel’s finest work to this very day. The movie, sadly, did poorly at the box office, so go out now and buy this movie and show it some damn love.

7- Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Another movie about a boy and his robot… wait, this ends kinda similar to the previous film… huh. Is Iron Giant the PG Terminator 2? Anyway, this is up there with Die Hard for action movies (even with the low body count). This is the movie that cemented Arnold as the greatest thing ever in my formative years, and he still kinda is really. And I gotta admit… I cry like a bitch at that thumbs up.

6- Captain America: The Winter Soldier/ Dredd

Marvel has had a great track record with movies these past few years, with the great experiment with The Avengers paying off massively we all wondered… what next? Well they just got better with Iron man 3 improving greatly on the previous 2 and Thor improving in leaps and bounds with the Dark World and then Winter Soldier happened and holy shit. I haven’t left a cinema so satisfied since the Avengers with everyone getting much needed depth and chances to flex their acting muscles in what was more a spy thriller than a super hero movie it really showed what Marvel can do. On the other side of the spectrum is the ultra-violence filled Dredd! Dredd was the perfect adaption of everyone’s favourite Judge. With a deeply complex story hidden just beneath what can be easily mistaken as a bog standard action flick. It has all the dark comedy and violence that we've come to expect from Britain’s leading comic hero and I loved every minute of it.

5- Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim is the greatest stupid movie ever. Yes, the logistics of the J├Ągers make little logistical sense, but would you rather watch 3 hours of Naval patrols firing cannons occasionally at the ocean? No of course not! Because that’s boring and giant robots fighting monsters is awesome now shut up and watch this movie.

4- Children of Men

As mentioned above I love dark movies and this is one of the darkest. With Humanity on the brink of extinction after the last Human birth happening over 18 years ago, wait, I don’t wanna go any further lest I spoil things. Anyway, what I really love about this movie is all the tiny little details in the background, like the newspaper clips showing off the gradual downfall of the world and the several uses of the continuous shot that really makes everything feel so smooth and almost surreal compared to the editing of some movies. All in all it’s a brilliant film.

3- No Country for Old Men

This is the first film that ever left me feeling empty. Now I know that may not sound like the best sell of a movie “Oh you should watch this it makes you feel bad about being Human!” But… well, that’s kinda why I like it really, it’s uncompromising about how it shows the horrors of the drug trade and poverty. No one really comes across as all the way good or evil, but everyone lives in this moral grey area, just like real life. It’s harsh; it depressing and I love it.

2- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Well this a sudden turn. Yes, Empire is number 2. The Star Wars trilogy had a profound effect on me as a young’un and for the longest time Return of the Jedi was my favourite ‘cause it had the most action. But as I grew older I came to love Empire more. It’s opening loss at the battle of Hoth, the interactions between the characters, everything Yoda as a character stood for, Luke’s transition from a lost farm boy to a capable warrior. There’s not really much more I can say about this that hasn't already been said a thousand times by better writers than I. Just know that I love this movie and you should go re-watch it… preferably on VHS if you can.

1- District 9

District 9, to me, is a perfect movie. I cannot say a bad thing about it. I’m sorry, I can’t think of what to say other than I love this movie more than any other piece of cinema I have ever seen. Ironically as my favourite movie I have almost nothing to say about it. I have no words sadly, it’s just perfect, so go watch it.

Alex Chhaya

Friday, 27 June 2014

Digital Vs Physical

The slow march towards digital distribution of entertainment is one of those hidden pluses of the Internet age, with games, music, film, TV and books now becoming cheaper with the cost of distribution and manufacturing cut out as well as being a boon to independent content creators; digital distribution really is brilliant... except I prefer physical copies of things. Now I'm not one of those Luddites who decries all things past the cassette tape, I love what digital distribution has done for consumer choice, just sit a while and listen to why I think digital isn't all that for a few things.

Seeing as iTunes more or less kickstarted the digital revolution we may as well start with music. Now for music I've no problem with the digitisation of music, with crisper audio and no need for bulky cassette or CD Walkmans. The iPod and all the others like it, are prime examples of the good the digital age can do for a medium. But that's not to say it's all good; for some audio buffs the cleanness of some recording can retract from the feel of a song, I myself am partial to a number of old uploads of vinyls on YouTube, the light crackle of the needle reading the record and other impurities can really add to a song, to give an old blues ballad that extra feeling of roughness to an old crooner lamenting his loss; though admittedly this is a personal preference and some songs older songs do benefit from a digital makeover.

Film and TV have probably fared the best, with visuals now looking their best and the conversion to high definition breathing new life into older films and the likes of Netflix and Hulu+ giving millions access to new and old alike. Not to mention funding their own shows without the meddling of sponsors and networks, like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black being huge successes as well as giving people access to smaller independent films the digital age may revitalise the film industry. The only true loss with the digital age is the fact that all the old VHS copies of Star Wars without all the CGI meddling are nigh unfindable these days without resorting to less than legal means.

Video Games, much like film and TV, has benefited greatly from digital distribution. With services like Steam offering massive deals on everything from the biggest AAA titles to the obscure gems of the past as well as giving a new platform to the rapidly growing indie market allowing such masterpieces as Bastion and Limbo to get the recognition they deserve. Alongside sites such as (Good old Games) reworking older games to run on newer systems. The indie market has also thrived on consoles with Sony offering the likes of Journey and Flower on their PlayStation Network digital service and the XBox Live Arcade allowing user made content. Digital distribution has been nothing but good for the games industry. But me being old fashioned I still prefer my old collection of PlayStation games lined up neatly next to my books, there's just something more satisfying to running your finger across the spine of a game umming and ahhing while you choose a game, pulling out and old favourite just to appreciate the box art is an experience like no other. In comparison scrolling up and down your Steam list just feels empty to me.

Now so far I've been mostly positive with digital, liking each one so far with just a few minor gripes to be had, but here is where I am completely against digital distribution. Books. E-readers have been around since the early 2000's but only grew in popularity with the release of the Amazon Kindle in 2007 and I have never liked them. I've used both a Kindle itself as well as apps on various devices and they have never done anything for me. Now, I can understand why people like them, they're convenient and the text can be adjusted depending on your needs, that's all good but I still hate them; they're just too clean. You don't get that new book smell with a kindle, or that musky smell of an older book. You don't get the the yellowed pages of an older used book, or the fraying of pages, the bending of spines, the light rustle as you turn the page; the hardening of pages of a book that's been caught in the rain. You just don't get any of this with a kindle, a Kindle is just a piece of tech and data but a book is so much more, it's a story, a feeling and experience. Books are such an old thing that they carry so much more, books, especially loved ones, the dog eared ones, have soul. 

Jeremy Clarkson in his book I know You Got Soul goes into how certain machines, the ones with impurities and design faults were the ones that were truly great, the ones that had soul to them. This is books to me, they're old and clunky and kinda rubbish, but that's why I love them. It's like books are an old Mustang and Kindles are a new model, sure the new Mustang is more fuel efficient, comfier and has all the modern gadgets and is clean instead of yours which has been under a sheet in your garage for a few years, but when you have your friends are over, which would you be more proud to show to them, to let them take a spin in? Or to put it another way, if or when you have kids what would you rather leave them? A book you loved as a child with frayed edges and the cover just hanging on with cellotape, or the password to your Amazon account so they can download it? If you answered the latter then... well you're awful. But if you answered the former then you're like me, an old fashioned sort who loves the look of mis-matched books sitting on your shelf, with tiny paperbacks standing proudly amongst their hardback counterparts, some with embossed lettering, others faded from the years, but they are all there, your favourite books barely held together from constant re-reading sitting proudly in the middle... and you just don't get that with a Kindle and, well, that just sucks.

Alex Chhaya