modern culture since 1991

Wings over Sealand


More fun with Apple Maps 6

Posted on September 24, 2012 by RevStu

Like picking at a scab or peeling sunburned skin (and roughly as attractive) there's something addictive about the sheer awfulness of Apple Maps. Having already highlighted its total inability to perform the most basic function of an electronic map – finding places to within, say, five miles of their actual location – I couldn't resist going back to the Apple Store later the same day to document the visual quality of its maps. And because a picture's worth a thousand words, let's get straight to the results.

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Lost in stupid 3

Posted on September 24, 2012 by RevStu

The internet is, let's say, a place known for exaggeration. So while the examples of Apple Maps that have been posted everywhere in the last few days were pretty compelling evidence, we weren't going to be absolutely sure until we'd seen it with our own eyes. So once the queues of worthless human refuse had died down, we popped into the Apple Store this morning and had a look.

Readers, take everything you've heard about how bad Apple Maps is and double it.

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Portrait of the future 6

Posted on September 19, 2012 by RevStu

31 years ago, when Alan Grant wrote "Strontium Dog: Portrait Of A Mutant" for 2000AD, the notion that the father of a "mutant" child might become Prime Minister and oversee a programme of astonishing, vindictive persecution of the disabled by tormenting them with "work capability" tests and forcing them out of their homes (supported by "scrounger"-hating newspapers published on thin electronic tablets) was a crazy, dystopian sci-fi fantasy for kids.

Today, David Cameron presides over a government set implacably on slashing £30bn from the welfare budget (to pay for tax cuts for millionaires, obviously) by cutting housing and disability benefits for the profoundly handicapped and the terminally-ill, ingeniously saving more money by driving many of them to suicide as a result of measures even the Daily Mail is forced to decry as inhuman.

Enjoy watching "Dredd" this weekend, viewers. Keep telling yourself it's only a movie.

Guest post: The regional escalator 1

Posted on September 15, 2012 by Scott Minto

We're just beginning to see how the future of the UK will look under austerity. The full horror of the cuts may not be due to bite until later in 2013, but already we can see where and how they're likely to affect the UK population. Among the most controversial of these measures (so far) are the proposed regional levels for pay and welfare.

The regional pay proposals would see public workers paid less the further from the south-east of England they work (although devolved services in Scotland would be spared this), while the regional welfare payments would see a person on benefits paid less if they live in a poor area of the UK.

At present, government jobs are split into pay bands, with those on a certain band in one occupation earning roughly the equivalent of another public sector worker on the same band in another occupation. There's room for manoeuvre within the bands, but not much. These banding brackets are agreed through national pay negotiations by unions, ensuring that staff are treated fairly and consistently regardless of where they work. However, the creation of regional pay proposals puts an end to that idea.

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It’s nice when people listen 0

Posted on September 14, 2012 by RevStu

Charadium II is now the rather more descriptively- and catchily-titled Draw Mania.

We don't know if anyone's still playing Draw Something, but better late than never.

No justice for the 96 73

Posted on September 13, 2012 by RevStu

I wish I didn't have to write what I'm about to write. There's no possible benefit to it for me. All it will bring me is hatred, abuse and threats, some from people whose feelings I care about. It won't make any difference to anything, because only a handful of people will ever read it and most of those who do will be outraged by it. But I have to do it anyway. I'm trapped – trapped by conscience, trapped by sanity, and trapped by the words of the smartest, most perceptive writer who ever lived.

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." (George Orwell)

On the 15th of April 1989, ninety-six people went to a football match and didn't come home. They died in hideous scenes which were broadcast to the world and splashed across newspaper front pages, and they died as a result of a catastrophic combination of circumstances, which had any one of them not been present would have averted the disaster. Yet of all those factors, there's one that nobody is allowed to talk about, despite the fact that it's the one that actually killed every single victim.

Damn everyone whose cowardice means that the burden of saying so has landed on someone as stupid, inappropriate and hopelessly ill-equipped for the task as me.

Warning: the following piece contains distressing images.

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New challengers required 0

Posted on September 11, 2012 by RevStu

Come on, readers. Over 100K and Deborah Hare's the only one even putting up a fight.

(Put "WoS" or something in the friend request so I know you're real.)

Don’t you ever 14

Posted on September 10, 2012 by RevStu

"…don't you ever / Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards"

:(

Some people are on the pitch 58

Posted on September 05, 2012 by RevStu

As regular readers will know, we've always been keen admirers of Bruce Everiss's almost-unparallelled videogames-industry knowledge and expertise. So we've been thrilled to recently see him storming back to the cutting-edge as chief of marketing for David Darling's new company Kwalee, which has hit on the genius idea of making it big in the ultra-competitive App Store market by employing a vast team of staff to come up with two-player-only knockoffs of ancient board games.

The well-documented problem with the App Store, of course, is visibility. To have a chance of getting your game noticed you need it to get lots of great reviews, and when your games are extremely mediocre and competing against hundreds and hundreds of existing clones of the same thing which DO offer single-player play as well as online, the chances of that happening are slim.

Unless you cut out the middleman and write the reviews yourself, of course.

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How to make a martyr 17

Posted on August 22, 2012 by RevStu

Alert viewers will have noticed a drop in the frequency of postings on this blog, and it was a toss-up today between what we're about to discuss and posting some pictures of bizarre confectionery-branded candles. And actually, what the heck – you've not had much in the way of content recently, so let's do both.

Seriously, what's the story here? Aren't you just basically inviting small children to eat candles? And is there a cherry-flavoured Skittle anyway? Now, about that rape thing.

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SUPER-EXCITING VIDEOGAME NEWS! 12

Posted on August 09, 2012 by RevStu

Hell Yeah! finally has an official release date – October 3rd in Europe – and will be coming out for the PC as well as for XBLA. This is the first proper gameplay trailer.

Start saving the spare Microsoft Points from your paper round now (you'll need 1200), because it's freaking awesome. And I should know, because I made some of it.

The Olympic enclosures 1

Posted on July 25, 2012 by RevStu

As the sun made its first appearance of the summer at the weekend, Wings over Sealand wasn't slow off the mark. On the "B" of the "BANG!", we leapt onto a train for a scenic two-hour journey to the seaside, specifically the lovely south-coast town of Weymouth. It's a remarkable place, changing character every time you turn a corner.

The front is a traditional resort promenade, with beaches and ice-cream stands and arcades. Just behind it is a picturesque working harbour town, tatty fishing boats mingling with some extremely fancy millionaires' yachts. (Don't miss the tasty and gigantic battered faggots at Bennett's On The Waterfront fish and chip shop, by the way, the closest thing you'll find to haggis in an English chippy and heavenly with a splash of onion vinegar.) Adjacent to both is a scruffy but bustling town centre, almost entirely free of the empty shops littering every other urban conurbation in Britain.

And if you embark on about five minutes' leisurely stroll from the western end of the prom or the busy, noisy harbour and marina, you'll find the town's only sizeable area of public green space, in the form of the beautiful and peaceful oasis that is The Nothe.

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    Hello. I am the Rev. Stuart Campbell,
    a semi-obsolete neo-culture journalist.
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