Home > June 2010
Russell Brand, with his wet down hair once again became the Rock icon and front man of “Infant Sorrow” – Aldus Snow, for his latest movie “Get Him to the Greek” – a movie, which I have just got back from viewing…..and what a movie it is!
I loved every minute of it and I thoroughly recommend it to you, even if you didn’t like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”.
But I’m not here to movie review for you, I’m writing to speculate on the next career move of a certain, not so damp haired Mr Brand. Don’t get me wrong, Rusty Rockets dominating the big screen was quite a sight to see and he pulled it of and made it look like the most natural thing in the world (although, to be fair, how hard can it be to act like yourself?), but this is exactly my worry.
What does Brand do next? Throughout this film the lines between Aldus and Russell were blurred and sometimes it was hard to actually tell the difference who you were watching. My fear is that Russell has become so good at playing
Russell Aldus that any future films where he takes the lead role, we’ll be wondering what crazy role Aldus is taking in the next movie.
Matthew Perry had the same problem; we became so used to him playing Chandler Bing from Friends, that when he disappeared off to do “Fools Rush In”, I remember joking with friends that it should have been called “Chandler goes to Mexico”. (For the record, I didn’t think Perry managed to rid himself of the “Chandler” character until he starred in “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, even his performance in the “West Wing” I was thinking that any moment he would fall back into Chander – though thankfully he didn’t).
So, whilst the reviews and critics are raving about “Get Him to the Greek” – I’m already looking forward to his next role to find out just how versatile as an actor he can be. He’s already due to appear in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, alongside Dame Helen Mirram, which couldn’t be further from Aldus Snow, so just perhaps he’ll pull it off. Then Brand is set to remake the Rik Mayall “Drop Dead Fred”, which I can see him playing perfectly and will suit his madcap behaviour to a tee.
The only problem with Brand’s movie career becoming so successful is that the role that he should be playing here in the UK is getting further and further away – his return to the radio airwaves. Has the UK lost Russell Brand forever? Quite possibly, but I don’t like to think too negatively…….lets find out.
Why? Simply because in the UK we’re a little behind the curve on location; we’re still fascinated by Twitter and Facebook and are perhaps a little unwilling to add another service or two (depending on whether you’re a FourSquare user or a GoWalla user or both), to the already confusing online world, especially for those who struggle to understand the point of it all.
I too abandoned FourSquare after about a week of not remembering to check-in to places – and I was of the belief that the geo-location services would be integrated directly into my social network of choice; Twitter. Unfortunately, even though Twitter has added some geo-location service into their platform, it’s no where near its ‘check-in’ based equivalents.
Over the weekend though, I’ve been thinking about location a lot. Mainly in response to an article posted on TechCrunch about opening up other services directly into your openly reported location, in real-time; being able to tap into many different services based on your needs, requirements and who is around within your area. You can read more about the vision of the future here.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to take the same approach with FourSquare (don’t ask why FourSquare over GoWalla, as I don’t have an answer for that), as I did with Twitter when I first joined the service; actively use the service and commit to it for at least three weeks, if its meant to be then I’ll continue to use it.
Perhaps I shouldn’t blog when I’m angry, but right now I’m fuming! The Canadian Grand Prix has me absolutely riled, and my Twitter stream is hardly helping matters along with the congratulations to the McLaren drivers Lewis and Jenson, but this was a race that Fernando Alonso and Ferrari should have won – if only the back markers would have got out of the way.
Historically the scarlet red colour of the Ferrari was the perfect colour to attract the attentions of the back markers in their tiny, tiny mirrors – and the intimidation factor alone would have them weaving out of the way without any hesitation.
More recently, it seems this perception has gone away and needs to be returned as soon as possible. Drivers in the slower to mid paced teams often long hold ambitions to drive for the legendary Prancing Horse and they need to be re-awoken to the fact that the team chooses their drivers very strategically, blocking the faster Ferrari cars isn’t the way to land a Ferrari drive at all.
Today, Alonso was blocked twice – once by Heiki Kovalinen in the Lotus, which allowed Lewis Hamilton back past and into the lead and then in the closing 10 laps, a slow Hispania driving by Karun Chandok clearly baulked the 2nd placed Ferrari, allowing Jenson Button to glide past into the position.
Alonso should have won this race and Ferrari should have been celebrating their second victory of the season. Instead, the McLaren fans are celebrating and the Ferrari fans are left thinking what could have been.
….of course, the Ferrari fans (me included), are conflicted – a podium finish is a return to form and the performance this weekend has far exceeded what was expected after the disaster of the last race at Turkey. The next race holds even more promise, a vast new update package is on its way and hopefully that should vault the team further towards the front and into a dominating position.
Before I close, I also want to talk about Felipe Massa’s performance – following a three hit, bumper-car style start with Tonio Liuzzi, he drove a great race to set early fastest laps and get himself back into the points hunt, only to tangle with ex-Ferrari pilot Michael Schumacher in a highly dubious move to force Massa off the track. Unfortunately, Felipe’s front wing broke and he was dropped back down the order – another seemly unfortunate weekend for Massa’s Ferrari.
But on the flip side of that, Massa made an outstanding overtaking move against Liuzzi, prompting race engineer Rob Smedley to make the comment: “Good move kidda”. Lets hope we see less of those at the next race and the two Ferrari’s race out front in Valencia.
Apple have long had a device known as “Apple TV”, formerly “iTV” I believe, but it has always remained what they call a “hobby project” for them (presumably because either they can’t work out how to get channels to agree to share content with them or because they haven’t quite worked out how to make money out of it). More recently Google have announced that they are making moves into this area – presumably to beat Apple to the punch and steal market share first.
The interesting part for me, is that Google TV seems to be a dual approach – an online TV service and also a device driven service in the form of both a set top box and a built in TV tuner into custom made televisions. Google’s partnership with device maker Logitech is the most intriguing part of this new direction.
Logitech make some outstanding devices; the Squeezebox Duet which I own for playback of music from my centralised storage is second to none in my opinion and just seems to work flawlessly. But Logitech also manufacture mice, keyboards, webcams and a whole host of peripheral devices – many of which are of top quality and good build. Google’s partnership with them is very smart; especially as it means that Google won’t have to focus on building the hardware, which Apple very much have to do to fit in with their design ethos.
For me, there are two ways to look at this;
- A change in the way WMC is offered to potential users. Microsoft either need to partner or make available a ‘stand-alone’ version of WMC for device manufacturers to integrate directly into Microsoft-enabled set top boxes or even “Microsoft TVs” with built-in software – or – make WMC a far more attractive proposition for users to move to – or – do both strategies (similar to what Google is trying to do).
- Or add in or change WMC to adopt a new media social sharing strategy, directly across the web.
If you’re anything like me, and from the evidence I’ve seen most people are, you’ll tend to watch a TV show and have your laptop in reach to keep connected with the outside world. I’ve seen many a user on both Twitter and Facebook, post status messages about a particular TV show as they are watching along – it’s the perfect way to share opinion and gain insight into how others think; these social network services are making TV social able.
The next wave (Wave 4), of Microsoft Live Essentials, including Windows Live Messenger, Live Photos, Hotmail and SkyDrive all seem to have tight integration with each other and with online services such as Flickr and Facebook. If that’s the direction Microsoft have taken with these products/services, to me it makes absolute perfect sense to pull all of that data directly into your Media Centre too, allowing users to share their thoughts and feelings on the web. Perhaps not only with those who you are friends with, but also with others who are watching along with the same programme, all from the same screen (i.e. without me having my laptop or mobile phone handy to tweet or post status updates).
Adding these things onto the TV screen is without doubt going to be a challenge, getting the user interface right, to be non-intrusive from the programme you are trying to watch. However with Microsoft’s Aero/glass interfaces within Windows, see through pop-ups may be a possible solution or overlays may be the answer.
Forget trying to stream television across the web (the broadcasters will do this for you – look no further than the BBC iPlayer for proof of this), I believe the real trick the big three should be focused upon is trying to make television social and connected.
We don’t necessarily want to interact with the programmes that we’re watching, but the evidence suggests that we do want to interact with each other. Yes, there’ll be times when you don’t want to be connected or interrupted from your favourite shows or movies, so using “Presence” technologies that already exist, it should be easy enough to “be away” or “busy” or customise who can or cannot bother you during these times.
We should be able to share our opinions and thoughts, and advertise the programmes that we are watching (in the form of making direct recommendations), but we should also be able to direct friends towards the feeds/channels we’re watching so they can find the same content and watch along; perhaps having the option to share our screens with one another too would be good. Imagine being able to settle down to watch a movie with your closest friends, regardless of where in the world they are? (Of course, I’ve no doubt that copyrights will play a part in whether this is possible or not – but technically it should be, provided there is enough bandwidth available to stream).
This is where I see TV going – not towards streaming across the web (that’s already happening), but a move to make TV social would undoubtedly open the way and make these devices (over traditional set top boxes), more popular and worthy of investment.
Microsoft certainly seem to have the cloud based services, Media Centre and connectivity between the big social networking services in place; they just need to polish these things up and connect them all together and they’ll have a really good product to pitch against Google and Apple’s offerings. Will Microsoft compete with the other two in this arena?
Time will tell, but the potential is certainly there to do so – please don’t let me down!
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