Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Labour MP Reported To Police For Calling A Trans Woman 'He'

Transgender Tory Councillor Zoe Kirk-Robinson has reported fellow politician Guy Harkin to police following him referring to her with male pronouns twice during a council meeting.

Ms Kirk-Robinson attended a council meeting on August 24th, where she delivered a speech to the assembled representatives.  She reports that after her speech Labour Councillor Guy Harkin became visibly upset and launched into an angry rebuttal.

Zoe told journalists, 'During his rant, he repeatedly misgendered me, referring to me as 'he' and 'him' numerous times; which stunned the room into silence.  The tirade was clearly meant to not just insult but injure; and I can tell you that he did, sadly, hit the mark on that one.

'It hurt a lot, the guy had no reason to suggest that I was male, he's never met me as male, I transitioned over ten years ago.  I've lived in Bolton for eight years.  He never met me before transition.'

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that Zoe has filed a complaint regarding the incident and that they will be looking to speak to Mr Harkin.  

'It's offensive.  Police are looking into it and will speak to him and settle it with restorative justice,' Zoe said.  'He will sit in a room with me and listen to why it's wrong.

'The thing is, we were all shocked by it.  There have been complaints from the Labour Councillors, it shocked everyone.  He shouldn't have done it.  I'm a crime ambassador for the council, I tell each person to report it so that they know how much is happening.

'If he feels comfortable doing this at the highest level in town, it's going to set a precedent for people of the town.  There is a huge problem with transphobia in Bolton, it legitimates it for all of the other people.'

Speaking on the issue Mr Harkin has said that 'I was utterly unaware of this slip of the tongue until it was pointed out to me the day after the meeting.  I offered immediately to apologise as there is not a homophobic or any kind of phobic bone in my body.

'I am told that I used 'he' instead of the appropriate 'she' twice, not repeatedly, or someone would have surely have raised a point of order - and I would have apologised there and then.'

Mr Harkin, who has in the past come under criticism for suggesting naming streets after Adolf Hitler and other high ranking Nazis in a bid to sabotage housing development, has tried to deflect anger by saying that one of his oldest friends is transgender author Roz Kaveney.

Despite Harkin claiming that he has heard nothing from police regarding the incident both Zoe Kirk-Robinson and a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police have said that the incident is being taken seriously and that enquiries are ongoing.


Friday, 26 August 2016

Girl Claims She Will Fail High School If Trans Students Treated With Equality

A 13 year-old girl and her conservative Christian mother are fighting against legislation that allows transgender students the right to use bathroom and changing facilities that match their gender identity, claiming that it will result in her failing High School.

Sigourney Cole has told school officials that she is being discriminated against because transgender students have been given the right to use the bathrooms and changing facilities that best match their gender identity.  Speaking out on the issue Sigourney told officials that she did not wish to use the same facilities as transgender students due to religious reasons, and that her feelings should trump the law.

Sigourney and her mother have been fighting hard to get her school, Emmaus High School in Eastern Penn, to ban transgender people from using bathroom and changing facilities, despite the fact that there are no actual transgender students in the same class as Sigourney.

Speaking on Monday evening at a school board meeting the young woman said, 'I am a woman, and I identify as a woman, and you can't make me change in front  of someone who I don;t identify with who is physically male.'

She went on to say that because transgender students are allowed to use the same facilities as her (again, despite not having any trans students in her own class) she feels that she must sit out of gym class, a choice that will result in her failing gym and ultimately High School.  She is claiming that this is somehow her being discriminated against.

'I feel nothing against transgenders, I would just not like their rights to overrule mine.'  She spoke out, somehow equating equal rights to a marginalised group having more rights than she does in some warped view on reality where not being privileged means being discriminated against.

'Gym requires us to participate to pass high school and if I don't change I'm not allowed to participate.  So my options are to let myself be discriminated against or fail gym for not participating and not pass through high school, which would jeapardise my future.'

Sigourney's mother, Aryn Coyle, shares the same extreme views on the situation and has been actively supporting and encouraging her daughter, going so far as to likening the fight to discriminate against transgender students as a 'battle' on her Facebook account.

Aryn has tried to write tot he school to have them allow Sigourney to be excluded from the class due to religious reasons, however, the school principal responded to her to say that 'religious exemption from class only applies in health class due to sexuality content and not gym class'.

'I have always been an advocate of any special arrangement that prevents any group of people from being mistreated based on who they are.'  Aryn wrote on social media, blissfully unaware of how contradictory that statement is to her actions and just how bigoted she actually is.  'But I will NOT stand by while the law dictates that male bodies are allowed to walk into my daughters locker room, undress next to her, and shower alongside her.  Whether or not the male bodies are covered in pants or skirts is irrelevant.  They have no place in her locker room.'

Aryn has said that she is proud of her daughters bigotry, and that she will stand by her even if her selfish hate leads her to fail high school for wanting transgender students to be discriminated against.  Again, just to make this clear, there are no transgender students involved in this case at all, Sigourney Coyle has no transgender classmates, she just wants her religion to trump any potential real people.


'Rings' Trailer Released

After 11 years a third entry in the American Ring series has finally been revealed.

The new film will be separate from the first two in the series and will not see the return of series lead Naoimi Watts.  The new film, directed by F. Javier Gutierrez, is a direct sequel to the other two films in the series, and follows a new protagonist called Julia (played by Anna Ingris Lutz) and her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe).

After Julia watches a mysterious video that has been circling the internet and in said to kill whomever watches it after seven days she finds herself marked by the deadly spirit of Samara, who has a larger plan in mind for the young woman.

'Rings' is set for release October 28th.


Trans Teacher Loses Job, Told To 'Think Of The Children'


A school teacher in Australia has been forced out of her job after beginning her transition, sparking allegations of discrimination against the school who told her that she should 'think about the children'.

Blaise Harris, who worked at Cessnock High School in New South Wales for three years before her transition, reported that the school abruptly stopped offering her work after she began her transition to her true gender, with the schools head telling her that her gender 'might be a problem' if she was to be continued to be employed there.

Balise began her transition in 2014, growing her hair out and taking female hormones before changing her legal name and gender.  Blaise was further stunned when she took her complaint to the Department of Education, who quickly sided with the school and refused to take her case any further.  A senior manager at the Department of Education told her 'I don't have a problem with what the school did at all.  You have to think of the children.'

Following this response Blaise has chosen to make a legal case against both the school and the Department of Education via the Anit-Discrimination Board, who have accepted her case.  Blaise is hoping to receive an official apology from both groups and possible compensation for the loss of earnings and severe emotional distress the situation has caused her.

At one point during the proceedings Blaise became so depressed with the situation that she reportedly stopped her transition and attempted to resume her work presenting as male, before the pain of which became too much for her to bear and she returned to living life as her true self.

'I thought at the time, I can't take on the Department, they're bloody massive, it would be easier to change me,' Blaise said, speaking about her de-transition.  'Then I changed back and sank into depression again, until I basically realised no, I'm not going to do this, I'm going to be who I want to be.  I don't see how me having boobs and wearing a dress to work because that's how I want to be, I don't see how that negatively impacts on anyone else's life.'

The Department of Education has released a statement following the launch of the Anti-Discrimination Board case to say 'Schools are committed to diversity in the workforce and non-discriminatory environments.'


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Armed Police Force Woman To Remove Burkini in France

Armed French police have forced a woman on a beach in Nice to remove her clothing as part of a ban on the burkini.  Thank god that armed men are there to protect us from women napping on the beach.

Photos have emerged of four police officers confronting a sleeping woman at a Nice beach on Tuesday, who then forced the woman to remove her clothing and issued her a fine.  The woman was wearing a long sleeve blue tunic and a head scarf, yet the officers deemed the outfit to be inappropriate.

This comes after authorities in several French towns implemented a ban on the burkini, citing concerns over religious clothing, saying that the clothing 'overtly manifests adherence to a religion at a time when France and places of worship are the target of terrorist attacks'.

Nice is just one of fifteen French resorts to have banned the article of clothing, somehow believing that women relaxing at the beach and following their religion somehow constitutes a threat to the French people.

The 34 year old woman, who gave the press only her first name as Siam, said 'I was sitting on the beach with my family, I was wearing a classic headscarf.  I had no intention of swimming.'

Witnesses to the incident have gone on to confirm that during the incident members of the public were shouting at Siam to 'go home' and cheering and applauding the police officers as they issued her with a fine.  It is also being reported that her daughter was left in tears during the incident.

Despite the incident receiving a huge backlash from the public and on social media from people around the world the local mayor, Ange-Pierre Vivoni, who banned the garment to begin with, said that the ban is necessary to 'protect the population'.

I'm sorry, but this is where I go out on a rant about this subject now.  I am simply astounded that this entire incident is being allowed to happen and that a country as apparently advanced as France thinks that banning women from wearing religious clothing is a good thing.

All of these people who are saying that it's wrong to wear this clothing, who are telling women what they can and can't wear, who are allowing armed police to force a woman to publicly strip are no better than the terrorists they claim to oppose.  There is no difference between extremists with religion telling women they have to cover themselves and these people who are telling women that they have to uncover themselves.

The burkini is not a terrorist garment.  It is not clothing of oppression.  This woman who was fined for wearing it and forced to remove it was not being oppressed into wearing it, she chose to wear it to spend time at the beach.  The burkini was not designed by terrorist, it was created by a woman to allow other women more freedom.

You are not fighting against terrorism and oppression by forcing women out of their clothing, you are engaging in terrorism and oppression.  Your thiny veiled Islamophobia is showing France.


Dragon Ball Super Reveals New Super Saiyan Transformation


Following much fan speculation around the current Dragon Ball Super villain Black Goku possibly revealing a new form of Super Saiyan transformation the official reveal for the next episode of the series has shown that Super Saiyan Rose is coming.

The new transformation involves a reddish-purple aura and gives the villain with almost white pink coloured hair. 

Dragon Ball Super has added new Super Saiyan transformations to the Dragon Ball mythos already with both red and blue haired forms, but as of yet there is no explanation for what this new transformation means, though fans suspect that it's a result of the villains fight with series lead Goku.

The next episode of Dragon Ball Super sees the villain in a rematch fight with Goku and Vegeta.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Australian Lobby Group; 'Being Transgender Is Like Anorexia'

The conservative political organisation The Australian Family Association has told it's supporters that members of the transgender community are the same as people suffering from the eating disorder anorexia.

The group have issued an email to its members, urging them to take action against stories that feature transgender children, and to draw inspiration for their online attacks from right-wing conservative websites such as The Federalist.

The groups president, Paul Monagle, suggested that supporters read Moira Flemming's piece for the publication in which she compared being transgender to having anorexia nervosa.  He even went on to encourage his supporters to try to spread the word on this and convince others.

'Flemming says that both anorexia and transgendering are driven by a mismatch between the person's brain and their body,' the email told the groups followers.  'A wrenching awareness of what it feels like to be disconnected from your body, to hate with every fiber of your being the way you look in the mirror.'

These comments, that liken allowing people's choice to transition to anorexia sufferers starving themselves comes after a long campaign from the ASA in which they have spread anti-trans propaganda against transgender children and have even tried to shut down a government funded anti-bullying campaign.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Everything Left Podcast

As promised earlier in the year I'm bringing something new and exciting to my readers, a Podcast!  Launching in September, Everything Left will be my brand new news and current events show where a panel of lefty guests and myself will delve into the weeks stories and dig a little deeper than the tabloids to find the truth, discuss the important issues and and bring you the information you need to know.

For more information on the show as it becomes available, episodes once the series begins, and some upcoming sneak peeks, head over to the brand new Everything Left website!


Thursday, 18 August 2016

New Pokemon Turtonator Revealed

Another brand new Pokemon has been revealed today at Gamescon, the explosive Turtonator, a Fire/Dragon type Pokemon that resembles an armoured turtle with a spiked shell patterned like and explosion and a long cannon-like mouth.

Because Turtonator lives in volcanoes, feeding on sulfur and other materials found near volcanoes, it's shell has a layer of explosive material - mostly sulfur.  When something strikes the Pokemon, sparks fly from its shell, igniting an explosion.

In areas around volcanic craters, this Pokemon camouflages itself as a rock and waits for prey.  At the moment when its prey steps onto the back of its shell, Turtonator strikes its shell with its own tail, triggering an explosion.

The explosive blast triggered from Turtonators back are released through an orifice located on the middle front of the Pokemon's body.  This is Turtonators weak point.  Attacks landing on its stomach will cause it a great deal of damage.

It's ability, Shell Trap, is a move that only Turtonator is able to learn.  With this move, the Pokemon can set a trap at the beginning of the turn, and if Turtonator is hit by an opponents physical attack during that turn, Shell Trap triggers an explosion that will deal much greater damage to the opponent.

Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon are due for release this November.


Oxfordshire Council Refuses to Fly Rainbow Flag

A group of teenagers have been protesting in the Oxfordshire town of Abington-on-Thames following the council's refusal to fly the rainbow flag.

The group of teens, ranging from 15 to 17 years-old organised the event to raise awareness of the issue and support Oxford Pride following the council's refusal to display the Pride flag, but report that they were met with abusive and homophobic responses from local residents.

When trying to raise money and awareness over the issue the group, some of whom themselves identify as LGBT+, say that they were horrified at the amount of open abuse that they received.

One of the group, 16 year-old Serena Harrop, told reporters 'I was so shocked because in our generation people aren't against the LGBT community.  We were just trying to raise awareness that some people are gay and it's a normal thing.'

They reported that the majority of the abusive behaviour came from people from the older generation, with one man telling the group that gay people 'shouldn't be near children', with another telling them that he 'wouldn't let a gay babysit.'

Despite having refused to fly the rainbow flag, Abington council leader Mike Badcock has said that he wants to 'reassure all people living in Abingdon on Thames that they are all valued members of our community'.

He went on to speak about the council's reasons for choosing to not support Pride by flying the flag, stating that it would give a 'clear precedent which would mean that the Council would come under pressure for other flags to be flown', as well as saying that people were misinterpreting their reasons, 'it would appear willingly by some'.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Resident Evil 7 Lantern Trailer Released

The latest trailer for the hotly anticipated Resident Evil 7 has finally arrived.  Possibly the biggest reinvention the series has ever seen, Resident Evil 7 is set in a first person point of view and is closer in tone to Outlast than the rest of the Resident Evil series.

The new trailer features another of the games found footage segments, where a frightened captive must try to escape the terrifying surroundings of the Louisiana mansion whilst being stalked by a lantern wielding woman.


Metal Gear Survive Revealed

Konami have announced a brand new addition to the Metal Gear franchise in the form of a new spin-off game, 'Metal Gear Survive'.  The new game, set in what is being described as an alternate timeline that branches off from the events of Metal Gear Solid 5 Ground Zeroes, is a four player co-op stealth survival game.

The trailer shows the divergent continuity beginning when wormholes appear in the sky above Mother Base following the attack at the end of Ground Zeroes, where a handful of soldiers are sucked onto a desolate and barren world full of broken structures and military style ruins.

The game will see a group of four survivors of the attack on Mother Base teaming up to fight against rampaging hordes of infected enemies.

Konami's European president Tomotada Tashiro released a statement to say, 'We are delighted to announce another exciting addition to the Metal Gear franchise.  Metal Gear Survive will offer a fresh take on the series' famed stealth elements but with a unique co-op setting that is designed for a truly engrossing multiplayer experience.'

Whilst the trailer has already appeared to have divided fans of the series just hours after release Metal Gear Survive looks like it could be a fresh and interesting new part of the Metal Gear universe that takes elements from both Metal Gear and Left 4 Dead, two great series.  Plus, let's be honest, are wormholes, other worlds and crystalline zombies really the weirdest thing in the Metal Gear series?


Trans Woman Receives Settlement in Lawsuit Against Hospital

Faye Seidler, a transgender woman who has brought a lawsuit against her former employer, Sanford Medical Centre in Fargo, ND, has reached a settlement for discrimination in the workplace.

The lawsuit was filed against the hospital after Seidler left her job following what she described as unfair and discriminatory treatment when they denied her access to the women's locker room.

The hospital's attorney stated in court documents that accommodations were being made for Seidler when she chose to end her employment in March last year.  

Seidler's attorney has released a statement saying that a settlement has been made outside of court proceedings 'to the mutual satisfaction' of both parties, though the terms of the settlement have not been made known.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

First Full Reveal of Pennywise From 'It'

Warner Bros. have released the first full look at Bill Skarsgard in full make-up and costume as the ultimate evil clown Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of the Stephen King novel 'It', and it's absolutely terrifying.

I hate clowns, I'm saying that up front, and whilst the other version of Pennywise, brilliantly brought to life by acting legend Tim Curry, is certainly scary I can't help but feel that this newest version is so much creepier.

Janie Bryan, the Emmy-winning costume designer who developed the design for the film spoke to EW about the reveal.  'The costume definitely incorporates all the otherworldly past lives, if you will.  He is definitely a clown of a different time.

'There's almost a doll like quality to the costume.  The pants being short, the high waistline of the jacket, and the fit of the costume is a very important element.  It gives the character a childlike quality.'

Bryant goes on to say that inspiration was drawn from various historic periods, including Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan and Victorian.  The colour were also specially chosen to allow Pennywise to blend into his surroundings more, particularly in dark places.

'The pompoms are orange, and then with the trim around the cuffs and ankles, it's basically a ball fringe that's a combination of orange, red and cinnamon.  It's almost like Pennywise fades into his environment.  But there are accents to pull out the definition of the grey silk.  It makes him almost like a shadow.'

'It' is scheduled for release September 8th 2017.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Gay MP Questioned About Sharing A Bed With Partner In New York Hotel

A Scottish MP was left stunned when staff at a hotel in New York city chose to question him as to why he would want to share a bed with his partner when booking into a hotel.

Stewart McDonald was visiting the city on holiday with his partner when their flight home was delayed by a day, forcing the couple to find accommodation for the night.  When they attempted to check into the Hotel Pennsylvania they found themselves being questioned as to their sleeping arrangements.

The couple attempted to book themselves a double room with one bed but were questioned by staff as to whether the booking was correct, asking 'Really?  Both of you in the same bed?'

'I told him Gordon was my partner and he [the receptionist] then just stood and stared at us for a few seconds, before proceeding to check us in.'  Mr McDonald explained.  'He was clearly baffled and uncomfortable with the idea of two men, who are in a relationship, sharing a bed.

'Same sex couples just shouldn't have to go through this sort of stuff in 2016.'

As of yet Hotel Pennsylvania have yet to make a statement on the incident.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

Goths to Receive Protection Under Hate Crime Changes

People who dress and identify as goths are to be protected under new Hate Crime legislation according to reports from Derbyshire police.

The police force has been working closely with The Sophie Lancaster Foundation to tackle issues of hate crime towards members of the goth community.  The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was established following Sophie's death in August 2016.

Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked because of the way that they were dressed, with Sophie's injuries resulting in her death in hospital following the incident.

'Crimes based on hatred must never be tolerated and Derbyshire Constabulary, together with partner agencies and communities, will do all we can to tackle all forms of hate crime.'  Said Assistant Chief Constable Bill McWillaim.

'The tragic death of Sophie Lancaster is a moving reminder to us all how important our combined efforts are.  As a force we are ensuring that we fully understand hate crime and we will be recording alternative subculture should this be an aggravating feature in any incident.'

Sylvia Lancaster OBE, mother of Sophie, said; 'After my unique daughter Sophie was brutally murdered because she chose to express her individuality I vowed to create a lasting legacy for her.  Through Derbyshire Homes we delivered training across Derby city in June and on our last day we were delighted to hear the police and crime commissioner pledge along with the chief constable that they would make lives safer for the alternative community living in and visiting Derbyshire.

'The additional support that will be offered to victims of hate crimes and incidents is significant.  The announcement of this important change near to the weekend of Bloodstock Festival is very proud moment for us and the organisers, artists and especially the festival attendees, the metallers, who support us so loyally finally getting the promise we made to them, to make their community safer.'

Bloodstock Festival is being held in Catton Park, Derbyshire this weekend, where they have a stage dedicated to Sophie Lancaster to show their support.


BBC Apologises For Homophobic Commentator During Olympic Coverage

BBC commentator Paul Hand has come under criticism following his 'ill judged' comments during coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Paul Hand was commentating on a tennis match between Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova when the comment was made.  During a break in play the camera moved around the grounds, engaging in 'kiss cam' activity with members of the audience.

Hand joined in with the activity, encouraging members of the audience to kiss, telling one couple 'come on, let's have a kiss'.  He then went on to make a 'joke' by saying, 'let's hope they don't go on to two blokes sat next to each other'.

Whilst this kind of comment may go over the heads of a lot of people many who recognised it as the everyday homophobia that it is took to social media to condemn both Hand and the BBC.

The BBC have since released a statement of apology, 'The comment was ill judged and we apologise to any of our viewers who were offended'.  Paul Hand himself has yet to release a statement on the incident.


Man Arrested For Homophobic Sexual Assault in Croydon

A man has been arrested in Croydon town centre following a sexual assault on a lesbian woman during an incident of homophobic violence.

The 25 year old man, who has yet to be identified, is accused of grabbing a woman by her breasts when she was visiting the town centre with her wife and another same sex couple during the early hours of the morning on Sunday 7th August.

The man has been arrested on suspicion of common assault, using homophobic language and sexual touching.  A second man was also charged, having been alleged to have punched two of the women.

Both men have been granted bail awaiting their appearance st Croydon Magistrate's Court later this year.


Friday, 12 August 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One Story Trailer Reveals First Look at Vader

The latest trailer for the upcoming Star Wars spin-off film 'Rogue One' has arrived and is full of story points, character insight and the first look at the return of franchise icon Darth Vader.

'Rogue One' is set just before the events of 'A New Hope' and follows the character of Jyn Erso as she leads a band of rebel soldiers on a mission to steal the plans to the Empire's latest superweapon, the Death Star.

'Star Wars Rogue One' is set for release in December.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lance Henricksen Cast as Obsidian on Legends of Tomorrow

Veteran sci-fi icon Lance Henricksen will be joining the cast of 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' as Obsidian, a member of the World War 2 superhero team The Justice Society of America.

There's no information on whether Henricksen will be playing Obsidian in modern day, as the character is traditionally one of the younger members of the group, or if the producers have chosen to flip expectations and have Obsidian become one of the older heroes of the group.

In the comics Obsidian is Todd Rice, the son of original Green Lantern Alan Scott and villain Rose Canton, Thorn.  Obsidian has the ability to merge with and manipulate shadow energies, but despite trying to be a hero has inherited his mother's mental health problems and often falls victim to his darker impulses, verging on becoming a villain himself.

Henricksen is a long time science fiction actor and voice actor, having appeared in Aliens, Terminator, Mass Effect, Millennium, Transformers, The X-Files, The Legend of Korra and Call of Duty to name just a few of his roles.

Season two of Legends of Tomorrow is set to air this October and will feature the return of Rip Hunter, Heatwave, Firestorm, White Canary and The Atom as they work with the Justice Society of America to take on the Legion of Doom.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Legends of Tomorrow Introduces Star Girl and Reveals Look at JSA Headquarters

The hit CW show 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow' has revealed their latest superhero addition as the casting of Sarah Grey is announced for the role of Stargirl.

Stargirl is the latest member of the Justice Society of America to be added to the series, featuring alongside Hourman (played by Patrick J. Adams), Commander Steel (played by Matthew MacCaull) and a new version of Vixen (played by Amaya Jiwe).  The characters of Dr. Mid-Nite and Obsidian have also been announced, though no casting has been revealed for these roles as of yet.

A sneak peek at the team's HQ has also been revealed in a tweet from series Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim, revealing the iconic meeting table.

Another classic component of the Justice Society lore will be added to the series in the form of the Legion of Doom, which will feature villains from across the CW's shows, including Malcolm Merlyn, Reverse Flash, Damian Darhk and Captain Cold.


New Luke Cage Trailer Gives Fans Amazing Easter Egg

The latest trailer for the upcoming Marvel Netflix series 'Luke Cage', the latest installment in the Marvel Defenders line of shows following Daredevil and Jessica Jones, shows off some amazing action pieces, a big look at the series antagonist, and an amazing nod to the main character's comic book past.

Luke Cage stars Mike Colter in the title role as a man given enhanced strength and invulnerability in an experiment who takes to the streets of Harlem to help the downtrodden and become a hero.


Sainsbury's Staff Tell Gay Couple To Stop Holding Hands - Offers £10 Gift Card As Apology

Thomas Rees and his boyfriend Josh were asked to leave the Hackney branch of Sainsbury's and told that a complaint had been made about them holding hands, claiming that they were 'touching inappropriately'.

Mr Rees has spoken out about the incident to ITV News, saying 'My boyfriend and I went to our local Sainsbury's holding hands as we normally do, just general public display of affection and we didn't notice anything untoward or weird.  In East London it's not uncommon but we noticed the security guard staring.'

After the couple had paid for their shopping and were about to leave the store they were pulled to one side by the store security guard, who proceeded to leave the store with them before explaining to them that another customer had complained about them holding hands in the store and that they had to stop doing so.

Speaking about the incident Mr Rees has said, 'My blood boiled.  I was shaking and dumbfounded and unable to respond.  He kept repeating that the customer felt our behaviour was inappropriate.'

After the incident Mr Rees took to Twitter to vent about his experience, where a representative for the company attempted to resolve the incident, by offering him a £10 gift card as a 'goodwill gesture'.

The offer of the gift card has been turned down, with Mr Rees saying in response that he simply wants the retailer to train their staff around LGBT+ issues.

'I just don't understand why he needed to take us outside and why he needed to tell us to stop holding hands.  There was no sense of humility'  He said whilst speaking to Buzzfeed.  'I refuse to believe that this would have happened to a heterosexual couple - we just stared in disbelief.  The issue here is it felt like 1960's Britain.'

A spokesperson from Sainsbury's said, 'We sincerely apologise to Thomas and Josh.  We are an inclusive retailer and employer and do not tolerate discrimination in our stores.  We will take appropriate action once we have concluded our investigation with our security contractor.'


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Star Trek Beyond Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

I don't like the new Star Trek films.  I love the franchise, the television shows are great and I absolutely love Deep Space Nine, but I absolutely hate the new film series.  I think that they're too different from the source material, they've tried too hard to explain how they're 'different' and 'modern' compared to older Star Trek, there's too much trying to be clever with their stories and it looks absolutely horrible with way too much lens flare.

Despite these issue Star Trek Beyond is actually really good.  Everything that was wrong with the previous two films (other than Chris Pine) has been thrown out for a fairly basic sci-fi adventure story that manages to capture the spirit of the franchise a lot, lot more than the other JJ Verse films.

The film picks up three years into the Enterprise's five year mission into uncharted space as the ship heads to a massive space station called Yorktown for resupply, maintenance and shore leave for the crew.  It's here that we find that the long mission has begun to have a negative effect on the crew, with Spock and Uhura having ended their relationship and Kirk wanting to give up command of the ship.

Before any decisions about the future of the Enterprise can be made, however, an escape pod emerges from a nearby unexplored nebula with a sole survivor aboard.  The alien woman reveals that her ship and crew are stranded on a planet inside the nebula, and as such Kirk and the Enterprise are sent to their aid.

The plot takes a turn when the ship arrives at the unknown planet, however, as they come under attack from a technologically superior foe who literally tear the Enterprise apart.  The alien's leader, Krall (Idris Elba) boards the ship to steal an artifact in the Enterprise vault as the crew abandon the crippled ship.

With the Enterprise in pieces the saucer section crash lands onto the planet below with a handful of the command crew managing to escape whilst Uhura, Sulu and the remaining crew are captured by Krall's troops.

Once on the planet Scotty befriends a stranded young woman, Jaylah (Sophia Boutella) who enlists Scotty in helping to fix her 'house', an old NX class star ship called the Franklin (Star Trek Enterprise), helping the command crew to rescue the captured Enterprise crew in return.

Using the repaired Franklin the crew chase after Krall to Yorktown to stop him from unleashing a deadly bio weapon that will kill the millions of inhabitants.

The film may be full of plot holes, less than believable solutions and characters having to explain to the audience exactly what's happening because otherwise you'd get lost, but it has enough of the spirit of fun and adventure that the original series had that the film manages to get over these faults to deliver an entertaining experience.

You can tell straightaway that the people behind the cameras have changed since 'Star Trek Into Darkness', the script has more fun and pop to the dialogue, with flashier set pieces, and the direction is a lot crisper and easier to digest.  No more god damn lens flare in every scene!

The film doesn't try any of the 'mystery box' rubbish that Abrams did with 'Into Darkness' with his whole 'Cumberbatch isn't playing Khan, I swear he's not Khan, definitely not Khan, okay, it's a Wrath of Khan remake' rubbish that made the build up to the film slightly more annoying and awful than the actual film turned out to be.

Instead of getting a film that spends its whole running time explaining the change to the time line or a sub par remake of a film we already had we get a Star Trek film that feels like a Star Trek film, that stands on it's own and actually lets the audience have a little fun.

Some of the film might be silly, with some of the dialogue being a little too clunky to be funny and using Beastie Boys to destroy the unstoppable enemy army being absolutely ridiculous, but it feels a lot more forgivable than a lot of the missteps that the previous two films made.

The biggest gripe with the film is that it doesn't spend a lot of time explaining things before moving on, we don't get a real explanation for how the Franklin ended up on the planet, we don't really get an explanation for exactly what the bio weapon is, and reveal that Krall and his men used to be human is so skimmed over it could have easily derailed the whole final act of the film.

Luckily the cast manage to play the whole thing in such a way that you can forget about a lot of these plot holes whilst the film is actually happening and find yourself enjoying the experience.  Boutella manages to slip into the main cast nicely, and her double act with Scotty is a particularly enjoyable thing to watch.  Perhaps with the announcement of a fourth instalment she could return to the crew, possibly taking over for Chekov.

A moment has to be taken to talk briefly about Anton Yelchin and his recent passing, with this film being the first to be released since his death that he has appeared in.  I went into this film very aware of the loss of Anton, and was pleasantly surprised at how much screen time he was given in this film in comparison to previous instalments.  Chekov gets teamed up with Kirk whilst stranded on the planet's surface, and gets to be involved in some big set pieces and action sequences.  This was something that I was really, really pleased about as it's given Yelchin, and the character of Chekov, a chance to shine in his last appearance in the Star Trek franchise.

'Star Trek Beyond' isn't a perfect film, and whilst you will enjoy the film as it's happening you will quickly begin to pick holes in it once it has done it's certainly not the worst in the new reboot series, or the franchise as a whole.  It's fun, action packed and over the top, with great character interaction and banter that makes it stand apart from previous instalments.


Pokemon Go Review

Pokemon Go has been out in the UK for coming up to a month now, and I've had a good while to play through the game and start to get a feel for what is one of the riskiest, most innovative and popular Pokemon games since the series began.

After years of trying to get players to get out of the house and interact with other people in their Pokemon training and trading efforts, and their attempts to get gamers active with the Wii, Nintendo may have finally succeeded in creating the most physically active in history, and one that millions of people are eagerly playing.

Creating a MMO that uses the real word, rather than a purely digital one, that actually encourages people to leave their homes and walk around their home towns and beyond is one of the most simplistically brilliant ideas that they could have had.

The game is so simple in its design, with little more created other than an incredibly basic map screen, creature animatics and a woodland capture minigame.  Yet, despite having so little in comparison to even the first Pokemon game it's managed to capture the hearts of so many people by its simple gameplay mechanic.  Everytime I go out I check to see if there are Pokestops along my route, and every time my phone buzzes I'm on the lookout for what Pokemon has arrived on the scene.

Whilst occasionally I may be happier to sit at home and play one of the other Pokemon games whilst watching TV I've found that in the last few weeks I'm excited to leave the house and go for walks to find new Pokemon, get fresh supplies and hatch my next egg.

Pokemon Go was also something that added a lot to my recent holiday.  Whilst my partners and I always do a lot of walking when we go away, this year we had an added incentive to our physical activity, something that encouraged us to go to new places and explore where before we would have only stuck to the main areas.

It might seem like a simplistic game, and it's not without it's glitches and failures, there are a lot of issues that need to be worked out to make the game a lot better, but it's so enjoyable that I can't help but love this game.

I've liked Pokemon since the very first generation, and my girlfriend is absolutely mad for the franchise (one of our rooms is wall to wall plushes, and that's not even the whole of her collection!) so we were guaranteed to be playing this game since it was first announced, but seeing so many other people falling in love with the game and talking about Pokemon is something I never thought I'd see.  The days of Pokemania may have ended a long time ago, but the franchise is definitely getting its second big push, and that can only be a good thing.

Pokemon Go might not be a perfect game, but for a free game that captures the spirit of the series and actively encourages people to get walking and get fitter it's a pretty amazing game, and one that I hope to see continue on and go from strength to strength for years to come.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Pope Francis Condemns Transgender People

Pope Francis, the man who many short sighted people like to refer to as the 'progressive' Pope has once again demonstrated that he is not a friend to the LGBT+ community.

During a closed door meeting with bishops in Poland last week the Pope has spoken out against the transgender community according to transcripts (Link to Transcript) of the conversation released by the Catholic church.  The Pope has complained that children are being taught that gender is a spectrum rather than a binary.

'Today in schools they are teaching this to children - to children! - that everyone can choose their gender.'  He complained, according to the transcript.

Pope Francis condemned the increased visibility of trans people on 'ideological colonizing' by textbooks 'financed by wealthy people and institutions in very influential countries'.  He even went so far as to say that the acceptance of the transgender community to be a 'terrible' thing.

He even quoted his predecessor Pope Benedict, 'Speaking with Pope Benedict, who is well and clear in his mind, he was telling me, 'Holiness, this is the epoch of sin against God the Creator, he's intelligent!  God created man and woman, God created the world this way, this way, this way, and we are doing the opposite'.'

The comments made by Pope Francis have been heavily condemned by members of the LGBT+ community.


'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Book Review

This Sunday saw the release of the rehearsal script for the Harry Potter sequel play 'The Cursed Child' in book form.  Whilst many Harry Potter fans were excited for the release of the story negative reviews were quick to surface online by those who were unhappy with the story and the way the book read.

Whilst the book is incredibly short in comparison to the previous Harry Potter novels, it's worth remembering that this is because this book is not a novel but a script.  The writing is basic, with little to no text beyond dialogue and simple scene descriptions.  If you can get over the way the story is presented, which from the initial fan reactions many were not able to do, there is something of an interesting story to be found.

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' takes place 19 years after the end of the last Harry Potter book, and follows Harry's youngest son Albus as he attempts to navigate his way through his early years at Hogwarts and deals with his less than perfect relationship with his father.

A lot of the play deals with this poor relationship between Harry and Ablus, with much of Albus' issues stemming from living in his fathers shadow and failing to believe that he is living up to the Potter legacy.  Albus is sorted into Slytherin House and struggles during his lessons, leading to many within the school to mock and tease him, something that helps to solidify his friendship with Scorpius Malfoy, who receives similar treatment.

I found this shift in how the young Potter characters navigate school to be quite a welcome one, with Harry having been the fairly popular heroic Gryffindor student and Albus being the shunned Slytherin outcast.  It helps to not only show how different Albus is from his father, but makes their arguments and difficulty in connecting feel more natural and nuanced.

There's also no way I can not mention at this point just how much I love Scorpius Malfoy.  He's without a doubt one of the nicest, warmest and just all round likable characters in the whole book, possibly even the whole Harry Potter universe.  His relationship with Albus feels so genuine and full of love that the two of them read as a more natural friendship than the main three character from the original book series.

Whilst the book has the underlying story of Albus and his father trying to work on their relationship the main thrust of the story comes when Harry and the ministry manage to find an illegal Time Turner, which Albus decides to try to use to save the life of Cedric Diggory following a visit from his elderly father.

Cedric, as fans will surely remember, lost his life during the events of 'The Goblet of Fire' when Voldemort first returned to life and murdered him during the graveyard battle.  Going back to stop this means that the story dips back and forward into the three Tri Wizard tournament challenges, three of the most iconic set pieces from the series.

Whilst Albus and Scorpius first try to save Cedric's life during the first event they return to their own time to find that not only did Cedric still die at Voldemorts hand, but their have been subtle changes to history.  Hermione and Ron are no longer married, erasing their children from history, and Hermoine has gone from being Minister For Magic to a rather nasty Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts.

Trying to once again change history the two of them travel back to the second challenge and manage to humiliate Cedric out of the Tri Wizard tournament, saving his life.  Unfortunately, when the time turner returns them back to the present Scorpius finds Albus gone and a much darker world awaiting him.

This is the part of the story that I liked the most, and a setting that I really want to see explored further, and one that I'm sure will produce a lot of fan fiction.  In this new timeline the humiliated Cedric blamed Harry for what happened during the Tri Wizard Tournament, and after suffering torment at the hands of his fellow students fell in league with dark wizards.

By the time the Battle of Hogwarts came around Cedric was a full blown Death Eater, and during the events of the battle murdered Neville Longbottom.  The knock-on effects of this were huge, as Neville was no longer able to kill Nagini which meant the horcux's were never destroyed and Voldemort was able to win the war.

The new world is one where Voldemort rules supreme, Harry Potter was killed at the Battle of Hogwarts, Delores Umbridge runs Hogwarts and Scorpius is a thoroughly evil person.  Trying desperately to find a way to correct the timeline and bring back the world as it should be Scorpius turns to the one person he finds who he believes can be trusted, Severus Snape.

Despite still being the Hogwarts potions teacher in this new timeline Snape is still acting as a double agent against Voldemort with all that remains of the Order of the Phoenix, Ron and Hermione.  Using the time turner they manage to go back and prevent Albus and Scorpius from changing history, though it costs the three rebels their lives.

Despite being an alternate future and the events essentially being erased I loved these scenes, especially the ones with Snape.  I found Snape's story in the books to be one of the most heartbreaking, and think of him as one of the biggest heroes of the series, so to see him still caring for Harry long after his death, to be willing to fight to save him and give his life yet again to do so is so wonderful.

Once returned to the present, now repaired, the two boys find the true enemy of the story hidden in plain sight the whole time, Delphi Diggory, Cedric's cousin who had been helping them to try to bring him back.  Delphi steals the time turner from the duo and reveals herself to be a dark witch, intent on bringing Voldemort back to power.  Having learnt from Scorpius of the alternate timeline that was created she's intent on doing the same, leading to the three of them battling across time.

They firstly end up back in the Tri-Wizard Tournament's third task, where Delphi fails to change history, leading her to follow a new plan, travelling further back to 1981 to prevent the original fall of Voldemort when he tries to kill the baby Harry Potter.

It's at this point, with Albus and Scorpius trapped in 1981 and their parents searching desperately for a way to save them in the present that the disturbing truth of Delphi's identity is revealed, she's Voldemorts daughter.

Thanks to Albus and Scorpius being able to leave a message through time for their parents the adults are able to travel back with a second time turner and together are able to defeat Delphi shortly before Voldemort arrives and kill Harry's parents, ensuring time runs to course.

A lot of criticism has been levelled at the story by fans for it feeling like 'fan fiction', and I guess that's part of the danger of using time travel so heavily in the story, especially as it features some of the more memorable parts of the Harry Potter series, but on a whole I found the story interesting and entertaining.  Yes, it wasn't the best book in the world, but it was never meant to be a book, and I'm sure it translates well to stage as the play has been receiving 5 star reviews.

That's not to say that there aren't some issues with it, I don't like the fact that Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange had a child, and they clearly had no idea what to do with Ron now that he's an adult, but these flaws are small in relation to the overall enjoyment I got from the story.

I hope that I get to see the play at some point so that I can see the story the way that it was actually intended to be experienced, or that perhaps J.K. will choose to re-write it as an actual book, though I doubt that will actually happen.

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' isn't the best story in the world, and it does have some flaws, but then so did the rest of the Harry Potter series.