Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Death’

The ‘Right To Die’ – It’s not a ‘right’ afforded to us, it’s our own choice already, why do we have to fight for it?

As usual euthanasia and patient assisted suicide (PAS) is something that is decided for us by people (usually church/religion and/or state) who like to fully control every aspect of our lives including the most important parts.

Ironically enough I was just pressing the point to someone recently that barristers and hence judges have the title ‘Justice’ (when presiding/judging) which shows the kind of country and world we live in. They act like [and might think] they’re non-human entities/concept/Plato’s ‘forms’ created or in existence to ‘govern’ us (‘fairly’ – according to ‘might [money/funds] is right’ ideology), mostly chosen by people like them with a Silver spoon in their mouths and not through meritocracy or an egalitarian society. The listener did not believe me… And they’re always wrong.

The problem with the Noel Conway case is that he is fighting for the right to be heard and to possibly change the law, which you can do when you go to the High Court. What that means is even if he wins he won’t win permission to have a say over his own life, it’s getting the issue of the blanket ban on euthanasia and PAS to be debated again. The courts and parliament are too busy passing the buck between each other on deciding who or how to change the law if at all. Parliament in general (both Houses, not just the government) have shown over the years that they have little interest in doing so and don’t want to address whether they’re breaking Human Rights in denying choice either.

As far as I’m concerned a person should be able to end their life (especially as they don’t choose to live in the first place, their parents make that choice) whenever they want (and no I don’t on a whim or bad mood) but if we’re going the ‘doctor recommended’ route then it shouldn’t just be the terminally ill and patients with diagnosis (not all patients are diagnosed they can be under constant review), any patient who finds their life unbearable should have their wishes honoured. Plenty of them were suffering long before they became patients, plenty have lost all hope and plenty don’t have the strength or resources to terminate themselves in a peaceful, painless way. All they’re asking for is that doctors/medical professionals carry out the death part of their jobs fully. The profession is not just about life and preserving it no matter what and then patients dying because everything they tried failed and so the health professionals can’t blame themselves or face insurance/court backlash, it’s about full respect of your charge/patient. It’s about death rites and being there for them i.e. you assist in bringing them into the world, you’re there for them in between and it’s also your job to help take them out as well in the kindest possible way, before their suffering outweighs their quality of life. That’s not just the job of priests. Death is also a part of healing and many cultures know and have known that for millenia. We’re too far removed from what it feels like to be human and to be part of humanity, opting to be slaves to protocol instead and the ideology of ‘it’s my job, I might not agree but that’s what the rules say’ as a way of pushing aside and negating personal responsibility.

What are people supposed to do whilst the health industry, religion and politicians/monarchy are ‘playing God’ or ‘representative(s) of God’? It’s obvious that the divide between rich and poor keeps getting wider, that suicide rates and going abroad for euthanasia or PAS has increased especially in times of austerity (more stress = more illness and being affected younger) so why the reluctance to ‘allow’ people their ‘god-given‘ or ‘universal rights’ or quite frankly their human/being alive rights? In regards to those who perpetuate the class systems why hesitate to let the ‘surplus population’/’useless eaters’ (but still consumers though if on the NHS they’re pretty much going to suffer more and longer anyway) choose for themselves. Why is this even an issue about rich and poor? The rich worldwide and especially those with stakes in ‘Silicon Valley’/modern tech get to finance and have accessibility to both life lengthening procedures and costly euthanasia/PAS whereas the rest of us are left to wrist slashing, homemade concoctions, overdosing, overdosing plus alcohol, gas, traffic accidents (yes I know about the Leicester incident and news coverage the next day about dementia patients and motorways), drowning and all the rest of it, a lot of which goes horribly wrong. Seriously if guns were allowed in this country many people would’ve taken that way out and I don’t blame them.

Some people are very practical and realize that death is part of life and have been ready to live a decent life both moral and as a good citizen but also ready to die at any moment if it just so happens e.g. you get hit by a bus or something (almost happened to me recently lol and puts me in mind of what I and two friends – one Catholic and one Christian – used to say to each other every time we left each other “see you [insert time/date], god willing!” As a joke but one of those painfully true ones; and no I’m not religious I don’t even ascribe to a school of philosophy). You live your life in a way that you can be proud of, dutifully and well informed so that whenever ‘your time comes’ your relationships with people can end in a way that you don’t regret too much and your ‘house is in order’. You don’t have to be old-aged for that, I was ready to die by approximately 10 years old and have always supported euthanasia and abortion – pro-choice for both. I was ready for that as well as to live a life full of goals, optimism and health. Basically I knew that life can go in any direction and I was prepared/preparing. You don’t have to old to be wise. (And my title isn’t ‘Justice’ either thank goodness/ethics but my name is ‘Gift/Vision of God’ which outranks the former and is exceptional… I didn’t choose it though so I’ll beat down any god/demon/’other’ willing or unwilling to go the boxing rounds *ahem*.)


Noel Conway case to be heard in July

Press release | 23rd May 2017

Judicial review on assisted dying will be heard at the High Court in the week commencing 17th July 2017 by three judges over five days.

A judicial review brought by a man with terminal motor neurone disease to challenge the current law on assisted dying is due to be heard at the High Court in mid-July, following a directions hearing which took place yesterday (Monday 22nd May 2017). The Noel Conway v Ministry of Justice case, which is supported by Dignity in Dying, will be heard by three judges over five days in the week commencing the 17th of July 2017.

Noel Conway, 67, a retired college lecturer from Shropshire, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, in November 2014. His condition is incurable and he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months. Noel feels that he is prevented from exercising his right to choice and control over his death under the current law. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes. Noel, supported by Dignity in Dying, has instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to bring this case to fight for his right to have the option of an assisted death when he is in his final six months of life.

Noel said:

“I am delighted that my case will be heard in full at the High Court in July. I am glad to hear that, given the importance of the case, it will be presided over by three judges over five days – a testament to how deserving this issue is of full and proper consideration.

“I have brought this case to fight for choice and control at the end of life – for me and for all terminally ill people and their loved ones who are being failed by the current law. I know I am going to die anyway, but how and when should be up to me. To have the option of an assisted death in this country would provide me with great reassurance and comfort. It would allow me to decide when I am ready to go, rather than be forced into a premature death by travelling abroad or be left at the mercy of a cruel illness.”

Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying, said:

“We are pleased that Noel’s case will get the full High Court hearing it deserves and that his health has been taken in account when expediting the case.

“The current law means that terminally ill Britons are being forced to suffer against their wishes or take drastic measures at home and abroad in order to wrest back control over their deaths. Noel, supported by Dignity in Dying, wants the courts to examine the evidence in full and decide if a blanket ban on assisted dying is lawful.

“We are indebted to Noel and his family for devoting their time and energy to this hugely important case and we look forward to the High Court hearing in July.”

Yogi Amin, partner and head of public law and human rights at Irwin Mitchell, added:

“Noel would like the choice to be able to die with dignity. The world has changed phenomenally in the past few decades with many medical advances but the law on assisted dying for those who are terminally ill hasn’t changed for more than 50 years.

“Three judges will now hear his case in the High Court over five days which shows the level of importance this judicial review case has. The Court will be considering detailed evidence and legal arguments about whether a blanket ban breaches our Human Rights law.”


For further information, photos and interviews with representatives from Dignity in Dying, please contact ellie.ball@dignityindying.org.uk / 07725 433 025 / 0207 479 7732 or thomas.davies@dignityindying.org.uk / 0207 479 7734

For interviews with representatives from Irwin Mitchell, please contact pressoffice@irwinmitchell.com / 0114 274 4666

Notes to Editor

About the case
Noel Conway, 67, from Shrewsbury, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease, in November 2014. His condition is incurable and terminal – he is not expected to live beyond the next 12 months.

Noel feels that he is prevented from exercising his right to choice and control over his death under the current law. He fears that without a change in the law he may be forced to suffer against his wishes. Noel is bringing this case against the Ministry of Justice to fight for his right to have the option of an assisted death when he is in his final six months of life.

Noel attended the High Court on March 21st to request permission to bring a legal case.

On Thursday 30th March 2017, a decision was handed down denying permission for the case to proceed. Noel Conway’s legal team successfully appealed this decision on Tuesday 11th April 2017, meaning the case will proceed to a full hearing at the High Court. A directions hearing on Monday 22nd May 2017 determined the procedural arrangements for the High Court hearing, namely that it will take place in the week commencing the 17th of July 2017 over five days, heard by three judges. The courts close for summer on Monday 31st July, and reopen on Monday 2nd October. It is anticipated that a decision will be published on the Conway case after the summer recess.

Also on the morning of Monday 22nd May, the court considered the case of Omid T, a separate legal case to that of Noel Conway. Omid T does not have a terminal diagnosis and is calling for assisted suicide to be made available to anyone who is suffering unbearably, not just those who are dying. His case was granted permission to proceed but it will not be joined with Noel Conway’s.

About Dignity in Dying
Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
For more information, visit http://www.dignityindying.org.uk

About Irwin Mitchell
Irwin Mitchell is over 100 years old and is one of the largest law firms in the UK. Last year Irwin Mitchell merged with Thomas Eggar LLP expanding its presence in London and the South East and has also acquired specialist Personal Injury firm MPH Solicitors and private wealth firm Berkeley Law in the past few years.

The firm is ranked as a market-leading personal legal services firm in the independent Legal 500 and Chambers UK guides to UK law with over 100 lawyers personally recommended. For more information, visit http://www.irwinmitchell.com

This was the most recent decision before the upcoming July hearing.


High Court Judgment: Noel Conway -v- Secretary of State for Justice
30 March 2017 |High Court|Civil

Neutral Citation Number: [2017] EWHC640 (Admin)

Case no: CO/6421/2016

In the High Court of Justice

Queen’s Bench Division

Administrative Court

Divisional Court

Date: 30/03/2017


Lord Justice Burnett

Mr Justice Charles

Mr Justice Jay


The Queen (on the application of Noel Douglas Conway) – Claimant

– and –

Secretary of State for Justice – Defendant



Birthdays and Deathdays and Titles, Oh My

I don’t usually comment on actors or singers outside of review posts and many of the celebs I’ve admired for one thing or another have plenty in their lives I’ve completely disapproved of which outweigh anything I liked about them. However this is a goodbye to a ‘champion’ prizefighter (and fellow vegan, strong female, yoga practising, late December Capricorn) the ‘ninth wonder of the world’ who ‘unfortunately’ seemed to have played a representative of things she may not have been aware of.

Chyna Joanie Laurer

In her apartment in the County of Angels, Cali-fornia, Joan Laurer aka Chyna (athlete, stuntwoman, actress, English teacher) is said to have been found dead in her bed yesterday 20th April, aged 45, cause unknown (though many people conveniently know about her medication.)

This was her last video:

Sunday 17th April – ‘Wake Up!’

Pentagram = star
Strawberries/tomatoes = red apple
The names [Cali]Kelly/ie and Joy/ce
Fish Head song

The Fish Head song (strange to be sung at mealtime by a vegan) – it was on the album Voobaha by Barnes & Barnes (Voobaha being a word in a language they made called Luman-ian). Fish Heads was a favoured song on the Dr Demento show known for comedy, novelty, strange songs.

Creatures that are caught commonly caught by a baited hook or net the song highlights fish that are alive in the morning, dead in the soup in the evening, they can’t answer you/talk (Chyna was found after not answering phone calls like in the video), they can’t do what normal people do.

I always disliked her golddigging ex Paul Levesque (Triple H/WWE ‘superstar’) who dropped her when he had the opportunity to have the boss’ daughter (and as part of the ‘storyline’ based on real life, along with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin mocked Amy Dumas aka ‘Lita’ for cheating on Matt Hardy. Acting merging with reality in a fighting soap opera – Paul as aforementioned being a career golddigger and Steve Austin a wife beater both leading thousands of people into ‘slut’ shaming every week on and off screen for an affair with Adam Copeland ‘Edge’ who was married at the time; his stage character and image benefited whilst Amy’s ended. Lots of hypocrisy there, including Matt getting sacked for being cheated on and talking about it.)

I didn’t like how Chyna was placed against character Sydney Fox (Daughter figure) in Relic Hunter as wannabe Amazon queen/dark mother figure (the Amazon in the story defeated by the lauded Hera-kleos.)

Nor did I like how Red headed ‘Lita’ was placed in the breeding cult against Max in Dark Angel (also Amy’s neck was broken in the filming) before the ‘coming of the comet’ (which was later demeaned in the books) and where the ‘Father’ genetic splicer and dicer Sandeman (remember the old version of the sandman, he’s not a nice and quaint dreammaker) was made out to be a hero, kind and good and his first two children are sons, part dog (Sirius) – think Enki vs Enlil i.e. Manticore vs the Breeding Cult – called Joshua and Isaac (additionally similar to Vincent from the Beauty and Beast series starring Linda Hamilton, James Cameron’s ex-wife and dark mother figure in the Terminator series). Ma-x, Ma-trix, triple mother, Max being the symbolic Daughter in connection with the ‘dark mother’ not a virgin birth but an alternate one and still via a female carrier. She is also the rider = warrior, the horse[her bike] being the tree of knowledge & life with her pure DNA (no ‘junk DNA’) making her the ‘saviour’, the mount of the goddess. A side theme being Max and Logan K/Cale (Michael Weatherly was also used by Aaron Spelling in CharmedFantasy Island was also interesting – in an episode where he’s part of the dark charmed triad, going against his role though to something related i.e. the church, helped by dark mother figure Prudence and they go horseriding. Note – after she dies Piper and Phoebe’s lives go to hell in a hand basket.) Max is the only ‘transgenic’ whose mother fought for her and didn’t want to give her up. James Cameron has always been focused on the Dark Mother, though he twisted the theme big time in Avatar and continued the use of a wheelchair bound main character who plays both sides and gets his legs back – Logan was very wealthy and his family used in the control/surveillance of society but used his funds to help – and who ends up being the savior on Pan-Dora (meaning ‘all/completion’ of everything the ‘Dor’ signifies), mate of the spiritual warrior leader for the so-called Mother people who were portrayed as symbolic indigenous Earth peoples but weren’t, mega twisting of the narrative in that one.

Today the celebrity ‘Prince’ was found dead. I don’t know enough about him to comment further but names and titles are important.

I’m reminded of ‘the queen of pop’ Madonna’s antics in the first part of her ‘Sticky & Sweet’ tour using the song ‘Hung Up’ and the inclusion of music from dead guitarist Darrell ‘Abbot’ former member of the group DamagePlan, ‘the king of pop’ Michael Jackson’s death when his ‘This is it!’ tour was supposed to start and the second part of her tour with ‘tribute’ to the dead king via his song ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something‘.

I don’t like hangers on, wannabe characters, those who live vicariously, those who jump on a bandwagon, those who sacrifice, the master chess players. When people talk about ‘multiple selves’ and fill out time and space with every possibility that could of happened/is happening to one person, all existing as extensions of the self simultaneously (just as egotistical as thinking the solar system revolved around the Earth) it’s morelike humanity includes many copies replaying and continuing a battle royale until the appropriate potentials/incarnations manage to… I don’t dispute that creatures are split between realities and illusions, our brains, nervous system and senses allow that, but I also don’t think that space is likely to be filled with just us. ‘Higher selves’? You want to be a lower ‘punishment’ vessel whilst a ‘higher’ you is better off? Your ‘luck’, ‘destiny’, energy split between versions of you and you got the short straw? Whatever people are listening to and thinking its themselves and/or those they ‘know’ might want to contemplate the malleable nature of the physics theories they’re working with (and perhaps worry about the studies going on to trace and control the intrinsic memory of the universe, and trying to grow embryos in space). This world looks and feels very different for the other animals who have different parameters on the senses we share plus different senses to ours, what we experience isn’t the only face, it and we shapeshift depending on the being or even machine we’re interfacing with. Terry Pratchett once said to me “all is not as it seems” (no I don’t claim to have known him personally but I find that phrase highlighted in his works and poignant here).

Be careful what you wish for. History, information, messages are conveyed and carried through our stories; official, non-fiction and fiction. Overlapping astronomical/seasonal calendars with ruler-regime based ones hasn’t helped us and knowledge our elders included is steeped in ‘Chinese whispers’ over time becoming myths, superstition, songs/chants/spells/frequency, poems, nursery rhymes, artwork, architecture, customs, religion and ultimately symbolism – our human brains remember signs and symbols well and with repetition/ritual/ceremony are ingrained – in all these things we find the same stories, the same characters, we can’t all be those. No amount of fame, currency, status, title, power, energy from fans and enemies, no kind of ‘compensation’ is worth it. You don’t want to have what it takes (or try to emulate it as powerful/influential/famous people and wannabes do and I have limited sympathy for those who pretend to be/take from living archtypes), because being that strong means having to be that strong. It’s not for those who want any kind of happiness for themselves.


Hidden in Plain Sight (Saturn again)

Terry Pratchett aka the man in the big Black hat – one of the UK’s former leaders in fantasy/sci-fi but also popular with the international populace in general. He expired on 12.03.15 at age 66.

I was thinking about the Scone of Stone recently – from his books it’s a dwarf made bread that’s so hard it’s only edible as a last resort and used as a weapon more often, the Scone of Stone however was sat on by a ‘Low King’ (since they live underground low actually means high, and higher than a regular provincial king in the hierarchy) of the dwarves 1500 years ago when it was still soft and so left an impression. Hence ever since the Kings (and remember this is a race where being female is taboo so they mostly pretend to be men) have sat on said stone. (Well it’s not as bad as sitting on a popular public transport route seat I guess that’s had millions of bums on it.)

The above reminded me of the ‘London Stone’. Every time I passed its box at 111 Cannon Street (a highstreet, and that address has seen many shop changes) I’d stop and stare at it for a while and it was like I’d slowed down to think whilst masses of people would just walk by like it wasn’t there, never existed and was insignificant. There are more stones like that in the UK and Ireland including the Stone of Scone that the current Elizardbeth like many before her was coronated with it under her butt.

Now look at this cover, what is out of place?

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

Yes I noticed it at first too and thought “why is that here, that’s weird” and promptly put it out of my mind o_o I’d just been looking at it every day and reading a bit for the past week.

Then I wrote ‘Saturn and Kali or Ka & L‘ post and the next day Mum said to me:
“Look at that”
“eh? Por quoi?”
“Look at that [plonker]” *pointing at the cover*
“Oh my gosh!”
“Finish reading it and see if it’s in there”
*Does as told, she gets tired waiting…”
“This is the answer [stupid]!” *turns book around to reveal:*

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

“Oh. My. Gosh”
“You’re so silly, how could not notice it!?”
“Eh…. … But… But you told me to read it and you were right, to check it just in case!”
“I was testing you!”
“But I still have to finish it!”
“I’ve already found the answer [dopey]”
*I continue reading anyway* “There’s more to it, look at the border, see it looks like a castle or cave and that statue in the bottom left, and the Blue computer spiral like a fingerprint in the background.”

… Time passes by, no mention of Saturn…
“I found where the border came from but not the centurions”
“The centurions?”
“The Watch” *pointing them out*
“The what?”
“The Watchmen there in the bottom right.”
“The what?”
“The Watch, the police, the Ankh-Morpork police force!”
“Oh them”
“Yes them”
“What do they matter?”
“They’re not in the artwork in the book for one, they’ve been added to the scene, and look at their expressions they’re scared and ready to attack.”
“Scared of what?”
“Look their scared of him, their Maker/Creator, the writer with his books [knowledge]. Whilst he’s surrounded by Death’s domain and when he looks up he can see Saturn looking down at him with its polar vortex, the ‘Eye of Saturn’ [the All Seeing Eye]**”
“We already knew that”
“Yes but!”
“What’s the”
“There’s more!”

And just so you know, this is the back inlay cover:

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

The important thing here is that as aforementioned Saturn isn’t any of the stories within, a couple of possible allusions but they don’t relate to it in their context. Also the majority of Pratchett’s work was hand illustrated by Josh Kirby (died 2001, age 72) followed by Paul Kidby (still living). The image of Saturn however is not in the illustration of Death’s domain, it’s a photograph and/or cgi. It’s an eyesore design wise, out of place, not part of the background photo with the books because it’s not in the perspective plus it’s clear and they’re blurred, what would be the point of leaving it sharpened? It’s meant to be there imposingly.

Also the picture of Death in disco gear (which is funny because Mum’s favourite style ever is Punk – which combines her other two faves Goth and Biker but looks like it vomited fluorescence over them and doesn’t need to go together in any way, yet is still cool – and she was saying this morning how she’s going to look Punk again. I told her that Death is wearing 70’s clothing but she’d already been there, done that, didn’t want to talk about it again and said “it’s still punk and I’ve been talking to you about massive shoes for a while haven’t I, especially Red ones”, “Yes, you have.” *Deep breath*.) As I was saying, the picture of Death at the disco is actually from the story ‘Turntables of the Night’ (1989):

Terry Pratchett Blink of the Screen Saturn Death Time Masonic Symbolism

The story features a couple of guys, one a music aficionado collector who collects for the sake of collecting every piece of music that’s ever existed on vinyl, and the other his mate who looks after him. Death visits a Hallowe’en party they’re DJ’ing at to raise money for the church… And only the collector can see him but his friend notices a space on the dancefloor that people aren’t avoiding exactly, they’re just not going into it like they don’t notice it, but seeing the state his friend is in he braves it. In doing so he can almost see but definitely hear Death’s voice in and around him asking to be introduced to his friend. Once he and the collector get talking Death states that he too is a collector, he has all the greats; Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon…
“Fairly wide spread, musically… Have you got the complete Beatles?”

Apparently due to an overload of sockets, connectors irresponsibly put together and bad/old wiring there’s an electrical fire and the church burns. The collector’s friend and the other guests are outside but the collector is nowhere to be seen, no remnants of him at all. That is very strange for Death the Grim Reaper who usually cuts the soul away and leaves the body.

** The All Seeing Eye/Eye of Saturn is a hexagram that later became known at the six pointed star in masonic symbolism.

Death's 'parasite dimension' illustrated for the book 'Mort' (1987)

Death’s ‘parasite dimension’ illustrated for the book ‘Mort’ (1987)


Many people credit Pratchett for his imagination but anyone who knows about world culture/customs/religion/history knows he knew too. Like other authors he did his research, in his case it started early, the first published short story in this book was written in 1963 (an important number and indeed date for some) when he was 13 (again another important one and indeed it’s known as ‘Kali’s number’ though like many old things has been twisted over time). In that story a boy named Crucible plays double agent making a deal with both God and the Devil (‘The Hades Business’) and highlights Pratchett’s knowledge of religion and folklore (one of his companion  books mentions a comprehensive book of mythology and folklore he bought as a young boy). He continued to build upon and use that knowledge for his characters/situations/world building, sometimes he just changed names, others the info got twisted and added to. When he parodied (which is the point of Discworld and Ankh-Morpork [London]) it stood out to people who were/are educated in those areas like his books about Macbeth and The Phantom of the Opera did to even more people.

What he was great at was re-packaging, making the stories relatable and hilarious. His work had layer after layer of info, even the jokes needed to be read over. His name was a master tinkerer (like The Borrower-esque characters he wrote about separate to Discworld), not original in substance but in style.

‘A Blink of the Screen’ was published in 2012, the same year a ‘The Long Earth’ co-written with Stephen Baxter (expanded from Terry’s short story ‘The High Meggas’ – 1986 – where characters are ‘stepping’ (like the ‘jaunting’ of ‘The Tomorrow People’ UK tv show 1973-79) through the layers of reality on Earth), a book I’ve previously said disappointed me greatly for in my opinion towing the masonic ‘party line’, but this collection of short stories has more of his usual style. There’s something in here for everyone topic wise but a few are very ‘dark’, the ones in first person where the protagonist is an ‘average guy’ not too bright or imaginative but has his feet on the ground witnesses and becomes involved in the strangest things; to killing his own creation (hero in a book) who then turns up on his door step to receive his reward and the reward plus reality gets inverted (‘Final Reward’ – 1988), another where virtual reality and ‘real’ reality again get confused but apparently people thought it a safe and fun hobby at first reducing crime because people were doing it in their heads instead including getting rape off the streets for an increase in virtual prostitution (akin to raping whilst the victim is unconscious), making zombies out of the people playing and even though it doesn’t leave physical bruises it can still cause massive stress and kill them but apparently it’s romantic and loving for the creator of such reality. An entertainment addiction for everybody else (‘#ifdefDEBUG + ‘world/enough’ + time’ – 1990). Then another where Merlin oops Mervin is a time traveller who got stuck in Albion, rigs the sword in the stone looking for Arthur ‘Artos the Bear’ but ends up with Ursula (remember my post about Disney’s ‘Brave’), Latin for Bear (‘Once and Future’ – 1995 – there’s a marker around the page number 174), the constellations and an old form of Mother Goddess worship. Interestingly enough he also mentions women’s suffrage in that and women water bearers, he shows that the recommendation to pipe the water directly to people’s homes wouldn’t be allowed because the men don’t carry the water and so wouldn’t see the point in it (remember my mention of Aquarius in my previous post – water bearers are traditionally female and Aquarius used to be represented just by a vase pouring water but changed to a male carrier but it is seen as a heavy, tedious and inferior job for males. Another reason is that the Earth was sacred and female, so only women could mine for metals or carry it’s life giving elements for example, otherwise it was raping Mother Earth – but not many people remember that and those hard jobs became of many that most people didn’t want to do so fobbed it off on those who they call/think of as weaker than themselves). And a poem where he tried to write like his 13 year old self again, about how parents teach their kids about life and death via pets (‘The Secret Book of the Dead’ – 1991).

The person who wrote the foreword had a similar experience as I did with Pratchett’s work, we were both offput by the artwork so avoiding reading them until we finally did and were hooked. That was strange for me as I don’t usually judge a book by it’s cover, Mum however does and sometimes brings selections of books for me to read, one of which was either ‘The Colour of Magic’ or ‘The Light Fantastic’. I said to her it was a two-parter and when she went to the library could she get me the other one, after that the next time I went to the local (and others) I came back with armloads of them. One of the librarians had said “cor, I like Pratchett but I’ve never read so many at once, how are you going to carry them?” A man at a bookstore gave me a knowing nod and said “good choice”. After reading many of the books, I realized that the grotesque characterizations in the artwork were fitting. I never made it to one of the Discworld conventions though even before I knew about all the symbolism I’d intended to go as Death, it being my favourite character, followed by the Nac Mac Feegle and The Luggage. I wonder how I would have replied had that librarian said “ook”. That said I’m not as reverential as Byatt is in his foreword.

Additionally if I were Tiffany in ‘The Shepherd’s Crown’ I wouldn’t enlist the help of the old guys who helped make/perpetuate the problem let alone the Elf King and give the Dark Mother’s steading to Geoffrey. I dinnae like most of those witches either 😉


The Hogfather – How to Assassinate a Meta-Real Mythical Man

Terry Pratchett Hogfather 2006 Film Movie Review

Released: 2006
Runtime: 185min
Rating: PG
Cast Includes: Ian Richardson, Michelle Dockery, Marc Warren, David Jason, Tony Robinson, Terry Pratchett.

I’ve not attempted to write a Terry Pratchett based review before, although being one of a legion of fans (some newspapers claimed his books were amongst the most stolen from bookshops in the UK afterall), I could have. I’ve always been off put. Why? Apart from the author Craig Shaw Gardner who seems to be Pratchett if you mistakenly pick up one of his books (understandable given the iconic coverart by the same illustrator Josh Kirby), there’s no other I’ve come across who can make the metaphysical so mundane and lifelike/relatable whilst maintaining the magic and yet… Hilarious. Even when it also includes masses of social commentary and examples of the ironies of humanity’s ways of living or ‘quirks’. I basically find that unless you read the books and enjoy them it’s hard to read a review and appreciate his style, many reviews focus on the plot and hence have a hard time conveying the spidery web subtly/balance of character arcs or they discuss the social discourse so losing the dew drops of humour that stick delicately and sometimes explode on the strong web, and then of course there’s the spinning/mastery of storytelling.

So anyway I thought perhaps a film would be more accessible to people who haven’t been blessed or converted by his work yet 😉 and for hardcore fans (how can you not be o_o) something else to devour since we love devouring anything Discworld related unless of course you’ve already seen the film and so you are honour bound to agree with me or at least pretend to. *Cough*


I won’t go into the cultural heritage but imagine Sinteerklass I mean Santa Claws, oops I mean Santa Claus(!) and then superimpose the jolly Father Christmas I mean Father Time, oops I mean Mother Time and the ‘Blackness [of] Time’ and ‘life/death’ combined with the earliest forms of worship using representative adjectives such a bears, boars, big cats, the colour red, the feeling of joy, the expansiveness of size etc… Ok gone too far back in the timeline; keeping it male and generally associated with the supposed primitiveness of early ‘Man’ picture a wild boar running, generally aggressive but protective (and kinda cute in a creepy way). Then for want of a better word the development of the ‘caveman’ standing finally on two legs, and with such a creature comes humanity’s cult of blood (lineage), death and reincarnation/the cycle of life and you have the Hogfather. A metamorphoses of spirit and animal and all the awe inspiring associations we have about ourselves simply because we exist with the privilege of being self-obsessed ignoring our surroundings creating such a strange thing as boredom. Fast forward in time, stick him in a symbolic red suit with faux fur trim and bigger in girth, and because we’re greedy, mean little bastards really, make him shower us with presents or lumps of coal.


The film that is. Creation existed way before Sky satellites!

Film producers have had just as hard a time trying to adapt his books as I’ve had waiting to write a review, there were a handful including animations but to be honest they weren’t that great (*shh don’t tell rabid sub-sections of fans I said that*). ‘Terry Pratchett’s Hogather’ (2006) was the first big budget and really cool version, at last, a mere 23 years after the first book and long after loads of people decided to put down their pitchforks, hammers, guns and so forth long enough to decide that they could agree on something and be followers of. Sky rubbed their hands gleefully at being the Ones to air the 3hour film in two 1.5hour parts and at Christmas!

As the film starts viewers are treated to a cosmic montage showing our tiny yet very interesting place in space, replete with deep voiced male narrator and soul stirring music; we knew it was going to be something epic.

We’re introduced to the Great A’Tuin, a goddess culture representative, predominantly Asian (Indian and later Japanese), of physical manifestation and indeed its vehicle. Yes, the idea of a giant turtle swimming through space with another/other form[s] of creation on its back has been around for ages (except as usual for those ancient scientific religions – yes I just put science and religion next to each other without nuclear war – it’s combined with math[mat/mother]ematics.

Great A'Tuin Discworld

Great A'Tuin Turtle Elephants Discworld

Whilst she (let’s not start the “it’s all matter of perspective” but wink wink it’s feminine debate) is traversing space on an interesting cycle of her own, she’s currently carrying 4 giant elephants in classical person-holding-water-vase pose, because they are holding a flat-ish plate (Discworld) of um a ton of water, bits of land and weird, wacky critters such as animals; some of which form guilds for commerce, trades, politics and you know, the well being of society through community control and specialized tyranny. Unfortunately this melting pot includes a liberal surplus of bodies, a high demand for goods and services but a narrow supply and distribution of said wants and needs.

That brings us to Ankh-Morpork the quasi Egyptian-pig sounding strangely similar to London, twin city of proud Ankh and pestilent Morpork separated by a gloopy, polluted river in between. A city containing it’s very own tower of Babel I mean ‘Tower of Art’ in the Unseen University [of magic], guilds galore, rich and poor, a ‘benevolent tyrant’ as its political head (trained at the Assassin’s Guild of course) and all the ‘pig [supposedly] sausages-inna-bun’ you can eat courtesy of its very own ‘Only Fools and Horses’ beloved con-artist bootlegger.

Now let’s move to a very unique young lady named Susan Sto Helit, not unique in that she’s an offspring of a demi-being, or that she has two-toned hair (hey we’ve all been there right?) but odd in that she’s pretty, pretty clever, tough, amazes others and yet has somehow found herself as a teacher/governess, and funnily enough it suits her o_o who’d have thunk it?

“And then Jack chopped down what was the world’s last beanstalk, adding murder and ecological terrorism to the theft, enticement and trespass charges already mentioned, and all the giant’s children didn’t have a daddy any more. But he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you’re a hero, because no-one asks inconvenient questions.”

That’s our Susan alright.

Susan Sto Helit

Susan, like some people I know, has done her best to separate and decline her ‘otherworldy’ familial connections because they’re just so annoying and turn up whenever they feel like it whilst watching her all the time. That’s not to say they’re all bad and it just so happens her grandfather, one of the smaller Death’s of the cosmos is someone you can’t resist, now and then. He’s tall, skeletal, has enchanting glowing eyes, wears a dark robe, carries a scythe and has a blindingly white horse. *Sigh, he’s such a heartthrob!* (I’m serious.) It’s turns out this Hogswatch/Xmas (or perhaps Winter Solstice) he’s going to have to amalgamate with his human roots and take on the hogfather’s (who has gone missing) duties delivering gifts thus unknowingly leaving himself vulnerable. He thinks he’s covered his bases in getting his granddaughter to temporarily fulfill his post but neither of them account for they greys…

I mean The Auditors. An impending, looming, glooming, dooming title if ever there was one, besides breeders and butchers of all life on earth. These shadowy, floaty beings apparently run the universe and have no sense of humour. But why would such self-confessed omnipotent, omnipresent beings need humans, specifically assassins, to get rid of a so-called underling such as Death? The Auditors know all about casual cruelty in the name or order, it was probably them who taught humans in the first place, and admittedly they still ‘guide’ events on Earth um Discworld. Who cares, the Assassin’s Guild are not ones to turn down money and a challenge (most of their members are nobility) and at 3 million Ankh-Morporkian dollars they’re not going to be shown lacking in ingenuity. Bah, I’d be insulted if the bounty on my head was a measly 3 million pounds or dollars!

Enter Mr Jonathan Teatime pronounced tee-a-time-eh for us plebs (his sentiment not mine) and I’m only telling you because he gets mightily peeved when someone gets it wrong and according to him everybody gets its wrong – much like Hyacinth Bucket (bouquet) from ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ and we know what she’s like so don’t say I didn’t warn ye. Despite his boyish looks he is cold, logical, unfeeling, uncaring, shit stirring, taking perverse pleasure in other people’s suffering, egotistical and lacking in social ability. In short he’s a psychopath and expects other to respect him with his backhanded complimentary veneer of charm and cheer even though when it comes to those all important questions “have I made the world even in the teensiest way a better place, how have I helped, how could and have I improved, can others trust me etc etc” he adds nothing of worth to the human race and the world wouldn’t miss him. Unsurprisingly he begrudges everything, including his status at the guild, and has already worked on plans to kill the Hogfather, the Tooth Fairy, The Soul Cake Tuesday Duck (Discworld’s Easter Bunny) and even Death.

Jonathan Teatime Villian Hogfather 2006 Terry Pratchett

Jonathan puts together a crew of dastardly characters and misfits to enact out his plan, an ambitious practical illusion to invert the already topsy turvy precarious beliefs of people so that demi-beings and divinities cease to exist, at least in people’s field of sensory perception. He thinks he can kill them and that is the premise of the story, but I think at most he could hide or change them, which would be awkward in a world where multi-species of slowly socially accepted sentience co-exist including humans, vampires, trolls, goblins, dwarves, little blue people, werewolves ad seemingly infinitum and many of those are demi-beings in themselves being cross-breeds with different abilities, some more diluted than others.

So it comes to Death and Susan (her capabilities skipped her human parents altogether and went direct from Death to her) to deal with the terrorist Jonathan, of the nasty ‘looks up dolls skirts whilst sneering’ persuasion.

Death Susan Sto Helit


This was a really sleek production, being British based in cast/accents, locations, writing and designing you can see the use of dark and somewhat monochromatic/pale colour which suits the season and many of the environments including the Tooth Fairies, the Hogfather’s and Death’s inter-dimensional abodes. Those are nicely contrasted with the rich red/browns that we cling on to from Autumn past inside our homes and decadent textures depending on one’s class. Many of the characters are very stylised and convincingly so from their attire to mannerisms, something I found slightly lacking in the following Discworld films ‘The Colour of Magic’ (2008, including ‘The Light Fantastic’, also in two parts). The CGI is also miles better in this film, provided by the Moving Picture Company (one of their international facilities being in London), the mix of virtual reality and reality works as effectively as the blend of ‘anthropomorphic’ demi-beings and their effect on ‘real reality’ in the storyline.

The excellent settings allow the characterization and script to shine, the sarcastic, sardonic and sometimes innocent or offhand quips about how weird things are and at the end of the day the shrugging of shoulders ‘that’s the way it is’ attitude. That dark humour doesn’t come through as well in the ‘The Colour of Magic’ in my opinion and the long running time couldn’t manage without feeling sluggish. Here though I felt the length was suitable because it needs to give enough explanation but does it whilst telling the story, and is very faithful to the book so you don’t need to have read the book to understand it nor do you need to read the book thereafter (again, don’t tell the rabid fans I said that… But for my own personal safety – Disclaimer – it’s always a pleasure to read or listen to the audiobooks and Pratchett is the only author whose work I can revisit and still find the jokes funny, I can even find new ones each time!) Whoever did the casting did an apt job of casting for vocals as well since many of the characters are unique in both looks and oratory. All except one though, and the most important one (and his bird)… Here’s a quote from Death and his assistant Albert:

Death: Let’s go sleigh them.
[looks at Albert]
Death: I don’t know if you noticed Albert, but that was a pune, or play on words.
Albert: Ho ho ho sir. [figuratively rolling eyes]

Now whilst the pacing of the delivery was perfect, I would have preferred to hear:

[looks wryly down at Albert]
Albert: Ho ho ho sir. [figuratively rolls eyes, eats yet another pie and downs his almost 2000th brandy, sherry or whatever]

You see, Death of the Discworld is a smaller version or one of the many workers of the cosmic DEATH, and as such has a presence that is both absolute and ethereal, a voice so hollow that it’d burst your ear drums if you could really hear it. As it is, if you exist after meeting Death you might only think you heard the hint of a voice after the blood-draining all-too-clear moment you knew at the time when you met Death prior and thought to yourself “oh shit, too late now”. Now that is asking a lot to put into a voice even with modern tech wonders and I felt that Death’s frozen cgi face was difficult enough to portray his thoughts and emotions, and then the voice wasn’t ‘hollow’ enough. He is voiced by Ian Richardson – who was also the narrator, and did a very apt job indeed – and his vocals sound ‘enhanced’ technologically but there’s just something, some spark of life in the death that’s missing. The crow, another of Death’s assistants doesn’t sound right either. I also didn’t like that the Death of Rats (a smaller and specific form of Death that was accidentally created and he decided to leave separate of himself instead of re-absorbing) only gets one scene. On a sidenote – the Auditors sound like something out of Dr Who.

Death Albert Terry Pratchett Hogfather Film 2006

That said their antics and conversations whilst acting as the Hogfather are sufficiently entertaining and we get to see other funny characters like the less efficient members of the City Watch (police force) trying to arrest Death in a department store for taking over their grotto and giving kids what they really want instead of what their parent’s want, and most eyebrow-raisingly for not being the real fake Hogfather (an employee dressed as the Hogfather).

Back in the assassination plot we meet characters like Violet one of the workers of the Tooth Fairy, so a tooth fairy herself but not THE Tooth Fairy (like with Death there’s far too many creatures on this planet/Discworld for one archetype to deal with, delegation became necessary) and her soon to be love interest Bilious the ‘Oh-God [I feel sick] of Hangovers’. Whose pitiable health the wizards of the Unseen University attempt to fix with their ‘we try not to meddle and mess up everything anymore but we’re not very good at that [so give us unlimited budgets and status to placate us]’ method.

Hogfather Violet Tooth Fairy Jonathan Teatime

Terry Pratchett Wizards Unseen University Bilious Hangovers

The musical score is impressive and when coupled with vast scenes and various climates is what I already called epic – so nowt more need be said on that other than it’s orchestral/electronic and there’s no singing (or dancing) theme tunes (something I don’t mind and saw a bit of in the final Discworld movie ‘Going Postal’ (2010) but wouldn’t have worked here). Add to that well timed sound effects and you’ve got top notch quality.

All round, top notch quality. And perfect for the ‘festive’ time (especially if you liked The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)).

Happy Hogswatch. Ho, Ho, ho. Or Humbug! *Shrug* 🙂

Susan Sto Helit Bone Castle


Oblivion Island – Fateful Friendship and Precious Memories

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror

Released: 2013 in the UK
Runtime: 100min
Certification: 12.
Language: English (originally Japanese)

Where do all those missing socks and odds and ends go?

The film opens with an introductory tale giving background information to the plot – there once was a farmer who had been given a comb from his deceased grandmother but he’d lost it and really wanted it back so he made an offering to the local shrine which happened to be for a fox spirit and one night the comb was returned to him. That led to the locals to believe if they petitioned the local spirit they could perhaps be granted their wish to retrieve precious lost mementos. This intro is drawn in a completely different way to the rest of the film, it’s more like a simplistic cartoon with bright colours and thick outlines but it is still enchanting.

Skip ahead into the future: Meet Haruka, a teenage girl who lives with her father and whose mother has passed away. Haruka is frustrated, nostalgic and gets upset quickly with her dad being rude to him and seemingly selfish whilst he is resigned and doesn’t want to argue. It would be unfair to judge Haruka at this point though, they’ve gotten stuck in habits that aren’t healthy; he works too much so they don’t spend much time together and being at home reminds her of how empty it feels.

She knows about the local legend of the shrine and ends up in a whole other world on a journey to find a long lost hand mirror that was her mother’s and as unprepared as she was for that she certainly didn’t expect it to be so regimented/systemized.

An alien/magical dimension that has had the magic taken out of it.

As with anything in this world the individual doesn’t tend to appreciate just how much or the sheer scale that goes into making one product or service and the same goes for lost items. Though to be more precise lost and forgotten (unwanted/neglected) items – there are tonnes of them and so it takes a race of fox people to manage them via collection, transporting, sorting and earning currency. Not only do they make a living that way but all their architecture, clothing etc is made up from the scraps. It’s also a major crime to tell a human about it let alone bring a human there and unfortunately for one little fox Haruka is a stowaway on his/her cart!

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror Teo

The fox’s name is Teo who has to try to keep Haruka’s species a secret while helping her to find the mirror but finding a needle in a haystack is never easy especially when your only company are bullies and spies. Luckily or unluckily for the pair mirrors are a rare and expensive item there so that narrows their search but also puts a spotlight on them. Why are mirrors rare? That would be telling but I’ll just say that also with most societies that we know of there is an evil overlord aka The Baron who is collecting mirrors for a devious (though in this case not entirely unsympathetic) cause but of course his methods are dastardly and he will stop at nothing to have Haruka’s mirror in particular.

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror Baron

Imagination and Immersion

The depiction of the fox society is breathtaking from its patchwork design to stunning colours, the animators portrayed another world that looks hypnotic on the screen and would make an amazing landscape in our reality yet it’s still practical and familiar looking i.e. the residents use some of our neglected objects in inventive/unusual ways such as an upside down gramophone as a stool but others are true to their intended function.

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror

Interestingly enough the foxes don’t look like foxes as we know them and if we hadn’t been told that is what they are then I wouldn’t have known, they look furless and come in all shapes, sizes and faces but this a different dimension and a topsy turvy film premise. Another main character introduced later in the story is Cotton, an old teddy of Haruka’s who somehow has sentient life in the fox world and becomes just as important to save as the mirror. Cotton is a real hero, holds his/her own as a character and has some very emotional scenes.

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror Cotton

This is a fast moving film and by the end of it I wondered where the time had gone, it’s action packed including out of control rail road and flying sequences so there’s a quite a bit of lurching and falling. Then when you think it slows down (as it does consistently) the plot is still pulling at your heart strings so you may be getting a breather but it’s not really any easier on the pulse rate/adrenaline ;-). Tissues should be at hand for anyone who empathizes with loss of loved ones.

Something I don’t usually like but works well here is the use of soft lighting in emotional sequences but it’s paired with soft/more colourful lighting and mist at night and they compliment the story well.

There are times when I wondered if Haruka was holding on too tightly to finding the mirror as sometimes the message of such stories is that it can be good to have physical tokens with special significance and to treasure them but when push comes to shove are/should you be willing to sacrifice yourself or others for them? For example the home where you lived as a family is very important and should be protected/maintained and if need be fought for but at the same time if it’s on fire or destroyed you can’t and shouldn’t always try to save it or bring it back – sometimes you have to embed the memories and keep them inside instead of outside of you. Sometimes you have to finally let go. This is one of those stories where no matter what the characters keep trying and in hindsight it’s hard to decide whether it’s for better or worse but it propels the story regardless so charts their actions more than asking ‘what if?’.

The ending is a bit unbelievable where the whole comes together to work for a common goal where there was previously bullying, bribery and backstabbing but hey even though it’s been maturely made it’s still a kid’s film and the main trio in particular are very well fleshed out.

Eastern truly meets Western cinema?

There are many Japanese cartoons and animations for the box office or TV that are suitable for a Western audience according to Western standards and many were/are overseen by their studios (particularly with Disney TV shows) but there are only a handful that I would say look as if they could have been released directly over here. This is one of those films and a family friendly film no less so a wider scope.

The animation styles (artistic and obvious cgi) are lovely and soft with both realistic and vivid & fantastical colour schemes when necessary and the characters have individual detail. Typically of anime the ‘other world’ environment is creative and lush. This is one of the more fluid cgi renderings out there in comparison to the clearer almost photographic or older and higher colour contrast ones where characters move and talk with a slight time delay so that helps add to the already swift pace of the plot. The dubbing is excellent and even looks like it matches the mouths at times and voiced with clear and convincing enunciation from actors I didn’t recognize (that’s a bonus for me). The foreground voices aren’t inhibited by background music/sound effects but when the score is really noticeable (especially the flute & pipes) it never fails to impress matching the mood of the scene from poignant to thrilling. For example the opening theme is very short but manages to start off so sadly, then uplifting and then slowly elegant and flowing – just like the film.

The most important thing for East-West crossover here however is the plot, it is simple and straightforward with little psychological exploration and analysis but it is powerful, driven and heartfelt. There is a little moralizing but I think people young or old can relate to the feelings portrayed; the need to find and hold onto those that are important to us, the need for friendship and assistance, the need to heal and release and the need to remember and be more considerate. Being a mystical story there is some symbolism though it is seamlessly worked in and nothing unusual to the West or unique to the East other than the local temple shrine.

The only part I thought was remiss was the usual Japanese anime love of miniskirts as school uniform, the need to pay attention to their every movement and opportunity to show skin and sexual or sexualized posing but it doesn’t do so gratuitously here or too obviously; I’ve seen much shorter in kids/family anime (seriously). After a while I didn’t notice it other than when Haruka had to hold it down or smoothen it before sitting. Maybe I’ve gotten used to it but I did think it unnecessary to have to add that to the work of animating.

If nothing else this film is a roller coaster so perhaps best for adults to watch first and decide if it’s ok for their children. There are multiple times where it genuinely feels like characters are in life threatening situations and they emanate fear, panic and grief very well. I got teary in a number of places, I am sensitive to other’s (real or not) suffering and it doesn’t take much I admit but still.

If I had to sum this film up in two words they’d be: touchingly beautiful.

Oblivion Island Haurka and the Magic Mirror Teo Cotton


Spirited Away 2001Spirited Away (2001) – A young girl and her parents move to a new town only for them to go through a portal into the spirit world where her parents are changed into pigs and the daughter has to get a job there, rescue said parents and meets an interesting friend. Landmark film of its time and still a classic/favourite.

Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW (2010)Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW (2010) – a group of children help an alien that looks like a dog who then takes them on holiday to the moon but things go awry and they have to earn a livelihood and make their way back home via an eventful journey through space. Impressive and imaginative visuals.