Saturday, 17 November 2012

My Favourite Memoirs

My Top Six Favourite Memoirs

1 - Ham on Rye - Charles Bukowski

Quite simply, the greatest novel I have ever read. Bukowski writes in simplistic prose that the cliched term 'gritty realism' was made for. He writes about everyday life in a way that is so brutally honest and true I could completely relate to almost everything he said. Bukowski also recounts a childhood that was fairly unusual and abusive which, of course, makes it more interesting to read about. Despite this, the novel is also one of the funniest I have ever read and actually makes me laugh out loud everytime I read it. This is because, as well as pointing out the tragic moments of life, he also beautifully recounts the humour and lightness we experience in everyday life too.

2 - Things Unspoken - Anitra Sheen

I only read this recently. It recounts a childhood even more unusual than that of Bukowski. The prose is so odd and dreamy that it takes a while to get into. However, once you get past this, you become immersed in a story that actually flows like the life that is being recounted. It also isn't a novel that pushes you to think a certain way, it simply tells you her story in a simple but storng narrative voice and lets you make up your own judgments.    

3 - The Story of My Experiments With Truth - Mohandas Gandhi

In my opinion, the greatest man who ever lived (that I know about). As with Gandhi himself, this book manages to be both great and humble at the same time. It recounts his political, philosophical and spiritual beliefs whilst also giving you a somewhat simple recount of his life from early childhood. This means it can be enjoyed on a number of levels. 

4 - My Life in Orange - Tim Guest

Another book that recounts a very unusual childhood. This shows what happened to children who were brought up within the confines of what was basically a spiritual cult. It doesn't push the reader to judge whether this life was better or worse than a mainstream upbringing. It simply recounts a childhood and lets the reader decide how shocked they want to be by it. 

5 - Junky - William S. Burroughs 

The story of somebody addicted to heroin (among other things). The hopeless cycle of addiction in this novel is beautifully portrayed in all its tragedy. It leaves little light at the end of the tunnel but it does make you think. At times, it is definitely hard to have empathy for the protagonist but sometimes it is better to not have all your questions answered. 

6 - Scar Tissue - Anthony Kiedis 

It's about a rock star taking a lot of drugs and shagging a lot of beautiful women. It's not exactly 'Crime and Punishment' but it's pretty entertaining nonetheless. 


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

6 Most Disappointing Games I Ever Bought.

The 6 Most Disappointing Video Games I Ever Bought. 

My last blog entry about video games got 900 views and people gave me some fairly good feedback about it. Therefore, in a desperate attempt to keep up my publicity I'm writing another entry about video games. I'm not a big gamer really, I don't even own a 360 or a PS3, but video games were an important part of my childhood and youth. Here are the 6 most disappointing games I ever bought.

1 - Shadowgate Classic - Gameboy Color.

When I was a kid, the best Christmas I can remember is when I got a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. I played this game until absolute death before eventually deciding I should probably buy another game for it. I only got 50p a week pocket money to save up so it took me quite a while but eventually I had enough money to go into town and buy a new game. I chose Shadowgate Classic thinking 'this looks like an awesome action/adventure game. There was nothing on the box to say it was a bloody point and click adventure game. Room after room of this terrible game (which I have since learnt is a cult classic) you just have to click on every part of the room until something happens. For example, after clicking on 300 bricks you might click on a brick that opens a secret door. Terrible. 

2 - Robot Wars Metal Mayhem - Gameboy Color

Never mind I thought, I'll just save up to buy another game for my Gameboy Color. After weeks of saving I went into town and bought this piece of shit. I remember completing it on the hardest setting in about half an hour. Why you ask? Well, all you had to do was drive your little robot into the opposing robot and bash the 'A' button repeatedly. There was literally nothing else to it. Sigh. 

3 - Space Hulk - PC

Like many geeky white losers of my generation I was obsessed with the Warhammer franchise. So what absolute joy when I saw that there was a game for the PC based on the franchise! I instantly put it on  my Christmas list and I was lucky enough that my Mum actually got it for me on Jesus Christs birthday. It very quickly became apparent that I was very much out of my depth. Instead of just blasting your way happily through enemies you had to control a small group of 'Space Marines' through what felt like the pits of hell. The moment you left one of your marines alone you would hear him scream through the intercom that he had just been killed. Needless to say, I was scarred.

4 - Toejam and Earl - Megadrive

For most of my childhood my main games console was the Sega Megadrive. Most my friends had a Playstation but I didn't get one of those until a couple of years after my mates. The good thing about this was that by that point you could get most Megadrive games for about £2.99 from my local secondhand games shop (Gamezone in Shrewsbury). The one exception to the rule was Toejam and Earl which, for some reason, cost £14.99. I had wanted this game for quite a while but had not been able to afford it. However, one day, my Dad just got it for me as a surprise. It turned out to be the slowest moving and longest game I had for the Megadrive. Because there was no save feature I had to just leave my console on and paused for hours on end. Headaches ensued. 

5 - Final Fantasy X - PS2

The only Final Fantasy game I have ever attempted to get into. My friends at the time were all obsessed with it so I thought I would try to join the bandwagon. What I experienced was some of cheesiest story telling I've experienced in a 'serious' game coupled with tedious, repetitive game play. What made it even worse was that my friends all had some weird geek crush on a character called Rikku. Admittedly, I did once fancy Sophitia from Soul Blade but I was about 8 so...

6 - Fight Club - PS2 

Fight Club is literally the greatest film I have ever seen. It's the only film I have watched more than 3 times. I'm normally more of a book person you see. My friend Jack bought me this game because he knew I was obsessed with the film. I was so excited to play it because Fight Club has my favourite fight scenes I have ever watched. How can you take something that is so intelligent, grimy, dark, realistic, brutal and atmospheric and turn it into a terrible fighting game? Why, by turning it into a mindless button basher of course!

I'll write something happy next time.