Thu, 5 December 2013
This is the sixth Gonzo Avatar podcast.
Previous episodes include....
1. The Last Airbender (Movie)
2. The Legend of Aang: Water
3. The Legend of Aang: Earth
4. The Legend of Aang: Fire
5. The Legend of Korra: Air
We cover the divisive second season of one of the most talked about and exceptional animated shows ever created. This time round the Miyazaki influence is even more prominent, the animation veers from a little bit sloppy to more breathtakingly beautiful than it's ever been, there are character and narrative issues, longtime fans still calling foul and love and hate being bent back and forth like so much water and fire.
Joining me once again after a year I have Daniel Floyd, the voice of Extra Credits, Joshua Garrity of the Cane and Rinse podcast and The Animation Archives, Sharon Shaw of Do Try This at Home, Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and from Gonzo Planet, Duane Griffiths. As well as this epic round-table session I have included essay materials from Andy Rodriguez and Nama Chibitty, offering some quite differing perspectives on the overarching saga.
Next week: With the release of the audio drama based on my first novel: The Cartographer's Handbook, the next show will be a spoiler-filled interview with some of the performers and a detailed discussion on how the book and audio were constructed.
Direct download: 158._The_Legend_of_Korra_-_Spirits.mp3
-- posted at: 6:27 PM
Thu, 28 November 2013
This is going to be a short and sweet episode with one firm remit. To get the word out about my first novel, newly released on Kindle this week. It’s entitled; The Cartographer’s Handbook, and I’m hoping, with this podcast to drum up a fever of interest in both the book itself and the upcoming audio drama, which will be available through the Gonzo Planet website on December 9th 2013.
If you don’t want to know anything about the plot and themes yet and just want to go straight to Amazon and snap it up, you can do so by going here. This show is a spoiler-free monologue about my influences, my aims and my inspiration when it came to writing this as well as why I'm putting out the audio drama on a suggested donation basis rather than for a set fee. It also contains a stirring presentation from Amanda Palmer at the TED Talks on new distribution methods and some tantalizing segments of the audio drama to whet your appetite.
You guys are my ambassadors, my marketing, my word of mouth. You are the key to me getting the book into people’s hands. You’re my Browncoats. What I'm going to ask for is fifty honest Amazon reviews. With those up, many more people from outside our community will start finding the book when they search for similarly themed titles and so it will accrue a fanbase beyond the segment of the Gonzo community that are already getting into it. This is the single project I've worked the hardest on in my entire life. It started in 2001 and has taken twelve long years to get to this stage. Without your help it will wallow in obscurity forever, with it, this could really be something special.
Direct download: 157._Alexs_First_Book.mp3
-- posted at: 6:22 PM
Thu, 21 November 2013
Back with Avengers Phase 2, we have the second film in the series. This time, freed of his origin and following the events of the Avengers crossover, Thor is off on a world-spanning adventure to prevent some dark elf or other from bringing the universe to darkness and blah blah blah.
The plot was surprisingly unimportant to the grander scheme of things. It's just a series of visually stunning events conveyed with flair and humour, which just so happens to allow Thor to clash again with his father, relate to his mother, meet Jane again, look very pretty and intense and form an uneasy alliance with a newly freed Loki.
All credit to Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston. They make for a fantastic pair of charismatic, warring onscreen presences and most of our podcast is spent discussing these two. As well as this there is a points of view section with community feedback on the film, a brilliant article written by Hiddleston himself prior to The Avengers and some extended chat on the continuation and expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Joining me are Sharon Shaw of Do try This at Home, Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and David Merrett of Gonzo Planet's Words of Merrett column.
Next week, a preview of my first proper book, The Cartographer's Handbook, which will be available on Kindle and audio in mid-December.
Direct download: 156._Thor_-_The_Dark_World.mp3
-- posted at: 6:56 PM
Thu, 14 November 2013
Couple of weeks ago after becoming fascinated by the broader concepts of the Fan Response show and looking for a more anthropological approach to studying online human behaviour I came across a podcast called Lou Reads the Internet. On this podcast which has run for over 120 episodes since March 2009, host Lou Fernandez simply reads aloud, almost always from forums, almost always the words of people who have… special interests. Now these could be racists, misogynists, fetishists, and fantasists from all walks of life. He proceeds for fifteen to thirty minutes and tries his level best to remain impartial. Some of his most interesting episodes are ones he is obviously ruffled by the content and breaks down repeatedly.
I devoured show after show, hearing from Tea Partyers, adult babies, furrys, men with big penises, men with tiny penises, meth addicts, beleaguered hotel workers, those who are poised for The Rapture and white supremacists looking to make their hate-filled rhetoric more appealing to children. It is not, repeat not, I repeat once again NOT for the faint hearted or those with weak constitutions and since I have Lou with me tonight to talk about his show, I am issuing a warning to all my listeners...
This is going to get disgusting! You may end up nauseous, furious, terrified. This is effectively extreme podcasting. I will try my level best to keep the conversation under control, but I’d strongly suggest that if it gets too much you switch off and come back for next week’s episode on Thor: The Dark World. It also goes without saying that if you are a child listening to this, turn off now. There are things you need to spend more of your life not knowing about.
Be sure to tweet me with the timestamp for where we broke you. I’ll compile a list and this will probably end up more of an endurance contest. It is, however, possible that you may be fascinated by some of this. Below is the approximate, but not exact running order of topics. And if you start listening to Lou's show because of me then be sure to let him know.
This made me question both my tolerance levels and how judgmental I am.
- The Misogynists
- The Anti-Liberals
- The Torture Porn Fanatics
- The Religious Zealots
- The Adult Babies
- The Pokevores
- The Drug Addicts
- The Zoophiles
- The Incest Lovers
- The Bodily Fluid Fetishists
- The Beleaguered Hotel Workers
- The Pandora Dreamers
- The Super-Racists
One last thing. this show has nothing to do with the now departed singer Lou Reed. We recorded it on October 10th and he died in the meantime. Just in case anybody wonders.
Direct download: 155._Lou_Reads_the_Internet.mp3
-- posted at: 6:24 PM
Wed, 6 November 2013
After the deeply satisfying climax of Phase One, we are back to kick off Phase Two, starting here with this year’s Iron Man 3, followed next week by Thor: The Dark World, out in theaters now. Next year we’ll be back with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then Guardians of the Galaxy and finally in 2015; Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Back from the Phase One I am joined tonight by members of my original team; Neil Taylor and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse.
Now we have had a deluge of opinion on this movie, which itself has been rather divisive. Like Superman Returns, Man of Steel and Watchmen, Iron Man 3 provoked strong feeling from many people who were able to express them creatively in this ensemble piece. So this is another rather fascinating Dynamic Analysis, alternating essay material with round-table chat segments. See you in seven day for more Thor.
- Intro Chat and First Impressions
- Travis De Santis on Iron Man 2
- Glen Watts on Tony Stark
- Honest Trailers: Iron Man 3
- Alex Spencer on The Mandarin
- Nama Chibitty also on The Mandarin
- Mandarin Chat & Abandoned Concepts
- Jamas Enright on Pepper Potts
- Lorin Grieve on PTSD
- Music and Trevor chat
- Ryoma on the Iron Man Suit
- Andy Rodriguez on Avengers Phase 2
- How Iron Man 3 Should Have Ended
- Alex Shaw on the Path Interrupted
- The Future of the Avengers series chat
- The Avengers Sell Out
- Some Questions & Final Summation
Extremis Motion Comic!
Direct download: 154._Iron_Man_3.mp3
-- posted at: 9:31 AM
Wed, 30 October 2013
To celebrate Halloween this year we’ve gone back to one of the scariest memories for many British thirtysomethings. Screened only once on Halloween in 1992 and billed as a live broadcast from the most haunted house in England. This 'documentary' frightened the nation witless, garnering the BBC 30,000 complaint phone calls. 21 years on after only having seen it once in between the years, sometime around 2002 when it was finally released on DVD, Sharon and I ventured back into Ghostwatch.
Now what I’d suggest if you’ve never seen this is that you make it your Halloween evening viewing. If you can get to one of Britain’s last walk-in DVD stores you might be able to pick it up on disc for under a tenner. Failing that, you can find it on Vimeo in three parts by following the links below.
This show will spoil the whole thing so only listen on if you have no intention of watching or you don’t mind going in knowing everything. It's also rather disturbing listening for some people, so proceed only if you're up for some chilling discussion from Sharon and I about the nature of fear and our rocky relationship with it as a civilised species.
Ghostwatch - Part 1 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986600
Ghostwatch - Part 2 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986701
Ghostwatch - Part 3 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986702
Direct download: 153._Ghostwatch.mp3
-- posted at: 12:37 PM
Thu, 24 October 2013
This week we're back busting ghosts and investigating paranormal disturbances of all kinds. The majority of the show is spent discussing Ghostbusters II, the 1989 sequel that despite studio pressure, editing strife, shifting release dates, unhappy cast and crew, lukewarm reception and relative obscurity still manages to not be a terrible follow-up to one of the greatest comedies of all time.
Also up for debate are The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, the 2009 video game and the prospects in store for a possible Ghostbusters III.
Next week for our Gonzo Halloween special we’re continuing our spectral theme. We’ll be looking at the 1992 BBC hoax documentary broadcast 21 years ago that scared the living bejesus out of Britain’s children. It has only ever been screened once and the BBC received 30,000 phone calls from the bewildered, the angry and the downright terrified.
It’s called Ghostwatch and you can buy it for about £8 on DVD in the UK or follow the links below to watch it in three parts online.
We heartily recommend you make watching this your Halloween evening and then listen to the Gonzo discussion to follow.
Ghostwatch - Part 1 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986600
Ghostwatch - Part 2 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986701
Ghostwatch - Part 3 on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/62986702
Direct download: 152._Ghostbusters_II.mp3
-- posted at: 1:21 PM
Wed, 16 October 2013
Welcome to the movie that started it all... for me anyway. Ghostbusters was the first trip to the cinema for me, aged four. In effect, considering our twelve inch, wooden, push-button telly, it was the first experience that made me understand what a film could be. And what a way to start a lifetime of being besotted with this medium. It has everything a young lad could want; eye-popping effects, hilarious dialogue from a really tight script, mythology and science hinting at a wider world and believable, lovable heroes facing off against a dark god in the center of New York.
Matt Ramsey of Do Try This at Home, Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and Neil Taylor and Gary Blower of GameBurst all join me to clean up the town, taking you guys from creepy Columbia logo through to Slimer's final charge, along the way we talk about balancing comedy with horror, abandoned concepts and casting choices, the secrets of the special effects, the theoretical science of busting ghosts and for one loopy tangent... The Shining.
Next week we're talking Ghostbusters II, The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, the 2009 Ghostbusters video game and the prospect of Ghostbusters III. This ended up being in the top three most quotable movies reviewed by Gonzo, up there with Aliens and Predator. We came, we saw, we kicked it-
Direct download: 151._Ghostbusters.mp3
-- posted at: 1:38 PM
Fri, 4 October 2013
Welcome to the first of an ongoing monthly series of role-playing game podcasts. Inspired by the episode of Community 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' each episode will be a single, sit-down gaming session conducted over Skype with myself as Dungeon Master and my guests as a team of adventurers. To kick us off we're using the flexible, simple ruleset of Advanced Fighting Fantasy by Graham Bottley which itself stems from the gamebooks of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone (The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Deathtrap Dungeon) and detailed in the starter book Dungeoneer. The first of the two adventures within that book is what we have for you tonight. Next time I will be writing an original, continuation adventure... for the survivors of this one.
I wanted to bring you guys something different, in the style I have honed over the years so there's music and sound FX as well as a hefty chunk of silliness and getting into character. The lengthier fights have been edited for pacing but you can hear them in their entirety if you have access to Backstage Gonzo. The team that begins this story comprises of the following.
Thrale Copperhelm: A tough-as-nails dwarf, played by Neil Taylor of GameBurst
Lastern Darkfire: An elf fresh out of the forests, played by Mark Reay of The A.I. Bots
Kellis Payge: A human mage from the city watch of Chalice, played by Sharon Shaw of Do Try This at Home
Harron Brondyn: A sarcastic thief played by Matt Ramsey of Do Try This at Home
Ideally this is going to become a series with a constantly shifting setting. Focus will be on character and story over action and complex systems, almost closer to an audio drama than the recording of a game. The guest soundtrack for this week is the original World of Warcraft OST by Jason Hayes, Tracy W. Bush, Derek Duke, and Glenn Stafford. As far as bringing in other players, there may be future opportunities to guest as NPCs who could end up recurring or coming back as an adventurer in later stories. I do want to keep the party numbering around four to ensure combat is brisk, the characterization rich and that the story moves along smoothly. Many thanks to my guests, who played brilliantly and went easy on me in my first-time role as Dungeon Master. The combat rules were still being learned by all of us and should be tightened up by episode 2, now that we're more familiar and practiced with them. Also Gonzo is an adult podcast and we use adult language in this.
And thank you all for making this one of the warmest, smartest, funniest communities on the internet for 150 episodes of Gonzo. Here's to 150 more.
Thu, 26 September 2013
This episode I invited on Bob Chipman, AKA MovieBob along with Daniel Floyd and Leelee Scalaferri of Extra Credits to talk about the age old scenario of fans flipping their lids when something they love is perceived as being meddled with. With the ascent of Twitter and Facebook, forums, comments sections and YouTube we have more opportunities than ever before to voice our discontent, and voice it we have in ways often so hostile and illegible that some sections of the internet appear to be transcripts of the death-screeching of broken killer robots with electronic Tourette's syndrome.
Among other specific instances we cover Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist frequency, The Xbox One, Batfleck, Phil Fish, Grand Theft Auto V, Devil May Cry, Mass Effect 3, Green Lantern, The Star Wars Special Editions and Fifty Shades of Grey. The aim was not to be wholly objective and detached and there is a lot of opinion being flung back and forth during this crackling debate with four vibrant personalities all vying for the mic, but we do try our best to be fair.
To illustrate the many facets of this immense debate I have employed audio segments from some of the best and brightest.
With Great Power [Bob Chipman: The Big Picture]
Crass Effect [Bob Chimpan: Game Overthinker]
Rebecca Black [Charlie Brooker: 10 O’ Clock Live]
Anita Sarkeesian: The Monster Gamers Created [Jim Sterling: Jimquisition]
Harassment [Daniel Floyd & James Portnow: Extra Credits]
GTA V Review Revulsion [Johnny Chiodini: GameSpot - Feedbackula]
Guide to Comments [Vi Hart]
A Day at the Park [Kiriakakis: Mused]
Bob, Dan and Leelee have made hundreds of video presentations between them and their recommendations if you're newcomers are the following.
Extra Credits [Of Penny Arcade TV]
- Call of Juarez: The Cartel
- A Little Bit of Yesterday
- Art is not the Opposite of Fun
Moviebob [Of The Escapist]
- The Big Picture - Skin Game
- Game Overthinker - Never Grow Old
Music on the show played by Lindsey Stirling
- Electric Daisy Violin
Of course there wasn't time to discuss a bunch of well known examples, including the Derpy Hooves debacle but we do want this show to spark debate on ways for the more considerate side of the internet to gain more of a vocal share of the general discussion, which often seems to be dominated by the enraged and abusive.
Direct download: 149._Fan_Response.mp3
-- posted at: 4:57 PM