Sunday, 18 March 2012

'I just got a Netflix account, and there's nothing worth watching...' - THINK AGAIN!

Ian got himself a month's free trial on Netflix, and hasn't been impressed. However, I have been, after downloading the app for my iPad and watching stuff in bed and whilst waiting for stuff out and about.

You've probably seen your friends on facebook who have a Netflix account, as Netflix have an annoying habit of publishing anything you watch on your wall, unless you specifically tell it not to. Ian's main complaint is that there aren't many new films, and my major issue before browsing thoroughly was that everything seemed to be about marijuana.

It took me a while to work out that this is because it shows you what is popular on facebook to start with, but as Netflix gets to know you it starts suggesting stuff you'll actually want to watch. Plus, if you have a good look instead of just seeing the films sorted by popularity, it's worth the extra time.

They've recently added all the series of classic British comedies, such as Red Dwarf, Fawlty Towers, and A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, as well as Pulp Fiction, Fargo, The Sixth Sense and other films which are obviously brilliant, and you just want to watch again.

HOWEVER, there are also some absolute CORKERS you might just be ignoring, because you don't know what it is, think it looks rubbish, or is just really old. Here's my pick of what's currently looking good on there, and what you should probably avoid.


King of Kong

Really fascinating documentary about two men locked in a btter conflict over who can get the highest score on Donkey Kong. Yes, it sounds rubbish, but it's gripping.

Man on Wire

Another documentary, this one about a man who walked on a tightrope between the Twin Towers in New York.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

George Clooney directs Sam Rockwell in 'apparently based on truth' biopic of the game show host who killed people under instruction from the CIA. It's got some beautifully filming in it, and Drew Barrymore being good.

There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano hamming it up tremendously in this film about oil. That's all I can remember about it, but it was amazing, and I want to watch it again now it's on here.

The Princess Bride

Classic 1980s comedy which everyone, everywhere, should watch.

So I Married an Axe Murderer 

As above, but if you like Mike Myers and/or the 1990s.

Inside I'm Dancing

James McAvoy as a youngster, playing a quadriplegic man. I don't remember what happens, but he was brilliant, and I cried.

United States of Leland

Ryan Gosling is in it - do I need to say anything else?


One of the best films ever made - fact. That bloke who directed Iron Man, being very sweet, and ultimately swing dancing with Heather Graham.

The Castle

Surprisingly heart warming Australian film about a man trying to save the land his house is built on from being turned into an airport.

Planet Terror

Stupidly brilliant Robert Rodriguez directed Grindhouse film, where Rose *thingy* has a shotgun for a leg.

Mystery Men

Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria and William H Macy lead a gang of rubbish superheroes against Geoffrey Rush. Eddie Izzard and Greg Kinnear make appearrances. I like this film so much I've had 3 copies as I keep giving it to people to convince them to watch it.

Grosse Point Blank / High Fidelity

The only two good John Cusack films you'll ever find. Ian says Grosse.. is the most underrated film of all time, but I just like it because Dan Aykroyd is in it.

Belleville Rendezvous (The Triplets of Belleville) 

French animation about a cyclist who gets kidnapped, a fat dog, and a set of singing triplets. It's awesome, I wish I could remember more about it.

City of God

Same with this - Brazillian slum children get involved in gang related activities. It's beautifully filmed though.


Enjoyable action romp with Sean Bean and Christian Bale, where everyone lives without emotions. There's no better gun fight that the end of this IMHO.


Johnny Depp romantic comedy, which is actually pretty good, no doubt because Alfred Molina ends up covered in chocolate.


Nighty Nighty - season 1

Really weird comedy with Julia Davis and Kevin Eldon. It's very dark, but Angus Deayton is pretty good.

Derren Brown: Trick of the Mind - seasons 1 and 2

I was surprised when we told people we were seeing him live that some people didn't know who he was. This is where he started, and there's still astonishing feats on this show, including Simon Pegg getting excited about a BMX.

Dexter - seasons 1 and 2

If you haven't seen this, then you really should. It's the best thing on television now, and possibly ever. Seriously.

Breaking Bad - season 1 and 2

Very enjoyable series abouta chemistry teacher who has cancer and starts cooking crystal meth. Again, very dark, but really funny.

The Office (US) - seasons 1-5

Some people haven't watched the US office because they think it's just the English one refilmed. It isn't. There are loads more characters, storylines, and episodes. It's funny, touching and very quotable.

Todd Margarett

An interesting little series about an American who has increasingly bad luck week after week. Also had the tall one from Inbetweeners in it.

Saxondale - season 1 and 2

Again, some people avoided this because they thought Steve Coogan had lost it after Tony Ferrino. This is a return to form, with Ruth Jones (again).

Things to avoid like the plague

Midnight Meat Train

Vinnie Jones kills people on a subway train. Really stupid for 90 minutes, last ten minutes absurd.

Scary Movie 2-4

First Scary Movie isn't bad - the sequels are atrocious.


The Quentin Tarantino grindhouse film, the lesser of the two.

Nude Nuns with Big Guns / Hobo with a Shotgun

Ian started watching both of these, and stopped after ten minutes, so I'm assuming they're pants.

Lost in Translation / Broken Flowers

Two Bill Murray films where he slouches around looking miserable, and nothing happens.


Follow-up to Swingers. It's awful

Nighty Night season 2

Ruth Jones more prominent, but it's not her fault this series isn't a patch on the first.

Things I'd like to point out

15 films with a gay character in them does not constitute a Gay/Lesbian section on your website. Especially when it includes The Hours and yet doesn't include Queer as Folk.

NB This is absolutely NOT an advertising feature, as I'm not being paid to write it. This is purely because I keep telling everyone about the free trial with Netflix, and how it's better than you might think it is. I'm also writing it purely on memory, as I think it's a more honest opinion, so these reviews might be sparse on actual facts.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Three years ago today...

I'm writing this, as it's probably the most important day in my life. It's three years since things finally started going right.

Three years ago yesterday was also the day I thought would be my last. I'd had enough, and wrote this after seeing my CPN

"Obviously the NHS thinks I've had the same professional for long enough now. Kimberley is leaving next week, so I met her replacement today. I was told she was the replacement after ten minutes of wondering who she was, and then they left five minutes later. She asked if I was OK with this - what would have happened if I'd said no? As it was, I'm actually relieved. Apart from the paranoia that she doesn't like me and that's why she doesn't want to work with me any more, I'm actually happy about it.

Are CPNs trained to never say 'well done'? Or for that matter, actually do anything? Bearing in mind she's been my CPN for 4 weeks now, these are the answers I got to the things I told her (as well as I can remember)

1. I've been thinking about my long term future for the first time in months, and I think I might want to be an art therapist - "ok"

2. If I want to be an art therapist, I might need help with funding, is that possible? - "I'm not sure, it's something you'll need to look into"

3. remember last time you were here 2 weeks ago we talked about me having art therapy? well, I'd still like to have art therapy - "oh yes, I haven't looked into that yet"

4. The GP and I are still wondering why I can't have CBT any more - "I haven't had any luck getting through to them yet"

5. My meds have been doubled, and I've been given prolonged release instead of the normal sort. the psychiatrist mentioned this. Can I still take them? - "you need to ask the pharmacist"

6. My GP and I discussed self help books seeing as I'm waiting so long for the next CBT appointment, so I've bought one but I haven't done anything with it yet cause I've been so tired - "ok"

She also let slip that the new referral for CBT HASN'T BEEN SENT YET - I know this, and am not being paranoid because she said that there were other options for the referral as well as CBT (so obviously it isn't sent yet) and mentioned another sort of therapy called DBT. I asked what this was, and she told me I should Google it.

I told her what I'd been doing for the last 2 weeks, and what I have planned for the next month, and she turned to the new CPN and said 'And this is the girl who says she has nothing to do!' in a comical fashion. NO - YOU HAVE ME CONFUSED - I AM THE GIRL WHO HAS TO LEARN HOW TO PACE HERSELF AS SHE CAN'T RELAX AND CAN ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING TO DO.

What a pointless waste of everyone's time. At least I'm not crying. it's got to be a good sign surely?"

That night, I did cry. And cry. And cry some more. I got so upset, my friend Claudia invited me to her workplace for lunch the next day. Afterwards I wrote this

"I finally visited Claudia at work, and for some reason I hadn't really cottoned on where she worked. I knew it was a library of some kind, at a college of some kind

She works at the Batley School of Art and Design

I walked in, and it's where I belong. I've never felt so at home anywhere new in years

People smile at you and don't comment on your crap stripy socks
AND Claudia is there being friendly and asking if I've found anything good, and telling me about the kaiser Chiefs gig she went to last night
And there's a totally reasonable coffee shop
The surroundings and building are beautiful
and people sit in rooms PAINTING and listening to music
most importantly
and you can take them home with you if you have a magic card

I want to study there SO BADLY

Claudia rang the head of the foundation course, and it sounds like they'd be happy to have me if they like my portfolio

Sorry? What? What I have at the minute are about 30 box canvases, all in plastic sleeves with prices on them for a craft fair, and about 30 small canvas boards mounted and in plastic sleeves as well. I've emailed him asking what a portfolio is, which might not do my application any good, but which at least is honest.

He replied and told me not to worry, and just take whatever i could with me to the open day on 17th march :D i think i'll probably do it part time, which is 4 years, i'm not sure it's the same as that one year foundation thing, and me being mature will probably give me some leeway - he knows i know claudia as well, so you never know a bit of nepotism might help (Claudia told him how enthusiastic I am and how much she likes me paintings)"

Things can change so quickly - never give up, never lose hope.