5 Things I Want From The Force Awakens

Since the very first teaser trailer, even since the rumours themselves started circulating, I’ve been waiting in anticipation for Episode VII. Why not? Star Wars is one of my favourite movie series of all time, from when I was a young up till now where age has only made me love the films more.

With the premiere of the latest entry taking place last night, social media was greeted with a surprisingly positive reception from those who attended.


All of this has definitely calmed my nerves down a bit though bare in mind we heard the exact same reception from critics about another film: The Phantom Menace. With the general public still having to wait till Thursday to see The Force Awakens, I’ve decided to list what I want from the most anticipated film of the decade. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below. Anyway, let’s get started.

1. Less Choreograph Heavy Duels

First things first: yes, the prequels looked cool, slick and every positive adjective in the dictionary. The problem with them though was that despite how extravagant and visually glorious they looked, they left me quite unsatisfied: they looked great but where was the emotional aftermath?

There was the death of Ben Kenobi in A New Hope that despite not being much of a fight had an impact on the audience and the characters. Yes, you could argue that Revenge Of The Sith’s finale between Anakin and Obi Wan was great but it’s hard to find yourself being invested in a 10 minute + fight when you care very little for either character in contrast to Darth Vader and Luke.

I’m not saying I don’t want any exciting fights, not at all. Maybe it’s more of a personal thing but when I was a child, having pretend duels was the most fun ever which was mostly down to the fact that it was so much like the originals. Maybe complaining about fights in a film set in space with alien races is a bit ridiculous but instead of incredibly looking fights, let’s have some more emotion heavy confrontation. What we’ve seen between Kylo Ren and Finn in the trailer looks promising so here’s hoping it’s an improvement.

TLDR: Less choreography in battles, more focus on the emotions the combatants actions represent like Return Of The Jedi with Vader and Luke.

2. Strong, Clear Lead


If you’ve ever watched the Red Letter Media reviews of the Star Wars prequels then you’ll know that the major criticism they have is to do with the series having an unclear protagonist. While many say it’s Anakin, if he were the protagonist he’d have the proper development and whilst Obi Wan is in for a shout, he never feels like he’s at the focus for a lot of the films as well as being a sub par written character, only saved by the great acting of Ewan McGregor.

Unsurprisingly I wasn’t at the premiere last night so I’m just as oblivious as you reading this but with this new set of characters coming along, I think what this new trilogy (or expanded universe) needs is a clear cut protagonist: Rey.

Yes, John Boyega is the one who is holding the lightsaber on the poster but the way I see it, or rather predicting it, is that Finn will be more of a Han Solo type of character: someone with a dodgy past where he’ll spend his time trying to redeem himself and become a better person by the end of his journey. Rey on the other hand is our Luke as far as I’m concerned and it’s great to see that director J.J Abrams called Daisley Ridly out on her “wooden acting” as soon as possible so that we don’t get a repeat of Hayden Christensen. Time will only tell how this will play out.

TLDR: Rey should be the clear cut protagonist like Luke from the originals.

3. Leave Interactions With Old Characters To Minimum

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the characters from the original trilogy (aside from the ewoks). I cannot wait to lose my shit whenever I see Han and Leia on screen after decades have passed since the events of Return Of The Jedi. I cannot wait to see Han also being the bad-ass rogue with faithful furry friend Chewie by his side. And when Luke shows up (which I’m expecting the final shot of the movie to be), the whole cinema will scream with excitement.

I don’t want too much of a good thing though and it’s a new trilogy after all: I want to grow as attached to Poe, Rey, Finn as I did with all the other characters from the original trilogy. If this new batch of films is going to redeem the series then it needs to keep its focus on the present and keep the glimpses to the past at a minimum.

TLDR: More focus on new characters, not ones from original trilogy. 

4. Don’t Underutilise The First Order

If you read my friend Sean’s recent blog post about why you should be excited about Episode VII (which you can read here), you’ll see how he pointed out the importance of the Dark Side in the previous films. After all, your movie’s characters are only as good as your villain and not many films can claim to have an amazing set of both.

This time around we’ve got The First Order which can be described simply as a Darth Vader Fan Club(!) In all seriousness, this new threat to the galaxy seems just as threatening as the Palpetine lead force from A New Hope up till the inevitable collapse in Return of The Jedi. This is what brings me to my next point: solidify this threat.

We had Vader, Boba Fett, Palpetine and more last time around and from what I know, we’ve got a great array of characters who are in control and taking part in this Galactic Empire 2.0: Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). If J.J Abrams can provide some great new heroes then surely he can do the same with our villains.

TLDR: Give us villains as threatening as the Empire and as developed as our heroes. 

5. A Fresh New Look At A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Let’s be honest: as much as we all say that certain characters are our favourite thing in the Star Wars universe, we all know that it’s the universe itself that’s the greatest thing about the franchise.

From the icy, beautifully snow covered planet of Hoth where we witness a heavy defeat of the Rebel Alliance to the planet of Endor, dense with wildlife and luscious trees everywhere, the planets are pretty much characters themselves. We love them and it’s not just them that make the universe so incredible as on top of that, we’ve got the hundreds upon hundreds of different races that make the galaxy so very varied.

We already know we’ll be seeing Jakku, a planet that is yet to make an appearance in any other film so far as well as locations like Maz Kanata’s Castle which is what Mos Eisley Cantina is to A New Hope. I’m already excited as can be about The Force Awakens and for good reason too, I can only hope that all these hopes I have are fully realised when The Force Awakens hits screens this Thursday.

Big love, Liam x

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A Brief History Of Biffy

 By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr

I love you guys so much – thank you for the bday wishes. Day off today and then back to making the ALBUM OF THE FUCKING DECADE!!xx” With this one tweet in August, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro sent social media wild. Speculations were thrown about like there was no tomorrow and the inevitable Instagram posts by band members Simon Neil (Vocals, Guitar), James Johnston (Bass) and twin brother Ben Johnston (drums) made sure that the rumours didn’t die out. What follows is a concise collection of the history of the band that help rejuvenate British Rock and put the small town of Kilmarnock on the map as a musical haven.

Big Biff Beginnings

It all started in 1995 when Neil, a guitarist from Ayr, formed a band with Ben and his brother James, writing and performing for 2 years under the name Skrewfish before the name Biffy Clyro came about. Neil stated that the origin of the name comes from discussing a line of Cliff Richard themed pens while in town. “”We’d call them Cliffy Biros. Somehow that turned into Biffy Clyro. Bizarrely, we weren’t high at the time. There’s just not a lot to do in Ayr. The weather is terrible.”

In 2001 Biffy played the unsigned band stage at T In The Park which resulted in them signing up to Beggars Banquet where they released their first album called Blackened Sky in 2002. Critics praised the album for its dark style and Nirvana influenced tracks,a band which Neil points out as being the band that made him want to be a musician. ““I guess for most people it’s the bands you listened to as a teenager than turn you on to making music, so Nirvana without a doubt. Kurt Cobain taught me as a 12-year-old that you didn’t have to be a great guitarist to write a song or to say something, so as a songwriter he’s my biggest influence”

Magic Midway

After Blackened Sky came a further two albums in the space of two years: Vertigo Of Bliss and Infinity Land. The former, released in 2003, was recorded in Milton Keynes and has been claimed by many as the band’s best album to date. Crackling with creativity, VOB was universally applauded and helped the band get a support slot for American rock giants Weezer.

The 2004 released Infinity Land was also well received, resulting in some of the band’s best known tracks like Glitter and Trauma as well as a return to the darker style with the title of the album referencing to a serial killer. In numerous interviews, Neil stated that “It was in a Jeffrey Dahmer book, he talks about his ideal place, which is called Infinity Land – his idea of heaven – which is really grim, being surrounded by corpses and shit.”

2005 was a quiet year for the band with only a single released on valentines day to feed the spoilt fan’s appetites. Neil pursued a side project named Marmaduke Duke and that seemed to be it for the band at the time.

Then came 2007.

Renaissance of Rock

“The last thing we want to do is make something that anyone would expect us to make. We don’t want to go for the safe bet, it’s boring.” said Neil in a Soho Hotel in 2007, promoting the band’s long (well for fan’s anyway) awaited return with their fourth release Puzzle. Regarded by both Rock Sound and Kerrang as the best album of 2007, undoubtedly proving that Biffy were back with a bang and a more arena orientated sound. This new sound indicated that the band had an appetite that smaller venues would not be able to handle unless they kept an entire week free for them.

It wasn’t just critics and fans that were pleased with what they were hearing as other bands, including Foo Fighters, Muse, The Who and Red Hot Chili Peppers called on the band to support them on their tours between the albums release and 2009. This fitted in nicely with follow up album Only Revolutions in November of that year and although its pop orientated sound would influence their latest album Opposites in 2013, the album became the unofficial black sheep of the band’s discography but still managed to reach platinum in the UK and was nominated for a Mercury prize award.

What now?

And that’s the band’s history up to now. Having headlined T In The Park, Reading And Leeds and countless other festivals, it seems like there wasn’t much else the band could possibly do. Biffy themselves didn’t think so. “We’ve made double albums, we’ve played all over the world. Despite all that, we’re still buzzing to show you what we have to offer in 2016.” And they did: with a bunch of festival performances and a solid LP in the form of Ellipsis, Biffy are very much back and arguably better than ever. With a headline slot at TRNSMT this week, the band are set to get things into top gear once again.








Straight Outta Drongan: An Echo Valley Interview

Ayrshire band Echo Valley tell all from Limmy jokes to the challenges of musical image

It’s a Thursday night and as most people are heading home from uni and college to get ready for student nights out, I’m sitting at a bar table with Liam and Shaun McCluskey. The bar, to be specific, is none other than Glasgow’s very own Firewater which couldn’t be more fitting seeing as the brothers are two thirds of Echo Valley, a punk rock band from Ayrshire that have went through a bit of a hectic year. Not only did they play in France and go one member down after they parted ways with their drummer but 2015 saw the band get rid of their old sound after years of touring and EPs. Liam got his point across simply, saying “people would always go aw they are like Arctic Monkeys and even though it is a nice comparison, we don’t want to fucking sound like Arctic Monkeys”.

The Echo Valley boys can also add a career changing gig to their list of 2015 accomplishments when they supported Peace at King Tuts earlier this year. Both Liam and Shaun couldn’t have been more happy with how the gig went and when we discuss dream acts they’d want to discuss, the name Peace pops it head amongst Pixies and FIDLAR. “With a band like them, they’re fresh and current and most importantly a great bunch of guys”.

“Too many bands that try and follow a check-list like aw let’s go get photos taken in a field with grass up to our baws and we’ll look dead deep and cool.”

It became more and more clear to me as we talked about the band’s career that they don’t just stand out on sound alone. “We are just boys from Drongan who managed to get lucky, we just take things as they come” Shaun said before pausing as the Stone Roses came on and immediately singing along which brought to mind something he said earlier about how to stand out in an over saturated genre: just be yourself. Whether him and Liam were referring to Limmy sketches, swearing about Radio 2 (“We don’t give a fuck about them, BBC are Tories anyway”) or fanboying about Foo Fighters, it was clear that they weren’t censoring themselves to be more appealing, something that isn’t often seen nowadays as Liam points out. “There are too many bands that try and follow a check-list like aw let’s go get photos taken in a field with grass up to our baws and we’ll look dead deep and cool”, something that’s even more hilarious when you realise Echo Valley’s first photo-shoot as a 3-piece band was in a passport booth in Sainsbury’s.

Not only do they know their music, they’re even more opinionated on how it’s distributed. “Once the new EP comes out (TBA) we are going to put it on Spotify but the statistics are everywhere showing how little money artists generate from being played. Soundcloud is the only one we use and we do not receive any payment from that.” I’m also told that there’s currently a case going through the courts just now addressing how Soundcloud makes money through advertisements and gives none to their artists, adding fire to the polarising topic of music streaming.

“Fuck the BBC, they’re Tories anyway.”

While Liam and Shaun both remain relatively positive when discussing this, mentioning how as promoters it makes it even more easy to share music, as soon as the topic of touting comes along the two can’t wait to get their say about it. Their three minute, non stop ramble about it addresses the rarely mentioned fact that most second hand ticket sites are owned by companies like Ticketmaster who save tickets for themselves to sell them on for a profit as well as highlighting the way U2 manage to tackle this issue. In a room full of intoxicated folk downing 89p vodkas, the band’s in-depth knowledge and awareness of how the industry works in regards to touting, contracts and streaming creates the perfect contrast.


It can be difficult to tell when an artist is in it for the money or the art. At the end of this 40 minute talk with the Echo Valley boys, it’s as clear as day that music is more important to them than anything.”I don’t do what I do to get airplay for a few minutes and cry about it when I don’t” Liam says, unsubtly digging into Sandi Thom. “I do it cause I love making and playing music.” We all yapped away for ages about our favourite albums of 2015 (Fatherson and Kendrick getting a shout out), listing off countless names as if it was a dissertation.

As I head off, I remember what Shaun mentioned: Be yourself unless you’re a dick. Whilst it’s hard for me to put down into words what Echo Valley are, they’re them. And come the 8th of January at King Tuts, they’ll be unstoppable.

Cheers to Shaun and Liam for letting me interview them and thanks to you for reading all the way to the end. You can find the link to Echo Valley’s Facebook here.

Big love, Liam x

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Frank Turner @ Barrowlands Review – 13/11/2015

Barrowlands. Undoubtedly the greatest venue in Scotland, arguably the world,it’s hosted so many acts, ranging from The 12208573_917427804959246_3166259365936926584_nSmiths to the Foo Fighters, that just adjacent to the venue is a pathway listing all the bands who have came to Glasgow to play here. It’s a career defining venue with many home grown acts like Biffy Clyro playing some of the most intimate gigs of their lives there last December and their mark can still be felt there, in no small part to the stairs that proudly wear the band’s lyrics.

That alone would make most acts feel nervous about not being able to put on a show comparable to what the venue is used to. It’s not enough to have some good tunes or have a big fanbase. You have to make the stage your own, show why you deserve to be on the same platform that so many legendary artists have been on before you.

Welcome to the stage, Mr Frank Turner, hailing from Hampshire with more than a decade’s worth of musical experience under his belt. He’s managed to be part of a fairly successful band, London post-hardcore band Million Dead, and well after their break up, he’s still going from arena to arena all over the world with a solo career that most folk would do anything to have.

In fact, Turner himself told a story about a flag that’s been passed around every venue he’s been on tour at. It’s no reproduced item either, instead it’s passed on by fans who unite with one another over the music, something that the 33 year old has always voiced out with his first of two gig rules: be nice to one another.

A very poorly taken picture (by me) when Turner stood on the barrier, less than a foot away.

The second rule? “If you know the words then fucking sing along” Turner shouted before belting out fan favourite track Peggy Sang The Blues which resulted in a crowd sing-along, one of many last night with people both young and old getting lost in the music. This was no doubt the reason that the smile on Turner’s face never faded for the whole night, a man who repeatedly says how he wants a little more love and a little less hate.

That’s exactly the sentiment that could be felt in the Barrowlands last night. Even when the crowd were frantically moving about to Get Better and many were getting smooshed by the thousands in the Ballroom that night, something that can be expected at any gig. However, people were helping one another out who were getting crushed, passing water with no hesitation, behaviour that sounds normal but, in my experience anyway, isn’t seen nearly as often as it should be.

Turner put on the show of a lifetime, showcasing tracks off his new album Positive Songs For Negative People as well as golden oldies. Many acts will tell you that they love Glasgow but Turner managed to get this across without explicitly saying it. The stories he told were entertaining and insightful, the chemistry he had for his backing band The Sleeping Souls and, most importantly, the appreciation he had for every single fan that has supported him over his career. Everyone there left drenched in sweat and aching from the 30 song long setlist but they came out knowing they’ve witnessed an artist who is in a league of his own.

Big Love, Liam x

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Halloween 2015: The Best Creepypastas! 

Halloween is fast approaching. Time to drench yourself in blood (hopefully fake) and get your spook on. Just like a male MP thinking about tampons, this time of the year is full of horror, whether it be watching Nightmare On Elm Street for the 50th time or drinking so much that your liver is no longer amongst the living.

All jokes aside, and in a non social justice warrior way, it’s 2015: movies are no longer the main source of scares. The horror genre has been filled with jump scare filled flicks that rely too much on shaky cam, meaning you’ll be running to the bathroom due to motion sickness before you let out a scream. Nope, the greatest scares can be found right here. No, not on my blog, although you might find my posts scarily bad, they can be found on the internet.

Creepypastas have boomed in popularity, no doubt due to the appeal of telling your favourite camp-site horror stories around the world’s biggest camp-fire. Whether or not any of them are true, the paranoia that takes place makes it too hard not to read  There’s terrible ones and there’s good ones but here at BLINKCLYRO, we’ve chosen the best there is so readers beware, you’re in for a scare (don’t sue me R.L. Stine).


Whereas most lists will gradually work their way up to the best, I’m gonna come out here and say it: 1999 is my favourite creepypasta. There’s so many things that just put it up on its unreachable pedestal, whether it be the simple blog style that the story is told via or how the dark subject matter slowly drips out rather than how most stories on the internet go from 0-100.

It’s definitely one of the biggest creepypastas, in fact it could be considered a short story in its own right, but it totally justifies every single word. 1999 follows Elliot, a young adult who is trying to find out about a TV channel he used to watch when he was younger called Caledon Local 21. What starts out as an innocent enough station, albeit badly produced, becomes more sinister with every update. I won’t go into any more detail since spoiling this story would be a crime, just bare in mind that the name Mr Bear will etch itself into the back of your mind.

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If you like this, try: Candle Coveanother story about petrifying television with a plot twist you’ll not see coming.

Squidward’s Suicide

Right this is a bit of a safe choice but seeing as it’s the first creepypasta I’ve ever read, I’m allowed to wear my rose tinted glasses for this. Squidward’s Suicide is undoubtedly the most famous Lost Episode creepypasta, stories that can only be classed as “childhood ruiners”. Unlike cartoon theories, which have to rely heavily on evidence shown by the show to try and make any disturbing revelation, lost episode creepypastas are free to do as they want. Although there are a lot of terrible ones, the truly great ones stick with you.

I don’t know if it’s possible to spoil a story that has its conclusion in the title but what makes me admire this creepypasta the most is even though it tells you what’s going to happen before you even glance at the intro, it manages to shock you. It features some graphic descriptions that even the mere mention of them made my skin crawl all over. It may have inspired a lot of copycats who use the term “hyper realistic blood” like it’s going out of style but nothing will ever have the same effect as me as the vivid account of screams and crying.

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If you like this, try; Suicidemouse.avi, the grandfather of the Lost Episode genre which is arguably just as disturbing as its successors.

The Devil Game


Oaft. Ritual creepypastas are a common sight on the internet, acting like a guide you’d see on a baking site but instead of lovely cakes or biscuits, you’re creating something that’s capable of killing someone. So basically you’ll become the worst Great British Bake Off contestant of all time. The Devil Game does exactly what you’d expect it to and explains how to summon Satan himself. This is no doubt one of my favourite creepypastas due to the extreme detail the narrator goes into about the repercussions as well as the tiniest little bits of info for the guide. There’s one thing that makes this as amazing as it is.

The aforementioned thing I love so much about this one in particular is that as soon as you’re finished it, you want to read it all over again. No, not to follow the steps it details. Have you ever seen Fight Club that famous David Fincher movie with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt? Then you get one of cinemas greatest revelations half way through? If the answer is aye then you’ve no doubt analysed every scene before that twist, thinking how stupid you were not to notice it. That’s what The Devil game is, the creepypasta version of Fight Club. Just less explosions, more sacrificing your soul.

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If you like this, try; One Man Hide And Seek, like The Devil Game it does exactly what it says on the tin. Just, whatever you do, don’t try it out.

Abandoned by Disney

The greatest creepypastas make you think to yourself: was that real? Of course anything involving some 7 limbed creature is a bit difficult to believe but when they’re as simple and justified as Abandoned By Disney’s, you can’t help but feel a bit paranoid.

Yes, of course Disney would do something like this. They’re one of the world’s biggest companies and constantly try to capitalise on their franchises so it makes sense they’d open a resort based on Jungle Book, one of their most beloved franchises. As the story progresses, you start to feel paranoid. What could possibly be left in this desolate place? The state of the surroundings is something that makes this story stand out as to this day, I can still remember the writer describing the inside of the palace as so bare, he thinks people had stolen the molding off the walls. Absolutely immersive and the pacing, for a creepypasta, is great, building up to a pleasing conclusion, though that’s probably the wrong choice of words. Check this story out for yourself to find out.

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If you like this, try; Russian Sleep Experiment, again one of the most popular creepypastas on the web but one that’s still disturbing as all hell.

11 Miles

Last but certainly not least and fortunately for fans of The Devil Game, it’s another ritual. This time though, it’s even more terrifying which is a pretty big feat considering the whole, yeno, Devil thing.

What makes this one of the best creepypasta? To put it simply, it has a brilliant concept and an even better execution. As each mile of your journey passes and you get closer to your desire, you also get closer to a fate worse than death. The fear that strikes you gradually ramps up to such a level that you want to get out the car yourself and run away. i’d definitely suggest this as any newcomer to creepypasta’s starting off point: simple and most importantly scary.

Read | Listen

If you like this, try; The Rake, told in a timeline style that tells the tale of the eponymously named horrifying creature. Read with the lights on.

So that’s that. The most spine-chilling creepypastas to keep you scared this halloween and you know what the best part is? That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s even more stories like this on the internet, perhaps you’ve already read some and feel dissapointed like they missed out on this list. Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me at @blinkclyro for more spooky ramblings. Oh and before I forget.

Happy Halloween!

Big love, Liam x

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens final trailer review

I feel like a spoilt child at the moment, like it’s Christmas came early. Last week there was the release of the Star Wars Battlefront Beta, which you can read my thoughts about over here (unsubtle beg), which for a lot of people had them reliving the PS2 days of fighting on Hoth with their pals until the early hours of the morning. Then 2 days ago we got this amazing poster that was meant to tantalise our sci-fi tastebuds until last night.


“But what happened last night” you most likely won’t ask. This happened.

Released in the early hours of the morning for us over here in Britain, the trailer didn’t exactly make a Beyonce style entrance by coming out of nowhere. In fact, it was quite the opposite as the trailer itself had two teaser trailers to promote it, sort of like how Deadpool did it *cough* which you can read my thoughts about over here *cough* though what else do you expect from one of the highest grossing film series of all time. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, it’s become a staple of pop culture and many scenes and characters have been inscribed in our heads, fact this is.

Which is why I’ve unashamedly watched the trailer a total of five times already and no doubt I’ll watch it another fifty times before the film releases on December 18th. I, like many other people my age and older, have grown up with the series, watching them on loop whether it be on VHS or the countless repeats on ITV2.


So if you couldn’t tell already, I loved the new trailer and I’m more than aboard the hype train, something I told myself I wouldn’t do due to the sour taste the prequels left in my mouth. The fact that the movie isn’t out for another two months is probably the only problem I have with it (that and the absence of Luke), even then I doubt I’ll get to see it as soon as it is out anyway with how fast tickets sold out for its first day of release.

Letting J.J Abrams take the helm of the project was probably the best decision Disney have made since greenlighting a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel as the Star Wars universe has never looked so damn good. Even the shortest scenes like the brief dogfight featuring the millennium falcon had me amazed as well as engrossed, something that the prequels failed to do. With his success rebooting Star Trek as well his work on Mission Impossible and Lost, I’m more confident than ever that he’ll be able to balance the story and set pieces that made the original trilogy such a classic.


One of the main problems with the prequels was how terrible the characters were, not wanting to name names but a certain Jamaican talking, rabbit looking thing lives in infamy as being one of the worst things since bubonic plague. Right maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement but with an unclear protagonist in The Phantom Menace, forced vomit inducing romance in The Clone Wars and a moody emo Anakin for Revenge Of The Sith, it was very difficult to like any of the characters.

With the glimpse we’ve had of The Force Awakens, we’ve got a set of new faces as well as old. We have Finn (John Boyega) who plays a Stormtrooper that, from what I know, witnesses something that results in him leaving The First Order, leaving him alone and confused which is something that viewers can relate to as they return to a universe that has changed since we last saw it 30 years ago. Speaking of First Order, there’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who leads this new empire in order to, as he tells the decimated helmet of Darth Vader, “finish what you started”. (Bonus points to you if you spotted the symbolism!)


Last but not least, we have Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger who a lot of fans suspect has some link to Kylo Ren. Despite this, it seems like she’ll be a welcome change to the tired damsel in distress trope that both men and women are growing sick of. With Han Solo himself showing up alongside Chewie and Leia, the trailer was not only a welcome introduction to what we can expect from this new trilogy, it was a trailer made for the fans.

Will Episode VII be any good? Who knows. We all got ourselves way too excited about The Phantom Menace and look what happened there. However, from what we know and from what we’ve seen, things are looking far more positive. If the final film can evoke the same emotions the same way the trailer made me feel when Finn and Kylo Ren drew their lightsabers to fight, then The Force Awakens will be a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise.

So what are your thoughts about the Star Wars trailer? Excited? Dissapointed? What’s your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below since I’d love to see what you thought of it. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.

Brooker amused at Cameron coincidence

Writer Charlie Brooker has pointed out a coincidence between pig allegations against David Cameron and the first episode of his black comedy show Black Mirror.

Newswipe creator and host Charlie Brooker has pointed out coincidences between his show Black Mirror and allegations against David Cameron.

The allegations, that come from Lord Ashcroft’s new book about the Prime Minister, state that Cameron put a part of his anatomy in a pig. The book also states that Cameron smoked weed with friends while listening to rock bands.

The news was announced on Sunday Night (21 September) and resulted in #Piggate trending. Brooker was quick to point out the similarities between this and his show Black Mirror.


The first episode National Anthem revolved around the Prime Minister having sex with a pig in order to save a kidnapped princess. Black Mirrored debuted in 2011, less than 4 years before news of Lord Ashcroft’s claims broke out.

Brooker assured twitter that he had no knowledge of these allegations, stating “I’ve never heard anything about Cameron and a pig when coming up with that story. So this weirds me out”.

Brooker isn’t the only celebrity to acknowledge #Piggate. Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has called for David Cameron to resign if the allegations against him are true.

In a statement posted on True To You, a Morrissey fan site, he said “where have we seen other people in power misusing and sexually abusing corpses? A prime minister is supposed to protect the most vulnerable.” Posted on Tuesday (23rd of September), the statement was apparently sent on behalf of animal rights group Peta.

The Iain Duncan Smiths, a tribute band to The Smiths, have released a new song to capitalise on the news. The song titled “Pig’s Mouth Strikes again” is a cover of Bigmouth Strikes Again, released as a single by the band in 1986.

Liam Menzies


Twenty Years Of Playstation: My Memories

1995. If you were living in the UK then it was full of dark and tragic events, from notorious serial killer Fred West hanging himself in his cell to the deaths of Peter Cook and Fred Perry, two individuals whose impact is still felt to this day. However it wasn’t all bad as the year also saw the introduction of something that would have a huge impact on not only the UK but the entire world.

No, I’m not talking about the glorious birth of me (those anticipating that event had to wait another year for that) . Those who paid attention to the title will know that I’m of course talking about the Playstation which is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. Anyone who has ever played a video game, or even those who haven’t, know what a Playstation is. It’s had such an effect on pop culture and our everyday lives that your gran or mum will no doubt refer to any console you play as a “Playstation”, just like the Gameboy did all those years before it. So I thought what better than to share my fond memories with the console, all the way from the PS1 up to the PS4 and even asked the kind folk on Facebook and Twitter to let me know theirs. Without further ado, here they are.

Crave for Crash

Whenever you see someone my age get reminiscent of their childhood, they’ll tend to focus on all the cartoons they watched or toys like Tamagotchis and no, this isn’t some “special snowflake” sentence before you jump to that conclusion. Chances are if you’re reading this you’re one of the 102 million people who bought or received a PS1 and what’s just as likely is that you’ll have played Crash Bandicoot.


There’s really no way I can put how great this franchise was back in the days and all the memories that go along with it. Whether it be the “BOOGA BOOGA” when you first got 3 Aku Aku masks and the catchy jungle drum beat that you couldn’t get out of your head long after you finished the level, riding that hog and panicking as you avoid everything in sight or running away from boulders, the first game was something that made it so memorable. Although it was one of the first games I played whenever I got my console, it was hardly easy as the save system made it extremely difficult to 100% it but I’ll never forget the satisfaction I experienced when I finally beat Dr Cortex and watched him fly off into the sea below (um yeah, spoiler alert).


And that’s only the first game in the series. There was Cortex strikes back, Warped, Crash Team Racing and even a Mario Party inspired spin off called Bash. Even if the games on PS2 were slightly less polished thanks to Naughty Dog wanting to move onto other projects (more on that later), Crash Bandicoot will always be the unofficial Sony mascot to me. Although we’ve not had a proper Crash game in 7 years, there’s always a bunch of wumpa fruit and crystals to collect while we wait patiently for a return to form from our favourite Australian marsupial.

An RPG to the feels

Well before Disney were the colossal force they are now with Marvel and Star Wars under their belts, the company were…well still a colossal but that’s besides the point. Disney have always contributed to gaming in some sort of way and some of the greatest games on the SNES were Disney IPs (although they were made by Capcom but just go with it) so it made sense that they would try their hand at making a new franchise with another capable games developer Square Enix, the company best known for the Final Fantasy series.


What we got sounded like the most absurd concept ever at the time: an RPG with children protagonists donning bigger hairstyles than Jedward exploring Disney worlds full of characters from the movies. Oh, don’t forget cameos from Final Fantasy characters. It brings to mind the whole “too many cooks spoil the broth” saying but what we got was a wonderfully executed game, full of great game play and dripping with nostalgic goodness.

Since the first entry in the series also being the first RPG I ever played, I was unaware of how easy it was to sink hours and hours into the game and story, getting emotionally invested in the characters and, dare I say it, caring for them.With the ending resulting in me being close to tears (I wouldn’t cry at a game until Telltale’s The Walking Dead left me crying like a baby), Sora and co. will always hold a special place in my gaming heart and with Kingdom Hearts 3 in development for the PS4, my tear ducts should enjoy all the rest they can get.

Sports! (But without the sweating)In news that will surprise no one, I’m not very sporty. In fact, “not very” is an overstatement. If walking up 7 floors at college counts as a sport then consider me a pro athlete but other than that, I’m a stereotypical self loathing teen who would rather spend most of their time in their bed than on their feet.

Thanks to the PlayStation though, I did discover an interest in many types of sports. Actually it’s more of a challenge to find a sport that didn’t have a game adaptation, Razor Freestyle Scooter being a true testament to that. Pro Evolution Soccer always has and always will be the best football game for me, whether you blame it on me looking through rose tinted glasses doesn’t matter. Any interest in football I’ve had has all but disappeared though my love for PES hasn’t as to this day I can still boot up PES 5, my personal favourite, and easily lose hours of my life trying to win the league with Merseyside Red (bonus points who know the team without a Google search).Despite Football games like FIFA selling millions of copies to this day, there’s one franchise that appeared on PS1 and PS2 that even when uttered, triggers a wave of happy times and frustration to those who played it.


I’m of course talking about the Tony Hawk games, one of the best easy to learn, hard to master games you’ll come across on any console. I’d spend hours trying to top my personal best combo, mastering manuals and special tricks until they were second nature, no doubt pushing out any ability to do maths from my brain. The highlight of this series was no doubt the soundtrack and introduced loads of young people to some awesome bands like Rage Against The Machine, The Clash and Red Hot Chili Peppers. As soon as I asked you lot about your PlayStation memories, so many replied back with the impact the Tony Hawk’s games had on their childhood.


Platforming perfection!

Ask anybody what their favourite game is on any console and no doubt it’ll be one of the following games I’m about to discuss. The one (I seem to be repeating that number a lot this article) thing that joins all these games together is the fact that, obvious or subtly, they’re all Platformers.

I’ve already talked about Crash Bandicoot so let’s talk about the next best thing depending on who was your favourite: Spyro The Dragon. Just like Crash, Spyro has went the way of the dinosaur (sorry) as the last proper game he appeared in was The Legend of Spyro: Dawn Of The Dragon which also came out 7 years ago which feels like a lifetime ago. Back in the day though Spyro gave Crash a run for his money but unlike the Mario/Sonic rivalry before them, they weren’t so much enemies, more friendly acquaintances (hell, Naughty Dog even put demos for Insomniac’s purple dragon in their games). Although Activision may have tainted his name with those gimmicky and expensive Skylander games, those who played these games will still have recurring nightmares over that pesky egg thief.

Speaking of Naughty Dog, remember how I mentioned they wanted to work on other projects? One of said projects was Jak and Daxter, one of the…weirdest trilogies to put it lightly. The series started off with a light, friendly platformer which introduced us to the mute character and his friend turned otter…weasel hybrid looking thing as they try and save the world. Nothing too far away from the norm and it definitely stands out as one of the most enjoyable games on the PS2. Then came Jak and Daxter 2 which just thought “fuck it” and changed absolutely everything. Like Jak being quiet 24/7? Hello new voice actor. Enjoy the open but still kinda linear platforming as you hunt down collectibles? Hello open world city a la Grand Theft Auto. Everything about the game was tremendously darker but I can’t blame Naughty Dog for doing so. Their audience wasn’t the same children and teens they entertained with platformers and as the gamers got more mature, they thought so should their games.


And that’s only the tipping point of the platforming iceberg. From Ratchet and Clank to Sly Cooper to Uncharted to Croc, the list is virtually endless and I’d be here all day talking about why I loved all these games. While us gamers might want more and more from our games like better graphics, deeper gameplay, richer stories, it’s always nice to return to the simplicity and fun platformers never fail to deliver. Speaking of deep gameplay…

Top Gear

Where do I begin? How do I describe something like Metal Gear Solid, a series which has lasted 4 console generations and the past 17 years? How do I put into words how amazing and emotional the story is while at the same time how hilariously absurd it can be?

The simple answer is that I can’t. All I can really do is say how it’s pretty much defined what the Playstation is, even if the games haven’t all stayed console exclusive. You want a great story? You’ll not get one much better than that from the genius Kojima who never fails to disappoint, even if there’s a slight hiccup from time to time. With characters that consistently top “best video game characters” lists due to the time players have spent with them and the care taken by the team who created them, it’s hard not to find yourself at awe at some of the events that unfold over your duration in the boots of either Solid Snake, Big Boss or *shudder* Raiden.

Gameplay wise the games are perfect. Recent entry The Phantom Pain is arguably the best game to come out this year which is made all the more impressive when we’ve had games like Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight so far and many more still to come. I’ve spent 40 hours in the massive open world of Afghanistan and I’ve only completed 15% of it with my Mother Base not even half way to perfection. In those 40 hours I’ve invaded enemy bases and fultoned (i.e stick a baloon on them and watch them scream as they fly off) them back home to work as my staff while I remained incognito the whole time as well as raised my very own D-Dog to fight alongside me on missions. That’s only a small portion of the things that have happened and once I’ve finished the story, there’ll definitely be a review on its way. Big Boss may have kept you waiting but I won’t

Metal Gear Solid has been a system seller to many and both young and old have bonded over the highs and heart breaking lows they’ve went through during the series. It’s practically the synonym for Playstation and whenever I see an entry topping a “best PlayStation game” list, I can’t help but nod my head and agree.

There were so many great tweets and comments from you guys that I’d be typing a dissertation trying to write bits like I have so far about them all. So here’s a run down of all your favourite moments about Sony’s world changing console.


So what did you make of my rambling about my favourite console? Love it? Hate it? Share your favourite gaming memories in the comment section below and don’t forget to share this if you enjoyed it. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.

Big love, Liam x
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Until Dawn (PS4) Review

If, like me, you were an avid reader when you were younger then you’ll probably remember R.L Stine’s horror series Goosebumps, a collection of weird and spooky tales with some scarring the minds of its fans (I’m looking at you Night Of The Living Dummy) and some just coming across as a bit absurd (It Came From Beneath The Sink anyone?).

If you are one of the millions of folk who read and enjoyed these books then you’ll likely be aware of the Choose Your Own Adventure spin off series, something that I found both entertaining and frustrating in equal measure. One wrong move would result in the death of the protagonist and if you were a bad loser like me, you’d “pretend” you didn’t mean to choose that option and turned to the previous page, even though no one was watching.

Unfortunately PlayStation exclusive title Until Dawn doesn’t allow you to do such a thing. The game follows 8 teenagers meeting up to reminisce and celebrate(?) the lives of one of the character’s sisters who both died the year before. So far, so good you’re probably thinking to yourself. Until you find out that they’re all meeting up in a secluded cabin, miles and miles away from the outside world and can only be reached by cable car which, if you’ve watched any horror movie ever, you’ll know have a bad track record of conveniently not working when you want them. Of course nothing bad at all could happen.

Before you call this off as being a highly clichéd mess of a game, it seems like the perfect time to explain that mess of a intro I gave to give myself some justification to be nostalgic. The game uses a mechanic known as the Butterfly Effect (apologies if you’re triggered by the awful Ashton Kutcher film) which, to put chaos theory short and simple, means that every decision you make will drastically change the game.

Didn’t press Triangle quickly enough while running away from a masked villain? Hope you like a face full of snow and didn’t grow too attached to any of your limbs. Arms start shaking while the game gives you a prompt not to move? Best say your final goodbyes to the character you’re playing as.

Whether or not saying goodbye to said character will be sad is down to how you like the cast. Naming and describing all the characters would both be a waste of time and unnecessary as most of the fun is finding out how they all act with one another and all their dirty little secrets. Not all of them are likeable but what can be said is that they’re all very memorable. My personal favourite was probably Mike as he brought a lot of the comedic relief and had a lot of the better scenes, playing almost like Nathan Drake from the Uncharted Series.

Unfortunately, just like the story itself, the characters are all cliches themselves. There’s the shy and geeky girl, the outspoken popular girl, the jock, you could probably guess them all long before the game boots up. However this doesn’t work against the game as it has a long enough running time to make some great character development and most of my prejudices were proven wrong. Although there was some characters I down right detested, the game gave me the chance to get rid of them if I wanted to but it was very smart about this and made a serious effort to make me like them.

This was all thanks to the scenes between you and a shrink who asks you questions in-between the chapters of the game before you’re giving a little run-down of what happened. The questions will range from “what are you most scared of?” to “what character do you hate the most?”. This approach definitely made the game feel a lot more personal and scary as I foolishly said I hated gore and a few minutes later, my character found the corpse of a pig. David Cameron would be having all his Christmases at once if he was there.

Although I said the story was clichéd, there was some very good pacing, never feeling too sluggish and constantly keeping me entertained. As well as this it kept me constantly guessing with some great plot twists as well as some in game lore that you could totally miss out on if you don’t pick up the clues and other collectibles scattered around the place.

It’s more difficult than ever to find a decent horror film that isn’t plagued by jump scares and awful story-writing. Thankfully Until Dawn has perfectly filled the horror hole in my heart that cinema has failed to do so, bringing a great story that gets a bit weaker in the second half and an amazing atmosphere that ultimately makes you more scared than any half assed jump scare. I’d definitely recommend picking this game up if you haven’t watched the countless letsplays that are all over YouTube.

So what are your thoughts on Until Dawn? Have you played it yet or are you gonna leave it? What was your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below since I’d love to see what you thought of it. Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro for some more fanboying.

Foals- What Went Down review

“Their heaviest, loudest album yet.”

Apple music’s simple description of Oxford rockers Foals’ fourth album may be short but as soon as the eponymously titled intro track What Went Down kicks off with a barrage of godzilla sized synths and riffs then you know those five words perfectly capture the sound this album dwells in.

Not that being heavy and loud is new to Foals. Just check out Inhaler off of their last album Holy Fire and see how making anthems is second nature the band, arguably something they’ve always been able to (Cassius & Red Socks Pugie off their debut album antidotes) but have only started to realise as time has went on. Dedicated fans of the band have always known this but even they were surprised when follow up track Mountain At My Gates was released just a few weeks later. Full of guitar breakdowns and cathartic noise, it was strikingly more calm than What Went Down to begin with but as the song reached it’s action packed climax, fans and newcomers alike knew the band were onto a winner.

A fourth album is usually the stage where most rock bands go one of two ways: either stick to the same formula that has served them well for most of their career or just go bat shit crazy. I won’t spoil what direction Foals have went in but do bare in mind that this is the band who bought cow and sheep bones to use for percussion after being inspired by voodoo.

There’s been development in the lyrics department thanks to frontman Yannis Philippakis’ new approach to writing them. Unlike how he would normally do it by making them intentionally mysterious, he wrote the lyrics for the tracks off What Went Down in a hypnagogic state which is where they are written on the verge of sleep to get straight to what the brain is thinking. Unlike what you might expect them to be like, a bunch of incoherent ramblings and regrets about how you screwed up that day at work, we get Philippakis singing about burying guilt and the things that we once believed “being lost to the depths of a hungry sea”.

Though they might have held back going quite so unconventionally for their sound like last time, the band know themselves what they’re best at: delivering fucking amazing guitar riffs and heavy anthems. Put on Night Swimmers and you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve found a Holy Fire b-side but as the song starts to unravel we get echoey vocals that are lucky enough not to be crushed by the destructive synths and guitars they’re paired up with. Then there’s Albatross that’s full of the afrobeat perfection that Foals have been affiliated with since their debut, standing out as one of the best tracks on the album and unintentionally serving as 5 minutes of pure nostalgia for fans of the band.

While we’re on the subject of the past, it’ll be clear to those who have paid attention to Foals that they’re not one to shy away from dark and chaotic subject matter. Hell, Holy Fire’s album cover had men on horseback, standing there in what looks like a sweltering heat: if that doesn’t scream of being a cryptic nod to an apocalypse then I don’t know what will. We get tales of lakes being set ablaze and bloody fistfights, along with one of my favourite lines off the whole album about how “love has put a gun in your hand” which may not be the most original lyric ever but in the context of how darker the album is sound wise compared to past efforts, it fits well.

That’s not to say that it’s all gloom and doom though. Birch Tree is a perfect example of how Foals haven’t forgotten the beautiful calm sound they experimented with on Total Life Forever. Starting off with a peaceful intro, the track is serenity embodied. “Come meet me by the river, see how time it flows” chimes the chorus, perfectly matching the nature of the song and follow up track Give It All keeps it consistent, featuring some beautiful lyrics of its own.

2015 has been one of the finest years of music I can remember. 2014 wasn’t awful but underwhelming in comparison to what this year has been like and What Went Down is a clear example of this. It’s hard to recall an album this year that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordials little tracks all on the one LP. There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be on a whole lot of Top 10 lists by the end of the year and who can really blame me for thinking that when Foals have proven yet again that they can’t make a bad album. Let’s hope I’ve not jinxed it.

So what are your thoughts on What Went Down? Loved it? Hated it? What was your favourite moment? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me them @blinkclyro since I’d love to see what you thought of it.