Friday, 1 December 2017

Week 17 - The Grambler watches Blue Planet 2


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

I have recently been watching Blue Planet 2. It is a programme about sealife made by the British Broadcorping Casteration and it is visually stunning. It is the kind of programme high definition TV was made for. It has wheezy nonogenarian David Attenborough providing the narration and, for a bloke of his age, he does remarkably well. It says much about the esteem shown for him that there is nobody younger able to give the programme the gravitas he provides. [Gravitas? Isn’t that a Nordic dish of raw salmon? - Ed.] I have no idea what the Beeb Beeb Ceeb will do when he finally runs out of steam. Maybe they will ‘cash in’ on his name with an Attenborough Life on Earth franchise.

One thing that I do not like about Blue Planet 2 (and its predecessors for that matter) is the ten minute ‘look how clever we are’ segment stuck on at the end. I realise that the Beeb are hoping to sell this programme to TV companies all over the world and, because they will mostly use advertising, there has to be enough time allowed for it. Although they could simply have made a 50 minute programme. Whatever, the look how clever we are bit tells you how difficult it was to get certain shots shown in the programme. Basically, it is everyone involved patting themselves on the back. Yes, very clever. Have a Bafta.

As I have said, the programme is stunning visually but, when it comes to adding the sound, someone is surely taking the p*ss. Obviously, since it is a programme about creatures that live in the sea, most of it is filmed underwater. What sound is there in the deep? Probably very little. There certainly wouldn’t be a loud swooshing sound every time a fast moving shark swims by. And I certainly don’t think that sea urchins eating kelp make the same sound as a human munching a raw carrot... though I suspect that that is the exact sound effect used. Why don’t they just have the urchins making nom nom sounds and be done with it. They could end the sequence with them all belching loudly.

One section showed a tiny seahorse swimming along. It was probably only a couple of inches in length and its swimming fins were more like frills. For some odd reason, there was added a noise to this creature swimming. This was supposed to be the sound made by these frills, which were probably no more than a quarter of an inch long, when they were oscillating (That’s a good word; must look it up.). I would have thought the sound made by these tiny frills would be... silence. Odd that some sound engineer thought they should sound like someone blowing through a drinking straw that had been flattened at one end.

It is all to do with what is known as dumbing down. That, and saving money. Saving money, I hear you ask. Indeed. Look at any older wildlife programme and there was probably background music added to enhance the various scenes. Even though the music might seem unimportant, it was always composed specifically for the section of film that it accompanied. Thus, for a part that showed a shark swimming after its prey there would be loud fast-moving music and for the parts where there was gentle motion, the music would be quiet and slow. By not having music for the filmed sequences, the Beeb is saving money... composers probably command a much bigger fee than some bloke chomping a carrot or blowing through a straw.

Dumbing down? I blame Disney. I do. Often these wildlife programmes show a group of animals and the director decides that each should be given a name; the way one would name a pet. Why? Dumbing down, that’s why. Or they will show an animal, say a shark, seeking out its prey. We see the prey. Then we see the shark looking around. Next we have a shot of the prey reacting, as if it has seen the shark. Next we see a similar reaction shot of the shark, as if it has seen its prey. Next up, the prey is shown swimming fast. Then the shark is shown swimming fast. Finally, we see the prey either hiding (phew) or being gobbled up by the shark (awww). Ludicrous I call it but it is all part of the dumbing down of these programmes. It all has to be ‘storyboarded’ like a Disney animation.

It wouldn’t have surprised me in the least to have seen this silliness go the final step. This could well have been that last sequence...

ATTENBOROUGH:     The octopus sees the shark...

OCTOPUS:                    Oh oh... I’d better get outa here.

ATTENBOROUGH:     But the shark has seen him...

SHARK:                        Where are you you little... Aha! Now
                                       I’ve got you...

ATTENBOROUGH:     The octopus manages to hide under
                                       a rock...

OCTOPUS:                    Phew! Safe at last.

ATTENBOROUGH:     But the shark can still reach him...

SHARK:                        Thought you could hide, did you? 
                                       Mwah ha ha!

OCTOPUS:                    Arrrgh! Let me go you brute!

ATTENBOROUGH:     But the octopus puts its tentacles in
                                       the shark’s gills...

OCTOPUS:                    Get out of that, sharky boy.

SHARK:                        Why you... Can’t... breathe... Must...
                                       get... away...

ATTENBOROUGH:     And the shark swims away empty handed...

Cue octopus singing some Disneyesque song with a shoal of sardines’ swimming choreographed to match. I do love a happy ending.
 
A seahorse
 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Were any famous or notorious people born on the 2nd of December? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. John Barbirolli 1899 (Cellist and conductor. Famous for conducting the Halle Orchestra.), John Cobb 1899 (Record breaker. Held land and water speed records. Died on Loch Ness trying to raise the water speed record. An unexplained wake caused his boat to lift while it was travelling at more than 200 miles per hour. Some people believed the wake to have been caused by Nessie. Aye, right.), Maria Callas 1923 (Singing verruca.), Alexander Haig 1924 (American politician.), Mike England 1941 (Welsh footy bloke.), Gianni Versace 1946 (Draper.), Rick Savage 1960 (Bit of Def Leppard. Time for a clip? WARNING: This video contains some 1992 ‘state of the art’ computer generated imagery. Don’t laugh too much.), Brendan Coyle 1963 (Mr Bates - Stop sniggering at the back - from Downton Abbey.), David Batty 1968 (Footy bloke.), Lucy Liu 1968 (Master Viper.), Nate Mendel 1968 (A fighter of Foo. A clip? Why certainly. Here’s an oldie.), Monica Seles 1973 (Tennisy bloke.), Nelly Furtado 1978 (Singer/songwriter. Another clip? Go on then. Here, she likens herself to a bird.), Chris Wolstenholme 1978 (A third of Muse. You want another clip? Have mercy... No, seriously... have Mercy.), Britney Spears 1981 (Singer and ex-Mousekateer. You want yet another clip? Oh no. Not that one. Oh all right then.), Chris Burke 1983 (Footy bloke.) and Gaston Ramirez 1990 (Another footy bloke.).
 
 
 

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I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Rumbelow,

We did enjoy seeing that video of *** Me Baby One More Time with Britney Spears. Oh yes. We have been fans of hers since we first saw that video. Oh yes. It was so well... choreographed. Oh yes. And the outfits... Oh yes. Where was I? Ah. Most people remember Oops!... I Did It Again as being her next number one, but there was another single in between which reached number one. Can you name it?

Yours affectionately,

Bjorn Toomay, Q. Happeh.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

We haven’t had any bets for a couple of weeks thanks to Beardy bloke Media giving up the ghost just at the wrong time. This week however, The Grambler has consulted his/her/its random number generator oracle and come up with five predictions. They are...

Game - Prediction - Odds

Brighton vs Liverpool - Prediction Away win - 1/2

Everton vs Huddersfield - Prediction Home win - 8/11

Leicester vs Burnley - Prediction Home win - 5/6

Stoke vs Swansea - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Watford vs Tottenham - Prediction Away win - 8/11

Oh dear. The Grambler seems to be stuck in single division mode again. All five predictions are from the English Premiershit. Ho hum. Let’s see how much we could win in the unlikely event that the results go as predicted.

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

 

£9.28

 

Hmm... Not in the least bit whopping.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you what is unique about the double that Kenny Dalglish won for Liverpool in 1986. A simple one really. He was (and still is) the only player/manager to have won the double.

How about one for this week? In the week that saw Celtic beat Motherwell in the Betfred Cup Final (with a little help from a player with a dodgy hairstyle and an even dodgier sense of balance when he is in the penalty box) let’s have a question relating to the last time Motherwell actually won a trophy. Cast your minds back to 1991 when Motherwell beat Dundee United 4-3. What was the link between the two clubs at that time? Hmm...

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

As usual, let’s finish with a mention of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to a... Actually, I don’t have an obvious finishing link this week. No matter, let’s have a look at some interesting events that have taken place on December the 2nd in the past. Well, 150 years ago, in 1867, Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the U.S. of A. [Really? How interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] Er... 90 years ago in 1927, the first Ford Model A was sold? [No. - Ed.] Ringo Starr had his tonsils out 53 years ago? [Pullease! - Ed.] Aha! Got one. On the 2nd of December 1957 this song hit number one (in the U.S. at least) for Sam Cooke. There. That’s a nice way to finish.

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

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