Friday 31 December 2021

PodHubUK Podcasts for the Month of December 2021


   ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

The Phones Show
Episode 434 - NexDock 360 Review
Wednesday 1st December
Full review of this most interesting smartphone super-accessory. Lapdock, monitor, hub, this does everything.

Projector Room
Episode 101 - Grizzly Django
Wednesday 1st December
It's a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show I guess as we start the climb to 200! Join Gareth, Allan and I as we start the ascent, taking in films about/featuring Bears and mascara! We're certainly Open 24 Hours but it's No Time to Die inside 21 Bridges! Come and join us as we natter about film, cinema a TV for an hour. Oh no, it was nearly two! 😂

Phones Show Chat
Episode 670 - What? No Android 11?
Saturday 4th December
Join Steve and I this week as we join in the general Nokia Bashing, consider budget options, a very expensive Xperia and indulge in more Pixel ponderings!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 5th December
Gareth and I are back and this weekend we invade Evercade, storm Stadia, steam into Chrome, tackle floating mice, play with a bird bot perched on a noisy cellular mast and then declare that no men could capture nomenclature! Bit of a long one too!

The Phones Show
Thursday 9th December
It's Christmas! Well, time for Steve's annual Top 5 Phones, anyway.

Phones Show Chat
Episode 671 - Light or Dark Side
Saturday 11th December
Steve and I are back this week with loads of content including a cracking Photo of the Month, exciting new innovations, interesting stuff here now (and around the corner) and Steve's Top 5 Phones for year-end 2021. Tom Stuart also joins us to talk about his Apple-centric life.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 12th December
Gareth and I reporting for duty again this weekend with another deluge of dross and ton of tech! If you Fold and Slide, reshuffle and merge, roll and repair, kiss and make up, you'll Trump the tech! Lots of fun as usual. Grab a large coffee and join us.

Whatever Works
Episode 151 - Santa's Ding-Dong!
Monday 13th December
Aidan and I are late on parade, but here! Why not join us for an hour as we natter about Whatever Works for us and you! Plenty of tat as usual, from kit and ziplock bags to bolt-action screwdrivers and cat litter - with much in between and around!

Projector Room
Episode 102 - The Power of the Meg
Wednesday 15th December
Gareth, Allan and I are back with another fortnightly scan of all things film, cinema and TV. Plenty for Meg to get it's teeth into as we treat ourselves to a shark-fest alongside a powerful dog - and we also look forward to a Gold Parasite - Unforgivable!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 672 - Rolling Back the Years
Saturday 18th December
Steve and I are back again this weekend with a look at mobile phones future, present and past - as Ben Wood from the Mobile Phone Museum drops in for a chat. And hold on...there's even a special visit from a very special seasonal traveller!

Whatever Works
Episode 152 - Kris Kringle Jingle!
Friday 24th December
Hellooo! We're back again Aidan and I, as we bring you an hour of seasonal festive cheer and madness! We rope in Chris Kelly for the event and welcome him back warmly to WWTowers! Loads of stuff to get through as usual as we consider Whatever Works for us and you! Ding dong! It's the last of 2021, so thanks to all for keeping the interest going, fuelling our enthusiasm over the year. Happy gorging everyone. Hic!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 673 - Christmas Top 3's
Saturday 25th December
Seasonal greetings to all from Steve and I at PSCTowers! We bring you a Yuletide Special to consume when you've scoffed all the turkey and tinkled with the tinsel! Steve and I have a think about what 3 things have been significant for us in the world of phones since last we dug around for that sixpence!

The Phones Show
Episode 436 - The End
Tuesday 28th December
Steve thanks all viewers over 16 years after deciding to draw a line under producing and shooting video phone reviews regularly. He says that there may be a show now and again when time allows or there's something interesting enough to shout about, but for now it's retired. Kind of!

Projector Room
Episode 103 - The Best of 2021
Wednesday 29th December
Welcome, once again to the musings of Gareth, Allan and myself relating to the world of film, cinema and TV as we look back at 2021. There is no Censor here as we share Another Round at New Year! There's No Time to Die as we kick The Chair from under us - and get the Shivers at the thought of The Thing! Lots of fun - do join us!

Monday 27 December 2021

Clelo Neck Fan

Always on the lookout for methods to keep cool in this ever-getting-hotter earth, I look at the coming summer months and wonder what kind of year we face. So, here's the latest try and another gadget to cool me down! Some say that feet and wrists are the body's 'sensors' and to try and keep them cool, but how about the neck?

It's a bendy, hard-TPU gadget which pulls around the neck on one axis, so once your neck stops it getting in closer, that's it. A two-stage bend might be more flexible for some of us with big necks - but then there are quite big batteries in each side to prevent this. Once it's in the position you want, it doesn't move - it's not in any way 'floppy'. It's not very heavy on the neck - soon forgotten about.

The idea is that you charge it up, it intakes air from the holes at the front, pushes it back along the sides to the vents firing it up around the neck on the sides, towards the ears. It claims to be bladeless but I'm not sure how that can be true as there must be some sort of blade arrangement turning around in there to move the air - and suck it in. Whatever the mechanism, it is fully enclosed and won't tangle hair - even for those of us with Santa beards!

It has two batteries inside, one on each side, totalling 9000mAh, which is good for 18hrs of cooling on the low setting, 13hrs on the medium and 9hrs on the high. One of the problems as you get higher in fan speed is the noise - and it is, of course, right next to the ears. It's not quiet and sounds a bit like the noise sitting on an aircraft. I guess that over time one's brain would block it out. On the low setting it's significantly less noisy of course.

The good news is that it charges via USB-C (hurrah) and it seems that the Li-Ion batteries take about 4-6hrs to fully charge, depending on the power of the charger used. There's a little LED by the USB-C port to indicate what it's doing. When charging, it flashes red and then stays solid red when full. While it's being used it's blue and when not, off. There's a little 'flush' button on the outside-right towards the back which presses through the off-low-med-high loop.

As for the flow of air, summer will see! It's obviously no air-conditioning unit and at the end of the day it's a fan blowing air around which has been sucked in from the front. However, as we know from room and desk fans, these quite often defy physics! It's December as I write, so not hot, but it does genuinely feel as though it is providing a cooling effect around the ears and neck which is significantly cooler than the room I am sitting in - and much better than not having it on.

I shall update this in the summer when it's put to the test fully but in the meantime, please use my Amazon link if you want to buy and test one as they give me a few pennies if you do and it costs you no more. Thanks. Here's the link... (...currently £25.99 but might be more in the summer!)

Friday 24 December 2021

Shivers (1975) and The Brood (1979)

Shivers (1975)

I remember watching this David Cronenberg film in the 1980's and being gobsmacked by the madness! I revisited it this week via an old DVD and the first thing that hit me was how diabolical the acting is! Maybe that was true of many films and TV shows in the 70's and I just forget!

Anyway the residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact says the blurb. They get into the human through any orifice they can find, so expect some nudity (well, mainly topless females) and nothing graphic, but suggestive of those routes!

I remembered Paul Hampton playing the lead doctor and then checked up to find that yes, he's got a ton of work from back in the day and you've probably seen him hundreds of times if you're old enough. Lyn Lowry is in there as his nurse and she is still going, according to IMDb with 41 current projects either filming, filmed, post-production or whatever! Some people never give up!

It's all very stylish and nicely constructed for something of the era and there are indeed some grizzly moments. You can see how Cronenberg went on to make the most of increasing technology and ideas in, for example, The Fly remake in 1986.

It's all a bit mad to be honest, but good fun as a mix between a zombie, horror, bloody thriller and even through the poor acting, it's fun to see the outcome and get to the end. It's not even 90 minutes. I shall now remind myself of more with The Brood and Scanners! Enjoy 🤩

The Brood (1979)

Right, I've watched this one now too - it's on Amazon Prime! David Cronenberg slows right down with this one and clearly had a bigger budget for actors, recruiting Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar (I remember her fondly from Dr Doolittle - no, no, the proper original one) and (very handsome chap) Art Hindle.

It's even madder as an idea than Shivers but the first half of the 90 minutes often drags as there's far to much time wasted on setup. The whacko story is about a man (Hindle) trying to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalised wife, amidst a series of brutal murders. In amongst that he's trying to keep his daughter from harm and his wife (Eggar) away from the fruit-loop scientist (Reed).

The outcomes are all a bit off-the-wall when you get to the reveals about what's going on behind closed doors - in the meantime we get distracted by these 'little people' going round doing bloody murder on various characters in the plot.

Horror (kind of) but more chiller and sci-fi really. It's nicely shot in places and the music adds suspense well. Great fun, a little dated but at least the acting is significantly better than it was in Shivers!

Saturday 18 December 2021

Black+Decker 2kW Fan Heater

Lovely little fan heater which does what it says on the tin - blows air! I have it in a little room in my Static where my table with PC is used and podcasting area and if I shut the door in this colder weather it will heat the room up on full-belt (2000W) in about 5 minutes then can be turned off for a good half-hour.

It's not perfectly silent (not silent enough for recording) but it's completely unnoticeable otherwise during normal tasks. It is made of rigid plastic of course (with very nicely moulded feet) and has two dials. One controls the heat/cold (so can be used for cooling in summer) in 3 switch positions, cold, 1000W, 2000W, and the other the thermostat cut-out (for those who can be bothered). I'm more inclined to use it for blasts!

The power lead is about 6ft long and looks thick and sturdy, there's a red light on top to indicate when it's running, has a big air intake grille on top and the usual vents on the front. It needs to be used flat (which I think is always safer anyway) so no upright or wall-mounting here.

Double overheat protection is apparently in there! Not sure how you reach that level! Lock it in a cupboard and turn it on, I suppose! I had to dry a bathroom floor last week which had got damp and left it in there on full power for a couple of hours and it didn't stop!

Not sure what the Black+Decker branding means any longer but it it's anything like what it was in the old days, it should be well made and reliable. Recommended! £19.99 - Do please buy with my Amazon link as I get some pennies and it cost you no more. Thanks -

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Till Death (2021)

This is a nifty little thriller from the relatively inexperienced team of S. K. Dale (director) and Jason Carvey (writer). It's not the greatest film in the world but it does keep you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes as suspense builds towards the thrilling finale!

Emma and Mark have fallen out of love. She's taken a lover and he's got business problems, though on the face of it he looks well-to-do and wealthy. He also controls Emma in every aspect of her life (that he knows about). What she wears, how she wears it, where she goes, who she sees - he dominates her life and she has to toe the line (for reasons which aren't really ever stated, but we assume money and luxurious life-style).

It's their anniversary, so he takes her out to dinner, buys her an expensive gift then whisks her away to an isolated cabin in the iced-up, snowy outbacks somewhere for a romantic night. When she wakes up in the morning, he's sat next to her hand-cuffed to her, then he blows his head off with a gun (which only has one bullet in it)!

Presumably for revenge (as it turns out he knows about her lover) he has set this up in order that a couple of hoods he's lined up will come and kill her and get what money he has, in the safe. He's sorted his business problems (by being dead) and she's going to get it too! Enter the hoods, one of whom it turns out has done 10 years in the nick because of something that Emma previously did to him. So he's happy to get his revenge too.

Anyway, enough of the far-fetched plotline and into the thrills and spills. She has to somehow get out of the place alive, except that he has removed any tools that she might use to get free of him and drained the cars of petrol, cut off the phone-lines, you get the idea. She's doomed!

Megan Fox plays Emma and I'd suggest not coming to this expecting any award-winning acting. And she's the best of the bunch! Everyone else is pretty mediocre in their roles except for maybe the second of the two hoods, played by Jack Roth (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rogue One), who is the most convincing of the bunch. Eoin Macken doesn't quite happen as Mark, I'm afraid, but then he does spend most of the film dead and chained to her!

The setting is excellent and there's some nice scenery to be enjoyed around the events of the day, but this is really just about the thrills of the story. Will she make it out? Is she doomed? Who will kill who? Look out for some ludicrous inconsistencies in the plot and wildly unlikely scenarios and just-in-the-nick-of-time outcomes!

Don't let me put you off though as it's great fun. A little bit gory in places, but nothing too much. A good Friday Night thriller which you can get your teeth into and enjoy the suspense and thrills. Doing the rounds on various streaming platforms now.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Open 24 Hours (2018)

It's fruit-loop time again! This is a film about a young girl who had just got out of clink for setting her boyfriend on fire. Turns out the boyfriend was a serial killer and she'd been implicated by the authorities as an accomplice, explaining her clink-time. Anyway, she's out now but is scarred for life psychologically due to the trauma she suffered, paranoid, delusional and seeing hallucinations. (Or is she?)

The boyfriend (who survived and also ended up in clink) gets out of jail (or does he?) and comes to exact revenge on her in her new job, first night in an all-night petrol station in the USA (or does he?). All hell breaks loose as it plays out in this one day. Half the time you don't know what's real and what's imagined, but it's a tidy little indie thriller with plenty of slay-gore thrown in.

Not a huge amount of decent acting going on in this low-budget outing, though Vanessa Grasse is half-decent in the lead. Brendan Fletcher is the name here, if there is one, from Freddy vs. Jason (2003), Rampage (2009) and Tideland (2005). Doing the rounds on Streaming.

The Last Duel (2021)

Ridley Scott's historical movie is set in the late 1300's north of France and tells an allegedly true story, well, based on fact, which actually historians are also unclear regarding, about two men who start off as friends but end up bitter rivals.

Matt Damon plays Jean de Carrouges and Adam Driver, Jacques Le Gris. They are squires and noblemen or the like, who find themselves fighting for king and country far too often and form a bond in the early part of the film of what appears to be brotherhood. The first part of the film dances all around a 20 year timeline, so watch out for the captions of when we're at! In fact, this dance is really quite quickfire often with a very short scene and then onto the next, 10 years later and so on. So keep up at the back!

This is all during the Hundred Years war between England and France, taking in Scotland at one point. Anyway, as we leap between battlefields and timelines, then spend some time back at base, it becomes clear that Jacques has the favour of the king and his sidekicks and is given favours left, right and centre, some of it land and wealth that Jean thinks is his. And so the rivalry kicks off and they start avoiding each other or spitting at each other in court.

This is the point at which the film splits into three, only coming back together for the finale. Part 1 is the events as told by Jean, Part 2 by Jacques and Part 3 by Marguerite, Jean's wife, played by Jodie Comer. You see, she is allegedly raped by Jacques while Jean is away doing boy's things, and the three main characters in turn tell their story. So yes, there's quite a repetition going on with the 'facts' presented dramatically, three times, based on which one tells the story of what happened surrounding the alleged rape.

All the stories agree that Marguerite decides to tell Jean that Jacques has raped her and so Jean is on an even greater quest to cash in his rivalry with Jacques by dragging him through court, in front of the king, and ultimately towards the duel to the death. This is the Middle Ages and they think that god will decide and if Jacques wins, Marguerite will be burned at the stake. Of course, there are no witnesses, but at this time women are second class citizens and the sexism is reflected by depicting the rape (if it happened) as a slur against the house of the husband, not the woman who allegedly endured it.

Anyway, that's enough of the lead up. Obviously, the finale is the duel to see who is the 'winner' and what fallout there is along the way. If you can forgive the dodgy smattering of American, British and French accents with little attempt to hide them, the three leads do very well. They are convincing and portray the harrowing tale superbly well, particularly Driver and Comer. There are various other names thrown in the mix, like Ben Affleck, who also produced with Damon, but most of the others had pretty small parts. One criticism of the film could be that there was more meat on the bones of the other characters which could have been chewed.

The setting is blood-stained battlefields, castles and mud-strewn streets as you'd imagine and some of the battle scenes verge on the gory here and there. It's always depicted as cold and wintery and some of the cinematography is well imagined and nicely shot. Alex Lawther play 'mad' King Charles VI extremely well, though he doesn't have a huge part in the film. I remember him from The End of the Fxxxing World on Channel 4, in which he was very well cast.

I struggled at the end to decide whether or not the two and a half hour running time was worth it and kept my attention but decided that it was, and it did. It's not gripping, by any stretch of the imagination but there are plenty of scenes which are suspenseful drama, especially the finale, but elsewhere too where the moral fibre of the characters is up for question. The motivation and behaviours added to the uncertainty of being able to identify with how differently this would have been dealt with, and turned out, in our age. Very differently of course.

I didn't feel an emotional engagement with the film, rather I reflected on what was a brutal, hard-nosed time depicting very different values and standards in a very different era. Give it a go and see what you think. It's just started to appear on streaming services, so use your Play Points, Vouchers or whatever!

Silent Night (2021)

This short and tight little comedy/drama/thriller was created by director/writer Camille Griffin which tells the tale of a group of annoyingly posh and monied hoo-hars who come together for a yuletide celebration and, potentially, last supper!

What unfolds is a story based around an incoming 'gas' which everyone knows about and for which the government has issued suicide pills because there's nothing anyone can do about it - and those who don't take the pill will suffer a fate worse than death in great pain. So they have one last night to party before they all snuff themselves out as they know the exact day it is arriving.

It plays out in the early stages (as the group arrive at the big countryside house) a bit like Peter's Friends or even Four Weddings. All frightfully chirpy, hilarious fun with much posh-people banter. They have dinner. They argue. Truths come out about the past, secrets shared, anger expressed, beans spilled. Think Abs Fabs, air-kisses, Land-rovers and Barbour jackets too. The monied-set.

Seems that posh kids are allowed to swear as much as they like and use the F word in pretty much any sentence (along with their parents) as the four kids are a bunch of just-as-annoying public school posh-brats in the mix. They're all very unlikeable and actually, none of the characters are really developed very much in the 90 minute run-time.

Keira Knightley leads them - a (mainly) Brit-pack of actors including Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lucy Punch, Rufus Jones and Davida McKenzie. It's a bit like spot the face you know, then work out which TV series or film you saw them in! They all do what they do reasonably well and if 'convincingly annoying' is the aim, then they're all cracking actors!

Anyway, I won't spoil the ending (which you will see coming from some way off) but leave you to either get very annoyed by the people and what they represent in life or see past that and enjoy the dark side of what starts as an apparent comedy but ends up as something quite different.

Most of it shot in the house and is generally directed and staged well - it could easily be a stage-play. Perhaps it is. Now available to rent/stream from various services.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

PodHubUK Podcasts for the Month of November 2021

   ...a roundup of our month of podcasting. Links to the team, communities and podcast homes on the net at the foot, so scroll down!

Whatever Works
Episode 148 - No Menu Venue
Monday 1st November
Aidan and I are here with another hour of buffoonery and chaos as we consider Whatever Works in our lives and yours! From Spy Cameras, Tiny Glue and Broken Zip Fixes to Clackety-Clack Keyboards, Fly Swatters and Powerful Ego's - we have it all. And more besides! Grab a beer and join us.

Projector Room
Episode 99 - The Dune Hustle
Wednesday 3rd November
Gareth, Allan Gildea and I are back again this fortnight with more pearls from film, cinema and TV. What we've been watching, what you've been watching and what we're all going to watch! Loads of goodies as usual.

The Phones Show
Episode 432 - Fairphone 4 Review
Wednesday 3rd November
Join Steve as he takes apart (and reassembles) the Fairphone 4, whilst trying to decide if he's eco-friendly enough to stick with this thoughtful firm long-term. Are the hardware compromises too much? Who is, in reality, likely to keep the same phone for 6 years? Head on over to find out..!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 666 - The Samsung FairPixel
Saturday 6th November
Steve and I are back this weekend with another catchup episode as we drill down into Pixel 6 hands-on, Fairphone 4 hands-on and Microsoft Duo 2 hands-on! Hands-on all-round and the big Galaxy swap! Plus all the other usual stuff of course.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 7th November
Gareth and I look at the Facebook Watch - complete with Notch, SoundCore Glasses, Asus VivoBook 13 Slate, a sneaky iPhone feature and Stadia vs GeForce Now.

Whatever Works
Episode 149 - Lazy Walnut Grinding
Friday 12th November
Aidan and I are back once again to annoy you with our fortnightly round of chaos, mayhem and madness as we go bananas over Whatever Works for us and you. It's a bit coffee-heavy this time, but also loads of other stuff. Plenty to whine about too of course!

Phones Show Chat
Saturday 13th November
Steve and I welcome back James Bernard Walsh this week for Part 2 of his thoughts on his Apple gear used as a medic. Plus time for some other stuff too including Photo of the Month.

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 14th November
Gareth and I get stuck into GTA III Definitive Edition, Apple’s Screen Repair Trap, blipOne awesome home power backup battery, Moto Watch 100, Roku and an Oppo tablet!

Projector Room
Episode 100 - 100
Wednesday 17th November
The whole team has popped up this time to celebrate our 100th Show. We've been bangin' on about film, cinema and TV since 2016 and are still at it! Gareth, Allan Gildea and Steve join me - as half the cast fight off colds - The Show Must Go On! As always, we bring you natter about what we've been watching, with a Special Feature depicting our choices for the best of the best in the last 20 years. We add your thoughts into the mix too, so why not join us!

Phones Show Chat
Thursday 18th November
Croaky Steve and I are back this weekend good'n'early with just the two of us on a catchup. Plenty to chew over including more on the Pixel 6 & Pro, NexDock 360, Dynamic Vibration and even a OnePlus iPhone!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 21st November
Gareth and I are back with more tech tinkerings... the Fold on hold? Apple care about repair? Moto Tab and Realme Pad? Tesla don't deny the Pi? OnePlus Nord's Pac-Man and a ghostly horde? How can you afford to get bored? Move toward...

The Phones Show
Monday 22nd November
More Pixel 6 goodness and this time it's back to the giant Pro and the thoughts of @Steve Litchfield in his video review.

Whatever Works
Episode 150 - Fast Fish Cross Pond
Friday 26th November
Aidan and I return with another near-hour of chatter about Whatever Works for us and you! Allsorts to tempt your palate, but no sign of liquorice! A huge brolly up (indoors) for grabs alongside Rat Traps, not forgetting the odd moist horn and wet-wipes tub!

Phones Show Chat
Episode 669 - Pixel Bashing
Saturday 27th November
Why not join and I as we welcome back Tim Evans for Part 2 about his Microsoft Surface Duo 2 and have a round of mutual Pixel Bashing! Plenty of positive stuff too of course!

Tech Addicts Podcast
Sunday 28th November
Gareth and I discuss the the weather and Covid - and still make time for the technology of the Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 6 Mini, OnePlus 10 and 10 Pro, Samsung setting up in Texas, MediaTek and Winamp! What fun ahead for the good listeners! Become one. Tune in!

Abigail (2024)

A bunch of lowly hoods are brought together in the typical nobody-knows-each-other style, not supposedly sharing anything about themselves, ...