Steve Austins favourite TV

Posted by MereNews On July - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Unmissable show?

This is going to get me laughed out of the country. Do y’all get The Bachelorette over there? That’s appointment television at the Austin house. When you have these people on television looking for a soulmate it’s quite ludicrous, and to see the storylines and the way the producers are spinning it, it’s fun to see how these people respond in those situations.

Earliest TV memory?

I grew up watching Speed Racer, the cartoon, and The Three Stooges was an institution back in the day before we went to school. Monty Python’s Flying Circus – those guys were way ahead of their time. If I had to pick one show, though, it would be I Love Lucy. Lucille Ball was a genius.

Guilty pleasure?

I’m a real sucker for Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives, but I wouldn’t say that’s a guilty pleasure because the presenter [Guy Fieri] is so good at what he does. What a great job that is, driving round the country eating good food. He eats so much good food I almost gain weight watching the show – I would love a gig like that.

TV turn-off?

Some of the reality television is so scripted and you can see right through it. That stuff which looks rehearsed, I don’t really care for. Oh, and on so many reality TV shows they always have to use to word “amazing”. Everything is “amazing”. I wish they would tell them to use a new word because that really grinds my gears.

Bring back…

The Six Million Dollar Man with Lee Majors. The Fall Guy with Lee Majors was great also – but specifically The Six Million Dollar Man. Steve Austin, they rebuilt him and made him better, faster, stronger, and the thing about that was he was a regular guy who just happened to be bionic. He wasn’t all jacked up and muscular like everyone’s got to be these days. And with the sound effects and the amazing things he could do – I would love to see that show come back.

Steve Austin presents Redneck Island on truTV in August

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With 130,000 ravenous consumers of geek culture in attendance, it’s no wonder video game publishers have increasingly taken to revealing new titles at the San Diego Comic-Con. Just as the movie and television companies have moved in to publicise their latest super hero and mildly SF/fantasy-themed wares, so the games industry now times specific genre announcements to capture the lycra-clad buzz.

Amid the excitement over Mad Max: Fury Road, Wonder Woman’s new outfit, the Avengers: Age of Ultron footage and the cast announcement for Game of Thrones season five, here are the key video game titbits from this weekend’s event.

Firefly Online

The TV series was cancelled over a decade ago but fans of Joss Whedon’s space cowboy adventure will soon get the chance to re-live it. Firefly Online is a strategic multiplayer role-playing game featuring much of the original cast, including Nathan Fillion, of course. Developed by Quantum Mechanix and Spark Plug Games its coming to iOS and PC next year. The game was announced a couple of weeks ago, but Comic-Con got the first gameplay trailer. It looks a bit, um, basic at the moment.

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

Well, the video game tie-ins with Pendleton Ward’s wonderful animated series have been pretty dire so far, but this trailer is okay – if only for the fact that Ward himself narrates most of it, with the help of Finn and Jake. It’s basically old-school Zelda with jokes, and hits Xbox 360, PS3, PC and 3DS in autumn.

Atari: Game Over

No, this isn’t a game, it’s Microsoft’s documentary on the fall of Atari and specifically the digging up of all those ET carts, buried in the New Mexico desert. Comic-Con got a new trailer for the programme as well as a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Atari co-founder Noan Bushell and ET game designer, Scott Warshaw who said on stage, “I am proud to have designed the worst video game of all time.” Wow, so he worked on Duke Nukem Forever as well? Tough break.

Zelda hero Link to star in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Fans of Capcom’s creature slaying series discovered this weekend that Link, star of the Legend of Zelda series, will be a playable character in the forthcoming 3DS instalment, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. This was already known in Japan, but previously it wasn’t clear whether Western versions of the game would get the extra character, who’ll be wielding the Master Sword, of course.

Lego Batman 3

Comic-Con got a new trailer of the latest Lego super hero tie-in, due out on just about every current platform imaginable later this year. At a panel discussion, developer Traveller’s Tales also revealed that players will get to control the 1960s TV version of the Dark Knight in one special mission – and he’ll be voiced by Adam West, who receieved a standing ovation when he ventured onto the stage.

Halo: Nightfall

The five-part, live-action series set to premiere alongside Microsoft’s epic Halo: Master Chief Collection appeared at Comic-Con courtesy of a new trailer. Produced by Ridley Scott, the series introduces a new character, agent Jameson Locke, who is expected to play a role in the forthcoming Halo: Guardians game.

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The playlist

Posted by MereNews On July - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Rixton – Wait On Me

Rixton frontman Jake Roche – son of Let’s Do Sex hitmaker Shane Richie and Coleen ‘one of The Nolans’ Nolan – is proof you needn’t always be intimidated about following in your parents footsteps. Last week Roche and his band Rixton – who are managed by Justin Bieber enabler Scooter Braun – debuted at number 1 in the UK with their debut single, the ludicrously catchy Me And My Broken Heart, months after the song had sold over half a million copies in the US. This slightly odd release schedule also means that what will be their second single, Wait On Me, is now already online and available to buy “across the pond”. As with Me And My Broken Heart, Wait On Me has more than a whiff of Maroon 5 about it but is so expertly precision-tooled that each second seems to introduce a new hook.

Troye Sivan – Happy Little Pill

South African-born Australian Troye Sivan is almost annoyingly precocious. Not only has the 20-year-old singer, actor and – wait for it – professional YouTuber starred in a Hollywood film (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), he’s got two million YouTube subscribers, has had over 91 million views of his mixture of self-help and social media-based “vlogs” (Annoying Things People Do On Instagram, for example) and signed to Universal Music last summer. Internet celebrity-turned-pop-star doesn’t exactly scream “ooh let’s have a listen”, but there’s a lot to love about his debut single, the gloriously down-tempo, Happy Little Pill. Reminiscent of something off Erik Hassle’s recent EP Somebody’s Party, it takes the template of Drake’s dripfeed sadness but adds in quirky production flourishes and a chorus about the dangers of anti-depressants that’s oddly uplifting.

Lovestarrs – Life Is A Bitch

“If you’re happy and you know it, life will bite you in the arse,” trills Lovestarrs Sarah McIntosh on the trio’s nursery rhyme-esque new single, Life Is A Bitch. Sadly McIntosh probably knows a lot about all that given that she, along with brother Hamish and George Hinton, used to be The Good Natured, a promising major label electropop outfit with a clutch of amazing songs who were swiftly dropped, lost out on releasing their debut album Prism and watched while the backing track for the Madeon-produced Can’t Beat The Machines ended up being used for Lady Gaga’s Mary Jane Holland. They’ve since re-grouped as Lovestarrs and will release a debut EP later in the year featuring the slightly odd, cod-reggae of Life Is A Bitch, a song that juxtaposes lilting melodies with McIntosh’s clipped delivery of the bittersweet chorus.

Své – Riot

Part-time lifeguard and soon to be full-time pop star Své arrived out of nowhere last October with no label, no manager and no publicist. Thankfully, what she did have was an elegant, Sia-esque epic in the shape of Talking To The Walls, a song that stood out from the crowd because it didn’t try to sonically assault you. For the follow-up Riot – which will appear on Své’s forthcoming debut album, My Religion – she’s dirtied things up a bit, adding a chugging guitar line and some bass-heavy synths to a song that flirts with pop’s dubstep obsession circa 2011. It’s so good that her ability to elongate the word riot into seven syllables for the chorus is just one of the many impressive things about it.

Chelsea Lankes – Secret

Nashville-based Chelsea Lankes’ debut single, 2013′s Ghost, was a suitably, ahem, haunting affair – all polite electronic gurgles and delicate vocals. While new single Secret isn’t exactly Skrillex, it shifts the tempo up a gear or two, Lanke sighing longingly over bubbling synths and big bouncing drums before the joyous chorus bounds into view. Clearly a fan of dynamics and the idea of delayed gratification, there’s a great moment around the 2:55 mark when the song’s middle eight descends into wordless sighs before a slight false start, some brilliantly 80s drums and a brief “woo” re-introduce the chorus for one last go round.

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The DIY art of Michel Gondry in pictures

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From Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in a cloud car in the new film Mood Indigo to an hand-drawn animated documentary with Noam Chomsky, the film-maker turns ‘cuckoo ideas into tactile reality‘. Here’s a look at his most surrealist ideas

How Michel Gondry turns twee into art

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Mannequin with protruding ribs removed from Primark

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Primark has sparked controversy after a customer tweeted a picture of a mannequin with protruding ribs and concave stomach in its window display in Braehead, Glasgow.

The high street store was quick to respond and promised not to use the offending mannequin again, but not before the image had been retweeted thousands of times.

@Melfyx We’re currently changing our window displays. The mannequins you describe will not be used in this way again.

— Primark (@Primark) July 24, 2014

Primark aren’t the first to use mannequins to spark discussions about the unhealthy depictions of body shapes in the high street.

La Perla was strongly criticised earlier this year for using unhealthy-looking mannequins in its New York branch. The store was quick to remove the mannequins, and tweeted that they were updating them, but to what they didn’t say.

How does #LaPerla think ribs on a mannequin is ok?! @SethMatlins pic.twitter.com/NPYMLQxhNc

— Michael Rudoy (@mrudoy) May 12, 2014

The use of store mannequins is a consistent source of controversy.

The average British woman is 5ft 3in (161.6cm), 11 stone (70.2kg) and a size 16, yet there is still very little representation of her in consumer culture.

But it’s not just mannequins with unusually thin proportions that spark criticism. Debenham’s size 16 mannequins, trialled in their flagship store in London’s Oxford Street last year, hoped to make a positive impact in redressing the situation.

Size 16 mannequins for window display in UK store @Debenhams to reflect a natural body size , bravo ! pic.twitter.com/SzgYVKz6Hn

— Dimpy Kapur (@DimpyKapur) November 7, 2013

However, some people criticised them for their “flat-stomachs and toned thighs”; they were “as impossible a shape to achieve as their waif-ish acetate companions” complained fashion journalist and author Harriet Walker.

Have you seen – inspiring or unhealthy – representations of body types in high street stores? Share your images and tell us where you spotted them and when via GuardianWitness.

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Russia ordered to pay $50bn to Yukos investors

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England v India: third Test day two live!

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Liverpool beat Olympiakos 1-0 in Chicago friendly

Posted by MereNews On July - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Liverpool won the opening game of their pre-season warm-up competition on Sunday night – but they made hard work of overcoming Olympiakos 1-0 in Chicago.

Although Raheem Sterling scored after only five minutes in their International Champions Cup opener, Liverpool could not build on the lead and the Greeks narrowly missed out on a second-half equaliser.

Brendan Rodgers’s pre-season preparation was disrupted when £27m signing Adam Lallana injured knee ligaments in training and will be out for four to six weeks.

But the Liverpool boss, who will be hoping his team can go one better than last season and win the Premiership title for the first time in 25 years, could draw some encouragement from the performance of another new face, Lukas Markovic.

Signed for £20m from Benfica, the 20-year-old Serb showed some good touches in the win at Soldier Field and came close with a solo effort in the first half before making way for fresh legs after 45 minutes.

Liverpool started the match strongly and when Daniel Sturridge’s long range effort hit a defender, his England colleague Sterling was there to pick up the rebound.

The Reds were the better team but at the start of the second half, Olympiakos midfielder Gevorg Ghazaryan was denied by the crossbar with Brad Jones beaten.

Andreas Bouchalakis then had a great chance to score with 10 minutes to go when a mistake left him clear on goal. But his touch was too heavy when he tried to go around Jones and the opening was wasted.

Liverpool’s next game is in New York on Wednesday when they face Manchester City. The English champions beat Milan 5-1 in their opening ICC game on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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Passport Office staff are to strike on Monday over staff shortages which they say have led to a serious backlog in processing applications this year.

Extra staff were drafted in to deal with the backlog of 30,000 applications, and the home secretary, Theresa May, last month apologised to those affected by the delays.

The Passport Office said it had faced the highest demand for applications in the past 12 years, and said predictions for the summer surge had been “substantially exceeded”.

HM Passport Office chief executive Paul Pugh said earlier this month that the 775,000 applications received in June was “the highest ever recorded in a single month” and denied the agency was in chaos.

Monday’s strike by members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union was an attempt to draw attention to staff shortages dating as far back as 2010, as well as inequalities in pay, the union said.

It said the high-profile nature of the recent applications backlog has forced the office to take the issue more seriously, and cited recent figures from the immigration minister, James Brokenshire, which showed staff numbers were down by more than 300 in the past four years.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The staffing crisis in the Passport Office has been obvious for everyone to see and it shouldn’t have taken a committee of MPs to force the chief executive to meet us to discuss it.

“We are still a long way off getting a commitment from the agency that it will work with us to put the proper resources in place to ensure these backlogs do not reoccur year after year.”

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