The Fades

There’s a new show on BBC3 and it’s not 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.  It’s called The Fades.

It’s a sort of fantasy-horror-religious … thing.

It’s pretty good. Certainly the look and feel of the series is excellent and it reminds me, very much, of early Being Human.  Except that it’s about young teenage boys.  Our hero Paul is a bit “sensitive” and he wets the bed.  His best friend is a horror obsessed idiot.  His mother can’t cope.  His [twin?] is a bitch and he fancies her best friend.  He’s also struggling to cope with the apocalyptic dreams  he’s been having.   One day he stumbles across a grisly murder and all hell breaks loose (almost literally).  Life isn’t exactly sunshine and roses, but at least he’s not very emo.

I’ve got some issues with it: some of the characterisations are a little ropey and it’s not clear where the mythology is going – but other than that it’s entertaining. The beeb has shied away from genre telly a lot and seems content to churn out derivative cop shows and ratings-safe period dross.  it’s good to see the commissioning editors have followed the original remit of BBC3 and greenlit something a bit different.  It certainly has a very interesting look. And the “dream” sequences are surprisingly creepy.

On the basis of the first episode I am intrigued and will definitely be watching more.

The other reason I’m interested is that series creator-writer Jack Thorne wrote an article about it.  He describes the process he went through getting the show off the ground.  It doesn’t sound like much fun, yet at the same time it’s a fascinating look into how the BBC goes about creating shows like this.  It explains a lot; why the beeb are great when they get it right and terrible when they get it wrong.

His article is part of the Writer’s Room blog.  I think it’s probably worth having a poke around in there, there’s some gems in there.

PS. Something I nearly forgot to mention in my first post was that I thought it was suitable to show to kids. In fact I think the show (maybe with some minor tweaks) could well have been shown at the old 6pm family slot. Clearly I am not a TV exec!

I, for one, welcome my future-reading silicon overlord…

If we ask it the right question will we get the wrong answer?

Well the news has been abuzz with talk of a mighty new computer that can predict the future.  It managed to predict Osama Bin Laden’s location and when the Arab spring was going to happen.  The computer is called Nautilus and it’s very smart indeed.

Unfortunately it didn’t.

What it did was read the news from some time ago and then some scientists interpreted it would have predicted these events if it had been around at the time.  Now, I don’t know if I am the only one to spot the flaws in this sort of thinking…

I think this quote is particularly interesting.

“I liken it to weather forecasting. It’s never perfect, but we do better than random guessing.”

Yeah that never goes badly.

But here’s the real problem and the one that will really make me put my head in my hands if this sort of tech’ catches on.  We know it’s going to inexact.  Models of chaotic systems can never be infallible – it’s just not possible for us to build a computer that powerful, even if it’s a currently fashionable topic in SF*, even if (just if) we are actually living in that sort of simulation.   But that won’t stop poorly educated politicians and journalists making strident claims based on its output.  There was an outbreak of this sort of thinking after 9/11. A lot of money was poured into large databases at the time.  In fact it had been on the cards for a while anyway – it’s called Echelon.

Many people said at the time that if the US had a big enough database of information then it could predict what would happen.   Nautilus is eerily similar isn’t it?

I wonder what Asimov would have made of this… or for that matter George Orwell.  The sad truth is that I think of all of them Terry Gilliam was probably right when he made Brazil.  Is this really the price we’ve got to pay because of those sad events?

Here’s what Charlie Brooker has to say.

Is it Suddenly 40 Years Ago?

Whoever said time travel was impossible was clearly wrong.

We have: Tories in Westminster desperately trying to privatise everything in sight,  civil unrest, union demonstrations, an economy gone down the tubes, lame tax discussions and [somewhat irritatingly] fascists on the march.

I find this last one particularly irritating because these hate groups had more-or-less been broken up some time ago.  But here today I saw a bunch of thicko skinheads standing around taking up police time – and there were a lot of police present.  Not only were they idiots but they were idiots from another country.  Check out these pictures and see for yourself.

Site of the Day –

A little geeky diversion today… train times.  Yes, one of us Brits favourite topics is whinging about the unreliability of our train network.  Now there’s no excuse.  You can use the excellent  If you live in London there’s even a live geographic map of the Tube Network.  The site’s been around for a while but popped up in a discussion of London’s shiny new bus times predictor…  something we in the frozen north have had for a long time now…

So, I’d like to welcome London to the 21st century.   We’ve been wondering when you’d join the party.


No I am not a train geek.



I’ve been keeping an eye on the stats and I’ve noticed something.

A lot of people seem to be interested in Jeff Noon.

If anyone out there knows where he is or if he’s contactable let me know.

In Space Everyone No One Can

… order pizza.

That will all change if Dominos* gets it’s way.


*Pretty good reason for staying out of space if you ask me.