Posts tagged “American Express

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed / Amex Customer Service


Ginger Snaps  -  1-3  -  Front DVD Cover (Czech Release)Brigitte is the first work selflessly took care of his sister Hannah, who turned into a werewolf.  Now her suffering worse.  Sam’s sister Brigitte was infected!  In the full moon must figure out how to cure it to prevent further bloody rampage.  At least that’s how Google translates it from the Czech on the cover of my DVD.  I think it’s losing something…  Who’s Sam and why has Brigitte had a gender reassignment?  I don’t remember either of those in the film.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone spoke the same language?  Ideally English…

2004  –  Certificate: 15 –  Canadian Film
7.5 out of 10

I have/had an American Express Nectar Credit Card; (that’s the Amex Card that plebs are allowed to have.)  Recently it decided to introduce an annual fee of £25 for the ‘privilege’ of having one.  I, like (I’ve no doubt) millions of other ‘outraged customers’ decided that I didn’t fancy paying for something I can get for free elsewhere.  So I rang up and cancelled it.  There are three things that make American Express ‘different’ to ‘other’ credit card companies (i.e. Visa and MasterCard); 1 – nowhere accepts Amex credits cards; 2 – they identify you as a shallow, egotistic, posh snob, who wants to flaunt his or her success in the face of others; 3 – they have good customer service.  So you can imagine my profound disappointment, when I got a letter a few days later confirming my cancellation.  The letter said; “We are sorry you have decided to cancel your Nectar Credit Card.  For this reason we have cancelled your Nectar Credit Card account as you requested.”  So basically it’s cancelled the card because it’s sorry I’ve decided to cancel the card?  What would have happened if it hadn’t been sad?  Would it had continued to force me to have it and pay £25 a year for doing so?  It seems good customer service stops when you leave.  And yes, I realise that that’s a bit of a boring tale without much of a punch line.  Mountains and mole hills come to mind.

Ginger Snaps is one of the best horror/comedy/teen/fantasy films ever.  So what about its sequel?  Well the comedy part has gone.  The teen bit has also been diluted too.  It’s still got teenagers in it (including the two stars from the previous instalment), but it’s not really a film about teenagers anymore; the story could have featured people of any age really.  Instead we get an out-and-out horror and it’s not a bad one at all.  Smiling less than an emo girl having a bad day, (a part Emily Perkins plays so well), Brigitte is a patient at the Happier Times Care Centre, a rehab clinic where she inexplicably seems to appear after an altercation over a few library books.  I didn’t realise reading was quite that addictive.  Unfortunately, the Centre isn’t a good advert for the voluntary sector providing health services, as most of the staff there are a bit weird or pervy and it looks very much like a rundown prison.  I guess we’ll just have to blame it on funding cuts.  It’s the sort of place Jimmy Saville would have enjoyed visiting.  The ending is a bit rubbishy, but the rest of the film is fine and it’s good to see werewolves being given a bit of ‘quality screentime’; in footballing terms they always felt a bit like Manchester City, if you imagine vampires to be Manchester United; an occasional flash of success but basically always living in the shadow of their more successful, interesting and flamboyant neighbours.  Sadly the stunning Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) isn’t in it very much, but considering what happened to her in the original film that’s not that surprising.  Instead we get Ghost, a slightly creepy 13-year-old, who suffers from Hollywood Child-in-a-Film Syndrome, in that she acts like no real 13-year-old would; perhaps that’s why she was in the clinic in the first place?  (Tatiana Maslany, who I think was actually 19 when she made this film, really doesn’t look her own age.)  Anyway, it’s a very good film, well made, well acted and with decent special effects; but watch the brilliant Ginger Snaps before going onto this one, as it’s a direct sequel to it.

The music is serviceable, but forgettable.  Some rather dull, alternative rock and an infrequently heard film score don’t make it a movie to remember.

Recommended for werewolves, junkies, emos and anyone providing health care services in the voluntary sector.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  “I’m going to kill it.  Get me all the sharp things you can find.”  No running away and falling over for her, Brigitte’s outcome-focused approach to dealing with an issue would be welcomed by many in the private sector, keen for employees with a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they’re going to achieve it.  Mission Drift isn’t something the viewer needs to worry about in this movie.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at IMDB (6.4 / 10)

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed at Wikipedia

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day: 5.0 Stars


Terminator 2: Judgement Day: Skynet Edition   -   Front Blu-ray cover (UK)I went to see The Wedding Present play in London last night.  There’s not much point me saying anything about its performance, as it’s the 4th best band on the planet.  Instead, here’s what I remember about the gig that doesn’t include the band.  At the end of its set, the guitarist from the first support band, Dead Wolf Club, smashed his guitar on the stage; very rock ‘n’ roll, except I got the distinct feeling he does this a lot and then just glues it back together again for next time.  The other support band, TOQUIWA (formally the Pinky Piglets), was from Japan and therefore made no sense whatsoever; three Japanese women running about on stage singing about wanting a chocolate and doing a lot of things that I haven’t a clue about, confirming my belief that Japan isn’t really from this Earth.  The venue, Koko in Camden, was really cold.  Koko has the worst bar of any venue in London; nothing on draft, with tins of bog-standard cider around £4.50 a can.  Koko has the worst decor of any venue, all gaudy red and gold.  Koko is the worst venue to get out of afterwards; considering its size, it takes forever.  A few years ago Koko used to have crappy sound, but it’s now much improved.  Between each band’s set, the stage lights got pointed towards the crowd, which was really annoying; I shall be seeing yellow spots before my eyes for weeks.  The stage at Koko is too low.  (As you’ve probably gathered, Koko is not my favourite place to see a band.)  As far as I can remember, this was the first time I’d been on the proper Guest List for a gig; I’d like to say I was a ‘friend of the stars’, but in reality I just happened to get my ticket in a slightly obtuse way.  My journey there was swift and easy, as I basically walked onto all three trains without a wait; I think the track in the West Country should get flooded every week, as it seems to improve train availability, despite there being lots of cancellations and delays.  My journey back was also easy; I even had my ticket checked on the train.  The woman sitting in the row of seats in front of me didn’t have a ticket, although there’re a million ways to buy one at Paddington Station, so it was obvious she was trying to get away without paying; she had an American Express credit card too, so I doubt she’s exactly poor; I’d have thrown her out of the train’s airlock into deep space (or whatever the train equivalent is) if I’d been the ticket inspector.  I read the London Evening Standard on the journey back, as there was a copy on the seat.  The Standard is a shit paper, no wonder it’s given away free.  This edition included some dreadful rubbish about young people and claiming housing benefit; if any other group in society was so picked on and vilified, we’d all be out on the street demanding equality and new laws.  Had an interesting chat with two guys in the crowd while waiting for the bands to appear; one later decided my t-shirt’s arm would make a great way to dry the sweat off his head, but I’m sure it was a sign of solidarity; but honestly, what sort of person wears a leather jacket in a most pit?  It’s going to be hot there!  The Wedding Present has very happy fans; the guys behind me in the crowd spent half the set just laughing as everything going on around them.  The band’s fans are mostly men. The gig finished before 10:00pm; a nice, civilised time.  Like the Wedding Present, there’s little point in my trying to give any sort of objective consideration to this film, as it’s just so awesomely amazing.

1991  –  Certificate: 15  –  USA

What can I really say about this movie? Everything about it is great.  It’s probably in my Top Ten films of all time.  This was the first time I’d watched it on Blu-ray and it looked and sounded fab on that.  I was also watching the Ultimate Cut for the first time, which includes a number of extra scenes, even more than the Director’s Cut, including a great dream sequence that features Kyle Reece from the first Terminator movie that was entirely omitted from the version shown in cinemas; and a not quite so great extended ending.  A modern classic and possibly the greatest action movie ever made. 

Recommended for everyone.  Well nearly everyone.

No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.  There’s a fair bit of shattering, melting and general ripping apart going on though.

Top badass moment?  “Come with me if you want to live.”  No ifs or buts there.  100% badass and good advice at any time, especially when some liquid metal freak is after you.  Trust me, I know….

Terminator 2: Judgement Day at IMDB (8.6 / 10)


Classic FM Rocks!


One of the sadder aspects of my life is my apparent addiction to loyalty points, online questionnaires and product surveys. My reasons for this relates to the facts that you can earn money or vouchers for doing most of them, (around £900 worth last year in my case, to help eek out my poor, charity worker’s salary), along with the fact that I like the idea that a survey of (say) 2,000 people, will mean my Cactus World-view will be statistically magnified to represent a far higher proportion of the population than just, em, one. (Or more likely I just get statistically cleansed from the data entirely.) I also enjoy saying that ‘this’ newest design of air freshener, or ‘that’ latest version of a cold remedy, is simply marketing spin, an attempt to sell a more expensive, non-vegan, power-sapping, oppressive regime supporting, over-packaged, exploitatively marketed and entirely unwanted or unneeded product to the masses, who’re already quite happy with what they currently use anyway.  So basically what all this means is that I do them as I’m greedy and I want to socially engineer the planet’s population in such a way that one day everyone will live in Cactus World.

One of the things I’m involved with is the Classic FM Listeners’ Panel. Now don’t laugh, I do actually listen to quite a lot of classical music. I know nothing about it, (other than its got violins and stuff in it), but I do listen to it. So every once in a while I get to listen to some bits of music and say what I think of them. This generally goes along the lines of, opera – “I hate it”; slow song with lots of strings – “it’s okay”; fast song with lots of brass – “I like it”. (See, I said I don’t know anything about classical music.) However, my insightful and valued views have managed to win me £1,000 in a members’ draw. This is an unprecedented win, (surpassing the £400 worth of Selfridges vouchers I won for something or other several years ago; bought my first DVD player and DVDs with them actually ). The fact that I never listen to Classic FM isn’t something we need to consider right now, but if anyone asks me what my favourite radio station is, I know what I’ll be saying. (But that’s a question for another survey on another day.)

In these fiscally difficult times, this has bought a great deal of cheer to the population of Cactus World, who can now step back a little from the abyss and their own Greek Tragedy. I will be able to postpone those trips to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After much soul-searching, the population have decided to use this money to make the directors and share holders of American Express a little less happy, by paying off the balance on a credit card, thus depriving them of the disembowelingly huge interest rate payments from me that they’ve become accustomed to using to keep themselves supplied with new golf clubs and expensive wine.

Right now I’m listening to “Saturn 5” by the Inspiral Carpets.


When Technology Flips You the Bird


Technology hates me. I know this to be a fact…

First my car became incontinent (which it has been for many months), in the sense that it couldn’t hold a charge in its battery for more than three days; (cure, nine days off the road and a bill of £638.31).

Oh and while I think of it, both the Nectar and Ford web sites say I can collect Nectar Points from my local Ford dealer, but just you go and try to do so.  (Cue whiny, Ford employee’s voice), “you have to get a voucher from the web site as they took all our swipe card machines away.”  Then ring Nectar to get told (in a, fuck you you’re a moron, do you really think customer service means customer service kind of voice), “there aren’t any vouchers, you need to get the dealer to swipe your Nectar Card, it’s nothing to do with us.”  Lying bastards.  They’re first up against the wall when the revolution comes.  ‘They’ haven’t heard the last of this from me, ‘they’ don’t know who they’re messing with.

Then my immersion heater at home broke; (cure, three weeks or so with no hot water and then its replacement is apparently scared of heat, given the barely more than tepid temperatures it seems capable of producing).

Then my computer decided not to start; (cure, a morning of my time, three trips to Maplin and about £60 for a new power supply unit).  Just as well I’m an IT god.

Then last week no less than three trains I was travelling on got badly delayed; always on the way home of course.

Then finally, American Express are on the phone whining at me to pay my credit card bill as I’ve gone over my limit.  Don’t they realise technology hates me?  I bet all those bankers with their disgustingly huge bonuses didn’t get rung up and moaned at when they overspent by billions?  Oh I forgot, it’s them on the phone whining about my credit card payments and halving my credit limit without giving me any notice whatsoever, just so they can charge me £12 for going over my limit, to feed their obscene greed.  Bastards.

Sometimes you see stuff on TV about people who live in what are little more than mud or straw huts, have bugger all belongings or money, but seem very happy. No TVs, no cars, no DVD players, no expensive holidays, no iPhones, no electric can openers, not designer clothes, no ready-made meals, etc, etc. How can they possible be happy? Then you realise this is exactly why they are happy. No consumer shit to worry about breaking down or being stolen. (This of course assumes they’re healthy, have enough to eat and enough money for the things they need, which given the way so many countries exploit so many others, probably isn’t especially likely.  But give me a break okay?  It’s called a poetic licence.)

Right now I’m listening to “Wilderness” by the Mega City Four.