Tag Archives: Jeremy Irons

Upstairs, Basement

We have all seen the TV shows, and felt with both sides of the Victorian houses that had an upstairs and downstairs in London, places like Downton Abbey or were merely in Brideshead and we decided to revisit them. Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter, Maggie Smith, Jeremy Irons, John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Ian Ogilvy and Anthony Andrews. Some of the biggest stars have been identified and idolised with this Victorian era view, some even in more than one of these series. We have felt for the high side and the low side, yet in all these times, there was always a feel of justice and acceptance for both sides. So why on earth the utter idiocy and non-acceptable acts of Lord Philipps, 4th Viscunt St Davids (pun with the additional missing ‘right’ and ‘honourable’ intended) Rhodri Colwyn Philipps decided to state “£5,000 for the first person to ‘accidentally’ run over this bloody troublesome first generation immigrant.” on social media is completely beyond me. I myself have been mostly outspoken in favour of Brexit, yet that does not take away the right of any Bremainer to voice their issues. Now I admit that plenty of those do not really voice it that clear, complete or correct. Yet it is still their right and of course those who fail to make the decent point will work in my Brexit favour and I was on the fence for the longest of time. It was the voice of Mark Carney in the House of Lords who got me from Brexit and moved me towards neutral on the fence. In the end the lack of insightfulness by Mario Draghi as he decided to print a trillion euro’s and wantonly spend it on no one knows what pushed me clearly back into the Brexit field. These issues all matter, because anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller had every right to campaign for her Bremain conviction. In all this, we might also ask a few questions regarding senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot at this point. That is based on the following in the article we see the quote “Mine includes, torturing Tony Blair, Hilary Clinton, Isis, Dave (PM) the forgettable, Murdoch … Oh and that hideous jumped up immigrant Gina Miller.“, which was the one that was found racially aggravating. Yet when we see the other responses, like “Please will someone smoke this ghastly insult to our country? Why should I pay tax to feed these monkeys? A return to Planet of the Apes is not acceptable” another vocal attack on Gina Miller. Now, the judge found that this was not menacing and acquitted Lord Phillips of the charge related to that post. So in this case let’s take a step back to the 14th of march when we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/mar/14/face-off-mps-and-social-media-giants-online-hate-speech-facebook-twitter), where we see “Social Media companies including Twitter, Facebook and Google have come under pressure from MPs for failing to take tougher action to tackle hate speech online” so as we see people like Yvette Cooper taking cheap shots at technological complicated issues to get a few easy points before the election, it seems that in regards to Gina Miller, UK’s little Yvette seems to be either really really quiet, or the media decided just to not take notice of her. Is that not weird too? It is all a little too sanctimonious to me.

Another post from this Lord Thingamajig was “I will open the bidding. £2,000 in cash for the first person to carve Arnold Sube into pieces, piece of shit” which was seen by her honour to be ‘menacing’ but not ‘racially aggravated’. Let’s take you through the legality. In the assault side we see ‘the actus reus of assault is committed when one person causes another to apprehend or fear that force is about to be used to cause some degree of personal contact and possible injury. There must be some quality of reasonableness to the apprehension on the part of the victim‘. So this is supposedly a lord, a wealthy man and for all intent and purpose an intolerable buffoon (read: legally speaking a man who is not very nice). In support I offer R v Ireland [1997] 3 WLR 534, “The defendant made a series of silent telephone calls over three months to three different women. He was convicted under s.47 Offences against the Person Act 1861. He appealed contending that silence cannot amount to an assault and that psychiatric injury is not bodily harm“, yet in social media, empty screens have no value and the specific part “Holroyd J. to a jury that “no words or singing are equivalent to an assault”: Meade’s and Belt’s case 1 (1823) 1 Lew. C.C. 184” could also give rise that poetry and prose within social media texts could carry the same weight, allowing for less defence by the defending abuser on social media, especially if that person would try to rely on some obscure dark comedy aspect. In addition to the earlier given, as the quote included ‘£2,000 in cash for the first person‘ making it a contest (read: race to the target) and here we see again in the case R v Ireland [1997] 3 WLR 534 the issue given as ‘to fear an immediate application of force‘ now comes into play with £2,000 and with 20,000 dimes it would become anyone’s dime to relieve economic hardship, which is overwhelming to many people in the UK.

Although he has been found guilty, it seems to me that as he was acquitted from some parts. Yet these parts are part of a whole, this whole is not just his mere right of communication, it is the abusive approach he makes in all this and as such in the Mens Rea part we need to find that ‘in contact to the other and that contact was caused either intentionally or recklessly‘, well it seems to me that the published texts clearly shows the reckless part, which is evidently seen by thousands if not millions of others. Although the precise places were not given to me, a case could be made that it could have been intentional. You see, some were responses to categories. I am guessing that the ‘naughty ideas on orgasm‘ were in some ‘girly’ page or a given section on sex in for example the Guardian, as such it will be hard to prove that there was ‘intent’, yet reckless had already been established and that was enough.

In all of this there is no given defence. The options offered by the accused on the matter like “It’s not for first generation immigrants to behave the way Gina Miller did” is one I can immediately counter. She is a resident of the UK, a legal one (which has no influence), as such she has a freedom of speech, a freedom of opinion and a right to be politically aligned in any direction. As I stated, I am in opposition of her Bremain view, but it remains a valid view, whether right or wrong is in the eyes of the beholder. In her eyes I am the one with the wrong view on ‘Brexit v Bremain’. In the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/11/man-jail-offering-money-run-over-gina-miller-rhodri-philipps-viscount-brexit) that started all this is also the quote “The judge added: “To some who don’t know you they would perceive the offers of bounty as menacing.”“, her honour seems to step over the issue that there were two money offering events as such there is a pattern, in the second there is the issue that in this economic day and age there is the risk that too many people would take a member of the aristocracy at their word, as such these were two oral contracts towards establishing a criminal act. The fact that I see no mention of this is actually a larger issue. In this we see a lot more at revolvy.com (not sure about the source at present regarding correctness of data). Here we see that he holds half a dozen titles, all inherited. In addition we see “Following a complaint made in November 2016, Philipps was arrested in January 2017 by Metropolitan Police officers investigating online abuse against a 51-year-old woman. In March 2017 he was charged with malicious communications with racially aggravated factors, over alleged threats against Gina Miller, the woman behind a successful legal challenge against the UK government’s intention to give notice to leave the European Union without an act of parliament“, this implies that Rhodri Philipps is an optional repeat offender, a fact that the Guardian did not make mention of.

So as I seem to have wrapped that up neat and decently tight, it seems that any upcoming article on Twitter social media and online hate speech should be thrown in the faces of any MP (literally throw that paper into their faces I mean), with the mention that unless they are a lot more consistent in their actions and silence regarding Gina Miller, they should shut the ‘eff’ up and start doing something useful for a living.

The other part that irritates me a little is the sterility of the event as the article shows. Now, from the Guardian points of view that makes sense, the reality is that this is an emotional situation and as such emotions will run high soon as such it makes sense. In addition, there is nothing wrong with the article that Julia Gregory wrote, yet the fact that I got a lot more issues, events and facts in front of me in about 5 minutes gives rise that the lack of illumination of acts that several papers show in the last 6 months regarding Rhodri Philipps, the 4th Viscount St Davids give rise to a loosely translated ‘structural problem’ with this person and the way how he communicates. Now as stated before we all have the freedom of speech and expression, which is not in question, yet this person bankrupt three times, another implied pending case as well as.

We will hear tomorrow what the man has coming, I wonder if it will be another suspended sentence like in Germany, if that is so that the House of Lords would need to take a sitting on the situation and discuss whether a Viscount should be allowed to hold his title when there is the larger consideration that it allows the person to evade jail sentences. We can all agree that any person, living upstairs or downstairs in the mansion has rights to speak and sometimes is might be grammatically correct, yet it is a lot less refined that that of a London Dockworker; these moments do occur (we all have these issues, especially during a sports match), yet as it is seen in repetition, should a person in such an elevated position of privilege not be held to higher standards? If so, should he be allowed to keep all those titles? In the end the House of Lords would rule against my request, yet it is important to hold that conversation. Merely because this is not some revamping of words and an edited view of some interview, these are the words that he submitted to social media, ready to be seen by thousands and more. In his case we get an actual first that in the consideration of upstairs, downstairs that he is the one who should reside in the basement and the staff members on the first flow, sleeping in a lovely bedroom with a nice view.

To be regarded in high esteem is one thing, to actually live up to it, quite another. In all that it seems to me that Rhodri Colwyn Philipps, 4th Viscount St Davids failed on every level possible, that might be seen as an accomplishment, yet is it the one we should allow for?

 

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Deadly diversification

A term that is very much aligned with finances, perhaps to some degree this is about that, but it is even more about the diversification of business. The path we see did not start today or yesterday, yet as the news releases pile up, we need to consider the impact some are creating, mostly by not making any level of an impression. The final straw became clear and visible as Eurogamer (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-12-20-crytek-breaks-silence-lets-go-of-multiple-studios) gave us the news on Crytek. The quote “Crytek had struggled to pay staff since May 2016, but a source within Crytek’s main office in Frankfurt, Germany, told Eurogamer last week that October salaries had arrived, with November salaries set to be paid this week” is at the heart of the matter and as we realise that it is end December, we feel for those people who have been without pay for the longest of times. Now I am not going to kick a person who is down, that just ain’t cricket. Yet what does matter is that if we were to believe Ubisoft, that this house, the makers of Far Cry, Ryse and Crysis is in a mess that is deeper than a mere slump.

So Ubisoft? Were they not evangelising how great a game Far Cry was and how well Far Cry had been doing? If that is so, how come that Crytek is in such a mess? From what was initially a game I did not like (far Cry 1 on xbox360 is the only game I literally threw out of the window, the disc that is) was a game that I ignored, until I got the free edition on the PS3 as part of my PlayStation Plus, so as one does not look a gift horse (you know what I mean), I had a go at it and I was amazed on how a failure had become such a good game. I even bought the 360 edition later. Yet I kept my distance with Far Cry 4 as things were a little weird and the least said about Far Cry Primal the better, although it was not a bad game (at $20 I was willing to chance the burn of a lost $20 bill).

Yet here I myself was making the initial error. You see Crytek was the initial developer of Far Cry, the rest came from Ubisoft Montreal. Far Cry 3 was awesome and what followed was basically more of the same with a few nagging issues, not bad games mind you, but continuation of the same is what was the matter with the Far Cry series, a lesson Ubisoft has been unwilling to learn. I loved Far Cry 3 because of the stealth part, there is a lack of stealth games and Far Cry 3 filled that need. Yet repetition will never be a good taskmaster so as we saw more focus on large explosions and big guns, I personally saw a decline in the Far Cry series. Everyone said I was wrong and the fact that the ratings have been in decline is to some extent evidence that I was not.

Now we know that Ubisoft sees itself as the multibillion dollar revenue titan, yet we can agree that it only remains to be a titan for as long as the games are really good and it has been lacking in that department. If Ubisoft is still breathing it is mainly due to the impressive improvement that Watch Dogs 2 is turning out to be (by Ubisoft Montreal) and the anticipated success that For Honor is showing to become (also Ubisoft Montreal). So is that all?

Nope, the other side of their gaming franchises are taking another hit when we consider the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/19/assassins-creed-film-review-michael-fassbender-videogame-marion-cotillard), when we see ‘achieves transcendental boredom‘ gets a rating of one star and scores a lot lower than last year’s remake of Point Break, we know that the bottom of the barrel had been reached. Ubisoft might not mind losing $120 million as they are approaching 3 billion in value, yet that value becomes debatable and questions whether the value of Ubisoft has been inflated when we look at the non-successes from the last few years. As for the movie? Well I personally think that other questions come to mind when IMDB gives it 8.2 out of 10, yet Rotten Tomatoes sees it as 26% fresh, making it basically 74% rotten. Where the tomato dudes and dudettes state “the CGI-fuelled end result still is still a joylessly over-plotted slog“, with a stellar cast that includes Michael Fassbender (12 years an entrepreneur), Jeremy Irons (from Brideshead Revisited to Justice League a hit) and not to forget the utterly lovely fashionista  Marion Cotillard from Orleans (which is cool as this is one of the few French cities I actually visited in the past), who some saw first in Taxi (by Luc Besson) and most remember for being the person who drive the dagger home into Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises, with dozens of additional awesome gigs in between. So the cast was already top notch. So as I see the ratings and critics we can set the issue with the director and script that both might be regarded as below basement levels. In all this Ubisoft needs to be pointed at as the cause for the mere reason that you do not sit idly by as what should have been regarded as the most important franchise of Ubisoft to take a hit like that. A mistake that is not the first one (remember Unity). In this, the review Forbes is giving, as diplomatic as they could be, gives way that several high placed Ubisoft meetings are due and these board members better get a really good grasp of the risks they are now running. Although, I thought they would not last this long, the fact that they are still around can only be attributed to the hit ‘the Division’ became (it really is), the improvements Watch Dogs 2 proved to contain and the informing approach that Jason VandenBerghe has done through quality gameplay videos on YouTube showing the people that For Honor is indeed the awesome journey gamers hoped it to be. We could speculate that the life of Ubisoft would be depending to promote several people from Ubisoft Montreal to get promoted to the board of directors whilst we trim the fat with a sharp blade from the current collection of board members, whether Yves Guillemot would like to call it trimming fat or slicing off surplus weight is up to him, but he needs to do something to get Ubisoft to stand out in a few ways, standing out in one way will no longer be enough, the movie is making sure of that. Regarding For Honor, we have a small addition (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1LF52R8U_0) where the gamer himself is really not that good, yet we still get to see some awesome gameplay, making us all wonder, what damage can we, as overall better gamers do? The fact that I had this question in mind in a multiplayer setting is something I rarely have, mainly because I am not that much of a multiplayer person.

Yet let’s get back to bleeding and sickly Ubisoft. We will see how they will do and how desperate the fans will be to see the movie, yet the reviews are not great and as the AC fans have Rogue One, Moana and Office Christmas Party to see the options for the AC movie are not that great, yet we should consider that any large issues we will possibly see in the new releases could be countered by Ubisoft giving us a free download of the movie, which they can then book as sales and as negative sales (loss) keeping their tax deductibility high as well as their ‘revenue’.

We could attribute that approach to optional good CFO management, yet in that regard, the games that are lacking the high reviews they could have had, as seen by Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Far Cry Primal and the Crew. We need to wonder what else gamers are missing out on and the issue with the movie should not be linked, yet the gamers are unlikely to see it that way. With two non-hits, the movie now expected to be a flop and the AC franchise a year away from the next one, you should see this as an alarm issue for Ubisoft; in addition it is not impossible that Ubisoft could decide down the track (next quarter) to push forward the time line of the next AC game, with additional risks that the next one is another version of Unity.

In all this I am intentionally ignoring Steep. Even though the ratings are not great, I think it is a great achievement in its unique kind. Extreme snow sports are very niche, just like some sport games. The open world approach is truly cool and the fact that there is a tongue in cheek developer amongst that team and added the achievement ‘Shaked by the bell‘ is just awesome, just remember to go head firsts! I will accept that niche games like this score lower because of the niche character, but the fact that it shows something not seen before needs to be heralded, especially as I have been roasting Yves his chestnuts for not doing so in a few franchises.

Crytek might not be linked to Ubisoft, the issues they face are hopefully a loud wakeup call towards Ubisoft. Diversification in gaming is a good thing, as far as I can see, Jason VandenBerghe is excellent evidence of that, yet the wrong direction and distance could hamper growth and divert attention in another direction. Any firm that has €2.98 billion in revenue, whilst ending up with a remaining €561 million in net income should realise that the cost of 10,000 employees is quite the anchor. It is hard to state whether a remaining 18% of the revenue is a good result. I might have a good grasp on games and gaming, yet the CFO side of such a firm is a close an equal to reading tea leaves. Consider that next year, the AC movie results will be in. Not sure on the producers and where the funding came from, because Ubisoft Motion Pictures is only one of the three producers, so the damage would be limited, but with the additional releases in 2017, Ubisoft needs to make very sure that they have at least 2 really good hits in 2017. For Honor seems to be a definite one, yet the other two at present announced is the South Park game and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Ghost Recon has a good track record, sales will have to show how good a game it is, of course until the final version is ready, we just cannot tell. Of course in addition there will be the games that remain unknown for now, games that will see the first light of day on June 13-15 2017 at the E3, unable to tell whether it will include additional 2017 releases, yet from my point of view, if the list does not change, there will be slimming required for Ubisoft. It would be great to see Ubisoft escape the abyss, especially as the push at present might not be entirely their fault, yet they were partly producers, giving them a slice of that expected flop too.

In the end, these are only a few parts, as stated, Ubisoft has had its shares of successes and the Division is one, with a new DLC available, those who did not take the road of the season pass will have to shell out $15 to get this DLC, giving Ubisoft another boost in revenue. In the end, do these actions matter to anyone but Ubisoft? I am going with yes! You see, we might be positive or slightly negative for the first Assassins Creed, yet there is no doubt that 100% of the fans have been 100% positive regarding Assassins Creed 2 and Brotherhood. This is the reality and we gamers, we want more of that amazement offered in November 2009 and 2010. I reckon it is that part that has driven fans (me included) to such anger as the franchise started to slide and the movie reviews so far aren’t helping either.

Yet, there is a clarity in the success that Watch Dogs 2 brought, which is a forward momentum, baby steps, baby steps.

From my point of view, Ubisoft needs to diversify as stated, yet I reckon it should be in another direction of gaming. I think that the salvation (read: stronger growth) of Ubisoft lies in new IP, in light of Watch Dogs 2 we know that the right team can salvage broken IP, we also know that the right person can create awesome IP (read: Jason VandenBerghe), so if Ubisoft can pull this off twice more, it could return back to the top it once clearly held, even more interesting for the big dude at the top of that hill (read: listens to the name Yves), possibly with a margin decently better than 18%. In that regard 2017 will be an interesting year.

 

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