TMR 312 : The Appointment (1981/2)

WeysomWoodward"There are things in control of you that you know nothing about, and it's probably just as well you don't."—Lindsey C Vickers

For the 17th TMR Movie Roundtable we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson, Antony Rotunno and Mark Campbell for another four-way discussion, this time on the cult British supernatural horror film The Appointment (1981/2) starring Edward Woodward and directed by Lindsey C Vickers.

"An evil and enigmatic entity throws a family into turmoil in Lindsey C. Vickers' much sought-after cult horror. Unable to attend his daughter’s violin recital, suburban father Ian—played by Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man)—is haunted by a series of prophetic nightmares that seem to foresee a looming tragedy. Are dark forces gathering to be unleashed upon him?"—BFI.org.uk

After initial screenings at film festivals in the early 1980s, The Appointment wasn't released in cinemas or on television (for various unfathomable reasons) but only on home media, although it did eventually get broadcast on UK regional television in the 1990s—a showing that, ironically enough, its director missed! Ever since, many have searched for the film—religiously scanning TV schedules and hunting in second-hand shops in the hope of tracking down one of those old VHS or Betamax video tapes—but it was not until 2022 that the film became widely available once again thanks to the British Film Institute and the film's director Lindsey Vickers (who was extensively involved in the project). The Appointment is now available on Blu-ray Disc as part of the BFI Flipside series (see show notes).

Join us as we discuss the production and reflect theologically/philosophically on the themes and meanings of this almost-lost cult British movie.

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TMR 310 : Account Suspended

Account SuspendedAnother short podcast just to explain what's been going on with TMR over the last several weeks. As some of you may know (if you've been to the Schedule Page recently), the TMR website was suspended near the beginning of April for technical reasons—although initially I thought it might be for political reasons, but thankfully it wasn't. To remedy the situation, I had to delete all the audio files from the server within seven days—(or else the suspension would be repeated)—which, of course, left the website as a kind of empty shell of podcast descriptions with no audio content. Then I was left with the question: What now? Was there a practical alternative for hosting TMR's content? Or was it all over?

Please join me on my short walk in the depths—well, not quite "the depths"—of the Lancashire countryside as I explain a little more about what's been preoccupying me for the last several weeks.

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TMR 308 : Dr Strangelove (1964) (TMR Movie Dialogue)

StrangeloveFor the 16th Movie Roundtable—or rather Dialogue this time—we are joined once again by our good friend Antony Rotunno, for a discussion on Stanley Kubrick's classic movie Dr Strangelove (1964), starring Peter Sellers, George C Scott and Sterling Hayden (among others).

Imagining the USA to be inflitrated by Soviet polluters of the domestic water supply, the deranged General Jack D Ripper, commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, initiates "Wing Attack Plan R"... and you probably know the rest! This one has been near the top of my "roundtable" list for some time, but it took Antony's particular fondness for it to nudge it into first place. And I'm very glad of that; it's a truly great film, and my enthusiasm for it has only continued to grow as I've rewatched, read and thought about it again over the last few weeks.

Some say Dr Strangelove is the darkest of all comedies. And maybe that's so. Could there be anything darker than a nuclear end to the world brought about by human madness, ignorance, stupidity and hubris? Or a "Mutually Assured Destruction" revealing itself to be exactly that—M.A.D.? And yet, somehow, Kubrick and his brilliant team manage to make us laugh. Almost in spite of ourselves. After all, no matter how "over the top" it all might seem, there's always been something very real about Dr Strangelove. And I think we know it.

Join us as we discuss the production, consider its themes, and reflect on (just some of) what the film might have to say to us today.

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TMR 307 : Niggling Heavenly Bananas & Rights In Spleens

Nigglings "Just as jellyfish, and woodpeckers, and ostriches have no rights, Homo sapiens have no rights also."—Yuval Noah Harari (2014)

Once again, out of the blue, I'm putting out a short podcast. (This time it really is quite short.) It has to do with a TEDx talk by a certain Dr Yuval Noah Harari—a well-known professor of history and "public intellectual" (who is mates with Star Fleet Commander Klaus Schwab, I believe)—which he gave almost ten years ago, but which has recently "gone viral" and drawn comment from everyone and their cat (and their dog and their rabbit). Quite understandably though, because in that talk Dr Harari said some rather controversial things—things like: "Just as jellyfish, and woodpeckers, and ostriches have no rights, Homo sapiens have no rights also." Which—again, understandably—has niggled people somewhat. So, given that I was also niggled somewhat, I thought I'd niggle back. Somewhat. And share my nigglings.

Anyway, that's what it's about. A niggle.

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TMR 306 : Three Crumblings

3Crumblings "People went a little crazy, a little fascist, during the so-called Covid pandemic. And now, here we are. There are two roads ahead. We have to choose ... you, me, all of us."—CJ Hopkins

Out of the blue, I'm putting out a short podcast—short by my standards, that is; it's still almost half an hour—in which I simply talk about three recent (related) events that I think are important to note. And I'm calling it "Three Crumbings" because each item, in its own way, symbolises the ongoing crumbling of the old covid narrative as it tries to slope off into the distance in the hope of being forgotten. I won't reveal what items one and two are here—you'll probably know them anyway—but item three (which maybe fewer of you know about, and which is the main reason for doing this) concerns the extraordinary case of CJ Hopkins, the American playwright, author and political satirist living in Berlin whose court case has just ended with his being found not guilty of something that it was patently obvious he wasn't guilty of in the first place! "Kafkaesque" he calls it, and rightly so. Anyway, that's what it's about.

 

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TMR 305 : The Nephilim Chaps' Royal Green Meatballs

Neph23 If a $6,000,000 golden toilet fell on a spider would it look like an accident? Why are Vegemite sandwiches outlawed in Van Diemen's Land under the Treason Felony Act of 1848? How many giant mammoth meatballs does US President O'Biden keep under his chin? And will Frank Johnson raise enough cash through this evening's kickstarter to fund his ological research into the question: "Was Jesus born in Somerset?"

These (and other important questions) are answered as we kick off 2024 here at TMR with our annual New Year's Eve show, a zany roundtable chat with high-ranking members of The Fireside Nephilim Chaps secret society.

Join us—Jenifer Thyssen (classical singer), GK (Like Flint Radio), Frank Johnson (toaster strudel), Jeff Bankens (Strongman for Christ), Charles Philip Arthur George Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (affectionately known as His Majesty King Charles III, King of the United Kingdon and Other Commonwealth Realms), and Yours Truly—as we put aside the cares of this world for about an hour and discuss everything under the sun in aid of Frank's latest skientific research.

Be there, or be square.

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TMR 304 : Eraserhead (1977) (Movie Roundtable)

Eraserhead“It is a personal film, and no reviewer, or critic, or viewer has ever given an interpretation that is my interpretation.”—David Lynch

For the 15th Movie Roundtable here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson, Antony Rotunno and Mark Campbell for another four-way discussion, this time on David Lynch's cult surrealist "horror" film Eraserhead from 1977.

Or is that perhaps not quite right? Each of us in the discussion loves the film Eraserhead (for various reasons), but I don't think any of us finds it exactly horrifying. Certainly, my reaction is more one of bemusement plus amusement, and the feeling that I'm a fly on the wall inside someone else's nightmare. So perhaps it would be better (for me) to call Eraserhead a "cult surrealist dark comedy nightmare film"? Or maybe that's not quite right either. Perhaps: a "cult surrealist nightmare-that-is-somehow-also-dark-comedy-without-ceasing-to-be-a-nightmare film"? That works for me, but I'd be just as happy to say that this film—which seems as strange today as when it first came out back in 1977—simply defies description.

Join us as we discuss the film's production, ponder its meaning(s)—or lack thereof (?)—and consider what this "dream of dark and troubling things” might have to "say" to us today.

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TMR 300 : Thirteen Days (2000) (Movie Roundtable)

Antony Rotunno, Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Yours TrulyFor episode 300 of TMR—the 14th of our Movie Roundtables—we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Antony Rotunno for a four-way discussion on the historical political thriller Thirteen Days (2000), starring Bruce Greenwood, Stephen Culp, Dylan Baker and Kevin Costner, directed by Roger Donaldson.

Based upon the book The Kennedy Tapes : Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis by Ernest R May and Philip D Zelikow—(a massive work of over 700 pages containing transcripts of John F Kennedy's secret recordings of White House meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis)—Thirteen Days retells and dramatises (with a mix of historical accuracy and artistic licence) the world-shaking events of 16th - 28th October 1962). Faced with photographic evidence of Russian nuclear missiles on Cuban soil during the height of the Cold War, Jack and Bobby Kennedy (along with various advisors) struggle to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Crisis in the midst of fear, uncertainty and opposition from their military chiefs.

Join us as we discuss the film's production, ponder its historicity, and ask if there is anything to be learnt from it for the present time.

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TMR 299 : Is Satan Woke? (With Rev Phill Sacre and Julian Charles)

Phill Sacre & Yours TrulyWe are joined once again by Rev Phill Sacre—an ordained minister (Church of England) and host of the YouTube channel "Sacred Musings"—for another thought-provoking and wide-ranging "post-covid" conversation in the series: "Following Christ in the New Old Normal".

Strange as it might seem—given that Phill's ordained, and I'm a Methodist lay preacher—this time we centre our conversation in the character of "Satan", or "The Satan" (to be more precise). Reflecting upon the clear manifestation of Evil in the world (particularly over the last three years)—and trying to make sense of the strange, seemingly ubiquitous eruption of (what one might call) "woke" sensibilities in recent times—we discuss questions such as: Who, or what, is "The Satan"? What does "he" do? What sort of influence does "he" have in the world? Where did "he" come from? Has "he" always been this way? What is that "serpent" in the Garden of Eden narrative anyway? Just a snake? Or have we been missing something deeper—that perhaps the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah hint at—that might tell us something about "his" origins?

(Phill is a Christian minister. Ordained in the Church of England, he formerly served in a parish on the Essex coast, but now leads an independent housechurch. He also runs the online ministries, "Understand the Bible" and "Sacred Musings : Building on Christian Foundations" (on YouTube).)

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TMR 295 : DOWNFALL (2004) (Movie Roundtable)

Der UntergangFor the 13th TMR Movie Roundtable we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson, Antony Rotunno and Mark Campbell for a discussion on the superb 2004 German-language war drama, Downfall ("Der Untergang") starring Bruno Ganz and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel.

Based in part upon the memoirs of Hitler's last personal secretary, Gertraud "Traudl" Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara), Downfall tells the story of the final ten days of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. As the Red Army closes in on Berlin in late April 1945, Hitler (Bruno Ganz) and those closest to him retreat to the Führerbunker, an elaborate air raid shelter next to the Reich Chancellery. Sitting in his Map Room, Hitler fantasises about a Third Reich victory and continues to make futile plans for his depleted forces. He berates his generals for cowardice and betrayal and ignores all advice that he should leave Berlin, preferring instead to die if the war is lost. As the realisation dawns that defeat is imminent, Hitler—still refusing to see fault in himself, but ony in those around him—swiftly marries his long-term partner Eva Braun (Juliane Köhler), and the two prepare a suicide pact. After the deadly deed is done (or is it?*), Joseph Goebbels (Ulrich Matthes) assumes the role of leader for one brief day, as he and his wife Magda (Corinna Harfouch) extend the insane ideology so far as to take the lives of their own six children in order to "save" them from a life without Hitler and the Third Reich, after which they too commit suicide. Swiftly thereafter comes unconditional surrender, as Traudl and others disappear into the Soviet lines and escape into the countryside.

Join us as we disuss the production, consider if there are any lessons to learn for today, * and talk briefly (without reaching any firm conclusions) about the possibility that Hitler and Eva escaped from the Bunker and fled to Argentina.

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TMR 292 : TMR Survey

NephDoughnutThis is a shorter-than-usual podcast in which I ask listeners a few important questions about the future "direction" of TMR.

After that—as an excuse for a bit of fun, really—I take the opportunity to share one of my fake phone-ins. (Yes, you read that right!) Each week, at the invitation of Mark Campbell who hosts a hospital radio show here in the UK, I phone in as a fictitious person called John Ashe ("with an E") from Basingstoke, who chats with Mark and shares his "message of the week" for about ten minutes. It's basically a very gentle comedy improvisation—on the edge of believability, although I don't think anyone actually believes it—and we simply see where the conversation leads as we try not to crack up on-air. So far we've kept a straight face (if you can say that about radio). In this recent episode, John talks about his dentist, Laura, who has a fascination with UFOs.

"John Ashe ("spelt with an E") is either 60 or 62 years old and lives in Basingstoke, UK. In the 1970s he had two girlfriends (at different times), one called Maud, the other Molly. His hobbies include riding a pogo stick and walking with stilts (neither of which, contrary to the ignorant opinion of his newly trained GP, has any connection to his persistent back problems). Though not short of money, as a fairly successful, now-retired, quantity surveyor, John occasionally endeavours to supplement his pensions by buying and selling Cornish pasties and transporting them up and down the M6 to outlets from which he can gain the greatest profit before they go bad. He once (famously in Baskingtoke circles) won a second-hand lawnmower in a postal competition."

[Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.]

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TMR 291 : The Nephilim Chaps' Prosthetic Skydive

Neph22Is a bee that identifies as a bee no longer a fish? How many covid boosters do you need to avoid a traffic accident? What's the difference between a lettuce and a UK Prime Minister? And will Frank Bot raise enough cash through this evening's kickstarter to fund their/prosecute/Fauci engineering research project to equip size-Z prosthetic breasts with helium-filled parachutes in the interests of air safety?

These (and other vitally important questions) are answered as we kick off 2023 here at TMR with our annual New Year's Eve show—a crazy roundtable chat with high-ranking members of The Fireside Nephilim Chaps secret society.ViroDonate

Join us—Jenifer Thyssen (classical singer), Crusy (Like Flint Radio), Frank Johnson (prosthetic parachute engineer), Frank Bot (A.I. prosthetic parachute engineer ), Mark Campbell (snowman spy), Oscar (the eighteen-year-old three-year-old), The Right Honourable Rishi Sunak, MP (the UK's selected "Prime Minister") and Yours Truly—as we put aside the cares of this world for just over an hour and debate every issue imaginable to the human mind in aid of Frank's latest skientific research.

Be there, or be square.

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TMR 290 : A Very British Coup (Special TMR Roundtable)

SoylentFor this special TMR Movie Roundtable, we welcome back the veteran British journalist John Booth—who joins Mark Campbell, Antony Rotunno and Yours Truly—for an extended four-way conversation on the highly perceptive and well-made British TV series from 1988 entitled A Very British Coup.

Based upon the 1982 novel of the same name by journalist and Labour politician Chris Mullin, A Very British Coup follows the career-in-office of fictional UK Labour Prime Minister Harry Perkins (brilliantly played by Ray McAnally) whose radical policies ruffle the feathers of the Establishment. Opposed from its inception by deep-state actors in the media, intelligence services and civil service—and indeed by political and corporate interests on the other side of the Pond—Perkins' democratically elected left-wing government and Perkins himself quickly become the targets of smear campaigns and "dirty tricks" aimed at undermining him and reshaping his government along establishment lines. But Perkins is no fool; this working-class "man of the people" is also a shrewd observer of elite power, and the forces that oppose him find themselves locked in a contest for dominance that will not easily be won.

Join us as we discuss the series and consider similarities to, and differences from, the real-life Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn (who referenced Harry Perkins in a recent interview) and Harold Wilson (against whom the "secret state" plotted in the 1970s).

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TMR 287 : Soylent Green (1973) (Movie Roundtable)

SoylentFor the 11th of our TMR Movie Roundtables we welcome back our good friends Mark Campbell, Frank Johnson and Antony Rotunno for a four-way discussion on the 1973 eco-dystopian thriller movie Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young and Edward G Robinson, directed by Richard Fleischer.

By 2022, the processes of industrialisation and consumerism have depleted the world's natural respources and led to extreme global warming, overpopulation and severe food shortages. To meet demand, the Soylent Corporation—a massive, government-connected enterprise supplying countless millions—has developed subsistence foodstuffs in the form of highly processed wafers known as Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow. But now, the inhabitants of New York City (numbering around 40,000,000) can look forward to a new product: Soylent Green, a highly nutritious wafer ostensibly made from plankton. But not all is as it seems, as detective Richard Thorn (Charlton Heston) and his researcher Sol Roth (Edward G Robinson) discover as they investigate the assassination of an influential board member of the Corporation. Soylent Green, it turns out, isn't quite as advertised. "Soylent Green is ******!" (Just in case you haven't seen it yet).

Joins us as we discuss the film's production and storyline and consider some of its messages in relation to the real world of 2022.

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TMR 285 : Dissecting the BBC's "Unvaccinated" (with Antony Rotunno & Yours Truly)

AntonyRotunno&JulianCharlesWe welcome back our good friend Antony Rotunno—host of Life and Life Only podcast— for a conversation on the BBC's recent self-styled "documentary" entitled "Unvaccinated".

The programme was billed as an "eye-opening investigation" hosted by mathematician and British TV personality Professor Hannah Fry, the aim of which (according to the BBC) was to understand why a significant proportion of the UK population has decided to remain "unvaccinated against covid-19".

"To fully explore" (sic) the "complex and deeply divisive debate" (again, according to the BBC), Hannah Fry (or the BBC) invited seven covid-19-injection-free participants to share a house with her for several days (or part days?) in order to "unpack long-held opinions, beliefs and fears", "meet leading experts", "confront the latest science and statistics" and "dissect how misinformation spreads on social media"—all in anticipation of a final question: Would they change their minds and "take up the vaccine"?

Instead we were treated to a tendentious and patronising piece of establishment propaganda that—while it could have been a lot worse, and was admittedly entertaining and engaging—was essentially aimed at reinforcing the collapsing covid narrative.

Join us as we discuss the "documentary" and dissect its subtle—though, more often, not so subtle—use of propaganda techniques.

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TMR 282 : Following Christ in the New Old Normal (with Rev Phill Sacre & Julian Charles)

PhillSacre&JulianCharlesWe are joined once again by Rev Phill Sacre—an ordained minister in the Church of England and host of the YouTube channel "Sacred Musings"—for an unstructured and thought-provoking conversation on the subject: "Following Christ in the New Old Normal".

Many are saying "it's all over." We can "just move on." Put it all behind us and get back to the "Old Normal." But is any of that wise, or true? Can we really be confident—after two years of mass manipulation, grotesque profiteering and technocractic power grab—that the darkness we witnessed, just months ago, is really "all over"? And would it be right simply to "move on" and forget the lessons of the Covid Era? Indeed, why would we want to relive the exact Old Normal anyway?

Join us as we discuss what it might mean to follow Christ in the "New Old Normal" and how we might live out and encourage "awakeness" rather than "sleep" in the church and beyond.

(Phill is a Christian minister. He is ordained in the Church of England and serves in a parish on the Essex coast. He also runs the online ministries, "Understand the Bible" and "Sacred Musings : Building on Christian Foundations" (on YouTube). His interviews with us can be found here and here.)

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TMR 275 : The Nephilim Chaps on Planet Omicron

NephDoughnutWould you be professionally offended by a fake arm? How many nuts, bolts and screws can you swallow after a gin and tonic? Might parachutes and armrests save the world from climate change? And will Frank Johnson raise enough cash through this evening's kickstarter to fund his skientific research project to discover the SARS-CoV-2 Omega Variant so as to end the "pandemic"?

ViroDonate These (and other vitally important questions) are answered as we kick off 2022 here at TMR with our annual New Year's Eve show—a crazy roundtable chat with high-ranking members of The Fireside Nephilim Chaps, the secret society affiliated to The Mind Renewed, Like Flint Radio and The Iron Show.

Join us—GK and Crusy (Like Flint Radio), Johnny Iron (The Iron Show), Jenifer Thyssen (classical singer), Frank Johnson (Omega Variant skientist), Jeff Bankens (short-wave strongman), The Right Honourable Boris Johnson, MP (the UK's so-called "Prime Minister") and Yours Truly—as we put aside the cares of this world for a little under an hour and chat our socks off in aid of Frank's latest skientific research.

Be there, or be square. (And don't forget: "There was no party.")

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