The girls are now convinced that I must get a hot rod. I’m not going to argue with them. I must not, however, show them these collectible hot rod pedal cars, because they’ll want one each. I can’t stretch to the $8,000 to $12,000 each they’re expected to go for.
A cycling revolution is within Greater Manchester’s grasp. A revolution that shows we’re as serious about cycling as cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
But we need your support to make this vision a reality. Pledge your support right now by clicking the link on this page.
Greater Manchester is bidding for up to £20 million of government investment, to be spent over two years, to make cycling safer and easier.
Most of this investment will be in a series of more continental-style, largely segregated, cycle routes within the heart of the conurbation, together with the delivery of a number of cycle and ride stations.
£20 million’s not a lot, compared to the huge amounts spent on motor traffic, but it’s a start.
The petition needs over 100,000 signatories to get discussed in Parliament. It’s got over 25,000 in its first two days, so please help keep the momentum up.
We need to encourage more cycling, better infrastructure and more understanding from- and harsher punishment of, if necessary- drivers when it comes to sharing the road. The ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report is built upon an enquiry into the state of cycling in the UK and its recommendations are based upon input from a wide range of experts.
It would be cool to get a whole Critical Mass of cyclists wearing these. Not sure whether it would count as irony or absurdity.
This film features product placement by a gun company. That tells you all you need to know about its tone and intent. For the first quarter of the movie, Charles Bronson keeps going on about how he’s waiting for his friend Wildey to turn up. When Wildey does arrive, it’s revealed that ‘he’ is a rather ugly pistol. Bronson quickly fulfils his contractual obligations by explaining to awed onlookers that the gun takes cut down rifle cartridges and has some sort of compensator device which can be adjusted depending upon the power of the load. Wildey then proceeds to kill loads of street punks.
With everyone he cared about dead or alienated at the end of Death Wish 2, Paul Kersey decided to take a vigilante bus tour of the USA- like the Littlest Hobo, but with violent retribution. Finally returning to New York, he brings the Curse of Kersey with him- the old army pal he’s visiting is beaten by a gang at the exact moment that Kersey phones him. The old codger manages to hold on until Paul has made a mad taxi dash across town, then expires almost immediately he gets there.
Arrested on suspicion of the murder- and giving the name Kimble- Kersey is given an ultimatum by the Chief of Police. He can bring his sidewalk vigilante act back to the Big Apple so long as the cops get to look more effective than they really are as a result. Kersey returns to the warzone that is East New York and sets to work.
It’s particularly dangerous to be a woman when Paul Kersey’s in town. One of his new neighbours starts helping out with his street patrols- so the gang targets his wife to be so brutally raped that she dies of her wounds. A public defender takes an interest in ‘Kimble’ and makes the terminal error of sleeping with him. She ends up dying in an automotive fireball. A local shopkeeper is emboldened by Kersey’s actions- so the gang’s leader slices his wife’s throat.
The men in Kersey’s shadow don’t suffer as much. The battered old veteran who supplies a cupboard full of guns is beaten up and thrown off a fire escape, but he lives and is back on his feet in days even after suffering multiple broken bones. The Curse of Kersey is far worse if you’re a woman.
It all ends with a massive fire fight, leaving dozens- maybe even hundreds- dead and razing even more of the blighted neighbourhood. In amongst all the smoke and blood, Kersey just picks up his suitcases and wanders off, not really giving a toss that he’s destroyed more innocent lives and legitimate businesses in a couple of weeks than the drugged up scum he was killing could ever have hoped to.
A decade had passed between the first Death Wish and its second sequel, and a lot of blood had flowed into the gutter. Michael Winner must have moved with the times, making this a dumb action movie with a nod to the reactionary glorification of street law from the first two. It’s still Charles Bronson killing hipsters, though, so it’s fun if you ignore its attempts to say something nasty about the state of the States in the eighties.
You can buy Death Wish 3 from Amazon.
This documentary is part of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, providing a lesson in how lies, lobbying and the media can create controversy from nothing and destroy businesses and lives.
With the arrival of home video, a whole slew of films were suddenly available for home viewing. What would previously have required a trip to Times Square or a low-rent drive in Stateside could now be found on the shelves at corner shops and petrol stations in Britain. The market for home video grew so quickly that distributors bought the rights to anything and everything. Giallo, grindhouse and all manner of cheap indie horror was rented without any sort of classification or quality control.
It would be disingenuous to suggest that these films were great works of art. Some were groundbreaking, most were entertaining and the most talked about ones broke numerous taboos. They were bound to fall foul of the sort of people who like to condemn things they haven’t seen. The usual suspects all lined up- Mary Whitehouse, the Daily Mail and otherwise impotent Tory MPs caused a fuss which became a frenzy, fuelled by research fudged to give the desired results. The Police got involved, raiding shops and taking all their stock- to watch down the nick later before arbitrarily burning it.
Once the frenzy was up and running, Whitehouse and the Mail found their useful idiot in the gullible shape of Graham Bright MP, who pushed through a Bill introducing over-the-top censorship. The law was used to destroy business and send people to jail, but was never even legal itself. All of this done to “protect” the lower classes from material that might corrupt them.
Almost every new entertainment medium has drawn calls for, and actual, censorship to protect the proles from stuff that might “corrupt” them- from vaudeville to video games. The video nasty palaver was just a particularly bad example. The moral panic is still in use- currently over benefits- with the usual suspects frothing at the mouth and propagating useful lies and damaging people’s lives. Censorship is not as bad as destroying lives, but it was an empowering stepping stone on the way there for fundamentalists (religious and Thatcherite) who bullied and cheated it into law. The takeaway lesson from this film, and the eighties in general, is to question all those who want to crack down on your freedoms for ill-defined reasons.
I watched the start of this film thirty years ago*, now I’ve finally seen the rest of it.
Obviously, the first Death Wish was enough of a success to warrant a sequel, so here we are- different city, same crime-run-rampant paranoia, more street law fantasising.
Run out of New York at the end of Death Wish, Paul Kersey now lives in Los Angeles. He’s designing the boring square headquarters for a local radio station and sleeping with one of their presenters. His daughter is even improving after the trauma she suffered in the first film. Things are looking good, until he tangles with a gang of muggers which includes evil Laurence Fishburne.
In a frightening development that Kersey doesn’t seem to have considered, the muggers can read, so they can find out where he lives from the contents of his wallet. They break in to his home to rape (and, later, kill) his housekeeper. Then they attack Kersey and kidnap his daughter, who jumps to her death before they can all abuse her.
Kersey is, of course, devastated by this- you can tell this by the couple of extra lines that appear on Bronson’s face for a few scenes. However, unlike the earlier film, there isn’t any soul searching to be done before he takes up his guns. All it takes is a minute or two of meaningful wood chopping and he’s getting the semi automatic out from its hiding place in the cupboard.
In the first film, Kersey never got the chance to settle the score with evil Jeff Goldblum and had to settle for shooting random muggers and scumbags instead. This time he gets a shot at closure as, unfortunately for evil Laurence Fishburne and his gang, he has seen their faces.
As is the way with sequels, the set pieces are bigger but have less of an impact. The detective from the first film returns, though it’s never clear just why he’s there and he ends up dead. With all his ties to his pre vigilante life severed I can’t wait to see what it is that sets Kersey off in Death Wish 3 and how crazy he gets.
*On a school trip to France, there were a few videos on the coach that the teachers played to keep a gang of thirteen year olds from getting restless. They let Death Wish 2 reach the first rape scene before they realised what we were watching and stopped it