My views on Paddington Bear

Good day fellow blog readers, three months since I published my last post (Top 11 Elton John Songs). Sorry it’s been like three months. I’d just had so many things on my mind, but don’t worry, I haven’t disappeared completely. I’m back with my response to a certain news-story that’s been such a high profile one since like the middle of last week.

I’m here to talk about the death of an author named Michael Bond who apparently created Paddington Bear. It’s been reported on every radio station I flicked through, reported on Facebook and even via Wikipedia. I understand how sad it is when someone dies and I offer my sympathies to those who was fans of the author’s creation, but I have to be honest, even when I was growing up, I never liked Paddington Bear that much.

I think my mom grew up with that bear and I heard some of the radio presenters expressing their nostalgia. But nostalgia is something I lack within this creation. I remember seeing pictures and one episode of the TV show, I just didn’t find Paddington that interesting or appealing. So what, he’s a bear who lives in London, hence being named after one of the towns and is dressed as a ploughman? And all the other characters are humans? And he has a taste for marmalade sarnies? I don’t get it. What’s Paddington’s purpose in life? What does he do for a living? What does he wish for? Is he homeless? And speaking of which, that TV adaptation – all the characters, props and settings are hand-drawn and colourless, except Paddington, who’s a stop-mo, er, model in colour? Why not make him the same as the other elements or make all the other characters stop-motion models? It was at least one episode I saw in my life and even as a kid, I found it forgettable and it’s something I would’ve tended to skip.

It seems that Paddington has ironically led an impact among many people. There have been two movies based on Paddington, one just recently coming out. Due to my long lack of interest within it, I dodged the first one and have no intention to see the next. Even the web series-based company voted the TV show as one of The Top 10 British Animated Shows. Er fair enough. But it hasn’t changed my views. Nor did I place it on my personal Top 25 List of UK Kid’s TV Shows, because in my opinion, if pigs could fly, Paddington Bear would compete with more exciting shows i.e. Thunderbirds, Wallace & Gromit, Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons, The Animals Of Farthing Wood, Byker Grove and so forth.

I saw more interesting fictional bears compared to Paddington. These include Baloo from The Jungle Book, Fozzie from the Muppets, oh and Yogi Bear and his kid brother BoBo. Also does Sooty count? I even saw a group of Martian mice who ride motorcycles, turtles who gouge on pizza and have martial arts skills, a dog who works for the law enforcement in Mississippi, an earthworm who wears a spacesuit, a blue hedgehog with an ability to run at the speed of light, some to name. Them creations made my childhood!

Mike, if you’re looking down from heaven, I meant no offence.

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2017 begins

Happy new year everybody! Once again, the start of a new year begins. Hopefully 2017 should be a massive improvement compared to 2016. As usual, I shall be exploring what was good and what was bad about 2016 and wondering what we’ll get in 2017.

Firstly, let’s look at the good stuff about 2016… yeah I know, but there have been at least a few. Firstly, I give it credit for Van Morrison’s knighthood, which I think is a well deserved recognition for he’s one of my personal favourite musicians. Cliff Richard’s been cleared of sex-abuse charges and I sure hope the so-called victims, who were probably secretly smirking about it, are going to apologise to him some day, because I just know Cliff is as innocent as hell and would never do such a thing. There are two sides of the argument. I mean you just don’t know if the victims are telling the truth or just seeking attention. Also, certain birthdays deserve some credit and I recently heard that the war in Syria is to be ceased. Hopefully that will definitely happen.

As for me, I didn’t experience a lot of great things, apart from working on about four film projects, plus two show videos and speaking of theatre, finding work with a theatre-based company near Loughborough in Leicester. Also, my brother and I saw Chas & Dave at the 02 Academy in Leicester. To see a really famous music act is always a lot of fun and Chas & Dave are awesome examples! Another highlight being outings with the Labour Party and seeing a mate of mine in a fantastic theatre show in Loughborough (short plays originally performed for the Grand Guiniol).

But unfortunately, I can’t pretend that 2016 was a good year, because aside from those events, it wasn’t. And the following videos state a really good point about it. The first from a totally ace guy named Adam. Warning, it contains very strong language.

And here’s another honest one from Watchmojo.com;

Moving right? Well, I of course sympathise with them. Britain has left the EU and I voted to remain as you can see in one of my previous posts (In EU!). I shan’t go on too much about it, but the fact that we left has left a wider space to discriminate and I just know the economy’s about to get worse. I even made a YouTube video expressing my disgust with the final result; again I apologise for the swearing on that one. David Cameron, who is a member of the Conservative party, which I of course don’t support, resigned as prime minister, because he wanted to remain (I give him credit for that) and felt that he couldn’t get the country out of the mess. What a wuss! Now that Teresa May’s in charge, we hoped she’d sort things out, but she hasn’t made enough of an effort. Then there’s Donald Trump’s election as president of the USA. If I was American, I would’ve voted for Hillary Clinton, because she’s way better than Trump and all I could do was pray that she would win. But no, it had to be a right-wing nut-job who’s religion-phobic and made offensive jokes about sexual abuse and plans to waste taxpayer’s money on a futile boarder around the country insisting that Mexico help out and I don’t think Mexico are dumb enough to fall for it. Also we had a terror attack in Belgium and a deliberate lorry crash in Germany, plus what I’ve just heard, a gunman killing some innocent people in Turkey, during a New Year’s ceremony.

I didn’t have the greatest year of my life myself. I lost a job – made redundant, nothing personal, which means I need to find full-time job soon. Even gym-membership has risen too much in money. Again, I’ll need a job quick or I may have to sacrifice the membership.

Just as things couldn’t get any worse, I had woken up to so many celebrity deaths.

Sylvia Anderson, Harper Lee, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Victoria Wood, Chyna, Zza Zza Gabor, Jo Cox (again referring to my anger with Brexit), Bryan Bedford, John Glen (the astronaut), Robert Vaughn, Ronnie Corbert, Richard Adams, Andrew Sachs, Greg Lake, Frank Kelly, Pete Burns, Rick Parfitt, Paul Daniels, Terry Wogan, Glenn Frey, Henry Heimlich, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Gene Wilder, Muhammed Ali, Alan Rickman,…

But the celebrity death that upset me the most and still upsets me; David Bowie. He was my favourite musician and I never got to meet him. That was a particularly bad start to the year as well, along with Alan Rickman and Bryan Bedford (who had the same illness), and I’ll never forgive 2016 for claiming his life. In fact, I shall never forgive 2016 for all those other horrible events. And especially, my middle finger goes to Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage for trying to influence millions of people through their arrogance.

This is why I pray to god that 2017 be a better year; claim less people’s lives, hatred and prejudice to be cut down on and to ensure the futile war stays ceased.

Please be a good one 2017. Goodbye and good riddance 2016!

IN EU!

Hey guys, not long now till the polling station opens in regards to the votes on whether the United Kingdom should stay or leave the European Union (EU). The voting begins on Thursday and there’s been some debate on the subject of staying in/leaving the EU. For the purpose of this post, I want to share what I personally think.

I’m voting to remain in the EU. When I first heard that voting was to take place this year, I was unsure what to vote for. But through one of my monthly meetings with the Labour Party, we had a discussion on the EU and one of my fellow members, who is a war veteran, stated that he was in favour of remaining in the EU and pointed out that the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the other European countries are like a ‘brotherhood’. Plus he recalled his experiences during the war and remembered when the UK and the other countries worked together to attempt to end the war. I say he had a darn good point! The EU was set up with the aim to end the wars between the neighbouring countries. There’s no reason why we can’t get along.

Another reason why I’m for being part of the EU is because x% of the UK’s jobs are part of the trade unions. Some of the large businesses are networked across the continent. If we leave the EU, we could face a much deeper financial crisis than we are in now. If we stay, we could receive an opportunity to defend/extend the rights of people and work. Jeremy Corbyn recently said this and those were words from a pure intelligent man.

We were even faced with a few confrontations in recent times. At one point, members of the British First (a party which is a cross between UKIP and the National Front), crept into my hometown Leicester, a county which is meant to be fascist-intolerant, and campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. The crowd rightly said “racists are not welcome” and Paul Golding of the British First was rightly arrested. And this is another reason why I’m favour of staying in the EU; anti-racism. The British First, National Front and UKIP are clearly too ignorant to understand the meaning of ‘civilisation’. They complain about the amount of immigration there is in Britain. I don’t give a damn how many immigrants there are in the UK. I’m proud to have interacted with people from foreign countries. They’ve made a massive and positive contribution to the UK. We’ve had film-makers and artists and caterers, hell I’m proud to have had a French teacher at my school. Without her, I wouldn’t’ve obtained a GCSE in the subject. The foreign interaction also relates to the European workers network. I even dismiss the various comments “oh they’re taking our jobs”. Whoever says such a thing needs to get one’s own facts straight; they’re just doing jobs that certain ‘Brits’ don’t want to do. If people want to make the UK ‘British’ again, then I don’t recall racism being British. I don’t even recall it being American. The problem isn’t to do with immigrants, it’s businesses purposefully exploiting cheaper labour. If you don’t like immigrants, explain the fact that certain Brits are emigrating to other countries. EXPLAIN THE HYPOCRISY!!!

As I was saying about civilisation, it doesn’t mean banishing people, it means welcoming people. Simple as that. Treat people like you would treat your family and friends, no matter what their nationality is. Even Leicester is known to have welcomed various cultures. A few years ago, a friend of mine commented in the Leicester Mercury on how great the restaurants are and expressed the positiveness of the different cultures Leicester has. Many countries have worked with each other since the beginning of time.

So in short, this is why I’m voting for the EU; more jobs, more opportunities, less racial hatred and a stronger future. Anybody who sends me a flyer representing a Leave campaign is wasting their own time, because I ain’t going to be brainwashed by the phoney £350 million saving clap-trap. I know whatever they said about that ain’t true.

Before I end this post, I also want to pay my respects to Jo Cox who was killed last week. As a member of the same party she was MP for i.e. Labour, I also want to express my disgust with the murderer Thomas Mair, who said “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”. I say that’s disgusting, because clearly, he’s likely to be a member and/or support of the British First and using that as an excuse to harm innocent people who have a brain and know what’s really right for Britain and the rest of the world. It makes me sick to think that members/supporters of the British First or equivalent commit such acts, just because the victims happen to be from an ‘intolerable background’ according to their policies.

I’m sure Jo would’ve wanted to see Britain win the Remain in EU vote.

Three Men & The Curse Of Cancer

Newton, Snape & Hood

Last week’s been quite a funny one this month, and I don’t mean that in the ha-ha context. It’s also been emotional for the fans, friends and family of three celebrities who have passed on; all on the same week and same illness that was, cancer. It’s quite peculiar, because those guys are high-profile celebrities and have had the same illness (but effecting different body parts) and it feels like the times when Britain was hit by bird flu and it effected some people, then there was the swine flu problem, and of course when we experienced the problems with Ebola last year. And not forgetting how common AIDS was during the late eighties/early nineties. Just saying. I shall give a brief overview of each of the three celebrities one-by-one. Those three guys I’m referring to are; Alan Rickman, Brian Bedford and of course David Bowie.

Alan Rickman
I’ll start with Alan Rickman, because his name is first alphabetically. I agree that he was such a great actor. I should know, I’ve seen him in numerous films. He’s played great villains, i.e. Gruber, that terrorist leader in Die Hard, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street and as the Sheriff Of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. He was also great as Frank Mesmer in Mesmer and, I know I’m not a fan of Tim Burton’s version of Alice In Wonderland, but I have to admit, his voice as the caterpillar was very impressive. If I had to pick a favourite role of Alan’s, that point would go to his portrayal of Alexander Dane aka Dr Lazarus in Galaxy Quest. In this one, his character’s rather grumpy and often reluctant to come on-stage for the convention signings, but we do feel for that guy, because all he wants is for people to recognise him as more than just an alien character. Probably the role Alan will most be remembered for is Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter films. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the franchise. I did use to enjoy it at a younger age. I read the first five books and I enjoyed the first two films and The Chamber Of Secrets is my favourite one, but by the time I watched the next three, I began to lose interest and thought the series was going downhill. The Goblet Of Fire, for instance, I couldn’t understand what the hell was going on and lost the plot. Therefore I dodged the last three. But I most certainly give credit for interesting characters, especially Snape himself. The reason why he’s my favourite character in the series is because I think he’s the most unique. He resents Harry; one reason being that Harry’s dad, James, bullied Snape as a kid and they fought over Lily (Harry’s mom), and to him, it seems Harry is sort of following his father’s footsteps. Speaking of Lily, that’s why Snape secretly loves Harry and would do anything to protect him; apparently Snape had romantic feelings for Lily. Yet, Snape just can’t show it or admit it that he truly likes Harry. It’s kinda like the rivalry between Phil Mitchell and Ian Beale in EastEnders and BA’s love/hatred for Murdock in The A-Team. In other words, you could say Snape is an anti-hero.
So if a film that stars Alan next gets broadcast on the television, I shall be happy to watch it. With that said, I shall cut the Harry Potter films some slack. This’ll be for Alan.

comp-robin-hood

Brian Bedford next. I haven’t seen him in a lot of films. He mainly starred in/directed theatre productions, a lot including Shakespeare plays, but I’m definitely always up for William Shakespeare’s works, Macbeth being my favourite one of his. Actually, what I mainly remember Brian for is as the voice of Robin Hood in the Disney version of the same name. I certainly remember him for that, because I saw his name in the opening credits. Plus the fact that Robin Hood is one of my favourite Disney movies (somewhere in the Top 5) and I keep saying that it was a film that inspired me to be a left-winger. It also contains a criminally underrated soundtrack; it would be great to have the fanfare or maybe The Phony King Of England play at some future political campaign. I personally think Brian deserves some credit for his impressive voice as the character. Before I heard that Brian died, I had no idea he was gay whatsoever. Apparently he was in a relationship, later married to, Tim MacDonald. Of course, sometime before they began their relationship, homosexuality was considered illegal. It no longer is, thank god. I may not be homosexual myself, but I definitely give my support for LGBT rights.
A legend will live on.

DavidBowie
And finally, I shall talk about David Bowie. I was absolutely horrified and upset when I heard that David Bowie died. I was listening to BBC Radio 1 that morning and I felt a little sick when I heard the news. This news still affects me, because he wasn’t just some ordinary pop/rock musician. If ever I had a favourite solo artist, it was and always will be most definitely be David Bowie. We had two records of his; Best Of Bowie (1980 version) and ChangesTwoBowie, and three CDs; Singles Collection, Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (my favourite album of his) and Black Tie White Noise, the latter which I got for Christmas last month. I would’ve asked for Blackstar that Christmas, but I knew it wasn’t coming out until David’s birthday. With that said, I have recently bought Blackstar and it’s a very dark, yet awesome album. I’ve always been a huge fan of David Bowie and I love his songs i.e. Changes, Rebel Rebel, Suffragette City and Day In Day Out and I’ve got five covers of his songs on YouTube (my account: Johnno9989). Dave has an artistic creative and open mind. He has created a variety of characters through his songs i.e. Ziggy Stardust and he has tried out various different music genres i.e. glam-rock, soul, funk, avant-gaude, comedy music (i.e. Laughing Gnome). I love this guy so much, I’m extremely appalled that Kayne West has plotted to ruin his songs for a so-called tribute album of his. This is why I’m signing this petition (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-kenye-west-recording-covers-of-david-bowies-music?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1453216400) telling West to back right off. All Kayne does is rip-off respectable songs. it was bad enough when he did that to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey. But enough of my ranting. David also deserves extra credit for his acting; The Man Who Fell To Earth (my favourite), Labyrinth, that amusing cameo appearance in Zoolander, the intro to that short cartoon The Snowman, oh and that episode of Extras, which I’m personally not a fan of, but I did enjoy seeing Dave singing ‘Chubby Little Loser’, which maybe would’ve made a great new single. It’s a mystery why he decided not to release that one. Did I mention he made a fantastic contribution to the soundtrack of When The Wind Blows? Speaking of visuals, maybe I should also discuss his various appearances, the make-up, costumes and so forth. Keeping in mind that I’m straight and always have been straight and just because I respect him for those things, it doesn’t make me a homosexual. Those appearances had a moral message; if you want to look different, do it. And don’t take any nonsense from those disapproving of your appearances. Yet, maybe I’ll want to wear make up if I was playing in a band on-stage.
I should also point out the good news; though I don’t pay much attention to the charts, I’m thrilled to hear that Blackstar has reached number one in the charts in various places. David would’ve been proud.
So may all three guys who have made a difference to the world rest in peace.

I should also like to mention Glen Frey of the Eagles who I just heard this morning has also passed on. As a fan of the Eagles, I say RIP to him too.

And so begins 2016

Happy new year readers, as we leave 2015 and enter another new year, 2016.
Last year, when I wrote 2015 Begins, I explored the ups and downs of the previous year and the events and changes that occurred. I also expressed my wonder on what we might expect over the new year. I plan to do the usual as I look back on 2015 and then think about the year that’s begun.
I’m still a member of the Labour party which I joined back in 2014. I also claimed full membership for a film-making society based in Leicestershire and I got a part-time job at a high-profile conveyancing company, editing training videos. And speaking of films; last year, I worked on twelve films, including a video of a stage show, some which have still yet to be completed. Also, I’m now a fully-qualified driver.

I did experience a particularly bad start to the year though. First, I encountered blue-screen related problems with my laptop, which took 3 months to solve and I had fractured my elbow whilst cycling. This led to me having to wait hours to get my arm x-rayed, thanks to the government messing up the NHS! Thankfully, I eventually overcame them problems.

But of course, everybody else matters to 2015. As most of us know, the Conservative party won the general election and I personally am still not happy about the final result. A couple of my mates had thought about voting for UKIP, one of them quoting that they “wanted to see how much harm they would do to the UK”. I didn’t vote UKIP, because I didn’t trust Nigel Farage after hearing that filth he said during the live debate.

As for around the world; France, in particular, had faced some terrorist attacks, including one in Paris, committed by ISIS. This led to the debate whether Great Britain should launch air-strikes, an idea which many people, including myself, objected to. But the objections were ignored and the air-strikes began early December and are still continuing. This is one of the reasons why I was and still am furious about the election’s final result and I predict that the Conservative’s reckless actions could have the same impact as the events that led to the 7/7 attacks. I can understand why France and Belgium cancelled the new year celebrations, due to the predicted terrorist attacks, which they didn’t receive in the end and I’m thankful that they’re okay. Though I express my sympathy to those affected by the skyscraper fire in Dubai.

Speaking of the Labour party, we lost Ed Miliband as leader. He didn’t die, he just resigned if you get what I mean. We now have Jeremy Corbyn and I have to say he’s a very inspirational person and I believe he can bring the old Labour back. I absolutely relate to his policies.

We’ve also lost a chunk of famous people to different kinds of deaths;

Cilla Black, Leonard Nimoy, Lemmy, Sam Simon, Rod Taylor, Errol Brown, Maureen O’Hara, Khan Bonfils, Christopher Lee, Nicolas Smith, Barrie Ingham, Ron Moody, Susan Sheridan, Terry Prachett, Daniel Von Bargen, James Best, Ben E King, Nigel Terry, BB King, Krzysztof Kąkolewski, James Last, James Horner, Leonard Starr, Irwin Keyes, Omar Shariff, Alex Rocco, Aubrey Morris, Wes Craven, Dean Jones, Rico Rodriguez, John Bradbury, Melissa Mathison, Phil Taylor, Warren Mitchell, Shirley Stelfox, Natalie Cole,…

Too many to name.

So yeah, 2015 was an average year. I wonder how 2016 will compare and whether the Conservatives will realise how idiotic they were.

Syria in Shatters

Most of you have probably heard the recent news that David Cameron has won his chances to bomb Syria. This follows the events in Paris when ISIS carried an attack during a gig performed by Eagles Of Death Metal. The death toll rate in the venue was 89. This event shocked a lot of us, including myself, and prompted a debate whether or not Britain should arrange an air strike against Syria. There were many people against the idea, even protests were arranged, one outside the clock tower in Leicester. I can honestly say I was one of those people who was against that idea. And now that Britain has started their attacks on Syria, I can quite frankly say how appalled I am of this situation.

I’m not a journalist and I always try to make clear that I’m unafraid to voice my opinions. At first, when I heard that Cameron planned an air strike against Syria, I was unsure what to think. But then I heard Jeremy Corbyn stating his reasons against attacking Syria. This made me think really hard and I knew Corbyn had a very valid point. The reason why I hoped for the ‘no’ vote on the air strike against Syria was because I remembered Tony Blair’s futile and reckless mission to seek the weapons of ‘mass-destruction’ back in the early noughties, which led to the 7/7 attacks in London and had a feeling that this event would lead the same impact. First of all, the Conservatives don’t even know where ISIS’s headquarters are, and second, those who are members of ISIS are likely to be scattered all over the place. None of them are likely to be wearing badges labelled ‘ISIS’. How the hell can Cameron assume that all the terrorists are based in Syria? I apologise for my language, but Cameron’s plans disgust me. For those reasons, I just know that Britain is just going to end up killing any innocent Syrians who are not members of ISIS. Most of us are upset about what ISIS have done last month and I personally don’t approve of the death toll they carried out. I also wouldn’t want to get involved with the organisation myself, for they are nothing, but discriminative people towards other religions. I’ve said this before in one of my previous blog posts, My Views On Religions; I accept all religions, but I don’t like it when they start fighting against each other. I do want ISIS to end their acts on terror, but Cameron’s bombings won’t improve anything. They’ll just make things worse. Even Tony Blair knew the risks when he got involved with the Iraq war.

And yet what appals me further is the various statements Cameron has made in response to those who oppose the Syrian air-strikes, i.e. myself and Jeremy Corbyn. One statement he made is; “Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria will lead to further radicalisation and increased terrorism (4/10/2015). And yet, he’s talking about sending his troops to do some the action? That stupid hypocrite! The next statement I hear from him is; Those against Syrian bombings are ‘terrorist sympathisers’. This is absolutely absurd! From what I’ve just said, do you think I’m a terrorist sympathiser? Would you assume that the fact I express my concern for those who are having nothing to do with ISIS makes me a terrorist sympathiser? Cameron can say that term right to my face, but yet he’s terrorising Syria. I care what happens to any innocents who get killed as a result of Cameron’s predictably reckless attacks and what will happen next as a result. Those who aren’t members of ISIS may eventually declare war on Britain. How would Cameron like it that way? Well neither would any of the non-ISIS members in Syria.

Speaking about Tony Blair earlier on, I’m a member of the Labour party and I know Tony Blair was as well. But I do wish he didn’t go with this business on the weapons of mass destruction. To be fair, he wasn’t exactly the best leader for Labour standards. His leadership kind of destroyed the left-wing standards. Gordon Brown and Ed Milliband were improvements compared to Blair, but now that we have Jeremy Corbyn as the new leader, things are much more improved among the party. I may have drifted from the subject of the air-strikes against Syria, but I just wanted to mention what I thought of Tony Blair, because I did compare his actions with Iraq to David Cameron’s air-strikes against Syria.

What you’ve just read may seem like an angry outburst and I realise some of you readers may have felt uncomfortable reading this post, but being a lefty, I felt I should express my opinions. I really am praying for the soldiers who were sent to carry out the air strikes, but I mostly pray for any innocent civilians who happen to fall victim of any careless bombings.

David, if you’re reading this, I stand by for what I’ve just written. You’ve created an appalling situation which is about to get worse. Think about it, innocent people are going to die as a result to your attacks. I’m as upset about ISIS as you are, but you ain’t going to find their headquarters. Think of any of the non-ISIS members who fall victim. Please, please, please, look into your heart.

Harry Shearer’s quitting The Simpsons?!

Last week, I heard the news that one of America’s most legendary voice actors is quitting the production of one of America’s most legendary TV cartoons. Yes folks, it’s the Mel Blanc of the 90s-onwards, Harry Shearer.

For those who don’t know, Harry Shearer, like the other cast members, voices various characters in The Simpsons. His characters include Mr. Burns, Mr. Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Otto, Lenny Leonard and Rainier Wolfcastle. The reason why I associated him with Mel Blanc is not only due to the various voices, but because Mel once mentored him.

First of all, I do respect that Harry is now in his 70s and he does have a right to retire if he wishes. Mind you, none of the voice actors are getting any younger, but yet, most of the characters don’t seem to be getting any older. For instance, Bart Simpson remains 10 years old and Marge remains 34. But then how about Mr. Burns revealing himself to be 81 in season 2 and then in season 11, revealed to be over 100? Geez. Second, The Simpsons has run for over 20 seasons and I think it is time it was given a rest, but we’ll get to that later.

Though I hear that none of Harry’s characters are going to be killed off or just plain written out of the programme. They are instead going to be voiced by somebody else. Personally, I can’t see that happening. I know when Gerry Anderson produced the second season of Thunderbirds, he replaced David Holliday with Jeremy Wilkin as the voice of Virgil Tracy. They got away with that. It was only the one major character. When the A-Team was produced, Dirk Benedict replaced Tim Dunigan as Face. Of course, that was only after the pilot. And how about the various cast changes in EastEnders? Actually, the actors’ replacements in The Simpsons are more comparable to the replacements in EastEnders. Sure it was understandable when Todd Carty replaced David Scarboro as Mark Fowler, due to David’s death and the character’s status was to be changed anyway, but the replacements for most of the child characters are fairly unrealistic. For instance, I found it unnecessary when James Martin replaced Joseph Shade as Peter Beale. it looked like Peter went through puberty too quickly. In the Simpsons, I understood they had to kill off Edna Krabappel due to Marcia Wallace’s death in 2013 and Tress MacNeille got away with taking over as the voice of Lunchlady Doris following Doris Grau’s death. But when you think about all the voices Harry Shearer did, who could possibly replace him? Harry once said Mr. Burns was the hardest character he ever voiced. And he was voiced by a professional. Even I can’t do Burns’ voice as well as him.

The Simpsons is one of my personal all-time favourite TV shows. I’ve long-obtained a love to the show since early childhood, when it first aired on BBC2. Nowadays it’s broadcast every weekday at 6pm on Channel 4. There are a variety of reasons why I admire The Simpsons so much. I don’t just praise it for the humour, but I also admire the issues it has tackled, such as environmental problems, economics, depression and so forth. In fact, the show has had a fair amount of adventure and drama included in certain episodes. For instance, I certainly remember feeling tearful when I saw the end credits of the Season 7 episode Mother Simpson.

However I do have to admit that although I enjoyed Seasons 1 to 12, I do feel the show has gone downhill since season 13. Before then, we had such classic and great episodes; The Call Of The Simpsons (S1 E7), One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish (S2 E11), Bart The Murderer (S3 E4), Marge Vs. The Monorail (S4), Cape Feare (S5 E2), Who Shot Mr. Burns (S6 E25 + S7 E1), The Mysterious Voyage Of Homer (S8 E9), The City Of New York Vs. Homer (S9 E1), The Wizard Of Evergreen Terrace (S10 E2), Take My Wife Sleaze (S11), Trilogy Of Error (S12 E18), to name some. Even the Hallowe’en specials were so cool. But when you look at certain episodes from Season 13-onwards, there have been a few good episodes such as Barting Over. But many other episodes are repeats of the previous ones or plain unrealistic or both. I hated the episode Brawl In The Family (S13 E7). The reason is because it was uninteresting to see the family fighting over a game of Monopoly and then being branded as dysfunctional. We’ve known for the while that they are anyway. It’s totally worn. And then, they come across two Vegas women from an episode way from Season 10, which is so random and couldn’t have much to do with the synopsis. It’s a ridiculous set up.

The point I am trying to make is that I feel pessimistic considering that now Harry Shearer is no longer a cast member for The Simpsons, whether audience ratings and viewings will stay the same, rise or fall. I know according to the Boston Matrix, The Simpsons is considered Cash Cow, but I doubt that Harry’s replacement will be able to pull it off. Very soon, viewers will hear the obvious different voices and think “Wait, this isn’t how I remember Mr. Burns/Skinner/Flanders and so forth.” The show is likely to continue rolling downhill and its fans may soon lose interest. Now and then, I do watch the older episodes, because they certainly define The Simpsons. But the majority of the newer episodes are so forgettable and I doubt that anybody will remember the new Harry’s voices for generations. The voices they’ll definitely remember are the original Harry’s. In general, I think it’s about time The Simpsons ceased production, not only because Harry is leaving, but the producers seem to be running out of ideas for new episodes.

Harry, as an admirer of your various talents, I wish you the very best of luck for the future.