Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Charles Atlas Method: End of Week Six

Okay.  It's time to reset.

It may come as no surprise to people who know me personally, or even those rare souls who have been following this blog for any length of time, but I have not been taking this Charles Atlas project seriously.  I started it in good faith, and every intention of following the instructions to the letter.  As often happens with projects that I take up, my dedication has wavered.

Lessons 4 and 5 were difficult.  I discussed Lesson 4 in depth in my last post.  Lesson 5 involved a lot of neck and back exercises.  I was doing a lot of twisting, and a lot of moving my head back and forth while resisting with my hands.  (There was also a weird thing where I had to lean over and repeatedly karate chop my kidneys.  Don't ask me why.)  Said exercises were causing me a sore back and a stiff neck, so I didn't pursue them too diligently.  I did them perhaps one day out of every three, so needless to say I didn't get a lot of results.  I also didn't hurt myself, which is probably more important.

So where to from here?  I'm going to continue, with Lessons 6 and 7, and I'm still doing Lesson 1 almost every day.  That's the only one I've seen any results from, because I've been at it for over a month now.  It's hard to get anything out of the others, because they're over after two weeks.

Starting tomorrow I'm moving on to the next two lessons.  Lesson 6 has more back exercises (yay) and Lesson 7 is called "The True Tonic of Life", so there's bound to be some gems in that one.  I'll be back to discuss those in further depth next week.  Will I actually get my shit together and follow the instructions?  Probably not, but there's always hope.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

All The Things I Did: 25th April 2015

 I read some stuff, and I watched some stuff.  Now I'm writing some stuff about the stuff I read and watched, starting from the worst and ending with the best.

WORST: Avengers Annual (2014) #1 by Kathryn Immonen and pencilled by David Lafuente: It's a Christmas issue, which automatically puts it in my shit-list: there exactly one thing I like about Christmas, and that's Doctor Who.  It's also by Kathryn Immonen, whose work has a madcap tone that just irks me.  I'm not sure that this is a bad comic, but it's certainly one that I don't like.

WWE Smackdown episode 819: Nothing actively bad happened on this show, but it was back to the standard quality of Smackdown, with loads of storylines treading water and no memorable matches.  My highlight was probably the New Day, who continue to be amazing as they vainly try to stay positive while the crowds rubbish them mercilessly.

WWE NXT episode 274:  This is the first NXT I've seen that featured all of the top people, and it really made a difference.  I'm still not blown away by it, but seeing guys like Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and Kevin Steen do their thing is entertaining.  I have a lot of time for Steen, who looks more like Kevin Smith than any wrestler should, but somehow still manages to kick arse convincingly.

WWE Raw episode 1143: This was not a great episode, or even a very good one, but I was still into most of what was going on.  Unfortunately, none of the storylines can progress until Extreme Rules on Sunday, so a lot of plate-spinning gets done here.  I have to give credit to any episode that has Randy Orton just hitting RKOs on every random person he encounters, though.

Iron Man (2013) #1-12, written by Kieron Gillen, pencilled by Greg Land and Dale Eaglesham: This is, of course, quite a fun read: it's by Kieron Gillen after all.  The first story suffers, though, from being a retread of the Extremis arc from 2005.  (Holy shit, a decade ago?  Really?)  The second, in which Tony goes to space is an improvement, but where I'm at now they're doing some seriously dodgy stuff with Iron Man's origin.  I'll reserve judgment until I see where it goes, but it's looking a bit iffy.  (Bonus points for the appearance by Death's Head, who is never not awesome.  Anti-Bonus Points for the Greg Land art, which is superficially great looking but stiff and lifeless.)

Avengers (2013) #29-37, 34.1, written mostly by Jonathan Hickman, pencilled mostly by Leinil Yu: These are still good comics, but I feel like Hickman has gone a bit off the rails here.  It starts well, with Captain America finding out what Iron Man and the Illuminati have been up to (destroying planets, mostly), but then it veers off into weirdness with the Time Gem, and Cap being thrown further and further forward in time.  I'm sure it will make sense when the whole story is over, but right now I'm not entirely sure what the point of it all was.

Game of Thrones season 5, episode 2: So, they're serious about deviating from the books, aren't they?  Jaime Lannister never went to Dorne, and Brienne never found Sansa Stark.  To be honest, I'm fine with it.  Now I can enjoy the show without feeling like it will spoil the books when it inevitably overtakes them.  Conversely, I can watch the show without knowing everything that's going to happen.  It's a win-win, really.

Daredevil season 1, episode 8: How did I only watch one episode of Daredevil this week?  I should be done by now!  Anyway, this featured the origin of the Kingpin, and it was very good.  It wasn't exactly super-happy fun times, but what TV show is these days?

BEST: New Avengers #22-25 and Annual #1, mostly written by Jonathan Hickman, mostly pencilled by Kev Walker: This title continues to be the best of Hickman's Avengers work, and one of the very best Marvel comics out there.  After Namor's actions last issue the Illuminati disintegrates, but Namor continues their work with a team of villains.  It's the highest of high-stakes drama, and smarter than any Marvel comic has a right to be.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

All The Things I Did: 20th April 2015

WORST: WWE NXT episode 273: After last week's unusual episode, NXT gets back to normal, and I get back to not quite understanding the hype.  I suppose I should cut the performers some slack, because they are in developmental after all, but I don't see how they are better than the main roster as the hype would have me believe.  What I do see is a lot of talent that's not quite polished, an uninvolved crowd, and a collection of meaningless matches.  Only the main event, featuring Sami Zayn vs. Rhyno, was worth watching, and those two guys are veterans who shouldn't be in developmental at all.

WWE Smackdown episode 273: Smackdown has been surprisingly enjoyable for the last few weeks.  Adrian Neville has been an exciting addition to the roster, and his match with Sheamus was no disappointment.  The all-champions tag-match was a welcome, if meaningless, novelty for the main event, and The New Day have made one of the quickest turnarounds on record, from one of the least interesting things on the show to one of the most entertaining.  My only complaint is the way they're handling the Miz/Mizdow feud, which ought to have been a slam-dunk.  But hey, it's wrestling.  If there wasn't a part of the show that sucked it wouldn't feel right.

WWE Raw episode 1,142: Raw was in London this week, which guarantees a hot crowd, and a hot crowd usually means an entertaining show.  Not necessarily a good one, but in this case the good outweighed the bad.  Adrian Neville and Dolph Ziggler had a top-notch match, as did John Cena and home-town hero Wade Barrett, who got to look competent for the first time in months.  I'm into Kane's gradual face turn, and I flipped out for Fandango's return to his original music.  All that, and Roman Reigns having his head slammed into a taxi.  What's not to enjoy?

Avengers (2013) #15-28, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by loads of people: I feel like this series has taken a dip since the end of the Infinity crossover, which I discuss below.  With the threat of the Builders done for now, the focus shifts to the machinations of AIM, the sinister cabal of scientist/terrorists that's been plaguing the Marvel Universe for decades.  It's a bit of a step down, especially in terms of epic scope, but these are by no means bad comics.  They're excellent, they just happen to not be as good as what came before.

Infinity #1-6, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Jim Cheung and others: I honestly don't know how this series became Marvel's major crossover of 2013.  Don't get me wrong, it's very good.  It is, though, intrinsically tied to everything going on in Hickman's Avengers books, and any casual reader coming into this must have been utterly lost at sea.  The story is a double-pronged one, with one group of Avengers fighting a space war against the mysterious Builders, and another defending Earth from Thanos, the Mad Titan (coming to an Avengers movie sequel in a few years time).  It's epic, it's intricate, and it's gorgeously pencilled, but the story is a little disjointed at times due to its nature as a crossover.  There are also some pivotal characters that don't get nearly the development they need for their role in the plot; Thane, son of Thanos, being chief among them.  I feel like this one might have done better simply as an arc in Avengers, rather than the centrepiece of Marvel's whole line.

Game of Thrones season 5, episode 1: It's back!  And as usual, the first episode is a slow burn serving more to reintroduce the characters than to push the plot forward.  I was a bit dubious about this season, as it's reached the point where the novels faltered under their own weight.  So far it's holding up well, and steering clear of the obvious mistakes that Martin made.

Tear the Roof Off 1974-1980 by Parliament: Yes, it's a compilation, and I tend to steer clear of those nowadays.  But this one is so damn good, and Parliament's funky grooves so consistent in quality and tone that it holds together better than any compilation ought to.  The songs are deeply silly; most of them are about Afronauts bringing funk from the stars to save the galaxy.  But they're catchy, and infectious, and their message is ultimately an uplifting one about bringing all peoples together into one funky whole.  That's worth a little bit of silliness, I reckon.

New Avengers (2013) #8-21, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by various artists: Whereas Avengers lost a step in the wake of Infinity, New Avengers has only gotten better.  This is the point where the crisis facing the Illuminati peaks, and they're forced to decide whether they can destroy a planet to save their own.  It's a level of moral greyness that mainstream superheroes rarely goes to, and the way it plays out is intense, deeply satisfying, and true to the characters.  Anyone who accuses Hickman of short-changing the emotional aspects of storytelling should read these, because his skills are on full display here.

BEST: Daredevil season 1, episodes 1-7: The entire season of Daredevil dropped on Netflix last week, and I've been trying my best to get through it.  Don't have Netflix?  Get it, because this show is that damn good.  It follows Matt Murdock, blind lawyer and vigilante, as he tries his best to clean up the area of Manhattan known as Hell's Kitchen.  It's nominally set in the same world as the Avengers movies, but the tone is worlds away.  This is gritty crime drama (though not without humour), with a level of violence that Marvel Studios has previously shied away from.  It does get a little flat around episode 4, but episodes 6 & 7 are superb, probably the two best episodes of anything I've seen this year.  Get on it!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Charles Atlas Method: End of Week Four

I've come to the end of Lessons 2 and 3, although I suppose that I should continue with Lesson 2 all through the program.  It contains no exercises, only dietary guidelines.  I haven't been following them so far, and I really should do so at some point during this program.  I need more incentive, such as the ghost of Charles Atlas showing up to kick sand in my face every time I look at a can of Coke.  That or some willpower.  One of those would do it.

Lesson 3 was nice and easy, with nothing more than a trio of stretching exercises.  Did they strengthen my inner abdomen, as they were supposed to?  There's no way of knowing, unless I rupture my insides at some point during the next lot of exercises; then I'll know it failed.

I'm going to spare my readers any photos of my lily-white chest this week.  It's cold, and I don't want to get out from under my doona.  Maybe next week.

So it's onwards to Lessons 4 and 5, and I have to say that these are going to be time-consuming.  Lesson 4 has nine separate exercises, and Lesson 5 has thirteen!  Hey Charles, some of us have lives to lead!  Seriously, any extra lifespan I gain from doing these exercises will be pointless, because I have to spend all that extra time exercising.  It's a zero sum game.

Anyway, I'm only going to cover Lesson 4 this week, and I'll tackle Lesson 5 next week.  There's a lot to go over, and I really want to watch Daredevil.

Lesson 4 is all about the abs.  Charles Atlas promises that these exercises will give me a washboard stomach, but I estimate that I will end up with something that more resembles a washcloth.  He'd be very disappointed with my negativity.  Anyway, onto the exercises.

Exercise 1: So I'm supposed to lie on my back in "loose or breathable clothes", raise my feet in the air as high as possible until they are "in close proximity to the head", then let my feet go slowly forward.  That bit about being in close proximity to the head is confusing; I'm not the most flexible dude around.  I think he means that my feet should be directly above my head, which is a bit more plausible for me.  (Also, Charles Atlas' mention of clothing is an odd one, because he seemingly never wears anything except for a pair of white undies.)

Exercise 2: Sit-ups, although the book is once again so old-timey that they aren't named that.  I'll have to be careful with these, as I have some back problems.

Exercise 3: Lying on my back, I have to bring my feet up, then out to the sides as far as possible.  After that I bring them together again and cross them over.

Exercise 4: With this one I'm meant to push myself up on the arms of a chair with my feet sticking straight out, but that's going to be problem.  Not because I'm incapable (although I very probably am) but because I don't own a chair with arms.  I might have to skip this one, because I'm not buying a piece of furniture.

Exercise 5: I honestly have no idea.  here's the text: "While standing, with arms outstretched at
the sides, bend far downward to the right, come slowly back to an upright position and bend
down far to the left. Now vary the movement by swinging the body in a half circle while bending
to the left and then to the right.
"  Is it as confusing as it sounds, or am I just being willfully stupid?

Exercise 6: This one is kind of a reverse push-up.  With my feet on a chair and my back to the floor, I have to lower myself down with my arms.

Exercise 7: I find this one very amusing for some reason.  First I have to firmly rub my abdomen with my palm.  Then, after a few moments relaxation, I tense my stomach muscles and tap my abs with a clenched fist.  Apparently it brings blood to the area, or something?  This is useful?

Exercise 8: This is another one I might not be able to do.  I'm supposed to sit on a chair next to a bed, hook my feet under the bed and do some sit ups.  Our beds are all pretty close to the walls, so I probably won't have the space I need.

Exercise 9: Okay, so I'm suppose to crouch like a monkey, with my hands back between my legs?  And stretch while tensing my stomach muscles?  I think that's what's going on here.  It's another ambiguous one.  I'm beginning to question the wisdom of this endeavour.

Alright then, so as of tomorrow I have about thirty exercises to do, morning and night.  I am not looking forward to the next two weeks.  Screw you, Charles Atlas!  Screw you so hard!

Friday, April 10, 2015

All The Things I Did: 11th April 2015

Ugh, writing this bit at the start is what I hate the most.  Anyway, here are all the things I did.  The worst one's at the top, the best one's at the bottom, the rest are in the middle.  I wish I could just leave this bit blank.

WORST: Penguins of Madagascar: At the risk of sounding like a bitter old man, I have to say that this movies exemplifies the worst excesses of the Dreamworks style.  The plot jerks from set piece to set piece with no regard for logic, and though the jokes fly thick and fast the movie is neither funny enough nor charming enough to outweigh the irritatingly spasmodic pace.   I should also say that I hate the "references for adults" that Dreamworks throws into their movies.  They should really forget about that rubbish and focus more on telling a solid story.  So yeah, Penguins sucked.  My son loved it, but alas for this film, he ain't writing the review.  Now get the hell off my lawn, you young punks.

WWF Madison Square Garden on 23/1/1984: It another plodding wrestling event from the early 1980s, but this one is historically significant as the first WWF Heavyweight Championship win for Hulk Hogan.  Most of the matches are dull, but the nuclear crowd in the Hogan match carries it, and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff puts in the performance of the night.

WWE Smackdown episode 817: The WWE put on some top-notch programming last week, but now it's back to business as usual.  That said, there are always things to enjoy even in the most mediocre of wrestling shows.  Adrian Neville continues to impress with his crisp acrobatics, I liked that Bray Wyatt tried to give some meaning to his match with former teammate Erick Rowan, and I thought that the Mix/Sandow fued got back on track after a poor outing on Raw.  Too bad the rest of the show was so middling.

WWE Raw episode 1141: This was a show that started well, but it became all too apparent that they were working with a restricted roster, with several wrestlers pulling double duty.  The match between WWE Champion Seth Rollins and rookie Adrian Neville was a cracker, with both guys coming out the other end looking really good.  I'm also enjoying John Cena's open challenge, and he had a great match against Stardust.  The rest of the show, alas, was inconsequential filler.

WWE NXT episode 272: Okay, I think I'm starting to get it.  This wasn't a regular episode of NXT, but a flashback to the tournament they did in the lead-up to Wrestlemania 31.  The wrestlers in the tournament were competing to appear on Mania, and the three matches shown here were excellent, especially Adrian Nevilla vs. Hideo Itami.  Itami won the tournament, and the show had been good to that point, but from there it became mini-documentary about Itami's Wrestlemania experience, and it was pretty great. 

Avengers (2013) #1-14, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Jerome Opena and others: The all-important Secret Wars event is coming soon, so I decided that I had better read the comics leading directly into it.  I should have done so sooner, because Hickman's Avengers is everything I want from a super-hero book: epic stakes, an intricate and multi-layered plot, and great art.  I've heard people describe it as overly cerebral, and that's fair, but I happen to like my comics on the cerebral side.  It's amazing that such smart work is appearing in the most mainstream title in comics.

BEST: New Avengers (2013) #1-7, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Steve Epting: The companion book to Hickman's Avengers, New Avengers is one of the best things Marvel is doing right now.  And unlike Avengers, it has a great central hook: what do the heroes do when they have to destroy a world to save their own?  What do they do when faced with this choice over, and over, and over again?  Hickman does a good job of presenting a desperate situation that the big brains of the Marvel Universe can't find a neat solution for, and ratcheting up the tension as they exhaust their options one by one.  It's very good, and I have high hopes for Secret Wars.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Charles Atlas Method: End of Week Three

I'm still plugging away at the Charles Atlas Method, trying to chisel my pale, flabby body into something recognisably human.  Attentive readers will have noticed that I have skipped a week.  I should be at the end of Week 4, but for a while there I came down with some nausea and flu-like symptoms which set me back a bit.  I'm back on track now, and ready to talk about some exercising.

But first, some photographic evidence!

I'm not sure that any differences are coming across in the photos, but I certainly feel different.  I'm not exactly popping out of my skin, but I've noticed that my chest and shoulders are a bit firmer and slightly larger.  I started by doing 15 of each of the exercises from lesson 1 at morning and night, and have increased the number by 5 each week.  Tomorrow I'll start doing 30, and by the end of the twelve weeks I should be doing 70, by which point I expect to be shattering glass at a hundred paces with just a flex of my biceps.

I started doing Lessons 2 and 3 a week ago.  Whereas Lesson 1 is done all through the twelve week course, the other lesson cycle in and out every fortnight.  At the end of next week I'll drop these two lessons and start doing 4 & 5, and then in a fortnight I'll progress to 6 & 7, and so on.  I'm not sure what good a mere two weeks will do, but I suppose I'll find out.

Lesson 2 is about nutrition, and I have to say that I was dreading this one.  I am basically fuelled by chips, chocolate, Coca-Cola and apathy.  I held out a vain hope that this course would be old-timey enough that nothing would be mentioned about soda.  After all, Atlas did have to explain what a push-up was.  No such luck.  Soda is mentioned specifically, and so my life-giving nectar must be abandoned.  The rest of the advice is common-sense stuff.  Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.  Vary your diet.  Avoid white bread, white rice and white sugar.  Don't eat too much candy, chocolate, or fatty foods.  Drink a load of water.  I'm not sure how wise it is to be following nutritional advice that's older than my dad, but it sounds above board to me.

That said, I haven't been doing very well.  I spent a few nights over at a friends house, so there were a couple of trips to Nando's and McDonald's.  There was Wrestlemania 31, which involved lots of snacks and beers.  There was a 40th birthday party.  There was a George Clinton concert.  Basically, life has been making it very difficult for me to eat healthily, and I am particularly weak-willed in this area.  I definitely need to strive to do better.  I'll never kick the Coke and fast-food habit entirely, but I know that I need to cut down.

Lesson 3 is also about food, in a roundabout way.  More accurately, it's a whole chapter about constipation.  Charles Atlas seems to be very fixated on the subject, and discusses it at length.  The various troubles that it causes don't really bear discussion here, but don't think that Atlas doesn't spend a good seven pages going over them.

He does have some practical advice, though, which may or may not be useful.  He advocates drinking a glass of warm water and lemon juice every morning upon waking, and I've been doing this.  I happen to like lemon juice, so it's no big deal to me.  I'm not certain if this has affected my bowel movements at all, but it may have been responsible for the somewhat unpleasant and explosive clean-out of my system that I experienced a few nights ago.  Or it could have been the Nando's, it's hard to be sure.

Atlas advocates avoiding spicy food, and at this point I'm about ready to reach out across the barrier of time and slap his head in.  I love spicy food.  Nando's is my favourite restaurant, I love a good curry, and a good salami, and a good chilli...  This is going to be a tough couple of months, if I actually follow the advice given.

He also writes about chewing your food thoroughly, so that it's already partially digested by the time it hits the stomach.  I'm trying this as well, but Christ-on-a -bike it takes a long time to eat a meal.  I don't have a lot of patience, and I'm basically always looking to finish my meals quickly so that I can get to more interesting things.  I've tried to slow down, but it ain't easy.

There are a few exercises in Lesson 3, intended to strengthen the insides of the abdomen to prevent constipation.  Needless to say, I won't be providing any photos.  There are only three, and they all involve various stretches.  They're not too strenuous, and make for a nice break between the chest and shoulder exercises from Lesson 1.

In a week I'll be back to talk about Lessons 4 & 5, which will see me working on my six-pack and my back muscles.  I've got a bit of a recurring back problem, but hopefully that won't impede my progress too much.  I already have enough of a problem with my lack of willpower, and there's a Coke in the fridge right now that's calling my name...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

All The Things I Did: 5th April 2015

A lot of stuff and things I did in the last week, ranked from worst to best.  Note that I watched a lot of wrestling.  #DealWithIt

WORST: WWE NXT episode 271: This is the second time I've tried NXT, the WWE's developmental show.  Wrestling nerds rave about, but I don't quite get the hype to be honest.  It all felt very flat and unpolished (as should be expected from wrestlers still learning their craft) and the legendarily fanatic NXT crowd was subdued.  Nothing kills a wrestling show faster than a dead crowd.  I'll give it a few more weeks to grab me, but at the moment I find it terribly dull.

The Punisher (2014) #7-10 written by Nathan Edmondson, drawn by Mitch Gerads: I only read these a week or so ago, and I barely remember anything about them.  They're not bad comics; in fact they're quite competently done, and I was entertained while reading them.  They just weren't memorable comics.  I'd rather a comic to be memorably terrible than competently forgettable.

WCCW Parade of Champions 1984: I'm doing a chronological trip through wrestling history, starting in the early 1980s, and this was the second show I watched.  It's full of the tedious back-and-forth clubbing that old-timey wrestling tends towards, but a couple of matches saved it.  I got my first ever glimpse of the Freebirds, who are glorious mid-80s southern trash.  Michael Hayes' bleach-blond mullet is a thing of beauty.  The card finished with a championship bout between Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich, and that was also a good, technical match.  I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't already super into 80s wrestling, though.

NWA Starrcade 1983: More old-timey wrestling!  This was the first thing I watched in my wrestling chronology, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I have other shows from this era.  It was surprisingly bloody, and the hot crowd made everything feel like a big deal.  Ric Flair and Harley Race put in a pretty good championship match, and the Roddy Piper/Greg Valentine match was probably the best thing I've seen either men involved with.  (Wait, hang on.  Piper was in They Live, so I have to strike that statement.)

The Walking Dead season finale: Season five closed out with a tense final episode, but I can't help feeling that the creators chose the least interesting direction to go in.  We'll see next season.  I always enjoy the show when I'm watching it, but there's a nagging sense that it's going around in circles.

Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1-18 written by Brian Bendis, drawn by Chris Bachalo: Speaking of which...  This series follows the team of X-Men lead by Cyclops, and is supposed to focus on his "mutant revolution".  In practice what they do is recruit new mutants and train them in a secret hideout, while talking about a revolution that is never adequately defined.  They're not meaningfully different from the regular, non-fugitive X-Men.  Like most Bendis books, it's a lot of fun in the moment, but it meanders in the long term.  I get the feeling that the end of his run is going to be a gigantic mess of witty banter and unresolved plot threads.

WWE Smackdown episode 816:  It's Wrestlemania week, so I'm super-excited about wrestling right now.  So super-excited that I'm back to watching the WWE's b-show.  It's usually redundant to Raw, and it's pre-taped, so it loses a lot of the spontaneity of a live show.  But this episode was really good, especially the final match between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, a violent brawl that ended with Sheamus covered in Bryan's blood.  Blood!  On fucking Smackdown!  Also, Dean Ambrose got forced into a match for taking a shit in Kane's toilet, and that's the kind of petty motivation I can get behind.

Mothership Connection by Parliament: Classic 70s funk.  It's not quite front-to-back classics, but it's not far off.  Take a listen, it's the coolest album you'll hear in a long time.  More on Parliament ring-leader George Clinton below.

WWE Raw episode 1,140: Ah, the post-Wrestlemania Raw is always a cracker, and this didn't disappoint.  Brock Lesnar provided the segment of the year by flying off the handle and killing the announce team, and in any other week that would have netted it a Best.  Special mention must be made of the crowd, who were hot throughout, and took the show over towards the end with a load of amusing (and some horrible) chants.

BEST: George Clinton live in concert: I saw funk legend George Clinton live at a small bar in Melbourne, and it was even better than I thought it would be.  Clinton was in fine form, especially considering his age, and his afro-futurist funky grooves were amazing to hear live.  The only disappointment was that he didn't look like George Clinton: he's lopped off his signature rainbow dreadlocks, and the outlandish outfits were nowhere to be seen.  It's a small complaint, though, the guy still puts on a hell of a show.

ALSO BEST: Wrestlemania 31: Yeah, it's a double-best this week.  I could not in good conscience do anything else, because both the George Clinton concert and Wrestlemania 31 were off the charts amazing.  It's weird, because the build-up for Wrestlemania this year was terrible, but the actual show ended up being one of the best ever.  Although there were no standout matches in terms of wrestling quality, the spectacle and theatrics more than made up for it.  Rusev rode an actual, for real tank to the ring!  Triple H dressed as a fucking Terminator carrying Terminator skull heads in his fists!  And yes, the main event was perfectly executed, with the right man coming out on top.  Seth Rollins was the MVP of 2014, and he really deserved to get the nod.  Wrestling, guys; it usually sucks, but when it's great it's so great.