Saturday, 19 October 2013

TV Review: BBC3 Stacey Dooley Investigates - Crime, Carnage & Cancun

Back in the day I remember being overjoyed at receiving a cheap Saisho Walkman at Xmas and thinking I had won the lottery. Now today's "yoof" settle for no less then a £400 games console. Anything cheaper and you may as well have gifted them a freshly steaming turd and wrapped it their grandmother's underwear.

It the same principle with holidays. Malia is lame and Ibiza is old hat. The cool kids today what to party to Koh Phangan, Las Vegas or as Stacey Dooley ground breaking documentary discovers, Cancun. Two million party goers flock to Cancun every year for its beautiful white sand beaches turquoise Caribbean waters and tacky strip of mega-clubs & bars like Senor Frogs or Coco Bongo. It's a classy place.

Such attributes make it Mecca for Spring-breakers and an increasing amount of Brits with cash to burn. Dooley sets the scene by interviewing a trio of dolly birds at an all inclusive resort who are drunk by 4pm.

"There loads of fit Americans" they screech in unison.

Then she then interviews a bunch of lads of preening lads before a night out through a fog of Davidoff and Shockwaves. They are on their 8th consecutive night out and are getting to grips with traditional Latin American customs.

"Americans can't drink...they start chanting for no reason...we go what you doing, you're an's a completely different culture"

 For this series, Dooley's modus operandi has been to go to a popular tourist destinations and try and dig the dirt. She will either attempt to titillate viewers who might fancy a debauched holiday (see last week's expose on prostitutes Prague) or shock Guardian reading types who are aghast at the fact the hotel cleaner is not earning £20 an hour.

Sadly, despite Dooley's best efforts there are precious few revelations to be uncovered and little "carnage" you wouldn't see down your local high street on a Saturday night. Out on patrol with paramedics the best she can come up with a local who has got into the fight and slightly cut his head. On the beach trying to score she is offered drugs by some "cigar salesmen". It's small potatoes.

Out on patrol with the tourist police there is virtually no trouble on the "strip" as it is patrolled by officers with M16's in order to dissuade any would be narco-violence. Despite the high levels of violent crime in Mexico it's to Stacey's chagrin that she finds it difficult to argue with her chaperone when he says Cancun is:

"One of the safest cities in all Mexico"

Convinced she is just being fed the sanitised version of Cancun her handlers want her to see she hot-foots it "downtown" to interview hotel workers struggling on minimum wage. There are shots of dusty roads, wild dogs and tin-roof shacks. Problem is I've stayed in downtime Cancun and it is absolutely nothing like the scene depicted on screen. It's a bog standard, if unspectacular, Mexican town with a tree lined pedestrian area, open air restaurants and a modern bus station. What we are being shown is clearly way out in the sticks.

To fit the director's narrative between the affluent tourists on the strip oblivious to the suffering of the locals they have conned the viewer into believing "downtown" Cancun is some two-bit-tumbleweed shanty town within spitting distance of the plush resorts. This may be the case in Rio but not in Cancun. Sad, they have to use this sort of subterfuge to hoodwink the viewer.

Its hardly groundbreaking to find out the local cleaners don't get paid more than £3 a day but they wouldn't be particularly well paid if they lived in the UK either.

 The only arresting interview that Dooley captures during the documentary is that of a reformed drug addict confesses to killing 25 people, when he was 15, to fund a heroin habit. He would carrying out these hits for the drug gangs on their non-paying rivals. As the age of responsibility in Mexico is 16 the courts were unable to impose a prison sentence. He now bakes bread and is trying to turn his life around.

Dooley "Who did you kill?"
Killer: "Mostly women"
Dooley: *goes white*

Having watched a few of Dooley's documentaries I get the feeling her production team come up with a catchy title first and think about the documentary later. To call them lightweight affairs is like saying Hitler wouldn't have been a very good host at the MOBO's.

Dooley showed a lot of promise with her initial foray into the world of documentary making with her part in Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts expose on the textile industry's fondness for Indian sweat shops. However, her subsequent documentaries have suffered from having some great ideas stymied by amateur research, cheap voyeurism and a style of presenting that owes more to Stacey Solomon then it does to David Dimbleby.

At 25 she is still earning her docu-chops but if the quality doesn't start to improve there is going to be a lingering suspicion that she just was the check out girl that got lucky.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Six Banned Games That Make Grand Theft Auto Look Like Angry Birds

Following on from last week's hoo-ha surrounding the release of GTA 5 I thought I'd take a dip back into the archives to see what previous games have raised the blood pressure of the world's moral arbiters.

Manhunt 2

In 2004 another Rockstar title, Manhunt, a stealth horror game where players are awarded points depending to the brutality of their executions was linked to the murder of Leicester teenager Stefan Pakeerah by his friend Warren Leblanc.

Initial media reports claimed that police had found a copy of the game in Leblanc's bedroom. Giselle Pakeerah, the victim's mother, stated

"I think that I heard some of Warren's friends say that he was obsessed by this game. If he was obsessed by it, it could well be that the boundaries for him became quite hazy”

Police went on to discount the game as being the cause for the murder. Its sequel Manhunt 2 was banned in the UK by the BBFC for its

 "unrelenting focus on stalking and brutal slaying…and sustained and cumulative casual sadism"

but was eventually awarded a release and certification after a protracted court battle and removal of some of the more gratuitous scenes.

Strip out all the controversy and its a solid game (if offering little replay value) and far tamer in terms of gore than the material you will subjected to in films such as Hostel or Saw

Saints Row 4

Saints Row 4 is an open world sandbox game which could be considered a wackier version of GTA and was denied an age rating by the Australia Classification Board due to an "alien anal probe" featured in the game that was considered to encourage "sexual violence".

The weapon called a “Rectifier” can be shoved into enemy's backsides'. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon which once inserted into the victims anus would launch the victim into the air.

Really this is nothing more than childish bum humour made a pixelated reality. It was eventually allowed a release after modifications.

Wolfenstein 3D

This first person shooter banned in Germany due its Nazi symbolism. Despite the fact that Nazis are the enemy in the game censors took offence to the numerous swastikas, Horst-Wessel-Lied in game music (Nazi anthem) and Nazi iconography contained in the game which broke federal law.  

The SNES version of the game even had Hitler’s moustache airbrushed out whilst he was renamed “Straatmeiseter”.

I can’t imagine what made the Germans so touchy.


The BBFC took exception to this racing simulator where the object for players was to score points by running over people. To appease the BBFC programmers had to remove the humans and replace them with zombies or robots with green or black blood as this was deemed more acceptable by the censors.

This fuss really does look like small potatoes compared to the splatter fests depicted these days.

Postal 2

Tag line: "Remember, it's only as violent as you are!"

Another first person shooter where the character, Postal Dude has to perform mundane tasks whilst resisting the urge to “go postal” on the annoying citizens of Paradise as they mug, insult and attack him as he goes about his business.

Its black humour involving urination, gonorrhoea and misogyny was not appreciated by censors in various countries where it was banned because of its high level violent content, animal violence and a scene that was considered "gross and abhorrent" where the player urinates on dead bodies at a terrorist camp.

The animal violence relates to the use of a cat as a silencer when a firearm is equipped (you can work out where you have to stick the gun). Every time a shot is fired, the cat meows in apparent agony, and the gunshot is muffled.

This just sounds like bad 6th form humour and is hardly likely to create a generation of delinquents.


Altogether more disturbing is Rapelay a Japanese P.C. game where the male character stalks and rapes a mother and her two daughters. Three years after its initial release, the game garnered international attention and controversy for its content.

The game is banned in Argentina, Malaysia, and Thailand for "graphic depictions of glorification of sexual violence", and "sexual content".

A variety of different games modes allow the player to undertake a variety of mini games such as blowing up skirts on a subway platform, fondling, rape and bondage. The player can choose from a variety of sexual positions by making movements with the mouse or by scrolling the mouse wheel.

Completely fucking weird and only something the Japanese could come up with and legislate for.