Friday, 13 July 2018

Skyscraper (movie review)

Skyscaper is a modern day melange of some of our favourite movies, The Towering Inferno, Die Hard and throw in a little homage to Enter the Dragon and how can you fail. Oh God...

So, the plot. We follow the story of Will Sawyer (DwayneJohnson), a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper–the tallest in the world–after it is taken over by terrorists and set on fire. 

So, ok, a remake of The Towering Inferno (kind-of). Whilst I really like the Rock in Rampage and Jumanji; I’m afraid this is not a Rock solid performance as the movie is full of clichés and “cliff-hanging” jumps and feats of agility and strength. The element of comedy we got in both Rampage & Jumanji don’t exist and as the movie is a PG/12 cert, obviously aimed at families, it needs to have a little bit of comedy to lighten the story. Give me Steve McQueen & Paul Newman any day.

Ok then, it fails as a remake of the Towering Inferno. It’s kind of a bit like Die Hard also. Well yes, terrorists blowing up a building and there is only one man that can stop them. That’s more like it. The special effects are awesome and seamless as we expect from block buster movies these days. We have lots of loud explosions, gruesome fight scenes (unfortunately Disneyfied ... see my rant here about that) and a fast flowing story so these elements work well. However, Die Hard is a far better movie and whilst a nearly shirtless Bruce Willis doesn’t have the build of Dwayne Johnson he’s more realistic. 

There are a lot of similarities between Die Hard and Skyscaper and that’s not a bad thing. I was expecting an exclamation of Yippie Kai Aye (or however you spell it) and it’s one cliché that would have brought a smile to my face. To keep it PG there would have been no need to say the MF bit.

My favourite part, and it was foreshadowed at the start of the movie was the virtual reality room at the top of the skyscraper. Using a gazillion high-tech flat screens and multiple cameras a virtual mirror room can be created. This is, obviously a homage to the awesomeness of Bruce Lee and Enter the Dragon. 

An iconic movie coupled with the skill and fighting abilities of Bruce Lee have never been matched in martial arts movies. At the end of the movie Bruce is chasing down the villain and of course intends to kill him. The realness of these scenes, with over 800 mirrors was so disorientating the actors and crew couldn’t stay on the set for more than 15 minutes at a time without getting sick. 

The final fight scenes in Skyscraper don’t even come close to the finale of Enter the Dragon but it’s not a bad attempt. It’s a tall order, even if you are Dwayne Johnson, all 6 foot, four inches in height and over 200 pounds to match up with Bruce Lee. Hint. He doesn’t.  

Considering how difficult it is to make an original movie these days, we often get remakes, reboots and retelling of previous movies and stories. This is not a bad thing if done correctly. Unfortunately Skyscaper has too much going on and is just trying too hard. It fails as a reboot of Towering Inferno or Die Hard. The only successful part is the mirror room battle at the end and the one joke of “if Duck Tape isn’t working, you’re not using enough”. I give Skyscaper 6 planets out of 10. Too many clichés, lacking originality and  not enough comedy for a family movie.

John The Captain Ryan

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Fashion & Fat Shaming from an Irish Gay Mans Perspective.

Firstly, answer me this... When did we start using the term FAT SHAMING instead of BULLYING. Because that's what it is. 

So, you've probably seen this t-shirt and read a few articles about it. I'm intentionally NOT mentioning or linking to the merchant of this product because it will get their website more hits, but you get the idea. Let me tell you this,  if I saw someone wearing this item of "fashion" on the high street they'd be getting a piece of my mind.

For many years, I and lots of my friends have been fighting for equality and dignity. The right to not be attacked and discriminated against because of our sexuality. Lots of us have also fought for the Equality rights of others ( e.g. the Repeal referendum in Ireland a few weeks ago and to release Ibrahim Halawa).

But something insidious has been happening in the LGBT community, and maybe has always happened. We spend an inexorable amount of time ridiculing and chopping each other down. 

From a young age (8 or 9) I was always bullied in school. Not because I was gay but because I was overweight. There has NEVER been a time in my life where I have been the "perfect" weight. And let's call it for what it is.

It's BULLYING. Plain and simple.

It's not Fat Shaming... like somehow you are going to help by shaming the person to lose weight...
It's not banter or "bants"...
It's not having a laugh...

Neither is it because the person is STUPID, UGLY, LAZY, not into SPORTS or INACTIVE. I am none of these things.

So, fashion in the Gay community. Yah. That's great fun. The stereotypical flamboyant gay, flapping his wrist, half carrying/covering his ass with a 28 inch waist & 6 pack has no problem buying trendy fashionable clothes off the rack.

Go into any high street store. Jeans stop at 36 inches. They might have a 38 or 40 inch behind the counter or hidden in the store room because fatties aren't supposed to be able to buy jeans but you have to go and ask. Ya, lets make the overweight guy stand out even more. Then you go into the shop where they have perfect sized sales assistants who you just know are going to laugh their heads off when you dejectedly skulk from the store realising that the largest jeans they have on offer might just about traverse one of you arms.

Very few stores in Ireland stock any of the popular brands like Levi, Wrangler or Ben Sherman in large sizes and let's face it, these brands are American, they must come in fat bastard size.

Here's where it gets worse in my opinion. We are faced with a ubiquitous amount of dating apps. Over 20 years ago in Ireland, LGBT singles (and some couples) used yahoo chat groups. Remember them. Then on a really slow dial-up around 15 years ago we started to use Gaydar. Since then we have GrindR, Squirt, Hornet, Scruff, Growlr, and even Recon for those with a kink or fetish.  Great you might think to yourself. 


This is just more opportunity for those perfectly formed, ab growing, white skinned, hair quaffed pretty boy to post up their dislikes. No fatties, No fems, No chocolate (aka black people) , No rice (oriental people), No gingers. The list is never ending. But what is amazing is how they are comfortable openly listing the way in which they are happy to discriminate and bully other gay people. Where do they get off with this attitude. Without that butch queen, the flamboyant fem and the obnoxious drag queen fighting for their rights, they wouldn't have the World to live in that they have today. 

But let's get back to fashion and who is to blame. I don't blame the fashion industry. No, really, I don't. 

I blame the shop owners, retail chains and store buyers for not demanding larger sizes for their rails. 

I want to be able to walk into a store and grab a few things off the rack and try them on. Find stuff that fits me well and just buy them. Yes, I still have to get my jeans taken up because I have a 27 inch inside leg but that I can live with that. I never pass by a Burton's without going in because I can always find stuff to fit me there. Last year I even bought a suit for an interview OFF THE RACK! 

Burton's in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre is great. 

But for my final rant.


If I ever find them, I will have to go up to them on street and give them a piece of my mind also. It's all fine and good if you are a stick person but trying to wedge my legs into a skinny jeans that actually happens to have 40 inch waist just doesn't work. My large foot won't even go half way down the leg. (and you know what they say about big feet).  There has been a huge amount of work done promoting larger sizes for women and the same needs to be done for men. 

Finally, there is a happy ending. I found a lovely group of gays in Dublin that organise social nights. The Dublin Bears. They are a great group of guys who don't make fun of each other and when we go out, we have enough stamina and girth to outlast, out dance and out strut all those skinny little twinks that prance around pretending to be Gods gift. I've often said to people "Find Your Tribe" and these are one of the most genuine friendly tribes in the Gay community in Ireland. 

The Dublin Bears had a bus at pride this year with some of the hottest guys in the parade...

And, this is a picture of me... 

Me on the left, 2 friends in the middle and my hubby Noel on the right. Pride for me is all about being proud about who and what I am. Suspenders are trendy these days so at least I was wearing one fashionable thing. (Don't tell anyone, I've been wearing them for years because they are more comfortable than a belt)

Toodles for now.

John the Captain Ryan.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Judging a Creative Writing Competition.

Over the next few weeks I will be one of five people judging the entries to the Wexworlds creative writing competition. All details of the competition are HERE. I've come up with the following guideline to help all of us to short list the entries:

1. Each entry will be read by at least two judges

2. Each entry will be marked out of 100 points as follows:

Completeness – (Marks out of 30 points).
IS the story complete, does it have a beginning, middle and end. Does the punctuation, paragraph spacing and spelling help the story flow and enhance the clarity, meaning and movement of the piece.

Originality and Style – (Marks out of 30 points).
DOES the story have a unique style and is it original. Does it have a fresh point of view and is it a page turner. Is it descriptive. As it is a short story, choice and economy of words is very important so are the choices made precise and evocative. 

Realness and Impact – (Marks out of 30 points).
AS a work of fantasy/sci-fi/horror, is there a realness. Does the reader get sucked into the World that the author has created. What is the lasting impression of the story, Does the language create a rich or broad sensory appeal.

The X Factor – (Marks out of 10 points).
This is where the judge has free reign to award extra points for a special or amazing submission.

Judges after marking take notes to remind themselves of the submission. Judges will not know who else will read the submission and how the other judge will mark until all submissions have been read and they compare notes. We have started reading already even though the closing date is not until 31st July 2018. We are expecting to receive over 100 submissions and are really exciting to see what will be on offer.

Find out more about Wexworlds on their WEBSITE and FACEBOOK and any queries email

John The Captain Ryan

Monday, 9 July 2018

Release by Patrick Ness (Book Review).

A poignant story of loss and rebirth.

This is another very successful book by Patrick Ness. He writes a story about Adam Thorn, who is the preacher’s disappointing gay second son, constantly told he’s never good enough and always questioned why can’t he be more like his “perfect” older brother currently studying to following in his father’s footsteps.

On the Saturday during which the book’s action takes place, Adam, crossing paths and swords with friends, employers, family and lovers, will experience revelations, attend a farewell party, and reshape his life.

This is intertwined with a story about an otherworldly Queen; who becomes entwined with the soul of a murdered girl, and moves through our reality, seeking answers and revenge, with a naked 7ft faun as her companion. Unfortunately, this part of the story will put off some readers and truth be told it didn’t work for me either. Yes, it’s written very well, switching from one storyline to the other is done well, but, it just doesn’t belong in the story. I would prefer to have two separate books telling both stories (and I would read both no problem).

Adam’s tale, the important one is a story of change, loss and moving on (which is mirrored in the other story). His ex-boyfriend, Enzo, is leaving town. And we all know that first love is hard to get over and there’s always a part of that person in your heart. His older “Perfect” brother gets a girl pregnant (out of wedlock...oh the sin, what will the neighbours say) AND Adam’s boss is a slime-ball who comes on to him and when Adam rebuts the advancement gets fired. Adam’s best friend Angela is leaving town and the World is just falling apart around him.

“Everything was so clear in books and movies. Everyone always knew their reasons. But real life was such a mess”

The book is really well written, (I’d expect nothing else from Patrick Ness) and the acknowledgement that normal life is a mess unlike movies & books makes the ending more poignant. At the end (not to give too much away) Adam starts makes his way out of the maze, and figures out how to be strong and assertive. Again, like the story of the Queen and her release of the murdered girl’s soul, Adam learns to release his anxieties and a new romance starts to blossom. His family life still isn’t resolved but with Adam’s new found strength and finding of himself the reader is left with little doubt that he will be ok.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 planets because the side story should be just taken out.

You can read more about Patrick Ness here and you can find him on facebook.

John The Captain Ryan

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

What you need to know about attending your first PRIDE

Bring your family, friends and self to one of the most memorable experiences this year.

So, in the back of your mind you've been playing around with the idea of going to your first PRIDE. You want to see what's it's all about. For me, the first Pride I went to was such an eye opener. It was an enlightening, uplifting day; I had so much fun and it was such a positive affirmation of who I was. 

"Gay pride or LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance." 

So here's some boring old man advice:

Travel Light.


If you are only going for the day you don't need to bring a suitcase. Have a small satchel or backpack but remember you want to keep your hands free and not be worrying. Also don't be bringing your expensive camera gear. Want to be able to freshen up? If it's a hot sticky, sweaty day; everyone else will be sweating too so don't worry. BUT, a small roll-on deodorant and a tester bottle of scent works well.

Avoid Pocket Disasters.


Don't have your pockets crammed full of shit you don't need. (Remember you are travelling light). Don't have anything you cannot afford to lose like your passport, wallet or bundle of credit cards. Leave them all at home especially if you are only going for the day. Bring the cash you will be spending and maybe a little extra. This way you are not worrying about having your pockets picked. Don’t be waving your phone around. Stick it in the tightest pocket you have and experience the day through your own eyes not the screen of your phone.

Be prepared for hugs.


A common theme at Pride is Free Hugs. Spread Love not Hate. 

It is an opportunity to let your hair down and an opportunity for love and friendship to be openly shown. Don’t be surprised if an angel or nun runs up to you for a hug. What happens on holidays stays on holidays (or Pride). Just take it in your stride and embrace (literally) this display of exuberance and life. Obviously don’t do something you feel uncomfortable doing but for some people it might be the first time they hug someone of the same gender and it’s a fantastic experience. Yes, honestly, something as simple as a hug can lift a weight from your shoulders.

Be comfortable


Wearing a full leather outfit sounds amazing but might get uncomfortable. You will regret wearing those amazing boots you bought last year and haven’t had a chance to try out. You will regret bringing your heavy raincoat in case it rains. Wear comfortable clothes. If you will be doing a lot of walking or standing wear comfy shoes (Sketchers are my go to) and talc is worth its weight in gold. Yes. Honestly. If it rains, don’t worry, everyone else will be wet too. Remember the song...

It's raining men, hallelujah, it's raining men, amen
I'm gonna go out to run and let myself get
Absolutely soaking wet
It's raining men, hallelujah
It's raining men, every specimen
Tall, blonde, dark and lean
Rough and tough and strong and mean

Be prepared to see the unusual.


You will see some people wearing (or barely wearing) some unusual outfits. TO YOU, some of it might be repulsive and some might be intriguing. Remember Pride is all about people being comfortable in who THEY are and showing to the World their inner self. Some people travel to Pride from different countries and show a side they wouldn’t show on their own high street and that’s ok. Just roll with it. If you see something that intrigues you, ask the person all about it. It’s a great ice breaker. If you want to explore the leather/fetish scene in Ireland check out GEARED IRELAND. They organise great events all year round. 

We are family.


Pride is a fun-filled, colourful carnival of music, dancing and high spirits. (Hold off on the drink until later in the evening). Previously it was a day of protest, now-a-days it’s a family friendly day out. For young LGBT people to see 1000’s of people supporting who they are is fantastic. 

WE ARE FAMILY is the theme of the 2018 Dublin Pride and it will be a celebration of love and togetherness. News that Mary McAleese will be attending with her family this year is amazing. If a family member or friend is going to Pride offer to go with them. What might seem like a small gesture at the time is a huge affirmation to them and it shows them that you accept and love them.

Finally, have fun, scream, shout, sing, wave your flag and enjoy yourself.

John The Captain Ryan

Friday, 15 June 2018

Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom...

I’m not going to do a review of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom as I’m a bit late (a week after release) so instead I’m going to compare the original Jurassic Park filmed in 1993 (JP1) and Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom (2018; JP5)

If you want a review of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom find one HERE from Billie Jean.


Skip this blog to avoid spoilers ...


For those who remember going to the cinema to see Jurassic Park all the way back in 1993 (some of you reading were probably not even conceived); I went to see it twice in the opening week; I’m delighted to report that the JP5 does credit to the franchise. Whilst JP4 was a little weak, the plot was limited and strangled by having to tell the same story all over again, JP5 stands out on its own, paying homage whilst adding to the Jurassic Park World as we know it.

One of the most iconic and memorable scenes in JW1 is when we see a living breathing dinosaur for the first time which is the Brachiosaurus. This was coupled with the amazing Jurassic Park theme tune composed and conducted by John Williams. In JW5 the first dinosaur Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) & Franklin (Justice Smith) see is also the Brachiosaurus.

One of the only negatives I can say about JP5 is that the original theme tune should have been played at this stage. For me, the theme tune helps transport you into the World of Jurassic Park and raises the hairs on the back of your neck. For me, music is an integral part of any movie and creates emotions and evokes memory.  It was an opportunity lost.

I loved the chase scene in JP1 when Tim, Lex & Grant are running across the field with multiple dinosaurs behind them and they eventually hide behind a tree. This is duplicated in JP5 when the crew and dinosaurs are fleeing the exploding volcano & also use a tree to hide.

I loved the edition of Maisie Lockwood’s character (Isabella Sermon in her debut role is really good btw). There was a part when Tim & Lex (played by Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richardswere in the kitchen hiding from the velociraptors in JP1. This is referenced twice in JP5. The first is when Maisie is hiding in the dumb waiter from the Indoraptor, she struggles to get the door closed. The same happens to Lex in the kitchen press.

Also when the Indoraptor is stalking the cast in JP5, this is very similar to the stalking scene in the kitchen in JP1.

When Eli Mills is killed by the T-Rex in JP5, this is the very same way the T-Rex gets to kill the coward in JP1 that abandons Lex & Tim in the jeep. A favourite scene of mine which is known as the “toilet death scene”. A similar scene also happens in JP4 when a park supervisor is killed.

When Owen (Chris Pratt) is looking for Blue (the velociraptor) there is a moment just before he finds her. There is an upside down jeep where the camera focus changes to looking in the mirror of the jeep back at Owen. There is text on the mirror reading “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. This is a reference to when the T-Rex is chasing the main cast in JP1 in the jeep.

Near the end of JP5, there is a great moment when the T-Rex says hello to a lion in a zoo. The T-Rex has just destroyed the zoo fence, which is a similar fence design in JP1.

At the end of JP5, there is also a nod to JP3. When the survivors are escaping the island, the pteranodons are flying beside them. At the end of JP5 when Claire, Owen and Maisie are driving off into the sunset the pteranodons are flying alongside them too.

The set-up at the end of JP3 of the dinosaurs roaming the planet has been set-up again at the end of JP5. This times it’s sure to be made.

I can’t wait for the next instalment of Jurassic World, hopefully we will see more of Jeff Goldblum who is hilarious and how humans will share the planet with dinosaurs will be interesting. Even though I haven’t given a review of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom I’m stilll going to give it a rating of 8 out of 10 planets. The reason it loses 2 rating points is the same feeling of wonder is not achieved as the original (probably because JP1 was ground breaking in the use of special effects) and the soundtrack isn’t as memorably.

As I finish this blog I’m still humming the original theme tune. Listen to it here.

John The Captain Ryan

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

We all have closets - YES, really!

And they are all dark and lonely inside...

Just watched this video from TedX in Boulder. Ash Beckham is just fantastic. 

She just hits the nail on the head. We all have our closets, whether it's talking about having cancer, talking about your divorce or talking about your sexuality.

All our stories are hard because they are HARD stories to tell. We should stop comparing them because they are all hard.

Instead we should support each other.

What's important is to get out of that closet because it is dark and lonely in there and it is no way to live your life.


Friday, 8 June 2018

Some reading suggestions for Pride month

June is Pride month all around the World so here are some LGBT suggested reads...


The America Library Association have a brilliant resource called Rainbow books which can be found - HERE. For the last 10 years, they have writen reviews and provide suggested reading lists for libraries and schools.

I've been reading some LGBT books recently and blogging reviews, here's a summary of the best I've read:

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen HERE


Boy meets Boy by David Levithan HERE


Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde HERE


When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid HERE


Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green HERE



Simon Vs The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli HERE

I've also done a blog on the history of the PRIDE flag HERE and the importance of LGBT movies HERE.

Hope you enjoy reading and have a great PRIDE month.

Live Long and Prosper
John The Captain Ryan.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

PRIDE flag history

It’s PRIDE month, yippee. A whole month of celebrating diversity and acceptance (in some countries) and for others a time for protest and being visual. But, what the hell is that rainbow flag all about...

Now before anyone says “I’m sick of pride month” or “why do the gays get a month of celebration”. Until LGBT+ people have EQUALITY and are SAFE all around the World there will always be a need for PRIDE month. Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a Straight Pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one. And yes, I also agree there are other issues that need highlighting too, so get off your ass and do it!

You will see loads of Pride flags over the next few weeks so read on to learn more.

Before The Pride Flag.

A flag isn’t just a representation of a country, club or association. It is firstly borne from the need to identify oneself. This of course has been done for the wrong reasons in the past, the most notorious would be by the Nazi’s and their use of tattooing a number on a Jewish persons wrist. The Nazi’s also identified gay people with a pink triangle and lesbians and other “asocial” people with a black triangle. It’s sometimes forgotten that the Nazi’s didn’t ONLY want to rid the World of all the Jewish people. They also murdered 1,000’s of Gypsies and I’m sure would have worked through all the groups that didn’t fit into their perfect World order. A selection of the identifying patches can be seen below:

Even then the patch for gay people was bright and cheerful. This pink triangle was liberated and used by the LGBT community but the connotations from the War and the holocaust could never be forgotten. Gay victims of Nazism were not officially recognised in the immediate aftermath of the Third Reich but Berlin now has a memorial to homosexuals persecuted under Nazism next to the original Jewish Holocaust Memorial site. It takes the form of a concrete cube with a slit on one side – through which visitors can see video of two men kissing.

My Pride Flag.

One of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols today was created over 40 years ago by Gilbert Baker. It was against the turbulent times in the late 1970’s in America that San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person ever to be elected to public office in California, encouraged Gilbert Baker in 1977 to devise a unique symbol for the gay community – an insignia of pride capable of affirming social independence.

Baker loved the idea of using a field of stacked stripes as a symbol for many stitched together as one. The gay community, he believed, deserved a fabulous emblem entirely of its own fashioning. “We needed something beautiful,” Baker concluded, “something from us.” With his machine sewing skills (self taught drag queens always had to make their own outfits) he designed a flag of 8 stripes, two more than the version now recognised internationally as an emblem for the LGBT community – and each colour was assigned a symbolic meaning. A band of hot pink (representing sexuality) ran across the top of the flag in the original scheme, followed by red (which stood for life), then by orange (for healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), turquoise (art/magic), indigo (serenity/harmony), and violet (spirit) at the bottom.

Displayed for the first time in the United Nations Plaza in downtown San Francisco in June 1978, this eight-striped version was produced by a team of 30 volunteers commandeering the washing machines of a public laundromat in order to rinse the dye from the fabric and the wide attic space of a gay community centre, where the individual strips were ironed and sewn together. When Baker approached a company to mass-produce the flags, he found out that “hot pink” was not commercially available. The flag was then reduced to seven stripes.

In November 1978, San Francisco’s lesbian, gay and bisexual community was stunned when the city’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was assassinated. Wanting to demonstrate the gay community’s strength and solidarity in the aftermath of the tragedy, the Pride Committee decided to use Baker’s flag. The indigo stripe was eliminated so that the colours could be divided evenly along the parade route - three colours on one side and three on the other. Soon the six colours were incorporated into a six-striped version that became popularised and that, today is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.

It was not accidental that the day we voted for Marriage Equality in Ireland is also Harvey Milk Day - 22nd May.

Baker died on March 31st 2017 at the age of 65 but not before an original flag got a place of honour in the World renowned New York’s MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). Read more HERE

I’ll finish with this quote from Baker

“We needed something beautiful, something from us. The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things. Plus, it’s a natural flag—it’s from the sky!”

John The Captain Ryan

Skyscraper (movie review)

Skyscaper is a modern day melange of some of our favourite movies, The Towering Inferno, Die Hard and throw in a little homage to Enter th...