All posts by Alec McClymont

STD: ‘The Vulcan Hello’

‘Star Trek Discovery’ had its premiere this past weekend and I finally managed to get a hold of it yesterday. The good news is that I don’t hate the show, but everywhere from editing to characterization, production design to acting, it’s riddled with so many poor choices that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to like it.


Visually, ‘Discovery’ is exactly like the NuTrek JJ Abrams films. Not a good start. Everything on screen seems to run the brightness gamut from totally black shadows to bright shiny highlights. There’s a ridiculous amount of contrast in every frame, to the point that none of the locations or environments seem remotely real. Ship interiors are all polished grey steel, glass screens, and over-saturated coloured lights. It’s cold and uninviting. Exterior shots are similar; the blown out lighting and high specularity of the ships’ hulls make the shots look more CG, not less. Starfleet and Klingon ships seem to be nearly the same colour, and neither is established well enough to make them easy to spot during action scenes. I hate the weapons. Both the hand and ship phasers have adopted the pop-gun style effect from the Abrams films, leaving space battles a confusing mess of machine gun tracer fire. Shields seem to be dealt with entirely through dialogue, another NuTrek staple. The Klingon cloaking device is now a comical green energy ripple. This show displays no visual subtlety.


I never thought I’d long for DS9’s ‘Kiss army’ Klingons. I have no idea how these ones made it out of the art department. I don’t mind the cultural changes, but visually, they’re a mess. It’s obvious that none of them can move around in their ridiculous spiky suits, and the actors appear to be drowning in prosthetic makeup. The main villain can barely open his mouth to speak, and when he does, only manages to sleep walk through his lines. I’m not sure if the actors aren’t up to the task, or if their performances can’t escape from under that makeup, but none of them come close to pulling off the Klingon language. They’re devoid of passion, personality, and weight. It’s as if all of the production’s effort went into the Klingon visuals, instead of into how they would behave. Their bridge is excessively designed, and the ‘Torchbearer’ armour that’s been featured so heavily in marketing is on screen for all of fifteen seconds. Strange priorities. We’re also treated to even more scenes of Starfleet officers besting Klingon warriors in hand-to-hand combat, a decades long pet peeve of mine.  The Klingons are one of sci-fi’s iconic aliens, but they should have passed them by this time.


The conflict between main character Michael Burnham and Captain Georgiou seems out of place for officers who’ve supposedly been serving together for seven years. Michelle Yeoh does her best through these first two episodes, but there’s ultimately very little in the script that creates the kind of familiarity and warmth I’d expect from such old friends. As a result, Georgiou’s death falls flat. I also have a hard time believing that a Starfleet officer, even one trained at the Vulcan Science Academy, would resort to mutiny. Starfleet doesn’t fire first. I think, after seven years, Commander Burnham would have at least read a manual on Federation ethics. The whole scenario reeked of forced drama that the story hadn’t earned.

I have many more nitpicks. The tepid musical score. The uninspired intro that could easily be from a procedural cop show. The paint-by-numbers computer screen graphics. The tribunal of judges who’s faces are all in shadow. There were so many unimaginative design choices that scream ‘this is what’s cool in 2017’, and more than anything this show feels desperate to be ‘cool’. So far, there’s no charm. No heart. It’s taking itself so seriously, wanting me to like it to much, that it pushed me away.

None of that matters as much to me as the same issue I’ve had with this show since it was announced: the premise. It’s a prequel, which by definition means it’s stuck in the past. Star Trek should be about the future. Even though this show is clearly a reboot, albeit one that doesn’t have the guts to say so, it’s still treading the same old ground. Klingons, Vulcans, and out of place sound effects from the 1960s show. ‘Discovery’ is built on a foundation of Boomer nostalgia and visual cliches. Nothing about the premiere offered any interesting new ideas. I can only hope they’re still to come.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it. ‘Star Trek Discovery’ has a chance, but it’s got some catching up to do.


Well worn and worn out


I walked around the world on these shoes. Well, not literally, of course. I bought them in Nice after it became obvious that my original travel shoes weren’t up to the task, and wore them nearly every following day until it was time to go travelling again two years later. Today I have three pairs of similarly styled foot ware, but nothing I like as much as I liked these. They tackled endless kilometres of city walks, dirt trails, mountain hikes, desert sand, a bit of snow, and more than a few dance floors. I never expected a pair of Sketchers to be that good.

Three years ago…

Sometimes my travel year feels like it happened yesterday, and other times it seems like a lifetime ago. I’m always one to reminisce, and if a picture says a thousand words, what about thousands of pictures? Or one poster?

After the first two Balkan Boyz posters, there remained a very large, very obvious missing link in the chain. Our longest tour to date: Southeast Asia. The three months that cemented our bond, gave us a secret handshake, a logo, and tattoos. More than enough to warrant a few hours in Photoshop. Quite a bit more than ‘a few’, actually.

We all hope there are many more posters to come. For now, the Balkan Boyz project is at least caught up, more or less… ;)

Balkan Boyz - South East Asia 2014

‘Discovery’ First Look

Well that’s disappointing. It might seem like I’m deciding to hate this series before seeing it, but what’s really happening is that I’m simply not liking most of what they’ve shown. On the plus side, I think the cast looks great. Beyond that, there just isn’t very much to cheer.

The prequel setting has been covered by many as a terrible idea. It’s just never going to be as interesting as pushing forward into the future; into the unknown. That’s what Star Trek used to be about, before it was hijacked by JJ Abrams and his cult of Boomer nostalgia mongers.

My big problem with what we see in this trailer is the production design. Everything about it looks like JJ Trek. The overly colour graded look of the shots. The high contrast lighting style. The shiny, grey metal surfaces. The lens flares. That does not look like an environment I’d want to visit, let alone live in. Who didn’t wish they could visit the old Enterprise, or have a drink in Ten Forward, or walk along the Promenade and meet friends at Quark’s? Those places were warm, inviting, and optimistic. This series looks soul crushingly bland, and most importantly, it doesn’t look fun. How a show looks tells you all you need to know about it. It’s the body language of a series. Here, even the Klingons, one of science fiction’s all time classic aliens, have been completely redone. Star Trek’s motto from now on: needlessly redesigned.

I read an interesting commentary on this trailer and how it compares to the way the Star Wars franchise treats its history. When ‘The Force Awakens’ or ‘Rogue One’ were made, no one came up with a new look for the Millennium Falcon. No one offered their take on the X-Wing. Sure, the models and assets were beefed up and improved for a modern film, but there’s no confusion that they are the same ships we’ve all grown up with. The people working on contemporary Star Wars love and respect it. So when the time comes to create something new, they work around what’s been done before and make sure it all fits together. Not so with Star Trek. The people working on modern Trek think it’s tacky and dated. They don’t love or respect the original works and therefore are willing to wipe the slate clean and update everything, keeping only the tiniest forms of fan lip-service the marketing department has asked for. They think old Star Trek sucks.

Marketing is what is really driving this new show. It looks this way because the JJ Abrams movies look this way, and CBS has decided to try and leverage them to build their ridiculous online streaming service. Revere Trek’s history? Who cares! Appreciate continuity? Boring! Now Star Trek on TV looks like those movies you saw a few years ago, so come and watch, for just $10 a month!

No sale here.

Uh oh!

What the Fuck Is Going On With ‘Star Trek: Discovery’?

Here’s a great summary of everything that’s been going on with the new Star Trek series, and it doesn’t sound promising. Even without these issues, I don’t know if I’d be on board with the concept. Why set it ten years before the original series? Why do we always have to come back to Kirk and Spock? It’s pathetic.

Star Trek is supposed to be about looking forward. All it can do now is wallow in the past.

There hasn’t really been any great Trek made since The Next Generation. Deep Space Nine is a war story set in a static location. Voyager is literally about going home. The other prequel, Enterprise, is the dramatic equivalent of looking through your parents’ photo albums. The nuTrek films are Boomer nostalgia trips.

This new show takes place in the past and they have the nerve to call it ‘Discovery’?

The entire concept is a sad joke.


The Trance scene in Vancouver had a rough ride through 2016. Never known as a haven for the genre, the city still has a small but loyal following, focused mainly in the Vancouver Trance Family (VTF). After last year’s few-and-far-between series of ‘usual suspects’ bookings, and a locals night where Trance was nowhere to be heard, something had to change. A few of us decided to begin organizing that change, and eventually, a new VTF night was born:


No international headliner, no mix of genres. Just Trance music all night long. We weren’t sure if many people would be interested, but in the end, MIA was packed for most of the night. Nearly 400 people came through the door. We couldn’t have been happier.

I was especially excited to play as Causeway, my first ever gig at a VTF event! I had the closing slot, from 1:45am until 3:00am, and it was a great time.

Causeway – Live @ Spectrum (VTF Debut)

There will be more Spectrum events in the future, and with The Residency beginning to book more out of town acts, 2017 is already beginning to deliver the Trance goods back to Vancouver.

One year anniversary

It’s been a year since I left the Balkan Boyz tour of the Americas. Everything I wrote about the trip still feels true. Since the guys’ returned home from their extended trip through Central America, life has changed for them, as well. It certainly was not the tour any of us expected, but it was the tour each of us needed. The travel bug has surely been tamed for the time being, which was perhaps the unspoken goal of all of this in the first place. We’re all firmly into new and different chapters of life.

I’ve found that I remember it all more fondly now. Certainly more so than when I first got home. I’d always wanted to do a big North American road trip, and I’m glad I did it with best friends, and at that time. We all hoped the Balkan Boyz wouldn’t be a one-tour-wonder and I think we’re proving that won’t be the case. In honour of the latest voyage, I’ve made up another poster. I hope that by the time we’re all old men, we can each have a wall full of them.

Thanks for the great ride, Boyz!




There’s plenty of blame to go around for the election of Donald Trump to the office of the President of the United States of America. A lot of it rests with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party. Even more with the growing urban/rural divide and globalist ideology that’s crushing small communities’ sense of identity. Some is just boring demographics. As much as the US is changing, a lot of that change hasn’t come fast enough to make a difference right now. It’s painfully clear that white baby boomers, with their 1950s nostalgia worldview, are not going to give up control of society until it’s pried from their cold, dead hands. Florida proved that…again. Younger people, most of whom lean left and vote Democrat, seem unwilling to put in even the bare minimum of effort to have their voices heard. That is, actually voting on election day. All of the ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ in the world don’t mean as much as a single vote in the booth. There’s no guarantee that the idealistism of youth will stick around, either. Don’t go betting on future decades of nothing but Democrat victories.

Fuck Everything And Blame Everyone

With this election, the writing was on the wall through the primaries. Democrats chose the insider candidate over the one that generated more buzz and who people actually seemed to like. Republicans begrudgingly did the opposite. Clinton has too much baggage, and is not relatable or likeable. I honestly believe that if she were a Man, she wouldn’t have won the nomination. But the party elite believed in her manifest destiny to become the first Woman to hold the office, and after 8 years of the first black President, ‘progress’ seemed an unstoppable trend. What could possibly go wrong?

After the scandal broke that the Democratic party had been fixing the primaries to favour Clinton, she was shockingly tone deaf on the issue. Disgraced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a long time Clinton friend, was given a position in Hillary’s campaign. Already swimming in muddy accusations surrounding her private email server, that action confirmed people’s worst fears about her casual, above the law elitism. A vast majority of Americans consider Washington to be broken. Clinton is a 30 year veteran of that system, and she put it on full display.

Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there

Whether it’s an American Presidential election, or a British referendum on EU membership, liberals everywhere will always struggle appealing to rural, working people. Humans instinctually tribalize themselves, and most liberals spend almost all of their time in cities amongst people with university degrees and cosmopolitan attitudes. They are a culture that believes education is equal to intelligence, and only the intelligent should qualify as leaders. They have no relatable experience with millions of their fellow citizens who grow the food and build the infrastructure that keeps a society running. The vast hinterland of ‘stupid, ignorant, racist bigots’ who live beyond city walls. We’ve all seen the memes and Saturday Night Live skits. Well, farmers have television and the internet, too.

Rural Democrats were not willing to double down on at least four more years of the same. What’s a little racism or sexism compared to a vote against the corrupt, corporate, global elite who’ve been ruining rural economies for decades? It got Hitler elected. It got Chavez elected. It got Trump elected. Democrats had a populist candidate, and they rigged the game against him. Ignore the grassroots at your peril.

Unless and until liberals can cure themselves of that thinking, this will continue to happen. Liberals will continue to be viewed as out of touch ivory tower residents by a rural population only too happy to tear the whole thing down. Learn from this, and don’t let it happen again four years from now.