Squid Game Criticism – Spoiler Alert

Don’t lose your marbles.

I really enjoyed watching Squid Game. The marbles episode epitomized the show for me, allowing the characters to fully realise themselves while providing the viewer with edge-of-your-seat suspense. It was as close to perfect as it got. All in all I thought it was a great show.

Balancing act.

As a fan of well known Korean cinema – Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengence, Parasite, Memories of Murder, The Chaser, I was looking for a similar kind of experience from Squid Game. I thought for the most part it achieved this, while also having the quintessential Korean lightness that doesn’t detract from the surrounding horror. With that said, the introduction of the cop character plot left me with lingering fear that the show would descend into a farcical formulaic type of thing which would detract from the rest of the action. The VIPs in their caricaturesque portrayal also detracted from the show. Squid Game retained its identity for the most part and did not become a farce as, for example, the 2020 film Alive did.

Robbed by the suits

I felt robbed by the last 5 minutes of the show. I’m hopeful that somewhere, probably not filmed, but possibly in the script or maybe in the writer’s early drafts is an ending that wraps it all up. An ending where the principal character gets on the plane and flies to the US where he will either reunite with his daughter or see her happier than ever and choose not to impose on that happiness. That, as far as I’m concerned, is the proper ending of the show.

But wait, there’s more.

But what we got was a moneyman flying down into the last scene to meet our newly empowered hero Seong Gi-Hun with his flame red hair just as he’s about to board the plane while we all scream not to dial that number, but he does and we hear him say, ‘Listen guys, there’s every indication that this show is going to be a big hit, so scrap that meeting with my daughter, we’re going to cash in on a sequel.’

If they wanted him back in the game, the time to do it was when Seong Gi-Hun was downtrodden and homeless, not spending a jeon of his winnings, a man with nowhere else to go, but that too would have sacrificed the sequel. In the end, the fans have lost an ending so that Netflix can milk a bit more out of it.

It will be a sequel I for one will not be watching, unless Kang Sae-byeok comes back as the world’s prettiest zombie.

What do you think?

St.Combs Portrait Project

I started the St.Combs Portrait Project in April 2020 to capture the people living, passing through, or connected in any way to the village.

All photos are taken with a Yashica Mat 124G Twin Lens Reflex medium format camera using Kodak Tri-X or Ilford Hp5 film. The film is sent to Photo Hippo in Burnley for developing.

The photos are not perfect, but I hope this adds to the character of the work.

You can view the photos on Instagram: stcombs_portrait_project. If you would like to take part please reach out to me. If you want your photo removed, Just let me know.

07.07.2020

Susan, Lorraine & June

06.07.2020

William & Kristopher

01.07.2020

Danny, Bart & Nicky

24.06.2020

Susie
Kimi & Rachel

22.06.2020

Bill

20.06.2020

James
Nasafor Ali, Hasina, Nasima, Yaqub & Inaya
Hasina
Pamela & Joshua

18.06.2020

Alan & Harris

17.06.2020

Susan, Faith, Lola & Buddy

16.06.2020

Colin & Ross

16.06.2020

Marina, Millie & Bella

15.06.2020

Charlotte, Allison, Lisa, Charlotte & Alexander

14.06.2020

Drew

11.06.2020

Stuart

02.06.2020

Maya & Annie

01.06.2020

David, Seonaid, Ozzi, Neve, Indie & Reggie

01.06.2020

Rob, Nampet, Bonnie & Sebastian

30.05.2020

Jock, Rebecca, Miley & Sadie

27.05.2020

Dave

26.05.2020

Colin

25.05.2020

Lyndsey & Hollie
Stuart, Alice & Rose

24.05.2020

Rachel & Arya

21.05.2020

Bob

19.05.2020

David, Charleen, Noah, Rhys, Fynn & Gene

16.05.2020

Steven, Sandra, Maggie & Angus

12.05.2020

Penny & Ozzy

09.05.2020

Gordon & Freddy

07.05.2020

John
Paul, Anna & Joseph

02.05.2020

Alan & Elizabeth

01.05.2020

Rory

28.04.2020

Conrad Ritchie

25.04.2020

Allison & John Tait with Hamish, Bridget & Abbie
Colin Cooper
Alec Buchan

22.04.2020

Janey, Jessica & Madison Cooper
Kerry, Hattie & Sandy Smith
Phillip & Margaret Dunbar

18.04.2020

Billy
David Buchan
Steven-John Tait
John Tait

17.04.2020

Allison Tait

Interesting Websites and Podcasts

Here are some interesting websites and podcasts that I visit or listen to frequently. I’ve separated them into four categories:

  • News
  • Personal Growth
  • General Interest
  • Travel

News

I try to find reliable sources of news so my head doesn’t fill with skewed information that fits someone else’s narrative and furthers their agenda.

Monocle Magazine Podcasts

Most days during my commute to work I listen to one of Monocle’s podcasts, mainly The Globalist, to keep up to date with global affairs or the shorter, House View.

Monocle have a range of shows exploring culture, business, news and opinion. Click here for their full guide. In the catch up section you’ll see their The Golden Age of Aviation series, which I thought was great.

I also subscribe to Monocle magazine.

The Economist

The Economist might be the best mainstream news outlet for unbiased fact-checked news. You’ll get much more out of reading this than you will any other newspaper. I read this weekly instead of a daily paper.

John Pilger

John Pilger is the type of journalist the world needs now as much as ever. He tells you what’s going on in a way the big news corporations never will. Reading his articles on big issues will help you develop a balanced and informed point of view.

At 80 years old, John has a lifetime of experience in the world and its recent history. As an independent journalist, his reports are uncensored and full of important details. Click here to visit his website where you can read his articles and sign up to his newsletter.

John has created a number of films that are worth watching. His latest is The Dirty War on the NHS. Publicity for its ITV showing was banned during the December UK elections. His films are all crowd-funded, so if you like his stuff please consider chipping in.

The Intercept

To Be honest, I don’t visit the Intercept that much, but I know the importance of having such a news organisation in existence. Headed up by Glenn Greenwald, the man behind the publication of the Edward Snowden files, The Intercept is, in their own words, “an award-winning news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Its in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on politics, war, surveillance, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media, and more. The Intercept gives its journalists the editorial freedom and legal support they need to expose corruption and injustice wherever they find it.”

Personal Growth

The way I see it is that the way you live your life should be greater and more important than anything you produce. You should try to live your best, most beautiful life while staying true to yourself, your desires, your integrity.

We’re all a work-in-progress. There’s so much we can learn to help us become the person we want to be. I should mention the Tim Ferriss podcast because I used to be a frequent listener, so go check that out on the off-chance you haven’t already. Here’s a couple of sites you might not know already:

Farnam Street

I’ve been receiving the Farnam Street’s newsletter ‘Brain Food’ since the start of 2014. Shane Parrish and the team behind Farnam Street are all about introducing you to the ways (mental tools and systems) you can master/improve how you approach and deal with life and goals. They also provide great book recommendations.

Farnam Street has a podcast called The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish. If you know the name of the intro music, please tell me.

The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness is, in their own words: “a one-stop resource for actionable advice that covers every aspect of a man’s life: character, career, relationships, fitness, style, skills, and much more. Through weekly podcasts and articles, AoM tackles subjects from the philosophical and serious to the practical and fun. AoM differentiates itself from other men’s lifestyle media outlets in providing content that is intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, eminently useful, and clickbait-free.”

It presents a lot of practical skills in one place that should appeal to every man, especially those in their late teens and twenties. Some examples: How to take care of rope; 6 ways to sharpen your pencils; How to change oil on a motorcycle.

They also have articles and podcasts on great men from history, like Jack London, Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt.

Be sure to check out their stuff. One of my favourite podcast episode is Podcast #225: The Real James Bond

General Interest

Stratechery

Stratechery: Strategic Technology – Ben Thompson looks at tech from a different angle. In his own words: “Stratechery provides analysis of the strategy and business side of technology and media, and the impact of technology on society. Weekly Articles are free, while three Daily Updates a week are for subscribers only.”

The associated podcast runs weekly and is called Exponent. You can listen to it here.

Ear Hustle Podcast

Ear Hustle is all about life in San Quentin State Prison. I found it through Monocle Magazine. It’s run by former and current inmates and artist Nigel Poor. The first episode I listened to is called Tell Christy I love her. I’d never heard anything like it before, a powerful real life story that could just as easily have been part of a film.

Ear Hustle takes you inside the prison, introduces you to a facet of society you might know little about and shows you the human side of incarceration.

Finances

At the start of 1998 I put all my savings into a stocks and shares ISA. By the end of 1998 I was pulling out 3/4 of the amount I’d put in. I had lost £250 – a lot of money to a 16 year old. I was not happy.

It took me almost 20 years to give the stock market another try. In August 2017, while staying in a flat on the outskirts of Bangkok, I listened to a few Tim Ferriss podcasts, watched some youtube videos of Warren Buffett, read chapters 8 and 20 of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and read Tony Robbins’s Unshakeable.

I wish I had done all of the above much much earlier. I’m 38 now. If I did things back in 1998 the way I do now, learned from those people listed above, my savings would have doubled multiple times through compounding interest and by following the upward trend of the financial markets.

Mr Money Moustache

Anyone who wants to get their savings in order could do a lot worse than check out Mr Money Moustache and learn how he and many like him deal with money. This site focusses on frugality as much as what kind of savings account to open.

Monevator

Monevator is a UK equivalent to Mr Money Moustache. In finances there’s a lot of things to consider such as currency fluctuations and withholding taxes. So for UK residents it might be better to invest in the FTSE and opposed to the S&P 500. It’s a topic I need to research a bit more; I won’t wait another 20 years to do so.

In his own words, “Monevator is a personal blog about money: making, saving, growing, and sometimes even spending it.” The author is not “flogging a financial product or luring you into some cult pyramid scheme where you have to spend your Saturday nights posting coupons to all the Ts in the phone book.”

I recommend anyone in the UK interested in saving read the blog.

Travel

The man in seat 61

My preferred method of travel is by train. The Man in Seat 61 has helped me plan trips such as Paris to Moscow, Moscow to Beijing, Berlin to Amsterdam and my upcoming Amsterdam to Lisbon. If you like train travel, his site is a great resource.

P.S.

If you liked this article on interesting websites and podcasts, maybe you’ll enjoy other posts on my site. Check out my travel blogs or if you prefer something tangible to read, get a copy of my novel Vagabundo. Buying it will help keep it and this website alive.