Thursday, September 27, 2007

comedy celebrity racists

i saw this today and thought i'd travelled back in time through the power of my mind alone. sadly not. time travel is still one of the many, many cool things beyond my grasp*. the whole affair is brilliantly sordid. i can just imagine barrymore socialising with these young, hip guys... the champagne's flowing, the drugs are starting to kick in, and there's a swimming pool outside should anyone be so inclined for some water sports. i would have loved to have seen his hilariously elastic face contort into a grimace of horror as, naked and covered in shit, he realises the fun and sex games have gone too far and someone's lost an eye. or become plugged up with drugs and semen in this case.

it reminds me of the scene from i know what you did last summer where the teenagers try and decide what to do with the body of the man they’ve killed. barrymore would be the quivering wreck of a teenage girl who's in over her head as everything falls apart around him and the police come searching for a suspicious body in a swimming pool because where else are you going to dispose of a corpse when you're off your head on coke?

unless of course it was barrymoore who was the one leading the gang rape, screaming for more as he buggered this poor individual until he could take no more, before fulfilling his sick snuff fetish by keeping the guy's head held firmly under the water, creating a vacuum between mouth and cock as the hapless individual sucked barrymore off for one final, fatal time.

which version turns out to be true is for the police to decide. i can only speculate. still, i can imagine the cries of, "not giltee!" that will be bleated out by the more docile in society. their foolproof* defense goes along the lines of, "i've seen him on tv and he looks like such a lovely man, i can’t imagine him doing anything nasty like drugs and anal buggery". i take a different view. i've seen barrymore on television too. i'm not surprised hosting some of that concentration camp television drove him to drugs and anal rape. it's a wonder he could keep the facade up for so long. how many other bodies are there barrymore? been receiving any calls from portugal or vietnam*?

it wouldn't matter if a thorough search of the barrymore mansion turned up a troop of castrated gorilla* sex slaves, some people would still refuse to believe that he was guilty. these fucktards who can't see through the implicit lies of telelvision and entertainment as a whole tend to be the ones who waste everyone's fucking time talking about the negative influences of media on society, ignoring unimportant factors such as parental upbringing and whether the person being influenced has an IQ above 80. i think of it as a form of pascal's wager. whether they're right or not, i want to do everything in my power to make sure i don't turn out like them. if that means being influenced by violent films and computer games then so be it.

i digress...* i like this kind of story because it reminds everyone that celebrities are just people. we shouldn't be so shocked and surprised when they do drugs, or have sex, or whatever it is anyone else would do in the same situation. but then everyone loves to have someone else to criticise because we're all such lovely human beings deep down. ok, so maybe what happened to this guy isn't your everyday affair but barrymore's such a natural comedian, i can't help but find it funny.

sometimes though i do feel sorry for the way celebrities are expected to be beacons of moral virtue, until i look again into the cold dark eyes of a killer...

p.s. i don't want to give her any genuine space but it’s along similar lines… i hear paris hilton's been crying in prison. good, i hope your skull gets smashed repeatedly against a prison wall in the middle of the day while the other prisoners and guards stare on with a quiet, blank look until your skull finally cracks and your brain bleeds out from your eye socket. the last sight i want you to see as the blood drips into your eyes, blinding you, is the way an entire group of people will finally execute you with complete indifference.

again, this was a note from back in june so it may not be cutting edge relevant, but if you were living in a far off nepalese mountain which it takes 4 months to get to then it totally would be. i like to thing of this blog as the nepalese mountain. if this pisses you off then just catch up on my facebook page.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trivial Pursuits

The pursuit of knowledge is a wonderful thing. This constant, insatiable drive to learn, achieve and better ourselves is what’s caused humans to go from lion fodder on the Serengeti to sole dominators of the Earth. The list of human achievements is staggering. People always go on about animals, but animals are rubbish. All they do is shit, shag and sleep.

Humans have created art, philosophy, maths, science, architecture, we’ve fired each other into space for fuck’s sake! I say ‘humans’, but in actual fact it’s the few gifted individuals in every generation. Those revolutionary minds that can unlock the simple beauty behind the great mysteries of the universe. Meanwhile the rest of us lag behind and use their innovations to access porn and blow each other up in even more elaborate ways.

The great works of those who stand on the shoulders of giants are unattainable for most of us mere mortals, so instead we have another way to consol ourselves and feel more intelligent than we actually are: trivia. Trivia is the diluted form of years of hard work and research, distilled and bottled into interesting nuggets that make us simpletons go, ‘Ooh, what an interesting quirky fact about the world we live in’.

And it’s bloody brilliant. Like most people I hoard trivia. Any fact or figure about anything in the world that is vaguely curious goes straight in the trivia bank. Universities don’t do degree programmes in Trivia Studies, which is a shame because it’d be freaking soopoib.

The only factor getting in the way of this happening is the sad fact that trivia is absolutely sodding useless. It’s a real kick in the knackers because I spend all my time filling my head with trivia instead of apparently useful stuff like academic work, an up to date knowledge of my finances and where I keep my passport.

However, whilst trivia may be useless for practical things like earning money and proceeding in life, for recreational purposes it’s perhaps the most useful social tool we mortals have. What conversation is complete without someone dropping in some sparkly pearl of wisdom along the lines of how King Harold’s nickname was Bluetooth (actual fact)?

Mentioning little titbits of information about a wide variety of topics is a good way to start conversation and also create a complete intellectual façade to hide your lack of any substantial knowledge. It must be an attention span thing. My tiny little brain can’t concentrate on things long enough. The people who discovered that sperm have a sense of smell did so after many years of research, blood, sweat, and various other bodily fluids. And in mere seconds I’m able to take that fact and pass it off as something I know. Which must be annoying as hell to the people that put all the work in.

Unfortunately, as with every kind of uninformed oral communication, there’s a hell of a lot of bullshit to be found in the trivia field. When I first watched QI it almost destroyed me. With reckless care and abandon Stephen Fry ridiculed and rubbished trivia that I had previously held as common life-truths. Undeniable facts about the nature of things. Lies. All lies! Now it’s compulsive viewing for trivia fans, it really is quite interesting.

The daddy of all trivia shows though is Mastermind. It’s the Premier Leage for the trivia professionals. Those precious few who truly have made trivia their lives. The pioneers, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. They can be spotted in the pub quizzes, the teams who always seem to be there and always seem to double your point score, humbling your own aspirations of trivia skill. They are the renegades, the heroes of pointless knowledge. If only they’d get a real job. I mean, I suppose you could survive for a while on free beer and cash prizes, especially if you stick to a strict eight hour training schedule on pub quiz machines, but that just doesn’t seem healthy…

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Objective Opinions Are For Wimps And Nerds

Note: Era Vulgaris came out a while ago. Some of these posts are old ones that I'm transferring from my Facebook account so they may not be entirely relevant. Hopefully they're still entertaining though.

I always liked the idea of Mastermind. Nearly everyone I know is a fountain of knowledge on some subject, be it Dr. Who, Science Fiction Novels of the 15th Century or every word ever uttered about Harry Potter. They find a subject that’s of no use in the real world, and amass all the trivia and information they can about it. Let’s be honest, this information serves no real purpose apart from in the occasional pub quiz question and if you ever get asked on to Mastermind. Both noble causes, but unlikely to sustain a growing lad on their own.

The area of trivial research I specialise in myself is the musical works of Josh Homme. Since I first became aware of the groups Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss, I developed an unhealthy obsession with tracking down all the music and information I could to do with Josh Homme and his musical legacy. And this was in the days before you could just do a quick search on Wikipedia. I had to work hard for my research, combing literally ten different web pages and forums, harvesting information. Better days. Sure, Wikipedia has made life easier, but at what cost?

Anyway, the guy’s a musical genius. He wrote two genre-defining, seminal rock albums at the ages of 19 and 21. In my sincere opinion he hasn’t released a duff album in a music career that spans nearly 20 years. And that’s a lot of albums*. I can spout trivia about this music until people’s heads implode. It’s true, I’ve seen it happen.

So when it comes to reviewing Era Vulgaris, the new Queens of the Stone Age album, I’m going to be about as unbiased as a Man U Goalkeeper playing for an Italian Team in the Eurasian Trophy semi-finals*. But being biased is underrated. Hopefully. Moving on… Era Vulgaris is the fifth QOTSA album to date, following on from the good but not as good as it should have been Lullabies to Paralyze. Overall, Era Vulgaris is a much more confident and slick album.

All the best QOTSA tunes are the ones that setup a simple but original and immediately catching riff that causes involuntary rock vibrations in the hip and head area. It’s hard rock, but it’s not just smashing out the same chords in a rock by numbers fashion, with angsty vocals over the top. QOTSA has always experimented with different sounds, techniques and styles to great effect and they make it look as easy and smooth as hitting a jukebox in the right place to play a tune. Era Vulgaris is no exception. It opens with the bizarrely laid back Turnin’ the Screw. It’s the high pitched, slightly spooky riff that’s so distinctively QOTSA, the nicely judged chorus and weird change of pace that sets the album up nicely. Then you get hit from all sides. One minute there’s the non-stop punk rock stylings of Sick, Sick, Sick, the next I Wanna Make It Wit Chu, which wouldn’t be out of place on Jools Holland.

As always Homme has more originality and talent in his little finger than nearly every other rock group out there. The time between Lullabies and Era Vulgaris has been spent working on that haunting, slightly more electronic sound that was hinted at before but never quite done properly, so now the whole album has a sound to it that is like emerging from the woods into some seedy neon city of the not too distant future. It's slightly confusing and often disturbing but also hypnotic and intoxicating. You could scrape the dirt and grime encrusted in these songs out with a shovel. Which is what all the best rock music is like. That dirty, hedonistic sound that makes you want to fuck, drink and take drugs. Even if you are a 33 year old accountant from Croydon. Homme’s known that since he started, which is why his records reek of it and why he’s so good at what he does.

Of course it isn’t just one man. Troy Van Leeuwen on guitars and other assorted instruments and Joey Castillo on drums are as solid as always. Castillo especially continues to get stronger. Following on from Dave Grohl was a challenge, but now not only is the scariest looking bastard alive (always a good drummer look) but he's also developed a distinctive and fitting drumming style, check out Suture Up Your Future and Run Pig Run especially.The album feels a lot more collaborative than Lullabies did following the loss of Nick Olivieri on bass, and most of the credit for that has to go not only to the contributions of others but also to the welcome return of Chris Goss. All the best albums of QOTSA and Kyuss were produced under the watchful eye of Chris Goss. He and Homme seem to share a real musical understanding and it’s a great thing that he’s back behind the sound desks.

Any fears that Queens of the Stone Age were starting to lose their touch have been dispelled with Era Vulgaris. QOTSA still seem to be about ten thousand light-years ahead of every other rock group, but what would I know? I’m just the guy with a school girl’s crush on a tall ginger rock star. I luv u Josh!!!!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Plight of the Bumblebee

Have you ever considered the common bumblebee? I mean really considered it? No, neither have I. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been somewhat of a fan of the common humble bumbling bee. Since the age of three I’ve got a real thrill from throwing caution to the wind and dunking a teaspoon in a pot of honey and sucking up that sweet gooey golden nectar. Some people lose their sweet-tooth. Not me. Instead it has grown and matured with age, so now I do the same thing but with a ladle while sipping a fine mug of brandy. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have the honey.

Bees are ten times better than cocking wasps, which do nothing with their lives apart from ruin picnics, kill my mates and make me run around flapping my arms like a spastic stuck in a particle accelerator. They’re too lazy even to make honey. All a wasp needs to do in order to feel it has lead a complete life is sting as many innocent people as possible. They probably fart anthrax, and enjoy it too the little shits.

Crap wasps are another reason I’ve always respected the bee too. It does not want to fight; its life is one of peace and serenity, creating sweet honey for the greater good. When it has to fight, it is as a last resort and it even offers up its own life to make up for the shame of inflicting pain on another creature. A noble sentiment I think we can all learn from. The bee is like a trained kung-fu* warrior who has spent years on top of a mountain meditating on life, and I think ‘Bumblebee’ is a much harder name than pussy-little ‘Grasshopper’ any day. The only time I’ve ever been stung by a bee was when I was five and throwing rocks at a nest in the garden. So I deserved that one.

But all is not rosy in the world of the bee my friends. I happened to be in the right time at the right place when listening to Radio 4 to hear about CCD, or Colony Collapse Disaster to those who aren’t down with the buzz on the street*. Apparently where there were once bees there now are not. But why should you care? You’re young, free and happy, why worry about a striped insect, right? Wrong.

Don’t feel bad, I thought the same, but that’s why the BBC had got two bee expert scientists in to talk about the problem*. It turns out that bees do more than most people give them credit for. Apparently, according to the beedophiles, something like 60% of the world’s food exists because of bees and two out of every three bites of food you take contain a bee-manufactured product*, which is a lot. It’s do with the amount they pollinate. No bees, no plants, no life on earth as we know it. I wish there was a way to make big scary music play the instant your eyes read that sentence but yet again this supposed technology just can’t keep up with one man’s dreams.

The thing that made me happy though was the calm and measured way these bee scientists answered questions about this CCD, both the causes of, and the solutions to it. They addressed the questions and answered them based on research they’d done. No scare mongering, no cries for attention, just laying out the facts and talking about how to deal with it.

In theory, all these bees disappearing is as big a problem as global warming. If not bigger. But no one really cares. Not actually. You’re not gonna get that Irish cunt dressed up in a novelty bee suit campaigning for everyone to save the bees, so it’s left to the experts to work out what the problem is in a calm and measured way and take steps to prevent it and the subsequent collapse of civilisation occurring, while everyone else is blissfully unaware. No idiots in t-shirts telling everyone else what to think with their uninformed opinions, no moronic concerts that kill more bees than they save and are just done for money*. God I wish this was how most problems were dealt with.

Can you imagine if the BBC got Madonna in to talk about the CCD problem? Oh sure, she could go on about the terrible suffering of the Africanised Killer Bee*, the guilt that us normal folk should feel for not hugging bees and the fact that she’s adopting a bee, but she’d be chatting shit and we’d know it. Why do we not know it when she talks about other things? I wish, with all my little heart, that we’d stop basing all our opinions and supposed knowledge on what these few say, and instead listen to the experts. Why? Because they have measured, sensible opinions that are based around their life’s work. If a similar approach were taken towards climate change and starvation in Africa I'm sure we'd reach a solution a gazzilion times quicker. Which would be good for those who are actually suffering.

And, most importantly of all, please don’t tell any celebrities that the bees are in trouble. I would actually have to send each of them a jar full of bees* and I can't be arsed to deal with hassle of being hailed a hero as a result.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Virgin Hunter

I’ve always wanted to go hunting. Not in a ‘Tally-ho! Lets don some tweed and go shoot small things with big fuck-off guns!’ kind of way, but in a proper way involving a man vs. beast battle to the death. I love the idea of dressing up in camouflage and heading off alone into the woods, tracking a single deer for a number of days, each of us leading on and deceiving the other in a constant battle of wits and skill, before finally the deer lowers its guard, I get a clear shot and bam! Man defeats beast. This would all be followed by a series of bizarre rituals involving the deer’s blood and me crowning myself Lord of the Forest and going on to spend the rest of my days in a tree. I have a tendency to take these things too far.

Still, I find the idea of pitting myself against nature intensely appealing. It’s probably got something to do with living in a city that’s suppressed the hunter in me. The closest I’ve come to hunting and killing my own food was when my kebab got a little frisky and tried to run off down the road. Thankfully it got run over and I was able to resume munching. But somewhere in me are the genes from thousands, perhaps millions of years worth of human ancestors who had to hunt and kill their food on a daily basis. Sometimes I think I can hear them screaming at me in disgust.

The reason for this is that I don’t know if I could actually go out and kill my food. I’m a hardcore meat eater (if such a thing can exist) and have no problem with the mass slaughter of millions of animals for my own dietary satisfaction. I always assured myself that if I was on Shipwrecked I wouldn’t be like the pathetic idiots who can’t even bring themselves to slit a pig’s throat.

But the other day I ventured out of Edinburgh to a mate’s house. At this house were a few chickens which were kept for general amusement, selling and eating purposes. Now I have no time for chickens. They’re stupid things but they’re also fucking freaky. The way they flick their bodies about and stare out with their hollow eyes always makes me think that they’re gong to flip out at any second and start pecking at my eyes with their beaks. It’s an irrational thought, but it did mean that I found it difficult to imagine myself grabbing one and wringing its neck. I mean, it’d just be a bit… gross. Inside my veins I could hear my ancestors expressing their disappointment in me, like the parents of a child who resolutely refuses to learn the proper way to use a toilet.

If I can’t kill a chicken, how the hell am I meant to bring myself to kill a deer? It’d be plain embarrassing to stalk a deer for days and then at the crucial moment bottle it. It’d be so humiliating the deer would probably come over and put a patronising hoof on my shoulder. Before taking my hunting knife and doing to me what I was too scared to do to it. Don’t think it wouldn’t either. Animals are after all cunning, vicious, selfish bastards.

So am I when it comes down to it, but not enough to kill something. I blame Walt Disney. All these damn anthropomorphic creations with their giant crystal eyes who sing and dance and are generally lovely. How are you meant to blow Bambi’s brains out of his skull with a high-powered rifle? And while having Simba’s head mounted on my wall does have its appeal, it would probably be socially frowned upon.

It’s a necessity thing. I could quite easily get through the rest of my life without having to directly kill any animal. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’ll have missed out on a basic human task all because I find animals just a little bit too freaky/cute. Fukkit, I’m gonna grab a spear and head for the Savannah. Bring it on Nature.

Pixelated Liberation

There’s a lot of bullshit in the computer games industry. Technology, capabilities and modes of expression in games are evolving faster than a baby in a reactor, way beyond the other entertainment mediums which advance at a snail’s pace in comparison. Each year brings promises of brand new ideas and concepts for games, ways of doing things never before thought possible before by these maverick developers pioneering on into the dark frontier of cutting edge gaming.

Developers such as Peter Molyneux are renowned for the exaggeration and hype they create around their games. If you believed an iota of the sheer amount of bovine faeces that spilled out of his mouth over Black & White and Fable then you were inevitably going to feel slightly let down by the end game. He’s not alone though, every slightly interesting game can be spun into sounding like the next big hairy mutt’s testicles.

By far the biggest offender in this category is this vague concept of freedom that everyone seems to be masturbating over. Where the gamer creates the world around them, where they are free to do what they want when they want, to tackle things as they see fit and create their own unique adventure. The idea is that by giving the gamer ultimate choice in their actions and what they do and by placing them in this hyper-realistic world, it will make the game more immersive, believable and enjoyable.

At the moment these attempts to create a sense of real life and freedom are nothing more than gimmicky and cosmetic and make it clear just how far from genuine choice and freedom they are. Oblivion, there’s one. Left alone in the middle of this vast landscape to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it. You can be whatever you want! As long as you choose a pre-determined path. Doing pre-determined quests to achieve whatever pre-determined thing it is you’re attempting. It’s an illusion of freedom. An impressive illusion, but one in which you’re still jumping through the same ol’ hoops as ever, albeit in the order you choose.

That’s all computer gaming is and it’s what undermines these games. For the gamer it’s all about finding the best strategy to win. The right choices, the right combination, the right rubber chicken, whatever it may be in order to beat the game and finish. So you can sleep in Oblivion. So what? It’s not actually sleeping, it’s just a handy way to wait around until the right time, meanwhile people still seem happy repeating the same routine time after time. It’s not a problem in a more linear game where there is no apparent concept of freedom, you simply complete the tasks in the order they’re set out so that you can follow the story through to its conclusion.

The story’s another thing that seriously suffers, mainly because it’s too bloody complicated to have the story and environment adapt to the exact order you do things, leading to the rather comical situation of having the main storyline where you urgently have to rescue the kingdom and save the world, but can spend countless weeks fulfilling menial tasks and becoming an expert alchemist before returning. You’d expect to get a full bollocking and be told that they’ve sorted it all out while you were away pissing about. Instead everyone’s still standing where you left them, patiently waiting for you to return. It makes everything seem so hideously fake and minus any sense of urgency or character that comes with a more linear game.

The times this increased freedom works is in games like Bioshock, where the story and game and reasonably linear but the variety of means and methods available for taking out enemies has greatly increased. There are a million and one ways to approach every combat situation and it’s one of the many factors that makes it such a great game.

The concept of freedom and its potential applications are incredibly exciting, but developers need to let the games do the talking, not their dreams, and apply the technology in a focused, believable and enjoyable way. Sans bullshit.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Worried White Male Bastard Writes...

I was sitting here in my barely conscious haze when I was struck by a thought. It involved a difference between men and women, an example of a biological difference, something that naturally separated the two. Then I stopped because I’ve heard so many people (and by people I mean men) talking about the differences between men and women. Every time I hear a comedian say, “D’ya ever notice how women always do this generic action while on their periods?” I brace myself for reams of unimaginative, easy filler gags.

Of course it is possible to make funny and insightful comments about the differences between the sexes. We don’t live in a society that’s equal for men and women. Everywhere you look there are things that treat 50% of the population differently to the other 50% based on nothing more than a single chromosome. Statements that highlight the genuine differences between the sexes help us all change and improve on a society that makes such an arbitrary distinction. Considering this, I started to worry that my point was more akin to the “Why do women have so many shoes?” variety of statements on sexism.

Was my view sexist too? Would saying it make me sexist? Was I going to unintentionally make myself out to be a chauvinistic pig feasting in a trough of female genitalia? If I didn’t say it, would I be sexist for assuming that I was being sexist? Am I being sexist in what I’m saying in this note? Are these thoughts sexist? Why does this whole thing present so many fucking questions?

It’s better than trying to talk about homophobia or racism though. Oh Lord, yes. At least I am of the male sex, I regularly come in to contact with members of the female sex, so I have some idea of what it’s all about. However, I am also white, middle class and straight. Therefore I know nothing about what it’s like to be hated and ridiculed for the colour of your skin, your beliefs or who you are attracted to.

I once had a heated discussion with my female English teacher who everyone suspected of being a lesbian * about using the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term. My point was that I’d been using the word as an insult for a full eight years before I even had a vague of concept of what a gay person actually was. When I said, “That’s so gay” I didn’t mean, “That’s rubbish because it’s sexually attracted to members of the same sex” any more than when I said, “That’s bloke’s a wanker” was I being tautologous. But then she pointed out that I have no idea what it’s like to be gay and hear that word being used as a derogatory term. And she’s right, I don’t.

For me it’s like trying to imagine going through life with a bungee jumping badger perched on my head. I just don’t know what that would be like, and I certainly don’t feel qualified to accurately talk about bungee jumping head badgers and the issues involved, or whether or not I’d be offended by badger related comments and jokes. I’d have to live the life of both the badger and the person to truly understand I guess.

These issues are difficult too because it’s hard to talk about these things without sounding like a preachy hippie. What it all boils down to is treating people as people, and not hating someone based on what group they are pigeon-holed into. A point so painstakingly obvious it shouldn’t have to be made. And if you do say it, you come across as a patronising prick most of the time. These celebrity nutjobs with nothing better to do with their time than tell us common folk how selfish and shallow we all are can seriously fuck off*. Of course when it’s someone who’s been there and experienced the troubles themselves it’s a different issue. These people care about something and change the world.

Which is why I’m off. I’m taking part in an ethically questionable series of cosmetic operations that will involve a thorough sex change, the loss of a limb and the exact reverse series of skin grafts as Michael Jackson. Following this I shall jet off to Baghdad, where I shall truly experience the suffering and pain of others and learn how not to worry about these things. Which will make me a good person, yes?

Needless to say I’ve completely forgotten what my original point was…

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love You All Really

One thing I’ll be happy to leave behind on Facebook is these gorram personality tests that seem to pop up at an alarming rate. Now I’m not having a go at the people who fill them in and take up screen space like a fat person on an airplane (I am, but a lot of you are my friends and I don’t want you to think that I’m insulting you. Even though I am.) because I fill in a lot of them as well out of idle boredom (so I’m insulting myself too). The idea behind these things is that you can answer about 20 multiple choice questions and hey presto! the clever internet will give you a complete rundown of your personality. It will give you an insightful profile of you as a person and your inner most thoughts and beliefs by comparing you to an animal from the forthcoming movie The Golden Compass (Northern Lights to everyone in the UK. The first person to moan about this gets an angry e-mail from me). These things have been around since I were lad on ‘puter at age of 13, and they still persist to this day.

The main problem with them is the questions. These tend to go along the lines of:

Q. 2093887849. You are trapped in a burning building. You…

• run through the fire, killing crazed zombie ninjas as you go, rescuing everyone in the building and generally kicking arse, making witty quips and just generally being brilliant. (Answer this if you want to be compared to the generic ‘Strong, confident, heroic, gets on well with other people, loves to party’ personality type.)

• laugh manically at how genius you were to think up this incredibly insane way to slaughter lots of innocent souls with precious fire and your crazed zombie ninjas. (Answer this for ‘Clever, resourceful, hard working and thoughtful’ comparison.)

• curl up in a panic ball and wait for the flames to take you away. Get turned into a crazed zombie ninja and decapitated by ‘Hero’. (Answer this for ‘generally unlucky/shit’ comparison.)

• think that the fire is within yourself and you’re just burning up (Answer this for ‘emo fuck’. This is usually the most popular one.)

• think the point’s been made.

and it’s that everyone has some vague idea of what they’re like, or what they want to be like, and only a blind three-legged dog wouldn’t be able to work out which answer they should give to get the personality type they expect and want anyway. I’ve started to ignore the questions and just pick whichever character description I think best fits me and then sit back content at another two minutes wasted.

If you’re the kind of person who does these things because you think they offer a deep insight into your inner psyche and they guide you on your day to day path then you’re probably the same kind of person who takes their horoscopes seriously ergo I hate you. If you’re just someone who does it because you’re oh so bored with having nothing to do then fukkit. It’s just been bugging me.

What actually kills a small part of me every time I see it isn't when people tell me what a computer program thinks of them, it’s when people tell me what they think of themselves. Fucking questionnaires. All those pricks who fill them in time after time, always making pathetic excuses for why they're filling in 'just one more'*. Now I’m all for finding out about someone’s favourite music, or how their year’s been, or whether they’ve ever fallen in love, or what their favourite film is, and everything else about them that makes them them*, and not just face to face either. I can quite happily read about someone’s thoughts or life in an e-mail or on a blog, but not from answers to stupid fucking questionnaires that are as inane as they are long and shallow. Or am I just exposing myself as a prick for not properly reading anyone else’s?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Can't Stop The Signal

“One after one, only the good die young…” sang Brian May once in the song No One But You (Only The Good Die Young), dedicated to the memories of Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana. I’m not quite sure what he meant by the word ‘good’ though. Freddie Mercury was a missionary rock star who embraced the vices and pleasures of the music industry, and Princess Diana was a non-person loved by fucktards. They weren’t pious prophets of peace; they died young because life’s a bitch like that.

When I was quite young a family friend who was thirtysomething died and I was told that God had taken him because He takes His favourite people early. Which even at an early age disturbed me slightly. It turned out that God was a selfish prick who killed all the nice people so he could chillax with them in Heaven and left all the cunts of the world to get old and ruin it for all the good young kids just waiting to die. If the Lord does taketh away (which he doesn’t), then he didn’t take Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana because they were ‘good’ people. He took Freddie because Heaven needs a voice like that, and he murdered Diana because he has a sense of humour.

Unless mop head May was singing about the current state of US American TV, in which case he’d be bang on. American TV is bloody amazing at the moment. I’m sure I can hear some chairs shuffling already. “What’s this? American TV?! Good!? Oh-ho, no my dear friend. American TV is but trash, that could never live up to the heady heights of the fine television of ol’ Blighty!” If this is what you are thinking then please sit down and shut up you American-hating fuck. British TV has some gems from the past, but nowadays a fight between British TV and American TV would be like a fight between Frank Bruno and 50 million Muhammad Alis.

American TV recently has gone through wave after wave of creating some brain-meltingly good shows, but even so it is sick. There is a disease running through the herd that is perversely killing off the strongest while the weak flourish. I remember once buying the Family Guy Season One DVD on a whim because I vaguely remembered laughing at a Channel 4 show that I thought was this and I had a spare £15 so how bad could it be? I’ve never laughed as hard at anything as when I first watched Family Guy. And pretty soon everyone had discovered how brilliant Family Guy was. The only confusing thing was why it had been dropped by Fox when it was clearly better than sex in zero gravity, surrounded by whipped cream.

Back then I was confused, now I just take it as given: if a show’s good, it’s only a matter of time before it’s axed. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration. There are plenty of shows that have deservedly done well and been renewed such as the Sopranos, Simpsons, South Park, The West Wing and 24 to name a few. But let’s look at some that have been cancelled: Firefly, Arrested Development, Futurama, Deadwood and Carnivale. Five shows that are easily the equal, if not better than the majority of other shows. Quite why any of them were cancelled is so far beyond me it’s playing with my grandkids.

Firefly was Whedon at his best. It put other sci-fi shows to shame with its mix of characters, action and comedy, all set in this believable and carefully thought out world. It was cancelled by Fox after 12 episodes. 12 episodes! That’s half a season. That’s like having the first sip of an exquisite bottle of wine before the waiter grabs the bottle and smashes it across your face for no apparent reason. Well that’s not quite true. They did make Serenity, one of the few films that I can watch again and again and still enjoy it just as much. But even that wasn’t enough for the bastards at Fox and we just have to accept that another Firefly will never be made. It’s sad because you know there was so much left of a great story to tell.

And it’s a similar story for the likes of Carnivale. It got two seasons, in which it meticulously laid out the basis for an overarching, inspired and imaginative tale. That will never be witnessed because it was pulled after two seasons. Just as the bastard was really getting going.

Deadwood is a foul-mouthed take on the Frontier West that is, yes, both gritty and, wait for it, real. In the best way possible. There really is no drama on television like this. The dialogue is liquid silver and the acting makes you want to break down with joy. And besides, how is watching Lovejoy’s Ian McShane cry, “Cocksucker!” at the top of his lungs not going to be the best thing on TV? Apparently I’m wrong, that’s been pulled. At least it got a better run than either Firefly or Carnivale.

As did Arrested Development, which ran for a whopping three seasons. But peerless comedy moments and smiley ginger narration from Ron Howard weren’t enough to save it. Nor was it enough to save Futurama, which sadly lacked any ginger narration, but did have a decent run of four seasons, so less sympathy there. And these are just a few examples. Great stuff is cancelled all the time while pure dross runs for over 10 seasons. Although nothing should run past five seasons. Everything always goes Pete Tong for a show after season five. 24 and Scrubs anyone?

It’s easy to hurl abuse at the networks for causing these problems, so let’s start there. One of the biggest offenders would have to be Fox. Those limp-spined, tasteless, money-whoring arbiters of what is entertaining and what is not, who have cancelled the likes of Futurama, Family Guy and Firefly (for a more complete list see here.) A lot of what they cancelled was obviously rubbish, but that’s not the case for these three. Why the Catholics aren’t in an uproar over this because of the abortions of potential lives, I do not know. HBO are probably the best of all the networks, because they generally back consistently brilliant shows and know what makes for genuinely compelling television. But they cancelled Carnivale and backed Desperate Housewives so they can go eat a bag of dicks.

As idiotic as some of the decisions of these networks may be when it comes to backing one show over another or putting a show on at a ridiculous timeslot, the blame also rests with us viewers. The networks just want to make money; if a show’s popular enough they’ll put it renew it after it’s cancelled. Just like they did with the likes of Family Guy and Futurama when DVD sales were so high, even though it turned out that ironically enough Seth MacFarlane had forgotten how to be funny during the meanwhile. Even so, it does show that when people make a stand and show how much they want a show back on the air, the networks do occasionally listen. After all, it worked with the Jews in Denmark. Wait, did I just compare my petty niggles about television to the mass extermination of an entire people? Yes I did. That was a lot easier than I thought it’d be.

So why aren’t these great shows getting the recognition they deserve? The Wire is praised by many critics as the finest example of police drama ever made. And it is, it’s bloody fantastic. But it’s consistently got bad ratings. It makes no sense, it’s fucking genius television and no one’s watching the sodding thing. Thankfully those nice people at HBO have stuck with it, because they can do the right thing sometimes. And perhaps they’ve realised that ratings are arbitrary numbers that don’t accurately reflect everyone’s viewing habits. Hopefully the imminent use of the internet by the networks to broadcast TV will lead to ratings that don’t equate 1 person to an entire universe.

People are, of course, entitled to watch and enjoy their shitty and unchallenging TV entertainment designed to lower the national consciousness to their heart’s content, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of television that’s actually good. It’s not a subjective thing. The idea that Big Brother 8 is a better piece of art and more worthy of our attention than Deadwood makes me weep for the future of human evolution. You’re wrong, you’re an idiot, take your skewered opinions and write them down so that in ten years time you can look back at what you said, realise how fucking wrong you were and subsequently jump in front of the next bus, ridding the world of another useless cultural dead-end, you brain-dead moron.

Things aren’t all bad though. The likes of Heroes and Dexter have done well enough to get a second season, thank god, and hopefully The Lost Room will too. There’s lots of great stuff out there, and you’d be doing yourself a massive favour going out there and checking it out. That way you can get as pissed off as everyone else who’s seen stuff that’s been unfairly cancelled and we can march on the networks chanting the words of Brian May:

“Yes! - it was such an operation
Forever paying every due
Hell, you made a sensation
You found a way through - and

One by one
Only the Good die young
They're only flyin' too close to the sun
We'll remember -

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Service With A Smile

Here’s a notion that should crawl under a rock and die a long, slow and above all agonising death: service with a smile. I’m sick of people, who are funnily enough miserable themselves, coming out of a shop or restaurant saying, “That was appalling service, they didn’t even smile.” It’s a comment that makes me want to beat them like a seal-clubber with a bloodlust.

Let’s be brutally honest: these are shit jobs. If I hit middle age and I’m working in at Scotmid checkout then I’ll definitely feel something went wrong somewhere in my life. If you think this is an arrogant thought or one that reeks of superiority then follow through with your convictions. Drop out of university and spend the rest of your life behind a checkout and we’ll see how long you maintain such noble sentiments. Sooner or later the monotony and tediousness of what you’re doing has to dawn, and after that it’s pretty hard to force a smile.

And yet it’s something that the customer demands; for these people to be ecstatic that they’re actually getting the once in a lifetime chance to serve you! But it’s not because customers care whether the checkout person is happy or not, it’s to allay their own sense of guilt and pity. If you see someone being miserable it makes you acutely aware of how crap their job is, and therefore any way to get rid of this feeling of self-consciousness is leapt upon. It’s like blindfolding a particularly ugly, scabby puppy that you’re about to put down.

Besides, how does someone looking miserable really affect their ability to pass items over a barcode machine or write down an order and carry plates? If it gets to the stage where workers are so depressed in their job that there are regular occurrences of people putting their mouths around gun barrels and pulling the trigger, showering my frozen goods in blood, then this presents a serious service problem that would have to be addressed by the management. Until we get to that stage it makes no difference to either the speed of service or my consumer satisfaction.

But it does to some people, my god it does. Some people’s days can be ruined just by one person being honest and slightly obnoxious. What do these people want? To have a genuine, enthralling, life affirming conversation with every person they bump into? That’s both deluded and completely fake. If they want to feel good about their social interactions they should get some fucking friends. These people are pretty much advocating the enforced lobotomies of those in the service industries so that they’ll sit there with a glazed happy look in their eyes and hide the lies and ultimate bleakness of their dead-end jobs. This would be bad for many reasons, not least the fact that my foodstuffs would be covered in drool.

I like being served by someone who’s miserable. It means that they’re still alive, still functioning with some kind of drive. Why should I care that to them I’m just another person to get through and serve before they can go home with a pack of Rothmans and a 4-pack and enjoy a night in front of the television watching some piss-poor reality show? I’ve got my food, they’ve got their paycheck, happiness doesn’t have to come into it. The majority of work is pretty miserable, if we were upfront and honest about it the world would still be a shitty place, but one without forced smiles which are ten times more soul destroying than honest indifference.

Still sceptical? Fine. Next time you’re writing a 2000 word essay the night before the deadline and all you want to do is attack your computer with a blunt instrument and collapse in a foetal position, crying yourself to sleep, force a big smile onto your face and tell your flat mates how much you hope that they have a lovely day. You’ll feel stressed, your brain will snap and you’ll have infinitely more respect for those who have to do the same everyday just so they don’t get shit from whiney customers and asshole managers.

Friday, September 07, 2007

why i love smoking

the time is fast approaching when smoking will be banned in public buildings everywhere in the known universe. i find myself flapping around like a suffocating fish over the whole smoking ban argument. on the one hand i don't want to be responsible for the deaths of my friends who are sitting near me in the pub, but on the other hand a beer just tastes so much better with a smoke. it's a tough decision to make. i think it would be easier if a lot of the anti-smoking brigade weren't self-opinionated, narcissistic, cock-munching thought police with a messianic complex. people with nothing better to do than wage some kind of holy crusade because they don't like the perfectly free and legal choice another person has made. mainly because they don't like the smell. fair enough, clothes that stink of smoke are pretty nasty. some pubs, and especially restaurants, do benefit from being free of that smoky atmosphere. others don't. take clubs for example. packing a lot of extremely sweaty people who are in the mood to boogie into a small, enclosed space creates a smell so over-powering that cigarette smoke is the only substance that can counteract it. don't believe me? try going into a gym and shoving your nose in someone's armpit for four hours. after two hours you'll start hallucinating. by four hours you're already dead.

oh sure, these nazis will have you believe that it's not just the smell of smoke that's causing their hissy fits, it's the fact that it's killing people. and it probably is. i mean, it makes sense that breathing in someone else's smoke would be harmful in some way. but what these people don't grasp is that everything is fucking harmful. the human body is designed to shut down, from the moment you end puberty the rest of your life is just an elaborately planned suicide pact between your body and every outside force it comes in contact with. some things cause more harm than others, and there's a rough correlation between how harmful something is and how pleasurable it is (fig.3.4748782782793). clearly there's only so much fun one body can take.

people know this, but do it anyway. because they want to get enjoyment out of something even if it is bad for them. being in a pub or a bar is pretty much a declaration that you're happy to harm yourself. there is nothing healthy about a pub. the food's cheap, fatty and salty, as are most of the clientele. for chrissakes, the main reason people go there is because of that sweet nectar, alcohol. which is an absolute bastard for harming people compared to smoking. is the second-hand smoke caused by me lighting up really going to be the thing that kills you, out of everything else? perhaps, but i doubt it. besides, if you're just there to chat with friends, why not go to a nice smoke-free café instead? if you're sat next to someone who lights up when you don't want them to you're well within your rights to ask them not to and, unless they're complete knob-jockeys, they'll go somewhere else to smoke. i just don't think me smoking in a pub is the big evil people claim it is.

i guess that's it, i feel like us smokers are being used by the kind of people who have to create evils so that they can fight against it, in order to gain some sense of smug self-satisfaction that comes from telling people what to do. the god-fearing christian type. if they need to fight some unhealthy people, why can't it be fat folk? fat people are rubbish and only have themselves to blame. at least smokers contribute more money to the nhs through taxes than they take away from it. and smoking does look cool. 20 stone lard buckets do nothing apart from offend the eye and drain hospital funds. children should stop having these role models who are fat. it makes the children think that it's acceptable to have your own significant gravitational field. i suggest the swift and bloody removal of the likes of vanessa feltz.

anyway, before they get their way and it's smokers who are the ones led to the gas chambers for an ironic death, i feel i should stick up for the wonders of smoking. but where to begin? how do you describe something that so entirely and inexplicably makes up a large part of your life? i've heard smokers admit that it's a filthy habit, as if they're secretly ashamed of what they're doing but are powerless to do anything about it. this is a lie. every smoker loves smoking. some smokers claim that they're going to quit any day. this is also a lie. the reason so many smokers try to give up and fail is because they're still in love with cigarettes. for a smoker to really quit there has to be something that destroys the relationship. it has to be the equivalent of catching your fresh, young and above all nubile partner being penetrated by your parents at a family funeral. cigarettes are just too damn attractive. how can something so wrong feel so right? they're relaxing, they provide excellent social interactions, and they just fit so snugly in your fingers. they're like smokeable puppies. and if, for financial reasons you're forced on to rollies, you discover the joy that comes from each time you make a cigarette. you feel like a craftsmen carefully constructing a little piece of yourself. and then actually lighting up and smoking. ar... breathing in that sweet, sweet smoke. relaxing, breathing out... it's special every time. it's not an evil or bad habit, it's just one of the many addictions that people have and enjoy. but not for long.

i'm not going to smoke forever. i have two cut-off points: getting to 30 or having kids. i don't particularly want to die from lung cancer, so smoking past 30 is a (relatively) bad idea. and smoking round children or pregnant women is plain cruel and unfair. but when that time does come when i put down the cigarettes, i'll be able to look back on some happy times. cigarettes have always been there for me these last seven years. they've helped me through some hard times, been there when i've been at my happiest, and asked for nothing in return. yet.

Blagging the Rugby World Cup

I’m not a very sporty person these days. I don’t have any flab issues to worry about being the lanky fuck that I am so the gym has no allure. Besides, gyms always seem intensely sadomasochistic places to me, where people go so that they can punish themselves and suffer immense physical pain, all in the name of making themselves somehow feel better. Nuts.

But I was sporty once. No really, I was. At school there was nothing I loved more than donning short shorts and running out onto a muddy pitch so that I could stick my head between my mates’ thighs and generally have the shit kicked out of me every Saturday. 2nd XV rugby was bloody brilliant, no doubt about it. Sadly health issues and lifestyle choices, mainly to do with cigarettes and alcohol, have forced me into early retirement. However given the general health status of the country I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in loving a sport I’m no longer actively involved in.

I don’t want to get into some pointless debate about which is better, football or rugby, but I will say I have no interest in football for two reasons: firstly my foot to ball co-ordination skills leave a lot to be desired. I’d get pwned by Stephen Hawking’s spastic younger brother in a shirts vs. skins one on one football game down the park, no question. And wheelchairs don’t move great on grass. This means that I’ve never understood the finer intricacies of football. To me it just looks like a bunch of twats aimlessly kicking a ball around. Watching a sport is so much more satisfying if you actually know what’s going on. Secondly, England are actually good at rugby. Or were anyway. We won the pissing World Cup in 2003! The only enjoyable thing about watching England play football is just how much we choke all the fucking time and all the hysteria that surrounds the whole sorry charade.

So it makes me happy that four years have swung quickly around and the 2007 Rugby World Cup is now upon us. However, since hanging my studs up three years ago I’ve been pretty rubbish at keeping up with the world of rugby. This is mainly because I’ve lacked that vital commodity that is Sky Sports and reading the papers is just a bit dull so I have no idea what’s happening in the rugby world. I hear whispers, rumours of a powerful New Zealand force crossing the waves to crush all who stand in their path, South Africans thirsty for blood, I think the Frogs are looking good too, but in reality there’s a gaping hole in my rugby knowledge from 22nd November 2003 onwards. Which is why I find myself supporting England and believing they can win with a foolishly blind patriotic sense of pride.

Thankfully my complete abyss of up-to-date rugby knowledge going into the World Cup matters not due to the fact that I’m a male sports fan. I use the word ‘male’ because I’m writing from experience. I can quite easily see how women could do what I’m about to describe, but I’ve yet to converse at length with a woman who really cares about sport so I just don’t know.

The fact is that ignorance is just not an option when it comes to sport. When something like a World Cup or the Olympics or the Ashes comes about it dominates nearly every pub conversation. It just does, it’s inevitable. And no one wants to look like a fucktard; that bullshit notion of remaining silent and being considered a fool rather than opening your mouth and removing all doubt goes straight out of the window. If you aren’t completely in the know about which players to look out for, how mind-meltingly brilliant that 73rd minute play was or how blind the referee was then you’re instantly labelled a facking poofter. Not my words, the words of every sportsfan in the world.

It’s one of the great things about these big sporting events: the chance for everyone, from the ignorant to the experts, to hurl themselves into the fray and follow the events as and when they happen, discussing and debating all the way, enjoying every second of world-class competition. The bullshit haze that accompanies it just makes the whole thing even more enjoyable. It’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed with nearly every man I’ve met, they just have to be experts on things. Even after the most basic and minute amount of research they will speak as if they got a PhD in Correct Sporting Decisions from the University of Knowledge. Watching chain-smoking, bloated alcoholics hurling advice at professional players, coaches and referees without the least sense of irony always makes me chortle milk out of my nose.

An example for those that need it: my brother at school quit rugby in order to spend his time rowing, much to my father’s, a rugby man through and through, immense shock and humiliation. Until it became clear that my brother was actually quite good at rowing and subsequently got an Olympic gold medal. By which time my dad was a consummate oracle in all things rowing. It was incredible. He was just being supportive of his son, but the authority with which he speaks about rowing would make you think it’s something he himself had dedicated his life to.

It’s not something unique to sport either, life is full of those who bullshit convincingly despite their intellect tank being teeteringly close to empty. The great thing about sport though compared to art or politics is its largely objective nature. If someone is just chatting shit about how Scotland are going to fuck New Zealand up then they’ll pretty quickly be proved wrong. And sport pundits in general aren’t the most erudite in the world so hearing their opinions repeated almost verbatim by someone passing it off as their own, the kind of person who hoards pointless facts and figures like a squirrel with swollen cheeks, is always enough to make me smile and seriously contemplate shoving a pint glass through their smug face.

But then I would be guilty of hypocrisy. As I said, my knowledge going into this Rugby World Cup is close to nil. Beyond the basics of the game and the returning faces I really don’t know which teams are on form. But I can’t help myself. By this time next week I will be full of opinions and views on how the World Cup’s shaping up despite my complete lack of qualifications. Such is the beauty of sport. I’ll do my best to keep it to the pubs though.

The one thing I do know for certain is that it’ll be fucking hilarious if the All Blacks balls it up again.

fireproof bones

every person in the world wishes at least 30,000 times a day that they had a superpower. there is nothing in life that wouldn't be made infinitely easier by, say, being able to lift 50 metric tons over your head. any superpower would be nice, even a shit one like fireproof bones. but there's one that's often overlooked, even though it's the most common one, shared by the majority of film and tv characters. it's the ability to disappear behind any moving vehicle. this superpower is so mind-boggling that it just... boggles... my mind (i like the word ‘boggle’; i should use it more often). it's a scene common to nearly every movie. the hero will be looking at someone, usually a villain, who's standing on the other side of the road who will then suddenly disappear behind a bus or a truck. if instant teleportation was a trait they had throughout the story i could understand it. but it never is. my retentive asshole demands an answer.

i mean, the obvious answer would seem to be that they're grabbing on to the bus or truck as it passes. even if they could find something to grab in the first place, the force would probably yank their shoulder out of its socket. all the confused hero would have to do to is look 50 metres up the road where the disappearing man would be lying on the side of the road in a pool of blood screaming as his former arm disappeared, still attached to the truck. for some reason this never happens in films. i think it should. one armed villains are the best.

either that or they've just dived behind some nearby object to hide. and are getting really weird looks from passer-bys. it's not just restricted to this kind of scene though. there's also the classic two people talking, one turns away for a second, a second, and when he turns back the other character has disappeared. the implication is normally that he's charged headlong out of a window that's at least 20ft away without making a sound. this is normally shown by a fluttering curtain. again, all the other character would have to do to find this mysterious disappearing figure would be to look out of the window; at the crumpled, misshapen body lying smashed on the pavement 10 storeys below.

or perhaps i'm being too cynical and they really do possess this power. and you've gotta admit, it'd be a fucking cool power to have. you could confuse so many people. and who knows where you'd end up when you disappeared. it could be anywhere! you could see the world from the side of a bus. it's only a matter of time before hollywood cottons on to this idea i'm sure.

why am i thinking about superhero powers? because the heroes season finale is next week. it's been a ridiculously long time coming, i'm struggling to remember what happened more than six episodes ago. it'll be interesting to see the season as a whole and find out if the plot is coherent or not. anyway, some of the episodes have been pretty exceptional. it does have dips and all the cheese and coincidences you'd expect, but they manage to get it right most of the time. personally i hope it all goes pete tong in the final episode. it would make for an interesting second season and lots of implications, creating a completely different story to the first. given the comic influence on the style of heroes, it's not inconceivable that there'll be an apocalyptic ending.

oh, and if all that made no sense then you clearly haven't seen any heroes. tsk tsk. there's no excuse, you've got the whole of summer and its miserable damp weather (especially us poor bastards in scotland) ahead of you; so curl up round the warm glow of the laptop and catch up with heroes. the show with more mysterious disappearing characters than you can shake a stick at.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An Inconvenient Apathy

There's a stereotypical view of British people that we're all obsessed with the weather. And it's completely true, every person in Britain talks about the weather in perhaps every single gap in every conversation they possibly can. Which fills me with a deep sense of pride in these dark last days before the apocalypse. While the rest of the world has only jumped on the climate change bandwagon in the last few years, the elder generation in Britain have been complaining about how the winters and summers were so much better 50 years ago since the English Channel melted. The Brits care about climate change.

Unfortuantely we care more about being warm. If climate change was making Britain even wetter and colder than it is now, we'd all be cycling to work, which would mainly consist of tending to the newly planted forests, living a life purely with nature and doing just about anything to get the sun god to return. We would probably have to sacrifice Peaches Geldof. Not that I'm suggesting Peaches Geldof's death would solve climate change. Although it's certainly worth considering if we run out of options...

The point is that as soon as there's the merest glimpse of sunshine people flock to it. I walk along the Meadows every day and for most of the year it is a cold and desolate wasteland. People stick solely to the paths, not daring to venture out onto the grass in case they are swept away by a big gust of wind, or perhaps drown in a surprisingly deep muddy puddle. Which happens. I think. But as soon as the sun shines a little and that fucking gale of an artic wind stops blowing groups of people start to blossom everywhere. I'm not sure where all these people are or what they do when it's not sunny. Maybe that's why we've got so many pubs, to house everyone when they can't get pissed with a cheap can of cider in the middle of a sunny park.

I love the summer, everything just seems to be better. In fact, not seems, is. The hottest summer, 1976, is a summer remembered for crazy fun good times, probably because, as with any time when it's hot, people find it perfectly ok to strip down to very little and walk about. With 50% of the population this is a good thing. With the other 50%, the 50% that tend to spend most of their time in pubs waiting for the sun to emerge, less good. If only I could learn to love exposed, bloated and burnt beer-bellies, my summer's would be perfect. But you get all sorts emerging and enjoying the heat. Old people who don't have to worry about their joints freezing, teenagers who don't have to worry about freezing over a joint, active, passive, whoever. They all come out. Especially the hippies. The summer is ten-thousand times more happy than winter, fact.

So, as long as summer's stay hot, no one in Britain's going to care about climate change. And by that I mean me. It's not that I don't believe it's happening, it's just another one of those ridiculous hot topics that everyone talks about and very few people really know anything about. Both sides of the debate appear to be filled with people who have arbitrarily picked a side based on political views and then spout whatever bullshit facts are floating about on the topic at that point in time. We can barely predict what the weather's going to do tomorrow, let alone how our actions are going to affect the climate on a global scale over a long period of time. Carbon emmissions are probably having an effect and we should do something about it. But because natural disasters are pretty shocking, everyone starts to believe global warming is what's going to fry or freeze or drown or crush you and your children.

I guess global warming is a bigger issue than bird flu or BSE, but I'm just so sceptical of anything the media says I'm going to die from nowadays. I've become so aware of everything that's going to kill me that global warming is just another one to add to the list. Why worry about drinking alcohol? I'll have died from smoking before then. Why worry about dying from smoking? I'll have died in a car crash by then. Why worry about dying in a car crash? Terrorists will have murdered me. Why worry about being murdered? After my rape and abuse at a tragically young age at the hands of paedophile, I'll be praying for death to release me from my nightmare. So far I've survived, despite the media's opinion. Will global warming actually be the one that gets me and the rest of the world?

I don't know, I don't care. When you find the answer you can find me lying out in whatever bit of sun there is left. Probably dying from skin cancer.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Pussy Bits Galore

If you arrived here because you searched for 'china pussy' then be not ashamed. You are one of many. All I ask is that you make up for the fact that you're a sad internet loner by reading this article and all the others cos they're fucking hilarious and maybe they'll fill that void in your life where a woman should be
How do you begin to describe my feelings at seeing this video? It just touches me on so many levels, I’m almost left speechless. Before you read any further make sure you watch this video, otherwise the rest of what I have to say will not make any sense whatsoever.

Assuming you’ve watched that, let’s just have a frame by frame recap. It opens with your average high street in Malatya. Where the fuck is Malatya? To Wikipedia!
Malatya (Hittite: Milid; Greek: Μαλάτεια, Malateia; Armenian: Մալաթիա, Malatia; Kurdish: Meletî; Latin: Melitene) is the capital city of the Malatya Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey.

Now we know. So, a Malatyan high street with nothing but a completely conspicuous cardboard box. As mentioned before I don’t hold terrorists in the highest regard when it comes to intelligence but I’d think it’s pretty basic that if you’re going to go to the lengths of concealing a bomb in a cardboard box you should at least go that one step further and also conceal the really fucking obvious box.

But that’s by the by. It’s a dangerous world we live in now and legal costs for the council being sued by some dippy tart who trips over a stray box in the street are through the roof, so action must be taken. And you don’t want any council workers with injured backs, best to call in someone to blow up said box instead, thereby harmlessly vaporising the offending pedestrian obstacle. No fuss, no muss.

Seriously though, you never know when the terrorists are going to adopt a ‘things they’ll least expect policy’ so it’s best to be on the safe side. But then again I just don’t know how savvy Turk terrorists are. I’m guessing they know how to plant a bomb.

Anyway, as you’d expect the experts are called in and they blow the box up. This is something that’s always intrigued me about bomb disposal: the controlled detonation. From the looks of this video it involves blowing the bomb up. Surely that’s not a good idea? I mean the idea of creating a specific specialist unit that blows stuff up which is meant to blow up anyway just seems like rigging up an intricate self-knacker kicking machine. Whatever the science behind it, it seems to be the preferred weapon of choice for taking on suspicious bomb packages. I just don’t get why James Bond doesn’t try it out more often…

Moving on, safe or not, the package is detonated. Here’s where it gets interesting. Something that has come out of the torn up package is pixelated by the camera. Why would the camera have to pixelate anything from a destroyed package? Let’s zoom in for a closer look... ar right, it appears to be what can only be described as two shellshocked cats. Bwuhahahahahahahaha!

Now I want to make this absolutely clear for any hippies that may be reading this: I’m not laughing at the fact that two cats were in the exploding box. I take no pleasure in harming animals. I just find the whole situation wonderfully absurd. I’ve heard about teenagers losing their GCSE design projects after leaving them on a train and bomb squads blowing up the subsequent suspicious package but this is just a step beyond because it raises so many intriguing questions.

So the package explodes and two cats fly out. Everyone screams. Fair enough, but I think they were probably screams that ran along the lines of, “Oh my God, what have we done, what complete fucktards we are!” as opposed to “The cats! Won’t someone think of the cats!”

Well someone did think of the cats. A local janitor, clearly running on autopilot, rushes in and proceeds to clear up the bomb victims as only he knows how: by sweeping them into his dustpan. It’s done with such perfect comic timing and efficiency it makes me weep everytime I see it. Clearly he’s been sweeping the streets of Matalya, thinking to himself everyday that he’s special, that he’s going to do something great and heroic. Well now he has. He’s swept up the entrails of two falsely exploded cats. I have visions of wars in the future where towering robots fulfil a similar function at the end of bloody battles between humans and spleen sucking beasts from Alpha Centauri.

Except they’re not cat entrails because, as the news reporter reassures us, the kitten and its mother were still alive when they were swept away like flotsam. Yeah… if there’s a gram of truth to this it’s in the use of the past tense. The cats were indeed still alive, just moments before the box was detonated with a device designed to tear apart sophisticated explosive devices. Believe everything the media tells you or don’t. It’s not about making decisions for yourself.

Obviously now the police are investigating who left the cats in the box. I bet they are. I just want to know why the person did it. Either they were carrying them to the vets and had to drop the box because they had a serious case of the skwitz and were left shocked and heartbroken when they returned; or they couldn’t afford to look after/hated the cats and knew that this would be the end result of leaving a cardboard box in the middle of a Turkish street. It’s certainly a more exciting method of execution than a canvas bag and some stones.

Or they’re just terrorists running on a massive budget deficit that have to rely on government controlled explosives to get their message across. I’d believe anything nowadays.

The fact of the matter is that there are victims in this whole sorry mess. Another suspicious box that was found in a Matalyan car park was detonated and subsequently found to have contained grapes. These grapes could’ve gone towards making a bottle of wine, and that kind of loss just isn’t funny.