Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why would anyone want to watch the X Factor? Why I got hooked, but I aint gonna watch again, right, that was a one off, I can stop, I swear, I hope...

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I may have accidently watched the X Factor - and just to have a real old junk tv blow out - Strictly Come Dancing this Sunday evening. I wanted to watch the Antiques Roadshow but it didn't seem to be on. I had a lot of personal issues that only a good dose of antiques judging would cure. Sadly, I'd missed it. One Man & His Dog wasn't on either. Neither was Last Of The Summer Wine. Nothing vaguely old fashioned or sedate. So I ended up watching TXF & SCD.

I think both programmes have been on for a while now. Possibly years. I am pretty sure about that. Mylene Klass was born on one of these shows. *Strictly Give Birth*. Something like that.

It's weird when you're out of the loop. I feel like a country bumpkin that has just come to the big city and can't believe his eyes. "Sure don't all these ladies look pretty in their itsy bitsy dresses. Wowsy o wowsy!" Random ideas occur. Visual images are printed into my brian (my brain is a bit weirded out - and has become a brian). Thus:
  • Strictly Come - the ladies' dresses - it's an old point but when did spangly bikinis become acceptable evening wear? I, personally, have no problem with this, but would love to see the *boys* like the man from that soap/the sporty man/Gary Rhodes etc wearing equivalent wear. How can it not be sexist if the chaps are not wearing glittery posing pouches? Get John Sergeant (looking happy below right) into a spangly vest and short-shorts or I won't be watching again. (On second thoughts ... ah ha ah ha a ho ho...)
  • The reason people watch these shows is so they can talk. And have something to talk about other than ... whatever it is people are supposed to talk about. Feelings, events in their lives or the wider world, philosophy? The shows provide communal viewing. It's like sport for girls. Or buying shoes for girls. Lots of opinions, tutting, swooning, sensible and insane comments. Swearing at the tv. Laughter. Communal viewing. You turn it on and start to chat. Mainly start to slag people off and judge them, but also give *credit where its due*. If someone can dance around without falling over or warble like a low-rent Xtina then we will collectively support them. Also if they can arrange for a death in the family or if they have a stammer or a wooden leg, we will also like them for that. So watching it on your own is a little odd. You WILL end up saying things out loud and talking to your pet goldfish. "Did you see that? You could dance better than that and you have neither legs nor lungs!"
  • The normal rules don't apply if the contestants are *cute*. Or just 14 years old. Or used to be famous on a soap. Or are ridiculously inept. Then we'll still like them. Us Mob viewers can empathise (and laugh at) people who are stultifyingly shit at dancing and singing. Cos we are as well.
  • You can also compete & bet with your co-viewers on who is going to win/get voted out. "I tell you, yous fish have no idea. No way will Rachel Stevens win. Look at Big Brother, the more glamourous ladies always get voted out. No, she does not look fish-like. That is just not fair."
  • X Factor = sociology. The psycho-social portrait of a group of people (most of whom seem to work in admin or customer services - why does no one have a trade? No doctors or plumbers?) who are OBSESSED by wanting to become a famous singery person. I guess when you have such a shit job (I should know) you want to believe that you won't still be doing it when you're 41 (but you will be. Or else the world will have plunged into a post-financial crisis sort of Mad Max pit of despair. "Hello, Thunderdome Telecom, how may I direct your call? It's a Mister Belezebub, is it? And you'd like to complain about the plague of locusts you're currently experiencing? I'll just put you on hold, one moment..." Which would at least be a mild improvement on working in a regular BT Call Centre). But I mean, PEOPLE! What is wrong with Lottery Scratchcards as a valid means of escape from the drudgery of your existence???? OR believing in Revolutionary Socialism? Financial crisis going on, surely the time is right to seize the means of production? No? Except when you work in a call centre, what is the means of production? Would we have to seize our telephones? Would the calls just be re-routed to India? Hmm. Flaws in this plan.
  • The contestants get VERY OVER-excited. When did this screamy, rolling on the floor thing start happening? Without people staring at you bog-eyed like you're insane. If the job agency tell me I have an extra week working in the brewery, I do not scream. I say cheers and put the phone down. But not here, oh no.
  • More pauses than a Harold Pinter Play. "I'm sorry to tell you... " Pause for a ridiculous amount of time. Camera gadding about. Taking in the tearful faces. Building up tension so that they think they're getting booted off... "You're through to the next round." Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
Watch this: then make sure the sound isn't turned up too much around the 1.20 mark. It's like Beatlemania - only they're their own heroes...


  • When did it become acceptable to scream and jump & generally act like you're having an epileptic fit when someone tells you you're into the last 64 in a competition where only 1 can win? Shouldn't you be *quietly pleased*? No? It's the girls mainly. And it is quite frightening especially when they charge at the camera and squeal and wail. Like we would expect if watching a documentary about a primative culture. Like in an American Baptist Church when they're speaking in tongues. Or in some Amazonian Indian tribe when they're communing with their gods. The *Through-to-the-next-round* contestants really let go. Primal Scream therapy style. Like Bobby Gillespie on crack. Like toddlers who've eaten a sweetshop full of E number filled sweets. You almost want Michael Winner to taken on the Dermot O'Leary role: "Relax, my dear, it's only a talent show. And in truth you're not actually that good. You'll be crying next week. And then you'll be going back to your Admin Assistant job." It is emotional pornography. We get to watch people on the verge of suicide or collapsed in a giggle of happy tears. How often do people wet and/or shit themselves - before they go on/while they're on/after they've been on and when they hear the news? Quite often I'd think. Personally I'd like to see someone projectile vomit over Louis Walsh when they hear the verdict. It seems a fair response, I'd say.
  • Every week there is a penalty shoot out at the end. And it is expertly handled. Whilst I don't really care about anyone (in the world or on these shows) the tension is exquisite. As a viewer you get a real brain rush. Every decision on the X Factor is preceded by a pause of 30 seconds. And then a decisive decision. Even Dannii Minogue acts like a little God. Like the 4 judges are the colonial masters of this idiot country called X Factorland. Dance for me peasants! Sing! Entertain me or die! Personally, I'm all in favour if S&M television so I think it's fine.
  • TXF is for kids really, isn't it? Pretty boys, pretty girls. The occasional OddBod who will get knocked out soon. And some weirdly facially configured older people who would be better off working as celebrity impersonators if they could find someone they looked like.
  • Why do the minor celebs on Strictly actually bother? Can't they do panto in Carshalton? This dancing lark seems like a lot of hard work. Though in truth this is a show where hard work is rewarded. TXF is all about inate talent and "bringing that out" going on a journey somewhere with your talent. To the Post Office and back, perhaps. On Strictly, cos people are half famous already, it seems acceptable if they're shit at the beginning. It almost seems like they're cheating if they're all ready half decent at hoofing about. They've been practising the fuckers! Kick em out!
  • The winners will be: Cheri Lunghi (SCD) & a blonde girl (XF). Or a half-bearded boychild (XF).
Actually, Strictly did get boring. There's too much of "Let's watch the experts." No. Let's watch people who are rubbish at it, it's more fun. Obviously this blog serves no purpose, but anyone foolish enough to read about these shows knows that they deserve no better. They are designed for communal appreciation/approbation and I am merely filling the well of opinion with my half-baked half-thoughts. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, So It Goes...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why eyebrows are important in a time of economic gloom.

"Madonna is sporting some serious eyebrows in this shot as well... One can pinpoint the era of the photos by gauging the thickness of Madonna's eyebrows and the amount of armpit hair." [from www.80srockphotos.com]

Eighties, Eighties (to para-phrase, or even just quote, the band *Killing Joke*) I'm livin in the Eighties. And even if that is not quite true, we may as well enjoy the lyrics for a minute ...

"Eighties - i'm living in the eighties
Eighties - i have to push, i have to struggle
Eighties - get out of my way, i'm not for sale no more
Eighties - let's kamikaze 'til we get there"
[from the song, Eighties, of course]

I mean, don't you feel like that sometimes? I certainly have to push - doors especially - to get them open. I have to struggle - often I struggle with pickle jars, or else when I'm trying to complete a Suduku. It's no joke, mate. Get out of my way, I'm not for sale no more. I'm like a house that has been on the market for too long & owing to the ongoing downturn in the econony, it just won't sell. So it's not for sale, right?

I want to Kamikaze till I get there.

That's just precisely how I feel about now. Thanks Killing Joke. It's easy to take your lyrics out of context and be flippant. I find that very easy. But it is a great song and I suggest everyone in the world downloads it and uses it if they're making a retro-documentary about that Eighties decade.

<<<--- Look left! Killing Joke, looking browsome, yesteryear

Which brings me on to more pressing and pertinent matters. It seems tonight we're going to pluck like it's nineteen-eighty-four... i.e. not very much.

The Brow is BACK. Big time, big style, big, big but mainly BIG... As it always is in times of economic strife...

Never mind looking at the height of a hem as the economic bellwether of the times; it's all about the brows. I can't be bothered to do the research but I'm just going to say it like I believe it and hope that becomes a fact by dent of repetition - like tiny browed Sarah Palin is fond of doing.

And how do I know about this brow-baggage come back - non-fashionista that I am? Hmmm? Because my style bible The New Statesman, lefty political mag & website tells me so. I'm not sure when they became my oracle on all matters fash, but never mind. Apparently, in other news red ties are really in right now. And cheap badly fitted suits. Yeh, I'll buy that. It's a good look...

As was the early Mad Donna look. Chubby, funky, accessorized with more crosses than anyone should have to bear; Maddy was all about the belly button & the brows. She invented - as far as I was concerned - the belly. The proper female tummy. And invented the idea that it was okay to dance around showing it off on telly. Did anyone run around with their *pudding pocket* hanging out prior to the winsome Material Girl's arrival on our planet? Sure, boobs could hang out, legs could be flashed, but I don't recall any erogenous or non-erogenous revealing of the *pie pouch*. Or am I vastly vastly wrong? Hmmm.

Never mind, in the words of ABC, never mind, mustn't grumble, have another piece of apple crumble...

And it looked like Maddy didn't mind. You had to admire her. You had to love those hairy caterpillers sitting contentedly above her eyes. Wow. For a - male of an impressionable young age with some serious browage of his own - they were a foxy revelation.

Then like the fashion woman she is, she grew up and changed. She worked out a lot and worked out that some people were having a go at her for her vulpine Latin eye architecture. Next time I saw her, she
was plucked and veined, with a body as hard as a porn star's penis. I'm sorry to say that as a fairly traditional chap, it was a look that didn't do a great deal for me. And this isn't just rampant sexist bla bla bla from me - well it is, but... - but Professor Germaine Greer has similar thoughts, albeit probably from a different direction:

"The first time I saw her on a US talk show she was wearing an unbecoming greeny-sludge-coloured dress and enough eyebrow hair to stuff a shirt, but she nailed every one of the host's knee-jerk reactions. She was sharp, funny, tough, and wonderfully brave. She used to call herself the "future of feminism"; Camille Paglia and I were happy with that." [Germaine Greer in The Independent, like a couple of years ago.]

My fear of the diminished brow had started years earlier, getting my chips & gravy from the chippy at Woodsend Circle. *Arden's Hard uns* - called coz the chips were a bit hard/coz it rhymed. The lady owner had brows painted up near her hairline. She looked more surprised than Gordon Brown with a lead in an opinion poll. Drawn on. No actual hair. Like a bad drag artist. It was - to a 9 year old - both fascinating and utterly terrifying. If the chips n gravy had not been so cheap and yet filling (with free dollops of batter scratchings on top!), I would never have ventured in there. The fact that my mum worked there for a bit also meant that I got big portions, so it was actually pretty cool. Even though that did mean that the eyebrow lady would speak to me when I went in there and ask me *how I was getting on at school* etc. While I tried not look anywhere near the top of her face. Boy did she wear a lot of make-up for a chip shop lady... But she was definitely definitely of the no brow is a good brow school of thought. Think Elizabeth Taylor in a greasy white overall. Lovely woman though etc.

Anyway, not entirely convinced by The New Statesmen's oracular fashion provenance - I had to do a quick lazy G00gle to get some proper fash forward confirmation from these HIGHLY reliable sources:

"Yes, jeans have gone skinny. But for brows, thick is in. Our fashion expert takes this trend for a hair-raising test drive." [from bostonmagazine.com]

While Celeb!Bitchy says that lots of *famous* ladies are diggin the bush baby look. Look here's our lovely Keira Knightley - cor! what a pair she's got, ay!? Not wishing to be 1970s/sexist, but who would have thought you could ever write *cor, she has got a massive pair* bla bla Keira Knightley. And yes, it's a weak, sad, pathetic joke, but it amused me for a tiny tinpot second...

"You may have noticed that bushy eyebrows are fashionable again, and that many celebrities are sporting fuller brows this season... Pencil thin eyebrows like Pamela Anderson are a no-no. It’s not my favorite trend, but big brows can create a dramatically beautiful look." [from celebitchy.com]

Besides the pic of our Keira on the Celeb!Bitchy site there are lots of pics of Celebladies like Brooke Shields (yeah, of course). Someone else called Hilary Duff (not that bushy). And someone else called something else etc (mildly normal in general). Which proves ... not a great deal.

The author's eyebrows - a lifestory in 4 (increasingly scary) parts, scattered right --->>>1-4

Yahoo answers are undecided. But these directed ads from the clever Googlebots seem to want to tell me something:
#
Tired of Thin Eyebrows? We Can Help Restore Your Eyebrows. As Seen on Rachel Ray.
www.BillionDollarBrows.com
#
Eyebrows -100% Human Hair Our false eyebrows are so natural. Let us restore your confidence.
www.headcovers.com
#
Wow! As seen on Rachel Ray!!!... And 1 quick further G00gle (I have to know, right?) it turns out that she's a sort of American Nigella Lawson-on-a-diet chef in a bikini. Sort of thing. I can't be bothered looking any further. It would be wrong. I'm trying to stay on (the) point. She seems to own eyebrows, let's leave it at that.

Let's g0 G00g s0me m0re...

Yes! G0 G00gle Sophie Vlaming if ya don't believe me after that the previous slightly tame huzzahs for the browsome. Ms Vlaming's a *Super*model according to the WorldWideWonder. And she's got *Designed to Survive a Harsh Russian Winter* stamped across her face.

Truly, a pair of furry eyewarmers that Frida Kahlo would be proud of. So that's fashion for the ladies done and dusted. Winter 2008/2009 season. Expect them to be back to skinny as a New York Latte by next spring. But who cares about that. Let's live for the moment.

It's gettin hairy out there and I have to push, I have to struggle etc...

As for tha Gents n brow fashions - well, I'm not really that bothered. Dennis Healey has always been a style icon for me, so why look any further? Unless this is all part of some Global/Geo-Political Ethical Neo-Whatnot Trend that deserves further study and wordage????? Hmmm? Hmmm? Now you're thinkin, aren't you? No? NO? O.

The full Brazillian - must be a bit Chile, no?

So if *No Brows* --->>> to *Big Bushy Brows* - does that mean we could see the allied forces of body hair making a comeback?

Are eyebrows merely the shock troops of the pubic hair revolution?

Is this not just a fashion-temporary throwback to some mid 1980s Madonna/Brooke Shields face ornamentation, but in fact a full-scale folicular war on the wax?

Since the late 70s, body hair has been diminishing and disappearing at a rate matched only by the rabid mechanised deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest.

The Brazilian, hmmm? Are you sensing a link here? The rampant spread of global capitalism & the raging wax of the dilapitating beauticians? Hmmm? Hmmm?

And now - could we see - a COUNTER-REVOLUTION? The return of the natural & hairy body area?


If only because it's cheaper and warmer to grow your own hairy pants and vest.

Could we see the Burt Reynolds style chest hair making a comeback for the metrosexual geezer about town? Or surely, after the triumph of first the bikini wax, and then the Brazilian short/back n crack for the lady privates - or even the full-on Paris Hilton style alopecia of the gonadal zone - could we go back to the look that speaks of 70s porn and the original Lover's Guide - a full-on re-forestisation of the genitalia epidermal regions? Is it possible? Outside of Germany?

Fashions go from one opposite to another - so sleek little spectacles have suddenly reverted to Christopher Biggins style bigguns suddenly (if only amongst the arty hoi polloi as yet - but no doubt Deirdree Barlow will be a style icon once again in the very near future - you read it here first/second/eventually....). Therefore, reading the fashion tea leaves in my predictive fashion teacup - I hereby predict the return of the natural bushbaby look by 2009. Perhaps.

if you need more eyebrow advice - g0 here:
http://www.eyebrowz.com/madonna.htm

or else just let em go wild... they'll keep your eyes warm in the winter....

A final thought is this. Jennifer Connelly, pictured over to the left <<<---- Nice brows, n'est pas?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why I hereby vow never to wear the colour white ever again. Why New Kids On The Block, just *why*? Why? Why?

Listen, the next time I will be wearing white is when I am attending a Hindu funeral. That's it, I've had it with white. It just doesn't wash with me any more. And it's only partially due to the following:

"10.30am This Morning New Kids on the Block chat about their reunion and perform their new single. Clutterbusters helps a woman who has not unpacked two years after moving to her new home. Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield present. Including at 11.15 News, Regional News and Weather (888)"

Part of it is due to the fact that I use *Eco Friendly* washing balls. They're great. Pay £30 and never have to buy washing powder (or liquid!) ever ever again! Huzzah! Except for the fact that I've ended up throwing out virtually all of my white clothing - which amounted to quite a few t-shirts, some shirts and absolutely no undercrackers. No, sir. No, Longsight market knock-off *Calvin Klean* knickergrundies in my drawer. I'm strictly a sensible black pant wearer. But let's not - in the modern parlance - *go there*. No one needs or wants to know. Quite frankly. Yes, step back and step away from the baggy black pantaloons.

Eco Balls.
"Environmentally friendly Ecoballs® are a scientific breakthrough in cleaning technology. Just place the three Ecoballs® in your washing machine instead of detergent. They are reuseable for up to 1000 washes and costs on average 3p per wash. There are no harsh chemicals so less pollution." Which is nice. Except I'm buggered if I can get my whites clean. Hmmm. It's either the world's entire ecosystem or me wearing slightly darker clothes (coloured using beetroot or ketchup or some other nice friendly dye, I would hope). So white has to go. And it's not a great loss. I've obviously never owned a pair of white trousers. Ridiculous! O, hang on, I did buy a pair when I was about 18, but I don't think I ever wore em. I mean - what kind of life do you have where you can wear white jeans? You can't sit on the grass, you can't play football, you can't eat a big burger covered in splodgy red sauce or mustard. You can't wipe your hands on your thighs after you've been eating a toffee apple. Frankly life wouldn't be worth living if you had to wear white trousers every day. Unless you were an angel living on a cloud, eating meringues and rice pudding all day. And even then.

So Ecoballs® are quite good really, whites apart. Which now that I've had my NKOTB sponsored-epiphany means I don't have a problem any more.

See, NKOTB are having a comeback. They were famous in the late 80s, early 90s. In America. And now they're back!!! O, dear. Even knowing this seems shameful. Knowing that they existed and still do exist.

Lost for words does not really cover it. Take That can come back, I have no problem with that. Good songs [some] and they wear woolly jumpers now. Keep their shirts on generally. That's fine. Westlife & Boyzone are and always have been an abomination. Proof that pure evil exists; but, y'know, some people with brains filled full of pig fat like them, so, fair enough. I can live with turning off the tv/radio whenever they appear. They give me something to scream at. And I am not - to be obvious & honest - part of their target market - given that I am not a certifiable imbecile. Fine. Move on.

But surely, there are some things that the older gent just shouldn't do. And NKOTB do most of em on this new video. Co-ordinated white vests, trousers & dance steps. Hanging out with adoring teenage ladies. O dear. They look like they're the finance team at an insurance company gone off on a jolly. An amazing stag do for Donnie's 2nd wedding in Paraguay. Really, these lovely young ladies don't love you, chaps. They really don't. O please. What happens on tour should stay on tour, don't invite a camera crew.

Look at this man with a a moustache. O dignity, whither dignity? Jon from Billing getting a lapdance...

Obviously, I say this as someone who was never *into* NKOTB 1st time round. I think I'd fallen out of love with Smash Hits when they came around. Moved on to the NME. But I still watched Top of The Pops. And they weren't actually that popular in Britain were they? Apart from amongst the 11-13 year old girl demographic. Nowadays, after Andi Peters killed TOTP, I have no way of knowing what is in the charts. Andi Peters killed a part of me. He really did. I can never forgive him. The last time I knew what the *number 1* was was when it was that Ummmmmmbrellllllllllllla song. O the death of music. O the death of an important part of British culture. Or else just more old man whinging. *In My Day...* Sigh & thrice sighingtons...

I will leave it to the modern arbiters of taste - the users of YouTube to provide an insightful commentary on the NKOTB comeback. Or else *check out* the video yourself...

jumpingjack7877 (1 hour ago)
their old as dinosaur balls.........sad

willquil1 (10 hours ago)
you buggin son...this and that new single they got is nice yo

battle0001 (1 day ago)
i agree that they are a bit old for this but that's makes them like the cooles adults. they actualy sing songs that kids will like and not that gay ass old music.....and if you like that i'm sorry this is just my oppinion...and about every kid....

limogeas (2 days ago)
lol, i hope i'm kicking it like that when i'm middle aged...

PaintedDeserts (2 days ago) Oh Gosh.. that's just.. I'd have expected far better by now. :: grimaces :: "Hey girl, can I get yo number?" My dad dont speak like that. Donnie looks gooood.

Why I'm just ashamed and saddened. Why you can't help thinking you're going to die in these sort of situations.

It's really not good enough, I mean, is it? Really?

The baby Jesus & his mum, yesteryear->>>

That last blog *post*. And I use the term *post* between co-dependant starry *things* for no real reason. Becoz that's wot u do round here, right? But, I mean, who do I think I am? What am I on about? Art, was it? Art? I know more about farts than I do about arts. Honestly. 'Onest Onions on the table here. Listen: here is a nutshell guide to my art criticism style:
  • That running about art thing at Tate Britain: funny. Bit odd. Not sure. I do like watching running, so I am biased.
  • This new Frannie Bacon art show thing at Tate Britain: ooooh. Bit gruesome. Body bits n that. Bloody paint n weirdy body parts n wrestly men. Mmmmm. Put me off my dinner a bit. Not my scene really. Bowls of fruit n naked Spanish lookin ladies, ever thought of doin a picture of them, Francis Bakon? Or a lovely image of da baby Jesus? Hmmm. Dead are you? O.
  • Tate Liverpool. Do we really have to go? O, if you insist. I'll promise to look interested, can we go and have a photo taken next to a Beatles statuey thing after? Can we? Can we get pizza. O, art. Yeh. Errr. Who is it again? Klimt? Isn't that an intimate lady body part? No. Flowery ladies. Yeh, that's more my style. Give it too me. Just, y'know. Just a couple. A little dull, really...
No. Rubbish.

I hereby resign from *art* criticism. I like it all - a tiny bit or a quite big bit. Or else I don't. That's it. That's that. No more. No idea. No cleverness. I'd
be better off going back to the old *blog* staples.

<---A nice painting included as an *example* for modern art artists to have a copy of, if they's ever passin by these ways. !!!NOTE!!! It is a COMPLETE co-incidence that this is another breast feedy picture & not an indication of any fetishy obsessiveness. Ok?

What I will have to *post* about instead: the 5 core *Blog* topic staples
  1. My life. I had soup for tea! Burnt lots of toast! Flames coming out of the grill! Got distracted looking at the floorboards in a nearby room!!! Set the fire alarm off. The house stinks of burningness. Hilarious!!! True!!! [smiley face thingy - put it in later]
  2. Politiks. Serious shouty violent hatred talk [unhappy face emotion: note search on wiki for suitable ascii dobber]
  3. Reviews. Opinions. Advice. Recipes. My individual knowledge distilled and spilled out everywhere for probably loads of people to take notice of. And thus love and admire me. [ambivalent smiley face - a bit like this ;0/ - but better]
  4. Lists like this. But more interesting. Best of stuff. Damn, what else do people do? People that don't actually have a great deal of specialist knowledge or useful stuff to impart?
  5. Struggling. Honesty. That's the thing. No flippancy. Just honest *salt of the earth*ness.
So it leaves me with *MY SO CALLED LIFE*

Yes, it's a toss up between reviewing old telly shows (starring Jennifer Love Hewitt & Neve Campbell) that haven't been on in a gazillion years, or talking truthfully about the excitement that is my existence on this earth.

See, as a for instance I said in the shamefully inaccurate previous *post* that I had been running in London in the recent past.

Not true.

I have been to London. I have been running. But not both at the same time, for a while. Since my recent operation. See that's the thing. I've mainly been sitting down and lying down asleep a lot recently. All a bit dull.

So here's the thing about operations and death... No. No. No.

God, the other thing is, my *posts* are so chuffin long. What am I doin? I could be watching Reaper or How Not To Live Your Life or Scott Baio Is 4o & Single. I need to keep it personal. I need to have something interesting to say. I need to include more photos of breastfeeding. Or Spanish looking ladies.

I need to do all this, all of the time. But next time definitely.

What? 15 *posts* in and another nervous breakdown? A midblog crisis?

I was gonna say something about when you're having an operation - you sort of think you're gonna die. A teeny bit. Just in case you might be right and do actually die. Coz you'll need to prepare. Think about what you're gonna say to God/the Devil/the worms. You tidy up a bit. All your stuff. Put things in perspective etc, before you *go*.

Then you wake up gibbering rubbish at a bored nurse & you're BACK IN THE WORLD!!! Where were you for an hour? Not much happened really. O, yeh, to you it did. To the world: not. You've got bits of stitches etc.

Question: what is the single worst thing that anyone can say to you? [after *we need to talk* & you're going to die/someone else is going to die/when I press this button nucleur war will commence. After those things.]

For me, it's the moment when the doctor is sat on the end of the hospital bed and he's explaining how he's going to stick wires in your [body part] and leave them there.
- How long for? During the operation?
- Err, no. Afterwards as well.
- For days? Weeks?
- More like months...
- A wire. Stuck in my [body part]?
[And then some other things as to what the wire thing will do and why it is needed. How it, yes, well, yes, it will hurt. Deal with it, boy, etc. Ouch.]

That right there is why they don't let you eat for 12 hours before. So you don't go chuckin your guts up at that point. Blimey. My [body part] and wires stuck up. They wouldn't even do that to you in Soho - unless you paid them really loads...
Odd.

So. I'm not gonna go on about that. Keep it short, stupid. Don't try n be clever either. No more art. Normal topics.
  • Why cockroaches something something my house. Mice, slugs, my food etc.
  • Why the colour white something New Kids On The Block something disgrace.
  • Why the film *Leatherheads* that I have just watched on dvd is about 2 hours too long. I mean, really, it's longer than your gran's nightgown.
  • Why Sarah Palin is nude bla bla on occasion probably when sunbathing under the golden sun or when she's having a shower bla bla. Jokes about famous people, see. Ha her ha .................... [insert here: smiley of a face during onset of v. bad bout of angina]
  • Why the previous line was put in purely to bring in some internet *traffic*. As was the photo of JLH. Clearly. Apologies to my imaginary reader. She don't like flippancy.
  • Why those photo searchers are never gonna read these words anyway. And boy are they not really missing out!
All of those things NEXT time. Especially the first two, coming soon. Unless I have some much betterer ideas in the mean *time*...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Why going for a run by the River Thames is like creating a rubbish work of art.

I’ve read that a lot of people enjoy running by the river in London. Y'know, you hear about it, in those *My Ideal Sunday* articles in the Sunday papers:

“We usually get to have a lie in on Sunday and drag ourselves out of bed around 10. Which is wonderful as I am normally up at 5.30 during the week doing busy important things. To make myself feel a little less lazy I like to go for a run along the river for 5 miles or so. Consuela comes with me if she's not working on a film and Rufus the dog tags along too! It feels great to have that time together and enjoy the views of the Thames on a sunny morning. The sun shining on the water, the rabbits jumping about, tramps covered in their own vomit bla bla happy bla. After a busy week doing all that clever stuff we do it’s wonderful to unwind, get outside and get some much needed physical exercise. Then we race back, power-shower & eat breakfast while we read the papers.”

Incidentally, why do *successful* people always read “the papers”? Why not just get one? There’s no point in having 2 tv guides…

So, whilst visiting our lovely busy capital city, I thought it would be a jolly spiffing idea to go for a run *down the river*. It was… for a bit. Nice bridges, the Houses of Parliament, other big buildings that I have seen in the background of shows on the telly, then the London Eye.

100s & 1000s of colourful tourists milling around in circles; unable to decide where they want to go. All looking up at the wheel, at the skyline; not in my direction. Me trying to slip through the gaps, trying not to fall over baby buggies or run into people eating ice cream. Nice. A bit of fun for about 59 seconds...

It was a bit like playing frogger, only slower, initially challenging, but quickly dull and annoying. I was annoying the innocent tourists with my charging about; they were annoying me by just existing. Crowd running: not much fun really. I turned round and walked back.

I’ll stick to being a flâneur next time I’m down there. It’s easier and more enjoyable to go & watch someone else running in that part of town. And where would you go to see some running? That's right, an art gallery? Tate Britain.

“I think it’s good to see museums at high speed. It leaves time for other things.” Martin Creed on Work No.850

"Martin Creed's Work No. 850 [currently on show at Tate Britain, London, Ingerland] centres on a simple idea: that a person will run as fast as they can every thirty seconds through the gallery. Each run is followed by an equivalent pause, like a musical rest, during which the grand Neoclassical gallery is empty.

"This work celebrates physicality and the human spirit. Creed has instructed the runners to sprint as if their lives depended on it. Bringing together people from different backgrounds from all over London, Work No. 850 presents the beauty of human movement in its purest form, a recurring yet infinitely variable line drawn between two points." [Tate Britain words]

So it goes like this. Bloke runs through the long hally part of the Art Gallery. The main drag. Runs fast. Then disappears. Wow. Then there's a gap just long enough to make you think it's not going to happen again. Bloke no.2 comes flying out of the door at the top. Runs through the hall. Disappears out of the end. Like a mouse running along the kitchen floor, he's gone before you get over the shock of him ever being there. Repeat & repeat until everyone gets tired out...

"In Palermo we went to see the catacombs of the Capuchin monks. We were very late and only had five minutes to see it all before closing time. To do it we had to run. I remember running at top speed with my friends through the catacombs looking desperately left and right at all of the dead people hanging on the walls in their best clothes, trying our best to see it all... it was a good way to see it. It was that kind of delirious running which makes you laugh uncontrollably when you're doing it. I think it's good to see museums at high speed. It leaves time for other things. [Martin Creed, Tate Britain words]

The runners just wear vests, shorts and trainers (and possibly undergarments). But they don’t wear a uniform. Their vests don’t say 850 or 118/118. Anyone could join in. The attendants would never notice.

I really really reeellly want to do it. Have a run. Except you do have to be effin fit, man:
"You will be expected to sprint for a distance of approximately 86 metres through the gallery. You must be able to complete the 86 metre sprint in less than 15 seconds. At the end of the sprint you will walk back to the start point and repeat the sprint approximately every 2 minutes (ie around 15 sprints) during a ½ hour period maintaining a consistent speed for each sprint." [www.running-project.co.uk]
That's what they tell you on the *Job Application* page. Cheers. Way to put me off.

Meanwhile they are clearly employing loads of out-of-work athletes. It's been going on long enough that the attendants are clearly bored. But then museum/art gallery attendants are always bored. Security guards always look bored. They don’t want anything bad to happen, but they’re bored when nothing does.

There were a bunch of little kiddiewinkles there watching. Dragged along to the gallery by their parents to get them some *culture*. Fascinated and confused and annoyed by the running men and lady. Wanting to join in. Having a little run but getting dragged away.
“But why is that man running? Why is he allowed to run if I am not?”
“Because he works here.”
“How is it though? How is it his job? I want to be a running man.”
“Read the sign, it will tell you about it. The art thing that is happening.”
“Then am I allowed to run? When you have read the words to me?”

It might be nicer if the kids were allowed to run. Sports days are always fun to watch. Little kids do run in ridiculously comic styles. *All arms n legs*. And it’s always fun when they fall over – provided they don’t break too many bones n start screaming, but even then it’s sometimes still funny. That’s the whole point of the hilarious *New You've Been Framed*. Now that it's got Harry Hill narrating and not Lisa Riley/Jeremy Beadle, you've nothing to be scared of. Give it a watch. Go on, watch it. It's an undoubted humourfest. If Charlie Chaplin is allowed to be funny then how can small child falling off a swing and (not) hurting themselves not be hilarious?

People falling over are just idiots – for small moments – I’m an idiot when I bash my head into a kitchen door I left open. Anyone watching laughs. They can’t help it. It’s amusing to watch other people bang into things. It’s only when my skull starts bleeding & I faint that they start to barely suppress their sniggers.

But none of us running enthusiasts are thinking about anything but when is the next runner gonna pop out...

2 minutes later and bloke number 1 pops up again. It’s like they run then they get an escalator back to their starting place. They’re unannounced and they just head out into the hall, hurtling along at what looks like top speed – top speed moderated by the fact that there are a gaggle of confused tourists wandering across the hall in a zigzag of ceiling-gazing disinterest. Bloke no.1 doesn’t shout out – doesn’t tell em to get the Eff out of the way – he jags to his left, he loops to his right and he barely stalls his speed. He’s through them and they’re all startled and scooting out of the way like a flock of pigeons annoyed by a cyclist but never actually managing to get properly out of the way until he’s gone past.

It’s an art fright. They’re jumping with art shock & art adrenaline. Woken up by it. From bored art voyeurs to unwitting participants in this *happening*.

As a British onlooker my obvious first thought is: hmmm, Health & Safety? *No Claim No Fee*? Would it be worth my while to get bashed into by bloke no.3 so I could phone up 0800 ****** and see how much I could get? Skiddy floor/scary runny fellow/half-asleep attendants/randomly art grazing Japanese tourists. It’s like JG Ballard’s Crash – rethought for the post-petrol age.

It’s a bit scary. Muscley shaven headed bloke no.3 is fearful. It’s like having a nightclub bouncer charging towards you. A human rhino. The smell of his pheromones ensure that people get out of the way before he arrives, if they don't hear the crunch-crunch as his concrete lined trainers thud along the parquet floor. If you painted him green he’d look like the Hulk, if you painted him red and squidgy he’d be a Francis Bacon nightmare come to life.

Bloke no.1 might be an artist himself. Or a geography PhD student. He’s beardy and uneventful. Wistful & floaty like a hippy skirt or a St Ives watercolour painting.

Lady runner no.2 is obviously a proper athlete. She’s fast without ever seeming like she’s trying. All her muscles are in the right places. She’s like a Henry Moore sculpture animated, but with the correct number of limbs. A bit like that. Maybe.

So is it art? If I stand here waiting for lady runner to come out again will I get arrested for stalking? If I deliberately let a runner (probably not Hulk man) smash into me, is that frottage or a reactive Art statement – like when someone jumped up & down on Tracey Emin’s bed?

It’s definitely *Modern Art* coz it’s both genius & pathetic at the same time. It’s interesting and pointless. It’s meaningful and yet definitely something that *any 10 year old could do!*

I told all this to someone I’ll refer to euphamistically as *a close friend* and suggested she go and have a look. I thought it was fun. I thought it was funny. She thought it was dull, boring, pointless and just plain stupid. She doesn’t like running though. I watched the 10,000 metres and the 100 metres and the 400 metres hurdles at the Olympics. I like a bit of running. I watched the weightlifting and the crossbow shooting. I watched the bmx bikin n the ten-pin bowling. She hates all sport. To her *Art running* is still running & utterly mundane. Like the 10 year old, she’d rather be running herself. Ahem.



Work no. 850 could be improved though, surely. The hall where they’re running has no actual chuffin *Art* in it – it could be a big church hall. Where's the paintings, Tate people? It wasn’t like that in Jean-Luc Godard's 1964 film *Bande à part* when those crazy French hot headed kidz were haring round the Louvre at top speed [see above]. More fun like that I'd say. A bit of danger.

And surely that film was Mart’s inspiration, not his made-up story about Italian monks? Hmmm? And if he really wants to link it back to Greek images of athletes – all those sculptures of discus throwers they used to do – then the runners have to be naked. Then you could see the muscles & the human body in full effect. Yes! That would get the tabloids interested, and so fulfill one of the other main objectives of a nice conceptual art piece. In fact I tried to explain this idea to lady runner no.2 as she was running along. She wasn't that interested, though the attendants were. They told me how they had been watching me for the past hour, as they escorted me out of the building...

Why Detective Fiction is pathetic. Why Harlan Coben is just great.

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. [Thomas Carlyle]

Unless they're detective fiction, obviously.

It’s like golf and having an interest in jewellery – I can accept that other people can see the point, but it means absolutely brain emptyingly nothing to me.

Here is the formula for all detective fiction:
  1. Detective finds puzzle (puzzle = dead body - rather than a word search in TV Quick).
  2. Detective follows *clues*.
  3. More puzzles/clues turn up (dead bodies – not anagrams in cryptic crosswords).
  4. Detective solves puzzle, finds the killer.
  5. Killer admits crime.
  6. Some random ridiculous twisty thing happens.
  7. Detective sorts it out.
  8. Everyone goes home happily and sleeps well.
  9. Well, everyone apart from Mr Nasty who gets deaded or imprisoned somewhere not nice.
  10. The end. Thank Christ.
If that’s too boring and predictable you can throw in a few off-the-peg character traits n quirks for the Detective:
  1. He is emotionally unstable.
  2. He is a she.
  3. She is a drunk.
  4. She has a quirky vehicle, perhaps an old car or a hang-glider.
  5. He/she is a monk or a cowboy or a deep sea fisherman. In space.
  6. He has a quirky sidekick who is in many ways the polar opposite of him. O, imagine the quirky, comedic dialogue that will ensue!
  7. Some other stuff. A dog. A mother. A nut allergy. She makes jewelry in her spare time.
  8. Fuck off.
O, detective fiction let me spit your name. The detectives are o-so-effin intelligent and the books are o-so-effin stupid.

Reading a series of novels about the same detective must serve the same sort of mind-emptying comfort-blanket reassurance that a child gets from watching the same DVD over and over and over again.

*Nothing bad can
really happen in the world. My detective hero/ine will solve it in the end.*

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t want an argument. I won’t go as far as to say that some books should be burnt, as obviously some might be useful if you have a wonky coffee table leg. But, yes, that’s all just rank prejudice. It shouldn't even be said.

But, don’t get me wrong, again, I like *Crime Fiction*. I love books about shoplifting. I would love to read ‘The History of Corporate Fraud’. Well, okay, that might be a bit boring, but armed robbery is always a laugh, right? Autobiographies of *Mad* Frankie Fraser and his friends. I have no problem with them. I wouldn’t dare to argue with those chaps.

So, feeling that I was missing out on some of these fantastic authors and feeling open minded, I decided to give them a go. Enjoy these *thrillers* for what they are: good old fashioned (or maybe good modern fashioned - I aint prejudice, me) - fun. Rip-roaring, rollercoasters of plot, intrigue, adventure, fascinating, intriguing, page-turning fun. And you can quote me on that, imaginary reader, you really can.

I went to Longsight library, I got sniffy looks from the checkout lady as I handed her a big pile of 8 books I was intending to *read*. Or at least have a look at before I rejected them (which is pretty much my standard method of dealing with library books). If I've not paid for it, I don't feel the same moral imperative to actually read it if it's shit. If it's shit, I take it back, get something else a bit less shit. Common sense. Let someone else take the book out, no point in me hoggin it on my book shelves, or torturing myself *reading* a book I have zero interest in.

So that my life and status as a famous literary all-rounder would no longer lack from a deficit of knowledge of contemporary crime fiction, I sat down and did some research...

Here are my reviews:

So, first up: James Patterson - some book of his. With a car on the cover, maybe. Certainly a car chase in the first chapter. A good start, plotwise. You can't go wrong with cars chasing other cars, right? Smashing. Although, apparently Patterson doesn't always actually *write* all his books himself. He has a team of people who work to his specifications; fill in the actual words for his *fascinating* plots. A bit like Jordan/Katie Price & that Iceland Advert lady do with their novels.

Why waste your time writing if you can get someone else to do it for you? Common sense, that is. I'm not sure if this book was one of those books, that he couldn't be bothered filling in the word bits of. Fact is I'm trying to scour all traces of this book out of my mind. I've already managed to forget the title of it.

Anyway. This Patterson book. Fuckin inept. Grossly inadequate. It would fail its GCSE Ingerlish. Just really shitely written. Not that anyone cares about that. Apart from the saintly Stephen King, who allegedly called Patterson a writer of "dopey thrillers." Anyway, this book wasn't all bad. The spelling was okay, even if it was all spelleded out in an American style, so it probably would pass its GCSE. I don't want to get hyperbolic. But it did deserve to get thrown across the room (sorry about that Manchester City Libraries - no real harm done, just a bit of scuffing round the edges).

2nd: Walter Mosely. Alright. Not too horrific. Interesting period detail. All in all, quite good. Cheers, Walt. I would read another. But not tomorrow. One day, yeah, I would. Especially one that doesn't have a detective in. That would be really good. I bet.

3rd book on the pile - the venerable Ian Rankin. Everyone likes Rankin. Even himself. He seems to like himself quite a lot. Wonders why he's not on the Booker Prize shortlist and all that.

Rankin said: "Authors would be lying if they said prizes don't matter and prizes are a recognition of the genre's worth, another step out of the ghetto... But then, crime authors can just say look at my sales figures and weep!"
He said that his books had probably been considered for the Man Booker prize, which is currently worth £50,000. "I'm sure I've got looked at by the Booker judges from time to time," he said. "And if they gave me a Booker, I doubt I'd say no. I'm not that stupid!" [Rankin in The Independent]

Anyway. I'm just bitter and jealous of his good looks and vast success. The book I read - about his detective guy in Edinburgh - it bored me sideways. I can see that people might like it, like I can vaguely see the attractions of golf, macrame and brewing your own beer, but it's not for me. Dull. There's no point in me bothering to review it. There's no point in this list. I may as well kill myself...

But then I got to book no. 4: Harlan Coben's 'Tell No One' ... joooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy unbound!!!!

And I used to think that Jeffrey Archer was the greatest author that ever lived!!! Pshaw. Time to rewrite the record books, baby.

I read, and then I read, and then I read.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Harlan Coben is the world’s greatest writer!!! Or at the very least the greatest writer of formularic fiction. A crime writer! With no actual detective (in the book I read!)!!!! More exclamation marks are needed than exist in the world!!!!!

A multi-millionaire author sold in airports next to the other *greats* of the world’s most boring genre like Rankin, Patricia Cornwell and Agatha Christie.

It’s unbelievable! How did he do it? Did he brainwash me?

Here. Come here. Come, here. Now. Here's what I want you to do: compare and contrast the runners and riders in the race to be the world’s best writer - with apologies to foreign peoples I have missed off the list cos I've not read or heard of:

1. Salman Rushdie… nah, a bit prolix and whilst I admire your verbal dexterity, Salman, I’m bored by your goblins and cloven footed religious naysayers. A bit less *magic*, Salman, a little bit more *realism*.
2. Orhan Pamuk is reasonably clever – but he actually writes crime fiction! *My Name Is Red* & *Snow* are both about murders and the discovery of the murderers. Basically detective fiction. Bastard. Soz, Orh, I’m going to have to disallow him from this list. Soz.
3. Haruki Murakami – oh, yeah, but all his books are about missing women and the quest to find them. He does detectives, too. Fuck off.
4. Margaret Atwood – murders, crime and punishment. Get out, Maggie.
5. Zadie Smith? Zadie Smith… Sorry, wrong list.

Yeah, that list? I lost the will to live half way through. Who wants to read other people's lists? I don't even want to read my own. No, I'm not sure what that was meant to prove. Zadie Smith though, ay? I like the 2nd book best. The one no one else seems to like. But that's completely by-the-by. I'm having a go at Defective Fiction right now & blogging on about why Harlan Coben is really great.



Except. Is there any point? I may as well say, have a go, have a read, make your own mind up. I'm off to make my tea. I'm starvin, mate.

I think though, one of the big things is, I prefer it when the story is about some ordinary person with bad things happening to them, not some God-like brainiac solving *mysteries* bla bla bla. Elementary that is, el-a-fuckin-mentary. But, y'know, I'm not gonna bang on. These Coben books, they are probably not for you, imaginary reader. It's just a personal opinion, right? He's probably a bit boysy, I reckon. A bit offensively non-Booker-prizey. Probably not quite as good at dialogue as Elmore Leonard. A bit repetitive, plotwise - I've read 1 & a half of his books and they are both a bit similar - missing kids/missing wife/worried bloke/horrible nasty other people. But hey, who says you can't review a book when you've not finished it yet? Certainly not me, it's not the first book I've written a review of when I've obviously not bothered to crack open the spine of the book...

So, this new one - it's good so far. and his plot - if he does only have one plot - is fun. Great for reading when you're recovering from an operation - like I am. Hurrah. And the French film of *Tell No One* is properly twisty-mac-turny [see above]. And very very silly as well, obviously. But well done, Harlan. I'll read more. How nice. Liking things: not very interesting to read about, clearly, but good for the soul...

Why Gordon Brown needs to copy George Costanza or else it's all over.

Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but ... I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong.
[George Constanza in Seinfeld, The Opposite, 5/19/94]

Gordon Brown, with so much hair and promise, yesteryear ->>>

The labour government at the moment are like some Billy-No-Mates school kid giving up all his sweets to the school bullies in the hope that it’ll make him more popular.

*Here, guys, have an extra £60 a week off your tax. I'm your mate now, aren't I?*

Well no, little Gordy, you're not.

Sure, the bullies'll take the sweets on offer, but they still aren’t gonna start liking you.

Take the sweets, take the money and slap you up round the back of the head. Then come back tomorrow complaining and asking for more. That’s what happens with bullies, if I remember rightly. Act weak, give them stuff; they take advantage.

What an idiot! You get a bit older and it’s the same with girls.

What do you do when you’re 18, spotty, insecure, unpopular with the young ladies, so nervous you want to piss yourself, but desperate to score yourself some tongue-on-tongue action in a nightclub. It's what you have to do. It's a ritual event in the life of British man. You're 18; it's what you have to do.

Go up to some random female and ask her if you can buy her a drink. What is she gonna say?

"Yeah, you can buy me a drink. And me mates. We’re all on vodka cocktails. Great. Ta, very much."

So you buy the drinks. Spend all your money. Smile. Fidget nervously, try n think of something cool to say. Pass over the drinks. Smile again. Are about to ask her her name, when she gives you a quick thanks and pisses off.

O, Gordon the teenager! How fickle people are!!! Have you only just realised? You can’t buy them with sweets, drinks and mortgage stamp thingy. Balls! Just look at cool Tony, over in the corner surrounded by adoring people. People that hate him but just can't keep away. Women, Gordy, women. They love a bastard. Even Stalin got the chicks, dude.

O, Gordy, how did it all go so terribly, terribly, horribly wrong? Hmmm? Hmmm? You're like Captain Bligh as played by Charles Laughton in *Mutiny On The Bounty*. And what happened there, huh? Huh? Hmmm?

Come on, Gordy. You know you're in the *Last Chance Saloon* Step into my office, let me tell you a few things. I’ve got an idea. And it’s a good one. Quick – or I’ll sell it to slimey Nick Clegg the egg faced Liberal.

Jerry : Well here's your chance to try the opposite. Instead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going right up to them.
George : Yeah, I should do the opposite, I should.
Jerry : If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.
George : Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!
( He goes over to the woman )
[Seinfeld, The Opposite, 5/19/94]

That. That is the theory - right there, Gordy. You hear me? Ayt?

Get up tomorrow and announce that you're gonna do the opposite of everything you've done for the past year. It really is your last chance, baby...



  • Wanting everyone to like you - becomes -> Not Giving A Shit What People Think
  • Tax cuts -> Put taxes up: for the *super* rich, for the Energy companies
  • Stop smiling like a badly designed ventriliquist's dummy -> Frown. Look hard. Take lessons from the Mitchell Brothers on Eastenders - look hard. Shave your head. Tell dozy Dave Cameron to bring it on...
  • Troops in Iraq -> Troops OUT
  • Credit Crunch -> Crunch Credit... Ok, that makes no sense - but don't worry. Just say it. See what happens. "We are going to crunch credit..." Politicians say stuff. Just frown. Growl. Everyone will be too scared to question you with your new frown and shaven head.
  • Housing Market Collapsing -> Build new houses. Never mind if *Buy To Let* has gone wrong -> invest in council houses and keep the builders working. Land and property is cheaper - take advantage - buy/build houses for poor people. BINGO!!!
  • Costly National I.D. Card Scheme -> Scrap it. Shit idea. The Tories won't pay for it anyway. Why waste money now *investigating* the idea. Hackers are always one step ahead.
Think back to when you first came in: scrapped *Super Casinos*; were shit at presentation; gave a shit about people who were getting flooded. People liked that. You seemed *ordinary*. A bit rubbish, a bit Scottish, a bit gruff, a bit grumpy old Maths teacher - but that's fine.

Who are you gonna trust to look after your children and make sure they work well - grumpy, traditional, stern maths teacher in badly fitting suit (Gordy Brown), or *cool* *Humanities* teacher, David - call me, Dave - Cameron. With his smile, his quiff, his modern music tastes and the vague sense that there's something NOT QUITE RIGHT about him.

Listen Gordy, it's a long shot, but just say. Look, everyone, I fucked up. I tried to be everyone's mate, it didn't work. I'm waiting for the following lines in your conference speech, as you stand there in your scruffy t-shirt and kilt, rubbing your stubby fingers over your shaven head, having another gulp of whiskey to give you the strength to cope with all those idiots out there:

"It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong. so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!"

It has to be worth a try, right?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Why big ear holes are beyond me.


Now don't get me wrong, kids. You youthful types are great.

I love you all, in strictly non-touchy no-feely kinda way, of course. All above board. All theoretical this is. Now then, let me start again.

You can come in here (my imaginary house) with your tattoos and your sticky-uppy hair. Fine. I accept that. You can be an Emo if you like. An emo is just an experiment between a Goth and a New Romantic that went wrong and came out extra-skinny (or extra-chunky depending on how badly wrong the wardrobe based experiment went). Skin tight black jeans (Jim Morrison). Dyed hair (New Wave). Miserable as sin (Holden Caulfield). Yeah. I get ya. You can't put anything past me.

That goes for you lot as well in your do-rags, your hoods, your baggy saggy jeans hangin round your ankles cos you're not allowed to have a belt in the pen. Uh? Huh? Ayt? Hood up to prevent identification by CCTV. O yeh. It's Big Brother time out there - on da street. Up your ends. In ya hood wearin a hood.

*It's all good.*

I get it. Every year I get it like I get a persistently dribbly nose and a bit of a head cold every February. I get da youth fashion. It's not for me, of course it isn't. I actually tried on a pair of straight leg jeans in *The Gap*. Yeh, that's right - the shop that shows my age. And a style of jeans that showed the thickness of my Bobby Charlton/Chris Hoy style thighs. Hey - it's all muscle, baby. My body fat is as low as a Tesco's *Be Good To Yourself* chicken thigh. My thighs are just skin, hair and meat. Yummy.

So. To reiterate - the tatts - surely the worst thing you could do to yourself in this day and age, right?

If we don't count stubbing out cigarettes on your eyelids for a bet, random knife-based self-harming, or wearing a Scouting For Girls tour t-shirt.



Tattooing the name of your cat on your wrist has to be something that is going to upset your parents, doesn't it?

That is if your parents didn't go into the parlour with you to have all the names of their grandchildren stabbed n inked all over their lower back. And if they did? Fine. I'm all in favour of random, squiggly ink splots daubed on unimpressive bodies. Gives you something to look at. Especially when they're stood in front of you in a bus queue on a summer's day and you're trying to read the words on their upper arm. Does that say *Man Love Forever* or *Man U Four Everton Nil*. Probably neither and a crap example either way.



Most people get pictures. Of Harry Potter. Of their kids. Of Chairman Mao. Of a fish. A dancing lady - I saw a guy of about 23 with a naked lap-dancer on his forearm - I really did want to question that one - who was that going to impress - but then I realised it was probably a masturbatory aid for if he should ever end up stranded, alone on a desert island. Heaven forbid that he'd have to end up using his dirty imagination...



O, that made me feel superior for many minutes. Me and my unblemished epidermis - unblemished apart from the acne & chicken pox scars, the scars from cuts & operations, the birth marks, moles and random everyday blemishes.

I don't have much deliberate skin damage/decoration. And it almost makes me feel weedy and jealous of their bravery in re-designing their genetically ordained skin coverings. Why should we put up with looking the way *God* has designed us?

So I don't rule out the option of one day tatting up my epidermis. Should I ever find a design that I like, a tattoo artist I could trust & a body part suitable for drawing on.

Note: having a hairy chest kinda rules that area out of the equation right? I could of course shave my chest, have a bald ape tattooed onto my left pectoral, then let the hair grow back and see how the ape looks then. Like Bigfoot the Yeti hiding in a forest of hair... Yeah, and true, that was an image we could have all done with out...

But ear holes have done me in. Brought on an early (?) mid-life crisis.

You got me youts, you really got me. I don't dig em. I am genuinely freaked out by em. I'll be honest as an onion.

See, from a sensible adult point of view - hair you can change - tatts - provided you don't get a spider's web tattooed on your neck - you can cover em up. Should you ever wish to get a job as an accountant or become Prime Minister. But big ear holes - and I should define my point here. Provide a photo - here - or there - depending where the html sends it. That photo, that you can see - there. Forcing the earlobe to accomodate a big ole frisbee shaped object d'art/d'fashion.

What happens when you take em out, kids? These Ear Spacers? Are they gonna seal back up? Or are you gonna look like you've got massive wonky ear lobs hangin down with a big black hole in the space where the skin is pulled apart.

So okay, fine, it's a *flesh tunnel*. How helpful is the internet - you can find stuff even when you don't know what it's called...

That's what freaks me out, to be honest. And that is what proves how oldy fashionedy I am. How square and non-fash I am. You can't be a weekend punk once you've got one of these, like herpes, these babies are yours for life.

What next: ear shaping? Ear cropping/pointing/elfing?

Fine. By the time you're my age you'll have saggy, baggy, holey ear bottoms - and I hope you'll enjoy them. As much as the people of my age with bad Winnie the Poo tattoos on their ankles, or who have ineptly drawn barbed wire round their biceps love their youthful lifetime decisions. Fine. Just fine. Just don't come running to me. Cos I'll be the 80 year old codger with earlobes as big as a garden gnomes - but that'll be the process of ageing, not some crazy youthful design.

But thinking about it - maybe when I'm 80 I'll have nothing to lose. Maybe that's when I'll get a big pair of frisbee sized ear-rings...

Why Augustus Gloop & his dad have bought Manchester City.


Football. I never thought I'd utter that heinous word on here.

Like my occasional bouts of binge eating/binge drinking/binge bell ringing - I like to keep my footbally thoughts to myself. Except when it gets completely ridiculous and off the scale of fantasy stupidity and into the scale of... oh... just sigh. Sigh, sigh & thrice sighingtons.

Manchester City. A team given to me by my dad and probably the only non-genetic gift of his that I haven't rejected. Although, that's not strictly true, it's not like I rejected anything else he gave me, because I don't think he actually ever gave me anything else - except for a clip round the ear, a tanning of the behind and a few slaps on the back of the legs. But hey, gettin hit - it never did me any harm, I tell you. These crazy youngsters nowadays, eh? Eh? Teach em a lesson. They want lockin up. A bit of random drunken discipline from a grumpy irrational father figure, that's what they need. The buggers...

Manchester City. It's odd that we ended up City in our house when by regular rules of the Catholic Irish in Manchester we should have ended up a family of proper reds. Family on my mum's side all seemed to be Celtic/Utd fans - if they cared about fussball at all. The main rumour seems to be that granddad O'Sullivan lived in Moss Side when he first came over. But then the 2nd and only other rumour I know about grandaddy O'Sullivan is that he came over here, then went to America, didn't like it & came back - losing his O' somewhere along the way. Perhaps he missed going to see City. Boston Red Sox, were never going to match the unreletingly random up & downyness of being a City supporter.

Look, imaginary reader - I know you have no interest in sport - and that's fine. It really is. So, y'know, I'll see you next time, I'm just going to continue on my own. Fine. And don't slam the door on your...

Manchester City. To the uninitiated - Chaos Theory in action. And probably String Theory and Game Theory & any other theory that doesn't make any sort of sense, but somehow does to scientists armed with high foreheads and a 100 supercomputers. Just - if you're ever going to put on a bet - steer clear of bettin on Citeh. If they were a person they'd be diagnosed as having delusions of grandeur and multiple personality disorder.

I won't re-hash the ongoing nonsense. I won't remind those that don't know already that it was only a few years ago that we were playing Tinpot Athletic in the Bettabuy 3rd Division (North).

And then we were average for a bit. Averagely rubbish but with more managers than Britney Spears.

And then we got a lovely, happy, friendly ex-Thai Prime Minister who may/or may not have been responsible/or not reponsible for alleged/or not alleged human rights abuses and various instances of corruption. Which are all apparently not true anyway and nothing to worry about. I mean, it's Thailand, right? You're never gonna get proper justice there. Possibly. Although it is a very nice place and I would like to visit it one day. But, but, but... they wouldn't give our Frank, the ex-Thai Prime Minister his 800 million dollars back would they, these courts or lawyers or government people. They froze his money. Put it in the top bit of a big fridge next to the ice pops and fish fingers. What bastards!

So Frank, the ex-T.P.M., has had to sell City to Augustus Gloop & his dad. Remember Augustus?



My dear friends at Wiki-often-unreliable describe him thus:

In the original novel, Augustus is described as an enormous boy who has "fat bulging from every fold, with two greedy eyes peering out of his doughball of a head." His mother encourages his eating habits, saying that eating is his hobby, and that his habits are better than him being "a hooligan." She is blissfully unaware of the results of unhealthy eating, thinking that Augustus wouldn’t eat if he didn’t need to. [Wikipedia]

Isn't it nice that even minor fictional characters get their own page nowadays?

When will we run out pages? Will we ever? Can we grow enough electronic trees to make the electronic page paper? What if the credit crunch leads to a lack of zeros and ones? Will we end up importing them from China? China won't end up our principal source of binary coding will it? I have fears, I really do...

"Thaksin has signed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi United Group that would see the Arab company taking a majority stake in the club." [from the BBC] Replete with a photo of a traditionally dressed fellow holding a shirt that says *United* on it. Hmmm. Has a mistake been made. Do they realise who/what they are buying? Hmmm. Abu Dhabi chaps? Hmm? Or are you like Augustus, wanting everything. Everything!!! And definitely every every goalscoring superstar you can find... O, Spurs are you selling a fellow for £28 million? Hey, forget that, we'll give you £35. Put it in your pocket. Go on, treat yourselves. Get the wife a new island.

O! You lot. American owners/Icelandic owners/Russian owners... oh, I'm bored with the lot of you. It's all so unreal and pointless. I might just resign from ever caring. Like when the IPL cricket fandango was going on in, ahem, India - and the players were getting paid 8 gazillion pounds a minute for throwing a ball and hitting it and catching it in their hands - I was sort of left with a sense of ennui - or words to that effect. One-armed beggars sitting on their one leg on the streets of Mumbai; millionaire owners of cricket teams jazzing about in the stands half-watching games of bat'n'ball. There's all something not quite right about it all.

Football grounds are traditionally sited in the shitty areas of cities. So the proles can go and enjoy their entertainment on their Saturday afternoon off. Watch a match, have a beer, throw their hats in the air and hope that the hat they end up with actually fits. How does that fit in with multi-gazillionaire chairmen? Wanting to buy up every player in the world and wanting them now and all wanting to win every match ever. Now. Today. These new owners do know they can't win the World Cup, right? If that isn't too culturally insensitive and xenophobic of me to blurt out. Pah. I am almost devoid of opinions on the matter and if City start winning I will probably start cheering, just cos I can't help myself. But really... y'know... I mean... How can it be right?

Read Roald Dahl, people. Who *won* in the book? Was it Mike TeeVee (Liverpool's current chairman)? Was it Violet Beauregarde (Man Utd)? Was it Veruca Salt (90s grunge rocker & Managing Director Newcastle Utd)? Or was it honest, poor, brave Charlie Bucket (manager of Arsenal F.C)? Hmmm, which one was it?

Well the point has got lost as always. But Augustus Gloop got greedy, got fat, was too rich for his own good and sunk into a river of chocolate, contaminating everything he touched. You could buy your way into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, but you couldn't win Mr Wonka's affections just by being super-rich and greedy. So nerrr. Take that super-rich. Eventually these super-richys will get bored and go back to doing what super-rich people are supposed to do: drive around in cars the size of housing estates, dally with the affections of attractive young lads n ladies, take drugs & play golf. Like your lovely footballers do when they're not playing *kick ball*...