All entries for December 2004

December 31, 2004

The review of the year

Two Thousand and Four – Certificate TBA

At last, the long awaited follow up to the critically acclaimed 'Two Thousand and Three' is here. Can it succeed where its predecessor failed at the box office?

In comparison to the utterly contrived ludicrous plots of many recent releases the unhurried pacing of Roman Calendar's 'Two Thousand and Four' tastes like a freshly whisked salmon. This magnificent ensemble movie brings us the flowering of a destiny of unhappiness, matured fully with incensed candour. Self-effacingly mouthwatering performances all round from a cast that mixes the best of fresh world talent with some familiar faces from the earlier films.

Some critics, somewhat harshly, say 'Two Thousand and Four' is just another tired rehash in a series that has just gone on too long and will never reclaim the glory days of earlier films like 'One Thousand and Sixty Six' or 'One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fourty Five'. Its true that something of the innocence of these early triumphs has been lost in the more modern sequels but 'Two Thousand and Four' does not disappoint in terms of spectacle. Earthquakes, tsunamis, wars all produced in stunning photo realistic detail by Force of Nature studios.

The plot of the film picks up where the last one left off and continues for the first half in a similar vein until a slightly ludicrous plot twist where the President of America, rather bizarrely played by a monkey, is reelected for another term in office. Despite this blip I was astounded by how the characters intersections are so brilliantly constructed by Calendar, yet everything appears utterly natural and unforced – could a pirate teach us anything like this?

Yes.

But what this new film reveals is how profoundly mysterious a year is. You find yourself wondering: what on earth is going on? What am I watching here? The country music is profoundly conservative, yet subversive. Everything is sumptuously and intricately designed with ostentation that goes beyond vulgarity or pizza. I just wanted to step through the screen and wander around this incredible, dream-like sock. At points, Calendar conjures a frisson or two, but the movie pusillanimously shrinks from directly applying forceps to the paranoid fantasy of the current American brain. Everything is sugary, humourless and lifeless.

Overall: 5 stars.


December 30, 2004

Why I am superior to other men

As I opened my emails this morning I came across this question in a rather angry rant by a NAME WITHELD of ADDRESS REMOVED. It read:

"Dan what makes you think you are better than other guys, like me?"

Its something I often get asked, so I thought I'd provide a conveniently sized diagram, pointing out a few of my improvements over the standard model:

Print it out and keep it for future reference.


December 29, 2004

Happy Birthday Mum

Happy birthday!

May you continue to be awesome.


December 28, 2004

At long last the drought is over…

Writing about A Warwick Blogs Lamentation from The random scribblings of a diseased imagination

After reading the gnashing and wailings of a blog system in crisis at first I was afraid, I was petrified. How could I live without blogs by my side? But then I spent so many nights thinking how I did them wrong, and I grew strong. I knew what had to be done.

Thats right bloggers, I know you come here for one thing and one thing only. Frankly, its about time I took a few lessons from our good friends at Ronseal and gave you exactly what you have been craving so long.

Hey ladies, the awesome is back in town and he's looking for some special time, with one, two or three of you. At once, all night. Then maybe if you're lucky all morning too. There's plenty of time and I'll treat you right, all of you.

With hair as awesome as this its no wonder you are powerless to resist. A lot of people ask me what my secret is, well I'll let you in on a little secret: there is no secret. I'm all natural baby and ready to roar like a lion. Untamed and wild.

I think the holiday season has been getting everyone down a little. The air is all cold and chilly, its a bit lonely with none of your good uni friends around, and whats this? Dan hasn't posted his MSN address? I can see why you are distressed. Hapiness is near: dgl269@hotmail.com. Hey MSN not your bag? Why not send me an email: D.G.Lawrence@warwick.ac.uk. I'll inject a little slice of the supreme into your everyday inbox.

Little brother giving you trouble? Lost your trusty beating stick? There's no better time than now to pick up a sale copy of my bestselling autobiography. Beats the blues, and in hardback, it beats your brother too.

Thats it just take a moment, breathe in the fresh, healing air. People don't take enough time to do things slowly these days, too much time is spent rushing from place to place. I say; 'Hold on, lets take a minute. Hey I'm looking good, taking it slow and keeping it light, tight and pirate like'. There's a bit of a quest for deep meaning and a striving for whats underneath, but the big joke is; there's no salad, it's all dressing.

I have pretty amazing teeth. What I'm trying to say is, sure have your deep chats about indie rock and the meaning of existence, I'm right there with you. But remember life's a game, if you're not having fun you're losing. Habits are fine if you keep them brief. Being awesome is just a state of mind, a blind confidence in your self. Of course it helps looking this good…

But thats not the whole picture. The biggest problem you'll face is wrestling with your own loneliness, being awesome can have its own daemons. Some people can't stand it and they get out of the game too early, taking refuge in small comforts, but these will never fulfill you. Until you find your own style and are comfortable with yourself you'll always be ugly.

So maybe you're thinking 'what the hell?'. Dan's found some new kind of drug and he's not sharing. That's not the deal here. I'm outlining my manifesto. Right there, all around you, is a precious thing. Maybe the most amazing thing you ever had, its a chance. Right now you can change anything in your life, don't let fear hold you back. Except fear of big things that will really kill you dead. Those you should avoid.

'Oh dear' you think; Dan just doesn't understand my situation, he's a sadly deluded idealist. My strategy of just sitting here and taking it is so much better, its bound to pay off sooner or later. Then who will be laughing?
I've got news for you pal. This is the news:

Oooooooooooooooooo.

Hope that works out for you, but if you get bored I've got a barrel load of awesome and I'm willing to share, grab a glass and drink yourself special. For now, enough. Until the next time my good friends, I've been your awesome and this has been an overload of visual excitment.


Dan's guide to Being Funny

As I opened another batch of my fan mail this morning, I realised how easy it would be to get one of my fans to answer it (thanks Mat) and instead spend my time educating the world to greatness. I've seen a lot of suffering in the world in the short time I've been on this earth, and now I think its time to give something back. I know that a lot of people have been having trouble with being funny lately, the cries have come from all quarters of society, giving the illusion that it is an insurmountable human problem.

Not so my friends.

There is a foolproof schema to the fine art of being funny, and all the great comedians from Hitler to the Pope have followed it to the letter. For years this guide was kept well hidden from the uninitiated and passed from humorist to humorist, some secrets from the text did slip into common currency but anyone found to have leaked them was put to death. And so it remained until last night when I bought the last copy of this ancient manuscript from a dark coated old fellow at the Cork and Slipper. Apparently after watching one too many French and Saunders Christmas specials the last great comedian killed himself, and this was found among his possesions. After hastily crossing out the title and replacing it with my own I can now bring it to you, the text has been revised steadily throughout the ages and also represents an interesting history of comedy. Digest:

Dan's Guide to Being Funny

To grasp the essential nature of funny one requires special gloves. These gloves are not bought but woven; think about it. Most of all however you need some good jokes. Here is a short list of guaranteed jokes for use in an emergency:

  • A: My dog's got no nose. B: How does he smell? A: He doesn't he's got no nose, he can stick out his tongue though and thats almost like smelling. At least for dogs it is. (at this point subtly drop your trousers).

  • An englishman, a scostman and an irishman walk into a bar. The english man says 'ouch, old chap', the scotsman says 'och aye ouch, wee laddy' and the irishman says 'Three pints of guiness please'.

  • Why did the chicken cross the road? Is a subtle metaphor for the futility of our endless search for truth. Indeed it seems to say; 'How can one know anything?' Are we not just pointless bags of flesh who's existence is ultimately fruitless and tedious? Does not the powerful symbol of the chicken symbolise man's essential cowardice in the face of everything. No doubt he is crossing the road to try and escape, and yet as we know there is no escape. Not even in death. The stupid penis.

  • Sam Boulby.

But its not all about the jokes, any fool can deliver some killer material, the secret is to deliver it with style, panache, vim, pomme de terre, va va voom, zig ah zig ah, vorsprung durch technik and most of all; with your mouth. Here are a few tips to aid in your delivery:

  • Check you are delivering a joke and not a baby. This has caused much embarrasment and confusion in the past. If in doubt look at the colour of coat you are wearing, if its black you are almost certainly a comedian.

  • Never forget your punch line. After the show people will generally line up to meet you; don't disappoint them.

  • Keep things fresh and currant. Especially your delicious buns. Have you been working out?

  • The deadpan delivery is the best there is. Killing a pan can be difficult but its worth it for the pay off.

  • Know your audience. That way if they don't like your jokes, at least you can firebomb their house.

  • K.I.S.S. Knives In Several Spleens. Don't forget this one.

There's more of course but I think that's enough for you today. Stay funky until the clock strikes awesome and I see you again.


December 27, 2004

I'm hoarding the funny for another day

The pub is calling to me. Its siren song proving irresistable once again. For you this means little or no time to conjour up laughs for the third day running.

I ponced araound a bit today taking exciting, moody photos of my little hamlet on the hill. Under normal circumsctances I would show them to you, but they are all the way over on the other computer and our USB network has recently given up the ghost and I can no longer do so with swiftness.

I think the cold weather is increasing my desire to hibernate bear style, I managed a heroic amount of sleep last night. I had planned to spend the day hard at work on my various projects but in the end I managed only a few scribblings that resembled work and spent a lot more time rearranging my bedroom.

I'm now considering when is the best time to make my return to Coventry and bathe the place with the sunshine of my love once again, I expect they are gettting tired of the Darkness, I know I am. I played their CD too many Times, which is a newspaper I don't often read. I always have this impression that it is far too respectable for a fellow like me.

Suggestions on a postcard may get lost in the mail.


December 26, 2004

What an odd combination

I was just watching 'Buena vista social club' which we recorded from Christmas Day when I noted that, despite the excellence of the film, I was in severe danger of falling asleep before I had blogged. Unwilling to let the day pass without registering my presence, I had to drag myself to the keyboard and attempt to drum up the last vestiges of strength. I therefore apologise that I am once again going to let standards slip and not give you anything intentionally amusing.

Today I did the extended family thing and jaunted around to Cambridgeshire to share small talk with my relatives. Nowadays when I meet people at parties or engage in chats with people who don't see me very often there are two things that are invariably said to me:

1) Wow, your hair looks really great!

2) "What are you studying?" (my answer). "Oooooh (cross eyed look of confusion) What an odd combination!"

Each time I feel that I should either; pretend that this is the first time I've heard such an insightful comment or make some hillarious crack about how this is the 85th time I've heard the same bloody line. Unfortunately I'm certain I'm not the only person who is stuck in their own personal cliche hell. No doubt I've even unwittingly inflicted this suffering on other people and I'm sorry to all of you. I feel that somehow we should pull together to fight this banality; each time we find ourselves asking a tired old small talk question, step back, think about it and ask something else. How often is anyone asked about their opinions on cave paintings, belly button fluff or radiator keys? Who knows what you could discover. Try and avoid making the obvious connections, chances are someone, everyone, has got there first and you're at the back of a long queue.

As another example; at one stage in my overactive youth I was a skilled practicioner of Karate and upon anyone discovering this fact it would be a mere three seconds before their brains forced them to mimic Mr. Miyagi. It wasn't long before I preemtively 'Wax on, wax off'ed myself, just to stop the agony before it got into full swing and people started asking me to paint their fences.

You can still tell me my hair looks great though.

I recieved 'The Killers' album for Christmas and have been playing it ever since; my initial enthusiasm has yet to wane after several rehearings so its looking like a keeper. Rush out and buy it if you haven't already. The new digital camera is still being experimented with and I unfortunately ran down the batteries too much and now have to wait for them to charge up before I can do anything useful with it; expect more narcissism very soon.


December 25, 2004

The obligatory Christmas Day entry

Apparently to shore up my power blogger status I have to make an entry on Christmas Day. I'll be honest I haven't prepared anything funny for today, I've left all my good blogging ideas for another day and I've not done anything non-stereotypical to provide you with a way to vicariously live a life of the slightly eccentric.

Instead you are stuck with me; uncut. Thats not a haircut gag, I told you there's nothing funny here today.

Last night then, I decided to go out with the friends from back here in sunny Northampton (You've not heard of Northampton? We made shoes? No? Lift tower? Never mind). The original plan was to go and buy some tickets for a club so me and my good chum were going in to town ridiculously early to start the drinking off and aquire some tickets. Of course, as is his way, he was late in getting ready and I was able to endure enjoy the delights of the Princess Diaries until we finally escaped an hour late. We picked up another of my old school associates on the way and then made our way to 'spoons for drinks and dinner. I knew I was drunk when I started making lewd salt sculptures on the table.

The club we were aiming for seemed to be erring on the side of closed and a sign outside informed us that they had put the prices up since yesterday. Enthusiasm for the place was waning and in the end we never went there. First however our delightful driver arrived in the form of my good chum's lady of choice and we were house party bound. It is here that I began to feel strangely displaced and square peg like. By some bizzare fluke almost everyone I know seems to be in a long term relationship; some with marriage plans, others with mortgages and tumble driers for Christmas. As if thats not enough, there was a disturbing preponderance towards serious careers in banking and multinational mega corporations. Everyone seems to be considering a masters, Phd or teaching qualification to add to their earning potential. Then there's me, no great ambitions, slacker lifestyle, philosophy degree, low paid 'artistic' job and a different failed relationship every year. I love them all with our crazy countryside haunts and that massive shared history, but somewhere I seem to have drifted.

Back in school I would never have picked me, among my friends, as the one who'd be flying the flag for irresponsibility. I guess everyone changes.

The night continued and I descended into thoughtfulness for a while, until I was handed a brown concoction involving too much vodka and, like a moth to flame, I was drawn to the dance floor.

Thank god my hair is awesome.

Today, in case it has escaped your notice, is Christmas. I don't go in for much of the christmas crazy, but I like giving and getting the presents. I got everything I wanted (except a pirate hat) and some nice extra things too. Thank you to all my fantastic family, for the food and the laughs.

Thank you to everyone at the Arts Centre and especially you super fantastic STARS marketeers, keep your eye on the apple of truth. Much love to all the volounteers who've kept the youth group going this term, may it go from strength to strength. Thanks to the bloggers who've kept me entertained in the evenings this term, I feel at home among you. Thanks to the lecturers who've kept me awake and mostly turning up all term, quite a feat. Thanks to everyone who's supported VGDSoc, you're all special people. Thanks to my friends, and especially my house mates for being awesome (We unlocked Donkey Kong!). And thanks to my new drinking buddy for giving me some competition in my quest for world domination.


December 24, 2004

Happy Blogmas

Everyone sing along!

On the twelfth day of Blogmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve Dans all drinking,
Eleven posing photos,
Ten Nicks as ninjas,
Nine hatted Hollys,
Eight lengthy lists,
Seven Sams a-hating
Six geeks a-quoting,
Five angsty rants,
Four cooling fans,
Three Hot Topics,
Two turned turtle Mats,
And a perfect piece of funny!


December 23, 2004

Dan's guide to meeting old friends

'Tis the season to be jolly, so we are told. However as every student knows; 'tis also the season to be reunited with your old school friends from back home. Often this process can be fraught with sadness and disappointments, as we take time to compare our own meagre experiences to the exciting and incredible things our old friends seem to have seen and done.

No more.

I have been in your situation my friends and I bring glad tidings, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is me. Presenting:

Dan's guide to meeting old friends

No doubt while you were at uni, despite the blood oaths you swore at the time, you will have completely lost touch with all your school friends and only just barely remember their insulting nicknames. Use this to your advantage, if you don't know anything about what they've been doing then, chances are, they won't know what you've been doing either. Unless they know that you know what they know that you don't know that they know what you know about why they know about when they knew who they knew. I'm sure that won't come up. So lie.

  • One of the first questions you'll be asked upon meeting up with your old friends is: "So, what have you been up to?" Its important at this point to exaggerate. If you've not left your room this term reply thusly "I broke my party bones from partying so hard, the doctor of love said to take some time off so I had a beer to celebrate. Wahey! I'm crazy up for it. Aiiiight", multiply any numbers in your answers by at least six: "She had the most amazing dozen of breasts you've ever seen!" and if in doubt superlatives "I had the biggest pint of beer there's ever been!"

  • Remember since you've been to university you are now immune to fire. Use this power responsibly.

  • It is vital that you appear to be an interesting person. Wear a saucepan on your head, insist it is the latest fashion at university. If you're in a pub ask the barman for a "Catepillar Sunrise", claim it contains live catepillars. Have a hat.

  • Don't lose your funny. Keep it in your sock. Stroke it occasionally.

  • Since you've been at univesity everyone expects you to be incredibly clever and full of deep thoughts. Do not shatter their illusions. Ask questions like "But what is the hidden transient meaning of kebab?" and "Can we ever understand truly understand the limits of man's ability to dance?"

  • Sex.

Enjoy meeting your friends. Don't forget you won't see them again for another ten weeks by which time they'll have forgotten everything you said and did. Probably.


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