May 21, 2007

Hey guys, I've been to the future.

And in the future I saw the six o’clock news. This was the top story:

“It’s been just over one year and two weeks since the now five-year old Madeleine McCann was abducted from a holiday resort in Algarve.

Portugeuse police insist they are making progress with the case, despite media speculation that they are no closer to finding Madeleine than they were when she first went missing.

Detectives looking into Madeleine’s disappearance have complained that the case is being hampered by the fact that they are obliged to stop for a minute’s silence to think about Madeleine, once every ten minutes. However, these claims have been dismissed by many as ‘callous’, and just more excuses from an inept and incompetent police force.

Meanwhile, Madeleine’s grieving parents, Gerry and Kate, move into a permanent residence in Portugal today. The magnificent golden palace, paid for by the Madeleine Fund, will be their home indefinitely while they await their daughter’s safe return.

Back home, the reward for finding Madeleine has soared to an amazing 10 billion pounds, with literally hundreds of celebrities donating money to the cause. Recent celebrities to offer reward money include TV chef Ainsley Harriot, ex-tennis player turned gameshow host Tim Henman, and the Chuckle Brothers.”

The other news items were a bit less interesting and important, but I think they were vaguely something like this.

“Hundreds die as suicide bombers target newly renovated precinct in Baghdad”

“No survivors in Bolivian aircrash”

“Crime soars in Portugal, as every available police officer is drafted onto the Madeleine case”

And:

“Shares for flower companies at an all time high, thought to be a result of the public’s insistence on leaving flowers for Madeleine on every public monument in Britain until she’s found”


May 15, 2007

10 band names that are a better name for a band than Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.

1. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Cry
2. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fuck Off and Die
3. Get Cape, Wear Cape, ????, PROFIT
4. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Bum Rape
5. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Run Around Going “Look At Me, I’m Wearing a Cape!”
6. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Get Your Head Kicked In By Skinheads
7. Get Cape, Wear Cape Once, Put Cape In Wardrobe and Forget All About It.
8. Get Cape, Wear Cap, Presumably If They Think You’re Crazy Enough To Wear a Cape, They Won’t Suspect That You’re Actually Deeply Unhappy With Your Life.
9. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Play Boring and Deriviative Music
10. Anal Cunt


April 22, 2007

Martin Jol

Homer + Soprano = Jol



April 20, 2007

I went to the cemetery

The weather was nice yesterday, so I went for a bit of a cycle about and found myself at Canley Cemetery. I liked it because it was quiet and well-maintained. I did notice that a lot gravestones now use the expression that the deceased has 'fallen asleep', which I suppose is probably a comforting euphemism, although to a naive person it might seem that the cemetery is actually just full of very lazy people.

cemetery1cemetery2


April 17, 2007

Why–fe Swap

The central premise of that popular and enduring television piece Wife Swap is to take two families, as wildly differing as possible, and swap the wives around, with hysterical results. I think by now even channel 4 has stopped pretending that it is supposed to be a social experiment, and we can all safely agree that Wife Swap amounts to nothing more than a gleefuly exploitative slice of voyeuristic entertainment where we can watch mad people lead a merry dance down a path that leads inexorably to a hilariously explosive confrontation.

That much is true enough, and whilst the mainstay of Wife Swap has always been to pit gobby proles against posh spazzes with predictable outcomes, they do occasionally get a bit more creative. This week we had hardline muslims vs. a modern liberal family. The other week it was Paul Daniels vs. Vanessa Feltz. Presumably at some point in the future it would be a real coup if they could swap two families where the son of one has previously murdered the son of the other.

Nevertheless, no matter how seemingly disparate in appearance, ideology and level of intelligence all the families that appear on Wife Swap appear to be, they are all actually united under one common banner – they are all familiies who would agree to go on Wife Swap.

That is, in contrast to the many thousands of families in Britain who would refuse on the grounds of ethics and good taste to let their homes be invaded by Television, all families that appear on Wife Swap are fundamentally similar in that they must all possess some distinct quality that compels them to pursue their glorious fifteen minutes, at any cost. This quality must be, I think, a combination of narcissism, a desperation for acknowledgment, and a complete absence of self-awareness, with the latter being the crucial ingredient. For surely, all families on Wife Swap ultimately reveal themselves in some way to be, at best dysfunctional, and at worse utterly mad. Yet, if any of them knew themselves to be so, you would expect they wouldn’t volunteer to put themselves on display for the amusement of the nation.

The most distressing thing I find about Wife Swap though, is not the lack of judgement displayed by these horrifying families in agreeing to let the film crews document their madness, but rather the plight of the children who, presumably without giving their own consent, are forced to appear before the cameras, and then live with the consequences.

I’m not so far past my school days that I don’t remember what kids are like, and I know this for a fact – for the poor children of Wife Swap, post-broadcast, anything they say in front of their peers, no matter how intelligent or witty, can always be trumped by the simple response ‘yeah, but your mum was a right slag on Wife Swap.’ And cruel kids have long memories.

Isn’t there some sort of government legislation that can protect children from their fame-hungry parents? Does forcing your unwitting kids to appear on a television programme that deals in intentionally manufacturing conflict not amount to child abuse? Alls I know is that it’s probably going to be my tax dollars that end up doing the funding when The Children of Wife Swap support groups start cropping up all over the country. I suppose that’ll be the price we have to pay for entertaining television of such a hideously compulsive nature.


February 21, 2007

The Jules and Lulu Show

The Jules and Lulu Show is a curious programme that ITV put out sometimes around 4am, and also quite likely the single most terrifying thing you could possibly watch while under the effects of a hallucinogenic drug.

Jules is a very gay man who is either on speed, or has something wrong with his brain chemistry such that it reproduces the effects of speed. Lulu is an odd looking sausage dog that Jules carries around with him like some sort of fashion accessory.

The basic premise is that Jules and Lulu visit the houses of two couples, who clearly have no idea what they’ve let themselves in for, where he engages them in the kind of crude and personal conversation that only really gay people can get away with, whilst the couple look a bit uncomfortable, or in the cases of some of the male partners, mildly angry.

After subjecting them to this, Jules ‘muffs them up’, which is what he calls putting earmuffs and a blindfold on, so he can run round their house, destroying their property. I’m not joking. I think Jules is supposed to have some sort of style-radar, and the items in the couples’ house tend to offend him, so he throws valuable heirlooms around, watches them smash on the floor, looks vaguely guilty for half a second, and then giggles and runs off to do something worse. Meanwhile, Lulu is just sort of wandering about the house, probably pissing as she goes.

Ostensibly the purpose of this wanton destruction is to pick out the ten most awful items from each couples house. Though in some cases, I think it’s just that there’s only ten items left in the house that Jules hasn’t broken in some way

The scene then switches to, for some reason, a field. Each couple is asked to take it in turns to try to guess out of their ten items, which three ones were the ones that Jules thought were the worse. Just to clarify, these aren’t just little household items, like fireplace ornaments and dolls. It’s often stuff like sofas, and TVs. I mention this, because after they’ve each selected an item from their ten, it’s then placed in a big pink crusher-truck (and yes, Jules does make a euphimism about the big pink crusher truck. About five times), and completely destroyed.

The first team to destroy the correct three items, ‘wins’. The losing team get a consolation prize of a golden dog bowl that’s clearly made out of plastic, which is ten times more tasteless than any of the items they’ve just stood by and watch be destroyed. Amazingly, on none of the times I’ve watched the show has the losing couple violently attacked Jules and Lulu, despite the fact that he’s messed up their living room, and made them crush their own bed, wardrobe, sofa and TV.

The winning team on the other hand get the amazing prize of the redecoration of a room in their house (presumably the room Jules ransacked earlier in the episode), though at no point is it entirely clear that the monetary value of the prize is more than the expense of the possessions that have been destoyed. In some cases, it is obvious that the couple have made a loss.

The whole show has a slightly frenetic nightmarish feel to it, and creates a definite sense of unease in me, as if I’ve unwittingly taken some bad drugs, or I’ve had a nervous breakdown but haven’t quite realised yet. This isn’t helped by the obvious low budget of the show, which somehow serves to make it seem all the more horribly real.

Nevertheless, it is quite compulsive once you’ve started watching it. I give seven stars out of ten (stars).

Jules and Lulu

Here is a picture, which probably illustrates what I’ve just said.


February 14, 2007

North Korea are being good now, are they?

BBC News 24 woman just informed me that North Korea have agreed to start doing what we tell them about nuclear weapons. She said this will hopefully set an example to Iran.

The way she said it, I couldn’t help but imagine the US as a long-suffering teacher in a classroom saying ‘look Iran, North Korea’s behaving himself now, why can’t YOU be good like North Korea?’. Meanwhile, North Korea is wanking furiously underneath his desk.

If this metaphor were continued, presumably we could say that Iraq was so naughty that the teacher was forced to invade (sexually violate?) Iraq, and as a result Iraq has developed schizophrenia and started self-harming.

And Israel is the teacher’s pet, because teacher’s his dad.

And all the middle-eastern countries, well, they’re a bit cliquey, and can be a bit mischeivous, but they generally behave themselves as long as Iran doesn’t encourage them.

And Australia is the thick kid who’s good on sports day.

And Scotland is the special needs kid who looks a bit like a goblin.


February 09, 2007

The union elections were on today? Who knew?

Yes, I know. It’s that time of year when every cool kid worth his salt casts his cynical eye over the union elections, and declares with sparkling wit that the whole affair is in fact a ‘big pile of shit’. It’s become one of those opinions, like ‘believing in God is rubbish’ and ‘George Bush is well stupid’, which while probably true, are voiced by so many vapid cretins joining the ‘let’s be a bit controversial’ fan-club, that I’m forced to convert to Christianity and become a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, just to put some distance between them and myself.

That said, here’s my cool, edgy take on the subject.

I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t even have known there were elections on if someone hadn’t left the special election manifesto book, complete with inexplicable picture of Spiderman on the front, in the shitter. So I had a quick flick through it, raising my eyebrows at some of the candidates’ more ridiculous policies (“No more lectures in the morning. Or afternoon.”, “Free buses to take you anywhere on Earth”).

There was even a real policy (not a made up satirical one like the ones I did just now), that suggested trying to strong-arm the supermarkets into delivering all shopping to students on campus for free. Come on,Tescos is only a ten minute walk or less for most people on campus. Frankly, I’m insulted by the implication that all students are so inherently lazy, that they’d vote for a union president on the basis of not having to walk to Tescos. Even though I am inherently lazy, and would probably vote for a union president on the basis of not having to walk for Tescos. That is, if I thought Tesco’s doing free delivery to everyone on campus was even a remote logistical possibility. Which it clearly isn’t.

But looking at these increasingly ridiculous manifesto promises, I came to realise what all the candidates had clearly also realised: no-one cares about the union elections. These stupid policies weren’t necessarily evidence of stupid people, rather it was evidence of people clearly desperate to get even a flicker of interest from the majority of the student population.

Well, it didn’t work. Myself, I would have put down the special manifesto book, flushed the toilet, washed my hands, and completely forgotten about the whole thing, had I not happened to be playing pool with a friend in the Union this afternoon.

As it was, I was happily winning at pool when I was accosted by a union man. ‘Have you voted yet?’, he asked me in a desperate voice. I briefly considered saying ‘yes’, so he would go away, but instead for some reason I said ‘no’, at which point I had another special manifesto book thrust into my hand, and was ordered to go and vote, because no-one else had, and if they didn’t get any more voters, then they’d have to do the whole thing all over again (presumably forever). He did say we could finish our game of pool first though. Nice guy. Seriously though, he looked like a kid at his eighth birthday party just coming to the realisation that even though he gave an invitation to all the kids, none of them are going to show up. Because none of them like him.

Well, what was I going to do? Flick through the manifesto book and pick who to vote for on a purely arbitrary basis, like who has the worst hair, or which one used the word ‘and’ the most times in their manifesto? If they want to generate votes like that, they might as well get a monkey to randomly check all the slips.

Personally, if I had voted, it would have been for one of the candidates who hadn’t submitted a manifesto. Seriously, you can submit a manifesto with a picture of you gurning like the last lunatic in the asylum, or you can have dignity, but you can’t have both.

But of course, I didn’t vote. And by the time I was accosted by another union man when I was leaving, I’d learnt my lesson, and politely answered ‘Yes. We voted just now’.

So, who’s at fault for all the voter apathy? Is it me, the apathetic voter? Shit, it is, isn’t it? But I don’t think this is your common or garden ‘too cool for school’ apathy. Rather, I just genuinely don’t think that I would be able to correctly identify the best candidate for the job based purely on their ridiculous manifestos. And I’m not prepared to take the time out to go and investigate extensively to find out who’s the best because, I think, ultimately all candidates are much of a muchness. It’s not like one candidate is going to tear down the Union and build a Death Star, and the other candidate is going to bring about peace on Earth for all men. They’re all going to do broadly the same thing, I imagine.

The best solution I can come up with is drawing names out of a hat. That, or turning the union elections into a prime time reality show on ITV, and getting everyone to text their vote in. Yeah, I went there.


February 08, 2007

I made a snowman

snowman

It's probably the best snowman ever. 


February 06, 2007

John Cusack loves Brian Eno.

I watched High Fidelity yesterday for the first time in ages, and came to a startling discovery: John Cusack literally can't get enough of Before and After Science by Brian Eno.

Look here.

highfidelityeno1.jpg

There it is. Look, with the red line. I appreciate that this evidence alone isn't particularly convincing, since he has about a million records. But now, look here.

highfidelity-eno-2

Ok, so I'm lying. This is the same set of records, but a different scene. However, if you look closely, the piles do seem to have been moved around a bit, and also the cover of the Eno album has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

highfidelity-eno-3

There you go. Not only does he have it on vinyl, he has it on cd as well. Look he's even examining the track list. It's not going to play on that record player though, is it? Someone should tell him

.highfidelity-eno-4

And as if any more proof were needed, here it is again, in John Cusack's special record store.

I rest my case.


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