Monday, 20 December 2010

Blog before Sleep

I should be asleep. I woke up too early this morning and have been trying to doze off for at least some minutes. Alas my brain can't stop ticking over from one thought process to another and I feel obliged to let off some mental steam the only way I know how.

It starts like this.

It's kinda bizarre, when you think about it, how we as a society don't care all that much about what's real and what isn't. The West is so full of us undeserving, lazy, bored people, each with more wealth than Somalia that it's also full of persons who get more passionate about fictional escapades (like World of Warcraft) than real life happenings. Find the right topic; from the characters in Jane Eyre to the best way to beat Bowser; and you can keep just about anyone interested in something which ultimately makes no difference to our lives other than occupying a few more pointless minutes between cradle and grave.

It's a good thing too- because those folks carrying two X chromosomes seem to subsist largely on the puerile garbage shat out by pink-top magazine's like 'Hello'. The thing is, far from suggesting the readership of such publications are all vapid, shallow sacks of organs, I sort of understand that the point isn't to read about vital world affairs; it's to kill time and be mildly entertained. Nobody really gives a crap whether Sandy (24) from Brighton really gets off watching Oprah; chances are she's just a face they found whom they decided to staple a fictitious story to, and plaster with equally spurious labels about how true the whole thing is. What does wind me up is when this exercise in mislabelling fiction spills into other areas and ruins them in a tide of bullshit-stained print and journalistic bile.

A lot of this animosity stems from reading the (somewhat worrying) stories in Private Eye about how The Sun or OK! magazine have been forced to retract some story where they may have accidentally suggested that a much-loved CBeebies presenter occasionally shoots up on heroin or has visits from Filipino boys. Inevitably this apology gets less column inches than a piece on Posh's new knickers: and there's probably not a power on Earth that can stop them doing this again and again, until they impose the death penalty for libel (and even then, there's always the interns to take the flack). I'm convinced though, that some media can be saved from the sanity destroying overlap with this sort of publishing.

Take the X-Factor. Those among you who read the Mail probably already regard this show and its followers with the sort of disdain usually reserved for terrorists and John Prescott; and I wouldn't wholly blame you. Viewed from a 'neutral' ish standpoint the show in of itself isn't necessarily a bad idea if you can get over Louis Walsh being as attractive and likeable as a scrotum and Simon Cowell being more smug than a paedophile in a tent full of Boy Scouts. The concept isn't the let down: it's the overblown and vindictive assaults and tirades gleefully embarked on by the gossip magazines and the tabloid press. Suddenly a show about singing has gone all Jeremy Kyle: with contestants allegedly making racist or hate-fuelled comments about each other, the judges, the Queen, their hair, the Queen's hair etc etc. And so in a flurry of half-truths and headlines, the more opinionated audience is lost, and those who might enjoy the fascinating insight into public psychology offered by rich-kid Cowell instead join the ranks of sneering, jeering over-important media snobs in a campaign of hatred and derision (ironically).

So I have a suggestion. I think they should make 'reality' TV shows so utterly insanely interesting, different, unique and surreal that no tabloid or women's mag in the world could possibly benefit from reporting anything other than the truth. Why not kick I'm a Celebrity up a few notches? Let's have a show where the talentless excretion that is Piers Morgan gets put in a bear cage adjacent to Robbie Williams. Each cage has a very angry 1000lb grizzly and a karaoke machine set up to play 'Moonlight Shadow'; and each contestant must attempt to placate their angered ursine cagemates through song before they become too badly dismembered. The catch would be that the speakers would be swapped over- so Williams' adequate vocal work would be piped into Morgan's cage, and vice-versa. Here you'd win two fold from watching Morgan literally soil himself live on television, and seeing Robbie have his face mauled off.

Or resurrect Big Brother. Stuff six politicians in a house together and dose them up with an amount of LSD proportional to their spending claims over the past year. Then hurl in a few cleavers, a chainsaw, and maybe some angry hyenas for good measure. Last one surviving wins a job at Waitrose cleaning floors.

You could have a show about eating. People love food shows. Take a handful of highly annoying supermodels and force feed them each their own bodyweight in lard every two days. The aim would be to see how much weight they could put on in a month, before suffering heart failure. As a bonus, and to involve the public, there could be a phone-in vote to nominate one model every week who has to try and beat Kate Humble at being the fastest to totally devour a badger.

I think these could really pull in the ratings. Best of all, the papers will have no choice but to report on the truth. Who gives a shit if Anne Widdecombe and Gordon Brown exchanged some harsh words?? He just had his leg eaten by a hyena, she had her arms carved off, and both of them think the other is Jesus because they've had their eyeballs pumped full of acid.



Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Quick YouTube update. Lucky you!

My favourite git on YouTube has just sent me this heartwarming message. I guess we should all take heed:

"re-post it dont let the flame dieeeeee Youtube is deleting all accounts in December! 
Dear Youtube users, This is a real letter from our Youtube Service Team, Rober and Angela.We are putting this because there is too much fake accounts, and robotsin our Youtube community.In order to get rid of them, we are going to delete every account that did not repost this bulliten, or send this all to all of your friends in a message. 
BE WELL AWARE, that if you do not send this or repost it, your account will be deleted permanately. Sorry for the incovience! By the way we added some new features on Youtube, if you you reposted, and is gratified by us, Do not change the content inside, or else you will also get deleted. 
-Youtube Service Team"

Man- the YouTube service team really ought to learn to use a spell-checker. But still, good job I saw this message from "Rober and Angela": I'd be worried if they thought I was one of the "robotsin the Youtube community". But it's ok: I'll repost it and then it'll be "gratified by us". 

One final piece of video-website humour is a comment I received on a video where I'd deliberately misspelled a word in the title ('parkour' misspelled as 'parcore'), and subsequently explained this in the video description. Nevertheless my faith in literacy levels is clearly too high as I received the following comment:

"can u spell propelly" 

To which I naturally replied:

@joeschmo10155 Yes, it's "properly".

A further commentator on the video deserves credit for retorting with this to someone who clearly doesn't understand the concept of a spoof (which the video is):

"parody - noun. meaning an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.

Now you know a new word! One day you may be able to take a joke.
(PS. I wrote this slowly to help you understand it)"

Kudos to that guy. Any stupid stories send 'em to me on Facebook (if you have me) or on here.


Friday, 3 December 2010

Thinking of a title before you've written anything is tricky

If you're of a foreign disposition, and don't happen to live under the regal wing of the UK monarchy, I'll let you in on a secret.

It's snowing in Britain.

If this is a hard concept, I have a diagram below which I prepared over several seconds.
Despite this having happened for the last several years, despite everyone in the country expecting it, and despite having had rather a  long time to prepare for it, the entire infrastructure of the country has done what it does best and totally imploded in a grid-locked mess of complacency and piss-poor planning. To be fair, there are the odd roads dotted around which don't require skidoos to navigate, and some of the trains are even arriving at stations (some within a day of their timetabled slot) but realistically any form of long-distance travel has now become fraught with frustration to the point where the word 'cancelled' loses all meaning. Even isolated as I am in a bubble containing Southampton University and the surrounding 3 miles, the effects are being felt as lectures are cancelled and bored students are prone to spontaneously bursting into snowball fights.

If you're expecting the usual slew of dry derision I'm afraid I'll be disappointing you on this front. Basically this is because since we were foetuses human beings have had a primal urge to go and roll around in snow, throw it at each other, build things, and generally act about half your actual age. And why shouldn't we? As long as we're tolerating not being able to achieve anything productive beyond churning out the occasional blag post, we may as well have the option open to put on 12 layers of clothes and prat around outside until our limbs fall off.

And of course, it's also fine that year-on-year the travel companies, airport operators, and particularly Network Rail remain strangely clueless to the impending cold spell until it comes crashing down on their hollow little heads like an avalanche of..... snow... I guess. New motto suggestion for them: "Because it never happens here!"®

Some things we also learned these last few weeks: in what scientists are calling a "meh" announcement, Prince Will and some other person are to be happily wed. Awww. For most of the country I think this comes as some slightly happy news. For the press, it's apparently more important than the moon exploding or life being found in Cliff Richard's undergarments, because they literally cannot stop talking about it. The Times for example, had a lovingly puke-worthy column by someone called Carol, who complained that she's 'already sick of hearing about it', which was of course followed by six articles in the paper's features section devoted to the happy couple. The Telegraph were similarly eager to lampshade their own relentless pursuit of the engagement, with another derisive column and a cartoon lampooning the press coverage, all nestled deep within 16 full pages, and 3 part-pages of stories about Will and Kate. Either these publications have suddenly found the ability to poke fun at themselves (and Hell will soon be ordering out for some heaters to melt all the ice) or their editors should probably be sent back to Kindergarten and re-taught how to read.

One more mention which I have to make to a beautifully constructed piece of commentary (19 Oct this year) from that 'newspaper' the Daily Mirror: "Others have made a small industry out of wrongly predicting the nuptials- we chose to got our facts right. Their formal engagement will be announced in early 2011". Isn't hindsight wonderful?

Also in the news: North Korea are Murderers, Sarah Palin: Still a Retard, Students in Britain Actually Protest with Good Cause, and Latin-American Twatsalad Finally Leaves X-Factor.

All in all, a good few weeks, despite the bruises and aches caused by mucking around in snow. Once it's all melted I'd like to place an advanced order to have Spring implemented two months early.

Merry Snowmas


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A Russian Perspective

I've been trying to think of suitably insightful things to smother lovingly on my little blog, when today after browsing the Russian news site Pravda, I came across something I feel is so fantastically written it deserves to be reproduced in full. It sort of, matches the 'style' of this blag. Anyway, Mr Timothy Bancroft-Hinchley (who sounds very much like a man from Surrey) writes for the Russian publication, and has produced this literary masterpiece. I hope none of you are Tea Party members:

Spankin' Sarah Palin: A clown short of a circus

I have already called Sarah Palin a pith-headed bimbo from the back of beyond, in this column. I shall now go one step further. By attacking the democratically elected President of the United States of America at a sensitive time in her country's history, she shows the tact of a boorish drunkard bawling obscenities at a funeral.

If Sarah Palin is not some kind of a massive political joke in the USA, wheeled out to liven up the political scene from time to time with nonsensical and pastiche (one hopes) displays of sheer and utter ignorance, then it is worrying. It is even more so if anyone other than a manic depressive suffering from a chronic lack of lithium takes this...female...seriously.
Hockey Mum Sarah ex-Governess of Alaska is famous for her shrill shrieking style, displaying a pitifully shallow persona which one hopes is stage-managed to give the rest of the world a good chuckle at the Americans' ability and unique quality to make fun of themselves, a real-life female version of Homer Simpson-cum-Belching Barney at Mo's, giving us ever-more hilarious soundbites as she sets herself up as the dumbest woman on Earth.
Just occasionally, one encounters a bar-room idiot whose party piece is belching loudly before falling backwards off his stool, bouncing off the floor on his backside with a background provided by guffaws of laughter, yet who winks knowingly as he is carried out with his feet scraping along the ground and says "Don't worry son, most of it is an act".
The act. It reminds one of Marilyn Monroe putting on the act of the dumb blonde. But an act it was, a character projected by a shrewd, intelligent and charismatic woman with the ability to invent a persona. Sarah Palin, however, is the real-life thing. And it is becoming patently obvious that it isn't an act.
Sarah Palin, the one famous for ludicrous statements such as "I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree"; she is after all someone who "must have lived such a doggoned sheltered life", Sarah "We're all Arizonans now" Palin, cracking down on immigrants when the US of A is after all a country formed by...whom?
And now she turns not only against the fibre and backbone of her country, but against its democratically-elected President, accusing him of being incompetent for not stopping Wikileaks. Where was she and where was her GOP before and during the 9/11 attacks? She accuses President Obama of not taking "steps" to assure the leaks were not published. What "steps"?
Sinister Sarah Palin then goes on to insinuate that she is an advocate of cyber terrorism, questioning "Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to dismantle WikiLeaks?" Surely a more sensible question would have been why the material for the leaks was provided in the first place...and this has nothing to do with President Obama, but indeed speaks volumes about the State apparatus itself which goes beyond party politics. Her question also speaks volumes about her own inability to perform logical and strategic thinking.
President Obama after all knows the difference between North and South Korea, he knows that Hawaii is the largest US island and not Kodiak and he does not use the expression "refudiate".
If anything is a threat to the national security of the United States of America, it is this screaming, unrefined oaf with as much class as a searing release of flatulence followed by hysterical giggling at a state banquet. Is this what the people of the USA deserve?
To attack the President of the country at a time when the USA needs to close ranks and stand together to consolidate the enormous strides his intelligent and respectful approach has achieved in building bridges, when her party's period in government bombed them, Spankin' Sarah Palin comes across as a pitifully inadequate anachronism from the times of the Far West.
The United States of America has evolved. She has not.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey