Wednesday, 23 July 2008
"When he left the building he tried to glue himself to the gates of Downing Street but had his hand detached by a police officer."
Aren't we always told we live in a nice, civilized country where the establishment doesn't routinely 'detatch' the hands of political protesters? If this is the state of Brown's Britain, I want no part of it.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Today was the Birthday of Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, By The Grace Of God Queen of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head Of The Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. As you might expect of someone whose job title takes up an entire paragraph, it was an occasion marked with some ceremony, which I'll get to in a bit. It was also the second one she's had this year.
Now, I'm not a a Republican, primarily because removing the bunch of inbred aristocratic throwbacks who loiter towards the top of British society smacks of treating the symptom rather than the cause of societal injustice, but two birthdays? As the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Head of the Church of England and Paramount Chief of Fiji herself aptly put it in boring Helen Mirren vehicle and Diana hatchet job The Queen "Isn't that precisely the kind of decadence they criticise us for?"
It's not as though there are enough birthdays to go round as it is. Most people get one a year, and are happy to have it. They are the lucky ones. About 2.73% of people tragically have their birthdays within the ten days around Christmas time. Lack of funding, and a hectic yuletide schedule means that many people's generosity and love for the little baby jesus is expressed through the genius strategem of buying 'one big present' - which, I am reliably informed, is usually between 1.0 and 1.25 times the size of a 'normal' present.
Then we have the poor unfortunates, admittedly comprising only 0.06% of the population, whose birthdays fall on the 29th of Febuary. These cursed souls receive just one birthday every four years.
Assuming for the moment that those people whose birthdays fall near christmas only get half a birthday, and those who are born on leap days get a quarter of one, there are a meagre 0.98601 birthdays per head of population. - meaning close to a million people get no birthday at all.
Yet the Queen sees fit to strut around literally on her high horse, trooping the colour, changing the guard (probably) and 'honoring' an increasingly anemic parade of C list celebrities. Who the fuck does she think she is?
Friday, 23 May 2008
Had the Israeli fighters not chosen this occasion to show a bit of self restraint, the world would not have been denied one of the most beautiful pieces of poetic justice to have ever happened. Boo.
Not that I want Tony Blair (seen here defining his premiership) dead, of course. I'm just a really massive fan of irony.
If you wanted a one word review of Indiana Jones, then you're going to be sorely fucking disappointed. I've written fifty already. But had I chosen to constrain myself with a singular word limit I would have chosen 'old'. Why? Because everything about this film feels sodding ancient. From the hackneyed cut-and-paste from 'Raiders' plot that replaces God with Aliens and the Nazis with the commies, to the uninspiring dialogue lifted from every straight to video 'action' move of the last twenty years, to the fact Harrison Ford looks genuinely geriatric, everything about it screams 'old hat. The feeling of decrepidness is almost intoxicating, which is a shame in what is supposed to be a fun action movie.
But was this really a bad film? Well, yes. I'm surprised you asked, actually, considering the quite unequivocal criticism I've given it so far. I'm starting wonder if you've really been paying proper attention. But it did have it's moments.
This film is great if you like your movies to be over the top. I mean really over the top. It couldn't have been more "over the top" if it was a re-enactment of the battle of the Somme with pogo sticks. And that's about the only thing it gets right. This is a film where the main character is kidnapped by Communists, finds an alien body in area fifty one and is fired on the front of a nuclear missile, all in the first ten minutes.
Sadly, as I've outlined above, the film's turgid style means it ultimately lacks believability, interest and even novelty value. It's so stuck in the past that there's even a fencing scene, and so predictable you see it coming forty minutes ahead of time.
On the other hand it's also just spectacular enough to have the sword fight happen on the back of two jeeps chasing each other through the amazon jungle - a plot element I honestly didn't see coming.
In all likelihood, if you've been looking forward to seeing this film, no number of bad reviews are likely to stop you. Which is a shame, as Hollywood will probably take this as a cue to finally fire the last vaguely creative person still working in the industry and continue churning out unoriginal, cookie cutter crap like this.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sadly, I am piss poor at this one of life's little challenges, which is why I am still awake at six in the fucking morning with a radio show to do at three this afternoon. I've already given up on even dreaming (ha) of sleep, meaning I will be either A.) Turgid and dull or B.) Manic and hyper when i finally hit the air waves at 3 P.M. this afternoon.
I wouldn't my chronic lack of fatigue syndrome so much if this wasn't the second night in a row it's happened, meaning by the time i finish my radio show I'll have had 5 hours sleep out of the last 48 and, by all rights, I should have dropped off before my head hit the pillow last night.
It could be the terrifying documentary I watched last night about Shipman wannabe 'Reverend Death' - a West Virginia (born and raised) preacher who helps non terminally ill people to die. I was in two minds about this subject initially until I realised many of his clients seemed to be suffering from nothing much worse than chronic boredom and loneliness or, in one notable case, a woman who wanted to kill herself because (I shit you not) she'd been bitten by a spider.
This particular woman changed her mind on the topic of assisted suicide, however, when she saw, in the Reverend's talent for demortifying the willing, the opportunity to quite literally make a killing. $7000 Plus expenses was the tab for a New Zealand woman who wanted to kill herself because she couldn't find a medication that worked for her breathing problems.
It was at this point what had been a documentary about an eccentric, maverick but possibly misguided man spasmed into a horror movie about these latter day kevorkian's less than selfless desires and almost fetishistic idolisation of death.
Is it much wonder I couldn't sleep? I was half expecting a be-collared angle of death to fly through the window and start dripping poison into my mouth like John Cussack in Grosse Point Blank.
Friday, 9 May 2008
I'm sorry I was gone so long. I know it ain't right to treat you this way.
Things will be different from now on. I promise.
Let me remind you of the good times we had together by flagrantly ripping off articles I published in my old blog (reprinted over the next two posts, more to follow).
Let me also remind you that you can read any of the old Out Of Loo Rolls by visiting:
we are in every issue (except issue five, i was 'busy' that week) and are funny in almost two of them!
From now on, now the exam season is over and you have time to read my shit, I will actually start writing stuff in here again. Starting in the VNF (the 'very near future' - when all the stuff i plan to do happens) with covering my good friend Rachel Boyd's fantastic blog.
For those of you who, for whatever reasons, like to look at things before I have decided what to tell you to think about them, here's a link:
I've been meaning to link to this forever but have had other things on. It's a fantastic and fantastically well written blog which addresses some of the core issues affecting our tragically fucked world. So read it.
Not that I'm 'leaking' my verdict on this, or anything...
Seminal, like semen.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Then shout louder.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
Insufficient respect for anarchy
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The worst are always full of passionate intensity. that is what makes them so very shit.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!
Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
Fucking livid they were.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Not confined by your own historical context are we, Yeats? 'Sleeping' is definitely what the world did for two millennia after Jesus . Buy a fucking history book.
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Look, what with it's body of a lizard and head of a man, and our knowledge of it's general direction of travel, this beast seems rather easy to identify and stop. Particularly as it's method of ambulation is 'slouching' one of the less graceful and efficient forms of movement. Quit whining and fucking sort it you pretentious twat.
That's it. Sorry.
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
When Shakespeare was writing Romeo and Juliet, he was not writing a tragic love story that he intended to forevermore be the benchmark for all romance. No, no, in fact he was writing about a pair of whiney emo cunts with so little perspective about life that they end up topping themselves.
1.) Romeo and Juliet are teenagers. Juliet had not seen 'The Change of Fourteen Summers'. If they were alive today, she would have an Emily Strange backpack and he would have one long black flop of hair that covered half his face (how's my zeitgeist?)
2.) Romeo is 'in love' with a totally different woman, Rosaline, at the start of the play. He basically admits that he loves her because, well, she is "well fit" (in Shakespeare's words):
"the all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun."
Many experts say Shakespeare uses Rosaline as a device to create a contrast between Romeo's 'infatuation' with Ros and his 'true love' for Juliet.
Oh fucking really? Then why does it take Romeo all of six seconds to fall head-over-heels in love with Juliet? He is practically fwapping himself off within moments of seeing her, knowing sweet fuck all about her personality.
Okay, we get it - she's "a right hottie" (again in thew words of William Shakespeare). But it's quite a leap to go from getting a semi to saying:
Of course, some experts would argue that this was Shakespeare implying that the very hand of fate was present in the, er, fates of Romeo and Juliet; an inevitability surrounded both their lives and deaths which was both larger than and beyond their control, and Romeo could sense this. Really? If I'm going to make a character fucking psychic, I want that to be an important, consistent element of the plot, not just a random thing I drop in.... so either Romeo is a drama queen or Shakespeare was a bad writer. Which is it, hypothetical literary experts?
A.) How, like, totally in love with each other they are
B.) How their parents just don't understand them
C.) How they should just, like, rebel and run away from those fascist adults.
At least modern Emos can discuss the latest fallout boy album.
Having failed totally to stop the fight, Romeo suddenly forgets that Tybalt is basically his brother now and stabs him to bits. Getting married not enough drama for one day, eh, Romeo?
Monday, 10 March 2008
It's Mike Gravel.
Currently polling at about two per cent, with no delegates whatsoever, Mike Gravel is admittedly a 'long shot' for the white house. Also, at 77 years old, he manages to make John McCain look like a young upstart. But anybody who made this campaign video gets our vote. If we had one. Which we don't.
Monday, 18 February 2008
And the support you've all show has shown has been absolutely tremendous - thanks to your help I have now donations and pledges worth over fifty thousand pounds!
Sadly, I discovered today that only women are allowed to take part in "Race For Life", so I took the sponsorship forms and all the money that had been donated and burned them in a big fire in the garden.
I also deliberately forgot my cure for cancer (which I came up with while i was out jogging one day) as, I assume, it is also inadmissible on the grounds of my gender, and i wouldn't want to offend.
Monday, 14 January 2008
While researching an article on the internet the other day, I came across The Encyclopedia Of Sexual Practices. Once I’d finished researching and cleared up the mess, I decided to have a browse.
Now, as my lawyers will tell you I’m a pretty open minded guy, (which as we all know is code for ‘not fussy’) and what adults do in the privacy of their own home is entirely their own business (as long as they aren’t being gay). However, that doesn’t mean I don't find more than half of what is described in this frankly flabbergasting list of sexual deviance absolutely fascinating, if sometimes more than a little weird. This is because I have the mind of a five year old
Those of you born before 1970, along with the closed minded, bigots, the severely sexually repressed and people with better things to do, will probably not want to read the rest of this, as it contains bad, rude, dirty words and graphic descriptions of willies.
The rest of you: I had to say that to avoid upsetting a load of people who are, frankly, just cunts.
I’ll start with the poor sods who must just live their lives in a blinding haze of sexual excitement:
Xenophilia: arousal from strangers
Albutophilia: arousal from water
Actirasty: arousal from exposure to sun's rays
Hyphephilia: arousal from touching skin, hair, leather, fur or fabric
Ecdemolagnia: arousal from traveling or being away from home
Normophilia: those aroused by acts considered normal by their group or society
Gomphipothic: arousal by the sight of teeth
Dendrophilia: arousal from trees
Perhaps these people have just played the game very well and chosen something outlandishly common to find exciting. Unlike this lot, for whom making life difficult seems to be an art form:
Autassassinophilia: arousal from orchestrating one's own death by the hands of another
Entomocism: the use of insects
Taphephilia: arousal from being buried alive
Phygephilia: sexual arousal from being a fugitive
Robotism: attraction to or the use of robots in sex play
Symphorophilia: arousal from arranging a disaster, crash, or explosion
I suppose the people I am most envious of are the hedonophiles, who are sexually aroused by pleasure, creating what I imagine must be an infinite loop of joy. Less happy are the dacryphiles, who are sexually excited by seeing their partners cry. Whether or not they go about making their significant others cry on purpose, it must be bloody inconvenient to have the raging horn while the object of your affections is bawling their eyes out.
Then we have erotophobia and gamophobia, fear of sex and marriage respectively, conditions which are highly gender specific, at least according to badly written nineteen seventies sitcoms.
Then we have the creative:
Botulinonia: using a sausage as a dildo
Docking: slipping one partner's foreskin over the glans penis of another
Ophidicism: use of snakes for sexual purposes
Homilophilia: sexual arousal from hearing or giving sermons
Brachioprotic eroticism: a deep form of fisting where the arm enters the anus
Nosophilia: arousal from knowing partner has terminal illness
Gymnophilia: arousal from nudity
And Those simply filed under "You're doing it wrong.":
Nasolingus: arousal from sucking nose of partner
Oculolinctus: licking partner's eyeball
Axillism: penis penetrating an arm pit
We also have the ingenious idea of:
Handkerchief Codes: color codes to identify sexual preferences
A practice I think should be more widely employed. Can I suggest we use 'No Handkerchief' to denoted 'Extreme Scat'?
There is also a wonderful lesson on the abecedarian nature of irony:
Harem: area where Arabs kept wives at home and separated from others
Harem effect: lesbianism
But I'd like to finish with a definition I think gives hope to us all:
Harmatophilia: arousal from sexual incompetence
Saturday, 5 January 2008
It isn't necessary to insert canned laughter at the end of every sentence. You should only really need do it after the ones that are jokes.
2.) Bruce Forsythe:
Why not try faking your own death to conceal the fact you ahve obviously discovered the secret to eternal life? Alternatively, why not try not tapdancing on national television despite the facts your bones should clearly be dust?
3.) The Dull:
Saying 'Yes, it's Tuesday all day today' in response to a perfectly legitimate calendrical enquiry does not in itself qualify as humor
4.) Hugh Hefner:
Hide your total lack of humanity, morality and maturity by not publicly bragging about shagging all seven of your vapid, eighteen year old whores despite being old enough to be their ancestor.
5.) Blog Writers:
Save time and energy by simply stealing your format from Viz Top Tips
Yesterday I offered to take my son to the cinema. Asking Josh what he wanted to see, he informed me he would like to watch "
Or so I thought. But what I had worried would be a turgid, banal experience chronicling the unlikely escapades of squeaky voiced vermin was, in fact, a polemic about the disenfranchisement of the workers and their alienation from their fellow men at the hands of the ruling class. I left the cinema richer in knowledge about myself and the world I live in. While I want to spend most of this article discussing the themes and subtexts of the film in a literary sense, where appropriate, for example where I feel a particular insight doesn't fit into the overarching narrative, I will report it alongside the text in a bullet point
- like this one
But on to the main event. To understand the haunting Marxist subtext of this film it’s necessary to briefly outline the plot.
Alvin, Simon and Theodore are chipmunks who live in a tree. "Dave" (his last name is never given, I assume, so as to symbolise his ‘everyman’ status) is a struggling songwriter living in the suburbs. Their lives are thrown together when the chipmunks’ tree is chopped down and erected as decoration at the headquarters of the music label “Dave” is trying to get signed to. Dave is rejected brutally by the record label’s boss, Joe. Stealing a basket of muffins as he leaves, Dave unwittingly brings the hiding chipmunks into his home.
- Crushing up popcorn in your hands can help relieve what would otherwise be fatal levels of stress
It would be easy to argue that the characters are no more than tired class stereotypes, the cardboard cutouts so beloved of modern agitprop cinema. Dave is the listless, disaffected suburban worker who dreams of escaping his day job for a more 'creative' career, but who is held back both by soulless corporations, and his own poverty of ambition. The Chipmunks are little better than serfs; their very home is wantonly destroyed by a capitalist machine they are incapable of understanding, let alone stopping. So far, so Brecht, you are probably thinking. Indeed, I was beginning to wonder if we were in for an unnecessary retelling of the familiar Dickensian (or even Orwellian) stories of class struggle. What I got was much closer to a narrative re-telling of Das Kapital .
Dave offers the rodents and his friends a place to stay in return for them agreeing to provide vocals for his songs. It is this level of understanding of the bourgeois middle class mindset which elevates 'Alvin' above mere Brechtian fairytale - Dave is not merely a two dimensional victim of the system, but an active proponent of it! When given the opportunity he is happy to exploit the chipmunks' homelessness and talent, pimping their creativity to his social betters like some kind of slum landlord. In return, the chipmunks not only fail to see the nature of this exploitation but even start to see Dave as a paternalistic figure - a perhaps self conscious echo of the relationship between the Artful Dodger and Fagin in Oliver Twist. The Chipmunks' songs (that they are Christmas songs is just one of the numerous nodding asides given to the film's growing riff on the power of commercialism) are a huge hit.
- Talking animals, if discovered, would not be endlessly studied by astonished scientists, but would in fact be given major record contracts on prominent music labels
During the course of the film, the chipmunks are forced to chose between two forms of societal oppression - the oppressive quasi-familial environment to which they have become accustomed in Dave's home, or a new, (perhaps fundamentally more honest) nakedly capitalistic relationship with their record label manager 'uncle Joe'. The themes explored here - the corrupting influence of wealth, the exploitative nature of the music industry - are perhaps over familiar, but are explored with such a light touch by director Alan Smithee that what would be considered lazy Neo-Marxism in other films is easily forgiven here. What really strikes home is the bold truth, not proposed but merely acknowledged here that the family at it's core functions first and foremost as an economic unit. While we may reject, or disagree with this assessment, we can but applaud Alvin And The Chipmunks for raising what is a difficult and oft ignored topic.
- Biting the inside of your lip til it bleeds can provide a welcome distraction from events going on around you
The final pastiche - in which 'Uncle Al' discovers that 'his' Chipmunks have in fact escaped and been replaced by tasteless plush toys, the very toys he has been selling, tasteless, soulless, fundamentally empty representations of the 'Munks themselves - is a joy to behold. While the literal representation of a metpahorical idea - that the Chipmunks had become mere commodities in Joe's eyes, objects to be bought and sold - would seem heavy handed in other, less incisive films, here it is a delight.
Lest you think, however, that the ending is in any way simplistic, know that we are left pondering the ambiguous, almost mercenary nature of Dave and the Chipmunks' new 'family' - at once a haunting reference to the exploitative and damaging way in which so many child stars, from Michael Jackson to Donnie Osmond have been raised, and, simultaneously, a chilling critique of the way capitalism can turn all human relationships, however sacred, into mere economic transactions.
- Pretending an astonishingly tedious film has in fact got a rich and challenging subtext may save your sanity, but it's no sure thing.
A few explosions or a car chase would have been nice too.
Finally, I cannot help the feel the film has been poorly marketed. Surveying the cinema I noticed that the vast majority of the audience were children, many of whom will have missed the finer points of the socialist dialectic expounded in the film. Josh, for example, seemed to enjoy the film itself, but then was totally bewildered during the four hour blow by blow recap of the narrative that I gave him - frequently crying with frustration at his inability to grasp the concepts the film had so eloquently explored.
These quibbles aside, however, it would be intellectually dishonest for me not to state that this was simply the best film that has ever been made - and indeed the only one anybody should ever bother watching, as all others seem disgustingly bad in comparison.
- Whatever I did to so anger our Lord, it must have been very, very bad.
Wednesday, 2 January 2008
"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today'," said Will. "I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming."
Which has sent lobbying group "The Jewish Defence League" into an apoplectic rage and forced Will Smith's press officer to release the following statement:
"It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolph Hitler was a vile, heinous, vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet."
Now maybe I missed the memo, but at what point did it become contentious to suggest that Hitler thought he was doing the right thing? Have we strayed so very far from the path of intellectual rationalism that we can no longer divorce the concept of how something is objectively from how someone, for example Hitler, perceives that thing, subjectively to be.
Seriously, i thought it was a given that everybody, always, in all situations, broadly thinks that they are doing the right thing? Isn't that just how the human mind works? Whatever your construction of 'good' is, you work out how best to fulfill those criteria and go for it?
Is it really that controversial to say that Hitler was quite a big fan of himself?
Lets take a look at some of the comments posted by computer literate algae:
"Will Smith isn't all bad...
Glad we cleared that up
"but those comments are not only ignorant but idiotic. What kind of hullabaloo would be going on if a big male actor made a comment about how "The KKK isn't all bad. They are only going what they think is 'good."
A big hullabaloo, apparently
"If Imus got fired for "nappy headed ho's"
Don Imus used a racial epithet to describe a team of black women who excelled at their sport as prostitutes with bad hair. For this he was fired.
then following the same logic they should euthanize Will Smith because his comments were not said in jest. I am incredibly offended and doubt I will encourage anyone I know to go to see I Am Legend.
This last part is the most puzzling of all. What possible bearing can Smith's comments have on whether or not his latest sci-fi zombie flick is any good?
Yes, yes, I know. It's a boycott, which is a useful means of affecting social change. I just wish it wasn't this particular instance of social change.
On with the retardery:
"Yes and southern KKK members in the '50's "did not wake up thinking they would do evil," before burning crosses and hanging blacks from trees...." Right Will?"
Yes, that is exactly what Will Smith is saying. Actually yes. That is actually what he is saying. Your attempt at sarcasm is in fact merely an accurate description of reality. You suck.
Has society degraded to such a point now that we can't even conceive that our enemies - be they racists, terrorists or just plain old Hitler - don't actually think they are being evil? At whatr point did the complex moral fabric of the universe get replaced with a remedial version of Lord Of The Rings, where everything is black or white, and the bad guys are so visibly bad they don't even make a presence otherwise? In all seriousness, if we have actually lost the ability for basic empathy, humankind might finally be well and truly fucked.