Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I Write, Right?

So yeah another lame entry just to flag up other stuff I've been writing.

Have a piece for Empire here:

Plus I have also become a regular contributor to the Sunday Times in South Africa who have been publishing some stuff in their magazine. Here are the online links (much more to come):

I'm sure this is better than me babbling on about bad dates and getting annoyed with people on the bus...

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Nothing But Words

Been a bit quiet on the blogging front of late. Mainly because I have been busy writing other stuff (for like money and shit).

If you care, here are some links:

Vice - piece about films based on objects

Little White Lies - review of SUS

Killing Bono blog - first piece in character
- second piece in character

Also the Guardian piece was randomly re-printed in the Sunday Times in South Africa and I have some more pieces coming soon.


Friday, 26 March 2010

I Knew That Watching Sleeping With The Enemy Over 20 Times As A Kid Would Finally Pay Off

My childhood of watching lurid thrillers has finally come to fruition.

My second article on The Guardian went up yesterday:


Haters to the left.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

I Hate Valentine's Day (The Movie)

I know, I know. I should have known better. I should have used those two hours to read, or clean, or self-harm. Pretty much anything would have served as a better alternative to enduring Garry Marshall's drunken recollection of what Love Actually looked like. Also known as Valentine's Day.

A year ago, two films were released that seemed to decide the fate of VD. Friday the 13th and He's Just Not That Into You. During some coke-fuelled brainstorm, execs must have examined the success of both and come to a terrifying conclusion. What if they combined the glossy/greedy ensemble cast of one and the opportunistic release date of the other?

The rush was then on, as with all great pieces of art, to achieve a specific release date. In this case, VD weekend 2010. Any working actor who had a few hours spare was corralled into taking part and the producers made sure they appealed to EVERY demographic with their casting choices.

Tweens - Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner (the latter, still chilling as some sort of baby/bodybuilder hybrid)

Old people - Shirley Maclaine and Kathy Bates (both putting one finger up at the Academy that awarded them Oscars)

Guys, dragged along by their girlfriends - Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel (neither even coming remotely close to showing any flesh though)

Girls that read Heat - Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner (playing best friends - hey, stop laughing back there)

Black people - Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah (offensive stereotypes - check)

People that watch Grey's Anatomy - Eric Dane and Patrick Dempsey (McSleazy and McGreasy or whatever the fuck they're called)

I'm still missing out Julia Roberts, Anne Hathway, Bradley Cooper, Emma Roberts, Topher Grace, your mum, your gran, that guy you sometimes see on your way to work with that hat, you etc.

It's one of those films I watched, while mentally trying to make a list of reasons I hated it. Never a good sign. This is what I can remember, although I should have brought a notepad.

1. Jessica Biel plays a totally underwritten attempt to appeal to 'normal' women. An amalgamation of Liz Lemon and Bridget Jones - the kind of woman that falls off the treadmill, spills stuff everywhere, stumbles her words, is eternally single and is constantly eating. In other words, things that Jessica Biel would never, ever do.

2. Jamie Foxx is black. This means he has to try and teach Jessica Biel how to fist bump.

3. The film is like really modern and shit. This translates into the word BlackBerry being involved in every other scene.

4. There is a 'cute kid' that falls in love with Jennifer Garner, and by cute I mean 'so precocious, you feel the urge to force your entire arm down his throat just so you can make his heart stop beating'.

5. Poor, poor florist Ashton Kutcher gets dumped by Jessica Alba and has to settle for Jennifer Garner in the same day. We're supposed to feel sorry for this douche?

6. Apparently every Indian restaurant turns into a Bollywood musical after 10.

7. Julia Roberts plays a soldier on the way back from Afghanistan. Ranks as one of the most ridiculous star/job match-ups since Tara Reid played an archaeologist in Alone in the Dark.

8. Queen Latifah is sassy, a massive departure from her other performances where she has played quite sassy, very sassy and only sassy when provoked.

9. This exchange between Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx: 'I need more chocolate' 'I am the chocolate'

10. Anne Hathaway plays a poetry major who moonlights as an adult sex line operator. Enough said.

11. Taylor Lautner has a 'hilarious' in-joke where he states that he isn't very comfortable with taking his shirt off in public. Yes, well neither are we circus freak.

12. Despite being a film about how some people hate Valentine's Day as it can be a tough day for single people to endure, we never once see a believably ordinary singleton, battling their debilitating loneliness while weeping into a large glass of wine. Instead we have numerously over-styled glamazons whining about nothing, while showcasing their best side to the camera.

All of this complaining is totally irrelevant though. The film has just opened to what may be the biggest ever opening for a romantic comedy in the US - an estimated $58 million. They're already plotting the sequel - entitled New Year's Eve. When will this end? Will the follow-up just be called Tuesday? Is any holiday, day, time safe?

What's depressing is that the success of VD and the continued success of Avatar (biggest film ever etc) shows that, more than ever, scripts are in fact totally pointless. VD could have consisted of the big-name cast all reciting nutritional information from cans of soup and it still would have been a hit. It's the most horribly manufactured film I have seen for a long time but no one seems to care.

It went down a storm in the cinema when I saw it. Everyone laughed throughout at the increasingly tortured attempts at humour. They also laughed at the gay storyline in the film, which wasn't actually funny, but two men on screen together is apparently hilarious. Also, the racial cliches (that bordered on offensive), coupled with the narrow-minded xenophobia in the upcoming travesty Leap Year highlight a worryingly parochial worldview for films that are marketed as lightweight entertainment.

Perhaps I'm taking it all a bit too seriously. But someone has to. The majority of our fellow cinema-going humanoids have gone out and accepted the putrid force-fed garbage that VD offered up this past weekend, but at what cost? We still don't know about the long-term problems these films cause. In 30 years we'll look back, shaking our heads at the lack of medical warnings attached to movies such as this. Think about what all this sugar is doing to your teeth.

Monday, 11 January 2010

My Life As A Sitcom

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if it were the plot of a sitcom? If every other sentence you said or heard was a pithy one-liner, immediately followed by increasingly strained canned laughter? If all of your friends and family members were easily compartmentalised into various stereotypes such as 'wacky, new-age elderly person' or 'overly precocious yet wise blonde child'?

Well, I do.

Looking at my life as it is, there are a number of key changes that would need to be made before it could become endlessly repeated on UK Gold.

ME: The fact that I'm gay wouldn't be a total problem but the fact that I'm not 'fun gay' would be. Sitcoms tend to prefer gays when they're bursting into song and designing jewellery. I'd need to replace beer with apple martinis, hip-hop with show tunes and sarcasm with, oh hang on that one works.

It's important to introduce more catchphrases into my everyday vocabulary which wouldn't be a total problem as I'm hugely repetitive as it is. But as it stands, the words and sayings I exhaust might have to be tampered with a bit. Lately I have a habit of overusing 'harrowing', 'rape' and 'your mum'. Having never seen a sitcom that has utilised the word harrowing JUST yet (although I haven't watched an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond all the way through) it might have to go. Instead of describing events as such, I could refer to them as 'fabulicious' and say something T-shirt friendly like 'not without my appletini sister!' or 'puh-lease, that's what I said'. I might have to work on those a bit though.

My current dress sense, which resembles a cross between a 1970s hustler and a kids TV presenter, will need to go and I'll have to start wearing more slogan t-shirts and tight jeans. In other words, I'll need to start shopping at Top Man.

The beard will have to go, unless I'm depressed for an episode, and I'll probably have to smile more and maybe get a job as an interior designer. Oh and I'd have to start swearing like an Eastenders character, e.g. 'You can sod off and keep your poxy job!'

MY OFFICE: The workplace is hugely important and although, like most sitcom characters, I will still have numerous, unexplained days not working, it's vital to create a comedy-friendly atmosphere.

I'll need to tamper with some of my colleagues. In my department there is a Spanish, a French and a Swiss. International characters are fine (although probably not that many) but they'll need to become more offensively stereotyped to work. So, my Spanish co-worker will need to eat Paella for lunch EVERY DAY, hilariously try to play The Gypsy Kings in the office all the time and in one episode, teach everyone how to salsa dance (with side-splitting results). Plus she must be re-named Maria.

I'll need a new boss too. Either a hard-nosed older bitch who will make ridiculous demands, to which I'll typically respond with a dramatic eye-roll behind her back as she calls 'I saw that!' or a zany older man, who always gets my name wrong and confides in his pet parrot.

MY FRIENDS: I'll need to streamline my friends and single out a couple of constants to get involved in the occasional sub-plot and help to appeal to different sections of the audience.

One of my friends will need to be 'hella sassy' and perhaps even be black, just to try and make sure everyone is catered for. She will call people 'girl' and 'sister' (including me, hilariously) and do that clicking thing with her arm that you see on Montel. She will probably be a beautician and she will most likely be slightly overweight (another demographic crossed off). She'll pretty much be an old white producer's idea of what a young black girl is like. Oh and let's call her Taneisha.

In contrast, I'll also have a nerdish male friend who is clearly soap-hot but wears glasses and occasionally makes a reference to something totally geeky like reading books or watching the news. He will be straight but useless with the opposite sex. Taneisha will make him over in one episode and the audience will gasp as he'll look like well dreamy. At the end of the episode though he'll discover that beauty is on the inside and the glasses will return. It will also never be explained why on earth he would be friends with two totally opposite people.

MY FAMILY: They'll only really appear in the odd episode so can be played by vaguely familiar faces. I could perhaps have Felicity Kendal as my wacky, new-age mother who is constantly using words like 'karma' and 'feng shui' and being embarrassing, but never in a serious way. Whenever she appears, she'll always have baby pictures to show my friends and will be overly affectionate with me, causing many dramatic eye-rolls. She'll tell me I'm her favourite son, to which I'll respond 'But mum, I'm your only son!'

I'll have a wild sister, probably played by someone like Denise Van Outen, who will turn up every now and then, always with a bottle in her hand. The fact that she is a raging alcoholic will be used for laughs and we'll only ever see her stumbling and saying outrageous things, rather than witnessing her vomiting through the nights and alienating everyone in her life. The studio audience will love her and every time she peers around my door saying 'Can I borrow your corkscrew?' they will whoop and holler.

IN SUMMARY: Life would be a whole lot more entertaining. A simple trip to Tesco would only exist for something hilarious to happen, like witnessing my boss having an affair while trying to hide behind a stack of cans, which would obviously all fall over. It would also be rather tiring. I'd never be allowed to do things like take a shit or pay money into my bank or sleep. Every moment would be punctuated with a joke.

In looking at the sitcom version of my life, it bears absolutely no resemblance to things as they are now. I'm clearly not ready to be sitcomised, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Admittedly, it gives me a higher chance of developing cancer and means I still have to clean the toilet every now and then but it also allows me the freedom to never use words like fabulicious. Every cloud...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Visibility Is Overrated

For some (known) reason, I hardly ever get approached by people when I’m out. The combination of my furrowed brow, unintentional frown and ‘hate you’ eyes generally seems to scare people off. I try not to do this but any deliberate effort to change my natural look results in unimaginable awkwardness.

Recently however, this seems to have changed. Now, I’m not bragging, not in the slightest. As the guys who have been coming up to me have been total, ‘wank while watching holocaust footage’ freaks. Monstrous would be an apt word. Guys that look as if they stumbled out of the Hell-mouth in Buffy. So, instead of this being a brag, it’s the opposite. I’ve clearly been batting above my weight in recent years and am being told by some ethereal dating force that I need to re-think what league I truly belong in.

This has all resulted in variously squirmy incidents where I’ve genuinely prayed for some sort of nuclear attack to serendipitously interrupt the horror. There was the guy who decided to tell me about his recent trip to a strip club and his surprise at how wide a vagina actually opens, then there was the guy who genuinely thought I was interested in his job as a flight attendant oh and then the guy who talked at me about how he worked for Cheryl Cole in a job to do with Cheryl Cole and how he met Cheryl Cole, oh and did he mention he worked for CHERYL FUCKING COLE.

My face, clearly unable to fully display my increasing repulsion, has soldiered through these occasions until the one moment I have now learnt to dread. The question which means I have to start lying my ass off, something that I not only suck at, but I also hate doing.

'Do you have a boyfriend?'

This has led me to create a new invisible other half who always, for some reason, is never anywhere to be seen when I'm out. I should have the guts to tell the truth and just say 'I don't but I'd still rather swallow a kettle than go home with you', but I always admire the confidence of people who have the balls to approach someone so I can't bring myself to be that honest and also that much of a douche.

Now, having pretended that I'm all coupled up, one would assume the attacker would then back off, tail between legs. But, no.

The first time I tried it was with the 'wide vagina' guy. A man who looked like a cross between a small-town lesbian and a lizard. After informing him of my fake relationship status, he then told me that he'd like to take both me and my boyfriend out for a drink just to 'be friends'. I then had to squirm out of giving him my number as I don't give it out to people I've just met (this rule is cancelled out when ugliness isn't directly involved) and also, when pushed, I said that my 'boyfriend' wouldn't approve.

The next time, the flight attendant then asked where this mystical being was and I chuckled knowingly and said he was at home. Why I chuckled I don't know. It suggested that he was perhaps bed-ridden or agoraphobic or something.

Then the other week, after making the statement, the recipient told me he didn't believe me. Whether this was down to my appalling lying skills or the fact that he didn't believe anyone would choose to be in a relationship with me was unclear. I kept insisting and he finally seemed to accept it, only to then ask 'But what if you didn't have a boyfriend, what would you think of me then?'

I panicked and unleashed a whole bucket-load of utter bullshit...

'Well you see, erm, the thing is that I just, I just love my boyfriend so much that I, erm, I just can't really see past him right now'

Despite the circumstances, I would have gladly accepted a knife in the chest for such a smug and sentimental retort. Instead, he just asked for a hug. I'm still trying to wash the residue off now.

So from all this, we can gather that my invisible boyfriend is a bit jealous, likes staying at home or is possibly restricted to just staying at home and is totally loved by me. It's not much to go on and next time, if someone asks, I might throw a wild card in there and casually, unnecessarily add in the fact that he loves going potholing or is cousins with Yvette Fielding or something.

I did consider how he could help me out in other situations. At work my office is pretty much 95% coupled but unlike in, say Picture Perfect, pretending I am with someone wouldn't really do much for my career.

Then there's my family. One of the few, few good things about being a gay, other than the odd bout of sympathy, is that my extended family don't ever ask me about my love life. When it comes to Christmas or other occasions where people usually get asked if they are 'dating someone', I manage to escape probe-free. I think they'd rather see me as an asexual gay who is destined to live with cats named after actresses from the 1940s.

Although, I'm going home in a few weeks for my annual festive family thing and being the only single, I'm usually reserved the worst, most uncomfortable night's sleep. I'll probably be placed in the downstairs toilet with a bag of onions for a pillow. This year, I might tell them that my faux-beau is joining me and when he doesn't actually appear on the Saturday, I can tell them that I had totally forgot that he was agoraphobic so wouldn't be able to make it. By that time I would have already secured an actual, human bed.

As much as I deplore having to lie, this one is kind of a 'good will' lie. I don't think there's ever a need to be cruel to someone dumb enough to start a conversation with me in a bar, no matter how unimaginable their face might be. I even managed my way through the whole wide vagina conversation without a curse word. I think, until I actually man up and actually approach someone myself, I shouldn't judge those that do.

Now, I have to go, I'm going potholing with Yvette Fielding's cousin. (Did it work? Did the specific details help?).

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Big Head, Small Brain

It's been a constant fear of mine for many years now that I'm actually a total idiot.

It has even been confirmed to me by others on quite a few occasions. Whether it's been dressed up as retard, tool, doofus, spazz or just plan idiot, I'm no stranger to the feeling of intellectual inferiority.

It sometimes feels like I missed out on a class where a whole heap of important things were explained to everyone. The ins and outs of various wars, political conflicts, geographical locations, medical terminology, you name it and they all know more about it than me.

I'm 25 now so I feel like I should have amassed a relatively strong knowledge of the world around me but I'm still desperately lacking. I'm losing the few shreds of information left of my university degree and instead my mind harvests anecdotes about the production of The Thing or the names of Jordan's kids. It's depressing.

This descent into total idiocy was highlighted earlier this year on a first date. It had been relatively successful for the most part; a walk in the park, a drink at a pub, a meal at an Italian etc. After we finished eating, we headed back to his place to watch TV (no, really) and encountered his housemate. A number of jokes had been made throughout about the 8-year age gap between the two of us. This made him 32 by the way, not 16. I was therefore, determined to show that maturity didn't have to be measured purely by age.

We had been chatting about the Italian restaurant and the fact that it was owned by a local businessman, who also owned a few other eateries. While talking to his housemate, she made a comment about Berlusconi. I responded by saying 'Is that the guy who owns those restaurants?', to which she replied 'No, he's the Prime Minister of Italy'. Also worth noting that she worked for the Foreign Office - great. We made it to a second date but it all sort of fizzled out rather quickly...

Now, of course I know that he is who he is but my stupid, date-ruining brain clearly doesn't have the speed or agility to work it out in time. I often wonder why I'm so poorly trained. What the fuck was I doing at school, other than getting hit in the head with footballs and re-arranging my locker to look busy at lunchtimes? Maybe I should go back or maybe I should have never left, like Screech or that paedophile who got arrested for pretending he was 16.

I'm sick of being caught in conversations where I spend the duration panicking about how I'm going to respond. As well as being borderline retarded, I'm also terribly traveled. When people start vocally masturbating about how 'like totally amazing' Thailand is, I have to pray that no one asks for my opinion. All I can offer is how I generally prefer green thai curry to red.

Is everyone else really that much smarter and more developed than I am? Or is everyone else living on the edge as well, hoping that they won't be found out? I have this terrible knack of assuming others are infinitely more well-rounded and adjusted than I am but what if I'm not the only one who thinks like that?

I think the solution might be for me to spend more time around dumb people. People dumber than me. People who refer to words with three syllables as 'long'. People who watch Most Haunted, without irony. People who would make me feel better about myself.

I could impress them with my historical knowledge (that I learnt from movies), tell them about the time I went to a museum or brag about the tens of books I own. Maybe I'm not the stupid one, everyone else is just too fucking smart for their own good.

To quote my favourite dead person ever Richard Yates...

"I like being "born yesterday," because it gives me a pretty good chance of being alive tomorrow, when everybody else is dead"

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Most people in my life would probably not describe me as a particularly placid person. There are some days when it seems as if I'm raging against an imaginary machine. For example, last night I told the television to fuck off when it suddenly got too loud.

But there are times when I find myself a surprisingly weak-willed individual. This usually occurs in situations where I'm feeling rather uncomfortable. I know I've previously criticised people who blog about their haircut and I'm not going to start posting pictures of it or describing it in great detail but yesterday I went to get a haircut. It's a ritual that I absolutely abhor. Like making small talk in lifts or feigning any form of emotion over baby photos.

Any confidence I had before I enter the hairdresser's evaporates immediately once I step inside. I don't really have a great history with the place. There was that time I almost put my gum in the coat-stand, thinking it was a bin or the time, as a misguided 13-year-old, I brought in a picture of Ethan Hawke and asked my regular hairdresser to 'do that'. Her smirk still stings to this day.

All of this unease translates into me feeling rather paralysed by the time I've reached the chair. I usually begin with a weak 'It's just getting a bit long' while I play with my hair to illustrate this complicated point. I then follow whatever advice I'm given, no matter what my personal thoughts are. I simply don't know what to say or do so hope for the best.

The result is that I normally resemble a member of a late 90s boyband, and not in an attractive, boyish way but more like the 5th guy in the band, who no girl fancies. So, a thinner Joey Fatone then pretty much.

It also doesn't help that I go for the cheapest option out there. I end up in a place called Dare or Slash or Ego or something equally aggressive but non-specific as I just don't see the point in spending over £10 on something that is gonna grow back, almost instantaneously in my case.

It gets worse each time as I spend the duration looking down at the increasingly silver hairs that are coming from my head. It reminds me not only that I'm getting old but also that by this age I should have developed a more adult way of dealing with a fairly innocuous procedure. I frowned so much yesterday that my Eastern European 'stylist' kept asking me if I was okay, to an embarrassing extent.

With this new haircut, I decided to further my humiliation for the week by going to another place which turns me into a creature more passive than a Fritzl child...the gym.

I bored you months ago after I had just joined with a certain amount of vague hope that I would actually commit to a new life of activity and protein shakes. Predictably, not a lot has really come from it. I forget, until I get there, how teeth-pullingly dull the whole place is. Repeated bursts of that evil Cascada bitch drowning my surprisingly small ears in drivel also doesn't help.

Well anyway, I finally booked in my first, free training session and attended this morning. I nodded along to most of what was said as luckily this was just a consultation which meant the whole reliving high school P.E. nightmare is being reserved for next week. I've been informed that I need to eat 6 meals a day (not a problem) and consider taking up Yoga (a problem).

It's only Tuesday and I've already approached two potentially toxic events with relative ease. I may look like the ugliest member of A1 right now but I'm taking baby steps on the way to becoming a fully-formed, non-phobic regular person. Score.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Halle Berry Saved My Life

So, I actually got some paid work writing for The Guardian. For shizz.

My first piece went live today (and the commenters are already calling me a racist).

You can take a look HERE

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Worst Film We May Never See

Every once in a while, you happen upon the development of a film which begs one major, unshakeable question: why?

Why did anyone ever come up with this idea? Why did anyone then green-light this? Why did any self-respecting actor decide to say yes? Not since I read of Ron Howard's proposed Caché remake have I had such a profoundly unsettled feeling.

Then came Frankie and Alice.

Any lover of bad cinema as art will already know the name. As will any surviving Halle Berry completists, if in any sick, depraved part of the world they actually still exist. That's right, one-time Oscar winner turned Razzie mainstay Halle Berry is top-lining this one. She seems to be on some sort of self-destructive mission to wreck whatever career she used to have by starring in films like Catwoman or 'sexy' cyber-thriller Perfect Stranger. It's a shame, as even in her lowest moments, if you squint, you can still see some of the raw talent that lit up Monster's Ball.

Whether or not that will be visible in Frankie and Alice is questionable. Firstly, here is the official synopsis to whet your appetite:

A drama centered on a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality.

You read that correctly. Halle Berry is playing a woman with multiple personalities, one of which is a racist. Doesn't this sound like some sort of Dave Chappelle sketch? Or at least the plotline of a raucous comedy, rather than a serious psychological drama.

What shocking events are to take place? Will we see Halle burning crosses on her parents’ lawn? Or having heated arguments with her reflection? The possibilities for unintentional comedy gold are endless. The entire exercise simply boggles the mind. Does Halle actually want the Academy to take her Oscar back? Who is this film being made for?

On paper the combination of Halle Berry and 'racist split personality' makes it sound like a tailor-made wet dream for those of us who proudly own Showgirls on DVD and have a stack of favourite lines, ready to recite ('What are these, watermelons? This is a stage, babe, it's not a patch').

With The Room mania currently seeping through the UK and Best Worst Movie gaining critical acclaim on the festival circuit, bad cinema is finally getting the unintentional respect it has long deserved. Because to create a truly bad film, a filmmaker must genuinely believe that he or she is creating a truly great film.

The signs look good for this one. A friend had seen a promo at Cannes and described Halle's performance as 'earnest'. A 'boob-slip' on set was all over the tabloids at the end of last year. It arrives from the writer of Save the Last Dance, a film where blunt racial stereotypes reigned supreme. Worryingly though, it is yet to possess a distributor either here or in the US.

For all of those people who re-watched Lindsay Lohan's performance as a one-armed, one-legged stripper in I Know Who Killed Me, consider yourself implored to write to your local council and get something done about this. You see, in years to come, Bad Movie Clubs will need new fodder to be mercilessly ripped apart. We can’t keep talking about brown rice and vegetables forever…

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Why Do I Have a Blog Again?

I've been getting extremely lazy with this damn blog. My problem is that I take it a bit too seriously. I think that every post I write should be of some substance. Okay so I realise that I have previously written about my iPod and how much I hate everything about Renee Zellweger, but there was at least some vague point to it all.

One of the reasons I hate blogs is because they're so incredibly self-important. I need a haircut, I'm going to get a haircut, I had a haircut, what do you think of my haircut? NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOUR HAIRCUT etc.

So I've tried to wait until I've had something semi-interesting to talk about before I splurged all over this thing. But, this has meant that I never update as I'm constantly waiting for this rush of inspiration which may never happen.

I have so many half-written posts here that will probably never be complete. Like parts of my life that I never fully saw all the way through. Fuck, I was gonna be a criminologist for a while. Seriously. I even applied for a criminology degree. I've also been saying for the past 6 months or so that I'm gonna do some sort of 'looking after kids' in a non-Ian Huntley way sort of thing. But I'm still to get past the application form.

The point of all this rambling is that I really need to write more on this blog. Not that anyone will actually give a shit, but I should. Just to write more often. I don't write enough anymore.

Anyway, this is turning into one of those self-indulgent 'me, me, me' rants. I'm turning into the very reason why I hate Twitter. I'm sleepy and I'm going to bed. If anyone needs me, I'll be that guy with the bug eyes, waiting for inspiration, while drooling on the firmest pillow.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Get a Room (Preferably In a Burning Building)

Last night, on the bus home from town, I happened to sit behind a couple who were in love. How did I know this? Well, they were so in love that they wanted to let me and anyone with clear vision know about it. This meant that the journey was poisoned by an aggressively affectionate chain of events that caused almost unbearable levels of bile to travel into my mouth.

The guy, who for these purposes we will call 'Cunt', had his arm around his girlfriend, who for these purposes we will call 'Tumour', and was kissing her again and again and again and again and again, while moving his grubby little hand all over her. Tumour was faux-resisting but Cunt was persistent.

For most of it, my ears were protected from the chaos but out of some sort of misplaced curiosity, I decided to press pause for a brief moment. I quickly regretted my decision when I heard the ear-smashing crime of 'baby voices' being sickeningly used. I'm not sure if my ears will ever forgive me.

It was so horrendously over-emphasised that I was close to saying something. But, what exactly would I have said and what grounds would I have to make them stop?

I've always had 'strong feelings' on public displays of affection, aka PDAs. I don't have any problem with the concept, more the variously devious ways in which it can be abused. There's nothing worse than being on the tube next to a couple decorating their faces with saliva. I guess love is blind. And obnoxious.

I guess it's about a lack of awareness for what is and isn't acceptable in public. Some couples think that by putting on a live sex show for all to see, they're really showing how truly in love they are and how we should all be eternally jealous for not being as happy as them. You can almost feel one of them checking for an audience, midway through a wet kiss.

I've been in situations before with previous exes who have wanted to indulge in PDAs and my reaction has been varied. See, the thing with fags and PDAs is that they don't just do it because it's natural and they want to. Sometimes they do it to 'prove a point'; to show everyone just how comfortable they are with being gay. That's one type of PDA I will flat-out refuse to indulge in. I'm not determined to 'prove a point' when I'm with someone. I'm not Harvey Milk.

Or there's another type I'm not a fan of; the 'trophy wife' PDA. An ex was once being more affectionate than usual in public and I asked what was up. He told me that he 'wanted everyone to know I was with him', at which point I slid away and revelled in my own space.

To me, a PDA should be instinctive and unplanned, without any ulterior motive. The less it relates to the person you're being affectionate towards, the more pointless it becomes.

I'm sure I just sound like an awful Scrooge and it's true that some days I genuinely enjoy walking through couples who are holding hands but I just think that people should be allowed to travel and live in safety. Many people confuse graphic displays of affection as sure signs that they are really, really in love.

It's all about the little things. The ones that just happen, without thinking. It's not about the ass-grabbing, breast-caressing live porn films. Those simply display insecurity. A worry that without the constant, visible touching and kissing any signs of romance might die. At a recent friend's wedding, the least believable couple was also the most affectionate and inevitably the most alienated one also. Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton anyone?

While it might not be acceptable for me to say to couples like Cunt and Tumour to keep their tongues in their mouths, I can at least rest in the knowledge that things probably aren't as rosey as they seem, or won't be down the line.

It's partly my fault for being such a people-watcher. I find the general public equally fascinating and disgusting. Maybe no one else noticed Cunt and Tumour or maybe some misguided tween looked over and went 'awwww', confusing graphic heavy petting with romance.

As it stands, until they develop earphones for the eyes, eyephones if you will, these situations will persist. Or maybe I should just mind my own fucking business and stop casually staring at the constant, fiery plane wreck that is other people.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Puppy Love Lockdown

When I was 6, I got married to a girl named Molly. The ceremony took place in the playground, next to the woods where, years later, kiss chase would become the more obvious way to spend the lunch-hour.

Sadly, it was never meant to be. Around the same time that my parents got a divorce, so did hers and Molly moved away to the big city and our marriage began to feel the strain. From then on, it consisted purely of fraught small talk at the odd birthday party and before we knew it, we had become just another statistic.

My next memorable relationship was with a girl named Alexis. Alexis was mute to everyone but me, which gave me a fantastic feeling of power and I flaunted it whenever possible. No-one knew Alexis like I did. I was the only one who really knew what her favourite colour was. But alas, it didn’t last. Dating a selective mute makes dinner parties a struggle.

I hadn’t thought about Molly or Alexis for a long time. The only reason they dropped back into my memory was because of something my little brother had said recently. He’s 10 and is turning into quite the womaniser. He had recently told me about ‘dumping’ his most recent girlfriend ‘because he felt like it’. All of this said with a casual shrug of the shoulders.

He had then gone to a birthday party recently and upon entering, grimaced and muttered to my father, ‘Oh God, my ex is here’. Now it’s an understandably tough situation when you arrive at a party and see that your ex is also in attendance but it’s not one that you typically expect to arise when you’re in your first decade. I can just imagine the tension that then pervaded throughout the party that day.

‘I saw you with a new girl by the climbing frame’ or ‘You still have my copy of A Bug’s Life and I NEED it back’ etc.

It frightens me that the word ex and the concept that comes with it is even in my brother's head. Maybe date-speak is more commonplace these days with kids. I can guarantee (divorcee jokes aside) that I was unaware of such complications at the age of 10. I was too busy wearing waistcoats and making my own radio shows.

I'm rather old-fashioned when it comes to what kids should and shouldn't be aware of. Being a kid for as long as possible is paramount in my mind. I'm not talking about being breastfed until 11 or wetting the bed at an age where you can wash your own sheets but just avoiding growing up too fast. Avoiding all the shit that inevitably pours down when you start caring about the way you look and what people think of you.

Although maybe all of this might be a good thing. Maybe I was too much of a kid for too long. My little brother is already more romantically experienced than I was at the age of 18. Maybe this means that when he does start dating proper actual women, he'll be a pro.

I, on the other hand, spent my middle and high school days in the wilderness. As puberty kicked in and I lost the ability to walk 5 metres without tripping over my own shoe, the brief flings of my younger years started to dry out.

In middle school, I spent most school discos awkwardly shuffling from side-to-side and then spending the duration of the 'slow dance' eating strawberry laces with the fat girls as I waited for my mum to pick me up.

Things went from bad to worse in high school. In the 5 years I was there, I got asked out just one time. I'd come from a different area so I carried a certain 'mystery' in the initial stages. This mystery led to me spending many a lunchtime huddled, alone, over a notepad in a classroom, willing the time to pass quicker.

It did also cause some romance. I was approached by a questionable girl from my class who told me that her friend wanted to go out with me. A friend who I later discovered to have the nickname 'Thirsty Cunt' - no kidding. I panicked and said I was too busy with my homework. Even at the age of 13 I was putting my career first; an admirable trait, even if TC didn't quite see it the same way at the time...

All of this meant that when dating finally did begin, I was hopelessly inexperienced. All of the mistakes and heartaches you're supposed to go through as a teenager, I encountered much later. I don't regret it though. It allowed me to spend my high school years relatively untroubled by the problems which plagued many of my classmates. I wasn't worried about anyone calling or not calling or whether I was really shit at kissing, I just pleaded ignorance.

It also meant that I avoided the fake girlfriendery which many homos go through. I didn't break anyone's heart or cause some girl to forever think she turned a man gay. Sure, I made out with enough and, in one head-smashingly embarrassing moment, turned down a bizarre bathroom threesome with two American girls, but I never made it all the way.

From my brother's nonchalant attitude towards 'dating' and the opposite sex, I'm pretty positive that when it really starts to matter, he'll possess all of the cool dating know-how that I didn't learn until much later. He'll be spending his high school years making a list of all the girls he's dated, rather than making a list of all the films he owns.

Anyway, maybe I'm just bitter because I was a 6-year-old divorcee...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Anatomy of a Trailer: Couples Retreat

1. If I have to watch another movie where Vince Vaughn confuses loud rambling for being funny, I'm going to drown every single person named Vince in the entire world just to prove a point. Four Christmasses wounded me. Deep.

2. How fat is Jon Favreau? Wasn't there a time when he was a legitimate love interest? Now he looks like if he laid on top of Kristin Davis he would literally crush her ribs.

3. Any film where someone winks and a sound effect occurs, I know that we can never be friends.

4. Films such as this highlight how sexist Hollywood is. Would the female equivalent of Faizon Love (aka Monique) or Jon Favreau (aka Roseanne Barr) ever be cast in this film?

5. Jason Bateman needs to develop better script reading skills fast. Oh no hang on, his next project sounds like a winner. He's starring in a film where Jennifer Aniston impregnates herself with a turkey baster. Great, sorted.

6. I like Malin Akerman but she is seriously pushing the limits of our friendship. If she doesn't end the film by setting fire to every other character then I'm deleting her from my Facebook.

7. Vince Vaughn gets into a dangerous situation with some sharks and survives. Stupid fucking sharks.

8. I always assumed that Kristin Davis spent her non-Sex and the City months asleep or cryogenically frozen but this film proves me totally wrong.

9. There is something so asexual about Kristin Bell. Sure, she's cute but can you even imagine her having a vagina?

10. Oh look, a sleazy, foreign yoga instructor named Fabio who makes overtly sexual gestures towards the women AND men! Who the fuck finds this kind of shit funny? I want names. I want names and addresses now.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Look, Watch! I'm Mourning!

This week saw the death of Michael Jackson and with it, one of the ugliest forms of participation sports began to rear its malformed head: public grieving.

It's always struck me as a bizarre practice. When a celebrity dies, one with a mass appeal, ordinary, seemingly sane members of the population turn into irrational fools. Crying on the news, lighting candles in their windows, posting over-emotional Facebook status updates and generally making me seriously consider emigrating and never coming back.

I just fail to understand how you could feel such grief for someone you have never met. I'm pretty sure a lot of these MJ mourners have poured out more emotion over his death than they have for real-life family members or friends who've died.

In my lifetime, I first remember this form of mass hysteria when I was 13 and Diana died. Admittedly it was a tragic event but the ensuing "Great British" reaction was one of the most embarrassing periods of recent national history.

From the radio stations not playing anything but classical music to the public weeping to the constant, mind-crushing news coverage it was a sad time for all the wrong reasons. Around the same time, Mother Theresa also lost her life but received about one hundredth of the attention. But then she didn't dance with John Travolta at the White House...

It's at times like then and now that I feel incredibly alienated from people as a whole. It's not that I'm denying the tragedy of death at all but I just don't feel linked enough to someone I have only ever encountered via the television to feel much emotion.

Along with Madame Tussauds and autographs, it's a side of celebrity culture that I have always failed to understand. I think it's another example of people desperately trying to cling to something they're not really a part of. By grieving for Michael Jackson and by telling EVERYONE about it via Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, messages in bottles, you're implying that you're part of this special community. Membership to this community puts you one step closer to the celebrity you're idolising, whether they be dead or alive.

If it was real grief of course, it wouldn't be so disgustingly public. It's this very reason why I despise RIP Facebook groups for classmates/colleagues/family members who have died. If I died and someone created a Facebook page to commemorate me, I would haunt them severely. Like proper Poltergeist haunting, none of that Truly Madly Deeply shit.

Another reason for this sort of insanity is linked to mortality in general. When Jade, Peasant Princess, died a few months back, people were scared by how young she was when she died. They projected their fears of their own death onto her and this whipped itself up into a frenzy of black-topped OK! covers and yet more public weeping.

This whole, horrible form of group grief will only worsen with time. The closer people get to their idols, by following their Twitter feed and pretending they have some sort of interaction with them, the more they can fool themselves into thinking they're allowed to wear black for a week when they die. I'm not denying that a lot of these people do feel genuine sadness when someone like Michael Jackson dies. I'm just worried by the frightening lack of perspective this might suggest.

Maybe I'm just a heartless bastard? I was labelled 'Tin Man' by an ex before. But personally I think real, genuine grief should be private and should also have some sort of basis in reality. To play me out here are some sample 'Tweets' on MJ's death:

RIP Michael Jackson never cried for someone as much as I have for you.

Why is it Pres. Obama is not making a statement over the death of Michael Jackson?

Dedicated my last two evenings to remembering michael jackson

cant sleep still thinkin bout mj.....

he reached across space and time, across genres and cultures, upward, outwards, beyond...a star on earth, now a star in heaven...RIP MJ x


Oh and just to point out these were all from the last 4 minutes...