Sunday, 1 December 2013

Radio Retaliation



There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is BBC Radio 6 Music.

A few years ago, when 6 Music was threatened with closure I was one of many twitter uses with a "Save 6 Music" twibbon. Remember twibbons? I had one because the brilliant Adam & Joe were on 6 Music, but they were my only experience of the station. Now I have to sit in an office where 6 Music is constantly on, and I wish it had been shut down at the time.

I accept that no publicly funded radio station is likely to play the combination of third-wave ska and Jamiroquai that would satisfy me, but this is supposed to be the home of alternative music. And every day it plays that same fucking Jake Bugg song repeatedly. I don't know much about radio, but isn't it bad to play the same song within the space of a few hours?

Obviously criticising someone else's music taste is stupid, but if you like Jake Bugg you belong in a fucking Saw trap. That way you'll know how the rest of us feel when we have to listen to that whiney prick who can't sing and is only famous because he wrote a song with "Bolt" in the title just before the Olympics. And this is meant to be the alternative. This station which plays The Killers and Sex on Fire and Florence + the Machine - whose nails-on-a-blackboard voice makes it impossible for me to do any work. Florence Welch owes me compensation.

It's the level of smugness that really gets to me. The idiots who host shows and the lickspittles who call in all share a feeling of superiority because their pop music has guitars. Every time they announce another awful fucking indie band it's with a sickening sense of disdain for those plebs who listen to Radio 1. I'd rather listen to Rihanna than the pretentious dreariness that populates 6 Music.

Worst of all is Lauren Laverne. The least discerning person in the history of radio, who apparently thinks that every track she plays is the greatest song ever. Every time she says "Maida Vale" it makes me want to punch the radio, and she talks like a three year old who's accidentally crawled into the BBC. I've heard her refer to Dame Judi Dench as "Dame J.D" and to Bristol as "Brizzle." This is a grown woman. Why don't they just bring in Russell Brand and be done with it? Oh I remember why, never mind.

So please join me with a Close 6 Music twibbon and enjoy Thievery Corporation. To get the full 6 Music effect, listen to it twice in a row.




Sunday, 3 November 2013

Call It Pointless


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are five more of them.

I've been observing your human behaviour for 22 years now, and I'm constantly baffled by how much of it is completely pointless. Here's 5 examples:

5. Fancy dress - The very epitome of forced fun. "You can come to my party but only if you dress as a smurf." Why? It's exactly the same night out but with an extra inconvenience, with the bonus of having to clean blue off all your stuff for the next few months. Fancy dress should only be allowed for small children, when it's cute, or the middle-aged, when it's funny. 

4. Opening curtains - I recently had an epiphany and haven't opened my curtains since. It's a Sisyphian task, opening curtains every morning only to close them again every night. It makes sense for the purpose of letting in sunlight, but there's really no point when you live in the middle of a cloud made up of constant Sheffield rain and industrial smog left over from the 1980s. Now I save literally seconds every day.

3. Dressing smart - That we sometimes have to wear smart clothes is surely just a hangover from the olden days. It doesn't make us work any better, so what's the point? It's just another case of being slightly less comfortable for no good reason. 

2. Wrapping presents - They just get immediately unwrapped again.

1. Not wearing rucksacks - At some point in history, a genius invented the rucksack. Drawing inspiration from the animal kingdom, we could actually carry our worlds upon our backs just like the noble snail and stoic tortoise. This extraordinary invention allowed us to transport heavy goods whilst somehow having both hands free. So we could run, grab and fight zombies should we need too, while all the time carrying our shopping on our backs. And yet there are people out there - and I've seen them - who are so stupid that they insist on neglecting the mighty rucksack, opting instead for a handbag or satchel. Are you insane or just thick? The rucksack is the greatest invention ever and you're wasting everyone's time with your bag which unnecessarily inhibits movement. Are you really so vain that you'd rather use up an entire limb by carrying a handbag or have a satchel swinging against your side as you walk than be caught wearing a rucksack? You might as well be pissing on the grave of the rucksack's great inventor.

Here's Primus.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sucker Train Blues



There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is trains.

I know I've complained about trains before but the other day an incident cemented their place as the world's worst mode of transport, worse even than buses, Megatron and the truck from Duel. Ok maybe not worse than buses.

So I was standing on a train when a seat became free. I went to sit down on it but noticed someone else heading for it. He was considerably older than me, I'd guess around 60, so I stopped to let him take the seat because I am a nice boy. But upon sitting down, the man looked up at me and said: "Not fast enough!"

Now, he clearly hadn't realised that I'd let him take the seat. But that just makes it even worse train etiquette! You don't stick two fingers up at people who miss your bus, or piss on the taxi queue through the window of a cab. I would have no moral qualms about punching that old prick in his stupid old face. 

But obviously I didn't do or say anything, because as I mentioned I am a nice boy. But that means he still thinks he was actually faster than a young (nice) boy. I should have challenged him to a fucking foot race. But instead he'll believe he genuinely beat me to that seat until the day he dies. Which will be relatively soon, so that's some consolation.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ghostwriter



There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

3. My mum was telling me about her friend who sees ghosts - "She knew someone was going to die on a plane once." I challenged her use of the word "knew" from an epistemological standpoint, given that knowledge is a belief which is both true and justified. But intrigued by this obvious load of fucking nonsense, I asked what she meant. 

"She went on a plane and saw death, then later on the flight someone actually died." Apparently my mum's friend is the kid from Final Destination. So I asked what "death" looked like.

"Why does that matter?" my mum replied. Because she saw death! If someone told me they'd seen death, my first question would be, "oh really, what did it look like?" But obviously that hadn't occurred to my mum, whose first question had presumably been, "would you like another biscuit?"

2. Last night I was in a pub talking to a friend who happened to be wearing a hat. A girl came over and said, "can I wear your hat? It matches my dress!" It's always too late that you realise the perfect response, which would have been: "Can he wear your dress? It matches his hat!" or "No, go fuck yourself."

Anyway she proceeded to take the hat despite my friend's protests and put it on her head, at which point I snatched it off her. Why do idiots assume that a stranger wearing a hat is somehow an invitation to take it? It doesn't apply to other items of clothing, like socks or pants. And why do those same idiots assume that my having spiky hair is an invitation for them to touch it? And why do they take my being in a bar, or on a train, or on a bus, as an invitation for them to talk to me?

People moan about the rudeness of the English and their reluctance to talk to strangers but I completely embrace it. I don't want to talk to you unless I know you, and even then I'm not happy about it.

1. I was at the cinema (Only God Forgives, or as I call it, Only Interesting For About Half An Hour) and was constantly distracted by someone who was breathing so loudly that I could hear it from rows away. Breathing! The one thing we all absolutely have to do, all the time. If you can't manage breathing without it sounding like it's fucking killing you then how can you possibly handle life's tougher tasks, like eating or drinking.

Thanks for reading, here's the fantastic RJD2.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Embarrassment


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is embarrassment.

Here, in no particular order, are three instances of me being a fucking idiot:

3. Last week I was at the Edinburgh Fringe which was excellent as ever, except for one exchange that took place when I was trying to buy some tickets. The woman at the desk asked me for my postcode.

"AL4..." I began. She looked at me confused, then started to type and said: "A... L... F... O...?" She was spelling out the number 4. In a postcode. I assumed postcodes must work differently in Scotland and explained that I meant the number 4.

"The number 4?" she asked. "In a first name?"

I contemplated whether to go along with the idea that I had a number in my name in order to save face, but decided it would be best to just admit that I'd misheard her. It really did sound like she said postcode though, which makes me wonder if they just do that to mess with people. Oh and please don't try to work out my address. 

2. This incident gave me a flashback to a similar ordeal that happened years ago. I was in a shop with a friend and the guy asked if I'd like a bag, to which I said: "No thanks." Upon leaving the shop, my friend told me that he'd actually said: "Have a nice day." I have no idea how I misheard that, but he must have thought I was the world's rudest prick. He was only trying to be friendly and I threw it back in his face, albeit inadvertently. Maybe it was the final straw in his increasingly resentful view of humanity and he went home and killed himself. But that's nothing compared to the small amount of embarrassment I felt. 

1. A girl I liked once asked me what I thought of her new jeans and all I could nervously stutter at her was: "They're blue." Nice one, James Bond.

So what have I learnt? That I'm pathetic, and quite possibly deaf. Here's Madness:

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

All You Need


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are five more of them.

5. Trains: Or more specifically, people on trains. No one wants to be on a train, we're all just getting from A to B so just shut up, leave me alone and fuck off. The amount of people who insist on shouting, taking up multiple seats or listening to their awful music obnoxiously loudly is completely baffling. And I hate those attention-seeking dickheads playing the pianos in St Pancras station, who assume that we must want to listen to them while we try to get on with our depressing lives.

4. "You can't come in, you're wearing shorts.": That's a phrase I hear quite often. But what do they expect me to wear in this weather? Jeans? A dress? I'm heartbroken that your shitty bar is too good for me because I'm wearing shorts, now where will I pay for overpriced drinks and mingle with a bunch of bellends? And they really don't like it if you offer to take the shorts off.

3. Man of Steel: It's the worst of both worlds; all the dumb CGI action of Zach Snyder and the pompous, pretentious, non-sensical dialogue of Christopher Nolan - "Evolution always wins!" What? At one point Zod goes "If you love humans so much..." and I honestly thought he was about to say "...then why don't you marry them?" Plus when I bought the tickets I was told I had to pay extra for the 3D glasses. I explained that I have my own 3D glasses (actually I have about 800 pairs which I deliberately keep in my bag to avoid paying for more) but apparently I still have to buy them. It's bad enough that I have to sit through this boring film, and even worse that I have to do so in headache-o-scope £D, but now I have to pay even more for the privilege and an 801st pair of flimsy light-loss glasses that I'm encouraged to return at the end so they can sell them back to me again next time.

2. All You Need Is Kill: The upcoming Tom Cruise movie has changed its name from the unbelievably stupid All You Need Is Kill to the much more sensible Edge of Tomorrow. This should be good news, but without the charmingly bad title what does it have left? Tom Cruise, that's what. And now there's a vacancy for the year's most terribly titled film, who knows how long it will be before it's filled?

1. The Way Way Back: That was quick. Here's Sublime:

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Rise Up


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this piece of news.

Even with a degree in politics (and philosophy, but the less said about that the better), I only feel comfortable taking a strong political stance when the question seems mind-numbingly obvious. Questions like: Should MPs get a pay rise? There's a head-scratcher; should MPs, who have consistently proven themselves to be untrustworthy and incompetent, have their pay raised above £70,000 during the most savage spending cuts we've ever seen? Wait, let me get my calculator and a pot of coffee, this one's going to take quite some FUCK OFF.

In the background of all this is of course the expenses scandal, from John Prescott using taxpayer's money to repair his toilet seat twice, to John Prescott spending £4,800 a year on food at public expense. As a result, the task of deciding how much MPs should be paid has been handed to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which means that our elected representatives can have their taxpayer-funded cake and eat it too; MPs can go to the press or that bastion of democratic debate Question Time, and announce that they abhor the prospect of a pay rise, while conceding that they have no power over the decision so would have no choice but to reluctantly accept the pay rise anyway. They can score electoral points with their rhetoric, while holding a giant novelty cheque obnoxiously behind their back. It's win-win.

It's a complete false dichotomy that our MPs are to either abuse a system of parliamentary expenses or have a pay rise. As is the idea that without increased pay, they'll have no choice but to take on other jobs and business interests. Here's a novel idea: Pay them the same as other public servants, don't let them have any other employment and don't let them fiddle expenses. You know, like a normal fucking job. 

To be fair to MPs, they probably don't all sit on their arse all day. Unlike, oh I dunno, the Queen, who was recently given a 5% pay rise for doing fuck nothing and making that face. I don't think all MPs are crooks, and I'm sure some of them are genuinely there to make things better for people, such as... well I can't think of any now you put me on the spot. I do, however, think that they're disproportionately wealthy, that they're weird and creepy and that, most importantly, they should be working for us and not the other way round. And if they really need a second home closer to Westminster? Two words: Capsule hotel. 




Saturday, 6 July 2013

Travelling Without Moving II: The Heretic



There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is when people insist on telling you all the details of their fucking boring holiday (again).

So, I just got back from the USA. Here are the edited highlights of the journal I kept. The word "highlights" here being used loosely, as in: "Here are some highlights from today's local elections."


Day 1
  • Flew to New York, managed to avoid being cavity searched in the airport. Result!
  • Watched The Look of Love on the plane, here's my review: Lots of naked people. 
  • Looking forward to meeting this Fiscal Cliff I keep hearing about. Apparently he never pays for a round.
  • Saw this stupid advert on the subway:



Day 2
  • Watched the Yankees play a game of rounders.
  • Went to 30 Rock!



Day 3
  • Enjoyed The Dark Knight boat trip, the Cloverfield subway tour and a go in the pram from Rosemary's Baby.
  • No sign of Louise Mensch.




Day 4
  • Went to the Natural History Museum where Alex discovered the world's funniest machine:



Day 5
  • Got the bus to Washington D.C.
  • Saw this great advert:



Day 6
  • No sign of President Romney.
  • Saw that white house from The West Wing, the building from Midtown Madness 3 and the bloke from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.



Day 7
  • Saw the PreCrime building from Minority Report! AKA the Ronald Reagan Building.
  • From Reagan to Regan - went to the stairs from The Exorcist! My pilgrimage is complete.



Day 8
  • Saw pandas at the zoo.
  • Attempted a 1000 piece Beatles jigsaw.



So that was my brief trip to America, based mainly on locations from films and TV shows. I'll leave you with an American sign, an American cat and Tubular Bells.



Friday, 7 June 2013

Metabollocks


As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is films about films.

That's probably because I'm pretentious and awful, having already discussed TV shows about TV shows. A lot of cinema is about cinema, but I'm talking about films that actually revolve around the production of fictional films. So here, because I'm a complete sucker for postmodernism, are my top 5 films about films:

5. Berberian Sound Studio


The wonderful Toby Jones plays a foley artist who leaves his quiet English life to work on an Italian giallo film called The Equestrian Vortex. It's nicely atmospheric and unashamedly Lynchian, but the best thing about it is watching Jones create nasty horror sound effects by attacking the shit out of some vegetables. I know how he feels.

4. Seven Psychopaths


Martin McDonagh follows up his brilliant In Bruges with the less brilliant but still brilliant Seven Psychopaths. It centres around Colin Farrell's struggling writer, who happens to be called Marty, as he attempts to finish a screenplay, which happens to be called Seven Psychopaths. With its clever humour and impressive ensemble cast, Seven Psychopaths explains that films can treat people as horribly as they want, but the dog must not be harmed.

3. The Artist


Talking of which, The Artist follows silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) and his dog Jack (Uggie) as they attempt to save a career destroyed by the introduction of sound in cinema. Famously, filmgoers in Liverpool were refunded after complaining that The Artist was a silent film. But when I demand my money back because The Great Gatsby was too loud, nothing.

2. Mulholland Drive 


David Lynch's confusing masterpiece follows an aspiring actress (Naomi Watts) as she arrives in Hollywood and auditions for a film called The Sylvia North Story. And there's some weird stuff with a blue box and a lesbian.

1. Wes Craven's New Nightmare


Having already redefined the horror genre at least twice, Wes Craven returns to Elm Street for the seventh, and second best, instalment in the iconic franchise. New Nightmare sees the cast of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street terrorised and tormented by Freddy Krueger (credited as "Himself"; Robert Englund plays Robert Englund), who seems to be breaking out of the films and into the real world. It's up to Heather Langenkamp (Heather Langenkamp) to stop him, with the help of Wes Craven (Wes Craven) who is apparently writing the script that they are following. It's all fascinatingly self-aware, at once celebrating the franchise and criticising its over-commercialisation over the years; "the story gets too familiar, or too watered down by people trying to make it easier to sell," to quote Wes Craven (Wes Craven), who redefines the genre in the process. He would go on to redefine the genre again with the even more postmodern Scream. Incidentally, Wes Craven's twitter feed is a glorious mix of horror films and birdwatching. I love him.

And here are 5 more that I chose not to include:

5. Adaptation


Charlie Kaufman's super smart but super smug Adaptation follows Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) and his twin brother (Nicolas Cage) as Charlie struggles to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film, self-referentially writing his script as the events unfold.

Why I didn't include it: Aren't you reading? It stars Nicolas Cage. Twice.

4. Inland Empire 



Three hours of Lynchian madness including rabbits, dancing and another actress, this time in a film called In High on Blue Tomorrows which is cursed, or something.

Why I didn't include it: It makes Mulholland Drive seem straightforward.

3. Scream 3


If you hadn't guessed, I would have loved to include a Scream film but the only one that actually centres around the production of a film is the third, and worst, instalment in Wes Craven's franchise. Ghostface is back and this time the victims are the cast of Stab 3, the franchise-within-a-franchise based on the events of Scream. It sounds confusing, but Wes Craven did redefine the horror genre.

Why I didn't include it: It's written by Ehren Kruger, who insists on doing to Scream what he did to Transformers.

2. Hitchcock



This shouldn't really count, as the film-within-a-film is not fictional, but Psycho. But unlike that Hitchcock classic, this sucks, not to mention being completely overshadowed by the excellent TV movie The Girl starring Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock.

Why I didn't include it: Scarlett Johansson.


1. Timecode 


The interesting thing about Timecode is that the screen is divided into four quadrants, each showing a continuous 90-minute take, following some incredibly boring Hollywood people trying to make a film.

Why I didn't include it: It's shite.

Thanks for reading! The title of this blog comes from the Slipknot song Metabolic. But you got that. 




  

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Neverending Tory


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

I've now finished the politics part of my degree, and can confidently answer the seemingly complex question: What is politics? It's a bunch of cunts being cunts. But apparently you can't write that in an exam. This week saw these three instances of cunts being cunts:

3. Nigel Farage made the fatal mistake of opening his stupid mouth, and from the saliva-filled black hole of self-awareness came the accusation that the Scottish protesters were "yobbo fascist scum." These protesters had besieged the UKIP idiot in Edinburgh's Canons' Gait pub, which is incidentally where I first saw the brilliant Robin Ince perform. In fairness to Nigel Farage, it can't be easy constantly refuting claims that your party is racist when all its candidates keep getting caught doing Nazi salutes and denying the Holocaust and being racist. But as its website so speedily asserts, UKIP is a "non-racist party", so who cares about all the pesky evidence to the fucking contrary? With all that in mind, you'd have thought the cunt from Kent would think twice before throwing around the accusation of fascism. The hypocrisy of Nigel Farage, a man so mindlessly nationalistic that his policies include a five-year freeze on immigration, calling the Scottish nationalists "fascists" is simply laughable. Haha.

2. You'd have thought self-awareness couldn't plummet much lower than that. But this is British politics, so it definitely can. An anonymous source close to the Prime Minister has apparently described Tory activists as "mad, swivel-eyed loons." This angered Tory activists, who totally disproved the remarks by demanding a "full-scale inquiry", their loon eyes swiveling like mad.

1 Surely self-awareness can't sink any lower? Oh wait, here comes Philip Hammond. The creepy fucking children's nightmare complained that gay marriage upsets too many people. Why can't those selfish gays stop their fight for equality and just think about all the Tories they're upsetting?! Look Philip Hammond, gay marriage is definitely going to become legal despite your party's best efforts. Why would you keep reasserting your bigotry? Just shut up; you'd be doing a favour to yourself, your party and most importantly, me.

Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with the Catch 22 song from which this blog takes its name. And talking of third wave ska, Greece should have won Eurovision. Hey, do you think Nigel Farage was secretly watching?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Money For Nothing


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them. 

Another trip to the cinema (Dead Man Down, crap), another bunch of awful adverts and trailers.

3. 


Everything about this advert is loathsome; their smug fucking gurning, that awful ad-rock music, the weirdly disgusting name Freederm...

2. 


"Wouldn't they sound better facing the right way?"

No. 

1. 


Just when I thought I'd found this year's film with the dumbest premise (Upside Down), along comes this big pile of stupid. Why would making all crime legal for one night a year make unemployment fall to 1%? How would it stop people committing crime the rest of the year? What stupid fucking government would do that? Apart from ours maybe. It just seems like the makers of this film haven't stopped to think about it for a single second.




Oh, ok.



Yep, got it. 

Then I watched the fantastic Stoker, and my faith in the world was (partially) restored. Here's Dire Straits. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tower Seven



As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is films set in tower blocks.



Last year there were (at least) three films set in tower blocks, presumably because they make good settings for confined action, while making a comment on broken promises of post-war affluence. Or something. So here are my top 7 films set in tower blocks, because of the name of the Thievery Corporation song. 


7. Dredd (2012)


Karl Urban's chin fights its way up a 200-storey tower block in this explosive comic book adaptation that's loved by people who haven't seen The Raid

6. The Negotiator (1998)


Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey star in a gripping thriller about a hostage negotiator who ends up taking hostages himself in, you guessed it, a tower block. According to IMDb, Sylvester Stallone was meant to star but turned it down, as part of his ongoing refusal to be in good films. 

5. Tower Block (2012, again)


This aptly-titled British thriller sees the residents of a decrepit tower block (where else?) trapped by a sniper. It's a nicely tense piece of writing by James Moran, who joins Caitlin and Dylan in the ranks of great Morans. 

4. Attack the Block (2011)



Joe Cornish's debut feature is a quotable comedy in which aliens invade a South London bungalow. Just kidding, it's a tower block.

3. Shivers (1975)


A sexually-transmitted parasite spreads through a Canadian tower block, causing rampant sexual desire and icky bodily mutations in its residents. This was the breakthrough film for the master of body horror David Cronenberg, and bizarrely was co-produced by his friend Ivan Reitman, who would go on to make weird comedies starring Arnold Schwarzenneger. Actually, the films of Reitman and Cronenberg aren't so different; Twins is like Dead Ringers (which was even going to be called Twins until Reitman bought the title from Cronenberg), Kindergarten Cop is like Eastern Promises (spoiler alert) and Junior is like The Brood (and practically everything Cronenberg has done). 

2. Die Hard (1988)


I don't need to say anything about Die Hard. Bruce Willis, tower block, increasingly shit sequels. Next!

1. The Raid (2012, again, again.)


The best tower block film has to be this head-hammeringly violent Indonesian martial arts movie, about a police squad's brutal battle up a run-down high-rise. Watch it. Your jaw will be in your throat and your heart will be on the floor. I can't wait for the sequel - and that's a sentence I never thought I'd say.

Thanks for reading, and there's a prize for whoever can spot the odd one out, visually speaking... I'll leave you with the Thievery Corporation song responsible for this whole sorry affair. Next time, my Shed Seven!