Monday, 14 December 2009
2. MP’s Expenses – In the 1890s when people were pissed off with politics, they threw a bomb at a prince. In the 1980s when people were pissed off they rioted and organised dissent. In 2009, when we discovered that our MPs had been systematically raping the public purse, we all bought the Daily Telegraph and came to the conclusion that they probably weren’t paid enough.
3. Jo Whiley – Simply for praising everything you would find on a HMV Recommends list. (Pigeon Detectives, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Now That’s What I Call Vacuous! Vol. 26.).
4. Tesco – A dangerously bigger and more abstract version of Whiley, Tesco has enjoyed a fine decade of promoting bland taste. Ever flicked through Tesco’s top ten books? All you will learn is that Dan Brown has some very stupid opinions about Jesus, and that Katie Price is a stupid opinion. Ever listened to Tesco’s top ten albums? All you will learn is that Mark Ronson makes incomprehensibly shit songs even worse, and that Johnny Borrell can’t possibly have listened to his own ‘voice of a generation’. As well as this, Tesco’s Finest seems to enjoy a sterling reputation – why? It might be the best in Tesco, but that doesn’t mean it is worthy of praise. I mean, ‘Definitely Maybe’ is the finest Oasis has to offer….
5. Deal Or No Deal? – Everybody hates this crap. You don’t even have to comprehend Noel Edmonds to hate it. It represents the worst kind of spirituality to be found in people. The “£20,000 for a box is a good deal, but you do what is true in your heart” kind of speak. It is a show packed with literally the worst advice in the world. If something is true, then it is true. It can’t be true in my heart and not yours. It is either true or not true. Stop feeding into the hands of the producers (sorry, the nasty ‘Mr. Banker’) and all deal as soon as you get offered such badass sums of money. If I came up to you in the street and asked you if you would like £20,000 for not walking into a room, and also told you there was a tiny chance that in the room there was more money, you would definitely take my £20,000 and walk away from me and my bizarre generosity. If you didn’t you would be unhealthily stupid, and as such I would ensure that the room didn’t contain more money, but simply Josef Fritzl. A year for every grand you could’ve had – this is what Austrians call ‘justice’.
6. Being Patriotic About Soldiers – At the turn of the decade, the dominant opinion with regards to Britain’s foreign activities is “it doesn’t matter if we should be there or not, what matters is that we give the troops out full support”. Actually, it really does matter; it matters an awful lot to the people in the country. If I came home to find soldiers firing guns at my dad and detonating my grandmother, I would probably want a good explanation. And why oh why must I give support to the army exactly? I care so little about it, and anyway it was their choice to take a job shooting at people. So given a choice as to where to spend public money, I am going to promote the NHS for a massive increase in funding; definitely after having seen adverts for some soldiers who have released an album upon returning from Afghanistan. If this is what tax money produces, then I want nothing to do with it. Having said that, a full scale cover of Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ complete with outfits could change my opinion entirely.
7. 50 Cent – An odious little prick if ever I saw one. This man is the most overexposed tool in the music industry – constantly playing up to the negative themes and stereotypes that hip-hop was born to rid us of. Afrika Bambaataa told us about renegades of funk, Public Enemy had a nation of millions trying to hold them back, and 50 Cent has a gun in one hand whilst driving an expensive dick-substitute rapping about pricey piss-sweet alcohol. Cretin.
8. Ironic Genre Adoption – When The Clash got involved in burgeoning New York hip-hop and disco scenes, as well as the super good dub of the late 70s, do you think it was done with a smug wink to postmodern theory? No, because Joe Strummer wasn’t a penis. And he never once thought about how being retro (see also, ‘nu’) was such a wonderful way to play with culture and the metanarrative of time. And he didn’t make a throwback 80s synth album because all of his music scene mates were. He wrote ‘Radio Clash’ instead.
9. T4 – Constant irreverent humour, constant crap sarcasm, constant bad music, constant bad programmes – constant thorn in my side. The people who present this show are basically breathing Topshop mannequins, but with poorer conversational skills than their inanimate predecessors. They are the kind of people who think that the Ricky Gervais style of humour is the funniest thing of all time (as well as THE most intelligent form of wit), and that Extras was a genuinely high-quality show. They often end up on comedy quiz panel shows, during which they will speak roughly once – and it is always painfully unfunny, or an inane comment that leads to a gag from a second rate comedian. I do hope you read this Alex Zane; for God’s sake man, you are the comedic bitch of Michael McIntyre.
10. Hollywood Re-Hash – This past decade has witnessed horrendous examples of systematic abuse. It was a period that gave us a real strong effort from the US army, who forced suspected terrorists into dressing like Slipknot fans and engaging in what I can only assume were nude games of stuck-in-the-mud (the photos don’t lie). The torture was endemic, but conveniently palmed off as a matter of semantics. And when you think about it the neo-Cons were right; how can we be expected to act morally when words have such slippery meanings? I propose some kind of ‘convention’ in which we lay out these meanings. Maybe Geneva could host it? A mere thought. We also saw the Catholic Church in Ireland really open up to contemporary liberal Christianity – but not in the way we expected. Rather than re-examine it’s stance on abortion, or homosexuality, or contraception, the church decided to re-examine the role of child abuse. Having adopted a thoroughly modern approach to exegesis, the church determined that God wasn’t totally black and white with regards to the issue, so set about methodically abusing as many kids as possible. Both of these episodes pale in insignificance however when compared with Hollywood’s systematic abuse of movie icons over the last 10 years. Remember how great ‘Star Wars’ seemed? Remember how much you loved ‘Indiana Jones’? Remember thinking that ‘The Pink Panther’ was as good as Sellers could give? Hollywood clearly doesn’t. For fuck’s sake, even the captivating ‘King Kong’ wasn’t sacred. “Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast” concludes Denham in the final lines of the 1933 masterpiece; but having seen Hollywood’s new offer, I think Peter Jackson had a hand in it.
Monday, 17 August 2009
Hello fellow ranters. Firstly, I must stress that this rant is being written in a particularly mind-fuckingly-annoying-gappy-shit-muncher-hostel in Bolivia, so perhaps my perception of the world around me is particularly warped right now. Nevertheless, the fact remains: just because you dick around the world does not mean you have to grow some disease-ridden joke of a facial-hair-stain on your ra-ra, meathead, Quagmire-esque chin.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against beards. Some of the world's finest have sported the face-rug:
2) Your Mum.
3) David Bellamy.
4) Annie Jones.
Some of my closest friends have beards. I am not anti-beard. I have even allowed myself to grow a fairly decent face-covering from time-to-time. But amongst the travelling folk of South America in 2009 it is verging on the epidemic. Why the necessity? Why do people feel that as soon as they leave the confines of Britain that they should instantly commence the cultivation of little wispy bits? It is probably a mindless attempt to identify themselves as a traveller. The beard completes the look: the jumper emblazoned with a llama, the rainbow-patchwork pyjama bottoms, the beads around the neck. It is not needed you fucking sheep. Everyone knows you are travelling. You stick out like a sore thumb in Bolivia and Peru. You are white for fuck's sake, and the locals are not! They also like to sport little bowler hats and carry around llamas or babies.
There is no chance of you being mistaken for a local peasant, if that is what you are so worried about you twat.
Sorry, my outburst may seem a little rash. Indeed, I don't blame you Mr Travelling Douche-Face. I too have fallen foul to the pressure! The horrible, just horrible pressure which you have experienced from your far less hirsute friends. You know the type: the ones who didn't have pubic hairs until they were 19, and only need to shave once a month. The kind of chap who says the following phrase: "Oh yeah, you should blatantly grow a beard! I defo would if I could, but I can't". To be perfectly honest, when it comes down to it I like to be clean shaven. I relish the fact that after I have given myself the twice over with my trusty Mach 3, that my face is smoother than your girlfriend's bottom. So please do not try to egg me on, and advise me to grow a moustache. Sure, if i do grow some kind of upper-lip extravaganza, I will start to look like a winning combination of my own father and Freddie Mercury.
But I would prefer to not blend into the mass of dickweeds who surround me everyday. Let me stay nice and smooth, or i may be forced to find another use for my razor and slit your throat. Thank you. Jack Collins
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Estate agents are muppets. Not the furry, well-meaning, yellow and blue friends of our childhood. Rather, they are bumbling buffoons, idiot guardians of the hallowed halls of London real estate. Gatekeepers of the garrett, keymasters of the corrupt. Their levels of ineptitude are positively Dickensian, and all is made worse by a degree of avarice that would make Scrooge blush with the sheer cheek of it.
I prefer to have little to no association with this breed. For nearly 5 years I have lived in a building which is part of a family run network of properties, with an office next door. While far from perfect, it's more Fawlty Towers than Amityville Horror. And because I know there are alternatives to your classic agency/highway-robbery-by-bank-transfer, I fear my tolerance for their antics has declined.
Fast forward to 2009. Faced with an onslaught of family moving to London, I am awarded the task of screening flats in advance of their arrival, and not just flats, but the holy grail of the London property search - the immaculate and reasonably priced 2 bedroom in Central London.
With 8 years of London living under my belt and the weight of 5 previous property searches under my belt I am embarking again on this Titanic Ship of Fools. And true to form I am met with pain and suffering at every turn.
Your honour, if it please the court:
A two bedroom property on King's Cross Road. I am on my lunch break, it's a scorcher. And garbage day. There is nowhere for me to stand but beside a festering can of refuse. At the 15 minute estate-agent wait mark I ring, I am told "5 minutes off". 10 minutes later I am on the verge of leaving, when she arrives, apology-free. Fine, fine. After a tour, I am discussing the finer points of the related transactions with her (The finders fee, the Holding Fee, the Inventory fee, the 6 pints of blood, 4 phoenix feathers, and 6 weeks deposit).
Before long however, she takes a call, seemingly from a love interest, and starts discussing her date plans for that evening. 5 long minutes go by while I stand beside her like a lemon. Finally I hand her a notebook and WHILST ON THE PHONE she scribbles down the final financial points. I depart silently as she sets the scene for whatever naff estate agents do on dates.
At 9:15 I am outside the flat in question when I get a call asking if I am still on for my 9:15 appointment. Why yes, yes I am. In fact I'm here, which you would know if YOU were here. 5 minutes later he arrives, only to find that he can't open the door. I leave.
A two bedroom, moderately (yet still extortionately) priced flat is on the agenda. I have specified not ex-council please because traditionally (my prejudice) I don't like the cut of their jib. So we arrive - red brick building, lovely - enter the front hall - and it's 100% clear that we have a council situation. I ask for some explanation - "Council? You didn't want ex council? I thought you meant ex-counSEL. Like counsellors. Yeah. 'And you cheat, you lie, you make me wanna cry..... (Thanks Godley and Creme).
I wish there was a happy ending to this tale of one city. I fear it will all end with compromise and paying through the nose into a jackasses pocket. But I live in hope. Claire Geddie
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
"Which one of you is Simon Bird?"
"You're a cunt."
Listen again to the infamous press conference here, and if that doesn't do it for you, here is the same dialogue as read by a computer. It's a stone fact that Radiohead's 'OK Computer' becomes at least twice the album if this is inserted in place of 'Fitter Happier'.
And don't forget - Dennis Wise was never in the Crazy Gang. AC
Monday, 10 August 2009
None of this, however, explains the unaccountable occasional curveball hurled in my direction by the ‘selecter’ at my local Virgin Active in Streatham. Today, for example, I was struggling as usual on the cross-trainer when I heard a pan pipe version of Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears In Heaven’. No sane person would think twice about listening to this song in any other situation than sobbing curled up in a foetal position on a cold wooden floor but Virgin’s music man somehow came to the conclusion that it was the appropriate score to gut-busting (for me) exercise. (Incidentally, of Clapton, the genuinely insane and rant-prone Anton Newcombe once said “People talk about Eric Clapton. What has he ever done except throw his baby off a fuckin' ledge and write a song about it?” - more Newcombe gold here)
It shouldn’t ever come to this (please Mr Selecter never do the pan pipes again), but it doesn’t have to be the other way either. There’s plenty of decent music that gyms could blast out that would tick the requisite boxes of upbeat and motivational, but would also be good. In 2006 James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem released the brilliant 45:33, which was actually a rather odd tie-in with Nike and trailed as a work-out soundtrack. The paunchy Murphy humorously and unsurprisingly admitted to not being a gym bunny himself. Failing that, hows about the sweaty, thrusting funk of James Brown or something equally priapic like Rick James as his crackpipe-toting best? Or perhaps something outrageously homoerotic like this, which would perfectly capture the groaning, burgeoning love-in atmosphere of the weights room.
You may (if you’re still reading) be wondering why I don’t just play my own music. The thing is, although I do have an iPod, no matter how loud I crank up the volume through my decrepit headphones, I’m consistently unable to drown out the sound of Lou Bega going “AAAAAAIGGGGGHHHHHHTTTTTTT!!!” or Eiffel 65 crying about how they’re blue and in need of a guy, abadabeebowbudai they’re in need a guy. I simply can't win unless music man sorts it out and ups his game.
A few weeks ago, a middle-aged woman let loose a voracious fart on the treadmill next to me. Any sense of perpetrative mystery or furtive second-guessing was entirely precluded by the fact that there was only two of us in the whole room. Her subsequent thousand-yard stare straight into the mirror suggested that a) she was unaware of the devilish crime she has committed against my nostrils or b) she was fiercely proud of it. That this unpleasant episode was soundtracked by a particularly vile remix of Duke Ellington's 'It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) by some technocunts called Gabin was both strangely fitting and utterly depressing. The worst smell in history and the worst song in history combining with lethal, unforgiving force to create an enduring microcosm of the worst that gyms have to offer. Sort it the fuck out guys. At least put something decent in my ears, especially when I've got something evil in my nose. AC
Friday, 7 August 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I give you ‘Peep Show’ and ‘Gavin and Stacey’. Both extremely popular, clever and genuinely funny televisual treats that happen to star a pair of actors who share an undisputable chemistry with the material and each other.
Problem is, as soon as a show like this hits, the great and the good in the world of comedy production smell a cash cow. No sooner can you say ‘David Mitchell isn’t as funny or clever as his character in Peep show’ than you start seeing these pairs EVERYWHERE!
Then there’s Lesbian Vampire Killers…has there been a more over-hyped British film in recent history? When it came out in the cinema you couldn’t walk 50 yards without seeing Horne & Corden’s smug faces glaring at you from a phone box, magazine cover or billboard. Panned by critics on release, the film was a flop – no doubt in part due to the fact that everyone was sick of the sight of them. At least for the DVD release the marketing people saw sense. The cover sees the two ‘stars’ crammed into a tiny section at the bottom, playing second fiddle to a large pair of breasts. What a pair of tits. Steve Boniface
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