Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Twitter: An Epilogue

Good news, blog-fans! Are you semi-literate and afraid of these vast swathes of text, waking up in cold sweats at night screaming "Why can't I just read it!?", or are you a deeply sadistic person who enjoys watching me squirm through my hypocrisy, or are you struggling to commit witty aphorisms to memory? If you belong in any of these categories, good news! I now have a twitter account (To the sadists, this was a long and difficult decision, with lots of self-deprecation going on), meaning I can keep you informed with minimal character count.

Watch as I try and abbreviate "appalling" to "Apllng" so that its meaning is rendered completely void! Gasp in wonder as I drop apostrophes to try and make the cut! Be amazed as I begin to believe punctuation is obsolete!

Roll up, roll up, the Twitter circus is in town.

Link for those brave enough to see: Twitter

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Two Pints Of Lager and a Packet of Crisps

Okay, I have to admit, in my rigorous planning of this blog, I sometimes like to make my life a little easier by picking programmes, I know without a shadow of a doubt, will be unimaginably, almost incomprehensibly bad. Having watched this show before and shouted at my TV screen with my temple throbbing harder and faster than a hummingbird's heart, shouting "Jesus, how the hell is it this appalling?! Is it even POSSIBLE? Is this even possible?!" I can safely say I may have slipped up. Not because my impression was wrong, good Lord, no, the last time this show was anything other than migraine-inducingly atrocious was when Ralf Little bailed out and what little respect I had left for him recovered.

You see, I forgot to watch it. But luckily for you, I already knew I was going to hate it, and rather than merely inform you of something else (I did attempt to watch "Man in a white hat" but since it made me an incredible combination of both apathetic, and filled with a furious urge to hunt the presenter down, and hit him in the face with a rolled up newspaper, then say "No" in a stern voice), I opted instead, to merely report on what I imagine I would have said, had I managed to summon up enough courage and enthusiasm to watch the show.

10 seconds in, the spittle from my furious cries of rage blocks my view of the screen. I pause, and fetch kitchen roll, wipe it off and start again. Within minutes I'm idly doodling on my notepad, trying not to look at the screen for fear of having a minor stroke. I have already ripped my headphones off and cast them asunder, leaving them marooned, broadcasting inane babble into the empty sea of my carpet. Remind myself to get a deeper shag rug that can absorb this sound so that the squeaks never get near me.

Somewhere around halfway through this show, and having gone through a goodly quantity of vodka, I restart, and start giggling maniacally. Not because of the show, God no, the writing is so appalling I'm pretty certain the writers just hurl their own faeces at a wall and transcribe the results. This is almost certainly not true, more likely, it's a group of people who think they understand the "Youth market" and that they are "risqué" because BBC chiefs told them so. Anyways, the reason I'm giggling is probably because I saw something more interesting than the show in the background. Like, say, an inanimate brick. Or a clock, nonchalantly marking the passing of every second I have wasted. Plunged into a fairly deep mid-life crisis, I consume more vodka. Once I finish off the bottle, the show suddenly takes on a new light, and I have an idle dig around on Wikipedia. The person created this when they were my age. This probably explains why a main character is called "Gaz". Because z is cool when you're 18.

Still digging around, I read it's possibly considering a ninth series. Nine series. I'll let that sink in. Even as drunk as I was alone, I had to sit back and take a moment to let that hit. NINE. After I vomited a combination of alcohol and hatred for everything this show stands for, I finally finished the show, and with an almost orgasmic glow, realised I would never have to watch this show again, because future "reviews" would be pointless and could not build on this. Drunk, I fall into bed, and have nightmares where Gaz tells me he loves me at the end of each episode, I mean, dream.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Chris Moyles' Quiz Night

As part of my recent trend to discuss self-harming with you, I sat down and watched Chris Moyles' Quiz Night. I viewed it with much the same trepidation as I would if I were to sit down and watch a horse trample a man: I feel like I should step in, but I can't do anything.

Glued to my seat with a combination of horror and whatever monstrosity poured out of my arse the second I saw Chris Moyles onscreen, I idly imagined what acts of atrocity I must have spent my past lives committing to culminate in this moment. Initially, I went with "removing the screws from key points on Ikea furniture, causing marriages to fail as quickly as that wardrobe", but then I decided this was nowhere near severe enough to inflict this level of karmic retribution upon me, so eventually, I settled on "Spending a previous life absent-mindedly drowning kittens and beating puppies", which seemed just adequate enough to make Chris Moyles appear on the television.

I will admit, I had a certain morbid curiosity about the show, but then Jimmy Carr went on it and I thought "Hey, it'll have at least one redeeming factor, so I can watch it now!" and, with eager delight, pressed on.

And this delight was, oddly, not massively misplaced. Initially, of course, I found myself almost wishing Peter Sutcliffe was in the room with me, since this would be better justice than any prison sentence, and also, he could possibly kill me and spare me the pain, and probably be more exciting by chasing me around the room, humming the Tetris theme tune to add a sense of peril (Because, obviously, one man chasing you armed with a hammer isn't perilous enough without an eight-bit classic in the background, right?).

Eventually, though, I found myself warming to the show. I believe at one point, I laughed, then glanced furtively around to check no-one had heard this. It would be less embarrassing to admit that I have nightmares where I menstruate than to tell people I laughed at a Moyles joke. However, slowly but surely, throughout the programme, I found myself watching, almost engrossed and becoming slightly enamoured with Jimmy Carr.

Fundamentally, even though my respect for Chris Moyles has gone up at least 60-fold, he can't really carry the show alone, and is so dependant on having interesting or good guests, if the show has terrible guests, it will completely collapse, and fail to work at all, and I imagine, become the hour of television I assumed it would be.

Still, better premise than "The Bubble".

Monday, 22 March 2010

Shockwaves ads

Spotify has recently been advertising some hair gel muck on their music player. This travesty of an advert revolves around the principle that my computer has a magical mirror in it. "Mirror, mirror, in my computer, who's the fairest of them all?" is greeted with a needless advertising campaign along the lines of "Not you, because your hair looks so terrible that children flee from you in parks and women would never talk to someone with hair like that." which is, at best, only mildly insulting. If this ad campaign, along the lines of "You look so crap you need our help to look normal" was for, say, weightwatchers, then INSTANTLY, the Guardian would have an article about how it was damaging to children's self-confidence through the tricky period of puberty and was going to cause heartache, stomach-ache, and eventually showing more ribs than a greyhound and dancing away the hours at some deserted strip club before eventually succumbing to malnutrition.

Fortunately, because it's "Only hair", the Guardian keeps shtoom, preparing for another marked assault on the dangers and perils of bullying, or something.

Luckily, however, I'm not alone in this opinion, and after a very brief google search came across another blog intimating exactly my concerns. Infact, there are loads, all offering an "Open letter" to Spotify/NME/shockwave. Feel free to google search it if you don't believe (Or use an alternative search engine. No, not Bing, I said "Alternative" not "Completely useless Bing". Damn Google, so ubiquitous) . Infact, I'm going to idly link you to one with swearing.

Here's my opinion of an "Open letter"

Dear Spotify,
Your marketing campaign caused me to kill myself because no one likes me because my hair is astonishingly weird. Women slapped me just for not wearing a bag over my head. Your ad made me stunningly aware of the countless untold miseries my hair has wrought upon my tortured soul. You have freed me from this torment. Thank you Spotify! Now if only spotify advertised razorblades ("Gillette, the cleanest cut an emo can get, guaranteed scar! Interesting ice-breaker! So good they banned it in mental hospitals!") so that they could tie in with their other viral marketing campaigns and I can listen to Journey's Greatest Hit, whilst self-harming and weeping openly because no-one loves me, and I am worthless hateful scum. Thank you for this reminder.

...It's more "Open Letter/Suicide note". What's next Spotify, "Cut your hair, not your wrists"? If you use that, I demand, in form of recompense, a free Spotify premium upgrade so that I never have to listen to such a terrible campaign again.

Friday, 19 March 2010

"Journey's greatest hits!"

I just heard this advertised on spotify. "Journey's Greatest Hits! Out now!". I imagine that CD would be better released as a single, entitled "Journey's Only Hit."


Last night, I attempted, against all medical advice, to cook my own dinner, with the accompanying, but slightly terrifyingly ominous, "Ah, that'll probably be alright" and "It looks clean enough...", which, if I recall, is the sound coming out of an NHS surgery according to Republicans (Smell that? Smells like satire. Oh, that might be my cooking).

Anyways, I was attempting to rustle up a simple chicken korma, I didn't even have to cook the rice, I had a processed brick of the stuff I had to microwave, so in reality all I had to do was fry some chicken, pour in some sauce and add the microwaved rice, then consume from the pan. I even pushed the boat out and popped some naan breads in the oven. I know, but don't worry, despite this Grecian god-like prowess in the kitchen, I am, infact, just a man.

Pleasingly, I thought the whole process had gone simply marvellously, as I sat nibbling on naan bread and rice. "My" I thought. "This was a considerable success." went through my head as I watched "Let's Go To Prison". I went to bed, well-nourished and pleased with myself.

Disappointingly, though, it soon started, this sense of deep unease and internal chaos from within my internal organs. Suddenly, I developed a fever! Nightmare. I was up till 3 am, sweating profusely. Luckily, though, I soon fell asleep to have nightmares, causing me to wake up, periodically, going "Argh" and coated in a light film of sweat.

Lesson learnt. Tonight for dinner I order pizza.

(I didn't have anything more interesting to talk about, such is the riveting adventure that is my life.)

Friday, 5 March 2010

I'm finally ready to talk about it...

The other day, a nondescript phrase to indicate at some point in the recent past, I purchased from one of my favourite vendors, a delightfully cheap apple juice. "Mmm!" I thought, eagerly anticipating my tiny carton of happiness. "An apple juice will really set me up for the day! And it's only 25 pence! My, could life get any better?!" ran through my head as I queued an agonisingly long time to exchange my money for the sheer joy of apple juice. I very nearly burst it open in the excitement.

As I was walking to my class holding aforementioned apple juice, I opened it eagerly, and began sucking it out.

This is where things take a turn for the worse.

As I am drinking, my joy turns to horror as I realise this juice was 25 pence, not because they are so skilled and talented at making it that they can do so for a reduced price, but because it is horrendous apple juice. "Ah well." I thought, my sunny disposition only slightly sullied by this, "I'll know for next time". As I continued suckling on it, however, it soon became apparent that the straw was TOO SHORT to reach the elixir of horrendousness with lay within a carton of disgust.

"I guess I must have drawn the short straw that day."

Anyways, this ruined my mood, and instead of setting me up for the day, it instead plunged me into the icy depths of a bad mood, from which childrens' laughter sounds like the cackling of demons, and benevolence fills me with distrust, where I stayed, all day. All in all, a poor experience. Worst 25 pence I've ever spent.

Thanks, EuroShopper.

(Who here can tell I only wrote this because I found a good pun?)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Spotify Ads

I've been listening to Spotify, and there's a new ad, which is anti-cocaine, in which a train is calling at "Stroke" via "Impotence". I found this advert a lot more terrifying when I thought cocaine would lead me to end up eventually in Stoke, despite its excellent Monkey Forest. Maybe that would be the draw. "Are you a coke addict? Do you like monkeys? This train is going to Stoke!".

Okay fine, they can't all be winners.


"Hey, let's make a show about archaic manufacturing techniques! We could get Monty Don to present it! And let's show it on Friday night primetime!"

These are the words that must have escaped a BBC executive's mouth at some sort of meeting, presumably the same one where they decided to give Jonathon Ross several million pounds a year for one TV show and one radio show, and then smoked inside blatantly disregarding the new non-smoking laws, lighting up with £50 notes we gave them in our licence fee and complaining their daily champagne was rather too warm.

I jest. Forgive me.

Anyways, as I settled down in a typically student way to watch Monty Don talk to me about woodwork on a Friday, I reached for my Werther's Originals and put on my slippers, then complained in my head about the noise my raucous neighbours make, I realised two things. First of all, I am secretly a lonely 87 year old man, but more importantly, "Monty Don is talking to us about woodwork at NINE PM on a FRIDAY".

In all fairness, the show had me glued to it for an hour, ironic, because they were learning these woodworking skills so they would never have to use glue. We had three plucky newbies attempting to learn how to use green wood in a good manner. Since this was the BBC, these people all had a human element, and we learnt their back stories, we had the lovely single mum, the supply woodwork teacher who wanted to learn something new, and the creative designer/architect fellow who cheerfully showed us a basket he made back in the day, and noted it was still working, then told us a merry little tale about how he was throwing away his dad's things after he died, and realised he actually made the lamp that was beside him on his deathbed.


Anyways, we now had our assembled group. I didn't care enough to write their names, this is hardly a professional operation I run here, but for ease, the single mum is going to be called Jane (She looked like a Jane.), the woodwork supply teacher is going to be called Will (He looked like a Will.) and the designer is going to be called Archibald (He didn't look like an Archibald, I just didn't like him very much and am feeling childish). They also had a teacher who was equally cheery and depressing at the same time. Let's be devils and call him Geoffrey. We also had Monty Don keeping the whole thing in check. Joyously, we also had the single greatest character in television history, in the man who came along to judge their work, but more on him later.

So we've learnt about Jane, Will and Archibald. We're sitting anxiously, waiting to learn about them learning to make stuff out of wood. They start with a spatula, just to get to grips with the equipment. I feel a little cheated, I was rather optimistically expecting them to create more than a slightly smaller stick of wood from a stick of wood; Alas not. We learned of the greatest challenge our three heroes were to face, building their own chair!

Or at least, two of them would be making their own chair. Jane was pretty much condemned by Geoffrey (The teacher. Remember?) for being not particularly good at it. We had tears, we had drama (Dear BBC, tears =/= Good television.) and then we had resigned acceptance. She would make a stool while the boys made chairs. But from nowhere, Monty Don slides in from the right, boosts her confidence, and she changes to make a stick-chair using slightly different techniques (Geoffrey, morale boosting as always, opened with the line: "Some green wood-workers look down on stick-work as easier because, well, it is." I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist).

Joys abound, all three are making chairs! But it's a race against the clock for Archibald, who took three days to start, while Jane and Will were merrily carving away.

I don't want to ruin the tension of the event for you. But eventually, Jane and Will made chairs, Archibald succeeded in making some bits of a chair, but not finishing, and my favourite character, the judge, came along and tested them with a degree of vigour I enjoy watching people attempt to break things with. He even tested the incomplete chair by randomly picking bits and twisting them with horrendous eagerness. Archibald's face was a mask of pure horror diluted slightly with disbelief. "It's very firm, but this joint's all wrong." as he said, and we got a shot of the gaping abyss that was at least half an inch wide. That's like, 2 nautical miles in green wood-work.

I would say I'm looking forward to the future installments, but I'm not a liar, so I'll say I could have wasted that hour of my life in other, probably better ways, like writing an angry letter to Euroshopper about my Apple Juice. I'm still mad, I don't even want to talk about it.

Essentially, it was a fundamentally decent, vaguely entertaining show, which should never have been broadcast at 9pm on a Friday. It's more 9 till 10 or REALLY, 8 till 9 on a Wednesday kind of show. But then, when have the BBC been logical?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Since I left those puns up first for ages, I feel it is time to move on from former glories, and focus on the new elements to life. So here we sit, you and me, idly gazing at eachother, when suddenly, and without apparent cause I vehemently, vociferously shout directly into your poor, unsuspecting face "TWITTER! ARGH!"

You'd probably be rightly confused, but since I find Twitter only slightly less hateful than when a company delibrately sells me an apple juice (Little carton) with a straw that is too short to reach the shoddy goods which lie within aforementioned carton (You may by now, have worked out that this did infact occur, and filled me with a deep rage. The carton was only 25 pence, so it wasn't so much the money wasted, I'd already wasted it by optimistically expecting the juice to be nice, it was the PRINCIPLE. If you're going to sell me something crap, only make it crap one way. I'm so furious, I don't even want to talk about it).

Anyways, Twitter, for those of you who are immune to these new-fangled internet phenomenons, is essentially a person writing things about themselves in 140 characters or less. Now, I would normally launch into an angry tirade about how huge swathes of the population are completely unaffected by the fact you had Coco Pops for breakfast instead of Rice Krispies, and it's really set you up for the day, but since, if you were to boil it down to 140 characters, this is me doing exactly the same thing, that argument would be deeply hypocritical.

In the interests of fairness, I read that Twitter was very helpful for conveying information about the Iran elections at a time when they found other outlets hard to come by. Fair does, however, I find it hard to take genuine news and world events from a website which, when it crashes, cheerfully displays a "Fail Whale". It's very rare I go "Huh, The Times online is down, the fail whale is telling me so."

Twitter is, of course, populated by celebrities. People following them, then going "Wow, Stephen Fry is much less exciting than I imagined him to be". It's always going to be the outcome if someone tells me the mundane, insignificant events of their life, I have to disregard the vast majority of what they say as crap. Celebrities are interesting precisely because I assume between appearing on my TV and irritating me for my licence fee, they do little but eat caviar out of gold dishes and watch the animals in their home zoo.

Twitter is nothing more than the textual equivalent of soundbites. *Sigh*, it's like a blog for people who have very little to say.