Militant in Meadowhall


"I just don't know who I am anymore"

Just got back from Meadowhall. I wanted to buy some self esteem at any price. But all I got was half price narcissism and 33% extra free self loathing. And some socks n that.

I saw lots of people who I can only describe as consistent. Chavs, Emos, wannabe WAGs, Goth-Lite, Emo-Chav. They all knew who they were (on the outside at least): they had the uniform sorted out, no mistakes.
In comparison I feel like a style Frankenstein, with odd bits from different eras stuck together, with no conception of a whole. I want a fucking uniform.


"I'm a vewy angwy young man"

I have tried being militant but it always goes awry. I’m really jealous of Christians and Young Socialists and Goths who can turn off their brains and follow a code regardless of how ridiculous and/or anachronistic it is.
First I had a rule that everything I bought that wasn’t food had to come from a charity shop. This meant that I became obsessed with Help the Aged’s special book and record shop. I used to go nearly every day and finger through the vinyl in the hope of spotting a record from the infinite ‘must have’ list in my head. This was compiled from overhearing middle-aged men talking in the pub, and from middle aged men writing in The Guardian.
I would buy a record, let’s say ‘The Clash’ and take it home, my hands shaking in trepidation. Here was a cultural relic; a touchstone, and I could feel the angst of a generation fizzing under my fingertips. I’d put it on and brace myself- I’m enjoying this, I’d tell myself. This is a GOOD album. Other people say so. There are more of them than me. I can picture them all, rocking in agreement.
So here’s my shock confession. I hate the Clash. I don’t like reggae so why would I want a shitty white boy version of it. Plus they have no style. The Sex Pistols win hands down, for their ugliness, ambition and also their pop. Write a proper song Strummer! Oh wait, you’re dead.

"I is a WASTA"

Sheffield seems to be populated by Men Who Like The Clash. Everywhere you go there’s someone who’s personality was hard wired by White Riot or London Calling. It’s like some fucking Masonic society- get over it! Like Scroobius Pip eloquently said “ The Clash? just a band”


You wouldn’t have caught Paul Simenon, Strummer or the other one advertising I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (it would have to be the bitter rival of Anchor, for old time’s sake). Some people say Johnny Rotten is a sell out- but that only means something if you’re still clinging onto the idea that punk can change the world- but after ‘I Wish I was A Punk Rocker with Flowers in my Hair’ how can you think the message is still getting through?

That’s like singing I Wish I Wore My Klan Outfit to the Notting Hill Carnival. How can someone get it so wrong?

“In ’77 and ’69 revolution was in the air
I was born to late to a world that doesn’t care
I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair”

What we lack as a generation is context. You know, that crucial bit of extra knowledge that makes everything make sense. The past has been reduced to a pick ‘n’ mix, a jumble of possible styles and causes you can choose to dress in. So it makes sense that old Sandi could lump hippies and punks together because Topshop does too. Who cares if one advocated nothingness and destruction (no future), while the other wanted a universal conscientiousness (a utopian future)? History has become a Sale Rail of symbols. Why believe in anything any more?

I’m basically a trash whore, a music pansy, a soft lad.

I made myself buy the so-called classic albums because I have no taste of my own you see. I am a vessel, filled by other people’s likes and dislikes. If I am asked about something I should know about, let’s say The Godfather I-III, I have to apologise profusely and take my red cheeks elsewhere. Or else pretend. But that gets me into trouble. To escape the tedium of shaking my head at the many things I don’t know about, I have taken to throwing a few “yeah’s” and nods in. But then comes the more detailed interrogation, sorry, conversation, where you have to say what bits you enjoyed the most and give an opinion about its worth. This is where I am left stuttering.

Jan 2nd 2011


Beast Claws coming atcha

Urgh. Got woken up at 8.30 by Goldie. She crawls commando style up the bed and whines while trying to stick her long freaky tongue in my face. The nightmare part is when her massive beast claws rise up over the edge of the duvet and scratch your face. A couple of weeks ago, we were snowed in, and I woke up to Goldie’s commando routine and the festering stench of a HUGE dog shit on the landing. Thank god for lino.

After cleaning it up, and the puke I did next to it, I finally fell back into a fitful sleep, vowing never to ignore her again.

So now she knows how to guilt trip me, and she uses it like a pro. I manage to go downstairs and let her out in a waking sleep state now, and then go back to bed. Today, I woke up at 1.15pm when the dreams got too loud.

Down the hill we go, to the halfway house for the chronically apathetic (Chez Lisa).

“Cleavage is back in fashion” Lisa says, reading Look, “Dammit”
Esther sniggers. They could both pass as men if it wasn’t for their outspoken hatred for them.

I’m bored. I have nothing to fear really. I am cushioned from war and extreme poverty and pain. We are brought up in zoo conditions- with no natural predators and a welfare state that cushions every reality blow.
So, we have to invent things to make us feel emotion- we become adrenaline junkies, getting high on self-set dangers, Base jumping, Parkour, Sky diving (though that’s a bit 20th century now), playing video games, hoovering drugs. Anything to break the monotony, to remind us that our body is capable of instinctual movement and the seemingly mythical fight or flight serotonin orgy.

Because going to war and actually risking death is just silly, we tend to enjoy acting out the fantasy of megalomania and bloodlust on games console. Here’s a list of the best selling Xbox games:

The top ten Xbox 360 games.

  1. Halo 3 (8.1 million)[24]
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (7.481 million approximately; 6.471 million in US,[25][26][27][28] 87,374 in Japan,[29][verification needed] at least 1 million in UK)[30]
  3. Gears of War (5 million,[31] may include PC version)
  4. Gears of War 2 (5 million)[32]
  5. Grand Theft Auto IV (4.356 million approximately: 3.29 million in US,[33] at least 1 million in UK,[30] 59,893 and 6,210 Platinum in Japan)[29]
  6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (4.226 million approximately: 3.04 million in US,[34] 78,000 in Canada,[35] 54,742 and 53,722 Platinum Collection/The Best in Japan,[29] at least 1 million in UK)[30]
  7. Fable II (3.5 million approx. worldwide)[36]
  8. Call of Duty: World at War (3.35 million approximately: 2.75 million in US,[33] 600,000 in UK)[37]
  9. Halo: Reach (3.3 million in North America)[38]
  10. Halo 3: ODST (3 million)[39]

Every single one involves going around killing people. To death. In the most horrible ways possible. This is how most of us get our ‘reality’ fix- by finding something that gives us what reality can’t- a purpose. “Life is alright really because I must kill the enemy”. Perhaps a radical rewriting of Descartes is in order: “I pretend to be, therefore I am”.

"What ever shall I wear?"

It seems news has travelled fast about my ‘issues’. Weasel and Kung Fu got me a radio alarm clock with an outside temperature sensor. This is because “We know you worry about what you’re going to wear when you get up because you don’t know what it’s like outside. Well, now you do” they explained cheerfully. “Oh thank you” I replied, cursing Esther’s blabbermouth. All my hard work to look like competent son-in-law material down the frickin’ pan.

Dom and Esther got me two items of clothing that I can’t even get over my fat ass. A pair of funky leggings and some gold jeans. Way to make me feel skinny guys. They are on the ‘Sleep Through 3 Meals’ diet. I am on the ‘A Pudding with Every Meal Diet’.

Resolutions?

  1. Get fatter
  2. Write a book
  3. Spend more money on tat

At least I’m only likely to fail miserably at one of them.

Twenty Eleven


Hello. This is a new year. From here, it looks grey, cold, dead, boring and ugly.
A couple of hours ago, I became obsessed with listening to this song, and could not rest until I heard it:

It is perhaps the best song in the world and all others pale into insignificance when it plays. I suddenly want to become glittery and homoerotic when I hear it. It is about beauty and sex and decadence and the end of the fucking world.

Lady Gaga kept us all hanging on for her ‘big’ Twitter announcement on the stroke of midnight.

"Keys, purse, Fisherman's Friends? Check. Trousers? Oh..."

I will have gone off her by then.

 

And something else bugs me: In the press conference for JOANNA YEATES somebody said “She bought a pizza before she went home. Did she eat the pizza?”

Amazingly banal, and the police brushed it off, but I REALLY WANT TO KNOW.

 

It’s just really annoying that people think they can go around killing people, isn’t it? Who gave them the right. Goddammit. Nasty murdering types, got no morals or sense of decency.

 

You see, as a species, we are naturally anti-social schmucks. We want to go around murdering, raping and being general rotters to other people. Law and government has to try to put a cap on that. We have to suppress our APE traits and accentuate the CIVILISED, SMARMY TRAITS  that make us different from other animals. But the messy animal behaviour is constantly on the verge of spilling over.

 

But, to end in a more positive note, DNA tests have just proved that Richard Gere is a guinea pig.

Boring, Ugly and Ill as Sin


DEC 26th


Ugh. So ill today, like I’ve been drinking STRYCHNINE. My stomach is bruised. One nostril whistles like an icy cave on a mountaintop.
Esther goes to do family things, and I stay in bed. “Have you got money on your phone so I can text you and say ‘Baby, what are you doing now?’” I ask.
“Hmm” she replies. As well as being rubbish at Public Displays of Affection (PDAs), she is incapable of Text Affection (TAs).
I think ‘right, now I am going to find some real porn. This will cheer me up’. Halfway through a shower scene I feel really sick and have to go to sleep. The sound of sticky balls slapping against bumcheeks haunts my dreams, like some feverish jungle drumbeat that goes faster and faster as I am burned alive.

"Please can we at least hold hands?"

Esther goes to her parents for a family meal. After a couple of hours, she texts saying, “This is horrible. I want to come home”. This is as near to a TA as I’m likely to get, but I must not get excited. I text her back some alibi “I feel poorly and I need you to come back”.
An hour later, she’s back. “Jesus” she says, letting out air, “That was like being with the Royle family, only it’s not as fun if you’re actually there.”
“What happened?” I ask.
“Mum went crazy because she couldn’t find the special spoon she’d got to serve the trifle. She screamed ‘I can’t have any lovely trifle if I don’t have that knife’ and couldn’t be consoled”. Time to leave.

"I don't know what you're smiling at, you've just ruined pudding!"

I’ve just finished All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland. I don’t think I want to read anything by him ever again because he depresses the shit out of me. If you can’t be American, rich and happy, there’s no hope for any of us.

A sample:
Wade thought about his father. What would the world have to offer Ted Drummond, and the men like him, a man whose usefulness to the culture had vanished somewhere around the time of Windows 95?

Slit my wrists now please.

And:
I believed the script I was handed. And then one day in the early 1980s I hit a red light in North Vancouver and ding! I understood that I was now forever in life’s minus columns and the plus column was over.

The only thing that makes me carry on reading is because it sounds exotic to a lower middle class British suburbanite like me.

Hmm let’s see what would happen if we transported it to, let’s say, Rotherham or Stoke on Trent. Here’s how the novel starts:

Janet opened her eyes. – Florida’s prehistoric glare dazzled outside the motel window. A dog barked; a car honked; a man was singing a snatch of Spanish song. She absentmindedly touched the scar from the bullet wound beneath her left rib cage.

Here’s the grime remix:

Tracey opened her eyes- South Yorkshire’s grey smog hung thickly outside the dirty double-glazed window of the Sally Army hostel. A dog yelped as its Big Issue vendor owner kicked it; a car revved and ‘music’ that made her bowels move penetrated the room; a crazy man was shouting the names of God’s favourite meals. She absentmindedly touched the half-eaten scab from the Tenants Super can slash beneath her third belly fold.

I have been floored by this LIVE AID ’85 documentary
I am actually crying now because I miss the optimism of Bob Geldof, who really believed that he could change something about the world with some bands.
Why can it never be recreated? Because we no longer have the optimism. We have gone from a ‘WE’ decade to a ‘WHO AM I’ epoch, a ‘WHY?’ era.

The Darkness, Jamelia, Dido, Travis and Ms Dynamite. They sure knew how to pick ’em for posterity!

Note to self: It’s one of the Mysteries of the World, Rowan Atkinson’s transformation from sexy bastard as Black Adder to sexless geek Mr Bean. Perhaps I too can go from the latter to the former?

We take poverty, disease and misery for granted. We have become ‘compassion fatigued’, brought up by the generation that had the last sense of purpose: a viable future. Our inheritance is apathy. There’s bad shit out there, but we can’t do owt about it. May as well get fucked.

I feel cheated. Did I ever believe in anything?
I used to love animals- but only to collect books about them like a colonial hoarder.
I used to believe in vegetarianism, and I was brought up to feel deep empathy for animals, our house was full of them. But I don’t feel that anymore. I can stuff my face with meat with only a tinge of guilt, not enough to put me off.

I feel love for every single band that sang at live aid. Such decadent faith and belief would be instantly cut down by the bitter chavs of cynicism now.
Fundraising has been hijacked- the ‘Live Aid effect’ is one of many styles available to ad companies to flog iPads or car insurance or Nokia phones.
People cared about the Falklands War, about the first Iraq War, about the future, about other people. Now we don’t give a flying fuck. We’ve still got some people who act all earnest- socialists and feminists and Tories. But underneath, everyone is status-driven but blank, vacant, inert like some suavely-jacketed potato. Bollocks.

The only answer is to refuse to answer, to say ‘no comment’.

80s pop is life affirming. Noughties pop is bitter, angry and botoxed.
Compare:

With:

One’s fun to look at and fun to hear, the other is kind of traumatic to watch, (though) fun on the ear. The cartoon shizzle injects some black humour into a prison-rape-murder movie. Don’t girls just wanna have good clean fun no more?

Right.

I’ve just taken 2 ibuprofen and 2 paracetamol now, so the wet cheeked inelegant gushing part of my illness should soon subside, and I will be able to feel no sadness or joy. I will become how I am at my natural state. Merely existing.

As I try to sleep, I can hear the pets snoring (Linda a high pitched nasal snort, Goldie an almost human ‘pufff’). I can hear Esther letting out long breaths of pent up worry.
I am left with the memory of 2 things from today in this darkened room. The sight of a skinny teenage boy with an unusually large and girthy cock, fucking a teenage girl in a shower where the water isn’t running. She looks like she’s sat on an uncomfortable fence waiting for the bus. I think I lost a bit of my soul watching it. The balls go ‘slap, slap, slap-slap, slap-slap, slap, slap’ against her arse and the camera zooms round from a balls-eye-view to a front view of this girl who is kind of unsure where to look. ‘Right’ she seems to think, ‘I’d better make out that I’m really enjoying this’ and she does the whole eyes closed, gasp routine. I get bored and fast forward the video-suddenly they are out of the shower, sat on the toilet and his huge cock seems no nearer to coming. Jesus. Why choose this location? It’s like fucking in a bus shelter or a bank queue- and all I can think is ‘why isn’t the shower on?’ and ‘Does straddling the toilet make either of them need a poo?’ These are non-places (Auge)- they look the same everywhere you go, they are purely functional, where we spend most of our time, but where we spend the least time personalising.
The sound of slapping testicles mixes in my head with the slow-mo footage of starving Ethiopian babies, their stomachs swollen in the ridiculous illusion of obesity, and their tear stained faces covered in dirt and flies. “Give me your money,” shouts a dishevelled Bob Geldof, slamming his hand down on the table.
Slap slap slap. Should I groan now? Ok, ‘aaah’ ‘oooh’. “Fuck this, pick up the phone now and give me your money” Bob growls.
I want to cry for the loss of innocence in both films- the faces in front of the cameras look strangely confused, as if asked to perform something embarrassing in front of a stranger.
What would Bob Geldof be like in bed? An angry young man, pummelling away until he’s satisfied, cursing you as a capitalist whore? Paula Yates could have told us.

"Wouldn't you like to know"

Not a Cure for insomnia: turned the TV on to watch Medium- about a woman who every time her heads hits the pillow is transported to some psycho’s head and has to save someone from certain death. A walking advert for staying up all night. We may all want to be good Samaritans, but if we were forced into the role permanently, we’d go apeshit in a short while.
The 80s had Miami Vice- the Noughties had Misfits. Is one more honest or truthful than the other? Was Miami Vice escapist fluff, and Misfits (and Inbetweeners) is the gritty, shitty truth of our times? Are they merely signs that we’ve plummeted from a time of sexy optimism to one of bitchy pessimism and sarcasm? Or that feminism and identity politics have deflated the masculine ego in culture, and it’s no longer believable to be so happy and full of yourself? Life is shit and you’re a chauvinist pig if you don’t think so?

The pain is lifting like steam from piss…

 

Answers on a stolen postcard please, I’m currently indisposed.