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.

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.

 

Happy Boring and Ugly- Xmas Special


Xmas Day:



Today’s Agenda: Sweet FA watching The Time Machine and TOTP. And a banquet.

What actually happened: lots of pain.

Today feels like my first adult Christmas. I feel like shit, and I can’t eat anything (especially not chocolate), and I am not excited about presents in the slightest. Instead, I’m bored and uncomfortable and goddamn tetchy.
All I can do is lay like a limp roast parsnip and watch TV while everyone (Lisa, Dom, Devo, Goldie, Esther and their parents) bustles around me in stress/hysteria. Even my old favourite movie won’t cheer me up:

The Time Machine.

A Victorian explorer travels into the way distant future (the cozy year 800,000) and finds a load of blonde haired blue eyed babes living like big kids. Turns out that humanity was all for nothing though, because they are merely jail-bait for the ugly mofos who live underground and do all the grafting.

Best Quote (thanks IMDB):

What have you done? Thousands of years of building and rebuilding, creating and recreating so you can let it crumble to dust. A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams… FOR WHAT? So you can swim and dance and play.”

If the future is for a race of beautiful young people who have no worries and no conscience, it sounds like a fair pay-off to me. Surely the whole purpose of knowledge is to somehow find a way to return to our innocent childlike state of imagination and freedom? What finer gift could there be for culture than to produce the opposite of culture (no, not ‘popular culture’)- pure unmediated being: Giggling and frolicking like sexy lambs.
But oh no, Mr Victorian Neo-Liberal doesn’t want that. He wants us to suffer with knowledge, to aspire to greater and greater things. But this is what has made us grow weary by the late 2oth century. H.G.Wells failed to predict that progress would go out of fashion that we would become bored with the future and jaded by the pressure to constantly better ourselves.

Ah. Top of the Pops. I watch it religiously every year, knowing full well that out of the 20 songs played, I can stomach only 5 and out of those I will like only 2. What were they this year?
(1) Tinie Tempah- Pass out

And…Hmm do I really want to admit this one…yes fuck it, they’ve basically all seen my cock, and this is no more embarrassing:
(2) Take That-the Flood


Like everyone, I crave a bit of homoerotic sportsmanship of a cold winter’s day. Warms you up in all the right places. Like this, my all-time favourite movie scene:

Talking of gayness, I was going to watch The Queen’s Speech for it’s archaic, kitsch value (not coz I’m like a royalist, that would ruin my street cred. litrally). But I didn’t. It’s too hard to live your life ironically.
Apparently it emphasised the unifying powers of sport. Fucking crock of shit. The royals use croquet and polo to separate the chaff from the wheat, not bring us together. Take That’s vid is proof that ONLY people who get their hands dirty in life can achieve a life worth living. Sweaty=Happy. At least, that’s how I justify my pungent BO.

Instead, I caught N-Dubz Dappy’s alt. message on E4.

His best line: “Forgive me if I have painted a somewhat gloomy picture, but I am just real innit”
This may have to be adopted as the tagline for my blog…
Brilliant. I never thought a boy who looks like an upside-down acorn could dispense sense, but there we have it. And who knew he was a royalist?

Next year, I shall have to film my own message to the nation.

How to use your kitchen to help you choose a retro slang phrase for the day:


"Actually, you look more like cauliflower"

1. Lay like broccoli (Pretty Woman)

2. Make like a banana and split (©Vienna Famous 2010)

3. Like butter wouldn’t melt

4. You say potato, I say potato. This one only makes sense when spoken in different accents

5. You got any dough?

6. Peachy

7. You’re the apple of my eye. No darling, that’s a cataract.

8. Apples and pears. Does anyone actually speak cockney, or is it a myth made up for tourists?

9. Now we’re cookin’ on gas. A personal favourite, obviously predating the microwave.

10. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard (Kelis). Sorry I don’t speak innuendo…

11. I should coco(a)

12. Honey pie

13. Something’s fishy around here

14. The milk of human kindness. Semi-skimmed? (See no.10)

15. Sweet like chocolate (Shanks and Bigfoot)/Sweet Like Tropicana (Dizzee Rascal)

Just you try it!

16. Let’s play hide the sausage! No, I have never used this one.

17. I’m gonna make mincemeat out of you!

18. Egg on your face, big disgrace (Queen)

19. Hey honey! Yes, sugar…?

20. Chocolate Rain

Boring and Ugly 10


Dec 17th

Esther spies the letter to Marina over my shoulder. “That’s shit” she scowls. She’s just jealous. At least my letter isn’t to Bob Mortimer like hers would be. She used to think she’d bump into him on the street when she lived in London, and they would fall instantly in love.

"Ooh look, there's a big issue in there"

We get to Lisa’a and find a Big Issue on the table. “You two can’t afford to buy the Big Issue can you?” I say incredulously. However, the latest issue of Look or ID often finds its way here. Priorities you see.
“It’s not ours, we don’t know where it came from”. Says Lisa with confusion. “It’s like god thinks we need it or something”.

Esther and Lisa were shopping in Rotherham Tesco for their grandma.

Esther has to go to the loo, and as she sits down in the cubicle, she hears two women talking rapidly in Urdu (or something).
Suddenly an angry Rotherham woman’s voice came from the other cubicle “Speak English for God’s sake!”

The women outside fall silent.
“I’m just talking to my sister, I can speak in any language I want, thank you!” The braver sister replies.
“Come on, let’s go…” says her sister diplomatically.
“No. I want to see who said that” she snaps, settling down for a wait.
Esther started to panic. They’re gonna think it was me! Shit, I’m going to get it when I step out, shit shit!. Her cheeks got redder and redder as she braces herself to face their wrath. She opens the door, and peeked out.
“It wasn’t me…” she quivers at the two equally red (with anger) faces.
“I know love, just go” says the angry sister.
Outside, Lisa was waiting. “Let’s just get the hell out of here” Esther said and they scurry away.

"Can I come out yet?"

Dec 20th

“Isn’t it nice to be sat in from the cold, with a cup of tea and a biscuit” says Lisa wistfully.

“So, life’s alright then?” queries Esther.

“No, I wouldn’t got that far”.

“Life’s shitty shit” shouts Dom.

“At least no-one’s watching” says Lisa. “We can relax. For now at least.”

Apparently, last night Dom returned home from a gig at 5am. “I’ve got a present for you” he slurs at Lisa. “What?” she says excited. Lisa loves gifts.
“A prostitute’s lipstick” he says, brandishing a tarty pink tube. “I picked it up just before I got in the cab”.
“Isn’t that what every girl wants?” he adds “to look like a prozzy?”
Lisa acts disgusted, but the next day she comes downstairs: “Do you like my lips” she asks coyly “I’ve put that lipstick on”. I swallow some bile.
“Can you catch AIDS from lipstick?” she asks, realizing what might have come free with the present. Let’s see; Herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, crabs…a whole menagerie of alien bodies.

Coming Soon: Boring and Ugly- The Xmas Special

BORING ET UGLY IX


Dec 15th


I work as a Mentor for University students. Some of my students have Aspergers or Autism. Sometimes during a session I have to go to the toilet because I feel like I am going to laugh, scream or fart. It has that effect on me.
One of my students said a couple of gems today:
“Amy Winehouse complained about the Rocky Horror Picture show and got it banned”. It took me a while to work out that she was talking about Mary Whitehouse, who is about as far away from Winehouse as poss.

Mary Whitehouse

A short while later, she started talking about how gay people a treated by religious faiths. “It says in the Kerrang that gay people should be stoned to death”. I had to bite my lip. I know Kerrang is quite hetero but…She meant of course The Koran. I fled to the toilet to cackle into a toilet roll.

This reminds me of the old lady who misheard the news and thought that Pavarotti was responsible for killing Princess Di. She was outraged when he arrived at her funeral, flanked by beautiful women and openly flaunting his freedom. “It’s disgusting!” she shouted at the TV as he flounced into Westminster Abbey. “He shouldn’t be allowed”. It was only after it was explained that it was not one fat opera singer, but a multitude of photographers (Paparazzi) that had killed her did she calm down.

My mother rang. “Do you like the blog?” I ask. She has subscribed to it, and gets updates whenver I post something new.
“It breaks my heart” she says. “Everytime I read it, it breaks my heart”.
“And dad, does he like it too?” I ask.
“It breaks his heart too” she says.

Esther and Lisa’s mum keeps saying she wants to go back in time and try again because she failed with her daughters. Oh, the curse of being a Disappointing Daughter. “They fuck you up, then you break their heart” says Esther.

I had a dream last night that I found a sausage in my pocket. I was confused and a little disgusted. I woke up to find my hand down my pants.

Artist's impression of the Australian disaster

Dec 16th: What’s so great about the First World anyway?

A boatload of Iraqi and Iranian people have drowned off the coast of Australia. “I can’t believe that in this day and age, people can drown in shipwrecks while people watch”, says Esther. I can’t believe that people still watch Bruce Forsyth.

 

It seems that everyone is on the move, trying to find a solution for how shit they feel.

  1. The students have been rioting about the cost of education.
  2. The nationalists have been flocking to their party conference.
  3. The Tories are going to pull the rug out from everyone on benefits.
  4. It costs 70p for a Snickers from the vending machine at work.

It’s all going to pot.

“What would it be like if we averaged out the wealth and life quality of everyone in the country? What would we be living like?” muses Esther.

“Horrible” says Lisa, “Most people live like shit”.

“And there will be posh people saying ‘Thank god I don’t live in a one-bedroom house in Hunters Bar’”

There’s always someone worse off than you. The wheel of fortune swings round; for there to be shiny happy people at the top, there must be cursed suckers at the bottom. Usually immigrants and Jack Fulton shoppers. As Josie used to say on Big Brother 10 “Whenever I feel down, I just think about that woman who had her faced ripped off by a chimpanzee, and I feel better”. I wonder who the faceless woman thinks of?

"What part of a tree do naturists come from?" "The nudibranch"

I woke up with the word ‘Nudibranch’ in my head. Probably because it sounds rude. I’m going to slip it into conversation with Esther today.

confused.com

Lisa bought ID magazine yesterday. She saves up every so often for this tome of alt.culture.  “There’s a boy in there who looks like a really beautiful woman. He’s very confusing” says Esther. Wow, he does. He can go on my ‘would do’ list. Bastard.

As I flick through the mag, Esther asks “Has it made you feel shit enough yet?”

“Not yet” I lie, and continue to the end.

Popular culture is designed to make you feel shit about yourself, and to think that the only way to feel better is to copy what the beautiful people are wearing in the futile hope that you too will be transformed. So you buy make-up to smile like Eva Longoria, and shampoo to swish your hair like Penelope Cruz, and perfume to smell like Beyonce, and crack to feel like Lindsey Lohan. Or is that just me?

May as well be called 'krack'

“They’ve found a new type of slug now called the Ghost Slug, and it’s tiny and it’s white, and it sucks earthworms dry” says Esther with relish. I shall exoect to se a documentary on Channle 5 next year.

I’d like to discover a new species. But I guess it’s just another attempt to become immortal.

Imaginary scene in the future: “What’s that weird bug over there?” “Oh that’s a Fame Beetle (Viennae Celebratus). Weird little fucker isn’t it”.

The start of a new horror franchise...