Monday, 15 November 2010

5 minute poem #1 - Anticipation

We are tiny,
We are nothing,
They wait for us.

We are clueless,
We are hungry,
We wait for them to show us.

We are lonely,
We are angry,
We wait for them to care.

We are confused,
We are stupid,
We wait for nothing.

We are lost,
We are helpless,
We wait for anything.

We are trapped,
We are tired,
We wait for something new.

We are still,
We are quiet,
We wait for something more.

We are old,
We are nothing,
We wait for life to start.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Sometimes I realise that I really am very lazy.

I can't do this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

But I will never have a good reason why.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

An Update.

In the last few weeks I have dropped out of university, started a new blog here that I'm already failing at updating as regularly as I'm supposed to even though I'm the one who decides how often that should be, and am spending my days applying for writing jobs, journalist jobs, tv production jobs, radio jobs, media internships and anything else vaguely relating to any of those, most of which are at companies that I've never even heard of.

Should I be using this time to write a great novel, or a screenplay, or even the blogs that I'm already supposed to be writing? Or even finding some other work to keep me going while I apply for things I want to do? Probably. But instead the most I'll write is an introspective look at what I'm doing now for the benefit of no-one.

I am officially the most useless person I know.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

University - The Final Complaint

It's all a game. You do well at school; you get to progress to college/sixth form. You do well there; you get to progress to university. You do well there; you get to do the job you want and have a wonderful happy life and blah blah blah.

Screw that. I'm done with the game. I'm opting for the alternative method. I'm throwing the board in the air and I'm not playing any more. Some say that's quitting, some say it's cheating. I say fuck them. You can all carry on with the game if you want, but I've had enough of it now. It's gone on too long and there's nothing worth winning at the end of it.

Come and see me when you've finished playing. Let's see who wins.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Mad Men Drinking Game

Ah Mad Men. The best show currently on TV (now that Lost is over). It's exciting, it's dramatic, it's beautiful and it makes you want to drink and smoke all day so you can be like the cool kids.

So why not start while watching?

You will need:

1 x bottle of your preferred whisky (preferably scotch or, if you wish to enjoy the authentic Don Draper experience, rye).
1/2 x bottle of your preferred vodka.
1 x bottle of red wine.
2 x packets of cigarettes (give or take, depending on how good a chain-smoker you are).
1 x rather suave suit.

Put on the suit, pour your first drink and light your first cigarette. You are now ready to play the Mad Men drinking game.

Cigarettes must be smoked continuously throughout the program until you can no longer see the screen through the haze of smoke. Spirits must be drunk straight, over ice

  • Every time a character drinks, you drink. Try and match what you're drinking to what the character is drinking for bonus points (drink whisky when they have a whisky-based cocktail, Vodka for martinis and wine for whatever a woman is drinking). If they down the drink, you down the drink.

  • Every time Don Draper stares at someone silently for what would be an unusual amount of time in real life: drink whisky.

  • Every time a character has sex/goes off screen to have sex: drink.

  • If one of the individuals engaging in said sex is doing so whilst currently in a relationship with another character: finish the drink.

  • Every time something condescending/offensive is said to/about a woman/black person: drink.

  • Every time Roger Stirling has some inappropriate/hilarious one-liner (basically whenever he says anything): down a vodka.

  • Any time Pete acts in a way that makes you wonder why no-one's punched him in the face yet: drink.

  • Any time Harry does something clumsy/stupid: drink.

  • Any time Don Draper does something outrageously cool that makes you wish you were just a little bit more like him: down a whisky.

  • Any time Betty Draper does something that makes you question her sanity: drink wine.

  • Any time Betty Draper abuses one of her children: down the wine.

  • Any time Don Draper has a nap at work: drink until he wakes up.

  • Any time there is a sudden gory moment that is otherwise unexpected in a show like this: down the whisky, then the vodka, then drink some wine, then down another whisky. For the sake of whoever just got mutilated...

  • Any time someone mentions a holiday: drink.

  • Any time anyone does anything that would be considered inappropriate and/or shocking in modern society: drink.

  • Any time a character who was a big part of one or two episodes in the past before disappearing completely suddenly shows up again: celebrate their return with a drink.

More rules when I think of them. Play the game right and your lungs and liver will be just as bad as every character's on the show.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Finding Championship Vinyl

As a young, 21st century man I find myself wandering round shops a lot (even when I have no money - in the past 10 months the only things I've actually bought for myself are a Pearl Jam CD and a Faith No More CD, and only because they were both under the two for £10 section and were both double disc sets, therefore obviously meaning a victory against HMV for me) and two types of store I can never resist walking in to and wandering around are small record shops and memorabilia shops. The reason this is notable is that I don't believe I have ever bought anything from either of these, and probably never will. This is especially true for the latter where I have spent countless hours staring at models of Star Wars characters or vintage mugs with the Sex Pistols on them, but never quite understood why I would want to spend so much money on them. T-shirts maybe, if they feature a band that is no longer around and I couldn't just pick up a T-shirt at one of their gigs, but there comes a point when you are just shelling out all your pennies for something rather pointless. And that's the point that, I'm happy to say, I decide I'd rather walk out of the shop empty handed and spend my pennies on overpriced coffee instead.

Then there are record shops. I will always go in to one, especially if it looks like the sort of place where you could find rare recordings of famous gigs. Unfortunately I have no idea what rare pieces I'm supposed to be looking for, so usually I'll just skim through the CDs rather randomly for a while. Then I'll look through all the old vinyl records, despite the fact that I don't own a vinyl player, before leaving the shop feeling superior because I am that guy who's supporting the small record stores and laughs at your corporate chains promoting the mainstream, commercial music. Except then I'll go and buy things at HMV anyway because it's cheaper and set out in an easy-to-find-what-you're-looking-for way. Plus I can get student discount there.

The point is that there is a certain feeling you get from just being in that kind of shop. In there I can pretend I am an over-intellectualised rock aficionado hipster who collects music that no-one else even knows about. In that tiny shop I am John Cusack's character from High Fidelity, even if I don't have a categorised record collection or if I haven't read 'Johnny Cash's autobiography "Cash" by Johnny Cash' or if I'm not friends with Jack Black. For a few minutes I am the sort of person who would do all those things, as well as arrange things autobiographically and make top five lists about girls who break my heart. And you might think it seems strange to want to be that person. That person sounds horrendous. But there's a reason that film made $47 million, and a reason people love John Cusack.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Why I can't leave Facebook - Confessions of an addict.

Everyone in the virtual world should read this Go and do it now, and then come back here and you'll hopefully be in the right mood to read my take on the topic.

So here's a thing that I used to say all the time, but recently have actively avoided mentioning because it reveals my secret identity as super-hypocrite:

I fucking hate Facebook.

I honestly, really do. There are a number of reasons why, but it's mostly just because Facebook is really very boring. Looking through my 'news feed' I see a massive jumble of photographs of other people's nights out*, mindless 'groups' with no purpose other than the shitty joke/'quirky' habit that everyone fucking has in the title, and detached, badly spelled one liners about whatever that individual has done so far today. And there comes a point when you realise that you really just don't care about any of this, even a little bit. But even though I'm well aware of this, I've still 'liked' two of those updates and commented on a third. And put another one of my own up, using the same quote that I wrote in the footnote of this page. Why? Because social networking sites have convinced me that I need to constantly do these things to remind my friends that I'm still alive and mentally functional. And also because I'm a sick, empty, ridiculous man who just wants some attention.

So I'm stuck in this ridiculous paradox where I actively loathe the thing I willingly spend copious amounts of time taking part in.

And I want to delete my Facebook. I really do. I want to follow in the footsteps of the writer of the above link and live a life without Facebook (although I'd also get rid of myspace and continue never getting twitter). But I can't. I'm a full blown Facebook addict. Even now I have a separate tab open with Facebook in it. I have a Facebook app on my desktop that tells me when I have messages and friend requests. When I'm not in sight of a computer I will use Facebook on my mobile. And throughout this entire piece I have been giving Facebook a capital 'F' that it surely does not deserve.

And it truly is an addiction. As much as I want to delete my Facebook and live a life without social networking, the thought of actually doing so terrifies me. I start to justify using it to myself. "How will I know when someone's planning a party or a night out?", "How will I know if something major happens to someone I know?"**, "What if I lose all my friends because I'm not able to contact them as easily on a daily basis?" etc. And of course it's all ridiculous, but it's easier to believe that than it is to admit that I have a severe, retarded problem.

I think back to when I first got Facebook and why, after months of restraint, I finally gave in and signed up. I got it because 1) I was living in Hong Kong at the time, 6000 miles away from everyone I knew, and I really did need a way of keeping in contact with my friends, and 2) because my girlfriend signed me up. That was a year and a half ago. In a year and a half, Facebook's been through three redesigns, groups have turned from being sorts of clubs you were part of to being the unholy mess of retardedness that we have now, I've gained 156 friends, 153 photos of me have been uploaded, and I've been reduced to a pathetic mess who needs to check his page several times a day.

I want to delete my Facebook profile. But I also want to drop out of university, move to a different country, leave everything behind and travel the world. But there's too much keeping me home, and too much keeping me on Facebook.

One day I will delete my Facebook profile. And on that day I shall begin a new and better life. But for now, I shall continue to be an unhappy addict, and I shall post the hypocritical link to this piece on my Facebook page.

*As Dennis Reynolds says in the very first episode of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia': "If I'm not in any of them and nobody's having sex, I just don't care."

**By this I mean if someone ends up in the hospital or goes to live in Uzbekistan, not if someone pulls the hot girl behind the bar. Actual important things.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Summer of Rock

Between May and August 2010 I will be attending 3 festivals (Download, Leeds and Bilbao BBK Live - now renamed "Hobbitfest") and a number of gigs. At these places I will be seeing most, if not all, of the following bands:

Last Updated 29/04/10*

Pearl Jam
Rage Against the Machine
Guns 'n' Roses
Faith No More
Bon Jovi
Queens of the Stone Age
Manic Street Preachers
Them Crooked Vultures
Billy Idol
Billy Talent
Gogol Bordello (3 times)
Coheed and Cambria (possibly twice)
Rise Against
Paul Weller
Alice in Chains
Dropkick Murphys
Biffy Clyro
The Futureheads (probably)
Lightspeed Champion (possibly)
Steel Panther
Bullet for my Valentine
The Black Keys

And a whole lot more.

Impressive, no? I'm so freaking excited about this summer.

*Yes, I actually have to update this post as more and more awesomeness keeps getting added to this summer. Any more and my head might just explode.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A More Convenient Truth.

It's snowing in Salford again. At first it was a novelty, it was exciting - as snowfalls have been on all their infrequent occurrences in the past. But now it's getting a bit much. Just about everyone I know is bored of the snow now, and the forecast for more is met with despairing groans. The ridiculous weather has made this winter worse than any before it, and summer can not come too soon.

And it's not just here. I spent the last week in Spain, where they've had more rain and colder temperatures in the past two months than in many people's lifetimes. Washington DC is buried somewhere beneath an iceburg. And the Pope's left shivering in his dress as Rome is covered with fresh Italian snow.

Clearly there is no denying it. Climate Change is affecting us. Hugely.

And what's causing it? What has changed in recent times that has influenced the world in such a way that we've all been freezing for three months? Well it's quite obvious really. The cause of everyones discomfort comes from the number of people trying to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint.

The evidence is all there. People turn off their electrics, use energy saving lightbulbs and listen to Al Gore and suddenly we're all stuck with a crappy winter that doesn't appear to be ending any time soon.

So I leave you with this message: Turn your televisions back on. Light up your LEDs. Buy some proper lightbulbs. And together, maybe we can put an end to climate change.

You have the power. Use it. A lot.

Graphs don't lie*.

*Graph not based on any factual evidence.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

4am. (Or: Why I don't often write poetry)

Fake light illuminates a metal roof,
Windows are mirrors now.
The sounds are peaceful,
And the silence is full of noise.

Creatures chase after their shadows,
Trees become ghosts.
The darkness seems clearer,
Than the dismal light of day.

Bottles tell tales of the night's depravity
As they roll under my feet.
Now there is no-one,
Only their debris left behind.

Fake light shows the fake world.
The street is orange,
Even the clouds have changed.
The night should not be like this.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Save me some hind shank.

For Christmas I received the new Chuck Klosterman book "Eating the Dinosaur", and I would like to take a moment to recommend this, and every other book Klosterman has written, to everyone who stumbles across this blog.

Guess who just learned how to make html links?

Chuck Klosterman is an American journalist whose numerous books on varying aspects of pop-culture have been blowing my mind for some time now. This is the newest one and is probably the second best one yet*. Each chapter is a self-contained essay with one overall theme focused on by several smaller, interconnecting topics. There's a chapter on "In Utero" that somehow has surprisingly little to do with Nirvana. A chapter on sincerity vs irony and people who can only function literally that makes me want to listen to Weezer (a lot). And there's a chapter that's sort of about the long-term disadvantages of the increasing advancement of technology and sort of about the unabomber that somehow managed to connect to my life and thoughts on both a long and short term level so perfectly that I might have thought it had been written by me if I wasn't convinced that I couldn't write anywhere near as well or as knowledgeably as that.

There's also some stuff about American Football and Basketball that I didn't care about as much, but they can still be an interesting read (and some point out where people not interested in this shit should just stop reading and skip to the next chapter - which is nice).

In short - everyone should read this book. Otherwise I'm in danger of being forever misunderstood. And I mean that in a thoroughly Rivers Cuomo-esque sense.

*The best being 2005s "Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a true story", which tells the tale of Klostermans cross country road trip visiting the death sites of various rockstars, and his thoughts on everything from ex-girlfriends to suicide to prehistoric mastodons that come up on the way.