Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Brawny - Global Superstar?

At work, I use Spotify to listen to music in the office, and this works well. Yes, it interrupts every so often with adverts, but usually these are short and inoffensive...

I say usually...

There is one advert that keeps playing, advertising Pixie Lott (which, incidentally, is a stupid name). Fine, not really my bag, sounds generic and dull to me, but whatever.

But there's a phrase that's used in the advert which keeps annoying me...

"The UK's newest global superstar"


So, basically, she's a global superstar is she? Well off I go to check the facts about her sales figures (because I'm at work, and you know, it's either do that or ACTUALLY do some work).

Her first single (the imaginatively titled "Mama Do (Uh Oh Uh Oh)", which frankly is a title so rubbish you wonder if they took a book, shredded it, threw all the bits in the bin, and then pulled out two words, before adding some random grunting noises after it, but I digress) does appear to have been released in quite a few countries, so she has definitely had an attempt at the global market.... however, it only made top 5 in this country (1) and in the Eurochart (5). Her second single (the title of which is marginally better than the first, although still horrificly generic - "Boys and Girls". Seriously people, work harder on your lyrics/titles!) has charted in three territories, the UK (1), Ireland (4), and again, the Eurochart (10). Her album has been released in six countries, with chart positions ranging from 6 in the UK to 92 in the Netherlands...

Now, unless I misunderstand the term "Global Superstar", then she is not one. I appreciate she may become one (I hope not, because she is generic and bland, but that's never stopped anyone before..) but she isn't one now. So surely they can't say that she is? Let's just check the definitions of the words..

Global - Now I assume that this refers to the first definition "Pertaining to the whole world; worldwide; universal" and that they are not calling her globe-shaped. Which she's not. I mean look at her. She has an annoying looking face, certainly, but she doesn't look like a globe. So I assume they are utilising that initial definition of global. (Being as the other definitions of global make no sense within this context, I mean, she's definitely not a piece of software..)

Superstar- OK, both of these definitions basically say the same thing - that you are very prominent or successful. Which she isn't!!

I know it's advertising, and the fact that they bend the truth should be less surprising than a male stand-up comedian telling a joke about the fact that women take ages to get ready to go out, but it still amazes me. I'm sure there are much better phrases that they could have used. Like the following examples:

Pixie Lott - The UK Chart topper
Pixie Lott - A shining example of the lack of taste in the UK Music buying public
Pixie Lott - Yet another blond singer-songwriter
Pixie Lott - Gives generic a distinctly average name
Pixie Lott - It could be worse, at least I'm not an X-Factor winner

Any other suggestions?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Fried Gold!

I can't believe this is true - but Spaced is 10 years old.

Interview with the main players here

For those of you who have never seen it - shame on you, it is Geek Heaven!

I must confess, I didn't see it when it first aired, missing it completely for a couple of years... But then I got the DVD of Series 1 on someone's recommendation...

And now it belongs to that rare group of things where if I had a little disposable income, I'd replace my beaten-up DVD copies with a copy of the shiny Region 1 DVD release - simply because it has new commentaries, yes I'm that sad!

So yeah - Celebrate the wonder of the show that gave us Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. Not to mention Jessica Stevenson :)

The (Supermarket) Empire Strikes Back...

So, I was reading through the Guardian news site during my lunch break at work a couple of days ago, and I came across this story.

Just a light-hearted bit of fun, I thought, as I started to read it, so imagine my surprise when I started to develop serious thoughts about it.

Basically (for those of you too lazy to click on the link above), the founder of the "International Church of Jediism", a gentleman by the name of Daniel Jones, was asked to remove his hood in a TESCO's store, and he refused on religious grounds. Tescos then refused to allow him into the store.

So far so good, you may think, because after all, the International Church of Jediism isn't real, is it? It's just people having a laugh. Like those e-mails that circulated a few years ago, getting everyone to write Jedi on their census form. He's obviously just having a laugh isn't he?

Well, I don't know. There seems to be a fair bit of Jediism information avaliable on the internet, and I don't really see why they should be considered any less of a religion than anything else. Obviously there is the issue that the basis of their religion was created by George Lucas in 1977, but as this article helpfully points out

"The Jedi were first mentioned in the 1977 movie Star Wars IV: A New Hope and remained central in the five subsequent Star Wars movies, along with novels and games also based in the Star Wars universe. While these sources are entirely fictional, their creator, George Lucas, researched a variety of religious perspectives during their creation. Daoism and Buddhism are the most obvious influences on his concept of Jedi, although there are many others. "

So basically, the basis may be in fiction, but that fiction was created by looking at a selection of religions. And isn't that how all religions start? Taking what were the elements of a religion you don't quite agree with, and changing the bits you don't agree with? (OK, I grant you, that sentence is a significant oversimplification of religion, but certainly you can just look at the history of Christianity - most notably the creation of the Church of England in order that the King could get divorced..)

But anyway, I'm not a religious scholar, so I shan't pursue this line of enquiry much further... Back to the TESCO story.

My point is that Daniel Jones has a perfectly respectable grievence and that TESCO's cause isn't helped by their response:

"He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood. If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers."

Do you think they'd dare say that to a Sikh? Or a Muslim? "I'm sorry madam, please remove your Burqua?" There'd be outrage! But it's OK to ask Mr Jones to remove his hood because Jediism sounds silly?

There's a time and a place for mocking religion, and I do it a lot, but while you are shopping isn't one of them. It's not like him wearing a hood affects anyone elses shopping, it's just that shops are wary of late teen/early 20s males wearing hoods. I'm for religious freedom, and freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. People can wear what they want, believe in what they want, and follow the rules they set down for their lives, whether it be religious traditions from thousands of years ago, or my own personal choice that I should not wear hats as I look silly.

As I say, I will happily mock any religion, or belief structure, or idea if I want to, and I assume that other people will do the same. If, for example, my belief that I look silly in hats was a firm, unmoveable belief in my life, I still wouldn't punish people for mocking it, because they are allowed to. However, if TESCO asked me to put a hat on? I'd be furious...

That was a kind of serious post, wasn't it? Never mind, next time I'll find something sillier I promise


Brawny - "I do look silly in hats - for proof see Norwich and Saggers"

Saturday, 19 September 2009


So I'm procrastinating on writing the Pantomime I should be writing ("It's Behind You" - Performed in February 2010 by Maverick Youth Arts) and instead I just tweaked a short story that I've had kicking around for a while, and put it up on Novel Kicks for comment/suggestions.

So feel free to go and have a look. If you aren't already a member, you just have to spend a minute signing up, and it's on the Short Story - Work in Progress forums.

It's called "One Step Beyond..."

Read, Enjoy :)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Derren "Smug Git" Brown

OK, I just wasted an hour of my life sitting through Derren Brown's latest "event", and it had absolutly zero effect on me.

Now, before I start to rant about him, I would like to point out that he has done tricks and shows that have entertained me. The small scale stuff, card tricks, getting people to choose the word he already settled on, that sort of thing. Because it's believable. And yes, we all know it's trickery, hence the term "magic trick". But it entertains. And it's annoying, because there were a couple of bits of that in tonights show - such as Frank the Giraffe.

But the whole "sticking to your seat" thing? I'm not saying it didn't work on everyone (although it certainly didn't work on me), but even if it did work, what exactly was the point? For me, it's not a worthwhile trick if you spend an hour talking it up. Especially if you point out all the techniques that you are going to use.

It was - and I never thought I'd say this about Mr Smug Git - dull!

Although, at least it's better than his lottery predicting (which, I admit, I watched on Youtube, because when it was on I was doing other things), where it was easily identifiable how it was done, if you have ANY knowledge of camerawork or editing tricks.

So yeah, I shan't be wasting my time with any more Derren Brown "Events", because frankly, they aren't great. Don't get me wrong, if the opportunity to go and see him live occured, I would, because that's more impressive. The small scale stuff. No-one believes he predicted the lottery. Most people didn't believe that he could stick them to their seats. So why bother trying?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

2 Rants in one day - Who knew I was this angry??

OK - I know I already ranted once today (See previous entry. If you haven't already.) but seriously. I have now seen the advert for "Love Calculator" on E4 at least 4 times this evening, and I have to complain about it.

For those of you who are luckily enough not to know what this is, the Love Calculator is a service that you can text with your name and your partners name and it replies with a percentage score of how allegedly "compatible" you are.

OK, for a moment, lets ignore the fact that this is one of those subscription services, which costs like £4.6 million pounds a day (I don't have exact figures....) and that it's almost impossible to unsubscribe from, and lets focus on the bit that REALLY irritates me.

To start with, the "compatibility rating" is worked out by the most playground tactic ever. In fact, if any of you reading this are girls, you've probably done it. (I'm not ruling out boys doing it as well you understand, but I'm pretty sure its more often a girl thing). It's done like so. Take two names, let's say, George and Louise (picked completely at random). Then you write this.

George Loves Louise

Then you work out how many times each letter of LOVES appears in the two names.
So... L = 1, O = 2, V = 0, E = 3, S = 1
So the number you get is 12031.
Then you add each digit to its neighbour to work out the next number in the chain.
So - 1+2 = 3, 2+0 = 2, 0+3 = 3, 3+1=4
So our next number is 3234
Then you do it again - so we get 557
Then again - 1012
And you keep going until you end up with a 2 digit number.

And that's the answer. 24%

Not only is this UTTERLY FUCKING POINTLESS and arbitrary, the actual advert itself is what is the icing on the cake for me.

If you haven't seen it, the advert shows a man running out of a church (obviously leaving his wedding), and the woman running out and crying. Obnoxious voiceover man then tells you a fascinating story with rubbish flashbacks of how she texted love calculator six months previously, it returned them a 3% match and she ignored it. And that this is the reason he ran off.


So if our relationships fail stupid middle school mathematical equations then they are doomed to misery, sadness and despair??

Seriously! I know I can watch it and think what a fucking load of rubbish - but what about all the stupid chav teenagers who think that it'll actually do something. You know, like horoscopes.

I don't really have a point here. It's just I can't believe that it is OK and allowable to show an advert like that. Its one thing just suggesting that you could text your names in and see, but to actively state that it would break up a relationship??

Advert writers are c***s.


A Rant to all you Car, Bus and Lorry drivers out there!

Once again, greetings to you all!

It's rant time again - and today's is aimed squarely at those of you who move around in motorised four-wheeled vehicles.

As most of you know, I am a biker. I ride a motorbike. Daily. I'm not one of these stupid "weekend bikers" who keep their bike in a garage and only take it out on a sunny Sunday (although I do now keep my bike in a garage, because I live in a shitty area of South East London and have already had one nicked! But anyway, I appear to be digressing within these brackets, so I shall end them and return to the thought at hand.) I am a biker. I bike to work, I bike home, I bike when I go out (unless I'm drinking) and I bike to and from Poole on a regular basis.

And in honour of all bikers everywhere, I would like to point something out to you other drivers.




I bring this up, because usually two or three times a week, I end up having to get out of the way of a vehicle who, I'm sure, has just not seen me, but then I have to perform something I would consider an emergency manouvre, which usually involves a lot of acceleration in order to get past the offending vehicle. (This, incidentally, is the reason you would never catch me riding a scooter, because the acceleration is rubbish, and if you had to pull away or be squished by a bus, you would end up as pate-on-bus faster than you could say "Argh! THAT'S A BUS!")

Another thing that annoys me is when drivers are irritated by motorcyclists who drive down the white line in the middle of the road. Get over it. You would do it if you could, but you can't. So thank us, because we are taking ourselves out of the traffic so that the queue isn't as long. Granted there are morons who insist on doing 90mph down the white line without looking, but most of us are sensible!

Oh, and just because I zoom away from you at the traffic lights, doesn't mean I will end up speeding. I am interested in getting to the speed limit as quickly as possible, and staying there. If the inside lane of a dual carrigeway (where the speed limit is 50) is moving at 35mph, then I will get in the outside lane. When I'm in that lane, I will speed up to 50. I will then stay at 50. No matter how much you drive up my ass flashing your lights, tooting your horn, or whatever. I like my licence, and I don't wish to lose it. I don't care if you lose yours, but I'm not getting involved.

This was a rant. I know this. And not particularly funny. And probably not that interesting.

But it made me feel better :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A much more positive (and much shorter) blog

So, in contrast to yesterday's long and sarcastic rant, I just wanted to highlight a news story which came to my attention today

43 Marathons in 52 Days??

I am ashamed to say that although I follow Eddie Izzard on Twitter, I haven't logged in much of late, and I just noticed a few tweets with reference to running, but didn't take much notice of it.

But the man has (well, will have by the end of today) run 43 Marathons in 52 days. With just five weeks training.

And all for charity.

Somehow, this completely restores my faith in there being nice people in the world :)

So, you can still sponsor him for this massive feat of endurance, so do what you can.

I know this blog hasn't been particularly funny, but what's to joke about this? A man pushing himself to the edge and all for a good cause...

Besides, if you want funny, go buy and watch an Eddie Izzard DVD :)

Monday, 14 September 2009

17 things that Men do Understand, and simply have stock reactions to

Greetings my small but devoted cult following! The other night, whilst chatting to the lovely Neety - (Who yes, I am now in a relationship with, for the few of you who didn't have that information), she was regaling me with tales of 17 things Men will never understand, from one of those strange womens magazines.

Anyway, as we were laughing at the list, it occured to me that these are some of the worst generalisations of the male gender that the writer of this article could think of, and that therefore I felt it was my duty, as a man, to craft responses to each of these 17 points....

Now, before I get started, I am aware that my response will not necessarily reflect all male responses, but that's because men are all different. Yes, that's right ladies (and stupid magazine article writers), we don't all think the same. And I know what you're thinking, "Blokes Magazines are just as bad". Well, yes and no.

At least blokes magazines usually portray two generalisations of women in blokes mags - the ones who will get their tits out in public / perform indecent acts on you, and "your girlfriend", who is usually portrayed as much more reserved. I'm not saying that this is right either, but my point is that at least you get two reference points for the ends of the "Scale of Woman", from which you can mentally position the relevant woman concerned.

Anyway - 17 things that Men will never understand... allegedly

"1. Just because we already have a grey cashmere sweater/ Miu Miu bag, it never, ever means we don't need another one."

Yeah - Because we men never buy multiples of the same thing. Like a sequel to a video game that is effectively the same... or, I dunno, white shirts (or in my case, black t-shirts). We understand that you want another grey cashmere sweater / Miu Miu bag, but if we sound doubtful, it's just because we are wondering whether you would prefer more variety!

(Oh, and just for the record, I have no idea what a Miu Miu bag is...)

"2. Making us watch football is the equivalent of us making you paint your toenails. Against the laws of nature."

OK. This one is hard for me to argue as, shock horror, I don't like football. So already I am not the stereotypical man that this statement expects me to be. However, of the friends I have who do like and watch football, not any of them make their girlfriends / fiancees / wives watch it. And also, I do know some women who DO enjoy watching football. Just as I know some men who like to paint their toenails. Moving on....

"3. Scarlett Johansson wouldn't pull you if you met her. Think realistic for your laminated list. That's why we've ditched Brad Pitt for Robert Pattinson, who lives in London and is single."

WHAT????? OK, firstly the "laminated list" concept just shows how much that "Friends" has embedded itself in the collected conciousness. Secondly, does anyone actually do that? Make a list of people you'd cheat on your other half with? Doesn't sound very healthy to me... as a game? Fine... but if you're in reality? Oh, and third, Why do you (and by you, I mean the woman writing the article) assume that you are good enough for Robert Pattinson, but I couldn't get Scarlett Johansson? Let me know some of the logic behind that if you could, that'd be great....

"4. If your proposal isn't at least as extraordinary as our friend Andrea's. We'll probably never quite forgive you."

If you like Andrea's boyfriend (sorry, fiance) that much, then we've got problems that stretch beyond any possible proposal method!

"5. "Are those space-pants? Because your ass is out of this world..." may get a laugh, but in no way guarantees said pants are coming off."

No man would use that line. Not if he was really trying to pull. Surely....Crap chat-up lines are there for a laugh, and can often work as an ice-breaker to get conversation going, as long as you don't seem serious!

"6. Making the bed. "But we're just going to get back into it later." It. Doesn't. Matter. Make the damn thing."

OK. This one I am guilty of, I don't make the bed, for that very reason. If you're inviting guests into your room that's different, or if you have a studio flat and your bed is also the sofa then fine. But just doing it for yourself? That I don't get....

"7. Tupperware and cling-film. Allow us to introduce you to these magical things that keep your food fresh and your fridge from smelling like socks."

I understand the use of this. However, Noodles, Beer and Crisps don't need tupperware or cling film. FACT.

"8. Your old, smelly chair is not your throne, nor is the remote controller your God-given right..."

Yes the chair IS my throne. It's comfy, and it's mine. And the remote controller? No, she's right there, it's not your God-given right, it should be shared equally

"9. Forget that new-age nonsense. We don't really want to see you cry - unless it's in the delivery room."

OK.... so we can't cry if WE'RE in horrendous amounts of pain (i.e. we've just been kicked in the nuts) but we can cry when YOU are??

(And no, before any angry women get into the argument, I am not equating the pain of being kicked in the nads with the pain of childbirth, I'm just drawing a comparison)

"10. The gym is never the place to pick us up. We want to die of sweaty shame as it is."

Never tried that. Very rarely go to the gym. AndI wouldn't want to approach a random woman mid-exercise.... maybe if there's a bar in there then you could start a conversation in there, but seriously, in the Gym itself? What would you say "Hi, I'm sweaty and so are you, it's like we've had sex but without the fun part!"???

"11. Kissing then trying to remove our knickers is never the right order. 0-60 is for cars, not women. "

That depends on the woman surely. And the situation. If you're going for a quickie before work, then it sounds pretty good to me, and I'm sure some women would agree with me on this subject...

"12. We love the effort, but going off-piste and throwing random things into a stir-fry does not make you Gordon Ramsey, it just makes the food rank."

Not true. You can put anything in a stir-fry... (Yes I am joking... mostly) Honestly, next you'll be telling me that the recipie to make punch for a party isn't "Take Bowl, add Orange Juice, add Lemonade, add all forms of Spirit that exist in the house, stir, drink"

"13. Somebody once said that the pain of childbirth is equivalent to being repeatedly kicked in the balls for however many hours the labour lasts. Think that over."

Oooh look, didn't I reference this myth earlier? Personally, I would imagine that childbirth hurts more, but on average a woman will go through childbirth twice or three times in a lifetime? And according to these statistics (that I have just made up) the average man will be kicked in the balls at least 47,000 times in his lifetime. Plus, who can prove this anyway... because I don't know anyone who both has testicles, and has given birth. Bring me someone who can experience both and we'll get a solid answer. If not, leave the subject alone. It's like asking how well a desert animal can swim... we can theorise, but unless I'm allowed to pick one up and hurl it into water, we won't know.

"14. Fart jokes are only funny if you have a penis."

Not true. Farts are universally funny, all children laugh at them. The only difference is as Women grow up, they get manners, Men get less manners :)

"15. Blonde hair and a cleavage don't automatically denote a good-time girl. Nor do brunette hair and sophisticated clothes denote intelligent 'wife' material. They're totally interchangeable."

You mean that when women dye their hair it doesn't change their personality?? I'd never have guessed.... Stop assuming that we are all idiots.

"16. We'd rather you didn't have a perfect six-pack. When you do, it makes us feel like we need one too. Which ain't gonna happen."

OK, this one is blatantly put in for the men who are reading the magazine over their other half's shoulder... The fact is that some women do want their man to have a perfect six pack. Most don't, I grant you, which is a definite plus for those of us who are of the larger build... but don't assume anything. Chippendales are popular for a reason....

"17. Watching a musical will not castrate you, it's fun! But if you suggest seeing one, we'll instantly think you're gay. Them's the rules. "

Um... FUCK OFF. I like musicals. I still have testicles, and (as far as I know, and excluding that one strange night in Jumping Jaks many years ago) no-one has ever assumed I'm gay for suggesting we see one.

So there, that's my rant about stupid magazine articles. I may return for another rant soon.

Enjoy life :)