Thursday, 29 September 2011

Growing up: the ugly truth.

After a particularly stressful day recently, I found myself longing for the good old days. When there were no bills to pay, no work to do, and the main concern in life was having a blank vhs ready to record He-Man. It's funny, I thought, that when you're a kid you spend your days waiting to grow up, and when you grow up you end up wishing you were a kid again*. I'd like to address the subject, for the benefit of any youngsters that might find themselves reading this, and I'd also like to say that if you are a youngster reading this, please log off now and go and do some kid stuff while you still can. Go and build a treehouse, build a dam in a stream, build a ramp in the garden and ride your bike over it, catch bugs in the garden and at this time of year you should really be playing conkers. Because when you're old, all that shit is frowned upon.

Here are some of the numerous myths you may have heard:

  • When you grow up you can do whatever you want. This is simply not true. Unless you're one of those super rich dickheads like in that Adam Sandler film, there are multiple limitations to what you can get away with as an adult. The main thing holding you back will be money, or lack thereof. When you're an adult you have to spend all your money on adult shit, like bills and rent. You can't just march into a toy shop and spend all your cash on every Transformer available, because you've just had to spend your spare cash for the month on an impromptu trip to the dentist (that's right, when you grow up they start charging you cash money for that nonsense) and Transformers aren't what they used to be anyway. Then of course, you might end up with a woman, or worse still a whole family, in which case you'll have to spend all your money on them instead. Course, there are times, if you're without the old 'ball and chain', that you can do something crazy like eat cheesecake for breakfast. But these times are generally few and far between.
  • This is a work of fiction.
    You will not hook up with Winona Ryder. 
  • When you grow up you will be big and strong and you can throw bales of hay around like cotton buds. I'm not sure why you'd want to throw bales of hay around, but I grew up on a farm, and adults seemed to do a lot of that back then. That and shoving their arms inside cows. Lasting memories. Still, you definitely get stronger as you get older, up until a certain point. I personally believe that when you hit about thirty it all goes to shit from there. You'll get a bad back, creaky joints, random aches and pains and unpredictable bowel movements. Mark my words. If you want to do all that energetic shit, get it out of the way early, because by the time you're my age you'll just want to glue yourself to a sofa with a packet of codeine and a nice cuppa. 
  • Seriously, when I was a kid this was all anyone ever did.

  • Grown ups get to have sex ALL THE TIME. Tricky one, this. Some grownups do seem to have sex all the time, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority spend their days convinced that everybody else is having more sex than them. If you're lucky, you'll get your end away by the time you're eighteen, but there's really no rush. The quicker you start on the women, the quicker you'll get one of them knocked up and have to stop doing all the fun shit I mentioned previously. I imagine you know at least one person who claimed to be having full sexual intercourse at the age of about nine, there's one in every class in every school in every country IN THE WORLD. But i strongly suspect most of them are bullshitting, and the ones that aren't bullshitting will be scarred for life and socially awkward forever. 
  • When you grow up, nobody tells you what to do. Boy are you in for a surprise. When you grow up everyone tells you what to do. There are more rules and regulations than you can shake a stick at. You have to pay your bills on time. You have to drag yourself out of bed and go to work at least five days a week, and then you have to give a chunk of your wages to the tax man so he can spend it on various invasions and suchlike. You have to pay money just to have a fucking television, even when there's never anything good on, so idiots like Chris Moyles can afford their weekly truck load of pies. You have to have a license to drive a car, and then you're not allowed to drive it fast. You can't run around naked doing cartwheels on the lawn like when you were a kid, especially if you live in a mid-terraced house. Then if you get a wife or a girlfriend, you're fucked. They bring a whole new set of rules into the house with them. You have to put the toilet seat down after you've done a wee, because apparently that's too difficult for them or something. You must always always ALWAYS pick up your dirty socks, and God help you if you don't notice she's dyed her hair half a shade lighter. Again. 
So to summarise, growing up isn't the basket of clowns and rainbows it looks like as a kid. If you're a child, why are you still here? For the love of God go out and do some fun stuff. And I don't mean play Playstation, I mean go outside and get muddy. When you grow up the only time you get muddy is when you're digging the garden or unblocking a drain, and that's just not the same thing. And if you're not a child but you know somebody who is, please urge them not to grow up too quickly. It's much nicer being young and blind to the horrors of life than it is to be grown up and disillusioned. 

*unless you're Wayne Rooney, I think he's still pretty happy with his Lego. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Things I really really love #1: Rock 'n' Roll and variations thereof

Quite often I get told that I spend too much of my time complaining about things. Personally I don't think it's possible to spend too much time complaining about things, I think it just shows that I'm observant. There are plenty of things to complain about in the world after all. Man's inhumanity to man, corrupt governments, illegal invasions, bullshit laws, slow internet connections, pens that don't work properly .... you see where I'm going with this. But of all the things in all the world that I could complain about, there is one thing that irks me more than anything on the face of the entire planet, possibly more than anything on the face of any other planet, even. Even the ones we haven't explored yet. There could be nothing, on any planet anywhere in the entire solar system, that could irritate me on the same level as...


Now I know what you're thinking. 'But, handsome and intelligent blogger, it's all subjective. Terrible music to you might be great music to other people'. But this is wrong. If you like Justin Bieber, you are big fat wrong, and if you've ever paid money for his music i hate you and you should be ashamed of yourself.
I like lots of different genres of music, and in every single genre you can imagine there is music that I love more than anything else except other music, and there is music that I hate more than anything else except peas and nazis. There's also music I just don't get, overhyped bands and artists that just never really struck a chord with me (The Beatles. There I said it). Mostly the stuff I hate is modern popular stuff. It tends to be unintelligent, quickly churned out, devoid of real emotion and talent, soulless, uninspired and uninspiring. It just drops off the end of a big manufacturing conveyor belt over and over again, raking in the pennies, most of which never reach the recording artist let alone the criminally uncredited songwriters. And people buy it. This irritates me.

But that's enough complaining. This was supposed to be a positive post, and I've clearly wandered astray. What I'd like to do is try to convey why I love rock music, but I'm not sure I'm an accomplished enough writer to put that into words. It's something, maybe the only thing, that I'm really passionate about. I never go anywhere without my ipod*, recently my earphones died and I was almost reduced to tears on a crowded commuter train. (that's another thing that annoys me, my earphones always break in exactly the same place. Do yours do that? Why haven't they made them bombproof yet?).

Rock music is the main love of my life, until further notice. Most guitar based stuff is fine by me**, whether it's heavy metal, punk, blues, folk, classic rock, even some country stuff. And it doesn't even have to be a normal guitar either, have you ever heard somebody properly play a banjo? I mean properly? It's fucking AMAZING. Same with the ukulele or the mandolin. These stringed instruments are capable of making noises that just make me grin with the kind of inexplicable joy usually reserved for post-coital naps or a session with some really good brie and crackers. Look at this:

Now tell me that's not awesome. If you don't appreciate the talent involved in that, I'm afraid you might have hearing problems. You should probably have yourself checked over. The skill involved in decent rock music blows my mind maaaaaan. Any idiot can spend a few years mucking about with Autotune and Cubase and knock out some mediocre club song or chart track, but if you want to do this sort of thing:

You need to put in the graft. For years and years. And years. Non-stop. I once tried to learn to play guitar, and do you know what I learned? It's really fucking hard, that's what. You have to make your hands do completely different things simultaneously, you have to make sure the fingers on your fretting hand are pressing the right strings in the right frets, and at the same time you have to make sure your other hand is strumming the right strings without hitting the ones you don't need and just fucking it all up. It's MENTAL I tell you. I'm 100% convinced that the likes of Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan were born with some kind of extra 'awesome' gene that means they can just do what the fuck they want and make it look as easy as cracking one off to Baywatch.
And then if you want to sing at the same time, you're into a whole new chapter of madness. And writing your own songs... how the hell do people do this stuff? People write music and write lyrics and play instruments and sing, and some do all of this stuff AND are awesome at multiple instruments. IT DEFIES LOGIC. Look at Dave Grohl. 

Go on. Look at him.
Drummer in Nirvana, one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Amazing drummer. And when Nirvana ceased to be, did he just move on to drum in another band? Did he fuck. He (apparently) said 'fuck that noise, I'm gonna form my own mega huge band, and I'm gonna write all kinds of awesome songs, and I'll be the singer and guitarist and I'll just record most of the first couple of albums all on my own'.

What a PRICK. But you can't even say that, because he's officially recognised as one of the nicest famous people in the entire world.

The lyrical content in rock music is often pretty special too. It's quite rare than a rock song has no lyrical content at all. Rage Against the Machine are the only reason I have a fleeting interest in politics, for example, and I bet you all the coins in my sofa I'm not the only one. Even tunes by bands like Blink182 and the Bloodhound Gang are at least amusing in a childish way, even if they don't really mean anything. Not like the stuff you kids are listening to these days, where it's either soppy romantic rubbish being sung by teenagers too young to understand romance, or rap songs about how people spend their vast fortunes on pink champagne and massive jewellery, written by folk who should really be acting their age by now. I was tempted to include a couple of video links so you lot could see the kind of dross I'm talking about here, but to be honest I don't want to give any of these people any free advertising***. You're probably familiar with the sort of thing anyway, I won't subject you to any more.

Essentially there are many reasons to love rock music, and it baffles me that some people not only don't understand it, but some even claim to hate it. People actually actively dislike the showmanship, energy, passion and talent involved in rock music, and prefer to instead spend their pocket money on songs about bitches and bling and private jets.
Well, for anyone feeling adventurous, here are some rock artists I think you should listen to (as well as the ones mentioned above of course), just plucked out of thin air. Some are old, some are new. They differ greatly in styles, some are heavy and some are not, but personally I love them all equally in different ways and I think you should love at least some of them too. Turn it up loud!

Frank TurnerThriceCounting CrowsChuck RaganTimes of GraceCity and ColourFeed the RhinoThe Joy FormidableBlood Red ShoesClutchPearl JamPropagandhiTool

*other personal music devices are available
**except Nickelback and boring indie rubbish 
***just remembered the Bieber picture. Shit. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Things I don't understand #1: Religion

While I respect anyone's right to believe in whatever they want to believe in, and in a way I imagine it's probably quite nice to have such beliefs, it simply doesn't work for me. The crimes commited in the name of religion and the problems it can cause seem to outweigh the benefits, to me. Personally I'm a lover of Darwin, I believe in evolution and a scientific explanation for things, rather than a spiritual one. I'm no expert in either field, I know what I know and that's a lot less than what I don't know, but the whole theory that God created the earth and life and space and time and Dappy from N-Dubz just doesn't hold any water with me. I could skim through the bible and point out the bits I think are rubbish all day long, but to be honest I've not got a bible, or all day long. What I do have is a list of the ten commandments, which I gather are quite popular in Christianity and Judaism, so I'm just gonna pick holes in those instead.

Please be aware that I don't intend to offend anyone (I might anyway, but these things happen, people are soft these days). Apart from the Westboro Baptist Church, they can go fuck themselves with crucifixes.

"Listen up, bitches"

The Ten Commandments (paraphrased, otherwise they can get a bit wordy)

1) You shall have no other Gods but me.
Really? I dunno, seems a bit needy to me. I know women who have the same outlook, and it's just not practical. Not saying you should have more than one woman on the go, but it doesn't hurt to at least be aware that there are others out there. It's natural, in fact. Nobody likes an attention seeker.

2) You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
Will if I want. Personally I don't really worship anything, but if people want to bow down to Lady Gaga or Martin Luther King or the actor Timothy Spall, I don't think we should condemn them to hell for it. It's nice to have somebody to look up to, for whatever reason, and personally I'd rather look up to somebody I can see than some intangible fella in the sky. Otherwise I might end up staring directly at the sun and burning my retinas, or getting pigeon poo in my eye.

3) You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
God almighty. Really? For God's sake, you can't say anything these days, it's political correctness gone mad I tell you. God.

4) You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
If by 'holy' you mean having a nice lie-in, drinking some nice coffee, reading the papers and going up to Mum's for a nice roast dinner, then count me in. Although I'm pretty sure that's not what they're getting at here.

5) Respect your father and mother.
Ok then. Personally I will, because my father and mother are brilliant human beings. But if your father is a convicted serial rapist who's serving twenty years in Belmarsh and your mother likes to dress like a slapper and go clubbing until 3am on a saturday and habitually wakes up with several strange men in her bed, feel free to not respect them at all. In fact I suggest you get the hell out of there as soon as you can. Ring social services or childline if necessary.

6) You must not kill.
But what if a masked man breaks into your home and tries to kidnap your baby, and he's got a knife and you've got a gun (this is probably more applicable to my American fanbase - I like to think I have a fanbase)? I know what I'd do, and it isn't 'try and talk him down, remain calm and if all else fails phone the police'. I'd blow his fucking brains out without even thinking about it. All over the wall. Bam! Splat.

7) You must not commit adultery.
But what if you're a woman trapped in an unhealthy relationship? Maybe your partner is abusive or something. I mean, most of the time if you feel the need to cheat on your spouse you should probably just get the hell out of there, but maybe you're scared to leave or something. It happens. Maybe one day the friendly postman knocks on the door and he's got that twinkle in his eye, you get chatting and he pops in for a quick cuppa (too many 70s adult films? maybe), your prick of a husband is taking a break from using your head as a football to go to work and flirt with his teenaged secretary. Fuck it, hop on postman Pat, who gives a shit? But definitely get rid of the husband at some point.

8) You must not steal.
Alright, there aren't many situations where it's considered ok to steal. I can't really do much with this one. Stealing is generally a mug's game. Although if your kids are in danger of starving to death and your last hope is to pinch some beans from Tescos, I personally will turn a blind eye.

9) You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
This one's fair enough too really, nobody likes a grass anyway, but if you're just plain telling lies you need to stop and have a word with yourself. You big fibber. Especially if you're accusing him of something to get him out of the way because you've been coveting his wife, which brings me to....

10) You must not covet your neighbour's goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
This one is bullshit. from start to finish. If you're Joe Bloggs and you live next door to Brad Pitt, of course you're gonna covet the living shit out of his wife and car and house. It's fine to covet things, that's what gives us ambition. Just don't go as far as stealing/shagging them. You must earn things. Or win or inherit them if you're lucky. Stealing your neighbour's house or shagging his car is frowned upon by almost everyone.


Now I don't want to just tear apart the commandments millions of people live by without offering some alternatives. So BEHOLD:

The Alternative, Modernised and Much More Reasonable Commandments (the title might need some work)

1) Don't be a prick.
That's it. No hard and fast rules, just be a fucking decent person.
Don't shag somebody else's girlfriend/boyfriend, don't steal, don't tell lies and if your bag is taking up a seat on the train when people are having to stand, fucking move it to the luggage rack. I mean Jesus Christ, what the hell is wrong with you people? Do whatever makes you happy, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. If you're young, free and single and free of HIV, sleep with as many people as you like, as long as they know where they stand and don't get hurt. Drink, smoke and do drugs if you want, but if you're stealing to fund a habit, grow up and stop being a dickhead. Covet your neighbour's wife, it might even make her feel good about herself, but don't be a homewrecker and don't covet their kids. Try not to kill anybody unless you really really have to, and if possible just aim to maim. Be nice to the people who care about you. If you're a massive scary looking fella and you find yourself walking behind a little old lady, maybe cross over the road so as not to intimidate her. And hold doors open for people, even if they're not old. Smile at a stranger occasionally, but not in a creepy way. Say please and thank you. If you're driving a car and somebody is waiting to cross a road, maybe slow down a bit and let them cross, especially if it's raining. Bake me a cake for no reason and without me asking. I like chocolate.

Basically if you've got half an ounce of common sense, you don't need a set of rules inscribed on a stone to tell you how to live your life.

Just. Don't. Be. A. Twat. 

Note: colourful language doesn't make you a bad person either. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Lies People Believe #2: Crime doesn't pay.

Let's face it, crime does pay. If it didn't, people wouldn't do it. It only doesn't pay if you get caught or killed, and to be honest if you're rubbish enough to get caught or killed you should probably just get a real job. Remember people, knowing your limits is key here. I've often toyed with the idea of resorting to crime, but to be honest I don't have the self confidence or the energy for it. It's probably only worth doing if you're doing it on a large scale, and that sort of business takes some organising. I'm not much of an organiser, I'd rather just show up for work on a monday, spend five days trying to look busy and wish my life away waiting for the weekend. If i was going to be a criminal, I'd be one of the following:

  • International arms dealer. You get to travel, you get to play with guns and let's face it, nobody's going to fuck with you. Except maybe Interpol (the international crime fighting agency, not the band. Nobody would give a shit about the band).
  • Diamond smuggler. Nicking blood diamonds from Sierra Leone and selling them to posh Chelsea housewives with more money than sense seems like a safe bet to me. Obviously it helps if you're devoid of morals and don't mind becoming embroiled in a trade that essentially steals from the poor and gives to the rich. And they don't call them 'blood diamonds' for nothing. I think it's because you have to wash the blood off them, which is a risky business. If you're not careful you could lose them down the sink, they're usually only little. 
  • Full time assassin. Like in the movie 'Leon', only less French. And I wouldn't want some twelve year old girl following me around all the time, people would start to talk. It's all very well offing gangsters on behalf of other gangsters, but sharing a bed with a pre-teen Natalie Portman would surely sully your reputation somewhat, even among the sort of lowlife mobster scum that pay shady Frenchmen to kill their rivals. I wouldn't drink milk though, I'd drink coffee and rum. 
  • "Fuck off, little kid"
  • 19th century cowboy. Riding around on a horse, drinking bourbon and getting into shootouts with the natives. Nothing against the natives of course, it was just the done thing in those days. Then if you got bored you could just amble into a small town, clean up all the bad guys (the ones that are more bad than you) and become sheriff. Also you get to wear a cowboy hat without everyone thinking you're a bellend or Jon Bon Jovi*. And prostitution was all the rage back then too, and according to timeless classic films like 'Young Guns', all the hookers had massive cans and really nice hair. And HIV probably hadn't been invented then, so no bother there. 
  • Art and antiquities thief. Like in the film 'Entrapment', starring the alleged (well, some would say self confessed) woman beater Sean Connery and the quite frankly way out of his league even in a film Catherine Zeta-Jones. The problem with this one is I don't know jack shit about art or antiquities, and I'd probably end up stealing stuff that had been bought from Ikea. But it'd be worth it if I got to do that bit where she's learning to get through the laser beams and she's wearing all the tight lycra gear and poking her bum in the air. Awesome. 
Sweet jesus.
Now i realise I've based a lot of my criminal aspirations on crap from films, which may not be that accurate. But I've not had much experience in the real criminal underworld, save for an incident involving a primary school and some paint when I was eleven years old. Which I am NOT proud of, by the way. Note to any eleven year olds: if you find yourself in a situation where your mates are breaking into a building and they want you to keep watch outside, do not shit yourself and go in there with them. If you must shit yourself, just go home. And if you do go in there, don't get paint all over your shoes, that sort of thing can be pretty damning evidence.

So there we are. Today we've learned that 'crime doesn't pay' is a rash statement indeed. Especially if you're Sean Connery in 'Entrapment', where it all works out in the end and he gets rich AND gets to pork Zeta-Jones. Sure in Young Guns and Leon the heroes probably don't get the happy ending they'd like, but we'll just gloss over that for the sake of keeping my point valid and not making this a complete waste of time.

*for the record, Jon Bon Jovi is a hero and I won't hear a word said against him. He can dress like a cowboy and sing about being one all he wants. Although everyone knows Richie Sambora is the better musician and probably the better songwriter. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The lies people believe #1: Money can't buy you happiness.

I recently got told that some of my Facebook* musings/rants would make good reading in one of these blog things. And to be honest, I'm bored half to death, so I figured I'd start one up. Besides, somebody who is quite funny once told me I was quite funny, and I don't think I need any further encouragement. Only problem is I'm a raging technophobe, and I don't really know what I'm supposed to do. I guess I could look at other blogs and glean inspiration from those, but that seems like the pussy way out, I much prefer to just make shit up as I go along - a practice which served me well in none of the exams I attended in my formative years and got me to where I am now (the arse end of nowhere, typing this on a budget laptop I bought on finance). I'm hoping what will happen is that upon engaging in this little venture I'll be suddenly inundated with all sorts of interesting thoughs, the likes of which people will want to read about on the internet. Then maybe one day I can start my own grown up website and people will give me vast sums of cash to plaster advertisements all over it and fuck everybody off.


I'd quite like to be rich one day, you see. People say money can't buy you happiness, but I've done some research and I believe this to be 100% incorrect.
If I had money here's what I'd do:

  • Buy a big, fuck off mansion. I'm talking indoor swimming pool, bowling lanes, casino, secret sex dungeon/chill out room, all that shit. It would be THE place to hang out, and everybody would be my friend because of it. This would make me happy. I've also always wanted a secret underground bunker. I don't know why, maybe I have a subconscious fear of the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
  • Learn to drive a car. I never bothered so far, under the bullshit pretence that I give a good shit about the environment and our dwindling oil reserves. The truth is I was too lazy to learn when I was young and I'm too poor now. And we'll just steal oil from third world countries anyway (Oh NO he didn't). If i had money I would learn to drive and probably buy something sweet like a Ferrari**. Then women would want to fellate me (women are fickle creatures, but we'll cover that in a different chapter) and this would make me happy.  
If you're in one of these and you don't suck the driver's dick, shame on you.
  • Get all my broken teeth fixed. Years of not giving a shit about my dental hygiene, combined with years of my parents not physically forcing me to brush my teeth every morning and night (they tried, bless 'em, I was just too strong), combined with a severe chocolate addiction and the occasional ill-advised dalliance with soft drugs, has left me with a mouth resembling a skip full of rubble. Chicks do not dig shitty teeth. Getting them fixed would make me h-a-p-p-y. 
  • Get my stupid back fixed. In fact there are numerous things I'd like to get fixed on my body, the gnashers are just the tip of a surprisingly delapidated iceberg. I have a bad back, a bad shoulder, varicose veins in my leg, a creaking elbow, too many freckles and I'm pretty sure a terrible hairline. I would get all of these things fixed in a shiny hospital somewhere with hot nurses giving me bedbaths twice a day. Money can buy you that kind of crap, trust me. 
  • Just buy all new stuff. My laptop is pretty average, my ipod is fucking old, all my clothes have holes in and my television is frankly, not fucking big enough. In my mansion I would also have a cinema room, now I'm thinking about it, so me and all my recently bought and paid for friends could watch films or pornography together. Although only the ladies get to watch porn with me, there's something unsettling about a bunch of dudes sitting around watching fuck-pictures together. Call me old fashioned. 
  • I would do something nice for somebody else. I've been giving five pounds a month to Help the Aged for six years, simply because the girl on the high street with the clipboard was moderately attractive. That is approximately £360 I've forked over, and the bitch didn't even call me up for a date. I could've got a fairly decent hooker for that, or probably a load of shit ones. Is a £500 whore really worth the extra bank over a £50 whore? I mean it's just a hole really, you're not gonna look at her face anyway, surely. But I digress. Sometimes it's nice to do things for other people, so I would start up some kind of a business and create jobs for homeless people. I'm not sure what sort of business it would be, seeing as homeless people only seem to be good at being scruffy and drunk and asking people for money. Maybe I'd build a university and turn them all into students. Then I'd feel proud of myself and this would make me happy.
So that is why money in fact can buy you happiness. You do have to spend it on the right things though, If you buy shares in Arsenal football club or big bags of crystal meth***, it will usually only end in misery and an abject hatred of society and the human race. 

 *   other social networking sites/wastes of fucking time are available.
**  other fanny magnets/death traps are available.
***other drugs are available. but this is totally the best/worst. 

Disclaimer: I in no way condone or encourage the use of crystal meth or any other drug. In fact if you think that, you're a moron. I've literally just said soft drugs fucked up my teeth. hardly glamorous is it? It's a bit like when people said the movie 'Trainspotting' glamorised heroin. How the fuck did they work that out? What's glamorous about getting the shits so bad that you fire out your suppositories and have to climb into the shitty toilet to find them because you're jonesing so bad? Or having a dead baby crawl across the ceiling towards you and then spin it's head around one hundred and eighty degrees like a fucking owl? Doesn't sound glamorous to me. Course, pot and booze don't count. If you want to get shitfaced and blaze one up, be my guest.