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Monday 28 February 2011

Quotas for Female Politicians

This article is my rebuttal to an article I read in today's i newspaper. As I discussed in my piece on food writers a few days ago, I kind of like this new newspaper and its basic concept, it's pretty good for delivering a quick shot of news, business and sport etc., and the paper it is printed on feels quite nice and it has staples in, which to me screams class and value for money at just twenty of the queen's own pence. However, I am sad to report that it seems the columnists they have writing their "Opinion" section are just as fucking insane and misguided as the charmless Richard Littlejohn and the trouty Jan Moir we encounter in the Daily Mail. So let's waste no time and get to ripping apart the crap that one Mary Ann Sieghart for some reason got paid for subjecting us to in today's i.

The subject of Mary Ann Sieghart's (I could call her Ms. Sieghart like they do with every bird they mention in the Mail, whether they be Paula Radcliffe or a hooker who's fucked Wayne Rooney, but I don't want to) article, which took up a whole page in the country's most concise newspaper so must have been considered somehow useful, was how there should be quotas in order to make sure there are enough women in parliament.

Every argument in this article is at best reductive and at worst retarded. Case in point, Mary Ann Sieghart writes that when she started covering politics (I'll let her take over here) "in the mid-1980s, that world was almost entirely male.". Now, I was only born in 1983 so obviously my memories of the mid 1980's are mainly Thundercats based, but what I definitely, definitely remember was that the Prime Minister at the time was called Margaret. For my entire childhood in fact, the most powerful position in the UK was held by a woman, well, unless you think the most powerful person in the UK is the monarch in which case - oh no, hang on, Queen Elizabeth II is also in possession of a vagina.

Mary Ann Sieghart points out that "more than half of FTSE 250 companies have not a single female director", which I assume means that nearly half do. If you take into account her later point that "Because of the rigours of child-rearing, there are certainly fewer [good female candidates]" then really, the fact that nearly half of the top businesses have women on their boards suggests that, maybe, everything is fine and you should stop trying to make a living out of bitching about an issue that is no longer relevant - i.e. feminism.

Mary Ann Sieghart berates the Conservative party for never having had all female shortlists for winnable seats, like her beloved Labour, who have lost power because they were so bloody awful that even an alliance of Annoying Dave and Impotent Cleggyweg looked better, had had in the past. Now I'm sorry, but how is that equality? You don't want equality, in reality, do you? You want an easy fucking ride. In politics, the gender of the person you vote for isn't that much of a factor unless you are still, in your insane mind, embroiled in some kind of Rock Hudson and Doris Day battle of the sexes from the olden days. An all female shortlist for a vacancy I was hiring for is something I would never in a million years entertain, because it's not fucking fair, so why would I look at things any differently as a voter than as an employer?

She says that "Nobody likes quotas, but they work". Work at what? Not at true democracy. Not at anything useful or good. They work at getting inferior candidates into positions they don't deserve, just because the best person for the job was born with the ultimate handicap for PC times - being white, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied, and male. You can have a quota saying 50% of MPs need to be ginger and it will do just as much good - it's arbitrary, it's stupid, and good on the Tories for not adopting it - they're still the only party to put forward a woman for the top job and to happily accept her having it for many years.

Mary Ann Sieghart is very selective in her memory of what has happened in the last thirty years and is also the kind of person who will always bleat on about this issue - someone who is not as good at her job as some men doing the same thing.

Incidentally, Mary Ann, when you call men Neanderthals, does it not strike you that there must have been Neanderthal women, too, in order for them to have survived as a species long enough to evolve into us - that is, sensible, thinking people and especially crappy man hating columnists?

Blaming Michelle Obama

You may be wondering why I'm not writing about the Oscars, what with that being all topical and whatnot. I did consider it. The whole grand enterprise is about as pony a thing as there is to be seen in the whole of human endeavour after all. But in order to write about that I would have to have watched it, or at least read about it and know who had won, what preposterous crap they had spouted in their acceptance speeches, and possibly even seen whatever dismal, worthy movie they had been in. Life is too short, and besides, a nadir was reached in terms of pony nights at the Oscars that year Halle Berry spazzed right out and sobbed like the complete fucking knob that she is and Gwyneth Paltrow wore that brown ruffly dress that made her tits look deformed. Speaking of Gwyneth Paltrow - apparently she is going to be on that god awful crock Glee, singing Cee Lo Green's "Fuck You". Those people I wrote about yesterday who look for signs that the end of the world is coming should probably have a butcher's at that - it's the kind of thing I imagine there would be at the end of days: Gwyneth Paltrow singing "Fuck You" on bastarding Glee...

So, anyway, no Oscars, but we are looking to the States for the subject of today's rant. It has been brought to my attention, and I'm sorry to tell you this, I really am, that First Lady Michelle Obama - deep breath, dramatic pause - kills people.

Unsurprisingly, I read this in the Daily Mail.

Michelle Obama, although she doesn't hold any official power, is, in reality, a popular role model who is very much in the public eye. Showing a quite huge amount of ambition, Michelle Obama decided to use this influence to try and tackle the problem of childhood obesity in the States, where like us, they have a shitload of fat kids, but unlike us they have those kids who are so fat you can't see their eyes because even their eyelids are full of lard.

The First Lady set out to do this with a campaign called "Let's Move", which centres around promoting exercise and healthy eating. Kind of like that crappy Fit 4 Life or whatever it was called programme the Labour party did that seemed to centre around ordering a pamphlet, only with someone likeable at the head of it and without the sinister Orwellian undertones or the highly misguided "let's put a 4 in there to be 'down with the kids'" thing going on. So not much like that at all really, I guess.

Having had a look at the website, there isn't much there that would offend anybody. There's advice for parents, kids, schools, local government etc. about ways of encouraging healthier living, and it comes over a lot less patronising than a lot of similar schemes have done in the past. It definitely doesn't look like it will kill you. Quite the opposite in fact. It definitely, definitely makes it look like Michelle Obama doesn't want people to die, she wants them to live long, healthy lives, brimming with vitaminy goodness and buzzing their tits off on exercise induced endorphins.

It will kill you though.

It has already killed seven people. Seven people who would otherwise be alive (though probably morbidly obese), by way of Michelle Obama's tyrannical actions, are now dead. Or so some people believe, anyway.

Basically, the statistics for the number of pedestrians killed in road accidents have come out, and there are seven more dead pedestrians this year than in the same period last year. This can only be due to more people walking to places, because Michelle Obama told them to.

Of course, some might say that this is quite a negligible margin of change in the stats, especially in a country the size of the United States. Some might say that a change of seven people would struggle to be newsworthy in Andorra, let alone in the USA. They might also say that maybe those people were drunk, or texting, or actually trying to get run over so they could sue someone. They might say that maybe these people had never even looked at any of Michelle Obama's information about healthy living and nutrition. Maybe they always walked. Maybe they weren't even fat children.

And those people would be fucking right. It seems kind of obvious when you think about it for, I don't know, half a second, that Michelle Obama's well intended scheme is not responsible for any deaths. People should blame the real bad guy here - that sinister puppet master Olly Murs, runner up in the 2009 season of the X Factor.

As well as blaming Michelle Obama for the huge increase in the amount of human roadkill getting its eyes pecked out by birds at the side of all those big ass roads they have in America, some people are also accusing her of astonishing levels of hypocrisy.

Why? Well, it turns out that the other night she ate some ribs. I'm not even joking. The nerve of the woman, eating ribs. How very dare she. Although I'm guessing they were pork ribs, which does at least shut up those crazies who keep saying the Obamas are secretly Muslims.

So what's offensive about a person dining on some ribs? She's an educated lady, I bet she can eat them without looking like a dog tearing up a carcass (something I have never mastered, so I am condemned to only ever eating ribs alone), so where's the beef? Well, some people with too much time on their hands are saying that someone who promotes healthy eating and salads and whatnot shouldn't eat the decidedly unhealthy delicacy that is the intercostal muscles of the pig. Because that makes them a big old hypocrite - saying one thing and then, god dammit, going and doing something else.

The thing is though, it's quite easy to demonstrate how she isn't a hypocrite at all, using the flawless logic of this statement: Michelle Obama isn't fat. Michelle Obama isn't fat, Michelle Obama's husband isn't fat, and Michelle Obama's kids aren't fat. She clearly doesn't need to eat more healthily and do more exercise, that advice was her advice for fat people. Whatever she is doing, which is obviously eating a balanced diet that includes ribs, is fine for her. If she looked like the bird out of Precious and was telling fat people to eat healthily whilst shovelling fried chicken into her mouth and ordering yet another Dominoes for her tubby kids, then yeah, fine, parade her bloated body through the streets tarred and feathered and then stone her for all I care. But that's not the fucking case, is it?

On the whole I think people should leave Michelle Obama alone, but if you absolutely must start on her, have a go at her about making Barrack Obama give up smoking. It was cool when he smoked. I still let her off for that though. Whatever she does, she's still a billion times more interesting than Samantha Cameron and whoever the hell Cleggyweg is married to.

Sunday 27 February 2011

The Second Coming

This is my 21st article. It is the 21st century since the birth of the baby Jesus. Just seven days ago, it was the 21st of February. And 21 is three times seven. Coincidence? I think not.

So let us explore the concept that Jeebus is coming back. There were signs in the book of Revelations, and some bloke called Daniel (possibly the one in the Elton John song "whoah, Daniel, my brother/you were more of a prophet than me/do you still predict stuff?/with the fire, and whatnot/your eyes have died/but you see the end of days more than I/Daniel you're a star/in the flames of the rapture...") and come hell or high water (and they are both coming, hell because the rapture nutters say so, high water because the global warming nutters say so) we can make those look like they apply to shit that is happening right about now. It's more fun that way. Rather than just bodding around watching the Cleveland Show even though it sucks and going to work, we can believe we are part of the most important generation that ever lived. The last generation. The generation that will bear witness to the rapture. And also, coincidentally, the Pepsi Generation. I hate Pepsi, its the only Cola competing with Virgin Cola for being the biggest affront to human tastebuds. But anyway.

The internet is top full of people who can match the signs in t'bible, as they call it in Yorkshire, to stuff that is happening now. I only noticed this because someone told me that The Antichrist with Willem de Foe was the most disturbing movie ever made, so I Googled it in an effort to find out what happens in it so I could see why it was disturbing without actually watching it and becoming disturbed. I'm kind of a pussy - I would never go in that live action Saw maze they have at Alton Towers. I'd probably cry and wet myself. Still, when I Googled the words "The Antichrist" I couldn't find anything about the movie, just stuff about the Antichrist what the god botherers believe in, and how it is coming or is already here or some shit.

Candidates for being the actual Antichrist, according to the web, include:

Barrack Obama (US president)
The Pope (Pope)
King Arthur (legendary king of England)
Oprah Winfrey (unaccountably wealthy TV annoyance)
Saddam Hussein (dead dictator)
"Someone with the star sign Aquarius" (so, er, me)
Prince Hassan (former Crown Prince of Jordan)
Olly Murs (runner up in 2009 season of the X Factor. No, not really, but it's only a matter of fucking time).

Apparently, when the antichrist comes there will also be a revival of the Roman Empire, which from everything I know about the Roman Empire sounds kind of fun. They had a god of wine, and orgies. They built the Pantheon, for all their cool gods of cool shit. It's rubbish now, mind - I've been there. You think it's going to be a temple for cool Roman gods of cool shit, but now it's a Catholic church. Bor-or-or-ring. The word "Pantheon" literally means it's for all the gods. Not for the one boring Christian one who doesn't like sex or sodomy or anything fun. Fuck that guy, give me Bacchus!

I think maybe, if I was so inclined, I could make out that Silvio Berlusconi's bunga bunga parties were the revival of the Roman Empire. Italy is bloody mad right now, what with that and the fact that according to today's Sunday Times one of their princes has confessed on camera to murdering a 19 year old German tourist as he slept back in the seventies. Caligula would have been proud. But the rapture people have skipped over that shit - they reckon it's the EU that is the new Roman Empire. Which is run by Brussels, in Belgium, not Rome, in Italy, but hey, to a right wing Sarah Palin loving freak who has never left the town they were born in that's probably close enough. It's not an Empire, it's a bunch of arse where people like Peter Mandleson get to tell you what shape a banana can be, or the exact criteria under which a food item can be called a Cornish Pasty. But shit as it is, it's probably not a harbinger of the apocalypse.

When the rapture comes, apparently the followers of the baby Jeebus will know about it but the rest of the people - me, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, George Michael, Olly Murs, you, you know, everyone - won't realise until we suddenly find all the Christians are gone. And make no mistake, this is going to be a bad sign. It's not like, oh, well, they're all gone, so I guess all the wars will stop and we can live in peace. It's more like, oh, well they were right all along and now our kidneys will be wrenched from our bodies and eaten by crows.

Happily, those who will be saved have populated our very own interweb with guides to surviving if you get left behind. I'm not making this up. Here is a link to one of the many available to prove I'm serious: - thank me later at the end of days, kids. Kurt Seland, the author of this particular one, seems especially keen that none of us take the "mark of the beast" on our hands, because it hurts as much as a mouth ulcer. Good Lord, not a mouth ulcer! Anything but that! Damn my wicked life, if only I had repented and didn't have to know this agony! Fucking hell. Would this guy actually kill himself if he got a cold sore, were it not an abomination unto God to kill yourself when he's gearing up to kill you himself any day now.

A lot of these sites seem to just use the idea of the "signs" to combine the two top pass times of scaremongering and saying Jews and Muslims are evil, but you know, it does bother me a bit that these people are wasting their lives worrying about this complete Shitty the Bull brand bullshit and also feeling really, really bad for us because they think we're going to suffer horribly. We're not, so don't worry. For one thing, none of it will ever happen, but for another, we're rock 'n' roll - we'd enjoy it.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Queen's Honours

Today's rant is inspired by the third most objectionable thing I read in yesterday's Daily Mail.

The first most objectionable thing I read in yesterday's Daily Mail came from whatever it is that charmless cunt Richard Littlejohn has where regular people have their brains, and was on the subject of the 2011 Census form being available in 57 languages. The online form is only available in English and Welsh, which shouldn't piss off Mr Bigottypants at the Mail, but should someone want to fill in the long and complicated form, which you get fined if you don't complete, in their own language they can order it in 57 different languages. These languages include Tagalog, which Littlejohn hilariously tells us is the language of Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men. It isn't though. It's the Philippines. Unless Richard Littlejohn is secretly involved in some kind of bet to appear to be a bigger waste of skin than Piers Morgan, for the lols, this just makes me want to punch him in the dick. What annoys me isn't so much the casual racism of the joke itself. I think there are people who could have made that joke work. But Littlejohn isn't them. You can imagine him feeling all smug about it. "Stupid Filipinos with their stupid language, coming over here, being in our Census. Tagalog. Sounds a bit like flobadob. I'll use that. They'll piss themselves." Worthless, worthless cunt. Also, somewhat out of synch with the times - I'm not even sure how I know what Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men sound like, it's not like that little pop culture reference really touches anyone under 50...

The second most objectionable thing I read in yesterday's Daily Mail was something professional trouty old cow Jan Moir wrote, but I can't remember for the life of me what it was. It says on her column "Jan Moir - are you thinking what she's thinking?". No. I am quite literally never thinking what Jan Moir is thinking. I reckon she'd like us all to be thinking what she's thinking. Not in a "Jan Moir - voice of the people" kind of way, but more in a Doctor Who villain mind control kind of way. Yes, yes - I shall harness the power of the mobile phone network and control their thoughts so that everyone will agree with me that Jennifer Aniston's new hairstyle makes her look like a desperate bint! There will be a new dawn! A new dawn of bitterness! The nasty old harpies shall inherit the Earth!

The third most objectionable thing I read in yesterday's Daily Mail, and the point of this article, was an actual story that happened as opposed to the opinions of one of their frankly mental columnists, so it wasn't the Daily Mail's fault, probably, but it was in there. Catherine Zeta Jones was receiving the OBE from the Queen. Catherine bloody Zeta bloody Jones. Now I've got nothing against Catherine Zeta Jones - who knows, we might be related - I don't wish the woman any specific harm, but what the fuck business does she have getting the bleeding OBE? The only things I've ever seen her in was that show with Del Boy in it that was on when I was a kid where they lived in the countryside and it looked horrible, a movie I saw on a plane where she was getting divorced from George Clooney a lot of times which made me wish you could bring knives on the plane so I could jab them into my eyes and ears, and another movie I saw on a plane where she was Julia Roberts' sister and she was mean, which made me wish you could bring guns on the plane so I could blow the heads off of anyone who fucking laughed at the jokes in it before taking my own life. Oh and Entrapment, which was just fucking stupid. Plainly, she isn't getting the OBE for her illustrious acting career then. Is it perhaps for services to increasing the population? I have no idea how many babies she has had but every time I see a picture of her she seems to be all puffy and pregnant and gross. But there was a woman in the Daily Mail with 17 kids and she hasn't got the OBE - just 600 quid a week in benefits, which if you think about it you'd actually probably rather have than the OBE - so that can't be it. Maybe it's services to the Welsh economy. Apparently she buys cannisters of Welsh air to breathe in America where she lives. She has to be the biggest, if not only, importer of Welsh air. Is that worth an OBE? I don't know. What are they even for?

So who else has got honours off the Queen? Obviously you only get a knighthood if you do something really quite impressive like win three Olympic gold medals or a World Cup, or pretend to be a wizard in a Peter Jackson movie, but there's all those other, lesser ones, the OBE, the MBE, the CBE, that some quite random people seem to have had bestowed on them.

Duncan Bannatyne off of Dragon's Den. He's got one. And he's my second least favourite one after that prat Peter Jones (hope I'm related to him too though, he's minted). Floella Benjamin, that kids presenter from the 80's with the creepy dancing doll. She's got one. So have the Beverley Sisters, whoever they may be. Barbara Cartland, who writes filth for old people and looks like a male pug in drag. She's got one - and not just a poxy OBE, she's a full on Dame (obvious jokes about pantomime dames and how she is one or looks like one or whatever withheld due to obviousness). Paul O'Grady, who for most of his career actually was a drag queen but now appears on ITV at about 4pm or as I like to call it "stupid fat unemployed people prime time". He's got one. Fred Dibnah, a very old northern man who talks about steam engines and the industrial revolution and other such northern old man stuff, probably while wearing an actual flat cap and feeding some bitter to a whippet like he's been employed by a museum to stand around looking all Yorkshire. He's got one. Olly Murs, who came second in the X Factor in 2009. Obviously he hasn't got one, but it's only a matter of fucking time at this rate.

For a normal person to get a recognition like this they have to do something really good for charity or the community, basically devote their entire life to it. But if you've been on bloody Last of the bastarding Summer Wine, the worst TV show of all time ever, then you can have a knighthood. It doesn't even seem to matter if you're truly awful. Sebastian Coe only got the MBE for his athletic achievements, but since morphing into a really despicable politician, basically the Tory Peter Mandleson, he's got a god damn knighthood.

Which brings me on to the whole concept of knights of the British Empire. No wonder we don't have one any more if our knights, who should be defending it, are all Elton John and Tim Berners-Lee. Good at making seventies music and wearing funny wigs and inventing internets, probably absolutely crap at jousting. Why are they called fucking knights? Why not call them, I don't know, "dudes" or something? Dude of the British Empire.

Whatever, I do absolutely bollock all for charity and I've never been on TV, so I won't be getting one.

Incidentally, the fourth most objectionable thing I read in yesterday's Daily Mail was that Kate Middleton showed she had the same rapport with common people that Diana had when she met with some common people - eerie it was. So, Diana and Kate are both able to hold conversations - wow, talk about natural successor! Ugh, I need to lie down.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Food Writers

Today's rant was inspired by a piece I read in today's i, you know, that new newspaper from The Independent that, according to the commercials where they very hilariously got a Geordie bloke to go "why i?", delivers quality newsly news in bitesize chunks of newsy goodness, and none of that celebrity shizz. I am a big fan of newspapers, because news websites get on my nerves by trying to give me all the news in video clip or user submitted camera phone picture form.

The other day I wanted to know what the skinny was, because a lot of people on my Facebook had statuses that indicated something undesirable had happened in Christchurch - but obviously with this being the usual wanky Facebook "look at me and what a good person I am for caring about those poor people" attention seeking crap for the most part, none of them had indicated what it was that had occurred, or indeed whether it was the Christchurch in New Zealand or the one near Bournemouth where I once had "lobster 'n' chips" in a very nice restaurant. A quick look at the BBC's news website indicated that it was the New Zealand one, and that what had occurred was a particularly bad Earthquake, but that was it. There were untold numbers of photographs of wreckage, but a distinct lack of actual journalism. They say a picture can paint or say or somehow represent or whatever a thousand words, but it can't - at least not useful, factual words of the sort I was looking for.

Newspapers give you the words, but sadly there isn't a single one that isn't in some way annoying, so my solution is to read all of them (except for the Guardian - fuck that). This could get expensive, but happily my local pub gets them so I can read them all for free - win! I like the execution of the new i paper. It is pretty easy to read, and it does fulfil its objective of delivering the news, business and sport stories in as concise a form as possible (well, probably not as concise as would be literally possible - but a lot more concise than say, one of my especially rambling sentences) however it does kind of take away from the thing I enjoy about reading the paper - the fact you can make it last a really long time. I sometimes sound like an old man.

Because of this, after 10 minutes with i I'd caught up on all the news (Gadaffi, eh? What a knob.) and was finding myself drawn to the lighter stories. On the front page (obviously not as the actual front page story because that would be mad, just along the bottom where they tell you what there is inside the paper) is a picture of some tasty looking fried chicken, I mean really tasty looking, some Haribo and some beans on toast, and the promise that inside chefs are going to reveal their guilty pleasures. This sounded quite good. Guilty pleasures, in the food sense, to me would be not the stuff that you know is a bit bad for you but which tastes nice. How boring a life would you have to lead to actually be arsed to have feelings of guilt over a fucking Twix or a packet of Lineker's finest Cheese 'n' Onion. It has to be the really filthy, really wrong stuff you would never want anyone to picture you eating. Stuff like pork pies, or as I like to call them "testicle puddings". With that crunchy, suety, darts player fatty pastry, encasing the grey, gristly meat of the worst parts of the worst pigs (would guinea pig meat still be called pork?), surrounded by that yellowish catfood style jelly - christ knows what that shit is - oh, the testicle pudding is so very wrong. Buying a testicle pudding makes you feel sleazy, like you just shoplifted a copy of Reader's Wives from a newsagents, in Sheffield. But you still eat them because somehow, by some strange alchemy, this object which should be an affront to the sensibilities of a cultured person like you, tastes fucking lovely. It's the same with pork scratchings. That is fried pig skin right there, with chunks of dried up pig fat attached to it. Sometimes you get one with a hair on it. Bloody nice though, aren't they?

So, I was hoping this was going to be right down there in the gutter. Maybe Jamie Oliver would reveal he likes to shovel Doner Kebab flavour Pot Noodle into the space in his mouth that isn't occupied by his gargantuan tongue. Maybe Delia Smith's favourite "cheat" of all is just scarfing down Spam straight out of the tin, seasoned with her own fucking tears. Maybe Ainsley Harriot's eyes are that googly because he accompanies his meals with lashings of Frosty Jack's white cider (that shit where if you drink it, you wake up with a crowd around you). I was expecting it to be a lot better than it was, anyway.

First of all, none of these were people I'd heard of, though next to their names, which were, without exception, ludicrous - one of them was called Gizzi - each was lauded as being either a chef or a food writer or chef cum food writer (sorry, I just like writing "cum", because I am very immature). Each one of them revealed their oh-so-naughty guilty secret, and each one of them made me feel a different shade from the spectrum of violent rage. I wasn't alone - the person I was talking to while reading them asked me when we got on to the bone marrow one (we'll come onto that in just a minute - hope you are feeling suitably teased by the words "bone marrow" there though) if there was blood coming out of his nose. Because it had annoyed him so much he was sure he had had an aneurysm, not because it had annoyed me so much I had lost it and punched him in the face, I mean.

Some of them were just rubbish. One guy, who claimed he had to avoid guilt due to being a Catholic (huh? I thought that was what Catholics ran on? That and gold.) said he liked ice cream - "usually vanilla". Vanilla ice cream. Vanilla. The flavour so plain and generic that it has become a byword for porn where nothing all that dirty happens. How fucking bland can a person's immortal soul be that the best answer they can come up with when a national fucking newspaper asks them to say something a little bit interesting about themselves is that they sometimes, not often mind, like a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Stupid Flanders.

One person had, predictably, said that their guilty pleasure was McDonalds. OK, so that seems like something normal people could relate to - most people enjoy a McDonalds, that's how come despite their efforts to alienate their customers by adding very bad looking salads to their range they are still a somewhat successful business. It seemed quite right that even someone with the lofty palate of the food writer, to whom things undoubtedly taste a lot better than they do to me with my tastebuds deadened by a decade of delicious Marlboro Lights, might like to have a Big Mac when they're off duty, you know, maybe just on Friday nights or something. No. What it seemed was actually the case, was that this woman had eaten a McDonalds once. One McDonalds. Because her kitchen was being used for a photo shoot the next day and so she didn't want to mess it up, and her kids were hungry. They all had a fucking McDonalds. Christ. I wonder if the kids fully committed to this amazing opportunity to replicate an authentic working class experience by talking like Vicky Pollard, making out they didn't know who their dads were and pretending the maid was mummy's lover. "Tarquin! These goujons are called McNuggets! What fun!"... Bet she didn't even have a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder. I bet she had that thing with the 100% grilled chicken breast and the foccacia and whatever the hell a "balsamic dressing" is.

So what next, someone's guilty pleasure was watercress, or communion wafers? Nope. Toast. But don't worry, not that infidel white toast with the heathens' own marmalade on it. Toast made from rye bread, with unsalted butter. Lord, if you feel guilty for eating toasted rye bread with unsalted butter what the hell kind of emotion would you experience if you ran over someone's dog? If anything, I feel guilty for the fact that anything other than white bread feels like it's sucking all the moisture out of my body much like the drug in that awful Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo, and that to me unsalted butter is just like smearing the flavourless flab of a dead obese boring guy on your food, so I will probably die at 38 of something white-bread-and-Olivio related if the fags don't get me first. How pretentious do you need to be that all you will admit you eat in your moments of weakness is the kind of shit most of us would feel quite smug about eating if we were sticking to some kind of heart attack prevention diet?

And this is where we get to the bone marrow guy. This is where the pretension hit a level I just wasn't prepared for. One of them, I am not fucking kidding, and if it wasn't for the fact that it was the pub's paper and I had to leave it there I would tell you his name so that forever, when he Googles himself he will see this amid all the stuff he's supposedly done as a world famous chef-cum-food-writer, said his guilty pleasure was "bone marrow". He didn't specify which animal this bone marrow came from, which made me think maybe it was some proper dark shit he was owning up to here and the animal was "white babies", which really would be a fucking guilty secret. Guilty in a life sentency sort of way. Instead I will assume of course that he means some kind of animal bone marrow, like you get in dog biscuits, the ones called, cleverly, Marrowbone biscuits. The ones we left well the fuck alone that time me and my mate were so stoned with such insatiable munchies that we ate some of the other dog biscuits in her kitchen cupboard. He was on about smearing it on stuff. Steak, toast, Thai prostitutes. He described it as "gloopy". Fucking hell, where would one even buy bone marrow? That just ain't fucking right.

So, my conclusion from analysing the jackasses i spoke to is that food writers are all boring (well, they spend their time thinking and writing about something you have to do so you don't die - you might as well go around reviewing different London underground lines for how good their breathing air is), pretentious, or fucking mad.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Terrible Music - Part 2

Here is the second in an occasional series where I fill in for Beelzebub's private DJ and give you an early look at some of the songs you'll be hearing in hell after the rapture. They may say that the devil has all the best tunes, but he's keeping them for himself. You sinning bastards will instead be throwing agonized shapes to the following:

Blue - Too Close

As is the fashion of the time, Blue, as you may or may not know, have reformed, like so many cans of reformed mechanically retrieved ham. Boybands from days of yore keep doing this, to varying degrees of success, creating a phenomenon that the media in its infinite cleverness has dubbed "the manband". Take That achieved critical acclaim with their comeback, filling stadiums with not only women in their thirties with cats as originally expected, but other (read "less depressing") people too. Blue may be hoping to emulate this, or they may just be trying to pay off the massive debts of interest they owe to, we can't know, but what we do know is this - they are making their comeback by representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest. Oh fuck.

Who the hell is these guys' agent? Fucking hell. The Eurovision Song Contest is the absolute worst thing you can do. People in the UK only watch it ironically and to listen to Terry Wogan rip the warm living piss out of everything that is happening, so nobody is going to be actually supporting poor old Blue, but also, it is impossible for a British act to ever win. We could put together the greatest song of all time, a song that you could play in a competition with the devil (what is it with me and the devil today?) and keep your soul like what Jack Black did, and then we could raise Freddie Mercury and John Lennon from the dead and have them perform it, backed by, I don't know, Radiohead, and we'd still get nil points from everyone except Ireland. Some people say this is because all the other countries vote for their neighbours, so no matter what the song is like all those wacky sounding places like Herzegovina and Macedonia will give top points to each other, Scandinavian countries will do the same, and everyone hates us because of Iraq or whatever so we can shove our song up our collective jacksy. That's one view. Personally I think it's more that people in mainland Europe have a very different concept of "music" than the rest of the modern world. It would certainly explain a lot. DJ Sammy and his ridiculous hair for one thing. It looks like he glued a turd to the back of his neck. But he can sure get them dancing with his time honoured formula of taking one line from an 80's power ballad and playing it over and over again over a banging track. Europe is full of an epic amount of wrongness. Blue will come home with nada, nobody will want to download the song, and Blue's comeback will amount to one of those "FAIL" images with just Duncan James' sad little face on it.

Anyway, back to the song. This song by Blue is gross, because of the lyrics. It is a song about dancing with a girl in a club and getting an embarrassing erection, which she notices, and Blue are trying to explain themselves. They're all like, "Baby, when we're grinding, I get so excited, oh how I like it - I try but I can't fight it"... It really makes me cringe. This is an embarrassing thing that happens to people (not to me), and listening to them sing about it forces you to relive, er, I mean, live the embarrassment. Christ, what were the other songs on this album like? "Ooooh baby, I thought it was just gas. But now it's kinda wet down there. Down there in my pants. Oooooh baby. Sorry about the smell. It smells like ass. I like the way you shake your ass. But I can't shake it wit you tonight. Because as we've established I've just shat myself.". Or perhaps just "BAM! You know I usually last longer than that."...

Whether or not the manband incarnation of Blue will perform this one I don't know. Maybe they are so old now that they don't even get erections, so they can't find the place inside themselves emotionally where they can connect with the lyrics and give the performance a work like this deserves.

Time to stop thinking about Blue and the problems they may or may not be having with their ageing cocks now, and to segue neatly into the next song: Blue collaborated with which artist on the song "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"? That's right - it's national treasure bashing time.

Elton John - Candle in the Wind '97

Firstly, before I get stuck in to the meaty chunks of this track, have you seen what he's done now? He's made a movie where he retells the classic Shakespearean tragedy of Romeo and Juliet using the medium of 3D cartoon garden gnomes. Don't ever change, Elton, you crazy bastard. It does look shit though, as though all the actors doing the gnomes' voices are people who have at some point found themselves in a recording studio saying "Every little helps" in a voice so cheerful it fills any nearby boxes of Prozac with a sense of overwhelming inadequacy, but kudos for the randomness of the concept.

I like the fact that there's Elton John in the world. I like that he used to waste all his money on total crap and that he can take the piss out of himself about it by appearing in that old Royal Mail advert where he'd ordered a load of shit and exclaimed "MAIL!" when it arrived. For a little while, well, maybe an hour, it was fun for everyone to do that when they got an email. He brought us that hour. I also like some of his songs. I like to try and imagine how the "Crocodile Rock" would actually have gone. I like to think it involved doing big crocodile jaws with your arms while skipping around like Snoopy. That would be one badass dance you could do all summer long. Elton John, in conjunction with Disney, also brought the world the pure joy that is holding a cat above your head and singing "The Circle of Life".

What I didn't like was the whole Diana dog and pony show. Bloody hell, those were dark times. I was 13 years old. It was Sunday. I got out of bed, went into the kitchen, put the radio on, and heard something that made me very depressed. Due to the fact that Diana had bought the farm, they were only going to play songs with no lyrics. This was, I guess, so that they could ensure that whoever had lined up the songs for the radio show hadn't put in, say, "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, or "Crash, Boom, Bang" by Roxette, or "Airbag" by Radiohead, or - well, you get the picture. But because it was a local radio station they weren't exactly well stocked with classical music so basically they had to just play "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac over and over again.

The TV was the same. It was wall to wall grieving plebs when it wasn't footage of Diana doing the good stuff that she did (but not footage of Diana riding James Hewitt around like a pony, because that would have been distasteful, although unless I've dreamt that it did happen), apart from Channel 5 who unaccountably had a documentary about Peter Andre on, which is what I watched. Can you fucking imagine having to watch that?

I am not saying I was glad she died, or that I didn't think people who admired her had the right to be sad about it, but it was really fucked up. I had never met her, didn't especially like her as a "celebrity", and so it was just a case of, well, it's sad somebody has died young in a nasty accident and left their kids without a mother, but that happens to tonnes of other people I've never met every day and in the grand scheme of things, meh, whatever. The reaction was just so fucking extreme it made you feel like you lived in a nation of dribbling imbeciles. As I recall it, significantly less fuss was actually made about 9/11, which was so many times worse than a spoilt woman dying in a car crash that there isn't a number in all of mathematical theory that is large enough to quantify it. If there was it would be a madcap Dr Seuss sounding number like fourteenty kasquillion.

Elton John did know and like Diana, so it was fitting that he got to play at her funeral, but this rewrite of his original song about Marilyn Monroe was so clichéd and dreadful that I'm surprised she didn't come back and haunt him to get him back for it. Yeah, Elton, good luck making sweet sweet love to David Furnish to the sounds of "Your Song" with mangled Lady Di spectre watching. I think it should have been more honest. It should have gone "And your picture will always appear here/on the front page of the Express/your candle burnt out long before/the conspiracy theories ever did"... In any case, I guess you can let him off, he doesn't usually do the lyrics, just the tunes, and also he was probably sad because his BFF, or, you know, that princess he knocked about with sometimes, was dead, but this shite became the fastest and best selling record there had ever been, and again, that smacks of "nation of dribbling imbeciles and also there are some imbeciles abroad buying it too".

A sane person would say that nobody is all good or all bad, but it seems like the mouth breathing underclass that has come to typify this country recognises one strata of person as being good, pure and holy: the celebrity who they used to say did some questionable things but who has suddenly and unexpectedly become dead. Diana with her adultery, Jade Goody with her racism, and of course, segue number 2...

Michael Jackson - Heal the World

Could have gone with this one, could have gone with "Earth Song". Either one would demonstrate the thing I'm on about here - Michael Jackson when he decided to be really, really preachy.

Like most people, I recognise that Michael Jackson did some really cool stuff back in the eighties. Slash. The Moonwalk. Zombies. Enough words have been written on this topic by everyone ever. Of course, in a universe that operated by my rules none of these songs would ever have come to be, because all of the members of the Jackson 5 would have been murdered execution style in the seventies for doing that fucking stupid song about birds having a disco. Songs featuring the words "Tweedily deedily deet" are among the many things considered an abomination in a universe that operates by my rules, which is why I'm afraid Eliza Doolittle (the singer, not the character from My Fair Lady) would also have to be shot in the middle of her quirky face. This is why a universe that operates by my rules is not as fantastic an idea as it sounds - sometimes if you let people get away with the odd transgression it pays off. In this case with "Smooth Criminal", "Billie Jean", and the greatest televisual moment of my teens: Jarvis Cocker waving his arse at Jacko on the Brit Awards. Jarvis didn't much like the preachy phase of "The King of Pop"'s career either, evidently.

"Heal the World, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.". How Jacko? For a start, how can we make it a better place for you? You are already richer than god and live in a theme park and have a pet monkey - what can we give you? Well, I guess one of us could have given him a less fucked heart, but we weren't to know that back then. Surely he was in a much better position to heal the world than we were, you know, he could have maybe used the money he spent on buying the elephant man's skeleton to instead build a well in an African village if he really gave that substantial a fuck that he felt the need to bang on to us about it like a big weird looking buzzkill. Come on Jacko, you couldn't take it all with you, could you? And whoever inherited the elephant man's skeleton, well, that was probably just awkward for them. "Ooooooh, er, gee, this is great. Elephant man skeleton. Er, guess I can't sell it, cos, you know, it was bequeathed to me and all that but, you know, it just doesn't go with my furniture. I've gone for a kind of, cosy, homely feel with the cushions and throws and whatnot, this is more your nightmarish Victorian freakshow kind of vibe. I'd have to redecorate, maybe get some deformed dog foetuses in jars and stuff. And I'm not entirely sure what my feng shui guy would have to say about that... Best just chuck it in a skip."

I have no tenuous link into the next song, if you can suggest any way I could have connected Preachy Michael Jackson to Twatty Shania Twat then please let me know what it is so I can provide a smoother, more flavourful reading experience in future...

Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much

Shania Twain. I know it's not very clever or inspired to change it to "Shania Twat", but in my head that's what she is called. She does that really pap music very boring women do in karaoke when they are letting their hair down with a shared bottle of fucking rosé because it's somehow empowering to frumpy administrative workers to self consciously belt out "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" to the other patrons of Yates's Wine Lodge. Or rather she used to about eight years ago - happily she seems to have fucked off - presumably because she is now very, very old - she already looked like she'd been ridden hard and put away wet back then.

What's annoying about this song is the sheer arrogance of the woman. If you sum up the verses she is taunting some guy who has the intelligence of a rocket scientist, the looks of Brad Pitt, the coolness of Elvis, and a really sweet car, because that's not good enough for her. That's not good enough for Shania Twat, the ropey looking Canadian wearing a full length leopard skin hoodie. That's no lesson to be teaching the girls with the glasses in the Yates's. They can't afford to be that fucking picky. Jesus woman, you are such a fucking bitch.

So, that was the second set of terrible songs - as always, leave me your thoughts and suggestions or, if you're those guys who commented on my article about cyclists feel free to call me "an unpleasant piece of poo" and debate how small my penis might be. I quite like rowing with people, which is why I promoted that article on all those "I love cycling" groups on Facebook.

Tuesday 22 February 2011


Hello. Yes, I realise I have not updated this shit for a very long time. Seasons have passed, in which there was a World Cup where a level of ineptitude and outright fuckwittery far beyond that which I predicted last spring was displayed by the England squad. Cheryl and Ashley got divorced, so I guess we won't need to be hearing anything much about them ever again. The Prime Minister now has two eyes, is called Dave, and has a little butt puppy with a yellow tie. And I didn't write about any of it. I'm not going to make any excuses, but if you choose to, you could imagine that I was somewhere where this would not be allowed, like in prison or rehab or China or something.

In any case, the subject of today's rant came to me when earlier on, it was explained to me that there are people in America (they're called Republicans, I think they're essentially like the BNP with God-knobs on) who strongly, you know, murderously strongly, believe that kids in school should be taught creationism instead of evolution and whatnot in their science lessons.

Now, science at school, as I remember it, was a bit random. I have never since encountered a bunsen burner, or that fucking thing that makes static that the teacher makes you touch so you can have your hair look shit and get mild shocks off your locker for the rest of the day. Like the musical instrument that is fundamentally two cylinders of wood that I guess you hit together like a happy little retard, the Van der Graff generator does not exist outside of schools - because what fucking Earthly use would anyone have for it. There were experiments, which of course were not really experiments at all, because you already knew what unremarkable thing was supposed to bloody happen, whether it be some water frothing up a bit or some bread going mouldy, and then there was the dissecting of some bit of a cow. I wonder who in the school employee pecking order has the job of going to beg those cow eyes and hearts off of the local abbatoir or the meat counter at Morrisons or wherever the fuck they get them. I hope it was the dinner ladies - they were disgusting people. I'd like to think that as part of their remit the foul, cellulite bingo winged harpies had to go and do that. Beg a bloke in Morrisons for cow eyes. Then take them back to school in a paper bag, oozing all over their fucking car seat. It pleases me. Regardless, if you were to split everything in the world into "stuff that is scientific" (the glomerulus, semi-permeable membranes, meth production) and "stuff that is not scientific" (Rasta Mouse, cushions, the benefits of the Toyota Prius), all of the stuff in these classes was scientific.

The concept of creationism is that thing out of the bible where God makes the world in six days (like Craig David, he chilled on Sunday), and makes Adam, the first man, out of some mud, then makes Eve, the first woman, out of one of Adam's ribs and some mud, and then Eve eats a forbidden apple because a snake tells her to and I think she gets Adam to put his chops around it too, and then they have to wear clothes and snakes don't have legs and having babies is painful. It isn't really very scientific, because science tells us that people can't be made out of mud and snakes can't talk and apples are good and childbirth hurts because it involves squeezing something that is big out of a narrow tube that is part of your body and therefore has nerves. Also, what the fuck did a snake look like when it had legs? Fucking mental, I'd wager.

This stuff is right at the start of the Bible, so most people get at least this far in. Consider it the biblical equivalent of the bit with Tom Bombadil and his weird rapey forest at the start of the first Lord of the Rings book, which is as far as I got before the fact the fucking hobbits had to fucking sing about every fucking single fucking thing (and with it being a book obviously the songs have to be represented by very gay poems about walking and eating toast) annoyed me sufficiently to stop me reading the rest of it.

I did learn this creationism malarkey in school, when I was very young, much like I learnt the nativity story, Noah's Ark, and all the other well known Bible stories. It would seem kind of ignorant not to know the beliefs on which a major religion is based, after all. But much as when you get into "Big School" the teachers stop letting you take naps and reading you George's Marvellous Medicine in daily installments, that stuff doesn't really come up any more once you're of an age where you can be trusted with naked flames. If it does, it comes up in Religious Education alongside all the equally elaborate stories from the holy texts of all the other significant religions (not Scientology though, you have to learn that later from a weirdo on the street or from Wikipedia after you were wondering what the deal was with Cruise - aside from the obvious I mean). The point of teaching you this is to equip you for dealing with people from diverse backgrounds in your adult life without inadvertently coming over as a bigoted Prince Philip style cunt (ah, Phil, I love you really), or, should you end up in a position of power, causing a really stupid war. It is not to teach you how mankind came to be.

For that you got Darwin. In science lessons.

We bloody love a bit of Darwin in England. He's on one of our bank notes (I don't know which - looking in my wallet is frankly more research than I ever put into these things), and when there was that poll of the greatest British people he either came top or near as damn it - certainly he came above Princess Diana and she was the actual queen of our actual hearts. Granted, this poll was done before we knew about Cheryl Cole so obviously things would be different now, but nevertheless, it would be bloody weird if someone said they didn't like Darwin. He was clever as shit.

Apparently, this is not the case with the American far right, who don't like Darwin and his evolution theory very much at all. A guy who was simultaneously performing an abortion, a gay wedding and a family planning clinic for teenagers would probably be more popular with the Tea Party Teabaggers or whatever the fuck it is they're called (is it actually Teabaggers or is that just a joke I've picked up somewhere? Man, I hope it really is Teabaggers). And to be clear, that guy would be popular only as a hunting trophy. These are the people who want that first bit out of the bible taught instead of evolution to the children of the most powerful nation on Earth.

Of course, this sounds fucking preposterous, and any sane person would say that whilst Christians have every right to use their faith to suppress the giant "BULLSHIT" sign that the creationism story throws up as soon as one gives it more than a millisecond's thought and believe it if they want to (not all Christians do, some see the story as a metaphor, which besides being to my mind a lot more bloody sensible, seems like a rather convenient way of explaining away a lot of the "embarrassingly stupid" stuff in the bible), by doing so they are choosing to reject the theories of science. And that in order to make that choice a person needs to know about both. This is the point. Creationism is not science. It is an alternative to science. It has as much in common with science as the ocelot has with the Soda Stream (hey, remember those? Man, I miss getting busy with the fizzy. My mate had one. Good times.). If this was a PowerPoint presentation I would now hammer home this point using a Venn diagram with two circles that don't touch at all. The evolution circle would have a monkey on it and the creationism one would have Marge and Homer as Adam and Eve, in case you want to draw it in your head. If you teach kids this horseshit as "science", depending on how much independent thought the poor bastards have left they are either going to a) never trust anything else they ever hear at school, which, to be honest wouldn't be a bad thing if these freaks are controlling the curriculum or b) grow up with some really fucked up ideas about the world.

Obviously there are dangers to this. For one thing, these kids would be robbed of that phase most normal kids go through where they think dinosaurs are the coolest thing ever, because dinosaur bones were placed under the ground by the devil to test our faith so you definitely shouldn't say, try and piece them together to see what the dinosaurs that definitely never existed looked like and then make cool exciting films of them crashing around killing stuff. But I suspect the consequences could actually be even worse than that. Armies of fucking crazy ignorant people, basically.

I find it literally impossible to understand how people can accept creationism over evolution as the explanation for the, well, for anything at all, but if people want to believe it that's their lookout. It is my duty as a lovely and beneficent person to inform them that everyone is laughing at you, you know, just in case they thought people thought they weren't mental, but hey, knock yourself out, you crazy kids. What I find even harder to believe, even harder than that really mad bit with the rib, is that anyone would accept the insistence of some fundamentalist crazies that people aren't given a chance to make up their own minds (and decide that it's bullshit. Obviously).

Incidentally, my favourite dinosaur is the brachiosaurus and sometimes I like to pretend my hand is a brachiosaurus, with the middle finger as his neck and the others as his legs, and walk him around my desk. What is your favourite dinosaur and why?