Monday, 31 May 2010
I would never normally presume to talk about fashion - Hadley Freeman will undoubtedly have summed up my thoughts in her column at some point. But there's something about gladiator sandals that compels me to break my silence.
Have you ever seen an uglier statement? I used to think the UGG boot was unattractive, but I became accustomed to having them around. Due to constant testimonials regarding their comfiness, I might even say I have come to accept them. But I don't think I can do the same for gladiator sandals. Surely shoe technology has progressed since the 3rd century BC for a reason?
Then there's this version. Are there people buying these? Are said people wearing them? Where to, and what with? Have they no eyes? AND, they must end up with criss cross patterns all up their legs. Although credit where it's due, this particular design does look like it would cater for the gladiator fan with tree trunk legs. A democratic blow for all the cankles out there... But seriously. No outfit deserves this.
If the gaping void in aesthetic values doesn't put you off, bear in mind these bad boys will set you back £40 a pair in New Look. Know what else you can get for £40? That's right, nice shoes. Ones that won't inspire passing ruffians to try and fight you to the death all the time. Trufax.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Probably my skin will erupt like one of the nine plagues of Egypt. The one with the boils, not the locusts. My face will be covered in festering blisters, and when I wake up in the morning some will have popped and the pillow will be soaked in puss. People will cross the street to avoid me and the kids at work will develop some kind of clever but horrible nickname. Plague Pus, maybe.
When I see a doctor about it they will refer me to a dermatologist because GPs don't know anything about anything, and when I see the dermatologist (after being on the waiting list for three months) they will be sick on my shoes and tell me to get out. Meanwhile my flatmates will have got tired of seeing me every day and found a way to get rid. I suspect they'll try to smoke me out.
Then I'll have to live in a cardboard box under a bridge, because none of the homeless shelters will admit me. Not that there'll be many hostels left as the Conservatives want to convert them all into centres for training the polo stars of the future. But the ones that are still there, overcrowded and under resourced, won't want me and my elephant man face haunting people's nightmares.
Worst day ever.
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Azerbaijan kicked off the proceedings this time around. Apparently they got the choreographer for Beyonce’s Single Ladies video to help out. Not sure why, as the dance routine mainly consisted of the singer running round in circles like a dog chasing its tail.
This was followed by a sinister grin with a perm, singing for Spain. The song is called Algo Pequenito, which HILARIOUSLY translates as ‘something tiny’. This was slightly more bearable than the deeply boring Norwegian power ballad, but surpassed by Moldova with their Gaga styled singer and sex crazed saxophonist. Their song included the classic line, “We have no progressive future/I know your lying nature”. We've all used that to get rid of an annoying partner.
Cyprus were boringly earnest, entreating an unnamed love interest to tell him about their feelings. Clingiest boyfriend ever. Meanwhile Bosnia Herzegovina entered a Fame academy winner with a fundamental misunderstanding of meteorology who claimed that if we all breathe together, the rain will come down. No. Not how precipitation works. AND, the backing singers were a terrible bunch of slappers. Probably.
I’m fairly sure that the Belgian entry was a song that has already been written, possibly by Tracy Chapman. Since this is against the rules, I assume that the singer and his guitar will be detained after the programme and dispatched. It didn't make you look good, Belgium, especially when Serbia followed with an original tune and a bizarre haircut. Via Twitter, @iainmhepburn suggested ‘Serbia - Next Year's Sarah Jane Adventures big bad...’
Belarus then claimed that butterflies fly towards the sun, Icarus like, to have a look inside. This suggests to me that butterflies are stupid. A bit like the dress of the Irish entry. She cries for the lonely, apparently. Bless.
Now. Speaking as a person who has never visited Greece, their entry was very Greek. It is almost exclusively populated by Chippendales, right? OPA! The same cannot be said for our own entry. We’ve not done anything decent in a good ten years. This is no exception, and I'm not linking to it. He should have just stayed in that light box and let us move straight on to Georgia’s pop philosophy. Who CAN ever tell the colour of a soul? Fishermen, maybe. Arf.
I think the Turkish entry may have been on Kerrang TV this morning. It was by a band called maNga who are apparently rather popular on the mainland. They’ve won an MTV award doncha know. Meanwhile Albania presented us with a woman who is a bit like Roisin Murphy, and a song called All About You. Both were quite good, comparatively speaking. At least as good as the Icelandic club anthem. But nobody’ll vote for them after all the trouble they’ve been causing lately.
I was eating a fajita when the Ukraine were on, but I was almost put off my food when they made me aware of a problem of apocalyptic proportions – apparently we are turning the earth to stone? She doesn’t want us to continue down this path because (because because) this is our home. True dat. Who knew the effects of climate change were akin to the powers of Medusa.
France entered their world cup song, which is fairly typical of the oeuvre. You will hear it over the summer, I expect. This was followed by Romania, who were sort of brilliant. Calvin Harris could have written this tune. He would probably have come up with better lyrics, but you can’t have everything.
Favourite entry in our house this year was Russia, who are deeply awful but in an excellent way. There are echoes of Flight of the Conchords in their jumpers, melancholia, and photo that wasn’t actually a photo. Armenia were quite good too, unveiling secret Armenian parenting techniques. “I began to cry a lot / and she [mother] gave me apricots.” I wonder if Supernanny has been informed.
Germany – who have just won – had a catchy number, although I’m not sure that the list of stuff she’s done for her prospective love interest is overly romantic. She’s painted her toenails, left the porch light on and bought blue pants, all because she can’t go a minute without your love. Most of it sounds like a fairly average routine. But there you are.
Portugal paled in comparison with a ballad out of a Disney film, whilst Israel went with “tears of blood are burning in my throat.” Maybe he’d been drinking the coffee that got recalled due to having broken glass in. Or maybe he was upset cause he knew that Denmark were about to finish with Every Breath You Take, incorporating some classic wind machine / modulation action. Dire.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
That's right, the seventh Mr Gum book, Mr Gum and the Cherry Tree came into the library t'other day, and I read it right up. Highly recommended for all people who like fun, much like volumes 1-6. Shabba me whiskers.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Other than that, is there anything more annoying than getting to a pedestrian crossing with about eight people standing around waiting for the green man to happen, yet none of them has pressed the button to make it so?
Pedestrian crossings are not a Jedi mind trick. Sure, you can stand about attempting to use the force to make the lights change. But you'll look like a tool, and eventually you will succumb to a sense of crippling failure.
Neither is there a process of osmosis at work here. There is no permeable membrane that will allow you to pass through when there is a high enough concentration of would-be road crossers. What there is, right, is a convenient button on a post, and when you press it an electrical signal is sent that makes the lights change. Then the big metal car monsters stop, and you see the magical glowing green guy in the air, and may continue safely on your travels.
Is that really so hard?
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Nobody in the Eurovision semis seems to be suffering from crunchy knees. Lack of talent, maybe, and ill conceived costume ideas, but their knees largely appear intact. So it is decided, next year I will enter for Britain, and then my knees will be fixed, and I will be able to joggle round Inverleith Park without deep seated fear of self-inflicted arthritis.
In other news, some of the young persons at work did a good prank. They put an advert for a car on Gumtree with the library phone number on it, so we have spent most of the day fielding calls from confused men wanting to buy a Golf GTI. It's the cleverest thing any of them have done since I started.
"This would win a talent contest in St Andrews. And I do not mean that as a compliment." - Captain Tact on the Belgian Eurovision entry
Monday, 24 May 2010
You get to the bus stop early, as one must always do to ensure that they only run a few minutes late. The electronic trackermajig says the bus is due in 5 minutes... then 4... 3... 2... 1... DUE. Due. Due. Due.
Then BAM, 18 minutes.
No bus has gone past. Well, there was a 5. But that's not my bus. Maybe the chip for my one was accidentally put in a number 5? But surely that isn't how it works. Maybe it's stuck in tram lines or a pot hole on Princes Street, just out of sight? The driver could be revving like a motherlicker, but it's just making things worse and the tyres are getting even more stuck in the obstruction.
Unless... the driver forgot which route he or she was on. Maybe when the tracker said 'due' it was sheepishly trundling up the mound?
Perhaps my bus has been fitted with a perception filter, for the amusement of the guys in the CCTV office watching confused punters at the bus stop. It did actually go past, but we all saw a cyclist with trousers tucked into his fluorescent socks. Or, maybe the big clock is right and everyone else in the universe is 5 minutes behind, in which case the thing was actually gone before I got there.
Is it just me that goes through this psychological trauma? Surely not. I can't be the only one riddled with self-doubt over the inner workings of public transport.
"Maxi Jazz is somewhat more sonically progressive than my dad." - Captain Tact
Sunday, 23 May 2010
They're everywhere else too - in the sink, on the table, daringly scaling the microwave. But the ones in my cheerios are easily the most galling.
To be honest, I only really bought them because I fancied one bowl. But I didn't want to sacrifice the other 330g to starving insects. That's almost the opposite of what I wanted to achieve.
In all seriousness, what do ants contribute to society? Nothing meaningful, surely. They don't fix the roads, or make jam, or write books. The 1998 movie Antz may not be Woody Allen's greatest work, but it's hardly regarded as his worst.
Sure, they don't do anything overtly evil, like nipping you or pooing in your slippers. They just climb all over stuff in a neverending quest to eat more cheerios and procreate.
A man from property services appeared at one stage and sprayed stuff on the carpet with a cheery cry of "don't let any guide dogs lick the floor for three hours!"
But the poison that would allegedly kill a labrador has only made these bastards stronger. I'm sure there are far more now than there were when the man came, and they're less deferential now too. Some sit there and look up defiantly, as though daring me to squish them.
"Come and have a go if you dare," they seem to say, "but if you kill us we will become stronger than you could possibly imagine."
Ants watch too many films.
Sunday, 16 May 2010
It's on after Futurama, and the opening credits alone make it worth the journey. They feature the host, Steve Miller, wrestling a bowl of crisps from an overweight lady and punching a cake.
I don't really know who Steve Miller is, but I assume he has some kind of fat past that qualifies him to make this programme. He's the Jeremy Kyle of weight loss, screaming at people to sort themselves out but with the added bonus of chucking junk food about their gardens to prove his point. His opening line in today's episode was: "WATCH OUT FATTIES, THE LARD POLICE ARE IN TOWN!"
Cunningly, the utter lack of political correctness/empathy/soul is disguised as being 'no nonsense', so he continues to be incredibly rude for the duration. But the participants lose a couple of stone each, proving that insults and abuse totally work. Hooray!
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Day Two - we visit the National Portrait Gallery. They have an exhibition of portraits of Lady Jane Grey. None of them seem to be of her - they're mainly based on etchings of Elizabeth I and Catherine Parr. At the end of it, they ask: "If you were king or queen for nine days, what would you do?" My favourite response: "Close the Tate and use the money for something useful. Free cupcakes for all!"
Day Three - we do the Bus Tour to death. Would definitely recommend a live guide over the earphone version. "If you have a child you don't like very much, take it to Oxford Street on a Saturday, and very slowly let go of their hand..."
Day Four - I fail to take any pictures of the elephant parade prior to getting on the train. Boo-urns.
On the train I read The Behaviour of Moths, The Poison Garden, and Valiant. I would recommend them all to different people for different reasons. See me for more info.
Two optimistic men in a tree outside 10 Downing Street on Cameron's first day as PM.
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Nathaniel Northcott heaved a sigh of resignation as one by one his corkscrew curls combusted in a musical series of 'pfft's. The oh-so-carefully controlled scientific experiment had gone wrong again.
Gingerly he pressed a finger against one of the raw pink patches left on his scalp. It hurt.
“Ow,” he said, in a redundant sort of way.
Then footsteps outside heralded the arrival of a visitor, as though to advance the plot a fraction.
“I brought you some tea and sandwiches,” came his mother’s voice from the other side of the door. “I thought you might be hungry.”
Of course really she just wanted to have a nosey. Parents are prone to wonder, you know, what you are up to all alone in the shed for days at a time. Shouldn’t he be slumped in front of the TV, they wonder to themselves, and am I a bad mother for letting him potter around in an old shed? There are spiders in there…
“Come in, mum,” he called back cheerfully.
“Oh,” she replied, crestfallen.
She hadn’t actually brought any tea or sandwiches, as she wasn’t expecting to be allowed in.
This was awkward.
“Hold on love, I think the phone’s ringing.”
Actually, by the time she got back up the garden path it turned out that the phone was ringing, and it was Nathaniel’s mother’s mother calling. This meant she would be occupied for quite some time, as Nathaniel’s mother’s mother – or grandmother, if you prefer, was almost entirely deaf. It was a mystery as to why she bothered to use the phone at all. It might have been a running joke if any of Nathaniel’s family had ever developed a sense of humour.
This was a shame, thought Nathaniel – the removal of his mother, not the deafness of his grandma. It would have been quite nice to drink some tea and eat some sandwiches.
He turned his attention back to the potion, ignoring a plaintive rumble from his tummy.
The thick black mess swirled angrily and glowed at him with a cool silverish hue.
Last time, he remembered, it was a spring-like, new bud sort of green. He pulled out a notebook covered in Pokemon stickers and scribbled something down.
Abruptly his attention was snapped away by the farting sound of a text arriving on his phone. It made him do that thing where you’re writing and then the pen slips and then there’s a big line through what you’ve done.
Nathaniel retrieved the offending item from the bench but barely glanced at the message – he already knew what it would say.
Is the stuff ready?
Nathan gazed back at the seething potion. It was bubbling around the edges, and giving off a smell of cabbage. He wrinkled his nose at the memory of drinking the stuff. It was pretty far from ready, and he was running out of ideas on how to make it work.
He toyed with the idea of typing back Yes.
The initial sight of Gray’s bald head would be entertaining, but life wouldn’t be worth living after that.
Not yet, he wrote. Nd btr ingredients. Soz.
Not that life was going to be too amazing when Gray received that news back.
The potion grumbled in its container, as if in agreement with this sentiment.
Then there was a tinkling of cracked glass, and the viscous mixture seemed to rise up in front of him as a solid mass, in the form of a large rabbit.
“That’s weird,” Nathaniel said. It was like something in a cartoon.
His first instinct was to reach for the notebook again, but to do that he’d have to get past the potion bunny somehow.
“Your face is weird,” said the potion bunny petulantly. It sounded like a small girl sucking a bumblebee.
“Not as weird as yours,” Nathan retorted, “look.”
He gestured to a dusty mirror that leant against the wall, part of an old dressing table that had been dismantled and dumped and forgotten about.
The potion bunny hopped over to the mirror.
“I can’t see anything out of the ordinary,” it said stiffly.
Nathan peered closely at the creature’s face.
“That’s probably because you haven’t got any eyes,” he decided, rather unceremoniously the bunny thought.
“NATHAN,” came an angry voice followed by a hammering on the door so loud that Nathan and the potion bunny jumped out of their woolly jumpers (or they would have, had they been wearing woolly jumpers), “WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT?”
It was Gray, or Graham Campbell to give him his full title.
Graham Campbell knew that his was not an impressive sounding name. Maybe that is the type of thing that would undermine his confidence, causing him to become the school bully. Or maybe it didn’t bother him that much. We just don’t know his motivation in this story.
Nathan opened the door to reveal a great big ginger Viking of a man. Well, he was fifteen, but he was tall, and his chin was dotted with tufts of ginger beard alongside much picked-at acne.
“YOU LITTLE – WHAT THE FECK IS THAT?” He stopped in mid-flow on seeing the whirling potion in bunny formation studying itself intently in the mirror.
“I dunno,” Nathan mumbled, “it’s the latest batch of potion, it went… well, wrong.”
“OI,” Gray said, addressing the bunny-thing in as menacing a tone as he could muster through his confusion, “YOU.”
The potion bunny ignored him and went on examining its whiskers.
Gray took a few tentative steps towards it.
This was the point at which the potion bunny chose to explode. Apparently this brief spell as a rabbit-thing had made the molecules rather volatile.
It had also made them little on the deadly side.
The doctors said that Gray must have been killed almost as soon as the liquid touched his skin. If he did feel any pain, they explained to his big ginger Viking of a mother (whose name was Hildegarde Campbell – you’ve probably heard of her), it was over almost instantly. The boy responsible is safely under lock and key now anyway, they told her soothingly.
This was not true, however. In actual fact, Nathan was taken on by a top secret government agency who made biological weapons. They charged with recreating the bunnies, and offered him lots of money for his trouble.
“They’ll help us to win the war, old chap,” a delightfully old fashioned man in a boler hat encouraged him. He didn’t say which one.
* * * *
Nathan is less lonely these days, although he can’t remember how he made the bunny potion. Nobody seems to be too cross though. Well, they haven’t flushed his head down the toilet to try and job his memory, which is his main frame of reference.
And he has managed to create a hair tonic that you only need drink once to forever change the colour pigmentation of your hair. It was quite simple really.
He just left out the carrot.
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
I think the photo speaks for itself, but in case you disagree, you have my permission to insert an Austin Powers impression here.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Second episode - I heart Amy Pond (Karen Gillan's quite good too)
Third episode - The pacing is a bit off here, but I heart Bill Paterson, and now I want to watch Truly, Madly, Deeply
Fourth episode - I notice what the fangirls mean, and slightly heart Matt Smith
Fifth episode - I heart Toby Whithouse. Maybe I should watch the rest of Being Human.
If you would like to read more in-depth articles about both new series and old, I would urge you to look at this blog by a lifelong fanboy. Some of the references go over my head but it's very entertaining, so I imagine for readers who've seen all the old episodes it must be ace.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
The Guardian were outraged about it here, and apparently the sentient beast that is Twitter was pretty upset too. Not as upset as they were about the impending Tory government, but still offended.
The shit hit the fan because the guy who wrote the letter complained, apparently. He would never dream of hurting the ex, who he was seeing for over a year. Zoo, in a rather embarrassed fashion, mumbled some excuse about it being a mistake. They're going to make a donation to Woman's Aid to compensate. Domestic abuse campaigners like Refuge, meanwhile, made the point that slashing women's faces is a serious subject that should not be joked about.
But come on. Who writes to Zoo for advice? Especially if they know that should they get a response, it's going to be from Danny Dyer. The man's an idiot. He's based his entire career around the fact he's a cockerney, and from there extrapolated that all lights in the night sky are UFOs (based on the testimony of proper stereotypical hicks) and that hard men are harder than him.
I can't help wondering how this story would have been treated if they had been made by a funnier or more eloquent person. If you heard it in a routine by Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle, for instance, would you immediately take offense on behalf of abused women everywhere?
Yes, the comments were crass. But somehow, because they were made by a man who makes shit shows for Bravo in which he constantly proves himself to be an utter moron, the assumption seems to be that they couldn't have been meant in a flippant or ironic way. He must have been coming from the kind of dark, woman-hating comedy abyss inhabited by Jim Davidson.
To be honest, when I saw the column on its own, it didn't even occur to me that Dyer might actually condone violence against women. I took it as a crude, blokey sort of joke meant to be kept between blokes. Or maybe an attempt to do edgy comedy. But it genuinely never crossed my mind to theorise what Katie Piper might think. I mean, Zoo isn't aimed at her, is it? It's a juvenile magazine for teenage boys, not independent wimmins who have overcome adversity. This particular column is the lad equivalent of "I never thought he was good enough for you." The rest of the content is pretty much "look at those boobs!" and "GOOOAAAALLLL!"
Really, what has this episode taught us? A lesson that surely did not need putting into words: DO NOT TRUST DANNY DYER TO GIVE ADVICE. As if you would. He spends most of his time hanging around with 'Britain's Deadliest Men' and thinks that 'bollocksing' is a word. Which it should be, but that's beside the point.
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
"I can hear the sea," I told her dutifully, or something to that effect, "can you?"
"I'm scared of it," she responded, "there are voices in there saying they're going to kill me. It's evil."
And then she sat down to eat a kit kat.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
This post is a bit of a generic round up of stuff. Firstly I would like to draw your attention to Edinburgh-based illustrator Mina Braun. I like her pretty pictures. Maybe you will too.
Secondly I got an A for my first assignment in my long distance journalism course, which cheered me up a lot so I am telling everybody. Hooray!
Thirdly, The Edinburgh Reporter now has a games column. How futuristic is that?!
Fourthly, today's review-like item on last.fm is about the best thing to come out of The East Neuk since that famous badger, The Pictish Trail.
Finally, read Alan Bissett. He only has three books out so it won't take too long, and it will be worth it because he is good. I heard that you can appropriate said books from Edinburgh's excellent library service, but that might be myth and/or legend.
"I am in as the DJ, one of those wannabe Fatboy Slims, does theatrical turns on the deck and shouts 'lemme hear ya say yeaaaaahh!' in the style of a fire alarm sending terror through an orphanage." - Boyracers, Alan Bissett
Monday, 3 May 2010
Sunday, 2 May 2010
All of this productivity is in line with my PLAN to sort myself out so I don't turn 25 as a disorientated mess. If I keep it up for another 3 months maybe I will have made a permanent change to the way I approach life, which is currently a little haphazardly, and without necessarily thinking of the repercussions.
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Yestereve I went to the Beltane fire festival.
I wrote an article on it which can be found here, but didn't really have the requisite camera skillz to photograph it properly.
<-- This is the North of the city from the top of Calton Hill.
This is Stone Henge, more usually known as The National Monument, with a load of dudes kitted out in black robes lighting their torches.
This is the same picture again, with a longer exposure.
There are some amazing photos in the flickr group if you're interested.