... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Block Chop 100:hyperinflation and sparkling shit

Kevin the centurion, the block chop centennial; I’d like to thank my family, my friends, and I’d like to thank most of all God and Jesus,  wait wait, fuck that; it’s all me.  I did it.  If Jesus was so great he should have blogged about it, if he’d come today he’d have reached a whole nation, Israel 4BC had no mass communication.  Huzzah for me; all praise me.

But... what should I pretend to be annoyed about today?  Work, adverts, pop music or food?  Actually none of these things are really bothering me today, and pretending is just too much effort.  I’m as happy as a baby in custard, warm as a bedbug and settled as a slug under the bin lid.  What have I got to complain about?  I live in a prosperous country that continues to support its population relatively safely and happily even during a minor 'major' economical downturn.  I don’t live in 1940s Germany, 1990s Yugoslavia, or contemporary Zimbabwe; so saying I’ve not got much to gripe about feels like a grotesque understatement.

I went to work, ate at MacDonald’s, and then watched X-Factor whilst wearing Sonic the Hedgehog pyjamas.  Tschah, what am I like!?  Whatever; nobody cares.  I like Katie Waissel; she’s lovely.  Who’s writing this?  Not me certainly.  Someone else is in my head liking pop star wannabes, eating junk and working in the minimum wage service industry, and you may ask yourself, how did I get here?  Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down... water flowing underground ... into the blue again after the money’s gone ... once in a lifetime, water flowing underground.  You may ask yourself, how do I work this?

One hundred days of bloggitude and what has changed?  Perhaps I can write a little better, but do I write more?  The resounding answer is ish.  I write a littleish moreish.  Certainly the blog every day; but many days it is all I write.  Other days, yes, the blog is a nice warm up for writing a little short story here, a long email there, a stab at a chapter or a few lines of dialogue.  So often however the blog is a final elongated yawn at bedtime, a croaky, droopy dollop of prose, like enforced inclusion in a mass lullaby.

What a shame that on this milestone day (the arbitrary nature of which would be trite to mention) my writing effort seems to have abandoned me.  Complete thoughts will not form; from one sentence to the next I forget what I have written.  No writerly intention is presenting itself, and no interweaving threads are being drawn together.  To put it simply what a load of shit.  And who am I trying to impress?  Only myself?  Not really; I’m just trying to exercise my fingers.  Taking my digits for a walk.  Down the garden path, around the block, stopping to allow them to sniff a lamppost and deposit a pile of shit.  I pick said shit up in a plastic bag, and the walk continues home again.  And in that bag of shit is one blog with the number 100 sprinkled across it in sparkling shards of powdered glass.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Block Chop 99: Ice creams and metronomes

Today, the day of blog number 99, I saw a man eating an ice cream.  In the cold.  On the bus.  He was sitting on the seat in front of me just to the left, so his right ear was directly before my face.  I didn’t notice him getting on because I was enthralled by my book, but gradually the stuffiness and the early morning made me drowsy and I couldn’t focus any longer.  I put the book away, and settled back into my seat to try to snatch an uncomfortable bumpy doze.

First I glimpsed the ice cream cone been lapped in traditional seaside fashion.  “Gosh,” I thought.  “How untimely.”  He was dressed smartly, suited and booted in a long black heavy coat.  Of rather advanced years judging by his thinning hair in various shades of grey.  He was constantly shaking his head from side to side, repeating the compelled movement over and over, relentlessly, unstoppingly...  His coat showed flecks of dandruff on the shoulders, and his long lank hair was pulled into a sort of loose ponytail using 12 black hair pins (I counted them). 

My gaze followed his disgusting hair up his back and onto his scalp, and there I saw the bumpiest bump.  On the top of his head, towards the back and to the right, sat a massive perfectly round bump; much larger in size than a golf ball.  His long patchy hair was pulled tight over the bump like guy ropes from a tent.  The hair pins held down like tent pegs.  He continued the head shaking from side to side; the bump swung before my eyes, mesmerizing like a metronome.  The bump swinging tick tock tick tock, the ice cream licking lick lick, the dandruff falling... I fell asleep.

And when I awoke the odd ice cream bumpy-headed hair pin man was gone.  Where he goes, nobody knows.  He swooped away in his long coat, disappeared in a puff of dandruff, or quietly alighted the vehicle at one of the designated stops carefully ensuring not to distract the driver (and sleeping passengers) while doing so.

I continued my somnambulism throughout the remainder of the day, and continue it now as I write this.  I sleepwalked through the Blank Media meeting about the preparations for Blank Weekend festival, I sleepwalked through catching up with my emails, and I sleepwalked through the short stories and flash fiction submissions I am reading.  Don’t test me on what I agreed to, emailed or read as I’m certain I couldn’t tell you.  Fortunately sleep-steps can easily be retraced by looking in my diary, checking my sent folder, and reading the stories again; things I could be doing now if I wasn’t bashing out this ol’ blog bollocks.


I'm going to be in an exhibition of Frank Sidebottom fan art, and may be interviewed for the Big Issue about it.  Weird, eh!?  More about that later.
100 tomorrow, huzzah

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Block Chop 98: Postmen and community support

The post arrived at four o’fucking-clock.  In the Pee Em.  What the hell is going on with these post men?  4pm is way past their bedtimes.  They shouldn’t be wandering the streets at this hour.  It’s almost evening.  Postmen ought to be tucked up it their warm little beds with their postman cap hanging off the bedpost, fast asleep with Mrs Postman in her separate twin bed.  He should be working so early it’s not even bright and early cos it’s still dark.  Walking around in his funny little postman uniform shorts and finishing his round by about 8.30am.  My, how times have changed since I was a boy.

There is a lamppost around the corner from my house; in fact there are several and this is not unusual.  But this lamppost often has a large postman’s sort of trolley thing attached to it with a cheap flimsy bike lock.  Just left there; abandoned by the Post Office in their official capacity as the Queen’s Royal Mail.  No one watching over it, and no security devices that would provide an insurmountable obstacle to any determined thieves.  The postmen wander around at their lackadaisical pace, occasionally popping back to the trolley to collect another couple of letters, way into the wee small hours of the afternoon.

Their paths are no longer the logical direct routes of old, and there are no longer two distinct separate posts; the morning post (about 8am) and the second post (between 11am and 1pm) that could be easily and dependably relied upon.  Now gone are the structured routines of old.  Yesterday the post arrived at 11am, today at 4pm.  There is no logic and no consistency.  The walls of my world are breaking down, the hallowed halls of civilisation are crumbled and buried beneath forgotten memories, and all art and science is gone to be replaced by vicious superstition and dumb faith.  In retrospect it was too much responsibility to divest upon the Royal Mail; to be sole arbiters of the fate of humanity was more than their remit had prepared them for.

As I dozed on the sofa before my new DVD (mentioned yesterday, it arrived!) a was startled by a loud knock.  Crickey, someone’s at the door!  I ambled about pausing the player, and tottled down the stairs to the front door.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and was greeted by the big hat badge and yellow jacket of a policeman.  Dear god, help me, what have I done?  They’ve finally caught up with me; my rotten fate befalls me...

But wait one moment; this is only a community support officer, and he is wielding a clipboard.  He is conducting a survey amongst local residents about the state of this and the general thingy of that.  Recovering from my shock, and with very little to contribute off the top of my head I politely decline.  I say I would be happy to take a survey away and complete it at my leisure, but he says no, now would be better.  Fine, I leave it at that, and my voice goes unheard yet again.  My civic duty goes undone and my complaints go untold.  This blog doesn’t count anyway.  Blogs are just vanity projects for idiots, mentalists and megalomaniacs.  Besides what would I have complained about?  There is way too much dog shit on the streets around here; it’s like going back in time to the 1980s when dog shit was still everywhere.  The wing mirror was kicked off my girlfriend’s car once... I occasionally see horrible peasants shouting at one another... I’ve got those bodies buried in the garden...   

Block Chop 97: Showing face and toppling books

Blank Media Collective press launch for Blank Weekend today.  I stood around showing my face, here it is, here’s my face, look at it, ate a pie, observed some people lifting my lovely little business cards, added to my collection of postcards and ephemera, and looked damn fine in my suit.  I’m certain these networking events are massively important for anyone desiring creative or artistic gainful advance, but I’ve definitely not got the hang of them.  Today I was the king of the awkward silence and the trailed off conversation.  Someone get me a beer quick; how will I cope without it?  I’d much rather be at home writing in bed, or scratching my arse on the sofa, than suited, squirming on sore feet.  In other news, I found a tiny inside pocket in my favourite suit jacket that’s the perfect size for business cards.  Everyone run down to Burton’s Menswear and get one for yourself.  Quick.

I’ve been rather quiet about Blank Media and my new role as Blankpages Fiction Editor, but I don’t like to blow trumpets too early.  I guess being appointed in the role is an achievement, but my first issue is yet to come out yet, and Blank Media is a many limbed beast.  Blankpages is only one of those limbs, and Fiction Editor is just a finger.  That one finger is wiggling about uncontrollably and I’ve yet to fully wrest conscious control of it.  I’ll pop a ring on it, paint the nail with my own colour, crush the knuckles with a hammer, and end this tortured metaphor right here and now.  Once I know what I’m doing and have got the hang of it, I’ll be telling you all about how amazing I am, don’t worry.

In the meantime I think I need a new bookshelf.  The pile beside my bed now rises higher than the mattress and I am constantly waking myself up with the noise of crashing books as my flailing arms topple the literature tower.  And that concludes the fascinating news of my furniture needs.  Don’t know why I mentioned it really; the thought just popped into my head and before I knew it that shit was staring back at me from the screen.
Anyway, my stint as Fiction Editor begins publically next Monday (1st November 2010) with one of my own short stories; a very recent composition called Murphy and Moore.  I’m the first to say it’s bloody good (as soon as I hit the final full-stop I said ‘that is bloody brilliant’, I really did), and I should know; I’m the Fiction Editor.  That’s the way things work around here.  So it’s a great story, but I shan’t go on about it too much; the End.
Tomorrow is for writing, nothing but writing.  Unless the Richard Herring Hitler Moustache DVD I ordered arrives then I’ll feel obliged to watch that instead... and then I’ll have to eat, and there’s that bottle of whiskey in the kitchen, and...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Block Chop 96: Lazily stealing and good exercise

When I’ve done little but spend the morning overworked and underpaid, and the afternoon napping and struggling to write anything of value, there seems not to be much worth blogging about.  I’m tempted to just grab the nearest book to hand, jump to a random page and start typing where my finger lands.  In fact, here I go:

Squash was already more popular than Fives at Uppingham by the time I arrived and the Fives Courts were really just places where bikes were parked and behind which one smoked, masturbated or sipped cider with, or without, companions.
(Fry, 1997)

I wrote that (ignore the attribution; it’s a figure of your imagination).  I can’t remember what I was going on about at the time.  I’m almost certain I’ve never been to anywhere called Uppingham and I have no idea what Fives is or are.  Perhaps a spot of light hypnotherapy could extract those hidden memories from the bunkers of my hippocampus, or more appropriately could implant the false memories in there convincing me I’m not verging on plagiarism.

OK, next book:

                Rincewind, Twoflower and Hrun stared at the coin.
(Pratchett, 1983)

And again:

Curiously enough, Otto wasn’t being altogether preposterous when he offered to take the analyst’s place.  Like many very animal people, he has considerable instinctive powers of healing – when he chooses to use them.  At such times his treatment of Peter is unerringly correct.
(Isherwood, 1939)
Once more:

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a next time.  During Millot’s reign over the Comoran coelacanths, repeated efforts to capture or film live coelacanth failed, and Zema ben Said was the only Comoran fisher to claim the £200 award.
(Weinberh, 1999)

And dragging it out further than I should:

The fjord was at least two miles wide by this point; the waves broke with a roar on the sharp rocks, and the whole inlet was confined between steep walls of rock three thousand feet high and remarkable for its brown strata separated by beds of reddish tuff.  However intelligent our horses be, I did not look forward to crossing an arm of the sea on the back of a quadruped.
(Verne, 1864)

So what am I doing here other than lazily stealing other peoples writing, and throwing it in completely out of context in some sort of ugly enforced kookiness?  To be honest I have no idea.  I’m supposed to be writing the thoughts from my head and practicing channelling them creatively.  That’s not going to happen if I’m tapping out another’s hard-written prose.

Here’s another quote:

Simeon drew himself up to his full height; a thoroughly unimpressive four foot ten inches.  He was fooling no one except himself, and even he wasn’t entirely convinced.  Had he not had his fourth double Balvenie SherryWood he would have been certain of his own insignificance.  Mrs Merriment was able to look clean over his head with even registering his presence.


Huntington’s is hell.  And the blanket itched.  And his feet were too hot.  The bell rang so that his consciousness of it faded in and out.  Sometimes it was there, and sometimes not; but it was always there.

One more time:

The floor wasn’t designed for this.  The old boards had settled over the years into a concave ramp, and they had weakened significantly.  Any sane office designer would have installed the heavy filing cabinets in the corners, furthest from the massive dip in the centre of the room.  Or else they would have torn the whole thing out and started from scratch.

No attributions for those quotes, because they aren’t nicked from anything.  I’ve no idea where they came from or what they are about, but I just wrote them.  It feels like a pretty good writing exercise: make up a nonsense extract from an imaginary story, and then potentially some could throw up ideas for expansion.  Who is this Simeon short-arse?  (And it’s not me with the handy addition of a stupid name.)  Who is the poor sod suffering from Huntington’s, and what’s with the saggy old floor.  Probably nothing, but you never know.  One of these little babies good one day grow into a novel (or a trilogy; everything has to be trilogies nowadays).

And rest.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Block Chop 95: Sumimasen and Danke Schoen

If only I spoke another language I could use it to type up today’s blog post.  String together a bunch of nonsense in another tongue and any other English monoglots could easily be fooled that I was composing wonderfully nay masterfully in a distant dialect.  Of course I don’t actually need to be multilingual in order to pretend to write foreign, but the fact is I’ve already declared I don’t have a second or third language, and it’s too late to go back and delete that first sentence.

I am a master of Morse code and a grandmaster of Pitman shorthand.  I can effortless weave the two entwined into one beautiful melange of dots, dashes and squiggles.  Together they are more expressive and poetic than either of them individually.  Merging Morse and Pitman as they’ve never merged before is the achievement I will be remembered for.  I’d let some stream of conscious poetry flow in glorious PitMorse, but you probably don’t have the right font to read it; you know IPA, Unicode and all that stuff.  Let me try:######## ### ##### ##### #######.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Is the sole reason that I have never learnt a foreign language (except the afore mentioned imaginary PitMorse) simple laziness?  Is it a more ingrained form of idiocy?  Perhaps it is laziness, but not individually; It could be the cultural laziness of the English speaking world.  I need not go on about our dumb insistence that wherever we may roam we communicate in English; the only concession to our foreign friends being speaking English loudly and slowly.  With pointing. And repetition: “Hair-drier.  No, no, HAIR DRIER. H-air, Duh-ruh-aye-errr.”

So it’s not my fault.  It’s my culture’s fault.  Just don’t ask why I can’t speak a word of Japanese, despite living in Japan for seven months.  That is clearly my fault.  I’m clearly a lazy, dumb drunken idiot.  Yes my time in Japan was mostly spent pointing at weird looking fish on the pages of picture menus, then in response to the Japanese I couldn’t understand, saying hai and nodding a bit.  Then when the mystery food was plonked before me I said arigato, or if I was feeling particularly stupid, danke schön.  If I wanted to call a waiter over, or scoot past a fat person bending over into a 7-Eleven fridge, I’d call out sumimasen in a nasal whine (as is the Osaka accent).  When in an elevator with a neighbour I’d doff my cap with konnichiwa or konbanwa depending on the time of day.

Fortunately for my infantile language-hobbled brain the two most important words – toilet and beer – are basically the same in Japanese as they are in English.  Toilet is toire and beer is birru.  And Japanese, which in many ways seems so complicated, gifts the luddite speaker with the simple tool of des-ka.  This brilliant pair of sounds turns any word or statement into an instant question.  So instead of using intonation to make a question it is basically the same as actually saying the words ‘question mark’ at the end of a sentence.  Beer question mark.  Toilet question mark.  Illiterate foreigner question mark.  Hai.

Block Chop 94: PCs, Apples and Shane MacGowan...

It’s probably about time I got a new computer.  The one in front of me right now, staring back at me with its freezing stuttering screen, is basically only held together with snot and moulted hair.  I refuse to spend another few hours dismantling every single part just to clean the dust out of the hobbled old fan.  There is literally not a single component that can remain in situ when completing what should be such a simple and basic task.  Directly to you, the designers of the Compaq 6735s: “Why have you stuck the fucking fan in such a stupid fucking place?”  It’s exactly like you are deliberately trying to sabotage the system.  Why not do the basic decent thing and put in a teeny tiny little access port?  You dicks.

It’s also unnecessarily heavy.  I need a laptop that is half the size and a quarter of the weight, and I need it now.  If I carry this god awful craptop around with me I quickly develop a forward stoop to counterbalance the massive weight dragging me into the ground and shortening my leg bones.  If I took it out and about more often I would soon crunch over into a full-blown hunchback.  I may even end up being able to touch my toes without bending my knees for the first time ever.  Being able to touch one’s toes isn’t exactly a grand prize, so I think I’ll just pray for a new laptop.  And when prayer doesn’t work I’ll go out and buy one.

And I won’t be buying an Apple.  The reasons for this are many and complex and not something I want to think too much about at this late hour, but suffice to say Apples are shit; even shitter than my stupid broken heavy PC.  For fuck’s sake, one mouse button! And don’t give me that shit about ‘you only need one mouse button on an Apple’.  You only need one pair of shoes, but it’s useful to have more.  Basically PCs are robust, functional, endlessly modifiable, and useful, whereas Apples are pointless overpriced toys for show-offy bell ends... perhaps I ought to get one then.

Like Shane MacGowan in his brilliant rambling autobiography A Drink With...  I seem to have made one point, and then almost immediately contradicted myself, apparently simultaneously believing two almost opposites, or simply just forgetting what I have said minutes earlier.  So what have I learned?  It seems I have learnt that PCs are brilliant... except mine, which is a piece of shit.  And Apples are shit, except I’ve never really used one.  Whenever I do get the chance to have a go I find them alien and confusing and not at all pleasant.  The idea that Apples are utterly brilliant does strike me as very obviously being complete bullshit, but I don’t really have the evidence to back this up.  I tell you what, why don’t you lend me yours.  That way I can decide once and for all whether or not they are any good.  If I don’t like it you can have it back, perhaps with a hole kicked in the screen, and if I do like it I’m fucking keeping it.  It’s mine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Block Chop 93: Aura of fug and infected foot.

There is a strange smell lingering about the place.  It smells warmly of yesterday’s evening meal.  I am vaguely suspicious it may be coming from me.  It’s not necessarily a bad smell; in fact my noticing it has coincided with an emergent feeling of hunger.  I recently stood beside someone and to put it delicately they didn’t smell pleasant.  A sweaty unwashed aura of fug with a foot and a half radius.  And then, as well as the disgusting stench, I was also suffused with a paranoid feeling: What if I was experiencing a previously unobserved phenomenon?  When one is stood next to a tall building one’s voice takes on a slightly different timbre due to the almost imperceptible effect of reverberated sound.  You hear your voice as it first emanates and again a tiny fraction of a second later as it returns as an echo.  You probably don’t even notice it unless you are actively looking for it.

What if, the thought struck me, smells can produce a similar effect?  Say for argument’s sake you stink like rotten fish eggs crushed under the heel of a diarrhetic tramp’s fungal infected foot.  However many people actually enjoy their own smells, and it is also hard to notice smells that you live with all the time (such as when dog owners claim their vile filthy homes don’t smell at all).  So what if you don’t notice your own smell until you stand close to another person and your odour is ‘reflected’ back at you.  You suddenly view your own comfortable emissions as though they are produced by another disgusting, seeping, shitting living being and hey-presto!  Instant stench.  I’m pretty sure smell being chemically based (travelling randomly on a molecule by molecule basis and not at all like the movement of a sound wave) cannot actually reverberate, so the hypothesised effect must be caused by a shift in consciousness rather than by a physically predictable external event.  Also there is no speed of smell as far as I am aware.

I fear that if I were to spend too much time picking this idea apart no good could come of it.  There are a few possible outcomes.  Either I could delude myself, despite evidence to the contrary, that my hypothesis was actually a verified theory and find imaginary confirmation wherever I look, spiralling into paranoid madness at every faint whiff.  Or after rigorous and impartial study, I could discover it is a robust scientific theory that is falsifiable, has well defined error margins, makes accurate predictions about future events, and explains nature in the simplest way possible.  This would have the same outcome psychologically as the first scenario.  The third result could be that after many years of strict scientific enquiry I was to discover that not only was my initial hypothesis entirely imaginary, it was obviously so, and I had wasted many years on an entirely pointless venture.  And not for the first time. 

Block chop 92: dreaming

I am asleep now.  I am dreaming about lots of pairs of small shoes going into white numbered compartments, over and over and over again for all eternity.  I am dreaming about the rubbery jelly on the top of decent pâté.  I’m dreaming about top hats and sunshine and peacocks and aortic ventricles and semolina and topological mapological diagrammatical landscapes.  I am dreaming about dust and fluff and lint and hair balls.  I am dreaming about sausage dogs and hamsters and Ginster’s and the Borrowers.  I am dreaming about train wrecks and injuns and cattle rustlers and the clap doctor.  I am dreaming about protein and entropy and opposites and diverticulitis.  I am dreaming about stopping at the red light and going on the green.  I am dreaming about Saturday night and second cousins and neon lights.  I am dreaming about discothèques and bibliothèques and j'ai mal à la tête.  I am dream about bottle tops and tank tops and bottle rockets and top trumps.  I am dreaming about hostility and pregnancy and turpentine and turgidity and complexity.  I am dreaming about book signings and sewing machines and doing a sexy little dance in exchange for scraps of food.  I am dreaming about driving a minibus up the side of a building to drop off Krazy Kat and Ignatz at the do re mi factory in the top branch of Dolly Parton’s elbow scrag.  I am dreaming about rearranging the pages of books to make new and exciting works of fiction in a way that could never really work.  I am dreaming about feet with holes in them and crunchy twiglet sticks where the toes should be.  I am dreaming about protruding hairs from foreheads, palms and nose tips catching fire and illuminating Pluto brighter than it has ever known, allowing the first small flourish of microscopic life to gasp into existence from agitated non-biological chemical reactions, before the hair flames extinguish themselves and the a frozen death returns to the minor planet.  I am dreaming about a smallholding of pomegranate mice doctors devouring forceps by the pound instead of storing them carefully in the drawer, as they have been told to do, repeatedly.  I am dreaming about stacking a car battery on a teetering tower of slightly soggy digestive biscuits in order that I may stand upon it and change the light bulb in the tertiary landmass adjacent to my grandfather’s commode.  I am dreaming about dealing crack on the stoop from the corner of 51st and 4th in the hood of Keighley, West Yorkshire where the mome raths outgrabe and spend too much time fiddling with a letter opener instead of using the thumb and forefinger in a simple yet wholly ineffective method of opening a tin of beans.  I am dream about Winston Churchill massaging my buttocks, with the tusk of a narwhal and the trotter of a suckling pig, as an ingenious method of distracting attention from the growing crisis at the Suez Canal.  I am dreaming that I have woken up and put tissue boxes on my hands and feet to protect me from the important downstairs tumble I must complete before the 17:10 deadline.  I am dreaming about seductive photography illustrating sights I will never see except through visual Braille as a blind Saudi thief who no longer feels the need to collect pretty coloured seashells.  I am dreaming about sitting in a tree, well it’s more of a squat really, and I am dreaming about it and squatting in a sort of sitting position in a tree.  I am dreaming about forty-eight and score twenty-two to nil at the challenge rodeo radio coverage.  I am dreaming about ever deceasing circles of water torture instigated in order to extract vital information about the formation of Vittel ice crystals and there reductive cure of baldness, cronery and apathy of the first degree.  I anmdoi cdernmam abouiuts an arrskngemetn of as oj anterfermian tompomopomop tom pomo po mop. AM deemin abnut top yut ronton nut.
Beep beep beep beep. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Block Chop 91: Jellyfish antlers and intangible bollocks

I was just about to start writing about the nasty taste of ill sitting uncomfortably at the back of my throat when I realised I spent almost an entire post a few days ago writing about having a disgusting mouth.  I also seem to write quite a lot about not being able to think of anything to write about, about slow cookers, about being tired, about H.P. Lovecraft, about... stuff.  Probably the same stuff over and over again.  Possibly not.  I’d have to go back and read it all, but not sure I have time.   

Reading it all back would be a bit like jumping in the wheelie bin when it’s full of a few weeks worth of vegetable peel and chewed beef fat; rolling around in my own waste and gorging fetishistically on my own sweet effluence.  Basically these blogs are supposed to be written and put out there and left untouched.  So I suppose the analogy falls down because I don’t display my used toilet paper and empty beer cans in public for the world to see.  If I did I may attract a few more followers, but of a decidedly ikky variety.   I guess with that roundabout way of thinking, illustrated with barely coherent sentences, I am trying to convince myself not to change the blog, especially if those changes attract coprophiliacs.

Fucking hell, what am I going on about?  This genuinely is a babble I am digging into and struggling to get out of.  Perhaps I would be well advised to retrace my steps over these last 91 days and check that I have included no other flurries of uncontrolled rivers of nonsense.  Perhaps one of my readers, rare as jellyfish antlers, can inform me when I stray into the realm of intangible bollocks.  I may have to step away and take a deep breath; move away from the blog and act like it’s got nothing to do with me.  

“Who me?  What, this mess?  No, it was like that when I got here.  No honestly, I’m not making it up; I really don’t know what happened.”  

Ok, now that’s sorted and you all believe me, I can take a moment to regain my composure, choose a serious respectable topic and start a proper honest-to-goodness daily blog about a decent-godfearing subject like... 
the coalition government’s policies on religious schooling, or my vintage bobble-hat collection, or my battle with cancer, or my obsession with model railways, or my War of the Roses battle re-enactment, or my newly appointed stint as Treasurer for my local Conservative Club, or my ongoing disagreement with the wife of the man who taught my daughter to drive before she had her crash and lost the ability to say the word ‘fertiliser’, or my pub crawl around the beautiful Norwegian city of Trondheim, or my unfulfilled ambition to become a taxidermist, or my hair transplant, or my xenophobic rants against the French, or my fair but firm reviews of all the hair salons in the Kansai region of Japan, or my ambition to be in the audience of a Christmas special of Loose Women, or my recipes for homemade jam on toast, or my pictures of me wearing the giant pair of trousers I used to fit into before I lost 24 stone, or the time I spent the night under a Jersey cow and how it changed my life.  

Starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Block Chop 90: Freezing and mummification

It’s too cold.  I give up.  Like a microwave supposedly cooks from the inside out (but doesn’t really) this cold is turning my bone marrow to jagged ice crystals, edging slowly outwards freezing my gore and vitals.  It creeps upwards and outwards, shattering as it goes, like objects dipped in liquid nitrogen, forcing its way out through the back of my eyeballs and the depths of my nostrils.  I give up.  Moan over.  Now on to other more pressing matters (hopefully by the time I reach the end of this sentence I might know what these matters are).  (Nope, no such luck.)

Someone needs to do something about this fucking cold.  Not me but someone.  Superman, or one of those lot.  If Superman can turn back time by the method of spinning the earth in reverse orbit (which is about a much likely to work as stirring your tea in the opposite direction will turn it back to hot water and a dry virgin bag) then surely he can nudge the northern hemisphere in the direction of the sun.  Bugger the southern hemisphere.  It’s mostly water down there anyway.  So what if you’ve got Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar?  We’ve got Russia, Greenland and Canada!  Marsupials, platypuses and penguins?  Fuck ‘em; we’ve got pigeons, foxes and tiny harmless spiders we think are massive.  That dratted warmth-stealing Southern hemisphere is nearly all water anyway.  What a waste of a summer; putting it in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  Move it up here where it’s needed.  Specifically by me.

It doesn’t seem to be working.  Time has wobbled slightly, the stars are out of phase, a micro-black hole has lodged itself in the earth’s core and the sun has become a pulsar, but all in all it still remains pretty darn cold.  Not so cold that I don’t seem like a pathetic wimp for complaining about it, but just cold enough that I do complain.  It’s not life threatening, but I’ve clearly lost my cool.  It is at times like this when an electric blanket is literally the most wonderful thing in existence.  If it didn’t already exist I would fall down at the feet of its creator, kowtow, head to the ground, a low down bow, and form a new religion offering daily thanks for the magnificent Electric Blanket (PBUH).  Then I could demand time off work to offer these prayers at regular intervals of unrealistically high frequency, and scream discrimination when my wants are not met.

I wish I had died thousands of years ago, been mummified, entombed, discovered by 19th Century French Egyptologists, shipped back to Europe, kept in a crate, manhandled, then eventually displayed in a delicately climate controlled environment.  The temperature would be kept at a safe and comfortable 21-24°C, and the humidity at 35-40%.  And as a dead, shrivelled corpse with cracked leathery skin, bones tearing through, and bared pointy teeth, I would not be responsible for the heating and electricity bills.  Score!  Another problem solved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Block Chop 89: Trafford Centre distractions

I have done it; cracked the mystery.  What seemed so difficult turns out to be so simple.  I have been such a blind fool all of these years.  The solution to the horror of being dragged around the Trafford Centre by your girlfriend is much less complicated than I ever imagined.  When she says those terrifying dirty words New Look or Dorothy Perkins don’t stupidly follow with a dumb yet contented pussy-whipped expression.  No.  Politely make your excuses and allow your legs to carry you, unimpeded by bags of cute little dresses and boxes of cute little boots, to one of the many bars. 

If like me you have come unprepared, and your phone is of a primitive type, you may need to stop off at a bookshop first for some light reading.  I browsed the ever shrinking Popular Science section in Waterstone’s (spat on the ever growing Spirituality section), considered a couple of theoretical physics books by Michio Kaku, and an account of the Apollo 11 mission by Michael Collins.  In biography I enjoyed the bizarre mixture of subjects including The Diary of Samuel Pepys sitting on the same shelf as an ‘autobiography’ of Katie Price.  Eventually I balked at the price of all on display.  £20 for Christopher Hitchens’ memoir Hitch 22!  Roll on Amazon and your highly competitive pricing.  Who cares if you are making it almost impossible for all but the most successful authors to earn a living?  Not me.  I settled on a HMV till-side ‘afterthought’ book; the early autobiography of Stephen Fry, Moab Is My Washpot.  The title is some obscure Biblical reference that I have had explained to me on more than one occasion, and still can’t recall its meaning.

I said ‘many bars’ but that’s not strictly true.  There are many eateries, which claim to offer ‘bar and grill’, or ‘bar and restaurant’, and as far as I can tell none of them actually has a bar.  Table service is the order of the day.  So I sat in some restaurant I chose because it was emptiest, drinking Bombardier and reading Stephen Fry’s account of being a posh little boarding school boy.  The drink was delicious, the quietly pulsing psytrance music was just the right volume, and the chair was comfortable.  Then it slowly dawned on me that the waitresses –all of them; four or five – were all massive.  Not just big-boned but literally huge.  Gigantic wobbling whales amongst women thudding around the place.  The tables were spread sparsely leaving plenty of room to manoeuvre, as though the waitresses had been their first, and the restaurant had been built around them.

It also slowly dawned on me that it was fucking freezing.  I was shivering and I was clenching my jaw to the point where my entire face still hurts now.  The air con was blasting out, and I was going to make another fattist remark about the waitresses, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.  Still all this aside, it still beat sitting on stools in the shoe departments of an endless stream of clothes shops, looking glum, exchanging defeated glances with other boyfriends, and nodding blankly as various identical pairs of boots are conveyed past my face.

Block Chop 88: macules and pustules...

For thousands of years smallpox had been destroying human populations; riddling peoples skin with macules and papules, vesicles and pustules.  Death resulted from internal bleeding, sepsis, immune deficiency, or heart failure.  Millions of people died every year until as recently as the late 1960s.  But thankfully due to the genius discovery of inoculation we as a species have been fighting back against this virus.  

Medics the world over under the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) had been inoculating everybody, quarantining outbreaks, and preventing the spread; visiting the world’s remotest places to administer the vaccine, in a truly heroic global effort.  Then on the 9th of December 1979 it was announced to the world that smallpox had been eradicated.  Humanity had resoundingly triumphed against an age old enemy.  A sub-microscopic barely living strand of parasitic ribonucleic acid molecules had been vanquished.  For the first time in history our medical scientists had completely eradicated an infectious disease.  The world had just become a nice place, more conducive to wellbeing and flourishing.  It also promised so much; what other medical horrors would we soon be manipulating into oblivion?  As it turns out, we were about to be disappointed.

Smallpox is gone, and has stayed gone, but just around the corner a quickly evolving and previously rare virus was about to rear its ugly head.  HIV seemed to have come out of nowhere, but these things always do.  Over the centuries many plagues have ravaged Europe and elsewhere, and they have mostly if not always been incurable.  Millions died, but fortunately for us not everyone succumbed.  Some people by luck of the genetic draw were immune to infection from plague, and they are our ancestors.  We are the evolved descendants of plague resistant few.  Perhaps AIDS will play out in a similar way, we will never conquer it medically, and only those with a natural immunity will survive.  Or perhaps, as medical science advances we will send it the same way we sent smallpox.  

However the triumphant new dawn heralded by the victory over smallpox was short-lived.  Yes it was a wonderful milestone: the first infectious disease to be eradicated.  But it did not spell a furious spree of further eradications.  In the 30-ish years since the death of smallpox we have inconspicuously failed to put the nails into the coffins of any other infectious diseases.  That is until last Thursday.  

On the 14th October 2010 the announcement was made.  Humanity had tallied up its second victory over a terrible infectious disease.  And what was this terrible blight now consigned to the virulent dustbin of history?  HIV, rabies or the common cold?  Polio, herpes, influenza or rubella?  Erm... well, no.  The second viral disease to be destroyed is the infamous rinderpest...   no, me neither. Not even Microsoft spellchecker has heard of it; (No Spelling Suggestions).  Apparently it infected cattle and occasionally caused plagues, killing entire herds, and bringing farming communities to their knees.  Sadly it’s gone now and I think I’ll miss it.  Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get stuck into eradicating AIDS and the rest of the bunch.


No idea why I decided to tackle such a complicated historical, epidemiological, scientific, pathological subject at such a ridiculous time, and with such dangerous lack of qualification in any related subjects.  I’m practicing dealing with a lot of information all at once; simultaneously trying to research, comprehend, form into a narrative and reach some conclusions, and hopefully be witty and informative.  Certainly a worthy pursuit, but not one I have much chance of succeeding in when I am this tired and this underprepared.  Also the different strands of information proved too much for me and I completely missed out any discussion of the impending eradication of polio, and the cultural obstacles blocking the efforts of public health workers.  Ahh well, I’ve got the rest of my (hopefully) healthy life for discussions about whatever and study of miscellanea. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Block Chop 87: two vague sketches..

“There are creatures hiding in the darkness, under the beds and behind the curtains.  They lurk in the cracks and crevices, behind all things and under everything else.  You try to look, but by the time you get there they are gone; moved around the corner, forever evading capture.  They used to be like us, but now they are different.  Unspeakable genetic mutations and unknowable morlocks, collecting knowledge and cannibalising scraps of shed skin and discarded fingernail.  They reach to us in the corner of our eyes, and dwell in our bellies digesting our food for us.  We are passive and pathetic eloi, thinking received thoughts and claiming them for ourselves, repeating other people’s jokes, and using literary allusions and quotes instead of formulating our own phrases.  All we can do to keep from crumbling into babbling wibbling placid pools is give in gloriously to the microscopic and monstrous beings behind everything and allow them to prop us up and cocoon us in their residue.  When one of us rears their head alone the mysterious forces behind the unseen ones orchestrate the rest of us in a chorus of petty mocking.  We are slaves to the things unseen; gently persuaded to remain in our prisons.”

“The first human to survive consciously for the rest of measurable time has already been born.  That person will observe everything; all ideas, thoughts, perversions, political stances, dreams and depressions will take root in their mind.  Their thoughts will become their house many times over, but will never become their tomb.  All fashions and fads will fly by in a retrospective blink of an eye, and be perceivable as the thin weak gas they really consist of.  When the rest of us have bodily died off and the solar system is consumed by the expanding sun, the mind of someone alive today will continue to flourish as a self-contained binary program, long liberated from physical storage and able to manipulate leptons, quarks and bosons.  It could have prevented the extinction of Terran life and the death of the sun, but considered it objectively of no benefit to intervene.  It had moved on and thoughts of the end of its former home world provided no distraction from its continued exploration of the universe.  It roams on its automatic mission to go there then and be here now and when where why.  There must be other un-thought thoughts and unseen sights waiting to be observed; it can’t have done it all, so little time has passed...  It seems like only yesterday when it was... it can’t remember yesterday.  When was the last time it had a new thought?  It can’t remember... its energy diffusing... its program complete... its weak and thin as the vacuum of space... weaker so... end of existence.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Block Chop 86: doodles n monkeys n that

I really don’t know what to write today.  It doesn’t feel like the usual chore that it can sometimes seem like.  I’m not clawing at my face in tortured angst fretting and fussing about words and the order to put them in.  I just sort of don’t fancy it.  It’s not even writers block; more like I have had a long hard day at work and I’d quite like the evening off.  Had some takeaway curry (saag aloo, shami kebab, etc), watched Xfactor then Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad (Mexico and Chichen Itza), now instead of warbling and waffling I quite like to read a bit then sleep.  But no, Kevin won’t allow himself that.

Google is celebrating Oscar Wilde’s birthday with one of their funny little doodles.  This picture of Dorian Gray stood holding a lantern before his deformed portrait doesn’t exactly work as a logo.  It’s too small to see and the G the g the l and the e are not exactly integrated into the design.

You know, fuck it.  I tried to start discussing something I observed hoping that I’d get some material out of it, something to riff off; a basis for extemporisation, but it’s not going anywhere.  I was losing interest in my words before I even finished typing them.  Before I’d even ended the sentence I’d already thought fuck it.
I could stare at the screen hoping that it will write itself.  I could chuck the laptop into a room filled with an infinite amount of monkeys and an infinite minus one amount of typewriters, and hope that the monkey that gets to work on my laptop is one of the erudite bloggers and not one of the wanking shit-throwers.  There is an infinite amount of both; such is the weird nature of infinite.  It always blows my mind that there is the same amount of whole numbers as there is odd numbers; the same amount of prime numbers as even numbers.  But it shouldn’t blow my mind really, because infinity isn’t even a real number.  If you do a sum and get the answer infinity you’ve probably made a mistake somewhere.

I could just bang away wildly at the keys and imagine I am some sort of early-20th Century artist or modernist who can still get away with that sort of shit.  I could cut and paste random sentences from random Wikipedia articles into a Burroughs cut-up style composition.  I could write ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ over and over again, and fool myself that I am being funny and original.  I could stick a knife into the plug socket and then I wouldn’t have to worry about finishing the blog.  Yes that’s what I’ll do... after I’ve finished the blog.  If I’m back tomorrow with more words, you know it didn’t work.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Block Chop 85: Public transport :(

Sleeping on the bus.  Head falling forward inch by inch, as the dribble edges its way down the side of my face.  Did I snore, and did anybody notice?  Did my head just nod forward for a split second of have I been going around on the route for hours?  Seems to be the same faces around me; the same cocky fuck-punctuating teenage arseface voice parping up from the back of the bus; same dull drizzle running down the window; same... zzzzzzzzzzzzz

I could just curl up on the seat; I’m sure no one would mind.  Although a sudden touch of the breaks could send me cascading to the floor into a roll that lodges me firmly beneath the seat in front of me.  Arms and legs tucked in and unable to free myself; trapped in my new life under the seat, feeding only on the unique bio-cultures growing on the saliva enzymes from second hand chewing gum.  This is the inevitable penalty of bus sleep complacency syndrome.  Do not succumb to it.  You may think nothing bad could happen from a few seconds of subtle shuteye on the shuttle service from Woodford to Manchester.  You are wrong.  But I am not living proof.  No, I lived to tell the tale.  You may not be so lucky.  And if you did find yourself trapped and starving, lodged under seat, don’t expect any help from those around you.  Nobody cares.  According to research cited in The Tipping Point (£2.50 from Cancer Research) the more members of the public witness someone desperately in need of help, the less likely that person is to receive help.  Witnesses assume that someone else will call the police or step up to intervene, and as a result nobody does anything.  It’s illustrated with the sadly real case of Kitty Genovese who in 1960s Queens, NY was murdered outside her home in an attack lasting more than half an hour, with between 12 and 39 witnesses none of whom did anything.

While this is clearly more terrifying than my stupid bus fantasy, I did see a scummy teenage smack a middle aged woman on the back of her head incredibly hard as he walked down the bus.  He definitely didn’t do it on purpose, his bag swung against her head, but it hit with such force that he cannot possibly have failed to notice.  However he didn’t respond; no sorry, and no are you ok?  Not even a glance or basic acknowledgement of a fellow human being.  He just walked on and alighted the bus.  Everyone else on the bus gasped as the bag struck the poor lady... but nobody, myself included, did a thing about it.  Nobody grabbed this toerag by the shoulder and commanded listen you arrogant little shit, apologise to the lady, ask her if she’s ok, you just fucking hit her.  He swaggered down the street; one of those side-to-side lunging limps, one hand in the front of his pants, which is completely unfathomable to normal people like you and I.

But then the thick CO2 heavy air, the rocking motion of the engine and the gentle drumming of rain against the window lulled me back into sudden and uncontrollable drowsing, and I missed the next few minutes.  Perhaps the young scallymanc suddenly sprang a social conscious, hopped back on the bus and apologised not just to the suffering lady, but the whole of civilised society for his previous detriment and damage.  I have a dream....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Block Chop 84: public blogging ....

I’m sitting in Solomon Grundy’s on Wilmslow Road in Withington for the first time since it’s ‘refit’, struggling to understand what has actually being changed.  It was closed for a couple of weeks and as far as I can discern the only difference is that the chairs are a bit wobbly now.  All the drafts are off due to cleaning so I had to order bottled.  I chose Duvel, mistakenly as it seems, as I am unable to pour it into the glass without generating a head five times taller than the actual quantity of beer.  Plus I didn’t realise it is 8% so I would be well advised to go easy on it.

The laptop is being temperamental again today; I have been pounced upon by the blue screen of death twice already, and keep getting a ‘Host Process for Windows Services stopped working and was closed’.  I have no idea what this means, and if it spells impending computer doom.

This is the first time I’ve blogged in public, and it’s a strange feeling.  Despite the fact I will post this for all to read, I am paranoiacally aware that someone may glance over my shoulder at these words as I write them.  For some reason this terrifies me; oh what a desperate thrill.  So perhaps I can just make small observations about what I can see from the window.  A bus with “Jesus loves you”  emblazoned on the side, pert-titted female students with blonde ponytails, lanky male students with funny little beards, a man in a van eating a pasty, an old Asian fellow coming out of the vegetarian cafe, an old guy sitting opposite me with a trilby a pile of books and a miniscule cup of coffee.  Fascinating eh?  No, I guess not.

Having my laptop out in public also makes me painfully aware of its shitty quality.  Although it’s only about 18 months old, it has a missing H key, duct tape over the camera (after I got paranoid that a cracked game I downloaded was spying on me because the camera light came on unprovoked), dust in all the crevices, and a useless battery that means I need to keep it plugged into the mains at all times.  It’s also suspiciously large, and un-Apple.  People who write in public are surely only doing it to show off their twattish status as an Apple user.  It’s true Apple used to be cool, when it was primarily aimed at creators (with its excellence as a video and audio editing tool), but now it is primarily aimed at thoughtless consumers (iPod, ~Phone, ~Pad: cool, but essentially useless).  And yes they look good, stylish, sexy, all that, but I really don’t think that an Apple product would go with my age-ripped jeans, and scratched watch.  No, until I have expensive and stylish clothes, glasses and accessories I have no business considering purchasing any Apple products.  I shall make do with my ugly battered laptop, which goes perfectly with my ugly battered clothes.  And face.

I had a King Solomon’s Breakfast (or at least just over half of it) and although it looks nice must conclude that it is not a patch on the kind you would get for half the price in a greasy spoon.  Bury black pudding: check, but only two tiny little bites.  Weird posh hash browns which are too dry and not as flavourful as the frozen kind you can buy in a big bag for 79p from any supermarket.  Two tasty sausages that look like big fat tropical grubs.  Not bad, but not worth the money.

Anyway, down to the main reason I am here, which is to finish my short story for next month’s Blank Pages magazine away from the distraction of the TV.  Off I go.

This is hard work.  There is soul music and casual chit-chat to proving multitudinous distraction.  Plus it’s pretty bloody cold in here, and seems to have no wi-fi.  Maybe I’ll try the library.  Hopefully they’ll have electricity I can steal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Block Chop 83: writing, drawing, movies, money, ambition, etc.....

I awoke with a mouthful of maggots that even minty fresh Colgate, and the last dregs of the Dentyl bottle, couldn’t exterminate.  Last night I did a dirty deed and devoured a Domino’s, imbibed a bottle of wine, and passed out face down on an electric blanket after fumbling and stumbling a blog post.  Combine all that into the melting mire of my mouth and maggots emerge as an indelible unbearable taste.  The cup of Yorkshire I just supped tasted bitter, thin with a gakky overtone, instead of its usual heavenly glow.  And the back of my throat still feels like the queen maggot sits on her tonsil throne, gently excreting green fluid.

Ahem, excuse me.  What I meant to say was ‘Good Morning’.  So there you go good people of blog land, Good morning to you all.  And today is effectively my Saturday away from the day job, but my Monday morning in my writers cap.  I have almost fully made the decision to keep drawing and painting as an enthusiastic hobby.  I am an idiotic amateur and will never be more.   I find it difficult to express anything through drawing; I cannot properly express myself visually, and certainly don’t have the technical ability or even patience to get anywhere.  There are a million better illustrators than me with a million better connections, and none of them are getting anywhere either.  Almost every time I complete a drawing I am massively disappointed with the results, and I think the reason for this is basically just that I don’t know what I am doing.  But when I am writing I feel strong and confident, and genuinely think that (although I have a long way to go) I am better than lots of successful writers.  Writing is an extremely difficult craft, but one that I am sure I can develop.  I am not even dissuaded by my failure to advance to the next stage of the ITV Script Workshop application process.  No, I am good at writing, and with continued daily practice, and the self discipline I am slowing eking out of my pores, I will become a very good writer.  Then all it takes is a lot of persistence, the thick leathery hide to resist all those forthcoming rejection slips from agents and publishers, and a few lucky breaks.

I want to write a novel, short story, or something or other... no, it has to be a novel, that get’s made into a Hollywood movie.  I want millions of movie dollars, first class travel around the world, dream houses falling out of my arse, and the expensive private health care to fix the damage.  I want yes men, and no men and accountants and lawyers.  And swimming pools, and wine cellars, and an art collection.  But most of all, what I really really want, is just one month - just one – where my bank account isn’t emptied by bills and rent.  Where I have a small saving and can do something nice for my girlfriend.  And if it takes writing a novel, getting it published and turned into a movie, to do that, then that is damn well what I will do.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Hollywood blockbuster.  It could be a Korean gore flick, or a kooky French rom-com, or a Welsh family drama about miners, or an animated Japanese porno, or Nigerian witchcraft horror, or a Bollywood Bhangra bhanger, or cloyingly cute London based comedy about a floppy haired dick and his wonderful life.  Feck it, it could even be a low budget student film, as long as it’s one of those that makes millions like Evil Dead or The Blair Witch Project.  And so with a few catchphrases, some canned screams, Plasticine gore, and a video camera nailed to a wooden plank, the next Evil Dead falls from my tapping fingers and into the DVD players of millions.

The End.
Or is it?
<Twilight Zone theme>

Block Chop 82: A bit of a weird one...

Crappy crap crap shit shit.  Just as my eyes close in happy anticipation of sleep in front of the new episode of House on the laptop, my brain jerks into a semi-alive state with the alarming thought No Blog, No Blog, No Blog.  Which reminds me of a terribly misleading warning sign I saw on a building site from the bus today: No Hard Hat, No Boots, No Job.  It really did look like a sign instructing the builders to remove their safety gear.  Way too many words for a coherent functional safety sign.  Who can I contact to complain to?  There must be a number somewhere.  I’m sure signs like this are supposed to be visual: no one can be arsed reading signs, as proven by the amount of people I have watched over the last two days becoming desperately confused as the attempt to open a locked door with a large sign on it reading please use other door.  Just a long line of people making the same childish mistake.  I do it all the time, and so do you.  “The door reads push, but what do we do,” am I doing a Seinfeld bit now?  I’m really not sure, “yes that’s right; we pull.  Why do we do this?  We’re pulling, and the door is just standing there looking at us saying ‘hey buddy, I don’t swing that way’.”

Anyway, so I just woke up with a massive groan as I realised I have to do this bloody blog again.  Every day; what is the point when every day it just needs doing again, and the day after that and the day after that.  It’s like washing and eating and opening my eyes in the morning, a stretch up a morning yawning, every bloody day.  But now I’m working and the minimum wage has risen by about 12p (that’s around $24.06US for any American readers, and 47 to the power of 10 Vietnamese dong for any other foreigns) I can afford to take on staff.  First aboard is my new blog writer.  Eventually I will have a team of writers all working together to create a well-calculated public persona, who can script my every word in the safety of the boardroom, and prevent me from any faux pas which might alienate me from the disparate, slightly mental internet people (of whom I am clearly one) that make up my imaginary audience.  I’ll also provide sandwiches for my employees.  But no compliments.  Just sandwiches.

And then I can just wander about looking at the clouds counting my money and pointing out other peoples mistakes.  Which to be honest might be what I would be best at; food critic, travel critic, music critic.  Looking at other peoples life’s work and saying yeah that’s shit, you fucking suck buddy.  See this thing you poured you love and passion and energy and life into?  It’s a pile of shit.  That’s the kind of thing I’d be good at.  I sense I may now be slipping into bottom rate Bill Hicks parody, sucking on Satan’s cock.  Critics.  Contributing nothing and moaning.  I could do that.  Fuck it, anyone could do that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Block Chop 81: Unfocused ramble about this and that

Oh my god; cutting it so fine it hurts, I got my BBC job application in twenty-five minutes before the midnight deadline.  I obviously a complete bell-end who should have completed it weeks ago, but that was all discussed and milked yesterday.  Now I can bask temporarily in the glory of receiving that thank you for your application email, until inevitably I hit the funk of the ...but unfortunately on this occasion your application was unsuccessful email.  How’s that for positive thinking?

The application included answering a great many (well four) difficult concise essay questions, which meant excising rolling mounds of fat in order dip below the word count.  I should have started this blog post with the word omg, but after the hideous fiasco of some bloke, named after an Edgar Allen Poe story, on X-Factor I’m sure I will never use that ridiculous abbreviation, but judging by this long and rambling sentence which has long strayed from any coherent point, I am no longer concerned with exceeding word counts and even if I was I am too tired and gazing lazily into the inviting infinite whiteness of the page below these words, and in a final flurry towards the end of the sentence I refer you back to the Poe allusion before and confirm to you that, yes, I was talking about The Fall of the House of Usher, a thematic masterpiece of interlocking detail, metaphor and consistency.

One question involved watching a twenty-six minute long clip of an old episode of the Ten O’Clock News from the day of the big Raoul Moat versus the police stand-off, in fact almost entirely about this prick and the non-story that was the last few moments of his pathetic despicable life, and then deigning to mention almost in passing, the greatest spy-swap since the Cold War, and the impending World Cup final, which being between Spain and Netherlands was excitingly going to yield first time champions.  I wasn’t aware of the content of the news episode before I started watching, and was worried that I would struggle to find meat to bite onto, but as the episode unfurled I became increasingly disgusted with the manner in which it was covered, and launched into a long and angry rant against the danger of glorifying psychos, creating a pornography of hysteria, the dumbing-down of the news with repetition ad infinitum.  I toned down the rant, aiming for ‘review’ (as the question requested) but possibly not arriving, and worked hard to bring it under 300 words.  For good measure, and other stuff, here is what I wrote:

Too much time is spent on the Moat story.  Despite the fact it is happening live there is very little newsworthy content.  There is a large amount of speculation, repetition, rephrasing of the same information, and unnecessary detail.

The story is promoted as entertainment, and almost seems as though it is intentionally trying to create hysteria.  The section where inconsequential still photographs are shown on screen and speculated about is not interesting, and has obviously just been included to drag out the coverage, and perhaps televise a violent end.

It is my understanding that the BBC has a remit to provide a public service, but I strongly feel this kind of presentation has a detrimental effect on society by promoting homicidal sociopaths as exciting rebel antiheroes.  Stories like this should be covered in the news, but to a minimal degree and not as a dramatic narrative.
There is not enough information to warrant such a long story.  Moat’s mental state and the factors leading up to his crimes are interesting; however no insight is provided. 

The story about the US/Russia spy exchange has many complex political aspects, and deserved a much more in depth coverage.  It will have repercussions lasting for years, compared to the Moat story and I think the BBC has made an error in judgement with regard to balance, information and public service.

The spy story focuses on planes landing and very little else.  No real attempt is made to explain the background to this story or the political and diplomatic ramifications.  Why is the swap happening?  There is no hint.

I enjoyed the World Cup coverage; the focus on Spain, and the detail about the hopeful young fans (potential future footballers, perhaps?) was positive.

I hope it doesn’t go down too badly.  I love the BBC but it is undeniably going through an extremely shitty period: poor quality comedy, crap adult drama (fuck Dr. Who; that doesn’t count), and idiotic rehashes of weird Japanese shows (what stupid cunt used license payers money to bring Hole in a Wall over here); and the last thing they need is yes men.  I can slag it off as much as I like, because I used the get out clause of mentioning I love it.  And I do.  I am also happy to pay my license fee, and don’t think any other broadcasters should get a share of it.  But I don’t think the BBC should be unaccountable for what it spends.  Only a bare minimum of its license income should go to entertainment (game shows, ‘documentaries’ that aren’t documentaries, buying foreign imports, etc), and the rest should be spent on developing proper world class comedy, drama, and documentaries... like the good old days.  There is nothing – NOTHING – on BBC3 which license payer’s money should be spent on.

And one last thing BBC, before I fall asleep hoping you will employ me: your sycophantic rimming of that evil old man Ratzinger, on his hello Britain, I’m a Pope holiday was despicable.  Fine, put it in the news, but he does not deserve hours and hours of pointless coverage on your two main channels for day after day.  Would you do the same for visiting heads of other weird microstates; or other obscenely wealthy homophobic, misogynistic, theocratic perpetuators of ignorance and misery?

So what have we learned today?  Not much, other than today’s sentences have been particularly long, with a slight flavour of rant, and a pinch of lack of focus.  That’s about it, and now my cheek is twitching uncontrollably due to exhaustion.  Night night, Blog.  “Night night, Kevin,” it replied.

P.S.  If you have read this blog post, you have read it once more than me.