Post-Glasto

30 06 2010

Wednesday night and still buzzing from the weekends adventures.

Best Glastonbury ever and no hyperbole. If I were a starship pilot almost killed in some climatic struggle with the Big Bad at the end of a TV series  and the technology in my brain had to knock my fleshy conciousness into a near-death virtual world based on a fond memory, then that would be it. I would wander the sunny fields and encounter the distant memories of friends who would question me about my actions 1000 years after their time but I wouldn’t  be worried because of such fantastic nostalgia for one special moment in time.

That’s my own unique way of saying I’ve had a very good time in the past week, more coherent blogs will shortly follow but after this starship has circled round the planet a few times before landing.

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Balancing the worthwhile with the monotony: A Laza-whinge. (Or “why I may not be a bundle of laughs at Glasto next week.”

19 06 2010

The video above is a short for a film competition to raise awareness for the Robin Hood Tax (http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/homepage/tights-camera-action/ ) I only learnt of this on Tuesday, when the original deadline for entries was yesterday (although for some reason that deadline has been extended for a month now.)

Suggested by my erstwhile accomplice Emma I took up this challenge, even though I’ve never made a film before and have no training in film editing, or flash animation. Never the less this is the sort of thing I want to be doing with my life, something  difficult and out of comfort zone (to use corporate-speak) but which I feel genuinely motivated to do and I can do with pleasure rather than under coercion.

I was aided in my project by my ever eloquent and fiery fellow revolutionary, Ben “Chubbywordsmith” Francis http://www.youtube.com/user/chubbywordsmith who wrote and recorded a fine piece of prose to illustrate what a good idea the Robin Hood Tax is. There were numerous hurdles to jump, both technical and creative but after two days of solid graft I spliced Ben’s vocals into a set of images then encoded the whole thing from a .swf file into a format suitable for YouYube (which for all you non-techies out there is no mean feat.)

Yes, it was hard and tiring but because this was something I wanted to do and work which I have a drive for. Something deep within me kept me going even after setbacks. Instead of giving up I made a cup of tea and then came back to it from a different direction to solve the problem and it didn’t feel like the life was being sucked from me for do so. For so long in my working life I’ve had little passion or commitment, rotting away in one mindlessly banal office environment to the next but in doing this little video I felt a pride and an accomplishment which I have never felt in earlier occupations.

I’ve worked in Finance, Insurance and Retail despite having no inclination to do so. Necessity had forced me into those ill-fitting roles, bills needed to be paid so rather than take the risk and do something I want to do, something which I would take joy in doing and so devote my full energies to without thinking about it I’ve ended up stuck in one rut to another.

To be pretentious for a moment the Existentialists believed that the root of malaise in the human soul is to live a life without purpose, to not believe in the things that you do. I can wholeheartedly agree with this view,having being trapped in office monotony for so long I’ve felt the life from me drain slowly away. I’ve had to bend and contort myself into something I am not comfortable being, an artificial personality to earn a pittance, prostitute my soul just to earn a little above minimum wage and then pretend this is what I wanted to be just to please some performance review or “1-2-1”

Before I moved down to London to chase dreams I was up in Leeds. The last year of that experience was, to be honest a complete waste of my life. Career wise it was a total dead end. I was in a position I took on a temporay basis which turned into a full time commitment of myself just to pay the bills. Stuck in a nine to five with my heart somewhere else the mindless drudgery of the role just drained me of all hope and ambition.

It just wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life but finances and being infected with a general lack of self worth as a side effect of being in that environment with meant I stagnated. Like so many around me I was under the illusion my little grief pit was comfortable, it was safe. I had half convinced myself that this was the best I could ever hope to achieve, any creative work I wanted to do on the side never materialised as by the time I had dragged myself home from 9-10 hours of commuting and work I just wanted to sleep.

I ended up on anti-depressants,started to loose sight of the vague goals I have in life, I started to forget who I was.

But I escaped.

The months since have been good. I’ve felt no need to take anti-depressants, every day I do something creative and fulfilling, whether it’s this blog, a more general piece of writing, creating illustrations, being part of news event on twitter, going to protests, making a stand or just entertaining people with my sideways look on life and my terrible/beautiful fantasies but whatever it is I’ve never felt it was a pain or burden like so much of my life in that last year in Leeds was.

I do these things because they come naturally to me, it is part of who I am and because of this once in a while somebody compliments me, tells me I’ve done a good job or that I’ve brightened up their day. If we lived in a post scarcity utopia where all our basic needs were catered for like in Star Trek then this validation would be all I needed to give my life purpose and beat that existential funk which seems to dog so much of my adult life.

Sadly the things I do which make me and others happy don’t pay the bills. Now I’ve not been under any illusion that they would put food on the table, I have been earning some coin here and there which has until recently been enough for me to get by without much complaint. But right now those coins aren’t coming in and I am in desperate times.

I have one or two unpaid bills hovering over me and my one holiday this year (Glastonbury next week) is going to be a very limited affair as I have no money for food and supplies. This could even cast quite a dark cloud over what should be a joyous time, my brow will be furrowed with worry when I should be gliding around with the calm contented smile of a hippy at one with his world.

For the first time in my life I’ve had to sign on which for those of you who have had the misfortune will know is a gut-wrenching experience, almost an admission of failure and lack of self worth. I don’t like hand-outs or charity, I would rather have the pride of standing on my own feet but necessity , as always has turned my hand.

For the past few weeks I’ve fired off a number of job applications for positions which have the potential to ruin me like the past year in Leeds almost did. Trifling, monotonous vacancies which barely utilise any of my natural talents but sadly are the ones I’ve have experience for in my lamentable “career.” I can handle a part time job, hell the stability would be of some considerable comfort to me. I could even tolerate a temp position for a week  so long as I don’t get sucked into worlds I have no interest in and no inclination for.

But that is my fear, that I may fall into another rut and that the activities which validate me and hopeful amuse, educate and embiggen others will fail to materialise again as instead I just move numbers from one spreadsheet to another, shuffle bits of paper for reasons I can not even pretend to care about, listen to dullard conversations and be forced to keep quiet lest I be seen as “wacky” or “not one of them” and suffer because of it.

I might be lucky, down in the Capital I could find a nice little earner that would pay the few bills I have now and still leave me time and energy to do the things I want to do. Experience tells me this might not be the case though.

So yeah, Glasto mates. If I don’t seem myself or not particulary fun all the time next week then this is why. Just a heads up, y’all!





10 Things you didn’t know about James Corden……

15 06 2010

"hey you guuuyyyyysssssss!!!"

  1. James Corden once absorbed a golden haired child in rage because she laughed at him as he accidentally fell down the stairs during a promotional event at the Thurrock Odeon. The child was later expelled from his mass after he was bribed with cocaine but has been unable to speak since.
  2. The former Russian submarine which ships in Corden’s cocaine deliveries was called the K-186 Omsk, decommissioned in 2008.
  3. In 2002 James Corden once met all three actresses of TV’s Birds of a Feather whilst at a friend’s BBQ. All photographs of that meeting were subsequently destroyed in a fire which killed 4.
  4. James Corden can walk and talk at the same time though often chooses not to.
  5. In 2007 James Corden once cried for seven hours straight after a practical joke he pulled on the set of Gavin & Stacey which involved the sexual humiliation of an extra was deemed “not funny” & “just wrong” by onlookers.
  6. Whilst writing Lesbian Vampire Killers in his flat in Islington 280 cats, 178 dogs, 167 rodents of varying species, 45 lizards, 17 rabbits, 5 parrotts and a Shetland pony went missing from their owners. Their bodies have never been found.
  7. James Corden speaks 17 languages all of which are ONLY spoken by him and when no-one else is around.
  8. In late 2009 James Corden and Lily Allen recorded a single together, but for some reason the release date has been scheduled for December 21st 2012.
  9. In 2005 James Corden had a surgical pouch implanted into his torso by Cuban doctors in which he keeps compromising photos of Matthew Horne, a list of old men he wishes to fight, keys to a lock-up in Romford and most recently a severed toe believed to have belonged to Gary Coleman.
  10. In 2008 the government of Columbia awarded James Corden the “Traducir Amigo del Pueblo Colombiano y las Empresas” in honour of his work for their economy.




The World Cup is like vanilla sex…

13 06 2010

……hours of build-up leading to a minute or two of pure elation but soured by 90 minutes of awkward fumbling and foreplay that goes no-where leading to an amateurish slipping in towards the end.

At least these fellows are enjoying themselves.....

To avoid having my citizenship revoked by a council of bald headed, stella guzzling thugs I watched Enger-land’s first match in the world cup last night. Adrian Childes on ITV promised us viewers he would be with us all the way through the highs and lows of the match. He’d  sat in our rooms with us, drinking our beer and then learing over on the couch, the sweet stench of alcohol wheezing out of his chubby face, eyes alight with the flames of desire and crisp soiled hands moving up our legs while we were distracted by the prima donnas prancing around on the pitch.

I, for one am not entirely comfortable with Childes’ over familiarity. A likeable enough chap I’m sure but I just don’t feel comfortable with him oozing around my flat as I watch the game, I don’t trust him enough not to try something like a dirty uncle. I could have gone to a pub and enjoyed the embrace of booze swilling nationalism but the prospect of putting up with their nerdy opinions on a sport which isn’t the most mentally challenging in the world or listening to their vaguely racist babble in this war-by-proxy didn’t feel me with joy.

Instead I took a very 21st century approach to viewing the match, watching it online and enjoying the twitter reactions as it bumbled on. I could see the screen at all times, was surrounded by people whose opinions I do enjoy, could get eat curry in just my dressing gown and unlike people in London watching the match on their HD TVs I actually saw the goal rather than a car advert. I like to think I won that one.

GOAL!!!!!!!!

So the match then. I can’t deny the buildup isn’t exciting and it casts my memory back to previous world cup experiences. Maradonna’s hand ball in ’86, the moment I realised as a young child that the world isn’t fair. All the drama and theatrics of ’90, when the proles suddenly professed a love for opera (well one tune anyway) and our boys accompanied that with a bit of melodrama in the semi-finals when drunben prank monkey Paul Gascoigne burst into tears along with millions of grown men.  In ’94 the World Cup was replaced by the Superbowl and no-one cared. In ’98 I remember a nimble little Micheal Owen dancing around Columbian’s while I watched the match with 100,000 in the cold and wet at Glastonbury.

It’s cherished memories like these I watch the World Cup for. As if it were a narcotic I want to sample the dizzying highs of a group experience shared en mass, all eyes looking up as one cheering on a sole individual who represents the nations hopes and dreams of a spherical object being tapped into a net. I’d rather that kind of energy were channelled into making Britain a better, fairer place for one and all but then that sounds like a lot more work than getting drunk in a pub and shouting at a TV screen.

But with this particular high you forget how much of the time you are spent looking at the clock, or pretending this is all very fun and interesting when inside you know it’s just not working. To be honest, last night I found what Charlie Brooker was saying about the match more interesting than the match itself. Neither team showed any of the flair or style that my addled memory recalls of previous matches in the golden tinted past. I felt like one of those moments when a drug you used to go crazy for just seemed more hassle than it was worth, or when a sexual experience you’ve looked forward to for ages turns out to be a disappointment and then you’re left there. out in the cold with your flaccid wang in your hands trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

But then to be fair it would be difficult keeping your mind on the game with all those demonic vuvuzela’s honking down on you, a deflating atonal chorus of fucktards standing round you while you try and score one for the boys….





Outer Dimensional Puppet Overlord

12 06 2010

The Original

A good friend of mine from the wars changed the avatar of his Facebook page to this curious individual. The disdainful, supercilious way this puppet shaped abomination glares down upon you. He may appear ridiculous to us, possibly diminutive judging by his similarity with creepy old ventriloquist dummies, but carries an air of lethal belligerance about him. The cursed being is aware of his many shortcomings in our world but he has seen it all before from our kind and he won over them  in the past. No doubt the puppet rebellion in his dimension was a long and bloody one, the numbers of his kind rising like a virus while our counterparts where outclassed by superior evolution.

Their little wooden legs scuttling along pavements and hallways, remembering to operate in the dark and prefering  to drive their human prey insane with their mind warping powers.

Where he is from, we are the cattle. We are but slaves to his kind, puppet overlords cracking the whip and setting their plastic soul-less eyes on our universe…..









Night buses: An adventure through the twilight bowels of public transport.

8 06 2010

NIGHT BUS! NIGHT BUS! PARTY BUS! DEATH BUS!

The film critic and skiffle band member Mark Kermode recently commentated in a YouTube debate that most movies are a story about going home in one way or another. This is quite a universal theme and one from which a lot of drama can be gathered.

We’ve all been there, adrift in a foreign land or city with no bearing or direction. The drugs (including alcohol) are starting to wear off, the earlier frivolity and high spirits have given away to panic and fear. Where am I? Do I have enough to get home? Why is everyone looking at me? In London, once the Tube is put safely to bed we have the Night Bus. I’m sure other cities in this faded nation of ours have them too but from my experience of Leeds they are only whispered of in legend and run to a coveted timetable known to only a few elders and habitual liars.

Night Buses in London are an adventure through time and space. Crowded full of shift workers, drunks, delusional party-goers, the professionally odd and sociopaths they are driven by anti-social trolls, grown out of their seat like the pilot-thing from Alien and cursing every single human being who dares walk onto their midnight horror-coach.

My most recent Night Bus journey came after the Rage Against the Machine gig in Finsbury park. For an hour afterwards it felt revolution was in the air, we took over the streets, we banged drums and strode around like a new dawn was about to break. But then we saw the queue for the tube station and we realised that anarchy and rebellion are all fine but it’s late and we have to find a way home. A brisk walk to the tune of Mancunian moans took us down to the next tube station which we found it to be closed and under seige from bemused, cold and frightened RATM fans who struggled to decipher the illegible runes of the bus timetable.

Our merry band of six decided to entrust the journey home to a man who had travelled the world, bribed his way into despotic regiemes and had grown up on the mean streets of Watford. This was a mistake.

One erroneous bus journey later we were heading in the right direction, towards the nexus of Night Bus routes, Trafalgar Square. The World Traveller’s girlfriend offered to pay for a taxi back to a friends house nearby. The Mancunian said no, he wanted to go back to the World Traveller’s house for that was where he left his beloved pornography and the guest bed which he had soiled with his manhood.

So we waited outside Charing Cross as every other bus route except ours pulled up at the stop, teased us with hope for a moment and then pulled away with the bio-automaton driver cackling with spite as it drove off. The younger members of our gang were starting to loose the will to live, moaning more than the Mancunian to our surprise. The denziens of the night were starting to come out then, distorted and disturbed human beings hollering in unknown tongues. Shift work wage slaves trudged towards us, oblivious to the world around them and cursing the series of life choices which led them to the living death in which they exist now. At last our bus turned up, the young’uns needed tickets but the ticket machine at the stop was broken. “Not to worry, the TFL website states that if the machine is broken the bus drone has to provide one” said our World Traveller. The curmudgeonly bus-borg disagreed.

In the un-British scramble for the tardy night bus two of our young’uns snuck on board through the exit, thinking we were about to follow. Instead they sped away without us, looking forlorn and confused out the window like two eastern european girls who have just been tricked into prostitution while we stood by cussing the unhelpful bus-drone but powerless to help. Had they been skilled in the dark arts of London life they could have blagged their way back to our destination with anal virginity intact.

In the meantime we ran across the road to find a working ticket machine.Then. just as we found one the next bus on our route turned up, with barely a soul on board. It paused for a moment as we hurried to get our tickets then sped away, it’s driver waving his diseased and partially mechanical hand in mockery.  The country boys jumped off the first bus at the next stop, just as we got back across the road to find some TFL employees had pulled up in a van and fixed the very ticket machine which had thwarted us in the first place. London had not lost it’s talent to confound its residents to the point of taking it personally. Again, we waited twenty minutes.

When we finally got on the last bus home we were greeted with the dead eyes of typical Night Bus passengers. Naturally there was only one seat left on the bus and a lot of people to get uncomfortably close to. To pass the time I concocted visions of mighty Chewbacca making sweet wookie love to the anus of Jesus Christ. The look of horror and confusion amongst my comrades suggested my tale had served its purpose. Others moved back and gave us some room.

As we travelled past the satanic towers of the City, paved in gold and washed with the blood of immigrant children (sacrificed to serve the Banker’s pantheon of horned gods.) It was then that the bus driver, whose vocal chords had been removed at the factory in which he was installed into the bus pressed a button to ask passengers to move down the bus. The cattle mentality of those who use Night Buses failed to comprehend the recorded female voice, everyone was too tired or afraid to commit to any action. “Are there any seats on the top deck” someone asked a man sitting on the stairs. “Yeah, I just like sitting here don’t I” came the sarcastic reply.

The bus-borg was losing his patience. Fail-safe circuits in his abused mind kicked in and knocked him unconcious for a reboot. The bus, being cybernetically linked to him followed suit and stopped its engine. For a moment it looked like we would have to get out and wait for the next one, something which had happened to me before on a night bus and almost devolved into a riot as my fellow passengers who had already waited for an hour in the small hours of a Saturday attempted to hijack other buses as they went past.

Thankfully the bus-borg rebooted successfully, some cattle were herded off to make room and we continued into the East End (signified by the prevalence of England flags and white vans.) I suggested to the Mancunian (he being of a musical leaning) that we start a sing along with the other passengers on the bus to raise spirits as by then they had taken on the demeanour of a persecuted people being trucked off to a death camp. The Mancunian declined with a northern growl. The largest of our young’uns sunk his mighty head into his bear like hands, we debated on whether to write “cunt heron” on his forehead as per tradition.

Streets blurred into one and another, take-aways, traffic lights, dark obelisks of office towers and the vague smell of rotting fish and human waste that heralds the borough of Plaistow. By then we had all taken on the Night Bus trance, brain waves running on empty, souls drained and thinking of sleep. Our Night Bus journey had come to an end, no fatalities, no police intervention and the unworldly blues of near dawn were yet to crawl across the sky. Not as bad as other journeys I had been on.

The ten minute walk back to the house seemed like hours for the younger members of our group though. Sadly, and with victory almost in our sights one fell by the wayside. Weak from loss of blood he collapsed like a sack of bones in a hoodie. We had come too far to stop now, so we made a simple grave outside a public toilet and went onwards to Vahalla. Passing a fox with a baby’s arm hanging out it’s vulpine jaws, it tipped us a magical cockney wink and the World Traveller recognised we where at his street. The remaining young’uns stumbled towards safety, those of us more seasoned quietly enjoying the camaraderie that the adversity had put us through as if we had stormed Omaha beach.

Dedicated to the memory of Chumbawumba or whatever his name was…..

I'm the one in the skirt, naturally





The Internet is both good and bad.

5 06 2010

About once a week I come across something on the Internet which grabs my attention and gives me little thrills of geek-joy as I eat up every morsel of it. This week it has been the “RedLetterMedia” reviews in which some guy on Youtube disects the first two lamentable Star Wars prequels in the guise of a serial killer with a hilariously droll and slurry voice. Not only is his schtick funny, with various cuts to captured hookers in his basement and pictures of clowns but his analysis of everything that is wrong with the prequels is spot on and very smartly edited together to prove his point. I’ve lost about 8 hours of my life to this and other reviews he has done but after gorging myself of this delicious treat and having everything I personally thought was wrong with George Lucas done in such an entertaining and expert way I’m feeling a little sour.

This is because once again somebody on the Internet has done something I would have done had they not got there first. I wouldn’t have gone for the same serial killer character as RedLetterMeida did but I would have done something dark along those lines, possibly with more sexual overtones (as is my style.)  No matter, any notions I had of doing sarcastic and entertaining reviews of big name Sci-Fi franchises are six feet under now as I would only look like a poor imitation of this guy.

This is what both great and terrible about the Internet. In the days of TV when you needed to convince lots of people with money that your idea is a winner and then only way to get your idea to the masses is through the “top-down” medium of broadcast television. Few people were lucky enough to find a platform for their vision, and those that did had to make it have as wide a market appeal as possible to justify the airtime and expense. Now with the Internet everyone has a chance to share their creativity and this is great. But it also means every time you’ve had an idea you think is stunning original  you go onto google and find somebody already did it two years ago and probably better than you had imagined in your head. Which is kind of disheartening.

But it is not just the Internet which has been stealing the ideas in my head, James F*cking Cameron has been doing it too! Around when I was doing my GSCE’s in Art (1995 if you can convince of such a distant time) I had an idea to put into the science fiction universe which kept a awkward teenager amused while others of his age were peaking too early with sex and booze. I did a landscape painting of a scene  featuring a race of blue humanoid aliens living on an Earth-like moon of a gas giant in a nearby star system. The idea developed in my head long before a certain recent movie came out, they were various shades of colour from blue to grey (mirroring how human beings come in different colours) the planet wasn’t toxic to human beings and the nearby star was Tau Ceti rather Alpha Centauri (where Avatar’s Pandora is situated) but little details like those are not going to convince the general public, should my fevered dreams ever come to fruition, that my race of blue (and grey) humanoids living on a moon around a gas giant are vastly different from Cameron’s gigantic space elves.

My race of blue/grey humanoids would also be very different culturally, I modelled them more on the French rather than the generic tribal society at harmony with nature. Haughty intellectuals with a backstory of making terrible mistakes fuelled by hubris and then pretending it wasn’t their fault or just irrelevant. They would also have a snide view of Humanity’s attempts at culture and art (much like our gallic cousins see of us Anglos) but this would never result into open hostility between the two speices, just endless arguements and bickering between otherwise allies. They would be as roughly technologically advanced as Humanity was in the setting and there would be a damn good reason why they were so human-like rather than freakishly alien as current theories suggest ETI could be like. This was all conjured in my head long before Cameron got his pretty little 3D movie out in cinemas but now even though the similarities are superficial it’s kinda deflated me.

Really, I should lock myself away in my Polar Sex Dome (see my previous blog post) for ten years with no access to outside culture and just beaver away at translating the universe inside my head into some kind of real narrative. Unhindered by the de-motivational blow of someone else coming out with something a little similar to my ideas and then being worried whether my work seems hackneyed in comparison I would return after ten years of hedonism and creativity in the Arctic wastes and unleash my vision upon the world. Some would say “oh, this species of interstellar socialist environmentalists who are descended from Neanderthals are a lot like such and such” and I would reply, “maybe on the surface but as I’ve been locked away in a tundra sex palace with no connection with the outside it’s just a co-incidence. So fuck you.” Then I would finally get things done instead of being constantly distracted by the million other creative minds all working towards similar goals.

This is why the Internet is both good and bad for someone like me, it’s both inspiration and demotivation. I guess the trick is to balance the two without giving up and becoming a soul-less office drone (and believe me, my universe is going to address that particular life choice……..unless somebody else beats me to it!)