Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pornification

Status Quo and sexy porn?So the Co-operative has issued an ultimatum to the UK’s lad’s mag publishers: cover up or push off.

Basically, the publishers of such literary gems as Nuts, Loaded and Zoo have until 9th September to start issuing their journals in “modesty bags” or risk a firm refusal from the Co-op chain to even stock the publications on its 4,000 shelves.

While part of me is smirking at the thought of the busty models on the cover of Loaded being forced into an opaque polythene chastity belt I can see that this is a complicated issue (unlike the content of the issues at the centre of the conflict).

I don’t think anyone would disagree that the sheer amount of virtual female flesh that is currently on display around the Western world is deeply disturbing in its volume. Bus shelters, newsagents, internet, calendars, television and computer games all over our technologically advanced hemisphere are awash with tanned cleavage and airbrushed thigh.

Time was when I was a kid you’d have to strain your neck up to the top shelf of a newsagent to see an exposed naval or the slightest hint of pokie action. Nowadays you have to shift aside glossy images of buoyantly racked soap stars and pop singers exercising their diaphragms by sitting legs akimbo just to get your hands on the latest CBeebies magazine for your children.

Now I am not a prude. I’m a normal, sexually dynamic bloke. If I see a picture of an attractive woman (doesn’t have to be a supermodel – in fact, personally, I have leanings towards the real woman end of the spectrum) I’m going to have the expected response.

But.

It’s a no-brainer that to commodify women and use them to sell product is morally, sexually and intellectually wrong. It’s actually worse when the product that is being sold is sex itself. There’s a weird kind of slavery ethos at work at that point that is worse because it is so insidious. Everyone is compromised by it. Everyone is cheapened.

I really don’t want my boys growing up in a world where one half of the human race is seen merely as a mass marketing tool and the other responds unthinkingly like the tools they undoubtedly are.

And yet I look at some of my blog posts – the last one is a good example – and it is plain that I’m not beyond throwing up a picture of an attractive actress to draw attention to my blog. Sure I don’t take the pictures and I don’t ask the models in question to pose so provocatively but I still use them to attract readers to my blog, to boost my stats.

I’m guilty as charged, milord. I guess it’s a good job my blog isn’t published as a glossy magazine because maybe it would be in a brown paper bag under the counter at the Co-op along with Zoo. Though I would hope that the articles contained inside mine would be a darn sight more thought provoking.

The issue at the heart of the problem is sex education. It hasn’t kept up with the march of progress. The hearts and minds of the young are ceaselessly influenced by the online world. And that world is, to quote shadow health minister Diane Abbott, completely pornified and the pornification has spread out into the real world too. This totally skews the attitudes of the younger generation towards sex, to each other and to themselves. Kids these days have far easier access to hardcore pornography than my generation ever did. Too easy access in my opinion. And it is barely regulated meaning that there’s a lot of nasty stuff out there being passed off as “the norm”. That is highly dangerous to an impressionable mind.

Sex education needs to catch up with this technological boom, catch on to what is happening and redress the balance. Because what is missing from this huge deluge of objectification and sex marketing is emotional content and emotional context – the most important aspect of any kind of sexual relationship. Without it objectification is inevitable.

With it the only thing that is inevitable is a just and righteous sense of outrage.

We need to teach people to re-engage with their hearts and minds – not just their genitals.

At best, chastity belts and modesty bags just sidestep the issue and make the whole topic even more fetishized. At worse they collude and allow the status quo to continue.

And surely nobody but nobody wants the Quo to continue?

Ho ho.



Friday, July 26, 2013

ATM WTF

Kate Winslet boobs and cleavage money shot pictureI have a real problem with ATMs

Not just the fundamental issue of having to rely on a machine to present me with my own money in order to buy food to ensure my on-going survival – it’s something a little more prosaic than that.

It’s the beeps. The nagging beeps that harass you to remove your card or remove the money once it’s been squeezed out through the machine’s mealy-mouthed pinch rollers.

I get that the beeps are there as some kind of auditory spur, to prompt you into physically interacting with the machine at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner. I get that they are an aid to informing people with visual impairments that a step in the process they have undertaken has just been completed.

But I hear the beeps as an impatient nag. An antisocial klaxon that announces to the world that I haven’t removed my card or my cash quick enough for the machine’s liking. It’s like beeping a car horn at someone because they aren’t moving fast enough or are in your way.

I find myself constantly in a race against the machine’s sensors; trying to whip out my card before the machine can get in that first beep; cursing when I inevitably fail to do it. Because let’s face it most ATM’s have a grip like a pornstar sucking… er… an ice lolly (for example).

The beeps are just too abrasive. Too impersonal. Too open to negative interpretation.

Surely a recorded voice would be better? Somebody like Kate Winslet softly intoning things like, “Thank you for using me to fulfil your transactional needs – you may now remove your huge wad from my slot.” I wouldn’t mind if the world and his daughter heard that emanating from the ATM I was using.

Of course, these messages would need to be carefully regulated and recorded solely off-site. Giving the local cashiers access to recording their own messages would only lead to trouble. Messages like “You can now remove your penis from my portal” or “You have been too late with your withdrawal and there is a chance I am now pregnant” would undoubtedly turn many a head in your local branch of HSBC and not in a good way.

But all things considered they would be an improvement on the beeps and might even be good for business. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who would rather the world saw me as a pervert with a cashpoint fetish rather than just another slightly OCD nerd.

Can I?


Monday, July 22, 2013

Special Delivery

Postman Pat in Craster's Keep Sex ScandalDue to my little boy’s insistence I happened to catch an episode of Postman Pat the other day. And you know what it’s like; when you haven’t seen something for a long time and then you are unexpectedly re-familiarized with it you suddenly find yourself noticing oddities, making connections where you never saw them before, seeing evidence of a huge and dark conspiracy waving its huge naked bottom before your face.

Something is not right in the state of Greendale.

The children first aroused my suspicions. There’s a high percentage of ginger hairedness in Greendale which is difficult to reconcile when there is only one adult in Greendale who blatantly carries the ginger gene: Postman Pat. He is the only Alpha Male ginge in the entire area.

And this begs the question: just what kind of package is Pat stuffing through the letterboxes of all the ladies in the town? Is he siring a whole generation of little posties while he does his rounds? To paraphrase the theme song: Post-man, Postman Pat; we can guess what’s in his sack.

But it doesn’t end there. Or rather it doesn’t begin there. Because this wild sowing of the red haired seed plainly isn’t limited to the Greendale youth. Check out some of the older generation too. Mrs Goggins for example. Such an innocent grey haired old lady. But she’s obviously on intimate terms with Pat. Just a family friend you might say. But look again. If you imagine her hair as once being red she is suddenly a dead ringer for Pat himself. Their faces are virtually interchangeable. Now, she’s either Pat’s secret mother, his older sister or his prematurely aged daughter.

Either way the gene pool in Greendale is tighter than Jimmy Carr’s accountant’s wallet.

And there’s very little new blood that comes into the town. Sure, Ajay might drive that train in and out of the station all day long but there’s never anybody on it. No one ever gets off at Greendale. There’s just the locals. The same faces, day in, day out. And all those ginger haired kids who all have Postman Pat’s nose.

I’m telling you, Greendale is like Craster’s Keep in Game Of Thrones… with Postman Pat himself being the only single dominant male allowed to breed. A couple more series down the line and Greendale will start to see genetic defects manifesting among the populace – elephantitis of the limbs, mental disorders, a rise in Greendale suicide rates (especially when the kids put two and two together and realize they all have the same father as their own parents).

I may have to ban my boy from watching the programme way before then. We’ll certainly have to bail out before the riots start and the inevitable highly sensationalized tabloid news coverage.

I really don’t think this type of thing should be allowed on the BBC.

Thank God for Bob The Builder… He only has intimate relations with his cement mixer.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just One Cornetto

Simon Pegg as Gary King in The World's EndBefore I proceed with my review of The World's End can I just say how gutted I was?

Absolutely gutted. Unbelievably gutted.

I seem to recall something similar happening with Wright-Pegg-Frost's last cinematic outing.

Picture the scene: opening night on screen 1 at out local Apollo (i.e. the big screen) and, including the wife and I, there were only about 15 people in the audience.

Now, some of you - those not initiated into the world's of "Spaced", "Shaun Of The Dead", "Hot Fuzz" or "Paul" - may think that is an eloquent and succinct film review.

But you would be wrong.

Because numbers can and do lie (just speak to any politician).

I know the weather is crazy at the moment. I know it's too hot and sticky to contemplate sitting in a cinema with crap air-con for a couple of hours to watch a film which doesn't feature some American beefcake hero-thug saving the world by destroying it single-handed and getting his end away with an attractively buoyant supporting (and well supported) actress. But even so. Come on, guys! These are our boys! Our boys doing good.

I'm gutted on behalf of The World's End team because I thought the movie was superb. It was the most polished, accomplished and adept film the trio of Wright-Pegg-Frost have produced to date. Sure it's a slow burner; time is spent building the premise, time is spent establishing relationships but as soon as the weird shit hits the fan the film takes off like a cornetto powered rocket.

For all the trademark humour that we expect from this team I was impressed with the amount of pathos the story has; how real the relationships and interactions between the character were. They genuinely caught something about our culture that we can all identify with and relate to.

Pegg's Gary King is truly comic-tragic character. Not just the school loudmouth who never grew up; he's a scared little boy who is unable to let himself grow up - and this is the source of most of the film's humour and pathos. We can all relate to not wanting to let go of the past; with deifying good times in our teens so much so that the rest of our lives seem empty and unbearable by comparison but Gary King takes it to self destructive extremes.

Frost adds depth to the personality interplay as Gary's former best mate, Andrew Knightley, who seethes with unexpressed disappointment at Gary's inability to grow up. The true scope and nature of that disappointment is revealed later in the film and spins nicely against the glib banter that constantly sparks between the two up to that point. But it is Gary's backstory, that isn't revealed until the very end of the film, that suddenly places all of his desperate need to cocoon and relive his teenage years into poignant sharp focus.

Without wanting to spoil the ending too much there is a fantastic moment when a superior alien intelligence is basically seen off by a couple of lairy-mouthed drunks. Somehow that very rang very true to me. I think if alien life did one day descend on planet earth some drunk with a bottle of Diamond White would probably dropkick it back into its flying saucer and tell it to fuck off back to Pluto. This would be both our first and last alien contact.

The World's End is a brilliant film and a fitting finale to the Cornetto Trilogy. Don't be one of those idiots who shrugged at "Paul" when it had its cinematic release but then caught it on DVD month's later and finally raved about it. Go and see The World's End now, rave about it now and support Team UK now.

The world could end tomorrow. Life is too short to wait for DVDs.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pitch

Pitch Mandible Stone paperbackIn response to absolutely no customer demand whatsoever I have decided to take the commercially unviable step of republishing my poetry collection – Pitch Mandible Stone (previously only available on Kindle) – as a bona fide, 100% real, printed and bound book that you, my prospective customers, can purchase via Amazon from almost anywhere in the world, safe in the knowledge that your hard earned money won’t see hide nor hair of a UK tax man whilst your eyes gorge themselves silly on my gloriously glib alliteration and marvellous metaphor-making.

Pitch Mandible Stone is available at the stonkingly reasonable (but possibly optimistic) price of £5.99 from Amazon.co.uk and at a comparable price dependent on exchange rates, etc, from other Amazonian outlets. Just click on the image above to facilitate your purchase.

If that doesn’t sell it to you enough, here’s another free poem from the collection. Enjoy. Or rather, enjoy and then purchase the book and then enjoy some more.


The Final Frontier

Very close to it now
And I cannot remember my mother’s arms.

The soft lake of her tongue escapes me.
My hands are dissembled roots

Shot through with silent films of water
That nothing touches.

This is the confirmation
And the countdown

To sleep.
In benign synchronicity

The jettison is a Belial of gentleness;
The lift-off a merciful Herod

Relocating the first born.
I am grateful for I am too weak for the stars,

For the meteors:
I sleep dependent on the breath of their dicey charities.

Gravity sucks the blue earth
Away from my feet

And begins the inhalation spaceward.
The dramas shrink to a hoarse molecule,

The Universe to a straw.
I propel through it absolved

Like a freight of grim electrics –
My obedient organs dissolving like cane.

In sodden degrees
I leave the winsomeness of blood and synopsis behind me.

I move on
And become beautiful and shoddy like a gas.

Hence I shall not want.
I shall have no kinship with green pastures.

Beyond them, there shall I lie.
In the morning I will sing to myself a new song –

My rod and my staff fainting like gauges to zero;
My burnt out rockets falling to a carboniferous atmosphere.

The airlock shushes open and it is finished.
There is to be no more of hope and I am relieved:

My heart is uncircled and through the gates of Babylon.



Friday, July 12, 2013

An Itch You Cannot Scratch

It is official.

Our cats are agents of pestilence and biological warfare.

I can only surmise that my enemies – of which I have many, (some highly placed in both the Royal family and the television industry – how else do you explain my non-starting TV career and being forced to break up from Kate Middleton just so she could marry William?) – conspired to enlist my own cats in a dastardly plan to lay me low.

In a plan as fiendish as strapping nuclear warheads to dolphins and training them to swim into Chinese ports my cats were laced with some kind of highly active flea attractant. Before they could say “Whiskas gives us the shits” they were complete little insectoid biozones carrying the flea payload equivalent of a million megaton atomic bomb.

Detonation occurred some weeks ago in an undisclosed location somewhere in the house. The explosion was despicably silent. We didn’t even know the thing had gone off until we started to get hit by the fall-out: horrid red blotches and welts began to appear on our lower limbs. In themselves they were quite painful and annoying but these were only phase one.

Phase two was the constant irritation that these welts (or bites if you prefer) engender in the weltee. Suddenly, our own unconscious and subconscious mind was being used against us. We began to scratch. Scratch whilst performing other tasks. Scratch in our sleep. Scratch when we knew without a doubt that we were scratching and knew that we really shouldn’t… because scratching only made things worse. Welts turned into open sores and wounds that wept blood.

And. Still. Itched.

We hit back. Chemical warfare. The cats as unwitting agents had to take the full blast. Both of them got Frontlined to within an inch of their feline dignity. They weren’t happy. They were inexplicably moist and experienced a chemical odour between their ears that they could not shake off.

I don’t know how many fleas we wiped out with that first strike but I do know it was us that scarred the sky so that the sun could not shine. No wait, that was from The Matrix. Sorry.

It wasn’t enough though. Frontline failed. And the front got pushed back and back until we found we had been overrun.

And now we have no choice. No choice at all.

It’s dirty bomb time.

We have an appointment with a vet on Saturday. A veritable veteran of inter-household hostilities such as we are experiencing at the moment. We are going to drop the big one. We are going to wield the power of the gods and unleash the power of a thousand suns.

Well, maybe not quite that but we are going to gas the entire house. We are going to wipe out all insectoid life within a range of 40 metres.

I’ve posted warning signs to give them one last chance: "Pack up your powerfully sprung hind-legs and head for the hills while you still can. Signed Dr Oppenheimer."

What a pity the bitey little buggers can’t read.

Mwah ha ha!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Prince Harry To Lead Native Americans In Open Revolt

Cochise as Prince Harry The great thing about the modern world and social networking is that news can be delivered instantaneously in sound-bite form so that it is quickly and immediately digestible. I no longer need to wade through hours and hours of news channels or column inches of newsprint to get the gist of what is going down out there in the big wide world.

Some news today has had me smiling wryly and inflating with slightly irreverent pride for the latest achievement of one member of our Royal Family.

It seems that Prince Harry has qualified to become an Apache Commander.

I'm assuming that sometime over the last year he befriended a descendent of Cochise - maybe saved his life in a bizarre bingo accident on a reservation somewhere in America's mid-west - and that the relationship developed to that slightly awkward point where it was necessary for them both to nick the palms of their hands with a sharp knife and rub the wounds together so that they became blood brothers.

I guess after that it was just a small leap of ideology to thoughts of uniting all of America's scattered  Native American tribes. How Prince Harry managed to fit that into his Las Vegas itinerary without the world finding out, I don't know, but clearly the ginger Prince conceals many hidden abilities and skills the like of which his brother can only dream of. And by brother I mean, William, not his new brother Cochise who by now must surely be aware that Harry has heap strong medicine.

Once the First Nations were again re-established and as one behind their new leader, He Whose Hair Dances With Fire, the next step was quite naturally declaring war on the white European usurpers and taking back the lands and buffalo that they had stolen from their ancestors. I'm assuming that at this point traditional ties with Prince Harry's Germano-British family back home in the UK may have become strained unless Prince Charles has developed a sudden yen to sell Ye Olde Duchy Buffalo Mozzarella but Harry is plainly a man who likes to push his envelope out as far as it will go. And after all, blood is thicker than the monarchy especially when your palm is itching like buggery.

In the absence of John Wayne to act as an honourable counterpoint to the glory-hungry appetites of the US I fear this latest career move by the young Prince can only lead to bloody conflict and strife. The war on terror may have to take a backseat and bingo may have to be outlawed. It is unknown at this point whether Johnny Depp has abandoned his moderately successful movie career and his frequent on-screen liaisons with Helena Bonham-Carter to honour his Native American heritage and join the confederacy of First American tribes in their fight for emancipation under the gingery auspices of He Whose Hair Dances With Fire but it is certain that most of the cast members of Last Of The Mohicans are already paid-up blood brothers.

The tomahawk of war has been thrown, Obama. Or to paraphrase Shakespeare: the bow has been bent and drawn. It is time to make from the shaft of the ginger Prince.




Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Look Out Outlook

Back in my younger days, when I was single and had no care to be respectable, I had a joyous relationship with Hotmail.

So much so I had several Hotmail email accounts.

If I wanted to sign up to a web site or a subscription that I wasn’t sure was entirely kosher I would use one of my Hotmail addresses. When I was laundering money for the Triads I put all communications through my Hotmail account Wishywashy@hotmail.com. When I was gun running for Serbian gangsters deals were done via AK47sRUs@hotmail.co.uk. And when I was maintaining several mistresses simultaneously and patronizing a local escort agency I found totalesxclusivityguaranteed@hotmail.com really useful.

*sigh*

Those were the days. I’d log on, log in and frequently be surprised by the various communiques that were often or not waiting for me (frequently not).

And then things changed.

Not so much the getting married, having kids and becoming a 'law abiding citizen' thing. More the Hotmail mutating into Outlook type of thing.

Suddenly me and Hotmail or (if I must use its Snickers name rather than its Marathon name) Outlook (if you insist) became estranged. Suddenly our theme song changed from Dennis Waterman’s “I Could Be So Good For You” to Cliff Richard’s “It’s So Funny How We Don’t Talk Anymore”. We no longer had a thing going on.

Communication between us utterly died until now we barely even make eye contact.

When I try and log in these days all I get is the “I’m sorry, I’m not available right now” brush-off. Sometimes I only have to type the Hotmail address into my browser and I’m cold shouldered to the point where the log in page won’t even load. Outlook just isn’t putting out for me anymore.

See, Hotmail was fine when it was just an email client. When all I wanted was to send crapola and receive spam. We both knew where we stood and neither of us got ideas above our station.

But now Outlook wants to be the conduit through which I CONNECT to the entire effing internet. It wants to hook into my social networks and my own home computer. It wants me to diarize my life solely through its jealous online portal. It wants to store all my contacts and personal information inside its covetous cloud. It wants me to invest more time and energy into it than I’m willing to give. It wants to own me [man] and I didn’t ever come to Hotmail to be owned.

And I could just about cope with all that; I could just about shrug off all the irritation and irksomeness it causes me…

…if just once, just once the damned thing would load up properly first time and allow me to send just a simple sodding email without crashing on me.

Because that’s all I want:

An email account that sends and receives emails.

An email account that works.

Because the Serbs are getting impatient and the pimps are after me for welching on a deal. I’ve got urgent business to attend to Goddamnit!