Saturday, 31 December 2011

Top Five

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is 2011.

The BBC news was dominated by headlines about the royal family, but then why would we want to read about boring, unimportant shit like foreigners being killed? Then yesterday Geoffrey Howe tried to deny stuff that definitely happened. Poor man, it's as if you say one thing and suddenly you're branded as having actually said that thing. Though my memory is obviously not great, considering my summary of the events of 2011 only goes as far back as yesterday.

I may have become blinded by anger. Just a few nights ago I dreamt that I went up to Beyoncé and said, "Oh you fucking cunt." Then last night, after becoming disproportionately annoyed with 2 people on Facebook, I spent about an hour thinking, "if I could line them both up so that if I punched one of them, their head would knock painfully into the jaw of the other, which one of them would I punch?"

But instead of all that, I'm going to talk about my favourite things of 2011. Because in spite of everything, some great stuff came out of this year. Here are five Top Fives:

5. Take Shelter
4. Wuthering Heights
3. The Guard
2. Drive
1. We Need To Talk About Kevin

Not forgetting Senna, Super, A Separation, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Super 8, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Scream 4, Attack The Block...

TV Drama:
5. The Shadow Line
4. This Is England '88
3. Doctor Who
2. Black Mirror
1. American Horror Story

Seriously, American Horror Story was a brilliant mixture of The Shining and David Cronenberg and every horror film ever and Glee. Well not Glee, it was just created by the same people, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The perfect cast even included Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy, whose character is simultaneously old and young and dead. In fact 90% of the characters are dead. It is set in "Murder House" after all, hence why there's a thing in the basement and a thing in the attic. They might as well have included the exchange:
"In the interest of full disclosure, I should warn you that this house is known as "Murder House."
"We'll take it!"
"No seriously, all the previous owners were killed in here."
"I'll double the asking price!"
"Listen to me, you will definitely be brutally murdered in this house."
"You had me at Murder!"

TV Comedy:
5. Him & Her
4. Fresh Meat
3. Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle
2. 30 Rock
1. Community

And my thoughts remain with Community during its hiatus. Thank fuck for the return of 30 Rock to keep me sane during this difficult time.

Music (Gigs and Albums):
5. If Not Now, When? - Incubus
4. Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age (Originally released in 1998 but thankfully re-released this year)
3. Incubus at the Manchester O2
2. The Skints at loads of places
1. Jamiroquai at the O2 Arena

That Jamiroquai gig was one of those special, unforgettable experiences, and not just because Jay Kay spoke to me.

Live Comedy
5. The Future Is Another Place - Josie Long
4. Richard Herring (Christ on a Bike and What Is Love, Anyway? and AIOTM *aiotm*)
3. Carpet Remnant World - Stewart Lee
2. Curse Sir Walter Raleigh - Michael Legge
1. The Trap (X and Bad Musical)

Not forgetting the brilliant Robin Ince and his ridiculous amount of stuff; people with shows so great that I saw them twice such as Tony Law and Tim Key; and those geniuses that I finally saw for the first time like Simon Munnery and Dave Gorman.

Thank you for reading, happy new year! Enjoy 2012, even though there's going to be that big, ghastly, expensive affair with all the nationalism and shooting. No not the Olympics, the US Presidential election! Hahahahah oh fucking hell let's just hope the Mayans were right. I'll leave you with the Hotspots song that this blog is named after, enjoy!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Without A Face(book)

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Facebook.

So here we are are, at the final chapter of my trilogy of blogs that I'm calling: Failing My Degree. And what a ride it has been. Remember how it all began? Two days ago, we began this saga. They said we'd never make it. "You're crazy," they said, "get out of my bedroom." But we persisted. We never gave up, even during that difficult middle section of our journey. Yesterday. Dark times indeed. But we made it out the other side, ready to face the biggest evil of all: Facebook.

Last month I blogged about Twitter, and now I turn to Twitter's sex-offender uncle, Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I love The Social Network. But I often wonder what it is that I really hate: Facebook, or most people that I know. The answer is both. The former because of the way it constantly restyles itself like a fucking celebrity, because of the way it shows everyone exactly what you're reading and watching and wanking over, because of Facebook Chat acting like a temperamental, uncooperative, moody teenager. We're all "experiencing some problems" Facebook Chat, get over yourself.

But what really makes me want to put my hand in a toaster is that persistant irritant, Other People. With their Facebook Statuses. The kind that make me want to comment saying "CUNT" and then claim I was fraped. The kind like these: The 10 Worst Kinds Of Facebook Status - Oh and if you're thinking, "why don't you just hide the people who piss you off?" Fuck you.

10. The Mundane - eg. Loving X Factor and pizza tonight - People complain that Twitter is full of mundane "I am eating" style tweets, but clearly they're not friends with the same people as me on Facebook. Every other status is "I am in a library" or "I am bleeding to death, please get help." YAWN

9. The Wry Observation - eg. How come the more you sleep the more tired you are?! - This covers "that awkward moment when..." statuses too, which I've complained about before. "That awkward moment when you walk into a room and forget why you went in there!" Thanks Michael McIntyre.

8. The Copied Joke - eg. David Cameron's wife has given birth. I didn't even know Clegg was pregnant! - Yeah we've all seen Sickipedia.

7. The Link To The Thing I Hate - eg. I love this new Florence And The Machine song! - Followed by a YouTube video. Equally awful is when someone I hate posts something I like. Shit, THEY like Fight Club? Time to find a new favourite film. And stab myself in the leg with a corkscrew.

6. The "Ironic" - eg. S Club 7 back together. Life is complete. - That one is a genuine status from someone I hope never reads this blog.

5. The Smug - eg. That's 8 hours in the library done, time to start another essay! - Like I don't feel bad enough about doing fuck nothing with my day.

4. The In-joke - eg. Shoelaces! LOL @Jamie Jameson - I hope your head gets stuck in a boiling kettle.

3. The Lazy Frape - eg. I love cock. - New rule: Only Dan is allowed to frape. He is the master. He fraped someone when they were LOGGED OUT of Facebook. And even if he does just do an "I love cock", it's funny when it's Dan.

2. The Pretentious - eg. Now dance like a dandelion in the wind on the hill underneath the pines, yeah move like the river flows, feel the big drum down deep in your toes. - Another genuine status. From a male. These statuses could be song lyrics or a nonsensical quote. "'Healing yourself is connected with healing others.' - Yoko Ono". Just because it's incomprehensible doesn't make it clever. Statuses like this are just pretentious, meaningless, smug, attention-seeking, self-absorbed, self-centred, self-involved piles of nothing.

1. The Night Out - eg. Can't wait to get on it tonightttttttttt! - When the last letter of a word is held down like that I always hope it's because they've collapsed in pain on to their keyboards. But no, because the next day they have statuses that just say things like, "Hanging." Which leaves me hoping it's literal. These boring cunts have mistaken telling everyone about how drunk they get for a personality.

The name of this blog is a genius play on the Rage Against The Machine song with which I will leave you, enjoy!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Look Alive

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is gigs.

Welcome to this, the second instalment of my trilogy of blogs that I'm calling: Failing My Degree.

I hate music gigs. Which is why I go to so many of them. Actually, seeing my favourite bands play live is one of my favourite things in the world. But there's always that annoying virus at every gig; Other People. So here's the 5 worst things about gigs, starting with when you first arrive and try to buy...

5. Overpriced drinks - One of the great things about the fact that loads of my favourite bands are relatively unknown is that I can see them live for around a fiver. Unless I want to buy a drink. In which case I need to sell my liver. Which renders the entire drinking operation redundant. How much?! £4?! For a pint of disgusting beer?! Which I'll inevitably get spilt all over me anyway?! Yeah, 2 of those please. Then, plastic cup of watery piss-beer in hand, you run to the front, unless there's a...

4. Barrier - I understand why you'd need a barrier between the crowd and the stage at a venue like the O2 Arena, but at this tiny punk venue in Camden I want to be 2 metres closer to the lead singer of Capdown! And even if you do make it to the front, there's the inevitable...

3. Pushers-in - Didn't I start at the front and in the centre? How come I'm now 3 rows back and next to the speaker? Oh, it's because you all thought it was OK to push me out the way. Even though you're all about 8 foot taller than me, you have a mohawk, and you're covered in tattoos. Not to mention that you're all...

2. Sweaty, topless men - And you have dreadlocks. Which I love, by the way, but not when they're in my mouth. I leave gigs covered in sweat, most of it not my own, desperately wanting to bathe in acid. It's even worse when these sweaty, topless men are...

1. Moshing - If the gig is punk or metal or whatever then knock yourself out. In fact you may well do exactly that. But most gigs I go to are reggae or ska and people still mosh! And no, I can't ignore them, because this venue is the size of a child's bedroom. And that child is Linda Blair in The Exorcist; I cannot ignore them. In fact I'm tacitly participating, according to the people flying into me while I try to enjoy The Skints. Presumably you paid to see this band, fucking watch them! At least face the right way.

Thank you for reading, and thanks to Ben for helping to compile these and for protecting accompanying me at these gigs, which despite the ranting, are some of the best things ever. I'll leave you with the brilliant Incubus song that this blog is named after, enjoy (Incubus)!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Sell Out

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is adverts.

This is the first of 3 blogs I'm going to write over 3 consecutive days, in a trilogy of blogs that I'm calling: Failing My Degree.

So one minute you're watching Come Dine With Me and shouting "CUNT" at the TV, and the next you're watching adverts and shouting "CUNT" at the TV. The ones that try to be clever end up funny, the ones that try to be funny end up annoying, and the ones that try to be cool end up pretentious. They're nasty, obtrusive and about as welcome as a fork in the eye. And there's only one thing worse than adverts: Christmas adverts. I've talked a bit about adverts before, here and here. And the brilliant Charlie Brooker wrote this great article about Christmas adverts recently so I'm going to avoid mentioning any of the ones he covers so masterfully. (Watch his "Biggest Cocks (And She-Cocks) In Advertising" videos on YouTube, they are the best.) But here are the 5 worst adverts I've seen recently:

5. Argos

"Mmm, Bieber." Isn't he like, 9? Is that OK? I thought this was an Alien, not a Predator.

4. Marks & Spencer

"Only at your M&S." My M&S?! But I'm neither Marks nor Spencer! Unless they mean it's only at my local branch. But then why advertise it on national TV? And how do they know where I live? What am I talking about? Oh well, I'm off to buy a seriously delicious looking apple strudle.

3. Thai Life Insurance

Kathryn tweeted about this horribly manipulative piece of awful. And it's far too long.

2. I can't remember

It was for some shop, I'm sure someone can tell me which, but it started: "Love Christmas? Love Peter Kay!" What kind of an assumption is that? What fascinating piece of research led to that particular conclusion? "CUNT"

1. Hair Dye

Specifically, hair dye adverts in which we see couples with exactly the same hair colour. They look like chemically-enhanced mutants committing incest.


Stop it!

Stop sniffing your sister!

Anyway, I will leave you with the Reel Big Fish song that this blog is named after, enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Suicide Is Painless

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this article from The Independent.

There's an unwritten rule about being respectful of the recently deceased. With, it seems, 2 exceptions: When the deceased is "evil" in which case their corpse can be paraded around like the FA Cup filled with blood, or when the deceased committed suicide.

The general reaction to the death of Wales football manager Gary Speed has been genuinely touching, yet there remains a largely insensitive attitude to suicide. Phillip Hodson's article in today's Independent is basically well handled, until the very end; if someone commits suicide, "they got it wrong."

This blog probably isn't the appropriate forum for a considered debate about the morality of suicide, prone as it is to descend into THINGS LIKE THISSASJKHADJHASjklsdsfa. But to look at someone who killed themselves 2 days ago and declare it "wrong" seems utterly jarring.

The argument is that suicide is selfish because you leave behind a guilt-ridden group of friends and family. But if you, upon hearing the news of someone's suicide, respond "well that's selfish", surely you are the selfish one. What right do you have to tell them when they're allowed to die? A right to life means autonomy over one's own life. And while I recognise the pain that the family must feel, they must recognise the pain that the deceased felt; their pain was so profoundly intense that they would literally rather be dead than alive. But anyway, regardless of your views on suicide, surely there is something insensitive about labelling Gary Speed's actions as WRONGjkhasdhgashgjasaaa. Told you.

This blog doesn't exactly have a reading list, but I'd urge anyone to read David Hume's 'On Suicide', a defence of suicide so strong that apparently a friend of Hume's killed himself as soon as he'd read it. I can only hope that this blog has such an effect.

I'll leave you with the song that this blog is named after, which is the brilliant theme tune from the brilliant M*A*S*H. Enjoy!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Canned Tweet

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is Twitter.

However, because I love it, people have to go out of their way to ruin it. Here are 5 contributions to the self-destruction of Twitter.

5. Who to follow - Recently, the genius that is Twitter's 'Who to follow' feature, has recommended that I follow Kim Kardashian, Gary Barlow and worst of all, 30 Seconds To Mars. I wouldn't follow them if I saw them in the street covered in chocolate. Whatever way Twitter works out these things, it should do it better, or not do it at all. How do I know who to follow? A tweeter I like will RT or #FF someone, and if I approve, I will follow. Meanwhile, 'Who to follow' is currently recommending Elton John.

4. 'Promoted' trending topics - I know Twitter has to make money somehow, and just having a promoted hashtag at the top of the trending column is a relatively unobtrusive way of doing so. But when that promoted topic is Coldplay's new album, as it was a few weeks ago, they can fuck off.

3. X Factor tweets - Every Saturday, Twitter has a demonic way of turning people I normally hugely respect and admire into brainwashed Cowell zombies, tweeting away about X Factor like it's normal. Complaining about the content of Twitter is generally ridiculous; you follow who you like and if you're annoyed by them, unfollow them. But I can't unfollow these people, because they're all brilliant and insightful and hilarious. Except for on Saturday night. And then more and more nights as the series goes on. Until it feels like it's every single second. Still, I'm always tweeting about The Apprentice so I'm an awful hypocrite and human. Moving on.

2. TwitLonger - If I ever use TwitLonger, the service that lets you tweet more than 140 characters, kill me. Seriously, if you see that I've used it, come to my house and empty out my insides with a spoon. Because I will never use TwitLonger, because it defeats the entire point of Twitter. If I wanted people's thoughts in more than 140 characters, I'd have conversations. But conversations are long and you can't just shout "block!" if you're bored. Believe me, you can't. Twitter is using no more than 140 characters. You know what we call Twitter where we can put more than 140 characters? Facebook. *Shudders*

1. TV shows giving themselves hashtags - What's the worst thing about Question Time? It could be the fact that they insist on putting Baroness Warsi on the panel every fucking week. It could be the unequivocally terrible audience. But actually, it's the way '#bbcqt' appears at the start of every episode. This self-enforced hashtagging yet again misunderstands the point of Twitter. Hashtags should emerge organically; if enough people are talking about something, Twitter will collectively form a way of referring to it. That's one of the many beautiful things about Twitter, the way it can move as a single hive mind. Before TV shows dictated their own hashtags, Twitter came up with them. No one ever said "this is the hashtag for Question Time", it was unspoken, and it just happened. If multiple hashtags for the same thing were floating around, the less-used ones would gradulally drop off until one was used uniformally. That's how it worked and it was genuinely impressive. But now shows smugly deem themselves worthy of sticking their fucking #HIGNFYs and #NMTBs up inside beautiful, innocent Twitter.

Sorry about the rant, but Twitter is one of the best things ever, and these things entirely miss the point of it. The title of this blog is a clever (brilliantly clever) play on the Jamiroquai song Canned Heat, with which I will leave you. Enjoy!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Frontin' That Stupid Toy

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is how ridiculously early Christmas is promoted.

I mean we haven't even had Halloween yet, but this BBC article lists the top 12 Christmas toys this year. I haven't read the article, I just laughed at the funny names of the toys. Here's what they sound like to me:

Fijit Friends - Original title: My First Epileptic

LeapPad Explorer - Steve Jobs' final act of revenge

Doggie Doo - ...

Monster High Lagoona's Hydration Station - A horror film

Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue Set - A fire

Kidizoom Twist - I don't know and I'm not sure I want to

Let's Rock Elmo - An Elmo toy that you shake until it shuts the fuck up

Milky the Bunny - Original title: My First Racist

Moshling Tree House - The sequel to Monster High Lagoona's Hydration Station

Ninjago Fire Temple - Original title: My Second Racist

Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster - A toothbrush

Star Wars Ultimate Force Tech Lightsaber Assortment - What George Lucas calls his penis

This blog has definitely become where I put stuff that is too stupid for anywhere else... Anyway this one's name comes from one of the best songs ever, Just Another Story by Jamiroquai. I'll leave you with that 9 minute acid jazz masterpiece, enjoy!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Learn To Flyer

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is promotional material aimed at students.

This is an actual flyer, for a Sheffield club night, that landed on our doorstep a couple of weeks ago. 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS TUESDAY?' it asks, somewhat intrusively. 'YOU'RE GOING TO GET LAID!' Want to bet on that, flyer?

It's certainly a bold opener. And did you catch this bit?

I don't know about you, but to me the thought of losing my keys and my phone is not an attractive one. My phone is lovely and new, and my keys are useful for things like getting into my house. Advertising something with the promise of losing your belongings is just weird.

While this flyer is crass to the point of insulting, it is sadly not an anomaly. The University of Sheffield student newspaper, Forge Press, ran this story about some fun sexual-harassment on another flyer for a club night.

'POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS DEAD' claims the flyer. No it isn't, thank fuck. That said, I have no idea what a 'ROMEO VS JULIET DEATH MATCH!!!' is, but I like the sound of it.

So far so Topman. But then yesterday, Ben found this article from The Student magazine, providing the '20 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN FRESHERS' WEEK.' Amongst the agreeable suggestions, such as going shopping and doing fancy dress, is this pile of lovely:

It's as if The Inbetweeners Movie never happened...

HAHA THEY SAID MINGERS! LIKE THEY DID 10 YEARS AGO! I'd have thought that, as a magazine, this should be subject to some sort of regulation and, I don't know, common fucking decency. But clearly I'm just a prude.

The point is, young people are misrepresented enough as it is, mainly by TV shows such as 'Skins' and 'The News.' All this sexism aimed at students serves only to embrace this stereotype, which as students, most of us are trying hard to shake off. By conforming to this horrible impression of youth culture, this material legitimises dangerous attitudes that should have been left behind decades ago. Impressively, this stuff manages to simultaneously be offensive to both men and women. Let's try to get sexism out of the mainstream attitudes into which it has been graciously accepted, rather than reinforce it in this charming way. So please, talk to students as you would talk to people. Think before you publish your despicable shit and treat us with a shred of dignity, even if you've given up yours.

Thanks for reading my anger, the title of this blog is a clever (very, very clever) play on the Foo Fighters song Learn To Fly. I'll leave you with that classic video, enjoy!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Rabbit In Your Headlines

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is the fact that I've been writing this blog for over a year now.

But anyway, the BBC news website is great for a number of reasons, but my favourite thing about it is how headlines get truncated on the front page. It often makes them completely nonsensical, while making the stories sound far more interesting than they actually are. You can read them without gaining a shred of new information, in some cases coming away knowing even less than before you saw the headline. At times they literally just seem like a random collection of words. Here, in no particular order, are 10 real examples:

10. Arrests in Israeli settler deaths. - See what I mean? Those are just some words!

9. No charges for 'burglar' stab man. - Possibly written by a child.

8. Milton Keynes pilots travel club. - I've been staring at this one for days and I still couldn't tell you what the fuck is going on.

7. Beetle's beer bottle sex wins Ig. - ...

6. Fox ties to friend under scrutiny. - Headlines involving Defence Secretary Liam Fox always just say 'Fox', which never fails to leave me utterly confused for a split-second, while I wonder how a fox could have such complex social and political interactions.

5. School remembers fire death girls. - At least this one is decipherable, I just find the phrase 'fire death girls' odd.

4. Marsh to miss start of Upstairs. - The actual story: Actress Jean Marsh will miss the start of filming Upstairs Downstairs as she's recovering from a minor stroke. What I thought: Jodie Marsh missed a step and fell down some stairs.

3. Shed sprang cricket monster. - Ok I made that one up. Using a random word generator and the format Noun, Verb, Noun, Noun. But the point is it looks like it could be real. Which all the others of these genuinely are.

2. Luck 'saved shot Facebook grass.' - It's the way those words are in quote marks that really confuses me.

1. Man charged in 1980s rapes probe. - Sorry?

Thanks for reading, the title of this blog is a clever (yes, it is.) play on the brilliant UNKLE/DJ Shadow/Thom Yorke song Rabbit In Your Headlights. I'll leave you with that awesome video, enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Thinking About Things

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is having to come up with something to write here for every fucking blog.

Anyway, I've been, to quote the band Catch 22, 'Thinking About Things.'

'You idiot,' I hear you say, 'you clearly just can't think of anything to blog about, and are attempting to hide that fact behind the veil of what is actually one of Catch 22's worst songs, from the largely underwhelming 2000 album 'Alone in a Crowd,' despite the obvious importance of the band's contribution to third-wave ska.' Well firstly, I reply, you know an impressive amount about ska/punk. Secondly, shut up. Here's 5 'things' that I've been 'thinking about.'

1. Facebook is a depressing place at the best of times, but now it's full of groups and statuses which go, 'That awkward moment when...' For instance the group, 'That awkward moment when you send a text to the wrong person.' My problem with these is mainly grammatical. It isn't a sentence. I wouldn't mind if it was, 'I hate that awkward moment when you send a text to the wrong person', or even, 'That moment when you send a text to the wrong person is awkward.' But it's always just, 'That awkward moment when you send a text to the wrong person,' which leaves me thinking, '...go on? What about it?' But they have nothing to say about it, it's always just an ill-conceived piece of forced observation.

2. On a happier note, I've been watching the brilliant US sitcom Community, which I love. But british comedian John Oliver is in it, and I remember him from Mock The Week, and now he's in a massive American TV show! It makes me worry that Frankie Boyle could pop up in Boardwalk Empire.

3. I was using some soap, but it wasn't called soap, it was called a 'Dove Beauty Cream Bar.' Which makes it sound like a delicious item of confectionary you'd get from a vending machine. But it didn't taste delicious, because it was soap.

4. Free Schools are concerning. I have all the usual worries about how the funding should be used to improve existing schools, rather than giving it to what will largely be middle-class ventures; about the proportion of Free Schools which are geared towards religion; about the use of unqualified teachers. That seems like an odd idea. Also, the Tory focus on 'discipline' is one that sets me slightly on edge.

5. The Tories also want to scrap the 50p tax rate, one such Tory being Nigel Lawson. When Nigel Lawson - a man so arrogant, my politics teacher used to say, that he named his daughter after himself - agrees with a policy, it may be time to abandon it. The 50p tax rate affects the top 1% of UK earners, with whom it is hard to sympathise when they complain about being 'punished,' given that the government's cuts will not affect them. Also concerning is the way the BBC use headlines like, 'Top 50p tax rate damages UK, say economists.' Oh, 'economists' say that do they? Well who are we to argue with 'economists'? Gramsci would be spinning.

Thanks for reading, I will leave you with the excellent So Cold by Catch 22 seeing as you love them so much. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I Must Have Missed The Grow-Up Sign

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is birthdays.

Today I turn 20. That is terrifying. I can't stop being a teenager, I've relied on being a teenager as an excuse for being an idiot and doing fuck nothing all day. I'll have to do grown-up things like 'being responsible' and 'working' and 'getting up'. Literally minutes ago I was reading the news and I laughed at the phrase 'penal system.' I read the headline 'Alien worm invasion 'threat to forests'' and thought 'cool!' and didn't read the article. Here are 5 of the thoughts I had upon waking up on my 20th birthday:

1. Where's MY fucking google homepage tribute?

2. I've only just got used to saying that I'm 19. Now, when asked my age, I'll get so confused that I'll end up just bursting into tears.

3. Whatever happens today, it cannot beat my birthday last year, when we found my friend naked in the fetal position.

4. I'm now officially older than Eric Forman from That '70s Show ever was. My life is over.

5. Maybe I could deliberately contract a Millennium Bug style virus to revert to the age of 10?

See, I'm clearly not ready. The title of this blog is from the song 'Good Luck' by the amazing Big D & The Kids Table with which I'll leave you, enjoy!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Travelling Without Moving

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is when people insist on telling you all the details of their fucking boring holiday.

So, I recently went InterRailing round Europe for 3 weeks with Steven and Simon (and Dan joined us for 1 week), and here's all the fucking boring details, city by city (don't worry, I'll keep it brief and stick to the fun parts, and include photos taken on the shit camera on my phone):

1. London: Yeah London counts as one of the cities we went to. Actually I should mention that the night before we left, I received a panicking phone call from Simon, who'd accidentally booked the ferry from Calais to Dover instead of the other way round. So, a promising start. And one that's indicative of just how late and hurriedly we'd organised this trip.

2. Paris: Very expensive, and I had to share a bed with Steven... but it wasn't all as fun as that. We went to the Père Lachaise Cemetery and saw the graves of Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust and Jim Morisson. (I was disappointed that his didn't say 'Come on, come on, come on, come on, now touch me' on it.) We also saw the ashes of someone who is still alive!

We did all the other traditional Paris stuff, like the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and of course the new Harry Potter film. 'Wand' in French is 'Baguette', which improved the film greatly. I still hate that epilogue bit though, I do not want to see weird hybrid versions of the characters. The brilliant comedian Richard Herring tackles that bit brilliantly in his brilliant blog.

3. Milan: I started Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be A Woman' on the train, which is brilliant by the way, especially when sat next to a nun, as I was, which made the bits about abortion and porn and 'cunt' even more fun. We stayed in 'Hostel California', which isn't such a lovely place (such a lovely place). There were, however, Dalek bins:

On one night Simon discovered that his bed had been taken by a German guy, so he went to reception and told them: 'There's a man in my bed.' I wanted the response to be '...well done?' Here's a funny sign from the Milan metro:

4. Venice: On the first day there, it seemed that all of Venice was on strike. So we spent most of the time making bad amazing Gondola puns. ('What do you call a Gondola having a break? Gondolunch.' 'What do you call a grope on a Gondola? Fondola.' You see how the hours would just fly by.) The next day we explored Venice and it looks just like it does in Tomb Raider II, right down to all the dogs, which, unlike in Tomb Raider II, I didn't shoot.

5. Villach: We may have only spent 20 minutes in Austria waiting for our connection, but it counts. So from my experience, Austria looks like a train station.

6. Ljubljana: Which we eventually learnt to pronounce. We stayed in Hostel Dic which has a funny name and a bizarre, nightmarish logo:

And here's another strange Slovenian sign: (We think it means: 'No luring children in front of cars from their houses using balls.')

Yeah I pretty much exclusively took photos of signs that I found funny. Particularly this one, reminding us to stretch before exercising:

7. Zagreb: I don't remember the context in which it was said, but my journal entry for the first day in Zagreb opens with the quote: 'You can see in the dark, you're Jewish.' - Dan. The hostel had more exposed wiring than is perhaps desirable, and its picture on the website is of a baby. I never found out why. The Museum Of Broken Relationships was cool, full of random items which represent the broken relationships of their donors, all to the soundtrack of Radiohead's In Rainbows. Obviously. We met some nice Liverpudlian people, one of whom told us that in restaurants in Europe, when asked if they'd like anything else, they'd reply: 'Fine, ta.' And they'd be brought a Fanta. It was also hilarious whenever they said 'tickets', as any other listeners to The Trap Sodcasts would agree. Also, the bars had lovely, reassuring signs on their doors, such as this one:

8. Belgrade: Steven made loads of bad amazing animal puns in the zoo. ('The tigers are separated from the lions; It's aPURRtheid.' 'The polar bears are separated from the brown bears; It's aBEARtheid.' 'The male flamingos are seperated from the female flamingos; It's aFLAMINGOtheid.') The animals all seemed very unhappy in cages that were obviously much too small. But still, look, a tiger!

We saw the Palace of Serbia, which looks like a polytechnic. Think less Buckingham Palace and more University of East Anglia. But with more concrete. Belgrade is generally very cool, as is the Danube. As are scary signs:

9. Sofia: I hate night trains. They're uncomfortable to the point of genuine pain and you can never, ever sleep. On the one to Bulgaria, I went to the toilet at the start of the journey, and it looked like something you'd wake up chained to in a Saw film. I went again at the end of the journey, and it was full of blood. We enjoyed some English language errors on various menus, such as 'duck beast' and 'green peace.'

10. Varna: It turned out, as we arrived in the station to leave Sofia and saw a clock, that Bulgaria is in a different time zone. So we'd spent a whole day an hour behind. Also, on the way to Sofia, some English people asked us if Bulgaria is an hour ahead. 'No,' we assured them, with all the confidence of a bunch of idiots. Also I had to share a bed with Simon. But it was great to swim in the Black Sea, at which point we'd crossed Europe, like proper explorers! Then I bashed my leg on a rock and it bled.

11. Bucharest: The journey to Romania involved taking 2 'buses', one of which was a minibus and the other just a man. With a car. Even more reassuring was that he looked like Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men.

12. Luton: What?

Overall, I'm amazed none of us died, given our impressive levels of utter incompetence and sheer cluelessness.

After a quick turnaround I headed to Edinburgh with Harry, where we saw 12 comedy shows in under 48 hours. Heaven. They were: Tony Law, Robin Ince and Michael Legge, The Gentleman's Review, Michael Legge, Tim Key, The Horne Section, Andrew J. Lederer, Tiernan Douieb, Simon Munnery, Tara Flynn, Josie Long, Richard Herring, and I recommend every single one of them.

I returned home to find England full of riots, and, worse, BBC headlines such as: 'Who are the rioters?' So, that's the news covered. As for TV, I started watching the BBC's The Hour, which is excellent, but whoever decided to market it as a 'British Mad Men' has clearly never watched Mad Men. It's more like Sports Night. Mad Men doesn't have chase sequences! What Mad Men has is people talking in brilliantly ambiguous and sparse language. While drinking whisky.

I've also just finished the first season of Lost. I know, I'm a bit behind. But it really is phenomenal. If you think that film, as a medium, is better than television, then watch Lost, because it shows how you can unravel a character deeply and fully, in a way that films never have time to. I'll stop talking about Lost now because I've been going on about it on Twitter, so look at that if you're interested which you're obviously not because of your busy robot lives, but one last thing about Lost: There were a disproportionate amount of attractive people on that plane. Or maybe that's actually what planes are like when you fly on airlines other than EasyJet.

Thanks for reading this catch-up blog, I'll leave you with an awesome version of the Jamiroquai song that it's named after. Enjoy!