Monday, 25 June 2012

Chez Madame Louise

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

"But what is menshn?" I hear no one ask. In fact, the only question to which "menshn" is the answer is: "Why did all those people commit suicide?"

Menshn is the illegitimate brain-spawn of everyone's second favourite chick lit author turned MP, Louise Mensch (the first is Michael Gove, who just really gets teenage girls). Here's Menzch's to-do list:

✓ Have name that sounds like an STD.
✓ Have written more books than have read.
✓ Launch a rival to Twitter.

That's right, Louise Menxch has founded a social networking site called menshn. But if you're thinking that she just named it after herself like a weird power-mad egomaniac then think again, because it's actually nothing to do with her creepy name but merely a play on the word "mention." See, there's no C in "menshn" you big idiot, can't you even read? It's definitely got nothing to do with her name, despite it being almost identical to her name. Stop assuming that it's got anything to do with her name when she keeps insisting that it absolutely hasn't. It's not vain to the point of disturbingly sinister at all, because again, "menshn" and "Mensch" are obviously entirely unrelated words. Now stop going on about it.

So what is menschn? Well, apart from being nothing to do with the name "Mensch", it's a microblogging site where posts can be no more than 180 characters in length. I'm going to preempt you again a bit here; it reminds you of Twitter, right? BUT IT'S NOTHING LIKE TWITTER YOU DICK! Because menschn has an 180 character limit on posts, while Twitter has 140. That's a difference of a massive 40 characters! The two websites couldn't be more different. 

But wait. Because menschn differs from that, let's face it, now obsolete "Twitter" thing, by making sure that every post is "on topic." Because that's what Twitter needed; censorship. Censorship controlled by Louise Menzxch. She identified that the problem with Twitter is the freedom to talk about whatever people choose. It seems so obvious now, doesn't it? That's why we're all over at menschn, having forgotten about whatever that lame 140 character shit was.

Sarcasm aside, it's one of the worst things to have ever happened. It's just downright bizzarre. The tagline is "talk on topic", lending the whole thing an eerie school-vibe, which isn't exactly what you want on a Twitter-style website. But then, what do you expect when it's run by a Conservative MP? This is free speech, Tory-style; talk about whatever you want, as long as it's this. In fact, menschn is a beautifully bleak insight into a dystopian future in which the internet is controlled by the Tories.

Glancing round the website (I'm not going to join due to genuine fear), there's a weird crypto-fascism on display and I'm not just being a silly lefty; it's really fucking strange. The fact that users are called "menshners" and that topics are "menshnd" doesn't help the whole Inglorious Basterds thing, and there's a list of "high rated users" which resembles something of a high command, in which Louise Menzxsch ranks second.

The rules had to be called "the menschn rules" just in case you weren't already reading all the content in a bad Nazi accent. "The first rule of menschn is you do talk about menschn." Now, as you probably know, Fight Club is my favourite film, and if you have to add to the steaming high pile of "first rule" jokes out there in the world, it best be worth it. This is more like brutally murdering Chuck Palahniuk, David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and everyone else before digging them up and mensching all over their corpses.

I stopped reading soon after that, as it continues in the same Project Mayhem style vein of cultish fascism and I got angry and then scared and then confused and then eventually angry again, but I skipped to the end which perhaps best sums up menschn, the website founded by someone who has never had fun but deems themselves worthy of controlling online discussion but definitely, DEFINITELY did NOT name the site after themselves:

"Have fun - talk on topic!"

Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with the Puggy song that this blog is named after. Enjoy - talk on topic!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

You Change the Channels and You Change Our Minds

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

I'll stop complaining about them when they stop being so shit. I spend a lot of my time at the cinema, where I see the same handful of adverts blasted at me every time, before I finally get to watch Chernobyl Diaries and then go home thoroughly depressed.

So here are the 5 worst adverts currently shown at the cinema:

5. Sony Ericsson Xperia

Why the fuck would we want children to explain the workings of electronics to us in adverts? Children are idiots, famously. No, Jake Ryan (age 8), we DO know what's inside that device. Apparently Wes Anderson directed that advert, because that's what a Sony Ericsson ad needs; whimsy. Forced, desperate, tedious, irritating, crushing whimsy. Jake Ryan (age 8) probably got one of those phones for free as well, and would have tried to eat it or something. Ditto Wes Anderson.

4. Carling

Partly because of "British" being used as a selling point, but mainly because of the music; that kind of boring fucking guitar noise that sounds like it was written by someone who has never had fun in their life. I call it "Ad-Rock".

3. From the Red Carpet

These are on every time and the film in question changes disappointingly rarely; at the moment it's a particularly hateful one about Snow Shite and the Cuntsman. But this is the worst one that's on YouTube, and while not really an advert it deserves its place on this list. It's part film trailer, part M&Ms advert, all fucking awful. I've not wanted to inflict such graphic and twisted pain upon two colourful pieces of confectionary since Jedward. They also somehow managed to find the only human in the world who is less lifelike than the M&Ms. That said, it's quite fun to watch esteemed actors try desperately to talk up films that they know are absolute shit; "There's a lot of... humour." "It's very... big." "I think it's a very... brave directorial attempt by Madonna."

2. VW Polo

This would-be Christmas advert tries so hard to be emotionally manipulative that it ends up feeling weirdly creepy, and would be infinitely improved if the car burst into flames as she drives away at the very end. Also note the unrelentingly fucking dreary music and dad's swallowing-acting at 1:21.

1. University of Lincoln

Ok I admit it, I love this advert, just for the sarcastic pompousness and ridiculous grandeur. No offence Lincoln, but you're no Mars University. It looks like something from Brass Eye, and you just have to admire the audacity of getting that shown in cinemas. Fuck it, let's watch it again!

Thanks for reading, maybe next blog won't be about adverts, but I'm not promising anything... I'll leave you with the System of a Down song that the title of this blog comes from, enjoy!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Advertising's Got You On The Run

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

I know I've talked about adverts before and that it's lazy and boring.

So, adverts. I got so annoyed about seeing them on TV that I stopped watching it, and turned instead to the internet. But, here's the weird thing, they have adverts here as well! The wild-eyed hunch-backed parasites who make adverts have ventured out of their castles made of money and posters of Jon Hamm for long enough to see that, actually, the internet is pretty popular. As a result, you can't watch a stupid YouTube video or write an abusive  Facebook comment without someone telling you to buy something, or sign up somewhere, or sell your organs to someone. Here are 5 adverts that make you wish that the internet would explode, killing everyone in an almighty blast of kittens, tweets and pornography.


Wow! What a bunch of cunts! What would Don Draper say if you suggested the slogan "Shoot Wow! Share Now!" 

Draper punch


I got this Zizzi advert as an email, and I've been sat here for days and days wondering if there's something I'm missing. "A game of two offers." Surely it can't just be a play on the phrase "a game of two halves." Because that DOESN'T FUCKING WORK. "A game of two offers." I'm still confused. I've been staring at it for what seems like a lifetime. I haven't slept, I haven't eaten, I've just been reading it, again and again and again. I won't get that time back. In that time, I could have cured cancer, or written a beautiful novel, or (perhaps more likely) watched Peep Show for the thousandth time. "A game of two offers." I don't understand...


I listen to a lot of brilliant, free podcasts, and I don't mind hearing the occasional advert if it means they stay free. But the Absolute Radio podcasts seem to have gone out of their way to intentionally make my ears bleed. PayasUgym. I don't know what the rest of the advert says, just because my brain hears "payasUgym" and deploys a painfully high-pitched screeching tone as a form of defence mechanism.


Facebook never ceases to be a source of self-mutilation levels of anger, and amongst the pictures of people trying desperately to convince the internet that they're having a great time (such a great time that they just had to take a photo and upload it to Facebook just in case anyone was in any doubt over just how great a time they were having), are adverts. And even worse, they're targeted adverts, so they use an ingenious algorithm, which studies my online activity, pinpoints all my interests, and works out exactly what it is that I need.

No actually Facebook, I don't "Need local Digger." But thanks anyway.

No actually Facebook, I don't "Need local Pest Control". But thanks anyway. And thanks also for resisting the temptation to put a mangled, bloodied rodent in that mousetrap.

Actually I quite like this one, because it looks like it's just an advert for the fact that there are some girls on Facebook.


So I'm trying to watch Peep Show for the thousandth time, when this comes on; it appears to be an advert for mothers. "Now thank your mum." No I won't, bossy advert. "Proud sponsor of Mums"? It's so confusing it makes that Zizzi advert seem positively sensible. This just makes me want to cut off the hands of everyone in the advert so that when they try to make that heart shape, they just bump their stumps together while crying and bleeding everywhere. I hate all mums.

Thanks for reading, the title of this blog is from the System of a Down song Chic N' Stu, with which I will leave you. Enjoy! Oh, and this blog is sponsored by Mums.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Too Young To Die

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

Last year I wrote a blog about media representations of young people. Kind of. It was more just a rant about the BBC drama Dive. It aired 2 years ago now but I'm still not over it. This is one of the only clips of it on YouTube, and it contains perhaps the clumsiest piece of exposition ever; "It's gonna get tougher if you want to be in contention for the olympics in 2012." And don't get me started on that fucking music...

It's probably shows like Dive that have made me turn away from TV dramas, and towards horror films. Dive should be more like the diving scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.

Classic horror films provide a much more accurate representation of young people. Obviously I'm not talking about the whiney, privileged teens of the slasher genre; when they're not going to summer camps where a massacre had taken place the previous year, they're going to summer camps right next to the summer camp where a massacre had taken place the previous year. These annoying teenagers have been cleverly parodied in brilliant, postmodern horror films like Scream and The Cabin in the Woods.

I'm no longer allowed to judge what is and what isn't a good representation of youth, being a ridiculous 20 years old, which means I'll be dead in 50 or 60 days. But I still feel the alienation and insecurity of adolescence, and I suspect I always will. The best depictions of adolescence are bleak, and isolated, and I can't speak for all young people (I can) but those existential representations are the ones familiar to me. Oh boo-fucking-hoo, on with the Top 5 representations of adolescence in classic horror films: 

5. Carrie

Brian De Palma's adaptation of Stephen King's novel is a perfect representation of young people, in that they're all cunts. But unlike the delightful hatebags of Skins, their acting like  loathsome bullies isn't celebrated or glorified. Rather, it's gorified. 

Carrie is a victim; a victim of playground bullying, a victim of her oppressively religious upbringing, a victim of all-round ostracism for being different. This idea of victimisation is a vivid representation of adolescence, and the heightened, garish high school prom represents everything that's shit about being a teenager. I mean, who has ever had fun at a school prom? Dicks.

4. Battle Royale

Yes it is a classic, albeit a modern one. This Japanese piece of brutally scathing satire is a viciously honest representation of youth. A cautionary tale about the dangers of an overly-powerful state, the teenagers (well, children) forced to fight to the death are moulded and manipulated by an authority which seeks to curb the unruliness of youth by any means necessary. It's exactly what would happen if Michael Gove had any imagination.

As well as the victimisation of youth, Battle Royale cleverly, and with its uniquely dark sense of humour, transposes the petty schoolyard relationships into the battle; are there any of your classmates you want to kill? Well now you can! Teenage vanities are also carried over into the lawless mayhem; there's still time to curl your eyelashes before hacking someone to death with a sickle!

3. Martin

You know how hard it is to talk to someone you fancy? And you just don't know how to approach them? So you end up having to inject them with a sedative and drink their blood? It's textbook teenage behaviour.

George A. Romero, the genius that he is, understands the profound disconnect between the old and the young in society, which shines through in his classic Night of the Living Dead as well as this unconventional Vampire film. Martin, while clearly influencing Dexter, beautifully encapsulates the real sense of alienation felt by teenagers, forced to be outsiders if they don't fit in; trapped by the constraints of authority; constantly threatened by the moral panic of a society with its monopoly on morality, bound by outdated conventions and religions. When something threatens that, they leap with relish at the opportunity to destroy that outsider that they just don't understand, that scares them and drives them to their pitchforks and torches and tabloids.

Struggling against that tide is Martin, alienated and alone, trying to make sense of this shit-hole of a world. "People are the hardest thing," he observes. "They don't talk, not really. They don't say what they mean."

2. The Hitcher

Obviously the original with Rutger Hauer as opposed to the remake with Sean Bean, which I've not seen but inevitably ruins it. An innocent, naive teenage boy picks up a hitchhiker to stop himself falling asleep at the wheel. Who in their right mind would pick up a hitchhiker who looked as terrifyingly unhinged as Rutger Hauer?! So that's a fairly solid depiction of a young person; he's an idiot. His blind aimlessness is a beautiful representation of adolescence, as his youthful world is sadistically turned into a nihilistic hell by the Hitcher's playful torment, which teaches the kid more about life than any teacher ever could. Unless Rutger Hauer is your teacher, I guess. It's a bit like a horror film version of a Limmy's Show sketch. 

The Hitcher is relentlessly bleak, with youth represented by a mindless journey, set in a liminal space; we join our protagonist on the road and we leave him on the road, with a profound sense of circularity. This is a perfect portrayal of adolescence; as existential nightmare. Also, next time you eat chips, watch out for any severed fingers lurking amongst them...

1. River's Edge

Maybe it doesn't count as horror, but I love it. And what's not to love? Dennis Hopper plays a mentally-unstable uber-junkie called Feck who's in love with an inflatable sex doll named Elly; "Look, I'm not psycho, I know she's a doll. Right, Elly?" It's like a Tim Minchin song. But weirder.

Meanwhile, Crispin Glover gives one of the most fascinating performances in the history of cinema.

Not only is River's Edge bleak, funny, bizarre, realistic and beautiful, it is a mesmerising representation of adolescence. A teenager kills his girlfriend because "she was talking shit", (don't worry, that's not the part with which I identify. By which I mean I don't have a girlfriend.) and his friends respond in a shockingly nihilistic way. Some rally around to protect him from the law, some are so apathetic that they don't seem to care at all, and some, most significantly, just don't know what to think; "I don't know how I felt", confesses Keanu Reeves' character, the lack of emotion making this role perfect for him. Not even he can ruin this film, even when in full-on Bill & Ted mode.

It's a hypnotically raw depiction of youth, rooted in sheer, nihilistic boredom. In an existential void, abandoned by society and left to find their way in a dark, sparse and confusing world, with the failed values of previous generations crumbling around them, they fall into the self-fulfilling prophecy of moral decline proclaimed by the adults. 

But cheer up, because now you'll never be able to drink warm beer without thinking "It's warm even!" 

So to sum up, adolescence is bleak and lonely, then adulthood is boring and soul-destroying, then you die. THANKS FOR READING! I'll leave you with the brilliant Jamiroquai song that this blog is named after, enjoy!