Stand Up Comedy and the Sanctuary of a Blog

26 Feb

After not updating this blog for so long I thought it was high time to do so, because you know, there are at least two people who have asked about the lack of recent posts. Exactly two actually. In between writing about 3D TV, assorted geekiness, and football I’ve become neglectful of this blog which was intended to act as an outlet for numerous petty frustrations and flippancy. Something that should have, but ultimately hasn’t helped, is a recent experiment in stand-up comedy.

After going to Edinburgh Fringe last year and seeing some wonderfully inventive comedy, and some tripe, I decided to have a go myself. It was a decision made not totally out of an ‘I think I’m funny’ mentality, but more of a fascination with what is funny, and how to go about writing and performing stand-up comedy. Without sounding pseudo-humble, I felt that if I was to be critical of stand-ups whose invention was conspicuous by its absence à la “who’s ever been drunk?!”, then I should at least attempt some stand-up myself. Thus began a wretched paranoia of whether or not I’m actually funny, and the worrying reality that deeming yourself funny is something necessary to writing good material but comes at the expense of an exaggerated self-belief.

What is funny is of course is largely subjective, few comedians fail to divide opinion, and what we find funny depends on our experiences and attitudes. I personally found BBC comedy I Am Not An Animal, which features the above pictured megalomaniac sparrow Glen Belt, incredibly funny, but I can see why it doesn’t appeal to many people. Equally writing material that you think is funny is hard work and the knowledge that a good portion of people you’ll perform it too won’t find it funny. Seeing your thoughts and observations stripped naked on a page induces doubt about whether they, or indeed you are funny at all, and the more you refine your material the less faith you have in it. Having only performed twice with jokes being received differently on each occasion, I have gained some early insight into what people find funny, and a little into how something can be delivered in a humourous way, and how it shouldn’t. It’s been a valuable lesson in writing, and has given me a fresh perspective on blogging.

Writing a blog is easy, you can digress, quip without answer (if you are a strict comment moderator) and attack an idea or a person with precision and without interruption. Writing comedy, and in particular observational comedy, which requires more patience than a Tim Vine styl act in order to get to the punchline, can be torturous. From my early and limited experience every word and every pause must be considered more carefully. In some ways it’s like writing an essay, in that inevitably some hecklers will object to your act, rather than contribute, and some jokes will induce either shock, a “you’re shit”, or worst of all, deadly silence: a response must be in place. Or at least, I think it should be, but perhaps I’m just scared stiff of these reactions that will inevitably come at some point and the reality is that you can never fully prepare for them. A comic who performed at my first gig, Paul Dennis, advised me that only the very best comics can deal with hecklers in a way that enhances the act, which at least is reassuring as my planned response at present is simply to continue my act like the man who has audibly farted in the office but acts as though a chair has simply squeaked on the floor whilst someone else has simultaneously opened a packet of ham or turkey slices.

For the comic just starting out, hecklers are present in every line you write, in every notion and observation there is some cross armed, angry punter sat looking at you with a look that screams ‘impress me you bastard’. I, like most reasonable comedy lovers, don’t mind hecklers who throw in a witty, well natured comment where it is clearly appropriate, and if the act allows it. It is the cynical members of an audience, who hide behind an aura of superiority and excel in being a disruptive arsehole that haunt me, and that more importantly ruin other people’s live comedy experience. These Nazi-appeasers (see Glen Belt video) though, have caused me to seek sanctuary and catharsis in my blog again, so it’s not all bad. No comments please, I’m well aware that this post contains nothing particularly funny. Don’t heckle me either. Please.

Comedy and Student Riots

28 Nov

After a two month hiatus I though it was time to update my once weekly blog. After neglecting numerous draft posts on fleeting areas of amusement and frustration I had an experience on Friday night to thank for inspiration; I performed my first stand-up comedy gig. After going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, where the majority of the attendees appear to misunderstand the festival’s name for an on-head entry requirement, I was inspired to attempt some comedy myself. Thanks to Jan Jack recommending a local open-mic night I decided to stop procrastinating and give my loosely drafted material an acid test. I say an ‘acid test’, it was in a pub in Basingstoke which was 1/5 full of my philanthropic but perverted friends I convinced into going under the guise that it was a charity chipmunk night.

The preparation was the hardest part. Not helped by the fact that I’m hopelessly lazy I didn’t really prepare too much, but predominantly because I didn’t want to script my act, become rigid, and run the risk of forgetting my lines. I knew what I was going to talk about, and had the punch-lines ready, but was banking on some heckling for a large part of the act. Thankfully one area I covered was paedophilia, a sensitive subject which apparently Basingstoke’s punters were particularly receptive to, although one gentlemen in a long cream mac and large grubby glasses didn’t find it funny and promptly left. The only creature I practiced my material to was my stony faced cat who yawned, signaling that my final gag was too long; something verified by a few honest friends after I’d finished. Otherwise it went ‘swimmingly’.

In all honesty I wasn’t nervous until the few hours leading up to going on stage, and after the first minute I felt relaxed enough to broach the subject of my pooing on a friend’s hand whilst at university. This is a story I’ve shared many a time, but not in front of my family, making it a night of discovery for both myself and them. My parents helped fund my university education, so to find out that £6.25 of their investment was spent paying a friend to catch my otherwise sewer-bound deposit was somewhat shocking for them I imagine. £5 would have been a fairer price, but my cohorts and I were in no position to drive a hard bargain with a man who was about to be shat on. This story was met with scpeticism by a few members, perhaps my otherwise polite appearance belies this fecal misdemeanor, I’m not sure. For the record, it’s true. The story leading to why the situation occurs is one that is perhaps more gruesome, and owing to a lack of blog posts recently perhaps I’ll save it for when I get some other menstruation based anecdote with which I can incorporate it.

On reflection I probably won a few laughs for simply talking about excrement and paedophilia, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want. The people of Basingstoke seem to have an affinity with such depraved subjects, and being a subject of my environment I guess I do too. However I’m not usually over enamoured with lude humour, so now I’ll have to get scribbling about why I suffer from a middle class identity crisis, how I now hate protesting students, and the Lib-Dem, Conservative, BNP, and Labour parties: that will get the people on my side (I have no Student Union gigs planned). Oh, and generalisations and oversights about the capabilities of the smaller party in a coalition governments and the difference between PRINCIPLES and POLICIES, which are actually two different things. (Such messy political sentiment, over simplification and hyperbole could only occur in a country concussed by tabloids and political amnesia, and proud middle-class liberals who haven’t had anything to be angry about for a while. Add to this the lack of justice served to these issues by people trying to be post-ironic, or whatever it is now, like I am here. Until next time, where I will once again befuddle reading eyes with brackets and semicolons (my colon use has featured particularly heavily here),  I’ve been James Mitchell, have a good night. (Why do comics always insist on referring to themselves in the past tense when finishing an act, as if death awaits them off stage?)

Britain’s Shopping Perils

15 Sep

“Did you find everything ok today?”

What an innocuous title you might think. Nonetheless I have reason to believe that the title of this post outlines a major threat to dignity in Britain today….

Those opening sentences sounded almost like a scare-mongering Daily {hate-}Mail article opener about Burqas, or some other multi-cultural phenomenon that the {hate-}Mail wants us to believe is an apocalyptic threat to ‘Britain today’. I won’t go down the tabloid hating route here, my gripe is exclusively with shopping in Britain, so after all it is admittedly a petty gripe. It is one though, that I feel is rarely spoken of and needs to be addressed if we are to ‘move forward as a nation’ (I can’t get enough of ironically employing {hate-}Mail style pseudo-progressive buzz phrases.)

First up for review is clothes shopping. I’m not a fashionable man, I make conservative choices about my clothes and I stick by them. I’m too tall to wear skinny jeans, I’d look like a tent peg, and don’t have the colourful personality or brazen confidence to wear anything remotely different, interesting or fashionable. I am ten years away from shopping exclusively in Marks & Spencer, and am currently two years into shopping there 10% of the time. I am also reluctant to buy clothes in-store, preferring to shop online due both to laziness and cowardice, but more often than not I bottle it and make a trip into town. I do feel however, that I’m not alone. The rise of the ‘metrosexual’ has liberated men and their clothing choices, fashion is now a legitimate interest for the mainstream heterosexual male, and doesn’t incur scathing commentary in the pub. This is perhaps no bad thing, unless you haven’t adopted this liberation and are still stuck in a time where men cared less about what they wore but this was seen as both attractive and admirably masculine. I am one of these deluded men. Let me elaborate…

I hate shopping for shoes because the shop assistants always insist on standing over you like some patron of the pair you’re tying on, as if they were a parent of a child you’re serving an ice cream to, ready to intervene at the slightest threat of inappropriate behaviour. You wouldn’t get similar service in a restaurant for example, imagine the waiter looking over your shoulder as you eat your pizza, to enquire when you finish as to whether you enjoyed your meal, and are willing to pay for it. It wouldn’t, and shouldn’t happen. The decorum should be; let me try on the shoes, do the customary lap and look in the mirror, and if they make me look like a clown, let me conclude so out loud to my shopping accomplice and politely return them under the guise that they’re ‘just not what I was looking for’.

Shopping for jeans and trousers is equally as perilous to the man who is mortally afraid of advice from shop assistants. I was once advised by a woman in Debenhams to buy boot-cut jeans, as they suit a man of my age. Obviously she thought I was either a freakishly large 10 year old who had escaped the attention of his mother whilst she was shopping, or a Robin Williams’ ‘Jack’ style character; a freakishly young looking 40 year old. Her advice of course was duly ignored, for whilst I’m no aficionado, I’m no idiot and I wouldn’t be seen in a pair of boot-cut jeans unless I was going to a ‘cowboy & Indians fancy dress’ party, which should really be called ‘Pillaging Bastards & Native American fancy dress’, but that’s another matter entirely. Another source of great discomfort is the gap at the bottom of the changing room cubicles, where other shoppers and employees can see your socked feet and hairy ankles and legs, which must rank as the second most unattractive part of a man; when I imagine myself viewed in these circumstances all I see is Mr Bean. I presume their is some spurious reason for the gap, perhaps in case of emergency or the sight of a pair of prohibited frolicking legs, I’m just not sure but I would like it clarified.

Food shopping is another component of our nations shopping habits, and if you’ll excuse the pun; a large one. I am of course referring to the ever increasing size of our supermarkets, not the gluttonous nature of our people. Food shopping is an odd beast and although I quite enjoy it, it doesn’t play host to the most stressful element of any shopping experience which I will now go on to illuminate.

I prefer fine tea, coffee and beer to the cheaper varieties, and so delight in perusing these aisles in a pompous manner, turning my nose up at the droves of lager guzzling crate grabbers who pass by. Ok, I do prefer the more refined of these items, but I am partial to a good cold can of whatever, so the last sentence was really just an excuse to state that I am, unequivocally; a bit of a snob. Shopping for food is great also etc etc etc. But it is the payment process that ruins the experience. The pressure is on from the moment you unload your trolley. The impatient couple behind you aren’t bothered which order you unload onto the conveyer, they don’t care whether your fruit gets squashed or your milk split, they won’t cry. The pressure mounts then when you come to pack. Like most British people I always decline the offer of ‘help packing’ because of an irrepressible public shyness true largely of the British, and a sense that I’m being patronised. I just toe the national line, shut up and pack. I also sweat, because it’s stressful. The teenager, after asking you for ID despite clearly looking over 18 (this is actually not true in my case; I look like a stretched child), will then scan at a ferocious speed while you toil to pack. Then comes the question ‘do you have a nectar/club card?’; half your shopping is sprawled out amongst the bags which you have to peel from each other, and the plan to pack frozen goods, bottles, fruit etc in separate bags lies in ruins as you scramble amongst your Nando’s loyalty card, Blockbuster card and other useless crap for the desired card, all to save 23p off your next shop. You produce it, and they scan it for some evil consumer research pervert sitting in a room somewhere to take note of your shopping habits and plan your room 101 experience of frozen ready meals, decaf coffee, value meat and other such derisory produce lacking in nutrition or middle-class appealing packaging. They then bellow the price, the sweat pours from your brow as you juggle the task of packing quickly to reduce the impatient gesticulations of the customers behind you, and enter your pin at the same time. You remove your card, or annoyingly receive your change with the coins inexplicably wrapped in a note and your receipt, which serves no purpose whatsoever and only exacerbates the problem of packing quickly. You then have the indignity of completing your packing as the next customer has their items scanned. It all gets too much, and then, just as you want to scream at the impatient till operator and piss-annoying customer behind you, bemoan the inadequacy of the self-service alternative, it is over. You leave with your trolley, not looking back, only ahead to the comfort of your homeward bound vessel, to enjoy the purchases acquired in that cauldron of stress and bleeps. Then home, to the comfort of the internet, the one place I always forget to turn to for shopping, probably because I’m too busy ranting about it.

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Gigs: Rules of Enjoyment.

6 Sep

I’ve seen them, like, six times now.

After what has been a recent hiatus on my non-character restricted internet venting portal; my blog, it is time to once again vent my unjustified and petty frustrations with a group of people who have recently annoyed me. This time it’s gig-goers, or at least the annoying ones. They are a breed of nuisance quite unlike any other. Admittedly they have none of the violence of the night-out nuisance, and so are not worthy of a smack or equally violent confrontation. They are also often young, and like the Lambrini leeches often found in parks and outside shooping parades, probably too young to suffer a meting out of reasonable force. What follows are the typical characteristics of the gigheads (gig~dickheads), and why I am unapologetically intolerant of them:

The Queue Loud Talkers: These attention seeking bastards enjoy the queue more than anything because they have a platform for their dull, ignorant and invariably Fosters/Strongbow induced ramblings to be heard. Quite like this blog then really (replace Fosters/Strongbow with tea), but in this case you can click away from my inane typing to something worthwhile. In the queue for a gig you have no such luxury. Telling these pests to shut up makes you appear to be a kill-joy, and if theres a gang of them you run the risk of suffering verbal or physical violence. It’s not what you want when you’re waiting to get in somewhere where further annoyances will inevitably occur.

Drunkards: And occur they do. Whether waiting in the crowd, or waiting at the bar only to have a hole burned in your pocket for crap lager, the ‘drunkards’ will grate on you. This is largely because the majority aren’t drunk. Recently at a Minus The Bear gig, I had to listen to three adults who should know better harp on about how they were still hanging from the night before (bollocks: it was 19:45) and how they were “pretty pissed now!!!” (double bollocks). What annoyed me most was their loud declaration of it, if it had been a tweet or facebook status it would most certainly have included OMFG and LOL or some obscure #thread. Despite being well over 18 these three morons obviously thought it impressive that they were reasonably imbibed despite their previous nights drinking, queueing for a licensed venue, and perhaps were out past their bedtime. If you walk around a gig saying to your mate how drunk you are, whilst looking round for impressed glances, you’re a fraudulent attention seeker and I reserve my right to think of you as a twat.

Music Afficionados: Often not drunk, these shady characters prowl around gigs under the guise that they alone truly appreciate the headline act, or are actually there to see the ‘you~won’t~have~heard~of~them’ less well known support bands. Good luck to them, I’m sure they’re more knowledgable than most, but I don’t want to hear it; it doesn’t interest me. Recently at a Thrice gig I was involuntarily informed by the prat in front of me that keeping it simple was the best form of drumming. Whether he was correct or not, it was his proud delivery of the statement to his keen disciples that riled me. I was obviously labouring under the impression that the best form of drumming was simply good drumming; the technicality or simplicity factor simply depended on the overall sound of the band, and that such absolutist statements about music were utterly simplistic. Apparently not.

The Embracers: These admittedly are the most innocent of all gig offenders, in that they are simply a bit wet. These are the people who wrap an arm around another’s shoulder, beer in the other and tilt their heads back to that song. Often they act as though they are William and Harry and Candle in the Wind is playing, but they’re not. This might be a step too far, but often this embracing boils over into falling around, spilling beer and flailed arms that only serve to impair the enjoyment of others in the vicinity. I am no enjoyment fascist, and this is why; because other’s enjoying themselves like this often makes for an annoying experience for others. So just stop it, this song doesn’t mean that much to you? Does it? Really?

Beer Throwers: Once at a Rise Against gig I got the dregs of a beer promptly delivered to my face in a plastic cup. Admittedly I was being a music afficionado and was there to see Thursday, so may be he had me down as such due to my lack of punk attire, and targeted me thus. Still, people who do this are nothing short of trogladites. They are the alternative music equivalent of people who play their music out loud on public transport thinking it will impress people when it just makes you want to shout at them for being such a pleb.

These are the main offenders, and those whose behaviour must not go unpunished. If you enjoy live music, and will not entertain such irritating behaviour then make a stand and throw a beer or something.

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The (unemployed) Graduate

3 Aug

Mrs Robinson, are you trying to motivate me?

Being unemployed is a bad thing, like being pooed on twice in a day by a bird, which is something that has happened to me. Being an unemployed graduate is, however, not quite as bad. It is one bird poo bad. The term ‘unemployed’ has certain connotations, when opening a new bank account recently I had to state my employment status. ‘Actively seeking’ wasn’t an option. Neither were ‘procrastinating due to summer social arrangements’, ‘hoping the perfect job offer will arrive in the post’, or ‘hoping to be paid money to write a blog, the rate; £1 per apostrophe’. I resigned to utter ‘unemployed’, knowing that the one word which had immediately appeared in the bank clerks head was ‘bum’. Once I would hesitate to say ‘student’ because of the predictably tiresome questions that would inevitably follow:

What do/did you study?” (This question is either never followed up due to its customariness, or it is followed up with “ooooh“, implying ‘well aren’t you clever’; making you feel like a patronising tit just for answering a question honestly to the less cleverer than you hairdresser person.)

Where do/did you go to uni?” (This is always followed up by either: The listing of friends in attendance at the same university, usually with a 10% success rate of mutual friendhip, or a dull, and more often than not incorrect fact about the city in question {Nottingham does not have 1:7 male to female ratio, don’t be absurd.})

Oh yeah?! Get smashed every night I bet?!” (This is a myth perpetuated by the fear of social stigma which would result from answering more honestly; “Not really, quite often we played cricket with cereal boxes on the landing, and once we were so bored we had a whip-round and paid one housemate to have his hand defecated upon by another.

Now whilst these questions still rear their familiar heads with new acquaintances, they are at least less frequent than when I was a higher education lay about. Now I have to contend with the onset of bumness, and the guilt of knowing that I am on the verge of living up to the unglamorous reality of many a graduate. I have no swimming pool to fall into like Dustin Hoffman, no middle aged temptress to make my current predicament interesting, just enough time to watch said film thrice daily. I haven’t actually done this, but it is a more interesting prospect than the arduous BBC work experience applications which I am currently neglecting.

The problem is that university, at least for arts students, makes you an unproductive, over-expectant dreamer. The cliche that most students are lazy countdown watchers isn’t far wrong, it is certainly true of this one. What is equally true and often overlooked however, is that these habits don’t leave as soon as you fling your graduation hat in the air. They linger on. Within two months of looking for a job you realise that you don’t know what you want to do, other than be paid for what you are currently doing. Which is…

Xbox 360: This mind numbing piece of equipment is the equivalent of a cannabis habit. Many people who dedicate hours of energy to this thumb exerciser also imbibe the experience with weed. It is frivolous. My Xbox numbs my mind well enough, lowers my ambition, and is accountable for an impressive imprint in my couch. In the innumerable hours I’ve spent killing other morons on the internet I could have read the entirity of my unread book collection (approximately 75% unread), written twice as many blog posts, or applied for twice as many jobs.

Twitter: I love twitter, but it is a time consuming and ultimately pathetic pursuit sometimes. Yesterday I conversed with my sister on it whilst she was in the room next to me and safely within talking distance. I am constantly flitting to my twitter tab in the hope of exciting correspondence or multiple retweets, only to be informed by Stephen Fry that it is in fact morning, or Ben Goldacre repeatedly informing me that Gillian McKeith is a fraud to the point of spam tweeting. I was always more concerned that she was just a poo-hoarder with a public platform and a book deal.

This blog: I’ve just spent 5 hours (including intercessory Xbox sessions and twitter distractions) writing this blog post about the dangerous possibility of becoming a bum with a degree. Of this utter blog~generation~ irony, I am truly ashamed. Whilst I am applying for jobs and pursuing work experience, (I have only included this information explicitly in case any prospective employers read this) I am also justifying unproductive pursuits to myself in favour of the monotonous routines which will ultimately secure meaningful employment. One of these is Edinburgh Fringe.

I’m off to the world famous arts festival next week. I’ve told myself I’ll make loads of contacts, and get some inspiration or perhaps even advice on how to make a career of writing. I imagine however that advice on such a vague ambition will be sparse, and any hope of inspiration will be dashed by the realisation that an abundance of talent is riding the wings of motivation and making waves in the Scottish capital; resulting in increasingly demotivational feelings of inferiority upon my return. As for ‘making contacts’, this is a phrase so cringe inducing I prefer to think of any Nathan Barley type character who spouts it as literally making contacts; by prowling through a crowd, furtively and sinisterly brushing past people like a pervert. And no matter how much unwarranted self pity I feel, (it’s actually virtually non-existent, I’ve embellished it for the sake of this blog post) I won’t be doing that.

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Chemtrails

26 Jul

Chemtrail believers and their curious suspicions.

I’m not one for entertaining conspiracy theories. It is not my cynicism that is the cause of this apprehension, it is my suspicion of unchecked cynicism which where conspiracy theories are concerned, boils over into wild assumptions and spurious ‘findings’ that nearly always end in: we are all being controlled by ‘The Man’. If there was ever a more damning indictment of large swathes of conspiracy theories it is this buzz word, ‘The Man’ is quite possibly the vaguest, least descriptive term that could be attributed to what many theorists claim is controlling and influencing all of our lives, at least in the West. There are of course some conspiracy theories which are worthy of consideration, where inconcistencies in accounts provide cause for suspicion. Regarding this, I shall not comment on the 911 conspiracy theory for I simply know little of the argument, or literature concerning it, but on chemtrails I feel obliged to speak. With any conspiracy theory, in the essence of fairness, it is best to try and believe the claims as much as possible. With chemtrails, and the article in focus, this becomes increasingly difficult. On this subject however  I have chosen not to consider the ‘evidence’ or scientific findings put forward by many of the chemtrail websites, not because of any intended inbalance in my critique, but mainly because I just don’t understand them (although many appear to be pure inventions, and the reports of mystical cloud creatures somewhat distorted any scientific claims made by the featured article’s author). Despite this, the claims of many chemtrail ‘experts’, including Ken Adachi, contain enough accusation, and what is tantamount to sheer guesswork, to provide enough of a laugh, headscratch, drafted letter of angry rebuttal, basis for investigation.

What are Chemtrails?

Chemtrails according to http://www.chemtrailcentral.com are: Streaks of chemicals created in the air by spray systems on airplanes at any altitude. Chemicals are sprayed via planes for many purposes including crop dusting and mosquito control. Also fuel is sometimes dumped to reduce weight before landing. But within the Chemtrail observer community Chemtrails are the product of an active large scale operation. Chemtrails are said to differ from vapour trails, or ‘contrails’ in their length and persistence. So the initial basis for belief in this ‘large operation’ appears to stem from vapour trails that hang around longer than is expected of them. (They are the aerial, chemical equivalent of teenagers outside Asda past 9pm, who I am almost certain pose more of a threat to human safety than chemtrails.)

According to Ken Adachi in his article ‘Chemtrails, an Introduction’ http://www.educate-yourself.org/ct/, these are not vapour trails, oh no, but “toxin-laden aerosols” sprayed over our unwitting heads at the behest of the ‘New World Order’, upon whom Ken also happens to be a distinguished expert; (http://educate-yourself.org/nwo/nwopopcontrol.shtml) to limit the population of a nation and ultimately form a one-world government. Ken reports to have had his first ‘wake up call’ in 1998 when he witnessed chemtrails in the sky, which he had previously believed to be contrails, after they were described to him on a radio program. My first suspicion of Ken’s account on his somewhat ironically titled website, came at exactly this point. He reports to simply see what is clearly, undeniably, a chemtrail and exclaims; “Holy Cow, I thought to myself {and presumably some imaginary friends Ken may well have}, We’re being sprayed right here in southern California!” Ken does not point out exactly what led him to believe that what he saw in the sky was a chemtrail, he merely presumes as much. How he came to the conclusion he did is not clear, because if chemtrail’s distinguishing feature are their longevity, then surely he must have sat watching this one for a while to ascertain it’s sinister origin, If he did, then this is a detail missing from the article, and were his claim to be credible on this count, it strikes me as the kind of detail he would have included without so much as a thought. Thought doesn’t seem to be the order of the day with Ken though.

What is their purpose oh Ken?

Mentioned briefly above is Ken’s belief in the existence of the ‘New World Order’, an organisation who are allegedly trying to control the entire world. Evidently Ken is the kind of internet halfwit who lends weight to the contention that the work of Dan Brown contains some rigorous illumination of world history’s darkest secrets. In fact if you trawl through Ken’s website, it becomes apparent that he is predisposed to believe in almost anything that can loosely be described as anti-establishment to the point of… “The plan to use the ‘disclosure’ of aliens as a set up for eventually getting humanity to band together under a One World government.” http://educate-yourself.org/cn/aliensarecomingprelude16apr05.shtml In this vein, Ken believes that chemtrails are intended for genocidal purposes; “bear in mind that we have turned a corner on combating chemtrails and have now thrown a huge spanner wrench into the Dark Side’s finely oiled genocide machine”. Presumably the NWO have also forged an alliance with Darth Vader and co. for such attacks, but apart from this how is Ken not asking himself ‘why is no-one dying as a result of chemtrails?’ Until this point in Ken’s article I was mildly amused at the quirky theory he was outlining, but here I started to lose my patience. Firstly, if these genocidal purposes are true then who has died as a result? And what evidence is there concerning the required fleets of planes and pilots for such an attack? Evidence doesn’t seem to be Mr. Adachi’s forte, and neither does sensitivity. I can only assume that Ken does not know what genocide is, because it is an insult to the millions of victims of actual genocide that this moron is peddling this theory which is so laden with monstrous allegations and the flagrant use of such terms.

Of the celebrity subscribers to the theory, Prince is adamant that chemtrails are at least the cause of violent behaviour amongst his neighbours; “And then you started to see a whole bunch of them (chemtrails) and the next you know, everybody in your neighborhood was fighting and arguing and you didn’t know why, okay?” No, not okay you twit. If you didn’t know why your neighbours were arguing, (I imagine they were arguing over the best way to rid the neighbourhood of it’s partying~like~it’s~1999 celebrity inhabitant) you would not assume it was because of chemtrails. After reading this quote I was utterly speechless; there is no retort I can think of because it is simply utter drivel. It would be unfair to generalise all subscribers to the theory to be of equal intelligence or understanding as Prince though, unfair on Prince that is because they are probably of lesser intelligence. Unfortunately there is no forum on the website to verify this wild and unfounded assumption of mine, although any window on their conversations may well drive me to despair, and as such I will stick with my presumption that like Ken they are all lunatics of the highest degree. As if to reiterate this point, Ken provides a solution to chemtrails at the end of his introduction:

“This “rescue” effort of neutralizing and transmuting the toxic elements in chemtrails was initiated in early 2002 with the introduction of a device called the “chembuster” which will transmute the atmospheric orgone energy envelope from one polarity (‘DOR’) which allow chemtrails to persist, to another orgone polarity (‘OR’) which will cause chemtrails to disperse. The proliferation of chembusters around the country led to another dramatic development in early 2004: legions of huge air elemental beings called “Sylphs” by ancient Greeks made their presence known by assuming cloud shapes that often look like wispy winged angels or animal forms (there are dozens of photos of Sylphs posted on the Sylph /Chemtrail page) who set about “cleaning up” the skies of chemtrail toxins by engulfing and transmuting chemtrail toxins into non-toxic substances.”(http://educate-yourself.org/ct/)

I can imagine Ken sat at home, scrawling this in what he believes to be Unicorn blood, on ancient Egyptian papyrus rescued from the grip of a New World Order agent by a colleague and co-theorist. Quite simply, the more fear-mongering and mystical theories Ken loads on to chemtrails, the less and less credible the theory becomes, but ultimately the more amusement and intrigue he provides for the likes of myself. Despite his insensitive use of the term genocide, I am condescendingly fond of Ken, whoever he may be, and his wild imaginings. If I was as inventive as Ken, (‘Sylphs’?!), I might gain as much internet notoriety as him, and maybe as much readership. The rest of educate-yourself is worth a read, it will make sleeping seem an educational experience in comparison, and it is a fascinating window on the mad results of disenchantment with the wide world that many like Ken experience. Give it a read, give it credence at your peril.

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The Career Abyss

15 Jul

Writing about thinking about writing about a writer struggling to write.

Since I started blogging I have come to the conclusion that I’d like to be a ‘writer’. An indiscriminate collaborator of words,  a semicolon indulger; a paragraph separation deliberator.  In what capacity this will take place I daren’t dream, and how to pursue this future mystery capacity  I know even less.  After a blogging hiatus of more than a month, due to time spent consuming in California, trying to regain momentum is hard. Trying to find inspiration is harder, especially given my interests.

Football:  I am an unashamed follower of football in its most trivial details,  speculative rumours and excessive media coverage. I eagerly await every transfer window, wile away days on football manager, become agitated and abrasive watching it; and ultimately devote far too much time to it.  In this respect I am an entirely ‘normal’, or ‘usual’, 22 year old male but it doesn’t provide much inspiration. There are good football bloggers and plenty of good podcasts out there, there is no need for another.

Music:  I like music as much as the next man, but I’m no efficionado. The classical music on my ipod is listed under one artist ‘Classical’, a sorting which I’m sure would disgust any Classical music fan. To my ignorant ears it’s all pretty similar, and I can’t be bothered to sift through the numerous composers because I don’t know my arse from my elbow with regards who composed what. As regards contemporary music I have fallen behind, I don’t have the spirit of youth that once saw me trawl through purevolume (anyone remember this), myspace, lastfm and so forth to unearth exciting new bands with exciting haircuts. The phrase ‘you won’t heard of them’ doesn’t make me aggrivated anymore, such is my indifference to bands who come and go depending on the mood and vogue of the young (meaning 16-19 year olds). Give me Bruce Springsteen any day, call me a Dad, see if I care. He’s better than the bloody Pigeon Detectives;  Elvis IS dead. Get over it.  This is why I can’t blog about music.

Film: I used to be up on my films, but since leaving University I have to be productive, and so have less time to spare for watching them. Having said that I sat through ’44 Inch Chest’ (dir. Malcolm Venville), whilst on a flight recently, ‘starring’ arthouse geezer Ray Winstone. In short it is the worst film I have ever endured, and was only viewed in full to justify my hunch 5 minutes in, that it would indeed rank as my least favourite film ever. It was written by messrs Louis Mello and David Scinto who presumably deliberately limited their vocabulary to c**t, and the more imaginative verb c**ting, to ensure the film remained as macho as it was indie. It was neither; just a pretentious pseudo-moral tale about some London geezers and an adulterer filmed almost entirely in one room, ooooh how interesting to limit yourself to almost only one set! Or was it a lack of budget? If so then the backers were write to limit the budget, the film itself should be confined to room 101. Films like ’44 Inch Chest’ get me angry. On top of this, despite a frustrated desire to have more time to watch films, I am generally quite ignorant; I haven’t seen Avatar. This is why I don’t blog about film.

Lego: Watch this space.

So perhaps I need to be more like Bernard Black in order to become interesting and inspired. The following are almost staple pastimes of the aspiring writer:

Smoking: It’s banned? So what, no-one will stop me in this pub/coffee shop because it’s so underground. I’m so caught up in introspection and a longing to belong to Parisian culture that I smoke despite the health risks, it adds to my art school demeanour. I just don’t give a f*ck.

Drinking: Red wine mainly, in the afternoon. Binge drinking red wine like Bernard Black is a middle finger to the grip over wine that used to belong to the aristocracy. I binge drink but I’m cultured. I’m middle class but I’m grimey also. The empty bottles will look as vintage as me in my dimly lit or sepia photos upoladed to my various internet profiles.

Folk music dress code: The tweedier the better. Bar looking like Worzel Gummidge, the earthier my dress tones are the less I am a consumer culture whore. The more brown I wear the freer I am from brands,  franchised coffee and popular culture.

Unfortunately I don’t smoke, drink red wine in excess or in the afternoon a la Black or dress like an art school graduate frustrated by popular culture. I enjoy football, Ale, my Xbox 360 and other such common interests far too much. The solution? Just concede these frustrating dispostions and write a self indulgent blog post about not having much to write about.

Someone give me a purpose.

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