Thursday, 30 December 2010

Things i've learnt this year.

  • Tuborg Lager served at outdoor gigs and festivals is rubbish. It tastes like piss and you will be charged almost four quid for the privilege of drinking it. Gaymers cider is almost as bad but at least has some semblance of flavour about it.
  • Paul Weller has still got 'it', whatever 'it' is.
  • A coalition government in this country will never work. Not while the 'them and us' status-quo is perpetuated.
  • My life will NOT be any more complete with an iPad in it. It will not make me happier and it will not simplify things for me. It will however leave me £600 out of pocket for the dubious honour of being able to show off to my friends that I'm an Apple 'fan boy'. Although the wife and i have just ordered iPhones in a moment of weakness.
  • Edgar Wright is the greatest living film director bar none.
  • The 'organisation' that you work for care no more about you than they do for a lump of dog shit stuck to the bottom of their shoe. You are a drone, a number, a peon to them. Once you realise it's best to not bother offering opinions and idea's in your place of work because you'll inevitably be ignored, the better. Things may be different for you if you're willing to lie, cheat, back stab and crawl over your colleagues to further yourself.....but none of us want to be that 'person' do we? Turn up, do your bit, keep your trap shut, never ever walk out of the door at the end of the day carrying any stress with you and draw your wages once a month. There are FAR more important things in life than making money for people who couldn't give a shit about you.
  • Some people enjoy the drama and attention of being in a shitty, pox ridden, failing marriage with an abusive partner. No matter what advice you give them they will never listen.
  • Married life, if you give a little and take a little, is pretty damn good.
  • Chelsea FC will always bring as much pain as joy to it's supporters.
  • The Coral are the finest band in the UK today. Closely followed by The Bees, Doves and The Arctic Monkeys. Anyone who doesn't realise this is too 'cool' or 'arch' to understand what you mean.
  • Only good can come from the student riots.
  • Ed Milliband is quite obviously a feckless toad who has 'bum licked' his way into a position of power. He symbolises everything the working classes should hate, yet the dyed in the wool Labour voters seem to like him. Work that one out. Oh and did i mention i can't look at him without thinking of Ray Romano?
  • The Alistair Campbell stage managed farewell from Gordon Brown as he walked off into the sunset having washed his hands of thirteen years of running the country into the ground was probably the most nauseating thing witnessed this year.
  • Peter Mandelson is still a cunt.
  • Sky News should never be watched if it's real, unedited, propaganda free news you're searching for. Ditto the BBC.
  • My day is now incomplete if i miss the Radio 4 Afternoon Play.
  • Barack Obama was the greatest con-trick ever pulled. Impressive really.
  • It's okay to say that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ARE illegal.
  • Gazza will bring you chicken, lager and a fishing rod if you're in the middle of a gun siege with the Police.
  • The Kings Of Leon are actually a very very good band.
  • Facebook CAN be a force for good by connecting us all together, but it is still choc-full of people who can barely string a sentence together, which annoys me more than it probably should.
  • Ten minutes after the final Chilean miner was rescued i no longer gave a toss about them.
  • I still don't understand the 'vampire' thing.
  • Giving up smoking was a piece of piss. Anyone who says they can't do it is lying. You don't need patches, gum, injections or tablets that are foisted upon you by greedy, scaremongering pharmaceutical companies, all you need is to show some fortitude and say 'no' when you fancy a smoke. Easy.

And on that note, i wish you all a healthy, wealthy and prosperous 2011.

Rob H

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Reasons to be cheerful..

War, famine, racism, religious bigotry, terrorism, climate change, national debt, oil spills, corrupt banks, greedy faceless corporations an inept coalition government dragging us back into the late 70's, Simon Cowell, Eastenders....... Yes, we're living in very dark and dangerous times indeed and some people love nothing more than to revel in highlighting these things.

- "oh those greedy bastard bankers and their bonuses being funded by the Rothschild's and their Illuminati cohorts! We're all doomed!!"

- "i say Marjory! Grab the tinfoil hats and head for the garden shed! I've just heard on Sky News that Al Quaeda have been spotted in a Transit Van in Luton!"

- "Damn this snow! How dare the Tories not be able to control the weather! Is this what i pay my council tax for?!"

You know the drill. The kind of whiny scaremongering that after a while just becomes white noise to these ears. It's usually spouted non-stop by a certain type of person who is either too fond of the sound of their own opinions or just lacking any sense of Joie de vivre.

Yes, we know the world can be a very dark place.
Yes, we know there are extremely dubious forces at work.
Yes, we know our leaders in government fail us all the time.

So, knowing all this can you provide any credible solutions as to how we can change things?


Well shut the fuck up then, put the kettle on, plump your cushions and let's celebrate what's actually good about the world in 2010 shall we?

  • Music
Music is not dead in this country. Far from it in fact. Okay so the days of kids in bands signing mega deals are long gone, due mainly to record company greed coming home to roost (but that's a different discussion for a different day), but there are scores of sharp-as-fuck kids out there making and distributing their own stuff without having to bow down creatively to an Armani suit wearing paymaster. Bands like The Cornerstones, Sun Of Souls and The Lost Boys, to name but three, are producing mustard songs to ever growing fan bases because they actually care about their craft which is refreshing in this era of throwaway pop nonsense.

Even the more established artists have been knocking them dead this year. Records from Weller, The Coral, Arcade Fire, Carl Barat, Gorrilaz, The Dead Weather, Cee Lo Green, Nero, Plan B, The Black Keys and Laura Marling have all been played to death at Haynes Towers this year.

I still get no bigger buzz than sticking a pile of my favourite tunes on shuffle and spazzing out around the house to them. You should try it, it's good fun.

  • Film / TV
I've been to the cinema more times during the past twelve months than probably the past five years combined. I've never been a massive fan of sitting in an uncomfortable seat whilst a gang of teenage girls behind you flick popcorn at your head or play Angry Birds on their iPhone's but that changed with just one film for me this year. 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World' just had to be seen on the big screen to be believed. It looked like no other film I'd ever seen, the soundtrack was ace and it was directed by the sharpest young director in the industry today, Edgar Wright. If you've not seen it i cannot recommend it highly enough. It'll blow your socks clean off. When i walked out of my local Odeon after watching it i said it was the greatest film I'd ever seen. I stand by that pronouncement.

As for TV, the following (in no particular order) have been absolutely top notch this year; Skins, Being Human, True Blood, Later..., Peep Show, Inbetweeners, The IT Crowd, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, Storyville documentaries on Ajax and Barcelona Football Clubs, Muhammed Ali, The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin and Motown and even the final series of Scrubs was still several notches above a hell of a lot of other American comedy.

The jewel in the crown this year though was the Professor Brian Cox series 'Wonders Of The Solar System' which was absolutely breathtaking in terms of visuals and narrative. Truly groundbreaking stuff.

  • Sport
It's been a vintage year as far as i'm concerned. My team won the double, we're in the middle of the most exciting Ashes series for years, the Formula One season went down to the last lap and AP McCoy won me a bundle with his first Grand National win.

Sport in general still has the ability to quicken the pulse and make the hairs on the neck tingle.

Football (national and international), Boxing, Formula One racing, Horse Racing, Tour-De-France, Athletics, Rugby, Darts, Cricket, Golf, Tennis.....blimey I'm sure even tiddlywinks manages to take the breath away from certain devotees of the game.

Is there any greater sight than two heavyweight boxers going toe to toe for twelve rounds or two European football heavyweights slugging it out for ninety minutes under the floodlights? The only one i can think of that tops both for me is the sight of the final horse in my Yankee romping across the line at Wolverhampton or Newmarket........but it's been a while since that happened so I'll settle for a balmy night at The Santiago Bernabau.

  • People
Amongst a gaggle of complete and utter bastards (yes Mandelson, Blatter, Griffin and Cowell I'm looking at you) a few people stood out as beacons of hope;

Julian Assange
Bradley Manning
Mark Zuckerberg
The Chilean Miners
Haile Gebrselassie
Lionel Messi
Aung San Suu Kyi
Brian Cox
Edgar Wright
Paul Weller
Ozwald Boateng
Lady GaGa

Okay so i lied about the last one but you get my drift. Not all hope is lost while the planet contains such excellence. This is just a minuscule list of people who have risen above the day to day drudgery and inspire people to better themselves in different ways. To any young teenage kid who can see no further than the dole or a dead end job i say to them take a look at these people and push yourself. You never know where you might end up.

So there you have it. Is all hope lost? Or do we still have the innate ability to step back from all the turmoil that surrounds us and and actually enjoy life? I'm of the firm belief that some of us still can. If we lose that escape route then what is left for us? I'd rather not dwell on it if I'm being totally honest. I'm happy to sit here, digest the dark stuff that the news throws at me on a daily basis but put that to one side and immerse myself in the things that make me happy. Surround yourselves with loved ones, sing, dance, drink fine wine, eat good food and go about your business with a dirty great smile on your face. You'll feel much better for it, trust me.

In the words of a certain Mr Ferris Bueller Esq...

"Life moves pretty fast. If You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Rob H

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Kids Are Alright.

Students. Don't you just love 'em?

Look at them, running around central London with their witty placards, fresh faces and baggy jeans, keeping the Police on their toes and making them earn their wages for once. Fair play to them for at least making an effort i say. It's been a long time since we've had proper sustained protesting on this scale in this country and it's impressive that they seem to have shattered the myth of the stereotypical slacker teenager who only cares about his or hers next spliff or game of Call Of Duty on the Xbox.

But are they doing it right? Because lets face it, rioting isn't what it used to be.

I have vague childhood recollections of the riots of the late 70's and early 80's. I seem to recall long hot summers where Brixton, Southall, Toxteth & Handsworth all went up in smoke fuelled by working class anger at a government that had left the poorest people on the poorest estates to rot and fester. These riots seemed to go on for days, with images of burning cars and shops or injured coppers being stretchered away on makeshift stretchers being bombarded into our front rooms, it seemed like this was history in the making and things would never be quite the same again. We even had the soundtrack to these riots with the likes of The Specials ,The Clash and The Jam all topping the charts while the inner city sink estates tore themselves apart. Even though much of it was race related it was enough to make even the mildest mannered working class Joe Bloggs want to chuck a Molotov cocktail at a line of riot coppers. Yep, lets face it kids, rioting used to be fun! Maybe that's why the usual suspects of a certain age from the S.W.P and the Anti Fash brigade have been spotted in the thick of the action whipping things up every week, these boys used to love nothing more than a good old fashioned tear up when the National Front marched through their towns.

And it's that self same working class spirit of dissatisfaction that appears to be missing from this current round of riots or 'direct action' as the media would rather label it. A good gauge of things such as this is my old man. After the first round of protests at Millbank he was all for them causing the Old Bill as much grief as possible. After last weeks pictures he had changed his viewpoint and was of the opinion that they should "fuck off back home to their Surrey mansions". Watching it myself as a complete outsider (University education? Moi? Pfffft) i feel myself lacking any lasting empathy for them because (and forgive me for over simplifying things here) it would appear on the face of it to be a very middle class protest and the last thing it should be about is class. The working classes should be learning from this and rising up off their backsides and getting involved. The cherry, on the icing on the cake of this particular point would be the pictures of a certain Mr Dave Gilmour's son Charlie swinging from a Union Flag on the cenotaph that were plastered across the media last week. I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when i say I'm pretty sure this contemptuous little prick has never wanted for anything in his privileged twenty one years. Just how much do university fee hikes and funding cuts really affect the son of a multi-millionaire musician? I'd hazard a guess at absolutely fuck all.

His explanation for his actions was at best wishy-washy and at worst laughable..

‘I’ve got myself in a terrible scandal. I’m absolutely devastated by what I’ve done.I was just caught up in the excitement of the moment.’

Hang on a minute, isn't he supposed to be a young, thrusting University student who is enjoying the best education that (Daddy's) money can provide? Yet he appears to be so wrapped up in a bubble of upper class poncery that he decided that these actions were 'excitement'. He's meant to be the cream of this country, yet in one fell swoop he's dissipated every last shred of acceptance and empathy the working class man in the street had for his and his fellow protesters cause and all the long held suspicions held by the proletariat about their upper class masters come flooding out once again......and quite rightly so. The poster boy for the student protests has been outed as a disrespectful, idiot son of a millionaire rocker....good work everybody!

So where do they go now? Do they blindly turn up throw a few paint bombs, light a few half arsed bonfires, spray paint some 'edgy' graffiti and then moan about being 'kettled'? Or do they take a leaf out of the football casuals handbook of causing a spot of unrest and think on their feet by splitting into smaller groups and instead of concentrating on central London take their protests nationwide? Who knows, but without the backing of a large slice of the voting public ie; the working classes, their plea's for change will inevitably fall on deaf ears. If they played it smart and used the whole issue as a call to arms for the whole country to get off its arse and try and make a change then they would obviously garner far more widespread support in my opinion.

Whether they can put down their Kafka novels and their beginners guides to Bolshevism and realise this before the whole thing fizzles out is another matter. Let's hope they do get their act together because no matter what side of the political spectrum you come from every government needs to be told in no uncertain terms that the people are still here alive and kicking and still hold some form of power.

They may run the country but we'll riot if we want a very polite manner though.

Rob H