Talking to the kids...

I was driving back from Tesco when I happened upon a roundabout. Patiently, I sat and waited until I saw an opening. Observing the rules of the road to the letter as laid down by the Ministry of Transport, I pulled out only to nearly crash into some feckless fishwife that obviously felt the rules of indicating didn’t apply to her. 

I don’t know whether it was the brush with not-quite-death-but-certainly-a-whiplash-claim or the fact that my salmon and cucumber sandwich did a Tom Daley into the foot-well, but I lost my cool and succumbed to what can only be described as a minor bout of road rage. 

I beeped my horn at least four times. I shouted obscenities including but not limited to both the F and the C words. I flipped that bitch off with such ferocity that the image in her rear view mirror most likely resembled a scene from 300. 

As I furiously chuntered to myself for the next minute or so I happened upon another roundabout. I pulled out only to look to my right and observe a man sat in his Ford Focus looking at me with a murderous glare. I’m no big city lip reader, but I managed to make out the words, “Fucking indicate you-” before my line of sight was cut off by the curvature of the central island.

I quickly realised that in my fury from the previous incident, I’d forgotten to indicate at the next roundabout and had thoroughly upset a chap who rightly felt I should have indicated to let him know where I was going. Ashamed, I returned to work and ate my sandwich and crisps reflecting on what had just transpired.

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.

2013 Year In Review #1: I don’t know who Miley Cyrus and I don’t care…

My shunning of mainstream radio (occurring at precisely the moment my boss banned the radio at work citing “dancing” as a probable cause for a number of botched jobs) has left me somewhat out of the loop as pertains to music, and celebrity news, and such like. A side effect of this is that things that are popular or “trending” frequently bypass me until I make the effort to discover what they’re all about myself, and I’m disinclined to do that while I still have an Internet ready computer and an unquenchable lust for Mexican midget wrestling videos.

As such, I’ve kinda missed out on this whole Miley Cyrus thing, and beyond knowing that her and Hannah Montana have never been seen in the same room together, and that she’s the offspring of the achy breaky big mistakey himself, Billy Ray Cyrus, I know little about the girl. I know she shakes her arse about, and I know she looks like she’s about four stone wet through, but I don’t know any of her songs or why she’s such a news-magnet.

Truth be told, I don’t really care either. If it’s not her, it’s Minaj, or some other insipid strumpet vying for my precious eyeball time by demonstrating increasingly more outrageous interpretations of the phrase “scantily clad”. This time next year it will all have blown over and we’ll all be talking about someone else and Miley Cyrus will be following in Katy Perry’s footsteps - being remembered only for being that annoying growth attached to her more Google image search worthy assets. Normality is resumed.

Twerk-gate was an absolute non-event for me. Yes, I know it generated a shitstorm of controversy at some sort of awful awards ceremony, but that’s more of a sad commentary on the banality of awards ceremonies than on the outlandish or news-worthy behaviour of Ms. Cyrus. If jiggling your balloon end about like Michael J Fox bending over to pick up his car keys is enough to generate controversy at one of these shindigs then there’s some drug dealers out there simply not doing their jobs properly. Jarvis Cocker waved his rump about years ago, and he had the good grace to ruin (read: enhance) an appalling rendition of the appalling Michael Jackson appallathon “Earth Song” while he was at it. Old hat.

But there’s one thing I have to know. It’s bugging me now. Why does Miley Cyrus permanently have her tongue out? Does she think that looking like a dog with it’s head out of a car window is sexy? Is she just tapped or permanently doped up? I don’t get it at all, but someone needs to tell her to put it away. She looks like the mentally retarded female from Arrested Development saying “Rita corny Michael”.

Ian Watkins (Lostprophets, not Steps) is a scallywag…

Oh Ian Watkins.

I’ve got myself on the old Google news and I’ve been getting my eyeballs on all this Ian Watkins is a kiddie fiddler craic. Pretty incredible stuff. It’s not even like real life. Seriously crazy behaviour. Like, if he’d been done for accidentally pulling a fifteen year old who claimed to be of legal age, you could see how mistakes could be made. But there’s not really any getting around arranging to meet up with fans and asking them to bring their new borns along for a little extra spice. That and his laptop password being, no shit, seriously, “ifuckkids”.

Of course, all the usual neanderthals are crawling out of the woodwork now. The pitchforks and the flaming torches. The “bring back the death penalty” posse. Thanks for your input, Piers Morgan. Yes, because the solution to someone doing something abhorrent is to a) kill him and thereby get him out of serving his time, and b) do something abhorrent to teach people that doing abhorrent things is abhorrent. There’s the “I hope he gets raped in prison” clan, because as we all know, rape is a-okay as long as it’s only the baddies that get their arses tickled. And of course there’s the apologists trying to defend his actions because he made some songs they like. Dreadful people, the lot.

Despite the high profile, beyond the furore, above all the gory details in all the news, and the pictures of Fearne Cotton in the tabloids, dragging her into it because she once dated him (classy as always, The Sun) Mr. Watkins has got what he deserves. Regardless of how appalling all this stuff is, and let’s be clear here for a second, the shit he’s been doing is Silence of the Lambs level fucked up, he’s been caught. He’s locked up. He’s going to prison for (hopefully) a very long time. His life is in tatters. His career over. His family ashamed. The legions of fans he acquired over the years sickened. An admittedly kick ass beard. A shell of a man, spending an awful long time reflecting on the terrible things he’s done. That’s justice, kids.

Besides, I’m buzzing that Ian Watkins has admitted he’s a filthy paedo. Not only does it mean that justice has been swiftly done without the jury having to go through the horror of watching videos of his antics with babies, but it also means that Lostprophets will now be airbrushed out of history, never to be heard on radio or seen on television again. Huzzah.

That’s a win-win in my book. 

The new Kinect for Xbox One lives up to the legacy of the original Kinect by being absolutely fucking useless, and Microsoft continue to be the best PR that Sony have ever had. What happened, Xbox?

I really like Lady Gaga, but her new album Artpop is bleach drinkingly terrible.

My telephone looks wonderful now courtesy of these backgrounds from George Michael Brower.
So much victory.

My telephone looks wonderful now courtesy of these backgrounds from George Michael Brower.

So much victory.

The Great Lovefilm Debacle…

I don’t often take advantage of vouchers. I don’t know why. I guess I’ve just never been much of a coupon guy. The only coupon I will regularly use is for Dominos, and that’s because we all know that Dominos pizzas are extortionately priced and a coupon is required to bring them back to somewhere near the realms of reality. I guess I’ve just never fully embraced voucher culture like others have.

So it was with not inconsiderable trepidation that yesterday I signed up for my first ever Groupon. It looked like a good deal. Six months of Lovefilm for £10. Tidy. As an avid user of Netflix (I used to buy at least one Blu Ray a week, but in my post-Netflix life I haven’t bought one for months) I figured that Lovefilm could offer an alternative, and the cheap offer would give me chance to assess whether I truly needed another streaming service in my life.

So I go through the motions. I sign up. I hand ten pounds sterling over to the e-shop keeper at Groupon HQ, and within minutes an e-mail has informed me of what I need to do to collect my prize. I follow the instructions with textbook precision, and sign up to the service. Success, I think. Easy, I think.

While looking through my account settings on the Lovefilm website, I noticed something troubling. It listed my next billing date as the 20th of November. I checked my calendar to make sure. October 21st. My suspicions were correct; November wasn’t six months away. I’d been swindled.

No, no. I thought to myself. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it was a simple error. So I e-mailed customer services.

A short while later, I received this reply.

Perhaps they were mistaken. I mean, I wasn’t a Lovefilm customer. I never have been. I was pretty sure I’d stated my case pretty clearly in my original e-mail, but in the interest of resolving the matter (despite the smarmy tone and excess capitals used in their response), I attempted to clarify the situation with my next e-mail.

That’ll do it. I thought. They can check their records, realise their error, and everything will be hunky dory.

Like the hero of one of those hard-boiled, 40s detective novels I began an internal monologue trying to make sense of the situation. My narration reminds me that I know I’m not a Lovefilm customer. They should know I’m not a Lovefilm customer. Or am I wrong? Am I a Lovefilm customer? Is the twist going to be that I’m a split personality and my other half uses Lovefilm while I use Netflix?

No. Surely not. The split personality twist is too trite. Too contrived. Done to death. I would never stoop to that level. Never. 

Annoyed with the substandard service that I hadn’t even started using yet, I responded.

Surely, that will get my point across. Surely, someone at Lovefilm HQ is reading that and thinking, “Let’s do our best to make sure we can help this clearly disgruntled customer!”.

"Success!", I think. I send my code. All is well. That’s gotta sort it out.

At this point, I’m getting pretty narked. For reasons three.

Reason the first is the disingenuous “Please accept our apologies…” they copy and paste to the start of every e-mail. Either mean it or don’t say it. You can’t copy-paste an apology. That’s like rule number one of apology etiquette.

Reason the second is that I’ve explained the situation to them more than once, and despite thinking I did a pretty good job of it, they still don’t understand what’s going on. I did everything that was asked of me, and they’re still giving me the shaft. I entered my code. It didn’t register it. It produced no error to say the code I entered was false, or wasn’t accepted, or anything. It just signed me up for the free trial I didn’t want.

Reason the third is the big one. The big daddy. The one that compels me to continue this life-sapping, soul destroying to and fro. Principle.

I don’t care about the money. Six months of Lovefilm costs like £36. I’ve spent more than that on a jukebox when I’ve been tanked. Me and money have long standing agreement. I will earn it under the condition that I spend it immediately. Saving is something I cannot do. Saving is a concept as abstract as quantum physics to me. And to hit home how abstract that is, I nearly started crying once watching a Brian Cox documentary. 

To quote the second best Die Hard villain, “You know, money is shit to me”. I’m not penny pinching. I’m not tight. I’m just annoyed that this simple issue has been dragged out, and I know in my heart that I’m in the right. It’s my moral obligation to see this through. Like William Wallace in Braveheart (only without the raped/dead wife) I must stand up to my oppressors and fight the good fight for the little guy. The man on the street. The single, white male who is so often marginalised in this Okay, too much.

So, I decide to send one last-gasp e-mail. To really hit home what I’m trying to say. To hopefully end this once and for all and get what’s rightfully mine.

I haven’t received a reply.

And so here ends the Great Lovefilm Debacle of 2013. Cheated out of what is rightfully mine, swamped in bureaucracy, and in dire need of lessons in Photoshop, I have decided to give up in my pursuit of justice.

The next time I go to my PS3 I will be streaming through Netflix. When I hopefully buy my PS4 in a few months I will be streaming through Netflix. For the best part of a decade I’ll be streaming movies and television through my PS4 and it’ll be through Netflix. When I’m stopped by the man on the street and they say, “Who should I use to stream my movie? Who will serve me best?”, I’ll simply whisper, “Netflix…. Netflix….”.

If I’m paying £5.99 a month for the next ten years, that’s £718.80. I know because I just typed it into a calculator. It could have been yours. Now it’s not. I have a lot of monthly £5.99s to give, and not a single, solitary one of them shall be given to you, Lovefilm.

Stream that.

Found myself thinking “Go Skyler!” on this weeks Breaking Bad, only to then immediately think, “Wait… the last episode made me want her killed. How have they done this?”. I have no idea how they’ve done this. It’s some kind of witchcraft, but hey, go Skyler. About time.

The “Best comment I’ve seen on the Internet” award for today was an easy decision.

The “Best comment I’ve seen on the Internet” award for today was an easy decision.

Ideas for a television show #1…


Keeping Up With The Cardassians

Reality TV show following often villainous lumpy headed Star Trek aliens The Cardassians, documenting the inane conversations they have with each other behind closed doors, hopelessly desperate publicity stunts, gratuitous bikini shots, and drunken nights in trying to get Captain Picard to say, “There are five lights”. 

NME mixed up two stories (Indiana Jones 5 and that Naomi Watts film about Princess Diana) and accidentally gave us an awesome potential plot for a new Indiana Jones movie. Sure, Indy would be like 100 years old by the time Diana was on her way out, but if he could survive the embarrassment of being involved in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull then old age has no chance of stopping him.

NME mixed up two stories (Indiana Jones 5 and that Naomi Watts film about Princess Diana) and accidentally gave us an awesome potential plot for a new Indiana Jones movie. Sure, Indy would be like 100 years old by the time Diana was on her way out, but if he could survive the embarrassment of being involved in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull then old age has no chance of stopping him.

Things I would do if I were in charge of the country #1…

I would send letters out telling parents where registered sex offenders live and recommend that they keep their children indoors if they have one in their area. Safety first. I would lie and say that there was a nonce living on my street because I like to keep my bedroom window open to stay cool during summer, and honestly, the sound of children outside having fun and squawking on cuts through me like fingernails down a blackboard.

Rich Uncle Skeleton. Just look how dapper he is.

Rich Uncle Skeleton. Just look how dapper he is.

Even for a motherfucker like you, that’s low, Internet.

Even for a motherfucker like you, that’s low, Internet.