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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Men are from Mars....

....Women are just mental.

A rare long lie this morning found me waking up to The Demon watching one of her current favourite tv shows, MTV's "reality phenomenon" The Hills.
If by some miracle of fate you have missed this gem, I'll give you a brief synopsis:
It seems to consist mostly of various camera crews following four or five totally affected, self absorbed, narcissistic, snobby, bitchy, vacuous Hollywood rich tarts around their "ordinary" daily lives.
I say four or five because I can't really be sure how many of them there are, they all look the same with their perfectly coiffured $300 hairdos, their Beverly Hills apartments and their BMW's, Mercedes and Range Rovers. Not bad for a bunch just out of their teens.

After five minutes of this show I wanted to smash the tv.....
....straight into the face of Heidi or Audrina or Chiara or whatever the hell the Barbie doll tootsy on the screen was called. She was having a particularly bad day at work. Work which mostly seemed to consist of sitting around in constructed poses bitching about her flatmates to co-workers who clearly just wanted her to die. Horribly.

It was at this point that I felt the need to question The Demon on her attraction to this turd of a show:
"It's fun, it's escapism, it's a good show..." she claims.

Even after all these years together I still don't understand her, but I suppose it works both ways.
"You'll quite happily sit all day on a Sunday watching 'A 4x4 Is Born' or 'Mythbusters' or that bloody 'Overhaulin'!" she retaliates, at which point I highlight the informative nature of the shows she mentioned, their emphasis on empirical data, engineering, science, all wrapped up in a highly entertaining package. It's what tv was invented for! 

The look I received could have brought on a nuclear winter.
Vive le difference.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green Shoots

Winter, don't you just hate it?
It usually causes a nationwide hiatus, where people just put their lives on hold in many was until the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and until the weather improves, although here in Scotland any improvement is academic at best. It feels like years have went by since my mountain bike has seen any action, and the little voice urging me to put myself in some wet and muddy danger is becoming louder and harder to resist.

I need my mountain bike. Some people need football, or retail therapy, recreational drugs or alcohol to keep them (arguably) sane, but I need my bike. It's strange that a sport that requires so much concentration can also be, for me at least, a time when I can clear my head and reboot, sort of.
But Spring is a-coming. The snow has melted and I can hear The Patriot calling me from its garage hibernation.
If global warming can eliminate this climate-imposed recreational coma, then I'm all for it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spare a shekel for an old ex-leper?

This week's earthquake in Haiti has, at current estimates, killed at least 50,000 and has made over 300,00 people homeless....

....and if I'm honest, I really don't care.
Don't give a shit, couldn't give a monkey's.
Don't get me wrong, on one level I know that these people are experiencing a human tragedy that I really have no comprehension of, but still I find myself looking at images of the dust-caked survivors being pulled from the ground and I feel nothing.

It all started on October the 23rd, 1984. Michael Buerk's now famous news report from Ethiopia highlighting the famine there was the first push downhill of the media snowball. In the years since, it has just been one humanitarian crisis after another, disaster upon disaster, and I'm sorry, but Compassion Fatigue has well and truly set in.
I've become so overexposed to starving black babies with flies in their eyes, roadside ditches filled with dead Kosovans or Rwandan rebels butchering civilians that I now just stare blankly at these news reports, wondering what the next emotionally blackmailed tv advert will be.
I'm not an uncharitable, uncaring person, I currently donate monthly to three charities that I believe do good work both here in the UK and around the globe:

In a purely selfish way, I feel better knowing that "I've done my bit", and indeed I've doubled my donation to the British Red Cross this month in the knowledge that I'm probably paying for five plastic water buckets for some Haitian families.
Job done.
Conscience clean.

At least until the next A-list celebrity pops up and tells us that we really need to give more for the next humanitarian disaster.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Wanted: Transit Van. Will pay cash

Apparently, in a former Madge-free life, Guy Ritchie used to be a furniture removal man, and after witnessing his latest stab at directing, 'Sherlock Holmes', I'd recommend that he log on to and see if he can find a nice, low mileage van for sale.

It's an appalling film. The plot, what little there is, can only be described as tenuous at best, and fails to take the viewer on any kind of journey at all. I felt completely disengaged and couldn't really figure out what the bad guy was attempting to do or why I should really care in the first place.
The film also suffers from miscasting of truly epic proportions. A box office draw he may be, but wise-cracking Robert Downey Jr is terrible as the worlds most famous aristocratic detective. In fact a swap in roles between him and Dr Watson, played by Jude Law, would have been preferable. Even better still would have been to let the excellent Mark Strong, a man seemingly born to play Sherlock Holmes, don the deerstalker and wander around muttering "Elementary etc etc" under his breath, rather than play the one dimensional villain, Lord Blackwood.

The problem, as I see it, is that Guy Ritchie only knows how to make one kind of film, a "cool" London gangster flick featuring guns, explosions and lots of comedic "cockney banter".
'Sherlock Holmes' movies on the other hand, as typified by the great Basil Rathbone, were always a cerebral, intellectual crime thriller, and Holmes always defeated his enemies with the power of his mind, not with his pugilistic skills.

There are just some film franchises that cannot survive a Hollywood makeover.
The game is most definitely not afoot.


Mad Dogs & Englishmen

We Brits do 'mental' better than most nations, and it's quite clear that Florence Welch here is a bit bonkers, but she's also amazing!

...and quite fit.