TV.

So I was surfing around the blogs that I usually read and I came across this post by my blog buddy Docdenbow and it got me thinking, we really do have some of the best and some of the worst TV in Britain. We make great comedy and great drama and yet we import tons of American shows and allow members of the public to entertain us with “reality” although the concept of reality in reality TV died after the second series of Big Brother. But across the many genres of TV we have about eleven that crop up on all channels all the time (of course there is cross over like Comedy Drama, Reality Documentary and Sport based movie etc) and the eleven are – Sport, News, Movies, Reality TV with celebs, reality TV with the public, documentaries, cookery with celeb chefs, cookery with the public, drama, comedy and opera of the soapy kind.

SPORT: Probably the best form of TV, because it engages with people who are really, really interested. Cricket fans watch cricket, football fans watch football etc, etc. It’s a captive audience. Everyone has their favourite sport apart from the occasional cock-wipe you meet who never watches sport because it’s boring. Fuck off. I’ve a rule that has served me well and it’s this… “Never trust a bloke who doesn’t drink or like football.” But I think I should change that to “Never trust a bloke who doesn’t drink or like sports” because I’ve never met an interesting, fascinating or likeable bloke who was only interested in work and Dragons Den. Sports coverage on the box is essential, and should be free like domestic water supplies used to be (that’s a whole other blog).

NEWS: News is good. I like the news. It’s formulaic but it’s always new. You’ll never see a repeat of the news on Dave or UK Gold. You never know what the next breaking news story will be. But if I had to quibble about news it would be the 24-7 aspect of it. News Channels. Aint that the same as having a 24 hour live feed of paint drying or a broken leg healing? I mean hour by hour it changes so slowly and if you find yourself watching too much of it you can speak verbatim the live news as it happens, cus they are still using the same script from the previous hour. News is good, I like the news, I especially like Susanna Reid, but please, please gimme more… anything. Local news, weather, something that is changing quicker than the Syrian revolution…. Fucking hell. *looks at watch*

MOVIES: Hey you either like them or you don’t. In my experience the best movies are the ones you’ve stumbled across by accident and never heard of. They blow my fucking mind.

REALITY TV (WITH CELBRITIES): Strictly Come Dancing, the imaginatively titled Celebrity Big Brother or Keith Chegwin with his cock out. We’ve all seen reality TV with celebrities at some time. I always wonder, what is the point of reality TV with celebs? Celebs are already famous and the point of reality TV is to make real people celebrities. Oh of course, it’s to help the flagging career. You know when someone goes into the jungle and eats a Kangaroos cock on Who Wants To Be A Celebrity, then meets someone, then they get married, make several reality TV spin off shows on ITV2, get divorced and then make a TV show about the divorce and the moving on part of said divorce. Brilliant. I’m not naming any names. We all know who they are. Good luck to them, but I’ve heard you can only sell your soul to Satan once. So these people are re-mortgaging negative equity with the devil so only Satan himself knows what’s in store for them. Good luck to them.

REALITY TV (WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC): I blame Airport and Driving School. That bearded guy and Maureen back all those years ago. They started it! Well they became passive participants in the beginning of the end of TV. They agreed to let us watch them doing stuff that they would have done anyway without a camera only in a more exaggerated way because a camera was running. It was poor, it still is poor, but it’s cheap. Celebrities cost fortunes, members of the public are paid off with buffets of food by craft services or some shit like that. It’s crap. Even when it’s good it’s pretty dire. I refuse to speak about that Essex show cus it’s neither one thing or another, the lines are too blurred these days. (If a reality star appears on a panel show are they celebs? Where’s the tipping point?) Is Jeremy Kyle reality? He’ll have to be to avoid giving him his own genre.

DOCUMENTARIES: Nothing better than education, dinosaurs, wildlife, the Sky at Night, Jimmy’s, all good. Documentaries are pretty good mostly. They let us see how bin Laden was found and shot in the face like a rabid dog, they let us follow the journey of a young man in the body of an old man who has a thing for Nel McAndrew but we’re not learning much from BBC3 telling us that some spoilt kids who spend a week in Angola having to stop smoking, drinking and saying ‘woteva’ had the epiphany that sometimes filling the dishwasher or not arguing about bringing your washing downstairs isn’t so bad or torturous. Documentaries are a mixed bag but the good ones are out-of-this-world-superb.

COOKERY WITH CELEBRITY CHEFS: These are vehicles to fill seats in restaurants or to sell cook books to arrogant, pompous, cunts who think the middle classes exist even though they go to work (aka Working Class). Don’t get me started on “middle class people.” What’s wrong with a cheese and potato pie, lasagne or a nice Irish baked tater?

COOKERY WITH MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC: Masterchef and Come Dine With Me come instantly to mind. 100% of people on the planet eat, some of them not so much, others so much that they end up on the exercise bike/zumba/weight watchers reality show. Even tramps eat. Having the right sorbet isn’t a problem, it wasn’t for cavemen and it isn’t for modern day starving Africans. These shows put us back in the realm of putting “some bloke” on telly who thinks he’s got something to share. Simply David Brent TV. But at least The Office was comedy, often these shows are rancid, decomposing, smelly, disgusting, fly-covered shite. Gimme a cheese and onion breville with micro chips and baked beans any day. Fuck food snobbery, it’s no more relevant than oxygen snobbery.

DRAMA: Cracker, that was a show. Lost, had me lost but hooked. Chimera, was entertaining enough so go and Google it, it was on ITV (or ITV1 as we call it these days). Drama on UK screens is gripping. We do drama well. One thing this country has is great writers, actors and directors for drama. We all have fave’s what’s yours? Let me know. I reckon Drama might be a standalone post, coming soon!

COMEDY: See drama. We in Britian are kings of comedy. Kings. Our writers, actors and directors set the standard that everyone else follows. Might take another post to fully express my love of British comedy.

SOAP OPERA: Eldorado, Family Affairs and Crossroads aside soap has captivated me (I’m ashamed to say) for years. I love Eastenders. It’s fucking tacky, shitty, gloopy cheese but I try not to miss it. Corrie just makes me wonder what a cobbled street might look like in a zombie apocalypse but I still watch it cus the missus likes it. I never watch Emmerdale or Hollyoaks and am not aware of any other soaps. I’m sure you can all enlighten me. Yes I am a sage when it comes to soaps. Eastenders and Corrie are OK.

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Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

They are you know… after you I mean. They’re out to get you, stiff you and fuck you and generally make you uncomfortable and wary. Yes I’m of course talking about THEM. You know who THEY are don’t you? They’re the people who’ve got it in for you, those people at work who steal your ideas. They only have to look at your face and they can read you like a book. Say goodbye to even the tiniest amount of input in the office, THEY’VE already taken it and won the plaudits. Look closer and you’ll see them LAUGHING. Watch THEM stick the knife into your back too just to make themselves look good and YOU LOOK BAD.

THEY aren’t just in the workplace either. THEY are everywhere. THEY are the people who stick the price of a hot dog up a quid just because THEY SAW YOU COMING, or THEY are the teenage, underpaid store assistant spitting on your Big Mac because THEY know, THEY KNOW.

THEY don’t care about you, you know, THEY want YOU to FAIL. They want you to FALL flat on your face and CRY. THEY want your home to crumble into a mine shaft pit, THEY want your car on bricks, THEY want to steal your cash, your clothes and your girlfriend. THEY want you to fail.

See that guy who served you this morning at the bank, he’s walking out of that job soon. He’s going to Cuba with all of your personal data… and of course your cash. You knew that at the time didn’t you? The way that he smiled as he served you, the sarcastic way he says “Can I help you” You know he’s up to no good don’t you? You just know it.

Have you ever sat at home and caught your cat or dog just sat staring at you? They know something. If only they could talk they’d blab it all over town. What did they see or hear? You just don’t know, but they saw and heard everything. They’re plotting and they’re scheming your downfall you know. One day they’ll do you in, one day.

It’s all true, you’re not going crazy. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. They are out there. THEY are coming to get YOU!

If you’ve read this far I’m hoping YOU’RE smiling, otherwise, you may need help, yes I KNOW too, you see, I KNOW TOO!

What the f*ck are you looking at you c*nt? (aka Modern Manners)

Ever held a door open for someone who looked through you after walking through it without uttering a word of thanks?

Ever served someone at work (I’m talking trade counter work here) with a smile and helpfulness that was met with a cold dark stare and shouts of “you said it was here, two more fucking days!” even though you hadn’t said anything other than “Can I help you?”

Ever hailed a black cab that stops ahead of you only to see someone else jump in and smile at you as it drives away?

But then again have you ever: Looked the other way or even crossed the road to avoid a Big Issue seller or pretended to hold the lift for someone running towards it when you were pressing thin air or blocked a junction driving home in traffic when you could have easily flashed someone through who wanted to turn right?

If you live in Britain in 2011 you probably said yes to all or most of the above because good manners in Britain are like the red squirrel, something we consider indigenous to these shores that slowly overtime is diminishing towards extinction but still we do nowt about it. With every single day that passes manners in Britain fall further and further into the sticky mire of piss and shit that they fell into a while ago and just can’t get out of.

I’m guilty of being bad mannered sometimes, usually when I’m in a rush or hungover, but sadly it happens. I have to admit it, and so should you, we’re all a bit bad mannered occasionally. But that’s OK I suppose, you can justify being a bit tetchy in a queue at the bank if you have an appointment to keep or you had a late night and the head is pounding. But some people have manners that make the hair on your head curl.

I could reel off super-extreme examples that wouldn’t be very typical or realistic, so I won’t. But some people walk around like moody, self important cocks all day and there really is no need for it. I’ve recently stood in a queue in my local Morrisons supermarket and got annoyed. It was at the fag counter to buy lottery tickets. I queued as did the three or four others waiting their turn. Some skinny, jobless, chav, prick just wandered over and as the nice lady served the girl in front of me this cock-less piece of shit just interrupted, “Is this where the fag lighters are?” Why do that? If this piece of shit dicksplash cocknose had half a brain he could have worked out that the fag counter probably sells lighters to a captive audience of smokers who buy fags there, plus if he’d wiped the shit out of his eyes he could have seen the shelf that had dozens and dozens of lighters on it. Fucking get in line you cunt like the rest of us and stop being a shit eating, cock smoking bell-end! Fuck me!

Oh yeah, before anyone thinks “it’s a class thing” it’s not. I was brought up, not dragged up, in a working class home with a working class family in a working class area. I went to a comprehensive school that had average teachers; average grades and my dad had a blue collar engineering job. I was and I still am Mr Working Class. I’m proud of it and generally the working classes are pretty decent people – with manners. I was taught right from wrong and I knew how to say please and thank you before I had a full head of hair. Being poor or working class is neither a reason for bad manners or an excuse. So please, don’t think that class plays a part – it doesn’t, I consider class outdated anyway, but that’s another rant for another day.

I suppose the thing with bad manners is this, it just increases exponentially. You see when someone behaves badly, you might have to behave worse to overcome it. By that I mean, someone wrongs you… they steal your taxi. You’re outraged. Next time you get a taxi you just get in someone else’s and as they watch helplessly, just for your own satisfaction, you give them the middle finger too as you zoom away. The next thing you know your victim is dragging an old lady from her taxi by her blue rinse. Then that old lady is dragging another even older lady by her thinning blue rinse from her mobility scooter and committing Grand Theft Wheelchair and so on and so forth. (This example probably ends here as it’s inconceivable even by me that the even older lady with the thining blue rinse can up her crime, unless she pisses on and then shits on and then sets fire to a skeleton uncovered in a field by Time Team.)

Britain isn’t going to hell in a hand basket; its just going to say “Fuck you” every time you say “Please.”

Please subscribe and thank you for reading if you got this far (see what I did there?)

Peace!

Karl Pilkington is a funny fucker.

The last few days I’ve been sitting back and watching a lot of Karl Pilkington on YouTube. The guy is one of a kind, he totally cracks me up. Here are a few vids that I want to share with you.  I can’t wait to see An Idiot Abroad 2, it’s gonna be great. The guy is quality!

Karl Pilkington on Food.

Karl Pilkington on Christmas.

Karl Pilkington on Science.

To think that some people said he was a character! Hahahaha that would be fucking stupid.

BBC Horizon: Are you good or evil? I don’t know any more after watching your documentary. Maybe…..?

Horizon tonight was interesting, are we good or bad? They looked at fundamentals like brain activity and genetics; things we are all made up of. Nature Vs Nurture was a debate for years, I certainly remember it in Psychology lessons for four long years, but it’s clear now that both play a role. During Horizon’s show they interview neuro-scientist Jim Fallon who has become an expert in serial killers and in tests he identifies brain patterns from a random selection as murderers and normal people without knowing which was which in the random mix he was given. It is discovered that a gene exists called “the MAOA gene” or “warrior gene” that predisposes you to violence. Then he finds out that despite never having gone to prison, or killing anyone he too had the same brain pattern as the serial killers and the MAOA gene. His family even agree that he has a “hot head” and is scary.

What was most interesting about this documentary was the fact that Jim Fallon was not a serial killer or a seriously violent man simply because during his development, his childhood, he had a stable and loving home and was able to grow physically and mentally in a violence and abuse free way. This is fascinating stuff and shows that the argument in psychology and in crime and punishment should always be one of nature and nurture when punishing and backs up my firm belief that the death penalty isn’t an acceptable punishment for any crime.

Or is it?

Tonight I have questioned my own belief that putting another human to death is wrong. And so simply because; if they are genetically predisposed to violence and murder and have had the formative years of abuse or violence they are going to, no matter how much rehabilitation, be violent, criminal people. So putting them to death might save another person suffering at their already pre-programmed, murderous, violent hands.

But then the question still remains, “They might be genetically psychopaths, but it’s the environmental factors that push them over the edge.” This is proven by Jim Fallon and his bad nature but good nurture. This then counters the idea of death as a punishment because all killers, no matter what their genetic make up, are either good gene people with good upbringings (usually crime free people), good gene people with bad upbringings (might be criminals, might not), bad gene people with good upbringings (might be criminals but like Jim Fallon, normal people) or they are bad gene people (can’t help that) brought up in terrible conditions (again, can’t help that) and so they are more likely to commit crimes.

This entire debate about genetics, environment, free will and motive will throw criminal justice open to a new world. A world of good lawyers and bad lawyers, ones wanting these facts to be heard in context for justice; and ones wanting the bonus for getting the result that benefits their clients and reverting to nature/nurture/genetics debates for a quick buck.

As asked at the end of Horizon, (paraphrased) “whether we are good or evil, it lays partly in our genetics and our environment, and as we aren’t free to choose either, are we really free to choose at all?”

Ten years after September 11th.

We all remember where we were on September 11th 2001 when we heard and saw on TV that the USA was being attacked by plane hijackers using civilian transportation as a weapon to kill civilians, fire fighters and police officers. People going about their business, doing their duty and living their lives. Even now after a decade the images of that day are still so striking and unbelievable, the shock of them hasn’t lessened over time. Planes hitting the world trade centre, people jumping to escape the fires, the buildings coming down are images that seer into the mind. Seeing people die, knowing people are dying, being a voyeur on an atrocity, are all things that make the decent majority of people sick to the stomach. Televised mass murder on an unprecedented scale. Not even Stephen King or Clive Barker would dare conjure up such images. They’re dark, not sick.

The most powerful nation in the world left devastated, if they cannot prevent this, no nation can prevent it. Fear was the air we breathed all over the planet that day. Who’d be next? The threats made afterwards by the Taliban and al Qaeda about the non stop rain of planes from our skies. The inevitable invasion of Afghanistan. The demonisation of Islam, war on several fronts, the deaths of many nations soldiers, the suffering of untold civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bombings in Bali, Madrid, London, a massacre in Mumbai, etc etc, on it goes, the death, and the suffering. What for?

The hanging of Saddam Hussein? Surely not? Hanging a man with no weapons of mass destruction in retaliation for an atrocity carried out by people he despised and opposed wasn’t really justice. Yes he was an evil man and a thorn in the side but was any of this justifiable? No, but thousands of Iraqi civilians died in the war and many hundreds of British and American soldiers too. More death, more destruction, no justification, and the world just sighed. Where will the suffering end?

Killing the leader of al Qaeda on May 2nd this year showed fundamentalists everywhere that you will get caught eventually, but it serves little purpose really. The doctrine is public, the idiots that want it are still lapping it up. Many of the idiots who fall for the ideology of bin Laden and al Qaeda enjoy the idea of martyrdom so assassination holds no fear. They are lost the day they accept such warped doctrines. Education to the contrary is more of a solution to shooting the bad guy after he’s swallowed the bait. Osama’s death will have offered some hollow comfort to a few, but really after almost a decade no one cared anymore. He was no longer an evil mastermind and simply was a man sitting on the floor of a spare room in a house watching videos of himself. He might as well have had a youtube account.

But maybe the last ten years have seen a change that might be positive in a troubled region. With a lack of right wing Arabic or Islamic fundamentalist involvement we have seen two revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, with a (almost) successful civil war in Libya ousting Col. Gaddafi as well as civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen and protests against personal freedom restrictions in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Oman democracy and Islam might have become bedfellows, offering the people of these countries a chance at a future that they could only have dreamt of beforehand.

But as the West plans a political withdrawal of Afghanistan ten years after the 9/11 attacks we have to remember this. Nothing has been learned politically. When our last troops have come home and the civil war in Afghanistan begins we’ll criticise the Afghans. Yes I understand that we don’t want to lose any more lives there, but what about the soldiers who’ve served in Afghanistan and lost their lives in the ten years since September 11th 2001, fighting for freedom and trying to offer justice for the 9/11 victims? Why are we about to walk away from a country where the work hasn’t been completed? Why are we prepared to leave Afghanistan to an inevitable civil war that might lead to the pre-9/11 Afghanistan re-emerging?

Maybe I’m blogging from an emotional point of view, I’m an emotional guy and I find the whole 9/11 debate too much because it’s not black and white, us and them, right and wrong, it’s much more complicated than that. But it seems to me we’ve spilled blood for fun in the last decade, on many sides, but we’ve actually learned or changed very little, from a Western political point of view I mean. We’ve lost liberties and freedoms at home at the same time of fighting for freedom and liberty abroad. It’s all a little topsy-turvy.

But as the ten year anniversary beckons all we can do is take a moment to think about those who died needlessly that terrible day in America.

RIP: 9/11 Victims, Afghanistan war veterans/soldiers killed on all allied (NATO) sides, Afghan civilians killed, Iraqi civilians killed, Allied soldiers killed in Iraq, victims of terrorism all around the world, victims of uprisings and coups across the Middle East, and anyone who has died in the pursuit of human dignity and freedom, in the last ten years, or ever.

Peace!