Saturday, 31 May 2014

#100daysofhappiness - DAY 7 - the perfect latte

Today at work I didn't have a very good time.

But I did make the best latte I've ever made.

It was sublime. The milk was textured, not frothed. I remembered to warm up the glass. I hit the exact right quantity of coffee for the perfect shot. I poured it over the silky milk and watched it meld with the milk, a beautiful coffee and cream blend. I didn't spill it at all when I took it over to the table (I carry plates, bowls and glasses like Julie Walter's waitress in the Two Soups sketch, which is not ideal for a waitress. I seem to have the constant DTs or something). I

It was perfect.

And that made me happy for a millisecond.

Throw the die...

The thing about the Isle of Wight, right. Well, the thing is, 70% of it is very beautiful and then 20% of it is very dull and 10% of it you just wouldn't set foot in. Unless you were some form of inbred freak - you've seen The Hills Have Eyes, right? Well, yeah. That. But with cockney accents and a thousand yard stare that'd scare the bejesus out of you.

It's half feral and half rich feckers who only come here during the summer. I work in a bar in a sailing village. Didn't know that sailing villages existed? No, nor me. Turns out that they are dead as Rosyton Vasey on a wet Sunday afternoon for most of the year and then suddenly SWARMING with 4x4s, personalised number plates and people who are so freaking posh they struggle to squeeze actual words through the plums in their mouths.

They all own boats or yachts or whatever and they're clogging up the streets full pelt until suddenly, it's over. And they're gone again. Tumbleweed is the only ting to be seen throughout the village. Tumbleweed and the odd old person staggering around, zombie like and confused.

The island comes 'alive' in the summer. If, by alive, you count endless holidaymakers and so very very many children. Children EVERYWHERE. They're in the sea, they're in the road, they're in the shops, they're in the cafes, they're in the bars (how and when did this become a thing?), they're in front of your car, they're in your pool, they're E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.

So, for a single gal about town. OK, a single, pushing 40, getting slightly hysterical at the thought of never meeting anyone ever again, gal about town, it's probably not the most intelligent place to move to is it?

My rationale - such as it was - was that it's very beautiful (it is), I want to live by the sea (I like that), my dog will like it (she does, although, to be fair, she can take or leave the whole beach and sea thing), and that there's bound to be some single men on the island, around my age range and who might be into similar things to me (basically books, reading and talking, I mean, it's not THAT weird). I didn't realise I would feel so profoundly isolated.

When I moved to York, not knowing anyone at all, I was pretty lonely. OK, extremely lonely, for a while. And then, because it's a city with people in it, I met some. And then I met some more. And it all started to get better.

But down here... I just don't see that happening. I guess you don't have to be a genius to work out that moving to an island you can drive across in half an hour isn't the best way to widen your dating pool. Particularly when you're in the extremely shady category of never married spinster. I mean, it's just not going to make things any easier.

Life, of course, isn't all about relationships. I know because I haven't had one since 2009. So, yeah. I get that. There's loads of other things to do. But I just want to do it WITH someone for a bit. I am so over being single. I'm done with it. I'm bored by it. God knows my friends are bored with it. Because I keep talking about it. It's an elephant in the room that follows me around yelling: YOU'RE UNLOVABLE and WEIRD and YOU CAN'T FIND A BOYFRIEND. I'm the only one who can hear the elephant. I mean, I hope so. That could be awks.

Anyway, my point, right. My point is, I cannot keep stumbling from one ill informed decision to another. I need to make the Right Decision next time. I need to choose the Right Place and do the Right Thing. My methods for decision making haven't really stood me in good stead up till now.

I need to decide where to move to, when to move there and how I will support myself in doing so. These are the things I need to decide. I have made lists and I have asked opinions and I have written down what I want out of my life. I have done all that and still all I can see is a forest full of fucking trees and no clear path.

So I thought I'd try Luke Reinhardt's way next. I'm going to roll some dice and do what they tell me. If you've read The Dice Man, you'll know that it just can't possibly go wrong...

Friday, 30 May 2014

It's a kind of magic

Why do people subscribe to the ridiculousness that is homeopathy?

This bothers me. It's niggles me. When it comes to religion and god and belief I'm an out and out sceptic. For me it's clear as crystal that belief and hope are emotions conjured up in order to protect ourselves from cold harsh reality.

I get why people feel they need to believe in something, particularly when the bad shit is going down. I even understand why people feel the need to 'thank' something or be grateful to something. I mean, it would genuinely be peachy if there was a reason and a purpose and we are all here for something. But there isn't, obviously. Or at least, until someone can prove otherwise it's clear to me there isn't.

Granted, this could be why I'm a miserable fucker. It's not easy to stare reality in the face and realise there's nothing. No reason for us to be here. No plan. No focus. No duties to fulfil. We have to create all of that and give ourselves a purpose and a reason to breathe in and out. And that's hard, man. I'd much rather have something fancy to blame and pray to. But I don't.

Even though religion is not something I feel I can believe in, I think I understand why it remains so important to some people. It gives a sense of meaning and a side of the fence to sit on when it comes to fighting about shit. If you really, truly believe that women should go around wearing tents and walking three paces behind men, then you have a reason to be pissed when they don't.

If you really believe that what an old book says is gospel truth and have taken some of the words completely out of context to back up your homophobia or racism then, y'know. I get it. I don't like it, but I sort of get it. It's useful to prop up the weaknesses of the human mind and the constant need for power and oppression. Religion's ace for that.

But shit like homeopathy? I mean, REALLY? Or horoscopes? Or crystal therapy? Or chakras? Or fairies? There are people all over the interwebs who purport to 'believe' in this shit. How do you 'believe' in something that is so obviously a massive pile of hokum bullshit? Don't you feel stupid? Doesn't it make you feel DUMB?

Homeopathy is an actual, proper crock. Even the guy who invented it knew it was shite. Kind of like L Ron Hubbard, he put something out there to see if there was anyone gullible enough to swallow it. And oh look, there ARE.

In the 19th century, shit was different. I get that. People were living through the golden age of scientific and medicinal discovery. They thought they'd discovered effective cures in laudanum and opium. And, let's face it, they had. Take that stuff and you don't give a shit about your dysentery, TB or syphilis anymore. But they also came up with shit that's just insane.

Like mediums, ectoplasm and homeopathy.

Homeopathy takes a disease or remedy and waters it down so much that there is nothing left of the original substance. Nothing. It is water. It is literally water. The 'tincture' is WATER. So it's basically someone selling people tiny bottles of water and telling them to close their eyes real tight and just BELIEVE. It's a Disney film. It's BULLSHIT.

There is something in the placebo effect. Numerous studies have shown this and I think there are occasions where it's obviously not harmful for someone to use the power of their mind to attempt to overcome/live with/come to terms with/deal with their symptoms. But don't peddle it as a cure. That's actual quackery. It's lies. It's like going to a witch doctor for your cancer. Or visiting a medium to cure your heart disease. Like reading tarot cards and telling your fortune. It's not real. Magic doesn't exist.

Just like cancer can't be cured by positive thinking and people wanking on about 'fighting it'. The only thing that will cure cancer is research and science. That's it. Nothing else. Not magic beans, not vitamins, not special water and definitely not homeopathy.

I thought that everyone realised homeopathy was just water. But after I'd read about the founder dude, I did a quick Google search. There are schools of homeopathy. There are people calling themselves Doctors of homeopathy, people who say they're 'trained in homeopathy'. What? Trained to sell tiny bottles of water to people who need real, actual help? Where do you get trained in that? A special circle of hell?

#100daysofhappiness DAYS 5 and 6

In between working to ridiculous deadlines that necessitated getting up at 5am, then going to work with  the rudest, thickest 'chef' I've ever had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with, on top of fuck all sleep because some utter cunts are resurfacing the road outside my bedroom window (they didn't want to disturb anyone during the day you see. It just wouldn't do if people had a small diversion to contend with during the day you see. Much better to get the diggers out between the hours of 8pm and 6am because these are OPTIMUM hours to dig up and resurface the road, complete with three diggers, rolling things, actual floodlights and approximately 20 foul mouthed men in hi vis jackets who are just a joy to walk past when one is coming home from work. I mean who's going to be REMOTELY bothered by all of that?).

Anyway, what with all this fun and the disappearance of a nice man I was talking to (I didn't kill him or anything. I'm aware that sounded sinister. He just did The Fade on me) I've been struggling to just get through the motherfucking day, let alone find something that makes me feel all rainbow bright and fuzzy.

So for Day 5, let's just say I was happy that I wasn't actually dead. That's the best I can do.

Day 6, that's today, followed much the same track. Except I got new glasses. And they are nice. I think they look nice. No one really noticed but I did.

And then I got home and remembered that my dog smells of biscuits and grass and her belly is nice to stroke and she gave me a cuddle and I got a sudden rush of blood to the heart.

So that'll do for Day 6.

I'll try to conjure up some real heartwarming, facile shit for tomorrow though.

Stay tuned.

Monday, 26 May 2014

#100daysofhappiness. DAY 4. Feet.

Phew. Day 4 already? Gosh. Doesn't time just fly by. I can't believe I started this life affirming thing (hashtag THING) just four days ago. And now I'm on day 4. Of the things that make me happy.

So, yeah. I'm going to say feet. Having two working feet makes my life much easier than if I didn't have feet. So, on the whole, I'd say feet make me happy. Only mine though, really. I'm not very keen on other people's feet.

Am I doing this right?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

#100daysofhappiness DAY 3 - Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre came on the telly so I turned it off.

The absence of Michael McIntyre and his weird floppy hair made me happy.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

#100daysofhappiness - DAY 2 - my dog is ALIVE

Hashtag: thank fuck for that.

Maybe there is something to this #100daysofhappiness thing after all.

Last night my darling pooch, light of my life, cuddler supreme and all round general Best Dog Ever (TM) started screaming with pain. I thought it was something I'd done. This is my wont. I soon realised it wasn't.

When her screams occurred every 20 minutes I decided she had to go to the emergency vet. A 45 minute drive, made worse by the fact that my road is closed due to some endless resurfacing or some shit, with a dog screaming in pain is Not A Fun Thing.

Her life flashed before my eyes. She's only just arrived into a world where she is looked after. After five or six years living on the streets, I couldn't bear to entertain the thought that now she was severely ill. Having an animal in pain is one of the worst things to endure. Not being able to ask them what's wrong. Not being able to help her.

The drive seemed to take approximately seventy billion years.

I didn't actually cry until we reached the hospital and then I did.

The vet looked exasperated - as well she might - at my display of emotion.

I blame hormones.

One examination, two anal glands expressed and a fair wodge of cash later and my darling pooch was much better.

The feeling of relief was sweet sweet SWEET and has carried on into today.

So yeah, Day 2, I can say that I am truly happy that she is well and pain free.

Day 3 has a lot to live up to.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The king is dead...

... so stop squeezing the guts out of his lifeless, bloated husk of a corpse.

I'm talking about MJ. I hate the fact that people called him the King of Pop. I disagree. I think the king of pop was Glen Medieros. Now there was a man who knew how to hold a tune.

But nevertheless, I grew up with Jacko, before he was a paedo (allegedly), took kids to bed for sleepovers (proven), fed them something called 'Jesus Juice' (also proven), dangled his baby out of the window (observed) and carved his face up into a grotesque mask that resembled neither man nor beast (seen with my own eyes.

Actually, also before he was white. So I grew up with a Jacko who did Bad and I like Billie Jean and some of his songs are properly ace. But everything from 1992 onwards was utter shit. And yet so it went on. The fake fuckers around him propping up his crimes and delusions. Allowing a grown man to regress into insanity and inflict it on other people, all because he was the best cash cow they'd ever had.

Sick, sad society we live in where a world can watch someone making an utter fool of himself in the name of mental illness, but allow the media to perpetuate the bullshit because he's selling tickets, records and cans of motherfucking Pepsi.

Horrible old world. Anyone looking at his carved up, mutilated face; anyone listening to his rambling, drugged up, addled speeches; anyone with eyes and a cognisant brain could have seen that Michael Jackson was a fucked up individual. A danger to people around him. Definitely a danger to children - I know it wasn't proven but my opinion is that he was guilty as Stuart Hall. The man was ill and he needed some kind of help. He needed someone to tell him. He needed people to stop brutalising him for the cash they could make.

He died, as we all knew he would, young and fucked up. And no one does what he did to himself if they're not severely mentally ill. His face was repulsive. He wanted to buy Joseph Merrick's skeleton at one point, I mean of course he did, he needed someone to be around who might just make him look normal again. Joseph would have been able to perhaps point out that while he had been born with a congential deformity that made people treat him differently, Jacko had taken a perfectly good face and had it carved to bits. He had to stick the end of his nose on with a fucking plaster.

How the fuck were the surgeons sleeping at night? Does money really overtake all morals? Are there really people out there willing to do this? Well, yes, there are. Because they did.

And then he died. And it was over. The poor bastard was finally out of his misery and there could be some closure for those he damaged during his heyday. Hallelujah. And also we'd never have to pretend that the moonwalk is good every again. Or listen to Ben. Or say things like: Well, he IS a genius. Because he wasn't a genius, actually. Geniuses are people like Mozart and Sartre and Prince.

So all of this happened and his children were able to take their masks off (you know the ones that he made them wear whenever they were in public because that's a totally NORMAL and RATIONAL way to treat your children and not child abuse at all in any way) and then, a few years later, what do I see?

A fucking new album, a tour complete with life size hologram of the main man, his horrible face on adverts, him endorsing Apple... and we're back. Right in the grotesque bullshit carnival that was his life. Except now he's dead and can't even give any kind of consent. His horrible, awful family have clearly decided that he wasn't exploited and destroyed enough during his life time, now they must do it in his death.

It's sick, weird and hollow. Much like the man himself.

Am just waiting for the Princess Di hologram to start walking around touching people who are all AIDs ridden or have landmines on their feet or whatever. That will be a great day to be alive.

#100 days of happiness - DAY 1 - my head is a normal shape

I've decided to do #100daysofhappiness, even though there is little point. I don't really think it will change anything. I don't really like things like this and I definitely don't like hashtags. They make me #vomit #in #my #mouth. But people are always telling me to have a more positive mental attitude, so here goes.

Day 1 - I'm happy that my head is not grotesquely misshapen and deformed thanks to my mother's abuse and cruelty, like Albert in the short story I read yesterday. Albert was born and his mum didn't want him because his dad ran off with someone else so she kept him in a room all alone until he was seven. This would be bad enough but she also had a medieval baby head shaping helmet/mask thing made and put it on him when he was tiny and left it on him until he was seven. When he got to seven, having lived his whole life in one room and all fat and blubbery because she fed him shit, and had this helmet thing on, she then took him to his dad's house where his dad was living happily with wife of seven years.

She leaves him on the doorstep with a note tied around his neck saying that he is Albert and has come home to daddy. And they take the helmet thing off and his face and head is so grotesquely misshapen and deformed that he looks like a monster and everyone faints and pukes when they see him.

This was a PAN horror story from the 70s and I liked it a lot but I am happy that my head is not like Albert's.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

How about... Superman?

I just watched Man of Steel. I've been keen to watch this for a few reasons. They're all called Henry Cavill. With that face and those arms and... ooh everything.
No, I jest. Well, a bit. That was a big reason. Since my Tudors binge I've been in love with him. These days that's as deep as my love for a man goes. He has to be on screen and playing a fictional or dead character for me to be into him.

Just look at him. Hair. Beard. Hair. Thighs. Face. This is in the Tudors. 

And this is him in Superman. I realise I've left the iconic costume out but that's because this was better. 

In The Tudors, he plays Henry's buddy, Charles Brandon. He marries Henry's sister then treats her like shit while loyally killing anyone Henry tells him to kill. But man, he is perfect with the chin and the beard and the eyes and the everything. He even gives Brandon a tiny bit of depth. A depth that I don't think the real one actually had.

I also wanted to watch Man of Steel because the Christopher Reeve films were a seminal part of my childhood. I grew up with that comic book Superman. With the silly hair lick on his forehead and his ridiculous costume and his bumbling Clark Kent. I liked Margot Kidder's Lois because she isn't conventionally gorgeous, and was funny and sharp. I loved Stamp as Zod. But they were all quite shit, those films. In an 80s way. Shit but iconic, like a lot of the rest of the 80s.

Man of Steel, though. Fuckin hell. It's a chore. It's the same feeling as watching the Matrix sequels. Somewhere in the middle of it you suddenly become convinced that you're never leaving this film. The fight scenes, explosions and collapsing buildings will actually go on forever. Zod will never die. Superman will never get over it. It will never ever end.

It takes itself almost incredulously seriously with at least five hours of set up before he even gets sent to earth. We see Russell Crowe proclaiming his lines like he's doing Shakespeare at The Globe, acting like a hokey old dude with an inexplicable English accent. He booms on for ages and rides on the back of a dragon thing for yonks.

I'm no expert but I'd guess that a lot of the extraneous detail is from the  original comics so the fan geeks can argue about it online, but it really stripped the fun out of the whole deal.
The plot is wildly different from the original films and it's far more about the dichotomy faced by Cal in a world in which he can never fit. Not helped by his dullard father, ably and dully played by Kevin Costner (I know. Where has he been?) going on and on about how he's different and the world will reject him. One of the highlights of the film is seeing Costner's annoying face getting sucked away by some tornado.

The end brings you up to the point where Clark starts at The Daily Planet. So it's all a sort of prequel I suppose. He has glasses on so no one apparently recognises him. Which is a moment of ludicrous levity totally at odds with the rest of the film. A film far more about cod philosophy and painted expressions than action hero fun.

To summarise. Henry Cavill is hot. Look right for him in the Superman outfit. The S, by the way, doesn't stand for Superman. It means hope. Obviously. Needs more beard. 

Russell Crowe is ridiculous. Kevin Costner has to be one of the most over rated actors of all time and Amy Adams is just there.

You should watch it if you like things exploding, buildings collapsing and looking at Henry Cavill. It will help to know that you can disappear to make a cup of tea and miss absolutely nothing.

One day I will share my thoughts on a new film. Probably. If it has Henry Cavill in it. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Refusing treatment

I'm not great at making decisions. Right now, for instance, I'm trying to decide (again) where to move to and how and when.

I sometimes feel my life is a litany of decisions that, well , perhaps haven't served me in the best way. But then who's to say?If I'd made a different one then it could have led to death and destruction. I mean, probably not but it could have.

Recently I made a decision that has left me all sorts of  uncomfortable. I don't know that it's the right one and all I have to go on is that it feels right. Or at least, the alternative feels wrong.

It concerns treatment for my irritating and boring illness. It concerns hardcore hormone shots that would bring on a temporary menopause in the hopes that this will somehow kickstart my system and change the hormone balance so that I won't feel like I'm dying for one week out of every four. It concerns side effects ranging from hair loss to severe depression. It concerns feeling out of control of my body as the drugs do whatever they like on a slow release for a month. It concerns things I'm just not comfortable with.

I have endured five years of different treatments for this illness, including two operations. None of the treatments have helped. The doctors freely admit that it is all experimentation. Everyone is different. What helps one person hurts another and it looks like I'm in the percentage of people who don't  respond well to the normal endometriosis control.

The night before my first shot I snapped. Privately and quietly. Suddenly I didn't want this treatment. Suddenly I made the decision to say no. There is such a low chance it will help and the side effects are so severe that I decided to deal better with what I know.

I've never refused treatment in my life. It seems churlish and partisan. As if I'm saying I know more than doctors. As if I'm not willing to help myself. As if I'm an ungrateful git as I am blessed to live in a country with accessible healthcare.

But I didn't have the injection. And I didn't have the second one. And in a couple of weeks I will go back to the hospital and tell them that I didn't have their prescribed treatment.

The only real cure for my condition is to have a baby or have a hysterectomy.

Neither of which I want.

I've decided what I need to do instead of chasing treatment that makes it worse and dashes my hopes. I need to accept it for what it is and learn to live with it. As illnesses go, it's a shitter but it could be so much worse. This is my lot and I will learn to manage it better and be thankful that, for now, I'm not suffering from something more dreadful.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Sorry not sorry

I had to endure looking at this when I got repeated emails from it. Now I feel compelled to share.

It may seem like a mean thing to do, and it probably is, but his messages were grotesque and I just... I just don't get it. I don't GET IT. What was this picture meant to achieve? What exactly was my reaction meant to be apart from vomiting a bit into my mouth?

This is his main profile picture. This is what he is using to attract strangers. What, in short, is happening?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Life lessons from Sushi

  1. Just because no one wanted you your whole life doesn't mean someone won't turn up eventually. I kicked it for six years on the mean streets of Romania before finding someone to love me. 
  2. Having a slightly odd body shape doesn't make you ugly. My head is a bit too small and my chest is a bit too big and my body is a bit too long but, bitch, I am fabulous. 
  3. Losing a leg is a minor blip in the life of a dog. It'd probably be worse for you but try scaling it down. Losing something you thought you needed doesn't mean you did actually need it. Say fuck it and trot on. 
  4. If you need a wee, have a wee. Don't waste time looking for the perfect place to wee, just have a little squat, squirt it out and move on. 
  5. Falling in love online works. Loads of people saw my photo and fell in love. Naturally. I am a beaut. And one person fell in love so hard that she brought me home. 
  6. Just because a dog is sniffing round your backside doesn't mean you have to let him. I choose to sit down if I don't fancy them. Just sit right down and ignore them. Eventually they go away. 
  7. The best things in life are free. Outside, sunshine, wind and squirrels. They're all free. Chappie isn't free and I also like Chappie but it kind of is for me because I'm a dog, so I don't pay for anything. 
  8. Sometimes if you really really want something, it just falls in your lap. Just the other day I really really wanted to chase a squirrel and then one fell right out of the tree onto the floor in front of me. Amazing. I chased it immediately and had approx 2.7 seconds of feeling like a proper hunter. 
  9. A winning smile can get you what you want. I find if I turn my chocolate drop eyes on people then they generally give me something to eat. Try it. It works. 
  10. Being a bit tubby doesn't mean that once in a while you shouldn't enjoy the crusts of the toast. Just eat 'em and worry about it later. Maybe work it off with some squirrel chasing or fox bothering. 
  11. It's OK to avoid people who make you uncomfortable. I like to avoid children, men in hats, men in coats, men on motorbikes, men in vans and women with long hippy skirts on. It works out pretty well. 
  12. Just because everyone else likes something doesn't mean you have to. I hate the sea. Beaches suck. Everyone is always telling me that because I'm a dog I should love getting cold, wet and sandy. Well, I don't. So I just refuse to go. Simple. 
  13. If someone's leading you in one direction and you want to go in another just sit down. Sitting down is one of my main pieces of advice. If you sit down and refuse to budge then they'll either pick you up and carry you (wish is nice) or they will give in to your protest (also nice). 
  14. Feel free to take a shit anywhere you like because there will be some schmuck trailing behind you to shovel it up and carry it around in a plastic bag for the next hour. 
  15. Just because some people are massive assholes doesn't mean everyone is. At one point I was alone, unloved, hit by a car and left to die in the middle of the road. Assholes, right? Massive massive assholes. But then a nice lady took me to another nice lady and it turns out that the ratio of assholes in this world is most likely about 50/50. I can work with that. 
  16. Never give up hope. Being unwanted doesn't generally last forever. Unless you're David Cameron. No one wants that moon faced loony. I'm just a small mutt from Craovia. I could have died horribly on the streets. I could have died when the car hit me or when they chopped my leg off. But I didn't. And now I'm here. Having a lovely time and being loved lots and lots. Funny old world innit. 

"Are you telling me...

... that if a bloke in a dress walked past u and yr kids u wuldn't stair and laugh and keep them away?"

I was just asked that in an online discussion prompted by a cross dresser winning the Eurovision.

Conchita won with her glorious Bassey esque triumph over the odds, over the top, rather beautiful in a cheesy way, ballad. And she can actually sing too. So fair play.

She was in my top 2, along with Poland and the crazy Slavic girls do it better anthem. Actually there may have been others I liked but I can't remember them. How is it I can remember the words to the great Johnny Logan's 1983 winner (Hold me now, don't cry, don't say a word but holllld me nowwwwww )  but can't remember much about the competition I just watched. Less than two hours ago?

Moving on from my Alzheimers,  I was glad Austria won. Partly because it is a fuck you to Russia and their Eastern block allies who appear to be resurrecting some batshit mental ideas and partly cos she was actually pretty good.

There was a lot of talk of sticking it to the man etc and it being a  great thing for self expression and, even though I have inherited my mother's discomfort for positive emotional outpourings I felt all warm and cosy about it. A beautiful looking lady with a beard (she looks not unlike the result of mashing Kim K's face with Kanye's when he's suitably beardy. I'd guess. I haven't actually done this but I think someone should) won the Eurovision and it was the best competition since Lordi in 2008. I particularly enjoyed Russia being booed by almost everyone.

And then I went online. I'm a member of a random group for buying and selling shit on the Isle of Wight. No one has yet offered anything I would donate to a charity shop, let alone buy on purpose but you never know.

In this group a young lady posted a random question. It was about why Russia was being booed. It appears current events only happen to a percentage of our population. Still, at least she asked. Someone else answered her. And then someone - let's call her Marie, mostly because that's her name - jumped in with a comment that went something like this: I carnt belive that thing won. Disgustin.

It transpired that Marie thinks that cross dressers are Bad. Also that gay people should only do their gay thing behind closed doors although she does, of course, have gay friends who respect her opinion and she tells it how it is and she was bullied at school yeah so she can say what she likes. I didn't follow the logic of that, it has to be said.

It was like having a conversation with someone on Jeremy Kyle. You know the ones that you think are actors because no one can really be that rancidly thick and utterly horrible. Turns out they might actually be real.

Marie then asked me the question I started this blog with. I'm totally fine with Marie being Marie as long as she keeps it behind closed doors and away from kids yeah?

Friday, 9 May 2014

Torso of the week

Not even a face.

I mean, who needs a face, right?

It's all about the arms.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Life is like a box of chocolates

Forrest Gump. What a twat. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. That's the one quote I remember from the film, probably because that's as far as I got before I died from being patronised.

Films like that are one of the reasons I think Americans are mental. That they lap that shit up and hail it as a classic. The other reasons I think Americans are mental include Michael Jackson and Republicans.

Quite apart from this quote being completely facile and empty, it also doesn't even make sense. I don't know if that was a subtle piece of writing, perhaps to show the audience that Gump isn't the all American everyman after all, but that, in fact he is socially and mentally retarded. Or that to be a good person you have to be mentally defective? Is that what they're saying?

Because the thing is, with a box of chocolates you know exactly what you're going to get. If it doesn't show you on the outside of the box and by the name of the product, there will definitely be a small map of chocolates in the box. This renders the entire quote a big pointless pile of shit.

If I'm honest I don't really know what else happens to Forrest Gump apart from a highly improbable romance with a woman who wouldn't have touched him with a bargepole in reality, some running and some heavy handed moralistic hubris.

So yeah Forrest, life isn't like a box of chocolates you moron. It's more like a cheap Chinese buffet where you definitely don't know what you're going to get.

Next up my thoughts on such topical movies as Field of Dreams and Days of Thunder.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Lady Ursula who?

Yeah, I'm still on The Tudors.

Series 2 was bonkers nutso. Anne Boleyn finally got what was coming to her, after many many scenes of Henry shagging literally everyone he met. Apparently Henry thought nothing of bumping into an innocent dude on the road, just out for a drive with his missus, and then boinking the missus into oblivion. Without even asking.

Thomas More got his head cut off - his very handsome, young head. It was missing some of the realism of, well anything. Every execution is beautiful. Every person still looks beautiful. Everyone is still young. In this court, no one gets old. Oh, and before that Wolsey died. By SLASHING HIS OWN THROAT. Of all the things that didn't happen in real life that didn't happen the most. The most ludicrous fuckery with reality of the entire series. He did die before Henry could kill him, that's true and there are rumours that it could have been self inflicted poison, but it most definitely wasn't like that.

It seems at some point during the second series, the writers either got bored with the actual real story or just decided to go off piste. Either way, what they ended up with was a crazy mishmash of nuttiness and over simplistic explanations out of nowhere on the reformation.

The hilarity comes with the random sudden boring explanations they inexplicably give.

"Who is this Luther you speak of?"

"Oh you know Luther. He is spearheading the European reformation and is denouncing Popery as evil."

"Oh yes, that Luther. I shall read this book."

"Yes, but do not show anyone."

That's the kind of super clever repartee the most intelligent minds of the time were apparently coming up with. Explanations that a moron could understand thrown around to and from the preternaturally intelligent Anne Boleyn.

In between the shagging it's important to at least try to stick to some semblance of what was actually happening I suppose.

And so to series 3. The first scene introduces a couple of new people. Francis Bryan - he was real enough. The Vicar of Hell he was called. Another of Henry's cronies without scruple and with plenty of guts, he orchestrates Cromwell's downfall.

When you watch Henry VIII's life condensed like this into hourly episodes all you see is death. All of these people he killed. Most of them at one point were really close friends of his, as well as, of course, these women he supposedly loved. Basically, your main thought is what an unholy bastard he was. A giant, spoiled man baby who couldn't reconcile his urges with his duties. Constantly conflicted between his dick and his conscience. He's like every awful ex boyfriend you've ever had, rolled into one. With the power of life and death. Eeesh.

Anyway, back to the Jane Seymour years. The thing about these years, although seemingly ridiculously portrayed as the calm after the storm, they kind of actually were. Once Henry had embarrassed himself thoroughly with the whole Anne Boleyn thing he decided he wanted someone nice and pure and all of that shizzle. What he meant was, a woman who wouldn't challenge him. A woman who wouldn't push him to do mad shit like ditch the Pope and cause a massive schism within the church.

Jane doesn't do any of that. She's well nice. She's a meek little bugger and she definitely didn't look like someone who would be better placed in the cast of Baywatch. She's tall, blonde and goddess like in The Tudors. Sigh. Just ONCE get an ugly one in. Henry himself has slicked back hair and a slightly bigger moustache. You know, rather than a 50 inch waist, a disgusting ulcerous leg and thinning ginger locks. Still, who needs realism.

All of this is pretty much par for Showtime's version's course.

Bryan, by the way, wears a massive hat and an eye patch and is clearly cast as the swaggering villain of this bit. At the wedding Sir Francis meets Lady Ursula Misselden. Urm, who?

I've been reading about this period of history since I was 14. I've become acquainted with pretty much all of the cast of characters. I know which Thomas is which and I know who all the peripheral people are. And never once have I come across Ursula Misselden.

Aaaaand that's because she didn't exist. They've invented another beautiful woman to jump on Henry's bits even though he was faithful by this point. Yep, actually faithful. He was old. He was obese. He was ill. He could barely get it up. He was not a virile sex beast hunting around for nubile bodies to mount, like some kind of dog on heat. He was probably only faithful because it had all become too much effort not to be, but faithful he was, according to reports at the time.

Here, he's still humping things like a defective sex robot. I mean, they actually thought this show needed more tits? Seriously?

I look forward to Thomas Cromwell dying by someone blowing him away with an AK47.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

I was so very very wrong.

I'm not sure how I got it so wrong. Being a history snob usually serves me so well, but not in this case.

Ever since I caught a bit of the Showtime series The Tudors and clocked that Henry VIII, instead of being a tall, bloated, ginger bastard, was instead the gorgeous and rather feminine Jonathan Rhys Meyers I have been full of disdain. Disdain for these shitty historical books and series and films that bastardise the facts and are full of tits and ass and stupidity. That can't even be bothered to get accents and hairstyles right - if you can't trust the costume department, how are you going to trust the writers?

Look. This is the real Henry VIII as a young man. Here. This is what he looked like.

And this is what he looks like in The Tudors. 

Uncanny isn't it? I like the way they've replicated the hairstyle, colour, hat and clothes so accurately. Actually, fuck it, he's beautiful. 

So I turned it off and, despite my near obsessive love for the Tudors as a dynasty (we've all got a favourite one, right? Right guys?) refused to have it on my screen. Ditto The Borgias. I am too good for this stuff, thought I. I only want to watch things that get stuff right. I don't understand how people can be so stupid to lap this crap up.

And then the other day I caught the end of one of the episodes. You know when you're watching TV but doing something else at the same time and then you get sucked into it and then you're watching and then you run to Neflix and start watching from the beginning? Well, that. Basically.

It was the Anne of Cleves series. I had read earlier than Anne of Cleves was being played by - wait for it - Joss Stone. Yes, that Joss Stone. The souly pop singer who went off to America and hasn't been heard of for about a decade. The obvious choice to play a Germanic princess, ja? I was ready for it to be terrible. I was ready to hoot in derision.

But... she was actually pretty good. In the context of the LUDICROUSNESS of the show. The casting is bonkers. Everyone - and I mean, EVERYone - is gorgeous. Including the soon to be Mary 1, even though it's well known and well documented that she looked like Dennis Waterman in a wig. Here she's a gorgeous little slip of a girl, all downcast eyes and heaving boobs.

Look, look. Here is Mary 1 as a woman in her 20s. Tell me you don't have the Minder theme tune in your head right now:

Aaaand this is how she looks in The Tudors:

So close. 

Anne of Cleves, you may remember, is the wife that Henry couldn't bring himself to shag. He complained about her pendulous breasts and called her a 'Flander's mare'. In real life. In The Tudors, Joss's tiny figure and pert boobs, along with prettier than average face, makes it all a bit confusing when Henry shrieks: "She looks like a HORSE, Cromwell. A HORSE". Brilliant.

Henry, by the way, who is still slim, young and gorgeous. By the time he got to Anne of Cleves he was a fat, bloated, purulent sack of vile insanity. He manifestly did not look like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who nevertheless, does a commendable job of articulating Henry's total insanity. He has to do it by flaring his nostrils and bulging his beautiful baby blues a lot though, rather than actually doing any real acting.

So I go back to the beginning and start to revel in the glory that is this crazy series. His best bud Charles Brandon is played by Superman (Henry Cavill), which is just fantastic. He's all square jawed and shagging everything that moves. All the women are fragrant and stunning in a very 21st century view of beauty. There are definite costume mash ups occuring, with vaguely Tudor dress merging with very Regency and sometimes even Victorian styles.

The castles and backdrops are all CGI'd to the max, which is actually pretty cool. Everyone speaks with a kind of Americanised 'British' accent apart from the actual English members of the cast. Henry's sister is played by someone out of Press Gang. Sam Neill plays Cardinal Wolsey with relish.  How's that for MENTAL casting? And he has a riotous old time screwing everyone around. Wolsey, by the way, was round and fat and very unattractive. Sam Neill is none of these things. Even Thomas More is hot. That's just not a thing that happened in real life.

Ahem. Wolsey in real life. Also take into account that this was most likely a flattering rendition of the porky Cardinal:

And Wolsey in The Tudors for your delectation. I mean, I almost would. 

There are plenty of liberties taken with the facts - including, bizarrely, the killing off of his illegitimate son 14 years too early. Henry Fitzroy was born to Bessie Blount. Henry did recognise him as his son and was in the process of dicking about with the laws of succession when the kid died at 16 of TB or sweating sickness. It was always one of the two back then. The same thing happens in the series but he's two. Weird.

Hilariousness occurs when Henry meets his nemesis - Francis 1 of France, who is kind of foppishly French. His wife looks like an actual model and his costumes are ace. He and Henry strip half naked and have a homo erotic wrestling match at one point because I'm sure that absolutely definitely did happen.

The fabulous Natalie Dormer picks up Anne Boleyn. And it was while I was watching her that I realised something. The writing is actually good. The structure of each episode works really well. The casting somehow works. It's really really really good fun and, if you know the period well, you can see where the writers are going with stuff.

This is Henry and Anne depicting Henry as he was by then. A fattie. With a big ginger beard.

Annnnnd Showtime's Henry n Anne:


It's clear that they're fans of Anne Boleyn herself, which I always find refreshing. Few women have had such an astonishingly huge impact on our way of life today as Anne Boleyn. She was ferociously intelligent and had to have nerves of steel and a core of iron to get where she did. She's on my list of most admired women ever and I like to see her portrayed as a real person instead of a grotesque caricature of an incestuous witch, which is the easy way to paint someone who did what she did.

The writers are hinging the plots around Thomas Tallis. He appears in such an innocuous way that it takes a while to realise who he is and why he's important. He will act as the constant presence through the turmoil of the next few years. He was a real person and became court musician under Henry VIII. He ended up court musician for every monarch up to and including Elizabeth 1. What a life he had - and what he must have seen. I like the way they're using him to frame events. I like the daftness of the liberties they take. I like the acting. I like it a lot.

I do like to get things wrong sometimes.