16 December 2009

The BBC have disgusted me today

The BBC are really scraping the barrel today, which their repulsive Have Your Say 'discussion' entitled 'Should homosexuals face execution?'

Even the question is abhorrent, and I don't know how they can justify posting it. Would it be right to have a discussion, under the banner of freedom of speech, on 'Should black people be killed for being black?', or 'Should goats be executed for having four legs?'. NO. Of course not. Because the question in itself is ridiculous and stupid. All they've done is invite lots of horrible little bigots to submit their putrid little brain farts, typed out with their misshapen club hands, while they furrow their monobrows under the strain of trying to spell a word as long as homosexuality. It's the kind of thing I'd expect from the Daily Mail, not from the BBC.

The 'Most recommended' tab of the debate (sic) is particularly horrifying, both for the stupidity and the bile that it contains. And these are posts that have been RECOMMENDED as good by other readers. It's truly terrifying.

Chris the vile little toad from Guildford treats us to this awesome piece of widsom:

"I suggest all gays are put on a remote island somewhere and left for a generation - afterwhich, theoretically there shoild be none left !"

First of all, WOO HOO gay party island! We'll take Mustique, thanks very much, and YOU'RE not invited because only people who can tie their own shoelaces and don't clasp their pencils with their whole fist are allowed.

Second of all, SHUT UP. Where do you think gay people come from? Not from breeding with each other obviously, you seem to have grasped that much. So what, you think we just swish past people in our fabulous outfits and somehow they get turned gay? You worthless little moron. I've known I was gay since I was in infant school. INFANT SCHOOL. Do you think I should have been put to death for it then? Or was it only when I started tonguing boys that I crossed the line? If the world ever has the misfortune of you breeding, I hope all your children ARE gay and I hope they hate you. Also, learn to spell 'should', you vacuous pustule.

Rob D from Northampton is no better:

"Homosexuality is not natural. It makes me very uncomfortable when you consider what it involves."

Homosexuality does not equal anal sex. Lots of straight people have anal sex. For FUCK'S sake. Do you think that's all we do all day? Even if your problem is with anal sex, that's completely different to homosexuality. That's an act, not a gender. And you've got no reason to feel uncomfortable, who do you think is going to want to fuck you, you lard arse? Gay people have GOOD taste, haven't you heard?

It goes on and on. Anglobert from Surrey makes an attempt at being understanding, but can't get past the 'I'm a complete and utter DICKWAD with no right to be alive' stage:

"Let's face it. Homosexuals are not wilful criminals but unfortunate disabled people who cannot enjoy Nature's gift of attraction to and union with the opposite sex, and unable to treasure the family memories most of us take to the grave.

Feel sympathy but do not regard their relationships as normal alternatives to marriage and procreation. Hopefully, medical science will find a remedy to normalise their disability. Meanwhile, they should not be regarded as criminals. They are born that way."

I'll wait for my blue badge in the post shall I? It'll make it much easier when I nip up to Tescos. You better be careful though, those bays are right next to the Mother And Baby ones, I might try to fiddle with some kiddies while I'm there.

In case you hadn't noticed, Anglobert, most gay people think gay sex is HOT. I for one do not feel a huge void in my life simply because I am unable to fancy Anglobettina, or whatever your snub-nosed dwarf of a wife is called. And lots of us also have FAMILIES. I know! Shocking isn't it?

So forgive me if I don't rush myself down to the electroshock clinic in order to get my disability rectified. I'm far too busy spending my disposal income, wearing great shoes, and holidaying three times a year.

The BBC should be ashamed of itself.

14 December 2009

X Factor final

I'm not going to write loads about this, because I'm sure everyone has pretty much had enough of X Factor by now. I like watching the show myself, but after 3 or 4 months of it I do start think "God can please have my Saturday nights back now?"

But anyway, little Joe won in the end and I'm really pleased. Although I said I didn't mind really which finalist one, Olly was always my least favourite, so once Stacey was out it had to be Joe for me really. I don't know quite what he'll be like in terms of longevity, as boys do really struggle to find a place in the charts I think, and I'm not totally sure what market he's pitching himself at. If he goes for the mums like most X Factor boys do (Leon, Rhydian etc) then he'll probably flop after a few months. A much better long-term prospect would be to go for the Will Young section of the market: girls, gay boys and a few Mums too. It won't really be up to him though unfortunately, as the record label will just do whatever they think is most likely to earn them their money back in the short term, in the full knowledge that they'll have another X Factor winner in a year so it doesn't matter if he doesn't last longer than that.

I kind of feel that he might rather have a career on stage instead of as a pop singer anyway - he's got a very stagey voice and it seemed to be what interested him before he was on the show. Which is fine, Diana Vickers is apparently doing quite well on stage now, so if he does end up doing that then good for him.

The thing I'm most pleased about is that neither Danyl nor Jedward came even close to winning; beyond that I wasn't that bothered. Danyl was just too much of a wanky twat, and Jedward made me feel physically sick. They've released the voting statistics now (available on Wikipedia) and at times it was a bit touch and go, particularly Week 9 when Danyl got eliminated. Joe was never in doubt by that stage though so it wouldn't have made that much difference. And I'm quite pleased that my assertion that no one who is ever in the bottom two can go on to win was proven correct again.

So anyway, that was the X Factor for another year. I'm not that impressed by the single they've chosen, and I think it's stupid that they pick the single and whoever wins has to sing it regardless of whether it suits them, but I don't think they're likely to change that. I've heard rumours that Dannii might leave and be replaced by Melanie B from the Spice Girls, which would be a shame as she's a good judge. They should get rid of Louis if they're going to get rid of anyone.

I think Joe should have released that Journey song he sang as it suited him much better. Maybe he'll release that as a follow-up single or something.

Oo and I nearly forgot - Robbie Williams mucked up his own song!!! I was delighted, and had to rewind it and watch it again so I could enjoy it's full glory. He looked like he was going to cry as he thought "shit, this was my chance to make up for my first crappy X Factor performance, and I've fucked my lyrics up and now look like a dick". Olly should have refused to have him for his duet, if anything was going to be a drain on your votes it'd be performing with that fat faced drug-addled potatoman.

My favourite moments of the whole series though had nothing to do with the final, and everything to do with televised falling over humiliation. First was the majesty of Rachel Adedeji sucking carpet in front of Dannii Minogue:

And then there was the beautiful moment when one of John and Edward fluffed their big entrance with a humiliating slip/trip while bursting through a paper screen. Only a full fall involving the loss of teeth could have made it any better:

They're performing at Revenge this Friday, apparently. Maybe I'll go so I can shout "Enjoy your trip six weeks ago?" and then feel very very witty.

See you next year for more televised karaoke and premium rate phone voting fun.

10 December 2009

Yummy Tin Drummy

I had my office Christmas meal yesterday at the Tin Drum in Kemp Town. I know some of the people I work with didn't enjoy their food quite as much as me, but I thought all the things I had were really good and quite posh, so I took photos of them for you:

This was my starter, which was a squash, rosemary and parmesan tart with a pomegranate dressing. It was very nice.

This was my main course of pheasant with a port and damson jus on a mustard pommery mash. I've never had pheasant before, and I really liked half of it (the confit leg bit which tasted like crispy duck) but wasn't quite so keen on the breast bit which was a bit tough. I've never been a breast man though. The sauce (sorry,'jus') was yummy and all fruity.

This was my gorgeous dessert: hot chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream. It was really nice, all gooey, and very very rich. Like a little block of pure calories really. I couldn't finish it, but enjoyed it nonetheless.

And then I had tea with a cute little mince pie with a star shape on it.

And the best part is I didn't pay for ANYTHING! Hahahahaha! Work pays for our Christmas meal here, which I've always thought is great, and it means everybody goes rather than some people saying they can't afford it or just can't be bothered. Even the wine was thrown in!

I'm not hungover at all today, which is quite good I suppose. Some of us went for drinks after the meal, but as we'd started drinking at 1pm we disbanded by 9, so I was still home in plenty of time to sober up before bed. I hadn't realised that there would be no senior staff at all in the office this morning, so I could have got away with being hungover if necessary, but I'm not going to try to get hungover just for the sake of it.

And now it's only a couple of weeks left until Christmas, yay! We've still got our Office Christmas Party to come (actually in the office this time, rather than out of it. I don't know why we have two events here), so that will be my next thing to look forward to next week. I'm feeling very festive now and just want to finish work for Christmas and go home - I can't be bothered to spend nine more days sat in this wheely chair doing not very much.

03 December 2009

The rise of the blockbuster

I really enjoyed an article from the Economist this week, on the place of blockbusters in modern culture. I've found myself saying quite often over the last few years that everything is a smash these days, and everything that gets released seems to be biggest selling blah ever. The article, called A world of hits, dealt with the same sort of thing, but in the context of 'we have more choice than ever before, so why does that mean even fewer things than ever before become big hits?'

I'll use the term blockbuster quite broadly here even though that only normally applies to films, but really I'm talking about all kinds of media - be it the biggest selling film, or album, or book, or even newspaper.

Basically, the article argues that as the internet grew, people thought our new-found access to a broader range of products would encourage a vastly more diverse market, full of lots and lots of different things all selling moderately well. In fact, what we've ended up with is a market where a very small number of blockbusters account for the vast majority of sales, niche markets at the other end of the scale account for the rest, and all the stuff in the middle loses out. You either have to be a hit, or a niche, or you'll sell hardly anything.

One of the reasons for this is that people like to have something to talk about with their friends. If you all consume the same things, that's much easier, and that in itself encourages us to buy the same things as other people, creating a cycle of popularity. Or if you're part of a clique that enjoys a little-known band or author, you can discuss that band or author with other passionate fans and derive just as much pleasure, even though overall it's not a big seller. But if a product is neither a big seller, nor attracts a devoted niche market, it flops because no one cares.

At the same time though, we end up with blockbusters not necessarily being the best things that are available, but still being the most popular with the masses and receiving the best reviews from the public. That's because a disproportionate share of the audience is made up of people who consume few products of that type - e.g. people who go to see the latest big releases but don't watch smaller films - and they're therefore not that discerning. Those products get an easier ride with the public because the audience isn't informed enough to criticise. If you ask an American who has only read one book this year, the article says, it is highly likely it was The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, and he probably loved it.

Niche products, on the other hand, tend to be consumed by people who read more, or listen to more music, or see more films, and those people are therefore more critical in general and more difficult to please.

In short, blockbusters don't have to be very good, as they get buoyed up by a wave of ill-informed goodwill, while niche products have to work very hard to get a similar level of approval from their audience.

We end up with the market we've got today, where it is only worthwhile for a media company to push the few things that they anticipate will be big hits. Small fry get left out, because while they may surprise everyone and do really well, they won't reliably do so, making them an uncertain investment. It's a bit sad really, as consumers will miss out on some of the very best things in favour of the 'popular', and it will continue to be that way because that's what we buy.

It's no wonder independent films or new authors struggle so much; you can't just be quite good any more. You have to be exceptional, or be accessible, not necessarily that good, but get lucky and be 'the next big thing', and you can enjoy massive self-fulfilling popularity for no good reason (yes I'm looking at you, JK Rowling, you talentless bint).

So anyway, I thought it was an excellent article, and it's one of the reasons I highly recommend reading the Economist to anyone who'll listen.

01 December 2009

Twinkling lights and celebrities

Last Friday we had the first annual Switching On Of The Christmas Lights on my road. Even though it may very well end up being the last one too, I still found it terribly exciting, not least because of the multitude of A List celebrities it attracted!

I should point out that I do not live on a main road, or in a town centre, so the very fact that we had Christmas lights of our own was slightly unexpected. Some of the shop keepers just got together and organised it, and one of them bought the Christmas lights from an entire town, or so we were told. I was therefore expecting a blaze of fluorescence up and down the street that could be seen from space, and was slightly disappointed that it ended up just being a few things on lamp posts.

Anyway, when it was initially advertised, we were told that Emma Chawner, a failed X Factor entrant and local lass, had been lined up for the grand switching on ceremony. In case you don't know who she is, behold:

She didn't get very far on the X Factor, even when she came back to sing a duet with her sister the next year.

Unfortunately, some of the road's shop keepers felt she would lower the tone somewhat and make it into a less believable event. They obviously weren't concerned with the hilarity aspect, or that Christmas is quite camp anyway and you don't get camper than a fat cavegirl in a home-made dress.

So they ditched Emma Chawner, and I was disappointed.

Instead though, we were upgraded to:

Annabel Giles, who performed no real function at the event other than lending it a BBC-level of classiness,


Michelle Collins! Yes, Cindy Beale turned on our Christmas lights! She was very gracious, and seemed to know a couple of people from our road. One of them was kind enough to collar her and ask if Chris could have her photo taken with her, and it was very weird to hear Cindy Beale's voice go "Yes of course. Chris! Chris!" and call him over.

I can see why she was more classy than the dumpy girl, but she was less hilarious. I was also very suspicious that there was no actual wiring involved in her 'switching on' the lights, she just did a count down, then sort of moved her arm. A couple of the lamp post lights came on, and then a man in a fluorescent jacket ambled down the road switching each one on one by one. But you can't have everything, we had LIGHTS and it was fab.

Oo yes, and I almost forgot, we had Santa!

So hurrah for living on the campest road in the campest part of Brighton.

Here's me looking Christmassy:

And then the next day, as if all that weren't enough, I saw Gok Wan in a jewellery shop in the lanes. It was an all-out celebrity overload. Oddly, he was wearing the same outfit he always wears on television, leading me to think he only actually owns one set of clothes. Presumably he stands naked in the kitchen while he washes them in the sink.

Anyway, I'm feeling all Christmassy now and can look forward to seeing twinkling lights every time I walk up my road from now until, erm, Christmas. Ho ho ho!