Sunday, November 27, 2011

Diary of a Misanthrope 4: Here It Comes...

...smell it. Go on.

There's nothing quite like it. Gets right to the back of your throat, doesn't it? That candyfloss, artificial sweet note to the air that begins to harden your arteries quicker than a beef dripping milkshake. It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year(TM) - time to suspend normal reality (or whatever the fuck passes for it in your world) and take your place on the back of the Great Runaway Beast as it smashes its way through the next six weeks in an intoxicated blizzard of balls-out overindulgence before collapsing and convulsing in a pile of its own shit. At which point, we all shuffle away whistling innocently to ourselves while it sleeps off its hangover for ten months or so and we try to forget the catalogue of social and sexual indiscretions we were party to in the name of 'being fucking festive'.

You have a choice, you know. You can be a conscientious objector, an activist for the Sanity Commission, all you have to do is simply Say No. Unless, of course, you're a parent. Then, I'm afraid, you're obliged to participate in the very best this period has to offer. Your seat on The Beast is booked and paid for and it's front-row centre so shut the fuck up and hang the fuck on...

Yeah - there's nothing quite like this time of year to sharpen ones natural misanthropic tendencies to a razor finish. Everywhere you look there's a twat / moron / arsehole / omnishambles whose divine mission for the day is to make yours just that tiny bit more stressful and difficult, to the point where you wish it were the middle of Texas so you could pick up a semi-automatic weapon with your weekly groceries and begin raising the overall average IQ of your immediate area. From the drunken pricks carrying bargain slabs of lager to the crowds of overexcited schoolchildren, right across to the Jurassic end of the spectrum where the old bastards congregate on every corner, in every aisle and every bench or public seat in sight - give me one of those big fuck off Marvin The Martian Death Rays and get out of the fucking way.

But then I look down. And she looks back up at me, a little wary, a little confused, but curious and ever so slightly excited. 'All this is for her' I think to myself, just like every parent does since it all began. And I deactivate the warheads and we hold our breath and dive into the sea of silly people...

This coming Diversity Approved Winter Holiday Period (DAWHP) will be her third, and the first one she'll probably really comprehend. Now - before you start fucking yawning and thinking to yourself 'he's had a few days off and he's lost his edge - gone all sentimental and sensible.' You can fuck RIGHT off. My daughter will have an amazing day, but it won't have anything to do with her head being full of commercial shite. She'll have an amazing day because her head will be full of something else - something her mother and I are both expert at creating...

Her head will be full of magic. Back in the day when the world was day-glo, I would receive endless joy from sitting in a darkened room with a fully decorated and lit tree. That tree represented and amplified the whole experience for me, and it gave off an incredible sense of detachment from the mundane and the quotidian. Almost meditative, almost trance-like, I remember feeling thrilled and completely relaxed at the same time. If anyone came in and broke the spell, I'd throw a handbag until they fucked off. That was MY time. 

I want my daughter to experience the same feelings - perhaps not via the same catalysts, but there's an opportunity for wonder and awe that shouldn't be left to shopping centres and fucking TV to provide. Yesterday, she met her first real-life Santa. More accurately, I took her within range of this ridiculous-looking bastard in a white curly beard and wig so huge he was just a pair of beady little eyes poking out. Three kids in front of us suddenly turned into thirty as he reached into his bag and gave them all a small gift. She wasn't impressed - either by the gift-giving or the sudden throng of brats already lost to the 'how much am I getting' spirit of the season. You know. The one that superceded the real one? The one we're all stuck with now?

She was impressed, however, by a talented and emotive busker who'd set up fifty yards away. Swaying her head and her hands to the music like she was at Woodstock, bless her. It was the only moment of real peace in an otherwise horrible fucking experience for us both. And to that end, I've attached a little something her mother found that kind of illustrates how we'll all be feeling in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 25, 2011


S'right, an apology. 

Those of you aware / sober / bored enough to give a crap may have seen an interim blog post up here early last week. I wrote it while virtually asleep - out of a misguided sense of responsibility to you fuckers to keep something going on this blog, during a time when web access was limited at best (I'm in a new house and no phone line as yet). I then made the mistake of leaving it for a number of days before reading back what I'd written. Obviously, any sane, semi literate person reading that post and taking it as indicative of the content and calibre of this blog would quite rightly spend the next two hours phoning all their mates and loudly proclaiming to have found the absolute definition of 'fucking pathetic'. So naturally, after reading it back and laughing derisively at such a massive pile of bollocks before remembering I was the one who wrote it in the first place and immediately deleting it, I felt an apology was in order to you, the small but beautiful number of people who bother reading it.


Right, that's that done. Don't get fucking used to it, either - I'm not here to dish out apologies, I'm here to dish out the hard facts of life, like a Death Row Dinnerlady. I'll be back very soon with some more of the crap you're used to. Right now, I need to recover from a chest infection and a torn solar plexus and I'm being threatened with IKEA in the next couple of days. 

Be well. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Situations (Pretty) Vacant?

Here's what I spy stuck to a notice board today:
Wow. 'Calling All Future Welsh Reality TV Stars.' I almost pissed myself with excitement. I immediately took a photo so I could share it with you. That's how brain-meltingly thrilled I am about this whole thing. And it was ME that spotted it. Yeah, me. They say that when opportunity knocks, you'd better be ready to open that there door, and you know me - I'm all about representin and keepin it real. Tru dat.

Oh yeah. I accidentally spray painted over the contact details on the picture, which means you won't be able to get in touch with them yourselves. I'm sorry about that, it was a total accident. I was colouring something in on Photoshop and my hand slipped. Sorry.

But hey - how fucking AMAZING is this? A REAL TV production company with cameras and clipboards and wankers and EVERYTHING want to find NEW REALITY TV STARS right where I live! I'm actually vomiting blood right now, I'm so excited. Hey - I know! let's take a closer look at the picture and see what it says! Yeah!

'Are you an undiscovered celebrity with a lot to say?' Wow. I guess so. I mean, I'm more famous than my cousin Wayne and he's kind of a legend in the world of double glazing, so yeah, maybe. And I write a blog, so I guess I DO have a lot to say. WOW! This is getting more and more exciting by the second! Someone stand behind me in case I faint. 'A big fish in a small pond?' Well I'm quite big, yeah. But I don't have a pond. But my mate Dixie does and it's pretty small. This job spec criteria thing is going well...

...oh for fuck's sake, I can't keep this shit up. What the fuck is wrong with the world? Why is there a need, a demand, for this kind of cranial stumpfuck? I have to LOOK OUTSIDE AND SEE THESE PRICKS EVERY FUCKING DAY FOR REAL, WALKING AROUND AND USING UP OXYGEN AND OTHER VITAL NATURAL RESOURCES. Why would I want to look at them on television as well? Yeah, I have a lot to fucking say. None of it is anything you clitslaps at True North would ever want to hear, I promise you. If you stuck a camera on me and followed me around I'd just be telling you on camera what a massive bunch of cunts you were. On camera. 

Fuck you, True North. Fuck you for even thinking that this is something worthwhile to do with your time and skills. Even your stupid fucking poster is full of patronising shite. Like:

**Could you be the next star of a show like Geordie Shore, TOWIE or Chelsea?

First of all, those aren't 'shows'. They're brain rape. Secondly, those people aren't 'stars' - I've covered this in a previous blog post, where we learn that sadly, the tag of 'celebrity' is awarded to those who are merely well known for anything at all. NONE of them, and I MEAN NONE of them, are fucking 'stars' in any way, shape or form. 

***True North Productions are looking for young Welsh people destined for great things!

Is that fucking right, is it? 'destined for great things?' Around these parts, being destined for greatness means either not ending up in court on coke and 'roid fuelled assault charges by the time you're 25 or managing to keep your kids out of care until they're in fucking primary school. It's a shame the world's like that. It's a shame these kids you want to throw fake dreams at are like that. But they're like that BECAUSE YOU AND ALL THE SHIT-MONGERS THAT CREATE THE SAME FUCKED-UP REALITIES AS YOU MADE THEM THIS WAY. 


Now take your little poster and fuck off.

Diary of a Misanthrope #3: Retails Of The Unexpected.

I went on a thrill-ride today, kids, and I didn't even have to queue for four hours sandwiched in between nauseating sacks of discount DNA. No, wait. Yeah, I did. But I didn't go to no funfair. Hell no. I went SHOPPING.

It's Xmas too, did you know? Well it fucking is in my local shopping centre. And on TV ads. And all over print media. The whisper's just starting to become a hiss, before it becomes a deafening roar of BUYBUYBUYBUYBUY and your already malfunctioning nervous system is once again wired into the mainframe of mass consumerism and the programming is being uploaded as we speak. 'Keep Calm And Have Another Fucking Mince Pie.' is quite a good summation of how we're all supposed to feel (on pain of death) during the 'Holiday' Season - the most ironic title for the most stressful, fucked-up period of the whole year.

So. Are you ready? Yeah, course you are. I saw you in Cash Generator trying to offload all the useless shit you got last year ready for the new landslide of shiny crap that's gonna rock your tiny world for, ooh, a good week? or perhaps even more? Wow. This year is gonna be EPIC. Anyway, I started off my fun trip by visiting a place I've never visited before...

The Temple of Affordable Clothing. YEAH.

It's exactly what it says - two floors of ethereal floating women in trances holding garments up to the light for inspection. As far as I could tell I was the only bloke. I found what I wanted very easily, though. I hardly did eight or nine circuits around the store before I stumbled across the two-foot-square rack hidden in the whole mile and a half of retail space that had what I wanted on it. So I got into the 'Queue of Eternal Fuck All' and waited. And waited. And waited. While what seemed like hundreds of black-shirted cashiers swarmed around behind a long counter like stoned worker bees. 

I became beguiled by the baskets of colourful and shiny things placed at eye height to generate the optimum temptation level. In the Queue of Eternal Fuck All, there's nothing else to stare at. I looked at the row of 'team-colleague-retail-artists' (calling them 'checkout girls' is so out of touch) and wondered which one I'd be lucky enough to call my own one day. Would it be 'just been shagged in the stockroom' on till #1, or perhaps 'way too into the Twilight thing' on till #4. I noticed 'I have my own table in the staff canteen' on till #8 was giving me the eye, but since I adopted the rule of not sleeping with anyone over twice my age I did not reciprocate. When the Queue of Eternal Fuck All eventually began moving and I became eligible for parole, it was the lucky cashier #7 who provided both the service and grace that will forever earn her the title 'Vast Empty Chasm Of Joyless Futility'. I haven't come up with a way to shorten that yet.

I then used the override security code on the door of my old office nearby to gain unauthorised access and use their (rather more peaceful and hygenic) toilet facilities, before meeting a friend for lunch. The old 'walk around like you own the place and people assume you do' thing works every time, you know - even if a beanie hat and dark glasses would effectively render you unidentifiable in Court if nabbed on CCTV.

Anyway. At my own stupid suggestion, we end up in one of the only 'cafes' I could think of. Which wasn't so much a cafe as a walk-in time machine stuck on 1961 that happened to serve food. To very, very old people. By very, very, very old people. I swear, all that shit I said earlier about the Queue of Eternal Fuck All? I watched a six hundred year old woman count out a purse full of copper coins and farthings, while the seven hundred year old woman behind the till just gazed into space. She could see the fucking tunnel of light calling her, clearly, which must have been why her knuckles were white - she was gripping the till to stop getting pulled into the afterlife. I realised at that point we'd stumbled into a temporal rip in time/space. So I just ordered tea - no point hanging around, especially since it took THREE fucking goes to find a teaspoon that wasn't coated in god only knows what. Fucking EWW.

So we ended up doing the lunchtime 'pizza buffet' thing at Pizza Shed. We could have gone to the Krispy Fried Chicken place next door for some 'care in the community' service, but we all (there were three of us by this point) decided on pizza. Unlimited salad has limited fucking appeal for me, I'll be honest, but this was worth capturing:

Because nothing says 'I hate my job' quite as beautifully as a massive slab of cucumber deliberately dumped into a salad cart, clearly hacked up with a fucking samurai sword to inject just a micron of amusement into what must be, for someone anyway, the most soul-destroying waste of a life ever. It's little things like this that speak volumes about the state of the world... also means I owe my darling friend lunch somewhere nice (the pizza was shit).


Monday, November 14, 2011

Economic Altruism. Don't laugh.

This one's a difficult one to begin. I'd urge you to stick with it, even though I'm not my usual sweary ranty self this time. Sometimes I just want to explore an idea. Got a fucking problem with that? Good. 

Got to talking this morning about value and worth - about how certain things can have a perceived or ephemeral value far in excess of their actual worth, in accordance with how much demand there is for them, I guess. To give an example, think back to that cultural disease, the 'Crazy Frog'. In its time it spread everywhere like a malignant tumour through every transmittable artery culture had. But what exactly was its actual worth? It was a stupid cartoon animation thing combined with an annoying noise. Made its creator an extraordinary amount of money though. I remember the TV ads for the Crazy Frog ringtone. You'd pay something like 3 quid to get this fucking screechy green bastard downloaded to your phone just because it was the thing to have. 

Do any of you still have it, even if you bought it back then? Do you fuck. Millions of people gave money for something that had no actual worth, but had a perceived value that was determined by culture. This outlines part of tonight's hypothesis:

Anything can have value, even in the absence of worth.

Our economy, as it stands, is about to disintegrate. There's no point in trying pretend that it won't - no point thinking that all this 'quantitative easing' bullshit and bailing out of the banks is going to make the slightest bit of difference at all. The economic model we've become dependent on is doomed, and we have to find another solution. Fractional Reserve Banking (the core principle of this economic model as far as I can see it) is, and always has been, a con trick. The debts will never be paid because the system we work to means there's never going to be enough currency in existence to cover it. Therefore it's in a permanent state of default. We are slaves to it, and we've been conditioned to think it's our fault and our responsibility to pay it back. It isn't. But it IS our responsibility to find a new model that will replace it. 

It all began because certain things were attributed as having worth. Basically, I'm talkin' gold and silver, if you wanna be simplistic about it. Precious metals and jewels. Things that were hard to find and lasted forever. Fair enough. Then at some point it was decided that paper representations of that actual 'hard' currency should act as trading vouchers in lieu of it. In essence, bits of paper (that's paper, the stuff you wipe your ass with) were given 'value'. And that's why we're in the fucking mess we're in now.

So if anything can be attributed as having 'value' then happy days. If those goons running the world economy were to suddenly decide that acorns were valuable, we'd use them as currency. Fucking works for squirrels. How about origami swans? Cheese? How about something non-physical?

How about altruism?

Here's a link to the wiki page of a free online book called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. written by Cory Doctorow. I remember reading it many years ago, just after it came out. It outlines a system of ephemeral currency called wuffie, that anyone can access. Essentially, nobody is ever 'broke' in the sense that they all have access to enough wuffie, or currency, to feed and clothe themselves. But their actions toward other humans are rewarded or penalised accordingly by them having their account credited or debited in accordance with what they did. A rich man in Cory's world is a man that is loved and appreciated for what he does for others. 

Can that work in a materialistic culture? Why the fuck not? We'd still make and sell things, and some things would still be out of certain peoples' spending range. But nobody would starve, nobody would struggle to afford clothes or fucked as it sounds, look at it in this way. Right now, 'money' is the thing that has value. And 'money' is difficult for many people to obtain due to circumstance and often, just the lottery of where you were born. Altruism, on the other hand, can be generated by anyone at any time. So why not transfer the empty, hollow perceived value of 'money' onto something that really DOES have some worth?

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

God. Not just for breakfast any more...

So. It's back to the business of hating (nearly) everybody else. Nobody reads this fucking thing anyway and the scant few that do (with the exception of one or two) haven't bothered following it or sharing the link, so I'll write what I fucking well like until such time as I'm forced to sell out by huge and unrelenting pressure from an army of loyal readers desperate to see me tackle altruistic and namby-pamby subjects like jumble sales or rambling. Perhaps the odd recipe here and there? You like that? Here's one:

Jase's Vegetarian Nut Roast
Ingredients: 1 pasty, skinny, whiny male vegetarian (stripped)
Equipment: 1 blowtorch

If you need to know what to do with the equipment, you just volunteered to be the fucking ingredient. I'm gonna take this recipe to the cafe with me tomorrow and see if Jim's up for putting it on as a lunchtime special one day this week. Maybe Wednesday when the Jesus crowd are outside shouting at passers-by with their live 'colouring in' demonstration. Yet it is the age of the shiny distraction - nobody wants to hear or see anything that isn't emanating from a small square sexy looking piece of tech; the most tragic thing is, these fuckers aren't the old-timers who've wasted a whole seventh of their lives in blind faith - these are what I'd describe as 'feckless student types.' But even with the injection of youthful vigour It's the same old tired thing every week. Some hipster art college dude does the EXACT same illustration of the 'spiritual path' with his poster paints and his nursery school brush on a big flipchart while his comedy partner tells anyone within earshot that they're doomed to Hell(TM) unless they tell God(TM) how worthless and sinful they are and say they're really, really sorry and they won't do it again. Even the Romanian Big Issue seller outside the store opposite looks uncomfortable and embarrassed. And she's conjoined twins.

Okay, look. This wasn't intended to be a blog rant about the existence of a Divine Creator. But I'm trying to make a point concerning the nature of selling - specifically, an idea. Like this blog, if I bang on about the same old subjects week in week out, I'll eventually lose readers. But I've only been doing this a couple of months. God's had two thousand fucking years. And any brand specialist worth a shit will tell you, a brand needs to change and adapt or it will stagnate and die. Bottom line - God needs a brand manager.

And to that end, I issue a challenge. To you, spanky. Yeah, you. 

Create a strapline for God. One that embodies the zeitgeist. If any of you fancy submitting one, I'll collect them and post them up here in a week or two. Here's my shot:
Come on. It's not as if She's gonna fucking find out, is it?

Stuff I Salvaged From Facebook

Hello. This is a small collection of stuff I've salvaged from Facebook, as I prepare to completely vaporise my account forever. Cos I am DONE with that shit. 

First posted on Monday, February 21, 2011

a little short inspired by a couple I observed in the cafe this morning...

Stupid Bitch

"Stupid Bitch" he said; but not with lips drawn or teeth bared,
just the eyes that spoke; louder than his lungs.
She bought his coffee, he swaggered to his seat and there he waited,
Lord of nothing save her heart. Her simple, naive heart
That hoped for nothing save his. 

Their coffee drunk, their toast and eggs demolished,
He rose, and spoke his heart's desire.
"Can I have some money then, or what?"
And she, with her simple, naive heart
Gave gladly, hoping that he'd understand.
Hoping he'd appreciate her kindness, return her love...

...stupid bitch.

First posted on Sunday January 23, 2011


To see inside the head - that's no great deal; the eyes are mirrors, real reflections of inner directions. But the heart? Now the heart's another thing. To see inside, to hear it sing or sigh = that takes more skill, more time - and time is all we have when all we have is done. A chance to claim the prize and name our price is but a dance; a stance whereby we rise above the fear and breathe and clear our heads and look into the great abyss and know that we're okay with this; the great adventure's just a hand away, and reaching out to what you fear can shear the chains in two and, in doing, free you...

*Addendum November 2011*

I've learnt some things recently. Some people are living, breathing, self-perpetuating tragedies; doomed to write and star in their own downward descent into destruction. You can try and love them with everything it's possible to give, but you'll never change them. Sometimes you have to just walk away and let them perish - otherwise they'll drag you down too...

First posted Thursday February 25, 2011


I was born to capture stars;
To keep them safe in sealed jars
Until such time as life grows cold
And brittle; and the new seems old
And little things like smiles and tears
No longer matter much to men
I'll smash the jars, release the stars
And create the universe again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrate this.

To begin, my lovelies, a definition:

ce-leb-ri-ty  [suh-leb-ri-tee]
noun, plural
1. A famous or well-known person
2. Fame; renown.

That's from Mainly because I'm too fucking lazy to go look in one of my printed dictionaries, but I feel the time for snobbery is over when it comes to online reference material anyway. Enough safeguards are now in place to ensure that it's virtually impossible to pass off a suspicious fact or sliver of information without someone calling you out. You're not even allowed to write your own Wiki page, for cock's sake. How are people meant to know I was head of Star Command Sector 4D for over six hundred fucking years, knighted seventy-nine times (once by Orblox Hegsmull, High Admiral of the Pleiades Cluster for managing to sneak him a box of Turkish Delight for his daughter's wedding during the Great Sugar War of 2762), offered the position of High Chancellor of Venndyhszhhatryx (turned it down 'cos I couldn't fucking spell it and there was a lot of form filling involved) and that I was the first man to pilot a solo mission to the centre........excuse me once again. If there are any Americans reading - 'centre' is spelled CENTRE. C.E.N.T.R.FUCKING.E. Not 'center'. Spelling it that way makes you piss blood. Your stupid fucking US English spellchecker can suck my balls. As I was saying........I was the first man to pilot a solo mission to the centre of the Earth. Didn't see much. Caused an eruption that wiped out Spain in 2509 as well. Unfortunate. Ah well.

Temporal paradox aside, I apologise for going slightly off-track there. Back to the main 'thrust' of this post. The above definition of 'celebrity' was meant to have been my foundation for an ill-conceived rant about, well, this:

This is a clip from the British TV music quiz 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' - and the girl sitting far left on the panel is called Amy Childs. It was this clip, and her in particular, that inspired this whole post. Watch it to the end - it's quite fascinating. It's the first time I'd ever had the pleasure of watching Miss Childs in action; I'm aware she's one of the 'stars' of a show called The Only Way Is Essex, which has been described as having a 'semi-reality' format. I can only take a guess as to what this means because nobody else seemed to have a goddamn clue either. Let's bottom line it. She's thick. As a fucking planet sandwich, so it goes. And this is clearly one of the reasons she's been invited onto NMTB - as comedy fodder. Fine. She's getting paid well enough for that. She also got to promote her minge-based accouterments, giving an in-depth explanation of their application and appeal. I happen to think she's onto something, because as we all know vaginas are soooooo fucking boring....

...NO, Amy. NO. Vaginas are NOT boring. Vaginas are fucking awesome magical wonder palaces and they happen to be one of my favouritest places to hang out, even more than Alton Towers. What the fuck do you want to mess around with something as wonderful as a vag for? You wouldn't hang multi-coloured fairy lights outside the fucking Acropolis, so you can take your Swarovski crystals or whatever they are and your hundreds and thousands and your glitter and fuck right off (Actually - I did look into having stainless steel balls inserted down each side of my penis a few years ago, just to add some 'built in' fun. Wasn't practical back then, but I'm still tempted).

So Amy...Amy, Amy, Amy. We've established that your IQ is QI, in as much as it's in direct relation to your dress size. I've often wondered how people who operate below a certain IQ level actually perceive the world around them. I'm guessing with Amy, it's like this:

Part of me is annoyed that this woman is classed as a 'celebrity'. But I had to then ask myself 'is that a result of some innate jealousy on my part?' and the honest answer, after many hours of contemplation, is HELL no. The positives of anonymity far outweigh the negatives. Then again, look at what I've chosen to do with my life - It puts me squarely in the firing line for that kind of criticism. Brand new show in the pipeline to be written and tested isn't going to maintain my anonymity for very long. And that leads me to the whole connecting point of this post. The original definition of celebrity reads 'A famous or well-known person. Well-known. That's all it is. If more than a few thousand people know who you are, you are a celebrity by default. So best of luck to Miss Childs there, and her magic muff sparkles. She fulfilled the criteria. The open ended, open to reinterpretation criteria that might just lead others to think 'hey, it doesn't matter HOW people know us, as long as they do.'

Could see some problems then. 


Monday, November 07, 2011

I'll Punch You Straight In The Ego.

As a continuation of my last post - the one concerning the phenomenon of 'trolling' - I find it necessary to continue my attempt at a stream-of-consciousness analysis (they're the best kind, trust me - you never know where the fuck you'll end up) of human behaviour as it pertains to online interaction. It's been over 20 years since the single most powerful influence in all of history arrived and began redefining and altering everything we thought we knew about what it meant to be a human being.

And for me, it's a subject that'll never get old because I'm one of those annoying bastards that have to know how it all works. I need to see the machinery moving behind the shiny outer shell, and although I do say so myself, I've become very, very fucking good at it. So good, in fact, that sometimes it can be a curse (see previous post on 'closure' for more details there) being able to read between lines and see situations emerge from seemingly random, innocuous events. Of course, that happens in real life as well as online; knowing the real truth inside someone's heart, especially when you're close to them, is fucking hard to deal with sometimes. 

Some years ago, I wrote an article for which you can still find here if you're inclined, outlining the telltale signs that indicate online infidelity in a partner. Let's just say It's in my nature to analyse - to pull something apart to see how it works - and that's what I did with my own experience back then, and am still doing to this day with every new one I encounter online. But I'm older and wiser these days. 20 years of experience has taught me that this Never Never Land is just that; a fantasy kingdom where we can be whoever and whatever we want to be, where certain elements of our personalities are automatically suppressed and certain others are enhanced. Our sense of self is easily lost in among the pseudonyms and usernames we adopt, and we may find ourselves interacting with others online in ways we'd never dream of in RL (that's Real Life to you, newbie).

Years ago, I used to join newsgroups and 'lurk' - which was a way of describing those who chose to listen and observe, but not interact. Being a 'lurker' was frowned upon by those 'active' members who gave it the status of voyeurism (Yeah, like I'd wanna watch any of you miserable fuckers in the shower...). The categorisation of 'non-active' members in this way seemed almost designed to shame them into becoming active participants, but many of those that bit and dipped their toe into the Newsgroup ocean soon wished they fucking well hadn't. 

Why? Because Newsgroups back then were littered with the type of people your grandmother might refer to as 'fucktards', These were the hardcore posters who ruled their particular group with an iron keyboard and had no problems shouting you down in ALL CAPS and proclaiming you to be the stupidest twat on the planet at the slightest provocation. You couldn't argue with their twisted logic, you couldn't make them see past their own vast sense of self-importance. Every Newsgroup worth a shit had at least two warring camps, each one headed by a Tribal Bullshit-Chief. Trust me - the evenings I spent lurking around alt.magick and groups of that ilk were fucking masterclasses in text-based savagery. 

What's my point? That some things never fucking change, my friend. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form. Such is the case with negative energy - once channelled through the Newsgroup underworld, now through 'social networking' sites. I'm not entirely sure the term 'social networking' sits well with me, either. There's very fucking little that can be said to be 'social' about 'em and people don't really 'network' - they just pounce on one another in an endless Battle Royale of twattery and intellectual one-upmanship. One false slip of the key on Twitter can get you 'unfollowed' by scores of previously loyal asslickers. I've seen celebrities get accused of being boring, whiny, petty - essentially, being human. And they care, bless them. One or two have publicly tweeted a sad little 'I don't care if you don't like me' response to being lambasted by a bunch of people who chose to follow them in the first place and can just as easily reverse that decision. Then of course, you have those whose aim it is to offend as many people as possible, and retweet or repost the abuse they receive as a result. 

I sometimes wonder if these people have caught on to something the rest of us haven't quite yet...but I know one thing for sure. Showing humanity online is the same as showing weakness - and there's always someone out there ready to rip you to pieces for it. Happy browsing.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Deindividuation For Dummies

Hello there. So? What do you think? Like what I've done with the place? I was gonna go Moroccan, but this won out in the end. I'm happy with it, and that's what matters.

So today...well, it's been quite fascinating. All began with a repost from the lovely Robert Llewellyn concerning the amount of misogynistic 'trolling' that happens online, and how many women are coming forward with horrific tales of abuse and intimidation from other people as a result of something they've submitted online (I've added a link to the article at the foot of this post). At the last count, it got something like 105 comments, a few of which belonged to yours truly. In terms of the sexism issue, I confess I stayed the fuck away from that one and concentrated primarily on what it is that makes people (not just men, as I'll shortly illustrate) forego their sense of self and their own values, that they might indulge in the now globally recognised pastime of 'trolling'.

For those of you unfamiliar, and yes - there WILL be some, no matter how unlikely that may sound - 'trolling' is the name given to the practice of online harassment toward another individual, as a response to something that individual has said or expressed online. It is, to all intents and purposes, bullying. But it's bullying under the ubiquitous 'invisibility cloak' that all of us can choose to wear to varying degrees whenever we appear online. We can (and often do) mask our identities behind a false name, profile picture etc. - and that level of anonymity gives a certain percentage of us the licence to provoke and antagonise others when the things they say conflict with our own viewpoints. 

Trolls aren't new. They've been around since day one online, plying their nasty little trade. Many of the comments that Rob's post generated were from men - most of whom went immediately on the defensive and began (albeit subtly) condemning any kind of sexist behaviour for fear that they might be seen as ever so slightly sexist themselves. One or two dared to cite instances where they'd actually been victims - one in particular was targeted by a woman who'd spread malicious and damaging lies about him. The comments HE received in response to this were altogether more aggressive from his fellow males - the whole thing threatening at one point to become a flame war in and of itself. 

The most notable post for me, however, was this one:

"I have been writing, blogging etc. forever and have never been trolled. If any trolls are tuned in bring it on. I have the ammunition to put you away for a very long time and a track record to prove it."

Which I found notable for its irresponsible and aggressive tone - the equivalent of standing up in a bar and shouting 'RIGHT! WHO FUCKING WANTS SOME THEN??'. And this came from a middle aged woman whose own blog deals with her passion for quilting. Yeah, I know. Couldn't fucking make it up, could you? She obviously needs to vent, and quilting clearly ain't doing it. Maybe she should join the NRA. Fuck, for all I know she already has.

So why do we 'troll'? Well, because we can, essentially. When we're stripped of our sense of individuality, either as part of a crowd (as demonstrated in the recent UK riots) or as part of a 'perceived' online group such as a forum, we find it easier to hide behind an adopted cloak of anonymity that absolves us of personal responsibility. In other words, we have a licence to become a twat. The act of picking on someone else with no fear of retribution gives a small but significant percentage of us a bit of a buzz, it would seem. And of course, anonymity is the great leveler. Your cyber arsenal consists of your wit, ability to formulate (or refuckulate) an argument, and the amount of naked photos of you there are. Physicality is null and void - and maybe this is where the problem lies. In the real world, the Alphas are the physically superior ones. Online, the tables are turned in favour of the geek. And let's be fucking honest, if you'd had years of pisstaking all throughout school and college (and possibly even work), you'd rip into a few meatheads online too, given half a chance.

There is, of course, another, less contentious factor to consider; The whole issue of Group Intelligence is one that contributes directly to this phenomenon, and is best explained using the diagram below:

Where the X axis denotes the number of people gathered, and the Y axis represents the combined intelligence of those same people. As we can clearly see using science and that, the more people there are in any one place (after an optimum group number of about 3), the stupider the overall group or 'hive' intelligence becomes. This is why committees are always shit, why groups without leaders always turn into clusterfucks and why the Polyphonic Spree are still trapped in a disabled toilet backstage at the O2.


And here's a link to the original Guardian article.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Sounds Perfectly Treasonable To Me...

Saturday night...

...not only that - it's Bonfire night. November 5. I'm guessing that only means something in the UK - for those of you overseas lurkers that seem to be reading this blog - you lot in Russia especially take note - November 5 is a night of many traditions that all stem from a failed attempt to blow up our seat of Government, the Houses of Parliament, back in 1605. Thing is, nobody really knows the original motive. Back then, it most likely would have been something to do with religion. We all know what the fucking motive would be today, though. Anyway, if you're interested, here's the quick, sexy version of the original 'Gunpowder Plot', as told by a bloke in the pub:

"Well there's these five blokes, innit? There's yer Guy Fawkes, and four others what I don't know the names of but they're not fucking important anyway. They wanted to blow up the Government cos they'd been taxing the bollocks off the peasants and that, and they knew that November 5th it was gonna be packed cos it was the day they all come back off of Summer Holidays. See? Taking the fucking piss even then. Anyway. Some Lord called Monteagle gets a mysterious letter that says 'don't go to Parliament on the 5th' - sort of warning him to stay away, right? So he knows something's up and he's not fucking dull - if they blow up Parliament that's his cushy fucking job gone with it, innit? So he legs it down there, stopping to grab Sherlock Holmes on the way cos they were mates, see, and they both end up in the cellars under Parliament where they find a million barrels of gunpowder all stacked ready to blow and this bloke Guy Fawkes what done it all was there just finishing off the wiring to the detonator, cos they was gonna blow it from a distance, see? in a fucking van, probably. Anyway, they locked him up and he got done for treason with all those other blokes and they hung draw and quartered the poor fucker. That's when they hang you for a bit to soften you up and then cut you into four pieces and stick em on spikes around Buckingham Palace for the crows to peck at. I reckon it's high time some fucker had another go, though."

So that's why, on November 5 every year, we burn everything we can get our hands on, aim tens of thousands of dodgy Chinese fireworks at living room windows, passing cars and each other, and pretend we're enjoying ourselves. We're not, but It's tradition. And we're British, so we don't even think about saying 'that was fucking shit, I'm not doing that again next year'. We just pretend we had a nice time and never speak of it again. That's half the fucking reason we're in the mess we're in now - 'cos we're too busy being 'reserved' and not wanting to rock the boat. We'd rather take it out on each other after fifteen pints than stick it to the ones that are really responsible.

But this year, 2011, things are gonna take a turn for the interesting. As I type, there are thousands of protesters already assembled at Parliament Square in London - the vast majority of whom are wearing the iconic Guy Fawkes mask made famous in Alan Moore's 'V For Vendetta'...

Described as 'An International Symbol for Rebellion and Anonymity' the mask has been seen all over the world recently at many protest gatherings, and it's gonna be seen tonight in fucking droves. Oh yes. See, we've skirted around this long enough, never daring to voice what needs to be said or doing what needs to be done. It's not enough to say that the System needs 'readjustment'. The System needs complete fucking replacement. Tear it down and start again  with something that isn't so conducive to corruption and mismanagement. 

I can't be there (as much as I'd love to be) but I'm with you in spirit, kids. Have fun - here's to changing the world. Oh, and if anyone fancies nipping off to the X-Factor studios and smashing all the teeth out of Frankie Cocozza's mouth with a hammer, that'd be the perfect end to the evening. 


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Diary of a Misanthrope #2: On Days Like These... rapid, ever changing fluctuation between benevolence and malevolence - an almost metronomic readjustment of my temperament from second to second - is so very, very pronounced. 

As I type this, I'm wondering if I'm unwittingly contributing to some future undergrad psychology gimp's research material, but I doubt it. I'm pretty certain of my own sanity, and I'm self-aware enough to realise that this rapid-fire change in my demeanour...

Sorry. I've just added 'realise' and 'demeanour' to the spellchecker because the fucking piece of shit Americanised (see? here we go again) language is trying to force itself onto the page and violate my output like a Sweaty Southern Sheriff. Bastard. As you were. nothing to do with any internal imbalance, deficiency, anomaly or any similar thing. It's entirely triggered by other people. I don't need medication to treat what I have, I need isolation. Or a chainsaw. I can wake up in a perfectly amiable frame of mind and have it destroyed in seconds by a throwaway remark on breakfast radio that renders me incensed, and reinstated just as quickly by a nice cup of tea and finding out someone's left me a Sudoku puzzle to tackle while I drink it.

And okay, the vast majority of the things that evoke the inner sociopath in me are trivial, pointless things. But they stem from an important need in me to preserve basic human decency. There are one or two things that will always bring down the red mist in me. Physical cruelty to anyone or anything (such as an animal) weaker than you or unable to defend itself will result in me hurting you really rather badly. Verbal or psychological bullying also makes you an instant target. Moral of the story is: Be Fucking Nice. It doesn't cost anything and the whole space you occupy benefits from it. Sadly, this was not the case in my local cafe this morning...

'Cos I'm a man of routine, too. I enjoy sitting in the cafe with a coffee and my copy of the i - a borrowed pen from over the counter and I'm a happy boy. Most days, you have a handful of builders mixed with a few sixth form drama students, not forgetting Jurassic Pack (the regular octogenarian crowd) who claim their territories and keep themselves to themselves. Today, every rat-bastard and his dog came for breakfast. And I do mean rat-bastard. I think the girls in the cafe dealt with more assholes either complaining or trying it on than I've seen them cope with all the time I've been going there. And almost ALL of it from people over sixty. It was almost as if the local Sour Faced Belligerent Old Bastards Action Group were having an AGM. I clocked a few specific instances myself, such as:

'This coffee is made with sour milk' 
It's not. The milk is fresh, it's got a ten-day expiry period.  it must be your dog's arsehole of a face that turned it.

'The chair opposite looks like it might be sticky' 
Are you sitting on it? No. Is anyone else sitting on it? No. We've told you we'll see to it as soon as we've served these 50 people that have just come in. That's right, tell your husband you've just been ignored. We'll freeze fucking time and scatter rose petals at your feet, you vicious bitch.

'This milkshake doesn't look very full to me' 
Well it was full when I made it and served it to you. It's not full any more because two of us watched you take a huge gulp of it before bringing it back and demanding a top-up. It definitely won't be full when I empty the rest of it into your fucking handbag. Sit the fuck down.

Of course those weren't the responses by the waiting staff and management. They have a business to run, and even though I'm a regular and occasional helper-outer, I wasn't allowed to interfere. For some reason, they work on the principle that 'the customer is always right'. I've worked with the public, and I reckon that's bullshit. They're not always right, they're a bunch of opportunistic piss-brained fucktards that'll try and ruin your day if you let them. I am not cut out for a career in the retail sector. I accept that.

My own lovely breakfast date was late too, which did nothing for my frame of mind - but she made it there eventually, albeit after I'd decided 'fuck it' and ordered for myself. Swings and roundabouts. I'm going back for breakfast tomorrow, armed with poisoned blowdarts. They'll thank me come lunchtime.