Where there is no hope there is this pear.

An awful tale of misery and disappointment follows (for it was a day like every other day).

For someone so vociferously proud of being from Manchester, and by this I mean that when I leave Manchester I try to wear one of the 4 or 5 t-shirts I own with some form of Manchester-loving-slogan on them, I don’t do much civic stuff. In fact I don’t do much stuff that doesn’t involve drinking and smoking and being generally malicious (sometimes not in the good way). So when the idea of popping into town to meet Ken Barlow was proposed to me on Friday night I was like “yeah I’d like to do that”.

It was meant to be at the Trafford Centre. It was now, I wax informed – while misguidedly thinking I had avoided a hangover (still pissed is not not having a hangover) going to be on Deansgate. Oh how joyous it all seemed. Ideas of Manchester loveliness pissed into my head.

If you’re already bored – none of this comes to anything.

We don’t meet Ken Barlow or do anything good. We don’t even get to Nando’s.

For those not bored, on with the story.

There were to be several obstacles to the fun that day. The first was to be the punctuality of someone we’ll call Mr McDonald Hughes. No, wait thats too precise. Let’s just call him Michael. Anyway, a plan of meeting at one o’clock to drive into town to meet Ken Barlow was established. Now I didn’t note down exactly what time Michael arrived, but a calendar would have been the most appropriate device to use (rather than a watch you dick, I’m saying he was like well late).

Expectations were low, personally speaking, that Ken Barlow would still be there. I kept this from the group though, choosing to put my own inner turmoil behind the bigger need of the group. That said, I probably did say “I think we are late. I think we have missed him” more than once. Out loud.  This is how sad we were http://twitpic.com/2u0gj4

Never afraid of Plan Bs we hastily regrouped: lets go for a cocktail up Bentham Tower and look out over this majestic city. One short walk later we were rewarded with a pleasant – if slightly too scouse – man telling us that the bar was (a) full and (b) serving only afternoon tea until half four. Afternoon tea? It seems we had forgotten that the cocktail bar at the top of Bentham Tower was actually on the Titanic. And I mean because afternoon tea is a somewhat upper class archaic notion (to me), I am not suggesting that afternoon tea is rusting away at the bottom of the Atlantic. They say if you have to explain the joke then it’s not working. I, however, enjoy describing the water as I drown.

The day was now hurtling out of control. So what do you do when you are at the top of Deansgate and you are reeling from a second crushing failure to achieve fun? If you are anything like me you own lots of clothes but wear a small percentage of them, really like the band ‘The Beatles’ and have a thick head of hair – and at this point you suggest The Museum and Science and Industry as a possible solution to your woes. Some would call it a knee-jerk reaction. Some would call it the action of a jerk. But how many times have you found yourself in a situation that is seemingly rock-bottom and thought/said “why don’t we go to Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry?”.

The only problem with this avenue is that…I started writing that sentence an hour ago and came back to it just now and have no idea what it’s going on about. Frankly, this started falling apart about 4 paragraphs ago. I wrote the stuff before that yesterday on my iphone with the idea in mind, now I’m finishing it off a bit hung-over and I feel like a nice but unpopular animal forever looked over in a Pet Shop. Where was I? Oh yeah – we went to The S&I museum, and the best bit was the gift shop. Here I will admit that the gift shop is the best bit about almost anywhere I have ever been (that has a gift shop). But because we got a bit lost (poor signposting by the museum) we only really went in the shit bit – the room with all the old engines and stuff. Yeah, they’re impressive and make noises and stuff and you’re like wow – stuff was big ages ago – but ultimately that wears off after 3 or 4 seconds and you’re left in a room of old machines that smells funny – with lots of kids running wild. I don’t want to encourage…no I’m not going to go down that bad taste cul-de sac.

After not all the fun of the fair we were all getting a bit hungry. We were in Spinningfields. An idea struck me that had the audacity, style and bravado of a young Mick Jagger. At this stage I will jump ahead because I am not going to go into detail about the night, I’m not sure how this is finishing. There is no dénouement, no zingly one liner, no message or lesson learned on which to end – let’s be honest it will probably be a joke about Mike Baldwin. But the plan for the evening was 10-Pin action, food, booze. The food wrote itself: there is a Nando’s not 25 metres from the 10-pin alley. That’s all – I can go back to Spinningfields now (in the narrative, not literally) and the idea striking me. It was bold, it was life-enriching: it was DOUBLE NANDO’s. “Let’s have a Nando’s lunch despite the fact we’re having a Nando’s tea” (I said). There was some nervous laughter from the group. A Frank Sinatra-esque character DID NOT say “I like your moxy kid, you got stones – and in this world a set of stone will get you further than a hill of beans” because there was not one there, but I imagine it’s what one might have said had there been one there.

Slowly, the idea weaved into the synapses of my colleagues. Much like those first people reading Marx and Engels who instantly realised an ideology that could redefine mankind, my comrades slowly realised I was not acting ‘the goat’ I was putting a framework in place that could make the world a better place, where all men and women would be equal, where cruelty would not exist but mainly one where people would eat at Nando’s twice in a day.

But much like the ultimate failure of communism (read Animal Farm if you don’t know what the failure of communism was. Short version: Pigs are greedy) the failure of my new world order rested (partly) on me thinking this is too good an idea not to revolve entirely around me and my fat smirking face. Yes, double Nando’s must be a treat reserved for celebrating my birthday. Like a fat figurative pig smoking a cigar in the farmer’s house while a nice old horse is beaten to death by the Military Police – the chalice of Double Nando’s was whipped away from the Proles. That and I don’t think everyone else was completely on board – so we just went to a Somerfield and got sandwiches and related snacks. And went home.

The sting in the tale? After bowling (an entire other story, needless to say the involvement of Martin Gibbons Esq meant there was a complex system of handicapping – that worked, to be fair) the two viable Nando’s were too busy to go to so we didn’t even get a single Nando’s.

Final score:

Things accomplished on Saturday October 2nd: Nothing.

It’s about you know…talking about something without talking about it

Ahhhhhhh. How can you talk about something without talking about it? It is somewhat of a predicament.

But the problem is with some stuff is that people getting outraged and talking about stuff gives the person who has done/said/planned the outrageous thing the publicity/attention they desired. So if I want to have a go at ‘you know who’ for his planned ‘you know what’ then if I mention him I am giving in to his small brain. [I have also realised the genius of this is that this can be applied to almost anyone in the business of publicity-seeking-self-serving agendas, and so this wont age. Unless this kind of cunty-ish behaviour dies out and people stop doing ridiculous shit. Or people stop paying attention to them. Apart from the fact no-one is reading anyway. Maybe I should threaten to **** some ***** on the anniversary of */** to get people to read my wretched bile.]

Having made the point that this could be applied to any similar events in the future, one might say I am going to contradict this somewhat by blaming the right-wing Christian fundamentalism of the protagonist in question. I would argue that this will cover about 50% of people doing likewise in the future. The other side are the people diametrically opposed to these, as ever it is the extremes that seek/gain all the attention and get on the news etc when by being either extreme they are already predefined as being a cock.

Anyway, I am not contradicting myself. You are.

And I am not going to blame the Christianity element of these madholes anyway, if you thought I was. I saw someone comment earlier in the week that ‘people asking what would Jesus do are mental’.   Why exactly?  Other than him being a fictional character.  I’d suggest the one thing you couldn’t attack about Christianity was Jesus.  And I’m not having a go at the Jews there, let sleeping dogs lie.  The problem with these redneck Christians is them, not Jesus.  Not to attack the philosophy of a man who was seemingly about love and acceptance.  And mending flaky skin.

If I am being honest, I just really hated the woman who made the statement.  She was an evil, thick cunt who used to work where I work (See I don’t behave like Jesus, but would you given what happened to him?).  The point is living life like Jesus wouldn’t be that bad.  But they don’t live like Jesus do they?  They live like Hitler if anything.  Who did burn books as well.  And it’s the behaviour of the people you should judge, not the belief system they attach themselves to.

Here endeth the sermon.

Bad ad?

While I am at it, and I don’t want to detract or compare Stonewall to the people I am lambasting here, I meant to write something about this poster that Stonewall used recently.  And lets be clear on one thing: I am not a homophobic, not in the slightest.  I just thought this poster was a bit naff.  I’m not sure who a poster like this is meant to appeal to anyway, I mean we (and I mean, like intelligent 21st century people) know that we are all equal and others shouldn’t be judged by where they put their cock (or fanny).  So…this poster isn’t aimed at us – right?  So if it is aimed at the people who are – and lets use the word backwards here, and use it in a judgmental sneering way –  backwards and think homosexuals/bi-sexuals/etc are wrong, or bad or anything other than the same as us.  Is this really going to convince anyone of that mindset of anything? I mean can you imagine some guy sat there who hates the thought of a homosexual looking at this and thinking “Wow, being told to get over it in a (slightly camp)way has certainly changed my tune.”  No, neither can I. I think my point is, it’s a bad advert.  The people who need to be educated cannot be won over in a  media-friendly sound-bite.

Stonewall: some of your posters are shit.  Get over it!

Phil’s Big 9 – 2010

Jesus, Phil, you’re thinking.  Last year on June 25th you dropped me a list of 9 shit hot films to look out for in the coming months.  June 25th.  It’s July 21.  You’ve had 2 birthdays since then and I’m waiting for this year’s Big 9. Last year’s was really awesome, man.

Well, you’re right it was awesome.  But, I moved and had internet issues, and the internet at work is slower than an Irishman.  So, there’s been a delay.

Anyway, last year’s Big 9 was MEGA-influential.  Without the Big 9 – 2009 I think it’s hard to imagine Inglorious Bastards, Shutter Island or one of the ones I can’t remember that have defunct links (Though I think Inception might have been one of them, wh-aaammy) being a raging success.  It is nice to know there is no dirty play in the movie business though: I have not received one bung from a Director or Studio in an attempt to infiltrate this list unfairly.

So, here we go then.  They’re calling this the new Sundance Film Festival y’know. In no particular order (but I’m putting the names on this year so I don’t have the same issues – not remembering what they all were) …and I’ve embedded the videos this year so you don’t even have to click on a link.  No thanks needed, you dicks.

1.  Super 8

Spielberg AND JJ Abrahams??  Wow I don’t even care if the trailer has a weird train crash and then a trailer being punched open from the inside, y’know a bit like the beginning of Jurassic Park.

2.  The Other Guys

It’s The Ferrell and he’s being directed by Adam McKay and – well just watch this mother-effing trailer, it made me make a noise like a laugh with my mouth and everything.

3.  The American

GC’s only film this year.  End of reason, shit he’s sexy.  Oh you want more – it’s about a killer doing one last job…FRESH.

4.  The Expendables.

Statham. Li. Lungren. Willis. Schwarzenegger. Rourke. Stallone. Steve Austin.

5.  Scott Pilgrim Vs The World

Edgar Wright. Micheal Cera.  You in yet?  Course you are, you fucking geek.

————————————WE’RE OVER HALFWAY IN——————————————-

6.  The Green Hornet

Ok, I like Seth Rogen and I like superhero films.  So it’s like obvious this bad boy is in..

7.  Easy A

It’s the broad from Superbad pretending to be a slut.  There’s a lesson learned no doubt.

8.  Red

Retired CIA assassins?  Morgan Freeman?  Helen Mirren? John Malkovich AND Bruce Willis?  Get outta town.

9.   Megamind

Clever animated superhero film, incredible idea.  But it’s Ferrell innit.

And there we are, another year (and a bit) another Big 9.  I can neither confirm nor deny rumours of a 6-month wait until the next Big 9 – contracts are not signed.

I’ll be back hahhahaahah (you know like Arnie says in the Terminator franchise…

Don’t play with me cos you’re playing with steam

How do you burn yourself making a cup of coffee?? Well I’m sure there are plenty of ways actually now I come to think of it. I certainly remember a slew of legal cases in the late 80s/early 90s where people sued because they spilled hot coffee over themselves. Some of the fucking idiots actually won. 

Lawyer: So you had no idea the contents of the cup would be hot when you purchased it?

Mr X: No, none at all.

Lawyer: The fact that there was no use of the word hot in the product name must have confused you?

Mr X: Exactly. If I buy hot chocolate I hold it with oven gloves and only place it on secure surfaces.

Lawyer: Understandable confusion I think we can all agree [Makes eye contact with stupid looking juror who is nodding]. And what about the container? Was there any warning that the contents would be hot?

Mr X: None sir. Lawyer: And the fact that you are not an alien who has no experience of human life hasn’t meant you would just assume a cup of freshly bought coffee would be very hot?

Mr X: I have a bad memory. Lawyer: So with this container of liquid in hand you then proceeded to your car and balanced it on your lap whilst driving over a bumpy road?

Mr X: I assumed the cup made out of paper with a thin plastic lid would be secure Etc etc

Cut to man being awarded half a million dollars and McDonalds, Starbucks et all having to write THIS CUP MAY CONTAIN VERY HOT MATERIALS AND SCALD YOU IF YOU POOR IT OVER YOUR SKIN YOU FUCKING IDIOT on their cups.

What’s this go to do with you Phil? I hear you ask. Well this morning I became the idiot. Whilst preparing my breakfast, most important meal of the day kids, I reached over my kettle for the jar of Nescafe and simultaneously the kettle boiled, vomiting steam straight at the naked flesh of my arm. Proper burned it, I did.

You can all relax, I’m not physically dead. I’m not gonna die. And I mean never. Pretty sure I’m some kind of God. Though maybe one of those shit ones. Like **NAME OF DEITY DELETED THROUGH FEAR OF RELIGIOUS RETRIBUTION OF ANY KIND – THOUGH THAT DOES INCLUDE A FATWA IT IS IN NO WAY SPECIFICALLY SUGGESTING A FATWA**.

I digress..I’m ok, but I intend to launch a class action law suit so that in future all steam comes with a warning. I just don’t know who to sue. The water providers? The kettle makers? Me?

Postscript: I realise it has been a while since I last did a blog and you might have been hoping for something more than this when I returned. Sorry. In retrospect I doubt anyone was hoping I would ever write a blog again so I hereby rescind the apology.

Master-biff

I know the main thing someone on Masterchef should be able to is cook. And I mean like proper cooking: where no part of it involves a microwave and by ingredients they mean stuff like vegetables, cumin or fennel. And not stuff in plastic that you pierce with a fork a few times and warm up. However isn’t the skill of figurative language use much more important? I mean – come on, they’re on a television programme for fuck’s sake. People should be pulled up for speaking shit on television. Admittedly this does happen on Come Dine With Me, but Dave Lamb cant narrate every TV show going.

What the fuck am I on about? You might ask if you were reading this [you’re not though. You’re probably out for a drink, or watching a film at the local cinematheque. Or at very least watching an ITV drama about something you think might be interesting – but isn’t, but your brain isn’t sure because Robson Green or Sarah Lancashire are being very gloomy in it and there are occasional scenes of some people sat in silence]. However, since none of you are reading this it is left for me to ask the question. So, I did.

Well, I was watching Masterchef [yes, that’s the stage in life I have got to] the other day. It was getting near the end, that near that it’s finished by now. But, then it was getting towards the end. And some guy, who is a bit of a dick (i.e. he made a big deal out of a minor knock on his side) had just done alright at cooking something. He was doing a talking to camera bit. He was talking about what is was like to be so close to the end of the show, and being in the last three. Close enough almost to touch but still able to lose.

So this is what he said, “It’s like being on a tightrope: the further you go on, the further you have to fall”. And then the programme carried on. Like nothing had happened. Like someone hadn’t just been really shit with their mouth. Even though he clearly had. How exactly is it like being on a tightrope, you fucking melon? Someone should have said. The longer you stay on a tightrope doesn’t really affect how far you fall (should you indeed fall). Unless, of course, the tightrope in question is rising – the two ends of the rope being attached to little mechanical platforms that are slowly and simultaneously rising (to preserve the tautness of the rope). But he didn’t mean this. At least I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean this.

Mate, if you’re reading this, and lets face it you might be [I imagine in about 12 months when not only does NO-ONE recognise you in the street, and I’m including your wife in that, but also you’re struggling to recognise yourself when you look in the mirror. At this stage you will probably be Googling yourself. Sure, the first few mentions will be on the BBC website and maybe even You Tube. But you know these off by heart. You search further and see you’re mentioned in a blog. “I hope it’s about me doing some dead good cooking, and not about me doing some alright cooking when I cooked for that French guy who is the best cooker in the world and the other 2 lads did some really good cooking. I’d love to kill them….] then IF you were referring to a tightrope that was slowly being raised…then I apologise, because the longer you stay on that the further you would fall.

So, sorry. Again though, that’s not what you meant is it? You meant a regulation tightrope. Like in a circus. And the further you go on one of those than the further you go on one of those doesn’t really effect how far you fall. Ok, there is an inevitable dip towards the middle unless the rope is completely taut. But that makes the fall shorter if anything…but, yes when you get past the slight dip then you would have further to fall than when you were in the dip, but no further than you were at some earlier point. You dipshit. And even if you meant this version then it is still a pretty, pretty weak analogy.

What you meant was that it was like climbing a mountain. The further you climb up the mountain, the nearer you are to achieving your ultimate goal of the peak – but also should you fall you also have further to fall to your (deserved) death.

I just wanted to point out that if I, at some future point, do a really big cooking faux-pas whilst involved in some Linguistic Imagery Pedantic Bastard TV show then feel free to attack me with some sarcastic cooking. Or something.

[If I were on Masterchef I would just make some nice toast or something.]

You’re a Star

I was queuing at the Eurostar refreshments carriage on the way back from Paris when one of them daft thoughts hit me. I am going to explain it now and it wont seem that funny, if funny at all but I had to do everything in my power not to have a proper laughing fit surrounded by French people keen – as I was – to spend about a tenner on a couple of tiny brews and a pipe of Pringles the thickness of a polo. Anyway I was waiting, quite a while: it takes them a while to prepare all the fussy little sachets involved in making things like a cup of hot chocolate or a croquet monsieur. And they were all French and the guy at the desk was French so there were no language barriers. But I started to worry a bit about what I wanted – (a) there were several types of water and I didn’t really care which but I didn’t want that conversation, (b) there were bottles and cans of coke available and I specifically wanted a can but I didn’t know how you made the specifics of this clear. Was it the amount or the container? Did you say trente-trois centilitres de coca-cola? Or did you say you wanted a can? Only I didn’t know what can is in French. My best guess would be to say canister in a French accent – cann-eee-stir. (c) I didn’t know what pipe is in French. Or sour cream and onion. Of course the obvious thing to do was to ask for everything loudly and slowly in English.

But my mind did start to wonder somewhat regarding how I would try to politely describe a pipe of Pringles (Inevitably when push came to shove I just pointed at them and said ‘des Pringles’). The next obvious step was to start to think about how I could describe a Highlands Toffee bar to the French man using my limited French and international sign language. I think my initial interior laughter was at the thought of me not giving up on the idea of something being available when they clearly only had everything on the printed menu. And I’m not sure they make anymore either. After initially asking for ‘une toffee d’Island’ where would I go? I would just have to resort to English. “You know they’re like 10p and they come in the white wrapper with a bit of tartan pattern on the end?? You could never unwrap it properly as the wrapper would stick to the toffee and it would be a bit annoying?? sometimes they would be quite hard and brittle but the ones in the little food bar in Copley were a bit melted….you know the one in the area where you could watch people swimming, because providing a large observation window for a local swimming pool is important. And was definitely never used by paedophiles. You know the snack desk there on that side?? Not the one on the other side that was also a licensed bar where you were more likely to get chips from…the one where you could sit and watch people play 5-a-side or badminton?? Highland toffee bars??”

I mean if he didn’t get it off that what hope would I have?

Twitter ye not

I’ve never watched anyone write a tweet before. I did this morning though. I watched a tweet constructed from start to finish. It was a fascinating process –admittedly it was purely observational as I watched it all from over the writer’s shoulder on the bus this morning. It caught my eye as it was a colourful display on her iPhone so I thought “hello what’s this?” keen as always for a new bit of geek or gadgetry. On discovering it was a Twitter type thing I immediately wanted to know what it was but I didn’t see. I was guessing it was one of the ones you pay for because it didn’t look like any of the main free ones (I’ve tried them all). I mean I probably should have stopped looking at this stage. But I didn’t remember to bring my United We Stand to read so I was bored. And I’m a nosey fucker.

So she was looking at the news feed of the people she was following. This led her to click on a link to The Sun and lo and behold she was reading a story with pictures from the F1 practice sessions. My patronising brain instantly assumed there must be some girly angle. To be fair I don’t think there was. Soon she was back on her Twitter. AND…der-der-der she was about to write a tweet…….

As soon as she wrote the first couple of words I knew the first sentence. I’m new. Now this could easily be followed by an infinite number of letters and words. She could have been about to write I’m Newt in the Moss Side Theatre production of Hollyoaks or I’m newcastle to the core – I love those Geordie bastards. But that’s neither what I predicted nor what she wrote. She wrote I’m new to this Twitter lark. Because that’s what people write when they first join Twitter or I don’t really get the point of this or I don’t know what I’m doing. But no – she went with lark and that fine. Lark is proper what people describe something is when they are new to it. I’m new to this iPhone lark or I’m new to this downloading child pornography lark are to examples that spring to mind. Conversely when people are too old for something it’s become a game, I’m too old for this gigging game is a particularly poor example of this. [Not to disparage the girl but this was something of a lie, I was able to find her on Twitter when I got to work and she had tweeted twice previously last year].

She then took a good 6 or 7 minutes to say she was following BBC Motor Sport presenting’s enfant terrible Jake Humphrey. She sped through the next sentence – she is looking forward to the new F1 season. Fair enough: who isn’t? I for one will probably watch a feature on all the changes to the rules and cars before watching a sum total of 5 or 6 minutes of action over the next 6 months of the 2010 season. I don’t mean to have a go at the girl here, if it reads like I am then I’m not. We all have different tastes – I think F1 is tediously dull nowadays, that’s just my opnion: I know there are millions of others (including the grandmother of one of my best friends) who love the sport.

The next bit of her tweet was the best bit (and I suppose as I clarified I wasn’t taking the piss out of her in the last paragraph I should clarify this: the following paragraph IS taking the piss out of her). Her finger hovered above the touch screen. She was poised for something – what was she going to put? As a new tweeter I feared she was going to fall into the trap of cramming too much information into one tweet. But a good 2 minutes later she had clearly reached a conclusion in what she should write next then she wrote : and than D. So she did a ‘: D’ . [It reminded of the time great mate – same one with the F1GM and writer of this excellent blog http://davestvsports.blogspot.com/2010/01/hello-and-welcome-to-my-blog-that.html – Dave and I were at the cricket. There was a lass sat in front of us. [At the cricker, on her own!] And during a quite patch of play she got a pen and paper out and started scribbling some stuff on a pad, y’know like she was writing a shopping list – which I think she was, then she stopped and looked a bit thoughtful with a pen in her mouth and Dave shouted out “yoghurt” which remains in my opinion one of the best gags I have ever been a party to on the last day of an Old Trafford test].

To finish off the tweet she wanted to write a good luck message to Jensen Button. She wrote something like Bring home the championship Jensen or something but she had gone over the 140 character limit imposed by the Twitter gods and thus began a rewrite. This was the only moment my insane brain though about intervening. Not that my advice would have saved her – it was a more stylistic point about her prose rather than some advice on squeezing all of the value out of 140 characters. I wanted to tell her that ‘bacon’ would be better in place of ‘championship’. I didn’t though – sometimes it’s better to let people learn from their mistakes. In the end she went with Good Luck @The_Real_JB! X [@The_Real_JB! is Jensen Button’s Twitter handle you losers living in the dark ages].

Postscript: One thing I didn’t notice – until I got in work and managed to track her down on Twitter (I think the verb is ‘stalked’) was that she had changed the       : D to a : ) before she posted the tweet. It shows that no matter how much thought you put into a decision it still might not be the right one. Im looking at you, Mark Owen *touches nose*.