Because stuff needs talking about.

What I don’t get is…

A (Flappy) Bird In the Hand…

Recently there’s been quite a lot of stuff going on; the most expensive and possibly most anti-homosexual Olympics has kicked off, Philip Seymour Hoffman has sadly departed this world, and, in the celebrity “news” section, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have split, causing a tidal wave of drool to circumnavigate the globe as Goslingites worldwide drift off into steamy daydreams.

Up there competing for valuable social media space though, and somewhat surprisingly I might add, is a rage inducing game with the addictive nature of heroin cut with pure Pringles extract. Yes it’s Flappy Bird; a largely simplistic yet inexplicably hard game where the player guides an incapable bird through a maze of varying, Mario-esque pipes with the objective being…to fly through an infinite number of pipes. It certainly seems that for the public to get hooked on a game, it has to be bird based and fucking impossible.

Another victim of bird rage.

Another victim of bird rage.


I’m happy to admit I’m a bit of a games nerd, I’ve played FIFA games for so long that the majority of real players have retired, and overdone it on Call of Duty to the point that a walk down the street often resulted in assessing objects for their camping opportunities. To cut a long, geeky story short, I expect to be pretty good at games in general, especially ones where the only input needed is to occasionally tap the screen. Surely, a game named ‘Flappy Bird’ where the key objective is, rather obviously, making a bird flap can’t provide much of a challenge to seasoned gamers?

It took me seven attempts to get through one gap, it took me another ten attempts to reach three. After twenty minutes I had managed six, and after another ten minutes it had been deleted after rage had filled my body and left me on the verge of reducing my phone, and it’s infuriatingly flappy contents, to pieces. It raises some issues too, other than how can a pixellated bird which has no ability to fly already be airborne, and also, what’s with all the pipes? No, what it really brings to light is that as a whole, the public is a massive glutton for punishment, on the basis that we can get a couple of ranty and relatable statuses out of it. We will happily put ourselves through the hardship of guiding a wholly dependent blob through a plumbing fiasco in a doomed attempt to complete an endless task, because we know we can get pissed off and vent it all over social networks and be safe in the knowledge that a load of other poor saps will be doing the same and like or share or whatever to show their agreement.
Flappy-Bird-Creator-Is-Taking-Game-App-Down-For-Good1
Such is the annoyance level of this game even the creator has had enough and deleted it from the app store. Perhaps it was the relentless internet hate directed towards his avian invention, or simply the constant trips to the bank to deposit his bulging bags of money. Whatever it is, the bird is set to no longer be the word and the world has been freed from its addictive grip, ready to move on to another equally infuriating and tweet generating time-waster.


NekNomination: Being a Lad Goes Viral

As you all have been made aware by a myriad of drunken and badly filmed videos cluttering up your Facebook news feed, a new social media craze has been doing the rounds. It is of course the online drinking game, NekNomination, where people try their best to concoct and imbibe alcoholic abominations in a bit to out-lad each other, and then NekNominate their friends to one-up their effort.

Alcohol + vest = LAD, apparently.

Alcohol + vest = LAD, apparently.


Despite the obvious glorification of booze culture, the irresponsible celebration of reckless alcohol mistreatment, and maybe worst of all the misspelling of neck to make the whole thing “cool” and edgy, my main gripe lies with the terrible promotion of lad culture across the world.

The new viral trend gives air time to those who actually value the ability to down a curdled blend of potent nastiness, an endearing trait you all must agree, in a bid to prove themselves as the next alpha male, and earn them valuable commendations in the form of Facebook likes to help them cement their position. This ability alone is obviously not enough to secure momentary, localised, internet fame though, oh no. The participant’s on screen presence is paramount to the video’s success. To ensure popularity and respect from the lad-osphere the whole video must be treated like their own private reality TV show, only like one of those hybrid reality shows where the people portray a character of themselves which they yearn to be in real life. Basically, each individual must try to be as much like a TOWIE or Geordie Shore pinnacle of manliness as possible, complete with shaved chest, terracotta fake tan, gel drenched quaffed hair, and of course the mandatory white vest and cap uniform.

What is most disappointing about the whole affair is that has been wholeheartedly accepted and enjoyed by an overwhelming number of the online community. The internet has the power to bring awareness to real, important matters, and try to bring about a change for good in an often unjust world. In this case though, the internet as a population has chosen to get behind testosterone-soaked shows of strength and celebrate wanton liver damage.

At least this guy from South Africa had the right idea and used his minute in the public eye to do something useful and worth commending rather than necking a pint with all manner of shit in it (including shit, it actually happened). Hopefully his will be the challenge accepted by others and the next internet craze will be a positive one.


The Five Stages of Being Hungover

This post is dedicated to the dreaded hangover, the burden that follows nights of excess, the harsh reality after all the drunken merriment and fun has faded away, the vast plague that sweeps the nation on Saturday and Sunday mornings and delivers the population into the new working week feeling suitably sheepish and down. Well life can’t be all fun and games you know.

If you can relate to this article, I feel for you. If you are one of these freaks of nature whose only experience of a hangover is one that can be solved with a glass of water and brisk jog around the park then you should know that I, and all my fellow sufferers, despise you and cannot wait for the day you visit our apocalyptic, post-binge world. And to those who are young enough to shrug off a hangover like it ain’t no thang; be afraid, this will be your reality soon.

The Calm Before the Storm

You’ve just woken up; you have no idea of time or any recollection of anything. The only thing in your head is a sense of puzzlement, a nagging feeling that something is not right. The bubble has not yet burst; everything is ok in your little den of happiness and security. Life is good. Something will make you move though, something will strive to ruin this innocence, and more often than not, it is thirst. But it’s this inevitable trip to the bathroom tap and subsequent movement that brings reality crashing down around you. The memory of the night’s events come rushing back as you stand up and the desolation of body and mind becomes apparent. If only you had taken some water to bed and you could have prolonged the charade of safety for another five blissful minutes but you didn’t, and now you’ve set in motion the awful hangover machine.

The Day of the Dead

"Nobody talk to me."

“Nobody talk to me.”


So the innocence has worn off and you are left with the truth; you are rougher than a badger’s bottom that’s next on the cull list. You have consigned yourself to a day of drifting in and out of consciousness while desperately searching for your one “comfy position” on the sofa. Everything hurts and everything makes you feel worse. No doubt there will be some overly loud sport on the telly with some rambunctious presenters consistently rousing you from your dozing. The sheer amount of exclamation marks on people’s excitable Facebook statuses offends your brain with its visual noisiness and causes spiralling annoyance and increased illness. You can only pray for a proper hangover film to come on to usher you through the worst of the day. You know the ones I mean; they either have to be a classic three-hour epic, or a kid’s film with slightly more going on than just colour and noise. Basically give me Mutiny on the Bounty or The Goonies and it’ll go some way to alleviating my suffering.

The Hunger Games

Yep, that should cover it.

Yep, that should cover it.


So you’ve battled your way through the sofa-bound, could-quite-conceivably-die phase of your hangover, owing a huge part of your success to that Harry Potter film being on TV, and now you are faced with a huge dilemma. The feeling of sickness has started to be replaced by hunger pangs but your fear and chequered hungover history makes the next step a huge one. Do you stick or twist? Ignore the hunger and be content in the knowledge that no (more) chundering will occur? Or gamble and raid the cupboards for the least healthy foodstuff to fulfil your craving for salt, sugar and hydrogenated fat, knowing full well what might go down if you over indulge? The choice is yours.

The Great Depression

By now you’ve probably decided to eat, been sick again for definitely the last time, and are now wishing somebody would bring you a KFC to draw a line under the whole thing and start afresh. The problem is, no one is going to bring one for you, and that makes you sad. Very sad in fact. And the depression keeps coming. In a whirl of memories and self-loathing, all the negatives from the night before rush back to you. That extra load of money you took out late at night and somehow blew through. The embarrassing run in with your ex when you were in your “a lot more drunk than I thought” stage. The tweets you wrote while half cut and for the whole world to see and remind you of at a later date. That, coupled with the knowledge of the damage you have done to your body and mind, and the fact that you have just wasted another full day of your life (just like you did last weekend) makes for one pretty sorry charity case.

The Happy Ending

I’m using the term happy ending loosely, and definitely not in the same way as a massage parlour might. The only positive to come out of your epic hangover comes in the final throes of your illness. So angered and upset by the horrible feelings of sickness and of time wasted that you vow to do something productive with your life. You WILL search for that new job you’ve been wanting for years, you WILL get in to shape and commit your life to fitness, you WILL go walk up a mountain, go to the beach, just be outside in some scenario instead of slumped in front of the TV. You’ll take photos of nature and everything will be really interesting to you (and more importantly Instagram). See how much desire and drive you have now? You’re like a new person, and all because you got totally hammered a couple of nights ago. In reality, you’re more likely to find that there are no jobs out there, go the gym once, and walk to the shop, but hey, it’s a start right?

"Okay, I've gone way too far with this life affirming stuff!"

“Okay, I’ve gone way too far with this life affirming stuff!”


So there you have it, another hangover, again sworn to be the last, done and dusted with enough time to recover before next weekend to start the cycle all over again. I feel pretty proud of myself for finishing this one, maybe it’s time for a celebratory beer…


Towel Torment: A Winter Problem

Let me start with a little poem…

A winter’s day, the early morning shower my only saviour from a frosty start,
Hot enough to fog the windows, hot enough to scald the skin, hot enough to last for those fervent few minutes of drying and dressing.
But wait, what is this? The icy touch of Jack Frost’s fingers breaking prematurely through my cotton cocoon?
Like a poison arrow through the gap in the armour, the towel’s label finds my unsuspecting skin.
A frozen barb, a precursor to the frost-gripped, outside world, a harbinger of the misery that winter brings with an early start; the label strikes, impossibly cold and wet, and leaves in its place a lasting mark of anger and misery.
What was at first a bubble of warm escapism, is now burst by the chill of washing instructions.

As my irregular, terrible, and rather over dramatic poem suggests, today’s issue is with the label attached to towels and the horrific ordeal of it coming into contact with your skin. And yes, I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t THAT big a deal, especially not big enough to warrant its own irregular, rather dramatic poem.
IMG_1108
The problem here is why the label is even there in the first place. I know how to wash a towel; it’s a towel. I know I can iron a towel, but I’m not going to; it’s a towel. I don’t need to know where my towel comes from because, you guessed it; it’s a towel. All I need from my towel is the capability to soak up water off my body on a daily basis. The unnecessary label however counteracts this process by instantly soaking up water (even with its untowel-like properties) and rapidly cooling it, much like the work of liquid nitrogen, or Mr. Freeze of Batman fame. It then proceeds to reapply the ice-cold water back to the body thus lengthening the time of drying and making it thoroughly unpleasant in the process.

My point is, remove the little 3 inch square of surplus information from the towel and you have a much more efficient and friendly towel. Keep it on, and you have thousands of already disgruntled early risers, in a slightly worse mood than before. Shocking.

I hope you’re happy with yourself, towel.

**I would like to apologise for the excessive use of hyperbole and also the word towel in this post, it will not happen again. Well the towel repetition anyway, unless I find another towel related annoyance to bang on about.


What I Don’t Get Is…

…Why France is obsessed with speedos.

Go to any pool across France and you’ll see this sign; no shorts a flat out ban on shorts. This isn’t an invitation for the general public to go for a dip in their birthday suits, to break free from the shackles of an over-conservative life and get back to nature for a brief period of their conformist, non-naked lives, no, this is a sign saying that swimming shorts and boardies are non bien dans ma piscine!

So adamant are the French, that they feel the need to convey their love od Speedos in numerous languages.

So adamant are the French, that they feel the need to convey their love of Speedos in numerous languages.


The nationwide rule basically states that the only acceptable form of swimwear in France are those which would be met with merciless ridicule and quips about smuggling various objects in this country, a request which doesn’t exactly sit well (accidental punnage) with us modesty-loving Brits.
The problem, you see, is that banana hammocks in their entirety are a terrible idea. Firstly, they look appalling. You don’t see clothing companies trying their hardest to make y-fronts look cool do you? No, because it is an impossible task. The same rule applies to Speedos, mainly because they are exactly the same thing, albeit sagging slightly less when wet than there on land counterparts. Secondly, they leave little, if anything to the imagination. Now, I’m not just referring to the thinly veiled crotch region, but also the way they seem to highlight every other flaw of the unfortunate victim’s body. The flabby bottom has no hiding place like it would in shorts, and the beer belly has no thick waistband to tuck into, they are both right there, right in the public eye, ready for judgement. Not even The Rock could make budgie-smugglers look cool, and he was the most electrifying man in entertainment.
"Someone call wardrobe, I think faux leather speedos might be a step too far."

“Someone call wardrobe, I think faux leather speedos might be a step too far.”


Lastly, we have been brought up almost religiously to mock those who wear pants instead of boxers and have accidently revealed this shameful secret in P.E or some highly embarrassing playground mishap. Then all of a sudden we go on holiday and are told that we must don a highly elasticated dong holster (hilarious) or we can’t go in the water, well you, mon frère, have just lost yourself a customer. To those who bite the bullet and slip on their humiliating set of Zoggs fresh from the campsite shop, the look of shame in their eyes is that of someone who has broken their promise with God. No swim can be worth that.

Apparently the rule is enforced for hygiene reasons. The feeling is that longer shorts can often be worn for other, non-swimming activities and therefore will bring unwanted materials and dirt in to the water, whereas with Speedos, no one in their right mind would be caught dead in these anywhere other than a strict French pool so chances of contamination are definitely on the slim side. My personal theory though is that the rule is set by the uber-ripped and bronzed Gallic lifeguards to create moments of extreme awkwardness and panic in us normal folk for their entertainment. What could be better when needing a break from leching at sunbathing women and slouching on their authoritative chairs than to waggle a dismissive finger at an approaching man’s shorts and point him in the direction of the nearest ouch-pouch merchant.

So next time you’re on the continent remember this; if you want to go for a nice swim, you better make damn sure that everybody can see every last part of your body. Never mind, I heard the sea is much nicer anyway.


Why I don’t need my brain anymore.

I have been made aware that, since leaving all forms of higher education, it has become solely my responsibility to feed my brain and quench the thirst for knowledge in a continual search for more and more valuable information. Instead, I shirked my obligation, and turned to daytime television.

Waking up late allows me to miss any news shows or culturally relevant programmes and head straight for the good stuff, and what better way to kick-start the day’s mind numbing entertainment than to head over to PickTV and into the dirty Hawaiian underbelly patrolled by Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman and his wife, Ric Flair. This of course is the long-running series ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ where the audience can witness a leather clad, chain-smoking lionesque bounty hunter, accompanied by his extensive bounty family, hunt down and arrest the constant supply of reoffending criminals. Not only can viewers be entertained with the thrill of the chase and little scuffles that break out between the bear mace toting Good, and the crystal meth toking Bad, but as an additional treat get to be parley to the life lessons and teachings doled out by the Dog as he escorts the captured bail jumper to jail. He does deliver the dog gospel in a nice and meaningful way though; he always takes his sunglasses off and screws one last cigarette into the offender’s trembling mouth before leading them to the big house. You couldn’t hope to be caught by a nicer guy, once he’s finished pushing you to the ground, cuffing you and celebrating your capture in your grazed face with his ponytailed family that is.

Wise words, Dog.

Wise words, Dog.


Once the hour of the Dog has passed, we journey in to the realm of the unexplained and the disturbing. Yes it’s Scouse medium Derek Acorah and his band of believers in Most Haunted. Here we follow a troop of susceptible and terrified explorers as they wander around old houses and repeatedly soil themselves as floorboards creak, wind blows and generally things happen. Basically think a group visit to a National Trust house with the lights off and sinister string music playing. The highlight of the show is invariably when Derek’s body is used as a host for the distempered, and surprisingly all Liverpudlian ‘spirits’ which inhabit the ‘haunted’ houses which feature in the ‘programme’. Embodiments range from friendly old ladies lamenting their ability to protect children or something, to the more menacing, aggressive male characters which particularly love to get in our hostess’, Yvette Fielding, face or look directly in to the camera. It’s amazing to think that these centuries old spectres, who had only candles for light and fires for warmth, are fully au fait with the concept of electricity, I mean, who would have thought it? What’s best is that after an hour of misinterpretation, coincidence and abject terror for the participants, the show invites on a parapsychologist to examine the ‘evidence’ filmed on the night. Unsurprisingly, the footage of Yvette shitting herself rarely satisfies the expert and yet another episode is archived under the heading: lies and deceit.
Showtime!!!

Showtime!!!


A relative newcomer to the world of daytime TV, but instantly worthy of recognition is Lizard Lick Towing. This is one of those reality hybrid shows which manage to, by their very nature, entertain and appal simultaneously. For those who are not aware of this miracle of television allow me to summarise it for you in a selection of keywords; redneck, towing company, guns, fighting, more rednecks. Now if that doesn’t get you googling instantly then I don’t know what will. Despite the obvious dramatization, it is impossible to not be amazed by the lengths that these people will go to prevent their beloved cars being towed. Best of all, after the Lizard Lick boys, Ronnie and Bobby (what else would they be called?) cunningly trick the dim-witted car owners into somehow allowing them to remove the vehicle, it is practically guaranteed that the angry party will follow them back to the lot, backed up by a South Parkesque rabble. In fact, so regular are the ruckuses in the Lizard Lick office, that Amy (Ronnie’s powerlifting wife) took to gluing the furnishings down after repeated attempts to use them as weapons. One thing that this show has taught me while siphoning the remnants of IQ out of my wilting brain is that, when a redneck says he’s going to tow your car, you can be damned sure that’s what is going to happen, especially if that’s what it says in the script.
Just your average day with the Lizard Lick boys.

Just your average day with the Lizard Lick boys.


So there you have it, instead of using my spare time to further myself, to learn and expand my mind and my world, I sit glassy-eyed and half comatose while PickTV and Dave spoon feed me no-thought-required, easy watching programmes while my mind crumbles and erodes through the sheer lack of stimulation. I best be going now, I’m sure there’s a programme starting somewhere involving some kind of law enforcement and/or law-breaker to hold my dwindling interest at least until the next advert break.


The Dance Floor Dilemma

It has become the general consensus of the masses that the best way to spend evenings and weekends nowadays is to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and then document the subsequent embarrassing antics on a variety of social networking sites.  As more and more of the population began to celebrate the ways of ‘the binge’ so the need for bigger and better dens of hedonism appeared until, after years of evolution, the nightclub was born and reigned supreme as the ultimate stage for man’s inebriated desires; sex, drugs, and music.

I have no complaints, I love to over-indulge, lose whatever trace of dignity I had left, and commit the following day to hugging the toilet and bed rest.  The issue I do wish to raise though is a by-product of the three desires, the issue is with dancing.

I know I am not alone here in my dance-floor phobia. There are always a small number of us lingering on the outskirts of the grinding fracas as if paralysed by the malaise caused by Usher and the like.  There will always be a few left dutifully holding drinks and bags while our friends are having the best time of their lives soundtracked by Rihanna.  For us, as the minority, things will never change; Liquid aren’t all of a sudden going to splash out on a few pool tables to keep us entertained, just like Tiger Tiger will never set aside a little section for people who have no interest in Shit-Pop or dancing but have somehow been talked into going there.  So, what are the options?

You drink.  You drink with your friends and when they all head off to tear it up you drink some more.  You prop up the bar alone for so long that it actually begins to seem like a good idea to attempt conversations with the endless stream of customers who are being normal and heading back to the dance floor.  There is an obvious problem with this method of avoidance however and you’ll generally start to notice it about an hour in, after consuming twice as much alcohol as your party and commanding a wide berth around you wherever you stumble.  Although, if you manage to lumber your way through the mêlée without barging the innocents to the ground and as a result being ejected from the club, you may find yourself in a position to finally let loose and bust some moves, safe in the knowledge that you will have no recollection of the event ten minutes later, let alone the next day.  A kind warning though, the camera never lies, and Facebook never forgets.

I hate being this guy...nearly as much as dancing.

I hate being this guy…nearly as much as dancing.

Option two, you pretend to dance and have a good time.  As sickening as this might seem to my fellow sufferers, it can be done and gets your persistent friends off your case for at least a few songs.  It’s all about strategic positioning and a bit of acting.  Remain on the outskirts of your group, out of the lines of sight and don’t do anything interesting enough to draw attention.  Standing and swaying slightly is perfectly acceptable.  When someone looks your way, just close your eyes and pull a stupid pose or throw your hands in the air, or some other ridiculous signal of enjoyment to mask the self-loathing you are feeling and convince society that you are obeying the social norms.

If you find yourself in a situation where option two is not possible, like when on a microscopic, holding cell, abomination of a dance floor, you might have to resort to the football fan style, aggressive sing along.  In this situation every song is your favourite song.  Your friends may be shocked at how much you love each rehash of generic pop-dance but believe me, in this scenario you do.  Here, vigour is the key.  Eyes closed, fists clenched, hand in the air to make it that much more meaningful, and most importantly, feet firmly planted on the ground.  No one’s going to make this guy dance, he’s far too into it!  The downside of this, apart from the small piece of your soul that dies with every feigned love of painfully bad music, is that you do look like you are trying to act out an impromptu (and very low budget) music video.  All you need is a camera crew and a wind machine, in reality; the closest you’re going to get is a shaky iPhone recording and a plethora of anonymous dance floor farts.

The last option requires the least effort but perhaps comes at the highest price.  This option is to just accept your position on the fringe of the populous and watch as the hedonistic dance of humanity plays out with a vomit-smattered backdrop. Here you can really appreciate the most appealing aspects of modern life; girls with trowel loads of terracotta fakeness sliding off their faces, men being drawn to the most flesh on display as if their penis was some kind of inebriated, sexual dowsing rod. Bear witness as alcohol fuelled mankind degenerates to primal instincts and urges, and grunt and fight and grind their way through a sea of testosterone and pheromones.  And as you struggle to take in this recession into Neanderthal behaviour, as your belief in the modern human slowly ebbs away like the contents of the numerous discarded bottles that litter the floor, realise that you are exactly the same as them, you with your beer in one hand and smart phone in the other, and your eye on the girls who also believe they are superior to the writhing crowd.  This is the inevitable conclusion that will be reached if you just stand and watch and like it or not, it is the truth.  I mean look at you, you’re in a fucking night club for god’s sake!