Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012 - 56

Neighbours, Everybody Needs good Dead Neighbours

The hearses and sombre clothing are out in force over the road, as the Old Man prepares to make his last ever journey. I believe that I have just discovered that he was possibly a carpenter before he retired and I was happy for him that a lot of people seem to have turned out. It is just one of the ceremonies we put ourselves through in a lifetime.

Ceremonies

Speaking of ceremonies, I seemed to have woken up in a strange world on Monday when I read and heard all the positive things said about the Olympic closing doodah. Now, I’m not exactly in the majority about not really liking Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony very much, so imagine how I felt when I sat through (on fast forward for a lot of it, having watched a film before and being about 40 minutes behind) something that felt like a Summertime Special from the BBC circa 1978. It was awful and to my utter disgust most of the performers were miming – what better way of emphasising the cheapness of something?

I’m also of the opinion that the line-up could have been better; that Ray Davies, like Macca, 17 days beforehand, cannot hit a note any longer. Shame, but true. Also, I'm puzzled as to why the soundtrack just got put on a loop? While the athletes flooded into the stadium the same five or six tracks were played over and over again - did they not have the money to play anything else or were certain record companies sponsors of this event?

As for the miming; I’ve read that the performers all had to record their tracks – ala Top of the Pops – and yet some performers actually seemed like they were live, while others were so obviously lip-synched it was painful. I also couldn’t understand why some ‘artistes’ got more air time than others; but if I had had my way and been in charge of the closing ceremony I would have had North Atlantic Oscillation (Scottish), Porcupine Tree (English, Australian), The Prodigy (Mad), The Chemical Brothers (nerds), Gorki’s Zygotic Monkey (Welsh), Stiff Little Fingers (Norn Irish), Fuck Buttons (English) and a host of other bands and artists from all four home nation countries (not Snow Patrol, Wet Wet Wet, The Manic Street Preachers or any generic English RnB artist though, because we want to keep a shred of credibility) and I would have burned (Stephen) Morrissey on the Olympic Flame – just a bit of him every night ending with a long and painful death throughout the closing ceremony. I also would have invited the likes of David Bowie, Kate Bush and the Rolling Stones (who just happen to be celebrating their 50th birthday this year too), rather than having some fucking ridiculous Pan’s People like dance sequence tribute, while Seb Coe's Olympic DJ spun toons and made shapes in da hood.

Filthy Shed Tales

Anyhow, moving on… Both of my neighbours have been a source of ‘amusement’ this week.

Fuckwit has always had this thing for sheds; he has three small sheds in his garden, all locked up tighter than Alcatraz, and it has been a constant puzzle for me to try and work out what he has that he could possibly need so many sheds for and need them defended like Fort Knox. This week that question was not answered, it just got more confusing as a couple of people turned up at his house and began to construct yet another shed in his garden; this time made of metal. There he was standing halfway down his garden supervising this man and woman, not much younger than him, putting up a tin shed from what looked like MFI instructions. I was standing in my garden watching this going on when Fishwife caught me unawares…

Now, I don’t call him Fishwife because its balances well with Fuckwit and this day he was on form, whinging about this and gossiping about that and I sort of dropped into autopilot, nodding and agreeing at the right times but having no idea what he was actually talking about. All I knew was that I was not having any success getting away from him, especially when he started to tell me about some frigging go-kart track they’re all going to when they’re away. He then launched into a story about people I don’t know, doing things I have no interest in, in a country I have no desire to visit. I really wanted to say, “I find you so dull I could kill myself right now if I had some petrol and a lighter,” but the wife would like us to continue having a good relationship with at least one of our neighbours. I’m hoping that whoever buys the Old Man’s house is worthy of my attention…

The (Pointless) TV & Film Dump Thing

As it was obvious that a lot of the TV I watch no one else watches or is so far behind me that reading anything about it is littered with spoilers, I kind of decided that I was essentially wasting a lot of my time, especially when I had little or nothing positive to say. The problem is, it acted as a sort of catharsis for me – getting all that contempt out in the open and all that. Now, most of what I got angry about has either finished or I have managed to wean myself off (Haven). Now, interestingly enough, a show I’ve been highly critical of – True Blood – is currently having its best season, possibly ever. It still reminds me of Fame with horror and several Carry On films, but it seems to have dispensed with bollocks and concentrated on an actual story.

The TV show receiving most of my ire at the moment is Falling Skies, which I have to admit has become my new guilty pleasure after cutting Haven out of my life. FS is fucking shit; it has bad ideas, awful scripting, dreadful acting and a reliance on kind of copying The Walking Dead. I often used to suggest that Haven was written by a 13 year old and the same applies to FS. The second season has been ‘better’ than the first, but it’s still woeful and has dialogue in it that people just wouldn’t say. It is also full of clich├ęs, it has borrowed heavily from other TV shows and books and the penultimate episode of the series left me scratching my head and wondering just what goes on in the heads of most Americans.

In a nutshell, the freedom fighters of the 2nd Mass. have found a settlement in Charlestown and it is run by a fledgling new US government that essentially believes in hiding from the enemy and establishing a new country hidden away from the aliens. This sits badly with Noah Wyley and his band of crap actors, so eventually they instigate a kind of military coups, as a direct result of them being on the receiving end of some distinctly Nazi-like behaviour from the new ‘President’ and his private army (for those of you who watch The Walking Dead, the same premise will play out, but through most of season 3 with the introduction of The Governor). Now, this seems to be fine until the group’s bad boy happens to mention they have just overthrown the government and all of them stand around looking horrified at themselves. Five minutes earlier, they were being held captive with the promise of not being released until ‘they think the way the rest of New America does’. It seems that even in a world that no longer has any values, you can’t possibly overthrow the government; it’s just not on.

If the moral ambiguity sat wrong with me after watching that; imagine how I felt after watching The Hunger Games, quite possibly one of the most offensive films I have watched – ever! Not only are these books (and films) essentially a long drawn out version of Stephen King’s masterful novella The Long Walk, but they also have a feel of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka. I found this faux USA with its colourful media personalities really annoying and I know this is a kids thing, but frankly, this planet reveres children so much, no country in the world, whenever this is set, would ever allow its children to fight each other to the death in front of TV cameras – it just wouldn’t happen; and if it did happen, the morally superior countries would actually act on it. Trust me, USA will ignore everything North Korea does, every day of every week; but if it was proven that the North Koreans killed and barbecued children or babies; then you’d get retaliation.

I just found The Hunger Games really boring; I couldn’t understand a) why it was such a huge summer blockbuster and b) why people thought this was a good film; it’s rubbish, full of stereotypical constructs from every Mad Max or dystopian film or book ever made. Plus any movie that purports to try and show the future and reverts to comedy deserves to be burned and all the people responsible for it also burned, but their faces should be burned first.

Slip Sliding Away

I wish half terms would whiz past as fast as summer holidays. Being a man who worries about the passage of time far too much, my biggest fear was that the 6 weeks would fly and I would have little or nothing to show for it. That hasn’t strictly been what has happened; I have written a fair bit, albeit nothing that I can look back on and be really happy about; I’ve had a great holiday, done a lot of work in the garden that needed it and there have been a couple of other things; yet I still feel that with just over two weeks of holiday to go that it has flown by and there just isn’t enough left and if some of my colleagues get bored during these 6 weeks, then tough – give me some of your holidays. I do need to find myself a job that gives me more control over my life, even if I lose 8 weeks holiday (I would expect to earn more money).

Stuff

  • I seem to be in an anti-music state at the moment; have been sort of enjoying listening to Absolute 80s and a bit of Mark Radcliffe on Radio 6.
  • I can understand why fans of A Song of Ice & Fire were so annoyed about the things HBO missed out of the second book (makes you wonder how they'll deal with omissions when they need addressing).
  • My Mayan Gold potatoes were an unmitigated disaster - less than a bucket full from 2½ rows of seed spuds; shocking. The only thing that seems to have thrived this year has been the raspberries; everything else is either stunted or missing. My beetroots are as healthy as an Olympic athlete, but under the surface - fuck all; slug attacked, tiny roots and a slightly more earthy flavour than you would want.
  • I have cleared the area for the moving of the greenhouse. How I move the greenhouse without major surgery, much lifting of concrete and the matching up of holes is going to be a slightly bigger problem.
  • Your rat.

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