(A Review of Sorts)
I don't do girls. This must come as a relief in this post-Jimmy Saville world, especially as I work in a school and am now 50. Of course, what I mean is that I don't understand them particularly. I do, but I don't.
The majority of girls I come in contact with are aged between 11 and 17 and invariably we have two types of conversation: school and TMI. TMI or Too Much Information is usually a short conversation that begins with them telling me something I don't want to hear and me telling them TMI. Simple really, but it gives me little insight into how girls' minds work (and frankly, I'm not that sure I want to know).
Now, in terms of young friends, we used to think we had lots, but in reality as we've got older so have they and they're not so young any more. There are a few girls we know who are under 30, but not that many. There's Jenny, Neil's fiancee. There's Katie, the daughter of Karen, but our conversations tend to be about how big she's grown and cakes (she's 19 now, but I've tended to see her once a year for the last 7 or 8). There's Lauren, but she's family. The Piper girls (Sian & Cleo) who we've watched grow up from tiny tiny things into wonderful young women, but we only tend to talk rock music. There's also Daniella, but apart from a two minute chat in the pub a few weeks ago I haven't really spoken to her for a couple of years. The only young person I've really got any insight from in recent years has been Harriet - I like Harriet, she's been a vital education over the last 3 or 4 years, but Harriet thinks she's getting old - she's 25.
Harriet has told me (and Roger) things that tend to be a mixture of excruciatingly embarrassing or strangely addictive but you're glad you're only hearing about it 3rd hand. She's made us laugh with her observations on fat girls, pubic hair, stupidity, dress sense and why young people seem to drink a million times more than we ever did [incidentally, I have woke up this morning with a headache to end all headaches; it's like a hangover, but I've not drunk anything for days - I am on the steroids so it could be them, but I hope not as I don't fancy 6 more days of this] Harriet is really useful as far as girly culture is concerned; she's also got a boyfriend who's almost as old as me so she can relate to the fact that most ageing men are modern cultural fucktards.
Anyhow, what's this got to do with anything? Well, I'm trying to fill my days with something useful (or if not useful then justifiable). So yesterday I downloaded the first two episodes of Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls, which has apparently been received like a thinking woman's SATC with twenty-somethings rather than slightly dried up older women. It was always going to be a difficult relationship; me and an intelligent program aimed at an age group way out of my league. I mean, I watch The Vampire Diaries and that's aimed at a different demographic, but it's also a bit vacuous. (By the way - there are spoilers coming)
I managed to watch most of all of the first episode and within five minutes I wanted to punch the hero's mother in the face and then Ms Dunham for being whiny and needy and sulky and more like a 15 year old than a 24 year old, but she was with her parents so we all regress when that happens. I then puzzled over a lot of the dialogue and subject matter - do girls really want to see other girls' boobs when they're not gay? It didn't even sound like a desire to compare, it was more like a 'I show you mine why do you never show me yours' and if 24 year old girls do this then... well, good on them, I suppose. Then there was the general dialogue; I could have been watching The West Wing for the amount that I understood or could see the relevance of.
Then there was the thing that I suppose has made it 'popular' and critically acclaimed: the-awkward-not-at-all-shot-with Vaseline-on-the-lens-sex-scenes. If it hadn't been so bloody awkward to watch it might have been funny or touching; instead I actually found myself fast forwarding through a sex scene! And that kind of set the scene and while I managed to watch the rest of the pilot, the second episode was watched on fast forward, which considering this is essentially a dialogue driven show proved to be a really pointless exercise.
I know it's set in New York and we've grown to expect quirky from NY since Woody Allen reinvented it, but I've never watched a program that seemed so utterly designed NOT for me.
I can thoroughly recommend it to all the girls under 30 that I know, but not the ones under 16 (just yet, although I'm sure it will prove to be an education for many).
The Aside [above] Revisited
Have just discovered that one of the side effects of taking these steroids is severe headaches and blurred vision. That explains that then.
When the Music Is Over
So, I've been listening to things I've either not played for 5 years or have 'acquired' in the last five years and not listened to much/at all and in the last blog I made the mention of bands who produce a brilliant album, which in turn has you getting everything else by them and then you never play anything but the album that's really good. Well, for me that's a lot of things. Going through the racks today for a new stack of stuff to listen to and I noticed that I have about 15 Ozric Tentacles albums, yet Pungent Effulgent tends to be the one that I listen to. I know, just admitting to owning so many Ozrics albums is probably punishable by death, but in my defence, the wife is far more of a fan than me.
I have actually bought the back catalogue of a two-piece called It's Jo and Danny on the strength of the brilliant debut album Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy and after playing Thug's Lounge I'm not in any hurry to listen to But We Have the Music or Love Expression. I'm a bit annoyed that I actually bought these other albums at different times rather than all together. Bongwater is another band that might fall into this category; The Power of Pussy is one of my top 25 albums of all time, but the other 4 albums I have and solo projects have barely been touched. I think this might be because I'm scared they might be pooh, because Pussy could quite easily have been.
There's stuff I've downloaded - James, Manual, Erik Wollo, even fucking Snow Patrol, all manner of stuff downloaded/bought that there is a good chance I'll never play. Plus there's stuff I've downloaded that I've looked at over the last 48 hours that has had me scratching my head in total confusion as to why I've even bothered.
That said I'm listening to something at the moment that I probably shouldn't and I'm quite enjoying it. Remember Bruce Hornsby and the Range? I liked them and their style of music has been repeated numerous times over the years by as diverse people as Ben Folds, Train and the Spin Doctors. I've always kind of liked piano-based US AOR; it's a guilty pleasure, at least it isn't modern RnB (how can they have the audacity to suggest this shit has any relation to Rhythm & Blues, I will never know) or garage or some of the shit that girls in their 20s listen to. I found this album by Gran Bel Fisher and wondered who and what the fuck it was. I couldn't remember downloading it and from the look of the writing on the CD I wasn't even sure how to spell the guy's name. Here's the title track from his debut album http://youtu.be/GGtFdb-uGnM you will probably hate it; that's entirely up to you, but I'm kind of glad I found this album, even if the guy has a C&W background (Hey, I like Sheryl Crow and she's just essentially new C&W) and some of the tracks sound like the kind of stuff I imagine people with far worse music taste than me would enjoy.
It's a good job that I'm enjoying this, I have either the first or second Snow Patrol album on the stack in front of me...
Introducing a New Neighbour
Except he isn't new, he's lived here a lot longer than I have and we have never exchanged so much as a pleasantry despite him living opposite and next to the Sexually-Explicit family. I just haven't ever really had to talk about him before. We have a mutual dislike of each other based solely on the fact that his old neighbour at #50 was a really good friend of his and he was best friends with the animal we bought this house from and because I dared to suggest that the former occupants were pigs, a man who barely knew the guy who lived here before us doesn't talk to me because I upset his mate who moved so long ago we're on the third family to live in that house since. People are weird.
So given that I want to stick with the insulting theme and call him something like Bald Cunt, I'll settle for Baldy Bloke because he's not really deserving of that nom-de-plume, just yet.
Baldy Bloke has had an old cooker on his paved area/garden for about 4 days and my first thought was that he was leaving it out there hoping that some gypsies might come along and relieve him of it. Except that isn't why at all as evidenced this morning. After I finished the bit about albums, I went down and made myself a cup of coffee, hoping that the headache would go away with copious amounts of caffeine, when I noticed the scrap metal truck driving by, I had seen it the other day, so figured that was why Baldy Bloke had put the cooker there. By the time I got up here the van had pulled up in front of Fishwife's house and was standing on the path opposite eyeing up the old cooker (they can't take it without permission - just like you can't take things out of skips now). Suddenly Baldy appears out the front of the house, in a way that suggested he was expecting a fight, so I decided to open the window to see if I could hear anything. I couldn't really, but I got the gist of the conversation.
Scrap Metal Man was offering to take it away, Baldy Bloke was trying to sell it. I think Baldy wanted a tenner for it and I think he reckoned that the metal man could probably get two or three times that amount. Metal man wasn't having any of it and must have suggested that someone could just come along and take it at night, to which Baldy starts pointing at the side of his house, where one of his CCTV camera's was. Metal man walks off and gets in the car, Baldy goes inside, I continued to listen to Gran Bel Fisher and played a go on Scrabble, when the van returned and metal man got out and rang Baldy Bloke's doorbell. I watched as the gypsy handed over what looked like a tenner and two guys from the van proceeded to lift the cooker into the back of their van.
I've never liked the guy, purely based on his irrational dislike of me (I have been told by Fishwife's mother-in-law, because she's friends with Baldy's wife, that he thinks I'm a prat, which is his prerogative), but I now have a little bit of respect for him. He also proved that sometimes it's worth holding out for a few quid. I think he always intended to do that and must have known that as long as he didn't ask for too much he'd get one of these merchants to cut their profits with him.
Of course, if his house is vandalised, his car stolen and his daughter sold to Essex travellers in the next few days then maybe not, but at the moment...
Nonsense & Stuff
- The 2nd Snow Patrol album is head and shoulders the best thing they have ever done. That is not saying a lot, but this was before they became Coldplay Lite and it has a lot going for it.
- It is so fucking dull - the weather not the 2nd Snow Patrol album.