13 May 2012

Post 348: A Happy Monday, not fookin likely!

Um, do you sort of see what I did there? No, didn’t think so but read on:
I must be a bit of a glutton for punishment when it comes to my taste in TV. I am at my happiest in front of a comedy, but right now the two series highest on my agenda are both dramas that contain characters that I genuinely hate. I don’t watch masses of TV because it’s much harder work than it should be, instead, I spend my time talking nonsense, trading non-serious insults and questionable witticisms with my friends on facebook. It’s oddly reassuring that although most have jobs, bantering and talking nonsense on social networks are what people really do with their time. Makes me feel almost normal. Stress on the almost.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re literally dying (yeah, literally) to know what the TV shows I’m talking about are: Firstly there’s the Sopranos

and then there’s Game of Thrones,

both of which I’ve doubtless banged on about before. Anyway, there’s probably some special psychological name and associated mumbo-jumbo for the morbid fascination that comes from watching characters you hate on the box. What’s worse is that every so often you have to remind yourself that none of these people are real. Especially in Game of Thrones, a fictional series set in a fictional medieval world(I’m never in danger of thinking it could be real, I may have brain damage but I’m not delusional). It has been described (often by me) as a cross between The Sopranos and Lord of the Rings or The Sopranos set in middle earth. Unlike the Sopranos at least there are some characters that I actually like – that have honesty, integrity, genuine wit and you don’t think would turn on you at the drop of a hat, whereas in the Soprano’s the characters are all plain nasty, even attempts to be funny or ‘break balls’ are emasculatingly harsh and demonstratively not taken as a joke. People love being juxtaposed into realistic scenarios and there’s always this uneasy tension between trying to live an ordinary life (becoming middle aged and being married with kids) and trying to square this with the grim realities of the Mafia – Where it seems to me the aim of the game is to live like a rich person without having to do an honest days work, and you can get that money by any means, nefarious or otherwise (strip clubs, illegal gambling, extortion, robbery, racketeering etc) Jeez, who knew the Mafia were a bunch of bastards? What gets me is the hypocritical morality – i.e help an old lady cross the street but don’t bat an eyelid strangling her for the life savings under her bed, and the latest thing that makes me really hate them, is their habit of emotionlessly killing people close to them if the FBI have offered them ‘wear a wire or jail’. It is grim and that ease of being able to turn on people like that just doesn’t compute in my psyche. My argument has always been that people know when they’re being c*nts. If they don’t have this as a natural reflex then they are beyond the pale and some sort of sociopath or psychopath. It is all about not having empathy with others, if you don’t, you need help or a career in corporate finance at Goldman Sachs beckons. In Game of Thrones it is King Joffrey

and the Greyjoys

who are pure unadulterated evil. I don’t believe in ‘just loving one another’, I’m not a f*cking hippy, but perhaps I am going soft. The escalating cycle of revenge in both series is also something that just doesn’t compute in my world – as far as I’ll go is the odd harsh email or a harsh word on here but something quite genuinely traumatic has to have happened for it to get that far – phew, at least I remain rooted in reality.
So, my attempts to live a normal life have been fairly varied this week. Starting on Monday night with going to the Albert Hall

to see Britfloyd – Britain’s biggest Pink Floyd tribute act. I stand by what I said about the Australian Floyd being that much better
Musically, if you’re a serious tribute act, it should be faultless, like the royal philharmonic orchestra playing Mozart, as long as the lead guitarist can play the solo in ‘comfortably numb’ you should be laughing, but hearing Pink Floyds psychedelic rock sounds in the Albert Hall was pretty cool where I had actually changed my usual seats adjacent to the stage to try and get a more panoramic view, but lesson learned this is only worthwhile if you’re sitting at 6 O’Clock

directly facing the stage. Still, a pretty good evening and big thanks to my university compatriot Danny

for taking me. Another lesson learned, because I now have to rest before going out, trying to squeeze a quick visit in before heading out just doesn’t work. Trying to rush anything these days is nonsense, but to my mate James

who tried to pop in for a quick cup of tea – good effort.
The rest of the week has been the usual combination of training and sitting in front of the computer, trying not to lose touch with people – speaking of which my friend Carlie

got in touch and I was able to phone her. Regular readers may remember her as the girl I made friends with in hospital back in about 2007. The poor girl ended up tetraplegic after a haemorrhage in her spinal column. She conducts herself with more calmness, patience and dignity than I thought existed in the world, it was good to hear her voice and to hear she is being looked after, she is an example to us all.
Now people who are not examples to anyone are ‘the Happy Mondays’ who I went to see at Brixton Academy on Friday – now, this had been called ‘the Original line-up tour’ and not as I think it should’ve been called ‘the we’ve run out of money tour’. Now, some bands as a matter of pride try and put on the best show possible but with the ‘Mondays you know what you’re getting when a Mancunian DJ

just starting and stopping 90s Britpop records said ‘sorry they’re a bit late, apparently Bez is having a sh*t’ Now Bez is a funny character, as pivotal to the Happy Mondays as George W Bush was to Mensa or world peace. He has no musical input (apart from a tambourine – he’s basically their Heroin addict dancing monkey.

The Inspiral Carpets

(who played first) made the evening. I remember caning their first album in about ’92 and instantly recognised ‘this is how it feels to be lonely, this is how it feels to be small, this is how it feels when the world means nothing at all’ – prophetic and poetic especially for someone pathetic. When Bez had finally finished his sh*t and the Mondays came on I really didn’t think they were that special. It seemed to be a long procession of Shaun Ryder just saying ‘fookin this’ and ‘fookin that’ in between featureless late 80s synth rock songs. New Order the week before had done it 1000 times better. Still, you can never fault the atmosphere of the Brixton Academy and the real highlight was the company, two guys who I used to work with at John Lewis.

Simon, (who drove me and was probably my mentor at JL) and Will (one of my contempororaries, ie the same job in a different area of the business). It’s seeing mates like this that keeps me going. But laddish nights like this aren’t everything. Wining and dining lovely ladies is one of the other tenuous strings to my bow. Today I have been taken out for Sunday lunch by one of my good Samaritans Jo and last night I took out the gorgeous Cheyenne

for dinner. Last but not least, I’m doing my creative writing course for one evening a week and I really like it. The other students are interesting and I think are used to my tactlessness and irreverence by now. It’s hardly revolutionary stuff but being in that environment is helpful – well, it gets me out of the house and it is teaching me to remove constraints from the creative process, i.e I think I probably take assignments too literally:
10 Reasons to love me (a recent writing challenge on the course):
1. because I give the best hugs
2. Because I’m told 'I have a gentle touch for a big man’ like Peter Crouch
3. because I can turn most things into jokes
4. because I am literally a captive audience who will listen
5. because I am like a 35 year old child who is actually grateful for everything people do for me
6. because I don’t believe in giving up on life even though there is no evidence to suggest things will get better – I’ve never felt well in seven years
7. because I believe that love will turn around my life, therefore I will give it everything
8. I am trustworthy and honest, there will be no gameplaying here, I don’t believe in wasting anyone’s time
9. I put other people first
10. Because you will never get bored
One of the other guys crafted a very clever sci-fi story without any of the narcissism that pervaded my effort.
Last but certainly not least (again), my friends Isabel and Daegal are doing their respective challenges soon. I couldn’t survive without the money the trust gets from the heroics of people like this. Please support them.



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