Who cares?

June 4, 2009

Polling-station

Well, no one it seems.

I’ve just been to vote. I walk into a near empty school hall; one person voting, two official people sitting behind a desk. As I hand my card to the official lady I jauntily ask “been busy?” She gives a wry yet kind smile and rolls her eyes heavenwards. I like those sort of conversations.

I’ve waited all day to vote. I work from home and it’s just around the corner. But I wanted to see if anyone called. Who’d make an effort?

I’ve been in all day. No bell rang. No car rolled down the street with two trumpety loudhailers on its roof, booming unintelligible dogma. I’ve not even had a leaflet through the door. Actually, that’s not true. I’ve had a leaflet from USDAW telling me why I should support Labour. Not vote for them, just support them. Well, shy old labour, shamed old labour, don’t get the unions to do your dirty work for you. Come and meet me face to face. Come and tell me why I should vote for you and what all this European parliament thing is.

No. No one’s called. No one’s been around offering me a lift. What’s happened to the politicians of today?

And no one was there voting. In the middle of a large school hall there was a circular table divided into quadrants. Just one table for four people to vote at a time! Even the organisers expected no one to show.

Where were the people who hang around the front doors, asking for your number, just so they now you’ve voted? They used to do that. And then, in the dying hours, if you hadn’t been, they’d come and get you. Pester you. Plead with you for their vote.

The public don’t care. The politicians don’t care.

Usually they announce how many people voted  as a percentage. This time round they’ll say “Pick a number between one and 10”.

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Today is one of those days. And it’s been a bit like that since I went to see Synecdoche, New York last… what day was it? Last week. But when? Oh, yes, Wednesday. I put a plea out on Twitter for a “follower” to meet me at the cinema; any follower; then we could do the Orange Wednesday thing. Go before 5pm, meet a friend who only has to pretend to be a friend (they can sit as far away from me as they choose once in the cinema) and suddenly we see a film for £3. It’s a bargain. But nobody showed. I’m guessing my Twitter followers thought I was joking… or are only pretending to follow me thinking it makes me feel better. Well, it does. Even when I know you are only pretending. I am happy to have pretend followers where even if you are real followers you are still only following me in pretend because it is Twitter and it’s not real and it will fade and die only to be replaced by MindPamphlet or YouBully.

I can’t write about Synecdoche, New York. Not yet. Maybe never. I don’t know what to say and no one is whispering in my ear. I wish they were. It’s a great film and maybe the saddest film I’ve ever seen and I am going to go and see it again tomorrow. It is a film though that could send me into a deep state of inertia. Sometimes somethings are so true that I truly don’t know what to do next.

If you are thinking of seeing it, see what you think of this; the Minister in the play within the film gives his sermon:

“Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won’t know for twenty years. And you’ll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it’s what you create. Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn’t really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along. Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved. And the truth is I’m so angry and the truth is I’m so fucking sad, and the truth is I’ve been so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long have been pretending I’m OK, just to get along, just for, I don’t know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own, and their own is too overwhelming to allow them to listen to or care about mine. Well, fuck everybody. Amen.”

Or this, from the character Millicent Weems:

“What was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone’s experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone’s everyone.”

You’ll know if this appeals to you or not. And don’t be down, there are some laughs along the way too. Just like in life.

I hope Charlie Kaufman doesn’t mind me pinching bits from his film for my blog. I do it with the best of intentions. And though I will not claim to be his biggest fan or his number 1 fan I do claim my place as fan number 5,432,679.

And today I finished “My Fault” by Billy Childish. If you fancy, there is a good interview with him here. And this too leaves me unable to write. I’d love to write a review of this book telling you how great it is and how you should read it, but I just don’t have the will, the energy, or the little voice whispering in my ear. But do read it. Or just read the interview in the link and look at his paintings.

Ok, let’s end on a summery pic.

mummified frog

mummified frog

Oh, and if this post is a little down, I’m blaming the MP’s.


That’s Stephen Fry being interviewed by Newsnight. And when he says “You have, Course you have” he looks down the lens of the camera. At you. You. All of us. Watch the bow tied nutter here.

For another point of view, from one of the “venal and disgusting crowd of people”, try this piece by Brian Reade in the Mirror.

Time for a fight!

richard-and-judy

Is this a bargain? I’ll let you decide.

We all make mistakes

March 10, 2009

Years ago, possibly last century, I had a made-to-measure leather coat made. Made to measure me. Made by Rocky. He’s a tailor in Hong Kong. He did a good job. He made me the coat I wanted. But, really, it’s unwearable. Did I think I was Tony Hadley? Or Bryan Ferry? Or Tom Cruise in Valkyrie? (I can’t bring myself to think of myself as a bad Nazi). I’d be a good nazi, with an eye patch, no desire for war and a love of all people. I’m sure that’s what Bryan Ferry meant when he said he liked their fashions. Never order a leather coat from his son, Otis the Aardvark (is that his name?) He’d make you a coat out of squirming squirrels and flailing foxes.

leather-coat-self-portrait

If this self indulgent and hurried post is of any interest to anyone, and you’d like to know more, take a look at the photos and stories onthe Trev and Simon blog. You’ll find the Podcast there too, where we discuss the coat in further detail. And a leather coat-based poll. Right, must race off to pool. We, the JFK Rejects, take on JFK’s. A big match we cannot be expected to win. But never underestimate the Rejects.

That’s a quote from Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I’m shamelessly pinching it and applying it to the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus. Read these reviews and you’ll get the idea. It’s an indoor arcade/shopping centre/food hall but it seems to have been crunched, with half the stalls covered in sheets. You can bungee jump here, get a sepia photograph taken, dressed like Wyatt Earp; you can buy a cup of corn for a £1. But nobody is doing any of these things. The favourite pastime at the Trocadero is hanging around.

The escalators are a fun ride. Get on the wrong one and you end up missing a floor. Get on this one… well.

trocadero-1There used to be a bowling alley in the Trocadero. I never went but I’m guessing it might have been up there. Now, this escalator is blocked off with a gaming machine. I think there might be some people up there; Trogladytes. Or, rather, Trocladytes. C.H.U.D.’s. Or, rather, C.H.O.D.’s. I may be wrong. But would you go up there?

There is a film by Tobe Hooper called The Funhouse. Pay to get in, pray to get out. I saw this in 1981 and my abiding memory is of a character in a Frankenstein mask who assists at the Funhouse (more like a ghost train). Late on in the film his mask is ripped off, and underneath the easy horror of a Frankenstein mask he is hideously deformed. I think he lives up here now.

trocadero-21

Confusion

February 17, 2009

cobblers-to-the-stars

Sometimes I wish I was this man. In a way, I was. But only for a day or two and only for pretend. But sometimes it would be nice to be a cobbler, breeding pigs and slaughtering them to make comfy pig shoes for Robert de Niro (for that is what this man did). That’d be after Bobby de Niro had been upstairs to visit my son, the chiropodist, to have his corns and bunions seen to. And the sketch was called, quite naturally, Cobblers to the Stars. And some may wonder why we are not on TV anymore.

But if I was this man (and his name sadly escapes me) my days would be simple; cuddling a pig, killing a pig, making a pair of shoes out of it for, let’s say, Clooney. No! I feel great shame. There was no plan in this, I’m just writing as I podcast, making it up as I go along. And it’s struck me; George had a pig, a big fat pot-bellied Vietnamese pig called Max. Now no longer with us. He used to sleep with Max. I’m sorry. It’s all pretend. I wouldn’t really harm a pig. let me change that last bit… making a pair of shoes for, let’s say, Mickey Rourke. or Vince Cable.

Anyway, I’m not this man. This man doesn’t have to deal with Twitters and people writing on his walls. Someone’s just written on my wall! I don’t even have a house! How can I have a wall in a computer? What is Facebook? What is Twitter? What more things will I have to join? It’s call ed social networking. When I was a kid we called it going out to play. Or visiting. I made this “joke” last night at choir, and it fell, like my singing, flat. That’s because they thought I was referring to a social networking website called “Visiting”.

Oh, I moan. And no doubt, in thirty seconds time, I’ll be as addicted as the next twitterer.

Twitter – vb – to talk rapidly and nervously in a high-pitched voice.

When is someone going to start up Shut-up.com? You go on it, tell your 5678 followers what you are up to and you get back 5678 replies telling you to “Shut up.” And then when we all get fed up with that we start up Shut the **** up.com and so on.

I’m not really moaning. I like it all really. Sort of. I just wish I had a job to stop me from doing it all. Some proper work. With pigs.

You can hear the various Confusions here:

New Order Confusion

ELO Confusion

The Zutons Confusion

Trev and Simon podcast

February 10, 2009

bad-puppetry

Tomorrow were doing our first podcast. If anyone reading this has any questions for us please let me know. Or any topics you would like to hear our thoughts on, please get in touch. Not that we have any thougts.

I’ve left this a bit late haven’t I?

Here’s a poll for the hell of it.

Angry at an advert

February 9, 2009

Maybe it’s because I’ve not had the best of weekends.

Saturday; a three mile journey to a surprise birthday party for a friend took four hours. The RAC visited me twice. I ended up getting the bus. At one point I was whizzing towards a roundabout at 40mph in a car that had no power; no breaking, no acceleration… even the cassette player was out. That was fun. I left at 4.45pm and got to the party at 9pm. And I was meant to be helping set up the surprise. Sorry Sarah.

Sunday; off to JFK’s for a pool tournament. By train. In the first round I was beaten by Frank Costello 5-0. Not the gangster Frank Costello, nor the other gangster Frank Costello played by Jack Nicholson in The Departed.  This Frank’s scarier. Frank plays for the England Youth Team and I was never going to win. But one or two frames would have been nice. Then, in a competition for the losers called The Plate, I was beaten by Lee Mager 4-1. I’m pleased to say that Mager is pronounced Major. Other players who have walked through the doors of JFK’s include Keith Richards, Peter Pan, Dan Brown, and Michael Clayton. That’s Lee below from when we (JFK Rejects) played the Pineapple two weeks ago. We won that match 8-4. And I won both of my games. See! I don’t always lose.

Alan Day, Tony Bailey, Lee Mager, Andy Law

Alan Day, Tony Bailey, Lee Mager, Andy Law

So maybe that’s why I’m angry at this advert.

norwich-union

Do I need anger management? Should I let such a thing fester away? And I’m angry for so many reasons.

Yes, Leningrad changed its name to  St. Petersburg. Yes, Norwich Union has changed its name to Aviva (making it sound like a duff car from the seventies). But no, no, no! Pierce Brosnan hasn’t changed his name to Daniel Craig! It’s just wrong. If they’d have put “Brosnan’s Bond to Craig’s Bond” I may just have accepted it, but “Brosnan to Craig?” What? What does that mean?

That’s my first cause to anger. Then I became even more angry as I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And every time I thought about it I thought of Norwich Union and Aviva. Those damned advertising bastards had succeeded.

But wait. As I get even more angrier I see that they’ve succeeded in planting their campaign in my brain, but it is such a shit campaign, I will now forever think of Norwich Union/ Aviva as being a company associated with shit.

And to think I have an endowment policy with them, but no house.

Oh, what the hell, let’s have a poll on this one.

Action

February 5, 2009

actionMy 31st July 1976 copy of Action arrived in the post today. Only 32 years late. I got it on ebay for a couple of quid. When I was fourteen I bought it for 7p. I had every copy of Action; pre-ban and post-ban. Yes! In 1976 Action was the Jonathan Ross of its day, forced into taking a break and returning a while later in a toned-down less violent version. it was brought down by those paragons of virtue, The Evening Standard, The Sun, and, ahem, Frank Bough.

I liked Action because it had a bit of everything, and it was super! Sensational! Frightening!!! I’d grown out of Whizzer and Chips and The Beano but I hadn’t yet moved into my Sounds/NME stage (yes, I bought both and I liked Genesis, Souxsie and the Banshees, Styx and the Jam… I had to wait for the arrival of the New Wave overcoaters like Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division to really find my place.) I didn’t like football and so I avoided the likes of Shoot! and I didn’t like war so no Warlord for me. But I did like violence and Action had lots of it.

There was Death Game 1999 (unimaginably futuristic in 1976), a rip-off of Rollerball where the teams roared around the Spinball arena (modelled on a giant pinball machine) shooting metal balls into each others faces (post-ban the title was changed to Spinball). Hook Jaw, a rip-off of Jaws where the hero was a huge great white with a hook in its jaw (you may have figured that out) who each week would eat people. And Hook Jaw was one of the few stories in colour. It had to be. Every week there was bitten off limbs and headless men being tossed around by Hooky. And Blackjack; a boxer, called Jack, who was black… oh, and blind.

Despite not liking war comics I did like Hellman of Hammer Force; a World War II story told from the perspective of a German. He was a good German though. A Panzer Major who hated the SS. He spent more time fighting the SS than he did fighting the Allied forces. He was Tom Cruise when Tom Cruise was just a baby.

Right, I’m off to read it and see if it is as good as I remember. And at least now I am old enough to read it without getting told off by my parents. Or Bough!

Oh, for anyone not familiar with Frank Bough, just to let you know, it’s pronounced Boff!