I would like to defend myself before I begin this post with a small disclaimer: I am not personally attacking anybody. I am not Regina George and I do not aim to personally victimise anybody in any way. I myself could not stomach verbalising a wrong title but maybe that is just my bordering OCD.

A few friends from university have recently been discussing genius Gervais creation, The Office, creaming all over its fantabulous goodness. However, they were not discussing the British version but rather the Steve Carell fronted US version. Many thoughts were going through my mind whilst overhearing the snippets of conversation, such as “please, for the love of ‘God’, just call it by its proper title, The Office US.”

Now, I love Steve Carell as much as the next guy and even enjoy the US remake of the British show. One thing that does grate on me, though is the ease with which the young whippersnappers of today use “The Office”, confusing it with its original creation. It aggravates me just as much as when people say “Jurassic Park 1″. There is no official ‘Jurassic Park 1′. There is Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. If you are confused with me saying ‘Jurassic Park’, not understanding which movie I mean, please let me know and I shall not bother speaking to you again.

Using titles that are not official to the franchise indicates, to me, a complete lack of respect for the creators of the show. If I were to write a TV show, which was then subsequently voted the best TV show of the past 20 years – such as The Office was on February 4th this year – and yet people still insisted on labelling my masterpiece after some other version of it, I would be disappointed.

It also shows laziness on the part of the people using the wrong title. In the case of The Office US, you have to say just two letters more. It would take, at the very most, 2 seconds longer to voice those extra letters.

If I were Ricky I would be gesticulating wildly; gesticulating a little like this:

Get my shows right, asshole!

Get my shows right, asshole!

One of my lectures last week lead me and a few other people in the class to have a discussion about whether or not men can be feminists. I always used to believe that I could be classed as a feminist because I want equal rights for women. However, after numerous debates I realise that I cannot truly act as a feminist voice because I am not a woman. I have never been oppressed as a woman has, so cannot understand what it truly means to fight for equality for women.

I liken it to the fight for gay rights. How can a straight person truly understand what it feels like to feel threatened whenever they leave the house? The simple answer is they cannot, do not and never will understand that feeling. If they do not understand what it is like to need equal rights then how can they fight for those rights?

A straight person can, of course, fight for gay rights and I am thankful for any allies. However, a straight person cannot become a voice for gay rights. If a straight person was the figurehead for gay rights as a whole it would feel strange and worst of all wrong.
Imagine if it was flipped to the rights of women again and a man was spearheading a campaign for women’s rights. It would be in bad taste. The whole reason women fight for their rights is because they want to have their voice. If a man is at the forefront of a large campaign, it is like the power is being ripped from the female voice. It would demoralise the entire point of the campaign.

If a straight person was the head of a gay right’s organisation I would feel uneasy.

So then I think men/straights should make it clear that they are not so much standing for us but standing with us.
Josh Hutcherson, for example, is the celebrity face of a fantastic organisation that does exactly this. The organisation, Straight but not Narrow, focuses on straight youth and “strives to positively influence the perception of, and behavior toward, their LGBT peers.”

The Straight but not Narrow Campaign is about standing with the LGBT community rather than taking the power away from it.

HeForShe is a great vehicle for gender equality. It is less about men standing up for women, although it does come across like this at times and more about changing the perceptions of how women are viewed and the ideas behind masculinity and femininity. – If a boy wants to play with Barbie dolls, he should be able to without the stigma attached to it. Likewise, a girl should be able to play with a toolkit.

There are many fantastic examples of new-wave equality builders. Many of them are underfunded and unseen, however, and will be worth your time examining.

I am an old man. I am not yet 24 years old but I am prepared for my pipe and slippers already. Call the nursing home because I am on my way. Why? I don’t hear you ask. Why, because of our invisible global leader, of course. Technology!

I submitted a portfolio of work to one of my university lecturers on Monday evening – and when I say submitted, I actually mean attempted to submit before breaking down into a sweary rage that almost reduced me to tears. When I went to attach all files into a single document I was unable to. Upon Googling what to do, I was met with what I am always met with when Googling something important – NOTHING!
If you want to see a picture of a cat pulling a funny face, Google will immediately respond with 1974981365473247896 results. If you need to how old Madonna is, the internet will be there to embrace you with its binary code arms to lovingly hug you and whisper the answer into your ear. If you need to find out how to insert a file into another file, however, it will laugh in your face and bring up a short list of results that all include information relevant to nobody. The internet is a farce.
My rage aside, I opted to instead separately attach the documents into a single email and sent the work to my lecturer. She replied and told me that it was fine. Today, however, she told me that it is in fact NOT fine and that I need to submit all the files in just one single document. Not a problem, I told her. I can do that. I will simply follow the steps somebody else had told me after the debacle of the first attempted submission.

. . .

I want to rip my fucking eyeballs out!
I just turned on my laptop. I found the document I needed and Googled how to attach a PDF into that document. A list of instructions detailed how to do it (in less than simple terms – god knows somebody should describe how to do something on a computer without using numerous acronyms and jumbles of letters and numbers, which are in no way words). I followed these directions in the order they were written. Turns out that only the first page of the PDF can be included into a Word document. WHAT?! What use is that to anyone?! I . . . I . . . I just literally do not have the words or brain power to comprehend how that is useful to anybody. Perhaps Stephen Hawking could enlighten me because I have no idea.

So then, I try a different approach and did what I absolutely hate doing. Downloaded something – wasting precious memory on my laptop. I do this and then am told by the application I just downloaded that I need to download the application I thought I was downloading. Yes, the thing I thought I downloaded needed its very own application to tell me this. I needed to download and install an application so I could download and install the application I actually needed. Get Stephen Hawking back in here . . .
Why is it making me download something for the sole purpose of downloading something else? Why is the world like this?

I am not a technophobe in the sense that I am scared of technology. I am an advocate for new technologies; technologies that make my life easier. Not technologies that are as infuriating as the bullshit I had to work with today.

Technology has annoyed me this week particularly because I am in the process of choosing a new laptop. I need one that is purely for my writing because I have so much junk on my current laptop that I cannot find anything when I need it. I need one that has a lot of memory because, as I am sure you can imagine, when investing in such an expensive product like a laptop, you want it to last for as long as possible before needing to buy a new one.
It should be a fun experience, choosing a new laptop. It should fill one with joy, a new product that you can play with and use on a daily basis. I could not have been more wrong when I believed this. What should be a fun experience has turned into one of the most stressful experiences of the first world.
I need simply a laptop that will last at least 5 years, in terms of performance and memory. The website tells me only that it has 516GB, an i5c M processor and 2.1GHZ.
Kill me.
Even asking somebody who is supposed to be a ‘genius’ of technology, I was left confused. I asked them simply what the best laptop would be out of the two I had narrowed it down to. They informed me that it was entirely down to my preference. If I wanted to stick with my preference I would not be asking their professional opinion.

Why can’t the world be simple, like it used to be when I was a kid? You wanted to know the answer to something, you asked somebody or went to the library. If you need the answer to something now, you go on the World Wide Wait and spend an entire afternoon typing a different combination of words into the search engine of your choice as though it is the Enigma Code. I am but a humble man, not Alan Turing.

Take me back to the 90s!

You may already know this but it has now been confirmed, the whole world has gone crazy!

Top Gear, a show where incredibly wealthy middle-aged men sit around and discuss how fast cars can go, has been cancelled for the remaining three weeks of its series and the entire country has kicked up a fuss. People ‘have no idea what to do with the next three Sundays.’ My suggestion is to search for a life.

I am in no way a fan of the ‘most popular show on television’ because if I wanted to watch fast cars I would look out my window or take a trip to the nearest motorway. Likewise, if I wanted to watch middle-aged men discuss the latest model with its new cupholders, I would journey to the nearest pub and listen intently. How anybody could be so totally enthralled by the show is confusing to me. It does not compute.

Another thing that shocks me is the love and respect people have for Jeremy Clarkson. I think it is relatively safe to say that he is racist, homophobic and definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, sexist. He is so wealthy he need not work another day in his life. He has at least three separate careers and resembles a deformed pregnant kangaroo. Yet, people absolutely love him. They hail him as a genius. The absolute pinnacle of all that is fantastic about our existence.

However, he has something more important to the BBC than integrity. He has the power of gaining ratings. His list of faux-pas is endless and ever-growing. From the time he used the ‘N’ word to the time he insulted everybody in Argentina the BBC have continued to stand by him. It is not because they have faith in the decency of the man, oh no, it is because he earns the BBC millions and millions of pounds. The show broadcasts in 60 countries worldwide and travels as a live show, as well as producing books, DVDs, clothing, mugs, keyrings and so on and so forth, amassing in a grand total of . . . a lot of money.

If you were looking for integrity, do not look towards the producers of Top Gear.

At the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat wearing, swivel-eyed loon, I proudly announce: I believe in aliens.

Between bouts of university assignments today I found the time to watch a few videos on YouTube. Now, if any of you have ever been on YouTube for more than ten minutes you too would have almost certainly have stumbled down the darker side of the video sharing site. For those of you that have not had the pleasure of straying into the unknown lands of the taboo, let me briefly describe it for you.

Imagine, if you will, that you have just staggered from a nightclub in Croydon. Imagine then that you, in your inebriated state, attempt to find a public restroom because your bladder, in its vodka marinated condition, is not as productive as it usually is. Your Nike trainers are caked in somebody else’s vomit and your hair is a tousled mess. In your continuing effort to find a public bathroom you eventually find one. Only, it is not the one you originally intended to find. This public restroom is organic; this public restroom is a dark, wet, smelly alley. This alley is filled with vagabonds of all descriptions. The dark silhouettes of the vagrants cut dark shadows against the too-bright moon. They circle you and in your terror, your bladder can take the pressure no more and you urinate all over your self.
Now, imagine YouTube to be your soused self and the dark, wet, smelly alleyway the videos. The videos are ambiguous, strange and so completely weird that you do in fact feel drunk whilst watching them.

The videos I watched today were of the mental-case variety. The ones where it claims to show evidence of angels and/or aliens. Now, the angel videos are, in every sense of the word, mental. The mental capacity of the people who upload them and/or watch them and believe in them is frightening. I did not watch these specific videos, you may have guessed. I did watch the videos that were discussing aliens, however. I am sure, once again, you know the type I am speaking of. The ones where an ex-Minister of Defence or ex-astronaut, or whatever their previous employment status may have been, sits in a chair in an unusually cramped room, a camera pointed at their face and they look into the lens and profess that they have seen and/or met aliens.

Now, I know what you are thinking already. You think I have gone crazy. However, I have not gone crazy. I believe that anybody who disbelieves in there being life, besides ourselves, in the cosmos is themselves crazy. Please note that I said ‘life’, not ‘little green men’. We do not know what lies on the ocean floor let alone what is out where we have not even begun to investigate. It would be foolish to disregard the idea of other life out there somewhere. There is certainly more basis for ‘aliens’ – literally meaning a being not originating from here – than there is a ‘God’.

The problem with believing there to be life on other planets is that people leap to the Hollywood image of what an alien is; the Ridley Scott behemoth or Spielberg’s overgrown compost mound. Alien life can refer to a mere organism – bacteria. It can also refer to the Hollywood cliche, we just do not know. However, the main issue with ‘believers’ is that the majority of them live out in the deep south of America in a small wooden hut papered in tinfoil. The sane believers are unfortunately tarred with the same brush. People who proclaim there to be no life out there must not forget that the world was once flat.

I have recently been watching Mary Portas’ series, Secret Shopper, noticing that not only is she somebody I would dearly love to get drunk with but also that she is a bit out of touch with common folk.

The first episode saw her parading her flaming red bob around the aisles of a small convenience supermarket, exclaiming, in more pleasant terms, that the staff, supervisor and manager were complete idiots. Considering the advice she gave them, which should have been common sense to the manager, who manages seven stores, they were quite idiotic.

All of this aside, Portas mentioned that if the store looked nicer, more customers would flock to the store, raid the shelves and would leave the store empty by closing time every evening. Her repetitive chanting of “save your local high-street” is becoming tedious and impossible. She suggested during the show that more and more people are buying their shopping from corner convenience stores – everyday – rather than supermarket giants like Tesco and Sainsbury’s once a week. She may know more than me because she is in the retail industry and I am not. However, I am common folk and I know that I would never buy my food from a corner shop. The sole reason I would never turn my back on a supermarket in favour of a corner shop is because it would be around 300% more expensive for me to do so. If the tables turned and I could buy a pack of pasta, which would last me an entire week, for 35p in a corner shop I would shop there every week. This is not the case. Supermarkets do this and that is why I shop at supermarkets.

Now, if you were the perpetually characterless middle-class with more care for what colour you are going to get Jeeves to paint the west wing of the house than for how much you spend on a packet of pasta, I am sure you would shop everyday from your local butcher or greengrocer. The regular masses cannot do this. I for one am forced to do an entire weekly shop with a strict list. My budget, although flexible, has to be restricted in certain areas, such as the weekly shop, so I am able to spend more on my own personal fancies. I would much rather buy a new book at just 1p from Amazon every day than a fresh cut of beef from the local butchers.

A father in a third-world country will not begin wondering whether or not he should take up piano lessons. He cannot afford to feed his family so has no time for such futile thoughts. It is the same principle with the middle-class and shopping. They have more important things on their minds, such as their choice of decor, for them to begin worrying about how much they are spending on a pint of milk.

Only the middle-class have the luxury of choice.

London’s Wandsworth council is currently running a competition in order to find a design for the bridge that will be built between Nine Elms and Pimlico. The bridge is intended for cyclists and pedestrians rather than motorists. If you are an architect or engineer please (please, please) send them as many unique, alien designs as possible. It would be a travesty for there to be yet another pile of concrete on legs joining our greatest city together, when there could instead be beautiful designs such as the submissions below.

The world is full of greys, blacks and whites. The world could be such a gorgeous, colourful place. Just look at the two bridges in the above pictures. One of them looks like a futuristic cruise ship with a rainbow, the other looks like an alien octopus . . . thing. Both are beautiful and exciting and refreshing.

I believe that the reason we, as a society, lack creativity is because we are surrounded by ugliness. Concrete and brick follow us wherever we go. If we were confronted with feats of architecture like the bridges above we would be a lot more open to our creativity.

It would be silly to suggest that all the world’s problems would be solved should we build a few more bridges but it would certainly look nicer and that could never be a bad thing.

I promise you all that if you stop reading celebrity gossip, the papers will stop printing it. Perhaps promise is the wrong word. I PLEAD you to stop reading celebrity gossip. Please!

Am I the only person that is completely over the celebrity age already? Can I really be the only person who is not obsessed with the size of Kim Kardashian’s ass or the size of Kanye West’s ego? I do not mind the odd story about a celebrity who has done something good but news articles and segments on news channels about an actor getting a new role is not interesting or exciting. In fact you could say that it is their job.

We do not need to see Britney Spears leaving a car with her fanny on show and we do not need to know the drug habits of One Direction. I would hope that we would not want to know but that is apparently not true. People lap this stuff up. They spend hours a day searching for the latest news on celebrity x’s new hairstyle, celebrity y’s first fragrance launch and celebrity z’s romp in a bed with two men, a woman and a donkey.

The only thing we get out of these stories is a cheap laugh at somebody else’s expense. It demoralises the celebrity in question and dehumanises them. We no longer see Madonna as a person who could have possibly injured herself when she fell BACKWARDS down some steps, we see her as a two-dimensional figure in the long-running television show we call life. If it was not for The Dress debacle people would still be making cheap-shots at her misfortune. Within five minutes of the incident people were uploading photographs onto the internet, sniggering at her behind her back, instead of gasping in shock and feeling sorry for her.

Many people say that they do not care about the frivolous stories and simply read them because they are there. What these people fail to realise is that if they were to stop buying the glossy magazines all together, they would no longer be in print. Celebrity gossip is the ONLY kind of story available in magazines like Heat! or OK! (why they are so angry and shouty, I have no idea).

The people who take pictures of celebrities are the real ones laughing, however. Paparazzi can earn £3,000 from a single photograph of a singer/actor/sportsman smoking marijuana cigarettes or snorting some kind of powder that is almost definitely NOT flour. So please, if for no other reason than pure jealousy, support the end of banal celebrity gossip by not buying the tripe and instead read something with more intellectual value. Fifty Shades of Grey would be a more intellectually stimulating read.

I had my sporadic Facebook stalking session this morning (c’mon, we all have them!) and whilst doing it I came across a number of people with whom I went to secondary school with. A small number of them are doing . . . okay. The vast majority of them, however, are all stuck in the same place, with the same bad grammar and same childish attitude they left school with. The only difference is that they have a different hairstyle and are either married, have kids or both. Thinking about how drab their lives have remained got me thinking about why I turned out so differently from them all. The main reason is perhaps because I was always different from them. Much like now I do not really make friends that easily because I have a personality that is noticeably different from everyone else around me. I do not watch the same television shows as most people do, I do not have the same sense of humour as most people and I certainly do not have the same set of arbitrary, eclectic interests as everyone else. Seeing the great number of them who had children made me thankful for being gay; being gay has probably saved me from the same boring fate as everybody else. It may have taken me a few years to get somewhere but I have managed to make a start on securing a better future for myself. I am not a world famous author or singer or anything (yet) but I do have and always have had an ambition that I have aimed for. When you are stuck in a relationship with a kid at the age of 21 your life is pretty much over. No longer do you have time to follow your dreams and follow through your ambitions because you have an overgrown foetus to feed and support. So, I thought I would make a list of the pros and cons of being gay.

Pros:

  • I am unable to become stuck in a loveless relationship because I have seeded some random girl in a club.
    – At least 10 of the people I ‘stalked’ this morning now have children. One person even has three of them. THREE! At the age of 23 I still feel unable to care for myself let alone three children. What makes it worse is that the eldest is 6. They went from receiving their results directly to the hospital I am assuming. Why on Earth they felt the need to implant some girl they had probably known for less than a week with three children is absolutely beyond me.
  • I have to fight my way to success.
    – I cannot simply live in any old area of the country because certain towns/cities/counties are no-go areas. They are dangerous. I would not be content with living where I currently live for the rest of my life. I would never feel safe and would need to purchase a stab-proof vest just to feel safe walking to the shops for a pint of milk in the morning. Feeling unsafe, however terrifying it may seem a lot of the time, does give me the advantage of having to work my way through the world in order to live in a safe environment where I feel comfortable with being who I am.
  • I am consistently fabulous.
  • Being gay means that I am a lot less likely to settle down with someone immediately.
    – Because I am unable to get a guy pregnant I can up and leave a relationship whenever I want. I do not believe that this has been the case for many other people I went to school with. Not only that but many of them are single parents now. Their partners have left them and they are stuck with a child they will harbour resentment issues with for however many years it takes for a child to leave you. Being gay has given me the opportunity to choose who I want to be with and permitted me to experience a relationship without the dynamics of that relationship moving too fast.

Cons:

  • I never feel completely safe.
    – Whenever I go out I worry about what tee shirt I am wearing, whether or not I should wear a hat and even if my bag is positioned in a certain way that could make me look stereotypically gay. Since bleaching my hair a few weeks ago I have had to take a hat to university with me (everyday) so that I can wear it on the way home so I will be less likely to incur any abuse. It is ridiculous (obviously) that I should be made to feel this way. That I feel uncomfortable and unsafe walking ANYWHERE is a serious flaw in our society. I fear that I may never feel safe enough to be completely who I am when I leave the house.
  • Synonyms for ‘bad’ are in constant use.
    – Words such as ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’ are constantly used, be it on the streets or online, and I cannot get away from them. It makes me feel terrible having to hear somebody using a word to describe me to also describe a terrible television show, or whatever it may be.
  • Homophobia.
    – Like the point above I am perpetually bombarded with abuse that may not even be aimed at me. Homophobia is prevalent in every room I walk in. It could be from a religious person in the room who does not ‘agree’ with my ‘lifestyle’ (being gay is only a lifestyle because of the constant things we have to do in order not to be beaten to a pulp; things such as having our own clubs. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle, finding somebody attractive is not), or it could be from a simple word such as ‘gay’. Either way it is upsetting to be gay and not because of my orientation but because of the oppression gay people still receive. I feel uncomfortable in the presence of members of my own family because of something they never see. Even people who are not homophobic (normal) feel uncomfortable being around me because they are worried they may say something offensive. They probably would say something offensive, without meaning it, because they are not aware of what is different about a gay person. The answer? NOTHING! The only thing we do differently is admire different parts of the body to a heterosexual person. Homophobia is still very much alive and is still a major issue for every member of the LGBT+ community. If it was not still an issue, I would not be typing this right now.

I hope I have not bored you, I understand this was a long post. It was also quite depressing towards the end there, too. To make up for the dispiriting ending have a picture of a fabulous cat!

Smize, darling!

The entire planet has been shouting colours at each other all day today. The Dress, an optical illusion that people see as either white and gold or blue and black depending on . . . science things, has somehow become the most important ‘news’ story of today IN THE WORLD! The whole world has gone crazy.

Meanwhile, ISIS still pose a major threat to the entire planet but are so last year nobody gives a custard cream. This humble planet we call Earth is literally falling down around our ears and yet the only thing anybody seems to care about is the colour of a repugnant dress. My only guess is that my previous blog about marijuana has been read by all the world leaders who have then immediately legalised cannabis just as I suggested. That is the only solution I can think of. People must be higher than a kite being flown from a hot air balloon.

However, if there are any laughs to be had from ‘The Dress Debate’ look no further than Labour’s feeble attempt at capitalising on the viral image with this gif.

Despite today’s politicians being as dry as a duck’s asshole with not an ounce of humour running through their veins, their attempts at funniness is hilarious.

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