My Parasitic Relationship With Social Media

Social networking. Understatement of the year, but most of us are familiar with it. Even my Nan knows what Facebook is despite not using it (please don’t encourage her, it’d be like trying to teach an excitable puppy to use an ice cream scoop).

Most would say I’m an avid Twitter user, my tweet count speaks for itself and my rambling has almost become automatic. Signing in has become an inherent part of my life; like throwing my purse in my handbag or locking the front door. It’s been 6 years for me since I signed up, 6 YEARS! And it’s only now I’ve really began taking a look at what it means to be part of it all and how it contributes to my life. I realise this is a bit 2004 as blog posts go..

Am I experiencing the 6 year itch?! I almost feel like I’ve got myself into a marriage and now I look at our evenings watching National Geographic over a warm bottle of Chardonnay and wonder what it all means. The sex is alright, but he poos with the bathroom door open now and whenever he farts he doesn’t even act embarrassed, in fact sometimes he lifts his leg and laughs and I’m regularly privy to his dirty boxers, I really hate that weird clicking noise he makes as he sleeps that was once endearing, has the thrill gone?!

My feelings about Twitter float between love and hate, like most passionate relationships there is no medium levels or apathy. I’m not exaggerating when I say that some of the conversations I’ve taken part in and tweets I’ve read on there have been some of the most fun times I’ve experienced (many would say this was utterly tragic, I’d say welcome to the 21st century, sugartits).

To be able to reach out to others via the tap of a few buttons has become a lifeline for practically all of us, some more than others; Twitter is particularly invaluable for the housebound and the sick, for those with various anxieties. It can be a sanctuary where we can vent and build friendships, largely on the fact we agree on or find the same things amusing. This is powerful and wonderful.

Then we have the irritating aspects: The cliques, the popularity contests, the ease of abuse and the USELESS report function, the constant self promotion. It amazes me self promotion on the internet even works anymore. Do our brains not totally switch off? Do they not dribble out of our noses? The internet is a hive of advertising, some corporate and some personal. For a freelancer this is a lifeline, I realise this but surely everyone needs to up their game more to get people interested and intrigued? Idea: Engineer it so that you can add a face punch to every blog you promote, you may have to pay extra for this service but it’ll definitely get people to wake up and take notice, you’d definitely get more hits LITERALLY in some ways. Granted people may become used to the constant black eyes after a while, but I bet it’d have at least a 4 year shelf life!

Social networking is almost like a parasitic relationship, with us being the host. The parasite is horrible at times, but without it we feel lonely, cut off and obsolete. “COME BACK!” we yell as it slithers away like a snake, dripping slime from its fangs and leaving a greasy spot on the floor; don’t even get me started on its consistent Candy Crush requests. It’s then that you reactivate and it slithers back towards you, meekly asking “So, want to go to Nandos?” “Oh alright then.” you reply reluctantly taking its moist and ugly hand.

My love of Facebook died a long time ago, I post when I feel compelled to but my activity is down to a minimum. Seeing the updates of people I know in real life (who I usually avoid) is mostly a dull and depressing experience, plus frankly the lack of 140 character restraint makes it a bit too anarchic for me. Facebook is a downer because it’s mostly serious and not whimsical enough. Say that you’ve seen Darth Vader in the carpet on there and you’ll get “U OK HUN?”, say it on Twitter and you get many other weirdos who have either experienced the same or enjoyed the sentiment. As someone with thoughts that waft around like tits in the breeze, I’d rather not be bound to something daft I said days ago as it stagnates like an old banana on my page. Plus given my news feed is mostly people my age who are doing serious things like raising children, it makes me feel even more alienated. Like attending a funeral dinner dressed as Cher.

So will I leave? Will I fuckety. I’m resigned to the fact that I’m in it for the long haul, just don’t be surprised if I appear at strange times confused and discombobulated. Even George Harrison had to have a break from things and escape to India at one point, though I won’t be growing a beard or wearing those hideous 70’s prints, God forbid.

I can deal with the social media parasite in healthy doses, just remind me to buy a leash.

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An Ode to Valentine’s Futility.

I hate Valentine’s Day.

Now this isn’t just because I’m currently single, OH NO. My commitment to hating Valentine’s Day is such that I’ve hated it when I’ve been in relationships, when I’ve had fulfilling ‘romances’ and when my head has been nauseatingly immersed in unyielding obsession over someone’s amazingness, floral smelling farts….and sexy eyes.

I don’t see the romance in Valentine’s Day, at least not how it’s marketed. I wander past Clinton’s during February staring at the pitifully manufactured red hearts, card verses and teddy bears and all I imagine is some boring middle aged twat in a suit rubbing his sweaty hands together with glee. Sales are up, he can upgrade his Bentley to a new model. Maybe hang an air freshener from the rear view mirror that’s knitted from the stray pubic hairs of Queen Elizabeth.

To me receiving flowers and chocolates as a medium of expressing love is akin to grabbing a McDonald’s drive thru when you’re hungry. The gratification is instant, it does the job, it appears exciting and novel, you’re smacked off your tits on joyous chemicals but the quality however, means it wouldn’t be out of place in a sticky bin. It’s so painfully unimaginative.

Thankfully, I’ve always been with blokes who have understood this and felt the same way. Call me high maintenance, but PEOPLE why not smear their name in your own blood, tattoo their name on your forehead or cut a heart into your penis? I think these are so romantic. What about a poem? a song? a mix tape? Now I’ve had these before and looking back they were terrible, but trust me when you adore someone so much you’d drink their bathwater, whatever they create seems like it was made with the same abilities as Keats or Nick Cave. Appreciation of your partner only expires upon the honeymoon period being over or the dreaded ‘Break Up’, it’s because of this you should take full advantage.

One mix tape I got began with ‘Suck You Dry’ by Mudhoney, which really killed two birds with one stone. I could gyrate badly around the room while my potential boyfriend had his feelings for me fully explained to some excellent rhythms. The sentiment was terribly straightforward, but still..

“This book is a bomb,

It sleeps in my bed,

These words are ours,

Ones they’ve never read.”

Extract from the truly awful song an ex in a punk band wrote about me. He still plays it, apparently. I was elated at the time, I truly thought we were Sid and Nancy. I wanted us to wear vials of each other’s blood around our necks, I’d have cleaned up his puke while giggling like a schoolgirl. LOVE IS BLIND, DEAF AND UNHINGED, PEOPLE.

And they say I’m not romantic.

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Celebrity Big BOTHER.

When we’ve reached the crushing post-Christmas slump, the days continue to be short and they’re filled with cold winds, drizzle and existential misery, Channel 5 immediately ‘come to the rescue’ in January with their annual series of Celebrity Big Brother.

The spectacle is always agonising but compelling; Z list nobodies loved by The Sun, glamour models, long forgotten ‘national treasures’, several obscure Americans and ‘that man who is a friend of a friend of George Clooney’s second son twice removed’ all get thrown together in a house they can’t leave while their bank balance has a new, more satisfying number (for now).

These poor souls are fished out of the depths of a green, slime filled pond of broken dreams and after a meeting with their management that probably lasted all of 6 minutes, followed by lots of tabloid tittering and speculation they’re unleashed onto a boring, substandard version of a ‘red carpet’ that you can only imagine has been built by a bunch of miserable 4 year olds irresponsibly given hammers as part of an evil Channel 5 child labour programme.

The opening night has always seemed dystopian and George Orwell to me. People long forgotten whose heydays were, on average happening in 1985 (if not 1867) excitedly dance down the walk way, with a stiff (usually botoxed) grin that looks like a bleached cattle grid. We all know as they stare at a handful of youths in greying hoodies, holding homemade cardboard signs saying ‘HELLO MUM!’ while cheering and whooping, that part of their soul is slowly being chipped away. What’s left of their ego is being farted on from a great height and the stench is pungent (it’s post-Vindaloo digestive discomfort).

But ah the money, at least their rent for the next year is paid.

Once the house is full however, that’s where the dystopian dream ends. Viewers are subjected to humiliating, dull, everyday scenes of people like Ken Morley (Reg Holdsworth from Corrie) wandering around in their ugly pants, eating Weetabix, making ill advised non-PC ‘jokes’ and suffering things like constipation and dandruff on national television. THEY’RE JUST LIKE YOU AND I LOL! (no we knew that anyway, the average youth doesn’t know who the fuck these people are).

Of course some of the drama can be genius (that is when it’s not painfully uncomfortable). This year ex Baywatch star Jeremy Jackson decided to throw himself off the wagon despite his personal struggle with alcoholism and not only vomited all down himself in the process, but also decided to sexually assault glamour model Chloe Goodman (and to think 20 years ago the nation’s TV highlight was family fun like The Generation Game).

There’s also the inevitable tension and subsequent arguments between personalities that are totally opposite. Party boy gossip columnist Perez Hilton has been seen regularly going head to head with bigoted Conservative motormouth Katie Hopkins (no shit sherlock).

You wouldn’t stick a mouse in the same room with a cat, would you? Then again if you did the results would be far more joyous.

Channel 5 are madly grasping onto this tired, stale format like Prince William clutches onto his quickly diminishing hair follicles, which goes to show that the whole thing should either be euthanised or overhauled completely. They dug the programme out of Channel 4’s bins for fuck’s sake and paid approximately a fiver for it.

Alternative Idea: A bunch of Z list nobodies, glamour models, relatives of Hollywood stars thrice removed and obscure Americans go into a house for 6 months, they are starved and given an array of dangerous weapons. All they have to eat is cannabis cakes and tabs of acid, they regularly have to win fights against wild bears in order to acquire clean water to drink. Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s nothing that would bring me more happiness than a stoned, disorientated Keith Chegwin trying to make sense of the spear he’s placed in his hands while his ankles get eaten by wild animals.

I guess I can dream.

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New Year’s Eve: I Hate You.

New Years Eve.

I say those words and I shudder. A lot.

I’ll be the first to admit I am neurotic….and dramatic, but do you know what boils my piss? THE NAIVETY OF NEW YEAR’S EVE.

Partying on New Year’s Eve and celebrating when the clock strikes midnight is comparable to gyrating violently next to a hot iron, or wearing shoes two sizes too big while running up and down a flight of stairs, or teasing a Rottweiler with a steak.

How ridiculously optimistic most of us are! How we flitter away the night laughing and joking unaware of the terror that may await us in the year to come.

As everyone cheerily wishes me Happy New Year, I often find myself vacantly staring into the abyss, a half empty glass in my hand, contemplating the array of terrible things that may come my way, a party streamer suddenly dropping on my head.

“Oh god, I might die.”

“Oh fuck, I really hope I don’t have a silly household accident and break a leg.”

“What if I develop a weird disease?”

“I hope I don’t suddenly start listening to One Direction.”

The list goes on and on. In fact the scenarios I can invent really are endless, my chest goes a bit tight, my clothes suddenly feel like they’re a condom I’ve been stuffed inside, that stale and soulless slice of quiche I ate earlier repeats and I do a deep, sickly belch.

None of us can predict the future, but I’d rather start as I mean to go on. I may develop a weird disease come March, but at least I wasn’t naive enough to think it wouldn’t happen. At least I won’t sit in A&E reflecting sadly on how rosy everything seemed when I was downing prosecco and jiving to Earth, Wind and Fire.

This is why on NYE I drink, but never party. I watch Jools Holland in my baggy, ugliest clothes making snarky, bitter comments and beginning the coming year with defiance before crawling my way into bed.

You won’t beat me, fate. You evasive bastard!

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Z List Personality of the Year 2014

Like every year, lots has happened in pop culture. Whether through embarrassing column inches, reality TV or ‘celebrity incidents’ there’s certain people who just won’t get out of your face. Now most of these people I hate, I’ll be honest. Many of these I dream of driving past at 50mph and throwing a crisp packet full of turds at while laughing and feeling alive, oh the joy! Oh the tasty schadenfreude! Mmm tastier than gravy. We can’t all get what we want though, so I’ve compiled my favourites from 2014.

5. Danny Dyer.

Danny Dyer has had to curb his ‘bad boy’ image of late. Since being the saviour of Eastenders as rounded family man Mick Carter, Dyer has mostly tweeted his support of the gay community and kept his misogynistic banterthon down to a minimum. In order, I’m assuming to be the next Shia LaBoeuf one day.

Dyer found himself having to sell out even more, however upon starring in an ‘Eastenders does Grease’ performance for Children in Need. “AWL FER A GOOD CAUSE YEW MAG!” I bet he repeated to himself as the wardrobe department stuck him in some tight pants and put an Elvis style wig on his head. Dyer proceeded to play Danny from Grease in an ‘You’re the One That I Want’ parody. Not only was his lack of rhythm astounding, ruining boners everywhere, but you couldn’t help but notice the slight look of “Oh god please kill me.” in his eyes.

I could barely watch the whole thing without wanting to vomit it was so bad, but for cringey voyeurs I proclaim “GO FORTH AND SUFFER THOSE GAGS!”


4. Paul Ross.

Ah Paul Ross, unfortunate overshadowed brother of popular talk show host Jonathan.

Back in August, Paul Ross decided to take centre stage in the cringiest way imaginable by selling an ‘Exclusive’ story to the Daily Mail. This story documented how he cheated on his wife by going dogging on a nearby roundabout, having a gay affair and becoming addicted to Meow Meow (that legal high that’s basically plant food, could this be any more gloriously rubbish?).

The story took an even more wonderful turn when Ross also admitted the ‘pet names’ him and his lover called each other ‘Puck and Pea’, to be exact. With Jackie his wife standing by him, we were witness to some tastefully taken shots of the couple on a bench in their garden, a scene of domestic married bliss amongst all that filth, ahhh.

(If only he’d driven barefoot to Dundee)

3. Bez.

Bez from the Happy Mondays. With his vacant ecstasy addled face and northern, half baked rambling. We all remembered when he shook those maracas onstage constantly during the 90’s, everyone witnessing it was there at the scene; Bez however, was constantly doing it from within a K hole.

Bez recently decided to go into politics and stand as MP for Salford and Eccles in 2015. Not only is this amazingly ridiculous enough (given he’s an out of his depth substance user who beat his partner, ew), but the guy subjected himself to an interview on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme and god was it gold.

“I am going to fight the revolution from within!” he proclaims, like a drunk adolescent that’s just heard Never Mind the Bollocks for the first time; Andrew Neil peering at him like he’s just stepped off a space ship with a mouth covered in Nutella.

Witness this amazing scene yourself:

2. Brian Harvey.

Brian Harvey, ex East 17 singer is the D List gift that just kept on giving.

His magnum opus for me and many others was that immortal moment he accidentally ran himself over with his car and blamed the fact he’d ‘eaten too many baked potatoes’, to be exact it was 3 (I checked). The scenario was ridiculous, it was far fetched, it was beautiful. Even when I think of it now I look thoughtfully into the distance pulling the same face many do as they witness their first born child for the first time.

In October 2014, Harvey once again made a tit of himself after he caused a disturbance outside 10 Downing Street and had to be removed by police. Apparently Harvey had arrived there with a ring binder demanding to speak to the Prime Minister over how much money he believed the government had stolen from him over the years. The incident ended with Brian Harvey leaving and defiantly stating “You’ll all be dancing to my number 1 at Christmas!”

The icing on the cake was the last line featured in most newspapers who reported it:

“It is still not known what the ring binder contained.”

NUMBER 1. Stevi Ritchie.

Oh Stevi. Stevi for me has been the ultimate X Factor underdog during 2014. With absolutely no ability to sing whatsoever, dance moves like a drunk Uncle, naive self belief and a face reminiscent of the Whos who live in Whoville in The Grinch Movie (Google, I promise it’s true), Stevi has brought me more joy than a large pizza to myself, followed by a giant banoffee pie and a shag from Tom Hardy. Seeing him get through the competition stages in front of egotistical, desperate wannabes who have far too much self awareness was something that I couldn’t possibly get enough of.

Stevi Ritchie IS Alan Partridge. It’s impossible to dislike him, no matter how much of a twerp you think he is. I want to get drunk with him and give him a right ruddy bloody cuddle (then watch as he unsuccessfully tries to chat up women).

Of course my favourite moment by far was when he suggested to Simon Cowell that they go for some grub at Harvester while ‘bantering’ during one of the lives shows, Cowell took Stevi up on his offer and the pictures taken were pure joy. Stevi was seen to be nibbling at his scampi and constantly giving Cowell admiring glances. It was almost like the scene in Alan Partridge where Alan had that awkward dinner with the BBC director and almost begged for a second series.

“Can I shock you? I like wine!”

Here’s both the delightful picture and my favourite Stevi performance. OH STEVI. YOU HERO.

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Christmas Shopping.

Ah Christmas shopping. The gentle sound of carol singers, Jack Frost nipping at your reddened nose, your arms holding some perfectly packaged shopping bags, camaraderie and laughter at a little wind up monkey that thrashes a pair of cymbals together in Debenhams, the snow is falling and the lights on the high street…. actually no. This isn’t what happens at all. It’s all lies, filthy lies.

To me Christmas shopping is a delightful concept, but the reality is sinister.

Particularly mid to late December, it’s akin to cramming yourself inside a coffin made for one person with ten highly annoying people accompanying you and that’s PER shop you enter.

My biggest annoyance by far, however are those I call ‘Crouchers’. These are people who suddenly stop in front of you, completely block the item you’re looking at with their head and proceed to bend and stick their arse in your face. Mostly these people are elderly, but there are exceptions.

Other depressing, but honourable mentions include:

– Gift aisles that have you believe your Dad should like drinking himself to death, gardening, making farting noises with a whoopee cushion, wearing boring clothes and putting a ball in some kind of hole simultaneously.

– Children who wander aimlessly in front of you in a zig zag motion touching EVERYTHING with their sticky fingers.

– Sales assistants. I’m BROWSING WITH MY EYES. Leave me alone, this is harassment, don’t TOUCH ME! STOP SMILING.

– An array of faces like tired, stressed slapped arses in Clintons which are accompanied by contented crooning by Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra or similar. Such beautiful irony.

– Rubbish Santas. You know the ones, skinny with a false beard which is more sparse than your Uncle’s bald spot. They also often have a creepy twinkle in their eye and you imagine they regularly get drunk, slump somewhere and proclaim “MY KIDS HATE ME!”

Other than that, isn’t it just the most wonderful time of the year?!

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Top of the Pops 2, Bad Hair Jokes and Seventies Poo.

As a TV peruser, which oddly sounds like some kind of voyeuristic, cringe hungry pervert (not far off), I’ll admit I love a bit of Top of the Pops 2.

For anyone unfamiliar, Top of the Pops 2 is basically a programme where classic performances from the BBC archives in the past 50 years are shown. These are performances from the old chart show Top of the Pops and to me they’re like a glimpse into another world, an unfamiliar one that smells funny. Akin to when someone is close to you on public transport and you can smell their clothes.

Some of the more memorable odours during this socially agonising situation have included: Urine, fart, wet dog, cats, fried food, mould, putrid flowers and digestive biscuits.

Performances on TOTP2 are mostly bands and singers crooning on a stage while surrounded by excitable youths dancing. The emergence of ‘The Teenager’ as a ‘thing’ particularly during the 60’s and 70’s makes for some amazing crowd scenes.

We all remember being a teen; the urge to assert your identity, to attract people, to ‘appear cool’. TOTP2 let’s us see all that for a glorious 30, sometimes 60 minutes and it is priceless. You can just imagine the amount of middle aged Mums and Dads seeing themselves on it and cringing beyond belief at their daft young and foolish selves. They work in an office now and vote Conservative, what whimsy, what ridiculousness! Idealism and rock n roll. What a load of rubbish.

Mousey haired kids in their bell bottoms dancing aggressively without much rhythm, ones in a criminal amount of denim stood awkwardly still because they don’t really know what to do with their bodies, girls in mini skirts shaking their tush and winking at Donny Osmond and some in knitwear swaying from side to side with a serious face (they fucking LOVE music, man. All the others here? They’re just teeny boppers and fakers).

Of course the legacy of the programme wasn’t helped upon the discovery that Jimmy Savile (one of the original 70’s/80’s presenters and resident national treasure of the show) was discovered to be a massive paedophile after he died and on all accounts was abusing a lot of the young teenagers that had attended backstage. Repeats of episodes he’d presented now have a voiceover and his announcement of the acts has been lovingly cut out (somewhat noticeable). Same can be said of another presenter, David Lee Travis who was convicted recently posing questions about whether a paedophile ring had been happening at the BBC. Heady days, eh?

The 1970’s/80’s “banter” on it from the presenters does leave me quite cold, however in general. Noel Edmonds and Mike Read for example with their pubey hairstyles and leering eyes ‘mingling’ with the young teenagers with their microphones (fairly reminiscent of a foamy ended dildo) clutched to their chests smugly as they sway like your Dad at a wedding and cheekily wink every 5 minutes only makes me want to get out my pepper spray and rape alarm.

All in all, the show is an enjoyable piece of nostalgia though and another one that can be subject to a ton of childish, juvenile humour.


“LOL That’s the whitest dancing I’ve ever seen!”

“He looks like a sex offender.”

Are a few ridiculous, yet joyous examples.

Another comedy nugget was the dance group ‘Pan’s People’ soon followed by ‘Legs & Co’, now these girls were a big deal back in the old days. Every time an act entered highly into the charts and couldn’t attend, this 70’s/80’s dance troupe put on a dance performance instead, often in skimpy clothes that you can imagine your Grandad and Uncle snickered at while going a bit red. Glittery leotards, skintight crop tops and sometimes an excessive amount of eye makeup and hairspray, back in the day this probably made viewers feel like an erotic sexual adventurer. With their constant cheeky smiles and flexible moves, reminiscent of aerobic classes nowadays at the gym, these girls probably helped lament the female sexual revolution. Of course now they just resemble your Mum as she throws shapes in the kitchen to the radio while cooking chicken kievs, I can empathise with the sentiment though.

But here’s the best bit, here I shall post my Top 10 sinister performances/songs. Ones with more than a hint of ‘sex offender’, ‘creepy uncle/aunt’, ‘cringe’ and/or ‘total weirdos’

Middle of the Road – Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.

“Where’s your Mama gone?” she wails. My response “Oh god, you’ve kidnapped me and now you’re going to murder me while demanding I make bird sounds, aren’t you?” I hope this is NEVER played around Kate and Gerry McCann, would make for awfully awkward scenes at a party.

Peter Sarstedt – Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

I know this is a classic. But the porn tash and the stalker lyrics make me unsettled. I’m just going to Tesco, leave me alone. CREEP. I won’t tell you my thoughts, GET OUT OF MY ROOM. STOP SNIFFING MY KNICKERS.

The Goodies – Funky Gibbon

My Mum mentions the Funky Gibbon quite a lot, but the hair and a bunch of men making monkey sounds is too much, too much. Plus they’re dressed like toddlers and probably approaching 40 at least. Disturbing scenes.

Dr. Hook – A Little Bit More

Awful hair, lyrics that are absolutely cringeworthy. It’s like that bloke you drunkenly slept with who you just wish would go home the next morning. Trauma.

The Osmonds – Puppy Love

They probably made your Mum swoon, they were clean cut Mormon boys and they attempted to romance starry eyed young girls everywhere. Their grins almost make you blind, they look like Elvis clones from a cloning laboratory. Plus why is Donny lip syncing to his 11 year old voice?.. odd.

Pan’s People – The Hustle

Ah what a glorious piece of sexy cheese. A bunch of dancing meringues! You can tell Austin Powers would love this shit, it also wouldn’t be out of place on Eurotrash. My Mum still throws moves like these when she hears a bit of bass at the Christmas party.

Meri Wilson – Telephone Man

I have no idea. I just.. I wish I knew.

Cliff Richard – Mistletoe and Wine

Cliff rocks his classic ‘midlife crisis shirt’ and sways like a rubbish Jesus. He’s also tormenting us with a number we can never get away from. Let’s hope those ‘allegations’ are false eh?

Flying Pickets – Only You

Now I’ll admit, I love this song… but do I really need to explain?

Grange Hill Cast – Just Say No

The cast of teen series Grange Hill do a song telling ALL youths to say no to drugs. How delightfully square, what a corny badly made music video… Can you pass me the Heroin? it’s by fruit bowl. Bloody little shits. Although their ‘This is serious’ recording studio faces are a thing of beauty.

This cringey genius may only be a filler in between BBC2 and BBC4’s well planned and better budgeted programmes, but long may it remain.

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Peaky Blinders: I am In Love


Internet! World! MOTHER! It’s happened! I AM IN LOVE AGAIN! *throws arms back* *Loving You by Minnie Ripperton starts playing* *balances butterfly on finger* *skips through meadow giggling*

Yeah, fuck you Marcus, Lionel, Justin.. whatever their names were. YOU’RE ALL HISTORY TO ME NOW.

My heart has melted like a cheese toasted sandwich.

His name is Tommy Shelby. It’s ok, he’s a bookmaker and business is booming. He works extremely hard, does a couple of things on the side *cough*, runs a nice little pub, it’s all good. We’re happy.

Of course he’s entirely fictional; also he’s currently existing in 1922 and I in 2014, but these are minor details really.

Peaky Blinders. Where do I start? Shall I lay down the tarpaulin? I better.

Peaky Blinders is my new passion, Peaky Blinders is what I daydream about as I stir my tea, stare out of the window and serve my cats jellied animal body parts in a bowl.

Peaky Blinders is the TV show I have been waiting for, for years.

Set in 1920’s Birmingham, it follows the life of main character Tommy Shelby played by Cillian Murphy. That hair, those razor sharp cheekbones!… *gets out smelling salts*.. ahem sorry.

Tommy is from ‘gypsy stock’ and he’s a gangster, the leader of the Peaky Blinders (based on a true story, these blokes actually did exist, fun fact there). A bookmaker, he rigs races and takes part in all kinds of ‘gangster business’ in order to keep him and his family afloat and keep their criminal stronghold on Birmingham. Brum is PEAKY BLINDERS COUNTRY YEH? GET OUT. Of course FAMILY is what it’s all about though, Tommy is accompanied by 3 siblings and Aunt Polly, who took on role of matriarch after their Mother died.

A special mention for Polly: I fucking love her. She’s intense, protective and hard but has a soul that is as soft as a slice of bread drenched in gravy. A real rough diamond, just the way I like them. No one will mess with “Her boys” and “Her boys” won’t mess with her either. They respect her.

Convinced of Tommy’s association with communists, the IRA and various criminal activities, Tommy has constantly been pursued by bent copper and all round Love To Hate arsehole (sorry bit passionate there) Chester Campbell, played by the fabulous Sam Neill. Chester was sent over from Belfast by Winston Churchill to ‘clean up the city’, despite being unscrupulous and relatively scummy himself (OOOOH THE BASTARD).

Tommy is Chester’s nemesis, with his smart and sneaky ways. What didn’t help matters was that in Series 1, Chester got himself pretty police informant Grace to monitor Tommy’s activities and get close to the family. What happened? TOMMY AND HER FELL IN LOVE WHEN CHESTER LIKED HER HIMSELF. Nothing quite like hurt pride to induce the violence and bitterness in a good period drama.

Now let us get all high brow for about 2 seconds: Peaky Blinders’ cast is incredible. Sam Neill, Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and most recently Tom Hardy (god’s sake wipe your mouth, Freya). There’s some real talent going on here. Also the soundtrack is flawless, we’re regularly subjected to the most powerful, intense scenes which are lovingly accompanied by the musical genius of Nick Cave, Jack White, The White Stripes and PJ Harvey to name but a few.

The costumes are beautiful, especially the menswear and the whole thing oozes so much glamour it makes Elizabeth Taylor’s golden years seem positively grey and obsolete. The cigarette holders, the waistcoats, THE FAKE FURS! These people walk the walk and talk the talk but they live in poor, deprived Birmingham at the turn of the century. For everything they’ve got, they’ve had to fight and make sacrifices, some moral (of course).

What I love, however is that it isn’t contrived. Peaky combines aesthetic pleasure with a fuckton of sleaze, relatively explicit violence and deep melancholy.

Tommy and many of the other men are plagued by Post Traumatic Stress due to their service in World War 1. This makes for dark flashbacks and moments of lost control. It also seems to be the catalyst for Tommy’s opium habit, something apparent in the first series.

But Tommy Shelby ah Tommy *dreamy eyes* Tommy steals the entire show for me. He is brooding, intense and reflective. He’s outwardly cold and detached, but inwardly desperate to be understood and vulnerable, however his occupation and dangerous life means most of the time he is unable. His life is a constant succession of betrayals, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. THIS is his life, this is the choice he’s made, so he takes it with strength and a contemptuous smile.

Tommy has a swagger and a dirty glint in his eye, but he’s quietly confident. He doesn’t need to be gobby about it. He has charisma and charm, but he uses it for more than just getting women into bed (that’s too easy, he has bigger fish to fry) though it does work sometimes.

We’re currently on Series 2 and I’m pretty convinced Tommy Shelby is The One. I just want to be a sleazy barmaid in his pub The Garrison. I want to lean over the bar pouting and pouring us both whiskeys as he gives me a wink and passes me a handgun for my own safety.

“Stick that in yer corset, Freya. Think there’s gonna be a bit of trouble.”

There was a scene in Series 1 where him and (unbeknown to him) police informant Grace (who he’d employed as barmaid and right hand woman) took out two members of the IRA together. After a violent tustle and lots of broken furniture, Grace shot one dead and Tommy managed to beat one to death.

Covered in blood, they collapsed into each other’s arms. It was at that moment they realised their feelings for each other and kissed. For me this will always remain one of the most fucked up, romantic telly moments I’ve ever witnessed and I fucking LOVED IT.

Grace ended up betraying him however, which.. well she better just back the fuck away from my man.

What do you mean Tommy Shelby isn’t real?!

He’ll always remain a beautiful part of my fantasy world. Never will I witness him farting, pebble dashing the toilet or disappointing me in any way. With this I am fine.


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The Great British Bake off: I LOVE THE CAKE! I am not ashamed.

Like almost 13 million people last Wednesday I sat down to watch The Great British Bake Off final.

If you’ve been living on Mars or simply do more high brow things with your life, GBBO is what my friend describes as “Gentle and lovely.”, she’s not far wrong. It’s the most twee and relaxed programme on TV, akin to Pete Doherty laid slumped and drooling in his flat wearing his Fedora after a particularly satisfying hit of Heroin or an afternoon hanging off your Grandma’s apron strings in her kitchen as she bakes copious buns just for you with a maternal wink and a smile.

It’s more English than repressed emotions, colonialism and asking “More tea, Vicar?” during a suburban, Conservative lunch on a lawn greener than a snotty child’s tissue.

Week by week, accompanied by the “fun”, witty narration and presenting by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (the none offensive kind that your parents chuckle to themselves at and that’s painfully suitable for children), 12 contestants are put through their paces and made to bake an array of goods for professional judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

Hollywood with the grey, heavily gelled hair, thick bread pummelling arms, piercing blue eyes and solid, ‘bull in a china shop’ type demeanour. He doesn’t have sex, he ruts you like a Stag while snorting like an angry beast. He’s an arrogant bastard and difficult to please, constantly looking down his nose and harping on about ‘good bakes’ and ‘perfection’. You can only imagine how flustered he makes your Auntie Sue and housewives across the country, how they’d love him to have a taste of their peach pie… or something.

Next we have Mary Berry with the kind eyes. You can tell she smells like flowers, musk and clean laundry. Like your Grandma, she merely tuts and looks disappointed if a contestant’s tart au citron isn’t quite up to standard, she’d never have the heart to be as cruel as Paul. So we love her and want to sniff her hair.

While the nation crams their face with crisps, blows off and glugs cans of Fanta (I say the nation, but I basically mean me), we go through bread week, pastry week, cake week and god knows what else week. We see the contestants, all regular ordinary people, I REPEAT ORDINARY PEOPLE, with a passion for baking, sweating like pigs on spits in dazzling white tents on the grounds of a stately home being put through their paces. Builders, homemakers, IT consultants, teachers, retired doctors, we’ve had them all and they’re all just regular people, I REPEAT REGULAR PEOPLE who just ruddy bloody love baking.

In true English fashion we’re also accompanied by a lot of tongue in cheek innuendo that’d make Kenneth Williams proud. ‘Soggy bottoms’, ‘I can’t wait to get it inside’, ‘hot baps’, ‘good forking’, are just some of the nuggets we’ve had this series and boy does the nation love them. Not only does Twitter explode with guffaws, but your Mum laughs into her hand like it’s 1975 all over again. TEEHEE, TEEHEE euphemisms.

I’ll be honest, GBBO is basically food porn. There’s also The Great British Sewing Bee, but for me that’s a step too far. A bunch of people hurriedly knitting sweaters does not create voyeuristic pleasure for my tummy, which is a force so unbelievably powerful that I’ll even put up with feeling like an uncool saddo for at least 50 minutes. Ganache, meringue, doughnuts, pasties.. watching them ooze and brown just makes me want to stuff all the items into a soiled bin bag and drive barefoot to Dundee where I park on a cliff edge injecting all the items directly into a vein and dying in a heap of custard and sticky jam. I’m happy to be found a substantial amount of time later all bloated, but with a smile on my face like a windy baby. Dignity, what dignity?

The show is so devoid of any vulgar drama too, it was seen as an absolute travesty when contestant Iain’s Baked Alaska was removed too early from the fridge by other contestant Diane and left to melt, which resulted in Iain being voted off that week. In true GBBO stye, Iain did not curse or cry, he simply stomped off like the dignified, “true Brits” the entire show represents, with Diane cowardly smirking in the corner with guilty eyes. Like a disagreement on a bowling green or a snarky dig during a chess game, no dirty laundry or blame round these parts, people. I expect Iain simply ended up crying loudly to himself in a toilet cubicle while looking longingly at the reel of toilet roll wondering whether he should attempt to hang himself. The people who should truly feel ashamed, however are the people on Facebook who joined the ‘Justice For Iain!” page. Not only was the show pre-recorded during the summer, but aggressive plights are not what the show’s about. You’d never have got a murder on Heartbeat for example, or a sex scene during the Antiques Roadshow, so angry campaigns involving Baked Alaska are just weird, if you ask me. Iain putting up and shutting up while quietly reading a book about Winston Churchill is what the show’s all about. Tsk. Weirdos.

There’s also the ‘informative’ segments, where soft voiced Mel and Sue wander around the country meeting various bakers and food historians and we learn about the invention of the fruit cake or the reason ring doughnuts have holes or how Queen Victoria often nibbled a Battenberg with one hand and smoked a joint of cannabis with the other (or something, I may have made that one up a bit).

I’m not gonna say The Great British Bake Off is cool, it is not. Neither am I going to say it isn’t the same reality poo we’re subjected to constantly. Mostly because I have a soul and I’m not a snob and also the tattoos I’ve just got on my arm are currently really hurting (I’m cool now, yeah?) but boy do I fucking love cake and for that, I will NEVER FEEL ASHAMED.

Let us all rejoice on behalf of cake and baked goods and CHOLESTEROL!


Oh wait ow… my arm.

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Eastenders, Danny Dyer and cry wanking.

Danny Dyer first entered Eastenders on Christmas Day 2013. I say entered, but it was more like this:

“Danny Dyer swaggered onto the nation’s favourite TV soap in a haze of stale Benson and Hedges, with mid tones of Lynx Africa and base notes of warm testicles, cheeky banter and a hint of B.O.”

Most of us British folk are aware of Danny Dyer. He’s that vaguely amusing tabloid thick bloke with a contrived COCKERNEY neanderthal “masculine” image that always manages to end up as the butt of everyone’s joke. Whether it’s his absolutely appalling list of budget films or his ‘Advice Column’ in Zoo magazine (which incidentally worked as a vehicle to promote his ‘personal brand’, despite heartfelt letters he received from troubled men who liked a side order of counselling with their tits.) where Dyer took the time to throw as many ‘mates’, ‘pals’, ‘birds’, ‘crumpets’ as he could fit into his one paragraph answers. I say “his” but we’re all aware he probably had a ghostwriter who took up the job solely because they were struggling with their gas bill.

Dyer has also continuously done promotion for brands/events which a mid life crisis period Alan Partridge would be proud of; go to Youtube and there’s many videos of him awkwardly doing a ‘geezer’ dance with a lager in his hand in a small, sleazy nightclub that probably reeks of piss and sexual assault doing his best “I’m having a great time” face, he also narrates the advert for ‘Mattessons Fridge Raiders’ meat snacks that are probably 92% processed scrotum. “FOR WHEN YER ‘ANK MARVIN’” Dyer growls in our ears.

However, let us not forget his occasional moments of genius:

Twitter: “Can’t believe it’s been nearly 11 years since them slags smashed into the twin towers it still freaks my nut out to this day 9/11 ch 4 10 00.”

Danny Dyer: probably the first person in history to call al-Queda “slags”, such a wonderfully odd understatement with some completely unnecessary misogyny thrown in. Bless him.

To many Dyer was set to be the ‘saviour of Eastenders’. With dropping viewing figures and some lacklustre story lines that often meant many of us decided to go for a long poo 10 minutes into an episode, only one person could sit us back down and persuasively encourage us to clench our buttocks together; the man was Danny Dyer, the character MICK CARTER.

Mick Carter ended up taking over the Queen Vic pub and accompanied by his ditzy wife Linda, the kind of woman you imagine takes copious amounts of Diazepam in order to run the hoover around, apply her lipstick and stick her curlers in and kids Johnny, Lee and Nancy (pretty unremarkable young adults; one gay, one ‘feisty’, one a source of pride due to his Army service).

Now I’ll level with you, Mick is pretty likeable and his character is a million miles away from Dyer’s own persona. Mick is a loyal, protective family man who always puts the needs of his FAYMILEE first. However, you can’t help but feel Mick Carter is an exercise in ‘rebranding’ thought up by Dyer’s (probably grey haired and sleep deprived) public relations team.

One such example being Mick’s ‘oh so Metrosexual’ image. We’re regularly subjected to him wandering around in his wife’s pink dressing gown, he was also the first on the scene to give tons of empathy and support when one of his sons admitted he was gay and constantly pushes the ‘respect women’ schtick. You also couldn’t know anyone more loyal to their wife, you imagine he regularly kisses her feet, feeds her grapes and cries into clothes she’s placed in the laundry basket if they have a row. Next he’ll appear behind the bar in a future episode with a green highlight dyed into his hair and a ‘SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!!!” t-shirt.

He’s also on the scene immediately if there’s any peril in order to ‘help people out’. The man almost has the ability to walk on water, revive the dead, feed the 5,000 and part the ocean. Mick was there immediately with his homemade banner and a flask of watery tea when they threatened to close down Walford market (GOD FORBID!! WHAT ABOUT WINSTON?!)

His image as a ‘sex symbol’ is also pushed. Dyer was nominated for ‘sexiest male’ at the soap awards and God did we know about it. In the months leading up, not only did we get scenes with him in his sinister looking black briefs (legs parted. GAG.), but there was a noticeably growly, brooding grimace ‘I want to fuck you’ face which he constantly pulled at other characters, at one stage even his elderly on-screen Father (disturbing).

As I watch Mick’s life unfold; my brain slightly dribbling out of my ear on a weekly basis, I often find myself forgetting that Danny Dyer isn’t actually Mick Carter. This is troubling for many reasons, but Dyer isn’t a hideous bloke and frankly some of the tailoring and coats he wears are pretty sexy. I’m also a sucker for the ‘brooding’ thing, I like to think when Mick Carter isn’t behind the bar he’s reading literature, drinking whiskey, writing poetry, playing with knives and weeping about the state of the world while slightly biting his fist.

Possibly over imaginative, I like to call this ‘sexual riffing’. It’s where my sexual attraction is so embarrassing I comfort myself with surreal scenarios which I add to reality like a sprinkling of glitter and fairy dust on a white dog turd.

The reality is Danny Dyer goes home, gets into his West Ham t-shirt and probably sits watching Sky Sports in his greying, seamy boxers with one hand down them playing with his balls. A copy of the Sun on a nearby table, he orders himself a kebab, eats it with his mouth open and proceeds to wipe the greasy residue from his hands down his front.

Mick is a figure of a well crafted imagination. A lie! A fraud! A likeable character made to further Dyer’s career and get him out of his constant portrayal of dim, heartless hooligans.

Never has cry wanking been more apt.

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