Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two Eyes Made out of Coal

I think John McClane said it best: “Now I have a machine gun – Ho, ho, ho!”

The world is slowly easing down a little bit, Jack Frost is nipping at quite a large selection of body parts, and we’re getting into the final stretch now before Christmas hits. Still got a few days left at work, but I can feel an imminent respite in the air.

I was going to write a bit about the sad death of the brilliantly talented John Spencer last week, but I just don’t have the words. It’s another tragic death in a year that has been full of them. Today would have been his 59th birthday.

I had a good night out last night, and it reminded me again what a good life I have. A loving wife, a perfect daughter, amazing friends. I know I come off as the Grinch most of the year, and it always seems like there isn’t enough time or money or something…but, on balance, it’s a wonderful life.

Just in case I don’t get another chance to jump in here within the next few days, I want to take the opportunity to say that, whatever you do or don’t believe, and whatever you do or don’t celebrate, to all the friends of Sucker Punch who return to my crazed ramblings here on a regular basis: I’ll make a deal with you - Have an excellent holiday, stay safe, stay warm, stay happy, and love the ones you’re with, and I’ll try and do the same. Fair enough?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Time Bandits

Do you know what it’s like to be so ridiculously busy that you don’t even have time to go to the toilet anymore? I am in pain! My bowels aches with the pain of a thousand digested meals aching for release. I need to find time to give birth to “Gigantic Christmas Turd Baby”.

Wife and daughter both sick with bad colds. I’m still hawking up gelatinous chunks of my own lungs as I come out the other end of Bad Cold. Still nowhere near finishing Christmas shopping. And my insides are battling me with vicious kicks.

Stealing a few hours for myself later. Movie, beer, fun.

And at some point I still have to schedule in that trip to the toilet. Before Christmas, if I’m lucky.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Future Tense

2005 has started to give off a smell of boiled vegetables and urine, keeps forgetting to turn the stove off, and shits itself almost daily, whilst 2006 is nearing the end of its third trimester, and is kicking like Jackie Chan suffering from ADHD. Yes, I’m hovering in that uneasy purgatory where I look back over the last twelve months to make sense of it all, whilst trying to look forward to the next twelve to figure out what my next move should be.

2004 was full of changes and challenges. The birth of a daughter. Fighting for a new job. Life was big and scary and often wonderful.

But 2005 has been a year of mostly living inside myself. I think that comes mostly from the fact that the two jobs I’ve occupied this year have been very quiet, with a three month lump in the middle full of fear and anxiety. It wasn’t quiet in the sense of not being busy, but quiet in that I haven’t really formed any significant new bonds in the last year. I don’t meet like-minded individuals, so I live in my own head a lot. My brain keeps me company.

Fact is, I’m only really happy if I’m with my wife or my daughter or with a small group of close friends (which, thankfully, I’ll be doing next Monday evening. Cold beer, squinting through cigarette smoke, and running off at the mouth about everything and nothing). Apart from that, happiness is a good book or comic or movie or song. Or writing. Then, the silence is glorious, interrupted only by the scritch-scratch of pen and paper, or the taptaptapclack of a keyboard.

This was also the year that I decided to take a break from film journalism. I was spinning my wheels with that, writing primarily for a totally inappropriate website that was interested only in the snark. Snark is easy and boring. It’s just being a prick in print, and I’m not interested in that. I want to tell people things. Things that are bubbling away in my head, not just talking trash for the sake of a cheap putdown.

I needed to start putting a stress-test on my abilities again. So I walked away from that gig, and ever since I’ve been writing only for myself. Man, it’s liberating. Free to wallow in self-indulgence, and free to embrace insane high concepts to see where they take me, and free to ravish language for the sheer maddening joy of seeing what I can make words do.

More of that in 2006, I think. (Although if a decent writing gig falls in my lap, you just know I’m going to grab it with both hands and kiss it passionately). And then there’s the challenge of writing complete works that I don’t abandon. But that’s a challenge that only exists in my mind, and I haven’t figured out a way to beat that one yet.

I also need to sleep more, even though I also want more hours in the day for myself. A problem I’ll have to try and work around at a later date.

Lots to think about still. Developing…

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Zuzu's Petals

Well, there’s no point fighting it. Christmas is racing towards us like the Road Runner roaring down the rocky highways of a yellow and orange Warner Brothers desert, and I don’t even have an Acme rocket sled at my disposal to stop it.

So I may as well just resign myself to the inevitable, and make sure I’m prepared with plentiful entertainments to make the season suitably jolly.

A couple of years back, I decided that at the AKA Grotto we would have a Christmas movie every year. (This is, of course, just an excuse for me to watch old movies. Let’s not kid ourselves.)

For the first Christmas in our new home, the choice was easy: It’s A Wonderful Life, the heartwarming confection about a suicidal depressive beset on all sides by small-mindedness, avarice, incomptenece, bullying and impending bankruptcy. It takes a particularly sick world to hold this movie up as The Spirit of Christmas, but I ain’t complaining. Dark, mean, and hard. Like Jim Kelly in a vendetta kind of mood.

Then, last year, I chose Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Yes, I know. My memory failed me on that one, ‘cos it’s a Thanksgiving movie, not a Christmas movie. Moving swiftly on...

This year, still mired in my strange 80s kick, I’m struggling to choose between two movies. Should it be Scrooged, with Bill Murray as (kinda) Ebenezer Scrooge, transposing Dickensian London to modern-day New York, and shifting the action to the life of a misanthropic television executive? With added Robert Mitchum for extra crustiness? And who could resist a side order of Lee Majors? Yes, TV’s Colt Seavers! It’s almost enough to make me start singing The Unknown Stuntman.

Or should I go for the classic (and I don’t use the word lightly) Trading Places? Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy when they were still funny! Jamie Lee Curtis when she was still hot! Denholm Elliott when he was still alive!

I think I’m going to have to make it a double-bill, because next year, I’m determined to choose Die Hard. Yippiekyay!

Well, I'm not the kind to kiss and tell, But I've been seen with Farrah.
I've never been with anything less than a nine, so fine...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Penetrating Logic

Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury is an ambassador for UNICEF and the U.N. anti-AIDS program. The Vatican has decided to drop her from its Christmas fund raising concert, because she planned to advocate the use of condoms to fight AIDS during her performance at the show.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981. This makes Avian Flu look like the sniffles. So far, in 2005 alone, AIDS has claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) of which more than half a million (570,000) were children.

Fact is: something as simple and inexpensive as a male latex condom is the single most effective method to prevent the transmission of HIV. And they make for great water bombs, too.

Speaking at a news conference, event organizer Father Giuseppe Bellucci stated that "She was excluded because she had announced that at the concert she would openly promote the use of condoms to fight the plague of AIDS."

No, I don’t understand either. Given a choice between a raincoat for your rod, and the slow and painful depletion of your immune system, is it really so difficult to work out which is the lesser evil?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Living In A Box

As the glacial winds pick up their pace, I become more and more reluctant to venture out in search of entertainment. So I’ve been raiding my DVD collection for comfort. Usually, I’ll watch anything that I’ve never seen. I’ve got pretty catholic tastes, and I’ll give anything a punt once.

But I haven’t felt like doing that too much for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been retreating into the old favourites, happily revisiting Galaxy Quest, Reservoir Dogs and True Romance. An old favourite is just as warming as a crafty nip from the bottle on a cold winter’s night, when the rest of the AKA clan are either out or asleep.

Last night, I felt the need to return to the unwatched pile and popped on the remake of Assault on Precinct 13. Short review = Pointless remake that doesn’t touch the John Carpenter original. But I digress…

I was pleasantly surprised to see 80s hardass stalwart Brian Dennehy in a supporting role. And it’s got me spinning off into an 80s revival kick. I used to love the cheesefest of the two F/X movies, centred on the premise of a special effects whiz and his rubber-masked crime-fighting remote-control sleight-of-hand. Any movie that has the massive balls to end with Imagination’s Just an Illusion is pretty good in my book.

Just ordered myself the fantastic Best Seller on DVD. God, I used to geek out to that movie. Brian Dennehy paired with one of the finest slices of James Woods and his Glorious Sneer you will ever see.

But this whole 80s kick could get out of hand…I’m already getting the urge to track down Cherry 2000 and Blow Out and Trancers and Body Double and…

If my hair starts to get fluffier, and my jeans start looking a little stone-washed, you all have my permission to pop a cap in my brain pan.

Scarlet Billows Start to Spread

Inexplicably, I’ve had Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife throbbing in my head all day. And it’s not bothering me in the slightest, although I might have to kill it with a drink or two before I go to bed tonight.

I’ve got a twitchy, restless mind today. I can’t concentrate on a single bloody thing, and every time I try and grasp for a rogue thought, it oozes out of my fingers and swims away to a darkened corner where I can’t seem to get at it. I’ve got a fistful of writing ideas, which I know for a FACT I will never be able to nail down, because they are too sodding flimsy, and I can’t focus enough to make the fuckers stay still.

Spent hours today embarking on Christmas shopping online, so I don’t have to brave the fetid chav hordes of Oxford Street. Instead, I’ll have to spend the next few weekends going to the Post Office to rescue stray parcels that the postman couldn’t get through the letterbox.

I need a fucking holiday. That’s what I want for Christmas. A week away from the keyboard, away from the phone, away from all the time-sapping bullshit that just muddies the grey mush between my ears. A remote hotel, a raging fire, a fully-stocked bar and a stack of books. That’ll do me just fine.

OK, that’s enough of my bitching. As you were.

Look out, old Macky is back!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Best Laid Plans

Do as I say, don’t do as I do…

Here’s a handy hint to ensure ongoing office harmony. Don’t do what I just did.

I just suggested an office deadpool on George Best’s final few hours. And then I got loads of filthy looks and red faces, and people looking away in muted rage. Obviously, my “colleagues” must have thought it was in horrendous bad taste.

Which is funny, because I don’t. What I think is bad taste is squandering your second liver in less than three years, by slowly committing suicide due to excruciatingly heavy drinking. (And don’t get on my dick about alcoholism being a disease. I know that. But a high-profile case like this will continue to open up a raging debate about whether people deserve liver transplants at all. And if people consequently lose out on a second chance because some has-been football player pissed away his second opportunity, then that shit is in bad taste too).

Describing his own lifestyle, he once said: "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars - the rest I just squandered."

Fuckwit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Annotated AKA

Starved of real-world chicanery to share with the world at the moment, it’s time for another look at what is twisting my melons in the multifarious world of popular culture. Embrace my awesome amphigory thus!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
“This isn't good cop, bad cop. This is fag and New Yorker.”
I could describe this as a literate deconstruction of genre tropes, but that would almost certainly ensure you wouldn’t want to see it. And that would be a mistake. Because this is the most fun you can have in a dark room with all your clothes on this side of Christmas. Ridiculously talented and underrated writer Shane Black breaks an almost-decade long absence from cinemas, returning to play with the idea of a tough crime movie with whipsmart dialogue and two mismatched buddies in the genre that he reinvented with the likes of Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, and he’s joined by a couple of ridiculously talented and underrated actors in the shape of Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. Fast, mean, funny and hugely entertaining.

Broken Flowers
From the hipster jailbirds of Down by Law and the Memphis-bound Elvis junkies of Mystery Train to urban samurai Ghost Dog and displaced accountant William Blake stranded on the edge of the western frontier in Dead Man, Jim Jarmusch is a master at chronicling the Lives of Loners. To his Valhalla of Loners he can now add Don Johnston (Bill Murray), an impassive Lothario reluctantly sifting through his past loves, without even being quite sure what he is looking for, or even if he wants to find it. As always with Jarmusch, the soundtrack is phenomenal, shifting from Marvin Gaye to the Brian Jonestown Massacre, with Johnston accompanied on his odyssey by the Ethiopian jazz-funk of Mulatu Astatke. Comparisons with Lost in Translation are inevitable, but this is a far richer, more resonant work full of spot-on performances and no easy answers. Brilliant.

The Complete Bod

And now for something completely different. For those who don’t know, Bod was a series of children’s cartoons first aired 30 years ago on British television. Anyone who ever saw it will have the image of the androgynous bald little Bod in his yellow suit seared indelibly into the memories of their inner child. The animation was simplicity itself (a harsher man would call it primitive), and the dulcet tones of John Le Mesurier masterfully narrated the tales of Bod and his friends. Then there was Derek Griffith’s now-legendary infectious music, the game of “Snap!” at the end, and a supporting cartoon in the shape of Alberto Frog and his Amazing Animal Band…

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Dude, why the fuck are you talking about some 30-year old cartoon?” Well, I’ll tell you. Despondent over the depressingly shallow and toe-curlingly inept selection of children’s entertainments available for my fourteen-month old daughter, I thought it was time to start weaning her on the classics, and bought the DVD of all 13 episodes. And she loves it! As soon as the mellifluous flute from Bod’s theme tune starts up, she is busting moves like a young James Brown. Buttercup usually only dances that hard when I’m playing her some heavy funk, or when she catches a snatch of some Bhangra at the in-laws. So, I spit in the face of the hollow computer-generated pixelshit squirted in the eyes of pre-schoolers. Flat 2-D animations hitting all the right notes still works every, single time. Want to get a Bod fix? Check out this website, where there is a full episode to tickle your nostalgia buds or to awaken you to the delights of a simpler time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Aaaagh! My Eyes!!

I’ve just spent the entire morning wading through the Office Spam Filter looking for valid e-mails that have gotten themselves ensnared in its sticky web. I want to stab out my eyes with straightened paper clips now.

On the positive side, I have learned a few things:

I now know more about Viagra, Cialis and Hoodia than anyone on the planet. Fact.

There are a lot of wealthy Nigerians who really need my bank details. There are live girls waiting to talk with me right now! Lots of people want to offer me loans, stock tips, fake Rolexes, pet care, cures for baldness, and “hypoallergenic and dishwasher safe” sex toys.

I have also revelled in the limited joys of the deliberate misspelling, those amateurish tricks designed to fool a Spam Filter. You know the sort of thing I mean: pr0n; brest; secksual disfunktion.

So, 4000 e-mails later, my eyes burn from the fire of a thousand blazing pixels. I need a nap followed by gently massaging coffee grounds and Jack Daniel’s into my tear ducts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Coat of Paint

"Let's put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town
Set 'em up, we'll be knockin' em down.
You wear a dress, baby, and I'll wear a tie.
We'll laugh at that old bloodshot moon in that burgundy sky"
Tom Waits

Yes, I've changed the template. I got bored of the stagnant inert monochrome of that old one, so I've had the builders in.

Brand new threads, same old napalm attitude. Enjoy.

Monday, November 07, 2005

So this is Planet Houston

General Zod does not take orders. He gives them.

Vote General Zod in 2008!

As the man says: “I win. I always win. Is there no one on this planet to even challenge me?”

Friday, November 04, 2005

With you it's always meme meme meme

The Internet is trying to teach me things. But I’m not entirely convinced that the Internet is an honest and wise Consigliere. These are the things that the Internet is trying to tell me, via the medium of Blogthings, which has just executed my last working hour stone dead. Lies, flattery, misinformation, disinformation, or just cold hard truths? You decide!

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Average
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.
For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

You May Be a Bit Schizotypal ...

A bit odd and socially isolated.
You couldn't care less of what others think.
And some of your beliefs are a little weird.

Your Personality Type

The Idealist

You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.
Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.
It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.
But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.

You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence


You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Your World View
You are a happy, well-balanced person who likes people and is liked by others.
You question whether many conventional views on morality are valid under all circumstances.
You are essentially a content person.
Sometimes, you consider yourself a little superior.
You are moral by your own standards.
You believe that morality is what best suits the occasion.

You Are 80% Weird
You're more than quirky, you're downright strange.
But you're also strangely compelling, like a cult leader.

You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.

How You Live Your Life

You seem to be straight forward, but you keep a lot inside.
You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.
You tend to have one best friend you hang with, as opposed to many acquaintances.
Some of your past dreams have disappointed you, but you don't let it get you down.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Invisible People

Running late to work today (which is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence, but that’s a whole ‘nother story), so I had to take a bus from Wembley Stadium to finish off my journey to the office.

There was a man sitting at the bus stop drinking from a can of strong cider. At nine in the morning. He had his dog on a leash, and he didn’t look like he was waiting for a bus. He just felt like sitting at a bus stop at nine in the morning drinking strong cider.

And then he started talking to me. Usually, I would recoil from having a chat with a strange early morning boozer at a bus stop, but I was feeling pretty good this morning, so we got chatting. And we talked about his job and his dog and Diwali and traffic and politics, whilst cars churned past slowly in the background and the leaves of autumn coated the pavement at our feet like a second skin.

It was the best conversation I’ve had with anyone all week. There were no pretences, no-one working an angle, no-one was trying to get something out of someone. No bullshit of any kind. It was just refreshingly open and engaging and honest and, well, it was great.

And if I had thought about it for even a second before talking to the man, I probably wouldn’t have even got involved. I would have just retreated into the cocoon of my iPod, shutting out the man and his words.

I should know better, really. People who don’t know me always tend to find me intimidating and give me a wide berth. I dress predominantly in black, I’m 6 foot 3, I tend to shave only once a week, I give off very strong “fuck off” vibes, and I don’t talk for the sake of talking. I only talk if I’ve got something to say, which often makes people think I’m aloof and arrogant. I don’t think I’m either. I’m just not one of those people who witter on endlessly for the sake of filling the air with noise.

Eventually the bus arrived, and I bid the stranger goodbye. Seconds later, I was back in my bubble, my headphones sealing me off from the crowds of people, some old-school Digital Underground piped directly into my brainpan.

And now I’ll sit in almost complete silence until 5.30 tonight when the sky will be black again, as my colleagues avoid the surly, arrogant, scary dude in the corner.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dark Water

Directly outside my office flows a section of the Grand Union Canal. This rank, polluted body of water stretches for 135 miles, linking London and Birmingham. This impressive passage has existed in its current form since 1 January 1929…

And if people don’t quit fucking with me, their bloated corpses will be floating in that goddamn canal tonight, with nothing but Diwali fireworks illuminating their misshapen faces and black little dead eyes. I am having the worst fucking working day I can remember since about, oh, I don’t know, some time in 2003.

I can see homicide in my future...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fast Fiction 4 - I'm Horrible with Words

Title: I'm Horrible with Words
Challenger: Jennifer W.K.
Length: Exactly 200 Words

The empty Word document taunted him, searing his retinas ever so gently with its harsh white glare.

Writing letters of resignation was always so hard. You almost have to be apologetic for leaving a company. And humble. And you even have to thank them, like a four-year old leaving a birthday party: “Thank you for having me!”

The low wages, the unpaid overtime, the abuse, the condescension…and you still have to allow one final humiliation by smiling and saying “Thank you”. Well, fuck that!

He flexed his fingers (which had stiffened horribly from hovering motionless over the keyboard so long), and they cracked like a ball bouncing spasmodically around a roulette wheel.

And all of a sudden the words were flying from his fingertips. They went exactly like this:

“There are certain qualities I look for in an employer. Like an IQ higher than that of a lobotomised gecko. I’ve wasted three years of my life carrying out your every moronic request, and my belt buckle has more charisma than you. By the way, I’ve backed up your hard drive, and will be forwarding your cache of kiddie porn to the authorities. Please kill yourself. I’m off.”

There. That’ll work.

The End of Fast Fiction Is Nigh…

OK, folks, there’s only 12 more hours to go before I wrap this up. So, if anyone else wants to take a pop at breaking my mind, or if you just fancy commissioning a nice, swift stab of prose from me, this is your last chance. The Comments Box below is splayed wide open awaiting your penetrating words.

Before I forget, some acknowledgements. I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where it is due. The inspiration for this stunt came from Lee “Budgie” Barnett’s blog, where he has racked up over 85 slabs of Fast Fiction, and he’s still going strong. Impressive stuff.

Special thanks also to both Brutha B and Bert for acting as joint cheerleaders, pimps and midwives for these Adventures in Fiction. I only wish that I had a Blankety Blank chequebook and pen and a Dusty Bin to reward you both.

Tick tock, tick tock…

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fast Fiction 3 - You've Got To Help!

Title: You've Got To Help!
(Strictly speaking, this is 5 words, but I am hungry and grateful for all willing challengers)
Challenger: DG
Length: Exactly 200 Words

I was waiting for the bus home when I saw the White Van slam into the rear of the Hatchback, followed by two distinct roars.

The first was the Hatchback erupting into flames. The second came from the large lion trying to force its head in between the van’s buckled back doors.

Cue the screaming. There’s always screaming. And shouting. Can’t these people shut up and let me watch the damn show? These people with their drab uneventful lives: sleep, eat, work, shit, shower, repeat. Day after day after day. And look what’s served up as an entertaining bit of Reality Theatre right on the street corner to terminate that predictable drudgery! Drama and Explosions and Carnivores!

“Help them! You’ve got to help!”

Which idiot said that? Can’t they see?? That family of five were gone just after “Boom!”. And the bloke driving the van went through the windscreen and straight on the barbecue. There’s no-one left to help.

The lion was still struggling, though.

Afterwards, the newspapers referred to me as “the brave unidentified stranger”. Probably because I was the only one willing to walk towards the burning wreckage. But I just wanted something to light my cigarette with.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fast Fiction 2 - No Moaning No More

Title: No Moaning No More
Challenger: Bert
Length: Exactly 200 words

Blind Berry Jackson made it to the sink just in time to spit out another chunk of blackened lung meat. He knew that he didn’t have much longer.

The needle crackled and popped as he dropped it onto the 45 of his decades-old hit “No Moaning No More”, creaking out of the tinny speaker he had propped up next to his cot.

Jackson collapsed back onto the worn mattress, and felt the tired bedsprings poking at his skeletal flesh. A painful cough ripped through him, as memories of years on the Chitlin Circuit erupted on the back of his eyelids.

The white girls used to sneak in the back door to hear him playing those run-down ol’ dives, hypnotised by his delicate fretwork, his gnarled fingers shimmying across the guitar. He used to fix them with his one good eye, and his rumbling voice would ooze out. “Know what they say? Darker the Berry, Sweeter the Juice.” They would melt when they heard that.

In a moment of perfect synchronicity, the needle skated off the end of the record just in time to catch the last breath rattling out of his body and into the fusty air of the room.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fast Fiction 1 - Will Mime For Food

Title: Will Mime For Food
Challenger: B
Length: Exactly 200 words

As a huge blob of rain hit him right in the eye, all Marcel could think was, “This is going to end badly”.

He stared helplessly as a lump of white makeup rolled down his cheek and landed like a lump of bird diarrhoea on his shiny black loafers. As the heavens opened, the crowd started to disperse. Women screeched as the rain came down, as if they were The Wicked Witch of the Fucking West, melting under the onslaught of filthy city water.

Each bullet of rain took bits of his facepaint off and hurled them at the ground. He wanted to shout “Stop!” at the fickle punters, but he was sure that would be breaking some old mime Code of Conduct.

His black gloves now streaked with red and white, he bent over to pick up the battered trilby at his feet and flicked through the varied detritus resting at the bottom.

Three pounds and fifty nine pence. Some euros. (What the hell was he supposed to do with euros?) A guy’s phone number scrawled on the back of an old travelcard. And a greasy wrapper containing a half-eaten cheeseburger. Oh well, at least dinner’s taken care of.

Fast Fiction - Prologue

And we're off. Before I dive in, a small disclaimer that applies to everything written as part of this challenge. Here it is:

All site contents ©2005 AKA, Sucker Punch and http://straybullets.blogspot.com. The author has asserted his moral (and immoral) rights. Sho Nuff! Absolutely nothing found here may be used without prior permission of AKA, but feel free to link to anything you find here.

OK, now that's out of the way, let us begin.

Fast Fiction – Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

OK, let’s play. I want you to challenge me. This is the deal:

You give me a 4-word title (do it in the Comments Box below), and I’ll write a short piece of fast fiction. For the purposes of this challenge, I’ll define Fast Fiction thus: Firstly, it’s short. Very short. Let’s say it’s a piece of fiction of 200 words. Secondly, I have to really bang it out. This means no re-writing, no polishing, and no screwing around staring at the screen wondering what I’m going to write. And that’s it.

So, you throw a 4-word title at me (as long as it isn’t a pre-existing 4-word title, so no To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye – be original), and in return I’ll throw up a 200-word piece of fast fiction just for you. You only get one piece each. But everyone who challenges me gets one. (Judging by the miniscule number of hits this blog gets, this isn’t going to last long, but, screw it, what the hell?)

Ready, steady…GO!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Paint the Whole World with a Rainbow

OK, so it’s not just teething.

Buttercup continues to suffer and volleys of spew still bounce off the walls of the AKA household. The doctor says it’s a gastrointestinal virus of some kind…made worse by the fact that she’s also caught a cold off the back of it. It’s the coughing that does it…that’s what makes her throw up so often.

All three of us are really starting to feel the effects of endless upheaval and lack of sleep. Buttercup is not her usual ebullient self, and her happiness only surfaces at rare moments when she knows she can have a bath (man, does that girl love baths!), and she can sit in the water playing with her toy octopus. Or when she can get a hug from her parents. Her discomfort is causing her to be a lot more clingy than normal, and she always wants to be close to the safe arms of her mummy or daddy. It’s heartbreaking to see my little scrapper so withdrawn, quiet and sad, when usually she’s a source of endless mischief and chatter.

Mrs. AKA and I are ragged with sleeplessness and stress, and we are sniping at each other for no reason. As for me, whenever there’s a shortage of sleep and rest, my back is the first thing to go. (One of those unfortunate side-effects of being tall). I grimace in agony with every movement, I can’t seem to stretch myself to my full height, my body is fighting me to twist itself into a question mark, and I creak like the Tin Man whenever I try to do anything. I also occasionally have outbursts where I shout “Oil Can! Oil Can!”, but to no avail.

Yesterday marked the ten year anniversary of when Mrs. AKA and I first “hooked up”…in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and in others like we are still only at the beginning of something. Obviously, instead of marking the event with the all-purpose AKA Dinner-And-A-Movie Date, we spent the evening carrying out the frustrating ritual of ridding our home of an overabundance of regurgitated food.

But there are always strange new wonders in the world to take our minds off our daily struggles. Don’t believe me? Look! Scientists have taught dolphins how to perform the Batman theme song!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sick Note

So, it wasn’t the restful weekend that I had hoped for. Buttercup had a high temperature and she’s been teething. To alleviate her teething pains, she sometimes sticks her little hands in her mouth to get to the source of the discomfort. Without fail, she always manages to hit her gag reflex. My house has been swimming in rivers of baby vomit for days now. (I have to admit, the sight of Mrs. AKA with a face covered in projectile puke did make me laugh, like a live-action bukkake freeze frame right in my own home!)

All three of us had to keep going through more wardrobe changes than a catwalk model, with piles of rancid towels and t-shirts, bibs and bathmats, sweat pants and socks queuing for their turn at the washing machine.

And with every new volley of creamy gook congealing on our clothes, we then had to make sure she was still well fed and well watered, to stop her from getting dehydrated and hungry. But, being a tough little cookie, she barely grumbled the whole time. Seconds after an obviously uncomfortable retch, her little brown eyes watering from the pain, she was laughing and smiling again. That’s my girl!

Mrs. AKA, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling quite as buoyant. Being hunched over mopping up an ocean of lumpy upchuck from the kitchen floor on a Sunday night, losing track of the number of times you’ve had to clean up over the space of a weekend will do that to you.

As for me, I’m just pragmatic. As soon as the puke hits the fan, I just go into calm problem-solving mode: this needs to be moved, that needs to be wiped down, we need to make some more food, get her some fresh water, etc, etc. You would be right if you think that sounds like grace under pressure…

And in the background to all this, the world carries on crumbling around us. South Asia Earthquake. Guatemalan mudslides. Avian Flu hits Europe. Death and destruction everywhere…

And on a much smaller scale, but also tragic in its own little way, on a day when the folks at Aardman Animation should be ecstatic that their signature characters of Wallace and Gromit have taken the top spot on the American box office charts, a devastating fire has wiped out the entire archive of this unique company, eradicating an irreplaceable part of animation history.

It all puts a bit of baby puke into perspective, doesn’t it?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Goodbye Grey Sky, Hello Blue

The weekend comes, my cycle hums, ready to race to yoooooooooooou.

Yes, only hours to go before the weekend arrives and I can claw back a couple of days of normality for myself. So, let’s take a leisurely stroll through the news:

Despite strenuous denials from the White House (because they are usually oh so honest), George W. Bush has been flapping those inarticulate gums once again. There’s no stopping the man! This time, Bush is reported as saying: “God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Oooookay…

Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that the kind of shit that serial killers say ALL THE TIME? Stuff like: “Sorry, mister, but God told me ‘Jack, you must cut up that little girl and then feed her parts to your hogs out back!’" or maybe: “The Lord came to me in my sleep and said 'Frankie? You know that woman of yours ain’t right! You better get that axe from the barn and teach her whose boss!’”.

INSANE people claim to perpetrate acts of violence due to The Voice Of God. PRESIDENTS should take counsel from people who aren’t just disembodied voices telling them to go and kill.

What else? Well, there’s this story on the BBC which begins: “Cutting edge studies on artificial dogs' testicles, locusts which watch Star Wars and penguin defecation have been honoured with Ig Nobel awards.”…I think I can let this pass without comment, because it speaks for itself….

And finally, Stately Wayne Manor escapes being burnt to the ground by a raging fire.

That’s all. I have a weekend to enjoy.

These Happy Days are your's and mine, Happy Days.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Kneel before Zod!

Now, I like comics more than most, but this is just sick and wrong. That poor, poor kid…

Maybe the Avian Flu that’s about to wipe us off the face of the planet is coming to thin out the rapidly growing number of insane morons on our poor, ravaged, twisted little mudball.

And when did “pandemic” replace “epidemic” as the all-purpose media-endorsed word to describe a massive widespread something-or-other? Hmmm? Enquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Can I Take It To The Bridge?

Ugh. I feel dog tired today. Worked 12 and a half hours yesterday, which meant I got up in the dark at 6.30 and ended up rolling in again at close to midnight. Everyone was asleep when I left in the morning, and everyone was asleep when I got back home.

Even James Brown screeching “Hot Pants!” into my ears isn’t helping me to shake myself out of this fug of exhaustion today. Whenever I try to do anything, my body responds just a little bit too slowly, as if I’m swilling around in a translucent vat of molasses, pushing against the air just to get anything moving.

A short while ago, I forced myself to go outside to grab lunch, and to sit and read a book. Yes, it’s a bit too cold to be sitting outside, but I needed a bracing hit of murky North London oxygen. As I sat reading, a massive hunk of cigar ash landed in my lap and exploded in a little cloud of grey filth all over my clothes, courtesy of my boss flicking his rancid stogie off the wrought-iron staircase, which curls from the ground floor straight up to the second floor fire exit, where he was sucking on that wizened little necrotic cock of a cigar like he was gobbling down some indispensable elixir.

Like I said before: Ugh.

Well, once today is over, I’m off for the rest of the week, the reason being that tomorrow marks Buttercup’s First Birthday. Time flies, don’t it?

The combined forces of my commute and my job keep me away from her far too much at the moment, but I make the most of it over the weekends. This last weekend, I taught her how to hum the theme tune from Bonanza. I have no idea why, other than the fact that we both had a hell of a lot of fun doing it. And I think the pair of us have now seen Monsters, Inc far too many times to be healthy, I’m sure. She scooches across the couch until she’s comfortably nestled into the crook of my shoulder, sucking vigorously on her thumb with her eyes glued to those uniquely popping Pixar colours. Anyone who says that small children have a short attention span hasn’t seen my daughter giggling at the antics of Monstropolis’s Finest.

Anyway, I can’t hang around here all day. I’ve still got a good few hours work that they want to squeeze out of me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Epistemology

Here's a quick rundown of the stuff that's been floating around my ganglia and sparking bright lights across my cerebral cortex over the last couple of weeks. Check out the shape of AKA's head in September '05:

Land of the Dead
– George A. Romero, the Big Daddy of them all, finally got the opportunity to bring his shuffling flesheaters back for a fourth instalment of The Dead. As always, Romero has his satirical laser-sharp eyes on the world around us, taking potshots at Homeland Security, and a world in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell who are the monsters and who are the victims. Despite the hefty bodycount, this is by far the most optimistic entry in the series.

Scott Pilgrim – Only half way through Volume 1 at the moment, so I'm hesitant to recommend this wholeheartedly, but so far, so great. Riffing on everything from manga comics to videogames, Bryan Lee O'Malley's tale of a young Canadian slacker trying to woo the rollerblading object of his dreams is vibrant, passionate and damn good fun. Jump onto the Pilgrim bandwagon before the rumoured Edgar Wright movie adaptation comes along, so you can say you knew about it years ago.

Carl Hiaasen
's Skinny Dip – If Elmore Leonard was an outraged liberal and committed environmentalist, he'd be Carl Hiaasen. One part crime fiction and one part justifiably vitriolic screed about the rape of Florida's Everglades, with a nice line in oddball characters and killer one-liners. There might be a feeling of over-familiarity for Hiaasen fans, but a page-turner nevertheless.

The Engine - Comic creator and curmudgeonly Old Bastard Warren Ellis has set up a new online forum with the purpose of giving a home to people who want to promote their indy comics, or just for creators to hang out and talk about creating, writing, drawing and promoting their creations. Obviously geared primarily towards comic writers, but a lot of stuff here is applicable to anyone of an Artistic Bent with that fire in the blood that makes you want to get stuff out of your head and out into the world. And it's an Absolutely No Superhero Zone. Which is nice for a change. Go, Explore.

And with that, I'm gone.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Iron in the Soul

Jean-Paul Sartre was one miserable motherfucker. In my teens, I tried to read Nausea and I absolutely hated it. I think it remains the only time in my life I have given up reading a book half way through and hurled it into a rubbish bin in disgust. He may as well have just sprayed arsejuice all over the page. That’s how appalled I was with his moping, pretentious moans of existential pain. I’ll take a chunk of Camus over Sartre any day of the week.

But there is one thing of value that ol’ JPS squeezed out of his anguished existence. This excellent, multi-purpose quotation that I find sums up my feelings on an increasingly regular basis: “Hell is Other People”.

It was the office Summer Party last week. (Judging by the arctic gusts off the Thames, I’m guessing the party was a month late this year). And it’s becoming obvious to me that I don’t like most people. Outside of my circle of friends and family, I’d rather spend time on my own than be subjected to the inebriated blatherings of complete strangers.

I don’t know why People I Don’t Know think that it’s appropriate to share their sexual predilections and patently-bogus peccadilloes with me. I don’t care how drunk you are, I really don’t want to hear about your cunnilingus technique, and I could do without the exaggerated reconstructions to underscore the point.

And I hate the whole social pantomime of being asked dull questions that I don’t want to answer, followed by watching them as they ignore everything I say. Gah!

Other than that, the New Job is OK. No, really, it is.

Damn, too much coffee and not enough water today. I’m going to feel like I’ve been punched in the kidneys later on.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Query-Based Snapshot

Yes, clearly I’m a terrible bastard because I started a new job and then dropped off the face of the Earth.

OK. Here’s my current thinking on the shape of my world - I have absolutely loads of interesting, nascent observations about The New Job, the people, the area, etc…but I’m holding fire at the moment for two reasons:

Firstly, this is early days still, and whatever I write will inevitably become obsolete within the subsequent 24 hours and, secondly, and more importantly, I’m working in the kind of office where I wouldn’t be surprised if someone stumbled across the blog, and then I’m fucked. So, I’m not planning on writing jack until I’ve sussed the place out a bit better.

I’ll tell you this much, though: About a week ago, I set fire to a computer, and the smell of scorched plastic filled the office for hours. I was convinced I was going to get shown the door, but I managed to get away with it. I have no idea how…

Another reason I haven’t blogged much in the last couple of weeks: I suddenly got a great idea for a zombie movie that wouldn’t stop bopping around in my head, and it’s still pinballing away up there. It’s gone from a deadly serious zombie movie last week and now it’s mutated into a satirical, very funny zombie comic book this week. Still tinkering with it. Knowing me, it’ll just end up on the growing pile of Things I Must Finish Writing At Some Point. I’m going to keep punching it until it surrenders to me and turns into something workable. I’m very itchy creatively at the moment, and I have to keep scratching or the desire to write becomes a bit too overwhelming. Developing…

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Woolly Headed

Note to self: never, ever blog drunk again. Ever. That was two in a row!

Not making apologies here, really, just adding a bit of context. A surfeit of alcohol allows my righteous indignation to rage unchecked, careering down the slippery roads of my thoughts and pulling free of my fingers out onto the keyboard and released untamed into the world.

One last link on the Katrina nightmare. And that’s the last I’ll say on the matter.


God, I’ve got a raging hangover today…

Dixie City Jam

Over 24 hours later, and I’m even more disgusted with Bush than ever. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it that inept fuck’s job to look after the people of the United States? Isn’t that one of the fundamental components of his job despcription? Isn’t failing in that regard kind of a deal-breaker? Can’t you finally impeach this fool?

With regards to rescue and relief efforts, Bush concedes: “The results are not acceptable.” Not acceptable? Not fucking acceptable? You are the President! Fix it! That is your JOB! Being President isn’t a hobby you fit in around international banquets and a round of golf! Your concession doesn’t change the staggering and mounting death toll. The man is a killer by omission. His failure to act effectively is essentially a death sentence for hundreds of people.

But wait, there’s more, amidst reports of lootings and shootings, there is this (excerpted from BBC News articles): "You've got an entire nursing home evacuated five days ago - people in wheelchairs sitting there and slowly dying," and, worse, this: “At the Superdome there were two reports of rape, one involving a child.”

It may be 1.40 in the morning, and I may have a total of six beers obliterating vital neurons and receptors in my weary head, as well as the early flutterings of a killer hangover, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that It Is Now Official: The World is in serious trouble and I shudder to think of what is going to come next.

A hot shower, two pints of water and a good night’s sleep might make me feel superficially better, but the facts will remain unalterably and distressingly the same…

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina and the Waves

Good Evening, and welcome to Drunk Blogging! Nothing like an ice cold beer or three after a not-remotely hard day in the office.

Today, I was going to write about my first day on the new job, but my pleasure at rejoining the Daily Grind has to go on hold temporarily. I’ll come back to AKA’s Fun with Work another day. This evening, I’ve got my blood up…

Before I start, go and take a look at this. Go on. I’ll wait.


So, that motherfucker, not content with the deaths of Iraqi civilians and US troops in huge and growing numbers, decides to just fiddle with his little instrument whilst people on Homeland (and I have no doubt the irony of that will be lost on him) watch their lives literally float away.

How the FUCK did this man get re-elected? How can this fucking chunk of barely-sentient mucus be the leader of the world's last superpower? Doesn't this shit terrify and disgust you? Can someone please please please assassinate this prick?

In completely unrelated news (and totally jarring and inappropriate contrast), the OTHER thing making me sick this week is this – Tom Sizemore spunking away his dwindling millions. (By the way, this is by far the least worksafe thing you are likely to see today, unless you’re the webmaster for porn sites of corpulent Hollywood burnouts).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tabula Rasa

I got myself a new job.

What’s that you say? A little too understated? OK, I’ll take another run at it.

I’VE GOT A NEW JOB!!!

I’m not going to go into any more details at this point…Just think of this blog posting as an episode of Lost – just enough information to keep you interested, but not enough to answer any of the really big questions…

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

Yesterday didn’t go anywhere near According to Plan. My adventures with the filthy bitch I call London went a little something like this:

I was all set for an interview in the early afternoon – one that, despite my financial travails, I was reluctant to attend, primarily because it would involve a daily round-trip commute of between 5 to 6 hours. But, I’m in no position to turn down the prospect of cold, hard green, so I got up early to get ready for the trek to Guildford.

After hours of travel, my journey stalled at Waterloo. Someone had decided to embark on a Train-Assisted Suicide, eviscerating themselves on the front of a speeding train. I waited for almost 90 minutes, but the departure boards weren’t working in my favour, so my journey abruptly terminated itself, and I had to cancel the interview.

Well, there’s no point in wasting a perfectly good day in the Big City, all gangster lean in my fly suit, so I ambled over to the South Bank. It was a beautiful day, and the big concrete monster on the Thames was heaving with action. The idiosyncratic and ill-considered architecture of the South Bank makes it one of the best places in the country for skateboarding, and the skatekids were out in full force, flying up and down the concrete, adding to their growing collections of grazes and bruises, in front of a beautiful wall of pretty sweet graffiti tags. The second-hand bookstalls were crowded with bargain hunters and tourists, riffling through the musty tomes looking for Words on the Cheap. I grabbed a spot outside the NFT bar (now known as the Film Café, but I don’t think I’ll ever call it that), and nursed an ice-cold beer while I plotted out the rest of the day. I broke up the day with a leisurely walk over to Charing Cross Road to snag myself some cheap books or CDs. But it was back to the South Bank for the evening.

I scoured the film listings to find something I wanted to watch, but the batch of new releases was painfully uninspiring, so I decided to kick it a little bit old-school, and went for His Kind of Woman at the NFT, a suitably twisted offering from the time when Howard Hughes had his hands on RKO, a Robert Mitchum – Jane Russell confection, from a time when men had glass jaws, women were dames, and Vincent Price was the comic relief. A perfect ending for a luxuriously lazy Summer day.

But now I have to get the hell of this computer and get ready to make moves to Alperton for another interview. This could be the one...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Makes You Wanna Hustle

At some point last week, something slotted into the right hole somehow and my perpetual efforts at securing a regular pay cheque started to bear strange fruit. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, I try not to question the fickle finger of fortune or the capricious cock of karma – I just take my lucky breaks where I can get ‘em. So, I've got to the interview stage of the game, and I have a feeling I'll be back in the Working World again by next week. We shall see.

Nevertheless, instead of burning up phone lines, I’m now running around to a selection of the most unusual places trying to dazzle prospective employers with my charm, wit, poise and a selection of my PG-rated party tricks. Just hook me up with a hypodermic needle, a handful of baby tomatoes and a bottle of cheap vodka. It slays ‘em every time. Sho nuff.

Anyway, I can’t get into all that now. Just wanted to point you in the direction of this - Definitive evidence that proofreading saves embarrassment.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Silver Scream

Mainstream Hollywood filmmaking is doomed. Doomed, I tells ya!

Look, this is from Dateline: Hollywood (by the way, all italics and highlighting are mine):

“A study analyzing the year’s box office data has revealed that a glut of original ideas is to blame for the year’s sharp downturn in box office revenue. Never-before-seen concepts like The Island, Stealth, and Cinderella Man have been some of the summer’s biggest disappointments, while remakes, sequels, and adaptations like Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Four are keeping the studios afloat. “This just goes to prove that the problem in Hollywood is too much originality,” said James D’arcy, president of Exhibition Analysis.”

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, both Hollywood studios AND filmgoers suck! Now, I’ll come clean and admit I liked both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and even Fantastic Four, but, dammit, who the hell wants to see Dukes of Hazzard? A redneck carcrash of a movie based on a TV show that was absolutely terrible in its own right? Give me Smokey and the Bandit or the divine Cannonball Run over that anytime.

And Bewitched?? A film that can’t even stretch itself into actual remake territory, but nevertheless whips out its evil incancatations to unleash a volley of poisonous piss onto the grave of Elizabeth Montgomery. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous prospect of Steve Martin “doing” Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther.

And whilst I’m on a role, here’s another question. I can’t be the only person bored of the endless Stiller, Wilson, Vaughan, Ferrell fratpack comedies, can I? Granted, there have been some good ‘uns, but the trailers for Wedding Crashers made my skin crawl, and I got a similar queasiness from the 40-Year Old Virgin trailers. Tired, tired ideas, repackaged seasonally, just so you don’t feel like we’re watching reruns, when only the surface has changed, but the guts of it all is identical.

Pre-movie trailers these days are just an unending litany of snapshots of remake, sequel, based on a TV show, comic book, novel, adolescent wetdream…

And Christmas so far seems to hold only opulent baubles like Narnia, Harry Potter and King Kong…I have nothing against big, shiny things, and for all I know, some of these movies may be good…but can’t we have some NEW big, shiny things to play with for a change?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Man With The Plan

He’s been The King of New York, now it's time to make him The President of the United States!

Vote Walken in 2008!

And people say politics is no fun…

Monday, August 15, 2005

Conflict of Disinterest

During times of job search drudgery, I have become accustomed to hearing a variety of brush-offs from recruitment consultants. The two top rejections that I hear, in almost equal measure, are:

“You don’t have enough relevant experience for the role. It’s far too senior for you.”


Or

“You have too much experience for that particular role. It’s far too junior for you.”


It’s frustrating the shit out of me. I am now taking what I have dubbed “The Goldilocks Approach” to job hunting, looking for that Baby Bear Vacancy which fits me juuuuuuust right.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Twilight Zone

I’m pretty sure that it’s nowhere near as dull for you to read this as it is for me to live it, so I’m going to give yet another update on the as-yet barren search for work. So, you have to suffer through this shit one more time:

Number of jobs applied for: 121
Number of interviews so far: Still only 1

And I’m running out of ideas about what to do about it.

Tom Stoppard once said that: “Every exit is an entry to somewhere.” Well, I exited my last job on June 17. Since then, I don’t think I’ve entered anything at all, other than a bizarre existence that entails an endless round of begging, phoning, e-mailing, pleading, and losing little fragments of my sanity that slip away and rest on my pillow when I get up every morning. I’m just sitting in a Cosmic Waiting Room hoping someone calls my name soon.

This is how Sisyphus must have felt.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Scores on the Doors

As Week 7 of the interminable Job Hunt begins, and I hunt that elusive hulking great salary like an impoverished Captain Ahab desperate to sate my own personal financial demons, I thought it might be time for an action-packed round of “Fun with Stats” with me, your host. So, have at thee!

Number of jobs applied for: 97
Number of interviews so far: 1
Number of helpful recruitment consultants: None

There. Now you know. But in this case, knowledge isn’t power. Sucks, don’t it?

In another part of the virtual world, the terrifyingly prolific Bert has called me out, asking: “Dear Jim. Can you fix it for me to find out what you have been listening to whilst being holed up in your pit?”

Now then, now then, ‘ow’s about that? You ask, I answer:

United Future Organization – The Sixth Sense
Prince – Gotta Stop (Messin’ Around)
Ramsey Lewis – That’s the Way of the World
De La Soul – Pawn Star
Smokey Robinson – Cruisin’
Prince – Cream
Gil Scott-Heron – Fast Lane
The Blackbyrds – Rock Creek Park
Jabba – Superbad
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Mellowship Slinky in B Major
Public Enemy – Mind Terrorist

Happy now? Now, getouttahere, kid, ya bother me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Two Countries separated by a Common Language

To any American journalists lurking around here, please take note:

There is no such thing as the “London Subway”. It’s called the “London Underground” or, to the 8 million Londoners who live in this fair city, it’s “The Tube”. Don’t try and bend our language to fit your lazy journalistic standards.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pop Goes the Weasel

And another day of wacky “transport ‘n’ terrorists” mayhem kicks off in London, with some dude getting five rounds pumped into him at point blank range by undercover cops on a train at Stockwell Station.

I wonder if anyone can help me reconcile these two conflicting statements that the police keep giving out when something kicks off in London: “stay where you are” and “carry on as normal”. Huh?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

AKA’s Movie Round-Up

You know what they keep telling writers with tedious regularity?

“Write what you know.”

Well, right now I don’t know shit. Apart from a few things about movies, those celluloid confections that give me a two-hour window into a life that isn’t mine. So, it’s time for me to chew your eyeballs right out of their sockets with what is Good and Right at your local cinema emporium and all fine purveyors of cinematic wonders. So, let’s do this:

Kung Fu Hustle – Imagine Shaw Brothers meets Looney Tunes, or Kill Bill’s Crazy 88 doing dick ‘n’ fart gags, and you just about scratch the surface of Stephen Chow’s retina-scorching love-letter to the golden age of martial arts cinema. Neither as cute or laugh-out-loud funny as Chow’s Shaolin Soccer, but still a solid use of a couple of stray hours that you need to fill. Like a throwing star to my frontal lobe, this kept me pinned to my cinema seat. Or maybe that was something sticky under my chair…

The Consequences of Love (Le conseguenze dell’amore)
– The words “existential Italian thriller” may fill you with balls-shrinking dread, but this little gem is one of my favourites of the year so far. Any film that can keep you rapt for over an hour without even getting the story started must have a little something special on the go. Or maybe someone smeared Crack on the screen. I don’t know. Either way, this is a beautifully shot, meticulously paced character study of one man’s seemingly aimless existence, held together by the mesmerising central performance of Toni Servillo.

War of the Worlds – Watching scenes of mindless destruction and helpless death a week after the London bombings made me look at this film in a different way, and it certainly wasn’t the mindless bubblegum diversion that I expected it to be. Surprisingly dark, brutal and increasingly bleak, Spielberg proves that he still has the chops when it comes to edge-of-the-seat set pieces, even though, despite the note-perfect closing of the criminally underrated The Terminal, he shows that he STILL hasn’t worked out how to end a film, adding this to his growing list of “Great Movies That Just Don’t Know When To Stop”, along with AI Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Back by Dope Demand

Hi, I’m blogger AKA. You might remember me from such blog entries as “Hate Crimes” and “Brother, Can You Spare A Job?” .

Yes, I know I haven’t been blogging much recently. But, dammit, I’ve been out of work for a month now and I don’t have a hell of a lot to say for myself. I have no “a funny thing happened on the way to work” anecdotes. No “moronic bullshit spouted by my hateful colleagues” stories. No “I saw this weird thing, and here are my irrelevant observations on it” type of meanderings.

Nevertheless, nature abhors a vacuum, so I’ll just keep ploughing on with this shit regardless. Here’s the short version of my last month of job-hunting: Applied for about fifty jobs so far. Managed to get one interview, but I didn’t get that job either. So despite my best efforts, I’m no closer to finding a new job at the moment.

I still have a few plates that are spinning away merrily, so I’ll just stay positive and keep on hammering at it. I don’t have any other choice. It’s either that, or go suck on an exhaust pipe. I’ll go with the former for the time being.

Other than the very occasional foray beyond the front doors of my humble abode to sneak a movie or two, I haven’t seen anyone or done anything of note. I am now officially the Crazed Hermit Man who mumbles into his stubble and glares at strangers in public. Oh yes I am.

When I’m not looking for work, I’m keeping my eyes on young Buttercup. She has now mastered the art of crawling, and I can’t look away for a second, because she can scoot across a room like a horizontal Peter Parker, getting herself entangled in all manner of seemingly innocuous household objects.

Another pitfall of Summer Unemployment is my weakness for Big Brother. Yes, I know I’ve written extensively about my hatred of Reality TV, but I’ve always had a debilitating weakness for this particular Freakshow. And with 24-hour live streaming, I’m always in danger of losing hours to this televisual time-thief.

Fuck me, my mobile keeps ringing while I’m trying to concentrate on writing this. But not one call is job-related.

Right, I feel like my writing muscles are now suitably limber. Thanks for the warm up. I’ve now got to go off and write some old boring shit that may or may not get me a well-paid permanent writing post with some fancy London-based company. Wish me luck. I fucking need it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Brief History of London Under Fire

Well, we certainly do live in interesting times.

With London such a fundamental part of my DNA, it would be inappropriate to ignore the events of last Thursday by refusing to mention them at all. It goes without saying that it was a horrible and unpleasant sequence of events that will leave a mark on my city. But it’s important to put things in perspective. So, here goes:

New York & the Pentagon - September 11 2001

Death toll: 2,986

Bali – October 12 2002

Death toll: 202
Wounded: 209

Madrid – March 11 2004
Death toll: 191
Wounded: 1,460

London – July 7 2005
Death toll: At the moment, over 50 confirmed
Wounded: Over 700

I’m not trying to diminish the events of last week. Without a doubt, it was a terrible day for London. But other cities have faced carnage far in excess of the London bombings last week. Let’s bear that in mind.

Putting things in historical perspective, London has faced far, far worse itself over the years. Look:

The Blitz – September 7 1940 – May 16 1941 (although bombing continued until the end of the Second World War in March 1945)
The Nazis carried out sustained and intensive bombing of UK targets, resulting in 43,000 deaths and the destruction of a million houses. And we are still standing strong.

And let’s not forget the frequent bomb attacks on London by the IRA from the Seventies right through to 2001. I can’t seem to get my hands on exact data for this at the moment, but London has a history of being bombed and attacked by the IRA. And we are still standing strong.

David Copeland, the London Nailbomber, targeted London’s gay, black and Asian communities in 1999. On April 17 1999, his first bomb went off on Electric Avenue in Brixton. His second bomb targeted Brick Lane, the heart of London’s Bangladeshi community. Copeland’s third and final nailbomb went off in the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, a popular watering hole for London’s gay community. Three people died and over a hundred other people were wounded and maimed by the nails in the bomb. I was in a pub a street away when the Soho bomb went off. The pub shook ever so slightly. And then Soho was full of noise: the thwacking rotors of police helicopters in the sky; the streets blanketed in sirens and the desperate, insistent chirpings of mobile phones.

But back to last week. The bombers aren’t the only villains of this piece. There are others. Here are a few objects of my ire:

George W. Bush on July 4 2005, three days before the London bombings: "We're taking the fight to the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home."

Is that right, motherfucker? Tell that to the families of those injured and killed in Bali, London and Madrid. Time to find another angle for your spin to justify your continued atrocities all over the world in the name of “freedom”.

Here’s a doozy. This from Fox News’ top anchorman Brit Hume: “My first thought when I heard - just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.'"

What a colossal, venal, shit-sucking scumbag. Want to respond to Mr. Hume? His e-mail address is brit.hume@foxnews.com and his office number is 202-824-6300.

All of London is back to work today. London’s the John Wayne, the Lee Marvin, and the Clint Eastwood of world capitals. We take a licking and keep on ticking. Don’t fuck with London.

I'll leave you with the words of London Mayor Ken Livingstone, which I think says it all best: "In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."


(Special thanks to The Huffington Post and Wikipedia for helping me with the research for this piece.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Confidence Tricks

Christ, Day 8 of the Great Job Hunt, and the cabin fever is starting to clamp down really, really hard. As much as I love home life, an unleavened diet of sitting hammering away at the laptop, rarely venturing further than the little shop on the corner is driving me slowly out of my fucking mind. If anybody I know out there is reading this, for crying out loud, drop me a line and invite me out for a drink or something, whilst I’m still capable of stringing a sentence together. I’d forgotten how quickly social skills erode and float away when you don’t often have the opportunity to communicate with other human beings.

I think I’m starting to drive Mrs. AKA insane with my grumpy, monosyllabic grunts as I pad around the house like a bear with a hangover, and I rarely change out of the clothes I’ve slept in before the night rolls around again. I bet I don’t look like the best husband in the world right now: no job, bad attitude, ripped sweatpants, and chronic bed head. What a catch!

Fed up of trying to find a new job. It’s thankless work. Throwing e-mails and application forms out into the world, never seeming to get any kind of response. Countless phone calls to recruitment agencies that don’t get returned, until I finally get hold of one of the fuckers, who tells me they’ll call me back in a minute. That minute never seems to come…

Trying to keep myself occupied with writing work. Weirdly, even though I’ve been at this writing malarkey for over five years now, I still get a strong dose of The Fear every time I stare at a blank screen for the first time. It’s always the same thought that bounces off my frontal lobe: “I can’t fucking do this”. Regardless of the fact that I’ve managed to do “this” many, many times before. I’ve started a film review a few times now, and abandoned it a sentence in every single time. Researching the ass out of another project at the same time, and with each sentence tap-tap-tapped onto the screen, my confidence grows and I remember that, yes, of course I can do this.

Fuck it. There are words to write. Time for me to dig deep again and find a little bit more hope.

Friday, June 24, 2005

London's Burning

And so my fifth day of unwanted self-unemployment begins, and the sky is no longer on fire. And I’ve got yet another day of fruitless job-hunting ahead of me.

I haven’t had the chance to do any writing of any kind for the last week, and I fear this may turn into a permanent state of play until I start carving my day into immutable chunks: family time, job-hunting time, writing time, etc. At the moment, it’s just a huge lump of shapeless hours that disappear quickly and before I know it, the sun is setting again and I haven’t got anything done.

I’ve been battling a particularly virulent bout of hayfever for the last week, trying to get stuff done with my head swollen, a neverending supply of mucus clogging up my nostrils, strangling my brain, coagulating on mountains of tissues strewn all over the house. Lovely.

On top of that, London has been melting for the last week, a wall of heat pushing down from above, not a breeze in the air to take the edge off the fire. Yesterday, on the hottest day of the year, with temperatures topping out at around 31 degrees C, I bravely / stupidly (delete as applicable) ventured into the heart of London for a press screening. Which meant tackling the horrors of the unventilated subterranean inferno that is the London Underground, drowning in the sweat of a thousand commuters, my skin permanently slick with a sheen of bubbling perspiration, rapidly darkening with the grime of the Big Smoke clinging to me like a black membrane of ash.

And to make it worse, the air-conditioning at the cinema was broken…so there was a room full of film critics pumping out acrid heat, listlessly fanning themselves with press notes, swilling warm water that was supplied to try and keep us from passing out.

After the movie, there was a bit of a party thing going on, so I grabbed a couple of ice-cold beers and propped up the bar, with the beer turning into steam the second it touched my lips. I didn’t stay for long: I didn’t recognise anybody I knew there, so I headed for the exit soon after.

What else? The last week has included my leaving drinks from my last job; Father’s Day; my second wedding anniversary; Batman Begins…but I haven’t got time to get into all that now. There are jobs to find, writing deadlines to meet, facial hair to shave. Otherwise, before I know it, the demands of family life will interrupt my already fractured flow, and it will be the weekend again.

I’m busier now than when I had a full-time job! Where the hell has that 40 hours a week gone?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Liquor in the front, Poker in the rear

What can I tell you to stop the blood pouring from my eyes and the brains oozing out of my ears? The last hours of my current employment are dying away minute by interminable minute, and I’ve become so bored and disconnected from it all that I’m tempted to get up and head for the exit now, rather than wait for the hollow good wishes and back-slapping sure to be spewed onto me tomorrow morning.

Can’t wait to see the back of the lot of them, to be honest. Having these fucknuts pollute my life for the last ten months was quite a steep price to pay to watch my little girl grow up. A little girl that I am on the verge of renaming “Mad Monkey Kung Fu” by deed poll. My body seems to be the most exciting climbing frame she has ever seen, and her little legs flail around like fleshy nunchakus.

That is all. The next time you hear from me, I will have rejoined the ranks of the unemployed. Again.

Oh yes. One last thing. Stop reading this now. Find the nearest cinema and go and see Sin City. Go. Run. Now. Film of the Year so far (if you got the stones for it). A world where a film like this exists seems to me to be a world worth tolerating just a little bit longer.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dead Man Working

All change please, this job terminates here. It’s almost time for me to pack up my Spongebob Squarepants Pez Dispenser and get the Fuck Outta Dodge. Less than a week to go now.

Friday afternoon. The last Friday afternoon I’ll ever work in this office. Or this building. Or even this postcode.

I know everything will be OK. All I need is a smile from my two girls to get me through the day.

And comics. I need them too.

And movies. And maybe some funk CDs.

Mrs. AKA is pulling out every trick from her repertoire to keep my spirits up, so she’s taking me to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith tonight. She knows the effect that Angelina Jolie and an arsenal of high-tech weaponry can have on the pleasure-centres of my simple ape-brain. Whattagal! (Mrs. AKA, that is, not Mrs. Smith.)

I don’t envisage being in the office a great deal next week. Going to snag a couple of days off to look for The Next Job, whatever it may be.

One positive note from this week: I bagged a new writing gig, and now I’m working on a script for a short documentary featurette for a forthcoming DVD release, which will keep me out of trouble, might fatten my ailing bank account ever so slightly, and could always lead to more work. No downside on that one. It’s doing what I love, and doing what I’m good at.

So, until the axe finally drops and gets snarled up on the gristly bit of my spinal column that keeps my head attached to the rest of me, I’ll just sit here staring at the walls wondering what the hell I’m still doing here.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Talking to Myself

“So, you’ve had your second consultation now. What’s the happs?”

“Well, despite positing an eloquent, powerful argument to try and hold on to my job, the end result hasn’t changed. I’m being made redundant. My last day will probably be next Friday.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Pissed off. Angry. Resentful. A bit fearful. I’m being given the bare-minimum of a month’s notice and getting a foot in my ass as they show me the door.”

“But you fucking hated that job! You thought all the people there were stupid, shallow dunderheads. You thought the work was tedious and unchallenging. You learnt nothing in your 10 months there.”

“I know, I know. But I wanted to be the one to walk away from them. I wanted the choice and the power. This way, I have neither. THEY get rid of ME, and not the other way round. And then there’s the great big unknown. I don’t have another job to go to. I don’t know what the future holds. And I need the money.”

“Don’t worry. These things have a habit of shaking out fine. You’ll look back on this and be glad with where you’ve ended up. You’ll get another job, and you’ll cope, and you’ve got a wife and daughter who dote on you. (And I bet that they’re secretly pleased that they get you all to themselves for a little while).”

“Maybe. I could just be the grumpy fucker who paces the floor at home angsting about where the next job is coming from. They will be gagging to get me out of the house.”

“Wait and see. The next thing could be good.”

“Yeah. But the next thing could be bad.”

“Guess we’ll find out together.”

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dumb Shit I've Heard

More in the occasional series of stupidity my ears are assaulted with. And, yes, I really did overhear someone saying this:

“I was watching that Pulp Fiction the other night. I didn’t understand it. Halfway through that John Travolta gets killed, right? And then later on, he’s alive again! What’s that all about?”

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Natural History Museum

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” L.P. Hartley

Another holiday weekend rapidly disappears in my rear-view mirror, and I’m back to desk-jockeying for the next four days.

Sunday involved a rare trip to see my Mum, and I always try and salvage a fragment of my past whenever I visit. This time, I managed to dig up a couple of boxes: one box file and an old shoe box, both packed with bits of paper and ticket stubs and letters and school reports and photographs and newspaper clippings and used matchbooks from the last 32 years of my life, tucked away for future reference.

I spent the rest of the weekend sifting through this haul of magical junk looking for traces of the person I used to be. And whilst I was sifting through my accumulated past, I kept remembering the scene in Tim Burton’s Batman when Vicki Vale is wandering through Wayne Manor, and she turns to Bruce Wayne and says:

Vicki Vale: You know, this house and all this stuff really doesn't seem like you at all.
Bruce Wayne: Some of it is very much me. Some of it isn't.


I found a diary from 1982, where my excitable 9-year old self had scrawled: “Doctor Who is on tonight!”. That gave me a good laugh, seeing as I’d just stayed up until the early hours of Sunday morning just so that I could catch a re-run of the latest episode.

I found a book I’d written when I must have been around 10. It was only 14 pages long, but it was pretty dark, considering I was a happy, well-adjusted child. Lots of squalor and poverty and rats and filth. And I found stories that I’d written for school assignments when I must have been in my early teens, full of gangsters and jazz clubs and gallows humour in abundance. And then there were the school reports that all seemed to say the same thing: that AKA was a bright, intelligent, articulate child who was well-liked and charismatic, but he was lazy and seemed disinterested in working hard or applying himself to his studies, and would never amount to much if he didn’t try harder.

And I found letters written from friends arranging to go out for a drink or to go to a movie, back in a world where there was no Internet or text messaging, and a first class stamp was the quickest way to arrange a Saturday night out.

The diaries from the early 90s packed with appointments for movies and concerts and beers, when I never had any money but I always had enough for a night out. And the notebooks from my first job at the Record Shop, full of scrawled lists of albums that I had to re-order to make sure the shelves of the shop were still stocked with torpid, uninspired crap like Michael Bolton and Wet, Wet, Wet.

And then I found shadows of people who have drifted out of my life for all manner of reasons; from the acrimonious implosion of friendships, to girls I had loved and lost, to that most final terminator of relationships, death.

Then there were the shards of people who still loom large in the AKA story – the lifelong friends who will be there forever, with fresher faces and smaller frames, but with the same amount of laughter in their eyes.

And then there was the mountain of cards from the future Mrs. AKA, every one a love letter, full of love and passion, for anniversaries or birthdays or just to put a smile on my face and a bit of moisture in my eyes, a trembling in my heart or a stiffening in my trousers.

It was pretty draining going through it all, and for a while it put me in a weird headspace, but once it was over, I packed it all back up again, tucked it away, then went to hug my daughter and kiss my wife and revelled in the fact that where I’m at right now is pretty damn sweet, even if today ends up as another bunch of scribbled words in a dusty old box.

Friday, May 27, 2005

My Pet Goat

Regular readers will know by now the unnerving frequency with which ticking duncebombs are hurled into my lap by my unbelievably retrograde colleagues. This one’s a doozy.

Before I get started on this, a disclaimer: It may sometimes appear that I artificially heighten my reporting of events for dramatic or comedic effect. But I assure you, this is an almost verbatim conversation I had yesterday. I would recommend holding onto your lower jaw to prevent it from hitting the table…

Tard: “I got given a DVD about September 11th the other day… (followed by an interminable load of babbling twaddle about conspiracy theories. Too dull to reproduce here)…”
AKA: (Half-heartedly saying “yeah” and “hmmm” occasionally)
Tard: “And apparently there was another plane that hit some other building that day too.”
AKA: “You mean the Pentagon.”
Tard: “Yeah. Never heard that one before.”

Yes, I know. In no way, shape or form is the existence of four plane crashes on September 11th a piece of obscure, arcane modern history. Surely everybody knows this?

Apparently not.

To compound this phenomenal fuckwittery, the ‘tard in question spends around £25 a week on celebrity gossip magazines. So, the ‘tard could probably tell me who Paris Hilton was fellating last night, but she has never heard of The Pentagon, let alone the fact that someone flew a plane into it less than four years ago.

That is so fucking wrong on so many levels.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pucker Up

Today, the company that I resigned from last year is carrying a story on their news site about the events that will lead to me being made redundant from the company that I left them for.

Oh, Sweet Irony, let me suckle on your barbed and bitter teats.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Watermelon Man

“You make sounds like you're a mean little ass-kicker... only I ain't convinced. You keep talking and I'm gonna take your head off.” Charles Bronson in Mr. Majestyk

In a much, much better mood this week, and I can trace my sunnier disposition back to the Charles Bronson double bill of 10 to Midnight and Mr. Majestyk that I caught at the ICA last Friday night. A hard-ass with a face like a scrotum sporting a Mongolian moustache will do that to you every time. Puts a smile on my face, anyway…

Spent the weekend snuggling up with my wife watching movies and eating wrong food, and that weren’t too shabby neither. Yes indeed, life seems sweeter this week.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Last Laugh

Could this week possibly suck more??

On top of my ongoing work travails comes something far more grave and depressing. Frank Gorshin, the one and ONLY Riddler, has died at the age of 72. But first, a little AKA history lesson.

By all accounts, I was a very placid and peaceful baby. Hardly ever cried, always smiling, never shouting. However, according to my Mum, once a week I would freak out. My younger self, despite having absolutely no concept of time, always, always, always instinctively knew when Batman was coming on TV. (And, I know it goes without saying, but I mean the Adam West / Burt Ward pop classic). Undoubtedly, they must have been reruns by this point. I was far too young to have seen them the first time round

Barely one year old, I would spend the entire morning bouncing around the house going, “Nana nana nana nana, nana nana nana nana, BATMAN!”, driving everyone nuts. And once the show came on, I would sit in complete and utter silence, in an almost trancelike state, gazing at the TV in wonder and awe. The show was a revelation to me. It was my first Favourite Show Ever.

And so, to me, Batman can never be Michael Keaton or Christian Bale. He’s always Adam West. And he’s not a Dark Knight or a vengeful borderline psychotic. He’s Gotham City’s Caped Crusader, living with his young ward Dick Grayson and his unflappable butler Alfred, with that cool red phone patching him directly through to Commissioner Gordon, and that kickass car!

And Jack Nicholson is not the Joker. The phenomenal Cesar Romero holds the undisputed title as the Clown Prince of Crime. And, of course, Jim Carrey is not the Riddler…

Frank Gorshin was amazing. That incredible cackling laugh. That wiry, manic physical presence and boundless energy. A frenzied emerald dervish whirling in a blur of question marks. A voice that could effortlessly slip from playful trickster to chilling menace. It was, and remains, perfection.

Frank’s final screen performance is in Tarantino’s feature-length season finale of CSI airing in the UK in a couple of months. I was looking forward to it anyway, but now it’s become unmissable.

And I’ve just ordered the 1966 feature-length Batman movie on DVD, so I can reclaim that part of me that remembers how to sit in wonder and awe, hypnotised by the blisterlingly bright primary colours of the heroes and villains of Gotham City.

And as for Frank? I can picture him right now: “Hey, St. Peter, riddle me this…”

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Heads I Kill You, Tails You're Dead!

I’ll try and tamp down on the Dark Ravings today whilst I update you all on the latest happenings in my fucked-up little corner of the world.

So…I’m absolutely shattered today as I had one of those nights when the family disappeared for the evening leaving me to my own twisted devices, and I sat watching Amores Perros until 1.30 in the morning. My eyeballs are punishing me for the lost sleep today.

Tomorrow, the company is due to hold their Annual Conference. In real terms, what this means is packing everybody up, taking them to a remote location, forcing them to take part in a variety of “team-building” exercises, then plying them with alcohol for the rest of the night.

Yeah. I know. “Team-Building”. The irony is not lost on me.

I told The Bosses this morning that I would Definitely Not be attending. When quizzed for a reason, this was the answer I gave:

“Well, I can’t in all good conscience justify placing clay pigeon shooting above making sure my wife and daughter don’t starve to death in two month’s time.”

They didn’t really have a good answer to rebut that ironclad argument. So, tomorrow, I’ll be sitting at home burning up the phone lines and making my C.V. gleam as the Great Job Hunt begins in earnest.

And My Boss has been irritatingly chirpy for the last couple of days. I’m tempted to dig out his eyeballs with a rusty spoon every time I catch a glimpse of his smug face. He’s started getting into the annoying habit of calling up people in the company to berate them for using words like “shit” and “arse” in personal e-mails, now that he has a handy, dandy scanning toy that picks up on swearwords in the corporate e-mail system. Focussing on something so unbelievably petty when people are about to lose their livelihoods is a bafflingly insensitive and wrongheaded approach to take. He’s due a smack in the head any minute now.

You know, as the afternoon progresses, I am feeling increasingly homicidal.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hate Crimes

Goddammit, I can’t help it, and I’m not sorry either. Either you get the Blog of Hate for the foreseeable future, or you get nothing.

So, Hate it is.

I fucking hate ITV. All gearing up to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. For what? Being the first UK TV station to air commercials? Fuck that. For the bottom-feeding bullshit they vomit into the eyes of viewers night after night after fucking night? For treating each and every viewer with the utmost loathsome contempt with an endless parade of evil shit masquerading as entertainment as it rots your eyeballs straight out of your goddamn head? This year alone they’ve inflicted such foul and disgusting televisual napalm at the minds of the public as Hell’s Kitchen, Celebrity Wrestling and now Celebrity Love Island. Fuck them, and fuck their tenuous grasp of what a “celebrity” actually is. Celebrities are supposed to be actors, or writers, or athletes, or politicians, or people who have actually fucking achieved something in their careers. They aren’t people who have been on Reality TV shows. They aren’t people who have unfurled their rancid tits all over the newspapers. They aren’t people who have fucked genuine celebrities, with the jism of fame curdling in their necrotic wombs. Fuck off, ITV. The only good thing you have ever given me in your entire, pathetic wasted life is Rising Damp. It’s Harold Pinter with better jokes performed by the much-missed Leonard Rossiter. Apart from that, you can crawl into a corner and violate yourself with a Coronation Street DVD until you prolapse and bleed to fucking death.

What else?

I fucking hate the imbecilic cine-illiterate HMV customers who took it upon themselves to vote Bridget Jones’ Diary as their third favourite British Movie of All Time. Fuck. Off. Right. Now. Even taking into account a narrow view of British cinema with no sense of history, the last couple of years have given us such vastly superior fare in the shape of Shaun of the Dead and Layer Cake and Dead Man’s Shoes. Fucking morons with no taste who deserve to have their eyelids stapled to their foreheads whilst Hugh Grant squats over their faces and uncurls a link right into their stupid eye sockets, whilst Renée Zellweger smashes her head repeatedly into a brick wall.

What else?

Oh yeah. I hate my employers for giving me a letter today that states that it is now almost a 100% certainty that I will be losing my job in exactly one month from today. With nothing but a month’s paid notice to show for it. I hope that, whilst the company directors are rolling around in their millions, masturbating themselves into a gleeful frenzy and laughing at their windfall, their hearts give out and they die in a puddle of their own blood and faeces.

And, no, I don’t feel better for getting all that out.