Tuesday, 27 February 2007

As a follow on...

I believe one of the major causes of such inequality in release of emotion stems from our old friend consumerism. You watch a random group of adverts and, unless you're viewing a break in the middle of something primarily watched by men (again, half-time in some sports event for example) the adverts are mostly aimed at the females of the population.

The events aimed at the male demographic advocate traditional manliness (boys wear blue, girls wear pink) and competitiveness. Men are bombarded with so many messages of what is 'feminine', and therefore not for them.

Haircare (dyes, styling etc.) - These ads generally emphasise the importance of exterior beauty with lots of thin girls shaking their shiny hair around the place. Haircare adverts aimed at men are quite scarce. I remember a tongue-in-cheek one with Ben Affleck a few years ago were he finished with "Because you're worth it, too". Very cute.

Alas, that advert (like others aimed at men) was advertising anti-dandruff shampoo. Which is more aimed at not looking stupid than looking fantastic. Adverts like the Herbal Essences ones are seldom aimed at men. From these adverts it's easy to see why men don't feet on an equal footing with the ladies, and lots of them shy away from vanity.

V05 has recently broke this mould with their styling clay/gum/whatever ad, with the boy and girl in the strict Chinese school. Now, I use this product. It's great. However, the main issue with this advert is that it shows both a male and a female, so it's not really tipping the system on it's head. Just halfway around.

Health/Weight Loss: The same gig here. There's those Shredded Wheat adverts with Ian Botham, but they're more for old men who want to keep their heart ticking. The latest SW ad I've seen is a bunch of women saying how the simplicity of BitesizeShreddedWheat will help them keep their weight down.

There's never been a Special K man (that's a job I'd love. Wearing some red shorts, jumping into a swimming pool...).

The Coke Zero [bloke Coke, as some call it] adverts didn't really concentrate on the weight-loss aspect, whilst generally the Diet Coke ad campaigns press this aspect.

Fuck, if men took notice of the adverts it turns out we're allowed to like Mars Bars (women are too) but not allowed Malteasers.

The new Kinder Bueno advert emphasises the fact that it's low in fat and so girls can eat them quite freely. The only man involved if an attractive beau who bends over for their pleasure (again, why I don't get called for these roles I'll never know).

The Rustlers (unhealthy food - fast!) adverts are aimed at men. Most adverts selling alcohol are aimed at men.

In short, women are told to lose weight (I am not saying this is a good thing) while men don't face any such scrutiny. It'd be better if living healthy was stressed to both sexes, you ask me.

I could pluck more categories out of the media-sphere, but it'd take forever and be a bit like overkill. My point is that while women are offered a wide range of products in many different adverts (although, as Banksy says, most of them are telling women to buy their product or be inferior) men are sold a smaller range of products using either sex (tits) or competition (have a faster/better/more powerful/more expensive car/piece of clothing/CD/piece of electronic equipment than your mate) as the hard sells.

It's little wonder their behavior never changes.

Men, Football and Emotion.

Recently, Denis Wise came out to say that the violence at the Carling Cup final was an example of how there's still passion in the game. I personally believe that's a pile of shit.

Men, generally, [from now on through this post, when I refer to 'men' I mean the 20-50 year old, Western, straight demographic who feature in the news so much] aren't all liberated souls like myself. Men older than me (I'm not going to tell you my age explicitly but you'll get the picture) still think losing a fun game of bowling to their girlfriend is one of the cardinal sins.

Indeed, thanks to society and it's unwritten rules men keep a lot of emotion repressed on a day-to-day basis despite all the strides made over the last few decades. Sport, which is often mixed with alcohol, is an acceptable outlet for male emotion, on the pitch and off.

Football specifically is one thing which seems to have slipped through the radar of social acceptability. Gazza crying, Psycho screaming - especially since the 90s it's became very acceptable to show emotion through indeed.

So, the reason things like the Carling Cup final happened, as well as the hilarity caused by World Cup is because football has transformed into one of the recognised outlets for all kinds of emotion (including anger, although anger seems to seep through most parts of the male behavioral cycle). From individuals who sit in a family pub at midday on a Saturday and scream obscenities at a wide screen TV to Hooligans whose highlight of the week involves squaring up against another bunch of testosterone-pumped 'football fans'.

On one hand it's a plus that men have a decent outlet for their emotions in this crazy world, and it's not as if women get emotional over every little thing (Well, that's a point of debate). It'd be better if all men followed the lead of liberated males like myself and found other outlets for their passions and emotions, but that might just be hard cheese. I mean, it'd be nice if people didn't beat up Doctors and Nurses, or if Coca-Cola didn't steal water from poor countries, but they do. So, yeah. Hard cheese.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Selling Out

Selling out. It's a relatively modern phenomenon as these things go, but I think it's a big issue. Not a magazine, no. Rather, a thing which people talk about.

Recently, on the front of NME Magazine (I'd put a picture up, but I would rather swallow my own vomit before I bought such a publication) appeared the Kaiser Cheifs (possibly the most unoriginal band since the last 'indie' band) with the slogan "Selling Records isn't Selling Out" and looking all mean and stuff.

Now, for anyone not really up on the music business, the Kaiser Chiefs tried, quiet desperately, to break into the charts early in his decade. All their hits which get the 17 year old lager louts and ladies bopping around the dancefloor, however, failed to stick. Good job it worked the second time around, eh, record company? (Their first record company, like their first band, collapsed).

As mentioned, the hits they tried to release previously were the ones that 'Everyone' loves now. The Kaiser Chiefs, indeed, only have a limited discography. One major record, with their new album coming out soon and a crappy EP. So round it up to three. Three albums and they're scheduled to headline Glasto this year.

Many people are unimpressed to say the least. Myself amongst them. There's no doubt that, for the record company at least, KC are a success. However, what about people who actually give a shit about music?

In 2005 the Basement Jaxx (praise the lord) were headliners at Glasto. At last count, the BJX have 7 albums, as well as numerous singles and remixes to speak of. A bit more than 7. And they've certainly been plying their trade for a lot longer - paid their dues, if you will - compared to the KCs.

But that's the music business.

As for selling out, the KCs think selling records isn't selling out. Well, the first time they tried to sell some records, it didn't work very well - as previously pointed out. So maybe they should've said "Selling Records is Changing Record Companies and Waiting For The Right Mood to Come Along to Launch Our Band". Not as catchy.

My hatred of these guys - two of which once tried to chat up a friend of mine with the lines "Don't you know who I am?" and "Do you want to phone a friend and I'll speak to them for you?" - aside, they prove a great point.

What is selling out? I think in order to sell out, you have to sell-in first. That is to say, be a bit of an under appreciated cult band (in the music business, anyway). Now, a Kaiser Chief can may argue otherwise, but I don't think the band could ever count as 'Underground' (2005 was their big year, and prior to 2004 they were a garage band called Parva).

A perfect example of a band that were underground before hitting the big time is Reel Big Fish. Reel Big Fish was formed in the ashes of The Scholars in 1992. They plied their trade for three years before, when unsigned, Everything Sucks became an underground hit. They signed to Mojo and released Turn The Radio Off in 1996, which established them on the underground music scene even further. The aptly named 'Sell Out' was the major hit of this album, and even broke onto MTV (with one of the best videos ever). 'Sell Out' is all about what happens when a record company comes knocking on your door, and the sheer temptation of the piles of cash they offer. They took the decision to sell out, and in 1998 released the album 'Why Do They Rock So Hard', which failed to throw them into the mainstream (and the money).

In 2002 they released the album 'Cheer Up!' from which they released 'Where Have You Been?', their first major horn-less single. In the (quite boring) video for this song, the brass players stood around looking quite bored, which is debateably RBF laughing at themselves and their predicament. Indeed, in recent live performances they add horns to this song as a point. In 2006 they released the album "We're Not Happy 'Til You're Not Happy" which, thanks in part to their record label (Jive) didn't fare very well. RBF themselves refer to WNHTYNH as the 'secret album' to emphasise this. Recently RBF parted company with Jive to set up their own label and have gone back to their DIY origins.

Now, what differences can you see?

Well, RBF have been around for longer than 3 years. They worked a lot harder before they became famous. They've had toured a lot more than the KCs. And, of course, they admit to selling out.

I think a band has to have existed for a decent amount of time (the 'sell-in') before they can be counted as 'Sell Outs'. The KCs, therefore, do not qualify.

As for redemption post-Selling Out, that's a trickerier business. Did RBF leave their fans in the lurch? Not really. They still sell t-shirts for a tenner. Tickets to their shows haven't inflated ludicrously over the past 10 years (compared to relatively new bands like Jet, for a random example, who are charging 20 squids a ticket). But, they did sell out. When I saw them on tour in '05 they weren't good value for money. But now their new live album is good fun, and they look to be back to their fun-loving best. Redemption? No. Forgiven, perhaps?

And why? They firstly admitted that they sold out, quite humorously in fact. Like alcoholism, you have to realise you have a problem before you deal with it. What else? You can't return to the underground, but they are trying to make things better for the old school, hardcore fans. That's a start.

Recently, I had a discussion about Banksy and whether his much publicised sales to Angelina Jolie mean he's really sold out. The basic fact of the matter that even I couldn't argue against is that Banksy is a graffiti artists, and he's started selling stuff he puts on canvas. To famous movie stars. That's a strong case to say he's sold out. I argue back that it's not as if he doesn't do work on street corners anymore, because he does. And he hasn't stopped making his points to make money, because whilst putting together his warehouse gallery in LA (yes, the one with the elephant) he also did this. (Wait for the movie to load, it's worth it). My main point was that Banksy has always had a point to make, and that he may have felt to make this point he had to become 'big'. Where my point falters, of course, is that to become 'big', you have to sell out. That's a fact.

And so I come to the crux of this post. Everyone sells out. Because everyone has a price. I could reach and find a crumpled up copy of Private Eye and name 3 politicians who are now on the Exec boards of not-very-nice-companies early a lovely salary. It's hard to believe, but at one point those guys probably wanted to help people.

Selling Out is like the Dark Side. It's so easy, and there's so many pretty things over that side. I racked my brains for a while to think of a person, a group, a ANYTHING that hadn't sold out.

I still haven't thought of anything. There seems to be two types in the world. Those that have sold out, and those who are waiting to.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

As for Wimbledon...

and the associated price changes, well, I think it's actually inequal now they've changed the pay structure - not that real lovers of the sport play for the money, of course... Not. I don't think.

You ask me (and given this is my blog, you don't have a choice) sport is a profession. Like a career. Now, equal pay for boys and girls in exactly the same career? Great. All for it. Should be the norm.


On a very basic level, the men have to work harder to make their money. 5 games instead of 3. And I'm sure those games really rack up when you're pounding the clay (or is it lawn?). But now female tennis players will be getting more money for doing less work. You can argue that girls are basically physically not as strong as boys. But given there's no gender-on-gender (except the mixed doubles) then this shouldn't be a huge problem. So it still seems a bit unbalanced.

I can't imagine, in another career, where that would happen.





I am, of course, referring to this story, about Britney Spears cutting her hair off.

Now, don't get me wrong. Girls will be girls. And celebrity girls more so. But how much bullshit is one magazine writer expected to write about a girl who cut her hair off? Maybe it's just a cry for attention - which, if you look around the media, has worked. Or, perhaps, it's a publicity stunt to make her more money - maybe at buybritney'shair.com.

I'm an old cynic, aren't I?

Sunday, 18 February 2007

I Don't Like London

I just don't, okay?

The Tate (Mind the Crap - Banksy was right) full of slides. Good fun. Is it art? Debateable. The one thing that makes it NOT art? Booking tickets. For a slide. Grr.

Right. Now that, and this weekend, is over, I'll speak about something with more substance. Like the government!

Well, more like Civil Servants (who, for unelected employees, hold far more power than people realise) and the business deals they love to do.

Private Eye, as well as several bloggers of note, are staunch critics of PFI. Because it's wank. Fact. MPs and their minions get larger kickbacks than Big Sam for outsourcing (sic), and even when the outsourcing is far below par, noone wants to do anything about it.

This fortnight's PE runs an article In The Back about Michael Dugher, once servant of our fair government, has taken to a far more honorable calling - Capitalist greed, of course! The MoD already pay billions to EDS - whose Company Desc reads:

"EDS provides a broad portfolio of business and technology solutions to help its clients worldwide improve their business performance. Our core portfolio comprises information-technology, applications and business process services, as well as information-technology transformation services."

Grrreat, as Tony the Tiger might say. They sound amazing, of course - their PR budget could probably feed a small African country - the hot air could keep the people warm, anyway. One of the main things they were recruited to do was to create, organise and oversee the new forces payroll service. Given the government has never really tried to recruit a run a decent IT Department of it's own, they were always going to outsource it. And why not to a big company who would, you'd think, take lots of care with the important duty of paying the people who protect our country.

They didn't

With the huge wads of cash the MoD gives them, you think they could test their system carefully to see if it worked, but noone's perfect. And besides, they know their friends (and if the headhunted Dugher is anything to go by, soon-to-be-employees) in the MoD aren't going to pull the plug.

Proper compensation could be used to pay off NHS debts, or build new prisons. But no. EDS love to accept money and the government to give.

One bit out of PE really tickled me - I'll paraphrase it. At the 2001 Election, after a stint as chairman of Labour Students in 1997, a young Dugher said: "If you want to change things for the better, politics is the only way".

He clearly wasn't talking about his bank balance.

Funny how things change, eh?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Hot Fuzz Review

Review follows. If you don't want to know, don't look down. I don't spoil the plot, but I do fisk it comprehensively.

Now, the Hot Fuzz comprehensive review you've been waiting for.

*** out of *****

I was excited, but left feeling like someone had promised me a blowjob, kissed my cockhead and walked away.

Plot: Not to reveal any spoilers, the plot is pretty much what you see in the trailers. It links together very well and ties up all loose ends. The problem is not the plot.

Script: Poor. They could've done so much more. Only half of one Spaced reference, which could've been taken a lot further. A couple of Shaun references, but nothing decent. Infinitely unquoteable. Nick Frost gets all the decent lines, the few there are.

Production: Shaun of the Dead managed to look cool and underground, as well as slick. It refines the 'kettle-door slam-footstep' motif to a predictable level. Bit too slick for me. It lacks any edge, or any of the amatuerish pahzaaz that comes with such production (i.e. Spaced). All too *nice* for me.

Characters/Casting: Nick Frost's character is very likeable. My big issue, though, is that they didn't make him more like Mike. It's like they were delibritely trying to keep the two seperate, but there's only so many 'Action-Film-and-Gun-Mad-But-Adorable' analogues you can use, you know? He's great, though.

Nicholas Angel is a bit boring. Not much there. Simon Pegg can't play roles unlike him very well, and unlike Tim/Shaun, Angel is a bit too straight laced for him. They get him looking right, older and straight faced, but I didn't feel he was a decent protagonist. No charisma.

Timothy Dalton is phenomonal. Best actor in the whole thing.

Olivia Hamilton (the bird from Peep Show) is 2D and fills the role of 'modern, quite rude kind of woman'. Yawnsworthy. I think she's a bad actress anyway, and this doesn't do her any favours.

Eldon is excellent, but under-used.

Bill Bailey is a bit like Ballack this season. You feel he's playing in second gear.

Martin Freeman sells out (the fucker) and basically plays David Brent. He's only on screen for 5 minutes, but he's a Gervais rip-off.

Steve Coogan isn't in it much, either, but he's shit. A non-entity.

Bill Nigh fills the role he always does. Yawn.

Generally, I was worried that the over-promotion was there to make up for something. And it was. The film isn't a comedy. It's a lame-ish spoof on action films. It's not an action film, not a drama and certainly doesn't count as comedy.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

What I stand for

If I was on Question Time, which (if only for the chance to really ram my fist down some middle-class throats) God-willing I will be, one day, I would be one of those independent guys who have very little responsibility, or very few fuckwits to look after. I'd be out on my own, and wouldn't have to worry that one of my minions might have said something that could bite me on the arse mid-programme.

You know the type. They come away from the show rather well, because they never have to take an awkward stand on tough issues. I'd be like that. But I'd probably stand awkwardly sometimes, because it's quite fun.

I stand for the little guy. The Asian guy in Wakefield who runs that Grocery store who remembers which football team I support and lets me pay him 10p tomorrow. Tiny bands who watch you dancing to their tunes and so drop their t-shirt prices. What else?

I stand for individualism. For people making their own look, and not giving a shit what the fascist-ion industry says.

On that note I stand for self-respect and confidence. For girls who buy Cosmo to laugh at the bollocks it prints.

I like chaos, if only for the fact it really shakes things up.

I don't actually stand for much. Freedom, yes. Liberty, sure. They're nice ideas. I like them. But then you come to the tricky concept of Justice. Freedom can't exist inside of bureaucracy, you ask me. But I'd rather live in a completely free society than one with rules to keep us safe. Sometimes I really like the idea of survival of the fittest, and natural selection (not in the way Hitler did). Might have something to do with my relgion (which I'll try not to talk about). If people are stupid enough to fall for something, a big part of me wants to clap the con-man on the back for knowing the people would. Utter freedom... Ho ho. It'd be manic, people might not live long, but fuck me it'd be fun.

So, I stand for freedom. But I don't think that works. So, in place of freedom, I stand for a charismatic dictatorship. I'd live under some semi-liked guy who had power to push through those awkward decisions than in this joke of a democracy we live in now.

That links neatly into what I stand against. I stand against this constitutional monarchy of ours. It's a bit rubbish, isn't it? Let's be honest. Political Parties and MPs get away with bare-faced lies (Patricia "I-Saved-Rover-Now-I'll-Save-The-NHS" Hewitt, as neatly fisked by: Mr Eugenides and, because we can only vote every four years (and even then a lot of our votes don't actually count) who can blame people for not caring? And then obviously these lame-dicked MPs go on to either serve in the House of Lords or, if they're not rich enough to go there, get some cushy directors job on some mega-corporation (if they didn't have some Executive Directorship there already). Find me an MP who gives a solitary shit about something other than cash, and I might change my opinion.

- Case in point, of course, the George "General Grievous" Galloway, who was offended, angered almost, at the idea of him living on a 'Worker's Wage' as an MP.

I stand against consumerism. I hate it, in all it's forms. And I hate how hypocritical I am where it's concerned. I'm typing on an iMac, wear some branded clothes and ate in Pizza Hut yesterday. But I think that's the crux of what I'm saying. How possible is it to live without feeding some horrible Capitalist machine? I try to keep my feeding sessions short and sweet, and the thing that helps me feel good every day is the knowledge that if everyone fed the machine as little as I do, the machine wouldn't be as all-powerful.

I stand against what money does to the world. Every time I'm stung 3 squid for a pint, or 60 squid for a train ticket because someone CAN. I despise the fact that I live in a country where the government sold of the railways to shareholders who lease their trains from bankers, therefore giving the poor passengers shots from both barrels.

I stand against corporations. Their uniforms, their promotional material and their "customer service".

Recently I stand against roll-over Internet ads, made by companies who are able to invade personal space at a new, horrible level [compared to the level Banksy speaks about]. I miss my PC, if only for AdMuncher.

Anything else?

As for the pink...

I find it amusing. I don't particularly like pink, especially on a man, but I think it serves a purpose.

First Post

Quality title, eh?

Of this post, I mean. Not the blog.

For reference, the title of the blog refers to the professional I'm going into. Nursing. If the government will give me money.

The catch is that I have a penis. And, despite the fact that the tiny shreds of optimism left within me held hope, people still think this is very funny. People from all walks of life, to boot! Most recently my 11 year old cousin. I'm glad school is still teaching:

1) Boys like blue
2) Girls like pink
(And, when it comes to medicine)
3) Boys grow up to be doctors
4) Girls grow up to be nurses

I think my time within the arts community, who don't give a shit about anything at all, I acquired some hope for the world.

Silly me.

Anyways, this blog is going to stay as anonymous as possible, for shits and giggles. I'm a young, cosmopolitan male living in the UK and that's pretty much all you need to know.

I'll find myself writing about politics, gender issues, art and girls. Not in that order. You'd think girls would be covered by gender issues, but no. They get a whole category to themselves. For better or worse.

Men are stupid. But I truly believe that women pip them to the post when it comes to stupidity while the rest of the world cheers from the sidelines at this very interesting chase/race. It's certainly something that irks me.