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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where was I?

I've been watching Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain and I've been astonished. Why can I not remember these events? Political marches, Diana's wedding, strikes, sex scandals, the three day week, the winter of discontent, the recession, unemployment, the Big Bang, Poll Tax riots, lower speed limits, hippy happenings... Where was I when these current events were taking place? I watched a rally for CND and one for Ban the Bomb and saw tens of thousands of young people from the London area marching, protesting and getting into trouble. Where was I? Getting drugged up to my eyeballs that's where. I'm aware that I've never had an interest in current events. All that sort of news just washed over me like white noise.
However, I see the connection now between my juvenile dismissal of those events and the current difficulty I now have with the industry I wish to become recognised in; publishing. For its all about making connections isn't it? And while I was, cabbage-like, sitting on the end of my single bed, staring at my toes for eight hours at a time, whilst under the heavy influence of LSD, my peers were attending parties, getting PHD's in English and, in those days although they would not have called it especially by its name, networking their little minds out. I don't deserve to be a writer.
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Don't you hate the fact that people are not named in the various media or is it only me who finds items like these two so very annoying;

1. Despite good ratings and critical acclaim, ITV decided not to re-commission the show for a third series.

2. "No comment", said a Home Office spokesman.

3. "We think your novel is rubbish", (just place any agent or publisher in here)

Just who are these people who make these decisions? I hate their anonymity. Name them for God's sake. So we can have a good go back.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ashton Kutcher and Kris Marshall

I'm in a fantasy kind of mood today. Yes, the two guys above are the finest young male comedy actors actors I can think of that possess the brilliance needed to play the parts of Stewart and Frankie in my novel, Alien Queens. If you are familiar with their work (for a perfect comedic experience I recommend you check them out) you're know why of course.
Their humour and style is quite mad, perhaps even bordering on the genius and I've no problems in understanding why they are both A-listed men. They are damn good looking too. I've never seen these two acting together and I have no idea, being that they live on separate continents, if they even know each other but they must at least have an awareness of the others comic genius' (there's that word again) timing. Someone put them together please!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dead again?

Here's a question you won't want to think about for too long. Someone dies. A woman. How do you describe the event? Perhaps, 'She just died.' Or what about, 'It just died.'
Which one feels better to say? And why? Was your decision bound up with a faith, a belief or circumstances? In using the first one, surely, as 'she' is not present anymore, is it the correct sentence to use? After all, there is just a collection of complex molecules in front of you now. No different to any other collection such as, say, your morning breakfast. Yes, but that does not sound respectful. We know this. And as for the second? Well, that's a no-brainer isn't it? Of course she's not an 'it.' Perhaps she was a relative or a close friend. Complex eh?
However, a week goes by. The body is now not the same as you remembered her. It has changed in many complex chemical ways. Notice I wrote the word 'it.' Is that now a little more appropriate? Now that 'she' no longer has the close appearance of the person you were once fond of? Where and when and how did this change of subjectivity happen? Would it be the same for all people? When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'?
Is this a useless piece of speculation? Perhaps. But by considering it, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and the way we look at the world, and more importantly, the relationships we have with people.
Okay. Its now been a year and, (do I still write 'it' or is it still 'she' in your mind?) lays there, perhaps an almost complete ruin. Nature has taken care of the situation. But what do you think? Has your opinion been divided? Have you changed your mind? And if so, when did that happen for you? Would you have the same opinion about, not a human body but an animal or even a pet? I ask again; When does a body go from being an 'he' or 'she' to an 'it'? Ah, language. We still have such a long way to go.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pity the poor pornographer.

The other day I was watching some pornography...if I mention that it was serious research for my forthcoming novel, Executrix would you believe me? Anyhoo... the piece in particular was filmed at an extremely raucous hen party in Denmark and featured, if I can use that word, three very naked and heartily-built men of quite huge proportions, dancing, cavorting, sweating, parading and exciting a room of about thirty females who were in their twenties I should say.
It was a clever set-up. Another two men, each wearing nothing but a black bow tie (!) and a pair of the tightest and briefest of white briefs, whilst holding a white towel over an arm, ranged about pouring free wine liberally into the women's glasses while (I counted two) unbelievably drably-dressed females armed with expensive video cameras also sneaked about making sure the action was not wasted, but committed to eternity.
The music was at a heart-attention getting, 120 beats per minute and was unrelenting. A good set up also was the staging area where this happened for it consisted of a round stage upon which the men danced and which was at the perfect height of about three feet, for the women, dancing and therefore upright, for their heads to be at the same height as the men's crotches. Perfect for film. However, fellatio was not the only sex act that was to be performed on those poor men. Oh no! This was Denmark after all.
At some point, about ten of the women jumped up on the stage and continued to do what the cameras enjoyed filming, when whoosh! A burst from overhead pipes, doused everyone in warm, and I would have thought, given the amount of time that it had taken them to get this far, refreshing streams of water. I could see the three men were almost eternally grateful that they had reached this point in their performance. One could really see it on their faces and they took a little time off to splash water over themselves before their attention once again returned to the two dozen or so hungry mouths which seemed to be all over them like drunken slobbering mastiffs.
However, the women, their Friday night party frocks (what there was of them in the first place) were now ruined and with the aid of that wine, were therefore shed and most of them disappeared into the watery mayhem, followed quite quickly by their bra and panties. Then, as if they were not before, the men became free-range and fuelled by the still flowing alcohol, the women went wild and a mass orgy took place, the women very much in charge and control and receiving absolutely everything that they demanded. I hope you can imagine this scene.
So what I am getting at? Why am I painting this picture for you? Well, it's because of the sudden attitude of the men. The three of them. Earlier, strutting and domineering, one would imagine that these guys would have been in heaven yes? But they were not. They were being overwhelmed and that's the most politest way I can describe it. In fact, they were losing the plot completely and that could be seen by observing what the women had paid good money to see. Hard manhood. Or not in actuality.
So in desperation, the men tried to resurrect themselves by the one thing that they had not tried. The one thing that this hoard of sexually hungry and perhaps frustrating young women had withheld so far. Kissing. And that's what these three men wanted to do. They wanted an emotional experience, a experience connected with some tenderness. Even perhaps some affection. Here were these men having an experience that almost any man, I would imagine would pay dearly to have and these guys just wanted to kiss. How girlie! Explain that!
It was very obvious to me and to tell you the truth, sad to watch. For in the end, all of the people in that club became diminished; the dancers, the women and the filmmakers. Even the bar staff which I could sometimes glimpse, stood quite still and shocked as the women, no longer being satisfied by the men, took to drunkenly pleasuring themselves and each other. I was diminished by it as well. So what was the point of that evening? Well, finer brains than mine have debated this point but surely it cannot be about money? But if it is, perhaps I ought to grow up and pity the poor pornographer. Not my finest hour.

Probably not a popular blog!

I do hope this column is not becoming a platform for misery! A forum for complaining. But I've been re-reading a few past entries and it does seem that I am edging into negativity perhaps just a shade too much. But that's what this blogging business is all about. A personal reflection of my thoughts. Oh dear! Well, we can always stand to learn a few things about oneself. What would you write?
I was at Tesco recently and, keeping my eyes and ears open as you do, noticed a man of about thirty-five accompanied by a child out shopping. Or at least, they were in the shop. For while he was leaning up against the frozen vegetables, his mobile clamped to his face, annoyingly barking into it, she was pouting as only a bored annoyed eleven year old can, her arms folded and her foot tapping in the manner of someone who was terminally frustrated. I lingered naturally as the situation warranted it! To hear him ranting about some recent football game which had been shown on the box the night before.
And it struck me how little this chap didn't want to be in the company of this child. His daughter I am presuming. And the not so hidden message she was getting from that missed opportunity of communication. Of course, then I noticed it everywhere and remembered also the hundreds of similar times that I had been in the same circumstances as that kid.
I have visitors who seem to spend their time with me with one eye on their mobile or PDA. Who break off important conversation just to read an incoming text message. Who drive reading text messages! Who receive and make calls without so much as an excuse me. I realise that I am old fashioned and getting on in years but to me that is just unpardonable rudeness. It would be different if it were business of course but I would still expect an apology. Now I have to ask you, what is that saying about their friendship with me? How much respect are they showing to me? And therefore to themselves? How much respect was that man showing to his daughter? And will he understand why, when she grows up and exhibits delinquent behaviour, that he was partly to blame? For unloved kids almost always go down the path of problems. When his wife leaves him and his kids no longer care to live under his rules, and he becomes as lonely as hell, will he admit that he had a hand in it? Sadly, probably not.
In general, it seems as if people do not wish to be with people. Oh yes, they want to be in their company but not actually with them. I've lost count of the times I've noticed a couple out walking and both have been speaking to other people! Who are they talking to? And if they were with them, would they be using their phone to talk to yet another person? Its bizarre behaviour and everybody seems to be doing it, probably including you.
My most difficult memory so far concerning this occurred a few weeks ago. A teenage mother, her phone jammed under her chin, was absentmindedly pushing her pram with one hand while her tiny daughter, probably no older than eighteen months, was being dragged along by the other. You can imagine this picture. Then the child stumbled on a piece of broken pavement but was saved from falling because her hand was being held. However, the mother did not notice and for a full, I guess, seven seconds, she dragged the girl along like someone would pull a sack along the ground, the child's toes scraping on the pavement. I just could not believe what I was seeing. So why do you do it people? Why can't you just be with the person you are currently with?
A very dear friend of mine, someone whom I no longer have contact with unfortunately as he died, as soon as I entered his house, he would switch off the TV immediately and always let the answering machine take calls. Of course, in those days, there were no mobiles or text messages but I'm sure, had there been, he would have ignored them as well. He always gave me his full attention and naturally, I loved him for it. Because he made me feel wanted and worthy. Respected and loved. I have to admit then, that the current crop of people that I associate with, will almost certainly not be remembered in the coming years with as much affection as I remember my old friend. I wonder why that will be? Duh!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Archaeologists

Hold on! There's a high horse. There! Got it. I've mounted it now. So...archaeologists. What's the deal with them? When I was ten or thereabouts, I remember visiting the British Museum in London ( I think I was always at some place of learning!) and specifically found myself wandering around the Egyptian hall where the mummies are (still) on display. I do well remember how sickened and upset I was that these unfortunate remains of people were not allowed to rest for eternity in the manner of their beliefs.
I have not one single doubt that, if any of those ancient people, when they were alive, had been informed that one day their mortal skeletal remains would have open to the leering gaze of all and sundry, then they would have been utterly horrified. For these people, that society, perhaps more than most, valued the sanity of what to do with the body after death.
Thus, with the indignation and precociousness that comes from being a ten year old (and remember, ten year olds can do anything) I insisted that I spoke to someone in charge and soon, a nice lady appeared and I began my miniature and immature diatribe, which basically consisted of how I believed it was wrong to parade the remains of these people and how they should have been left in peace. I think she was a bit taken aback! Unfortunately, I forget her side of the argument.
Now for a child to have such strong opinions about such a subject is a little surprising in itself but that's not the reason I'm mentioning it today. No, I'm thinking of how two-faced archaeologists are. For, a short while ago, by international agreement, it was agreed not to touch the remains of the Titanic and not to bring up any artefacts from the decaying vessel itself. Why? Because its now recognised as a memorial, a graveyard if you will.
So...can someone please inform me as to the difference between digging up bodies as archaeologists do on a daily basis and, not disturbing other remains? And make it a good argument please because the phrase, 'thin ice' comes to mind. In short, why do we we display some people from the past and not others?
This is a damn fine question and any answer would tell us a great deal about the person (or society) answering it. Think about it. The remains of a Spitfire is discovered in a field...the skeletal remains still in it...we take it out, pin the skeleton together and mount it, still in its original clothes in a local museum where we pay £4 to see it. Is that permissible? Or how about if we find a hundred skeletal remains plus all their original kit of First World War soldiers huddled together in a mass grave. How about shoving all them on display? No? What about recent murder victims? We can all have a good look at those.
So what's the fundamental difference between that and what is still currently going on in museums all over the word?
Distance. That's what is going on. Distance in time and respect for the living. But until we have respect for all those who have passed away, our current level of respect for ourselves will continue to be minimal. And minimal respect will always cause trouble and problems. Talk about learning from the dead eh?