all at sea

Thousands on Incapacity Benefit to be cut off in order to help them.

A report released by the Department of Work and Pensions revealed more than 80,000 people in Britain claim incapacity benefit because they are drunks, druggies or porkers.

Responding to the report David Cameron said, “These are people who have been left for dead by the last government. Although in a more specific way they have not been totally left for dead because they were getting benefits to keep them alive. So they are sort of half-dead. Like zombies.

Clearly the thing to do is take away these benefits immediately. This will give them the impetus they need to get up, put their extremely complicated psychological and physical problems aside and go and get one of the many, many jobs that exist in Britain. And their sheer, and soon quite literal, hunger for employment will put them head and shoulders above all the other recently unemployed public sector staff.

Admittedly some will starve or turn to crime but I think that’s better than spending any public money on rehabilitation programs. And the fat ones could probably do with a bit of starving.”

Various charities have levelled criticisms at this approach labelling it “Shortsighted”, “Simplistic”, “Medievally cruel” and “Disgusting pandering to the majority of ill-informed hate filled idiots that most people are.”

However lager drinking Staffordshire terrier enthusiast Jo Harker said, “I think it’s a great idea. Why should I pay for some work shy bladger to sit at home drinking, smoking or eating pies? I’d love it if someone paid me to prop up an unpleasant addiction that ravages me body and soul. If I can’t do it why on earth should they?”

Defending the Prime Minister Employment Minister Chris Grayling said, “Everything gets better with less money. Look at what we’re doing to the NHS.”

Now (in an attempt to get published) with 90% less swearing!

Robert Pattinson and Daniel Radcliffe to celebrate end of franchises in orgy of passion.

This summer sees the release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, last in the series of the astoundingly misogynistic Stephanie Myers vampire films. Boyfriends everywhere punched the air only to be sucker-punched at the news that the final part has been split into two films.

“Once again we plan to put all the exciting bits in the trailer,” said Director Bill Condon, “put a semi-exciting score behind it and it will look interesting enough that a particularly sex-deprived man will convince himself that its not that bad. Of course the whole film is basically Kirsten Stuart starting into the middle distance biting her lip and waiting for a man to kill her/save her/sire her/screw her/marry her. Because y’know. Feminism.”

Twilight star Robert Pattinson, 24, whose new film ‘Not a vampire film. With elephants!’ is released next week, gave his own opinions on the end, “For me the best thing will be not having to pretend to be in an insipid relationship with Kirsten anymore just to satisfy the twisted desires of teenagers who can’t distinguish fantasy from reality. Don’t get me wrong, she’s quite pretty but when you’re nut-deep in her and she looks at you with that one blank expression, its.. its just chilling, man.”

Meanwhile Daniel Radcliffe told of his plans to commemorate this year’s Harry Potter finale. “I’m going get Rob [Patterson] over here, we are going to get 15, 20 girls and just go crazy. Just proper crazy. I’ve had enough of this role-model bollocks, its finally time to get some of that scattered Hogwarts ass. Rob is the only one who can understand what I’ve been through. Who else am I going to get, Rupert fucking Grint?”

Patterson was less enthusiastic, “I don’t really want to but I owe Daniel for getting me that Cedric Diggory bit in Harry Potter. As long as he doesn’t get all Equus again. That’s some sick shit.”


This is submission I wrote for  

Let's see how it does!

Attempting to make his hatred pay

Water foul

Alongside my normal January efforts to get fit by squeezing into an expensive health dungeon with many other fatties I’ve decided to try changing some little things. Every little helps, after all. For example the annoyance that I’ve generated from typing the phrase “every little helps!” and then not being able to remember if it was a phrase in common parlance before it was appropriated by the sinister multi-level entity that is Tesco or if I’m just a drone, spewing out corporate catchphrases like a tv-addicted parrot. This lack of knowledge causes me to grind me teeth in frustration which has got to burn a few calories. Every little helps!

On this note I was visiting Anna's parents, though the energy burnt by my nervous leg-jiggle was offset by my fixed smile (I hear it takes less muscles to smile than to frown) so that’s probably a wash. They also fed me a feast which, as delicious as it was, probably isn’t helpful in my belly reducing quest. However do they have a dog, a white/tan Lakeland terrier called Scout.

If you’ve never encountered a Lakeland terrier they sort of look like the product of an orgy between a sheep, a Jack Russell and a teddy bear. They also don’t bark, or yip, or woof, or yelp, or whine or make any noise whatsoever. Its weird; Scout gets massively excited, as do all dogs, at the prospect of balls/sticks/food/walks/everything but makes not a sound. She jumps up and down, opening and closing her mouth but nothing comes out. It’s like the sea-witch has stolen her voice in exchange for something. Squeaky pig, assumedly as she doesn’t have a great deal of possessions. It would be quite a good trade- Squeaky-pig is at least as annoying as a normal dog yap. Plus normal dog yap also cannot be placed unseen to frighten the unwary who step on him and cause them to nearly fall down the stairs.

But, voice or no voice, I had access to a dog. This would be a good fitness extra of a weekend. Arming ourselves with some bread for the ducks we grabbed the dog and set out. Incidentally I know bread has very little nutritional value for birds but no-one throws me free food. Be grateful. Admittedly sometimes it swells in their stomachs and causes them to die but thems the breaks. Suck it up, duck.

Two minutes in and we encountered the first problem- Scout is far more interested in stopping at lamp-posts, going up drives and sniffing leaves than walking with us. If she was given too much lead she would weave between Anna and myself. Were we in a romantic comedy I’m sure the lead would push us together and we’d be forced to kiss and laugh and forget our dead child/ lost jobs/ crippling, crippling stutter-related depression or whatever the fuck. However my life being more of the knockabout farce school of comedy all that happened was that we tripped, fell or accidentally kicked the dog. She can't cry out though so it was ok. Like it's ok to dead-arm a deaf child; who can they tell with only the one arm? You'll be long gone! Eventually I found that only the “tight lead” or “dragging” technique of walking would work- but this led (ha!) to my being glared at my passers by as I appeared to be a cruel evil bastard strangling a teddy-bear of a dog. Weathering the stares and tuts of the Great British Public we eventually came to the pond where I was fully prepared for Scout to joyfully launch herself at the birds.

This was not to be. The birds had formed a loud squabbling pack; ducks mixed with pigeons, ravens and the odd goose. Scout took one look at them and hid behind our legs. She sat there, trembling away as we fed the birds- even more annoyingly the bread turned out to be wholemeal and therefore quite good for them. Curses. I don’t entirely blame her for hiding- the ravens in particular looked capable of pecking out an eye with ease but the abject display of cowardice was a tad embarrassing. Won’t be doing that again.

With dog walking off the menu I cast around for another “little thing” and saw my bike leaning against the walk covered in a light sprinkling of holiday dust. “I know! I shall resume my cycling to work!” I thought, optimistically laying out my cycling kit for work. Morning came and I smugly pressed snooze on my alarm clock, knowing that cycling takes 10 minutes less than the bus. Ten minutes less that is if it’s a) not pissing it down, which happened as the skies opened two minutes after I set off and b) not 6 weeks after you last did it, which it was. Thirty five hideous minutes later I turned up at work with bits of me unpleasantly hot and sweaty, other bits freezing and chilled and almost all of me very, very wet. You know you look really pitiful when you turn up somewhere in a state and the immediate response is one of concern rather than laughter. “What the hell were you thinking?” a colleague demanded on seeing my half-drowned state.

“I figured it would be good for me,” I answered as hair gel dripping down my face and rain and sweat pooled in my shoes. “Every little helps! “

Good… with humiliation

James’ mildly spoilerific review of Tron: Legacy

I’m not really a fan of 3-D. Its generally either a distraction from the fact that the film is rather cruddy (Avatar) or a pointless excuse to drive the price up which adds nothing to the film (Toy Story 3). The only two examples of good 3-D that I’ve encountered would be How To Train Your Dragon, a lovely tale nicely enhanced by impressive flying scenes and Piranha 3-D which featured naked 3-D lesbians and severed penises (penii?) being vomited directly at you. Nuff said.

Having seen Tron: Legacy in 2-D yesterday I can only conclude that it’s 3-D version falls squarely into the former camp. I say this because quite a few people have told me how good it was… and in two dimensions it was utter bobbins.

The plot runs thus: Sam (Garrett Hedlund) has been abandoned by his Dad; Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) the brilliant virtual world designer from the original Tron. This abandonment becomes his sole personality point as he is now a brooding, semi-saboteur who once a year pulls a ‘prank’ on what used to be his Dad’s company- now run by scumbags. This section is particularly cruel as it showcases Cillian “the scarecrow from Batman” Murphy as a sinister genius… only to have him do nothing and never appear again. Bastards.

So, rather than a decent villain the bad guy of Tron-World (The Grid) is Clu 2.0, a disturbingly rendered CGI-young Jeff Bridges. Clu (and, by extension the "real" young Kevin Flynn, seen in flashback) falls squarely into the Uncanny Valley*, and manages to be both unrealistic and unsettling at the same time. This might have been solved if a few of the other “programs” were also computer generated but no: everyone else is played by a normal un-CGIed actor rendering Clu’s odd appearance just a stupid mistake rather than a deliberate feature.

Within no time bland Sam finds himself inevitably sucked into The Grid and engaging in lethal frisbee contests and light-bike chases which manage to be both flashy and unexciting. Some spice is added with the arrival of Quorra (Olivia “13-off-of-House” Wilde) a cute, quirky program clearly there to bring sex appeal. Sadly Sam only has “been abandoned” as his personality so there is absolutely no sexual tension or romance between the two leads whatsoever. A shame as Olivia Wilde is so ludicrously hot that I can say, without hesitation, that I would punch you, dear reader whoever you are, square in the nose just for a chance to lick her lower back. Sorry, Gran.

Anyway blah-blah totally unengaging reunion, Kevin is now a guru who talks in deeply irritating 70-style speak, like grooooovy maaaaaaan, blah-blah, attempt to get home. And NEON! Lots of Neon lights!!!

The main problem is that we’ve seen it all before; The costumes from the Matrix (Quorra even shares Trinity’s haircut), a dance sequence featuring Daft Punk (I will say this: the music is cracking) lifted from Blade/M:Reloaded. The normally reliable Michael Sheen plays an incredibly annoying Ziggy Stardust alike. The fights are boring, give no sensation of danger and in one bit makes a point of the scary ninja having a double-ended lightsaber, sorry lightsword. I have never seen anything like that before ever. All this familiarity becomes rapidly boring and as such the irritations: ham-fisted Holocaust metaphors, the deeply unrealistic “CGI youthing”, gaping plot holes, Michael Sheen, become even more annoying.

20 minutes before the end Anna pointed out that it was shit and asked if we should go. I declined as, having invested an hour and a half of my life to the film, I wanted to see if it would at least deliver a satisfying ending. It didn’t.

Just buy the soundtrack and dance under a blacklight. It’ll be way more fun.

In like Flynn

* The Uncanny Valley Theory states that humans are very creeped out by things that are almost-human. Corpses, for example. Or very realistic dolls. This discomfort is enhanced when the thing moves.

Things which are a bit human but clearly not-human we like – Number 5 from Short-Circuit, Disney talking animals, the Toys in Toy Story.

Things which are human… but a bit off we get creeped out by- people with pure white eyes, waxworks, very retouched photos, Ronald Reagan.

See below

all at sea

And you can take that plan to the bank

Once, many years ago, when an English traveller decided to leave the green and pleasant hills of his birth and venture out into the savage wilderness that is the rest of the World he would take his monies to the exchange and be liberally showered with the local currency. Travelling overseas he would have pockets overflowing with Franks, Dollars, Marks or whatever funny-money they used in the fuurn parts. He could eat, drink and make merry for the equivalent price of a cup of tea in London.

Sadly such heady days are behind us as I discovered on looking at the miserable Pound-to-Euro exchange rate today. In fact it seems I picked the very worst day to exchange my cash, ahead of my Tenerife trip:

“"The British Pound declined to a seven week low against the Euro this morning” – Economy News 16/9/2010

Awesome. However I wasn’t going to let a little thing like money get me down. So I’d have to offer to buy local daughters from their fathers in jest rather than for real. I could deal with that. Things generally turned sour anyway when I explained that by “buy”, as in dowery, I more meant “rent” and in hire-car.... No, I was off to sun-kissed climes with chums and it would take more than an attack of poverty to dent my mood. Nothing was going to annoy me. Nothing.

“How do you make God Laugh? - Tell him your plans.” - Russian saying

So I was waiting in the Lloyds TSB Angel branch. The counters have been set up so that there is only one queue, despite there being a dedicated 'Business & currency exchange'. I hovered off to the side attempting to convey that I was queuing but was not in the queue. I was, in fact, I queue all by myself. Being in a queue all by myself I rather naively assumed that the process would be swift. Not so- the woman at the desk and the chap behind the desk seemed locked in some sort of advanced fuckwittery competition.

As far as I could tell the fuckwitted lady wished to know if she paid certain money into her business account what the circumstances of the account would be, post-deposit. Based on this she would (assumedly) make the choice of how much money to deposit. Reasonably simple, no? However she made such a waffled hash of her request and the fuckwitted teller made such an addled muddle of understanding it was like watching a retarded chimp explain population dynamics to a puppy with a javelin in its head.

As I watched this distressing fuckwitted exchange, punctuated by the production of various bits of paper, pointing a screens and looks of annoyance, amazement and anger, sometimes all at once I could actually feel the moments of my life ticking away. But I was not to be downcast. "Hell, these are not good moments I’m losing." I thought "I’m thirty-three, all the decent moments of my life have already been squandered. Moments that could have been filled with hangover free drinking, youthful frolics and guilt-free penetration of 19 year olds have long since passed. Why on earth didn’t I do more of that when I was younger....? Jesus that's depressing... perhaps... No! Focus. You’re fine. This is taking an age but it’s fine. You’d probably just be spending this time on some pointless spreadsheet anyway."

Some fifteen minutes later my calm had become slightly desperate. I had let a good twenty people pass behind me to get to the normal counters. Still calm, still happy but by thunder if they don’t just agree and get it done I will smash their pointy heads together until their brains kiss.

Fortunately for all concerned an accord had been reached and I was able to go up to the desk. It was at this point that I heard a loud “Humph!” from behind me. Glancing back I saw a women briefly fix me with a snooty look before averting her gaze. Mildly confused I turned to the gibbon behind the desk who appeared to be baffled by his own click-top pen. But then, from behind me:

“Well. I just don’t know that I’d have the brazen nerve to queue-jump with all those people clearly waiting here. Humph. Some people.” - Snooty bitch, 16/9/2010

Absolute unreasonable fury seized me. I felt compelled to grab her and point out that THIS is not a normal counter- as is very clear if you can fucking READ. Furthermore I have been waiting here for longer than ANYONE ELSE in this queue. How very DARE you accuse me of acting in a less-than-honourable manor you vile repugnant bitch. I’ll pull out your Goddamn eyes and shove them in your slanderous mouth so you can get a good view as I KICK YOUR FUCKING TEETH IN!!!

Before I could put any of these perfectly reasonable thoughts to action Counter-Chimp distracted me. I spent the next few moments conducting an enraged transaction in which the teller felt compelled to explain every detail: “Now as you are a Lloyds TSB customer we don’t charge” I know. That’s why I’m here. “It won’t be exact so I’ll have to give you some change in sterling.” Yes. I get it. “Here is the change. Three pounds fifty six. Because its not exact.” I swear to Christ I will end you if you don’t just give me the money.

Controlling myself enough to get to the end of the situation without ramming his clicky-pen into his hand I moved from the desk. As I did so Humph-woman quickly looked around and queue jumped to the counter I had vacated. . “I just need to pay this in.” she said triumphantly. After fixing her with a stare that, were there any justice in the word gave her acute cystitis, I turned on my heel and exited the bank, good mood ruined.

Somewhere above me I swear I heard God laughing…

I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn't. ~Jules Renard

If your cock was as big as your mouth, darling, you be worth talking to. As it is shut up!

Heckling is a funny thing.

Funny as in “odd” as 97% of all heckles are about as funny as cheese. (I originally wrote “as funny as cancer” but decided that was wrong. Cancer is hilarious.)

In some circumstances heckling is inappropriate; even polite and helpful comments shouted at the ballet are frowned upon- “Dude! I can TOTALLY See your junk!”. Well, I could.

In some heckles are welcomed; where would we be without hordes of children warning Mother Goose that Captain Hook was behind her. Grimly watching some extended pirate rape on stage, that's where.

And in yet others, like most film screenings, heckling should be punished by every other cinemagoer descending upon the heckling bastard and biting a chunk from him like a horde of human justice-piranha.

Heckling in the House of Commons is fine, as long as you don’t use “unparliamentary language” which, along with ‘liar’, ’murderer’ and ‘criminal’, includes the terms ‘swine’, ‘jackass’, ‘hooligan’, ‘blackguard’ and ‘cad’. Which would rule out most of the things I’d yell.

Comedy gigs however are a tricky one. Some comics; Al Murray, Dara O’Briain, actively invite the audience to yell stuff at them. Other comics take a particular dislike to it - at this years Edinburgh fringe David Witney headbutted a guy for heckling. Not the wittiest but a pretty effective put-down nonetheless. Rather than resorting to massive physical violence most comics have a selection of come-backs to heckles, which generally make the comedian look sharp and funny and make the heckler look like a giant dick. Unsurprising as the guy is a professional comedian whereas you’re a beered-up twat who probably hasn’t practiced his heckle over and over again for the last ten years.

I admit some heckles can be funny, some can capture the mood of the crowd and some…

Chris, Bill, John and I went to see Doug Stanthope gig the other day and were sat in front of this fetid haemorrhoid of a woman. She had a horrible laugh that managed to be both shrill and gasping. And I don’t know how one manages to laugh off-key but this rancid bitch managed it. She would laugh not only at the jokes where one could forgive such utterances but at everthing. Doug would start; “So I was getting the magazine…” only for a squeal “Huuuhheeeeheeehuuuuu!!” to ring out. There is no joke there. The joke has not become funny. SHUT YOUR FUCKING NOISE HOLE, HAG.

But ok. Maybe she was a very happy person. Or retarded. Or high on massive morphine doses she took to enjoy one last night of comedy before ravaging cunt-rot snuffed out her life in a hideously painful and undignified way. We can but hope. But then she starts to heckle; “Midgets!” she yells out. Not, by the way, in response to anything. Not as an example or a joke (“You know who really gets the short end of the stick?”). Not because a gang of little people had marched down the hall with every intention of staving her irritating whore head in with tiny cudgels for being such an irritating whore.

No, this genital itch of a woman was calling out a request. Doug was performing brand new material in front of her and she was requesting him to do an old routine from his DVD. “Midgets!” she brayed out again before dissolving into shrill pig-giggles. Seriously, bitch, you want him to do jokes that you know? Is that just so you’ll know when to laugh, as you clearly fucking don’t know now. Are you so fucking stupid that you can laugh at jokes when you know the fucking punchline, you cum-gargling nit? Are you SO fucking retarded that you have no retention of anything, making hand-scrawled notes as you watch DVDs “Hey that midgets bit was funny, best write it down so I can hear it live because I’ll have forgotten the whole routine in ten minutes. Huuuhheeeeheeehuuuuu!!”

This isn’t a fucking concert, shit-tard. He doesn’t do fucking requests. CEASE YOUR GRACELESS BAYING, YOU SHIT-CRUSTED SPHINCTER. It was particularly annoying because as it was a comedy event I didn’t feel I could say anything. In the cinema you can hiss, shush or demand silence- best one I heard was “If I wanted a fucking commentary I would have bought the DVD.” However at a comedy gig it is the comic’s job to silence shouters. For audience members to do it is to render a comic impotent, to tell him that you have no faith in his comedy powers of destroying the foolish.

So he did, I forget what it was exactly, but it was a pretty comprehensive response including a) that he, Doug, wasn’t going to simply act out his 8 year old DVD and b) that she was an awful person who should die a lonely death. Soon.

You might think that having provoked a response from the comic this lowing retard would be happy. That she could amble back to the barn and inform the rest of the herd of her adventures. “You annoyed Doug Stanthope and a room full of people? Why to go! Slap my hoof!” (the woman is a cow in this paragraph in case I’m being too subtle). But no. Milk-whore was not done. “Midgets!” she mooed out again, “Midgets!” This prompted a shorter response from Doug. That she should just shut. The fuck. Up.

No rant. No comedy. Just the clear simple fact that he was annoyed, she was annoying and she should fucking cease. Did she stop? Did she fuck. She thought she was hilarious. The anal smear tried another one; “Two-headed baby! Huuuhheeeeheeehuuuuu!!” Another routine from the DVD. Of 8 years ago. Deciding it was too difficult to have a battle of wits with a person with no wit of any sort Doug did what many of us would do in the situation- gritted his teeth, talked louder and ignored her whilst hoping her dead.

Should have gone in for the headbutt, dude.

Butt of all the jokes

Open letter to Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer.

When I saw that you were in a film called ‘The Switch’ I thought thank heavens, she’s finally moved away from insipid quasi-romantic comedy into a role which might actually require her to ACT, as opposed to simply standing in front of the camera and letting her drippy desperation pour out of her as some chap comes an fawns over her (then later- crying!). The Switch: surely a clever play on words involving a sexually submissive woman who becomes a dominatrix with a whippy cane! Different, sexy has a play on words in the title: ideal!

Or, if you think that might come off a bit Angelina-in-Mr & Mrs Smith, how about: The Switch- a body swap comedy: you could play a housewife bodyswapped with a big, muscular Mexican Gangster! Hilarious! Who wouldn’t want to see their favourite Friend spit out “Eeeeey Gringo, you don wanna FUCK wit me.” before slicing off some fingers.

Or you could go all post-modern and play YOURSELF bodyswapped with an obsessed fan! What would they do in your body? How would you get the body back? You would play you with the mind of a crazed fan pretending to be you at the People’s choice awards! Headfuck or what??? Eat your heart out Being John Malkovich.

But no. Twas not to be.

‘The Switch- Kassie Singleton (Jennifer Aniston) decides she wants to have a baby.’ Ok, stop. Stop right there. I’m sorry- Kassie SINGLETON. Jen; do you even care anymore? Do you lie, weeping in your mansion, legs akimbo waiting for a Producer to come and repeatedly kick you in the crotch whilst licking his lips and jerking off? “They love your pain, Jenny! They identify with your pain, Jenny! You’re a woman who can’t hold on to a man and can’t have the baby she desperately wants!! Ah ha ah ha ah HAHAHAHHAHAH!!! Do you feel my toes bash your ovaries, Jenny??!!!! Cry for Heat Magazine, Jenny!!!! Tell them of your latest heartbreak, Jenny!!! Mwahahahahaha!!!”

“She chooses to do it alone, with the services of a sperm donor.” Of course she does. But, I’m betting, not in an I’m a Strong Independent Woman way- more in a sticking a picture of Brad Pitt on a turkey baster and crying as she blows a strangers spunk up her chuff. You go, girl.

‘Her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) has always had feelings for Kassie, but he missed his chance and she put him in the "friend zone" but Wally gets so drunk at Kassie's "insemination party" that he spills the semen and replaces it with his own.’ Oh my God. There is so much wrong with this sentence that I actually don’t know where to begin. Is it the crushing inevitability that come with unrequited love in a drippy (hah!) comedy? Is it the terrible bleakness that the words "insemination party" conjure up? Is it the horror at thinking about Jason Bateman jacking off into a cup in the back room of a party? And what the fuck was he doing with the cum-cup anyway? Jesus, Jen- you can’t hold onto a man but at least keep your eye on the spooge.

Anyway blah- blah Seven years later, Kassie returns with sprog, blah-blah, Wally, kid, bonding, mix-ups, tearing at your eyes with your fingernails to try and sate the horror, blah-blah, words of wisdom from someone who can’t even shave, eventual kissing, twu wuvvvvvvv!


What is WRONG with you? Ok Brad Pitt broke up with you in 2005. That probably sucks. But lets look at your subsequent film choices, shall we: The Break-Up (with Vince Vaughn- a guy you then had a thing with. Before he broke up with you), Marley & Me (Relationship troubles. Dog. Dog dies), He's Just Not That into You (Really? REALLY???) and most recently the Bounty Hunter- where an ex-husband falls back in love with his ex-wife. What. The. Fuck.

I like you, Jen, I really do. You used to be the Friend everyone wanted to bang- and not just because you were smuggling peanuts in 87% of your scenes. But now; well, I’d think about it but I get the impression you’d start weeping mid-fuck and no one wants that. (Except Kate Thornton; but she’s a tear-vampire) And the phone calls, the finding the bit of paper with “Mrs Jennifer Chapman” written on it 200 times, the constant hugs and validation- sorry Jennifer but I’d prefer to do Courtney Cox. You still beat Phoebe, though.

Jennifer, I know you have to pay the bills- your tissue bill alone must be huge- but please, PLEASE branch out. Do SOMETHING that isn’t a “Rom-Com”. Sandra Bullock does it- peppers her insipid Romantish Comekindas (Why, Ryan Reynolds, why?) with some heavyweight Oscar-bait in between. Lets not even talk about Angelina Jolie (Academy Award, 3 Golden Globes, 3 biological children plus three adopted- and she directs now. But you knew that, right?). Do an action film, a horror, an actual comedy, an offbeat indie film where you chase midgets with sticks, ANYTHING. Because if I see your giant head on a bus next to anything described as “Heart-Warming”, “Will they-won’t they” or “Feel Good” I swear I will hunt you down with a pack of huge dogs with dildos strapped to their heads and give you SUCH a disappointed look.

Its for your own good, Jennifer Aniston. Don’t be Miss Haversham, you can be so much more.

Well, maybe not SO much more. But certainly a little more.
all at sea

Gore'n Fish in

James’ non-spoilerific review of Piranha 3-D!(though seriously I could go through every single thing that happens and it wouldn’t dent your enjoyment that much)

In the run up to spring break Sheriff Elizabeth Shue has rounded up all the fat people and shipped them out of town. And by fat I mean anyone who has more than 6% body fat, though clearly this percentage does not include boobs as THREE. Dimensional. BOOBS. COME. AT. YOUR. FACE. NEAR. CONSTANTLY! Deputy Ving Rhames escapes this chubby cull only because he is big and tough and black and needed later in the film to be big and tough and black at some fish. Speaking of fish- FISH! Some awesomely ludicrous CGI piranha turn up out of an plot-hole in the lake and start eatin’ folk.

Meantime Director Alexandre Aja decides that what we really need is an extended underwater 3-D lesbian sex scene with Porn Star Riley Steele and “Actress” Kelly Brook (and Goddamn it, he’s right.) and throws some almost-plot together to make this happen. Incidentally, much as you want to don’t try and touch the naked nymphs floating tantalisingly in front of you as a) you won’t get them b) you’ll look stupid c) your girlfriend will punch you in the neck. Trust me on this.

The Sheriff’s children- Seventeen (**cough**twentytwo**cough**) year old Steven R McQueen- grandson of the original Steven McQueen(!), cute blonde boy moppet and cute blonde girl moppet wander round getting in varying degrees of peril and you wonder if the film has actually got the stones to have the fish chow down on the pre-pubes. As in pre-pubescent children, by the way, the film has NO problem with the piranha munching waxed crotches as demonstrated by the fish doing just that. The audience is torn between revulsion at the graphic evisceration and pure joy at watching upsettingly pert and distressingly toned young-people get munched on. That’ll teach them to be young, sexy and carefree, yeah! Take some fish, perty-chops!

Screams! Boobs! Peril! Abs! Blood! Unconvincing fish! Boobs! Gore! Nudity! Propellers! Boobs! Christopher Lloyd as a kooky scientist! Truly the film has everything.

So if you like your B-Movies Double 3-D, this is the film for you! (Now there’s a tagline. Call me, Hollywood).

In fact Anna and I were so jazzed we had to calm down by going home and watching Adventureland - an excellent quirky indie comedy, about as far from Piranha 3-D as its possible to get. Though I did get the impression that at any point Kirsten ‘Bella-off-of-Twilight’ Stewart might do her lip-biting thing and surge 3-D out of my TV spraying blood before spitting her bottom lip into my face. She was surprisingly good actually, though she did that lip-bite a lot. A LOT.

No fish in that film though. And very little blood.

To be fair I think there was only one real fish in Piranha
None more pimp

James’ non-spoileriffic review of The Expendables

Here’s how to watch the Expendables:

1. Have low, low expectations.
2. Have a reverence for 80s movies such that any minor nod to them (such as- an 80s just actor turning up) will rouse a cheer.
3. With a group of like-minded chums.
4. Drunk.

Fortunately for me I had all those things so enjoyed it immensely. However I suspect the same could be said of almost any loudloudLOUD film where Men Are Men and Women are Convenient Plot Points (or Tits'n'Ass- but not in this movie): the two ladies in The Expendables exist purely to point the boys in the direction of some asses to kick. There was another scantily clad lass vaguely hanging off Mickey Rourke but I suspect that is written into every single contract he had since 9½ Weeks. It was dumb, tough, loud and fun- but then I could probably say the same if I watched Straight-To-DVD Universal Soldier film in the same state.

But was The Expendables any good? Well… kinda. Unlike, say, The A-team film, which referred back to its 80s roots but was clearly in the modern style of filmmaking the Expendables went the whole hog and just WAS an 80s film. Except for the blood. Oh, how I hate CGI blood. Why? WHY??? Its just LAZY, is what it is. STOP DOING IT, FILM-MAKERS!

Sylvester Stallone is Barney Ross. As he wrote and directed the film he gets the most sensible name – the others include The Strath as 'Lee Christmas', Jet Li as 'Yin Yang' (Seriously? You’re seriously going to call the Asian guy Yin Yang? Yeah? You’re good with that? Ok, fine.) Big Arnie as 'Trench', the Dolphster as 'Gunnar', Stone Cold Steve Austin as 'Dan Paine', Randy Couture as 'Toll Road' (???), David "I’m-Sgt-Batista-off-of-Dexter” Zayas as 'General Garza' (because Garza? Garza strip? Unrest? Huh? Huh???), Terry "I’m-the-Dad-off-of-Everybody-Hates-Chris” Crews as 'Hale Caesar' (say it out loud- theeeeere ya go) and Mickey Rourke as, I shit you not, 'Tool'.

Incidentally if none of those names raised a smile or you have no idea who half those people are- this is not the film for you.

The plot, such as it is, has Sly and his team of Expendables sent off to the country of Fictionalistan (in a scene where Bruce and Arnie give the absolute minimum of screen time to allow them not be sued for appearing on the posters) to liberate it from a Brutal-Dictatorship-With-Involvement-Of-Evil-White-Men TM. And that’s it. People are shot, limbs are hacked off, wildly improbable wrestling moves are used, explosions explode, extras are mown down in their hundreds- it is what it is basically. And there’s nothing wrong with that- utilise my rules above and you’ll have a great time.

That said it is hard not to be disappointed with the sheer waste of the film. Both Jason Stratham and Jet Li, being the guys who can actually do impressive modern cinematic violence are toned down, presumably so as not to expose the gaping disparity between their fluid hit-six-guys-in-three-seconds moves and Sly’s lumbering charge-slowly-at-the-guy-and-crash-into-him style. Li in particular suffers from this, probably because we’re used to seeing him as an ice-cool superstar so being reduced to a semi-comic grunt character jars on the sensibilities. Whereas The Strath is allowed to quietly steal the film- being one of the few muscular actors who can, y’know, act. Though big nods to Mickey Rourke and, shockingly, Dolph Lundgren for some standout turns.

Though again both Dolph and Mickey are somewhat wasted despite having the most (potentially) interesting characters alongside surprising acting chops. But the main waste is the film itself- it could have been so much more. With a snappier script (get Shane “Lethal Weapon/Last Boyscout/ Kisskiss bangbang” Black in to screenwrite fer fucks sake) or a more knowing, mildly self-parodying tone it could have been awesome.

Worst of all, an 80sesque film with no decent one-liners? OK we understand that you can't stick the 80s pointless-strip-club scene in these days but keep the 80s patter for Christ's sake! Not a single “Stick around”, “God will have mercy on your soul, Rambo wont'', “Now I have a Machinegun. Ho. Ho. Ho.” or “You know I said I’d kill you last? I lied.” Seriously the best one has Sly growling “Your mother!” Shocking.

Oh, and as soon as the plane takes off at the end- close your eyes and hum. The last scene is the most excruciating since Vinnie Jones did his speech at the end of Gone In 60 Seconds. Block it out- trust me on this.

So all in all: its ok. But if you want to watch a no-brain ‘splosionfest this month- go see the A-Team. Sukka.

Is hoping for Mr T in The Expendables II

Summer update- or “Why James is going to burn down Haringey Council’s offices”

Hello Internet!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late- my life has taken rather a busy turn, Sonisphere festival, my little sister’s wedding, a friend’s wedding, the announcement by the new government that they plan to dissolve the place where I work, an NHS Primary Care Trust and give the money directly to GPs who obviously went to medical school for 7 years to become finance directors...

So life has been a hectic mess of highs and lows, sometimes at the same time:

  • “Oh my God, Alice in Chains are awesome! I haven’t listened to them in about 15 years, Christ, has it been that long? No, I'm wrong, more like 17 years...”

  • “My little sister’s getting married! My little, ten years younger than me sister…”

  • “I’m going to have no job and be forced to over-moisturise my lips so I can pretend to my mouth is that of a younger chap when I’m working a glory hole for change. But hey, at least the sun is shining!”

    Along with not updating the details of such things here on my real blog (Damn you, Facebook. Damn you and your impression that I still keep an on-line diary. All you are is a photo-sharing, event-organiser with a box for one-liners. DAMN YOU, FACEBOOK!) I let a couple of other things slide.

    The first key thing I let slide was when my car was crashed into. I had grabbed a couple of things for the Metal festival and was driving back when I had to brake fairly sharply to avoid killing a pedestrian on a mobile phone who had decided that stepping out into traffic whilst idling waving was an acceptable thing to do.

    Seconds after I braked there was a mild crash- my car wasn’t really shunted as I had my foot firmly on the brake pedal but I certainly felt it. Getting out of my car I turned and stared angrily at the people in the car behind who looked far more concerned than I felt the circumstances warranted.

    As I was about to go to a festival I had decked myself out in my old comedy metal gear- big arm-bracers with spikes on them, New Rocks, armoured trousers with spikes on them, armless T-shirt with aggressive slogan on the front, spiky necklace with spikes on: y’know old school over the top silliness- from my point of view.

    From, say, the point of view, say, of an 18 year old who has just crashed into a car, say, the sight of a stocky, tattooed man in leather and spikes emerging from said car might have seemed slightly less funny. I checked the car over and went to his window. There didn’t seem to be any damage to my car, and I was in a hurry, so I contented myself with giving a stern speech to an almost crying teen and his wide-eyed girlfriend. The looks of gratitude when they realised I was neither going to ruin their insurance nor visit spiky violence were almost embarrassing and I left with mild glow, along with a feeling that I should have demanded a blowjob (from him not her- that would just be wrong). I let it slide, basically.

    However my cheer was short-lived as I discovered that the bump may have appeared to have done no damage but had, in fact, meant that my boot could not be closed once opened. Fuck. Particular fuck as I was planning to sell the car in a month and that would probably affect its (already pretty low) value.

    The second thing I let slide was that I didn’t sort out my Road Tax: I tried but you can’t get Road Tax without an MOT and, what with weddings and festivals I wouldn’t be able to sort out an MOT until 2 weeks after my Tax ran out. But hey, two weeks- that’s no problem, right?


    Last Saturday when I went to get the car (you can’t park outside my house) for a Birmingham trip and MOT visit I was somewhat surprised to find it gone. Some phonecalls later I got into this conversation with Haringey Council’s Car Unit Nabbing and Taking (C.U.N.T) Department:

    “I understand you have taken my car.”
    “Yes, sir. The car was untaxed.”
    “Two weeks out of tax! You can tow it if it’s TWO WEEKS out of tax?!”
    “The car was untaxed, sir.”
    “There’s no leeway? No consideration?”
    “The car, sir, was untaxed.”
    “Not even a ticket? Or a letter?”
    “The car was, sir, untaxed.”
    “OK, fine, fine. How much to get it back?”
    “Four hundred and eighty pounds.”
    “WHAT???!!! You are f…lipping kidding me! What the what??”
    “The, sir

    Four hundred and eighty pounds is somewhat more than the value of my car. Particularly my car with a busted boot. Fuck it, I decided (following no small amount of screaming, cursing, fist pounding and generally wishing ill on all who had a hand in my current ills, including myself) its happened, lets suck it up. Suck it up.

    So, after repeating the screaming and calming cycle several times I called again

    “Ok. Say I don’t want the car. Would be possible to get any of the stuff from my impounded vehicle without paying?”
    “Yes, if you bring along your log book and keys and give them to us.”
    “So… you’re basically stealing my car? Is this what is happening?”
    “The car was on a public highway whilst untaxed. We are operating within our rights.”
    “You are… just… I…. Ok, ok fine. I’ll come in on Wednesday. I have to go now and stab my council tax bill 400, 000 times.”

    So on Wednesday I called up again just to check that it was still ok for me to come in and get the bits and bobs, I checked the address, the documents, that the car hadn’t been crushed into a cube. Y’know, just to be sure. I then trekked across London, because you wouldn’t want to make a place where you store the cars you have taken from people at all accessible by public transport or foot. Lets twist that grip we have on your leathery-sperm-factory a little bit more. Just because we can.

    “Hi, I’m here to get the stuff from my car. T501 FRA, I called earlier.”
    “Ah, the Nissan.”
    “Its been crushed.”

    long silence

    “Into a cube.”

    another long silence

    “Fairly sure I called. Spoke to you in fact.”
    “And yet the car is crushed. Into a cube.”
    “There was a mistake. Someone did not look at the note on the form.”
    “I don’t suppose you retrieved anything from the car?”
    “Of course not, of course not.”

    yet another long silence

    “You know, sir, the car WAS unt…”
    “If you finish that sentence I will kick through this glass and beat you to death.”

    On the plus side I still have the keys