Sunday, March 28, 2004

I was waiting in the National Theatre bar for fm1. And waiting, and waiting and waiting. I guess the fact that she’d said she’d be in the National Film Theatre bar had escaped me. Still – her tickets, her call - an hour standing on my own without a drink listening to plinky twiddely jazz is just deserts for going to a play at the National Theatre and not understanding that you were supposed to meet in the National Film Theatre Bar. It’s not like I have that many hours left that I can afford to spend one listening to wankers with saxophones and pianos. What drives people to listen to this crap? Is there something wrong with their minds? Execution would be kindest.

The problem with standing there is that you really start to get a handle on the NT usual crowd. For a start everyone is at least 100,000 years old. And if you aren’t you have something seriously wrong with at least one leg, needing everyone else to get out of the way of your wildly lumpen walk or motorised fatty-mobile. Seriously some old cow told me I was standing in her usual parking spot. And if you aren’t that you’re a wannabe thesp who thinks that theatre is a means of communicating with the masses, and if you aren’t that you’re a wannabe thesp + 25 years wishing you’d taken Tom up on that trip to New York in ’72 and what the fuck are you going to tell your students on Monday. And if you aren’t that you’re a gitty little kid. Trust me the sight of an overweaned 8 year old attempting to show off to his spineless little side kick because he saw that bloke off Eastenders just last week is just repellant. And if you aren’t a kid you’re an equally sulky teenager only going because your parents have made you – but worse – you could be one of the strained looking parents desperately trying to inject some culture into Muttface’s lank haired life. Alternaitively you could be Divorced Dad taking sulky teenage daughter out for some ‘family’ time – resented by both. The last is easily confusable with groovy aging theatre guy (dinstinguishable by his leather jacket and 1982 hair) who has some hip hugging pre-20 year old sulking along with him. And if you aren’t any of those then you’re Pan – wondering what the fuck you’re doing there and desperately hoping you don’t blend in but knowing that from your Cornish pasty shoes to your Guardian quoting cranium that you are deep in the bosom of your tribe.

The magic of theatre overcame me and I did, despite my best intentions, enjoy the play.

I went to see Democracy, about Willie Brandt and the whole 1969 German Government. I actually liked the play a lot, as ever well done – it’s rare you see something actually shit at the National, and it certainly raised a number of questions about, well, Democracy, and also a lot about what people mean – where their hearts are why they sometimes do things that seem illogical, hidden motives, and how we can start off believing one thing, act accordingly, and suddenly end up in a whole world of trouble.

Which isn’t, unfortunately a segue into some sort of interesting little caper story.

As you can see I’m not a happy camper, and this is because I’m broke, There are side effects. Being broke means I’m sober and being sober means I can see the appalling travesty that my life is. I’m 34 years old, I live in a shitty (albeit atmospheric) rented flat with 2 others, I have no girlfriend, no job, no money, no dole, no housing benefit, minus beaucoup in the bank and not a fucking drop to drink in the whole fucking house. And no cigarettes either. Perhaps now would be a good time to give up. AAARRRGGHHHH.

Plus point : The compost heap seems to be going OK

Fm2 isn’t talking to me – she seems to think that because we are both doleys is some sort of excuse for being chirpy and banging the doors a lot. So far my tactic of remaining asleep from 6am until 10pm seems to be working. And yes – it’s no problem at all to remain asleep that long for me. I don’t even have to pretend. Just lie down, close the curtains, pull up the duvet and bingo – 16 hours of total oblivion. It’s probably not healthy but it certainly saves on food. Which is good. At the moment I’m really not eating much – maybe not enough to lose any weight but good all the same. Today I’ve eaten 3 slices of cheese and a large lump of ham. Yesterday I ate a scone (with butter & jam (naughty)) 2 tomatoes and a piece of cheese. The day before that a bowl of lentil soup and 2 muffins. I don’t feel any thinner physically, but I feel thinner psychologically. And that’s good.

Other than that – remember to check your gas bills kids – I got one on Friday for £486, which was something of a shock. After careful consultation with the authorities (an hour and a half on the phone with British Gas and Energywatch) they agreed that perhaps the bill was slightly erroneous and agreed to revise it down. To £160. All of which is by the by. It might as well be 5pence h’appeny – I still haven’t got the money to pay them. Ho hum. Meanwhile the job hunt goes on. And on, and on, Bastard agents – why do they never ring me?? I ring them, but they never ring me. WANKERS.

On Monday I’ll ring the only agent who’s nice and any good at her job – the lovely Balinda. But she won’t have anything either. Spend 10 years of your life honing your profession, Be the best you can be, my arse. We’re supposed to live in the age of information. Information is my business, but everyone I know who actually understands information, how to buy it, how to sell it, how to manipulate is, how to package it, how to build web portals for it, how to build taxonomies, how to classify, how to shift the fucking stuff is in the same boat. Scrabbling for scraps. At best.

There are a lot of people out there jabbering on right now about how ‘content is king’ (actually they aren’t anymore but hey) but do they have the faintest idea what the fuck they really mean by that – have they fuck. All they want is a quick hit, a flashy cover, something you can throw to the news wolves. In an age where information is supposed to be important quite the opposite is true, Why bother checking your facts or correlating data or even checking if what you write is true when it’s much easier to make some new crap up on the fly. Who cares if it’s accurate, who cares if it’s even true?? Well editors certainly don’t and neither to corporate portals, and neither, seemingly, does the ‘audience’. Whoever that may be.

All this web stuff that we see – all these wonderful news archives – built on shit. Even some very respectable places. I can see inside their news archices and it’s wank. At best half cobbled together e-versions of old paper systems (which at least worked) and have now been scrapped. At 2nd best huge data piles accessed by some shitty search engine that misses as much as it finds, At worst – nothing. Who needs to read what you wrote yesterday – your journos can remember what they need in their heads, and hey, fuck, it’s not like the punters are going to notice, Cheap, cheap, cheap.

I’m an angry man. Maybe not at the right targets, but Goddamit I’m angry. Our leaders are crooks, liars and cheats, our financial institutions use every opportunity to cheat and steal from us and get away with it, our banks, our utilities, everyone hides behind a smokescreen of automated calling systems and computerised point scoring, nothing is honest, fucking the weaker guy when he’s down is a laudable and praiseworthy economic practice, abusing workers in the developing world is ‘just a necessary part of business these days’ and fuck it all I’m sick of it. And there’s nowhere to go. Britain has it’s most ethical and ‘left wing’ (I use the term advisedly) government in 30 years and we’re still being told to bend over, shut up, take this one for the gipper, clean up your bedroom, shut your eyes, you didn’t hear that, how dare you suggest I lied, suck my dick, love me love me love you fucking little maggot! Now drop and give me 20.

I’ve been watching movies, old and new, and (this is really no surprise to anyone) have decided that new movies pretty much suck. I’m not saying old one’s are great but boy, they’re a lot better. And this has nothing to do with production values. I’m sure that a movie now costs, in real terms, considerably more to make than it’s equivalent 30, 40 or 50 years ago. So what’s the problem. Answer – adults. To whit, the lack thereof. I don’t want to go and see a movie about some shaven headed hero who suffers for the pains of his troops and then goes out and kills 20 gooks to show he really cares. It’s a cartoon – it’s not about real emotions, real thoughts. I don’t want to see 30 impossibly good looking ‘teenagers’ driving around in jeeps and whining to their maids about whom they’re going to take to the prom (I’ll make an exception for 10 Things I Hate About You) I don’t want to see superheroes, I don’t want to see action cops who never get hurt and can kill 5 bad guys and not even feel anything, I don’t to see cute kids dying, I don’t want to see ‘odd couples’ falling in love, I especially don’t want to see middle aged men pulling Hollywood starlets (grow up guys) and I especially, especially never ever want to see Mel Gibson’s gurning twat faced mug sneering at the camera ever ever again. Fuck off Mel, I hate you - you disgusting lard arsed misogynistic, bigoted, intolerant, racist fucker. Cunt.

So what do I want to see – well perhaps movies made about people and what they see and hear and feel and think, not in a movies way, but in a human way. Why was Lost in Translation so lauded? Yes because it is all those good things, but also because it’s the first movie made in a long long time that has made it through the Hollywood system that has been allowed to be these things. And let’s not confuse ‘real life crime’ and ‘human misery’ for these things. What I want to see is movies that intelligently, wittilly tell stories about the usual human condition. There doesn’t need be a sudden climax where little Jimmy is taken hostage or Karen discovers a lump in her breast. For God’s sake – isn’t there enough drama and humour in one single normal day without having to resort to these ridiculous clichéd attempts at awakening our emotions? Can’t we be amused by something that doesn’t include 30 minutes of cars exploding and ‘banter’ between 2 (shouldn’t you both be younger) ‘cool’ guys. The thought of ‘Starsky and Hutch’ leaves me utterly cold – wild horses wouldn’t make me see it, and why not, because, as we all know, It’ll be shit. Not funny, not clever, not original. Another lazy cynical exercise in extracting cash from the public in exchange for utter rubbish. The same tired pathetic gags being dragged out of their graves to humiliate everyone involved and make the viewers feel just a bit shitter about themselves for the privilege. Plus car chases.

Zoolander was shit but at least it started off with an idea, not much of one I know, or even an original one, that the idea that models are pretty stupid and our eulogisation of them is even stupider. Ben Stiller, you should be ashamed of yourself. Imagine having the power and influence to make pretty much any movie you wanted and you choose to make Starsky and Hucth. Good Lord.

Which brings me back to Mel Gibson. Making a movie about Christ, Fine fine fine. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that what America needs right now is some sense rather than a load of religious gobledigook courtesy of Fuck Face himself, but we really should see this for what it is. Ie another Gibson attempt to force feed us yet more of his egomaniacal self righteous bigotry and rightwing propaganda. This has nothing to do with Christ. If you really want to know what that’s all about then read the book – I think you’ll find it quite refreshing. Except that’s not good enough for Gibson and his kind, oh no, why allow people to choose for themselves, sheesh, they might even end up thinking the whole thing’s a load of nonsense. No - much better to align yourself with the forces of right and good and make sure that everyone else regardless of race or colour or religion is put where they belong – in hell. If you don’t believe and swear to everything me and my chums on the right believe, then you must be evil, you must be anti-American, you must deserve death.

I’m beginning to think that venting your spleen on the written page isn’t that productive. I don’t feel much better. Tired, yes, better, no. Perhaps I should go and stand on the street and address the passersby. I’d be in good company. As I write I can hear what seems to be an orgy of window smashing, car alarms, swearing, bin kicking, vomiting and a bit of braggaddagio thrown in for good measure. Plus the sounds of 1000 police sirens going off as they scream past the flat. No danger of any of them stopping here to sort out the nightly procession of pimps and yobs and muggers that patrol our streets – why bother stopping in shitty old Holloway to bust a couple of illegal immigrants and their child prostitutes when you could be flying up the road to arrive 20 minutes late at a garage hold up. In the 2 years I’ve lived on Holloway Road the only coppers I’ve seen outside of their speeding squad cars was when someone set a BMW on fire outside McDonalds. Saw plenty then. Christ I’m beginning to sound like my Dad. So I shall sign off now and go and solve my emotional and financial problems in one. Kill a dealer – make good and feel good at the same time. It’s not like plod would catch me, and as for anyone else, well, this is Holloway, who the fuck cares. Welcome to Holloway – do you have a dream?

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