Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The most irritating noise on earth

Opinion is varied on the most irritating noise on earth. I get bored when people yip about fingernails on a chalk board - if the noise doesn't set your teeth on edge, and not all people are sensitive to it, then it is actually quite a quiet and unobtrusive sound. A road drill in operation, is irritating to all except the absolutely stone deaf. It is also popular to bleat about the music weeping out of the headphones of someone elses iPod - which, again is a mild annoyance compared to the racket of a fox screaming.

I went to the cinema on Sunday, which was nice. I watched "Juno" - this film about a teenage mother, probably because I was a teenage mother once- except, rather than give my child to an uptight yuppie with an immature husband, I raised it myself. Anyway - the differences between my and Juno's choices in outcomes for our respective teenage pregnancies made the film more thrilling as I could experience her choice without actually having to give birth again - winner. Less successful for me was the music of the film. It was that chatty, folksy, modern, minstrel shit, where the lyrics are a running commentary of a vacuous activity, sung in a major key, cheered along by the gasping respiration of my least favourite musical instrument, the harmonica.

I fucking hate the harmonica, it's a real cunt's piece of kit. Tuneless, horrible, sucky and blowy racket. The only good thing about it is that when the type of person who plays the harmonica, is actually playing the harmonica, they can't talk. The downside is, that the nasty music they produce is only marginally better than their conversation. Imagine John Lennon - enough said. And why do harmonica players feel the need to waggle their fingers in that gay way, masturbating an invisible cock glued to the side of the machine? No, please, don't tell me "It's for a vibrato effect", it is not - it is to give a full blown sensory assault - wanky actions to wanker's music.

In English shopping centres, as well as people in Lonsdale clothes shouting loudly at each other, sometimes there are one-man-bands, I think they are Morris Men who have been excommunicated from their local dance troupe. Anyway - one-man-bands usually have a bass drum strapped on the back like a snail and moving a leg bangs the drum. Chicken flapping arms quite often operate cymbals, stowed under the armpits, and the hands might play a piano accordion at the same time. The mouth has a choice between raucous singing or harmonica playing, where the harmonica is strapped on a stand on the top of the piano accordion, and the musician just needs to bob his head forward, like a chicken again, in order to ring the changes. When I see a one-man band, part of me dies.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


De rerum Natura

When our whining, mediocre generation finally melds with the earth, as it misses the boat for cryogenic preservation by a decade and is forced to decompose, old-school stylee, we will pass our world into the asthmatic, allergic hands of our children. Many generation x ers, like a lot of parents generally, want to live vicariously through their offspring- a result of never quite having got out of life, the spice that should make them feel alive and worthwhile. For us lot, who were born in the seventies, have missed pretty much everything good that was going. As our mothers and fathers mutter about rationing, if they can remember it, and make a fuss about depressions and strikes and economic crises and unemployment, race riots, free love and Vietnam, we kids are left with the insipid doings of Mr Bush and his predecessors, "the rave scene" -which lasted five minutes, Robbie Williams, reality TV and the internet. You can see why some whimpering idiots want to hang on for ever in case it gets more exciting. I can tell you it won't.

There are terrible people of my age out there, who try and recreate our childhoods for the next generation - churning out those tedious "dangerous books" for boys and girls - encouraging children to hang around in railway cuttings, whittling sticks and giving the glad eye to perverts. Or those awful designers who try and foist old fashioned curtains and wallpaper onto kids who just want lasers instead of beds. Nostalgia is fucked-up nonsense. If the past actually had been that good - we'd still be doing everything we were back then. We are programmed to want more than we have - that is how progress happens - no child will want to regress to hanging about in the cold when all the excitement in the world is accessible through their keyboard. If I could have played grand theft auto instead of baiting the local flasher, I would have been there like a shot. Nowadays the flasher is internet savvy too and knows how to adopt a persona to groom a kid and maybe even get it to wank him off - a sure step up from being jeered at in the bushes. Advances in technology mean kids no longer have to contact their peer group crushes in person, through a communal phone sitting menacingly in the hall, in full earshot of all the family - nor are they required to pass a note through the hands of a third party in order to avoid talking to their loved one face to face - text and email has saved the blushes of many an adolescent - three cheers for that.

But progress costs, and here is where kids start paying - in stress. Higher tech means tougher streets and cleverer baddies who can use spyware and cheap shitty surveillance equipment to perve on kids and watch their movements. It makes fussy parents, who monitor and push and force extra kumon maths and drag their kids to shrinks as soon as they squeak. The internet has created a new way for kids to be bullied and although I have to make myself give a shit quite hard, when I hear of brats going doolally because of a spot on name calling online - compared to the ritualistic torture I saw going on in my boarding school, I can only conclude that as their world is more screen based, so are their feelings more screen sensitive, and one cannot judge another person's pain on one's own scale of tolerance. The weedy, vealy, palefaced, square eyed, little shites.


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