July 27, 2006

Way back when, at a time when I was but a kid, Rick Astley prowled the charts with all the enthusiasm that one would expect for a man for whom an appearance on Now! 19 represented a quiffed career nirvana, and the word “hero” meant something. It was a word which you could apply — albeit sparingly — to people who had guffawed in the face of all which is sensible, and gone on to carry off remarkable feats, either physical, mental, or professional.

Now, however, we live in a world where people who carry out their jobs to a reasonable level of accomplishment are all of a sudden lumped with the tag of heroism by the papers. England’s perenially failing footballers are heroes. Tiger Woods is a hero for hitting a small ball across a field. Even Tim Bloody Henman is! And he’s rubbish!

Maybe we should create strata of heroism. One can be reserved for the British tabloid press to use which means “carried out their job adequately”. We’ll know that this class of unter-hero is being used because the age of the participant will be listed immediately after their name, for example “Beckham, 31, heroically kicked a ball incurring little to no physical risk, yet accruing unimaginable financial reward in the process.” Actual heroes can be recognised because most of the time, their name won’t be in the paper in the first place.


Going back to pretty much my first-blogged sentiment, that’s nearly three hours of my life I can never get back.

For reasons I don’t want to mention*, I have just returned from the cinema, where I was forced to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 2. For those of you who don’t want to hear about the contrived let’s-set-up-another-episode premise of this cinematic bile, close your eyes now**.

Now I’m not averse to trilogies per se. Three, after all, is the magic number. But I remember them being a bit less blatant in their approach. The final scene of the latest theme park ride-based celluloid filth was absolutely Snakes on a Plane. I am yet to witness another film so cynical in its come-see-the-sequel moneygrabbing. For the love of all that is holy – even Police Academy II served as more than just a segue between I and III. Admittedly, II was something of a Bobcat Goldthwait vehicle, but I digress.

I hate leaving a cinema with the film having just taunted me with over 2 hours of “Haha – you idiot. You just paid far too much to watch this drivel. AND YOU’LL HAVE TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN ONCE WE CAN SURGICALLY REMOVE THE LAST OUNCE OF PRIDE FROM ALL OF THE ACTORS.” It’s just shameless.

Garfield 2 looks good though***.

* but let’s call her “Clair”

** and open them now

*** No. No it doesn’t.

Some of you might be aware that the people who live in the flat above me are — without wanting to taint your impression of them — loud, inconsiderate, halfwits.  Some of you have even been kind enough to come up to me and tell me how much you’ve enjoyed reading about my misery, and how much amusement you’ve got from it.  For that, I can only thank you.  Through gritted teeth.

So for the last couple of months, I’ve been sleeping with ear plugs in. It’s less than comfortable, but this way you can’t hear their ghastly progeny running round at all times of night whilst wearing clogs. Or the turbofolk. Or the heaven-only-knows-what that-is-but-i’m-just-glad-I’m-not-a-part-of-it.

Anyway, things were going adequately until last night, when the Chav of the House entered at 2am.  I detail his thought processes below.

“What a lovely night I’ve had out on the Stella. It’s far too early to start listeing to Only Fools and Horses again at full volume at 3am like I do every other night of my miserable existance. Perhaps I should wake my girlfriend up to argue about stuff which could perfectly reasonably wait until a reasonable hour.”

15 minutes later…

“Wow – that blazing row was just what I needed. It has, however, really perked up my appetite. I’ll cook something.”

And so it was that last night — a night which necessitated sleeping with the windows open — that I found myself trying to get back to sleep with the overpowering stench of strong onions and what smelled suspiciously like offal combing my nostrils.

For anyone who’s finding this difficut to imagine, try getting to sleep tonight while someone for whom you feel nothing but simmering resentment cooks up a spicy lung omelette in the room next to you. I assure you, it’s not easy.

Right. I need answers.

I have now written two blog entries.  Both featured no spelling mistakes, and were reasonably well punctuated.  Both were commented upon, and I’ve driven up the views to my flickr pages.

Even using the most stringent adherence to ITV’s guidelines, this qualifies me for a spot on Celebrity Love Island.  But so far, the phone has been silent.  Have I even been rung by the Guardian for a witty insight into private armies sequestered in Belize? No.  It can’t be that my unique stance — writing a blog as an insider to the IT industry — isn’t sufficiently novel, so there can only be one explanation; there’s something wrong with society.

There’s only so long l can let this sad state of affairs carry on. Unless I start seeing some serious improvement on behalf of the British public — I think it’s a good starting point if someone were to get up and offer me a seat on the train — then I’m going to have to consider writing a strong letter of complaint to the person in charge. Perhaps to Kofi Annan. Or — better still — David Hasselhoff. Now he’s a man who knows how to get things done.

I am fortunate enough to work for a company in which blogging is encouraged. We have an internal blog to which anyone in the company can post. We have the techie talent who have developed tools to aggregate suitably-tagged external blogs onto our internal blog. If you look, this post is tagged “work-friendly”. That means it’ll get posted automatically to the internal company blog. It’s really quite a nice situation to be in. Before starting my current job, I hadn’t really thought much about blogging, but had heard of it. I had certainly never considered posting my inane drivel for the perusal of the world

So I’ve been posting fairly regularly to the internal blog over the course of the past couple of years. I don’t know what spurred me on to do it (well, maybe I do), but the other night, I decided to Go External.

So here I am, and I’m struck by one terrible realisation. I have absolutely no idea what to write. In the old days of internal blogging, I could churn out a few salient stats about the application on which I work, mix in the odd dig about the quality of the slop they serve up in the staff canteen, and intersperse it with the occasional misanthropic diatribe against the people who live in the flat above me.

But now I’m blogging to the outside world, the fact that I have nothing in particular to say is – to be honest – a bit of a drag. Not least of all because I work with some very successful bloggers – people who carry immense respect and a loyal following, people with revolutionary ideas, and also with Dec.
I desperately crave a loyal army of adherents to the Mushy Mantra, but there’s a tiny niggling part of me that feels they’ll need an awful lot more than this if they’re going to sell up their houses, offer me a tithe, and move with me to my walled, fenced, and heavily armed compound in Belize.


WWFifa World Cup

July 10, 2006

Well, that’s it. Another month of my life which I can never get back.

The world cup is over, and in a shock result, a bunch of overpaid prima donnas won it.

Every match to date seems to further blur the boundary between football and American Wrestling. We’ve had the obligatory bad guys who get roundly booed whenever they get in the action, the whiter-than-white hero who ultimately never wins anything, the novelty comedy act, and the big air manoeuvres. I’m just shocked that instead of headbutting that bloke, Zidane didn’t go the whole hog and hit him in the chest with a folding chair.

I suppose the one good thing to have come out of this whole sorry debacle is that now my girlfriend and I can watch TV in the same room again. Hang on – Big Brother is still on. Bugger.