Fuck the sun…

20130215134222!Southern-belle-civil-warIt’s so hard to write and to think deeply with Katrina and the Waves blaring out on the pub playlist. I am not particularly miserable at the moment, but neither am I ‘Walking on Sunshine‘. In fact, I resent this song for the simple reason that I have never ever been as happy as she sounds when she sings this song.

I didn’t even like sunshine at all for many years; even on holiday I’d try to avoid it. It simply didn’t make me happy. While everyone else was in shorts and keen to get a tan, I’d cover myself up, walking around as pallid as a Southern Belle, obviously, of course, minus the charm and the inheritance.

“Oh me, oh my Mr Butler, why I simply can not abide this blazing Norfolk sun!” I would say while fanning myself.

It’s OK now though, ‘Loser‘ by Beck has just come on and restored my mood.

Missing the point…

People seem to be leaping to the defense of Marie Kondo, saying that her comments on books were misunderstood or misinterpreted as in: Keep your tidy, spark-joy hands off my book piles, Marie Kondo.

I think they’ve all missed the obvious problem with her fame and reputation though: the fact that she’s making a substantial living at telling adults how to tidy up after themselves.

I don’t care whether its books, coffee cups or lego bricks. When did swathes of adults become so infantilised that they need to follow a Netflix show to understand how to tidy up after themselves and de-clutter their lives?

The ‘system’ has conditioned people into mindless acquisition, and now the system will tell them how to fix the situation (presumably with the aim of getting them to acquire more and then purge – ad infinitum!).

Don’t defend Marie, just ignore her and she’ll go away!

I shouldn’t be surprised…

mariekondox…but you can become famous now for telling people how to tidy up, and Marie Kondo has her own show on Netflix on this very subject. I only became aware of her after Lifehacker posted something about her advice on getting rid of books.

It’s bad enough that people feel the need to watch this sort of thing (and that she probably makes a living at it), but to compound it by telling people to cut down to no more than an arbitrary number of books in their house is puzzling. Perhaps if people had more books, they would be better educated and there would be less call for these sorts of lifestyle gurus to peddle their vacuous nonsense.


More Misérables…

EbcosetteApparently people are freaking out that the BBC’s new adaptation of Les Misérables doesn’t have any songs in it.

I don’t know if this is down to general stupidity or simple ignorance about the original Victor Hugo novel. I’ll try not to pass judgement on the levels of ignorance in this country, but instead pose it as a question: are people really this stupid that they think the BBC left the songs out?

Maybe I’m taking the issue too seriously and go with the more humorous retorts. As one bright spark tweeted, “Victor Hugo just messaged. He’s livid that the BBC have taken all the songs out of his musical.”



Is there such a thing? In this age where swathes of people seem to take offense at almost anything, I’ve decided to rouse the bee in my own bonnet and talk about the exploitation of primates in advertising

When I was young, we had hugely popular TV ads with chimpanzees advertising a popular brand of tea. They were voiced by actors and were shown in a variety of comical situations – the most popular of which was probably the one in which they are removal men (removal monkeys), trying to get a piano down some stairs.

We now know that training the chimps for their roles took a huge toll on them and ruined their ability to interact properly with their own kind. So, we don’t use chimps in ads anymore, and that’s a jolly good thing. But, our simian cousins are still the lazy ‘go to’ for unimaginative advertisers. I saw this ad on the train the other evening – an orangutan selling audio books.


I’m not suggesting that any orangs were harmed in the making of the ad – it’s probably just a photoshopped or computer generated. But I’ve chosen to take offense at the exploitation of monkeys (or are they apes?) and to make a plea that we don’t go back to the 1970s and those awful days of exploitative monkeyism?

Anyone for a #MonkeyToo movement?

Tired of being tired?

train adcofI can’t remember the last time I was tempted to whip out a sharpie and scrawl on a train ad, but this one had me getting pretty close.

“Tired of being tired?” it asks, as you can now take this liquid to wake yourself up.

It’s such a well-placed ad, seeing as most people will only see it on the way to work (feeling tired) and on the way home from work (feeling more tired!).

What I wanted to scribble though, was “Try switching your phone off and going to sleep at a decent hour!”

A petty thing, I know, but I never cease to be amazed at how the commercial pressures that we live under constantly get us to pay to make ourselves ill, and then try to sell us a cure as well.

Drunken rant recorded on my phone on a late night train ride home…

It used to be, as Samuel Johnson once opined, that ‘He who tires of London, tires of life.’ And, being a dyed-in-the-wool Londoner, I once believed this with heart and soul. Only now, on a late train home and passing acre after climbing vertical acre of soulless buildings being sold-off to the overseas rich, it feels more like he who tires of life stays to London.

We can’t house our existing population, yet so many luxury apartments are being marketed overseas for ridiculous amounts that it makes you feel like giving up on the whole metropolis,. I mean, how many apartments are sold on the promise of buying into a thriving capital?

And how many buyers will even visit their investment? What if they actually arrived to find it situated in a soulless sector where their only neighbours are construction companies and cranes?

Of course we can’t all up-sticks; the capital is too much of a magnet, but perhaps we should withdraw our after work activities, our over priced morning coffees, and our keep fit classes – a 21st century consumer version of scorched earth? We pull out and build our communities elsewhere. Somewhere we don’t have to pay through the nose for commuting just to justify the crazy politics of investment and aspiration. Let the oligarchs invest in river side ghettos of Waitrose Express and pubs that have all had to aspire to ‘gastro’ status when all you want is a pint, a pie and a chinwag with mates without tripping over digs and having to mind your language in case the local private school kids find their ears penetrated with uncouthness and barbarity by hoi poloi.

No, Johnson wouldn’t be allowed to spin in his grave now for fear of receiving an injunction on noise or lowering property prices. London now is as soulless as those who own it: the corporations and investors and the owners who will never live there. Yes, the city has always been about commerce. For millennia it’s been the place to make money and to make a fortune for yourself. Only now it doesn’t compare. It’s not for those who make their fortunes and live within her bounds. Its for faceless foreigners and their collaborators in the city who slink back to mansions in the home counties having ripped the soul out of one of the greatest cities in the world.

I hope they sleep well…