Monday, 30 March 2009

It's come to this

I used to quite like television. You could pretty much guarantee there'd be something on worth watching. Now you're lucky to get a handful of David Attenborough documentaries a year. Even Match of the Day is on when you're either out for the night, or, in the case of the early morning repeat, out for the count. And you can't even watch that on iPlayer. What an enormous load of rubbish. Maybe Sky+ is the way forward. Who knows? I'd probably only ever record the footie and Harry Hill's face anyway.

All I do know is that tonight I watched various blooper reels on YouTube as an alternative to TV. Shocking. It's come to this. Scrap the license fee I say. Load of chuff.

(Incidentally, if you've got a few minutes to spare, I can heartily recommend the bloopers from 'Step Brothers' starring Will Ferrell, and the UK version of The Office. Gervais laughing is pure gold...).

Monday, 23 March 2009

Irrational fear of photographs

Google Street View was launched in the UK last week and has been all over the news ever since. Sadly, it's been hogging column inches for all the wrong reasons. No, it hasn't been there because it's a genuinely useful and bizarrely interesting tool. It's not clogging up the front page of the Metro because people are applauding all the hard work and effort that has gone into making it possible, nor is it attracting comment after comment on internet 'Have Your Say' forums because of it's clever use of technology, bringing mapping storming into the 21st century.

No, it's making headlines because, it would seem, there are an awful lot of mumbling buffoons out there.

It's become apparent that vast swathes of the British public are somehow of the opinion that Google Street View is an infringement of their civil rights. A dastardly breach of their privacy! Another weapon in Big Brother's ever-growing arsenal against poor old Joe Public. A giant, map-shaped probe, ready to bum the bejesus out of all and sundry. A big special digi-paedo, waiting to pounce on innocent children like a rubbish, electric tiger. Or maybe it's the latest tool by which those terror folks will torment our brains.

Of course, if you've got the slightest hint of intelligence, you'll realise it's none of the above. In fact, it's just a load of photos of stuff that anyone could go and look at whenever they like at any time of day. Public stuff. You know, stuff that's in public. Stuff that anyone with fully-functioning eyes can look at as much as they like. Stuff that anyone can take a photo of whenever they like. And that's all it is; photos. It's not a live feed. It's not like CCTV. No, that kind of coverage would require millions of large spherical cameras to be permanently placed at five-metre intervals in the middle of every road in every major city in Britain. And last time I checked, that wasn't the case. They'd get in the way of cars and stuff.

So if you think Google Street View should be banned or shut down, you must logically also believe that human beings with eyes should also be banned, just in case they look at stuff. In fact, better safe than sorry, we'd better wipe out the animal kingdom too. They've got eyes and you never know what the shifty fuckers are thinking. They look at stuff all the time. They probably even bloody remember it too!!! Burn them all at the stake, then ban fire incase anyone took a photo of it. Then ban cameras. Sod, it, nuke the planet, there's no telling what people might have casually glanced at and not given a second thought to!

People have complained that images of themselves in compromising situations are available to the general public, even though their faces are blurred out and the only people who will recognise them are the friends and family who already know what a cretin they are. Here are some simple rules: if you don't want people to see you being sick in the street, don't be fucking sick in the street. If you don't want people to see you going into a sex shop, don't go into a fucking sex shop. That's what the internet's for! And if you don't want people to see the front, public-facing wall of your house, go and live in a fucking cave in the middle of nowhere.

And, most importantly, if you really must complain about something, make sure you at least have the tiniest shred of a clue what it actually is that you're moronically whining about. One guy actually complained that criminals would now be able to watch his house continuously, learn his patterns and know when he's out so they can rob his house. Quite apart from the fact that no-one gives a shit about his "patterns", apparently they can tell all that from a single photo taken almost a year ago. My contempt for that person can not be put into words. Instead, I'll leave you to make a deeply angry guttural noise of your choice.

I'm going to have a lie down...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


Last night I made my long-awaited return to the football pitch after three months laid up with an ankle injury. To cut a long story short, during a match last December I was involved in a tackle that basically resulted in my foot going from a standard twelve o'clock position, to the rather more uncommon quarter to five stance. In other words, my ankle was molested very publicly by a complete stranger in broad daylight. Yes, I screamed like a flimsy lamb, but, thankfully, the pain was so bad I couldn't have managed "embarrassed" if I'd tried.

Over the course of the next 24 hours, I went from having two fully-functioning ankles to having one standard ankle and one life-size replica of Joseph Merrick's head at the end of my leg. Pretty annoying really. Not only did it cause considerable discomfort, but it also earned me the nicknames "Simple Jack" and "Full Retard".

Several physio sessions and just over three months later, I was ready to test it out and get back on the pitch again. Cue an hour-and-a-half of high tempo five-a-side football on a spangly next generation artificial pitch. Lovely, glorious and wonderful to be back.

Today, I'm glad to report, my ankle seems to be holding up just fine. Sadly, however, the rest of my body feels like I've been attacked by an overly hostile clan of barbarians, intent on working over all of my major muscle groups with wooden clubs. That's what happens when you sit on your arse for quarter of a year I guess.

It's great to be back.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

View from the sill

Two of my friends have a flat overlooking a busy(ish) street in a small Surrey town. In their lounge they have a large bay window with a similarly large, filled in window seat/sill. I've taken it upon myself to sit in this window seat and watch the world go by, recounting the events that unfold before my eyes. If I don't learn something new each time I sit there, I'm at least reminded of important lessons I've learned in the past. Here is what I have observed recently:

+ Some people, no matter how simple it is, can not drive a car into an area at the side of the road that's big enough for a tugboat. My girlfriend tells me she can't parallel park. Nonsense. Compared to the people I've seen from my watching-sill lately, she is Lewis Hamilton's more talented sister.

+ Despite the appetite-suppressing and growth-stunting qualities of smoking, it is still possible for heavy smokers to grow larger than Richard Branson's hot air balloon. That is a sign of sheer determination in the face of adversity.

+ Neighbours on the opposite side of the road will eventually close their curtains if you sit on your window sill/chair for long enough.

+ After 8:00pm, kebab shops are the epicentre of British society. Even in rural Surrey. What, what.

+ Having a strong dog, sovereign rings and a two-piece tracksuit does not make you hard. It makes you the poorly-dressed owner of a strong dog. Key fact: only the dog comes out of it with any credibility. And he only hangs around with you because you feed him and have him tied to the end of a rope.

I will return to my watch-sill in due time and report on my further learnings subsequently.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Bathing with Palmer

Has anyone seen that advert where a couple are sitting in the bath together? The lady slips under the water suggestively... and out pops Carlton Palmer!

Surprising, confusing, alarming, amusing and titillating, all in equal measure. Lovely.