LMFAO WTF etc…

Just don’t say fuck

'The Bird'

It was the Superbowl this weekend. For those of you who don’t care for American sport, that meant nothing. For those of us who do, it was an excuse to stay up ’til the wee small hours watching men batter the shit out of each other, the most expensive ads in the world, and the infamous Half Time Show.

The Half TIme Show is like a get out of jail free card, in case the game is a bit wanky. For twelve minutes, one of the biggest performance artists in the world wows the crowd/advertises their latest album (*delete as appropriate). Some, such as Prince in 2007, are amazing. Others aren’t. Madonna did it this week, and was a bit turdy if the reactions I saw were anything to go by.

To distract everyone from her freakish, disturbing muscles, and irrelevance in 2012, Madonna was joined on stage by a veritable zeitgeist of new artists. Nicky Minaj, LMFAO and MIA performed with her, and MIA has inflamed the American sense of indecency by swearing at a camera.

Frankly speaking, I would have thought a 53 year old childsnatcher gyrating in a leotard would have been offensive enough. Apparently not, given the reaction. The NFL, and NBC who broadcast the crass digit, have sought to deflect blame on to each other, and there is even suggestion that MIA herself will be liable for any fine levied by the FCC.

Now, honestly, is it really that big a deal? The US has an incredibly twisted set of morals. Madonna was joined by LMFAO – laughing my fucking ass off in full. This inferred cuss is clearly acceptable to the NFL and NBC, but MIA’s open gesture is not.

Everyone has a right not to view material they deem vulgar. This melodrama that has followed, however, is petty and inconsequential. MIA is being crucified and it is entirely disproportionate. If she is contractually liable for any fine, it could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seriously, chill the fuck out. If she’d have been toting a gun, fine. Flip the bird, no no no. It’s completely incongruous to me. Still love them though, mentalists.

Stick

Well, it is an attractive stick, let's be honest

NEEEEEOWM

So this fellow is going to try and break the sound barrier. But unlike Concorde, or ThrustSSC, Felix Baumgartner will be trying to do it in freefall from a balloon. Fucking legend. Human history is littered with these kind of mavericks, who attempt to do things the rest of us can’t even comprehend. Good luck to him. I mean it. If anything goes wrong, his blood could vapourise. And that isn’t a pretty sight, as this picture attests.

The FP

I can’t decide if this is the greatest or worst film trailer ever:

In other news

-Best shower curtain ever.

-Squash hurts.

-MATA!

Just a great song:

Everybody’s running, round and round in circles.

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Bonuses and jazz

… or, Why Bankers Can’t Earn Money

RBS - Right Bastarding Shithead, as the popularists would tell you

Stephen Hester, the Chief Executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, is handing back a bonus of nearly £1m. Under intense pressure from the media, and members of both the government (Lib Dems in the main) and Labour opposition, he decided to refuse the bonus as it was seen to be a distraction from the running of the 82% taxpayer owned bank. This has been seen as a key victory in the battle against excessive boardroom renumeration.

I’m sure it’s not going to be a killer for Hester. His total package for the year will be disclosed in March, and is likely to total around £8m. But I’ll get to the point – I don’t think he should have given it back. I think he deserves it.

Firstly, there is the question of performance. Hester was brought to the bank after it was bailed out by the then Labour government in September 2008, tasked with turning the bank around. He has. While the share price is half that from when the government pumped in £45b, the bank is back in the black and making money. This is set against an economic climate when profitability is the exception, not the norm.

Secondly, there is a question of fairness. Hester was hired by Labour. His contract was agreed a long time ago. Why now, 3 years on, is it a party-political issue, with Labour kicking up a hell of a stink? I find it hypocritical in the extreme to give a man a job on one set of terms, and then argue against them when it suits you in the future. Hester is being used to point score in Westminster.

When you disregard the money involved, this is a contractual issue. Should an employer be held to their promises? Of course! I for one would be fucked off enormously if my bosses decided to change the rules after I fulfilled my side of the deal.

On top of this, the bank is still owned by you and me. If Hester is good at his job, why shouldn’t he be paid? After all, his incentives reward us too, not just him. If we are ever to see the investment made in the bank returned to the public purse, someone has to run the bank, and well.

The money is exorbitant, don’t get me wrong. But just because it’s unpalatable, doesn’t mean it’s not right. Hester should get what he deserves, and the politicians should solve the problem at source. Hester is a scapegoat, pure and simple.

Like A Sir

Via my lovely cousin Pippa:

Get me a backscratcher

Gay footballers

As I write, I’m also watching Britain’s Gay Footballers on BBC3. Since Justin Fashanu came out, no other player in Britain has. There are gay players. But as we’ve seen with the recent spotlight on racism, football is still full of bigotry, which doesn’t create an environment in which a gay footballer could feel comfortable. However, in my eyes this is a reflection on our society, not our (my) game. There are millions of fans like me, and I know I would support any footballer who came out, never mind what team they played for. Whether or not a footballer will come out remains to be seen. But there is one name that footballer will inevitably be called – hero.

Mick McCarthy gets scared of nothing

In other news

-44.4km/h, speedy.

-Quiz, easy.

-Moussaka, tasty.

Just love these guys:

The trumpets play the live long day, but they sound so forlorn.

Mitt…

What kind of a name is Mitt?

Just look at that cheeseball

The ongoing race for the Republican nomination to fight Barack Obama in this years presidential election is nothing spectacular. A few rich white guys slinging mud at each other, while simultaneously attempting to sling some Obama’s way too. Nonetheless, it has highlighted some of the mad divides that exist across the pond.

Mitt Romney (who, amazingly, does not have the silliest first name in the battle) is rich. Filthy rich. So rich he doesn’t quite know how much money he has, estimating his fortune at “between 150 and 200-and-some-odd million dollars“. That’s some serious coin.

Mitt has had to defend his wealth, which in all fairness, he has earned. It may have been earned sacking thousands of other Americans, but be that as it may, he worked and earned a wage. What is indefensible is the tax he has paid on his earnings in recent years.

Mitt’s cash in tied up in investments, the profits of which act as an income. On $45m earned in the last two years, he paid $6.2m in tax – just under 14%. While he doesn’t know how much money he has, the average American pays 35% on earned income. It’s madness. The disparity between rich and poor is perverse, and while Mitt can make no apologies for being rich, he can not justify why a nurse scraping pay contributes a greater portion of her pay than he does.

Rick Santorum, an outsider but still in the game, has been talking about abortion. In the über religious US of A, abortion is always a contentious issue. Santorum’s views, however, do not strike me as those of a person fit to run a superpower.

Rick says that he “would urge his daughter not to have an abortion even after rape“. He believes all life is a gift from God. How do you reconcile that with supporting the death penalty? Rick obviously can.

I don’t get it, at all. Taking aside my atheistic views, I don’t agree with him on abortion, or the death penalty. He justifies his views on the ultimate sanction thus – “I would say when there is certainty, that’s the case when capital punishment can be used”. Firstly, on very, very few occasions is there certainty. Even then, I believe you are lowering yourself to the killer’s level if you kill them. Secondly, what if the pregnant woman is certain that having that child is the wrong thing? How is his certainty more valid than hers?

But that is America. And whoever get’s the Republican nomination will have a hard time unseating Obama. Mitt, Rick, Newt, Ron – do your worst.

Battleshots

Fuck yeah is about right

Daily Fail

Everyone knows the Daily Mail is turboshit. A young man fell down some stairs in a carpark while high. What killed him? Cannabis. Genius. Not the blow to the head. How is this even news? How can someone write that bilge and feel good about themselves? How many people die in alcohol related accidents? Who bloody knows. Certainly not the Fail.

How to use fishing wire in Ice Hockey

In other news

-Hungover quiche.

-Fascinating article about snipers.

-Adios amigo.

Like Howler:

This devil in me is you.

‘Talent’ show?

Bit generous, IMHO

Four whores of the apocalypse

Watching The Magicians last night, there was a moment when my flatmate asked “Why do they want people to vote?”. The format sees three pro/am teams of magicians/celebs attempt to wow various audiences with various tricks. The public vote decides who has to do a forfeit at the end of the show.

Back in the day, if my memory serves me well, this show would have been different in two ways. There would have been no penalties at the end of the show, the audience would have been happy to be entertained for an hour. And even if there was, the voting may have been down by an expert looking on, or the audience themselves.

It’s interesting that my flatmate chose to ask that question last night, as there was a show on ITV called The Talent Show Story. I didn’t watch any of it, so from here on in this is my own opinion. But I’ll speculate that all the show did was advertise X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, etc etc. I mean, what story is there to tell? Here is my take.

Uptake of digital television meant that ratings suffered on the traditional, terrestrial channels. Shows that could previously command viewing figures of 15million were lucky to get half of that. With more to watch, interest diluted as it was not necessary to stick with one channel. There was always something else on.

TV Executives are always looking for numbers, terrestrial TV Executives need even more. The Beeb need viewing figures to justify their spend, and to get more public cash. ITV, Channel 4 and 5 need numbers to get advertisers to pay for time in their breaks.

So what was the solution? Some bright spark saw that viewers need to feel engaged, involved, and influential. Hence the talent show, with good cop/bad cop judges, tears and drama. Stick in celebrities, like on Strictly, and you’re onto a surefire winner.

Of course , there have been talent shows since TV began. But before, they were genuine platforms to showcase gifted people who had not necessarily broken into the mainstream. When you think that there was no internet and four channels on the box, winning a show like New Faces was a big deal. Opportunity Knocks introduced the public vote, but the idea of sending a postcard in to vote seems archaic.

The modern beast is entirely different. Pop Idol, X Factor and BGT fuel a frenzy of passion, from the participants to the judges to the audience. Shows are now strung out over the weekend, two nights of histrionics and screaming. As much attention is paid to the contestants stories, their journeys, as is to their ‘talent’.

In the previous incarnation of the talent show, the skill the participant was displaying was all important. Now we know about the relative who died, the knockbacks they’ve had, how they absolutely want this more than anything else they’ve ever wanted in their whole entire life. The contestant is a commodity, and talent is a small part of the make-up of the overall picture. Participants must be squeaky clean. Frankie Cocozza was binned from the X Factor this year for alleged drug taking (an 18 year old pop wannabe on the marching powder? Who’d have thunk it). The right to appear on these shows is highly prized – the only thing I can think of that is taken away when a person is convicted of a crime is voting rights.

The judges are also chosen with a view to the ratings. Out of Simon Cowell, Dannii Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh, two are businessmen (and hence less concerned with the talent than its marketability) and two are puppets singing songs someone else wrote. Indeed, Cole managed to go full circle, from show contestant to judge.

It’s obvious that the most important part of the equation is not the ability displayed. Steve Brookstein won the first series of X Factor, but they couldn’t market him. The people who lose often end up having better careers than the winners, being less constrained by the record deal they’re bound to as victor.

This year, there seems to have been more X Factor backlash than ever. Fixing rumours abound, the format seemed more strung out than ever and the new judging panel bombed. And, let’s face it – the contestant’s talent is severely limited. The nomination list for this year’s Brit Awards is littered with talented artists who broke without the need to go the talent show route. With the internet, viral marketing and instant purchases from iTunes, even television seems like a quaint method of breaking through.

The trouble is, people need to feel like they’re making a difference. Interaction is taken to ever dizzying heights, because we as consumers of entertainment are apparently unable to just sit and watch and enjoy. I think this does us a disservice, and we are only distracted as the product is not enough to hold our attention. Shows like Sherlock, Black Mirror and Mad Men are brilliant, watchable, and hold no necessity to vote on who gets through to the next episode.

What next for the talent show? All the evidence points towards a waning interest, a lack of talent willing to flog themselves to Cowell, and public not buying into the hype. In short, the story looks to be coming to an end. I, for one, won’t cry any tears over its impending demise.

PS dinosaurs were cold-blooded.

Lightsaber badminton

Am I a bad person?

So, that massive cruise ship that’s run aground. Sad that people have died and all. But I couldn’t help but laugh at news stories entitled ‘Pictures show massive gash in hull’. Tell us something we don’t know.

Nirvana Live at the Paramount

Friday night, just about to go to bed, and I see a Kurt Cobain show is on. So I watch that, as I’m weirdly interested by untimely death. After, they have a live show from Nirvana. I was never really into them, but Jesus, they were electric at this show. Seriously, have a butchers at this. Fantastic.

In other news

-Fish finger sandwich – nom.

-Tamara Jew.

-Zooey Deschanel is Katy Perry minus Russell Brand’s STDs.

A bit of Cash never hurt anyone:

Then I see a darkness.

Suarez continued…

Liverpool and Suarez with turbo foot in mouth syndrome

"In my country, I am the victim!"

And so it rumbles on. It is now being nearly 3 months since the game at Anfield when Luis Suarez called Patrice Evra ‘negro’. Liverpool will not appeal the 8 match ban and £40,000 fine against Suarez, and had the opportunity to end the debate once and for all. Amazingly, they chose not to.

Both Liverpool and Suarez have released statements continuing to protest naive innocence. The lame defence of “In my country…” is repeated by Suarez, and he perseveres against the evidence presented. This is despite the linguistics experts stating his language would be “considered racially offensive in Uruguay and other regions in of Latin America”. “I will carry out the suspension with the resignation of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong and who feels extremely upset by the events” – these are not the words of someone showing remorse for their actions.

What annoys me the most is that there is no apology. Even if it riles too much to apologise directly to Evra, a statement could have been made thus – “Whilst I did not understand the full brevity of my words prior to this incident, I apologise if the language used caused any offence and will ensure I abide by what is culturally expected in the future”. That is nowhere near enough, but is at least something.

He couldn’t manage any apology. He is still banging on like he is the victim. Let me explain Luis. In the UK, ‘negro’ is unacceptable language. You are employed in the UK. Therefore, your language was unacceptable. End of.

Plus, the way he used the word was abhorrent. This wasn’t laughy laughy jokey jokey, negro. This was I’m going to demean you, negro. When Evra asked why Suarez kicked him, he replied “Because you are black”. When Evra asked him to say it again, Suarez said “I don’t speak to blacks”. Here, the term is clearly being used abusively – just substitute black for scum and it reads as an insult.

So Suarez shows his true colour (terrible pun, soz). And his employers have taken a totally nonsensical stance given the evidence. Liverpool say that the “accusation was ultimately unsubstantiated”. Sorry, but what but of the 115 page dossier doesn’t substantiate the charge? The language experts called were in no doubt that the manner in which the word negro was used would be offensive. If Suarez admits to using the word, and the experts deem the word offensive, then the charge is substantiated.

Throughout the case, Liverpool have targeted Evra’s credibility. It is akin to saying a drunk mugged whilst sleeping on the night bus deserved it. However, if it can be proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the robber committed the offence, then the victims have no case to answer as to their character. Evra’s evidence was found to be credible, Suarez’s wasn’t. Again, end of.

Please Luis Suarez, Liverpool – end it. Even if you can’t apologise, don’t protest. Everyone can see the evidence now, and you are the only ones seeing injustice. No more t-shirts, no more statements. Take that shred of dignity, the merest morsel you have left, and start rebuilding. God only knows, you have to start somewhere.

Baby reindeer footballing

Gangster OBE

As the New Years Honours list was released, there was ‘controversy’. An ex-gang member, Chris Preddie, was awarded an OBE. I don’t see the problem here – his youth work should be commended.

However, he is a cousin of the murderers of Damilola Taylor’s murderers. Damilola’s father stated an honour should not be given “to the cousin of the killers of my son”. I can’t claim to understand how it must feel to lose a child, but I can’t agree with Richard Taylor’s stance.

Preddie has turned his back on drug-dealing. He is helping his community. He can’t help who he is related to – in fact, he used his cousins’ conviction as a catalyst to change his ways. If anything, he should be put on a pedestal to show kids today what you can do. What a role model he is. Erm, end of.

Penis in La Redoute kids advert

Spotted it yet?

Stray peen

In other news

-Got published, bit chuffed.

-17?!

WANT.

A Lincolnshire boy done good:

And I (kinda) know him. SECOND HAND FAME.

Kick It Out

Suarez guilty of racism

Luis Suarez has been found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra

The incident took place on October 15th, but finally, Luis Suarez has been found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra. His punishment – an 8 game ban and a £40,000 fine. There is no place for racism in football, and the FA’s stance has proven this.

Suarez never seemed to deny the language he used, far from it. He said to Uruguayan media that he “called him something his team-mates at Manchester call him”. His defence seemed to centre on the fact that different cultural norms meant that he was a victim of circumstance. He argued terms considered to be pejorative and abhorrent in the UK are acceptable in Uruguay, part of every day life, and can even be affectionate.

I understand fully that there may be innocent roots to the vocabulary used by Suarez. However, I don’t believe this excuses him, for three reasons. Firstly, Suarez has been plying his trade in Europe since 2006 – he should be aware of the culture here, of what is right and wrong. Secondly, just because it is ok in one locality, does not make it excusable elsewhere. An Iranian can’t stone an unruly daughter in the UK and expect to get away with it, in the same way that a 19 year old British person can’t buy alcohol in California. Thirdly, if you were to disregard both of these factors, the important issue is context.

Let’s take context from two angles – the situation and the culprit. The situation was a tense match between two bitter rivals. But despite how heated exchanges may have been, there is always a line in the sand. If we accept that racially abusive language was used, then that line will definitely have been crossed. Plus, the intensity makes it highly unlikely that Suarez was addressing Evra in a friendly fashion. Next, the culprit. Suarez was well known in England before his transfer to Liverpool for a cynical goal line handball in the 2010 World Cup, that cost Ghana a place in the semi-finals (he then celebrated the subsequent missed penalty by dancing along the touchline). At the time of his transfer to Liverpool, Suarez was banned for 7 games for biting an opponent on the shoulder whilst playing for Ajax. And he is still under investigation by the FA stemming from a separate incident when he seemed to swear at Fulham fans. As the saying goes – no smoke without fire.

Suarez is the type to attract controversy. And for the book to have been thrown at him so strongly, the FA must have seen pretty damning evidence. Any racist abuse, be it from player, fan, or anyone else associated with football must be stamped down on. All things considered, it looks like the FA have done the right thing. Here’s hoping Suarez does too, and eliminates all the shite that will forever taint his image if it continues unabated. The racist brush is perhaps the ugliest one can be tarred with, and rightly so. Whatever the outcome of the inevitable appeal, Suarez has some serious atoning to do.

There’s a reason he wasn’t called Kim Jong-well

Barely a week has gone by in 2011 without some mental despot popping his clogs. Kim Jong-il shuffled off at the weekend, but not without leaving behind some incredible propaganda (my fave being that he didn’t need to urinate or defecate). Here’s a little vid summing up some of the other ‘facts’ about the Dear Leader:

Censorshit

The Virgin Media box got a bit Mary Whitehouse the other night. I do enjoy how Arsenal got censored, but then read A***nal:

From In The Loop - "You are a boring F, star, star, CUNT!"

For you space nerds

This is fucking cool, and soundtracked by 65daysofstatic. What’s not to like?

In other news

-3 of the longest days.

Very interesting read on violent crime in Glasgow.

-Mulled wine is not my friend. Still.

Best Glasto close EVER:

Time goes by, tables turn.

 

Nothing to see here

Just fun stuff

No news. Boring as flip. Financial crisis is dull.

NEW TOP GUN

There is going to be a Top Gun 2. The greatest film ever is getting a sequel. YES. Here’s a reminder of why the first one is so excellent (as told by Quentin Tarantino):

Francis gets a lightsaber

Bennett

Greatest tumblr ever?

Texts from Bennett

Blur

Blur are going to get an outstanding contribution to music BRIT award, and deservedly so. The rivalry with Oasis in the 90’s Britpop era probably will never be matched, and was arguably the greatest time for British music since Punk and before that, the Beatles. Their comeback shows were incredible – I was lucky enough to be at their triumphant Glastonbury set, and it was truly fantastic. Out Of Time is a beautiful song, but this sums Blur up for me perfectly:

In other news

-Couldn’t bring myself to write about guns.

-Office party tomorrow. ÜBER LASH.

-Deaf football on Saturday.

Loving this album at the moment, so mental:

Where I’m from, we see a fucking dead body every day.