Funny

No Signal For You!

I’ve recently changed jobs. Yes, I know what you’re all thinking, “So, in addition to the astounding quality of dross produced on this website, he also does a proper job?!?!” I do… well, I used too. Many years ago back when I was working in and around London I did several proper jobs, and I was quite good at a few of them, these days I’m interned on the south coast of England, and now dwell within the quagmire offices of whatever company is hiring – prior to their filing for bankruptcy.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I escaped the last place I was sentenced too – a truly awful shithole in which slimy, obnoxious, dim-witted sales agents fleeced old people out of their money, by falsely promising to provide cruise holidays the company could never hope to deliver as advertised/lied about. It was the most dreck-filled sleaze pit I have ever had the misfortune to sit within… think shitty high street McDonald’s, but with a photocopier.

After eventually rediscovering my soul, I quit the place in question and now work within yet another office, located in a very nice hamlet town just outside of Guildford (I’m slowly inching away from the seaside wankers, and back to my beloved metropolis). However, this recent change of paymaster has brought up a very alarming side to my being, one that I was totally oblivious too.

You see, in the English countryside we have a great many things – cricket greens, cobbled streets, fudge shops, incest and charitable devil worshipping. The houses are older than the Lost Ark (and just as difficult to find), and the people are warm, gentle of face and just a little bit fascist.

However, during my two weeks among the tweeded gentry, I noticed the one thing they don’t seem to have… a decent cell phone reception.

What the hell is wrong with this place? How can I stand literally anywhere within a three mile radius of my office, an office that is located amongst some of the country’s most expensive real estate, and not get a sodding phone signal? At first I thought my new employer was utilising some MI5, phone cancelling, spy-shit technology to stop its workers from looking at Plenty of Fish and Grindr. In fact, no one cares about sexual deviancy in the countryside, and my lack of being able to “phone home”, was the result of my network provider’s ass awful coverage. Bastard!

Now whilst that may be annoying, and seriously affecting my scores on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, what I find more alarming is my newly discovered attachment to my phone. Seriously, when did I start to care about my phone? Have I really become that person – the kind of clone who cannot be without their app-filled guardian for one second longer than it takes for yet another insignificant selfie to appear on Instagram?

I hate to say it, but the answer is yes. I need my phone. I need to be plugged into the Twitter-verse at all times, I need instant news from my various RSS feeds, I need the half-arsed opinions from the countless blogs I subscribe too, I need to see my email, my SMS service, my WhatsApp, my Snapchat. I need the ability to listen to a podcast whilst taking a shit, or watching YouTube videos about people I’ve never met… whilst taking a shit. I need to be linked-in, facebookered, instagramified and all other things I’m probably subscribed too but don’t fully understand.

I never knew how dependant I was until some bastard mobile phone operator skimped on its mast technology and left a town full of city laywers and smugs of Prii (if you’re not sure, that’s the collective noun for more than one Prius), in digital darkness. In short, I say goodbye to my phone signal as I park up, and I don’t see it again until I’m ten minutes into my commute home.

It’s been two weeks now and I feel utterly out of the loop. My stupid twitter comments are no longer consistent or relevant to whatever celebrity died that morning, I can’t keep track of my hate mail from this website, and my wife is unable to drop me little texts to remind me that I’ve forgotten to get our kid out of the bath… again.

It’s got to a stage where I’m thinking of dropping a line to social media pimp Mark Zuckerberg. I heard on several news feeds, a series of tweets, and his MySpace page that he is planning to fly drones across Africa – in an effort to provide broadband connection and Facebook adverts to those people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. How about leaving that shit to Bill and Melinda Gates, and send a few of your drone things over to parts of Surrey and Sussex?

I can’t be alone in thinking that some first world problems demand a billionaire’s third world solution?

Paul Millard 2014

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Homicidal Tendencies

A few weeks ago I decided to count up the amount of people I had killed over the past five years.  I’ll be honest, I was expecting a pretty high number, but upon giving it some thought I have to say I was really shocked.  I wasn’t prepared for just how prolific I had been.  I was also pleasantly surprised by my diversity in victims: men, women, children, animals (I like to skin these); black, white, Asian, European, Inuit.  I’ve done ‘em all.

It was also pretty alarming just how little can spark me into an apathetic killing spree.  Let me elaborate.

In fact, this happened only a few weeks ago…

I’m driving back to my house and trying my best not to kill anyone.  I’m taking it easy in my beaten-up car and obeying all the signals and demonstrating good lane discipline.  It’s a little rainy and the road is wet, but visibility is good and the traffic is moving along nicely at this time of night.  Then… it happens.  Out of a clear blue sky some air-headed pedestrian strolls into the street and takes the full brunt of my front grill.  The guy disappears under my front tyre and I bump uncontrollably over his collapsing body.  Looking in the rear-view mirror, it’s clear this guy is now nothing more than an abstract smear on the road – and I’m in utter bewilderment at the stupidity of the fucking idiot that has just broken my ‘no killing’ attempt to get home.

I go off in total anger.  To hell with it… why am I bothering to conform to a society of people that can’t even cross a road safely?  Selecting the semi-automatic that I like to keep fully loaded, and with wild abandonment I let a few rounds off.  Without even aiming I manage to take down a few people walking into a nearby park.  I hear the screams (that always accompany my target practice), and I’m immediately urged to stop the car, select my silenced MP5 and let the big dogs hunt for a while!

That night I killed around sixty people.  Sick, eh?  To be honest, what’s really sick is the amount of stories I have that run along this same adrenalin-soaked vein.

There was an occasion when I stumbled upon a woman cooing at what I thought was a baby in a pram, it turned out to be a revolver!  The crazy bitch lunged at me with a scalpel and I had no option but to empty an entire clip into her skull.  One time I was following this guy I needed to kill, got a little sloppy with my execution method and ended up taking out a dozen or so police officers.  I was riding a horse (whom I had been with for many adventures), that got spooked by a rattle snake and bucked me off – I retaliated by giving my new Winchester rifle a run out… I had to buy a new horse after that incident as things got a little messy.

Trust me, this shit happens all the time, and usually someone, or something, gets dead.

I don’t blame myself; I blame how the social order I live within has raped and desensitised me to the vile criminal behaviour I frequently indulge in.  I blame movies and how the power of celluloid has corrupted my mind with visions I can never forget.  I blame music for providing the torture and emotional hobbling the movies simply couldn’t get done.  I blame my parents for wiring me this way, and then my wife for allowing me to become such a vicious and competent killer – Christ! She even brings me tea whilst I’m butchering and dismembering whoever ‘deserves’ it that day!

Perhaps more than anything, I blame a guy who went by the name of zllEnVyllz.  He was the bastard that introduced me to this world, he got me set-up with the right equipment and tools, he encouraged me to select certain scenarios to experience and thrive within.  He more than anyone else told me it was okeydokey to kill, and then laughed at my attempts to best his efforts.

Such savagery takes up a lot of my time and I’m kind of addicted to it all now.  Looking at what I’ve become, and the monster that dwells inside of me, I often wonder why I ever agreed to buy that damn Xbox from him!

Paul Millard 2014   (Gamertag:  MacNu1ty)

… And if you were wondering, the games were Grand Theft Auto 5, BioShock, Hitman Absolution and Red Dead Redemption.

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Scenes from a Portsmouth Supermarket

I take my lunch at the same time every day.  On the appointed hour, I rise from my desk and vacate the building as quickly as possible (usually via the 1st floor window).  Evading the guard dogs and searchlights, I play a game of Frogger across a very busy road and make my way to the local Tesco for a sandwich, a packet of crisps and a critique of the human condition.

In between bouts of awareness towards the inescapability of death, and upon its arrival what happens to my club-card points, I manage to cross paths with a wide variety of indigenous shoppers… and other forms of local pond life.  It’s a strange place, filled with the very base levels of human emotion, moments of stark insanity and attractive buy one, get one free, offers.  On average, I spend thirty minutes each day within its confines and I’ve come to a very worrying conclusion – I’m addicted to the place!

I like to believe that the world is a much safer place than the one portrayed on our television screens.  If you take the scaremongering for what it is and step out, more often than not the world will meet you with an aura of vulnerability which comes from a good place, and when in sync, can be embraced and surrendered too.  Unfortunately, this philosophy is completely redundant at the local Tesco – a supermarket that should be avoided like a council estate prostitute.

With each visit I pretty much see the same series of events played out, usually by the same people I saw the day before.  Honestly, it’s like watching a really bad Betamax copy of Groundhog Day, it’s all grainy and annoying to look at, the tracking is a little fucked and it skips at the best bits.

Right off the bat you have the people that lurk outside the store entrance, usually selling either roadside breakdown cover or paintballing weekends.  They all have the same Joker’esque smile crayoned onto their face and are desperate to make eye contact as a means of kicking off their sales pitch.  On those occasions when I’ve accidently gazed in their direction, and have been asked how my day is going (an enquiry that is delivered with all the sincerity of a politician wiping his arse on a homeless person); I usually supply the following response with the same levels of sickening bonhomie:

‘I’m terribly sorry, old bean, but I don’t speak a syllable of English.  Thanks all the same and toodle-loo.’

This usually confuses them to such a degree that by the time they have worked out that I’m being a little snarky; I’m already in the shop and moving towards the next collection of mouth-breathers.

Why is it that stores of this type have the same layout wherever you are in the world?  I was in a Publix supermarket in Florida last year and the layout was identical – so much so that I didn’t like going in there because it felt so bloody similar.

Right up front you have the magazine aisles and lunchtime sandwich selections.  I’m guessing they put this up front because it’s common knowledge that eating and reading are intrinsically linked, like swimming whilst painting.  I’m also guessing that these aisles are up front because those taking lunch are so weak from hunger and lack of quality reading material they are unable to fully enter the shop.  Truly, my heart bleeds.

After this point, you are plunged into a theatre of dread, in which to survive you must depend upon your ability to predict the unpredictable and invoke whatever supernatural guile you may possess.  A skilfully-crafted maze of refrigerated cabinets, awkward salad isles, and confusing corridors of brightly coloured tins, boxes and packets await you – all of which is being traversed by a myriad of coupon-crazies and guttersnipe shoppers hell-bent on messing with my groove!

With each trip I take I can always rely on two things happening.  Someone will usually stop dead in front of me for no obvious reason, and a kid will be shouted at by a grotesque parent… for no obvious reason.  Of the two, I particularly like the stop dead event.

It’s not like these people stop to look at something, or pause a brief moment to mull over the store brand spaghetti hoops.  No, these people seem to be governed by an invisible traffic light system that demands their total compliance regardless of all those around them.  They just stop, like a fat bloke’s heart during his third plate of cheese.

I’m always tempted to take the hard line, and act as if I were in my car.  In those moments when someone just stops for no reason, and you slam on your brakes in order to avoid a collision with their fuck-tarded stupidity – I’m not alone in my knee-jerk desire to immediately act like an arsehole taxi driver, lean on the horn, and swear until my vocal chords fray, am I?

Well, try this approach the next time some bastard hits the brakes on their shopping trolley.  Get as close behind them as possible and start making loud “beeeeeeeep” noises.  Go ahead and scream ‘fucking idiot’ at the back of their head, and question the whereabouts of their father and need for corrective spectacles in the hope of avoiding future altercations of a similar nature.  As you pass them, give a massive “wanker” sign right in their face… and call them a ‘effing idiot’ again for good measure, and maybe do the “beeeeeeeep” noise again.  At the very worst you will get a suspended sentence and maybe a little community service.

As for the poor child being berated by their parent, well, I currently live in Portsmouth, an area renowned for incestuous teenage pregnancy and people that revel in the lower spectrum of intelligence, respect and self-worth.  I can only hope the poor little bastard gives their grunting mother/sister the slip and seeks a better life away from this abysmal plague-pit of a town.

So, after taking a zig-zaggy, partially-sighted, tour around the place – avoiding traffic violations and inbred kids caterwauling their lungs onto the floor – I eventually arrive at the last stage of the supermarket experience, the cashiers.  After yet another battle of wits with an unarmed opponent, and with my head filled with visions of a toxic spill coating the area and rendering it uninhabitable for the next two-thousand years, I eventually leave the supermarket and head back to my office… another place filled with empty-headed-who-cares-bollock-talkers.

But do you know what the real kicker is?  Ultimately, when all is said and done, the joke is on me.  Why?  Because through all this nonsense and snarky opinion, and away from my tortured tales of battles with local beer-can goblins and £2.00 fruit salads, I still sit at my desk and look forward to my next trip into oblivion.  What a loser!

Paul Millard 2014

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Meandering Through The Medicine Cabinet

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Why is it that in this age of enlightened attitudes from the new generation of modern families and forty-something hipsters-wannabes is there still a wholly unrounded perception towards those who ‘do’ drugs?

My days of indulgence were sadly snatched away from me upon the birth of my son.  My last joint was rolled and flamed on the very day he was born.  I had spent all night at the hospital, the little fellah arrived with screaming and tears (mainly mine), and once Mum was settled in her fancy recuperation unit, I went home and rolled a fat one.

Sitting in my back-yard with the strongest coffee I could find, an empty stomach, and a few ounces of Afghanistan’s finest Kush, I not only pondered the reality of being someone’s dad, but also that being a dad means I need to stop getting stoned all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, the minute my son leaves our house and ventures off to college, university, whatever, and with a large part of my fatherly duties achieved, I will no doubt revert to the waking-baker I have always been.

My misadventures with various herbs, tabs, pills and powders were always conducted away from the normal and the acceptable.  In a strange London club that was allegedly operated by the Real IRA, on a transatlantic flight (back in the days when you could do shit like that without being mistaken for a terrorist), and once whilst stumbling through downtown Miami, at 4am, with two transvestites in a Pontiac Firebird!

All those moments, and many more, yet strangely enough not once during my times in the medicine cabinet did I feel the need to rob someone, hassle someone, fight someone, rape someone or act like a lady’s clunge area.

However, and not including the panic roused by the scum-bag media, the amount of times I see a viciously over-stimulated man-woman-thing, trying to lock an aggressive gaze with anyone who makes eye contact, is beyond a fucking joke and worryingly regular.  What makes it worse is when you realise it’s not the behaviour of your usual chavvy little fucker whose parents are one DNA sequence away from dog shit, but actually as a result of drug use.

That sullen-eyed expression, the sickly smell of a recently dogged joint, or even the overpowering bouquet of the one drug we all find acceptable, alcohol.  It’s a sight that not only provokes a sense of avoidance and revulsion, but also an instantaneous disgust for the drug you have attributed to the behavioural patterns displayed.

Seriously, it’s this kind of stuff that gives drug use a bad name!

Please, all you people that fit the above description.  Stop.  Stop ruining the party for the rest of us that can handle our high without the need to become a loathsome little puke.

There’s no great mystery to it.  Drugs can make you better.  They have the power to lead me to a nightclub – a place I would normally fucking avoid with my broken fingernails scratched in the pavement.  They can make the most boring flight into a possible alien encounter in the sky (no time to explain now, but it was very trippy).  They can make me talk for hours with two transvestites in a Pontiac Firebird!

All you twats that get fucked up and rob someone, please leave the area, leave the country, leave the fucking planet if possible.  Take all those bastards that have given acid a bad name with you, those people that dance in fields to awful music designed to provoke tinnitus and extreme diarrhoea.  Try blowing your whistles and throwing shapes as my fist punches through your thorax.

I know it’s trite, but look at music and comedy; it’s a fucking hotbed for great drug use.  Hendrix, Keith Moon, Dee Dee Ramone and John Bonham, Lenny Bruce, Greg Giraldo, Chris Farley and John Belushi; they all took drugs and they all made the world a much nicer place to get wasted in.

Ok, so they also died in hideously fucked-up and horrifying ways – with most of them found lying in their own shit, riddled with Hepatitis B, and drained of any semblance of their previous personality – but let’s not get hung up on that.

Besides, those guys act as a nice little precautionary tale for anyone looking to step up from the lower leagues of funny, mischievous, lovable drug addict to the scary premiership of “I’ll fuck your mashed skull” drug addict/droog.

I want more of those guys and a little less of Michael McIntyre, The Wanted and those little scrawny fucks that congregate around the local Kwik-E-Mart.

It’s two sides of the same Rizzla paper.  We have those that can freely use drugs with minimal disruption to their lives (perhaps a little more time than usual spent talking to transvestites, but that’s it), and those that fucking ruin it for the rest of us with reckless indulgence and escalated arseholery.

I don’t want to be mean, or avoid the whole “it’s a disease” horseshit, but let’s bottom line it for a second.  You rob someone, you attack someone, you rape someone, it’s all on you, bitch.  Everyone who’s every committed a criminal act had a fucking reason for doing it – usually as a result of either piss-poor judgement or trying to work outside the system we all adhere too.  That’s it.

Just because you’re a drug addict doesn’t give you a free pass to run riot, and blame the blackened tin-foil for the shit YOU have elected to do.  You rock the pipe, stab a vein, smoke a bowl or any of the other terminology I’ve heard in The Wire, then you and your broken shitty-arsed veins need to stand up and be counted, rather than hide behind an excuse based on a sickness.  Cancer is a sickness, Alzheimer’s is a sickness, man-flu is a really bad sickness – smoking crack is a fucking life choice, at best.

In essence, those that can’t manage their high, start robbing the town-folk, and go all Breaking Bad on us; you people need to stop playing with the rest of us.  Go to a clinic, or wherever you need to go, and take up basket weaving or Moshi Monster collecting.

Stop ruining our lovely drug-taking.

Paul Millard 2014

P.S.  I think I’ll give the past word on this to one of my heroes… over to you P.J.

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A Christmas Evening, With Fish and Tits

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It was just before Christmas when myself, and my wife, took the decision to do a movie double-bill one evening.  Our son was safely in bed and we were free agents to watch whatever we fancied.  We weren’t going to watch yet another episode of that Welsh fire-fighter bloke who appears to live in the most flammable fucking town on the planet, or those American kids who morph into plastic toys that look gay and shit.  Oh no… we could be masters of our own viewing!

So, with such time on our hands what masterpiece did we decide to watch?  Yep, you guessed it; we chose Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD.

We decided on these films for two very sound reasons.  I really wanted to see Kelly Brook in a sexy bikini, and I thought my wife would really want to see Kelly Brook in a sexy bikini.

To raise the stakes a little higher, we also watched these films whilst building one of those online photo albums as a Christmas present for my parents.  Different, huh?  You won’t get this kind of film critique from those stale, uninspiring hacks over at Empire, and as for Total Film, they are little more than a fucking poster magazine at this point and therefore no real competition when it comes to unique movie reviewing.

Anyway, back to the movie…

The lovely Kelly Brook only appears in the first film, and whilst she was truly amazing in that bikini, to say nothing of her poignant acting throughout the stirring underwater lesbian scenes, I was truly surprised by how good this movie turned out.

First off, any film that starts with Richard Dreyfuss, rowing a boat whilst whistling “Show Me The Way To Go Home”, already scores big with me as a hard-core Jaws fan.  However, whilst it was nice to see him, the appearance is short lived as it seems a Great White Shark, and a prissy Robert Shaw, is no match for a bunch of angry fish.

The plot is easy to reach.  An annual spring party held on the postcard perfect Lake Victoria falls foul to some bad joojoo, and a pack of prehistoric piranha set about fucking up the incredibly young and beautiful people dipping their toes.  That’s pretty much it.

It’s hard to discuss this film without falling into a dozen clichés and nods towards the B-movie creature features that inspired its remake… but that’s the point, this film has its fins firmly in that wheelhouse and is actively looking to be compared to those that came before.

Fun, gory and at times a little scary… and I’m not referring to the acting.  Although, whilst we are on the subject, the crappiness of the performances is only matched by the dreadfully stereotyped characters these luvvies are trying to inhabit.  Let’s be honest, there’s more depth to a fridge drip tray than there is to the portrayal of a sexed-up, Girls Gone Wild video director who only seems concerned about the prospect of the piranhas eating his dick.

This being said, the film manages to bag a few good actors.  Kelly Brook is obviously in a class of her own (and is perhaps best suited to silent movies), but the director, Alexandre Aja, managed to sign up Elisabeth Shue, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd, to say nothing of the aforementioned Ricky Dreyfuss.  Hell, they even got a porn star, Riley Steele, to eventually sleep with da fishes.

As the credits rolled, and with thirty pages of the online photo album done, my wife looked at me and we both gave an approving nod – we liked this one.  Piranha 3D feels like the kind of movie that is destined to become a true cult classic… but you may need to wait another 15 years for the film to reach that pinnacle.  Enjoyably gruesome with some genuinely funny moments, and all aided by two of the sexiest women on the planet making out… underwater.  Enough said.

Made a few years after Piranha 3D, Piranha 3DD ushered in a new director in John Gulager, and a grand total of five different writers, all geared up to make a worthy sequel.  However, with so many people involved in penning this script I’m still unsure how they all managed to miss the point of a B-movie, and make a truly fucking awful mess of a film.

This time, Nemo and his friends set their tiny eyes on a Wet ‘n Wild type waterpark, and manage to do a pretty good job messing shit up for all the amazingly young and still beautiful-looking people dipping their toes… again.  However, that’s where all the fun ends.  It’s a film that looks half decent on paper, but desperate and trite on celluloid.

I’ll be honest, ten minutes into the film I gave up on the plot, gave up on the characters, I even gave up checking out the rack on the lovely ladies, and concentrated more on cropping the photos for my online album.  It’s that bad.

The Richard Dreyfuss cold open from the first film is replaced with a similar manoeuvre employing Gary Busey.  So even before the film starts, the audience is pretty much slapped with a notice telling you that zero thought or originality has gone into this, and instead the writers have tweaked the nipples of the first film to see if anyone notices.

Talking of cast, it’s once again a veiled version of the original.  Christopher Lloyd is still here, as is Ving Rhames, but the rest are about as forgettable as that thing I just forgot about.  The heroine, played by Danielle Panabaker is watchable, but this is largely due to Danielle being as cute as a button, and from her work in the Friday the 13th remake and The Crazies.

Even the attendance of David Koechner (Champ Kind from Anchorman), fails to divert your attention away from this lazy river of dog shit.  I’m genuinely staggered by how much this film choked, and if I’m being honest, a little disappointed and cheated.

With the rise of films like Sharknado, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Big Ass Spider, the continued health of the modern day creature feature is not in question – however, the continued adventures of the piranha are dangerously close to being filleted, and may require the industry standard reboot in another five years in order to stay appetising.

And with that, our piranha double bill evening was over.  The first fishy tale was a delight, and one I will revisit at some point – if only to watch Kelly again – the second movie was a big, fat red herring, dipped in mouldy breadcrumbs and eaten by a shabby homeless person who has a faint smell of piss on his fingers.

… and if you are curious, my parents loved the photo album.

Paul Millard 2014

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Are You On Facebook?

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If I had to pick one question that sums up the past six years of society on Planet Earth, this would be it.  I am asked it on a weekly basis by various people, sometimes by the same people who asked me the same question the previous month!

In fact, I’m not actually sure how I should take this repeated questioning?  Is it out of pure fucking amazement that I’m one of the few remaining who does not have a Facebook account, or is it more a spiteful sarcasm that sails clearly over my head?  Who knows… who gives a shit?

Facebook – the mind controlling, all-seeing, all-knowing, self-inflicted lifestyle choice that George Orwell didn’t get around to explaining.  CCTV and Big Brother, Room 101 and the Ministry of Truth… all this stuff is puppy-dog tails and Julie Andrews singing on top of a big mountain when compared to the hypnotic gait and consuming addiction Facebook has to offer.

I don’t like it.  All these people updating every fucking second of their life to an audience of people who they last saw in infant school.  Or even worse, updating every second of their life in order to inform the same people these clueless shit-wits work with eight hours a day – and the family and friends they see for the rest of the time.  Why bother?

Ok, ok I know what you’re thinking – this is all a bit rich coming from a man who runs a website, writes for a dozen more, and forces his twaddle down your throat.  While I may not like the association, it’s a fair point to make.   My only saving grace is that I don’t fucking care what you think.  You need to go searching for my crap, and even if you stumble upon it, you have a choice to ignore it… furthermore, judging by the number of hits I get each month, there seems to be plenty of disturbed individuals with clearly nothing better to do than trawl though this rhubarb – so stick that in your friends list and smoke it!

What’s your Facebook status?  What’s the point?  I can’t be the only one who finds little messages telling everyone how happy they are in love, or how they just managed to buy a really expensive dress, or how they got Rohypnoled (again) last night, completely banal and the folly of teenage girls with too much free time on their hands… am I?

JIM99 is really looking forward to a party this weekend, and FatDud was so pleased to see KathyWoodenSpoon in the pub last night, and Paulfuckingboredwiththisshit is about to buy a machete.

Do I have a Facebook account?  Yes, I do.  A few years ago, and under the cover of darkness, I stealthily opened an account.  I told no one of this seeming reversal of attitude and duly entered all my details like a snuffling, two-faced, little troll boy.

Names of schools attended, names of jobs sacked from, names of pets owned, names of school pets that got jobs, names of jobs that got pets then went to school, I entered the lot.  I didn’t want too, but it was all in the name of science and proving my own twisted little point.

Two weeks later, I received a telephone call from my younger sister.  In between bouts of family shit and other things, she uttered, “You’re finally on Facebook then?”  Whilst my sister is capable of many things, I have no reason to believe she is a witch – how did she know I was on there?  It took two weeks, for fucks sake!

I was going to leave it for a month, but this prompted me to take a look at the account earlier than I had anticipated.  Sure enough, there was my sister asking to be my friend (the fact she has been my sister for forty-two years is by the by and fucking worthless in the world of Facebook!), and she wasn’t the only one on there.

I had a friend request from a girl I last saw over thirty-five years ago.  How in the name of God’s glorious piss did she find me?  Has everyone turned into part-time psychic detectives, who constantly search for everyone they have ever known, so they can write on their wall about how fucking happy they are that Sharon Awful has got through to boot camp on X-Factor?

There were others on there, two of which I knew, the others I had absolutely no recollection of.  It’s fair to say that many years of smoking copious amounts of weed has held my memory back a little, but I haven’t quite given up the ghost yet.  I had no idea who these people were.  I find this particularly creepy and one of the reasons why I can’t get on with this Facebook cult.

Two people who I don’t know, and who may or may not know me, requesting they be my friends – if these fuckers really knew me (and how prickly and snarky I usually am), then I wouldn’t get the friend request in the first place, would I?

And now to pull the pin and clear the room of all these fevered egos – I’ll argue with anyone who fails to accept their real need for Facebook – to nose around other people’s lives, to check that someone isn’t doing better than you, and to collect as many people on your Friends List as possible as a means of looking popular and relevant.  Seriously, if collecting stuff is your thing then buy some fucking Pokémon cards!

Surely in a world plagued with online dating horror stories with sex pests and pedophiles around every corner (according to the Daily Mail), isn’t there something dreadfully wrong with this picture?  However, in order to wrap this shit up and by way of an example, I had two people in particular who requested me on Facebook – one of them is my own sister who I already have more than enough contact with thank you, and a girl I once sat next too when I was 7 years old.  Talk about opposite sides of the cyber scales!

So, did this little exercise convert me to Facebookism?  Have I dumped that ill-informed sniffy opinion towards its millions of users?  Not a fucking chance.  I’ve still got the same shitty attitude towards both it, and its more desperate users.

In short, Facebook is a place where you are defined, in seconds, by the worst choices you have made and the worst aspects of your character.  The ‘piling on’ of communal scrutiny and instantaneous opinion is vile – add to that a squeeze of public shaming and it becomes obscene and monstrous.  It’s the realization of a self-appointed lynch-mob, borne from friends and acquaintances you have collected in the name of popularity.

Sometimes a single photo tagged within a page of meaningless and harmless nonsense can result in the worst fucking forms of judgment, aggression, bullying and general disassociation towards the human behind the Facebook account.

Ok, so Facebook may just be the technological progression that is diametrically linked to the pace of our modern culture, the crazy velocity of communiqué, and the strength in our ability to crave, syphon, and reassemble information.  However, it’s equally the result of our obsession with titillation, public self-destruction, moral liquidation and a Daily Mail idiot conviction that has become a fucking petri dish for the worst aspects of communal misjudgment – all purveyed and farmed by anyone with a smartphone.

Not for nothing, public humiliation and public shaming was outlawed as a formal, state-sanctioned reprimand during the 19th century.  It was banned, and was considered by the law-makers at that time as a cruel and unusual punishment to bestow.  My word… look how far we have come.

With all this said, and if I’m being completely honest with you, dear reader, I’m also scared of Facebook.  I’ve not been back to the account since this incident; and I’m genuinely worried about who will crawl out of the woodwork next, who might be looking for me, who wants to be my special friend – here’s hoping that guy who touched my front bottom when I was six doesn’t have an account!

Paul Millard 2014

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There’s Snow Love like Frozen Love

People of a religious persuasion call it enlightenment, drunks call it a moment of clarity; but on a Sunday morning a few months ago, in a packed cinema, I had what I’m going to call the potential start date of my mid-life crisis.

Over the weekend I took my 4 year-old to the cinema to catch a movie.  My wife wanted us out of the house for whatever reason and it was too early to take the kid to the bar.  I considered the local ‘dirt’ park (the name I use to describe the disused shithole park close to our house that seems filled with climbing frames designed to kill children, and packs of drug-addicts trying to dismount the see-saws without sustaining concussions), but I wasn’t in the mood to stand around that place in the rain, and my son hadn’t had a tetanus shot for a while.  So with pick ‘n’ mix selected, bottles of water at the ready, and our stupidly priced tickets collected, we were ready to settle down in a giant-ass room full of screaming kids, to watch Disney’s latest offering, Frozen.

By the way, the cost of movie tickets is on my shit-list, I’m not finished with that topic by a long stretch.  Two tickets, a few bottles of water and some sweets racks up to £30.00 – are you fucking kidding me, that’s almost the same price the kids pay for a few hits of hillbilly heroin at the aforementioned ‘dirt’ park.  Anyway, that’s for another time.

So, the film starts… and it’s excruciating.  Talk about so sweet you’re giving me tooth-ache, within ten minutes my teeth had been extracted and replaced with a wooden set.  Disney know how to play an audience, no shit, they are fucking masters at it.  I’m not sure how many heart-strings we have, but they were giving a virtuoso performance with this movie.  The setting, the cutesy dialogue, the songs, the lovable snowman, this thing was taking no prisoners and was not going to stop until every man, woman and child in the place was crying little Disney-hallmarked tears for the big sentimental ending.

I’m forty-two, and pretty jaded on this shit.  I’ve been watching movies for a long time, and I’ve given my half-assed opinion on them in a ton of ways.   Yes, I handed over some loot for a prized Monsters University baseball cap on a recent hike to Disneyworld, but that movie had Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi in it – Billy is a god, and the other two frequently appear in Coen Brothers films.  For all intent and purpose, I could be watching a weird Barton Fink’esque film based on a dream some kid has about monsters in their closet.  No shame in that.

Anyway, I’m sat in my chair and about half-way through the movie.  My kid is loving it, laughing at the right moments, and is already talking about the best bits.  I’m listening to his chatter and playing with my phone, checking IMDB to see how long this movie goes on for, and in relation to the amount of time I’ve already served.  Then it happens…

A princess by the name of Elsa gets thrown out of the kingdom or something, heads to a mountain and builds a huge ice palace – I’m guessing without any prior planning permission or local council involvement.  The fucking singing starts once again about how free she feels and stuff, and I look up from my phone just as this computer generated character loosens her alluring blonde hair, sweeps her perfectly-formed head, and with the most wondrous eyes, stares at the camera.  She stares at me!

It’s at this point I suddenly become more interested in this film than pretty much anything else I have ever been cognitively aware of… ever.  My kid could have wandered off and started eating popcorn from the fucking floor whilst taking a piss against the old woman in row H, I would never have noticed.  I was mesmerized by the goddess on the screen.

From this moment my eyes did not leave the screen.  Fuck, I don’t even remember blinking.  The plot, the singing, the snow shit, all of that dissolved and my complete being was now hopelessly linked to the possibility of her next scene stealing appearance.  She was the Princess Elsa, and I was now wrapped within complete devotion.

The film ends, and we leave the place.  I go home and my wife asks about the movie.  My son gives it the full low-down and rants on the finer details of the snow monster fight and how the Princess punches the baddie and knocks him into the water – for the record, that guy is a real fucking asshole, and clearly has no understanding on how to treat a princess.

Anyway, when my wife asks me about the flick, all I can muster is that the animation was very good.  That’s all I had.  Why – because to explain my new romance with Princess Elsa felt wrong, forbidden, alarmingly creepy and probably grounds for committal to the local cuckoo hatch.  How is it possible?  In the space of one hour and forty minutes my love has somehow waned for my long-suffering partner, and defected to something that was drawn by a fucking twenty year-old Disney intern, and only exists on a hard-drive in Hollywood!

Since then I have pretty much Googled the words ‘Princess Elsa’ every day, I’ve downloaded some jpegs of her to keep in my wallet, and have managed to persuade a few friends to watch the movie – for the sole purpose of checking out the blonde hottie wearing the long dress in the ice palace scene, who I will eventually marry in a ceremony probably attended by Pluto, Mary Poppins and a whole fucking team of psychiatrists.

In other words, the kaleidoscope of women I fantasize about has just included the most unobtainable of the species… those that don’t actually fucking exist.

Paul Millard 2014

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