Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Windows 7

Windows 7...who's shit idea was that then?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Jack of all Trades, Master of none

As a generation of wishful thinkers we seem to be faced, on a daily basis, with a rather flummoxing contradiction. Either we’ve determined the path that will lead us through a glittering career, resulting in a Times article written about our success and a place in the Observer magazine featuring the up-and-coming stars of the new generation, or we consign ourselves to a lifetime of bits-and-bobbery, flailing wildly from job to job, desperately trying to find our ‘niche’. This approach to the working world seems to be a result of growing up in a time of relative prosperity, fostering the idea that we had the freedom (and, more importantly, the time) to indulge our hobbies, drifting until they slotted neatly into the bracket of monetary gain. Unfortunately, however, just as we were being unleashed into this dream-like reality, the recession hit and our cosy fantasy was shattered, taking with it all hopes of finding a company that could ‘really use’ someone whose priority in life was to make model sandcastles out of bits of old maths books.
In the twenty-teens, keeping your options open is no longer viable. It is an age where success supposedly hits before you are 30, or not at all.
Let’s take, for example, the music industry – a worry in itself. In that uncertain world, if you haven’t been spotted and signed by the time your voice has broken then you’ll be struggling for the rest of your career. But is this behaviour something we can honestly support? It is no coincidence that, having hit the big time at a very young age, we see bands disappear from the radar entirely to lick their paparazzi-inflicted wounds and nurse their throbbing egos; only to return years later, sage, mature and able to cope with the colossal amounts of pressure regularly exerted upon them.
In this sense, surely we ought to be exercising some caution, cushioning the young talent and not squeezing it out onto the world (and its numerous critics) before it is ready? In doing this, it should be noted, we would also be sparing the feelings of the majority – whose attempts to join the race to stardom are sadly unfulfilled and who spend the rest of their lives wondering what it could have been like. The combined pressure of prosperous peers and the misanthropic media is enough to make any normal person shrivel. However, hope is not lost – life doesn’t end in our mid-twenties, some (old) people even claim that it gets better once the ravages of anxiety and unstable self-esteem have torn through us. All you have to do is act with a little perspective – continue having fun now without getting too serious. After all, children, bills and arthritis will do that for you, later on.

Here are some quick tips to save you some time:

If you weren’t 12 when you landed your first acting role then you won’t be featured in Vogue at 23.

If you weren’t spotted by ‘Storm Models’ whilst walking around John Lewis with your mum at 15, then supermodel you ain’t.

If you aren’t vaguely linked to Mark ‘the endorser’ Ronson (or some other faux-cool music mogul), then going platinum at 25 is laughable. Ha ha.

If Soho Theatre hasn’t put on your autobiographical tale of the hard times of a outlandish middle-class socialite then bye bye The Vics Old and Young.

Some facts to cheer you up:

Morgan Freeman was 43 when he made his first film, having only had some minor television roles prior to that. This lucky break was followed by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – WIN.

Hilary Mantel, winner of the most recent Booker Prize, had her first novel published at 33 years of age.

Bridget Jones and her impressive posterior didn’t get on TV until she was 32.

(Don’t aspire to this, she is a fictional character.)


Monday, 11 January 2010

The Past Is A Foreign Country

Quoted from Reuters News UK:


Well if that’s true then get out your phrase book because TV's most routine magician, Paul Zenon is establishing the worlds first Time Travel Tourism Company. At a recent press conference Zenon was reluctant to discuss the technical details of time travel, but enthused that we will all soon be packing our bags to enjoy the sun in 17th century Morocco, or take in the lowlands of 9th century Belgium.

Paul Zenon, largely forgotten since the advent of Derren Brown has been making a living with semi-regular guest appearances on Countdown and a long-standing 'magician in residence' slot at the Broadway Theatre in the Lincolnshire seaside slum-town of Skegness. But he is hoping to put all that behind him (or should that be in front of him .ed) by paving the way for a revolutionary new form of vacation adventure.
At a recent press conference Zenon stated:

"Tourism in the past is very different to how it is now. You can't just go to your favorite Spanish resort and expect your egg & chips to be served with a smile. Years ago Spain was a very different country, and if you were to go back there in the first half of the twentieth century you'd be holidaying in a fascist dictatorship! Goose-stepping waiters and leather trench-coats in the hot Spanish sun would put anyone off of their holiday experience!" Zenon quipped, and after finishing laughing at his own joke, wiping the tears from his eyes, added "What I'm saying really is, do your homework before going on holiday in the past."

He then concluded with a tone of severity in his voice, "Especially if you want to go to Italy or Greece or somewhere. They had a lot of mental things happen there."

Zenon is expected to be first to test the time travel machine, carrying out essential checks on its safety and reliability. He was keen to drive home the fact that the technology involved was highly technical and would require his expert knowledge if anything were to go wrong at this early stage in the project. But Zenon seems to think that if he were to accidently be trapped in the past by a faulty time machine then he'd have no problem acclimatizing to any situation he may find himself.

"People in the past, well, they're bound to know a true entertainer when they see one. I'll have no problem fitting in wherever it is I may get stuck".

But, the 'TV' magician is also quick to acknowledge that he is not everyones favorite light entertainer. "Derren Brown, I just don't get it... He's not even a proper magician. And he bloody admits it. I'm a true magician. I use real magic. And that means I've got staying power. Not like Derren Brown. He's just a flash-in-the-pan".

We contacted Derren Brown for a response on the Paul Zenon rivalry. He had this to say:

"I remember the name from telly in the mid 90's I think, but couldn't describe his face. Sorry, I've got to go. I'm absolutely snowed under here. I'm making an attractive student girl forget where she lives this afternoon".

So, in the off chance that Paul Zenon will become stuck in the past, what will be Countdown’s loss certainly Derren Brown's gain.


Friday, 8 January 2010

A suitably fitting song

Gracie Fields - The biggest aspidistra in the world

A Brief History of the Aspidistra

In the last few months I have embarked upon a seemingly simple and straightforward task of buying myself an Aspidistra. So one bone clenching winters day I set out to do just that.

Aspidistras were a staple of pre-war ornament. They have loitered casually in the corner of most parlours, private and saloon, sipping in the smog of city air. Being of hardy constitution and resilient in the face of poor gardening they did a good job of this since their introduction to Britain in 1822.

George Orwell took them for his own in his novel ‘Keep the Aspidistra Flying’, to provide a symbol of middle-class mediocrity. To this end his character Gordon Comstock rallies against this ideal, throwing himself into impoverishment and wretchedness in the name of a romantic notion of artistic poverty. Since then the Aspidistra has floundered in popularity, disappearing from the English home, being replaced with a TV, a spiky palm, an Ă„svpiddystrke from Ikea etc and so we come once again to my task.

The first florist grimly told me that he did not sell them, that he did not know where I could get one and he could, maybe at a small charge, pick me one up but not before March. The second laughed as though I had told her a joke (perhaps the one about the Aspidistra and the nun). She did say that she stocked single leaves and that if I was really desperate then she could do me a cut price on buying say 20? Then I could stick them in a pot of soil and pretend. Not quite good enough. So suffice to say I learnt, after a few more enquiries that you could not buy an Aspidistra and that the Aspidistra is the florist’s biggest joke.

Although the Aspidistra may have disappeared in physical presence from our lives, they do have an important place in history. Churchill famously threw one through a window of Number 10 after hearing of Britain’s defeat in the ‘Battle of Singapore’. Then there is the infamous 1926 ‘Aspidistra Two’ whose brief stint as Britain’s most wanted inspired Bonnie and Clyde to later dabble with the law. So for good or bad the Aspidistra’s presence remains in our collective history and now future.

So with all this in mind I would like to introduce Aspidistra, in it’s newest incarnation.