Wednesday, 8 June 2011

facebook ‘places’ and why it’s evil

The pointy plectrum of doom

Picture the scene. It’s an uneventful, typically ordinary day. Perhaps you’re on the bus or train, commuting to work; or perhaps you’re sitting at home, feeling your soul slowly leak out of your ear holes as you watch another episode of Britain’s Got More Talent.

For the fifth time in as many minutes you gaze wistfully at your obligatory iPhone and/or Blackberry, hoping that someone somewhere will validate your existence by calling you or sending a text. You feel a vibration somewhere in your immediate vicinity and for a brief, shining moment you think it’s your phone – but no, it’s just the bus. Or the washing machine. Or the cat.

But wait! There it is! The unmistakable sequence of beeps that means you’ve received a message! OMG! Someone loves you! Life is worth living! Notify the Pope! You pick up your phone, a smile blossoming on your face, a thousand witty replies just waiting to erupt from your fingertips – and the message reads:

Facebook
Such and Such is at Totally Cool Venue with Some Next Person – OMG FIESTAAAA tonight is gonna get MESSY lolzzzz

You sigh. Disappointment crushes your poor, withered heart. It wasn’t a text. It wasn’t even someone posting something charmingly pointless on your wall. It was a Facebook ‘Places’ notification.  

Now, for the benefit of anyone that has been living blissfully under an enormous rock, let me first begin by explaining what Facebook ‘Places’ actually is. Basically, it’s a feature that allows you to ‘check in’ to a location, thereby notifying all your ‘friends’ that you are having more fun than them – oh, and that they weren’t invited.

There are obvious flaws in this concept. The first is that it is bloody annoying and I feel I have covered that ground quite enough already. The second is that it could lead to all sorts of upset and misunderstandings. Imagine your horror at learning via your News Feed that your besties are at your favourite bar and they haven’t invited you.

They clearly hate you and they want you to know it – but why? You haven’t done anything! Perhaps you should confront them. Interrogate them. Maybe in a secure location. Maybe in an abandoned warehouse. You’ve got some rope in the car – and so on as you spiral into madness and the plot for Saw XXI is born.

The third (and possibly more pervasive) consequence of the ‘Places’ feature is that it leads to a constant meta-commentary on life. A virtual voiceover. We can’t simply live our lives anymore; we have to make it into bite-sized bulletins. We can’t have fun without pulling out our phones to tell the internet that we’re doing it. Surely, if we were really having that much fun, we wouldn’t have the time to whip out our phones and compose a status update?

You have to wonder where it all ends. Will we start checking in every time we go to the loo? ‘Lauren is at Toilet –  LOL IT’S JUST A NUMBER ONE GUYS, DON’T GET EXCITED.’

Or when we get it on? ‘Lauren is at Her Bed with 4 of your friends – Disappointing performance so far tbh.’

Perhaps it’s symptomatic of modern times that we simply can’t live our lives without constant attention from others and ‘Places’ is just a natural fulfilment of that craving, but I can’t help but find that it bugs the shit out of me.

And, on that note, I’m going to post this to my blog. Then make a status update about it. Then cry myself to sleep.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

delusion: a short dialogue

So do you think he likes me?

Well, I- I really can’t say, I mean-

Because the other day he said hello to me.

Did he, oh that’s a, that’s a good sign.

Yeah, and I think he sort of winked when he said it.

Right.

But it might’ve been a sneeze, I couldn’t really tell.

I see.

But I think we have like a really good chemistry, you know? Whenever our eyes meet when we’re walking down the corridor, and he looks away and sort of… grunts.

Grunts, right.

Yes, but you know in a sort of affectionate way, if you know what I mean.

An affectionate grunt, yes.

Of course we do have quite a bit in common too, we always get the same flavour trifle off the dessert shelf- and trifle, well. Trifle’s a very important element in any successful relationship.

Of course.

Only trouble is though, I think he’s got a girlfriend.

Oh no, really?

Yeah, you know Tracy, that slag from accounts?

Bitch from hell. Never liked her.

Tell me about it. But I’ve heard they’re going through a rocky patch at the minute, so…

So you’re practically in there.

Yep, completely. In the bag, slam dunk, I’m every woman it’s all in me, voulez-vous coucher avec moi.

You go girl.

So anyway, how’s your love life?

Well you know that guy I slept with the other night when I was wasted? I think he might call!

Oh yeah?

Yeah, well it said so in the horoscope.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

my big fat pop song


It must be hard for pop songwriters. Having to plumb the depths of metaphor, to strive for something new and original in a genre that has been pumped, sampled and autotuned to hell/Ke$ha and beyond - to find imaginative and different ways to say 'I'm having fun in the club, DJ play my song, on the floor etc. etc.' ad nauseam. 


Perhaps that's why artists have taken to increasingly abstract themes in a bid to make their songs more interesting. Bruno Mars is blowing himself up for his evil girlfriend (he'd catch a grenade for ya), Katy Perry is getting it on with aliens in E.T. (Kanye West really knows how to woo the ladies: 'Pockets on Shrek, rockets on deck, tell me what’s next, alien sex. I’mma disrobe you, than I’mma probe you, see I abducted you, so I tell ya what to do') and Enrique Iglesias, well. He's a man of complex subtlety."Please excuse I don't mean to be rude, but tonight I'm fucking you." 

And they say chivalry is dead.

Anyway, it's all very well to mock, but could I actually do any better? Well, I tried. Using Katy Perry's E.T. as inspiration, I penned a sexy floor-filling tune about cleaning the kitchen. Enjoy.

'Fast-acting grease-removing love'

Boy, when you put on
Those marigolds
You know you set my soul on fire

Just the thought of you
Cleaning the kitchen
It’s like a hurricane of desire

(Chorus)

Oh baby baby yeah
Let’s get antibacterial
I want your, I want your
Fast-acting grease-removing love

Yeah that’s right
Make it hot
Oops I think you missed a spot
I want your, I want your
Fast-acting grease-removing love

See, my hob, yeah
It’s really dirty from that time when I cooked rice (oooooh rice yeah)
So baby, get the Fairy out
I think that it needs a scour
You and me can clean for hours

And boy, my microwave
It’s got some
Weird mouldy shit on it
Think I need another hit
Of your fast-acting grease-removing love

Oh baby baby yeah
Let’s get antibacterial
I want your, I want your
Fast-acting grease-removing love

Yeah that’s right
Make it hot
Oops I think you missed a spot
I want your, I want your
Fast-acting grease-removing love




Sunday, 13 March 2011

where is the love? co-op, apparently.

Swans. Why?


Blimey, it’s been a long-ass time since I wrote anything on this blog. In the words of Gaga herself ‘I’m kinda busy’. However, I felt physically compelled to return to my keyboard to address the matter of these ridiculous Co-Op ads. No, I’m not referring to the vaguely period drama ones – I’m talking about the earnest two-part husband and wife his-and-hers specials that have plagued our screens for the past eternity or so.

The concept is simple: a psychotic husband goes on television – unbeknownst to his beleaguered yet still sort of a MILF wife – and starts blurting out all kinds of trivial but intimate details about their relationship. He blames supermarkets for the deterioration of their marriage, and the turgid joyless nature of their lives:

“I don’t want to do that massive weekly shop anymore. I don’t want us to sit in that traffic jam anymore.”

Hitting his stride, he babbles on, becoming increasingly less coherent and more hysterical. There is a sort of chilling madness in his eyes as the camera zooms in and, channelling Brontë’s Heathcliff, he all but screams:

“I don’t want to throw any more sausages away. I LIKE sausages!”

All of this is set against a backdrop of bizarre and disturbing imagery that appears to be only slightly relevant. As the husband informs the nation that he wants to “You know…” with his wife on a Saturday morning, pictures of lions chillaxing on the savannah flash to the fore.

No, we don’t know. We can only guess. You want to go to the zoo? You want to go on a safari? The Co-op thinks lions are sexy? Or, worse still, maybe he does, which would explain why the marriage has gone to shit – and by the way, if you’ve been together for 20 years, shouldn’t you be past the tentative ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ stage?

At any rate, this unfortunate woman publicly forgives her husband for exposing this sorry state of affairs – though she’s still not sold on that whole kinky lion sex thing. Presumably, the viewer at home is supposed to be left with the conclusion that supermarkets are evil, homewrecking divorce-peddlers and that Co-op is the only solution for marital discord.

In reality, we are left cold and puzzled. These two could clearly use a holiday, or maybe couples counselling.

Oh, and someone should probably tell them that Tesco deliver, too.