b3ta.com user Dinting Arches
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» Worst Band Ever

REM and U2
I've always enjoyed music. At one time, I used to rail against boy bands and so on; I despised anything that smacked of manufacture.

At the ripe old age of thirty and a massive jazz freak whose I-Pod doesn't even contain any rock tracks, you might expect my attitude to have hardened even more. In fact, the opposite is true. Stuff such as the shitecuntery peddled by Simon Cowell and his ilk fails to register - I simply laugh it off if I happen to hear any of it on the radio (which rarely happens, since it's always on Radio 3 or Radio 4). After all, it's not actually music - it's a complete and utter joke and I think even the cynical Marketing Twats who think it up (actually, probably *especially* these Twats) must realize that it's utter, utter jizz.

What really gets to me is the reverence paid to two bands: REM and U2. People actually think that REM and U2 produce music of artistic merit. It's this that pains me beyond fucking belief. "The Edge" (I'm sorry, I think I'm going to have an aneurysm) even got into a "Guitar Heroes" thing on Channel 4 years ago. The Fucking "Edge". Jesus Harold Bishop Christ. Sorry, Mr McLaughlin, Mr Di Meola, Mr Holdsworth et al...no bugger outside of the decent music realm has ever heard of you three chaps -- but some tit with a goatee that looks like it came out of a Brazilian-waxing salon for Cheshire Wives registered on the "Guitar Hero" scale and he can't even play the bloody instrument beyond the level of a thirteen-year-old bedroom guitarist.

Don't even get me started on Michael Stipe. His voice makes me want to shove an ice pick through each of my eardrums. And the jangly, family-friendly guitar playing so beloved of REM makes me want to cry. Not in the same way that hearing Bill Evans playing "Noelle's Theme" or Jaco Pastorius playing "Continuum" make me want to cry: these are tears of pure, unalloyed despair.

The people who like these two bands - I've met a few of them - generally seem to be the kind of people who have no appreciation for music at all. They won't try anything new of their own volition. They drink whatever's advertised on the billboards (in a chain pub, naturally), wear whatever the new season in Top Shop or New Look dictates, and cut their hair according to whatever style the current heart-throb/hot bitch in [Insert Name of Generic Series on E4/BBC3 Here] is sporting. They are middle-of-the-road, staid, anodyne plodders whose musical "taste" reflects their lack of imagination and individuality.

REM and U2: The musical equivalent of magnolia paint.
(Sat 1st Jan 2011, 19:00, More)

» Shit Claims to Fame II

Quite a few...
My wife once sat in the same Tube carriage as Super Hans out of Peep Show. It was on the Northern line and he had skull-patterned socks on. She got on at Archway and he was already in the carriage.

She also once followed Daniel Day Lewis down the street in New York. He went into a deli.

We saw Vic Reeves in the Sainsbury's Local at Manchester Piccadilly station, a few months ago. He had a white beard.

I once stood behind the actor Jason Merrells at Leeds railway station M&S. A few weeks before that, at the same station, I got out of a taxi just as Neil Pearson was getting out of the one in front.

Last year, I sat in a first class carriage on the St Pancras to Sheffield train and Melvyn Bragg was in the seat on the other side of the aisle. He's in remarkably good nick for a chap in his early seventies. Brilliant hair.

I once walked past Noel Gallagher on Deansgate in Manchester. He's tiny.
(Sat 22nd Sep 2012, 22:08, More)

» Nights Out Gone Wrong

The English Larry David
Recent bachelorhood following a bad long-term relationship that ended apocalyptically has afforded me the opportunity and inclination - following the first few months of emotional numbness - to go out and do what the hell I like, when I like.

Two recent off-the-leash events have caused me to experience severe Larry David moments. Both involved work colleagues and copious amounts of booze.

The first started with a bottle plus of wine, followed by several two-quid cocktails. I came back from the bog in one bar to find that my coat had vanished and - thinking all my work colleagues had gone to the club next door before I went to the lav -- I assumed it had been stolen. Incoherent and inaudible investigatory questions to my fellow inebriated workmates on the dancefloor of the club next door yielded no results. I posted a facebook message at 3:30 a.m. "to the complete BASTARD who stole my coat", inviting them to "enjoy the gloves, the smints and the Neutrogena hand cream", and finishing off in style with a capitalised "CUNT".

Following messages of support, I added to the inventory of the coat pockets, mentioning the "packet of three" that I'd secreted in the inside pocket, in case I got lucky and congratulating the thief on being fully prepared for some hot action, should he pull.

The next day, also via facebook, it became terribly apparent that a kind, thoughtful colleague had in fact taken the coat for safekeeping, doubtless having noticed the state I was in. Bless her! Of course, I printed a retraction and an effusive note of thanks -- but Monday morning was still full of piss-taking. The coat was returned, with the hand cream, mints and johnnies in their rightful place.

The second incident occurred as a result of a conversational, self-referential expression, the appropriate use of which I greatly misjudged. It was a Friday evening, just after work, and was happy hour in the bar around the corner. I got chatting to a woman from another department and made a joke, to which she said something along the lines of an Emery-esque "ooh, you are awful!" My reply was a Duncan Thickett-like: "Yeah, I'm a right cunt, me!"

She gasped. Her eyes bulged. She said, "That's the worst word you can say!"

Most sensible people would, at this point, have apologised and tried to salvage the situation. Not me -- certainly not after five pints on an empty stomach.

"Worst word you can say? Bollocks it is. There's far worse! It's not a racial epithet, is it? Well, then!"

She hasn't spoken to me since.

I've decided that I'm not going to go on work nights out any more. If I were to go out on another one, well, who knows? I might end up standing on a bar stool, hanging my arse over the pumps, shitting on the drip tray and waving my cock at all and sundry.
(Sun 27th Mar 2011, 21:27, More)

» Vandalism

I vividly remember seeing two masterpieces on a regular basis throughout childhood. Both these gems were in Clay Cross, Chesterfield.

The first was the massive MANDY IS A SLAG, which was daubed on the side of the Fine Fare/Gateway "supermarket". It was clearly visible to all when walking or driving down Eyre Street. Christ knows why it wasn't cleaned up sooner.

The second was the considerably smaller SMESH, which was written on a brick at the corner of the building near the entrance to Sharley Park Leisure Centre.

Oh, and I've just recalled another one I remember from when I was about eight and we were visiting relatives in Bradford: LESBIAN MOTHERS ARE NOT PRETEND, which was written on either a motorway flyover or a footbridge, possibly along the A650 through East Ardsley.
(Sun 10th Oct 2010, 9:02, More)