Monday, 15 June 2015

Maybe it's because I'm (not) a Londoner...

Today was an auspicious day for me, as it marked the first day of my summer-long internship in London. I don't know if it's the drastic contrast from my student life in sleepy Lancaster, but my brain has been buzzing with thoughts and observations from the moment I woke up. I have resurrected Captainfuntimes from her prolonged, largely alcohol-induced, slumber to act as a capsule for my thoughts on London life...

My first thought as I stumbled to the bathroom at 7am was how long I would be able to maintain a routine. For someone who prides themself on being able to get up 35 minutes before a lecture starts and make it to campus on the bus, washed and dressed, this whole planning ahead thing seems somewhat alien. My first hurdle of the day came when I had to try and fit the shower head into its holder, somewhat above my arm's reach, resulting in a daring display of gymnastics as I stood on the edge of the bath, bollock naked, on one leg, my last ounce of dignity vanishing down the plug hole with the foam from my shampoo.

Quandry number two came when deciding what to wear for my first day. Because, seriously, what in the name of God comprises 'smart-casual'? A blazer and my M&S Christmas pyjamas? A pencil skirt and baked-bean-stained T shirt? Trainers and a ball gown? I'm fucked if I know. Settling on a dress and blazer, I packed up my case and donned my glasses, wondering if I'd get called a briefcase wanker today, or whether proffeshunalz are more refined than university students.

Next up came commuting. I accidentally made eye contact with someone, which is apparently not a common practice in London. Neither, it seems, is smiling. Or looking out of the train window. Or any form of human contact.

On my short walk across the road to the office, I learned that traffic lights are purely decorative on the streets, like floral hanging baskets or community support officers. I encountered only one crackhead and three drug dealers as I wandered around looking for where I was supposed to work, which I decided was my fair share for the morning.

I ate lunch alone, a soulless affair involving edamame beans, black barley, and a cup of green tea in an attempt to look sophisticated and healthy, when in fact all I wanted was a pint and a Happy Meal.

Coming home I learnt what manspreading was, as I was walled in by two middle aged blokes airing their bollocks between Blackfriars and Herne Hill while I tried to ignore them and admire the view from the window. Delightful.  I eventually arrived back at the flat, and after dragging my shopping bags up numerous flights of stairs I tried my keys in the lock. They didn't work. I examined them and pushed the door, trying each one in turn, while a man coming out of the opposite flat watched me, bemused. It turns out I was on the wrong floor, and was in fact trying to break into an unsuspecting couple's flat. Poor Trudi and Michael, whoever they may be.

And now, to bed. I ate my dinner whilst watching the sunset over a panoramic view of the city from the balcony. The sky turned pink and yellow and orange above the skyline, and I watched trains snaking their way between buildings, and cranes towering high above them, like birds scouring the ground for worms. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and accompanied by the faint notes of a child's music practice. Shame they were playing a squeaky fucking plastic recorder. Despite being the largest, busiest city in the country, and despite having been surrounded by people all day, I am struck by how lonely it can feel. My friends, even those in the city, are miles away today, and somehow a phonecall doesn't alleviate the feeling of being separated. Tomorrow brings a new adventure, though, and hopefully fewer social hiccups.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

15 things I haven't learnt at university.

Did you miss me?

Of course you did. I've been absent for MONTHS. I don't actually know how you coped, but well done for pulling through. I'd justify my actions, but basically I'm just a lazy bitch who's finally ventured into student life. 

I'm certain that the world is filled with enough 'diary of a fresher' blogs, so I just thought I'd share a few crucial things I have learnt, and myths I have busted, since starting Higher Educayshun, because learning is what university is all about, right?


1) If you have come to university with visions of 9-5 solid contact time, then you're clearly deranged. Or not doing an Arts degree. Since September I've come to view anything more than 2 lectures per day as unnecessary and completely excessive. Then I remember I'm paying 9 grand a year for this daylight robbery, and feel somewhat cheated.

2) Myth: University is an institution you attend at the peak of your intellectual maturity.


Your years in education work cyclically: you go to nursery, then primary school, then secondary school, then back to nursery. Then if you do an English degree, probably back to school as a teacher... 
University is just like nursery school, but with less education, more vomit, and longer nap breaks. Story Time also moves from the end of the day to the morning after.

3) Joining societies and sports teams is a great way to meet like-minded people and try something new. That's why I joined the women's rugby team, judo, interpretive dance society, rowing, and haiku writing society. 

Ok, I didn't do any of those things, because spending your student loan on pizza and triple vodkas is also an excellent way of making friends. Or alienating people, I can't tell yet.

4) Your true friends will never knock on your bedroom door, so, er, use the lock if you don't want them to stride into your room. That is all we will say on the matter.

5) As with most people in life, the porters will be nice to you if you're nice to them. Fact. Unless you set your fire alarm off twice in a weekend. Or get locked out the house with no phone, in your dressing gown. Apparently they're accustomed to nudity.

6) 9am lectures are crucial to your education and contain the most worthwhile and relevant content for your degree. Particularly the ones with middle aged, male lecturers demonstrating interpretive dance to the semi-comatose lecture theatre. 


7) It's really fun and original to dress up as a group of smurfs, and everyone will laud your ingenuity. 
Ain't nobody got time for Smurfs

Oh wait, no, they won't.

8) If you're at university, you definitely already have an excellent grasp of the English language, and will never look ridiculous trying to pronounce words you've only ever seen written down before.
NB: Apparently the adjective 'posthumous' /pɒstjʊməs/ sounds nothing like the chickpea dip. Who'da thunk it? (also, if you do an English language degree the one thing you will learn is to write in cool letters: see above)

10) Myth: Midnight, as the name suggests, is the middle of the night.

Wrong. Anything between 1pm and 1am is the afternoon.

11) Myth: You should aim to eat 5 different fruit and/or vegetables a day to stay in peak physical condition.

5 portions of fruit and vegetables a week is a realistic expectation. Remember, both wine and ham and pineapple pizza count towards your weekly fruit portions. Also, if the only food you have in the fridge is a jar of curry sauce, pasta is a perfectly acceptable substitute for cereal.

12) Myth: Public nudity is socially unacceptable.

A dare is a dare.

13) Not doing your washing up is the domestic equivalent of genocide. Not even biology students are going to want to inspect whatever super-virus is now colonising your plate. Probably because they're too busy getting degrees, or whatever it is Science students do.

Peach Schnapps is at least 3 portions of fruit.
14) Myth: Everyone is really interested in what you've just learnt in your lecture, particularly if they haven't chosen to study your subject.

Apparently no-one else cares about how to phonetically transcribe connected speech processes.

15) Myth: The north-south divide is a subjective social construct based purely on dated and inaccurate stereotypes. At northern universities, no-one even acknowledges such misguided assertions.

Actually, It is a well known fact that, in addition to the foods mentioned in point '11', northerners consider chips with gravy to be legitimate vegetables. They all eat their evening meals before 6.30pm, and call it 'tea'. The hot beverage made by covering cured tea leaves with boiling water is therefore known as a 'brew'. It is also widely acknowledged that all those who live below Nottingham are southerners, and therefore wear nothing but tweed, spending their spare time frolicking in the countryside annihilating small animals, and people who wear tracksuits, with air rifles. If a dispute occurs, northerners will settle it with their fists (they're all very angry people) and will make up over pie. Southerners, on the other hand, will write a stiff letter to the father of the opposition, and if the problem persists, will draw their duelling pistols. 

As you can tell, I've had an enlightening first term of university, and have taken seriously the advice given to me by tutors and other academic and pastoral advisers to ensure that the next three years of my life will be spent in productive sobriety so as to make the most out of my degree.

Well, nearly.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Girl Confessions.

Estimated Time of Survival in wilderness: 3.76 secs

Girl Confessions...

It has come to my realisation that I need to write something. Anything. My problem is that I've sat at my geriatric Toshiba so many times over the past month, waiting for inspiration to hurl itself at me, and it hasn't. Not a sausage. 

This was made more difficult by the fact that every other blogger in the world seems to have almost too much to say for themselves. Of course we're all fascinated to know about the fat free granola and cardboard muffins that Mrs Yummy Mummy knocks up for her four darling children, Tarquin, Ulysses, Rainbow-Blossom and Immodium before packing them off with their au pair Helga to practise for their Grade 8 examinations in bassoon, harp, triangle and Peruvian nose flute respectively, so that she has time to go to her Mandarin evening class, thus aiding her quest to expand (ahem) her organic tampon company outside of Knightsbridge. These people have a lot to talk about, and I'm sure if I'd taken the traditional Gap Year route of backpacking around the Gobi Desert with only a staple gun and rubber band for company, I'd have lots to put in my blog too. But I didn't, and as a result CaptainFunTimes and her chum CaptainFunTimesOnTheRoad have remained pitifully quiet.

That changed, however, when I had the unfortunate experience of stumbling across some old 'notes' that I had posted on Facebook. These notes were questionnaires posted amongst my friends, which you would share on your facebook page, detailing your own responses to the questions. Cheers for unearthing these, Mr Zuckerberg. You really know how to make a girl feel ridiculous. On reading these notes, written in 2008/9 I had to come to terms with the fact that at the age of 14 (probably still now, I'm in denial) I was one of the most tragically un-cool individuals to ever grace the planet with my monumental tragic-uncoolness. After their re-discovery, before hastily deleting them from Facebook, I backed them up on my geriatric Toshiba to use them as a method of discovery of how I've changed over the past 5/6 years. I've amalgamated the questionnaires with the exact answers I wrote then, followed by my responses now as a worldly, mature, respectable, independent adult. Don't judge me; I've done that for you.

1. Do you sleep in your bra?
14yearoldself: no....
2013: Seriously, who wrote this? No, I sleep in my bed, my bras aren't THAT big.

2. Do you sleep with socks on? 
14yearoldself: if i have chilly feet :D
2013: God no, who does that? [...inconspicuously removes socks]

3. Would you rather sleep alone or with someone else?
14yearoldself: alone, more bed space :P
2013: With someone else, Jesus, you only said 'alone' because you had NO CHANCE and a tiny bed.

4.Do you enjoy drama? 
14yearoldself: yesyes.
2013: I don't think they were talking about the lesson at school. But yes, I do enjoy both shocking revelations and their repercussions, and also theatrical, televisual and cinematic works. 

5. Are you a girly girl?
14yearoldself: i can be, my language would say otherwise :P
2013: As opposed to what, a manly man?

6. Who was the last person you hugged? 
14yearoldself: not sure....
2013: Saying 'not sure....' does not make you sound allusive and nonchalant, 14yearoldself. Just admit that no-one wanted to hug you and the last person you did hug was almost certainly the cat. Depressingly, the last person I hugged today was the dog.

7. Small or large purses? 
14yearoldself: LARGE :)
2013: This quiz is quite evidently American, and a purse is in fact a handbag, 14yearoldself, weren't you concentrating in Mean Girls? In all honesty though, who cares? 

Are you short...?
8. Are you short? 
14yearoldself5 FOOT isn't tall is it, not even for a 5 year old with no legs.
2013: [Conveniently skims past the question on realising that my answer has not changed in the past 5 years]

9. Do you like somebody? 
2013: Oi, 14yearoldme, Johnny Depp does not count. And of course I do, my life would be miserable if I liked no-one.

10.Does your Facebook password have to do with a boy? 
14yearoldselfnot in a weird stalkerish way.
2013: Just to clarify, the only male connection 14yearoldme's password had was because my brother had altruistically set up my account and had selflessy incorporated his name into a password I was too dim to change for several years. And now, no, my password does not have anything to do with somebody with a penis, because I'm not silly.

11. Do you care if your socks are dirty? 
14yearoldselfyes, but more so if they are smelly :P
2013: 14yearoldme, what sort of a fuckwit were you? If your socks were smelly then obviously they were dirty as well, you pleb. And yes, of course I care if my socks are dirty, because that is disgusting.

12. Do you think you’re conceited? 
14yearoldselfIf i knew what that meant i could answer the question.
2013: I'm not conceited, I can't help being incredible in every single way. And also beautiful. And thin. And popular. And devilishly intelligent. And witty. And tall. And very important. 

13. Do you dress up on Halloween?
14yearoldselfyes :D last year i dressed up as a pumpkin fairy HAHA!
2013: I think last year was the first time I dressed up for Hallowe'en since the Pumpkin experience. I dressed up as mini mouse, how orij.

14. Are you double jointed? 
14yearoldselfnope, i just have retarded knees which click EVERY time i kneel down.
2013: Ah, they're still clicking five years later. And no, I'm still not double jointed.

15. Where is the weirdest place you have slept? 
14yearoldselfchrist knows haha squishd on jo's sofa was pretty strange....
2013: On the side of a road in Brazil. Or on multiple occasions in night clubs. [googles 'narcolepsy']

16. Has anyone touched/smacked your butt in the past 24 hours?
14yearoldselfnot that i've noticed.
2013: Again, who wrote this quiz? Although I did just grope my own arse to see if an hour's worth of fitness class had improved its pertness. It had not.

17. Is there any type of rumor going around about you? 
14yearoldselfi would hope not :D
2013: If there is, nobody has informed me.

18. Do you call anybody by their last name? 
14yearoldselfyes hehe.
2013: On occasion.

19. How many guys will read this just because it says- Girl Confessions? 
14yearoldselfit's not called that, so i wouldnt' know.
2013: Tut tut 14yearoldself, your punctuation is rank. I will now honour this questionnaire by naming it as such. I think the 'guys' who will read it will do so because they are giving CaptainFunTimes viewing statistics out of pity very interested in what I have to say.

20. What color is your bra that your wearing? 
2013: 14yearoldself, why are you telling the internet what colour bra you're wearing?! ... It's pink.

21. Do you prefer light or dark haired guys? 
14yearoldselfnot too fussed.
2013: Oh bless you, 14yearoldme, of course you weren't were desperate and couldn't afford to be choosy/have standards. Light. 

22. Are you currently frustrated with a boy? 
14yearoldselfnahhhh.oh wait,i'm constantly frustrated with a complete tosser of a 'man'
2013: Hohoho, you spent the next 4 years being frustrated with that tosser-man. And no, I'm not frustrated.

23. What's one thing a guy can do to make you like them?
14yearoldselfLook like jonathon rhys meyers :D:D or make me laugh.
2013: Perhaps if you'd given up on the Jonathan (Jesus you retard, your father's called Jonathan and you can't actually spell it?) Rhys Meyers idea you wouldn't have been such an epic failure in the man department. The correct answer was 'have a functioning penis'. Nowadays my requirements are as follows: Penis. A sense of humour. An ability to engage in conversation. And to be very creative. And clever. And, ergh I'm not fond of the word 'handsome', let's say pretty. Pretty is a nicer word.

24. Do you have a best friend?
14yearoldselfI have many.
2013: Hooray, I still have lots of best friends. 

25. Have you ever had your heart broken? 
2013: Not even the alcohol has broken my liver and brain, maybe.

26. Have you ever thought of having plastic surgery? 
2013: I'm not sure the NHS would fund it. Nor my whopping £6.79 an hour. 

27. Do you like your life? 
14yearoldselfI love it :D
2013: YOLO. 

28. Have you ever jumped in the pool with your clothes on?
14yearoldselfno, i fell of a swing into a river with my clothes on, with rosie :D :D
2013: Actually 14yearoldself, you fell OFF a swing. Now Ms Questionnaire, 'the pool' sounds very specific, is there one in particular that I should have jumped into, other than a more generous gene pool?

29. Do you have more friends that are girls or boys? 
2013: Tbh that isn't hard 14yearoldme, I think you had approximately 5 friends who were boys, 2 of whom were imaginary. I think if I were to count, I'd probably still have more friends with boobs than willies.  

30. How long have you had a facebook? 
14yearoldselfSince like end of year 8 maybe? i duno, this account less long.
2013: I'm assuming the question meant a Facebook account. It's now been about 6 years. 

31. Have you ever slapped a boy in the face? 
14yearoldselfYES. sorry george :P :)
2013: Oh God, too many times. I'm a violent little bitch.

32. What are your biggest fears? 
14yearoldselfawkward silences scare me :P
2013: I do still fear awkwardness. And the sea. And heights. And just generally dying prematurely.  

33. Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? 
14yearoldselfi think so.
2013: According to 14yearoldme, I have.

34. Have you ever not been able to get someone off of your mind? 
2013: For crying out loud 14yearoldself, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Aaron from Mean Girls don't count.

35. Do you believe in the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater"? 
14yearoldselfi dunno.
2013: Ooh, possibly.  

36. Have you ever had a good feeling about something? 
2013: Less and less frequently nowadays, God I'm a pessimistic little sod.  

37. Do you ever wish you were famous? 
14yearoldselfi suppose so, sometimes :)
2013: I would like to be successful. Illustrious, perhaps. But who would want the baggage attached with 'fame'. It is none of the Daily Mail, or any other gossip magazine's, business that I'm a massive, gay-loving leftie with a penchant for eating cake and getting raucously drunk. They do not need to know every time I engage in frivolous debauchery, have a wee, fall over in public, or am too short for the sensors on automatic doors. 

38. Are you currently missing someone? 

And there we have it. I have just shamelessly presented to you the horrific loser who was 14yearoldme. I hope you feel incredibly cool now. Think of this as a little, ego-boosting, gift from me to you. Because you are much cooler than I ever have been. And ever will be. And if you have taken the time to read this, then thank you, I very much appreciate it and love you somewhere on the scale between a little bit and too much.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey - A review.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"
Fifty Shades of Grey. Erotic, huh?
 Oh Mr Shakespeare, that line from Rom and Jule always seemed so apposite, so poignant, in noting the relative insignificance of a something so superficial as a name. That is, until I discovered E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey. The title is a perfect insight to the book's content. I was perplexed when I first heard of the book; what is it, some sort of Dulux paint chart?! As we are currently decorating our house, and I've spent many a happy hour pouring over paint charts, I can tell you that I couldn't have been further from the mark. While one is a gripping page turner, fast-paced and eloquent with apt descriptions and an impeccable structure, the other is the mind-numbing disappointment that is E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey. After a gruelling, mentally exhausting, intellectually demeaning battle, I finally read to the end of page 514. I put the book slowly down beside me, and sat for several minutes in perfectly still, silent, confounded, incredulous contemplation.


Now that's what I call gripping
I want to go back to school: I need to learn how to think again. One page into the book and academically I had regressed to Key Stage 1. Except even now, when reading Biff and Chip and Horrid Henry with the year 1s and 2s, I find these literary works more challenging, and less predictable than the maundering jumble of words that somehow make up FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of this bollocksy drivel.

*and breathe*

Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your safety harnesses, CaptainFunTimes' Rant Rollercoaster will shortly be departing on another whirlwind adventure. Behold! Here is my brief summary of Fifty Shags a Day...

Anastasia 'Call Me Ana' Steele goes to interview multi-trazillionaire Christian Grey for her University magazine, in place of her fit friend who has the 'flu. They share a bit of a mo'.  100 pages later and she's losing her V-Plates to him. 400 mind-numbingly boring pages after that, during which time they do a bit of kinky shit and ride in light aircrafts, the book finishes.

Obviously there's a bit more to it than that, for example the shocking revelation that he's a domineering, manipulative, violent arse who changes mood more frequently than Call Me Ana changes her underwear, because he has an abused, troubled past. NO FRICKING WAY! It doesn't take a degree in Psychology to work that one out, love.  

Deep flaws permeate the book from start to finish. In the entire tortuous, terrible tome, there was not one page that I found remotely credible...
- For a start, it was set in America, yet the only efforts E L James went to to make the narrative seem as though it was seen through the eyes of one of our cousins from across The Pond, was to drop the 'u's out of words like 'favourite'. Gosh, how clever. The narrative couldn't have sounded more English if it had occasionally deviated from the "plot" to have a jolly good, buck-toothed, tea-fuelled knees up around the Old Joanna - which, incidentally, Call Me Ana did when she was about to do the dirty with Crazy Chris on his piano. 
- Secondly, Call Me Ana starts out as an inexperienced virgin, who's never shown any interest in men, and has never touched herself 'down there'. It seems unlikely, therefore, that given Mr Grey is apparently hung like a viagra-filled donkey, her first time would be virtually painless, and 'astounding'. She can't even say vagina for Christ's sake! Given she's never seen a willy before, I'm not sure how qualified she can be to talk about the impressiveness of Mr Grey's trouser-snake. He could have a runner bean down his trousers and she'd probably still think, 'gosh, that's a large one matron.'
- Thirdly, one spends much of the book questioning whether or not E L James is actually a real woman with a real vajayjay, as 'she' apparently understands so little of the female anatomy. I was led to believe that the book was ram-packed full of totally shocking sex, yet I'm pretty sure even an abstinent virgin brought up in a nunnery would find it boring, unimaginative and repetitive. The sex scenes closely resemble the Hokey Cokey: In out, in out, you shake it all about...that's what it's all about. 
"I am fucking him. I am in charge. He's mine, and I'm his. The thought pushes me, weighted with concrete, over the edge, and I climax around him...shouting incoherently."
They're a bit like Jamie Oliver's cooking commentaries, all 'lovely, just bish bash bosh, and you're done. Pukka. Quality. Job done. Beeeautiful.' How very sensual and romantic.
Mr Grey ain't got nuffin' on my carrot.
- While the point of Crazy Chris having a troubled childhood and consequently being an emotional fuckwit is made laboriously throughout the novel, E L James does not even bring into question the fact that Call Me Ana clearly has some sort of split personality disorder, spending the entirety of the story having disagreements with her two chums, 'my subconscious' and 'my inner Goddess'.
- E L James has some serious vocabulary issues. For someone who seemingly turns into such a wanton sex Goddess, it beggars belief that Ana still refers to her downbelows as '...there' and her 'sex'. She uses the word 'crap' and variants of it 'crapola' (how eloquent) 101 times, which is a hell of a lot for such a crap word. And OH MY GOD, HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU NEED TO USE THE WORD 'DELICIOUS' AND 'EXQUISITE'?! For all that the sex scenes resonate with Jamie Oliver's television commentaries, you do NOT need to use the words multiple times in every single chapter. Come on now Ms James, you've earned your millions, can't you invest in a decent thesaurus? 
- The final, most damaging, flaw to the book is the brutal kicking that E L James gives to feminism. Don't worry if he makes you do things you're not comfortable with, girls, if you really like him, you should prioritise pleasing him above all else. And if that involves your arse having a jolly good belting, then so be it. If you endorse his misogynistic, violent, controlling behaviour for long enough, then maybe he'll change. Of course, it's not his fault, he had an abusive childhood. There were problems at home. He was trained as a submissive from the age of fifteen. So what would be a good idea to deter his wicked acts, Ana? Tying your hair in pigtails to make you look more girlish? For a man who seemingly has no problems with fifteen year olds being fucked by grown adults, I'm not sure that'd work actually, love. Maybe the fact that he traces your mobile phone and stalks you two and a half thousand miles across the continent is a sign of his affection, and isn't weird and terrifying after all. But then again, maybe PIGS CAN FUCKING FLY AND THE POPE ISN'T A DRESS-WEARING CATHOLIC.

You may have realised that I'm not a fan of this book. And that I've just made the shortlist for the World's Greatest Understatement contest. It's difficult to like a book when you hold a sincere disdain for both of the main characters. When there's no trace of a positive role-model in either of them. When the objectification of women as punchbags is made totally acceptable as long as it's pleasing some mind fucky mind fucker.
I hear they're making a film of Fifty Shades of Fucking Ridiculous. If it's even half as tiresome as the book, I wonder whether the spotty adolescent boy who usually hands out 3D specs at the cinema will instead hand out match-sticks to keep the audience's eyes open, thus preventing them from having an enjoyable snooze to shut out Call Me Ana from talking incessantly about her 'sex'. If, after reading this, you're still curious to read the book - perhaps you're giving up sex and are in need of some un-erotic literature as a massive turn-off - then Good Luck, and God Speed! BUT DON'T SAY CAPTAINFUNTIMES DIDN'T WARN YOU. Until next time kids, stay safe, and don't trust anyone who - like Crazy Christian Grey, some sort of knowledgeable, worldly, 'trust-worthy', Sex-God - thinks you can't get up the duff if you do it while you're on the blob. 

I will leave you with the wise words of Coach Carr, "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant, and die. Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up. Just, don't do it, promise?"

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Flailing Fail Strikes Again.

Firstly, a hearty hello, and Happy New Year! Yes, I know it’s February. I've been busy, okay? I know that’s not an excuse. Don’t look at me in that reproachful manner. I can change. I WILL change. Look, it’s not you, it’s me. Oh Jeez, I’m reasoning with imaginary readers. If by some miracle anyone is reading this then fetch me a padded cell and a size 10 straight jacket. Extra short.
In true fashion, I thought I’d write about something which recently rattled my little cage. It is the Daily Mail vs. Hilary Mantel vs. Kate Middleton debacle. In case you've been living in a newspaper-less, WiFi-less cave for the past week, I will briefly fill you in on the whole sorry tale...
Congratulations, it's a size 8!
Once upon a time, a picture book for people with an IQ deficit shat on a big piece of paper and called it journalism. The picture book in question is known as the Daily hate-Mail, and this particularly spurious mess of journalistic excrement was about an author-lady called Hilary Mantel and The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleclasston. Hilary Mantel mentioned Kate in her Royal Bodies lecture for the London Review of Books, depicting how Royals are objectified by the media. Ms Francesca Infante of the Daily Fail then got out her packet of crayons and scribbled an article misrepresenting Mantel’s line of argument and detailing her ‘venomous attack’ on Our Kate. Consequently many individuals, high off their hair peroxide and nail-varnish, ardently defended K8 Midz, attacking Mantel because, like Francesca Infantile, they didn’t have the presence of mind to listen to, or read Mantel’s original transcript due to the lack of bullet-points and pictures. Then Dave Cameron got involved. He was evidently too busy polishing his face to read the transcript either. A right royal hoo-hah ensued. The end.
What makes me angry about this messy situation is that Hilary Mantel was making perfectly valid points, albeit with a slightly blunt turn-of-phrase... '...I saw Kate becoming a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung. In those days she was a shop-window mannequin, with no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore. These days she is a mother-to-be, and draped in another set of threadbare attributions. Once she gets over being sick, the press will find that she is radiant. They will find that this young woman's life until now was nothing, her only point and purpose being to give birth.' Essentially what Mantel is saying, is that the Media's portrayal of Kate is as a woman who is defined solely by what she wears. They have no interest in her other than as a photographic filler between articles. Now she's pregnant, her image has transmuted from one whose defining feature is the clothes on her back, to one defined by the baby growing inside her. There is no interest in Kate as an actual person, merely as a photo for the paper. She has been entirely objectified. Let's face it, in the bluntest, most critical view Kate is a baby-machine. Her most important goal, as with every monarch or monarch's spouse in history, is to pop out a baby in order to continue the Royal blood-line, thus preventing Harry having to take over and put another Ginger on the throne. Mantel doesn't insinuate that there actually is nothing more to Kate than her facade, merely that we are never exposed to anything other than her as an object, a public point of interest. 
This was where the Daily Mail fell spectacularly at the first hurdle. The wittering gossip magazine was unable to internalize the astute points that Ms Mantel was making. Instead, they de-contextualized her argument and portrayed it as a 'venomous critique' of the Duchess. Mantel didn't write this critique, the Mail did. Mantel's lecture wasn't even about Kate; she was merely used as a contemporary piece of evidence of the portrayal of monarchs through the ages. The Fail's article was evidently created by cutting up the lecture's transcript and sorting it into two piles: 'opinion' and 'fact'. The facts and evidence that Mantel had used to justify her opinions were then burnt, and the reporter selected any opinions mentioning The Duchess of C which sounded critical, ate them, and then vommed them back up in no particular order onto a piece of paper. She then got out her Pritt Stick and stuck on a few fit pics of Kate. This only served to justify Mantel's point; in wittily (cough) captioning a photo of Kate at her portrait viewing as 'pretty as a picture', The Mail is saying 'The nasty lady says Kate serves no purpose other than 2 b looked at- oooh look at Kate evry1, ain't she gawjus?!' The article has no line of argument whatsoever. It doesn't even have a point to it, it's literally just a list of misappropriated quotes designed to anger the lobotomized chimps who were moronic enough to take it at face value, into hating on an innocent academic. They then post a highly necessary 'History of Hilary' (OMG Mail, you almost rhymed something, have a gold star.) To paraphrase, in true Daily Mail style, it inferred...
Hilary woz born in 1952, she writ a load of books wot did quite well, she got sum prizes, she woz blatez insecure about bein fat so woz bitchy bowt Kate, she got endometrosis (sic) [someone's brain clearly exploded at this point, after attempting to write endometriosis and running out of fingers to count syllables on] wot mad her fat and infertile.'
A recent excerpt from the Daily Mail
Ah, I SEE, you think that Mantel was moved to write the lecture out of spite because Kate is skeletal and bearing a child, while Mantel is apparently some sort of barren elephant? Your powers of deduction are truly insightful, now take this Play-Doh and go and sit quietly in a corner until the grown ups are ready to speak to you.
In future, let's read both sides of the argument and the supporting evidence before taking anything written in The Mail at face-value. Thank you for bearing with me while I got on my Rant Rollercoaster and took it for a joy ride. Tune in next time for more Captainfuntimes gets angry and stays up till 2am letting everyone know about it. Happy New-ish Year one and all.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

'Tis the season to be jolly?

Twas the night before, the night before Christmas, when all through the house....

It's 5.30pm on Christmas Eve Eve. I'm sitting here in the snowflake pyjamas that haven't been removed since I drunkenly donned them at 3.30am, and my fingernails have turned inexplicably blue. Earlier I found a house brick recumbent in the fridge next to a tub of olives when all I really wanted was some bacon. I have one of those hangovers where you spasm sporadically and can't quite see properly... either due to alcohol-induced blindness or the fact I was awake for 22 hours yesterday. Quite possibly both. Just now I went to the considerable effort of elevating my posterior from my chair in order to burn a calorie walking to fetch my pizza. En route I stood bare-foot in a cold, inconsiderately situated puddle which I suspect to be dog piss. You know those days where you wonder why you bothered getting out of bed? This is one of those. Kindly refrain from making too much noise, and in return I shall refrain from throwing the nearest blunt object to hand at your face. Needless to say, I'm not feeling festive.

Who ate all the pies? Not me....Well, yes me.
I'm still trying to work out what Christmas means to me. I'm not from a religious family, yet year on year we still celebrate Christmas. Retaining tradition I suppose. I put considerable thought into Christmas presents this year, not buying things for the sake of it, but getting personalised gifts that I think will be useful and appreciated. Christmas, for me, is my Dad and me going to choose the tree every year. From the age of 11-17, it was singing four services between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, SOBER. It's eating until you feel sick, then moving on to Christmas pudding before watching the Christmas specials on telly. It's guests constantly sitting where you want to sit or hypocritically complaining about your pets getting in the way. It's the obligatory satsuma in my stocking that Father Christmas has subtly obtained from the fruit bowl. It's Dad blaspheming creatively at the turkey. It's the complete lack of snow, while it instead drizzles depressingly outside. It's the way most of the population forget about Baby Jesus because shit's going down on the Eastenders Chrimbo Speshal.
Merry? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Why on earth do we wish one another a Merry Christmas? Christmas, in my experience, is not  particularly merry. Why not, We Wish You a Stressful Christmas, or an Argumentative one? We Wish You a Demanding Pensioner-filled Christmas. What would really make my Christmas would be if everyone started their Christmas food shopping in October. And if slow, grumpy, trolley-wielding old people could sit inside their trollies and be propelled along by jet-packs or reindeer so that I'm not tempted to barge them out of the middle of the supermarket bread aisle with a Waitrose Grand-Mange baguette. 

Nonetheless, I hope you all somehow have some merriness at Christmas - even if this is induced by a glass of wine. And by glass, I mean a pint. And by wine, I mean sherry. I hope that the ever younger disbelieving children remember the important guy without whom Christmas wouldn't be the same. That's right Father Christmas, I'm talkin' to you. Try not to get breathalised. I'm off to change my name by deedpoll to Ebenezer Scrooge McGrinchpants, and hopefully I'll be visited by three ghosts in the night. Ho bloody Ho.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Dear God.

Essentially this post details my views on religion. It's National Poetry Day today, so heck, I thought I'd write a little rhyme. It's a controversial matter, I know, but it had to come up some day. I'd appreciate it if you read it with an open mind. And please don't throw any Bibles at me.

Dear God.
Why do I refer to you as ‘you’,
As though you’re a sapient being too?
To me you’re a concept, like love, envy, hate,
But you know what makes me fucking irate?
The aforementioned abstracts can be proven by chemistry, science,
But ‘you’ can’t, you just represent defiance.
Defiance of evidence, of truth, morality,
Rejection of fact, for ‘spirituality’.
One thing I’ll never understand;
(Which is the reason religion will never end),
That we fear human ignorance; things we can’t comprehend.
So in compensation for our blindness, we created this friend,
But this friend has no answers, can teach us nothing new,
‘He’ just re-phrases what we already knew.
Shall I tell you why ‘He’ tells us what we want to hear?
Why ‘He’s’ always there to avert our fears?
‘Immanuel’ – God is with us, but what I think they mean to say,
Is that God IS us, at the end of the day.
God is a figment of our imagination,
God wasn’t there at the ‘start of creation’,
Technically ‘science’ wasn’t there either,
Yet I trust in ‘science’ as a non-believer,
‘Science’ is the knowledge we’ve systematically gained,
The observation of facts which remain unfeigned.
I’ll take truth and proven fact as Gospel,
Not evangelical ravings from a biased Disciple.
People turn to praying as a desperate, last attempt
To redeem the irredeemable, or to try and repent.
This makes me angry, why not be proactive,
Try and make amends when we can’t live and let live.
If we can’t cope with uncertainty, let’s face what is certain,
If the sickness is terminal, don’t wait till the curtain
Is closed and pray for their soul after death,
Make their living time happy and offer relief.
Why do God-fearing Christians fear their demise?
Surely life-eternal, up above is a fair compromise?
Is it because there’s a glimmer of doubt,
The worry that no matter how loud you shout,
No one is listening, and nobody cares?
That life’s a precious, one way ticket, with no return fare?
When I die, that’s the end, there’s no chance to contest,
I’ll decompose in the ground, along with even the best
Of us. I’ve led a God-Damn blasphemous life, but I don’t fear Hell,
I have no time for Gods, Devils or Angels.
Sometimes I wish there was an ‘eternal life’ option,
Not for my sake, but for that of my loved ones.
Jesus Christ, sometimes I fear the end,
Knowing there’s only one place that I’m destined.
We Homo Sapiens are Selfish creatures,
The need to survive is an intrinsic feature.
We’re here to reproduce, and then to die,
The Garden of Eden was simply a lie
To explain how we got here, for we didn’t understand
Until Darwin’s theory gave us a hand.
As far as I can see, we weren’t put here for a reason,
There’s no pre-destined purpose, or unique, personal mission,
Just seemingly inexplicable coincidence, that’s all there is to it,
You won’t get very far, asking ‘God’ to go through it.
I apologise now, if my views insult you.
But they are my thoughts, so I won’t consult you,
In the same way that I don’t expect your beliefs to alter
On my behalf, as you kneel at the altar.
I’ll contest your religion, but I don’t expect your conversion,
To manipulate your thoughts would be unfair perversion.
But you can’t debate with me on blatant actuality,
Whereas I can with you, on belief and traditionality,
For with opinion there can be no wrong or right,
It’s up to you if you’ve seen the light.
But to me, I believe it’s utter...
Rubbish. So,
Dear God, Thank you, but Goodnight.

Charlotte Davey 4.10.12 ©