Thursday, February 24, 2011

Escaping on a technicality.

Well. This. Is. AWKWARD. I have boasted a couple of times on these hallowed pages of my plan to try and update this thing every working day. Well. As the more eagle-eyed among you may have spotted, I haven't been as assiduous with this as I might have been. Well suck on these extenuating circumstances you pack of mothers:

I only try to blog before I start writing something else. I have been busy with other real important stuff of late and as a result the first couple of days this week have been a snafu for the writing.

Case dismissed. Clear the court. I am busy again today so this is literally it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Here comes the cavalry

Wowee gang, it is LATE! Nearly 11 o'clock. I should be in bed tucked up in my jamys with Barnes Wallis' face on them. I am, instead, eating lasagne in the ruins of my sitting room, (we are re-decorating) and thinking back over the first run out of my Super Top Secret Fringe Show.

I was joined by top humourisers Nico Tatarowicz and Totally Tom. They were both distressingly excellent, placing undue pressure on my hitherto untested material. A good time was had by all. Those guyses is funny guyses. I was very pleased with how my gold was received, as the bovine scum that make up my audience guzzled it up and begged for more. Look out for many swell opportunities to come and look-see before it is consigned to the dustbin of history.

Anyway. This is a super self-indulgent blogpost, but if I was going to continue my one-a-week-day policy it had to be done. This probably won't make the leather-bound print edition of my collected writings.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Country for Old Ben Franklin

Hey Homes,
As you may or may not be aware of by now, I am a huge American-o-phile. I love America and I want to groom it on the internet before going to a remote location and being caught on camera for an episode of Dateline: To Catch An America Predator. (Has anyone seen the show to which this joke is referring? It is just the worst.)

Anyway, because I am doing a quicksmart blog again today because I am SO important and BUSY, I thought I would give you a quick top 5 rad ways to immerse yourself in American history/culture:

1) HBO's John Adams starring Paul Giamatti. It is brillo and full of the sort of splendid rhetoric that is sorely missing from today's politics. It reminds you of what a genuinely brilliant idea America was at the time. It's been diluted and ripped off a bit since then, but the original idea was great. Get it on dvd and find yourself, once again, rooting for the rebel scum.

2)Battlecry of Freedom by James M. Macpherson. It's a book, sorry word-haters, all about the origins and events of the American Civil War, told with the sort of excellent writing that makes a history book a real page turner. It can be found here.

3) BASEBALL by Ken Burns. Gigantic documentary charting baseball from it's 1850s origins to the present day. It is about baseball, funnily enough, but also covers the vast spectrum of American life that is touched the national pastime which, it turns out, is EVERYTHING. This is a snippet about Lou Gehrig, of Lou Gehrig's disease fame, announcing his retirement from baseball due to his deteriorating health. Warning: Very sad.

4)The West Wing. If you haven't seen this then for God's sake do. It is the best tv show ever made I think. Inspiring, funny and heart-breaking in equal measure. The post-9/11 episode is one of the classiest episodes of any tv show ever and they knocked it together in about two days. Check. It. Out.

5) How to Train Your Dragon. This is the best film ever and as such makes it onto any list of anything I will ever write.

Right, that's your lot. Now sod off.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick's the word and sharp's the action.

No time gang. No time to get into the inner workings of the world that are so regularly stripped back to the bone and laid bare to piercing gaze of the interweb here upon this altar of incisive commentary. I am a busy bee today. As a result I can only throw out a series of questions for you, my acolytes to ponder upon:

Why are puppies so much better than everything else? Sure it makes sense for them to be a bit better, but THAT much better? I detect the work of some intelligent designer and I shouldn't be too surprised if he/she turned out to be a really awesome puppy. Discuss.

If you could go back in time to any period of history and have sex with anyone, who would it be and why? And would it surprise you to know that the correct answer is that it would be with Rasputin, because you couldn't stop it from happening? Think on't.

Do you think Kenny Dalglish would like me if we met in a social situation? I do hope so. Four Thousand words on my desk by Monday.

Anyway, that's all I've time for today I'm afraid folks. I have been using the phrase 'Swinging the lead' a lot recently. It's a substitute for 'bulshitting' or 'trying it on'. It's an old nautical phrase. Why not enjoy its use yourself?

Film recommendation: The first hour or so of Never Let Me Go

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why are there still bad things in the world?

Did anyone watch the BAFTAs last night? They served as a reminder once again of the most extraordinarily glaring quandary in human existence: WHY ARE THERE STILL BAD THINGS IN THE WORLD?

The BAFTAS are a celebration of the superlatives of the film world. Many will argue that such awards are spurious; an unattractive display of cinematic daisy-chaining which ends with everyone knelt in front of Colin Firth and Tom Hooper as they bust their mighty art-load into our collective faces. Many sniff and decry these awards ceremonies as redundant for 'overlooking the truly astonishing performance of Hamman Zemouni, who was a child prostitute soldier before becoming an actor and delivering a blistering swipe at western pop culture as the protagonist in the 9-hour long Tunisian arthouse film Tunis Salad'.

I don't care about any of that. I like awards ceremonies for three reasons:

1) Watching sexy young actors and actresses deliver terrible jokes with appalling timing and die on their arses as they present awards. Or should I say try to present awards?! Right Jessica?



2) I like seeing cool old people getting their awards for lifetime achievement and generally being more charming and funny about it than the sexy young sorts. It gives them something to aim towards. Just think Rosamund Pike! With luck you too shall have liver spots, puffy eyes and a walking stick.

3) I am genuinely always moved by the "who died this year" montage. A few rippers in the BAFTAS one last night. Leslie Neilsen in particular a very great favourite of mine.

Awards ceremonies always allow you to think back over the films you've seen that year that you've loved and bask in the warm glow of remembering how awesome How To Train Your Dragon really was.


You also remember how many crap movies you saw and, in this instance, how many terrible opening numbers to awards shows and things you've seen. The dance around from the start of the BAFTAs was so incongruous and lame it hurt. It just smacks of someone going:

"They did it great at the Oscars with Hugh Jackman. It was like a classy throwback to the days of Fred and Ginger! Let's do that but funkier!"



This was the awards show equivalent of painting Nylon seams on the back of our legs with gravy so the Yanks would want to take us to the bop. It was demeaning and we ended up smelling of beef dripping.

The question is: Why do people get away with doing crap stuff like this? There must be so many people who had an opportunity to go, "that looks a bit naff". I find myself thinking about this a lot. There are so many occasions when one is struck by the sheer, blinding obviousness of the stupidity that has led to a, for example, ITV1 Miss Marple. The books are brilliant. The casts are always excellent. There is plenty of money. They are all witless, charmless guff. When people are perfectly capable of executing these sorts of things perfectly, why aren't these people?

It seems mad to me that as Humanity continues to advance through history that we are not slowly eradicating the errors that hold us back from taking our rightful place at the top table of galactic diplomacy.
(I'm saying that bad ITV1 drama is stopping aliens from making contact and letting us become important players in the federation)
Do people learn nothing from history? Look at Rome. Look at Great Britain. Look at the first episode of the series. Learn from these things.

There is so much accumulated knowledge about how and why various films, tv shows and awards shows have sucked, and why others have been briliant that one feels there should be no excuse for not being excellent.

I expect however that that's life isn't it? As a result, we can all confidently say that it's the executive's fault.

I'm not sure I've made any real point here, but I am an angry and capricious god. AMUSE ME!

In other news:

You simply must invest in the SyFy channel on Sky or cable or whatever. Last night I watched an astonishingly bad film. Genuinely the best of all the so bad it's good-ers I've ever seen.
It was called Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's: Sherlock Holmes. It made absolutely no sense, was chock full of continuity and anachronism errors, nobody's costume fitted and it messed around with the Holmes canon no end. It was about Thorpe Holmes, Sherlock's brother, a former police inspector who was presumed dead after being accidentally shot by his partner, a young Inspector Lestrade, but was actually alive and making a giant steam-powered dragon to kill Queen Victoria.

I know, it sounds AMAZING. It was, but for all the wrong reasons. Check it out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Jennifer Aniston's Birthday Day you guys!

Welcome to the Humphrey Ker Propaganda Organ: Edition 5. Today's edition is brought to you in association with Nostalgia:


Late as I am to the party, I thought I would add my own limited offerings to the many deserved tributes written to the late Brian Jacques, the man who wrote a series of books that managed to tear me away from Commando comics as a kiddie. As a result of his beautifully constructed world of charming, moving and exciting fantasy, I was able to tame my inherent lust for shooting down German fighter aircraft and suppress my bloodthirstiness to a level that is acceptable in modern day polite society.
The Redwall series, and particularly Redwall, Mossflower, Martin the Warrior and Slamandastron were an absolute obsession of mine as a child. The descriptions of food were always so mouth-wateringly evoked, that I once fell asleep dreaming about them and awoke to discover that I had consumed the boy in the bed next to mine in my school dormitory.

I loved his books so much I intend to call my first born child Cluny the Scourge, irrespective of sex, personality or whether or not they are a villainous one-eyed Rat with a poisoned barb on their tail.

So thank you Brian Jacques. You were a Scouse docker, turned writer and I will always be grateful that you did turn. May you sit at the table of your father in the halls of your ancestors and not feel ashamed.

Anyway, short one today as I am a busy bee.

I also liked Jennifer Aniston a LOT when I was at school. That sort of links all this together.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Humphrey Ker vs The Robo-Nazis

Well, the launch of my blog has been a thumping success, with viewers drawn to it from as far afield as Russia, Australia and Malta. So Strazdvooitye to Russia, G'day to Australia and Malta? SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND.

It is odd and exciting to be experiencing the gradual increase in people taking an interest in me and my work online. My twitter feed steadily increases in followers in spite of the fact that it seems mainly to consist of observations on the fortunes of Liverpool Football Club and plugs for gigs. People have read and disseminated the wisdom of this blog. Already my creed is being codified, debated and used as an excuse for ethnic cleansing the world over.

What is particularly jolly and exciting about all these new friends is the weird modern phenomenon of familiarity stripped of actual acquaintance. In days of yore, (1996), one could feel close to a writer or a presenter or actor or somesuch by reading or watching, or wanking to their output, but that was as far as the interaction went. Now one can feel close by actually talking to them on the interwebs. Lucas Leiva, Liverpool's "Brazilian in a million" talks to me on Twitter. "Hello Everybody" he says. "On my way to the training ground" he roars. "Olá pessoal !!! Estou no aeroporto voltando pra Liverpool . Resultado de ontem não era o que esperávamos mas temos que seguir acreditando" He gibbers in Portuguese. I know he is talking to all his followers but it is nice to read something that he has tapped out with his own hands, it makes me feel special like a grown up big-boy. I sent him a message once offering to hang out with him when he was in London but he didn't respond.

Why would he? We know that Lucas is to me as man is to the beasts that perish. His intellect vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarding this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drawing his plans against us. He has nearly a hundred and one thousand followers. I have about eleven hundred, but each one of them is an exciting little gem of a person, and an awful lot of them are complete strangers. I love it. In my own little pool there are all sorts of wonders to be found. A bit like a rock pool. There are plenty of exciting crevices to find exotic looking shrimps under and what-have-you.

I love looking at the tiny snapshot bio that people I don't know put under their twitter picture. The great drawback of the internet and indeed of any written word, is the difficulty of establishing tone. Some people's bios unintentionally paint the bleakest picture of an existence ill-spent, "43-year-old mum. Kids have flown the nest. Finally it's my time to start the Jazz career! :(" *

Yikes. Or indeed, Yay. It's often hard to tell.

The inspiration for this post is this man. He is clearly, from his tweets, a Regular Joe. Who runs a massive multi-national company. Nothing wrong with that. Read the wrong way though, his Bio smacks real hard of a dystopian future run by Robo-nazis: "CEO of Grass Roots Americas. Improving people performance and aligning behavior". IT SOUNDS TERRIFYING.


Anyway, thanks for joining in the adventure gang. As I get better at this blogging business, incredible things are going to occur here. Things that will strip back the layers of sanity that protect your inner primal animal mind and send you into the street howling and rutting.

* I made this one up. It is not, I repeat not, about you.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't make me angry. I get sweaty and tight-lipped when I'm angry.

Today has been an uncharacteristically anger-filled day. Terse e-mail exchanges this morning gave way to a trip to library without my laptop charger. This equaled a short writing session, when I have MEGA-HEAPS of writing work to get through. (Because I am so much busier and more popular than you. Everyone is talking about it.)

Returning from the library I had a run in with one of those people who are, as my mother would say, not quite as others. It was an elderly lady with unkempt grey and pink hair. She looked like one of those people who had at one point been rather a zany, fun Aunty, rather than, as now, something out of The Dark Crystal. While queueing behind her in Tescos on Goldhawk Rd, I incurred her wrath. As till positions 1 and 2 became available, in that order, she manouevered herself into position 1 and placed her birthday card purchase down on the till. The lady at till 2 and I made eye contact and I trundled down to berth number 2. Whereupon the villain of our piece, (Pinkhaired crone) spun round and shrieked at me that she was here first and struck me with her card before moving down to my till, calling me a big fleet. I presume that she meant flea, but let emotion get the better of her. It became apparent that she didn't care which till she was at, just so long as she was served and had finished her transaction before I was served. As I put down my stuff on the counter at till 1, she exhorted her cashier to swipe her card faster, paid with lightning speed and then rushed from the shop.

I was INCANDESCENT with rage. In this weird insignificant interaction, I had been made to feel like I had been rude, hit with a saccharine birthday card and called out in front of a queue of people who probably hadn't really seen what was going on and so assumed I was being a jerk to an old lady. This was the shit cherry on top of my crap day cake. I haven't felt as angry as this for a long time and it made me think:

Anger and despair can so often be linked to when we feel like life is off kilter. I felt aggrieved to have been accused of jumping the queue, but more unnerved by the fact that I was engaged with someone who clearly didn't see the world quite like me. One must partake of this action 10 times a week. We all know how the system works. You queue up for the tills to see the shopkeeper/checkout person, you pay, you go home and drink your Baileys through straws you've fashioned from Salami slices.

Coming up against somebody who operates a different system like this woman, who is clearly not on your level in terms of her perception of the world, and I don't mean that as an insult, is supremely unnerving. It is unsettling to encounter someone for whom black isn't black and white isn't white, at least the way you understand it. I think that's why I was so angry. No-one like being shrieked at by an old woman in the fashionable local boutique, but I think she just touched a weird little animal nerve in my body that said 'this person is very different from you. Be afraid and angry'.

I think this subconscious sensation is related to the feelings that racist and homophobes must surrender to, when they get all eggy with ethnic minorities and gay people. It is a fear of the other, a horror of the Lovecraftian, non-Euclidean geometry of black women, or two fellas kissing each other.

If I were more connected to people that for want of thinking up a better word I shall define as "crazy", would I have found the incident less infuriating?

Possibly although even if I felt more connected to her, I think this was a weird one.

The food at the British Library is rad.

I lied in the last post. I will now tell people about my blog.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 2: Already the fatigue threatens to destroy everything we have worked towards.

Well. Into day two of the great blog experiment. By the time you, the great unwashed, get to read this, it will have already been seen by a huge number of JUSTIN BIEBER fans driven here by my clever marketing ploys. At this particular moment in time, however, I have yet to reveal the existence of this piece of cyber-masturbation to anyone, so it chugs away in its own little corner of the internet unseen by all save mighty Cthulhu and the CIA INTERNET POLICE.
Already I feel the crushing weight of self-doubt raining down upon my head and no one has even had the common decency to call me a faggot or anything in the comments section of a post about the English Civil War. But I am determined. I am strong. I love the English Civil War. If anybody wants to hate crime me then go ahead. NOBODY STOPS THE JUGGERNAUT*

Fuck it. I am going to tell people about this blog. That will make it real.

*I am aiming to make this catch on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I am the first. Correspondingly, I win.

Well well well. It finally happened. One of us had to crack and it has turned out to be me. It was inevitable that one of us would get a sweet sweet blog set up that would contain such eminently googlable phrases as JUSTIN BIEBER, CHEAP VALENTINES APOLOGIES and DERMOT O'LEARY GIRLFRIEND* and it turns out that I have stolen a march on you and am now in possession of the least effective tool in any modern activist's arsenal. Stand by to be force-fed my opinions on a variety of topics about which you previously thought it was impossible to hold extremist views.

All that said/skim read, I have decided to start a blog. It is intended as a writing aide. I hope that by blathering nonsense on here it will free my mind to write high quality expensive stuff that important people can pay me for. Meanwhile, tightwads and cheapos can come on here and see the raw workings of my poorly-maintained imagination. I promise that what I write will be only lightly researched and reactionary.

*The traffic on this thing is going to be insane-o.