Note: I have no real theme or structure to this week’s entry. In that way it’s the most ‘blog-like’ these things have ever been. Instead of the usual I thought I’d just write about all the cool/funny/irritating/exciting things that have been happening in a lame way to cover up for the fact that I don’t have any way of linking these things together. Enjoy!
Ah Hong Kong, where they have no idea what the concept of a ‘watershed’ is. One of the most fun things I’ve discovered since coming out here, they’re pretty much cool with showing you whatever, whenever and if you don’t like it well you don’t have to watch do you? It’s actually quite refreshing to be treated like an adult by television (an experience that previously I could only enjoy through Mad Men: the finest piece of programming to come out of America in years). This lack of a watershed manifests itself in a couple of ways. The first is that comedies on the film channels during the day time make frequent and sometimes quite alarming jokes about rape. There is usually some ha-ha-larious misunderstanding leading the female protagonist to assume that the male love interest was planning on raping her. I know, I know, I’ll just give you minute to gather yourself together, rape is pretty frigging funny right? There are also a lot of comedies about ghosts too. Ghosts and rape is entire package comedy-wise really. Even ghost-rape sometimes. The attitude seems to be ‘if you day-time-movie-watching pussies can’t handle ghost-rape then change the channel… ass!’ and fair enough really.
The other way the lack of any real concept of what should be allowed when is that you get some serious John Woo badassery in the mornings. It’s amazing! Last week I saw Chow Yun Fat get shot in the shoulder, back flip and land on his stomach whilst shooting his attacker at the same damn time! Over my jam on toast! Earlier on in the week we had a very dry, cop movie. I guess they were going for ‘gritty’ but came out with ‘maudlin’. All the cop clichés there, problematic home life, never there for his bratty kid who will eventually have his life endangered by the antagonist you know the drill. But let me set the scene for you: I’m finishing off breakfast as the film reaches its climax. Bratty kid has been predictably taken hostage by evil gun-toting bad guy (who also just forced a doctor to help deliver his baby at gunpoint, a plot point I found a little unusual, he’s a doctor he’ll do it anyway, you don’t need the gun…) Good Cop main character has his gun trained on bad guy as he presses the barrel against Bratty Kid’s temple. Then Good Cop dad just pulls the trigger and blows bad Guy’s brains all over junior. Good Cop and Mum pick up the screaming kid and rush him away. We immediately freeze-frame on this kid’s blood-soaked howling, screaming face and credits roll! Just like that, wham, bam, traumatised kid, that’s your lot. Did I mention it was also the kid’s birthday? It totally was.
Sometimes it’s good to know Americans.
Despite the frankly absurd notion I drilled into my own head in my childhood that I would hate any American I would meet in life I have actually found that quite the opposite is true. I have never met an American I didn’t like (apart from this one douchebag in a lecture back at university who was also putting his frigging hand up and asking insipid questions and wasting everyone’s time. Oh and he also kept poking me and going ‘buddy, hey buddy’ which infuriated me to the point of daydreams centred around his pain and suffering. Come to think of it he may have been Canadian… Hm… what was I talking about again?) Our neighbours in the US are, in my experience, some of the friendliest, most talkative, most easy-going people I have had the pleasure to meet. They’ve got this whole weird culture that fetishises money and cars and guns and that but it’s no weirder than our obsessions with brain-donor celebrities, queuing and complaining. We may all well be nothing more than super-evolved apes clinging to a ball of mud that is in turn drifting pointlessly through the eternal vastness of space but the American apes just seem to have a better time doing it. And that’s why I jumped at the chance to go get shitfaced with a Californian I barely knew in a place I’d never been to before in my life. This is the same Californian I met on my first day here. I was in Central when he asked how to find a particular bar. Obviously having no idea but assuming such knowledge would be very useful in the coming months we went looking for said bar together.
I ended up going out with him again on Sunday (the following Monday was a surprise Chinese public holiday – suck it England!) and we wound up in a Mexican themed bar in some place I can’t even begin to pronounce. Seriously I won’t insult the Chinese by trying. That old American talkative thing kicked in and we discovered the guy at the bar next to us was from Indianapolis. This revelation was obviously bigger than I thought because it warranted him buying us more beer as he settled his bill on the way out. What a guy. I wasn’t thanking either of them the following morning mind, not two more beers, two margaritas and a metro journey back to Central and probably a taxi ride too none of which I have any memory of. Hangovers generally tend to make one feel like a child again and it was definitely the case for me. I hid under my covers, wanted looking after, ate stuff that was bad for me and hated Americans all over again.
And now for something completely familiar…
It’s a good old-fashioned politics/pop culture diatribe! I was going to write this last week but due to the sheer amount of coverage and debate is sparked there was nothing new I could have added to proceedings. That’s why, now that the furore surrounding the whole Nick Griffin on Question Time thing has died down a bit, I wondered if I could, unlike many a member of the Great British Public, muster up the enthusiasm to express myself about something that isn’t happening right the hell now! First I have to say that Griffin is a poisonous little toad who deserves nothing less than a sound thrashing at regular intervals. He is a bigoted and narrow-minded coward who embodies the worst of us but what he isn’t is a raving lunatic stumbling around on the streets shouting abuse and muttering into his can of Special Brew. He is the leader of a political party. A political party that may be odious and offensive to many people’s tastes and sensibilities but nonetheless a legitimate British party that has (somehow) gained seats in dark corners of South Yorkshire. If you take my crap out of those last sentences you have ‘leader of legitimate political party’ and what about that tells you he shouldn’t be allowed on television?
As disgusting as the filth is that wriggles its way out of Griffin’s mouth is he is not the sect of society I was most ashamed of when I read the coverage on the BBC’s news site or watched the show itself on the internet. Who I was most ashamed of was the bleating idiots calling themselves ‘anti-fascist protestors’ banging on the gates outside the BBC studio, full of bile and hatred for the corporation because they were ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for Griffin and injuring policemen while they were at it. Excuse my German but you are all fucking morons. My father has a phrase for such pond scum: middle class anarchists. To paraphrase him, they are the protestors who roll up at the meeting place in their Chelsea tractors, put in some face time for a cause they should be seen to be supporting then escape just in time for the school run. Fuck them all and their trendy morals. It may be fashionable to bash the BBC (God knows there are plenty of reasons to) but this is one of those times where we have to applaud them, in fact no we shouldn’t even need to do that, the fact is the BBC were doing their job as an impartial broadcasting house. What good would Question Time possibly be if the makers decided they were going to decide which parties are allowed on and which ones aren’t? We must allow creatures like Griffin the stage on which to embarrass himself on. We did and he dutifully did.
As a good friend of mine pointed out however, it’s not as if Jack Straw left smelling of roses. When asked the very reasonable question ‘Do you think the rise in support for the BNP is due in part to Labour’s immigration failures?’ (not a direct quote but you get the gist) Straw made it seem like he couldn’t find his arse with both hands. He stammered his way through the politician’s handbook chapter on how to answer a question in such a boring and long-winded manner that everyone gives up on an answer and at the same time avoided saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at all costs. His copy of the book must be worn indeed. But that isn’t what last week’s <Question Time will be remembered for is it? No one will recall that point in years to come because the public evisceration of Griffin was far more important and far more entertaining, not to mention the reason why every single member of the audience was there (and speaking of which, the cameramen can’t have been too bothered about the debate because they kept hilarious lingering on the attractive girls in the crowd as they panned). I bet the MPs on the panel that week were thanking their makers that they got to go on the show the same week as Griffin, what a stroke of luck! Gordon Brown is probably doing everything he can to bring him back on for the next time he scheduled to appear. In fact Brown should just walk around with Griffin attached to his side at all times just to remind people that it could be so much worse (now close your eyes and let the image of the world’s most unfortunate conjoined twins settle into your mind. You’re welcome).
But without a doubt the very best thing to have come out of this is the debate it sparked in members of my own generation. We are so mocked for our apathy (I should know I do it all the time) but everyone had an opinion on that night. It’s one of the few times Facebook has made me feel something resembling joy. Just about everybody I knew on there was online and saying something about Question Time. We became, en masse, politicised and it was fantastic. If only it wasn’t just one night. If only it wasn’t due to such an extreme event… Ah bollocks to it, invite the fat twat back again for this week’s show, let’s have round two!