Category Archives: Nonsense

Awkward Human Interaction #8472

Earlier tonight I was cycling home and had just pulled off the road to check my route when a woman came up to me. She put her hands up and told me she wasn’t going to attack me, I was a man and she was a woman, and that I “could kill” her. So this was already something of an odd conversation.

I don’t recall managing to get a single word out before she gave me the short version of her life story: she had several kids, one of whom was presumably an infant as she urgently needed to buy milk; she had some serious money problems, which was why she had approached me; and one of her children died two weeks ago, which had her feeling “pretty suicidal”. Put simply, she needed someone to cut her a break. So I took out my wallet and gave her all my change – something in the neighbourhood of £3.22.

Instead of offering thanks, she asked if I could buy her anything on card. I don’t necessarily need gratitude for being a decent human, but, well…she was asking two favours in a row from a complete stranger and putting me in a hugely uncomfortable position, so I declined apologetically. I told her I had to get home, which was both true and false; I needed to get home eventually, and I wanted to be home pretty soon (which in London is never as soon as you hope), but was there anything urgent I had to attend to? Nope.

Why was I okay lying to her, after she had poured her life and struggles into my mind? Was it because I automatically suspected her of lying even before she was finished speaking? Probably. I’m not sure at what point I decided that strangers requesting money on the street were automatically untrustworthy, but I know it’s not just me. I’m uncomfortable with that fact, just as I feel guilty when I ignore the existence of homeless people so I don’t have to pretend I don’t have any change to give them.

In the end (the whole interaction lasted about 30 seconds, I reckon), the woman left in a flash, resigned to the knowledge I wasn’t going to help her any more than I already had. When I looked back to see where she was heading, she had already crossed the road and was closing in on another potential Samaritan.

I don’t know if she was lying. I’d like to think she really did need the money, but if all of what she said was true then some loose change likely isn’t going to help her all that much. And I guess I don’t really know how to help people in those situations beyond giving them the contents of my wallet.

If I had just done as the Google Maps lady had said and made that right turn when I was supposed to, I might never have seen that woman in my whole life. Maybe interactions like that – or just the possibility of them – are why I choose to bike to work instead of getting the train most days. Why I wear headphones when walking alone in the street. Why I’m reluctant to answer the phone when I don’t recognise the number.

“Maybe”.

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The Room/Kissing The Sky

I’m sat in an ostensibly Hendrix-themed bar in Crouch End that is far more about soft candlelight and even softer pop-rock than it is about beads and wicked Napoleonic jackets, but that’s cool because the wi-fi is free and they have wasabi peas. I just picked up a set of fish-eye lens camera prints that I took last September and dropped off in January, so I’m experiencing some weird time-warping right now. Most of the photos I have distinct recollections of, except for one shirtless picture of myself in a bed I don’t know if I ought to recognise or not. Probably best not to worry (or post that picture online), right? Right.

So yeah, this is the kind of thing I do on a Saturday in the big city. I don’t have a routine of sorts and I’m still behind on my daily film viewings so I’ve just been flitting around Soho trying to soak up as much culture as I can while fitting in downloaded movies on the long bus journeys between. (Getting from my place to central London takes about five minutes longer than the train between Scarborough and York, which I find strangely comforting.)

I squeezed in Broken, a BFI-funded kitchen sink drama about modern suburbia and how everyone comes of age in different ways, over two such journeys courtesy of BBC’s iplayer app. Don’t tell me I’m a bad person because I watch movies on my phone, please. I wrote a little bit about it on Letterboxd.

Last Saturday I saw this mythical figure (let’s not lessen his mystique by referring to him as a man) live on stage at the Prince Charles Cinema:

In case you're wondering: yes, he is wearing branded underwear with his name on.

In case you’re wondering: yes, he is wearing branded underwear with his name on.

Tommy Wiseau hosted a midnight screening of his masterwork (and only feature film to date), The Room, and just barely answered some questions the audience had. He claimed to be 200 years old, was proud to announce that he was wearing five belts and if you don’t know anything more about the enigmatic Mr. Wiseau then I suggest you watch The Room immediately. Like right now.

It was a magical experience, but not one I’m entirely certain I have the gumption to sit through ever again. Spoons were thrown, catchphrases were bellowed and brains were accordingly fried.

I should have comic news but I don’t; maybe next time. Thanks for reading.

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Stuff You May Have Missed…

…or, to put it more fairly, things I just haven’t told you about. If you follow me on social media or actually know me in real life you’ll probably be aware that I started a job in London (not in Ontario – sorry, Canadians) and moved here in December. Which was all very exciting, but as I was hopping from couch to couch & looking for my own place while trying to figure out how this whole 9-5 job thing worked I didn’t have a whole lot of time for writing.

Well, not on this blog anyway. I’ve started contributing regularly to Nerdly once again, and to my delight I’m much better located to attend preview screenings for upcoming movies than I was Up North™. Since 2015 began I’ve reviewed the following:

And there are plenty more in the pipeline, including my thoughts on Michael Mann’s Blackhat, which I saw before most of the above but am still kind of processing.

At any rate, I’m being more productive in some form or another online than I have been in a year or so. This would be great if it didn’t make me feel like I’ve been incredibly lazy over the past twelve months. But I’m not going to dwell on such thoughts, no!

Another thing that’s been eating up my time has been my aggressive consumption of cinema as part of an attempt to watch at least one new (to me, anyway) film every day, as documented on my Letterboxd. Sidenote: you should sign up to Letterboxd if you like film discussion, ranking and list-making. It’s got a lovely sense of community, which is a surprising and welcome thing to find on a social networking site.

(Earlier tonight a friend asserted that I’m basically living in the cinema much like Francois Truffaut and his cohort back in their early days. It was awfully generous of him to mention me in the same breath.)

Yes, I know I’m behind, but being homeless for the first three weeks of the year doesn’t leave you with a lot of independent free time. I’m catching up with myself, though, and once I’m on track – I’m currently clocking about 1.5 flicks a day, so I should be right in a week or so – things will ease off and I intend to start blogging here again more regularly.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before. But this time I mean it, not least because now I actually have something to write about again. Yes, that something will mostly be movies, but there are other, more creative endeavours in the works that I’ll hopefully be able to share with you soon.

If those things end up being delayed for whatever reason (and I usually find one) then at least you’ll get some dispatches from my new home in the aisles. Watch this space, but maybe bring a magazine or something so you don’t get bored.

Happy new year (yes I know it’s February shut up) and thanks so much for reading this far. You’re the best.

Where the shirtless teenage boys are

Upon arriving home tonight – about 11pm – I noticed a commotion coming across the road from my house and witnessed a somewhat startling and unsteadying sight.

Before I go on, I should probably say that I live across the road from a primary school (yes, of course I’m allowed to, those allegations were never proven) and that it’s currently half term – I know that because I work in a cinema and The LEGO Movie is pretty dern popular with the young ‘uns these days – so I didn’t really expect to see anyone at the school, especially at that time.

You see where I’m going with this.

Upon taking out an earphone to properly hear the strangled jeers and laughs from across the way, I looked to see around five or six giddy teenagers running along the school’s playground. I couldn’t really tell if they were running away from or toward something, but they didn’t seem especially scared or troublesome so I figure there was nothing untoward occurring.

Then I saw that one of the boys was in his underpants.

Yep: naked but for briefs and trainers, the kid seemed to somehow be enjoying a midnight run in February for some unknown reason. His friends/potential torturers were loving it, and as whatever hazing ritual/cult initiation ceremony they were having came to an end and they started to walk out of the playground – and towards me! – I decided that now was about the right time to turn the key I’d had in my front door for the past three minutes and leave the laughably harmless madness that comes with living in a city where the biggest crimes are bicycle thefts.

And here I am in bed, blogging about it because I felt guilty about not having written anything here in February and I thought maybe I could wring a few laughs from my bemusement.

Yeah. These are the things that keep me awake at night.

I didn’t mean it like that, you monsters.

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Reasons to be Blearful

It’s been a little quiet here the past couple of days largely because

a) other things required my attention, and

b) I’ve been trying to solve the medical conundrums that are my inconsistent deafness and impending death.

Okay, that might sound a little dramatic, but you try coughing your lungs up every other day for three months and see how optimistic you are about your chances. It’s not really that bad, but I have been feeling more and more run down as the days go on, which makes it harder to keep up with the things that require effort (like this blog) , and there doesn’t seem to be a concrete reason why. I’ve had my ears syringed twice this week – a procedure not unlike brush-scrubbing your forearms for so long and so hard that you start scraping the skin off, except with your eardrum – and came out of the session with the reasonably certain knowledge that a bunch of wax  wasn’t the problem in the first place.

Yeah, I know nobody likes a blog where someone just complains about their shit – especially when I don’t even have things especially bad – but I figure a (possibly) entertaining explanation of my recent silence is better than said silence.

But I could be wrong.

If you want an example of someone who’s way worse off than me, and a beautiful response to their problems, then you should check out this post from comics writer Matt Fraction’s blog in which he replies to a question from a fan contemplating suicide, incorporating his own experiences with it and depression in general. It’s pretty moving, inspiring and will likely make you cry if you value human life, and the section on “reasons to live” was especially potent.

So, um, yeah. Sorry about the emo post. I’ll try and make the next one bright and sparkly, and possibly incorporate unicorns and rainbows of some variety.

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Paging Doctor Sellout

So I went and got a Facebook page. Isn’t that special?

Go ahead and like it if you’re in the mood. I’ll mostly be reposting things from here but it’d be nice if it ended up being a place where I can engage a bit more with readers rather than the one-way conversation we’ve got going on here, and shorter subjects might seem more appropriate for social media. Who knows?

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Nights at the Round Table #4

The fourth episode of Nights at the Round Table – on which I recorded the sound – has just hit the airwaves:

My favourite parts of the episodes are often when the actors add tiny little embellishments to the written performances, and this time around is no different; Max’s “my new inbox” schtick is so understated and throwaway but it gets me every time.

Um, not that I don’t appreciate the non-throwaway (i.e. permanent) parts of the show, like the writing, performance, camerawork, graphics, musics and *straightens tie* crisply captured dialogue that are the foundations upon which such moments can sit.

Why are you looking at me like that?

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Solipso*

Oh, hey! Yeah, so…

…about that thing…

…um.

Well, what about–

Er. Yep.

I got nothing.

I had a drink or two last night and woke up this afternoon with a skinned knee, a mouth that tasted like store brand popcorn and the faint recollection of having done something dumb in a supermarket, with little to justify my half-remembered idiocy other than that I’m 23 and what are you gonna do.

I feel like there’s a name for drinking past the point of actually enjoying yourself or being capable of having an intelligent thought or interesting conversation with anyone that isn’t your parents’ half-asleep dog on the kitchen floor (and even then she’s hardly the most sparkling conversationalist).

“Alcoholism?”

Nah, that’s not it. It’s like when you keep doing the same thing over and over again but expect a different outcome.

“Insanity?”

Nuh-uh, doesn’t sound quite right. Something to do with kidding yourself into thinking that things’ll work out if you just stay the same and don’t attempt to change because the problems in your life clearly come from without, not within.

“Delusionally solipsistic?”

Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t worry about it. Did you say something about a Calipso? I’d love one, cheers.

“…You’re going to die alone.”

No, I don’t think you’re too fat. You’re just the right amount of fat. I should go for a run. Bye!

[*This post’s title should be duly be credited to my friends Dan, David and Chris. It wasn’t a team project, I just don’t remember exactly which one of them coined the delightful portmanteau and I’ll be damned if I have to start making fact-checking phone calls for bullshit blog posts.]

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Chinese Burns On The Dancefloor

20131004-223122.jpg

It’s a short one tonight as I’m 750 words deep into a post about hair, both head-based and facial.

Yeah, I know. Well worth the wait.

So what’s the picture all about? Well, it’s an example of the kind of mindsplitting news that comes through my hometown. You don’t like it? Tough. That’s how it is.

Vincent Price’s Moustache

So I just checked out my bank balance on my online account. Oh boy.

I won’t get into the gory details as such, but let’s just say that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford to keep up payments on this free blog.

Okay. That’s more than enough hyperbole.

I find it curious that I can only summon the courage to open up my banking app in the wee hours of the morning, normally right before I go to bed.

If I were to try and psycho-analyse myself, I’d probably say it was either a) so that I can discover that my finances aren’t in as dire straits as I feared and hit the sack relatively worry-free for another day or b) so that, upon finding out my phone, clothes and teeth are all about to be repossessed to pay off my never-read impulse subscription to New Humanist Magazine, I can allow my head to strike the pillow and hope that imminent sleep will wipe away this bitter memory or make it seem like a really dull nightmare. Really it’s more likely that I simply forget that I even have a bank account until I go window shopping for pithy t-shirts online at 1am nightly.

I hope that was at least funny to you guys, ’cause it sure as hell wasn’t interesting! Jesus, my bank account? I thought I had material?

[This isn’t a plea for donations, by the way. Not that I expect anyone to pay for this crap. That said, if anyone wants to hire me to write any comic/movie/book reviews I’m not going to bat them away. I know I just described my writing as crap. That’s the writing nobody pays for. When there’s a crisp twenty in my virtual pocket the quality sees a dramatic spike in quality. But yeah, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think I was having a passive-aggressive grovel or anything.]

Oh, wait, I do have material:

The second part of my Bluewater comics review for Nerdly. It ain’t pretty, but it’s slightly more hopeful than the first bunch. Plus, I talk about Vincent Price’s moustache and all the times folks have tried to remake Logan’s Run. [The first version of that sentence read “Plus, I talk about Vincent Price’s moustache and all the times folks have tried to remake it,” which I kind of love.]

This wasn't the only picture I could find of "Vincent Price moustache", but it was the best.

This wasn’t the only picture I could find of “Vincent Price moustache”, but it was the best.

Currently games designer Ken Levine’s been tapped to write the screenplay, which on its face is kind of weird until you realise the guy who came up with Bioshock is a goddamn genius choice.

But yeah, check out the wiki entry. It’s pretty interesting if you’re keen on checking out how long it takes Hollywood to get its shit together. The clock’s still running on that one.

[Full disclosure: that last link just goes to my review as well. Technically I’m not lying because the wiki link is on the page and frankly I’m kind of insulted that you just skipped over the first link because why what you don’t like comics or you just don’t like me then WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE ah fuck it]

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