Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Palladins of the Posts

Sports journalists: A lot of fun to read, as long as you ignore the content.

I always head first for the sports section of the Guardian each day, because I am a philistine, for one thing, and because the news is slightly less depressing for another. Finally, the writing is a little more imaginative, as I suppose they have more room for artistic manoeuvering in reporting a cricket game than carefully-worded press releases about paedophiles.

What I consistently fail to understand, however, is the predilection for back-page fogies to witter on about how things were in their day, or how morally giant some whiskered amateur was before the wisdom and gentle glory of the game was absorbed by dirty monies. I resent being subjected to their senile drool.

This morning, it was David Foot writing about collecting autographs. Is there anything as dull as a list of sports stars from a distant decade? Free from their context, presumably supplied by the fading recollections of older readers, they are close to meaningless. Eddie Hapgood anyone? (He captained England during that tricky, yet heroic Nazi salute business. Way to go, Ed!)

This incidentaly underlines the utter uselessness of collecting autographs, or having your picture taken with celebrities for that matter. You've seen someone famous at the shops; why do you need written confirmation? How would that enhance the experience? I suppose folk just whip out their phones and film them these days. Or play with themselves.

I understand that we are supposed to worship the values and heroes of whatever era of sport in which the writer enjoyed their boyhood, and it is always a boyhood, of course; but I don't understand why. Won't someone fax me the secret?

Your pal, Coc x

Thursday, 8 January 2009

In Partibus Infidelium, Chumps!

Charlie, Charlie Brooker - everyone knows your brain...

He is a mortal man, this Screenwipe man. He has fallabilities pouring from the usual pores, and makes mistakes, and Dead Set really wasn't very good. Just another zombie movie (weirdly) with all the acerbic, culturally incisive teeth dissolved by everyday bile. But he is still Charlie Brooker. He slays reputations the size of cliff-faces armed with sheer boggle-eyed scatalogical indignation, and that deserves him the title "Christ of Our Age".

He has a terrible listening face though. I'm convinced he's not a listener: he's a ranter. I wouldn't want him interviewing me for a job, for example. Though I have been interviewed by at least one ranter, and that wasn't much fun either. I want to be interviewed by people who have already offered me the job. Maybe he has a job for me.

He was talking to writers last night - Tony Jordan, Paul Abbott, the godlike Graham Linehan, the Peep Show creeps, and Russell T DrWho. Always massively frustrating these things. How they became writers: fuck's sake! It's purely biographical. There is no career advice in there; no advice as how best to sit down and get writing. (And some scenes seemed to be filmed next door to a kids' swimming pool.) Everyone does it differently, except they agree the first draft is the hardest.

I have written nothing (ie finished it) since I was 21. Not counting songs, gig reviews and poems obviously. It is beyond the time I should give up on the idea, isn't it?

Is there anyone who wants to pay me for wandering around my own head for a few hours every day? (No, there isn't.)

Your pal, Coc x

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Blunt Sexual Objects

Affirmatronics, ugly buglies!

While it doesn't exactly crawl with glossy goddesses, Neighbours seems to pulse with a lot more hormonal thunge than it used to in the days of horse-faced cancer-dodger, Kylie Minogue. They seem to have recruited a whole phalanx of pouting bleached Valkyries to ride the diseased imaginations of the watching deadbeats. But can anyone tell them apart? Teenage perfume representative Margot Robbie or "bikini model" Imogen Bailey? Perhaps they have vats of the xeroxed beauties, floating naked in viscous gels until the time comes to inch them down the production line to glamorous oblivion.

Is this me coming to terms with a future of daytime TV, as plans A-C for employment seem to be spiralling out of the sky, toxic columns of black furrowing out of their screaming, doomed engines? Perhap. Get thinky about the thinkless, just like I did back in '95.

The only thing that keeps me going at the minute is Gary James' history of Manchester football. I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so, and I was fascinated to learn of Manchester Central FC's birth at Belle Vue to fill the gap in east Manchester left by City and United; but if I'd realised what a morbidly bluenose bias slopes through the book, I would never have bothered. He's a curator for City apparently, which would explain the skewered opinions, but he goes to such lengths to show how any good that came to or from United was blue in origin that the fabric of credible reality bends like a crumbling rainbow. And that can't be good for posterity, can it?

I even got a signed copy from the guy. I knew I should've read it first. Only the sting of the fiery coals of injustice keeps me reading through the salty burn in my tearducts.

Be beautiful, my shining gangsters!

Your pal, Coc x

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2008 - Lingering Bastard...

Happy twelvemonth, ya fuck-plants!

2008 has been a mixed year, but I hadn't realised until today that it was an extra, extra long one. Not only a leap year, but with a leap second tacked on the end.


This time of year always feels as though it has skipped between the cracks and outside the rules, and it's nice to have it confirmed by science. I almost always estimate the time in five minute chunks because I loathe the pedantry of folk who seem to believe they have some god-given hot-line to the atomic clock because they've worked out how to operate Teletext. It's up there (in that space where people put things they reckon are worth gathering together to make a point) with people who believe they have the only correct interpretation of the Word of God. I can picture Martin Luther hammering his digital watch to the door of the Wittenberg post office, or whatever. It's a margin of error - get over it, numb nuts.

Having been off work, in fact having no work to be off, since 6th December, this period has no obvious endpoint, which seems nice. But once the shiny new year begins the long blunting process on the 5th, once the three wise men come round and tell me to take down my lovely decorations, I will be pretty fidgety. The comforting contact of Xmasses Past will dissolve into penniless relentless Now. The future smells a little non-committal, like the tingling scent of snowfall-to-come.

Until then, I'll keep fannying around with my CV.

Your pal, Coc x