Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas dear readers, is the turkey sitting nicely in your gut (or vegan equivalent? So as not to discriminate). I hope this year finds you all doing well and of course, wishing you the best for the year to come. As is becoming of yearly traditions, I am here to fill you in on my Christmas and a recap of the lead up to it, from my perspective, because that is what you are here to read. I am not a newspaper nor a company, merely a man with a blog that you all seem to take some interest in, however slight or strong it may be.

I will admit I have not looked forward to Christmas – unemployment, tight finances, dwindling social life and a constant stream of happiness from the world around me seemingly for everyone bar me has had me greet festivity with bitterness in my heart. As I write this, that bitterness begins to come forth once again, as it often does in an evening. I made my efforts though, I am not one to let my personal woes ruin the joy of others and so I participated in gift-giving, jumper-wearing and cheer-spreading, albeit with a somewhat pained grimace where a smile should have been. Today in itself consisted of the usual gift-unwrapping followed by films, Doctor Who, dinner and then everyone toddles off again to do their own thing, my thing being returning to my little cell of a bedroom to brood and contemplate on doing something creative until it is suddenly 2:34AM and all I have achieved is removing my trousers and staring at the utter lack of notifications I have to attend to on my Facebook.

Christmas, in a sense, has yet to actually come for me because whilst I have received cash from the folks and a new shirt from one of my brothers, the bulk of my gifts are coming from friends I have not had the chance to see yet and perhaps on those occasions I will feel more cheery. As it stands, home life is not cheery, tensions are high here and there has been far too much aggression in the air to call this a holly jolly holiday. Interesting, when one considers this might be my last Christmas like this – though I feel perhaps that was considered by everyone present and some perhaps greeted that thought with the silent response of “Thank goodness”, there has been no attempt to bury hatchets here and hostilities are either laid plain or knives are sharpened behind backs. Indeed, perhaps even this blog is my knife, though whom it would cut remains to be seen as my work is met with the most trifling interest by my family.

I apologise, I am a downer on a day of joy, such is my lot. I wish I had stories of charity and cheer to tell and whilst this season has not been an endless suffering on my part, indeed one party was attended and unexpected gifts have been assured to be coming my way yet as it stands, at this time on this day, I feel a black mist grip my soul and drag it back down like always. I look forward to the new year, if only because I have ambitions to drive me and feasible means of achieving some of them and the prospect of being in work again is seemingly more apparent – two employers have expressed great interest in me and once the world of work is back in order then they will hurry to usher me in and get me sorted out as either their new team player or latest addition to the rejection bin.

I have no right to complain, I spent Christmas in a warm home with turkey on my plate, no job to tear me away from my family and there was no actual family tragedy today, just muttered words and a general consensus of “Let’s do this for as long as it is bearable”, with some of us giving up an hour in and some sticking through to dinner before departing. Families do that I suppose, the Christmas card image of a family gathered and united in love is appealing but fairly untrue, especially in homes on the breadline like mine. Ultimately, you must think me a terrible whine, to speak of how poor I find myself and woe is me but you are not obliged to read on, this is merely a personal filling in and as it stands, this is the truth of it – a modest Christmas with a family divided and I am little more than a misery.

I do not know what 2016 will bring. I hope it will be the year that changes everything and intend to work hard to make it so and yet, I have said that much for each year of my life since I left school and here I am. On the upside, with a gym contract I’m obliged to for twelve months, at £9.99 a month, I can at least be depressed and fucking jacked up like a beefcake, I’m too much of a tight git with money to let the best part of £10 vanish from my bank account each month and not turn up at the gym – I’m lazy enough, I don’t intend to charge myself £10 a month to be so.

Still, Christmas is a time to be thankful so let me end on the lighter note as to what I am thankful for. I am thankful to my family for providing me a home and for the efforts they have made for me all year round, to my Dad for being willing to invest in me and help me take my first steps towards revolutionising my work by buying me the equipment. I am thankful to my friends for their steadfast loyalty, especially at this time and whilst the run-up to Christmas would provide many of them valid reason to make less effort, some have made more effort than ever to check that I am okay and provide me with some reason to smile or laugh. Lastly, let me give thanks to the unexpected friends I have found this year, old grudges washed away and casual acquaintances have made new strides to know me better, it is always something that can make me smile.

Merry Christmas everyone, I will provide a 2015 retrospective later this year and in it, I will look back on my year and my plans for 2016, for those who take interest in such matters

Seeing Red This Christmas

The content here has delved into some deep matters so here is something so stupid to blog about it that you’ll either laugh at the fact it is deemed blog worthy or cringe and moan at the depths humanity has sunk to in its ignorant rage. There is genuine talk in the news and on social media of Christians urging people to boycott Starbucks for their new Christmas cups. Why you ask? Do the cups have Pagan images on or Satanic verses? Nope, the cups are plain, the cups are just plain red paper cups. Starbucks have done away with images of snowmen and wintry trees and opted for a minimalist design so as to appeal to as many people as possible by not bombarding their customers with Christmas themed imagery and thus excluding those who do not celebrate the occasion. Seems reasonable right? Well, apparently not.

Internet Evangelist Joshua Feuerstein is perhaps the most well-known opponent of this decision, accusing Starbucks of hating Christians and Jesus, urging people to keep the Christ in Christmas and encouraging people to tell their barista their name is Merry Christmas so the barista is forced to write that on the cup. Oh, very clever, well-played – the cups have never had those words upon them, even when they had snowflakes on. A lot of people are calling this a “war on Christmas”, I’d call it the exaggeration of the year but today the Sun published a two page spread on why Jeremy Corbyn is a dick for not bowing down and weeping for the fallen at a remembrance parade (Even though he attended two separate parades in two different areas and passed up on a VIP party to meet some of the veterans face-to-face). Starbucks has never claimed to be a Christian company and if you want to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, pushy Evangelists and whatever, there are more Christian things to be doing than protesting about cups. This same Feuerstein fellow protested the anti-second amendment rule (In the USA, Starbucks do not permit open-carrying of firearms in their stores) by waltzing in with a weapon on show and calling it his patriotic freedom. To recap then, we have ourselves a zealous gun nut defending his faith and freedom by waving a gun at a hapless barista and ‘pranking’ the unassuming customer service worker into writing Christmassy messages on a cup because the cup doesn’t have a picture of a snowflake on it… do you realise how stupid that sounds? This is what God allowed Jesus to die for is it? Paper cups with pictures on?Sure, I remember that passage – the Lord gave His only son that we might have decorative receptacles for our warm beverages.

If you ask me, the red cup is the perfect happy medium, it’s Santa’s sleigh red so it’s Christmassy enough but without being over the top and pushing the images of angels and baubles down our throats. Starbucks has never been all about the Christian market, they’re neutral on political and religious stances so as not to offend people – they only join in on Christmas because everyone does, it’s Christmas, it’s fun and you make a shit ton of money when you put out those festive deals. Christmas has its fair share of issues, a Christian hijacking of a time dangerously close to the Winter Solstice celebrated by Pagans, the imagery of Santa’s sleigh is taken from the Vikings and as a Christian celebration goes, this time of year is becoming more and more about throwing bigger parties and spending more money to get more ridiculously expensive gifts than it is about actual goodwill and charity. Therein is my biggest problem with this war on Christmas idea about the cups, the cups are not what is ruining Christmas, we are.

Put simply, if you’re outraged by these paper cups but not by some people spending Christmas face down in a gutter or soldiers fighting in a foreign land rather than gift wrapping a PS4 for their kids, I have serious beef with you. If you need a coffee shop chain to represent Christmas spirit FOR you, take a good long look at yourself and your relationship with God – rather than getting some barista to scrawl Merry Christmas on a cup, why not do something to keep the Christ in Christmas that has meaning? Soup kitchens always need volunteers, maybe give that red cup of hot choc to someone freezing in the cold and rain, maybe you could get less caught up in some trivial bullshit about a coffee shop packaging design and do something selfless that Jesus himself would smile if he witnessed. Life is much too precious to waste it on boycotting a shop for not selling the right design for you, is the biggest and brightest thing you can think to do this year for Christmas to be the guy who encouraged people not to buy coffee from some place? That’s your impact is it? That is what God wants people to remember in their hearts this time of year? I may not be of faith but if there is a God, he expects us to be good people at Christmas and all throughout the year, whatever our cups look like.

The spirit of the season is one of inclusiveness and togetherness, of spreading joy and happiness to all, friend and stranger alike and Starbucks has done so by offering a neutral stance at a time when some of us get a little too crazy for angels and babies in mangers. God sent his son to preach to us the importance of love and community, not snowmen and trees covered in tinsel. Maybe it’s easier for you to get upset over a cup than it is for you to show genuine concern about how many of us will spend Christmas in poverty or in a hospital bed or possibly won’t even see Christmas at all but that tells us only volumes about you. The Christ in Christmas is in loving one another, not in loving Christmas.

2014 Retrospective

Trigger Warnings – Mentions of suicide/depression, related to Robin Williams

2014 was a pretty full year, granted it’s not quite done yet but I’ll be damned if I’m waiting to the very last second for every single morsel of news and trivia to include in here. I had originally thought of making a month by month Charlie Brooker-esque look back at the news of the year – media, films, business, politics, technology, war – all that jazz and more but my god was there a lot to cover, far too much to squeeze into my usual article length. I mean, when I look back at the year, it feels like it went on forever, not like 2013 which sorta came and went for me at least.

A strange year, we lost many great names and we saw twerks and jerks all over our News Feeds – Russell Brand became a ‘revolutionary’, the battle for equality escalated tremendously with victories for Gay Marriage cropping up across the US, Scotland voted on independence, photos were hacked and made global, cinemas cowered from cyber threats, Rocket Raccoon became a recognisable character to the mainstream and we learnt the dark truths behind some famous faces of yesteryear. So much to cover on one little blog, some of it I only really rediscovered in my research and was surprised at how recent things had been and just how much had happened. I’ll cover what I can, in brief summary.

So globally, the most searched names were those of Robin Williams, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian. Robin Williams being one of the most tragic losses, at least to me and to the public community, and he served as a reminder as to the truth of depression – that outward appearances do not portray inner feelings for this man who brought nothing but joy felt such intense sadness and pain inside that it eventually overcame him, that’s a blog post in itself, something I can relate to, but I’ll leave it be for now. Jennifer Lawrence, of course, was constantly in the public eye for her various film appearances in the likes of Hunger Games films and X-Men First Class, as well as being a victim of the nude photo hack scandal. To clear up my stance on that one, she’s a victim and no she shouldn’t have just not taken the pictures of herself, that’s like saying if you don’t want to be robbed, don’t own valuables, victims are victims, criminals are criminals, stop blurring the lines. Yes, leaving a door unlocked will let a burglar into the house more easily but I can walk post a door and not open it, if someone goes ahead and walks in where they’re not invited, they need to be punished accordingly, we shouldn’t shrug and say it was inevitable. As for Kim, Kim tried to ‘break the internet’ by posing naked on a magazine cover, apparently forgetting the internet already knows what she looks like naked. I heard talk of it being brave or bold or stupid or whatever, I just shrugged, it was the least spectacular bit of ‘news’ I’d ever read, it’s why I’d never even considered doing an article on it – I refuse to make my blog into a celebrity gossip dump.

In film, we had the undying popularity of Frozen linger on well into Christmas this year, so much so various shops had to enforce maximum budgets on customer purchases for Frozen merchandise, we had Guardians of the Galaxy make Marvel a shit ton more money than they already had, there were Hobbits and Ninja Turtles all over the place, Lego became a film… somehow, Divergent joined the roster of “Dystopian teen fiction made into long running Hollywood money machine” novels, and we learnt that Benedict Cumberbatch REALLY can’t say penguins and that apes can outmatch the military. A lot of good films, a lot of not so good films, a lot of films I meant to watch and didn’t but the most part of it was “You know what we need? A team of characters standing around in epic poses whilst stuff explodes, it made Marvel rich, it must be the key to immortality or something” – so much so the freakin’ Penguins of Madagascar parodies the scene with the penguins stood in the trademark everyone-is-here-let’s-stand-back-to-back position and their leader saying to hold the position until maximum coolness is achieved. I still have a lot of these films to catch up on, Big Hero 6 looks fun, definitely need to see The Theory of Everything and wouldn’t mind giving some of the others a go just to say I have done. Of course, there was the fiasco with The Interview, which has been resolved with online releases, though there is a discussion in that for another day maybe.

World news, the big charity pushes this year were the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that every fucker and their nan took part in and the fight against Ebola, which America handled by saying “OH GOD NO AFRICANS WILL KILL US ALL, EBOLA IS EVERYWHERE!” whilst actual charities worked hard to clear up the damages and the rumours. We heard news reports on wars and conflicts across the globe, so much so it all sort of blurred into one horrid mess for people who didn’t follow these things, myself included. Conflicts in Gaza, Israel, Crimea, Ukraine, it became this endless stream of human beings just doing horrid stuff to one another and I daren’t even step on the subject because I just didn’t read up on it, it passed me by, I’m sure it did for most of you – the advantages of our lifestyles huh? We have our complaints and financial insecurity but there are considerably less guns and explosions in Shrewsbury, I’ll give you that much. In my neck of the woods, UKIP enjoyed a surge in support, much to my disgust, but at least the Greens did too. Scotland had their vote on independence and said it wasn’t for them, which to me is a wise decision, Britain as a whole barely stays afloat, breaking chunks off won’t do anyone any favours. Yes, that’s very brief and vague, so what?

Ugh, my gosh, over a thousand words, barely scratched the surface. I haven’t covered ISIS or Ferguson or the Sochi Olympics or Peaches Geldof or Conchita Wurst or… do you see my point? A lot happened this year, it’s impractical for a man of my limited resources to go into these things in one go so maybe this post will jog some memories of “Oh yeah, that happened” and start a few discussions. Truth be told, in this modern age, our attention spans are short, things don’t stay relevant very long – try it, do an ice bucket challenge now, see who gives a flip. Come 2015, we’ll have forgotten most of this year, I’ve certainly forgotten most of 2013 and 2012 before that. Anyway, perhaps slightly more interesting, tomorrow I’ll do a review of 2014 for me as a person rather than parroting Google searches. I have a lot to say there and it’ll be my way of signing off this year, letting it go

Letting it go… let it go… oh fuck

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This Is Cereals Business

Trigger Warnings – None

Ah, yesterday’s post went down well it seemed, earned a few new subscribers – come on in guys, make yourselves a cup of tea or something, kick back and relax. So what’s the topic of the day? Well, following the news here in the UK, I decided to weigh in on the Cereal Killer cafe, the first ever cereal cafe in the UK, set up in London to provide breakfast cereals both beloved and rare at a bit of a hefty price but hey, it’s the current economy, what doesn’t come at a hefty price now? Channel 4 sent a reporter to visit the place and the reporter noted the cafe was set up in one of the poorest parts of the city but still charged the steep price of £3.20 a bowl and asked if the owners can really justify such prices. Yes. Yes they can, the owner fought his case poorly on the spot but he was distracted and not prepared for an interview, he later responded by letter much more eloquently but I thought I would say my piece as well because that’s what I do and that’s what you’re here for, I hope.

We live in a harsh economic climate really, independent businesses get it in the neck from all sides and I’ve even given bad reviews of one on here though I admit a personal motive was the basis for that and hey, that’s not cool but whatever, bygones and shit. Anyway, running a shop isn’t as simple as sell stuff, replace it, sell it, there are taxes, wages, bills, suppliers to keep happy, stocks to keep fresh, facilities to clean and maintain, the world doesn’t run on positive attitude alone, it runs on money and that’s just a fact of the world at the moment. If you are buying something, you are not just paying for that item alone, you are paying a value tax, you are paying the shop so it can resupply itself with more of that item and you are paying towards the profits and salaries of the business. You might protest “I don’t want to pay their wages, that’s their boss’s job” – Duh, of course but where does the money come from? Now this is less of an issue for big businesses with proper payroll and budgeting staff but a small business has to take all the money from one big pot and divide that fairly, it doesn’t have a head office or a human resources department to make sure every barista or shelf stacker is paid this month. You pay into that pot, you get your slice of carrot cake, your waitress gets her wage and if that upsets you then go make your own cake, simple.

Don’t get me wrong, £3.20 is probably steep for cereal but hey, this isn’t a bowl of Shreddies, this is imported rare cereal you can only find by obsessive hunting like the owners did and buying your own box of it would set you back a pretty penny so be grateful. The reporter said this wasn’t practical, they never set up their business with the intention of being a community service kitchen, it’s a luxury, it’s a once-a-week/once-a-month treat like a trip to Nando’s or Zizzi’s. The business certainly seemed busy anyway, you build it and they will come, perhaps for the novelty but as long as they make money then good on them and the owners even stated that if they’re a success, they’ll set up a charity programme to bring healthy breakfasts to local schools. I didn’t know it fell on the shoulders of two hipsters in a cafe to save us all from starvation and poverty but it’s been thrust upon them apparently so go buy a bowl and help them become a big deal so they can use their vast wealth to buy me a solid gold unicorn for this advertisement… I mean, save orphans, whatever.

Britain is currently trying to push this ‘support your local small business’ thing whilst also berating them for steep prices and pretentious attitudes but maybe the prices are so steep because these guys pay their taxes? Just a wild idea but perhaps a real push to support small business would be turning the critical tongue on Starbucks and getting them to start paying us back, how’s that? Prices would increase, sure, but then your small business has a chance of competing and at least you can feel morally righteous in paying for coffee that is tasty and giving back to the local economy, not just a CEO’s pocket. As for the attitude, the guy came off in the interview as a twat but hey I’ve been in management, if it gets busy, you become a twat, you reduce everything to priorities and run around doing everything whilst this annoying alarm goes off in your head like “But what about this? Is someone talking to you? Is everyone working as hard as they could be? Smile! Smile! Smile! Happy manager means happy customers, why aren’t you smiling dickhead?” so fuck, if I was being interviewed on the job, I’d probably slip some sort of faux-pas like saying the business isn’t for poor people or whatever, cut him some slack. Incidentally, in relation to my small business attack on here ages ago, my apologies, you were quite aggressive in your disposition and I took it as you being a stuck up cow but maybe you were stressed too, I appreciate customer service either makes you a ray of sunshine or a dormant axe murderer verging on being not so dormant.

Ok, this cereal cafe won’t save the world, heck, it might not even last past the novelty stage but if we’re expecting small businesses to fight the fight for a fair economy, let’s play fair with them and give them a fighting chance. The owners of this place don’t need me to fight their battle for them here, he was pretty on point in the letter but still, I’m sick of the media and the government looking to blame anything for anything. Steep prices in a capitalist society? OH NOES, THAT’S EVIL! No, it isn’t, it’s the price of not wanting your investment to make you homeless

Can I have a free box of cereal now?

A Pint of Bitter

Trigger Warnings – None really, very light mentions of drug use/abuse

Early post, off out tonight to celebrate my birthday with some friends, one of whom is moving away before my actual birthday and that’s why the celebrations were moved forward a bit. I’m not going off down the pub, despite everyone attending being old enough for that to be an option, I don’t drink, as I’ve probably mentioned, but I figured this was a good opportunity for me to have my say with regards to the drinking culture of the British people

Now there’s plenty to be said about the detriments on society caused by alcohol, how it’s clearly much more dangerous for your health than say marijuana and here in Britain it causes so many fights and punch-ups because it’s very easy to get very drunk and with a healthcare system like ours, you’ll be patched up before going back to work on Monday, given a slap on the wrist and sent on your jolly way. America doesn’t have that issue as much, mostly because Americans have guns and are a little less brawl-happy than the British pub-goer because they know their opponent could pull a weapon. Anyway, that’s not the article I’m going for here, badmouthing booze in Britain is an act of heresy and I’m sure this one paragraph alone will earn me the scorn of anyone in my area partial to a pint, thinking I’m some nay-saying wet blanket who drinks lemonade whilst knitting myself a scarf

I’m actually more interested in the very casual but committed relationship people have with alcohol. David Mitchell had a soapbox rant about this, largely the inspiration for this article, and he hits the nail on the head by comparing a pub experience to a coffee shop experience. I’ve said before coffee shops are not as full with intellectuals and scholars as you might think, it’s more Hipster ground now (Yes those are still a thing, I think) but even so, a coffee shop experience is perhaps an hour of sitting around with a drink, talking, getting bored of what each other has to say and leaving. Done, painless. A pub, not so much. I hate standard pubs with a passion really, lots of uncomfy furniture and conversations with people who gradually get less and less eloquent the more they drink, who then either make a fool of themselves, become aggressive or cry morosely for nothing until eventually vomiting and looking for some way home via taxi or sober friend. Thankfully, I don’t drive, or at least, don’t drive with friends who like to drink a lot, or I’d be the designated driver for life. I know you can always just have the one and leave but lots of people prefer to make an evening of it and that’s just not something you’d do in a Starbucks or Costa, who wants to spend that long in one place that only serves light refreshments and drinks?  Pub patrons apparently, they’ll live off Carling and pork scratchings to enjoy the banter and odd game of darts or pool, I could maybe have a drink and a game but after that I’d get bored and go home

By all means, this is just my opinion, the opinion of a sober man. I’ve drunk alcohol before, don’t get me wrong, a few kinds in fact – wine, vodka, Jager Bombs (I was a bartender, a customer didn’t like the idea of a tea-total man serving him so bought me three and demanded I down them before taking his actual order), cider – it just doesn’t do much for me and I’m against imbibing large quantities of something that impedes brain power. I like my brain, being intelligent is a big part of what I am and if that was replaced with slurred words and vomiting, that leaves me with a lot less of my personality to go on to make a positive impression of myself. Alcohol is a drug, a socially acceptable one at that which makes any boring situation into a more interesting one, that’s why hours can pass quickly when you’re drinking but they’ll crawl by when you’re sat there with a cup of coffee or a glass of squash and so if anyone invites me out to the pub or to a party which is just “It’s us lot all in one room drinking alcohol and listening to music”, I roll my eyes because I won’t be drinking, because I don’t want to, and I’ll miss out on the biggest part of the fun. Imagine this scenario with smoking weed or snorting coke, you don’t partake in it, you sit watching other people do it whilst you’re sat with a standard cigarette or snorting… umm… sherbert? Talcon powder? I don’t know what the substitute for that could be but you get my point

Carrying on with David Mitchell again here, he asks if our society is in denial that our social activities and interactions revolve around being slightly pissed. I wonder too, it’s not as much fun being the sober guy at the party or in the club, everyone is so loose and stupid and I’m sat there with Dignity sat on one side and Anxiety on the other going “Well aren’t you a stupid twat? You gonna dance with the cute blonde? No, thought not. Tosser”. I mean I could try getting drunk but given the number of mental barriers I enforce on myself not to do a lot of things, being drunk would undo that and a lot of people would then come to realise that without those barriers in place, I might be a total fuckwad. I’ve come a long way and had to invest a lot of hard work in holding back things that aren’t kind to say or indeed overcoming my violent history so I don’t want to take the risk of getting totally trollied, punching someone in the face and calling them every single foul thing I’ve ever wanted to call them, because I’d remember doing it eventually and then I’d never look at myself the same way again

There we go, I’m afraid of what alcohol might help me discover about myself. I like to think I’m a good guy but maybe that’s because I try to be, maybe deep down I’m a piece of filth. Still, as it stands, British socialising does revolve a lot around drinking – clubs, pubs, bars, parties – it’ll be curious to see who heads for the bar tonight in my birthday celebration and how a sober social activity plays out

A Latte Of Old Rubbish

I went to a coffee shop recently, one I’ve held a grudge against for a little while since the manager went bat shit crazy at me for showing my girlfriend affection by cuddling and kissing her, a little peck I should add, whilst at our table, in the corner, away from everyone who didn’t seem miffed. Honestly, the hot-headed she-devil screamed at us for making a scene, when we hadn’t even made a sound and had previously gone unnoticed by the perfectly happy introverts in the rest of the room. Demonic bitch. Sorry, I’m rambling, what I meant to say was I was dragged in there again because it’s the only coffee shop in fair old Shrewsbury with comfortable furniture that you are allowed to lie down and fall asleep on, and my girlfriend and I ordered a pot of tea to share between us, which did nothing short of earn my disappointment and remind me one of the other reasons I avoid coffee shops nowadays.

The teapot was a cutesy little blue clay pot, around the size of a fist, with the most ridiculous little spout that was barely that long in comparison to a beetle’s dick and about as useful for pouring tea as a pancake is for digging a grave. The cups were wide at the top but again tiny and could only really hold what I could spit into it. As for the tea itself, flavourless and overpriced – £3.00 for a pot worth four tiny teacups, which in itself would probably only just about fill a mug. For the record, since when did a standard cup of tea become ‘English Breakfast’ tea? I drink tea pretty much all fucking day, not just at breakfast. If I say tea, you will serve me a teabag subjected to boiling water whilst sat in a teapot then poured into a mug, a mug bigger than my testicles I might add, that has a splash of milk and two sugars at the bottom. I am not Arthur Dent and you are not a computer, why do I need to go through a routine with you from Douglas Adams’ most well-known book? Earl Grey is Earl Grey, tea is tea.

I’ve decided I don’t buy into the coffee shop craze, tried it and liked it for a while when I was younger but that was before it really caught on, that’s right, ultimate hipster here folks, was a hipster before the hipsters were hipsters or hipster trends were even established. I only ever visited them late at night mind you, when the only other people who’d be there would be people I knew or people who just wanted somewhere to work in peace. As my budget tightens and my cynicism flowers into a hideous plant made of shit, I’ve noticed though that for what it is, it’s overpriced and not too much in it. I’d probably spend more time and money in these places if they didn’t ask me to empty my wallet for half a cup of tea then offer me the most expensive cakes imaginable, which measure in at the same dimensions at my finger. Call me a philistine but I do sometimes think I got more bang for my buck from old cafes, who lack the pretentious prettiness of your cute coffee shops but at least they know what size a cup of tea is and that I want it to come from a teabag that came in a multipack, not the extracted nostril hairs of a mystic yak or however these ‘fancy’ brands come about.

One argument you might hear is that it’s not just the food and drink you come out for, it’s the atmosphere of a coffee shop – the smell of the coffee brewing, the sound of cups and tea spoons clattering and the crowds of dapper and intelligent academics sat around discussing literature and art all around you… or at least, so you think. From what I’ve seen, everyone thinks this is the case so everyone turns up expecting to become part of this stylish crowd of super swots from the planet of book-smart sex gods so suddenly the coffee shop becomes jam-packed with anyone and everyone then your paradise of poetry becomes little more than a pretentious service station. I don’t hold some sort of elitist grudge against people entering a coffee shop if they don’t intend to mention at least one classical composer but my point is that if everyone goes to a coffee shop to feel like sophisticated somebodies then they’re not, they are just buying in on a fad. Irony fucks in the arse here as well, because the main customers of coffee shops are liberal-thinking students who hate big establishments, yet discuss their loathing of international monopolies whilst sat in Starbucks – somewhere on the same spectrum as discussing your hatred of racism with your mates from the EDL.

I guess a coffee shop is a nice place to stop off for a warm drink and a social gathering with friends, but it isn’t one in itself to be honest, not for me, and if you really want that kind of atmosphere that badly then invite your friends over and put the kettle on. You run your own cafes, all of you, it’s called your home – you’re the boss of the menu, the drinks, the music and the seating arrangements. A coffee shop is a pleasant, if pricey, pit-stop for a chat or a nice venue for a cosy little meeting between two people who aren’t on fully friendly terms yet but don’t mistake it for a place to form your day plan around – you probably don’t have the money to keep forking out on it and if you do, you’d get more for it buying a tin of biscuits and a packet of teabags to go home with.

Fleshed Out Argument

Hello my little rantees… rantettes… I don’t have a name for you yet but I’ll think of one eventually as a lot of you are no doubt thinking I refer to everyone as dipshit or smeghead. Moving right along, I realise I’ve been pretty quiet on the rant front so that’s going to have to change now isn’t it? I don’t want you all getting bored or getting your hopes up that I might have died between the last post and this one; as if that would stop me ranting… I’m feeling a little better as of late, recently went to a party that turned out to be great fun and it all went without a hitch, making a nice change from the regular tedium of disappointment.

Right then, let’s get things moving then shall we? I’m here today to tackle another demographic group that gets under my skin, which is ironic because that is exactly the sort of thing they’re against. Pacifists, don’t get passively disgruntled because it’s not you I have beef with, it is self righteous vegetarians. I need to explain here that by self-righteous vegetarians, I mean the ones that chastise anyone holding a burger and call you a cold blooded killer. Vegetarians, I am not a cold blooded killer because I think summer is all about barbecues, I’m a cold blooded killer because I stab people in the face (loud cough!) I am not a cold blooded killer at all in fact.

Don’t get me wrong here ok? I personally don’t feel satisfied with an evening meal if it is without meat and whilst I appreciate there are some of us out there who live on tofu and lettuce, I’m not one of those people. By all means, feel free to live on greens and good will because then there’s more cows for me to devour but don’t judge me for it! I am responsible in my consumption, making sure to eat free range eggs and won’t eat meat from battery farmed animals, plus you can’t point the finger at me and say ‘You’re killing God’s creatures’ for a number of reasons – I am not the one putting two shells in Daisy’s face, Farmer McGee is and I just eat the dead remains plus, by that logic, you are too because God created plants too, if you believe that. You can’t claim moral superiority either, because if you love the animals so much, don’t eat their dinner for them will you? I’m sure that fluffy bunny would rather die on a full stomach as opposed to slowly starving as your stupid hippy ass eats his last meal claiming to be Saint Vegetaballbrain of Pussydon.

I have more to say though, because not only are some of these people angry with me for eating the animal’s innards, but then they go on to say I’m exploiting them when I wear leather or eat a cheese sandwich. You know, the Native Americans had an argument similar to this with the European Settlers. The European Settlers would kill buffalo for fur and food then dump the bones and run yet called the Native Americans savages, despite the fact that said savages found a use for every part of the buffalo’s anatomy as either a food source, a domestic good or a tool. I believe that if an animal is going to be killed for meat products anyway, leave as little waste as possible. I don’t wear fur though, I don’t like it is all, but I love leather and eggs, cheese, milk, wool and all the rest of it. Obviously, you don’t kill a cow or a sheep for milk and wool but some have felt the need to say I’m abusing this animal and robbing it of something it owns. A sheep needs a shave and a cow needs milking and just because humanity benefits from these tasks, it doesn’t make a man an exploiter of animals. You want to leave cows and sheep to be by themselves do you? Go for it, your sheep will get themselves caught in fences and probably get heat strokes, and your cows will have serious mobility issues. If there is a God, he didn’t accidentally make milk and wool useful for humanity by happy coincidence, and I’m pretty sure he gave us dominion over the natural world so that we would live in an eternal give and take relationship with our planet.

Of course, even in the absence of a God, the natural world is still our responsibility. If humanity wants to call itself the smartest thing on the planet, then it should accept the mantle of carers for all creatures and by killing animals, not only do we feed our young and make clothes to shield ourselves from the cold, but we avoid overpopulation and in the case of things such as cheese, milk and eggs, we offer health benefits to animals. I have my limits – I wouldn’t eat an endangered animal and I think we have to ensure our livestock sourcing is sustainable or we all end up fucked. Vegetarians, you can go ahead and avoid burgers as sins against your bovine brethren, but you aren’t greater beings for it. You’re fallible creatures too, as prone to stupidity and poor choice as anyone else and claiming that your dietary choice is your redeeming factor is not a good call because by that logic, Hitler can be forgiven too. Yep, I played that card, your flat teeth must be grinding against a leaf pretty hard right now hmm? Oh what’s that? You have pointy ones too? Oh yeah, you’re A BORN PREDATOR. I’m following the natural order here, meat is made to be eaten, it has ‘eat’ in the name. Does celery have the word eat in it? Rice? Protein substitute? No? Pity…

I’m not against vegetarianism or veganism (Is that the word for it? Vegandom? Veganhood?) but what I am against is when a vegetarian or vegan berates a meat eater as some sort of barbarian from yesteryear and scorns anyone who likes the taste of turkey as a villain. Humans are predators, but also resourceful creatures that have learnt not to waste what they take from nature… for the most part. Eat what you want, it doesn’t make you any less of a human being… unless you’ve been drinking Extract of Ood, you should probably kick that habit fast. I’ll be furiously consuming a live pig as you read this.