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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Clash of the Douches

Trigger Warnings – Contains Nigel Farage

You know what I hate about topical blogging? Having to keep up with total tossers that the world deems newsworthy. I decided to get back into the swing of things I’d take a swing at Nigel Farage and Russell Brand, two of my least favourite human beings who got into a heated debate on British television over immigration, inequality and breast-feeding. I wish I could just shrug and look past this but it’s a slow week for me, this might provide some amusement.

Now usually you hear debate and you expect statistics, you expect clever rhetoric, you expect science and logic and mutual respect but then again this is British politics, it’s more a game of who can call their opponent a twat in the most colourful way possible and then burble a bit. I want to side with Brand, I really do, he is right about a few things but he’s so overly floral and lacking in real substance that I feel like he can’t really be the best voice out there to represent people like me surely? I don’t want to do his job for him, I think I’d go mad if I had to sit next to Farage for an hour, one of us would be dead, but Brand is just a floppy haired nitwit. You might think I’m just throwing barbs around but that was all that I could see going on between those two, though Farage seemed to be better at actually sticking to the format of Question Time, he did answer questions, stupid answers but y’know, answers, not just “You’re wrong” rambling like Brand.

The audience wanted Brand to actually properly take the stage of politics and run as an MP but he declined, apparently scared of becoming corrupt and impure like he’s a messiah or something. I’m sorry, I don’t buy that Brand, if you have faith in yourself and in your argument, you would not be corrupted, corruption only affects those who lose their way. Farage, in that sense, beats Brand because Farage has conviction, his ideas are extreme and idiotic but he fights for them with clout whereas Brand just sorta waffles and preaches for a bit. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage, whatever you think of these people they deserve the credit for having ideas and beliefs that they actively work to make into reality, sometimes falling short but it’s not as if Cameron spends his time in Downing Street watching Spongebob and eating Pick’N’Mix, he’s running the country.

Brand and Farage both like to lay blame willy-nilly, Brand on the rich, Farage on the foreign. Has life in Britain changed that much since 1990? Yes and no and that’s a blog post in itself, perhaps I can go on about that tomorrow. Yes we are in an economic crisis and it could easily be tackled if Google and Starbucks paid the UK what it owes in tax and no the shortcomings of this society aren’t the work of gremlins from Albania dragging us down into poverty, we live in a cycle of blame placing and shoulder shrugging really, it’s laughable or it would be if it wasn’t the world we actually live in. I mean, after the show was done, both Brand and Farage wrote mean articles about each other like teenagers bitching on Facebook.

The problem is charisma, these two are characters, the loveable rogue and the man’s man of politics and that’s great, we need characters to get people interested but when politics becomes a popularity contest you can vote in any old douchewad based on the cut of their jib or their lively persona. I mean, if my generation read up a bit more I swear I’d have many more friends voting Green but as it stands they just don’t bother and perhaps that’s an issue a true party of the people should address, why do people just see politicians as faceless suits or extreme nutjobs? We need to remember politics is a ruling factor in the way we live our lives, it’s all well and good voting in the guy who drinks a pint and grumbles about terrorists and Muslims but you’re giving them the keys to the kingdom and do you want them on a throne? Really? Would you trust that person with your car? Your house? Your kids? Your life?

As for the breast-feeding remark from Farage, saying women should sit in a corner to do it, grow up. It’s normal, it’s natural, perhaps your mother did it once, perhaps she didn’t and thus the oral fixation on cigars and shite. I may have another blog post idea here already, tying in with the idea from earlier but we need to mature, all of us, and live and let live really. The blame lies on all of us though – companies should pay tax, people should be educated on policies and their impact, youngsters shouldn’t just dismiss everything, old people shouldn’t just pine for the past and ruin the future – we need to shape up, seriously.

There you go Britain, that’s my political slogan for you all – Jacob Wolfe, wanting the world to grow up!

The Humourless Revolution – Guy Fawkes Night Special

Trigger Warnings – Strong language and vulgar imagery at certain points

Remember remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot, I can think of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. The spirit of rebellion lives on tonight, or so it should, but in an age of modern politics gone wrong with fear and anger making our decisions for us, perhaps the word revolution has lost its meaning in the western world, particularly if one is to turn to the example given by that blasted comedian who thinks himself the next great leader of our age. Yes, him, Brand, a nemesis most unworthy of the attention and yet you cannot help but give.

The social media campaign to ridicule Russell Brand using Blur’s “Parklife” song is an amusing one, indeed his overly fanciful rambling does sound like verses ripped from the song and the fact he even resembles the singer in terms of voice and rhythm does not help his case. I am probably the wrong man to make this point but he uses a lot of big words to say a lot of nothing and the fact that his entire revolution has crumpled at one joke goes to say something for its substance. Oh politics, the denizen of the humourless, funny that a second-rate comic should end up there. A subject that is serious can also be the subject of humour if one has the heart, for what is life without laughter and if the world is to quietly serve under men without happiness then how can we expect to be happy under them? Brand, you throw clever words around to dance around the fact you have a weak argument, yes the system is corrupt but asking for an alternative without an idea as to what is akin to refusing to eat, starving and blaming God you wasted away – be a vegetarian by all means but if you can’t eat what’s being served, do please suggest what you’d prefer rather than stare at the meat angrily.

UK Politics has devolved into a game of mockery and humiliation, with funny little upstarts like me poking fun at famous names, who catch wind of it and kick up a fuss and this is a problem, not because the mockery exists. You see, every idea in the world will be mocked and made fun of, every person alive is the butt of a joke at least once in their life and it is a lesson in patience and acceptance for us all. I used to be the butt of a few jokes, still am, and my response was much akin to Farage’s responses to Boyle’s Twitter heckling, it was dry cruel retorts meant only to hurt someone. Alas, a duel of wits is no longer if when your rapier strikes the opponent, they scream “Fuck you” and pull out a shotgun. Banter, as we like to call it, is a game, it is cat and mouse, it is an art to be enjoyed by the artists and the viewers, had Farage honestly engaged Boyle with some genuinely witty remarks he might have won a few points in popularity as a straight up down-to-earth bloke but he opted to be a total tosser and came off the loser because picking a fight with Frankie Boyle is probably a worse idea then asking your partner to use a cactus instead of a dildo for the bondage session.

Russell Brand and Nigel Farage get far more attention than I like and being a topical man, I have to keep up to date with these assholes or risk disappearing into obscurity and being left to write silly posts about comic books or television from twenty odd years ago. The issue they both face is one that most politicians face, they claim to be voices of the people but bear no resemblance to them and whilst Brand started out an ordinary enough fellow, his obsession with burbling out the contents of a dictionary at every opportunity he has to speak means people disconnect from what he says and just clap because they assume it’s clever when it’s actually just a paragraph that sums up as “I don’t like politicians very much”. Well fuck, I could’ve said that, anyone with two brain cells to rub together good, you don’t make that point stronger through bigger words, believe me. I know I use big words myself but not so many my point doesn’t reach my audience and I simplify my point afterwards just in case you couldn’t keep pace.

As for Farage, well, a man who wants to be “a politician you would share a pint with” doesn’t take well to banter and this contradicts the image. Farage, the charismatic charmer, the fun-loving playboy with fast cars and big cigars and enjoys a good chuckle as long as it’s never at his expense, never ever ever laugh at Farage or he’ll call you a left-wing Muslim bastard child of crazy drugged up terrorists or something equally bizarre and offensive. I consider myself a respectable and intelligent man but ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I happily play the fool and let people poke fun at me because it’s much more satisfying to laugh along at these things than be the twat who kills the buzz by getting huffy. A voice of the people needs to be a person we can honestly relate to and whilst Farage did a good job of that by visiting pubs and talking about the good old days, he reminds us he’s not one of us when he whips out a pricey cigar or goes off on a crazy rant about immigration that any decent person cringes at.

Oh sweet revolution and reform, how you tease us, goading us with such flimsy supplements as we choose between stupid twats or charmless twats because whilst Farage lacks substance, the other parties lack a face we can even stand looking at, let alone stand beside. Charismatic leadership is a hard thing to find in the UK and at the moment the charismatic ones are all charisma and no policies, besides Kipper policies such as handguns in Britain, reductions to maternity leave and a big fuck you to the EU, you know, the guys that enforce our rights to paid holidays and buy our exports so our economy actually has some money. I know we don’t always feel it in the pocket but we’d notice it if it wasn’t there, trust me.

Sadly, even this article lacks much substance, it is a mere tickle in the ribs for some whilst reminding them I don’t like Farage and Brand very much and whilst I would go on for so much longer, I’ve gone over 1000 words and articles beyond a certain length don’t do well and given this past week has seen my popularity wane significantly, I won’t dig a deeper hole. Sad times we live in but let us hope and pray we one day find politicians like us, charismatic and likeable folks with an honest commitment to the wellbeing of the British people. I know I am dreaming but all great things begin as dreams, except for bacon which began as a pig

A Brand You Can’t Trust

Well we’re straight up going political on this mother nugget, no holds barred, let’s go right in there and cut to the core of the issue, the rotten one. Johnny Rotten. You get it? I made a joke because Johnny Rotten made headlines today for criticising Russell Brand on his dreams of a revolution, by which Brand actually seems to mean complete and total apathy for the political system. Yes, former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten said in an interview with John Lydon that “If you’re not voting, not contributing, you’re demanding to be ignored” and the general response was a well deserved hurrah. Johnny urged my generation to take part, to get involved in politics and learn about the different parties, what they stand for and who to vote for and I wholeheartedly agree – too many people in the 18-24 age group don’t vote, which is an issue I feel strongly enough about to talk to you all about it so here goes nothing.

Ok, so Russell’s argument was that the system is corrupt and flawed and that is doesn’t accurately represent the will of the people so as such it’s outdated and should be boycotted which I can see some reasoning to, don’t get me wrong. Yes, the system is corrupt and flawed, it’s what governments usually are by their very nature, a bunch of rich privately-educated people trying to think what do poor people want whilst corporations whisper promises of yet more riches in their ear to do the opposite. Politicians suffer from a disconnect from our reality because with power and wealth there comes a new reality for you, a reality in which your car drives itself, your house is always clean and everybody wants to know what you think so when that’s been your life long enough, things like fuel costs, pastry taxes and heating bills are just words to you. The system is not run by the masses no, but the masses can overwhelm the system when they stand united and demand change. As Rotten said, refusing to vote means refusing to take that stand, to demand anything so the people that always vote (The rich and the extremist agendas) are all we see in power because heck, they’re always happy/angry and being either of those gets stuff done. Apathy? Well I’ve wrote a few articles on apathy, you decide how much I got done. If a system is wrong you don’t give up on the system, you change it. If something is broken, you fix it, the value of fixing things has been forgotten in a world of impatience but when you see that something truly isn’t working, try a new approach and come at it again like a rabid dog.

I think the big problem I have with Brand is he’s influential to our generation, he can spoonfeed my peers this gobshite about giving up hope on politics and demanding anarchy. People see Russell Brand, they see a comedian and a famous face that tells them to abandon hope and give into despair, which is essentially his message. A celebrity trotting around the land saying such depressing nonsense that can be reduced to the core concept of “Give up, it’s useless”. Thanks, we didn’t feel bleak enough already, we really needed you to drill it into our skulls you scraggly haired halfwit. If you’re a young voter and you don’t care, nobody will care for you. If the LGBT community never said “We want legal marriage”, you really think it’d just happen on a whim? No political system reform ever came about as a part of doing nothing – womens rights, civil rights movement, legalisation of homosexuality and of homosexual marriages, the end to death sentences in Britain – somebody, well a lot of somebodies, had to say enough is enough and fight the system to get what they wanted from it and fuck me, it worked. How do you plan to change the world by missing the polling time because you were eating pop tarts and bitching about things on Tumblr?

For the record, I don’t know why Russell Brand sees himself as a political authority, I always assumed he was just a hit-and-miss comedian but he seems to think he’s Che Guevara, his own words. I would like to point out that whilst Guevara was a revolutionary, his revolution installed a dictatorship of total authority and the man himself was a fan of torture and shooting squads. Great hero Brand, did you learn anything from the guy apart from how to hate and how to style your hair? This a romanticised view of politics and rebellion, a desperate rage that wants to destroy the old ways and replace it with… well… they never think that far ahead. Brand calls it ‘alternative systems’, which is a clever way of saying he hasn’t the faintest idea. To be honest a revolution of non-activism is a process in which the process, not the result, is the ambition. Sticking it to the man is all well and good but if you’re gonna tell someone they’re doing everything wrong, correct them or else you come across as a foul little imbecile

I know guys, life is hard and politics are dull and why should you care right? Rent’s too damn high, no jobs are available, your parents had an easier job finding work (Probably not true but you’d like to think it is) but guess what, that’s the reality of the situation and it won’t change by doing nothing. Politics are daunting and a lot to learn but it’s a small price to pay to have your opinions matter right? Ignorance makes fools of us all! Please, I’m begging you, be bothered, get off your idle backside and give a shit or you will be nothing but a number for the rest of your life. I voted last time, I’ll vote again, I’ll always vote because when the issue is important, I’m a noisy son of a gun and one day someone might just reckon I’m saying something worth listening to. Heck, at almost 6000 views on this blog, seems that day is coming. Don’t listen to celebrities, listen to the facts, get engaged in your community and learn what each party stands for and understand why you’re in the shit you’re in rather than whine about the smell because if everyone who could vote, did vote, some parties we want to grow might well flourish and soon enough the old men in power are gonna have to shut up and listen to the united strength of their successors

Can you tell I’ve got my spark back?