J’Accuse: Oasis by Andrew Ware

In 1992 something profound happened to me. I held a conversation with a school friend and we shall call the boy in questions Matthew, because that was his name. Matthew was telling me all about his hopes and dreams for the future. It went something like this; Matthew would leave school and gain a qualification in painting and decorating after which he would gain a job as a painter and decorator. Once established Matthew was to seek to buy his own home, settle down with a nice girl and have a couple of children. In Matthew’s words he would then be ‘set for life’. Listening to Matthew depressed me in a way that I never really got over from. As a 12 year old I harboured ambitions of forming a band and endeavouring towards global domination and therefore the 9 to 5 existence was of no interest to me. But, I think what depressed me the most about this conversation was that it was the first time that I really understood what it was to be working class. Matthew was typical of so many of our peers in that his parameters of possibility were distinctly narrow. The significance of that conversation in my own understanding of my own demographic was huge.

Oasis++94

The realisation of ‘your place’ can be incredibly suffocating and overwhelming for adolescents. As the veil of social ignorance is lifted, usually at around 13, and you find that you are somewhere undesirable and for the first time you feel the bind of your own social standing. It is usually around this time that we reach out for our icons and for personify our own stifled identity or amplify our lost whimpering insignificant voices. And in 1994 I too had stumbled upon the age at which I was reaching out for social and cultural representation. Drowning in a sea of grey concrete in one of Hull’s most socially, culturally and materially deprived areas I was desperately seeking a spokesperson to voice my frustration and bewilderment. Like so many my age I was leafing through the pages of the then still credible NME and flicking through my parent’s tatty old vinyl records looking for someone to cling to.

It was a year or after my conversation with Mathew that I came across a little known Manchester band called Oasis performing the song ‘Shakermaker’ on a BBC 2 magazine show. They caught my attention with their raw sound and the song, which I had originally thought was a cover version, was certainly melodic. Although I had enjoyed the performance I knew that this band would not have a profound effect on me. It would later transpire that I was in a minority of 13 year olds who had caught that or subsequent Oasis televised performances because very soon Oasis were the talk of the playground. It seems my peers had their idols, their voice and those young, testosterone fuelled boys (yes, it was an all boys school) would cling to their cultural life raft for the next two decades.

Oasis were the archetypal working class ‘heroes’. Complete with a rugged arrogance and swagger they seemed to play out the factory line ‘What would I do if I won the Lottery?’ fantasies of working classes across the country. My peers adored them but by the time they had released their second album ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ in Autumn 1995 the act was beginning to wear thin for yours truly. You see, even then I had realised that behind the swagger there was very little substance. The band that so many had reached out for taken to their hearts had in fact misrepresented their people. My accusation then, is that Oasis let down a generation by promising so much but delivering so little. With their exploits and outbursts and general tomfoolery all they achieved was to sell the world a wildly in accurate caricature of the British, Northern Working classes. They created a label that was hugely derogatory for my demographic and to my absolute horror my peers seem to thrive on it.

The tragedy of the situation is that Oasis emerged from a time of change in the United Kingdom. The country was still dusting itself off from Thatcherism and a bright new dawn was on the horizon, a new dawn that would bring a decent minimum wage and relative peace in Northern Ireland. A working class band like Oasis had the opportunity to dovetail this and inspire that the down trodden youth. Oasis failed to do this. What they did in fact was reinforce middle England’s view of the working class youth as flippant, loutish inarticulate oiks.

I have many friends who are still avid fans of Oasis and my put my accusation to them they respond with something like; ‘Yeah man, but they’ve got tunes’. My view is often rejected but never refuted. And so it continues as despite their split it brings great pain to report that at present the biggest fan Oasis I know is my 17 year old brother.

If I was to sum the two decades that Oasis reigned I would say that it was like being at a party where someone that you utterly despise turns up and you have to endure all of your friends singing their praises. Eventually your jaw goes numb as you reluctantly grin through all of their boring anecdotes, for twenty years.

wurr b wAndrew Ware is 32 years-old and has a small dog called Oliver. He is a paid-up member of the Labour Party and used to play bass in semi-legendary Hull band Sal Paradise. In his spare time he makes his own wine and watches rugby league. He once claimed his favourite album was Electric Warrior by T.Rex, which was a complete lie. He holds a degree in Philosophy, but you’d already guessed that. You can find him at http://www.twitter.com/XavierDwyer1

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Bernard Manning – The Case For The Defense by Andy Ware

Somewhere in Cumbria, the middle of June 2007 at around midnight I was knee deep in mud making my way back to a camp site from a dry wall pub. Feeling my phone vibrate in my pocket I fished it out to find a text message informing me that Bernard Manning had died. A Guardian reading, Labour voting, vegetarian (as I was at the time) should have been elated with the news. Not me. I was filled with a profound sadness and I spent the rest of the journey back to my tent reciting my favourite Manning gags to my companion. I mourned the passing of Bernard Manning because Bernard Manning was a genius.

manning

Those that were critical of Bernard were so on the grounds that he was both a misogynist and a racist. Bernard often attempted to refute those claims with the argument that a joke is a joke and should only be taken in that context. I’m not comfortable with this argument as a defence and therefore my case for Bernard’s defence will not try not to negate claims that Bernard was either a misogynist or a racist. In fact I shall labour under the assumption that he was both. My defence for Bernard as a performer relies on us. Those that watched Bernard and either laughed out loud or sniggered secretly behind hands and closed doors. My defence also relies on the art of comedy and what it is to be a truly great comedian.

So the first part of my argument really comes down to an examination of laughter which is what comedy is all about, unless of course I have hugely misinterpreted the art form. As comedy reaches a new golden age there are countless comedians to be seen in the stadiums and arenas across the country and we now have stand-up comedy on the television once again. It was said of Newman and Badiel in the early 1990’s that comedy was the new rock and roll. Those words have never been truer. Michael McIntyre and Lee Evans can fill the 02 Arena on demand and stand-up comedy has never seemed more glamorous that it does at present. The consumer of comedy has never had so much choice. But this notion of choosing comedy is peculiar notion. I believe that the contrary is true. Far from choosing the comedy that we are into comedy chooses us. You see laughter is kneejerk and we are unable to be selective about what makes us laugh. I realised this sometime in the mid 1990’s when I saw a ropey old VHS of Bernard Manning playing his own Embassy Club in Manchester. I didn’t ashamedly snigger behind my hands but I roared with laughter. As I grew a little older I attempted to distance myself from Bernard and more importantly from Bernard’s typical audience. I was ashamed to mention Bernard to any of my trendier, lefty friends who were in to Eddie Izzard at the time. When somebody recites and Eddie Izzard routine you can’t follow that with “Have you heard the one about queer Irishman and the crate of Guinness?”  As I grew older still (early twenties now) I began to realise that neither I nor anyone else should be apologetic about what ‘tickles’ them as laughter is involuntary. In light of this I began to celebrate Bernard and his work and I began to defend him to my friends on the grounds that he was a genius.

I think the best and most poignant public defence of Bernard Manning was put forward by The Fall’s Mark E. Smith in a TV interview in 1993. When taken to task by broadcaster and journalist Caitlin Moran on Channel 4’s Naked City (a shamefully under rated magazine show) about his admiration for Manning Smith replied “Why doesn’t Ben Elton tell any racist jokes?” Moran shakes her head. “Because he doesn’t fucking know any” replies Smith. Although a little crude Smith’s argument was pin point in its accuracy. You see comedy is an art form and the protagonists are artists and there was none greater than Bernard Manning. Manning possessed a razor sharp wit and natural ability to tell a joke that very few comedians have matched. He had the natural rhythm and understanding of that over used comedic notion “timing”. Although their material is very similar Bernard Manning and the likes of, say, Roy Chubby Brown are worlds apart. This is because the likes of Roy Chubby Brown, Jim Davidson and Mike Reid were not blessed with Bernard’s ability to deliver a joke.

It is impossible to talk about Bernard Manning without words such as ‘homophobe’, ‘misogynist’, ‘racist’ and ‘bigot’ being thrown around. But I don’t believe that Bernard Manning was ever truly offensive. This is because I believe that to be truly offensive in comedy is to be unfunny. Bad comedy is perhaps the last true taboo in comedy. So while I would gladly see the likes of Brown, Davidson, Evans, McIntyre, Flannigan, Carr (both) and Fielding hung to out to dry I would defend Bernard Manning with my last breath. Why? Because Bernard Manning was gifted and even if you don’t appreciate the nature of his comedy you must appreciate his ability to execute it. If you’re reading this and you are of the opinion that Manning was an indefensible bigot then I shall leave you with a closing gambit; fear breeds prejudice, which makes for great humour. I laughed at his imaginative unpleasantness, but I swear that it never made me think about anybody differently.

Xavier DwyerAndy Ware is 31 years-old and has a small dog called Oliver. He is a paid-up member of the Labour Party and used to play bass in semi-legendary Hull band Sal Paradise. In his spare time he makes his own wine and watches rugby league. He once claimed his favourite album was Electric Warrior by T.Rex, which was a complete lie. He holds a degree in Philosophy, but you’d already guessed that. You can find him at http://www.twitter.com/XavierDwyer1

Give Me Fucking Strength by Paul Featherstone

hull city tigers

Okay, so hastily composed this one, but as the title suggests- “Hull City Tigers”? Give me strength man.

Is this where football has come to now? That a team can be re-branded? Is it now the policy of the board to actually polish turds?

Before I plough on, if you weren’t aware, Hull City AFC have been re-branded as “Hull City Tigers” for their second stint in the Premier League by their owners, the Allam family. Now, the Allams have done many good things for the club, and we will come to that soon, but this is not one of them.

Very shortly after the announcement, the name started to trend on Twitter. It was not in a positive manner. There may have been quickly knocked up photos of Tony The Tiger. For a team that many will feel are out of place in the top flight, naming yourself in such a manner makes you look like someone at a party wearing an ill-fitting, cool jumper your wife made you put on, even though you’re 54.

The initials HCT sound like something that a woman hitting the menopause takes too. I’m sure in the minds of the Allams, it sounds like Elvis’ TCB, but rather than “Taking Care Of Business”, it’s “Total Complete Bollocks”.

I could go on for hours, but my main point here is how this reflects on owners that swoop in to help a team to success and how football fans are just rolling over and getting fist fucked by a rich businessman in a hotel room near Terminal 5.

The Allams saved the club from the brink of extinction, took them back to the Premier League for the second time and have strong links with the city. Even the controversial sacking of Nick Barmby bore fruit, as Steve Bruce took just one season to gain promotion.

All of the above, though, does not give a divine right to do as you please with the club, because you helped it out when it was in dire straights. Men help vulnerable women get into countries to improve their lives, then take their passport and sell them into the sex trade. That is not a viable blueprint to bring across into running a football team.

In fact, Allam has said he hates the word “City”. If he knew anything of the club and it’s fans, he would know that almost everyone says “Are you off to see City this weekend?”. Not “The Tigers”, not “the mighty HCT”.

Yet, the most shocking part of the whole situation has been to hear some fans seem happy to just sit there and take it, because of all that Allam has done for the club. They don’t agree, but feel he has earned the right to do it. That equates to letting a rich, old man grope your tit because he bought you a new rear indicator light.

Football fans usually have a lot more sense than this, and if they passionately disagree with something, they stand against it. It will be interesting to see how this one continues to develop. It may have been smart to announce it now, so that British politeness creeps in and no-one wants to “make a fuss” to ruin the first game of the season.

Something should be done though, as more football teams are going to need rich benefactors to save them, and the more they are used as play-things and brands, the further disenfranchised the normal fan will become.

The national game is becoming privatised, grrrrreeeeeaaaattttt.

 

Paul FeatherstonePaul Featherstone is 31 years old and lives in Hull. Most people call him “Fev.” He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of football and music and uses the word “c*nt” far too much in everyday conversation. He spends a lot of his time blagging his way into celebrity parties. He is to be commended for once meeting Jo Whiley and refraining from beating her to death with a big stick. You can read more of his vitirolic comments on http://twitter.com/FevTheRevoff

Nice To Meat You (Not) by Gill Hoffs

This rant has been building inside me for the last twenty-odd years. Perhaps venting on here will free me of this entirely rational and justifiable anger and allow me to be the bunny-cuddling happy smiley fluffball people who don’t know me clearly expect a vegetarian to be (well, except for the dickheads Number 10 refers to). Perhaps … no, I doubt it.

meat in freezer

Ten things that sometimes make me want to eat meat – human meat.

1. Finding out I’m vegetarian then insisting on telling me why you’re not e.g. “I just couldn’t give up meat, I couldn’t.” Or “It’s just not natural, is it?” (especially fun when the person saying it is tucking into something containing more E-numbers and un-gredients than fucking astronaut rations). I’m not your conjoined twin nor your confessor. If you’re not, you’re not – as for your reasons, I just don’t fucking care.

2. Finding out I’m vegetarian then insisting on telling me how much you love animals as you chow down on oh, I dunno, a bit of one.

3. Finding out I’m vegetarian then insisting on quizzing me on why? How long for? Is it the ethics-thing then? Is it your whole family (because obviously then it wouldn’t be my fault as despite being 34 I clearly can’t make up my own mind about what I stick in my gob, eh?)?

4. Finding out I’m vegetarian and insisting that means I eat fish, chicken, turkey, and pork and serving me it in a restaurant because “my sister/cousin/friend/neighbour/colleague does and they’re vegetarian” – no, they fucking well aren’t.

5. Finding out I’m vegetarian and waving a forkful of rare steak under my nose in an attempt to gross me out because you’re “only having a laugh”. Your twattishness grosses me out far more than your dinner.

6. Finding out I’m vegetarian and assuming I’m a pale malnourished weakling who isn’t able to kick your arse – hey, I’ve watched Buffy and Angel AND Dollhouse. I know some moves and I’m frankly gagging to try them.

7. Finding out I’m vegetarian and attempting to corral me into your cloud of stupidity by asking me if I were trapped on an island/in a lift/on a ship with only a chicken or my child to choose between to keep me alive, which would I eat? Well, duh … but if it were between an obnoxious arsehole like you and a cow, guess what? I’m eating longpig tonight, fuckface.

8. Finding out I’m vegetarian and assuming, wrongly, that my child isn’t, then when you find out he is, asking me with a hesitant tone and concerned look on your face if I don’t think that’s “a bit cruel to him”? Eh, no. Fuck. Right. The. Fuck. Off.

9. Finding out I’m vegetarian then gloating over the fact that I’ve probably unwittingly eaten meat at some point or other. Yes, fuck face. I also try not to eat shit and maggots, and I presume you do the same (though if you are what you eat, you’ve not tried hard enough). You might want to read up on the thresholds for acceptable levels of faeces and insects in the food industry’s literature. Keep a bucket handy when you do.

10. Finding out I’m vegetarian then smugly comparing me to Hitler. Well, so was Ghandi. They both had moustaches. Big fucking deal. Hitler also liked soup and potatoes and I somehow doubt you’re boycotting them just in case you become an evil bastard because of your DIET.

Photo courtesy of Anna – “Cambridge Cat.”

hoffsGill Hoffs lives with her family and Coraline Cat in a horribly messy house in Warrington. Find her on facebook or as @gillhoffs on twitter, email her a dirty joke at gillhoffs@hotmail.co.uk, or leave a clean comment at http://gillhoffs.wordpress.com/ ‘Wild: a collection’, her word-mixture of sea creatures, regret, and murder, is out now from Pure Slush. Get it here.
Gill’s often-sad sometimes-grisly nonfiction book about the Victorian Titanic will be published in January 2014 by Pen & Sword. Feel free to send her chocolate.

Allen Miles Is In The Sitting Room

Before you read the following coruscating diatribe, I’d like to point out that, even though I’ve written over 2000 words here, I could’ve written over 10,000. I actually just wanted to write about Coldplay and Piers Morgan, but my doctor told me that it would not be good for my blood pressure. Other near misses included Self-Service checkouts, pubs that encourage family dining on Sundays, Jonathan Ross, Bohemian Rhapsody (its nonsense, before you complain. Utter nonsense.) and Donnie Darko. So here you go, to quote the magnificent John Lydon: “Anger is an energy.”

1. Beyonce Knowles.

I hate Jessie J. I utterly loathe her and all she stands for and given half a chance I would drop her, Fargo-style, into a wood-chipper and feed her pulverized carcass to stray animals in the inner cities. But in five years time, no-one will remember her, because she is that worthless, and in ten years time she will be dead, having been spat out the bottom of the porn industry with a needle in her arm. Beyonce, however, is genuinely revered by a lot of people. I am absolutely mystified by this, as it seems to me that she is the most disingenuous, hypocritical “artist” in history.

This is what the suffragettes fought for.

This is what the suffragettes fought for.

She is supposed to encourage feminism, being an “independent woman,” and writes songs about not being objectified by men. If she looked like Susan Boyle, or even someone average-looking like Polly Harvey or Lauryn Hill, she’d have sold about fifteen records. Her songs have now taken the place of Aretha Franklin’s R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive as the songs that are played loudly in cars by lonely women who pretend they don’t even want a boyfriend and paint themselves orange on a night out. That Destiny’s Child song “Independent Woman.” For crying out loud. I actually think that proper feminists would feel offended or at the very least patronised upon hearing it. Someone needs to sit down with Beyonce and explain to her that, in 2013, and actually, for quite some time before that, it is in fact commonplace for women to have their own jobs, own dwellings, and not be reliant on men to fund them. It is their right, and there is no real need to show off about it.

And “All The Single Ladies.” Yeah! Beyonce leads the charge of all those single ladies all together, all the single ladies, all the single ladies… Yeah! Only… you’re not single are you Beyonce? You’re married to a man who for much of the millennium has been one of the most powerful men in music, and whose often openly misogynistic songs should really be the polar opposite of everything that Ms Knowles claims to stand for. One can only imagine the scenes around the Carter household when he’s practicing his raps for a forthcoming tour.

Beyonce: Shawn darling, I was wondering if I could suggest a few changes to your lyrics?

Jay-Z: (Looks up with absolute distain)

Beyonce: I was wondering if instead of “bitch,” you could say “I got 99 problems but an Independent Woman ain’t one?”

Jay-Z: No.

Beyonce: Ok, well maybe rather than using the word “Ho,” perhaps you could say “Make a mill’ off a sorry Single Lady, then sit back and peep my scenario.”

Jay-Z: No

Beyonce: Ok… Erm…

Jay-Z: Go and make me a sandwich.

Beyonce: Yes, dear.

Piss off Beyonce. Just piss off.

2. Any Customer Service Facility For A U.K-based Company.

Four years ago, I went to Newcastle for my stag do. Quite late on, we added an extra member to the party, therefore we required an extra room at the hotel, or an extra bed in one of our rooms. I can’t remember which hotel chain we were booked with, but it was a major one, possibly the Ibis. I approached the girl at the reception desk and explained the situation and the following conversation took place.

Me: So would you be able to do us another room for tonight please?

Receptionist: I don’t know.

Me: Well…

Receptionist: I don’t know if we’ve got any available.

Me: Well, would you be able to find out for us please?

Receptionist: I can’t do it from here. You’ll have to ring the booking office in Leicester, the direct line is over there. (Indicates red phone in some sort of booth.)

Me: But I want a room in this hotel, can’t you just tell us if there’s one available? Haven’t you got it on your computer?

Receptionist: No, you have to ring the booking line or do it online.

At this point my friends and I look with complete bewilderment at each other and walk over to the booking line. I pick up the phone and get put through to a man who was evidently speaking verbatim from a script, and had a very loose grip on the English language.

Me: Hello, I’d like to book a room at your Newcastle branch for tonight please.

Imbecile: Yes at Newcastle, Uk?

Me: Yes please.

Imbecile: What is your address please?

Me: Why?

Imbecile: What is your address please?

With a vein throbbing in my temple, I proceeded to give this man my address, and card number, as I was told I couldn’t pay over the counter. This took quite some time, as the guy certainly wasn’t from Leicester. Eventually, after a spate of bleeding from my eyeballs, I walked back over to the desk.

Me: Right, I have reserved a room over the phone. My name is Miles.

Receptionist: Miles, Miles, Miles…. yes, here you are Sir, you’re in Room 104.

She then proceeded to gesture to her right to Room 104, which was about FIFTEEN FUCKING FEET FROM THE RECEPTION DESK!!! SHE COULD SEE THE ROOM FROM WHERE SHE WAS STOOD!! THIS IS THE SAME REASON THAT MY GAS BILL IS IN ARREARS, THAT CAPITAL ONE SEND ME SNOTTY LETTERS AND MY HOUSE HAD PRACTICALLY FALLEN DOWN BEFORE THE INSURERS PULLED THEIR FINGERS OUT OF THEIR ARSES AND PAID OUT FOR THE REPAIRS. BECAUSE EVERYONE WHO WORKS BEHIND A SCREEN WITH A HEADSET ON IS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, A COMPLETE FUCKING MORON!!!

3. Abbreviations.

As used in the first instance by Sixth Form College tutors. English Lit, English Lang, or for those of you who did the combined course, Lang-Lit. These people did not give a fuck how they butchered this wonderful language of ours. One of them even used to refer to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as Pride and Pred. For God’s sake, it’s a terrible book in the first place don’t make it worse.

The latest one is “App.” Which is an abbreviation of Application, if you didn’t know, which brings me on to the latest form of abbreviations, fucking text speak. I realised that this was becoming a genuine threat to society when my father, bless him, attempted to use this cool new language and texted me the phrase “DAT’S GREA8T,” presumably trying to say “That’s great.” And failing catastrophically.

My mate Robbie Lawson has repeatedly attempted to tell me that stylistic progressions such as text language can be traced back through the ages and are neccessary for language to develop, but I repeatedly dismiss his arguments as “shite.” I can’t bear to see our mother tongue reduced to a minimal dirge of consonants and numbers. I will not, therefore, LOL, nor will I ROFL, or even PMSL, due to the fact that I am far too upset that the language that I have spent thirty-one years studying and attempting to master has become yet another tool that the world is using to fuck me over.

4. People With Trendy Opinions About Music

I’m going to have to divide this into a few sub-catagories…

A) Liking Things Ironically: Popular among students and arty types are things such as buying The Best Of Steps because “It’s so bad it’s good.” No its not, its shite. Easy Lover by Phil Collins is not a “chooooon,” its shite. And so on…

B) Proclaiming Stars Who Have Clearly Lost It “Legends.” For example, when people see footage of popular singers way past their prime and still proclaim them “cool.” Tom Jones, Barry White, James Brown and 70’s Elvis are/were all preposterous figures and should be openly ridiculed for not packing it in when they had their last shred of dignity left.

Brown: I feel like being a Sex Machine. Every Woman He Meets: I'm calling the police.

Brown: I feel like being a Sex Machine.
Every Woman He Meets: I’m calling the police.

C) Wearing T-Shirts Of Bands You Have No Knowledge Of In The Hope It Will Give You Credibility: Especially Ramones T-Shirts. For further reference I’ll relay the following conversation my friend Dunham once had in Welly.

18 Year-old Kid in Rolling Stones T-Shirt: Alright mate can I buy a cig off you?

Dunham: I’ll give you this cigarette for nothing if you can name five Rolling Stones songs.

Kid: Erm… Satisfaction… Brown Sugar…. erm… oh just let me buy a cig!

Dunham: Fuck Off.

D) Declaring Bands “Shit” Who Clearly Aren’t:
It does not make you the next Jo Whiley to loudly tell everybody that popular bands are “soooooo overrated.” It’s perfectly alright to say that U2, REM, Oasis, Bruce Springsteen or The Beatles aren’t your cup of tea, but to say that they were crap is clearly idiocy and your opinion is utterly worthless. Actually, it probably does make you the next Jo Whiley, she’s a fucking mental defective as well.

E) “Guilty Pleasures:”
Apparently the least credible artist that I’m a fan of is Robbie Williams. I do not feel guilty about this at all; he’s a brilliant showman, a great singer and a completely overlooked lyricist who has made some brilliant records and put on some fantastic concerts. I will argue that he is great, in a completely unashamed way, until I slip off the hook. If you feel guilty about enjoying the likes of Crowded House or Simply Red, imagine how guilty you’ll feel in a few years time when you’re stealing small change from your social worker. Prat.

5. Everything To Do With The Writing Industry

I’ll be honest, my book didn’t sell very many copies. But that’s fine, I didn’t expect it to; it’s bleak and disturbing and it was never going to appeal to the “holiday reader” market. However, I did sign a publishing deal with a real publishing house and it was judged my somebody other than myself to be worthy of public consumption. That entitles me to call myself a writer, right? WRONG. I work for the NHS in an operating theatre, I will never call myself a writer until I earn a living wage from writing, which will probably never happen. Yet I have met, through multiple writers’ sites on Facebook and Twitter, so many people who are so utterly deluded about the way they perceive themselves and their contribution to the literary world that I’m not sure I can do for much longer.

Still available folks...

Still available folks…

My friend and mentor Darren recently told me a story, as he shook his head with incredulity over a pint, of an author who will remain nameless who has proclaimed loudly on many forums that his book is being made into a Hollywood movie that is commanding a $30 million budget. This is a complete lie, in order to provoke interest. Pathetic. When 18 Days was first released, I tentatively sent an extremely polite message to several people who claimed to be writers on their Facebook pages that I’d been put in touch with through the writer’s groups, explaining that I’d just had my first book published and I was a bit of a rookie at this game, and asking for advice on how to about getting a bit of publicity. The response I got from about 90% of the messages I’d sent was “I don’t know, I’ve never been published.”

I read an interview a bit back in The Observer Review segment about an author whose name I can’t remember, but who made a big performance about making sure everyone knew that he did his writing in an abandoned tube carriage. Why did he feel the need to hammer this fact home? To appear quirky, in order to sell books was it? I bought his book for my Kindle out of curiosity and deleted it after twenty pages. It was awful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met lots of great people through writing, if only online. Gill Hoffs and Vic Watson have both written for this site and are fantastic people. Darren Sant and Nick Quantrill have taken time out of their lives to sit with me and explain why I should carry on writing when I throw my silly tantrums (like this one,) and many others have interviewed me, given me fantastic reviews and helped me get a bit of exposure for my work. The rest of them though, are largely self-righteous frauds with gargantuan egos. I’ve seen their likes down Princes Ave, sat in Pave in the middle of the day with their laptops out, loudly shouting into their mobiles “I’m just working on my novel,” as they glance out of the corner of their eye to make sure that everyone can hear them.

So in closing, sod the writing industry, it’s full of scum.

Burnt my fucking bridges there, haven’t I?

 

profile b and wAllen Miles is 31 years old and lives in Hull. He is married and has a 2 year-old daughter who is into Queens Of The Stone Age. He is a staunch supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC and drinks far too much wine. He spends most of his spare time watching old football videos on youtube and watching 1940s film noir. He is the author of 18 Days, which is widely recognized to be the best book ever written. It is available here. http://tinyurl.com/8d2pysx

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates…. By Martyn Taylor

Surely a remake would feature him shaking hands with a CGI Princess Diana...

Perhaps a sequel would feature him shaking hands with a CGI Princess Diana…

WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! Do not carry on reading if you are planning on watching ‘Forrest Gump’ any time soon, are a fan of ‘Forrest Gump,’ or are a fan of happy endings in general.

If you’re wondering what I’m alluding to, this is it. Forrest Gump had H.I.V. Here’s why.
Let me start this off by giving you a brief summary of the film ‘Forrest Gump’ so that you can see my point at the end.

‘Forrest Gump’ is the story of a man called Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) He was born with a small I.Q, but a large generous heart. He grew up in a town called Greenbow, which is in Alabama. On his first day of school he meets a girl called Jenny (played later by Robin Wright.) The film tells the tales of the lives of these two characters running in parallel with each other. Once they leave school they only meet again on a few occasions. Forrest goes through his life accidentally experiencing and influencing some of the most important men in America. He taught Elvis to swing his hips, influenced John Lennon to write ‘Imagine’ and also accidentally unearthed the ‘Watergate’ scandal that caused Richard Nixon to resign as President. The problem was that he was too stupid to realize the significance of his actions. Forrest becomes rich and famous by, becoming a college football (not soccer) star, fighting in Vietnam, receiving the ‘Congressional Medal of Honour,’ representing the U.S.A in China on the table tennis team, owning a highly successful shrimp boat fishing company and for running across America coast-to-coast several times.

Jenny, on the other hand, lived a much more difficult life. Struggling to settle down, she got caught posing topless while at college, spent time as a ‘singing’ stripper, Experimented in several types of drugs (marijuana, L.S.D, cocaine and heroin among others.) Jenny also has many relationships with many men throughout the film, some are abusive, over-powering and they almost certainly get her hooked on drugs.

After college Forrest and Jenny only meet again a total of four times.

On the third occasion that they meet, Jenny goes to the house that Forrest lives in to stay with him for a while. On the night before she leaves she climbs through his window and makes love with him (as a goodbye gift or as way of thanks, I don’t know.)
Later on in the film Forrest receives a letter from Jenny asking him to come and see her where she is living now. When Forrest arrives at the apartment where Jenny is living a babysitter arrives with Jenny’s son. She proceeds to tell Forrest that he is called Forrest Jr and he is the father from their one night stand together. Jenny also informs Forrest that she is sick and is in fact dying from a mystery virus that the doctors could not diagnose.

Jenny and Forrest move back together to Greenbow where they get married. Jenny dies soon after from the previously mentioned mystery virus. THE END.

Its all very sad, but we are left with the thought that Forrest and Forrest Jr live happily ever after. I am here to burst that bubble now!

Jenny told Forrest that she had a mystery undiagnosed virus. I believe that Jenny had in fact caught H.I.V. As this part of the film was set in the early 80’s, A.I.D’s had only just been discovered and H.I.V was unknown. She may have caught it during her time in the 70’s experimenting with heroin, possibly sharing needles, or she may have caught it from having unprotected sex during this time.

 

To be fair, I can't imagine this bloke would pass an STD test either...

To be fair, I can’t imagine this bloke would pass an STD test either…

Jenny then had unprotected sex with Forrest on the night when Forrest Jr was conceived. She must have passed the virus on to Forrest that night, and during child birth, as the virus was unknown, she most certainly infected Forrest Jr with H.I.V at this time.
Unfortunately for all you romantics out there who thought that Forrest and Forrest Jr lived happily ever after, I’m afraid not. They more than likely suffered a similar fate as Jenny, it was probably a painful death for the pair of them soon after the film had ended.

mart questionsMartyn Taylor is a 31 year-old father of three and lives in Hull. His pastimes include watching 80s action films over and over again and and debating the all-time Premiership XI with Mr Miles. His knowledge of American sitcoms of the 90s stands second to none. He once walked into a men’s public lavatory absent-mindedly singing the theme tune from Two And A Half Men. You can find him on http://www.twitter.com/shirleysblower but he never tweets, so just follow him on here.