When England Meets Heat (Top 8)

 Something horrendous is happening to the once fair and graceful people of the formerly benevolent and peaceful  United Kingdom: this thing is transforming them into slow-moving, reddened, depleted semi-nude versions of themselves…and it shows no signs of relenting (until next week probably). 

Sun-pocalypse, is what some (me) are dubbing it – the few days in the year when the sun comes out, and British people freak the fuck out. Well, this year the rare appearance of that ball of blazes in the sky has, as ever, been accompanied by frenzied tabloid articles from The Sun (COINCIDENCE?! I THINK NOT!) about a looming killer heatwave approximate in temperature to the inside of a volcano. Cue warnings about not straying outside with your dog or she will melt, don’t give your Nan too much ice cream or she runs the risk of Cornet Clots…that sort of thing.

Yeah, it’s ridiculous – it’s a total farce: but we wouldn’t really have it any other way. “It’s just a bit of sun, what’s the big deal?” ask Aussies, Spaniards, and just about everyone else apart from Eskimos – but we are Brits, and we like to complain. So, stop attacking our culture, jheez.

Without further rambling here’s the top eight stupid things that we seem to do in the sun. If you are a Brit and don’t recognise any of these then you are either a liar, an impostor, or you have such a high degree of sun stroke that it is affecting your ability for rational thought (go get checked, I’m worried about you man) : 

1. We make obvious statements about the weather…

Okay so you look out of the window and it is sunny – you make a comment to a friend or colleague about this observation…something along the lines of: “it is sunny outside”, or “it is very sunny outside”, or perhaps if you are feeling a little outrageous: “wow, it is very sunny outside.” 

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You then have a five to ten minute exchange with said person in which you make parallels to how it was cold last week, and how it was even colder in Winter. Perhaps you share an anecdote or two, like the fact that you made a snowman back in February and now your diet is almost entirely comprised of ice cream…it’s craziness! Madness of the highest order! It’s also oh so bland. 

2. Partake in daytime drinking because, sun…

Listen, there are set rigid rules set out by our good Lord and creator himself that we must live by…struggle with. It’s a massive shame and not ideal in the slightest but we just have to get on with it and maintain our stiff upper lip.

One of these rules is that you must drink alcohol at any time in the airport when going on your summer holiday. I don’t care that it is 6am and you don’t feel like it – this is your duty to Queen and country…you must be pissed by 7:30am whilst boarding your plane or a Beef-Eater will come around your house and take away your television. That’s the rule, it’s in the fucking Magna Carta for God’s sake, so just shut up and abide by it.

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Another rule is that due to lovely long summer days daytime drinking in general becomes not just acceptable, but vigorously encouraged. Screw the whole waiting till 3pm thing…get in a beer garden and stay put – last week the weather was miserable so make the fucking most of it. (Sidenote: I know it’s a work/school night but just stay for one more, one more, one more…until you get the sack).

 

3. Get the guns/gut out…

Now not everyone is like me and has the body of a Greek God (shadddap I mean Dionysus, God of fertility and wine – oioi!) so they really should think twice before stripping off in public. Keyword there, should, but many don’t…in fact there is something about the start of British summertime that makes men think they are already doing a tour of Zante or Ibiza…

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I mean sure, if you’ve got it then flaunt it babez – but you’re going to pick up a couple of pints of green top milk for your Mam, please clothe yourself and save it for the beach.

 

4. Share your music with the world…

It’s summer, so you can get away with murder when it comes to your car playlist. You would likely get some peculiar looks looks from white van men if you were blasting Wham! on full belt during a grim wintry January evening – but add a little sun into the mix and you will receive knowing nods, thumbs up, and smiley sing-a-longs.

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Disclaimer: people may also throw things at you – please don’t hold me responsible for this. 

 

5. Be outraged that a 99 Flake doesn’t cost 99p…

“Back in my day they were 99p!” you croak through your wrinkled sallow face, suddenly feeling decades older. But it is true, the price has gone up quite a bit since the 1990s, when you could get yourself a 99 for 99p. But then again you could also get three houses, two cars on credit, and a jacuzzi fitted in your brand-new conservatory. Inflation, we hate you, ya bastard.

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Oh and while we are on, what is with calling “Monkey’s Blood” strawberry sauce?! I am going to write a strongly worded letter to my MP to really get – urgh scratch that…I am only 26, imagine how insufferable I will be by the time I reach retirement age. Apologies.

6. Have a food-poison laden spontaneous BBQ…

 

You know people the world over seem to denounce the Great British cuisine as lesser than shit, denigrating it to the ranks of some of the most boring flavourless tripe that humankind has ever seen. Now I find that unfair, because whilst it may not be exotic by any stretch of the imagination, it is most definitely interesting…and the British summer BBQ is evidence of that.

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By interesting I mean it will do unusual things to your insides – in fact it may likely kill you. But you wouldn’t want to be seen as impolite at a family BBQ so you munch half-hardheartedly at that suspect meat provided in a dry bun by your knobhead Uncle…dreading the next couple of hours that will undoubtedly be filled with a vile burning sensation…and not a one that after-sun can cure either.

7. Sunbathe in the front garden…

Most people don’t even go out most of the time: I mean, why would you when you have television and YouTube at your fingertips…but the sun makes people do caaaraaayzeee, things, things like well, (gasp) going outdoors.

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Suddenly that front step, that little bit of patio, or that patch of grass outside your house, are transformed into a paradise land that should be enjoyed for all they are worth. You get a chair and plonk it down, you survey your kingdom…every square foot of it. This is what summer is all about: “this is great why don’t I do this more often it’sss-fuckkkk I think I am burning” – 

8. Slap on the sun cream – realise you missed a spot…

Now I am whiter than white: so white I likely couldn’t even be a hue of paint…and even if you managed to create such a thing –  no one would want it. For instance I step outdoors  for a few moments to check if I should wear a long-sleeve or a t-shirt and-SIZZLE SIZZLE-my face swells up like one hundred pounds of ham.

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But like a lot of people in these lands I have a love-hate relationship with sun cream. I love that there is a cream that is supposed to help me not become an embarrassing shade of red, and yet I hate that said cream because it doesn’t fucking work at all. Most miss a spot, I seemingly miss all of my spots and then get actual spots due to the fact I just slathered a bunch of grease over my pores…

Ahhh summer, don’t you just love it?! Roll on Autumn. 


Well, what did I miss? Let me know…but I am about to return to my cave and stay there until the sun goes back into hiding – see you in a couple of months. 

6 Things School Didn’t Teach

It will undoubtedly surprise you to hear that there are numerous things I don’t know…in fact, I would go to say that I don’t know many things at all. So yeah, I don’t know most things. That much is true, at least I know that.

When looking for someone or something to blame (rather than just accepting I am a brain-dead oaf, or lazy slacker), I have landed on school as my main source of ignorance to date…

So with that in mind, here are six classes and six lessons that I wish school had taught me…

1. Social Science: Making excuses for being late:

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Oh yeah, great idea! Teach me all about how alcohol, drugs and sex will turn me into a hollow husk of a human devoid of any and all trace of hope – but neglect to teach me how to make even the most basic of excuses! Clearly this has a profound impact on every single day of your adult life…and is something which should be taught in schools from a young age.

Less is more, remember that. So claiming you were late to your best friend’s wedding because you are actually an elf who had to assist in a battle against the hordes of evil who threatened to enslave all of Middle Earth…his new wife included – is probably a little too much. You should go for nothing too ridiculous, but also something they can’t argue against for fear of looking like a horrible person; so maybe you helped a blind person across the road, or you helped a crying child find his lost mother, or you have diahorrea (no one ever contests that).

You could always try the truth I suppose: “I am late because I really don’t want to be here, and was honestly hoping to cancel but couldn’t come up with a good enough reason. Also I hate your face, it grosses me out.” Although it should go without saying that use of this method should be attempted sparingly, and with extreme caution.  

2. Languages: How to talk to people without looking weird:

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It’s taken for granted that we will just magically pick up these skills as we go along, thatching together what we think is a presentable personality and manner, but really having no clue at all. Like how much grunting and hair smelling is acceptable around strangers? No one ever told me!

I, like everyone else – just do my best with severely limited proficiency…there’s a lot of smiling and nodding…a lot of “haha, yeah”s, and even more deafening silence – that is until I can’t take the charade any longer and decide to let loose. Aka: be myself…and it is in that moment that I am considered weird – ah well.

Oh, and there would also have to be a module on oversharing, and how it is something that is best avoided…I mean, just because it is happening to you doesn’t mean you need to tell the whole universe about it…we get it you are at the zoo, we get it you really don’t like cranberry sauce, we get it you are an attention seeking drama-queen intent on boring the entire global population to death – jheeez.

3. Geography: How to locate and deal with a knobhead:

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I like maps, erosion, and sediment charts as much as everyone else! But to be honest there are more pressing and more problematic problems we must contend with! And they are more often not fuelled by knobheads…or assholes, dickheads, douchebags, mean poo-poo heads – whatever you want to call them! So if there were some way in which we could locate such people then we would all save a lot of time and heartache in the process…

It sounds a little too Nazi for most people, but perhaps some kind of badge or brand could be applied? Then it would make it easier to locate those who are up to no good…so we’d know not to hire that guy to fix your dear old grandmother’s sink who will inevitably try to steal money from her purse (he has the knobhead brand on his forehead after all) – and we’d take on the guy without it instead. We wouldn’t get in the relationship with the serial cheater, or mistakenly go on a date with a violent racist…we would actually see a lot less of the annoyance on social media too…

With that said, any school who was to teach this…yeah, shut that thing down immediately. I don’t want to be responsible for Hitler mark II.

4. Physical Education: Movie style fight scenes:

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It is everyone’s dream to enter into a Fist of Fury type of altercation…where you go all Matrix on the bad guys and pull off an amazing Mortal Kombat type of finisher that has everyone in awe…

But the sad reality is that normal people don’t get much practice beating people to death in unusual and fascinating ways…largely because they are law-abiding citizens who are just trying to get to work, pay into a pension, or get to Starbucks before it is too busy. So it’s the criminals who get all the practice, hence why they are so damn good at it!

But the world is quite a horrendous place at the best of times, and many people are rightly scared…however if there was even the most basic self defense class taught in schools people would stand a better chance defeating those which disgrace humanity; muggers, rapists, and people asking if you want to do a survey.

5. English: When and where swearing is applicable:

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I find it rather odd that schools come down so heavy on swearing as far as I can remember…but are so dogmatic when it comes to doing monotonous and drab lessons that demand the use of such language – it’s almost like a test in itself; which one will say “fuck this shit!” first? Hmmm…double maths and then a chemistry lesson, yeah let’s really mess with him!

Personally I think language is just a collection of words. And words can have many different meanings, and it is really how you use it rather than what exactly you are saying – just go to any English football game and watch tearful men with shaven heads screaming “you beautiful cunt!” at a player who has just netted a hat-trick for their team…are they trying to ridicule and humiliate him? I don’t think so.

So I guess what I’m saying is that swearing is okay most of the time! It adds spice and humour – enthusiasm and passion; and I didn’t really need school to fucking teach me that. (Perhaps refrain a little around your mother, kids, and old ladies – don’t be the aforementioned knobhead).

6. Mathematics: Removing yourself from awkward equations: 

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My struggle with mathematics is well documented – and continues to be a great source of difficulty. Well actually no, it would be if everything wasn’t automated, and done through electronics these days…

“John you won’t always have a calculator with you, you know?!” Well, how wrong you were Mrs. Martin! Even if I am a little bit sorry that I didn’t pay more attention…

Anyway, the lack of ability in coping with awkward situations is much more detrimental to our mental health and quality of life than algebra and long division ever will be. That guy at the bus stop asking which type of cheese is best to put in your bath…the stranger massaging your back out of the blue on the subway…or when a kid asks you where babies come from – all of these and more are a constant struggle. And one which I still feel ill-equipped to deal with at all…if only there had been a lesson to steer me in the right direction…

And that’s it! My top six things I wish school had taught me! But what do you think?  Is there anything I missed?

Oh, and if anyone has tips regarding the above I would be very thankful – if someone doesn’t point me in the right direction I am likely to be a fool all my life…cheers in advance!

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FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

There is a burgeoning problem among internet users…by which I mean  essentially everyone…which is something known as FOMO; or to use its full name – “The Fear of Missing Out”…which is essentially envy and jealousy but with a little more i:Robot desperation thrown into the mix:

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I have only just became aware of the name (there’s a blaaaady name for everything these days), but I was certainly aware of the condition itself as it is a thing that most experience from day to day in this ultra-connected and uber-technological age we find ourselves in: myself included. 

Case in point, I have just finished scrolling down Facebook for a couple of minutes, and I already find myself wanting two kids, like now – but also I saw someone bragging about a carefree/childfree life and really wanted that too. Then I spotted someone’s round the world trip pictures and was instantly overcome with jealousy…but proceeded to like someone else’s post about fossil fuels and the part airplanes have in the destruction of the planet; urgh, I really wish I could stand up for more positive causes. Oh and someone just lost a million pounds on a new diet, they look really great – wish I could – oh wait look at that burger and fries my friend has – oh she looks really amazing on the beach with – I’ll never have a car like that – why can’t I live with my best – how does he even – why don’t I look like – if only I could do…

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ESSENTIALLY I SEE ALL OF THESE THINGS, AND I WANT THEM ALL.  WHY AM I SO TERRIBLY SHIT IN COMPARISON TO EVERYONE IN THE WORLD?!

You see that’s the cycle, and it is as silly as it is hurtful and destructive. The old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses” – is out…it’s no longer about having a nice looking living room, or making sure the flowers in the garden  are neat and pretty…this has been well and truly replaced with a “Keeping up with the Kardashians” mentality – which for most is a depressing  impossibility, but something that they attempt to their detriment anyway. But just like Kim Kardashian’s butt, this whole facade is fake…faker than my claim that 2016 will be the year I get chiselled abs, bulging biceps, and rock hard…can’t even get through this lie, you know what I’m getting at though.

The bad thing is there can be horrendous emotional consequences of FOMO  which can have repercussions on the rest of our lives. If I am bummed out that I can’t party like a rockstar so decide to borrow money to do it anyway…well, that doesn’t just go away. No matter who you pray to – trust me, I’ve tried them all – banks don’t listen. Heathens! 

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So when people find themselves unable to say no to amazing “once in a lifetime” experiences, largely because they know they will be fantastic memories…and in some cases even better social media posts (urgh), then this leaves them with nothing more than crippling debt and a bleak future. This means they truly will be “missing out” in the long term…missing out on a stable life, free of fear and devoid of the need to work a job you hate simply to make repayments on the lavish mistakes you made for the sake of Instagram. 

Not to be a buzzkill – just be sensible. Saying “yes” to every single opportunity seems like a good idea – and a mantra which blogs and the wider social media culture have endorsed wholeheartedlybut I implore you to be careful with this thinking, as fearing missing out on one or two notable events is nothing to fret about…ignore this advice at your peril – it could mean potentially missing out on an entire life well lived, inside and out.

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p.s. oh, and by the way my friend – you are fucking fantastic just as you are. Don’t let the social media demons get you down. 

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Middle Finger to CCTV!

Sometimes you need to stand up for what is right…and stand up against those that seek to shackle you and obliterate your rights to freedom!

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Well I have to say…I’m convinced! Bit of background on this – it’s from a slightly older students who spent some time in New Zealand, so unsurprisingly he picked up a penchant for movie quotes and, errrr, colourful language. He’s certainly a character, I’ll say that much…

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HUGE Negative of Life Abroad

Of course there are huge perks to travelling and seeing other places! It’s great, it’s wonderful, it’s something to tell your imaginary not even alive yet grandkids! And all that jazz…but what about the negatives?

Well there is one in particular that stands out for me…

p.s. WOWZA. Just noticed how much of a downer this video is, and how I didn’t really offer much in the way of help! I’ve got a winter cold (aka I’ll likely die) – so please let me off this time around! 

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The Power of Film

Film is important: 

And there are many reasons for this as it is such a vivid combination of so many arts; cinematography, music, sound design, editing, storytelling, acting…they all play a part in this unparalleled form of expression. It also possesses the sufficient wizardry required to transport us to faraway places and times – both physically and mentally…we can also experience a character’s life and gain an insight into their point of view, however wacky and odd their personality may be. This can serve to make us more accepting, and less prejudice people…or more unaccepting and discriminatory people – with great films comes great power, and (often) well…irresponsibility.

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For a quick example I watched the new James Bond film recently (Spectre), and I found myself nodding along like…“yeah…yeah…I AM in essence 007!” I mean I like clothes, travel, and alcohol – also I’m not a huge fan of overpowering authority figures – the only mark against is that I don’t shoot people for money: but that’s only a minor part of the whole movie franchise, so there we go! I am Bond, James Bond: and I don’t want to hear any arguments about it…

In other news my kindergarten kids have just got into Star Wars…I suppose they’ve been playing it on the TV recently, what with the new one coming out next month – and we’ve been delighting in having non-stop lightsaber battles throughout the duration of the day. I’ve also realised that I am more than likely closer to the dark side than most would say is normal…case in point I have been delighting in killing my six year old Jedi students with my force lightning ability. I mean someone has to be the Sith bad guy – and the red swords are a lot better looking…and yeah, yeah, I know I will eventually lose – but at least I get to look cool while doing it…

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« So you see there is this sense of escape, fantasy…or perhaps even unattainable galactic dreams – and it’s not a thing which can be easily shaken. Or stirred… (urgh, see what I mean?!) »

It’s always been this way though: perhaps I’m easily influenced, but there’s never been a time I can remember where films and their characters haven’t played a pivotal role in either how I want my life to be, or who I wish to be as a person. And naturally I haven’t adopted these roles entirely like some mad life-long method actor – but rather I have just absorbed certain elements which I then begin to endorse…case in point with The Lord of the Rings I became aware through Gimli that running for long distances wasn’t fun – and with Merry and Pippin, that second breakfasts were not something to be embarrassed about. And in Dumbo I learned that if you drink too much bloodthirsty pink elephants will appear in a frenetic dream sequence intent on killing you. All of these things are totally necessary, and I’m thankful for the world of film for enlightening me in so many ways… 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this ramble…would love to hear of some characters and movies which you have enjoyed – especially ones I haven’t heard of! Always on the hunt for a new favourite!

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Elderly Children

The other day I laughed like I haven’t done in months…and it wasn’t from a well-crafted and intelligent political barb either, or an amusing satirical comment on Western society’s culture – or anything else that demands some level of brain activity to “get” – noit was a lot more simple and pure than all of that, but not any less meaningful. Well, maybe a little…

Anyway it was undoubtedly something silly; and it came about by me walking into a classroom, and coming across a rather strange sight – a small hunched character who couldn’t have been more than five or six years old. It was one of those moments where it takes a few seconds to take it all in and process…

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You see this kid had pushed his shoulders up, and his head down – basically eliminating his whole neck…making him look vaguely reminiscent of  both Frankenstein’s monster and a penguin with a spinal problem at the same time. To keep the shoulders in shape he was forced to waddle as he walked to maintain composure…and felt it was necessary to emit a few R2-D2 style “BOOP-BAP-BEEP”s every now and again, which (thanks to his missing front teeth) had an eerie and creepy sound to them…this was all probably necessary though,  just to remind people he was still there circling the table.

I also noted that he would occasionally outstretch his right hand slightly as if reaching for an imaginary walking stick which he had sadly misplaced…which led me to believe this was perhaps an older Frankenstein’s monster penguin model. But that was of course an assumption I am still yet to verify. Either way I felt in my heart of hearts that if I had some spare teeth lying around I wouldn’t hesitate to offer them to this bizarre yet amusing creature, he was just trying to live dammit – and seemed like a pretty nice guy.

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There was just something about the whole spectacle which made me burst out laughing, and as he inevitably began to giggle too the shoulders began to droop slowly but surely…and the beeps turned into baaps, and the baaps quickly turned into “ba-ha-ha-ha”s. Before I knew it we were both in hysterics with laughter, and so the rest of the kids in the class took the baton: copying the same character, busily circling the table with their now neckless bodies.

Such little weirdos, seriously!

But it made me think though…where do we lose this? And when…and WHY?! Because I know I still behave like this – but I’m seen largely as stupid, childish, or immature (there are other words but it’s a family show). However I do feel like if we were all a little more like this, just having fun and amusing both ourselves and each other…then life would be that little bit more enjoyable. In other words if the elderly had as much of a laugh imitating children as these kids had imitating the elderly then this world would be a lot less dreary.

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All I know is I’m writing a mental note to do the Frankenstein’s monster penguin shuffle at age 93. Don’t let me forget…okay? Even if I scream at you to get off my lawn and begin a rant about “kids these days”…make me do it.

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