As if first dates weren’t awkward enough already

This is my standard warning to my Mum, this post is not for you.
Yesterday I wrote about a documentary I’d watched, and mentioned that I’d also seen another one, Date My Porn Star. It’s this that I’ll be discussing today.
The doc took three “porn addicts” from the UK and then flew them across to LA where they’d watch porn being made and meet their idols. The point was that it would show them the reality behind their fantasies.
Going in the filmmakers seemed to have its stall set out- these three fellas had to see that porn was horrible and nasty, and mend their ways.
Now I’m not arguing that porn isn’t sometimes horrible and nasty, but it seemed to have made up its mind from the off and that doesn’t feel like good journalism to me.
It was still a fairly interesting watch though, even if they’d chosen three dudes who seemed more obsessed with grot than the average.
The testimony of an ex-pornstar highlighted the physical strain that are endured by women in this field, and was painful to hear. But I couldn’t help feel that there must be some pornstars who emerge less damaged by their job.
It’s available on Channel 4’s on demand service here in the UK, and probably online somewhere for those abroad, and it’s worth checking out. Even with the bias.
The part I found most bizarre was the eagerness of the three blokes to meet and date their porn star crush.
One of the blokes said that as his crush, Tanya Tate, was near his age that it made his fantasy less far fetched, which seemed ludicrous to me. It’s still an unrealistic fantasy.
I’ve never been that delusional, I can’t imagine any scenario that would result in me bedding a porn star (if I was single and interested in that). In fact meeting a porn star, particularly one I’ve watched regularly would fill me with dread. Especially if they knew about me being a fan.
Imagine how awkward it would be. If I found myself sitting down for a coffee with Gianna Michaels I’d be a jabbering buffoon. I wouldn’t know what to say, and I doubt we’d have much in common, aside from knowing about her on screen sexploits.
Gianna Michaels is a fantasy figure, and I know that in real life she’s not going to be the character she portrays on my laptop screen, just like I know if I meet Sarah Michelle Gellar she won’t be the sassy, vampire slaying ideal that I’ve fancied since my teens. Or that Lady Gaga is as awesome as I imagine.
Dating a porn star? I don’t see the appeal.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO


The Man With The Miley Cyrus Tattoos

I watched two Channel 4 documentaries today, and one, My Tattoo Addiction inspired this post (I’ll probably write about the other, Date My Porn Star, at some point).
I used to judge people’s tats, but now I try and be a bit cooler about it. It obviously means something to them and the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. The only ones I oppose are offensive ones or names of partners which just seems to be tempting fate.
Anyway, one of the dudes featured in the show is somewhat notorious for his massive collection of Miley Cyrus tats. And this isn’t some daft kid, this is a grown man, with an ex-wife, kids and his own business.
Now, I have a Motorhead tattoo, so I have nothing against tattoos featuring your favourite music acts. Heck, I don’t even object to Miley Cyrus, because I dig a few of her songs.
The problem is that this guy appears to have gone overboard, with a couple of portraits and song titles.
My issue comes from the fact that all of these tats came following his divorce. Like many people he sought comfort in the arts, and it was Miss Cyrus who took this role in his life. It seems as though he’s retreated into this obsession as a sort of shield or control. Everything else was changing but he was still in charge of his body.
He associated lyrics and titles with his life, and it’s almost sweet to see how much comfort they provided him. I guess in stormy times anything that helps you stay afloat is a good thing, and he could have done worse, gravitating to something destructive or negative.
But I still worry that one day he’ll regret these or face ridicule from others, which is easy to understand, but in no way justifies it. I feel as though the guy has made more problems for himself.
Also, with the doc made in 2012 I find myself wondering what Miley’s image shift in the last year or so means to him. Has it altered his feelings for his ink muse, or does he now sport tats of her new look or the phrase “Wrecking Ball”?
I guess that’s the risk of getting tats of famous people, what they do later might effect your feelings for the ink you have on your skin.
The doc skewed towards the dafter tats, those done while drunk in Aya Napa for example, and not the millions of folks who have meaningful or fun ones.
It does get one thing right though, they are a kind of addiction, I’ve been wanting to get a fourth for a while.
What do my inked readers think? Do you feel hooked on them, or were you a “one and done” tattooee (can’t think of correct word/phrase for a person who gets tattoos).
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO


Book Review: The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin

Spoiler warning!

I’ve heard of this book before but mainly in the context of the movie, which I haven’t seen, it turns out I was totally in the dark as Ira Levin was a bit of a hit machine back in the day with three of his books getting adapted for the big screen in the 60s and 70s- The Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby and this one, so clearly the guy knew how to have brilliant ideas. And this one is pretty ace.

the boys from brazil

The Mid 1970s- Yakov Liebermann, an aging Nazi-hunter in Vienna hears from a young associate that he’s overheard a meeting between the infamous Auschwitz doctor Mengele and other Nazis who are hiding out in South America. The meeting was to discuss the killing of 94 men around the world over the next three years, all of whom have two similarities- their age at death (65) and their jobs (low level civil servants), aside from that, there appears to be no connection, but Mengele states their deaths will bring glory to the Aryan race.

Liebermann’s informant is killed and the tape recording of the meeting is taken by Mengele. With little to go on Liebermann asks a journalist friend to forward him details of any murders or accidental deaths of men in this range, and given a start date by his informant begins to investigate some.

Liebermann has doubts but a few of his investigations do suggest possible foul play, Mengele however decides to let Liebermann live as his murder will only draw attention and that the chances of Liebermann working out what is actually happening are remote. Liebermann’s situation is shaky, an old man he also has to deal with dwindling support and interest in pursuing the war criminals he hunts, a sad commentary on how quickly people want to forget the horrors of the past.

It’s a gripping read as Liebermann tries to figure out the connection and the Nazis work their way through the list, and Levin does a fantastic job of keeping the reader and his protagonist in the dark. When all is finally revealed it’s a humdinger of an idea- Mengele is killing these 94 men because all have adopted a son and he wishes the child to grow up in certain conditions. Why? Because the 94 boys are clones of Adolf Hitler.

Its an idea which is solid gold, and the execution is fantastic, with Levin crafting a short, riveting page-turner which kept me hooked throughout. It also allows some exploring of greater issues such as the nature vs nurture argument, these boys carry the same genes as Hitler but would they follow in his footsteps to lead the Nazis, as Mengele hopes? It’s an interesting question, particularly the way in which Mengele attempts to shape their lives to make it as similar to his Fuhrer’s as possible.

Also, the sheer horror of the Jewish characters at the thought of just one of these Hitler’s succeeding in rallying the Nazis is all to believable and terrifying. Levin doesn’t lay it on too thick, instead allowing us to see it from the character’s perspectives- Mengele’s mania and Liebermann’s fear and concern.

Flicking between both characters is a nice touch, allowing us to see Liebermann slowly working it all out and finding out who may be next on the list, and Mengele’s decisions to pursue the plan alone after the others back out. It all leads to a climactic showdown where the hunter finally faces one of his hated targets. And it also highlights how both are obsessed with following through on their goals.

And the finale, where the fate of the clones is debated raises an interesting dilemma- if the risk of one of them raising the Nazis is so terrible is it better to eliminate them all? And then a final, disturbing sting which leaves you feeling uneasy.

Verdict: A tense, gripping quick read based around a fantastic premise and executed well, this is a fantastic thriller and definitely worth checking out, will definitely look into more of Levin’s work. 7/10

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


My Favourite Films #27: The Blues Brothers

Comedy is harder than it looks. A lot of folks think that when a serious actor does a comedy its because they want an easy time. But that’s not true, because while improv and riffing results in a few decent gags, the best comedies tend to be the ones meticulously written and thought out. Timing is everything, and there’s a brilliant precision at work in most great comedies to assure they get the biggest laughs possible.

Of course, there are exceptions and this is one. The Blues Brothers is many things as a film, but precise and disciplined are not two of those, as the whole film has this crazy, anarchic feel to it. In places it’s baggy, overdone and even self indulgent, but it powers through on charm, humour and, of course, music.

blues bros pos

Written by Dan Aykroyd and director John Landis the premise is simple- two musical, criminal brothers must raise money to save their old orphanage. To do so they put their band back together and perform a big show.

But then a bunch of stuff is thrown in and the brothers are pursued by various people they’ve annoyed- the police, a psychotic ex, neo-Nazis and a country band. Cue tons of over the top car chases where cop cars fly across the screen, piling up all over Illinois. It should feel aimless and stupid, but pulling it through are two wonderfully deadpan performances by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as Elwood and Jake Blues.

The characters were born out of SNL sketches and the movie works well as a series of “bits”- the blues band having to perform at a rowdy country bar, causing a scene at the posh restaurant an ex-band member works at (including the memorable, but never appropriate quote “How much for the little girl?”), the brothers commenting on the mall as they speed through chased by police etc.

Among my favourites is the brothers’ visit to “the Penguin” the mother superior of the orphanage they were raised in, played with stone faced toughness by Kathleen Freeman, it’s a hilarious scene as she scolds the two grown men, thwacking them with a wooden ruler when they swear, which only provokes more expletives. It might be where my fear of nuns began.

blues bros penguin

Aykroyd and Belushi work brilliantly off each other, bickering like real brothers and remaining deadpan as explosions, car chases and general madness ensues around them. Belushi in particular is sensational, especially in moments like his stone faced performance of the theme song of Rawhide, where he stands stock still before crossing the stage to pick up a bullwhip to crack for the finale.

The dark glasses help them and provide the film’s iconic look, but they’re still fantastic performances.

blues bros

The supporting cast, like John Candy, Charles Napier and Carrie Fisher all do their jobs perfectly well

But the movie’s real strength is the music. John Landis would go on to direct “Thriller” probably the greatest music video of all time, and he shows his chops here with fantastic choreographed pieces to “Think”, “Shake A Tail Feather” and “Minnie The Moocher”. The Blues Brothers band might not be the best actors, but they play wonderfully and convince as an infectious, fun live lounge and a string of cameos from music greats ensure that there are some belters on the soundtrack.

blues bros shake

In the end its the film’s crazy excess that make it stand out as one of the coolest, most bizarre movie musicals. Its easy to see why the movie has built up a cult following and its a movie that for me never fails to make me smile and want to shake a tail feather.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


It doesn’t suit you.

One of my favourite shows to watch is Don’t Tell The Bride. It’s kinda trashy TV, but the central premise is gold- a groom is given £12k and three weeks to arrange his wedding, with his wife being kept in the dark until the big day- he picks the venue, theme, food, dress, everything.

dttb

It’s genius reality TV- it’s got drama (will he pull it off?), humour (a sarky voice over and inept grooms), schadenfreude (the brides worrying and the grooms dealing with mishaps) and a key central story, in that you want the groom to pull it off to silence his doubters and please the woman he loves.

What I find interesting about the show is it highlights this weird hype around weddings that’s grown up. I get that a wedding is a big deal, but it always seems to me that for some of the brides it’s more about the day and how they look, it’s about “their special day”, when really a wedding isn’t an event, it’s the beginning of an event, a marriage. Getting hung up on the wedding is like caring more about the Olympic opening ceremony more than any of the events that follow, and as good as Danny Boyle’s extravaganza was, it’s Usain Bolt blazing down the track that I’m going to remember.

I’m not a religious man, and so for me it doesn’t really matter where I get married, if I do. I don’t need a church because I’m not getting married under the eyes of a god, I mean, I want somewhere nice for my friends and family to be, but I’m not fussy.

Anyway, it’s about time I reached a point.

One of the things I find one-sided in the marriage world is the suits. A bride picks her dress by herself, with many still holding to the old superstition that it’s bad luck for the groom to see her in the dress before the ceremony.

But, the bride gets a say in the groom’s suit- the colour, the cut, whatever. And that doesn’t seem fair.

Watching the show a couple of weeks back I commented to a female friend that if I was one of the grooms I wouldn’t wear a suit. This went over like a lead balloon, and I had a similar discussion this morning I was told that I’d be lucky if I could find a woman who’d be okay with that.

But why?

Here’s the thing, I hate suits. Hell, I hate most “smart” clothing.

When I left comp one of the first things I did was happily throw out my school tie. Ties are one of the most pointless and irritating items of clothing ever made. They serve no purpose and always make me feel kinda choked, the only plus point they have is that you can tie them around your head, Rambo-style.

Sixteen year old Chris made a vow to the moon and stars that he’d never work a job that required him to wear a tie. And 13 years later, I’ve kept that vow.

Sure, I’ve worn ties over the years, to occasions where they’ve been called for- end of year balls, funerals and weddings- but I’ve ditched them as soon as was acceptable. In less than a fortnight I’m going to be a groomsman at the wedding of one of my best friends, and as such, I’m wearing a suit. It’s someone else’s day, and it’s what they’ve decided to do, so I’m not going to be a dick and refuse to wear one. His day, his rules.

But my day? I’m not wearing a suit.

I’ve mentioned this to my mum once, and she told me my uncle used to say he’d get married in jeans, but in the end was in a suit, and that I’ll fall back the same way. Well, sod that, he may have changed his mind, but the gentleman is not for turning.

I feel uncomfortable in a suit. The tie chokes me, and I feel like a numpty, a fraud. I’m not a suit dude, fashion is not my strong point.

A lot of girls say they like a man in a suit. By that they mean, they like Daniel Craig in a suit.

skyfall

I’m not fool enough to think I look like James Bond when I don a suit. I look like the doorman at a working men’s club, or just a fat bloke in a suit.

The point is, a wedding is the couple’s day. The couple. Both players should be comfortable and happy on the day. I wouldn’t insist my bride wear something she didn’t like or felt uncomfortable in, and I wouldn’t expect her to ask me to either.

I’d also hope that should I get hitched the future Mrs Page would know me well enough to get where I’m coming from. And also be relaxed enough to go along with it, in fact I’d like the whole wedding to be a small, low-key affair with a super relaxed dress code and atmosphere. She doesn’t even need to wear a fancy dress, just whatever she’s comfortable in.

And I’m not saying I’m gonna rock up in a KISS shirt, jeans and my knackered Reeboks, I’ll dress smart-casual, leaning more towards casual. A shirt and some nice trousers, or maybe rock up like the King in his Hawaiian era (without the lei, of course).

If it's good enough for the King, it's good enough for me

If it’s good enough for the King, it’s good enough for me

I’d even cater my Hawaiian shirt towards the wedding’s colour scheme.

I just feel that if I’m comfortable I’ll be in a better mood, look more relaxed in the photos and enjoy the occasion more. And happy groom, happy room.

I’ve argued this with my flatmates and been told it’s traditional to wear a suit. Yeah, but you don’t have to blindly follow tradition.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


First the worst

The decline of the English Defence League and British National Party were cause for celebration, as the two hate fueled organizations slipped away, but unfortunately the root of this weed was not stopped or cured, and a fresh organization has arrived- Britain First.

The politics of intolerance, bigotry and hate are all there, but what sets Britain First apart is that they are surprisingly smart at insidiously getting into the public conscience, using social networking cleverly. They post about animal abuse and support for the armed forces, when really they have no interest in these things. These are just what they use to lure in the compassionate to appear as though they have more followers than they do. To say that they speak for the British public, when actually many of those who like them are unaware of their true nature.

They hide the images of masked, paramilitary looking members from the Facebook page, because it doesn’t chime with how they want to appear.

Top political tip- if you need to wear a mask, you might not be one of the good guys.

Top political tip- if you need to wear a mask, you might not be one of the good guys.

Today I read about them taking part in actions which I hope will draw censure from some of those who have been duped into “liking” them. A small gang of their members, dubbing themselves the Kent Battalion, they stormed into a mosque in Crayford, East London.

They claimed to be there to make a stand for “women’s rights” and equality, arguing against the fact that the mosque had separate entrances for male and female worshipers. This is standard Islamic practice, with segregated worship, and also happens at Orthodox synagogues and Sikh gurdwaras, apparently. But like I said, Britain First are pretty smart for a bunch of racist douchebags, and know that storming into a synagogue will play a lot worse.

Also, they’re part of the depressing trend of Islamophobia, where they seize on individuals such as Lee Rigby’s killers to stir up hatred and mistrust of a whole religion.

It’s loathsome stuff and the image of their members marching into a place of worship where they hector and intimidate an elderly Muslim is disgusting to watch. They lay into him about Britain’s history of equality and women’s rights, but it’s all bluster and posturing. Britain First don’t give a crap about women’s rights, if they were why aren’t they campaigning against slut shaming, rape culture and the wage gap between the genders?

They want to look like the big heroes riding in to save the day, but despite bombastic music there’s no heroism here, there’s just bullying and thinly veiled history. The Muslim asks them to take their shoes off, which they refuse to do spouting off “when you respect women, we’ll respect your mosque”. Because apparently gender equality is a British value, but religious freedom isn’t?

Britain First are scum, this video shows them as the thuggish, moronic bullies they are. They will use this video to try and portray themselves as champions for equality when they are anything but, as they continue to try and stir racial tensions. A brief visit to their site in research for this post made for depressing reading and shows their true outlook. Islam is slandered repeatedly, accusing them of terrorism, sexual abuse and equating their food laws with extremism.

There have been Islamic grooming gangs, but are members of other similar gangs identified by their religion? Is that religion even relevant in all these stories? Britain First are the most open in this Islamophobia, but the mainstream press and their handling of some stories are equally to blame with the demonizing of Islam.

If you have “liked” them because of a story about one of “our boys” or some poor critter, please look further into the organization. This is not who they are, and if you have “liked” them you are endorsing their hatred and bigotry, unlike them and spread the word. This form of backdoor bigotry and duplicitous tactics are more of a threat than anything the thugs of the EDL could come up with.

no to hate

Story here.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Brazil 2014: Four Star

Mario Gotze fires home to win the match for Germany

It ended with a bang.

Extra time wound down and the cruel, tense resolution of penalties seemed likely. A shame that after a match as entertaining as this that luck should decide the victor.

Thankfully, one last moment of skill remained.

Mario Gotze stepped forward to claim his place in footballing history. Taking the ball on his chest he controlled it beautifully before banging it into the net for a belter of a goal.

It was a goal worthy of winning a World Cup and one Germany thoroughly deserved.

Going in they had been the favourites, the most consistent team in the tournament, and while the Argentinians would make more of a game of it than the lacklustre Brazilians in the semi, I still felt Germany would emerge comfortable winners.

But the Argentinians made them work hard for it, defending marvelously, succeeding in stopping the Germans’ fast passing, well oiled machine from hitting high gear. Even better they struck on the counter, challenging the German defence more than any team I’d seen in Brazil.

Argentina could, should have led through Gonzalo Higuain, but he pulled a glorious opportunity wide. It was not to be his night as later he would celebrate a goal that wasn’t, having been caught offside.

The first half was high tempo stuff, and while it slackened in the second, it remained a captivating contest.

Germany looked to its team to pull them through, Klosse, Muller, Schweinsteiger, they had a team of talented individuals all capable of turning the tide in their favour. In the back the sensational Manuel Neuer continued to impress between the posts, and his defence, particularly Boateng impressed.

Argentina have talent to spare too, but the hype and expectation appeared to focus on one man, the man in the number 10 shirt. Lionel Messi.

Despite the club triumphs, the individual honours and even an Olympic gold, Messi still lives in the shadow of Argentina’s legendary 10 Diego Maradona.

For many this final was his opportunity to step out of this and claim his place as a national hero.

It seemed no one was more aware of this than the man himself. Pressure appeared to neuter him, and for long stretches he was anonymous on the field.

When he did take centre stage he was hampered by the German defence and his best moment hinted that the quest to become a legend was on his mind.

Getting the ball at the edge of the box he cut back and inside, beating one, two defenders. With options around he opted instead to go for goal, firing in a strike which never really troubled Neuer. A pass would have been the better option and the fact he selfishly went for goal suggests that his mind was focused on his own legacy.

It appears strange that even for a player as lauded and successful as Messi that this would hamper his game.

Was this his last chance? He may play at another tournament, but he’ll be 31 then, and unlikely to be the deciding factor in the Argentinian campaign.

A pity that he still feels the need to prove himself, when he is already one of the sport’s greats. One final shot presented itself in the dying minutes after Schweinsteiger gave away a free kick at the edge of the area, but unfortunately Messi’s attempt was over hit and more likely to trouble those in row F than the keeper.

Germany held on and sealed their fourth World Cup victory, and finally realizing their potential after years of developing and building their squad. The outpouring of joy was charming to behold, although yet again far too much time was wasted before the defeated team could leave. There must be a quicker way to hand out the runner up medals, because after at least 90 minutes that have led to defeat, they probably don’t want to be in the glare of the spotlight.

It took me a while to get into this tournament, and there were lots of off the field controversies that threatened to sour it, but in the end it emerged as a fantastically successful tournament which displayed the world’s best players and provided some classic moments and matches.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Not to be, a dejected Messi


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,717 other followers