Do Not Touch The Celebrities

For us regular Joes encounters with celebrities can be a bit overwhelming. We’re used to seeing these people on screen or stage, so for these larger than life to be in Tesco or whatever is a bit of a shock.

Reality TV has changed the nature of celebrity and opened up what was an exclusive club to a wider group but TOWIE, Teen Moms and Big Brother housemates aside most celebs exist on an elevated platform and can be viewed as modern day royalty or the subject of almost religious devotion and idolisation.

I think this is why people can be idiots around celebrities. In my limited interactions with celebrities I’ve managed to keep my head although I do regret bothering Stewart Lee in a Swansea comic shop.

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You can feel the awkwardness

But others seem to not manage this, and I’ve read about two celebrities who have had fans cross the line of manners and personal space.

First up is Norman Reedus who plays crossbow wielding badass Daryl in The Walking Dead. During a photo op at a TWD convention (I must now begin begging MWF to go to one), Reedus was posing with a female fan who admits she “lost her mind”. Turning she bit the actor on the chest and was tossed out of the convention.

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Reedus was naturally freaked out, but seems to have taken it well and won’t press charges, although may be more defensive if/when he poses with a fan again.

The second celebrity to have fans cross a line is Amber Rose, who stated in an interview that she is regularly groped by fans who seem not to realise that’s not cool.

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Rose

Rose said that she thinks people think it’s okay because she’s quite “cool” with fans and takes photos with them. Of course, a photo isn’t permission to cop a feel, and it’s worrying that it even needs to be stated.

Rose’s admission prompted a predictably dimwitted response as people attempted to blame her clothing, as if she has nobody to blame but herself for showing a little bit of skin. I hope these people don’t go to beaches or they’ll probably end up in jail, as they seem to think it’s fine to grab on someone.

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Skimpy clothing is not an invitation, or permission to get busy hands. It’s just what a woman has chosen to wear. Similarly because of Rose’s job as a model and stripper, people think it’s fine. Nope, regardless of job a woman’s body is her own and you don’t touch her without her being okay with it.

I just think folks need to remember that celebrities are still people and that just because they’re in the public eye doesn’t make them public property. Maybe there should be a celebrities commandments or something:

1. Thou shalt not touch without permission.

2. Thou shalt be polite.

3. Thou shalt not take a photo without asking. For it be Creepy.

4. If a celeb is eating, leave them alone.

5. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

6. They may not be massively cheerful or friendly, but remember you are a stranger to them and they have their own stuff going on.

7. Even if they make their living getting naked you still don’t get to touch without them saying it’s okay.

8. Make sure you have the right celebrity.

9. As always, don’t be a d**k.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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A tip? Don’t be rude!: Wahaca, Cardiff

Tipping is a contentious issue, and attitudes about it vary. My own attitude is that if the service is very good I’ll tip. I think that’s the best way for it to work, with the customer deciding what to give and when.
Adding a service charge to a bill is a no-no for me. It feels presumptuous, and means that the staff, regardless of their performance get the same thing. A tip is like a bonus, and should be earned by doing your job well, or at least that’s my opinion.
It’s even worse if the service hasn’t been that great.
Which brings us to Wahaca in Cardiff.

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Yesterday MWF and I went there with some mates as an engagement celebration. It being a Bank Holiday Sunday, town was rather busy and the drive from Barry to Cardiff took the best part of an hour (it normally takes around 25 minutes).
Add onto this trying to find a spot in St David’s and MWF and I were running late. My friends, coming from Swansea were also late. The only one of us to make it on time was my friend Rhodri.
MWF and I arrived for our 1PM reservation at just after quarter past, it was here that we encountered an incredibly rude manager.
I’d barely given my name before she started in, giving us grief about the fact we’d booked for one. I explained that traffic was terrible at which point, I’d have considered the matter closed.
But instead she started going on about the fact they’d tried calling me and that “normally we give away the reservation if you’re not here within 15 minutes”.
Hang on, wasn’t one of us already here anyway?
“Yes, but he only just arrived.”
First of all, this wasn’t the case as he’d been there a while. And even if he had “just arrived” it would have been before the fifteen minute mark. So what was the woman’s problem?
It was a pretty hostile response to walk into and her whole manner was rude, abrasive and acting as if we were causing a major inconvenience.
I get we were late, which might have been annoying but it was a booking for 8 people, so surely they stood more to gain by waiting for us than cancelling our table. Especially as the place was only about half full.
Now, part of me wishes right there that I’d just said “You know what, we are late. I’m sorry and we’ll take our business elsewhere.”
I mean, sure we were late but there was no need to give us grief for it, especially as we’d been apologetic. I had been to the restaurant before, but for MWF this woman was the first impression she got of the place. And it wasn’t a good one.
It left a nasty taste in the mouth (unlike the food, which I dug) and although our waitress, Magda, and the other servers were quick, polite and friendly, the manager’s rudeness is what I’ll remember most about the trip.
So, at the end of the meal when around £14 was added as a service charge we crossed it off and tipped about a fiver. This felt fair, the service was alright but the manager lady was part of the staff and service and that made us unwilling to cough up the service charge.
While I enjoyed both my visits to Wahaca in terms of the food and the service, I don’t think I’ll be making a third trip.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Annoying cinema idiots: I blame the parents. And the kids.

Today MWG and I went to see Jurassic World (review to follow), and while the new Premiere cinema is quite nice (reclining seats!) and the movie ticked a lot of boxes the whole experience was slightly ruined by other members of the audience.
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Before the movie started a woman entered with three young children. And I mean very young, under 7s. What the hell is she thinking? I said to  myself. Those kids are way too young for this flick. I know it’s a 12A and they have an adult with them, but exercise some common sense!
Luckily, aside from one incident where one of the nippers needed a break from the dino-carnage, not a peep was heard from them.
Of course, it might just have been drowned out by the obnoxious kids seated around me.
A group of boys aged between 10 and 13 were sitting, split in two, half in the back row over my right shoulder and three right in front of MWG and I.
I don’t want to go on a “kids today…” rant because these pint sized prats might just be exceptions, but my gods they were infuriating.
The ones in the back row were just loud. I get making the odd, hushed comment to a friend, but they were jabbering away and laughing, making stupid jokes and generally being annoying.
I shot them a glare, but was forced to actually tell them to shut up after a while. Luckily MWG went and had a word with the staff and they were dragged out for a warning, returning sheepishly and they were relatively quiet after this.
The ones in front of us, however, were insufferable brats from beginning to end. They jabbered a bit, but their major problem was the fact that they began tossing popcorn at each other, which they found hilarious.
It annoyed me immensely because (a) it was distracting (b) it was childish and their dimwitted enjoyment grated and (c) some poor cinema employee was going to have to pick up after them.
The popcorn throwing intensified near the end of the movie, and I managed to restrain myself from telling them to pack it in.
All I needed was to see was someone using their phone and I’d have won annoying audience bingo.
I thought back to my teenage cinema visits. My friends and I would make little gags to each other, but we weren’t loud enough to disturb anyone else.
And yes we occasionally left a mess, but always as a result of clumsiness, not acting like we were at a chimp’s tea party.
What the hell is wrong with people? Why would they think it was acceptable, didn’t they think about the poor schmo who has to clean up later?
Have they never been to the cinema before? Or if they have what the hell were their parents doing?
I loved going to the cinema as a kid, but my sisters and I knew the basic rules- stay seated, don’t make a mess and be quiet, because other people were trying to watch the film. All of us grasped this concept, so why do others not?
I think it boils down to parents not bothering. I went to a film once where a little boy ran around for much of the film, which was really annoying, and his parents did sod all to so sort it.
As a parent you’re responsible for teaching your kid how to behave in different situations, and the cinema is different from watching a film in your house because it’s not your house and there are other people there.
I swear when I have kids I’m bringing them up to follow the cinema code of conduct created by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, reprinted below.
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Yes, they’ll know how to behave and if they don’t, well, they’ll be dragged out of screenings early.
Seriously, parents teach your kids how to behave. When the act up, tell them off, because it’s not my job to tell your kids to shut the hell up half way through a film.
And kids, don’t throw popcorn in the cinema, it’s not funny, it makes more work for someone and it makes everyone think you’re an idiot who shouldn’t be going to the cinema unless Mummy’s there with you. Basically, in the cinema, like everywhere else remember these words of wisodm- don’t be a d**k.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


No apologies

I love Elton John, but he’s wrong, “sorry” isn’t the hardest word. The hardest word is “Tetaumatawhakatangihangakoauaotamateaurehaeaturipukapihimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuaakitanarahu” which is the longest place name in the world (sorry, LlanfairPG).
I say sorry a lot. Sometimes because I’ve cocked up, been wrong or bumped into someone, but sometimes for no reason. Well, other than being British and having manners. We Brits apologise in lots of different situations, many when we’re not in the wrong. Most of the time we don’t even know we’re doing it, it’s like Tourrete’s or something.
Of course, it is useful, it smooths the waters as David Mitchell explained:

Life goes much more smoothly when everyone’s saying sorry. It’s the second most important social lubricant and, unlike the first, it doesn’t damage your liver. Particularly in large conurbations, saying sorry is the best verbal accompaniment to thousands of situations

Now, normally I’m with Mitchell on this, but today I used an apology when there was absolutely no need to, and had to address it.
I was about to kick off in FIFA (Bristol Rovers now in League 1) when my phone rang, I answered it quickly to avoid waking MWG, who was snoring away next to me.
“Hello?”
“Is this Mr Page?” Came the response, in a heavy Scouse accent.
“Speaking.”
“This is Cilla from SCAM Associates” (names changed to protect the innocent and my rear end) “I’m calling you today in regards to your recent road accident.”
Now, I could have slammed the phone down then, but having worked in call centres I always do my best to be polite with the folks on the other end of the line.
“I’m sorry, but I think you have the wrong person. I’ve not been in an accident.”
Here I apologised for something that wasn’t my fault, but it was a standard polite apology.
“Nothing at all in the last two years?” Cilla fished.
“No, sorry I’ve not had any accidents in the last year, or ever.”
Wait a minute did I just apologise for not being in a car accident. What the hell?!
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Now I am sorry that Cilla had wasted her time, that their records gave an error (or that they have to fish for customers) and that I can’t give her any business, but am I really so sorry for it that I need to apologise for not being in a car accident?
Britishness be damned, I had to retract this needless apology.
“Actually, I’m not sorry about that!” I said breezily, laughing at my own stupid turn of phrase.
Cilla laughed lightly too.
“That’s okay. Not a problem.”
And then she hung up.
So, I apologised for her error and my accident free record, but she didn’t even apologise for bothering me.
Charming.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


The only necessary thing for evil to triumph…

One of my resolutions this year was to be a nicer person, and I think so far in 2015 I’m doing pretty good, I’m trying to be more patient and polite, and I’ve done a few minor acts of kindness. Yesterday, however, I dropped the ball.

I was on a bus, and it had pulled in at a stop. I was sitting towards the back of the bus listening to the Answer Me This podcast through the giant headphones MWG kindly bought me for Christmas.

Helen and Olly, the hosts of Answer Me This, which is well worth checking out

Helen and Olly, the hosts of Answer Me This, which is well worth checking out

I noticed a woman running along side the bus towards the front, squeezing between the bus and the bus stop, which I thought was a bit dangerous. The driver had started the engine, but we were still stationary.

The woman banged on one of the windows to get the driver’s attention so he didn’t drive off.

I said nothing. As I said, the bus wasn’t moving and I figured she was close enough to get to the door in time.

But then the bus pulled out and the woman threw her hands up in the traditional “Oh, come on!” gesture. I clearly saw her face as the bus went by her, she looked annoyed and kinda upset. Running for a bus and missing it is the kind of thing that can ruin your whole day.

Not just because you end up late but you’re annoyed at the bus driver, and you know that folks saw you run for the bus, which is kinda embarrassing.

I felt like a total heel for the entire rest of my journey. It didn’t matter that I was actually on the bus to go and do something good, I still felt bad for not just yelling out to the driver “Hang on a minute, drive!”

That’s no guarantee he would have waited, bus drivers can, in my experience, be proper douches, but I should have tried.

I still feel a little guilty, I should have just done it, but I sat there and as a result she missed her bus. I had a chance to step up and do the right thing, even in a minor way, and I blew it, and that’s not a nice feeling to have to deal with.

I hope the lady got where she needed to be, and it didn’t jam up her whole day. I guess I still have a way to go in my quest to be a better person.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Yule Log-In

I was on the Huffington Post page today, checking in on the news and at the top of the page was an advert for Amazon’s Boxing Day sale. This is common enough, and I quite like the January sales, you have Christmas money to burn and there’s always one item from your wishlist that Santa forgets about, so you can treat yourself.

The problem was that the advert announced when the sale began, and, well, see below-

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December the 25th is not Boxing Day, that my friends is still very much Christmas Day. And while I might not be the most devout follower of Jesus, there’s something a little depressing about the sale kicking off at 4PM on the actual day.

I get that my Christmas doesn’t reflect everyone else’s. There are plenty of folks who don’t celebrate it at all (I hope any Jewish readers had a good Hanukkah last week) or spend it alone, and my idea of Christmas, as a time spent with the family isn’t everyone’s experience of the holiday, but that’s the point of view I’m coming from and as this is my blog, that’s the view I’ll be writing from.

Why kick it off at 4PM on Christmas day? The day ain’t even close to over, you’re probably slumped on the sofa, in danger of slipping into a food coma after gorging yourself on Quality Street and a roast dinner, helped along by a couple of cans. You’re waiting for the Christmas specials to start and watching some old movie for the 100th time to pass the time.

There’s a bit of chat between your family and in the Page house we’ll probably open another present (my Mum staggers our gifts over a few days, which I think is a solid idea and far better than just one massive present blow out first thing on Christmas Day). Even if we’re all just sat silently we’re still doing it as a family.

I might have a quick glance at Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook on my phone, but whipping out my laptop and going on a spending spree at that point wouldn’t even cross my mind, the thought of it just seems crass and rude.

Spend time with your family, the deals are still going to be there the next day.

Just have one day to chill out, take it easy and slob out.

Besides, you just got a heap of presents, don’t be a greedy bastard.

Have another Quality Street, sorry, only the fingers and pennies are left, get comfortable, watch Miranda, Doctor Who etc. and listen to your relatives tell the same stories and jokes again. It’s Christmas, you can go one day without shopping.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Gig Review: A Day To Remember at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

It’s always a little awkward going to a gig of a band you’re not really a fan of. I’ve done it a couple of times (Slayer, Haduken, Gallows) but in those cases I’ve heard a fair amount of their stuff, dug it and done pre-gig listening. With A Day To Remember it was different, I’d only heard a handful of songs, none of which had wowed me and my pre-gig listening on Spotify was brief, and it wasn’t long before I returned to artists I’m into (Bee Gees, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley, Goldie Lookin Chain).

So why was I going? Well, ADTR are MWG’s favourite band. She’s had the tickets since before we were dating and needed to use the spare. I agreed to go with her.

To be fair, ADTR put on a decent show with some smoke, confetti, a T-shirt cannon and the lead singer crowdsurfing in a giant inflatable ball. They were better than the support and their fast paced rock is great for some bouncing around and head banging, and they blew the crowd away (MWG loved it). They were a good live band, but a bit screamy for my tastes.

This appears to be something he does at lots of gigs, still cool though

This appears to be something he does at lots of gigs, still cool though

But when you don’t really know the songs all you can really do is bop a bit, applaud and people watch.

There was a young girl with an older woman and debate raged over whether they were mother and daughter. There was a loved up couple who snogged for most of the concert, a heavily pregnant woman and a disinterested girl, although I couldn’t figure if her boredom was real or created to appear cool, her aloofness meant to signify she was above the crowd’s simple joy. Either way I wondered why she was there.

People watching made me feel old, I gave myself points for the bands I recognized from shirts (ADTR shirts, which were ubiquitous weren’t counted) and emerged with a dismal 5, all of which were older acts (Guns N Roses, Nirvana, The Misfits, KISS and Pantera).

I was astonished by a girl who looked about fourteen but boasted a wolf’s head tattoo (a Twilight inspired piece, apparently) and watched gig habits very different from my early ones.

The first of these was the filming of the gig on mobile phones, and several were held aloft for much of the concert. Now I’ve snapped off a few shots at gigs in my time, like the photographic masterpiece below, but these people were taking snap after snap, or filming.

Hayseed Dixie at Download '07

Hayseed Dixie at Download ’07

For entire songs they’d hold their cameras up, staring at a tiny screen rather than just enjoying the experience. Gods, I sound old.

But in all seriousness, why video the whole thing on your shaky camera, when you can watch the concert properly and jump about a bit. Surely that’s more fun that distancing yourself from the action by gazing intently at a screen. Sure you’ll have the footage to look back on, but the footage won’t be Oscar worthy and wouldn’t you rather be one of the muppets jumping around and having a laugh as opposed to a low rent cameraman.

It’s also annoying because instead of watching the band you’re watching a mini version on somebody’s iPhone, and it’s blocking your view. Take a pic or a snapchat video and then put the phone down, you inconsiderate douches. Anybody who drops their phone while videoing a concert for more than 30 seconds has it coming.

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Also annoying, and something I’d previously only seen at festivals, was girls being raised onto the shoulders of their boyfriend (I assume it’s a partner). At a festival it’s a pain, but kinda understandable due to the distance from the stage and sheer numbers, but indoors at the Motorpoint in Cardiff? Don’t be a dick, ladies.

If a homunculus like MWG can work out she has to find a position where she can see, then others should too. If you can’t see think of the poor sods behind you who now have to stare at the back of some girl as she obscures their view. At Download they get pelted with (if their lucky) empty cups or get picked out by the cameras and flash, which appeases the crowd a bit, but here there was nothing people could do, aside from glare and pray for telekinetic powers, or, as I did, dream of hitting the Doomsday Device on them.

What a rush!

What a rush!

I realize that for a gig review this has mainly been about other stuff, apologies.

Verdict: Not really my bag, but ADTR gave their fans what they wanted. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Cinime, not for me.

You’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk in the theatre– Shepherd Book, Firefly, “Our Mrs Reynolds”.

On my last couple of visits to the cinema I’ve been annoyed by adverts for the Cinime app. The idea is that you switch your phone on before the movie and answer questions or something to win prizes.

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Why it annoys me is that there are a lot of rude folks out there who continue to use their phones in the cinema and while every cinema posts those “turn your phone off” ads at the end it’s not helping. Its already giving the impression that using the phone in the cinema is acceptable.

Which it isn’t.

I’d hope that most people realize that talking on your phone in the cinema is a no-no. In my 29 years I can only recall two people actually answering the phone in the cinema. One had the decency to haul ass to the exit and whispered furiously, but the other just started chatting until the rest of the audience started telling him, with decreasing politeness to shut up and/or get out.

But it’s not just talking on your phone, it’s people texting/googling/social networking/playing on their phones. Sure it’s not noisy but a massive white light in front of you is distracting and just rude. You’re in the cinema to watch a film, and there are others there, it’s not your house so part of going to the cinema is accepting that for two hours or whatever you’re incommunicado. If you really have to keep the lines open because of impending emergency or news (pregnant partner etc.) I suggest you forego the cinema and instead stay home and watch a DVD, where you using your phone doesn’t effect anybody else.

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The cinema app is a slippery slope in that it allows people to use their phone and there are enough inconsiderate jerks out there already. It will encourage folks to keep their phones on, or at least make using your phone in the cinema less of a taboo. Personally I think there should be massive “No phones beyond this point” signs at the entrance to every screening room, and ushers to turf out rule breakers. If you use your phone you’re clearly not watching the movie so you should be thrown out for ruining the experience for those who actually want to watch the big screen, not a little one.

For those who need help on how to behave in the cinema, Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo came up with some handy rules on their movie review radio show. Here it is, and why not share it with anyone who needs a reminder on cinema etiquette.

code of conduct

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Everyone’s a stranger until you give them a chance, man

It’s probably because I watched too many sitcoms and romantic comedies but I’ve always been slightly disappointed that you don’t often strike up conversation with a random stranger, at least I don’t, unless I’ve got a few pints in me, at which point I’ll have a chinwag with pretty much anyone.

But sober I’m very British about it, and avoid conversing with pretty much everyone. I will quite happily sit in Costa or a pub and get my Kindle out, or pretend to text people while waiting for someone. Anything rather than make eye contact with anyone else.

That being said, I found it quite charming that a bar in Mumbai has started a new “Share Your Table” scheme to encourage socializing and stop everyone phubbing each other.

Phubbing bothers me, it might be that I’m getting old and not in touch with how the kids do things, or maybe just owning a rubbish phone means I don’t engage in it as much as other people do, but I don’t get it.

phubbing

If I get a text, I’ll glance to see who it’s from but I’ll wait until they go to the bar to check it and respond. Otherwise it just feels rude.

I’ve seen folks sitting at tables with them all texting and looking at their phone, it would drive me mad. When I’m with my mates we just chat away, usually talking bollocks, but that’s what you do isn’t it?

Anyway, the idea is simple, if you’re sat on your tod and fancy having a chat you flip this little flag up to signal that you’re open for people to approach and join you at your table. And then someone else can wander over, ask if they can join you and away you go, making a new friend. Or an acquaintance at least.

sharing

I like the idea, the flags mean that the person approaching doesn’t feel like they’re intruding and anyone who wants to sit there in isolation can continue to do so.

Pretty neat. But I’m not sure it’d work over here in Britain, I think we quite like being on our own. But still, it’d be nice to have the option.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Manners don’t cost anything

I like to think I’m a pretty well mannered bloke, I mean, it’s not like I just stepped out of an Austen novel or anything but I try to mind my Ps and Qs (an expression I’ve never fully understood, “P” I assume is “please” but where the hell did “Q” come from?).

I do find myself getting annoyed with people’s bad manners, for example not saying “thank you” when a door is held open or when the contestants on Countdown don’t say “please” when asking Rachel Riley for letters (too be fair, they almost always do for the first one but then don’t for the rest).

countdown

This love of manners means that I was rather happy with a story I read about a cafe that’s started charging extra if you ask for your coffee in a rude way.

cafe sign

(Basically, it’s 7 euros if you say “one coffee”, 4.25 if you say “please” and only 1.40 if you say “hello” and “please” with your order)

Breaking all stereotypes of the rude Frenchmen the cafe is located in Nice. The owner apparently started it as a gag, only for customers to soon fall in line, and he reports that he hasn’t had to charge anyone full whack yet, which is nice (no pun intended).

It’s a cool idea and should make people think, we constantly have people bleating on about bad service, but are we, the customers, any better and what does it cost you to just say a quick “hello” and remember to add a “please” on the end of your order. Nothing. So, yeah, I quite like the idea of a rudeness tax.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.