Every Saturday some of the market stalls go outside and walking down St Mary’s Street treats you to a mixed bag of vintage artefacts, battered paperbacks and general tat.
This weekend there was a stall selling random old photos, another which tempted me with old Now albums and a third which sold old badges, which I treated myself to a couple (see above).
There were also vintage clothes stalls, but they don’t really interest me. Clothes shopping is, for me, the worst kind of shopping, outside of looking for tombstones for loved ones. I hate trying things on and its mind numbingly dull, gods bless the internet, I say. What’s worse is vintage clothes shopping, because while old fashioned clothes can look cool (Hawaiian shirts, old gig tees and military jackets), people tended to be thinner back then so they don’t have fat man sizes.
The problem was that the vintage clothes stalls had prompted what was possibly the most pathetic protest of all time.
Featuring a solitary banner waver and a man dressed as a fox, it was a protest against fur.
The minimal presence was one thing, but also the target and manner of the protest were uninspired. They were going after vintage clothes stalls. The animals who’s unwillingly donated their pelts would have died by now anyway, and if you’re going against the fur trade shouldn’t you be targeting the future trade?
Campaign against fur farms or the importing of these things. Boycott and pester companies who use fur until they change their ways. Encourage fashion weeks to not allow fur on their catwalks.
I’m against fur, which I admit is hypocritical as I have owned leather goods, but I think I’m okay with that because we eat cows, so its more of a sin to waste their skins after slaughter, or at least that’s my view.
The only time I’d wear fur is if I’d slain the beast myself, like Hercules and the lion.
The thing is, while I admire their cause and their commitment, I found that these two were (a) targeting the wrong people and (b) not drawing attention to the cause in any noticeable way.
We’ve had high profile anti-fur campaigns with big names like Pam Anderson, Khloé Kardashian and others, so the cause is out there, in the public eye.
Perhaps these two would have been better off sticking up a few flyers, or writing letters, because they seemed to be having little effect. They weren’t going to save any animals’ lives and as I saw a woman leave in a new animal-based coat, they weren’t stopping these old clothes being passed on. And surely an old fur rotting in a cupboard is worse that it being used, its not what animal should die for, but as they have isn’t it more wasteful to just leave those coats to gather dust?
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO
I’ve never understood people who camp out waiting for stuff.
I remember first seeing it way back in ’99 when Episode I came out, and not really understanding it. I was eagerly looking forward to checking out The Phantom Menace but I couldn’t imagine sitting out on the pavement for it, even if it did look kinda fun, with the fans sitting around, dressed up and having a laugh with each other.
Over the year there have been more things where I’ve watched people queuing up for stuff and while some did look rather fun (the Harry Potter fans seemed to be having a whale of a time) others just looked pathetic.
I don’t care what it is- a sale, a new book, computer game, phone or movie, I just can’t see why I’d get so hyped up that I’d sit around all night and then storm towards the door like someone was handing out the secret to eternal life.
I guess it’s because I don’t feel that need to be first. Sure, dodging spoilers is a drag, but so what if you find out early that character A dies or B and C get together. Unless it’s a major plot twist does it really effect your enjoyment?
The tech stuff looks like even more of a waste of time, and seems an exercise in “Look at me!” posturing.
Oh, you’ve got the new iPhone before everyone else? Whoop-de-f**king-doo!
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>These guys have set up camp in London's Regents St so they can buy the new iPhone 5s….it's not out til Friday!! <a href=”http://t.co/71mhxvMQcV”>pic.twitter.com/71mhxvMQcV</a></p>— sophieraworth (@sophieraworth) <a href=”https://twitter.com/sophieraworth/statuses/379956851586400257″>September 17, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Any cool points your phone might earn you (and personally I don’t think it’ll be many) is surely undercut by the fact that you spent hours or even days outside waiting for a phone which will only be cutting edge for what, a year? Eighteen months? Surely you must have better things to do with your time (you do, and I shouldn’t call you Shirley).
When it comes to tech I usually buy mine after I’ve heard from people who own them, otherwise you might end up with something that doesn’t work. Give me something that works over something new and flash any day.
Also, the people who go for them tend to be smug, hipster types or what a friend of mine called “iDiots”. You see them on news items or YouTube vids prancing around like they’ve won the World Cup or something when all they did was PAY for something. In fact, they bought them on day one so they probably paid more than Johnny-come-lately who rocks up a few months down the line. That’s the guy who should be celebrating.
I really dug the Somersby Cider advert that spoofed the phenomenon.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
On the other side of the pond Americans are gearing up for Mother’s Day.
This is a bit annoying because on seeing a slew of Mother’s Day articles online I found myself panicking, partly because I hadn’t got the Luckiest Mother In The World anything yet and also because I thought I was cracking up. I’m fairly sure that we’d already had this holiday this year.
It turns out the Yanks celebrate theirs at a different time. Here in the UK the date fluctuates but it’s connected to a Christian tradition and the real name is Mothering Sunday (something that LMITW, a strong Christian always gets slightly irked by in the run-up), whereas in the US it seems to be later, and was just made up by a woman in 1914 as tribute to her dead mother, but was then taken over and turned into the commercialized guilt fest it appears to be today.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mum. But for my money, and it is, I always feel that Father’s Day is slightly ignored in comparison. There are countless ads where they push the “show your Mum what she means to you” vibe and there’s a general impression that on the other 364 days mothers are one of societies most unappreciated sections. Which is bollocks. I’m sure there are countless twats out there who don’t appreciate their mothers, but as a group, mothers are on pretty solid ground. I just think it’s Dads who are slightly ignored, and this is only partly because one day I might qualify in this group.
Anyway, it’s a goldmine as kids shell out to show that they’re not utter bastards and love the woman who brought them into the world and/or raised them. Florists, chocolate companies, restaurants and greeting card makers probably make a killing. And there are a wealth of special deals for the occasion.
Earlier this year in Manchester I saw a deal whereby anyone over the age of 70 who brought their Mum in on Mother’s Day, sorry, Mothering Sunday, would get a free pint, a deal that they probably wouldn’t lose much on.
Another deal where the company won’t make a big loss comes from America, but will lose out because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to “treat” their mother in this way.
The deal comes courtesy of Hooters, the chain of bars staffed by gorgeous women in a hot pants and vest combination.
I’ve visited the UK’s only branch in Nottingham and while it makes a good match day watering hole where you can get hot wings served to you by flirty, foxy young ladies it’s not somewhere I’d go with my Mum.
Firstly, it doesn’t scream class, and you’re essentially telling your mother that you appreciate her up to the value of $10.
Secondly, it’s going to be an uncomfortable experience as you try and talk to your mother over a plate of wings while fighting the urge to check out the girl in shorts who’s just walked by.
Hooters has it’s place in the world and serves a purpose, in that it’s a rather fun, blokey place to have a couple of pints. It is NOT somewhere to take your mother, especially not on Mother’s Day. Seriously, just dig a little deeper or cook for the lady yourself, and save Hooters for a pre-game drink with your mates.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
A few years ago the comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner did a show called Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned, where the duo would be riff on subjects provided by the audience.
It’s a nice idea, and from what I can remember worked rather well, creating spontaneity in the routines it produced and being quite entertaining to see them having to react quickly to unpredictable things.
It’s not really something that transfers to other mediums, well, perhaps music if you ask for requests, but a brave artist has decided to do a variation on the idea.
First things first, I don’t know much about art. I know a few of the big names (Monet, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Picasso) and there are a few paintings that I really love, but that’s about it, and modern art is almost a total mystery to me, so I’d never heard of Karen Finley, the artist responsible.
The exhibit is apparently an “interactive performance presentation” and has taken a bit of a more risque approach with Finley’s exhibit being entitled “Sext Me If You Can”, and based on a simple premise.
Customers book appointments where they come into a little room and send a sext (suggestive, sexual text messages) which Finley will then adapt into pieces of art. It’s an interesting idea, and I’d be rather curious to see the results, and I like the element of Finley setting herself something of a challenge.
That being said, it does weird me out a little.
Firstly, there’s the idea itself, which while interesting is rather awkward. Sexuality and desire is a very personal thing and sharing them with anyone is a little uncomfortable. I’ve been in relationships with people and whenever there’s the “turn ons” conversation I’m always a little wary of how the other person is going to react. And it’s not like I’m into anything particularly messed up.
But one man’s turn on is another man’s turn off, and also your sext is going to be filtered through someone else’s perspective. It might be a bit awkward for Finley herself, especially if she receives something she’s not comfortable with.
So, it’s awkward for all concerned.
The artwork produced will be produced live in the museum by Finley, then put on display for the rest of the exhibit and then given to the sexter. The cheapest option is a paper picture at the price of $200 (£128.50) with the larger option setting you back $500 (£321.25), that’s not exactly cheap, and when you get them home where are you going to hang it?
I mean, sure it’s art, but it’s not just some risque piece, but something a bit more personal, it’s like you’re putting your desires and fetishes on display for the world to see. It’d be like leaving your internet history lying around. You’d have to hide the picture in an attic like Dorian Grey or something.
And even that’s not fool proof, I mean, you want to remember your grandparents as the people who gave you Werther’s Originals or taught you how to fish, those memories might be tainted slightly by the discovery that Grampa liked shemales and light bondage.
It’s a nice idea, but I think maybe in trying to grab headlines and be risque Finley’s made a hash of it. Surely drawing completely random things of all types would have been a more interesting artistic experiment.
Or maybe that’s just me being a bit of a fuddy duddy and for the more flamboyant art types are perfectly comfortable with this kind of stuff.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
If you had your own clothing line, what would it be called?
BTN- Better Than Naked. I’m not really that into clothes, I’m pretty much a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, my only thing I kinda like is Hawaiian shirts, so I guess that’s what my clothing line would be- t-shirts and different Hawaiian shirt patterns.
You get to make a guest appearance on any TV show of your choice. What’ll it be?
I can’t act at all, but as I love crime shows I’ve always thought it’d be kinda cool to play one of the victims on a show like Bones, Castle or CSI. That or a walker on The Walking Dead.
If you ran away and joined the circus, what would your role be? Why?
I guess I could probably learn to be a clown, might even help me conquer my fear of them, but I’d quite like to just be one of the people who looks after the animals. That seems like it’d be kinda cool, hard work, but interesting and you’d get to make sure they were being treated alright.
That or learn to throw knives or something, that’d be pretty cool.
Does a messy home make you anxious or cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not a neat freak, and that my stuff tends to sprawl everywhere in a fairly messy fashion. The only time it makes me cranky is if I can’t find something I need, which makes me swear to be tidier in the future, but no change so far. I’m just fairly easy going about it, the only thing I will say is that I may be messy but I’m not dirty, I don’t leave dirty mugs or plates around the place, and always clean up food and junk.
Tell us about a sensation- a taste, a smell, a piece of music- that transports you back to your childhood.
Steam trains. No, I’m not that old, but I remember on a few different childhood holidays going on steam train rides and I loved them. I think it’s because I’d seen them in Thomas or westerns, but there’s something about old trains which always remind me of being a kid and make me happy. I think it’s because they’re quite slow moving and I remember that everyone stops and waves to a steam train. So, yeah, weirdly it’s steam engines that give me that kind of nostalgic buzz, they just seem like they belong to a more innocent, carefree time.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I watched Battleship the other day. It’s not great. I mean, it’s not the worst film ever made, and given I was on a night shift I needed something pretty simple to follow, but it’s riddled with flaws (Liam Neeson clearly just picking up the pay cheque, a protagonist who’s a total bell end, very cheesy scenes, not enough Rihanna, the fact it’s a blatant Transformers rip off but manages to fall short of even that level of skill).
Anyway, aside from all these flaws it had something that annoys me immensely. Blue camouflage gear.
When I was in my early teens there was a bit of a camo craze, and people started wearing camo a lot and this spun off into them creating new colours beyond the traditional jungle camouflage- there was a sandy, desert style. A greyish one meant for cities or if you were having a war in an old episode of Doctor Who. And then some daft ones like pink camo and blue.
The thing is, I always found it a bit daft, because while it might help a bit you’re still kind of noticeable, unless you’ve stuck mud and twigs all over yourself. And when you’re standing around on bases or trying to recruit in town centres it doesn’t work at all, you’re not blending in with the outside of JJB Sports, are you?
The camouflage trend went away, although according to the Google auto complete it’s coming back, as shown here by Carly Rae Jepsen.
At the time I assumed that the blue camouflage gear was just a daft fashion thing similar to the pink stuff, but according to Battleship it’s actually used by naval types (and Google again throws up some suggestion that it’s used in real life).
This is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a long while.
Here’s the thing, I’m no Admiral Nelson, so these are just my uninformed ideas on naval warfare, but wearing camouflage gear at sea just seems pointless- I mean, it doesn’t matter if you match the colour of the sea, you’re most likely going to be standing on a massive boat that they’ll be able to see anyway. Unless the idea is to confuse the enemy or to scare them into thinking it’s a ghost ship.
And if you do happen to be bobbing about in the water, surely the last thing you want to do is blend in with your surroundings. Finding someone in the sea is hard enough by all accounts, but dressing them in blue makes it like looking for a needle in a haystack after you’ve painted the needle yellow too.
You kind of want to stand out so you can get picked up. I’d rather be in the pink stuff. Hell, I’d want to look like I’d just left a rave.
Even if you were doing scuba diving to sneak up on someone, wouldn’t traditional black gear work just as well?
So, yeah, this is the kind of thing I think about on night shifts.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
I love facts. Pointless trivia, daft statistics and historical anecdotes, I can’t get enough. It’s why Qi is one of my favourite shows, and so I eagerly downloaded the book 1,227 Qi Facts to Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, it’s a fascinating read and already armed me with a ton of random things to tell people (see a selection below). It’s a nice book to dip in and out of when you can’t focus on a novel or something.
Anyway, the other day I read the following fact:
Only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful.
When I first read this fact my first thought was- You’ve got to be pretty damn self assured to describe yourself as beautiful. I mean, bordering on arrogance.
But then I thought about it some more.
Just 2% is actually rather sad.
I mean, there’s no more info provided, and it could be that a lot of women described themselves as “attractive” or “alright looking”, but still, the fact that only 2 view themselves as beautiful is really bad.
I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there may be a kind of humility involved in people’s answers or a fear of appearing conceited or big headed. But the fact that so few women consider themselves beautiful is pretty bad.
Here’s the thing- Think of 100 women you know personally. I guarantee that you’d probably consider far more than 2 of them beautiful. What we’re dealing with is that most of those women are feeling bad about themselves. And that’s just really sad.
I don’t know how men would answer the question of whether they’d describe themselves as handsome, but I kind of suspect it would be higher. While there is pressure on dudes to look a certain way, it’s nothing compared to the kind of crap women have to put up with. Tina Fey summed it up rather well:
Now, I’m not going to say something patronizing like that all women are beautiful, because well, I’d be lying. That might sound harsh but there are women I don’t find attractive, and beauty is subjective.
What we need to do is stop all the negativity which promotes all these feelings of inadequacy. The really important thing to do is to teach people that it doesn’t matter what others say and the important thing is to be comfortable within yourself. If you think there’s something you want to improve, then work at it, like I am with my weight, but don’t get down on yourself and consider yourself ugly.
I realize that it’s easy to write this, and changing our outlook is tougher. I totally get it. I’m a dude who regularly looks at myself in the mirror with a mix of revulsion and shame, and try as I might I can’t help drawing unflattering comparisons with the Channing Tatums and Ryan Reynoldses of the world.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop trying to think better of ourselves. I’ve lost some weight and feel better about myself than I used to (I’d now be more likely to describe myself as “unusual looking” than “fugly”), and I try not to dwell on my own flaws.
What we can definitely do is try our best not to contribute to anyone else’s insecurities. The old fashioned “if you can’t think of anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” idea is a good rule to follow, and remember that just because we might not like something doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just not our taste.
On the internet you can find a lot of pictures of women, and many allow you to make comments. I’ve commented or “liked” stuff in the past, usually on pictures I find particularly foxy, but I’m always surprised by how many people post nasty little comments. I mean, just scroll past. It just feels needlessly nasty and I can’t see what they hope to achieve by it.
If I see a girl who’s not my cup of tea I just go on, making a nasty comment would be going out of my way to insult somebody who’s done nothing other than pose or submit a picture of themselves. Even when I don’t like them I kinda respect their confidence and guts for putting themselves out there like that.
I mean, why make a stranger feel bad about themselves? It usually says more about the person making the comment than the picture, and it doesn’t make you look like a winner, no matter how witty you think your put down is. It makes you look like a douchebag.
But perhaps it should go further, and people should complain about magazines running those nasty “look at the state of her” articles. And any other way of insulting and humiliating people over their flaws or looks.
Of course, this is going to take time. You only need to read comments on YouTube videos to become aware of the fact there are a lot of unpleasant little toerags out there. Hopefully they’ll grow out of it.
Basically this is another case where everybody needs to remember one of life’s most important rules:
Sorry if this seemed to ramble a little, kinda lost focus but I hope I got my feelings and thoughts across clearly enough.
10 Facts from the book
- Sir Walter Raleigh’s devoted widow Elizabeth kept his decapitated head in a velvet bag for 29 years- Seriously creepy.
- 8 times as many people belong to the National Trust as to the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties combined
- In 2005, the 54 billionaires in Britain paid only £14.7 million in income tax between them. Of this, £9 million came from James Dyson- Well done, Dyson, the other 53 of you? Shame on you.
- When Peter Benchley, author of Jaws couldn’t think of a title his father suggested What’s That Noshin’ on Ma Leg?– Am I the only one who thinks that’s a great title.
- A “riot” in England and Wales must legally involve a minimum of 12 people. Under US federal law it’s only 3 and in Nevada only 2- What kind of lame riot only has 2 people? In fact 12 is pretty pathetic too.
- At the outbreak of WW2 zookeepers killed all the poisonous insects and snakes in London Zoo, in case it was bombed and they escaped- Makes sense, but must have been a little grim too.
- To celebrate the end of the first Gulf War Kuwati citizens fired guns into the air. 20 people died as a result of the bullets coming down- D’oh!
- Each year, drug baron Pablo Escobar had to write off 10% of his cash holdings because of rats nibbling away at his huge stash of bank notes- Possibly the weirdest/most badass problem to have ever.
- Wild Bill Hickok’s brother Lorenzo was nicknamed “Tame Bill Hickok”- Which is kinda cute, but probably very annoying for Lorenzo.
- The Dyslexia Research Centre is in Reading- Nice work, folks.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.