In defence of Prince Charles

Right, to lay out my position on the Royals. I’m pretty much neutral. I won’t be bending the knee anytime soon, but I’m not calling for us to wheel out the guillotine. I think they seem nice enough people, if odd, and do some good work for the country, through charity and tourism, but I just think the millions we spend on them could be put to better use somewher else.

One thing I don’t get is the rabid enthusiasm and obsession some people have with them. They’re just another group of celebrities, so why all the fuss?

And speaking of fuss…

This month marks 20 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. As such the press has been going nuts about it, catering to a seemingly bottomless reserve of national obsession and voyeurism.

There are TV shows, magazines, newspaper features and the re-emergence of various parasitic people who have exploited their connection with Diana for fame or wealth.

While some seems to have been handled with delicacy, particularly an interview with her sons on ITV. However, depressingly an old, familiar story is being told, that of Diana as a near saint and the villain of the piece being played by her ex, Prince Charles.

I’m not going to say that Chuck was guilt free in their trainwreck marriage, but it seems like there was fault on both sides and other factors at work. Charles’ relationship with Camilla has been tainted for some by the fact that it was going on behind Di’a back. But more on that later.

As all this stuff gets raked up over and over the more tactful at least think how it effects William and Harry, but as his failed marriage is disected once again nobody gives a damn about Charles’ feelings. Or if they do it’s in stupid ways:

In answer, no. No, he won’t. Because I’m assuming he’s not a massive bellend and appreciates that his sons will miss their mum, and that their love for her doesn’t mean they don’t love him.

One of the most controversial things in this prolonged and ugly time of “tribute” was the Channel 4 documentary. This featured tapes of Diana talking candidly about her marriage and divorce, possibly because she felt it was private.

So complete is Diana’s ascension to secular saint status that everything she said was received as gospel. 

Look, we’ve all had mates who have gone through break ups. They come over and they get it all off their chest. You offer sympathy, you take their side but you take it with a pinch of a salt. You’re getting one, highly biased, version of events. It’s heavily edited highlights.

Of course, your buddy’s ex can fight their corner and this is the part that sucks for Charles. He can’t.

First of all, he’s been raised to be King. A King doesn’t go running his mouth to the press, he has to keep his personal feelings hidden, maintain a regal persona.

Secondly, even if he could he’d be bad mouthing the dead and the public would go nuts over it.

And most importantly, Charles probably doesn’t want to go and drag Diana’s name through the mud. Because he knows that it would hurt his boys.

Which means he has to keep quiet as he is turned into the villain. The hatred of Charles has ebbed and flowed over the years, but with the 20th anniversary madness it’s all been stirred up again.

Recent polls have shown that people want William to be King next, showing a startling lack of knowledge of how monarchies work. You don’t pick. It’s whoever is next in line and that is Charles.

If you want a daft, old fashioned system you have to follow the rules or else it may as well just be an open public vote for the next monarch. And if the field is open we could have someone more fun than William.

Charles and Diana probably should never have married. But they did, and it went wrong. As with many things it’s not a black and white situation.

The thing is that I find silly is that people regard Charles’ divorce as grounds for him being unsuitable for the big chair. This is stupid because (a) other monarchs have got divorced and (b) it’s 2017. Attitudes towards divorce have changed, thankfully and there are no other jobs where having divorced would cost you the gig.

I’ve always felt in a perfect world Charlie would have just married Camilla right away and Diana could have had a longer, more peaceful life away from the press.

I find it hard to understand why anyone begrudges Charles for having gone on to find happiness with Camilla and remarry. They seem to have real affection and connection, and it seems unfair that she should get blasted along with him for that. 

Charles and Camilla loving life. Of course they are, they’re with Brian Blessed!

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Why I Don’t Care if I Have a Poor Work Ethic

I read an article recently about why people shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving work on time. My reaction was surprise that someone would feel bad about that.

For me I always want to finish on time, if not early, and if possible I like to walk out on the dot without a backward glance.

Me at the end of a shift

Leaving late provokes nothing but rage. I give 37.5 hours a week to my employers as agreed, every single second over that is mine and therefore precious.

The only time I would happily leave late is if I worked flexitime, and so knew that half an hour every day Monday-Thursday would mean I could start my weekend two hours earlier on Friday. Or if I worked where you had a decent clocking in system which would add all the extra minutes over a month and pay you for them.
But most jobs don’t work that way. I’ve always for an hourly wage, and in some cases unless you go way over you don’t get paid extra. Five, ten minutes over and you’re working for free. 

So, why should I feel guilty? I’ve done what I’m paid to do, and I don’t owe my employer anything beyond that. 

And if I did work a salaried job 9-5 I’d expect and hope to be out by 5:01. I have a friend who was in at 7pm one evening, still at the office. Bugger that. If I stayed that late I’d have a lie in the next day, rock up at 11. Or expect a bonus.

I know some may be tutting over this, criticising my work ethic. Well to them I have one thing to say;

“Strong work ethic” sounds like a good thing. 

But who is it good for? Your boss is who. 

Seriously, most times someone is praised for their work ethic you may as well be praising them for making it easier for their boss to walk over them.

Staying late? Taking on extra responsibilities and duties? 

Who wins? Your boss. They get more of your time for the same price, or more work out of you. If you work somewhere that wants you to routinely finish late or have to do more than what you’ve signed up for your boss probably needs to hire more staff.

Your strong work ethic helps them to save money by not hiring and paying somebody else. And you’re stopping someone else from having a job. Bravo.

The employee-boss relationship is a deal. You exchange your time and toil for their cash. As long as you meet your half of the bargain (agreed hours and duties) then you deserve the payment. If they want you to exceed that they should match that increase, if they’re not going to, then screw ’em. 

You kept your part of the deal, now get your arse home.

Because nobody is going to be on their deathbed lamenting the fact they didn’t spend more time at work. Go home. Have fun. See your loved ones.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


Superbowl LI: Meh.

I’ve not long woken up and am feeling incredibly bleurgh, so forgive me if I ramble. This is because I stayed up far too late watching the Superbowl last night. And it wasn’t worth it.

Don’t worry I’m not going to trot out the usual stupid British criticisms of “Rugby players don’t need those pads” or “why is it called football when they use their hands so much”.

No, the reason I fear it wasn’t worth it was because I didn’t really care that much about the outcome. I decided to watch because I like the sport, and because of the occasion. 

Even non football fans have to admit that the Superbowl is one hell of a spectacle. It’s like the mutant baby of the the FA Cup final (or at least what it used to be) and Wrestlemania, with enough fireworks to open and close an Olympics.

But I had no strong feelings for either side. The Atlanta Falcons were a nonentity to me and while I have picked the New England Patriots to back in the past (I forget why) I’m hardly a fan. And it’s not the kind of sport where you can develop a feel for a team midway. In other games it’s easy to pick a team- you can be won over by skill, character or an individual player or turn against a team because of cheating, attitude or a specific player.

It’s for this reason that this season just gone my only real cares concerned three teams- the New York Jets, San Francisco’s 49rs and the Oakland Raiders. 

The Raiders are probably as close to having a team as I get, and this is built on shaky foundations. They have the coolest logo and colour scheme and were the favourite of nineties rappers.

The Jets are the team supported by a friend, so I like when they do well as he seems chuffed for them. 

And the 49rs? Well that’s because of one man Colin Kaepernick. I admired his quiet protest against the violence and oppression of minorities in America and felt he carried himself with dignity amongst the backlash. For that reason, I wanted him and his teammates to do well.

Beyond that I find it hard to really get behind US sports teams because I don’t have connections with any particular state or city, and many don’t have an identity that shines through to an outsider. 

Take football here in the UK. I’m a Swansea fan, but over the years have built up a whole heap of feelings for other teams. I have teams I have soft spots for (Bristol Rovers, Wimbledon, West Ham, Middlesborough, Crystal Palace) and teams I dislike to various degrees (Cardiff, Leeds, Arsenal, Chelsea). There are managers and players I like and dislike, and years of following the sport has built up these biases.

Maybe US sports fans have the same, but as a distant and infrequent observer, I’m oblivious to these quirks and the history of the teams. 

But I watched the whole first half with no real connection to either. Some were pulling for Atlanta as part of a heavy handed resistance versus Trump angle, but I wasn’t feeling it. It’s not the Patriot players fault Trump is on friendly terms with Tom Brady and the higher ups. And there are probably lots of Pats fans who hate Cheeto Mussolini. 
So, who should I pick. I could have been a glory boy and start pulling for the Falcons as they took a dominating lead in the second quarter, but I remained kind of neutral.

In fact I was more excited about the approaching half time show featuring Lady Gaga, as there was plenty of build up. Would there be guest stars? Would it be an attack on the new President? 

It turned out to be a belter, with Gaga starting off atop the stadium with an obvious dig at Trump and a call for unity. She then leapt down and descended by wire to the centre where she blazed through a series of her hits. As for guest appearances? Nope, she didn’t need any.

In the second half I continued to not care.

The Patriots closed the gap, but it still looked like the trophy was heading to Georgia. I could have gone to bed then as with Gaga done, I didn’t care.

And then in the last quarter the Patriots staged a massive comeback. They added nineteen points without any response from Arizona, leaving scores tied at 28-28. 

Still, I didn’t care. Part of me was hoping Atlanta could score as it would be a cruel twist for their fans to lose so late in the day. But on the flip side you couldn’t help but admire the Patriots for getting back into it, and does a team that throws away such a big lead deserve the win.

As it was the Patriots got the overtime winner and claimed the title. It was a dramatic finish but by this stage I was watching because I’d gone too far and it seemed silly to leave before seeing it through.

So, yeah, next year I might give the Superbowl a miss and just enjoy a good night’s sleep, and just watch the halftime show online the next day.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Expensive labels: Fashion thoughts from a man in joggers

Watching golf on TV. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Veganism.

There are some things I just don’t get. Probably the biggest is fashion and the industry that surrounds it.

I get that clothes can be about expressing your individuality, beliefs (I own an anti-war shirt or two) or cultural allegiances (football shirts). It can show what subculture you belong to, but what I don’t like is when people start using clothes as a status thing. So you have a flash shirt? That don’t impress me much.

I have simple tastes when it comes to clothes, being a jeans and T-shirt kinda guy. The only area I really go a bit further is shirts and trainers, where I like a bit of colour.

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Wayne Mardle is my style icon

You know those articles where they get the writer to leave their comfort zone? They could send me to London Fashion Week. I’d come back with stories of awkwardness, embarrassment and rants about the whole thing.

I don’t follow fashion so I only know LFW is going on because PETA protested it. I agree with this as I don’t agree with using fur in clothing unless you’re stranded on an island or you kill in self defence. If I got attacked by a bear and somehow came out on top I think I could keep a trophy.

I don’t back all of PETA’s policies but I am with them on the anti-fur stuff and think their campaign in this area is smart, using celebrities to draw attention to it.

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Anyway LFW arrives hot on the heels of New York Fashion Week, which I only heard about because of Lady Gaga, but which reminded me of why I don’t get fashion.

Lady Gaga was modelling for Marc Jacobs, and everyone was kicking off about how she “slayed”. I had a look and while she nailed the dead eyed model look, I hate to say it, but she looked daft. And I defended the meat dress, people.

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I mean, what’s the look here? It’s a total mess. The giant collar thing. The (hopefully fake) fur on the arms. The boots. What the hell?

Thing is Jacobs is a big deal and got applause this is despite the fact that people quickly noticed that another celebrated modelling for him, Kendall Jenner, looked like she’s joined the Night’s Watch.

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If Kris Jenner was my mum I'd head to the Wall too

It’s Jacobs who I’m focusing but most designers are the same. The stuff they show on the catwalk is unlikely to see the streets and is just them showing off. They get to use models as their Barbies and throw on these ridiculous get ups and then the fashion media labels them geniuses and visionaries.

Jacobs then releases clothes for the regular folk but because his name is slapped on them he gets to charge ridiculous amounts for them. Take this shirt:

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$395!! That’s how much he asks for that. That’s £284, for that I could get new trainers, a couple of new t-shirts, jeans, underwear and probably still have some left over for coffee and a new book.

I mean, it’s a decent shirt, don’t get me wrong, but the only thing special about it is the name on the label. That’s what baffles me.

Look at other things where the brand is important- with tech it’s about specifics and compatibility (unless you’re a full on iDiot) and with cars it’s about reliability. Sure, for some it’s status, but they tend to be idiots.

But clothes? Is a Marc Jacobs shirt better made, more comfortable or more hard wearing than a shirt from New Look? Is it so much better that it justifies that price tag.

For too many people the name matters because it will impress other people. That having a flash watch will make you seem more successful, that a posh frock makes you seem more sophisticated. It’s showing off, and not even about something you’ve done, just something you’ve bought.

If you have the cash, go nuts, but don’t act like it makes you better. Or that those clothes are special, because Giorgio or George, we wear clothes for two reasons- modesty and protection from the elements.

Fashion? I don’t get it.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Diana

In 1997, Princess Diana died. I was twelve at the time and even then I was mystified, creeped out and suspicious of the mass public grief that followed.

It all seemed a bit showy, fake and self indulgent. Thousands flocked to Buckingham Palace to leave tributes and I found myself struggling to accept that a stranger had impacted on their life so much. Some of it seemed to be a competitive thing, or induced by some kind of feeling that not displaying your grief meant you were cold or didn’t care.

It was like people decided to break away from the stereotypical British reserve and let that upper lip loosen up. Now, I think we should all be in touch with our feelings and express them, but a little bit of control isn’t a bad thing. Also, there are better ways to unleash it, although perhaps the show of letting it out over something you weren’t really connected with was the appeal. It was a safe release of years of keeping a lid on things.

I mean, these two kids probably weren’t that bothered and probably taken by a parent or grandparent who was caught up in the mob mourning.

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My mum is a republican and quite cynical in some regards and I think my distaste for the over the top displays that followed. Also it didn’t help that when I came down on the Saturday morning it was on pretty much every channel and I missed my regular dose of Live and Kicking.

I’m not a complete bastard, I appreciated that for her family it was a rough time and the manner of her death was tragic, but I think the British public went overboard and it didn’t seem right to twelve year old Chris. Also, I think even then I felt that the public was denying it’s part in her death. She was chased by paparazzi who wanted photos because the papers paid big bucks because of the public’s hunger for photos of her.

I know I blogged about Bowie and Lemmy’s deaths and was moved by them but to defend this I truly believe that artists and musicians make more of an impact because their work becomes part of our lives in a way a general celebrity doesn’t.

After her death Diana was elevated to near sainthood and the press continue to sing her praises while avoiding acknowledging that they were part of the celebrity culture which her sons loathe and which intruded on her life.

To this day the British media will pull her out as an exemplar of decency and run stories on slow news days.

The Daily M**l surpassed itself today as they filled two pages with a spread about her dress sense, which seemed to essentially say “she wore something which is kinda like something someone else wore” the idea being that she’s some kind of style guru.

The problem is that some of them are laughably tenuous. I mean, I don’t think Diana invented the white shirt and jeans combo-

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They’re not even the same jeans. And the tops are totally different!

Two whole pages about this?! I doubt this is what the writer dreamed about when they trained to be a journalist.

Google searching photos of Diana and then trying to find photos of current celebrities in vaguely similar outfits. And I’m not sure what the point was, I doubt the celebs even considered Diana in their choices.

Also, in many cases she didn’t look as good as the other picture, for example here’s Diana vs Gaga.

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I just think they could maybe let the Diana stuff rest now, it’s been almost twenty years, move on.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Soldiers are being investigated. This is not something to be mad about.

Apologies, this one is a bit of a rant.

It was announced today that around 60 cases investigating unlawful killings by UK forces in Iraq have been dropped. This follows the MoD looking into it and deciding not to proceed in these cases (story here).

This is of course good news for those involved, and false claims should be disregarded, however, the response to the news online shows a worrying attitude shared by many people.

This is the belief that all claims against UK soldiers should be thrown out and that “our boys” (they’re always talking about the “boys”, the British public still slightly squeamish about women doing the killing and dying) are somehow above reproach. For me this is not only incredibly stupid but also potentially dangerous.

If our soldiers are allowed to do whatever they want without consequence how can we stand in judgement on enemy combatants when they do wrong? War is hell and chaotic, but there is at least some sense of what is right and what is wrong, and those who transgress are held accountable, even if it is after the fact. Without this all manner of evil could be done.

This blind faith that “our boys and girls” are immune to the callousness and cruelty that war can breed in people is willful blindness to reality. The men and women who serve in our forces are human beings, and while many have good intentions and try to do right there will be some who do wrong. Putting on a uniform does not transform someone into a paragon of virtue. Enlisting does not a hero make.

We have a duty to prosecute and punish those who commit crimes during war. If we don’t then we are failing our values, the very thing that they are meant to be fighting to protect. Those who break the law must be tried and pay for their crimes if found guilty.

To allow soldiers to evade this undermines the idea of justice we should aim for- that justice is blind and that all are equal. Whether the victim is a British citizen, foreign civilian or even enemy combatants, they have rights and should be treated fairly, when they are not, they all deserve justice.

Similarly, a criminal is a criminal, even if they wear our country’s uniforms.

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There will of course be fraudulent or exaggerated cases, and lawyers who seek a quick buck, but hopefully these cases will be resolved and the innocent walk free, but the guilty must be brought to justice.

It’s in the best interests to investigate them all so that the false ones can be dismissed and not just hang over the accused, continuing to sow doubt. An investigation that clears someone is obviously better than just ignoring the allegations.

Pursuing them is not wrong, and wanting them punished is not unpatriotic. Hell, not being patriotic isn’t a failing or a bad thing, in fact, we need to be objective when we think of our country, and ready and willing to call it on when it is wrong or could be better.

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But for those still clinging to the idea of patriotism as a virtue, then surely the prosecution of wrongdoers in our military is patriotic. It helps protect the country’s reputation and that of our military. We should be ashamed of events like Bloody Sunday and the death of Baha Mousa, we should not be ashamed to investigate them (even if it comes far too late).

We should be proud that we do not tolerate abuse from our troops and that we execute justice against them. We should strive for transparency so that we know what “our boys and girls” are doing in our name, and to ensure that they behave appropriately.

Pursuing them is not disrespect, it is an attempt for justice. Nobody is above the law. Is it disrespectful to go after a criminal?

By all means honour our troops and praise them if you want, but don’t do it blindly. Don’t shout down any suggestion that they are not superheroes without flaws, because they’re not. Don’t act as though prosecuting them is unfair or wrong, because it benefits none of us to have a situation where our soldiers can do whatever they want without consequence.

We need to be able to question and hold our soldiers accountable, as we do our politicians and police officers. It’s what keeps them (relatively) honest and stops them being able to do terrible things in our name.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Me vs Prince Harry

HRH Harry was for quite a long time my favourite of the Royal Family. He liked a drink and a good time, he did stupid things and was pretty open about his dislike for the press, plus he seemed charming enough. He even got a hug off a woman who’d campaigned to reject the Royal Family.
So, yeah, the ginger, gaffe prone partying Prince was my favourite.

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I'd need a drink if I had to go out dressed like this.

But his recent decision to come out in support of the return of National Service rubbed me up the wrong way.
“Bring back national service!” Is the battlecry of a certain type of person; normally older, a reader of the Mail or Express who’s convinced Britain has gone to the dogs.
They see gangs of youths as threatening and believe the best way to deal with this is to send these youths off to become killers.
Apparently 2 years in the military can turn you from yob to upstanding citizen. Because nobody who’s ever been in the army has ever done anything wrong.
I used to get then “if you were in the army” line quite often when I was a long haired, lazy and cheeky teenager. Thankfully national service wasn’t around to see what the army would have done to me.
I turned 18 in 2003, so I could have wound up being shipped off to Iraq or Afghanistan, possibly to my death in a war I disagreed with.
My grandad did national service, but this mainly consisted of driving lorries and larking about with mates. That doesn’t sound so bad, but the yelling of orders, silly rules and uncomfortable looking uniforms would have got to me. Its not an atmosphere where I’d thrive.
Harry, of course, is the poster boy for the good military service can do. We gave them the boy, they gave us back a man.
A man who does his duty and turned his back on his wayward youth.
Or, y’know, he just grew up, as all of us must.
Harry’s military career was far from typical, his Gran’s the boss for one thing, and while he did go to the frontlime, I’ll bet there were extra precautions to keep him safe.
But Mrs Page’s baby boy? I’d have to take my chances. I fell going upstairs the other day, so navigating around IEDs would probably be a challenge. And one I’d probably fail.
If I did make it back I’d be on my own, and like thousands of others probably struggle back in the world (example), Harry meanwhile would have a job waiting for him, being Harry.
Here’s the thing, conscription during WWII was understandable, if morally dubious, and post-war it just stuck around. But there’s a reason it was dropped.
The UK’s population has grown, so there were more volunteers and also war is more technological and long distance so there was less need for as many boots on the ground. Hence, no need for national service.
Harry’s comments legitimise the daft claims it should come back, especially as the supporters tend to love the royals too.
Harry may have loved his time in uniform, it was probably the most normal part of his life, and that’s great. For him.
You want to join the army? Crack on. But don’t make it a compulsory thing. There are tons of folks who probably have zero desire to do it, and it seems unfair to make them all do something with little/no benefits.
Will it look good on your CV? Probably not when everyone has the same thing.
And given that the Mail/Express talk about tax being wasted can we afford to pay every 18 year old to be a soldier for 2 years, and that’s not even with additional costs.
So, sorry, Harry but I think you’re wrong on this one.
And to all the nostalgic, flag waving pro-NS types, here’s a quote from someone who did it, the late, great John Peel:

You all had to work together – even if it was just in things like petty theft and evasion, which were the two things I really learned during National Service.

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.


No kinky sex, please, we’re British

Mum, if the title wasn’t enough of a clue, this post ain’t for you.

Tuesday was a bad day for British smut fans as new guidelines set out by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) set out some strong rules for what isn’t going to be allowed in UK made adult movies.

porn ban

Bearing in mind these are all films made for consenting adults by consenting adults, but apparently we can’t be allowed to see the following:

Spanking, caning, aggressive whipping (prompting one tweeter to ask if “non-aggressive whipping” is even possible), verbal/physical abuse (again this is simulated by adults, so is abuse in all films out now?), humiliation (see abuse), strangulation, fisting, facesitting and watersports (or urolagnia, to give it its classier name).

There’s also to be no penetration by objects “associated with violence” so I guess that’s, what? Gun sex (I’m too worried to even Google that phrase, though it would make a good band name).

There’s only one thing I sort of understand, a ban on roleplaying as non-adults, which is a dodgy area, to say the least.

The most bizarre ban is on female ejaculation. This seems not to be grounded in any sort of objection regarding potential injury, in fact it’s hard to see why this isn’t going to be allowed. It just seems to come from a personal objection based on squeamishness or frigidity.

Banning female ejaculation is basically the powers that be saying that there’s something icky or perverse about female pleasure. It displays an outdated and sexist view of sex where the male orgasm is prioritized, there’s no ban on male ejaculation and in most porn the “money shot” is the finale of the scene, further enhancing this sense that it’s all about the dude getting his rocks off.

Similarly facesitting is banned yet there’s no mention of stopping deepthroating or positions where the man is on top and in charge during oral sex. It just seems as though practices where female performers are in charge have been targeted, which is a shame as it means porn may become increasingly male-focused and stop porn where the female role is the one in power.

MWG and I have watched porn together a few times, and both enjoyed it before we got together, and some of the porn we liked featured some of the now banned practices (I won’t specify which ones), and that’s fine, different strokes for different folks. If it isn’t your bag, then don’t watch it. There’s a world of smut out there, and if chains and whips don’t excite you then move along and find what does work for you.

The new regulations won’t stop kinky porn, or people engaging in kinky activities. It only applies to homegrown smut and you’ll still be able to get all your spanking and whipping preferences met thanks to the internet and foreign filth (I suspect that phrase is going to misdirect a few Daily Mail readers to my blog). So, why has the BBFC bought these new rules in?

It just seems as though it’s a list made by a bunch of dudes who have just collected what they themselves aren’t into. It would be like putting me in charge and letting me ban the stuff which doesn’t do it for me, like porn parodies of movies which aren’t remotely sexual in the first place.

There's a Spongebob porn parody, who even came up with that?

There’s a Spongebob porn parody, who even came up with that?

It just seems to me that the ban isn’t based on anything more than what a bunch of people are uncomfortable with, and that’s not how the BBFC should work. Porn should be easier to regulate than regular movies, and the rules should be simple-

  1. Everyone involved has to be an adult.
  2. Everyone has to have consented to their participation, and what the scene will entail (if a performer has signed up for some BDSM stuff then it’s all cool, if it’s just a vanilla porn and suddenly someone starts getting a little rough, that’s not cool).
  3. There should be some kind of “Our performers are professional and experts were on hand” warning advising people that they can try out what they see but to do so carefully and with thought.

That’s it, really. Everyone knows what’s going to happen and is okay with what’s going to happen, and have made those decisions as adults.

I can’t see any upside to this ban, in fact it’s just going to weaken the UK porn industry, which is going to hurt people economically. The internet has democratized porn, and allowed people to cater to different tastes, and there are lots of self-employed smut peddlers out there who run their own websites and sell their own DVDs.

For British performers and producers, who have found their niche in the world of female domination or femdom, the new regulations seriously hinder what they can do on DVD. Sure, there’s still going to be femdom stuff out there, but a massive section of the UK porn industry, who make money, employ people and presumably pay taxes have taken a big hit. Porn is all about taste, and for some folks seeing a British woman in charge is what they like, and a performer from the US, Germany or wherever won’t tick the same box.

A psychiatrist could probably point to it being tied in with some female authority figure in that viewer’s life, a teacher or something. Personally, I just kinda dig a take charge woman, and I’ve known that for years, probably starting with the way I was oddly attracted to Ann Robinson on The Weakest Link as a young man.

Ann Robinson really did it for early teens Chris.

Ann Robinson really did it for early teens Chris.

The final flaw with this new legislation regards the pesky female ejaculation issue. A few years ago I read a letter to a problem page about a girl who experienced this, I think during foreplay with a boyfriend. It hadn’t happened before and neither of them had seen or heard of it before, so were a little bit freaked out, and her boyfriend thought it was pee (either way, she wouldn’t be able to do it on film now).

People talk about porn being hurtful for people’s sexuality or attitudes towards sex don’t get that for some it can reassure them, they can see that there are other folks who respond or look the same way (I’m talking here of lower level, grass roots porn which gives a broader view of the shapes and sizes that us humans come in and not perfect body the media puts forth). If that girl had seen a porn film where the female performer ejaculated she’d know what was up, and neither of them would have freaked out. It can also reassure you that you’re not a massive freak, because guess what, there are other cats out there who are into the same things.

And also, sometimes porn just introduces you to stuff you want to try, and as long as your partner’s down with it, then crack on, have fun.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Is watching porn cheating?…..Um, no.

The title should be enough, but if you’re still with me, don’t read on Mum.

Disclaimer: When I use the term “porn” in this blog I am of course referring to sexual materials featuring consenting adults. That’s fine in my book, anything involving people who aren’t consenting adults is of course wrong and a far more series deal than just cheating.

I’m a sucker for some clickbait and so when I saw a tweet from Huffington Post the other day asking if watching porn was cheating I followed the link through. I didn’t agree with what the article from TV agony aunt/advice giver Dr Phil said, which was basically yes, porn is cheating.

I don’t think it is.

Both MWG and I use pornography when we’re apart, and I wouldn’t consider her enjoying some smut as a betrayal. And it’s never really caused a problem, well, aside from our differing tastes, MWG doesn’t understand Sara Jay’s appeal and there’s one genre of porn she’s asked me not to watch anymore. A request I respect.

sarajay

Because that’s what it’s all about- Respect.

If your partner asks you not to watch porn, or a specific type, and does so in a respectful, rational way, then you should respect that request. So if your partner, like some of MWG’s friends, has a porn embargo, then you stop watching, or if they dislike a certain star/type then avoid that. And if anything you watch makes them uncomfortable, you should discuss it, reassure them and change appropriately.

Anyway, back to the article. I’m going to go through it raising my objections, and arguments with the piece, so it’s probably worth you guys reading it first. Don’t worry it’s a quick read and I’ll wait right here as you go through it.

Done? Cool, then let’s crack on.

1. Porn is OK.

Pornography gives you a chance to explore and express your sexuality and fantasies.

In a healthy relationship you should be able to discuss this with your partner, the things that get you going, the things you want to try. Sure, they might not be down for everything you suggest, and if they’re not, then forget it and move on. But if it appeals to both of you? Then give it a whirl, if it works you’ve got a fun new activity, if it doesn’t, well you tried and you might get a funny story out of it.

2. Not an insult

Here’s the thing. When you’re with someone you don’t become blind to the attractiveness of every other person on Earth. To believe otherwise is just foolish.

I mean, sure, control it a bit and don’t be a douche about it. But we’re all adults here, most of us realize our partner is going to consider at least 50% of Brangelina attractive. The difference is that you can find other people attractive, but there’s only one person you really want to be with. In fact, isn’t that more flattering? That they fancy others but they fancy you the most, rather than they’re oblivious to the appeals of everyone else?

As long as you’re respectful and reassuring to your partner that you still find them attractive, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Similarly, watching porn doesn’t mean that something is lacking from your relationship or sex life. It just means that you’re horny at that moment in time. Your partner isn’t going to be there all the time when the urge arises so them hitting play on some smut isn’t an insult to them.

3. It’s not real. No s**t, Sherlock.

Hopefully we’re all sensible enough to realize that real world sex isn’t going to be like in porn, and holding ourselves to that standard is ridiculous.

Sure, porn may have heightened athleticism, weird positions and bleached assholes, but real sex has so much more.

For one thing, it’s the real thing and has intimacy and passion that most porn is lacking. As good as technology gets, nothing is going to match the connection you feel with another person when you get it on, even if it is just a one time thing.

It’s also funnier.

Yes, I said funnier. Weird turns of phrases, bedroom misadventures, sex can be hilarious and sometimes you’ve got to laugh. Maybe not during the deed, but afterwards at least. I saw the below a while ago, and I fully believe it to be true.

laugh sex

4. The exploitation factor

Okay, I’m not an idiot, exploitation occurs in pornography, and when it does, it’s a bad thing.

However, in the new internet era, to assume that every porn performer is an exploited, damaged victim just isn’t realistic and actually a little bit patronizing. There are lots of men and women out there who realize that their body can work for them and so they take to phone lines, webcams and modelling to make a living. Some may have had a rough time, but some are just normal people trying to get by.

Saying that they’re all being exploited is like saying that there’s no way these people could happily explore or profit from their sexuality. I think what Dr Phil is talking about is women, which belies a sexist line of thought that says only men watch porn and that a woman must be forced into this and not have any control over their lives.

The most telling line is when he describes them as “someone’s daughter”, here’s the thing, Doc, if you just said “somebody” I’d know what you meant, a person. I don’t have to have a woman linked to a man to attribute value to them, they’re a person already.

Dr Phil seems to be coming at this from a rather old fashioned view, in terms of online porn, there are plenty of homegrown smut peddlers out there who have set up and run their own sites or services, helping them make money from the needs and urges of others. Maybe it’s not the career they dreamed about as a kid (unless they were a weird/advanced child) but that doesn’t mean that they’ve “taken a really, really wrong turn”.

5. Porn doesn’t make you cheat.

Here’s the thing, is porn going to make you a cheater? Probably not. If you’re gonna cheat, you’re gonna cheat. If you’re somebody who’s never going to cheat, it’s not like seeing Gianna Michaels at work is going to instantly lead you astray, is it?

gianna

A few minutes of hardcore penetration aren’t going to make you rush out and shag the first person who’s up for it.

In fact, let’s be frank, if your partner’s going to get horny, wouldn’t you rather they had their underwear around their ankles and a laptop open, than go out still charged up? Porn is a safe, easy way to release sexual tension and pent up desires when you can’t be the with your partner.

As Stephen Stills should have sung: If you can’t be with the one you love, love yourself.

So, yeah, porn isn’t cheating. Cheating is cheating. As long as your porn use isn’t too excessive and you’re open with your partner, I think porn can actually have a positive effect on your relationship, not a negative one.

But that’s just my opinion.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.