Wednesday, August 24, 2011


not with the fire in me now

You are walking home, midway between slovenly and respectable. And you realise that this, this village and this house feel as much like home as any of the 13 (or so) have. You will be thirty soon, you will be an uncle-in-law even sooner. You see more and more of your friends and you make new ones and you read good things all the time. Your mood can always be lifted by music, as is required. It is hard, at this precise moment, to think of a different step you might ever have taken. You are growing accustomed to the glow of your room in the morning. Summer is ending, but it feels like it is only breaking out.

Monday, August 15, 2011


new adventures in advertising

One of the greatest benefits of digital television is the ability to pause and resume when you like. Not just so you can go off and take a shite without missing the lovely Mary Kennedy easing you into a story about cheese carpentry in Bagenalstown, but so you can leave it for ten minutes or so and then be able to fast-forward through all the ad breaks on whatever show you're watching. No more Pat Shortt singing some bollocks about something or other, no more Simon Delaney and Craig Doyle selling you everything, no more shit McDonald's ads that only serve to suggest that the future is nothing but manky food, mutants and morons.

It all feels positively utopian, quite frankly. I was starting to wonder if there's some sort of catch to it all, as though my refusal to watch these ads mean I'll have to suffer advertising in some other way. I'm soft on it in many ways, recognising its financial necessity in certain contexts. There are, for example, some bloggers who I appreciate need to feature ads on their sites in order to do what they do to the highest possible standards. So I click on those ads from time to time and, even though I've no intention of buying anything, dilly-dally wherever they've landed me for a while - just so the corporate bastards don't recognise that my click-through was executed without even a morsel of consumer intent. I also understand that TV funds itself through advertising, though I wish a state-funded station like RTÉ would be a little more BBC and a lot less ITV when it comes to poxy commercials.

Turns out that if you've found a way of circumventing telly advertising then the cinema is where the fuckers get you back. Captive in your big seat under a pound of popcorn and a three litre bucket of coke they will show you the gammiest, gratingest ads for about ten minutes before the trailers even start. They will show you one of those hideously unfunny Red Bull ads, and some weird fucker behind you will chuckle at it. Sometimes they'll show you a bizarre propaganda film for the EU, filled with the kind of sunshine and cornfields rhetoric that Pravda would have rejected for not being subtle enough. If you're anything like me you'll start getting thoroughly tetchy and take to groping your wife for distraction.

But at this point, fifteen to twenty minutes after the advertised starting time of the film, the trailers begin and you relax, because trailers make sense and are often what you'll base your next choice of film on. What you won't be familiar with, unless you've been to see Super 8 (or perhaps others) in Cineworld is Take That's cunty heads popping up on screen to introduce their new shit video to their new shit song from some new shit take on The Three Musketeers. Whereupon you think to yourself, "Why am I being forced to watch music videos? I didn't really even know music videos existed anymore, since MTV stopped showing them and went full retard on scripted reality shows instead. They're charging everyone about a tenner to be in here and another tenner for their snacks, should we really have to sit here and take this? Will I just slip out and go for a piss while this is on? You took a piss just before you came in, she'll just think you're masturbating if you go again now. Shit, why did I tell her Mark Owen was my favourite one, I feel a little gay now. Quick, grab her tit and then smile disarmingly so you get away with it. Nicely played."

This is what happens when advertising pounces in whole new ways and pushes us to the limit, my friend: innocent breasts get grabbed and ladies question the sanctity of certain vows they have made. But I believe there is a solution. Among the chin-stroking and musing over the causes of the London riots last week most commentators seemed to overlook Heidegger's trenchant maxim of Dickheads just gonna be dickheads, y'all and leapt into notions that rampant consumerism has led to a culture whereby kids just have to have blingin' trainers - be it by hook, crook or petrol bomb. So the only solution to my mind (and the mind of an Irish 29 year-old bloke who likes a bit of early Dizzee Rascal is exactly the kind of mind that should be consulted) is to ban advertising outright. Just fucking all of it. We'd all  shout at the telly less and go to the cinema more even though we could download films for free, we could put poems and pictures of flowers on buses instead, riots would be averted as teenagers all over the world  learn to just be satisfied with their lot, and mammary glands would be at least 27% less pawed. There is no downside.

From the excellent Photoshoplooter