(Found in my Drafts, March 12th 2012, posted unedited)
Okay. There’s something I need to get off my chest to start with. It’s been bugging me for a long time.
I have literally never, ever seen Garth Crooks and Silas Greenback in the same room.
There, I’ve said it.
I have also never seen Garth Crooks laugh. Nobody has. I’ve seen Garth Crooks boot Terry Fenwick in the leg in the 1982 FA Cup Final (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH2hwrOI7Cs&feature=related). I’ve seen Garth Crooks say that Andre Bikey needs chemically castrating and putting on the sex offenders’ register for pushing someone over (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJP7b60h2ck&feature=player_embedded). I’ve seen Garth Crooks talk East Coast/West Coast “niggas” with Richard “I’m the vilest human being who ever lived” Littlecock (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBYpzPZzrqA). And yet, I’ve never seen Garth Crooks laugh. As Half Man Half Biscuit put it, “there is surely nothing worse than washing sieves/with the possible exception of being Garth Crooks”.
Wikipedia tells me that Greenback “turned to a life of crime as a schoolboy when other children stole his bicycle and let all the air out of its tyres”. While I’m not trying to say Garth Crooks has turned to a life of crime, if anyone has a better way to explain Garth Crooks’ personality than this, I’d love to hear it. If I close my eyes, I can imagine the exact same thing happening to him. Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker unscrewing the dust caps and tittering with child-like joy, while Mark “I pay, so I say” Lawrenson squeezes the air out of the tyres with his tiny, petty little hands, his laugh a cruel, spiteful sneer. Alan Hansen is of course is keeping lookout for Andy Townsend’s tactics truck, golf clubs at the ready.
While “researching” that paragraph I also just discovered that Count Duckula was actually a character in Dangermouse who got his own spin-off! Well colour me uneducated, I had no idea!
Anyway, I had a point to make. What do Garth Crooks, Bono and Sean Penn all have in common?
Yes, that’s right: the sin of taking yourself faaaaaar too seriously.
If I see a face like Sean Penn’s above, my first instinct is to try to crack it. Not with a blunt instrument or anything like that (contract forbids it) but by cracking a joke or behaving like a clown. One of my students’ English names is Shadow. I probably don’t need to tell you much about Shadow – his name was a perfect choice. Sixteen is such an awkward age, but for some it’s that bit more awkward – the world has pissed all over his chips and he seems determined to piss right back at it. So I decided from day 1 that my priority in this lesson wasn’t to teach English – fuck that, nobody was listening anyway, so my priority was to make Shadow smile. I would deliberately trip over right in front of him like a clown, or make silly noises, or throw chalk at people’s heads. Nothing. Not even a little crack of a smile. Though he did stop coming to my lessons, so I didn’t have to look at that face anymore.
‘That’ face. Look at the pained earnestness on Penn’s face. That’s about 30 years of acting training right there – an Oscar-winning performance. That level of absolute sincerity and seriousness is something that just isn’t natural to mere mortals like us. Especially since us mere mortals don’t usually tie our wives to chairs and beat them up with baseball bats (fair play, it was Madonna, but it’s still out of order).
Sorry. I was making a really serious point there. Let me put my serious face back on for a second.
There, much better.
Now the natural next step for this entry, of course, would be to be a bit more topical and talk about K**y 2012, right? Well, fuck that. I’m not touching that with yours. Could you imagine the risk you’d be taking just after Princess Di died if you dared say anything not 100% aligned with public opinion? And people had actually heard of Princess Diana before she died…
Nah. Maybe I’ll give it a week, wait ’til everyone’s forgotten about it.
When I was a teenager I had a Livejournal blog. It was as shitty and pretentious as you can probably imagine. As a teenager I felt passionately about many things. About 3% of those things didn’t involve masturbation, or at least couldn’t be done with a clean conscience while masturbating. One guy on Livejournal I followed was this mid-30s reformed junkie character living in New York. A sort of unpublished poet, undisplayed artist, unsigned musician… well, you get me. He would always bang on about people power, and doing things, and overthrowing this, and reforming that, and yet he never seemed to do anything himself. His days seemed to consist of taking badly-lit photos of him humping his groupies and trying to woo new groupies with poetry. Online.
One time, I pulled him up on this. I asked him, “Oh, TheWreckingboy, what are the specifics of this revolution of yours? How do we pull it all down? Who will be in charge when it’s all pulled down? What will your role be?”
He answered that he didn’t have any specifics, he was just the messenger, the guy who could put into the best words possible that we needed to change things and that things couldn’t carry on how they were. He was the inspiration and we, the people, would do all the work. And figure out what to change and how to change it.
So I’m 17 and with this keen sense of social justice or whatever you want to call it, and I’m starting to think – so what the fuck do I do? I don’t have a particular cause to latch onto. I feel passionately about injustice and things that are unfair all over the world, so much so that I can be distracted from one cause by another even worse injustice and completely forget about the first one.
I was never eloquent enough to be a messenger, and certainly not poetic enough to get laid as a result of it. Much as I would have loved to go and blow up Parliament, it’s not something that’s easy for a podgy teenager with a bad back to do – and besides, I couldn’t have afforded the train down to London.
So, someone, somewhere, had lit a fire in me that just didn’t really do anything. I guess for a little while there, as a pretentious teenager, I became another messenger. I would post up links to things I thought were shitty and unfair and say what I thought about them. Then I’d feel like I’d done my bit, and a weight was lifted.
And nothing got done.
UPDATE: 2013, June 15th
Did they catch Kony in the end?
Feels like a long time ago that people really, really, really cared about bringing Kony to justice. So much so that you’d be crucified for not caring THIS much about Kony.
Since then I’ve ranted relentlessly on Facebook against the Tories from thousands of miles away which, when I read this back, either makes me a hypocrite, a pretentious teenager or both.
I’ve ranted relentlessly on Facebook about EDL types wanting to send British Muslims back where they came from.
I’m not saying anything anyone hasn’t already said before. Being daft is much more fun. Even Lawrenson seems to have lightened up a bit