Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Daily Star don’t bother checking facts. Fact.

This has been peppered all over the internets today, but I thought I’d have to stick my oar in as it’s something I’ve been following closely. HERE WE GO:

The other day, The Daily Star (red-top tabloid, fact fans) printed a story (you can see it here in linked form) about a new videogame, book and movie being released, all based on the shenanigans of one Raoul Moat (dead murderer, fact fans). The book, apparently, was real. The movie, no one knows. The game was said to be Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury, and was accompanied by an image purported to be the game’s cover. As this was such a shocking game to be seeing release, The Daily Star contacted the family of the girl who was shot in all that nonsense the other week, asking her grandmother what she thought of the fact a game was being made of all this. Understandably she was upset and confused by Rockstar’s (developers of the GTA series) decision.

Only it wasn’t Rockstar’s decision. It wasn’t anyone’s decision. Because it wasn’t real. Literally the second this stuff broke was the second all gamers and most people with two brain cells to rub together concluded the image of the game’s cover was a very poorly-made Photoshop, ala all of the images I put up here. Anyway, I’m getting lost in explanations and it’s boring me, so let’s cut to what I’m laughing about today.

The Daily Star have issued a hugely grovelling apology, indicating they didn’t even do anything they were supposed to do to make sure their story was in any way accurate, and that they’ve paid Rockstar money to back up this apology. Aside from the hilariously-quick turnaround, it’s one of the most straightforward and intense apologies ever seen in newspapers. Probably. It just shows what having a multi-million selling franchise that isn’t just about murdering prostitutes can do for your company with regards to the lawyers it can hire.

But there is one thing I want to know: Jerry Lawton, who wrote the story. Will he still have a job this time next week? I’m guessing yes. Papers put aside money to pay off settlement fees and journalists seem to receive little more than a slap on the wrist for simply not doing their job, even if this does involve bringing extra, completely unnecessary suffering to a grieving family member. I think the attention The Daily Star got out of this – the increase in traffic to their site and the increase in sales of the paper itself – will more than make up for what will likely be written off as a faux-pas. Lawton will carry on doing his job, nothing will happen and people complaining will eventually move on to other subjects.

I don’t do my work, I am in trouble. You work in a shop and you don’t do your job you’re in trouble. You join the army and don’t kill the people you’re told to kill you’re in trouble. You become a plumber’s apprentice and don’t plumb anything you’re in trouble. You work for the Queen and don’t bother working for the Queen you’re in trouble.

You become a journalist and don’t hold up any of the basic tenets of the profession in the slightest bit, at all, and nothing seems to happen. I hope I am proven wrong, I really do. I hope that cunt gets fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun. Not the newspaper. This is the kind of thing that makes me sick for sometimes describing myself as a ‘journalist’.

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Dransfield for England

I have peaked. I am 27 this coming Wednesday and I have peaked. This is the time of my peaking, my peak has been reached, I have peaked. It won’t ever get any better for the rest of my life – all four years of it*. For you see, today I had the best sporting day of my life.

Hard as it may be to believe for some of the more moronic of you out there, I am not very good at sports. I’m not had-polio-as-a-child bad, nor am I can’t-run-in-a-straight-line-or-catch-or-do-anything-of-worth-while-playing-sports bad, but I’m certainly not good. But today, during the work summer party, I was the greatest I’ve ever been. Prepare yourself for the most inspiring story since Field Of Dreams.

First up, we played football. Within minutes it happened: the ball came loose, it bounced towards me, I ran towards it – I hit it, full on, perfect, aimed and directed the ball where it actually ended up going (always a good sign) and it went in off the post. It was so good I celebrated – something I never do – and promptly felt quite ashamed after doing so. All the same, I did get a round of applause from everyone playing, meaning I’m clearly the best footballer at Imagine Publishing. FACT.

Then came the running-on-a-bungie-rope game thing, where I can’t remember who won between myself and Chris (probably him, as he is a lithe little pooch), but I then devastated Darran “Retro Gamer” Jones in front of his two young daughters. The victory – and hilarity – was doubled, trebled and magnified beyond recognition as a result of his children saying “YOU SUCK!” to him as he stumbled off the bouncy thing, beaten.

THEN came bouncy castle boxing, in which I seemed to be getting punched in the head a lot by Chris. Rather than try and punch him back, as I couldn’t see through the headguard and lack of glasses, I decided to use my weight advantage – something I had purposefully built up through my life should this occasion arise – to throw him into the sides of the ring a couple of times. This may have resulted in him getting stuck and the bouncy castle breaking, which I count as a massive Dransfield victory, frankly.

FINALLY came softballroundersbaseball. A sport which some people seem to be unable to understand the simplicity of the foul ball rule, to the point that their tiny minds not grasping it lead them to lash out and call those of us that did understand it “idiots”. Ah logic, I knew thee well. Regardless, I hit a homerun (during practice) and another homerun (during the game). Also I struck out, but I also caught someone out.

So yeah, I was going to be funnier and more interesting about this, but instead I’ve just blandly relayed the facts to you. Today was the best sporting day of my life. Well done Ian.

*Heart attack while getting down to some hardcore hammock sleeping, I’m guessing. I’ve always said hammocks will be the death of me.

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Jon Snow is great, Zac Goldsmith is a plum

I am late to the party, as it were, with this one. I did actually see it until the day after it aired, but I’ve had such other pressing things to blog about I didn’t bring it up until now (either that or I forgot… I forget). Basically, I love Jon Snow:

Now, Zac Goldsmith comes across as nothing more than a chump from chumpsville who needs to chump off back to his chumpmobile before he chumps the place up any more. Which I think is a fair assessment. The constant harrying of Snow for the opening two thirds of the interview comes across as absolutely nothing more than an entitled little shit behaving in exactly the way an entitled little shit behaves: no listening to others, no taking on board what is being said and pushing forward only with what they want to push forward with.

Throw in the obvious politicking and you have a recipe for me wanting to punch someone right in the face. We’re not all as stupid as your name, Zac, and we can spot delaying tactics especially easily when they’re as blatant and ill thought-out as these were.

But then I hit an impasse. You see, he’s clearly a cock, he’s having a go at a genuine idol of mine and I have very little time for born into privilege, Eton-educated Tory fuckwits. That much cannot be argued with. But I made the mistake of looking on Zaccy boy’s Wiki page and it made me dislike him less. I mean, he’s done some quite good things and seems to appreciate some quite good causes/ideologies.

Fortunately, I soon came back to my senses: he is a poor little rich kid, (apparently) caught red-handed after doing something naughty and he is reacting in the exact way that would earn him a slap in the real world*.

Yay for late, half-baked reactions to things!

*Hahaha, as if I inhabit anything like the real world.

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Search engine optimisation (SEO), or: how to optimise for search engines on the internet, using things like snappy titles

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a fun thing to learn about at work, because it tells you exactly how to go about incorporating search engine optimisation (SEO) into your website. I have to say I had already got some education on the benefits of search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as the methods in which to successfully use search engine optimisation (SEO) on the number of websites I wrote for before I had this job. Nevertheless, you can never complain when search engine optimisation (SEO) is involved, as it is a useful thing to have (search engine optimisation (SEO), that is).

Seriously though, I have been paid real, actual, genuine money in the past – not much, but still money for crack and hookers and stuff – to write SEO-based articles. Now this may not tie in with this whole ‘artistic integrity’ thing we hear so much about, but I really did want to eat that week. Anyway, it’s seen me write about just about every country in the world (and how to buy houses there), Umbro products (sacked in a day) and drug rehab clinics, methods, symptoms and whatever else. It is a weird world.

It’s especially weird when you consider the stuff you’re writing – which is, I might add, based on genuine, reasonably deep research – isn’t used for anything other than making the site you’re doing it for appear higher on search rankings. You get your words published, but it’s a very, very hollow feeling when they’re actually up there. Especially when you’ve been in touch with Belarusian officials only for them to tell you “No. British cannot buy house here.”

Oh, search engine optimisation (SEO), you sly pooch.

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The McDonald’s poem advert: my version

I don’t watch TV a huge amount, and one of the key reasons is because I cannot stand adverts. It may shock you to learn I’ve been over this before. But out of all of the rip-offs, all of the sanctimonious, insincere nonsense, of all the half-baked notions of ‘art’, the other rip-offs and the painfully unfunny scripts that take up your mind-time in ad breaks, there is one thing that makes me want to vomit my gonads out through my nostrils before picking said gonads up and ramming them down the throat of whichever prick it is that first thought of this fucking advert. I present to you exhibit A:

Rather than keep on whining though, instead I’m going to combat this menace with a poem of my own. Bear with me, I haven’t written one of these since I was in the sixth form.

Now the scallies and the scrotes
The idiots and the muppets
Were just going for a Maccy D’s.

And the other townies and chavs
Called Shaz, or Baz
Were just spending their benefits on Big Macs for their six-month-old babies.

The morons and scrubbers
Too poor of intelligence to notice this stuff kept them pizza-faced well into adulthood
Were just passing by… but then stopping in because they can’t resist a MACCY D’s.

Then the thieves and the muggers
The kind who’ll happily stab chuggers
Turned up to spend the money they’d robbed from an old woman on Quarter Pounders.

And the children who should know better
And their parents who aren’t much older
Are just getting drunk and arguing with the security guard on the door.

Now the neds with their baseball caps
Aren’t surprised McDonald’s needs security guards
‘Cos they were the ones who stabbed someone in the bogs last week.

Then the inquisitive little girl
Just had to go and hurl
When she asked daddy what they put in those milkshakes.

And Gaz, Baz and Daz
All halfway through a night on the razz
Were just having a brawl in the children’s area.

Then it all just sinks in
An epiphany over the din
“I think I will just pass this place by”.

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FHM used to have funny captions. No really – that’s the subject.

Men’s magazines are tawdry little rags, full of the kind of half-literate nonsense you would expect a talented bunch of writers to have to dumb themselves down to in order to get their point across to their target audience (I’m not allowed to be overly critical, as I know someone who writes for Zoo and he’s alright, and I write for a magazine aimed at 14-year-olds). They are, not to put too fine a point on it, a great deal of shit.

But! Yes, I’m going down the but route (haha, like “butt”, like they would feature in a lads mag hahaha), but not for the reasons you may expect. I enjoyed reading some elements of FHM in my younger days – articles about the FBI sniper, for example, I still remember as they were genuinely very interesting. Loaded had Office Pest, which is the basis of a surprising amount of my humour, now I think about it. Zoo and Nuts didn’t exist then. Ah, better days.

But no – my defence is of one particular element: FHM’s captions. Whichever sub they had working on those things was a fucking genius. You could be bored of staring at Gail Porter’s arse, tire of whichever Danny Dyer of the day was taking up valuable page-space or simply not care about their surprising attitude towards male grooming (i.e. they actually gave a shit), but flicking through any issue you would be able to pick up dozens of captions per issue that were genuinely, guffaw-inducingly funny.

I have to write my own captions, and I try to be funny with them, but nothing for me has ever come close to some of the wonderfully observed, downright funny things written in FHM during ‘the past’. Subtleties in images would be picked up on and used as the basis of jokes you had to actually think about, inanimate objects would often be involved as characters in the image and they just made me laugh. Stop making me justify myself. Check out Zoo and Nuts these days to see pale, pale, pale imitations of the glory days. I’d say check FHM, but I have no idea what it’s like anymore.

So yes – well done, caption people of FHM’s past. You made me laugh. A lot.

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A childhood without an ending

How many of you ever actually saw the end to your favourite childhood cartoons? Hands up. Come on now – don’t be shy. And I don’t mean recently, via either Youtube or the craptons of DVD releases – I mean when you were a kid, when you were supposed to be watching them. How many of you saw the ending to a cartoon, or kids show in general, as an actual kid? I honestly can’t think of one time.

I mean, I originally thought that Transformers: The Movie offered some kind of closure and new beginnings (yeah, I’m sure I thought all this aged three, when it came out), but at the beginning of the second series they just brought Optimus Prime back and carried on. It’s a bit of a cop out, as much as I love Optimus. And then, of course, the series has gone on forever in numerous guises and never looks to actually stop or finish anywhere.

What about something else? Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors? I loved that show as a young ‘un, even though I never got any of the toys. Thanks parents. But did I see the ending? Did I fuck. Why? Well, because (according to my good friend Wikipedia) they never actually made one. The series was cancelled because the toys didn’t sell well enough, so in a roundabout way I can actually directly blame my parents for never having seen the end to Jayce’s quest to be reunited with his father. I always thought the ending should be that Saw Boss is his dad, but hey ho.

He-Man? No ending to speak of. Thundercats? Friends told me of an ending, where Lion-O threw Mumm-Ra’s sarcophagus into the fountain of life or something, but I never saw that. Ulysses 31? It had an ending, but I never saw it as a kid. Why? Because the fucking thing was on at about 6am. Even at eight years old this was too early to be getting up. I didn’t even watch the ending when Ben, my old housemate, got the series on DVD. Hmm. M.A.S.K? No idea.

But what prompted this? Well, it turns out one of my most hated series for seemingly never ending actually did have an ending. Dungeons & Dragons was an irritant, Uni was a little prick, the characters were gimps, Dungeon Master was an annoying little shit and the only redeeming thing about it was Venger. I watched so much of it it infuriated me I never got to see an ending – but there was an ending planned and written, just never produced. See?

I have no major point to close on here, nor am I going to tie up any loose ends in this entry. It’s not like these cartoons had an effect on me or anything…

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