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Wrestling, or: why I’ve never grown up

I may have mentioned before that I am still a fan of wrasslin’. Judge as you see fit, I couldn’t give a fook. Anyway, it’s fun to see the effect the live events have on those who aren’t really into it, or haven’t really been paying attention to developments since they were a kid or whatever.

It’s just like gaming, really. People make assumptions based on whatever they think they’re supposed to assume – it’s all for kids, so it can’t possibly offer any entertainment, right? Well wrasslin’ isn’t high art, but it’s a damn good show – a spectacle, to use the lingo of the WWE.

Aside from the fake fighting itself, it’s just incredibly impressive to see how well-oiled everything is. Stage hands are constantly moving about the place, removing used pyro effects and replacing them with ones for upcoming entrances, changing the ring covers in a matter of seconds, keeping the general area free of crap, cameramen running about getting half a dozen impressive shots as it’s all going on, videos, music, stuff, everything, millions of dollars worth of shit that could go wrong and it rarely does.

That’s impressive, if not a bit boring to write about. Whatevs, I’ve already pointed out I’m not on top mental form right now.

But I got to see Diesel in the flesh on Sunday, I met Alberto Del RRRRRRRIIIIIIIIOOOOOO and Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston jumped really really high. So yeah, I had fun and so did the people who don’t even like wrasslin’. Because it’s great. What a compelling argument I make.

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Riot on the streets of HA HA WHAT AN ORIGINAL TITLE

I’ve been sidetracked this evening watching rolling coverage of the disturbances across London and Birmingham. To be fair, it made watching the never-progressing, based-on-guesswork, often-repeating nature of 24-hour news a bit more interesting as we got to see a building burn to the ground in real, linear time.

I’m sure the footage will be repeated on a loop for the next few days though.

But as it’s progressed all we’ve seen is the usual bollocks – the voices of authority figures showing how utterly clueless they are, spouting off buzzwords repeatedly to get them into the national psyche and make us know what to think about the whole situation. “Opportunistic criminality”, mainly.

I don’t disagree with that, I just disagree with the notions of these people having to repeatedly tell us, having to beg these people who would never be listening to them in the first place to stop doing what they’re doing, because people like the figures spouting these catchphrases ignored the people in the riots in the first place.

I don’t even know if that makes sense.

And the next person to say “it’s a bad advert for the capital” or “it reflects badly on the country” needs a massive slap in the face. Underlying problems are a thing to be ashamed about. Flash in the pan disturbances are something that will be quelled and forgotten about.

I know the dumber among you will assume this is a defence of looting, violence and general directionless civil disobedience. It is not. It is simply a re-reaction to the endless, idiotic reactions I’ve been seeing and hearing on the news.

Yes, opportunistic smash and grabs are not a direct result of disenfranchisement. But to discount the effects of being brought up in a world where you have nothing to look forward to, where you’re demonised for simply being brought up in a certain area and economic bracket – that’s even more stupid than some fat idiot robbing a TK Maxx.

There is always an underlying cause; all you have to do is follow the trail far enough. The old saying is ‘follow the money’, but in this case it’s ‘follow the lack of money, opportunity or future’.

You can say ‘ask those on the street what they’re “protesting” and they won’t know what to tell you’. I agree. But if these people were brought up in an environment where they had hope, where they had a reason to belong in our big friendly society – do you think they’d be out on the streets now? If they had the upbringing you had – that I had – while we sit here commenting on Twitter and not rioting, do you think we’d be rioting? Ohnowait.

I’m sure I have more, but I’m done for now. I’m angry at the rioters, but I’m managing to be more angry at others.

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I need to buy a fileofax, or something

I really am that damn bad at organising or arranging things – this has been proven with birthdayageddon. Giving people who live hundreds of miles away a week’s notice, said week’s notice being a week’s notice for god knows what seeing as I hadn’t actually thought what we’d be doing, it getting to Friday and me deciding near-silently it would be my actual birthday thing, then re-deciding on today it would be today instead, like originally planned.

I don’t know why my brain can’t just think, sort it out, tell people and just get on with it. I’ve arranged good things before, but they were mainly a result of two things: they just randomly ended up being good and fun (see: BBQs at my basement flat), or because somebody else took the reins (see: whenever Ben is in a ten-mile radius and feels the organising itch).

When it’s just me doing it and it needs some actual attention? Nah, goes tits up mate.

Still, we shall see what happens this eve. So far I don’t think anybody bar one or two can be bothered coming out, as last night was a heavy one. Understandable. I’ll just end up upside down in a ditch, on fire. On my own. Or something.

Mid-year resolution: next birthday I will try and arrange something better. Or I will get someone else to arrange it for me, as I am shit at this malarkey.

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War, it’s good for me (what’s my name? THUNDERCLEESE!)

I, as a person with a brain and stuff, obviously abhor war. It is a terrible thing, shows us all up for the barely-developed apes we are and is always the most ruthless and merciless in its treatment of those on the bottom rung of life’s ladder. It’s shit, basically.

At the same time I, as a person who likes watching things explode, can’t get enough of war as entertainment. Naturally I mean through movies, books, games and whatever else, but also in the news. I find it gripping to watch the footage of fiery death raining down on these distant cities around the world, and I don’t think it makes me a bad person to admit that I do find it entertaining.

Why wouldn’t you? It’s a fireworks display more powerful than any you’ll ever see at your shitty local park. It’s thrilling in more ways than one – the simple, visceral excitement you get from watching things blow up goes hand-in-hand with the fact that your leaders of your countries have decided – on your behalf – to be the alpha male for once, rather than their usual ‘let’s talk it over’ attitude.

Violence is bad. It’s rarely a means to an end that can be taken in good conscience. But that doesn’t stop it from triggering something in your brain and getting your Wow Gland tingling. They weren’t lying when they said shock and awe, and it truly is a time where the word ‘awesome’ can come into play.

The destruction of nations and their people is a horrible thing to think about. So let’s just not think about it, yeah? Let’s sit in our cosy armchairs and watch the big booms going off, placated by the mesmeric flashing imagery until we finally tire of it, switching channels to catch the rest of Take Me Out. And don’t ruin

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Point?

Wonders of the thingy thing-thing was on last night and prompted a few people on my Twitter feed to go a bit mental/voice their discontent at the perceived morbidity of the whole experience. Basically the irritatingly not that irritating scientist-cum-keyboardist was explaining how everything in the universe is going to die. The earth will die, our sun will die, every other star in the universe will die and in a long, long, long, long (looooong) time there will be nothing left at all.

Everything that ever is or was will be no more, and there will be no more ‘will be’. Ever. Done. Gone. Over.

Now this, of course, is a sobering thought. It’s not something said to scare or worry you, it’s just an apparent fact put out there so you know. Facing your mortality is one thing – you can think ‘I will do this and this in my life to make a mark on the world’. The fact that the entire universe will at some point simply cease to be? Well what’s the point in doing anything in your life then? Everything – everything – will stop. So why bother trying? There’s clearly no point, there’s clearly no god and there’s clearly no reason for us being here.

We are utterly, completely and totally insignificant in every conceivable way.

But it brought me to Carl Sagan, scientist-cum-dead-bloke and clear influence on Cox, and his Pale Blue Dot thang. Here:

Which puts a rather poignant spin on the whole situation, though that may just be my brain being told how to feel by the music (it’s better just reading that excerpt, actually). Yes we’re insignificant, but fuck it – you’ve got a bit of time to be nice to people then piss off forever. It’s all gravy. My mind was settled.

And then, on recommendation from a chum I finally watched the How TV Ruined Your Life which covers love. Obviously I’m back to having a bit of an existential crisis. Damn.

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Nothing to do with Nietzsche

I just turned on a game and heard two notes of a piano. I found an involuntary smile broke out, while the hairs on the back of my neck decided to stand themselves right up. I would say here ‘I’m often asked why I love games so much’, but I’m not – but let’s pretend I am. It’s games like Beyond Good and Evil that remind me why this hobby I have is a genuine passion that can make me legitimately happy.

There’s no denying the spectacle and bombast of things like Call Of Duty, and while I get some pleasure from it I ultimately don’t give two shits. There’s Halo, which I like but not enough to eulogise about. FIFA? Too annoying. Others? I can’t think right now. There’s a hell of a lot of good games out there – a hell of a lot of great games. But there’s only a handful that are done so well, so right that they actually have an effect on me. They actually stay with me. I remember them like any other cherished memory; recalling the time I spent engrossed in them and how enjoyable it was.

The good games you play, the great games you enjoy – but it’s only games like Beyond Good and Evil that change you in some way. It’s not even that good, from a strictly mechanical perspective, but does that matter? I think you know the answer. Your uncle is a bipedal pig. How was I ever going to do anything but adore it?

So if you ever do wonder why I like games as much as I do, remember: all it takes is the right two notes, and I’m yours.

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Come forth and be judged

One or more people, who will remain nameless, have brought up their reluctance to take part in or progress with One A Day for an interesting reason: other people will read what they write. It’s a feeling I know all too well, and one I’ve been battling with since I started putting words out to an audience beyond whoever went rooting through the papers stashed under my bed. So… 2001 then.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve can make you look unfashionable, I’m all too aware of that. In fact, just writing a pithy 200 words about a popular television show can make you look like an outcast if you don’t choose your words absolutely perfectly. But that’s not the point. The point is that you’re writing – you’re writing.

If your style is to write for other people, impress them and get them on your side, then that’s your style. If you find yourself drawn towards crafting lengthy, comma-and-hyphen-rich sentences, stacked to the gills with attempts to encourage people, engage those reading your words and raise a slight smile in those that realise you’ve decided to take the piss out of one of your own sentences halfway through writing it, then that’s who you are – it’s just, who you are. Just like your face is your face, your style is your style, your words are your words and your beliefs are your beliefs. No matter who or where you are, people will judge you for your words.

But that’s a good thing. I have had positive feedback, gained the respect of some people and even received job offers on the back of the words I have scrawled on my PC screen*. I have made people laugh, got them angry about the things I’m angry about and had them cry on the back of a collection of verbs, nouns and other things (I forget what they’re called. Wordsmith.) I have hastily cobbled together. I have shown people who know me that I am capable of more than monosyllabic grunts and I have shown those that don’t know me the very same thing.

I have also been relentlessly slated, had my integrity called into question more times than I care to remember, I’ve had my sexuality questioned even more times, I’ve been told I don’t know what I’m talking about when I absolutely do know what I’m talking about. I’ve been told I’m not funny, I’ve had jokes fall flat and I’ve had hasty pieces about apparently “not ill” celebrities blown right back in my face after they died. I’ve genuinely made mistakes as well as outright got things wrong through laziness and I’ve almost always been pulled up on this – though usually in unreasonably aggressive terms. I’ve even had death threats – genuinely. All because of things I’ve written. It’s cliché, but it is a simple case of taking the rough with the smooth. If that’s not for you then fair enough, but if you’re the kind of person who can learn to concentrate on the positives, or who can turn the anger against you into motivation and inspiration, or you can simply ignore the negatives then you’ll find that pumping your brain out onto a page for all to see is an infinitely rewarding thing.

Anybody who says blogs are shit is an idiot. Even if they are shit. The best advice I can offer, as if I’m some wizened old jedi of writing and not just a two-bit hack with some time to kill on a train is this: don’t listen to anybody, whether they’re supportive or not. Just get on with it. That’s obviously aimed at the One A Day crew, but it applies to writing as a whole. I still hate the fact people read what I write, but I just get on with it. Simple as.

*’On’ doesn’t mean with permanent marker, physically on the screen. Numbskulls.

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