Sunday, 30 March 2014

12 Bigoted Comments On UK Gay Marriage That Are Too Hilarious Not To Share

So the first same-sex weddings just happened in the UK, and the BBC did a news thingy on it - with the comments left on!

Obviously, rule #71.3b of the internet is Don't Read The Comments. But luckily for you and me, the lowest-rated comments are hilarious. Because the bigots who wrote them are clearly so powerless, so clueless and so irrelevant, their hate is frankly laughable.

Did I mention "bad at spelling" too? Because we start with...

1. Slipper Slop

Thanks Kelly for reminding us we only punish paedophiles because God says so. Not because it's wrong or anything like that!

2. Arranged Marriages

Indians practice arranged marriages, and if we know one thing about Indians, it's that they love gays.
And just imagine being forced to marry someone of the wrong sex! No-one ever had to face that until now.

3. Cricket On The Greens

What's next? Humans marrying animals? Adults marrying children? Playing cricket on the golf green???
The Gay Mafia's inappropriate conquest of sports locations is AN ABOMINATION.

4. The Days Of Noah and Sodom & Gomorrah

Was that like #100daysofhappiness, only back in biblical times?
I'm glad to know God is responsible for our "natural order", including parasites, cancer and rapey dolphins. What a guy.

5. During My Breakfast

Hey Norman! Sad to hear that seeing men kissing men makes you feel physically sick. Shall we stop all the gays of Britain kissing in public just in case you're walking down the street? Or maybe, you could stop being such a twat? Yeah maybe that.

6. I Live In Russia Now

Because as we all learned from Sochi, Russians are super big on TOLERANCE.

7. If Gays Always Win

Jim's right. What if the gays always win? Winning at pinball, winning at cricket on the golf course, and now winning at sex. All the straight people should pack up and just stop having babies, there's no hope of winning now.

8. Just Does Not Seem Right

Cheers Allan, glad to know your generation did things on the basis that they just seemed right, like the Crusades and burning Catholics.

9. Marriage Has Been Broken Forever

If anyone tries marriage now, all they get is a 404 message saying "Pre-biblical ritual not found".

10. Same Poles Always Repel

I'm amazed all these gay people want to marry incompatible people that they absolutely cannot stand to be around.

11. Oxford English Dictionary

Thanks to Denaris for pointing out that gay people clearly can't read the dictionary, which has been dictating our existence for the last 6,000 years after being invented by God (Day 5, between llamas and asbestos).

And sorry, I can't lie, "want want want" made me piss myself laughing. Piss. Everywhere. Still. Laughing.

12. Children Have No Say In The Matter

It's so important that we stop children being brought up by loving, committed parents who happen to be gay, and restrict it purely and simply to Absolutely Anyone Else.


As a final bonus, here's the top-rated lowest-rated (uh, whatever) comment on the whole comments section. I'm not sure it deserves to be in the top (worst?) spot, over all these other nasty comments - it just seems like a selfish man taking pride in his family's obnoxious homophobia. Oh yeah, maybe that's why!

13. More Inheritance For Me

Huzzah! You keep all that money from the silly lesbian, Trent. She's only your dirty, sinful sister after all.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bitch all you want: #nomakeupselfie is the most women you've ever seen without makeup

The backlash to #nomakeupselfie was predictable: from people upset about the attention cancer gets over other awful diseases, to those who are convinced selfies of any kind = narcissism = downfall of civilisation.

Well I don't have a huge amount to offer the debate that hasn't been said already. But just remember this, world: this brief charity internet craze has shown you and I more women without makeup in the same 48hrs than we've ever seen.

And that's as good thing, by the way.

In general, women wear makeup on a daily basis: usually to the office, always to a party, sometimes to the gym, always to an interview, etc.

And let's be clear, this isn't about creative expression. It sometimes is a creative expression. But as a guy who wears makeup occasionally, let me confirm this: no-one expects guys to wear makeup, so I can generally do it however the fuck I like.

The pressure and expectation for women to wear makeup on a daily basis is about looking conventionally pretty, and looking "normal".

So we live in a time where most people have no clue what women look like without makeup on.

And it's a circular situation. Because no-one wants to be the one who stops, and then gets called ugly.

Maybe it's just most men who don't know - after all, women generally learn from a young age how to put on conventional makeup, so they probably have a better idea how to recognise it.

And maybe this age has been going on for decades or centuries - the art of artifice goes back a long way in many cultures.

But this is the 21st century and we like to think we have freedom and individual choice. And that doesn't mean the freedom for women to either conform to society's bullshit double standards - men shouldn't ever wear makeup, and women should always look pretty - or get called "tired" and "ugly".

If you can appreciate the difference, I'm not arguing against makeup. Maybe we could do with more makeup overall, in all the ways and places it's lacking - like the massive gulf between makeup (anywhere) and face paint (only for circus performers and 3-year-olds).

Personally, I put it on - mostly just eyeliner, usually for gigs and dates - because it's fun. Makeup should be fun. It should be fun and expressive and creative, for men and women. And it should be a choice.

But really, it's neither of these things. Makeup is mostly about looking conventionally feminine, pretty and "normal", and for most women it's an obligation, not a choice.

Posting a picture of yourself without makeup on shouldn't be a noteworthy act. It certainly shouldn't be shocking enough to deserve the backlash we've seen in the media and online.

But until we live in a world where most people just shrug, instead of firing off a barrage of angry abuse, I think #nomakeupselfie is a small but welcome step in rejecting makeup as a pressure and making it a choice.

(Oh, and it raised a bunch of money for cancer research too. Which isn't a bad thing, by the way.)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

"I Believe In Dinosaurs" radio mix 2014
Here's a new mix of "I Believe In Dinosaurs", free for you to enjoy. Download & share, blah blah blah!

Back in the UK last year, I asked bedroom-pop-rocker and Library Suits bassist/songsmith Matthew Langley (AKA The Captain What) if he could produce a radio-quality mix/master of "Dinosaurs" in return for payment of fancy cider and takeaway. His response, and I quote, was:
"Sure thing! Let's just - oh what, we have to use YOUR software and plugins? Or LACK OF, I should say... What is this? Why is this peaking? Did you record this with a spatula? Mumble mumble mumble..."
The goal was to get a mix of Dinosaurs which wasn't just good enough for watching the Youtube video with laptop speakers, but that I can send off to US college radio, Aus radio, reviews and other places for some promotion.

While this mix/master lacks the - uh - optimistic character of the original Dinosaurs single mix, or the youthful exuberance of the Airfix Democracies mix, it is far cleaner, clearer, higher-quality, and just flat out better.

It's not perfect of course - we didn't finish the vocals in our final session before I left to score drugs (cough drugs, sleep drugs, etc.) in Thailand. So I've made a few tweaks myself, which include dropping the rhythm guitars about half a dB and pushing my vocals up by the same amount. It IS a pop song, after all!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

5 Things I Learned About Melbourne Looking For A House

Melbourne CBD: Your soul is in
transit until you leave
I only have experience living in 3 cities: Bristol, as a spoiled student; London, as a lifelong visitor; and Wellington, as a resident without residency.

None of these were good practice for moving to Melbourne.

1. Melbourne is not a city #1: It's a series of little cities (which don't exist)

Melbourne doesn't appear on any addresses. It kind of doesn't really exist.

"Melbourne" is actually the Central Business District (CBD), a large expensive rectangle of tall buildings which everyone has to pass through to get anywhere. That's why suburbs like "North Melbourne" are in the middle of Melbourne, not actually in the Northern part of Melbourne.

Outside of the CBD, it's suburbs - except they all belong to mythical "cities", like the City of Yarra, City of Port Philip, City of Moreland, City of Moonee Valley, City of Moominland, City of Darebin, City of Knox, City of Fort Knox, Shire of Yarra Ranges, Shire of Middle Earth, City of Nillumbik, City of Humperdink... seriously, I've only made a few of these up.

These are technically real places because they each have a local municipal government, but other than that, they don't exist at all. And they don't appear in addresses either.

2. Melbourne is not a city #2: It's a series of small towns

Imagine an entire county, a whole region, populated by interconnected towns which have nothing to do with each other. That's Melbourne.

Each suburb is like a little town. Moving to Melbourne? Pick a town, any town. You will live here now. You don't live in Melbourne, you live here.

If your town happens to be missing things like a music shop, a supermarket, a bakery, a bike shop, cafes, a train station - whatever it is, stuff you might need - well, you suck it up and you walk/bike/tram it to the next town.

Not the bus though. Only peasants take the bus.

3. There's no point living close to the centre

Melbourne CBD is not a desirable place to be, despite the prices that suggest otherwise. Apparently no-one actually likes it, and apart from a few essential services which don't exist outside the CBD, no-one even goes there much.

To reiterate - there is no "success" in finding a house or flat near the centre, unless you're a suit who thinks most of your "commute" should be the elevator ride to your office. You might as well have a house near a major airport. Sure it's useful, maybe, like, every now and again. But no-one walks to the airport. And airports are transitory. No-one likes spending much time at the airport. Thus it goes with the CBD.

4. This is your life and it's ending 2 hours at a time

"Hey I live just up the road!"
700km up the road.
Anywhere you go, it takes an hour.
  • Going to work? Allow an hour.
  • Going for drinks? Allow an hour.
  • Meeting a friend for coffee? Allow an hour.
  • Realised you left something at a friend's house? Allow an hour. To get there. And another one to get back.
It's therefore impossible to get anything done in your lunch hour ("Congratulations, you made it to the CBD! Now turn around and go back"), or even the working week, depending which services your suburb actually has open after 6pm.

No wonder people spend all their time in their isolated little town, I mean suburb, I definitely meant suburb. To enjoy the city as a whole would mean living, breathing, existing as a commuter.

Unless of course, you get a bike! Bikes fix everything, right?

5. Getting a bicycle will save you time, not change the fabric of space

1 gear? "IT'S TOO MANY" roars Melbourne
Get that bike! Get accessories for it! Get excited about it! Get a racing bike! Get a fixie! Get a racing fixie that costs $700! Get a double-decker bike! Get a low-rider gangster tricycle! Just don't get a mountain bike with gears though, no no no. Practical? UGH.

It is absolutely worth getting a bike in Melbournia - it'll save you time, save you money, and give you some exercise too. You can get all over the place, get out of the city, go on wine trips, go out in town, get drunk and cycle home when you really probably shouldn't.

I'm a bike believer and I absolutely support everything about bikes.

However. What having a bike won't do is move your home closer to, well, anywhere. It won't create a little black hole and transport the universe around you, so that you teleport to your favourite landmark or restaurant or bar. It won't launch into the sky and navigate with Google Flying Carpet to your mate's place 7km on the other side of town.

Bikes are one of the most amazing machines of the 20th century (yes, their impact and identity belongs firmly in the 20th). But there's a limit to what they can do.

Postscript, context, whinging
  • Bristol was the first city I lived in. In my student house, we bought a city road map and stuck it on the wall, next to the hand-drawn "Which drink has the most alcohol per GBP?" chart (Ye Olde English cider, apparently, with 51ml of alcohol per GBP). And like everyone else, I believed that the middle part of the map - enlarged in a red box in the corner - was the entire universe worth going to. South of the river? HERE BE DRAGONS AND CHAVS.
  • Wellington is probably not a good example of a capital city. It's cute, it's small. The BFG could probably sneeze on top of the tallest building in the CBD. You can walk everywhere, unless you live, like, way out of town, like Island Bay or somewhere, which is 15 MINUTES on the bus. Fuck that. (Except don't because Island Bay is lovely.)
  • London IS a big city. But that's the thing - it's a big, dense, city. You know what you're dealing with. Even the no-man's-land spaces between outer boroughs still have 20-storey blocks of flats, there's still stuff and people. Go one tube stop and you've probably passed more people overhead than the whole of Luxembourg. That's okay. Luxembourg understands.
The difference between Melbourne and London is density.

Last year, going on expensive dates in London (the dates weren't that expensive, the train tickets were), I realised I could get from the door of my house - in my market town 50km outside the East of the centre of London - to pretty much anywhere in London within 2 hours, often just 90mins. 90mins. That included 25mins walking to the station and a 35min train journey - the longest part was just getting into London.

However, despite having the same population as New Zealand in an area the size of Auckland, Melbourne still suffers from the same problem as Dorkland - lack of density. There are, apparently, not enough people to warrant decent transport in the parts of the city without tall buildings; it's usually quicker to travel into the city and out again, even if it's further, than wait for a bus which is kind of going to the suburb next to the one you want to go to. There's not even a city bus map, that's how Melbourne feels about buses.

After growing up 35-40mins on the train from London, I felt like a failure looking at houses in Melbourne which were 30+mins tram ride and/or metro train from the centre. (Houses, by the way, not "flats" - even if you live in a flat, you apparently actually live in a "house".) Now, this is not comparing apples with apples, as they say. But it still felt like, am I even in the city? If there's no point living near the centre, what's the point paying more rent to live in the "inner" suburbs? Why not live out in Thornbury, or Sudbury Hills, or Ballarat? What's the difference?

The fact is, Melbourne is frequently ranked the most liveable city on the planet. The. So, whether or not the list is 100% accurate, Melbourne is pretty high up there. (My doubts arise from Dorkland frequently appearing around number 10-20, despite the fact you need a car to live in Dorkland, which doesn't sound very liveable to me. Wellington never appears on these lists, despite the fact you can walk everywhere.) So even living a bit outside the centre - the vortex which I am not sure really is as dull and vacuous as people tell me - you're still living in one of the most desirable, liveable, happiest places on the planet.

It's all part of learning about living in a new place.
And yes, I'll be getting a bike soon.