Monthly Archives: May 2013

Facebook Continues to Fight on Behalf of the Bastards

(via @EveryDaySexism and  Calling on feminist programmers: It’s time for a mass exodus from Facebook.)

Facebook has been taking a bit of a kicking from feminists recently. Since they have decided that:

  1. Images women upload of themselves breastfeeding are indecent and should be removed.
  2. Images men upload of unconscious women with ‘hilarious’ captions such as “Roofies: Just too easy” are perfectly acceptable and should stay up.

The number of such images/groups which upload such images which have been reported and ignored boggles belief. Women Action Media has started the #FBRape campaign, to try to pressure advertisers into removing their ads for as long as Facebook continues to endorse violence against women.

I am so behind this. Companies will continue to do whatever they like until people organise and pressure them in unity. Facebook is no different. The people advertise with them need to understand that their adverts indirectly support this kind of behaviour. This is the best kind of activism – it is easy to get involved, it will make a real difference if successful and most of all it’s effective. A quick flick through Women Action Media’s website will get you to a list of their victories so far.

However, it takes more than merely organising to stop those geniuses at Facebook from being total pricks. The main link at the top of this post is from a woman who has been banned from Facebook for asking them to stop letting vile posts stay on their website. It boggles my fucking mind. Cyber-feminism has clearly never been more important – many props to all the people fighting to make a difference.

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Act of Terror on Vimeo

Act of Terror on Vimeo on Vimeo

With the police currently getting into scuffles with Unite Against Fascism outside Whitehall, I thought I should call attention to this video. The police have powers over us by consent – they don’t get to do what they like, when they like.

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The Champions League Final in Review

As we sit down on our couch, the teams are just walking out of the tunnel. We’ve skipped the build up, obviously, because we’re making Goulash and we’ve only just finished frying off the paprika. Still, it’s always good to miss the bit where Adrian Chiles pretends to care who Roy Keane thinks will win. Borussia Dortmund step out first, dressed in yellow and black like a stag night dressing up as early 90s referees. Munich follow, their red jerseys so dull as to be beyond comment.

The trophy is led out last. Carried by a Prussian general and a knight of the Holy Roman Empire, it is clear that this is not just a football match: this is an all out war to discover who is best at kicking leather towards a target. This is no mere football game. This is a battle to the death, if by death you mean “scoring the fewest goals.”

The teams line up to listen to the anthem of the Champions League. The only bit of the song I understand rings out: “THE CHAAAAAAMPIOOOONS, Buh buh bah bah baaaaaah,” The players applaud and the camera pans across to the referees, who have their own mascots! Their own mascots dressed as referees! I’m so excited by this it’s unreal. 5 year old referees make me happy, because I’m pretty sure they’ll grow up to be as obsessed with grammar as I am.

The game is ready to kick off. I am comfortable and leaning back in my seat with my girlfriend next to me. We both wait with baited breath for the first time Andy Townsend tries to pronounce Błaszczykowski. The first 6 minutes are characterised by lots of pressure from Borussia Dortmund, although it only culminates in 3 shit corners and a snatched shot. Lewandowski begins brightly, but it is 9:56 into the game when the first really entertaining thing happens – Błaszczykowski gets his first touch! Old Andy has clearly been coached, because his pronunciation is basically on the money (streaks ahead of his “Wojciech Tomasz Szczęsny” anyway).

We are playing the Andy Townsend drinking game tonight. If you haven’t heard of it, you need to drink whenever:

  1. Andy Townsend mixes up the singular and the plural versions of the word goal. Cf. “He gets his head up, takes one look at the goals, and fires off a shot.”
  2. Any time Andy Townsend gives a player a piece of advice, and then the exact opposite advice 2 minutes later.
  3. Whenever Andy Townsend commentates like Clive Tyldesley decided to let a 5 year-old boy do the analysis instead of a professional broadcaster. For instance using goalie instead of goalkeeper.

One is usually somewhat squiffy by the end of the night, but Andy’s clearly been given some lessons for this one. While I am considering AT’s new found clarity, the camera cuts to a sequence of shots of nervous looking German women. Then we see a group of Munich fans clapping in slow, but perfect, time. Even the Germans’ chanting is ruthlessly efficient.

We are now 16 minutes in and Neuer has already had a great game. 18 minutes and Ribery decides to make his presence known. A ball hits him, and he acts as if he’s been punched hard in the gut, which is ironic given his sex assault charges. Even more ironic since he looks like he wouldn’t be out of place wearing a scary mask and carrying a massive knife in a shit 90s slasher movie.

3 more saves for Neuer now and many close-ups of Lewandowski, who looks like a talented Vernon Kay. But less irritating. Bayern Munich begin to make their mark on the game and I forgive Lewandowski’s appearance when I realise Mandžukić looks like a tubby Greg Rusedski. Robben gets the best chance of the game so far, but Borussia’s goalie (DRINK!) saves with his face.

Dawn (aka, the girlfriend) sees a tweet about the Voice. We privately wonder if the singing from the Borussia fans is more, or less, annoying than the Battles round. Nature gets the better of me at 30:30 and I leave to attend its call. I hurry back, fearful of what I may miss. It turns out I needn’t have worried – shit all has gone down.

Once I’m settled back down, two more chances follow for Robben – but on both occasions he forgets he has teammates. Wanker. He has words with one of Borussia’s full backs and we get to see a shot of them standing next to one another. It is like a waxwork Jason Statham standing next to an extra in a shit 80s pop rock video.

Half-time arrives. 0-0, but more importantly it is time to prepare the dumplings for the Goulash. Since I’m working away at my traditional Hungarian casserole I miss the entire half-time break, so instead I fill in the half-time with guesses. Someone in the comments should let me know if I’m correct:

  1. Ray Winstone goes on and fucking on  about how “it’s all about the in-play!”
  2. Roy Keane makes a joke about his tackling.
  3. Adrian Chiles overuses the word thrilling.
  4. Gareth Southgate does nothing of any note whatsoever.

I breathlessly anticipate the start of the second half. I am breathless because the dumplings were a bit more work than I expected and because every time I breathe in all I can sense is Goulash-smell. Goulash-smell makes me feel faint with hunger. I see a panning shot of the Borussia Dortmund end in their yellow kit. Zoomed this far out, the only thing I can think to do is to belt out the lyrics to Sting’s Fields of Gold:

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of go—

Until Dawn yells at me. 49 minutes and 43 seconds in, and ITV cut to a pitchside cameraman just as he stumbles over a photographer – always the most entertaining point of any game of football. I realise that the lettering on Borussia Dortmund’s shirts are in the 2012 London Olympics font. Perhaps it was cheaper to just dye the German Olympic team’s shirts yellow?

At 53:00 we cut to a shot of Angela Merkel, supposedly the most powerful woman on the planet. If that’s the case, why does she have such shit seats? At 54 minutes and 17 seconds, my hunger gets the better of me – I am checking on the Goulash instead of paying attention to the football.

Luckily there is currently a slight lull in the action. The most entertaining thing right now is a player named Bender. No sooner do I stop finding that funny, than Bayern Munich break the deadlock. I have nothing interesting to add to that point as I had been rooting for Borussia Dortmund and am now a bit put out.

I am in no mood for Clive Tyldesley’s ‘statistics’ right now.

Real Madrid couldn’t score against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. Barcelona couldn’t score against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. Borussia Dortmund will need to find a goal against Bayern Munich now if they don’t want to lose this final.

Thanks, Clive, for explaining the rules of football like we didn’t know them. It’s 66 minutes in now, and the ‘stats’ are coming thick and fast: “We’ve not had a 1-0 final since 1998,” we are told. Like anyone cares.

I am suddenly revived by an unbelievable penalty for Borussia Dortmund. I say unbelievable, but I mean fucking hilarious. As if to prove how silly the foul was, we cut to a Munich fan looking pensive. A fan who looks like an Aryan Eminem. The penalty is scored. Borussia are level. The commentators cannot resist a sly dig about Germans and penalties. Everything feels right with the world, until Andy Townsend gets overexcited and starts wibbling on about the “goalie”. I have my first drink of the night. Then Andy gets carried away and calls it a “pen” instead of a penalty. I pour myself another drink.

Now that Dortmund are level my mind can return to the Goulash, which is nearly finished cooking. The combination of beef, paprika and exciting football leads me in to a feeling of ecstasy, in which I feel like I am floating outside of myself. Then a terrible sensation of tautology grips me, and I wonder if I am repeating myself.

WOW! An incredible goal-line clearance from Borussia, which I miss as I am serving the Goulash. Then an incredible disallowed goal  form Lewandowski, which I miss because I am slicing bread. When I return to the couch, there’s a crowd shot and I suddenly realise all the stewards are Borussia Dortmund fans (at the very least they’re in Borussia Dortmund colours).

Moments later a cynical challenge comes crashing in from Arjen Robben just as I realise that the Goulash is as good as I remember it. The game and the food is so good I’m almost looking forward to extra time.

Suddenly however, disaster strikes. And by disaster, I mean Arjen Robben. The sight of Bayern Munich scoring in the final two minutes of the game forces my Goulash to drop four of its letters and become merely Ash in my mouth. Bayern Munich must surely be the winner. Bayern waste time with a substitution. One Mario off for another. It’s almost unlucky there’s no one named Luigi on the pitch.

The final whistle blows and Bayern Munich are champions. I have now lost all interest. Dawn suggests I watch the lifting of the trophy. I comply, but first have to listen to Adrian Chiles talk about “the men at the Bayern end” and “the men at the Borussia end” as if no women in all of Germany watch football, before ITV skip to an ad break.

Whilst bored of the adverts, I consider the game I have just seen. It was fast-paced, entertaining and at times controversial. As was I. But Dawn and I agree that it missed the balls-to-the-wall action of Yeovil Town against Brentford in the League 1 Play-Off Final one week previously. It also missed that lovely emotional feeling you get when holding your balls up against a wall.

Watching Borussia Dortmund climb the stairs dejectedly to receive their loser’s medals, I start to wonder if maybe I should have seconds of the Goulash. Klopp is given literally the shittiest trophy I have ever seen in my life. It looks like a logo for an independent tyre manufacturer in some tiny village in Sussex.

Bayern Munich players kiss the trophy as they walk past it, although Dawn points out that they look as if they are caressing their pregnant girlfriend’s belly as they do so. Suddenly the proceedings become unintentionally hilarious.

Lahm lifts the trophy on behalf of the Bayern Munich team. There is lots of noise, lots of cheering and our commentators provide lots of hyperbole. Gold and silver tickets fall down from above the trophy area. If the Bayern Munich team pick up enough of them, Richard O’Brien will come on and offer them a pony trekking holiday across Great Yarmouth. Just like in the Crystal Maze.

I turn the TV off. The game is done. Football is finished until it begins again. I have one final thought: I never believed I could truly, deeply hate someone. I never believed it was possible to be filled with a hate so powerful that it might burst out of me at any moment. Never, that is, until Heineken put that fucking wanker in the same pompous advert at the beginning and end of every ad break throughout an entire 90 minutes of stupid football. Him, I hate.

Well done, Bayern Munich.

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Methinks the Met Doth Protest Too Much

The Metropolitan Police released a statement today about a series of dawn raids that took place this morning in a crackdown on burglars. While I obviously think it is important that we make efforts to find stolen goods and to prosecute burglars, some of the language used in the statement gets my back up. It’s almost as if the Met are worried people might thik that this wasn’t a stellar use of 1000 officers and they’re trying to get thier defence in before any shit comes their way [emphasis mine]:

Supported by Tower Hamlets Council the meticulously-executed operation resulted in the seizure of a significant haul of electrical goods, including smart phones and laptops, all believed to be stolen from addresses across London.

All of those arrested are currently in custody in various police stations pending further enquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Des McHugh, who led today’s operation, said:

“These arrests follow a lengthy intelligence-led operation designed to combat criminal networks within Tower Hamlets and the surrounding boroughs.”

I want to reiterate that I don’t have a problem with the Metropolitan Police targeting criminals (in fact I think that’s their job). But when I hear the words “Metropolitan Police” and “dawn raid” in the same sentence the cynical part of me wonders how much of this was the targeted and necessary use of (let me say again) over 1000 officers, and how much was a bunch of men who wanted to put on their bullet-proof vests and feel like they’re in Homeland.

Congratulations to the Metropolitan police for effecting 80 arrests this morning. However, whether it really needed 10-12 officers per suspect is another matter altogether – it speaks broadly to our increasingly militarised and belligerent MPS.

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Filed under Law, Politics

Upcoming Comedy Shows

I’ve booked a couple of open mics over the last few days which I really like, and I really encourage people to come along to. If you’re happy and you know it, come and see me be funny.

  • Comedy Virgins, Stockwell. I’ll be doing a tight 5 on Monday 27th May. It’s a good night, always packed and run by one of my favourite MCs
  • I’ll be doing a set at Rudy’s Revenge in Holborn, which is one of the best open mics in London and one of the nicest rooms to sit in for 3 hours with good food and good drink. I’ll be there on Wednesday, June 12th. This really is one of my favourite nights I’ve done since I started stand-up a not very long time ago. In fact it’s second only to:
  • Free and Funny at the Camden Head. Everybody I know on the circuit loves this place. It’s always packed to the rafters and barry Fearns the MC is super awesome. I’m going to be trying to bring my A-game because the quality there is generally so high. Come along on the 4th July if you want to see me. Or any Thursday for a great night of comedy.

If you’re coming along to a night, let me know on Twitter, or Facebook or in the comments section below.

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Filed under Comedy, Personal