Let’s talk about… the growing trend of jihadism in Europe, and why Mosques should have a regulatory body

I’m going to start this with two disclaimers:

  1. I have no word count on this one.
  2. I am no expert in Islam, nor Islamic history.

I’m going to prefix this article with a statement: I do not know the race, religion or name of the man who put the bomb on the train in London on the 15th of September 2017. At the time of writing this, the news outlets haven’t named any suspects.

The media have used this incident to springboard a cross-examination of Islam, as well as calling Muslims onto TV and radio to hear their views. What I have heard has disgusted me. I am aware that not all Muslims I know feel this way, but we need to talk about Conservative (or moderate) Islam and why the ideology is becoming increasingly dangerous.

Let’s start with a brief understanding of what Islam is: The word literally translates to “submission” in reference to how seriously an adherent of Islam is to the will of their god. Any Muslim/moslem (whichever way you want to spell it) has 5 main parts, or pillars.

  1. Zakat- giving 2.5% of what you earn on a certain term to charity, especially to widows, orphans and the poor. Some Muslims give to mainstream charities, others tend to give to charities that aid countries that have been ravaged by western imperialism (and I’ll get to that in a bit).
  2. Prayer- Adherents to Islam must pray 5 times a day, when it is practical to do so. Some people take this incredibly seriously, others do this only on Sabbath, which for them is Fridays.
  3. Hajj- Literally meaning pilgrimage, this means that if they can, Muslims must try to go to Mecca (their holiest site of worship) at least once in their life.
  4. Shahada- The statement of faith- “I believe in one god. One god alone, and without measure or partner. He is called God (or Allah) and Muhammad was his messenger.” The moment someone utters this, they become a Muslim. Some variants on Islam differ about whether the person has to say this in 8th Century Arabic or whether in their own language.
  5. Sawm- The Great fast. In a similar fashion to Christianity, Muslims take on a fast every year, providing it is healthy. They do this for 4 weeks, in a month known as Ramadhan. This fast takes place from sunrise to sunset and involves not even swallowing your saliva when it becomes uncomfortable. In my opinion, this is frankly suicidal.

Islam tends to look back to a “golden age” (if you’re Sunni, not Shi’a), in which the first four leaders of Islam after Muhammad’s death lead a completely holy state, called Sharia, or God’s, law. This law was created during the reign of the first leader (or rightly-guided caliph), and takes lessons from the Qur’an (which Muslims literally believe is the very spoken word of God) and the Hadith (which is basically what Muhammad was said to have said). The problem with the hadiths, and some of the Qur’an itself is that they were both written at times of great war and population decline. This means that some parts are liable to extreme misogyny, homophobia and hate. For example, in Chapter, or Surah, 2, the Qur’an speaks at length as to what Muslims must do to non-adherents: “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun(the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” Let’s break this down. God is telling them to take back the land of his followers via murder or conversion.

So far, this doesn’t sound any different from the Old Testament. However, Christianity had a reformation, of sorts, and despite the Westboro Baptist Church and KKK taking violent parts of the Bible literally, Christianity as a whole had a reformation. If you go and ask 10 christians if they look back to a golden age where LGBT people and those who don’t believe in Christianity should be stoned to death, they will reply with a resounding answer in the negative.

This brings me nicely onto what I’m getting to. I’m sorry it took me 750 words and several edits that took me right through the night to get here, but I cannot talk about this without acknowledging what the history is and giving some context. There is a worrying trend in Islam in the UK. An overwhelming 90% of Muslims in the UK are Sunni, which means that they believe they had the perfect state, or caliphate at some point. However, within this number, there are numerous different strands of Islam. The one I am getting incredibly concerned about is a very literalist tradition of Islam known as Wahhabism. Wahhabism teaches paranoid Xenophobia, misogyny, extreme homophobia, a hatred of science, a refusal to accept straightforward facts and promoting a very strict “them and us” culture. I have to admit, the British media and recent military action and interventions by western countries has contributed, but we cannot leave the blame at Rupert Murdoch’s and George W Bush’s door. Wahhabism bans Muslims from testifying against each other in court, allows Sharia courts inside Muslim-minority countries and vehemently separates men from women, even as babies.  I won’t go on to mention as to where this toxic brand of Islam comes from as I don’t really want to incite any misguided racial hatred. It harbours fugitives from the law if they happen to be Muslims and it prevents them from reporting cases of radicalism, which I suspect, may have caused this recent act of terror in London.

What can be done? Well, if you have an answer, please let me know, but here’s what I suggest: Mosques in Islam aren’t just places of worship, they’re community centres and most importantly, schools. Well, let’s treat them as such. I would argue every school needs and inspection every now and again, and that having an examination into what is preached at mosques up and down my country is not only responsible, right now, it’s necessary.

I’ve typed my piece,

Davey

 

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Time for men to talk.

Let’s admit it, fellow men. We’re not exactly great talkers, are we? I mean, we are at football, chatting about the people we like in the bar, and how work gets us down, but when it comes to talking about our feelings, well, we don’t do so well at that, now do we?

In the spirit of International Men’s Health Week, it’s time I broke this convention and showed you all why:

  • Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the United Kingdom. 76% of suicides in the UK are not only male, but men under 45. Just let that sink in.
  • Men are four times more likely to kill themselves, six times more likely to self-harm themselves, and nine times more likely to let their mental health issues get the better of them.

It’s time this changed. To do this, we have to look at the cause- it’s not just that men get more embarrassed or that men just don’t go to the doctors out of a sense of pride, it’s that we genuinely don’t have a space to talk through how we feel.

What we need, (this part is primarily aimed at women) is listeners. We don’t need to be told what makes a “real man” or what is more masculine or feminine to you. We don’t need to be constantly bombarded with how women feel and then when we want to talk, get silenced with laughter and the repeated use of the term “male privilege”. We need a family courts system where the scales are radically redressed, so that neither the father nor the mother has an advantage because of gender. But far more than that, we need people to Listen.

Do you remember listening? What that’s like? You know, waiting patiently for your turn to speak, quietly taking on board the salient points of speech and responding to them? For men, this is probably the biggest help imaginable for us in regards to helping us when our mental health isn’t so brilliant. We need people to listen and respond and care. Actually care, not just pretend you do and then carry on. When a man suggests some form of suicide, take him seriously. Otherwise, let’s carry on attending more funerals for male suicide victims.

We don’t need to and certainly shouldn’t have to belt up, keep quiet or “man up” anymore. #DontFilterFeelings

Yours,

Davey

What does it mean to be a man?

This is the question that media and news outlets are asking worldwide this week, as we try to defend masculinity in a post-masculine world through this week, which happens to be Men’s Health week.

Here’s what I think:

I think that what it means to be a man is an incredibly complex thing to answer, as the definition changes between every bloke alive, both cis and trans-gendered, but ultimately, it depends on the male role models in your life.

I have a couple, whom are both now sadly deceased, who both defined masculinity. Firstly, my adoptive grandfather. He was my absolute idol, as I grew up. He provided a version of masculinity not often seen anymore: Similar to Danny’s father in Roald Dahl’s Danny, Champion Of The World. He was kind, albeit flawed. He never, ever rose his voice (with one exception) at anyone. Be that parking wardens, racists, the squirrels who kept stealing his peanuts on sunny afternoons in his back garden, his perennially broken car or the restaurant that could never cook vegetables that he could eat with his dentures on. To my grandfather, to swear, raise your voice, shout or resort to name-calling meant you lost the argument. In my opinion, some politicians could learn that lesson. He lived a ripe old age, and every day in his life, he’d play his wife a song he wrote in the 1960’s, before telling her that she was his stars and sky.
He matched a fair few stereotypes about men: He liked his beer (only South African Bobote or real ale from Yorkshire would do), loved driving when his car would work and watched as much cricket as I think anyone could watch in their lifetime. He started my love affair with Formula 1, and to me, he was one of the pinnacles of masculinity.

The other was my other grandfather’s brother, my great-uncle Booth. Booth was a little more rough-cut, but then, my adoptive mother’s whole family are. I love most of them to pieces, but Booth showed me that whilst being somewhat pacifistic and passive was one way of showing masculinity, being actively masculine was nothing to be ashamed of. He lived his last few years a mere stone’s throw away from his sister in law, and frequently took on the mantle of being like a grandfather to me and my siblings (Joe, my grandfather died at a relatively young age). He had lots of grandchildren himself, but saw no problem with adding a few after Joe died. His masculinity burned a little hotter than my adoptive grandfather (Geoffrey)’s did, but it didn’t demean him. He loved his football, a good beer, cups of tea and a smoke, but he allowed himself to be both loving and firm. This was a man who had a temper, but it seldom showed. I can only recall this stoic man showing how hurt he was on three separate occasions in my life, but this was a man who was unafraid to tell you how he felt when he needed to. Booth sadly died in September 2011, and he will be missed by all of us.

Both men did something very masculine. Both men went to work for most of their lives (one went to war), not to gain money, but to take care of the people they held dearest. I have not a lot of idea as to what Booth did most of his life, but in the time I remember him working, he worked with his brother, my granddad, in a mill in a small town in West Yorkshire. They both did whatever they could to look after their own, and whilst one man in this list wasn’t born in Yorkshire, both men were not just men but Yorkshire-men. Both men fought very difficult circumstances to keep their families together, too. One fought the Nazis and a family schism in the early 1990s, whilst the other had to deal with the fact that his niece married someone completely unsuitable for her, and then they moved to the other side of Yorkshire. Both showed complete nerves of steel, albeit through using approaches that were completely opposite to each other, and neither man cracked at any point. One kept his nerve to the end and fell asleep, surrounded by both sons and his wife, as well as his eldest grandson. The other kept his nerve and in the end, showed complete dignity and refused to stop doing what he enjoyed, even though it killed him.

Pauline_and_Booth

Pauline and Booth, whilst Booth was healthy.

So what does masculinity mean to me? A mixture of Geoffrey and Booth’s respective approaches. It’s very rare to hear me raise my voice, but I’m unafraid to show how I feel. I am musical and arty, and unashamedly so, but I can also like racing, sports and food without needing to validate it by acting over-the-top or excessively butch about it. For me, it’s not walking the line between having perceived masculine and feminine interests, being a man is about actively and unashamedly enjoying things passionately, whilst never being violent with words or actions and keeping a control on my behaviour and impulses.

So that’s what being a man means to me,

Yours,

Davey.

Why you should vote…

There we go- you clicked to read what I have to say.

I’m going to attack this from firstly a strategic standpoint and then from a moral one.

Firstly then, as promised, the strategy. Right now the Conservative Party has the weakest majority known in parliamentary history. They only have 4 seats needed to form the majority without coalition with other parties. That means that Ms. May and her cronies only need to lose 4 constituencies to lose power. If you’re wanting a one-party government then, and you don’t want the Tories, then you vote for the party with the largest number of seats: Vote Labour. We can worry about them later- once the extreme right wing bias from our politics is cauterised and removed.

From a moral standpoint, I strongly suggest you vote labour. It really is a two-horse race this time around, with the only left-wing party standing a chance being Labour. Even if Diane Abbot makes your blood boil like it does to mine, I’ve got a feeling that she won’t be in the formation of the new cabinet under Labour’s new government. Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t exactly separated himself from her, but he certainly isn’t appearing with her anywhere.

I’ve been homeless before, and trust me, sleeping rough is not a nice thing at all. I’ve had to rely on foodbanks (like 1.5 million others currently in the UK) and I’ve been sanctioned. My disability allowance has been cut for a disability which would under any other government, be handed out. It wasn’t a lot, but £20 goes a long way for me.

It’s not just that I like Jeremy Corbyn, or the Labour party. I have suffered immensely as a direct result of two successive Conservative governments who have shown that the couldn’t give a sugar-coated fuck about anybody who doesn’t match their agenda. I’m not rich, so they don’t care about me. I’m not physically able like most people, to work and do hard graft, so they don’t care about me. I’m not in paid employment at the moment, so they don’t care about me.

But, it’s not that they just don’t care about me either- they don’t care about you.

They don’t care about you, if you’re a single parent living on the breadline, barely making ends meet.

They don’t care about you, if you’re a woman trying to break through the glass ceiling at work. Okay, two women are in the cabinet, but why aren’t there more women in power?

They don’t care about you, if you’re LGBT. We all know Theresa May tried to block the same-sex marriages act.

They don’t care about you, if you’re BAME. BAME people and disabled people seem to be the people the latest round of welfare cuts.

They don’t care about you, if you didn’t go to grammar school. That’s why they rigged the system against people with state education.

They don’t care about you, if you’re not rich. In their eyes, you’re either too stupid or lazy to be rich.

If any of these apply to you, Vote Labour.

 

Yours incredibly sincerely,

Davey

Let’s talk about… The McDonald’s Advert

I know it smacks of “click-bait” but following mass media outrage at an advert not so far removed from a John Lewis Advert, it’s time we talked about the recently pulled McDonald’s advertisement. For those not in the know, this is the offending advert in question.

This advert caused massive amounts of controversy from people all over political spheres as well as just ordinary folk. Here’s what I think:

One on hand, this advert is just promoting what I call “McDonald’s Moments”. In the UK, it’s safe to assume that most people at some point in their lives have been through the Golden Arches and had a meal. Not particularly nutritious ones, I grant you, but most people have. I remember one of my first times doing so in Blighty was after I’d been suspended from school. My parents bought me a McFlurry and explained how upset they were. Thankfully, there were no repercussions following this. I’m not alone, though. McDonald’s aren’t “the happiest restaurants on earth” for some areas of the UK, they’re community centres, they’re meeting points, cyber-cafes, the list goes on. This recent advert isn’t alone in promoting the idea subliminally, as they’ve had several like this before.
Furthermore, the advert is actually quite touching in some ways, as it’s depicting a young man trying to find out more about his absent father. Whether the father is dead, or just merely absent is neither touched upon nor implied, but there is a certain kind of implication through the language used by the mother and also the opening shot of the boy closing a shoebox, which could have potentially contained his picture.

On the other hand, the soundtrack is used to heighten the emotion, with an Erik Satie-esque being used as incidental music in the background of the advert throughout, and unlike most McDonald’s adverts, this time the music is sombre and grieving, as opposed to how jolly and happy the music on McDonald’s advertisements tend to be. The script is terribly written, as one could argue that the mother is emotionally manipulating her son into “behaving” or conforming to archaic etiquette standards.
Bullshit. I’m sorry, but this is politically-correct-and-insecure people feeling offended at something which really isn’t that offensive. I’ve never known what my Dad was like, as I’m adopted, but this really hasn’t offended me at all. If anything, I was crying with emotion.

 

So yeah, this is my take on it,

Davey

5 things men need

In a bit of a departure from the norm, in the spirit of the online campaign #whatmenneed, here are 5 things men need-

What men need, basically is this:
-A world where we are not constantly told to put women first just because they are women and are then told that it’s “equality”
-A world that doesn’t value men when they hide their emotions.
-An end to the “man up and suffer a bit” culture, perpetrated by both sports teams and Social Justice Warriors.
-An end to the idea that masculinity is based on physical prowess. Just because you can deadlift 200lbs doesn’t mean you’re more manly than the guy with a degree, a home and 2 kids.
-An end to the idea that men can’t get ill. Man Flu is genuinely a thing. Because men don’t have the whole system change thing girls have once a month, our immune system isn’t as good. So when we get ill, we genuinely are quite ill. Same goes for mental health problems. I don’t understand the world in which men are 3 times more likely to commit suicide, yet mental health diagnoses seem more prevalent in women than men.

We shouldn’t, and don’t have to, suffer in silence.

On the breaking of the fourth-wall and why Deadpool owes everything to a duck

It’s pretty awesome to break the fourth wall these days, isn’t it? I mean, other than the sense of humour and the storytelling aspects, the reason Wade Wilson gets so much airtime and a movie (finally) is his ability to break the fourth wall. But, in a bit of an educational piece three days in the making, I’m going to explain how this is nothing new. Bear with me here, as this is a result of good news, a return visit and far too much tea.

I first saw this convention in a film made in 1986, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. If you haven’t seen it, go and get a copy, as this film blueprints how Deadpool works, and was made thirty years before Ryan Reynolds seduced us all, despite his face looking like “lasagne”. Ferris goofs off, and gets up to a series of misadventures in a truly 1980’s fashion, following the capitalist’s dream in the process. He gets to drive a nice car, gets luxury clothes, he even goes to that fancy restaurant that we all dream of taking the significant other to. What happens in the film isn’t the important aspect, though. It’s the fact that Matthew Broderick speaks directly to the audience with superb one-liners and a sardonic look at the events whilst they happen to him. If you think that this is a bit of a tenuous link; the feature includes a post-credits scene to boot!

Ferris Bueller is far from the only cult flick where there is regular fourth-wall breaking to drive the plot though. In Fight Club, a brilliant adaptation of Chuck Palaihnuk’s novel, the main character (played by Ed Norton) regularly breaks the fourth-wall to explain his motives and machinations, fed up with the ordinary, white collar world he inhabits. It’s very telling that once Tyler Durden appears in the film, Norton’s rate of fourth-wall breaking decreases, but one could argue that instead of projecting his anti-capitalist, anti-everything feelings on us, he creates Durden to channel his feelings elsewhere.

American Psycho, another book adaptation is also another source of this convention-flouting idea, where we get an idea of what it’s like to be Patrick Bateman when we see the prices of things, and when people get slightly better versions of his business card in the meetings. It helps us get a look inside of his twisted psyche, and also helps us understand his motives. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to return some videotapes….

Only kidding. Sorry, that was a bit of a playful nod to the film, for all the movie buffs reading this.

What I’m getting at here is that everything that you love about Deadpool (bar the swearing and R-rating) has been shown in a previous film (if you count a cartoon short made for cinema as a film). Cue “duck amuck”.

This one-reel short, made in 1953, was in this author’s opinion, one of the most influential pieces of media in film history. As the short clip shows you, it shows several features that Deadpool relies on heavily to work and work well. Sardonic meta-jokes, breaking of the fourth wall, etc. What makes this short work, though, is that this is one of the first short films in history that realises that it’s a film. Oh sure, Deadpool and Daffy duck know that they’re characters all right, but rarely do we see films that are aware of their status, which makes the final reveal of the animator’s identity that much sweeter.

Yours,

Davey

My top 10 Movie Villains

So, it’s been three weeks since my last outing on here, and now having moved somewhere with good internet access, it’s time I gave y’all a treat to say thanks for keeping reading. Here are the rules in the list. The characters mentioned must not exist on a currently-running TV show, and I can only pick one movie villain from a franchise. Spoiler warning- I will be going into detail so if you haven’t seen the films I discuss, skip ahead or read the next article.

10- Mama (Judge Dredd)

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Who said that women can’t be great, albeit terrifying, movie villains? Whoever did clearly hadn’t passed the memo on to the makers of Dredd, when they brought this drug-dealing sociopath onto our screens. As a 2000AD fan, watching Madeleine Madrigal (Mama) brought to life was a real treat, as they left nothing much out from the comics. For the non-comic-book-reader, Mama was pretty much brought to life straight from the comics, and Lena Headey (better known as Cersei Lannister for the Game Of Thrones fans) brought her to life complete with accent and facial scars. The reason Mama is terrifying isn’t that she kills people or that she sells drugs, it’s the manner of her murders that is truly scary. She gives you a drug that makes you feel like time is slowing down, before skinning you alive and dropping you off buildings. Move over Neil Gaiman, this stuff is truly the source of nightmares.

9. Ozymandias (Watchmen)

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Another under-rated movie villain here, and if this blog post/list had been written three years from now, it wouldn’t have qualified. Adrian Veidt is reputedly the “smartest man on the planet” in both Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, Watchmen, and Zack Snyder’s largely faithful adaptation to the big screen. Veidt is portrayed as a byronic hero, as a doomed figure who saves the world. The only flaw in his plan? Using Dr. Manhattan’s source of power to kill millions in order to, in his words “save billions”. Whilst many argue that Dr Manhattan, a somewhat omnipotent being, is the larger villain at play, I couldn’t involve both characters on this list, and using the excuse of “Dr. Manhattan could have prevented this” falls flat, as the big blue guy himself reveals he is not omniscient.

8. Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects).

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I have my own personal qualms with this movie, as someone suffering the same condition that Soze feigns to remove suspicion from himself during this film. That being said, I highly recommend this film. I’m not a particularly big fan of the director and writer, but it has to be said that Kevin Spacey’s character in this film has to be one of the best written movie villains of all time. The really interesting bit about this character (you’ve had your spoiler warning) is that it becomes increasingly difficult to work out the fact about the guy from the fiction, and also, it becomes apparent, only really at the end that the man with Cerebral Palsy is Soze at the end of the film.

7. Walter Finch (Insomnia)

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This is probably the only Robin Williams film I have seen where Williams plays the bad guy, but it has to be said, he does it with aplomb. He’s ALWAYS one step ahead of the protagonists, thwarting them at nearly every turn. He’s definitely someone I wouldn’t want to play chess with, that’s for sure. He does what it takes to avoid jail time, after working as a photographer to remove suspicion from himself. Nod to Al Pacino here, working as an obsessive cop who tries (but ultimately fails) to take him down.

6. Clarence Boddicker (Robocop)

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Clarence Boddicker has to be one of my all-time favourite movie villains, and it’s not merely because I am a fellow bespectacled gentleman either. He’s something akin to Jack Nicholson’s Joker to Val Kilmer’s Batman (they’re antics created the man that brings their downfall). A complete fucking narcissist who enjoys watching people beg for more days of their lives, he’s everything a supervillain should be. Moving on…

5. The Joker (The Dark Knight)

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Anarchic, devious and somewhat contradictory in both speech and actions, Heath Ledger’s tour-de-force as The Joker has only one real goal- not to “watch the whole world burn” but to get Christian Bale’s growling and cerebral Batman to break his moral code on killing. Of all the Batman villains to be depicted on screen, Ledger’s Joker is probably the most memorable, giving contradictory and confusing accounts of his origins, it’s very difficult to place the man, let alone work out where he came from, but that’s the point. People fear what we don’t understand, and under this guise, Ledger’s clown prince of crime is terrifying.

4. Mrs. Tweedy (Chicken Run)

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Nick Park’s Aardman Animations group are best known for Wallace And Gromit, in which the titular characters come into conflict with a range of villains veering from comical albeit political (Curse of The Were-Rabbit) to downright scary (the Wrong Trousers), but in a deviation from the trend, Chicken Run offers something absolutely terrifying: Mrs Tweedy. Malicious, capricious, malevolent, and erring on the side of abusing her husband, Mrs Tweedy is probably a good reminder to be nice to chickens, especially in the matters of her demise. There is one thing from this film that will stay with me for life though, and that is this genuis bit of dialogue between her and her husband: “Mrs Tweedy, the chickens are revolting!” to which she replies “I know”.

3. Darth Vader

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The Imperial March from the Star Wars franchise is one of, if not the, best piece of classical music derived from a film ever. Dark, loud and instantly recognisable, whenever you hear it, you know who’s going to appear: the half-man, half-robot Darth Vader. Voiced brilliantly by James Earl Jones, and acted physically by Dave Prowse, this guy gives no shits as to who he slays so long as the ends justify the means. A haunting, menacing evil throughout the original trilogy, the only bad thing creatively about him are the horrible prequels made during my childhood (although Revenge Of The Sith was admittedly not so bad).

2. Khan (Star Trek series)

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The needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the few in Spock’s logic, but nobody will ever be as emotionally cold and manipulative in the Star Trek series as Khan. Khan was genetically bred from a race of people as a super-soldier during a time of galactic war. Wayyyyy older than the protagonists in both The Original Series and the films, Khan has appeared in both sides of the canon, played by both Benedict Cumberbatch (above left) and Riccardo montalban (pictured right). He’s even had two films dedicated to him, the first of which is nigh-on universally agreed to be the best Trek film ever made.

1. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange).

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Film purists would have gone insane at me for not mentioning a Kubrick villain, and I don’t think Hal 9000 counts as a villain, as after all, his faults were caused by bad programming as opposed to anything malevolent. So, with that said, I have to go with Alex from A Clockwork Orange. This is a character who thinks nothing of beating an elderly homeless man to death in a street, high on Milkva (read the book this film is based on, it’s superb), who endures large amounts of torture in methods that became infamously used by the KGB during the Cold War. This doesn’t however have the desired effect on Alex because even after all this and his becoming “the model citizen” at the end of the film, he pulls a Keyser Soze with a little thought monologue assuring viewers that he hasn’t changed from his raping, murdering ways we saw him display at the start of the film. He’s inspired generations of movie villains and troubled teenagers after the film was released including Bart Simpson, and Kevin in We Need To Talk About Kevin. If you don’t watch A Clockwork Orange for the characters or story, watch it for the cinematography. Seriously, this is one of, if not the, best film Stanley Kubrick ever made.

Yours,

Davey

 

On burning £20 notes and drunken antics

So, first off, I’m going to let you in on an open secret in society- we all do really silly and stupid stuff when we’re drunk at some point. Myself, I have thousands of funny stories. Myself, and one of my best friends once rode home in an abandoned little tykes car for #Bants, but we’d gone through about 12 pints of beer each beforehand. Nowadays, as a sober person, I wouldn’t dream of doing it, but at the time in our drunken stupors, the idea seemed fun.

I imagine this must have been the sort of thing going through Ronald Coyne’s mind when he decided to burn a £20 note in front of a homeless person and film it. To be honest, this sort of drunken behaviour is why the Brits are reviled when they go for holidays in Europe, but on the face of it, that’s all this seems to be.

This sort of behaviour only seems to be darker when you add the context around the incident. Coyne was a Cambridge University student, and part of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. Now, I know I “bash” the Conservative Party in Great Britain a lot, but to be fair, I could do just the same for the Labour Party under Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. The reason the Tories are receiving a share of my ire at the moment is due to the fact that since the coalition government, this government has tried to destroy my country.

The ideology, when pushed to the extreme is elitist, and one of the initiation ceremonies for the now infamous Bullingdon club was setting alight to a £50 note in front of a homeless person, buying into the myth that all homeless people are poor (they aren’t always).

So you can view this piece of news as a bad-taste university hi-jink, or do what the rest of the media is currently doing and vilify him. Take your pick.

On generation differences and anger at silly posts on facebook.

In yet another analysis point today, I want to point out something. All of my grandparents fought in the Second World War, and on both sides of it.

My generation is one of the most vilified in our society. We’re generally stereotyped as being either a) overly-sensitive, technology addicted idiots or b) violent, ignorant yobbos. Either way, whilst there are some in my generation who match that particular description, there are far more who don’t.

This is why I got a bit angry earlier when I read a debate between a person of my age and obviously someone much older. My generation have been promised the earth and given next-to-nothing, and yet the older person had the gall to call us ungrateful and treacherous. So, if you’re one of these people and you happen to make a comment either in public or on social media like this, there are some things you should know.

  1. My generation often feel trapped, as we’re rarely given jobs because we have no experience and yet, we can’t gain any experience without a job in the first place.
  2. My generation was told that we could all go to university, before being whopped with £9,000 a year tuition fees, and yet we didn’t even have a say in this.
  3. My generation was more-or-less banned from having a voice when the collective arse-gravy I call “rent-a-mob” hijacked our protest against the tuition fee rise and used violence, taking away any credibility my generation had about making a point.
  4. And of course, today’s students are tomorrow’s politicians, so it’s not like the privileged of my generation can even stand for politics.
  5. The poorest of us were given help to buy materials for education, called the Educational Maintenance Allowance, but that was taken from us without our consent.

So if you’re angry at us, and you happen to be older than 28, don’t be angry at my generation for what we do. We have made our mistakes due to the generation that have figuratively shafted us.