Month: August 2013

Culture Clash : Things Americans do that Brits hate

To start, let me say that Britain and America are bezzie mates, at least politically. We like you, we really do, I mean we don’t like you as much as your cooler Northern neighbours but that’s a different story. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this post is purely for fun and nothing is really meant by it. Please still be our friends. 

1. Aggressive patriotism

Now, don’t misunderstand. Most Britons love their country. In fact, patriotism was at an all-time high during the Olympics and the Queen’s jubilee celebrations last year but Americans’ love for their country is a different kettle of fish. The average Brit won’t take kindly to you using phrases such as ‘greatest nation on earth’, ‘God bless, America’ or chanting ‘USA! USA! USA!’ repeatedly. In the States, you see the star-spangled banner hung from every other building. Here, you’ll only find a Union Jack on the beach front of Skegness. Maybe, we’re just jealous of how much pride you have for your country. Or maybe, we still feel a little awkward about the whole ‘Empire’ thing.

Proud… Your love for your country upstages ours.

2. Mispronunciation of UK place names

Get an American to look at these two place names; Leicester and Loughborough and then ask them to pronounce them. They probably will be unable too. While we know they’re pronounced as LES-STER and LUFF-BROH, some and I stress some Americans have been known to refer to them as LAY-SESS-TER and LOO-GUH-BUH-ROO-GUH. I suppose we can’t be too hard on you though, we do like to pronounce things completely differently to how they’re spelt. And in fairness, I’d imagine those from the north-eastern states are quite apt at interpreting the pronunciation of British place names, seeing as we creatively named every bleeding town up there after one of our own.

Sad… I wish everyone knew how to pronounce the name of my hometown

3. Therapy 

Americans love their therapy. They use it liberally and why not? It’s an effective way of raising issues with a mediator to allow all parties the chance to voice concerns. Us Brits don’t understand this, we’re more for repressing our issues and deep-seeded anger and letting it bubble up later in the form of sarcastic quipping.

Open… Even America’s favourite family uses therapy

4. The hatred of ‘Jaywalking’

This is more of a personal one. When I went to America last summer, there was nothing the average pedestrian was called up on more than ‘jaywalking’. For those of you that don’t know; ‘Jaywalking’ is walking to the other side of the street when the road is clear but traffic has not been halted by a red light. In the UK, it is called crossing the road.

Absurd… Americans like to make crossing the road a difficult experience

5. American Sports

People of all nations will be reading this bit and in their head shouting ‘YES!’. We hate your sports and everything about them. We hate the cheerleaders, the pop stars doing the half-time show, the silly commercialised names, I mean what is with the ‘New York Red Bulls’? The local derbies of the MLS are even sponsored by car manufacturers, for goodness sake! We hate the paegantry, sports in the UK are for getting merry and singing amusingly hurtful songs to the other team not for catching a sneak preview of Miley Cyrus’ latest single. We’re driven insane by the fact baseball’s prime competition is called the ‘World Series’ despite the fact all but two of the world’s nations don’t bother to compete. But, most of all we hate what you call ‘football’. You have tainted our favourite creation. This will always be a blip in American-British relationships, one for which we will probably NEVER forgive you.

Pageantry… Brits dislike the showbiz nature of US sports

6. How much you love our accent

At first, we have to admit, it’s very flattering when you compliment us on our accents. In Britain, we aren’t very complimentary to each other’s dulcet tones. But you lot seem to love it – if you head Stateside you’ll be greeted by people asking ‘where is that accent from?’ before they politely pretend to have heard of a small commuter village outside of Huddersfield. But it does go a bit far when you then reel off lists of phrases that you want us to say in ‘British’, which isn’t a language by the way, nor an accent. In fact, some of our accents are as audibly offensive as some of yours. Also, do we always have to be the bad guys in movies? We’re not all evil.

Diverse… For a small country, we have many accents.

7. Geographical ignorance

Again, I think this annoys me more than most Brits. I like to know about geography and I’m sure many of you are very knowledgeable too but a lot of Americans seem to think that London is the be all and end all of old Blighty. You don’t know the names of our counties but I can name all fifty of your states (I’ve done it many times). Maybe, we don’t like that you don’t reciprocate our appreciation of your country’s geography.  Then again, if I’m honest, I’d probably be as ignorant as many of you, if my country had the wonderfully varied landscape yours has. Just know this, at least. We don’t all live in London and whilst we’re on the subject, we’ve never met the Queen either.

Ignored… There are more places in the UK than London

8. Taking credit for others work

Americans and Brits have learnt to avoid certain topics of conversation over the years and at the top of that list are the events of World War II. A tip for all of you, never say to a Briton that you ‘saved our ass in World War II’ or that we’d ‘be speaking German now if it wasn’t for you’. We appreciate your help and over the years, we’ve been great allies to each other but Brits see these sorts of comments as a huge mark of disrespect to our armed forces. We also don’t really appreciate your tardiness in said events either but hey ho. Another thing that grinds our gears is when the American flag appears next to the ‘English’ option on a language selector – we would probably settle for the bisecting half-flags of the States and the UK but ignore our flag altogether and we are not amused.

Irritating… It was our language first

9. Your chocolate

I think you’ll agree with us – our chocolate is better than yours. In honesty, ours isn’t even that good but at least it’s not Hershey’s! I’m not being melodramatic here, I once tasted a Hershey’s kiss and it tasted like vomit. Chocolate stateside generally tastes burnt and bland, not velvety smooth and sweet like we’re used to over here. Many Brits were actually appalled when Kraft bought Cadbury’s a few years back, I was simply happy for you.

Vile… There’s a reason they’re shaped like turds.

10. Your spelling

No surprises here. We hate the way you spell words. Why do you hate the letter ‘U’ and why do you love Zs (Zeds) so much? If we’re honest, this is one of the few reasons we prefer Canada. Although, they’ve fallen victim to your movement for excessive usage of the alphabet’s 26th letter, they at least know how to spell ‘centre’ eh?

Different… Americans have mutated the English language.

11. Your interest in our dental hygiene

Our teeth are not that bad. Yes, some of us have some dental issues but we’re not that bothered. You seemed to be more concerned about the alignment of our gnashers than we are! We care more about bad breath. I’m not really sure where this stereotype started – I for one don’t know anyone with horrible teeth. Maybe you’ve been watching too much of the Jeremy Kyle show? In fact, speaking of trashy talk shows, we get the Jerry Springer show here, we know your teeth aren’t always perfect either!

False… I don’t mean the teeth

12. Your politeness

Okay, we don’t actually dislike this, it just baffles us. It genuinely confuses the average Briton when in the US, a stranger stops to say hello or help you take a picture or carry something. When Americans in restaurants or shops are polite and compliment us for being good customers, or if any American compliments us in general, we immediately think to scour your face for traces of sarcasm and when we find nothing, our brains nearly explode. Your politeness is so wonderfully genuine that our overly cynical mindset simply cannot cope.

Okay… Google thinks this is a picture of ‘friendly Americans’

That completes my list. I hope nobody was too offended and thus, I invite any American to do the same thing for us Britons – we love to put ourselves down.

A Not So Happy Ending

On May 3rd 2013, ABC took the decision to cancel critically acclaimed comedy Happy Endings,  just three seasons in to its life span. Despite efforts from several networks to revive the show – it remains dead.

Undervalued… Happy Endings has been wrongly terminated.

Gimmick… Alex ran out on her wedding in the show’s pilot episode.

Most people are probably unaware of what Happy Endings is all about. I’m sure many know it as an obscure featureless comedy that currently does the rounds on E4 on Tuesday nights but in reality, it rarely gets its due praise. The show focuses around a group of six thirty-somethings in a big American city – unthinkable, I know. But honestly, it’s not like Friends or How I Met Your Mother in any other respect. There is no laugh track, no producer manufacturing humour and subliminally telling you when you ought to giggle. Unlike other sitcoms, the relationships are already formed and the series kicks off with Alex running out on her wedding to boyfriend, Dave. Despite this, the group tries to keep together instead of splitting as two of its members break up. Typically, the characters explore all sorts of quirky ‘sitcomy’ scenarios with various combinations of the six main characters but unlike most sitcoms, that if we’re honest are watchable at best, Happy Endings is legitimately funny. The characters are all likeable, the stories engaging and the jokes all encompassing that you feel like they’re your’s and your friend’s very own private jokes.

Hilarious… (L-R) Penny, Brad and Jane are the stand-out characters.

You’re probably thinking if it was as good as I’m saying it is then it would still be in production and I suppose that may be true. Throughout its tenure, the series received resounding critical acclaim being called “one of the sharpest and warm-hearted comedies on the air” and “the most underrated, under-watched series on TV, that may also be the funniest”.  Initially, the show drew decent ratings stateside often exceeding seven million viewers during its first and second seasons. Then, Happy Endings became the unfortunate victim of schedule congestion and was moved to Friday nights, colloquially known as the ‘Friday night death slot’ among American TV buffs. The ratings plummeted as low as 1.73 million viewers by the series’ penultimate episode resulting in its cancellation. The hardcore cult following it had amassed was nearly enough to grant it a resurrection on a different network but alas, it failed to materialise.

Fortunately for you, the internet exists. I strongly recommend this TV show, which is a slow starter so give it four or five episodes before making a judgement. The characters from neurotic Jane and her quirky husband, Brad to naiive Penny and Alex, righteous Dave and stereotype busting slob, Max, offer something for everyone – especially Eliza Coupe, Casey Wilson and Damon Wayans Jr. who are masterful in their roles. Who knows? Maybe it will emulate Arrested Development and get a deserved redemption a few years down the line and we can see whether Brad, Jane, Alex, Max, Penny and Dave did get their happy endings.

The Non-Conformist View of TV Characters

When you look at the popular sitcoms; Friends, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory etc., you can instantly say which characters from these respective shows are the most adulated. For instance, I can say with confidence that of the aforementioned shows, Joey Tribbiani, Barney Stinson and Sheldon Cooper are the most popular among the masses. But why does the common viewer find them so engaging?

Popular… Joey is one of TV’s most favoured characters despite his many personality flaws.

If I run with the three characters I’ve already selected then we can see huge flaws in each’s personality. Starting with Joey, he is moronic, selfish and gluttonous. He often acts with little thought for consequence and goes in to Monica & Chandler’s apartment with the sole intention of gorging himself on their inventory.  Barney Stinson is similarly self-centered. He also shows signs of narcissism not to mention his horrendous promiscuity, a characteristic he shares with Joey too. Sheldon is not comparable with either predecessor in that way, but from what I have seen of The Big Bang Theory (which isn’t that much), he is conceited and cold towards people, even his friends. For all their criticisms, these characters each have positives to go with them but it certainly does make you wonder whether the average viewer would warm to them as much if they knew them in real-life. I do actually like Barney’s character for the most part and can see why people are drawn to this larger-than-life, abnormal persona that they present – entertainment. But at the same time, isn’t it kind of irresponsible to promote such negative personality traits?

Authentic… Lynette’s palpable realism is not rewarded in fans.

Like I say, I do like some of these popular characters but in all honesty, I tend to favour the underdogs of television. A list of some of my favourite TV characters in recent times consists of Super Claire Dunphy, Lynette Scavo, Edie Britt, Jane Kerkovich-Williams, Robin Scherbatsky. What do you notice? All female, all usually unpopular. Now, I don’t really think gender has any dictation on my preference of TV character – it’s merely a coincidence. But what I do see from this list is realism. These could all be real people. If I walk down the street, I could easily bump in to one of these characters. I’m not going to come across a suit worshipper, a ridiculously imbecilic lothario or a big-headed physics snob. Personally, I like to be able to relate to the characters on screen, I like to see myself and others in them. Lynette Scavo and Claire Dunphy are frighteningly realistic and could represent 70% of mothers in Western society, something that cannot be said of their eccentric co-stars. Other characters such as Edie Britt and Robin Scherbatsky, although presented as strong independent women have so much depth and vulnerability especially for two shows that rely on comedic elements.

To be frank, I can’t really fathom why these brain-dead, offbeat types are preferred to the brilliantly observed realistic characters on the box. I think you have to appreciate how much harder it is to write a character in a relatable way. It’s easy to exaggerate mannerisms and actions of a character to the point it becomes ridiculous but to pair the dramatic twists and turns of the small screen with believable characters is well and truly skillful. In fact, it’s a surprise in a generation fascinated by reality TV that these characters are less welcomed but maybe it’s because we hate the fact that these characters remind us… of us.

Things I’d Love To See on Modern Family

Cam and Mitch get Married

#Politics… The time is now for TV’s favourite gay couple to tie the knot

It’s the obvious scenario that every Modern Family fan wants and with the overturn of DOMA over the Summer, it’s now a real possibility. The hilarity of Cam’s extravagance combatting with Mitch’s scepticism would prove hysterical! Maybe, Cameron wants a farm themed nuptials and hires strict Claire as the wedding planner? Plus, the big occasions always deliver on Mod Fam. We would also be treated to the return of Merl and Barb Tucker and maybe even get to meet Cam’s sister! It would also be an excuse for Shelley Long to reprise her role as DeDe Pritchett – which is always a delight. I am fairly confident that the writers will make this happen in the next few seasons but I hope they do the right thing and make it Season 5’s finalé with an emotional engagement taking place before the mid-season break.

More Sal and more DeDe

Unexplored… Sal has only ‘properly’ met Cam, Mitch and Lily

In fairness, Modern Family has a pretty good track record of keeping its recurring stars exactly that; recurring. Benjamin Bratt (Javier) and Reid Ewing (Dylan) to name just two examples have appeared sparingly but frequently throughout the series. But two characters we need to see more of are Cam & Mitch’s party crazy BFF, Sal and delusional pest, DeDe Pritchett. It would be fascinating to see how Sal gets on with the rest of the family – especially say Gloria and Claire, whom she has had no chance of interacting with as of yet. And, what is there to say about DeDe? The ways she pushes Claire’s buttons is always a delight to see –  her first appearance in Season one’s ‘Coal Digger’ elevated the episode to ‘classic’ status.

The return of Ethan

Love triangle… Ethan and Dylan briefly battled for Haley in Anaheim.

Remember Ethan? The boy Claire brought along to the family’s Disneyland outing in the hope Haley would take a shine to him. Well, Ethan is played by Sarah Hyland’s real-life boyfriend, Matt Prokop. In a cast, that already thrives from perfect synergy – the reintroduction of Ethan would only bolster that. It would certainly catch Claire unawares when Haley starts dating a ‘good boy’ out of choice. It may also add to the wonderfully banterous relationship Haley shares with Alex, seeing as she too took a shine to Ethan in season three. If Dylan was to return too, it could set up an interesting battle for Haley’s affections – even though, I’m pretty sure we all know who she would pick.

A trip to Colombia… or England

Hola! Hola!… Gloria could give the family a different slant on Colombia

We’ve heard so much about Gloria’s home that it would be nice to finally see it. The extended Dunphy-Pritchett-Delgado clan have had a couple of trips during their four years of screen time. It would be nice for them to visit a place of sentiment to one of the characters. Although, Gloria has expressed her discomfort at taking Jay to Colombia, it would be interesting to see her take control of family affairs for the trip. Maybe, the fairly recent arrival of Fulgencio Joseph will give them a reason to re-visit her roots. Equally so, I’d love to see the family hop over the pond to England. Cam and Mitch briefly visited London in Season 4’s ‘Bringing Up Baby’ but it would be fantastic to see the lot of them in my home country. As I’ve already said, Modern Family’s vacations always provide hilarity.

Spouse swap

Clameron… These two have often clashed

The show builds a lot of its stories on crossovers from characters from each sub family but wouldn’t it be hilarious to see say Cam and Phil swap households? Phil lives with Mitchell for the week while Cam stays at Claire’s and watch how they react to the chaos they bring. I imagine Claire would treat Cameron fairly similarly to how Mitchell already does but Philtchell, as I’m now dubbing them, hasn’t really been explored to a great extent and if we remember correctly, Phil had expressed his curiosity about living with a guy in Season 1’s ‘Airport 2010. Although, I think it would be a genuinely funny move by the writers, it doesn’t seem inkeeping with the realistic way in which the character’s carry themselves and seems synonymous with a dying sitcom struggling for ideas.

Cameron meets Julia Roberts

Drama-queen… Cam is known for his exaggerations when re-telling stories.

“Cam has this crazy theory that if he were straight and Julia Roberts were single – they’d be dating” “It’s not crazy, I met her once at an AIDs walk and our chemistry was palpable.”
Remember that? Well let’s put it to the test! As one of television’s titans, it shouldn’t be too hard for Modern Family to attract a star even as big as Julia Roberts to guest star on the show. Imagine, Cam and Mitchell walking down the street and bumping in to her, only for Julia Roberts to have no recollection of him and subsequently completely dismiss his theory. Maybe, afterwards, Julia has a change of heart after seeing Mitchell gloat or Mitch himself sets out to get Julia to humour Cam after seeing him upset. This is certainly the most inventive thing I’d like to see on the show, but unfortunately it’s less likely.

Lily’s birth mother visits

Curious… Lily questioned her heritage in season four.

Lily has been longing to know about her real mother ever since Cam and Mitch killed a bird and told her she was a princess. Like with Ethan, it would be great for Lily’s birth mother to be played by Aubrey Anderson-Emmons real-life mother, Amy Anderson. Of course, if the writers were ever willing to explore such a dramatic twist in this, a comedy series, it should be to affirm the validity of the family Cam, Mitch and Lily have formed since 2009. Either, Lily rejects her birth mother or simply doesn’t meet her at all. It would certainly be hard to handle and portray comically but if anyone can do it – the incredibly talented writers of Modern Family can.

Why I Love Modern Family

I usually find obsessive fans of anything quite irritating but I have to say that’s rather hypocritical of me. Especially when it comes to Modern Family. I know the show like the back of my hand and given the amount of time I spend watching it, that should be no surprise. After covering the characters, the best episodes, predictions for future seasons and a review of the show as a whole, I was at a loss as to what to write about Modern Family next. So I’ve settled on a shameless list of praise for my favourite TV programme of all-time.

So here are just some of the reasons why I adore it so much.

The Family

Loveable… Modern Family is the sort of programme that makes you wish their life was yours.

In truth, I’m quite a family-orientated person. I spend a lot of time with them and like the extended Pritchett clan, my family is big, loud and loving. My family aren’t quite as hilarious but in a general sense, they do remind me of my loved ones.

It’s actually funny

There have been plenty of comedies to have graced television in the past that have simply not been funny (Scrubs). A lot of sitcoms are simply nice to watch, they’re easy going and they make you snigger occasionally. Whereas, Modern Family is relentless. I often spiral in to fits of laughter watching the programme, even episodes I’ve seen before and not many comedies have made me do that.

The characters

The diversity is fantastic. They’re all very unique and offer different forms of comedy that against all odds, blends very well. I’ve already written about how much I love the characters and I’ve recently update my character ranking so you can view and VOTE on that here; https://thechriswhitingshow.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/modern-family-my-favourite-characters/

It’s very successful but not too popular…

Steamroll… Modern Family has accumulated an average of 4.5 Emmys per season

Sometimes things become a victim of their own hype – thankfully, Modern Family doesn’t. It achieves good ratings in the USA, around the 12 million mark and around 1 million in the UK. It has won a colossal 18 Emmy awards in 4 short years, already surpassing Friends and Seinfeld, leaving it just three behind Cheers. But it isn’t too popular, like the incredibly over-rated, Big Bang Theory. And thankfully, it’s modest fanbase makes it all the more loveable.

The kid stars

I tend to find kids quite awkward to watch in TV shows, because they’re younger they tend to lack awareness and obviously experience of how to behave on camera but you wouldn’t know that with Modern Family’s child stars. From the Pilot, they have performed at the highest level that can be expected. It’s extremely impressive in to just what talented actors Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and Sarah Hyland (yes, I know she’s not actually a kid) are. And it’s exciting to see where they’ll go from here.

It’s rewatchability

Biggest fan… Inaugural #MOFY of the week, Chris Whiting

Building on what I said earlier, not only is Modern Family, side-splittingly hilarious, it is seemingly ageless too. I’ve cycled through all four seasons on several occasions and even after the thirty seventh viewing, I’m still laughing at the jokes and even noticing a stolen glance or snide remark, I hadn’t noticed previously that makes me laugh even more. A timeless classic, without doubt.

They care about the fans

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a producer at USA, the network where Modern Family is syndicated, to help promote the show before it airs every weeknight from September 24th. I was tracked down and chosen as an honorary #MOFY , to help build the #MOFYNation. I was even given the inaugural Modern Family fan of the week award and sent a limited edition t-shirt for free! What an honour!

That’s so Hateful

Target… Raven Symone’s sexuality has been blamed for ‘ruining people’s childhood’.

Although rumours of her sexuality had been circulating the web for the better part of a year, former Disney star, Raven Symoné publicly acknowledged her orientation on Twitter a few days ago. The reactions proved that homophobia is still rife in society, despite the march towards marriage equality in much of the Western world.

Other than dying or having a baby, there is nothing more provocative a celebrity can do than come out of the closet. Time and time again, the public and the media have worked up a storm over the sexuality of the likes of Ricky Martin, Lady Gaga, Zachary Quinto etc. Although, nobody is at all perturbed by a confession of bisexuality as every female pop star will tell you; it’s the must-have edge to a star’s persona. Regardless, this confession in a supposedly tolerant society shouldn’t cause a stir – more a passing acknowledgement and then let’s get on with our lives. Having said that, a media frenzy is a much more welcome reaction than the one Raven Symoné received. An account called ‘Childhood Ruined’ that tweets sinister observations of popular crazes from people’s childhood tweeted the news as if it had somehow tainted her hit comedy show, ‘That’s So Raven’. Frighteningly, people latched on to the tweet to agree with its sentiment. Even celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, perhaps most famous for playing womaniser, Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother who has been ‘out’ for years is still targeted with (hopefully) inadvertent homophobic comments.

We can see the prominence of homophobia in sports such as football where homosexuality is fair game for a cheap ‘banterous’ dig at the opposition, meaning that discriminatory insults are likely to lurk in the minds of kids for generations to come. Also, recently there has been a rise in ‘homophobic’ terms seen on social networking sites with remarks like ‘faggot’, ‘no homo’, ‘dyke’ and ‘so gay’ becoming increasingly popular social vernacular. Although, usually non-intended with any malice, these words can affect the confidence of young LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender) people wondering whether they are in a safe environment to be who they are, a potentially permanent effect on their self esteem. One site (NoHomophobes.com) has collated all of the tweets with the previously mentioned terms in since July 5th 2012. Astonishingly, today alone, there have been (as of 5:17pm BST); 34,311 tweets mentioning ‘faggot’, 8,354 ‘no homo’ tweets, 8,275 ‘so gay’ posts and 2,735 utterances of ‘dyke’. Remember, this is just tweets, Facebook statuses and comments, ask.fm questions and Tumblr posts are not included in those scarily high numbers. Statistics show that 64% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school, which is no surprise given the popularity of homophobic slurs in modern slang. It’s tough enough to come out as gay when you’re pretty sure you’ll be accepted but the uses of such language will only make youths doubt their comfort in themselves. Harmful lies about gay stereotypes are also stacked against many people today. The view that gay men are always effeminate lead to the ‘no homo’ catchphrase, only enforcing the idea that a gay youth being themselves will change people’s perception of them.

Rising... The use of homophobic slang is on the rise.

Rising… The use of homophobic slang is on the rise.

I obviously realise that a lot of the uses of homophobic slang is not meant in a derogatory way but the words will have an affect on others and society in the long run. Pretty much every person has had a critical joke made about them and wondered if there was any sincerity behind it, this is exactly the same. Don’t alienate people – think before you speak.

The Death of Music

Sell-out… Goulding’s earlier work is far more credible.

What is currently number-one in the UK? Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’. A dance-pop song that many will struggle to remember in a few years time. It’s not the same as the number ones of twenty or even ten years ago that are remembered now and identifiable after the first note is aired. No, now it will take a good 60 seconds of murmuring until you reach the chorus before you can be sure it’s ‘that song’ by ‘oh, what’s her name’.

It seems reaching the summit of any of the world’s major music charts has become easier and easier year on year, with that all too familiar formulaic drivel soaring to the top. And here is my handy guide on how to reach the top of any chart;

  • Make sure your song is of the ‘dance-pop’ genre.
  • Sing about the events of partying, drinking and/or having sex with strangers.
  • You must spend at least 30 seconds of the song making a generic noise such as ‘woah’, ‘la’ or ‘eh’.

Machine… Seriously, this woman never stops.

If we’re being honest, few artists around today will stand alongside the likes of Elvis, Michael and the Beatles as legends in music folklore. Most popular artists are now merely corporate hit-making monsters. For instance, Rihanna, who seems to drop a new album every time I blink, has accumulated seven number-one hits. This places her above Queen, but ‘RiRi’ will never have the impact on music that Freddie Mercury’s posse did because a number-one was harder to attain in their day. Equally, 18 Months, the latest album by Calvin Harris holds the record for the most top 10 hits from a single album. It is still unknown to me why the likes of Calvin Harris and David Guetta deem themselves better than other music producers and therefore need top billing on their work but that’s another story. The point is, these artists are determined to reel off throwaway hit after throwaway hit for one purpose – money. Let’s look at some of the songs that have topped the charts that meet the above criteria let’s say two years ago; Roll Deep – Good Times, JLS – The Club is Alive, Ke$ha – We R Who We R, Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home. I bet there’s not many people listening to these songs now except maybe if you go out to a club. It’s like Beyoncé said in this year’s  V Festival programme, “People don’t make albums anymore. They just try to sell a bunch of really quick singles. People don’t ever listen to a body of work anymore.”

Aware… Beyoncé acknowledges that albums are mostly redundant.

In honesty, it’s near impossible to argue with Mrs. Carter. If we’re talking music that will be remembered it is the creators of works such as Adele’s ’21’, Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ that will be remembered from this era of music not Iyaz’s Replay. Remember that? You should, it was number one worldwide just three years ago.

Still, the cogs of the corporate music machine keep turning without executives realising the biggest selling hits of the last few years haven’t necessarily been of the dance-pop genre and the best selling albums certainly haven’t been. With the likes of Eminem’s ‘Love The Way You Lie’ and Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ topping end of year singles charts in recent years.

Unfortunately, the big wigs of music have cottoned on that making five or six throwaway hits that reach the top ten makes more money than one track of musical brilliance that reaches the summit – not that that’s really an honour anymore. Unfortunately, the fed up among us will have to wait patiently for this tedious trend of monotonous dance-pop to bow out. I for one, cannot pretend to like the same barely altered songs  every other week, any longer.

Room 101… Three

Yes, it’s back. Yes, I moan a lot.

Luis Suarez

Seriously… What the fuck is he doing? Creep.

I’ve already condemned Liverpool FC to Room 101 and as far as I’m concerned their buck-toothed talisman can join them. Despite, the obvious issue of racism, his inability to go one game without flopping around like a seal on a sheet of ice every time an opposing player comes within two feet of him is yet another mark against him.  He even bit a player, I mean what even is he? A flimsy bigoted werewolf. Jesus, just fuck off, Luis and please never ever return.

The Scouse accent 

Oust the Scouse… Liverpool’s accent is horrific.

While we’re on the Merseyside theme, let’s give their horrendous accent the boot. I’m not actually a fan of many English accents but the Scouse accent is by far the worst. If it’s not bad enough that you have to listen to whining in the middle of every word, you’re also covered in spit by their harsh rebate too. I’d rather have tinnitus than spend an hour chatting to Tina Malone. Sorry, Liverpool – but you’re a city best left unheard.

Ear Stretchers

Prat… I could play pitch and putt on his fucking skull.

I do not understand this. If I’m honest, I don’t understand fashion at the best of times but why the fuck would anyone want a bordered hole in their earlobe? It’s not cool, and in most cases is irreversible. Inevitably, we’ll be left with OAPs with hole-filled earlobes in 50 years. In honesty, they won’t be good for much except storing Wednesday’s pills.

Glory Hunters / Second team wankers 

Season ticket holder… for Sky Sports 1 HD

No football fan likes these people. The type of moron who claims to support Liverpool or Manchester United but actually lives in Kent or  Aberystwyth? Then, if you question why they support who they do, it’s always ‘my Granddad does’ like that’s some sort of reprieve – it just means your Grandad is a flaming glory hunter like you. What’s worse, is that these people then judge fans of the local teams for supporting shit clubs. Perhaps, even more annoying are fans who have a ‘second team’. They’re usually a top half Premier League side. The type of cretin who would have something along the lines of “PUFC through and through. Man City are my second team” in their Twitter bio. Yes, that’s a direct quote.

N-Dubz

Twats… These self-obsessed arseholes think they’re inspirational.

A three-piece urban band. Doesn’t sound too bad… until you realise who the band members are. The best of a bad bunch is Fazer, whoever the fuck that is. Then there’s drug-dealing, sex-tape making, shit dance song making, ‘female boss’, Tulisa and her cuntish cousin, Dappy, waddling around with the shittest hats I’ve ever seen. It says a lot that this band fronted a beat bullying campaign only to be dropped after Dappy threatened to stab a woman who ‘didn’t like N-Dubz music very much. La Roux’s Elly Jackson targeted the genre of urban music as her least favourite so Thuglisa labelled her an ‘ugly, lonely bitch’. A thoroughly charming duo, I’m sure you’ll agree. Their arrogance must come from somewhere but alas, they’re chart flops too. Their greatest hits album must just be a record of every old woman they’ve happy slapped over the last five years.

The “We all hate Leeds scum” chant

Irrelevant… Who the actually cares about Leeds?

This is nonsense. Fair enough if fans of say Man United, Bradford, Huddersfield or even Chelsea want to sing it but why oh why do clubs from the Midlands and beyond who have no link to them sing this chant? Most people bemoan Leeds for thinking they’re a massive club, but a whole host of sizeable clubs singing about how they hate them with no real reason to is hardly going to quell their ‘holier than thou’ act. I for one know if it were Leicester people were singing about, I’d be lapping it up too.

Winter

Admittance… The snow does make things look pretty at least.

Apparently people like Winter. In all honesty, it’s really shit – other than Christmas and New Year’s. I don’t see the fascination with it at all unless you like; the damp, the dark, the cold, the wet, death, depression and illness. Even snow is annoying as arsewarts after two days.

Sweet Potatoes

Vom… Bake these bastards and you’ll hate them forever.

I absolutely hate these things. Once upon a time, I had no feelings towards them but until my sister started her health kick and made me eat baked sweet potato. It was too much – never again.

Floating stairs

Unsteady… Floating stairs do not provide a comfortable level climbing experience.

I’m not sure this is the actual term for these sort of stairs but I hate them nonetheless. It just unnerves me that each plank is seemingly loose in the air. For some strange reason, I feel like my leg will slide through the gap and I’ll fall to a very grisly death. Obviously, there is virtually no chance of that happening but why even take the risk?

Gingers in denial

“I’m Strawberry blonde”… Erm, if you fucking say so

I feel sorry for redheads. They experience a lot of abuse for their hair colour and usually fair skin and in reality, they should embrace their colouring and not hide it through hair dye. Although, they are not the most annoying of the gingers in denial. The ones we all hate are the infamous Strawberry blonde crew. Let’s be honest, pal – you’re ginger, now embrace it.

2013–14 Football League Predictions

With every new seasons , comes a new found expectation. Seventy two clubs up and down England and Wales will be dreaming their club will be steeped in glory come May 2014, whether it be a thrilling chase for promotion or a nerve-racking scrap to quell relegation. Here are my thoughts on how the tables may look in nine months time.

The Championship

Bookies’ favourites for promotion: QPR, Reading, Bolton Wanderers
Bookies’ favourites for relegation: Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley

Promotion Contenders

Challenge… Redknapp’s talented Hoops may not be enough to mount a promotion challenge.

As always, the relegated Premier League sides are tipped for the top. Reading seem the best placed for an immediate return to the top-flight with a strong squad that excelled in the Championship two seasons ago, strengthened with new additions and led by a talented manager in Nigel Adkins. Queens Park Rangers could dominate the division but risk ‘doing a Wolves’ if the heavily priced squad fail to motivate themselves to the task. Wigan could struggle to break in to the top six with Europe a lengthy distraction next season. East Midlands ‘money-bags’, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest are among those tipped for the top. Forest appeared rejuvenated under Billy Davies and have strengthened in pre-season but the Scotsman has failed on two occasions to lead Forest back in to the top division. The Foxes have added only one player to their roster but stability may be key in their quest for promotion, motivation shouldn’t be a problem for City following their cruel play-off exit in May but frailties seen in the second half of last season will need to be rectified. Bolton too pushed for the top six at the end of last season and a replication of that in 2013–14 will see the Trotters at the right end of the table. Watford’s incessant borrowing from Udinese and Granada will too keep them in contention, providing a play-off hangover doesn’t dent their chances.

The Question Marks

Ram raid… Derby fans should be quietly optimistic for the year ahead.

Several clubs are picked as this season’s ‘dark horses’. Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town are favoured due to their strong finishes but their late form may prove to be inconsequential in the wake of the coming season.  AFC Bournemouth are predicted by some, including the bookies to consolidate and maybe mount a promotion push but in an even more competitive league than last season, it may prove to be one step too far for the Cherries. Derby County have been quietly going about some good business in pre-season and this may finally be the season that the Rams’ long-term approach pays off. Nobody can seem to weigh up neither Brighton & Hove Albion nor Middlesbrough this season. The Seagulls odd managerial switch may stifle the progress they had made in previous years whereas Middlesbrough’s dramatically different form in either half of last season means they could be either knocking on the door of the play-offs are floating in and out of the drop zone.

The Relegation Candidates

One direction… Donny have little hope of escaping the drop.

Only two of the promoted trio are widely fancied to drop back to the third tier and rightly so. Somerset minnows, Yeovil Town will struggle but may put up more of a fight than expected with manager, Gary Johnson capable of securing the Glovers’ survival. Doncaster’s signing of pop heartthrob, Louis Tomlinson will do little to bolster a squad and manager ready for the drop.  As is customary, Barnsley will be poking around the bottom of the table, but their scrappy nature may be enough to carry them above the dreaded dotted line once more. Millwall seem a lesser threat given their end-of-season form and the transition of manager Kenny Jackett to Wolves. Blackpool are too fancied to struggle with a depleted squad and a manager in Paul Ince rumoured to be unhappy in his surroundings. Elsewhere in Lancashire, Burnley may be the surprise strugglers this season following Charlie Austin’s defect to West London – the striker secured crucial points for the Clarets last term. The blue-striped duo, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday may have to contend with another relegation battle too.

My predicted table

1 Reading
2 Bolton Wanderers
3 Watford
4 Nottingham Forest
5 Queens Park Rangers
6 Leicester City
7 Leeds United
8 Wigan Athletic
9 Derby County
10 Brighton & Hove Albion
11 Ipswich Town
12 Charlton Athletic
13 Bournemouth
14 Blackburn Rovers
15 Birmingham City
16 Middlesbrough
17 Sheffield Wednesday
18 Barnsley
19 Huddersfield Town
20 Blackpool
21 Millwall
22 Burnley
23 Doncaster Rovers
24 Yeovil Town

League One

Bookies’ favourites for promotion: Wolves, Peterborough, Brentford
Bookies’ favourites for relegation: Coventry, Shrewsbury, Colchester, Stevenage

1 Brentford
2 Wolverhampton Wand.
3 Peterborough United
4 Sheffield United
5 Bristol City
6 Preston North End
7 Notts County
8 Milton Keynes Dons
9 Swindon Town
10 Rotherham United
11 Walsall
12 Crewe Alexandra
13 Leyton Orient
14 Crawley Town
15 Bradford City
16 Tranmere Rovers
17 Carlisle United
18 Gillingham
19 Port Vale
20 Oldham Athletic
21 Colchester United
22 Coventry City
23 Stevenage
24 Shrewsbury Town

League Two

Bookies’ favourites for promotion: Portsmouth, Fleetwood, Chesterfield, Bristol Rovers
Bookies’ favourites for relegation: Accrington Stanley, Dagenham & Redbridge

1 Chesterfield
2 Portsmouth
3 Oxford United
4 Bristol Rovers
5 Fleetwood Town
6 Cheltenham Town
7 Scunthorpe United
8 Burton Albion
9 York City
10 Northampton Town
11 Bury
12 Hartlepool United
13 Southend United
14 Plymouth Argyle
15 Exeter City
16 Mansfield Town
17 Newport County
18 Wycombe Wanderers
19 AFC Wimbledon
20 Rochdale
21 Accrington Stanley
22 Torquay United
23 Dagenham & Redbridge
24 Morecambe