The View from My Window 9/3/06

Monthly progress report on the building site next door. For those keeping track, you can view last months report here.

The site has been cleared and BigYellowDigger has been fired and replaced with BIGYellowDigger, who spent the last two weeks making big mounds of earth. It didn’t take two weeks to make mounds of earth with a digger. Oh no. It took two weeks to move the mounds of earth around the site until the got them where they wanted them, where they looked nice. And then they removed them completely.

While the mounds of earth were around, BIGYellowDigger took to sitting on top of them. As if being BIG and Yellow weren’t enough, it has to build itself a cushioned pedestal on which to place its caterpillar tracks.

I’ve been off for a couple of days. Before I went, there were guys with theodelites going round surveying the site. Now I’ve come back and the guys have gone and there are lots of little crosses around the place. Evidently BIGYellowDigger went off on one and squished all the theodelite guys. In a morbid touch, the crosses are all yellow, no doubt to remind us of their little yellow coats and who perpetrated the heinous crime. And BIGYellowDigger, the murderer, is still there, merrily digging like nothing happened.

People are Boring. Celebrities doubly so.

I think it was good old Winnie Churchill who said “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on”. I don’t think, I know. I just copied this off a webpage somewhere. But while the wording may be off, the truth of the statement is fully clothed.

Global communication being what it is, we info-consumers now have larger info-voids to fill than we used to. It used to be that one could fruitfully spend ones life reading the paper and then going round to friends houses to discuss this and that and whatnot over a snifter of brandy in the library.

Now there is less latency in the reporting system, there is more space for information. However, supply has yet to meet with demand, which is why the slack is taken up with talking heads and “entertainment news” and lifestyle mags for bored housewives. All of which leads to the inescapable fact.

People are boring.

And if people are boring, Celebrities are at least twice as boring. Turn on your idiot box at any hour of the day and there will be some made-up person who has some level of fame being asked questions to which we already know the answer. And that’s not because we heard the answer before, it’s because the questions are formulaic and those of you who “do” mathematics will know that for a formula, there are a limited number of correct1 answers.

Take the Oscars2. I haven’t watched any of this years ceremony and I won’t watch the “highlights”. Because I don’t have to. They will consist of:

  • Some wiseass comedian presenter, who is the most interesting and talented person there
  • A tearful acceptance speech by an actress you hoped would know better
  • A boring acceptance speech by a middle-aged actor who could only be interesting and amusing with the right script and several million bucks dangling in front of him, or his cobblers in a vice
  • Close ups of losing nominees trying to look happy for the winner and turning up much better performances than in the films for which they were nominated
  • Post-ceremony interviews with nominees saying they didn’t mind not winning, especially when the person who did is so beautiful / talented / whatever!
  • Some sort of wardrobe malfunction
  • Random starlets with their tits hanging out (which I whole-heartedly endorse, by the way, if you’re reading this.)
  • Vacuous interviewers with lower dresses, higher hems and fewer brains trying to pry backstage goss from movie-types who would only indulge if there was a pre-backstage-shenanigan agreement in place

Its all very formulaic and you can basically toss the whole lot in the air and it’d all fall back roughly into place and voila! Next years Oscars.

Showbiz appears to be the place for people with no conversational skills and some other random physical attribute to go and be made to look interesting. Bob de Niro may be a great actor, but you just know he’s dull as shit to talk to. He, at least, doesn’t try to be interesting. The worst people are those who are dull and try to act bright.

But there’s a lot of that about, and it’s not limited to famous / celebrity people either. We all know someone who hijacks parties and conversations and tries to fill it with stories of their brilliance. We, the witty, urbane, sophisticates that we are, stand there casually, nodding at their inanities and rolling our eyes at each other.

If you’re not interesting, be realistic. You’re not going to be, especially if you try. And if you think you are interesting, newsflash; that’s a sure sign that you aren’t. It’s like telling a joke; if you can, do. But, and be truthful, if you can’t, please don’t. People like the truth. If you go to a party and say “Who wants to sleep with me? I’m the most interesting person here!”, you’ll be sharing the cab home with a kebab as per usual.

To paraphrase, it’s better to keep quiet and be thought boring, than to speak and remove all possible doubt. At least keeping schtum means you can be the conundrum, the “mystery guest”. Don’t be famous. Being an unknown is way more interesting.

1 By “correct”, I mean “not career-threatening”.
2 Please. Far away.

This Post Has No Title. Or Content.

I’m still here. Just struggling for material. Repeat after me; “The best material is no material”. Keep repeating that until you believe it.

If pushed to come up with a feature exhibit at the Tate Modern, I would submit a piece of paper with a pencil on it, which I would call “Possibility”. Either that or “The Reflected Brilliance of the World as Seen by a Blind Man wearing Red Shorts”; just to keep the Art bods happy1.

So, what do you write when there is nothing to write? What do you say when everything has been said? I should ask a tabloid journalist. However, I’m not content to supply the words for pictures of Jordan doing something purile. I could probably come up with suitable malapropisms, just to keep people “a-breast” of her situation, but I’d feel bad about having to do it. P.S. Did you see what I did there? Aren’t I clever? Gary Bushell, eat your heart out.

So, if I’m not content with commenting on the nocturnal activities of people whose name I know but not what they do, then what do I talk about? I appear, in the sixty or so posts to date, to have tackled most of the spiky bits in my particular piece of mental lawn and I don’t think there’s any benefit mowing it again. The spiky bits will always be there; I just develop thicker skin so I can walk barefoot through my brain without stepping on Racism and Intolerance that even the most caustic weedkiller cannot eradicate.

Speaking of gardens, an allegory has arrived. Society has swept the Scythe of Justice over the world, believing that all errant blades of sedition and wrongdoing have been neatly trimmed and is putting all its efforts into chasing dodgy politicians and coming up with very specific legislation to prevent Mrs Betty Green of Newport Pagnell from letting her little yappy-type dog make little yappy barks between lunch and afternoon tea. While Mrs Green feels the full force of Justice, the blades of scum and villainy, who merely ducked while The Scythe passed overhead, are growing happily in the rich manure left in Society’s wake.

The next source of material; what other people write about. I do make the effort to read what other people write in online newspapers and blogs, but only rarely do I find anything thought-provoking. More evidence that everything has been said. There are no new ideas; merely old ideas in a new hat. I could roll out some old ideas in new hats, but the intelligent people who read this blog would say “Oy, that’s an old idea in a new hat” and I’d sigh and say, “Yes, but what a hat”.

That’s what new things are. The Internet is just the telephone with extra pockets, the airliner is just a bus with a big hat, a train is just some buses that all arrive at once2, genetic engineering just evolution with running shoes on. Romeo and Juliet is just the classic Boy Meets Girl, Boy Marries Girl, Boy and Girl Die in Tragic Love Pact, but with knobs on. Which is a downbeat way of looking at Man’s achievements.

I guess, having dressed up core arguments in my own fancy dress up ’til now, I’m no longer happy doing that. I want people to be dressing up my ideas.

The Big Question: Do I have the mental furniture to come up with new ideas? Am I a philosophical fashion designer? Can I craft Fendi shoes and Gucci handbags, ideas that do not require dressing up? Can I arrive at the mental Little Black Dress?

Watch this space (but be prepared to wait).

1 I can’t understand how Arty types see what they see when they look at Art. I guess its interpretation; they see waves breaking on a beach of shimmering amethyst, I see a brick.
2 So, just like buses then.