Teenagers: How many are there?

In reality, there is only one teenager in the world. He drives a white, 1.3 Vauxhall Nova with alloy wheels, sports exhaust (both of which cost more than the car), red padding round the seatbelt, blue LEDs where the washer jets should be and the drivers seat set so far back and down that all you can see of The Teenager is the peak of his beige Nike baseball cap. He wears a tracksuit, Nike trainers (which also cost more than the Vauxhall Nova), a grade Two haircut (moussed / gelled / clayed / whatever!) and, I’m told, would smoke Marlboro Lights if they could afford them.

The multiple teenager effect is done with mirrors.

Only two Smints Left

It climb the steps to the dojang, the temperature rising a degree with each step. The dehumidifier is broken; stuck on humidify. My tie is non-regulation.


It must be thirty degrees in here and we’re wearing suits. Sat snugly behind a cramped table which is wrapped in black, heat-friendly fabric. There is only one fan and it is oscillating. I am the only person to whom it affords any respite. The ranks of red and white sweat in their thick cotton suits.


Tea and biscuits arrive. I avail myself of an orange squash and a bottle of water. In our delerium, the biscuits are scoffed, not savoured. The few reminaing crumbs are fastidiously picked up, regarded sorrowfully and then consumed. Steve’s bottle of water has a deformed bottom and will not stand up.


The Smint Siutation has not improved. A tentative shake of the box brings worried looks from the table.


It’s….so hot. We are out of biscuits and have only two Smints left. Water is in plentiful supply, but there is no end in sight. The sea of foam rubber floor blends in the haze with the asbestos ceiling. The single ceiling fan shimmers in the heat haze. It could be stationary as far as I know


The Smints are gone. We gaze longingly at the empty dispenser. We occasionally shake it, but to no avail. There is division at the table as the two girls are clearly hoarding biscuits. Not wanting to disrupt our final hours, we yawn at the sweating throng.

Politics: Magic? Art? Irrelevance?

On careful reflection, I think magic is too strong a word. So I’ll go for Art, since people who understand it bang on about it and everyone else thinks it’s a big waste of everyones time, Hats Off!


Having read recent articles on BBC News, it transpires that politics is actually really good. The problem is with the media constantly rubbishing all political claims and ideas so that the public become totally cynical about the whole thing. Yeah, right…


The only worthwhile element of politics is the ends to which the English language is put in order to pour scorn upon the Right Honourable Person sat opposite. The term Right Honourable applied to politicians shows just how seriously politicians take themselves. How they can keep a straight face…


Jeremy Clarkson was quite right when he said that the government has little or no impact on how you live your life on a day-to-day basis. That’s the reason why nobody bothers to vote. That, and the fact that once bunch of lying scumbags is as good as the next. If the political parties were companies providing the public with a service (which they kinda are, if you can call it a service), then the regulatory body would be down on them like a ton1 of bricks.

If there was an equivalent of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission that dealt with political parties, we could have them all done for an Unfair Lack of Competition.

A particularly cleverly-engineered virus could do away with all politicians2 and no-one would notice, apart from political correspondents who would turn up and there would be no-one to interview. In fact, political correspondents are about the only thing politics-related worth watching. Seeing Jeremy Paxman make the most senior (I won’t say powerful) politicians wriggle in his grip is almost worth the stealth taxes and TV license fee alone.

The rise of Politics is mainly because society doesn’t like it when politicians actually stab each other in the back. But society is perfectly happy if you only figuratively stab people in the back. And you don’t even have to look them in the eye when you’re doing it.

1 Or tonne. Whichever is heavier.
2 Not that I’m advocating such a course of action. Just so you guys in the listening posts don’t get your knickers in a twist over nothing.

Music vs Four Stroke

It is depressing how basic things are revealed to be when you expend some effort into understanding how they work. The following revelation came about when discussing how difficult it is to play the drums. The conjecture was that it is easy to play the drums badly, because, to quote the learned gentleman in question, “music is just banging things together”.

I countered this posit with the rejoinder that concert musicians would take no small measure of umbridge in having their considerable skills reduced to “banging things together”. Especially since “banging things together” only really describes the Percussion section, if a little rudely. But then, he’s a rude guy. So, after some discussion, it appears that music can be created in the following ways;

* Banging things together,
* Rubbing things together,
* Blowing into tubes,
* Sucking.

Sucking is a bit of an outsider, since it only applies to the Harmonica, although I have seen musicians on TV sucking big style. And not in a good way.

Put simply, Bang, Rub, Suck, Blow. Music reduced to four words.

So where, I hear you cry, does “Four Stroke” come into it? Well, the Four Stroke Internal Combustion Engine is so named because it goes through four stages during a combustion cycle. Again, put simply, these are Bang, Blow, Suck, Squeeze. Which is very close to the way music has been so succinctly characterised above. Coincidence?

Granted, there is no place for Rubbing in an engine. Large amounts of money are spent making sure engine parts rub against other engine parts as little as possible. Because, as I’m sure you’ll agree, rubbing is tiring, and a tired engine is no good.

So, rubbing has been replaced by squeezing. Which is fine. Musically, this only applies to the Accordian and the Bagpipes, neither of which are found in the traditional symphony orchestra. Neither, strictly, are Harmonicas (or is it Harmonicae?). Maybe they should be. Maybe Harmonicas and Accordians and Bagpipes should be included into symphony orchestras. They let new sports into the Olympics, they should let new instruments into orchestras! Yeah. So, where was I?

My point? There wasn’t one. It started off interesting but kind of got wierd at the end. I’ll try harder next time.

Art: Is it just bollocks?

Yes, it bloody well is.


To make my point; if someone with bad teeth and worse hair can look at a green square and say, in all seriousness, “I like the way the artist has juxtaposed the background with the four dogs and the banana, don’t you think?”, then that makes it a load of bollocks.


More evidence for The Prosecution. On more than once occasion, people have rolled up at a gallery with a “piece of art”, to have the arty types within pee themselves at its wonderousness, only to then bluster like an April lunchtime when it is revealed that it was created by a toddler with lots of crayons and not much supervision.


If, as it would appear, that everything is art, then does it even warrant its own word? I would argue that the term “Art” is of no value, since there are many other far more interesting words for “everything”; “things”, “stuff” to name but two.


This does rather make Art students look foolish.

Aurodynamics

No, its not a typo. Aurodynamics is a term wot I just invented.

In the same way that aerodynamics is a measure of how well an object behaves in an airflow, aurodynamics is a meaure of how well a song will behave in the charts.

Aurodynamics also explains why all modern, mainstream music sounds the same. I will illustrate this point by drawing parallels in the field of aerodynamics.

Aircraft all have the same basic design; wings, tail, engine, cockpit, etc. The reason for these things is that, if any were not present, the aircraft just wouldn’t work.

Cars are designed in computers these days, all of which take into consideration aerodynamics when creating the shape of the car; hence the reason why all cars are much the same.

In order that a song reaches Number 1 in the charts, Aurodynamics requires that the following are present;

  • Drum,
  • ‘n’ Bass,
  • optional string section, for ‘flava’,
  • Urban / Street / Ghetto theme,
  • 3 – 20 twentysomethings with as much variety in race and sex as possible,
  • vocalists ability to sing twenty notes when three would do,
  • ‘bling’,
  • one rap verse by caucasian band member,
  • minor gangsta connection,
  • appeal to mid-teen girls,

The presence of these attributes guarantees the big buck. Since these can be thought of a constants in the recipe for success, is it little wonder that all music sounds the same and less attractive, background, promotional types make large sums of money cranking the handle on the Fame Machine, which picks the next 3-20 twentysomethings from the queue, gives them a wash and a squint haircut and assorted street clothing and puts them on TV……..and we buy it. We can’t get enough of that shit.

So, is there any hope? As with all those for whom aerodynamics is a consideration, pushing the envelope is the only thing that keeps progress…progressing. It is these pioneers, nay, these frontierspeople who drag the rest of the sheep forward into new things.

The Laws of Aurodynamics are constant, but as with any great theory, there are small variables; arbitrary constants which those with vision can tweak in order to push things forward.

So, hats of to all those who push the envelope.

Generation Y vs Technology

Generation Y are the first demographic to have used computers to the extent that their operation is second nature. Our parents, on the whole, are flummoxed by the whole idea.

But, and hear me out, will there come a time when The Nintendo Generation is, itself, flummoxed by new technology? Has our presence at the inception of a such a pervasive technology future-proofed us against new ideas?

Picture the scene; you’re sat on the couch playing the latest beat-em-up with Junior using the thought-controller and he’s Kicking Your Ass. Do you; a) accept defeat gracefully?, b) ignore the fact that he was deliberately not trying too hard so you don’t feel bad?, c) curse loudly, colourfully and at length that, if you’d had a joypad, you’d have kicked his ass?,

When we finally give in and get one of those new-fangled cranial implants (after swearing blind for years that “you’ll never catch someone sticking one of those things in my skull!”), will we be unable to do the next-gen equivalent of double-clicking?

The answer, certainly and depressingly, is yes. Because, even if our mental faculties render keeping up possible, the relentless tide of technological advancement will be such that, at some point, we’ll realise that trying to keep up is pointless and make do with what we’ve got. Either that, or, since keeping up requires the equivalent of the defence budget of small Middle-Eastern military states, fiscal constraints will kick in, as they are wont to do.

So it looks like, as with our parents, we are destined to fall behind in the great march towards technological oneness. To be honest, by that point, we’ll probably be quite happy not to have peed ourselves.

Because your whole life is a test