I’m a BIG fan of Quentin Tarantino, so when I went to see Django Unchained about a week ago, I was absolutely soaking wet with excitement, which is by far the most disgusting description I’ve ever used about anything. I’m sorry. Anyway, back to my important cinema trip. There I was, with my hair brushed, clothes on, looking every inch a person with a film to watch. My expectations were high. As it happens, way too high. It was a good film, solid, functional, sometimes striking, but it wasn’t great. I didn’t want to have sex with it like I had with Pulp Fiction. I’m not going to give anything away, but at one point a HORSE starts dancing, which found me rifling around my handbag for piss soaked cabbages to chuck at the screen – thankfully for all involved, I was all out of hurling-veg. I was left glum, disappointed and strangely humiliated by the whole experience. Feeling a teensy bit pshit (the “p” is silent). And that invigorating tale leads me to the rest of this small list of other things that I was hoping to be better than they actually were. Yeah, get ready to feel cheerful, everyone…
I enjoyed The Killing a bit, but to hear everyone raving about it like Sarah Lund were the new Columbo only with a woolly jumper and medium-sized Danish boobs, I was expecting to have my entire brain rebooted by the experience. That didn’t happen. What actually happened was I watched the first episode, said “it’s the weird guy with the hat” to whoever was with me, then waited for nine million episodes for the rest of the world to catch up. I’m sorry I probably should have said SPOILER ALERT just then. I also hold this program personally responsible for the Christmas trend of people wearing shit jumpers. On the plus side, you can still enjoy hours of fun saying “TROOOEEEEEELS” over and over again if you so wish.
Bit London-centric this bit, but I live in London, so you know. Um. Anyway, in short, were you to film London’s culinary evolution over the last twelve months like one of those stop-motion mushrooming flower things, it would feature a great big juicy cheeseburger being fashioned from the finest ingredients, and then rotting and turning into a putrid lake of actual sick. It’s a beautiful metaphor. I just made it up. Stick a slow piano piece underneath that and you’ve got yourself an arthouse movie. But my point is this: no one loves cheeseburgers more than me – NO ONE – yet even I want this bizarre obsession with hipster burger joints to fuck the fuck off now. With it’s patchy beardedness and its “medium rare okay dude?”. And unfortunately that includes you Honest Burgers. Jay Rayner and Grace Dent think you’re the shit, everyone told me you’d change my life, but you didn’t. You were just okay.
I’m pretentious. I have a beard, I regularly wear a neck scarf, I have plastic rimmed glasses. I only buy vinyl records, if this were forty years ago I’d probably be smoking a pipe, I genuinely listen to jazz, I like old road movies like Vanishing Point and Two-Lane Blacktop, I think synthesizers are cool, I once went to a Mos Def concert. Add that all up and I’m in the exact demographic of dicks that should be lapping up movies like Drive, with it’s lead character strutting around like Steve McQueen, chewing on toothpicks and smashing people’s faces in as a romantic gesture. But no, I was bored from the start. Honestly and entirely bored. And I was also gutted because I’d BOUGHT it, convinced it would become my go-to movie when I wanted to remind myself how to be achingly hip.
Let It Bleed by The Rolling Stones
I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan, but I am still a fan, in that I probably own about six of their records. My favourite when I’m talking to cool people like you is Exile on Main Street, man, but in the the spirit of full disclosure my real favourite is Their Satanic Majesties Request (mainly for She’s a Rainbow). I don’t know why I’m too embarrassed to admit that. I think it’s because the title of the album is so stupid, and I’d sound like a cock saying it. I don’t know. I’m not, however, embarrassed to admit that I don’t particularly like Let It Bleed. The album’s bookended by a pair of ripsnorters – Gimme Shelter from practically every Martin Scorsese movie ever, and You Can’t Always Get What You Want, which features a choir of children at the beginning – but, unfortunately, everything else in between is a bit pony. It’s their only album that really makes me cringe at Mick Jagger’s whole over-egged trans-Atlantic-ness. I had a similar issue with Amy Winehouse in general.
I’m not going to go on and on about football, because I’m entirely aware of how dull that is. It’s a default setting for small groups of men. These days, I don’t much like the game. I look to a pitch and see twenty-odd millionaires with an enormous sense of entitlement having a ninety minute break from steamrollering prostitutes and models. Or to use the technical term, I see a “bunch of cunts”. But I will quickly say this – back in the 1980s when I was a nipper, footballers were generally ugly and heroic, and Dalglish was a hero of mine, because he led my favourite club Liverpool FC into the stratosphere. He was brill. Like a millionaire’s Peter Beardsley. So when he returned a couple of years ago, riding into Anfield on Sammy Lee’s back, home to make everything amazing again, I was genuinely excited. Only, he didn’t make anything amazing, he made everything shit. Really really shit. And he didn’t speak out over the Suarez racism debacle which wasn’t particularly cool either.
Every Woody Allen movie for ages
As mentioned earlier in this very piece, I’m one of those pretentious people you hear about, who own stuff like tweed jackets and fridge magnets of Debbie Harry. As you can imagine, I probably love Woody Allen films too, and you’d be right. Although, as is also quite predictable I only really like his early stuff. Your Annie Halls, the one in Black and White, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Hannah and Her Sisters. Yeah I’m that guy. I like how lots of them start, I like when they have the bit in the middle where a troll faced old man says something about art or poetry to a much younger girl and she then has sex with him for intellectualising her mind, and I like how you can hear things like clarinets or tubas in the soundtracks. Unfortunately, Woody hasn’t made a decent film since Deconstructing Harry, and that was seventeen movies ago. Most disappointing of all was the one he did with Larry David. It should have been a marriage made in heaven, instead it was just another great big pile of tits.
Now that he’s become a sitting duck, everyone’s getting stuck into Gervais. In hindsight, things probably started going downhill that day he brainfroze and embarrassingly broke into dance at the Diana memorial, and now look at him, he’s playing a man with actual mental health problems in Derek, which is a “sitcom” far too depressing to even think about. It’s got old people sitting around and sad piano music playing. That’s Ricky’s way of saying “CONCENTRATE! I’M BEING POIGNANT NOW!”. But it wasn’t always like this. Back when The Office finished in 2003, he was rightly on the crest of a wave – great show, great character, comic timing and subtlety, someone should probably say the word “nuanced”. The future was bright. Everyone was looking forward to what he’d do next. As it happens, what he did next was persuade handfuls of Hollywood big hitters to lampoon themselves in the least funny and most self-concious way possible for half an hour at a time. Extras was truly bad. So bad that the final episode found him languishing in the Celebrity Big Brother house channeling a sixth former by going something along the lines of “man, look at us all, we’re like GOLDFISH. What are we even DOING?”. And so Ricky Gervais the unbearable social commentator was born.
White Chocolate ANYTHING
White chocolate can literally fuck off.
14 Packs of Cigs
I’m a reformed smoker. I don’t do it anymore. I’ve since replaced my dreadful smoking habit with sporadic bouts of exercise, frequent over-eating, drinking alcohol too fast, and occasionally bursting into tears when good things happen to people in reality shows. Most recently I’ve been an absolute fucking mess watching The Undateables. I’m going to write more about that later in another piece, but What. A. Show. It’s fantastic. But I mention 14 packs here, by which I mean the medium-sized packs of fags ingeniously holding just fourteen cigarettes. B&H certainly used to do this, I’m not sure if they still do. Anyway, they let me down. They let me down because as it turned out I was basically a FIFTEEN a day man. The packet was never quite enough. By one. I am fully aware that this entire paragraph speaks like a wanker splitting hairs. You may be right about that.