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Things I Hate About New Year
By Phil Thornton
The avalanche of bleeding heart emotional blackmail charity adverts for only two quid/three quid/ten bob a month you can
- sponsor a polar bear
- help feed abandoned dogs (text woof to 8008 and a dog will write to thank you!!)
- help over-worked and abused donkeys in India
- help over-worked child slaves in India
- help to stop babies being twatted by their parents
- help to stop homeless people freezing to death
How deep is your sympathy reservoir? It’s not that these charities aren’t laudable but that these adverts shamelessly wring every ounce of horror in order to cajole emotionally gullible people into signing up for a direct debit form. We all know that the bulk of a charity’s overheads go on salary costs, rent, advertising campaign costs etc so very little of that two quid will go directly to help polar bears, donkeys, dogs, tramps and abused kids and no amount of liberal handwringing will alter the fact that kids will always get abused and donkeys will always be worked to death whatever happens. Charities have become a self-propagating business model that now encompass everything from potty right wing crank ‘thinktanks’ to private education facilities for the super-rich. Y’know what? Tap those cunts up for a few bob before laying it on thick for easily manipulated old dears surviving on 25 quid a week pension eh?
Cadbury’s Cream Eggs adverts already! Hey let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas! The birth day of our lord and saviour by forgetting that it’s only four months to go that we celebrate his untimely death by scoffing chocolate eggs filled with snail snot.
January Joggers/Power Walkers/Fitness Video – face it girls, you’re never gonna be 19 again, so get used to it. Going purple in a Primark tracky whilst you waddle along a dual carriageway at half past eight at night clutching a Home & Bargain energy drink will not help you get back that pre-kids and two bottles of Tesco own brand vodka a night body.
New Year’s ‘Honours’
Who’d want to be a Member of the British Empire? Or indeed a ‘Commander’ or an ‘Officer’ of an empire that doesn’t even exist, except in the warped minds of bigots, halfwits and Daily Mail armchair stormtroopers. Plenty of people apparently, even those who claim to be ‘socialists.’ And black people too! Oh yes, no shortage of djs, musicians and other members of the ‘counter-culture’ queuing up to claim their gong. Well ring the bells because the Uncle Tom Tom Club has a new member; stand up and take a bow, Courtney Pine, so-called ‘jazz ambassador’ who joins the ranks of Norman Jay and Jazzie B as this year’s ‘Token Darkie’ – never mind that this empire was built upon the mass slavery and exploitation of Pine’s, Jays and er, B’s ancestors and continues to condemn most black citizens to a ghetto existence in the poorest and most under-resourced areas of the inner cities. Here good little boy have a medal for y’know ‘services to er, jazz, reggae reggae sauce n’ not being too uppity. What happened to ‘Black Power?’ After 911, it was if all that Public Enemy ‘Nation of Islam’ posturing just melted away and black and white Americans joined together to fight the REAL enemy; the RAGHEADS! Pine claimed to be ‘deeply moved’ by his CBE yet all I see is a grinning Muttley desperately grabbing a futile piece of tin from Dick Dastardley as he falls to his death. Where are Steel Pulse when you need em?
Predictions for 2009 – no-one, not even Gypsy Petulengro or Old Ma Grace can predict the future. There’s no such thing as fate, nothing is pre-ordained, we are the result of a bizarre chemical coincidence and subject to acts of human folly. The only thing we can predict about the future is that you can never predict the future.
After the success of Frost/Nixon at the box office, more momentous historical interviews are now being lined up for the big screen : coming soon….
Wogan/Best starring Colin Farrell as Terry Wogan and Calum Best as George Best. Genial Irishmen, Terry and George swap shagging stories and almost start world war three.
McCall/Malone starring Lily Allen as Davina McCall and Michelle Heaton as Tina Malone. Davina discusses toenail biting and other issues of world importance with perhaps the finest actress of her generation.
Air/Corrs starring Fearne Cotton as Donna Air and the Dooleys as The Corrs. Donna asks family band The Corrs ‘where did you first meet?’ with hilarious consequences
What The Buck!
If you haven’t already seen it, we have a contender for the most ridiculous concept for a magazine ever award; ‘Buck’ is a men’s magazine devoted to - get this - ‘fashion, furniture and food for men!’ FUCKIN’ FURNITURE! Maybe I’m wrong but somehow I don’t think there are many men out there who’ve been waiting expectantly for this bizarre alliterative fusion of men’s interests. Yeah maybe some of us were getting cheesed of with boring old fashion and food or maybe even food and furniture and now can rest assured that all our fashion, food and furniture needs are encompassed in one pseudo-foppish journal. I can’t imagine the pitch for this getting beyond any half conscious publishing exec;
‘It’s a magazine with a twist. We cover fashion’
‘Wait a doggone minute, fashion, food and furniture for men? There’s a concept I can sell! When do we start?’
No, as usual with these self-indulgent meta-niche (or is it micro-niche?) concepts, I suspect some rich kiddy playing around with daddy’s millions here. The likes of ‘The Chap’ have staked a claim for ‘new fogeyism’ by keeping their production values low and their standard of japing journalism reasonably high. Buck must cost a fortune to produce as it’s glossy and highly visible, not only available in Borders and specialist retailers but on the shelves of WH Smith. In these cash strapped times, Buck’s self-conscious ‘eccentricity’ must appeal to a tiny microcosm of the male population ie. professional ‘bohemians’ and self-styled ‘dandies about town.’
You know the type; self-consciously studied twats with Victorian patriarch or Salvador Dali muzzies, tweed bowties, 30s architect gigs and Cary Grant haircuts riding up Greek Street on penny farthings. With FHM, Loaded, GQ, Esquire, Arena all on their arses, I suppose these niche ‘men’s interest’ mags are atleast attempting something different and have curiosity value. I’ll give it another issue.
More new niche titles for 2009
Puck – satire, Sartre and sunbeds for stiffs
Pike – fashion, furniture and fly-fishing for freaks
Puke – food, fridges and frottage for fuckwits
Puss – cats, cars n’ kinky boots for creeps
Pube – hair, hogroasts and hats for hillbillies
The sight of indie-disco geeks Hot Chip divvy dancing through ‘Over And Over’ may have amused many of us these past few years but let’s not forget that, long before Napoleon Dynamite made ‘spaz jazz’ shapes acceptable, pop music had witnessed many more examples of divvy dancers over the past 40 odd years.
The Godfather of Divvy Dancing is perhaps Freddy Garrity of Freddy & The Dreamers, who in the 60s eschewed hip mod moves like the mashed banana and the funky funky broad bean in favour of daft, legs akimbo jogging and Arthur Askey ‘Busy Bee’ skipping. Freddy’s tunes weren’t particularly memorable but it was his divvy dance shtick that got him on Blue Peter and earned the Mancunian meff a place in the hearts of millions.
The 70s saw Iggy Pop and various other garage rock and punk pretenders throw angular shapes whilst self-lacerating themselves and generally behaving like the phoney delinquent attention seekers they were. However, it was perhaps Joy Division’s Ian Curtis who took Divvy Dancing to another physical and emotional level. Curtis wasn’t attempting to be cool by performing his wide eyed, epileptic spasms, he was simply lost in himself and his band’s music. Yes, it’s laughable in a post-modern Mr Bean does Post-Punk Nihilism kinda way but atleast Curtis really did ‘mean it maaaaan!’ He meant it so much he topped himself, the prick!
The 80s was perhaps the golden era of Divvy Dancing. Over in the US, the so-called Brat Pack movies were almost obliged to have atleast one scene devoted to wacky Yanks with shite trainees and Flock Of Seagull haircuts bopping about to kerrazy 80s pop-rock by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran or Huey Lewis & The News. Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen memorably captured this peculiar shoulder heavy strut on his video for ‘Dancing In The Dark’ after coaxing ‘genuine hot lady crowd member’ Monica from Friends up on stage for a bit of brat pack boppin’ (in the dark). Way to go!
On a hipper, alt-dance tip, Talking Head’s David Byrne perfected his own brand of geek-groove, inspired perhaps by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh (sse the video to Jocko Homo for evidence). Byrne’s studied Harvard Hop Prof Prance almost became as important to the Head’s performance as their music, eventually climaxing with Stop Making Sense’s out-sized suit and manic slapstick dance routines. Slippery People indeed.
Meanwhile over here in UKLand, we were cutting rugs to a different pattern daddio! Synth-pop and New Romanticism was a veritable hothouse of nebbish nodding dogs and WASPy whoppers all fuckwit fruggin like the holy fools they were. Yet there was always something a bit too self-consciously anti-hip about these Blitz-krieg Boppers; whether it was Nik Kershaw or Steve Strange, it all seemed a tad too calculated to be genuinely ‘div.’ Tears For Fears’ Roland Orzabal attempted to take the shine away from his better looking band mate, Curt Smith by performing his unique brand of divvy dancing to the duo’s best tune; ’Mad World’. Kind of like the ‘one potato two potato’ hand jive crossed with a New Romantic version of the twist, Orzabal’s potty moves were incredibly copied by wannabe Tears For Fears twats in youth club discos across the land.
Later in the decade The Housemartins capitalized on the Indie Kid craze for wacky dancing, performing their own choreographed hop skip and jump on the video to Happy Hour. Yet the deliberately self-mocking sense of unapologetic student silliness was underpinned by a sharp sense of social awareness and it was perhaps fitting that ‘Hull’s Third Best band’ were joined by fellow Kingstonian Roland Gift and his Fine Young Cannibal cohorts as the only serious claimants to Kings Of 80s Indie Divvy Dancing. It was former Beat members David Steele and Andy Cox’s jelly legged jiving that best demonstrated the pent-up, stiff limbed Middle English misappropriation of soul moves. Jagger himself did something similar way back in the early days of the Stones, attempting James Brown footwork but coming off more like Max Wall.
In the 90s The Happy Monday’s Bez gave ‘Freaky Dancing’ a new respectability and as grunge replaced Indie Dance as the preferred headbanging alternative to rave moves, so Indie became a place where the dance became stilted and suffocated by heavy rock guitars and long haired Gen X attitudes. Dude! It took Jarvis Cocker’s crackpot crooner shtick to bring the fun back into Brit-pop and indeed World-pop. Cocker’s elaborate ironies pointed to an age where gawkiness and geekiness were virtues not deficits and ushered in a New Age of Divvy Dancing. If overweight, unattractive creatures such as Har Mar Superstar could get away with apeing Prince moves simply by hiding behind the trusty shield of ‘irony’ and any two bit Alphabeat retro-80s act could recreate the Bratpack era so accurately then perhaps it was time to put Hot Chip in perspective.
Divvy Dancers are everywhere now. On beer adverts, on youtube videos, on Glastonbury stages. The age of self-conscious ‘cool’ seems to have been replaced by an era where the trick is to pretend that you are only too aware of your own ridiculousness and use this as a weapon against the self-elected arbiters of good taste. It’s a difficult balancing act however and there are some who manage to achieve an anti-hip hipness by design and those who achieve it by default. As Hot Chip put it….
‘Over and over and over and over and over
The joy of repetition really is in you’
Freddy Garrity would’ve loved em.
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