Saturday, April 25, 2009

When does a permenant needled in drawing in your skin seem a good idea?

I’m going to talk today about something which is a particular pet peeve of mine. It is a Tattoos. I absolutely despise the things, and often recoil on viewing them. The sad fact of life being the bitch that it is is that more and more people are getting them.

Indeed it seems that trend-setting celebrities, and relaxing standards of acceptance (not all a bad thing although in this case I find it personally a problem) means that all the kids are getting them now. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind them so much, who knows I may have even got one myself, if it wasn’t for the fact they were permanent. That isn’t to say of course they aren’t removable but that requires considerable cost, and it sounds quite painful.

The permanence of a tattoo just leads me to accuse people with them of ruining their bodies. I suppose the key word in that sentence though is “their”, as their body is theirs to do what they want with, but for some reason it always seems like there is a naivety involved in the decision to get one.

Yes I have probably got it all wrong, and it’s all down to personal choice, but sometimes you get sick of having the individuality, and self expression argument for getting them shoved down your throat, as in a way it makes you feel like you are being judged for not having one. At worst you have celebrities (or everyday people, but then again as the papers so deftly show who gives a toss about them unless they are in some way spectacular. Cue Susan Boyle…) who start getting them for more strange reasons such as relationship break-ups such as Rihanna after her beating by Chris Brown (who it seemed knocked the sense out of her). Does this mean then that when you suffer a negative experience that it should be etched into your skin forever!? The pretension of that idea is just through the roof!

Also, what happens when the necessity for getting more “Tats,” as they’re colloquially known, gets more and more trivial? After all it wouldn’t seem out of place for a minor celebrity to get one for something as stupid as tripping up on a loose paving stone, just to make some filthy publicity shaped lucre. Imagine if you will someone small-time like Jodie Marsh appearing in the papers next week with a tattoo of herself falling flat on her face on her right shoulder. Of course that would be hilarious, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if more people then copied the idea, failing to see how much of an idiot said celeb has been. It would then beg the question of who is the greater fool, the fool, or the one that follows the fool? Also aren’t they rather forgetting that everyone will forever know how much of an idiot or a fool you have been, and to think that branding used to be a punishment in days of yore?

I think on a personal level I find the things annoying as its deemed cool to have one, yet I have no understanding or desire for the things (also needles freak me out). Also I’m a bit put off by the amount of women my age who seem to be getting them, or have them already. It’s a real turn off, as I somehow find a potential partner less impressive when I see she has stars imprinted on her neck or a butterfly on her hip. It just seems like narcissism taken to a new level, considering that people are turning their own bodies into a personal canvas (and I feel a little dead inside after describing it as that). Sure the postmodernists bloody well love it; it suggests that art is everywhere and that the human body is art etc etc. But remember they think that a messy bed, possibly the laziest idea for art ever, or a vat of piss is worthy of a million pound price tag….

A final thing to remember is a lot of the cool celebs who are getting the flaming squiggles are relatively young right now. What will happen in around 40 years time when these people start to hit their sixties (well look at Motorhead et al)? The sight is not/ will not be pretty I can imagine. I also hope that I will have the last laugh, when the fashion wears off and people with them are reminded of the permanence of them by fickle fate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Red Dwarf but not as I know it...

A brief rant today about TV.

Of course, it being the Easter weekend and all, there were a lot of big things on TV aside from the usual biblical epics and family classics rolled out as a matter of course. However one of those things represented something close to my heart. That thing is Red Dwarf.

I have been a fan of Red Dwarf from around the age of 8, and got into it at the time when series VI was showing. This was a bad point to become a fan, as it was at the time of the split between the writing partnership of Grant Naylor, and as a result the series had already peaked in quality. Still I remained a fan and also having slowly viewed the back catalogue of episodes I remained so, in spite of the two later and rather fan testing series. However this weekend represented another test of my mettle as a fan, as the series was brought back to life again for the first time in 10 years.

Now, I was under no illusion that the stunt was to try and get a new series commissioned but the way the 3 part series turned out was not exactly the answer to my prayers. Firstly whoever made the decision of making this a three-parter rather than a feature length episode is a bloody fool. The saga dragged on too slowly and became frustrating to watch. Also there was a distinct lack of gags in the first two parts. Sure they had a couple of moments of brilliance but they were too fleeting. The third part made up for this with one of the funniest sequences in the hour and a half story, although I would credit this more to the actors rather than the writers. In any case it was too little too late. They could have made a regular half hour episode and that would have filled the laugh quota well enough to feel impressed with the come-back.

Another thing that bothered me was that there was too little exposition as to how the story had progressed from the cliff-hanger of the final episode of the last series (Series VIII). This was smoothed over and ignored, which felt like a slap in the face for someone who had wondered how they would resolve the finale before. I suppose I was relieved that the status quo had been resumed too, but still!

The story also had me sighing with apathy as the characters became aware that they were in a TV series. This ground has been trodden before and not with much funny effect. Most notably the League of Gentlemen tried it a few years ago and that was quite a failure. What made the writers arrogant enough to think they could pull it off here? This also made the show too self referential, and almost seemed to pat itself on the back for being a cult success. Now don’t get me wrong, fans are loyal creatures but if you test them like this you may just push them too far. Also the show became an almost carbon copy of Bladerunner, which could be quickly written over as parody, but when it is copied to this level of detail one has to wonder.

In short the episode showcased no new ideas at all; just a rehash of old ones within the series and outside it too. I have heard people saying the magic is gone with this show, and I have to sadly agree. There were glimmers of hope but for the most part they were too few. The writers and cast had their chance to make us all talk happily about the show again and blew it. They had the tools and the talent and it was all wasted on this. Shameful really.