Monday, 15 November 2010

Sunday 14th November 2010: e-Readers, A Media Studies Essay I'm Never Going To Write AndThe Last Ever Hermit-joke!

So, the final day of my self-imposed exile! In my own room, no less. Of course I didn't get as much work done as I would have wanted, but still got quite a lot on paper; i.e. my laptop. I feel I have to explain that to people. You see, not to show off, but I like buying books. It's probably my single greatest expenditure after alcohol and class A drugs (Haha, he's Dutch, that's so funny! Though not true. Mother.). But lots of times, after I tell my parents about my newly acquired prey (cos let's face it, I don't wear dat puma-skin for nuthing in that ole bookshop - sorry), my dad asks me, why I don't buy an e-reader? You like trees! Think of all the forests you save with one you kill the rainforest you hypocritical pretend-hippy you make me sick.

That's not what he says. Although he is right. I hate to ruin the environment. I've still got that early nineties chip on my shoulder about not ruining the planet and killing baby polar bears. I know, it's old. I'm from a different era. It does give me the moral highground in conversations about cars and their damaging the environmentm though. I do not own a car. I do not have a driver's license. This was because of two reasons. One: I didn't have the money at 18. Two: I hate killing baby tigey-wigeys with my huge-ass piece of stinking bourgouis luxury (I say Steiner, you say school, I say bee, you say massive amounts of wax, ok? We're on it, we're definitely on it).

You say, hmm. Interesting that you don't use tiny African children as an example; expand! Well, inquisitive reader of this blog (haven't you got work, or something vital in your life? Like smashing head against the ceiling and then juggling with your broken teeth? What do you mean that's what Sundays before the internet used to be about?); I will. I am a former card-carrying member of the WWF-rangers. WWF-rangers like animals. Not people. That's why the WWF doesn't give a flying duck (ooh, clever. Isn't he clean?) about tiny African children and all animals hope we die. But now I'm not a WWF-ranger anymore. So I've reverted to hating absolutely everything. So one cheer for me there. Alone. I wonder what the hermits would make of that one. If they only hadn't lived in a cave for so long that their eyes had grown tiny and become vestigial, like the Oxolotl (Mexican Cave-Salamander) or the Dodo's wings. You see what I'm doing there, Hermits? I'm equating you to an extinct member of the pidgeon-family. Eaten by the Dutch. Oh dear. This is becoming very strange indeed.

But no, I can't drive. A couple of months ago, my grandmother turned 88. There I was talking to an elderly relative I hadn't seen for a while about how I was doing, and that I was going to the UK. He used to run a car dealer's (he sold Kia's I think, and Lada's before that in the seventies) before his retirement.
Naturally, his first question was, how are you going to do that, driving on the left side of the road?
I replied to him, well, I'll be cycling, so I'll just have to look from right to left instead of vice-versa.
He said, yes, but what about longer journeys. You know, to the shops and so on?
I said, what do you mean?
Him: Well, you HAVE got a car, don't you?
Me: No, I haven't, no.
Him: Oh, so you're going to buy one in England, then?
Me: Er, no. I won't.
Him: (with increasing disbelief) Why not?
Me: Er, I haven't got a license.
Him: (short silence, and then) How old are you again?
Me: I'm twenty-two.
Him: Good God. How on earth can you manage?
Me: Well, I use trains, and cycle, and there bus..
Him: No, you can't. I just simply don't believe you. Go away! You liar!

And then I ran off.

Yeah. Pathetic, isn't it. I finished the day by watching a BBC Four series back to back on iPlayer. It was called Rude Brittannia, and was about the notion of the Rude in art and literature from the 18th Century to the present day. It was very interesting; the first one was about Byron, John Gay and print shops, the second about how the Middle Class (on the whole) took on the role of moral guidance for the Working Classes (the Upper classes could not be saved) with some success and much annoyance either way as well as the Music-Hall and dirty photographs while the third told about the post-war period including saucy seaside postcards (as I believe they're called), prostitution and the West End and the struggle about the Rude between broad and Alternative comedy since the late seventies.

This last episode was quite intriguing, because the programme put forward the notion that, while the moral guidance usually came from the right of the political spectrum and the left advocated rudeness; since the nineteen eighties, what was then called Alternative Comedy tried to be Politically Correct. Now, in this country, being politically correct means 1. not being racist, misogynistic, homophobic or in any way nasty and mean to anyone who in society is weaker than you and 2. not being Bernard Manning. Bernard Manning was a Northern Club comic, famed for his filthy and racist act, and throughout the seventies, broadcast nationwide through a show on ITV called The Comedians. His act (he died in 2007) was predicated on an understanding that black, Irish, Jewish people and any other minority was inherently funny. Looking back on it (Rude Brittannia showed some of it) makes me squirm. Even as a foreigner.

But the weird thing was, as tv comedy, and following on from that, live comedy; became more 'alternative'(people even then didn't like to be known under any term, as is any artist's right. Samuel Beckett for instance vehemently refused to be labelled by anything, whether it was modernist, post-modernist, surrealist etc.) the acts that were popular in the seventies went, as it were, underground. So they became, in a way, the new alternative. It didn't help much either that the bulk of 80s comics were even if not Oxbridge-educated, certainly Middle-Class (case in point; the magnificent John Hegley, look up his poem LUTON), while Bernard Manning, became the alternative. With all the defiance that comes with that.

This can be seen as parallel to the Victorian era, where the Middle Classes tried to shut down the Music Halls; but now from a wholly different political idea. Whilst trying not to be bastards and admitting stereotypical jokes on tv; what had now become the comedy establishment (if there ever is such a thing) was now inherently classist. And that just shows, people, that you can never win. Plus: check out the program. It's very, very good. If not for the tiresome computer animated -putting-the-commentators-in-the-picture-they're-talking-about-haha-we're-so-funny-with-our-computers-isn't-the-future-magnificent-please-help-me-or-I'll-become-a-hermit.

Two hermit jokes, actually. Well, that's more than enough for today. Leave now! (see you tomorrow!)

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