Friday 29 June 2012

Pets: Furry friends or a tragic snack?

I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been writing a long, long book with swearing and nookie and other stuff in it.  But life has been happening to me even during my internet absence.  Mainly, I have spent the last half a year being nagged rigid by my children about pet ownership.  So, it seems right that I should devote this blogpost to my curmudgeonly views on domestic animals. 

My views look a bit like this...
Animals: they bloody stink, don’t they?  And they cost a fortune to keep.  And then they die.

When I was a kid, we had two goldfish won at a fair.  I called them Fish n Chips.  Chips got eaten by Fish.  Then only Fish was left.  Fish ate his turds for about eight years and then ended up floating at the top of the tank like a dead sardine suffering from existential despair.  I later discovered that his demise was caused by my grandmother giving the hapless bumhole a tablespoon of food when we went on hols.  The fish literally ate until he burst. My mother let me bury him in the back garden. 

Several attempts at goldfish ownership later, I ended up with another fish called Fish.  That fish lasted an impressive ten years until, like Steve McQueen out of The Great Escape, he kept flipping himself out of the tank.  He ended up white, covered in mucus and listing to starboard on the bottom of the tank like Leonardo di Caprio in Titanic or that moaning bird out of Twilight.  We administered fish-euthanasia by leaving him on a saucer overnight in the hope that he would die quickly.  In the morning, amidst a waterfall of my teenaged tears, Mum said he’d gone in the night.  I don’t know where he’d gone but I doubt she’d bunged him a fiver and dropped him at the bus stop. 

The other horror of pet ownership that haunts me even now was the sad tale of Bopper Bunny.  I was eight.  Bopper was a gorgeous black and white Dutch rabbit.  We put him in a hutch that my idiot father had made from offcuts of wood.  He had a window instead of wire mesh.  This was a mistake.  When the sun shone on little Bopper, Bopper started to cook like a furry Sunday roast.  Consequently, he was confined to his airless hole of a bedroom.  He got diarrhoea and Mum couldn’t afford to take him to the vet.  Despite cleaning his hutch every week, Bopper spent six months trailing a ball of shit and fur around the size of Geoff Capes’ fist.  

Poor, tragic Bopper lived only two years and survived being let out by the local yobs on our estate and the bouncing shitball. 

One day, we came home from shopping, Bopper was stretched out in his window.  Rigor mortis had already set in.  Even in death, we failed Bopper.  My mother refused to touch the dead rabbit.  She shovelled him out on a spade, dropped him but eventually managed to put him in a shoe box.  But he had been stretched out when he died and Mum was only a size 5.  His legs couldn’t be tucked in.  So his coffin was comprised of an ill-fitting shoe box and a Kwik Save bag.  Bye bye, little Bopper, with your feet sticking out the end.  It was utterly tragic.  Worse still, I wasn’t allowed to bury him in the back garden.  So Mum slung him on some waste land and their endethed the story of my childhood experiences of pet ownership.

Tragic but true.

So when my kids ask me for pets, I simply say, “NO.  PISS OFF!” because my hurts have still not healed after all these years.  Fortunately, I have been given a second chance though, as two rabbits came to live in my garden and now there are five.  It smells of wee in the garden but they are so cute, it’s worth it.  

This post is in memory of Fish, Chips, Benson & Hedges, Fish and Bopper.

Monday 25 June 2012

Fifty Shades of Shite

Great retro smut
My generation grew up skimming the pages of Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robins and Jackie Collins books for kicks and to gain a politically dodgy sex education.  What child had not plundered their mother’s library book pile and read the goldfish scene in Lace by the age of twelve?  The early eighties was still a period in history when it was acceptable for a man to be master of a woman’s body and her will.  But not now.  Not 2012.  No fucking way.

Toilet roll
Therefore, in the interests of protecting the public’s mental health, rather like a twelve year old kid from the eighties but with the writing skills of an agented author, the academic understanding of somebody who studied the feminist politics of violent hardcore porn at Cambridge University and the sexual experience of a forty-year-old who has been around the block a few times, I have read the first chapter and then skimmed my way right through Fifty Shades of Shite, from one nookie scene to another.  I have done this, so that you don’t have to.    

The writing in this MFI wardrobe of a novel is appalling but there are other bloggers who are currently taking this to bits very well.  I want to concentrate on the portrayal of sex in the book.  

First of all, there are several leit motifs and character ticks in the novel that crop up time and time again.  The most irritating is Ana Steele’s constant use of, “Holy Crap” and “Holy Cow” and even “Holy Moses”.  Holy Cow is used with such regularity that I began to wonder if EL James was hinting at the spiritual value of beef curtains.  Crap, double crap and triple crap are the sort of expletives I would expect from Hermione Grainger before she was legal.  All wrong.  If you’re going to write a novel with sex on pretty much every other page, for fuck’s sake, learn to swear properly and do it with style.  Other leit motifs include nuzzling body parts with your nose, including Miss Steele’s flange, and the ripping of a foil condom pack.  Now I may be going out on a limb here, but incessant crotch sniffing is reminiscent of truffling pigs and the act of opening a foil condom packet makes me think only of basting a Sunday roast.  Both are about as sexy as taking a shit in a bath full of cold baked beans.  

Which brings me onto my next topic.  Taste.  Mr. Grey makes Miss Steele shove her thumb up her woo woo and lick the resulting lady blancmange on many an occasion.  She describes the taste as “salty”, as though she’s referring to a Kentucky Fried Chicken family bucket.  Anybody who has had a go at this will know that fanny batter tastes neither like hummus, nor like marmite, nor like a bag of soggy Walker’s ready salted.  It’s a frankly ridiculous choice of word.  And Miss Steele, who seems to have no gag reflex, unlike 99.9% of all other women, thinks giving Mr. Grey a blow job is like sucking on a popsicle.  Well, we are already told that his erection rises out of the bath like the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Boy of Ghostbusters fame.  Interesting when, in terms of size, most ordinary men are upstaged by a Cumberland sausage.  But not only does Steele not gag, she doesn’t comment that his todger tastes like a cucumber made of meat with all the pissy aftertaste of a badly filleted steak and kidney pie. 
Nor is Mr. Grey’s love juice anything like the reality of lumpy porridge mixed with PVA, smelling like a cross between a slime alien toy and bleach.  She swallows enthusiastically.  Dickhead!

The other preposterous pile of Holy Crap in this novel is the assertion that Miss Steele is a 21 year-old-virgin but has never touched herself.  Mr. Grey insists his submissive woman have a shaved kebab.  But what 21 year-old virgin is not going to have a Brian Blessed down there?  And what 21 year-old has never masturbated before, let alone embarked on a bad experiment which resulted in frost bite off that carrot in the fridge?  Or at least tried to fathom the erotic qualities of the back door by shoving a biro up their bum hole?  This text is saying that only a man can bestow sexuality on a woman.  Before that, she is an asexual blank canvas with no understanding of her own body.  What piss!  And don’t get me started on the politics of a man forcing a woman to go on the pill.

There are elements of the sexual activity that are just naive.  Anyone woman who’s ever done it in the bath knows two things: soap stings like fuck and any water-based nonsense ends up in strange soapy wee leaking out of your body for the next 20 minutes like you’re an incontinent chemical toilet.  I’ve yet to meet a woman who, on the second day of her period, wants to shag more than she wants to punch someone.  Above all, at no stage does Christian Grey fart under the duvet, wear his socks during sex or get a pube stuck in his teeth.

No, it seems clear to me that a fourteen year old boy and a virgin at that has written this book.  The writing is shocking.  After just skimming it, “my subconscious is quaking at the knees” suddenly has new poignancy.  If I ever have to read about someone rolling their eyes at themselves or having their sex cupped again, I may eat my own bile.  The sex is utterly puerile and consists only of grabbing a girl’s boob, a bit of wanking, a spot of missionary and one occasion with her on top.  That, apart from the female character being knocked around a bit and LOVING it, is basically it.  Fifty Shades of Shite is about as satisfying and adventurous as being fingered on the night bus.  Do yourself a favour...don’t read it!