Hello, you

First thing’s first, welcome to my blog. I made a vague attempt at a blog with the same name in my first years of university, but I could never quite figure out a theme I wanted to stick with. So, after a bit of thinking (unemployment) I realised that comment, satire & illustration are the three things that made me fall in love with writing in the first place. So, here’s my weird, sweary, satirical blog, that you can ignore when I advertise it on Facebook.

To get things started, here’s two topical complaints from the last two weeks or so:

Fifty Shades of CRAY

It’s difficult to say anything that hasn’t already been said, so let’s get those out of the way first: “Utter shite”, “Isn’t this a bit…I dunno, abusive?” “Isn’t this based on Twilight? So are these Mormons or Vampires?” But, it’s hard not to dwell upon some of the glaring flaws in the movie, that have, well, been pointed out already.

Firstly, dialogue: Jamie Dornan’s accent is the first problem. The Belfast-born actor has been seen trying to crawl out of his own skin on chat shows, and I don’t think it’s because he was required to make eyes at the lissome Dakota Johnson through a rack of anal beads. It’s kind of New York via County Antrim: ‘How would you like me to bend yau over mae knee”, “Just yau wait until I get mae PVC balaclava.” (My family are from N.Ireland, I’m allowed to make that joke. Go complain to the Guardian.)

Secondly, dialogue: not the accent this time. Just everything else. Author E L James was reported to have lingered around on set, ensuring that the dialogue was just as Hollyoaks in the movie as it was in the novel. Christian Grey is supposed to be a social recluse (when he isn’t boldly fisting somebody he met at the office in his Red Room), so perhaps his dialogue intentionally had the feeling of being laboured… However, what I would argue is that there is room for improvement with lines such as “When I take off that pretty little dress of yours I’ll be pleased to discover that you’re naked underneath it.” Anyone spry enough to engage in casual BDSM knows that verbal foreplay shouldn’t be uttered by the mouth of Spock from Star Trek. Only one step above uttering “I’ll be pleased to discover my reproductive organs are ready and fully functioning.”

Spok illustration

Finally, aspiration: this movie kept shifting from an aspirational to a darker, more serious tone in a way that clung together like two slabs of lubed formica. To present Christian Grey as devilishly handsome but mysteriously troubled is one thing, but to present his tendencies to overstep the BDSM mark into physical abuse as a sad and unfortunate part of a love story, is critically underplaying it.

I guess what this movie is saying is – sure, he’s troubled, and his sexual practices will leave you in tears but…you’ll get a free branded pencil?
Natalie Bennett shits a brick on LBC Radio

Even as a Labour supporter, part of me wants Bennett to do better than she has done in recent weeks. She’s constantly pictured alongside Caroline Lucas, as if Lucas is her supervisor. Lucas is such a likeable face of the party, it’s true, but after a while it gives the impression that poor Bennett is just there on work experience.

As her second interview squirm of the year though, this was a bad one. I could almost hear the strands of saliva parting in her mouth as her mind whirred, clunked and shut down completely live on air.

natalie bennett illustration

The LBC interviewer didn’t have the greatest of sympathy, even when it came to her coughing because she had a cold. Now, sure, reserve sympathy for her not being able to remember the figures backing her own policies – but asking if she’s okay in a wry tone because in between warbling over economic estimates she has to cough – give the woman a break on that at least.

It’s going to be tricky for Natalie to recover from this. The media are treating the race to election day as ruthlessly as the two main party contenders. The television and print media have become even more vulture like in recent years. For the media I guess it’s simple – what’s more interesting, a cock up or a press release?

Bennett has since admitted what we were all thinking – that it was ‘excruciating’. At least she used honest language, and not the restrained, repetitive apologies that party leaders usually come out with in order to appease a gaff-ready bank of cameras. Natalie needs to go it alone now though, for her own sake as a party leader.

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