Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Not being talked about

Morning world. My, you look virile.

Anyway, today I finally got around to replying to an important email, so this blog is number two on my 'List Of Things To Do - Urgent!' Number three is to phone a solicitor, so I'm not looking forward to that, and number four is to phone the council and shout at them for ignoring my bins.

To digress temporarily, the council thing is really annoying. They keep not taking our recycling. So I emailed them and said "Oy, bitches. You know you sent me a letter the other week demanding we leave our bins out at very specific times and in very specific places, and how you;d be really cross if we didn't, and oooh, the penalties? Well, I did what you said and look - it's still there, and still full of cardboard. You dicks.'

Well, this made me feel all victorious. And then they emailed back, saying 'Well, we came the next day to take it and it wasn't there! So what can we possibly do? Yours sincerely, Some Moron'. So I did a dance of rage, because, right, they'd told us not to leave it out except on the day of collection! So why were they surprised it wasn't there on the day after? Why? Why, reader? Why?

So anyway, I have to phone the cretins and explain their own system to them. Which I'm not looking forward to. I might make that number five on my 'List Of Things To Do - Urgent', and make number four 'Have another cup of tea'.

So. This important email, which was important thing number one, and which is what I'm really here to talk about. A few weeks ago someone I used to know emailed me to apologise for all the times he'd talked about me behind my back. He said that some of these were probably justified, but some weren't, and he wanted to get it off his chest.

I was - well, am - quite touched by this. I would never have found out that he'd been doing this, and I'm unlikely to ever see this person again. So it was a totally honest, redemptive act. And it makes me feel better about this person, and for some reason about myself. I think maybe because it restores my faith - a little - in the ability of humans to be candid, and fair, and decent.

For various reasons I do appear to be one of those people who get talked about a lot. Occasionally the most frightful lies get back to me, and occasionally, more worryingly, frightful truths. The part of my brain devoted to making me feel bad spends hours inventing the terrible things people might be saying about me, and whispers them constantly into my mind. It imagines scenarious akin to the following:

Person A:  I say, do you hear what that ghastly Rob Reed has done now?

Person B:  Something lewd and blasphemous no doubt?

Person C: Oh, do tell!

A:   Well, people do say he keeps the company of several midget ladyboys, whom he beats and abuses for his vile entertainment.

B:   That is the kind of thing he'd do.

C:    I hear he is often to be seen in the town's most disreputable places, smoking tobacco and pleasuring himself with intoxicants.

A:    Whilst shouting 'All hail Bealzebub! For you are mighty!'

B:     This would explain many things I also hear.

C:    Namely?

B:    It is said he stands atop the churches of Wakefield on a nightly basis, naked and urinating!

A:    Yes! Urinating the fires of Hell themselves! So that Satan might be manifest upon the Earth and rip asunder the Holy Kingdom of the Lord God!

C:    Ooh! And! And, do you hear who he might be going out with?

B:    Do tell!

Enter Rob

Rob:    Hello good friends whom I trust!

A, B and C:    Hi buddy!

So that's probably what happens. In my mind. Which, as I said, is hell bent on making me feel inadequate, pathetic and villified. And so all the actual horrible, selfish, nasty things that do manifest themselves in my life, become amplified by guilt and suspicion. And I find it just that bit harder to believe in myself as good, or worthy, or redeemable. Or forgivable.

Or - worse - I get superior. And I think "Everyone except me is an idiot and a liar! I've never once summoned Satan while urninating, naked, atop a church! I am totally justified in ignoring any criticism anyone ever makes of me, for clearly I am the misunderstood hero of this age. Where are my whores, my heroin and my lubricant? There's work to be done!"

Both these equally unhelpful responses are partly the fault of my stupid, over-imaginative brain. But not entirely. No, I reserve some blame for you. And me. For we make all this possible by our unreserved embrace of character assassination.

We talk about each other, all the time. We spread nonsense and lies, or distorted truths, for the sake of amusement, or maybe to make ourselves feel superior. We invent moral scales that suit the context of our gossipy conversations and that  - conveniently - leave us untouchable and situated on some mythical moral high ground. And we destroy those we talk about by doing so, in ways we can't imagine.

I have never stood atop a church, urinating the fire of Satan. But I have sat among friends and subtly spread false ideas about those not present through my hilarious and unassailable wit. I'll try and stop. You need to stop too.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Truth and nonsense, 24 times a second

My recent filmwatching, summed up briefly so as to give you more time for other activities, such as listening to improvisational jazz, mastering the art of self pleasure or perhaps preparing a fine and noteworthy sandwich.

The Day After Tomorrow

Not-so-dreadful-as-people-said apocalypseathon, set in a world where character comes a poor second to great big tidal waves smashing everything to pieces. Good for talking through and occasionally shouting "Go Donnie Darko! Save the world!" Also features wolves!

Dead Man

Black and white Jim Jarmusch film that has languished unopened on my shelves for many months, waiting for 'the right mood'. Surprisingly funny, visually gorgeous and featuring Johnny Depp exercising his 'subtle' brand of weird, as opposed to the 'annoying-twat-on-a-stick' brand he has favoured of late.

District 13

Exciting and unusual French thriller-come-jumparound, featuring amazing stunts, sharp dialogue and brutal political commentary. Extra points for the confusion it will cause if District 9 ever gets to its fourth sequel.

The A-Team

By no means great, but still vigorously enjoyable update of 80s playground fodder. My childhood analogue Murdoch superbly playedy upcoming and brilliant Sharlto Copley.

Down With Love:

An entertaining script and great actors don't quite pull off the intended homage, but it passes the time in much the same way that stroking one's own thigh does. Why isn't Ewan McGregor quite the star he should be?

Lolita ('97):

Well acted, slightly overlong adaptation of dodgy paedo novel I haven't read. Moral: don't have relationships with under age girls - they are really irritating.

Donkey Punch:

Effective Brit thriller where almost believable characters get naked and then accidentally kill each other in a variety of sexy ways.

Hope this has been of help. You may now resume your life.