And the Award goes to: Someone who knows nothing about Movies

It’s The Oscars 2016! The most exciting and least racially diverse night in the Film Industry, it was either write about this or Robert Mugabe’s massive birthday cake, and there are only so many places you can go with something like that.

Thinking that the 2016 Academy Awards would give me a bit more to write-or at the very least rant in a poorly structured and grammatically incorrect fashion-about, I made myself a cup of coffee and started scrolling through this year’s nominees. As time went on, I became aware of a flaw in my plan. Namely, the fact that I have not seen a single one of the movies that are in consideration for an award. Well, apart from The Force Awakens. But I don’t think that counts. Everyone has seen The Force Awakens.

This clearly wouldn’t do. I hadn’t even seen Mad Max or The Martian, and you would have thought sci-fi crap like that would have been right in my wheelhouse. What was the llast film I saw, anyway? Deadpool. Why wasn’t Deadpool being  nominated for an Oscar?  Well, that should be blindingly obvious, but even so. I mean,I could have actually had an informed opinion about Deadpool! Hollywood elitism, that’s all this was. I could write about that!

No. No, I would not give the stuffed shirts on the Academy judging panel the satisfaction. I could, however, binge-watch a load of movie trailers and try to come up with who I might think could be winners this year and pretend like I had actually seen the films. Like everyone else who covers the Oscars. Sorted.

Seriously, how have I not seen Mad Max: Fury Road? The Martian I kind of understand, but…

 

 

 

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Everything you ever wanted to know about the EU, but could not be bothered to ask.

After literally decades of putting it off, the Government has announced that on the 23rd of June a referendum will be held to determine whether the UK remains in the European Union.  For all those people who are either confused by or struggle to care about such things, the BBC has published a handy guide to the vote and the issues surrounding it. Which would be fine if you could rely on the BBC to be accurate in anything they tell you, but alas most of the information they publish on their websites are at best only 60% accurate 75% of the time.

Fortunately, there are other websites which can offer a much more informative, relevant and precise look at issues such as the EU referendum. Like this one, for example.

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN UNION, AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The European Union is an alliance between 28 countries that covers most of the continent. It began life as an economic partnership set up to prevent another conflict like the Second World War, the idea being that if countries were dependent on each other financially they were less likely to bomb or invade their neighbours. The single market quickly gave the EU the authority to affect and create policies on everything from Human Rights to the Environment. Today, they have their own currency-the Euro-and the Lisbon Treaty, which legally binds all member countries to recognise and uphold the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights. They have also abolished border controls between member states, which makes it easier to travel and work around Europe, and are working hard to make all EU-affiliated institutions more transparent and democratic.

THAT DOESN’T SOUND TOO BAD. WHY DO WE WANT TO LEAVE?

Because it is believed that Britain puts too much in to the EU and gets too little back in return. The EU has the power to issue directives that all member countries are forced to obey, and many people think that is the reason why the UK has lost control of its borders.

WAIT, WHAT?

Yes. Since the UK is in the EU it has to comply with the Union’s “Free Movement” policy. This means that anyone can come to Britain and take jobs and benefits and put strain on our precious resources.

UM….

I mean, sure, fine, migrants fuel public growth and actually end up paying for themselves, and yes, I grant you only a small percentage of the UK is actually inhabited so I suppose one might argue we could still take in thousands more immigrants and/or refugees, but that is completely beside the point.

I THOUGHT THE POINT WAS TO DECIDE WHETHER WE STAYED IN THE EU OR NOT, NOT THAT WE CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE IMMIGRANTS.

It is! So about three-quarters of the City of London would pack up and leave the country if people voted to leave the EU. So we would have to pay millions on tariffs if we wanted to trade with our former partners. So we would find ourselves becoming increasingly insignificant on the world stage without the backing of our European neighbours and any employment laws and social protections would vanish overnight. Wouldn’t it all be worth it to be our own country again?

ARE YOU TRYING TO SUGGEST THAT LOSING CIVIL RIGHTS AND RISKING YET ANOTHER ECONOMIC MELTDOWN IS A FAIR EXCHANGE FOR BEING ABLE TO REFUSE ENTRY TO ANYONE EAST OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT?

Most of the right-wing press and most of the politicians backing the Brexit seem to think so, yes. Make no mistake-this referendum is going to be about race. The No campaign will not waste time with things such as the economic or legal arguments. They don’t care about anything else. People like Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and the entire Daily Mail writing staff look across the Channel and see an army of scroungers coming to plunder the NHS, take our jobs, and then blow us up while praising Allah. And they will play on people’s basest insecurities to make them see things from their point of view.

SO IT IS UP TO US TO RESEARCH THIS, THEN?

Yes! Read the articles, watch the news reports, make up your own mind. But don’t make it about making it harder for immigrants to steal your job or because you are afraid one of them might try to kill you. Don’t make it about an idea of being a proud sovereign nation, because if we leave we will be anything but. Look at the issues. Not what seems frightening.

SO YOU ACTUALLY AGREE WITH DAVID CAMERON ON SOMETHING, THEN?

I’m not happy about it, either.

EU flag at summit

 

 

Professional Third Wheel

It’s time for the obligatory Valentine’s Day blog.

I know.

To be honest, even I am not sure why I feel the need to write about this time of year. We all know how it will play out;  I’ll start by referencing some study relating to romance or sex, there will be a brief note as to how I never seem to get either of these things, next will come a series of “helpful” suggestions to how to make the day special, I’ll make another self-depreciating comment, boom, we’re done.

Seeing as how most of my blogs feature a few paragraphs which put myself down you would think that I would give myself a day off as a treat or something. But no. Which makes sense, really. I can’t afford not to not keep myself humble, especially when it comes to dealings with the opposite sex.

My last serious crush made me feel strong. Brave. Not in a reckless sense, not powerful as such. But in the sense that I could cope with being far from home and not knowing how the hell I was going to survive University, just as long as she was there and smiled at me occaisionally. Just being around her motivated me to try and be more than I was. Unfortunately for me, she had already met someone who made her feel like that. Which should have been fair enough, but I couldn’t accept it. I wallowed. I became obsessive. I found myself trying to one-up this poor guy whose only crime was being better than me.  I was spiteful, jealous and mean and I put her through it for three years.

What is worse is that I should have known better. I made exactly the same mistake I did in Sixth Form-I met someone, I became stupidly jealous of her boyfriend, I gradually became more and more obsessed and then she told me to go fuck myself.  It seems that I am completely incapable of learning from my mistakes.

Over the years, I learned more about Feminism and how I could become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I learned just how reprehensible my attitudes and behaviour over those few years actually was. Someone with my obsessive personality, someone who was apparently so naturally selfish and prone to acts of cruelty could not possibly hope to have a relationship because, well, why put anyone through that? What sort of person would I be to want to chain some poor girl to me, me with my moods and self-entitlement and all my insecurity? How selfish would I have to be?

So that’s why I put myself down. That’s why I have decided to be content with my role as perpetual third wheel. Because the alternative would be to put some other poor girl through the wringer. I can never apologise enough to those I have already wronged, but I hope they know that they have helped me learn to change.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Operation King Julian

A UN legal panel has ruled that Julian Assange should be allowed to walk free and claim political asylum in Ecuador This is bad news for the Metropolitan Police, as standing around outside the Ecuadorian embassy on the off-chance that the disgraced founder of WikiLeaks decides to try to leg it is a great way to claim some easy paid overtime.

While I have managed to escape my former role as a Detention Officer, I still work for the Met in an administrative capacity. As a member of civilian staff I am not qualified to buy a coffee and loiter for a few hours while a suspected rapist bellows state secrets to passers-by from the balcony; I am, however, entitled to a bonus if I can figure out ways in which my uniformed counterparts can keep riding the gravy train. Which is why I took it upon myself to find a way to keep Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in such a way that did not cause any more legal problems with the U.N.  And by Jiminy, I think I’ve cracked it.

OPERATION KING JULIAN

First off, Julian Assange is legally allowed to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy now. Yes, the Governments of the U.K and Sweden are attempting to fight the ruling, but realistically it’s only a matter of time before Assange is allowed to leave on the first plane to Ecuador. Our only hope of preserving the overtime code is to keep him in the Embassy of his own free will.

How will we do this? By convincing Assange that leaving the embassy will place him in mortal danger.  Naturally we cannot simply place glaring, riot baton-wielding Officers at the gate-the damn Liberal establishment would have a field day with that.  No, we need to make it clear that we have nothing to do with his decision to remain in the embassy. Which is why we need Officers to dress up as Werewolves.

Werewolves are still grossly under-represented in the Metropolitan Police. Despite the recent findings that one in maybe five or possibly six people might have Lycanthropic tendencies, the number of Police Officers who are openly Werewolves fall far below the national organisational average. This is why it makes sense for Officers to dress as Werewolves to scare Julian Assange.  As far as the general public are concerned, there are virtually no Werewolves employed by the Met. They simply would not place the two groups together.

The Officers dressed as Werewolves would be expected to hide in the shrubbery or behind a bin in clear line of sight of all entrances to the embassy. Whenever Assange makes an attempt to leave, they will jump out making howling noises or, if they prefer, roaring in a wolf-like manner.  Assange will in theory be so intimidated that he will flee back inside without checking that it is a full moon, or even night-time. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Big scary werewolf coming at you, you wouldn’t care what time of day it was. It’s a frigging Werewolf!

This will be repeated as many times as necessary until the founder of WikiLeaks is so terrified of a Werewolf attack that he will not leave the Embassy. Then of course, a police guard will need to be re-introduced; not to arrest Assange of course, that would be against the U.N ruling, but to keep the Werewolves away. We would look as though we were helping him, so not even the wettest Guardiansta could complain.

It’s bloody fool proof.

Now where’s my bonus?

 

 

Workplace Etiquette: The Buffet

Welcome to another edition of Workplace Etiquette, in which I tell you the proper way to behave at work. Today we are going to talk about what should be one of the nicer things that can happen to you when working, providing of course you remember never to double-dip your chip. (Giggity.) Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen. Someone has bought a load of food in to work and set up a buffet near the back of the office. Where do we go from here?

The first thing that needs to be established is why the food is there in the first place. Maybe it’s someone’s birthday. Maybe someone is retiring. Maybe someone just feels like stuffing their face with junk food and thinks that it will be somehow less unhealthy if everyone is bought down to their level. In any case you should probably make sure you know why the Buffet is there before charging in like Pete Rose.

Do not, however, make the mistake of asking the person who bought the food in. If it is a special occasion (and it usually is) casually admitting that you knew nothing about it or forgot that it was going to happen would make you look like a tit. Therefore the best way to find out what is with all the mini-sandwiches and crisps is to smile, say “congratulations!” to everyone who is trying to talk to you, and keep out of the way of the person who bought the food in until someone asks you why you just congratulated them and what for and tells you what is actually going on in an effort to spare you what they perceive as further embarrassment. Just think-What is worse? This or actually having to be honest? You wouldn’t even have to do this if you were a better colleague anyway, so don’t be looking at me like that.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s examine the issue of the food itself. The sandwiches. The savoury Sausage Rolls and little Samosas, the sweet Chocolates and slices of cake. The Crisps, the Breadsticks and the things you can dip them in. The fruit which sits there for a while until it is quietly removed and destroyed via controlled explosion in the car park. Your natural impulse is to grab your plastic plate and start chowing down in a manner not seen since the local chapter of Slimming World was granted a “Cheat Day”, but wait. Enjoying yourself is fine-actualy encouraged in this sort of situation-but open Gluttony is somewhat frowned upon. It might be the noises you make when you eat. Kind of a shuffly grunting.

The trick is to go for it in short, sharp bursts rather than stand at the table shovelling down mini Quiches and M&Ms in defiance of your colleagues and a loving God. Take a few things-a handful of Popcorn here, a couple of chocolates there-and make like you are going back to your desk. But don’t stop once you get there. Place the plate down and walk back like it’s your first trip. Pick up a plate and repeat until it looks as though people may get suspicious of the amount of nibbles at your workstation. Then make your way back and have some fun, ya pig ya!

This approach, it should be noted, is not without some drawbacks. You can’t take dips for much the same reason that you can’t use the same crisp or breadstick twice. Someone will inevitably kick up a fuss, everyone will end up calling you disgusting, and you will be forced to buy new pots of Hummus for everyone and that is bloody expensive when the closest supermarket is Waitrose.  You will also find it hard to work because your desk will be covered in party food and unless you come up with some sort of system of disposing of used plates without drawing attention to your multiple trips to the table, you will also have to deal with that one fucking guy who points out oh-so-subtly that the food is supposed to be for everyone? I know.  That fucking guy. Not your fault he’s on a diet, but there he is judging you. Jerk.

Other than that, just enjoy the occasion. It is a special treat and a chance to bond with your co-workers. More importantly, it is an excuse to eat until your stomach shuts down in protest, and what is not to like about that?