Saturday, 31 December 2011


Originally, I was going to mark the New Year, and the first anniversary of this blog, my dear reader (singular), with a review of the past year, and a brief summary of anticipated events in the year to come. However, as a result of my unanticipated and surprisingly enjoyable night out I have decided instead to write a commentary of said night out, in the hope that a reflection on this social nucleus of our time: the nightclub, can prove more revelatory than a tedious recounting of global events from the year passed. A kind of written time capsule, captivating a moment in time to be preserved for the future. The 80s night of blogs.

My evening began in a fashion that suggested worse things to come. While enjoying an Indian takeaway with my mother and grandmother is not inherently a bad thing, at this moment in time I had not any substantial plans for the evening ahead, and when a minor conflict broke out over whether or not my grandmother should return home to get a jar of chutney, or pay 60pence for one from the takeaway (for which price, she maintained, she could purchase two jars elsewhere) I saw my final hours of 2011 stretch before me like a Penrose staircase.

However, a small coup emerged upon my sudden texting, once full of curry, by a friend of mine who was, at that moment, parked outside. Obviously, I couldn't leave fast enough, and leapt in his car before he could push the front seat forward. But once again my hopes were dashed, as we went to the home of someone I didn't know for some awkward four person predrinks, to which I had taken no drinks. After an hour or so of trying desperately to get a kick from hyperventilation, we left for a bar known as a tavern. Now pubs are not my favourite places, and the prospect of one that considers itself to be so authentic as to refer to itself as a tavern certainly does not fill me with joy, nor did the five pound double spirit and mixer. Add to this the DJ who only had the ability to press "pause" on one song and "play" on another, while failing to remember which song he had played only minutes earlier, and you begin to see the reason for my pessimism. However, I was out of the house, in the company of other human beings, so it was already one up on both the year before and my own expectations. Furthermore, I saw a number of people who had been in the year below me at school, but are now somewhat fatter than me as a result of having ballooned, which gave me a smug sense of superiority which, again, was an improvement on last year.

Following a brief interlude in which I attempted, unsuccessfully, to redirect the course of the evening of the direction of one of Norwich's few homosexual establishments, we proceeded to the biggest nightclub of the fine city know as Norwich, via an off-license. However, upon arrival, the length of the queue became apparent to us, and to me as an ill-prepared non ticket bearer with just 50 minutes until the clock struck midnight, I realised my fate appeared to be spending my first minutes of 2012 in a queue to get into a nightclub containing unpleasant people lined up like sardines, sipping on beverages even Midas wouldn't fork out for.

Then came the first piece of true fortune I experienced that evening. For those of you who know me in person, you will know that meeting new people is not something I engage in with enthusiasm, particularly people I expect to only see on on occasion. However, as a result of being suitably intoxicated, I had, through no fault of my own, pre-emptively engaged in conversation and formed acquaintance with someone I did not previously know (he said we had spoken on several occasions, but as a result of suffering from an extreme form of social amnesia I had no recollection of this), who also had neglected to purchase a ticket for admittance to said nightclub. At this point I was fully expecting to end up walking from queue to queue until the sound of the jubilation at a new, unblemished year filled the streets from the packed danceries, at which thought I struck upon the fitting analogy of Mary (of the Bible) going from hotel to hotel but nowhere letting her in. However, I don't have enough sex for the Mary analogy to work. It then dawned on me that this was the first time the story of Jesus's birth had occurred to me over the holiday season, and that it's odd that its only modern relevance is as an analogy for nightclubs. I digress. We abandoned our friends to the club that was more packed than the average tube train and departed to the road know as "Prince of Wales" where all the other nightclubs of any significance can be found.

The first club we came across was ideal. All year round it's deserted, as its total size is little more than an average-sized living room, and they attempt to lure you in with free entry and cheap drinks. New Year's Eve, I assumed, would be a different story, yet I was pleasantly surprised to find it full enough to be lively, but with no queue and free entry and cheap drinks still intact. I suppose the exact same reasons that no-one goes there all year round apply even more on New Year's Eve, as it's not a place many people would choose to spend time, let alone at a time such as New Year's Eve, where many photos that will eventually end up on Facebook will be taken. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all. All I heard from one of my friends who made it in to Sardineia was a text just after midnight reading simply "Grapes news tear". I assume that meant he was having a good time. Or a stroke.

After the "ball had dropped", the DJ clearly decided the greater portion of the club's clientèle were too intoxicated to be able to use self-invented dance moves, so elected to play a series of dreaded "routine" songs. I can cope with the macarena, and the YMCA, while frustrating when everyone looks at me and thrusts me into the middle at its playing, is just about bearable. However, one song that knocks the cheer out of the cheeriest cheerleader is "Saturday Night". This particularly annoying track has a routine that I have never been able to master, and needing to tie my shoelace during the Cha Cha Slide (two hops, anyone?) was frankly a health hazard.

Following that, for only the second time in my life I was forcibly thrust to the front of a conga. This isn't as fun as it sounds, when one is left with responsibility for the happiness of thirty drunkards. It is also surprisingly difficult to get rid of a conga. You try walking away. It's like trying to lose your shadow. If your shadow was a line of thirty overweight girls in clit-length mini skirts. Furthermore, this was the first conga I had been in since the release of the Human Centipede, and I was suddenly horribly aware of the similarity. At least if my film-induced fears came true I was at the front.

Eventually, after much of this sort of malarkey, I left the club in search of something that can be loosely termed "food". Even if there's a rapture, at least I won't be hungry. On the way home I was asked for directions to Nando's, and instilled with the goodwill of a thousand drunkards I offered my best guess, and waved in a general direction other than the one I was travelling in. If that's not good citizenship, what is?

There's a lot of criticism of nightclubs, drinking and youth culture in general, and New Years Eve should be the worst example of this. However, as I looked around I didn't see immoral sin or antisocial behaviour, I saw complete strangers linking arms to Cotton-Eye Joe, acquaintances hugging at midnight, and people buying drinks for their peers without any care paid to reciprocation. 2011 is over, and was good (For personal reasons. Globally it was a shitter.). 2012 sees the Olympics, some sort of royal thing, and the possibility of a Mormon President. It's all down hill from here.

I thank you, my dear reader, for a year's loyalty, and I look forward to getting 7 people accidentally stumbling upon my blog a week for years to come.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Headline of the Year

Throughout 2011 I've been keeping track of headlines and news stories that stand out for all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, I've forgotten to keep an eye out for most of the year, but here is what I got:

Firstly, the story that gave me the idea for this.  I confess to being a closet cheeky girl fan, so when I read the headline

"Cheeky Girl cautioned for shoplifting in Cheshire"

I was naturally taken-aback. What's so beautiful about this is that at first glance you think a non-entity has been caught shoplifting in a cheeky manner, which I find to be a pleasing image. It's also funny because they have to refer to her as a "Cheeky Girl" because no-one would know who Garbriela Imiria is, and because the Beeb found an excuse to dig out an old photo of Lembit. Plus, any BBC article that feature the words "Ms Irimia and her twin sister Monica had four top ten hits between 2002 and 2004. Their debut single Cheeky Song (Touch my bum) sold 1.2m worldwide." is funny.

Next up is this gem from 11th January.
The article itself is rather boring, simply because the entire story is explained by the glorious headline:

"Italian man shot in head sneezes out bullet and lives"

Oh, BBC, thank you for spending our license fees so wisely.

Now we move on to an article posted to Facebook by a friend of mine. The peculiarity of this story is matched only by the peculiarity of its headline: 

"Chainsaw wielding pyjama man attacks tree in dead of night"

If the purpose of this is to entice you to read the article, it certainly succeeds, as it leaves the reader with so many questions I actually thought reading this headline had sucked some information from my brain. It refers to "pyjama man" like this is a common expression, but frankly it just made me think of Banana Man. In case you can't be bothered to read the whole thing, it features this: "One resident, who declined to be named, said: “He was in his pyjamas. I just rang the police.""

We're onto the 20th of January now, and with it comes this headline: 

"Live chicken thrown at KFC staff in Nuneaton"

One of the many fantastic things about this headline is that whoever wrote it thinks "in Nuneaton" is relevant and interesting enough to the common reader to include in the headline. It's also great because it contains the sentence "The RSPCA is now looking for a new home for the hen, which it has named Mrs Sanders." No comment needed.

The Guardian now, with a headline that I found interesting, if not side-splittingly hilarious.

"Third of Zimbabwe's registered voters are dead"

And to think, in the UK only 60% of living people can be bothered to vote.

The next one should be of interest to followers of wacky Jacqui (or iffy Smiffy, depending on which you prefer). It's the kind of headline that makes you check the date isn't April 1st.

"Jacqui Smith to investigate porn trade for the BBC"

The article includes the line "Ms Smith's earlier brush with the porn industry..." which I'm sure is designed to conjure an unpleasant image in the head of less savoury-minded readers.

We're in May now, and another headline that just seems to have been created using a random word generator on hallucinogenic drugs.

"Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale"

Why is there a patron saint of genital disease? I have no answer. But the article does helpfully tell you when and where the auction is taking place, in case a 17th Century head relating to genital disease tickles your fancy.

You think our Deputy Prime Minister is crazy? What about this:

"Teacher Mohamed Ibrahim quits for Somalia deputy PM job"

What's more bizarre is that the article provides absolutely no insight into why a teacher was appointed to the Government.

Former Norwich MP Ian Gibson once claimed that inbreeding was a cause of heart disease in the region. He survived that particular scandal. Unfortunately this teacher did not meet the same fate.

"Teacher Suspended Over 'Inbred' Locals Slur"

I wonder how inbred your pupils have to be for it to be legitimate to say it.

Lastly, but by no means...leastly, this absolutely terrific headline:

"Man jailed after trying to turn faeces into gold"

What's interesting about this is that it's actually misleading. Reading the headline alone, one is instilled with a sense of sympathy for the hapless gentleman involved. Surely it's not a crime to attempt faecal alchemy? Alas, it transpires he was actually imprisoned for setting alight to a block of flats, while attempting to turn his shit into gold. And of course, the article includes some beautiful lines, such as "In his ruling Judge McFarland told Moran: “You were attempting to make gold from human faeces and waste products. It was an interesting experiment to fulfil the alchemist’s dream, but wasn’t going to succeed.”" 
Erm...I'm not sure turning faeces into gold is the alchemists dream. He is also described as a man of "considerable intellectual ability". Right, before or after he set fire to some flats trying to TURN HIS SHIT INTO GOLD???

Hope you enjoyed this. Sorry I forgot about this for most of the year. I will try harder next year. My personal favourite is probably pyjama man. How about you?