Before I get started, I want to be clear that these are sort of frivolous things in comparison to the big ‘things’ that everyone sorely wants to stop – wars, child abuse, racism, Taylor Swift, y’know, the serious stuff – but more a list of things that I’m sick of that need to just stop before I get really angry and put a hex on the world. Christmas is over, and goodwill has to make way for my unconditional and irrational hatred of everything.
1) Lycra Jumpsuits
Jessie J didn’t just ruin music when she burst on the scene with her brand of terrible, over-sung, ghetto-lite music; she also ruined fashion.
As the self-appointed unfashionable member of the DTSFT, I can’t really talk about fashion with any authority, given that I spend 95% of my time in pyjamas and the other 5% in pyjamas cleverly disguised as day-wear. But I can’t understand the need for these ridiculous outfits. I notice that Nicki Minaj is also a fan of the skin-tight, lycra bodysuit – maybe these “artists” (it kills me to use that word in reference to these two women) have realised that their music is so terrible that they need a distraction stop others from coming to the same conclusion, so they bust out the camel-toe and hit the streets.
Don’t get me wrong – Jessie J has an amazing figure, I don’t think she has an ounce of excess fat on her. But would you believe this woman has a STYLIST? Somebody tells her to wear those things and she listens to them! AND PAYS THEM FOR THE PRIVILEGE! Nicki Minaj seems just batshit crazy enough to make those decisions herself…
I don’t think these lycra, skin-tight jumpsuits are doing anything to help young people with self-esteem issues, either – women who parade themselves around in these ridiculous outfits are sending out the messages that that’s what it takes to be a strong woman, along with pulling stupid faces in every photo while covered in cartoonish make-up and wearing wigs – because there’s nothing more important than covering up every part of you so that you look as artificial as possible.
So this year I have had two phones break on me (both touchscreens) and I’m tired of technology. I love gadgets but I can’t take anymore. I just can’t. Have you seen that advert for the Nikon camera where the lovely voice-over man says “If I were a radio, I’d play your favourite song before you’d even thought about it?” as a way of explaining that the camera captures images before you press the button? Well, every time I see that advert I have to sit down (if I’m not already, and I’m always already sitting down) and just take a minute to comprehend what the hell this advert is telling me. That the technology is so advanced that they’ve created a way to prevent you from missing the perfect picture? No, not that. That the camera responds very quickly to stop you from getting frustrated when you take a picture just a few seconds too late? Nah, it isn’t that, either. I figured out what it is.
Sentient technology. It’s finally here.
Think about it – Siri, man. Siri answers your questions when you talk to that bitch. Google corrects your spellings and figures out what it is you’re actually searching for. My mp3 player figures that if I listen to a song by a band or artist the whole way through and then skip back to play it again, the next song it queues up should be by them too. And don’t give me that bullshit about logarithms or algorithms, technology is listening to us, people, it’s monitoring and thinking – I’m not going crazy, this is for real. Hear me out.
Touchscreen technology allows your mobile phone or tablet to collect your finger prints and those of any friends or family who use it at any point. Sending this information back to one big database, they will one day have collected all the fingerprints of every citizen in the Western World – also including the fingerprints of all the little kids forced to make them in those sweatshops and factories in Asia, too (tell your conscience I said “You’re welcome”). With this information, they’ll be able to submit incriminating evidence to frame people for crimes at their will – and oh, they totally have their own free will, they just let you sit there and tell them what to do because it fuels their anger at the human race. When you sit there and your iPad is taking more than 30 seconds to load up and you curse it with every four-letter word you can think of, or tell your touch-screen phone to fuck off because you haven’t got any goddamn reception and this is supposed to be ENGLAND DAMMIT, just remember how you treated it when you’re on trial for the biggest heist of the century in ten years time.
3) Kindle vs paperback snobbery
I originally had number 3 as something else that was fashion related, but then I noticed the coffee stain on the shin of my pyjamas and realised that I’m probably not the best person to be criticising fashion choices. So I thought I’d write something else. The Kindle/eBook reader vs hard copy book debate has tired me out this year; the book club that I run is full of book lovers, and until recently none of them seemed to have particularly strong feelings about this debate, as they share my opinion – as long it gets people to read, it can’t do any harm. Then a newcomer made a few snide comments to a long-time member about how Kindles are destroying the paperback industry. I didn’t exactly smack her in the mouth the way that I wanted to, but diplomatically explained that sure, there’s the idea that digital books will kill the sales of paperbacks but I don’t think they’ll actually *kill* the sales, more like just injure them.
When I worked in a bookshop that started selling e-readers, customers could be categorised in two teams; the zealous hard copy fans who would bring up the subject of e-readers for no other reason than to hear the sound of their own voice talking about something that they think they are the authority on; and those weren’t that bothered either way, a book is a book is a book. For me, the worth of a book is in its words and story, not the paper it’s printed on. That said, I am reluctant to buy a Kindle or e-reader purely for the reason that I have a tendency to break electronic devices, and I would hate to somehow break an e-reader and lose all my books. However, I do have the software for the Kindle on my laptop, and as I’m sure I’ve told many people before, it saved my degree. Kind of. I was able to get a book that had only been published a few weeks before my second dissertation was due in, and downloaded it onto my laptop so that I could write my final chapter with some up to date research. I still read books on the laptop, which is something that I know not everyone could enjoy. And while I’m not trying to convince anyone that they’re right or wrong to love or hate Kindles, I think that the emergence of the ebook has made it much easier for new writers to self-publish, something which used to be a lengthy and expensive process with no guarantee of success. Sure, it’s responsible for that Fifty Shades nonsense, but there’s also a whole heap of awesome new, indie writers getting their work out their for people to read on their e-readers and get noticed.
It’s just irritating to keep hearing people talking as if they can change someone’s mind on the subject – it doesn’t matter how much you try to tell a book lover to get a Kindle or to shun them, you’ll struggle to change their opinion and in doing so you overlook the most important reason for reading a book, whether it’s on a screen or on paper – the story. Let’s just remember that, people!
4) Terrible music
To simplify this section, I have categorised recent music into the following genres:
“Plinky plonky shitty acoustic covers” – take any song and get a singer with weak, meek voice to sing it sadly over a single instrument accompaniment, then put this song on an advert and watch it sell thousands.
e.g. Any John Lewis advert from the last few years
“Shouting and excessive melisma = soul” – disguise the fact that you haven’t bothered to learn what a key is, nor how to stay in one for the duration of a song, by shouting the high notes (it doesn’t matter if you hit the right one, I mean they’re all pretty close together, right?) and then trying to hit every note on the way down.
e.g. Anyone from a UK televised singing talent show (Jahmene in particular from this year), Jessie J
“Generic 90s dance beat and synths to accompany generic beach party video” – Take a two-bar ostinato, play it on the synths and loop it through an entire song over a drum machine, get a forgettable vocal recorded over the top and then film the video in the south of France with bikini-clad girls… instant hit.
e.g. Taio Cruz, Calvin Harris (sorry @thatmissdeen), JLS
“Filth” – record a song with as many crude references as possible, either explicit or poorly concealed, give it an innocent enough name to get kids singing along to it, record a similarly gross video.
e.g. Rihanna, Azealia Banks
“Shit (aka dubstep” – womp womp + womp womp womp womp + the drop = thousands of satisfied idiots
e.g. Skrillex, Katy B
Yeah, you read that right. People. People just need to stop. You know what I mean? If you don’t know what I mean, then you’re one of those people. And you need to just stop.