Friday, 15 June 2012

A Million Tones of Rage

Only 2 months ago I expressed my horror at the rise in literary erotica.  Now look what you all went and did...

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, at the bottom of the sea, you’ll have noticed that the world seems to have gone buck daft for a series of 'books' called “Fifty Shades of Grey” or, as I shall be referring to them from now on, “Fifty Shades of Shite (Shame on You)”. 

Let me make it clear from the start, this is a very biased, uninformed rant. I haven’t read the ‘books’ and I won’t be reading the ‘books’. The reasons I haven’t submitted to the particular charms of "The Fifty Shades of Shite (Shame on You)" trilogy are manifold and include: 
  1. I don’t tend to read porn 
  2. I definitely don’t read porn than started life as a Twilight fanfiction! 
  3. I don’t particularly enjoy reading books that haven’t been edited. 
  4. I definitely don’t enjoy reading non edited twilight porn that promotes sexually submissive relationships to tweens that have simply run out of copies of Robert Pattison’s Unauthorised Biography to paw over. 
There are other reasons but I think I’ll stick to those for now. 

If you do happen to have been living under a rock, in a cave, at the bottom of the sea, then let me enlighten you a little. From the many many many reviews, facebook status updates, tweets, and blogs posts I have skimmed and skipped, I have sketched the following brief synopsis:

“50 Shades of Shite (Shame on You)” is a Mills & Boon (aka Granny Porn) style ‘book’ that charts the romantic relationship of a multibillionaire entrepreneur (Christian Grey) and a shy young virgin girl. Unfortunately love is never straight forward is it? Yes, our devilishly handsome, unfathomably rich, brooding hero has a bit of a quirk. He just so happens to be heavily into S&M and submissive relationships. 

Never fear, our beautiful Adonis, with the extremely large wallet can easily take care of that pesky virginity thing so our couple can get down to the real stuff of true relationships . Bring on the gag!  Whips and chains can still lead to a loving relationship however. You know as long as you shut the fuck up and do what you’re told. 

I’m well aware that I shouldn’t judge what I haven’t read but you know what? I don’t need to read something to know that’s it not my thing. I don’t read erotica, I never have. It’s not that I object to sex in books. I just don’t read books for sexual titillation. So erotica has never appealed to me. Also, from (the admittedly little) erotica I have had the misfortune to read, the quality leans towards the bleeding awful. 

These ‘books’ appear to be nothing more than porn for bored housewives and the tweens of ‘generation sex’ who consider themselves so sexually forward they idolise a virgin vampire that refuses to sleep with his girlfriend until they are married (also, he might you know, break her). Yep, way to push the limits next generation. 

Like I said, I have no problem with sex in books what I have a problem with is shite writing making it to the top of best seller list. What I have a problem with is friends approaching me with “Hey, you read books. Have you read these Christian Grey books, they’re amazing?” A very special mention here to the lovely friend who approached me yesterday with “Hey have you read these Fifty Shades of Grey books? I was reading it last night and thought of you. I thought God, Elaine would hate this”. Mystery friend, I love you for that. 

One thing that I have found strange about the whole phenomena is why people are admitting to  reading them? As far I am aware most women of my acquaintance are not spending their evenings reading Mills & Boon, so why these? I admit they’ve got appealing covers but so has 'The Sisters Brothers' (and I guarantee you it’s a much better read). Also, didn't sexual proclivities use to be a private thing?  Did I miss the memo that stated all sexual desires must be acknowledged, in detail on my Facebook timeline?

Anyway, I have to admit I feel better for getting that off my chest. I can maybe face the world (and eventually Facebook) for having ranted. All that’s left to say is if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in today’s post, then there is a solution … 

HAVE SOME SEX. It’s clearly been too long for you.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

21st Century Withdrawal

Horror of almighty horrors! Last week my mobile phone broke.  I worked out it wasn’t working quite quickly but it took the guy in Carphone Warehouse about 40 minutes to declare that yes, indeed it was having issues and would have to be sent away for repair. 

I was advised that while it could take up to 28 days it would probably only be 2-3 weeks.  Not a problem I thought, I’m a grown up and can surely survive a few weeks without my phone.  Besides, I was getting a ‘courtesy’ phone so all would be right in the world.  Then the young lad produced my courtesy phone, or as I have christened it, ‘the beast’.   

Turns out my courtesy phone is well, just that, a phone.  I can call people and if I have a half hour to spare I can also contemplate sending a text.  No games, no internet, and no social media.  As I walked out of the shop I had a moment of realisation.  My life was on my phone.  My diary, all my contacts, pictures of very random stuff, not to mention my Twitter, Facebook, email and random notes of interest (or at least to me).   What the hell was I going to do?

The first couple of days are always the hardest.  Quitting the world of modern mobile living proved surprisingly difficult.  So I’m laying my shame aside and offering a brief insight into my suffering:

Days 1-2 Denial: A low point. I kept randomly picking ‘the beast’ up to check e-mail, twitter or some other such thing only to remember that it won’t do any of it.  Days 1 & 2 also saw me resorting to randomly pressing buttons because I couldn’t do anything else. Also kept going to take photos of things only to realise I had no camera!

Day 3 Anger: “What am I going to do with this?”, “This fecking thing is going out the window”,  “You pile of shite” all common phrases uttered many times on day 3.

Day 4 Bargaining: This was possibly the lowest point and included a phonecall to Orange to see how much it would cost to get out of my contract, browsing the net for temporary replacement phones and some rather shameless husband flirtation to try and wrangle his phone from him.

Day 5 Depression: “My social life is over” 

Day 6-7 Acceptance: You know what?  It’s not too bad.  Me and ‘the beast’ are rubbing along nicely together.  He’s not a bad sort and in fact I’d even say I’m beginning to like the little fella.  He’s never needed charged and he has yet to send an inappropriate text to the wrong person.  Also, I’m quite enjoying being free from the social media world.  It’s peaceful now. 

So there you go.  If you find yourself disconnected from the 21st century it might bring some sort of consolation to know you’re not alone.  

While the beast is proving to be a reliable and trustworthy companion I am looking forward to getting my old phone back.  At least for now I can relax and enjoy my time removed from the modern world.

One question that the whole saga has brought up though is at what point in my life did I become so reliant on technology?  I'll have to remember to Google that when I get my old phone back.

NB : There may be some traces of sarcasm in this post

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Rekindled Passion

In case I haven’t mentioned it, I own a Kindle.  Not only that, I LOVE my Kindle.  While I was initially sceptical that I wouldn't be satisfied with anything other than a book in my hand, it seems I was very wrong and the Kindle is King. 

If sales of ebooks are anything to go by then the rest of the world also loves their kindles, although for very different reasons than me it seems.  

It appears that e-readers have sparked a rise in the sales of erotica (or for those kidding themselves 'romance novels').  While I understand the anonymity of a kindle means you can sit on the train reading anything you want without anyone judging you the question in my mind remains why?  Seriously, why?

You don’t need to look at amazon’s top Kindle books list for long before you encounter a bare chest or straining bosom.  You know, this kind of thing:

Now I’m not a prude in anyway (at least I don’t think I am) but I can think of nothing worse than reading badly written sex scenes (as somewhat documented here) .  

There’s the old saying “never judge a book by a cover” but I think in this case it’s perfectly acceptable to do precisely that.  Really people?  I understand everyone has different tastes but for the love of God show some sort of discernment!  

Just before Christmas I received an Amazon wishlist from someone (that appears relatively normal on the outside) that was brimming with this kind of crap.  Needless to say they didn’t get it.  The thought of spending money on it makes me shudder but it seems I’m in the minority here.    As much as it pains me to say it this kind of erotica appears to be staying.

Anyway I thought I would provide you with a brief rule of thumb when sending me Amazon wishlists; if it looks like it heaving, sighing, or engorged I won’t be buying it for you.  You’ll get this instead The Art of Discernment: Making Good Decisions in Your World ofChoices.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Flight of Fancy

Despite what you may think, I don’t really watch an awful lot of TV.  I have a selection of shows that I watch on a weekly basis but on the whole that’s it.  However what I do watch, I tend to love and stick with.  True Blood, Weeds and a show that is rapidly becoming a mild obsession of mine, Flight of the Conchords.  

Now if you have never witnessed or heard of Flight of the Conchords (which is quite possible), let me explain…

Flight of the Conchords are a two  man New Zealand ‘novelty’ band that have also created a TV show parodying themselves. You with me so far? 

The TV show is a very low budget musical comedy about the two guys (Brett & Jermaine) living in New York trying to make something of the band .  They have hired a manager in the form of Murray, who works for the New Zealand consulate in New York.  A job that gives him plenty of free time to mismanage them.  

As well as Murray the band have a fan.  Yep, that’s right, one fan, Mel and a friend (of sorts) who part owns the local pawn shop. 

Any and every member of the cast can (and will) burst into song at any given moment which in my world, is just magic!  The songs tend to parody  a particular artist or genre. We’ve had Prince, Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Opera and an entire episode based on West Side Story. 

Rather obscure and entirely weird, most people look at me sympathetically when I mention this love of mine.  So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Brett has just won an Oscar for best song!  OK it’s not a Conchords song BUT it is a Muppet's song which is almost as good and it's a vindication of sorts!

The song, "Man or Muppet" is a gem and rather addictive so I won't post a link to the video or you'll be singing "am I man or am I Muppet" for the next few weeks.

Anyway there really isn't much point to this post apart from the share my love of the Conchords and try to force you to check them out.  I leave now with one of personal favourites from the show, "If You're Into It":

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sky's the Limit

If you, like me are one of the people who has sold their soul to the Murdoch empire and have Sky TV installed in your home then I hope you share my frustration.

With the introduction of the fantastic Sky Atlantic, Sky is getting shows in line (pretty much) with them being aired in America.  A fantastic thing you might cry.  About time, praise be & hallelujah.  Unfortunately though I've found a bit of a glitch in this fantastic plan of theirs. You see it turns out American TV scheduling it frickin crazy!

A series of 12 episodes would run for 12 weeks you'd imagine.  Allow a couple of weeks for holidays etc. and you're probably looking at a 14 week run, in this, the sensible land of TV scheduling.  America though ....

Well lets take for instance, the fabulous "The Walking Dead". Series 2 of this great show started in Oct. Next Friday we are privileged enough to be presented with .......... episode 8!  Yes ladies & gentlemen, that's four months and we've had 7 episodes.

You see we had a couple of weeks off for thanksgiving and then over a month for the Christmas period.  Don't worry though we were left on a cliffhanger after mid season finale!

MID SEASON FINALE?!?! What the f*ck is that? I'm not entirely sure it's possible to have an ENDING HALF WAY THROUGH!

So what's the alternative.  Well if Sky returned to normal it would mean we would be about 9 months to a year behind US schedules but is that such a bad thing?
Actually yes, yes it is.  One of my favourite shows (as I may have mentioned previously) is True Blood.  It's been forever since series 4 aired in the US and I have been frantically trying to avoid spoilers since then.  Thankfully though series 4 started on Sky this week  and what a corker it was.

We had fairies, witches, a shape shifter anger management meeting and what appears to be a demonic baby decapitating Barbie dolls!  That's just bloody amazing.

As for the scheduling debacle.  I really don't know what's best.  Wait and watch like a normal person or put up with schizophrenic American scheduling.  As I intend to watch episode 8 of Walking Dead I think I've made my decision already. I'm still allowed to complain though, right?

Ps. I'm ridiculously proud of the title of this particular post!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Comedy Dickabout

The fabulous Rhod Gilbert hosts a monthly "Comedy Playground" (rebranded by Rhod after only 2 nights as Comedy Dickabout) at The Globe in Cardiff.  The  lovely asked me to write a review of last months show and lo and behold you can find it here!

If you live in or just happen to be around Cardiff. I heartily suggest going!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Can't Put A Good Read Down

In between painting and covering everything in the house with masking tape, I've been doing but one thing.... Posting on Good Reads .

Good Reads is a community of book lovers, writers and readers that I seem to have become addicted to.  The one drawback I've encountered so far however is that I've been on there talking about books so much that I haven't actually been reading! A slight problem I admit.

However it does mean I can do things like this.....

Elaine's bookshelf: currently-reading

Ah the magic of the internet! Anyway if you, like me, want to shun your friends and become a sad internet recluse I suggest you sign up!  Oh and liking books may also be of benefit.