Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Procrasination- one of those sneaky things ending in "-ation"

In my kitchen, checking my email again, trying to ween myself off of facebook by going on myspace, trying to ween myself off of myspace by checking my email, trying to ween myself off of email by- no, Not trying to ween myself off of email at all. But expecting nugget after nugget of friends' well wishing wisdom to flood forth from my computer screen, too manana to write back. My email account starts to seem like a pick and mix of best friend samples- and me, takin and takin without any givin'. This is worse than procrastination- it's just plain selfish.

But wait- it gets worse- my flatmate James comes into the room bearing a container of jelly bellies. "My sister was just in America" he says as my eyes lit up. He good naturedly puts them on the kitchen table, signalling that they are for the flat to share- but to the detriment of the many, when he leaves I start eating them by the handful- potent and unpleasant flavour combinations filling my mouth. Grape coffee? Truly, if that were a good idea Starbucks would have patented it ages ago.

But no no no, I'm not here to tell you about light fixtures or anything else. I am here, in this blogging room, to diversify the way that I procrastinate. And rather than continue putting my relationship with my flatmates at perril by reading my own blog and eating jelly beans (what, I ask you what, could be more self indulgent?) I thought I'd continue this internet conversation and say something.

I- .... hm. I- ... crap. (I'm at a loss for words. Gawd, this is even more self indulgent.)

Okay, okay, I've got it- I recently read a very good book! Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, an excellent example of Murakami's Magic Realism- he skilfully creates a world in which the most fantastical things can happen, but where characters are well drawn enough that the fantastical things come as a total shock- as though they were happening in reality and not in some fictional sci fi universe. Think Charlie Kaufmann but way better and in a novel. He is, well, he's really great. You should all buy the book now.

Oh man, now I have a stomach ache. I wasn't kidding about those jelly bellies. What a bad idea. What a bad idea. What a-

Sorry. This blog will self destruct in ten seconds.

10, 9. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, ....

Nothing happened? I guess now you're disappointed in more ways than....1! (zAZOOM!)
Still nothing happened? oh. Ok.
Fine. Truth is, I am supposed to be writing three script reports and a theatre review. But I meant all that about the Murakami. When I finished that book I felt the sadness of a best friend moving away. Something so comforting finished. Like a perfectly perfect day.

PS: The next post will be better. Really. Maybe tomorrow- or Wednesday? I could do Thursday, possibly... well, just, some time in the future. You'll see. My next post will be so wonderful that it will jump off of the computer screen, emerge as a wise old man, and tell you a tale that will break your heart. It will be the best blog posting that ever there was. transcendent. splendent. Mendent. Word-creating. Next time. - just you wait. Just you....

(You read a post titled Procrastination. What were you expecting? Mozart?)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

My battle against VICE Magazine....

Okay, so anyone reading this who knows me well enough to hear me speak about hair-brained schemes, (that's right, Hair-Brained Schemes) will know that for months and months now my partner and I have been planning a magazine. Now planning is a loose term. It means something more like occasionally telling people about it and being pleased when they say, "Wow, that sounds cool." (Which is exactly what I expect you to say to yourself at your computer screen. Right..... Now! Or wait, no more like after you read the idea. Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted. I'm a little overly excitable.)

So here's the magazine that we will eventually publish- as part of our Advice Booth project, and our general London lives. It will be called NICE magazine- for all of the happening people out there who feel like VICE is a thing of the past. For all of those glass half full kind of optimistic smile-at-people-on-the-street-without-seeming-creepy people who still enjoy a good vintage dress or buying an ironic record on Vinyl. Yes, that's right, you don't have to be a jerk to be hip anymore. In fact... Jerks are no longer cool. Truly, it's a revolutionary concept. And if it takes off expect to see too-cool-for-school types all in black dressed on every street corner straining to give you a smile while they point out their new frameless oversized glasses. They may even stop to pet your dog- or start baking brownies. It will be absolute nice mayhem. Like a carnival that is far more ironic and far more contrived. but hey- if it means free brownies, then all the power to them. Some hip people can bake too.

The Magazine would have such features as "Nice people and their dogs." Or "Scrapbooking for friends and family." And would come with a free mix cd! (or tape. I suppose tapes are hipper.) And we will chronicle such popular activities as Kitten Wars! Or reveal the truth with a celebrity gossip, merely recounting instances where we've heard good things. "Joanna Newsom helps old lady." "Daniel Kitson smiles at passerby." "Nicholas Cage-" Actually, scratch that. We probably won't write anything about the Cage. Unless he gets a really cute dog. Or becomes a cat and appears on kitten wars.

What I'm saying here is that NICE Magazine is going to explain the way of the future- which I would like to say is bright, although Orange Adverts seem to have copywrighted that sentiment. But mobile phone companies aside, we will be a magazine for nerds, geeks, and people with big smiles. It just seems like such a lovely idea... and in London, being nice is subversive.

But I'm still not onto the real nitty gritty of this post... Apologies, as I said before, it's been a long time, I'm excitable! The nitty gritty is that in preparation for this NICE issue, a letter that I wrote was actually published in our nemesis- VICE. As with most nemeses, VICE and I haven't always disliked each other. This is a spurned love. I was once, being Canadian (like the Montreal-born creators) hugely proud of the magazine. It is usually full of interesting Canadian imagery, it is Free AND Glossy, (who'd of thunk it?) and sometimes very funny and sometimes cutting edge. However, VICE and I lost touch. And it seems that while I was off doing whatever the heck I was doing, they went on a reality tv Staff Swapping show where they were paired up with NUTS magazine. I haven't read NUTS lately, though I suspect it's showing cutting edge photospreads, but VICE has just gone down the tubes.

(I am speculating about that stuff about the reality tv show. But the fact that we could, for a second, feasibly think it is true, I mean- that says something, doesn't it? Either you're gullible, or I'm right, or both.)

VICE recently stopped doing their Themed Issues. Most likely because their Iraq issue turned out to be so controversial. Though I read that issue, and I found it informative and well researched- I really applauded their trying to reach such their apolitical readership with some hard hitting facts. But perhaps the backlash preaching to the existential choir incurred was not as simple as a three part Nirvana harmony. I am guessing the magazine felt as though reality was a little too risky- and their next issue was called "the Fetish Issue."

Now for those of you lucky enough never to have read the Fetish Issue, I will describe it- The "Fashion" shoot was a woman practically naked in a Tokyo motel room tied up in duct tape. The "Cyber Sex" story was all pictures of men asking women to undress for them, and they complied. There were no fetishizations of the male format- that's right, not a one. Alienating both their gay and heterosexual female readership. I knew something was wrong when I was turning the pages and wondering, "What differentiates this from a hustler magazine? Really?" So of course, being at work, I decided to write them a letter of complaint. I didn't expect it to get published- I just really thought they should know that I found their latest issue extremely offensive and ... uh... stupid. But Amazingly enough, they did go ahead and publish it, and giving a response that was cowardly and absurd in equal parts.

Here is the link:

The letter is the third one down, under "Fetish."

So after reading this ridiculous response, part of me was so disappointed I just felt like not saying anything. But that very night, after a few drinks, at 3 in the morning, a female friend of mine insisted we compose the following and send it along:

Dear Friend,

Did you seriously just try to win an argument by calling me a lesbian? Seriously? Cos BTW I'm not fourteen years old and you're not a quarter back. When you're through with stuffing Nerdlinger in his locker and slapping each others' oiled tanned bottoms with towels in the shower room why not call me for a wee chat. Susan Faludi, Andrea Dworkin, Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, Gertrude Stein and I are all busy kissing and complimenting each other's intellects. But I'm sure we could take a time out to explain the erotic possibilities of the male bottom to your FHM-callibrated minds. Kisses!

double Dxx

Now blog-readers (four friends) I am tempted to post this on the comments wall of their webpage. I have, of course, already sent it to the letters section. I am certain that they won't publish my comeback, so perhaps the comment page is the best place for it. But I do encourage all of you to read their response, and don't hold back on telling them what's what. Seriously- it's time for everyone who isn't an immature heterosexual male to take back the VICE. Or eff it, just forget about them altogether and read our magazine. Of course it doesn't exist yet- but the possibilities are endless....

Lots of lurve,


PS: I just tried to download the cover to their Fetish issue, and they've renamed it the Noxious Fumes Issue and totally changed the cover- as though it never happened. Way to back track yet not apologizeor take responsibility... People like this should not be allowed to run anything. Magazine or otherwise.