Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

43. Shaving off your eyebrows and drawing them back on

^ Amanda Palmer is the one exception to this diatribe because she's talented and lovely.

Eyebrows are inherently kind of odd and, as far as I’m aware, only serve purpose in articulating and exaggerating facial expressions. They’re a key facet of comical faces that are, in any other context, ever so slightly distracting. But, just like ears, everyone has them so they don’t look weird (come on, ears are pretty bizarre – if we didn’t all have them, we’d be pretty frightened by those fleshy craters). Occasionally, they’re a bit bushy or inter-connected but that can be remedied quite easily. My Indian hair-itage (see what I did there?) has given me amusingly blunt eyebrows and I’ve learnt to live with them, but I can understand why people might occasionally get a tad self-conscious about their own. However, shaving them off and drawing them back on is not an appropriate reaction to brow-based dissatisfaction.

No matter how quirky your eyebrows are, they will always look like eyebrows. Drawn-on (or worse yet, tattooed) eyebrows do not look like eyebrows. They don’t leave much to the imagination – it’s blindingly clear that you shaved off your eyebrows, grabbed the nearest marker and drew a thin black line, even if your hair isn’t black. I don’t understand how anyone would expect a pen-line to be an effective surrogate for real eyebrows – there’s no hair, it’s completely flat and the fake-brow simply doesn’t move with the eyes the way a normal eyebrow would. Also, you either end up with a freakishly smooth elliptical curve or violently triangular Thomas the Tank Engine eyebrows. You lose all the expression that comes with normal brows and create a hideous caricature of your own face. On your face.

If you’re going to shave off your eyebrows, why stop there? I say you should just start shaving your head and drawing on new hairstyles. It has the same aesthetic value after all. I’m pretty sick of the maintenance that comes with having a light beard, so I’m going to shave it and draw stubbly dots with a biro. Might draw in a jaw line whilst I’m at it. Oh, I’m definitely adding a badass scar over my left eye. After all, apparently ink is an effective way to deal with facial flaws.

Except it isn’t. Shape your eyebrows all you want, but don’t shave them unless you want to look like Pete Burns. I would wager at this point, even Pete Burns doesn’t want to look like Pete Burns. Also, what if your pen runs out? Would you just spend the day wondering around with no eyebrows? I imagine girls in this situation probably have some kind of contingency plan for such emergencies, but I’m secretly hoping they just panic, grab a red pen and hope for the best.

Friday, 24 December 2010

42. Axl Rose

^ I know I'm pretty unfashionable, but this really takes the biscuit.

Axl Rose, former singer for seminal rock band Guns N’ Roses, current front-man for tribute act Axl N' The Roses (who occasionally tour under the GN’R moniker), is no stranger to causing trouble. Guns’ most recent tour – a tour in support of an album that came out two yearsago and took fifteen years to make – was plagued with Rose’s standard shenanigans; turning up late, stopping shows in the middle of songs, hilariously over the top tour riders, shouting at people and just generally being a bit of a nuisance.

The latest in a long line of on-going and pathetic controversies sees the bandana-bearing blunder suing Activision for including ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and Slash in Guitar Hero III. Apparently the issue here is that Activision allegedly lied about making links between the Guns N’ Roses name and Slash himself, the guitarist being probably the only member of Guns N’ Roses who hasn’t reconciled with Axl in any capacity. Axl wants Slash and anything related to him to be treated completely separately from the Guns N’ Roses body, which is essentially saying he wants to rewrite the band’s history. A history that is integral to Axl Rose being able to make any money nowadays – Slash has writing credits on the bulk of the band’s discography. I don’t mind Axl continuing the band but to ride so highly on the heels of its legacy whilst simultaneously refusing to acknowledge some of the key reasons it worked so well seems like Axl cutting off his nose to spite his botoxed face.

One thing I don’t understand, after being in the music business for so long, how does Axl Rose not understand that the only people who lose out in all these shenanigans are the fans? You show up late to your own gig after being repeatedly warned of the promoters’ legal obligation to pull the plug on you after a certain time and you have the audacity to blame the shortened set on the Reading festival organisers. That’s not fair. You could have just showed up on time. One of Axl’s penned lyrics from GN’R’s hey-day sees Rose lambasting the music media for “rippin’ off the fuckin’ kids while they be payin’ their hard earned money” to read about and be involved with their favourite bands. I fail to see how Rose is doing much better when he continues to act like a spoilt adolescent at every opportunity, robbing the dwindling modern day Guns fan-base out of their cash too.

Ultimately, if anyone is unceremoniously urinating over the Guns N’ Roses legacy, it’s Axl. Not Activision, not Slash, not Axl’s merry band of hired guns and hell, not even Steven Adler and his unrelenting need to cling to the past (I don’t think that reunion is happening any time soon, Steven). Just chill out, stop taking yourself so seriously, cease suing everybody and show up on time.

P.S. Also, first the multicolour braids and hockey jerseys. Then the pony-tail braids / goatee combo. And now a fu-manchu. Dude. No.

P.P.S. I realise this is a post that could be summed up as "The Ramblings of a Slash Fanboy", but this is my corner of the internet and I'll be as pompous and self-indulgent as I want. Pout.

Disclaimer: I did see Axl N' The Roses on their most recent tour and it was actually pretty fantastic, despite the lateness. Even Rose himself sounded on top form. I was shocked. They covered Rose Tattoo's 'Nice Boys'. Duff McKagan came on stage. It was magical. Also, please don't sue me, Axl.

41. Deal or No Deal

^ This is the only known example of a Deal or No Deal contestant admitting that "it's just a box". Notice the complete emotional melodrama of the entire situation.

I have no idea how it has taken me so long to commit the goatee with a body and his mysterious boxes on to The List. In the words of Kenan & Kel - awwwww, here it goes!

Deal or No Deal is a terrible game-show. It's tantamount to taking the blue-print of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and removing any element of skill or knowledge required in an attempt to give the thickest of the thickies a fighting chance in the world of free money. Basically, the contestants are usually about as sharp as a sack of wet mice*. Rest assured, these people would be rejected from The Weakest Link before they even fill out the application form. They will spend the entire game waxing lyrical about some profound strategy they have developed as part of their game plan, bragging that the mystical link between some poxy lucky numbers and their ability to point at people standing behind red boxes will guarantee them a win. What they fail to realise is the entire game is resistant to a strategy - you're just pointing at boxes in a random order, hoping for one of them to reward your Neanderthal antics with a cash pay out.
Worst of all, this entire process is punctuated by constant bouts of emotionally-charged encouragement from Beardy Noel and the contestants behind the boxes. Frequently, Edmonds and his cohort of lobotomised drones throw out phrases like "you've played a clever game" and "you're very brave" amongst other such lies. There is nothing intelligent or bold about pointing at boxes and waiting for someone to open them. There are no questions to answer, there are no challenges to complete. You're literally flailing your arm and shouting. It's not much of a change of pace to your daily life at the zoo, is it (my implication here being that these people are monkeys or something, except with less excrement flinging... hopefully)?

I don't understand how people get caught up in the "atmosphere". There's nothing tense about the situation, the entire game is a glorified version of eeny-meeny-miney-moe, except EMMM actually serves a purpose. It's like Russian Roulette without any of the consequences. I think perhaps the most telling thing about the contestants' mental capacity is nearly none of them realise a good offer when it is thrown in their face. They're all greedy scrotes who turn down the banker's potential gift of free money because they think they can extort more than that. Thankfully, usually they're cut down to size and have to deal with the crushing humiliation of winning a £1. So that's something.

Also, Noel. I am sick of your idiotic monologues with the banker. You're not charming, funny, charismatic, affable, witty, amusing, beguiling or amiable. You're a creepy sleaze who hits on the contestants and you act like a suspicious uncle who has been ostracised from the main core of the family. What are you hiding behind that dyed goatee, anyway?

*Have I used that phrase on The List before? Answers on a postcard to;

123 I Really Don't Give A Damn Crescent
Originality Is Not My Strong Point Lane

40. Nick Clegg

^ Close enough.

Bit late on the bandwagon with this one, but then I've never been one for punctuality. Rather than use the same old tired jokes that every real comedian has used over and over (I'm pretty sure Mock The Week's resident unfunny man, Andy Parsons, and his unreal accent have commented that we're under a government that none of us voted for at least nine full years now), I'm just going to run with a nonsensical and nerdy analogy: Nick Clegg is Harvey Dent.

Harvey Dent had principles. Harvey Dent was loved by all. The Clegginator, as he was affectionately known ( me), had principles too and was loved by many, especially students because of his education related promises. Hell, I hear even Nick Griffin had a little soft spot for the Clegg, but then that's probably just because he's not an ethnic minority. We all knew what to expect with David Cameron - unrelenting misery - but when Cleggy-Cleggy-Gumdrops (I'm running out of silly names) was revealed to be part of the coalition, there was a tiny hope that this government wouldn't be the dreary melancholy we previously thought. But then it happened. Someone threw acid in Clegg's face (or he burnt half of it off in a series of events following his capture by the Joker if you're going by the Dark Knight) and he's gone off the rails. Shedding himself of all the qualities and ideologies that previously made him good, Harvey Clegg is now Two-Face - a super-villain with two faces. Well, two half faces but that's not the point. He has sacrificed all that he once believed to gain power and exact revenge. No longer is he the beacon of positivity he once stood for, instead he is a broken man who has fallen from grace. His face is also hideously scarred and he looks a little unhinged because of it.

There are many flaws with this analogy. Is Cameron the Joker? Does this mean London is Gotham City? Where is the rich vigilante with a utility belt to save the day? Whatever the answer to these questions, one thing still stands: Clegg totally clegged out on us, the two-faced clegg-head.

I might go watch The Dark Knight now.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

39. Relentless

^ I've never seen a drink desperately try to pander to young people as much as Relentless. Except for Becks. Becks is a shameless tramp.

We all get run down from time to time and need a little boost to continue on with our daily stresses. But no matter how dire your exhaustion may be, never drink Relentless. Never. Once you get past the foul taste of raw jelly and suffering, it's only a short matter of time before you feel the poison's deadly effects. Make no bones about it, you have just drunk pure thunder. Your insides will be shaking with uncomfortable amounts of energy, with the over-jittery sensations slowly rearranging your internal organs and making sure there is no blood left in your caffeine stream. This is unbridled catastrophe in a can - people simply aren't built to consume a pint of sugar mixed with crack (I can only assume one of the ingredients is crack).

Also, the less said about the effects on your bowels, the better. Let's just say you won't enjoy your next trip to the loo. Or the one after. Possibly the one after that too.

38. Twitter

^ Hi, we're Twitter. We're so trendy that our logo lacks formal capitalisation. Modern or what?!
In an attempt to get this inane blog some more attention and to just generally whore myself out, I recently joined the dysfunctional e-family that is Twitter. However, shortly after advertising my own non-achievements I just started following a bunch of celebrities and what not that I was interested in. For a while, it was bliss. I was relishing in the constant updates of the lifestyle of Ginger from the Wildhearts and finding out what financial ventures Gene Simmons was moving in to (turns out, it was all of them - Gene has his finger in every pie, both figuratively and literally). It turns out some of my friends had Twitter, so I had yet another channel in which I could spew pointless and uncalled commentary about their lives at them. Then, as my university developed one of the strongest student protest occupations, I watched a talented group of tweeters use Twitter and its social networking prowess to develop and nurture an entire cultural movement from their finger-tips. It was fascinating.

Yesterday, the honeymoon period ended. I was reading the tweets of one of my favourite directors and funny-men, Mr. Kevin Smith (of Clerks, Chasing Amy & Dogma fame), expecting to get some kind of witty insight in to the world of comic-book-movie-nerdery. Instead, I learnt an awful lot about the man's masturbation habits. Apparently, he makes frequent withdrawals from the Barclays bank account on a daily basis. Apparently, he uses a "Fleshlight". Apparently, he can't wait for his wife sometimes so the "Fleshlight" does the trick. Apparently, that's just his preference. Apparently, all his fans needed to know this. Apparently, this isn't going to enter my mind every time I watch Clerks from now on.

Twitter is good and all but it really does bring the fan far too close to the talent. Artists, musicians, comedians, directors etc. all lose some of their mystique when you follow them on Twitter. Especially when they talk about churning the foreskin butter. Grim.

37. People who buy band shirts for their babies

^ I bet you this baby knows nothing of Metallica's early material. He wasn't around in 1983, he'll never 'get' thrash.

I understand parents have full control as to what their babies or young children wear. That's fair enough, they're kids - they have no mental conception as to how to put clothes on, let alone make decisions about what kind of clothes would suit them. The standard result of this is a bunch of aesthetically challenged children - for formal occasions at some point during the deepest, darkest depths of the early '90s, my mother used to dress me and my older brother in matchingly over-the-top green, black and gold waist-coats and ridiculously smart trousers. I think we also boasted some dashing suspenders. Needless to say, we looked ridonkulous. Not that we don't nowadays, but at least we now look silly by our volition.

Fashion crimes aside, I think we can all agree this is standard practice. But one thing I will never understand is babies in band t-shirts. Most people start wearing band t-shirts when they're a thirteen year old twollox who thinks their opinion in music is important and has to be expressed at every given opportunity, especially so via the medium of clothes. Some of us never outgrow this phase (at this point, I should point out I'm wearing a Dr. Feelgood era Mötley Crüe t-shirt - it's quite fetching) and that's okay, as our status of 'man-child' will seamlessly lead in to our autumn years of 'awkward dad'. But what about the babies who can't properly formulate opinions on what music they might like? Should you really be damning them to an existence filled with ridicule and shame so early on in life? It's going to be hard enough being your offspring as it is, without you gussying them up in an assortment of black tops.

It's like those religious fundamentalists who indoctrinate their children with molten hatred, except this time with socially unacceptable bands*. Wear all the Megadeth t-shirts you want, but until your child learns the difference between KISS and Lordi, don't use them as yet another vehicle to express your misguided love for rock. If you're not careful, when they grow up a bit and start rebelling, you'll have to put up with a lot of free-form jazz. And don't pretend you're open-minded and like free-from jazz. You're not. You've just been parading the fruit of your loins around in a Mot
örhead shirt in the vain attempt to reaffirm your maligned status as "rock fan".

*This is a major exaggeration. It's pretty bad, but probably not that bad.

**If I ever have children, they're blatantly going to listen to mainstream noughties R&B exclusively as a form of rebellion. I will disown them the moment I hear Kanye West.

Monday, 6 December 2010

36. Communal showers

^ I thought using the Socially Awkward Penguin would be less horrifying that slamming "communal showers" in to Google Image Search

Today, I learnt that there is nothing more intensely awkward than running in to someone you know in a communal shower. Enough said.