Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Ancient Art of Greeting: Hello

I would like to think that for the most part in life, I'm pretty good adequate at social situations but have long been flummoxed by that dreaded 'hello'. You may laugh, but it can go horribly wrong. And being English, it is somehow so much worse when it does. 

The trick is in determining what kind of a person you are greeting, and what the situation is. If it's a work thing, or a bloke, you're probably safe with a handshake. That's still a minefield, though, because if they have a limp handshake, I almost instantly, inexplicably hate them because it makes me feel uneasy. Man up chrissakes, or at least pretend you're happy to see me! *

If it's someone you haven't met before, in a social situation, it could go either way. I favour a handshake because I can't really get it wrong and it's the most understated greeting, one up on the social ladder from grunting 'alright' and looking at the floor (a teenage boy classic). This is where agendas can clash. If it's a hugging thing, I usually go in for a straightforward hug with like, actual arms and stuff but more often than not, the other person will go for an audible air kiss and pull away - resulting in me not having done the kiss and am still clinging to said person. Very embarrassing.

If I do judge the situation correctly, and go in for one kiss, the other person will go for two. TWO?! Or even worse, more - when does it stop, am I supposed to hug them as well? Am I actually supposed to make contact with their face? If I pull away after one am I supposed to carry on if they do more or just pretend it didn't happen?

So to sum up, it can be very difficult to gauge the situation re: hello sometimes. My advice for other occasionally awkward beings in the hello situation: gauge the person, the situation and if all else fails move your head vaguely in the other person's direction. The rest of your limbs can follow if necessary (or just hang awkwardly at your sides, if necessary). In this instance, less is definitely more (unless you enjoy clinging to people for several seconds after they have pulled away. I know people that do).

* Embarrassingly I have been known to cry (usually only when I've been drinking) "That was rubbish! We have to do it again!" which will end up in a high-fiving competition. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I heard talk of the new comedy 'Threesome' on Comedy Central a fair bit on Twitter and thought that it might have some potential, the premise sounded ok and Skoose from Whites was in it.

So I duly streamed the episode on the website, which by the way, is pretty jumpy.

I tried to enjoy it. For eighteen minutes (I couldn't quite make the whole 21). But I just couldn't engage with it at all. The basic premise: Three best mates living together, one of them gay, two of them a couple. I'm sure that's been used before but it could work, right?

Unfortunately, there's not much going on plot-wise and I didn't even crack a smile once. The jokes were forgettable and the opportunities that did arise were thrown away (if I'd have coughed, I'd have missed the 'I can't even get paid to be a wanker' gag when one of the leads loses his job as a sperm donor. And wank gags are the best). 

So I probably won't be watching this next week. Well, maybe if there's nothing else going on. And all my friends are busy. And I can't change the channel. Perhaps I'm being unfair. But sometimes you just instantly take a dislike to something, and you can't quite put your finger on what it is - even the programmes that I'm a little ashamed to admit that I watch, I watch them every week because there is something there that I like. But here, unfortunately, nothing's clicking. Stay tuned...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gig Photos

I took some photos at some Camden gigs. They're ok. Ok, well they're there to prove I was there...

Exit_International at Camden Barfly 16 09 11

Novella at Camden Lock Tavern, 16.08.11

Shimmering Stars at Camden Lock Tavern, 16.08.11

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twitter Crimes and Loves

I already have a guide of how not to use Facebook (Part I here and Part II here) but I wanted to do one for Twitter. Because Twitter, if possible, can be more annoying than Facebook. But despite boldly proclaiming that I would never get a Twitter two years ago, it's a really great tool when used properly. And sparingly. We all do it from time to time, but they are still... Twitter Crimes. However, there are some things on Twitter that have made me fall off my chair and it's also great because if you don't have someone's email address, just Tweet them - don't underestimate the power of the @ or even the #.

1. Using #hashtags purely because they are trending, not because you have something interesting to say. Currently #arealboyfriend is the Top Trend. I don't really think anyone needs to read them but they're all there for your viewing pleasure.

2. A play-by-play account of an event. Done well, it's hilarious. Especially when involving other people or unusual situations. Done badly, it's DULL. Like, even your mum wouldn't want to read it. Like:
  • @crappyusername is watching Wallace and Gromit.
  • @crappy username really wants cheese... Wonder why?!
  • @crappyusername is going to the shop to get some cheese.
  • @crappyusername got some cheddar. Sooo good.
  • @crappyusername feels a bit sick.
3. Now this is a guilty pleasure. Twitter can be really annoying if you are missing your favourite TV programme (there should be an app for that. Is there?) but I LOVE reading reality show tweets. Particularly Made in Chelsea (particularly my cousin's) and X Factor tweets. The sheer cringiness of Millie's inability to complete a sentence and Francis' inability to talk to girls without sounding like someone's uncle is ten times better when accompanied by incredulous Tweets. It's kind of like the entire of the UK on Twitter unites in one thought. Weird.

4. Tweeting Celebrities. If you have something to say to them other than 'OMG UR LEIK FAMOUS HEHE' it's fine or talking about them, but WHAT IS THE POINT of talking to them purely to ask them for 'a cheeky RT because it's my dog's birthday'? You just wasted your opportunity to talk to your idol by talking about NOTHING. And if they do RT, well... You look a bit silly. 

5. On a related note, I once mentioned how (strangely) hot Neville Longbottom (Matt Lewis) was looking in the latest Heat. Heat picked up on this and RTd and I atually got a reply from the man in question. He said 'Hmm' (not the most epic of replies, admittedly). I think he was strangely pleased. Or  just really offended.

6. Celebrity Twitter accounts that are pages and pages of 'thanks!' and answering the same question twenty times within three minutes. Perhaps they think it's polite to thank everyone individually, but quite frankly, it's really boring, I have now lost respect. I'm looking at YOU, Stephen Mangan. 

7. Alan Sugar and Piers Morgan. Get over it. Your Twitter feud is now officially boring.

8. Minor celebrities trying to get verified. Up-yourself, much?

9. It's incredibly scary how easily companies can find you, depending on how good their social media campaign is. I've heard of people complaining about a company, and five minutes later are replied to by said company and placated for said grievance. I can't decide if it's great customer service or just a bit creepy. 

And that is why Twitter is both brilliant... And shit. I won't even mention that it's career-wrecking and career-making it can be. Well, I just did but you know what I mean.

P.S. Follow me if you're bored or if you think I'm even a bit entertaining or even if you think I'm a knob and you want to read my Tweets and think, 'what a knob'. Not that I do that.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taking Pictures At Gigs: It's HARD.

It's great going to gigs. It's even better if you get some kind of record (so you can look back fondly and reminisce like, the awesome music, man) and also so you can boast to your mates about how close you got to stealing the frontman's towel.

As photography is not my forte, I just do it for fun. But the insanely cool people who are good at it, I have a lot of respect. Taking pictures at gigs is hard. First, you have to worry about obstructions. Being 5'2", there are a lot of obstructions. This usually results in photos which are mostly the back of someone else's head. Or bad placement of instruments over band members' faces. Like this:

Then, depending on what kind of gig it is, you have to worry about being bashed about by an over-enthusiastic windmiller or 'mosher' etc. which is not great for blurriness and even getting the subject in the photo. See fig. 2: No amount of photoshop could make anything except the bassist's guitar visible:

After all that, if you manage to get a decent-ish picture after all that, it's probably... shit. Because on your tiny camera they look like amazing pictures but when you get home and you see them on a bigger screen, they don't look that great. Because the seven pints you had whilst waving your camera around vaguely in the direction of the band are largely to blame. They were for dutch courage. And those three jagerbombs... they were for 'energy'.

Which is when you end up with this shot of a young man's crotch and rather larger, more impressive camera than mine.

So... people who take photos at gigs and still manage to make them look effortless and amazing, I salute you. I think I'll just stick to the reviewing.


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