Monday, 20 October 2008

When Did I Become Such A Bitter Little Man? Oh, Yeah.

I apologise in advance for this. I’d love to post wonderful optimistic blackberry jam-making paeans like this little diamond (thanks to Our Glamorous Heroine for the link), but my newfound turbo-charged misanthropy simply won’t allow it.

Ah, well.

As I hinted at briefly, curtly, on Friday, it seems that everywhere I turn at the moment, idiots are being paid good money to write the most godawful ordure. Last Sunday for example, I was enjoying a battered Sunday roast in a Burnley pub called The Lynched Black or some such (the battered Yorkshire pudding was particularly good), when I found myself bellowing out blasphemies in response to an article I was reading in the Sunday Times Style supplement. Serves me right I suppose for putting my head in the toilet.

It was an interview with the physically overrated Kelly Brook, written by the intellectually under-endowed Giles Hattersley. I’d never heard of Hattersley before I read that article. Then I looked him up online and discovered that he was everything I despise and envy in equal measure.

Look at this opening to the Brook interview:

‘Obviously, I knew that Kelly Brook was going to be sex on legs. How could I not? She’s been the stunner’s stunner for a decade now. The girl who can make a grown man swallow his tongue. The kind of woman another woman might go gay for (it’s that thrilling combo of carnal sagacity and pathological cleanliness, isn’t it, girls?). And then you meet her and it’s even better.’

Ugh. Jesus. I practically puked up my nuts when I read that. The stunner’s stunner? Does he even know what he thinks he wants to say? Jesus. It still makes me fume. He really is the fuckwit’s fuckwit.

The article continues in the same vein, with Hattersley vacillating between tittering prepubescent public school boy…

‘There isn’t a hair on her head that’s out of place, and – I imagine – if I whipped off her dress, there wouldn’t be a hair out of place there either.’

…and outright idiot…

‘Before feminists write Brook off as a co-dependent sexaholic, it’s worth pointing out she is a shrewd businesswoman....’

I was actually so irritated by this man Hattersley that I ended up having to apologise to Sylvia for screaming out the c-word in her local pub. On a Sunday. Of all days.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, back in London on Wednesday afternoon I found myself on a train from London Bridge to Peckham sitting directly behind a young lady who’d just come from what must have been the first writers’ meeting for the new series of Scallywagga. I know this because she was braying – nay, bellowing – into her mobile phone, telling her absent friend and writing partner everything he or she had missed. So, thanks to this slip of a girl’s inane yelling, I discovered that, apparently…

* Scallywagga was ‘branded as being by 19-year-olds for 19-year-olds’, but in actual fact Stuart Kenworthy wrote 60% of it and he’s 42.

* Scallywagga has ‘got really good branding’.

* The main reason Scallywagga was commissioned for a second series was because it’s the only Northern sketch show on TV. Furthermore there hasn’t been a sketch show set in the north of England ‘since Les Dawson’. (Which is obviously nonsense. I can’t think of any at the moment but it’s patently nonsense. Oh yes, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. There you go.)

* The writers of the next series of Scallywagga are also welcome to have a crack at directing some sketches too, and even performing in it.

* References to popular culture are Scallywagga gold – they don’t have to be exclusively youth-centred references, but if you can squeeze Facebook or Wii into a sketch, all the better. Referencing de rigueur TV shows such as Big Brother and Dragon’s Den is also something very much to aim for.

* Currently averaging 35 sketches per show (a show presumably lasting around 23 minutes), the producers are thinking of throwing in a couple of longer sketches so that viewers can make it to the end of a programme without feeling the need to pour mercury into their eyes.

* The producers are also pleased that young women are going to be working on the show, because they believe that a getting a young, feminine perspective can only be a very good thing. Not that they have to write purely ‘female’ material, but you know, blahblahblah. Keep it northern.

So I listened to this conversation, biting my cheeks to stop myself from shouting out, scribbling down notes and shaking my head at this loud live stream confirmation that television comedy really is just a cynical, soulless mess of marketing and… actually, just marketing. It’s all just marketing.

I have nothing against the young woman on the train by the way. I admit I’m jealous of the opportunity she has to write comedy for such a well-branded BBC product, but I wish her nothing but the very best. I also genuinely wish her the very best of luck with Time Lords. It’s a great title.

When I got home, I checked out Scallywagga online, just to make sure that it definitely was the diabolical drivel I remembered from clips I'd seen. It was. Good production values, great branding, but sadly, and predictably, about as funny as rectal cancer. The least funny of all the cancers.

The next series should be great though.

So yeah, then, as if that wasn’t enough, I picked up a copy of thelondonpaper on Wednesday and discovered that the guest columnist from the day before was an ugly bloke who wrote about ‘Why I visited a prostitute’. Apparently his piece was ‘a very moving read’ and ‘a breath of fresh air’. It prompted one wildly idiotic reader to write: ‘I’ve seen a prostitute three times this year. Not because I craved sex, but because I craved a connection – the connection you get when you are with someone who finds you attractive, that validation that says: “I love you for who you are”.’ Um… do you want to tell him or shall I?

So I got online when I got home and I looked up John’s piece on the trials of being an ugly man in a shallow world and once again, I turned the air blue with violent language.

So I wrote a londonpaper column of my own, a response to John suggesting that if it was love he was looking for, then the blog might just be mightier than the whore.

They didn't get back to me.

I have been rejected by thelondonpaper.

My downward spiral is complete.

I have hit rock bottom.

I am not fit to touch the hem of Giles Hattersley’s hat.



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Fat Hobbit Girl said...

Why did I read that londonpaper shite? I don't hate or judge you for seeing a prostitute, John. I really couldn't give a shit. I hate and judge you for being a pathetic drivelling tosser.

Women don't want to date the bloke who stands there pitifully waiting for someone to notice what a nice guy he is. Women want to date a bloke with something to say for himself. What, the best thing you have to offer is that you're less shit that someone else? Are you funny? Are you passionate about something? Can you cook? Think positive qualities, for crying out loud.

Yaknow, I'm used to being the ugly friend myself, but if someone asked me why I'm a good dating prospect, I wouldn't start off with "Well, I'm less crap than HER."

Fat Hobbit Girl said...

Gosh. I got quite involved with writing that comment. Ahem.

Anonymous said...

Time for a gentle query: do you want the dribbling idiots reading your writing? Are you trying to appeal to them? Do you want their adoration? Fuck, I hope not.

Do you want to appeal to a more discerning, significantly more intelligent group? Would you rather rub shoulders with vacuous twits or people who actually have something reasonable to say?

Hey, we are who we hang with sometimes. Don't wish to play with the stupid kids. You'll end up taking on too many of their bad attributes.

Settle for being adored by us. We're elite.

[if my ego falls over, it'll kill thousands]

Tim Footman said...

What's so unfunny about rectal cancer? It was a key theme in the South Park Radiohead episode.

Anonymous said...

God, I'm so sick and tired of reading columnists in newspapers that say, "like a breath of fresh air" and "it's so refreshing". I don't know what's refreshing about an age old pursuit (a man visiting a prostitute).

Bete why don't you send in a piece to the Sydney Morning Herald. I know that it's far from where you live, but they have a section titled "The Heckler" where people submit 450 word essays on things that either annoy or enrage them. Check out this example link. (

Wisewebwoman said...

For women particularly, we can get past looks and see the core very easily and perceive the gold within....
The best partners I ever had were the ones who made me laugh in bed with their humour and wit.
You're going through a bad patch, BDJ, but you will survive and flourish and be stronger.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

BdJ~ you need a new fuck buddy. Angry sex can be exhilirating.

La Bête said...

Saffron, it's not that I particularly want to befriend impressed readers of thelondonpaper, or rather its editors; it's more of a question of feeling that I should be able to if I try. I would have thought that a good writer can write for any market. So I tried to do that, I tried to make myself fit, to see if I could. And it pains me that I couldn't. Anyway, fuck it. I've got the morning off and I'm going to the gym. I'm going to give myself a pummelling.

Catofstripes said...

£200 an hour? Bloody hell, I'm in the wrong job.

You seem to be working through the classic stages of mourning. Anger is part of it and needn't be regarded as failing.

Also, you are at least submitting work for rejection! Keep at it and use plenty of pseudonyms just in case you get lucky with londonpaper :) You have the talent, you can do it.

Lauri Shaw said...

Aw, don't beat yourself up. There are lots of pretty damned amazing writers who haven't been published yet, and for a variety of reasons, too.

Here's one I just found. Frederick Gundling has talent, credentials, an online following, an ego of staggering proportions... everything you'd think one would need to get published. He's funny as hell. You should go make friends with him, Stan. I think the two of you might get along.

Anonymous said...


I want to know who Saffron is. Misfits like us need to stick together. Saffron, you're profile's disabled. Do you blog?


Anonymous said...

I believe it was somewhere between ordering dumplings to go, denouncing Wilde and contemplating a tattoo.

But youy have every right to be- you've been through a rough time and it's ok to act out at the world. Eventually, you will realize that it's not really the world you're unhappy with...

Also, public transportation is always the worst- perhaps you should invest in an iPod so that you don't have to listen in on people's inane conversations.

It works for me.

As to the writing, I'm pretty sure that rejection comes with the territory. I'm no professional (obviously) but I'm sure it takes a valiant effort on the part of most writers to get published. So, if that is really your goal, lick your wounded pride and keep trying. I actually can't belive that you expected them to recognize brilliance, having read what the've already published.

I'm sorry you hate the world right now, but I still wish you the best. I do this knowing, full well, that you'd probably like it if I kept my well wishing to myself.

So, I'm sorry I'm just do not have the capacity to join the chorus of angry, right now.

martin said...

Giles does look like a smug little cunt.

thomkennedy said...

Someone is muscling in on your schtick.
Break his ugly knees.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

that giles guy looks like a twat.

Anonymous said...

Lauri, I have an LJ blog. I access plenty of Blogger sites but don't have one of my own:

FWIW, I'm an artist.

Anonymous said...

Anger turned outwards is natural after disappointment, sweet. It's also more macho and quite a bit funnier than it's self-targeted bedfellow, depression.

Fall in love with humanity and you may start writing self-help books.