Monday, August 27, 2007

XFACTOR : the abusive girl

I think her name was Rachel, wasn't it?

Whilst I have to agree with the judges that she didn't seem to have that great a singing voice, it certainly wasn't that bad, and better than one or two they've let through in the past.

However, what worked against her was of course the attitude. The judges clearly want pliable little starlets who will play the game, speak when spoken to, be all gushy and teary and endearingly grateful for the opportunity handed down to them from on high. Not someone who's going to give 'em a mouthful.

Rachel in actual fact, demonstrated the near sociopathic levels of self-belief and tenacity that most young musicians looking to break into showbiz actually need to get them there. It's that kind of ruthless arrogance that underpins - I suspect - most of the successful people we see on our TV sets. Let's be honest, it's that kind of self-serving nastiness that got Sharon Osbourne and Simon Cowell up the slippery pole of the music business. (not so sure about Loius...I think he's too much of a nice guy to have fought his way up).

What I suspect the judges didn't like was that Rachel was a mirror on their past lives, back when they were nobodies and had to be complete shites to get on, effortlessly stabbing rivals and competitors in the back to make their way up.

I personally would have said yes to Rachel, because I think she had enough of a voice to work on, the grim-faced tenacity to practice and practice and really transform, she would have made for fantastic telly.

You can imagine it can't you? On the final 12 shows where the punters vote for 'em....the stream of beep-heavy invective at the general public for not appreciating her talent when it came her turn to be booted off.

Boy, they missed a trick there.

Ah yes...X factor, every year I get sucked in, every year I nearly choke on the rancid stink of hypocracy coming from the judges and the show's producers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


...I'm opting for it.

I'm fed up being a bloke, I really am. From now on I want to be known as Alice Scarrow. Don't get me wrong, I'm not confused about my sexuality. I definately do not find men attractive. And that's the point....

...I'm completely fed up with men.

I'm fed up with the inate aggression that bubbles just beneath the surface of many specimens of my gender. Listening to the radio this evening, I was appalled at the mindless, motiveless shooting of that poor boy, Rhy Jones, in Croxteth. I was sickened by a shooting in Hertford sparked off by one car, fender-bending another. I'm sickened by the appalling abuse of women and children going on in Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and in the recent past in Bosnia. I'm sickened by the mysogenist (sp?) attitude be...ahem....certain faiths I dare not mention for fear of prosecution (under recent ill-concieved statutes) or worse....a revenge attack by some zealot.


It seems every act of mindless violence, every cruel act of torture, every bit of abuse, nastiness, every little bit of shitty attitude...comes from some testosterone-loaded member of my gender.

Of course there are exceptions. The few blokes I consider friends, seem to be very much the exception to the rule...gentle, considerate souls. But every pub, or bar I pass at night, seems to be full of red-faced, brutish bulldogs ready to mash a broken bottle into your face at the mention of the right trigger word.

And hey...I'm not directing my venom exclusively at British males. God no. In fact, I consider members of the male gender in this country to be comparatively less aggressive than quite a few other places in the world. No...there's no racial or nationalistic slant I want to put on this. I've just generally had enough with the male of our species.

So I think I'll opt out.

I'm not after having my manhood removed, and I'm quite happy with my goatee, and I really don't want to learn to talk with a higher pitched cadence....I just don't feel like being associated with the barbaric, cruel, simple-minded, aggressive, shaved apes that share this planet with the other, generally more pensive and placid half of the homosapien species.

Until I can be convinced that otherwise...I think I'd prefer to be considered not male. Hmmm, but maybe not Alice Scarrow...that's going a bit too far.

I think for now, I'd like to be considered an IT instead of a HE.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The weirdest thing happened to me in London on Friday. I was in central London, at a cafe/resaurant off Oxford street, sitting outside in the warm evening, under an awning enjoying dinner with my son, wife and niece.

We'd just coompleted our main course - pizzas and bread, and were moving on to ordering pudding. The waitress arrives at our table with a jug of water and four tumblers, places them down on the table, clears our plates away, takes our orders for pudding.

A few moments later pudding arrives, we just start tucking into them when.... of the tumblers exploded, shooting shards of glass across our table, one or two on neighboring tables, shards out on to the pavement. It exploded. It didn't crack as perhaps it might if the glass had just come out of a very hot dishwasher and then be chilled by an ice cube.

It exploded.

Ten seconds of astonished silence followed. Then for some reason, my mind concluded it could only be one thing. A sniper. Obviously now, I feel like a complete tit, but at that moment in time, processing the available my mind, that's the only thing it could have been.

'Sniper!' I blurted. And dragged my family inside the restuarant. The momentary panic spread to a few other customers, who had seen the glass explode, or recieved glass fragments on their table.

And so we cowered inside the restaurant, looking on as pedestrians on the street carried on as normal, cars and mopeds passed....and nothing further happened.

Fifteen minutes later, we all realised there probably wasn't a mad sniper firing from some building nearby, and that perhaps I might have over-reacted. The waiters went outside to sweep up the glass, shaking their heads with bemusement....and I shuffled umcomfortably under the withering gaze of the other restaurant guests.

A somewhat embarressing moment.

Anyway, they knocked the price of desert off our bill, so that was nice.

Still, I really can't explain why that flipping glass tumbler exploded like it did. And at the back of my mind I'm still thinking it was a sniper...not neccessarily some high powered hunting rifle, but maybe a kid with an air rifle? There's really no other explanation I can think of.