99 girl problems – part two

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Shit on it – it’s a month since I actually wrote anything proper for this place.

In the absence of anything more interesting to tell you about (other than I got roped into writing for Immerse in Tech by Adam), I’ll give you a little update on what happened with Thingybobs (can’t remember if I told you her name, you know, bar girl from the other post the other week, the one I told when drunk I like her, which I remember, but can’t remember what happened next – TRAUMA).

I pissed her off. This is a girl you do not want to piss off. She could probably take me apart with her bare hands. She’s from Padiham, man. Padiham is the boil on the arse of Burnley. Which is in turn the boil on the arse of east Lancashire. You get the picture. Back at Christmas I had to ask Twitter if it’s still a sign someone likes you if they beat you up after you stop being kids – it is, forever, apparently – she used to leave me covered in bruises after working with her for a few hours in a bar. I am a beaten man. It is hard for me to speak about this, truly it is.

ANYWAY, I pissed her off. There’s this really sweet lad who used to work at the same place with that I’ve always got on with. Nice, but a bit dim. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. He likes her.

She was doing the usual girl thing of either not noticing even though it was completely obvious, or pretending not to for whatever reason it is that girls do that (why do girls do that? GIRLS, write in and explain yourselves).

So I told him. I may have (I did) also told him she doesn’t like him in the same way, which is true, ’cause she told her mate who told me, for reasons I am not aware of. In my defence, if I was in his position, I would want to know and have all the info and not be waiting for something to happen for years and years and years and then it not and yes I have been here and no I don’t want to talk about it. But it was a shitty thing to do and I do feel guilty.

I was being fair to him, obviously, not just trying to clear the path for myself, as that would be horrible. Anyway, he went off in a man huff to have a subtle cry probably and punch a wall, whatever it is men do, and I thought I’d got away with it. And carried on drinking – I had been drinking all day, there’s nothing else to do in Burnley. Even if I was in Manchester, but that’s not the point. Then I went home. To bed. To sleep.

Unfortunately, apparently it all kicked off after I’d fucked off home and obviously it’s all my fault. Which it is, but I hate it when it’s my fault. So I woke up to bollockings via Facebook – I’ll tell you something for free – I’ve had better starts to hangovers.

So that’s where we’re up to. I’m quite impressed with myself actually. Usually I’m good at sabotaging my own relationships, this time I managed to break my own – which wasn’t even in first gear – and someone else’s. Double word score.

I’m going home this weekend so more epic adventures are sure to occur.

DON’T GO ANYWHERE.

(You can go somewhere if you really need to, just make sure you come back. Cheers.)

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Why Scott Pilgrim was the film of 2010

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It just fucking was, okay?

Why do all bands eventually become shit?

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I wrote a thing on bands becoming shit for Trisickle.

You can read it here.

99 girl problems – part one

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I am one of these people who likes to analyse things. Well, I say like to, I don’t like to, I do it and then hate myself for it. It works pretty well most of the time. Anyway, I mull things over, run through potential outcomes and calculate their probability. It’s a bit like poker, except with my life and that I’m not very good at poker.

While I can usually keep my mentalness to myself, sometimes it spills over and causes problems in relationships. Yes, dear reader(s?), I am talking about the fairer sex once again. Make yourself comfortable.

The analysing is just one of the problems. I also have a horrible compulsion to say whatever is on my mind. Again, I can often control this, at work especially, but with friends I usually let my mouth run away with me. They’re used to it, I get more leeway with them than frankly I deserve. But anyway – not so with girls.

Girls are judgemental. And mental – but in a different way to me being mental. Their brains work in different ways. They read things differently. They assume things, usually wrongly, in my experience, then it’s your fault that they have done so.

Another problem. Once I get a bee in my bonnet about something I find it almost impossible to get rid of it. For instance, on Thursday night I asked a question of someone which has hugely unfair. I knew it was unfair. She knew it was unfair. She said so. I agreed. But I still made her answer, even though I knew I wouldn’t like the answer. We haven’t spoken since. It was grimly predictable. I wonder if she’s stopped being mad (she called me mental three times in the space of an hour – I had no valid defence) at me yet. I wonder if I’m over it yet.

I’m stubborn. This is the next problem. I know that in the above situation I am in the wrong and should definitely apologise. I know this, I do. But I can’t. Because I’m stubborn. So I’ll wait until she makes the first move towards a reconciliation and then she’ll be pissed off I’ve made her do it. This is already mapped out – I could stop it, but I can’t. I’m not making sense.

Women terrify me. With their shiny hair and faces and bodies and brains and feelings and emotions and all that shit. They are frightening. If I had a choice between taking on an army of Daleks unarmed or talking to an actual woman I would be picking the rubbish bins with plungers sticking out of their heads every time.

All weekend I’ve been avoiding one of them, you know, one of those female things. Because the last time we spoke I was drunk and apart from the last hugely embarrassing thing I said to her which there is no way I am sharing so don’t bother asking, I remember nothing of the night. Most likely the alcohol, possibly my brain deleting the evidence for me. Thanks, brain.

Anyway, one simple conversation this weekend could have cleared up the situation (is it even a situation? I don’t know, I ran away and hid in Salford for a month), but instead I’ve, er, run away to hide in Salford for a month. Same time next month, aye? Deal.

Just to demonstrate the sheer terror a woman can strike in to my heart, let me share a story. I was working in Smacks (bar in Burnley, been doing shifts there on and off for five years) one time and this woman, shortish, big eyes, dark haired, prettyish, was trying to start a conversation with me, I was probably 18 (young and stupid, nothing has changed since) at the time. I dislike it when people do this at the best of times. The best punters are the ones who order their drink, give you the right money and leave, sharpish. No small talk is needed thanks. Get your liquor and get away from my bar. What can I say, I’m a people person. I am a born journalist.

So I was delaying talking to this girl. She’d managed to get my name and age out of me between serving customers. This was more sharing of information than I was comfortable with. Eventually, there was nobody left at the bar other than her and the chap she was with. It was pretty awkward. The other bloke on the bar had spied what was going on and was in quiet hysterics in the corner, the bastard. So I had to go and talk to her. She was chatting me up. Now, I have little experience of being chatted up (I know, with this face, it is a surprise, but I am telling the truth here), but she was definitely chatting me up.

I figured this was a bit weird with this bloke stood there like a lemon so I was giving her the straight bat, all Jonathan Trott like, resolute in my defence. More punters eventually arrived and I was able to slink off and do some work. But she hung around the bar all night and eventually asked what was wrong with her, why I was being like I was (a dick, to be honest, but she didn’t say that). I can’t remember what I said (thanks again, brain), but I wasn’t very nice and she went off a bit upset…I still feel guilty about this. So she stormed off with her pal and my colleague, who’d been watching this develop all evening comes over, asks me what I was playing at turning down her advances. I tell him it was because I thought she was taking the piss, with her boyfriend stood there, for their own amusement. But oh no, that bloke’s not her boyfriend. My colleague happens to know he is actually a gay man with a gay partner. Yep, I’m a massive idiot.

That was kind of cathartic. Where was I? Another problem, right? I obsess over things. So someone will say something or do something and I will obsess and obsess over it for days, for no rhyme or reason or resolution. I get crushes on people easily. I daydream often and vividly and have even been known to confuse reality with things my mind has conjured.

I think that will do for now. The men in white coats are probably on their way. Part two will come after a self-loathing session throws up a few more problems.

This blog is SO much cheaper than therapy.

Glasvegas are back. Yay!

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I have cured my addiction to Once by Diana Vickers, you will be pleased to hear. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with a fresh addiction, for the new single by Glasvegas.

Now, me and Glasvegas have a bit of history I should probably share before we go any further. When they first appeared, I went a teensy bit over the top in praise for them.

I wrote reams of rubbish about how the NME had finally got one right, how Glasvegas were going to change the world, how the sun shone out of their arse, etc etc, you get the picture.

I even carried out a blatant misuse of my power on the magazine I was editing for the Students’ Union, Degrees North, slapping the band on the cover for one of the four issues we produced. I thought it was a good idea. Nobody else did. I was in charge. I won. None of my minions has ever stopped reminding me of it. I should have them killed, really.

It was a bad idea. Nobody else in the north-east of the country, let alone at the University of Sunderland, had seemed to have heard of the band, let alone liked them enough to pick up a magazine with them on the cover, proclaiming them to be the best new band in Britain (which they were, definitely, I am insistent on that point).

Anyway, I’ve lost my thread. Glasvegas are back. YAY! I think I loved them from the first bar I heard of any of their music – it was one of those. So I was surprised when I *hated* the new single the first time I heard it.

All that came through was some naff electro-guitar thing, like they’d noticed the critical praise lavished upon Foals this last year and gone ‘ooh yeah, let’s have a bit of that’. But then I listened to it again. And again. And then a few times in a row. And now I love it. Magic, eh?

It’s got all the old Glasvegas reference points (James hates himself, you’re great etc) and the sound seems somehow more beefed up, the bass is throatier, the new female drummer is thumpier, bashier and smashier and it’s all glorious lovely, even in the breakdown bit where James mutters away to himself for a bit as if he’s forgotten he’s supposed to be MAKING A HIT RECORD COME BACK TO US JAMES, COME BACK, STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT.

Ahem. Anyway, I’ve not done this track justice at all – I’m rushing because How I Met Your Mother is on – but it bodes well for the album, which has a title so staggeringly awful/amazing (I haven’t decided yet, will let you know when I do) it surely suggests James has spent the last year gakked up to his massive fringe. As the rumours say. Allegedly.

How not to do journalism #1

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I was umming and ahhing about whether I should do this post, as the Guardian has probably had enough of a kicking in the last few hours, but in the end I decided to.

In case you’ve missed all the fun, during the afternoon, the Guardian’s sports editor (well, he was until today…) Ian Prior, tweeted that his paper would release a “major exclusive” at 5:30pm.

Cue meltdown on all the social networks, blogs and messageboards you can think of. Prior’s follower count on Twitter rocketed as people waited for the news. He himself reassured BBC Sport’s lead writer Phil McNulty that the story would be worth waiting for.

It wasn’t.

For whatever reason, the Guardian had decided to dress up a nothing bit of fluff about Inter Milan possibly offering £40m for Gareth Bale – speculation at best which had been suggested in the wake of his two tremendous displays against the club earlier in the season. Not even now – in the summer. It would barely warrant a line in the Rumour Mill daily column or the BBC’s own gathering of transfer rumours had it been another publication, but the Guardian had splashed on it big time.

As pointed out by a former classmate of mine Scott Goodacre, the story does not even have any quotes. There is no indication where it has come from. On day one of journalism school, we were told that if you don’t have a quote you don’t have a story. For some reason, this most basic of basic ‘must-dos’ doesn’t apply to the Guardian, which is probably the most respected newspaper in the country. Well. It was. Until today.

Even worse, it took just a couple of hours for the Telegraph to do some *actual* journalism and show the story up to be utterly, completely, devastatingly wrong, with quotes and everything. Not only was it not a story, it was a false not a story. Are you with me?

The Guardian would probably have gotten away with it had Prior not trumpeted its arrival as if it was going to be something jaw-dropping. As it was, he built up the hype and in all fairness, no story was going to ever live up to it. Even if it was a good one. That was true. Which it wasn’t. On either count.

Presumably, the blame has to lie at Prior’s door. As the editor of the sport section he should have spiked the article unless the writer, David Hynter, could produce a source. And if he could – why was the source not in the article? God knows what he was thinking but Prior then tootled along to Twitter and make a complete arse of himself in front of the entire internet.

He has grovelled and appears to be taking the abuse in good humour, but will anybody take him seriously now? Next time the Guardian has a big story and Prior announces its impending arrival on Twitter, he will get laughed out of town. Twitter has the memory of an elephant.

It took just seconds for the gags to start coming and they are still flowing on the #guardianexclusive hashtag, while various users made up their own banal revelations with tags such as #jambothejournoexclusive (my own lame effort – not worth linking to it).

Not only that, but the Guardian has taken a huge hit to its credibility. This is not the kind of stunt it usually pulls and that is what it was, a stunt, it must have been. There is simply no way the journalist and the editor could have both thought it warranted an “exclusive” splash. This was to chase hits, in the wake of the news MailOnline has crashed through the three million daily users mark for the first time. Guardian readers expect better. The comments on the article are full of “is this it?” and you can understand why. If you give a story that kind of billing, it has to make a splash. This one did, but for all the wrong reasons.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the paper. It is currently flying high due to its excellent and unparalleled coverage of Wikileaks, Palestine/Israel and the phone-hacking issue.

But there’s already been stick for tentpole sports writer Paul Hayward, who despite a reputation as one of the best in the business, has been churning out increasingly reactionary guff in the vein of Richard Williams, with the famously brutal “under-the-line” residents tearing him to pieces for it.

It’s a bad day for the Guardian’s sports pages. But a little part of me, the bit that knows how brilliant the newspaper is, is still hoping this is an elaborate hoax and the print edition will deliver a mind-blowing story in the morning.

But I’m not holding my breath.

In defence of…Once by Diana Vickers

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My name is Jamie Smith and I am addicted to the song Once by Diana Vickers.

Phew, that felt good. It’s a few days since I ‘came out’ to my followers on Twitter about my being a fan of said song and to be honest, I’ve only just got over the unnecessarily cruel reaction I got.

Let me explain myself. This is not my fault. That may seem like I’m passing the blame, but it’s true, it really is.

It’s Popjustice’s fault. Let me explain. A while ago, the music mogul chap did a piece for his excellent pop website about the best pop singles of 2010.

As I spent much of 2010 without internet access, due to my own spoddyness and the rubbishness of every single internet service provider on the face of the earth, I missed a lot of the great music that was released last year.

So I looked at the list. And I subscribed to the list on Spotify. And then I listened to it. And then it happened.

It was when I first heard the song Once by Diana Vickers. I’m quite pleased I’d managed to avoid it, since I only started watching The X Factor again last winter and avoided a lot of it due to having a life occasionally (I was watching Arcade Fire when the semi-final was on, so I do like some good music, just so you know…), as if I hadn’t, I’d be even more of a gibbering wreck by now.

Since I first started listening to Once by Diana Vickers, there have been very few moments when I have not been listening to Once by Diana Vickers. It is starting to affect my life in a major way. I wake up and Once by Diana Vickers is in my head. I try to go to sleep…and Once by Diana Vickers is in my head. At most times of the day, Once by Diana Vickers is in my head, otherwise it’s in my ears, as I’m listening to it.

It’s not even a great song. I mean, sure, the piano twinkly bit at the start and the end is a nice bookend, and her vocal is lovely and breathy and honest and believable, and the lyric is nice and hooky and basic and memorable, but apart from all those great things it’s just okay.

So why can’t I get it out of my sodding head? I don’t know. Ask Popjustice.

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