Sunday, 25 October 2009


I spent £6.80 on a hat last week; a Steve Zissou-style red beanie. This is only important information when you know that I cannot wear hats. I should explain - obviously from a purely mechanical point of view I can wear hats. A hat will sit on my head and, with a bit of effort, it can be made to stay there. They just don't really 'go' on my head. I look like an idiot in hats, any kind of hat. Straining to hold to the bulb of my massive head, Bits of hair scragging around the sides, the sweatband leaving an angry red mark on my lumpy brow. I continue to buy hats though, to piss money away on them. Before the red beanie there was an ill-advised jason mraz-cum-frank sinatra straw trilby bought 'for the summer', which this year was a monumental dry hump - cost; about £8. Before that I bought a sherpa style hat with the pigtail things on it - that was another £7. And before that I bought an oversized thick-knit rasta style hat, that was a whole £10. In the last nine months then I have spent, as a rough estimate, £31.80 on hats that I can't wear. I'm aware this isn't really that much in the grand scheme of things but bearing in mind that I know, have known for years, that I can't wear hats this is a completely ridiculous amount of money. I buy discount brand orange juice and bread and toilet paper despite the fact that I love tropicana and wholegrain farmhouse and triple quilted. I do so, like everyone else, in the name of saving money - every acid drop and cardboard slice and sandpaper sheet so that I can keep my money to spend on what I really want. Instead though I apparently hoard my riches so that I can spend on hats; stupid moronic hats with jaunty brims and extraneous flappy bits.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


I saw Zombieland last night. It's the pretty much the first new zombie film I've seen since I finished my dissertation on George A. Romero's Dead cycle in April. I say 'pretty much' because I watched about fifteen minutes of Dead Snow, the Norwegian nazi-zom-com that was touted pretty hard earlier this year. I fell asleep before the Nazis arrived and meant to finish watching it but in the end didn't bother. I also use the qualifier 'new' because I've watched Re-Animator and Return of the Living Dead a couple of times each since I handed in the rotting behemoth.

I thought it was good. The zombies were fast, but there's nothing to be done about that; apparently zombies are just fast now. It was important that the zombies were fast infact, the thing was only 80 minutes long so there wasn't really the time for traditional shamblers to ratchet up the suspense. In fact with it being so short there wasn't really a lot of time for anything. The plot was pretty thin, the whole thing being hung together by comic violence and pop culture references. And Bill Murray. This is hardly a gamble though - people love comic violence and pop culture references, and people really fucking love Bill Murray. The characterisation is pretty weak and the damsel-in-distress climax sticks in the throat a bit, but to be honest it's just a thrill to see zombies being hacked to pieces on the big screen. The zombie makeup is great, incidentally, and they really throw prosthetic limbs and buckets of black blood all over this thing. If there is a major weakness to Zombieland it's that it relies so completely on an understanding of the world of the infected super-zombie, as depicted in 28 Days/Weeks Later or the 2004 Dawn of the Dead 're-imagining'. There is almost no setup of the particular world in which Zombieland takes place, except for a throwaway line blaming the outbreak on a contaminated gas-stop cheeseburger. The film comes, on a few occasions, dangerously close to parody or what seems, even more bizarrely, like direct homage; one segment in particular, in which a 'soccer mom' drives away in a minivan whilst beset by little zombie girls, may as well be an outtake from the 2004 Dawn. Also zombies can't climb. Or open doors.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


I was in the Arndale Waterstones last week and cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff was doing a signing. I was there because I wanted to buy a book not because he was there. I don't really know how cricket works. He had a pretty neat set-up, there was a table next to the window and a sort of reception area set up; velvet effect rope and bodyguard with a tie and everything. The bodyguard didn't have one of those earpieces that look like old phone cord though, so I suppose it fell short of being what you might call 'the whole bit'. The book I wanted was in the Fiction by author, a-g section which was just next to where Andrew was sat. There is a reason why I'm not calling him Freddie or Mr. Flintoff. I tried to dip under the rope-barrier-thing but the bodyguard said that I wasn't allowed because there was a book signing going on and couldn't I see that. I said that I was sorry. I looked over and there were three people queuing to have Andrew sign a copy of the book. The man at the back of the queue was on a mobility scooter and was wearing a blue golf hat with a bobble on it. Andrew was smiling and leaning forward but his eyes looked tired. Between signatures he kept touching his face and pulling his lips back over his teeth. It looked like it was pretty hard work for him and I felt really bad which is why I'm calling him Andrew.

I walked around the cookery books and waited for the signing area to be packed away. Nobody else turned up and after about ten minutes they took the table and the rope away and put the books into boxes. I wondered if anyone had turned up and asked Andrew to sign a copy of He's Just Not That Into You or The Very Hungry Catterpillar whether he would have actually laughed and patted them on the back and done it, or if he would have told them to fuck off and lunged for them and the bodyguard who didn't have the spirally earpiece would have had to drag him off them. I wasn't even sure if you would be able to do something like that and that maybe you would have been made to buy a copy of the book before you were allowed into the reception area. Andrew left along with the bodyguard and another man carrying a cardboard cuttout of Freddie holding a copy of his book. It turned out the book I was looking for was in the classics section.