Posted in Picture, Writing

You know Dr Seuss Didn’t Really Say That, Right?

I talk a lot about how much I dislike inspirational quotes. In fact, I talk about it so much that I am in danger of coming across as a permanently premenstrual, life-hating, turbo bitch so I thought it was about time I explained myself. Despite my sometimes cynical outbursts, I am actually an insanely positive person, optimistic to the point of disability, so my issue here is not with offering people a bit of harmless motivation in their lives, it’s that these quotes are everywhere, generally complete and utter bullshit and can sometimes even mask a somewhat more sinister motive.

I don't get it
I don’t get it

The problem I have is two-fold. Firstly, the overshare. I’m talking about the people who are responsible for my newsfeed becoming an orgy of other people’s problems. I wonder if the quote-oversharer realises how they are perceived. Maybe they think that they are helping the social networking community by giving them a couple of hundred stupid sentences to read every day.  Maybe they think “Hey, this doesn’t apply to me because I’m pretty happy right now but perhaps one or two out of my 500 Facebook friends are having problems at home and this will help put things into perspective.” No. Stop blanket-inspiring. Okay it might help brighten one person’s day but at what cost? What about the other 499 of us who would quite like the internet to be a light-hearted, frivolous way to avoid doing actual work at work? If you really feel like you need to help someone, statistically you’d be helping way more people if you just didn’t post it.

"Beginning" has two 'n's
Use this moment to learn how to spell

Or maybe the poster themselves is struggling with something and found a quote that relates to their particular problem. Again, why share it on my internet? Stop forcing your problems on me without my permission. I am far from heartless and love nothing more than giving advice if I know it will help, however I’d rather you picked up the phone and asked for my input rather than leaving cryptic quote-hints about your life struggle in my newsfeed and expecting me or someone else to pick up on it. If I could read minds I’d be hanging out with Magneto not decoding your status updates.

How about you suck my stump-end?
How about you suck my stump-end

Then there are the people who every now and again will just have a colossal quote meltdown. Out of nowhere you get 10, 15, 20 inspirational quotes in the space of 30 minutes from the same person implying a multitude of issues including back-stabbing friends / bullies / inattentive husbands / repressive bosses. Please believe me when I say that this does not make you inspiring, this makes everyone think you are a fucking lunatic. Desperately over-posting how great life can be if you follow your dreams makes it look like you’ve just massacred your entire family and are clinging on to any mitigation you can find; “It’s okay, I found this quote from Einstein that told me if someone doesn’t appreciate me then they don’t deserve to be in my life. So yeah, they’re all dead now.”

Some sentiments are best kept to yourself. Like this one for example. It's mean.
And now I’m going to find them and kill them

Moving on to address the second problem I have with inspirational quotes: The content. The majority of these quotes either do not make sense or are just plain common sense. All too often I find myself asking “Da fuck did I just read?” It’s physically impossible for me to soar like an eagle over the clouds of my life’s problems and even if I could be arsed to grasp such a fucktarded metaphor, I’m still not sure exactly what it’s telling me to do. Talon a motherfucker? I genuinely have no idea.

Worst. Metaphor. Ever. Who writes this shit?
Who writes this shit?

Of all the inspirational quotes out there, there are two that particularly tug on my tampon, the first of these being “Live in the moment/Live for today” etc. The thing is, I’m not sure what other moment/day I’m supposed to live in. I woke up this morning and tried to live 3 weeks ago when I was getting drunk on German beer at Winter Wonderland, but guess what? I’m on a rig, it’s fucking hail-stoning outside and I just watched a roughneck do a rocket-snot out of his nose onto his boots then try to scrape it off using a selection of small rocks. Despite my best efforts, today is today and it’s impossible to do anything other than live in the moment no matter how good or bad that moment may be.  If you think that the arrangement of a whimsical font printed on a backdrop of misty sunsets is going to help you with the bad times then…well, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Live for the moment. Like the sun does. And those birds.
Live for the moment. Like the sun does. And those birds.

The second type of quote that annoys me are the “deserve” quotes. These are real nasty. Things like “If someone doesn’t blah then they don’t deserve to be in my life.”

Fuck off. That is offensively passive aggressive and not very nice at all. You know full well that half of your more caring Facebook friends will be wondering if they are the cause of your public anxiety, but you like that. You like the drama. Instead of growing a set of balls and calling that person up to sort out whatever mundane issue you have, you choose to post a snide remark, thinly-veiled as a motivational quip to let all of cyberspace know that someone was a dick to you. This might sound harsh to some, but honestly, I don’t care. And if you are the kind of person who needs to post a weird quote in order to let me know that I personally pissed you off, then I’m genuinely happy that I pissed you off, you deserve it for being a pussy.

Keep it to yourself because this is a little bit mean
Well that’s a little bit mean

But the award for worst inspirational speaker of all time has to go to Marilyn Monroe. My word that girl can talk some amount of horse-shit. I don’t understand what the fixation with her is. Some girls see her as a symbol of feminism; a strong, no-nonsense, beautiful woman with giant breasts who used sex as a weapon and died in a pool of her own vomit after overdosing on the pills that she relied on so heavily to make her feel artificially happy. I like her movies, I like her face, I like her flirtatious, sexed-up 50’s image. I’ve always thought that she was beautiful and talented but not, in my view, inspirational. I’m reading Malala Yousafzai’s biography at the moment. Now that shit right there is inspirational.

...except ass-to-mouth.
…except ass-to-mouth.

The use of motivational quotes to help you in your daily life does work for some, even me on occasion believe it or not (my personal favourite being “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” except Banoffee Pie obvs…..and curry…..oh and maybe KFC). For example, you might be out for a run and sweating so hard that you feel like your ass is melting down the back of your legs but you have a little sentence tucked away in your head that helps push you through that wall. That’s great and I believe that it works but there is no reason to repetitively post it online every time you do some exercise. This is what it looks like to everyone else: “I’m jogging, I’m a better person than you because you are not jogging.” Don’t be a quote-cunt.

Not if they're friends with you on Facebook they won't
Not if they’re friends with you on Facebook they wouldn’t

I guess what I’m trying to say here is be inspired. Be inspired by words, art, literature, history, sport, whatever you want, but for the love of God pipe down, print it off and stick it on your wall. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for the entire fucking internet and I know I’m not alone when I say I’m tired of my newsfeed being hijacked by the same old weak, lazy, vague nonsense every day of the god damn week. But I’m not one to sit here and moan, oh no, I’m a do-er and I have come up with a top-notch plan to bring this all to a well over-due end. The next time you find yourself googling for inspiration in the form of a quote, replace the word “quote” with the word “meme” and post that instead. Please, it’s Christmas 🙂 xx

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Posted in Picture, Video, Writing

Eurovision Extremism – A Radical Party Guide

eurovision logo

As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will know from the onslaught of photos I have subjected you to recently, I had a Eurovision party last weekend.  Eurovision really is one of the highlights of my year. I have loved it’s overly made-up, shiny, happy, disturbing little face ever since I moved to Malta in the early 1990’s.  Over there it is kind of a big deal.  I remember being in a nightclub around 1996 when they turned the music off so everyone could hear the results – that’s right Usher, pipe the fuck down, it’s is Gina G’s time to shine.  On top of all this a good family friend of ours, Mike Spiteri, was Malta’s Eurovision entry for 1995.  Yeah you heard me, I actually know someone who has actually sang in the actual Eurovision Song Contest. You might say I am weaved into the very fabric of the establishment, buried so deep I think my balls may have just slipped in.

Mike Spiteri’s Eurovision Performance, 1995 (I have no idea who the man at the very beginning of this clip is, but I want him on me).

Unfortunately, when I am even the slightest bit vocal about my favourite event, I am usually met with one of the following reactions:

  • “But it’s shit.”
  • “But, no one can sing and the songs are shit.”
  • “But it’s so tacky and shit.”
  • “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so shit.”
  • “It shitter than the actual shit I just took, and that was really shit.”

Or the classic:

  • “I stopped watching it when we stopped winning.  It’s so political now, it’s not about the music anymore……and it’s also pretty shit.”

“It’s not about the music anymore”??  What has music got to do with any of this?  See, the problem here is that people are thinking about the Eurovision like it is some sort of song contest or something.  It’s not a song contest.  With the obvious exception of Mike Spiteri of course, the songs are generally terrible, often tacky, commonly cheesy and almost always ten years behind regular music.  The key to enjoying the experience is letting go of the musical concept.  Let it go.  Just accept the fact that you will be hearing nothing but shite for three hours straight and I promise you you’ll start to enjoy it for what it is: Essentially The European Championship for girls.

It is about the excitement of watching all of our continental neighbours coming together to compete in a light-hearted and slightly bewildering atmosphere.  It is having the opportunity to wave fuck-loads of flags around and pretend to be patriotic.  It is the provision of an entertaining environment in which to rip the shit out of any country whose border isn’t in direct contact with ours (i.e. all of them).  Do you know how many Nazi jokes were thrown around my living-room the other weekend when Germany came on?  Fucking hundreds.

Look at his massive face.  The man does not want to be here.
Look at his massive face. The man does not want to be here. I think he even said in a backstage interview that he was having a shit time.

If that’s not entertaining enough for you, then the occasional inappropriate performance should keep you interested. This year, for example, the Ukranian entry consisted of a visibly uncomfortable man suffering from severe gigantism standing awkwardly on stage dressed as the giant from Jack & the Beanstalk. Little bit racist. There was also a lesbian kiss at the end of Finland’s performance, but they weren’t even real lesbians! What’s wrong with hiring lesbians? If you’ve got a lesbiany job to do then it’s only fair to hire some lesbians. They’ve got bills to pay too, you know. In fact, half of the shit that goes on on that stage should not even be allowed. This year alone they violated about fifteen separate human rights laws, how anyone cannot enjoy watching that is beyond me.

And in answer to those who say it is all “political”, I say this:

Denmark won this year.  Famously a real heavyweight in the political arena.  The problem you have is not with the political nature of the voting, you’re just annoyed that Britain isn’t winning anymore.  There’s nothing we can do about that.  Like powdered mashed potato and soda-streams, the UK was incredibly popular in the 70’s and 80’s but after a couple of illegal wars we are no longer the top dog.  What was once the most powerful and desirable cheerleader in the High School of Europe is now a fat, abusive, self-harming single mum with a drinking problem. It’s time for other countries to have their turn in the spotlight – and if they all want to vote for each other instead of us, that is totally fine by me. I don’t really blame them – and anyway, although the scoreboard may look slightly suspicious in places, the best song does generally always win in the end.

So, as a radical Eurovision extremist, I feel it is my duty to convert the Wogan-denying infidels of the UK.  In order to do this, I have been hosting Eurovision Parties most years since 2004.  I want to rid the world of its Euro-cynicism one social gathering at a time and it’s working.  It’s slow, I mean I think in the last nine years I’ve converted about three people, two of them children, but any progress is good progress.  If you’re sitting there thinking that you would like to help the cause by hosting your own Eurovision Party then you, my friend, are in luck because I’m about to get all Pippa Middleton on your ass…

I think you will find the similarities in our party etiquette uncanny, yah?
I think you will find the similarities in our party etiquette uncanny, yah?

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A Handy Eurovision Party Guide

By Jillian Dingwall

You will need:

  • Friends
  • Eurovision Scorecards, Sweepstake and Poster (pictured below, download them here)
  • Pictures of Terry Wogan
  • A Word document containing the flags of all the participating countries
  • Party Bags
  • Half the contents of your nearest Pound Shop
  • A Crown from Burger King
  • A packet of Wagon Wheels
  • Sausage Rolls
  • A shit-ton of alcohol

(Preparation time = 3 days)

DAY 1

T minus 2 days until the party

Today you will have two jobs to do: Sort out the prizes and buy all the drink.

Head to your nearest pound shop where you will find not only your prize bags, but everything you will ever need to put in them.  You can award any amount of prizes you want but I usually award them for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  Buy literally the most shit things you can find, making sure to include a few items with Union Jacks on them – it looks more professional if you stick to a vague Eurovision theme.  This year my prize bags included a Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney Pie for one, a Buck’s Fizz CD, a Justin Bieber watch, a British flag tea-towel and a Union Jack themed cake-decorating kit.  Once you have sorted out the main prizes, buy some small party bags, a packet of Wagon Wheels and a couple of large bags of sweets.  These will be divided up equally and handed out to each guest to take home at the end of the night.  If you’re waiting for an explanation for the necessity of Wagon Wheels then, please.  Kill yourself.

Next, head to the supermarket to get booze, stopping at Burger King on the way to steal one of their cardboard crowns.  Buy as much beer as you can fit in your car, remembering to make use of the glove-compartment space and gaps underneath the seats.  In terms of things that aren’t beer, it’s nice to have a focal point at a party and ours is usually some sort of sangria-punch concoction created by Billy, however this year my friend Alison made Eurovision cocktails which were way better.  Finally, do not forget the Jegermeister.  When you get home, sit at the dining-room table and prepare all of your party bags whilst listening to your other half tell you how much of a fucking weirdo you are.  Make sure to hide the bags in a cupboard so the guests do not find them before the official “reveal”.

If you've got time, why not go and get your nails did?  I got mine done here: GelUs
If you’ve got time, why not go and get your nails did? I got mine did here: GelUs Nails

Day 2

T minus one day until the party

I’m not going to sugar-coat this, today will be the most stressful day of your life.  Today, not only must you buy all the food, you will also have to do all the printing and decorating.

When you are buying food it is best to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Make sure there are sausage rolls.   If I turn up at a party and there are no sausage rolls, that party is dead to me.   Don’t be a dick, give the people what they want.
  • Any food you buy has to be penetratable and strong enough to hold a toothpick. i.e. no weird pasta or salads.
  • Buy toothpicks

It is now time to get down to the business of printing all of our Eurovision paraphernalia.  The reason we must leave this job until the last minute is because of the stupid semi-finals (which I would not recommend you watch by the way, it can ruin the surprise).  You won’t know which country is participating in the finals until today and the BBC do not update their scorecards until the late afternoon because, you know it’s not like we want a professional, instantaneous service for our fucking license fees or anything.

Word document layout
Word document layout

When the BBC have finally got their act together, print off the following documents IN COLOUR:

  • A scorecard for each guest.
  • One sweepstake.
  • A few posters.
  • 3 – 4 copies of your Word document with all of the finalists flags on them (the flags must all be the same size in a 2 x 5 format like in the picture on the left).
  • Some nice pictures of Terry Wogan – I prefer to use pictures of him smiling and generally enjoying life, however the one of him on Points of View with the tight trousers and detailed penis outline is equally acceptable.

Take one set of flags and cut them all out, google the shit out of each one to make sure that you know 100% which flag corresponds to which country and then write the country’s name neatly on the back.  Set these to one side for now.  Cut out another set of flags and, along with your British Entry posters, use them to decorate your living room.  Cut out the remaining flags and cellotape them to toothpicks, these will be used to stick into your sausage rolls and mini Cornish pasties, etc.  Finally, take all of the photo-frames you have in your living room, remove the boring pictures of your children and replace them with pictures of Terry Wogan.  He may not be our commentator anymore but in British Eurovision culture it is seen as a mark of respect to acknowledge him in some small way.

Day 3

Party Day

Get up and clean the absolute asshole out of your house.  Leave a few things casually lying around, a towel over a radiator or an off-centre cushion on the sofa to present the illusion that you have given your house a quick, casual tidy-up as opposed to spending five hours cleaning the bastard thing.  Now get yourself in a shower because you stink and your guests will be arriving at any minute.

Once everyone has turned up and they have been given a drink (or in my case, have poured themselves their own drink because I am a pretty basic hostess), place all of the flags with the country’s names written on them into a hat and pass it around.  Depending on how many guests you have, get them to pull out two or three flags each.  Write the names of each person and the countries they have drawn into the sweepstake.  Put this somewhere where you can’t spill drink on it.

As well as cocktails, a Eurovision Encyclopedia was provided for research purposes.
As well as cocktails, a Eurovision Encyclopedia is provided for research purposes.

By this time the contest should be just about to start.  Make up your Eurovision cocktails and hand them out before explaining how the scoring system works.  It’s pretty straight forward really, they must score each country out of 12 depending on how good they think they are.  They can go back and change their scores right up until the first results are read out.  There is literally no purpose to this, it’s just a way of encouraging debate and people seem to enjoy it.

A promotional B&W shot of me giving out the party bags. I'm going to put it on our propaganda leaflets.
A promotional B&W shot of me giving out the party bags. I’m going to put it on our propaganda leaflets.

Top tip: It is helpful to write little notes next to your scores to serve as a reminder, because by about half way through the competition you will be so drunk you will have forgotten what the first acts were like.  For example, this year I thought the girl who sang for Russia looked a little bit like those lucky trolls from the 90’s, so I wrote “90’s Troll” next to her score.  This really helped me later on when, after my seventh Jegermeister, I was lying face-down in the back garden covered in someone else’s vomit.

After the last performance is over, put the food out while you are waiting for the final scores to be revealed (for the love of God, don’t forget to put the toothpick flags in).  The results part of the show is a bit on the lengthy side so if you want to mute the TV and stick some tunes on, go ahead.  I prefer to leave it on because the utter nonsense that comes out of each country’s presenter is almost as funny as the performances themselves.  Finally, when the winning order is announced, hand out the prizes to the guests who pulled out the corresponding flags (bestowing the Burger King Crown of Victory upon the head of the person in 1st place).  When the evening is coming to a close, give a Wagon Wheel Party Bag to everyone else as a thank you for not moaning about how shit the Eurovision is.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

So there you have it, a handy guide which if followed correctly, should result in you hosting the greatest Eurovision party ever known to man.  It’s a ‘go hard or go home’ kind of affair and there will be times when you may doubt your abilities as a host or even lose faith in the contest altogether, but if you believe in yourself like you believed in Bonnie then you will reap the rewards. Just remember this simple motto: “If you think you have gone too far, go further” and I guarantee you they will be absolutely fizzing at the slit to do it all again next year.

The best Eurovision Party guests EVER!!
The best Eurovision Party guests EVER!!
Posted in Writing

Abbreviate This: *middle finger*

I’m not even going to pretend that this isn’t going to be a rant.  Abbreviations need to fuck off.  It’s not that I hate all abbreviations, some definitely serve a purpose.  Take ‘RSVP’ for example – only a total dick would write “Répondez s’il vous plaît” in full on their invitations, so I am grateful that there is an abbreviation for this ridiculous and unnecessarily foreign sentence.  However, this linguistical craze has gotten way out of control recently.  I especially cannot cope with the popular phenomenon that I have entitled:  Abbreviation Lies or ‘using an abbreviation to tell people you are doing something when, in fact, you are a lying bastard.’

This facebook conversation that I read a few weeks ago is a prime example of the Abbreviation Lie:

What the hell was that??  Imagine if you will, that all those abbreviations were factually accurate.  You would walk into that room to find two girls basically having a seizure; they are rolling around on the floor covered in piss, their arses have fallen off and they are laughing like maniacs whilst drinking Lambrini.  I would be phoning the authorities to have them restrained and sectioned but instead, because they have used abbreviations, people already assume they are lying and that’s apparently okay.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the abbreviations were actually decent.  I still don’t know how to pronounce ‘LOL’ (is it ‘lole’ or ‘lawl’?), and as for ROFL, it clearly needs at least one more vowel to make even realistically usable in a sentence.  Until then, it will just continue to sound like someone from The Scheme talking about raising money for their local community centre.

-“Haw Tracy, did ye manage tae sell ony rofl tickets doon the presinct yisterday?”

-“Naw Boab, I couldna fun onythin tae use as a rofl prize except fur a rangers toap covered in pish and a £10 bug a’ smack that I fun unner my wean’s bed.  It’s no real Boaby.”

I suppose the problem I have is that laughing out loud as a result of something you have read is a rare and beautiful occurrence – an occurrence which people are becoming increasingly desensitised to because of this anti-semantic lolocaust.  In my whole life I have only genuinely pissed myself laughing twice (one of them was a little bit because I had a bladder infection) and I don’t think I have ever got down on the floor and actually rolled around laughing – but if it ever does happen, the moment will be ruined because no one will bloody believe me. They will simply add it to the steaming pile of lies that sits festering in the corner of our social networks. 

So the next time you are texting/facebooking/tweeting, spare a thought for the people who are genuinely covered in piss. Take a step back and ask yourself: “Am I really laughing out loud? Am I actually rolling on the floor laughing my ass off?” If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, then, for the love of God, just put a smiley face.

🙂