Conforming To The Masses

I wouldn’t say that I’m one of those people who actively won’t like something just because so many others do, but chances are if everyone in the world is going on about something, I won’t rush to see or do it. I’m not sure where this petulance has arisen from, but I suppose there is some stuck up pompous ideal in my head that if its for everyone, its probably not for me as I’m better than that. There are many other areas in life where the masses go on about something or ratings or votes prove that they are popular, yet they are actually massively shit. For example: the government, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Pop Tarts. While this is definitely a case towards not liking the populist views, in reality I think its more that I’ll go see or do whatever it is everyone is banging on about and then not get it and feel like a massive tool. I like the term ‘tool’ as an insult. According to the Urban Dictionary, it means someone who doesn’t realise they are being used. However, sometimes I think being a tool would be alright. I bet power drills don’t mind being used. Not being used would be far more upsetting. There you are with the capacity to make a huge fucking hole in a huge fucking concrete wall and instead you’re gathering dust. Adversely to this, I like using it because on the surface, in my head, being a tool isn’t necessarily a bad thing and therefore saying it in an insulting way is funnier. Such was the case as school with the word ‘chief’. We would regularly refer to someone we didn’t like as a ‘chief’ which, in turn, meant they were a tool. For years as a kid playing cowboys and native Americans (I have hippy parents), being a chief would have been the best thing in the world, yet as a teenager suddenly all those brave Apache men were merely twats due to their hierarchical title.

Anyway, I once again, digress. What I was saying was that there have been many a ‘cool’ thing that I’ve not bothered with in the name of wanting to seem like a hella cool kid. Then secretly, when no one is looking, I’ll totally get into it and watch it all. Turin Brakes were played repeatedly in my house at university by my flatmates Jamie and Mat, and so I refused to like it. The second we moved out of the house I fell in love with The Optimist LP and in the following year saw them live twice. The Wire was avoided for a few years and I expressed annoyance at anyone that chose to tell me that it simply is the best TV show ever made, then finally sitting down to watch episode one I became instantly hooked watching all five seasons in a matter of weeks, and then becoming one of those annoying people. But so far 2012 has been a bit of surprise, as already there have been two things that the nation won’t be quiet about that I will happily applaud as well. And not in secret. Maybe I’ve grown up. Maybe, more likely, I’ve just given in and realised that when a lot of people like a thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone one of those people are chief tools.

Thing one was The Artist. Quite possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in ages. Brilliantly shot, wonderfully brave with its use of silent acting, and once again made me wonder why tap dancing isn’t on telly and film more often. I realise that this is not an often  shared opinion but you watch a Gene Kelly film – preferably Singin’ In The Rain, but really, any of them – and try hard not to smile when he’s rat-a-tatting with his shiny sneaks. I’m sure there’s more professional terms than that, but frankly I wouldn’t care to know them. It’s much better making it sound like a tiny machine gun fires out of some glittery ninjas. Maybe. Tap dancing is easily one of the happiest things ever. Its dancing, where the feet of the dancer make noise. Its a three year olds ideal pastime yet done by adults and with fare more coordination and skill. Incredible. The Artist is a film that hasn’t pandered to anything that Hollywood usually demand. The cast is interesting, vibrant and perfectly chosen, and the story fun and yet touching at times. I worry what will happen now is that several films about the silent movie era will happen after The Artist wins a ton of Oscars and it will ruin it all. Michael Bay’s The Scarlet Pimp or something where a nuclear weapon explodes and the word ‘Boom!’ appears on a card.

The second one and the one I really didn’t want to get involved in, but now am inexplicably stuck in, is Skyrim. A game that sounds like some sort of arial anal sex activity has had ‘the geeks’ banging on for ages now. Oh yawn, you can be an elf of something and kill a dragon with your enchanted penis. Give. A. Shit. It sounds exactly the sort of thing a dude who has a beard and wears children’s tshirts would get all hyper over and spend his life sitting in a darkened room playing. Sadly I am that bearded dude, in those tshirts, with the blinds down in the day so I can see the screen and search for Arnam’s family’s sword. I didn’t want this game. I have things to do. Loads to do. Why would I want a game that has been referred to as ‘boundless’? I can’t have ‘boundless’. So far Olaf Sporkbeard has only killed one dragon, learnt two ‘shouts’ and ran away from one Frost Troll and already I’m wondering how I can earn money from never going outside again and getting L and Nat to just deliver me food while I scour Skyrim for a Nettlestone. It is incredible though. I have this horrible image of the people that made it just sitting there, plotting how their game would be responsible for gamers everywhere just getting more and more fat, their eyes akin only to dark until we all shuffle underground like Morlocks to our game stations as they take over the outside world. Hence today I have walked up the hill and back, eaten some eggs and had a shower. If I can just do that everyday, then they won’t win.

So here it is. Maybe 2012 is the year of conforming. Ed Milliband seems to be doing it. Saying that he’s now backing public sector pay freezes and that Labour are accepting the cuts. A sad moment that really signs the demise of the opposition party even pretending to care for the working people. Very much a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, why not totally sign up to their fan club, get a badge and shit all over your dignity’. I refuse to let that happen to me. Sure I can like Skyrim and The Artist because they are both actually good, but if by the end of the year I’ve decided James Corden is alright and own anything by James Morrison, then please, for my sake, send a punch in my face my way for I’ll have become a total tool chief.


As a final note, this blog will now be irregular and irrelevant. A more political weekly rant shall be occurring at The Huffington Post website with the first one here (a few days old now in terms of topic):