Blood – A Very British Experience

We, the British – stoic in our sensibilities, steadfast in our sentiments, and famously stiff in our collective upper lip; our tears seldom shed, our smiles seldom seen, our heads often shaken.

Even whilst sharing a mutual objective, the motive of the Englishman is varied and many. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their sighs. But none of this matters.

Ultimately, we are gathered here today to serve one extraordinary purpose – to save lives.

I am late. Hesitantly, as is my nature, I enter the Church Center and navigate my way to the first nurse. She asks if I’ve brought any paperwork. I have. She asks me to go to the waiting room. I do.

Time temporarily stops, my eyes glaze over and I stare straight through the nurse in to the blood farm behind. Blue uniforms swim through the aisles between the beds like sharks having caught the scent of blood. Cacophonous alarms signify the conclusion of each harvest, and dry zombie donors drift like spectres around the demure religious hall.

Continue reading


Misdiagnosis – Royal Wedding Fever…

Writhing around in bed, sweating disdain from every pore. Kicking off the covers only to haul them over your sorry carcass again seconds later. Moaning and groaning under the immense weight of your own self-loathing. Fevers are not particularly pleasant. But alas we insist on attributing them to our national events. Surely somewhere within our amalgamation of other languages, somewhere within the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary, there are alternative words with altogether less negative connotations than this…


an abnormally high body temperature, usually accompanied by shivering, headache and in severe instances; delirium.

Jolly good.

Continue reading

ITV’s The Cube: An Abundance of Acrylic

What do you get when a terrestrial television channel has an empty prime-time slot, a mysterious gymnast, and acrylic plastic surplus to requirement?

ITV‘s prime-time, acryli-fest gameshow – The Cube. That’s what.

Back for a second series The Cube fulfils the part of ITV‘s remit that clearly states the must utilise the abundance of Poly[methyl methacrylate] stored within the warehouse since Simon Cowell’s Plastic Death Dungeon of Doom was officially decommissioned in late 1997. Oh, you didn’t see that one?

Continue reading

The Wanted: Unwanted


An All Time Low Indeed.

Ignorance is bliss, and if you’re blissfully unaware of the existence of The Wanted then I envy you. You’ll be surprised to hear that they aren’t the latest American-teen emotional pop band. No, these kids are a humble boy band.

The problem I have with this ‘band’ is simple: they represent everything that’s wrong with music. Everything about them is wrong. Take the name for example; The Wanted. This conjures up images of riots, ruffians and rebels, but the only thing these kids are rebelling against is musical decency. This group isn’t wanted. They’re unwanted. Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden is wanted, and although their crimes come close to that of the bearded bedlamite, constantly piloting their metaphorical planes toward my radio or television, hoping to bring down my empire unless I can find the remote quick enough to deter them, they’re not nearly as sought after by the FBI. And you haven’t made it until you’re on that Bureau’s list.

I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt these lads were all childhood friends who grew up together with the dream of one day becoming a pop sensation. I imagine a record producer stoically sifted through hundreds of young boys like some sort of horrifying paedophilic pop-culture butcher, where he finally found the five most generically pretty and vocally unimpressive slabs of meat the UK had to offer.

Tom, Siva, Max, Jay and Nathan. I disliked them before I even read their profiles. Seriously, go on to the website and look. They come across as more two-dimensional than Super Paper Mario. Siva for example, his hometown is Ireland. I’ve been. It’s lovely, certainly not a town though. Despite this, Max does exhibit some deep characteristics; He hates it when he comes into contact with dry sponge. Weirdo. Between them their favourite foods range from Dominos, full english, brownies andErrrrrm, pizza, chips, cheese toasties. And as for the music, well, their favourite bands are; Oasis, Coldplay and Boys II Men. Enough said.

What happened to passion? What happened to talent? Having said that, not all artificially engineered bands are turn out bad, just look at The Sex Pistols. But I’m fairly sure The Wanted won’t be arrested for boat tripping down the River Thames anytime soon.

And I haven’t even got to the worst part yet; the music. I can usually tolerate things at either end of the musical spectrum. From the impossibly genius to the outright insulting. It’s the centre of this spectrum that sends me to despair. The grey area. And this? This is greyer than cumulonimbus over a rainy midland afternoon. This is woefully tame. It lies somewhere between tepid and lacklustre. It inspired such a sense of melancholy within me I could scarcely complete my sudoku puzzle. From the soppy synthetic strings to the toe-curling, flinching, cripplingly awful vocals, [seriously, have you ever heard anyone pronounce the word ‘do’ like he does?] everything about this is so dry, it left me feeling parched and grief-stricken.

I recognise the need for boy bands, I do honestly. And while they’re not my mug of hot, caffeinated beverage, I can tolerate the top contenders. Take That for example, when judged within their own realms they stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Their series of epic and uplifting anthems do enough to stay even in my judgemental mind. Shine is a great pop track, even if I do hear it all too often accompanying images of fresh fish on a supermarket counter.

So there’s plenty of good boy-band-fish in the sea. But how is it that every time I go fishing in the mainstream, I invariably hook the musical equivalent of an old leather boot. It’s all too rare I cast my line and hook a chthonic sea serpent which I have to desperately wrestle to shore as it thrashes violently, trying to tear off my head and spit it into the water. That’s what I want. Not a metaphorically gruesome death at the hands of a mythical beast, but music with some substance. Some danger. Dare I say it, a bit of oomph.

Sometimes while casually perusing music channels at 5am [which I do far too regularly for it to be considered healthy] I come across an absolute gem. The other night, while pressing channel + and slingshotting maggots into the murky horizon, a musical monster surfaced. From 1997; Aqua – Doctor Jones. You laughed upon hearing the title didn’t you? You did so because it evokes memories, amusing memories. Memories of a happier time, a simpler time. Whenever I hear The Wanted – All Time Low, I imagine the year 2087. A fragile old man, sat on the porch of his suburban dwelling. His lungs less efficient than the world’s ecosystem. A land that has rotted to nothing. Everyone and everything had died as a result of a nuclear fallout. This man, whom for the purpose of this metaphor shall be named; Dave, is the only organism left on the planet. There is nothing. Nothing. And he is alone. That’s what this group does to me. They’re an obscure darkness. They’re a fatal experiment. They’re a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Every time I inadvertently come across something so inexplicably stale, I suddenly feel the need to repeatedly listen to Pantera – Fucking Hostile, to cleanse my broken palette. Just listen to The Wanted Heart Vacancy. It makes me wish I had a brain vacancy. Fucking. Fucking. Fucking. Hostile.


Article first published as The Wanted Are Very Unwanted on Technorati.