Theycallmejack's Finest Hour

Jack shouts at the world because no one is listening.

End of an era.

Hey guys,

I’ve spent a lot of time doing some editing and changing things up and sorting stuff out and I didn’t realize that when I actually came to writing this that I’d get so emotional about it.

I’m retiring ‘theycallmejack.wordpress.com’.

I’ll give you a moment to take that in.

So, the situation is this, I opened this blog on the 14th of February 2009, I was a young guy having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with myself, my sexuality, my friends, my family, and my future. I didn’t know who I was or where to turn. This blog was an outpouring of everything I had inside my soul that I couldn’t find a way to exorcise.

I made my blog like a diary, where I considered my events and who I was. And reading back across those four and a half years, I’ve seen how I grew as a person. I know I’m not a fully formed person who has learned all his lessons and is completely ready to go out into the world, but I’ve made a lot of progress.

When I first started this blog, I couldn’t imagine being where I am today, back then, accepting myself and even being happy were a massive struggle for me, but let me assure you, in this final ever post on this blog; I have never ever in all my life been happier than I am now.

Theycallmejack traces my coming out, my search for my first boyfriend, my first relationship, the fall out when that ended, my next relationship, my moving from school to college and then to university, my friends along the way, my thoughts on the world and so much more.

I want to end the life of this blog by saying thank you. To everyone who I’ve mentioned in the blog who have helped to shape me on my journey to where I am now, to whoever made WordPress for helping me to express what was on the inside, and most of all to my readers. I’ve been so humbled by the sheer volume of people who’ve taken the time to read my thoughts and offer me their own advice and guidance and I am truly thankful for everyone of them. There are, however, a few special people who have made a big impact on my blog and my life beyond it and I’d like to personally thank a few of them.

Ryan O at ‘onefinegay.wordpress.com’, I don’t know where you are with your life or how it’s going but I really hope you’re good. Your help and advice really was amazing when I was struggling to come out and accept myself. You were like a mentor to me and a real inspiration. Thank you.

Justolefriend, I’m afraid you also fall into the category of people who I don’t know where they’re at anymore, but I’d like to thank you for your constant positivity, no matter what it was that I posted, I could always expect a wonderful cheering up from you. Thank you.

drucloud. You were equally as positive and well meaning as Justolefriend and always had a kind word to say on everything I posted. Thank you.

Sean McArthur at ‘pinkshanty.blogspot.com’ you always gave me great advice, and you helped me to believe that I could achieve all the things in my life that you have managed to achieve in yours. I hope your family is really well. Thank you.

My good friend, Iona at ‘piellagibson.wordpress.com’ who is a source of constant inspiration to me. She is kind, compassionate, and wise beyond her years. Iona, you have always inspired me to try to be a better person than what I am. I hope that you always remain as deeply good as I have known you to be. Thank you.

George Millman at ‘actorandpoliticalactivist.blogspot.com’, a guy who always has something to say about everything I post and someone who I very much enjoy debating with. He is both a leader and a fellow, and you can be sure that you’ll see his name more and more in the coming years. George, your comments have always been really interesting, thoughtful, and thought-provoking and I wish you all the best. Thank you.

And finally to all the unacknowledged commenters and readers, those who read my posted and smiled, or wished me well in their own way. You have helped keep me strong these last four years. Thank you.

Now, I don’t want to end on a depressing note, so I will close this blog by clearing up some of the (not very interesting) mysteries that still surround it.

  • I started a WordPress blog because a guy on my school bus had just started one. He was really cool and popular and I overheard someone tell him that his blog made her cry. I immediately decided that if I was to be as cool and popular as Dean, I would have no choice but to start a WordPress blog! And ‘Theycallmejack.wordpress.com’ was born.
  • ‘Theycallmejack’ as a username came from the song ‘That’s Not My Name’ by The Ting Tings. I don’t even know whether they’re still a thing now, but me and my friend Caitlin had just been on a school trip and spend the entire time singing that song so the name was a natural fit.
  • It was thanks to this blog (or one of the commenters) that I started watching Glee. Definitely thankful for that.
  • I frequently say that I don’t like lists. This is a lie. I love lists, I find them so useful and helpful for organization. I only say that I don’t like lists because I’m a massive Doctor Who fan and in ‘The Waters of Mars’ the Doctor noted that he doesn’t like lists.
  • My most used tag is ‘friends’ which I think is very sweet.
  • My final post count is 291, including this one. 319 if you include drafts of posts that never made the cut.
  • This is what I look like.

    This is what I look like.

     

Thank you for everything, dear friends and readers, my love to all of you,

And for one final time,

Jack out.

PS. You gotta love my PS’s over the years, right? Well this one is an important one. If you wanna take this blog as a jumping off point, then farewell, remember me as I was. For the rest of you, look at this as the start of a new journey. http://jacksayspurple.wordpress.com/

Free your mind, enjoy this.

I promised it was coming. Wasn’t sure whether it would. But here it is.

As you may or may not know, I am a huge geek. A geek of international proportions. One of the objects of my geekosity is gaming. And even further into that, my favourite game making company is, of course, Nintendo. Now, Mario is all well and good, but personally I’ve grown weary of his yearly samey adventures. The Legend of Zelda is epic, of course, but once you complete the game, what else is there to do? No, there is one Nintendo series which I adore above all others (though this changes frequently), and that is Animal Crossing. AND before anyone asks, Pokemon is equally love by me, but it isn’t made by Nintendo. GameFreak makes Pokemon and Nintendo publishes it. Surprisingly few people remember that.

Anyway! Animal Crossing: New Leaf was announced at E3 in 2010. Almost exactly 3 years later, it finally launched in the UK. And I have been playing it for nearly a month and a half now. I have now decided to initiate all of my blog readers into the excitement I feel towards this game which most would consider infinitely dull.

I always try to persuade people to get into Animal Crossing, because it is a game of communication. The more people you know who play it, the more fun you can have. However, whenever I tell people about it I always have to begin my speech (rant) with the phrase ‘it sounds like the most boring game ever, but trust me, it’s so much fun when you play it!’ And it really does. The problem is that none of the Animal Crossing games have any real goal. There is no princess to rescue, no world to save, no crops to harvest, no elemental creatures to collect. Just you and a town full of animals.

You start the game as a new arrival in a town populated by cutesy animal characters. A raccoon (or a Japanese mythical Tanooki, if you prefer) loan-shark named Tom Nook offers to give you a residence for a fee. Once you pay his fee, you can upgrade your house by adding rooms and making it bigger. Actually, Tom Nook becomes less of a loan shark in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I won’t forget his diabolical plots from previous games. From here, you’re free to do what you please. You can catch fish or bugs, grow trees and flowers, dig for fossils, decorate your house, design clothes, shop til you drop, socialize with the animals and so on. And that is it. Yep, that is everything.

Well, in Animal Crossing: New Leaf you become mayor as well, and have the option to do ‘Public Works Projects’ to customize your town, or go to the island and play mini-games with friends or strangers online. But aside from those features, it’s largely the same set up.

The major ‘goals’ of the series are:

  • Finish paying off your mortgage.
  • Collect every, bug, fish, fossil and art work and put them in the museum.
  • Collect every piece of furniture.

And nothing about that sounds fun does it? But the game is charming. It draws you into it’s warm, loving hold, and once you’ve been caught, you can’t escape. You NEED to go back to town the next day to see if the shop is stocking that last bit of furniture you need to complete your collection, to see if you can hunt that last bug which will no longer be available next month, to keep updated on the lives of the animals. Add in the real-time events, such as Easter, Christmas, and Halloween and you’ve been caught. Hook, line and sinker. Oh, and if you don’t go back tomorrow, the animals will notice you’ve been away, and it will make them sad. And no one wants to make cute animals sad.

So, here is a pictorial introduction to all the fun you can have while playing Animal Crossing, ripped directly out of the time I’ve spent playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf!

AC1

You plant a town tree the first day you move in. It grows throughout you time in town. Keep reading to see how this little sapling grew!

 The big new feature of Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the ability to become mayor of your town. As you can see I was rather charmed to have been made mayor here. If anyone is interested, the animals are both cute and have adorable names and personalities, some of whom get quite irksome. From left to right we have Bluebear, who is incredibly peppy and annoying, I always send her mail to tell her how much I hate her. Then there’s Cyrano the Anteater, who is pretty fly, he’s quite laid back, so we get on well. Then there’s the ubiquitous Genji who is obsessed with Japanese culture. He announced he’s upping sticks and moving to another town at the end of the month. Cannot wait. Hopefully someone cooler replaces him. In the middle is my secretary, Isabelle. She’s alright. Bit too peppy for my tastes though. Then the Hippo is Bertha. She’s nice, but her looks offend me, and I don’t let her forget it. I changed her catchphrase to ‘hideous’. That’ll teach her. Finally, the purple cat is called Bob. I have literally never met anyone as fly as Bob. He doesn’t give a damn about anything. We get on.

Bad hat day for me here...

Bad hat day for me here…

One of the big incentives to keep you playing the obsessive desire to upgrade your housing from a tent to a castle. As such, your characters gets quite excited when he pays his mortgage off. Also, interesting to note, Pelly (the pelican behind me) is one of the few ‘nice’ characters who I don’t hate. Perhaps because her sister, Phyllis is rude, bothersome, and wants a slap, making poor Pelly pale in comparison.

Yes, animals, celebrate my superiority.

Yes, animals, celebrate my superiority.

Every month, there is a competition held in town that you can take part in. Over summer, this competition is the Bug-Off, hosted by Nat the Chameleon who you can see in front of me. He’s the type of chap who refers to people as ‘old bean’. Classy fellow. Goes on a bit, but I like him anyway.  In Winter, the competition is the Fishing Tourney hosted by a beaver called Chip who has the audacity to eat your catches. Chunky so and so. He’s alright though. The object of both competitions is to catch the best creature out of everyone in town.

I suspect Kapp'n is a closetted gay man. Sure, he has a wife and daughter but you know how these things are...

I suspect Kapp’n is a closeted gay man. Sure, he has a wife and daughter but you know how these things are…

One of the new features in Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the ability to go to Tortimer Island and play mini-games either alone, with friends, or with strangers online. Kapp’n (a Kappa in Japanese, but I think he’s called a ‘frog’ or some nonsense like that in English) takes you there in his boat and sings sea shanties like this on the way. It is all kinds of adorable when he sings. He’s a salty seadog, but I still think he’s cute.

Me and Mat arrive home after a long day!

Me and Mat arrive home after a long day!

One of my favourite features of Animal Crossing is playing with friends online. You can bring them round to your town and show them your house and whatnot. Here are me and Mat, sleeping in my double bed in my balloon themed room. It’s all very adorable and charming.

HNI_0056 HNI_0068

Pascal the Sea Otter dispenses some deep 'truths' on you when you encounter him.

Pascal the Sea Otter dispenses some deep ‘truths’ on you when you encounter him.

One of my favourite characters in the series Pascal the Sea Otter. He is Animal Crossing’s resident deep thinker, and seems to be high on something most of the time. He’s kind of insane. And he gives you pirate themed furniture in exchange for scallops. Which is a fair deal in my mind. He’s a cool guy. The game is possibly worth playing just to hear the nonsense he comes out with.

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

Because the game plays in real time, you get to experience some events that correspond to reality as well. This faceboard was erected for one day only in the town plaza to celebrate the longest day of the year. Mat is modelling some ladder shades which he was given to celebrate. Behind us, you can see the town tree has grown!

HNI_0063 HNI_0067 HNI_0083

Public works projects can be big and small, and you hold opening ceremonies for all of them. Here are a few of mine.

Public works projects can be big and small, and you hold opening ceremonies for all of them. Here are a few of mine.

One of the big new features for Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the ability to customize your town with Public Works Projects. These can be anything from shops to landmarks, I have a few pictures of each here. The top two pictures are openings of shops on the high street (past the railway line), the third is a Fountain outside the town hall, and the last is a coffee shop run by a shy pigeon. There’s loads of different ways to customize your town. Also, you can see from the pictures the ways that different times of day, and weather conditions are displayed in the game. HNI_0073 HNI_0077

My favourite room in my house.

My favourite room in my house.

Another great thing about Animal Crossing is the way that the game becomes a big extension of your character. As you can see from these pictures, you can customize the house of your house, the inside, your outfits, your hair, even your eye colour! And yes, I AM wearing a Warblers outfit. AND WHAT?!

Nintendo references galore!

Nintendo references galore!

If you’re a Nintendo fan, like me, there’s plenty of references to pick up. Here’s a relatively obscure one, but I’m sure most Nintendo fans will get it!

A reflective day.

A reflective day.

The game grows as you use it more and more. And likewise, this is represented by your town tree. This is what mine looks like at the moment. I’m not sure if it grows any further than that.

So yeah, there is a lot more to Animal Crossing than you see at first, and this blog has only scratched the surface! There’s so much I haven’t had the pictures or effort to explain! But you can all learn and enjoy that for yourselves! Seriously, it’s well worth the investment in my opinion!

Have I persuaded you to give Animal Crossing a try? Or, alternatively, if you have Animal Crossing already, what have been your favourite experiences with it? Let me know in the comments!

Jack out.

PS. Anyone who already has Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you can visit me in Rufford by searching my Dream Code: AC11PPS. Off topic, but I recently competed in a competition with my choir. It was REALLY badly organized, and we were treated very badly by a particularly rude woman. It would be a great way to show her what for if we could get loads of votes, so please consider giving us your vote! You don’t have to sign up or anything so it’s dead easy! And no, I’m afraid I’m not in our photo! http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/gigs/search-and-vote/absolute-harmony

Your smile is like a breath of spring, your voice is soft like summer rain.

2 months later and I’m back.

Where have I been? Lots of place. I’ve just moved back home from university and I’ve been caught in a bit of whirlwind of seeing my boyfriend, and sorting out stuff for my house next year, and hayfever induced hour-long showers. It’s been a great deal of fun. Minus the last point.

This isn’t me. Don’t know why you’d go out in the middle of a field like this with hayfever. Foolish move there.

Also, big issue to consider as to where I’ve been is that on the 14th of June, Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released (blog about that coming VERY soon), three years after it had previously been announced. All I’ll say is that Animal Crossing is one of my favourite video game series of all time and three years has been a very long time to wait. So that’s happened.

If you haven’t got this game yet, you’re seriously missing out.

But, why, dear readers, have I chosen now to return to your lives? Like Jesus appearing from a cave of… did the cave have a name? I… I don’t care. Heavens, a gay guy just compared himself to Jesus. All across America’s Bible belt, idiots are punching the air. What ever shall we do. Well, let me be smitten if the big man is offended! No offence intended, sir, just a harmless metaphor!

Anyway, to answer the question which started that long, and debatably blasphemous paragraph, I am back on WordPress for the simple reason that I have just thought of something which seems too long to write one of my infamously hilarious tweets about, and too dry to get enough likes on Facebook to feed my ego. A subject, if you will, that is perfect for a blog.

Ya gots to love that 140 character limit!

I am going to be talking about the prickly subject of men writing about women. As a writer myself, it’s an issue that I will no doubt have to confront at some stage and late at night on the twenty second of June, 2013 seems as good a time as any.

Let me start by saying that I don’t identify as a feminist. I believe in equality for everyone, but those hardcore feminists who would take every joke as an anti-women slur put me off. I suppose that believing in equality for all kind of makes me a feminist. But if I was to start identifying as a feminist, then I’d probably also have to start calling myself a gay rights activist, and an anti-racist and a big pile of political correctness. Which maybe I am. But I can take a joke. Which political correctness doesn’t ever seem capable of.

IT’S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD!!!!! Sorry… I had to get that in somewhere.

And now that that tangent has bubbled away, let’s talk about the matter in hand. How do male writers write female characters? I do try to read up on interviews with talented, well-respected writers as much as I can. You never know when you’ll get a handy hint! The subject of men writing women (I was gonna say ‘men on women’ then, but that put disgusting thoughts in my head and made me a bit queasy) comes up quite a lot, and there’s a lot of conflicting opinions out there.

Y’all know how much ol’ Jack loves a good list (’twas not always so, feel free to check past blogs when I claimed time and again ‘I hate lists!’ (What you may not know is that I have always loved lists (I feel they are very organized) but I do also love Doctor Who and in one episode (The Waters of Mars) The Doctor noted how much he hated lists, and lo and behold, so did I!))* so let’s go through a big-ass list of things that men should or maybe shouldn’t avoid doing when writing about women.

Forgot how awesome Daphne was. Fred’s still my favourite though.

  1. DON’T MAKE HER THE DAMSEL IN DISTRESS/DON’T MAKE HER THE HEROIC SAVIOUR EITHER: Ok, so it’s kind of taken for granted that it’s inherently sexist to cast women in the role of ‘damsel in distress’. Yes, we all loved Daphne in Scooby Doo, but those days, like the days of teenagers driving around in VW Minivans and solving mysteries are long gone. Women kick butt, let’s be honest. Look at female politicians. They give their male counterparts what for every day of the bloody week. Also, as I was told back in my karate days, what ladies lack in physical strength, they make up in speed and flexibility, so really casting female characters as damsels in distress is just basically factually unstable. On the other hand though, apparently, according to an interview I read a while back, turning the tables and giving the traditionally male part to a female character is equally as bad. Apparently it’s seen as a very weak writing technique, designed only to showcase how politically correct the writer is, with minimal character development necessary. So what is the answer to this mystery? Well, ummm… I guess you can kind of allow women to be in distress sometimes, but don’t have them give up and wait for a man to come rescue them! Or maybe switch up the roles as the plot demands it, rather than based on the gender of your characters. Let the women do the rescuing AND let the men do the rescuing. Give everyone a turn. That’s what equality is all about!

    Yeah, I love the Fable series too. AND I enjoyed Fable 3. So, yeah. Deal with THAT.

  2. WRITE IN A NON-GENDER SPECIFIC WAY/DON’T YOU DARE WRITE HER AS A MAN THEN CHANGE THE NAME!!: Kind of similar to the last point in many ways. You can see the benefits of writing a character as whatever gender comes into your head, and then deciding that character’s gender later, it avoids anyone being sexist, but then equally it’s just a weak, lazy technique. The fact of the matter is that men and women are fundamentally different. They talk in different ways, about different subjects, with different people. Ever heard the phrase ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’? Well, so far science is yet to get a conclusive answer as to whether that’s true, but it’s certainly true that men and women think differently. That’s basic biology. So to write a non-gender specific character is not only lazy, but just not possible. Even most sexually androgynous people identify as one or the other. So there’s that mystery solved. Write female parts as women and write male parts as men. There’ll be a bit of overlap, no doubt, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the two should be handled in the same way. Otherwise we’re never get the Olympic rings. It’d just be one big fat ass circle. Probably not even multi-coloured either because marketing wouldn’t likely see the point in paying for all the different colours.

    Obviously SOMEONE never read ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’.

  3. HAVE TWO WOMEN ALONE IN A ROOM DISCUSSING THINGS OTHER THAN MEN: I read an interview on BBC Writers Room that said this was a gauge of how much you can consider a work to have represented women well or not. If you have a few scenes of women talking about stuff other than men, then apparently you’ve got yourself a cheeky little feminist work on your hands. Except if that’s the case then Jane Austen was frightfully anti-men since her novels never once contain a scene of two men talking without there being a woman in the room. How can men be expected to write a believable dialogue between two women alone in the room when they don’t, and probably never will experience that situation? Not only that, but the whole ‘they shouldn’t talk about men’ thing doesn’t really work either. As the sassy gay best friend to a whole host of people of varying genders I have experienced both ‘man talk’ and ‘girl talk’, and both always seem to end up talking about the other anyway.

    According to Google, this is what women talk about when men aren’t around…

  4. DON’T WRITE HER AS ‘HARPIE’ OR A ‘PRIZE’: I got this one off a blog by a person called ‘Amy Suto’ about men writing women (you can check it out here, some good advice, some less so: http://amysuto.com/2013/02/for-men-how-to-write-female-characters/) Amy says that women shouldn’t be put on a pedestal or be evil just because they’re women. Which is fair enough. But then, it’s all about angles, ain’t it? A woman in her personal life, might not be put on a pedestal, but if you view the same woman through the lense of, say, a man who has an enormous crush on her, then of course she’ll seem to be on a pedestal. Equally, if a woman is seen as an evil bitch-cow by, for example, her ex-husband then of course she’s gonna be portrayed as a total harpy. I think the trick is knowing your angles and sticking to them. Everyone has shades of grey, and you need to show those shades of grey, even if only slightly, but obviously you’ll show them less from some angles and more from others. Like the dark side of the moon. (Weird simile. Ignore me, it’s late.)

    Could have given you a picture of a harpy, but harpies are mean. So have a picture of a Rito from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker instead!

And just like that, my train of thought is tired. The fever of hay is making my eyes itch. Dunno why, it’s quarter to three, those plants can’t still be pollinating can they?! I’m gonna end it here.

I have to be honest, I haven’t reached a satisfying conclusion of how to write female characters, because as a man, I lack the in depth knowledge of the female psyche necessary. However, one lesson I have learned is that to write well, you have to be prepared to give parts of yourself away, and that includes parts of the people you know. Perhaps the best way to learn how to write female characters is to base them on real women, to stop trying to prove how feminist you are or to stop having those childish fantasies about women (not like that, sit down ya filthy hetros!) and just write real women who you really know.

Do you have any handy hints on female characters? Or any ideas on writing characters in general? Or tips for writing in general? What are your least favourite literary tropes on character portrayal? I’m always looking for nuggets of literary gold so if you’ve got one, throw me a comment!

As ever, it’s been a pleasure!

Jack out.

PS. You may be wondering why I chose a lyric from Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ for this blog’s title. Because I could, as simple as that. If you take issue with that, pull yourself together.

*(By the way, did you like how many brackets in brackets I put in there? Just to be a cheeky little minx!)

Stripped to the waist, we fall into the river.

I’m back! And for the first time in ages I’m doing a purposeless blog.

Yes, yes, my last few blogs have been filled chock full with my views about important things that probably matter to someone somewhere. But, I was thinking last night, every blog in the world is about big important things! And as everyone knows; no one listens to bloggers blogging about big important things. So, I thought to myself, let’s redress the balance a little bit and make my blog a little more about me for a change! In my efforts to come up with a Jack-blog, I thought I’d just compile a list of my thoughts which are slightly too long to summarize into 140 characters, but are slightly too short to write a blog about.

Oh, and as for the title, A) I have wanted to use it for a while. B) Consider yourself falling into the river of madness that is my mind.

  • Me and my friend Katie were talking about the Westboro Baptist Church on Twitter. What a bunch of loonies. You know they’re picketing the funerals of the people who were killed in the Boston bombings? Why? Ummm… well really that’s anyone’s guess. Katie told me it was because they believe it was divine intervention that set the bombs off as punishment for the United States being accepting of gay people. How and why that explains their decision to picket these funerals I don’t know, but there you are. I suggested that instead of going to Iraq to drop some bombs, Obama should drop a couple on the Westboro Baptist Church. Katie suggested that bombs should be done away with and the WBC should be chained down and forced to watch gay porn until they die. Either way, it’s a problem that needs solving. How can America be so against religious extremism and then continue to let these idiots go on preaching hellfire and damnation?!
  • In lighter news, I am currently writing an essay about the role of personality in writing. Now, I don’t think writing 1500 words on that subject would be particularly difficult. I may even attempt it in a blog at a later date. No, the difficulty comes from having to refer to Virginia Woolf, Bertholt Brecht, Kazuo Ishiguro, Dwight Macdonald and various other writers in my answer. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what they think is the role of personality in writing. They all wrote these essays which I am going to include in my essay, and they weren’t having to reference all the people who informed their ideas. They just wrote what they thought. What a joke. The title of the module is ‘Why Write?’ well you know what? Who gives a crap why people write?! People do write. That is a fact. Who gives a rat’s ass as to why they write. We should probably just be assessing what they write and what writing means. Ridiculous. I don’t see how it helps my writing to know all about Fredric Jameson’s views on ‘The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’. 
  • I am ridiculously excited for the Great Gatsby film. Like, you have no idea. When that movie comes out, I will be in the cinema literally every night until it closes. Oh, and they released the Lookbook for it yesterday. If anyone ever needs to buy a present for me then some Gatsby bowties would go down extremely nicely. 
  • Speaking of bowties. I was in Topman the other week. Yeah I know. Let’s not even get into how much I loathe that store and all the cheaply made, single use, trashion it pedals. Anywho! Something struck my eye in Topman. It was a bowtie. Obviously because it was in Topman it was a bowtie so heinous that even I wouldn’t wear it. But no, on the packaging the words ‘Bow ties are cool’ were emblazoned. Now, some of you may know that line. First spoken by the Doctor as played by Matt Smith, later spoken by me, but the fact is that there is no way Topman should be allowed to use that line. Topman wankers (shoppers) have been making life hell for people who like Doctor Who since 2005. They aren’t allowed to use that. Topman can fuck off. 
  • I’m going to join a gym. In the beginning it seemed like liking Facebook pages full of sexy underwear models would be a brilliant idea. But now I have a ridiculous inferiority complex.

    I want to be all over these like butter on toast.

  • I’m sick and tired of Twitter and Facebook constantly suggesting that I like/follow ‘Super Gay Magazine’, ‘Pick up men’, ‘Suck some big dicks’ etc. Just because I like to smoke a bit of sausage every now and then doesn’t mean I’m a massive gay slutbag. I have a boyfriend. We’ve been together for two and a half years. I just not the target audience for these website. But I tweet the word ‘gay’ one time and suddenly I’m considered so flaming I could be seen from space. It’s very annoying.

    Not gonna post more slutty photos. Here is a sausage. The curvature amuses me for reasons I won’t get into.

  • I need to stop using internet slang to be ironic. #YOLO started as a joke, and now it has become part of conversational speech for me. Also, I need to stop hashtagging real life. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
  • I’ve developed an unhealthy fan boy crush on Jon-Paul Bell. He was in a TV show last week and was on the cover of GayTimes last month and I’ve become obsessed. He’s pretty sexy to be fair. 
  • I can’t decide which of the Jurassic Park trilogy is the best. It’s somewhere between the original and The Lost World. But I just can’t decide. The original has John Hammond at his best, but the sequel has the the Goldblum and I thought the plot was a little better. Plus the second one has all more dinosaurs… I’m torn. What do you think? Does anyone in the world actually prefer the third one?

    Striking horror into children since 1996.

  • I’m running out of things to say.

Jack out.

Hold onto that feeling.

Alright, the day has finally arrived. I’m doing a blog about Glee.

Except I’m not, I’m doing a blog about a much bigger issue. But Glee has caused some controversy and that seemed like a good place to start with this blog. So, before I begin let me just do this whole shebang. This blog contains minor spoilers for the episode of Glee called ‘Shooting Star’. Nothing you couldn’t really guess from the title. But still, if you haven’t watched Glee Season 4 Episode 18 tread carefully. I will try to be as spoiler free as I can, but watch out.

Right, so, that’s done. Let’s move on. Glee did a school shooting episode.

Take a minute for that to sink in. Glee did a school shooting episode. Yep. The same show that does those charming musical numbers/butchers your favourite songs. They did a school shooting episode.

Now, let’s be honest, this isn’t the first time Glee has dealt with some controversial issues. We’ve had teen suicide, anorexia, car crashes, and even questions of faith in God. Critics are making out that this episode was somehow more controversial than any of those because it’s been in the press a lot lately. But when have those other things been out of the press? Still, this one episode has been subject to a lot more criticism than any of those issues. Here are some of the things that people have been saying about it:

  • ‘They did it to get higher ratings!’
  • ‘It’s insensitive to the families of those who’ve died in school shootings!’
  • ‘This issue is too big for television show like Glee to deal with!’
  • ‘Glee was exploiting this tragedy to seem relevant!’

And as much as I can see those comments as genuine concerns I don’t think they’re merited to be honest. Before I go off on my rant, let me say that I am a big fan of Glee, so maybe I’m biased, decide for yourself.

I think a major part of the uproar has come from people who haven’t watched the episode, or even Glee itself. Maybe they’ve heard about it from friends or family or they watched a couple of episodes back in Series 1 when Glee was at the height of it’s popularity. When people hear that a light, frothy, family fun kind of show, like Glee is doing a school shooting episode, you can understand why they’d be worried that the issue wouldn’t be treated with the seriousness it deserves. I have watched the episode and I can say that it’s very intense and actually quite jarring. It’s not a fun episode to watch; you won’t find any laughs here. The episode is really quite scary. There’s only three songs in it, and none of them are directly about the shooting. In fact only one of them even happens relates to it. All I can say is that the issue of school shootings is treated incredibly seriously – it’s not a joke and it’s not something to have big camp musical numbers to and Glee doesn’t treat it as such.

So then we have the problem of whether Glee was exploiting tragedy for it’s own ends, whether that be to seem relevant or to get higher ratings. Now, I don’t think it was. I think if that had been the case then a bigger song and dance would have been made about the episode’s contents before it aired. None of the pre-release materials from synopsis’ to trailers had any reference to the shooting. If they’d wanted to make a big splash in a ratings ploy, I think they would have relied on better sources than internet gossip to generate interest.

Finally, was it insensitive to the families of school shooting victims? No. I’ve never understood the argument about it being insensitive to make a television show about tragedies. It isn’t entertainment. ‘Shooting Star’ was a carefully calculated push its viewers. It was designed to make us have an emotional response, and for me at least, it really did. I live in the United Kingdom, we have sensible gun laws so that shootings are much rarer here than in America, guns in schools was an issue that wasn’t on my radar, and now it is, and that’s Glee’s fault.

This whole uproar over Glee leads onto the bigger issue: should the media tackle big issues like this? And my answer is a firm, yes. Television shows make us think about issues that we might not even pick up, they bring those issues right into the centre of the home and get people talking; having conversations they wouldn’t normally be having.

What is the point of any kind of writing if it doesn’t encourage us to think about issues and debate?

It is far too easy for the press to get tired of issues and just sweep them under the carpet. Think about natural disasters. We were all devastated and readily giving aid to New Orleans after it was destroyed in a hurricane. Has the problem been resolved? No. Have we stopped caring? Yes. If television shows didn’t make us focus on big issues then we’d forget them, and they’d go on being big issues and they’d never be resolved. We need this media to shock us into action.

Think about this – what would make you respond to the issue of gun crime more a newspaper article or television show where you’re watching your favourite characters cower in terror? Exactly.

You may not like Glee. Hell, you probably don’t. Liking Glee has become extremely unfashionable. But the fact is that we need Glee and shows like it to tackle these problems and to get people talking. If a seven year old kid watches that episode and sees the horror that guns can bring with them and then grows up, holding onto that feeling, and decides not to buy a gun, or maybe even to protest about America’s ridiculous gun laws, how is that a bad thing? You can say it’s insensitive all you like but television puts issues on an international platform, and an international platform is a much stronger way of getting your message across.

So, America, why don’t you stop making such a fuss about a TV show which deals with school shootings and make a fuss about your insane gun laws and school shootings?

Jack out.

Even if we won’t admit to ourselves, we’ll walk upon these streets and think of little else.

I am kind of stuck in a permanent cringe since last night.

You see, I had the bright idea at around 4am that it’d be brilliant fun to go back and re-read my blogs from almost exactly 4 years ago. The results were horrifying. Truly, truly horrifying. There is no better way of seeing how much you have matured than reading back on your thoughts from when you were fifteen. If I have any fifteen year old readers, here’s my advice: Don’t write blogs. Keep your thoughts to yourself. You’ll thank me when you’re nineteen.

My hair wasn’t this bad, but you get the idea!

The problem with my fifteen year old self (despite having a terrible haircut) was that I took everything far too seriously. I used to just over-analyze everything. I still do over-analyze a lot of stuff, but it’s less of a problem now. Also, I was insistently sad. Seriously, reading back on my blogs, I can’t even believe how miserable I was all the time. I’m sure it was all hormones and what not, but surely some of it must have been put on? I don’t remember putting it on but I cannot believe I could be so depressing all the time. I can barely believe I had friends at all, let alone the lovely friends I did have (who I didn’t treat as well as I should have!)

It’s tempting to blame the whole thing on my coming out. And yes, I do think that was a big factor. Being different, when you’re in high school is never going to be easy, but when you’re different and there’s literally no one else around who is going through the same thing is even harder. I never had a problem with bullies when I was coming out, but I feel like my biggest bully was probably myself. I was so desperate to be part of group and popular and well-liked that I went to extraordinary lengths to convince people how ‘normal’ I was, so I feel like maybe I repressed myself in ways that were always going to fall apart eventually.

I remember finding it really really difficult to handle when my friends had relationships because at the time I felt like that was something completely inconceivable for me. My thinking process was something along the lines of ‘if I can’t have someone then why should they?’ and as a result of that, I treated my friends badly.

But, nevertheless, you can’t blame your entire past on something like being gay. The fact is that I was a complete little shit when I was fifteen, and so I thought I’d write a blog about ‘Advice to my fifteen year old self’ so here goes:

  1. Love exists and it is a good thing but for Christ’s sake A STRAIGHT GUY WILL NEVER LIKE YOU IN THE SAME WAY!! Learn to know when it’s not going to happen and move on.
  2. Stop and think very carefully before you say anything either online or in person to your friends. Being a bitch online is really easy at the time, but it’s also really easy to lose friends because of it.
  3. You have friends who really genuinely care about you and like you: stop thinking the worst of them and picking out all the ways that they’ve made mistakes towards you.
  4. Capitalize on your successes and your happy times.
  5. Don’t be a pessimist.
  6. Get a hobby.
  7. Stop being so proud and learn to acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake and done something wrong, and apologize for it (even four years later, I think this is still something I need to work on).
  8. You don’t have to lie about all the experiences you’ve had in order to make people like you.
  9. Will you please stop thinking that you’re ‘deep’? You really really aren’t. Shut up.
  10. Stop watching ‘Skins’ it is not an accurate portrayal of life.

There are probably a lot more which my friends from that time would tell me, but those are the biggest ones I can think of right now. Thinking about it, this is all advice I’d give my fifteen year old self, but it’s also advice which I think I still need to work on in some cases. I guess I’m still not quite as mature as I’d like to be, but that’s ok. Life is about learning and growing and continuing to find chances to improve yourself, and if I don’t get hit by a tram on Southport pier (something which my fifteen year old self thought would be a great way to die) tomorrow then I might have another fifty or sixty years of time to mature and grow up.

But, before I end this blog, I think it’s important to remind myself of all the best things about the times that I have just been making fun of so much. So here’s a list of amazing memories of fifteen year old Jack.

  1. Everything was sunny. I’m not sure what’s happened to the weather, but I remember there being SO much sun when I was fifteen. All my memories are of walking about in the sun round parks, and shops, and going to the swimming pool and all sorts. Those were great times. 
  2. Going for long walks in the sun with my best friends, Emily and Lucy and talking about completely random shit.
  3. Splashworld with my friends.
  4. Standing outside the canteen door after lunch, eating flapjacks with all my friends.
  5. After school drama rehearsals with Caitlin and Lauren, where we’d just muck about on the stage all evening with our incredible drama teacher.
  6. My tumultuous fifteenth birthday party.
  7. Discovering where I could buy fashionable clothes.
  8. Running everywhere.
  9. Long chats with all my friends over Windows Live Messenger.
  10. Still being considered one of the clever ones at school.
  11. All the fun and shenanigans that happened on the bus to and from school everyday.

And now I am happy. It’s easy to run away from your past, but you can never escape it, so I think you need to make peace with it. I’m glad that I can put that stage of my life behind me, but I’m also glad I can look back on all the good memories from that time.

Do you guys have any advice that you’d like to give to your fifteen old selves? What are your favourite memories from when you were younger? Let me know in the comments!

Jack out.

Perfect/Ordinary.

Would my online life stand in a good light if I was in a political position?

Too often nowadays it seems that politicians and celebrities and other people in positions of influence are getting attacked by the media for ‘inappropriate’ things that they post on Twitter or Facebook. The latest victim is Paris Brown from Kent. She was made into a ‘Youth Police Commissioner’; basically a go-between between the police and young people. She’s seventeen, only two years younger than myself, and today Britain’s press have attacked her for ‘inappropriate tweets’, which supposedly contain racist, homophobic, drug-condoning, party-girl, and other generally offensive views. I’d like to tell you more, but Miss Brown has deleted her account so I’m unfortunately unable to even verify whether what the press has said is true, or whether, as Paris Brown has said, her tweets have been taken out of context.

Now, I’m not condoning Paris Brown’s tweets. Absolutely not. Even she isn’t condoning them. I respect her for that. Unlike most adult politicians, she’s put her hands up and said she made a mistake. In a rash moment she posted unacceptable things on a public forum. And that isn’t ok. But at least she’s facing up to it, not trying to make excuses for herself. I watched an interview with her before, and she raised the point that she is most certainly not the first and only person to post silly tweets like this.

And she’s not. Think of all the pathetic celebrity fights which erupt on a daily basis over Twitter, for example. Lady GaGa and Adele’s spat was a particularly amusing one. Though, actually, I’m not even sure whether that was over Twitter. Think of Nicki Minaj. She’s ALWAYS fighting with people over Twitter. Too much sass for one person to handle in that woman. ANYWAY! Back to the point…

The Paris Brown case, for me, raises some interesting questions about the use of the internet in modern life. For a start, her tweets are the tip of a vast vast iceberg. This isn’t a problem for the political and social elite to deal with. This is a deeply ingrained cultural problem and it boils down to three main problems:

  1. We have an overshare problem. 
  2. We are all attention seekers.
  3. We are bitches.

Let’s start with the overshare problem. Look on your Twitter feed, or your Facebook page, or even your LinkedIn account if you’re one of the six people to use that. Scroll down. How many people have posted a tweet/status which is nothing but TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I have a friend on Facebook who genuinely posted a picture of an ultrasound along with the caption: ‘I love you big sis, I’m so sad you died before you were born so we could never meet.’ A picture of a stillborn older sister on Facebook. Am I the only one who thinks that is kind of sick? We all need to acknowledge that some things are better left private. Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and LinkedIn and even blogs give us our own Cult of Celebrity kind of status. Or at least they make us think we do. They put celebrities on the same pitch as us, and put us on the same pitch as them. So we start to act like celebrities. And not classy celebrities like Helen Mirren. No, we are the trashy, gossip magazine celebrities who have to give away every single detail of our personal lives just to keep our heads above water. We big-headedly assume that people should listen to us because we have something important to say, and we don’t. Take this blog as an example of that.

Which leads nicely into the attention seeker problem. Western culture is geared towards popularity. Rachel on Glee once noted ‘popularity is like currency’, and who are the most popular people of them all? Celebrities. And so we all want to be celebrities. So, as I’ve said, every dark detail is divulged to the internet to feed the celebrity monster machine of the internet. But beyond that, we want people to care about us. Who doesn’t have a friend or someone who they follow who constantly posts ‘I’m having such a bad day, wish someone would make me feel better!’ or some such crap. People are so afraid of being rejected that they force you to speak to them first, rather than them speaking about their problems to people they care about in the first place. We’ve all done it. Look back at my previous blogs. Especially from when I first joined this site. Maybe it’s an age thing, but we all need to grow up and face people head on.

I’m pretty confident, though, that the real problem with the first two problems is caused by the third, the bitch problem. Mean Girls is one of the most popular movies of the past twenty years, but we willfully ignore what Cady Heron tried so hard to teach us: criticizing other people doesn’t make you any better than them: calling someone ugly doesn’t make you pretty, calling someone stupid doesn’t make you clever, and calling someone fat doesn’t make you thin. But how are we to know any better? The modern media is filled to bursting with low brow journalism intent on ripping to shreds anyone who steps a toe out of the lines of what is deemed ‘acceptable’. Like Paris Brown. Sure, it’s very nice to criticize her for inappropriate tweets, but does that make the person who wrote the article’s tweets any more savoury? No. It doesn’t. But if that journalist criticizes Paris Brown, then maybe people won’t look at her tweets, maybe she can use Paris to gloss over her mistakes. Being a bitch is incredibly easy. Think of internet trolls; they can be horrible and never have to face to consequences of their actions. The internet made being nasty really really easy.

People make mistakes. That’s what we do. We’re human. The problem is that we expect perfection in those who we put on a pedestal, like celebrities or politicians. We can’t accept them to be human because if they’re human then they are no better than us, and if they’re no better than us then why should we follow them like we do?

So should these people use social media? No. Probably not. On social media we’re all on a level playing field. We are raised too high, and the people who we expect perfection from are brought too low. We are asking for these people to be perfect and also asking them to be like us. And when you bring the perfect down to the level of the ordinary then the there’s bound to be a kickback. And that is what the Paris Brown thing is.

But then, this blog is a huge exercise is hypocrisy. So what do you think? Should celebrities and politicians use social media? Do you think your social media would be acceptable enough for you to take a political position? I’d love to hear your views! Throw me a comment!

Jack out.

PS. If you want to know more about the whole Paris Brown thing that I’ve spoken about, here is a link to the news about it with the interview which I spoke about before: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-22057246

Look at the wonderful mess we made. We pick ourselves undone.

I restarted my computer just to write this.

Seriously, I turned off my computer in order to go to bed, and then I restarted it just to write this blog. What I’m saying is to prepare yourself for rambling nonsense of a half asleep blogger who will probably not make much sense. Also, you should know that part of my motivation to write this now was that I like waking up to comments and feedback on my blogs. So yeah. Just throwing that out there. Not begging for comments or anything… just saying… Just. Saying.

Anyway! Down to the actual blog! I’ve been away for a while because I couldn’t think of any topic that seemed to be good enough to talk about. But then I started thinking about this and I thought this could be the thing. Maybe it won’t be. We’ll see.

I am going to blog about home.

I’ve just come back home from university for the Easter holidays, or ‘Spring break’ as my American readers would know it as. Except we don’t do Spring Break in the way that American movies always portray it. We tend to just stay home and do very little, maybe watch a bit of Jeremy Kyle? No wild beach orgies for us Brits…

Anyway, I was walking my dog around the village where I live before, and it suddenly struck me that despite having lived here for over fifteen years of my life, I’ve always felt like an outsider in my village. When I was younger I lived in another village a few miles away, and I went to primary school there so I never really got to know any of the other kids of my age from the place I live now, because they all went to the village school and I went somewhere else. And when we got to high school they all knew each other already from primary school and their parents knowing each other and stuff like that, and I never had that. I’m not complaining, I made friends in the village and it’s never really held me back; I guess I just haven’t had the same experiences and connection to the place that the other people my own age have.

But then that got me thinking about where I really belong. And I can’t really think of anywhere. Certainly not here. It’s nice and all, but I feel like an outsider after fifteen years. That doesn’t seem like the type of place where you’d think that you belong.

Even if I were to widen my view to ‘the North of England’, I still feel like an outsider in many ways. My family isn’t from around here, yet I’ve grown up here, so my roots are all sort of tangled. I have family all over the country and I don’t think I there is one place where the family kind of sprung up from. One of my grandmothers is from the other side of the Pennines, the other and her husband (my grandfather on my mother’s side) are from Leicestershire, which, contrary to the belief of some of the ignorant Southerners I know, is NOT ‘The North’, and my grandfather on my father’s side is from London. Beyond that I’m not even sure. I’m pretty sure I have some Irish in me, but hell, who doesn’t have some Irish in them?

A lot of my friends have families who all sort of cluster around the same place. My boyfriend could probably visit all his family without going beyond a five mile radius of his house. That kind of family clustering seems weird to me, I’m not sure why. I guess some families are just more closely bonded than others. Two or three family meetings per year are more than enough for me, thank you very much. But I guess that sort of thing really ties you to a place, and I don’t really feel it.

I think part of the reason I went so far away to go to a university near London was because it’s somehow easy for me. I don’t feel tied to the place I’m from so uprooting myself and going away for three years seems… I don’t know… right, somehow? Yet when I go back to university after holidays or whatever, I still always get sad, and I still always get excited to come back. I don’t know. It’s weird.

But that’s not to say that I think I’ve found a place I belong at my university. I enjoy my time there, of course, this year has absolutely flown by, and you know what they say about fun and flying chronology, but I know that at the end of the day I’ll be leaving in three years so there’s no point considering it a place to belong.

Founders Building

Yeah, this is where I go to university.

They say home is where the heart is and I think I agree with that. I don’t feel like I belong at university as a place, but I do feel like I belong there when I’m with my friends. Equally, though I may not be attached to where I live as a place, I always look forward to coming back to seeing my parents, and my friends who’ve stayed up North, and my dog, and most of all, my boyfriend. But if I could take them all and put them in a different place, would it be different? I don’t think so.

I still think it’s important though. Because being at home is about being comfortable and I think that’s definitely the most important thing about home. And I feel comfortable when I’m with the people I love, and so I think that even if I never discover the place I truly belong, I will always know that I do belong because of them.

So where is my home? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll never know. I think I’m destined to be a wanderer all my life. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m a tumbleweed. If I wasn’t a tumbleweed then who would I be? I wouldn’t be me. And I like being me, so I’m glad that I’m a tumbleweed. Some people are cacti and some people are tumbleweeds. The desert needs both of them.

And that is a suitably philosophic note to end on considering that it is 3.28am.

Much love to everyone,

Jack out.

PS. Completely unrelated but my choir did a concert recently and I filmed it, so if you’d like to check us out here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzJMPhrpFlc&list=PLhQife1L-GihGmhOBE1E7UZc3kyjio2XQ

Anything Could Happen.

Hello. I’ve been pretty busy lately so I thought I’d write a blog and check in.

Well, I know I’ve written a blog this week, but it was a bit… silly. I thought I’d do a more personal one, maybe try to be a little more positive because I am kind of noticing since coming to university that I’ve become pretty negative about the state of the world. Seriously, there’s a new thing that I ‘just can’t stand’ every couple of hours and it’s all a bit depressing really.

The thing that I ‘just can’t stand’ at the moment is an essay that I’m writing on whether villains in Gothic fiction are the most interesting and complex characters. I don’t hate the essay because of what it is, I find the subject really interesting because I like reading Gothic fiction and the novel I’m writing about, Matthew Lewis’ ‘The Monk’, is absolutely fantastic. The problem is that the whole process of writing essays is just very time consuming and really quite dull. I genuinely haven’t left my flat since Tuesday. Frankly, I don’t know whether I’m even alive anymore. If I had died from essay ennui and was writing this blog as a ghost I wouldn’t be surprised. That’d be an interesting turn of events, that’s for sure…

Me as a ghost.

But ok, that’s all I’m prepared to have a rant about this blog. Or at least, that is what I shall strive for.

Then again, what is a blog if not a rant about your opinions? I guess I could write one of those ‘diary’ sorts of blogs but I do sort of find those slightly… childish? No, that’s not fair. I just think that writing those sorts of blogs leaves you open to a very specific kind of misrepresentation which I have blogged about before, and I find myself somewhat at odds with. So I do endeavor to avoid writing those sorts of blogs nowadays because I don’t want that misrepresentation of my life.

A fantastic example of misrepresentation found through a quick Google search.

Hmmmm… what to blog about… what to blog about… oh! Here’s one, it’s not very interesting and 90% of people won’t be interested but last week Nintendo finally announced the release date for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. For those who don’t know, the basic premise of the game is that you arrive in a town populated by animals and you build yourself a life there. It’s a sandbox game in the most sandboxy of ways. You can pretty much get up to whatever you want in your town, from fishing, to catching bugs, designing clothes, decorating your house, talking to the animals. I’d be very hard pressed to explain what makes it so much fun to play because pretty much every explanation of it makes it sound like the most boring game ever. It’s one for kleptomaniacs and people who like to express themselves. This installment has you taking the role of town mayor so you can do a whole lot more personalization, such as building public works around town and stuff. Animal Crossing: New Leaf has been available in Japan since early November, and we’re not getting it in Europe until June 14th, but I’m still super excited for it! The announcement of this game is one of the reasons I first bought my 3DS and I’ve been waiting nearly 3 years for it to come out, but I know it will be worth it! I’ll remind you all again when it comes out and you can send me your friend codes so we can all meet up online and have Animal Crossing based shenanigans! I may even do a review of it on my other blog when I get it. But if it sounds like your cup of tea from my small and rubbish description, I would seriously recommend getting a 3DS and the game when it comes out!

A bizarre but brilliant example of Animal Crossing adorableness found on Tumblr.

I recently had some kind of bad family news the other week. A relative of mine has died after a long stint in hospital. I won’t be any more graphic about the situation than that because it somehow doesn’t feel right to put such a personal matter into a blog for all to see. I’m not saying this because I want people to say ‘Sorry for your loss’ or anything because that’s just a stupid thing people say and it doesn’t mean anything. That in itself isn’t the issue I want to talk about.

No, what I wanted to say is just how important it is to cherish the moment and the people and the life you have, because, as the song says ‘Anything Could Happen’. This family thing got me thinking about what it is to be alive here and now. Y’know sometimes it’s easy to be negative. Hell, my rants are a testament to that. Isn’t it so much easier to talk about the things you don’t like than discuss the things that you do? The sad truth of the matter is that most of us take the good stuff for granted. Think about something as controversial as politics, for example, I’m pretty sure that most people want to rant about how little our government is doing to help him or her or me or you, but no one ever stops to think how lucky we are. In some countries people can’t even grumble about their leading politicians without being arrested. So there’s a big matter, but what about a little one? Think about your friends; how often do you tell them how much you appreciate them? For me, not very often. I do, but I don’t say it. Well maybe I should. Maybe I’ll say it now; I do appreciate you all, even if I don’t always say it. I know it sounds simple but you don’t always have to be grand to be honest.

Google search for ‘Appreciate life’.

The whole world could change at any moment so y’know, be happy with what you have. Just stop complaining for once and try to see the good.

And staying inside to do an essay all week isn’t good. There’s a whole world out there and it never stops and it never slows down and if you miss it then it’s gone forever. Maybe there’s such a thing as afterlife or reincarnation or whatever, but no one can prove it, and so we have to live every day like it’s our last because one day it will be. When I’m dying and I look back at my life, I don’t want to have anything to regret. Carpe Diem.

With that said, I’m going to sign off. I didn’t plan to write this blog about anything and I’ve ended up with 1122 words. If only essay writing was so easy… speak to you soon!

Jack out.

PS. Not that I’m begging for comments or anything, but I do appreciate them, and I do appreciate reading what my readers have to say on the stuff I talk about, so don’t be afraid to drop me a line! 🙂

The role of a lifetime, it’s living a fantasy. A drama that you struggle to erase.

I refuse to be one of those dreadful bloggers who apologizes for never updating their blog.

The easiest option would be to just stop writing in my blog and let that be the end of it, but where would I post my rants when 140 characters just isn’t enough? So instead I fall back on my second option: not apologizing. If you have a problem with my lack of recent posts – get over it. If, as I assume most people will, you aren’t particularly bothered then keep reading.

As you’ve probably guessed today’s post will be a ranty one. And this evening the subject of ranting is… (drumroll)

AWFUL GAY CLICHÉS.

Now, as much as I’d like to simply rant about all the gay stereotypes which get on my nerves, I realize that I couldn’t possibly attempt to do that without offending certain people, being a huge hypocrite, and generally not being very nice. But then, I do conform to the awful gay cliche (which you’ll have to deal with not having an accent on because I cannot be bothered to put one on there every time) of being a dreadful bitch, so I guess some people will get offended. But there you go. What can you do? Be offended if you wish. Throw me a comment, argue your case, tell me what you think. I always appreciate feedback on the things I write!

Oh and be prepared for lots of hypocrisy.

I don’t particularly want to go on a rant about how ‘I hate gays’. In fact, that is the first awful gay cliche that I am sick and tired of hearing. Even though I say it sometimes. When I say it I say it because I want to set myself apart from all the other gay guys, I want to make my heterosexual friends feel more comfortable with me, and sometimes because I’m tired of awful gay cliches. The thing is though, it’s a ridiculous comment to make. You can’t fit a whole group of people into one massive box based on something as all-encompassing as sexuality. The fact is that with these big terms like ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ you have to be very specific. ‘I get really annoyed by overly masculine straight guys who seek to prove their straightness to me at every possible opportunity’ is a more meaningful thing to say than ‘I hate straights’. If you’re gay just think before you say ‘I hate gays’ that you’ll probably be having sex with one at some point. Just saying.

But, nevertheless, I do understand where people are coming from when they say ‘I hate gays’. Those people are usually referring to the next in my series of awful gay cliches: overly effeminate gays/overly masculine lesbians. Some gay guys are pretty feminine and some gay girls are pretty masculine, fair enough, stereotypes don’t come out of no where. Some boys like musicals and some girls like vaginas – get over it. But I SWEAR that some people put it on. I have met gay guys who act as though they are women with penises and a serious lacks of breasts. It’s very easy to see a stereotype of gay people and act up to it because people expect you to. I do it more frequently than I’d like to. It is so annoying. And it’s so transparent. There is no one on the planet who can’t see that it’s a skin you’re wearing, a part you’re playing and to all the people who are watching you and seeing through it; it looks ridiculous. Just be yourself, don’t play up to stereotypes.

Next on my list of awful gay cliches. Slutty gays. This one. Bane of my nights out. Can we just get one thing clear; just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you have to be a slut. Alright, fair play, some people are just naturally very sexually driven people, the heteros have them too but I mean far more gay slags than straight slags; considering that homosexuals are supposed to be a minority you can see how much of a gay cliche it is. I guess maybe it’s a thing that’s been brought about through the centuries of gay relationships not being legally recognized so gay people have had to just settle for one night stands and affairs that mean nothing but no more. We can (at least in my country) get married or civil parsnipped, have children, own a little house on a hill with a dog and a car and a collection of hats; there is no reason to continue being whores. But yet the tradition continues. It’s partly a playing up to stereotypes thing, but it’s worse in that people use their sexuality as an excuse for being a slut. It’s like saying ‘I’m straight so I’m frigid’. How ridiculous does that sound? That’s how ridiculous it is to use homosexuality as an excuse for lustiness. Be a slut, fine, but don’t use your sexuality as an excuse. And for god sake, please stop assuming that because I’m gay I’m also a slut who’ll sleep with you just because you ask.

‘I refuse to be defined’ gays. I think this one is just a bit of a defensive mechanism, like ‘I hate gays’. But when you’re gay, just say that you’re gay. Ticking the box that says ‘Undefined’ when you’re asked what sexuality you are doesn’t make you any less gay, it just makes you kind of a coward. It’d be nice to believe we live in a society where labels are no longer important and we’re beyond them. But unfortunately, we don’t live in that society. Gay people still get discriminated against everyday just for being gay and if some people are splintering away from the whole group by being ‘undefined’ you’re doing nothing to change things. Also, if you’re using ‘undefined’ as a way to avoid coming out, you’re a coward, plain and simple.

The word ‘queer’. Not exactly an awful gay cliche but definitely an irritating one. I think it comes from a time when gay people called themselves queer because society thought they were weird and thus attached a word which means weird to gay people. Queer means weird. There is no way on earth that queer is an acceptable word for ‘gay’. It’s just awful. But it’s a thing. A horrible thing, but a thing. On my course there is a module called ‘Queer Histories: Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Literature’. No. Queer. No. Just say ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ or ‘bi’. No, it needs to stop. Queer needs to end. Also, can someone alert the people who made the acronym LGBTQ that ‘queer’ is not a sexuality.

‘Queer’ Youth. What?! This needs to end.

The acronym ‘LGBTQ’. Already discussed this before but it feels like I should touch on it in this blog too. Aside from Queer not being a real thing and thus not having any place being there, there is also the issue of the ‘T’. Ok, transgender people are real, they exist. But unless the person they identify as is gay or bisexual or lesbian then I don’t understand why transgender is lumped in with those categories. Lumping all non-heteronormative people in one big homogeneous group isn’t ok. The world needs to start accepting the fact that gender identity and sexuality are completely different topics. (Just found out that the ‘Q’ might also stand for ‘Questioning’. If no one even knows what the letter stands for, there is no need for it to be there!)

‘Only interested in gay stuff’ gays. I like watching movies involving gay people, I like reading books involving gay people, I like seeing gay characters on TV shows. I don’t think I’d be completely wrong to say that most gay people enjoy seeing homosexuality recognized by the arts – it’s nice to see a character on TV who’s gay like you and have that little bit in common with them, especially when you might not know too many other people who are gay. I for one don’t think I would have been able to accept myself as I have done without seeing John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness on my favourite television series, Doctor Who. BUT, that isn’t to say that I like Doctor Who, and Glee, and The New Normal, and ‘The Song of Achilles’, and ‘RENT’, and Skins, and all those things just because they have gay characters. They have to actually be good. But no, according to some gays I know the only reason they enjoy watching/reading/seeing/listening to anything is because of the exhibition of gay characters. Enjoy things because they’re good and recognize that gayness isn’t the be all and end all of being good or not. Oh, and film makers, please realize that ‘coming out’ films are no longer inventive or shocking to audiences, it is reality for a lot of people and it isn’t enough to constitute an entire plot on it’s own.

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And finally, my last one before bed: ‘Hi, I’m ———-. I’m gay’ gays. I’ve done it, yes. Maybe it’s a thing when you just come out and you want to show the world how proud of yourself you are. I tend to find it a lot with people who are playing up to gay stereotypes but it’s ridiculously pathetic. How many straight people do you find announcing their sexuality in the same breath as introducing themselves. Yeah. Think about that.

With that, I’m going to bed. Please let me know your views, I’d be interested to hear what anyone else has to say on the subject of awful gay cliches. Is anyone, like me, a huge hypocrite and can’t stand other people doing the things they’ve done/do? Does anyone deliberately avoid falling into these stereotypes? Is anyone offended by my blog? Throw me a comment and let me know!

Jack out.