Great Concepts That Were Never Going to Work

I consider myself to be something of an ideas person. I also like to think that I’m reasonably disciplined, however, and thus able to bring a reasonable percentage of my ideas to fruition, although often this takes a lot longer than I’d like, largely on account of time constraints, but also on account of my own limitations, technical and otherwise. Indeed, some projects I have to shelve simply because I can’t master the technology to do the concept justice and I either don’t know anyone who might be willing or able to collaborate, or I’m simply too stubborn and controlling to relinquish the control necessary to collaborate. C’est la vie.

Anyway, I probably complete around half of the projects I begin, and these in turn represent around a quarter of the ideas I have. As I said, often, there simply isn’t time. However, on other occasions, it’s immediately apparent that the idea’s a non-starter. Take, for example, my idea to assemble a gay tribute to the Bomfunk MCs. It would have been called the Bumfuck MCs. But this was scuppered when I discovered that no-one could remember the band, or their immense pan-European hit, ‘Freestyler.’ Then I realised that I only knew the one song anyway, so dropped the idea before placing any ‘wanted’ ads.

I’ve also had some fantastic never-going-to-happen concepts for television programmes, which I’ve also decided it’s probably best not to pursue. Here are just a few of them.

Bollyoaks: Indian remake of hit UK soap Hollyoaks. Phil Redmond could never have devised this, with his obsession with Scouse-tinged supposed realism! Yes, all-singing, all-dancing, huge budget and mammoth caste as teenagers and twentysomethings go through the trials and tribulations of parental break-ups, gay snogging, pub brawls, dodgy wheeling and dealing, nightclub fires and all the rest.

West Side Story: A gangsta rap remake of the hit musical. There are thuggins and muggins, shootins and knifins innit, and there’s a guy an a gal and she’s got a booty to die for but she’s from the wrong side of the tracks, you know what I’m sayin? The title, of course, should be delivered with arms folded, and pronounced ‘Wesssiiide Story,’ you get me?

Never Mind the Bollocks… Here’s a Pop Quiz: a former yoof TV presenter selected at random from the dole queue hosts a quiz where 2 panels comprised of musicians and comedians answer questions on pop trivia instead of a half-hour of digressions punctuated with abysmal renditions of ‘intros’ of semi-popular songs.

Gash in the Attic: Lorne Spicer and an ‘expert’ go round to people’s houses and hunt around until they find hidden treasure in the form of sex slaves and prostitutes hidden in the loft or garage. They’re then checked out and taken to auction, where they are trafficked to the highest bidding pimp.

X Marks the Spot Factor: Like a talent competition for the talentless, where wannabes perform karaoke to a panel of judges and the viewers get to cast their votes for who goes through to the next round. The winner gets to release a terrible cover version as a single, before being ritually slaughtered and buried in an unmarked grave. The people who voted for them have to then search for them, using a pirate-style map, where X marks the spot. The person who finds the ‘treasure’ then gets to dig up the corpse and resurrect it and the career of the deceased ‘star.’

Come Die With Me: Each week, five suicidal misanthropes take turns to throw a dinner party. The host poisons the food, and they all die. The winning contestant is presented with a grand, in cash, on a silver platter, toward funeral costs.

Mollusc of the Glen: A drama series set in the highlands of Scotland which focuses on a clan of mussels that swim from the Clyde upstream to a fictional castle in a fictional location with an absurd and incredible name. Alex Salmon makes a guest appearance in one episode, in which he attempts to mussel in on leading lady Shelly, while Salmon Rushdie has a cameo in another, despite not being Scottish. But then neither are the majority of the regular actors, who can’t act anyway.

Neighbours at War: Live from the border of Israel and Gaza!

American Idle: Couch Potatoes with a yearning for celebrity status countered by a complete lack of motivation to do anything but gorge themselves, sit around eating chips and burgers and drinking beer. The winner receives a year’s supply of Domino’s Pizza, an extra-large couch and a reinforced bed.

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Not Your Usual Promo

It’s been a while… After spending 2015 concerned about building momentum for The Rage Monologues by trying (and largely failing) to perform as often as possible and in as many different cities as possible, I decided to take a break and take stock at the front end of 2016, with just one appearance back in January to premiere a new piece.

I’ve spent the last couple of months recharging and writing new material, and honing and refining the material I already have.

Over the coming months, I will be taking the Rage back on the road, likely starting this Wednesday in Leeds. But aside from certain key events, I shall – at least for the time being – be keeping things low-key. It may sound perverse, but popping up at spoken word nights unannounced and unleashing the Rage on an unsuspecting audience seems like a more effective way of spreading the virus than trying to corral people already familiar with my work to events.

This means I may, or may not, be coming to a spoken word night near you, and as such, nowhere is safe.

You have been warned.

Rage album cover

Corporate Christmas

This piece was penned with a view to fitting the ‘Black Friday’ theme of December’s Fictions of Every Kind spoken word night at The Wharf Chambers, Leeds, on 30th November 2015 (which, incidentally, was great, with a good mix of writers of outstanding quality, and a brilliant atmosphere in a super venue).

‘Corporate Christmas’ is a part of the ever-expanding and presently ongoing ‘Rage Monologues’ project, and as such, is designed first and foremost as a performance piece. However, as I’m aware my live performances are few and far between, and tend to take place in the north of England, there are may who won’t be able to hear this material. So, in the spirit of the season, I thought I’d share this piece, which doesn’t feature in the tour edition pamphlet of The Rage Monologues, here.

Enjoy…

 

Corporate Christmas

It’s all about the money. But at a certain point, the money becomes theoretical. Top-flight executives, boards of directors, the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy, I get. No, that’s not true. What I get is that it takes a certain kind of person to become a top-flight executive, a director on the board, to scale the heights and reach the upper echelons of the corporate hierarchy. A sociopath, no more and no less. I will never understand the mindset, the megalomania that drives such criminal disregard for everything other than money. They’re so far removed from the reality of the everyday, so distanced from the shop floor, they’re effectively exempt. They’re wired differently. They don’t see their employees as humans. They don’t see their customers as human. They never hear the voices of the downtrodden, the weary, the world at large. They can’t hear us cry out, fists raised.

You’ve got the money.

You’ve got the status.

You’ve got the power.

You’ve got the control.

You’re fucking us all over.

You don’t see the planet as a finite resource. Everything exists for your benefit. And nothing is ever enough. You have everything already. What more can you possibly want? More… always more. Because money doesn’t just talk. It buys whatever the fuck you want. Want it? Buy it. Because you can.

What do you want? World domination!

When do you want it? Yesterday!

Competition? You’ve bought the competition, and shut it down.

Regulation? You laugh in the face of it. You’ve bought the regulators.

Government? You’ve bought the government. The parties are in your pocket, paid off with the money not spent on paying tax. You’re not the law – you’ve bought the law.

But the countless other layers of management, from the cringing petty bureaucrats at the lower managerial levels, to the ones who command payola and power but don’t own a fleet of yachts or several Pacific islands… I get where they’re coming from. And they, they’re the worst fucking scum.

You, you’ve also got the money – not as much, but just enough to think you’re special, to afford the finer things in life, not least of all thanks to the company credit card, the expense account. Like you fucking need it on your salary – pleading poverty while cruising in your Audi, smugging it up, your 2.4 kids in private schools and destined for top universities and to follow in your patent leather footsteps.

You’ve got the status – not as much as the real high-flyers, but club class will do. You’ve got enough to flash it around, to swan off on management away days and three-hour “working lunches”, plotting espionage and tax avoidance on your iPhones while chilling in first-class lounge suites making like your lives are so pressured, while not having the first clue what it’s like to have to worry about the bills – your pampered wives sipping Pinot Grigot from balloon glasses on leather corner sofas in front of a 60” flatscreen while wearing a white fluffy dressing gown, perish the thought they might break a nail in a five-bed townhouse with the heating cranked up to thirty.

You’ve got the power – not world domination, but you’ve got a hotline to the gods of business, and they know people who know people who know people who know people and the next thing, you’ve bought into Europe and you’ve got steer on the TTIP… so you’ve got power enough to throw around, enough to make you feel good while holding others down. You need to hold them down, keep them in their place.

You’ve got the control – just enough to live out your fantasies of power play. Those rebels and potential usurpers… you know how to dispense with them. Dissent? Crush it! Remove it! Yes, there are ways and means to sidestep legislation about unfair dismissal and discrimination… show them the door. No-one’s going to stop your march.

We need to make cuts to boost profit! The shareholders have spoken! The directors have spoken!

So what do you do? What do you do? Front-line staff every time: you’ll never see management voting for a cull of management, a stripping back of the layers of the hierarchy, no. Because it’d be like turkeys voting for Christmas. You’ve got just one interest, and that’s self-interest.

So you stand there in your sharp suit with your company laptop rucksack, your sharp haircut and your buzzwords, making like you actually give a fuck as you apologise for the cuts, the redundancies as you lay off yet more staff, just to protect your own bonus. Cunt.

You think you hold the power, that you have ownership. But you’re all part of the same system. The capitalist system. You’re still climbing over one another to attain material goods, more and more and more, and nothing is ever enough.

You don’t own capitalism: capitalism owns you. You’re still a part of the system, a system the purpose of which is to make people buy shit they don’t need with money they don’t have.

Not in it for the Money: Getting Aggro

I was faced with a dilemma. Back in 2008, having written a couple of largely unread music reviews on my MySpace Blog, I started writing as a reviewer for Whisperin’ and Hollerin’. It came naturally: I’d written music reviews for a few local and regional papers and so on in the past. And so before long, I was cranking out a review a day on average, and sometimes more. Landing more reviewing slots for other websites alongside, I independently built up a substantial PR network over the next few years. While continuing to receive streams and CDs and all other gubbins for review from editors and various PRs, and moving up to an average of two reviews a day, I couldn’t help but feel I was holding back on occasion. That isn’t to say I wasn’t loving my work, and the various sites are all outstanding in their ways, commanding respect and a decent readership.

But the reviews I was holding back on were more journalistic, essay-like pieces which felt appropriate for some of the releases I was receiving, but posting the 450+ word pieces I wanted to write didn’t feel entirely right even on the sites I had free reign on.

For a long period of time, I deliberated running my own site, and laid claim to Aural Aggravation in 2013 with a view to launching my own site devoted to covering the niche bands I liked but felt warranted a more specialist review space over sites that covered everything. I had a sense of how the site should look, feel and navigate. I suppose you might say I’m a control freak: I’d argue against that, but sometimes feel the need to impose my creative ideas on the world – albeit usually only a very small corner of it.

It was listening to the new Philip Jeck album while simultaneously reading Mark Fisher’s Ghosts of My Life that spurred me to write a very different kind of review. More contemplative, academic, even. And much longer – somewhere between a longform review and an essay, you might say. I immediately realised that this was the kind of review I wanted to write. Not always, but sometimes.

And so Aural Aggravation was born and the site went live – public – with a couple of album reviews, a single review courtesy of James Wells, and a couple of audio / video streams. Boom.

I’m not ditching W&H or S4M any stretch, and I’m most certainly continuing to work in my various fiction projects and build The Rage Monologues (more of which very soon). But I am branching out in the reviewing world.

Aural Aggravation won’t be for everyone. And I’m happy with that. It will never reach a huge audience, either. The aim isn’t to be a mainstream site, either in the music if covers or in the way it covers it. Both aspects of the site are purposefully niche, and the fact that reviewing difficult music in reviews that will take more than a minute and a half to read, and don’t even use any kind of rating system runs completely contra to everything that’s going on in the media right now, from the ‘net to the debased print version of the NME. And that is precisely why I’m doing it. There’s a gap in the market, so to speak. Small and specialist it may be, but it’s one that I’m looking to step into in some way – for the love, not the money.

Aural Aggravation Website: http://auralaggravation.com/

Aural Aggravation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuralAggravation?fref=ts

Aural Aggravation on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAAAggravation

Rage Monologue #4 – News

The Rage Monologues was devised as a spoken-word project built around an in-progress and expanding collection of pieces that would evolve over time, developed and adapted to suit different audiences and settings and, where necessary or appropriate, tweaked to be up-to-the-minute current. It was never about producing a fixed body of published work. However, sometimes events overtake plans, and this piece I began performing a few months ago is probably more relevant now than it ever will be again, so I’ve decided to share  it with the world as it’s currently written.

 

News

 

It still seems to be a fact little acknowledged outside certain domains – media studies, sociology and the world of Charlie Brooker, for example – that the news media is biased. It seems to be even less understood how the mainstream media – the big providers, like the BBC and Sky – is highly selective as to what it covers. The post-election ‘Fuck The Tories’ protests, like Occupy’s pro-democracy protests over in Parliament Square before them, were largely ignored in favour of, well, everything. The revolution clearly won’t be televised. It will be suppressed, ignored out of history until it ceases to exist. How do you fight back against the international media?

If the mainstream news media were to be believed, things are once again quiet in Gaza, and the Ukraine situation is altogether more settled. There is peace. There is calm, but we can’t get too comfortable because the terror threat is as high as it’s been since 9/11. It’s all a strategy. Keep the people on edge. Keep them compliant.

All of the new legislation is for our safety, about preventing terrorism. It’s not about control. Oh no. Only a conspiracy theorist would suggest that. Keep the public’s focus on the things that keep them scared. Keep them indignant. And keep them distracted with entertainment. Give them the news they want. But wait.

Sports news is not news. It’s news about sport.

Celebrity gossip is not news. It’s gossip about celebrities.

So you’re wondering what’s happening in Syria while shitting yourself silly over ebola. The next time you’re reading OK! Magazine, Heat Magazine, People magazine, Grazia, The Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, Metro or any other wretched tabloid arsewipe, take a moment to think and consider this:

X-Factor is not news.

Strictly is not news.

The Voice is not news.

The Beckhams are not news.

Harry Potter is not news.

Big Brother is not news.

Celebrity Big Brother is not news. Most of the contestants aren’t even celebrities.

Dr Who is not news.

The weather is not news.

I’m a former D-List Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! is not news.

Britain’s Got Talent is not news. And if anything, this programme proves the precise opposite of what the title states.

Simon Cowell is not news.

Rhianna’s pierced nipples are not news.

Katie Price is not news.

Made in Chelsea is not news.

The Only Way is Essex is not news.

Joey Essex is not news. He’s just an idiot who can’t tell the time.

The love life of some slapper off The Only Way is Essex or some cretin off Made in Chelsea is not news.

Footballers’ wives – the TV show or actual footballers’ wives – do not constitute news.

Suzannah Reid’s short skirt is not news.

Diet fads are not news.

A nip-slip or so-called wardrobe malfunction is not news.

Frankie Boyle saying something offensively un-PC is not news.

Bruce Jenner’s sex change is not news: give the guy some peace.

Justin Bieber is not news.

Miley Cyrus is not news.

Myleene Klass is not news.

Robert Pattinson is not news.

Daniel Radcliffe is not news.

Kristen Stewart is not news, affair or no affair.

Emma Watson’s hair is not news.

Somebody parking badly is not news.

How some comedian deals with a heckler or someone whose phone goes off during their performance is not news.

Eastenders / Emmerdale / Hollyoaks actors and actresses scrapping outside restaurants is not news.

Naomi Campbell being a bitch is not news.

Kate Moss sunbathing topless / on coke / being a bitch is not news.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand are not news. Never were.

Bickering celebrities regardless of their status is not news.

Pete Doherty on / off / on / off / on drugs is not news.

That little tosser with the bouffant hair from One Direction: whoever he’s dating / shagged is not news. Nothing he does is news.

Kim Kardashian’s oiled buttocks are not news.

Kate Middleton’s disappointing breasts are not news.

The opinions of the masses are not news.

Facebook comments are not news.

Katie Hopkins is not news.

Madonna posing topless again in her 50s or falling off a step is not news. Madonna is yesterday’s news. Let’s be honest. More like yesterday’s news 20 years ago.

My Big Fat cunting Gypsy Wedding is not news.

Whatever bigoted bollocks spills from the mouth of Jeremy Clarkson is not fucking news.

‘Celebrities’ bickering on Twitter is not news.

What people have said on Twitter in response something somebody people follow on Twitter said is not news.

Miley fucking Cyrus, I repeat, is not news.

Sleazy, corrupt MPs are not news. Apart from when they’re murderous paedophiles, in which case you won’t hear about it, so it’s still not news.

 

Fuckthetories

This is not news. Nothing to see here, people. Move along, now, and fast, or you’ll feel the strong arm of the law hefting a baton at you. Pic: Mail Online.

 

Essex

Now this, this is news. Look at his lovely white teeth and tended eyebrows. What a wholesome, sincere lad. No, it’ doesn’t matter that he’s a fuckwit, he’s the salt of the earth. He’s got a new haircut, too. Don’t you feel much calmer and happier knowing about that rather than worrying about those ultra-left brutes who are trying to bring anarchy to the city’s street with their offensive placards and dungarees?

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Easter, Christianity and the Big Corporate Con

I lost count weeks ago how many times I was asked the question. “Are you doing anything nice for Easter?” people were wanting to know. Family, friends, work colleagues, they were all asking… I hadn’t really given it much thought, but after a half dozen Easter cards from various family members had dropped through the letter box, and I found myself at the checkout queue behind a guy making the most of their three for £10 offer by filling his trolley and bagging 50 quid’s worth, I started to wonder if perhaps I ought to get to thinking. What was everyone else doing?

Days out, egg hunts for the children, generation-spanning family gatherings for roast feasts, couples splashing out on super-sized deluxe confectionery for one another. Clearly, doing nothing was not an option unless I wanted to position the Nosnibor household in that minority bracket of those who exile themselves from society by refusing to participate in any kind of festive activity. In the week and a half before the Good Friday holiday, social networks were aclog with images of fluffy bunnies, cutesy chicks, lambs (all thoughts of slaughter completely dispelled) and people gurgling about their imminent trips away. No, doing nothing was not an option. To do nothing would be to miss out. But on what? And why is Easter such a big deal?

Flick on the news and the BBC New Channel are cutting live to York, where the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, was busy waterboarding some zealots in the street in front of the Minster. Fair enough, you might say: Easter is after all a Christian festival – arguably the most important. The birth of Christ may be cause for celebration, but it’s the crucifixion and resurrection upon which the religion is built. Why not take the opportunity to reinforce the Christian aspect of the religion’s major festival when it’s under threat of becoming just another excuse to cut loose and enjoy four consecutive days off work (unless you happen to work in retail) by revisiting the Middle Ages? Well, the fact that Easter is another example of the Christian religion superimposing its own calendar over the preexisting pagan calender – specifically the pagan holiday of Ēostre – in order to obliterate the worship of ancient deities and nature is one very good reason.

Baptisms

A picture speaks a thousand words, especially when you can’t speak because you’re drowning in the name of Christ

 

Baptism 2

Grinning Christian sadist with a beard and the Archbishop of York reach the apex of spiritual ecstasy while drowning a young girl in the name of God

 

For a full and unbiased report, go to the BBC.

But all of this notwithstanding, what’s curious is the massive upsurge in the popularity and commercialisation of Easter in recent years. Could it really be that the economic downturn that began around 2008 prompted a bunch of cynical marketing companies representing big-money commerce decided the best way to boost revenue was to promote Easter-themed products in order to spur a cash-strapped society to part with their limited disposable income on things they neither needed nor wanted? And, on seeing a bandwagon rolling, the rest of the business world decided it hop on board for fear of being left behind? Well, quite probably.

Could it equally be the case that, depressed by the general shitness of life and working conditions – for those fortunate enough to still be in employment in the wake of the credit crunch – the majority of the population decided that actually, they were drawn by the mass-marketed idea of a celebration that happened to coincide with the slow emergence from a dismal winter marked by long, dark days, even longer, darker nights, destitution and flooding, and thought the antidote to their malaise could be to indulge in a colossal bout of retail therapy? Quite probably.

 

Chick

Multicoloured fluffy chicks: what’s not to love about Easter?

The celebration of spring is noble and something I’m keen to get behind. The springing of new life, the longer, warmer says, the buds, the blossom. It’s truly profound, remarkable, something far greater than human comprehension or existence. And far beyond the great capitalist con. Since when did spending money you don’t have on shit you didn’t need to make yourself feel better enter any kind of spiritual equation? Is this what life’s about now? And yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

Corporate Easter cash-ins? Just say no….

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Ignorance is Bliss – All Cock, No Bull

What’s the big deal with ‘antiques’ ‘dealer’ Kate Bliss (née Alcock)? Is she the new Carol Vorderman, some kind of so-called ‘thinking man’s totty’ for daytime TV viewers?

There’s a reason I ask… Some time in 2011, I banged out an off-the-cuff blog post about daytime TV show Secret Dealers, in which I commented on the absurdity of the show’s title in relation to its actual premise. There was a brief flurry of comments, primarily attacking my flippant criticism and largely missing the point, as is usual. After a few days, all fell quiet and like pretty much everything else I post, it sunk without trace – until a few days go, when suddenly hits on my blog skyrocketed. All the hits were on this singe post. This has now continued for the best part of a week.

This was unexpected, and I was compelled to undertake some cursory research into what may have prompted this upsurge in my post’s popularity. Had she died? Thankfully, no. Divorced? Not as far as I could tell. Given birth again? Nothing to suggest as much. In fact, news on Mrs Bliss is scant, with little in circulation that’s later than 2010, and precious little on her painfully sparse Wikipedia entry (not that I can talk. I don’t even merit a Wikipedia entry).

People are asking – and I know this because my analytics tell me so – ‘why did kate bliss leave secret dealers’. I don’t know. I don’t care. My blog does not have the answers. They’re asking ‘when did kate bliss leave secret dealers’. I don’t know. I don’t care. My blog does not have the answers. They’re also simply searching for ‘secret dealers kate bliss’. Why? What is wrong with these people? Do they have some sort of thing for slightly bug-eyed, big-chinned bottle blondes in their late 30s, with an Oxford education and detailed knowledge of antique jewellery, in particular silver? I don’t know. I don’t care. My blog does not have the answers. She’s certainly no Catherine Southon. So what’s the deal? I don’t know. I don’t care. My blog does not have the answers.

 

kate-bliss-nc3a9e-alcock_1

Kate Bliss. No, really, she’s all yours mate.

 

But I do have questions. Really. I mean, TV career (such as it is) aside, she’s clearly doing ok. She has her own firm for a start, and the media coverage she’s received in recent years can only have boosted its profile (even when her estimates have proven wildly inaccurate. She’s invariably closer to the mark than Flog It! host Paul Martin, who’s completely fucking useless). How else do you account for her company’s fees (which are anything but bargain (hunt) basement)?

  • Hourly rate                 £140+VAT

  • Minimum fee              £150+VAT

  • Travel expenses         40pence/mile +VAT or public transport at cost +VAT

Guess what? I don’t know. I don’t care. My blog does not have the answers.

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk