Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

Bunkered Betty

February 16, 2011

Golf and skateboarding share a peculiar phenomenon; both sports attract an alpha’s share of arseholes and nitwits.

If you play golf you will inevitably if irregularly find yourself forcibly paired with strangers. The reasons are innocent enough, as courses are often busy, and groups of four play faster than two groups of two, and the occasional lonely single might require buddy. But eighteen holes of golf is a four and 1/2 hour affair, almost all of it spent not in the performance of a golf shot, but walking and waiting and watching. So, politeness demands you make friends, but woe are those who play golf.

The Uniformed Twit

Golf on television sports mostly conservative dress. Baseball cap, trousers, golf shoes, collared or muscle shirt, belt. I lack the sartorial grammar to fully illustrate what it is that makes the golf outfit so instantly recognizable despite its blandness, but exists it does. Many years ago one might have spotted plus fours, checkered knee socks, a vest, and a Scottish red plaid Tam O’ Shanter complete with pom pom. But those delightful times have past, and the rank and file hacker arrives at the golf course logoed in Nike swoosh.

The instant dislike felt by me when presented with such a corporate sheep is similar to my reaction to the baggy pants neanderthal with a skull on his shirt and bleached spikes for hair I encountered so frequently in high school. Skate culture breeds individuals whose primary interests are loathsome music and retarding intellectual development. The inane speech, ghastly artwork, and faux politics associated with skateboarding are difficult to get past. Be that as it may, I have met some very charming people who skateboard, and the same can be said for some I know who golf.

The Jock

My great admiration for golf stems partly from the fact that the game is a fantastic and elusive puzzle. Ted Williams said the most difficult thing in sports was hitting a major league pitch. Ted may be right, but surely the most counter intuitive motion in sports, is the golf swing. A visit to a driving range should prove sufficient warning to anyone who thinks the method for approximating a golf shot is readily apparent. What one will discover, is a host of semi correct and semi effective swings, and several entirely incorrect and ineffective swings.

New players tend to underestimate how difficult it is to get the ball airborne, let alone in the proper direction. I have had the pleasure of introducing the game to a few friends, none of them stupid or uncoordinated, and their golf  was, essentially, played along the ground. A largely unsatisfying experience.

On top of the singularly difficult task of hitting a ball from a perfectly level lie, and with the same club repeatedly, and without much care as to direction, which is the experience of a driving range, one is faced with a plethora of variables when playing golf on an actual course. Wind, the condition of turf, the ball above or below one’s feet, from an uphill or downhill lie, from a bunker, below branches, over a tree, putting against or with the grain, the reading of green break, adjusting for uphill and downhill yardages, and the effect of spin. Each problem potentially intertwined (a sidehill lie into a right to left crosswind into a poa annua green that slopes away from you with water in front?).

But in walks the jock. There is no denying it, the cro magnon in possession of truly superior dexterity and strength can compensate for a lack of technique. His drive will be inefficient, but nonetheless as effective as he who possesses good technique but only average coordination. How utterly and completely infuriating. Nonetheless, confront the same Pleistocene boar with an irregular lie and an inaccessible pin, and he will wither and fold. He does not understand.

How truly uplifting and validating the game of golf.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

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How to be a Bore

February 7, 2011

Ancestry, dreams, illness, and tenuous celebrity connections, are four major examples of topics that prove a dreary bore to everyone but he who is living it.

Nothing elicits instant dis-attention with such inevitability than when an acquaintance recounts a dream. An oblivious woman at a party had a captured audience of smokers on a balcony some years ago, and her retelling of the previous night’s unconscious cinema was met with eyes on shoes and hurried puffing. What is unimportant are the specifics of the dream (the one notable exception would have been if the entire cast of the balcony had somehow all featured in her dream. No one cares what you dream about unless you dream about them -Doug Martsch). No matter how thrilling or surreal or unfathomably bizarre your dream was, your victim of a conversation partner wasn’t there and can’t rent it later. Fuck off.

Little concentrates the mind like a virulent invader insisting on puffing one’s glands to the point where swallowing is an achievement both memorable and traumatic. Much like having sex or doing drugs, its requires a great deal to distract oneself from the task, and despite the occasional or otherwise expression of sympathy, you simply had to be there. “But dude, I was so high.” “Yep.” “No, dude, you don’t understand, I was really really high. Like soooo high.” “Ok, I believe you. You were really high. Good for you.”

Margaret Atwood and I share the same birthday. Utterly banal facts of that order cannot possibly be of even the slightest interest to anyone who doesn’t also share Margaret’s special day. In fact, it is somewhat embarrassing to admit that on some small level I find our shared birthday noteworthy, but it is one of those inescapably narcissist moments that one is doomed to file away under significant digits. There is only one pitfall to avoid; if  Margaret Atwood comes up in conversation, resist the temptation.

I suppose being a none too distant member of a decaying European dynasty is interesting enough to get even the most portly Doritos aficionado laid, but your distant cousinship to the heirs of  the Nabisco fortune is not even worth mentioning. Perhaps it might come up well into your retirement over a game of cribbage with your wife, where she will respond with a “huh, I didn’t know that” but that will be the end of it. We all have relatives, what have you done?

What Happens in 45

January 3, 2011

On my way back from Dave’s house I suffered four curious episodes.

After parting ways with Aaron and before I made my way past Celtic Corner, two women emerged from said saloon, one obviously drunk, and struggling against her companion’s attempts at returning her indoors. The slosh (Barbara, Engineer, Rolls Royce Marine Power) availed herself of my happening by and sloppily requested “Will you walk me home?” Somewhat takenaback I manage “I am a strange man, you should listen to your friend and go back inside.” Her friend nodded in agreement, and was desperate for Barb to get a cab.

But Barbara was having none of it, and I was her means of escape. “Don’t worry, he’s probably not even into me” (true) she continued, attempting to assuage the (understandable) fears of her friend. So, I relented, and it was an easy, if rather silly, walk to very near where I was going anyway. “Call your friend and let her know you’re safe” I demanded as she pushed inside her front door.

Next to Barbara’s very cute Fairbank Street domus is my bus stop, complete with a dozen or so millings-about. It’s a warm evening and I am leaning up against the outside of the middle of three bus shelters. To my left I see a man emerge from a shelter, harsh streetlights backlighting him and hiding his face. I take no more notice until a woman, 5 foot nothing with long hair and a spring jacket, storms at hurried pace out of the same shelter and begins shouting at the man “wahusayugwoouside” in a voice I can best describe as something East Asian.

After her repeating this same “wadusayugwoouside” several times I puzzled it out: “Why didn’t you say why you were going outside?” Our heroine then ripped a cloth bag the man was partially concealing in his jacket, removed a liquor bottle from it, and smashed it on the pavement. She then stormed away shouting, and he followed.

Not two minutes past when another woman (20s, brunette, unremarkably dressed in jeans and a waist length and purple coat of the kind one might find at Mountain Equipment Co) approached my vicinity and asked a smoking man beside me for a cigarette. He gave her one, she nipped the end, returned the balance, and skinned up at fatty right there.

Sooooo….. a few buses showed up that weren’t mine and deposited travelers. One, a middle aged man with a fat red nose, approached me and asked “Are you waiting for a 1?” I nodded. “These holiday hours are all screwed up. The last bus to Halifax might have left already” he continued. “Oh” I replied, only mildly concerned at the prospect of walking given the fine aforementioned weather. But then… “Yeah, I might have to walk the bridge, and I’ve got curfew” he said, his girth, bulbous coat, and towering stature somehow all becoming significant to me. “We might be walking it together if I’m right.”

“Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit. I have to walk across the bridge with the ex con. Who elected me escort? What the fuck is happening? Can I run? Is running allowed here?” so went my internal monologue. But rescued I was by an unlooked for 52, and if buddy made it home by curfew I can’t tell you.

What can happen in 45 minutes.

Robin Lindsay
rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

The Greys

December 2, 2010

Throwing her arms in the air in bemused exasperation she exclaimed “I don’t get sports.”

The other night between bouts of Quizzard, the lone female in the room availed herself of the opportunity to inquire as to the male obsession with sports. I have to admit that I might not be the best person to ask, as my sporting obsessions tend toward individual contests; whiling away entire afternoons in front of the television watching golf, tennis, or snooker will no doubt maintain as habits for years to come.

That said, I have enjoyed the occasional baseball game, and even football can prove diverting. Hockey or basketball not so much, though World Cup soccer has the capacity to engage my full attention for a game or two (especially if the UK are taking on the Krauts). The Olympics are a big snooze. Running? Throw the thing? That manages to engage the attention of adults? I have to admit I have for some time wanted to be an Eastern European spy who also happens to be a Biathlon (that’s gun-skiing to you) medalist, but that’s a story for another day.

The appeal of sports is rooted in four major concepts: vicarious competition, tribalism, and appreciation for athletic aesthetics are the obvious first three. The fourth, less obvious but entirely indispensable, is the narrative. Each and every game of anything is also a story, and not only is the story about the events that transpire over  the next couple of hours, but it is also a tale in context. What and who do these teams represent? Are the big, bad, and rich New York Yankees bashing a small market minnow into submission? Will the minnow prove to be a David in the face of Goliath? Or are The Yankees taking on their arch nemesis, The Boston Red Sox – the darlings of perennial vigils held in hope of an eventual victory in the face of The Evil Empire (until recently anyway, they finally won).

Sports are dramatic. Yes, it is cheap drama, and the tension no more sophisticated than that built by a nauseating television program about hot doctors screwing each other… but no less either. Males like sports because they are allegories for murder and conflict – the stuff of many a good story.

So, I raise my arms and ask: How can anyone who claims to be a grown up willingly sit through an episode of Grey’s Anatomy?

I Have the Feeling Few will Agree

November 26, 2010

What is plain to those that reason from a result and then work backward, is the internet was invented for the purposes of porn and email. If porn wins and email places, then outrage is to show, and it is both a hilarious and frustrating phenomena perpetrated by none too few a poster. Sprinkled daily amidst my news feed on the Facebook, are links to news reports about WHAT THE AMERICANS ARE UP TO NOW, or how STEPHEN HARPER IS STEALING YOUR RIGHTS, or how CHEMICAL GAZITRON WILL TURN YOUR NEWBORN INTO A HORSE.

A recent article in the feminist blog Jezebel accused The Daily Show of being a boys club, something long standing Daily Show presenter, Samantha Bee, dismissed. Emily Gould at Slate accused blogs like Jezebel of exploiting the worst tendencies of women, and introduced me to a new term: feminist outrage porn. If I understand this neologism correctly, I take it to mean that some women “get off” on pointing out injustices to the world. That much like a charitable contribution makes the giver feel good, so does the keen feminist also experience a similar rush of satisfaction when she uncovers a hereto unknown nugget of sexism.

But let’s not pick on women or feminists, for the phenomenon of outrage porn is not unique to the fairer gender. We all have our pet causes, and when worldview reinforcement presents itself in the press we cannot help but perk up and take notice. Not only will certain news items be of more than common interest, but will confirm our rightness, and that what we are so very right about is also important.

But back to Facebook. I have a few rules for myself about that never neverland of narcissism. The first is that it is not to be taken seriously, and what must follow from that rule is that anything serious that might show on Facebook is therefore verboten. For that reason, I never join groups about politics or causes, and have some reservations about those that do. Yes, consciousness raising. However, then there is fooling oneself into thinking that clicking a button is doing your bit.

So, while I am thankful in some senses there are those keeping me up to date on the latest monstrous inequity perpetrated by the man in the name of greed and shallow caprice, I find myself caring a bit less about it for the effort of cutting and paste.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

Peep Show ist Rad

September 15, 2010

The marriage of Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong to David Mitchell and Robert Webb bore wünderfruit by the name of Peep Show. The oblong Mitchell was perfectly cast as the anxious and cynical Mark Corrigan, and Webb admirably portrays the arrogant and deluded Jeremy Osbourne. Whereas the ‘odd couple’ dynamic of the fastidious conservative paired with the slovenly liberal is older than television, Peep Show is nonetheless a breath of fresh air to all those in their 20s and 30s who pine for intelligent comedy. Fawlty Towers belonged to our parents, but this latest batch of Cambridge Footlights belong to us.

For all those who posses a basic distrust of modernity and feel detached from contemporary youth culture, we have as our banner carrier one Mark Corrigan. While his depressed and lonely existence, habitual lying, and paralyzing fear of women is not to to be emulated, such lines as “She’s dragging me into the 20th century, with its meaningless logos and ironic veneration of tyrants” and “your lazy cynicism and sneering ironic take on the world encapsulates everything wrong with your generation” speak to what many of us think about kids today. Jeremy (Jez) represents the worst of those kids, and his unbelievable stupidity, good looks, and success with women, make him all the more loathsome and yet enviable as well.

Peep Show is an English comedy, and in ways not limited to geography. It is vicious, unfriendly, embarrassing, greedy, and any trace of warmth is noticeably and decidedly absent. This continues a tradition predating Monty Python, where the intense classism and fear of embarrassment inherent in English society not only informed the day to day lives of people, but provided grist for the comedy mill as well. Peep Show is archetypal in that respect, where the filth and unwelcome parts of humanity are brought to the fore so as to be poked fun at and laid bare – without a life lesson to be found.

Peep Show is the greatest situation comedy to date.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com


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