Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Funeral for a Trend

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When did charities and funerals get in bed together? Why does every funeral disallow flowers these days and instead force it's attendees to give to charity? I guess I understand if the stiff in the box was a big philanthropist his/herself but otherwise, I just don't get it. I'm sure some people would tell me it's down to that ignorant and idiotic saying, "Flowers are pointless - they just take up space and die". Um yeah, just like the person who we're holding the funeral for, right? The irony of this train of thought is staggering - surely the entire point of funeral is to celebrate the life, however brief, of someone? Is a flower not a great symbol for the often startling brevity of life itself? Blooming and bright one minute, whithering towards the grave the next. The bright fullness of flowers at a funeral remind us of how wonderful life can, and hopefully was for the deceased, be; how we should take advantage of our time with each other more effectively, and how many happy memories we hopefully have with those passed on. The sheer satisfaction of looking at flowers and the emotional resonance of them can not be duplicated by passing on one's money to a disease-fighting charity (however worthy a cause this may be).
I suppose some funeral homes ask that there not be flowers. Perhaps this is true, though if this appears to be the case, I would start shopping around; when my dear grandmother died and we held her funeral in small town rural England, we weren't restricted at all despite the small size of the venue and surrounding garden. I'm so glad we had flowers at her funeral, it was perhaps the most enjoyable part of the service. After the ceremony, with it's unavoidable melancholy, we all ventured outside to look at the numerous bouquets people had sent. It was certainly far more heart-warming to look down and see a beautiful flower arrangement sent from my father from half-way around the world, then it would've been to a few weeks later (or even never?!) hear that he donated some money to a charity. How on earth would this had helped the bereaved? Surely if there's any time in life to be selfish, it is in the time of mourning; and it was certainl comforting and healthy for everyone at the funeral to end it on a cheerful and touching note. Looking at all the flowers on display, where they all came from, seeing right in front of us just how much affection there was from around the world for my grandmother was far more consoling than the abstract idea that someone might be clicking a "donate" button on their computer at that moment.
in any case, if one is adamant that there mustn't be flowers no matter what - what happened to "charity starts at home"? The cost of a funeral is often a huge burden on family members already dealing with great strain, surely it would be in everyone's better interest to donate proceeds directly to the family towards the cost of the service and burial/cremation? Why should some bureaucratic faceless organization get the money??
The whole things seems so impersonal to me, and I'm fairly sure no one gets any satisfaction from the transaction (save for the charity, of course). The mourning family are left with no symbols of support coming from far away relatives and friends, and those unable to attend the service are left without any memorable or tangible way to show much they care for the dearly departed.

I call for a stop to this madness. If people want to give to charity, they shall do so of their own volition; but a funeral is not a benefit. It's about celebrating the life of, and mourning the loss of, a loved one - and sending flowers as a way to send ones' regards and sympathy is a tradition not to be sniffed at. I for one will be having flowers at my parents' funerals and I surely hope that whomever is unlucky enough to be lumbered with dealing with my death does the same for me. Oriental lilies are my favorite, just in case you're stumped...

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Brenda + Dylan = 4 Eva

So presumably everyone is excited about the new Beverly Hills 90210? Well, I am unlike the average joe. I'm TURBO excited. This is my 12 year-old dream come true. Soon my 15 yr-old dream will come true and they'll make final episodes for My So-Called Life. Even though everyone's 30 now. Anyways, in honor of this new development in the 90210 continuity (this is actually what the industry calls it), lets look back on those golden days of teen drama. I was actually a member of a Bevery Hills 90210 club. It was basically me and my friends and I don't recall us ever actually meeting, but it sure was an honor just to be a part of it. I also had a Brandon Walsh doll (to go along with my Joey McIntyre NKOTB doll) and I'm sure it's still packed away somewhere. I kept it in pristine condition, still in it's box and everything. It must be worth a fair bit by now, in fact - but like I'd ever part with that. As if!
What this all boils down to is how rocking this show was, from the incredible theme tune, to the clothes, to the music (remember when the girls snuck into Color Me Badd's hotel?!) to the Peach Pit. It was everything the early 90's was about. Dylan and his shit-hot Porsche. Andrea and her "poor" background. Brenda listening to REM's Man on the Moon while moping around her room. I mean for reals - these kids had it all. Sure it turned to shit when Brenda left and Tiffini Amber-Thiessen of Saved By The Bell fame (look out for further affinity between these two programs...) took her place and they all went to college and seemed to age 5 years in one summer. But for about 3 years, this was the greatest thing that happened to television:


Look at how casually Luke Perry/Dylan McKay is standing. Look at how un-casually Jason Priestly/Brandon Walsh is wincing standing.

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Aaaaallllll that denim. Love Jennie Garth/Kelly Taylor's pose. Truly love Shannon Doherty's/Brenda Walsh's shoes. And all that goddam denim.

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"Purse those lips Jennie! Shannon - think of your diva reputation - now PURSE!"

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I think this was taken at the height of the show, or thereabouts. Shannon Doherty is looking HAWT. Look at her face - she KNOWS she's the hottest girl on set. She KNOWS everyone thinks she's a bitch. Girl does not give a shit. Also, I remember it was this photo that was used to promote the episode in which David's loser friend shot himself to death. Well, he only shot himself once and it was accidental (he was playing with his dad's handgun, spinning it round his finger wild-west style and it went off. DUH) but it did kill him. Shot himself all the way to death. Anyways, to promote this Very Special Episode of 90210, they printed the above picture in TV Guide with the ominous caption, "One of these people will die tonight" or something to that effect. In any case, it was so fucking obvious that David's loser friend (on the far right) was gonna die as the rest were all main characters and he was just David's idiot friend who wore that cowboy hat all the time and had a really fucked up mother. Still, nice kicks.
Couldn't find this any larger, but this was such a great time for the show. When they filmed the second season over the summer in 1991, this was a huge moment for television. While every other series was in re-run hell, this was the only show churning out fresh episodes all summer long. Right when teenagers needed television the most, 90210 delivered. Smooth move. Though I often find that whenever I think of the 90210 summer episodes, I automatically start thinking about the Saved By the Bell summer episodes; both of which involved major characters working at a beach resort to ensure every episode had reason to show young hardbodies in bikinis and trunks.


Have I mentioned that I ADORE Brenda Walsh/Shannon Doherty? Sorry Mischa Barton, Blake Lively et al. but this is the original Icon. (But Leighton Meester? You're on your way...)


Ah man - remember when this biker chick came in to get with Brandon? I dunno about where you lived, but where I lived, EVERY girl I knew hated her. Where did she go in the end? Perhaps she was killed by a gang of Brandon Walsh fangirls All I know is she was an unpopular casting decision. Much like when the biker chick turned up to get with Zack in Saved By the Bell and we were meant to pretend we didn't notice that Jesse and Kelly were gone. Did these shows share writers??

And here's the supposed new crew

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Only one token ethnic minority? And he's black?? That's SOOO 1999. Everyone knows the token ethnic these days should be Asian. Anything from Pakistani to Korean. Harold or Kumar. Oh, and one of these guys has to be gay, right?

All hail the original teen drama to beat them all:

PS - while I looking for photos I came across this:

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Okay - that is NOT Jennie Garth, and whoever it is - those tits have been heavily photoshopped. But I love the quote. Notice she refers to her as "Brenda", the character, rather than Shannon. As though this is "Kelly", not Jennie, talking.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Forever Fake Tits

Is Botox bio-degradable? Is silicone? Or saline? If not, then this must present quite a predicament to all these Hollywood ladies who spend all their time preaching about the environment, driving their Hybrid's, drinking Fair Trade coffee, eating locally sourced vegetables, off-setting their carbon emissions every time they fly and so on. All this effort to prove to everyone how much they care about 'the cause', how much the future of humanity is in their hands and yet when they die, and their body disintegrates into the ground, all that will remain is plastic lumps and mounds. The only evidence of their vacuous existence. Is this why cremation is so popular? In fact, if you think about it, cremation's rise in popularity seemed to coalesce with the rise of plastic surgery and environmentalism. Was this their main selling point? Stop burning fossil fuels - let us burn you!

Also - while on the topic of environmentalism, has you noticed the recent trend for telling us that we must save the plant for the sake of our grandchildren? Remember when it was just about the current children? I remember when I was the future, every cause was for the sake of me. I feel sorry for today's kids, no one seems to care about them. It's all about THEIR offspring. The current 0-16 yr olds are like this lost generation. Everyone worried about their grandchildren, no one caring about their present spawn. No wonder kids are getting knocked up at 14, it's the only way to get mommy away from the recycling.
Well, not me. Tell you what - I don't give two shits about my grandchildren. I think the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents is weird enough as is. There's such an age-gap (unless you're from the deep south or Scotland in which case your grandmother is 35) and usually there's only a few meetings per year mixed in with the requisite greeting cards for Special Events. The entire relationship is so forced, not to mention one-sided; most kids don't care about their grandparents really, they just want that $20 check in the birthday card and in the meantime you're lucky to share a few tender moments in between mutual intense boredom. By the time kids reach a level of maturity which offers them the perspective to view their grandparents as interesting people rather than just old fogies, the grandparents are going senile and then they inevitably pop off, so the entire exercise is rather a waste of time. As such, my relationship with my future grandchildren will likely be a bit strained already, must I now start caring about these little shits in my 20's?

By the way, I loved my grandparents dearly - but they're all dead now, so I can sorta say what I want really.

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Glastonbury 2008

Get ready for a picture post bitches! Normally I would accompany this photo assault with witty social commentary as per usual. However, most of things worth discussing (Jay-Z; the difference between food now (organic gourmet dishes) and what I was faced with 10 years ago (tepid pizza and cheap crepes); Kate Moss's face etc.) I have no pictorial evidence of.
As such, I will simply display pictures and then interject with captions which will for the most part, tell you nothing that you couldn't have gathered yourself. I call it "subverting the rigid conventions of photo-journalism", you'll call it "irritating and ultimately tedious".

But first - I will say that there were 3 marked differences between this years Glastonbury and the Glastonbury's of yore - i.e. the late 90's:
  • 1. Fashion. I unfortunately took few pictures of this, but girls have upped their festival fashion, big time. I'd say about 90% of the girls there were wearing 'outfits' - every day. No more of this combats stuffed into black wellingtons with a dreary kag thrown on top. Literally every girl there looked like an extra from The Hills; it was incredible. They were hot, young, slender and well-dressed. I welcome this change; I've never agreed with the notion that because one is in a tent, one must compromise her style. Sartorial laziness ain't cool. Luckily I am no longer alone in this opinion. I remember years ago when Kate Moss stood out simply by wearing a waistcoat and hotpants. This year when she swanned through the camping field in full view of the public, she looked rather normal. Of course the skinny legs and ugly boyfriend gave her away, but she is no longer the lone style queen on the festival circuit. Well done girls for finding another event worthy of a preliminary shopping trip. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the boys who, for the most part, looked like rejects from a Noasis open casting call.

  • 2. Cocaine. As you may well know, I don't partake in any of this narcotics funny business, I stick to classier pursuits like Gin and cigarettes. However, even as an innocent bystander, one couldn't help but notice the prevalence of The White Stuff at Glastonbury. In previous years, herb was king and the place was rammed full of crusty hippies toking on their doobies with wild abandon. As a result, you were constantly bombarded with a wave of that muddy, slightly sweet aroma of ole mary jane througout the day. But, if these hot young things are to remain skinny binnies, munchies ain't gonna help. So this year, it was all about schnauser powder. Every time I walked past a tent, someone was leaning over a hand mirror and while watching bands I was struck by the amount of people around me seemingly sniffing their keys...

  • 3. Clean (ish) toilets. I remember in the olden days of Glasters (so much better than "Glasto"), the biggest plus point of Thursday was that this was the only day on which one could even consider sitting down to urinate. By Saturday night, most women had thighs of steel from the constant crouching. However, I'll have you know that this year I managed to sit down in the toilet on SUNDAY. Imagine that. And it wasn't cos I just gave up caring. It was because unbelievably they actually had cleaners there this year. The toilets were emptied and cleaned and (aside from those near the main stage which were perennially vomit-inducing) actually usable. Impressive. But still, celebs take their backstage toilets for granted. Spoiled children...

On to the photo fest!
I did a fairly average job of taking pictures to be honest. I missed out on so many photo op's it's hardly laughable. But it still is.

The train journey there was pure traveling pleasure. I can't recall the last trip I embarked upon with as much anticipation. Plus - we had first class seats! Somehow these were cheaper than standard tickets (it pay dividends to order tickets early kids) though in future, I would pay more for them in any case as the difference was abundant. Standard class was rammed with festival goers, all endless backpacks and carrier bags and tents and sleeping bags and so on, all crammed sardine-style into compact carriages with nothing to offer but tray tables the size of postage stamps, a complete lack of storage space and leg room clearly constructed with the body of a 5 year-old in mind.

First class however, we were rolling in style. Stretch-out space, copious storage room, complimentary drinks, huge wooden table, our own power point etc. Of course we didn't really let the class go to our heads as is evident by our choice of meal:

I don't think the other passengers were too pleased, they were probs just trying to get home after a day at the stuffy office:

First meal of the festival was deelish - mainly because it came from one of many stands which serve to make up "My Favorite Addition to Glastonbury" - Mexican food! It was EVERYWHERE. It was astonishing. Elsewhere in this quaint little country, Mexican food is a kind of exotic cuisine which can only be found on backstreets of London if you know where to look. But for some reason, in the micro-city of Glastonbury, it's one of the most well-represented foreign foodstuffs. Here's a slice of refried beans/salsa/cheese heaven:

Of course we brought our own savory snacks, money saving and all. The following day, the Christmas Eve of the festival, Thursday, we went to a little cafe which was called Tea Time or something, though the owners should really consider changing it's name to, "Guardian Readers ONLY!" as this is what it was. I've never seen so many Guardian peeps coralled together in one place, a herd of liberal and green-loving cattle sipping their organic chai. And us.

By the way, I think this is my favorite picture from the festival. Everything that I feel about the the world is encapsulated in Tudds' face.

The Great Fire of Glastonbury '08

Not sure I'll ever really "get" the teepee village. The price is unavoidably extortionate considering what you're paying for. I'd rather have one of those wooden pod things that they offered this year. The contradiction of the "getting back to earth"-ness of the teepee and the fee involved seems wrong somehow. But I do like the idea of having a fire inside your tent.

This hill never used to be open to festival goers til this year. It offers great views of the whole site, and it's defs the highest point. Higher, for instance, than this, the viewing tower:

which everyone is just dying to get into. Check out this fancy photo of yours truly - the line you see behind me is for this stupid tower:

One place no-one was in line for was this gorgeous Japanese restaurant. An actual restaurant serving what looked like increds sushi and teriyaki, unfortunately all at typics Japanese prices. But it was so authentic, all low tables and and floor cushions to sit on. I SO wanted to eat here. However, as with most desires of mine, it never came to fruition.

Mud came on Friday. Wowser.

But I did make new friends and watch my dear old friend Dev play his little heart out. Twice!

As well as raping the backstage booze, I also took advantage of the stellar restroom facilities. And stole high-end toilet paper. I'm so gracious with affluence...

Then Dev joined We Are Scientists on The Other Stage.

Dev was also really proud to be wearing a No Bra shirt. Really proud.

Also, thanks to him, I had the best steak sandwich of my entire life at some backstage food establishment.

Friday night was probably my favorite night of the weekend. This is obvious as I have the fewest pictures from it.

Saturday - sunshine and circus.

The amount of seagulls overhead was startling. While it did give an odd sea-side resort feel to the event, it also filled me with slight trepidation that if we smelled so bad on Saturday that birds were circling above, I was unprepared for the likely stench come Monday...

All the world cuisine you could ask for on offer here, but why bother the risk? Stick with what you know. Good ole fried battery chicken:

See, the thing about a festival like Glastonbury is you can do whatever you want, maaan. You can dress up like a peacock, spend an entire day pretending to be an envelope - whatever you want. Everything's A-okay down glaster's way. And if you find yourself feeling a tad drowsy in the afternoon sun - no problem! Just take a nap between some cesspit-like port-a-potties and overflowing roasting-in-the-sun trash cans! GREAT IDEA.

Of course the best part of a sunshine-filled day is the warm and balmy evening that follows, right? Totally! English countryside's are famous for their sticky-hot nights, right?! Outta the way Miami, Glastonbury is here!

This night also yielded perhaps my favorite contrasting minute-apart photos.

Made all the better when one considers that Ed (on the right) is actually wearing a bucket hat a la The New Radicals. And it's beige. And it's corduroy.

Finger-cum + portable stool = 4am

OMFG maaaan, fucking **sToNe cIrCLe** at 6:30am maaaan...

I believe you're meant to find your true self here. I found a lot of people doing balloons.

And as the sun set on Sunday, so did my body into a sleeping bag, at a reasonable 2am to ensure a fresh start and peaceful journey home. Not everyone followed this train of thought believing instead that there was no reason to end the party, thus leading to a rather palid dispositon the following morning when it came time to pack up our tent at 8am:

I have no meaningful concluding phrase here. Sorry.

See you next year!

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