Goodbye London

This is a bit of an unexpected post for many, but it’s easier to write this down then to have to continuously explain this decision.

Basically, I returned to London over a year ago, to try and recover my life from the pit it had sunk into. Get a job, be grown up, that kinda thing. Yet ever since I got here my life has sunk even further into uselessness, and become more unpleasant. My job is a place f abuse and intimidation, and a badly paid one at that. My friends who begged me to return have been absent in my presence, or have left me for my ex-girlfriend, a sad state of affairs indeed. My former school friends have moved on with their lives, and my current circle is smaller than ever before.

I have never liked my family, and  due to a ten month unemployment my short stay with them has dragged on for well over a year. I live in a box, far enough outside of London to make my entire life fully dependant on a public transport system that the third world would give back. I cannot afford to live elsewhere, I cannot afford transport, and I am terminally unemployable. Basically what I’m saying is: fuck it. I’m leaving.

I’m fully aware that leaving London twice is pretty much the kiss of death for me ever wanting to lead any sort of life in my home town, but due to the idiocies of government, and the failures of other people, I have no life here as it is, so I don’t feel like I’m looking anything at the moment. Bad management has fucked this country, and nowhere is feeling it harder than London. So, to folks from around here, goodbye, and good luck. Hopefully you won’t get shat on in the same way I ahve. To the folks up north, contact your employers and arrange me meetings. I’m returning.

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Partnership

Today I have had the pleasure of entertaining discussions between different people in different, but related stresses.

I have today spoken to those who are after a relationship, in a relationship that they are unsure as to whether is right for them, those who are getting married, those who are getting divorced, and those who are waiting on the precious contact of those who are not immediately available to them. One theme comes up above all others: What is the right partner?

So I have taken it upon myself to compile thoughts as to what makes an ideal partner.  This is completely from personal experience.

A great partner will indulge your randomness, regardless of how it benefits them. They will do random shit, like allow your scruffy mates into your home for superbowl, help make the chilli nachos, and help tidy before they arrive, even though you have had to go to work yourself.

A great partner will accept your bullshit, because God knows we all have a lot. They will find it tolerable and cute, and you will accept and respect theirs as well.

A great partner will listen when you need to talk, and will acknowledge your thoughts.  When you are concerned, they will thinks of solutions; when you have desire, they will help to achieve and resolve that.

A great partner will fit into your life. Oh, your life may change with them, but a natural change is a good thing, and there will be no pressure to alter your personal state just to appease them (or vice versa).

A great partner is someone you are happy to be affiliated with, that you are proud to walk shoulder to shoulder with. A great partner is not just your equal, but a completed part of you.

A great partner has ideas and individual thought that inspires you, that you wish you had yourself. As a partner, this is an extension of yourself, and something that you can work on together. Greed has little place in partnership.

A great partner has independence and individuality. A brainless and emotionless sheep does not have the connection to be referred to as a partner.

A great partner feels the same way about you that you do about them.

Hey, a partner can be of the opposite sex, or the same sex. There can be one, there can be more. It can be sexual, it can be platonic. It can be something special, and it can be ordinary. Regardless of who this person is, they are a vital part of you… if humans were not meant to be connected, we wouldn’t have been created (or evolved or whatever) social creatures. If you ever have an issue with a partner, think about how they alter your life, and more importantly, how they support the person that you are. Partners are important, not vital, but pretty damn awesome to have around. Make sure that you pick yours with absolute care and love 🙂

Westfield Stratford City

I’ve never “got” mass consumerism. Oh, I’m ok with paying for experiences, but I really can’t see the appeal for paying vast sums of money to carry heavy bags full of things that you will rarely get to experience.

So, some may think that it’s strange that I would bother visiting Europe’s biggest shopping mall.  However, while I’m not a fan of shopping, I’m a fan of both architecture and progressivism, and Westfield looked to be the standard bearer for both in the consumer market.

I’ll go ahead right now and state that it categorically succeeds at the former, with simple design techniques completely controlling your experience. From the way the mall curves, with wide spaces between the opposite shops, forcing you to look down a long row of highly visible store names, to the very wide balconies that take up most of this space, forcing you to walk closely to the shop entrances: everything is forcing you to passive-aggressively buy.

As for progressive? Not so much. You see, when you make the “largest” claim, you would assume that there would be a vast variety of shops, a wealth of opportunities to spend your money on useless tat. This is where WSC fails. Badly. Westfield is seriously just a bunch of high street stores in a room. There is a teensy tiny corner with some fancy food and confectionery, but you get stores like that in train stations nowadays. The restaurants were average sized, the bowling alley looked very small and the casino isn’t even open yet, or licensed. I’ll have to wait to judge that then, but a casino in a shopping centre can only be so good.

I was hoping that there would be some alternative culture in there. The outside proudly boasts a “Vans” store, which is tiny, and there is a “Doc Martens” shop, although nowadays Doc Martens are about as alternative as Disney, but there is nothing else. No sports shops, and no sports apparel. I was hoping that perhaps a shop that specialised in sport gear from around the world, perhaps some American sports gear. None of that. Most malls now have gadget shops, right? Not this one (unless you count a small Apple store). There was an outside section that I didn’t visit, but part of the “amazing design” of the place herds you up and down the floors of the mall, with limited opportunity to leave. I spent a long time just trying to get out of the place.

If you want to visit 100 crap high street stores, get on the Central Line, and head to Soho/Oxford Street/Regent Street, where they all have their flagship stores, have more room, and probably better products. You want something special? You aren’t going to get it here. Westfield is as boring and generic as every other mall in the south east, and overpriced to boot.

Money spent: £0.00

Tempted Purchases: £0.00

Planned Purchases: £0.00

Day in the mall: Priceless (literally)

How I Lost Weight, And Started To Look Socially Acceptable: A Guide.

I ate better food, and started exercising. The change was quick, easy and relatively cheap. Don’t tell anyone though, it’s a secret.

Justice League No1 (The New 52)

When a comic book series starts, it’s impossible to know how it will continue, how it will end, how good it’ll be, how it’ll be received, and how fondly it will be remembered. The first issue is a good starting point (in fact, the only starting point, by definition), but it is not representative of the series. Of course it isn’t. It can’t be.

When you aren’t launching a new series, but are instead RE-launching a series, it’s even trickier. There is a massive amount of emotional investment already made in the series.  This first issue instead needs to make an impression on the folks who are already pre-determined to feel one way or another.

However, when you are completely re-launching an entire universe, nay, multiverse (we think), and by proxy every single title that you currently release, and not only that, but you are also 50% of the “Big Two” of comics publishers, this first issue has a fuck load of fans, money, and a huge chunk of the entire industry relying on it. No, that is not an exaggeration. If this goes badly wrong, it could turn people away from comics completely (especially considering the other half of the Big Two has been alienating the super hardcore audiences for years).

So, here it is. I bought a copy. I read it (because comics are for reading), and it was ok. Fantastic art direction, captivating plot (as far as I can tell), and a few surprises. It’s really not very easy to review a comic, especially considering how small and full of adverts they are.

Without giving any story away, it looks like heroes in this new DC multi-uni-superverse are not only new, but aren’t as honoured and adored by the federal authorities as the old DC heroes were (a nod in the direction of Marvel’s universe perhaps?). Batman is there, obviously (and I’ll get to him later), and he is still powerless, and still a massive dickhead. Green Lantern shows up, referring to himself in the third person. Although he doesn’t actually say that he’s Hal Jordan, if DC haven’t made him Hal Jordan, they’ve lost the bellyachers already. Green Lantern is very cocky, and it looks like they are modelling this Hal on the Hal Jordan from the movie, assuming of course that it is Hal, which is a massive mistake. Another point worth noting is that they are keeping the Green Lantern Corps with all of the other assorted Lanterns. It’s not an issue for me, and I loved Blackest Night, but some may raise their eyebrows at this missed opportunity to relaunch Hal Jordan the way that the fans liked it. I mean, this relaunch is permanent, right? Right? We also get to meet Superman, who looks about 20 years old (this is intentional). We also see Cyborg before he becomes Cyborg, and what seems to be influencing him. Perhaps we aren’t supposed to know it’s Cyborg, but as he’s on the front cover as Cyborg, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. That’s not a bad thing though, people are going to want to jump back into the DC saddle asap, and so it’s pointless playing riddles with people who have several decades worth of material concerning these superheroes to fall back on.

My beef (and everyone that knew there was going to be one), wasn’t with the issue itself. As I have already pointed out, it’s ridiculous trying to form any sort of critical judgement on one book.  In fact my beef is with the statistics behind this 52 title relaunch (52 being a special number in the DC omniverse, representing the amount of deliveries per year that they can try and sell just one more badly drawn spin-off).

Of the 52 new titles, 11 are Batman orientated (not including the TWO Justice League teams he’ll feature in). By Batman orientated, I mean that he is either the title character, or the title character is from the Batman storyline. This doesn’t include Teen Titans, or All-Star Western, both of which feature Gotham City and/or a Batman character.

Of those 11 comics, 4 are straight up “Batman” books, by which I mean the story heavily revolves around him. So lets check the stats:

21% of the new DC lineup is Batman based, not including team-ups.  36% of those are just Batman.

Now I understand that 52 is an important number for DC, and that it can’t be easy to release 52 unique titles. However, I do believe that over a fifth of the output being centered around ONE character, one who will be invading other books as well, is too much. DC need to loose their reliance on this character, and you people out there need to stop buying this character! DC has LOADS of characters! There isn’t a solo Zatanna or Black Canary book being released! There isn’t even a Captain Marvel/Shazam! book being released! Not even a Martian Manhunter solo book. THIS is pretty unforgiveable, and while the blame largely lays with the corporate thinktanks that run the mainstream comics industry, they base their finding mostly on were the money comes from.

This is why Batman is the only decent DC film of the current generation. It kinda needs to stop.

Either way, I’ll be reading the books with interest. If you’re interested, here are the ones I’m considering picking up:

Justice League

Green Arrow

Action Comics

Green Lantern

Justice League Dark