Sunday, 28 June 2009

My Hatings #14 (Week beginning 22nd June 2009)

A day-by-day guide to That Which Annoys, as culled from the procrastination-heavy Bileduct that is Twitter's @SISPURRIER.

MONDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Open-mouthed gum chewers. Many species generate sounds in mouth and throat to attract a mate. You attract only stabbing.

TUESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: UGG boots. Severed Yeti-legs; make cute girls look fuckwitted; impractical at this latitude since 8,000BC. WHY WHY WHY

WEDNESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The lack of appreciation for the mighty Twiglet on my side of the pond and its utter anonymity on the other. GASTROFAIL.

THURSDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Shit visual puns in TV news. “Cabinet Reshuffle” = Croupier dealing cards. “Brown Under Pressure” = turd under anvil.

FRIDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The concept of “Government Think Tanks”. If BRAINMAKINGS = CASH, every introspective morning turd is worth billions.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

FIESTA DE CIUTADELLA

On Wednesday the SheSpur and I made the epic journey from one end of the Island to the other (a whole 42 km; exhausting) to hang out, get pissed, and generally have a giggle at the first festival of the season: the Fiesta de Sant Juan in Ciutadella; the old capital of Menorca.

See, every town has its own Fiesta here - some bigger, some smaller - and while they're all technically built around religious events (beginning with lambs being paraded through the streets and ending with lavish processions via the church) the overriding Impression is of a 2-day street-party characterised by extraordinary numbers of cheerful young people, cosmic quantities of a strange local brew (essentially gin and cloudy lemonade), a bizarre lack of fights or aggro, and a series of deeply frightening traditional rituals structured around The Horse.

Horses are Big here. They're trained to the highest standard in the world, walk with that smug raised-hoof foppiness that makes your basic New Forest nag look like an inbred oik, and are called-upon at the fiestas to be dressed foolishly, harassed mercilessly, and generally spooked in every way possible. There's jousting, there's lance-tilting, there's racing, there's a whole host of amazing Bits And Bobs to show off the astonishing skills of the local riders.

And the higlight of the festival is the procession through the Plaza Des Borns: the town's main square. Which, before you go imagining a neat line of pretty stallions wombling round an empty circuit, is abso-fucking-lutely *rammed* with pissed-up people with a deathwish.

We were there, and - not knowing exactly where to stand - came a little too close for comfort.



The procession starts with a glorious cheer to announce the arrival of the horses. The crowds surge forwards, but - to begin with - keep to a respectful distance. The horses pile in behind each other, until a hundred or more are packed-in around the plaza; steaming and damp. Each horse wears a star on its head and a heart over its... um... heart... and it's considered lucky to touch either one. So ever-so-slowly the crowd - fuelled by the booze - gets closer and closer and closer...



Pretty soon the horses are slick with sweat and oh-so-very-fucking spooked. Everywhere they go people are shouting, cheering, whistling, then lurching out of the throng to slap them between the eyes or on the chest. They start to wheel in place; to strafe sideways; to bounce in agitation. Some of them stagger directly into the crowds, which tumble and pile aside as hooves lash out and teeth chop.

The riders are expected to show no signs of fear or anxiety: raising their hats and smiling indulgently at the terrified people around them.

At this stage, most of the tourists with whalecock camera-lenses, who've found themselves accidentally caught-up in events, make the wise decision to Go Stand Somewhere Else.

Note the "most". We have beer, and Will Not Be Moved.

By now the youths are seriously juiced-up. Frustrated by the speed of the riders passing by, they're no longer able to touch the heart-plate on each bridle. The game therefore becomes to dive in front of each horse with a whoop or a shriek; terrifying it into rearing up on its hind legs, hooves lashing out, where the bravest souls can slap at the heart-plate and dive out the way. There's a real sense of "I dare you" about it: lads jostling for respect (and self-respect) with increasing recklessness.



Speaking of reckless, it was at this stage that SheSpur suggested I touch a horse myself. I can happily report that you could easily fry an egg on the neck of an adrenally-hotwired equine - so toasty hot is it - if it weren't for the deeply sticky and highly stinky sweat covering it head to toe. I dripped for some time.

As the hours pass things start getting rrrreally crazy. By now the horses are in a frenzy; the riders are barely able to hang on (let alone maintain the pretence of calm and hat-doffing dignity). The crowds are pressing-in ever tighter, and we - at the SheSpur's suggestion - decided to pull back from the most dangerous parts of the action and get a refill for our beer.

Sadly this simple wish went awry when it was discovered the procession had changed its route to run directly via the streetside bar (or, as we came to think of it, the You Can't Escape When The Horses Rear At You Barrier), and in a haze of spilled gin and lager we tried to press-on towards a safer spot. Being swept along, sadly, into the main concourse and the craziest heart of the crowd.

By now the game has changed again. Now it's not a case of one or two lads startling the horse into exposing its heart, but whole packs of them leaping underneath the beast's flailing hooves to hold it upright - sometimes for ten seconds or more - braying and staggering the whole time, to keep the heart accessible to all.

Or at least "all" who don't mind being brained by a supersonic hoof.




At this stage the crowd is pumping and surging so much -- half of it rushing forwards to grab at horses, the other half staggering blindly backwards to avoid the spooked chargings of the next stallion in line - that the SheSpur and I got separated. (HINT: Always nominate a meeting place ahead of time.) (HINT-HINT: Make it a bar. You'll need it.)

Finding myself at the front-edge of the crowd, unable to push back into it and absolutely not fucking likely to try and cross between the horses to the other side, I kept clicking the camera (basically too terrified to do anything except dumbly execute the last order I'd got from the SheSpur before she vanished - "keep taking pictures!"). I was so focused on the frothing chestnut crazynag in front of me that I completely failed to notice the next two horses in line bashing into each other, flailing sideways into the crowd, splitting my section of sweaty youths in half, and leaving me and several other lads (who up until then had been oh-so-convincingly blase about the whole thing) caught between the two toothy buggers as they spun, reared and kicked. Even then people on either side - not in direct striking-range - kept leaning-in to touch the buggers' hearts. Rather than yanking us all out the way. Thanks.

It wasn't until a little later - with G&T in hand and SheSpur back by my side - that we found this rather terrifying, utterly unplanned, but actually pretty beautiful picture lurking in the camera:



FUN.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

MY HATINGS: #13 (Week beginning 15th June 2009)

A day-by-day guide to That Which Annoys, as culled from the procrastination-heavy Bileduct that is Twitter's @SISPURRIER.

MONDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The prevalence of twinkly whimsical folksy wankmusic in ALL modern TV advertising: True cause of the spending downturn.

TUESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Those who use cellphones as status symbols. Go buy the NEW DOGPIZZLE-5000, with ergonomic cockshape & forehead attachment

WEDNESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The proximity of “call hostess” to “reading light”. Takeoff is fraught enough, fucker, without the BONGBONGBONG of FAIL.

THURSDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Anyone with a handgun which a) doesn’t have awesome red fins, or b) can’t be set to “stun”. HATEBULLETS ARE ALL YOU NEED.

FRIDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The inexplicable lack of Total Cosmic Heatdeath every time someone refers to a footballer as a “Role Model For Kids.”

Sunday, 14 June 2009

MY HATINGS: #12 (Week beginning 8th June 2009)

A day-by-day guide to That Which Annoys, as culled from the procrastination-heavy Bileduct that is Twitter's @SISPURRIER.

MONDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The type who owns a fruitbowl containing only lemons. Nobody knows why this is a sure sign of evil. It just is.

TUESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The phrase “I chose to stop existing, and start living.” Do us all a favour: choose to stop doing both.

WEDNESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Non-Relevant Celebrity Endorsements. Rolf Harris advertising wallaby-farms? WIN. Rolf advertising car insurance? F'KOFF.

THURSDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The Cellphone Shift. It used to be annoying that people are always able to pester you. Now it’s annoying that they don’t.

FRIDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: He who really thinks World Shitosity will end when Osama’s napalm-fresh balls are paraded in the Tupperware of Victory.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

British Nationalist Problem

Awoke to the dispiriting news that a second BNP gitpig got a seat in the European Parliament overnight. So that's 2 of the virulent little goblins, to sit side-by-side and sweatily hatch their evil political plots in Brussels.

Actually, if past form is anything to go by, the virulent little goblins are more likely to get pissed on Boddington's and sing songs about Darkies until everyone slowly backs away and leaves them to it.

In fact, in a rare moment of optimism, I'm going to predict that the BNP will swallow itself over the next few years. They've made so many grand promises to their idiot voters - which they can't possibly deliver - that they're inevitably going to fade away or (more likely) be replaced by someone even louder and more hateful. If past experience has shown us anything it's that political movements based around a single negative mandate - "we're here to destroy/dismantle/abolish X" - will very soon collapse under the weight of their own aggressive internal pressures. These people are united under a single hateful issue, but sooner or later are required to contemplate some of the other policies they'd like to advocate - some of which might even be, whisper it, constructive - and *bang*: instant internal schism.

One can hope, anyway.

I'm not completely convinced by the Labour claim that "this was an election based on the expenses scandal" (which translates as the sulky "we lost, but only because the idiot public were voting for the wrong reasons"), but I do think the BNP won't last more than a term or two. If only because there's only so much footage of Nick Griffin smugging it up that my TV-set can take, before the ray cathode tube is clogged-up with grease and the screen shatters itself in half over an internal-debate about Allowing Coloured Pixels.

Very sad day, this.

MY HATINGS: #12 (Week beginning 1st June 2009)

A day-by-day guide to That Which Annoys, as culled from the procrastination-heavy Bileduct that is Twitter's @SISPURRIER.

MONDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Personal-space invaders. Your halitosis has offended me for the last time, fuckoid: I’M WEARING RADIOACTIVE Y-FRONTS.

TUESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Starting a sentence “For me, personally…” As in: “For me, personally, scrotal-slicing with sharp lemons is too lenient."

WEDNESDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Those who truly think the phrase “he moves in mysterious ways” is an acceptable reason for hateful, ugly things happening.

THURSDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: Yes, o lover, demonstrate your affection via severed moribund blooms which will perish for my amusement. LUV=FLORICIDE.

FRIDAY) HATING OF THE DAY: The movie “Love Actually”, and any protoplasmic smudge masquerading as a human who claims to like it. CELLULOID CANCER.