Extracts of ShortList Bursts
Some clippings of various pieces I’ve done for Shortlist Magazine in the UK.
Why Swearing Is Big & Clever
Published May 2018
”I’ve had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this monday to friday plane” is what happens when your favourite line, from your favourite hangover treat film gets ruined by a regulation ‘TV clean up’. In reality, of course, If an actual snake fell loose in long-haul, then F-bombs and C-shells would be going off like selfie sticks. If said flight was Ryanair, then that snake would probably be given priority boarding and tossed an anaemic looking ham and cheese croissant by way of keeping it occupied. Therefore, it’s clear that cinema - as the closest an art form can get to reflecting sorry, real life - suffers without swearing. Some people, like GCSE geography teachers or Waitrose customers, think swearing is a sign of a scarcely stocked vocabulary. They believe our cursed cake holes should be lathered up with freshly ground ‘Corporate’ words like ‘Crumbs’ or ‘Pillock’. I say f**k them (*U*C) Swearing has nothing to do with a persons inability to find words, it’s an good indication of their talent for choosing the right ones. In this superfluous, soundbite age, its economy of speech that counts. A perfectly detonated “C.U. Next Trout day” can do the work of an entire encyclopaedia without need for rambling, second breaths. You see, Swearing saves words and thus saves oxygen, which means we can keep on, keeping on that little while longer. So swear like a trooper, and you might just make it to that next bag of microwavable quinoa.
Published December 2017
Truly profound holidays can’t happen without significant Trauma. To my mind, some form of Meltdown is really the glue that holds an exceptional trip together. I speak from experience, having barely survived by candlelight and coal fire, sub zero and unwashed in a Czech townhouse, along with the time I was spiked and blackmailed by exotic dancers in darkest
Poland. To me, each blip brings its own cherry to the disgusting cake we call Life. Recently, my girlfriend and I took a trip to India, primarily to escape a clot of life troubles; basically, we were running away - which is always the correct response to existential crisis. Always.
As incredible as the whole experience was, nothing embodied the chaos of that beautiful country
- and the chaos of our own lost selves - better than being struck down by violent sickness for a whole day and night in Jaipur. Delhi Belly, as it’s known by everybody everywhere, came to play, and she played hardball! In tone, it was similar to the final hour of Apocalypse Now.
On the trip we had witnessed world wonders, met people in the grip of poverty, stumbled into wild animal displays that would make Attenborough secrete his own brand of artisan squid ink, yet still I recall none of that stuff with as much colour or detail as that night and day crunched over the rim of a grim motel tub vomiting to the point of ecstasy, swivelling, then excreting to the point of Dysentery.
For me, this is what great holidays are made of; moments of trauma that put us in touch with the filth, the true grit. It reminds us that to ‘Vacate’ is to enter a liminal, non-reality, that all things must pass. On the plus side I returned from India looking like Iggy Pop; parasite having chewed away at my abundant blubber reserves.
Be ‘Ok’ with a bit of Makeup
Published November 2017
Men have long been exiled from the world of make-up, of the painted visage. While girls are encouraged to spend hours, decades, perfecting their individual look, carefully dressing the windows of their soul, us men are simply kicked into a shower and forced to wash our hair with shower gel. The Make Up Revolution is yet to hit masculinity. Perhaps the world would be a less violent, less ignorant place if us men were socially allowed to wear a full face of slap?
Recently I was invited to a house party whereby the designated theme was ‘Gender swap’.
Women dressed as men, men dressed as women. So there we were, a group of average blokes, some alpha, some beta, huddled in a back bedroom listening to soft rock while trying on a variety of our girlfriends’ dresses, attempting to determine which one would castrate us in the least
painful way. Being the heady, met-elite liberal that I am shamefully am, I quietly relished this situation. Particularly the free pass to enjoy the soft, muffin top hug of a free-flowing dress within the safe confines of ‘Fancy Dress’.
So we sat there, making sure to swig relentlessly on some tins, keeping the testosterone flowing, until out came the makeup. And in all honesty, as soon we started applying, I felt the energy of the room shift. We all fell head-over-heels into the catharsis of blending eye shadows, and lipstick. As we contoured harsh cheek bones, each man seemed to shapeshift before my eyes into a more focused, more relaxed version of themselves. Out of respect, I even kissed a napkin like they do in films. The rough renovation of our plain faces had somehow empowered this group of ordinary men. It was agreed that we had waited too long to feel the benefit of a painted face.
We moved forward from that night closer, and more aware that the line of gender is in-fact a fickle and blurred thing. Now, When we see each other, the memory hangs there behind the eyes as if to say “We remember” As the chaos and conflict of modern masculinity howls about us, my band of matte powdered brothers are safely taking sanctuary in the small pleasures of male makeup.