15 February 2012

Post-Valentine's Madness


The British are known for the stiff upper lips and buttoned-down demeanour during working hours. Post-working hours: all bets are off. Especially on the holidays.

This morning, after Valentine's day (AKA V-Day) one of the biggest holidays in the calendar, it was absolute madness. All over the city there were signs of too much Valentining.

I'd hardly gone a hundred feet when I had to sidestep a box of half-eaten chocolates spilled onto the ground outside the off-license. And then I noticed the ravages of the previous night's activity everywhere. Champagne bottles, some tipped on their sides, and more than half of them coated in wax drippings, with burnt candle stubs jammed into the neck. Cards with endearing cartoons or fuzzy baby animals lay soaking up puddle water - it was appalling. But it didn't end there.

On the Underground it was clear that the clean-up crew had taken the night off. Half-eaten heart-shaped pizzas on the floor, dishes stacked neatly on the ledges, DVDs of The Notebook and When Harry Met Sally stuffed between the seats, and even an entire chocolate fondue set, still warm, on its side leaking brown ooze onto a shoebox full of mixed tapes. Shocking.

And the people! Mixed in amongst the commuters were people in all stages of romance. Off-the-shoulder dresses shimmering, make-up just so. Guys with hair laboriously unkempt, reeking of cologne, nervously adjusting neckties. Making small talk, laughing too loudly at timid jokes.

It was, frankly, disgusting.

It's not that I mind all this romance - I used to even enjoy coming home with a dozen roses to watch Say Anything every now and again - but we need some decorum. Valentine's Day is not an excuse for us to collectively lose our sense of common decency.

I'm a bit ashamed to say that by the time I arrived at my destination station, I'd got myself into a bit of a state about this whole over-stretched marathon of Public Displays of Affection. It was 8:30 in the morning!

As I walked to work, I lost it. I saw a couple in an alley behind a bunch of discarded boxes furiously holding hands and whispering with a candle still burning. I snapped. I shouted at them. Something like, "Pack it in, lovebirds!"

They continued though, like they hadn't heard me. And maybe they hadn't: Marvin Gaye was playing pretty loudly on the iPod beside them.

Something needs to be done.


11 February 2012

Charles Dickens is ... absurd overheard

Charles Dickens, the original Chuck D.

Most writers would love to have their words beautifully illustrated. And yesterday it happened to me!

I recently tweeted: "Charles Dickens, the original Chuck D." Just for fun. And it was Dickens' 200th birthday, so I thought I'd give him a little shout out.

Yesterday I discovered that twitter user and designer illustrator @CMYKaren illustrated that tweet. In what looks like mixed media!

It's available on her Absurd Overheard blog, which is definitely worth a visit.


07 February 2012

RM Writes 2011

I've recently put together a small collection of some things I wrote last year (2011), into some sort of book-type format.

It includes some commentary, a short story, a play, a rap verse, a comedy sketch, and some blogposts. If that seems like the kind of things that you might like to read, in a reasonably handy pdf format, then download it here and have a read.

If you have any feedback on the thing, favourite pieces, parts you hated, best bit of the rudimentary layout, or anything else, I'd love to hear it.

I'd like to consider it 'market research' for the 2010 version. And also maybe a non-time-specific anthology.

UPDATE: I re-uploaded it, after removing the five or so typos I found. Ugh.


01 February 2012

What The British Say (And What They Really Mean)

Imagelink (BBC America)

This is super-handy clip-and-save guide to help you understand what the British mean when they talk to you. This is especially applicable in a business context, but also applies to any creative or personal project you might undertake with a Brit.

I wish I'd had this a couple of years ago; I have misinterpreted most of the comments on this list. I know that now.