Friday, 26 October 2012

Waterstones... Do you want my money or what..?

Shopping for stuff on the high street is bad enough for any self respecting bloke with a love of wasting time on other small matters, like having a life, watching telly and drinking fine ales. So it is bloody annoying when a well known high street retailer says that they will be having a big launch of a new product that i wanted to have a look at, and then fail to deliver.

Now i don't want to mention any names here Waterstones, but when you say that on a certain date you will have said gadgets on show, the very least you should do is, well, have them on show. Especially when you have been saying that you will have them on show for bloody months using big posters and suchlike, and i have travelled to a big shop, far away, especially to look at them with a view to buying one.

I didn't buy one from your store because i couldn't satisfy myself that it was what i wanted. So i looked at another model that was on show. I played with it, i felt it's gadgetyness, clicked the buttons and admired it's design. I wanted one. Now.

Imagine my surprise then when i queued to spend my hard earned cash to buy said gadget, to be told that there were not any in stock. So, let me get this straight Waterstones, the gadget i came to see that you had promised would be here, was not, and the gadget that i wanted, the one that was displayed.. for sale.. was not in stock.

Fine then... I shall spend my hard earned cash elsewhere. Fools.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A Small Matter Of Manners.

Being a comedy fan, i read, listen and watch a fair amount of offerings from different comedians, writers and artists from all over the comedy world. Sometimes, i even write articles and interact online with some of my favourite comedians and websites.

On the Chortle website, they invite articles for publication from all writers, professional or otherwise, to contribute to their 'correspondents' page about all things comedy. So i did. That was a while ago, and since then i have heard nothing from them. Not even an email back to say thanks, but no thanks, you are a shit writer. So i say to any publisher out there, if you invite writers and contributors to your website, the very least you can do is respond with a note, one way or another. I would have linked to the Chortle website, but seeing as they can't be arsed, neither can i.

This is the article i wrote:

TITLE: Finding the podcast edge.
Being a tech head, i find most of my comedy fixes on the internet. That's not to say that i don't watch the TV or listen to the radio, but as a comedy fan who travels a lot, spending most of my time at the wheel watching life speed past at 70 mph, i listen to podcasts, finding my funnies where i can.

Mostly, these are found on Radio 4. Friday night comedy, Comedy of the week, The news quiz et al. However, i usually find myself working or unable to listen at the correct times, so the podcast of these programmes are especially useful. As funny as they are, i find myself listening to the same people, trotting out the same satirical jokes, but to a different political storyline that happens to be running that week. To be honest, it's getting a tad dull.

Newsjack, the all too short running series, woke me up a little to new writing talent. One line specialists, thirty second sketches and the like written by new talent with a new (ish) take on current affairs, but even that freshness can sometimes fall into the mundane satire of throwing bottles from the back of the room toward whatever political entity happens to make the news that week.

Yesterday, for the first time in a long while, i was listening to the news quiz from Radio 4. i had stacked up two or three episodes onto my player for a long journey i was making. Being a particularly dull journey, i wanted the laughs to keep me going. About a third of the way through the second episode, i switched it off. I wasn't laughing. The political point scoring by holier than thou comics and commentators just got too tedious to listen to. I had heard it all before, just in a different context.

TV could be said to be doing much the same. Mock the week being a particular culprit with the same comics, doing the same jokes, throwing the same bottles toward the same people. I find myself not laughing as much as i used to. The freshness has gone. The edgy, free thinking comics seem to have been replaced by the circuit comics who mostly try to outdo each other in the right on stakes.

So i find myself searching for something. The trouble was, i didn't know what i was searching for. iTunes provided me with radio shows dressed up as comedy shows. American podcasters are just a little too American for my tastes, although 'Sick and wrong' is a strong contender for a permanent place on my podcast list. Hint: It does what the title says. It does however, make me laugh.

In the last few weeks though, a comic has caught my eye. Not because he is new and fresh, but because he pushes out so much comic material that as a podcast listener, i was unable to avoid him.

You all (should) know Richard Herring. I caught one of his Warming Up podcasts a few days ago, and have since found myself downloading more and more of his comedy shows. The Edinburgh fringe podcasts, As it occurs to me, and the Leicester Square podcast are mostly a joy to listen to. His routines don't always hit the mark, but i have realised that in his search for better routines and comedy, he is taking bigger risks and different avenues in the hope of making me laugh. Mostly, he hits the mark.

Richard pops up on the TV and radio from time to time. Most people will associate him with Stuart Lee and assume that the Herring half of Lee and Herring has fallen by the wayside. Not a bit of it. It turns out that Richard has been working away furiously in the background producing some comedy gems in the form of podcasts and one man shows that are a delight to listen to.

This is one comedy podcast listener who is glad to have rediscovered him.

Is podcasting the future for comics? Probably not, as TV or radio is the pinnacle of making it in their line of business. But let it not be said that podcasts are a wasteland of unheard of comedy and comics. It could be that it is the very place for established comedians to try out something new. Try out a different avenue or satirical stance. To be fresh, to reinvigorate a routine and try it out online before taking it to the airwaves.

There is one podcast listener out here who is desperate to hear it.

Paul Martin tweets at @ukcameraman  

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The art of Dentistry.

"Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth" said Pam Ayres, in a thick West Country accent. Me too. Following a visit to my dentist last week, for which I had my pocket picked of a large sum of cash, I was told I may... may, need to return for more painful gobstetrics in the near future.

I want a second opinion, but fear that this will cost yet more cash, and result in a different surgical procedure, causing pain, blood flow, and a face that looks and feels like melting plasticine. Every time I visit the dentist for a check up I am told that something might need to be done. At great expense. My expense.

The phrase 'Root Canal' is enough to make a grown man cry, and my wallet weep. The high pitched whine of the tooth drill sends shivers down my spine and the painful needle in gum routine makes me want to punch someone. Preferably the dentist.

Why... Why does is take a needle in the gums to take the pain away..? A painful procedure to stop the pain. It's like losing a finger in a chainsaw accident and having the ambulance men tell you they are going to kick you in the head until unconscious, just to take the pain away.

Dentistry... The art of picking someone's pocket via their mouth and causing pain along the way.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Punditry Awry...

So... The Football season has started again here in the UK. 90 minutes of watching grown men kick an inflated pigs bladder around a grassy patch for a few hundred thousand pounds wages per week.

Over paid, with an over inflated ego and an over inflated sense of public adoration sums up your average Premiership football player. You are probably realising by now that I never really got the football bug.

I would watch my friends and colleagues transfixed to the screen, pint of beer in hand hanging on every kick, header, foul and goal. Every one a player, every one a manager, everyone a referee, the overwhelming desire to be on the pitch and show them how to do it properly.

"We was robbed.."

"The referee is a disgrace.."

"That guy should never be in that position... TACKLE..!"

"Get in you beauty..!"

I would sit there and feign a mild interest. Trying to think of something to say should I be asked a tactical question or deliver my verdict on a passage of play.

"Er.. Yeah... The fullback was maced when he got spatchcocked on the mullet with a blinder from the number 6. And.. Er... Oh yeah, the referee's a dick... And blind."

Phew, I think I got away with that. Football... Not my thing.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Ringside Seat...

I'm still working in London, and at this very moment I am sitting on the edge of the worlds anus, looking into the abyss that is Leicester Square. I can smell the oily fug eminating from the plethora of fast food joints, burger bars, fried chicken emporiums and pizza palaces.

Wherever I look I can see shops selling London themed tat, Olympic tat and any old tat. Theatre ticket touts, charity street muggers, street artists and talentless entertainers. High rent pubs with high rent prices selling low rent beer and food.

Yet strangely, the place is packed with tourists and people of every creed, colour and country. They spend their cash like water. They wander, cow like, peering into windows, admiring the grotty scene spread out before them.

Dominating the views are the cinemas, the casinos and bizarrely, a large building, five or six stories high, dedicated to a sweet. It's called M and M World. People take photos of it like its a cultural icon.

I sit here and watch as the masses pass by leaving their money behind, and wonder just how Leicester Square has got away with it for so long.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Bloody Widgets...

I knew it was going to be a crappy day when i woke up this morning and banged by head on the headboard before being fully awake. The sudden realisation that a long day stretches out before you where anything and possibly everything can go wrong.

It happened in the car. I forgot something so reached for the door handle. The internal plasticky widget mechanism thingy snapped. I was stuck until i figured out that if i wind down the window, reach out and pull the outside handle, i would be free. I reached for the handle, only for it to break off the spindle and come away in my hands. It was not yet 9:30am. What a shitter of a morning i've had...

I had to shuffle across the seats and let myself out from the passenger side. Looked a right twat i did... if anyone was watching. Now i have to exit my vehicle via the passenger side and do the broke door shuffle.

Don't they make cars like they used to..? You know, big lumbering beasts where everything was made of good old Sheffield steel and rust? I blame the Japanese for bringing in cheap, lightweight, fuel efficient plastic cars. At least in the old days of British made cars like the Austin Allegro, made by a lazy, unionised British workforce, you were safe in the knowledge that if the car broke, which it would, it was down to good old British shoddy workmanship and not a cheap plastic widget that can easily be replaced.

Now i've got to go and buy a cheap plastic widget... Bastards. 

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Critical Mass.

I'm currently working in London for the next few weeks. That in itself is enough to make a man go loopy-loo and start shouting at people in a bubbly froth of incoherent rage. In fact that is exactly what I have witnessed on a number of occasions in the past few days courtesy of street dwelling drinkers with a penchant for White Stripe cider, Tennants Extra and even a very fetching bottle of Lambrini.

I sympathise, it's a wonder that in a city full of people, all kinds of people, that riots and small scale local civil war doesn't break out on a regular basis. Baseball capped youths mix cautiously with flat capped senior citizens. Every colour of skin walk side by side, Jews, Muslims and Christians sit in Cafes with the Buddhists, Sikhs, and Secular. The moneyed few walk alongside the destitute on the same streets and the languages that fill the air tell of faraway lands.

This is just an observation as I sit here, taking in the lunchtime cafe culture of West London, that I am a tolerant, amiable and approachable chap with few hang ups about who I mix with. But if the bloke next to me hoiks up another gobful of phlegm and picks his nose one more time, I'm gonna go ballistic and force feed him breadsticks via his nose with a double dose of a kick in the bollocks.

One day, I'm going to really hurt someone...

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Things You See...

I'm in Coventry city centre. Please help me... I'm in Coventry city centre. I don't know quite how i arrived at the place i am now, other than the coffee was acceptable and the ham and cheese pannini went down quite well. You see, i seek out the smaller independent coffee shops rather than join the sheepish throngs at the corporate coffee shops with their long queues, packed tables, crap beverages and over enthusiastic barristas smiling the smile of an otherwise out of work media graduate.

So there i was, minding my own business when he passed before me. A rather large chap hoved into view, a huge dark shadow falling over the table where i sat. He was wearing worn out desert camouflage trousers, red socks and sandals. It was all i could do to stop myself from exhaling coffee and pannini bits onto the window through which i saw him. To top it off, he had a shaved, bald head and a tattoo of a barcode on the back of his head. Yep, you read that right, a barcode... Tattoo'ed... On his head. What that barcode would reveal should he ever scan himself through a checkout i can only guess at...

'Beep'... re-scan 'Beep'... Twat (XXL) 320lbs, Second hand, £1.42p. That's my guess.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Old Fashioned Service.

I walk up to the counter of the local petrol station and offer the surly, callow youth my hard earned cash for the fuel at pump number 4. A fresh, crisp £20 pound note, to pay for the fresh, crisp 10 Litres of petrol.

Callow youth: "Would you like some chocolate? Only one pound a bar..?"

Me: "No, thank you very much."

Callow youth: "Coffee, Tea...?"

Me: (Sigh) "No, thank you very much."

Callow youth: "Anything else for you...?"

Me: " PETROL..! ALL I WANTED WAS THE BLEEDING PETROL..!! I don't want a half pound bar of fruit and nut, a choco Latte Frappe, or Lapsang fucking Suchong in a flimsy cardboard cup. PETROL..! That is all i wanted. Did i ask for anything else..? I would have collected it on my way in or asked you for it before offering you my cash, wouldn't i... WOULDN'T I..?"

That's what i wanted to scream at the spotty faced young whelk at the counter anyway. Today's counter staff of the forecourt variety are now instructed by their bosses to try and sell any old pap from the 'nearing the sell by date' box to every customer who passes in front of them. Even if i come in every day, they ask me the same bloody questions, trying to sell me the same bloody things.

One day... One day, i'm going to really hurt someone.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter. 

For Starters, I'm Just Pissed Off... At Everything.

There is a time in every man's life when we realise we are getting older, grumpier and more pissed off at the world than we ever could have imagined back in the halcyon days of our misspent youth. Not much got in the way of what we wanted to do, except our parents of course. You know, those guardians of our morals, language and time. A swift slap to the back of the head from your Father made you realise that something you had done was amiss and that said infraction of the rules should not be repeated, on pain of being sent to bed with no supper and a cauliflower ear.

Things have changed somewhat. Today's misspent youth carries on into a misspent adulthood with an attitude that carries over from the misspent youth. Trousers revealing the crack of a thirty somethings arse is not a pleasant sight. Tattoos covering vast swathes of skin along with piercings that would make an Amazonian tribesman blush seem to be the norm... and that's just the Women.

All sorts of things conspire in the current climate to make me angry, annoyed and darn well pissed off. So i have decided to open this blog as a dumping ground for all of the machinations that sometimes occupy my thoughts on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy, inwardly digest and maybe even learn something...

If not... You can fuck off.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.