Some things in life serve only to induce rage. No matter how small these annoyances may be, they are never insignificant. 'Rant List' is the chronicle of one self-loathing narcissist's seemingly unending pettiness.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

110. The London Underground and everyone on it

^ The Fifth Circle, about six months before the London Underground was completed. The lone boat was just not enough to accomodate the growing number of sinners.

At some point in the 1860s, Hell was brought kicking and screaming in to relative modernity. Down on the Fifth Circle, colloquially known as Anger, the river Styx had become backed up. With the only mode of transport being Phlegyas taking people across the Stygian marsh in his run-down skiff, congestion was at an all-time high. As fortune would have it however, a decade prior, the Metropolitan Railway had been granted permission to build a new underground network after the streets of London had become mired in human excrement and disease thanks to The Great Stink. After a few meetings between Hell CEO Lucifer H. Satan and the Met Railway, it was decided that it would be in the best interests of both Hell and the capital city to establish the London Underground. 

It was there in the Circle of Anger where the Tube (so named after being likened to a catheter for London’s waste) was first opened and remains to this day. Indeed, in the 21st century, Londoners still find that their current emotions subside to sheer, indelible rage as they enter the sub-terrain railway.  At rush-hour, the sweltering masses funeral march their way in to the metallic hate-carriages that line the network, granting the desperate commuters a daily vision of their future damnation. Crammed in together like satanic sardines smoked by the permeating heat rising from the lower circles, personal space remains the refuge of those brave enough to steer the demonic trains. 

And yet, there are passengers who try to engineer as much room for themselves as possible – not in some noble plight to ensure that they can breathe better or help someone else out. No, no. These damned-to-be cretins need enough space to read their free copy of Eternal Retribution Daily (commonly referred to as “Metro”) or to watch the latest instalment of Scripted Reality TV Show on their tablet. It’s almost as if they’re oblivious to the fact that everyone else is already standing cheek to cheek in every uncomfortable sense of the word. But maybe things wouldn’t be quite so bad if there wasn’t some heretic leaning up against the handrail in the centre of the carriage, therefore preventing anyone else from clinging on for dear life as they hurtle through Styx at an unreliable speed. Or if that vast expanse between all the seats had been filled by the wrathful who staunchly refuse to move down the carriage. No, that would all be far too reasonable for the Fifth Circle and its visitors. 

Indeed, the London Underground is the price we must all pay for our constant daily trespasses. It serves as a reminder of the sins we have committed in our wicked city lives, preparing us with a glimpse of our eternal fate. It shuffles us from the outer-regions of the Big Smoke right in to the central toilet bowl remnants of the Great Stink so that we can continue to waste our fleeting remaining years on middle-of-the-road toil and stress, all the while preparing us for our ultimate fate.

What is that fate you ask? Damned to spend eternity below the surface, surrounded by nothing but other commuters. 

Truly, Hell is other people.

109. The social media accounts of big brands

^ When I defend social media managers,  I don't include this turnip. Still a hilariously tasteless classic.

Whatever happened to the good old days when brands were just big faceless corporations that you could demonise without worry of any kind of repercussion? Nowadays, every big brand is armed to the teeth in social media managers, all of them lovely and friendly enough to help take the edge off the largely soulless company they represent. Post a disgruntled tweet (not necessarily tagging the company, mind) about a brand and you’ll be hunted down by a social media manager, with pleasantries already cocked and loaded.

Now, I immediately want to stress, I have nothing against the social media managers themselves. They’re doing a job that essentially amounts to acting as a thankless hate-sponge for all the consumer-spewed loathing out there. Their role is to play nicey-nicey so as to make those companies feel a bit less dystopian to Johnny and Johnina Public. But these virtual smile-mongers aren’t granted any power to actually do anything, in most cases. They’re part of the customer service chain, there to offer their condolences and pass a couple of tweets on to someone back at Big Brand HQ. As such, their well-meaning words are empty and impotent in terms of action. And yet, they can be oddly affecting.

All I really wanted to do was complain about how incredibly unreliable my ISP is (naming no names, but it’s helmed by a sentient goatee, begins with a ‘V’ and ends in ‘irgin Media’), before some incredibly efficient web-jockey told me that they were “sorry to hear that”, that they “hope” my issue was resolved soon and to “keep [them] posted”.  Obviously I didn’t keep them posted, as I immediately felt a pang of guilt for being petty enough to throw a ranty little comment in to the meaningless void that is Twitter, like a disgruntled 13 year old who was short-changed on Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (that’s what the kids are in to these days, right?). Someone else’s politeness was a quick reminder of just how pointless it is to get annoyed enough by something to post about it on the internet.
Oh well, it could be worse. I could have spent several years writing an online blog about all the small and meaningless first world problems I feel personally offended by despite them having little to no bearing on my quality of life.



Monday, 5 October 2015

108. The chaos caused by charging 5p for shopping bags in supermarkets

^ This morning's paper. Undoubtedly, no further copies exist as terrified people scramble for whatever resources they can amidst this new found chaos.
Dear Reader,

I am writing this on 1/1/1 PFPA (Post Free Plastic-bag Age), 2.30pm. Those of you who are privileged enough to be reading this from the safety of your apocalypse bunkers, I hope you are surviving as best you can on the meagre rations that seem to be left in this terrifying new world. I’m making the assumption that those with bunkers are now the only ones able to read this blog, as everyone else is either amidst the soul-shaking chaos of the outside world or has tragically and chaotically lost their life.

As we all know, our lives unexpectedly and irrevocably changed forever this morning, as we were subjected to a new and chaotic world order that sees us charged for plastic bags at the supermarket. The (self-checkout) machines had been trying to warn us of the change for the last few weeks, but we didn’t listen to them. 

No, worse. We didn’t trust them. We didn’t trust the machines. After all, after the chaos of unexpected items in bagging areas, we didn’t know they - of all sentient beings - would be the ones to try and help us.

And now look where we are. It is pure chaos out there.

Already today, I’ve seen things I can’t ever hope to possibly un-see. 5p coins, brazenly strewn across wallets and the streets, their dimpled edges sharp enough to cause minor metallic paper-cuts to the most unsuspecting of victims. People bringing their own plastic bags to the supermarket, presumably extracted from a larger plastic bag they keep under the sink at home along with other balled up plastic bags. Or, worst yet, those without either bag or coin unable to do anything with their purchased shopping. Crushed by the realisation that he simply couldn't deal with this chaotic society anymore, I saw one man attempt to steal a plastic bag with which to suffocate himself. Alas, to no avail, as some sick bystander offered him a spare canvas bag.

Obviously, we are ensnared by chaos. It’s as if the Earth itself has bucked back at its lowly inhabitants for trying to make it a better place. After spending decades being plagued with disposable sacks branded Sainsbury’s or Tesco, it had become accustomed to its own suffering; as accustomed as a 40-a-day smoker is to their delicious respiratory destruction. Who are we to try and make the Earth quit plastic bags cold turkey by offering very slight methods of deterrence?

We all saw what happened to Wales a few years ago. Why, oh why, did we not learn from the mistakes that have left our cherished neighbours to the west in a barren wasteland? Now we are hurtling towards a previously unknown tenth circle of Dante’s Inferno! A circle of pure chaos as chaos chaotically envelops more chaos. 

It is true chaos, beyond chaos we’ve ever known. Chaos beyond unemployment and homelessness. Chaos beyond refugee crises. Chaos beyond the privatisation of the NHS. Chaos beyond necro-pig-fellation.

My friends. Truly, these are the end times. Of chaos.

P.S. Grow the hell up, you caustic barrel-scraping, fear-mongering tabloid rags.

Monday, 20 April 2015

107. Nigel Farage's jowly neck

DISCLAIMER: If you are repulsed by the sight of Nigel Farage like most humans, you may want to pass on this one. Right, on with it then.


      Yes folks, it’s nearly election time and what kind of commentary pundit would I be if I didn’t hastily mash together my own opinions about politics for public dissemination? I’ll tell you dear reader, I’d be a worthless one! Because everybody knows you can only succeed in the world of op-ed content by having inflammatory views about the political landscape!

However, I think all those riled up news outlets are really missing a trick in identifying what really makes this year’s election so different to all previous ones. Yes, of course it’s the presence of British everyman-who-likes-a-pint-and-hates-immigrants, Nigel Farage. Or ol’ Nigey to his mates, the UK populous (as long as they’re British born and bred though haha, am I right? Get me a pint of Spitfire, stat*).

"Lookit, I'm doing politics!!"

However, when journos talk about Nigey, they always harp on about his anti-human policies, his never-ending hypocrisy around foreigners stealing our jobs whilst employing his ostensibly non-British wife, his utter ignorance around HIV, the fact he always seems to be holding a pint or his affably matey guffaw. Frankly, I hadn’t actually noticed any of these things until someone told me about them at work last week. Why? Because every time I see something relating to Nigey, the only thing I can focus on is the bloated skin-fest that is his neck; the jowly abundance that nestles the precipice of hate that is his pint-and-fag reeking mouth; the chin swallowing abyss that only has enough structural integrity to support the out-of-date head atop it thanks to an incredibly tightly done up tie and top-button combo; the abundance of gnarly foreskin around a true dickhead.

It’s like he’s had a giant earthworm surgically grafted atop his shoulders, the rings surrounding its body giving him an overspill of chin over his collar and tie every time he cackles maniacally about how immigrants are to blame for the economic crisis and the ban on fox hunting. At a certain point, it seems like ol’ Nigey is more jelly-neck than man, which is ironic considering what a spineless scrote he is.

But damn, doesn’t he photograph well?

*For those of you interested in the writing process, when I originally drafted this entry, I initially wrote “Get me a pint of [insert racist drink here]”. A little peep in to the craft of ranting for you. Not everything comes to me instantaneously, hours of research went in to my drink choice. Did I succeed? Why not tweet me @rantlist and I’ll be sure to block and report you for harassment.

106. Megadeth having the cheek to crowdfund their latest album

^ I shamelessly took this off Tumblr, but it's such an accurate picture of Megadave that I couldn't resist. Credit to whoever made it, you're a genius,

       Look guys, we all know that deep down inside, I’m a spotty 15 year old kid who thinks that Rust In Peace by Megadeth is probably the absolute zenith of music. It’s got so much going on – densely technical riffs, absolutely monstrous drumming, guitar solos so shredded they’ll tear your face right off and vocals that sound like an alley-cat giving with a hernia. It’s so metal.

For many years of my teenage life, Megadeth were *the* band. A band that basically spent a large part of its career dedicated to complaining about things to the backdrop of needlessly complicated riffs is always going to have some emotional resonance for me. However, the last few years have seen some of that undying love waver a bit for a variety of reasons.

At first it was the slightly lacklustre live performances where frontman, Dave “The Strawberry Blonde Mop” Mustaine, couldn’t quite get his feline screeching right anymore. Then it was the never-ending interviews with Mopstaine where he just kept turning everything in to a conversation about how he doesn’t believe Obama is American or how he thinks evolution is a lie. As an Anthropology grad, I really struggled with that. But then I always thought to myself, “Look, they may be idiots, but you’ll always have that music; that music that made you feel like somebody got you when you were a nerdy teen, sitting alone in your room, cranking 'Addicted to Chaos' (you know, despite the fact they were generally singing about prolonged suicide through drug abuse and your plight was more about how you couldn’t beat Gill in Street Fighter III – same difference).” Then that Super Collider album happened in 2013 and it was genuinely atrocious.

And so it’s against this ever tattered backdrop that Megadeth have announced the campaign for their as yet untitled follow-up album. But being the progressive young things they are, they’ve decided to crowdfund their album.

Of course, my issue is in no way with crowdfunding and Pledge Music. On the contrary, I think Pledge Music is a wonderful platform and has given artists who would probably really struggle to put out the albums worthy of their creative vision to their baying fanboys and girls a chance to thrive – whether it’s your Devin “I’m going to write a metal opera about an alien" Townsends or your Ginger “I like pop choruses and extreme metal” Wildhearts, plenty of great records have only been possible thanks to crowdfunding. But these guys are relatively small meat in the world of global music, having had genuine ups and downs in their careers that have put them on the edge of obscurity at one point or the other.

Megadeth on the other hand are undoubtedly one of the most moneyed bands in the world of heavy metal. Second only to Metallica in the early ‘90s, the band still play huge, sell-out global tours. Even without label support, I’m sure they could afford to record an album out of their own deep, deep pockets. But no, they’re crowdfunding the album and, what’s worse, they’re bleeding their crowd completely dry. 

Yes folks, you too can pay £22 for a CD from a band who’s discography since 2007 has been patchy at best. But what about the wider fan experiences? Well, for a measly £2042, you can have a guitar lesson with the one and only MegaDave himself (travel obviously not included). Learn how to play the riffs to ‘Holy Wars’ whilst Dave tries to convince you that 9/11 was an inside job!

I’m all for bands trying to creatively turn their art in to a business model. But when you’re one of the few bands out there privileged enough to have made an incredibly well-funded living off your music, you can’t just rob your loyal fans like this. Especially when your hey-day was nearly thirty years ago.

Megadeth sells, but who’s buying? For the first time ever, I really hope no one.

105. The increasing difficulty in seeing anything through to completion

    ^Me, Q3-Q4 2014

       I've whined a lot on this little blog and, whilst it all reads like a rogue’s gallery of first world problems, I have no intention of stopping any time soon. However, intention means nothing when you can’t really get it together.

You may have noticed Rant List has been quiet for about a year. Why? I actually don’t really know. I've certainly not become any less petty and mature in the last year. If anything, the period of June – December 2014 probably encapsulates one of the most rage-filled periods of my life as I struggled to enjoy my general existence against the unrelenting suplexes of working life. And there have been plenty of times in that time-frame and since where I've cracked open Word and started fervently mashing my keys against the keyboard, fingers reduced to calloused stumps as the self-entitled indignance flowed from their tips. But every List entry started is usually abandoned after about 15 minutes.

Something about life has tired me and it has made the process of expressing myself in any tenuously creative manner harder than it ever used to be – even if that “creative” self-expression normally takes the form of a low-budget Charlie Brooker impersonator who makes references to obscure metal bands (what a lucrative niche!!). As a result, over the last year I've ironically amassed lists of ideas, but simply had none of the gumption to see them through. Of course, that lack of having not actually seen any of those ideas through in the last year was a petty frustration in and of itself. Turns out it was just enough of a spoilt brat-esque, first world problem of a frustration to spur me on to finish writing something.