Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if ‘Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends’ (surely the best program on TV) was in fact inspired by the American Psycho’s favourite TV program- ‘The Patty Winters Show’. In case you haven’t seen it, each episode focuses on a different, at times uncomfortable, off-beat subculture of the developed world. Mail Order Brides, White Separatism, Gangsta Rap, Neo-Nazism, Swinger Parties, Black Nationalism in Harlem, Professional Wrestling, Male Porn Stars- I just can’t get enough but now that I’ve watched the entire series I need something new. And so it’s a shame that the ‘Patty Winters Show’ doesn’t actually exist. I would love to see the BBC produce a disturbing daily documentary on things like ‘the boy who fell in love with a box of soap’, ‘Dwarf Tossing’, ‘Women with multiple personalities’ and ‘Interview with a cheerio’ but I think it’s unlikely. It might be strange, maybe even sick but it would make such compelling viewing. Anybody got any suggestions for TV programs to fill up my tiny life?
For a wishy-washy liberal pacifist whose’ largely unemployable, I have noticed worrying parallels between my life and that of Patrick Bateman: Bret Easton Ellis’ investment banker character from hell. We both like expensive food and training and feel deeply discontented with the world. We both like off-beat documentaries and lifting weights and while I’m not into ultra-violence we do both have trouble finding meaningful relationships. Hmmmm.....
I’m afraid my summer of trad gnarling has been swallowed up by dark clouds and capitalist exploitation. At the moment I’m enduring what my mother refers to as ‘real life’, something I have no interest in pursuing any further. I’m working two jobs full time trying to get back some of the money I blew going on trips to Europe. During the day I deal with the public and sell them outdoor gear they don’t need and at night I deal with the public, selling them cushions for the military. I’ve learnt a lot about myself during the last few weeks of hell. I dislike the general public almost as much as I hate the military and if conscription ever comes back in Britain i’ll be going to jail. I really despair with the world when old ladies are forced to wait standing in the rain so that some bourg toff can be driven in to the Tattoo in a Bentley and escorted to his champagne parlour in the name of a ridiculous tradition. It’s not just the fact that I’m totally opposed to every war Britain has taken part in during my lifetime, it’s the structuring of the army (Marx would/did have a feast) and the glorification of brain-death amongst the riff-raff infantry, who are fed dog biscuits for blindly taking orders not from their intellectual superior but the rich, soldiers who went to privatised schooling.
And so my bests on the sharp end this summer were not really progress at all from the last time i went on a trad bender 2 years ago. I did a couple of E5’s in dubious style and The Sharp End at polney above a couple of mats. Not really very impressive considering it’s well known for being the softest 6 around and that’s probably without mats, but, as trad superstar antihero Ali Robb can be quoted as saying “if it says 6 in the book then its an easy tick”. Stay quiet McNair!
This year, if I shop around through guidebooks I’ve done a route given French 8b (Swimming through a shark attack) a bloc given Font 8a (Sprung) and an E6 without inspection (Sharp End) but of course i’ve not (they've all been/ will be downgraded). I’m still as weak and fat as ever. They do seem like good goals to aim for though. So the very ambitious ticklist (too scared to put a time limit on this) is a Benchmark 8b (Magnetic Fields in Yorks or maybe Stolen in Nevis???). A benchmark 8a bloc, ideally at somewhere like cuvier (maybe Neverland or Cetait Demain) and a proper e6 onsight (something benchmark like Lord of the Flies on the Cromlech???). We’ll see how it pans out. I haven’t actually tried anything on the list I have no idea how realistic it is...feel free to suggest.
Slightly hypocritically I’m off to Magic Wood in two weeks to meet Mike and Sam. It’s funny because whenever I talk to people they’re instantly like “ah, gunning for some 8a’s” which puts loads of pressure on. When you go to font or Buoux or somewhere there isn’t any pressure. If you come back and tell people you only climbed 5b on your trip ‘but it was really hard’ they’ll believe you. If you come back from Magic Wood and tell them you did an 8a they’ll assume it’s easy. In my experience font isn’t actually hard for the grade and famously soft touch areas generally only have the odd soft touch joke problem which was actually downgraded three guidebooks ago. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong and i’ll have loads of big numbers to spraff about on returning.