All posts by Jonny

Witty but woebegone

Woody Allen rant

If 2016 was the year of celebrity deaths, 2017 was surely the annum of celebrity downfalls.

Sparked by the toppling of one of Hollywood’s most prolific alleged sex pests Harvey Weinstein, an entire balustrade of power-wielding, pussy-grabbing men has come tumbling down in recent months; Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and Brett Ratner head up a very lengthy list. Of course, the most powerful man on the planet has had many a finger pointed in his orange direction, but so far, to no avail…as has another wormy, smarmy, self-obsessed star.

For some bizarre reason, Woody Allen is still being allowed to make movies. Every fucking year. Despite having been openly accused of kiddy fiddling by his own adopted kiddy, and then going on to marry another adopted kiddy, the man still is given free rein to populate our cinemas with inane, pseudo-intellectual babble about himself, his ego and his unquenchable libido. Hell, Allen has even come out in support of the unanimously maligned Weinstein, causing chip-off-the-old-block Donny Trump Jnr to wade into these murkiest of waters and slam the weedy, wordy, whiny comic. When The Donald’s spawn is providing the voice of reason, you know you’re headed up thon creek without thon paddle.

Now, these allegations against Allen are of course highly disturbing, and shouldn’t be trivialised or swept under the carpet. But there is a case to be made for the idea that the personal life of an artist shouldn’t interfere in the appreciation of their artistry. Throughout history, genius scumbags have gotten off scot-free with their scumbaggery precisely because they were capable of rising above it in their professional life. Caravaggio was a do-badder of the highest order, Picasso reputedly bullied and battered the fairer sex and Michael Jackson’s status as the King of Pop was briefly compromised by his inability to stay away from the royal play pen. Despite this, all three are hailed as prodigies and virtuosos – and they’re by no means the only ones. Hindsight in particular has a habit of encouraging us to look past a man’s faults and assess his creative output apart.

Applying that dictum to Allen, we can shelve the (unproven) allegations about inappropriately touching his seven-year-old foster daughter Dylan and the (very much proven) allegations about inappropriately cheating on his partner with her latest adoptee Soon-Yi and inappropriately marrying said adoptee at a later date. Put the philandering and paedophiliac accusations aside, and assess the man’s art with the cold, analytical eye of a movie lover…and the point still stands. How the fuck is this man still being allowed to make movies?

For one thing, he has a serious hard-on for the Big Apple. Sure, no problem; New York is a vibrant city, who wouldn’t love to live there? The thing is, Woody does live there – and he won’t fucking shut up about it. He has 77 writing credits and almost as many directorial credits on IMDb, and the vast majority of those are set in or around the iconic US city. Sure, he had a brief spell over the last decade where he tried to branch out with stories set in major European metropoles like Barcelona, Paris and Rome – but he’s returned to his old stomping ground of late. There’s a new movie in the pipeline for 2018, too. Of course there fucking is. Guess what it’s called. A Rainy Day in New York. Shock horror.

Indeed, that title could even be a microcosm for the career of this cringe-inducing cynical upstart with a preoccupation for all things sexual, especially if it involves far prettier and far younger things than himself. Allen never tires of casting himself in the lead role as a witty but woebegone writer/actor/comic/megalomaniac who is irresistible to the most beautiful ladies Hollywood has to offer. Without doubt, he’ll include more than one wrangling, hand-wringing monologue on the foibles and frustrations of modern life, pretending to address hard-hitting philosophical questions but really just showing off his ability to construct a wordy shell of a joke without a substantial punchline of an interior. What’s more, nasal kvetching about the injustice of life rings more than a little hollow when it’s delivered inside the grandest of New York apartments, which more often than not feature a grand piano or a chaise longue. If things were really that bad, Woody, you’d have put an end to them long ago. A bullet to the head would be infinitely more effective in curbing your woes than squeezing pithy, cynical one-liners out of them.

Yet for all his repetition and irritation, the man is still revered as one of America’s finest directors. He regularly reels in all manner of A-list glitz and glamour to tart up his dreary cinematic turds. How can this happen? How can the flesh-and-blood incarnation of Arty Ziff continue to thrive in the 21st century? Weinsteingate is an opportunity to still Allen’s “busy hands” once and for all, yet his unabating ability to crank out filmic faecal matter by the wheelbarrowload just demonstrates that even the current epoch of scandal and censure isn’t enough to topple this wiry-haired weasel off his perch.

With new stories emerging every day, there’s still time for him to come unstuck – and let’s hope he duly does. If not for his victims, at least for future generations of cinemagoers. For God’s sake, won’t somebody please think of the children?

Of course a dragon

It’s official – Game of Thrones is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.

It has more blood and guts than American Horror Story, more familial rivalries than The Sopranos and more zombie legions than The Walking Dead. It has more flashes of sideboob than Eurotrash and such a fondness for our favourite word it might as well be called Game of Cunts.

It’s also high time to put it out of its misery.

Continue reading Of course a dragon


In 1971, windswept crooner Don MacLean penned a little-known ditty (presumably inspired by the Weitz brothers film of the same) in which he warbled about “the day the music died”. Though MacLean was actually referring to the tragic 1959 plane crash which claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson, the true fate that has befallen music has proven to be far longer, more drawn-out and exponentially more painful.

Not that careering Earthwards in a ball of flame would be a fun way to go, but at least it would be over in a matter of minutes and carries with it a certain poetic panache. Come to think of it, there are few deaths that are more protracted and boring than the one in the throes of which the music industry currently finds itself – death by streaming.

Continue reading Humdrumification

Strength and stability

This month sees the seven-year anniversary of the Tories’ ascension to Downing Street.

Seven is considered to be a magic number by many. Seven days of the week, seven colours in the rainbow, seven continents and seven seas on this great green-and-blue Earth. Seven Samurai, seven books in the Harry Potter series and seven fucking psychopaths.

Seven might be a magical number to some, but it certainly hasn’t proved magical for the majority of Britons over the last seven years, and it’s apparently not quite magical enough for Theresa May, who has decided to reach for five more years in the Prime Ministerial hot seat.

Continue reading Strength and stability

The next boat back to Tuvalu

FIFA has certainly had a rough patch of late. Dodgy deals behind closed doors, confederation presidents handling suspiciously overstuffed briefcases, botched bribery attempts from the chronically awkward Brits (bless them), more expensive Swiss watches than even Salvador Dalí would know what to do with and a couple of incredibly misguided venue choices for the next two footballing extravaganzas. Could it get any worse?

Amazingly, yes.

Continue reading The next boat back to Tuvalu


Blame life. Blame racism. Blame misogyny. Blame the Director of the FBI. Blame sex, lies and videotapes. Blame social media. Blame the great unwashed. Blame not only their hygiene but their appalling lack of education. Blame the 54% of white women who voted for a guy that jokes about dating his daughter and brags about casually groping complete strangers. Blame nationalism. Blame media bias. Blame the tilt of the world’s axis. Blame the callous, cunting disaster that 2016 has shown itself to be. Blame life. Just don’t blame Hillary Clinton…

…but why the fuck shouldn’t we blame Hillary?

Continue reading Trumpspotting

Taking our pills and watching our cartoons

Some people say the world has gone bonkers. Some people say the world is dying. While I agree with the sentiments of both, I’ve got to think neither are true. The world is neither bonkers nor dying; it just is. We, however, we humans – we’re definitely all going to die. And we’re just bonkers enough to try and make that happen a little bit sooner by bringing down the world with us.

I like to think of the world as one giant lunatic asylum for the mentally and terminally ill. But instead of taking our pills and watching our cartoons and smelling the nice roses, we’re intent on smashing the fucking place to bits. On ripping great handfuls of plaster off the wall and shaping them into effigies of our deity of choice. On tearing up the nice potted plants dotted everywhere and creating useless baubles and trinkets of every imaginable size and shape, simply for our own amusement. On biting off chunks of the sofa and sticking our dicks into the exposed foam, then rutting until both us and the sofa are mere husks of their former selves. On, almost literally, fucking our environment into annihilated oblivion for no other reason than because we can and because it will help us to buy stuff to put with our other stuff and the stuff we’ve forgotten we bought and didn’t really give that much of a fuck about in the first place.

And the worst part? We don’t even acknowledge that we’re doing it. We refuse to admit our own insanity and the reckless effect it is having on our environment.

If all that metaphorical flimflam was too obscure for you, I’m talking about climate change, our role in it and, most gear-grindingly of all, the morons who deny it’s happening, and who, by some twisted logic, seem to end up being the ones in charge of addressing it.

If you haven’t noticed that it’s happening, you’ll probably want to pull your head out of your arse or that sand you’ve been burying it in or the oven or wherever you’ve been allowing it to coagulate for the last decade or four.

Of course, as with most things, this destruction of our planet and simultaneous shoulder-shrugging is most noticeable in the good old U-S of A. Only there could men who have quite literally written the book on climate change conspiracy (see The Greatest Hoax by Senator James Inhofe… then burn it … err, I mean recycle responsibly, of course) and compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo (yes, really) be elected into the role of chairperson of a body supposedly designed to champion the causes of our flagging planet. Only there could the House of Representatives try to usher through a bill banning scientists from commenting on their own work (that’s right, those who are most qualified and most practiced in the subject are prohibited from sharing any of that pointlessly accrued knowledge). And only there would an elected official argue with regulations prohibiting the over-extraction of coal because “God said so”.

Of course, although our American chums are some of the prime offenders in this sadistic charade of planet-buggery, they are merely the over-zealous frat-boys at the cult shindig where everyone has most certainly partaken of the Kool Aid.

Closer to home, our politicians seems to have foregone all pretence of giving a fuck and are rapaciously pursuing the practice of fracking (it even sounds dirty) which has made our American brethren so delirious with capitalist glee. With their rubber fucking faces contorted into postures of patronising contrition, they nod and smile at the droning regulations imposed by the EU, which is becoming increasingly reminiscent of a senile old grandfather, forgetting his admonitions while still in the process of administering them. “What’s that…? Fossil fuels, you say…? Global warming, you say…? 20% reductions, you say…? Of course, of course…” they soothe treacherously, all the while tapping the walls for hidden oil reserves and sidling ever closer to the door marked EXIT where Nigel Farage proffers forbidden fruit and pints of bitter.

Meanwhile, Australia, our long-lost son, has appointed as its political kingpin a Speedo-toting moron whose complete lack of morals seem to be a point of honour. When faced with opposition to his barbaric planetary policies, the man and his cronies seem only able to reply that “COAL IS GOOD” in a macabre Orwellian pastiche of Hodor from Game of Thrones.

And just in case you thought my focus on Anglo-centric countries was indicative of the racist cap I donned to pen this harangue, then fear not – there’s plenty of bile stored up to shower over Earth-plunderers who speak other languages. Until recently, Saudi Arabia and Russia were so good at fucking the Earth and charging others to watch that they were ranked even above the outspoken Yanks. The giant cloud of impending doom that hovers relentlessly over the vast country of China is something of a clue to its stature as top dog in greenhouse gas emissions, cheerfully releasing more than 6 million tonnes of the fuckers into the air each year.

The industrial boom in India, not content with spitting out huge amounts of carbon and shitting all over the land it’s built on, has also saved some excrement for the exploited workers in its factories. Meanwhile, the Japanese, like the Russians, are all for cutting harmful emissions, but only on the principle that “you go first”. Even the endearingly benign Canada are not free from blame, mining their country’s vast resources into a state of ecological butt-hurt. Of course, not everyone is to be tarred with the same brush. Germany, for all its current environmental havoc-wreaking, is at least making some very loud and convincing noises about “wanting to change” in the near future. And Scandinavia… well, the Scandinavians certainly seem to have it all worked out. Though never having actually been there myself, I can’t be 100% sure it actually exists. Another Narnia, I suspect.

The great race to wreck our surroundings continues unstoppably and every one of us is to blame. But what does that matter when another Christmas is always coming and there’s ever more STUFF to buy?