So after my last post we have had almost two thousand requests via Facebook that This Is Not A Review be scrapped in favour of a Blake Lively Appreciation Blog (or BLAB, which isn’t a bad title…). As if this wasn’t disheartening enough for me, four days ago I woke up to find sixteen voicemails from Will on my phone. They were recorded between the hours of 11pm and 3am, in increasing states of drunkenness. All of them, however, were on the theme of how shit I am. The most cutting of all was the penultimate one, in which Will demanded to know why I can’t be more like Ned Hepburn, followed by a detailed explanation of all the ways Ned is better than me. The last, and most disturbing voicemail was an incredibly emotional rendition of Elvis Presley’s ‘She’s Not You’, which I can only infer was a veiled admittance that Blake Lively can’t quite replace me. Encouraged by the idea that Will isn’t quite ready to let me go, but determined to up my game and win back his affections, I bought a six-pack of Guinness and pored over Ned’s blog, hoping to find something I could rip off. Then I had a nap, because Guinness makes me sleepy, which was wrought by tortured metaphorical dreams in which I was in a crowded bar, trying desperately to order a pint of Hepburn, but the bartender heard me wrong and gave me a gin and coke, which made no sense and was fucking disgusting. The dream haunted my thoughts for days, leaving me ponderous and morose, until I had a revelation.
My revelation came about from a bowl of soup my friend cooked for me. Okay so I didn’t really have a revelation, but I didn’t have a good angle for this article and, obtuse as it is, the soup one works. My friend asked me what I thought of her soup and I told her it was delicious, but then she pressed me for any criticisms I had about it. I told her, ‘Well, this is not a review but…’ (huh? Huh?), ‘it was slightly under-seasoned.’ Another friend, who is not in soup club but whose opinion is valid nonetheless, said that seasoning is a matter of preference and as such it isn’t fair to base a judgement on it. This was the spark that ignited in me a fiery internal dialogue which lasted for two full days and during which I came to question the very essence of what makes me, me. I am conflicted, you see. On the one hand I understand that everyone is different and they like different things, so how much salt goes into food could be subjective. On the other hand I believe that just because a bunch of people think one way doesn’t make it fucking so, and when you got to a Michelin-starred restaurant, there isn’t a salt shaker on your table because any chef worth his salt (huh? Huh?) knows how to properly season food and isn’t going to let you dick around with it. So it’s not so much that I don’t have an opinion. I just find it too easy to see two sides to an argument, which makes leaning one way or the other very difficult. And that makes this whole blogging terrain a hard one for me to negotiate, because unless one takes the well-travelled ‘pictures of cats and food and sex gifs’ road, opinion pieces are a blogger’s bread and butter. Ned Hepburn does some wicked opinion pieces, but also throws in some good music, winning anecdotes about his experiences with beautiful women, and pictures of Daisy Lowe. In other words, he has this blogging thing down pat. I just can’t hope to compete.
Even my most firmly entrenched beliefs can’t inspire enough confidence in me to publicly proclaim my opinion one way or the other. Part of it is undoubtedly a self-esteem issue – I don’t feel I have the right to an opinion – and I should probably see a professional about it. But the other part of it is I just can’t help thinking, ‘Who gives a shit?’ For example, I truly believe that the entire Twilight franchise is a steaming pile of horseshit. I do not agree that it is a matter of opinion, I believe this to be an absolute. This is not the same as me not liking Harry Potter. I do not believe Harry Potter is intrinsically bad. In fact, for what it is, I believe it is really rather good. It’s just not for me. Twilight, on the other hand, is trash. Plain and simple. The same way that Celebrity Big Brother is trash. It has no artistic merit whatsoever, and the fact that it has millions of fans is no more proof of its worth than Michelle Bachmann’s fans are proof that she is not batshit crazy. But. BUT. As sure as I am of these things, I do not reject the possibility that really these things are subjective, and I am grossly mistaken. That is a scary prospect to me because people who assign a great deal of importance to their own opinions either end up on Newsnight Review or in the comments section on Youtube, depending on their level of education. Either way, they’re still full of shit. The truth is, I would like to be one of these people with opinions, but without the nagging self doubt that makes me wonder if I’m just being an arrogant prick.
A lot of the people I look up to are guys who have strong personalities and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions publicly. Bill Hicks (whom I wrote about before) wanted to make a TV show called Let’s Hunt and Kill Billy Ray Cyrus. Stewart Lee destroyed Top Gear – Richard Hammond in particular – with an almost unparalleled articulate venom. And George Carlin said simply, ‘Fuck Lance Armstrong.’ None of these men were, or are, fence-sitters. They said these things on stage, and didn’t seem to suffer from the feelings of self doubt that plague me. By God, I want their level of confidence. I want to stand up like Bill and say, ‘Jesus, Iggy, what are you doing hawking insurance?’ Even Lemmy, my number one rock n roll idol, did an ad for Kronenberg beer. But that’s the world we live in. A world in which the Prince Of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne had a fucking reality TV show. The problem is, I can hear the arguments before anyone even brings them up. Who the fuck am I to question the rock n roll integrity of Iggy, Lemmy or Ozzy. Even their fucking names are all similarly rock n roll! Could doing some commercial shit really compromise the credentials of heavyweights like these guys? I don’t know. I know there’s nothing rock n roll about selling insurance, but I also know rock n roll is about doing whatever the fuck you want, so doing an ad and saying fuck you to anyone who doesn’t like it might be the most rock n roll thing of all! Jesus, what a fucking quandary.
But then, I suppose that’s why This Is Not A Review. I’m not here to tell you what I think about shit. Not really. Even if I do sometimes, it’s not the point of this thing. And it’s the reason I’m not as cool, or as prolific as dudes like Ned. A lot of the time I just haven’t got anything to say. Not anything I think is worth saying anyway. So if I haven’t been to a gig and I haven’t got something I think might make you laugh, I just end up posting a leggy picture of Blake Lively. Even if all it inspires in you is a stirring in your jockeys, that’s enough for me. I’ll leave the rest to guys like Will and Ned. Now excuse me, I have to go leave a Youtube comment on the new Twilight trailer.