Sunday, May 19, 2013

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.

Skin deep

There's no point in lying, my immediate reaction when I heard the news was “She's done what? Say it ain't so”. I, like most other red-blooded males, shed a tear or two when it was announced that Angelina Jolie had undergone a double mastectomy. Ever since seeing her (and them) in Gia all those years ago I'd been smitten. Here was a proper sex symbol, and one with the talent to back it up. The tales of her sordid love life only added to the appeal. In recent years she shed her femme fatale image for something more mundane but she remained one of the most beautiful creatures on this earth.

There are many things which contribute to a woman's beauty, not least their decolletage. You only have to look at the amount of Hollywood babes enhancing their assets for proof of that. A fuller bust may not automatically make you more desirable but it sure as fuck helps. So for Jolie to do what she did takes incredible courage and resolve. Let's not forget how pivotal her figure was in her early career, this is a woman who brought the fantasies of many a videogamer to life by assuming the role of Lara Croft. And boy did she fill that outfit. But while large breasts appeal to my most basest desires there is nothing more attractive than a woman with confidence and self-belief. She may have lost a couple of things which we men held dear to hearts but in the process she has gained so much more.

More than just a footballer?

It's been quite a week for sporting retirements, at one point I wondered would there be anyone left to fulfil the events scheduled for this weekend. But while Scholes and O'Gara will ride quietly off into the sunset one man will remain firmly in the spotlight despite finally hanging up his boots. David Beckham is what you might call a media darling, his fame has long since outstripped his talent. But this shouldn't take away from his exploits on the pitch. To listen to some people you'd think he was nothing more than an average footballer living off his good looks and stealing a living. This week I've heard him labelled “the fourth best player in United's four man midfield” and “not in the top 1,000 players of the last forty years” among other things. Nonsense.

He was a handsome bastard, still is for that matter, but he was also a world-class footballer, certainly in United's colours at least. However by the time his relationship with Fergie soured and he packed his bags for Madrid I was glad to see the back of him. The media frenzy surrounding him had become tiresome and, although he might not like to admit it, his England career had begun to take precedence over United. He left Old Trafford for Real Madrid, perhaps the one club even more glamorous than United. And while he revelled in the celebrity lifestyle during his time in Madrid it shouldn't be forgotten that he was largely a success in Spain. Succeeding on the continent is not something English footballers are historically renowned for but Beckham managed it with ease. That he played out his days in the relative obscurity of Los Angeles was a crying shame but even that shouldn't detract from his achievements. A fame-hungry media whore? Yes. A bloody good exponent of the beautiful game? Also, yes.

I'm mad me

I'm always wary of people who class themselves as wacky. You know the sort, they're the first to suggest fancy dress for any party, the first to come up with kerrazy ideas at fund-raising events and the first to adopt new hilarious internet phrases just for the bantz. These are the kind of people that bleach their hair when in their thirties, wear pink shirts when it's not deemed appropriate, speak in jingoistic terms in formal situations; yes Mick Wallace I'm looking at you. Somehow this gobshite became an elected member of Dail Eireann, just goes to show how far being wacky will get you. And after a hiatus of oh about two minutes he's back in the news this week.

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity but how far can you take that? Anytime I hear this imbecile's name I just know that it's going to be followed by some feckless act. In this case he might be completely innocent but once more he has put himself in a position unbecoming of an elected member of parliament. This time he's being accused of using his position of power to curry favour with An Garda Siochana. In any other instance the accused may have publicly denounced the allegation and within a couple of days it would have all been forgotten about. But that would be too easy for ole' blondie. No instead we get counter claims, press conferences, Dail questions and a whole lot of uproar. Oh and plenty of wacky shirts of course.

Kicking and screaming

A couple of weeks ago I spoke of the effect illegal downloading had on movie rental chain Xtra-vision. At the time I said that I never bothered downloading films as I preferred to use Netflix or, shock horror, actually pay for them. Well this week the way we listen to music is under the spotlight. Again I rarely download, what's up with me right? Occasionally I'll snaffle some otherwise difficult to attain album and feel wracked with guilt for the rest of the day. But mostly I purchase CDs seeing as they're so fuckin' cheap nowadays. But in between these two extremes lies streaming sites. Paid ones. I tried Spotify and couldn't understand what the fuss was. Playlists? Isn't the playlist what you see on the back of the album sleeve? You know, track one, track two etc. Whatever happened to listening to an album in its entirety? Like the musicians intended you to.

It seems Google don't agree with me as they have entered the music streaming market as a direct competitor to Spotify. $9.99 a month gets you.....God knows what, lots of music I presume. Given that Daft Punk's new album is currently €14.95 in Tesco I would be tempted to say that this is pretty good value. But what do those ten dollars actually get you? You don't really own anything once you've paid your monthly subscription do you? It just gives you access to music. But you can transfer your entire music library to the service (yay no more iTunes) which is a definite plus, and I have to admit that some of it's features have tempted me to join the 21st century. The digitisation of music is almost complete, but just like those old guys who only listen to vinyl there is an entire generation for whom the compact disc will always be king. 

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