Intelligence

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about intelligence. I’ve never been happy with my own intelligence; I know a lot of people who are more intelligent than I am and it makes me very self-conscious. I  wish I’d paid more attention in school and even in University which I only finished this year. I tend to be lazy in almost every area of my life. I don’t remember doing homework. I’m sure I did some. But I can’t remember. I used to get in trouble a lot for not having my homework done. And other times the teacher might not ask and I’d get away with it. But I don’t know why I took the risk. I don’t understand why I just never did my homework. I also skipped school a lot; I don’t know why I did that either. It wasn’t that I disliked school. All of my friends were there and it was constantly funny. Again, I blame it on laziness. Some mornings I just would not get out of bed. And then I’d spend the day watching TV, playing video games and going on the internet. And that’s all I do today as well. Writing this has been the most productive thing I’ve done today.

I’ve kind of gone off topic. Sometimes I feel like I’m not on the same intelligence spectrum as others. Other people seems to get the world better than I do. They have opinions and ideas about a subject that make me think, how did they think of that? How did they organise their thoughts so well, so coherently, and so sensibly? I achieved a 2.1 grade in my degree, and I’m not quite sure how. I don’t feel intelligent. I know that I’m bright, I’m self aware, and have the potential to be clever, but I don’t feel smart. It bothers me and I don’t know how I can get to a point where I will feel smart.

How do I stop feeling naive?

My attention span seems to be so small these days that I get bored writing blog posts up to around this mark. I’m going to leave it here and post this so I can feel like I have accomplished something.

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Useless.

So I did what I thought I would do.

Nothing.

I’m still going to attempt to write in this regularly now. I should be writing every day. Instead I watch American Dad and play through all The Legend Of Zelda games I have for the millionth time.

I’ve been trying to formulate a new idea for a sitcom. I wrote the TV Bible for one set in a cafe, but I’m not keen on the idea anymore. It’s not very original and a bit meh. I’ve posted the first few pages of the script for people to look at. If anyone looks at this. Which I can bet maybe about three or four might.

Looking back over it now, I think it’s a bit lame. I like it, but I could definitely do it better. And I’m terrified that my attempts at being funny were even lamer. Ugh. Whatever. Just read it.

1.  INT. CAFÉ      10.00   DAY

BEN IS STANDING BEHIND THE COUNTER LOOKING BORED. HE IS STARING IN TO SPACE. AN ELDERLY LADY WALKS IN TO THE CAFÉ AND UP TO THE COUNTER. BEN SMILES PLEASANTLY AT HER.

BEN:         Good morning, Madame. How can I he-

THE ELDERLY LADY CUTS HIM OFF AS SHE BARKS HER ORDER AT HIM.

LADY:      Coffee.

BEN LOOKS SLIGHTLY SHAKEN.

BEN:         Oh….kay. Is it black or white?

THE LADY IS ANNOYED AT BEING ASKED SO MANY QUESTIONS.

LADY:      What?

BEN:         Would you like milk?

LADY:      No, just get me a coffee, would you. I haven’t got all bloody day.

BEN TURNS AROUND TO JO, WHO IS ON THE COFFEE MACHINE.

BEN:         One small black.

JO:             (IN A MOCK ENTHUSIASM) No problemo!

BEN TURNS BACK TO THE LADY, WHO HAS HER HAND STRETCHED OUT WITH COINS FOR BEN. BEN PUTS HIS PALM OUT TO RECIEVE THEM BUT THE LADY JUST DROPS THEM ALL OVER THE COUNTER. BEN NOW LOOKS REALLY FED UP.

BEN:         Would you like a cake?

LADY:      What? Why?

BEN:         (BORED OF HIMSELF) I don’t know.

A QUICK BEAT AND BEN LOOKS OBVIOUSLY PLEASED WITH SOMETHING.

There was muffin else to say.

THE LADY STARES BLANKLY AT BEN. JO TURNS AROUND WITH THE COFFEE IN HER HAND, AND NUDGES BEN WITH HER ELBOW.

JO:             Ho ho! Humour!

BEN LOOKS EMBARRASSED, KNOWING SHE’S TAKING THE PISS OUT OF HIM FOR HIS LAME JOKE. JO SPEAKS TO THE LADY.

He’s mad he his! Here’s your cappuccino, m’love.

LADY:      I didn’t want a cappuccino.

JO:             Why did you ask for one then?

LADY:      Oh forget it. I’ll be late for my train now.

THE LADY STORMS OUT OF THE CAFÉ.

BEN:         Why do they come in here if they’re going for a train? Surely you’d want to give yourself lots of time. And where do old people go? I always see like fifty old people on the bus in the morning. Where are they going?

JO:             Mass?

BEN:         Every day?

JO:             Probably making up for lost time. I’m sure they want to get cosy with Jesus before they’re chucked into the furnace.

BEN:         I need to get a real job.

JO:             Why don’t you then?

BEN:         I’ve tried. I’ve sent out CVs to every firm out there.

JO:             How many have replied?

BEN:         Virtually none.

JO:             Virtually?

BEN:         Alright, literally none, then. Little Miss Semantics.

JO LOOKS AT BEN LIKE HE’S PATHETIC.

JO:             You’re a bell end.

BEN LAUGHS.

2.   INT. MANAGER’S OFFICE    10:30   DAY

TOMASZ IS ON THE PHONE TO REGIONAL MANAGER OF MOONLIGHT COFFEE. JONATHON IS BESIDE HIM, PUTTING HIS EAR TO THE PHONE TRYING TO LISTEN IN. TOMASZ KEEPS PUSHING HIM AWAY.

TOMASZ:              Yes, Frank. Well we haven’t had Café Check in four months….today? Yes okay then. Yes I’ll be here ‘til six…alright. Alright. Ok, see you then.

TOMASZ HANGS UP THE PHONE AND LOOKS ANGRY.

JONATHON:         So, big bad boss man is coming to town, eh?

TOMASZ:              Frank is coming today, yes.

JONATHON:         Well don’t you worry, Tommy boy.

TOMASZ:              (STERNLY) Tomasz.

JONATHON:         Don’t worry, Tomasz. We’ll have this place spic ‘n span by the time he gets here. Shall I go and tell those two cretins outside to get cleaning?

TOMASZ:              What is cretins?

JONATHON:         Beasts. Heathens.

JONATHON LOOKS AT A CCTV IMAGE OF BEN AND JO BEHIND THE BAR, CHATTING AND LAUGHING.

JONATHON:         Wankers.

3.   INT. BEHIND THE BAR         11:00   DAY

BEN AND JO ARE STILL CHATTING.

BEN:         Is it not a bit boring, though?

JO:             How do you mean?

BEN:         Like, when I do it, it’s exciting because I haven’t got my own vagina. But for you it must be like ‘oh, here’s another one’.

JO:             But it’s exciting because it isn’t my own vagina. Otherwise I’d just bend over all day and cheer.

BEN:         (LAUGHING) So you cheer when you see another woman’s vagina?

JO:             If it’s deserving, I may whoop.

BEN:         I wish I were a lesbian.

TOMASZ WALKS OUT FROM THE BACK AND BEHIND THE BAR.

TOMASZ:  You two should be working. Stop standing and do something. There is always something to be doing.

JO:             I need my break.

TOMASZ:  Then go.

JO LEAVES, GIVING TOMASZ THE ‘V’ FINGERS BEHIND HIS BACK.

Ben; the Area Manager will be coming here today so I need you to do some deep cleaning.

BEN ROLLS HIS EYES AND SIGHS. TOMASZ GETS ANNOYED.

TOMASZ:  Don’t act this way. This is your job. You want the money, you do the work.

BEN:         I should be in an office right now, earning a proper salary. Not stuck in this place. I have a degree for Christ’s sake.

TOMASZ:  (SARCASTICALLY) Oh, poor you. Who cares about your degree. No one.

JONATHON WALKS BEHIND THE BAR.

TOMASZ:  You don’t like it here, leave. There are plenty of other cafés and supermarkets around. You’re not going to be getting a job in an office with the way the world is right now.

JONATHON:  You don’t like it here, Ben?

BEN:                     (PATRONIZING JONATHON) No, no I don’t.

JONATHON:         You’re mental. I love this job. In fact, Tomasz, I was going to ask you if I could start training for Assistant…

TOMASZ:              (CUTTING JONATHON OFF) No.

TOMASZ WALKS OFF AND INTO THE BACK. JONATHON IS EMBARRASSED.

JONATHON:         He just needs to think it over. Someone has to get that Assistant manager job. Frank’s been going mental that he hasn’t filled it yet.

BEN:                     I’m sure you’ll get it mate

JONATHON:         Do you really think so?

BEN:                     Oh definitely. I’ve never seen anyone lick as much arse as you do.

BEN WALKS OFF. JONATHON SMILES, AND THEN REALISES WHAT BEN HAS JUST SAID AND FROWNS.

 

4.   EXT. OUTSIDE SEATING      11:30   DAY

BEN COMES FROM INSIDE THE SHOP AND SITS DOWN NEXT TO JO WHO IS SMOKING.

BEN:         I might leave.

JO:             Go on then.

BEN:         Seriously. I don’t know what’s keeping me here.

JO:             Me?

BEN:         If you weren’t a bender then maybe.

JO:             (LAUGHING) Oh so you’re only after me for my tits and fanny?

BEN:         No!

JO:             Good.

BEN:         You’ve got rubbish tits. And I’ve not seen your fanny, but I assume it’s nothing to cheer about.

JO:             (SMILING) You’re getting very cheeky these days.

A BEAT AS JO TAKES A DRAG OF HER CIGARETTE.

Where would you go, then?

BEN:         Some other café? I don’t know. But I seriously don’t know if I can stand anymore of Tomasz. He’s got a proper gripe with me.

JO:             It does seem like he has a grudge. Anywa I better got back.

BEN:         Can I nick a fag?

JO GIVES BEN A CIGARETTE AND WALKS BACK INSIDE.

BEN:         Tell him I’ll be in in a minute.

BEN LOOKS ACROSS THE STREET AT A NEW COSMETICS SHOP THAT HAS OPENED. THERE IS A YOUNG, ATTRACTIVE GIRL STANDING OUTSIDE HANDING PEOPLE SAMPLES. BEN SEES HER AND IS INSTANTLY INFATUATED. AN ECCENTRIC HOMELESS MAN APPROACHES BEN.

MAN:        Hey mate, give us a smoke would you?

BEN:         Sorry mate, I got this off my…

MAN:        (NOT LISTENING TO BEN) C’mon, I’ll do a handstand for you.

BEN:         What?

MAN:        I’ll do a handstand for you.

THE MAN STARTS CROUCHING DOWN.

BEN:         No no mate don’t worry, I’ll go get one from my friend…

THE MAN DOES A HANDSTAND.

MAN:        There you go, told you I could.

BEN:         (TRYING TO GET THE MAN TO STOP) Yeah very good ok, I’ll get you a cigarette.

THE MAN’S ARMS COLLAPSE AND HE SMASHES HIS FACE OFF THE GROUND.

BEN:         (IN SHOCK) Jesus Christ!

MAN:        (GROANING) Ah me fuckin’ face!

THE MAN LIES ON THE GROUND, BLEEDING AND GROANING IN PAIN. BEN LOOKS AT THE GIRL FROM THE COSMETICS SHOP WHO EVIDENTLY SAW THE FALL AND IS SHOCKED. SHE LOOKS AT BEN. BEN GETS NERVOUS AND RUNS BACK INSIDE THE CAFÉ.

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Dangerously close to not starting.

June 16, 2011 1 comment

So I’ve gone two weeks without posting anything up here. Old habits are hard to break. It’s horrible being lazy, but even worse when you know that you are lazy. It’s rock bottom when you start hoping you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome just to have an excuse for being so fucking lazy.

I’m trying not to let myself down this time. I’ve tried before to do blogs like this and I’ve started stories and scripts with huge intentions of writing something amazing and stopped after 500 words, thinking ‘right, quick cup of tea and an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and I’ll crack on with this story’. Of course it never happens.

I’ve also tried to start diets lately. I’ve started reading Men’s Health. That’s how seriously I’m taking this. I bought trainers and tracksuit bottoms and was serious about starting running. A few months ago after work one day I went out for a run in a nearby park. I must have ran for literally fifty seconds until my legs told me to fuck off and die. So I walked around the park. I was exhausted after twenty minutes and got the bus home. I tried again more recently and had more luck, actually going running twice in one week with every intention of doing it more. That was about six weeks ago. I haven’t even walked briskly since then. My belly and tits are growing.

What is it about me not finishing things that I start? Am I that lazy, fat and pathetic that I just can’t be bothered to get my life on track? If it weren’t for the deadlines and the thousands of pounds that I owe I’d say I wouldn’t have finished University.

I want to change my personality. Is that possible? I’ve been thinking about reading self help books and going on courses but I feel like that’s a bit pathetic as well. I’m not saying that people who do those things are pathetic, but I know that if I did do those things it would only temporarily make me feel like I was doing something about it. I have to just start doing shit. Finish what I start, and start with the intention of finishing. Or else what will I do when I run out of tea and sitcoms?

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Book Review: The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, by James Frey

James Frey is notorious. His memoirs, A Million Little Pieces, caused uproar when it was revealed that they were partly fabricated; he was dropped by publishers, sued by readers who felt they had been duped, and famously berated by Oprah Winfrey. Since then it seems that he enjoys skirting controversy. He started a book packaging firm called Full Fathom Five, in which he collaborates with young writers in creating commercial young adult novels and keeps most of the rights for himself, forcing the other author into anonymity with odd secrecy clauses. He’s even said that his goal is to be the most controversial author of his time. His latest novel, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, is another attempt at reaching this goal.

The book follows a man called Ben Zion in New York City, who may or may not be the second coming of Christ. He survives a horrendous accident, which afterwards causes him to have seizures. It is during these seizures that Ben claims to ‘speak to God’. He can also recite religious scripture he’s never read, can heal the sick, and ‘changes’ everyone that he meets, taking away their hardships and helping them let go of any grief. He gathers a group of followers, and is wanted by the FBI for being part of an armed ‘apocalyptic cult’. Loved by the people, hunted by the authorities. Sounds like Jesus to me.

Frey’s protagonist is not your everyday messiah however. He’s completely secular, and hates organised religion. He preaches a hippy-like and altogether very kitschy philosophy of ‘love will conquer all’, and slams the Bible. When challenged over his statement that God’s word is not to be found in books, Ben says that it is found ‘in love. In the laughter of children. In a gift given. In a life saved. In the quiet of the morning. In the dead of the night. In the sound of the ocean, or the sound of a car’. It struck me as odd that part of Ben being the messiah is the fact that he is able to recite any religious text without ever having even picked one up, and yet he considers them nothing but ‘historical curiosities’

The book has Frey’s unique style and is written from thirteen different points of view. Each voice is well defined and the story flows well despite the change in narrator every chapter. The tone, then, is obviously variable. It goes from a street-wise hooker to an Evangelist Pastor, a wise Rabbi to a homeless cult member. It all accumulates into a well-told and intriguing story. I didn’t lose interest and read it in a couple of days.

The only part that might have made me want to put the book down was the sappy message. There’s nothing new said here; James Frey is not breaking any new philosophical ground, and it’s all a bit too simplistic and cheesy. I’d like to believe that to solve all the world’s problems all we need to do is start loving each other and have mass orgies every night, as they do in the book, but every time I read a passage that preached this idea I was reminded of those kids in school who said that if every world leader sat around together smoking pot, they’d achieve world peace.

You get past this, however, with the help of Frey’s startling writing talent. His previous books as well as this invoked images and raw emotions within me that few other writers can. It’s obvious that he has an extraordinary gift for storytelling, and it is this that carries you through the book.

4/5

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On a serious note.

This is me taking shit seriously now. I’ve decided that I want to be a writer (as much as I cringe when I hear people, especially me, saying that). and so I’m doing whatever I can to break in to that. Specifically, I want to write sitcoms and novels. I want to be the next Ben Elton without being Ben Elton. I get embarrassed about telling people that I want to write sitcoms, because I’m not that funny a person to talk to in real life. I’m a nice guy and I might make the odd humorous observation, sure, but I’m not going to have you rolling on the floor. But I know that it’s what I really want to do. Being funny doesn’t mean you can always have your mates choking on their own laughter, but from observing the funny things that happen around you every day and writing them down. Sometimes I do make a forced effort to be funny and it always comes out as the most embarrassing shite (hence the post below).  But I love writing and I can’t help writing in an informal tone. My greatest sense of achievement often comes from making people laugh. I don’t do it that often, so it feels amazing when it does happen. I’ve always envied my best friends, who are the funniest people I know, for their abilities to make people laugh out loud. I don’t understand how they do it. How do they know to say these things, and at the right time? I am one of those people who will often come up with a witty riposte, but an hour or two later. When no one cares any more. Writing a sitcom is me re-writing those situations but inserting my funny line at the right time. This is how I am going to be funny. I hope.

Writing a novel is also something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve felt for the last couple of years that I have stories inside of me that I need to get down on paper. The stories I’ve written for the last three years in university never felt like anything that I wanted to get down. I might have liked the idea at the time and even still do now, but it doesn’t give me the sense of relief that I know I’m going to get when I write these other stories down. Two of my favourite authors are John Steinbeck and Gregory David Roberts, and it’s their style and tone that have influenced me the most I think. Another of my favourite authors, James Frey, taught me that it’s better to be the ‘new you’, rather than the ‘next one of them’. This is the reason for the name of this blog. There is irony, I know, in the fact that it’s not an original title buy hey, what are you gonna do. It’s the one I liked the most.

This blog is going to be like a portfolio of sorts, for potential agents or anyone looking to buy material. If I’m to be taken seriously then I need to sell myself. I’d like to act cool and just write whatever and think ‘hey if someone buys, then that’s cool, if they don’t then whatever’. But I’d like to make a living out of this so that’s not possible. Maybe I’ll write commercial teen fiction under a pseudonym to make some cash and only publish good things under my real name. That’s a good idea, actually.

So I’ll be posting anything here. Articles, fiction, excerpts from scripts and such, as well as any old shite I feel like talking about. Feedback from anyone (if anyone reads this, ha) would be great.

Much love.

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Hello again.

I’ve started many blogs in the past. Most of them were used just to vent my adolescent love angst and talk about music. They were not interesting to anybody but me. This time, I’m going to appeal to the masses. Well, I’ll try to be more appealing. I won’t chat shit about girls but rather chat shit about…anything else. Something that people might be interested in reading. Maybe I’ll take a sideways look at the weeks news. Everyone loves that, don’t they? Russel Howard couldn’t be more popular right now. Maybe I’ll write a scathing polemic on Obama, or Cameron, or Enda Kenny. I might write a heartbreaking story about some wife who’s been raped by bankers and had her daughter set on fire by priests who inject puppies with AIDS. Tearjerkers always sell. Or maybe I’ll write ironic, quasi-humourous posts about things that I should write, thinking that I’m being clever.

This has already descended into rubbish.

Check back for more! xx

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