Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Dude over there, got two heads

I've been watching a programme called Abby and Brittany recently. Abby and Brittany Hensel are 22-year old conjoined twins from Minnesota and are followed around by a documentary crew as they live their lives. The thrust of the programme is that these lives are fairly typical lives for that of 22-year old women. They went to university, now they have graduated and are looking for their first job. In the meantime, they are living it up with their college friends, travelling around the United States and visiting Europe before settling down to their career.

Being conjoined twins, then, presents them with no obstacles to living normal, humdrum, mundane lives. Their friends are interviewed at cattle prod-point throughout to tell us all how they admire the way they are able to live such normal lives.

But here's the thing: I think it's a bit condescending and offensive. In emphasising how normal their lives are and yet slavishly filming it the whole way, the programme is doing exactly what it is trying to avoid, raising the twins up and making everyone go OH NOW HOLD ON LOOK AT THAT. Abby and Brittany Hensel are fascinating people because they are conjoined. There's no point pretending otherwise. Because without that aspect, they'd just be two very normal 22-year old women doing brain-meltingly ordinary things.

It's a good reminder that it's always good to celebrate our differences. Pointing out that conjoined twins are conjoined is hardly offensive stuff, after all. For one thing, they already know. For a second, being a conjoined twin is not an offensive thing to be. Conjoined twins who are the subject of mockery and ridicule by idiots are equally able to mock the idiots back for not being conjoined. It's a plain of reference thing: for Abby and Brittany, they don't know what it's like to not be joined to one another any more than we one-heads know what it must be like to have your twin sharing your anus.

But the huge majority of people are not conjoined, and so have created almost indefinite amounts of documentation - art, literature and music to name just three - about that experience. Abby and Brittany will, I'm sure, be able to understand, and empathise with, my predicament more easily than I can understand their situation. This is why Abby and Brittany is such a missed opportunity. There's so much that we can all learn from each other if we embrace and celebrate what makes us different, rather than focus on the fact that we all like eating ice cream or looking at fountains.

In the latest episode I watched, Abby and Brittany went on holiday to Italy. They first went to Venice and then visited Rome. The public reaction to them was predictably understated. When someone sees conjoined twins, they don't scream, set fire to their children and then jump in the Po. Instead, the following happens:

BEPPE: Oh look, there's some conjoined twins.
MARCO: Where?
BEPPE: Over there, by the fountain. Dude with two heads.
MARCO: Oh yeah. I wonder how they shit?

These are the basic questions that I want answered! I don't care what Abby and Brittany are going to do with their lives. They are two otherwise unremarkable 22-year old women making their way in the world. I have no interest in what anyone I don't know personally is up to, unless it has some impact on me. What IS interesting, however, is the experience of being conjoined. I'd like to know how they sleep, how they poo, how they go about having a crafty wank, what they do if one is watching a TV show that makes the other one bored as shit but unable to wander off, what they do if one of them decides to join a gym. Basic, nuts and bolts of life stuff. You might argue it is prurient, but then so is filming the largely typical lives of two conjoined twins and then ignoring the real meat of the issue.

To that end, I have designed the twins AN INVENTION. It is called The Pillow Helmet. It is, as the name suggests, a helmet made from pillows. Essentially, it's a boxing helmet but with more goose down filling. The Pillow Helmet serves a double purpose: firstly, if either of the twins is someone who likes to sleep on their side, it allows them to do so without using their sibling's face as a support (which is just rude). Secondly, it acts as a buffer and a baffle so that neither girl need see the other's Doing A Poo face when they're sat on the toilet.

And the thing is, I reckon that the Hensels could find lots of other uses for it that I'd never have thought of. Because they have a lot they could teach we one-headed folk. We have a lot we could teach them. It's time the world as one realises that tolerance, acceptance and equality is not about pretending everyone is the same.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Causal determinism

Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington,
no good beefy sumbitch
In Shoreham-by-Sea there is a pub called The Duke of Wellington. I've never been in it, possibly on account of the factor that I am about to relate. Above the door is a very large stone boot. This is presumably a Wellington boot. Maybe it's even one of the Duke of Wellington's very own. He was an impressive man, after all, and ate a lot of beef.

But this great big stone boot hangs there all the same. Sometimes I have to walk under it as it overhangs the pavement outside the door. And this always worries me. It is only suspended by chains, you see. Should they ever fail, that boot will fall earthward with terrifying force. If I know only one thing about physics - and I do - I know this: stuff that is up in the air will always want to go in a downward direction. This is because Sir Isaac Newton invented gravity.

One day I'll be underneath that boot and it will fall on my head, I just know it. I tell you what I will do to prove this to you. I'm going to go there right now and stand there. I'll stand there for a thousand years if I have to. But one day I'll be underneath that boot and it will fall on my head.

And that will be just my bloody luck.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Goose news

Horrific as this may seem, it's Christmas Day in two months. This is likely to be causing you all profound grief especially if you, like me, hate the world and want it to suffer.

However! This year I've decided to stop being a part of the problem and instead become part of the solution. I am doing this via the means of my very special and uniquely offensive Christmas card range, now available on my Etsy store.

I am mindful of the fact that some of you may not want to go via Etsy to acquire these precious, precious things, though. For one thing, you have to create an account to buy shit, which would certainly put ME off. Although, of course, I do already have an Etsy account, so it isn't a problem.

Long story short, if you would like to buy any cards but would prefer to do so more directly by (almost) speaking to an (almost) real person, you can email me instead. This goes for all the offers you see on the Etsy store now or in the future. There are currently 68 cards left available from this particular print run: should these sell out I will be ordering more, including two designs not currently available. Specifically, these two here:

Turkey

Wink wonk

If you would like to have cards of this design, I'm afraid you will first have to put your hand in your pocket - or spread the word to friends, relatives, co-workers and enemies - to start to make a big enough dent in the stockpile to get my slothful, lackadaisical arse back off down The Print Wagon.

Also available from today, exclusive to the blog - this bona fide piece of genuine zoological art, depicting a rhinole.


It is A6 postcard size (175mm x 125mm), acrylic on card-mounted canvas, all for the low low price of £40 (inclusive of postage and packing within the UK). Email me at the same address if you are interested or just wish more animals had holes in.

Sad Clown Etsy Store | Sad Clown Facebook Page | Sad Clown Email

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Let me explain how this thing works

The big man
"I just know that my mother/ father/ grandparent/ teacher/ mentor was looking down from heaven at me today and would have been very proud".

We've all heard this one. It is a charming thought, too. Unfortunately, it's a thought which is at best only half-formulated. Because people who are "in heaven" are now immortals, unhindered by the same rules of temporality or dimensionality as us poor bastards slogging away on this damp rock. They don't need to be in one place at a time, or have to rest.

This means that your mother, father, grandparent, teacher or mentor will also have seen you do any of the following:

1. Fuck a dog.
2. Have to worm your cat and then the cat poos everywhere and you get a bit in your mouth and swallow it.
3. Fuck a kid.
4. Have a really gnarly and involved shite.
5. Have a really sweaty, grunty, hollow wank over some really exceptionally grotty porn.
6. Vote Conservative.
7. Tread on your sister's hamster's head.
8. Steal money from a tramp's hat.
9. Murder a prostitute.
10. Stuck things up your bum.

This may be painful to find out now but believe me, you'll thank me in the long run. You filthy, disgusting, freak.

Friday, 19 October 2012

It's a rhinole


If you'd like to ruin someone's Christmas, how about finding something to send them from my Etsy store? http://www.etsy.com/shop/SadClownIllustration

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Telecom problems


As you probably already know by now, my hatreds are many, varied, almost always unjustified and barely thought-through. But I will tell you this, some fountains of bile never seem to run dry and besides, I have genuinely managed to convince myself that I am always right, so my more enduring pet peeves I consider to occupy the same status as a Papal edict.

So yeah, adverts that have ongoing storylines. What the shit?

We've had to endure these throughout my lifetime. The Bisto family brought pathos to powdered meat, as well as dodging a major bullet when they successfully sidestepped casting Jimmy Savile as the father. The NescafĂ© Gold Blend couple made us all sick before Anthony Head finally got up the courage to pump Sharon Maughan in their twelfth (TWELVE!) commercial together. I remember NescafĂ© taking out adverts in the press advertising their advert on the day the denouement to this particular series hit our screens.  I remember specifically tuning in to see it, too. In the days when there were only four television channels, this was event TV! The specific event that I was hoping to see was a asteroid striking their flat, or them getting the clap. Perhaps the failure for either of these to materialise is the root cause of my hardline aversion to commercial series? I think it's more likely to be the fact that they are fucking shit, but anything is possible.

The biggest repeat offender in this hideous sweating gonad are BT. Seemingly without any regard for my feelings, blood pressure or pursing anus, British Telecom have decided that the best way to sell their services is vignettes of family drama. We've had Beattie the meddling gossipy housewife. Beattie wasn't so bad. She was more a chance for Maureen Lipman to bring her almost inexplicable worship of Joyce Grenfell to bear. But it was a shot across the bows, a warning that should have been heeded.

Because now they're on a roll. Kris Marshall became the new young daddy to a hideous family in a seemingly unending series of adverts which successfully managed to become more mawkish, turgid and ghastly by the installment. Eventually, Marshall got himself in a pickle with a traffic violation in real life, which saw his character cast out into a gloomy, takeaway curry in a bedsit, grindingly Onanistic nightmare before the plug was finally pulled. The nation (i.e. me) rejoiced and wondered why Marshall had taken so long to make a social faux pas. I mean, I alone must have sent a hundred hookers to his house in the hope he'd get caught out.

But the horror was not over. Now BT's spokespeople are a hideous group of housemates. A snot-nosed studenty male and an avuncular landlord at least twice his age coexist in perfect harmony until the new girl, who the elder one wants to fuck, arrives. But these commercials are so half-arsed they can't really even be bothered to keep up any sort of narrative strand beyond the fact the people are the same in every new outing. Simon's need to get some filthy bingo begins as being sufficiently strong that he is willing to download the entire back catalogue of Duran Duran. But come the Olympics, he's perfectly happy to chase after a room full of Spaniards. Now, at Halloween, he's concerned only for the integrity of his carpet.

At least the Gold Blend couple had some semblance of dramatic tension. The new BT gang are completely lackadaisical. A series of seemingly unrelated events occur to them without ever really ruffling too many feathers. So dead inside are they, maybe Simon and Simon's Bit Of Fluff bump uglies every single day but they're both such profound psychopaths that it doesn't even register with them the following day?

I hate all these people. Which, sadly, must mean that I do care about them. And that is exactly what the advertisers want. The fact that the majority of my investment in their story is that I want to see them all dying of the shits is neither here nor there. At this present moment in time I rather fear that I would buy anything Simon suggested I should, and I would like to protest about this state of affairs. No-one that I actually know, whose ongoing story arc I am familiar with, could make me do anything at the drop of a hat in the same way.

Television advertising has rotted my mind in ways I had rather hoped would be reserved for the rotting of the BT housemates' private parts. When they all die, screaming, of Atomic Crabs.

Bloody bastarding hell.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Coffee problems

There is a general tendency for any discourse taking place online to resolve in a reductio ad Hitlerum, leading to the evocation of Godwin's Law and the end of the discussion. So one must tread very carefully when making any form of broad, sweeping statements but coffee house baristas are the worst thing in history and should be rounded up and shot.

Oh OK, not the people themselves, who I am sure are all very nice and give money to the Dogs Trust and buy the Big Issue and worry about the environment. But the word needs to be expunged from the English language and the prevailing attitude that created it crushed like a BAG OF ADDERS.

A half-caf demi-frap caramel macchiato, please.
With a pube from your beard in it, yeah why not.
Self-aggrandising pricks are not a rare commodity in the United Kingdom, but until baristas came along they didn't have a union. There've always been people who gift themselves preposterously overblown titles for the job they do and there always will be, so I'm not quite sure why the concept of a barista so riles me. But it does, oh how it does.

We live in a society where people train for decades to earn the title "Doctor", and for even longer to become a specialist, at which point their title reverts to "Mr." or "Mrs.". So your GP is technically able to lord it up over your prostate specialist. Meanwhile, the muffin-shovelling beanlackey (GCSE Mathematics: "C" grade, 2006) who makes them both their morning cup o' mud is lording it up over everyone. What kind of example does this set for our children? Where will the dentists of the future be coming from, when high-fallutin' honorific titles can be yours simply by dint of a successful application to Beans Beans Beans? This is actually a particularly pressing concern, as I seem to have ground all my teeth down to a powder in a fit of uncontrollable rage.

But don't mistake this gibbering outburst of insanity to be one which is negative towards people who work in coffee shops. Theirs is a perfectly respectable job, as much as any other. And I'm sure that most of them wouldn't introduce themselves to you at a wedding by saying they are a barista. But I am equally sure that some of the bastards fucking would, and that's far too much to be able to stand.

The next step is surely to find a similarly vaunted moniker for the people who work in the kitchens at Burger King and Chicken Cottage. They, too, are providing comestible items that are uniquely different to the sort that you could make at home. Meatista? Chookista? Gristleshepherd?

It's a work in progress.

If you're still talking to me, maybe you might like to buy your Christmas cards from my Etsy Store this year? A percentage of at least some sales will almost certainly be heading a barista's way: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SadClownIllustration

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Celebrity problems

It's been quite a week for Britain's beloved celebrities. Accusations and revelations abound and with both Justin Lee Collins and Jimmy Savile now feeling the full force of public anathema, I'm finding myself beginning to wonder just who the next celebrity who it was patently obvious to everyone beforehand that they were a cunt that it will be revealed that they were in fact a cunt, is.

But I'm going to do some thinking outside the box here and say that the problem is not these celebrities at all, rather it's Britain's bewildering expectations of them that are all broken. People rarely lead blameless lives, and celebrities are - for all the pink-top wiffling - just people after all. Like everyone they eat, they sleep, they poo, they watch golf, they have one off the wrist, they walk dogs, they psychologically abuse women, they buy Ryvita, they sexually abuse underage girls, they look up recipes for Brandy Alexanders online and they subscribe to Bird Watching magazine. These are things that we all do, to a greater or lesser extent.

So, my radical solution is that you should do what I do. It's not that I am always right, more that everything I do turns out to be the considered and ultimately correct solution to all problems. Celebrities are famous because they do things. So if you must worship a celebrity, worship their ability at that thing that saw them rise above the herd in the first place. That's the only aspect of their being that anyone else has any right to feel ownership of. Leave the being a person to them, just as they leave your being a person to you. And if they transgress in some way, then they will be disciplined in the same way that you or I might be.

Even if they do fuck a dog.

You can order my Christmas cards here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SadClownIllustration

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Buy my Christmas cards

Hello.

You may remember me mentioning that I'll soon have some of my wares for sale via Etsy. Well now I do. I'm starting with four Christmas card designs, but the new year will see all sorts of other things: cards, prints, tea towels and colouring books are all on the agenda.

cards (plus unrelated stegosaurus)

The designs available are limited in number, future print runs may well include different designs but there'll only be four different pictures available at any one time so don't hesitate to order if you are interested.

Needless to say, you should also not hesitate to share this information with your friends, relatives and bitterest foes.

You can order the cards here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SadClownIllustration

Serial killers, day 28: The Suffolk Strangler

Monday, 1 October 2012

Mercenary art update

Hello.

If you like my pictures you may be interested in Sad Clown, my forthcoming Etsy store where you'll be able to buy cards, prints or specially commissioned pieces. If you think this could be just the very thing to tickle your individual pickle and you are a computer person, you can now like my Facebook page or follow my new Sad Clown Twitter for updates and details. If you are not, rest assured that you obviously read my blog where I will also be putting up pertinent information.

Hello.

Serial killers, day 25: The Yorkshire Ripper

Attention

You have reached the bottom of the internet