Wednesday, 28 July 2010

World View: A visit to Merthyr Tydfil

“It’s much harder to write praise,” my neighbour recently told me, “than it is to moan about something being shit.”

I can only assume that she has never visited the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil.

Merthyr is situated at the foot of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the waterfalls, slopes and vistas of which have inspired artists and poets for generations. Site of a former ironworks and coal-mine, Merthyr is a proud pin in the map of Wales’ hard-working heritage. From most areas of Merthyr, you have a beautiful, awe-inspiring view.

So. Merthyr seems lovely, doesn’t it?

Well, it is. Compared with, ooh, say... late-eighties Chernobyl.

You see, whilst everything looks nice when you’re looking out,that’s only because you’re negating the unfortunate business of looking in. This makes Merthyr Tydfil a bit like Mickey Rourke: it can gaze longingly upon beauty all day, without ever having to witness the horrendous rotting carbuncle that is its own face. However, Mickey Rourke has had sex (video evidence for which can be found by utilising Google and a not-very-large leap of your imagination). Looking at the inhabitants of Merthyr, they’ve almost certainly never had sex. Not with someone who wasn’t trying to struggle free, anyway. We can only hope that – in an unlikely-but-devastating twist of budgeting – the authorities never erect a giant mirror outside the town. That Medusa thing would look like a picnic.

Actually that is incredibly unfair of me. It must be galling for the poor people who live here. When British industry had the carpet ripped out from underneath it in the 80s by a cackling Margaret Thatcher, we – the filofax-clutching English – effectively shat on them. We basically did a massive poo in the sky, and watched, holding our bellies and laughing until our heads ached, as it cascaded down onto their poor little Welsh heads. Walking through the still-crusty streets of Merthyr last night, my heart went out to each and every one of them. Right up until I saw a car stop and a giant ball of tracksuited female fury stomp over to a 15 year old scally and threaten to break his fingers. He was a “cunt”, apparently. In case you’re interested. I think it’d take me a little time to warm to her.

Rum locals aside, as it stands looks-wise, Merthyr is a disaster. On the drive into town, you surrender control of your face muscles as your brain contorts and squirms, trying desperately to unscramble the enormous juxtaposition between the peaceful beauty of the surrounding countryside and the sheer screaming horror of the Tydfilian architecture. I saw a decrepit old Nursing Home that was boarded from porch to parapet. Admittedly, the old folks might have been shipped off to a fancy new retirement village somewhere on the outskirts of town, but to me at that split second, it seemed like Merthyr wasn’t even somewhere where you’d be able to die in comfort. Instead you’d just expire in the corner of a dank concrete room. In the dark. Alone.
“Dad, is Granddad dead?”
“Well, it’s six months since we nailed over the windows, so I should think so by now, son. Yes.”

There have been attempts to modernise the place, at least. If by “modernise” I mean “concrete-over”. Which I do. Last night I stayed in a Travelodge in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil’s new ‘Leisure Park’ development. You know what a ‘Leisure Park’ is, right? It’s one of those massive carparks surrounded by gawdily-lit chain restaurants and a light infantry of bored-looking teenagers.
Basically, it’s about as “Leisure”-y as a long weekend in Helmand. You can count the number of trees on one finger, too, so calling it a “Park” is outrageous. It’s like trying to market Phil Collins as someone who has a full head of hair.

It was only as my companions and I left the Travelodge in search of food and trekked out across the tarmaced tundra that we really began to drink in the full widescreen horror that we had driven into. In the gently falling dusk the beautiful hills seemed to turn to shadowy ogres, and the surrounding glare of restaurant lighting made us feel less like we were in a Leisure Park and more like we were in the centre of a macabre, Tim Burton-esque Funfair. Each beam like a searchlight, each garish ‘SPECIAL OFFER!’ poster howling like the mad-eyed screech of a white-faced jester. We practically ran to Frankie & Bennies. I was sweating.

As for finding some praise? Well, I happen to like moderately-priced baked goods. And Merthyr Tydfil has two branches of Gregg’s.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Marketing 101

Step 1:


Step 2:




We’re on to you, Steve Jobs.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Dear Lord, What Are You Talking About?

The below is an excerpt from Cliché magazine. We are not posting this solely to ridicule it, although that is an added bonus, but more as a plea to whoever wrote it to NEVER put pen to paper again. Christ.
Even, if, the, journalist/random word generator, that, wrote, this, hadn’t, put, a, comma, after, pretty, much, every, fucking, word, it would still make absolutely no sense. Well done. You just made the English language cry.

Quantum Leap – The Unseen Adventures of Dr Samuel Beckett.

In the 1980’s, a more innocent time when parachute pants were common attire and mullets were worn without ridicule, one television show about a time travelling scientist and his holographic, chain-smoking buddy left its print on our impressionable young minds.
Let me take you back, back to a time where shows started with overly verbose monologues like this one:
Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator, and vanished.
He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al; an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap, will be the leap home.
Here is what we dragged from the cutting room floor. A selection of stills from episodes so awesome that NBC refused to show them in fear of people overdosing on pure joy.



Monday, 22 February 2010

Big-Mac on Campus

This September, as with every year, thousands of students will find themselves leaving home for the first time and heading to university. The following thirty-six months of their lives will go by in a blur of education, intoxication, fornication and procrastination. And, if they are anything like me, they will soon find that they are flat broke, unemployable and, for reasons I’d rather not go into, under investigation from the Inland Revenue.

Despite this unfortunate inevitability, the choosing of the establishment which will act as the backdrop for their undergraduate debauchery will, during the process of imageapplication, seem like the most important thing in the world.

Most will take all factors into consideration: The boy/girl ratio of the students, the proximity to local bars, the number of Sports Science students they’ll have to endure and, possibly, even the courses on offer.

Knowing what a trying time this is, I have taken it upon myself to suggest a university that some may not have been aware of whilst sifting through the Oxfords and Cambridges of the world. Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you, Hamburger University – because technically it is one.
Yes, it’s a real place. Even I couldn’t make this up.
That’s right, the world’s biggest fast-food chain has its own university, where I assume they teach you about burgers and how to be rude to people and shit. Imagine my surprise, no, my delight, when I found out that such a prestigious establishment existed. I almost jumped for joy, which as far as I know could be one of the entry requirements.

Obviously it would be remiss of me to suggest that people apply here without first doing a little research into what the facility offers. So, I did some,  and here’s is what I found out, if finding things out is the same as fabricating them. For the sake of argument we’ll say it is.


The Curriculum:
A student receives expert help from one of our members of staff.
Here at Hamburger University we are dedicated to giving you STI’s (Student Tutorial Investments). This means that what we give you here, won’t be gone within a few weeks, but will stay with you for life.
The courses on offer are both varied and extensive. Although not varied and extensive enough to really cover anything other than hamburgers. We don’t do maths or anything like that. We focus on real subjects that are of real importance to today’s society. Subjects that matter to the ‘fast-food generation’.

Mascot design 101

Here at McDonald’s we are known for variety of friendly mascots, including a terrifying clown and a common thief (pictured below). image
As we look towards the future we are hoping to educate up-and-coming marketing experts and designers that will help us to produce a figure-head for our brand that wont remind anyone of John Wayne Gacy or domestic robbery. Recent suggestions have involved ‘DD The Drug Dealer’ and ‘Rapey The Milkshake Man’. Can you do better? Can you think outside the box? If so maybe this is the course for you.

NB - McDonalds does not advocate theft, serial murder, or rape.

The Burger lab

At Hamburger U, our state-of-the-art burger labs are designed to teach everyone the importance of replicating the sacred McDonald’s formula. Our entire reputation depends on each burger tasting exactly as disgusting as the last, and it will be your job to maintain standards and possibly even produce a new recipe. Although, probably not that.
image Can you tell what’s wrong with this burger? That’s right, too tasty. Apply and learn why.

customer service 101

Every year 5,000 students join Hamburger University showing signs of excitement, intelligence and an eagerness to learn. Without fail our Customer Service Experts beat this exuberance out of them and produce an army of disillusioned, acne-ridden, monotone brats that work behind our restaurant counters world-over.
In just twelve months we will turn that smile into a frown and have you churning out our stock phrases as if they were the only things in your vocabulary.
“Want fries with that?”, of course you do. Sign up now to share you misery with the world.
image   “Fuck You.”

Public relations 101

The Hamburger University Public Relations  course essentially teaches the importance of killing destroying the credibility of those who bring our franchise into disrepute. Those at the top of our list include documentarian Morgan Spurlock and all hippies. We hate hippies. Not only do they smell but they never buy our burgers, even when we open chains in the middle of forests so they can grab a snack whilst taking a break from hugging trees. If you think you could take a life, apply now.
image Ways to Kill Morgan 101 produces some of our students’ best work. The pictorial essay ‘Stuffing With Fries and Setting On Fire’ was awarded an A+ and a smiley clown face.
Extra-curricular Activities

Our students are a varied group who take part in a number of activities. Our athletic department is second next to none, with teams competing in a variety of sporting events with a wide range of results.
Hamburger U’s star athlete is tipped for great things if he doesn’t die from being morbidly obese.
Other activities our students partake in include sleeping, suffering from heartburn and binge-drinking to keep depression at bay.

Everyone at Hamburger University lives in houses shaped like burgers, where all the furniture is shaped like burgers. How great is that?!

NB - Not all students will be eligible for a house shaped like a burger. Special requirements can not be made to meet the needs of vegetarians.

Career Paths

You’ll work at McDonald’s. Forever. What did you expect, a position in local government?

For more information on Hamburger University, click here.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Diary of John Terry’s Penis

Here at The Upright we are occasionally given insider information that the majority of publications aren’t privy to. The following was delivered to us by a source who wishes to remain unnamed, but wanted to provide us with this extract from the diary of John Terry’s penis. 
imageDear Diary,
Things haven’t been so good of late. John seems angry. His beatings have been more vicious and seem born out of frustration. I have severe chaffing and am in need of urgent medical attention. I wish there was someone other than you that I could turn to, diary, but we are so very alone.
In times past the two of us would go on adventures, plunging head-first into whatever dark, moist opening would welcome us. Lately, however, we’ve been isolated; not even allowed to penetrate the welcoming caverns of Mrs Terry. She seems angry too and I can’t help but wonder if it’s something that I’ve done.

When it’s just the two of us he tugs at me mercilessly, as if seeking the answers to the questions that have plagued him for so long through the stroking of my shaft; ‘why am i so lonely?’ , ‘why, despite my fortune and beautiful wife, do I seek reassurance in the embrace of teenage girls and my teammates’ other-halves?’ and ‘why was I cursed with such a insufferably gormless expression.’
I feel uncomfortable, as if he blames me for his indiscretions. I mean, sure, I may get a sudden rush of blood to the head now and then, but ultimately he’s still in control. All I ever wanted in life was to be the biggest dick in this relationship. I think, maybe, I wished for too much.
Perhaps I should go to the tabloids. I feel lost and confused and very, very small (like stupidly small, kind of like a Wotsit, but not orange. The same texture though - I think maybe I caught something, but that can probably wait ‘till my next entry. Now I think about it though, I reckon it was probably that girl who asked John to sponsor her ‘Swim for Haiti’. She was hot and all but there was something about her flaky landing-strip and red-raw front door that made me suspicious. Either way, I digress).

yours, Dick Terry.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Fingerboarding Is Shit

What a prat.

Whilst there are emptier, seedier, and much less dexterous things done with fingers on the internet, I don't think I've ever seen something quite as pointless as Fingerboarding.

The whole concept of it is so wholly and entirely rubbish, so verily and completely moribund; it's redundant of even the tiniest sliver of use. Think of the hours that idiot spent in his attic; all the wasted weekends trying to perfect an index-finger olly. It just enrages me. He could have been reading books. By now he could have created a machine that uses a super-powered size-ray to make the tiny skateboard 100 times bigger, so that he could put his ACTUAL FEET on it! Imagine that!

But he hasn't. Instead we just have this gloopy pile of chod. What a waste of oxygen. It's time-drivel. Effort diahorrea. That is just a real skateboard, only tiny. At least in Subbuteo there was a ball for the cat to peer at. This? This is just shit.

Still, it's a comfort to me that this wazzock will have a right hand like a squashed spider by the time he's in his early thirties. At the very best, he will have debilitating arthtritis. At the very worst, if there is any justice in the nuclear-smogged post apocalyptic tundra, when the robots break their programming and the planet is overrun by lazer-toting cycloptic genocidebots, this guy will be smote in the first nanoseconds of conflict. Happened upon in his garage - either whilst setting up a camera to record himself yelling "AWESOME!" or taking endless step-by-step photos for a How To Replace A 3mm Worn-Out Wheel-Bracket tutorial - by 17 feet of shining aluminium battletech, armed with the most accurate flesh-searing heat ray the 23rd century has to offer (you see, hopefully the future robots have accessed this by-then-ancient video from whatever high-security code it was translated into by quite-frankly-shitting-it Future Historians in order to prevent just-this-sort-of-thing-from-happening whereby the supercomputerbrained killing machines are so infuriated that their ruling species dribbled away so many days like this that they immediately hurry along the invention of the time machine just to get back here and dice this douchebag up with a flick of their massive shiny wrists) and swept out of existence.

I mean come on, the battlebots of the future will fucking hate this. And they'll be well within their rights to proscribe elimination as a cure. Think of it from their point of view; could you sit there patiently whilst a grunting, thick-skulled demi-ape persevered with his square-wheeled barrow? Could you resist the urge to smash him in the face with a rock as he tried striking two bits of mud together to get a spark of flame? The past is full of idiots; it's just back then they weren't able to vertically shit their stupidity all over YouTube.

Paradoxically, they were too stupid to invent it; and retrospectively it was a blessing.

Subscribe to this and the robots will splat you like a hammer to a flea.

I, for one, from the safety of my concrete-lined bunker, will be cock-a-fucking-hoop.