Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New blog

It's been real, but I have to jump ship. I want to strike out on my own, and do something an ickle more positive and constructive than the vitriol that has become Manflet's stock-in-trade.

Hence: Most Likely To.

"My to-do list.
Events, exhibitions, personal challenges… whatever it may be, I post it publicly, there’s at least an outside chance I’ll actually do some of this stuff."

See you after the jump:

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Most likely to: grow a beard

A REAL beard.

Not like this piss-poor stubbly excuse for a beard I've been sporting since I got married (the pre-nup precluded arguments about facial hair). Nope - the stubble that politely tiptoes between the well-maintained borders of my jaw is more the result of not shaving than actively growing a beard.

Now I want something that requires commitment. Grit. Determination. And other manly qualities exhibited by the bold and hirsuite. While the smooth-chinned skeptics would have you believe that the bewhiskered are plain lazy, growing a truly awesome beard requires discipline - the first rule of Beard Club (well, is to "commit".

Think of the great beardies throughout history - Jesus, Karl Marx... Kerry King. Not exactly slouches lacking the courage of their convictions, right? Even if you aren't a fan of Joaquim Phoenix's cracked-out cracks at cracker rap (phew), you have to admire the bravery it took to transform himself from this to this.

So, I'm going to grow a proper beard. I may even document it, though I can't hope to compete with the beast that consumed A.J. Jacobs' face/neck during his Year of Living Biblically:

    (Props to Mr Bingo for the Rick Rubin illustration. Also on my to do list: buy a print)

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Gay for Simon Neil / Biffy Clyro

"I just want to / Feel your body
I want you to / Know your quarry"

Friday, 7 May 2010

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Sex?

Noo York "sexperts" Em & Lo asked me this recently. Here's what I (and a couple of you) had to say:

I know what my personal answer to this would be, but what if I’m abnormally low on testosterone, or technically a woman because of my tendency not to feel sexy enough, or just plain lazy? In the interest of impartiality, I opened up the question “Is there such a thing as too much sex for a guy” to readers of my blog Manflet. Unfortunately the insight of our typical reader ranged all the way from “in prison, mayhap” to a straight “no.” So while I may not agree with the biological argument that men are hard-wired to screw around and women are designed to be faithful, my straw poll of “normal” guys indicates that — as suspected — they’ll do it whenever, wherever, with who/whatever.

 To read these words all over again in the far prettier environment of a professional blog, and to see if my fellow Wise Guys agree with me (spoiler: the gay ex-stripper does NOT), hop over to Em & Lo.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Got Any ABBA? The Rules of DJing at Weddings

My mate/fellow disc jockay is playing his first wedding this weekend and asked me for some tips. In lieu of any new ideas/content, I thought I'd post it here. Once I've reassembled Niall and Gaby's wedding mix (from two weeks ago in Brighton), you'll be able to hear my theory put to practice here - PLUG! - and if you're friends with them go here to see THE Florence and the Machine congratulate them (sort of) on choosing You Got The Love (not her version) as their first song. Kudos.
  • If it's not too late, find out what the happy couple like and play that. The old rule of getting the ladies dancing is doubly true if one of them is a bride.
  • Be prepared to play cheese, but don't play stuff (unless asked) too far from your comfort zone. If you think tunes are absolutely gash then you - and the guests - won't have any fun. 
  • A related note - play requests if you can, but if you don't have songs just tell people you don't. If you have a comrade to fend off the requests, even better. Bloody requests.
  • Take risks. You'd be surprised at what a drunken, captive, all-ages crowd will go for, so try it and be ready to mix out if it bombs (my crowd wasn't feeling the Theme From Shaft!). If you're going late, go hard - by then the old folk will be ready to go home, and the youngsters will be ready to GET DOWN.
  • Having said that, play a set with a fairly broad age appeal. 80s is a good place to start as it appeals to the young(ish i.e. 30-odd) and their aunts and uncles alike. Have some Northern Soul or (original) R&B or Beatles on hand in case a granny wants to shake her tailfeather.
  • Billie Jean. Everyone likes it - literally.
And no, I haven't got any Mavericks.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Gay for Fischerspooner (#1 Crush)

At Manflet we usually reserve our "Gay for" column for hetero man-crushes based as much on respect and admiration as the wrong twinges in our groins - but digging out tunes for a party in tribute to Electroclash, the gayest genre of the Naughties, has flipped us into all-out bum-lust.

The object of our infections is Fischerspooner, the New York artcore scene's answer to the Pet Shop Boys; specifically, frontman Casey Spooner, who comes across (you) like Neil Tennant dragged from his dressing up box into a dungeon where the walls drip with semen, blood and engine oil.

As a performance artist cum actor cum honey-tongued singer, Spoony C embodies a modern day Renaissance man, only wrapped up in glitter, drag and drama.  Like he told Suicidegirls, "I need it all. I need sensuality, I need intelligence, I need expression, I need physicality." Well said, Casey - now shut up and lick me.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Crap Film Posters: Old Dogs, New Dogshit

Here at Manflet we like to deal with the important issues - like how ad campaigns not pitched at our demographic, aimed at promoting movies we will never see, really annoy us. Last time, Gadsby tore into the tagline for the bromantic (tragic)comedy I Love You, Man and right now I'm trying to come up with words to describe the poster for the Travolta/Williams vehicle (ouch) - also starring Scott Evil (argh) - soon to be released by Disney (noooooooooooo): Old Dogs.

This time it's not the poster's deeply unimaginative tagline (mercifully absent from the version I found online, available in full hi-res horror over here), it's the imagery itself.

Is there a design company somewhere that knocks out the posters for all mainstream comedies? Every one looks the same, no doubt built on a template that allows for quick turnaround and minimal creative input (if you don't believe me, take another look at I Love You, Man). There's the title, always in big red letters that emphasise it above the story and the stars - which was, after all, probably the first thing to come to the Hollywood execu-tits as they pitched their pants off. Then there's the composition that sacrifices real-world perspective (and often the actors' legs) to make sure that the faces of the "talent" get equal billing, even though they may be standing behind one another. And then there's the clinical white background that may simply be a cost-cutting device, but just so happens to create a stark artificial environment in which whatever you're airbrushing to fuck looks less, well, airbrushed to fuck. 

I mean, just look at Travolta's face.  You'll have to focus real hard to see it at all, because it's almost been Photoshopped out of existence; his visage on the (even worse) kid friendly poster (right) is so distorted it'll make you question conventional facial anatomy altogether. Still, no jowls.

What the shit is going on here? I mean apart from a facepalmingly obvious reversal of Travolta and William's roles as the straight man and the funny guy, what appears to be the hokiest fake-gorilla-love-story since Trading Places, and another unnecessary outing for Seth Green. Why is Travolta dressed (and hairplugged) up to look 15 years old? It seems that even when Hollywood are willing to admit its stars are "old" it still requires them to look younger ("better") than their age. Here, "old" is simply a synonym for "grown up" - these men may have acquired careers and wives (probably ex-wives, given the US media's obsession with broken families) and maybe even children, but they've never had to deal with crow's feet, a spare tire of fat, a prostate exam or the death of a friend - unless it was of dramatic significance.

The worst thing of all? This is the great Bernie Mac's last film. Of course we will soon forgive and forget, but for the poor young saps who sit through Old Dogs he will forever be known as "Jimmy Lunchbox" and remembered for the following exchange (quote from IMDB):
Charlie: "You crying, man?"
Jimmy Lunchbox: [holding back tears] "I ain't cryin'!"

Actually, my eyes feel kind of moist...

Thursday, 21 January 2010

I Pity The Fool! (Who doesn't have a dream A-Team)

I thought it was a joke, but they have re-made the A-Team for… What are we calling this decade? For the tens? The Star Wars prequels ensured that I would never be fooled into thinking a remake of one of my childhood loves would have a happy ending. I check out the cast and instantly I notice that Liam Neeson is playing Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith. Normally I quite like Neeson; I didn’t even mind him in Batman Begins, but Taken was proof that he should not star in action films.

If I had to describe the new A-Team film to someone purely based on the trailer, then I would have no reservation in saying, it’s like The Fast and The Furious meets Oceans 11. The second thing I would say is that Neeson has no place in this film – surely they could’ve got someone better? It was with this thought that I thought I’d come up with a list of who I thought should have starred in the new A-Team. Sadly this didn’t go according to plan, as it should never have been made and I struggled to think of anyone who could match the original cast members. However, my mind did wander and I began to come up with themed A-Teams. Not making any sense? Keep on reading…

The Dumb-Team
Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck – Ashton Kutcher
Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith – Will Ferrell
Capt. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock – Tom Green
Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus – Dwayne Johnson A.K.A The Rock

The B(lack) – Team
Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck – Gary Dourdan
Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith – Lawrence Fishburne
Capt. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock – Dave Chapelle
Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus – Shaq, or maybe he should be white – Mickey Rourke.

If you disagree with or have any better suggestions please comment. Maybe even come up with you own themed A-Teams. I’ll start you off – The theme, an all woman A-Team - Sgt. B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus - Queen Latifah (Easy). I’ll leave the rest to you.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Take Me Out: the dating show as biological metaphor

ITV1's new dating show Take Me Out has become required viewing at Manflet Mansions - partly because of cocksure cupid Paddy McGuinness (one half of Phoenix Night's Max and Paddy) but primarily because of its jaw-droppingly regressive portrayal of male/female "relationships".

The bastard child of Blind Date, TMO has inherited its prime time Saturday night slot, but bears little more than a passing resemblance to the Cilla Black love-match. Here, the concept of a cheeky northern monkey host "helping" people to find "love" through humiliation is flipped into a kind of speed-dating talent show, where one single man works to prove himself (read: shows off) to a panel of 30 available women. If they don't like what they see, a woman can hit a buzzer to turn off the light on their podium, and whoever is left "turned on" (geddit?) at the end goes on a date with the lucky(?) feller.

Stunningly, this update of Blinda Daaate makes the original seem downright progressive. While Cilla's show was founded on principles of equality (men and women taking turns to pick potential partners) and romance (being "blind" necessitating a search below the surface for a connection), Take Me Out is purely biological. When the show's website refers to the "survival of the fittest", the double entendre barely conceals Paddy's true intentions: to help females find the most suitable mate.

While the women on Take Me Out come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds, and cover a range of appearances from Hanging to Just Plain Rough, the successful male contestants are always good looking (from the neck down), or rich, or both. According to show, what women want rarely runs deeper than a man's skin, or more accurately, his muscles: his "body builder's build", his "guns", or - weirdly specific this one - "shoulders". The question "beauty or brains" is bandied around a lot, and never conclusively answered, but all the signs point squarely towards the former. The two girls who were asked the question outright gave the cop-out response "both", but then they were talking to a trainee doctor and owner of the aforementioned shoulders. A man with a degree in medicine and a dating chart on his fridge (2 points for a random) - an educated fool.

The men play up to this shallow attitude during the round in which they show off their "talents". From wrestler to gymnast to "butler in the buff", most perform at least half-naked (even the fire breather, which was a health and safety nightmare). Those that don't stack up physically subtly draw attention to the size of their wallet. I drink wine = I'm posh = I have money. I drum = I was in a band in the 70s = I have money. When this middle-aged prune of a former pop star (now strip club owner) walked away with a twentysomething under the pretext that she likes "rockers", I almost sicked on myself. But I got the message loud and clear: men are either protectors or providers; there are no soul-mates, only suitable sexual mates.

But while Take Me Out may be concerning, it is also compelling. It's classic car-crash telly, a pile-up between Darwin's horse and carriage and a white van carrying amateur porn. Be appalled by it on ITV Player NOW.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Why women hate men (and why men like me agree)

Just received this email from a Facebook friend of mine, who I assume (hope) didn't come up with the idea.

I don't know why it reached me, as it is clearly intended for "BLOKES":

"Recently the females played a game with the men, posting their bra colour as their status and wouldn't tell us what it meant. But as usual, us men eventually found out. We decided to play our own game with them. Post your favourite place to cum on a female as your status. Don't tell females what your status means. Let's just keep them guessing. PASS THIS ON TO OTHER BLOKES BUT DON'T TELL ANY WOMEN."

This may be naive and prudish of me, but I'm shocked that men think like this, and the sickest part of this petty little revenge fantasy is not that men have a favourite place to cum, but that it is inevitably on, not in, a woman.

My friend's status is now "Face".