How To Watch Wrestling.

I make all sorts of noises when I’m watching wrestling.

Mainly vowels.

I watch a hilarious amount of comedy, and although I enjoy it beyond belief- I won’t be laughing for most of it.

I guess I just one of those quite quiet kinds of guy.

I am noisiest when I am involuntary.

And I am most involuntary when I am watching wrestling and I’m doing my ‘vowel-thing’.

Not just vowels though- because I’m a fan, and because I’m a fan I compliment and I criticise. And sometimes, like a true fan, I sometimes go quiet. Because…”ssshhhh”…I’m watching wrestling.

Sitting there, sometimes standing (I am excitable), I watch as I did as a child, focusing on the screen with such a willingness to let my eyes to lose their potency to see things at a distance that I required very strong glasses by the time I was eight and I’d become something of an expert. At least as much of an expert as someone that has no one to counter them can be. When you’re on your own, you’re normally correct purely as a matter of majority.

Now, first things first (which I hear is a fairly popular place to start), I am fully aware that wrestling is largely an act. The wrestlers don’t hate each other, the storylines (known as kayfabe) are…storyline…, and nobody is from a place called “Part Unknown”.

But I feel that the argument about the business being fake is redundant, OBVIOUSLY it is storyline and OBVIOUSLY (obviously enough for me to over-do CAPS LOCK) they aren’t trying to kill each other. They are, however, at times pushing themselves so close to danger that you could argue they are trying to kill themselves for your entertainment. The point is to NEARLY kill yourself; people will always like that about you.

The catalogue of injuries that a professional wrestler obtains throughout a brief career is extensive and, one would assume for a regular person, lifestyle changing. A blow to the knee like that would be something that men would tell each other whilst in a pub and promoting their appearance of manliness. It can work, but it is undoubtedly more manly to not refer to this at all, unless prompted to by others. This is what pro-wrestlers do. They don’t talk about it, they just suffer it and smile.

A specially designed steel chair being whammed into the head is something that most people could deal with, but afterwards they’d likely be allowed to go home from work, whereas wrestlers go to work to have this done to them, and although it is withstandable- it really, really hurts.

From what it would seem from some consequences, it might hurt so much that you strangle your family and leave a bible next to their bodies (for further info research BENOIT). Other times you might turn out like the world-famous (now perhaps more owing to movies than wrestling) actor Dwayne ‘The ROCK’ Johnson. He is healthy, wealthy and wise, and doesn’t look like he’s ever cut his own forehead open to make you happy. This process is known as ‘blading’, where a wrestler cuts his forehead to make the blood come out to the sound applause.

I have also watched local wrestling from the ringside, and enjoyed this enormously too, with the added spectacle of the more BRITISH side of wrestling which amounts more to size than muscle (these men’s skin wobbled a lot, but they consequently made everything else wobble even more).

It was here that you really appreciate the main formula for pro-wrestling. Kick him in the face as hard as you can, so that it is as loud as possible, whilst hurting him as little as possible. This happens nightly for some and all the training they can do is how to get kicked in the face and deal with it, and how to kick someone else in the face, whilst doing a flip (entirely necessary) and not hurting them to the degree that they cannot continue.

You can tell this is true by the way that they get back up again.

You can also tell by the sound. You see this, and you will let loose some vowels of your own.

I love this, the athleticism and the hard-knocks of it all. My appreciation is a mix of pity and jealously. Pity that your wage is balanced on your getting harmed as loudly as possible, jealously that you’re managing it whilst apparently still able to do rudimentary addition.

The storyline aspect is another criticised theme of pro-wrestling, and is another part that I am enthralled watching.

On the television, WWE and TNA offer this soap-opera version, whilst local wrestling offers the pantomime alternative.

The soap opera version has a tremendous ability to tap into the general feeling of (mainly) the USA. Looking at how in times such as the Gulf War- the main ‘HEEL’ (bad guy) was a disgraced US soldier named Sergeant Slaughter with his ‘manager’ (out of ring side-kick) of an Iraqi general named ‘General Adnan’– a man who actually went to high school with Saddam Hussein. His opponent- the American hero Hulk Hogan- would enter flying the stars and stripes and saying he was doing it for the brave guys and gals over there and that he was doing it because he was a patriot that loved freedom, Coca Cola, and the free market.

The two would wrestle, the ‘heel’ would cheat, Hulk would use his good old fashioned American know-how, guts and heart to push his way out of the ‘Arabian’ submission manoeuvre (actually called the ‘Camel Clutch’) and start punching the bad guy till people got the metaphor. The metaphor was that he was America, Slaughter was Saddam Hussein and punching was the beautiful export that ensured American victory in the name of freedom and further punching.

This was of course in the early nineties, and though times have changed the formula remains- stay current with what the people are up to.

Lately, people are losing their homes and jobs, whilst ubiquitously using social media. Therefore, WWE storylines incorporate wrestling characters that are bankrupt, being made to do what the evil ‘heel’ character demands in exchange for help with their mortgage. Or- wrestlers actually complain and fight about what someone said about them on Twitter of YouTube. Being able to ‘follow’ or be ‘friends’ with these wrestlers is magic to the children.

This formula differs from the local-ring wrestling, which incorporates pantomime aspects so as to bring out the cheers and jeers. References to suggested homosexuality of the opponent, hide-and-seek, arguing with the audience, things to do with testicles and references to popular culture- all these things can be found at a local wrestling show…and it works.

The fans, the true fans- truer than me, are a special breed of people. They are also involuntary, but they seem to really believe what’s happening in front of them. The typically middle-age-plus woman will have taken her young grandchild and will be yelling at the ring and staring with such burning intensity that she surely emits more enthusiasm than any latter generation.

She is wearing her favourite wrestler’s T-Shirt, and her toy- figure of him is in the glove compartment of her car. She could tell you how to watch wrestling with far more experience and sheer guts than I could ever replicate. Partly because I understand the business, and she genuinely believes this foreign man has hypnotised her favourite, number one, lovely hair-cut, always smiling and oh-my-what-nice-legs wrestler. And as I said- the other guy is foreign! Not even a foreigner from this country…from a dark country…plenty of sand. Maybe too much sand- the measure of a man.

I watch wrestling to enjoy the soap-opera silliness that can make a stadium erupt in gasps, to enjoy the pantomime hilarity of two men running around the ring and leaping into the front row of very-grasping women. I watch to enjoy the athleticism that these performers risk showing at the expense of never being able to do the move, or walk, again…and I watch to enjoy the part inside me that makes those vowels exit.

But mostly, I watch because I used to watch it with my grandmother- a lady who, whilst watching, would be far louder than I. Gutsier too.

Last things last (also a popular order). Wrestling is fun, and that’s all. It has no great message aside from being something to be enjoyed by the entire family. It is pantomime and I recommend it.

It is an ancient business, and when watching, on a TV or at a show, you’re going to appreciate why.

Either that, or have someone hit you in the head with a folded steel chair- that is definitely something you should try in the home.

Sam.

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I Wish This Was Written On A T-Shirt.

I swear I thought of this in the 90’s.

However, I (and probably you too) are likely not the first to have this idea. Most of us alive today weren’t having ideas in the 70’s- when some of the best stuff came our way (the floppy-disk…timeless).

My plan was to write a statement (or at least something that would be interpreted as such) on the front of a plain white T-shirt, perhaps with an accompanying picture. It was essential that the sentence would be taken as a statement, if only extremely personally- to the author/wearer.

The idea was another one that I laid back on my laurels for- leading to its distinct lack of materialisation. You probably didn’t notice that this idea of mine never bore fruit, largely because it had nothing to do with fruit- unless it was on a T-shirt and being witty. There’s a market in making objects appear witty. Just take toilet seats- everyone gets the joke. Or telephones.

First of all, there was the name of the company label. You know- the one you’ve never heard of.

‘None Of A Kind’…..oooh.

These T-shirts are so unique that even they aren’t like them.

There would be nothing like this, and that was the point. Repetition is death in culture- something the easily bored appreciate greatly- once. A repeated statement is listened to, but dull. That’s why they change them.

Then there was what was to be the goal of every piece of produce produced. Let extreme relativity be the essence of the output.

Originality was being moral, a good thing, whilst also making these T-shirts ones that were easy to kill was another.

The idea of killing the T-shirt was harsh, but would mean that the one-time statement could be let out for a temporary-while, allowed to fade from the linen and out of the mind, having done its part, and leaving a gloriously stained canvas all over your chest. Non-permanent ink was a favourite tool, whilst permanent ink also did well because they are bollocks and not in a good, permanent way. We were going to kill the fashion and start over. Naturally.

Tattoos just can’t do this. They take themselves too seriously, and often too shitly.

I understand that this might be a common undertone in the ethos of many other companies- but truly: ‘Allow not one shit-bit’ was something to throw at the wall until it stopped bouncing back. Then again, maybe the ‘bouncing back’ (here meaning- the return of unsightly ideas and repetition) would fire up the engines of the artist, thus equating to an artist ready for whatever might come to them next.

The problem with the tattoo stain is that, whilst being permanent is beautiful in its way, it has a flaw in that beauty. The problem with being permanent is that it can last too long. You’ve probably noticed. You’ve probably been noticing for a long time.

‘None Of A Kind’ was going to be like beach art- it would leave us alone when it was done. Art that would bugger off when you were done with it. This also depended on the month- the sweat of July would eradicate nicely if you let it.

You don’t need to be rich to have an original ‘None Of A Kind’. Let’s be honest- we really can’t appreciate how tough the rich have it because you’re just an average person born to death whilst hopefully wearing a super-cool T-shirt. Aside from hoping your crops grow, what more could you ask for?

Jeez I hope you’re crops do well this harvest. I’m sure that’s weary on your mind. Crops- got to love them.

Also that you birth only males.  I would never wish upon you a legacy of daughters.

Ok, so may your loins only bear sons, may your crops be luscious and fruitful (and the same goes for your sons) and I hope your T-shirts are super cool. I don’t think I even need to suggest you have a nice day- that’s hardly the point. Having a nice day might be one of the worst things that happen to you. A super cool T-shirt; well done….well done.

The price of one white T-shirt, a permanent marker, preferably black and then the mere price of workmanship, although the best part of this was that you’d be doing this yourself. No cost of workmanship, and an extremely personal or appropriate message, this was awesome. A brand name that was to be taken, sabotaged by the individual and therefore successful- you can understand that this whole idea was probably too theoretical and unlikely to be initiated from the get-go. Whatever a ‘get-go’ might be.

‘Graffiti that follows you to work’- was another way of looking at it.

The moral message of graffiti is to alter your environment in severe contrast to advertising and grey corporate bullshit. This is why graffiti is colourful. Doing this, being colourful and righteous from the neck to the belt, meant that your statement of the day could adorn yourself rather than a building, would lead to an extremely low-risk of arrest, and could go with you around the corner.

Remember- it’s not the boring wall, it’s the shitty neighbours. Be a good neighbour by wearing an always-original ‘None Of A Kind’ and we’ve all won.

I really, really wish I’d actually done this. No one’s fault but mine that I didn’t. But I will also say: ‘Fuck the nineties’. That’s better.

If you can guess the moral of my writing today then I recommend that you take up the advice yourself. The moral is: start a revolutionary T-shirt company to initiate the global phenomenon of ‘None Of A Kind’.

You will make no money.

You will get no credit.

But you might just get a cool T-shirt out of it.

Super cool.

Sam.


I’m Not Going To Reminisce About The 00’s.

Oh fuck, the 00’s.

What are we going to do now? All we have in relation to something worth talking here about is war and computers- and I’m not good at either of those things. Computer illiterates in foxholes equate to me wondering why more things aren’t to do with long walks and pretty girls- generally.

Those are the few things that set me apart from people who are set to perfection in the previous decade of ours. ‘Pretty girls’- generally, is a common passion, but is something that I find hard to omit owing to being something of a self-composed poster-boy for virility, an image that takes time, trousers and embarrassment to accumulate. I like accumulating things though- it amounts to something.

As for the good longs walks- they remind me of being an ape (an essential quality in someone worth knowing) and of being some sort of dignified author that would actually have done nothing for the cause of female emancipation from the drudgery of being slammed with the dick of ancient history till now. Another thing about the 00’s: penis trumps vagina. A good long walk might remind you of that, but in the meantime (whatever that is) it will promote that ‘distinguished author’ look that you’ve been trying so hard to maintain. Put that pipe away.

You wouldn’t have gotten these things from the 00’s. The 00’s amounted to, as far as I can remember: war, computers and Robbie Williams being really popular. Possibly more popular than Diet Coke, which is impressive, and something that I can only hope for this blog to me someday. I say more popular than Diet Coke because I’m realistic. Regular, full-blooded Coke doesn’t need to advertise, it just needs to be guaranteed.

Perhaps if females and walking had been promoted as much as the 20-teens has begun to, we might have missed out on the following.

It turns out we do have cultural contributions to our species that goes beyond Robbie Williams. We have the music videos. Music video’s with sheer-white backdrops, metal bands and boy bands both wearing black and both trying to look tough and dangerous (whist both trying too hard at that). Baggy trousers- coming from an age of men trying to conceal weaponry, to boys trying to look like men trying to conceal weaponry, and finally to children attempting to look like most other older boys do, whilst also using the opportunity to hide their physical frame from the world because they’re only kids, and kids are stupid.

This was a time in which things were made glossy and I don’t know why. The perpetual addition of cheese to foodstuffs (and barely, thankfully, limiting itself there) was a component of the times.

All those dead Iraqi’s really ruined the decade for me, as well as those about the rest of the planet that were butchered for all the other just causes that some god likely encored. What really twists the blade for me here is the fact that this is not a 00’s exclusive, but it is…is…an example of a generation that knew it had the means to alter and chose not to. The excessive’s of laziness were on the eye-watering rise throughout these pitiful ten years, and the blame lays not at feet, but lays in the lies of the minds of those of us that know what I’m talking about. Myself included; it does feel lovely not to be annihilated on a Sunday afternoon. What a…foreign thing to happen. This was the war aspect. Very happy that no cheese was added.

So long playing in the streets. Hello, latest acquaintance of the species- massive heart disease, diabetes and general paleness. The revolution of video game sophistication amounted to the heaviest generation that we have had for a long time. Mother’s loose a third of their body weight at birth and all children can be heard walking from afar. As they walk- their foreheads jiggle.

This is what the 00’s gave us, and what’s even worse is that it gave us…us. Apologies, but we are the generation prior that laid the foundations for the end of children and the start of wars by regrettably not being as astounding as the technology that raced alongside us. Albeit that we have learnt to share, and to learn and to give a little grace when required, we are still very willing to lose our ape-ish-ness and indulge in raising fictional crops on a figurative place, inviting others to waste their time and insisting on yourself giving up the fun you were born with rights to. This has been the computer aspect.

Don’t you dare blame the 60’s- that’s not your job and if you even think about blaming the 40’s then your laughable, it was the 00’s, purely on the basis that this was the latest decade do nothing but withhold and indulge.

We haven’t even legalised Mary Jane yet. And that’s our fault. That’s all our fault. Fucking do something you shitty little population- nothing would happen if it weren’t for you taking part, why should this be any different. The 00’s was the perfect time to do that and, my word, wouldn’t it have helped.

Let’s ‘hark’ back now, something I don’t often do, but since we’re reminiscing we might as well ‘hark’ simultaneously along with that. It’s good for your vocabulary. Let’s hark back to the ‘penis trumps vagina’ situation.

We’ll you’re right- women and their vagina’s are doing fairly well these days, indeed, they are doing for themselves- but therein lies the issue that I have with the 00’s here. Why was it up to key particular women to do this? Why not all of them? Why not all of us- men and their penis’ included (naturally- never omit a man’s junk)?

You see, we are the time that we live in, and without the positive action of a massive population, spurred on by those individuals that seem to matter for some reason, there will be no change. Don’t leave change up to individuals because it is knackering and depressing to do so alone. Just look at all those dead people you’ve heard of; that’s why you’ve heard of them and that’s also a substantial contribution as to why they are dead. And the centuries probably did them no favours either.

You, the population over there- hiding behind the Apple store! Go outside and make change, but for the love of all that is worth mentioning- don’t let advertisers see you do it. If you do- they’ll claim you and say you’re using their phone or their network to be the essential repetition of ‘new generation’ (being cool and free and buying our product just like you should. Keep watching your TV and shut up, you filthy little consumer).

This mind-set of sit-down, consume and distract yourself was all over the 00’s, and the brilliance of technology has had a central goal of luxurious entertainment, equating to all meaningful progression becoming a side-line to the main game. This is why women are paid less- because blasted by Angry Birds and Netflix- you really don’t give a fuck.

So now we’re in the 20-teens and so far I’m liking it. I think people are getting to grips with being apes and being in charge. Just look at the US. Here comes Mary Jane. Well done.

War and computers, eh?

Sam.