Wednesday 11 April 2012


It was a momentus blog yesterday: my 500th. Pushing the button to publish it certainly killed a lot of ghosts that have been haunting me – that’s right it killed some ghosts – about never achieving anything before I die in 18 months. I wasn’t expecting any kind of fuss to be made so it was all the more touching when I received an e-mail from the Manchester Libraries Information Service telling me what the Libraries of Manchester were going to be up to in April. Clearly there was something unwritten there, between the lines, that said ‘well done, Phil, well done on producing 500 thoroughly unncessary and unwanted texts that even most of your friends can’t be bothered to read; that is how good you are: your friends don’t even read your blog. I am sure they will make excuses about not having time but the truth is, it’s just a fucking shit blog that’s prone to strange flights of fancy and self-absorbed bullshit, much like this.’

It wasn’t exactly what I expected to hear from the Libraries of Manchester as a commemoration of reaching my 500th blog but I will settle for it.

I’d not planned anything so I wasn’t disappointed that all I had was an unwritten-between-the-lines message from Manchester Libraries. I hadn’t designed a limited edition Fred Perry polo shirt or some Adidas Casuals tracksuit tops to commemorate the occasion, anyone who says I did is just confused: I was just colouring in come conceptual sketches of Fred Perry/Adidas Casuals merchandise that I had imagined could have been used as promotional clothing to promote the major motion picture 500, or feasibly500 Days of Summer*. I also DIDN’T buy a shipment of bespoke thank-you cards to send to everyone who send me a bouqet of flowers or ice statue honouring my achievement.

*You know the film where Zooey Deschanel played against type by portraying a kooky, attractive, frustrating hippster girl.

The Street

I have dived into Mike ‘The Street’ Skinner’s chronicle of The Streets headfirst. It is a really interesting piece of writing – thus far, I have only read 44% of it – and I recommend you all read it (if you are at all interested in Mike ‘The Street’ Skinner, his act The Streets, UK Garage Music around the turn of the millenium, songwriting or creativity – if none of the above you should probably give it a swerve).

There is a bit in it where he talks about creative people generally having some insecurity at the core of their art. I think he has a point here. Certainly all the creative people I have ever met/read about do (though, one could argue, doesn’t everyone?). But no matter how brash someone can be if they are creative, and thus by this logic vulerable on some level, there will be something I will like, or at least admire about them.

This thought was still rattling about my brain palace when I watched The Apprentice. Aside from finding some of the female competitiors physically attractive on a completely shallow level, I find many of the contestants repugnant. I know – disliking contestants from The Apprentice, how very 2008. The link to Mike Skinner’s book is the notion of vulnerability making other stuff ok – such as being a prick. Many of the candidate on the show lack this lack of confidence. Many of them are pure confidence, which I don’t mind when it’s self-aggrandising braggart style confidence (Ruth Badger, Rafe Poshington). It’s the ones who are both entirely confident and seem entirely devoid of any level of intelligence that I can’t stand, especially when this is combined with an aggressive superiority to others (who are generally clearly better/more intelligent). This year’s leading contender for this role is Adam Corbally.

I dislike whoever is fulfilling this role throughout the hour of the programme. However the specific portion of the show where I get completely full of bile for them is the end bit where we see the winning team celebrate and then be sat around discussing who might not come back from the boardroom. The twat/twats are the one holding court in this environment as though they are the king of the known world, even though they are talking shit. It is amazing how quickly a not-losing performance (and by this I mean it isn’t necessarily a good performance) can imbue an Apprentice contestant with the confidence of 27 Kanye Wests.

Adam is so cocksure it is amazing. It is amazing because he seems like a prick. And not a clever prick. He is only a market trader. Not that there is anything wrong with a market trader. But if I was going to give it the big I am on a show like this I would be basing the cockiness on having made some decent business history for myself, or been very good during the first few weeks of the show. Not piggy-backed on the back of better people while looking a bit like Paul Bettany’s weird monk in The DaVinci Code.

To try and link this together, the point I was making was that because there is no vulnerability or talent in these people makes it hard to like them. Liking someone just for being determined and arrogant is not going to happen. These are the things you accept about a great actor/musician/librarian because they are also great at what they do…when someone is just a walking coccaine-frenzy (minus the coccaine) in a Burtons suit you kind of just wish they would fuck off.

Maybe this is why no-one is watchingThe Apprentice anymore. Not who I work with anyway. I am now left to discuss it with myself around the water cooler.


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