Sometimes I think I’d be happy with a simple life. A nice, non abrasive personality, an ability to meander through everything that life throws at me with at a giving smile on my face, the bloody mindedness which enables some people to let everything pass them by and for them to do everything they are told. And then I realise I’m not a massive bellend.
An egotist? Sure. A dreamer? Maybe. A dickhead? Sometimes, but I think that’s needed in the world we live in which seemingly consists of nothing more than a series of increasingly difficult challenges to stop you from getting anywhere you want. A lot of people I know say “well that’s how life works Martin, you can’t get everything you want all the time.” I say that’s dangerous talk. It’s perhaps the ultimate cliché, but life is legit too short for me to imagine that I can’t do whatever I want. My generation has an eerie obsession with dying young, when chances all we’ll all be grandparents one day relaxing in our rockin’ chairs and eating boiled sweets, but I’m adamant that to fully get the most out of however much time each of us have on this planet then you have to be able to believe in yourself, and only then will the belief come to you.
The latest stop-block in my life at the moment involves university. I’ve been at my university for over a year now, I’ve made some lovely friends, a beautiful girlfriend and several thousand awful puns, and that part has been great. What is concerning me at the moment is my course. I ‘study’ (and I use that word very loosely) Sports Journalism. Like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, my whole life I wanted to be involved in sport, but ever since I’ve become aware of the beurocracy and the bullshit that emits from the murky world of sports journalism my passion has waned somewhat, like a teenage girls crush on Zac Efron as he gets progressively more hairy.
This wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m currently involved in a bit of my course where we all work on the student newspapers. To me, student newspapers are always full of self-satisfied corporate babble, maybe with one lame opinion piece which tries too hard to be controversial, and lo and behold the one I work on is no exception. Tonnes of non stories, crap articles and boring attempts at investigate journalism are enough to make anyone fall asleep with even the merest glimpse of the soiled pages. When even the people who help make it don’t bother to read it, then what is the purpose of it? Just an ego drive for wannabee journalists who’ll never make it to pretend that they’ve made it some way? Seems like that to me, and I can’t help but feel that the paper used to make it could be better used elsewhere, be it nappies for homeless people, or ten million paper planes to be used in a music video by MIA.
One example of how incredibly tedious this paper is. I volunteered to write for the features team as they were short on volunteers. I soon realised why. After writing a fairly entertaining piece on adult content in kids films, I sent it off to the editor, mildly happy that I’d done a decent job on my first attempt. I received a friendly, but incredibly frustrating reply informing me that whilst they liked the piece, the powers that be ‘loathe ‘I’ pieces’. In other words, they hate anybody writing in the first person, and not in the robotic third person style that has become the norm for the paper.
I was frustrated because, whilst I anticipate and expect changes to be made to my copy, I can’t understand the mentality of anyone literally banning the use of first person narrative just because they don’t like it. Who on earth writes third person features? Yes, opinion pieces can get boring and a paper full of them would be dreadful, but can’t someone, anyone inject some life and spark into a newspaper that has about as much life in it as Barbara Windsor’s tits?
It all seems like too much hard work for such little gain. I sound like a right div, but if I can’t achieve what I want in journalism, or in the media or in any form of writing, I’d rather just go and become a gardener or a builder than write absolute crap that I just don’t care about. Again, this is where people will pop in and go “life doesn’t work like that!”, but speaking idyllically, why can’t it? Just because someone had to suck cock and make tea on the way to the top doesn’t mean everybody has to. The day I get enthused about 400 words on why students drink too much is the day I lose a little bit of my soul and my spirit. Yeah it could be worse, I could have some arsehole boss making me work all the hours in the world, or I could be on a building site ten hours a day, but I’m not, and so in my world, my discord is based on the bastardisation of creativity and the terminal illness of journalism.
“You cannot make friends with the rock stars” said Lester Bangs in the film Almost Famous. He was referring to a young journalist in the music world who was about to go on tour with his favourite band to write a feature on them (one presumes in the first fucking person.) I can only offer the advice of ‘you cannot make friends with journalists’ because all they long for in life is to fuck the other person over and get ahead for themselves. That’s the main urban myth I can’t stand in journalism, that you’ve got to work in a team to get the most out of it. Absolute bollocks, no-one likes working with other people, everyone wants to get all the glory themselves. And why not, I’m certainly the same but at least I can admit it and not masquerade about trying to do the best for everyone.
Hypocrisy, back-stabbing and let’s be honest, probably shit loads of molestation. That’s journalism for you, and I’m only on the student side. God knows what happens when you get to the big boys, coked up paranoid wrecks desperately trying to pay their mortgage by flogging articles on ‘Top 5 Spoons!’ and ‘Why men are bastards.” I’ll tell you why I’m a bastard, because I couldn’t give a shit about boring writing, especially discussions on spoons, because the whole world knows that the only spoon worth bothering with is Bill Spoon, the scouse Barry Manilow.
Whatever, maybe I’m just not cut out for this, or maybe I’m better equipped that anyone else to succeed. As my spiritual brother once sang, I see no changes, wake up in the morning and ask myself, is life worth living should I blast myself?