There are a few things in life which baffle me. Things which other people seem to become absorbed by, revel in and never stop talking about. I’m not referring to having children, or trifling issues such as that. No, I’m talking about major, soul-shaping, earth-shattering revelations, instances in life when something can reach through to your inner-most core and throw everything you had already assumed up into the air and give you a completely new perspective on your very being.
Here are my big four…
#1 Coffee (the taste, not the smell)
Apparently this beverage is enjoying some moderate popularity in some countries, but I just can’t get on board with it. I think the smell of coffee is really delicious – along with coffee cake, chocolates and ice cream – but the drink has this violent kick to it which makes me screw up my face like a toddler who doesn’t want to eat their sprouts (another food I’m not a fan of).
I can attest to the benefits of drinking coffee though; this week I have downed several cups to achieve that much sought-after caffeine kick and being pretty much a coffee virgin, it has not taken a lot of the liquid drug to make me go ‘Eeeeeeeeeee!’. I have found myself completing three tasks in the time I was predicting it would take me to finish one and feeling slightly like a stressed-out mother who takes her child’s ADHD medicine so she can achieve more each day.
However, I still detest the taste. Adding sugar helps, and encourages the sudden burst of energy no doubt, but I’m still nowhere near actually enjoying it like I do tea. Ooh tea. Now there’s a beverage….
#2 Star Wars
I know there are others like me, somewhere out there in the world who can never speak freely, who can never fully reveal themselves to their friends or family. We live in fear of the persecution which would blight our lives if we dared to confess:“I have never seen a Star Wars film and cannot fathom why anyone would bother to.”
Before you begin sharpening the stake and painting your ‘Not in our town’ signs, I have seen some of the films. By that I don’t mean a whole film, mind. Just clips, here and there. Which films in particular, I have no idea. They had light sabers and were set in space, does that narrow it down?
Of course I know it doesn’t, I have some vague understanding of the world George Lucas dreamt up in order to make a sh*t load of cash; being an avid Simon Pegg fan and living in western Europe has ensured that Lucas’ special brand of indoctrination has filtered down into my consciousness. I do know what it all means though? Not chance in hell. Or whatever they have in Star Wars world.
As far as I can tell, it’s just a load of guys waving big glo sticks at each other, a gold robot who’s friends with a bin and helpless princess with a pair of chelsea buns on her head. Sounds, err, excellent.
#3 Marilyn Monroe
Due to the last one being a little controversial, I thought I’d stick with that vein of thinking and see who else I could reduce to a state of incensed, spluttering outrage. So, Marilyn. She was voted sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute, is seen as a cultural icon and regularly cited as the epitomical sex symbol. Why?
If someone can give me a convincing argument, I will gladly listen. Most women my age just refer to how she was beautiful despite not being a size zero. I don’t think that Marilyn Monroe was unattractive, but I don’t see the most beautiful woman ever to have walked the earth.
As for her acting, I have seen two and a half of her films (didn’t manage to finish Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and I don’t think she was a terrible actress – I quite enjoyed Some Like It Hot – but the soft, child-like voice becomes tiresome pretty quickly and she only seems capable of playing women who are borne of the same mould. For me, she’s become a caricature of an ideal woman.
It’s interesting that the later parts of her life are somewhat glossed over by fan websites as this is when her story becomes more interesting. She was notoriously difficult to deal with, unreliable, rumours of extra marital affairs have refused to die and she was at one time admitted to a psychiatric hospital. These aspects of her person, however, detract from the idea of Monroe as the ultimate American product. She’s a representation of glamorous Hollywood, a girl with a troubled start in life, turned into the biggest actress of her generation, a feat only possible because of her being raised in the USA: land of the free and the brave.
You only have to look at the ultimate male icon from that era: JFK (little known fact, he’s actually been linked to Monroe in the past. Who knew?!). Kennedy will, for the majority of people, always be the poster boy president. A shining example of “what-could’ve-been”, the mere thought of what he might have achieved is much more useful to selling the American dream than anything he actually did manage to do (which wasn’t a lot, in my opinion).
I think the most pertinent question I can raise in relation to Marilyn Monroe is: if she were around now, would we even look twice? Or would we see another model-turned-actress wannabe..?
#4 Lady Gaga
Another woman whose appeal soars straight over my head. I just cannot understand why someone who sticks telephones to her head, wears clothes of raw meat and performs songs containing lyrics such as “P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face (mum mum mum mah)” is hailed as a magical all-knowing prophet. Her “outrageous” (and frankly, tiring) outfits and behaviour in no way encourage me to become a fan. If anything, they alienate and fill me with an uncontrollable desire to burn my own ears so that I won’t have to hear her any more. The woman likes to be provocative just to be controversial.
Yes, I am aware that a large part of her ethos is about encouraging people, particularly teenagers, to be themselves and she devotes a lot of her energy to issues affecting the international LGBT community… But does she have to sing as well? And dress like some kind of deranged pixie on meth who just stumbled out of an S&M Disney-themed fancy-dress party?
Another thing which I find unutterably irritating is that her die-hard fans seem incapable of hearing anything vaguely negative about her, defending any material she releases and any statement she makes. And she makes a lot of statements. I understand this isn’t actually her fault, but it just adds to the collective reasons of why I am firmly not a ‘Little Monster’.