Tom Aldworth

Tom Aldworth

QUIZ: What Monster Are You (Or Are You Harry Potter)?

(Getty / leolintang / Warner Bros. Pictures)

At some point in life, you’ve got to sit down and ask yourself, “Who am I?” It’s a tough question, and it’s not always an easy one to answer. Part of the difficulty is that sometimes we need to face the tough reality that we aren’t who we wish we were.

Nobody wants to be a monster, but some of us are. Nobody wants to be a boy wizard thrust into celebrity in a magical world, but some of us are.

Dig deep within yourself. Be true to who you really are. And find out if you’re a monster… or if you’re just Harry Potter.

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Arnold Schwarzenegger?

(20th Century Fox)

You know when something has been a part of your life for so long that you just feel like you know it inside out? Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably one of those things. He’s been in the public attention for pretty much all of our entire lives (unless you’re old… sorry), so we might think we know everything there is to know about Big Muscle.

BUT DO WE?!

Holy shit, you hadn’t thought about that had you? I don’t want to startle you too much, but this article entitled ‘QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Arnold Schwarzenegger?’ has an actual frickin’ quiz about the big man in it!

So test yourself, test your friends, test your family. Cherish those who get 100%. Destroy those who get a zero.

And guys, if you get it wrong you can always…. come back! That was a play on his famous catchphrase but it didn’t go that well.

11 Times Songs Inspired Tweets, And 1 Time Tweets Inspired A Song

(Getty/Jill Giardino)

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is contagious, pass it on”.

I’m sure that when he said those famous words he hoped to inspire a bunch of cartoons on the internet to write parodies of some of the best and most famous songs of all time.

Probably.

It’s probably what he meant.

1 Sometimes Bad Songs Inspire Good Tweets

2 Oh So I'm A Gnome And You're Just Fine?

3 I... This Hits Home

4 Can A Song Count As A Confession?

5 Dinos? Yuck.

6 Who Hasn't Wished It?

7 Ratbird Is What They Called Me At School

8 *Throwing Underwear Made Of Bread*

9 Splinter Would Be Proud

10 That Borat Gets Around

11 This Wouldn't Be The Interent Without An All Star Parody

12 And Here's One Time That Tweets Inspired Songs...

[Source: YouTube|The Blackout Choir]

The British Are Rapping!

(Getty/Venla Shalin/Contributor)

Cast your mind back to the 1990s. It was a simple time for hip-hop. Back then, it was an either-or kind of deal. East Coast vs. West Coast, Bad Boy vs. Def Jam, Biggie vs. Tupac, Puff Daddy vs. Suge Knight. Yeah ok, there was the Southern scene, but basically, you could just ignore OutKast and Arrested Development and you were back to the two-party system.

Nowadays things are a little different. Atlanta is a key player, as is New Orleans, Houston, Detroit, and you’ve even got bloody Canadian’s joining in! Basically, there’s a lot of people rapping these days, and you can kind of find something for everyone.

Something you might not be aware of though, is that the British have gotten pretty good at it. Maybe you like British accents, maybe you want to impress someone with your knowledge, I don’t know what your deal is, I don’t know you. Either way, here are some of my favorite British rappers for you to check out.

Ocean Wisdom

A lot of British rap music over the past twenty or thirty years hasn’t necessarily been hip-hop music; genres like jungle, garage, and grime have taken a lot of the limelight. But in the past few years there has been a serious rise in straight-up hip-hop, with the record label High Focus leading the charge. Arguably the stand out artist from the High Focus roster is Brighton’s Ocean Wisdom.

Ocean dropped his debut album Chaos 93 in 2016 and his debut single, “Walkin’,” gained him international attention when he took Eminem’s title of the world’s fastest rapper, somehow delivering 4.45 words per second over an incredible 3 minutes 47 seconds.

This year, he is back with a new album, Wizville, that features some titans of the UK hip hop scene, Rodney P, Roots Manuva, Jehst, and even features a cameo from Wu Tang’s own Method Man. Definitely check out the debut album, but for now listen to new single “Revvin’,” featuring grime legend Dizzee Rascal.

Loyle Carner

Similar to Ocean Wisdom in that his music is hip-hop through and through, Loyle Carner is another star on the rise in the UK scene. If you like your hip-hop to be wholesome, then this is the guy for you – not like Fresh Prince wholesome either. Loyle does say cuss words.

It’s just that this guy loves his family (his mum was his date to the Brit Awards in February), he respects women (he threw a man out of his show for groping a crowd surfer) and he is socially conscious too (he teaches disadvantaged youths to cook through a scheme he created called Chilli Con Carner), and it all comes through in his music.

His music is heart wrenchingly honest, raw and real. Songs about wanting a sister (“Florence”), missing his dad (“BFG”), and worrying about talking to girls (“+44”) are complimented by classic hip-hop themes of ambition (“Ain’t Nothin’ Changed”). Generally, he is a great lyricist, has great beats, and seems to be a really good guy too.

M.I.A.

You’ve probably heard songs by M.I.A. over the past ten years, and it’s probably fair to say she’s one of the more successful exports. Songs like “Paper Planes” and “Bad Girls” have been global hits that have featured in movies and commercials (that’s how you know they’re good). As a result, you might be forgiven for thinking that she has just a couple of bangers and that’s all. But you’d be wrong if you thought that. She’s now released 5 albums that are packed full of quality.

On Kala (arguably her most famous record), M.I.A. tackles a range of social issues, whilst also sampling a very diverse range of music, from The Clash and Pixies to Ilaiyaraaja and The Wilcannia Mob. Her influences are vast and wide, and that comes through regularly in her music, and just listening to an M.I.A. album can introduce you to a range of music you’ve never heard before, or show you something you’re familiar with in a totally new light.

My personal favorite comes from her debut album Arular, the song “Sunshowers” just, it just does it for me.

Roots Manuva

Arguably one of the most influential trip-hop artists from the UK scene is Roots Manuva. His influence is far-reaching. It’s been argued that his music was a precursor to the grime scene and in 2014 Vice said that his debut album (1999’s Brand New Second Hand) is still the best thing to come out of UK hip-hop.

In the late 1990s, Roots Manuva did something that a lot of other British rappers had failed to do to that point. He made Britishness something to rap about. While the East and West Coast scenes in America were rapping about slinging drugs and shooting people, Roots was able to bring a sense of authenticity to his music by rapping about cheese on toast and drinking pints of bitter.

Probably his most famous and successful song was “Witness (1 Hope)” from his 2001 album Run Come Save Me. Be warned: Once you listen to this you’re going to want to be English.

Stormzy

Grime has had a few artists breakout and hit the mainstream in the past 15 years or so – the likes of Wiley, Lethal Bizzle, and Dizzee Rascal are some of the more recognizable names from the scene. But probably the biggest of them all is the current darling of the UK rap scene, Stormzy.

Not only has he had a slew of radio hits, but his debut album (Gang Signs and Prayers) was the first Grime album to peak at number one in the UK album charts, getting certified Platinum in the UK within a year of its release.

Part of the reason he has enjoyed the success he has is because he has a very level-headed, socially conscious voice that he puts towards good and popular causes. Calling out the prime minister in an award acceptance speech in February this year, for example.

Obviously, check out his album, but some of his best stuff is from his early demos and EPs. For example, “Not That Deep” from 2014 EP Dreamer’s Disease.

Kate Tempest

To round this off, let’s talk about something slightly different. Kate Tempest isn’t really a hip-hop artist. She is a poet and she is a spoken word rapper, and she is incredible. She is one of those artists that has such a way with words that you can close your eyes and just let her paint a landscape with her lyrics.

Her debut album, Everybody Down, was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2014, but arguably, the 2016 follow up Let Them Eat Chaos is an even stronger piece. Tempest is a playwrite too, and you can tell when you listen to Let Them Eat Chaos. There is a cast of characters that repeat throughout, there is an atmospheric, dream-like quality to the beats, and her softly delivered bars penetrate your mind perfectly. If you let it, Let Them Eat Chaos is the sort of album that can change the way you hear music.

Some of the standout tracks are probably “Ketamine for Breakfast,” “Europe is Lost,” and “Breaks,” but the album closer, “Tunnel Vision,” is the one that really does it for me.

There is much more British hip-hop out there, and I’ve overlooked an awful lot in this article, so it’s right that I throw out some honourable mentions to the likes of Jehst, The Four Owls, Klashnekoff, The Streets, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Rodney P, Skepta, Wretch 32, Professor Green, Doc Brown, Little Simz, Kojey Radical, Fliptrix, Speech Debele, and so many more.

So the world of hip-hop over in North America might want to remember the words of Paul Revere because the British are coming, and we are bringing fire.

TV Shows From Across The Pond That I Can’t Believe You Haven’t Watched

(Getty/Illustration by GraphicaArtis)

I don’t want to startle you, but I’m English. I know that there have been no clues (I guess I did write an article about it), and I know that you are shocked, but there is a reason I am telling you this. You’re an American (probably). We have different TV.

In the old days, I’m talking *spooky voice* the niiiiinnnnneeeeties, that would have probably meant we couldn’t talk about TV together. Imagine us. Young me, young you, sitting on a couch, trying to talk TV, but just having none of the same references points. Awful, right?

Well, now we live in something that I like to call TheModernAgeTM where we have things that let us watch TV on the internet.

So, what does it all mean? Good question, pal. What it means is I’m going to recommend you some damn good British TV shows that you should be watching on Netflix or Hulu.

Gavin & Stacey (Hulu)

Let’s start with something that might be a little familiar; I don’t want to startle you any more than I already have. Gavin & Stacey is a sitcom about a couple who meet over the phone through works calls, and the subsequent merging of their families as their relationship progresses. He lives in England, she lives in Wales, it’s a bit of a drive. That’s the basis of a lot of the humor, to be honest.

The reason I say it might be familiar is because it was written by James Corden and Ruth Jones. You obviously know one of those names. Corden plays Smithy, the best friend of the titular Gavin, and his performance is basically what exploded his career, as both an actor and a writer.

It’s got a really good cast (Mat Horne, Joanna Page, Ruth Jones, James Corden, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Alison Steadman, Melanie Walters, and others) that runs pretty deep. It’s got a great soundtrack (The Libertines feature in episode one and that automatically makes it a win for me) and has some wonderful standout comedy moments. It also has a running theme of naming families after British serial killers (Shipman, West, Sutcliffe), which is pretty excellent.

There were 3 seasons between 2007 and 2010, and in total there were 20 episodes. You could polish it off in a day.

(Source: YouTube)

Spaced (Hulu)

What is there to say about Spaced, other than it is absolutely excellent? Well, hopefully, a little more than just that because I need to write some words.

Essentially, the show is about two people (Daisy & Tim) who meet in a café while looking for new places to live. Because they can’t afford anywhere individually, they decide to pose as a couple in order to get a cheap place that is for couples only, and they move in together. The show features around their friendships and is… I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty weird in places.

Again, the cast is great. You’ll likely recognize Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson who both star in and wrote the thing. Nick Frost is probably the stand out of the supporting cast, but Katy Carmichael is great as Twist, and Mark Heap’s character, Brian, is excellent.

There are only 14 episodes and they are 25 minutes long. It’s literally less than 6 hours worth of viewing. Considering how little there actually was, the fact that this show is still being talked about 19 years after it started speaks volumes about its quality.

(Source: YouTube)

Peep Show (Hulu)

I fucking love Peep Show. It is so, so funny. It’s about two best friends who live together in their late 20s and into their 30s. The comedy comes from the fact they are so remarkably different. Mark is incredibly introverted, awkward, and shy. He works in finance and he is usually miserable. Jeremy is an absolute shlub who is convinced he’s going to make it as a musician even though he’s shit. Both of them have cripplingly low self-esteem and make absolutely terrible decisions throughout their lives.

The show is kind of unique in the way it is shot. There are a large number of scenes that are shot from head-mounted cameras, in order to show the world from the perspectives of Mark and Jeremy. When we see the world through their eyes, we also get to hear their internal monologue, which is always brutally honest and at odds with the character they portray to the world.

David Mitchell & Robert Webb play the main characters, and they are both excellent in the roles and supported by some outstanding performances. Notably, Olivia Colman as Sophie is fantastic, while Matt King’s Super Hans is one of the most loved characters of 2000s comedy.

There are 9 seasons of Peep Show, which sounds like a lot, but we have shorter seasons than you guys. That means only 54 episodes, so there are really no excuses.

(Source: YouTube)

Moone Boy (Hulu)

Alright, technically this isn’t a British show, it’s Irish, but I’m including it anyway because you’re American and let’s not pretend you understand the difference. Moone Boy is about a young boy named Martin and his imaginary friend growing up in rural Ireland in the late 80s. The imaginary friend is a 30-year-old man named Sean Murphy, which highlights the lack of exposure that Martin has had to the outside world. Literally, the best thing he could imagine was an older Irish man named Sean. With the middle name ‘Caution’.

Now, people talk about the kids from Stranger Things as being great actors (which they are), but the kids in this show are amazing. David Rawle was 12 when he first played Martin, and he was brilliant. The comedic timing that he and Ian O’Reilly (Padraic) display as a couple of pre-teens is astounding.

The star though is Chris O’Dowd. The show is loosely based on his experiences as a child, and he plays Sean fantastically well.

Again, this is a short one. 22 minutes an episode. 18 episodes. Bang it out, guys.

(Source: YouTube)

Uncle (Hulu)

Uncle is great. It’s about a giant waste of space asshole wannabe musician who is suddenly forced to spend time with his teenage nephew when his sister gets divorced and needs some help. The relationship between Andy (the uncle) and Errol (the nephew) grows throughout the show, and they bring the best out of each other (aww). Every episode features a musical number, often the fantasy of Andy, and they are usually really, very good.

Nick Helm stars as Andy, and he basically plays himself, which is handy because he is really good at it (if you don’t know Helm’s standup comedy, I would recommend checking it out). Like Moone Boy, there is a great performance from a child, Elliot Speller-Gillott (try having a more stereotypical British name, jeez) who really elevates the show to the next level. They are supported by a great cast, which includes Sydney Rae White, who is also a pretty cool punk rock singer and guitarist.

There were only 3 seasons, 19 episodes, and at 30 minutes each, you really can’t go wrong.

(Source: YouTube)

The Mighty Boosh (Hulu)

Ok, the shows from before are pretty standard in format and humor. They are sitcoms that you can get into very easily. The Mighty Boosh is… different. It’s surreal as fuck, and kind of hard to explain. It’s set in a surreal universe and follows Howard Moon and Vince Noir through a number of different bizarre settings and adventures. In season one, they are zookeepers; they live in a flat together in season two; and in season three, they work in a shop, but I guess it’s fair to say they are also musicians the whole way through. Again, music features heavily with a number of really funny, really weird songs in each episode.

Noel Fielding (Vince) and Julian Barratt (Howard) are the creators, writers, and stars, but The Mighty Boosh is a comedy troupe also featuring Rich Fulcher, Dave Brown and Michael Fielding, and every member of the troupe contributes fantastically to the show.

The music, the artwork, the costumes, the dialogue. Everything about the Boosh is an equal partner in making this show the spectacle that it is, and it really is important you watch it. There are only 20 episodes. You know you want to.

(Source: YouTube)

Toast of London (Netflix)

Toast of London is absurd.

Basically, it’s about an actor called Steven Toast, who is an extremely self-important idiot. He’s basically a failure and everyone knows it, except him. It’s incredibly strange but absolutely hilarious. We follow Toast through the ups and downs up his career and romantic life, and generally, he is just an utter buffoon.

Matt Berry plays Toast and he does it phenomenally well. Honestly, this show couldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Matt Berry. Nobody else could have played Toast. There is a great supporting cast, but really it is all about Matt Berry.

Unlike the other shows I’ve mentioned, this one is still technically in production. There are three seasons so far, and it has been kind of confirmed that there will be a fourth.

I cannot stress to you enough how much I recommend this show.

(Source: YouTube)

A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Netflix)

This is a bit of a different one from the others. A Young Doctor’s Notebook is based on a collection of stories by Mikhail Bulgakov, a Russian playwright and physician at the start of the 20th Century. The story is centered around the experiences of a young doctor in rural Russia during the Russian Revolution in 1917 and then the Russian Civil War. As you can imagine, technology and conditions were pretty appalling, and the doctor has to… let’s say, “improvise” regularly. The story is basically about the doctor, now an older man, reflecting on his notebook and remembering his youth. This is shown by the presence of the young doctor and also an older doctor and the interaction between his present and past (or future and present, I guess) selves.

It’s dark as fuck, hilarious, and, as I’m sure you can work out from the cast (Jon Hamm plays the older doctor, and Daniel Radcliffe plays the young doctor), brilliantly executed. If you like turn of the century Russian literature, you’ll love this. And if you don’t, you’ll probably love it anyway, because it’s been updated to modern language and is really so good.

There are only 8 episodes of this show. There is absolutely no reason not to watch it.

(Source: YouTube)

A few others...

I’m not sure if these are easily available to you, but I would also like to mention these shows, for if you ever the time:

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Camping, Nathan Barley, The IT Crowd, Black Books, The Inbetweeners, Phoenix Nights and The Royle Family.

All phenomenally good and without a doubt worth watching.

20 Tell Tale Signs Your Child Is A Goth

(Getty/Chris Oakes/Barcroft Media)

“Oh my God! A ghost!”

No, you silly dads. It’s not a ghost – it’s a goth.

I can understand why you’d be confused; it’s hard to keep up with these fricking teens and their fashion trends. So that’s why I have put together this handy guide to tell if your kid is a goth.

1 Translucent Skin

The classic goth giveaway, pale skin, my friends.

2 Black Clothes

Again, a classic, something you should be familiar with already. But we’re just warming up.

3 Smokers

You’re a dad, you’ve seen South Park.

4 Carry Around the Head of an Animal

This one could be subtle. Be sure to check their pockets for the heads of small rodents, and their backpacks for the heads of large equine animals.

5 Big Fans of Harry Potter

Magic? More like… something snappy and dark that rhymes with magic

6 Lost their Virginity on a Grave

Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions, okay?

7 Drink Blood in their Coffee instead of Cream

Can be tough to spot, but just give the cream (or milk, you guys) a sniff before you use it.

8 Prefer Pepsi to Coke

9 Don't Like Sports

The only sports goths like are Quidditch and tenpin bowling but using skulls instead of bowling balls.

10 Enjoys Horse Riding

It’s practice for when the four horsemen of the apocalypse arrive.

11 Listens to Marilyn Manson

12 Favorite Simpson's Character is Dr. Marvin Monroe

13 Listens to Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Manson + Marvin Monroe = Marilyn Monroe. Wake up, people.

14 Says words like "Radical" and "Cowabunga"

Or maybe that’s surfers.

15 LOVES Murder

Just. Fucking. Loves it.

16 Has a Goth Name like "Alvin Thicklewight," or "Penelope Quickstop"

*shakes fist* Alvvvviiiiiinnnnnn

17 Has a Pet Raven

 

18 Draws the Letter 'S' Weird

You know what I mean. With the lines and stuff

(Wikipedia)

19 Favorite Wacky Racers are Gruesome Twosome

Slag Brothers all the way, my friends

20 When you watch Scooby Doo they always root for the bad guy

This a huge giveaway. You need to clamp down on this shit from a young age

Great Sporting Rivalries: Niko Rosberg vs Lewis Hamilton

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For the second installment of our Great Sporting Rivalries feature, The Dad is taking a look into the glamorous world of Formula One racing to get under the skin of one of the feistiest relationships of recent times: Niko Rosberg vs Lewis Hamilton.

We begin in the year 2000, when both racers were just 14 years old. They were teammates racing for MBM (Mercedes-Benz / McLaren) in karting tournaments. Hamilton won the European championships, Rosberg was close behind. Despite wildly different backgrounds – Rosberg was the son of former world champion racer Keke Rosberg, brought up in Monaco in an extremely wealthy family; Hamilton was raised on a council estate in England – they were known friends throughout their karting careers, and that continued through their rise from Formula Three and when they made it to the promised land of Formula One in 2006 and 2007. Everything was fine; they were friends and competitive rivals.

Upon entering F1, both racers had different starts to their careers. Hamilton raced for McLaren, coming second in his first year (2007), and then the youngest ever world champion in 2008, before running out his McLaren career with a disappointing 5th, 4th, 5th, 4th.


(Photo PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

Rosberg, on the other hand, raced for the less successful Williams team from 2006 to 2009, with his best finish a 7th place in 2009. He then moved to race for Mercedes in 2010 and remained there for the rest of his career. Rosberg was Mercedes’ main man, despite being teammates with the legendary Michael Schumacher in his first three years with the team.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

 

And then, in 2013, things changed. Hamilton joined Mercedes as Rosberg’s teammate. At first, things were fine. After Rosberg was instructed by his team to hang back and allow Hamilton a podium place in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Hamilton stated that Rosberg deserved to beat him in the race. But that changed things within the Mercedes camp. At the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2014, Mercedes decided to let their racers simply race, instead of playing tactically.

That was fine at first, but then the competition began to get out of hand, and the 2014 season saw the end of the friendship. Rosberg was accused of deliberately sabotaging Hamilton’s qualifying lap in Monaco. A few weeks later in Hungary, Hamilton refused to let Rosberg pass, defying team orders in a bid to secure maximum team points for the race. Then, in Belgium, Rosberg deliberately clipped Hamilton’s car, knocking his rival out of the race. In 2016, Rosberg ran Hamilton off the track in Spain, and deliberately crash into him – an incident for which they both blamed each other – in Austria. 

Then, in the final race of the season, Hamilton led Rosberg, and deliberately slowed to force him into the chasing pack. Throughout their four years in F1 on the same side, Hamilton won two world titles and Rosberg won once in 2016 before retiring. This is a story of two greats of their profession, battling it out at the very top of their sport. They were teammates, but they were rivals first, and they were fighting for world titles.

Great Sporting Rivalries: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

(Getty/Stringer)

For the first installment of our new Great Sporting Rivalries feature, TheDad heads to Spain, to find out more about one of the greatest soccer rivalries of all time, Barcelona vs Real Madrid, El Clasico.

To fully understand the rivalry between these two sporting giants, it’s important for us to have a teensy bit of a history lesson. Throughout the middle part of 20th Century, Spain was ruled by the military dictatorship led by General Franco. Franco’s rule was about Spanish nationalism, representing the interests of the country’s elite. This meant marginalizing some of the smaller autonomous communities and repressing their cultural identities. Now, this is important because Real Madrid are based in Madrid, the country’s capital, and are extremely pro-Spain. They were Franco’s team. Barcelona, on the other hand, is the largest city in Catalonia, in North East Spain. You may have heard about Catalonia recently as they held an independence referendum in the summer of 2017.

(Getty/pop_jop)

Anyway, throughout Franco’s reign, there was some pretty serious favoritism going on from the General. Real Madrid were afforded a lot of support from the government, whilst Barcelona were… not so much. This was particularly evident in the transfer saga of Alfredo di Stefano. To cut a long story short, Barcelona had signed the player, and then “something” happened involving Franco and, suddenly, he was a Real Madrid player. The equivalent of that would be like if Trump decided who traded to what team, regardless of the league decision.

(Getty/Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone)

Anyway, the point of this history lesson is to demonstrate that there are historical and cultural elements to this rivalry. When you then throw on top of that the fact that they are the two biggest and most successful clubs in Spanish soccer history, you have a bit of a fractious relationship.

So, keeping that in mind, let’s talk about Luis Figo. Figo was a superstar of world soccer in the 1990s. He was a star forward for Barcelona and the Portuguese national side throughout the decade, arguably one of the greatest players of his generation. He played for Barcelona for five years from 1995 to 2000, when, yep, you guessed it, he transferred to their bitter rivals. Figo isn’t the only player to have played for both clubs, but he is probably the most high profile player to have transferred directly between the two. Let’s just say, it didn’t go down that well.

(Getty/Christophe Simon/AFP)

When Real Madrid played Barcelona in October 2000 in Barcelona, Figo was pelted with bottles, lighters, mobile phones. Despite usually taking corner kicks for his side, he didn’t take any in that game, because he couldn’t get that close to the supporters for his own safety. But it was his second return to Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium that really defines the hatred between the two clubs. As Figo went to take a corner kick at the stadium in November 2002, he was, again, pelted with missiles from the crowd. The game had to be postponed for 20 minutes while they calmed the crowd. During that break in play, cameras picked up the defining image of the rivalry: a pig’s head had been thrown at Luis Figo. (It’s on the floor between the steward and the corner flag in the picture below)

(Getty/Firo Foto)

Now, if Barcelona vs Real Madrid doesn’t qualify as a great sporting rivalry, I don’t know what does.

Best Cartoon Sidekicks

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Batman has Robin. Batman also has Alfred. And Batman has Batgirl. The point is plenty of people have sidekicks. But to tell you the truth, I’m not into those ‘glamour’ sidekicks. Batman is Batman regardless of whether or not some old dude or a little kid come along with him.

A true sidekick teams up with their hero to become something greater than the sum of their parts. They are the cherry on top of the cake. They are the unsung heroes. They are the underdogs. And they deserve celebrating.

And you guys know where to find the best sidekicks? The ones who have some incompetent boss that needs their unwavering support? Cartoons, my mans.

Minion (Megamind)

Kicking off the list is my personal favorite, Minion, from Megamind. First off, David Cross does his voice, which is great in and of itself. Plus, he’s a fish in a giant metallic gorilla outfit, he sings, he… does other stuff too? Overall, he’s great and he’s funny and when he dresses up as Space Mom? It makes me laugh, guys!

source – Giphy

Baymax (Big Hero 6)

Literally, the entire movie would be shit without Baymax. Like, he’s the sidekick, but also he does absolutely everything. The rest of the cast are completely incompetent when it comes to world saving in my opinion.

source – Giphy

Olaf (Frozen)

You’re a dad. You’ve seen this shit. You know the snowman is funny. Maybe not after the thousandth time you saw it, but at least, like, the first ten times.

source – Giphy

Pikachu (Pokemon)

So what if it can only say its own name? The bond that Pikachu has to Ash is beautiful, and I refuse to let some hack tell me otherwise. They love each other in a pure way. A way you can’t understand, old man.

source – Giphy

Timon and Pumbaa (Lion King)

Timon and Pumbaa are legitimately good. They take in a predator from the streets and literally raise him as their best friend. It is sweet, it is heartwarming, and, more importantly, they crack wise the whole time too.

source – Giphy

LEGO Robin (LEGO Batman)

I wrote the word Batman too much in the intro and now I can’t get Robin out of my head. LEGO Robin from LEGO Batman is amazing. Casting Michael Cera to do his voice was absolutely brilliant and generally, as a character, he’s funny and makes the movie infinitely better.

source – Giphy

Tinkerbell (Peter Pan)

“Ooooh, look at me. My name’s Peter and I can fly, la di da!” Shut up, Pan. The only reason this frickin’ kid can fly in the first place is because Tinkerbell let him. If she wanted to she could fuck up his whole operation. Imagine if she let Hook fly? Imagine the consequences, Peter. You and your Lost Boys aren’t dick without Tink.

source – Giphy

Pacha (Emperor’s New Groove)

I love this movie, and I love Kuzco throughout it. But let’s be real…  Kuzco is an incompetent buffoon. His arrogance and lack of focus would likely have resulted in him remaining a llama forever if it wasn’t for the help of Pacha, a guy who was well within his rights to turn his back on the Emperor.

source – Giphy

Piglet (Winnie the Pooh)

I feel so sorry for Piglet. Look at his friends. They are all either absolute morons, rude snobs, depressed loners, or erratic lunatics. Piglet can barely hold it together with his nerves, and, to be honest, given the people who surround him in Hundred Acre Woods, I’m surprised he does as well as he does.

source – Giphy

Lumiére (Beauty and the Beast)

The guy got turned into a fucking candle by a witch, through no fault of his own, and he has somehow maintained a positive outlook on life for a number of years. People say that he comes with Cogsworth as a pair, but here is a hot take for you: Cogsworth is a worthless piece of shit. If it wasn’t for Lumiére’s optimism and fundamental belief that things would work out, they would all still be ornaments to this day.

source – Giphy

New Year, New… Me….?

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

January is basically the month where we all act like we are not giant sacks of shit and we try a little bit. If you’re anything like me, this cycle has already played out for you.

One day, you wake up and realize that you have an end goal.

Ok, maybe you don't want to.

And maybe there's cake.

And maybe the gym is daunting.

Also, the outfits don't do much for your physique.

But you can try something in private.

And maybe even make some changes at home.

And before you know it, you're there.

And maybe you've got something to brag about.

But isn't there always someone better?

And, actually, don't you still feel like shit?

Fuck, what's even the point?

Seriously, what's the point?

Fuck it.

Cartoons You Can’t Watch With Your Kids

(YouTube)

Everyone likes cartoons. I’m not talking about stupid shitty children’s cartoons, I’m talking about adult cartoons. Not like porn, get your head out of the gutter you animal, but like, just cartoons for adults, y’know? With, like, curse words and stuff. You know the ones.

OR DO YOU?! I hope you don’t because otherwise the premise of this article is extremely flimsy!

I’m about to give you a list of some seriously good cartoons to check out (if you are over the age of *insert the age of adulthood wherever you are from*), and, because I’m nice / I need to write some kind of content in order to get this thing published I’m also going to write a mini synopsis and maybe I’ll do a ranking system or something.

Bojack Horseman

Let’s start with something you’ve almost definitely heard about. Bojack Horseman is a Netflix original series about a washed-up actor from the 90s who happens to also be a horse. We join the story 20 years after his hit sitcom has ended and watch as Bojack’s suppressed emotions and substance dependence challenge all of his relationships.

It’s dark, it’s depressing, it’s hilarious, and it’s actually pretty clever and deep too. It has a great cast (Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, Kristen Schaal), great soundtrack, and just generally is a great show.

I heartily—that’s right, HEARTILY—recommend this to you.

I haven’t decided on the rating system yet, so I’m going to give this 7 lucky rabbit feet out of 8.

source – Giphy

Archer

You’ve probably heard of Archer, too. But on the off chance you haven’t: Oh my god, what are you doing with your life? Archer is a super-secret agent in the style of James Bond. He’s always drinking, womanizing, and killing bad guys. But what makes him different is that his boss is his mother, and he is basically a drunk, petulant child.

This is another star-studded cast (H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Lucky Yates, Adam Reed) who each steal the show regularly. There are nine seasons to get stuck into, which might seem slightly daunting or off-putting, but it is absolutely worth your time.

I give Archer 4 martinis out of 5.

source – Giphy

Big Mouth

Big Mouth is relatively new and could be something that has flown under your radar. It came onto Netflix for its first season in 2017 and has had some seriously strong reviews (it’s got an 8.1 out of 10 on IMDb). Essentially, it’s a cartoon about a bunch of kids going through puberty. It challenges a lot of potentially hazardous topics – masturbation, menstruation, a lot more masturbation – in a pretty funny way, without ever overdoing it. The kids are joined in the show by two hormone monsters that appear and guide them through their respective situations extremely poorly (Connie the Hormone Monstress is incredible).

There is a host of famous voices in this too (Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Jordan Peele). Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Nick Kroll, but this is actually a really well-executed idea.

Let’s score this is a 3 and a half-minute guitar solo by Slash, out of a maximum possible 5-minute guitar solo by Slash.

source – Giphy

The Boondocks

Where do we start with The Boondocks? Firstly, it’s hilarious. It’s seriously funny, it’s very political, and it’s a great watch. It focuses on the Freemans, an African-American family living in a mostly white suburb. The show largely tackles issues of racism and social injustice through some biting comedy and blunt dialogue. Not to overstate it, but the character of Uncle Ruckus is one of the most memorable characters of all time *mic drop*. It also leans heavily on manga and has some really cool stylistic blends.

The show was created by Aaron McGruder and is based on his comic strip of the same name. It ran on Adult Swim for four seasons from 2005, but the fourth season had no involvement from McGruder, so doesn’t really count in my opinion. It’s got a great cast (Regina King, John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Jill Talley, Gabby Soleil), is extremely well written, and the animation is fantastic.

5 out of 7 horcruxes.

source – Giphy

F is for Family

Another Netflix original, this time from the mind of comedian Bill Burr. In many ways, it seems like your classic cartoon sitcom set up. It’s an angry, disillusioned, Irish-American dad, struggling to cope with the reality of his life not living up to his dreams. It’s like of Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson was upsettingly gritty. It’s set in the 1970s, which gives the show a bit of an angle to tackle the changing roles of different groups of people in society. The show shines an uncomfortable light on racism and sexism, whilst managing to retain humor throughout.

As it’s set in the 70s there is a pretty excellent soundtrack, there is some good writing, and there is a surprisingly deep cast (Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Jesting Long, Debi Derryberry, Haley Reinhart, Sam Rockwell). There are two seasons on Netflix, and it’s been commissioned for a third that should release later in 2018.

I score F is for Family, 11 cups of coffee out of 15.

source – Giphy

Rick & Morty

You have DEFINITELY heard of Rick and Morty. You’ve probably either watched it, or you’ve decided that you’ll never watch it because of those idiots trying to get hold of Szechuan sauce from McDonald’s. Basically, Rick and Morty is a show about a grandfather’s adventures with his grandson. Except the grandfather happens to be a super genius who has perfected interdimensional travel.

It is weird, it is dark in places, it is smart, it is funny, and honestly, it is just an all-round great show. Honestly, Rick and Morty is a show that seems dumb on the surface, and then suddenly an episode finishes and you find that you’ve been thinking about it for hours, days even.

Another show with a great cast of voice actors (Justin Roiland, Sarah Chalke, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer), Rick and Morty is aided by brilliant writing and has been driven by the creative excellence of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.

9 quesadillas out of 10.

source – Giphy

Happy Tree Friends

To round this thing off, let’s talk about Happy Tree Friends. It’s a show about a bunch of super cute forest animals with names like Cuddles, Flippy, Lumpy, and Giggles, but in every episode is filled to the brim with extremely graphic violence. The Wikipedia page specifically mentioned ‘bloodshed, pain, dismemberment, evisceration and/or death’.

Happy Tree Friends has been going for years. It first popped up in 1999, and there are now 133 episodes in total. 4 seasons have been online and there was one TV season made in 2006. Unlike the other shows mentioned already, Happy Tree Friends has a relatively unknown cast (Kenn Navarro, Rhode Montijo, David Winn, Dana Belben, Aubrey Ankrum). It is also a lot shorter than the other shows, with each episode running at just 1-7 minutes. It’s definitely worth checking out, even if you don’t make it through all the episodes.

I’ll give this 7 bloody acorns out of 10.

source – Giphy

Four Genuine Conspiracy Theories And One I Made Up

(Getty/Bobby Bank and Rune Hellestad - Corbis)

“The Moon Landing was fake! Princess Diana was killed by the Queen! Justin Bieber is a lizard!”

We all love a ridiculous conspiracy theory, right? We all think they are dumb, right? And yet, sometimes, one of them seems to have a little more to it, right? Right.

Hopefully none of you believe any of the theories in the list below, because they are all, to use a scientific term, fucking mental. To illustrate this point, I have made one up myself. I’m not gonna tell you which one, obviously.

Last Thursdayism


(Source: GIPHY)

The best thing about Last Thursdayism is that it is also known as Last Tuesdayism or Last Wednesdayism.

Basically, this one centers on the concept that the universe was only created X amount of time ago (Last Thursday) and will be created again in X amount of time (Next Thursday). Everything you remember from pre-Thursday was formed at the creation of the universe last week. The Church of Last Thursday believe that your actions during the last week will determine whether or not you will be admitted into paradise.

However, there are different strands of the… I hesitate to call it a religion, but let’s say it anyway. There are different strands of the religion. Some believe that the universe is repeatedly created by a higher being or God as a means to test humanity and determine the end destination for the souls. However, others believe that the universe was created by you the individual as a test for yourself, and you receive a reward or a punishment as a result.

Some of the more bizarre (that’s right, because the rest of it wasn’t bizarre enough) elements of Last Thursdayism are:

  • That left-handedness is a sin
  • That everyone but you were placed here and pre-programme to act as parts of your test environment
  • That everyone knows this but you

Red Haired People are Literal Angels

(Source: GIPHY)

You can probably guess what the concept behind this one is, but it takes a little unpicking. Essentially, there is a theory that claims red-haired people are angels sent by God to live among us and basically keep an eye out. Obviously God can’t be everywhere all the time, and needs a little help.

The reason why we don’t all know this is because Satanists and/or the illuminati (depending on who you listen to) have been hiding it. They have been covering up historic works of art that depict angels as having red hair, and they have been ridiculing red-haired people in the media for years, in a bid to undermine Christianity.

Probably the best thing about this theory is that some people have highlighted how angels are always depicted as having fair, very pale skin. You can connect the dots yourself.

Keanu Reeves is Immortal

(Source: GIPHY)

It doesn’t have a fancy name, but it does what it says on the tin: there are some people who believe that Keanu Reeves is immortal.

Apparently you can look at portraits of men throughout the ages and see a number of paintings with a striking resemblance to the actor. Add in the fact that he doesn’t look like he has aged over the past 25 years and maybe they’re onto something…

Keanu said in an interview once that he didn’t care about money because he had earned enough to keep him “comfortable for a couple of centuries”. If that isn’t an admission then I don’t know what is.

There’s also a theory that Nicolas Cage is a vampire, so maybe lets tie the two together and say that Reeves is a Dracula too. Why not?

Hollow Earth Theory


(Source: GIPHY)

There are a couple of different strands on Hollow Earth Theory, but they both revolve around the idea that, yep you guessed it, the earth is hollow.

One version suggests that we live on the external surface of the earth, but that there are communities of people living on a smaller earth inside ours on different layers. As far as I can make out, this strand doesn’t have a particular name, but it should definitely be called the Russian Doll Theory.

It’s kind of crazy to think that that version isn’t the most batshit version of Hollow Earth Theory, but it genuinely might not be. That’s because there is another version that says that our universe is insular and held within the Earth. We live in the inside surface of the planet, and when we look up and out to the stars, we are actually looking in towards the core. Essentially it’s like imagining we live inside a giant ball.

This second version is known as a Concave Hollow Earth. One of the most mental parts about it is that Adolf Hitler was apparently influenced by Concave Hollow Earth theory and tried to spy on the British naval fleet by pointing infrared cameras up at the sky.

Hollow Earth theory was a commonly believed until around the 18th century when it was dispelled by, y’know, science. But obviously that doesn’t stop some people from being complete nutters and believing it still.

The Mandela Effect


(Source: GIPHY)

The Mandela Effect is basically about false memories. It is named after Nelson Mandela. Apparently (I wasn’t alive then), everyone remembered Mandela dying in prison. But then he got released from prison, and everyone was confused as heck.

Now, the Mandela Effect theorizes that the reason a group of people would all misremember an event is because there are multiple different realities. These memories are created a time traveller of sorts changing history and creating a new timeline. Some of us have then, somehow, moved between the realities, and still remember things that happen in our first timeline that never happened in the second.

There are loads of examples of this in advertising and media. For example, Berenstain Bears vs Berenstein, Febreze vs Febreeze, and whether or not Pikachu had a black mark on the end of its tail.

The theory of false memories has been about for a long time, but it was firmly established in 2010 and renamed as the Mandela Effect by Fiona Broome. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Is Fiona Broome qualified to make such a statement?!” Well, I don’t know about you, but if ANYONE is qualified enough to suggest there are time travellers and alternate realities messing with us, it’s a “paranormal consultant”.

Which one was made up? How’s about which one wasn’t?

So, obviously the one I made up was the one about red headed people being angels. Or was it Hollow Earth? Wait… was it Keanu? Oh Christ, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. I’m in too deep. The theories… they all… make sense?! No, obviously they don’t, they are all complete and utter bullshit, and the the one I made up was the one about angels.

Don’t believe things you read online, lads.

Write Good Lyrics, My Ass (I Won’t Write Good Lyrics) – The All-Time Best Worst Country Lyrics

(Twitter/BunkiePerkins)

In November, country music star Neal McCoy released a pretty high profile political song called “Take a Knee, My Ass (I Won’t Take a Knee)”. Now, I’m not going to talk about my personal politics on this because this is meant to be a lighthearted take on things, and I am merely an idiot who writes stupid things on the internet.

What I AM going to do is talk about the lyricism of this song. Grammatically it is all over the place, and there are many, many good takes on the grammar of this all over the internet if you want to have a laugh with that.

But more important to me, is that, yet again, Country and Western proves itself to have the best* song lyrics. Country musicians have this insane ability to take a heartfelt message and talk about it in a completely nonsensical way, using bizarre similes and odd language throughout.

*you can replace best with almost any adjective and it remains a true statement

So here are some of my favorite country titles, with some of my favorite lyrical content.

“How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away” – Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks

This one has something of a poignant message, I think. It’s about the way in which the closeness of a relationship can strangle a person and make them feel suffocated. All Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks want is a little space, is that too much to ask?!

Of course, I’m no country music star, and I don’t quite have the same way with words as Dan Hicks or His Hot Licks. He puts it so beautifully when he says:

“Your never ending presence really cramps my style

I dream that it won’t always be the same

At first I was attracted but after a while

Have you ever heard of the hard-to-get game?”


Ah, young love.

“I’ve Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back Cryin’ Over You” – Homer & Jethro


Country is kind of weird when it comes to emotional vulnerability. We live in a world where men are not encouraged to feel their feelings, and certainly not to openly talk about sadness, heartbreak, and despair. Yet, country finds a way to openly talk about those feelings.

Look at this title. Homer & Jethro are not scared to talk about their feelings, and, frankly, good on them. Lyrically this song is shit, but that doesn’t matter! It’s honest! Yeah, it’s peppered with angry rejection, but it’s real!

“And the tears in my ears, they’re off the beaten track

Since you said “It’s goodbye, we are through”

So if I should get water on the brain

You will know you’re the one who is to blame”

Oh, Homer! Oh, Jethro!

“My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I Don’t Love Jesus” – Jimmy Buffett

This one is all about the title, and there is a lot to unpack in this. Ok, Jimmy, your head hurts, sure. Your feet stink? Umm… Ok pal. Hmm? What’s that? You don’t love Jesus? Are you alright, Jim?

Basically, Jimmy has a hangover. A bad one. His head hurts (like the title!) so much that he doesn’t love Jesus today (like the title!). I’m not sure why his feet stink because of that but sure, why the heck not?

The story goes like this: Jimmy goes down to the snake pit to drink a little beer (just a little one!) and he ended up playing country music with his mate ol’ Joe Bones, and he had a few too many. He was at a bar and he kept breaking strings on his “ol’ guitar” and he needed a cab home. He asked someone to call a cab, then he asks some random woman to pay for it for him, and now he’s in bed drinking orange juice.

“(You Dun Stomped) On My Heart” – John Denver

Now this, this right here, this is a real country song. John Denver is sad. John Denver is mad. And John Denver is using weird vernacular to let us know just how sad and mad he is. The woman he loves has left him. How sad.

Some of the lyricism on this song is sensational. He calls her feet “cold busting stompers.” When he hopes that one day she too might feel the sting of a relationship ending he says he hopes she gets “them low down blues.” And obviously he uses the phrase “honky-tonk,” which I honestly don’t have a clue what it means.

But let’s talk about the chorus. We’ll go line by line.

“You dun stomped on my heard and you mashed that sucker flat.” Let’s stop and consider this. She “mashed” his heart. Mashed. Jesus Christ that is some aggressive imagery.

“You just sorta stomped on my aorta.” I’m done. Guys, I’m done. It’s just too good.

“You’re The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly” – Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn

This is a kind of cute song, in some ways. The message is that Conway and Loretta love each other, despite being fundamentally awful for each other. The end of every verse goes “looks ain’t everything, and money ain’t everything, but I love you just the same.” Awwww.

But let’s look at some of the other lyrics.

The structure of the verses is good. Conway says something mean. Loretta says something mean. And then they both say at the same time that they are the reason the kids are ugly. Firstly, if I was their kid I would be raging, but whatever.

“I’m Kissing You Goodbye” – Ray Stevens

What’s this? A normal song title? A normal song about normal people doing normal things like breaking up, right?

Wrong. This song is fucking weird.

Ray Stevens is trying to break up with his partner, because they have been lying, somehow. He doesn’t tell us what they’ve done, but there are some clues. “You just can’t be true dear, you’re spreading it around” gives the impression there has been something extra-curricular going on.

Some of the things he wants gone are great “get your dog outta my dog house, your cat outta my tree, get your bird outta my bird cage, I’m settin’ you free.” How many animals do they have?!

But the real gold in this one is the chorus. “Get your tongue outta my mouth cause I’m kissing you goodbye.” Essentially, he’s trying to give the boot, and they won’t stop trying to seduce him. Here is the full chorus in all its glory:

“Get your tongue outta my mouth – and wipe off that silly grin

Get your tongue outta my mouth – ain’t no telling where it’s been

Get your tongue outta my mouth – don’t try that again

Get your tongue outta my mouth

Get your tongue

Git yer tongue outta my mouf!”

How the hell was Bob Dylan the first songwriter to win the Nobel prize for literature?!

“Drop Kick Me Jesus” – Bobby Bare

Last, but by absolutely no means least, is Drop Kick Me Jesus by Bobby Bare. Now, when I first saw this song title I thought it must be a joke. It sounds like a call to see Jesus’ very popular WWE Finishing Move. But when you read the lyrics, it seems pretty sincere. There is a lot about religion in there (“Make me, oh, make me, Lord, more than I am / make me a piece in Your master game plan”), as you might expect, but, once again, the real gold is in the nonsense. I’m not even going to write anything about it. I’m just going to write the chorus, and leave it as that.

“Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life

End over end, neither left nor to right

Straight through the heart of them, righteous up rights

Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life.”