This is not me (the fuckers stole my name)

I look far more like a prostitute than she does.

And I cost more too.

I do like the little flick of the hair at 0:12 but frankly my logo pisses over theirs from a gargantuan height.

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A history of advertising

It's OK, they want you to look.

Part I

Our story begins many moons ago.

It was a happy, peaceful time when mankind would run free through the fields, undistracted by needless materialistic rubbish like toothpaste and furniture. All the humans needed to have fun back then was an organic stick and a ball of their own hair, or some pebbles and a bout of cholera. It was a joyous time indeed.

After a long day chasing squirrels around the tofu bushes, the people would snuggle up together and sing Enya songs until they drifted away into a sleep so sound it was as if they had smoked some drugs. But as they lay in slumber, dreaming of the bean curd feast for breakfast, sinister plans were being hatched many miles beneath the dusty ground below them…

In the spacious boardroom that occupied much of the third floor of Hell, Satan was busy trying to get his laptop hooked up to the projector screen. When the powerpoint presentation was finally loaded, the Creative Director of all things evil stood before his satanic sales minions and cleared his throat.

The glass thing looks a bit like a willy.

‘Fiends, demons, marketing men, lend me your horns. With extensive research it has come to our attention that the people of Earth are happy. They are happy with their tree houses, they are happy by campfires, they are happy as their hairy pits and bare arses perspire. But we must teach them not to love but only to desire…’

Satan clicked the remote control to bring up the next slide.

‘But my Liege,’ called out Ogilvus, Chief of Global Evil Strategy, ‘how can we teach them just to want when they have all require?’

‘Indeed,’ echoed Saatchini, the Senior Temptation Servicing Consultant who had not noticed the vocal meter that they had going, ‘they cannot possibly guzzle any more granola burgers or collect any more attractively shaped sticks can they?’

Satan smiled (in an evil way). ‘My ghouls I have just the answer for your perfectly good questions. Behold the list of THINGS YOU DO NOT NEED!’

Silence fell around the boardroom.

'I may be showing a bit too much skin. LOL'

‘Socks! Laptops! Flaky scalp shampoos! Cheap flights to obscure Swedish cities! Useless acquisitions that will in no way enhance their meagre lives, things they could do perfectly well without yet will come to love like their very own siblings!’

The table flipped as the room erupted into blood curdling laughter and applause. Satan stood up proudly to receive congratulatory handshakes and every demonic creature in the room fell off their chairs in their pinstripe suits, ROFLing. All except one.

‘Grayus!’ called Satan to the solitary demon still sat upon his chair. ‘Why do you not rejoice and ROFL with the others?’

The room fell silent again as Grayus leaned forward in his chair. ‘Well, my Lord, I do have a small question. When all of the humans have their socks and their laptops and flaky scalp medication, well, what then? Surely we can only make them desire until they actually possess the things they believe they want…’

‘Yes yes,’ said the rabble, ‘it would be like a kind of market, a market that had somehow become saturated in some way…’

But by the grin on the master’s face they knew he had clearly thought this through.

‘Do not fret my pretties, for that shall be the greatest trick of them all.’

Part II

The only man in the picture is trying (and failing) not to be aroused.

Above ground the sun had risen and was warming the soft grass on which the humans slept. One of the men had already climbed out of his nest and was preparing for a walk. A voice called out from the weave. ‘Bongo, why are you up so early? Come back to the nest and rub your hairy chest against mine.’

Bongo turned to his wife. ‘No my dear, I must find myself a new stick to pick tofu from the bushes. If I do not hurry the sun will become too strong and burn my bare skin.’ If only there was some kind of protective cream I could rub on it, he thought as he ventured across the fields.

As Bongo skipped down the path he knew so well, a set of flashing lights caught his eye. They were flickering around an opening he had never seen before, a gap in the bushes that led to an unknown embankment by a stream.

Bongo felt a strange attraction to that opening. It seemed to be the sort of gap in the undergrowth that somebody more successful and attractive than him might squeeze into. The sort of stream that would gain him the respect of his peers should he stand beside it for a while, pouting his lips like he wasn’t really bothered.

'Listen I believe you, just get out of my garden.'

The stream itself was a minor disappointment, but Bongo knew that when he got back he would tell the others it was actually much more enjoyable, that they should definitely paddle in it sometime. Just as he was devising a nonchalant description of the experience in his head a wizard approached him from the bushes.

‘Hey buddy,’ said the wizard, ‘what’s a good looking chap like you doing round these parts?’

Bongo blushed. ‘Well, er, you know I was just on a little walk. Got to find myself a new stick to pick tofu from the bushes with.’

‘Tofu aye?’ said the wizard, stroking his beard. ‘I bet you’re the kind of guy who likes to maximize his tofu yield, to show all your neighbours who da man. Well I might just have something for you.’

White gold.

From under his cloak, the wizard produced the shiniest, most elegant stick Bongo had ever seen. The wizard pushed it into Bongo’s hands.

‘It’s basically your premium range fast-action tofu extractor, but feel the handle, you feel that? That is a pre-polished 12 grade handle my friend, with the latest poly-grip technology.’

‘Oh yeah, poly-grip…’ said Bongo.

‘I have only got one left and I was reserving it for someone else,’ said the wizard, ‘but for a good looking guy like you I might make an exception.’

The knowledge that this was the last premium range fast-action tofu extractor that the wizard had in stock made Bongo panic. ‘I will take it! I have 7 acorns I can give you.’

The wizard raised his eyebrows and quickly took the stick back from Bongo. ‘The problem is my man,’ said the wizard, now stroking the stick like a new born baby, ‘this is a 15 acorn extractor. I could probably knock off a couple of acorns but that still leaves you short.’ Bongo looked heart broken. The wizard smiled. ‘I know what we can do, come and have a seat in my office…’

Part III

As he neared the camp, Bongo could barely contain his excitement. He had been thinking of the perfect way to show his life changing device to the others. He wasn’t going to simply run up like a dog with a bone in his mouth. That would be undignified. Instead he would make a few remarks about how difficult it is to reach to the highest hanging pieces of tofu, perhaps ask one of his neighbours if they ever suffered sore palms from their sticks. There was a small crowd gathered around the fire and very soon they would all be marvelling at what Bongo had hidden behind his back.

Bongo joined the group but they did not seem to notice his arrival. Somebody in the centre of the group was holding their attention rather too well. Bongo pushed his way to the front to see what commotion was about. They would shortly have something very much more important to think about.

‘It has a 16 grade handle!’ said the voice from the centre.

‘Ohhhhhh…’ said the crowd.

‘The latest multi-grip technology!’ said the voice.

‘Ahhhhhh…’ said the crowd.

‘All the way from Japan!’ said the voice, with no idea where Japan was.

‘Waaaaaah!’ screamed the crowd, with no idea where Japan was either.

Bongo thought he was going to throw up. ‘Could it be that someone has acquired an even better premium tofu extractor than mine? It is impossible! It can’t be!’

‘And it glows in the dark for all your night foraging needs!’ said the voice.

The crowd exploded in cheer and Bongo did indeed throw up, all over his beard. His wife turned to him. ‘What is wrong Bongo? And what is that behind your back?’

‘Nothing,’ said Bongo, ‘nothing at all.’

Part IV

There was a new table in Satan’s office. In fact, there was new furniture in every office. Over a meal of deluxe sushi, it had been decided that projecting an image of success was the single most important thing in bringing more success to the dark empire. They had also taken on a couple of freelancers to help out with the evil work. They could sit at the old desks.

In the boardroom Satan had already set up the projector. Except this was not an internal meeting. Around the table sat the head wizards, drinking little espressos and waiting to be impressed by the team of devilish experts. Satan got the ball rolling.

‘Gentleman as we all know the last campaign was a roaring success. The demand for shiny sticks has gone through the roof. The acorns are rolling in, with nut collecting organisations springing up across the land. The question that I am sure has been in all your mind’s is ‘What do we have next?’’

The wizards all nodded at each other half-heartedly and then looked back towards Satan like children with too many toys.

‘Well,’ said Satan, ‘we have a project so big it will keep your families swimming in acorns for generations to come.’

The wizards did not flinch.

‘Our research has shown that the humans’ productivity in acorn collection is inhibited by up 40% by the regular bouts of cholera they suffer from drinking filthy water. Well we have a way to both keep them healthy and increase their work rate.’ He paused for effect. ‘Let me introduce the Water Purification System!’

Silence.

‘This comprehensive water cleaning system we have developed will not only cost the humans 20 acorns per quarter per head it will actually increase their personal health, meaning they can work up to 62% harder per annum. It’s a revelation in design and public health!’

The wizards leaned towards each other and began a short muffled discussion.

‘No,’ said the head Wizard after about 12 seconds of thought. ‘We don’t like it.’

Satan was aghast. ‘But it’s a revelation! It will keep them healthy! It will make money! It’s perfect!’

The wizards sat stony faced.

‘We were thinking,’ said one of the wizards, ‘about more shiny sticks. But this time, in colour. Coloured shiny sticks. Could you do that? Because if you can’t we know another agency who…’

‘No no, we can do that,’ said Satan. ‘coloured shiny sticks. Of course! It’s brilliant!’ He glared at Ogilvus, ‘Don’t you agree?’

‘Oh yes,’ said Ogilvus ‘Genius idea! Truly creative. Let’s get started right away.’

Chopsticks

Highway robbery

As was the usual affair at this time in the evening, the streets of Gemmezeh were lined full of cars, packed in like sardines outside the glowing bars that go on for miles into the night. These parking spaces were officially free for any old fellow to sneak into, but unofficially there was a different set of rules.

For as the sun went down the valet boys would carve up this road between them, monopolizing each piece of turf and demanding money to leave your vehicle in what very much was a public street. It was a crude sort of racket, run by men whose dead, white shark eyes bore back into their heads, to a time where they could kill freely.

Crabby loved the nudist beach

And it was as she stared into a set of this black holes that Emma decided for once she would not be handing over a fist full of change for the privilege of not having her window broken or wing mirror torn off. It was true that if she was to join her friends in the restaurant across the street that one or both of these things would happen. But to give this man money, or move so he could demand it from somebody else was simply not on the cards. She would at least waste as much of his time as possible. She didn’t feel like going to the restaurant anyway.

Smoking cigarettes as she played with her phone, Emma occasionally glanced up at the old killer and smiled, hoping to see signs of frustration in his face. But looking at him was like staring into a stagnant pond, a pool of dead, grey water where even algae and reeds would not grow. It was fine though, she wasn’t yet ready to leave. And neither was he.

The electricity bill must be enormous.

When eventually she did get bored, Emma casually pulled on her seatbelt, looked for her keys despite knowing where they were, tried out a few radio stations and even changed her sweater before starting the car. She was hungry now, attempting to bore this valet to death requiring more energy than one might think. Her belly was rumbling for Chinese food and this meant a trip to Hamra.

With the light of the blue mosque fading out of view, her car descended into the tunnel. Ahead of her a battered moped was carrying two young men in dirty clothes, with a stack of plastic chairs tied to the back. If this kind of motoring was not common practice in this city, and indeed if they had not looked so hilarious as they both tried to hang on for dear life, it would have been worrying to watch these men swaying from side to side, the one at the back occasionally being wacked by the chairs as they went over every bump in the concrete. They had almost certainly stolen the furniture from outside a shop in Ashrafieh, a pair of comedian thieves from the age of silent movies.

You will want to read this story again in about an hour.

Emma pulled up outside Chopsticks. The street that the Chinese restaurant occupied was conspicuously free of valets on this particular evening. You won’t be getting my money tonight, thought Emma. She went inside, heading straight for her favorite seats upstairs, barely noticing that the restaurant was completely deserted.

Upstairs this fact began to dawn on her. There was usually a woman who would take you to a table and a man mixing drinks behind the bar. The lights were on and music was playing loudly. Every single table in the place had been set up with starter plates. Emma wanted to leave, but knew this was ridiculous. Why would they leave the restaurant open and go home?  Slowly she walked around towards the kitchen.

The only thing moving in the entire room were the live crabs in the fish tank. For a moment feeling as though they might be able to explain what was going on, Emma went over to the tank and stared though the glass. Through the bubbling water she could see something moving. But this shape was not inside the aquarium but behind it.

Tuesdays is no shirt night in Chopsticks

Emma screamed as the man in the mask jumped out towards her. Yet suddenly the room was full of people surrounding her with their faces obscured.

SURPRISE!!! They called out in unison.

For a few seconds everyone stood in silence, until the door swung open and the girl whose secret birthday party it was walked in.

An aging waitress who either did not know or care what had happened swung through the kitchen doors with a sullen face and a plate in one hand. She held the plate in the air.

‘Spring rolls?’

Things that will NOT be big in 2012.

Ed Sheeran's début album has 400 Brit Award nominations

My prediction for 2012 is that things will happen. Pop singers will gyrate their toned bodies on television screens, films featuring Adam Sandler tripping over things will play on trans-Atlantic flights, books will be written by Dan Brown. Other things will happen too, all of them bad. Huge cultural turds will wash into your eyes and ears and people who work in the media will tell you why you should swallow them up like hungry bears.

There are two main ways with which you can approach this problem. Firstly, you could lay awake at night, with the naive but optimistic hope that somehow the entire western entertainment industry will be wiped out by the genetically enhanced virus that Beirut Beat is culturing in the test tubes of our mind.

But in the meantime, you can look to the past and smile as you think of a more peaceful time, when the currency of fame was dealt in talent.

Here are a list of things that will NOT be big in 2012…

Under Milk Wood will NOT be drama of the year.

This 90 minute, sprawling lyrical master peace may well be the best script that has ever been written. The deliciously dark story of the residents of the fictional Welsh town of Llareggub (read it backwards) was written as a radio play, later adapted for the stage, capturing both the cynical nosiness, bitter hatred and tender affections that people in rural village communities feel for one another. It doesn’t have Daniel Ratcliff in it either.

‘Come now, drift up the dark. Come up the drifting sea dark street now, in the dark night see-sawing like the sea…’

Buy it here for under 2 pounds.

‘Exile On Main Street’ will NOT be album of the year.

In 2011, Adele had the biggest selling album of the year, closely followed by Michael Buble’s Christmas toss rag and another piece of electronic scat from Lady Gaga. Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones was not number one in 2011. But neither was it the number album in 1972, the year of its birth. That was because 1972 was also the year that Harvest by Neil Young, Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie and Paul Simon’s debut solo album were released. Does that make you feel sick? Well unless your name is Adele, it should.

Buy Exile on Main Street here, it is probably the best rock album of all time.

‘It was a good day’ will NOT be hip hop track of the year.

I shouldn’t really be including this, not after the way in which Mr Cube has slipped into the sewage of mainstream American family comedies. Perhaps he spent all his money on bandanas and couldn’t afford to pay the swimming pool cleaning bill? Who can tell. Apart from the glorious ‘Footsteps in the dark’ sample, the catchy beat and plodding bass, what I really enjoy about this track is the uneventful storyline.

First of all, Ice Cube apparently lives with his Mum, who presumably shouts at him for leaving AK-47s all over his bedroom when she is hoovering up. His perfect day involves playing basketball, having sex with a skank, getting pissed and going to Fat Burger. Plus there is a dirty bit at 2.55 that makes me giggle. Because I am a child. He also not appears to have understood the concept of irony. Great tune.

‘It’s ironic, I had the brew she had the chronic, the Lakers beat the Supersonics..’

‘Rocket from the tombs’ will NOT headline summer festivals.

I don’t know how I came across this filth. Rocket from the Tombs existed as a group for barely a year in the mid 1970s, their lead singer Peter Laghner dead aged 24 two years later. Although most of the lyrics are impossible to decipher, the sheer energy, anger and force of these tracks actually make The Stooges look like Coldplay. This track features one of the most disgustingly fine guitar solos in history, with sounds that must surely have been created by electrifying one, if not several, live cats.

Buy the dirtiest record in the world here.

I must leave you now to continue digging Ed Sheeran’s grave, but any suggestions for a continuation of this article are welcome.

The Fear

Another short story by Beirut Beat…

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Came the noise from the phone that sits before me. Has it been hours, or days or months since it began? Four hard walls, a desk and nothing more in this dungeon, it has been decided that I can do without even a chair. The Chief prefers me to stand.

 

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

As it calls I grip the pencil with which I am to record my orders, yet the page in my book contains not a word. For I fear what the voice on the line will ask for, and though I beg only for silence, I cannot reach for that phone.


‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Beads of sweat stain the page like tears on a love letter. The heat from the next room where great fires do burn. And inside men in blue uniforms are busy with actions. Red stains mark their clothing as they work with sharp knives.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

From the corner of the room a camera is recording. For my safety, they told me when I first walked through that door. Someone is watching, on a screen or computer, as I pace round in circles, leaving trails on the floor.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

 I try to remember a time before all this torture, but somehow my memory has washed into a blur. There is nothing in my mind but this constant bell ringing, and the faint smell of burning that seeps in from the next room.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Now the handle on the door is twisting and turning, and I know he is coming, for I have been bad. As it swings open the door brings with it illumination, not daylight but strip lights that blind my tired eyes.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

Standing before me, and as angry as I predicted, The Chief, his uniform perfect and pristine. His face is like a gravestone that reads my own epitaph, in one hand a bag of money, in the other some keys. We stare at each, for seconds or hours, until silence is broken by the sound of a phone.

‘Ring ring, ring ring’

I do not dare say a word, for I know what is coming. He wants me to do it, but without being asked. Perhaps if I refuse, he will put me out of my misery. But he wants me, no, needs me to sit in this room. With a sigh and a smile he whispers with venom. ‘Answer. The. Phone.’

 

Ring ring, ring ring’

 My quivering fingers slide onto the receiver, slippery with sweat and fear and despair. The terrible process is about to begin again. But there is still a chance for it to wail one last time.

 


‘Ring ring, ring ri…’

With a deep breath I am ready to take down instructions. But first, there is something I am required to say. I close both my eyes and my lips begin moving. Down on both knees I silently pray.

Hello, Dominoes Pizza. Can I take your order?’

The Glasfryn

A short story for Rasha


The trees outside the pub were straining in their roots against a powerful wind that was blowing in from the sea. The old walls of the building stood firm, but the windows shook and whistled with air trying to escape from the filthiness of the Welsh winter night. The well dressed diners clinked the last of their wine and toasted to television programs and a lone stranger stood patiently at the bar.

The man, still in his thick coat despite the warmth of the room, asked for a good pale ale. He stood watching the bar staff as the pint settled in his hand before taking a brief walk around the two dining rooms. There was barely a dozen people in the entire place. He took a seat in the corner and listened in to the people talking at the table next to him.

A ruddy faced man in a pastel jumper was leading the conversation. A friend of his had moved to Italy. Someone else had met a famous cross-country cyclist. His guests congratulated these achievements and gave their opinions and the stranger sat silently and stared at his drink.

As he eavesdropped, the stranger discreetly slipped a hand into his jacket and checked on something hidden inside the pocket. A woman changed the subject on the next table, something about computers, and the stranger made his way to the bathroom.

The toilet walls were lined with reproductions of 19th Century drawings, neatly hidden behind attractive frames. As the stranger unzipped his trousers, he looked at the poster in front of him depicting a doctor and nurse staring at each other with an absurd passion. An unconscious patient lay on an operating table between them, the word SHAME emblazoned in red lettering at the top of the picture.

The stranger looked around for the unfavorable cartoons of black firefighters that once must have been hilarious but now would be considered incredibly racist. He wondered whether somebody had complained about them, or perhaps, after years of proudly presenting them on the toilet wall, the owner of the bar had one day looked at them and thought ‘You know what…’

After re-zipping his trousers, the stranger slipped his hand into his coat pocket and began to remove something, stuffing it back in anxiously as he heard the toilet door swing open. It was the ruddy faced man with the friend who had moved to Italy. ‘Hello!’ he bellowed before struggling with the buttons of his chinos.

The stranger knew it would not be wise to let this fellow get a good look at him, but the awkwardness of an Englishman alone in a toilet with another man would see to that. As tomato face nervously cradled his penis like it was an injured bird, the stranger slipped out clutching his coat pocket.

It was not until after he had finished another pint did he feel it was safe to go back to the bathroom. Once inside he wasted no time, removing the bin from its place and behind it carefully placing the small package from his coat pocket. He moved the bin back to its original position and left the toilet, then the pub, without a single word.


Several glasses later, his face now glowing with wine, the final customer stumbled out of the bar towards his Audi. How he managed to get home without crashing into a tree is as much of a mystery as anything else that happened that night.

Within an hour the pub was quiet. Floors had been swept and lights had been switched off and the landlord and his wife were tucked up in bed, snoring harmoniously and dreaming of very different things. The only sound that could be heard aside from the howling winds and the tick tocking of the old clock above the bar was a rustling, scratching, nibbling sound from behind the bin in the male toilets.

Something was in that little package that had been concealed inside the pocket of the stranger. Something that now was tearing a hole through the paper with tiny claws and chewing through the string with sharp teeth. Through the hole in the package a tiny face was emerging. The face of a mouse.

Ignoring the rat traps in the corner and the little crumbs of pretentiously flavored crisps by the door, Bambi the mouse scurried through the pub as if he had been across those floors a thousand times. He did not stop to check his reflection in the highly polished sideboards or pay any attention to the lazy, fat cat who slept on the stairs. Bambi knew exactly where he was headed and he did not care for wasting time.

Inside the bedroom the landlord’s foot was poking out from the side of the bed. He lay still, now in silent slumber as his wife called out in her sleep the name of pig farmer from Brussels she had secretly met in an online chat room.

Bambi watched her for some moments, and, after he was certain she was asleep, crawled across the crumpled mess of her clothes that lay on the floor. Very carefully, as not to damage them, he picked up the underwear she had been wearing that day in his teeth and hurried back out of the room.

Outside the wind had died down, but this did not stop the underwear blowing around in the air like some sordid flag as he held them tightly in his jaws. He headed across the car park to the van with a foreign number plate that sat alone with its lights switched off. The door of the van slid open and a hand reached out to scoop up both Bambi and his prize.

The stranger inspected the underwear. Despite their journey, they were still warm. He opened a briefcase he had stashed under the back seat and placed the treasure in a special compartment along with other pairs of a similar color. He waited for Bambi to clamber up his jacket and into his pocket, then reached for the ignition and started the car.

Soul singers hit by impotence

Bill has withered

Scientists in New Orleans have identified a new form of erectile dysfunction which selectively occurs in aging black soul singers.

The disease, known as Bill Withers, is thought to be the greatest threat to African American music since Will Smith.

A sufferer of the disorder, who wished to remain anonymous, explained to Beirut Beat how the problem had all but ruined his love life.

‘Well when I got ma laydee and its just the two of us, she asks to lean on me or says she wants me to use me and I just go soft as if the thang is being held in ma grandma’s hands, maaan.’

The discovery comes at a bad time for the soul community, who had only just begun to recover from a virulent strain of pre-mature ejaculation known as Stevie One Minute Wonder.