AMERICAN (INSERT MOVIE SURNAME HERE)

Naming a particular something is a flawed business. Take my dog. She’s called Juno. For the first year of her life, she just heard ‘NO!’ After chasing her across rivers and roads, up hills and down cliffs, she finally stopped running away and started coming back. We stole her name from the greatest ever film made about unplanned pregnancy, but got her spayed just in time, as we didn’t fancy reliving the plot.

Super-sketchily related, we caught a movie on Saturday. Andrea Arnold’s freewheeling road flick American Honey, 3 hrs of my life that has moved my death-date 3 years forwards. Thanks Andrea.

As we left the Newlyn Filmhouse, a tiny cult cinema in a Cornish fishing village, we laughed at the number of movies lazily named American (something). In honour of that throwaway film-talk, here are 100 films on first name-sharing terms in an order that may only make sense to a shrink.

1. AMERICAN MADNESS (1932)
2. AMERCIAN EMPIRE (1942 & 2012)
3. AMERICAN MADE (2017)
4. AMERICAN ANTHEM (1986)
5. AMERICAN HISTORY X (1998)
6. AMERICAN BLACKOUT (2006)
7. AMERICAN JUSTICE (2015)
8. AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)
9. AMERICAN DESCENT (2014)
10. AMERICAN ADDICT (2012)

11. AMERICAN BURGER (2014)
12. AMERICAN MILKSHAKE (2013)
13. AMERICAN RASPBERRY (1977)
14. AMERICAN PIE 1 & 2 (1999 & 2001)
15. AMERICAN HONEY (2016)
16. AMERICAN BEER (1996 & 2004)

17. AMERICAN MANNERS (1924)
18. AMERICAN BRED (2016)

19. AMERICAN ME (1992)

20. AMERICAN BOY (1978)
21. AMERICAN SON (2008)
22. AMERICAN DAD (2013)
23. AMERCIAN GIRL (2002)
24. AMERCIAN GIRLS (2013)
25. AMERCIAN COUSINS (2003)
26. AMERICAN FRIENDS (1991)
27. AMERICAN SWEETHEARTS (2001)
28. AMERICAN BOYFRIENDS (1989)
29. AMERICAN VIRGIN (2009)
30. AMERICAN REUNION (2012)
31. AMERICAN ROMANCE (2016)
32. AMERICAN WEDDING (2003)
33. AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980)
34. AMERICAN SWING (2008)
35. AMERICAN CRUDE (2008)
36. AMERICAN PIMP (1999)
37. AMERICAN MUSCLE (2014)
38. AMERICAN HARDCORE (2006)

39. AMERICAN HERO (2015)
40. AMERICAN LOSER (2007)
41. AMERICAN IDIOTS (2013)

42. AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (1983)
43. AMERICAN DREAM (2002)
44. AMERICAN DREAMZ (2006)
45. AMERICAN DREAMER (1984)
46. AMERICAN PROMISE (2013)

47. AMERICAN PASTORAL (2016)
48. AMERICAN WINTER (2013)
49. AMERICAN INTERIOR (2014)
50. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
51. AMERICAN BLEND (2006)
52. AMERICAN STYLE (2008)
53. AMERICAN SPLENDOUR (2003)
54. AMERICAN MOVIE (1999)
55. AMERICAN DRIVE-IN (1985)
56. AMERICAN DRIVER (2016)
57. AMERICAN JOYRIDE (2011)
58. AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)
59. AMERICAN NUDIST (2011)
60. AMERICAN TABOO (1984)
61. AMERICAN ROULETTE (1988)

62. AMERICAN SOLDIERS (2005)
63. AMERICAN SNIPER (2014)
64. AMERICAN ULTRA (2015)
65. AMERICAN HOSTAGE (2015)
66. AMERICAN HEIST (2014)
67. AMERICAN WEAPON (2014)
68. AMERICAN GUN (2002, 2005 & 2011)
69. AMERICAN VIOLENCE (2015)
70. AMERICAN ANARCHIST (2016)
71. AMERICAN ASSASSIN (2007)
72. AMERICAN OUTLAWS (2001)
73. AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007)
74. AMERICAN BRAWLER (2013 & 2016)
75. AMERICAN MOBSTER (2010)

76. AMERICAN STRAYS (1996)
77. AMERICAN MANIACS (2012)
78. AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)
79. AMERICAN CANNIBAL (2006)
80. AMERICAN SATAN (2016)
81. AMERICAN ZOMBIE (2007)
82. AMERICAN POLTERGEIST (2015)

83. AMERICAN NINJA 1-5 (1985-93)
84. AMERICAN SAMURAI (1992)
85. AMERICAN SHAOLIN (1991)
86. AMERICAN KICKBOXER 1 & 2 (1991 & 93)
87. AMERICAN STREETFIGHTER (1992)
88. AMERICAN JUDOKA (2009)
89. AMERICAN YAKUZA (1993)
90. AMERICAN CYBORG (1993)

91. AMERICAN ANIMAL (2011)
92. AMERICAN BUFFALO (1996)
93. AMERICAN TIGERS (1996)
94. AMERICAN EAGLE (1989)

95. AMERICAN VISA (2005)
96. AMERICAN SHARIA (2015)
97. AMERICAN DESI (2001)
98. AMERICAN TEACHER (2011)
99. AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS (1999)

100. AMERICAN TRANSLATION (2011)

DEATH KARAOKE

No, this isn’t Russian Roulette rebranded, he implored.

It is a game, of sorts, he thought.

You choose a dead musician, he declared.

You relive a one-on-one concert with them, a crowd of you and only you, he explained.

They sing and perform as though there are 100,000 of you, he contextualised.

You feel like you’ve had sex via song with them, he exaggerated.

You only get one go at this, he clarified.

You say Sia, he hears Cilla.

Surprise, surprise, he sings.

You run for a cliff.

A MINUTE TO MAKE THIS MOMENT BETTER #74,854

You maybe have wandered into this feeling tired, disillusioned, angered, lost or just indifferent. Whatever your emotion, I doubt it was top of the upbeat scale. We rarely start to read on a high. We read to change our mood, to lift us into a different state.

The job of the writer is to harpoon the reader without killing him/er. Then to tease, tantalise and trawl that person across an ocean of emotion, avoiding rhyme at all time.

Double sorry there.

This relationship relies on the reader succumbing, submitting to the words as they unveil themselves in an order the reader has never encountered before. They won’t know this. It’s not a cognitive process. They will either read on if it’s new, and stop it it’s not.

Staid stories seize. Fluid fiction flows, so says the poet with a face full of glue. But you, reader, need no stimulant other than the unexpected words themselves. If they are up to their potent best, they will shame any drug on earth or in hell.

There, there, sober-skulled reader, that didn’t hurt now did it?

5 WAYS FOR THE UK TO REGAIN WORLD CREDIBILTY

  1. ADMIT WE’RE WRONG. “Dear EU, we’re sorry. We screwed up and walked out on you and the family. That act of extreme selfishness does none of us any good. It’s not as though we’ve jumped into bed with America or China. Call it naive, call it a mid-lifer, call it harm en masse – we will do all we can legally, morally, intellectually and collectively to assuage the pain we’ve caused you and our European neighbours. So, it is with our lion’s tail between our legs that we ask for forgiveness and once we’ve sorted out our domesticities, we’d love to remain your ally and partner in life, if of course you’ll have us back.”
  2. BE GENEROUS. Give Africa £350m a day for at least a month to show it’s not about the money, money, money…cue Jesse J.
  3. ELECT A B.A.M.E. PM. If we want to prove that the vote was a vote against ‘unelected bureaucracy’ and not a shameful unveiling of suppressed racism, we need to make a statement of intent and make it quick. There are 42 minority-ethinc MPs. Pass a Rooney Rule in politics that guarantees a B.A.M.E. candidate on every political shortlist. No wait, here’s a quicker idea. Assuming Hilary Clinton gets the gig and the US don’t out-dumb us in November and vote in a blond bovine called Donald, we must create history and invite the greatest global statesman of our time to cross the Atlantic and lead our confused country. Prime Minister Obama, on behalf of us all, would you please do the honours and reunited our kingdom?
  4. TAKE IN 100,000 MOST NEEDY REFUGEES. A few facts first. There are 126,000 refugees in the UK, 0.19% of our population. Almost half the world’s refugees are fleeing Syria, 4.2m and rising. If we welcomed 100,000, that’s less than a quarter of Germany’s compassion but it’s still 3 times the amount we considered last year. It’s not the least we can do (that’s where we are right now) but it is a start.
  5. BOOT OUT 1000 MOST GREEDY TAX EVADERS. A few more facts. The ‘tax gap’ in Britain is a paltry £34bn. Yes, 34bn. That’s nine noughts if you’re counting, and not fainting. This is what the HMRC is owed but doesn’t get. It has around 700 people chasing the richest evaders in vain, while it assigns 3600 tax heavies to put the squeeze on benefit fraudsters. For every quid the dad on benefits diddles just to try and feed his family, the evader screws the country 3 times over. Surely, if we evict the rich who won’t pay their pay, everyone who deserves to win, does win.

TO EU OR NOT TO EU

That isn’t the question.

The question is simple: what are we?

The answer is human beings. We are a social species. It’s in our make-up to share. Since day dot, we’ve shared things, from a animal carcass in a cave to our brightest hopes for the future. This process of exchanging, giving and receiving, is what makes us tick as human beings – it’s what drives us forward. It is the human spirit.

Somewhere along the line, this innate desire to share our food, stories and knowledge of breakthroughs and fuck-ups grew to such a size and scale that man created money. Money distorted our ability to share into ‘shares’, ownership, greed, and the rest is history, no doubt written with bias by the victor wearing a medal.

Oh boy, Britain likes to talk about the past. We are Olympic Champions at Reminiscence. Our imperial roots run deep and explain why we’re often seen as arrogant or miserable or funny by our friends overseas. Yes, we have our moments where we remind the world how we can also be astonishingly humble, optimistic and funny (we must always be funny, it’s also part of the human DNA). Take Tim Peake only this week. ‘I love that smell of Earth. Could do with a beer and pizza.’ Profound + open + funny = human.

In 48 hrs we’ll know if we all said stay, go or don’t know. If you still don’t know, don’t panic. Don’t try and decipher the facts – they’re all fictional guesses about the future, a subject that sustains the meaning of life itself.

Just stare in the mirror.

Ask yourself what you are.

A giver or a taker.

One who quits or perseveres.

A believer in bridges or walls.

Make up your own words, or just ask your gut – it’s where the enteric nervous system lives…our 2nd brain…and it can’t lie.

That’s the truth.

THE ECDYSIAST #74,855

DEAR CORBYN

The stage is set for you to steal the moment. Never before has a public felt so polluted, insulted and disorientated. Both sides of the EU Referendum push us aside like a dog trying to remove the last traces of excrement from its arse as it walks away from us despite our calls to ‘heel’. This is the most inhumane of campaigns. They treat statistics the way foxes treat chickens.

Jeremy, arise. Take a stance that we can all ‘get’. A stance that elevates the integrity and intelligence of the common man and woman. We implore you to speak for us, not to us or at us. You are one of us in that you’re not out to dupe anyone. You don’t seek to be liked. You know what this referendum needs. Honesty. Dignity. Humility. Clarity.

We give you a week. By next Sunday, please turn 3 months of backstabbing unintentional self-harm into a salient argument for and against. Out-balance the BBC and John Pienaar. It’s yours for the taking. Don’t shy away. Don’t back down. Deliver us from evil. For better, for wiser.

The People of Britain.

MOTHMAN

They had no idea how or when he had moved into their attic. He just had. They’d never have known but for one sleepless night, troubled by work, she heard him above her.

It was 4:15am. It wasn’t a dream – she never dreamt. It wasn’t a ghost – she didn’t believe. It wasn’t a rat – a rat can’t whistle.

No daylight, no food, no sanitation. What did he do up there? How did he survive up there? Did he sip from the drips of the old water tank? Why here? Why us? Did he plan to kill them in their sleep?

Her husband doubted her sanity. She implored him to call the police. I am the police he reminded her. He scoured the attic for the eight time. As ever, no man, only moths, in search of light.

THE INEFFECTUAL INTELLECTUAL

He had a way with words.

A wayward way.

Every thought he thought fell over before it reached his mouth.

What came out weighed less than the air into which it was born.

This perennial disappointment became his calling card.

People near and narrow raced to the back of the queue to hear him talk.

Destined to lead a light life, he eventually found his purpose in an industry made for him….politics.

6 RULES FOR WRITING ON A TRAIN #74,856

  1. Sit by the window. If the seat is taken, ask to swap. Explain that it is a matter of life and death. Theirs. If they won’t budge, sit on their lap. If they resist, stroke them gently behind the ear, purring as you do so.
  2. Stare out of the window every 3rd word – this will kill any lazy words and turn ideas into flying stoats.
  3. Be nosy. The person opposite can’t see that you’re writing about their hair, their habits, the dark thoughts about you brewing in their head. Beware writing about the person beside you – they may lean and press chewed gum into your delete button.
  4. Feel the rhythm of the train. Write at its speed. Stop when it stops. Should it crash, don’t hang around to save your novel/screenplay/blog/tweet as you may be on fire.
  5. Drink rough red wine. They’ll sell it on board, next to the insulation-accredited muffins. If you’re driving at the other end, don’t tell the officer you were simply obeying these rules.
  6. When your words are complete, read them aloud to your fellow passengers. Should love ensue, invite us to the wedding.

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