All posts by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Played in Chelsea

How real is reality TV? Dom Kureen takes a look at how the lines have become blurred since Endemol brought Big Brother kicking and screaming to UK screens at the turn of the Millenium.

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‘Nasty’ Nick Bateman and a hastily assembled jury perched themselves around a table in the Big Brother  house late in the summer of 2000 (YouTube link here.)

The conniving housemate’s best laid plans and schemes had finally unravelled on day 35 of the series, when chief bloodhound (and eventual winner) Craig Phillips tracked the scent that had caused millions of viewers to jab their television screens and scream vicious curse words into thin air for more than a month.

At the time it seemed to matter, with loveable Scouser Craig the perfect foil for dastardly crater-faced villain Nick.

The sense of injustice was raw and authentic, the fact that until then those living at close quarters were unable to recognise the deviant’s mischievous antics only added to the ongoing nationwide exasperation. Tabloids stirred the pot, calling for Bateman to be deported and naming him ‘the most hated man in Britain.’

THE MOST HATED MAN IN BRITAIN!!!

Not a convicted paedophile, a rapist, a murderer, a psychotic vigilante selling Crack-Cocaine to school children – The most hated man in Britain according to the dirt sheets was a 32 year-old dimwit who’d snuck a pen and a few scraps of paper past Channel Four security.

Josie, winner of BB11, she didn't look like this in the house.
Josie, winner of BB11, she didn’t look like this in the house.

Looking at it now, Nick’s indiscretions wouldn’t even generate a ripple among the needy, ravenous whoring of his reality show contemporaries, who play to cameras like neglected toddlers seeking the recognition of strangers.

What was once a genre grounded in the factual has evolved into a scripted sermon of soap opera rhetoric, aimed at advertising products and getting Twitter trends by promoting the interaction of idiots.

Modification became a necessity, people growing weary of 24-hour feeds dominated by snoozing, mastication and mundane jibber-jabber.

Even the juicy bits were rendered irrelevant by time-delay and on the spot editing, ensuring they were reserved as flesh for the next highlight reel.

Success inevitably spawns imitation. Just as Big Brother and The Real World blazed a trail for Celebrity Love Island and I’m A Celebrity, so The Osbournes unlocked the door for the curiously watchable Hogan Knows Best and worthless What Katie Did Next, the latter of which consisted almost exclusively of the obscenely-norked Katie Price berating her humbled hubby, Peter Andre, whose subdued emasculation led to universal sympathy and an even worse spin-off.

Katie Price: Vacuous TV show bombed after initially promising ratings.
Katie Price: Vacuous TV show bombed after initially promising ratings.

It came full circle at the end of the ‘noughties’, with the rise of exclusively scripted (un)reality TV, where scenes are set up solely for the satiation of a wide-eyed audience.

This all brings us nicely to Made In Chelsea; undoubtedly entertaining in a perverse, barely credible way. A make believe universe revolving around equal parts bitching, fucking, cocktails and cock tales.

The Hello magazine of the small screen, Spencer Matthews and co. proudly parade around South West London, their tail feathers gleaming, with not a hint of tangible hardship or hair out of place within the confines of a painstakingly conceived goldfish bowl.

The appeal lies in the voyeuristic observation of the jet-set lifestyles enjoyed by a gaggle of coiffured rich kids, playing with daddy and mummy’s fortunes, heirs to corporations who share body fluids and Jacuzzis in a state of perpetual down time.

It’s fun, but reality?? The veneers that adorn the collective cast’s faces are less phoney than the narratives that play out, act by act, for the consumption of long distance rubberneckers.

Even so, SW3’s brand of entertainment is indisputably several notches above the brainless ‘Real Housewives of…’ franchise and retains a modicum of value courtesy of engaging caricatures and slick presentation.

The continued saturation of the reality genre necessitates an amplification of salacious, unfeasible concepts to provide shock value, the lifeblood of these productions for over a decade now.

A childish public school graduate scribbling names onto scrunched up A5 crescents torn from a notepad no longer gratifies the lust of devotees, numbed by years of smut, hyperbole and recurring adaptations of good Vs evil.

Hulk Hogan: A good guy in WWF, bad guy in WCW... An entertaining wally in 'Hogan Knows Best.'
Hulk Hogan: A good guy in WWF, bad guy in WCW… An entertaining wally in ‘Hogan Knows Best.’

In 2016 reality TV is a three dimensional comic book, ideal for pickling the psyche and providing aesthetically captivating colour schemes. For Gotham, Keystone and Metropolis read Chelsea, Essex and, until recently, the Jersey shore.

How much further can the envelope be nudged? Only time will tell. For the next clutch of fame-hungry wannabes and gluttonous fans nothing seems taboo.

Prepare not to be shocked… in the most shocking way possible.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Worst Spin-offs Ever. Pt.2: Top 10.

Little Britain Neighbours

In the final edition of our four part look at TV spin-offs, Dom Kureen names the ten worst to ever ‘grace’ the goggle box.
*Year of broadcast and parent series in parenthesis

10. Models Inc. (1994-95 Melrose Place)

Long before Hollyoaks there was Models Inc., a tawdry soap where pretty, affluent people became entangled in barely believable shenanigans for the benefit of booze addled late night channel surfers.

9. Baywatch Nights (1995-97, Baywatch)

Take Baywatch, remove any prospect of red swimsuit clad attractive people bouncing around in super slow-mo, add some paranormal activity and you have Baywatch Nights. A terrible spin-off that removed all the fun and sexiness of the original, but increased the terrible acting in spades.

8. That 80’s Show (2002, That 70’s Show)

Lifeless characters, actors so wooden they wouldn’t look out of place in a forest, and low budget cinematography reminiscent of a poorly connected webcam; It wasn’t clear if any/all of the above was done intentionally for effect… but the resulting dump ensured a rapid cancellation for this shameless attempt at a cash in.

7. Rock and Chips (2010-11 Only Fools and Horses)

Rock & Chips was a strange affair, a 90-minute amplification of one of the running gags in “Only Fools and Horses,” that concerning Rodney’s dubious parentage. A blurred narrative contributed to an unsatisfactory hybrid of classic Trotter cheekiness and something much more melancholic and heartfelt – neither of which hit the mark.

6. Buddies (1996, Home Improvement)

Dave Chapelle and friends

13 episodes of this spin-off were recorded, with only 5 reaching television screens before it was cancelled – the reason? As lead man Dave Chapelle himself stated: “It was a bad show. It was bad. I mean when we were doing it, I could tell this was not gonna work.”

5. Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere (2004, That Peter Kay Thing)

Peter Kay and Patrick McGuinness starred in this spin-off based on the two bouncers from “That Peter Kay Thing”. Unfortunately this lacked the sparkle of previous Kay efforts, as the once hilarious rotund comic began his decade long disappearance up his own arse.

4. Time of Your Life (Party of Five)

On “Party Of Five,” Jennifer Love Hewitt played a character named Sarah. Although this show was supposed to be a spin-off about Sarah, in reality it was little more than an audition reel for Hewitt, the popular teen icon unable to compensate for a painfully slow and boring narrative.

3. Little Britain USA (2008, Little Britain)

In its infancy “Little Britain” could be described as ground breaking and down right absurd in the best possible way. The second series started slowly, but gathered momentum, but by the third messrs Walliams and Lucas had resorted to shock tactics. By the time the show made it over the pond it was little more than a caricature of the past brilliance.

2. Joanie Loves Chachi (1982-83, Happy Days)

A mere seventeen episodes of this spin-off were made. As slight as that sounds, it still served as an overdose of sub-Laverne and Shirley unfunniness; songs that would offend Mr Blobby, supporting characters who warranted regular beatings, and story lines spread so thin that the penultimate episode was forced to resort to Happy Days flashbacks in lieu of a script.

1. Joey (2004-06, Friends)

This desperate spin-off of “Friends” tried to launch Matt LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani into his own sitcom. All kinds of production woes (re-casting, shifting behind-the-camera personnel) followed “Joey,” but NBC committed to two full seasons of the series in the hopes it would eventually land on its feet. Sadly, despite more changes in its second year, it ended up as just another failed spin-off in the annals of TV.

Thus concludes spin-off watch. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and please remember to like and share the Kureen Facebook page!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Worst TV Spin-offs ever. Pt.1 (20th-11th)

Cleveland Show

Kureen has explored the best TV spin-off shows ever during the past couple of days, now it’s time to take a gander at the bottom feeders, with a two part list of the 20 worst of all time.

*Years of broadcast and parent series in parenthesis

20. Saved By The Bell: The College Years (1993-94, Saved By The Bell)

Saved By The Bell followed the lives of half a dozen teenagers (and one principal) as they navigated their way through Bayside high school’s minefield. This follow up adapted the formula for a college setting, but the same goofy gags that had previously flourished fell flat coming from older students, with an 18 year-old  Screech (Dustin Diamond) one of the most abhorrent characters in sitcom history.

19. The Cleveland Show (2009-13, Family Guy)

With all of the entertaining characters in Family Guy to choose between for a spin-off, Seth Macfarlane opted for Cleveland Brown, the least worthwhile member of the FG ensemble. What resulted was lethargic and rarely worth a chuckle, mercifully Fox put the animated series out of its misery after four laborious seasons.

18. AfterMash (1983-84, M*A*S*H)

AfterMash wasn’t M*A*S*H, despite desperately trying to emulate it without putting forth any effort and praying for some chemistry from an excruciatingly bland cast. As the title track of the original aptly stated: “suicide is painless”, as thousands of viewers eyed up their AK-47’s and contemplated.

17. Top of The Heap (1991, Married With Children)

Check this out if you want to see a young, pre-Friends Matt Le Blanc… and then find a device to wipe any trace of the woeful rhetoric from your mind’s eye, or else take enough psychedelic drugs to lay waste to the part of your brain that threatens to store the criminally corny dialogue you’ve been subjected to.

16. The Golden Palace (1992-93, The Golden Girls)

The lifeblood of The Golden Girls was the snappy repartee between the four main pensioners, all enjoying their twilight years and each other’s company. CBS thought they would strike while the iron was still somewhat warm by bringing the remaining core cast (Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Estelle Getty) back with a new series and a slightly fresh situation, but the idea of them running a hotel was far fetched, and it bombed in the ratings.

15. Girl Meets World (2014-Present, Boy Meets World)

From 1993 to 2000, viewers followed the relationship of Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews on “Boy Meets World.” More than a decade later, the couple’s daughter, Riley, is trying to navigate her ‘tween years with all of the panache and wit of a moribund tea cosy.

14. Hello Larry (1979-80,  Diff’rent Strokes)

“Hello Larry” was part of Fred Silverman’s attempt to ruin, er, resurrect NBC, a channel whose comedy had plummeted toward the ratings doldrums. Despite its abysmal badness, the show ran for two seasons simply because so many of the network’s other offerings bombed, so they had nothing better to run; a fact that beleaguered network execs cheerfully admitted to.

13. Hot Bench (2014-Present, Judge Judy)

In America the court TV show is a tried and trusted formula that has made stars of a myriad of judges. “Hot Bench” attempted to shake up the usual concept by employing a three-judge panel. Created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, the series’ main issue is that the judges crave the spotlight too freely, like attention seeking toddlers with overflowing nappies, and the cases are too puerile for viewers to invest any fucks.

12. The Tortellis (1987, Cheers)

“The Tortellis” was a spin off of “Cheers” featuring Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman)’s eccentric family, who were infrequent recurring characters.  All were hilarious in the context of the parent show, but gave the impression of fish out of water when dumped into a vehicle that lacked any concept or purpose.

11.  Three’s A Crowd (1984-85, Three’s Company)

“Three’s a Crowd” can be aptly summed up as boring, direction-less, and painfully unfunny. The producers made no attempt to create a new and exciting vehicle for John Ritter’s brilliant physical comedy, content instead to bask in the glory of the exceptional Three’s Company, all the while milking this obese cash-cow until its teats shrivelled like raisins in the Sahara.

Agree with Dom’s list? Let us know in the comment section below. The top (bottom?) ten will be published tomorrow, so keep your eyes open and share, share, share!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Best TV Spin-Offs Ever – Pt.2: Top 10.

Yesterday Dom Kureen shared the first half of his TV spin-off top-20 with the world, today it’s time to find out which shows made the top ten.

*Years of broadcast and original series in parenthesis.

10. Saved By The Bell (1989-93, Good Morning Miss Bliss)

This is one case where the spin-off was far superior to the original. Wise cracking Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) leads up a cast of pretty young things and uber dorks, whose antics usually come with a life lesson attached. In hindsight it looks a little cheesy, but was must see TV for any kids in the early 90’s.

9. Knowing Me, Knowing You (1994-95, On The Hour/The Day Today)

Having begun life as a character featured on BBC Radio 4’s “On The Hour”, and transferred to television with “The Day Today”, the Alan Partridge character was given his own series in  1994, with this spoof chat show. Steve Coogan masterfully portrays the hapless presenter, whose desperate attempts to curry favour with his guests inevitably backfire.

8. Happy Days (1974-84, Love, American Style)

Based in the 1950’s and 60’s, no show has spawned as many spin-offs as Happy Days, which was a spin-off itself. More than 10 years on air ended when the diminishing value of the classic sitcom struck a nadir – “The Fonz” jumping over a shark on water skis, thus coining the term ‘jumping the shark’, used in modern vernacular to describe a TV programme in decline.

7. Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012, French and Saunders)

A sitcom brilliant in its uncensored bad behaviour and satirical humour, “Ab Fab”  featured Edina and Patsy, two hard-drinking, drug-taking, selfish middle-aged women. Their cruel humour zoning in on the hypocrisy of modern day society, much to the chagrin of Edina’s more moral and conservative daughter, Saffron.

6. CSI Miami (2002-12, CSI)

A Florida team of forensics investigators use cutting-edge scientific methods and old-fashioned police work to solve crimes. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) leads the way with understated brilliance, and as tough an act to follow as CSI was, its Miami successor was retrospectively the superior series.

5. A Different World (1987-93 The Cosby Show)

A Different World followed the student life of Denise Huxtable,  played by the gorgeous, talented Lisa Bonet, as she ditched the comfort of the Cosby bosom to attend Hillman College. Bonet lasted one season before getting knocked up by Lenny Kravitz. Her departure (and that of a young Marisa Tomei) didn’t harm the show, with four superior seasons preceding a flat finale.

4. Sesame Street (1969-present, Sam and Friends)

A long-time favourite of children and adults, Sesame Street bridges many cultural and educational gaps and has to date aired 4,378 episodes over the course of almost half a century. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colours and the alphabet. Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other creatures involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities.

3. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94, Star Trek)

Featuring a bigger and better USS Enterprise than its parent series, “TNG” is set 78 years after the original, in the 24th century. Instead of Captain James Kirk, a less volatile and more mature Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by ultra smooth thesp’ Patrick Stewart) heads the crew of various humans and alien creatures in their adventures in space, aka: the final frontier.

2. Frasier (1993-2004, Cheers)

While many of Cheers’ spin-offs were tacky cash ins, Frasier had the staying power and depth of cast to last for 11 years and wave adieu on its own terms. Kelsey Grammar plays radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane, whose charm and sophistication beautifully dovetail with the rest of the ensemble, most notably brother Niles, who often steals the show courtesy of the excellent David Hyde Pierce.

1. The Simpsons (1989-present, The Tracey Ullman Show)

Beginning life as a series of short sketches produced by Matt Groening based on his own family, “The Simpsons” soon extended into a 25 minute weekly cartoon of its own. Purists will argue that it peaked during seasons 4-8, and that everything after season 20 (now on no.26) has been an abomination. Forget that for a minute though, The Simpsons revolutionised the cartoon comedy genre, and richly deserves its place atop the pile.

So, there you have it – tomorrow we’ll take a look at the worst spin-offs of all time, make sure you return and feel free to leave a comment in the section below. 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

20 Best TV Spin-Offs Ever: Pt.1 (20th-11th)

With last year’s UK première of Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul, receiving huge plaudits, Kureen thought the time was apt to share our 20 best and worst spin-offs to reach the small screen not including Saul’s antics. In part one Dom Kureen reveals positions 20 to 11. 

Stephen Colbert

*Years of broadcast and original series in parenthesis.

20. Muppet Babies (1984-91, The Muppets)

The 1980’s was a decade chock-full of cartoons with good intentions. The Muppet Babies revolved around the power of imagination, and gave kids (and possibly morally stunted adults) some ethical food for thought meshed with just enough entertainment to avoid being preachy.

19. Kenan and Kel (1996-2000, All That)

“Who loves orange soda…”
With catchphrases like the above, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were destined to captivate audiences from the get-go. What on paper looked naff was performed with gusto by the duo, providing the pinnacle of late 1990’s teenage satire during their pomp – With early 21st Century internet rumours of Kenan’s demise proving premature.

18. Going Straight (1978, Porridge)

Going Straight followed former jailbird Norman Stanley Fletcher as he attempted to adapt to life on the ‘outside’. Despite relying excessively on a so-so support cast, and not coming close to emulating its predecessor Porridge, Ronnie Barker was able to provide fitting closure for fans of the protagonist, while sporadically dropping memorable one-liners along the way.

17. Torchwood (2006-10, Doctor Who)

A year after Russell T Davies revived Doctor Who, he created this spin-off for the character ‘Captain Jack Harkness’ (John Barrowman), an immortal time-travelling former con man. A distinctively Welsh twist on the original saw Captain Jack heading up the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood institute, which deals with incidents involving aliens… And the title is an anagram of ‘Doctor Who’, those smarty clever bastards!

16. Xena Warrior Princess (1995-2001, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)

Coming at a time when ‘girl power’ was in full force, Xena started life on the dark side, before eventually realising the error of her ways and turning face. With a strong, independent and alluring swagger, the series made up for some woeful scripts with enough action, titillation and engaging plot arcs to maintain it during a six-year run.

15. Angel (1999-2004, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

The show about a guilt-ridden vampire with a human soul ran for five seasons and was a successful spin-off of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. David Boreanaz’s Angel and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy seemed to be stake-cross’d lovers, until Angel left to start his own series at the end of season three.

14. Mork and Mindy (1978-82, Happy Days)

This popular sitcom was borne out of a dream had by Happy Days’ Richie Cunningham in which alien Mork (played by an unknown Robin Williams) tried to take Richie back to his home planet of Ork. Series producer Garry Marshall was so impressed by Williams’s comic ability that he gave him his own series about an alien who comes to Earth to study human behaviour and moves in with a woman he meets.

13. The Colbert Report (2005-14, The Daily Show)

Political satirist Stephen Tyrone Colbert took on cable-news pundits in this show’s decade long run, which centred around his essential rightness about the issues of the day. Colbert portrayed a caricature of the conservative political pundits often seen on channels such as Fox News. In addition, the show was known for coming up with new words that enter the lexicon, most notably “truthiness.”

12. Summer Heights High (2007, We Can Be Heroes)

Chris Lilley nailed it with this ‘mockumentary’ based within the confines of the fictional Summer Heights high-school based in Sydney. The Australian comedian expertly portrayed all three of the main characters, allowing viewers an occasional window for empathy during the show’s otherwise relentless hilarity. 

11. Daria (1997-2001,  Beavis and Butthead)

Under rated cartoon following acutely perceptive, acerbic tongued teenager Daria Morgendorffer. Her self-esteem teacher can’t even remember her name, not that low self-esteem is a problem for Daria, who in one memorable exchange with her family explains that “I don’t have low self-esteem, it’s a mistake… I have low esteem for everyone else.”

Tune in again tomorrow for our top 10 spin-offs of all time, let us know what you think deserves the number one spot, and if you’re feeling kind please like and share the Kureen Facebook page x

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.22: Samuel Z Jones (part deux)

The 22nd instalment of the Creative Minds series welcomes back a previous guest for the first time – Fantasy Author Samuel Z Jones spoke to me about his upcoming book launch, for not one but three new titles!

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To get in touch with the man behind the words, simply follow one of these links…

Sam on Facebook

Sam on Smashwords

Sam on Amazon

Interview blast from the past

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.21: Chris Brennan

21 today! This 21st edition of the Creative Minds podcast series features an interview with Chris Brennan, plus music from Unravellings and Pretty Censored (and a short excerpt of a rap what I done!)

The Links

–> Custom website <–

–> Unravellings on SoundCloud <–

–> Pretty Censored YouTube interview <–

–> Gary Yourofsky talk <–

–> Cowspiracy trailer <–

–> Forks Over Knives trailer <–

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Finding Your Corner Piece

*This is a creative piece of writing from the vivid depths of my imagination, character traits are accentuated and anecdotes embellished in order to make it more palatable for the audience.

A few months ago a close, at times judgemental friend of mine labelled me ‘shallow’ for rejecting the advances of a female suitor who I wasn’t physically attracted to.

In some ways his objections served as a mirror to his own insecurities; he’d dated a girl for a while before one day deciding he wasn’t actually that into her and abruptly calling time on their short-lived romantic liaison.

He was persistent and unflinching in his opinion, but he was also naive, as are so many who are cradled by the Isle of Wight’s blinkered borders. There’s an important distinction in the gaps between ‘shallow’ and ‘logical’, just as there is in those sandwiched by black and white or acid and alkali.

I had initially been drawn to the back of her, gazing from afar as she stood by a dusty typewriter, trying to think of something witty to tap onto the paper for a piece of performance art, but as time lapsed and we accrued more hours in each others’ company at all manner of destinations, I came to realise that the attraction was heavily weighted on one side and that although I enjoyed hanging out in small doses, our union wasn’t destined for a portrayal on the big screen any time soon; more ‘Blind Panic’ than Titanic.

My friend enquired over the reasons for the parting of ways, I told him the truth – I wasn’t attracted to her as a person in a romantic sense, at which point he dropped the ‘S’ bomb on me, seemingly perturbed rather than jovial.

What he refused to muse upon for a moment was the chapters that had unfolded before the alleged jilting that concluded our courtship. That for every time she rocked up at my workplace unannounced, growing fonder, becoming more porous and allowing my essence to seep deeper into her pores (ok, that sounds more disgusting than I anticipated) my own interest was dwindling.

The first red flags appeared when we went for a walk on a humid, but by no means hot, afternoon, an activity I enjoy as an outdoorsy kinda chap. Within a few minutes she was puffing heavily and sweating profusely, her upper lip drenched in sticky, glistening secretion.

Roughly every ten minutes of walking were followed by an enforced rest for 15, each pause punctuated by her repetitious two word utterance that gradually sapped my vitality: “getting there.” I looked at her, aged 25 and out of shape. I caressed her soggy body and felt bad for her, for us, conceding that unless she was willing to work on this aspect of herself it would become relationship euthanasia via a slow drip.

The logical brain inevitably took over as I became damp from her perspiration, the odour now tickling my gag reflex: “Is she working on that aspect of herself as a young woman who should be able to walk a little bit further?” I pondered. The answer was no, she had already openly stated that she had hated being skinny in the past and thus didn’t exercise in order to avoid losing weight.

She had purchased a push bike, but lost interest in that within the first few weeks. In addition, she had unfortunately suffered from chronic back pain since her teenage years and this was only likely to diminish her physical activity as she got older.

If she was slightly out of shape but mobile it wouldn’t have been an issue. I liked her eyes, they were kind and vulnerable, hidden behind thick lenses. I liked that she became more liberated as we hung out, I liked… I liked her, but this was a gaping chasm that couldn’t be filled with likes, it wasn’t a Facebook status or a video on YouTube, it was our lives.

I was disappointed, she seemed to understand initially, but quite soon decided not to speak to me any more or respond to greetings on social media. I don’t think she could accept my rationale, but it would have been like trying to cram a Jaffa cake into the corner of a jigsaw puzzle to compensate for a missing piece. In the short term I might have filled that gaping hole, but with inevitability maggots and mould were on the way.

Within 48 hours of me articulating to her the feelings that occupied the deepest marshes of my psyche, she announced a new relationship on her Facebook page, my overriding emotion was joy, for her, for him. I knew the guy and he was her corner piece.

To the friend who looked down at my shallowness, I explained that my decision was not “she’s unattractive, thus I will not date her”, I liked this girl, she wasn’t some sort of Barbie doll. She had a good heart and seemed damaged, I wanted to protect her, serve as a catalyst for her to blossom into a confident woman full of vitality.

My decision was based on her inability to do things with me that were pivotal to my existence on this rotating sphere we humans populate. By the same token, I didn’t exactly leap at the prospect of flopping in bed watching Star Wars marathons for 16 hours. Ergo: I was as poor a choice for her as she was for me, she just didn’t realise at the time. That’s the best I can explain it really.

This is all obvious when you think about it. Those who attempt to entirely tear up another person’s blueprint are destined for failure or misery, even if one half of the partnership is now content, the other is effectively a neutered drone.

There is room to enhance each other of course, be it guidance towards meditation, building confidence, or healthier lifestyle choices that are realistic, maybe even just making sure each other brush their teeth twice a day.

In our case we’d have had to compromise too much, and it would have ended up clawing at the fabric of whatever bond we’d built. Her new partner is the Sonny to her Cher, the Jim to her Pam, the Jordan to her… Peter Andre? Ok, maybe that last one isn’t such a great example… And didn’t Sonny used to beat Cher? Ok, so I suck at naming famous couples, but you get the gist.

The freely condemned concept of shallowness that people propagate doesn’t apply without allowing for a caveat or three; far more is visible beneath the waves than on the crest of them after all.

From my perspective it all stems from a deep longing for ‘someone’, not in the sense of a specific being, but rather a void fragment to solve the riddle.  Knowing on a painfully visceral level that the current person whom you spend time with and who desires you isn’t fulfilling that craving, being brave/foolhardy enough to walk away. The crossroads of acceptance and liberation.

It’s seeking love, it’s the deepest form of connection, not the shallowest, it’s pure and it’s aspirational… It may also prove lonely and futile, but those are the breaks toots.

To settle, or to seek out that purity of connection? Be with anybody just to have any body wrapped around yours when your head hits the pillow at night, or have faith that a kindred spirit is hacking through the same thicket as you in pursuit of the freedom your presence will bring one another.

I’m far from soulless after all, I’m just not as drunk as most of the other people at the party.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Believing Is Seeing

Dom Kureen takes a look at the rapidly unravelling reality we’re faced with, as Rolf Harris becomes the latest high profile individual accused of sexual abuse.

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris CBE is the latest in a protracted chain of distinguished dignitaries to be hauled before judge and jury for alleged acts of sexual abuse, with many victims purportedly shy of legal consenting age when molested.

The 84-year old has long been depicted as an adopted English national treasure, with his art, TV programmes and light-hearted musical compositions providing easily consumable, tongue-in-cheek entertainment for the gratification of the throngs who have adored him for aeons.

For an esteemed icon to be ostensibly duplicitous with a generational circle of high profile deviants is profoundly unsettling – not least with regards to the superficial subject of heroes: sick revelations shift paradigms and shake perceptions. Individuals once veiled in prestige are suddenly exposed as nefarious reprobates.

The essence of Jimmy Saville’s cumulative obituary immediately in the wake of his death cut an epitaph to a selfless, wholehearted entertainer and charitable soul, whose unrelenting generosity raised several millions of pounds and enhanced a host of otherwise negatively afflicted individual existences.

A sympathetic portrait of a kind soul, despite the fact that hundreds of people were aware of deceit.

There was no mention of the free reign Saville’s position afforded him; blind eyes were turned and suspicions purposefully disregarded in order not to jeopardise the late DJ’s awareness spreading affiliation with various organisations.

To have known the horror that Saville was capable of and remain mute makes all of those observers who protected his legacy for their own prosperity complicit in sheltering a paedophile, and guilty of allowing hundreds of naïve, innocent children to suffer trauma.

While Saville was never brought to task during his lifetime, his unmasking did at least prove the catalyst for a multitude of subsequent convictions.

Inevitably this is merely the tip of the iceberg. ‘Operation Ore’ took place from 2002 until 2003, locating over 10,000 people guilty of paying to view images of child pornography online, many of whom were/are household names.

Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during 'Operation Ore'
Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during ‘Operation Ore’

For legal reasons, kureen.co.uk cannot name any of the MPs, academics, musicians or other celebrities linked with the case (if you look in the right places you can find the information for yourself), but something serendipitous transpired just as the faeces were threatening to hit the fan.

With the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper preparing to print a list of names connected to the investigation, an eleventh-hour D-Notice was passed in the House of Commons, prohibiting the article from making first editions. Speculation suggested that then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, felt the timing of the piece was inappropriate, with British troops set to be sent to war in Iraq.

There were a couple of high profile individuals who did become exposed during the case: ‘The Who’ guitarist Pete Townshend, who cracked wise with police under interrogation, and comedian John Thompson, most notable for his jazz club skits on ‘The Fast Show’ just over a decade ago.

Both admitted to having paid to access child pornography websites – Townshend claiming he was doing research for a book and Thompson asserting that he had suffered abuse as a teenager and felt that this would aid his rehabilitation. Both remain in the public eye today and there is very little mention of their links with Operation Ore anywhere online.

The point of referencing this case is not to expose any specific individual; it is simply to highlight the fact that as a species we too often readily accept information that is filtered into our psyche subliminally by deliberate design.

Tragically as a society we have become conditioned to put more stock in social networks and emulating celebrity than querying the stream of data discharged from biased barrels.

Believing is seeing
Believing is seeing

The truth is out there for the inquisitive mind, it’s just buried deep beneath the superficial, and while it would be comforting to assume that the unravelling Illusion of a clutch of disturbed creatures, brought to justice in their twilight years, provides a glimpse of a shiny, progressive brand of informative media, it’s a notion fraught with nativity.

Politicians do not represent the masses; they spout half-truths and hyperbolic claims in different coloured ties. Their goal is not to unite a nation, it is to placate a restless society who are seeking revolution and ominously threatening to rebel against a shallow, stagnant order.

This is a tempestuous generation, albeit one currently under stoic hex. Around 35% of eligible voters didn’t enter the polling stations for the 2010 General Elections as a result of growing apathy or in some cases protest. Those who did place a cross in a box couldn’t decide upon a conclusive candidate, necessitating the farcical coalition that saddled the country with the most mis-matched double act since Pete Doherty and Elton John traumatised the ‘Live 8’ audience in the summer of 2005.

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga.

Do heroes still exist, or will observers continually be left nauseated by those they once revered?

The truth is… Maybe we can’t handle the truth after so many years of watered down reality. What we don’t know is unquestionably far scarier than the titbits that we do.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ that turned out to be true

Information known as conspiracy perpetually emerges and is usually debunked as myth rather rapidly. There are however occasions when far-fetched ultimately proves authentic, at least on some level – Dom Kureen recaps ten conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.

1. Heart Attack Guns Exist

Disclosed by the C..I.A in the mid-1970’s, these weapons fired a bullet made of ice and dipped in shellfish toxin, which immediately induced a heart attack when entering the flesh of its victim, barely leaving a trace of any wrongdoing in the process.

2. The US Government made up an incident to legitimise war on Vietnam

The Gulf of Tonkin incident was long considered by large sections of the public to be a phantom and conveniently sketchy recollection, it later emerged that the incident that the US Government used to spark the Vietnam War was indeed only partially true.

3. Dozens of people were paid to falsely testify regarding the 1991 Gulf War.

People such as Nayirah Al-Sabah were proven to have been paid off, and even given acting lessons before taking to the stand and recounting false evidence which painted Iraqi soldiers in a negative light. Her tearful testimony was later debunked, and her identity revealed as the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in the USA, but not before the public had been sold on the idea of war.

4. Asbestos is dangerous
Asbestos

There were several decades of suspicion that Asbestos carried serious health implications, and more damningly that Asbestos companies were covering up its dangers. They finally came clean in the 1990’s, revealing that the product, formerly a staple of building insulation, contained a myriad of properties harmful in the long-term.

5. ATM Machines Use Facial Recognition Technology

Although not officially on the market yet, security firm Diebold have recently produced a line of machines that will perform a facial scan on anybody who uses them under the guise of security for the user. The slightly cheesy advert above deliberately focuses on other, less intrusive aspects of the prototype.

6. Health vaccines have contained deliberate and accidental contamination

With growing scepticism surrounding health vaccines, it hardly helped when the CDC admitted recently that over 98 million American citizens received a contaminated Polio vaccine infected with Cancer inducing SV40.

7. Fluoride is actually BAD for your teeth

Recently the department of health and human services have proposed the removal of fluoride from all drinking water in America, citing cases of streaking on children’s teeth. In actual fact there are far more serious health issues linked to the compound; brain damage, depleted collagen, increased tumours, disrupted immune system, damaged sperm and dementia to name a few.

8. Scientists use millions of genetically modified animals in research

First notably suggested (to sneers) by Charles Darwin in the mid-19th Century, the first animal was genetically engineered in 1974, when Rudolf Jaenisch inserted a DNA virus into an early stage mouse embryo. In the intervening 41 years experiments have become common and increasingly advanced. In the UK alone last year more than two million genetically modified animals were experimented upon.

9. The governing bodies of several nations are conspiring against those opposing genetically modified foods

According to a report released by the largest, most revered news outlet in Germany, Süddeutsche Zeitung, several governments are waging cyber war against groups opposing genetically modified foods. A US government spokesman suggested that it was simply a misunderstanding.

10. Project MKUltra

In the 1950’s and 70’s the C.I.A attempted a series of mind control experiments named Project MKUltra, injecting psychedelic drugs into the bloodstreams of unsuspecting, poverty stricken US citizens, who were then psychologically re-programmed. This resulted in people becoming sick, slipping into comas and in many cases dying. Despite denials, the C.I.A finally came clean some fifty years after the inaugural experiments had taken place.

Did we miss anything off the list? What modern day conspiracy theories do you believe to have credibility? Leave a comment below and please like and share the Kureen Facebook page!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.