Justboy, part 2

The next day at school I couldn’t wait to brag about my achievements to the boys. At break time we sat on a bench just outside our classroom and I told them. Peanuts laughed at me and made fun of me first of all, “Haha, you soppy bastard,” he said which made all the others laugh. They all threw some insults at me after that and I laughed along with them. I knew they were all jealous we’d all spoken about how much we’d love to kiss Hannah Stanthorpe and I’d actually managed to do it. Well, their jealousy wasn’t going to get me down. Then Peanuts realised he wasn’t the centre of attention anymore and decided to up the ante. “Well, when are you gonna shag her then, Jase?” I didn’t really know what to say at first I hadn’t really thought of that as a possibility, I was only fifteen I thought to myself, that’s not old enough is it?

Then Chris piped up, “Yeah, Jase, surely you’re not going to waste such an opportunity?” He had a teasing smile plastered across his face. I still didn’t know how I was going to reply. Then it all of a sudden just blurted out my mouth,

“Well, obviously I’m gonna shag her. That’s what you do with your girlfriend isn’t it?” I had to appear confident, I couldn’t let them know I actually cared about Hannah, I had to give them the illusion I was just with her because she was fit. And sooner or later, yeah, I’d shag her and that’d show all of them. After I said it Chris gave me a massive pat on the back, it hurt it was so hard and I wasn’t far off turning round and smacking him in the face but I stopped myself. I regretted even telling them now but still, Hannah Stanthorpe is my girlfriend!

At lunch I decided to go and see Hannah instead of getting more stick off the boys. She kind of seemed like she’d rather be with her girls but she didn’t say anything. I think she was still just trying to figure things out about us. But we could chat for the world. I’d never had it before where I could just talk and talk and talk to a girl. She even made me laugh, which was even more weird, since when was there a girl that was fun? She’d laugh at the stuff I said too. She actually found the stupid stuff me and the boys do funny. I thought to myself she could be my best friend as well as my girlfriend, we got on so well.

I went home that day with the smile on my face well and truly back to how it was the last night. After dinner I got a text from Peanuts, he said his brother had said we could borrow his tent and go camping in the woods at the weekend. He said I should invite Hannah and some of her friends and his brother would get us some bottles of cider. We’d never done anything like this before but my brother used to do it before he turned eighteen and he always told me it was fun. Come to think of it, it had been a good few days since I wrote to Harry and he still hadn’t written back yet, hopefully it’ll get here before the end of the week.

When Saturday came excitement had got particularly high. Hannah had invited Sarah and Emily and they were all excited as well. Hannah told me she was going to try and steal some alcohol from her parents’ liquor cabinet and Peanuts was going to get his brother to get as many bottles of cider as £20 could buy, we’d all chipped in a couple of pounds. Chris came over to mine with his stuff and we spent the day playing FIFA and getting each other even more excited about the night. I’d never got drunk before but I couldn’t wait to know what it felt like. I’d told my mum I was staying over at Chris’s; I knew she wouldn’t be happy with me staying in the woods. She always used to stop Harry from going out if she knew he was planning on going to the woods. Hannah and her friends waited down the end of the road for us and texted me when they were there at the end of the road so mum wouldn’t have any suspicions.

We found a decent spot in the woods with room to put up the tent and set up a little area for the fire. We realised the tent was nowhere near big enough for us all to sleep in but it didn’t bother us all that much, we weren’t expecting to get much sleep. There were six of us all together and Peanut’s brother had managed to get six big bottles of cider, the girls had vodka from Hannah’s parent’s cupboard. The boys tried a bit and said it was disgusting so I chose not to. Then Chris revealed a bottle of coke he had in his bag so the girls mixed it with that. I finished my first bottle of cider really quickly and I started to feel strange. It was good. Things were a lot funnier than normal and I was speaking a lot more too. Peanuts was just even more crazy than normal and Chris was playing up to Peanuts like he always did. Showing off to him but they were being more stupid than usual. I always felt like I had to be someone else for them to like me as much as they liked each other. I mean, when they were on their own it was fine but when they’re together they just spur each other on to be more and more ridiculous and I end up getting sucked in.

There was a clear divide between the boys and the girls at first. I didn’t really know how to involve Hannah in our conversations and once most of the drink was finished the three of them went off into the woods giggling with each other. I was left now for the boys to intimidate some more about Hannah. “I think you should fuck her tonight, Jase.” Peanuts started with.

“Yeah, go on, Jase, take her off over there and do it. It would be amazing, you’d be a legend,” Chris chirped in as always.

“Not tonight, I can’t do it tonight. I…don’t have any condoms or anything,” that was the best excuse I could think of quickly enough. It seemed like quite a good one as well.

“Well I brought one just in case,” Peanuts said and he chucked a wrinkled wrapper at me from out of his wallet. Then I knew I was probably going to have to go through with this. I picked up the condom and put it in my pocket; I didn’t really need to say anything else.

We finished off all the cider and I’d started singing Biffy Clyro songs loudly and Peanuts and Chris were laughing at me. Then the girls came back over they were looking at us and giggling. Hannah came over and held my hand, Emily quickly rushed to sit down next to Chris and Sarah sat with Peanuts, although she looked the most unhappy to be doing so. Hannah led me off down to an open patch and we sat on a log alone together. I didn’t know what to say and it seemed like she didn’t either.

I thought about how much I wanted to kiss her but I didn’t quite have the balls to do it. Once the silence had gone on for slightly too long, I went in. She kissed me back and this time it felt so much better than last time. I even tried to put my tongue in but it made her jump so I stopped. I started feeling excited again and then I felt my phone vibrate. It was Peanuts he’d text me just saying, ‘Seal the deal.’ I knew they were going to find out if I didn’t so I decided I was going to have to try it on. We started kissing again and I put my hand on her thigh. She didn’t do anything so I took it is a sign to go further. I stroked up her thigh and my fingertips began to slide up her top and on to her belly. I could feel she was tensing it and then she stopped kissing. “What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” I knew now that I’d probably blown it, “sorry, I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do.”

“We’ve only been together a week, I’m only fifteen and you’re trying to touch my tit already. Now I know why people say boys are only after one thing!”

“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, I won’t do it again I promise,” I felt myself almost start to cry but managed to stop any tears from coming and then Hannah got up and stormed off back to the camp.

I sat there for a minute and had to really stop myself from just bursting into tears. When I went back Chris and Peanuts were giggling with each other and the three girls were all huddled together whispering and looking at me. I knew everyone knew what had happened. I sat on my own on a separate log from the boys I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. It was their fault this had happened in the first place. Harry wouldn’t have told me to do that, he would’ve told me to play it cool for a while but he hadn’t written back yet so what was I supposed to do?

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Dishonored

2283592-au9bpOne of the big gaming hits of recent months has been this interesting first person adventure, Dishonored. Set in a fictional time and place the game combines elements of Victorian style and weaponry with magic and mystery to create one of the most unique games, stylistically, in a long time. The gameplay is mostly based around stealth but can be played a number of different ways (high, medium or low chaos) and the way you chose does make differences to the outcome of the plot. You play as an assassin, Corvo, after his wife is murdered and daughter kidnapped he is framed for the killing and is forced to run away as a fugitive. As he attempts to retrieve his daughter he uncovers a conspiracy behind within the government that are out to get him.

The story, while, stylistically original, is ultimately pretty predictable and although the game is mostly story driven the cut scenes are brief. A feature I’m usually pleased to see as often games get bogged down with too many cutscenes but it seems that Dishonored doesn’t quite do its vividly designed environment justice. It is one of the most interesting settings for a game and a lot of work has clearly gone in to it but the story seems underdeveloped really. The fighting is fairly unique too, mainly based around swordplay, projectile weapons are available but you only really use them to get out of a sticky situation, I don’t think I’ve ever played a game with well designed sword fighting action but Dishonored is one of the better ones. It has great execution animations with a nice amount of gore but when you find yourself locked in combat between a number of enemies the control system doesn’t really allow you enough control over how things pan out, I eventually began just running away and hiding if I found myself having to fight off too many enemies. Another interesting feature is the magic abilities that you pick up along the way, when you first attain them is good fun getting to know how to utilise them but by the time you’ve got them all it feels like there are just too many to be able to get to grips with them all and the length of the campaign doesn’t give you enough time to fully get to grips with all the game has to offer.

Overall I think Dishonored becomes its own worst enemy, it is overall a fun game but, it lets itself down by trying to cram too much in in an underdeveloped and predictable storyline. There is a hell of a lot of potential here and it is one of the most unique games I’ve played in ages but it fails to fully utilise it’s great elements. Hopefully if they do a sequel it’ll all come together slightly better, there’s potential here for an incredible new franchise if Bethesda play it right.

 

World War Z

world-war-z04June 2013 sees another high profile release in the form of Brad Pitt vehicle, World War Z. The film, based on the book of the same name, aimed to put a new spin on the zombie sub-genre by making a more action orientated film rather than horror. It went through a number of years stuck in development hell before it finally came together with director Marc Forster and Brad Pitt in the leading role. I was surprised though that it ended up being released with a 15 certificate in the UK when it aimed to be a 12A and the gore is left off screen, mostly.

The only other film I can think of that had a similar premise was the abysmal Battle: Los Angeles which put the US Army up against an alien military force, going in to World War Z I had my fingers crossed I would not be in for the same kind of thing. Luckily my prayers were answered and the film actually had a number of things that I did not expect. There is very little set up at the movies beginning and before you even got comfortable you’re ripped into zombie apocalypse mode. The turning of the city does not take long and the first twenty minutes or so mainly consists of action sequences as Pitt escorts his family away from the danger as quickly as he can. It’s not an unfamiliar kind of situation but it’s well carried out and tension is built masterfully by director Forster. The abrupt start gives you a taster of what you can expect from the rest of the film, while it has a emotional drive very little time is spent building story and you is much more concerned in showing you slick action scenes with the emotional core bubbling underneath and keeping you attached to the events. For once I actually noticed some good use of 3D, a form that I am strictly against in general, but there were moments of World War Z, in particular a scene that involves a grenade and a plane, were I was actually pleased the showing times only allowed me to see it with bulky glasses attached. When we reach the last act of the movie it doesn’t really feel as though you’ve been through enough story to warrant the ending but it doesn’t make the final scenes any less tense. The end comes abruptly but the fact that I wanted the movie to go on can’t be a bad problem for it to have.

While World War Z may be one of the least anticipated blockbusters of the summer its a welcome surprise that its not as bad as you may have expected. Despite being more horror than it perhaps it set out to be and not really delivering on its promise of military style battle this could turn out to be a surprisingly good franchise if the second instalment delivers on its promises. A better film than Man of Steel this film is a fun watch ad welcome addition to the summer of 2013.

 

Yeezus

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Kanye West remains one of the most controversial celebrities around but despite this he continues to be, probably, the most powerful force in modern hip-hop. With his last album, My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy, saw him move deeper into more artistic aspects of his music giving us one of his most personal insights into his thinking and living yet. Yeezus is a departure from his usual style, moving away from polished hip-hop to loud industrial tracks with a breath of the eighties creating his most experimental and unique record yet.

We all know that when Kanye does hip-hop he does it better than anyone, but that is why I think Yeezus is the best move he could have made in his career. It is a record that shows he isn’t phased by expectations (if we didn’t already know that) but it also shows us the he is more multi-faceted than we may have thought. His last album that was a complete departure in style was 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak which, in my opinion, was a poor album where all the songs sounded the same and there was no real punch to it’s overall sound, but Yeezus is something completely different. It’s a powerhouse of an album that grabs you by throat and yanks through a whistle-stop tour of noise-pop and vicious lyrics. His lyrics are on top form here, some of the most inspired lines yet he is both preachy at times and tongue in cheek, mixing up such lines as, ‘I am a God, so hurry up with my damn massage’ with, ‘Y’all niggas can’t control me, I know that we the new slaves’ and further spicing things up by throwing in things like, ‘Eating asian pussy, all I need is sweet and sour sauce.’ The production is as perfect as always as well, drafting in the talents of a huge number of producers including Daft Punk, but it’s also hard to miss West’s usual meticulousness in every single beat. It’s hard to pick stand out tracks from the album, simply because they are all so good. Despite being a short album at only ten tracks that last a total of just 40 minutes there’s not a single second that’s boring. It never stops being noisy but it does have its gentler moments particularly in ‘Hold My Liquor’ and ‘Bound 2’ provide some respite from the raw, minimalistic power of tracks like ‘I’m In It’ and ‘Black Skinhead’. Yeezus really is a complete package of a record one that you wish would continue but realise you couldn’t expect much more from.

The record is a bold move on West’s part, but a move that exemplifies an artist who continues to be at the peak of his game. And a hip-hop artist that can produce a record that is above and beyond what is expected of him. Whether his next album will be the same kind of thing or not I already can’t wait. Young Yeezy has fully transformed himself into the great Yeezus.

Justboy, part 1

Dear Harry,

Mum told me I should write you a letter since apparently I don’t contact you enough. So, here I am, writing you a letter.

Things are just as boring here as they were when you left. I’ve really liked those Biffy Clyro albums you left me. I know all the words to Blackened Sky now, Justboy’s my favourite song. It must’ve been awesome to go and see them, send me some pictures.

Actually thinking about it there is something that’s interesting. I have got a girlfriend! Her names Hannah, she’s got blonde hair and the biggest tits in the whole of year nine. I was wondering if you could give me some tips on how, maybe, I’d get to touch them one day, I know you’ve touched loads of girls! But, yeah, Hannah is awesome when you come home for Christmas you’ll meet her and hopefully you’ll be just as impressed as all the boys were at school.

Write back and let me know how uni’s going and don’t forget those tips,

Love Jason

I hadn’t spoken to Harry since he left and I didn’t want to let anyone know but I missed him so much you couldn’t imagine. It wasn’t Mum that told me to send him a letter I decided to do it of my own accord; this place wasn’t the same without him around. I felt much more vulnerable at school without him there to stick up for me.

I remember this one time when I’d just started at secondary school and Luke Hannigan tripped me up in the playground. I got really angry and started trying to swing for him. I got him square in the nose and he was about to punch back, he was a lot bigger than me and I wouldn’t have stood a chance. But just before he could get me Harry turned up and came to my rescue. He stood right in front of him towering over him and just said, ‘You’re going to go back to your mates and forget this ever happened or you’ll have me on your back every day for the rest of your days at this school.’ After that Luke never bothered me again and, as a matter of fact, no one ever bothered me after that day. Everyone knew that Harry had my back.

I suppose that now I’m in year ten I could look after myself. I can look after myself to the extent that I’d managed to pull Hannah. I still can’t quite get over what I’ve done; I’m going out with the hottest girl in the year. I would like us to go somewhere, get serious. I’m probably never going to get anyone better-looking in my whole life!

Things had been really shit actually since Harry left but now I’ve got Hannah I think things are finally going to get good. She’s coming round in an hour so for the first time, I better get ready, I’m actually really nervous.

She got here at about half past six and mum had cooked us fish fingers and chips. I know, right, the most romantic date meal ever. While we were eating it mum kept asking these stupid questions that even dad was getting bored by. So then he started making these terrible jokes and I felt like face planting my dinner. Luckily now it was over and me and Hannah were cuddling and watching TV in my room. The door was on the latch because mum told me I wasn’t allowed it shut with any girl round but I thought we’d be pretty safe from intrusion. The cuddling was nice, I had to hide from her the fact that I was getting over excited I don’t think she’d noticed though. She looked stunning, she’d put on this bright red lipstick and straightened her hair and she looked just like a model.

We were watching some random programme but I wasn’t paying attention I was looking at her the whole time then when a break came I decided it was time to make my move. I slouched down so I was lying face to face with her and stared right into her big blue eyes. She has the most beautiful eyelashes I’ve ever seen. There’s a part of me that wants to tell her I love her but I stop myself, I know I can’t say that yet. But she stares back at me as if she wants to tell me as well. Then I go in for the kiss. It was one of the best moments of my life. I had my eyes open so I could see her but every now and again she’d open hers and I’d have to shut mine so she didn’t think I was weird. I was getting even more excited down there, it was quite hard to hide now but I don’t think she minded anyway. That night when she left I had the biggest smile on my face. She said I looked like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. She looked pretty happy as well. That night I had the best sleep I’d had since Harry had left for uni.

Man of Steel

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The season of summer blockbusters is well under way now and one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year was Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. Produced by Syncopy, the Nolan company behind the Dark Knight trilogy it was planned that DC’s other big property would get the same treatment Batman did. But it was never going to be easy, Superman is a very different character and one that is much harder to get right since there are so many potential pitfalls. The biggest issue with him is he’s far too over-powered, it’s very hard to care for someone who’s so perfect. He’s also a lot less cool than Batman, he zips about the sky wisping women off their feet, saving the world, caring for his parents, being ridiculously handsome and wearing bright blue tights. On it’s release man of Steel has received one of the most mixed critical receptions in recent memory, leaving the question of whether Snyder did a good job very much up in the air.

I have to say that in retrospect he really did not. As Man of Steel begins we spend the first fifteen minutes or so with his parents as they try defend his home planet of Krypton from Michael Shannon’s General Zod. The opening battle is alright but it leaves you waiting for at least half an hour before any kind of ‘Superman’ antics begin to happen, we spend a lot of time up on Krypton and even more time watching young Clark not retaliate against bullies. It gets pretty frustrating and annoying having to spend so long on his origin story which literally everyone in the world already knows, but then that is the problem with a reboot. A few years ago they were all the rage, this is the first origin we’ve had to deal with in a while so we’ll let it go. But then things don’t get much better. As Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is introduced we flit back and forth through different events in Clark Kent’s life and it’s often not clear what period of time we’re in, not to mention the fact that we see the exact same situation of young Clark getting pushed around and having to try really hard not to hit back. We got the message the first time, he’s perfect, he won’t snap back. There’s not a single scene in the whole movie that isn’t completely over-dramatic. I think Henry Cavill’s eyes must have constantly had some kind of dew producing contraption hidden behind them so he never stops looking like he’s about to cry, in fact every character looks like they’re about to cry all the time. When we finally get through the under-written, hammy plot we are treated to some great action. Michael Shannon is probably the strongest performer of the film although in the end General Zod’s defeat is completely underwhelming. Zod and Superman being flung around Metropolis provide us with the film’s best moment but even that eventually drags on, I thought it had ended about three times before it actually, finally did and by the end of it all it feels like you’ve just been seeing the same thing over and over. Zod throws Superman, he skids along the concrete. Superman throws Zod he collapses a building and repeat.

I did find myself enjoying it for a short while during the final fight but overall this is Snyder all over, looks nice but is completely lacking in anything else. If a different director helms the sequel perhaps Superman may have more life in him but, in my opinion, Snyder is not the man for the job. Chances are if the second ones good Man of Steel will be easily looked over.