Bye Bye Nuts



Not the first time I’ve had to say that in my life…

This is the demise of the “Lad’s mag” Nuts as the publication disappears from the shelves because of the availability of porn online for the same market. Fingers crossed this is the start of the end for all these trashy mags and then we can get rid of page three girls next. Nothing against them personally (insert your own joke here) but really can we have national newspapers with topless women in them only for the titillation of the male readers in the 21st Century?

I’m not a prude and have no issues with pornography or nudity and women making a lot of money out of these careers, but there is no real place for it on the magazine shelves any more. We’ve always had raunchy photoshoots with celebs in magazines like FHM but at least they were reasonably fun & tasteful rather than just a kit off, photos taken. The way Nuts and Zoo approached the market was to try to pretend they weren’t really porn, but just a bit of fun – the truth is it was porn and I’d have had more respect for them if they’d just been up front about it (if you excuse the pun!).

The ready availability of porn across the internet is a slight concern and there are plenty of websites that need to be closed down due to their content of children, abuse and other horrific images, but there is a slight upside that is never talked about. The access to porn is now such that it’s no longer such a distant, tantalising thing. It’s something that couples can share, individuals can enjoy in the privacy of their own home and sensible people can access as they need to. It’s not facing you as you queue in the post office or newsagents with awkward questions from your kids.

The other issue that is often talked about in this area is the idea of the “gateway” to harder images and films – an argument taken from the war on drugs – but like that self-same argument it’s only a truism for a small amount of people. I agree that there is an oversexualisation of our kids these days and that we should allow them to be kids for as long as possible without being exposed to these things – and we can do that with the internet through blocking specific sites and having other privacy settings (much easier than our parents could have done with the jazz mags in the woods of our childhoods!)

It was the shallowness of Nuts that annoyed me – the idea that it was art of some kind, making “stars” out of regular girls by getting them to pose instead of the celebs when it was more down to money than design I’m sure. I’m glad it’s gone and I hope the others follow suit soon.


If you don’t laugh…




When you get caught in a depressive dip you need something to lift you and since I can’t really drink on this medication (well I can but why would you take mood stabilizers and antidepressants to then fill yourself with a liquid depressant?) I have to find other releases. They certainly aren’t coming at work – in fact today I had to seriously bite my tongue or it would have been an interesting way to hand in my notice – so thankfully I have lots of comedy to look forward to in Aberdeen and last night we started with the hugely underrated Simon Evans.

He’s been on the Comedy Roadshow and Stand up for the week but he’s not a panel show regular so I was pleasantly surprised that there was such a good crowd in to see him – especially up again Rich Hall at the Music Hall. I have to say that I’ve seen a lot of comedy over the years and he goes straight into my top ten I’ve seen. Word play, dark humour, subtle aside and great big belly laughs all combined to make a great night. He is a really good comedian and I wouldn’t hesitate to go and see him again. Tomorrow it’s Josh Widdecombe, Saturday is Hal Cruttenden, then next week Sarah Millican and Alan Davies are on the to do list. The other plus is that we’ve decided to go to the Fringe again this year as we missed it last year because we were still doing up the house after buying it the year before.

If you’ve never been to the Fringe in Edinburgh you are really missing a treat. The city is wonderful anyway, but add the atmosphere and the crowds and the place really comes alive. We’re going down for five days and I usually try to squeeze six or seven shows in a day – the challenge is that I want to try to see people that are new and maybe haven’t quite broken through yet. Over the years in smaller rooms we’ve caught people like Jack Whitehall, Russell Howard, Michael McIntyre and Russell Kane before they were really famous and it’s always great to see performers developing their skills. Quite often if we catch someone at the Fringe and they then tour the show the following year I’ll go back to see the show and see how it has developed. I’d love to have a go at stand up but I’m too much of a coward – at least with the music I can have a bit of banter and if it falls on its arse I can just start singing!

I really admire stand ups and the skill involved – it’s like watching a great artist or musician if it is done right. There are some really gifted performers that I’ve seen over the years like Dara O’Briain, Ross Noble, Eddie Izzard, Rhod Gilbert and Russell Howard that can just grab hold of the audience and take them with them on wild and ridiculous journeys through their minds – relaying stories and ideas that outside that room are not funny when you try to retell them but in that moment you think you might die laughing. That is a wonderful gift to have – to make people smile and laugh and forget about the crap in their lives for a couple of hours.

Hopefully with the line up over the next two weeks, the rest of the year here in Aberdeen (Jimmy Carr, Katherine Ryan, Mark Watson, Jon Richardson, Dave Gorman and others) and the Fringe my funny bone will be tickled enough to give me the boost I need just now. As they say “If you don’t laugh…”