Mirrors Aren’t Your Friend

It happened on Monday. I had one of those terrible realisations: tomorrow’s a work day too.

Not only that, but I caught a look at myself in a mirror and discovered I was actually fat again. I knew I must be, having lived quite relentlessly like a celibate Henry VIII since late November, but I didn’t feel genuinely ashamed of myself until that moment.

Most people indulge at Christmas but generally snap out of it a few days into January and get on with their lives. Not I, said the pig. The extended gluttony reawakens old, revolting habits and they don’t die until I’m shocked into action by the reflection of an actual toad.

Mr Toad

It also happened that the following day was Valentine’s Day, which is traditionally a time for unpleasant reflection anyway. So that worked out. I was going to write a poem about my day, but decided against it because I’m not mad at Valentine’s Day, I’m mad at me. Mad as a balloon.

For what it’s worth, this is as far as I got:

The toilet’s life flushed before its eyes.

Constipation… gone.

The weight… over.

Belly… remains.

It could have been a masterpiece, obviously, but it wasn’t to be. See those double meanings? You’ve lost weight because the wait’s over now you’re not constipated. But you’re still overweight - the belly remains, despite releasing its final contents - its remains, you might say.

I’ve just talked myself into believing it’s a fine poem in its own right. Glad I left it at that and didn’t bring love into it.

What was I talking about again? Oh, the fat.

Fat

The problem was it had taken this long to realise. Why hadn’t my mirror revealed the truth to me sooner? Much as I try to avoid it, I see my reflection in it everyday.

In fact, it wasn’t my own mirror that told me. It was one I don’t see very often, at work. Have you noticed how the mirrors in brightmares like Boots are shockingly realistic and make you ashamed to be out in public? Those are the honest ones, and this was like that.

They’re the HD televisions of vanity. Every nook, cranny, blotch and sag of your dreadful visage is exposed. The mirror at home is too familiar and fuzzy. It lies to protect your feelings. It’s still got Teletext.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to avoid getting in this state again, I cannot rely on mirrors. They either pat you on the back and tell you everything’s fine, or slap you in the face when it’s too late. Mirrors aren’t friends.

Mirrors aren't friends

Fortunately, a couple of years ago someone invented a thing called a camera and that’s going to be how I sort my life out. As of Valentine’s Day I’ve been taking a photo of my face everyday. I plan to do this for precisely three months. On May 14th I’ll compile all the photos into a video that tracks the transition. If all goes well the end product will resemble a defaced ball sack slowly deflating.

It’s not an original idea, but I think it’s a pretty good incentive to lose some weight. Unlike that swine the mirror, the camera never lies. Every time I have the urge to neck a Pot Noodle (at least twice a day) I’ll just think how it’ll look in tomorrow’s photo. Fool-proof.

To show I’m genuine, at least partially, here is the first photo. Here is me at what I hope will turn out to be my lowest ebb. Here is me blotched and bloated to buggery, wishing I was dead or at least that my eyes aligned properly. Here is me on the most romantic day of the year:

Me on the most romantic day of the year

Sorry to put you through that. Suggest you keep a copy in your wallet and have a good hard look whenever your self-esteem is threatened.

See you in three months!

Will-They-Won’t-They-Just-Fuck-Off… A BT Infinity Saga

Whatever your opinion of BT as a telecommunications service company, you can’t deny that Nick (from My Family) and his significant other Jane (from nowhere) were the Ross and Rachel of drippy advert soaps.

From their first meeting we knew in our hearts someone would have to invent Facebook so we could eventually use it to choose Jane’s wedding dress, but like all great love stories their relationship was fraught with turbulence.

Adam and Jane

Who could forget the time Nick had to go and work in a different bit of country? Or the time Nick bumped his head and got amnesia and forgot how to open crisp packets for a fortnight? Or the time Jane got a rash on her flange?

Their wedding night screw was against all odds, which made it all the more satisfying in the end. And because BT is so down with social media, the full event can be viewed and rated on YouPorn. Believe me.

Now it’s a time for a new story to begin, and I couldn’t be more excited. Here we go…

 

Ah, um. Where do I even start?

Simon is the sort of person for whom everything is ironic, random and a little bit quirky, to say the least! He thinks Noel Fielding is a riot, and tries to replicate his tiresome style here with a non-anecdote that’s hilarious by sheer virtue of ‘involving’ a banana and a mug. Where vague storytelling and objects you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find together collide, comedy be guaranteed.

He says other self-conscious things presumably intended to make it as easy as possible for us to despise him. Uses phrases like ‘these bad boys’ and words like ‘apparently’ like they’re going out of fashion.

And go out of fashion they surely will. Just as YouTube videos are ten times unfunnier viewed on a TV, so can you guarantee that by the time advertisers try to take advantage of the online zeitgeist people will already be long sick of hearing ‘epic’ to describe bowel movements.

Brian has saved some money on car insurance and now feels epic! No, MoneySupermarket, stop being embarrassing. And Simon? Fuck y-

-who’s this?

 

Got it, it’s a cute, kooky girl who uses words like ‘viddy’, ‘doofus’ and ‘bums’ instead of words like ‘video’ ‘Simon’ and ‘Simon-holes’. The kind that only exists in the minds of writers with wishes to fulfil.

She keeps flicking her mouth and head about because she’s sort of sexy in a safe, weird, ‘acceptable face of woman’ sort of way. She wears a kooky hat. She has an imaginary friend called Sven.

I wouldn’t normally scrutinise a character in an advert to such a degree, but this is BT we’re talking about - we expect more. This isn’t even a TV advert - it’s an online ‘teaser’. BT seriously want us to invest in these miserable characters so they can eventually flog us their old crap.

So far our cast scores 0/2 in terms of watchability. It’s all down to our third and final character…

 

0/3. This wettie makes me think I was too hard on Simon. He can do his own washing, can he? I’m on the edge of my seat. Can’t wait to see what else is in store for Joe.

Will he spiral into depression and forget to get his haircut one month? Will he experiment with sex with girls? Will he phone home on Sundays?

One thing I will say for this video is that it explains why they’ve shifted the focus away from Jane. She’s aged about as well as my colon.

 

This is where the story really kicks into gear. Anna and Joe arrive plausibly at exactly the same time, and you can cut the tension with a fibre optic cable as Simon and Joe lock horns over the dame.

See the seething hatred:

Joe hates Simon

The line delivery of “Not enough - broadband capacity! - to support three computers” is so reprehensible I can only assume it’s intended as a cue to side with Joe McElderry in the battle of who gets to play Svens and Nurses with Anna.

"Isn’t that three times faster than the average broadband?" he says. Because that’s how people talk. He’ll emerge victorious though because he’s a reasonable looking lad, whereas Simon is a cross between Dougal from The Magic Roundabout and a bloated prick.

Joe and Anna even exchange a fleeting glance at the end. Star-crossed idiots.

 

Here we get to see more of Flat 6, the most spot on depiction of student living since The Young Ones. I know I have fond memories of sitting in immaculate digs, sober as a judge and talking about technology late into the night. Good times.

Why are they going for the student angle anyway? Everyone hates students. They say things like ‘schoolboy error’ and we hate them for it.

The advert rounds off with Pricktease mocking Hard-On Simon for having virtual friends. The last thing you’d catch her doing is talking to people online. In a kooky hat.

What an actual bitch.

In the latest instalment of the saga we have Joe McElderry branching out into rock music and Chub-On bullying Pricktease before remembering his namesake is on her behalf.

She is visibly repulsed at the prospect of being seen out with Chub-On…

Anna

…with some justification…

Simon

…but because he’s temporarily of use to her, she kindly lets him tag along.

They then exchange tawdry innuendo about Anna’s sex hole being locatable on a map and I tune out imagining the scene with the two actors playing each other’s roles.

They’re clearly just delaying the inevitable union of Joe and Anna. Look at these kids:

Joe and Anna

Sure he looks like pussy and she a clown without make up, but the sexual tension between them is palpable. It’s technically Valentine’s Day now, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a new edition in which the two guys vie for her approval while she sits sniffing her own farts.

I will be following this saga closely and reporting my views as I go. Some things need to be documented. An advertising campaign for broadband that uses the strap line ‘TWO GUYS. ONE GIRL. ONE AMAZING CONNECTION’…

That’s one of them.