January’s Jousters


This is the magic of the written word. A simile has the power to transform an otherwise pedestrian (?) post into a knight, and since we had quite a number of those tricksters this month, it’s a tournament to boot. Look at them take to the field, determined to unhorse each other with their blunted lances. Although I have it on good authority that one or two of them have managed to sneak through with rather sharp tips. Or was it tongues? I forget.

So, let’s get to it. Who made it to the top and whose helmet got the better of them this January? Here is our line-up complete with coats of arms.

2060-end-of-the-worldAt number ten enters Apocalypse. This tale is a sorrowful one, where foresight is both a gift and a curse. This is what fellow bard Chris Nelson had to say: “This is a powerful poem – almost a commentary on the agony of immortality. It’s scary enough how we become desensitised to tragedy by age without the prospect of seeing out millennia. If there were immortal beings looking down on us would they, after all this time, empathise with our plight?”

feministJust ahead in ninth place we have cheeky entry that offers the audience a the quickest way to find out the answer to the following question: Are you a Feminist? “Thanks for the gem!!! It has brought me and several others big smiles,” said cakeleevannila. Let’s hope it can do the same for you.

Sherlock-dressed-as-French-waiterThe eighth contender comes curtesy of the Let’s Talk Opinion series in conversation with thedailygrime and ventures into Arthur Connan Doyle territory: That’s Elementary, my dear Watson. No. Wait. It’s Sherlock!


“A great, great post for the super busy blogger. Thanks for sharing” says prolific writer and blogger Erik Lehman of our next January jouster Danger Blogging: a Let’s Talk Opinion post exploring the dangers bloggers expose themselves to on a daily basis. We have our knight for the seventh place


sherlock-series3-e_2779858bIn a surprising turn of events, we have a second Sherlock contender for the top ten jousters this month. A review of The Empty Hearse takes sixth place. I stand by it: “I blame the hype as well as the extended wait. Two years is a long time for a build up. Perhaps I expected too much and was bound to be  #Disappointed” 

THE WOLF OF WALL STREETNow for the top five! The Wolf of Wall Street comes fifth after a somewhat raunchy introduction on the BBC Breakfast show. Unexpected unmentionables at 9am will certainly make for a different kind of cereal and it also prompted some strong reactions both in favour and against.

protest-against-mumbai-gang-rapeAlthough Rape | A World Pandemic comes forth in terms of views this month, it takes first place for the discussion it engendered. Iceman named it A “Must Read” today. Another reader scottishmomus shared it and commented: “I have no words for what is here. Please read.”

benedict_cumberbatch_03Is it possible for a full month to pass without a certain Mr Cumberbatch making an appearance in yet another Vic Briggs dreamscape? Perhaps it is, but we’ll have to wait it out. For this January sees the alienesque knight and his steely steed return to your screens in The #BenedictCumberbatch | An Unexpected Meeting. He takes third place, and readers have already requested a sequel. Let’s hope he’ll oblige.


Man_Vs_Woman_by_joshnickersonThe runner-up this January, taking home the jousting silver, is a classic battle of the sexes. In Men vs Women | Crossing the Divide yours truly crosses the proverbial lance with none other than OM. Here is what Winifred M. Reilly had to say: “This post was just what I needed. Hilarious. I didn’t resonate much with OM’s complaints, tho amusing to hear him gripe. Your wit is priceless. Loved the weight lifting bit.”


Nadine DorriesAnd for the gold? We have been told repeatedly that the general public is apathetic when it comes to politics. That may be so, yet it would seem that we still want politicians to be held to account, especially when they are in charge of the country. Xenophobic Tory MP Nadine Dorries blames immigrants for recent UK floods is our jouster of the month.

This is all from the Top Ten Shards this January. If I got you in the mood for a little jousting, remember: you receive one point for breaking your lance on your opponent’s chest, two points for breaking it on their helmet, and three points for an unhorsing. Farewell!

Sadomasochistic Sex, this morning on BBC’s Breakfast Show


“Leonardo DiCaprio had to immerse himself in the world of glamour and greed,” said BBC Breakfast this morning in reference to the actor’s latest Golden Globe award for his performance in Jordan Belfort’s The Wolf of Wall Street screen adaptation.

In an interview for BBC1’s Breakfast show, DiCaprio said of Belfort’s book that it was written as a cautionary tale and that it reflects something within our very culture. He denied, when prompted by the interviewer, that his attitude to life is in any way comparable to that of his character, although he did allow that “the lifestyle is attractive.”

The film broke records for the amount of swearing in it, and has an 18 rating.  David Austin from the British Board of Film Classification was invited on the show to give some insight into the BBFC’s decision to update its guidelines to give “greater weight to the overall tone or theme” of a film.

In commenting on The Wolf of Wall Street’s record-breaking amount of swearing, BBFC’s David Austen claimed that: “In the classification of that film swearing is not the key issue. (…) There were several sex scenes which featured group sex and sadomasochistic sex, and the film also contains quite a lot of drug use as we just heard from Leonardo DiCaprio, including snorting cocaine from naked bodies. So those on their own put the film to 18.”

I have to admit that does not surprise me, although I was somewhat perplexed that this particular subject made it onto BBC screens at 9am in the morning. Presumably most children are expected to be in school by that time. Just hope that those who stayed behind with a cold were promptly redirected to CBBC.

How quaint too that in the context of discussing sadomasochistic sex, group sex and drug abuse, the guest was still aware of the no-swearing rule, as exemplified by the remainder of his comment: “There was a lot of use of the F-word, and there were three uses of even stronger language, including one directed from/by a man to a woman. So the language contributed to the 18 rating, but the 18 rating was already secured by sex and hard drug misuse.” 

Hard drug misuse? It made me wonder whether there are such circumstances when hard drugs are deemed to have been used appropriately. Perhaps if characters were satisfied to snort cocaine off mirrors, like any self-respecting celebrity, then it would cut the mustard with the BBFC’s expectations.

BBC BreakfastNo wonder the presenter, Susanna Reid, felt the need to apologise for the excess of information at such an early hour.

All I know is that I’ll have my “foul language” and “extreme sex” checklist at the ready for my next cinema stint.

The Wolf of Wall Street is due in cinemas across the UK on Thursday, the 16th of January.