The World’s Tastiest City

Tokyo’s 90,000 restaurants (compared to NYC’s 24,000 or Paris’ 40,000) and 160,000 total eating establishments garners no less than 216 Michelin starred places to dine in (down from 226 in 2015 and 267 the year before that), but still head and shoulders above second place Paris, with merely 105. It was also named as the World’s Best Food city by Saveur Magazine  last year, harking on  not just about the quality of local food but also its French and Italian offerings (plus the whiskey, omg the whiskey), and the vast array of global cuisine in general from Belarusian to Senegalese.

to.jpg

However on closer inspection Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto and Nara are geographically one city, though Michelin divides them into three distinct guides, so really that entity beats the lot. On Michelin stars per person (taking away those small villages like Baiersbronn, Germany, Bray, UK, Yountsville, California and er Knokke-Heist, Belgium) Paris beats Tokyo, not just on per capita, but equal on the almost impossible 3 star rated restaurants (they each have ten) – though the Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe metropolis beats both with 14 triple starred restaurants.

These cities may not have the range over Tokyo but pack well above their weight in stars awarded, as do Barcelona (29 stars for 4.6 million), or Hong Kong-Macau ( 92 stars for 7.3 million), both in turn bettered by little old Brussels (30 stars for 1.2 million). But eminent above them all, by quite a margin would be Kyoto with 100 Michelin starred places for 1.5 million inhabitants– the world’s undeclared epicenter of exceptional places to eat. Meanwhile London toots the horn of most different types of cuisine awarded in one place, serving up British, Basque, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, pan-Mediterranean, Peruvian, Spanish, and Nordic cuisine with the appropriate(d) stars.

tok

Anyhoo this is the way it looks for the top selected cities, by number of starred restaurants as of 2016. Lift those trumpets:

  1. Osaka metropolis: (includes Kobe-Kyoto-Nara this is one contiguous city that merged together decades ago, not to be confused with a megalopolis, metro or CSA) 258 restaurants 353 stars
  2. Tokyo: 217 restaurants 294 stars
  3. Paris: 105 restaurants   135 stars
  4. Kyoto: 100 restaurants 139 stars
  5. Osaka: 89 restaurants 117 stars
  6. New York City: 75 restaurants 97 stars
  7. Hong Kong-Macau: 65 restaurants 92 stars
  8. London area: 70 restaurants 87 stars (London boundaries 65 restaurants 80 stars)
  9. Kobe-Hanshin : 53 restaurants 76 stars
  10. San Francisco: (Bay area) 31 restaurants 41 stars
  11. Brussels: 25 restaurants 30 stars
  12. Barcelona area: 25 restaurants 29 stars

Inhabitants per restaurant / star looks markedly different. As counted by the contiguous city (not metro), it looks like this. These are the single best places to land your chopper for foraging, provided your PA team did their homework:

  1. Kyoto  (1.5 million) 15,000 people per restaurant 10,791 per star
  2. Brussels (1.2 million) 48,000 per restaurant 40,000 per star
  3. Kobe –Hanshin (3.1million) 58,490 per restaurant, 40,790 per star
  4. Osaka metropolis (14.2 million) 55,039 per restaurant 40,227 per star
  5. Osaka  (8.8 million) 98,876 per restaurant, 75,213 per star
  6. Paris (10.55 million) 100,476 per restaurant  78,148 per star
  7. Hong Kong- Macau (7.3 million): 112,308 per restaurant, 79,347 per star
  8. Tokyo (29 million) 133,640 per restaurant, 98,639 per star
  9. London (10.4 million): 148,571 per restaurant 119,540 per star
  10. Barcelona (4.64 million) 185,600, 160,000 per star
  11. New York (17.5 million) 233,333 per restaurant 180,412 per star
  12. San Francisco -Bay Area (7.65 million) 246,774 per restaurant 186,585 per star

It’s notable how the Michelin people rate restaurants extensively in Europe, covering small towns, villages and hovels across France, UK and Spain but sees a notable drop once upstate a few miles from NYC or Tokyo for example (or was this coverage merely due to well-known celeb chefs opening in small retreats?). Likewise the large gap of unrated Chinese mainland between HK and Macau, which would prove rich findings I’m sure due to the beating heart – now bypassed- of Cantonese cuisine in Guangzhou. The Osaka metropolis however gets European level coverage due to its slew of city centres and different gastronomic regions within the city (Kobe beef a good example). Nevertheless it did get its annual share of doubts for some restaurants that went unrated (did someone drop a fork and not pick it up?).

dimsum.jpgwww.recipeshubs.com

Michelin gets further complaints that they are biased toward French cuisine, and over-awed literally by Japanese, with some coughing abruptly and mentioning how the guide is opening up a new market there that coincides with its generous ratings. –Still, opposing camps complain they don’t rate Japanese cuisine high enough, with its complexities of flavor and form, plus subtleties of acquired taste, and the fact a few thousand stellar restaurants go unrated each year.

fran

en.wikipedia.org

Even then there are so many countries of gastronomic greatness not even rated by Michelin (Tokyo only got rated in 2007), with cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Casablanca, Chengdu, Chennai, Chongqing, George Town, Guangzhou, Delhi, Dubai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, Melbourne, Mexico City, Moscow, Mumbai, Rio, Santiago, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore,  Sydney, Taipei, Tbilisi, Tehran, and Tel Aviv world famous yet still trembling in the wings for the ‘ultimate’ accolade to visit. Shanghai, with 120,000 places to eat is drumming her fingers, and Bangkok, busily tidying away its global capital of street food is especially impatient as vendors disappear.

varq.jpgtaj.tajhotels.com

Michelin, let me remind you, is a tyre manufacturer that publishes road guides (and thus got delving into the foodie scene by awarding stars to rest stops back in 1926), so does not have road guides as yet that would cover for example, the whole of China, or the backroads of Morocco, which in turn would warrant the accompanying restaurant booklet.

michhttp://www.michelin.fr/

The final nail in the hickory coffin is frankly, well not everyone dines out in Michelin starred establishments. It’s not like the 15,000 per capita Kyotoites are funneling into its chichi places to dine each day, let alone year. Edible flowers and gold leaf is not necessarily reflective of the average Parisian dinner, as cool minimalism and outrageous art is not the table at which Hong Kongers usually eat. What’s worse is the galling fact one can have amazing restaurants but terrible cuisine at large – just visit Moscow, or dare I say it, Berlin whose wonderful places to eat – and the extensive waiting lists that reflect that – are like diamonds sold in naff catalogues for Argos. After 50 years of communist austerity.

germany.jpgwww.tomb.net

But of course Michelin has its Bibs Gourmands, nods of approval to places that cost below $40 a head. Though even then, the vibrant street food of Shanghai, market stalls of Fez, food vans of LA, or hole-in-the-walls of Hong Kong –although lightly covered- would still sorely miss out, some of the best tasting options on the planet, but heavily penalized on their non-existent, obsolete ‘ambience’ and ‘service’ ratings.

If a fork falls and a Michelin critic is not there to hear it, does it make a sound?

rattsploid.gizmodo.com

Okay enough of this kitkat break. Next up:

The World’s Biggest City

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The world’s most diverse city

And what about those who choose to stay rather than just visit? Not just tourists or business travelers, but those who uproot themselves to new shores and new lives? Is not the plurality and mix a wonderful measure of a city? Old and new, native and non Native, an array of food, languages, art, faiths, dress, and cultures to choose from, to fall in love with, to intermarry or not. The cross cultural pollination, the exchange of ideas and fumbling body fluids, is not why people move to cities in the first place?

nyee.jpg

theessenceofnewyork.wordpress.com

The title of world’s most cosmopolitan place can go by sheer numbers, or by percentage – in multiple categories. New Yorkers claim the most languages in the world (over 800), and most people period with foreign and/or non-White ancestry at 10 million in the metro, of which 5.65 million are foreign born. Then LA city region pipes up with its 4 million-strong Latino majority, and whopping NYC with a 75-78% foreign and/or non-White ancestry, plus a 4.4 million (24%) strong foreign born contingent. Then the two cities have a pissing contest over the fact it’s rightly or wrongly skewed by the sizeable Mexican contingent.

la

www.cnbc.com

Meanwhile Londoners like to point out they have more communities (50 – 85 depending on the size), 500 languages in a single school let alone bothering to count the rest, and that they don’t/ cannot count ancestry in the same way as the States anyhoo, especially as being Black American or Latino American, hell even Native American for the past 300 years does not make you foreign in ancestry, or cosmopolitan in culture, well according to more European terms. If you’ve been there that long you are from there indubitably. Furthermore White Britons tend to identify within a generation as White British despite foreign extraction whether they be Irish, Lithuanian, Egyptian or Azeri, in contrast to the US where for example Irish, German, Israeli (read: Jewish) and Polish Americans will still identify as such after several generations. 55% of Londoners are nevertheless ‘non-British non -White’, 40% foreign born (counting 4.2 million in the metro), 35% non White and the remainder 45% ‘native’ White Londoners – if one were to go by American style rules – share one third Irish ancestry, and an overlapping half have French. So there. London’s practically of 108% foreign ancestry na na na naa.

Confused yet?

london

Then the Torontonians weigh in with even more communities albeit on smaller numbers – but with ever higher percentages. Sod London’s ‘hidden’ ancestries, 89% fully do not identify as being of Canadian extraction (though tellingly 23.4% claim British extraction, similar to US style). Despite this, in terms of foreign born it still has 2.8 million foreigners in the metro – leaving the others behind, with 46% foreign born. NYC, London and LA metros suddenly look weedy at their respective 23-24% foreign born marks. Numbers, numbers, more numbers.

toront

www.blogto.com

Cue the smaller arrivistes with similar stats – Stockholm (23%), Amsterdam (27%), Oslo (31%),  Zurich (31%), Melbourne (35%), Auckland (39%), Sydney (40%),  Singapore (43%), Rotterdam (45%), The Hague (48%), to the upper stratospheres of Brussels (at 62%) – all of whom have ‘hidden’ ancestries from afield to add on top.

Students_enjoying_the_Grand_Place

But then two words: the Middle East. Cities like Amman and Beirut are now made up of majority diaspora populations (the biggest hosts for both Palestinians and more recently Syrian refugees, transposed on an already multicultural population made up of successive waves of Twentieth Century migrants, in turn transposed  on cities built on millennia of passing trade and conquest). More controversially there are the Israeli controlled cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – does one consider Israeli Jews from across the 20th Century world – or Palestinians – for that matter, non-native?

Another two words: Gulf States. Cities like Riyadh and Meccah already up there with the likes of London and New York with 35-40% foreign born, but the next level up is… wow, just wow.

Kuwait City  counts about 75% foreign born. Similarly 80% for Abu Dhabi, and higher still – 85% for Dubai, with a quarter of the remainder being of Iranian extraction. The main communities are Indian (51%), Pakistani(16%), Bangladeshi(9%), Filipino (3%), and Somali (1.7%), so a bit skewed to one country, yet still these 2009 figures are even higher nowadays (as the emirate’s population has grown a whopping  42% in only these 7 years, mostly through undocumented immigration).

duba

Meanwhile Doha gets pretty up there- coming in at a screeching 92% foreign born, with hundreds of thousands each from a wider range across Asia and Africa – India 25%, Nepalis 18%, Filipino 9%, Egyptian 8.1%, Bangladeshi 6.8%, Sri Lanka 4.6%, Pakistani 4.1%, with an equally large smattering of Western ‘ex-pats’ (not to be confused with economic migrants or ‘immigrants’ in this data no, of course not, NO).

So we may have found a winner. Doha, Qatar:

doha

www.justhere.qa

Or have we? Just what makes a city cosmopolitan or multicultural?

What if a city is staunchly multicultural but is strictly segregated? The Israeli – Palestinian wall, and checkpoints. The workers dormitories of the Gulf, although improved still open to exploitation and the grate of being forever ‘guest workers’. The segregation index that puts much of the US at levels approaching Apartheid era South Africa – and worsening. The divided ghettos of Brussels, Britain’s northern cities and banlieues of Paris. Do we see this as ‘cosmopolitan’? Do we celebrate its ‘diversity’?

la haine

Take New York City for example. It started when National Geographic published a wonderfully detailed ethnic map of the city in one publication in 1993, but despite all its demographic thrills revealing to all the levels of self and imposed segregation. It’s not like New Yorkers universally hate each other or don’t hang out (though a century’s worth of racially biased zoning laws and income prohibitions didn’t help), but they have the choice to live in their ethnic enclaves should they wish, where they can speak, eat, shop, dress, build a community and have their kids attend the schooling relevant to their background.

But what the graphic revealed was shocking to the extent people unilaterally opted for this, where every neighbourhood was 85-98% of one ethnic group, so strictly delineated one could cross from say an 89% Hispanic neighbourhood to a 95% White  (read: non-Latino White that is) neighbourhood just by crossing the street. Paris and its rings of notorious banlieues too comes close. Like New York it suffers that ethnicity also correlates with race, with the broad  rule being the darker you are the lower your position in society. More recent maps show how the 2001 Census stated that segregation was at pre-Civil Rights levels, and getting worse:

nc

Racial tensions in the city have markedly improved since those dark days but the self segregation is still there.  London has a much better track record, despite its community High Streets the ethnic map reveals no single minority predominates despite the city nearing 60% non native.

-And bear in mind the greenish glow below is made up of White British (English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh), and White Other (this can include Arabs, Middle Easterners, Hispanics, North Americans, North Africans, West Europeans, East Europeans, Australasians), with Mixed in Purple and Other in Blue. Likewise the other colours will also hold multiple communities and races within them, notably ‘Asians’ in yellow covering the spectrum from Japan to India to Turkey, and ‘Black’ in red covering Jamaica through to Nigeria and South Africa.

lon

https://www.blog.cultureofinsight.com/2017/06/building-dot-density-maps-with-uk-census-data-in-r/

Close up of some of London’s most ethnic hoods show that they are in fact strongly mixed:

lon2

https://www.blog.cultureofinsight.com/2017/06/building-dot-density-maps-with-uk-census-data-in-r/

The largest minority-majority is in fact Central Slough ward in the metro, that’s 80% Pakistani. That’s still a far cry from New York where that’s below the norm for much of the city, or for that matter other British cities that have seen segregation and economic lines drawn, resulting in race riots as recent as 2001.

Don’t always believe the hype, London is no racial nirvana as yet (averaging 44 hate crimes a day, rising to 72 post-Brexit, which is a norm for many Western cities), and its wonderful mixing is a result of both native and foreign waves of communities bucking the media-driven or institutionalised racism, rather than any government policy.

In fact local councils were staunchly divisive to begin, following a ‘multicultural’ format rather than enforcing the ‘melting pot’ theory of assimilation, as was common in other parts of Europe and the US – the postwar waves arriving from the Caribbean and South Asia being housed in separate communities cheek by jowl with the traditional working class, and given complete freedom of religion, language, schooling, dress and culture. All in a hope they’d develop separately, making smelly food and piercings and bat voodoo in enclosed communities while still propping up the job market, NHS and transport. They did not have to swear to a flag or even speak English.

windrush

The result a generation later was the complete opposite to that intended effect: intermarrying at the highest levels in the West, and drawing equal to or surpassing native performance in schools, higher education and jobs, and identifying as ‘feeling British’ -at least 85%- at double the rates in neighbouring France, where French language, dress and customs were enforced. The result was clearly that people are much more likely to identify with a culture if they’re not forced to do so.

london

The UK is one of the few countries where for once the darker your skin the more you earn (South Asian men and Black women forming the highest tiers of society), bucking decades of the opposite trend. There are however still racial tensions, pushed glaringly to the fore by a decade of tabloid xenophobia that culminated in Brexit, and still institutionalised or subconscious prejudice (anglicised name on a CV anyone?). But the main thing that seems to be propelling London’s inordinate success is rather anticlimactically, the housing market, or to be more specific the notorious UK/London property bubbles – no one can totally afford to choose where they live, or who their neighbours are. To conclude, given half the chance I am sure Londoners would willingly segregate like other areas of the country; just they don’t have the luxury of choice,  deciding on whom they deem familiar enough to share a garden wall, a fag and a chat with.

lonhous

Which brings us to another question: do they have to be foreign born or of foreign extraction to emit these ions of exotic cosmopolitanism?

The world’s diversity index measures sub Saharan Africa, SE Asia and India as by far the most culturally diverse places in the world, even putting immigrant nations such as USA, Brazil or Australia into shade.

FT_Diversity_Map

lingchartsbin.com

Places like Sudan speak 200 languages, Nigeria 520. Indonesia, with its national motto – Unity Through Diversity – has 388 ethnic groups over 13,000 islands (by comparison Europe’s 750 million people and multitude of nations hosts 87 ethnicities). Ethnic maps across these regions look as multi-coloured and complex as psychedelic splatter art, coursing from Africa, through the Middle East, to Central, South and SE Asia in intricate whirls, splashes and eddies that would make Pollock blush.

ken

iran

indochina

indone

India, land of 1.3 billion, speaking for three millennia no less than 122 main languages and 1600 minor ones (not to be confused with dialects that would count into the thousands), with a few thousand tribes and ethnic groups – plus 3000 castes, and 25,000 sub-caste groups, is a black hole on the map. It’s just too complex and impossible to record onto paper. And any one of its main cities would hold a few thousand of these groups.

indi.jpg

siotocedenut.dynu.com

Make a nod to China too. When the call for National Minorities came to register in 1953 no less than 180 tried  – though only 56 had made the cut by 1979. The rest got lumped into one and the same as the ‘Han’ ethnicity, which overnight became the world’s largest, despite their differing DNA, 300 languages, distinct cultures, dress, religions, histories and looks. The main cities may hold a majority of Han (and representatives from each of the 56 officialised groups), but they speak disparate languages and live in distinct communities, from the tanned Sea Gipsies of the South China seas to the semi-nomadic, fort building Hakka, to the Polynesian sourcing Hainanese.

chinn

Finally. Three words: PNG. Papua New Guinea, now we’re talking. 840 distinct languages (half of which are completely unrelated to each other), and thousands of dialects. Each unique thanks to 600 isolated islands and countless mountain- valley systems that have bred 37 major ethnic groups, hundreds of smaller ones and several thousand tribal ones, each isolated from their neighbours in dress, language, religion and culture. It’s mind bogglingly complex for only 7 million people. Gargantuan even.

So there it is. Port Moresby. Capital of the World.

png

Continued: The World’s Greatest Food City

What is the World’s Greatest City?

ny

Dubious question, and one that is contentious to say the least. In the past entire wars were declared over economic competition, trade, hegemony, religion, and culture for that title; today they are argued over endlessly  in annual criteria-based league tables, internet fora and in everything from Trip Advisor to The New Statesman. So why all the fuss? The title breeds geopolitical influence, soft power, tourist bucks and social media tags. Cities are that great coral reef of experience, impervious yet every growing and changing. They stand testament to our lives and livelihoods, our myriad cultures and collective consciousness– with the idea of a single pre-eminent city imbedding itself as a bedrock to contemporary society. A city is, if you like, a crystallisation of culture; the greatest city is the greatest place in humanity.

bjjjwww.johnlake.co.nz

Urban agglomerations are that great marker of history – touchstones of experience where entire eras become marked by their reign, from ancient Rome to Victorian London, Angkor to Edo – with surprising ‘entries’ that stand testament to time (if not in physicality), such as former world’s largest   – the boat city of Ayutthaya, Thailand to the present day hamlet of Gurganj, Turkmenistan, a glorious Silk Route nexus before it succumbed to history’s single bloodiest massacre.

ayuth

gurg

There are many criteria, or handfuls of monikers that can lay claim to the single greatest hit. Richest city? That would be Tokyo, followed by NYC, LA and Seoul by total city economy, to er, Oslo or Zurich per capita.  Most influential city? well that could be anyone’s guess – NYC, London, Seoul get bandied about a lot with the youthful limelight, whilst Beijing, Brussels and Washington DC have the largest bureaucratic sectors. And LA might have something to say about global entertainment.

estoniaeurovision-addict.blogspot.com

Most beautiful city? Once again, the arguments range on everyone’s tastes as collectively supportive for Rome or as individualised to Brasilia. Sydney, Sana’a, Venice, Havana, Fez… the list would be endless. Many would agree the most beautiful megacity would be the complex elegance of Paris, but that would discount the myriad voices calling up the canyonscapes of NYC, the natural wonders of Rio, the futurism of Shanghai or the glorious, pluralist mix that is Istanbul/ London /Beijing. Moreover, how many actually visited, and how many base their opinions from received sources?

paree.jpgblogs.ft.com

ital

yem

Well the proof is in those voting with their feet some say – the most visited city, a rotation between Hong Kong, London, Paris, Singapore and Bangkok for international visitors, might be good indicators. But even with this seemingly narrowly defined criteria – based on numbers of overnighting foreign visitors – doubt still creeps through. Paris only counts its centre in the league (take that EuroDisney!), while Hong Kong is heavily skewed by the large amount of travelers coming in from over-the-border China, essentially the same country.

-And what about those domestic travelers? Are their views not as valid? Places like Kyoto and Orlando see in over 50 million visitors each year, double the top spot of the international-only league, while Shanghai, the freak, welcomed a whopping 70 million during 2010’s Expo year.

rioowww.telegraph.co.uk

Ratings? Well Kyoto, Charleston, Florence, Siem Reap, and Rome are all up there (Leisure and Travel Awards), as are London, Marrakesh, Istanbul, Paris, and Hanoi (Trip Advisor). Sun kissed, party mad Beirut makes sporadic appearances near the top depending on its security situation, whilst several places are as much loathed as glorified (ahem, Dubai, Macau, Seoul we’re looking at you). It’s pretty obvious there are too many cooks – whether they be trumpeting the Michelin stars of Tokyo or the street food of Tbilisi.

Beirut Residents Continue to Flock to Southern Neighborhoods

Beirut, http://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/2007/daily-life/spencer-platt

Plus there’s Quality of Life. The Nordic, Canadian, Oceanian cities doing swimmingly, but the perennial winners being a rostrum between Vienna, Munich, Auckland and Vancouver according to Mercer (39 scoring factors including political, economic, environmental, personal safety, health, education, transportation and other public services) with nods toward Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Toronto for the larger cities, and a whole 37 places before the first megacity over 10 million (Paris) shows her pretty head.

vienna

Vienna, travelaway.me

Meanwhile, Monocle magazine puts a megacity right up there, climbing from 5th to 1st was Tokyo (due to its ‘defining paradox of heart-stopping size and concurrent feeling of peace and quiet’), but recently usurped by Copenhagen, with Vienna, Melbourne, Munich and Berlin (a rise of 11 places since ‘after dark’ living was taken into account) worthy of mention. It’s 22 metrics include several that look at housing and the cost of living, from the price of a three-bed pad to the cost of a glass of wine and decent lunch, plus access to the outdoors, with notable upsets when seasonal changes and ambiance were taken into account in 2010 (Copenhagen, maelstrom of wintry existentialism, still managed to buck the trend).

copenCopenhagen, exithamster.wordpress.com

But then there are those places with the x factor, the je ne sais quoi regardless of manicured lawns and the price of middle class, middle aged lattes. We must bear in mind cities function in the mind as well as body, that they are a cumulative, inclusive experience. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s not just how pretty or rich or even popular you are.

Some pics to finish off with:

indJodhpur, www.theatlantic.com

issTel Aviv, www.allphotobangkok.com

lonnn.jpgLondon dalstonsuperstore.com

hanoiHanoi www.gettingstamped.com

ind

05 People Second Place Photo and caption by Yasmin Mund / National Geographic Travel

Jaipur, India

 

Continued next post…. The World’s Most Diverse City

 

 

 

The Rules of Hollywood Episode IV: End of Days

Children / Monsters

The Kids

omen

www.indiewire.com

1. Liable to be from divorced, stressy parents. Unhappy.

2. Fiercely intelligent. Love to read specialist adult books, do anything school related independently, and pepper  conversations with adult concepts and social commentary. Tech wizards, bordering on nerdy that can parent their parents. Occasional penchant for making their own breakfast and overall an outstanding example of the American school system/ internet generation though somewhat lacking in emotional life skills.

Like that semi-autistic kid at school you secretly ached to kick.

ring

3. Constantly playing main roles in upcoming class plays, productions, science or sporting galas, that coincide with important work, relationship, life or global events .

4. Being taught baseball by their father. They suck at it. Increasingly play soccer at school.

5. When stressed they tell they’re long suffering, divorced parent that they hate them. Then slam the door. But they don’t really mean it. They lie in bed a long time.

emo

6. ALWAYS keep a diary, usually hidden. Sketchbooks with dark drawings and eyes.

7. Liable to be kidnapped. Cry a lot. Love and hate their mothers. Investigative of eerie sounds.

8. Older kids eye-rollingly hate their little siblings, and often have to parent them in certain forced situations, like breakfast or the school run. Older kids are rebels, younger ones are nerds.

jur

mashable.com

9. School is like the prison system, fraught with hidden codes, treatises, tribes,  hierarchies, subtleties and constrictions, but for dwarves. Plus pimples, body shaming, fashion police, class systems, race politics, sex, drugs, social media and braces. Like everything in general society actually.

The Monsters

universal_studios6

travelingboy.com

1. Will attack public transport, preferably train carriages or streetcars. Despite wrecking the vehicles, smashing glass and crushing metal, everyone inside will miraculously survive. The vehicle ends the ordeal the right way up again.

2. Will head ‘to the Eastern seaboard’ and attack only crowded city centres at rush hour – notably, exclusively, New York.

nyc

3. Aliens only ever seem to converge on Earth for our resources, despite there being a billion billion other planetary and solar resources out there.

(Truth is they’re here for the one thing Earth has that a very rare few other places have – biodiversity. And to protect this rare natural resource from its doom-makers. You heard it here first).

et

3. When catching up, they only approach slowly, sinisterly after their prey. When finally cornering the quarry, they will circle, drool and drag out the situation while the victim ekes out a sudden escape route, weapon or rescuer.

4. Multiple heat seeking weapons that take down concrete and create craters 100 feet across are easily dodged, badly targeted or result in firecracker bangs that inflict minimal damage on organic flesh. Armour piercing volleys of bullets are ephemeral nuisances at the worst.

5. Buildings can be easily climbed with no fear of a single layer wall, roof or floor giving way or engineering an entire catastrophic collapse.

kev

6. In a constant state of mid-growl/ roar. Never anything else on the visage. If human you cannot do this (I mean who outside the Presidential race does that??), so a deadpan covering of the face will be needed, preferably an impossibly inky and hard to shake shadow that manifests itself over your head in any given situation, angle or hour of the day. Or twisted, child-like mask, always handy.

5. All human monsters tell all before a kill.

jam

Goodbye, Mr Bond.

Rules of Hollywood Part III

Gender

Women

awom

1. You are slightly underweight, have long hair and wear tight clothes that highlight your cleavage, no matter the weather, occasion or your age.

2. She who runs, falls.

3. If you’re a teenage cheerleader you are vapid, bullying, cliquey, mean, calculating, incipient, evil and pant-wettingly hot. And likely blonde. Since the noughties you have token ethnic cheerleader besties, or may just as likely be brunette to you know, mix things up all crazy! You will likely fail in later life.

heer

http://gabablog11.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/dziewczyny-z-druzyny-5.html

4. Older females no matter how isolated, incipient and characterless they are always have a sassy, straight talking, popular, younger-than-her-years and ever-loyal best friend. Who will die to protect you, or at least get into creeping,  dangerous situations for information.

oui

6. All aunties are cool.

7. Never age. You will always be a decorative object of sexual desire no matter what age, what standing or who you’re married to. Even billionaire expert businesswoman CEO’s who also happen to be young and former supermodels, like Amber Valetta, will be game for bumblingly fat tax accountants like Kevin James. Or obese, myopic, animal-talking professors.

kev

 

7. You scream and cry when frightened.

8. Strongly investigative of strange noises and dark situations in the house/ woods/ haunted castle littered with body parts, while loudly announcing your presence. You can pinpoint your location at all times by repetitively croaking for Frank? FRANKKK??  Fr-aa-nk? while still in the same room. Or waveringly: ‘Quit it Frank, this ain’t funny’ and ‘Cmawn guys’ ten minutes after several glimpses of hairy claws, unearthly skittering and the timbre of sharpened bench tools. You never say ‘Fuck it’ and just walk out. Unhappy face.

sla

9. Liable to trip, slide, break ankles, drop torches or walk loudly into inanimate objects at the most inopportune times. Easily kidnapped, ransomed and leading the man into a trap – either that or killed off entirely.

10. Your mothers are nightmares, and the main source of income for psychodopediatrists the nation over. They love you and hate you. You love them and hate them. And their mothers were loving and hating to them. And you will be equally loving and hating to your daughter. And your daughter will be the same to her step-daughter. And her step-daughter will be loving and hating and loving again to her stepmother’s mother in turn, which is you.

And all you want to do is to stop eating ice cream and get a man. And all your mother wants to do is for you to stop eating ice cream and get a man. And all her mother wanted to do oh just fuck it fuck everything that moves bitch.

11. You cry a lot. In heavy make up. And drink. Even when not frightened. You have bad days and good days. Mostly bad days. It all gets too much behind the smile.

histrionic pd

luckyottershaven.com

10. You take slow, langorous sexy showers with your eyes closed. You never wait for it to heat up,  just step in and turn on the water, facing the nozzle with your fake lashes clamped the entire time. You do not fart or burp, or douche away; no one does this. Me time is still sexy time.

11. You only ever talk about men. You only ever talk to other women about men. If ever you talk about another woman, it’s about your passive aggressive Super narcissto-mum who talks about men. Unless you’re in Sweden.

12. You being in any field of vision alone, in any room, at any moment is a sad, poignant moment. Unless you’re in the car or kitchen (well cmawn, someone’s gotta buy the food, make the food, taxi the kids, clothe the kids, garden the garden, make picnic doilies, dress the church, keep young and fit and work the local social expectation spectrum!). Sad-poignant-moment makes you stare off into the distance with blue skies and steely spirit. That’s where Blue Steel came from.

13. You cry a lot.

Men

  1. Liable to be divorced.
  2. Strong, misunderstood. Brooding.
  3. Good looking women follow you around.
  4. You like plaid.

jack

5. If you play American football you are vapid, bullying, cliquey, mean and incipient.  You are not intelligent enough to be calculating but substitute with brute force and whooping air fists. Will likely fail in later life. Become the baseball cap wearing, stubbly wifebeater, who drinks beer in front of tvs and has a thick Southern drawl.

5.  If you find yourself the Police Commissioner/ boss you become very shouty, chain smoking and ball breaking, actively obstructing any vital investigation due to the rule-book but can often come through in the end, despite your psychopathic hissy fits. You cater to the Mayor, who is corrupt and a bastard.

6. If you find yourself a corrupt official, or someone with very very powerful government links, make sure you pass all confidential, highly sensitive information in dossiers or identical briefcases with the man you are meeting with. Just make sure you do it in crowded public places where there are endless opportunities for extreme zoom and black & white camera angles, preferably open air  – a park bench in New York, a ceremonial axis in Washington DC, or seated right by the big plate glass windows in any restaurant.

Do the same whenever meeting your incriminating long time lover you are cheating on your wife of thirty years with (make sure you kiss publicly at some Parisian style cafe, tickle each other’s faces and run laughingly into taxis). Oh, and wear a trench coat.

fair

 

6. If you are gay you’re loud, sassy and endearingly obnoxious. And highly strung. Mmmhmmm. You tells it how it is, with humour and sparkling eye movements. You pepper sentences with ‘girlfriend’ and ‘bitch’and can be found perched on stools in tight suits or jeans. You only ever go out to banging bars and nightclubs for cocktails. If you are big you wear it tight. Gay women do not exist.

MICHAEL URIE

7. All teenage men – no , in fact all men- are obsessed with sex and how to get it. You are in awe of beautiful, skimpily dressed women constantly surrounding you, who may foray into giving you a cuddle in all shapes, forms and situations, possibly leading to a pitying hand-job. You think and talk loudly about this in a totally  obsessive, stalkerish but socially acceptable kinda way. It is your underlying raison d’etre to everything.

8. All men, no matter what age, class, social standing or looks is able to attract stunning, intelligent, kind, loyal women. Cuddles!  Nudity! Eyes Wide Shut handjobs! She will likely be working at a city hospital, usually a top surgeon or doting doctor who specialises in gunshot wounds for ethnic minority children who she’ll get emotionally involved with. See Women.

jada

melvin-rated-x.blogspot.com

9. Your bestie isn’t good looking and may not be rich or powerful but is just BRIMMING with personality – exuding humour, intelligence (or at least kookiness), charm, loyalty and heart with every step and one-liner sentence. Like Ted without the fur. Your bestie can even be the President (I mean how kookie would that be! Yeah!!!). Or Black (OMG yeah! Yeah!!!) Your every dream come true. He may even cuddle you in a dark moment.

10. All American men say ‘I love you, man’ all the time to their friends, especially at the end of every convo , meet or night out, in a completely, non-homo, non gay, unthreatening, definitely no, not gay , not schoolyard circle jerk, not wet biscuit, not drunken night at the lake, not prison system, not watching porn then having your magic moment just as it switches shot to the guy, not trapped together in a lift with Madonna music playing and it’s gettin hot in here so hot so hot I wanna take my clothes off way, no.

cruise

www.hollywoodreporter.com

Te recap:

Gender appropriate(d) roles

Women: Secretaries, receptionists, assistants, nurses, retail staff, pool babes, beach babes, frat house party babes, teenage party babes, bar babes, Goth bar babes, ski-season-I’m-out-of-my-figure-hiding-ski-suit-now-and-drunk-at-the-bar-in-tight-knits babes, NYC-is-like-so-cool cafe babes, waiting in line at the laundrette babes, line dancing babes, seal wrangling babes, scientist babes, the globally recognised authority on Childhood Neural and Hypothalamic disorder babes, protagonist’s middle aged wife babes, mother babes, undiscovered tribe babes, strippers. Waiting staff in any bar or diner, cooks. Love interest roles.

Men: CEO’s, firefighters, police chiefs, army chiefs, billionaires, stock brokers, techie start-up wizards, writers, hipsters, spies, henchmen, bouncers, truckers, ranchers, cowboys, construction crew, builders, electricians, washing machine repairers, surgeons (unless you specialise in the Ethnic Child Gunshot Wounds Dept), skateboarders, parkour enthusiasts – pretty much any urban sports enthusiast, the person at the head of any table, chefs. Gays. Serial Killers.

The Rules of Hollywood II

Race

kev

www.blallywood.com

1. All Black folk be talkin like they from the ghetto. Even if they’re a stockbroker, an office manager, cop, priest, mayor or judge. Man, whatchoosayin?

2. If you’re a Black man you shoot the hoop on your time off. You are kool n the gang with your White buddy. In a family friendly, Neighbourhood Watch friendly, approachably middle class yet gangsterly kinda way. Like LL Cool Jay in Deep Blue Sea.

3. If you’re a Black  woman, you’re sassy. Empowered. Endearingly obnoxious – you tells it how it is. You are the salt o’ the earth easy to anger, easy to laugh. You are big but you wear it tight. You take no prisoners.

que

4. Every Black church is the heart of the working class community, evangelical and full of shafts of morning light, uplifting music, and clapping. The preacher will be fiery and impassioned, as will be the be-hatted congregation who will sing, shout or nod their exhortations throughout the service. There will be several middle aged women fanning themselves and mhhhmmming.

gos

 

5. If you’re an older Black woman with a serious expression, there are many, many opportunities to become a High Court judge. Approximately 85% of all judges in America are made up of older, Black women with serious expressions. You will be firm  but fair, and liable to call all lawyers up to the bench to give stern admonishments to over your serious glasses.

6. If you’re British there are many, many opportunities to become an evil, globally dominating villain of the highest order. Or a butler. If you’re not insufferably posh (first choice), you can settle for being Cockney. This is the closest to foreign you will ever see.

evil

7. All spies are White, 30 something, fit and 99% male with a token female who is a real ballbreaker, STRIKINGLY good looking, made up, manicured and well dressed the entire time she’s jumping rooftops, like a supermodel striding around on a corporate shoot. For some reason they blend seamlessly into any crowd, however foreign, and will not be looked at by anyone ever. All spies spend most of their time running around shooting stuff (East European shaven headed thugs mostly, which most men from that part of the world are), attending gala events (transformed!), getting involved in spectacular car chases, with minimal office work, shopping, going to the loo, queueing for a latte, getting their cat de-wormed, or dayjobs. They do not keep a low profile at all.

at

8. All muggers are stupid, pale Wasp men in their late Twenties who bear striking resemblances to LA waiting staff, but with dark leather jackets/ hoody, hobo hat and needing a shave. They will often have the tables turned on them.

mugg

9. All people with dark hair, at some later stage in the story, will reveal themselves to actually be Jewish, usually by namedropping Bar Mitzvahs, bagels, schmucks, or their super Jewish parents. Chances are they are also loud, sassy and endearingly obnoxious as Black women. But more highly strung. -They are people too. Like if they didn’t announce their religion you woulda carried on thinking how lovely they were haa!

10. Ethnic minorities do not cry. Given the opportunity, they are stoic. Though really it’s just they never reach that stage of character development in their lives and loves (unless you’re single in NYC, ridiculously rich, powerful, handsome, well groomed, funny, inventive, educated, strong, fatherly and heart-rendingly widowed enough to court Dakota Johnson).

11. All maids are lovely Mexican women who can barely string a sentence together in English. They work hard and look after several impoverished families back in Latin America, for which their low paid job is vital. They are all resoundingly, frailly illegal.

 

emxx

12. LA is riven with Latino gang members who wear slick hair, 90s plaid, do their top buttons up, and sport bandanas like Notorious B.I.G. Their quasi-Mexican accents are as thick as yo mamacita’s guacamole. They prefer knives to guns. Those are for Black people. Statistically they are the least represented on-screen race per capita, more so than even the semi-mythical East Asians.

la

https://www.tumblr.com/search/latino%20gangs

13. Italian Americans have lovely, huge nouveaux riches families and are adoring to their kids, despite their murderous mafia links. One of these ‘family friends’ will be obese and thuggish; and they will all talk with the Italian East coast accent ( not to be confused with the pan Jewish East coast accent, or New Jerseyitians). The long suffering wives wear a lot of gold, peroxide and have big hair, and can be just as ruthless despite their feminine charms. Not to be confused with Jewish princesses.

jer

Actually fuck, it Jews, Italians and New Jerseyudlians are one and the same. They just change surnames on set.

 

14. Native Americans are middle aged, male, wise, long haired and monosyllabic. They live on reservations or national parks and often sport cowboy hats paired with clinking jewelry, beads and totems as constant reminders of their timeless, majestic, pre-modern culture that our forefathers truly fucked to the tune of 98.3% of their missing gene pool. They tend to drive vintage trucks and have guns they use for manly stuff, especially when they switch to horseridin’ (they’re all hunters and trackers). They do not catch trains or hang out in cyberspace, schools, libraries, malls, cities, gyms, Chinese restaurants, nail bars, playgrounds, hair salons, comedy clubs, theatres, sports clubs or bars. They prefer to buy their alcohol and drink it copiously at the trailer park or on the range.

gra

15. Asians don’t really exist. Except as news reporters; or waiting staff.

15. South Asians, despite being the world’s biggest ethnicity, really don’t exist.

dhalsim

To recap:

Race appropriate(d) roleplay.

White folk:  Spies, office workers, bartenders, truckers, pilots, captains, muggers (see 7. Muggers), parking attendants, waiting staff, shop assistants, artists, art students, subjects of art, ballerinas,  ex-pats (not to be confused with ‘immigrants’), travelers, firefighters, surgeons, mountaineers (not to be confused with Sherpas, ‘locals’, or guides who do the same thing), ice skaters, ice hockey players, skiers, snowboarders, East European henchmen – pretty much anything cold related, swimmers, lifeguards, divers, pool babes (see 3. Outdoor pools) – pretty much anything water related,  farmers/ ranchers, cowboys, Mounties, line-dancers, woodcutters, hunters, hippies, eco-warriors, extreme sports enthusiasts, – hell, pretty much anything outdoors related, Europeans, American tourists, academia, hipsters, nerds, rock enthusiasts, Goths/ emos, toll booth operators, Icelandic fishermen. Serial killers. Vampires. Ghosts. Werewolves. Dinner party guests involving pent up, over-the-hill upper middle class people, in melodramas with lots of discussion, trying hard to be funny and blasé.

Black folk: Hip hop/ rap, R n B artists, gang members, basketballers, anything else just so long it’s not academic/ science / tech / finance/ rural / outdoors / er, water / or art related. Judges (see 5. Black women).

Mixed race: Hip hop/ rap, R n B artists, gang members, techs, nerds, occasional hipsters.

Latinos: Maids, gang members, policemen (California only). US/Mexican border control. Token cowboys.

East Asians: You are not in the army, you are not in the arts, you are not in academia, you are not in entertainment, you are not outdoorsy. You are not bar staff, surf instructing, cheer leading, basketball playin’ or any sport in general. You like business school, medicine, tech or nerdy stuff and news presenting. You do not hang out in bars, have family picnics, wait in post office queues, operate toll booths or any random activity that you do (but don’t – I mean do).

Arabs and Middle Easterners: Terrorists. Misunderstood terrorists. Understandable terrorists. Innocent civilians terrifically terrorised by terrorists. You do not hang out in bars, have family picnics, wait in post office queues, operate toll booths, or any random activity that you do (but don’t – I mean do). Terrorists.

South Asians: Sorry, who are you again?

South East Asians: Sandra! Can you show these nice people where the coffee machine and cookies are?

Native Americans: Outdoorsy shit. Seal/ bear/ sasquatch hunters. Chiefs. Majestic eagle wranglers. Canoeists. Guides. Spirit Guides.

Torres Straits Islanders: Thanks SO much! We’ll let you know.

The Rules of Hollywood

We know how it is, the world. We know because we saw it on our screen with our very own eyes. So many rich, talented people can’t be wrong.

 

Places

teen

 

1. Every student halls and Frat house is like ONE BIG PARTY DUDE. All the time. It will be a miasma of smoke, flying balloons (water, helium), bikinis, graffiti, underwear, flying bog roll, pillow fights, skateboarding, running, shouting and jumping day and night. Like, totally.

2. Every teenager’s party will be in a big house with a banging/ RnB  DJ, a pool that a screaming blonde will be jumping into that very second, a big crowd (token minorities and everything!), lots of outdoor lights and free beer kegs. Upstairs in secluded rooms couples will be enjoying drunken, teen sex, with mixed results.

3. Outdoor pools are exclusively populated by young bikini-clad titty models with lavishing curves, big hair and clicking heels swinging to some loud hiphop or dubstep. And normal, flabby men who are obviously on the same level (such as Dave from Accounts), just much more covered up.

 

aa11

http://www.meetup.com/lasvegas

4.Every nightclub in the States has more of the same – big haired strippers with clunky stilletos, cascading locks, and forgetting their dress in a slow mo of hair swinging podium epilepsy (must be all those flashing lights). Overweight or well – normal – women don’t exist.

5. Behind every second door in a hospital holds a drifting clothes hangar full of lab coats. All beds, even empty ones, have clip boards with patient details at the end of them. There may be a policeman or two dozing off on a seat in the corridor.

Lab Coat with Stethoscope on Hanger

6. At every hospital reception sits an overweight Black woman who will steadfastly deny anyone access to highly sensitive, confidential patient records. However, she is also liable to turn the screen towards this complete stranger, wink or nod conspiratorially, then move her chair away.

7.Metro systems are clogged with people on either side of the escalators. Dumpy people are very likely to be upended into complex retail displays by charging criminals. A train will ALWAYS be drawing up at a station at any given time. Assailants almost always choose not to board it. If they do (there will always be more than one), they start at either end and work toward the middle. A chase ensues in which they never, ever catch their trapped target.

metro

http://www.hollywood.com

8.Every city in Asia is drenched in neon, steam, chattering crowds, street stalls and rain. There are no other ethnicities.

9. Every city in Europe is chock full of pavement cafes, cobbles, Italian scooters, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and classy restaurants. There are no other ethnicities.

10.Every American city centre is riddled with fuel laden container trucks slowly crossing through intersections at any one time, or trundling slowly, dangerously along elevated highways. Bright yellow school buses full of primary age kids also feature heavily on any given stretch, even if it’s to the airport.

nk

12.Every American city centre is riddled with  alleyways mere steps away from busy civilised streets, full of stray rubbish, chain link fences, steam outlets and occasional bums (each of whom are white, bearded, wear fingerless gloves, long coats, woolly hats and in pouncing, shouty stupor). Every – and I mean EVERY –  fire escape has a dumpster below it, that’s been left wide open.

13.All forests, coastal areas, bridges, isolated farmsteads, new houses, and hilltop mansions have patchy  or nonexistent phone reception. Civilised peoples remark on it to each other all the time like IT’S NOT THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD, the freaks.

aa5

www.instiz.net

14.Large mansions hold Victorian era soft furnishings, heavy furniture, creepy dolls and sombre paintings of former residents. 20W lighting is needed even through the day. Attics hold old photographs and disturbing toys, and residents and staff are monosyllabic, serious, buttoned up and speak like they’re in the 1900s.

anna

15. All basements are dank, badly lit, rammed with junk and shelving, and have those trap doors that open out to the garden. There is always a random rake/ spade leaning outside, with a wooden handle.

15.All forests are riddled with sudden drops and unseen gullies, that act like leaf litter slides to new, instantly untraceable areas of the woods. They are also liberally peppered with rushing rivers that edge into spectacular single drop waterfalls.

16.All caves or cave-like interiors hold unique subterranean ecosystems made up of sudden flurries of screeching bats, squawking birds (crows mostly), or loudly flapping, crazed pigeons that do that stupid pigeon hum sound but much louder.

brd

17. NASA HQ, in Houston has a massive control room full of computers and one really big screen like a cinema perpetually showing architectural drafts and important looking graphs, and staffed by bespectacled engineers, IT people and scientists in white shirts and discarded ties as time goes on. They like to whoop and clap and hi-five each other every time anything goes right, after days of silent, brooding tension. You might even see confetti. When things go wrong, a young female intern will stand there and cry, staring at the screen.

THE MARTIAN

18.The Southern states are full of trailer parks, poverty, simmering racism and religious hypocrisy. It is always high summer and sweaty.

aaa

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/high-court-upholds-cross-burning-ban

19. California is perpetually sunny, sprawly or smoggy. Its highways are traffic laden and dotted with convertibles, blondes, sunglasses and palm trees. Venice beach is full of dudes and dudettes.

20. New York is perpetually under attack by dark forces, tsunamis, or aliens. Or lawyers. It’s totally amazing to wear your suit to drinks, unless you’re a woman, whereby you will have to pack your cocktail dresses to work everyday. Everyone is like SO full of personality and character and coolness and wiredness and the city is just like SO stunning and it’s SO like Friends with singles roof parties and twinkly lights ( but with token minority pals), and people just can’t stop gushing loudly about how amazeballs they all are for moving there and making it even more fucking amazing. One of their mates will be stupidly /secretly rich and they don’t care for it, coz that’s New Yawk!

You know you want it.

htbs

21. All drivers in America keep their keys cunningly hidden above the visor mirror/ sun shield. No one, just no one knows anyone else does this.

22. Everyone lives in big family houses of fake clapperboard, with gardens and cars, loaded with toys and posters in the kids rooms, endless expensive junk in the garage and basements, huge flatscreens, occasional pools and big suburban plots with manicured lawns out front.

23. Everyone everywhere is upper middle class, even deceptively so. Like when your wise talkin sister will pick up the phone one day in a suit from her spotless office boardroom, or your bestie actually works in a high end law firm somewhere, or is a surgeon. Everyone knows a surgeon.

ame.jpg

www.dailyfinance.com

24. …Unless you’re ‘ethnic’ and somewhere highrise, whereby you live in a crowded tenement with kids playing in the foyer. Every so often a terrified criminal or chase victim will hammer desperately at your door which obviously makes no one want to to open it – unless you’re an old Black lady with glasses, who is easily barged past for a window leading to a metal fire escape, with those open trash dumpsters below.

This apartment is oft next door to covert drugs factories, that if you poke your telescopic micro camera into are populated by lounging Black/ Blatino/ token-White-guys-with braids. These are gang members centred around a huge, dingy sofa perpetually watching tv (occasionally gaming) in a haze of smoke, snacking and quick talkin’ lazy jibes.

tru