Twitch Streaming and Human Connection

I’m a little behind the times, and so I’ve only really just figured out what Twitch is. I’ve always known it to be a streaming platform for gamers, but I’ve never really had a reason to tune in to anyone’s channel.

This autumn has seen the release of many games that have peaked my interest, and so YouTube clips eventually lead me to streams from dedicated full-time gamers. Most are working for tips, as any live performer would, with the more established streamers making a living from subscribers (patrons) and sponsorships.

I remember Twitch being criticised last year for allowing non-gaming streamers on the website, largely because this came in the form of “hot girls” in low-cut tops talking to their camera for tips. It was thought that these streams would take audiences away from the gaming streamers, but the website appears to be as popular as ever.

These non-gaming streams spawned sub-genres such as Music & Arts, Just Talking and Game Shows. Also ASMR — Gently crafted soundscapes to help you relax and sleep.

As someone who dabbled with live streaming around ten years ago, I completely understand the appeal of performing and reaching out to an audience.

Back then it was basic webcams and cheap USB microphones on a now-defunct platform called Blog TV. I never tried to make any extra pocket money from it, but my friends and I put together a 48-hour long livestream to raise money for charity.

Even though huge pockets of that were broadcast were unplanned, I remember having so much fun scheduling segments from various artists, performers and guests — All talented friends who, like me, just wanted to be noticed for a moment whilst doing something to help others.

We switched between webcams to different areas of my attic bedroom that had been converted into an amateur studio. It felt like a reverse Wayne’s World for the digital age.

Life happened, as it always does, and so I stopped streaming — But it was fun while it lasted.

During our two-day livestream we were featured on the front page and peaked at around five-hundred viewers, which is a drop in the online ocean compared to the number of viewers that top Twitch streamers get nowadays.

As I type these words, the two most watched channels in the world right now have 50,000 and 25,000 viewers each. They’re playing the games Fortnite and a little game you may have heard of, called Chess.

The most beautiful thing about this is that twice as many people are watching masters play chess than are watching a Fortnite streamer. I guess you can’t beat the classics.

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The overall Twitch community doesn’t seem to be too healthy, but like all digital social circles it’s hard to pin-down exactly who the average Twitch user is. Some streamers will have an obscene chat, filled with memes and bigotry — Whereas others will have a positive chat, filled with memes and love.

So I guess memes are probably the common trend, and you cultivate a community that reflects your personality.

I find it difficult to keep the chat open whenever I’m watching a stream, because it’s usually a barrage of nonsensical noise, with people looking to connect to the host.

That’s the really interesting thing about live-streaming — The connections people are looking to make.

In the digital age we’re all just looking to connect to others. Every time we post a Tweet, photo or update, we’re asking for people to notice us. We want to be recognised, seen and heard in an increasingly loud world.

As much as I keep this daily blog for personal reasons, I can’t deny that my heart is warmed whenever someone likes a post or comments on some nonsense I’ve written.

Social media induced endorphins man; The real drug that’ll get you.

Streaming though, particularly on Twitch, is a raw and extreme version of that connection. Sure you can glam yourself up, change how you behave and even adopt a persona, but ultimately you’re putting more of yourself out there for the world to see than in, say, a photo on Instagram.

You’re live, you’re unfiltered and you’re asking to be noticed.

I think it takes a dash of ego to be a successful streamer — To plug away for so long in order to gain an audience. But I also think that bravery is a crucial trait, just because of how exposed you leave yourself to a faceless crowd.

I’ve seen explicit and inappropriate things in Twitch chats, largely directed at female streamers who’re just trying to play a video game and, presumably, not looking for men to describe how they would get into her pants.

But I’ve also seen the uplifting — The harmless communities formed around a shared interest and personality, the stories told to each other, and the games played together.

The most interesting part of this platform, for me, is the new streamers. The people who’re playing to an audience of less than five, but are still trying just as hard to gain a following.

This next bit is going to sound a little creepy, but imagine me approaching this with Louis Theroux levels of inquisitiveness and it’ll seem a little better.

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I’ve found myself scrolling to the least-viewed streams of a game and tuning in. In some cases I’m the only viewer, and the person is just sat there, playing their game. Then, after a few moments they notice they have someone watching (me), and so they begin a performance.

They start to commentate themselves, and make a few forced jokes. You watch them transition from someone practicing a routine at home, to performing that same routine on a stage, as they shift from one version of themselves to another.

It’s fascinating to watch, but I don’t linger for too long, as the interaction is all one-sided. They talk into a microphone and I watch, both of us gaining some kind of distant human connection for a moment before parting ways for good.

As I said, a little creepy, but it’s so intriguing to witness a live version of someone looking to fill that basic human need of connection. And not only that, but at its very root.

Watching someone stream to an audience of two is like noticing that someone in the room wants to say something — The connection isn’t fully formed yet, but they’re trying, in order to connect to others. And in that seed for potential interaction you see a familiar struggle — You see yourself and everyone you’ve ever known.


Today is Wednesday, November 28th and my cat jumps at windows to get the bird, but she never gets the bird.

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Reignited and It Feels So Good

I’d say that approximately 9% of my childhood was spent playing Spyro the Dragon games on my Playstation. This past week I beat that record by 91%, by playing Spyro the Dragon games on my Playstation.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy has finally arrived, after a full year of teasers, trailers and delays. This three-in-one remake is a remaster of the original Spyro trilogy, and sees one of the most innovative 3D platform characters take to the skies once more.

This game has been eagerly anticipated by myself and many since the release of the Crash Bandicoot collection last year — A cartoonish remaster that delivered on graphics, but one where some of the movement mechanics failed to register with the old-school feel.

Spyro does not suffer from these gameplay issues, as this HD purple dragon handles and feels like his limited polygon 90s counterpart. If that’s because the studio, Toys for Bob, decided not to mess with anything beyond the graphics, then they definitely made the right decision.

I began with the first game, as I imagine most players did, and my childhood muscle-memory immediately kicked in. I raced that dragon through levels at lightning speed, before slowing down to take-in some of the upgraded scenery.

Each level has the exact same skeleton and tone as it originally did. The colours are even more vibrant than before and everything has been fleshed-out. Details and props adorn walls, hillsides and backdrops — But none feel out of place. Whoever was in charge of adding textures and more colour to these worlds has done a great job of staying true to the original vision of the games.

The enemies and fodder have been rendered cuter and I’m mad about this, in a good way. I genuinely felt remorse when toasting or charging certain gnorcs, dogs and sheep.

Some of the enemies didn’t feel like enemies, and I started questioning who the good guys were in this narrative. Sure, Gnasty Gnorc has incased all of the other dragons in crystal, but Spyro then goes on a Gnorc massacre, whereas not a single dragon dies. I’m sure there is some allegory for the Israeli—Palestinian conflict hidden in the subtext here. I’m absolutely certain of it.

The first game flew by fast, as there are fewer individual challenges compared to other instalments. It’s all about treasure hunting and dragon collecting.

Speaking of treasure hunting — The gem collection system is as enjoyable as ever. Touching bright colours and watching digits increase to a satisfying, round number was my favourite pastime as a seven year-old, and now apparently is again at twenty-five.

My non-gaming wife and partner in crime picked up the controller to play the first Spyro game and took to it in no time. She found all the treasure in every world she has played so far, so I’d highly recommend this game to parents with younger children looking to play a decent platformer that harkens back to an older generation of gaming.

That’s both a compliment and a burn on my partner and I’m okay with it — “Non-gaming” is the operative word there.

spyroreig2

The second game played even better than the first, as colourful characters and even brighter worlds emerged. This game has more challenging moments, with Spyro having to carry out specific tasks to earn Orbs. I had no “trouble with the trolley, eh?” this time around, but some spark-plug thieves and an angry oxen gave me a run for my money.

They have turned Elora (a fawn, you dork!) and Hunter the Cheetah into complete furry fantasies. But I think it’s probably impossible to design a cartoon anthropomorphic animal these days without adding curves, muscle definition and no pants.

I mean, I bet they could try, but statistics show that furries make up 69% of gaming consumers, so they’re not a demographic you really want to alienate.

Each world in Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer (I refuse to call it Ripto’s Rage, as an EU original) feels like it has its own identity. This is helped by individual characters who aid you in each of the worlds.

Highlights of these characters include the Breeze-Builders and the Land-Blubbers — Two sides who can’t find common ground despite sharing many ideologies. They’ve been at war for longer than they can remember and…damn they’ve done it again haven’t they? Another allegory for the conflict in the middle-east. Spyro with the hot-button issues over here.

I’ve just started playing the third instalment, and I’m curious to see what they’ve done with the secondary playable characters — Especially my boy, Agent-9. Already they’ve nailed the colour palette of this third game, which to me always felt like a vibrant celebration of the Year of the Dragon.

For me, the third game is the best game, as it takes the best features of the first two and cuts away some of the issues from both. It’s also the most challenging, in terms of time and difficulty, so I’m curious to see how I handle some of the skateboarding and speedway races.

I’m also curious to find out how they’ve represented Israel and Palestine in this game, seeing as how it’s obviously a thing now. Probably something to do with Sgt. Bird, that warmongering shit.

I can’t recommend this game enough, as it’s more than just a nostalgia trip. If this were released for the first time today, it wouldn’t sell as well, but I’d hope it would still receive critical praise as a platform game.

Parents! Are you sick of your kids asking you for another loot box so they can find that MEGA TIT CANNON in Fortnite? Well, listen to that nonsense no more, by buying them the Spyro Reignited Trilogy this Holiday season.

All of the colours of Fortnite, with none of the additional expenses! Wholesome gameplay that’s fun for the whole family. No longer will you hear your seven-year-old yell that he’s going to plow someone else’s mother, as he’ll be too busy chasing the dragon.

Wait…not that!

Spyro for President! 9/10 — Only loses a point for not being an original game.


Today is Monday, November 26th and I ate my weight in mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving weekend.

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So…Lock Her Up…?

One of the more bizarre battlecry’s from the 2016 Presidential campaign was “Lock her up!” The chant was championed by various Republican personalities, and used at Trump rallies. The ‘her’, in the ever-so witty chant, referred to Hillary Clinton. Her crime? Using a personal email to conduct government business.

It was revealed yesterday that Ivanka Trump has spent the last year doing the exact same thing, in what is only the ninth biggest act of hypocrisy from the Trump presidency so far.

I always go on about how difficult it is to talk politics with a die-hard Trump supporter. I can always get beyond the hate to address the person behind the opinions, because as awful as it is, there’s usually a reason why they’ve started thinking about people that way, and it’s usually not entirely their fault. I do struggle with the logical inconsistencies though.

Hillary using a private email for government business was the epitome of the “swamp” that Trump talked about during his campaign. You know, the one he wanted to drain, but instead he has offloaded a quagmire of corruption into American politics. The swamp, now 45% more swampy.

To Trump and his merry band of bigots, Hillary was the epitome of a corrupt swamp politician, and one who needed to go.

So let’s assume those opinions are true for a minute, because there is something a little off about using an account that can’t be documented when working for the public. My opinion at the time was that she shouldn’t have done that, but compared to Trump’s crimes it was a drop in the ocean.

I never have and never will be a supporter of Hillary Clinton. She was simply the lesser of two evils in a horrible campaign, one filled with all the elements of a corrupt and poisoned democracy.

But Trump supporters died on the hill of sending Hillary to jail because of her emails. And so therefore, for them to remain principled and hold-true to the beliefs of their established political perspectives, they should also demand that Ivanka be locked up.

The timing of this Tweet made yesterday is unbelievable. “Quick, I need to help incarcerated women right now, in case I end up in there with them!”

Now, I’m not calling to lock Ivanka up, at least not for this anyway. She made a shady mistake, but it’s one that politicians have made for the last couple of decades — People in power have done worse things.

It’s Trump supporters who should be calling for Ivanka to appear behind bars. I would certainly have a lot more respect for them if they did. As it would prove that they aren’t just about following a populist figure to the bitter end.

It would prove that Trump genuinely spoke to them in 2016 about the issues they were concerned with, but that they’re smart enough to recognise when one of their own breaches that trust.

I don’t want any jokes about that not being likely, and that I shouldn’t hold by breath. We need to put more faith in them to do the right thing, because I still believe that they can.

Not all of them, some are too far gone of course. But most were caught up in a wave of populism, and found themselves having to defend their party, despite who it offered up as its leader.

Some will have to realise, especially in the dying days of this first term, that none of the promises made were kept. I mean, thank God we don’t have an inhumane wall, or we haven’t started locking people up for no reason (well, unless you’re a minority, but that was happening long before Trump).

But really, the Trumps are no different to your average, highly corrupt politician. They’re Nixon, but with all the folds tucked away and stapled into the skin. Ivanka’s email incident is proof that they’re still the swamp-folk who they claimed they wanted to cull.

The cries and shouts of “lock her up” didn’t come from Trump himself, they originally came from men like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone. Trump simply applied them to his brand, because he liked how much support and power it gave him.

Roger Stone has always followed the Nixon MO of “accuse your opponents of the crimes you commit”. I mean, Nixon wasn’t the first to do that, but Stone has a massive tattoo of him on his back, so I’m going to go ahead and assume he’s the inspiration here.

nixonstone

This incident likely won’t be the straw that breaks the camels back. Because migrant children in cages, mass-shootings by known Trump supporters and stripping freedom from the press wasn’t enough.

So why on Earth would it be the emails? Matt, you absolute simpleton, you didn’t think this through!

I just thought I’d try and make the argument, because it was an issue that they’d previously rallied against. People love it when you point out their hypocrisies, right?

Wrong. I guess I just have to hope that every time the Trump administration does something they originally accused opponents of, another person falls away from the deep red crowd.

I have to hope because I have to believe that people can be better, if we don’t have that then we’re not going to get very far as a species.

The way I see it, Trump supporters have three ways of reacting to this situation:

  1. Admit they were wrong when calling for Hillary to be locked up, that she didn’t commit a crime, but Roger Stone and Steve Bannon should be blamed for the rhetoric. Lock them up?

  2. Condemn Ivanka as they condemned Hillary, because this is their principal and they’re sticking to it.

  3. FAKE NEWS, Ivanka did not use a personal email to conduct government business, despite hard evidence from several independent sources.

Options one and two take a big person, and would earn them a lot of respect from non-Trump supporters. Option three is why we’re slowly and collectively walking into the scalding surface of the sun as a democracy.

I know what you think, but like I said, I have to believe that people can be better. I really do.


Today is Tuesday, November 20th and The Sunset Tree is a terrific album.

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Say No to Michael Avenatti

Brexit may finally be happening, as a draft deal now appears to be on the table. People are resigning, defending, attacking and the general public still feels uneasy about the whole thing.

I could attempt to unpack all of that today, but I feel as though I need one more loop of the twenty-four hour news cycle before I remotely understand it myself. So instead I’m going to write about something else that makes me feel uneasy — Or rather, someone…

Michael Avenatti is a lawyer. Most notably he’s the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who signed an NDA with the President before 2016, that she’s now trying to get out of. He also claimed to represent women who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, although to me, his gas-blowing in that situation only muddied the waters of a clear and personal testimony from Dr Ford.

You may also know Avenatti from Twitter, where he regularly roasts and “triggers” the President of the United States. He claims to be able to get under Trump’s skin because he’s not afraid to talk at his level. Is it hot down there Michael?

Whenever a major news story breaks in America, Avenatti isn’t far behind. You can usually find him becoming legally involved with someone who is a part of that story. Which tells me that the similarities between Avenatti and Trump ring-true in at least one way; They both chase fame no matter the cost.

You may have heard that yesterday he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He has denied these allegations. If they turn out to be true, then I can see why he compares himself to the Orange God-King on Earth.

Avenatti invites these comparisons because he wants to position himself as an anti-Trump. A person who plays his game but fights for the “good guys”. He’ll insult and intimidate, but don’t worry folks, this bully is in our side!

Yeah, I don’t think so.

There have been strong rumours that he will run as a Democrat in the 2020 Presidential election primaries. All to capitalise on the position he has carved out for himself over the last few years. This is nothing but terrifying to me, and is worse than the rumour that Hilary is planning on running again. 

The remedy to Trump politics isn’t more Trump politics.

It’s clear, given the laughing-stock that America has become to the global community, that a President should have at least a small amount of political experience. They shouldn’t just be famous lawyers or businessmen who fancy a gander at glory.

The ideal politician has worked in education, healthcare, the armed forces or the public sector for a decade or two, before they transition into a different public-servant role. I’m aware they can’t all have those credentials, as most decent people from those backgrounds are smart/humble enough to not run for office.

We can do better than Trump and Avenatti though, I think — I mean, I have to hope. Otherwise I’m living in a room with upturned furniture and pretending everything is fine by sitting on the back of the sofa and watching TV upside-down, all whilst trying not to drip marinara sauce onto my stupid face.

In 2018 America, we are all that burning “this is fine” dog.

Maybe the rumours of Avenatti running in 2020 are just meant to scare Trump — He’s drumming-up hot-air to intimidate the President because that’s what Trump did to politicians for decades. Except, Trump eventually ended up running, and he won. So I can’t disregard these threats to run for office anymore.

Democrats don’t need Avenatti, and I want to warn people now to not fall for his Trump-esq anti-charm.

His proclamation of beliefs and ideologies are basic for left-leaning people in 2018, but that’s all they are. Of course we all want women to have equal rights, for children to not die at school, and for EVERYONE to have access to healthcare. Those are the standard beliefs of any social-minded individual.

But what makes you stand out to the point you should represent us en-masse? What have you done for the communities you’ve lived in? When have you put those ideologies into practice? Because even if that accusation of domestic violence is proven false, you still have it swirling around you.

The remedy to Trump politics isn’t more Trump politics.

He might be able to throw insults, and make the Orange Big Boy turn a deeper shade of red, but that doesn’t mean we should take politics in that direction. There should be as little insult and bullying as possible, and the only hard words in a strong democracy should come from the press, as they push for answers that accurately inform the people.

If we side with Avenatti in 2020, we sink to a Republican level. I would rather win the race the right way in 2024, than win the wrong way in 2020.

Despite the narrative that’s sang by many, liberals are currently in the passenger seat, and we’re riding shotgun to a maniac driver in the losing lane. The only thing we have left is the moral high ground, and if we back someone like Avenatti just because they have the stones to go toe to toe on insults with Trump, well, we’ll fall from that too.

Avenatti 2020 would be like reaching for the wheel of the car and swerving us into a tree at ninety miles per hour. It’d be terrifying and interesting for all of about twenty seconds, before everything explodes in our face, and our spinal cord launches itself through our eye-sockets.

Sure, we might have to sit Bernie or Biden in the losing seat, and endure another four years of being driven around by the maniac. But that means by 2024 we’ll have a star driver, some young hotshot with experience beyond their years because of the climate they had to endure.

Someone ready to take the wheel from the maniac, pull the car over, get out and go to work, because this is politics and not motor racing.

Once more, with feeling — The remedy to Trump politics isn’t more Trump politics.


Today is Thursday, November 15th and the British government is being shaken-up as I type.

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Is Nia Jax Dangerous?

Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey was to be, for many WWE fans, the main event of Survivor Series. Ronda is the shiny new toy, who is improving every week, and Becky is on a hot-streak we haven’t seen since Daniel Bryan’s 2014 run. Becky was going to be Ronda’s first legitimate challenger, in a battle of the arm bars — The two strongest characters in modern women’s wrestling.

Yeah, it’s not happening.

During a brawl between the Smackdown and Raw locker rooms on Monday, Becky received a stiff (real) forearm to the face that shattered her nose into a bloody pulp. According to WWE, Becky has a “broken face” (which always makes me think of that Pixies song) and won’t be able to compete on Sunday.

Less reliable sources have reported a potential concussion, and WWE are known to keep those below the media radar where possible, so those rumours could be truemours.

The perpetrator was Nia Jax, a wrestler with three and a half years experience who is cousin to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She struck Becky with a real forearm smash, not at all pulling her strike.

“Don’t really hurt your opponent” is one of the basics of professional wrestling — Everyone else is your dancing partner, and without people to dance with, you’re just an insane person swinging your fists in front of 10,000 people.

Nia has developed somewhat of a reputation over the last few years, as the list of people she has legitimate injured mounts up. While she’s a grown woman, who is as capable of learning a craft as much as her colleagues, I’m not entirely sure it’s all her fault.

You see, Vince McMahon has an obsession with big things. He likes them big. Big men, big women; The bigger the better.

Due to this size fetish, he tends to put larger people on his live TV shows before they’ve completed training or gained enough experience. This happened with Big Show and Mark Henry, two super-heavyweights who debuted on WWE television the moment they were signed.

After a terrible couple of years for both men, they were sent back to one of WWE’s developmental territories, which in modern terms is their performance-center brand, NXT. They came back competent workers, and each found their own success, with Big Show becoming the most iconic giant for an entire generation.

Nia’s career has been rushed in a similar fashion, and she’s making the same mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes hurt people, which subsequently hurts the story. But sometimes they’re just basic errors that take audiences out of the body on body narrative that’s being told.

On occasion, a bigger wrestler can have very little training and learn on the job. Braun Strowman is an example of McMahon’s “big guy on TV now” rule working out. He learned fast and improved with each week, to the point where he’s almost unrecognisable when compared to his debut, three years ago.

Given that Nia was promoted a year after Strowman’s rapid rise, we can see why Vince thought he could do the same for the women’s division. He was looking to create a powerhouse, who would provide some depth and variety to his bantamweight-esq division.

It’s clear that Nia isn’t a Strowman, but that’s okay, she might be a Big Show — Someone who needs to revisit their training in order to be the best they can be for themselves and the company.

The list of women she has injured is alarming, given that Charlotte, Alexa and Becky are women WWE have pushed who have been injured by Nia during a hot-streak. These injuries all appear to have been written up as accidents by management, as Nia continues to receive storyline opportunities.

To be clear, I do think they are accidents, I don’t think Nia is trying to hurt these women on purpose in some Hulk Hogan-level politicking antics. Although, they do both use the leg-drop as a finishing move…

But accidents can happen too frequently in the world of wrestling, and WWE needs to ask themselves how many more storylines are worth ruining for the sake of having a heavyweight in the women’s division.

Nia is about to enter into another feud with Ronda Rousey, the chief active ticket-seller of the company right now, besides Brock Lesnar. If Nia hurts their money-maker, then WWE may take a serious look at her competencies, but until then I imagine they’ll continue to bury their billionaire heads in the sand.

Becky Lynch is on the hottest streak of her career, and of the entire year for the company at large. The most anticipated match of her run has been postponed, and maybe it’ll now be at WrestleMania, and it’ll all work out for the best.

It’s hard not to be mad at Nia for making a basic, rookie-level mistake, especially one that effects a wrestler so close to everyone’s hearts at the moment. I’ve suppressed my anger at the situation, but I’ve also seen vicious personal attacks aimed at Nia via social media.

These, obviously, aren’t warranted. You can criticise her performance as a professional in the public sphere, and analyse her effect on the industry, but the personal attacks are entirely uncalled for.

She may not be at the same skill level as her colleagues, but personal attacks only devalue the argument that she’s an unsafe worker who needs more training.

Nia got into the business at the age of 32, so it wasn’t her first-love as it is for many of the performers. However, there should be no shame in going back to training at age 36, especially when you started so late in life.

Six months at the Performance Center can only be a positive for everyone involved. It gives audiences a break from her character, and 90% of the audience would give her a second chance if she returned after a known period of training. She’ll hopefully no longer be injuring top stars, meaning that company-wide storylines won’t be effected either.

Mistakes happen in wrestling, absolutely, but trends and patterns also form. Wrestling is a learned, performed skill and even veterans with 20+ years experience can make mistakes. It could be that this is all a coincidence, but isn’t it better to help someone who clearly needs it, regardless of blame? Instead of just hoping that it won’t happen again.

I suppose with WWE, ignorance is Bliss.


Today is Wednesday, November 14th and WordPress has a Medium-like layout now and that’s cool.

Election Day Hangover

I ended up watching a stream of the BBC election night coverage. I gave the American channels a go, but they were either too loud or too dumbed-down. Election night is supposed to be a mix of complex issues, tight races and bright colours, and the BBC provides all of that.

Don’t give me any grief about illegally streaming the BBC News Channel. I paid my licence fee as a student, where many others did not, and so I feel like I’m owed the occasional broadcast in my life overseas.

Don’t worry Tony Hall, I’m not illegally watching your precious Bodyguard. I bet you can’t believe your luck, can you? That the hot-guy-generic-plot formula has worked for you yet again.

bodyguard

I’m feeling sort-of neutral about the mid-terms, because everything happened as expected. You’ll hear both sides claiming victory, and they’re right to do so. Neither party did anything unexpected, but Democrats had to take the House and Republicans had to hold on to the Senate.

Trump is seeing this as a personal victory, due to the fact that the “blue wave” was a mere blue ripple. Only getting covered in a little bit of bird shit is not a victory, it’s just not quite as bad as falling head-first into a cart full of manure.

Although, if you’d been told by the media for months that you are to expect a head-first dive into a steaming pile of horse dung, and all that happens is a seagull craps on your left shoulder — Then I guess you’d be celebrating.

“We have the best, American-made seagulls, okay? I welcome the white substance that is now upon my person. This creamy puddle of waste even says it’ll vote for me! Sean Hannity, get up here and talk to the people!”

Trump says that the candidates who kept to his party-line were re-elected and those who didn’t are now gone. That’s not strictly true, as most Floridian candidates distanced themselves from Trump on issues such as climate change and immigration, and many Republicans found re-election there.

A huge positive for America as a whole is the higher-than-usual voter turnout. It’ll be some time before we see the official figures, but most are predicting that they’re extremely high for midterm elections. A higher voter turnout means a stronger Democracy, and while 50-60% is far from perfect, it’s better than the usual 40%.

There were still huge pockets of eligible voters who didn’t cast a vote this time around, and that’s okay. We have two years to convince them otherwise. Especially as those who support nationalism (he said it, he called himself a nationalist) are already casting their votes.

In theory those who remain are the apathetic middle, who’re sick of the back and forth of American politics — Which is a fair viewpoint to have. What I would say to those people is that you can make all of that go away by voting against the party who is currently trying to divide America in ways we haven’t seen for decades.

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Beto O’Rourke didn’t win in Texas, but he fought the incumbent Ted Cruz to within 250,000 votes. Texas is officially purple. Either that or they recognise that Beto is a good human being regardless of his party affiliation. He had an uphill battle, like most Democratic senate races this time around, but fought respectfully to serve the people of his state.

This certainly won’t be the last we’ll hear of Beto. If you can nearly turn Texas blue in a senate race, then you’ll be making a presidential campaign bid in the future, perhaps as early as 2020.

I wouldn’t be mad at this, what the Democratic party needs more than anything else right now is youth. Every time I hear Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden speak, I can feel how out of touch they are. Their hearts are in the right place, but their time has been and gone. I probably shouldn’t be saying that about the future speaker of the house but, for me, it’s the truth.

Bernie Sanders is about the only member of the old-guard who still sounds like an idealistic thirty-year-old, albeit with the surly undertones of a hippy grandfather who has been through some serious political battles.

I want Bernie to act as the Professor-X to a whole team of young Democrats who’re all under the age of fifty. They can call them the B-Men, or the S-Men, or maybe a more gender-neutral term. Even though I’m fairly certain the term ‘X-Men’ is gender neutral because many of them are women.

Young people voted somewhat this time around, but many still dread the idea of casting a vote for some old guy who doesn’t inspire them. Get Beto on stage with his bass guitar and have him finger-away for seven-minutes straight and I guarantee that’ll get young people to the polls. He might have to stream Fortnight on Twitch for a few weeks to gain some extra credibility, but I’m sure that’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make.

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Arizona’s senate race is still officially too close to call, but either way Arizona will be sending their first female senator to DC, and that’s a huge step towards equality. It was a battle billed as activist vs veteran, with the Republicans spending millions on vicious attack-ads against Kyrsten Sinema.

The truth of the race is that both women are ideologically strong, and both are good choices for the state of Arizona. I just always side with the candidate who isn’t launching attack-ads, and is instead stating what they stand for. It’s not my fault they usually happen to be Democrats.

In a way, these midterms have kept everything business as usual. Democrats were expected to take the house and Republicans were expected to hold the senate. These events are typical of the first elections following a new President.

I know many were hoping for a blue wave, but personally all I hoped for was Democratic control of the house. For what it’s worth I read a lot of blogs from people on both sides of the aisle, and it has only been right-wing blogs who have been touting the “laughable idea of a blue wave”, whereas liberal bloggers have remained quietly optimistic at most.

Before I sign-off for the day, I want to warn my fellow filthy lefties about the right-wing controlling our narrative. They think we want communism and so they brand us as communists.

In reality we want someone left of centre who makes most people happy and tries their best, so we can all go back to talking about the politics of Game of Thrones, instead of this impossible Game of Trumps everyone seems to be playing with our lives right now.


Today is Wednesday, November 7th and if anyone rats me out over the licence fee thing I’ll be livid.

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Election Day Anxieties

I’m writing this on the morning of the US midterms, so if you’re reading these words after the results have already been announced, then please excuse my current, probably inaccurate, demeanour. Although I’m always anxious, so there’s probably no change.

I’m a realist, or at least that’s what I’ve come to accept, so I think that Democrats will take the house and Republicans will hang on to the senate. This is fine. Taking back some control from the Republicans is all that matters here, as America is never healthy when one party holds all the cards. Government should be purple.

There’s no senate seat up for grabs in my home state of Colorado, so nothing overly exciting has been happening locally. We’ve had our fair share of attack ads though — I still can’t believe those exist in a country that claims to be a great democracy.

Our Democratic candidate for Governor is Jared Polis, who is a rich (I’m talking two-hundred million dollar rich), white, career politician. Although he is openly gay, so no, he didn’t run for the wrong party by mistake. Currently LGBT people, who make up 5% of American citizens, hold around 1% of elected positions.

I wish I could say that Jared Polis would be helping to balance that figure out, but he is currently an elected member of the house of representatives, so it’s more like he’s moving from one end of the 1% to another.

That’s funny, as a gay man in government and a multi-millionaire, he’s a member of two 1% clubs. Both are depressing for completely different reasons. So good luck Jared, and try to do something ethical and humanitarian with all of that unnecessary wealth you’ve acquired.

It has been interesting to watch the Beto vs Cruz senate race. It’s perhaps the most high-profile election in these mid-terms, due to Cruz’s high-profile status. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like a no-brainer. Beto supports the right to own a firearm, but wants a ban on assault rifles. He wants to encourage business and support entrepreneurs, but still protect the social rights of Texas citizens.

Meanwhile Ted Cruz is…well…Ted Cruz. A man who decided to start saying the word “y’all” as a way to appeal to voters in Texas. How patronising. Here is the data, displayed in a wonderful graph by reddit user mvoviri.

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Also, Beto was a bassist in a punk rock band in the early 90s, which means you can trust him with just about everything, except your girlfriend.

Trump has been holding even more rallies, despite the fact that his name isn’t on the ballot. It makes sense from the Republican perspective, as his was the brand that won them the presidency. The hope from them is that the people who suddenly became Republicans for Trump, will also vote for their candidates if he backs them.

His backing has been the kiss of death in several special elections in the last two years, with many stating that the mid-terms will be seen as a vote of confidence on the walking embarrassment to both America, and our species.

Last night he had Fox “News” host Shaun Hannity appear live on stage and rally for Trump and his candidates. Not that they had any to begin with, but this should eliminate any and all credibility from Fox as a news outlet. Not that it’s really a news outlet, as it isn’t eligible for journalism awards, or recognised as one by anyone other than its viewers. That, my beautiful friends, is propaganda.

Just to be clear, a “journalist” endorsing a political candidate nullifies that persons status as a journalist. They can privately support whoever they want, but if they’re campaigning on behalf of a party then they can no longer accurately perform to the ethical standards of their job description.

Not that Hannity ever had standards, or ethics. You know what, this was actually very on-brand behaviour from the frontman for the ham-faced disenfranchised middle-classes. And no, that wasn’t the name of Beto’s punk band.

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Automated racist messages have been left on the answering machines of voters in Florida and Georgia. They use slurs in an attempt to undermine candidates and drum-up support from the rising nationalist-core of America.

As a sidenote, I’m glad that Trump outed himself as a nationalist, because now nobody can call me ridiculous for comparing his version of the Republican party to the rise of populist nationalism in 1930s Europe. Nazi is such a reductive term though, so 20th century. I think Trumpist, MAGA-head or Nu-Republican make more sense for our times.

I’m hoping that nobody is influenced by these messages, and they’re seen by all as pathetic attempts at trolling the electorate. It’s typical of racists to hide behind an automated answering machine message, instead of owning their beliefs and values.

Even with a self-proclaimed nationalist in the White House, you still can’t own your backwards opinions? You spineless, snowflake, safe-space, (Gab, Gab is your safe-space, you literally have your own branded safe-space) sycophantic, small-minded shits.

I feel as though I’m going to puke, and I’ll probably feel like this until we get a real sense for how the election has gone. I’m prepared for all eventualities. Especially as during the eight years of my active political participation, the world has taken a gradual shift towards right-wing politics.

America has the opportunity to draw a line in the sand today, to show the world that we don’t have to bend to nationalistic populism anymore. That it’ll take another several years, especially considering who Brazil have just elected, but we can start to fight back from this position.

Rational, free-thinking, empathy-filled citizens are currently being pushed off a cliff by a barrage of vitriolic hatred, backed up by lies and misinformation — And I’m going to level with you, I’m starting to get the sense that our fleshy bodies won’t survive the visceral splatter onto the jagged rocks below.

But what if we all link arms? Just as they did in 1970s Coca-Cola commercials, like the filthy progressives we are. What if we did that, dug or heels in and started to push back against the tide?

We do that by voting, by encouraging others to vote, and by informing each other as best we can. Democracy is beautiful, but only when we all participate.

Look after yourselves and each other. You do that today by voting for the people who will look after the most vulnerable citizens. It’s not my fault they’re usually Democrats.


Today is Tuesday, November 6th and I can’t cope. I’m emotionally crippled by the unknown.

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If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

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