My Father’s Chair

It was 1984. I worked in a video store in Northfield, New Jersey.

I was back from California. I failed as a musician in Los Angeles. The angel that rose up in Philly in 1979 as a singer, then a guitarist in Wildwood was cast asunder. It was over. I was back in Wildwood. The place I left in 1982 that I never wanted to return to I sadly came home to. I was back living in my parents house. The first of many failures in my short life. Like Icarus who flew too high, my wings melted and I fell back to the Earth.

Making the transition to being back at home with my parents was brutal. I remember at first I was welcome, but in time my father was filled with disdain for me. Why hadn’t I ever written a letter to my mother while I was away? I don’t know. Maybe I was too busy having the time of my life for a few years without any of you. I learned about life, and how to cook and look after myself. All the while struggling with severe anxiety and depression.

My father got me a job in a video store. It was one of his accounts at the bank. He knew the principals of Home Video Centers in Northfield and Vineland. It wasn’t a little mom and pop video store that used to exist back in the 80’s. It was a massive store, with 500 titles on VHS and Beta and all of the other things you needed to have your own home movie experience. (Does anybody remember rear projection big screen TVs? What an abortion of an idea that was.)

I was hired as a salesman. I remember when I got my first business cards. It felt good. But I used the name Chaz, and my father didn’t like that. I should have my proper name on my cards. Now it feels like my father might have been part Asian based on the amount of shame in my life growing up. (No offense to the Asian culture, but it is a patriarchal society, and honor and respect are paramount. Hence, much of their porn, like Germany is all about shame and humiliation) But I digress…

I liked the job and the people I worked with and for. We were all a bunch of young guys and girls working in a relatively new retail industry. We had the massive rental business, but also sold VCRs, TVs and video cameras. When I think about it now, the technology was so heavy and clunky back then. Massive machines that weighed a ton. Video cameras that almost seemed absurd, because of all of the gear you had to carry just to make a video of your family at some outing. When I think of all of the set up my father did a decade before all of that when I was a kid to shoot home movies on 8mm, super 8, and eventually 16mm, it boggles my mind.

Now it’s all in our phones. Not much bigger than a deck of cards in our pocket. You can do all of that and better now. Better technology but the content hasn’t really changed. You can just stream it now.

I remembered I saved up for my own VCR. I wanted to take movies home from work and watch them for free. I loved movies. My father taught me about film as a young lad. He even dabbled in making his own creative films for  awhile when I was a kid. I’ll tell those stories in a future post.

I loved movies, and having grown up in an age where you could only watch what was on TV at a specific time or go to a movie theater. So home video was king to me. Now I could take a movie home and watch it when I wanted.

So I purchased a used, refurbished Sanyo Betamax top loader VCR from my company for about $300 which was a fortune back then. Maybe it was $250 but who knows? But I thought it was cheap for what I got. I didn’t care. I was so happy to bring it home and attach it to my little 13 inch Sony TV in my bedroom and watch all the movies I was dying to see as a kid. They were all mine now! I had the keys to the kingdom.

There were two formats back then. Beta and VHS. Sony invented both formats. But Beta was the better format. Better picture and sound. They kept the superior format for themselves and sold it to who they wanted, mostly other Asian electronics companies. Sanyo, NEC, etc. They sold the VHS format off to I think RCA or Sylvania. I actually have no idea. But what happened was, more companies made the VHS systems. VHS machines were more accessible to the general public and the inferior system actually won as the victor of what people watched movies on. Beta died. It was sad to see the superior format lose to the inferior format. But there is simply strength in numbers. Those sort of statistics hold up today. If you have enough money and guys, you can crush you competitor. I’m sure Sony didn’t really care because they probably made all of their money back on patents. (And now look at them!)

Anyway, my dad would ask me about some of the films we had at the store. (video rentals) He would ask if we had specific films and wondered if I could maybe bring them home and we could watch them together.

I leapt at this idea, because for most of my life with my father things were strained. Here was an opportunity for us to hang out on neutral ground, and do something together that we both loved.

I don’t remember what the first film was that I brought home. Maybe 3 Days of the Condor, Straw Dogs, or Kelly’s Heroes. My dad would give me a list and I would let him know what was on tape. He would always pick them because he had a history of films in his head that surpassed my brief life. He would pick these amazing films that I would never have known about without him even thought of.  I worked in the store with 500 titles but there were so many great films now on tape that had been silent for years. Video tape brought them all back to life. It was an exciting time. The humble beginnings of all access, all the time, that we enjoy today.

Let me tell you what it was like.

I would come home from work at the video store with a film. He had already set up the night we were going to watch it.

Now let me give you the lay of the land here.

We had this giant house at the shore. My dad had this cool space that was his upstairs in the front of the house. This was his man cave long before man caves were a thing. This space worked for him, because he could have his own little world in there.

This is a guy who worked his whole life to build a life for his family. He worked in a bank as a manager, had four kids; three daughters and one son. His wife never worked and was a full time homemaker. Yea, things were different back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. But the man needed his space and he built the shore house to create his own little private space there. In our old house in Philly, the basement was his space.

He loved Christmas so much he would have his own tree up there in the apartment. Yes… he would buy two really good Frazier Fir trees and one would be the family Christmas tree downstairs and he would have his own tree up in his little lair. He even ran a string of mini lights down the hallway. So basically upstairs was always Christmas in our house. Not weird, just his happy thing.

So, I would come home and we’d set up our night. I would set up a little TV snack table next to his television. I would carry my VCR from my bedroom and wire it up to his TV.

Let me describe my dad’s cave. He had a living room. a bedroom with an attached bathroom and a kitchen with ocean views. Amazing space. He even had a Franklin stove in the corner of the living room. I always wondered why he had that, and then one time the power went off during a storm and he tossed some wood in that thing and it heated the whole second floor of the house. Genius.

So, we’ve got everything set up, and I would sit at his kitchen table and chat with him while he cooked a special dinner for the two of us. I would drink a beer and so would he. Normally we both liked light crisp lagers or pilsners. He would give me a little fresh bread to munch on but not too much because you never want to eat to much before dinner, because you never want to spoil your appetite!

The windows would be open and the fragrance from the sea would waft in. The air is just so fresh and cool by the sea. I love living in the city but there is nothing like it.

He would get a head of fresh lettuce and cut it up. Simple. That was the salad. just lettuce. He would mix and make his own Russian dressing. Thousand Island? Is that ketchup and mayo?  Whatever it was… it was delish. I was with my dad having a beer and noshing on french bread and for once… he wasn’t mad at me.

He had bought two fresh Delmonico steaks. Bone in. Apparently if the bone is in, the meat is sweeter and more savory, because the marrow in the bone lends itself to the flavor. There is nothing in the world like an amazing steak. My daughter is vegan and I respect that, but there is nothing on Earth like men ripping into grilled steak and devouring the fired flesh of those who would devour us if we weren’t such killers. Hell bent on being number one on the food chain to the point where we kill so much we are no longer in the food chain… but again, I digress…

He would have these inch and a half thick delicious steaks. He would put them in the broiler in his oven and cook them there. I know before he put them in he did something with some secret seasoning that include garlic and some other potions not revealed to me. While the steaks were cooking, and it didn’t take long, I would go quiet. I don’t like anyone talking to me when I’m cooking, so I knew my father needed silence to make his food art for us.

Halfway through, he would slide out the tray, and reach for two shots of Remy Martin cognac he had sitting on the counter. He would douse both steaks with a flash of brandy, and they would both ignite in flames as he pushed them back into the broiler. He told me that this would sear in the juices and glaze the outside or something. (It worked!)

I always wanted this part to go on longer than it ever did. I liked sitting peacefully in my father’s kitchen just chatting with him. We talked about everything. Work, life, music, films, girls, everything. Whatever was going on in the moment we would cover. But as some of you know, when it comes to steak, your window for chatter before dinner is always fleeting.

We would sit at his table and eat the steaks and the little brown bowls of salad. He said that we shouldn’t have a potato because he wanted the focus of the meal to be on the meat. He was completely right. They were some of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. They were cooked to perfection, and I loved every bite. He always served an amazing cabernet with every meal. But more than that, my father and I were sharing one of the oldest rituals in history.

We’d put on some cool classical dinner music. My dad was a master of classical music and opera. He owned so much of that and loved it so much. I think he heard his own passion, pain and triumph in that music.

A father and son breaking bread together. Like in times of old, the father sharing the day’s kill with his only son. He would tell me stories that were only for me. Tales that were only for men. Things and deeds that my sisters or my mother could never hear.

I felt so close to him then.

After dinner, we would retire to the living room. I would fire up the Sanyo top loader and the film would begin. I’d make whatever adjustments were necessary so that the film would play properly, and off we’d go. (Does anybody remember tracking?)

For the next two hours we’d disappear together into the film. A world we could both control. Two completely different guys that somehow got thrown together in this life, and we got along. We found our thing.

He had a really nice padded wooden rocking chair in the room. He liked to sit in a hard chair as he called it, because it felt better on his back. So, I got to sit in his comfy rocking chair to watch the movie with him. I loved it!

There were times we’d both feel so much emotion that we’d both tear up a little bit during a movie. Terms of Endearment worked on both of our hearts! There were times he would reach over and grab my hand as we both felt the pain of the characters in the film. It meant so much to me that I was this connected to my father in this moment. Brought together by a film we both loved. I know whatever was happening on the screen was a feeling we had both felt in our own lives.  Even though we were sometimes worlds apart, we connected in that moment.

After the wine, we would  dabble in a bit of the cognac, and he would offer me a bit of bittersweet chocolate from Rauhauser’s Candies in Ocean City. It was the best damn candy in the world. The butter cremes were like kissing the face of god.

I remember during Straw Dogs one night I thought the snifter of cognac would burst in my hand from the suspense. My dad could really pick the films that rocked!

My father said that those were some of his fondest memories of me. He said for a brief time when I was between women in my life we spent some wonderful, simple times together.

I think maybe at some point my dad realized I was really different than him. I was more like his wife and her side of the family. I know I disappointed my father so many times. I’ll never know what it was like for him to grow up in the world he was born into. A world he never made, or could control. I can’t imagine the grinding frustration of his life with so much responsibility, all in the name of maybe finding peace of mind. That, and trying to build a family the only way he knew how from the ashes of his own fractured childhood.

 

At the end of his life, I convinced him to let me set up a Netflix account for him. There were so many films I wanted to share with him. After some reservations, he finally let me. We had a few years there where he let me to pick all of the movies and shows for him to watch.

So I guess it went full circle.

I’m grateful for all of our conversations about all of those great movies.

I think my dad found peace of mind eventually when he settled things with my mom and they both got along.  But I know once she was gone he lost some of himself.

I’ve been thinking about him lately, and felt compelled to write this.

I like when my dad occasionally taps on the window of my mind and asks me to let him in. He’s always welcome.

 

Thanks for letting me sit in your chair, Dad.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is now On Sale at Amazon! (kindle & paperback)

PUBLISHED!!!!

The official announcement will come out at 6am today!

But in the meantime…

Sneak Peek!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is available now!

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Tales of Rock – The Best Band You Never Heard – Krokus

If you like Bon Scott era AC/DC, then you’ll love this band.

I recommend the album, One Vice at a Time

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krokus_(band)

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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These Stars Are Having Fun With Viral Challenges in Self-Quarantine

Quarantine and chill? More like quarantine and have a little fun. In the midst of global efforts to stay home and socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic, a number of challenges have gone viral thanks to Megan Thee Stallion, Tim McGraw, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez and more.

Billboard has rounded up everything you need to know about the biggest and best challenges that stars have participated in so far.


Christina Aguilera Launches #QuarantinaAguilera

The songstress invited her fans to have some fun after noticing that some were calling her “Quarantina,” So on April 16, she tweeted: “I want to see your best #Quarantine fashion/beauty looks-inspired by some of my past looks. Bc we all deserve to feel like queens, even if we aren’t stepping out rn!”

In the accompanying video, she asks fans to “show me your best ‘Quarantina’ and create your homemade versions of these looks …” The video then flashed to some of Xtina’s most memorable outfits, including her body-baring 2002 VMAs red carpet look, the yellow and black getup for MTV’s “TRL Presents: Christina Aguilera Stripped in NYC,” her Rosie the Riveter-inspired costume from the “Candyman” video, and more.

Christina Aguilera

@xtina

I see you guys calling me Quarantina 😂 So I want to see your best #Quarantine fashion/beauty looks-inspired by some of my past looks. Bc we all deserve to feel like queens, even if we aren’t stepping out rn! Post using #QuarantinaAguilera & I’ll repost some of my faves 😆 ILY!

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Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ Challenge

To entertain herself while staying home, Megan Thee Stallion launched her viral “Savage” dance challenge March 16, and now, celebs from Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber to Normani and Janet Jackson are getting in on the fun.

The rising rapper has taken to sharing videos of famous pals and fans alike doing the choreography to her 2020 hit “Savage,” declaring the Biebers “HotGirl Hailey and Hotboy Justin” for their goofy take on the challenge. She also cheekily wrote, “so you really ain’t invite me over…wow” on the former Fifth Harmony member’s video. Meanwhile, Jackson took things a step further by posting her own version of the song using clips from throughout her illustrious career.

“All In” Challenge

Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin launched his “All In Challenge” on Tuesday (April 14), aiming to to raise money to provide food across the country amid the coronavirus crisis. He challenged his famous friends to take part, asking them to donate experiences and items for auction.

Philly native Meek Mill was quick to accept the challenge, and opted to donating his 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom. Justin Bieber offered to fly to the winner’s home and serenade them with “One Less Lonely Girl.” Robin Thicke, Timbaland, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel and more have also participated.

Meek Mill

@MeekMill

I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE from @MichaelGRubin. Go to http://allinchallenge.com/meek-mill  to bid on my Rolls-Royce Phantom that I’m putting up to help feed the hungry and those who need it during this wild time. Also, @JHarden13 @KingJames @FloydMayweather I challenge you to be ALL IN

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Justin Bieber

@justinbieber

I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE. Help me feed the hungry during this challenging time. Go to http://allinchallenge.com/justin-bieber  to donate for a chance to have me fly to your town and sing OLLG to you. Thanks

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Tim McGraw’s ‘Deep Cuts’ Challenge

Tim McGraw kicked off his #DeepCutsChallenge with an acoustic cover of 1987 single “Take the Long Way Home” on March 20, and challenged his country pals to perform their favorite deep cut that didn’t get enough love on country radio. Soon enough, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs and more had delivered everything from Steve Wariner’s “What I Didn’t Do” to Hank Williams Jr.’s “The Blue Man.”

Country Artists’ ‘Demo Challenge’

Similarly, a number of country singers have been sharing original demos to their songs. Kelsea Ballerini uploaded her “Needy” demo, off her recent self-titled album, and the clip showcases the song’s sparkling harmonies. She went on to tag Jimmy Robbins, Ryan Tedder, Julia Michaels, Avenue Beat and Russell Dickerson. Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Chris Lane and Jake Owen are among the others who took part in the challenge.

Gem Fam@JMGemFam

‘Needy’ was written by @juliamichaels along side some incredible writers. It is featured on the recently released album ‘Kelsea’ by @KelseaBallerini 🤍

Available now! https://open.spotify.com/track/1pF52VPPTgPeBzOjg3PyjH?si=6gCjN3bcSZKhKs1VOwMWcw 

(Source: @ JuliaMichaels Insta story)

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Justin Bieber Nails the ‘Push-Up Challenge’

It may feel like everyone on your feed is doing the push-up challenge, but the only “See 10, Do 10” you really need to watch is Bieber’s. Donning a pair of white sweatpants and not much else, a bedheaded Biebs showed off his heavily tattooed upper body while knocking out the exercise from the comfort of his home gym.

Kate Schneider@KateASchneider1

Justin Bieber doing push-ups….that’s it

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Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg Do the ‘Kush Up’ Challenge

Inspired by the aforementioned push-up challenge taking over Instagram, Gillie Da Kid invented the #KushUpChallenge, involving doing 10 pulls of weed without letting any smoke out in between. Gillie then challenged Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg and G-Herbo to the task and a viral smoke session was born.

Diplo Does the ‘Toilet Paper’ Challenge

Not sure what to do with all the toilet paper you’ve hoarded? Diplo’s got you covered with the #ToiletPaperChallenge. Started by professional soccer stars, the challenge involves kicking a roll of toilet paper around like a soccer ball. It eventually made its way to the DJ’s Instagram page, and he got a little bit of help from some hilarious CGI TP. Diplo nominated Joe Jonas and DJ Snake, though it appears both stars have yet to keep the toilet paper rolling …

Vietnam’s ‘Ghen Cô Vy’ Challenge

Vietnam’s hand-washing challenge, set to a remix of V-pop singers Erik and Men’s hit “Ghen,” went viral earlier in March thanks to its ultra-catchy melody and coronavirus-specific lyrics. Now, the poppy track has inspired a #GhenCoVyChallenge on TikTok, with users doing handsy choreography to spread the message about the importance of combating the pandemic by washing your hands for 20 seconds.

View this post on Instagram

#ghencovychallenge #handwashingmove #coronahanddance #VuDieuRuaTay 🌏 Because more international friends are coming to this post so I will change this to English for everyone: COVID-2019 disease is spreading, affecting people and social activities. Regular handwashing is considered a simple and effective method to protect the community from diseases (according to the World Health Organization). According to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 78% of people say they wash their hands often but only 25% actually wash their hands after going to the toilet, 20% wash their hands before cooking. To spread the habit of washing your hands to prevent this disease, I invite you to take part in the #ghencovychallenge challenge with me. Game rules: You perform the dance of the song Ghen Co Vy with 6 hand washing movements as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, based on the music song COVID-19 prevention – Jealousy, cooperation between Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, musician Khac Hung, singer Min and singer Erik. Take this challenge or share the following epidemic prevention habits: 1. Wash your hands often with soap or an antiseptic solution. 2. Do not put hands on eyes, nose and mouth. 3. Regularly clean personal hygiene, hygiene of utensils, houses and surroundings. 4. Wear a mask to go to public places, on vehicles or when you are sick. 5. Self-awareness to improve health for themselves, the family and the community. 6. People with symptoms of COVID-19 have high fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc. or close contact with infected person / person suspected of COVID-19 and limit contact with other people and contact local health facilities. After completing the challenge, SHARE + TAG immediately 2 friends want to join this challenge. ✌ 🌐 for news reporters and press who want to use my video, please feel free to do so. 🌐 for people want to dance my choreography, please feel free to do so, it's all yours 🌐 join hands to spread this extremely useful message! 😉 #handwashdance #handwashingdance

A post shared by Quang Đăng (@im.quangdang) on

J. Lo and A-Rod Disagree During Eyes-Closed ‘Couples Challenge’

Sequestered together during their quarantine, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez decided to test their knowledge with a new #CouplesChallenge. Closing their eyes, the longtime loves answered a series of questions about their relationship, from “Who initiated the first kiss?” to “Who’s the funny one?” And while they disagreed on more than one answer, the famous couple sure looked adorable while deciding who’s grumpier in the morning, who’s the messy one and who’s the biggest baby when sick.

Nickelback’s #NickelbackRiffChallenge

The rockers are inviting other musicians to play a Nickelback riff in one take, no editing allowed. So far, Three Days Grace’s Matt Walst, The Word Alive‘s Tyler Smith and others have given it a try.

Nickelback

@Nickelback

We had a friend tell us about the #NickelbackRiffChallenge. Here are the rules… 🎸 Pick a Nickelback riff and play it. One take, no revisions!
🎸 Post the video as a reply to this tweet and tag a friend to challenge them to do the same. Let’s see what you got!

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Nickelback

@Nickelback

#nickelbackriffchallenge check in. Keep them coming! 🤘

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Nickelback

@Nickelback

When Matt Walst (@MattJPWalst @threedaysgrace) steps up to a challenge we drop everything and take notice. Thank you Matt. The world is is a better place with you in it and we appreciate you more than we could ever say. Who’s next? Keep them coming. 🤟🏼#nickelbackriffchallenge

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#TheMissyChallenge

Missy Elliott has been shouting-out talented fan vocalists (and some fellow artists, like Qveen Herby) who are participating in a challenge started by Instagram account @theyhavetherange. Participants must choose from fifteen songs from Elliott’s catalog (including songs she wrote or produced) and record a one-minute video of them singing.

Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Come on now sis!!!!! You better show us VOCAL CONTROL ok @iamkatlynnichol saaaaang!🙌🏾🔥🔥 the song is Mya “My Love is Like Whoa”🙌🏾

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Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Follow @theyhavetherange on ig to see some great singers saaangin🔥 this gabbysamone singing Aaliyah “I Care For You”

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Missy Elliott

@MissyElliott

Duranbernarr singing my joint “Crazy Feelings” ft Beyonce🔥

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QVEEN HERBY WEBSITE@QveenWeb

.@qveenherby just did #TheMissyChallenge on IG. @MissyElliott also commented on her post. 😯😍

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Who Do I Look Like?

We just finished a gig at The Troubadour. I put my guitar in it’s case and locked it in the back room behind the stage. The band sort of spread out through the club as if they needed to go network, but we were all there for the obvious. Sex, drugs, booze and Rock and … Continue reading “California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Who Do I Look Like?”

We just finished a gig at The Troubadour. I put my guitar in it’s case and locked it in the back room behind the stage. The band sort of spread out through the club as if they needed to go network, but we were all there for the obvious. Sex, drugs, booze and Rock and Roll.

I run into this gorgeous blonde. Like a baby Farrah Fawcett.

“I like that song you played about the bombshell. Who’s that about?”

“Farrah. I wrote it when I was sixteen. I love Farrah.”

The earliest warning sign should have been her next opening line. Jabbing me with her finger, she pointed at her own face and said: “Who do I look like?” I had no idea. The answer she was looking for apparently, was Heather Locklear.

A few hours later and we’re walking back to her place. It’s beginning to spit with rain.

Things started fine. Pretty much like most tipsy post show hook ups back then. As things began to escalate, she made an excuse to go to the bathroom. It took a few minutes to decide on the appropriate level of nakedness to be in on her return but after 10 minutes I thought I should probably check if she’s Okay.

When I got to the bathroom, the door was locked. The light, on. I knocked: no answer. I returned to the bedroom, put some clothes back on. Looked out the window. The rain was now torrential. Home was 20 minutes away. Do I call a taxi? Faced with an impossible situation, I took an incredibly ungentlemanly decision.

“Hope you’re okay. Unlock the door and I’ll get you some water.” I wrote it on a piece of paper found on the girl’s desk, slipped it under the bathroom door and waited a few minutes. When the door stayed locked, I went to her room, got into bed and fell asleep.

A few hours later I’m awakened by the door opening. It’s her. I make a move to get up but she pins me down with a surprising level of strength, strips completely and the most excruciating 20 minutes of my life began. To this day I’ve never met anyone else who has a “don’t touch me with your hands or mouth below my waist” policy. It was bizarre and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It was just a bronco cowgirl ride to the finish.

When it was over, I got up to leave but she grabbed my arm and said no. She pulled me back into bed, only to roll over and go back to sleep within minutes. Awkwardly, I lay there a bit longer, trying to figure out whether it was worth staying. Eventually I tried to leave again. This time she said no but I ignored her. Besides, it had stopped raining now.

As an act of goodwill I wrote my phone number on a pad on her desk. She asked what I was doing and then laughed when I told her.

Two weeks later, my band is back at the Troubadour. I’m out back having a smoke out back chatting to some friends when over my shoulder I hear it again.

“Who do I look like?”

Poor guy.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Vanessa Hudgens Issues Apology For Coronavirus Comments

The actress said her comments were taken out of context.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens has issued an apology after making unsettling comments about the coronavirus pandemic.

During an Instagram Live session Monday (March 16), the Bad Boys 3 actress answered questions from fans including one who mentioned self- quarantines could last until the summer.

“Um, yeah, ’til July sounds like a bunch of bulls***t,” she said. “I’m sorry, but like, it’s a virus, I get it, like, I respect it, but at the same time I’m like, even if everybody gets it, like yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible but like, inevitable?”

Glad to know the respect is there but the intention was clearly not as she tried to backtrack her comments. it was too late as the portion was ripped and shared on other platforms. Critics suggested the actress might be under the influence of alcohol due to her St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on social media.

After the spread of the video. Hudgens issued an apology and mentioned how her comments were taken out of context. She also shared on her IG story that she has remained indoors like everyone else and is taking the pandemic seriously.

 

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Here’s a scenario I thought of when I read this article…
Vanessa: “Hey Charles, I have the coronavirus. But I want to have sex with you. But if you agree, you might catch it and you could die.”
Me: “Well then, that’s a chance I’ll have to take, Vanessa.”

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‘The Pickup Artist’ Goes Inside the Sleazy World of Men Who Try to Manipulate Women into Bed

A concise disclaimer runs at the beginning of the new documentary The Pickup Game, premiering in New York on Nov. 8. “This documentary includes a number of ‘pickup’ techniques and strategies,” it reads. “These have been included for discussion and illustrative purposes only. The Producers and their affiliates do not endorse or approve of these messages in any way.”

The Pickup Game is based on the controversial bestselling book by Neil Strauss called The Game. The book exposed the underground pickup industry that grew from confidence-building dating tutorials into a network of companies rooted in misogyny and led by “alpha-male instructors” promising to teach men how to trick women into sleeping with them. It is exactly as nauseating as it sounds.

Directed by Matthew and Barnaby O’Connor, The Pickup Game features footage from pickup “bootcamps,” hidden camera clips of “artists” testing out their techniques on real women, and interviews with famous pickup instructors such as Paul Janka and Erik Von Markovik. The latter, who goes by the alias “Mystery,” proudly demonstrates that when you ask Siri to show you a picture of a pickup artist, his is the first image to come up.

The “techniques and strategies” detailed in the 96-minute film are essentially a set of manipulative conversational tricks that are commonly practiced in the pickup community, like a memorized “opener” to start a conversation with a stranger and “negging,” or giving a woman a backhanded compliment. Inhabitants of this little-known world communicate in an entirely foreign language, one of abbreviations and acronyms designed to make predatory behavior sound academic, like some kind of pervy pseudo-psychology.

On top of openers and negging, there is also “DHV,” which means “demonstration of higher value” and refers to the way an insecure pickup “student” might imitate what he perceives to be the behavior of a “higher status” male. “Approach anxiety” is the cutesy nickname for when a man is uncomfortable with the idea of approaching and immediately becoming physical with a stranger on the street. Rather than a totally normal response to an unnatural social situation, this is considered a sign of weakness that men must overcome if they ever want to have sex.

And then there is the “false time constraint” method in which a pickup artist (I shudder every time I have to refer to these sleazeballs as “artists”) tells a woman he only has a few minutes to talk before he needs to be somewhere else, easing the awkwardness of conversing with a complete stranger and making his target feel less cornered. This technique is more commonly known as lying.

The point of exposing all of this is not to offer women a cautionary guide to the kind of sneaky tricks any man might effectively deploy (though it is probably worth the watch for the five remaining unjaded women in the world who genuinely believe the men who hit on them at bars have their best interests in mind). Instead, the film argues that the multimillion-dollar pickup industry thrives not because the insane methods preached at $3,000 bootcamps actually work, but largely because of marketing scams.

An anonymous former marketing expert for the industry, who goes by the pseudonym Michael M., describes how the hidden camera videos instructors use as proof of their success in the field are misleadingly edited. Often for every shot of a successful pickup, there are 95 unused shots of the instructor striking out, Michael M. explains.

Some companies will cheat the system further by hiring actresses to pretend to be the targets in promotional videos, or even recruiting escorts to engage with students at boot camps, creating the false impression that their newly acquired knowledge was worth the hefty price tag. Once the students believe their pickup education is working, they are willing to shell out more cash for other programs.

Still, The Pickup Game could have and probably should have been more emphatic in its condemnation of the dark implications of this coercive, misogynistic industry. Only in its final 20 minutes does the documentary grapple with the sexual violence inevitable in a practice led by men like Bruce Roth, a New York-based dating instructor who told a room full of students that he likes dating Asian women because they are “obedient, good little dogs” and Julien Blanc, dubbed the “most hated man in the world” for tweeting things like “Man, I will teach you how to ‘shatter’ her lack of consent. Pay me and rape them all.”

The film’s final act details a horrifying 2016 rape case that resulted in three members of the online pickup artist community—Alex Smith and Jonas Dick, instructors working for the Efficient Pickup company, and Jason Berlin, a student—each being sentenced to eight years in prison. The men had documented the details of their gang rape of a heavily intoxicated, barely conscious woman in disturbing blog posts. According to the film and the blog posts, the men were laughing during and after the attack. “This is fucking hilarious,” Berlin wrote.

It’s surprisingly easy to grow desensitized to guys with terrible facial hair blatantly objectifying women for an hour and a half. And it is also tempting to dismiss the men onscreen as pathetic and embarrassing, even to laugh at them. A whole separate article could be written about the cringe-worthy, telling fashion choices the men in the pickup community make. An open black magician’s vest over a white button-down shirt? Sure. Fedora and matching nail polish? Why not. Teeny, tiny man-bun? Practically a pickup artist requirement.

But the reality is that the pickup game is about something far more sinister than sad men who are afraid of rejection; it is an industry built on blurring the lines of consent. The Pickup Game could have done more to remind us of that.

 

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Emma Watson Says She Rejects the Word Single: ‘I Call It Being Self-Partnered’

Emma Watson

Chris Allerton/Shutterstock

Emma Watson may not be dating anyone at the moment, but she’s also not single.

The Little Women actress, 29, opened up to British Vogue for the December issue, speaking about the expectations placed on women, as well as the terminology she uses to refer to her current relationship status.

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel. I was like, ‘This is totally spiel,’ ” Watson said. “It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single].”

She added: “I call it being self-partnered.”

Watson — who previously dated Glee actor Chord Overstreet and tech manager William “Mack” Knight — said she landed on the term “self-partnered” after grappling with societal pressures placed on women when they turn 30, a birthday milestone she will reach in April.

“I was like, ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal …’” she said. “Cut to 29, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious.’ And I realize it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around.”

Emma Watson

Cyril Pecquenard/Shutterstock

The former Harry Potter star added: “If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out … There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”

In March 2017, Watson discussed her dating life with Vanity Fair, particularly how she tries to keep as much of it as private as possible, out of respect to her partner.

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Introducing @EmmaWatson as the star of #BritishVogue’s December 2019 cover. At 29, Watson is one of the most recognisable faces on the planet, with some 100 million devoted followers on social media. The actor and activist sat down with @Paris.Lees to offer a rare insight into her day-to-day life, as they discussed how Watson is using her unique platform to champion causes like gender equality, reproductive rights and sustainability, her dreams for the future, and her role as Margaret “Meg” March in Greta Gerwig’s all-star reboot of Little Women. Click the link in bio for @Edward_Enninful’s editor’s letter and see the full story in the new issue, on newsstands Friday November 8. #EmmaWatson wears @AlexanderMcQueen ruffled minidress and white and gold diamond @Chopard earrings. Photographed by @AlasdairMcLellan and styled by @PoppyKain, with hair by @AnthonyTurnerHair, make-up by @LynseyAlexander, nails by @LorrainevGriffin, set design by @AndyHillmanStudio.

“I want to be consistent: I can’t talk about my boyfriend in an interview and then expect people not to take paparazzi pictures of me walking around outside my home. You can’t have it both ways,” she said at the time. “I’ve noticed, in Hollywood, who you’re dating gets tied up into your film promotion and becomes part of the performance and the circus. I would hate anyone that I were with to feel like they were in any way part of a show or an act.”

Emma Watson

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Watson got candid about her breakup from rugby player Matt Janney when talking to British Vogue in 2017, calling the experience “horrendous.”

“I felt really uncomfortable,” she said, “even before my relationship ended, I went on a silent retreat, because I really wanted to figure out how to be at home with myself.”

Later in that interview, Watson reflected on her previous relationships, saying: “The boyfriends or partners I’ve had have generally made me feel really cherished. They’ve built me up. I certainly haven’t found that with doing all that I do or being all that I am, that I’ve struggled in my love life.”

 

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Death in Paradise: What is Florence Cassell star Josephine Jobert doing now?

DEATH IN PARADISE earlier this year saw Josephine Jobert exit the show as her character Florence Cassell decided to leave the island. But what is Florence Cassell star Joséphine Jobert doing now?

What is Florence Cassell star Josephine Jobert doing now?

Jobert has not revealed what her next project after Death in Paradise will be yet.

In a Twitter video, the actress said: “I quit the show for personal and professional reasons – nothing dramatic I swear!

“Everything is fine it’s just that I’ve been working on Death in Paradise for five years… I loved every minute every minute of it.”Recently, the actress told French magazine Tele-Loisirs: “It was a well-thought-out decision.

 

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Florence Cassell actress Josephine Jobert has not revealed her next project (Image: BBC)

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Josephine Jobert has recently holidaying in Menorca (Image: INSTAGRAM)

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Josephine Jobert was recently seen in Monte Carlo and Cannes (Image: GETTY)

Last month, she posted a picture of herself enjoying a cocktail with the caption: “A moment and a place out of time. What a beautiful memory of this last day in Menorca.”

According to her social media feeds, she has also spent her post-Death in Paradise time at glamorous locations like Monte Carlo and Cannes.

Although she has finished working on Death in Paradise, she has not quite left the show behind.

Recently, the show began airing in France and Jobert has been doing a number of interviews with the French press to promote the show know across the Channel as ‘Meurtre au paradis’.

 

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Florence Cassell has been replaced by Madeleine Dumas (Aude Legastelois) (Image: BBC)

While Jobert seems to be taking a break, Death in Paradise is currently shooting its ninth seasons, with Legastelois taking over from Jobert.

The actress told the BBC: “I’m thrilled that I’ve been given the opportunity to continue my role as Madeleine and to rejoin the cast of Death in Paradise.

“I can’t wait for Madeleine to be fully integrated into the Honoré Police team and for the viewers to get to know her further.”

In March, the series has recommissioned by the BBC for two more seasons.

Death in Paradise season 9 is coming soon to BBC One

 

 

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Death in Paradise: Why did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise?

DEATH IN PARADISE has been on our screens for almost 9 years and throughout the show’s history many cast members have come and gone. But why exactly did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise? Here’s everything you need to know about why Martins left the BBC series.

Death in Paradise season nine is coming to BBC One in early 2020. Sara Martins was part of the show’s original cast, starring in the crime drama from 2011 until 2015. Martins is a French-Portuguese actress and is best known for her roles in French television and film.

Why did Sara Martins leave Death in Paradise?

Sara Martins starred in Death in Paradise as DS Camille Bordey.

Martins played the role of DS Camille Bordey from 2011 until 2015.She first appeared in episode one of Death in Paradise in 2011 and was last seen in season four, episode four.

Bordey was an undercover investigator who, at first, did not get on with new Detective Inspector Richard Poole (played by Ben Miller).

Sara Martins starred in Death in Paradise as DS Camille Bordey.

Sara Martins starred in Death in Paradise as DS Camille Bordey. (Image: GETTY)

As time went on, Poole and Martins got closer and even verged on having a romantic relationship.

Sadly, Poole was killed off in season three and DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) replaced him.

Goodman had expressed romantic feelings for Martins’ character but nothing happened between them until Camille announced the was moving to a new job in Paris.

As she left the island of Saint Marie, she kissed Goodman goodbye.

Camilla was written out of the show by securing a new undercover job in Paris.

Speaking about the decision to leave Death in Paradise, Martins told What’s On TV?: “I’ve loved everything about the show but the only way to grow in life is to take risks, even if it means losing something you love or leaving a place that’s comfortable.

“You should always go forward and take new challenges.“

However, Martins did not rule out returning to Death in Paradise.

She said: “We wanted to make the best exit, and they didn’t want to kill me off, there was no reason to. And who knows? There’s always the possibility I can come back.

Sara Martins is a French-Portugese actress

Sara Martins is a French-Portugese actress (Image: GETTY)

Who is Sara Martins?

Sara Martins is a French-Portuguese actress from Faro, Portugal

She is best known for appearances in French television and film.

Martins made her debut acting role in the French series Police District.

Since then she has starred in the French films, Tell No One, Beyond the Ocean, Paris Je t’aime, Summer Hours and Little White Lies.

Death in Paradise was her debut role on British television.

Since leaving Death in Paradise in 2015, Martins has gone on to star in the NBC series American Odyssey as Serena and The law of Alexandre.

Martins has also appeared in Captain Marleau and Father Brown.

 

Sara Martins starred in Death in Paradise from 2011 until 2015

Sara Martins starred in Death in Paradise from 2011 until 2015 (Image: GETTY)

When is Death in Paradise season 9 out?

The BBC has not confirmed an official release date for the new series of Death in Paradise.

The previous eight seasons have premiered in January, apart from season one which arrived on screens in October 2011, so season nine is expected to arrive in early 2020.

Filming for season nine is currently underway on the French-Carribean island of Guadaloupe.

Death in Paradise fans will be pleased to know that the BBC renewed Death in Paradise for two seasons last year, meaning fans can expect season nine in 2020 and season 10 in 2021.

Express.co.uk will update this article when more information is available.

Death in Paradise season 9 is currently in production.

 
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