Not guilty pleasures

I’ve been reading a lot about the idea of guilty pleasures recently. Specifically, how dangerous that phrase is to our self-expression.

In his blog post No More Guilty Pleasures!, Austin Kleon sums it up nicely:

“We all love things that other people think are garbage. You have to have the courage to keep loving your garbage, because what makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mix up the parts of culture others have deemed ‘high’ and the ‘low.'”

As does the quote he includes from Dave Grohl:

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic.’ It is cool to like Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it!”

I’m as guilty as anyone for judging what others like to do, eat, watch, wear, whatever, and I work very hard to stop and keep an open mind.

And I’m definitely more guilty at hiding what I think are my guilty pleasures, through fear of looking silly. Something I feel often leaves me feeling very low and exhausted.

Not embracing who you are because what you think other people might think of you will, in my opinion, stop, or slow you down, from reaching your full potential.

So, I thought I’d end that by sharing four things I love and don’t give a fuck if you think are stupid.

1. Peperami Hot

Peperami hot

Salty. Tangy. Meaty. Scrummy. Shove them in my big fat tummy.

The marketing department at Peparami got it spot on with their old slogan: It’s a bit of an animal. Genius. Albeit disgusting.

I don’t know what’s in it and I’m aware I probably don’t want to know what’s in it. But I love nothing more than eating them after exercise or as a post work snack. I’ve even been known to have a couple for breakfast.

I plan to go vegetarian as of January 2018 (no matter how much I love the taste of meat, I’m struggling more and more to shake the sadness I feel when doing so) therefore the rest of this year will probably be a Farewell Peperami Hot festival.

2. Professional Wrestling

Daniel Bryan

I’ve hidden this one for years, from almost everyone I know.

I love watching professional wrestling.

Be it WWE, NXT, WCPW or PROGRESS. I love it. The artistry, panto drama, genuine feats of life-threatening athleticism, narrative arcs and wholehearted nonsense. I can’t get enough of it and consume as much as possible.

Every week I listen to Chris Jericho’s podcast, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast (both the clean and the unleashed versions), Jim Ross’s podcast, the Tuesday Night Jaw podcast, Wade Keller’s podcast, Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast, the Pro Wrestling Torch Livecast, Morgan Webster’s Wrestling Friends podcast and Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard.

I watch every monthly WWE pay per view event. If I’m alone and have a spare half hour I’ll scour through my £9.99 a month WWE Network subscription for a match from the past. I’ll use the same Network to watch Tuesday night’s 205 Live and Wednesday’s NXT.

I don’t have Sky Sports so don’t get to watch as much Monday Night Raw or Tuesday’s Smackdown Live as I’d like, but I read the reports the first thing I wake up the morning after and catch up on the WWE YouTube channel later that afternoon.

I also use YouTube to watch a minimum of five wrestling vlogs a day on WhatCulture Wrestling’s channel. A channel that in the last year has set up it’s on promotion, WCPW, whose events I watch as much as possible as they showcase some of the best wrestlers in Britain and around the world. The same wrestlers who also perform at PROGRESS, in my opinion the best independent promotion in England. Their shows in Balham and Tufnell Park are an absolute joy.

My cupboard currently has seven wrestling t-shirts in it, my bookshelf has multiple wrestling books and magazines on it. I’m even in a Whatsapp group with several strangers where we all predict the results of all WWE pay per views – the person with the most points after Wrestlemania gets to hold a replica Intercontinental Championship until the next year.

I’m a nerd. And I love it.

3. David Gray’s White Ladder Album

Released in 1998, I must’ve cried over 100 times listening to This Year’s Love as an unlucky-in-love teen.

Sail Away With Me is an absolute tune.

To this day I still enjoy very little more than mimicking how he says “baaaabyloooon”.

4. Love Island 2017

Love island

I work at a mental health charity. I’m surrounded by emotionally intelligent, articulate, wonderful people. I consume difficult, challenging content and stories throughout my day and meet individuals who have been through more than you could imagine. When I get home of an evening I’m often rather drained and need a switch off. A dumb down.

I’d love to say that’s the reason I enjoyed watching Love Island 2017, but if I’m honest, I just loved the trashiness of it.

If you didn’t watch it: basically, 11 straight singletons were put in a villa in Spain with the hope to find love. Over the course of seven weeks, people left and people came in with loads of horrible flirting, sexual activity and foul language taking place.

It was on six nights a week and I watched every episode. 42 episodes.

I probably wouldn’t hang out with anyone who was on that show if I met them, but I sure as hell was drawn in by all the jibberish they got up to. Seeing someone enter with the big ‘I am’ and coming on to anything that was near them, to ultimately watch them crumble under the constant emotional scrutiny was absolutely fascinating.

Applications for next year have opened. Go on, I’d love to watch you graft someone.

© Carl Burkitt 2017

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