Friday, 29 November 2013

Ian Watkins: Signs In The Songs?

On November 26th 2013, Ian Watkins, former lead-singer of the popular rock band Lostprophets, pleaded guilty to thirteen sexual offences.

Fame and fiasco tend to concoct a curdling mix that the general public find unpalatable and difficult to comprehend. For one reason or another, we accept the crimes of an ordinary civilian as an unfortunate feature of society; but when the culprit is famous, complete and utter uproar ensues. 

The Ian Watkins case is enough to bring sweat to the forehead of any experienced professional, and in this article, the grimy details will be spared. Customarily, questions will be asked of the police regarding their failure to prevent Watkins from engaging in his most aphotic fantasies. Concerns were raised and ignored, and the officers that neglected their duty will be duly punished.

That, however, changes nothing. Watkins utitlised his sparkling reputation and rock-star ruggedness to target obsessed fans and to ensure that he would be remembered as one of the UK's most twisted paedophiles in history. 

Despite the deceptiveness of the Welsh singer, clues were there to be clutched and many of them could be found in his actual song lyrics. Of course, there exists the prickly problem of ambiguity, but in one song in particular, I believe the dark mind of Ian Watkins was projected onto paper...

Lostprophets - Still Laughing (2001).

Released in 2001 and included on the Lostprophet's first album 'The Fake Sound of Progress', 'Still Laughing' is one of the band's less popular songs. Its sinister introduction and slow pace develops an eerie aura in any situation, but it is when we look at the lyrics that things become unsettling.

Contributors to the website submit their thoughts on underlying messages within songs and had this to say about 'Still Laughing':

  • 'I think he's confused on what to do, which direction to follow in life... and that others just follow the crowd'
  • 'He leaves his past behind and forgets the people he knew'
  • 'I think the song is about someone that has lost all that he holds close'
As we know, Watkin's certainly did not 'follow the crowd' and was indubitably 'confused'. In hindsight, it is easy to attribute lyrics to some deeper meaning, but in my opinion, the lyrics in 'Still Laughing' are too blatant to ignore. 

Come take a look
Because all this could mean, that I
Don't really care
Who ends up gettin' hurt

Please take a look
If it's judgment versus instinct
How do I feel
When my feelings don't even work?

You know that I'll believe
'Cause I can see it in your smile
Time stood still for me
When you called

Said I, answer me this
Yes, all I have is questions
You can't slip away
And hide behind a false truth

Time takes too long
Just seems like
I'm still standin' here now
And I can't even feel
The rain that hits my shoes

You know that I'll believe
'Cause I can see it in your eyes
Time stood still for me
When you called

I'm still waitin', I still bleed
That's a sign that I'm still me
I'm still breathin', I can see
So I must be alive for real

When will I get there?
I should be here by now
Got it all worked out
Did I see you laughin'?
Yeah, funny, it's not me

In time
All I want is in away
Gone too long
And now it's gone, it's gone

I'm still waitin', I still bleed
That's a sign that I'm still me
I'm still breathin', I can see
So I must be alive for real
So I must be alive for real
Yeah, I must be alive for real
I must be alive for real
  • 'Come take a look, because all this could mean that I, don't really care who ends up getting hurt'
Is Watkins asking for help? Is he inviting people to investigate him and stop him from hurting the people that have made his career so successful (fans etc.)? 
  • 'How do I feel when my feelings don't even work?'
Is Watkins acknowledging that he is different to everybody else? Is he admitting that he has an illness and does not care who he causes harm to? When linked to the line above, connotations of inflicting pain and mental instability arise. 
  • 'You can't slip away and hide behind a false truth'
Although he knows that his thoughts are wrong, they are too intense and too appealing to ignore. His life as a lead singer of a rock band hides his dark inner thoughts, but it is becoming too much for him and he cannot continue to let these thoughts rest in his mind without acting upon them.
  • 'I'm still waiting, I still breathe, that's a sign that I'm still me'
He had not yet acted upon his darkest thoughts and the little sanity within him is preventing him from doing this. The monster inside of is still waiting to commit these horrific crimes, but the morality he knows he possesses will continue to stop him from carrying them out.

Again, the problem lies with ambiguity and any old meaning could be attributed to the lyrics in 'Still Laughing'. The crimes have been linked to 2008 when Watkins was engaging in heavy drug use, however, a burning desire to rape a child does not spontaneously emerge in a normal human's mind. Watkins is, and was, ill and personally, I believe these sick ideas and fantasies plagued his mind from a young age and these thoughts are reflected in this very song. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

7 Of The Strangest Things People Have Tried To Smuggle

If, like me, you're a dedicated viewer of 'Nothing To Declare', you'll be aware of some of the aberrant shite that some of the more peculiar people on this planet try to smuggle over the border.

Drugs, food and even live insects are all common creepers in the smuggler's suitcase, but spare a thought for the baggage handler who comes across a friendly old dead body making its way through the X-Ray machine.

Below are seven of the strangest things, items and animals people have remarkably tried to smuggle. 

7. A Crocodile

One quirky fellow took it upon himself to complete the unenviable task of smuggling a crocodile with him on his flight to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amazingly, the giant reptile made it on to the plane and in the comfort of his new surroundings, decided to pop his sunglasses on and crawl out of the passengers back towards the end of the flight.

As expected, the reaction was hysterical and the sane members on board made a frantic dash to the front of the plane. The sudden redistribution in weight caught the pilot off guard and the plane subsequently crashed. The ridiculously unbelievable disaster tragically killed twenty of the twenty-one passengers on board and the crocodile's holiday was cut short with a machete soon after.

6. A Cocaine Cast

In March 2009, a 66 year old Chilean warrior purposefully broke his leg so he could use the cast to smuggle cocaine from Chile to Barcelona. In fact, the entire cast was compiled of the Class A drug and it would have circulated the streets of the Spanish city had security officers failed to locate the other 9lbs of coke stashed in six empty beer cans. 

5. Bear Paws
Earlier this summer, 213 bear paws were confiscated on their way from Russia to China, where they are a delicacy.
In the summer of this year, Chinese police arrest two Russian men trying to smuggle 213 brown bear paws into Inner Mongolia where they are a delicacy. The paws were discovered hidden in the tyres of the men's vehicle when they were pulled over by customs officers at a border checkpoint.

According to officer Wu Qingyan, the biggest paw weighed around 2kg and the men were pulled over because 'they looked very anxious and nervous'. In China, a kilo of bear paws sells for around £620.

4. An Entire Zoo

Meet Robert Cusack, the man who in 2002 was arrested and sentenced to 57 days in jail for attempting to smuggle over fifty live animals and plants into a wildlife refuge in Costa Rica. After landing on a flight from Thailand to Los Angeles in 2002, Cusack was arrested after a bird of paradise flew out of his luggage.

Customs Agents proceeded to find three more rare birds in his suitcase, but the fluorescent flappers weren't the only species of wildlife in the smuggler's company. Cusack was also hiding two pygmy slow lorises in his underwear and fifty rare orchids in his luggage. 

3. A Nun's Skeleton

In January 2011, a Cyprian monk and two accomplices were caught trying to board a plane in Athens carrying the skeleton of a deceased nun. When questioned about his rather radical smuggle attempt, the 42 year old monk claimed he was transferring the remains from Greece to a monastery in Cyprus because the nun was a 'saint'.

Cyprus Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II has recently branded the perpetrator a 'charlatan' and said his actions were 'sacrilegious'. 

2. A Human Corpse

The British like to think that the world's most preternatural events occur far, far away from the UK. Sadly, they don't, and this strange story beautifully sums up why.

In April 2010, two women were arrested after they tried to take the body of a dead relative on to a plane at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Staff became suspicious when they tried to check in 91 year old Curt Willi Jarant, who was wearing sunglasses, for a flight to Berlin. 

The women, one his widow and one his step daughter, said they thought Jarant was asleep. Both were arrested on suspicious of failing to give notification of death.

1. A Dead Baby Carrying Drugs

The urban legend is one of the most horrific stories you'll find on the internet and although the story may not be true, it highlights the viciousness of the drug world.

The internet rumour tells the story of a a couple and their two year old son planning a weekend trip across the Mexican border for a shopping spree. They had been across the border for around an hour when their son got free and ran around the corner. Although the mother chased after her son, she could not find him and subsequently located a police officer who told her to go to the border gate and wait.

Doing as she was told, she waited 45 minutes until a man approached her carrying her two year old son. She ran to him, grateful that he had been found. However, when the man realised it was the boy's mother, he dropped him to the ground and fled. The police were waiting nearby and arrested the man soon after.

The two year old boy was dead and during the 45 minutes in which he had disappeared, he was cut open and stuffed with cocaine.