Twenty-five teenagers in London won't have those problems in the new year, because in 2007 they lost their lives after being shot or stabbed to death - by their peers.
Look at the faces, imagine the lost potential, try to picture their energy and vitality in life, and their mother's faces when the police came knocking with the news. They aren't headlines.
The scale of loss is horrific and almost incomprehensible. Here are the twenty-five teenagers who died before they lived.
From left to right:
Stephen Boachie, 17, stabbed on 1 January.
Dean Lahlou, 18, stabbed on 9 January.
Jevon Henry, 18, stabbed on 24 January.
James Smartt-Ford, 16, shot on 3 February.
Michael Dosunmu, 15, shot on 6 February.
Billy Cox, 15, shot on 14 February.
Kodjo Yenga, 16, stabbed on 14 March.
Adam Regis, 15, stabbed on 17 March.
Paul Erhahon, 14, stabbed on 6 April.
Dwaine Douglas, 18, stabbed on 18 May.
Danielle Johnson, 17, stabbed on 28 May.
Sian Simpson, 18, stabbed on 19 June.
Ben Hitchcock, 16, stabbed on 23 June.
Annaka Keniesha Pinto, 17, shot on 23 June.
Abu Shahin, 18, stabbed on 26 June.
Martin Dinnegan, 14, stabbed on 26 June.
Abukar Mahamud, 16, shot on 26 July.
Nathan Foster, 18, shot on 3 August.
Mohammed Ahmed, 17, stabbed on 30 August.
Edvin Johnson, 19, stabbed on 16 September.
Rizwan Darbar, 17, stabbed on 7 October.
Philip Poru, 18, shot on 14 October.
Etem Celebi, 17, shot on 14 November.
Biendi Litambola, 17, assaulted on 17 November.
David Nowak, 16, stabbed on 15 December.
The footage, from the forthcoming reality series Life After B2K, shows the former member of B2K discussing sex acts that allegedly took place between members of B2K and their former manager Chris Stokes, and suggests that the boys were encouraged to have sex with each other, and with various industry people. Marques Houston is also implicated.
Raz-B - real name De'Mario Monte Thornton - also says, somewhat bizarrely, "Me going on Noah's Arc was an expression of what I've been through."
The news that sex is the favourite currency in show biz, and that managers and agents use their positions to get what they want from hungry young artists, isn't a big revelation. But what is shocking is the very public disclosure of a gay sex scandal involving some of the urban music scene's biggest names.
No doubt we'll be hearing a lot more about this...
Well well well, maybe heterosexuals aren't all hypocrites, after all: digital spy reports that black activists are planning to protest at a concert being given by dirty old man R. Kelly.
One of the Tube trains in which an Islamic extremist detonated a bomb on 7th July 2005 is being refurbished and returned to service, despite the fact that six people died on the Hammersmith & City line train. A London Underground spokesman said: "None of the Tube carriages in which the bombs exploded will be used again in passenger service. They have been scrapped and disposed of securely. Other carriages and parts will be brought back into use."
So, operational requirements take precedence over respect for the dead, and not surprisingly, 7/7 survivors aren’t impressed. One of them, Beverli Rhodes, says: “I would like to see a memorial plaque in each carriage to prevent the rumour mill from churning out an urban legend for future generations. Future blogs will ask did you travel in the doomed carriages from the 7/7 bombings? Would you even know? The next thing will be Channel 4 doing a ghost hunt on the carriages to "see" the ghosts of the dead.”
Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher jailed in Sudan for naming a teddy bear Muhammed, was released yesterday, after Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir pardoned her following talks with two British Muslim peers. In a statement, Gibbons had this to say: "I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone and I am sorry if I caused any distress. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan and work in Unity High School as the teacher of 2X." Throughout this insane episode, I've been disturbed by the opinion, held by many, that Gibbons somehow brought the whole thing on herself. That as a Westerner in an Islamic country she should have known better. Or that we're all at fault for not being more understanding of Islam. It's precisely that kind of thinking that allowed September 11th and 7/7 to happen: turning a blind eye to Islamic extremists and letting them get on with it; allowing some warped sense of Western guilt to eclipse the fact that backward, medieval societies like Sudan oppress women and gays, and are the antithesis of a liberal, tolerant society. The war on terror supposedly targets those who harbour terrorists. But Britain, the US and others play a big role in fostering the threat of Islam. We have to stop pandering to its extremes, apologising for the hate it nurtures and the oppression it gives rise to. It's cold comfort that Gillian Gibbons has been released - she's just one woman. Who's going to help the thousands of black African Darfuris, the murders of whom the bearded Arabs of Sudan have orchestrated...?
There's barely any dialogue - proof indeed that actions speak louder than words - with most of the action played out in body language: stolen glances and intense sex are the language of this piece. The BFI says it's a "masterful exercise in visual storytelling" and it isn't wrong. The two leads, Jonás (Miguel Angel Hoppe Canto) and Gerardo (Fernando Arroyo) as two students, are thoroughly engaging, and just so happen to be very, very easy on the eye - even if, distractingly, Jonás bares an uncanny resemblance to Jason out of Coronation Street.
If there's one flaw it's the duration, an ailment modern cinema suffers acutely from - at more than two hours and eighteen minutes this one tests the patience, and my reaction might well have been considerably less favourable had I been trapped in a cinema for that long. But here we have quantity and quality, and that's rare. Broken Sky is nothing less than stunning - if, by the final act, you don't feel the full, stomach-churning impact of the flashback revealing what really happened on the dancefloor, then you haven't really loved and lost...
Last month we heard how former Savage Garden front man, the Australian who married a woman then decided to come clean and tell everybody he's actually gay, was arrested following an alleged racist attack on a waiter in a restaurant in London. The Australian was subsequently given a caution by police, which I'm sure his victim feels is sufficient punishment.
Yes, I'm going to talk about CocoDorm again. Because I happened to "accidentally" stumble into the Cocostore site (ahem) and notice that the next Flava Works release is called Get Shorty J.
As you can imagine, this had me rolling around the floor in fits of laughter for hours at this porntastic adaptation of a cinema classic (apparently, since I've never seen Get Carter).
One thing I certainly have seen a lot of is Shorty J (although not as much as I'd like to). Me, I'm 6'3. But you know, there's truth in the old adage good things come in small packages.
Oh, for the love of Shorty...
This latest release also features another of my CocoDorm favourites, Pimp, the centre of much controversy in the gay media in recent times. One would hope that the release of this footage proves that the model in question is safe and well...
View all SEX articles.
Miami is wasting tax dollars to prosecute the legal CocoDorm residence, while drug dealers and prostitutes reign free on the streets of this neighborhood, which is known for it's infamous 'hoe stroll', but we suppose NBC and the city don't care about real problems.
Customers do not visit the CocoDorm location and neighbors didn't know about CocoDorm (until NBC knocked on their door after they received an anonymous packet mailed by a competitor). What happens inside of CocoDorm is no different than what happens behind the closed door of any other house; people live, interact and have sex. This is our and your First Amendment right, and we will fight for these rights.
By the way, no one from the neighborhood was present at any of the three hearings. In fact we have a petition of neighbors in support of CocoDorm!
We will not close the CocoDorm!"
Darren Hayes, formerly that warbler out of Savage Garden (he's the camp one who had the sham marriage with some poor cow) has been arrested following an alleged racist attack on a waiter in a restaurant in London.
Acoustic Correlates of Less-Masculine Sounding Speech is the next study, and it tagged two types of speech: LMS (less-masculine-sounding male speech) and MMS (more-masculine-sounding male speech). The boffins behind this research thought that the discovery of LMS and MMS "may have clinical relevance for patients wishing to modify the perception of masculinity invoked by their speech."
Last year, a team at the University of Minnesota published The Influence of Sexual Orientation on Vowel Production. It concluded that "gay men produced a more expanded vowel space than heterosexual men."
It's an interesting subject - who genuinely believes there's a gay sound of speech? Certainly, a lot of us sound gay, but is it universal? Are there degrees of gay speech, from Alex-out-of-Noah's Arc-obvious, to something more subtle only the trained ear picks up on. Do you think you sound gay? And how many of your friends sounds gay - and do you have any straight friends who speak LMS?
Answers on a postcard.
It was a sort of gay Crash, in which everyone more-or-less looks the same. C4 describes it as “a snapshot of the mixed experiences of several gay men whose lives interconnect over 36 hours in London.” Funny, but I thought gay men in London were a bit more diverse than the bunch of dried up Anglo-toffs served up here. It shouldn’t come as a surprise: C4 also gave us the truly hideous Queer As Folk (a show that almost makes me think queer-bashing is sometimes justified), and every year sticks another embarrassing white fag into the Big Brother house, who’s either flaming, or utterly vile in every conceivable way. The one decent gay drama they screened, Metrosexuality (which embraced the diversity of London’s homoverse) was axed after just one series.
Clapham Junction has almost no redeeming features. There’s a gay wedding in which one of the wealthy grooms seduces a young waiter whilst his new hubby wonders where he is. The waiter is later beaten to death on Clapham Common. A married man engages in some glory hole fun in a toilet before being fucked by a stranger. A fourteen year old boy seduces a paedophile. Coke is sprinkled liberally throughout, as if to say it’s what gay men do. Positive stuff. Oh, and there’s a token black character, who gets about three seconds of screen time. Here’s where the prejudice really shows. The black student, a violinist, is being bullied by a gang of black youths, who thinks he’s gay because he plays the violin. Seems to me the writer of the piece knows nothing about the sort of black youth in London he’s writing about. If he did, he’d know that musical talent is highly prized by these kids, but in keeping with the stereotype theme, he decides rough inner city black kids couldn’t be receptive to an instrument like the violin. Leave ‘em to their decks and rapping, eh.
Maybe we should be grateful there’s any gay drama on television at all, and that Channel 4 decided to make an effort with this season. What’s the BBC done? But it’s so depressing, so relentlessly negative, and a picture of a world that’s alien to many gay men. As for me, I’m off to snort a line before heading down to the local public toilets for some sleazy sex - the boyfriend will never find out!
It’s what we do, after all.
Unfortunately, blogger.com has been designed by a moron. I know this because when I highlighted the text I'd written, in order to copy it to my myspace blog, all the text disappeared, which is what happens when you highlight things on blogger.com in the editing stage. There's also a Very Helpful autosave function, which means that this eroneous deletion of my High Literature is now gone forever.
Thank you, Geek-In-Charge of blogger.com.
According to digitalspy.co.uk, GaydarRadio has received complaints about the incident, and another involving a male housemate referring to women in the house as lesbians.
At the beginning of the current series of Big Brother, a female housemate was removed from the house for using the n-word - yet by not acting on the use of the word poof, Big Brother producers are sending out the message that whilst racist language is unnacceptable, homophobic language falls on deaf ears.
Robin Crowley of GaydarRadio says: “Whether the word was used in an affectionate way or not, the term ‘you poof’ is meant in a demeaning way. As the word ‘nigger’ is unacceptable to the black community, so too is the word ‘poof’ unacceptable to the gay and lesbian community.”
GaydarRadio is urging viewers to complain directly to Channel 4, and to Ofcom, the media regulator. You can do so here and here.
Earlier this year, Ofcom compelled Channel 4 to broadcast the findings of its report into the racist bullying of Shilpa Shetty in Celebrity Big Brother.