Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Beauty of Joey Barton's Twitter.

Rarely has a website polarised as many people as Twitter. To some people, it is a fascinating way of exchanging information on current events and societal happenings quickly and freely, and of course, keeping track on the goings on of your favourite celebrities. To others, the uninitiated shall we say, it is a pointless tool that is used to exchange pointless information by pointless people. Whatever your opinion is on it, it is hard to ignore. While nigh-on every young and hip celebrity has their own Twitter account, few, if any, have utilised it to such a profound effect as a young Liverpudlian footballer named Joey Barton. Joey Barton's account is to Twitter what the I Ching is to books. In simple English, it is simply a phenomena.

I follow a lot of celebrities, especially footballers, on Twitter so I feel that I am at a good position to comment. I hate celebrities to be honest and err go, most of their Twitter accounts. They write the most banal, irrelevant rubbish and seem to either not know or not care about the concept of grammar. So I like it when I see something different. I like it when I see that a celebrity is actually taking an interest in current events and displaying competent levels of knowledge. With Joey Barton, I get all that and more. I suppose it's quite important we quickly delve into Joey's chequered past just to show how utterly surreal it is that he has become the footballing world's equivalent of Bill Hicks. He is a convicted criminal, has stubbed a cigar in a youth player's eye, broke a pedestrian's leg in Liverpool City Centre and assaulted a fellow team mate. This has led many to condemn him as a thug, a man incapable of abstaining from violence. Even now, in 2012, after spending time in rehab and becoming a father, many people's perception of him remains the same. Those who follow him on Twitter know different.

In what has become the greatest reinvention since Frank Abagnale Jr. joined the FBI, Barton has reinvented himself as a philosophical. insightful and profound individual who forms his own opinions on issues as ponderous as the London Riots to ones as frivolous as the quality (or lack of) of football commentators. He is confrontational but not in a mindless way, he always has a reason for engaging in disputes with his fellow famous Twitter users. Take his recent argument with the cast of the exorbitantly terrible The Only Way Is Essex.  To the naked eye, it would appear Joey was merely picking an easy target. TOWIE are often castigated in the press for portraying Essex in a negative light or just being incredibly stupid so Joey picking on them would obviously garner a lot support. But this was not the reason for his attacks. Joey was attacking their 'fake, pretentious lifestyles' and the 'fame hungry' nature of its characters. Sure, he called them 'retards' and 'helmets' which isn't very profound or deep but in fairness, it's hard to deny that the Towie cast aren't 'mentally deficient' as Joey also put it. 

It hasn't been Joey's vendetta against the glitterati that has been the defining feature of his tweets however. A vast amount of his ire has been reserved for his employers, be they past or present. During his dispute with Newcastle United last Summer, Joey made use of Twitter to voice his disdain of the powers that be at the club. Among his more notable tweets at the time were 'Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata', and 'And again it would be left to those magnificent fans to pick up the remnants of their once great club #hadenoughofcertainpeople'. Would any other footballer have the temerity to speak out in such a way? Would any other footballer be aware of the injustices which he sees? And would any other footballer know what 'Persona Non Grata' means? I think not. This episode marked Joey out as a rebel, some would say without a cause, and a thinker. It was the first time that his Twitter account properly impinged on the consciousness of the mainstream media. And from that moment on, I was entranced. 

One of Joey's best moments on Twitter in my opinion came only a few weeks ago. In an almost casual, nonchalant tweet, Joey decided to let it be known that he was off to an AA meeting. It's a taboo subject for a lot of people, alcoholism, and many people felt awkward that Joey should comment on it. They asked him why he would tweet such a thing. It makes people think about their own lives and drinking habits and that is not comfortable for a lot of people. Joey's tweets were sensible and helpful, 'Decided to comment on AA, as its important that people know its ok. That they don't have to struggle through life alone. Am ok with it!'. He talked about how he found AA meetings 'AA = Alcoholics Anonymous.........? Its usually great. Loads to be learned if u have a problem or not. Usually most do......or did! Like moi'. This portrayed Joey in a different light to that which people are used to it. It showed a vulnerable side to him, one which his normally rebellious and controversial tweets do not convey. However I felt it was an incredibly brave and mature thing to do and might even help people in a similar position to the one he was in a few years ago. 

So whether it's quoting The Smiths and Friedrich Nietzsche or having to deny links to the EDL or commenting on the hypocritical nature and corruption of American politics, it's rather safe to say Joey Barton's Twitter account is a bastion of entertainment and enlightenment. If you're sick of Rio Ferdinand's 'bants' or Wayne Rooney's nonsensical and grammatically incorrect ramblings about the X Factor give Joseph Barton a follow. Whether you agree with him or not, you're guaranteed to learn something.

And he looks like Alex Turner so what's not to like?

No comments:

Post a Comment