Big Brother starts tonight. It’s scheduled, barring any cancellation due to housemate racsim / fascism / paedophilia, to run for THREE MONTHS. God help us.
At the same time, the show’s production company, Endemol, is running “De Grote Donor Show” (loosely translated as “Kidney Idol”) in the Netherlands, a reality programme in which a dying woman decides which contestant gets her kidney, with the audience encouraged to send in advice. Nice.
People are saying that it’s an inappropriate subject for a TV show, and of course I agree, but at the same time I think they may be onto something; it would certainly liven up Big Brother’s turgid trimester if they introduced an element of medical mutilation to the proceedings. If we were able to vote on who to evict AND which functioning body part of theirs we could subsequently amputate / donate to a worthy cause, I’d be a regular watcher. Especially of any celebrity version.
To quote Chez, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”. And the BBC are proving it with much-vaunted but in fact crock o’ shite cheap clips show “The Seven Ages of Rock“. The premise - that rock music can be divided into 7 distinct phases - is ham-fisted in the extreme, as last week’s show proved, lumping Roxy Music and Genesis together as “Art Rock” on no stronger basis than that the groups’ frontmen (and I think this is a direct quote) “wore funny costumes sometimes”.
It’s really just an excuse for some idea-starved junior producer to mess around in the Beeb archives rather than doing some proper work, wheeling out hyperbole-tending gobshites like Charles Shaar Murray to attempt to lend some credibility to the whole sorry enterprise. Watch out for the inevitable appearance of Stuart Maconie in later editions. Absolute rubbish.
By Shit Sandwich | May 28, 2007 - 12:15 pm - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
I’m feeling extremely old after this weekend; my fuddy-duddiness has been on the cards for a while (probably since I discovered progressive rock, aged 14, to be fair) - but Saturday’s events marked another important milestone.
I was in Tulse Hill celebrating a friend’s daughter’s 21st (which is bad enough); we were ensconced downstairs, whilst the youngsters were upstairs. We were being forced to listen to The Clash / various pieces of old and musty Ska, and at one point I remarked to a fellow attendee - “I bet it’s Lily Allen on a non-stop loop upstairs, isn’t it?” Bizarrely enough, the birthday girl happened to be good friends with Kate Nash, who is in turn apparently very close to the atrocious Ms Allen… they both showcase their music (and link to each other) on Myspace. Record company execs are reportedly very excited about all the young female talent coming out of London at the moment, but simultaneously dismayed that they all insist on singing IN A FUCKING MOCKNEY ACCENT.
Anyway, back to the main thrust - we mostly did the decent (sensible) thing, staying downstairs drinking a very passable Cabernet Merlot and stroking our beards, leaving the youngsters to their Red Bull and Calpol chasers, or whatever they drink these days. We would take it in turns to go upstairs for a few minutes, staring in wonderment at the wrinkle-free young flesh and the bizarre fashions (why DO blokes these days wear their jeans with the arse-area hanging around their knees?), invariably scooting back downstairs quickly with our tails between our legs when challenged as to our age.
But finally, towards 1am, too much Dutch courage took its toll and the inevitable happened; a mid-thirties bloke from our party grasped the nettle, approached a group of young girls and asked with a swagger - “So, what’s everybody drinking?”
Deathly silence - one of those occasions when the needle skates across the record quietening the music instantly, and a tumbleweed blows across the room. A hasty retreat back into decrepitude followed.
By Shit Sandwich | May 23, 2007 - 2:49 pm - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
I spent a very pleasurable weekend in the company of Pal and family in the wilds of Suffolk; apart from anything else, the visit gave me an opportunity to behold the mysteries of child-raising. Every adult, parent or not, knows that bribery (”if you tidy your room, you’ll get a lolly”) and blackmail (”unless you tidy your room, you won’t get that lolly”) are essential tools for dealing with young ‘uns - but this weekend, I spotted for the first time that repeated and insistent affirmation of a given state of affairs is also necessary. Hence (names have been changed to protect the innocent) -
“You know that if you stay up for another 10 minutes you can’t watch TV in bed, don’t you?”
(Vague and non-committal avoidance-of-issue noise from child)
“Did you hear that, Thomas? You DO KNOW that you won’t be able to watch TV if you stay down here for another 10 minutes?”
“You heard what I said, didn’t you? That YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO WATCH TV IF YOU DECIDE TO STAY DOWN HERE WITH US?”
(Reluctantly…) “Yeeees, Daaaad”
Highly amusingly, the child will copy the trick if they feel that they’re getting an unexpectedly good deal, hence:
“You did say that I could have a new toy if I come to the car boot sale with you? You did say that, didn’t you? You said that I could have a toy?”
“Mmm-hmmmm. Now hurry up, get in the car - we don’t want to be late meeting weird Uncle Sandwich”.
“But YOU DID SAY THAT I COULD HAVE A TOY IF I CAME WITH YOU, DIDN’T YOU?”
“Yes, yes I did - yes, you can have a toy”
… only then can the deal be considered to be sealed; the child smiles triumphantly and you can see them thinking “Yesss! RESULT!”
By Shit Sandwich | May 22, 2007 - 9:24 am - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
I’ve been thinking a bit recently about instances in books / films / stories where the villain is portrayed in a far more sympathetic light (or is just far cooler) than the hero. Literary types always point to Lucifer in “Paradise Lost” - indeed, this blog from The Guardian riffs extensively on the theme.
I’m more interested, though, in examples from telly and film - I reckon that when these media first reached a mass market in the ’50s, it was a lot harder for yer TV / film scriptwriter to come up with sympathetic villains; maybe because “popular” culture needed to deal in sharply delineated black and white characterizations for the sake of Joe Public’s Cold War goodie-baddie cowboy / indian expectations. But things changed from the ’70s onwards; Darth Vader, for example, is significantly cooler than his milksop son (and is, ultimately, the REAL emperor-killing hero of the film). And these days, there are plenty of amusing “pantomimey” villains, for example Dirty Den in Eastenders or the appropriately-named Al Swearengen in Deadwood - both FAR more sympathetic and memorable characters than the shows’ heroes, who tend to be quite dull.
My last example is the one which got me thinking of the subject, and can probably be taken as an indicator of the level of my ruminative cogitations thereon - Grotbags from “Emu’s World”. FAR funnier than Rod bloody Hull, his irritating pet and the unspeakable stage-school kids who populated the dodgily-monikered “Pink Windmill”, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Over to you for some more?…
By Shit Sandwich | May 16, 2007 - 10:07 am - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
I refer, of course, to the Madeleine McCann case which has dominated the headlines for nearly 10 days now. Of course, what has happened to the family is terrible, and everyone feels for them and hopes that their daughter is found safe and well.
That said - the public outpouring of sentimentality is totally disproportionate, and the mawkish emotional transference which is going on - encouraged by all sections of the media - is unhealthy. I’ve just spent a large part of the morning listening to BBC 5 Live, which was basically given over for an hour to members of the public ringing in messages of support for the McCann family. Football players, newspapers, millionaires and celebrity authors have all contributed loudly to the reward fund (making sure, of course, that they were far from anonymous in the process), and the collective wailing and gnashing of teeth from the tabloids has reached deafening proportions. The twin cults of sentimentality and victimhood rear their heads again, as they did most spectacularly when Diana died.
Sadly, terrible things happen to children all the time; for the British public to be encouraged to give millions toward a “fighting fund” exclusive to this case is, frankly, wrong, when childrens’ charities in the UK and worldwide are crying out for donations.
And, of course, the attendant witch-hunt mentality is inevitable; the life of the “suspect”, Robert Murat, is already ruined, even if he’s found to be totally innocent. And if I were coming out with these sentiments as a politician or leader-writer, I’d at the very least be hounded out of my job.
What happened to perspective?
By Shit Sandwich | May 13, 2007 - 3:37 pm - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
Having endured a fairly tepid Eurovision last night (albeit brightened up by the excellent company of the mighty Chez), I managed at least to salvage a passable lookey-likey from the experience; behold the similarity between winner Marija Serifovic -
… and Ricky Gervais’s character from series 2 of “Extras”, Ray Stokes -
Are you ‘avin a laugh? Is ‘e avin’ a laugh?
By Shit Sandwich | May 10, 2007 - 7:21 am - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
Today is apparently going to be the day when Tony Blair steps aside in favour of tubby jaw-dropper Gordon Brown. It’s not often I indulge in overtly political posts, largely because they’re usually very boring, but in Tony’s case I’ll make an exception.
An awful lot of bollocks is spouted about the man, and a lot of the perceived hatred of him simply doesn’t exist, except in the myopic vista of the right-wing press. I think he’s an extremely intelligent politician who has worked astonishingly hard and conducted himself (by and large) with great integrity. Had it not been for Iraq, he’d be remembered as one of the best prime ministers ever - and he may yet achieve that in spite of Iraq. Britain is far better-placed as a result of his ten-year tenure (see what I did there?) than it was when he came to power.
Anybody who thinks that we’ll have a better time of it under Gordon Brown or Blair-lite David Cameron is sorely mistaken; he’ll quickly be missed, and I wouldn’t even rule out a Blair comeback one day.
By Shit Sandwich | May 8, 2007 - 3:19 pm - Posted in General, or uncategorized due to sloppy editing
A lookey-likey in honour of today’s historic implementation of power-sharing in Northern Ireland: new deputy first minister Martin McGuinness…
… and angel-voiced owner of the most receded hairline in the rock, Art Garfunkel.
(OR WEEK, OR HOWEVER OFTEN HE CAN BE ARSED TO CHANGE IT...)
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