Donkey cock. It was thinly sliced and looked like tongue, served in a ramekin with a small amount of sauce. Paul gingerly ate a slice, he didn’t mind it but retched at the next dish. Not sure what it was (I think they were silkworm grubs, or was it a snakes reproductive sack?) as I was still in remission from watching a man chop up a winkle.With his rather fetching assistant, I watched Paul Merton undertake an engaging visit to The People’s Republic of China in order to discover more about its culture, people, blah blah. The largely friendly residents are clearly in the iron fist of The Communist Party, to the point that the Chinese rappers, aping the brothers in the hood, are forced to enthusiastically rap about how nice Chinese food is (‘It’s kinda tricky gettin da taste… But throw in soy sauce, you’ve got no waste’) rather than crack, bitches and guns which makes them seem a little, well, shit. Still, its better to tow the party line than getting beaten with sticks for a year before being sent off to till the land until your fingers drop off.
The highlight of the show was this bloke that makes robots. Apparently this chap had no formal training in electronics and using components from other people’s rubbish built an array of stunning robots, including this huge silver object that, in addition to speaking, had the strength and coordination to pull a fucking rickshaw and a couple of people. He’d even made a smaller version for his son. It was truly astonishing, much to the amusement of Merton and yours truly, sat on a couch smoking skunk. The only person unamused by all of this was his bloody wife. Instead of acknowledging his genius she just wanted him to go to work like everyone else. The miserable old cunt.
There was one glaring snag in all of this - the bit when Merton went and visited a truly horrific hotel. Built in the style of a French Chateau, this sprawling 40 million pound pile of shit was the equivalent of the perpetually fake Colleen McLoughlin, minus what brains it possesses. Its owner, a despicable rich member of the Communist Party, turned up unannounced to introduce himself to Paul as if he were an ambassador for the British government - the creep. But this wasn’t the main problem, it was a ridiculously staged scene whereby Paul is ‘woken up’ by a load of guests doing Karaoke and is ‘forced’ to join in. Paul dressed in an underpant flashing dressing gown hams the whole fucking thing up to the detriment of his status as a genuine and likeable man.
On the whole Merton managed to present a view of China that was at once charming, worrying and interesting. He’s no seasoned traveller (like Palin for example) but isn’t afraid to look bemused and confused by the people and it’s politics. Shame then that he felt the need for that shit karaoke scene, which isn’t even a Chinese invention.
Still, I’ll keep watching, dammit I like the guy.