Archive for May, 2007

The Apprentice – Series 3 – Episode 10

May 31, 2007

Alan

Naomi – she had her knockers, but I thought she had a strong chance to be in the final three. Speaking of her norks, the producers, clearly aware that the blonde would be leaving the Fray, milked every cleavage shot they possibly could. This was the Naomi bosom show, and it was relentless. I felt sorry for her when she finally faced Sugar’s extended finger, in truth, as Simon had clearly ballsed up royally on so many accounts that I actually lost count and ran out of space as I took notes.

Yes – I take notes. I’m not anal, I do this for you.

Two teams of three were in it to win it. Naomi, Simon and Tre were in one team, doomed to fail and the other was made up of Katrina, Katie and Lohit. The latter is quite likely to win the whole thing, I think, unless Sir Alan is as homophobic as he is sexist.

Briefed at the BT Tower, that awful 60s-eyesore phallus, Alan told the gangs that this project was all about pricing and products. They were to sell items they’d selected on a shopping channel – the potential for disaster was lip-smackingly immense.

The shopping channel was based in glamorous Peterborough – pride of Cambridgeshire. Katie was quiet this episode, slinking into the background aside from one snipe at Kristina and some burbled bollocks about their target customer who she named ‘Mavis’. What is it with Katie’s need to personify everything? Remember ‘Jay’, the target market for the Jams? She’s the sort of twat who names her car ‘Lucy’ or something equally as pathetic. Alongside Katie’s nonsense, their seemed to be an inordinate amount of Simon acting like a walking, mechanised CV. ‘I’m a risk taker’. ‘I go out on a limb’. ‘I talk about myself endlessly even though I have the brain of an average 12 year old’. (I made that last one up, obviously). Tre was a silent man this time round, only popping his head in to be miserable occasionally, ending his sentences with those now dreaded words, ‘as such’. I get the feeling he’s had his brain replaced with n Amstrad email phone to impress Alan and his cronies.

When it came to selling, Kristina went solo, trying to sell a chocolate fountain (a talking point at any dinner party, so long as you live in the 70s) which looked like it was chugging out liquid plops. She then moved onto a ‘steam broom’. What you’d need one of those for, the good lord only knows. Kristina confirmed this, calling out ‘Jesus Christ!’ as her attachment fell apart, causing quite a flurry of stressed activity in the production room. In contrast, Katie and Lohit were natural – in fact, I think we’ve seen their future.

Tre and Naomi, taking instruction from a mute Simon, tried to sell the wheelchair he had procured which turned out to be their main source of profit. The wheelchair idea was roundly mocked, but it turned out to be Simon’s saviour, even despite Alan’s obvious contempt for the item. Tre was hilarious when caught on camera, looking simultaneously embarassed and terrified, walking off set at one point in sheer panic. Naomi managed well, on the basis of her presenting performance she shouldn’t have gone, but then you have to remember she chose a lorry-load of shit for Simon to sell, so it’s probably the fair choice.

Simon’s turn on camera was perhaps the funniest thing I’ve seen on reality TV since Tourette’s Pete fell in a swimming pool. Constructing a trampoline onscreen, he managed to screw the legs on the thing in such a way that it looked like he was indulging in a little do-it-yourself. I mean wanking. The crew fell apart laughing as he remained oblivious, turning his plastic phallus very calmly and announcing that anyone can have fun on it, kids, old people – anyone can jump on. Worth a good belly-laugh I thought, very Carry On…

Alan watched the whole lot on a monitor back in London and we were subject to his criticisms as he watched. This was a great idea, as it was essentially like watching yourself watching the Apprentice, but a version of yourself with curly white hair and messy beard. And an East London accent with peppered yiddish slang.

So, in the boardroom, Naomi copped the boot. I have to admit I agreed with Sugar’s summation. but felt Tre needed a much bigger kicking. The bloke skulked around in the background contributing nothing. At least Simon and Naomi applied themselves, Tre did naught but act like a petulant little sod who was having the worst birthday ever. Simon’s a lucky boy, but Sugar’s clearly taken a shine to the jammy little swine. Two weeks left… I shall be sad when it finally fucks off.

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Big Brother 8

May 31, 2007

Big Brother 8

10 Week Wankathon

And that’s just Carol, the bearded Aunt Flo who hates cock.

Davina was looking nice until she started doing that crouching, gurning Davina thing, and there we were, it’s BB as we all know and pretend to despise.

With regard to my blog on yesterday’s piqued (clang) the house made more than a passing reference to surrealism, or rather Dali. Yellow Mae West lips sofa and fish rather than lobster telephone. Ironically and tellingly such forced ‘weirdness’ is negated by an otherworldly collision of style, impracticality and cruelty. I’ll even accept the chickens in resin a la Damien Hirst’s Away from the Flock was a nice touch. This is the nastiest house yet, bath in the living room, fridge in the garden, cooker in the bedroom and Catholic in the kitchen or something.

In they came, a pair of vacuous blonde twins in minis chewing on lollies, Lolita x 2, Nabokov would pissed out his testis. They’re both as sweet as pie, cute, vacuous and wholly evil.

“Let’s put the next one in!” bellows Davina as if hysterically announcing the second solid shit she’s passed in 6 months.

Lesley, bloke-faced member of the Women’s Institute, I reckon she spends a lot of time in meetings showing the ladies of Charwood how to take out the vas deferens just by hearing. She’ll get on well with the hairy whale, if she doesn’t roundhouse her face off first.

Charley, instant bonk on, fucking fabulous body but with a face that isn’t quite as pretty or lascivious as it thinks it is. Imagine the body of a younger Tyra Banks with the head of Snoop Doggy Dogg winking at you. Quids in, gold digger. She seems like trouble but will probably keep her horns in until dick walks in…

Next Tracey, fucking awful multicoloured anachronism from the awful, hideous days of early rave. Looks like Johnny Rotten – she’s definitely been abused. Thick as Mr. T with a boner. Awful.

I’m looking forward to seeing Chanelle cry. She’s the visual equivalent of downward convergence. Really fucking thick this one, dead posh, but weirdly thinks she’s a certain footballer’s wife. I’m not even lowering myself to say which one as the cunt would appreciate the recognition and she doesn’t deserve any. Fucking fantastic arse though. Freshly dead, I would.

Shalamanom, didn’t catch her name, oddly I quite liked this one, first possible contender. She’s going to be annoying, yes, but so long as she doesn’t turn into a berk, then she’s fine by me. Full of beans, I’d like to see just one of them.

By now the women are grouping. In the red corner, screeching totty, in the blue Tragic Tracey and Livid Lesley. She’s well unhappy, yeah?

In comes Emily, David Cameron with a fresh young vagina. If that chilled you as much as me, I will say no more. Apart from the fact that if she saw so much as a fibre of a quark of tissue on your lad, she’d disinfect the tyres on her range rover.

Laura I really liked, big fat Welsh girl. Sweet, likeable, funny, eating disorder, one of those fat trendy Beth Ditto types, sort of the perfect media ‘anti zero’ size. In my opinion she’s the clear winner so far, she’s marketable out the house and I can predict the rumblings of a media drive to keep her profile sweet. Despite being the size of a chest freezer she’s pretty. After 10 pints and a microdot I’d think about it.

Nicky, straight, boring, sad, has ‘issues’. She’s adopted by the way, little too much information from the producers there, are we meant to be sympathising because she has the personality of public toilet? It’s okay though because, according to Davina as she walked into the house, ‘If Nicky was an animal she’s be a cat so she can lie in the sun all day’. So that’s cleared that up then.

Lastly, Carole, the old one. She’s been on Greenham Common apparently, I think that may well have been as recently as an hour before she appeared on camera. She’s hairier than Oliver Reed and Alan Bates fighting in front of an open fire. Not sure what to make of her, she maternal but aggressive. Outside chance.

So, there you have it, all women so far, 11 of them, that’s 22 tits! One moan, the bloke that makes the ‘crowd’ signs, especially the one for the tool holding the pointy finger sign bearing the slogan ‘you ain’t seen me, right?’. Pass on your address and I’ll send someone round without a conscience.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

May 30, 2007

 At World's End 

Warning: Spoilers! Sort of … 

To fully appreciate how fast and loose the writers of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End play with comprehensibility and plot, look no further than the differing explanations as to why Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa was easier to rescue from death than is Johnny Depp’s Cap’n Jack Sparrow. “Barbossa,” says the loony Cajun lady from Dead Man’s Chest, “was merely dead.” Jack, it transpires, has gone to a far far worse place – Davy Jones’s Locker, a realm that looks a lot like Utah and which is populated by dozens of replica Cap’n Jacks, one of whom is a chicken.

Oh well that’s alright then.

At World’s End has a plot (I think) … it’s just buried beneath a thousand tons of … well … fuck knows. We never find out why Barbossa was easier to rescue past the fact he was ‘just dead’, and we never really find out why Jack was, in fact, a damned-sight easier to rescue than we’d been led to believe. Suffice it to say Jack is rescued and then lots of other stuff happens. And I mean LOTS of stuff … nearly three bloody hours worth.

The story, for what it’s worth, goes something like this: Jack needs rescuing because he’s one of nine pirate lords who each hold one of the fabled nine pieces of eight. Barbossa needs to rescue Jack so Jack can cast his vote at a meeting of the nine pirate lords. He also needs The Black Pearl to fight Davy Jones who is now in the employ of Lord Beckett because Lord Beckett has Davy Jones’s heart. Elizabeth Swann and the stupefyingly dull Will Turner aren’t on the best of terms because Elizabeth betrayed Jack and Will has betrayed everyone else. Will, y’see, needs the Pearl to rescue his dad Bootstrap from Davy Jones who, in turn, has some unfinished business with the bonkers Cajun lady from Dead Man’s Chest.

There are a lot of betrayals. Jack betrays all of the pirates at the big pirate conference. Will betrays Jack and Elizabeth. Elizabeth betrays somebody … possibly Chow-Yun Fat’s Sao Feng (he betrays everyone as well). The crazy Cajun lady betrays everyone because she is an angry Goddess. Davy Jones betrays Lord Beckett. Barbossa betrays everyone … yadda yadda yadda. There are many many double-crosses, most of which make very little sense. For most of the running time you won’t fully comprehend why a particular character has turned round and betrayed everyone – nor will you understand why they are later back fighting for the side they betrayed without the side they betrayed being in the least bit miffed. I felt betrayed by this.

To add to the confusion, most of the cast die at least once. This doesn’t matter much because death isn’t a particular barrier to carrying on living your life. By the movie’s conclusion you do wonder who’s still alive, who’s now immortal, who is actually properly dead and, of course, what the fuck is going on.

To give it its dues, At World’s End looks beautiful. The sets, costumes, CGI work and props are faultless, magnificent, gorgeous achievements. The pirate ships, especially in the climactic battle scene, are glorious. The whole design of the movie at times takes your breath away … which it should do when you consider it cost $250 million dollars to make. If somebody doesn’t win an award for the effort made over making a film look this good, there’s no justice in this world.

It’s just a shame they didn’t spend some of that money sorting out the plot, the overwhelming mass of separate story-lines, or the horrendous sound mix. Half the time you can’t hear yourself think. As pirates bellow at one another in a series of unintelligible accents, Hans Zimmer’s overblown score thunders out, physically assaulting your ears and making understanding what anyone is saying an impossiblity. Perhaps this is why I couldn’t understand what was happening half the time – I couldn’t bloody hear it over the score.

In conclusion Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End is a monstrous, garbled, beautiful, bonkers, boring, noisy, hallucinogenic mess. It is worth watching because I can’t recall ever seeing a film looking this fantastic ever, and some of its set-pieces make your jaw drop to the floor. Just don’t expect to understand what’s going on or even, ultimately, to care.

Channel 4’s Daytime Sponsors

May 29, 2007

TV programme sponsorship has come a long way in the last few years. It wasn’t that long ago that it was only the cash-strapped ITV who were willingly auctioning off their most popular programmes to appropriately twinned products, but now every commercial channel under the sun is doing it.

Channel 4 has become the master of this process, turning overnight from a liberal, non-mainstream channel into the programming equivilent of a formula one race car. Each of its shows are delicately hawked, comfortably snuggling against products and giving both the advertiser and the viewer the impression of actually being ‘involved’ with the show.

For a while these were just short loops, the same footage of a chocolate high-street or bubble of blue air would appear before and after each ad break, but quickly these clips became tedious and infuriating – as anyone who remembers the horrific O2 logofication of Big Brother will testify. Soon they evolved into the short dramatic or sketch moments you see today – little glimpses of a storyline, of a situation – something which seeks to entertain and lightly amuse. Far from being satisfied with mere association, the products are now requesting an emotional involvement in them – as if to say, “hey, we know you’re enjoying Deal or No Deal but we thought we’d give you this second story about a woman who’s lost her wedding ring down the plughole as well. For free! Aren’t BT nice for boosting the dramatic appeal of this show?”

At 3.30 on any weekday Channel 4 has the same run of programmes; Countdown, Deal or No Deal, the Paul O’Grady Show, the Simpsons and finally Hollyoaks. Three and a half hours of pretty fair old lady / housewife / student / teenager programming. Let’s look at who sponsors each show, and how…

3.30 – Countdown (Sponsored by the Digital Switchover). These ones are actually quite sweet as a cute-but-not-entirely- -unSMASH-like robot helps an old lady with the Countdown clues. It’s well done, the robot is really adorable and it’s raising the issue with the demographic who’ll probably struggle the most. It is a little low on actual information, seemingly happy to imply that all people over 60 will receive a cute robot who’ll help them with word puzzles, instead of gently saying “you need to buy a new TV” but there’s still three more years to go so I guess this is just the start of the campaign.

4.15 – Deal or No Deal (Sponsored by BT). Like a modern day Pinter play, these fleeting vignettes revolve around the wife and children from the proper BT adverts and deal with the minutiae of family life, and how each potential crisis can be solved with the phone book. What is particulary noticeable about these ‘moments’ is the absence of My Family buffoon Kris Marshall, and I’d like to debate three possible reasons for this. Those of you not prone to semi-conspiratory media analysis may want to skip to the next section which is far funnier and has several gay jokes.

Reasons for Kris Marshalls Absence in the Deal Or No Deal Viral Ads

  1. They couldn’t afford him. This is most likely as contracts and repeat fees often restrict the use of the ‘star’ and the wife and children will come much cheaper.
  2. Cross-market advertising. Despite using the same characters and situations as the normal TV adverts, it is important for the ‘sponsored by’ stings to have subtle differences. By omiting the star of the adverts they are noting the distinction between a hard sell and a generous sponsorship
  3. It’s all about your gender. Most working husbands won’t be home before the end of the show, and since the advert represents a normal (but surprisingly youthful) mother with a teenage child, why would her husband be home? Thus each sting involves a domestic chore or parental decision and not a matter of household importance. It’s a subtle point, but by not using Kris Marshall they are attempting to win confidence with the majority of their demographic by more directly representing their lives… sponsorship is not about directly selling a product, it’s about breeding familiarity and association with the audiences life.

5.00 – The Paul O’Grady Show (Sponsored by Schwartz). I don’t know about Paul O’Grady’s sexual orientation. He makes no allusions to either hetero or homo, and he is a mid-level kind of camp which is somewhere between screaming queer (Kenneth Williams) and uncomfortable impression (Duncan Norville). One possible reason for this is that the ‘sponsored by’ stings that straddle his show are so outrageously gay that anything that exists between them is subject to a relative equation which far exceeds normal levels of gay.

They are very short ‘slices’ of conversation that occur around various kitchens across the country, cut to close ups of hands preparing food and using Schwartz products. The dialogue has clearly been written / recycled from a radio advert, where everything has to be spelt out in a  v e r y  c l e ar  w a y  as it resembles no real life conversation in any way.

My favourite one is between two men, somewhere in a sunny kitchen… one is making breakfast and the other enters and expresses his amazement at this activity. “Hang on” he says “you never make breakfast”, and gently it transpires that the breakfast is being made for an overnight guest. When pressed for details the man simply says “ah ah ah ah, a true gentleman never tells” and both men relax into comfortable, friendly giggles. It’s amazing.

Every line of dialogue, every intonation of emotion is completely wrong. The laugh at the end implys a certain familiarity with the situation, but the genuine shock at the realisation suggests a new experience. The clear and polite language is too enthusiastic, and the reaction to the news of a sordid evening is wholly perceived as a positive thing. The men are also so very clearly gay; this would be fine were it not for the fact they’re not meant to be. In the advertising world the idea of a flatmate chiding another for a one night stand is wholly acceptable in heterosexual terms, but wholly unacceptable in a homosexual situation. Thus only one conclusion can be reached; they’re really badly made adverts.

6.00 – The Simpsons (no sponsor)

6.25 – Hollyoaks (Sponsored by Wrigleys Gum). The Hollyoaks spots are another attempt to have a semi-coherent storyline running throughout the adverts. A teenage cast go through the various ups and downs of adolescence, accompanied by the ever-present litter of Britain, Wrigleys.

Looking nothing like any teenagers I’ve ever met, and certainly not like the hip young things they’re meant to represent, these kids meet girls, steal cars and watch TV but at all times behave like the home-schooled offspring of Enid Blyton. A Gorgeous Chick hits on a Chav Nerd and plays him at pool for chewing gum, a hot older sister bribes a youth with gum to leave her alone with her boyfriend, the said Chav Nerd impresses the Gorgeous Chick with his dashboard stash of gum…

If this were at all representative of today’s youth then the kids would play pool for clothes, the older sister would be pregnant already and the Gorgeous Chick would be finger-fucked in the car instead of offered mints. Even by Hollyoaks standards this is piss-poor acting and a bad portrayal of the nation’s youth. If it’s meant to be hip then it’s woeful, if it’s meant to be ironic it’s even worse.

Coming Soon:
BAE sponsors Channel 4 News and Loans4You get behind Glitterball.

Countdown

May 25, 2007

Carol Vorderman 

I think it’s high time Countdown was given a brief rinsing in the traditional WWM style. But don’t get me wrong, I can sit down and watch countdown quite happily; the format is timeless, the concept of the show is a damn sight more educational than a good many programmes and as a quiz show it is more interactive than any others that I can think of in that it does not rely purely on memory or multiple choice options. Rather, as the viewer, you create your own right answers. However, if you did little else but watch Countdown everyday for twenty years, you’d be forgiven for thinking the outside world has not changed at all. The set design makes me think I could knock a better one up using wax crayons and sheets of A4 paper and the music is not so much actual music but rather a sustained sound effect.

The dictionary corner guests range from a spectrum of Z-listers, such as Pam Ayers, Richard Digence, Sandy Toksvig and Paul Zennon (he who thinks he can magic). Most of them are Z-listers because they think they are funny but aren’t. Especially Pam Ayers who is to poetry what Mr Blobby was to music. Occasionally someone like the crustified Ricky Tomlinson will turn up and the standard of humour will go up a notch or two.

Since old Whitely died, the show has been thrust into a state of disarray and has as of yet been unable to find the right host for the job. I remember when Countdown was between presenters and Stephen Fry was approached to do the job. Wishful thinking ad infinatum methinks. Des Lynam, bless his cotton socks, lied through his teeth when he said he loved the job. Really he was thinking – ‘Dear Lord, what has become of me?!’ In the end he used the excuse of not being arsed to travel all the way from London to Leeds everyday, which, to be fair, ain’t a bad excuse is it? I imagine him singing ‘It’s alright ma’ I’m only bleeding’ full pelt as he made the laborious journey home in his car at the end of each show.

Now it looks as though we are stuck with that bronzed and mummified buffoon Des O’ Connor, until he cops it, which by my calculations will probably be around 2052. That is taking into account his rate of decay, sods law, and the dynamics of ‘the good die young’ theory. If you listen carefully you can hear his rusty spine creak everytime he turns his head from side to side. The fact is, he is the least funny of any of the Countdown hosts, ever. Whitely may have been funny for all the wrong reasons, but he still whupped O’Connor hands down. Even Lynam had better quips and he’s never even been considered as a comedian. The problem with O’ Connor is that he appears to be trying too hard to cater for that oxymoron – ‘family humour’. The result being that he is about as witty as a British Telecom advertisment.

Poor old Carol does her best and she seems like a sweet lady, but lets be honest, she has the personality of a cloud and the dress sense of an over-confident lollipop lady. I think it’s fair to say though, that she is single-handedly keeping a reasonable portion of Countdown’s viewers interested – pervy dads and lonely widowers.

The audience is largely made up of pensioners and the contestants are mainly social inadequates, many of whom should not, strictly speaking, be allowed to wander the streets unattended, if at all.

Although it seems like it has been around forever, it is inevitably going to die on it’s arse in the near future. In a couple of generations it will be forgotten forever, which I think is a great shame because a programme which encourages the viewer to use their brain and interact with it in a way which requires more of its audience than just the usual passive and vegatative observation can only be a good thing. In time, it too will be consumed by the wave of TV mindlessness which is, like it or not, flooding our screens, as the cold and mechanical brainwashing of the masses powers on and we all turn into nothing more than compliant slabs of flesh, devoid of free-thinking.

The Apprentice, Series 3, Episode 9

May 24, 2007

 Bunch of Apprentices

Bad timing. In the same week that the Cutty Sark – that symbol of defiant English trading – burned to naught but a shrivelled nub in suspicious circumstances, the BBC transmitted Sugar’s secretary calling the remaining contestants, first thing in the morning on one of Amstrad’s ludicrously massive phones. Guess where she told them to assemble to meet the big man? That’s right – Greenwich, home to the Sark. Immediately this episode felt like a bit of a relic, something knackered and wheeled out from the past.

Sugar appeared on the quayside flanked by his henchman and woman. Canary Wharf loomed in the background actually forming a bishop’s mitre around Alan’s big ears. The concept of international trading would be the basis of the task, we were informed. Tre would lead JadineSimon and Lohit whilst Katie would lead Kristina and Naomi. If Katie’s team lost we had a chance of ousting either the revolting Katie or the smugly professional Kristina. My fingers were already crossed to the point of fracturing my knuckles. But then the fear set in. Look at the state of Jadine! She’s blubbing! The editors are telling us something (and they’re not being very fucking subtle)! SHITE! Obviously Tre found Jadine’s femininity disgusting. ‘You know what women are like’ he said, like the sexist shitbag he is.

So Katie (I spit a huge phlegm-cob into the dust every time I say the name) went off with Naomi (who is hopeless at everything apart from looking good in a frock and will not win). They sold a fair few pieces of tat having decided on going with the Canadian trader. They were selling a weird insole (effectively a fancy odour eater), a solar panel which I think was meant as a tanning soloution or possibly to ward off S.A.D. and a rug/jigsaw thing that they found impossible to flog until Kristina did the business, again marking herself out as the future winner unless something goes very, very wrong for her.

One of the buyers Katie and Naomi sold to was very clearly taken only by one of the sellers’ appearance. And I think we can conclude that we’re talking about Naomi rather than Katie. Slime oozed off him when he said ‘I’ll take a cent’, meaning ‘I’ll buy a hundred off you, cos I fancy the crumpet’. He didn’t exactly do wonders for the reputation of sellers of Chelsea rubbish. Faint echoes of Harry Enfield’s ‘I saw you coming’ character wafted across the eardrums. After the deal Katie bigged herself up on a wave of confidence. ‘I have taste’, she exclaimed, clearly forgetting the racks of sub-regal pink suits she has at home.

On the other hand, Tre and Simon chose Swedish goods. Firstly there was an air filter which Tre said he liked for its ‘ethical qualities’. How wasting electricity on getting rid of a bit of pollen is ethical is beyond me, but Tre has started to make it clear he is intelligent by, instead of swearing, using the words ‘as such’ as a suffix to every sentence, as such. So he admired the filters ‘ethical qualities, as such’. What a thicko. They also chose a weird heatable fluffy toy beanbag monstrosity and something else I can’t remember. It was probably useless.

Jadine’s sensitive outburst was clearly going to be her downfall, despite the fact that she and Lohit made the biggest sale for their losing team while Simon (who did precisely fuck all) and Tre, as such, made few sales and farted about like bickering shoolmates. With about a grand less in profit in comparison to the ladies, they ended up Sugarside and Tre took Jadine and Lohit with him. Tre let off Simon in a show of camaraderie which made me nauseous. How is Simon coasting through so easily? It seems mighty unfair to me considering he’s got so little to offer aside from a nice-but-dim manner spiked by the occasional borderline-racist ethnic impression. But the rules dictate that only two need to go through for the final showdown and Jadine and Lohit were destined to face the rap as they weren’t key members of the Tre/Paul massive.

Lohit really didn’t deserve to be there and he defended Jadine very well. Unfortunately, though Sugar had said how tough the decision was, it seemed he’d already made his decision. He criticised Lohit for ‘talking the talk’ and essentially made him do a 360, turning him on Jadine so that, as the boss, he could fire Jadine with everyone’s backing. At least he gave her a good send-off, praising her to high heaven and sending her on her way with the best sentiment displayed so far.

In the closing moments, Tre revealed his devastating game-plan. ‘Keep tellin’ people you’re da best, and soon enough they believe it’. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. He’s paved the way to his own exit with that statement. As such.

Paul Merton In China

May 23, 2007

Paul Merton In China 

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.

McCoys Crisps.

May 22, 2007

Have you seen this crap? A young gentleman and his mates stand at a bar, all of them the types of chap who could make Guy Richie collapse in an onanism-frenzy due to their Fred Perry attire. Two of them sip lagers and munch McCoy’s crisps. They are wearing suits and V necks. Not work suits. They wear suits on what would seem to be an evening away from work – a leisurely drink with their mates. There are no women in the pub from what we can gather, just East End gangster types with shaven heads. The whole thing is stylised like a Lock Stock nightmare. It is the sort of pub you would never want to go into in your right mind.

The protagonist of this little piece of crap goes over to the jukebox to put on some tunes. He is knocked into by a man with a tray. Cripes! His finger slips on the jukebox! He’s put in a song and he doesn’t even know what it is! 

He shrugs. He returns to his mates. As he crosses the room, the tune he has inadvertently selected kicks in. It is Puppy Love by 70’s teen heart-throb, Donny Osmond. Good heavens! What will the lads think?

We gather what the other drinkers think from a couple of split second shots. A cropped bloater looks across with incredulity. What was he thinking? A fellow pauses at the pool table to look across with disgruntlement.

The crisps are removed from his hands and he is removed from the pub via a large suction tube and the words MCCOYS – MAN CRISPS dominate the screen, after one of the party asks where they’re all going to be meeting at some future arrangement.

What are McCoys playing at?

Error Number One 

Is it just me, or is a pub in which there are only well-groomed men seem a bit at odds with the notion of complete masculinity? Isn’t it suggestive of a gay bar, where more likely than not one or two of the clientelle will be a tiny bit feminine?

Error Number Two

Puppy Love is a song about a young man yearning for a woman. ‘They’ll never know…just why I love her so’, go the lyrics. It is, in fact, an apt song for the young man to play. It would assert his masculinity, surely? He’s yearning for female company for Christ’s sake, and it’s no surprise as he’s surrounded by pink, spherical men.

Error Number 3

When he is ejected from the pub, the tool used to do so is a long, spherical item which I wouldn’t hesitate in dubbing phallic. He is literally sucked off in a pub filled with men. The fact that once this act is concluded, when we are at the point of climax, one of the men asks where they’re all meeting at a future time – essentially arranging another time to do exactly the same thing – it seems we’ve just watched a massive gay East End orgy.

It seems that the advertisers, whilst brainstorming in the boardroom, took the branding up the wrong alley. Mrs.