Archive for October, 2007

EastEnders

October 31, 2007

Ergh 

I’ve been to a few weddings I didn’t want to go to. I’m scheduled for more next year, no doubt. And I bet you are too. Sometimes, if it’s a family do, there’s no getting out of it, as the recriminations just aren’t worth the bloody hassle. The same goes for funerals – if Grandma kicks the bucket, obligation demands you don your black suit and race off to whatever godforsaken part of the country they’re burying her in.

With this in mind, will tonight’s wedding between Bradders and Stacey see a glorious reunion of two disparate clans – The Brannings and the Slaters? Will Kat ‘n’ Alfie will be there? Will Little Mo make an appearance? And Lynne, and Belinda? Zoe? Maybe not, as I recall she had a bit of bother over being an accessory to murder a while back.

And on the Branning side? Well let’s not forget Carol Jackson, Robbie, Sonia ‘n’ Martin, Bianca … maybe even little mop-haired Billy, yeah?

That’s what happens at family weddings, yeah?

Well no, not in EastEnders they don’t. Even though the soap purports to being set in the real world, events like weddings and funerals show it up for the lying scam it really is. Last night’s hen night was a case in point. We’ve all witnessed the packs of drunken fillies wobbling around town centres, the bride tarted up in veil and L-plates as she blunders from Yates’s to Wetherspoons to All Bar One with her dreadful coven of twenty-something mates.

Yet Stacey’s hen night (and lest we forget Stacey looks and dresses just like one of those girls on a Blackpool hen night we’ve all seen on Street Crime UK) took place in a house with various available cast members. Unlike on a real hen night, Stacey’s do featured her mad mother, her great aunt, her fiance’s icy mother, her lover’s wife, and, for some reason, that idiot Honey and that other idiot Asian girl whose name escapes me. Great night, Stace – no wonder you went to the pub.

And in the pub, there was Bradders, having his stag night. Bradders, who works in the City and presumably has lots of smarmy City-Boy friends, chose to spend his stag night with the likes of Charlie, Billy, and those two veteran ‘Stenders stag nighters, Minty ‘n’ Garry. Where were Bradley’s mates? Don’t you usually go out on your stag night with your mates? Out and about – to different pubs? Then get tied to a lamppost, starkers, in Dundee?

The problem the folks behind EastEnders have in trying to connect its world with our reality is that their cast of characters regularly bugger off and don’t come back. Thus, when it comes to family occasions (weddings, funerals, Christmas, births, christenings etc.), we have the odd phenomenon of a character’s supposed loved-ones not being there for them through good times and bad. Off the top of my head, here’s a few examples of how callous your relatives are if you live in Albert Square …

Grant was happy to come back for two weeks to help his brother out over that Johnny Allen business, but couldn’t be arsed to get on a plane to come back when it came to the small matter of Phil getting married.

David Wicks just couldn’t spare the time to go to his best friend Barry’s funeral. In fact, David couldn’t even be bothered to go to Roy’s funeral – his friend and biggest contact in the motor trade.

Cathy, loving mother that she was, clearly didn’t grasp the concept of airports when her only son got married, got shot, got married, had kids, went bankrupt, grew a moustache etc etc. For that matter, for quite a while until his off-screen death, Pete Beale couldn’t be arsed with Ian either.

Pauline, matriarch of the Square, uber-family woman, keep the faaaaamily together, faaaamily, faaaaamily, faaaamily woman extraordinaire, couldn’t even lure her daughter back to London by having a brain hemorrhage and dying at Christmas. Mind you, Michelle (that bitch), was reluctant to hand over her money to Virgin Atlantic even when her dad died – and he was the nice one of the bunch. Ditto her brother’s death, her other brother’s marriage, her best friend’s wedding (s?), her best friend’s husband’s funeral, or her best friend’s father’s (and father of her child’s) funeral. The cow.

So what hope, then, that we’ll see a reunion of those screeching harridan Slater sisters and those bothersome Jackson buggers? Don’t hold your breath, Stacey.

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Birds Eye

October 30, 2007

‘Why is the sky blue?’

That opening question seizes the attention. It’s a grabber. I’m in their world. I want to know what’s going on.

The whole family sits around the table, as families never, ever do these days unless they’ve just defrosted an Iceland Frozen Christmas Dinner Special. The girl answers the query effortlessly, impatiently even. The family are quizzing the daughter of this happy crew on matters of natural science – clearly she has a biology mock coming up – so they’re encouraging her learning as they dine. Marvellous.

But, hold up! Who’s doing the quizzing now? Why it’s only the original ‘Nutty Boy’ himself – Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson! Y’know – the bloke from Madness! He did that annoying version of Cecilia. And the awful song about Camden. He was in Madness!
Baggy Trousers! Baggy Trousers! THAT’S the one! I likes driving in me car – honk honk toot toot!

So – why is Suggs round the table? And how comes he’s testing the young lady on three things a plant needs for photosynthesis? CHRIST ALONE KNOWS.

The next question comes from the lad. He wants answers about something to do with Omega 3 oils – those things fish have coarsing through their gills that put hairs on your chest and a zing in your pecker. Oh blimey. Dad starts ticking down time with his fingers like the Countdown clock powered by an arsehole-battery. The girl can’t answer the question. She will fail her mock exam. Her future suddenly looks hopeless.

‘But that’s not on the curriculum!’ she wails, almost in agony, perhaps having sighted her destitute destiny.

Her cheeky brother flings his question cards into the air, where they pause, mid-frame. Everyone is frozen in time – apart from Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson who begins to say how fortunate it is that the fishfingers the family is chowing down down on contain a few of them there Amiga 500 oils. Handy!

Now I think of it, how is that lucky? Maybe by actually eating the oils she’ll fill the knowledge void in her small head? Or maybe she’ll catch sight of the miniscule nutritional facts box on the side of the box the fingers came in? Or maybe Suggs is talking shit in an advert he has no reason to be in apart from a fat cheque for a lazy celebrity appearance? One of these things, I’d imagine.

After Suggs gives his little infoburst, time resumes itself and the cards fall to the table as though nothing happened. ‘Is it fish? It’s fish!’ the girl cries, having worked it out by absorbing the Commodore 64 oils in her dirty sandwich. Suggs does some jazz hands and a silly gurn. Weirdly, Dad doesn’t lift the young lad up by his hair, plonk him over his knee and give him a good thrashing for throwing cards all over the place and making a bloody mess of the kitchen. ‘Our House’ by Madness kicks in, and the advert is over. The tenuous link makes itself known – Suggs once sang a song called ‘Our House’ in the 80s. It’s weird he didn’t make his living by more devious means seeing as he’s been concealing an ability to stop time up his sleeve. Clearly he realised he’d make more money making substandard appearances in rubbish adverts than he ever would using his magical superpower.

ONE STEP BEYOND!

Kate Nash – Mouthwash

October 25, 2007

Nash 

Kate Nash…Kate, Kate, Kate. What can I say?

First off, I have to say I’ve only heard two of your songs, so there’s a chance (a fucking remote one, but a chance nonetheless) that the rest of your musical arsenal will contradict everything I’m about to say. But I doubt it.

I’ve heard these two songs because I listen to XFM, an ‘alternative’ radio station. Not as alternative as it used to be, judging by Kate’s recent arrival onto the airwaves. Kate is another member of the recent herd of female singer-songwriters who have, frankly, made me hate women. No, that’s too strong. They’ve just made me hate THEM.

The first one I heard was ‘Foundations’. A dreadful song about a spoilt little bitch who enjoys being fucking horrible to her boyfriend and somehow (in a way, let’s be honest, that most men will recognise) make out it’s all his fault in the first place. She screeches in the least convincing regional accent I’ve ever heard apart from that fucking chim-er-ney sweep in Mary bastard Poppins.

The accent she tries, if you haven’t heard it, is cockney. Only it’s not cockney at all, it’s what middle class children who are embarrassed about having a received English accent think is cockney. People often refer to it as ‘mockney’, I prefer to think of it as ‘cuntspeak’.

In this dreadful, dreadful self-pitying song she admits that the story she’s telling in the pub is boring, but then rounds on her poor boyfriend for putting up for it for ages before trying to change the subject. He was saving you love. No-one around the table liked your story and he was trying to move on as he could see the sideways glances your mutual friends were giving each other, and he was embarrassed for you. He claims at one point that she must eat an awful lot of lemons as she’s rather bitter, to which her witty (and entirely irrelevant, juvenile and brattish) retort is, “I’d rather be with your frendz mayte, cuz they are mach fittah!”. Dreadful bitch. I’m assured that this song is a ‘floor filler’ for the young ladies at the discothèque, which doesn’t surprise me. It just adds to the already steaming pile of lady-favourites such as ‘I Will Survive’ and anything by Lily Allen which show that a lot of women empathise with self-pitying crap bleated by spoilt little madams.

The song that she has on the radio at the moment is called ‘Mouthwash’. I’ve heard it a couple of times because, if it comes on when I’m in the bath, I don’t bother turning it off, unlike at any other time when it doesn’t get past the first two bars.

I don’t understand this song at all. Not one bit of it. I don’t know all the lyrics, but a fair few have made their way into my brain like an illegal immigrant with plans of racial unrest and terrorism and detonated a shit bomb within, leaving lasting damage. This is what I can glean from the song:

She has a face, it is covered in freckles, the occasional spot, and some veins.

Furthermore, she has a bo-o-o-deeeeee. It’s covered in skin. Skin I tell you! Not all of it you can seeee.

She drinks tea.

She uses mouthwash.

Sometimes she flosses.

I shit you not. That’s what the song is about. Yet she sings it in the character of a tragic Eliza Doolittle (prior to getting porked by Professor ‘Iggins). You can just imagine her looking pained while banging away at a piano like the bastard sister of Tori Amos.

Why are these silly, silly girls getting record contracts? There are young women out there with something to sing about, in their own fucking voices, whether they be cockney, scouse, brum, Geordie, taff, jock or just some middle class type from North London. There’s really nothing wrong with being Middle Class, Kate. Middle Class people are allowed to have opinions too, and singing a load of old cock with a fake accent doesn’t make it any less of a load of old cock.

Kate Nash: She’s well shit.

TRESemmé

October 24, 2007

 Ricardo the scary man

This fucking disgraceful advert has appeared on our screens. It’s so insufferable, it makes the Picture a Loan advert as joyous as being fellated by Nigella Lawson (I’ve seen the way she eats food) with Natasha Kaplinsky going cockadoodle-do on my face.

Due to its audacity, its sheer mind-bending shitness, one spends a good five minutes following it with one’s jaw dropped, trying to work out if you’ve just actually seen it or not. It’s so surreally outdated, it’s like you’ve just awoken in front of a crackling TV in a safe house in 70s Belarus after being drugged and kidnapped by a Ukrainian gang. It’s so impossibly vacuous, banal, witless, doltish, obtuse, etc… that writing this short piece for WWM may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

The advert is also properly terrifying.

The ‘vert starts off with a bird walking into a white hairdressing salon who we’re informed is called Georgia Goodall, the Beauty Editor with Reveal magazine. Presumably this is justification for the shitfest that is to shortly follow? Well, no. Being the Beauty Editor for Reveal magazine isn’t really pertinent to anything. What’s Reveal magazine for a start? What the fuck does a Beauty Editor edit? Zits? Beards on women? Balls?

So, before we’ve even cut to the gist of the advert, I’ve gone from a normal, upright position on my couch to a ball of confusion peering at the TV like a spooked Meercat. Goodall is attractive enough in a mumsy sort of way, but the words all spilling from her gob have baffled me to such an extent, I’d not turn a hair if she appeared singing ‘We are the World’ dressed in bondage gear jamming her mimsy with a packet of Fruit Pastilles, though I may be inclined to buy Fruit Pastilles…

Goodall appears to be trying to sell us some shampoo, I can hear ‘leading salon brands’, ‘half the price’, ‘out-performs’ and some ethereal music when all of a sudden a tiny red haired tranny bursts out of the wall behind the Goodall, runs at her like Alien exiting John Hurt’s chest and attempts to grab the product from her meaty fist.

The creature, a sort of tiny pink version of Cory from Slipknot begins squeaking in a barely discernable accent whilst gurning in my horrified face.

I tolds you befores darlink dis is salon quality eets honly for pro-fesheonarls’ it speaks. The head of the creature darts to and fro and wobbles in the camera eye, before strutting off like a downsy Mick Jagger.

With my mouth open wide, ready to retch out my toenails, a part of my brain is activated. Maybe it was a childhood nightmare, a ghost story told to me by my granny at dusk of such magnificent hideousness that my premature brain had buried it deep in my psyche, but I recognised the creature…

If your stomach and tolerance can face it, see it here. These days when it comes on TV I’m out the door running to the nearest pub in order to quell the memory before it over powers my delicate grasp of reality.

Dragons’ Den – 22.10.07

October 23, 2007

Alien 

Bannatyne is now so firmly embedded in my head as his alter ego – an 80s club singer – that I half expect him to start singing ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You’ by Glen Madeiros at any given moment, every time I sit down to watch the Den. Or maybe a burst of ‘Girl I’m Gonna Miss You’ by Milli Vanilli. Or anything Tony Hadley sang. As it’s an hour long show I reckon they could shoe-horn in three minutes at half time for a quick medley from Duncan. It would also act as a nice way of balancing their hardass natures onscreen, giving us a glimpse into the Dragon’s offscreen hopes and fears and stop them from looking like the smug, Thatcherite arseholes they so clearly are.

Someone mentioned that DD is stale by now in the comments section of last week’s article. I beg to differ. I don’t think this show willl ever go stale. There are always rubbish inventors in the world, just as there are always amazing new inventions round the corner. There’s no shortage of idiots chasing their pointless dreams who we can laugh at from our positions of inertia without realising these folly-bound individuals are a step above us because at least they’re trying. They’re trying aren’t they? Unlike you, sat on your arse, content to do the same job, day-upon-day so long as you get home in time for the ‘Enders. You lazy shit.

Each episode is essentially a sketch show, five or six episodes of equally balanced content wherein two of four pitchers will n’doubt get a deal, whilst the others will be laughed at. X Factor for boffins, really, with the judges arguably far more qualified to cast aspersions as their pedigree is indisputable – they’re fucking wealthy, like it or not.

The opening pitch last night was for an amiable piece of tat called the Yoodoodoll. Despite having a Hoxton haircut and a vest top showing off a large tattoo, the Dragons warmed to the presenter of the dolls, which shows them to be hypocrites in light of the fact Pink Quiff Man was made to exit stage right last week. Obviously as long as your outlandish look is 21st century, then body modification and crazy cuts are ok with the Dragons. The dolls were pretty much useless – a briefly amusing stocking filler – but Caan and Meaden went into the bidding, with Meaden inexplicably winning despite asking for 45% of the company to Caan’s 40%. Sisters doing it for themselves, perhaps, but is Meaden really a sister? I suspect she’s more asexual alien life-form than human, but I’ll resist the temptation to investigate further.

Some golf gizmo was covered quickly, looked far too complex for my tender brain, so I made a cup of tea during that bit. An older lady then took centre stage trying to flog some learning aids. Y’know – for kids. They were just bits of plastic in the shape of numbers, so after Bannatyne kicked her into the dust with a salient point about copyrighting digits, she trotted back down the stairs, tail between her legs after over-enthusiastically proclaiming her levels of enthusiasm.

At some point a bizarre episode clicked in wherein a hispanic lady tried to sell an ironing board that came in a cabinet. it was kind of a cabinet / ironing board hybrid. Imagine a small, ugly cabinet that had been raped by an ironing board. Then imagine its horrible offspring. It looked sort of like that – and promptly got laughed off the floor.

The ‘infant training mechanism’ was an interesting one. Essentially it was a ping pong ball with a cartoon face on it, designed to stay face-up while being peed on, so that kids enjoy getting off their potties and using a grown up lav. Girls could also use it, the pitcher opined, as the sitting back motion required when aiming would prevent them leaning forward and weeing all over the carpet. Unpleasant images, unwlecome and vivid, couldn’t help but force themselves into the viewer’s mind’s eye. Yes – wazzing is all well and good, me and the missus declared – but what if you get the runs and get all poo all over it. Even if you pop out a floater, imagine it sailing on toilet water with that weird little blue face peeking out from behind it. When does this silly little ball get washed? Does it live its entire life in a piss / shit / flush cycle? I couldn’t see it working.

The pitcher gained kudos, lord only knows why, for his presentation, despite the fact that all Dragons rolled their eyes on his opening gambit: ‘May I ask how many of you are currently toilet-training?’. He must have picked up somewhere along the way, as Caan, eager to seem like he’s one of the crew already, pitched in, but it all came to nowt. Caan should thank his lucky stars.

Finally, and inevitably, a fresh-faced middle class couple managed to get some cash when their terminally dull poker-email system got Theo’s go-ahead, after some overlong wrangling. A duller and more annoying product you won’t see all year. Stick ‘online capabilities’ into a sentence when pitching and the confused Dragons get all excited, for some reason. This was glamourised spam, and these two are now £200,000 more likely to be filling gamblers inboxes with rubbish thanks to the Dragons.

Next week, just imagine Bannatyne in a jump suit, banging out his club-style version of the Ballet’s ‘Gold’. It works, for some reason. Always believe in your soul.

Bradford and Bingley

October 22, 2007

Hopes and dreams. Aren’t they fragile? Look at all those people, trapped in their grey and humdrum lives and abused on all sides by modern living. There they are, on the side of the tube platform having everything they ever hoped for blown away by one blast of industrial travel. Their hopes are so simple too… so, so, so simple. To own a house, to have a little bit of the outdoors to call their own – to have a single spot on this massively overpopulated planet that they can use for one fleeting moment as a source of relaxation.

I feel sorry for them. Trudging to and from work each day, rising at ungodly hours to scrape together enough money to live… how I wish that they could earn enough to have what some people would say is a basic human right. But, alas, I understand that lending and repaying are the cornerstones of civilization and to say that people shouldn’t have to work their entire lives just to own a tiny portion of land is tantamount to treason against capitalism.

Thank god, then, for banks and building societies. Thank god for their charitable attitudes to ownership and their self-appointed rules and regulations which keep them in positions of unimaginable power over the hard-working plebs they call customers.

Thank god, too, for advertising companies who see no creative paradox in ripping off sweet French movies that eschew traditional values to serve their own interests. After all, the only thing wrong with sweet French movies that eschew traditonal values is that they don’t endorse the idea that money is the only thing that matters and that banks and building societies are the only route to happiness.

Advertisers are great because they have simple tricks like grey representations of real life and colourful bursts of morgage propaganda. They can employ cute chicks to talk like children and deflect any ideas of fiscal responsibility. They can conjur up visions of idyllic lifestyles that are only achieveable by signing years away to multinational corporations… and they can make their ideas heard in a fair and balanced manner by screening it 20 times a day on every channel under the digital sun.

Thank god, I say, for Bradford and Bingley.

Heroes Unleashed

October 19, 2007

Heroes Unleashed 

“Hey! That was an interesting episode of Heroes … mind you … goes on a bit don’t it? What is it about these Yankee shows that they have to take two hundred years to tell a story? Ah well, ‘I say tomato, you say …’

OH FUCK IT’S HEROES UNLEASHED!”

Anthony Head: Heroes is amazing, it has stunt-men working on it and everything.
Creator of the show: The stunt guys we have on Heroes are amazing.
Fat guy who plays the policeman: My stunt-guy was amazing. He was able to jump through a window …

(Clip: Scene you’ve just watched)

You: Well it’s hardly Indiana fucking Jones!
Black guy who walks through walls: My stunt-guy man, what can I say? He’s amazing. I’m glad my stunt-guy’s here because I’d have to do all my stunts and I don’t wanna do all my stunts. I don’t want to do that, yeah?
First good-looking woman: My stunt-guy’s amazing.

(Clip: Scene you’ve just watched)

Second good-looking woman: So’s mine.
Anthony Head: Heroes brings together an international cast.
American: The cast on this show is so international.
American: It’s an international show.
American: It’s so international.
American: Working on Heroes, you soon realise how international it all is.

(Clip: Scene you’ve just watched)

Anthony Head: But who is the mysterious man in the horn-rimmed spectacles?
Fat guy who plays the policeman: Wow!
Second good-looking woman: Woa, creepy!
Really bad Indian actor: Oooooh! What’s going on there then eh?

(Clip: Scene you’ve just watched)

American: Next week, Claire goes two’s up with the one who looks like Little Nicky and the fat guy who plays a policeman.

(Clip: Claire making a grab for Little Nicky’s trousers)

Being able to create an illusion of reality that suspends the audience’s disbelief is at the heart of good storytelling. Heroes Unleashed, the sub-standard, DVD-style behind-the-scenes documentary that immediately follows Heroes on BBC2, does a very good job of pissing all over the storyteller’s hard work.

If, in 1981, I’d had to sit through a boring documentary that brought me back down to earth about the everyday, humdrum bunch of arse that was involved in getting The Empire Strikes Back on to the screen immediately after I’d finished watching it, I’d have been really annoyed. This is what Heroes Unleashed does. So, well done BBC2. You hapless cunts.

How To Have Sex After Marriage

October 18, 2007

Bride and groom 

Last night I got drunk. Not only did this result in me taking my better half’s keys with me to work by mistake, locking her in the flat like some possessive psychopath and ruining her morning, it also meant that I watched this rubbish last night while round at my mate’s hovel. The subsequent review might be tarnished by my wobbly view and the Grolsch windscreen I watched it through.

From what I could gather, a married couple sat about and suffered an interview situation where three ‘experts’ (Christ alone knows what they’re experts in) assessed their problems. The first test of their relationship seemed simplistic to the power of a bajillion. They scored one another on big flip-pads out of ten on three fronts: interestingness, looks and sexual attraction.

Problems, for me, kick in at this point. For a start, Channel 5 are actively grinding years of marriage guidance counselling into a five minute sequence in which a hapless couple of berks, usually working in marketing or PR, make tits of themselves with magic markers on an almost-unwatched terrestial channel. Also – if they get a mark of five or lower for more than two of the three topics, are as yet unmarried and without offspring – surely the best advice is to tell them to split the fuck up? Being with someone you find boring and don’t fancy seems to be a bit of a pointless exercise, and no amount of televised activity is likely to help. You’d need a brainwasher to aid the situation, not a two-bit Channel 5 ‘expert’. It riles me, this rubbish, it really does.

They marked each other and didn’t get above five for any of the criteria, had a little cry then were separated for a week. It was in their week apart that we watched them find themselves with an expert each.

First up, the bloke did some manly things to assert his inner-bear. He swang from trees like a monkey, climbed a ladder and did other physical things, all whilst bizarrely sporting a leather jacket. Clearly image comes before performance in his worldview. The fact that he looked like a flabby Ian Beale is clearly beside the point. Obviously, any manliness he felt he’d built up from all this was kind of absorbed and spoilt by the fact that he admitted, on television, that he is completely squashed like a wingless gnat beneath his lady’s domineering thumb, the ponce.

In order to rid herself of her violent oppressive tendencies, his no-longer-beloved spent a bit of time learning how to be submissive (believe me, it’s not worth saying ‘ooer’ – she didn’t put on a French maid’s outfit or anything). The process entailed making dinner for an actor and being polite to him for a WHOLE afternoon. Bound to reverse an entire personality disorder, eh? She then went and tried on some lingerie with a woman who, if she didn’t have fake jubblies, definitely had a VERY supportive bra. Tits and thumb-woman swished around in the pants department of a rubbish shop and looked like they were as clueless as to what anything in the universe actually meant as the viewer was.

Finally, the couple went on their reconciliatory date after their obligatory established-reality-television-process makeovers. These makeovers were wholly unsuccessful, I ought to add, with the girl ending up looking like a flamenco dancer who’d let herself go and him resembling a randy 80s undertaker. When they kissed, I myself was almost reunited with the premium strength lager I’d poured onto an empty belly, in the form of sick. They snogged like truanting children, tongues flapping about and lips slobbering all over one another’s filtrum.

They said the sex that followed was ‘explosive’ in the final wrap-up, marking each other around the ‘8’ and ‘9’ mark in all criteria, not realising that this could only really be very much a temporary restoration of their relationship’s spark. Seeing as they were separated for a week and talked solidly about sex for those seven days, they were bound to have had a fumble. The pressure was immense – if they’d have bottled it and spent the night sexless they’d seem even more ridiculous than they already did. And on the telly n’all.

Really, judging by the way they dribbled over each other and fumbled and tugged during the snogging scene, they really need to look at their technique, above all else. Doctor Swineshead wouldn’t have bothered with the makeover, manliness training or lingerie shopping. He’d have prescribed hardcore, European SEXPORN to mend their ways. Watch and learn kiddies.

They’d be taking part in group DPs and experimenting with glory holes in no time, the slags.