Archive for November, 2007

Arrange Me a Marriage

November 30, 2007

Aneela Rahman 

Stereotypes are great, aren’t they? It’s brilliant reducing a certain kind of individual down to a distorted essence, then getting a magnifying glass and making that essence seem like their entire being. Even better if you do it with a whole nation. Great stuff. Not offensive at all. Nice work BBC2.

I tell you what – on top of portraying the British as a bunch of pissed up idiots who only procreate when off their nuts, let’s also look at the culture of arranged marriages through some rose-tinted specs, ignoring the fact that it ends in complete disaster on occasion.

And so we turn to Arrange Me a Marriage, one of the most stupidly ignorant pieces of television ever commissioned.

Apparently, according to the Asian Gillian McKeith, Aneela Rahman, we Brits have got it wrong when it comes to courting. We go out and get pissed and end up with some slob/wench we’d never have even considered if we hadn’t had a few beverages. What a bunch of idiots we are. We have so much to learn, in fact, that Aneela is on hand to find some lonely, vulnerable middle class English boilers to give a proper going over.

Her remit is to set up a network of family and friends who will use their knowledge of the victim to select the ideal husband. It’s this search which makes up the bulk of the show, after about twenty minutes of Aneela blathering on about how arranged marriages are way better than anything Westerners have come up with. Which would be great, if she was right.

Last night, because the lady in question loved horses, the main point of contention in interview appeared to be whether or not the bloke was allergic to the horrible creatures. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t that a bit of a minor point? And apart from that one specific criteria, every other line of questioning was wishy-washy bullshit-nothingness. ‘He seems very nice’. ‘He’s very fit and athletic’. Blah blah blah. The show is doomed to failure and was from the voiceover at the beginning. The fact that the two didn’t get together at the end was the only satisfying thing about it.

It may not have worked, but apparently now Lynn’s family and friends are always actively matchmaking for her. Yes – matchmaking for dates is very much an Asian concept – we never do that in the UK, ever.

So what exactly has Aneela contributed? All she’s done is stopped Lynn’s family and friends from thinking of her as a hopeless case. She’s done nothing in terms of arranging a marriage. No marriage has been arranged. The families were boozing on champagne at the first meeting, which kind of backtracks on Aneela’s constant sniping at our drinking culture. The only nod to Asian culture was the fact that they wore flowered garlands round their necks while being introduced. The arrangement, inevitably wasn’t followed through. They weren’t coerced into going through with it. They were given a choice, which many young Asian men and women aren’t.

What’s next? Arrange Me An Honour-Killing?

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Swan Lake – St. Petersburg Ballet

November 28, 2007

Swans Lakeszsz 

I was ushered to my box and was seated with My Friend With Tits. I’d had two double G&T’s and needed a piss. Just a quick one, I thought, I’ve plenty of ti… the bastard conductor walked on and applause happened. Shit. I was fucked for at least an hour. Then, after a bunch of classical music happened, the curtain went up and a bloke with huge clockweights began to prance about. It was the gayest thing I’ve even seen, gayer than Alan Cumming playing with a ball of wool in a wedding dress.

I’d ended up subjecting myself to this nightmare because of work. A client who I genuinely like ‘kindly’ invited Myfwt and I to see St. Petersburg Ballet doing Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall. I was unable to refuse; to decline such an offer in my line of work is akin to a dear little Rhesus Macaque bringing you some bananas and you, in return, pulling its head off and fucking it in its twitching neck. Besides, if Myfwt had discovered I’d refused ballet tickets (especially to such an esteemed company / production / venue) she’d have injected my tits with raw sewage.

Basically, I had to go.

Even the word ‘ballet’ bores me rigid, and the whole Swan Lake thing is as inconsequential to me as a child picking its nose in Moscow. Arseholes. Yet there I was watching people poncing all about with this dreadful twiddlesome cacophony pouring into my brains needing a wee wee. For over an hour I put up with this sheer time wasting nonsense, fighting my eyelids and the desire to pull out my tool and just piss off the side of the balcony.

After what seemed like half a generation, a break happened. I asked Myfwt what the fuck was going on. She told me the story of Swan Lake but I was so bored with it all she may as well been reading the Footsie 100 Share Index in a cardboard jumper. The interval offered me the chance to micturate and drink wines; I had two glasses and two cigarettes and went back to my box a broken man. Happily Myfwt was enjoying the experience immensely so all was not lost.

The middle bit didn’t last as long as the first. Due to partial intoxication and bladder relief it seemed mildly more interesting too, a certain symmetry made itself apparent to me and I started to get what was going on. The next interval involved yet more wine and tabs, and because I knew there was less than 45 minutes to go I was feeling rather cheery when I got back to my seat. By now being pissed and able to focus on proceedings aware that I’d soon be able to go back home I threw myself into the performance and began to actually enjoy the experience. Actually, it rather got to me. The climax built up and the dancing became quite sublime, in parts incredible. Blimey, I was being moved by it, to the point that by the time the curtain went down I noticed my eyes were all wet and shit.

It’s still well gay though.

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CAN FAT TEENS HUNT?

November 26, 2007

A Fat Teen, Yesterday 

Hold on to your hats, folks, the countdown has begun. That’s right – we’re almost 12 hours away from the next instalment of BBC3’s latest reality TV fest ‘CAN FAT TEENS HUNT?‘! It’s the show you’ve been waiting for since your birth – admit it.

How many times have you been idly wandering around the supermarket, unable to even place a firm grip on the items you want in your trolley because you’re too preoccupied with that one query that niggles right into your frontal lobes on frequent occasions…

I bet you’ve lost count of the amount of times you’ve been walking the dog, let the little fella off his leash and then lost him in a small forest as you’ve been too mentally congested with that overriding concern…

How regularly, during a bout of unsatisfying sex, do you have to stop and disengage from the wetpiece or prong you’re flapping with in order to try and ascertain the solution to that nagging issue…

CAN FAT TEENS HUNT???

Thank Christ Auntie’s seen fit to answer this ageless riddle with this fascinating sociological experiment cum reality TV entertainment vehicle / anthropological investigation / chance to laugh at little waddling chubs getting all lost, tired and emotional in the jungle (though that’s clearly not the intention of the producers, honest guvnor).

Episode one, which I saw half of, involved introductions to the cast of FAT TEENS, all of whom stood in their undies and showed off their stretchmarks, interspersed with shots of them gobbling down crisps and sweets. It was a chubby-chasing paedophile’s dream come true, I should imagine, and made for quite uncomfortable viewing for those of us not too easily acquainted with the grotesque.

When they got to the jungle, all manner of chaos ensued. One of the teens is a muslim who gorges on his Mum’s curry. He was subject to a bout of bullying from the other rotund members of the crew because ‘they couldn’t understand his religion’. This lack of comprehension (centred around why he refused to watch a pig being slaughtered) resulted in all the white trash, crisps-for-dinner, future scumbags haranguing the poor little sod in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, as the camera crew filmed on without judgement.

Sadly, I was made to change channels, so I never got to discover whether or not FAT TEENS CAN HUNT. That’s why I’ve been on tenterhooks all week. My weekend break was sullied as I sat, head in hands, trying to equate teen-fatness with the ability to hunt. So I, for one, can’t wait until 10.30 tonight, when BBC3, that example of shamelessly self-descriptive programming will hopefully finally give me the answers I’ve been searching for throughout my entire, wretched life.

(I bet they can’t).

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Moonpig

November 21, 2007

The votes have been cast and the judges have reached a decision. It didn’t take them more than a split second – ladies and gentlemen – we give the award for the most appallingly dreadful, ludicrously fucking shite advert ever to have graced our TV’s… A big fist in your arsehole please, for Moonpig.

Right, where to start. Firstly I need a stiff drink before I undertake this, for medicinal purposes. Moonpig (fucking ‘Moonpig’, which giant turd thought that one up, I should imagine they thought is was ‘wacky’ and ‘zany’ when it’s just a dustbin full of old horsetits) are some grubby little greeting card firm that specialise in ‘cards for every occasion’ though I don’t see a sympathy one for the family of the chairman who may well be found slumped in a doorway with head injuries if there is any justice in the world.

The advert is cheap and shitty on one level, so mundane in fact that it wouldn’t be given a second’s glance if it wasn’t for one quite disgusting human right threatening addition: the jingle. But it would be irresponsible not to mention the middle class jumper brigade grinning like medicated retards receiving and sending ‘personalised’ tree slaughtered wank to one another. They all look like a bunch of right golfclub BMW-driving ball-bags.

The jingle (excuse me while I open another bottle) comprises of close harmony singing, the sort of thing that reminds one of early TV advertising jingles sung by women with poodle haircuts attired in prom dresses and white slingbacks… Fucking shit, then.

Five times, FIVE godforsaken times we are jingled at from one end of this 29-second hell to the other, the ‘moon’ part sung in a higher tone to ‘pig’ but in a slightly different key each time, and each time the jingle gets seemingly louder, the fourth incarnation being hysterical and the one that will cause you to rip out your teeth with hammers…

No, I can’t do anymore on this, see for yourselves, this is worse than scatological rape porn.

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Children In Need

November 19, 2007

Pudsey 

It’s actually impossible to watch Children in Need from start to finish without being physically sick. With this in mind, I limited myself to five minute bursts of this festival of patronising gumph on Friday night. I’d just been in to Costcutters and bought the local underage guttersnipes on the estate their 10 Mayfair for them as I made my way home from work using the copper collection they handed me in a sock, so I felt I’d already done my bit and would resist Wogan’s encouragement to dig deep.

Obviously, it’s all for charity, so I sound like a moaning old turd for criticising the telethon. All the same, there were some terrible moments. These ranged from the unintentionally hilarious to the outright cynical. And all compered by the brilliant Terry Wogan who, let’s face it, is getting on a bit and while great on the radio and Points of View (especially when parading his packet on the latter), he’s not really up to a marathon live broadcast. Especially when hampered by that squawking, tattooed emu Fern Cotton. It’s not the first time these two have been teamed together and it always ends in disaster.

The worst example I saw of patronising pointlessness was a kiddie edition of Dragons’ Den. A parade of precocious little shits stepped up to ask for a thousand quid off of the Dragons for their rubbish ideas. Depending on the Dragons’ moods, they handed the cash over like pinstriped Father Christmases (or an elf, in Theo’s case. (Or a reindeer, in Meaden’s case)).

The youngest Dragon was obviously the one they all fawned over, clearly aware that, should their days in the Den ever end they might need to show a softer side to be able to fully establish their media friendliness and versatility. As a result, we had to put up with Theo and Jonesy grinning like Cheshire twats and Meaden and Caan trying their absolute damndest not to hurl needless insults as they usually would. This young, ginger pitcher tried to sell a ‘Lonely Post’ to the Dragons – a place in a playground where lonely kids can meet other lonely kids and make friends. Or, as is more likely, get laughed at for standing at the Lonely Post and get pelted with stones.

At least all that had its heart in the right place. Where Children in Need really raised the hackles was with overblown self-promotion. You can’t help but suspect that the broadcast of the event was delayed until the day before Leona Lewis’ new album is released. All the X Factor judges came on, awkwardly applauded their rival channel’s charity and then presented Leona who warbled her way through that horrible racket she fronts about bleeding.

‘Ah keep bleeding – ah keep, keep bleeeeeding’ she wailed as my ears glugged with claret in sympathy.

Is it just me or is this a shameless tie in? There should be a national outcry about this. How blind do they think we are? I can just about hack celebs doing this sort of shit for charity to raise their profile but when they are actually directly trying to sell a product? It was as transparent and sick-inducing as a glass of salt-water.

For this reason, if you buy Lewis’ album you are not only a sponsor of the shittest music in the universe, you also condone the hijacking of good intentions by Monsieur Cowell to better line his own nipple-high pockets. You bastards.

National Lottery Midweek Draw

November 15, 2007

Gallacher

In between putting on the bubble and squeak and flipping it over I happened across the National Lottery Midweek Draw. (I’d like to point out to readers of Piqued that I wasn’t actually waiting to see if I’d won anything…)

I’ve never seen the midweek National Lottery programme. I’ve come across the Saturday one with a live studio audience and adulate orange-faced presenters lauding it over baying low-income families, but the midweek one is like going back in time.

Allow me to indulge you. Back in the 70s, solo artists would punctuate light entertainment shows (such as Morecambe and Wise and The Two Ronnies) with singing. The main acts would halt comedic proceedings for one of the duo (it was always Barker in one camp and Wise in the other) to crawl onto the stage and announce in almost reverent tones, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the beautiful Elkie Brooks/Tina Charles/Angela Ayers/Lemmy etc., and allow some twittering twat in a fucking massive glittering dress to vibrato her overly made up face into the nation’s living rooms. The screeching orchestra hidden, the artiste would stand quite alone save maybe a puff of dry ice and a salacious wink.

These are the days when females on TV would dress like they were orf to Buckingham Palace for snuff with the Queen and men would wear bow-ties and tails just to read the fucking weather. They were also the days of strikes, flares, IRA/NF, drum solos, hammer attacks and more pertinently, canned laughter, canned clapping and canned Fray Bentos steak ‘n Kidney puddin’, less pertinently.

So, the midweek draw. Fuck me… It’s presented by Kirsty Gallacher, an athletic looking bit of milf-fluff (flilf?) who according to Stan Collymore, “did things with chocolate fingers that have stopped me looking at them in the same way since”. I’m not sure if this was before or after he beat the shit out of Broadcasting House bike, Ulrika…

I digress.

The show opened with lots of crashing and banging and enthusiastic, hysterical applause. Dressed to the nines in a red ball gown thing (1970s anyone? Here – catch!) the show opened with ‘banter’ between the obsequious Nat Lott voiceover and the prick-teasing, chocolate-inserting flilf which was of such poor quality it destroyed valuable brain cells as I tried to squeeze my head into the vacuous space this shit was occupying. Obviously if I’d known about Kirsty rubbing her wet vagina/botty hole with a chocolate finger, licking her lips at Stan, inviting him to clean her out with his big footballer’s tongue, I wouldn’t have given a tinker’s cuss if the they were pledging allegiance to Sheikh Abu Hamza.

Stuff was then done with machines and spinning balls, a man from some place pushed some fucking buttons and shit, I’d not a clue what they were doing and then everything stopped. In the same reverent tones I remembered as child, Kirsty, her flange smothered in a glass and a half of pure milk chocolate and bits of soggy shortbread I shouldn’t wonder, introduced us to some bloke who was about to perform Carly Simon’s classic ‘You’re so Vain’.

Cue enthusiastic, hysterical applause, actually the exact same enthusiastic, hysterical applause I’d been hearing for most of the programme, and upon realising there was no studio audience a bloke appeared alone onstage save a puff of dry ice and a salacious wink, and proceeded to croon. Jesus, no…

This extraordinary painful experience ended in the same canned enthusiastic, hysterical applause and we were dumped back in front of the toothsome flilf and her brown crack for the Lotto results.

By this time I was lolling in my chair wondering if it was time for bed – yet all confused about my school uniform and Twiglets. It was a horrendous episode I never wish to repeat. For last night I actually went back in time, to a place of British Rail curled sandwiches, Tony Blackburn, Nixon and thin skateboards.

Still, at least I am sated with the thought of Kirsty Gallacher lasciviously coaxing open a box of Cadbury Fingers and lifting up her fucking skirt…

The bubble and squeak was lovely, incidentally.

Last night’s TV

November 14, 2007

Ramsay 

People often say this or that ‘has eaten itself’, generally meaning there’s an overabundance of it. Or it’s started parodying itself. Or it’s become so self-referential that it’s died on its arse.

Reality TV, it’s been said, has eaten itself. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares has definitely eaten itself. How apt for a programme about rubbish kitchen staff suddenly turning out quality grub once the culinary God that is Gordon sweeps in to show what’s what.

Last night I tuned in to the ‘Mares expecting to see a new outing, but what was actually served up was a load of recycled stuff about the hapless Brian of the Fenwick Arms, with about 20 minutes of new footage added on at the end. And they have the nerve to call this a new series? The shysters. This was surely a Kitchen Nightmare revisited, wasn’t it? Which is what they call the series when they repeat it… I’ll admit to being totally confused. So was this a Kitchen nightmare revisted, then revisited again? Or was it something else? This is reality TV eating itself, puking itself back up again then eating itself again, then puking in some massive, endless cycle so blurred that the viewer is shocked into a state of catatonic confusion and forgets that Flight of the Conchords has started on BBC4 and curses the day he was born for getting stuck in a pointless television-rut AGAIN.

Having said that – it was a good one. I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Brian was going to have his sixth heart-attack every time Ramsay did a swear towards him. And I actually quite liked Brian’s enormous collection of plates. Some of them had retro chic.  What a waste of crockery to smash them for shits and giggles.

Before this confusion I watched the ‘Enders, tuning in right at the start in the knowledge that I was about to witness carnage on a grand scale after Monday’s cliffhanger, when all the bad lads stormed the Queen Vic. And, as usual, Easties delivered.

A bloke who looked like a steroid-fuelled David Schneider went mental, smashing regulars with a baseball bat and his frenzied fists. ‘How many lines ‘ave you done?’ his boss asked, in a rare casual drugs reference. First time coke’s been mentioned, I think, since Janine got addicted to the stuff and sold her mimsy to Ian Beale for pennies so she could get hold of the stuff.

As predicted, Honey got smacked in the gut and her baby came out silent. Probably dead. Jase’s fault. Billy’s destroyed. What a pleasant way to end Tuesday’s episode – a screaming Honey, a sobbing Billy and a mortified Jase. Ain’t life grand?

Eastenders

November 13, 2007

Nana Moon 

Sad news everyone – Nana Moon, otherwise known as Hilda Braid, passed away on the sixth of the month. R.I.P.

It’s in tribute to her brilliant performances in ‘Enders and Citizen Smith that I type the following:

Ooooooh! Foxy!

Anyway – what’s going on in the ‘Enders recently? I must’ve missed an episode somewhere along the line, because it seems that Manc bloke, Jase, is suddenly being pursued by herds of heavies, Gangs of New York style. Your archetypal Eastend gangsters have been following him for weeks now, and I can’t fathom it. You can tell they’re bad sorts because they cup their fags in their hands when they smoke – a sure sign of a criminal past. One or two of them wear leather. It’s terrifying.

Anyhow, Dawn’s in trouble, because she’s now his fancy-lady and this can only end in tears. On their first date they got grief from the likes of the repulsive Garry ‘obbs and the prune-faced Roxy before going straight back to hers. It’s only a half an hour show, so there’s no time to muck about, see? They did a kiss at the end of the show, which means, in Walford, that they also did sex and are now lovers.

Mickey turned up in his first solid storyline since he played second fiddle in Jase’s painter and decorator strand. He had about five lines and three minutes screentime. I can’t believe he gets a salary for that. He’s on about £100,000 a year for pretending to gladly take a fiver so he can go to the Vic, vacating the set so that the bigger players can do a scene. He is the proverbial spare prick at a wedding, except he’s getting paid one hundred grand annually for loitering. The bastard.

In other news, we learned that Honey is due to give birth to Billy’s child. The last one had downs syndrome, a source of much agonising all round. There’s uncertainty as they didn’t check for abnormalities with this pregnancy. When you think about it, there’s no need really – Billy’s the Dad – it’s bound to look warped. The poor child’s father looks like ET in a toupe. I don’t know why I’m banging on about it anyway, it’s bound to die before its born – this is Walford where infant mortality rates beat the rest of the country a dozen to one.

The best scene last night featured three human actors and four dogs, all of whom stole the show from their homo sapien colleagues. So here’s to Henry, Terrence, Genghis and Wellard being given a bit more screentime to stem the misery. Come on BBC bosses, you know it makes sense.