Archive for November, 2007

The Street

November 9, 2007

Not often you’ll see a good review on this horrible, bile-filled website, but if you saw The Street last night you’ll probably agree that it deserves a mention.

I’ve only seen a few episodes of Cracker in my time and The Lakes had that ‘orrible John Simm in it (who is probably lovely but who I can’t bear), so I’m not really au fait with Jimmy McGovern’s output, shamefully. On the strength of this I’ll have to revise that fact with a few DVD boxsets. This was bloody ace.

The Street last night featured David Thewlis, who was a revelation in Mike Leigh’s ‘Naked’ all those years ago, and who didn’t disappoint last night as a pair of identical twins. Without spoiling the plot in case you’ve recorded in on your old skool VHS or one of those infernal little Sky+ things, the story revolved around one twin inhabiting the life of his deceased brother after witnessing his death. The whole thing reeked of quality and as it was on the BBC, was uninterrupted by advertising. This meant a solid hour of quality entertainment on British terrestial television – probably a first for a good few years.

Sorry for the scant writing on WWM this week. There’s been so much unremarkable shite on, it’s actually broken a few records. Even Dragons’ Den’s become a boring, flabby titwank.

Roberto Cavalli for H&M

November 7, 2007

I went shopping in H&M once. I needed some new trousers, but had no idea whatsoever where one went to buy trousers. I knew that shops existed, of course, and I knew Meadowhall was a pretty good place to start, but when it came to knowing which shops were fairly priced, which shops were decent, which shops did what I liked etc… I knew nothing.

My friends Graham and Camilla took me to H&M. As we entered the store Camilla banked right into the ladies’ section and Graham headed left to the mens’ leaving me in the doorway wondering where the trousers were. So overcome was I by the difficulties facing me that I immediately did an about turn and went outside to get some fresh air. And so ended my shopping experience.

The point I’m trying to make with this story is that fashion, and indeed attire in general, has never really troubled me. I am well aware that to some people it’s a desperately important part of their life but I just can’t see it… Equally the same with the fashion industry in general; I know that it is an industry worth billions of dollars but to me it’s just a load of overpaid, self important onanists who believe that face value is the only value of any interest.

I was therefore equally baffled and confused when I saw the latest advert from the former instigators of my shopping palpitations; a series of wafer beautiful models and, by extension, celebrities and teeeeeerribly important people too, gather at some swanky European mansion to drink champagne and be teeeeeeeerribly important to each other. As the flurry of dresses, tuxedos and ribs swirl around we hear how it is the party to end all parties – how you can never be late for it, how people stay for so long they lose their jobs… An eccentric old lady arrives in a helicopter; “pick me up in three weeks” she brays in her aristocratic pomposity.

Finally the man of the moment appears. Roberto Cavalli descends the staircase flanked by sticks with heads and no tits; “you’re missing the party” cry the guests with all the conviction of a Kevin Smith crowd. “Missing it?” he autocues back “I am the party.”

No Roberto, you’re not the party – you’re a sad old man with two hookers on his arm and skin that has to be hung out and stretched each morning before you put it on. Your guests aren’t the most beautiful people on earth, they’re lonely, soulless, empty vessels staggering through the night drunk on their own ego and foolishly believing that because they wear clothes they are more than already forgotten footnotes in history. They may be cheering you, Roberto, but they’re cheering your free booze. You’ve made a load of cut price blouses and cheap skirts, they’re sure as fuck not cheering you for that.

I guess I’m just not that susceptible to advertising. I don’t see a life of glamour and envy, of fabulous people and celebrity worship. I see delusional fools, misguided souls and a bizarre sense of self importance that I can’t believe exists. I’m confused as to what they’re selling me. Are they saying that if I were to buy this £30 hat I would instantly become invited to the most glamorous parties? Were those £12 sandals to become mine I would immediately become as styled as a multi-million dollar advertising campaign? I’m pretty sure those people in your advert are all decked out in the newest £25 cardigan from H&M.

Since I’m not one of those people who the advert is aimed at I’m sure it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m sure there are millions of people out there who will believe this shit and think they are buying into class by going to the high street. That’s how fashion works.

I’m still amazed, though, that in this day and age of cocaine breakdowns and heiress vaginas and pathological media scavenging they are still holding these people up for admiration. I find it offensive that we’re shown these freakshows of image manipulation and are still meant to believe that’s the ultimate achievement of human endeavour.

The parties and lifestyles and the adulation of these people is only touched upon in the advert, the truth is infinitely worse. I don’t care about their existence – they can do what they want and believe they are gods most magnificent creations if they desire, but can we all stop pretending that they’re the best we can be?  These people make cheap clothes off the back of cheaper labour, and they sell them to us. That’s all.

Long Way Down

November 6, 2007

Twat being twatty with a bicycle 

A few months ago I did a spot on Long Way Round.

Hot on its baffles is a review for Long Way Down – right here, right now.

My first gripe comes with the fucking awful theme tune. I moaned about it in the last one and here I am moaning about it again, look. It’s a dreadful moronic noise that suggests we’re about to watch cage fighting with the homeless. Actually, if it wasn’t for my vast kink for motorcycles I wouldn’t bother staying tuned in.

What is obvious from the outset is that both Ewan and Charley have lost the wide-eyed trepidation of the earlier trip. They seem a lot more seasoned and confident – cocky, almost. HQ in this series consists of a vast garage containing thousands of quids worth of high-tech machinery and offices that deal with all the admin. I don’t recall such luxury originally. In ‘Round’ they spent an episode getting their bikes and another dealing with all the 4×4’s. This time they just materialised out of the blue, as did all the support vehicles and equipment.

Basic survival training was undertaken as they’re passing through some war torn parts of Africa. It went some way to taking the edge off their swagger, but apart from that and a few visa issues they were good to go. Then things got awkward.

Ewan breaks his leg at some traffic lights in London, minor fracture though, so it’s no big deal, yeah? But more seriously, Charley’s wife gets pneumonia and a collapsed lung. Being the hardly lass she is, she has no problem letting her husband go with her blessing, but Ewan’s wife has other ideas.

Not having ridden a bike before and being French, she decides she wants to accompany them on the trip. Ewan seems quite chuffed at the prospect but I should imagine this was for keeping the peace at the McGregor homestead. Charley began chewing his nails…

My immediate thought when I saw her explaining that she wanted to get involved was anger. It’s fucking ridiculous to even entertain the thought of biking in such extreme conditions if you’ve no experience. It puts an unnecessary pressure on all involved – it’s one thing trying to focus on what one is doing when biking without having to check the welfare of another. It’s dangerous, tiring and shit and happily fucks the dynamic of the two protagonists not to mention putting a strain on their genuine friendship

So now we’re subject to her learning to ride a fucking bike; really Ewan should’ve put his foot down (on her head) and told his wife to get on with looking after the kids and hehaw hehawing with onions, but instead he’s actively encouraging her! This wasn’t the original idea, what the bloody hell is going on here? Mercifully Charley had something to say about this situation (and a whole lot more off camera I’ll wager) so instead of joining them for the while trip, which I suspect would’ve been cancelled anyway following Charley storming off the programme, she’s now going to be joining them for two weeks in Africa, which is still a fucking ludicrous idea.

Despite being a little more rushed and little less oblique than Round, from my point of view it’s still a very entertaining series, but I wonder if that’s because I get the chaps, I am afflicted with the same motorcycle obsession they have, especially Charley who like me was riding before he was 10. Really, you can point a camera at a big bike and I will happily sit there and watch, even if it’s not moving. I’m mentally involved in their enthusiastic bike-related chatter, by proxy I experience the euphoria of getting on something beautiful and feeling extraordinary. Jesus, readers, I fucking get it.

Subsequently I empathise with their friendship, the bond they have over and above just being mates, making me even more angry that Ewan’s wife insisted on poking her fucking gallic nose into their business.

I’ve never been angrier about anything in my life, look… graaahhh, aaaarggghhh roar etc.,