Archive for May, 2008

Helping Barry

May 19, 2008


(Barry, yesterday)

Some of you will already know Barry from his endless pleas for assistance over here. The background is as follows:

  • Piqued posted about an article about how shit Nick Love’s Danny Dyer vehicle ‘The Business’ is.
  • A bloke called Barry asked us if we knew what song was playing in the background at some point on the extras – as if we’d have the slightest idea.
  • For the past seven years, Barry has waged an unending campaign to find out what the bloody hell the tune is.
  • In a last-gasp, desperate minute attempt to find out, he emailed me the mp3 of it.

It’s now down to you lot to help answer his query, as I don’t have audio so can’t listen to it till this evening. I’m interested to see what you make of it though.

So come on – click the audio below and make Barry’s day.

The Friday Question #1

May 16, 2008

He's dead, he's dead, he's not dead, he's dead

A new feature on WWM which will probably be binned after today for not getting much of a response. But it’s worth a shot.

So, today’s question is:

Who is the best Dad’s Army character, apart from Wilson and Mainwaring?

Please show your working – and berate anyone who disagrees with you.

EastEnders – 15.5.08

May 16, 2008

Christian Clarke

Surely the EastEnders Stereotyping Department are missing a couple of tricks with the character of Christian?

OK, so he’s got the fag-hag friend, the Kenneth Williams sneer, the tight-fitting clothes, the beautifully decorated flat and the penchant for dancing on tables with a flower behind his ear, but where are the Barbara Streisand albums, the framed Judie Garland prints and the leather cowboy hats? Why isn’t he singing ‘I Will Survive’ every ten minutes? How come he’s not sat at home, bursting into tears as he watches ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ for the umpteenth time? Why hasn’t he mentioned Bette Midler once in the entire time he’s been in the show?

You see, if you watch EastEnders for any length of time you’ll realise that, with the possible exception of black people (though I wouldn’t take that as gospel), the show doesn’t ‘do’ foreigners, minorities, the mentally ill or people of a different sexuality very well at all. They can paint you a picture of a wheelin’, dealin’ car dealer so well that the character consumes the actor playing him, but hand the EastEnders writers a gay man, or an Asian, or an Oirishman and they fall to pieces.

In the case of homosexuals, the character will be either boringly worthy, flamboyantly over the top, or a predator that ‘turns’ a previously heterosexual character into ‘one of them’. Hand them an Asian, and the usual overbearing mother/tyrannical father type soon comes to the fore. Dump some of the characters in the Emerald Isle, and yorr soon lookin’ around for de feckin’ liddle people and de fairies, begorrah, begorrah.

At present, my point is illustrated perfectly by the Masoods. The Masoods are such a cardboard cut-out of an Asian family, it’s as if the writers have a checklist:

  • Overbearing mother? Check.
  • Daughter who wants to have fun, yet who mum wants to see married to a good Indian boy with excellent prospects? Check.
  • Son who is expected to be an academic whizz-kid? Check.
  • Father away in India looking after elderly family member, because that’s what Asians do? Check.
  • Monstrous bullying uncle disgusted by the un-Islamic behaviour of his brother’s family? Check.

This lot comes hot on the heels of the mistake that was the Ferreira family, whose specaility was a monstrous tyrant of a father and a sister who was going off the rails by dating white folks. The whole family was so badly written, so one dimensional, and so shamelessly stereotypical, that they were all hastily culled from the show (a fate shared by the DiMarcos – a woefully underwritten Italian clan who always seemed one line away from saying ‘Oh whatta mistaka to make-a!’ over the pasta bowls).

Indeed, the writing was on the wall the moment the Ferreiras arrived on the square – the dad’s an overbearing Asian bully, yes, but he’s an Elvis impersonating overbearing Asian bully. As if that disguised the usual paper-thin ‘Asian issues’ agenda.

They do it time and again. The Fowlers visiting Oirland episodes garnered so many complaints from real, breathing Irish people that the BBC was forced to issue an apology. Their portrayal of Asians has been an ongoing thorn in the show’s side for over twenty years; and don’t even get me started on the mentally ill – Stacey’s manic depressive mother is a veritable masterclass in how not to write a manic depressive, but is a useful road-map for any aspiring writer who wishes to portray a one-dimensional, Monty Python-style loony.

You wonder, sometimes, where they’re going to plant their great clodhooping feet in it next. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a trip for Garry ‘n’ Minty to India – the hapless mechanics chased around the streets of Delhi by bearded turbaned thuggees, falling in love with the Maharani, and befriending a comedy ox-cart owner called Babou – “Oh, goodness gracious me, Garry! You are werry funny man, bud bud, ding ding!”

Or perhaps, just perhaps, they might try hiring writers with a knowledge of the world that isn’t restricted to wheeler-dealers, happy-go-lucky stall holders, and tarts with a heart of gold. On the evidence of the latest set of stereotypes, they could certainly do with them.

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 8

May 15, 2008

When that Alan Sugar character lets rip in his opening spiel, he tells the assembled morons ‘this is the job interview from HELL’. Clearly this is untrue. He’s indulging in hyperbole in order to talk up the gruelling series of tasks and the humiliation that approaches. Interestingly, he follows up with ‘your prize will be working with me’. Logically then, Alan Sugar is Satan.

Raef, answers the phone with his clockwork orange eyelashes and immaculate in his bedroom attire, only a few stray cockerel hairs on the back of his sweep betraying his shut-eye. St Barts church is the destination for the debrief, and they’re to pack an overnight bag.

In a between-scene vox-pop, Claire states that she’s building momentum, whilst Helene spits that, not only would she never mix with the housemates in real life, if she was working with them, she’d fire them. Therein she makes the assumption that she would be their boss rather than the other way round. It’s what makes Helene the most annoying of the flotsam that’s left. A superiority complex the size of Cornwall, all mixed up with a pathological lack of patience and a withering gaze that comes at you from three angles.

‘This church was used in Four Weddings and a Funeral’ says Beelzebub, as the remaining soldiers look about them, cooing and wondering why His Evil Highness hasn’t burnt up on contact with holy ground. The audience shrugs at the Four Weddings revelation. That film’s about 20 years old. Alex looks nervously at Claire, the memory of their boyfriend / girlfriend role play still firmly wedged in his brain and any thought of churches, weddings and marriage causing visible discomfort.

The teams were split again, with Helene as team leader taking Sara, Alex and Michael under her vulture-wing whilst Lucinda took the reins again, despite winning the ice cream task recently. She got LEE, Claire and Raef. A winning set up if ever there was one. It was clear from the off which team was headed for an almighty fall.

Michael’s vox pop followed and he noted his own effortless charm. If you’re aware you’re doing it, Sophocles, then it’s not fucking effortless, is it? Let’s dive in and look at Michael’s efforts this week. This week’s was the Sophocles show, so it’s only fair we focus on the hairy little twat.

When looking at prize-winning dresses by Ian Stewart, he brown-nosed the designer until he barely had a tongue left, then decried his work as ‘ghastly’. When describing it on the phone to Helene he had an ‘I can take it or leave it’ attitude to it, even though, when it was revealed that these high end dresses would win the task, Michael lied that he’d pushed for them. The squirming squirt. All he’d actually done was described them as ‘dresses like the ones in Beauty and the Beast’ and used the grammatical clanger ‘very unique’. Either it is, or it isn’t unique. Piss off with your very unique and effortless charm.

In the event, they let those dresses get away from them and Lucinda’s team secured the winning items. At a few thousand per dress, it always looked like Raef’s ‘high-risk’ strategy would work.

Helene’s team settled on some unbelievably tacky frocks, in every garish colour of the Essex wedding rainbow – as worn, according to the salesgirl, by your Katie Prices and your Jodie Marshes… a great sell, if half your brain has degenerated.

As every bad decision was made, including choosing to sell cakes that looked like shrubs, Alex silently sat and twiddled his pen with increasing frenzy. When he sold, he did very well, but it’s becoming clear that selling is all he can do. He’ll have to lead a team in the next couple of weeks, so if he gets beyond the lip-pursing whining, he may show some initiative beyond winking at girls in order to hoodwink them out of their pocket money.

Raef’s attitude to selling cake to girls was the only real stand-out laugh in the show. Discussing dresses for the larger, BBW side of the market, he declared that if they were going to sell big dresses, they’d be able to flog the cake too – as the larger-dress consumers are just that – big consumers.

Beyond that, this wasn’t the greatest Apprentice ever but there were a few cringe-moments that rescued it. All of these were supplied by Sophocles and Sara. Poor old Sara… the one-trick-pony beneath her lovely frock was exposed and the poor little mite got booted out. I’ll miss her. For a day or two. And then she’ll be gone from my brain.

Michael’s selling technique, branded ‘telesales’ by Alex, was actually quite terrifying and involved recrimination, accusation, holding his head in his hands with outright impatience and even, at one point, a cry of ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE’ when a lady quite rightly stalled on a purchase of his crap confections. He was absolutely terrible. With the expression of his doppelganger all over his face, this Costanzaesque idiot even resorted to calling the general public ‘dumb-dumbs’. Dumb-dumbs who just ‘don’t want to make decisions’. A laughable attitude, really, and just the sort of thing Jerry Seinfeld’s little mate might say to a laughter track.

Sara was similarly bad, but where Michael was passionately engaged to the point of almost openly weeping at his punters, Sara had her cold thousand-yard-stare focused on the great, empty, nothingness of existence behind the heads of her potential clients. She literally didn’t listen to what her punters said and that caused her ejection. But Michael should’ve gone. Because he’s 810% uglier than her.

Over on the winning team, Lee and Lucinda apparently fell in love as they cruised about looking at sale items. The princess and the pauper, as Raef might put it, the bit of rough has definitely wooed the beret girl and a posh nosh-off is on the cards. Especially considering that Lee is now an expert on selling thongs, as he proudly boasted to Satan himself in the boardroom. The fact he was selling £6.99 trinkets to Brummie slags compared to Claire’s thousand quid dresses was lost on the poor brute. But at least he sold something.

So Lucinda won and Claire did her PR machine a power of good with a recommendation from Maggie Mountford, who herself, it was insinuated, had a lovely honeymoon thong encased within her buttcrack, purchased from Lee McAnn McSummers McQueen.

For no reason whatsoever, Raef put on a teddy bear outfit at some point, apparently to drum up interest but mainly because this was a drab episode and it needed someone to be a berk for three minutes to lighten the tedium.

Before they faced Belial’s wrath in Brentwood, Michael stated that he’d be interested to find out how Helene was going to spin her way out of trouble. Which was interesting, as he’d already started the process of spinning her into trouble… 

In the boardroom Sara went with little ceremony, and Alex got the piss taken out of him. Like Syed before him, the favoured Michael will probably get to the final as Lucifer likes him and he makes good TV. But no way will he win.

Incidentally – why do the winners get so excited about the substandard treats they receive? It’s like Big Brother… OOH! We’ve got a task!

They should scrap that. It stops it being the interview from hell and turns it into the interview from a not particularly exciting corporate promotions company. But we did get to see Lee indulging in primal scream mantra therapy, like a bellowing Chelsea headhunter in a yoga retreat.

It’s the make-a-TV-ad episode next week. Be afraid.

Episode 1
Episode 2

Episode 3
Episode 4

Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7

Blood, Sweat & T Shirts: Update

May 14, 2008

Bloody Sweat Shirts

If you missed Newsnight last night (let’s face it – you did), then you won’t have seen the ghastly Georgina or the imbecile Stacey from Blood, Sweat & T Shirts talking with Paxman and a lady representing British clothing retailers. Unsurprisingly, Stacey was incapable of stringing a sentence together and Georgina rambled and blathered her way through whatever it was she was trying to say (I didn’t catch most of it as I only speak English).

What was fun though, was to observe that, even after spending six weeks living and working in the sweatshops and cotton fields of India, these two still arrived on the Newsnight sofa dressed to the nines in High Street fashions. At one point, Georgina explained to the Paxmeister that she still shopped on the High Street, only now she was much more aware of where her clothes came from. The problem for both Stacey and herself, she explained, was that it was terribly difficult for them to find out from clothes manufacturers where their garments were sourced. Oh? Wel,l that’s alright then.

So, despite knowing the pseudo-1980s rubbish she’s clobbered-up in is made by four year olds living in a puddle of dead dogs, rats, piss and shit, she still continues to wear the stuff anyway. Only now she’s blaming the clothes manufacturers for not clearly labelling their products.

“It’s so terribly hard to tell if your clothes have been made in a toilet by a little boy on 30p a year when the labels don’t say ‘This item is made in a slum in Bombay by children’, isn’t it Stacey?”

“I fink, like, that … erm … yes, like, I fink it is, like, yeah?”

So … good to see the whole experiment wasn’t in vain, then.

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 7

May 9, 2008

Watching The Apprentice whilst pissed is a strange experience and one I don’t recommend.

For a start, if you’re meant to be writing a review about it the next day and attempt to make notes on what’s going on, you’re screwed. Events occur in a different order to how you note them and your notesheet ends up being a scrawled list of obscenities along the lines of ‘Claire is an interfering knacker-shit’. It’s not helpful at all. With this in mind, I’m only able to put down the stuff I remember with events all scrambled and probably embellished with a load of bollocks.

‘Oo’s next?!’ asked Alan after firing Jenny and Jennifer, the two inept ladies of similar nomenclature. The rest of them – Alex, Claire and Michael, looked at one another as if to say ‘how are we meant to know?’. It’s not their decision, after all.

It was, to quote Alan, a total disaster, but it was always going to be. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I’m sure I’d fare just as badly as our contestant friends in this task. Buying stuff from a list is hard enough in Ridley Road Market, in deepest darkest Dalston – so going overseas to some foreign clime would spell the end for me. I’d not only spend more on the items than they actually cost, I’d also lose my phone, my wallet, my dignity and my mind.

So I actually felt a twinge of sympathy this week, empathy even. Only for a few minutes though, up to the point where LEE MCQUEEN (the one who’s concerned) shouted ‘THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABAIRT’ – his new catchphrase. It must be his new catchphrase – he said it four or five times.

Sara, looking like a scared, smacked guinea pig, performed pretty well – but I could be misremembering that because I have a soft spot for the oval eyed beauty. Alex also performed his job admirably but ended up on the losing team – his efforts curtailed by Claire enforcing a boyfriend / girlfriend role play act in a feeble attempt to negotiate using acting skills in place of shrewd cunning. Needless to say, it didn’t work. When Alex managed to barter costs down, Claire would jump in as the concerned girlfriend and mindlessly force the price back up using sheer brute force. It was painful to watch.

On Lee’s team, for he project managed, things went better, simply because Jennifer – the other team leader – dived in head first with no planning whatsoever. All the same, I didn’t feel she deserved to go. She project managed two people who are complete dunderheads. Sophocles and Jenny, working as a team, managed to balls up every task they were given.

When fetching a kosher chicken, they approached a Muslim gentlemen who gladly pretended to bless the beast before slicing its throat open. That was fine, decided Jenny and Michael as they walked off with the un-kosher chuck, proceeding onwards to their next disaster – getting a tennis racket. Not only did they get the tennis racket, they also attempted to delay the stringing of Lee McQueen’s sports equipment in order to make him lose the task. ‘I thought that’d be the jewel in my crown’ said Jenny in subsequent interviews. She honestly thought that being a vindictive swine would endear her to people. But nobody likes a cheat, and she was subjected to the most casual firing since Lawrie Sanchez left Fulham. No ceremony – just a ‘you’re shit, fuck off’ type of hasty exit. On her 36th birthday as well. What a sod.

Sophocles really should’ve walked. He lied about his heritage to get in with Alan: ‘alright, I’m half Jewish’. ‘Shall we pull your trousers down and find out?’ asked the big beardie boss. Now – amusing though this was, this was a trick the Nazis used to use to separate those who were to be sent to their certain death. Using it as a gag in a corporate environment, in the real world, would probably end in an industrial tribunal. It wasn’t in the best taste, I didn’t feel.

Remarkably, Sophocles stayed. ‘I remember what it was like being 23’ said Sugar, proving that age comes into the equation when he recruits. This makes a mockery of the recent change in age discrimination laws, frankly. You’re not even allowed to use the word ‘lively’ when describing an office environment these days, as it discounts doddering old farts from being eligible. So, nice one Alan, you’ve made a joke about pulling down pants to check a man’s willy for scars and you’ve also let someone off being a useless plank because he’s 23. Maybe he should just hire an 8 year old  with no pants on and be done with it.

And that’s all I can remember. So, in lieu of a decent report (and apologies for letting the side down), let’s look at who’s left and see what their chances are:

An outside chance this one might do it. She’s the wildcard who, like Simon Ambrose last year, has shown gradual improvement. The nation’s also taken her to their collective heart because she was bullied, and everyone loves an underdog – especially one with big puppy dog wide-eyes.

Not a hope for Jabba the Hut – due, I’d say, for a firing next week. She was pretty much absent this time around, and the show was better for it. Her mock exasperation and constant bickering with Lucinda does the nation’s nut in.

Lee McLee McQueen (concerned)
Shows flashes of brilliance, but his chicken impression and his abuse of Sara may put him out of the running. He’s a twat, let’s face it. That’s what I’m talking about? I’d rather you didn’t talk at all, if you’re going to keep coming out with that shit.

Hard to say. Is often shown in a sympathetic light despite constant moaning, stupid bad-boy hats, quivering lips and scrawny, lanky frame in superman jim jams. He’s all I’ve got left in the office sweepstake, so I’m rooting for a dickhead. He’ll make the final I think.

Constantly edited to look good. Like a charming statue, Raef stands there looking handsome with nothing to say, then strikes a deal with someone by blinding them with posh arrogance. Overtook Alex in the ‘one-for-the-ladies’ stakes in week two and hasn’t looked back – but he’s way to posh to be recruited, surely? Imagine him and Alan having a breakfast bap together in Brentwood – it wouldn’t happen.

Hasn’t got a hope in hell. From the sounds of it, he’ll probably make the final just so those nasty bastard mate’s of Alan can rip his caked-in-bullshit CV apart. ‘Nice Jewish boy’ indeed.

Evens on this one. One week is portrayed as  a cantankerous bullying cow, the next a shrewd business expert. She’s a buyer by trade, as Alan keeps pointing out as though she’s his own over-achieving daughter, so would probably wow the folks over in Brentwood. She’s an insufferable moaner too, which can only help her cause.

She fades into the background despite her ludicrous wardrobe. How that’s possible I have no idea. Despite having been a good project manager, she’s just to flaky and way too plumy mouthed to make the grade, so I think she’ll be ejected ‘with regret’.

If Sophocles gets the job – and I’m putting my arse on the line here – I’ll eat the biggest hat I own.*


*I don’t own any hats

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4

Episode 5
Episode 6

Blood, Sweat and T Shirts

May 7, 2008

It’s actually quite difficult to know where to begin with this – with people who don’t know they’re born, who don’t know about human suffering and who don’t understand anything other than their own desultory, vapid existence – and even struggle with that.

This mini-series was made as part of BBC3’s Thread project – a worthwhile but not-very-well-publicised campaign for eco-clothing and fair trade. It’s not something I’m particularly interested in, as it happens. I describe my own style, my own personal sartorial vibe as ‘tramp de la jour’ or ‘affluent curmudgeon’. Basically, I tend to find clothes in dustbins and discarded in puddles so that I end up looking like a tramp who’s one rung up from rock bottom. Despite this detachment, it’s hard not to applaud any movement that attempts to grab those twats who spend two hundred quid in Primark every weekend by the shoulders and shake so much sense into them that their brains haemmorhage.

I remember the glory days when fashion would only take up a couple of pages in a newspaper at a maximum, once a week. Now it’s dripping off every current affairs periodical, with comment, discussion, adulation and piss-taking in every margin of every wretched page. I couldn’t tell you why. Fashion is the the most pointless of all industries. It’s people dressing idiotically in the vain hope they might catch another idiot’s eye for five minutes. And after that five minutes is up, the look becomes ‘so five minutes ago’, making the whole exercise more transient than a transit van going at full pelt along an empty runway.

So – and I think we all agree on this – even a tiny smudge of a passing interest in anything to do with fashion is the mark of an idiot. With this in mind, let us look at the central premise of Blood, Sweat and T Shirts.

Six Westerners, all of them fashion victims, are sent over to India to see how their garments are made. The four parts take us in sequence from the higher class of factory in episode one (still paying workers a pittance, but at least hygenic and safe) to, as I write, part three which took our travellers to a cotton plantation where they picked the cotton buds from the source, before working to gather it and bundle it. Living conditions are very, very basic and work is hard, strenuous work. Part four will hopefully see them losing a hand in some rusty machinery because, to a man, these are the worst group of snivelling idiots you could ever hope to see. And three of them are particularly odious examples of the offspring our nation is plopping out.

Okay, so Georgina is just a little bit thick. Fair enough, Stacey is your unremarkable airhead, and at least she puts in a bit of work. I’ll admit that Tara actually appears to be learning something from the experience – so fair play for that. It doesn’t make them any more likeable, but I admire the fact they got involved.

Despite these three showing, at last, some vestige of being adjusted and functioning, the remaining three are grade ‘A’ arseholes. Irredeemable twats. Especially Richard. By Christ, especially Richard.

First off, Amrita is a spoiled little rich girl who I believe is of second generation Indian ethnicity. Ok, so that might be too distant for her to feel genuine empathy for people from her own background, but still it was surprising to see her slagging off the natives of the country where her ancestors were born for being ‘dirty’ and ‘rude’. In fact, I’ll go further. It was fucking disgusting and she should be beaten with a fucking stick for her callous twattishness. She’s a posh little devil who honestly thinks she deserves the priviledge she was born into. Last night, after working in the cotton field for five minutes, she was delighted her eczema flared up, meaning she couldn’t continue and had to go back to the flat they were renting to do fuck all.

Slightly less irritating, but only because he’s so thick he’s unaware of what his huge, farting gob is going on about, is Mark. Mark lives with his Mum and is clearly unable to do anything for himself. At times Mark has put some effort in but he tends to throw tantrums the minute anyone touches him. He also dresses like any clone who walks out of Next or Top Man and he talks in mono-syllables. Luckily, he’s quite easy to ignore. Unlike Richard.

Richard wants to look like Alex Zane (fuck knows why), and he pulls this off – he too looks like a berk. But where Alex Zane is presumably capable of logical thought, Richard is a toothy, weepy, fuckhead with nothing going for him whatsoever. Apparently he runs his own ad agency and is on fifty grand a year (must be a small ad agency then)  – but I refuse to believe this on the basis that he is utterly, utterly stupid. The world has never known stupidity like this. Seriously.

The object of this show is to replicate the experience of your average sweatshop worker – and even then I’m sure they’ve sanitised it somewhat. When Richard felt a little bit tired, in the middle of a crowded cafe, he began a tirade against the dirty, disgusting, rude, peasants he worked amongst (his words, not mine). He was so loud, he disturbed those around him, one man in particular took offence (and rightly so) and attempted to assuage the anger, only to receive more hot air from the stupid cunt.

Richard’s threatened to leave a few hundred times and I’m sure I’m not alone when I wish he’d just piss off and leave the others to it. He’s incapable of learning anything about Indian culture and he refuses to engage with the workers. His reasons for feeling no sympathy for the workers early on was that they, he reasoned, could surely find a way out of the slums. Citing his own climb to ‘the top’, he said that any man could make their own way in the world, forgetting that he comes from one of the wealthiest countries in the world and was surely given more than a leg up from his old man. Even the slightest bit of research would tell you that these people have no choice. You don’t even need evidence, Richard! Look around you!

To add to this, he also didn’t realise cotton comes from plants. Richard is the personification of our idiot youth – that percentage of our kids who are over-exposed, over-priviledged and who deserve to be flogged.

The final episode is next week. For editorial purposes, there’ll be the inevitable end of ‘the journey’ tears and a montage of edits wherein all the participants are shown to have learned something. Don’t believe it. Amrita and Richard in particular are learning fuck all. They haven’t got the capacity to see beyond their own material, pointless lives. They’re dumbed down dickheads and they should be left to survive in the slums. They haven’t an ounce of the dignity of the people they work around in this series, and if left to their own devices in that environment, minus camera crews and production staff, they’d be trying to eat their own shit and living in trees, so devoid are they of common sense.

You might be able to tell, this show upsets me a little bit. The final edit is trying to tell its own story – of six youngsters realising where their easily gained possessions come from. But the programme does more than that, as despite attempts to cover over the cracks, what we actually see is a handful of pig-headed twats realising nothing and revealing everything that’s bad about our throwaway culture. At least, for an hour per week, we get to see them suffer.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

May 6, 2008

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Christ, Tim Burton’s gone down the pan recently, hasn’t he?

After the fantastic Ed Wood and the ridiculously enjoyable Mars Attack, he went crazy on the remakes, failing to recreate Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with any flair and making the more original Sleepy Hollow and Big Fish to a universal ‘so what?’

Now he’s remade a musical that nobody had seen in the first place. It also got an indifferent response from the critics. It doesn’t get a response from me at all, as it happens. It gets a deep, heavy snore. One hour and ten minutes in, I fell into a fantastic sleep and upon waking, it had ended. But what was the reason for my lapse into unconsciousness? Why did I plop into slumber? How could the work of this commercial auteur fail to inspire me?

If you haven’t seen it, you won’t know that half an hour of the film is devoted to Johnny Depp doing a sixth form impression of Bowie whilst singing the same lines over and over and over again. He sings to his razor blades that they are ‘his friends’. ‘His friends’. They are ‘his friends’. Instrumentation. ‘They’re my friends’. ‘His friends’. It never bloody ends! Honestly, the amount of time devoted to this section almost drove me to a monitor-smashing incident. Add the occasional intrusion of Bonham Carter doing her best Rada-actress-landed-in-Walford accent and fists become clenched and teeth get themselves gritted. It stinks.

Also repeated until it bores into your head is a song where the word ‘beeeautiful’ features a billion times. ‘Oh, she’s beeeautiful’ the young lad sings, until you’ve bitten your bottom lip off. ‘Beeeeautiful!’.

You just want it to end suddenly.

Even the bit with Sacha Baron Cohen fails to amuse. He arrives in the midst of heavy, intoxicating boredom, sings a bit whilst wearing tight trousers, then dies as quickly as he arrives. Even the bit where he gets his throat slit wide open is dull. The whole thing is as BORING AS FUCK.

*nods off just thinking about it*