Archive for February, 2009

The Friday Question – TV Games

February 20, 2009

Image by BP Perry

Hello, Napoleon here. I’m taking time out from my poverty stricken Northern life of flat caps, whippets, pigeon-racing, smacking my kids about and dying of consumption to ask you this week’s Friday Question.

Now then. We all love telly … indeed, some of us take the love we have for telly too far. Unpopular WWM reader Dave, for example, has a bizarre sex contraption rigged up to his miserable little set that allows him to ‘virtually’ have sex with children’s television character, Doctor Who. They say you can hear the wailing sobs of utter despair for miles around once he’s finished his shameful business thrice-nightly.

Anyway, I digress. We all love telly, but it’s hardly what you’d call an interactive experience, is it? Yes, you can vote out some wally on Big Brother, or have your cash subtly stolen off you by ITV (those rats), but that’s not exactly the futuristic interactive TV experience that Tomorrow’s World lied to us we’d get back in the ’70s, is it?

But what if it could be? What if your favourite telly show was a game? What would it be, who would you play, and what would happen? Would it be a board game? A card game? Or a whistles ‘n’ bells computer game like wot they have in the future?

To get you started, here’s what Swineshead and I came up with when we were out mugging old ladies earlier in the week …

GRAND THEFT OF THE SUMMER WINE

Play as Compo, Last of the Summer Wine’s loveable, welly-boots wearing lothario. Climb moorland! Find Howard and Marina hiding behind a wall! Knock on Nora’s door and then leg it! Volunteer your services for Foggy’s latest experiment in downhill tin bath charioteering! It’s the sandbox open world game that goes on forever and ever and ever and ever …

SIMS OF A FEATHER

Ever wanted to control one of those awful women off of Birds of a Feather? Fancy watching them eat and eat and eat? Feel inclined to listen to endless hours of unfunny dialogue coming out of the mouth of a painted monstrosity with a shrew’s arsehole for a face? Then you need the world’s only Birds of a Feather simulator! Sound a bit rubbish? Well yes … until you realise you’re the one controlling their bowels!

So there you go. What’s YOUR game, WWMers?

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The Brits – 2009

February 19, 2009

Last night’s Brits then, presented by James ‘why?’ Corden, the bloke off Catherine Tate and, for some reason, Kylie Minogue – when she wasn’t stage-right, getting changed into another unremarkable frock.

I watched it whilst taking notes, drinking tea and twittering. The twittering was more fun than the show – and when talking in less than 140 characters to strangers on a computer is more entertaining than a massive showbiz event, you know you’ve got problems.

Here then, are my notes, twitterings and musings, in REAL TIME!

The night opens with a Johnny Vegas voiceover which, from hereon in, kicks in every time a new award’s being dished out, prompting the audience to ponder how much they paid him to rattle off a few intros. Then – BANG! – we’re straight into a live performance from… some old men.

It’s U2, and Bono really ain’t getting any younger or any more original – demonstrated by the fact their new single sounds exactly like six other U2 singles. Adam Clayton is increasingly starting to look like Homer Simpson’s dad and the Edge still needs to lose the hat. To make things worse, the huge video screen behind him displays Bono’s lyrics as the frail frontman postures like a man half his age in front of them, showcasing his lack of writing talent in bold, illuminated words as he jiggles like a berk in front of them. Their big moment – and every Brit performance needs one, even though they usually fall further flat than a glass of cola left out overnight – is Bono taking off his spectacles to reveal an ageing idiot in eyeliner.

Greetings from our hosts! The three of them shuffle on with some dancers and they do the routine for Kylie’s 2001 single, Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Corden is a fat man, but he done did dancing!

The use of such an old Kylie hit can be seen as either the provision an eight year vintage or an irrelevance from ages ago – you can make your own mind up on that.

The finishing posture leaves Kylie cradling the boys’ groins, in the first of many misguided sauce-based gags that unearth nowt but tumbleweed from the audience both at home and in the auditorium. Corden even feels the need to apologise for his first joke as he absorbs the silence that follows his every utterance.

Simon Pegg arrives, on his own (I thought they presented in pairs?) to announce Best Female and, in the event, Duffy beats Adele, MIA, Beth (who?) Rowley and that mardy-arse Estelle. You can feel the oxigen in the nation’s atmosphere lessen as the audience yawns collectively.

Next up, Best International Female goes to Katie Perry – a fact I enjoy because my other half hates her, causing me much amusement. She won a Brit and she liked it! She’s here even though she’s ill, she says. In fact, all she does is complain that she’s sick when she takes the podium, implying that she only turned up because her record company made her. That’s gratitude.

And then… Girls Aloud! Can it get any more miserable?

Yes!

The ladies essentially do a striptease to the song they did that sounds like the sort of tune ABBA might shit out whilst paralytic. Their clothes removal is sexy! (If you read Nuts and get turned on by the thought of a moronic, untalented dance troupe fronted by a Geordie automaton).

Suddenly The Brits goes weird. We’re, inexplicably backstage with Fearne Cotton who’s standing beside a caravan. I check my remote control, but no, I’m not jammed on ITV2 by mistake. What the hell’s going on?

Fearne asks us to vote for something or other and, breaking up the party vibe, reads out the Ts and Cs for the phone vote at length, before the ads come on. It’s like being accosted by a drunk accountant at the worst party in the world, dragged outside and then being subjected to her rattling off her month end breakdown. Even any slight semblance of a reckless, party atmosphere is dropped to the shits.

After the break, it’s back to the front desk, and I become confused by who’s presenting what, why and how? Horne and Corden are now doing the work, looking like ITV’s version of Shirl and ‘Evver off ‘stenders. The trio of Horne, Corden and Minogue keeps merging, resynthesising and redistributing. That fact alongside Fearne’s droned phone numbers leaves me dribbling with shellshock.

And then – Oh God. Here’s Alex bloody James to present Best British Breakthrough from a list including Adele, Scouting for Girls, Duffy, Ting Tings and The Last Shadow Puppets – and Duffy wins again, which feels, frankly, like a direct insult.

Coldplay then take the stage, dressed like disco revolutionaries in pink, lime and purple Spanish civil war outfits – which would be fine if they made new-sounding, vital pop like, say, MGMT or Empire of the Sun – but they don’t. They make watery, bland, executive bum. They’re about as revolutionary as Norman Tebbit. Their presence makes the list of appearances, winners and performers sound like it was discovered, discarded, scrawled on a soggy piece of cardboard and found in the middle of the road.

Back to the caravan! With Jamie Cullum and Jamie Oliver, both looking like they’re having a strand-off at the stupid haircut festival. To distract us from their wacky barnets, we hear more phone votes from Fearne. Halfway in to the two hours and literally nothing of any note has happened. Bring back Brandon Block! All is forgiven!

Here’s Natalie Imbruglia, who must have died since her Torn single came out in the nineties, as she staggers on looking like a reanimated corpse dug up from the grounds of a derelict botox farm. She’s here to announce British Male Solo Artist from a pick of James Morrison, Paul Weller, Ian Brown, Will Young and The Streets. Weller wins, and his acceptance speech is a video of Adele giggling.

We’re past halfway – and it’s time for a Duffy performance, or time for a kitchen break and tea-making, as I bypass the vapid motown-theft she passes off as music. As I return with an enormous cup of the brown stuff, Corden bellows a query:

ARE WE HAVING FUN PEOPLE?

More tumbleweed.

So – who will win Best International Album? Fleet Foxes, The Killers, MGMT, Kings of Leon or someone else I can’t remember?

Kings of Leon, in the event, and they take the stage resembling what you might imagine the Managing Directors of Beebo to look like. ‘If it weren’t for England we wouldn’t exist’, the singer says, forgetting he’s at the Brits. One in the eye for Duffy! Good lads.

Take That mime for a bit, handily wasting some time. The Robbie reunion thankfully remains an unfulfilled rumour and Nick Frost ambles on to present best live act. Nick Frost on his own. Without Simon Pegg. Who also presented on his own. Are we running low on guests?

Beating The Verve, Coldplay, Scouting For Girls and Elbow, Iron Maiden win this. A demonstration of people-power and only the hardest heart could begrudge them. Nicko McBrain still looks exactly like he did in the 80s. And they even wheel out Eddie, which probably confuses anyone under the age of 28.

Here comes David Hasslehoff to present something (I think Best British Band). Elbow beat Radiohead, Girls Aloud, Take That and Coldplay. Elbow – the band everyone’s too lazy to diss. I haven’t got anything against them, they just feel like a slow episode of Coronation Street set to 90s indie.

Then Kings of Leon play their big single with an ill-advised bass breakdown that makes the song sound like it’s going to shrivel up and die before Horne reappears to make his second Craig David joke of the night. We’re then on to the Critics Choice award which goes to indie types Florence and the Machine.

Florence and the Who?

Clear off!

Gok Wan wanders on smiling like a man possessed, waving and screeching ‘HIYA!’ like an oriental Wavey Davey. He presents the International Male gong which goes to Kanye West who, inevitably couldn’t make it to the evening and is filmed standing in a utility room in an anonymous building, looking sheepish.

And now for the real lowpoint. A modern mash-up of two of the year’s worst singles – Estelle and Ting Tings working to combine their awful songs in what is truly the most godawful dirge I’ve heard in years. The less about that, the better.

The end is in sight! It’s time for the best British Single and Alan Carr presents it to Girls Aloud for that ABBA-stealing pile of shit that accompanied their striptease earlier. ‘About time!’ screams the tall blonde one. ‘I wet meself!’ she continues, before being dragged off. And that’s as close as we get to controversy all night.

Tom Jones, looking like an overweight Rolf Harris, presents Best British Album and ruins the fact it’s bound to be Duffy, what with her also being from Wales and all. She gets her trio of meaningless statues and another Brit Awards gathers its crutches for the weary trudge to 2010. But first, the Pet Shop Boys Achievement award.

Hard to begrudge them their gong, but their stage show was such an unrelenting slaughter of flashing lights and dancing personnel, I had to read Twitter to work out what was going on. When Lady Gaga appeared to sing one line of a song dressed like a willow-patterned teapot, I thought I was hallucinating – compounded by the ostrich feathers on Brandon Flowers shoulders which made him look like a Flash Gordon birdman.

Roll credits!

Writing down every detail seemed like a good idea at the time. I hope reliving the experience with me hasn’t been too damaging for you – for me, at least, it was therapeutic.

Jeremy Kyle Is In My Nightmare.mp4

February 18, 2009

A Wednesday extra from myself, Nick of the Tann and ITV’s Jeremy Kyle.

Made over the last couple of days. And if I never hear Kyle’s whining bleat ever again, it’ll be too soon.

Ramshackle video editing = SH’s 1st attempt at video.

Friday The 13th (2009)

February 18, 2009

It’s remake time again! And this time it’s the turn of Friday The 13th to come under the spotlight.

Aaaah, Friday The 13th … tits, ass, Kevin Bacon with an arrow in the gullet, something about a boy drowning in a lake but then not drowning in a lake, a bald Corey Feldman, Jason taking Manhattan by murdering folk on a ship that’s not in Manhattan, Jason ending up in Hell and then in space in the future, more tits …

Let’s face it, the films of the Friday The 13th series have never been any good ever. Cheesy acting, appalling plots, crummy production values, shitty special effects, rubbish, synthesised ‘80s music; unlike other beloved horror franchises, the series has not had one truly good entry over its entire twenty nine year run. Eleven films have come before the remake. Eleven carbuncles on the weeping, maggot-riddled backside of horror – a franchise kept alive because teenagers will watch any old shit as long as there’s tits and killing in it.

So, as you can probably guess, I didn’t approach the new, ‘re-imagined’ Friday The 13th with high hopes. It’s an odd fish. It races through Part I in about five minutes, deals with the potato sack-headed Jason’s rise in Part II in a twenty minute section at the start, and then settles down to the familiar lumbering thug in the iconic hockey mask from Part III for the remainder of the film.

The formula’s exactly the same as it always has been:

  • A group of teens arrive at Crystal Lake.
  • The ones who get their tits out are murdered.
  • The ones who fuck each other are murdered.
  • The one who’s an arsehole is murdered.
  • The token black guy’s murdered.
  • The noble ones face up to Jason.
  • Jason gets his comeuppence.
  • ‘Shock’ ending where he turns out not to be dead after all.

This time around there’s a bit of a twist because one of the teenagers is looking for his sister who, we were led to believe, was murdered by Jason in the film’s Part II-inspired opening segment. It turns out Jason has mistaken the girl for his mother and, as you do when you’re reunited with the mother you thought had been decapitated after you drowned in a lake in 1980, has chained her up under his house.

The girl’s brother hooks up with a vague collection of stereotypes who are holidaying in Crystal Lake, singling out the only girl of their party who doesn’t drop her bra the moment the beers are passed round to be his friend.

So, as they set off to find the missing sister, the other teens are systematically butchered by Jason. There’s a tits-out waterskiing scene that ends in a crossbow through the head killing for the boat pilot, and the girl being lifted out of the lake by a hook in her head just high enough to get a last shot of her excellent tits. There’s an axe in the back scene, a screwdriver pushed up into a fella’s brain scene and a good old neck-snapping for one promiscuous young madam who didn’t realise Jason has never looked favourably on drunk girls who fuck their boyfriends butt-naked in Friday The 13th movies.

So, business as usual.

It’s too dark, nobody can act, the two main teenage males look so similar you keep mixing them up, the killings aren’t as gory as anything we’ve seen in the Saw or Hostel franchises (thanks to the producers aiming for that all-important MPAA rating that allows their target audience of idiot teenagers into the cinema), and the climactic final battle between the brother, the rescued sister and Jason is something we’ve seen a billion times before. Oh, and the final shock horror ending that has become Friday The 13th’s signature moment is exactly what you expected it to be:

“Well I’ll be damned! He’s not dead!”

So is it worth watching? Well, unless you really need to see a naked girl hung upside down in a sleeping bag being burned alive, I’d say no. If you do want to watch stuff like that, however, companies such as Lion’s Gate films have been making ‘em bigger, more brutal and better than Friday The 13th has ever been for years.

The tits are good, mind.

EastEnders

February 18, 2009

Garry Eastenders BBC

Are the scriptwriters that write Phil and Peggy and Pat and Jack and Max on holiday at the moment? I only ask because EastEnders has given itself over to storylines featuring what you could describe as its ‘light-relief B-team’ recently.

We’ve had a strange evening of farcical misunderstandings in the curry house involving Minty, Garry, the utterly pointless yet lovely-looking Dawn, Heather, Ricky and Bianca; we’ve had a peculiar non-suicide storyline involving Garry going on holiday to Spain and not telling anyone; we’ve had Heather and the cadaverous Shirley stalking George Michael (with Heather falling off a wall in a comically fat fashion); and we’ve got a strange Carry On film going on at the moment in the shape of the Masouds and the Beales going into the catering business with each other. There’s even been food fights! Food fights with Christian – EastEnders’ very own Kenneth Williams – sneering and giggling in the background.

Any minute now I’m expecting Peggy’s tits to pop out. Well … tit. Let’s not forget she’s one tit down after catching the cancer a few years back.

What’s going on? Wasn’t there some bad blood between Max and his brother? Have there been no further developments in the five yearly Dot-murdering plot? Wasn’t Tania’s daughter accused of something?

Apparently not. Instead we’ve had two weeks of pratfalls, fuck ups, food fights, mishaps and comedy Humpty Dumpty recreations. You mark my words, if this continues it’ll be custard pies and collapsible motor cars next.

What happened to the spirit-crushing drudgery? Where’s the woe? Why has EastEnders turned into a 1970s West End farce? What’s going on?

I WANT MY MISERY BACK.

One Minute Review: Watchdog

February 17, 2009

Julia Bradbury Watchdog

Watchdog‘s great these days.

For starters, it’s got Julia Bradbury up front. Anyone who saw the sight of  her off her face on Celebrity Come Dine With Me on Sunday will agree that Bradbury is good value. She’s like a drunk Fiona Bruce. As she presents Watchdog with a serious tone in her voice, pointing out faulty power-steering on the new Mini or criticising allergy-testing kits that don’t work, you can see behind her smirk that she’s a little raver. The minute they’ve wrapped she’ll be down her local, playing darts and forcing ale into her face. She’s probably soused as she presents it, but the years of hard-boozing have enabled her to cover it like a proper pro. She should be saluted.

Watchdog’s other selling-point is everyone’s favourite Scotch curmudgeon, Nicky Campbell. Gone are the days of the mullets and kids TV – these days Campbell deals in issues. And by golly, he’s got attitude.

Watch as Campbell cruises smugly around the studio. When he addresses the audience he’s fair and even-handed. He’s on your side. But when berating the PR Officer of a property company or giving grief to the MD of a double glazing factory, by jingo, he’s an animal.

I can’t see how ladies would fail to swoon when he’s on the box. He’s simultaneously sympathetic to his audience’s needs and prepared, at the drop of a badly-moulded gearstick, to savage the so-called bigwigs and fat cats he and we so despise. He and Bradbury are a match made in heaven, and Watchdog is a hotbed of real, outraged, disgusted and miffed sex action.

Phwoar!

NewsGush: Let’s Dance for Comic Relief!

February 17, 2009

steve jones comic relief lets dance

Because Fame Academy is rubbish and Strictly Come Dancing is for old people, Comic Relief have invented a new format for 2009’s reality-performance strand. And this is it. It’s basically loads of famous but not that famous people dancing  to old songs from films. Acting the giddy goat for coin, essentially. ‘So open your purse’, they’ll say, ‘and spray us with sterling’.

And look who’s hosting! It’s only E102-charged, fringed twig Winkleman – daughter of the violently disagreeable Eve Pollard.

And who’s that beside her?

It’s that big lunk, Steve Jones. Steven ‘Berluddy’ Jones – the half bred offspring of a tree and a bull with damaged sperms. A lump of bum-muscle. An oafish, grinning tit, with his skinny tie and three-steps-behind-indie stylings. And YES. I would say that to his face. Before running away and jumping down a hole.

I can’t fucking wait!

So, who’s dancing? You asking?

I’ll tell you. The list is as follows, lovingly cut and pasted from this here press release:

Jo Brand, Robert Webb, Dick & Dom, Keith Lemon & Paddy McGuinness; Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den and Blue Peter presenters Tim Vincent, Anthea Turner, Mark Curry, Diana Louise Jordan, Peter Duncan, Janet Ellis and Helen Skelton. Also, the cast of Hollyoaks (names to be confirmed), chefs (Paul Rankin, Sophie Grigson, John Burton Race, Nancy Lam, Kevin Woodford, Sophie Michel, Tony Tobin, Reza Mohammad and Silvana Rowe), Les Dennis, Neil Fox, Angela Rippon and Nancy Sorrell

So, that’s seven ex-Blue Peters, three Dragons (where the hell is Caan? Lumbago got the better of him?), Jo Brand, Robert Webb, that bouncer off Phoenix Nights, those two morons off Saturday morning TV and the Bo Selecta man.

We’ve also got some Hollyoaks kids I won’t recognise, some chefs I might recognise, but only just, Neil ‘Foxy Doctor’ Fox, Vic Reeves’s missus, Les Den and Angela the Rippon.

It’s win win. The charity gets a boost, the celebs get fantastic PR and we, the lucky audience, get some quality entertainment packed with laughs, proficient presentation and funky moves.

Actually… now I think about it, is that technically a three way win? Can’t help but feel someone’s got the bum end of the deal…

Are you excited?

NewsGush: More McIntyre

February 16, 2009

michael mcintyre

Do you like Michael McIntyre? Do you chortle at the way he guffaws at his own jokes whilst speaking? Does his preppy, floppy barnet give you cause for belly-laughs? Do you like his plummy speech patterns and they way he stutters and repeats himself for comedy effect? Do you like his suits? Do you rate his 80s era observational comedy?

If not, you’re in for a nightmare. Edna Welthorpe let us know in the comments a few months ago that McIntyre was on the BBC’s ‘one-to-push’ list, and they’re being proved right. He’s been on every panel show going so far in this young year, was on Jonathan Ross on Friday and now it appears his new series is about to subtly be dropped on us like a dirty bomb…

What do you make of this McIntyre character then?

At least he’s not James Corden.