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Just a Thought: De Burgh Spoils Breakfast

April 24, 2009

Had to share this lovely item, depite it being over a week old now.

Chris De Burgh appeared on BBC Breakfast to sing a tribute to the families of the Hillsborough victims in their week of grief, happily coinciding with his new album release, Footsteps – which judging by the snippet we heard is, as expected, bloody awful. In the clip, De Burgh manages to soil the memory of Byrds classic, Turn Turn with that trademark yawning vocal.

From his feigning shock at the presence of a 12 string, his outright destruction of a Beatles classic, his bizarre acapella tribute to ther scousers and the fawning smiles of Silverton and Turnbull, everything about this seems designed to curl the toes and put the viewer off their tea and toast.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Enjoy – and see you on the new site – if I don’t click the wrong button and blow it up over the weekend…

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The Apprentice 2009 – Who Will Win? Week 5

April 23, 2009
Clue: It ain't gonna be this cream puff

Clue: It ain't gonna be this cream puff

The numbers are falling as we approach week six, with Kimberly now one of the five contestants sent packing and hurtling away from Brentford in a black cab. Some great comments last week and a handful of newcomers, so let’s see how our sweepstakish competition is getting along, this time with no dirty tricks. I have my list to hand and an eye on last week’s comments to see who’s backing who…

Phillip
Napoleon, fourstar, Exelsior and Mel are still in the game, backing boorish bulldozer Phillip with his made up face and straightened hair. The big girl. ‘I’m just a big head from Durham who sells houses’ said Phil this week. And he was quite right, though I doubt he sells that many… Unbelievably, THREE new Phil supporters joined the lad’s ranks last week. JohnP and OffensiveMango added their names to the roster, with BadgerMadge also picking him as Maj went out some time ago.

Noorul
Ugeine and Nick of the T continue to follow the doomed Noorul who is probably the mopiest Apprentice candidate we’ve seen. Not content with looking like rigor mortis has just set in, he couldn’t even have a giggle while dressed as Pantsman – preferring to sulk in a garage instead.

Debra
Lord Milky and myopiniononstuff (aka Dave) still back (the unusually silent this week) Debra – and Steve joins their number. Are they mad?  ‘Debra’s a cow’ Clarry added, ages ago.

Kate
Sue De Nymh has her money on Kate and after seeing Walshy at her best this week, it’s starting to look like a sound bet. One for the final? There’s definitely something going on in that head of hers.

Yasmina
Your host Swines and ELM still pursue the pixie-like Yas. They also rummage through her bins and steal her underpants from the penthouse washing line. The filthy perverts.

Ben
Scantregard follows Ben. Expertly silenced by Kate in Week 5, will Ben ever have a chance to show his softer side? Does he even have one? Or is his whole being as rough and ungodly as that hideous unshaved chin?

Out!

Kimberly
Oh, Ruudboy! And you only joined in last week! Kimberly was unable to handle the grumpiest team she could’ve hoped to have got, and she ended up in the back of the black cab’s dreaded enclave. Bad luck, Ruud – pick another!

Not yet picked

Still unpicked, like schoolboy Swines at the five-a-side selection:

  • Howard
  • James
  • Mona
  • Lorraine

Anyone else care to throw their hat into the ring, nail their colours to the mast or shout the odds? Come and have a go if you believe you’re hard enough!

Stop being so bloody juvenile!

That means YOU, Piqued. Suggesting someone called Simon when there’s nobody called Simon in the bloody competition is just SILLY.

So STOP IT.

The Apprentice 2009 – Episode 5

April 23, 2009

The Apprentice 2009 Review Episode 5 Pantsman

There were tears, there were tantrums, there was an unearthly primal scream of sheer horror. I turned my television on, still uninformed as to who’d been fired this week (having not yet watched the show), and the You’re Fired programme was showing Kimberly’s best bits. With a little bit of psychological detective work (carried out against my will by my blasted brain, I ought to add) I found I’d given away the ending of the show to myself. Thus, carnage ruled my living room as I tore every piece of furniture from its casters in a fit of unbridled fury.

Happily, as it turns out, it really doesn’t make that big a difference if you know which suit got the boot. We all know the fun is in the chase, so having early knowledge when it comes to the artifice of the firing at the end (how can you fire someone who’s not yet been hired anyway?) doesn’t spoil things too much.

Incidentally, apologies if you read the first paragraph of this review without seeing the show first and I spoiled it for you.

Right. Moving on: Last night’s opening ceremony saw Debra answer the phone to the unlikely 30 minute warning. Somehow, in the midst of all this, someone had time to boil a couple of eggs.

Now – if those are soft-boilers, they’ll require just short of four minutes, with additional time for toast-buttering and tea-making to consider in the process (these are essential, non-negotiable elements). Alternatively, if they’re hard-boilers, they’ll need at least nine minutes in the pan. In addition, even a man needs at least twenty minutes to get ready, plus about five minutes for bowel evacuation and front-watering – so whoever plunged those eggy-weggs was either flippantly dicing with their own death or is extremely self-assured and brilliantly adept when multi-tasking. Whoever boiled those eggs should be The Apprentice.

A soft boiled egg takes a good while to eat, after all. A hard-boiler can be slipped in the pocket and saved for later. Perhaps this was the methodology selected by the canny egg-preparer who, in my opinion, should go on to win this thing.

Off to the IMAX, where Alan Sugar’s face filled the big screen. A dream realised for Sir Alan, a nightmare made actuality for the rest of us. The task this week turned out to be the same as last year’s tissue advertising challenge, this time with cereal instead of nose-wipes. They were asked to brand the breakfast – essentially rice crispies with dried fruit, unappetisingly – and then pitch it back to the ad agency with  a TV ad and a well-designed box. And a good cartoon character. Forward-thinking viewers will have noticed at this point that we were all set for some costume wearing at some point in the show. Exciting!

Empire were shadowed by Margaret and led by Kate who insightfully warned Ben, her underling this week, that there were to be no ‘sex sells’ brainstorms. The rest of her crew, James, Yasmina and Debra, agreed, using silence as their weapon.

On Ignite’s team, Nick followed Kimberly as she tried to lead one of the most uncomfortable looking clans in the history of the show. To me, it looked like Phillip felt he’d been landed with the B Team and couldn’t see how it had happened. All the star players were over on Empire whilst he was stuck with the geek squad, and it caused him to erupt into character – a power-hungry, pants-obsessed loon.

The man was a monster in the team’s brainstorm. When Lorraine tried to blurt out her hopeless ideas, she was confronted with Phillip screaming in what can only be described as an aggressively passive aggressive style. His first idea for the character – the Cereal Killer – would never get past the censors. He then took an idea he’d had, pants-based, as it was, and asked if he could ‘flipside’ those pants. The others, ground down by his relentlessly awful conversational style – bark, growl, huff – went with the underwear idea, including his mind-boggling ‘dance in your pants’ song. The idea being that when you wake up, you’re so bleary eyed that you put your pants over your trousers. Wake Up Call cereal will apparently cure this common household occurence that never happens.

Phil walked all over the colour scheme for the ‘Pantsman’, then sulked when he was defied and the edit cut to a lovely shot of him sulking whilst colouring in. Typically, Phil wrestled back the lead on the jingle-writing side of the project. Working with an assigned songwriter who looked confused and incredulous throughout, Phil’s Dance In Your Pants song was largely indecipherable. ‘He thinks he’s Bono’, muttered the man on the keys.

Empire’s brainstorm was a far better example of how these things should go, with a natural progression of ideas which ends with a pretty marketable idea. Kate’s management style appeared to be anything goes, so long as Ben wasn’t allowed to do anything. She kept the rasping short-arse tied up with the stupid stuff – putting on pirate parrot costumes and moaning in the background – while all around her flourished on the Captain Squawk and the Treasure Flakes concept.

Over on Team Disaster, Kim made the fatal error of asking the designers to create the back and sides of her cereal box without any input from her people. Little surprise then that the narked off graphics whizz returned a box which, apart from the back panel, was a block of solid green. He probably did this to spite her as leaving a Designer without a brief is like leaving a child-minder with a deceased infant.

Their film shoot for the ad was directed by Kim and looked appalling, but it turned out later that their Editors pulled off a miracle and made it look amusing rather than freakish, given how terrified the children were while the cameras rolled. On the other team, with Ben confined to the hollow interior of a plastic parrot, things went off well despite their star performer’s nut allergy.

During the parrot-pitch, Debra turned in a strong performance  and Kate handled one particularly cantankerous Marketing type well. Pants-pitch went a little differently with Mona in charge. Kim may not have been present when, during episode one, Mona steamrollered the manager of a hummer-hire firm. If she had, she wouldn’t have let her answer questions, let alone present their product. Her pitch was like watching a collision of juggernauts which somehow left no memory trace.

When they were all done, it was off to the boardroom for a right kicking from the bearded one.Ignite bizarrely but unanimously backed Kim apart from the dissenting voice of Lorraine who got told off for her ‘snap, crackling and popping’ stance, even though she was justified, as things turned out.

Empire championed their leader Kate, with even Ben backing the blonde. This blew Alan’s mind and he took time out to have a pop at the ‘hoarse Ian Paisley’ soundalike – making it clear the unshaven idiot’s card is marked and that Ben’s teeth will be bitten out in the boardroom at some point soon.

Ignite were given the inevitable news that they’d failed. ‘Not funny! Stupid!’ screamed Alan, in his trademark succinct style. Empire, meanwhile, were sent off to do some laughing yoga with a guru in a tracksuit. It didn’t look much fun.

The loss lit Phillip’s touchpaper and, having hoarded all the toys for himself, he proceeded to chuck them from his pram with gay abandon. ‘We tried too hard’, he claimed before embarking on the tacit ‘Let’s Get Lorraine!’ mission that seemed to have been arranged. Kim’s histrionics and jazz hands did her no favours and, when Phillip finally flip-flopped from his anti-Lorraine agenda and cornered her, Kim was given the extended finger. Alan seemed to enjoy the process of firing an American, using therapy and psychoanalysis references to mock her ability to explain herself without resorting to cliche.

In his closing gambit, Alan said that Kimberly’s personality is like the final scene of the Wizard of Oz – where ‘behind the curtain nothing was there’. This is a badly rendered comparison, as behind the curtain was the eponymous wizard, who was little more than a frail old man.

I think The Apprentice final is more like The Wizard of Oz as once the glitzy procedure is over, the curtain is drawn back and all you can see is a bearded, wizened little tit pulling the strings.

In Brentford.

NEXT WEEK:

The contestants take part in Dickinson’s Real Deal in an exclusive shared-rights deal with ITV. Don’t miss it!

Preview
Episode 1

Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Last series
.

Drinking With The Girls

April 22, 2009

Drinking With The Girls Cherry Healy BBC Three

Cherry Healy fronts a moderately entertaining documentary, if you can call it that, in which she seeks to discover ‘the real truth about women and booze’. She succeeded in finding out that women drink booze and little else, but still, this was a half-decent hours worth of entertainment from BBC Three. Better than My Life As An Animal or Snog, Marry, Avoid anyway. Mainly because it was this new Cherry Healy character fronting it and not that vain hair-do woman Dawn Porter the channel usually relies upon for insight-free docu-pieces.

Opening with a montage of Daily Mail headlines about bingeing and a few helpful shots of girls falling over onto tarmac, we also witnessed Cherry puking violently into a latrine, a roman-shower shot we’d ultimately see repeated a few times throughout the show’s runtime – sometimes from different angles so we could consume the deeper meaning inherent in the act.

Cherry outlined her quest: to go out boozing with female drinkers from different demographics.

20-Somethings
Hitting the road and arriving at Blackpool, Cherry meets Leanne and her pals, all slightly put-upon young women, Leanne a single mother with quite obvious signs of depression – that aspect of her dipsomania only covered in one three sentence interview. There was no time for it, as the Editor needed to kicked in with his procession of images framing what were once called ladettes throwing booze down their gullets, rubbing their groins against retarded males with manga haircuts and ultimately falling over car bonnets with their tutus round their ankles. The experience makes Cherry cry for a couple of seconds, then move on to her next night out.

Underage
14 year old Rio and her pal explain that they like to get pissed in the park after drinking heavily at home. Cherry joins them in Rio’s bedroom where they down what they’ve nicked from Mum’s cabinet through a straw. Impressively, they manage to quaff Lambrini, neat vodka, neat Bacardi and a glug of Baileys before asking Mum if they can make it home for half ten rather than the Draconian ten pm curfew that’s currently in place. Cherry explains that this is different to how she was at their age. The Lambrini would be Pinot Grigio and she’d buy it with money from her ample allowance, back in her day. I’m making presumptions there, as I have every right to do.

Students
Where’s that? Only Sheffield Hallam University! Your host Swine’s place of higher education and the scene of his worst period of alcohol abuse is where Cherry ends up next and horrible, cloudy memories surface in this viewer. To make it worse, Cherry was taken to Shag – an evening at the Sheffield Leadmill that seems to actively attempt to murder attendees with pints at 80p, double vodka and red bull at a quid and two-for-one alchopops. I was too busy trying to repress images of myself rolling around in my own vomit to actually absorb any of this part of the show.

30 Somethings

A civil partnership was the next destination of choice as Cherry went to a lesbian marriage between two tattooed ladies. A good time was had by all, because 30 somethings tend to know their limits a little better than those a decade younger.

Mums and Mid-lifers
Even more responsibly, the Mums in the next sequence managed to run functioning households before going out dancing and returning home slightly tipsy. The Editor must have been furious by now at the lack of upskirt shots he could throw in, accompanied by that song that goes ‘here come the girls!’
Single widow Ann was also well-behaved, despite drinking a hell of a lot of liquor and starting every day at 11.30 in the morning, but that’s because she’s old enough to pace herself.

Grannies
And finally, Cherry took a tipple with the Red Hat Ladies of Torquay. These old birds went on coach trips to taste wine and were less able to binge because of their need to spend a penny every five minutes. Jean, the ringleader, was an admirably batty old bird and more than likely the apple of many a Torquay-based older gent’s eye. And who can blame the silver foxes when there’s mature totty like Jean wandering around the UK’s South coast?

The documentary eventually wore itself out as it went along, parallel to how the advancing years of the participants caused their hunger for the grog to dissipate in time. From the outright chaos of kiddie-drinking to the measured, cheeky imbibing of the older generation, the process off slowing down was bound to happen before the show ground itself to a halt.

So, to keep the tempo up right to the bitter end, that shot of Cherry hawking her colon out of her mouth thanks to too many double vodka and cokes was distributed equally throughout the show to prick the interest when the ageing lushs got tiresome.

And just when you thought it was all over, right at the end and before the closing credits…

vomit Cherry Healy BBC Three Drinking With The Girls

Just a Thought: The Fall and Rise…

April 21, 2009

reginald perrin martin clunes

…of Reginald Perrin.

I was just wondering how WWM readers feel about the resurrection of this classic sitcom, with Martin Clunes as the eponymous Perrin?

Apparently David Nobbs has not only given his blessing, but has also co-written the series along with Simon Nye – the fellow who wrote Men Behaving Badly.

A bit of a contrast in quality there.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out – either good against all odds or dead on arrival, one suspects.

Clunes in place of Rossiter – can the two even be mentioned in the same breath? Clunes is a decent comic actor and possesses some lovely dogs, but Rossiter was close to genius when it came to his portrayal of the despairing suburban hero. Will the man with the big lips be able to pull this one off?

Your thoughts, WWMers…

Quite Like: The Inbetweeners

April 21, 2009

The Inbetweeners E4

Nick T recommended this little gem – hidden away in E4’s dark and sweaty corner – and was largely ignored. But yesterday, lagging behind the times like the blinkered and dismissive old sod I am, I found the first series on Catch Up and tore through the first two back-to-back. And he’s right. Each episode of The Inbetweeners is a brief sojourn in bad taste with the odd moment of expertly-judged excess.

I think the reason it gets away with the relentless boner, wank, tit, shagging and shitting jokes is that it’s set in a school six-form where the predominant source of humour tend to be the sights, sounds and smells of bodily functions. What the writers get just right is the repetition inherent in the average 16 year old’s speech patterns. Especially the way one teenager will go beyond the realms of logic and through the wall of inanity and out the other side in their pursuit of comfirming their quarry is a bummer. Or a ‘bum-der’, which I learnt yesterday is a mixture of a ‘bummer’ and a ‘bender’.

At thirty years old I find The Inbetweeners funny, so logic dictates that the twelve year old me would most likely worship it, catching every episode on VHS for posterity, maybe even editing out the ad breaks to make the viewing process flow.

But 12 year olds don’t do those things these days. They probably sideload epishots onto their e-Phones and share them with friends in their emmy-sens messengers services, before going out and filming themselves happy-slapping emo-goths. The ‘orrible little shits.

My Life As An Animal: Pigs

April 20, 2009

My Life As An Animal BBC Three

My Life As An Animal is a show in which two seemingly intelligent people, untainted by mental illness, agree with BBC Three Producers that they will live with pigs for a week. They do this either because they’re so desperate to be on television that they’ll happily smear themselves in wet, gluggy manure to get there or (less likely) they’ve been badly advised on what the content of the show will be.

The format can be broken down like this:

  • Two Members of the Public meet Terry Nutkins
  • He tells them what pigs do.
  • They watch pigs snuffling about all day and doing very little.
  • MotPs are thrown into the pig pen where they live for a week.
  • They make friends or enemies with pigs, snuffle a lot and eat pig-feed.
  • They watch pigs get killed in the now-compulsory abattoir shot.
  • The end.

So – a sublime journey. How deeply will the human psyche be probed? What valuable information will we gleaned as we make adults scamper about on all fours, sleeping in straw and making grunting noises?

The contestants, Richard and Lyndsey, began by being ordered into clothes from a wheelbarrow that had been smeared with pig urine and poo. ‘It smells!’ they cry, stating the profoundly obvious. And they continue to state the obvious throughout the show.

– ‘This is literally a pigsty’
– ‘They smell’
– ‘They keep banging into me’
– ‘Urgh, it smells round here’
– ‘Oooh, it really stinks’

Richard – the first contestant – appeared to enjoy the process. He learned that ear-sucking on a waxy lughole is the very tenderest of intimate expressions among piggies, and he set to work nibbling ears like a pro. Soon enough he was kipping among them like he was one of their own, having grown worryingly close within a matter of hours.

Lyndsey, a Radio Five Live DJ, had a harder time living as a pig for a week. There were tears and tantrums during the early part of her stay when she realisd she’d be sleeping among them. She wanted her own sty, she complained – not realising that would obliterate the whole point of this stupid outing. Later, when a piggy nipped her on the lower leg she roared like a baby and demanded she get to go home. But then, persuaded by the crew, she got back into it and spent the rest of the day running around haystacks. The soppy cow.

Aside from that, ‘having totally immersed themselves in their pig-lives’, they watched pigs do sex and then snuff it in a slaughterhouse. They swapped places so that Lyndsey could see she’d actually got the better end of the deal as she sampled the non-organic pen. But still it was impossible to work out what we’re meant to have learned. Something about farming techniques? Something about human nature?

Whatever it was, it completely escaped me. The suspicion is this is another outing in which the title and concept are all, and that the actual content of the show doesn’t actually matter.

Did it not occur to anyone that the idea is completely and morbidly pointless? ‘It’s a new low!’ they seem to be shouting over in BBC Three-land. ‘Let’s celebrate it! Here – smear yourself in some shit!’

Watching the show, when the contestants complained – particularly Lyndsey who took to punching her stymates on the snout – you wanted to grab them by their lapels and dash their heads against the nearest trough, screaming at them that, as they’ve decided to live like pigs, they should stop complaining (in human) about how much they hate it. And what’s more, if they were going to do this bullshit experiment properly, they should be stark bollock naked. And the only human contact should come from the farmer. And if it was unwelcome contact they wouldn’t be able to complain beyond a terrifying, shrill squeal.

But then you realise that hidden camera footage of an obese farmer boning a mute, naked media type in a cold field wouldn’t make great television – but then, neither does this shit.

NewsGush: Bookies on Boyle

April 17, 2009

Now, I don’t watch ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent because it’s a pile of shit. It’s also got a judging panel made up of three arseholes and is fronted by Ant & Dec. Frankly, if I tried to watch that rot, my telly wouldn’t survive the thrashing I’d inevitably mete out to it from a mixture of frustration, despair, ruinous fury and good, old-fashioned common sense.

But some people do watch it, and the majority of them are going mental about Susan Boyle in the clip above. She’s turning into an ‘internet sensation’ with her Youtube clip being watched at a frightening rate. Bookies have shortened her odds on winning the thing, and Guardian journalists are getting in a tizzy about her initially being judged on her appearance.

So – apparently people who look like normal folk can sing!

Who’d have thought?

What a patronising and worryingly profitable shit-bonanza Cowell’s running.