Posts Tagged ‘George Lamb’

The Chris Moyles Podcast

November 10, 2008

chris moyles

As Radio 1’s weekday morning DJ, Chris Moyles has a lot of airtime to fill.

From time to time, he slips up, taking leave of his senses or saying something offensive – his ‘racist moment’ with Halle Berry being a case in point. At other times he’s allowed his guests to veer into offensive territory and not apologised on their behalf – take Rio Ferdinand’s casual homophobia as your example. As it happens, I find it difficult to hold this stuff against him.

I only know about those moments of madness because I’ve read about them. When he makes a TV appearance, Moyles comes across as boorish and uncomfortable in front of the camera, but his employment is as a disc jockey, so in the interests of fair-play it’d only be right to download the podcast and judge it on its own merits.

And surprisingly, it does have its merits.

Having endured George Lamb’s ‘cast this year and having found it to be little more than a handful of berks shouting in a room, Moyles and his pals have elements to their show that make it superior. They have that essential asset they call continuity. They also have (and I can’t believe I’m typing this) some pretty good gags littered about their material. I know. I was shocked too – but I actually chuckled at a song they wrote in a Eurovision audition with Andrew Lloyd Webber in which they mocked the fabric of the competition with lines like ‘everyone’s afraid of Russia’ and jibes about the Balkans’ monopoly on the votes.

All good stuff, but the delivery hints that it’s all very much prepared, from Webber posing as though he’s not aware that it’s a set up to Moyles’ supposed reaction to his charge’s work. They’re slick when it comes to the banter. Too slick, in fact, for this to be the off-the-cuff stuff it claims it is.

There is, of course, a huge amount of dross. Where the likes of Adam & Joe fill their filler with childish but amusing blabber, Moyles and pals resort to talking utter shit. But at least it makes sense. Frequently sexist and rarely self-aware, the opening banter between two of the ladies in the studio about bra sizes led the big man to explain that their conversation had caused to him thinking about their two forms indulging in a lesbian embrace. He then added that the idea did nothing for him.

Not funny, not relevant, no point whatsoever.

Later, a discussion about Daniel ‘Dead Wife’ from the X Factor which started pretty well degenerated as ‘X Factor’ turned into ‘Breast Factor’. Presumably Moyles isn’t allowed to use the word ‘tits’ at that time of the morning, and the fact he’s forced to use the word ‘breasts’ makes it all the more sinister. He turns from the lad he wants to be into the sinister berk he actually is, waffling on about boobies when nobody else cares about his mother complex in the slightest.

The show is littered with your standard wacky (80s-style) sound effects and crrrazy incidental music, all of which presumably wake up your average listener as they struggle over breakfast with a hangover, but all of which serve to make the banter barely audible at best and migraine-inducing at worst.

The Smashie and Nicie comparisons don’t stop with the irritating external noises. There are constant references to great mates and in the 25 minutes I listened to, Cheryl Cole, another one from Girls Aloud, Fearne Cotton and Gary Barlow were all mentioned as Moyles prematurely trailed his participation in a Comic Relief stunt a year in advance. And to make matters worse, he then started slobbering over the thought of Fearne C with all the grace of a sex offender. Skin-crawling stuff.

Despite the drivel he comes out with, and even though I lasted just short of half an hour, I can see why Moyles has the job. He does what he does and is what he is. His show may be a pile of shit, but it’s very slick shit. You may be glad you’re not in the studio with him, but everyone seems to be having a fun time. Compare this to Lamb’s show where the forced laughter actually sounds like it’s causing tonsilitis and the jokes are witless, repeated catchphrases.

Time to get back to ignoring Moyles. Let the man do what he does best – entertaining idiots. He might eventually go away.

Celebrity Scissorhands

November 4, 2008

celebrity scissorhands

Good God.

I know it’s for charity, this Celebrity Scissorhands. I know it’s only BBC3. But when Children in Need are taking a format as unsuccessful, squalid and dull as Channel 4’s long abandoned ‘The Salon’ and resurrecting it, peopling it with micro-celebs – people you’re guaranteed to have to scrape the darkest recess of your brain to recognise – they really must be desperate for money. Or ideas.

The credits roll and, quite unlike most celebrity-competition TV stuff, they don’t have idents for each contestant. ‘That’s weird’, you think to yourself. Then later, as you’re stuck in the salon with a bunch of completely unrecognisable faces, you see why they’ve dropped the roll call at the beginning. It’s because none of these people are well-known. Even in the broadest sense of what ‘celebrity’ might mean, we’ve stretched and ultimately snapped the definition here.

In the half hour I could bear, I noticed a bloke who used to be in that lowly boyband 5ive, Lucinda off the Apprentice, a girl who might have been in an R&B band at some point, Steve Strange (though I’m not sure if he’s even taking part) and Zammo.

That’s it. The rest of them may have brushed with fame at one point, but it can only have been the lightest of touches.

Still, it only takes a gentle nudge to catch scabies, so clearly these poor sods are so infested with celebrity that they’re doomed to take part in endless, faded reality formats, taking part in crudely formed popularity contests, surrendering their dignity for a fee or for the misguided kudos that comes with doing your bit for charity.

To top things off, that ubiquitous ignoramous George Lamb fronts the show, meaning we’re not even out of neutral before our teeth are grinding.

Who likes this man? Am I missing something?

With every male presenter on youth television I can see at least one thing within them that might appeal to a niche demographic but with Lamb I can’t see a single redeeming characteristic. Not one. And to make things worse, he takes any work that comes his way, meaning he’s riding every air and radiowave in the country, wasting endless spools of film and rolls of tape on that jarring, affected accent and the dyed white ‘do he’s got atop his empty head.

Once we’re into the show, we discover that the task this episode is for the contestants to cut some hair whilst a child cuts some hair on the other side of the room. Then someone will judge who cut the hair more skilfully – the child or the grown up.

Guess what?

The grown up won.

Aside from the mammoth task and the suspense, drama and incident that sprang off it, the most memorable moment was when Willow turned up with his family for nor reason.

The only other thing that stuck in the mind was how much of a complete and utter cock this fringed fuckwit is. Never heard of him before, never want so see him again. He might even win in a cock-off with George Lamb. Such a cock, such an irredeemably dislikable cock, that he doesn’t even irritate you. You just head in the other direction and pretend you never saw it. Blanked through trauma, like the sight of a dead relative’s carcass.

So please – give money to Children in Need. But don’t, whatever you do, tune into this flotsam.

The George Lamb Podcast – 6 Music

June 24, 2008

George Lamb 

I’ve never had a worse morning. I got hit by a car once, walking down High Holborn on the way to work. I’ve vomited my stomach lining into a gutter at 8am due to an apocalyptic hangover while my shirt sleeves dangled about my wrists. Then there was the time I mistakenly locked my better half in the flat, and the time a water pipe burst and flooded the carpet and there’s also the time a swift flew into my front room through an open window at dawn and proceeded to dump birdshits all over the fittings.

All of these pale in comparison, wilt into insignificance and transform into memories of better times when I think back to this morning, June 24th 2008 and the 50 minutes I spent with George Lamb and his zany pals in their 6 Music podcast as I rode the bus into work. My headphones have never had to handle such drudgery.

Lamb and his cronies get a lot of stick for their banter-based show. A lot of people have accused 6 Music of selling out in going for a populist option when they appointed the ex-T4 and current Big Brother’s Big Mouth host.

Conversely, Lamb has been lavished with a Sony award for his services. Mind you, looking at the competition, Jonathan King could have returned to the airwaves and beaten Lamb as the other nominees were largely small-fry. Lamb was the only DJ on the list who’s regularly on national radio and who has adverts on the TV plugging his show. Apart from Kelly Osbourne, who everyone hates anyway.

I like 6 Music, but I’m not precious about it. I find the DJs are occasionally a little bit too muso for my liking but more often than not, one song in three is half decent. 6 Music is undoubtedly a good thing.

The appointment of Lamb for three hours a day is not something that ever bothered me, what with old muggins ‘ere being at work all day and only ever tuning in to the station in the morning or evening. I watched the furore develop from afar – websites starting up decrying the Lambster, other websites starting up and championing him. All this fuss over a Channel 4 presenter with a new radio show? It reminded me of Russell Brand’s ascent from Big Brother’s Big Mouth presenter to small-time superstar – buried deep in the late night schedules then rising on the strength of his popularity to greater heights on the strength of goodwill. Brand hasn’t got websites devoted to disliking him, but he’s certainly got detractors. Maybe this was what Lamb was experiencing… I wanted to give him a chance, at least. So I downloaded his new podcast. Is George Lamb an exciting new voice?

In the event, no. 50 minutes of Lamb’s podcast, with music removed for legal reasons, has confirmed that we’re not dealing with a Russell Brand phenomenon here. We’re not dealing with a Dermot O’Leary either. We’re not even dealing with a Vernon fucking Kaye. We’re dealing with an inept, unfunny shambles fronted by a man with a haircut for a personality and backed by the bottomless cackling of his posse of berks.

I can’t begin to describe how inane it all is. Not inane in the sense of something going nowhere but everyone enjoying the ride. Inane in that nothing is being achieved. No humour. No anger. No sadness. Just nothing. Just minutes, seconds and milliseconds popping by and never coming back as Lamb stutters his way through heavy-handed links, nicked jokes that weren’t funny the first time round and interviews with people who, like the rest of us, are just too smart to find any of this shit funny.

We start off with Lamb and his producer gloating about their award by way of introduction. Giggling at their own jokes, they talk like little kids with catchphrases they’ve invented for the playground that’ll last for a day of bullying before evaporating like humourless silent fart-puffs. Then we’re into the main content. I think it’s a week’s worth of content – 15 hours then – all condensed into 50 minutes (which says a lot considering Adam & Joe manage 30 minutes of material from three hours and Collins and Herring get a solid hour from improvising).

Anyway, here are the standout bits:

  • They work their way into a feature where they’re asking people to call in if their name is Aubrey. Sure enough, two people called Aubrey call in. There are no laughs to be found. One Aubrey says his name helps him to get the girls. The other is the Editor of Total Film and he plugs his magazine. The world continues to rotate.
  • A film review feature with ‘Philippe De Barnsely’ is essentially a northern man talking with scant knowledge about any of the films he’s just seen. Lamb and his pals ask him how many fags he smokes a day. He replies that he smokes two packets. Everyone laughs and I can’t work out why – because northerners smoke fags? There are no laughs to be found here, either. By now you’re weeping stomach acid from dilated tear ducts and the babble in your ears refuses to stop.
  • An interview with The Rascals, a solid enough Wirrall based beat combo. Lamb makes some stereotypical scouser gags when he’s not stumbling over his scripted lines and finds himself able to form a coherent sentence. The Rascals man is affable and basically says ‘yeah!’ a lot as he’s not given time to respond to any of the jibes. They play a song which is cut out due to licensing laws at the BBC. This makes this whole slot completely pointless.
  • Lamb and his Producer giggle and snigger, unable to speak as they promote their smashing idea for an anti-festival called… wait for it… Give-it-a-rest-ival! A brilliant play on words that thoroughly deserves three or four minutes of uninterrupted, self-satisfied chortling at their own brilliant gag – one an eleven year old would abandon on the grounds of utter moribundity.
  • A chat with an unremarkable member of the unremarkable band Dirty Pretty Things results in him agreeing not to appear at their non-festival which, in case we’d forgotten, is called the Give-It-A-Restival. A joke which bears repeating five or six times in case you still hadn’t figured out the subtle wordplay. By now the listener with a functioning brain is praying for the frontal lobotomy his fellow listeners must’ve endured to put up with this shit.
  • Finally, an interview with a sheep-shearing expert powers the highly amusing observation that Alan Shearer’s name has semantic similarities to the term ‘sheep-shearing’. The interviewee is baffled and is clearly wondering precisely what it is that’s meant to be so funny. So am I, as it happens. This section goes on for days. Rigor mortis begins to set in.

And then it’s over. It feels like days have passed. You’re more wrinkly than you were before – as though you’ve bathed for weeks in someone else’s urine.

I’m only glad I didn’t subscribe, as that might’ve aided their ride up the iTunes podcast charts.  According to the blurb, ‘it took a while but the podcast is finally here’. So we have to ask ourselves why did it take a while?

The idea of podcasts from the BBC is that existing radio shows are pared down to the essentials. Music is removed so that the banter can be distilled and the jokes will rule the roost. Problem is, with Lamb there are no jokes. There isn’t really any banter either – it’s just a few borrowed catchphrases being repeated back and forth as the crew pat one another on the back. The process would involve choosing which smug guffaw to include over which conceited cackle… so editing this must’ve been a nightmare akin to polishing the proverbial turd.

I urge you to continue in your ignorance of George Lamb.