Posts Tagged ‘Karaoke’

Let Me Entertain You

June 12, 2007

 Conley and the gang

If you need further proof, aside from Big Brother that is, that moronic dimwits are ten to the penny, then just sit down at half past six on a weekday and watch Let Me Entertain You. In fact, don’t. I’ve suffered so you don’t have to. If you’re not familiar with this shocking volcano of horseshit, then allow me to enlighten you – it’s basically a variety show hosted by Brian ‘arse-juice’ Conley, who freakishly doesn’t seem to have aged at all in the last 15 years. Conley kicks off each sorry episode by singing a song, usually one already completely overplayed such as ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ or some other such shit. Each act featured must keep the live studio audience entertained for three minutes. If they manage to do so, they win £1,000 and make it through to the final heats, covered in later episodes.

The catch is that each audience member has a button (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? style) which they press when they’ve had enough. When 50% of the audience are sufficiently bored, the act is cut short and must leave the stage. The trouble is that audience members are suckers for talentless and thoroughly sickening little brats. When I say sickening, is a medley of songs from The Sound Of Music performed by two young sisters – in nun’s clothing, no less – sickening enough for you?

The guiltiest of this particular parade of idiots though are not so much those who appear onstage (at least they’re trying, bless ’em), but the ones who make up the majority of the audience, as whenever a half decent act takes the stage (on one occasion a group of breakdancers, for example) half the twats have pressed their buttons about 30 seconds or so through the performance, meaning that often the act are off the stage after a minute as the audience silently take the piss.

Other than small children, the only others who seem to flourish in such a harsh environment are karaoke-type parrots who mindlessly mimick their way through hideous ‘chart busters’.

Like all variety shows, tackiness is key and although this, the second series, clearly has a more substantial production budget than the first, it still feels inexcusably cheap. What’s worse, however is that this show emphasises the very worst aspects of the two sides of the coin. On the one hand is the quality of entertainment available and more importantly what people qualify as being entertainment in the first place. Jugglers, can-can dancers, dated magic acts and Christina Aguilera wannabes make up the bulk of the show’s content; forms of entertainment which are either well past their prime or just plain horrific. Secondly, the format of the show. Regardless of how good the acts will be, the very concept of the show only serves to highlight the tragic point we appear to have reached in our desperation to be adequately amused for three minutes.

It is now a celebrated fact that the general British public is an extremely fickle lot, whose attention span is so pathetically short that it is in danger of sliding out of existence altogether.

I suppose the success (if that’s what it is) of this show, lies within the concept of giving the public their very own chance to be a Simon Cowell for half an hour by crudely putting an abrupt end to those performances deemed crap. Like Cowell though, the studio audience have no idea what constitutes real talent and in the end, it simply comes down to personal preference. Add this aspect to the fact that the age of the average audience member is between 40 – 60, and it’s no wonder the less offensive and more middle-of-the-road acts are the ones emerging most successful. Let Me Entertain You truly is fodder for Britain’s X-Factor generation. A phenomena which seems to have practically taken over not just most of Britain’s youth culture, but seemingly three quarters of Britain in general – regardless of age. In fact the word culture is a misnomer in this sense, as that is seemingly exactly what is lacking.

Paul Merton In China

May 23, 2007

Paul Merton In China 

Donkey cock. It was thinly sliced and looked like tongue, served in a ramekin with a small amount of sauce. Paul gingerly ate a slice, he didn’t mind it but retched at the next dish. Not sure what it was (I think they were silkworm grubs, or was it a snakes reproductive sack?) as I was still in remission from watching a man chop up a winkle.With his rather fetching assistant, I watched Paul Merton undertake an engaging visit to The People’s Republic of China in order to discover more about its culture, people, blah blah. The largely friendly residents are clearly in the iron fist of The Communist Party, to the point that the Chinese rappers, aping the brothers in the hood, are forced to enthusiastically rap about how nice Chinese food is (‘It’s kinda tricky gettin da taste… But throw in soy sauce, you’ve got no waste’) rather than crack, bitches and guns which makes them seem a little, well, shit. Still, its better to tow the party line than getting beaten with sticks for a year before being sent off to till the land until your fingers drop off.

The highlight of the show was this bloke that makes robots. Apparently this chap had no formal training in electronics and using components from other people’s rubbish built an array of stunning robots, including this huge silver object that, in addition to speaking, had the strength and coordination to pull a fucking rickshaw and a couple of people. He’d even made a smaller version for his son. It was truly astonishing, much to the amusement of Merton and yours truly, sat on a couch smoking skunk. The only person unamused by all of this was his bloody wife. Instead of acknowledging his genius she just wanted him to go to work like everyone else. The miserable old cunt.

There was one glaring snag in all of this – the bit when Merton went and visited a truly horrific hotel. Built in the style of a French Chateau, this sprawling 40 million pound pile of shit was the equivalent of the perpetually fake Colleen McLoughlin, minus what brains it possesses. Its owner, a despicable rich member of the Communist Party, turned up unannounced to introduce himself to Paul as if he were an ambassador for the British government – the creep. But this wasn’t the main problem, it was a ridiculously staged scene whereby Paul is ‘woken up’ by a load of guests doing Karaoke and is ‘forced’ to join in. Paul dressed in an underpant flashing dressing gown hams the whole fucking thing up to the detriment of his status as a genuine and likeable man.

On the whole Merton managed to present a view of China that was at once charming, worrying and interesting. He’s no seasoned traveller (like Palin for example) but isn’t afraid to look bemused and confused by the people and it’s politics. Shame then that he felt the need for that shit karaoke scene, which isn’t even a Chinese invention.

Still, I’ll keep watching, dammit I like the guy.