Monday, 8 August 2011

The other side

So you're wondering why I haven't posted for a while? It's because I'm on Tumblr now. Yeah, I'm moving with the prevailing wind, with the kids, to the cooler playground.

You shouldn't even be here. I have a domain you know. Or if you're still not willing to go with the truncated version:

Don't leave me, I'm not sure I like it over there.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Amateur dramatics.

Maybe I'm taking this blogging thing too seriously. I'm regularly reminded of this whenever I'm sat watching trash for the purposes of 'research'. Why? So I can be smug and superior knowing that ultimately something more will come out of it than mindless entertainment?

God, I hate myself.

I watched Made in Chelsea tonight and it's created a melancholy in me that has irreparably changed the way I view a lot of things. In fact, I underestimated it. I was foolish. I'd read the synopsis about spoiled brats galloping around Knightsbridge, as they do; I anticipated a predictable annoyance towards it in the same way that one might be infuriated by seeing the privileged. Those mixed feelings of jealousy and anger at their obnoxious ignorance are just a part of life. Well, for me anyway.

That's not what disturbed me. In the few months I've shyed away from TV in its most traditional sense, there's been a wave for a type of programme that I'm yet to understand. I was unfortunate enough to catch an episode of Pineapple Dance Studios a year or so ago, and found it difficult to fathom how and why they blurred the line between fiction and reality in such an audacious way. Ridiculous as it sounds, it felt dishonest to me to switch between scripted nonsense and engineered 'reality' without so much as a clue as to which is which.

Not that the viewers care, obviously, because in the meantime, along comes The Only Way is Essex and suddenly 'reality soap' is an established genre that people want in quantity. ITV2 and E4 have never had it so good.

But why do they want it? What purpose does this bastard chimera fulfil? It's scripted 'reality', which from what I have seen, is a drama with uncompromisingly appalling acting. It doesn't bring anything to the table, the performers don't have the ability to entertain, but there's nothing to learn because there's nothing real about it, except a faint reference to it MAYBE having some reality element to it. But if there is, none of us have any fucking idea where and how much, and trying to guess is pointless.

I've risked coming across as extremely naive. I'm painfully aware of how unreal any form of reality TV is. However, the audacity of the producers in willfully admitting the half-arsed nature of the show as part of its innovative appeal antagonises me. Is this what 'clever' TV is now? Compounding words together and creating shows based on how catchy it sounds? Dramality? Realisoap? Where will it end?
I'm no closer to conclusion now than when I started writing this. I was hoping this would act as a form of catharsis, that organising my thoughts would help me to understand the subject I'm grappling with here. But no, I'm still feeling utterly confused. I can't understand the appeal of this show, to anyone. I feel ambivalent and simultaneously embarrassed by the whole thing. The only saving grace is that I genuinely do not know what I watched during those ill-fated 15 minutes, which I think is clear by the lack of coherency within this article.

Maybe I should take that as a compliment.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Eurovision is over for another year, and I feel better in the knowledge that alongside the silly campness of it all, some important lessons of geography and tolerance have been delivered to people that normally would not invite it. I anticipate, for example, a swell of Google searches for Azerbaijan and its location. In case you didn't know, north of Iran, west of the Caspian Sea. It's nice to know television can still do that, almost like a trojan horse of education for the unwilling, if you like.

However, unfortunately, there's only so much one massive international singing competition can do, and this is uncomfortably clear when looking at publications such as the Mail, for example.

Thinking about that for a second, it must be a challenge for their writers every year to set the tone for any Eurovision-related articles. The very length of the tradition has rendered it a 'British institution', and involvement of national heroes such as Terry Wogan have only strengthened its position. However, the engagement with other cultures is an unavoidable side-effect, and it must leave the Mail with an unfortunate conflict of interest.

The reaction to Azerbaijan's win was an interesting one. The initial observation that that Azerbaijan sounds a bit 'too foreign' for Eurovision, was inevitable. Before long, the initial curiosity led to the use of maps, maps in the wrong hands, which is a dangerous thing indeed.

Tedious explanations surrounding the intricacies of the EBU/UER aside, Stephen's observation is typical of the majority of opinions on the Mail's comments boards. There's an understandable confusion surrounding the difference between the EBU and 'Europe', but is it really the technicalities of Eurovision's rules that are getting middle England's knickers in a twist?

We're one of those countries that still uses Eurovision to show why we're superior to the silliness. France take a similar approach; in the knowledge that they're not a popular choice, they submit choosy operatic pieces, or, in the case of 2008, a Barry Gibb look-a-like in a golf buggy performing an Air-esque piece with an inflatable globe. They master the art of snubbing the competition they're taking part in, meaning they avoid the inevitable failure reflecting on them when they languish at the bottom of the board.

The UK's approach, follows in a similar, if less sophisticated vein. The submission of an established and ageing boy band is just the latest in a line of increasingly desperate efforts to win the competition without fully engaging with the culture. We do pop, but 'cooler', and those Euro-squares just don't get it, do they? Looking through the past few years' entries, it's been a succession of ex-reality show contestants singing instantly forgettable 'serious' pop songs. No wonder we can't win, every act has the feel of a child ashamed of its family, half-heartedly engaging against their will.

It strikes a chord with our whole approach to Europe in general really. Are we in it or not? Maybe technically, but there's still an emotional detachment there that stops the full involvement taking place. Since Terry Wogan left, there's been a noticeable change in the overall approach of the commentary too. The nostalgia and fondness has been replaced by an unkind and snippy sense of superiority that turns gentle cajoling into something more sinister and intolerant.

The same could be said of the reaction to the not-so-recent involvement of non-EU states. "What? Azerbaijan? THEY'RE NOT EVEN IN EUROPE!!!" It's an effective way to voice intolerance without the risk of being branded a racist, I suppose, since it's all within the safe confines of a singing competition. It's confusing really, a competition we don't really want to be a part of, if our past efforts are to be believed, although if we don't win we brand it 'political voting', and similarly get narky when 'foreigners' get involved.

This all sounds a bit too much like real life for me.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Something wicked this way comes.

I know I'm not the only one awaiting Psychoville's return to the BBC with baited breath, but I also feel extremely aware that it's been a long time since I had this feeling. You know, those butterflies you get when you see a trailer for a TV comedy you know is going to be good. Something you can safely invest the time in.

Some of the best new comedies take me by surprise. The Trip, for example, I was aware of mere days before it aired, and I was truly thankful that I didn't miss out. Roger and Val Have Just Got In, too, I just caught on the off-chance due to its clever, but still odd broadcast time of early evening. I mean, I love the continuity and real time element, but I can't be the only person who writes off that part of the day as the domain of dull 'lifestyle shows' and programmes about animal cruelty.

Nevertheless, it feels like whilst there's truly some good stuff still out there, I feel like there's something happening in the way things are getting commissioned. And not something positive. Whilst the BBC for its part is holding its own, it is not entirely immune. In fact, the main source of the trouble seems to be Channel Four. As we enter the years where we're desperately awaiting someone to take the baton and write some comedy the likes of which we were spoiled with in the nineties and early noughties, the broadcasters are losing their way trying to identify with what people want to see. In short, you can still have the odd bit of magnificence like The Thick of It, there's also an increasing number of shockingly bad examples of comedy forced down our throats as 'the next big thing' as the broadcasters try to fill the increasing number of gaps in their schedules. No evolution, just repeated revolution.

It feels like sometime about five years ago, somebody decided that funny wouldn't register unless it was needlessly controversial. Probably around the time Frankie Boyle began to gain popularity on Mock the Week, coincidentally. I've always furtively disliked the show for the very reason that it's relies on a concept with so woefully little substance. A group of mediocre comics poked with a stick and forced to be funny under the glare of spotlights. A poor man's Shooting Stars, if you will. 'Freestyle comedy' beset by rules and 'format' that instantly prevent it from existing.

It was around that point, I feel, that someone, somewhere inexplicably decided that this is what the public wanted. Or rather, a small section of the public. The ones who thought the joke about the Queen's haunted pussy was funny. Which, in all probability, is noone. Laughing at inappropriate social behaviour, after all is little more than an automatic response. Like insignificant electrical impulses and twitches after death. It doesn't mean it's particularly welcome or enjoyable. So as Frankie Boyle found his infamy through courting the tabloids, he started to cement his place as 'something for the young'uns'. Fast forward a couple of years and the resulting product is Tramadol Nights, the most appalling excuse for a sketch show I have ever had the misfortune to watch.

And what are we meant to do? Clap and applaud? Comedy may be controversial at times, but that should be a by-product, not the main purpose. At the very least, it should have a reason for being there. The worrying thing about Tramadol Nights is not that it's insulting to its audience (if there is one). It's that someone thought we'd like it. I don't think I'd be going out on a limb to say that someone followed the train of thought that Channel Four needed to maintain its relevancy with a younger audience when considering this as a pitch. And as one of the people they were looking to court with this idea, I won't be the first to say that it didn't resound with me. At the very least, it's comedy at its most patronising. That simply to say something offensive without reasoning or context will be funny to anyone is a fundamentally flawed strategy.

I would be more prone to let this whole business go if I wasn't convinced that Tramadol Nights wasn't Channel Four's 'next big thing'. After all, is there anything else in the pipeline? It doesn't feel that way. Maybe this is why I still feel raw about something that finished in December 2010. Because it's one of the last things I remember coming out of Channel Four that was meant to make us laugh. As if they really considered it a springboard for a new decade of entertainment.

I feel a similar, if less acute sentiment towards Ten O'Clock Live when seeing the manner of execution there. Whilst it still has the veneer of a current affairs show, the inexplicable inclusion of Jimmy Carr suggests to me a point towards controversy over substance. Are we meant to be amused as Carr breaks character repeatedly, proving his inability to handle live television broadcasting? I tired of it during the Alternative Election Night. It all smacks of badly-planned TV given to 'the kids' in the hope it'll float for its kitsch value.

There are lessons to be learned here, but surprisingly, I don't think the viewing figures of half a million by the last episode of Tramadol Nights will deter Channel 4 from commissioning things like this for the future. We'll just have to settle for series 56 of Peep Show, I suppose.

Monday, 2 May 2011

A place to think.

Oh BBC Four, how I love you. I can leave you on over the course of a weekend evening and whilst I may at first be wary of what you want to show me, I know I'll feel all the better for it afterwards.

In the case of this weekend it was Spiral, followed by a Top of the Pops from 1976, and then a documentary about something that escapes me, but something good nonetheless.

But as the tendency to find the glass half-empty tends to prevail when following these trains of thought, I couldn't help but think to myself why a schedule as varied and high quality as this was banished to BBC Four like the wayward pretentious cousin who needs to be kept separate from the rest of the family. Admittedly, Dave Lee Travis portraying a post-Smarties binge Bill Oddie won't be to everyone's taste, but isn't that half the fun?

Looking at BBC 1 and 2's plan for the next couple of months seems like a who's who of 'safe gritty drama' to ensure they look like they're still on the cutting edge, but I couldn't help but feel distinctly underwhelmed.

"But look! John Simm, Jim Broadbent AND Alzheimer's! And if that wasn't enough, we've got another thing, with David Tennant no less!" It's starting to feel like saying you would like to see something other than the aforementioned usual suspects is tantamount to blasphemy against the BBC and all it stands for. But in reality, it's a relatively easy way for them to keep piloting new dramas without the hassle of 'risk'.

It would be wrong to be overly pessimistic and treat this as a threat, when in fact BBC Four has presented a golden opportunity as a testing ground for more 'niche' programming, (if that's even the appropriate phrase to use). Surely now the time has come to start trusting instincts?

There's the argument that with the rise of Freeview, that the vast majority of viewers now have access to BBC Four. But when taking into account viewing habits, there will always be that tendency to stick with the terrestrial two channels, because of the (not unreasonable) assumption that the variety and quality will be there if anywhere. Therefore the problem arises when it becomes more and more clear that that's not really the case.

There are a large number of series which have been aired on BBC Four, only moving over to One and Two long after their initial success, if at all. It took two series of The Thick of It before they moved it over, madness considering its instant popularity and the reputation of Armando Iannucci at the helm. Five years of Screenwipe and latterly Newswipe, and still no move in sight, aside from the odd repeat on BBC2, which in itself is a pretty backward way of doing things. BBC2 getting BBC4's sloppy seconds? Sad but true.

And to think in 2005 Jerry Springer: The Opera aired on BBC2 despite 55,000 complaints and a street protest. I can't imagine that happening now, only six years later. Did they get their fingers burned for showing the determination to broadcast something that caused such polarised opinion?

My main concern is that as programmes such as The Apprentice rear their head once more, I'm reminded that this year doesn't feel much different to last year, and the year before, etc. All we have to look forward to is a couple of reality shows, a handful of costume dramas, something Northern, something borrowed, and Doctor Who.

BBC Four's (wisely) dropped tagline was 'Everyone needs a place to think'. I agree with the sentiment. But not all of us know where to look.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Far be it from me to be the ghost at the feast, but I've felt the warm praise for the new series of Doctor Who wash over me, leaving only a damp, lukewarm feeling that something's missing.

Don't get me wrong. I've watched the first two episodes and thoroughly enjoyed them. They're well-written, engaging and entertaining, a triple-whammy of fun for all the family. I was similarly pleased to hear how well it's being received worldwide, with Americans in particular clamouring for DVDs, merchandise and the like. After all, Britain is well-known for a standard of entertainment that invokes jealousy in other television organisations, isn't it?

Well, I'm not so sure any more. It feels like the success of each series only goes to mask the growing feeling that there's not a lot else there. Maybe I've not watched enough TV recently, but it feels like we're increasingly relying on the output of other countries to entertain us. Particularly when it comes to comedy and drama, two things of which critical acclaim used to be an expectation, rather than a bonus.

To pre-empt the 'what about...' argument, I feel it needs to be said at this point that for every Sherlock, there's half a dozen Spirals, or Wallanders. And before we go any further, what happened when we tried to rehash the Swedish detective series, even with a talent like Kenneth Brannagh and the golden touch of BBC production values? The British public, renowned for avoidance of subtitles, chose the original anyway, which as a result still enjoys repeats on the BBC. An expensive mistake.
I think the thing that I find most troubling is that the decline in frequency of high quality television seems to be going, for the most part, unnoticed. If this had happened ten years ago, there'd be outcry as millions of viewers are suddenly faced with the reality that they're bored. Now, we can just torrent a US drama series or watch something imported from Europe on BBC Four. It's a quick fix but it does the job. If this level of apathy continues, how long will it be until someone gets off their arse to actually make that effort?

It's not like it hasn't happened before. The British film industry hangs in stasis, waiting for the next Danny Boyle release for an injection of cash and public interest. It's one of the worst cases of abandonment yet, and I fear history will begin to repeat itself. Television is stagnating, and we can't hang all our hopes on Stephen Moffat to get us out of the shit.

Peep Show has had an eighth and ninth series commissioned, as Channel Four desperately buy themselves time before the viewers notice they're out of new ideas. Endless formats thrown at the likes of Charlie Brooker (well, more like, the same format over and over again) in the knowledge that it'll be decent enough to pass under the radar. I can imagine the pre-production meetings. A wheel of fortune with formats: Panel Show, YouTube Countdown, Satirical Review and names from an increasingly dwindling pool of talent. And the result, burned out shows from burned out comics with pained looks on their faces as they try to find meaning behind what they're doing. I almost wept when I saw Robert's Web. Even scheduled after Peep Show to catch the stragglers. I bet it felt pretty different to presenting My Life in Verse.
The reality is that nobody's getting any younger, but similarly nobody seems to be rising up to take their place. Casing point: BBC Three. So many dreams and aspirations for it to be the place for young talent to thrive. Apart from endless re-runs of Two Pints and The Real Hustle, two programmes clumsily built on the foundations of their successful predecessors, what is it really for? Something edgy for the younger generation? How patronising.

Depressed yet? Don't worry, it'll be fine. The next episode of Doctor Who is on Saturday. After that, you're on your own.

Saturday, 23 April 2011


Saturday. After the gift of warmth and sunlight for a few hours in my parents' back garden, I'm forced to pay the price after the sun sets.

That price is a forced viewing of Britain's Got Talent. I haven't watched TV (in the traditional sense) for the best part of a year, so this is probably not the best way to reintroduce myself to the medium.


Whilst I'm fully aware that Saturday evenings have long since been the domain of nauseatingly awful reality TV and talent competitions, this was like waking from a coma and being faced with the charred aftermath of an entertainment holocaust. Amongst the wreckage, all that remains is Cat Deeley, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff, mindlessly applauding the worthless skills of society's unwanted and ignored, like lobotomised seals.

And it's all our fucking fault. We brought this on. Myself included, we watch it 'ironically' and write about it and draw attention to how ridiculous it is. We buy into it as we tweet and blog away. It's something to draw a common ground on. A way to facilitate socialising with others, because it requires no effort whatsoever. We can point and laugh at the 'idiots' who sit in the audiences, trained to do nothing more than split comments into negative/positive and boo/cheer accordingly. We can take the piss out of them, but at least they're entertained.

I don't need to worry about them, they're not reading this. You are, and unless you got here desperately searching for Michael McIntyre clips on Google (increasingly likely now I've mentioned his name again), you're like me. You look down upon this stuff, but you watch it anyway to remind yourself that you're OK. You contribute to the ratings, you mention it and give it credibility. Then more comes and you call it society going down the pan, dumbing down. Ten years pass and because of this talk, the pandemic is upon us. It's a vicious cycle of supply and demand gone awry.

Is this all sounding rather melodramatic? It should be. Why did YOU watch Britain's Got Talent tonight? I could say this evening that I was just in the proximity of people that decided they were watching it so I had to conform. But I could have done something else, found something more rewarding to do. I didn't. And when that poodle started accompanying a soprano singing Pie Jesu, I just felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and emptiness.

That example was particularly raw because, all things aside, the woman had enough talent to be an accomplished singer on her own. But because of the way these things work nowadays, she felt she needed to use BGT to springboard herself to bigger and better things. And since incongruity seems to be the order of the day, she needed the poodle to do that. Even the comments were nothing to do with her unquestionable talent, but the performance of the dog, which was simply mimicking her voice with endless howling. That was the point of difference. That was what got her the gig.

Don't get me wrong, I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is minute. But it's not insignificant. Seeing the audience's insatiable demand for "weirdness" above all else was something I found deeply unsettling. A world where a man is lauded with praise for singing nursery rhymes to the chords of Snow Patrol is not a world I want to be a part of.

We're nosediving with no sign of pulling out of it. And the worst thing is that the shows with mostly negative audience receptions are the most virulent. We draw attention to how backwards television has become, and in turn contribute to its downfall as our efforts are rewarded with more shit TV to treat with mockery and disdain. The US television output is going from strength to strength while we prolapse.

And why? Because this is what we wanted, apparently.

Friday, 1 April 2011


I'm still trying to fathom whether this is an April Fool's Day wind-up, but my ever-diminishing faith in society leads me to the conclusion that this article in the Telegraph about David Willetts' verbal jizzing is for real.

Normally I scorn the journalism in articles such as these, which tend to deliberately misquote and sensationalise comments teased from doddering old back-benching Tory MPs to whip up a frenzy in the comment boxes below, but here I think they're genuinely on to something.

After all, a quote of 'egalitarianism has been trumped by feminism' is pretty conclusive, no? And what with the event where the quotes were recorded being a briefing with journalists, it's hardly a coup d'etat.

"It is not that I am against feminism, it’s just that is probably the single biggest factor.”

Now, we mock those who begin their sentences with "I'm not a racist, but..." - but is there any difference at all between that and what this man just announced in a room full of journalists?

There's a lot of irony in all this so I'm going to bullet point for clarity and brevity:

1. That he thinks feminism cancels out egalitarianism - last I checked, they were one and the same.
2. That this trend of men losing jobs to women is taking place yet someone as socially backward as him is still employed.
3. That he's an utter cunt.

Friday, 11 March 2011


I know the Mail doesn't really 'do' science beyond which supermarket groceries are a cause or cure of cancer, but I was genuinely flabbergasted to see an attempt to blame the recent Japanese earthquake on a 'so-called supermoon', an expression I can only assume was coined by the author in a spectacular moment of genius which will no doubt springboard his glittering career in scientific journalism.

The claims that the moon has somehow changed the internal mechanisms of plate tectonics is enough to make anyone who did geography beyond primary school doubt the integrity of the report, no matter how many child-like diagrams are included to try and bludgeon the idea home.
There's something not quite right about this. Like the moon being fucking massive and about the distance from the Earth as my morning commute.

But that's not what pisses me off about things like this. To its (smallish) credit, the article does include a quote from a scientist describing the correlation as 'nonsense', but when this is accosted by 'sources' like this, I start to wonder if this was just an excuse to steal a few wayward Googlers:

Others on the Internet have predicted it will cause further catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
Coming just three weeks after the quake which devastated Christchurch in New Zealand killing hundreds, this latest disaster will only add fuel to their fire.

Whose fire? Redditors? Fucking hell, when did 'THE INTERNET' become a credible source? Yet if I go to a Borstal to research 'care in the community', I'd be blacklisted from working in journalism for life. What's next, asking Omeglers about the death penalty? A 3-minute video interview tagged onto a front-page story, with a midnight masturbator giving us his two cents? (Don't laugh please.)

But good has come of all this, I now have a little more faith in Mail commenters, although I can't help but think it's only that their usual readership haven't read these stories because they hate Asians:

Then again, a couple of religious fundamentalists (and just mentalists) do slip through the net:

TL;DR - The moon is going to be 221,567 miles from us, rather than the usual 221,569. Run for your fucking lives.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


"Hi, my name is Sam Wollaston. I write for the Guardian and I wish I was Charlie Brooker but unfortunately I'm afflicted with too much jealousy and too little talent.

In lieu of being named as the presenter of S2 of How TV Ruined Your Life, here's a dispassionate list of stuff that Brian Cox is wearing in the first episode Wonders of the Universe."

Ok ok, I'm being unfair. Cox's interpretation of how absolutely massive time and space is was pretty mind-blowing, but it pales in comparison to the way in which Wollaston manages to see a man standing in front of a fuck-off glacier holding a photo of one of the first stars in the universe dying in an unthinkably massive explosion, and can only recall the colour of t-shirt he was wearing.

"Apple green", he quips.

Ouch, there's no call for that kind of crippling insult here, Sam.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Brian "John Leslie" McFadden.

Since leaving Westlife, Brian McFadden has been doing his own lyrics, which are, if truth be told, a bit rapey.

The Deliverance banjo accompaniment doesn't really help his defence either.

In summary: hide your wife, hide your kids, because Brian's raping everybody out here.

Saturday, 19 February 2011


It's Saturday, and bang on time, Liz Jones vomits another vapid, superficial article into her Daily Mail column. I'm completely aware that I'm making a rod for my own back trawling through this rubbish, which is clearly not aimed at me, but my question about all this really is, who the fuck is it for?

Then again, maybe it's a sign of the times. I mean, it's only a mere few weeks since the woman attempted anything resembling real journalism by marauding through the Joanna Yeates murder scene like some kind of demented stalker. Considering she does little more than pointless weekly experiments of 'oh god look at me trying to live like a normal person without my BMW/spa treatments/vegan yoghurt', maybe it was too much, too soon. With her career going from strength to strength, this week she's going to Tesco's. The humanity.

Apparently the chain is now offering spa treatments and in the interests of pioneering female journalism, Liz is going along to see what it's like.Lara Logan must be absolutely shitting herself.

It's probably the most boring article I've ever read, but that aside, I struggle to see what the woman is for. She writes in a manner that only serves to royally fuck off the people who are reading her articles, the people that are supposed to ultimately relate to them. She's meant to be reviewing this place, but literally can't manage a paragraph without reminding us that usually she wouldn't be seen in this sort of establishment, that the normal people are making her feel nauseous, or simply some unexplained reference to a cream Helmut Lang trouser suit to emphasise exactly how much expensive shit she has.
Well fuck me sideways, I had no idea this woman was privileged, did you? Even the posing in a dressing gown with a shopping trolley (with no dairy in it, heaven forbid) reeks of 'how hilarious that I'm in a supermarket, when usually I'm sitting watching Loose Women and drinking organic Pinot Noir, waiting for the Ocado man to arrive'.

Well I'm glad she found the inner strength to drag herself out of the house to have her manicure and haircut, otherwise I would have felt robbed.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


When your article is just missing that smattering of quotes to make your ridiculous stance credible, Mumsnet is an invaluable tool.

The CBeebies show Rastamouse, features the titular character playing in a reggae band, and speaking in Jamaican Patois. This seems to have caught the attention of Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Jasper Copping from the Telegraph, who have quickly jumped on the show as 'provoking compaints of racism'. Unfortunately, it seems all of the hundred or so complaints come from a bunch of absolute fucktards. How this article was a two-man job is absolutely beyond my realm of understanding.

One mother on the Mumsnet forum, using the name TinyD4ncer, says she is concerned her child be attacked for repeating some of the Jamaican Patois phrases used by the mouse.

"The thing I'm most worried about is her saying the words like 'Rasta' and going up to a child and saying (these) things ... my child is white and I feel if she was to say this to another child who was not white that it would be seen as her insulting the other child."

Maybe this has escaped my purview entirely but as far as I was aware, 'Rasta' never has or will be used as an insult in a playground situation. I would also probably challenge the claim that her child is going to be attacked, as implied (actually, fuck it, said) by the author, for using this word.

I don't claim to be any kind of expert in the accuracy of representation of this Rastafarian mouse, but when ALL your quotes are from forums, written in appalling English and gathered in the time it takes to make a cup of tea, my Spidey-sense starts to tingle that bad journalism is afoot.

Secondly, I would also argue that websites such as Mumsnet and BumpandBaby are going to be goldmines for paranoiic and dramatic opinions to bolster any non-article.

An important rule for any budding journalists out there, if the people you're lifting quotes from online have admitted that they have little to no knowledge on the subject they're imparting an opinion on, probably best to cut that bit out:

Another parent, on, says: "just watched a couple videos .. i'm going to say it is racist".

Well thanks, 'Another parent'. Care for some context, reasoning, grammar? No? Oh ok... my mistake.

The first result on Google Image search is the one they went with, funny that.

The Rastafarian mouse, who leads a band called the Easy Crew and speaks in Jamaican Patois, uses phrases such as "me wan go" ("I want to go"), "irie" ("happy"), "wagwan" ("what's going on?"). His mission is to "make a bad ting good".

I wish Rastamouse had worked on your fucking article, boys.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

What did I do wrong?

Don't hate me. I'll do something proper soon.

Anyway, watch these rapping rapists. I mean, what?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Double Whammy.

Sorry, just a follow-up that I couldn't resist.

Stuff Jan Moir hates:


Gay sympathisers
Freedom of speech
Poor people
Happy people
Women (again)
Proper books
David Tennant

She's like a hatred MACHINE. Some of these above are innocuous at best. She must have a high energy diet to keep this up.

I didn't make this. I wish I had though.


Jan Moir is a columnist on borrowed time after the Stephen Gately article which effectively ended her career anywhere but the Mail, so it's understandable that she's laying low and not producing anything inflammatory for the time being.

Oh wait, she is.

It seems she's got Littlejohn's job in her sights, what with the unbridled venom in this article. I can only assume she's been locked in a cupboard for months after Gately-Gate, biding her time, forced to watch a TV screen of anti-Tory protests, matchsticks holding her eyelids open and steady doses of testosterone administered to encourage her right-wing rage.

"Stop the Tory cuts, they cried, with the usual wrong-headed, partisan, Left-wing faux outrage that we have come to expect."

I thought the Mail had at least a thin veneer of balance, but fuck it, let's have it out shall we?

As she blasts the students for spending their EMA on cigarettes, alcohol and upmarket sandwiches, I can't help but notice her lack of understanding about exactly how far you can stretch £30 in a week.

"What do we want? Crayfish and mayo. When do we want it? Now! On toasted ­wholegrain please. And throw a bag of crisps in while you’re at it, serf."

Not sure if that's a mocking jibe or just her lunch order. I think someone needs to tell her that not all schools are within proximity of a Pret. You know, like all colleges outside of London, for example.

I'd like to see her get a fucking paper round. Then she might actually have to read half the bollocks she's responsible for vomiting into press.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Affordable repayments.

Jesus Christ. The scaremongering in the usual suspects regarding the release of yet more figures on the [don't look at it! It burns!] NATIONAL DEBT has reached cataclysmic levels, with the both the Mail and the Telegraph leaping to attention with their pre-written 'the end is nigh' articles prepared in 2007.

It's worth mentioning at this point that this is not 'news' in any sense of the word. These stories are simply the result of one member of the public actually bothering to do the maths that none of the journalists could see the point of the first time round. In fact, these so-called 'findings' are just lifted from the man's website: The journalistic equivalent of 'oh look! A funny cat video from teh Internets!'

The Times opted to run with the same story, opting for the more dramatic 'Interest at £7000 a second' spin, but I have to say I was pretty dumbfounded to see the choice of advert shoehorned between paragraphs to drive revenue for one of their latest business ideas:

Click to enlarge

Because, I guess gambling your way out of your own personal debt could work. And it stands to reason that since it hasn't worked for anyone yet, the chances are better than ever.

Great, we're Europe's wannabe Lotto louts.

Pavlovian reflex.

One more before bed. Today Fox News captures the spirit of Martin Luther King Jnr Day with another classy example of first rate journalism.

Seller assumes all responsibility for listing.

I'm no Anne Robinson but I reckon this deal might be in the interests of the seller more so than the buyer.

Click to enlarge and that.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Ambulance Chaser.

Waking up this morning to the hashtag #LizJonesReports scattered all over my Twitter feed, I was in no way surprised to find out that the Mail's resident fuckwit had broken her own record of stupidity by penning a horrendous article about the last movements of Joanna Yeates on the night of her murder.

With a story demanding such a high level of tact and sensitivity in the writing, it's gobsmacking that the Mail would select a woman whose last work was a 1000-word article about Kate Middleton's dress advocating cruelty to silkworms to write something so potentially inflammatory.

And inflammatory it was. Rather than going down the informed and professional journalistic route, Liz instead takes on the role of a morbid stalker by following Joanna's last known movements and recording them as an opportunity to springboard her own vanity to new levels. In an increasingly disturbing account, Liz remarks that she 'wish[es] she had spent... her last hours on Earth somewhere lovelier', after purchasing a veggie burger which contains 'no burger, and no bun either'. The entire article smacks of her own arrogance as she insinuates that Bristol (which I'm sure she's never entered before on account of the scarcity of both quinoa and alfalfa) in some way caused her death by being, in her view, deprived.

In one of the most awful wild assumptions I've seen in documented history, she laments, 'I almost buy that upmarket pizza, the choice tells me that Jo wanted a lovely life, something above the ordinary.' And to think I gave the woman enough credit to think she wouldn't trivialise a young woman's life to the extent that she compares her aspirations to a Tesco's Finest margherita.

Understandably, the outrage has been voiced across Twitter as well as the Mail's comments. I've pasted the article below due to the sneaking suspicion that it may disappear quite soon. That said, I'm surprised anything Liz Jones writes has been taken that seriously, when just last week she branded tap water 'dirty' in the same article as a complaint about overpopulation destroying the planet. Apparently the population will be 10bn by 2050. And who will provide all the Evian?

***Quoted from the Mail website on 17/01/11

It's Friday night and I’m in the Ram bar on Park Street in Bristol.

This is where Joanna Yeates spent her last evening before she set off up the hill, past all the twinkly shops and bars (a Habitat, a Space NK beauty emporium; Bristol is nothing if not upwardly mobile) towards her death.

The bar is OK but ordinary. The wine list, chalked on a board, says ‘Lauren Perrier’.

I wish she had spent what were probably her last hours on earth somewhere lovelier. The food is awful (I ask for a veggie burger and it comes without the burger – and without the bun!) but the young women behind the bar are sweet with huge, wary eyes.

Alex is working her way through uni, where she is studying English. She comes from London and her parents are now terrified something is going to happen to her.

She was working in the bar on the night of December 17, when Joanna was having a drink before heading home. ‘I don’t remember her,’ she says.

‘It was so busy that night. I used to walk home but I always get a cab now.’

Lyn, with white blonde hair, who was also working here that night, says she is ‘more fearful now, I’m more nervous. It’s just so mysterious’.

I leave the bar at 8pm and retrace Joanna’s steps. Even though it’s January, the streets are packed. There are a couple of women joggers but they are with boyfriends or husbands.

I walk past the beautiful university building on my right, with Waitrose on my left. I wander the bright aisles, full of young women rushing round after work, leaving with carrier bags and expectation.

I head up the hill towards Clifton, the leafy part of the city. It’s quieter now, and darker. I find Tesco, and go in. I almost buy that upmarket pizza; the choice tells me Jo wanted a lovely life, something above the ordinary.

There is one police van on the green as I turn right into Canynge Road.

I bet Jo’s heart lifted as she reached this junction, looking forward to the feeling only a Friday night near Christmas can give you.

As I near her basement flat, at No 44, the road is quiet. Earlier in the day there had been an ITN news van here but it has gone now. I’m reassured to see two policemen standing vigil at her iron gate, either side of a small, discreet pile of flowers in varying degrees of decay.

I tell them I’m spooked, walking here. ‘Don’t be spooked,’ one says. ‘Residents are campaigning to get brighter street lights installed.’ So the antique, lovely ones are to disappear to be replaced by ugly ones because of something even uglier.

That afternoon I had gone to the lane where Jo’s body was found. It was horrible and windswept. I don’t know what I had expected but not this.

There was no ceremony here, no policeman, just that lovely face on a now dog-eared poster. I got the feeling the world is starting to forget Jo, that she’ll become just another thumbnail on the Avon and Somerset Police website, along with the faces of the other murder victims no one can recall.

I’d have expected the cars to slow down here to show respect but they sped past, carrying people on their way home from work. The lane is narrow. I can’t see how a car stopped here and a man struggled with a body without being beeped at and told to get out the way, as I was.

There were no messages with the flowers, just one card, still sealed in its Cellophane. The person who left it hadn’t bothered to scrawl a note.

Leaving Jo’s flat, I return to my car. My satnav takes me to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The theory is the killer took the long route from the flat to where he dumped the body to avoid the CCTV cameras. Perhaps he also wanted to avoid the 50p toll.

I don’t have 50p and try tossing 30p and a White Company button into the bucket. It doesn’t work.

There is now an angry queue behind me. Isn’t it interesting that you can snatch a young woman’s life away from her in the most violent, painful, frightening way possible, take away her future children, her future Christmases, take away everything she loves, and yet there are elaborate systems in place to ensure you do not cross a bridge for only 30 pence?

Finally, a man in a taxi jumps out, and runs to me brandishing a 50p piece.

‘Not all men are monsters,’ he says, grinning. Maybe not. But one monster is all it takes.


Monday, 3 January 2011

This is why you got rejected for that TV job.

There's a certain je ne sais quoi about these guys.