Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ronseal Telly

There seems to be a trend amongst TV producers at the moment for up-front, honest, unambiguous programme names. Recent examples are The Whale that Blew up in the Street (regarding a sperm whale that, as you might expect, exploded in a Tokyo city street) and The largest Penis in the World (not about a sperm whale that exploded but there are tenuous parallels should you choose to draw them).

I was undecided as to whether these are examples of clear and truthful promotion which cut through the usual clever-clever pun-laden marketing labeling, or whether they were sensationalist appeals to the lowest common denominator of viewer. The fact that most of these programmes appear to be on Channel 5, however, leads me to the latter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


According to a new directive from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, health workers are to be dissuaded from calling older patients “dearie” and “love” as this has been deemed to be offensive to senior citizens.

Nurses have instead been encouraged to speak “courteously and respectfully” towards patients, using their preferred names, like “wrinkly” or “coffin-dodger”. No doubt spoken in a very loud voice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Year Of Cheese

An annual tradition in our household is the purchase, around this time of year, of a Daniel O’Donnell calendar. It started about four years ago where it was bought in jest, and it’s been a family tradition ever since.

Every family needs a calendar to log the various birthdays, anniversaries and miscellany of other appointments which pepper domestic life. And what better way to diarise these events than with an accompanying snap of a lemon-yellow jumpered cheese-merchant, horribly-posed, and sporting a smile to make any octogenarian go weak at her proboscine knees?

The pictures, year-on-year, rarely fail to disappoint. My favourite this year, is October which shows our Daniel in his study, looking scholarly and vaguely heroic.

This year, our sense of irony cost us £7.99. I’d have gladly paid double.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

More Reasons To Like Nordic Comedy

"Daddy! Look at the funny man!” exclaimed our four-year-old the other day while out shopping in our local branch of Morrisons (there are “more reasons” to shop at “Morrisons” after all – a pun of questionable quality which went undetected in our house for some time, despite the best efforts of Nick Hancock, Alan Hansen, Denise Van Outen, Lulu and, err… Barry George, probably…)

Anyway, looking directly to where his tiny digits were pointing, I spotted an average-looking chap going about his business filling his basket with bread, canned food and other sundry items.
“Why is he a funny man?” I tentatively asked.
“He’s got orange hair!” he replied.

Surely enough, the chap was a “ginger”, though I was baffled as to why would this render him instantly amusing to a four-year-old mind (which you have to assume is largely untarnished by notions of social ostracism of our carrot-topped brethren). On pondering this, it occurred to me that the comedic properties of gingers may be an inherited trait passed down through the generations. Is there an evolutionary reason why gingers are amusing?

Perhaps the “ginger jesters” that walk among us were necessary light relief to our ancestors as some kind of Neanderthal entertainers, while in the modern world is it coincidence that so many clowns have red hair? Historically, has the expansion of the human skull to accommodate the increased brain capacity necessitated a requirement for light relief, and have the ginger genes been allowed to pass down ancestrally in order to fill this void?

Everyone knows that red hair is indicative of the presence of Viking genes. Logic states, therefore, that Scandinavia must be the most amusing place on the planet. I’ve never witnessed any Swedish comedy, but I bet it’s brilliant.

Bias? What Bias?

Excellent example of entirely biased news reporting on the Beeb today regarding comments made by Jeremy Clarkson about lorry drivers and hookers. The article is entirely factual, though the order of these reported facts completely discredits the view of the 500 people referred to in the opening line.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has prompted more than 500 people to complain to the BBC about a joke he made on Sunday's motoring show.

Clarkson, 48, was taking part in a lorry-driving task, when he joked about lorry drivers killing sex workers.

"Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day," he said.

The BBC said the joke had made "ridiculous an unfair urban myth".

Forklift truck driver Steve Wright was jailed in February for killing five prostitutes in Ipswich.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America Now Able To Talk To Morrissey

"In America, The Land of the Free, they said,
And of opportunity, in a just and a truthful way,
But where the president is never black, female or gay,
And until that day you've got nothing to say to me."

Morrissey - America Is Not The World (2004)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

2012 – Spectacularly Unspectacular?

Tch! Typical British luck. Just when we manage to bag the biggest sporting show on earth and set about creating an extravaganza to rival the Chinese, the world’s money markets implode in spectacular fashion and tumps of private funding is withdrawn. The upshot is, that there now exists the very real possibility that our Olympic games might be a bit shit.

Downsizing the Games when the world’s collective gaze is upon us shouldn’t really be an option. However, spinning it on its head for a second, it could be a prime opportunity to embrace our own Britishness and show the world what we’re all about by holding an event akin to a school sports day.

Instead of hammer throwing and hurdles, we could hold three-legged or egg and spoon races, with the athletes’ mums and dads cheering embarrassingly from the sidelines. The marathon could be replaced with a freezing cold cross country run (the more overweight competitors would be lagging behind while their swifter counterparts jeer and throw mud), and if no kit was available due to diminished resources, our proud athletes could be forced to do it in their pants and vest.

As far as opening and closing ceremonies go, I happen to know it’s two-for-one on a twenty quid box of fireworks in Tesco at the moment, so that’s both those covered.

Rule Brittania…