Review of Radio 1’s ‘Fun & Filth’ Cabaret?

Sorry? You’re looking for a set of hand-crafted, lovingly assembled reviews of BBC Radio 1’s Fun and Filth Cabaret in Edinburgh?

 

Click here to find a review of Night 1. Enjoy. We didn’t, much.

Click here to find a review of Night 2. A much better affair.

Click here to find a review of Night 3. Consistently on target.

Click here to find a review of Night 4. A rubbish start followed by bright spells.

Trade descriptions complaint

Dear Meridian Tonight.

You have just described an event as a ‘naked bike ride’.

And yet the footage you screened clearly showed a crocodile of bicycle riders many of whom – the majority of whom – were wearing clothes.

Please get your act together.

If you’re going to call something a naked bike ride I demand to see many naked people riding bikes.

It’s the law.

Counting theatrical dry seats

We’ve been watching the latest series of Dr Who – the latest series that some people have mistakenly called ‘Series six’.

Some people who can’t count all the way back to 1963.

Is it only me who finds the idea that some people have chosen to start counting Dr Who series from just 2005, completely weird?

It’s almost as if they’re such shambling neophytes that they can’t bear to admit that the programme existed before they ‘discovered’ it.

Or before they were intellectually mature enough to cope with the content.

Anyway.

I used to like Karen Gillan.

Even if she was born in 1987.

Which is almost as ridiculous as counting Dr Who series’ from 2005, obv.

[pause]

Where was I?

Oh yes, Karen Gillan.

I used to like her.

But lately she’s just.

You know.

Become something rather.

Ordinary.

I’m scouring the inside of my head for a description and the only thing that gets serves up is the phrase: ‘wankfodder for geeky 12 year-olds’.

Hmmm.

It’s not a perfect description, but it’ll do.

My old schoolfriend, Simon, has a closer-than-close association with the whole Dr Who production.

I must ask him his opinion of Ms Gillan.

Anyway.

I’ve come up with an idea that seems to be worth a pitch to a theatrical agent.

‘Damn You Auto Correct – The Musical’.

I think it would be a barnstormer.

The idea is we’d take selected entries from the DYAC website, write a scene or a song around it and, you know, put the production on the London stage.

There’d be numbers or scenes based on this:

and this:

and this:

What do you think?

I reckon we’d end up with not a dry seat in the house.

It’s like good television, but with blood

I dislike medical dramas.

I’m sorry, let me explain that.

I mean I dislike medical soaps.

Actually, I dislike any kind of soap – the TV product, obv. But my dislike for medical soaps is fuelled by an almost pathological indifference engine.

From Emergency Ward 10 (ask your grand-parents, kids) through to House; all except two are bum-clinchingly awful.

Except two.

The first is the BBCs sitcom Casuality. Causality. Casualty.

Casuality Casualty used to be average, and therefore awful, but in the last few years it has become a mediocre shadow of its very worst nightmare.

It has now been relegated to the foot of the table called ‘unwatchable’.

I hate it.

The other exception to the list of medical soaps that I dislike is Grey’s Anatomy.

I love it.

There is, to be fair, a lot of ketchup.

Blood. Bones. And gore.

But there is no, absolutely none at all – snore.

Grey’s Anatomy is the epitome of televisual excellence.

The post-prod is excellent.

The editing – both video and audio – is, frankly, so good that it makes some big budget film productions look anaemic by comparison.

The soundtrack is emotionally manipulative and yet…

Fantastic.

The Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack features the calibre of top quality indie artists who will never gather in one place, except on a TV show, obv.

The roll-call includes names like

the postal service
kate havnevik
kt tunstall
snow patrol, and the almost ever-present
bon iver

Ear-wateringly excellent.

But that’s only the post-prod.

The prod isn’t, you know, too shabby either.

The acting is highly commended, but the way the actors portray their characters; the conviction they all bring to their roles, these qualities are indicative of a higher order: brilliant on-set direction.

The camerwork isn’t, if we’re being truthful, outstanding.

But that’s OK, because the occasional flips and slips add a quality of realism that Causality Casualty can only dream of.

However the big value is added to the show via the writing team.

The writing is credible, sympathetic, harsh, stark, cold, emotional and, for the most part, joyful to hear.

I love the dialogue.

It is crisp without being wise-cracking, emotional without being drippy and sharp without being (unnecessarily) cutting.

Occasional exchanges of dialogue that briefly throw a shard of light on the deeper motivation of a character; qualities such as this mark distinctive adjuncts in long-term plot developments that lesser writers would weep over.

Touching scenes, laced with a tinge of melodrama, are sometimes played with an oversized funny bone. This adds a combination of sincerity and realism.

Sincerity and realism being qualities that have never been visited upon Casuality Casualty.

Nor Emergency Ward 10.

Nor House.

Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits

ITV 2 show, The Only Way is Essex.

Vile.

But I’m going to rise above the content of the show and look at the people who are in it:

Vile.

But they aren’t just vile; they’re also…

Extremely poorly educated.

These people ever went to school?

I find this impossible to believe.

Anyway, speaking of thick people.

I took a late lunch today – working at home prepping for a big day tomorrow – and as a result I *cough* accidentally caught an episode of Jeremy Kyle.

The show’s host nicely summed up the aspirations of the incredibly chavvy, multi-offspringed 17-year-old girl who was the focus of today’s lie detector test.

‘It’s not all about trainers tats and trackies’.

Solid gold alliteration, and a devastatingly accurate summing up of the girl’s life-goals.

So here’s a big question.

If the welfare system is broken and if the welfare system needs reform, why are we still funding it?

Really, think about this for a moment.

If you had a thing that was broken and needed replacing, would you really keep spending money on it?

And indeed, why are we still using it?

Just wondering.

For eight years I worked at the sharp end of social services in a deprived area of Bristol, and we understood that sometimes there came a time when we needed to say ‘no’.

Sometimes the best form of intervention is not to intervene.

Give support through practical means, help to achieve goals and assist the service users to deliver their own plans?

Absolutely.

But fund habits and wasting lifestyles through the continued application of unlimited public cash?

Not under any circumstances.

I’m just thinking out loud.

Don’t get me wrong, when the circumstances warranted, we undertook, and I participated in delivering, serious intervention into the lives and homes of some people.

But sometimes the best thing to do to get people to start helping themselves, is to turn the tap off.

Digital TV is shit

The date for The Digital Television Switchover is sweeping ever closer.

September this year, in this region.

Great.

Or it would be if the fucking service actually worked on all channels.

You can say what you like about the ‘old’ Analogue television system; yes, it only gave us five channels of shit, instead of the 43 channels of nothing-to-watch that Digital does.

But at least Analogue worked.

Digital TV gives us reception that schnippp sharpfff and then whzzzz wharpffft backwards while you shdniz schnick [white noise] unwatchable.

Useless, absolutely fucking useless.

I don’t know if the cause of this rubbish reception is something to do with last year’s fire at the Oxford transmitter, or just a symptom of Digitial TV being crap.

But the bottom line is, in this part of the country at least, that Digital TV is shit.

Being a bit of a tart

I wrote a proper television review of the BBC drama ‘Hattie’ for the satirical website ‘Shouting at Cows’.

It was an odd piece to publish there, but I felt I had to write something serious for Mr Cows (serial kitten drowner that he is), even if only to prove that I can write reviews that don’t contain the ‘f’- word.

Ironically, there is one use of the ‘f’-word in the piece, but that was in context, being a direct quote from John le Mesurier.

Why am I mentioning this?

Because, in watching the drama and in the reading that I had to do afterwards, to check some details, I learned a lot about the two main characters – Hattie Jacques and her husband, John le Mesurier.

And I kind of want you to discover what I learned too.

I don’t know why.

I just do.

I’m not going to reproduce the review here. If I did Mr Cows would drown another couple of kittens.

He’s like that.

But you can click here to read it, if you have a spare couple of minutes.

Thanks.

Nice arrers!

I have been doing further thinking on my quest to find new ‘instant hit’ TV shows.

Following on from last week’s ‘Antique Roadshow Rewind‘, this week I’d like to look at the semi-sporting world of pub games.

In particular, darts.

The sport game of Darts is, to the outsider, a bit tame totally fucking tedious.

But how to liven up the spectacle of two men (who may or may not be seriously overweight) throwing Lilliputian javelins at a glorified RAF roundel?

My first thought was ‘Rottweilers!’ How about two darts players, in a cage, throwing for the highest score against the clock?

The mad-as-a-box-of-snakes Rottweilers are held at bay by a gate that is on a timer.

Both darts players would be harnessed up to a safety rig and, as the clock counts down to the last second, the player with the highest score gets whisked up out of the pit…

As the door to the Rottweiler’s cage drops, leaving the loser to a messy fate.

But then I thought ‘Nah, that wouldn’t work. The RSPCA would complain about something’.

So I started looking for a threat that would bring escalating levels of excitement.

A threat that would bring danger, tension and, yes, television ratings – to an otherwise dull spectacle.

And one that wouldn’t jeopardise any animals.

It came to me.

A compression chamber should be used as the setting for ‘Dart Explosion!’

We put our two dartists in to a large compression/decompression chamber. They have 90-seconds to achieve the highest score, and as the countdown gets closer and closer to the conclusion, the oxygen is pumped out of the compression chamber!

A hatch will open in front of the winner and they’ll get an oxygen mask. The loser gets… a vacuum.

What do you think?

Anyone for a game of extreme darts?

Cunning idea for a new TV show

As you may have guessed, I have a cunning idea for a new TV show.

You’ve probably heard of, if not seen, BBC1’s long-running Antiques Roadshow, presented by Bruce Parker Angela Rippon Arthur Negus Hugh Scully Michael Aspel Fiona Bruce?

In a nutshell, members of the public trog along to a screening with a worthless pile of old tat valued and ancient family heirloom. The BBC gets a subject expert to put a valuation on the object d’art which disappoints the shit out of amazes and astounds the previously unsuspecting chancer owner.

an antique

My idea for the new show is a variation on this, but utilising a little of the other show about old things – Time Team.

AR+30 (Antiques Roadshow, 30 Years On), to use the shooting name, revisits the people who flogged off the family jewels took advantage of of a fluid market, and sold their goods as soon as they were valued.

an antique

In AR+30, the presenter will rock up to the door and ask the person how they feel knowing that the thing they sold for £250 thirty years ago is now worth £8,500.

[cue: nice tight focus in super slowmo on the rapidly dropping expression of the member of the public]

What do you think?

an antique

Bump!

I was talking to someone yesterday.

I know, how unusual is that? And not in a ‘throat-grabbing, gonna punch you in the mouth’ kind of way. Anyway this person I was talking to, let’s call them David William Elizabeth, accidentally let slip that she reads this twaddle and finds it, sometimes, amusing. I don’t really ‘know’ Elizabeth. I’ve met her once. Or maybe twice.

So in an attempt to be gratuitously amusing, here is the gratuitously amusing news.

The snow has gone. Yay! The thermometer says it is eight degrees warmer than yesterday’s -4c, but it doesn’t seem any warmer. Boo!

When I drove to the stables yesterday morning, there were two holes in the wall, on a bend on top of a hill. This is a particularly lethal piece of open road when the mercury drops below 0c, it’s very prone to black ice.

Anyway, there was only one hole in that wall on Tuesday; that was the day I nearly lost it, in the same place, despite travelling at 10mph.

My car is helpful. It flashes a red warning triangle to indicate that it’s in a skid, and the ABS makes the usual graunching noise when the brakes can’t make the wheels bite. Because driving down a hill sideways, with full lock in the opposite direction to the camber of the road, isn’t enough of an indication that the car is in a skid, obv. Anyway, I managed to pull it together, but two other drivers weren’t so fortunate.

Bump!

Tom hasn’t been getting much work lately, I’ve been massively busy and things have been out of control for a while. But hopefully I can start getting back on top of things now. None of the horses have been turned out for a few days; the ice has made the safe passage of bipeds and quadrupeds to the turnout impossible. This heady combination of things (a couple of days of not being turned out and a handful of weeks of not being ridden regularly) has put Tom in a very *cough* playful mood.

A playful mood made even more playful by the sudden appearance of fucking enormous pampas grass plants in pots, in each of the four corners of the indoor arena.

Tom didn’t like these pony-eating plants one bit.

He was deeply suspicious of the one by the mounting platform, but I let him sniff it, then hopped on. He didn’t like the one in the next corner either, but I kept him on a shorter rein, not wishing to give him the opportunity to have the heebie-jeebies over a plant. The plants in the third and fourth corners seemed OK, so we pushed on around the perimeter of the arena at a smarter walk.

On the second lap, Tom ignored the plants in corners 1 and 2, so I switched my concentration to establishing a nice rhythm and getting an even balance. On the second visit to corner 3, though, Tom had a headfit.

He spooked, spun, did a little rear and bronked. As a result I hit the deck. But I prefer to think of it as ‘an involuntary dismount’.

Bump!

I remounted and things settled down, but Sammi stuck her head over the door and said ‘He looks “frisky”.’

Mmmmm…

There will be more work for Tom tomorrow, and we might be able to slip back to a daily (or near daily) schedule too, and maybe some jumping when he’s settled down.

In other news.

I’ve finished reviewing this series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! for Shouting At Cows. It was fun but, being a daily writing gig, I wish I hadn’t been so tired on a couple of occasions. There have been a couple of evenings when I’ve felt far too gone to write good gags, or even a half-decent review.

But I might be bothering Cows readers again the future.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing. We’ll have to suck it and see.