Thursday, November 20, 2014

It! (1966)



One of a pair of horror films produced at Merton Studios by Goldstar Productions in 1966, It!, like its companion piece, The Frozen Dead, has ambitions which far outstrip its resources.  That said, the execution of this tale of the Golem is far better realised than the army of frozen Nazis in The Frozen Dead.  The biggest difference lies in the choice of name actor for the lead role.  Whilst Dana Andrews gave a generally undistinguished and unmemorable performance as Nazi mad scientist Dr Norberg in The Frozen Dead, Roddy McDowell is manically memorable in the lead role of It!, easily outshining the bland supporting cast.  McDowell, an actor nowadays probably best remembered for playing a chimp in most of the original Planet of the Apes movies, appeared in many movies which were, to be frank, beneath his talents.  Quite why he agreed to appear in a low-budget monster movies is a mystery.  Perhaps the pay was good, or maybe it wss because the film offered him the rare opportunity of a starring role.  Originally a child star, as an adult McDowell tended to find himself confined to character and supporting roles - probably because he wasn't any casting director's idea of what a romantic leading man should look like.

Even in It! he doesn't quite get to play a conventional lead: his character Pym, assistant curator of a London museum, is, from the outset, clearly a psychopath who talks to his mother's mummified body (which he keeps in his flat), steals from his employers and is prepared to use murder to remove any obstacles to his twin ambitions of becoming curator and bedding his predecessor's daughter, (played by Jill Haworth).   Despite all of this, thanks to McDowell's performance, Pym is still the most interesting and likeable character in the film - by the end I was still rooting for him, in spite of the lengthy list of atrocities he had been responsible for.  But to focus on the film itself, the instrument of Pym's revenge against his perceived enemies is a weird-looking statue which he discovers to be the legendary Golem: an artificial man made of clay which can be animated and controlled via a scroll hidden in its foot. 

Compared to The Frozen Dead, the production values on It! seem much higher.  Sure, it's still quite obviously a low budget movie, but, unlike The Frozen Dead, the sets don't look tatty and there's a good use of various London locations, including the Imperial War Museum, whose exterior stands in for that of Pym's museum.  The Golem itself is interestingly designed - strikingly different from the traditional cinematic image of the Golem established by Paul Muni in the silent era, looking far less human.  Up to a point, it is also a reasonably creepy and convincing movie monster, particularly in its early appearance, when it is confined to the museum and its movements limited.  However, once Pym starts taking it outside, driving it around in a van, it its menace is dissipated.  In the harsh light of day, it is too obviously just a man (Alan Sellars, to be precise) in a suit.  It is also in these later sequences, as Pym moves beyond simply using the Golem to dispatch rivals within the confines of the museum, that the film rapidly starts to show the limits of its resources.  The Golem's destruction of Hammersmith Bridge (an attempt by Pym to impress Haworth), for instance, is somewhat ludicrously depicted via a few shots of the monster straining against some girders - the subsequent destruction is, for budgetary reasons, merely described to the audience.

From that point on, the film rapidly runs out of steam, with a completely insane Pym using the Golem to kidnap Haworth and holing up in a castle with the living statue and the girl.  At this point the low budget finally scuppers the picture, with the Golem single-handedly holding off the entire British army (which seems to consist of half a dozen men) before the authorites decide to deploy a tactical nuclear device (on the mainland of the UK) against it.  The film culminates with Pym nuked, the Golem striding, unscathed, into the sea and Haworth rescued by bland 'hero' Paul Maxwell (serial voice-provider for numerous Gerry Anderson puppets).  Many questions - most notably that of  the reason for Pym's mother's demise - are left unanswered.  But, as I noted at the start, what puts It! head and shoulders above other low-budget independent British horror films of its era, like The Vulture, The Frozen Dead or The Projected Man, for instance, is Roddy McDowell's performance.  Despite the script making it clear that he is unhinged from the start, thereby depriving him the chance of building any real ambiguity into the character, McDowell still manages to bring a surprising degree of complexity to Pym's character, so that his mid-film attempts to destroy the Golem and stop himself from committing any further crimes hold real conviction and don't seem like an out-of-character plot contrivance. 

All-in-all, It! is a surprisingly entertaining and effective horror thriller.  I must admit that, having already seen The Frozen Dead, I didn't have high expectations of its companion piece.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It's no masterpiece, but McDowell's performance alone makes it a worthwhile ninety minutes or so.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Save Our Celebrities!

At last those poor oppressed celebrities are fighting back against the evil mastermind Ed Miliband and his 'Mansion Tax'.  First it was Griff Rhys Jones who was daring enough to risk ridicule and speak put against this iniquitous tax on success and now its Mylene Klass.  Unlike Jones, who simply whined from the safety of a right-wing newspaper, Klass has taken the fight to the enemy, confronting the evil Miliband live on TV, putting him to flight.  It should make us all proud to the be British, seeing our brave has-been celebrities taking on the might of the Official Opposition in the name of inequality and injustice - the things that have made this country great.  For they are quite correct - without growing inequality where would those at the bottom find the motivation to better themselves?  Without gross injustice, where would the disadvantaged find the inspiration to fight for their rights?  For too long too many of our celebrities have pandered to the masses in the name of popularity, supporting leftie worthy causes like fighting poverty, social justice and eliminating inequality, but at long last at least some of them have found the courage to abandon the Labour Party and come out in support for the progressive anti-equality policies of out glorious Tory government.

From Take That, Jimmy Carr and the Arctic Monkeys trying to avoid paying their taxes to Griff Rhys Jones threatening to deprive the UK of his unique 'comedy' talents and go into foreign exile in the face of the 'Mansion Tax', Britain's celebrities are at last showing their true colours.  They've finally realised that it is time to tell the public: 'Fuck you!  We toiled in obscurity for years before finally getting that lucky break which unlocked the door to our current riches - we've earned our mansions and extravagant lifestyles.  We spent years ensuring we weren't 'equal' to you - just be satisfied that we condescend to appear on chat shows and allow you to watch us on TV, in films and to buy our music, not to mention our overpriced merchandise.  We've got your money - we don't need your respect.'   Even as you read this, groups of celebrities, worried at the oppressive measures being proposed by the evil genius Miliband are planning a march through Belgravia, in order to protest at his proposed 'tax on aspiration'.  Strike action can't be far behind: can you imagine the chaos actors and musicians withdrawing their labour would cause?  No Downton Abbey!  No new singles from One Direction!  Clearly something must be done - I urge to all get out there and show your support for our embattled celebrities by buying their Christmas books, CDs and DVDs so that they can earn enough to offset any 'Mansion Tax'!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Age of Intolerance

At some point soon I hope to be able to look at the movies I watched in the weekend before last's exploitation movie marathon, (there was no repeat performance this last weekend: I confined myself to catching up with a seventies James Garner movie, several episodes of Barney Miller - an American sitcom which used to be used as a late night filler by ITV back in the day, but deserved better - and listening to Atomic Rooster, because I'm so down with what the kids are listening to).  However, right now I feel moved to comment on the shocking levels of intolerance which seem to prevail these days.  No, I'm not talking about the appalling persecution of comedy genius 'Dapper Laughs' which saw him driven from ITV2 and the web by hordes of humourless gits who just couldn't grasp that his misogyny was 'ironic' and his rape jokes just 'banter' - they obviously all had too much time on their hands because they weren't getting enough, on account of being 'too ugly to shag.'  I'm more concerned by the hate campaigns which seem to greet any public figure (and sometimes not-so public figures) who expresses an opinion that the 'Twatterati' and their ilk don't like.

Most recently, we've seen the athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill receiving threatening tweets because she doesn't agree with the idea of convicted rapist and sometime professional footballer Ched Evans being re-employed by Sheffield United, where there's a stand carrying her name.  Conversely, we'd earlier seen Judy Finnigan enduring online abuse and rape threats against her daughter merely because she'd pointed out that said Ched Evans had served his prison sentence and therefore was entitled to try and put his life back together, (she also, in a poor choice of words, claimed that the rape he'd committed had been 'non-violent' as the victim had been drunk and incapable at the time, I understand the point she was trying to make, but I really don't think that you can have degrees of rape - either sex is consenting or it isn't).  In a somewhat less emotionally charged example, tennis player Andy Murray was on the receiving end of internet abuse for having the temerity to say that he was voting 'yes' in the Scottish independence referendum.

In all of these cases (and many more I could cite) we simply have someone expressing a not unreasonable personal opinion with which the rest of us might, or might not agree.  If we don't agree, fine. We can always express our counter opinion in an equally reasonable way if we feel strongly enough and can be bothered. But we still acknowledge the right of the person in question to hold and express their opinion.  But increasingly, it seems, those who disagree feel that it necessary to hurl a stream of abuse, invective and threats at anyone expressing an opinion they don't like.  Reason doesn't come into it: those holding a different opinion apparently must be intimidated into silence.  Differing opinions cannot be tolerated.  Whilst I've highlighted the role of social media users in this, the mainstream press are just as bad in this respect, particularly when it comes to political opinions.  The abuse isn't just confined to celebrities - just look at the comments under news stories on newspaper websites, or on personal blogs, whenever a differing or unpopular opinion is offered.  In my more paranoid moments I suspect that these apparently increasing levels of intolerance for other people's opinions is part of some establishment plot to stifle debate and prevent current political and economic orthodoxy from being challenged.  I imagine that all those tweeters and posters are actually Security Service agents.  But that's just crazy talk.  That said, the alternative explanation, that through a combination of growing levels of ignorance and increasing levels of pro-establishment propaganda being put out by the media, people are just growing less tolerant of difference, is far more disturbing. 

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Slim the Ebola Way

"Look, there really is no danger to this new weight loss regime - don't believe all those scare stories in the press," says Dr Hans Schlonger, the man behind the controversial new 'Slim the Ebola Way' regime.  "It's all perfectly natural - weight loss as nature intended!"  The method - reportedly the current slimming craze amongst celebrities - involves the subject contracting a dose of the deadly disease Ebola, then effectively shitting and vomiting their way to thinness.  "I know that Ebola has a bad reputation right now, what with having killed thousands of people in West Africa, but the fact is that it need not be fatal," the medic claims.  "As long as you get immediate, high quality, medical care - not the shitty conditions they have in West Africa, but the kind of care you get in my high tech private care facility in Boston - then your chances of survival are surprisingly high."  Indeed, a surprising number of obese millionaires have taken Schlonger's treatment regime, being infected with a mild dose of Ebola at his clinic before being whisked straight into the care facility.

Whilst Schlonger has so far suffered no casualties at his facility, he has been widely criticised by the medical profession for his reckless approach the weight loss.  "The biggest worry is that he will encourage fat people who can't afford his fees to travel to places like Liberia in the hope of contacting Ebola," declares Professor Enid Muffler of the World Health Organisation (WHO).  "Having caught a dose, they'll then try to rush back to Europe or the US for treatment, putting further strain on health facilities in these countries."  Already there have been reports of teenaged girls from the UK travelling to West Africa and deliberately coming into contact with Ebola sufferers in the hope of getting the disease.  "I'd do it again, it was worth all the pain," gasped eighteen year old Mandy Feel, from the intensive care ward of the School of Tropical Diseases at St Fanny's Hospital in Uxbridge, where she has been confined since returning to the UK from Liberia.  "It was really easy to get a dose of Ebola, I just shook hands with this sick looking bloke outside the airport after I landed in Liberia - I got on the next plane back home."  After enduring several massive bouts of vomiting and crapping, Mandy claims to have lost three stone in less than a week and has now secured a modelling contract.   

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Traumatic Defence

A man who last week opened fire on his neighbours with an illegally held assault rifle has claimed that he was suffering a flashback to his time in Afghanistan and thought that he was defending himself against the Taliban.  According to thirty four year old Northampton resident Joe Crapster, his lethal flashback was triggered by his next door neighbours' fireworks.  "I didn't realise that it was Guy Fawkes night - it's easy to lose track of time for combat veterans who, like me, are still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)," the former Catering Corps soldier - who was given a dishonourable discharge after being caught urinating in the soup about to be served to his commanding officer - told his local newspaper.  "As soon as those explosions started I was back in Afghanistan - it was pure reflex that I picked up that AK-47, jumped over the fence and started firing."   Crapster has claimed that the weapon was a souvenir that he had brought back from Afghanistan.  "I had no idea that it still worked - I thought that it had been deactivated," he asserted.  "As for the bullets - I've no idea where they came from."  Despite having killed three people (one of them a child) and seriously wounded seven others, Crapster has been given bail by the police and is currently receiving counselling for his war trauma at local taxpayers expense.  "Nobody is denying that he's made a serious mistake, but it's important that we support our war veterans," said a spokesperson for the British Legion.  "People have to understand that criminal behaviour is an inevitable consequence of putting yourself on the line for your country.  We owe these boys for keeping us safe, even when they shoot us.  Just remember, they have extenuating circumstances."

In the wake of Crapster's PTSD defence for his actions, a Southall man has claimed that when he violently attacked a group of trick or treaters who knocked on his door at Halloween, he was having a traumatic flashback to the time that he was attacked by a group of monsters whilst on holiday in Transylvania.  "It was an horrendous experience, first of all this group of vampire women came in through my hotel room window and started biting me," Brian Shatz explained to his local newspaper.  "They seemed to put me under some kind of spell - next thing I knew I was in the dungeon of a castle with some mad scientist telling me he wanted my brain!"  Shatz claimed to have escaped the dungeon when a fellow inmate turned into a werewolf and attacked the vampire women.  "Even when I was out of there, I found myself being chased by the Frankenstein monster," he recalled.  "It followed me all the way back to the town square, where I had a street brawl with it - the local police had to step in and break it up." Shatz claims that he had forgotten it was Halloween on account of having been completely bladdered the night before.  "When I opened the door to see those ghouls stood there, it all came back to me," he claimed.  "Is it any wonder that I chased them into the street with sharpened sticks and crucifixes?"  The adult supervising the group, who was dressed as Dracula, was impaled on a wooden stake during Shatz's attack, during which he also attempted to stab an eleven year old dressed as a werewolf, with a silver teaspoon.  Several other children, dressed variously as cowboys, spacemen and Lady Gaga had crucifixes waved at them in a menacing fashion.  Police have rejected Shatz's flashback defence, dismissing it as 'ludicrous'.  Romanian police, meanwhile, have confirmed that three years ago Shatz was arrested following a drunken fight with a local pimp, after he had refused to pay two prostitutes who had taken him to a local S&M parlour. 

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Hundred Years on Benefits

Apparently you may live to be 120.  According to the headline on the Daily Mail yesterday, that is.  What scientific foundation (if any) there is for this claim, my reaction was to think, may I?  I mean, the way they phrase it, it sounds as if this possible longevity is some kind of option we could activate.  Just tick the box and add forty or fifty years to your lifespan.  Trouble is, I'm still not clear as to where I check this particular option.  After all, if I had those extra years, just think of the number of additional old exploitation movies I could watch.  Obviously, I'd be so decrepit once I passed ninety, (they mentioned nothing in the headline about slowing or stopping the ageing process, without which extended lifespans would be pretty pointless as you wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the extra years), that watching films will about all I'd be capable of doing.  The other downside is that, inevitably, we'd all have to work for more years than we do now, as there is no way they'd leave the retirement age at 65 if we were all living to 120 - everyone would effectively be retiring in middle age.  Which, come to think of it, is another good reason for me to exercise my Daily Mail mandated right to live to 120: I wouldn't be middle aged any more,  I'd have at least another decade before middle age set in.  Bring it on!

The Daily Mail being what it is, I'm surprised that they seem to have missed a trick by not turning this into a scare story.  I'm sure that they only envisage nice, white, middle class people having the option to live to 120.  But what if the 'wrong' people acquired such longevity?  that's right - you'd have workshy 'benefit scroungers' claiming their money for additional decades. Even worse, they might be illegal immigrant 'benefit cheats'.  That really must be the Mail's worst nightmare: idle foreigners capable of claiming British taxpayers' money for a century at a time.  And what about single mothers?  We all know that they only keep having kids so that they can claim benefits and 'free' council flats, don't we? Well, if they had increased longevity and the ageing process was slowed down, imagine how many more children they could have?  They could produce so many in a 120 year lifespan that they'd have to be provided with mansions rather than flats to accommodate them all.  There's another Mail nightmare: Griff Rhys Jones evicted from his London mansion by the council to house seventy year old single mother of twenty kids!  Yeah, that's it - increased longevity of the unwashed lower classes will inevitably result in councils compulsorily purchasing mansions to accommodate them, putting millionaires out on the street!  It would be worse than Labour's proposed 'mansion tax'!  Damn, I should be working for the Daily Mail, shouldn't I?

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Monday, November 10, 2014

A Weekend Down Memory Lane

Well, I had a pretty amazing weekend.  I caught up with a whole load of obscure exploitation movies I'd almost given up hope of ever tracking down.  Kicking off with another Paul Naschy werewolf movie - The Return of Walpurgis - I followed this up with 1966's It! - a companion piece to The Frozen Dead which we looked at some time ago.  I then pulled an all-nighter to watch a triple bill of Lindsay Shonteff moves: his 1970 private eye movie Clegg, the legendary Big Zapper from 1973 and its 1974 sequel Zapper's Blade of Vengeance (aka The Swordsman).  Exhausted, I finally surfaced on Sunday to catch a showing on the Drama channel of 1960s classic Dr Who story Tomb of the Cybermen, with Patrick Troughton as the Doctor.  I'll save detailed discussion of the movies for future posts because today I'd like to offer a few thoughts on the Dr Who story.  Some of my earliest TV memories are of Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor, so watching this was a trip down memory lane, although I can't honestly say that I remember this particular story from its first broadcast, (I do have vague memories of a preceding story, Evil of the Daleks, but my second Doctor Cyberman memories mainly concern The Wheel in Space from a couple of years later).  I've watched quite a bit of sixties TV drama over the past twelve months and this was pretty typical of the era, with a pace which seems slow by todays standards and an entirely studio-bound production.  The production values are actually pretty good for the era and the supporting cast (including Hammer's regular 'sinister foreigner' of the era, George Pastell, as the main villain) is pretty good.  Troughton, as ever, is excellent as the Doctor.

The most obvious difference between this and contemporary TV productions is the style.  Back in the sixties both TV cameras, editing equipment and video effects technology were far cruder.  Consequently, the kind of tracking shots, transitions and sharp cutting both between scenes and within scenes, as the focus switches from one character to another are absent.  Cuts and dissolves appear very crude, (some were performed 'live' during the recording rather than post-production).  This, in part, dictated the slower pace of productions of the era.  That and the fact that TV drama at this time tended to draw on theatre rather than cinema for its creative inspiration, making productions seem somewhat static and 'stagey', both in terms of their structure and staging and performances.  But, as I said, this is what British TV drama of the period was typically like, (the exceptions tended to be the filmed productions like The Saint and The Avengers turned out by ITC which, whilst shown on the ITV network here were really aimed at the international market), and to fully enjoy something like Tomb of the Cybermen, you have to try and watch it in this context.  You also have to accept that audience expectations of popular TV drama back then were far less sophisticated and this is reflected in the script, which features a straightforward linear plot and little in the way of character development or depth.  Sure, there are some good ideas in the script, but their exposition is kept simple and they aren't developed to their full potential.

Anyway, watching this slice of classic sixties Dr Who, I couldn't help but think that if there had been an internet back then, it would have been full of exactly the same type of 'fans' who profess to love classic Who and spend all their time sniping at the current version for not being classic Who, that plague us nowadays.  Doubtless, they would have been complaining at how inconsistent with previous Cyberman stories Tomb was, pointing out the lack of continuity.  They'd also probably be complaining that it was too slow and just not as sophisticated as stories from the 'classic' era of William Hartnell and telling us all that producer Innes Lloyd was 'ruining' the programme with his focus on 'juvenile' storylines and companions.   Most of all they'd probably be decrying Patrick Troughton's performance, accusing him of trying to turn the series into a sitcom with his more humourous interpretation of the Doctor, thereby desecrating the memory of William Hartnell.  But thankfully, they didn't have the internet back then, so everyone could enjoy Dr Who in peace, allowed to make their own critical assessments without being perpetually told why it was really rubbish and if you didn't think that then you were an idiot and not a true fan. 

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Proper Misogynist

I've finally realised where I'm going wrong in my online endeavours.  Apparently, in order to get lots of web traffic, large numbers of Facebook 'likes' and Twitter followers is not to turn out stories satirising current events, media and public figures, but rather to pour out a seemingly ceaseless stream of misogynistic videos, posts and tweets, full of 'advice' on 'pulling birds', 'jokes' about sexual assault and the objectification of women in general.  It seems to have worked for one 'Dapper Laughs', an 'internet celebrity' who succeeded in scoring a TV series on the back of his online 'laddish banter'.  OK, it was only on ITV2, a channel which sits below BBC3, E4 and even Viva in terms of prestige, but it was an actual TV series.  Indeed, it was my first encounter with his 'act', when I tuned into an episode of Dapper Laughs: On the Pull (as it is called) out of curiosity, having heard his name bandied around as some kind of internet 'sensation'.  I won't say I was shocked - his material is too tired and predictable to do that - but I was disappointed and somewhat disturbed by the idea that this kind of loathesome misogyny is apparently what is considered 'cutting edge' humour on the web.  Even the format of this TV version - 'Dapper Laughs' advises various young men on how to 'pull' through a series of set up scenarios - is utterly dismal.  What were ITV thinking of when they commissioned this shit, one wonders.

Really, they should have been warned, the reason the only place that this stuff appears to thrive is online, is because it wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else.  However, the reach of the web and the generally low standards of production and material many web users seem to find acceptable, means that it will inevitably find an audience there.  Whilst one of the most positive aspects of the web is the fact that it can cater for all manner of niche interests which mainstream media can't accommodate - from collectors of obscure memorabilia to offbeat music, for instance - the flipside is that it provides opportunities to do the same for all manner of malcontents from peadophiles and neo-Nazis to woman hating inadequates.  'Dapper Laughs' is, in reality, one Daniel O'Reilly who his apparently a former cruise ship 'entertainer'.  This latter fact doesn't really surprise me - the thing his 'act' most reminds me of are those old music hall comedians, (who, after the demise of the music halls and variety theatres, transmogrified into working men's club comedians), who were considered too 'rude' for radio or TV and spent their careers trotting out mother-in-law jokes and racial slurs to audiences in provincial towns.  With the shift to working men's clubs as their main venues, with predominantly male audiences, their material became bluer and even more sexist and racist.  Their heyday was the 1970s, when some of them (Bernard Manning, for example) managed to get on TV with toned down versions of their acts.

'Dapper Laughs' feels like a throwback to those bad old days, when we didn't know any better than to laugh at off-colour material which demeaned women and minorities.  Thankfully, these days we do know better (or at least, we should know better by now) which is why the likes of Roy 'Chubby' Brown are confined to the live circuit and DVDs, catering to a minority audience.  Unfortunately, 'Dapper Laughs' and his ilk (believe me, there are others, many even more offensive, like him out there) are tech savvy enough to realise that a quicker, cheaper and far more effective way to disseminate their brand of unpleasantness to like-minded scumbags is via social media.  The sad thing is that they lack even the basic wit and delivery skills of most of those old school comics, despite trying (in 'Dapper Laughs' case at least) to trade on the sort of 'Cheeky Chappie' persona pioneered by the likes of Max Miller.  Max Miller's material might have been - for its time - a bit blue, but it was also cleverly put together and brilliantly delivered.  'Dapper Laughs' achieves neither of these things, he just comes over as nasty.  The level of his 'humour' seems to be swaggering down the street, whipping his knob out in front of a woman and saying 'Oi, oi luv, here's my cock, stick that up your fanny', (I've no idea whether he has actually done anything like that, but what I've seen of him indicates to me that that's about his level).

Thankfully, the exposure given to him by the ITV2 series seems to have focused sufficient attention on his social media output to highlight to a wide audience just what an unpleasant character he seems to be.  Whilst his supporters might like to pass it all off as just being 'banter' and accusing his critics of having no sense of humour, his material really is very, very nasty.  Women who resist his 'charms' are 'too ugly to shag' and those who challenge him on Twitter are subjected to campaigns of misogynistic abuse.  His 'humourous' advice on Twitter includes such things as suggesting how to 'accidentally' grope women on the street.  Even his catchphrase 'proper moist' (which is what women will be when they encounter his 'charms') is both childish and offensive.  Even The Guardian has recently felt moved to describe him as a 'douchebag' - far too mild an epithet, I feel.   Anyway, the latter description by a broadsheet newspaper is part of the deserved backlash 'Dapper Laughs' is currently receiving.  Most recently, the homeless charity Shelter has declined to accept any kind of donation from the profits of the sale of his Christmas single, (the TV adverts for this are actually even more offensive than his TV series).  So, there you have it, the popular consensus seems to be: 'Dapper Laughs' - proper cunt.

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

On the Offensive

You know, I really hate being rude to people.  Which is why I rarely am. Sure, I'd like to be rude to some of the more persistent salesmen and charity collectors who either knock on my door or accost me in the street - I certainly think of terribly offensive things I'd like to say to them, but I rarely actually say them out loud.  Indeed,  I'll sometimes warn them if they continue to harass me when I've made it clear - as politely as possible that I'm not interested in whatever it is they are selling - that if they don't desist then they'll force me to be rude to them, something I hate to do.  Having given a reasonable warning, I feel I'm entitled to be rude.  Nevertheless, I'll still feel bad about it later.  The fact is that, in the past, I've been on the receiving end of outbursts of offensiveness whilst doing my job or, indeed, when just trying to mind my own business.  It is unpleasant and completely unnecessary.  It is particularly unpleasant when it happens in public, leaving you feeling humiliated and, to be frank, violated in some way.

But why am I telling you this now?  Well, the fact is that the other night in the pub I was pretty rude to someone and I've been feeling bad about it ever since.  My rudeness didn't take the form of abuse, but rather a put-down, directed at the pub bore who, as usual, was trying to dominate conversation in the lounge bar.  It had the desired effect of shutting him up but, on reflection, I wish that I'd just maintained a dignified silence.  I remember all too well how humiliated I felt when people used to use such snide put downs against me if they thought I was being boring, expressing an opinion they didn't like or just talking about something they didn't understand.  It's really a form of bullying and I'd hate to think that I was turning into a bully.  The worst thing about it all was that, after the local bore had left the bar, I was hailed as some kind of hero by the other drinkers there.  Which just made me feel worse.  When I go to the pub tonight, I think I'll just keep my mouth shut (except when I drink, obviously). 

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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Christmas Watch 2014

Well, today marked my first sighting of the season of Christmas-related paraphernalia.  Once again, Tesco was the culprit, with a Christmas tree appearing at the entrance of a local branch.  Still, I suppose we should be thankful that they at least waited until November, (although things like mince pies have been on the shelves since September, the season doesn't really start until the trees start appearing).  It can only be a matter of days now before the municipal decorations start going up all over Crapchester - well, in the main shopping centre, at least and even then mainly in the bits with the biggest shops.  The bits on the edges, with the smaller, slightly dodgy looking businesses and charity shops will have to make do with a few lights which don't work strung from the lampposts.  As usual, some lower league celebrity who has had the misfortune to be cast in the local pantomime will be on hand to switch the lights on.  I remember that one year it was to be Marti Caine (remember her?).  She died rather than go through with the ignominy of switching on Crapchester's Christmas lights.  Ted Rogers had to do it instead.  I seem to recall that he dies not long afterwards.  Presumably of shame.

Of course, the municipal Christmas lights are only of secondary interest here in Crapchester.  It is the private displays of garish decorations mounted on houses and in gardens which really matter.  Will this year's crop be as good as previous years, or will austerity have finally taken its toll?  We'll doubtless see over the next few weeks whether the excesses of previous years can be exceeded.  But getting back to that Christmas tree in Tescos, how long will it be before the rest of the decorations appear?  Not to mention the piped seasonal music?  Will they have acquired a new CD of Christmas song covers this year, or will he have to endure that instrumental version of John Lennon's 'This is Christmas' played on the pan pipes again?  Ah, the pleasures of the festive season!  Obviously, as ever here at The Sleaze, we'll be celebrating Winterval again, rather than just Christmas, in our annual attempt to turn Daily Mail readers apoplectic.  Our annual Winterval appeal will be launched soon and, once again, we'll be asking readers to send us their old pornography for 'recycling' -  it will be passed on to those needy folks who can't afford internet access and the free access to all forms of filth it allows.  Hopefully our efforts can ensure them a very happy Winterval.

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