Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You Are Doc Sleaze and I Claim My Five Pounds...

I know, I know, my posting here is getting very erratic. But I did warn you - I'm on holiday and frankly having too much fun to bother with all this! Besides, I'm too relaxed to get wound up enough to rant properly. However, I've come up with a new interactive game we can all pay. Taking inspiration from an old Daily Mirror Summer -time wheeze, I'm offering readers the chance to win a fiver simply by tracking me down on holiday. Yes, it is that simple, just locate me whilst I stroll down the beach or wander around a museum, or something, and I'll give you five quid. However, the catch is that you must be carrying a printed out copy of a story from The Sleaze - only if it matches the one I've got in my pocket can you claim your prize. Oh, and you must also say "You are Doc Sleaze and I claim my five pounds" as you tap me on the arm with the aforementioned story.

OK, so I know that you don't know where I am, or what I look like (trust me, don't go by the photo on the 'Staff Profiles' page of The Sleaze) - I didn't say this would be easy, now did I? You'll just have to use your initiative to try and search the posts here for clues - or even the stories over at The Sleaze. Oh, and if I happen to have forgotten to take a copy of a story with me, the competition is void (you don't really think that an old skinflint like me actually wants to give away a fiver, do you?). I look forward to random individuals being assaulted with rolled up hard copies of The Sleaze over the next few days...

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Off The Wrist 3

Well, here we are with the third, and last, of our occasional series on the masturbatory fantasies of the rich and famous. Having examined the pud-pulling habits of Marc Bolan and Uri Gellar, this time we turn to legendary rock figure John Lennon. Recently released secret FBI files on John Lennon give us some insights into the thoughts of the ex-Beatle whilst he twanged the wire.

Transcripts of bugged telephone calls and private conversations from the early 1970s reveal Lennon discussing his plank spanking fantasies with close friends including Bob Dylan and Phil Spector. Whilst most of his fantasies seemed to run along conventional lines , in one phone conversation John is heard admitting that he had sometimes entertained some less-conventional homoerotic fantasies. "I was having a quick jodrell [Jodrell Bank - wank] in the bogs at Abbey Road while we were recording the 'White Album', when suddenly this picture of us dressed in our Sgt Pepper outfits popped into my mind," he reveals. "Before I knew it I was imagining a frolicking foursome with Paul, George and Ringo! Although all the other three were involved, it was definitely Paul that I was most attracted to - I think it was that blue uniform he was wearing. And the moustache. Oh, the moustache! Mind you, George looked pretty tasty in that three-cornered hat..." Lennon's admission is astounding, revealing an aspect to his character he normally vehemently suppressed - he once hit a reporter who suggested that there might be a homosexual relationship between Lennon and Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

The FBI files also reveal that whilst John was in India studying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he mastered an arcane transcendental masturbation technique. This allowed him to go into a trance-like state whilst throttling the turkey, thereby allowing him to increase the endurance of this endeavour to several hours. These mammoth salami-slapping sessions were apparently accompanied by incredible sexual fantasies, which sometimes involved John becoming variously fabulously-endowed Hindu deities performing incredible sexual feats, such as shagging fifteen elephants on top of the Taj Mahal, in order to prove himself worthy of gaining a state of true nirvana. There is speculation amongst pop-historians that some of John's most famous lyrics were inspired by these experiences, with 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' being cited as an example. It is claimed that the flowers 'That grow so incredibly high' are references to giant penises , whilst the 'bridge by a fountain' is obviously a metaphor for ejaculation and the 'train in a station' a euphemism for sexual intercourse. However, traditionalists fiercly deny that another famous Lennon number was inspired by his persistent masturbatory fantasy of making love to Yoko with two breadsticks in his mouth and slapping his hands together repeatedly at the moment of ejaculation shouting "I am the Walrus!", whilst McCartney threw fish to him.

Rogue MI5 agent David Shayler - a fat man who sometimes sports a silly goatee beard - has claimed that Britain's Security Service also held a file on Lennon detailing his truncheon oiling activities. According to Shayler the 1970-74 Conservative government considered Lennon a potentially dangerous moral influence on Britain's youth. They feared that if his transcendental wanking techniques became public knowledge they could lead to a serious drop in industrial productivity as young men followed Lennon's example and practiced their own, solitary, bed-ins. Indeed, the three-day week of early 1974 had to be introduced when some Lennon fans discovered that by playing his 'Mind Games ' LP backwards, you could hear Lennon describing the technique. Official sources have dismissed Shayler's claims as "Ludicrous".

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Age Before Beauty

In a surprise move, the makers of ITV's 'Celebrity' Love Island have put 106 year old former Radio 1 DJ Jimmy Saville onto the island. "It is all about demographics," explains a spokesperson for ITV. "All those bronzed young bodies we had in there - they just weren't attracting the viewers in - they appealed mainly to the under twenty fives, a group that just doesn't watch TV anymore. If they want porn they just surf the net. To get the big audiences in, we had to cater to the main TV-watching demographic: the over seventies." Viewers and contestants alike looked on aghast as the veteran broadcaster arrived, clad in a skimpy pair of speedos, trademark gold chains rattling and chanting his catchphrase "Now then, now then!" as he waved his big cigar. "If the sight of those wrinkly buttocks don't get us at least two million geriatric viewers, I don't know what will," commented an ITV executive.

Within hours of his arrival the former DJ was causing controversy, having allegedly tied up one of the other contestants who had apparently annoyed him. "I just asked him to stop blowing cigar smoke in my direction, and he clocked me one," claimed 21 year old Jimmy Titt, a former personal trainer to camp comic Julian Clary. "Next thing I knew I was tied up in a cupboard! The bastard left me there for four hours!" For his part, ex-coal miner Saville, credited with having invented the gay disco in 1943, when he entertained a group of off duty sailors with his crank-up gramophone during a black out, asserted that Titt had been getting "too friendly" with a female contestant - 19 year old Wendy Pikestaff - and that he'd merely acted to preserve her virtue. "I caught the dirty little perv staring down her cleavage, boys and girls! He had to be taught a lesson - how would the viewers at home feel if it was their granddaughter being leched over in the way, eh?" asked the pensioner, before propositioning the bikini-clad beauty - who once appeared in a crowd scene in teen soap Hollyoaks - himself. "It was really creepy - he wanted me to pretend to be dead," she later told viewers. "I was supposed to leap up shouting 'I'm alive - Jim Fixed it For Me!' as I felt his cigar touch my leg! I mean, I've heard those rumours, but I never thought there was anything to them until now!"

Saville, (who, contrary to popular urban myth, does not have a restraining order against him preventing him from approaching any mortuary in the Greater London area), caused further consternation during the daily task - a mock fashion show - by parading around the resort in high heels and a dress. "It wasn't so much what he was wearing, more the fact that they all smelt really musty," commented hairdresser Waylon Nethers, who once trimmed singer Craig David's goatee. "Then we found out that they were his late mother's clothes - apparently he's never thrown any of them away! This guy is really creeping me out" Later that day the one time Top of The Pops presenter 'accidentally' exposed himself to several of his fellow contestants when his speedos fell off as he climbed out of the pool. "There was no way that wasn't planned," complained an outraged Kate Dribble, who lives around the corner from some bloke who presents a property programme on daytime TV. "He even said 'Hows about that, then, boys anb girls?', as he got out of the water, his wrinkled old cock waving at us all!" Despite such incidents, Love Island producers insist that there are no plans to remove Saville from the island, although they acknowledge that the sight of a pensioner with shoulder-length bleached blonde hair attempting to seduce girls young enough to be his greatgrandchildren might appear a little perverse. "We're hoping to remedy this impression by introducing some female celebrities more of his generation," said an ITV executive. "We've got octogenarian sex-goddess Dame Thora Hird lined up - just as soon as we've got that stair lift safely installed on the island..."

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Saints Preserve Us From Martyrs

OK, so I know I said I was going to ease up on the number of posts here for the rest of the month, but I couldn't let this business of these so-called 'Martyr Videos' pass without mention. I must admit that when I first saw these reported in the media, I was left perplexed - what the hell was a 'Martyr Video'? I had visions of guys filming themselves being nailed to crosses, being burned at the stake or being filled full arrows like St Anthony (I think he's the one , I'm a little shaky when it comes to saints). But then I asked myself, why would a group of would-be Muslim suicide bombers be making videos of themselves as Christian martyrs? Maybe it was some kind of piss take - another attempt to inflame religious divisions, I thought. Once again, the truth turned out to be somewhat less interesting - it turned out that all the press were getting so worked up about was the fact that some of the suspect plane bombers had recorded statements explaining they're so-called martyrdom on laptops, for use as indoctrination/publicity material. Basically, the same sort of thing that Al Jizz TV has been showing after every Middle Eastern suicide bombing for the past few years.

I find that the media are increasingly doing this sort of thing to me - building up my hopes of something truly bizarre being uncovered, only to reveal that behind their tantalising headlines lies the same old mundane cobblers. Perhaps it is just me - maybe I'm setting my expectations too high. My only hope is, that as a result of this latest lurid reporting of these 'Martyr videos', some homegrown extreme right wing white supremacists might be encouraged to make their own such films, perhaps in the guise of St George? Now there's something I'd like to see broadcast on TV - some racist cretin having himself sawn in half in the name of bigotry. A man can dream, a man can dream...

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Damned Lies!

You know, I can't let my associate Big Sleazy's allegations about me - made in his recent editorial over at The Sleaze - go unchallenged. OK, I know that I'm not physically in Tibet, but I made clear in my last editorial that I might actually be visiting a metaphorical Tibet of the mind. Attempting to find my personal Shang-ri La in the rarefied air of my subconscious' upper heights, if you will. As for all his nonsense about my unrequited lusts for various young women - it is all lies, I tell you! I merely left my raincoat in her hotel room! I wouldn't mind if it wasn't coming from a man who plays poker against his cat because it is the only way he can win (although he still has to cheat - that cat is a cool customer with no discernible 'tells'). Is it any wonder that it is a couple of years since I last let him write an editorial!

Well, I'm finally looking forward to some time off of the day job and opportunity to take in some of the joys of Summer (what is left of it, that is), I was talking about in an earlier post. Village fetes, horticultural shows and tent exhibitions here I come! Of course, I might decide to go away - to Tibet, perhaps. Whatever I do, I intend cutting down the number of blog posts for the rest of the month. A combination of running with my tank on empty and the 'silly season' news-wise, has resulted in some very patchy posting of late. I shall return, hopefully refreshed, to full-time posting next month!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Unreal Lives

You know, I think I've been very restrained so far this Summer - I haven't said a word about the bloody 'reality' TV which is clogging up the television schedules. Usually, by this point in the year, I'd have ranted to the point of exhaustion on the subject in my editorials over on The Sleaze. But really, what's the point? These things are ultimately self-destructive, and this year's Big Brother has found both the format - and its 'fans patience - strained to the limit. With every passing year this programme has seemed to become more a freak show as, in their desperate attempt to keep viewers interested, the producers have trawled every mental health day care centre in the UK in search of contestants. From what little I've seen of it this year, the two favourites to win are some bloke who supposedly suffers from tourette's syndrome and what appears to be a mentally retarded girl - she really does appear to have have a mental age of about ten. The question is, of course, how can they make it even more bizarre next year, to try and keep the viewers watching? The obvious answer would be to simply film the whole thing in a psychiatric ward, with the inmates as contestants, having to perform tasks to get their medication, and so on. Those voted off by viewers would be led away in strait-jackets and forced to undergo electric shock therapy.

Alternatively, they could recruit a load of down and outs as contestants, house them in luxury and force them to perform demeaning tasks to prevent being thrown back out onto the streets. Anyone evicted would be stripped naked and chased off of the grounds by a pack of dogs. It would be a winner - trust me! There'd be enough care in the community psychos amongst the down and outs to provide plenty of entertainment for the viewers (although it would probably be a good idea to remove all sharp objects from the house and only allow them plastic cutlery). Still, I'll give Big Brother its due, at least it doesn't expect you to know who the participants are - their hope is that they'll become 'celebrities' as a result of appearing on it. However, ITV's Love Island, despite dropping its 'Celebrity' prefix this time around, clearly expects me to know who its participants are. - unfortunately, I don't. These are celebrities in only the loosest sense -apparently many of them are simply related to someone semi-famous. Frankly, based on the very little I've seen of it, the contestants look seem to me to be like a bunch of dickheads from the average housing estate: loud, drunk, stupid and talking about sex without ever actually doing it, whilst drifting from partner to partner. Quite why they had to fly this shower of faux-celebs to a tropical island to film this, I rally don't know - they could have saved themselves a lot of money by simply taking a feed from the CCTV cameras on one of my local estates.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Doctor Sex Rides Again

Well, here we go again - another request from a TV researcher relating to an entirely fictional story in The Sleaze. This time around it is Doctor Sex, an everyday tale of sex addiction. Now, I must admit that I actually couldn't remember a great deal about this one (apart from the fact that it is a nominal rewrite of an earlier story called Sex Addicts which I was never happy with and which I'd never archived. In the event, very little of the original survived beyond the basic theme and the characters of the rival sex therapists), and had to go back and re-read it. Whilst it keeps up a reasonably serious tone and isn't as obviously surreal as some other stories, I still can't believe that anyone could mistake for a real news story. Anyway, here's the text of the e-mail I received (once again, the name of the researcher and the TV company have been omitted):

Hi there am doing some research into sex addiction and came across your article about Bill Okra and Doctor Sex. I would love to get hold of either of these men to chat to them about their experiences. Can you let me know how you got hold of them to speak to them or if you have any contact details? I tried googling them but with no luck.Thanks .... would be very grateful.

Personally, I'd have been more surprised if a search on google had turned up anything about the likes of Okra and Co. Re-reading the story, I thought the giveaway that it was satire was when 'Doctor Sex' himself started giving a Marxist interpretation of sex addiction and started calling for a redistribution of sexual energy as the rich and famous were getting a disproportionate share...

I've actually half a mind to reply to this, perhaps posing as sex addict Bill Okra - some might say that playing a sex-obsessed man who reads three porn magazines and masturbates at least six times a day would require no acting effort on my part. Or perhaps I should don a white coat, grey wig and bizarre accent to portray 'Doctor Sex'. Alternatively, if any real sex addicts are reading this and want to appear on TV, get in touch and I'll pass your details along!

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Fear and Loathing in the Municipal Car Park

There's no getting away from this latest terror scare - the other day some morons tried to burn down our local mosque. Police think the attack might be related to the recent arrest of several Muslim men in connection with a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners. No shit Sherlock! It really is good to know that we're being protected by the cream of law enforcement! I'll certainly be sleeping safer in my bed tonight, knowing that! The really depressing thing about this attack is that it was probably carried out by a bunch of boozed-up shaven-headed and tattooed morons who, under different circumstances, would just have happily burned down a synagogue. They're just looking for someone to hate, and right now a combination of press-hysteria and government over-reaction is winding them and setting them off in the direction of anybody vaguely 'Muslim' looking. Face it, if there hadn't been a mosque in this town, they'd probably have burned down a Pakistani-owned newsagents or beaten up some waiters from the local curry house.

Having said all that, I found myself having a 'racist moment' the other day. I got cut up by another car in a car park the day after this latest terror 'plot' was 'foiled' - although I didn't react, just slammed my brakes on and waited for the other car to piss off, as it was turning away, one of the occupants gave me the finger. Noticing that the car was occupied by four young Asian men, I has this sudden desire to take their licence number down, phone the police and tell them that I'd just seen four terrorist suspects acting suspiciously - probably planting a car bomb. I was immediately ashamed of myself for such a thought - it is exactly the kind of racial stereotyping I usually rail against. It would also have been, as a friend I told about the incident pointed out, a completely disproportionate response to a trivial incident. Unless I was the State of Israel, of course. In which case a proportionate response would have been finding out where they lived and planting child pornography in their houses before ringing the police and the newspapers with an anonymous tip off. At least that way their ethnic origin wouldn't have been a factor in my choice of response, and I would therefore have been able to gloat with my liberal conscience clear. Maybe next time...

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Naked Terror

I've been a bit distracted for the past few days - what with alleged terror plots, crap at work, trying to sort out my mortgage - hence the break in posts. This latest terror alert has everything this government loves - threats of mass murder, dastardly foreign villains and sterling work to foil it all by our brave boys in blue - and everything it needs to induce an atmosphere of near panic in order to justify its attempts to bring in repressive measures such as ID cards. Some of the 'security' measures brought in at airports border on the farcical - no hand luggage, essential items, including wallets(!), to be carried in transparent plastic bags, baby's milk has to be sampled by the passenger carrying it before they can board! Why don't they just ask everyone to fly naked? After all, they could be wearing explosive socks, or have their underpants soaked in a dealy toxin, which will be realeased as poison gas when combined with the methane from their farting on the flight. Apparently not even penciuls are allowed to be carried on board now - has an airliner ever been hijacked by someone holding a shapened pencil to the pilot's throat? Best of all, you can't takes books on as hand luggage! Quite right, too - you just can't trust those bloody intellectuals.

It never ceases to amaze me how such plots are always convenientally uncovered when the government's popularity is ebbing, or it is enduring a run of bad publicity. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, or owt... And that's the problem I always have with these 'plots' - they're usually incredibly elaborate and require the participation of huge numbers of highly organised individuals. When you look at the successful terror attacks which have taken place recently, they all tend to come down to very small, not terribly sophisticated, groups of fanatics, often not affiliated to any larger organisation.

I'm also always slightly cynical with regard to the so-called intelligence behind the breaking-up of these supposed plots, particularly after the Forest Gate incident when hundreds of police officers raided a house acting on 'very good' intelligence that it was a chemical bomb factory. The reality was that no evidence of such activities was uncovered and the worst 'terror' activities the two brothers living there (one of whom was shot) had been involved in was allegedly shouting abuse at soldiers on duty in London. I also recall the kind of 'evidence' which came out at a recent trial of several Muslim men for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. It all seemed to consist of the kind of bollocks and bravado one hears down the pub - you know the sort of thing: discussing how easily you could blow up your local public toilets, or assassinate John Prescott by getting an HIV-positive bloke to whack off in his pork pies, that sort of thing. I'm not saying that there aren't terror conspiracies going on out there, and that we shouldn't all be vigilant, but there's a danger of blowing things way out of proportion. Ultimately, all alleged terror plots such as this latest business do, is allow Blair and his cronies to triumphantly crow about how they're right to try and curb our freedoms in the name of security, and all those bleeding heart liberals going on about 'civil liberties' are just out of date. But like I said, I don't believe in conspiracies...

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Bloody Good Whinge...

You know, yesterday's post was the hundredth post I've made on Sleaze Diary. I'm amazed that I've got that much bullshit left in me, the amount I've poured out writing The Sleaze for the past six years. Still, for the hundred and first post, I thought I'd have a bloody good whinge about something. Now, I have to tread carefully here, because I'm about to comment on a news aggregator service which The Sleaze is still an active member of - but which turned down this blog's application to have its own feed included. Now OK, I understand how they might feel that as Sleaze Diary is really an adjunct to the main Sleaze site, it wouldn't be appropriate to carry its feed separately to the parent site's. I actually don't have a problem with that and respect their decision. However, (and there's always a however), I can't help but notice that the 'satire' category of this particular aggregator is increasingly carrying feeds from a variety of blogs, most of which I wouldn't actually classify as 'satire'. Self-indulgent shit, yes; satire, no.

Even worse, in at least one case, most of the 'headlines' in the site's feed simply link to topics on their message board. Not only is this not satire, it doesn't even constitute a story of any description. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I really think that subscribers to a news aggregator service don't expect to find themselves simply linking into some idiotic 'discussion' conducted by a bunch morons spewing forth reactionary bile. I might be a bit out of touch, but surely that's what local radio phone ins are for? Bearing in mind that I sweat blood trying to come up with mainly original material to post here, I do find it somewhat galling that the kind of bollocks I've highlighted gets carried, but Sleaze Diary is excluded. Not that I'm bitter or anything, of course...

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What a Carry On!

Catching part of Carry On Henry again the other week set me to thinking as to how you would go about making a Carry On style movie for these modern times. I know they keep on about this proposed new film Carry On London, but from what I've heard about it, it seems like a load of old bollocks - just an excuse to stick a bus-load of second-rate TV actors and comics in a crude knockabout comedy, with no attempt to address contemporary issues. Let's face it, if you were to make a Carry On film which truly reflects contemporary London, it would surely be Carry On Bombing, an everyday tale of suicide bombers and the 'War on Terror' . Moreover, with modern digital technology, surely you could dispense with all those current z-listers and instead resurrect the original Carry On team? If Gene Kelly can return from the grave to breakdance to 'Singing in the Rain' in order to advertise a car, then it should be a doddle to bring back Sid James to leer at women.

The whole thing writes itself, really. Kenneth Williams could be an Osama Bin Laden/Abul Hamza- type spiritual leader - complete with long beard, turban and a hook instead of one hand - sending out his suicide bombers from his secret base underneath Finsbury Park Mosque, in an attempt to bring London to its knees. Opposing him could be Sid James as the metropolitan Police Commissioner - forever taking time out from the 'War on Terror' to sexually harass some WPcs - and Charles Hawtrey as the Homo, sorry Home, Secretary (who's busy using MI5 surveillance teams to voyeuristically spy on toilet cubicles). Add Joan Sims as the commissioner's wife (also the object of Kenneth Williams' Mad Mullah's affections), Barbara Windsor as an undercover policewoman who comically smothers a suspect suicide bomber to death with her ample bosom, only to find he was just an ordinary flasher, Bernard Bresslaw as Williams' manic sidekick and the likes of Peter Butterworth, Jack Douglas and Kenneth Connor as incompetent suicide bombers who keep hilariously blowing up the wrong targets, and the picture is complete. I really thik this one has legs - imagine all the great sight gags you can get from Kennerh Williams nearly poking his eye out, or scratching his arse, with his hook hand.

Indeed, I'm so sure that Carry On Bombing would be a success, that I've even come up with a sequel - Carry On Up The Khyber Again, with Kenneth Williams' Mad Mullah having escaped to Afghanistan and finding himself hunted down by the British Army. Windsor Davies could be brought in as a repressed homosexual sergeant major who is forever comically abusing his privates ("They don't like it up 'em, Captain!", "Please stop buggering the men, Sergeant Major"). I can see it now: Bernard Bresslaw and his Taliban hordes put to terrified flight by the sight of a platoon of Royal Marines wrestling naked in mud, whilst their officers, clad in women's clothing, look on. Still, I do understand if some people find this sort of thing offensive. So, as an alternative, how about an hilarious comedy set in Britain's gay sub-culture - a sort of Carry On Cruising for the twenty first century? Kenneth Williams could be a hugely moustachioed gay porn star who puts his back out whilst having sex with co-star Peter Butterworth in the wheelbarrow position, who goes to a gay health farm to recover. Meanwhile, straight-as-a-dye plumbers Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw take their girlfriends, Barbara Windsor and Joan Sims, on a weekend break to the same health farm, in the mistaken belief that it is a nudist colony. Much hilarity follows as Ken becomes besotted with 'rough trade' Sid, Babs and Joan get involved in some girl-on-girl action in the sauna under the tutelage of Matron Hattie Jacques, whilst Bernie has a sexual awakening when he innocently offers to unblock Dr Charles Hawtrey's U-bend...

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Not Very Sporting

Is it just me, or does Steven Gerrard come over as well dodgy in those adverts? You know the ones I mean - where he hangs around kiddies playgrounds saying he wants children to get more involved in sports and tells us he's backing Persil's 'Be my Coach' programme. Is this really projecting the image Persil originally envisaged? Some bloke sitting on a swing watching pre-pubescent children play? A bloke with a scouse accent, at that - we all know scousers are well dodgy; on the rob, and all that, I've seen Brookside. All it needs is for him to start taking illicit photos of the kids with his camera phone and the picture would be complete. Presumably he'd be sending the photos to his mate Sven - another dodgy-looking geezer if ever there was one. I mean, with those frameless glasses, the receding hairline and that creepy avuncular manner, he comes over like one of those 'Uncles' you remember from your childhood, who were always wanting to take you 'swimming'. It doesn't take a great stretch of the imagination to conjure up nightmare visions of Sven slowing his Saab down outside schools and asking under nines 'Do you want a sweetie, little girl?' as he rustles a dirty paper bag at them, (or even worse, 'Do you want me to be your coach, little girl?).

It's no good, this is veering dangerously close to libel. For the record, I don't think that either Steven Gerrard or Sven Goran-Eriksson are nonces. Eve if they do look shifty. Mind you, that Sven was always keen on bringing in the younger players, wasn't he? First of all a teenage Rooney and more recently Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott - and there's no denying the inclusion of seventeen year old Walcott in the England World Cup was very strange. If Sven had no intention of letting him play, just why was he there, eh? In any other walk of life the word 'grooming' might be brought up to describe such a relationship between a teenage boy and a middle-aged man in a position of authority. There, I'm doing it again! Sven is not a nonce! But it so easy to make such allegations and come up with 'evidence' of this kind to back them up. Let's face it, if either Sven or Gerrard lived on a council estate, by now their houses would be besieged by baying lynch mobs egged on by the tabloid press and opportunist right-wing politicians!

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Signs of the Times

I live and learn - the other day I played back an episode of Deadwood I'd recorded a couple of weeks ago, only to find that it had a bloke superimposed in one corner signing the dialogue for the hard of hearing. At fist this seemed a mildly irritating distraction, but I soon realised it in fact presented a tremendous opportunity. Deadwood is the perfect programme from which to learn how to sign obscenities - each episode usually contains the full range of Anglo-Saxon expletives (usually uttered by Ian McShane) deployed in otherwise everyday conversations. I wasn't to be disappointed. Within the first five minutes I'd learned the international sign language gestures for 'fuck', 'motherfucker' and 'cocksucker' (the sign for which is exactly as you'd imagine it to be).

Imagine my delight when McShane was joined by another veteran Brit actor renowned for being able to deliver expletives with Shakespearian vigour - Brian Cox, no less! I was ecstatic as they proceeded to engage in conversation about homosexuality - at last I know how to sign 'prick', 'arsehole' and the act of buggery! Armed with this knowledge I can now offend even those deaf people who can't lip read! Even better, I can use this sign language to utter the most disgusting filth in front of people with normal hearing, safe in the knowledge that they probably have no idea what I'm saying! Ah, happy days!

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Critics' Corner

The writer Brian Aldiss once noted that British science fiction fandom could be characterised by the 'whine of tiny critics', in contrast to its US equivalent, which tended to be far more supportive of the objects of its affection. Indeed, I think that his observation can be applied far more widely. Here in the UK, everybody seems to be a critic - it isn't enough just to enjoy something anymore, it has to be dissected and analysed in minute detail. Now, this would be fine if the criticism involved was constructive, but more often than not it simply seems to be nit-picking and pedantry. Take the reconstituted Dr Who, as an example. Now, as someone who always enjoyed the original version, I was simply happy to see the series back after a sixteen year break. I was pleasantly surprised to find that its latest incarnation is a well-paced, slickly made, wittily written entertainment. But of course, what it isn't, is simply a continuation of the old version with rickety sets, storylines often convoluted to the point of incomprehensibility and camp costumes and performances, all produced on a zero budget. Of course, that, it seems, is precisely what the die hard Who fans wanted - they don't want progress, they can't accept that TV and audiences have moved on since the original series was cancelled. Viewers now have far higher, and different, expectations of TV drama. Not only that, but the majority of the new series viewers are not long-term Who fans, or even science fiction fans for that matter. However, these die hards are, unfortunately, highly vociferous, so message boards, phone ins and letters pages are clogged with their moronic dribblings. Look, if you don't like the new series, just fuck off and watch your videos and DVDs of those creaky old episodes from yesteryear.

But it isn't just Dr Who, we've also had campaigns by so-called fans waged against the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, before anyone has even seen him in action. For Christ's sake, let's give him a chance! But like the Who fans, these obsessive see themselves as keepers of the flame, guardians of some idea of a 'perfect' Doctor Who or James Bond. Of course, these never existed - if you watch old Bond films, they are often just as creaky as old episodes of Dr Who, and actually aren't faithful to their source material, the original Ian Fleming novels. Ultimately, the trouble with fans is that they think they have some kind of 'ownership' of the object of their affections. There is nothing so conservative as a 'fan' - they hate the idea that their interpretation of a character/book/TV series?film isn't the definitive interpretation. When their perspective is challenged, altered or reinterpreted by someone else, their response is to become a 'tiny critic', continually whingeing and sniping.

Of course, the critics would say that it is us creative types who are being over-sensitive and precious, resenting any reinterpretation or appraisal of our work. Maybe they have a point, but I feel there is good reason for our hostility to them. The other day I was reading about the '10%' principle as applied to the web. What this postulates is that for every hundred web-users, there is one who will actually create a site or community, whilst another nine or ten might contribute to it, whilst the other ninety percent will simply use the site without contributing. Now, I'd add that of that ninety per cent, a good twenty five to thirty will also take it upon themselves to criticise the work of the creative ten percent. In my experience, their criticisms are generally trivial - the number of times I've come across message board discussions of my stories where the neither the content nor style are critiqued, but instead posters gripe about the background colour of the page, or the font size! For fuck's sake, get a grip! - and seem to be made just for the sake of saying something. You see, this is what pisses us creative types off - if you are going to be a tiny critic, at least try and have something worthwhile to contribute to the debate. In fact, why not actually try and get a debate started rather than just sniping? But of course, that would require some kind of creativity on their parts, and that's what they lack and that's why they're tiny critics, whining away on some message board nobody cares about!

I know, I know, I'm just another bitter and twisted failed artist...

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Joys of Summer

So here we are, August at last - the 'silly season' no doubt imminent - and I still don't feel as if I've actually done anything 'seasonal' yet this Summer. That's the trouble with taking your main summer break at the end of August (as I habitually do) - you tend to see June, July and most of August as simply part of the journey to the holidays, and consequently tend to do nothing special during them. You wouldn't believe the opportunities for traditional British summer fun that I've passed up over the last couple of weekends, actually. Instead of visiting my elderly mother the other Sunday I could, instead, have visited my local fruit and vegetable show - it was so important that the AA (Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous) had it signposted! They were obviously expecting lots of out of town visitors for that one. not surprising really, as it apparently included Donkey rides!

Mind you, when I got to my mother's (she lives about thirty five miles away), I found that there was a tent exhibition on in her town - I'm still kicking myself for not going to that one! However, even this past weekend, there was no let up in the Summer excitement - I could have gone to the regional Game Fair (whilst I'd like to believe that this simply involved lots of pale skinned gits sitting in tents fiddling with their Playstations and X-Boxes, I suspect it actually involved shooting things with fur and/or feathers). This was obviously so popular that two alternative routes were signposted, one of which seemed to involve a hundred mile detour. Having missed another opportunity to get involved in some seasonal fun, I was even more disappointed to find, as I drove back home that evening, something called 'Music in the Air' closer to home, had apparently passed me by. At least the road signs said 'Music in the Air' - I rolled down the car windows and switched off the radio, but I couldn't hear anything. Still, all is not lost - I'm told that this weekend there is a hot air balloon event in the park opposite my house. Oh happy days - awakened at seven o'clock on a Saturday morning by the sound of those bloody heaters they use to inflate the balloons! Also, if past experience is anything to go by, there won't be any balloons amusingly shaped like huge breasts or genitalia to keep the puerile minded like myself amused.

It never ceases to amaze me, the varied ways in which we Brits keep ourselves amused during the Summer! Of course, by the time I actually take my break, all these events will be over - I'll be lucky to find a village fete to attend! Actually, it is years since I went to one of these - for the past several summers I've been promising myself that I'll spend at least one Saturday afternoon at a fete, but I still haven't got around to it. The truth is, I'd probably be deeply disappointed and be reminded of just why I don't go to the bloody things any more, (just like I was reminded the other day of why I haven't eaten pork scratchings with my beer in years - bloody disgusting; I had to throw half the packet away!). Still, all those cake contests judged by vicars and endless raffles for yet more homemade cakes and wine, have a certain appeal... Next year, perhaps. Or even better, maybe I could organise my own fete, a very sleazy fete...

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