Monday, March 31, 2008

Stop...Carry On!

Another busy Monday, so another gem from my private DVD collection is presented for your delectation and delight! This time around we highlight former Radio One DJs Mark and Lard's little-known excursion into feature films - Stop...Carry On! Following this venture's failure, and a subsequent pilot for satellite TV which saw them cast as crime solving radio DJs (they were replaced by fellow Radio One stars Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave for the short-lived series which followed), they decided to concentrate on their radio careers. Anyway, enough background, on with the review:

This is something of a throwback to those early 1950s British movies turned out by tin pot production companies trying to cash in on the transient fame of a then popular radio or music hall performer. After the relative failure of latter-day blaxploitation/cockney geezer card-sharp romp Black Ace (a follow-up to the highly successful cockney caper Lock, Stock and a Load of Old Bollocks), director Jack Goodfellow decided to go back to basics with this cheap and cheerful lottery-funded Brit comedy, featuring cult Radio One DJs Mark and Lard. Although shot whilst the Mancunian duo were at the height of their fame presenting the breakfast show, Goodfellow had the misfortune to see the movie’s release coincide with their being unceremoniously dropped from this slot. Consequently the film sank without trace; which, for Mark and Lard at least, is probably no bad thing. The finished film is real stinker, with Goodfellow’s script - which woefully attempts to build a story around Mark and Lard’s repertoire of catchphrases and comic characters - the main culprit.

The plot, such as it is, involves local radio DJ Mark Flakers (Mark Radcliffe) winning £500,000 on the lottery. Attracting unwanted attention from gold-digging women and scrounging fellow DJs, Flakers retreats to Blackpool to stay with his friend Marc “Lard” Donnelly (Marc “Lard” Riley with an Irish accent), an unemployed bass-player. In attempting to avoid his pursuers he and Donnelly become involved with a gang of counterfeiters led by the town’s mayor Fat Harry White (Radcliffe, again) and the mysterious, but beautiful, Miss Laycock (Virginia Maddikin). The denouement sees Fat Harry White stealing Flakers’ money and substituting his forged notes, only to find himself pursued by Flakers and Donnelly, who themselves are being pursued by the police, having been framed by White, for a series of peeping tom incidents. In a fraught climax, Flakers and Donnelly appear on stage in place of pop group The Shire Horses (Mark and Lard, yet again) - who are playing a gig in Blackpool - whilst the real Shire Horses , having been mistaken for the fugitive duo, are arrested and locked up by the Police, before chasing White into a local aquarium for a slapstick finale. White inevitably ends up with a wriggling fish down his trousers and mutters about “trouser trout”, the real peeping tom is caught in the act and Miss Laycock is revealed as an amnesiac nuclear physicist who has the formula for cold fusion in her bra.

Now, on paper this all sounds fine, but in practice its simply dire. A coherent and successful comedy cannot be built around a fat bloke spouting crude double-entendres about the motorcycling vicar having a fine “purple helmet”, and Lard as Donnelly running around shouting “You bloody fool!” and “I’m going to kick your arse”. There are some good moments, notably Radcliffe’s game of hat trumps with Mother Theresa, which he wins with a deerstalker, sombrero and mirrored top hat combo. Oh yes, you might think that’s Formula One commentator Murray Walker as the peeping tom - it isn’t. Its actually Murray Walker lookalike Bob Bald, who was forced to change his appearance via plastic surgery as a result of a 1998 court case brought by the real Walker, who had been mistakenly arrested for molesting a goat. The real culprit was, of course, Bob Bald. We should also be thankful for small mercies; Goodfellow had originally intended to cast his wife, American porn actress turned singer Madge Howlett as Miss Laycock, but a bad case of thrush led to a last minute change of plans. Ultimately this film is a bitter disappointment for fans of Mark and Lard. Far from being an accurate reflection of the pair’s surreal verbal wit, the film seems to be more of an attempt to revive the traditional British knockabout comedy - the viewer fully expects Lard to fall over at any minute, laughing hysterically, and shouting “Mr Grimsdale!” at Mark Radcliffe. However, one good thing did come out of its failure - Goodfellow was forced to abandon his plans to make a Brighton-set version of French gay comedy La Cage aux Folles starring Radio One favourites Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave, and Channel Four’s cheeky Graham Norton.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Still Stranger than Fiction

Watching the news this week I found myself back in the department marked 'Stranger than Fiction'. What took me there was the story about footage of young children being egged on to fight each other which was posted on the web. This was quickly followed by news that several boys had been arrested for arranging fights via a social networking site. It seems that my story last year describing the terrible new urban phenomena of organised child fighting (Fighting For the Kids) wasn't simply a product of my fevered imagination. It really does seem to be getting to the stage where you can't make up anything which someone will then contrive to emulate in real life. Of course, there's always the possibility that these people were inspired to start organising child fights by reading my story. As I've noted here many times before, there seem to be a lot of people out there on the web who appear totally incapable of discerning the difference between truth and fiction.

Mind you, it isn't just the child fighting which is being emulated in reality. Way back when, I published a story called Crime Wave, in which the British government was coming under fire for importing foreign criminals to fill the 'crime gap', caused by the shortage of indigenous law-breakers. Bizarrely, we've recently been treated to the sight of an Australian sex-offender being sent to the UK once he'd completed his sentence in Australia. Now, I know that it was presented in the press as a case of Australia exporting a criminal (in which case, one must question the wisdom of such a policy - can a country with such a small population afford to be exporting such skilled offenders), but I can't believe that he would have been allowed into the UK without some kind of work permit. Perhaps the powers-that-be have decided that we need a more exotic brand of paedophilia in this country, rather than the usual drab perverts we produce. All of this leaves me wondering which of my stories will be next to come true - perhaps next week the Archbishop of Canterbury will be busted for supplying class-A drugs.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Horror Hotel

Have you seen those new TV ads for Premier Inns? You know, the really lame ones with Lenny Henry? The ones where they try to convince us that they've moved up market. Apparently they no longer want to be known as a chain of low market flop houses, conveniently situated close to motorway service stations for tired sales reps, furtive adulterers, drug dealers making a connection and serial killers. (OK, I know that not all such establishments are part of the Premier Inns chain, I'm making a sweeping generalisation here for satirical purposes. Humour me.) These God-forsaken places, with their indentikit, soul-less rooms, are the nearest equivalent we have in this country to those back of beyond motels you see in American films. The sort of places you should never book into - if the demented hill billies running it don't bugger you senseless before murdering and eating you, you'll find yourself caught in the cross fire between rival drug gangs, framed for murder by the local cops when you find a dead hooker in your bathtub, or befriended by the local hatchet murderer.

I remember once having to visit one of these places on business (to be fair, I don't think it was a Premier Inn); although it wasn't near a motorway service station, (it was situated in the back of trading estate, between Allied Carpets and Homebase), it was every bit as depressing as you'd expect. From the moment you walked in, it was quite clear why these are the sorts of places that people frequently check into, just to check out. There was no foyer, just a dingy, featureless entrance. Instead of reception, there was, quite literally, a cupboard off to one side. It had a stable-type door, the top half of which was open to reveal a shelf which passed for a desk, whilst the whole rear wall (situated barely three feet behind the door), consisted entirely of clicking and whirring meters and fuse boxes. It didn't exactly scream 'up market'. The 'manager' (a spotty faced youth of, it seemed, about twelve), eventually appeared after ten minutes of me pressing the bell for attention, looking dishevelled and short of breath. I can only assume that he'd just been disposing of that OD'd junkie in room 112. I was left wondering whether it was the sheer shittiness of such places that draw the suicidal to them like magnets, or whether it is simply the fact that they are so depressing that people are driven to suicide when they stay in them? Whatever, we can but hope that Lenny Henry's campaign on behalf of Premier Inns encourages some of his less palatable showbiz colleagues to turn up dead in low-rent hotel rooms.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Magnificent Twelve Apostles

I know it's Easter, but I really do object to being accosted in the street by faux-nuns and getting preached at. On the one hand, Easter is another of those pagan festivals co-opted by the Christians (even its name derives from a pagan fertility goddess), so we should all be dancing naked around some stone circle, rather than listening to the likes of the Archbishop of Canterbury droning on. On the other, the people accosting me weren't even 'proper' Christians, they were from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (which has several denominations, the best known of which are the Mormons). Strangely enough, on a freezing cold Bank Holiday, with snow trying to fall, I'm really not in the mood to engage in theological discussions. Mind you, it isn't just on the street that the God-botherers are accosting us - I've had a double dose of Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster in past few days; on TV denouncing human-animal hybrid embryo research, then in The Guardian today denouncing atheistic secularism. I find it quite disturbing that Murphy-O'Connor, the child molester's friend, is allowed to bang on about how embryo research will 'create monsters'. Can't the Catholic church stand the competition?

Is it any wonder that church attendances (of all denominations) are falling if this sort of thing is the best they can do in terms of recruitment. Really, Catholic Bishops ranting out anti-science bigotry and trying to influence the legislative process of a Protestant country, or simply annoying strangers on the street, are not the best ways to showcase your beliefs. Neither presents a particularly positive or progressive image. No, what they need to do is put a modern spin on their faith, one which today's youth can relate to. What they need to do is make a film which 're-imagines' the story of Christ in much the same way that Hollywood has 're-imagined' all those old TV shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, or Mission Impossible. Perhaps they could have Steven Seagal as Christ, who tries to bring justice to the Roman-occupied Holy Land through peaceful means, but finally has to admit defeat and decides that he needs both a new approach and heavy weight help to fulfil his mission. Consequently, he goes off and recruits twelve kick-ass apostles, much in the manner of Yul Brynner in the Magnificent Seven. Each of them could have some kind of special skills based on their professions: the fishermen could hurl nets at villains to entangle them, for instance. They could all be played by action stars like Bruce Willis, Claude van Damme, Stallone and Arnie. Maybe Vin Diesel could be Judas Iscariot. Overcome with remorse at his betrayal of Jesus, he goes on a rampage, using his pieces of silver as weapons to take out Roman soldiers, before finally being cut down. Believe me, this could be a winner - and it would be far better than accosting people on street corners.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Licence to Surf

I've come to the conclusion that some people just shouldn't be allowed internet access. They clearly can't handle the surfeit of information they find there, and/or are totally lacking the mental capabilities to understand differing viewpoints, or engage in meaningful and rational discourse. I'm proposing that before you can sign up for an internet connection, you should have to take some kind of test to establish your intelligence level. Based on the results of this, you'd be issued with a licence to surf. Obviously, only the most intelligent would be awarded full licences which would allow them full and unfettered access to the whole web. Others would be given licences which would restrict them only to those parts of the web they are capable of understanding. Gullible idiots and conspiracy theorists, for instance, wouldn't be allowed near satire and humour sites, as they are clearly incapable of discerning fact from fiction, and such sites might confuse them. Similarly, brain dead morons with IQs less than their shoe size and 'opinions' provided by the media would not, under any circumstances, be allowed near forums.

So, I hear you asking, what has brought about this train of thought? Well, I recently had the misfortune to visit the forums on The Sun's web site. Jesus! Talk about the droolings of morons! Every knee jerk reaction and idiocy known to man can be encountered there, posted by people who should never be allowed near a keyboard. It is truly terrifying that such ignorance and bigotry can still be found in the 21st century. It wouldn't be so bad if this sort of thing could be confined to ghettos like The Sun's forums, but sadly you find the same sort of moronic commentary repeated all over the web. If it isn't the bigots, it is the conspiracy theorists with their disregard for reason and facts, then there are the 'fans'. God save me from the 'fans'! Worst of all are the so called 'fans' of cult TV series and films, the pillocks who see themselves as guardians of some fundamental 'truth' about the object of their obsessions. Any deviance from the 'accepted' orthodoxy of the series or film's formula is heresy. Woe betide any one who dares to vary these formulae, as Russell T Davies has found with Dr Who. It doesn't matter that the new version is hugely popular, critically acclaimed and far more sophisticated and accessible than the original - it isn't true to the fans' vision! He's tinkered with it without consulting them! How dare he! You wouldn't believe the amount of hate out there for Davies, and all he's done is breathed new life into a much loved old favourite.

In fact, there's a lot of hate out there on the web generally. It's just full of horrible bastards spewing out bile. It really is sad, the web presents a tremendous opportunity for individuals to express themselves creatively. Instead, people seem to spend most of their time attacking others in the most vicious ways. I wouldn't mind, but they aren't even witty or clever about it. They just call anybody who disagrees with them 'cunts' and tell them to 'fuck off'. I really do find it wearying. Indeed, I'm seriously considering withdrawing from all activities on the web other than updating The Sleaze and this blog. Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky, but I'm afraid I really don't 'get' this new fangled 'Web 2.0' with its social networking sites and where yobs uploading videos of their anti-social behaviour passes for content creation. In the meantime, I'm taking an Easter break, so I'll only be posting here infrequently over the next week and a bit. Maybe a break will help refresh my jaded perspective on all things web-related.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Inside the Conspiracy

OK, I know that a while back I said that I was going to stop obsessing about those 'Paul-is-Dead' fruitcakes over at 60IF but, they posted about one of my stories again. So they started it this time! At least, that's my rationale for returning to the subject. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I'm apparently part of the conspiracy:

"After re-reading this, I think that the "I buried Paul" part of the article may have been written as an inside joke, there's a lot of interesting parallels there, & this kind of satirical humor was v.much enjoyed by The Beatles, Neil Innes & others in that circle.The 1st part of the article, which is a bit OTT, IMO, may be a diversary.The 'donuts' thing rings a bell, I can't think frm where tho'. "

Having re-read I Buried Paul myself, I'm not really sure how the first part of the story could be considered OTT. It's actually the most restrained part of the whole exercise, bearing in mind that the latter two thirds of the story involve the ghost of George Harrison being summoned and its revelation that the key to the whole mystery can be found in the lyrics of 'Obla di, obla da'. However, I am fascinated by the implication that I'm part of an 'inside joke' perpetrated by 'that circle'. Well, I can assure you all that I have never been a member of 'The Beatles', I'm much younger than Neil Innes (and have more hair), and I'm pretty damn sure that I was never Brian Epstein, Don Knotts or anybody else involved in this fantasy conspiracy. I've also never met Paul McCartney (either the real one or his supposed double), or anybody associated with him/them. (Although I do admit that I've got a couple of his early post-Beatles albums).

As for the business involving Jane Asher and the doughnut (although it turned out to be a chocolate eclair), well, I don't know where this fellow thinks he remembers it from as, like the rest of the story, it originates solely from my fevered imagination!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Getting on my Hobby Horse...

Why is it that anybody with a hobby other than heavy drinking, football hooliganism and watching pornography are characterised by the media as being somehow weird? Collectors of anything, be it stamps, old pulp magazines or Nazi memorabilia are all lumped together as being 'obsessive'. Bird watchers and their ilk are all treated as if they are potential voyeurs, whilst anybody who builds anything as a pastime., be it plastic kits or doll's houses are clearly immature and have never grown up. It doesn't get any better if you are into more modern interests, like computer gaming - borderline psychopaths - or programming: geeks. It doesn't matter who you are, as soon as you admit to having a hobby, you become the object of ridicule. Take Rod Stewart, for instance. No sooner had his model railway layout been featured in 'Model Railroader' magazine then the snide comments from TV presenters and journalists commenced. Similarly, I recently saw Pete Waterman having to endure the usual derision and contempt when his railway modelling activities were brought up on a BBC chat show. Interestingly, at no point did anyone question the male presenter's infantile obsession with West Bromwich Albion. Surely going to watch twenty two grown men kicking a bladder around a field every Saturday - whilst shouting abuse at eleven of them - can't be classified as 'normal', or particularly mature?

Here, of course, I have to admit a vested interest: I have a model railway in my spare room. Indeed, I've had a model railway since I was about six - first of all clockwork, later electric. For several years it was all packed away. Indeed, I nearly sold all my equipment a few years ago. However, I decided instead to finally try building my 'dream' layout. Believe me, researching, planning and constructing a model railway is in no way 'childish'. It involves a lot of effort, both physical and mental, and the mastering of a wide range of skills, from soldering, through carpentry to precision painting. What it does provide is a degree of pleasurable escape from the demands of real life. It represents a whole alternative world one can become totally absorbed in for a few hours. Even just watching those little trains running round the track can be terribly relaxing. All of which, of course, is the purpose of any hobby. As you can tell, I'm tired of the media sneering at the whole idea of hobbies. Particularly as they don't actually seem willing to suggest exactly what it is that we should be doing in our spare time instead of playing with our trains? Drinking? Aren't they always telling us how bad that is? Watching football? Hooligans. Going to strip clubs? Sexist exploitation. Nah, I'll stick to the trains...


Monday, March 17, 2008

Off the Stroke

I'm afraid that I'm going to have to withdraw my recent challenge for celebrities to sponsor me to whack off due to health worries. Whilst practicing for Hand Relief over the weekend I nearly suffered a coronary. Trust me, experiencing sudden shortness of breath and chest pains while in mid-stroke is no laughing matter. I gamely carried on (albeit at a slower pace) and completed the exercise, but with understandably disappointing results. I spent the rest of the weekend on 'light duties', just looking at mildly naughty pictures, for fear that any sudden erections would divert blood from my vital organs, with dire consequences. I'm at a loss to explain these developments, it wasn't as if I was using hardcore porn as a stimulus or engaging in any extreme masturbatory fantasies at the time - just the regular run-of-the-mill stuff, no bondage, hot wax or buttered buttocks.

Clearly, before I can even think about taking on the Hand Relief challenge, I'm going to have to engage in a fitness programme to ensure that I'm able to perform without risk to my health. I'm obviously going to have to go back to basics, with some mild work outs to lingerie catalogues before working my way up through regular top shelf stuff to hardcore bondage web sites. Pacing is going to be of vital importance, maintaining an even rhythm to ensure endurance. I think posture might have something to do with it as well - I'll have to cut out off the wrist armchair quickies in the sitting position in favour of properly paced hand jiving in the prone position. That should help the blood flow. So, hopefully I should be back to full wanking fitness in a few months, then the challenge can recommence!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Hand Relief

Is it just me, or is Sport Relief just a charity telethon too far? Yet another Friday evening's viewing on BBC is blighted by the presence of various celebrities and sports persons showing us just how virtuous they are by giving up their valuable time, free of charge, to urge us mere mortals to give our hard earned cash to charity. Now, bearing in mind that most professional sportsmen are even more overpaid than actors and entertainers - it isn't unusual for Premiership footballers, for instance, to earn £50,000 a week - why don't they just all donate a week's wages? Believe me, that'd raise far more than all those 'hilarious' charity stunts they want us to sponsor them to do. I'm sorry to sound like such a miserable old git, but I really am sick and tired of these charity events where endless parades of wealthy sportsmen, comedians, actors, pop stars and the like tell me how wicked I am for not donating any of my meagre wages. But it's OK, none of them are being paid a fee for harassing me.

If it isn't Sport Relief, then it's bloody Comic Relief or Children in Need. Why don't we just keep it simple and have Hand Relief. In fact, I'll lay down the challenge here - I'm asking Britain's celebrities to sponsor me for wanking. Yes folks, I'm quite prepared to get in a good stock of jazz mags and tissues and devote a whole evening to jerking off. Don't worry - you won't have to pay up unless I actually ejaculate. And just to prove that I'm actually doing the deed, I'm even ready to set up a web cam and broadcast the whole event on the net. I promise that all proceeds will go to charity - I won't be charging a fee, I'll even pay for my own wank mags - and I won't spend any of them on beer. So come on Terry Wogan, Jonathan Ross et al, sign up now to Hand Relief, you know you can all afford a quid or two to keep me pleasured!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Drag Queens' Den

Wouldn't the awful Dragon's Den be so much better if the panel of suits who sit in judgement on would-be entrepreneurs were instead a bunch of drag queens in garish make up and high heels? It would certainly make them seem a bloody sight less pretentious. It's difficult to seem smug and superior when you're wearing fish net stockings and a short skirt and, as far as I can see, the main purpose of this series is the ritual humiliation of 'ordinary' people in order to emphasise just how clever and successful the panel are. It's just one of a how slew of programmes which seem to dominate our TV schedules in which a group of supposedly successful 'professionals' sit in judgement on members of the public. Usually this 'judgements' consist of abuse and belittling of the contestants' abilities. Whilst it is true that most of the contestants are shit, they still don't deserve that kind of treatment.

But of course, it isn't about the contestants, it is really about stroking the egos of the judges. They just want to show us all how fabulously talented, successful, clever, rich and, most importantly, powerful, they are. They've spent years in their own little worlds, be it showbiz management or business, stroking their egos, throwing their weight about, trampling on underlings, yet to the wider world their success and talent is unknown. How frustrating that must be; knowing that you are incredibly important, yet having to lurk in the shadows whilst the likes of performers, artists, innovative whizz kids and the like hog the limelight! Bastards! Just because they actually produce something that is unique, they think they're entitled to reap all the rewards! So, how best to show the world where the real power lies? Obviously, you devise TV formats where you get to fuck with the lives of ordinary folk, making God-like decisions which will affect their futures. Which is why they should dress as drag queens while they do it. To emphasis how bloody pathetic they are. Especially that Scots git in Dragon's Den - put him in a floral print dress, that'll cut him down to size!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Over the Moon

Until his untimely death in 1978, Who drummer Keith Moon was one of rock's greatest hell-raisers, renowned for wrecking hotel rooms and causing chaos. Tales of his exploits are legendary and make the antics of current would-be pop bad-boys, such as the Gallagher brothers, seem like a vicarage tea party. However, not all of Moon's crazy capers have been made public - until now! Speaking exclusively to Sleaze Diary, former top roadie Flinty O'Clinker has revealed many of the Moonster's amazing secrets - including his bizarre penis obsession. "Keith was fascinated by anything that looked remotely like a knob", he told us. "John Lennon reckoned it was because Keith felt inadequate about the size of his own todger - but I think that's just bollocks. Moony was hung like a baboon!". The Who drummer's obsession led to him amassing a huge collection of phallic objects at his Surrey mansion. These ranged from provocatively shaped parsnips to fabulous jewel-encrusted Faberge dildoes originally made for the Romanovs. The collection included a pair of rare steel knob sheaths shaped like cockerel's heads. These were used in the little-known nineteenth century sport of Cornish cock-fighting, when two naked men would strap the sheaths on over their skin-boats and, with their hands tied behind their backs, fence with the sharpened beaks of the sheaths. A demonstration of this to guests at a drunken party in 1976 allegedly resulted in teen-bopper David Cassidy being admitted to hospital with severe lacerations.

Pride of his collection was a blue whale's penis, which he advertised as 'The Largest Penis in the World', when he opened the collection to the public at bank holidays. Sadly, this led to his downfall when, in 1977, Surrey Trading Standards took him to court for fraud, claiming that the exhibit was actually made of papier-mache and therefore could not be the world's largest penis. The case was thrown into chaos when the prosecuting barrister, Thomas Squeers QC, told the judge that he could conclusively prove that Moon's claims were false. Squeers then dropped his trousers shouting, "Obviously it can't be the globe's biggest member, as I have the largest penis in the world!" He then waved his member at the gallery. Whilst the judge fined Squeers £2,000 for perjury, he found against Moon and ordered that the whole collection be seized and destroyed on the grounds of public decency. The following year Moon died a broken man. Says O'Clinker; "I know they claimed his death was down to drugs, but I know that it was the result of a broken heart after the loss of his beloved penis collection."

Labels: ,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Green Fingers

Day time television viewers were left shocked after popular gardening expert Adam Tithead appeared to suffer an on air breakdown. Throughout Monday's edition of his show Green Fingers, forty three year old Tithead repeatedly squeezed a pair of large ripe melons, much to the discomfort of their owner, amateur horticulturalist Jane Wabbs, a guest on that morning's programme. Finally, after having spent the entire programme casting lustful glances at the pair, whilst stroking his prize marrow, Tithead dropped his trousers as the end credits rolled and masturbated furiously over the big melons, ejaculating spectacularly just as transmission ended. Tithead's latest antics should, perhaps, come as no surprise. His anchoring of Green Fingers marked the climax of a remarkable comeback for the gardener - fifteen years earlier he had been spectacularly sacked by the BBC from his high-profile role as resident horticulture expert on flagship children’s programme Blue Peter. He originally got the job on the recommendation of his gardening idol, veteran Gardener's World presenter Percy Thrower. His dismissal came after it emerged that, amongst other unsavoury practices, had used his own excreta to fertilise the Blue Peter garden at BBC Television Centre.

Even more disturbingly, it was discovered that after Percy Thrower's death, a distraught Tithead had, using pruning shears, taken 'cuttings' from the body and planted them in the programme's Italian sunken garden in the hope that he could somehow re-grow the great gardener. Millions of children were severely traumatised when, during a live transmission, presenter John Noakes came across seven of Thrower's mouldering fingers amongst the lupins in a flower bed. The other missing digits have never been found, leading to fears that Tithead might try once more to grow a new Percy Thrower. Furious at being sacked, Tithead wrecked the Blue Peter garden. Presenter Peter Purves was initially mistakenly blamed for this outrage, leading to his sudden resignation from the programme and relegation to darts commentating duties. It is believed that Tithead's latest breakdown could be linked to the recent breakdown of his marriage. His wife is currently filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery after finding Tithead in naked bed fumbling with a large bush. He later claimed that he was merely pruning it.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

We Just Want the Facts...

The world truly has gone mad. This week a TV drama series found itself criticised for making something up! A recent episode of The Bill featured, as a plot device, a fictional drug which could provide relief for MS sufferers. I'm guessing that they chose to feature a made up drug as, if they'd used the name of a real drug, they'd have been accused of misleading people as to its properties, and thereby giving false hope to MS sufferers. They probably also feared that there'd be a flurry of people trying to obtain any real drug they featured. In the event, despite believing they were being responsible, the programme's makers found themselves under fire for creating false hope amongst MS sufferers by implying that there was some kind of wonder drug treatment for it! For fuck's sake, are people really that stupid? Do they really think that The Bill is a a documentary series about the work of the police?

It's fiction for Christ's sake! Everything featured in it is fictional! Mind you, I have personal experience that some people have difficulties in coming to terms with the difference between fact and fiction. In the days when The Sleaze had a message board, I had some moron posting there complaining that the story claiming that there had been a 'lost' Doctor between Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker in Dr Who, was, as he put it, "complete bollocks". Apparently he'd checked on the Internet Movie Database, amongst other sources, and the actor named in the story didn't exist, thereby proving it wasn't true! It never seemed to occur to him that the story was deliberately untrue, ie fictional! I at first suspected that it was some kind of elaborate 'ironic' joke on the poster's part. But no, it quickly became apparent that he was serious. When it was pointed out to him that the story was fictional and published on a site devoted to satirical fiction, he became quite abusive!

The guy's lack of critical faculties was astounding - at no point did it occur to him that he was reading fiction. Not even when the story claimed that Jon Pertwee had been sacked after going mad and attempting to sacrifice the actress playing his assistant whilst in the grip of a delusion that he was a High Priest of the Roman Goddess Mania. He just took it all at face value! What a knob! I'd like to think that he learned an important lesson from this debacle. However, I have a nasty feeling that he was one of the dicks complaining about The Bill last week...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Boozed Up Britain?

Apparently it's all the fault of the supermarkets. The end of civilisation as we know it, that is. If the likes of Tesco didn't go around selling cheap alcohol to all and sundry then we wouldn't be blighted with binge drinking. Drunken teenagers wouldn't be hanging around our street corners waiting to murder passers-by. Booze-fuelled anti social behaviour would be a thing of the past. Or so the government would have us believe. Now, I'm afraid that this is an assertion that I really have to take issue with, on several counts. Firstly, and most importantly - exactly where in the average supermarket can I find this cheap booze? OK, I know that you can buy that economy own-brand lager and bitter, but that surely doesn't count, does it? I mean, it's virtually undrinkable - you're better off just pouring it straight down the toilet and cutting out the middle man. All the regular brand name beers are still pretty pricey. Sure, I know that they're still cheaper than they are in the pub, but that isn't difficult.

All of which brings me to my second point - the hoodies on the street most certainly aren't getting tanked up on Sainsbury's own brand piss water. Apart from the fact that it is disgusting, it is also so weak that they'd have to drink gallons of the stuff to get even mildly tipsy, let alone completely shit-faced. No, in my experience, they tend to drink the regular stuff, the strong lagers with a high alcohol content. The expensive strong lagers. Binge drinking and anti social behaviour on our streets has very little to do with the availability of cheap alcohol. Taking the two things separately, binge drinking seems to go on in nightclubs and bars (if the tabloids are to be believed) where, as we've already noted, alcohol prices are extortionate. As for those disaffected teenagers prowling our streets in a state of inebriation, surely the key question is why they indulge in such behaviour? What is its root causes? The drinking is just a symptom of a deeper malaise, not the cause. Perhaps the fact that they have nothing else to do is part of it - thanks to our health and safety obsession it's even too dangerous for them to play football in parks. Actually, there's a large part of the problem - most of the teenage activities considered as 'normal' only a few years ago, are now classified as 'anti social'. We've criminalised them before they've even done anything. But hey, what do I know? I've probably had too much of that cheap booze from Asda...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Fantasy Football

The funny thing about following a football team is that their relative success or failure does not alone dictate whether you've had a 'good' season. For me, as a semi-estranged Spurs supporter, our season has effectively peaked with the win against Chelsea in the League Cup final. Not only is it a nice trophy, but it guarantees a place in next season's UEFA cup. With the team placed midway in the table, the League itself is now purely academic - we don't need a top five finish for European football and relegation is highly unlikely. Plus, we're still in the UEFA cup. However, the season could still get better, regardless of how Spurs do in the UEFA cup or League. For a start, Arsenal could win nothing - they could go out of the Champions league and be pipped to the Premiership title by United.

Sweet though that would be, the season could get even better if Newcastle were to be relegated (very possible on current form), and Kevin Keegan resigned or, even better, got sacked. Happy though that would make me - Toon fans have been asking for a fall for a long time with their over-inflated opinion of their team - the icing on the cake would be if Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions league and Rafa Benitez was subsequently sacked. I really am sick of those bloody whingeing scousers going on about how they "wuz robbed" every time they lose (so we've heard it a lot this season), and their manager forever making lame excuses. It would be especially gratifying if Everton (described as "not a big club" by Benitez) finished in fourth place and snatched the last Champions league slot.

So there you have it - fantasy football, for sure, but it would be wonderful if it panned out like that. Maybe I should put a 50p bet on it - the odds might be good enough to give me a big, big payout if it did come off. Still, even if it doesn't - we've still got the League cup and a place in Europe next season!


Monday, March 03, 2008

My Gun is Long

Another gem from my private DVD collection: My Gun is Long, a 1978 hardboiled crime thriller...

A follow-up to director Tod Cocker’s magnificent 1975 S&M thriller Kiss My Whip, this movie chronicles the further adventures of hard-boiled London private-eye Tom Mulligan, played this time by former body-builder and catalogue model Jake Choad (replacing porn star Biff Gloy, who was busy shooting Come Blow My Flute). Backed by German money (Kiss My Whip was a major success in West Germany), the film makes extensive use of German locations, cast and crew. Sadly, this somewhat dissipates Cocker’s attempts to recreate the minimalist existentialist style of the original. Nevertheless, My Gun is Long is considerably better than many other international co-productions of the period.

The plot involves Mulligan being hired to investigate the suicide of a British MP, which leads him into a complex blackmail plot involving a missing underground hardcore porn film, an extreme masochist group and a gang of Baader-Meinhoff style German terrorists. As in the first film, Mulligan pursues his investigations with brutal vigour. However, having been awakened to his latent sado-masochistic tendencies in Kiss My Whip, he is seen working himself up into a state of sexual ecstasy as he beats and tortures information from various characters, both male and female. Here Cocker makes full use of close-up shots to show Mulligan’s face as his interrogations reach a climax. Once again, parallel with the unravelling of the mystery, the film chronicles the development of Mulligan’s hitherto sublimated sexual desires. Two scenes in particular stand out. In one, the private-eye’s questioning of research assistant Jane Berkeley (Virginia Laycock) - involving the extensive use of nipple-clamps - ends with her tied naked to a chair as Mulligan rips off his trousers and ejaculates over her face. She responds by performing fellatio on him. The second notable scene sees Mulligan, frustrated by a male suspect’s refusal to break under fierce torture, pull down his pants once more, and give the man a damn good buggering. Indeed, duality of nature is the central theme of the film: whilst politicians and businessmen pursue respectable lives by day, they gleefully participate in amateur porn movies and masochistic orgies by night. Similarly, prim and proper Berkeley discovers a penchant for bondage and a soul mate in brutal Mulligan. For his part, homophobic Mulligan is forced to acknowledge his attraction to tough and masterful men.

Eventually Mulligan’s investigations lead him to Germany and a confrontation with the leader of the blackmail ring, a gross pervert who enjoys self-administered enemas. He proves to merely be a front for a terrorist group who are attempting to subvert Western capitalistic democracy by turning its own decadence (in the form of the secret porno flick) against itself. This sudden lurch into James Bond territory sits uneasily with the preceding portions of the film. The climax - which sees Mulligan giving an enforced fire-hose enema to the terrorist leader, with very messy results - lacks the imagination and verve of the previous film’s denouement. Nevertheless, Cocker makes good use of his German locations (a neon-lit sequence in Nuremberg's sordid red light district is particularly noteworthy), although some of the German cast seem out of their depth - poor dubbing on the English version does not help. However, chubby Gunther Felchsteiner (a dead ringer for Radio One DJ Chris Moyles) gives a memorable turn as the blackmail ring-leader. The sight of him walking around stark naked, his body glistening with baby oil, is quite arresting, and contrasts sharply with the firm muscular physicality of Choad. Overall, not quite a classic, but still a must for lovers of off-beat cinema.