Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Saint Shilpa

So, Shilpa Shetty is the winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2007. Big surprise? Not really. Perhaps Shilpa's success seemed a touch predictable and obvious given all that she'd endured during her stay in the house. But on the whole I still felt her victory was thoroughly deserved.

Initially I thought Shilpa was going to be a diva of the highest order, in the J-Lo, Mariah Carey or Diana Ross vein. As an esteemed and successful film star with an entourage, I was half-expecting to see her lording it over the other housemates, ordering them around and making them do her bidding at every opportunity. Which just goes to show one should never go by first impressions, as Ms Shetty turned out to be nothing like this.

Whilst there were undeniable cultural differences between Shilpa and some of the other celebrities, she proved herself to be a calm, graceful and dignified person (sorry Steve, nicked some of your adjectives there...am in agreement with your views though!) Moreover, she rose above the petty squabbles and stupidity exhibited by certain other housemates and treated everyone equally and with respect. In her post-win interview with Davina, Shilpa very graciously stated that she wanted to forget all the problems that had occurred in the house and was prepared to forgive Jade and co for what had happened. Blimey. She truly IS a Saint. Despite Shilpa's incredible capacity for forgiveness, I can't exactly see her and the others being best buddies in the future! She also seemed upset when Davina showed her all the clips of Jade, Jo and Danielle bitching about her. Well, who wouldn't?

And this morning I turned on GMTV to see Jo O'Meara crying about what had happened before and saying she was sorry, blah blah blah, or words to that effect. Crocodile tears, girlfriend? Or are you just scared you've royally f*cked your (already pitiful) career?

Viva Shilpa!! The just always get their reward in the end.

And the witches...deserve to have their broomsticks shoved where the sun doesn't shine. Although I think the metaphorical equivalent of that is already happening to all of them.

Until Celebrity Big Brother 2008, then!

Meanwhile, I will have to find some other topics to write about...yikes!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

What's your IQ?

I just did this test and - considering that I found it rather taxing and horrid in places (I'm not the most mathematically gifted or logically minded person) - actually finished up with a pretty good result:

Testriffic IQ test

That makes me less than a "Regional Genius" or "Universal Genius" but BETTER than "Extremely Brilliant". Yaaaay!!

Of course if I'd got "Mentally Retarded" or even "Around Average" you don't really think I'd have posted the result, do you??

Now YOU have a go!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Being bookish (again)

Oh dearie me! I am losing my marbles. I completely forgot that my good friend Stephen has just finished writing the first draft of his very own novel. A fantasy story, no less. And generous person that he is, he's sent me and a few other trusted friends an advance copy for perusal. I have printed off the first part and intend to start on it soon. So that will keep me going in the reading stakes, won't it? Eh readers?

However I would STILL welcome your most enlightened suggestions as to:
a) decent authors
b) decent novels
c) anything on the entire planet that is remotely worth reading. Jilly Cooper notwithstanding.

After all it won't take me the rest of my life to finish Stephen's draft. But I do have the rest of my life to read lots more fabulous books.

Being bookish...

I have suffered the misfortune of reading a spate of crap books recently. I've fallen for the blurb/hype, bought the book, read it and ended up sorely disappointed. Why can't I find something decent to read for gawd's sakes?

The Time Traveller's Wife sounded like an intriguing concept, and being a science-fiction/fantasy fan, I thought it would be right up my street. It's about a guy who has a rare genetic disorder which causes him to involuntarily travel through time. He then meets a young girl with whom he later has a relationship (when she becomes a woman) but matters are rather complicated by the fact that he constantly jumps backwards and forwards in time and is never around for long periods. Sounds pretty interesting eh? Unfortunately I found the central characters self-involved, annoying and the whole thing had an atmosphere of pretentiousness about it. Although I've read many novels featuring middle class characters in artistic settings with artistic temperaments, I just couldn't warm to this lot.

Next I tried Until I Find You by John Irving. I'd really enjoyed A Prayer for Owen Meany a number of years back. John Irving's novels always feature decidedly eccentric characters and situations and he has a very quirky writing style. His latest is about a young boy called Jack whose mother is a tattoo artist. In the first half of the story Jack travels with his mother across Europe as she searches for his father through the subculture of tattoo artists. But he can't be found. Jack returns to the United States, and studies in Canada and New England, later becoming a Hollywood actor. But he is still haunted by his past...Man, this novel was long!! 900 pages!! However I didn't even make it to half way through. In spite of some quirky characters and situations, and moments of black humour, the whole thing just didn't add up for me, and I gave up on it. Again I found it hard to care about the characters or what happened. And (I'm sure many of you will share this view) the sign of a good book is that you can't a) put it down b) wait to come back to it! Yet "Until" inspired neither response in me. So it's off to the charity shops with that one...

I confess I have mixed tastes when it comes to literature/novels. I'm an English Literature Post-grad and ex English teacher (well, la-di-da, daaarling! Get ME!) Consequently I'm fairly well versed in the "classic" authors. Note my placing of "classic" in inverted commas as I do believe that some of the so-called great works of literature are very overrated. Some ARE deserving of this status. I will always love Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights for instance. However, I also have a real penchant for, er, "lesser" works of fiction. Several years ago, I got seriously hooked on author Andrea Newman (anyone remember A Bouquet of Barbed Wire? A Sense of Guilt?) She writes mainly about middle class sh*gging and her stuff is totally rivetting. Horrible, selfish characters though. And I loved Peyton Place by Grace Metalious and all its sequels. Basically I'm a trash/soap queen at heart.

I'm also into gay fiction and the works of several gay/lesbian authors fill my shelves, although this genre of writing has burgeoned so much in the last couple of decades it's now hard to keep up with what's new. Which leads me to the last thing I read, Service Wash by Rupert Smith. Yes, you've guessed. Another disappointment for demanding old moi. This one looked good when I read about it and again I thought it would be just my thing. All about a gay author who is hired to write the biography of a successful soap star. However it's not as straightforward a job as he thinks...This started off reasonably but was no masterpiece, being very predictable in places (I was probably expecting too much anyway - the subject matter isn't exactly deep stuff is it?). The whole story went off the rails at the end, with an attempt to pull the rug from under the reader's feet that was frankly ludicrous. And a totally pantaloonies ending.

So....help me!! Yes, this is an appeal to YOU my lovely fellow bloggers and readers. Can anyone please recommend a DECENT book to read? Or a DECENT author?

(Actually I read Lubin's blog today and he wrote about a book called World War Z - An Oral History Of The Zombie War which sounds very intriguing. Oddly enough a man sat opposite me on the train the other day was reading this. Perhaps it's a sign from above).

But in the meantime, I would be sooo grateful if any of you could point me in the way of a DECENT writer / book! Pretty please! I'll even consider Jilly Cooper!!

Gosh, did I really just say that? Desperation sets in...

And to give you an idea of what I like, here's some of my fave raves...some already mentioned...

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Irvine Welsh
Meera Syall
Patrick Suskind
Tama Janowitz
Andrea Newman
Grace Metalious
Robert Rodi
Felice Picano
Armistead Maupin
John Updike

...Thanking you!

Out go Cleo and Jo...

I'm feeling ill and run down again...grrr! Have a bit of a throat virus and a blocked nose at the mo, which I think I picked up from someone at work. Double grrr! And I thought I was done with colds and coughs for the time being, especially as I had a flu immunisation a short while back. It doesn't seem to have done the trick. Although as someone pointed out, real flu is far more severe than this. So maybe it's helped a bit, I dunno...I'm sure the cold weather we're currently enduring has got something to do with it too.

Anyway enough moaning and groaning. I have the whole weekend to crash, unwind and get better at home. Which is nice. I love being cosy and cuddled up chez moi. Lots of time to surf the net, write some more blog posts, read my fellow bloggers' own stuff, and catch some TV...I've got lots of DVDs to watch too like "Space 1999" and the first series of "Fame". Oooh!!

I had to curtail a night out last night due to my impending illness and came home early just in time to see the latest CBB eviction. It's all about to finish and on Sunday the overall winner will be announced. Hard to believe that it's nearly all over, the weeks have sped by.

And it was Cleo and Jo who were voted out this time. While I felt Jo deserved to be evicted, I was a bit shocked that Cleo was chosen for the other ousting.

As you might have gathered from my previous posts, I'm not much of a fan of Ms O'Meara. Firstly because of her schoolgirl bullying with Jade and Danielle against Shilpa. Second, because I didn't really think she was a particularly engaging or likeable personality. The usual montage of clips we saw in the post-eviction interview was a nifty piece of editing and media manipulation, with lots of shots of Jo laughing and smiling, dancing and dressed up in a variety of costumes and generally looking like a jolly soul. However for the majority of her stay in the house I found her to be someone who didn't "give out" much or make any kind of significant effort or contribution to proceedings. Most of the time she seemed content to lie back on her bed, doing remarkably little, with a face like a permanently slapped a*se.

And once again it was good to see Davina giving an evictee the grilling they deserved. As with Jade, Jo was subjected to a barrage of news clips showing all of the media ruckus surrounding the accusations of racism / bullying, which clearly came as a surprise to her. She told Davina "it's making it out to be worse than it is" but once the show of clips had finished she didn't have much else to say, seemingly shocked into silence, which was rather telling. Davina didn't spare her blushes though. She asked Jo about the Jade-Shilpa row and why she didn't intervene, to which Jo replied that it was between Jade and Shilpa only. Davina responded: "But you were complicit in what happened though, weren't you?" True enough.

In Jo's defense she said she wasn't a racist (apparently some of her relatives are Indian) and that she and some of the other housemates even mimicked Shilpa in her presence, which Ms Shetty herself found funny. I guess it's a case of not what you say, but the intent behind what's said and exactly how far one is prepared to go with things. To refer to an example of my own, some of my close friends occasionally make gay jokes. I don't mind this atall because I know it's all done in the spirit of jest and some of the jokes are hilarious anyway (including certain George Michael gags which I must post up here some time). I even take the p*ss out of my own sexuality when appropriate. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can? The point is, comments about minorities can be okay within certain boundaries and when not made in a deliberately harmful fashion. I stress "can be"; it's still a bit of a grey area! Going back to Jo and co, even if they didn't intend racism, it's easy to see why some of their remarks might have been interpreted that way. Well, if Ms O' Meara has an ounce of nous, she'll reflect on what's happened, make some mental adjustments and move on.

And what of Ms Rocos? She was a funny one. Once out of the house and in the hotseat with Davina, she seemed oddly subdued and rather sad. Was she upset about being evicted? Perhaps. As I said, I didn't think she deserved to go and I was surprised by the public's ultimate decision. Perhaps it was her baiting of Dirk that influenced the people's vote. And she did show some drama queen tendencies whilst in the house. As Ian noted perceptively, Cleo exhibited a habit of adopting other personas (dressing up as an array of "new" characters in wigs etc) in order to hide her own insecurities. I reckon Kenny Everett's influence clearly rubbed off on her all those years ago (or - was it her influencing Kenny??). She does like to hide behind a mask, or masks, to a certain degree. But I wouldn't say that any of this made her a profoundly difficult or horrible person. Cleo's strengths were her calmness, negotiation skills and ability to see things from both sides (particularly in relation to some of the conflicts that went on between the housemates). Of course by not siding with any one particular person / group in the house, she could have been regarded as "hedging her bets" or playing a game. Difficult to say for certain. But she had a wisdom and maturity about her which I liked, which set her far above the petty and childish behaviour exhibited by Jade and her bitchy posse.

And I loved Cleo's style. Whilst unfortunately lacking in ability as a comedienne (surprising for someone as flamboyant, theatrical and camp as she could be) she always dressed well and more than twenty years after the Kenny Everett Show, she still looks beautiful. Her hairstyle became increasingly outlandish as the days went by, but she's definitely a stunner. Much more so than sullen sourpuss Jo.

I was also surprised that Dirk wasn't the one to go in Cleo's place. But that just shows how perverse and unpredictable the viewing public can be. As mentioned I rather suspect that Cleo's "bothering" of Dirk brought her down in people's estimation. Dirk on the other hand is no angel and on many an occasion has been moody, uncommunicative and a law onto himself. In one of her more enlightened moments, Jo noted that he likes to laugh at his own jokes and only joined in/participated when it suited him. A bit rich coming from her, but a fair point. I reckon it's the "cheesy" connection (A Team, Battlestar Galactica) that has helped to keep Dirk in the house. Plus the fact that the housemates were given an A Team-themed task to do which he seemed to enjoy. And I will concede he has a certain dryness / wryness about him which might appeal to some. But overall I think he's too much hard work.

So...who do YOU want to win Celebrity Big Brother 2007? YOU decide.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cinders, you SHALL go to the ball

Last Sunday, I went to a gay pantomime organised by gay running group Frontrunners.

Rather late in the day, some of you might say, for a panto! True enough...the show originally ran at
The Two Brewers in Clapham and was such a hit that a further showing at The Black Cap in Camden was required. Which is where I was on Sunday.

Although it gets mocked a bit, I like the Black Cap and when I lived in North London it was my local gay bar/club (journey-wise it was about a half hour bus ride from home, but in London terms that still qualifies as a "local"). Now I'm a Saaaarth Londoner, the Two Brewers has become my local. Both places have a similar atmosphere and crowd - having neither the ultra-posey, label-obsessed, up-itself ambience of certain Soho bars, nor the naff, provincial tawdriness of some gay pubs you encounter in the fringes/suburbs. Instead they occupy a perfect middle ground where the punters are relatively friendly, the music is good and a fun, unpretentious night out is the guiding principle.

Anyways, what of the panto itself? It was a gay variation on Cinderella - "Cinders and the Panto Pride Run". Cinders himself was a rather handsome young man, a servant boy working at Chainup Hall, who falls for the golden boy of British athletics, Casey McPacey. However, the nasty Baron Chainup and his even nastier drag queen daughters, Nicole Ferrari and Colleen Corvette, have other plans and the drag queens set their sights on winning Casey...Dig all the names, eh?

As "Cinders" was performed by a gay running group they naturally managed to squeeze in (so to speak) lots of references to running and athletics, not to mention plenty of filthy humour and double entendres as you would expect (unfortunately I have forgotten most of it - DRAT! - should have had my pen and paper at the ready). The cast was virtually all male apart from one lady who played a character called Miranda Moneygrabber. She was decidedly dykey anyhow. The drag queen ugly sisters were hilarious and tres bitchy and Baron Chainup very blond and Germanic. His outfits left very little to the imagination. Cinders himself was a good looking fella (as the lead boy should be) and in one scene stripped down to his underpants, which was rather yummy. And oh my, I'm forgetting Buttons! As in the "straight" Cinderella, he was the nice guy with a bit of a thing for Cinders who sadly gets left on the shelf (I actually thought he was better looking than Casey McPacey - is there no justice in the world?) And last but not least, the Fairy Godfather, resplendent in a leotard, fairy wings and bucket loads of glitter.

My only real gripe with the show was the acoustics - rubbish! There was no sound system in the club and none of the actors were miked up so it was sometimes quite hard to make out what was being said. It didn't help that there were people at the back of the bar yapping away. How rude! They should have been barred! Fortunately we were stood close to the stage so could just about make out all the comings
and goings.

And in the classic panto tradition, we also got the requisite audience participation song at the end, in this case "Do Re Mi". Very camp. My friend actually got pulled onto the stage to help out with the actions and did a great job (he's a part time actor hence a bit of a natural). The audience were split into two competing groups with each side taking turns to sing the song. Unfortunately when it got to my "group" the other side decided to boo and hiss over the top of us, drowning out our sterling efforts. Unsporting gits!! However the judges gave us the benefit of the doubt and disqualified the other side, making us the unanimous winners. Yaaaay! My friend got handed a large box of chocolates as a prize which we scoffed on the train home. To the victor go the spoils...

Jack and Scott tie the knot...

I've been a bit slow to report on this one. Minge beat me to it. But in case you hadn't heard (oh DO change the record, dearie!!) John "Torchwood" Barrowman finally got hitched to his long term partner, Scott Gill, at the end of last year. Their civil partnership ceremony took place in Cardiff (home of the Dr Who production team and of course, Torchwood). You can read more about it here and see other comments and further photos here.

I think it's great that such a high-profile star is entering into a civil partnership. It can only help to promote a positive image for gay marriages and encourage more same sex couples to follow suit. (I wonder who will be next...? Answers on a postcard, please). And I should know, I'm a civil partner too! And so glad I was able to get wed to my fella!

Of course marriage isn't for everyone. If you've been with your partner for X amount of years, you may well consider your relationship ties to be strong enough already, without the need to sign some piece of paper. On the other hand who says we shouldn't have the same rights as straights - being able to inherit our partner's property when they pass away and so on - and in this respect the legalisation of civil partnerships in the UK is a real landmark.

As for John B and his hubbie, I have to agree with some of the comments made on Minge's post. They are both pretty and well-groomed, but also rather robotic-looking and frighteningly reminiscent of Crystal Ken. Just look at John's pristine smile! And his and Scott's nicely coiffed hair! I wonder if the real John and Scott were bumped off years ago to be replaced by Stepford Homo-clones. It's kind of true that gay couples start to resemble each other over time and that can be SCAREY. And what's going on with the dogs? What is it with gay men and bloody pets? They must be child substitutes.

Oh dear, I am starting to sound like a real bitch. And me a happily married man as well. Sorry. Bless you John! Bless you Scott! And your matching Calvin Klein underpants!

And nice to see John wearing a kilt (as a Scot by birth). I wonder if he went commando? And if there were any sudden gusts of wind in Cardiff? Unfortunately there's no pictorial evidence of that.

And thinking about it, I reckon the "second" Captain Jack Harkness (actor Matt Rippy) who appeared in the Torchwood episode of the same name, would have made a much nicer husband than Scott. Certainly I think he was a better looking chap. But that's probably just me being a perv, cos I liked the snogging scene in that story and would have liked things to have gone considerably further...ahem. That's quite enough of that.


Before I crack on with other posts I've promised y'all (which I'm sure you're DYING to read)...I feel the distinct need to comment on the "Showgirls" dance performed by the CBB housemates last night... totally fabulous!

There you go. I've just commented.

And for those of you who didn't see it ...(a phrase I have NEVER utilised before)...The BB housemates were given the challenge of performing a rather complicated group dance routine to the Scissor Sisters' "Don't Feel Like Dancing".

After several hours of intensive rehearsals and a few frayed tempers (Shilpa got accused of being a control freak at one stage) the group did their final version to synchronised perfection. Well, almost fully synchronised. Jermaine and Dirk got a few of the steps/moves wrong, thus losing the team points. However the housmates still managed to pass the task and on the whole it was a remarkable performance. Not to mention great to watch. Ian as dance captain, shouting out the moves to everyone during the routine was particularly funny: "And helicopter...step point...march! 1,2,3...kick!"
The guys and gals looked equally glamorous in feather boas, head dresses and top hats. Shilpa was radiant (see left). Tres entertaining stuff!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Having a larf

Celebrity Big Brother was quite a hoot last night. Things definitely seem more relaxed now that La Cochon has scuttled back to her sty. Although there seems to be some kind of weirdness going on between Cleo and Dirk that I don't quite understand, maybe because I missed what happened with them previously. Apparently she was flirting with him which he found annoying??

Anyway last night BB set the housemates a challenge which was ... to make BB laugh. With a five minute slot for each housemate to achieve this goal.

One by one, each housemate was dispatched to the Diary Room to carry out the aforementioned task. And some rose to the challenge admirably whilst others failed miserably. Having said that making people laugh is a harder task than it sounds. Quite a fine art really. It requires thought and preparation.

So who did what?

Jo - went into the room in a silly wig that didn't seem to serve any purpose. Failed miserably and didn't even seem to have any kind of gameplan. I can't even remember what jokes she told, it was that unmemorable.

Danielle - slightly better than Jo. She played a character called Aveline with a red bobbed wig and round spectacles. Potentially funny but didn't really carry it off and failed to make BB chortle. Hardly surprising that both she and Jo were pretty rubbish. Miaow. Nasty schoolgirls get their karmic comeuppance.

Ian - played a geeky fellow called Cecil Sidebottom with bryl-creamed hair, bucked teeth and a posh voice. Then proceeded to do a posh, geeky impersonation of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". Hilarious and very creative! And he made BB laugh. Deservedly so.

Dirk - told one joke about a horse going into a bar to order a drink. The bartender asks the horse "Why the long face?" Ha ha ha. That was the extent of his repertoire however. Failed.

Shilpa - did a hilarious impersonation of an Indian granny from Southall, again with bucked teeth. Revealed herself to be quite a versatile actress and able to rip the p*ss! And she passed! Good on yer, Shilps! Perhaps she could play a similar role in her next Bollywood movie?

Cleo - dressed up as a diva-ish American character with a blonde wig, ballgown etc. Looked fabulous. Of all the housemates she probably spent the most time preparing and yet the end result still didn't work. Told a story about her husband and some rude goings on that they got up to, shooting him in the head (!) and treading in dog shit. WEIRD. And she'd actually made some pretend poop which she held up to the camera. YUK. Her whole routine reminded me a lot of a sketch from the Kenny Everett Show (which of course she used to participate in). Like most of Kenny's material, it had a distinct touch of the rude and obscene, without in fact being that funny. Go and do a comedy script writing course, Cleo. We love you but you need practice!

Jack - VERY lewd and crude. Whipped off his dressing gown to reveal a leopard skin bra and black jockstrap and then tried to dance to "You Sexy Thing" very unconvincingly. So is this what he gets up to in the bedroom with Jade? And does she know that he has cross-dressing tendencies?
Anyway, he failed. And you could almost see his schlong. My goodness!

Jermaine - rather bizarre and yet again my memory seems to fail me as to exactly what he did. One bit involved him shaking the maracas. Anyhow it can't have been that bad because he made BB laugh.

Okay. Enough BB talk for now. I do feel that it's taking over my blog somewhat, a good source of stories / gossip though it can be.

Coming up:
- John Barrowman's nuptials
- A visit to a gay pantomime...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

La cochon departs!

So! If you haven't heard the good news by now you must have been vacationing on the Moon these last couple of days.

Yes, last night Jade Goody was evicted from the CBB house. There IS a God.

I wasn't at home last night and so didn't have the pleasure of watching CBB until today's repeat. However all day yesterday I was positively heavy with anticipation (as were most of my workmates) wondering who would be nomimated and finally ousted from the house. Yesterday was payday and we also received our bonuses (hooray!!) so going out to celebrate was a must. One of my workmates was staying in a hotel for the night and I did suggest we all went back to her room, turned on the TV to watch CBB and raid the mini-bar, however that plan didn't go down very well. Shame.

Anyway you can't spend every night in front of the TV can you? There is such a thing as socialising. As it happened we all had a really fun night and ended up in a very cheesey 80s club called Reflex. However on the way home with my hubbie, opportunity reared its head and I grilled a couple of passengers in the same tube carriage as to exactly who the CBB evictee was. And was promptly informed that Jade had been evicted!! Hoorrah!! This was to the extreme annoyance of a woman sat opposite me who hadn't watched BB yet and had been looking forward to finding out for herself. She gave me a real telling off for spoiling it. With a twinkle in her eye. I seem to remember Gustavo and I having a pretty involved conversation with her about Jade and the whole BB thing, however it's all rather hazy now as I was quite inebriated. I should add that I was also wearing a conical Madonna-style bra, glittery hat and pair of giant Elton John-style heart-shaped sunglasses, all purchased from Reflex, which gave me a somewhat unusual appearance. Someone even took a photo of me on their mobile. I'll probably end up in Monday's Metro as "Most Sartorially Dressed Tube Passenger on the Northern Line". I hope so.

Anyway, back to BB. Yes, a nation breathed a sigh of relief as Jade left. However, in the eleventh hour, the unthinkable happened. Ms Goody ACTUALLY APOLOGISED to Shilpa for her previous actions, saying that she hadn't meant to come across as racist or make Shilpa feel bad, etc etc. Far be it from me to be sound cynical, but just how genuine was this? For me, it didn't really wash. Just prior to speaking to Shilpa, BB invited Jade to the diary room and gave her a severe talking-to, recounting the racist comments she'd made and making it clear that further comments/behaviour were unacceptable. Tellingly, this was all before the final choice of evictee had been announced. And afterwards - guess what! Jade immediately went and made up with Shilpa. I'm really not sure how heartfelt all of this was. My personal opinion is that Jade realised (too late) the results of her actions and was trying to regain audience sympathy at the last minute, before she got voted out. She also revealed, earlier on, in the diary room that she was scared of rejection and the public turning against her. All of which surely had an impact on her actions. Okay, I'll be generous here. Perhaps La Cochon did feel a twinge of guilt for her behaviour. But on the whole this sudden about-turn didn't convince. The bottom line is, Jade was scared that she'd f*cked her image and career and was desperately trying to avoid any likelihood of that happening. (Not that her career was exactly blossoming to begin with. Shilpa's comment about Jade only being famous cos she'd been in the BB house had the total ring of truth. It's the ultimate irony therefore, that the BB house has both made and destroyed her. And compare Jade's "career" to Shilpa's. Shilpa is a highly successful actress, model and dancer, having appeared in nearly 50 Bollywood films. She's been nominated for film awards and is also an AIDs activist and PETA supporter. Since leaving BB for the first time, Jade has made a few fitness videos, appeared in gossip magazines and on tacky TV shows. Big wow).

So what of Jade's eviction? Very low-key and eerie, owing to the fact there was absolutely no public audience outside the BB house. Seeing Jade walk through the doors and down the steps in silence was very odd to watch. A wise and necessary move nevertheless, because of everything that had gone on before. The public perception of Ms Goody at the moment is far from...ahem...goody...and if any of the public had been present they probably would have skinned her alive. (And cooked her piggy flesh and served it up on a platter. I wouldn't have touched it though. She probably tastes worse than overcooked KFC).

Then came the obligatory post-eviction interview with Davina. Which was actually quite strong viewing and no-holds barred. Davina was pretty uncompromising and confrontational in her questions to Jade, asking her to justify what she'd said and done and grilling her about the bullying and treatment of Shilpa. She also showed Jade an array of clips of news reports re: the allegations of racism and bullying, hammering home even more the consequences of her actions. Go Davina!! Whilst saying how sorry she was again and again for what had happened, I wouldn't say Jade seemed altogether contrite.

Well, it will be interesting to see what happens to Ms Goody now. I say good riddance to her. I expect she'll be back on the tills at Quik Save before too long.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Essence of Goody

Well, I was almost right, wasn't I?

Coming soon...

And I LOVE the poster for the movie!


From my office window this morning I saw a bus with an advertisement for the film "Dreamgirls" on it, which got me VERY excited. Apparently it comes out in UK cinemas on February 2nd. Hooray!! I am really looking forward to seeing this film. Some of my fellow bloggers fortunate enough to have enjoyed advance viewings have already said lots of good things about it.

And as the immortal phrase goes, in case you didn't know... it's about the life, loves, trials and tribulations of a girl group ... based on the musical of the same name ... which in turn is based on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes. Expect fabulous singing, numbers, outfits and hair, as well as plenty of sassy ladies and bitchin' divas (although thankfully there's no-one remotely resembling Jade Goody).

I can't wait!!

I'm cutting you off, you vipers

Mmm. Interesting little story in the paper this morning. Apparently those CBB housemates caught up in the bullying incident - i.e. the witches - have started to lose lucrative contracts.

The Perfume Shop has removed Jade Goody’s best selling fragrance from the shelves of 150 of its branches. The MD of Perfume Shop has apparently said they won't lift the ban until Jade gets out of the house and explained herself.

And Danielle has lost a modelling deal with insurance company Bennetts. The company said “We are strongly opposed to any form of racism and bullying”.

Well, well, well. What goes around comes around, eh ladies?

Incidentally, Jade’s perfume is called “Shhh”. I find this hilariously ironic, as keeping quiet is the last thing Ms Goody seems capable of doing. I also think the perfume should have an “-it” suffixed on the end of its name. Which would probably be an accurate description of the perfume's smell, anyway. I wonder if Jade created and bottled it herself?

Will I go to hell now?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Big Bitchin'

Last night the human equivalent of a hurricane swept through the CBB house. With a certain "gross cochon" as I like to refer to her (it’s French!) as the centre of the storm. I am referring to Miss Jade Goody, although after her behaviour last night, referring to her as a “Miss” is an honour she surely doesn’t deserve. Quite why I’m sticking her photo up here is anyone’s guess, the woman should be paying me royalties. I guess it was just because I loved the expression on her face.

I was going to continue by saying “Just in case you didn’t know…”! Which is a phrase I feel I use a lot. I do like to explain things to my readers, for the benefit of any uninformed / unaware people out there. I am just sooo helpful, aren’t I? (Although the explaining does get a wee bit tiring sometimes). Anyway, even people who refuse to watch BB surely end up hearing about it via the daily papers or other forms of media, and with the recent allegations of racist comments made against Shilpa Shetty, it’s been difficult to ignore.

But … just in case you didn’t know (!!!) … an argument blew up last night between Shilpa and Jade, starting off with a disagreement about stock cubes, of all things.

Roughly, this is what happened:

Jade acccused Shilpa of being a liar after Shilpa claimed the OXO cubes were the only item she had ordered from the shopping list.

Shilpa retaliated by telling Jade she needed elocution lessons.

To which Jade replied, "You're so far up your f***ing a*** you can smell your own s***!"

Not content with this, Jade quickly added that Shilpa should "Go back to the slums".

The argument finished off with Jade calling Shilpa a “f**cking loser”. (Shilpa had made some previous comment to Jade about her being not much of a celebrity – I can’t remember what it was she said precisely, but it was words along those lines, which prompted this reaction from Jade).

Whilst all of this was going on, Danielle and Jo sat smirking on the sofa.

Once Shilpa was out of earshot, Danielle said “She can f**k off back home” and “she can’t even speak English properly”.

Later on, when called to the BB room and asked about her “she can go home” statement regarding Shilpa, Danielle said that she had forgotten this and “couldn’t believe” she’d said it.

Blimey. The BB house is not somewhere I’d want to be right now. A clear divide has now clearly formed in the house between two groups: the trio of witches (Jade, Danielle and Jo) with male bimbo Jack in tow, and the others (Shilpa, Jermaine, Ian) with Cleo as a kind of floating body, trying to maintain neutrality. Not an easy or enviable task.

What’s more, Jade’s behaviour and attitude totally stank and she obviously takes after her mother in this respect. As the above attests, she ranted, yelled and screamed abuse at Shilpa, who remained calm and composed throughout. Quite how Ms Shetty achieved this in the face of what went on was nothing less than a miracle.

Not that Shilpa’s comments were entirely non-provocative. Not everyone would take kindly to being told they couldn’t talk proper! But in Jade’s case, I think it’s pretty much justified. The woman is ignorant, stupid, crass and offensive. She doesn’t know how to talk to someone properly, preferring to get her point across by yelling and shouting abuse. It’s one thing to be honest but it’s another to behave in the way she did and she really has no respect for people’s boundaries. She is also severely lacking in social skills. Who the hell does she think she is anyway?

And she and the other girls have become total bullies. Jo has taken on the role of the silent one but she has a slyness about her I don’t like. Danielle is worse and can’t even be honest, bitching about Shilpa behind her back and then pretending all is okay to her face. And she has the audacity to tell BB she doesn’t remember what she said about her before! When I flicked on the TV this morning, I saw her telling Shilpa that she didn’t want her to think they couldn’t talk to each other. Yeah, right. Two-faced cow!

As for Shilpa, I’m on her side for the most part. I don’t support racism in any form, and abhor all of the comments that have been made against Shilpa by the others; the comments made about her are totally unacceptable. See above for some examples of what I am referring to!

However one issue I do want to raise is how problems can arise when opposing cultures meet, as is the case with the presence of English and Indian cultures in the house, and in some ways this lies at the heart of the conflict between Shilpa and the others. I don’t think that Shilpa believes herself to be “better” than the others (as Jade supposes). (Ironically when Shilpa first arrived, I thought she was going to be a total prima donna, expecting others to do everything for her and disrespecting those “beneath” her. This has proved NOT to be the case and just goes to show it’s a mistake to judge by appearances). However, coming from a different background and class, Shilpa does have a certain code of behaviour / conduct and set of values which are different to some of her housemates. It’s notable that the more working class English girls – Jade, Danielle and Jo! – are the ones who have been least able to accept Shilpa. Ian, Jermaine and Cleo, on the other hand, have been far more enlightened and aware in their dealings with her. And therein lies the problem – a clash of culture and class. But even so, it’s Jade and the others that have proved to be the most reactionary of all, as well as misinformed and deeply paranoid, preferring to mock rather than understand Shilpa and her cultural background. A very unfortunate situation.

At the end of the day it shouldn’t matter where people come from. We should all strive to accept and respect one another irrespective of difference and co-exist in harmony. Or am I just being a fantasist?

I guess many would argue that without conflict, rows or disagreements, BB would be very boring to watch. This is true up to a point, and I have made the same observation myself!! But I still think Shilpa has been treated appallingly and there is no excuse for that, exciting viewing or not.

After all, CBB isn't a soap opera. It's real life.

Anyone with any sense will vote Jade out of the house on Friday. Certainly after her behaviour last night I suspect that she is now very much out of favour with the general public.

And I hope her witchey-bitchy partners aren’t far behind her as well. Out, damned spots, OUT!! You fiendish hell-cats!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dreaming of Bev

For some bizarre reason, when I was lying in bed last night unable to sleep, I started thinking about Beverley Craven. This is a worrying state of affairs.

For those of you who haven't made Bev's acquaintance, she is a pop star of the MOR, easy-listening mould, who rose to prominence in the mid-1990s with hits like "Promise Me" and "Holding On". If I say that Radio 2 listeners were her most appreciative audience, you'll probably get the idea as to her "sound" / "style". She was nice, inoffensive and ultimately rather bland.

At the height of Beverley's fame, I remember I was living with a lesbian friend in Brighton, who was a great lady and a fellow aficionado of popular culture / trash. So as you can imagine, we got on rather well. We both used to work in a restaurant and would sometimes do evening shifts, arriving home rather late.

Anyway one night we got home after a particular arduous shift and flicked on the TV to be confronted by ... Beverley Craven in concert. Woohoo! Viewing the concert from a distinctly ironic perspective, we actually sat through the entire thing. There was Bev, sat at the piano in pristine white blouse and sensible slacks, trilling away whilst she plonked the keys. Almost every song sounded the same, with minor cadences. The thing that really made me laugh though was my friend's comments about Bev's appearance and general demeanour and what she wanted to do to / with her. All along the lines of Ms Craven being so bloody sensible and boring, you just wanted to grab her and rough her up big time. In fact, we even went so far as to re-invent the lyrics to her "classic" "Promise Me": "You light up another cigarette, And I pour the wine" became: "You light up another cigarette, And I insert the marrow". Plus other similar variations, one of which involved defecating on Beverley's stomach. Well, anything to bring out her wild side.

I also remember some dance act giving Bev a house/trance treatment, sampling the aforementioned lines from "Promise Me" and speeding up Bev's vocals Smurf style. Bev as a danceable commodity. It's barely conceivable.

Which just leaves the question "Whatever Happened to Beverley Craven"? (Along similar lines to "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" then). Minge, darling, this is your cue!!
And for the purists...
By popular demand...

Okay, not ALL of you demanded it, but just cos it's a current topic of conversation...here's the "alternative" version of "I Should Be So Lucky", courtesy of comedy couple French and Saunders! I think it's Dame Janet Baker doing the lead bit, with F & S on backing vocals. Totally inspired!! And don't you just dig F & S's diva outfits / big hair??!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Joke for the day

This made me chortle - it's a little rude though ...

The 11th Husband:

A young man married a beautiful woman who had previously divorced ten husbands. On their wedding night, she told her new husband, "Please be gentle; I'm still a virgin."

"What?" said the puzzled groom. "How can that be if you've been married ten times?"

"Well, husband 1 was a Sales Representative; he kept telling me how great it was going to be."

"Husband 2 was in Software Services; he was never really sure how it was supposed to function, but he said he'd look into it and get back to me."

"Husband 3 was from Field Services; he said everything checked out diagnostically but he just couldn't get the system up."

"Husband 4 was in Telemarketing; even though he knew he had the order, he didn't know when he would be able to deliver."

"Husband 5 was an Engineer, he understood the basic process but wanted three years to research, implement, and design a new state- of-the-art method."

"Husband 6 was from Administration; he thought he knew how, but he wasn't sure whether it was his job or not."

"Husband 7 was in Marketing; although he had a product, he was never sure how to position it."

"Husband 8 was a psychiatrist; all he ever did was talk about it."

"Husband 9 was a gynaecologist; all he did was look."

"Husband 10 was a stamp collector; all he ever did was............(?) God, I miss him!"

"But now that I've married you, I'm so excited!"

"Wonderful," said the husband, "but, why?"

"You're with the Government.......This time I KNOW I'm gonna get screwed."

Monday, January 15, 2007

The return of Charlene

And Kylie’s "Showgirl" Homecoming tour was broadcast the other night too. She played (or should I say performed?) in her home country of Australia! Strewth, mate!! It was great to see her back and on form!!

It was a dazzling show and a fairly lengthy one too (I think every song from the concert was included as opposed to the edited version of Madonna’s "Confessions" Tour shown on TV a couple of months back). Kylie looked radiant throughout, and was flanked by an array of hunky and interestingly clad dancers who performed some amazing routines. There were some amazing costumes on display too, although I must confess I didn’t like everything that Kylie wore! (Queens everywhere are sooo gonna hate me for saying that). For instance the outfit she donned for “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” was rather … odd. A bizarre silver wig, multi-coloured pashmina and … I can’t actually remember the rest of the costume, but it was a bit of an unflattering combo. The saucy white revealing number and metallic dress that she wore in the original video were both much more effective.

I also couldn’t help noting the similarities to Madge’s recent concert. The religious theme during “Confide In Me” and “Cowboy Style” did rather echo the “Live To Tell” / “Isaac” section of Madonna’s own show. There was a tribute to “Vogue” (The “Greta Garbo and Monroe” rap bit) thrown in during one of Kylie’s songs, which was very … Madonna. Stylistically there was a certain amount of resemblance to Madonna’s show too.

Which begs the question: Who copied who first?

But I’m really just being a quibbling queen. It was still great entertainment.

Highlights for me were the opener “Better The Devil You Know”, one of Kylie’s most enduring anthems and a highly appropriate choice for opening song. Kylie looked utterly resplendent in feathered headdress and sequinned leotard (see above - very obviously camp attire but she still looked amazing and it made for a very effective entrance!) “Come Into My World” was sung ballad-style with Kylie sitting on giant crescent moon high above the stage. And “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”, one of the encore tunes, had … wait for it …a Dr Who theme! Which naturally floated my boat! Kylie’s dancers wore Cyber-helmets and at one point a TARDIS materialisation sound could be distinctly heard above the music. (Mmm, I wonder how Ms Minogue managed to get rights from the Beeb? Come to think of it, Dr Who producer Russell T Davies is a bit of a queen and probably a Kylie fan to boot ... so I can see a "way in" there...) The laser lighting during "Can't..." was amazing too. So all in all there were lots of great moments.

She also engaged far more with her audience than Madge does. At the end she gave a long speech saying how glad she was to be back which was lovely. And she does seem to have a nice, down to earth approach with people in spite of the fact that she’s a megastar. At one point an audience member handed her a Charlene t-shirt which prompted her into doing a humorous impersonation of her old Neighbours character.

Unfortunately news has just broken that Kylie has been taken ill again. Apparently she has a respiratory tract infection and has cancelled her next two tour dates, leading to speculation that she didn’t give herself enough time to recover from her breast cancer treatment. From the fans’ point of view this is of course very disappointing, but the most important thing of all is that she gets better soon. She’s been through enough already. Viva Charlene! (As Scott Robinson might say).

It's a dance-off!!

Good grief! The Celebrity Big Brother housemates actually seem to be enjoying themselves.

I am referring to last night’s CBB in which the entire house engaged in a Steps vs Jacksons dance contest. One group of housemates were made to dress up and impersonate former girl-boy band Steps, “singing” their old hit “Deeper Shade of Blue”, whilst the remainder of them donned afro wigs and 70s gear to perform the all-male Jacksons’ “I Want You Back.” And the results were pretty hilarious. As you might expect, real-life performers Ian (from Steps) and Jo (from S Club 7) came off best, as did Jermaine Jackson. Ian even seemed to remember some of his old Steps moves (I bet he can still do them in his sleep). Considering he’s an ex-Jackson, I thought Jermaine sung in rather a restrained way and had a slightly odd stage presence. Poor Shilpa was nervous as hell (admitting that she only lip synched in all those Bollywood movies rather than really singing). However she still gave it her best shot. Jack, Jade Goody’s beau, probably came off worst of the lot in the singing stakes. And the sight of Jade herself in a red bobbed wig and blue spacesuit was side-splitting. Moreover everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience and threw themselves into their performances. What a bunch of troupers!

At long last, a bit of humour and fun injected into the proceedings. More of the same soon, please.

Incidentally, I was wondering if the 70s afros as worn by the housemates were modelled on recently departed Leo Sayer’s hairdo?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Challenge from an Old Cheeser

Courtesy of the lovely Minge, I have an interesting challenge for you all (should you choose to take it up, of course).

All you need to do is comment on this post and:

1. I'll respond with a random thought I have about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavour of jelly in which we can wrestle.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (or so we think).
5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what intoxicant you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on your blog.

Give it a go! It's loadsa fun!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The permhead takes a stroll

Leo Sayer is out out out!! No, he hasn't declared his homosexuality or anything so exciting. Although he's certainly proved to be one of the biggest drama queens of them all. Ian "H" Watkins behaves like a maiden aunt in comparison.

No, Mr Sayer is now out of the BB house. Turns out that he wasn't evicted. Instead he chose to walk out after a row about ... pants. Of all things. Apparently he'd run out of smalls and for some (not really specified) reason this caused a row which provoked him into leaving. Mmm.

But what I really want to know is - exactly what kind of pants did Leo wear?

Did they look like this?

Or this?

A nation holds its breath, eager to know the answer ...

PS Carole Malone was voted out tonight. In spite of being a Tabloid columnist, I actually thought she seemed rather nice and it was only because she broke the rules about discussing evictions that she got voted out. Otherwise I think most of the housemates liked her. It's a harsh world sometimes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Five Useless Facts: About Me

Okay, I have been tagged by fabulous Scots blogger Minge.

So now I have to present five useless facts all about ME. Or not so useless, depending on your point of view.

Well, here goes, boys and girls, brace yourselves ...

1. I didn't meet my real father until I was about 28 years old. When I did it all went brilliantly. My dad is an amazing, zany guy who acts far younger than his age and lives in the fabulous city of Amsterdam. By a bizarre coincidence, on a previous visit to Amsterdam, I actually walked down the street where he lived before we'd even met.

2. The first album (LP) I ever got was the soundtrack to "Flash Gordon" by Queen. Or "Dare" by the Human League. I can't quite remember which came first.

3. When "Making Your Mind Up" by Bucks Fizz came out as the UK Eurovision entry in the early 1980s, one of my friends and I did our own version of the whip-off skirts routine performed by singers Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston. We used to go up to my Mum's wardrobe and take out a skirt or two and then pretend one of the fellas (Mike Nolan? Bobby Gee?) was whipping it off. Then we both let out big girlie screams. Sadly a career as showgirls / strippers didn't happen for either of us.

4. I once played a butler in an amateur production of an Oscar Wilde play. My only two lines were: "Tea is served in the yellow drawing room, my Lord" and "Dr Daubeney's carriage!"

5. I am a qualified Secondary teacher. I did my PGCE in Brighton and then taught in a couple of schools in London. However I soon realised that teenagers can be a handful and packed it in. Probably the worst thing I had said to me was by a 12 year old girl (who shall remain nameless) who told me to "Go f*ck myself, you penis butthead!" Ahem. Young lady, if you're out there I hope you're utterly ashamed by your behaviour and are still racked with guilt!

Right then, I'm tagging:

Time Warden

Look forward to reading your own "facts", my lovelies...

Cosmic calendar!!

In order to make my workplace a jollier place to be, I decided to bring in my new 2007 Doctor Who Calendar (very kindly given to me as an Xmas pressie by a mate - he knows what I like, eh?) And I have now hung the aforementioned calendar next to my desk. It's rather fab. And much more interesting than the boring 2007 work calendar we're bound to be given in the next few weeks.

Actually "January" has a rather scarey picture of the leader of the Sycorax. A bit daunting to have him staring down at you all the time. But still much more colourful and eye-catching and exciting!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

She's aaaaaaaart

Jackie Goody has been evicted from the BB house!!

Well, personally I'm not very sorry. I thought she was a bit of nightmare. And frightfully common to boot. She's got a voice like gravel. Her language would reduce the filthiest person alive to complete silence. She farts continually in public. And she couldn't even pronounce fellow housemate Shilpa's name properly. Need I say more? Ken Russell's reference to the Goody family as "guttersnipes" was not only hilarious but also disturbingly accurate.

Daughter Jade is however, distraught. Oh pull yourself together girl, you'll see yer Mum in a couple of weeks.

And Leo Sayer seems almost back to normal. Thank heavens for small mercies. Perhaps he was just temporarily possessed by the spirit of Jackie.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You make me feel like ranting

What the hell is going on with Leo Sayer? I am referring to Celebrity Big Brother, which recently began yet another run on Channel Four. I was actually going to list CBB as another of my "Reasons To Be Cheerful" but perhaps that would be going too far. BB is essentially about nothing, just a group of human beings chucked together under one roof and subjected to public scrutiny on a daily basis. And people that go on about the programme providing a profound insight into the workings of the human psyche are talking a load of old cobblers; there is nothing particularly "deep" or "meaningful" about it.

And yet
I confess to enjoying BB. It's a definite guilty pleasure; one of those programmes that draws you inspite of yourself. Seeing how people behave, interact and react when living in close quarters CAN be entertaining viewing, but inevitably it's the rows, flare-ups and simmering romances that make for the best bits. And some of the silly house challenges that the housemates get to do.

For me though, Celebrity Big Brother goes one step bettter than ordinary Big Brother. The latter features totally ordinary people plucked out of obscurity who by the end of each series have gained a certain amount of fame/notoriety. However, only a handful of the contestants have actually achieved any kind of credible media career post-BB. The former, CBB, features people who are of course already known to the public in some shape or form. And for me, what's most interesting is seeing what happens when these so called-celebrities are exposed to the rigours of house sharing and constant media attention. More often than not, the normally well-preserved facade of their public, celebrity self cracks or vanishes, to reveal the true personality beneath and and this can sometimes be quite an eye-opener ...

Take Leo Sayer for example. (Incidentally I should add I've not been watching the show every night but have seen enough to get the general gist of what's been going on). Mention of Mr Sayer instantly brings on images of a short, irritatingly jolly / bouncy pop singer from the 70s and 80s with a bubble perm. The annoyingly twee Radio-2-styled ballad "When I Need You". Leo's high-pitched falsetto vocal opening to "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" - "Yooooooou got a cute way of talking!!" Aaaaah!! Actually that last song wasn't too bad. And I did really like Meck's reworking of "Thunder In My Heart"; they actually made Leo into a credible dance act, for heaven's sake. Anyway you get the picture. When Leo entered the BB house on the first day he seemed full of the joys of spring. Smiling, laughing, joking, chatty.

However anyone tuning in tonight will see that Leo has apparently undergone a total personality change. He has become a ranting, raving, miserable nutcase who is obviously no longer enjoying his time in the house. I lost count of the number of times he said "F*ck". He threw a hissy fit when he couldn't get into the house garden because the doors were locked. When his request to go outside was finally granted, Leo wished BB "A f*cking good night" (or words to that effect). Once released out into the garden he let fly further expletives, giving the camera the finger several times and shouting at BB to "F*ck off". Later on, in the diary room, Leo accused BB of psychological warfare, declaring that celebrities should be treated with more respect. When the voice of BB told him "BB accepts your comments" he replied "F*ck you and thank you very much". SUCH language! To add to this charming display of words, Leo also (rather inappropriately) announced in front of some of the female housemates that he "really needed a wank" and at a later point said that he felt like "showing BB my dick". Quite.

The bubble perm is still intact though. Let's be thankful for some things.

People don't always turn out how you'd expect, do they? And that goes double for celebrities.

Torchwood: Hardcore

Ahem. My fellow blogger Minge has set up an online petition for a more "adult" version of Torchwood, owing to some recent discussions we had. You can access it here

I confess, it was all my suggestion in the first place. Aren't I naughty??

Anyway, we need all the support we can get, so GO SIGN NOW!!

And it's bound to be much more interesting and watchable than boring old Torchwood: Declassified. If not Torchwood itself. (And you may have noticed I haven't yet posted any reviews of the final episodes owing to being severely underwhelmed by what I watched ... again. Reviews will be forthcoming. He said with some reluctance).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Dr's New Assistant? Move over Freema Agyeman....

Another reason why last Friday's TV was essential viewing.

David Tennant appeared as the guest host on "The Friday Night Project", which included a hilarious Dr Who skit with him as the Dr's assistant. Mmm, can you spot him in the photo above?

Bravo for Mr Tennant for having the guts to don a skirt and heels and for taking the p*ss out of the whole assistant role-thing. (And later on in the show he also did a good send-up of H from Steps in the Big Brother house). Could this be a storyline for a future episode? Perhaps the Dr and his female assistant could swap places, as it were ... Well, something to think about if the scriptwriters run out of ideas.

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part Four

Last Friday saw the UK tv debut of Ugly Betty. Another reason to be pleased.

It's all about a sweet but satorially challenged young woman, Betty Suarez, who goes to work as a PA to the editor in chief of Mode fashion magazine. Most of her fellow workers are far more fashionable and attractive than she is (well, it is a fashion magazine) and often humiliate and insult poor Betty because of her appearance. To make matters worse, Betty's boss, the suave Daniel Meade, dislikes her from the offset and does everything in his power to get rid of her. (It also transpires that Daniel's father, who owns the business, insisted that Betty was hired as he knows she won't be a sexual temptation to Daniel!) However after a particularly humiliating incident for Betty, she quits. Daniel realising the error of his ways, agrees to re-hire her and more importantly, take onboard her ideas to help with one of the magazine's important promotional campaigns ...

This was a very entertaining opening episode with lots of humorous situations and characters. The set-up is similar to "The Devil Wears Prada" i.e. all about a nice but slightly naive girl going to work in the high-powered world of magazine publishing / fashion and all the superficiality, bitchiness and obsession with appearance that goes with this territory. But, unlike poor old Andrea in "Devil", Betty is at least valued for her work and input ... eventually! I found Daniel's personality turnaround a little unconvincing (would he really decide that Betty was worth re-hiring?) However what was most refreshing was that Betty wasn't your average, straightforward geek. Sure she's dentally challenged and is obviously destined to make lots of faux pas in future episodes, thus leading to further comedic situations. But I liked the fact that Betty isn't a pushover. Rather, she comes across as someone who is keen to promote herself and her own ideas, is assertive and knows how to stand up for herself when push comes to shove, as she did with Daniel. Go Betty! It's just a pity she doesn't have the world's greatest dress sense.

There were some good performances from the rest of the cast too, especially Ashley Jensen as Christina the wardrobe assistant and (seemingly) the only genuine and friendly member of staff at Mode. In case you didn't know she was last seen as Ricky Gervais' acting sidekick in "Extras" and it was nice / strange hearing a Scottish accent in an American sitcom. Gina Gershon was also wonderfully trashy as Fabia, a Donatella Versace look-a-like.

Friday nights are now worth stopping in for!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part Three

Which in case you didn't know, is also a song by Ian Dury and The Blockheads. Thanks for letting me nick the title, boys.

Yes, my third justification for being jovial is really quite simple.

Today (the 5th) it is now exactly five months since my husband and I got hitched!! Hooray!! Every day I think how lucky I am for meeting Gustavo and for having such a wonderful guy come into my life.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part Two

One of my favourite programmes of the 1990s, This Life, was back for a one-off special the other night, This Life +10 (so called because it's now been 10 years since the series' original run). Hence another reason to be happy.

Okay then, just in case you don't know what This Life is about, I will be very kind and provide a brief resume. The original series was about a group of twenty-something lawyers who shared a house in South London. A boring sounding premise (it must be the word "lawyers") but fortunately the programme was anything but. It was basically a high-quality soap that focussed on the lives and loves of the young, ahem, lawyers, their relationships, entanglements and ups and downs (emotionally as well as in the bedroom - this was a pretty explicit show).

Another of the programme's strengths was it's naturalism - although obviously a fictional piece of drama, it was filmed in a very "normal" way with a constantly roving camera and the conversations between the characters were down to earth and believable, almost like real life.

And the main characters (in spite of the fact that they were lawyers) were a fascinating bunch. There was Miles, the athletic, classically good looking barrister who was a bit of a lothario and also homophobe (although thankfully this last bit didn't go unchallenged). Anna was a junior barrister from Scotland, a sultry babe with with a scathing, sarcastic intelligence and wit and also a tendency toward self-destructiveness. Her and Miles enjoy a major love/hate relationship throughout the series and the attraction between them both is undeniable. Unfortunately they go on fancying each other when Miles becomes engaged to someone else and even sh*g, Miles confessing that he loves her. Egg (played by the cute and hunky Andrew Lincoln) is the misfit of the bunch. He drops out of his law career and becomes a cook. Something of a dreamer and a footie fan, he is in a relationship with Milly, who is far more serious about practising law, a hard-working girl and also a fairly serious soul. However her treatment of Egg is not exactly exemplary when she goes and sleeps with her boss, O'Donnell (leading to a great cliff-hanger to the second series). And Warren is the token gay character from Wales, who is still coming to terms with his sexuality and regularly visits a therapist. Unfortunately he gets arrested for cruising in a park and is sacked from his job. He decides to go to Australia, leaving sort-of-old-flame, Ferdy, to take his place in the shared house. Ferdy is an interesting proposition: a bisexual motorcycle courier who ends up having an affair with a ginger-haired plumber who visits the house.

Phew. That was a rather more than a "brief" summary wasn't it? Oh and the other groundbreaking thing about the show was its pretty graphic sex scenes, Ferdy and the Plumber notwithstanding. We got to see more than a fair share of bums, willies and boobs during the programme's run. It made tuning in all the more worthwhile.

What about the Reunion Special then? Well, all of the original cast were back and considering the 10 year gap I thought they all slipped back into their roles pretty well, remaining faithful to the original characters (of course there were some personality changes but that's bound to happen over 10 years, no-one stays exactly the same do they?) Anna was her usual sour, wise-cracking self and all the more brilliant for it. Miles, now (apparently) a millionaire with a huge country mansion, was still arrogant and cocky.

The special kicked off with Miles, Anna, Egg, Milly and Warren all meeting up at Ferdy's funeral (although it wasn't really specified how he'd carked it, a pity). The group then learn that Egg has written a best-selling book based on their previous time together and is also being filmed for a fly-on-the-wall documentary. The quintet organise a formal reunion at Miles' country pad, with a female documentary director in tow.

The documentary concept, whilst potentially naff, actually worked quite well I thought. Rather like the Big Brother diary room, there were some revealing scenes in which individual characters sat on their own, delivering their own monologues to the camera, expressing their thoughts, feelings and frustrations about themselves and their friends. At other times though, the presence of the camera seemed too voyeuristic and intrusive, the director taking every opportunity to turn the lens on the characters' most private and personal conversations, which was painful to watch.

I also enjoyed the interaction between the characters and there were some good dramatic scenes. The tension between Miles and Anna was still present and eventually they sh*g again (in spite of the fact that Miles is now married). However, they finally both come to recognise, in spite of their mutual attraction, that a relationship between them will never work. But why wasn't it explained how Milly and Egg had reconciled after her fling with O'Donnell and Egg found out what had been going on (thanks to an over zealous workmate called Rachel who blabbed all to Egg)?? Old Milly must have had some pretty good powers of persuasion. The irony was that by the time of this special episode, it was Milly that had reason to be p*ssed off with Egg, with his constant focus on writing a new novel and subsequent negligence of her and their relationship.

There was also a good sense of naturalism in the conversations and dialogue like in the old series. However as a one hour and twenty minutes special things did get a bit wearing after a while. And there were a few too many farcical elements to proceedings e.g. Milly falling off Miles' horse; Warren apparently overdosing on drugs; Egg falling in a lake.

As a fellow blogger of mine has commented, the episode didn't feel quite right in a country environment. The original series took place almost entirely in London and the urban setting, with so many scenes set in offices, bars and clubs as well as the shared house in Southwark, felt more real than this.

And by the end one couldn't thinking - what a bunch of self-involved, naval-gazing people they all were!! I think one of the problems was that the special only really focussed on the five main characters without anyone else for them to interact with (the only other people were the female director and Miles' wife who was absent during most of the action). This rendered things rather claustrophobic and "samey" - it was just the same bunch of characters talking, bickering and arguing, and by the climax this HAD got tiresome.

On reflection then, This Life +10 was generally entertaining but I don't think I could hack another whole series of the same stuff. One special was enough in itself, and although there were some good aspects to the reunion, the programme has definitely run its course!

Still, it's made me want to rent out or even buy the original series on DVD and re-live all the good bits. Like Ferdy and the plumber and Milly punching that nasty, manipulative cow Rachel...you go girl!

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part One

Well Reason Numero one is ... my new iPod Nano. Yes I am sooo happy that I have something decent to play my music on and keep me company whilst I'm out and about. And my visits to the gym have improved considerably, now that I have my favourite tunes to power me along and get me sprinting on that running machine. And I've got nearly 400 songs on my "pod", so there's sooo much to chose from. I like having it switched on "shuffle" as you never know what's going to come next. One minute it's Daft Punk, the next it's Bucks Fizz. In case you hadn't gathered, I have truly eclectic musical tastes.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

So ... the holidays are over and I'm back at work. Uggggh. I've only been back three days and already have little motivation. I wonder why that is?? It's also a couple of weeks till pay day and I am pretty brassic, having spent a considerable amount over Christmas and on people's pressies etc, so holding out until then is ... tricky. Still I have a work bonus to look forward to, which at least will clear my existing debts and bring my bank balance down to zero. And hopefully there'll be a little bit of spending money left over too. That's a lot more than some people get eh?

This is probably the hardest time of year for people really. It's cold and dark in the mornings and cold and dark when you get home at night. It's so hard having to drag yourself back into work after a period of making merry and relaxing with your loved ones. The newspapers have been full of stories of record numbers of people taking sickies on their first day back at work after the Christmas break. And rail fares have sky rocketed once again, not a great way to start off the new year. Scandalous!!

Anyway enough doom and gloom. As it's a brand new year, there's got to be some reasons to be cheerful, surely? Mmm, sounds like a good title for a post...

Monday, January 01, 2007

I've got the sweetest hangover...

Well, actually it's almost gone now, thank goodness. And strictly speaking, it hasn't been very sweet, I just couldn't think of a better title... Yep I have spent the majority of today recovering from the excesses of last night's New Year's Eve extravaganza. And pretty good it was too, better than I thought it would be. As I mentioned before, we went out to Comedy Camp night at Barcode in Soho. £25 for a ticket which is quite steep (although pretty typical for a London night out on NYE). The show was in the basement at Barcode, which is quite small and cramped (there wasn't enough sitting room for everyone there) and not a venue I found that wonderful, to be honest. However once the show got going, we soon forgot about all that, kicked back and enjoyed ourselves...

The first act were Topping and Butch, a gay male double act with a brilliant line in saucy double entendres and smut. They came on dressed in priest's outfits, which they proceeded to whip off to reveal rather more ... radical .... outfits underneath (see the link for what I'm talking about). One of the best bits of Topping and Butch's performance was a musical commentary on 2006 with references to all the major events of the past year, some of which were highly risque but the audience were only too keen to hear e. g. Saddam Hussein's hanging, the Ipswich prostitute murders ... you get the picture. Well gays and lesbians know all about pushing the boundaries. Sick but hilarious stuff.

Next up was Steve Nallon, who some of you might remember from his days as an impersonator on "Spitting Image". He basically ran the gamut of impersonations, which whilst done very well - Margaret Thatcher, Penelope Keith etc - did seem a bit unfocussed and just an excuse to show how good he was at doing impressions of famous people.

The final act was Jo Caulfield, who was tres good, with her caustic observations and anecdotes relating to topics such as shopping, Argos and gay culture. In fact I think I must have been well on my way to getting seriously p*ssed by that point of the night, as I can't really remember exactly what she talked about, just that it was very funny.

Once that all wrapped up there was an after-show disco which is what we had all been waiting for - a good old boogie to see in the New Year!! With a wonderful assortment of tunes from "classic" artists like Sheena Easton and Amii Stewart. We paused briefly for the chimes of Big Ben, and once New Year's good wishes, kisses and hugs were exchanged, carried on dancing the night away.

Can't remember exactly what time we staggered out of the place, I think it was about 2.30 am ... the streets were strewn with all manner of drunken revellers and party people. But to make life SO much easier, the tube was running all night so we didn't have to put up with the indignity of the night bus. Hoorah!! (Why can't they have all night tube every weekend??) And when Gu and I got home we decided we weren't quite ready for bed yet and bunged on more music on the stereo and did some dancing round the lounge. Must have hit the sack about 5am. Now that's what I call a good night!!

So, here we are in 2007. I will be 38 this year, hard to believe in some ways. And I really hope this year brings good things for all of us. I haven't listed any New Year's resolutions yet, but one of my definite ones is to find a new job. I MUST. I WILL. I SHALL. It's just a case of working out exactly what I want to do and how to go about it ...

Aw well. Nearly time for the Sarah Jane Adventures!

Hope your New Year's hangovers have been sweeter than mine!!

OC xxx