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Fri, Sep. 26th, 2003, 01:14 pm


Just broken a life-long self-promise, and been filmed for television. Someone in the office - a nice chap, and we can't disappoint nice chaps - is doing a pilot show featuring a telephone (this is as much privileged information as I could ascertain - watch out for it next autumn!!!!) and needs title footage of bog-eyed blokes talking into said vocal rediffusion apparatus, no doubt eventually to have The Darkness playing over the top. So I dutifully pretend to be talking into the phone, so self-consciously I'm well aware I'm making a total Blonde Fist of this simple acting chore. My respect for the people who hold entire pretend conversations in the background of the Rovers has rocketed. It's a frightening and noble craft, and it's manifestly beyond my ken.

The best bit, of course, was signing the release form, that mythical docket that enables them to do anything with their ropey image of my stupid, unwieldy, too fat for Press Gang, Reader's Digest columnist face. They could caption me "confirmed rapist (true if denied)", or superimpose a ghostly CGI David Kelly pointing at me in an accusatory fashion. Worst of all, they could decide not to use my stiffo mug at all, and tape over it with an illegal bootleg of Danny Baker's Own Goals and Gaffes. Yes, that last seems more likely.

Now I'm all stressed out over an acting performance that'll never be seen! To reiterate, gah! Where's that effing lunchtime got to?

Thu, Sep. 25th, 2003, 11:04 am
Licence to Grill

Tessa Wyatt was a honey in Robin's Nest, but she's proving a lousy culture secretary. It looks like the BBC is to be broken up and sold off in a giant garage sale (a huge automatic door is being constructed round the back of Television Centre for this purpose - wasteful to the last!) which is a shame, but we must be pro-active and all, and so here's my alternative licence fee scheme.

The licence fee is great, in theory. You give people monies and they come up with entertaining goods a few years - in some cases decades - later. But when the man you're giving the money to is barely tall enough to see over the top of his own beard, an then goes away and gives it all to Patrick Kielty anyway, you're in trouble. What we need is a flexible fee, which the punter can apportion directly to the artists he/she wishes to support.

Say, for instance, I liked Alan Moore. Well, that's very perceptive of you, because I in fact do. Now, under the new scheme I would fund the man directly, maybe with a madgickall book token or luncheon voucher, or better yet going round his house and doing chores, say dealing with his bottomless all-black haunted laundry basket, thus leaving him more time to demonstrate the artistic skills that have made him famous. Then it'd be off to West Country Specsaver David Quantick's house to prepare a mammoth fry-up, the better to nourish him while he quips on into the night across Radios 1-8. If it helped her get off her arse and make a new record, I'd even dig over Kate Bush's allotment (NB - NOT A METAPHOR). The advantage, again, is a sense of community. The words you exchange with your idols may be terse and purely practical - "Fabric softener, Alan?" "Oi favour the triangular sloice to the eggy soldier, but either is preferable to the goat-awful Gay Dad LP." "oooooOOOOOOOOooooh those parsnips should be ready by now." - but the element of mutual respect and trust is there for all to see, and the importance of that cannot be stressed enough. WE MUST AVOID ANOTHER BARRYMORE.

Wed, Sep. 24th, 2003, 04:07 pm
Currant Fun

The Sun's moral triumph looks set to change society for the latter, and I for one think it's about time. For any American visitors, I had better.

The British-English former boxiter Frank Bruno was recently sectioned under the mental health act after a serious breakdown. A tragic circumstance, you may stupidly think. Not so the super soaraway Sun! The fearless funrag laid into the man with all guns blazing, calling him a "mentler", a "flid", and alleging that he "needs to get teacher to help wipe his arse". Needless to say, such courageous journalism was misunderstood by many intellectual paperweights as an ugly slur, and complaints teetered in at a rate of four every second. The Sun's riposte? A steadfast defence of their position? A craven apology? Neither! They gave him some money, and everyone forgot all about it.

Today's charity initiative, "Aww, here's some coins, you old flid", backed by a raft of celebrities including BVSMP and Huey Lewis from the Fun Loving Criminals, marks a turning point in Ingerlish Law. With this precedent set, a moral maze has been chainsawed away at a stroke. Citizens may now call anyone any damn thing they like, as long as it is followed up by a monetary payment. To demonstrate -

Thom Yorke goes to a sweet shop for his daily half-pound of midget gems. In the queue in front of him, large as life, is the writer and broadcaster Rachel Stevens. Dear Rachel, swift of foot but slow of uptake, is taking ages to decide whether flying saucers represent a greater contravention of the Atkins Diet than the less satisfying, yet pound-for-pound cheaper, Spanish Gold. It doesn't look like she's going to make a breakthrough in this field any time soon, and Yorke, who needs to be in Luton by bedtime, is fuming. Eventually, unable to contain himself any longer, he voids a vocal observation that Ms. Stevens has "girly hair". Naturally, our learned friend is most offended at this, and reaches for her lawyer. Suddenly realising the enormity of his action, Yorke swiftly offers to buy her a quarter of Callard and Bowser top cream toffees and a Lion bar as monetary recompense. Being famously toffee intolerant, Rachel refuses, storming out and setting fire to the door behind her. Yorke, the blameless sweet shop keeper, and 200 nearby children on a field trip, perish instantly. OK, that's a terrible example. But you get the idea.

The flipside to this could prove just as interesting. It follows that any proffered monetary gift, be it birthday-related or no, must now be accompanied by a defamatory insult if the New Moral Balance is to be maintained. This should make Clinton's Cards, previously a swaddling, loathsome den of grinning sheep and pastoral milkmaids, a far more exciting place to be. I can't wait for Christmas.

Wed, Sep. 24th, 2003, 01:17 pm
There's a kind of hush...

And so, bidding a fond, indeed slightly over-gay, thanks to Codekeeper Vanthal, here comes the second attempt at this "blog" felafel, and I'll try and do it properly this time. Initially, at least.

Rather fantastically, the main news story this morning was about a chatroom closing down. The main news story! Of all the World! And as a result the World has a spring in its step today. Not because it's nice not to have Bad Things Upon Us, although it surely is, but rubbish, monumentally unmomentous news helps us feel that little bit more important in this great big scheme we call things.

Case in point - last week there was another great main story, that postal workers were not going on strike. That's something NOT HAPPENING as the most important thing in the entire world, that day. Frakes! At the precise moment the funny man on the radio read that out, I was grilling blue cheese on a variety of bread products. Thus I felt immediately thrice as important as the postal workers. Here I was, doing something to their not doing something! And after the grilling was completed to my own personal satisfaction, I had another scheme in mind, namely to move to the nearest of my two settees and devour the basic yet finely-rendered snack with gusto unbound. So here was an actual news story of something happening, with a follow-up scenario which could afford endless speculation for the appropriate pundits. How long would the eating process last? Would there be a liquid accompaniment? And if so, spillage? What if - and I don't want to arouse undue panic among the populace here - I were to choke on a stiltonian nugget? All these possibilities and more could be outlined by a powerfully gimacing Andrew Marr in front of my residence, bald of pate and crazed of gesture, while Huw rocked his patented solemn/intrigued look back at base. A most excellent infotainment on all counts, I'm sure you'll agree. Beat that, Balzac!

This lunchtime (note to non-Londoners - lunchtime begins at 2.05PM) I shall see if I can't trump this feeble chatroom story with a shenanigan of my own. Of what stamp I am as yet undecided. All I can say at the present time is, M&S, prepare the escalator!