When will people learn to watch what they say on Twitter?

The latest in a long line of people making idiots of themselves on the – frankly overrated – social networking website is Tory councillor John Fareham of Hull City Council.  Having branded cuts protesters ‘retards’, Mr Fareham has incurred the wrath of caring types everywhere.  However, it isn’t his use of retard that bothers me the most*.  What rankles me is the tone and context of his comments.

His post: “15 hours in council today very hard hitting day and the usual collection of retards in the public gallery spoiling it for real people” is typical Tory scumbaggery. The very idea that ‘real people’s’ fun is being spoiled by those demanding fairness, employment and access to services  is pretty disgusting.  The meeting in question involved axing 1,400 jobs and child care services.  What the councillor clearly doesn’t understand is that the people protesting against the cuts are the real people.  Most folks don’t have cushy jobs (even without a majority) on councils and many rely on the provision of services the likes of JF want to take away.

Beyond this, I don’t think that Mr Fareham is a very nice person, which probably makes him a good Tory, but a crap representative of the people – albeit, not the majority of them.  Last year got himself into trouble by making “derogatory remarks” about his colleagues, which just goes to show that he sees name-calling as a sensible thing to do.  On both counts, Mr Fareham has apologised, but forced apologies are meaningless.  What’s worse is that he clearly believes his views are acceptable in a public figure, but he isn’t even willing to defend himself when he shoots his mouth off.  If you’re going to voice these kind of backward opinions of people, at least have enough of a spine to back them up, especially when you’re only going to upset another group of people at a later date.

Keep an eye on Twitter if you like, but don’t expect “rly sry 4 my coments erlier, feel sooo bad. Johnny Fareham is luvly nd i wont 2 by him a drnk” any time soon.

*That’s not to say it doesn’t bother me.  I think it’s a pretty horrid word that gets used far too often.

Shitty comedy, Lauren Laverne, Politics, wha?

That’s right, it’s Ten O’Clock Live, Channel 4′s take on satire aimed squarely at young, trendy cretins who can only handle the news in bite-sized chunks.  I like to call this patronews, as that’s exactly what it is.  Bright colours, a studio audience and a piece of Geordie ass seem to be all that’s needed to flog a show these days.  I could say “well, at least it’s informative”, but I’d be talking shit.

So who’s on it?  That’d be former likeable chap, Charlie Brooker; former likeable chap David Mitchell; Mr Channel 4, Jimmy Carr and perennial TV favourite Lauren Laverne – oh, she’s such a cheeky Geordie scamp.

What seems to be the crux of the show is that it’s hosted by two people who understand what they’re talking about and two people who have to translate that for the slack-jawed middle-class kids in attendance, hopefully using the word ‘cocks’ as often as possible.  This is comedy after all!

Jimmy Carr kicked everything off with some hastily-written jokes about Alan Johnson followed by stuff mainly related to news from the past week including a few Tunisia jokes, which I think is probably a first for most people, I’d certainly never heard any before.

I’m not entirely sure why this weekly show has to be live anyway seeing as most of the material is pre-planned and could benefit from some serious editing.

First impressions – a lot to go by apparently – are grim.  Having witnessed the adverts, I sussed out the tone of the show and hey presto, that’s what I got!  The only thing that surprised me was the studio audience, but I don’t know why, it was obvious really, especially since I watched some of the ‘alternative*’ election special that inspired it.

First things first – the format.  What can I say? Well, it’s disappointing at best.  Ten O’ Clock Live sits somewhere alongside Mock the Week in terms of lame satire and, much like MTW, the target audience is: bozos.  This show is so ‘current affairs’  Brooker even gives the Crazy Frog a mention.

What I don’t understand is why Channel 4 gave this studio-based disaster the green light. BBC3 already has the idiots market covered, so why this?  The only thing I can think of is that this is a bit more middle-class, for the white kids (and they’re most certainly that) who think they know about, like, politics and shit, yeah?

Just because David Mitchell says something, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true or even funny.  It’s a shame, until recently I quite liked David Mitchell and if he was presenting Newsnight or something, I think he’d probably be much better, but there’s no excuse for what he’s doing here.

And while I’m at it, fancy David Mitchell saying “cunt” on live TV, I’m so shocked, I hope someone complains on my behalf!  Cunt’s a naughty word and it only gets said on TV quite often.

Next stop, Charlie Brooker.  Where once his brand of media driven humour was funny and interesting, he is now nothing more than a satirical prostitute, whoring himself out to any panel show with a vaguely newsy tone.  His initial contribution  to the show was a sub-Screenwipe video about Sarah Palin that seemed out of place and entirely unnecessary.  He does have his own show for exactly that.

As with David Mitchell, I think I’m more disappointed that Brooker is hosting this lightweight trash than with the show itself.  Like Mitchell too, I did used to like Charlie Brooker and while my opinion of him has declined recently I never disliked him.  But then, Ten O’ Clock Live came along and look what happened.

Lauren Laverne appeared to be nothing more than a presenter, popping-up now and then to give viewers something to look at, although offering nothing of any value.  Even if she is shit, she should still be doing something worthwhile, not just being plonked at a big table.  To be honest, that’s all I have to say about Ms Laverne, as I’m choosing to ignore her shockingly terrible entertainment news sketch.

What next? Oh, yeah, Jimmy Carr. Well…

And finally, the audience. Yes, it wouldn’t be right not to judge them as much as anything else.  Mindless, moronic, young white kids, some of them wearing trendy hats, filled the seats and laughed at the poor gags.  It deeply bothers me that they’ll probably come away from the experience feeling a little more enlightened and intellectual, when in fact, they’ll have learned nothing.

And that, really, is the problem with this crap.  Rather than approach the news in an analytical or genuinely satirical way, Ten O’ Clock Live seems to just reel off a few poorly written gags – mainly about politicians – and say “cocks” every now and then.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, guests are wheeled on to discuss serious matters with the presenters, drastically altering the tone of the show and no doubt losing the majority of it’s audience along the way.

Ultimately then, Ten O’ Clock Live is nothing more than a ham-fisted mish-mash of crap comedy, base political satire and misplaced political discussion.  Perhaps the show will improve over the next 15 weeks, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  If you want current affairs and great satire, you’d be better off waiting for the next series of Have I Got News For You or reading Private Eye, at least then you can see how it’s meant to be done.

*For alternative, see drip-fed.

Only one thing can/should be said of Michel Roux’s Service:  Utter tosswank!

The premise of the show is basically Junior Apprentice in a restaurant, where gormless teenagers take part in a battle-to-the-death style contest.  The ultimate prize is a career spent surrounded by smug tossers in a smug tosser establishment.  It seems that nowadays, anyone can grovel for a job on TV, no matter what the industry.

Michel Roux Jr plays the eponymous Alan Sugar role of trying to pick the most malleable candidates suitable for a job in his restaurant.  The Apprentice style of the show is mirrored in the choice of background music and I’m sure there will be plenty more comparisons to come in the series.

But my question is, who is Michel Roux Jr?  Besides being a chef with a famous daddy, his main occupation is being a patronising cunt.  How do these nobodies keep getting their own shows?  I’d never heard of him, nor has anyone I know, although I admit to not knowing the types of cunt that would know who he is, so maybe I’m not reliable.

Amid the typical wine-snob cuntery I’d expect of a millionaire chef, Roux also has a predisposition to a messianic complex, who clearly see himself as Jesus, healing the lepers of fine dining.

Perhaps I’m the only person who doesn’t know, but since when has being a waiter been considered anything other that lowly grunt work?  The winners are likely to be the cunts who can talk down to their hopeless peers the best, the losers – everyone else – are likely to be reduced to a quivering wreck by the end of the competition.

Everyone on the show is, of course, a complete fucking bozo and none of them would deserve to win a scrabbling around in the mud for pennies contest, never mind a shitty job.

To combat the fact that all the contestants are ignorant, selfish arseholes with not a personality between them, the producers have made sure to pick a gang of hopefuls for every target audience.  These include: a young single mother, a bad-boy done good, a handful of bitchy, useless girls and at least one black person, thus ensuring that every demographic has someone to root for!

At one point in the show, ‘feisty one with a Midlands accent’ Nikita ( I think that’s the one) is told that if she wants to be a role model for her kid, she must learn to smell the difference between wines.  Hardly an aspirational skill to the vast majority of society.  Also, I’m pretty sure she also said “my baby daddy left me” at some point, which would be wonderful if I heard her right.

Roux’s assistant is a French stereotype called Fred, a wholly disagreeable git who can patronise and insult at the same time.  As someone who admires the French, it is very difficult for me to watch this show and resist descending into fits of xenophobic rage because of this awful man.

Having toiled in the service industry, I recognise people like these a mile away and they are always wankers whether they work in Frankie and Benny’s or some posho hole.  What this show doesn’t tell you though, is that the public are even bigger wankers and if it weren’t for them being so fussy (or perhaps managers expecting them to be so fussy) this line of work would be a piece of piss.

Initial reaction to the show came from the gut and hasn’t settled just yet.  I thought that with the coming of new decade, that reality game shows would be out in the cold, but it seems that I was wrong.  What bothers me more though, is that ‘aspirational programming’ seems to be key at the moment and that life under a Tory government means we’ll probably be seeing much more of this pigshit.

Per a regular visit to Cook’d and Bomb’d I happened across a lively debate on what should be called ‘shock comedy’.  You can find the thread here: http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=26692.0

Although the thread was aimed more at gathering consensus on the issue of ‘punching down’ in comedy, it chiefly helped me to understand what it is so unsettling about increasingly accepted norms and discriminatory attitudes.

It would seem that the borders of acceptable comedy have changed over the past decade.  Where once, the mainstream of comedy championed a level of sympathy and understanding towards minorities, it now seems to revel in mocking them, with a sneering, unapologetic disdain.

For all their vulgarity and witlessness, Harry Enfield’s ‘slob’s were loveable characters, unlike Little Britain’s Vickie Pollard, a character so lazy, dull and unimaginative, it’s impossible to feel anything towards her besides total indifference.  Vickie Pollard does nothing but point and laugh at the stooping working-class stereotype that it perpetuates.

I’m not sure why this has become the case, although I do realise that this type of base humour taps into the mindset of complete twats.  Every school had its bullies that routinely made fun of people for being different and every school had the gang of mindless kids that would laugh and egg him on.  I should perhaps mention something about human nature here, but I think that’s a different story.

As traditionally left-wing, alternative comedy always decried and kicked against the likes of Bernard Manning and his ilk, before eventually usurping them in the mainstream.  Now however, it seems that the anti-establishment has itself been usurped by a misguided sense of outsiderdom that condemns difference and shuns acceptance and understanding.

The popular idea now, after 13 years of New Labour, is that to be ‘anti-establishment’, one has to criticise political correctness and to attack.  The general concept seems to be that calling people names is somehow sticking two fingers up at the establishment, or the ‘thought police’ as they like to call it.

While the contrary is blatantly obvious, some people do indeed believe that minorities get all the breaks – surely a contradiction in terms! – and stop everyone else from having fun.  ”If we want to call a spade a spade, we should be allowed to, it’s only fair because they banned Christmas and installed them ramps everywhere”.

Perhaps the reason is that these comedians, Frankie Boyle in particular, though there are others, feel that the only way they can stand out is to be as vulgar as possible.

Another case in point is ‘Gilbert’, a supposedly learning disabled boy played by Morgana Robinson.  What I can tell, from having seen the show, is that the ‘joke’ with Gilbert is: “he’s a bit funny and he plays with his bits. Chortle!”  (This doesn’t help the lightweight, boring toss of so-called comedy material that is the Morgana Show either, as it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.)

The likes of Frankie Boyle and Gilbert do not strike me as particularly funny, and trigger a feeling of utter revulsion.  The problem here is that although it has the veneer of irony, it is only encouraging people to laugh at the disabled, or in Frankie Boyle’s case, anyone who isn’t him.

By virtue of claiming “it was all a joke”, a certain type of comedian feels that bullying is acceptable and this in turn encourages their audience to join in, which they most certainly do.

While I’m on the subject of Frankie Boyle, I would also like to mention that his brand of ‘all’s fair in love and shitty comedy’ is not and never has been funny.  Rather than make a wry statement or satirical comment, – and I’m not saying he should do this – he opts to make the audience go “ooh, that’s naughty”.  Simply dropping “baby rape” or “aren’t spastics shit”* into a set or panel show isn’t comedy, it’s just trying to shock for the sake of it.  The most likely reason is that he isn’t funny and would rather evoke a nervous laugh than none at all, which would clearly be his only other option.

This brand of comedy is nothing new either.  As Bernard Manning was mentioned earlier, it might be a good idea to bring Jerry Sadowitz into this too.  Whatever your opinion of Sadowitz, he minted the concept of hating everything and everyone in his comedy.  Frankie Boyle doesn’t manage to pull it off in quite the same way, being a BBC funded sell-out and all, but he does present a watered-down shite take on it.

So that’s my treatise on shock comedy.  I bemoan the state of contemporary British mainstream comedy in all its forms, from McIntyre and Bishop to Boyle and Gilbert and I doubt things will change any time soon.  In the meantime, it’s probably best I try to keep an eye out for something that isn’t complete and utter horse shit, it’s been a while.

*As far as I’m aware, he hasn’t actually said these particular things, but I believe they’re illustrative of his brand of shock-humour.

Awright geez! Eastender’s eh?  What’s all the fuss about?  Judging by the amount of moronic complaints the show has garnered, anyone would think the BBC had actually murdered a baby and swapped its corpse.

If, like me, you cannot stand Eastenders allow me to to give you a little background:  The New Year storyline for the programme involved Ronnie Branning swapping her dead baby for a living one, which probably isn’t a fair swap.

Most people – certainly not all – realise that Eastenders is nothing more than a trashy prime-time soap-opera that is often, if not always, pretty ludicrous.  The whole point of the show is that it helps people escape from the crushing mundanity of their boring lives.  Realism, therefore, is not on the agenda for Eastenders.

Unfortunately, there is a contingent of squealing, hysterical Daily Mail readers who get off on being routinely outraged by the most trivial concerns. It is these people who ruin it for the rest of us.  And therein lies the problem.

Obviously, the storyline of the show has hit a nerve with some and they’ve made it known to the BBC, who have surely only done what they meant to do – entertain.

While cot death and even baby-swapping are real problems, they are not something that the majority of the population experiences and if anything, using Eastenders as a platform could certainly raise awareness.

I’m sure it is a sensitive subject, especially to people who have suffered the effects of something so terrible, but Eastenders should not be blamed for anything more than simply being shit.  Nobody complains when someone is murdered and buried in a shallow grave on a soap-opera, even though it’s just as serious, nor did they start shrieking when Coronation Street had a serial killer.  So why then, are people so up in arms about it all?

Well, the only thing that comes to mind is the earlier point of Middle-England.  It’s middle-England who cause the real trouble and get upset about the daftest things.  Let’s not forget, soap operas do not represent real life.

Speaking on Radio 4, John Yorke, controller of BBC drama production, summed it all up in one sentence:  ”Our job is to create a drama that people talk about”.  And seeing as that’s exactly what’s happened, they’ve done what they were meant to do.  Besides, even if people are appalled by the show, at least they’ll be able to open up  a debate on the subject and reach their own conclusions.

Anne Diamond – surely the duchess of banality – has thrown her oar in too.  Her child died of cot death 20 years ago and she’s accusing the Eastenders writers of losing the plot!

If Anne Diamond is championing your cause, you should know that it’s a crock of shit.

And while I’m at – Mumsnet also pisses me off.  According to the BBC, the Mumsnet website has been ‘inundated’ with complaints about the show, as if a shitty website with a shitty name has any say over what is produced and broadcast.

What do they expect would happen?!

“Hello mumsnet, I was not very happy about the Eastenders storyline, as I thought it was crass and vulgar and sensationalised something for the purpose of entertaining people like me who watch it.  I would like to complain to you – an unrelated party – about the fact that I watch Eastenders and am prone to unnecessary outbursts of knee-jerk rage.”

Now that’s settled, which hard-hitting issues would you like to see Eastenders tackle in the future?  How about a storyline where it turns out Shane Richie has been having vivid sex with goats, or what about Phil Mitchell killing a man in cold blood with a toaster before dissolving his body in a barrel of acid.

Let me know what you think and we can engineer some outrage to give mumsnet and Anne Diamond something to really get their teeth into.

Fuck you Rupert Murdoch.  You’re a fucking cunt akin to a malignant tumour on the lung of society.

If you care about helping to cut Britain’s deficit, why not donate some of your vast, vast fortune?  It’s only sitting in tax-free bank accounts after all.

You are not a British citizen, nor do you benefit from the systems put in place to help those who need it and all who contribute.

If this ‘toughness is necessary’ then I hope you’re getting involved and not just talking complete and utter bollocks.

So do us a favour and fuck off.

That is all.

And so it came to pass that George Osborne woke and raised a smile, David Cameron nodded his head in agreement and Nick Clegg smirked at along with his best pals.

Yes, it’s the cuts. It’s been a long time coming and what we all feared is here at last.  As long as the economy is happy, we should all be safe, but could we not perform some human sacrifice to appease it?  I know of a few people that would satiate it’s hunger.

We may look back at the Incas and sneer. “Coo, look at them, they worshipped the sun, silly primitives”.  How things change.  Nobody these days would worship the sun as giver of all life, why would we when we have the tangible properties of the ubiquitous markets. Oh, wait…  Let’s keep the markets happy, we don’t want to anger it.  What if the wounded economy causes an earthquake or volcanic eruption!

The Tories ideological cuts will hit us hard.  They tell us we’re all in this together, but obviously exclude themselves.  It’s fair enough I suppose, they’ve never done a day’s work and daddy has given them all the cash they’ll ever need, so why should they contribute?  I can’t think of a single reason.

The markets are king and they must be respected because without them, where would we be? Well, probably in the place we were before.  Somebody in France recently said that budget cuts would be appropriate if they didn’t already have a rich country and the same is applicable here.

These cuts are the worst since the second world war, but look at what the Attlee government achieved and how they made the UK into what it is today.  Where are the concessions Mr. Osborne? Penalising everybody but your wealthy chums is just fucking wrong, you hypocritical bastards.  We don’t have a problem with spending, we have a problem with income.

Ultimately, we need to protect those who need it and provide services for all. Money is not king, the people are and communities are and will always be more important than the fucking stock exchange.

Clement Attlee where are you now when we need you?

Baroness Warsi, she’s a card.  I’d say it’s worth keeping an eye on her in the coming months and years.

Why? You ask, well, let me tell you.  I have the strangest feeling that Lady Warsi suffers from Prince Philip syndrome and that it’s only a matter of time before she begins to make public appearances with a strip of tape over here gob.  Here’s why.

Labour appear confident that there’s nothing going on and have suggested the Lady Warsi share any evidence she may have which I for one am interested in seeing.

She was also on BBC news after Ed Miliband’s recent victory was announced claiming that the Labour leadership election was a fix, set-up by the unions, although I think that was just a case of sour grapes since lil’ Tony Blair was defeated and a slightly more left-wing candidate was elected.

It’s early days yet, but since the election, her name has cropped up several times in the news and not once relating to politics.  She also seems to like making ‘unsubstantiated’ claims as evidenced by the previous link.

Maybe she’ll prove herself to be one of the ‘new’ Tory politicians who will modernise the image of the party, or perhaps she’ll get carried away time and again.

Like I said, it’s still early days, but I’m looking forward to seeing her mouthing off again in the near future. I expect her to be the most entertaining thing about the current Tory government.

Fucking Americans! (again!)

As usual, those insular degenerates of the western Atlantic have managed to fuel my ire by simply doing what they do best.  This time it’s because they’ve decided that breasts are not suitable for children. Who knew?

How much breast are we talking here? and in what context? Perhaps they belong to a woman of ‘dubious’ integrity who is showing off her feminine assets to all and sundry. Well, they don’t (although they belong to a woman of dubious musical ability) they are simply breasts, under a dress, belonging to Katy Perry.  Can someone tell me what the problem is exactly? Literally everybody in the world has a body and at least half the population have jugs.

Her appearance on perennial American kiddywinks’ favourite on Seasame Street will now not be broadcast.  This comes as a result of concerned parents with nothing better to do complaining about Miss Perry having breasts.

I’ve seen the video and to be honest, I was disappointed that there weren’t more of KP’s funbags*, it certainly would have made listening to the song bearable.  If you’re going to be outraged about anything, it should be that kids are exposed to cheesy forgettable pop music, not a quarter (at most!) of a woman’s mammary glands.

One can only assume that any child witnessing the unusual bumps on Miss Perry’s chest must have burst into tears upon the sight of a pair of jobs. It’s understandable, children don’t normally see knockers until they are fully grown and even then, only when they are in a loving relationship and have the written permission of parents groups and religious leaders.

No wonder America is so backward and repressed, natural, often beautiful body parts are viewed as somehow offensive.

Ever wondered why the USA has a disproportionately higher rate of serial killers than anywhere else in the world? Perhaps it has something to do with the conditioning of their young against the most innocuous of things.  Rather than teach kids about context and normalcy, Americans apparently prefer to keep their offspring fearful and ignorant.

Needless to say, this latest controversy bullshit has had the result of shining light on something that otherwise would have been ignored and/or gone unnoticed.  Millions of people have already seen the video in question which isn’t anything to write home about anyway.

Although I have no proof, I also have a feeling that most of the complainants hadn’t/haven’t seen the video themselves, but have simply gotten carried away and – typically – made tits of themselves in the eyes of people everywhere.

Maybe America’s hordes of right-wing, god obsessed, idiotic parents, might want to teach their children about irony in future even if they won’t teach them about breasts.  Who knows where it might lead.

*In case you’re daft as a brush, this is satire, not sexism.

There is no god.  Doesn’t it make you happy to say it?  There is no god, there never has been any god and based on what we know, there never will be a god.

How do I know?  If there was a god, Pope Benedict XVI would not be infecting my green and pleasant land with his Catholic dogma.

So here we are, over 400 years after the reformation we have the head of the Catholic church being invited to Britain at the behest of the head of the church of England.

What does that mean for me and you? Not very much apparently, except that that all-important money we’re expected to save is being spent on bringing the former Hitler Youth boy to the UK, even in the face of mass public indifference.

Everybody knows that the Pope is out of touch with reality and the modern world, as is the Queen, but when the vast majority of people do not want the same things as these people, I’d like to know why must they be indulged.

Perhaps the Pope will use the visit as a way to connect with the British public. Perhaps not.  The BBC reported “sighs of disappointment” coming from the crowds assembled to see him upon realising the vehicle he was travelling in had blacked-out windows.

Perhaps this is  some kind of Shrodinger’s Pope experiment, the Pope may be in the car, or he may not be in the car, it’s impossible to tell unless you can see him.  Hopefully there is some dangerous radiation in the car, we can only hope and pray.

But dismiss my mockery, does it not say in the bible, that following the resurrection, Jesus traversed the streets of Nazareth in a bullet-proof limo with a police escort?  I think it does, somewhere near the back.

This really sums up the Pope’s attitude to Britain and the people that both those who hate him and those who worship him.  He’s definitely worth the expense incurred as a result of his visit.  Definitely.

The only real value of this state visit that I can see is that it’s likely to cause more disdain and/or apathy for Catholicism in the UK and hopefully move us one step closer to a Britain free of idiocy and imaginary friends.