Radio Drama Workshops

May 8, 2014

Image

We began our radio drama workshops in Widnes and Runcorn yesterday (7th May) with two lively and interesting groups that explored how we can use the 40th anniversary of the creation of Halton as a theme for a radio drama production. We spoke about our own history, where we have lived, where we live now, our first homes, what it means – if anything – to be from ‘Halton.’

Some interesting points came out such as how people perceive themselves as being from Cheshire or Lancashire, Liverpool or from other parts of the country. How do postcodes – WA, L, CH – and telephone prefixes – 0151, 01928 and constituency boundaries – Halton or Weaver Vale define us as individuals or communities? Is there still an Old Town v New Town divide in Runcorn and do Widnesians still feel Lancastrian? Are now now part of a ‘Mega-Merseyside’ or should we return to the old county boundaries pre-1974? 

If you would like to explore some o these issues and have a try at writing performing or simply playing a role in a radio drama please book a place via Wellbeing Enterprises :

http://www.wellbeingenterprises.org.uk/book-a-place/

Advertisements

YKTD TV

January 10, 2013

Bad Night In (ITV1 + 3)  

Join Nob, Whopper, Div and Meff four pals from Oldham who meet up once a week to drink beer and talk shite about girls n’ footie n’ other working class male type things. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gouge your own eyes out in this hilarious comedy drama from the writers of Geordies v Vampires On Ice In Space 3.

Andrew Marr’s Hospital Diary (BBC 1,2,4, radio 3,5,5Live, 7, 7extra)

Since suffering from a stroke the world’s leading authority on fucking everything gets to eat re-heated slop from a bucket and goes without his arse wiping for a month as killer bugs attack his body from filthy mops. See how he likes the new Tory Utopia eh?

Gok’s Underage Naked Bake Off (C4 + 1 + 1 HD)

Naked under age girls bake cakes whilst Gok Wan tits them up, stoopid.

Shit Stirring Live With David Van Day and Arthur Cox

The former Dollar singer and the former Derby County manager team up to host a live 6 hour shit stirring marathon with guests, Miranda Hart, Joe Hart and Hartley Hare.

Brush! (ITVZero)

Celebrity dentist Colin Gate rounds up former extras from El Dorado and teaches them how to brush their teeth in a desperate Saturday evening bid to get toothpaste brands to sponsor an hour of mind rot. 

 My Nan’s A Benefits Scrounger! (FiveLiveSexyAsianLezzers)

Brave citizens grass up their pension grabbing grandparents in a heroic bid to claw back benefits from grave dodgers placing an intolerable burden on the state. In a direct link to Westminster, George Osbourne, Prince Andrew and Eric Pickles decide whether to prosecute, execute or pardon.

Poor People Stink Real Bad (BBC1)

Pity the poor council fumigation unit as they trawl around poor people’s homes whilst social workers take kids into care and paramedics scrape up the remains of lonely alcoholics.  Narrated by Clare Balding.

Crackheads (ITV4 3D)

The quiz show with a difference. Each week a team of drug workers play against a team of crack addicts answering questions on sport, entertainment, history, geography and freebasing. Hosted by Dermot O’Leary.    

Feel The Peel?

December 23, 2012

Billy Bragg’s ‘Peel Lecture’ was a decent stab at addressing the social and cultural imbalances that have resulted in the current state of both political and musical mediocrity in Britain. Bragg’s argument was that the 60s art schools encouraged working class lads (and lasses) to pick up guitars and emulate their American musical heroes or their European artistic icons. There’s a certain truth to this but the vast majority of the early 60s ‘beat’ musicians never went to art school never mind public school. It wasn’t really until the onset of ‘psychedelia’ that so-called cerebral rock bands such as Floyd and their ilk began to take over from the prole foot stomping hordes.

The class issue of music and culture is naturally tied up in education but to imagine there was golden age of egalitarianism in the 60s is a dangerous myth. Peel himself was just another by-product of Beatlemania, a public school chancer who blagged a job playing records he liked because he had a Wirral accent. He’s up there with Cilla and Tarby in the ranks of untalented twats who gegged in ‘showbiz’ off the back of truly talented individuals.

Unfair? Well, what did Peel actually accomplish during his 40 odd years at the BBC? Yes, he played records by thousands of bands and musicians other mainstream stations would never have played, His show was an oasis of eclecticism in an a desert of MOR/chart shite but in reality all he was was a gentleman enthusiast, indulging himself yet making out he was doing us a favour.

Peel is exactly the type of person who embodies the meritocratic myth of the Tory’s/Labour’s One Nation wonderland. Miliband, Cameron, Clegg and there rows of professional political careerists are overwhelmingly the product of a state education apartheid that only allows those with wealth and/or connections to get a foothold in the establishment. This is the same as it ever was in the 50s, 60s, 70s,, 80s, 90s, 00s.         

Peel’s own son, Tom Ravenscroft now has his own programme on the BBC in an act of nepotism that symbolises the way in which the BBC especially embodies the old school tie attitude of cronyism and closing ranks when the shit hits the fan as it has this year with the revelations about Jimmy Savile and other wunnderful Radio 1 presenters including Saint John himself.

Bragg’s ‘lecture’ tried to broaden the debate about how the arts are taught (or not taught) in today’s league table obsessed education system. He made some valid points but using Jake Bugg as a lone example of working class success in a pop world populated by Brit school automatons and phoney Etonian folk bands ignores the impact that grime has had in articulating inner city rage.

Was poor, Irish Rotten a more believable rebel than public school polemicist Strummer? In my book yes because although I believed Joe was totally sincere his anger wasn’t based upon personal experience.  Likewise Plan B has rediscovered his grime roots this year and made some stunning records about the living conditions on the London estates exposing the hypocrisy of the media and the politician’s response to the riots of last summer, Now Mr B may not be a true Hackney high rise kid but his anger is as sincere as Strummer’s and his music is miles away from the twee, Jools friendly ‘authenticity’ of yer Eds and yer Florences and yer Mumfords.

X-Factor winner James Arthur, the Michael McDonald of Middlesboro made a great play on his working class roots as if that marked him out as somehow more authentic than other contestants. The three finalists all represented the state of modern British working class confusion and stasis; a gay scouser from Scotty Road, a mixed race shelf packing Christian from Swindon and a tattooed bruiser from Boro.

They didn’t have the connections to get their talent recognised, they didn’t have the money to set themselves up and take a year out playing the kind of places where lazy A&R people hang out. Like it or not the X Factor is a far better litmus test for working class creativity and talent than The Brits or LIPA.

Ah. LIPA – Paul McCartney’s ‘Fame School’ the place that brought you Sandi Thom and er, The Wombats. Having worked at this place a decade ago on the New Deal for Musicians course, the chasm between the talented if unruly local kids and the studious if conventional posh kids was as wide as Macca’s ego.

The New Deal ideal was doomed to failure for kids who never wanted to return to a class room environemnt with text books and home work, they just wanted to do what say the Las or the Beatles had done, fuck about, smoke weed, play tunes, sign on but that’s not allowed today.

Today’s creative kids have to have CVs and a career plan, they have to work for free and hope their talent will see them through but it won’t, it never has done, because the system is rigged in favour of those like Mumford & Son, like Florence Welch, like Ed Sheeran, like Tom Ravenscroft and that’s why Jools Holland has assumed some kind of kingmaker role just as Chris Evans did in the 90s and Peel did in the 80s.

Billy Bragg’s music is as one dimensional as his politics, he’s re-positioned himself as a kind  of left wing patriot, one of the reclaim the union jack brigade who no doubt loved the Olympics Opening Ceremony and clamor for black OBEs and Knighthoods, as if these tokens excuse the past 400 years of economic slavery and oppression.

The John Peel Lecture is a bit like the man himself, a little bit irreverent, a little bit self-effacing, a little bit funny but at heart, a part of the very fabric of the establishment’s cloak of deceit.   .       

Ten Bob Bucket List

December 22, 2012

Image

I’d never even heard of the so-called ‘Bucket List’ until last year when there seemed to be a rash of features devoted to this type of 1001 Things To Do Before You Die type excuses for self-indulgence camouflaged as ‘experiences.’ It ties neatly with the pseudo-spirituality of the post-consumerist advertising myth. Banks sell themselves not as places where they take your money and invest in the arms trade or  rip off starving nation. No they’re the kindly, fluffy, choir singing joints that will fund that trip to the jungles of Indonesia you’ve always dreamed of where you can meet orangutans in their un-natural habitat and crack on that this has brought you a deep understanding of the ecological damage done to the enviornment by er, western banks mostly.

Anyway, as a response to these preposterously expensive global jaunts for city kids, rich kids, kids of city kids, kids of rich kids, kids of kids of, y’get the drfit here are ten, ten bob things to do before you make your tea.

1

Go For A Brisk  Walk In The Forest – any forest or if you don’t live near a forest, a wood or even a park will do. Anywhere with trees basically. Trees are boss, they were here before you and they’ll be here after you so who’s the real dickhead eh?

Visit a shite theme park – Guillver’s World in Warrington’s a good place to start or failing that Camelot (if it’s still open – I can’t pay a researcher) or The U-Boat Experience in Wallasey or local shite attrctions of your own. If it costs more than 20 quid jib it!

3

Ride A Donkey On A Beach – reconnect with your inner fuckwit, it may seem cruel but donkey’s actually enjoy having 20 stone whoppers from Rotherham on their backs shouting cowboy shite they’ve heard a billion times.

4

Have A Picnic – we don’t mean a pre-prepared Mark’s picnic that costs 60 quid but an old skool picky, with egg, ham and tuna butties, Mr Kipling cakes, cheese and onion crisps, a flask of instant coffee, a few scotch eggs or mini pork pies and a few Kit Kats for afters. You can have this picnic anywhere, even in your own house if it’s pissing down or you can’t be arsed.

5

Play Scrabble/Monopoly/Cluedo/Pop-O-Matic/Trivial Pursuits – any board game will do but preferably  one that goes on for hours because they’re the ones that really bring you together or to blows. Either way, it’ll be interesting.

6

Get Lost – go somewhere you’ve never been before either on the train or by foot or car, whatever and deliberately get lost. Ask locals for directions, identify landmarks, consult a map if necessary. Don’t be half arsed about it, get to the point where you’re almost crying and the world takes on a sinsiter hue.

7

Go the baths – not a big fuck off water park with wave machines and slides n’ stuff just an old skool rectangular shallow end, deep end kinda baths with freezing changing rooms and too much hypo in the water, sanitary towels floating miserably on the surface and pervy arl fellars sat on the bench…..just like we remember. 

 8

Have a Fancy Dress Party – an obvious one perhaps, but I’ve never not had a boss time at a fancy dress party but not one of those ones where everyone hires outfits or spunks thousands on hiring a fancy room and djs but a house party in your front room with a karaoke and a bowl of ‘punch.’

9

Take a loved one to the seaside – your ma, nan, Uncle Tommy or whatever, old folks love the seaside, buy em a icey, have a game of bingo, moan about foreigners etc – doesn’t have to be old folks, kids, nephews, neices, love the beach too – no fair grounds or any of that stuff, bucket and spade, sandcastles, collecting shells, crabbing at the most exotic. Get your feet wet, shiver in the shade and feel the Irish sea on your cynical cheeks.

10

Put an old Black & White film on the DVD and pour yourself a stiff drink – sentimental films about kids dying or femme fatales are not allowed, got to be an uplifting piece of shit starring a young Alec Guinness or Cary Grant.

jamie-reed1.jpg

December 20, 2012

Steely Dan?

December 17, 2012

 

Danny Boyle is perhaps the most patronised man in ‘showbiz’ apart from his fellow Lancastrian, Guy Garvey that is. Both of them, like Wayne Hemingway appear with monotonous regularity as token media ‘proles.’ Dig those charming eeh-bah-gum accents, guys! But Danny and Guy-y and Wayney sure can direct popular Hollywood fillums, sing maudlin songs about love n’ shit and er, design clogs.

Don’t let them kerrazy accents fool you, these cats can cut it with the very best public school educated mediocrities. And when push comes to shove ha’penny, they can be relied upon to do the right thing and support the posh boys at the top in their schemes to make us all feel like one big, union jack waving, TeamGB UKPLC Paralympic 007 Help For Heroes Kate n’ Wills happy family.

So, when Danny Boy kb’s a knighthood as a just reward for his Nuremburg style Olympics opening ceremony, does that send out a signal that he’s ‘still one of us?’ Well the right wing press will make sure that everyone from Gary Barlow to Mo Farah will get their imperialist honours for towing the line, so Danny’s rebuf will be glossed over by the new year’s awards. Sir Ant and Sir Dec maybe?  

Boyle is a very fine director, no question about it. As a stylist he manages to straddle both art house and Hollywood with a knack that few can copy. So, let’s have it right, Boyle isn’t being ‘honoured’ by kneeling before an unelected, unaccountable aristocrat and having her tap him on the shoulder with a sword for his services to film.

No, he was nominated for this pathetic political prie for helping Cameron and Coe and the Windsors and the city of London fat cats keep the Regal Three Card Trick on the road. He may look like a cross between Sean Locke and Morrissey and be one of the best directors to come from Bury since er, that other fellar but his surreal, pseudo-maverick propaganda put back working class rights fifty years.

 

Daniel “Danny” Boyle (born 20 October 1956) is an English film director and producer, best known for his work on films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later and Trainspotting. Boyle won numerous awards for his 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, including the Academy Award for Best Director. Boyle was presented with the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival, where he also introduced that year’s AFF Audience Award Winner Slumdog Millionaire. In 2012, Boyle was the Artistic Director for Isles of Wonder, the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.[1] 

Lionel Ritchie & The Strangeways Riot

April 13, 2012

 

 

Lionel’s a boss name. Messi, Blair, Bart and so on but one Lionel really stands out as perhaps the best Lionel ever. Mr Ritchie, not that he’s that talented or owt but because for some reason, he’s stayed the course and continues to convince people that he’s worthy of our attention and even adoration. Not blessed with a handsome face or even much of a voice LR (as Colin Murray or CM) would no doubt call him Lionel has gone from the funky swagger of the Commodores, through the sappy beige ballads and tinny pop piss of his solo career to a new arena, that occupied by the likes of Rod and Macca and Elton and even Bowie these days; the all-round entertainer, aware of their own essential ridiculousness yet still egotistical enough to believe that they have something to offer, not only music but political or even philosophical insight. Ritchie is more famous now perhaps because of the antics of his daughter than his own Desperate Dan jawed smoochy soul grandad shtick yet he’s still here, still knocking em dead with his platitudes and power ballads. In recognition of Lionel, here’s a piece from the archive by Clancy Eccles (the Salford dub vendor) about a Ritchie impersonator he once worked with….

DANCING ON THE CEILING

 

by Clancy Eccles

I used to work with Lionel Ritchie. Not the real Lionel Ritchie but a bloke from Middleton called Dave who was only Lionel Ritchie at the weekends. He did a tribute act in the clubs and was making his way to Vegas via Langley and Littleborough. Dave was the spitting image(ish) of the real Lionel as well, including a spectacular hair-sprayed / soul-glowed afro. He’d only ever say “Alright” or ” How you doin” to people because if he said “Hello” all he ever got back was “Is it me your looking for?”. I didn’t work with him whilst he performed this job obviously, Lionel being a solo act and all that but even if he’d have branched out and done The Commodores act, there’d have been no room for a skinny white kid from New Moston on the soul train…even if it was only headed for Levenshulme Palace.  

Dave was me gaffer when I worked for the cleaning contractors at Crumpsall hospital (‘North Manchester General’ if you must and for them that think town has a Northern Quarter). It was a fascinating place to work for a young lad like me and me eyes were opened widely and quickly in the time I worked there. Times have changed now but back then even the kitchen staff could blag a way into the ‘Grotto’ a.k.a. The pharmacy and treat it like a pick-and-mix. There were more drugs smuggled out of that hospital than there were out of Columbia.  

A few of us from work went to see Dave sing once in this cabaret club up Castleton way. It was a curious place. It was a mixture of Pleasureland in Blackpool, Studio 54 and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It might actually have been called The Hanging gardens of Babylon. It had one of them Arcade machines where you put ten bob in and try and pick a prize up with a crane. This being back in the day as they say it still had amongst its prizes packets of 20 Regal. With lighters taped on. It was a premier gaff.  

I only went to see him that once. Mainly because it was shit, though to be fair to Dave I think Lionel Ritchie’s shit so he was never onto a winner with me. Many of the cloth-eared people in the club thought he was top drawer but then they probably like Lionel Ritchie and as you know I think he’s shit. We ripped the piss out of him the following week anyway just to be on the safe side.


I was working at the hospital one particular Sunday, April the 1st 1990 to be precise and there was one of those coded messages like “Will Mr Brown report to the back door” that large companies use to let staff know there’s an emergency without alerting members of the public. Obviously being April the 1st I ignored it and carried on with me cleaning. Even when the coded message was changed to one which said “Major emergency alert…all staff to follow major emergency alert procedures” I still thought it was an April fool. I was just beginning to think that it was a bit out of order playing a joke like that in a major hospital when lights started flashing and bells ringing and the penny dropped. I caught sight of Dave running around in a panic and such was his frantic speed and work-rate he now gave the impression of Lionel Ritchie impersonating former Luton star and fellow Lionel-a-like Ricky Hill.

I reported to where my ‘major emergency alert’ training had told me I should, in my case A&E, to be told that a huge riot had kicked off at Strangeways jail and that we could expect large numbers of injured to start arriving any time. No-one seemed to know what I should be doing so I just hung around. One of the doctors put the telly on and we sat there watching pictures from Strangeways of it all kicking off, with fires being started and furniture being launched out. Some had already made it up on the roof, beginning the Strangeways ‘Rave’ that was to last another 24 days. We sat watching right up to the point where we could hear the sirens approaching and the ambulances pull-up outside.

Within seconds of the sirens being silenced the doors to A&E burst open like a scene in one of them historical epics where the castle gates are finally broken after a siege and bodies surge through, spilling out all over. Lags, screws, coppers, paramedics and whoever else was caught-up came rushing through in a fury of blood, aggression, shouting, swearing and general mayhem. There must have been 50 or so arrivals and they made A&E look like a cross between The Broadway at closing on a Saturday and a Bosch painting.

There were a couple of screws in a pretty bad way, likewise a couple of fellas who were rumoured (already) to be nonces, but for the majority it was mostly just a few breaks, cuts and bruises. Two other lads were handcuffed to two coppers each as although they needed treatment they were amongst the ringleaders of the still intensifying riot (I saw their photos in the M.E.N the following day).  

The coppers and screws who weren’t injured were having a tough job trying to calm down and keep apart a number of lads who were trying to get at each other. One shirtless scouse fella with a big LFC tattoo on his chest grabbed some scissors from a nurses pocket and went for another lad. It was like the wild-west for a few minutes until a coppers truncheon went into his knee-cap and he buckled like a wounded dog.

I saw the same fella about 5 minutes later, walked over to him, called him a scouse bastard and warned to keep it shut from now on. He was in ‘outside’ Manchester now and should behave himself. In the interest of balance and the truth I suppose I should point out that he was sedated and handcuffed to a bed by this time but y’know, I told him straight.

 The first task I had to perform was to go round collecting up all the scissors from the nurses before anyone repeated the now dozing scouse meat-heads trick. The tension was so great it felt like it could go off at any minute. There were some proper ‘characters’ in there, ranging from psychotic looking hard-cases, to timid little lads who’d probably been sent down for havin one E too many in their pockets and a ‘bloke’ in eye-liner and a blouse who made the copper he was cuffed to look more uncomfy than I’ve ever seen anyone look before. Whilst I was doing me rounds for scissors I was threatened, swore at and had me arse pinched. By him in the blouse or his police ‘partner’ I can never be sure.

After a while they moved most of the injured to wards…one for the lags, one for the screws. I was told to go on the ward where they’d put a group of ten-or-so scousers and assist the medical staff with whatever. Which turned out to be not much. I sat watching more of the rioting on the telly getting a running commentary from these lads who’d been in there only a few hours before. They told some pretty nasty tales of some of the things that had gone off that morning and seemed affected by the violence they’d witnessed but they were happy now, buzzin to be out of the jail and being served cups of tea by the nurses.

After a while of nothing much happening Dave came onto the ward to see what was what and was immediately met with shouts of “Oi Lionel” from the scouse contingent (No-one shouted ‘Ricky Hill’ though and I was now convinced Dave actually looked more like him than he did Lionel Ritchie). I don’t usually hold with all that ‘lengendary scouse humour’ shite but they nailed poor Dave for a good 5 minutes and I’ve gotta admit I had to bite me tongue to save me from giggling like a schoolgirl. He didn’t hang about and left me with the words “Take it easy”, to which half the ward piped up “Easy like Sunday morning”. Even the guards on the door were pissing themselves at him as he walked past. They do say Soul music comes from pain.

Most of the injured in the hospital were out after a few days. For a while afterwards me and some mates used to go and watch the lads ‘ravin’ on Strangeways rooftop on our dinnertimes. I don’t think any of em got out for a while. I’ve not seen him for 15 years so I don’t know but I don’t think Dave ever did make it to Vegas.

Daft Mayors

April 11, 2012

 

The role of a mayor has always been a publicity magnet for cranks, egotists, buffoons and self-regarding politcal mediocrities. In the US, the mayor has real clout and the lieks of Ed Koch and Harvey Milk became legends as mayors of New York and San Francisco. Over here, the role of mayor has always been a bit less sexy, seen as more of a bonus for long standing councillors who can put on their fancy regalia and treat their missus or hubby to the odd steak dinner at the Rotary Club or Masonic Lodge. The mayor’s duties basically involved opening things and being photogrpahed with various local business people and happy locals made up that they’ve been provided with a new bus stop.

In Liverpool, the role of mayor came into disrepute with the much loathed Liberal loonpot, ‘Sir’ Trevor Jones and his charming wife, ‘Lady’ Doreen who used their position to lord it over the locals with displays of extravagence and debauchery that would put Caligula and Louis XIV to shame.  Now Liverpool, along with other big cities is desperate to copy the example of London and the mayor’s role has been bolstered more as a way of sidelining local councilors and MPs rather than any noble crusade for democracy. The mayor, like US state governers, is an ego trip for all manner of self-publicists so ofcourse the usual array of professional scousers and self-elected ‘spokepeople’ threw their name into the hat.

As independent candidate, Liam Nofoggiest put it :

“Elections are a form of theatre and the idea that local celebrities will put themselves forward, make a splash and maybe come up with genuine ideas is a good thing.”

If elections are a form of theatre, then they wouldn’t sell many fucking tickets. As ‘celebrity’ hairdresser Herbert Howe has now withdrawn from the contest, perhaps Liam may even stand a chance because atleast he’s been on the tely although you may not recognise him. Fogerty has been putting his name forward as a potential mayor for years now and seems to believe he is some kind of celeb himself, although I’ve walked past him many times and wondered just which member of Cy Tucker and The Friars he is. This is Fogerty’s big chance to show us all what we’ve been missing.   

As the other weirdos, single issue fanatics and deluded narcissists queue up to kiss babies and cuddle grannies Swine has produced it’s own cut and out and throw away guide to the men (and women) who would be mayor.

‘Prof’ Geoff Brookside – The Prof has two CSEs and boasts Frank Sinatra, Cilla Black and Spit The Dog as personal friends. The famous creator of such outstanding Bafta winning programmes such as Hollyside Comp is a regular face at slap up dinners and lieks to lecture people on the value of volunteering whilst picking up juicy cheques for ‘consultancy’ work.

Terry Hitler – the BNP/KKK/EDL/NF/Arts n’ Crafts candidate once owned a hippie boutique and now advocates using muslim children as bommy wood to fuel a giant ecofriendly furnace that will employ over 50,000 locals of God fearing, Irish-Anglo heterosexuals.  

Councillor Jimmy Stomach – the former leader of the Labour group has claimed victory over the naysayers and doom and gloom merchants with the stunning new Mersey White Elephant development. Hand in hand with Peel Holdings and the Chinese government, this development will make Liverpool the richest city in the world and will create up to a billion jobs in the building and retail sectors. Stomach denies taking backhanders although he has just bought a 3 million pound carvan in Towyn. 

Clodagh Strumpet – former soap actress and footballer’s wife, Clodagh is standing on a ‘Lady’s Day Every day’ ticket that she hopes will open up a political dialogue with gangster’s molls in massive rollers who walk around all day carrying cricket bags waiting for tv producers to film them as extras in Desperate WAG Divs.

Larry Fuggerton – respected reporter, Fuggerton once interviewed the Walton sextruplets for a special report on sextruplets back in 1989. Did you see it? Well, if you did, that’s him, that fellar from the telly who did that interview with the Walton sextruplets in 1989.

Tommy Mad – Tommy is a well-know local character who walks up and down Bold Street pouring shampoo over the heads of passing bald men. Jailed for 16 years for arson and murder in 1973, he now represents the Tory party in Aigburth and has demanded the UK withdrawl from the Human Rights Act and wants to declare war on Birkenhead.

       

 

 

 

 

 

     

Woodwork Squeeks…….

April 7, 2012

Image

Freakshow television hit a new low with C4’s latest sniggerfest, ‘The Undateables.’ That’s a weak pun on Untouchables I think but the title says it all; take a bunch of people with various illnesses, syndromes and disfigurements, people who have difficulty forging relationships because of how they look or how they behave and then set them up with potential girl/boyfriends.

Yes, Channel 4 will say that this isn’t exploitation and nasty voyeursim but is a ‘social experiment’ or present it as highlighting the issues facing people with disabilities and disfigurements but just look at their posters; heavily featured is Justin, a 39 year old man who suffers from the same kind of disease as John Merrick aka ‘The Elephant Man.’ As the most severely disfigured person on the programme, Justin was the poster boy for the series and you can just see the marketing ghouls at C4 creaming themselves as they design their campaign. ‘This’ll pull the punters in!’

C4 are far from the only broadcasters dealing in this type of hideous voyeurism but they’re by far the most prolific. Just a few examples :

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings (aren’t gyppos funny?)

Supersize vs Superskinny (dead fat people meet dead thin people!)

One Born Every Minute (placenta porn)

The Secret Millionaire (Big Society help ro the deserving poor)

Bodyshock (weird illnesses) 

Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder (mad people who live under tons of garbage) 

The World’s Worst TV Presenter….and Me! (wannabe Louis Theroux get to meet loads of ‘exceptional’ people)

15 Kids & Counting (benefit cheats deserve sterilising)

Accused; The 74 Stone Babysitter (really fat person accused of soemthing or other)

Inside Nature’s Giants  (blood and guts porn)

Born To Be Different (kids with ears where their eyes should be n’ shit)

The Fairy Jobmother (patronising unemployed northerners)

Katie;  My Beautiful Face (acid attack victim puts make up on)

Dolphin Boy (erm)

There are many more along simialr lines; ridiculing fatties, doleys, the mentally ill, the pikeys, the poor, the desperate, the lonely, the ill, the depressed. The bulk of C4 ‘documentaries’ now resembles one of those sub-human magazines with headlines such as ‘Raped By My Own Ghost’ and taps into the glut of books, films and magazines that have capitalised on the demand for bad luck stories and extreme behaviour. Ofcourse this isn’t a modern phenomenon, freak shows and penny dreadfuls have been with us for centuries but for a once challenging, idealistic and brave broadcaster like C4 to wallow in this sub-ITV2 shitpool should make ‘Sir’ Jeremy Isaacs weep.

Maybe C4 would reply that they’re ‘only giving people what they want’ which is why their titles are Ronseal-esque telling you everything you need to know about the programme by its title, although I had to look up Dolphin Boy which isn’t a programme about a boy with a dorsal fin and a hole in the back of his head but the story of a boy who was kidnapped and tortured and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He thinks swimming with dolphins will help him to deal with his demons and maybe it will, but perhaps the last thing the poor bastard needs is a tv crew following him around to see if it works.

From the BBC’s ‘A Life Of Grime’ through ITV’s ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’ and the ‘X-Factor’ as well as the raft of digital permutations on mocking the weakest in society as a form of entertainment, there is something incredibly depressing about the popularity of some of these modern freakshows parading as scientific and/or social insight.  Here are a few I’ve come up with….

Stab Your Nan For A Tenner

Inside Prince Harry’s Arsehole

Rape Island

The Only Way Is Auschwitz

Taliban Wives

Desperate MILF Dwarves

Conjoined Scouse Suicide Bombers

Send Em Back! Why multi-culturalism has failed with Prof Niall Ferguson

Amish Poledancers On Acid

Fat Disgusting Fucks USA

Jason Orange; my story

Afghanistan On Ice

The Queen’s Mad Cousin Meets Joey Essex

Gok’s All Night Paedo Procession

Man v Geordie  

 

 

 

Magnetic Meades

November 19, 2010

 

In a tv world that relies on pretty boy/girl presenters to ‘do culture/history’ progamming, Jonathan Meades is refreshingly ugly.  Meades’s shtick is pretty formulaic; stick a posh cunt in front of a camera and allow him/her to pontificate on all manner of things they like/hate. This is tiresome when the posh cunt in question has nothing interesting or original to say but in the case of Meades is always value for money, always has an angle. You may not agree with his mix of polemic and historical critique, but you have to admire his skill as an academic and a broadcaster. His last two series, ‘Magnetic North’ and ‘Off Kilter’ both focused mainly on architecture as a symbol of cultural and economic progress or decline. Meades is often insulting in a way only public school radicals can be but atleast he’s funny with it. Off Kilter especially presented a vision of Scotland that jarred with the soft focus idealism of the Scottish Tourist Board adverts. Is there anything more depressing than the stadiums of lower league Scottish football clubs? If there is, Meades has yet to film them. What also raises a typical Meades series, apart from the quality of the narrative is the stunning cinematography. Even at its bleakest, the shots of downtrodden Fife council estates and emty terraces have a lyrical beauty that isn’t simply middle class sneering but appears to be a genuine howl of outrage at the state of the nation in the 21st century.

In a TV age filled with two bob controversialists and third rate ‘celebrities’ Meades is a welcome throwback to an age when the likes of Clarke and Bronowsky were given free reign to their intellect and allowed to instruct and admonish in equal measure.

Off Kilter episode 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNbc7NeW3Wg