Friday, 14 August 2009
And as we hurtle headlong into the 2009/10 season, Britain’s premier football psychic, Notstradamus highlights a few of the coming season’s top stories.
Beware: Spoiler Alert!
Hughes takes the Piss
Mark Hughes buys right-handed pitcher LaTroy Hawkins from the New York Yankees... Just to prove he can!
During the height of Champion’s League group stages Bolton win two games by default after first Liverpool, then Arsenal completely forget they exist and fail to turn up for their fixtures.
Steven Gerrard is quoted as saying, ‘Oh yeah, Bolton! How are they?’
Intrigue at Burnley Village FC
Chris Eagles causes a stir amongst the residents of Burnley village when, via a series of amusing misunderstandings, he accidentally agrees to go to the Parish dance with both of the Vicar’s twin daughters.
A full-blown kerfuffle is narrowly avoided when Jay Rodriguez agrees to squire one of the twins to the dance with Chris.
Everyone has tea and Eccles cakes to celebrate...
Nani Actually Achieves Something Impressive
After all the PFA votes have been counted it is unanimously agreed that Nani has indeed assumed Ronaldo’s mantle as biggest twat in the premiership.
Stoke drop the Pretence
Stoke stop even pretending to play football as we know it and simply play a 10 -1 formation with Stephen Merchant from ‘extras’ at Centre Forward. Job Done!
Around January, in a none-to-subtle display of belligerence, Rafael Benitez takes to wearing rags at matches and asking journalists for ‘the price of a cup of tea’ at press conferences.
Rooney No More
United’s season is tinged with hilarious tragedy when, during a team building trip to a chocolate factory, Wayne Rooney somehow gets turned into giant blueberry and Dimitar Berbatov is hurled into an incinerator by nut-cracking squirrels.
More Intrigue at Burnley Village FC
Youth team prospect Oliver Devenney learns a valuable life lesson when he is caught stealing toffee from the local corner shop. Owen Coyle makes him do a paper round all week for free to make up for it.
Everyone has tea and Eccles cakes to celebrate...
Portsmouth finally just Say ‘Fuck it!’
Around March time Portsmouth Football Club simply give up. Fratton Park becomes a Vue cinema and everyone’s much, much happier.
Sam Allerdyce’s Blackburn narrowly avoid relegation with 38 points, despite a season-long undefeated run.
Even more Intrigue at Burnley Village FC
On a day off spent walking in the countryside Robbie Blake, Steven Caldwell and Michael Duff get into a series of mildly amusing situations that somehow culminate with them careering down a hill in an out of control tin bath... This happens several times over the course of the season.
Everyone has tea and Eccles cakes to celebrate... And Burnley are relegated with a goal difference of -700.
Brown goes proper Mental
After a disappointing first half at home to Tottenham Phil Brown not only keeps his side on the pitch for their half time team-talk but makes them drop their shorts and line up in descending order of penis girth.
It has a negative effect on team morale.
Monday, 8 June 2009
World’s hardest man, Jack Bauer, solves your workplace dilemmas... Events occur in real time.
I work in credit control at a large company. At after work drinks with the rest of my department, I made an off colour remark about one of the managers who routinely takes ninety minute lunch-breaks. The comment was not meant to be hurtful, everyone laughed and I promptly forgot about it until the next week when the manager in question began making remarks to me when he returned from lunch. He now does this every day.
Usually he taps his watch and says something like ‘Dead on time Janet, make a note,’ or ‘Five minutes over, Janet, please forgive me.’
Please help me Jack, this unprofessional behaviour is making me feel victimised and undermining me in front of the rest of the team,
Julie, Hayward’s Heath.
You’re right. This is unacceptable.
I think it’s pretty clear that your department’s been compromised. You need to remedy the situation quickly before he harms the operational readiness of credit control or even the whole accounts department.
Say something else defamatory about your manager and then monitor the traffic from the workstations of your main suspects. Once you have the mole, lure them to a secure location and interrogate them until you know exactly how high up this thing goes.
Also, your manager seems to be unable to fulfil his duties as head of such an important department. You may have to circumvent his authority and ‘go dark’ for the good of your creditors.
Remember, trust no one. The situation is probably much, much more complicated than it seems.
***End of Communication***
Sunday, 15 March 2009
So, another Comic relief has come and gone. Of course it was awful*, but that’s another post for another time, what I want to talk about is one of the silently unacknowledged purposes of Comic Relief that few people know about.
As we all know, Comic relief exists for three reasons.
1. For Lenny Henry to give African children hope by proving to them that it is possible to be black and overweight
2. To remove any remaining gravitas from newsreaders by making them sing 70s hits – this is part of a secret government initiative to soften the blow when they inevitably have to break the news of the global nuclear holocaust**
3. To raise money... What? There’s no joke here. Comic relief raises a fuck of a lot of money. What kind of a monster do you think I am?... Pricks
What you might not know however, is that Comic relief also serves as a handy barometer of the recording artists set to make a shitload of money through in the coming year through their songs being used in adverts and corporate films.
The standard logic amongst the advertising & TV industry is that if it works over dying Africans, it’ll work over anything. That’s why whatever you hear on the comic relief soundtrack of misery is almost guaranteed to show up over training videos and Hollyoaks montages for the next few years.
Basically, you can bet your bottom dollar that several despicable little shits 'in advertising' were sat there on Friday taking notes.
Sceptical? Well, just think of the Comic Relief big hitters, Keane, Coldplay, U2, Sigur Ros, Snow Patrol, Leona Lewis, (slow) Greenday. All of these bands make much, if not most of their money from usage of their songs by big brands.*** A Coincidence? I think not.
If you’re in a band, the chances are you’re thinking about how you can get on this list. Don’t worry, from what I can gather it’s not hard, you just have to obey a few simple rules. Rules that I have of course helpfully outlined...
The No One Really likes Jazz Guide to making an Ass-Load of Money from Corporate Usage Royalties...
There are only a few acceptable lead instruments for a song if it’s going to be adopted by Proctor & Gamble or BP. They are, piano (Leona Lewis/Coldplay), wishy-washy guitars (Snow Patrol/U2), or a combination of the two (Sigur Ros). Combine that with a shitload of strings and you should be sound as a pound.
Remember, keep the chords inspirational, but with a hint of sadness - that’s the sort of thing that can really make a corporate training day ‘pop’.
The main rule is stay away from anything specific, if the song’s clearly about something then you completely limit ‘brand utility’**** which is of course the last thing that any serious artist wants to do. Much better to stick to vaguely uplifting (yet sad, remember) statements like, ‘Hold on,’ ‘I’ll be there,’ or ‘You elevate my soul, baaaybaay.’*****
Sigur Ros have mastered this with the genius idea of singing all their songs in a made up language. Unfortunately, that trick probably won’t work twice.
You also need to remember not to look too desperate, don’t seem like you’re begging these companies to use your track. U2 fell into this trap on their last album with the little know song, ‘I love you more than facilitating client-facing best practice.’******
3. Big Finish
You need at least 45 instrumental seconds at the end over which a voice-over artist can flog whatever the company’s trying to sell. This bit needs to be big but not so big that you can’t concentrate on the pitch. If all else fails you can just turn everything up a bit.
If you’re not sure whether your big finish works, just try saying some generic phrases over the top. Stuff like this.
• ‘We’ve been working tirelessly for more than fifty years to bring you advanced...’
• ‘Just 5 pounds a month can buy mosquito nets for...’
• ‘Our globally tested networking systems help your business to...’
If these work, you’re onto a winner.
It’s okay, you don’t have to thank me.
*Charity is no excuse for dumping material too piss-weak to make it into your already ropey TV show – Walliams, I’m talking to you.
**The other part involves getting Jeremy from ‘airport’ (the plan was written around the turn of the century) to demonstrate the procedure for euthanizing your radiation-sick relatives in a comedy cabin crew style... So that’s something to look forward too.
***From the five minutes I watched this week it appears Adele, Kings of Leon and Elbow have joined their ranks – if the bastards end up ruining ‘Home Town’ for me I’ll be really angry.
****This is a marketing phrase, if you don’t know what it means for God’s sake don’t look it up. Anyone who knows the meaning of this phrase is immediately condemned to hell. It’s too late for me, but a few of you could still be saved.
*****Liberal use of ‘Baby’ is a necessary evil. Otherwise, with this sort of music, people might think you’re talking about God as opposed to nothing. God doesn’t sell, remember that
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Tories are one of this country’s most fascinating indigenous species, their ruddy faces and pinstripe coats have become synonymous with England to the point where it’s hard to think of our sceptred isle without picturing the lovable creatures playfully vomiting outside wine bars or refusing you a bank loan.
Few people however, know much about this uniquely British species, a situation I’ve decided to remedy thus...
Walking with Tories: A ‘no one really likes Jazz’ Guide to your betters
Natural Habitat: Tories are found across the south of England though degrees of concentration are variable. To be sure of seeing Tories its best to go to one of England’s designated Tory reserves like Clapham, where, on a Saturday afternoon, you can expect to see herds of them sweeping majestically along Lendal Terrace.
Breeding: Like Pandas, Tories are very fussy breeders. Female Tories, for instance, cannot become impregnated unless they are situated within a house worth GBP £800,000 or above. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Male Tories tend to be fairly confused about the whole process of procreation with their wives, often believing sex to be something traditionally practiced with salaried employees or Eastern European teenagers.
Mercifully, once the conditions for spawning are perfectly balanced, actual coitus tends to be fairly straightforward... And brief.
Communication: Male Tories communicate via a system of nicknames, attempted puns and homosexual innuendos, known as ‘banter’. Be warned, approaching a Tory in mid banter is not advisable. A ‘banter’ conversation is likely to be highly tedious for a human being to endure since unlike ‘conversations’ they contain literally no information, often consisting of little more than empty bravado. Any human who enters into one is likely to leave with a piercing migraine and drastically revised views on the morality of genocide.
Female Tories, on the other hand, communicate in a highly sophisticated manner. Their interaction with each other consists of an intricate web of false compliments, conditional praise and air kisses. The only direct speech is delivered tacitly through intermediaries in a process known as ‘bitching.’
Although female Tories’ opinions of each other are uniformly negative, they are at pains to appear the best of friends at all times.
Watching a group of female Tories (or a ‘tosspuddle’ to use the correct term) communicate is one of the most baffling sights in nature. To date, no anthropologist has managed to fully comprehend or explain this impenetrable system of communication, though many have gone mad trying.
Tory stages of life
Infancy: In their youth Tories can be identified by expensive, arduously prepared plumage that somehow still ends up looking like backcombed straw. During this phase, male Tories can often be found wearing heavy gauge horizontally striped coats to make them look like big hard rugby playing boys, an effect spectacularly undermined by the designer logo on the left breast. ‘Jack Wills’ isn’t a rugby team, lads.
Youth: Proper Tories attend either Oxford of Cambridge, though it is acceptable to go to St. Andrews, Durham, the London School of Economics and, if you absolutely must, York. However, attendees of these lesser four are required to remain bitter about the fact for the rest of their lives.
Whilst at university Tories, in spite of any prevailing fashion at the time, dress like they are acting out an Evelyn Waugh novel – see picture.
The purpose of university is to give Tories something to talk to each other about every single day until they die.
You can just tell she's thinking, "I am going to fuck you bitches up at the bridge table later"
Middle age: Tories get married almost immediately upon leaving university and commence the aforementioned complex process of spawning. On their 35th birthdays, male Tories automatically lose all their hair and gain three stone, females instantly become their mothers and develop drinking habits that would be designated as ‘problems’ were they in a park drinking Special Brew instead of at home drinking 1995 Chateaux Margot.
Old Age: By now most Tories have made the horrible realisation that their entire career in law, finance, politics, the civil service or ‘management consultancy*,’ achieved precisely nothing. They are therefore, fairly bitter. They grow ever more so as they reflect on a life of greed, self interest, xenophobia and passive aggression, whilst writing bilious letters to the Daily Telegraph.
* The modern equivalent of selling 'snake oil.'
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Eastenders, East-fucking-enders, the very name strikes fear into my heart, the bastard show increases my blood pressure to the sort of level where I could prick my finger and jet wash graffiti off a brick wall*. For over 23 years, this glum little show has delighted us by systematically crushing the hopes dreams, and sometimes legs, of Walford residents in a Technicolor whirl of misery.
It’s awful, truly awful, and not just in terms of subject matter. There’s so much wrong with this show that I could, and may, write ten bile-spurtingly angry blogs on the subject, but for now I’m just going to focus on the main offender, realism.
We’re constantly told by our creepy aunt Beeb that ‘Enders is the serious soap, the one that confronts issues and strives for authenticity - “We don't make life, we reflect it... Above all, we want realism,” Julia Smith, Creator. This is why we’re not allowed even vaguely attractive actors and why no one - except that comedy gay guy - ever smiles, it’s all justified in the name of realism, which is fine, very noble, very worthy, very BBC.
Except, of course, that it’s a complete crock of shit!
Eastenders is not only unrealistic, it’s the least realistic of the soaps: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Holby City, Hollyoaks, even fucking Skins can all claim to be more representative and true to life than this middle class fantasy and here’s why...
Walford doesn’t exist! Yeah, yeah, obvious I know, of course it doesn’t dumbass, neither does Wetherfield or Sun Hill. The point I’m trying to make is that at least these fictional towns exist in a world recognisable to people who’ve actually been to the areas they dramatise, ie. Manchester for Corrie, or Bristol for Skins.
This annoys me so much only because I know the East end of London pretty well, I go there at least once a week, I’ve worked there, I even lived there for six months of my life (that I’ll never get back) and let me tell you, Walford REALLY doesn’t exist.
In reality East London is a hotch-potch of migrant workers, well-to-do city types, drug addicts and rich white kids who’ve devoted their lives to pretending to be artists**.
What it certainly is not, is the sixties-style den of gangsters, cockneys and ‘Joanna’ pubs represented in Eastenders – I am yet, for example, to hear anyone unironically using rhyming slang anywhere in East London - for that, you want to head to Essex or Kent. Old Eastenders do exist in London but they’re few - usually they’re about a thousand years old and sat alone nursing a pint in Wetherspoons. Hardly a demographic large or interesting enough to warrant a prime time TV show.
Wake up BBC, your flagship TV show is a lie!
But don’t worry, it’s okay, there’s a way out. Here’s what you have to do to...
Characters: Kill off the Mitchells, the Fowlers and the Slaters, bring in the Patels, the Khawajas and the Zawadzki’s. The drizzle in a few token white Brits, might I suggest Troy and his life partner David: a ‘Freelance’ Web Designing couple, Toby: a Financial Analyst and Suzannah: a Rodean educated performance artist who pretends the monthly cheque from her Dad is an Arts Council Grant.
There might however be a slight problem, in that these characters won’t all have English as a first language (or even as a second), they’ll also never, EVER speak to each other.
The Vic: Proper East End boozers still just about exist (I know of two) but they are squarely in the minority and filled with people enjoying them ironically. To be properly representational the Vic should change its name to something like ‘Junk’ or ‘Spunk’ or ‘Ailment bar.’ It should also have two-year-old-standard stencil-art for sale on the walls and a small television showing a video loop of a fountain, on a white plinth in the corner***. Oh, and if you want to keep Sharon behind the bar, she’s going to need to lose about eight stone and get an unflattering hundred-quid bowl haircut.
Gangsters: I, like 99.999876% of the population, have no direct experience with gangsters, East End or otherwise****. However, I’m pretty sure that their work revolves more around selling drugs to people than it does donning sheepskin coats and plotting to ‘knock off’ banks or armoured cars with sawn-off shotguns. And, while we’re on the subject, I’m also fairly sure that for the most part they’re not white and middle aged – again, I’d point you in the direction of Essex for that.
As far as I can tell, London gangsters actually lead fairly boring lives. They sell their drugs with impunity and only really risk getting arrested at the end of the quarter (if the Met’s stats are down). VERY occasionally someone gets shot, though not nearly as often as in Birmingham. Maybe ‘Midlanders’ would be a better soap for that sort of thing.
In summary, Eastenders is about as authentic as the Cambridge University Hip Hop Society*****. Keep showing it if you insist, BBC, but please don’t try to feed us this authenticity shit. The truth is that for all the resemblance it bears to London, Eastenders might as well be set on a space-station orbiting Klargon 7... Actually, that I might watch!
*Before dying of blood loss and creating a gritty urban tableaux far more upsetting than whatever was written on the wall in the first place.
**and so, enjoy hanging out in the ‘arty’ part of London, apparently not realising that the area is waaay too expensive for any actual artists to live there. Try Camberwell, luvs - actually don’t, I still like it there.
***I’ve actually seen this is in an East End ‘pub.’
****So maybe, just maybe, they’re not the best subject for a populist soap to tackle.
*****I Googled this and it actually exists! Doesn’t seem to be a lot going on though...
Monday, 8 September 2008
Yes, yes, I know it’s been a while, I know you’re angry. However, I also know that, much like a recalcitrant father, you’ll forgive me, even whilst secretly knowing I’ll let you down again.
Consider this week’s blog my attempt to overcompensate with extravagant gifts.
The Private Diary of Richard Madely
To be published posthumously with foreword by Richard Bacon.
The 8th of September 2008, Anno Dominus
This morning I awoke in a cold sweat. I dreamed that my worst fears had been realised, that I, Richard Madely, had died before the world had time to fully appreciate my genius. I thought of my place in history. How will future generations remember me? For my age defying looks? My glittering journalistic career? For giving people an excuse to drink in the afternoon?
It simply isn’t enough, I thought. My time is fleeting and there are still so many problems left unsolved in the world. I mused throughout the night and finally fell into a fitful sleep.
I must redouble my efforts. I will book Ricky Gervais for next week’s Friday show.
Tune in next week for another dramatic instalment.
Oh my giddy incontinent Aunt it’s only the fucking exclusive of the year right here on No One Really Likes Jazz.
I’ve managed to get hold of a list of new programmes to be broadcast this winter on the BBC!
Please remember. This list is entirely genuine! Any attempt to imply otherwise will be taken as a slight against my good name and I will, of course, demand satisfaction. In the ensuing duel you shall surely perish! So think on!
Internal Memo outlining the new Programmes to be broadcast this year on the BBC (published unabridged and unedited)
An entirely necessary extension to the much loved series of Casualty spin offs. Holby Pink takes us into the fascinating world of Holby City’s Gynaecological ward. Passions run high as yeast infections are diagnosed, smear tests are performed and a generation of up and coming British actresses make the quintessential ‘before they were famous’ faux pas by getting their muff out on tea time television.
Episode one. ‘Wizard’s Sleeve Crisis,’ 58 mins, BBC2: Dishy Dr Haversham scrutinises the wiffle of guest star Angelica Houston, Kelly battles her addiction to bread and comic foil medical student, Dean gets caught in the stirrups.
Ever wondered what happens when c-list celebrities attempt to settle high-level financial disputes? Well, you’re about to find out either way.
Marvel as Peaches Geldof liquidates a corporate pension fund and Richard Blackwood bankrupts Marks and Spencers.
I’d Do Anyone
Glossy pre-recorded Saturday Night Fayre where 10 wannabe escorts and 10 gigolos compete for a contract with a top madam. Week by week they’re set various challenges including sustaining an erection in the presence of Vanessa Feltz and looking their mums in the eye without crying.
In the final week six remaining finalists are unleashed on the Tory party conference (the money they made is financing the next three seasons of Dr Who.
The show is fronted by Jeremy Kyle in a pimp’s outfit. The judging panel is made up of Jamie Theakston, Angus Deayton and Snoop Dogg.
Spooks: HR Squad
A look into the tense, dangerous world of MI5’s Human Resources department. Contract negotiations take place left right and centre, disciplinary letters are sent and efficiency is reviewed quarterly.
Are we a Racist country? Are all our institutions irrevocably prejudiced and out of touch? A blacked-up Jeremy Paxman goes to Brixton to find out.
A sixteen hour celebration of our Olympic team’s ridiculously successful games. Team GB are paraded around the M.E.N arena for six hours to commentary from Sue Barker before Boris Johnson and Gordon Brown take part in a Greco-Roman Wrestling match to decide who gets to take credit. Other highlights include a skit were Christine Ohuruogu plays the bagpipes and Gabby Logan personally fellating the men’s cycling team.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Reviewgasm (With Apologies to Laura Barton)
The Chatham County Line: IV
This is the sort of album that quite simply makes you need a cup of tea. You imagine being chased through a post apocalyptic world by a carpet monster with harmonica eyes, you try to scream but all that comes out is an episode of ‘Woman’s Hour,’ from 1995. Your cat will love it!
Thanks to Pete and Robbie for their ‘Reviewgasms’ last time out. Read them on the comments board & leave your own one if you want.
Main Event: Teenagers Today don’t know they’re Born
Do you remember how shit youth TV used to be?
When I was a teenager the choice was stark. You had overly earnest American crap or painfully moral home grown teachings. Obviously you had to watch something while you weren’t outside playing sports, so you were left with a modern day Sophie’s Choice.
The American stuff was awful - unfailingly po-faced and serious with zero sense of humour about itself. Plus, to vent a personal grievance, I had a tiny bit of trouble relating to Dawson: a teenage boy that spent three series refusing to have sex with Katie Holmes. Every time some ‘Lifehouse’ track kicked in and the little prick wandered down to the creek to think ‘Deep thoughts and stuff, y’know,’ I would scream at the TV.
“Sod your parents’ divorce mate! Think about what else you could be doing now. Borrow a pair of balls from Pacey* and go do your duty! Muppet!”
I hope I never meet James Van Der Beak because I might just slap him involuntarily.**
Bad as it was, it was a million times better than the home grown stuff. If you’ve blocked it out let me refresh your memory, there was Grange Hill - a government sponsored alternative universe where kids called each other toerags and one drag on a cigarette or being within a mile of someone taking ‘the drugs’ would instantly render you a wall clawing addict; Byker Grove – more of the same but somehow less tolerable due to the Geordie accents; As if - which appealed exclusively to turn of the century coffee shop ‘Justins’ who owned a ‘DJ Shadow’ CD and therefore viewed themselves as only slightly less important than God; and of course the immortal Hollyoaks, which was, and remains, nothing more than a daily half hour Topshop advert. The former two felt like they were written by your dad, the latter two by a ‘cool drama teacher’ called Nathan, none were any good at all.***
And so it remained until a couple of years ago and the debut of ‘Skins.’
For those of you still hardwired by your childhood into thinking that anything featuring teenagers and misadventures is intrinsically bad, allow me to blow your mind. Skins is fucking fantastic!
Shut up, it is!
If you’re sceptical I understand, when I saw the trailer for the first series (which is basically an advert for drugs) my twat sensors started flaring up too, I may have shouted something like ‘get a job, hippie!’ at the screen.
Then, begrudgingly, I found myself watching it. The first few episodes of series one are pretty fun, entertaining fare, the only difference between it and a normal teen drama being the quality of the jokes, the budget and the sheer amount of (consequence free) drug taking. I was mildly entertained but not instantly hooked. However, like all good series, Skins doesn’t blow its wad early on, it has the confidence in its characters and stories to hold something back, to not properly reveal itself.
Then something funny happens. About three episodes in you start to realise that you actually care about these characters, it suddenly dawns on you that they’re not just variations on the traditional slut, jock, freak, nerd, cheerleader archetypes, they’re proper people. My favourites are Chris and Cassie but an argument could be made for all of them, there’s simply no weak link.
Then, when you’re good and hooked, Skins starts to fuck with you a bit; weird little stylistic devices start creeping in, odd things happen that aren’t properly explained by the end of the episode and your opinion of one character - who’s probably been your favourite up till now - is slowly and subtly turned on its head until you fucking hate him. Then the show kicks you in the balls good and proper with a final three episodes that would be more at home in a series of ‘Twin Peaks,’ one of which was easily my TV highlight of 2007.
The second series is even better, it filters out some of the naff aspects of series 1 (there are a fair few) and concentrates on delivering a story that’s dark, strange and emotionally affecting in a way that all the Dawson and Joey bullshit could only dream of. It’s undoubtedly the best teen drama ever made****.
If you haven’t seen it, take your face out of the guardian for five minutes and give it a go. It’ll make you wish you were a teenager again (even more than you already do) whilst simultaneously making you jealous of a generation of kids who actually have something worth watching.
Take note BBC, the bar has been raised. When the laziest development department in TV inevitably pitches ‘Holby High’ you should tread carefully, you’re not going to get away with another ‘Grange Hill’.
*It’s a sad indictment of a town’s gene pool when Joshua Jackson is the Alpha Male.
** The one oasis of occasional quality was Heartbreak High but it couldn’t hold its own against the deluge of shit.
***And give him a poke in the eye for ‘Rules of Attraction.’
****I say teen drama, but if viewing figures are to be believed most of the audience are over 25.