Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh the fall from grace - Martine McCutcheon

Being a soap star is a very precarious career choice. You are always under the sword of itchy writers who are looking to spark up ratings by killing a main character off. This is offset, however, by the fact that as an actor, the stability of working on a soap is a considerable advantage, rather than fighting through auditions, being cut off at the last five, taking the latest crushing blow to your already fragile self-esteem, sometimes struggling to string a decent diet together, to say nothing of rental payments etc.

Therefore, to be an arrogant soap star is a recipe for disaster. There's a reason Shakespearian actors don't take a career move to the cast of Corrie - it's credibility poison. It also says a lot about soap actors who think they are too big for the outlandish storylines, and paper-thin characters, and leave to better themselves and their careers.

With a few exceptions (such as Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce who both graduated from minor parts in Neighbors), soap stars invariably fail in their attempts to better themselves, ending up on sub-par ITV dramas, or late night quiz shows.

The latest example surely must be Martine McCutcheon. Usually when these washed up soap stars show up on cheap commercials, for say, Tesco home delivery, great lengths are gone to to remind the viewer of who this person is. A cheesy line from the fawning pleb usually suffices. McCutcheon apparantly, has become so irrelevant, she is not even afforded this luxury in the ad, and is merely a understudy to the delivery men. I wonder is the thought of playing a dippy Eastender seems like a comfortable alternative for our Martine now?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Virgin Media - infringing on my Freeview

I have recently sang the praises of the vast improvement of Freeview since its inception. And I was sort of looking forward to Virgin Media stepping into the ring with their new channel, although I thought I was going to be missing out on the Eddie Izzard vehicle, The Riches, because the shitty all-in-one remote I bought doesn't function properly with my Freeview box, and therefore I cannot scan in new channels.

However, I woke up this morning to find my Ftn channel, which I was beginning to enjoy with their 15-to-1 repeats and X Files double bills offering some alternatives when required, now being hijacked by "Virgin 1/ We'll See You At 9pm".

Why must they muddle about like this? Why couldn't ABC1 and Ftn share the same channel number if room is to be made, or the two BBC children's channels (CBeebies and CBBC) share the channel numbers with the two BBC digital-only channels (BBC3 and 4). That would pave the way for at least three future channels (although the dearth of home-shopping channels would be a most welcome sacrifice for more quality fare).

Would Freeview not benefit from having more companies paying for their (increasingly valued, especially considering the terrestrial switch-off begins in early 2008) airspace? And would the consumers not benefit from greater choice of service?

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Propaganda statistics from drivers

Mike Rutherford from Auto Express magazine is being interviewed on News 24 about the recent rise on fuel tax. He has said that motorists contribute £55 billion per year in taxes. There must be a miscalculation in there somewhere, because that equates to every person in the country contributing slightly less the £1 billion £1 million (thanks P)* each, every year, never mind the fact of the fewer number of drivers on the road.

*P has pointed out, that if measuring the 1 billion to 9 zeros (rather than 12), the sum would actually come up to approxiamately £1000 a year per person.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Led Zeppelin reunion... with bloated consequences.

Apparently the 'one that nobody thought would happen' - reunion that is - Led Zeppelin have decided to regroup for a one-off show in memory of their one-time manager, and producer.

It seems as though this is reformation season, what with the Spice Girls, Police, Pink Floyd, Take That among others deciding getting the mates round for a nostalgia trip would suspend that mid-life crisis by a few years. (Another band the media have been touting as one of the recent reformees is Genesis - who the fuck cared that they were even apart - or together for that matter).

And with '20 million' people supposedly queuing up religiously (I would like to know how many of them are not touts, or touts' aliases), one thing can be guaranteed at this reunion. This will be the greatest display of self indulgence the planet will ever witness (at least in pop culture terms - let's not start listing some obscure African king, who decrees he must marry every woman in the country).

Anyone who has seen any record of the Zep at their zenith will be aware of their penchant for mastubatory gestures of their own grandeur. And indeed, nobody seems to deny the fact that it was the clashing uber-egos that split the band up in the first place.

Of course, the salivating millions will rejoice that they have heroes to worship that are as much of a dickhead as they wish they could be, and scramble to remortgage the house in order to get a back row seat, and regale to the grandkids that they were there as Plant kicked into his eighth fifteen minute solo on the lead spoon.

But the one good point out of all this of course will be to inspire yet more reunions of equally ego-massaging and cash-grubbing stature. One such one I am particularly looking forward to is if Ringo dies before him, Paul McCartney will surely announce a Beatles reunion tour.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

BBC bias at work again.

While on a night out in Belfast at the weekend, I was slightly alarmed at the extremely heavy police presence awaiting the emerging closing time crowd outside the Botanic Inn. For a crowd of not more than about 800, there was about nine armoured land rovers of police (excuse any inebriated memory inaccuracies), including two or three vanloads in combatative gear, flak jackets and batons.

I wouldn't actually object if there was a vanload of police posted to the area by default, because if any fights broke out, their reaction time (and thus preventative measures) would be invariably increased. However, this presence was clearly exaggerated.

Then, I noticed why there was such an increased volume of police officers. Weaving their way through the crowd was a camera crew for the current affairs show, Insight.
Clearly this was an orchestrated event, and was intended to show how the (predominantly) student crowd is a haven of drunken violence and debauchery.

Having been there, however, I can testify first hand that it was the most well-behaved post-club crowd I have ever been a part of, to its credit. I doubt that is the image that will be displayed on the show, however, and no doubt the crew quickly moved off to find a club where there was more action shots available.

Notably, within minutes of the camera crew's departure, the police quickly dispersed as well.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

No charges in the cash for honours enquiry

The BBC reports that nobody is to be charged in the cash for honours enquiry. This is an enquiry that was taking sixteen months to gather evidence, and involved twice questioning the sitting Prime Minister by the police.
Now, the procedure in criminal cases is that after the police have compiled all their evidence, they hand their findings over to the Crown Prosecution Service who decide whether or not to take the case. It was the CPS that decided to not bring charges.
Whether or not this was the correct decision will be the subject of vociferous bloggers and conspiracy theorists alike, as well as all sections of the media.
My opinion is merely, after sixteen months of investigating, with immense embarrassment to the nation, as well as huge expense to the taxpayer, there have been no charges? One of the two of the Police and the CPS must be at fault.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Weed: the great political cannon fodder

According to the Beeb's Nick Robinson, Gordo's announcement to have a focus group look at whether to upgrade cannabis back to Grade B, is a woo at the Daily Hate's editor, as him and 'Butters' Cameron fight it out for their backing.
Whodathunk that something which is on the tip of everyone's tongue, and is probably one of the most offended laws (after song downloading, or driving offences, i would imagine), could actually decide who wins the next election?
I have been told by many people, that the only time they would vote would be for the person who legalises weed, and I imagine that there are enough children of the 60s liberalism (and Thatcher's libetarianism - much as she herself maligned it) to be a large section of the voting public. In fact, if politics was up with public opinion, and cannabis was legalised twenty years ago, I would imagine that cocaine and ecstasy would be at the position where cannibis is now, given their widespread use among eighteen to thirty five year olds.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Big Bore-ther is 'planting' it's seeds of doom!

Sorry about the punny headline, but at least its more entertaining than big brother. In another move that reeks of desperation, after half the original lineup has already quit or been thrown off the show (how many actual evictions have there been in comparison - the paddywhack is the only one I can actually think of), the producers have decided to put a plant in the show. A better tactic, from the off, would have been to have genuinely interesting people in the house, and not just shameless wannabes.
I would suggest that they use this method next year, although I would prefer if it was just cancelled. I wouldn't even be so visceral if it was just one hour or so on C4 and E4, but the fact that E4 devotes nearly the entire daytime schedule to Big Brother Live must be bordering on reneging on their remit.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The country changes hands

Where was I when the power shift occurred?? On the toilet, while the country languished beneath me.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Big Brother

It is already blatantly obvious that Big Brother is going to be absolutely shite this year - even before half the contestants have even entered the house (there will obviously be men on the show). The problem is all the children on the show, who are all so neurotic they are unbearable to watch for more than ten minutes. Try to count the amount of sentences they utter without the use of the first person pronoun.
The second thing is that it is all children - about eight of them are under 21, so most of the tension that comes from the age differences will be gone by the third week, when the older ones will have been voted out.
All that, and the producers (who have hit more headlines in the Netherlands for commissioning a reality voting show for who gets access to a kidney for a transplant) will be doing everything in their power to engineer another headline-grabbing controversy.

Also, I would like to know what grounds Ladbroke's have for making Laura (Welsh nanny, I'm told) the favourite to win?

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Sunday, May 27, 2007 experiment.

This is a new feature from the crowd over at - a playlist thats embeddable in blogs etc - so here's my first test of it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sky Sports News, not Sky Sports news

I found myself telling someone the other that Freeview is actually quite good nowadays, which is a far cry from my (justified) initial view that it was shite. It had only about 15 different TV channels, and about half of them were news, or sports. Now there is a wide variety of stations, helped no end by the Channel 4 stable of channels.

I still have a bug to bear - Sky Sports News. Now, for me, the idea of a rolling news channel dedicated to sports would be quite enjoyable to switch over to for a half an hour or so at a time. Except that's not what it is - it is simply a rolling infomercial for Sky Sports - the chief breadwinner for Rupert Murdoch. If a sport isn't broadcast on SS, it barely warrants a mention (except, of course, football - The Champions League being the only competition they don't have a stranghold over, although that's no doubt changing). Take as a prime example, the Six Nations, which the Beeb has exclusive rights for, only the England results were spoken about in any significant detail, and that France won the competition outright. They have hardly even acknowledged that the World Snooker Championships has been on for the last two weeks.
Now considering that a 24 hour advert for a format that Freeview don't show, attracting custom to the direct competition, couldn't their bosses tell the SS broadcasters to shape up, and provied details on the full range of the sporting spectrum?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

A landmark day for feminism

And so, Match of the Day has got its first woman commentator, Jacqui Oatley. And the world alights with equality. Not much of a hoo-haa was made really, just Gary Lineker making a sly aside in his cost-the-BBC-the-FA-Cup-coverage manner. Which was justified, she was only alright - no Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh or Jim Ross and that's for dang!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The recording industry is intent on isolating music buyers

News broke on Tuesday that the High Court in London has ruled that CD-wow was in breach of European Laws regarding import and sales... To you and me that means the only place to legitimately get CDs for a reasonable price is now illegitimate. It makes you not want to even bother trying to abide by anti-piracy laws.
When Oasis' latest album came out, I remember doing a quick price check for comparison. Most outlets (online and off...) were offering the new release at around £12. HMV was the scummiest, offering a disgraceful £16 (I can't remember the exact price - it may have been 15.95, but definately the far side of £15) for a single CD. CD-wow had it for £8.99, as they do for all their new releases.
iTunes has recently announced the triumphant decision that if you are willing to pay an extra 25% for your songs, (which are already nearly 15% more expensive in the UK than in Europe) you get the benefit of being the actual owner if the file - which can be used any which way you please. Of course, the recording industry has served an injunction against from trading for daring to have a more efficient business model. Rather than charge by song, it charges by the amount of data - for the average consumer this means that a regular three-and-a-half minute song costs roughly 12-14 pence - with the artist and the record company still getting royalties.
But since the record industry is intent on enslaving the record-buying public into paying extortionate fees for a piece of plastic that costs roughly £3 to produce, or a unit of computer data that is probably immeasurably minute in fiscal value. And the reward for this loyalty?? Maximo Park and My Chemical Romance.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Sun goes beyond the nicknaming bandwagon

Today's (28th March, 2007) back page in the Sun, there is a 'hilarious' feature calling for Steve McLaren to be blasted into space, and calling him Steve McDonut!
My issue is not with the jocular manner with which they discuss ending a man's life, but the fact that the paper feel the need to spearhead the nickname frenzy. He has only been on the scene for about 6 matches - but The Scum has been itching to become the nicknamers - after Sven Goran Er-ection! and Graham 'Turnip-head' Taylor.
Because it's becoming obvious they have been sitting on that nickname for weeks, it shows that they are basically writing the stories before they become news - doesn't that sound ridiculously like a stupid James Bond movie??

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Give China the keys

So China, one of the few remaining Communist outposts in the 21st century, now knows it holds the hammer over the western economies.
It appears from today and yesterday's markets that if the Chinese threaten to stop imports/exports then the major indexes plummet - the DOW Jones, the FTSE, the NASDAQ all slumped by huge differences because China has indicated it may limit imports and exports.
So now, should China want to flex its muscles to show that it really is the next superpower - all it has to do is threaten the world economies by calling an end to imports?? Scary, no?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Yndi Halda on RockSound cover

The heavenly sounds of Yndi Halda can be found bookending the screamo crap of RockSound's current promo CD. The Current issue (Feb 2007, Number 93), has managed to salvage itself from the pulp sludge of Fall-Out Boy, a reader's poll-awards that was whitewashed by My Chemical Romance by including the full 14-minute version of 'Dash and Blast' from Yndi's latest release, 'Enjoy Eternal Bliss.'
The world is their oyster - and they embark on a European tour in April.

Go the 'Da. (if that phrase catches on - there will be no justice in the world. :D)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Inexplicable PageRank for my Bebo Page

My Bebo page has inexplicably garnered a pagerank of 3/10/. This is despite the fact that my profile has only been visited 3541 times.
Don't get me wrong - if got 3541 hits, I would be laughing (I'd be surprised if it was anywhere near 30 hits - if you take away my hits...[sniff].) However, Lily Allen's Official Bebo page, which also has a 3/10 pagerank has 119651 hits.
I really don't know where my high ranking is coming from, and it makes me question the validity of the ranking system. I have outgoing links from the page to YouTube (through my flashbox), but all other links, incoming, or outgoing, are internal within Bebo, from my friends, most of whom have a pagerank of 0/10, or 1/10.
Even more bizarrely, the PageRank of my Bebo Blog, is 5/10.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beckham - he's going for the ego massage.

David Beckham's latest career move has been the biggest news story in the western world it seems. Potentially the most lucrative (financially, at least) sports contract in history (the oft-quoted $250m/£128m is perhaps an exaggeration, he is entitled to a large cut of his clubs earnings, plus he gets to keep the money he makes in personal contracts - a luxury he, perversely, didn't have with Real Madrid), versus the plight of talent wasted by poor decisions.

Everyone from Martin O'Neill to Alex Ferguson has had something to say about the transfer, usually summing up with, 'well, it's his decision - good luck to him.'

Speculation abounds as to how much influence Posh had on the decision - apparently she was a big factor in the move to Madrid - as opposed to somewhere else in England. Now, in Hollywood, Posh has probably seen what those NASA geniuses can do with Paris Hilton, and wants a piece of that action.

Nobody has dared speculate on Beck's ego in all this. When he was at Old Trafford, he was (inexplicably) cummed over by the football press. After one spectacular goal (from the halfway line), and an important free kick that scraped England in the 2002 World Cup, and they think he is God (well, their God - all us Egodeists know he is his own).

They even balked at the suggestion he was sold to Real for a 'measly' £25m.

And of course their the Hello Magazines of this world, who needed to fill the void left by Princess Died, and Posh and Becks arrived at exactly the right moment. I have recently flicked through an issue, where all the cover articles mentioned Victoria in some sense or another (one was even about the woman herself!).

Then they went to Madrid. David became a second-choice in the football lineup (then third, then fourth), and Posh became just another WAG. It took a bigmouthed babysitter to blab about shagging him for either of them to become news again.

Now, when Becks goes to America he (deseverdly, for once) will be hailed as the biggest player in the league. Being first choice midfielder will be a given (it's probably in his contract). And all the accolades will come crawling back, because he will be the very big fish, in a paddling pool.