Friday, 31 March 2017

Neil Hamilton's Advice to the Poor: 'Suicide's an option'

Former disgraced 'Cash For Questions' Tory, now UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton's responded to Labour's Eluned Morgan's comment about the economic consequences of Brexit affecting the poorest in our society by saying that 'suicide's an option' - this at a time when suicide is at its highest in England and Wales.

Once again, this wholly unacceptable comment, and his refusal to apologise or see why what he said was so appalling, proves that these toff tosspots have no idea about the real world, that they don't care, and that they prove it each time they open their stupid big gobs.

The Myth of the Left Wing Comedy Mafia

One thing that your average Ukipper or Tory will always bemoan is the notion of 'the sneering liberal elite' and how they dominate the entertainment industry, specifically in comedy. 'Where are the right wing comedians and comic scriptwriters?' they complain in a rhetorical manner, concluding that there are none.

Well, they do exist actually.

But unfortunately they're people like Tim Dawson.

Just look at his twitter feed; he's a proud Tory, pledging his love for Ruth Davidson, and his happiness at Brexit, along with a sneering hatred for anything else.

But who is Tim Dawson? you may ask. Well he was the man responsible for the BBC3 'sitcom' Coming of Age which ran from 2008 to 2011, and four episodes of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps during that series death throes. And um, that's about it. His CV is remarkably bare and even more remarkably unimpressive. The only impressive thing to consider is that he was commissioned to write his one and only baby when he himself was a baby; aged just 19. Proof that the BBC really are stupid sometimes.

Now, you could argue that the fact that he has so little writing credits actually prove that the left wing have comedy sown up.

You could.

Or you could just admit that Tim Dawson is not very funny or talented. The reviews for Coming of Age, his magnum opus, certainly indicate that;

"Crudeness abounds...but neither wit nor charm has come along for the ride" said The Torygraph (that must have really hurt Dawson)

"Unremittingly dire...I sat through Coming of Age with the will to live seeping from my every pore, leaving me drenched in a puddle of despair. Apparently Tim Dawson was 19 when he wrote it. Which is about six years older than I would have guessed" Harry Venning, The Stage

"Coming of Age may be the worst BBC sitcom yet. It is supposedly aimed at teenagers but I refuse to believe that even the easiest-to-please teenager is happy to accept something so horribly written, horribly acted, and horribly vulgar in lieu of actual humour" The Scotsman.

Tim Dawson is currently working on the long mooted revival of the Carry On films with Two Pints creator Sue Nickson. So yes, they will be as shit as everyone fears. In the meantime, if you want a really good laugh, just go to his twitter for the utterly laughable political opinions he espouses. 

In short, this is proof that the world of comedy and entertainment is a level playing field, but that clearly the left are more creative, talented and yes, funnier than the right.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

You CANNESnot Improve On Perfection

Cannes has rightly come under fire for their official poster artwork for the annual Film Festival next month. The image they use is an archive photograph of the legendary and beautiful actress Claudia Cardinale. Can you see what they've done?

That's right - they've airbrushed Cardinale's thighs and legs to make them appear thinner as well as bringing in her waist to be more in keeping with what is ludicrously considered attractive today.

Don't they know its impossible to improve upon perfection? This is like trying to photoshop the Mona Lisa.

The silly CANNEsts

Out On Blue Six: Orbital

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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Cunts of the Week: Mustafa Bashir & Richard Mansell QC; Domestic Violence MUST Be Taken Seriously In Court

In Manchester Crown Court yesterday, Judge Richard Mansell QC ruled that he would not gaol Mustafa Bashir - a man who beat his wife with a cricket bat and forced her to drink bleach - because he felt that, in light of hearing Bashir was due to play cricket for Leicestershire, it would place Bashir's professional sports career in jeopardy and because he felt that, as "an intelligent woman with a network of friends", Bashir's partner was not sufficiently vulnerable enough. He sentenced Bashir to a wholly inappropriate 18 month suspended sentence. 

If that wasn't galling enough, it has subsequently come to light that Leicestershire Cricket Club have no knowledge whatsoever of Bashir. Why was this claim not fact checked during the trial?

This is just another example of the judicial system failing victims of abuse, specifically women.  If you feel strongly about this, then please sign this petition which demands that Alison Saunders, director of the CPS, takes the issue of domestic violence seriously.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Out On Blue Six : The Foundations, RIP Clem Curtis

Sad to hear that Clem Curtis, the original lead singer with The Foundations and 'the Godfather of English Soul' has died at the age of 76

Born in Trinidad, Curtis came to England at the age of fifteen and found work as an interior decorator and as a professional boxer before moving into music. He was continuing to tour right up until his death, with regular bookings at Butlins, Warner Leisure Hotels and the cruise ship Azura. 


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Still the Sweetest Voice on Radio

Shout out to the one and only Elizabeth 'Alcopops' Alker

Her gorgeous Rochdale accent delivers us the music news on a daily basis on 6 Music's Radcliffe and Maconie.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Out On Blue Six: Honeyblood

The (new) sound of young Scotland? I think it could be! 

I love how some idiot on YouTube has left a comment disparaging it ("is this rock now? What even is this?) when his avator is of Kiss. Haha! Trust me mate, this is much better than painting cat's whiskers on your face and wearing a leotard. That's one thing I've never understood about American rock and I was talking about it only the other day when the BBC4 repeat of Top of the Pops had Twisted Sister on it; in the UK our rock stars look dress outlaws, look at The Stones for example. Whilst in the US they dress like Widow Twanky and the Ugly Sisters! I know which one says 'rock' better.

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Silent Sunday: Up the Junction (My Neighbourhood)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Fighting Back: Force The Govt To Act On The UNCRPD Report

The UN have found our Tory government GUILTY of grave and systematic violations of the rights of the disabled in our society as a direct result of their 'austerity measures' ie the numerous, savage cuts they have made to welfare and social care.

To demand the government recognise this and act on the eleven recommendations the UNCRPD report makes to ensure the human rights of disabled people are uphold, please sing this petition

Please note; to ensure you have properly signed this petition, you must confirm your email address first. The site will email you a link which you must follow to conclude signing.

Out On Blue Six: Public Service Broadcasting, and some words about London

When it comes to news events, I've found myself at a loss for words this week. If you've expected some comment before now, please know that I've struggled to say anything that felt 'right'. 

The death of Martin McGuinness, a figure still so extremely and understandably divisive, followed by the reactions that ranged from the inspiring and forgiving (Colin Parry) to the, probably as expected, hostile and disgusting (Norman Tebbit) was one of the first incidents this week to have me struck dumb. 

And then Wednesday happened.

Naturally it goes without saying that my thoughts have been with those who lost someone during that incident, along with those injured and those who were there and were fortunate enough to survive unscathed. But equally my thoughts have been a jumble of horror and confusion. That something like this could happen, that the media dwelt on the suffering in a way I found offensive, and that those purveyors of hate who profess to be self-appointed guardians of our culture are using this tragedy to not only spread their anti-Islam/anti-immigration bile and venom but to also spread fear and paranoia amongst people.

I don't really know what to say, but I do know from our history and our very culture and values that London can take it, and so I am grateful for Public Service Broadcasting to speak for me...

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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Lydia Rose Bewley - I Live With Models

Regular readers will know how much I like Lydia Rose Bewley. So I was obviously interested to see the new sitcom she's been appearing in on Comedy Central, I Live With Models.

All I can say is I letched a lot, but I didn't laugh once. This is a deeply unfunny, corny and flat sitcom. I've watched some crap in my time for actors I admire or simply fancy, but I Live With Models really takes the biscuit. Lydia plays Jess, a British plus size model based in America who lives with two other (non plus size) models and a male hand model. She looks gorgeous in a series of figure hugging outfits and she plays her part well, but it's just not enough to recommend this utter bin juice of a programme.

Who's That Knocking At My Door (1968)

Martin Scorsese's 1968 debut, Who's That Knocking At My Door, is released to DVD by the BFI on Monday 27th March. 

The film originally started out as Scorsese's NYU graduation project in 1965 and took three years to make. 

It was worth it.

During a press screening at the New York Film Festival, no less than John Cassavetes proclaimed it to be "as good as Citizen Kane", before adding, "No, it's better than Citizen Kane, it's got more heart"

Right from the off, it proved Scorsese to be very special indeed.

Who's That Knocking At My Door? Why Hollywood, it's Marty Scorsese, and he's about to change your world forever.

Read my full review at The Geek Show

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I Know You Know (2009)

Set in South Wales in 1989, I Know You Know tells the story of single parent father Charlie Callaghan (Robert Carlyle) and his eleven-year-old son Jamie (newcomer Arron Fuller). Written and directed by Human Traffic's Justin Kerrigan, what is remarkable about this film is that it is actually an autobiographical narrative based on his own upbringing.

The film starts with Charlie and Jamie's return to Wales. Though their hometown is familiar and they have elderly relations nearby, it's clearly a step down from what they are used to, and Jamie doesn't want to go to the local secondary school, but he knows he must grin and bear it - and even the bully who taunts him on a daily basis - because his father has an important job to do there. This job sees him embroiled in covert activities, seemingly against the new satellite TV company that is being rolled out nationwide, and the payday he promises will be big. However, it appears that there are people in town who want to stop Charlie from concluding his espionage mission; they follow his every move and he is so fearful for his life that he goes everywhere armed with a gun. As Jamie discovers the extent of his father's secret existence, he pledges to be utterly supportive of him - but is the real truth of Charlie's existence more dangerous for each if them than the boy could ever imagine?

Being autobiographical, Kerrigan's film is clearly a real labour of love, and one that took several years to get off the ground. Its final realisation may be hampered by a small budget more at home to a one off TV drama than an actual feature film, but the beating heart at the centre of the narrative more than makes up for any shortcomings. Combined with impressive performances from Carlyle and the young Fuller in his film debut, I Know You Know is an emotional, heartstring-tugging ode to the bonds between father and son. It's a film you can't really talk about too much without giving the plot away, so I'll just say watch it if you can.

Wordless Wednesday: Whitby at Dusk

Monday, 20 March 2017

Sunday, 19 March 2017

100 Streets (2016)

Though not as bad as some of the reviews suggest, 100 Streets is a multi stranded ensemble piece about interconnected lives in modern, metropolitan London that ultimately fails to deliver on its promises.

Idris Elba stars as a former England international Rugby Union captain whose life post-retirement hasn't quite panned out the way he'd imagined. Unfit, and spiralling in a malaise of drugs, drink, depression and one night stands, he's separated from his wife, a former actress played by Gemma Arterton, and their two young children. Arterton's being eyed up by an old friend and colleague, played by Tom Cullen, as she attempts to step back into acting with a little help from her old mentor, played by Ken Stott. Stott meanwhile has taken a young offender (Franz Drameh) under his wing, seeing the potential in this young man who desperately wants to escape the world of drug dealing on corners for the local Mr Big. Meanwhile, a middle-aged couple (Charlie Creed-Miles and Kierston Wareing) are considering adoption when a personal tragedy strikes that could change their lives forever.

100 Streets feels like the kind of multi-stranded London set drama that would have graced our TV screens back in the late '90s - and I don't mean that as a criticism, I actually can't help but think a mini-series would have been the better format, allowing the many plot strands the chance to breathe and grow, and develop more plausibly than a mere 90 minute feature can offer. I also can't help but think someone was busy with the scissors in the cutting room, a concern that has grown when I saw a cast list on TMDB that bears no relation to the finished product (actors like Jamie Foreman, Emma Rigby, Samantha Barks and Steven Mackintosh were all listed, but non actually appear here) It could be a mistake, but I'm not sure. 

Of the actors who do appear, Drameh, Stott, and Arterton equip themselves really well. Elba isn't an actor I have ever been truly convinced by, but I have to say this is one of his better performance despite a couple of unconvincing moments and Cullen is wasted in a perfunctory wafer-thin role. But the real stars here were Creed-Miles and Wareing; they give the best performance and I could have watched a whole film based solely on their relationship and story. I felt  really short changed that they, essentially the beating heart of the film, were often overlooked for the more dramatic developments that occurred elsewhere. 

I was also extremely disappointed to see the venomous Kay Burley of Sky News and the eternal idiotic misogynist John Inverdale of BBC sport appear as themselves. They shouldn't even be employed in their day jobs, let alone diversify into film.

Luisa Omielan: What Would Beyoncé Do?

The thing is, I'm not a Beyoncé fan so this acclaimed stand up was possibly always likely to fail for me. I appreciate that Beyoncé has empowered women, but I don't really find her the feminist role model that many do. For a start she believes the term feminism is 'too extreme', and her suggestion is it should be replaced with her own trademark term 'bootylicious'. As Bridget Christie said "We're talking about the systematic and prolonged oppression of women across the world as a society here, for thousands of years. We're not talking about a new ass-flavoured bubblegum".  Christie isn't the only feminist comedian to criticise Beyoncé 's rather dubious status as a feminist icon, Katherine Ryan rightly called her out for being a clever, powerful, rich woman who seems to have just accepted that her husband Jay Z allegedly sleeps around (and in such dubious circumstances - Cathy White, an alleged mistress of the rap star died at home the day before she was due to meet newspapers to give her story - google it) by writing a lyric like 'she's had half of me. She ain't even half of me' to possibly express herself on such a matter. Are we to presume that she accepts that husbands are going to be unfaithful? That it's OK if they do, because you are their only wife (their 'Mrs Carter') and that ultimately you'll see him more than his mistresses do? That's hardly an empowering message to be sending out is it?

Luisa Omielan wrote this, her debut stage show five years ago and performed it in a room above a pub at the Free Fringe at Edinburgh, before being picked up by London's Soho theatre where she scored seven sell-out runs. Ten nights at Montreal's Just for Laughs followed, along with a run in London's West End, before finally being picked up by BBC3 for a specially filmed performance at Clapham Grand. Make no mistake, this show is a smash hit and it brought Omielan huge critical and commercial acclaim. Not bad for a show which began when she wondered just what Beyoncé would do when  faced with the problem of unblocking a toilet containing her younger brother's massive poo with a stick she found in the garden!

Drawing further parallels with her own life, Omielan wonders just how would Beyoncé react to getting dumped, to signing on, to being in her thirties and living back with her mum? Going deeper, she manages to touch upon more serious subjects such as depression and even suicide, yet still keeps up a remarkable party atmosphere amidst the confessional moments as she tries to shape a new philosophy from Beyoncé's work whilst still remaining aware in her subtext that there's a huge gap between the X Factor hopefuls, the everyday dreamers and the world's most famous pop diva.

What Would Beyoncé Do? is a show performed with great frenetic speed and energy by the dazzling Omielan, who mixes Beyoncé moves with fresh, revealing and frank patter that comes at you like bullets from a machine gun. I can see why so many in the audience get swept away by her remarkable energy (and believe me, this audience is so clearly full of devotees and like minds) but I couldn't help but wonder if some of that gusto is papering over the cracks in material that, despite the success, is still clearly a debut effort.

Ultimately, I found Omielan herself to be a more empowering potential role model than her heroine; from the moment she literally swaggers and shimmies onto the stage announcing her love for her own cellulite and big bottom*, this is a hugely confident and proud young woman who owns her sexuality and identity, but isn't afraid to talk frankly about her insecurities and the low points in her life. Unlike Beyoncé  then.

*Which is very nice, as you can see

You can watch it on the BBC iPlayer.

Silent Sunday: Teddy Girl

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Out On Blue Six: Chuck Berry, RIP

A sad day for music, the great pioneer of rock and roll Chuck Berry has died at the age of 90


End Transmission

Friday, 17 March 2017

Pick a Job, George!

Tory MP, Investment advisor at Blackrock, after dinner speaker and now a newspaper editor too?

Four jobs is too much, and a conflict of interest is out of order. If you agree that George 'Pencils' Osborne should step down as MP for Tatton then please sign this petition. It's ridiculous to think this man has been banging on for ages about the White Elephant that is the 'Northern Powerhouse', taking power from London and giving Northerners a voice, and yet today says he's speaking for Londoners! And it's just sickening to consider how much money he's raking in from all these roles.

Do the decent thing, Gideon.

Out On Blue Six: Thundercat feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins

Isn't this just beautiful?

End Transmission

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Biased Broadcasting Corporation

Only Channel 4 followed the money to reveal the staggering Tory election fraud that secured their win in 2015 and has finally been acknowledged today. The BBC never mentioned it at all. When they finally had to acknowledge its existence today, the BBC's increasingly biased political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted this...

So according to our supposedly independent, impartial and prized public service broadcaster, this was not fraud then, it was just a mistake. Every other broadcaster has correctly called it as fraud, so why not the BBC?

As one tweeter responded to Kuenssberg, the only mistake here was in the Tories getting caught!

Is it any wonder that this week SNP's Alex Salmond raised a point of order in the House asking for emergency measures to bring Laura Kuenssberg into the Tory cabinet?!

Given her terribly biased track record, and her role as a laughing stock in parliament, that this woman is still in work at the beeb is beyond me. But then to criticise Kuenssberg is to be charged as a misogynist by those who employ and protect her and who will never concede that they are terrified of upsetting the Tory government who can rip their charter up whenever they feel like it.

Hanging on the Telephone

Kylie by Anton Corbijn.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Theme Time: Elvis Costello - Scully

The death of Tony Haygarth reminded me to blog about Scully today.

King of the scallies, Franny Scully remains scouse playwright Alan Bleasdale's most enduring character. Initially created to entertain the kids he was teaching, Bleasdale realised he was on to something and began to write the character's (mis)adventures in series of short stories which he submitted to BBC Radio Merseyside. The station loved them, and Bleasdale was subsequently invited to read them on air. From there, a Scully story was read out on the BBC2 arts series 2nd House, before he became a stage play, the subject of two novels, a recurring character in the Saturday morning kids TV show and regional TISWAS replacement The Mersey Pirate, the subject of a BBC Play For Today (Scully's New Year) and finally, a full length Granada TV series for Channel 4 in 1984.

If you can get past the fact that by 1984, Andrew Schofield was a very obvious 26-year-old playing the eponymous 16-year-old schoolboy, and that all his schoolmates were of a similar vintage too, then there was much to enjoy in ScullyOn initial inspection, Scully seemed like a much needed bout of light relief for writer Alan Bleasdale following his searing masterpiece Boys From The Blackstuff just two years earlier. Light relief for many of the cast too, who returned for fresh roles here. But there's a dark undercurrent that runs through Scully beneath the humourous japes, the rites of passage tropes and the commentary on teenage life. The lack of opportunities awaiting the likes of Scully in the impoverished and neglected Liverpool of Thatcher's Britain are often alluded to and seemingly embodied by the Scully's recurring vision of his idol Kenny Dalglish during his everyday life - is this seemingly funny and surreal Billy Liar-esque device actually an example of serious psychosis borne from his relationship with his environment? As the series progressed things turned darker and more serious, leading to an extended finale that sees Scully's dreams of one day playing for Liverpool in tatters. It's a world away from some of the amusing slapstick elsewhere in the series and is deeply emotionally affecting. But that's not to say that the show wasn't very funny too, providing an authentic and endearing depiction of working class teenage life that is probably just as relevant today as it was back in 1984.

And the series boasted a great theme tune too - Turning the Town Red - from Elvis Costello, who also plays Scully's train obsessed simpleton brother, Henry (pictured above). It played over the opening credits which saw Scully training with Liverpool FC, before pulling on the Number 7 shirt and running onto the Anfield pitch to the cries of 'There's only one Francis Scully!' from the Kop faithful.