Posts from 15th October 2004

Oct 04

Watching CSI:Miami

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Watching CSI:Miami is akin to watching an ant crawl down the pavement on a supermegadoubleplusgood zoom lens from the 60th floor of a sky scraper for 20 years, then playing back the film of the event in reverse at 1000000000x the original speed and seeing the ant spell out the word “IMPROBABILITY” in a perfect cursive hand (do ants even LIVE for 20 years)?

CSI is where forensics (officially science of “you gotta be kidding me, right) staff are all beautiful and gorgeous as they stick on the rubber GLOVES and delve DEEPLY into dead people’s GUTS, as super gory animations put you off your Savoury Bite Matzoh Crackers and the most ludicrous “clue” is gathered from the silliest premise – viz finding a strand of STUFF which is IMMEDIATELY identified as BURLAP which – omg – is what people sit on at the BEACH where the key event on which the murder hangs, omg!!

As the neu bastion of silliness I can only applaud it. 24 had similar levels of improbability but ALL THE WOMEN LOOKED THE SAME and they took it far more seriously (=yawn), and there’s SPOOKS on BBC1, well it’s a nice try isn’t it Auntie Beeb but quite frankly I don’t really feel massively inspired by it.

CSI: Miami RULES! And if you don’t realise it’s in Miami, they cut away from the rapidly decreasing entropy scenes to “establishing” shots of skyscrapers every other minute. Marvellous. Miami looks er, shiny. That’s all.

Capital offence

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Capital offence I like Johnny Vaughan. There, I said it. His 2001 sitcom ‘Orrible was hilarious and his BBC3 chat show, Johnny Vaughan Tonight, was excellent. No, really.

But, even amongst the diminishing numbers of Vaughan apologists out there, there can’t be many who find his 95.8 Capital FM breakfast show all that appealling. With Scott Mills – without doubt, the worst DJ who has ever, ever lived – filling in for Moyles on Radio 1 between seven and ten in the morning, I’m led to try Capital’s morning offering. It’s not good. In this week’s Marketing magazine, it’s suggested that the structure of music, news, travel, weather and adverts is too constricting on an expressive, creative comic like Vaughan. This doesn’t seem too wide of the mark.

But surely the main problem is that Capital FM itself is, and always has been, rubbish. Is this really the best independent radio that London can come up with? I mean, have you heard Jezza’s Capital Confessions? He’s no Jack Killian – but he is ‘orrible.

The worst things you can hear on UK radio

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The worst things you can hear on UK radio

by A.N.Office Worker.

5. Banter betwixt Colin and Edith on 1FM: Whenever one of Colin and Edith gets the week off the standard of their show skyrockets – together they form a nightmarish gestalt chemistry-vacuum. God knows whether 1FM bosses think they’re flirty or have some kind of ‘sexual tension’ – they sound like they barely like each other. The single most excruciating thing I’ve heard on their show remains their Eamon/Frankee ‘pastiche’.

4. Any advert on Kiss: Popular wisdom must still have it that all Kiss listeners are criminally irresposible drug-monkeys, as the station has the most miserable and finger-wagging adverts ever. The one which details the various things that happen to non-seatbelt wearers; the “this is what a huge bus sounds like if you have a walkman on” one; the wheezing smoker one – and many more!

3. “Heroes Or Zeroes” on 6 Music: supernaturally boring quiz in which a listener is asked a selection of questions in a low monotone about their favourite band, generally Talk Talk or Lush. I have heard this sixty or seventy times and have never managed to concentrate enough to work out what the prize is, or if anyone ever wins it.

2. “Flirty At 9.30” on Capital FM: licensed humiliation whereby lovesick idiot gets Capital’s morning DJ to phone someone they fancy and ask by proxy for a date. Sickening but horribly compelling, particularly when the person being phoned is plainly not remotely interested (though rarely are they cruel enough to actually say no).

1. Scott Mills comedy tapes: having purchased a list of gullible halfwits from a passing Nigerian scamster, Scott Mills proceeds to ‘prank call’ them with sampled comedy voices (David Brent, Ali G, The Terminator). Stupefyingly unfunny and awful – the only positive aspect is that Scott Mills is always hugely proud of his handiwork and trails the call for a half hour, plenty of time to finish one’s work and dash for a consolatory pint.

Party Fears 22

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Party Fears 22

1. No-one will come.
2. In my fear about no-one coming I’ve invited too many people. Now too many people will come.
3. They’ll get mugged on the way and it will be my fault.
4. In my fear about too many people coming I have missed loads of people I want to invite off the list, and when they hear about the party they’ll be offended.
5. Nobody judges how much they will drink at a party properly. Too few of these improper judgements err on the side of bringing along too much.
6. My party will run out of booze at precisely 11.01.
7. I can’t afford the ’100 I’ve spent on booze reserves and will be skint for the rest of the month.
8. I’ve spent ’100 on the wrong kind of booze.
9. I haven’t warned the new downstairs neighbours, but it should be alright because it’s a Friday night.
10. The new neighbours will turn out to be people who have to be up at four in the morning for some socially-crucial work and must not be disturbed under any circumstances.
11. I have dropped the new neighbours a note to warn them that there might be a bit of noise on Friday night but I was twinged by a pang of guilt so mentioned that they could pop up to the party if they wanted to. They might decide to come.
12. The new neighbours might decide to come and bring knives.
13. What kinds of things do people eat at parties? Aren’t they all completely horrible and naff? But I haven’t got time to make anything, or for that matter to go to any shops which might sell anything decent. Anyway I’ve already shelled ’100 on booze. Doritos and hummus then.
14. Doritos and hummus will turn out to be impossible to get out of my new carpet.
15. All the sadboys will spend all night looking at my record collection and sneering.
16. All the sadboys will spend all night looking at my record collection appreciatively and select entirely inappropriate records.
17. The people who don’t already know each other won’t talk and they’ll stay in their little cliques and wish they’d just gone to the pub where at least the music is decent.
18. The people who don’t already know each other will talk and will hate each other and there’ll be a big fight.
19. The people who don’t already know each other will talk about me and I will be exposed.
20. In the morning my flat will look like some kind of landfill site turned inside-out and topped with a garnish of cigbutts.
21. In the morning my hangover will be such that even looking at my landfill-ashtray flat will make me retch.
22. No-one will want to come to my next party.

Three Beatles Songs

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Three Beatles Songs

Or perhaps that should be, ‘three Beatlesploitation songs’. When the Beatles wave broke on America, how could the existing pop – girl and boy groups with their bouncy, witty, politely nuanced love songs – deal with it? Easy – they (or someone) wrote about it. The Swans’ “Boy With The Beatle Hair” is an example of this micro-genre played fairly straight. Wistful girl-group pop, cooing harmonies eliding into toy piano – nothing has changed in this world except the haircuts. “My Boyfriend Got A Beatle Haircut” by Donna Lynn is snappier, more upbeat and much funnier, detailing the nightmare effects of the moptop cut on her love life (other girls never used to bother with Donna’s boy – now they swarm round him on account of his swoonsome barnet). There’s a self-awareness here of the insanity of Beatlemania – to which the record is at once contributing and cashing in on.

Even more self-awareness in the very curious “A Letter To The Beatles” by the Four Preps. Here we get the boy’s point of view on the band, and as you’d imagine it isn’t complimentary. Girlfriend writes letter to the Beatles offering them “anything”, they write back asking for “twenty-five cents for an autographed picture / one dollar bill for a fan club card / and if you send it right away you’ll get a lock of hair / from my Saint Bernard”. Girlfriend protests and gets the same form letter back, then she gives in, sends the money and dumps her poor boyfriend! The shamelessness of this particular record railing about shoddy Beatle merchandise is only enhanced by its constant quotes from “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (which unfortunately just point up how much more vim the Beatles had than the Four Preps).

All these singles were from 1964, as you’d expect. They form the tip of a remarkable and frightening iceberg which you’d feel would lend itself to compilation. The Beatles legend tends to stress their achievements as creative subjects and downplay their impact as objects – discussion is usually limited to some eye-rolling over the ubiquity of Beatle wigs and the legend hurries on. These records give a better flavour of how rampant and out-of-control the Beatle brand got – and they’re good pop too.

getting caught

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getting caught

I’ll tell you what fear is, it’s what Hitchcock knew. I’m always skating on the thin ice, always snatching a moment at the record store here and a random troll of the Internet at work there, running to the post office at the last second, running up to and over my deadlines, that’s the kind of guy I am, relying on my tiny amount of genius and ever-dwindling stock of charm and naive cluelessness to get me by…but what if, one day, it didn’t work? What if I were called to account? What if I was discovered? What if they all found out what an IMPOSTER I really am?

I’ve had this feeling since I was little: that I’m just not what I’m cracked up to be. I am surfing on the wave of everyone else’s lofty ambitions for me, but I know they’re all stupid for believing in me, I know what happens when the wave breaks, I know how quick the sharks are to eat the swimmers.

I think I need to get back into therapy, for realz.