Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Brits

I tried to watch The Brits last night. I really did try. Honestly.
But men of a certain age probably shouldn't even attempt to do so because you find that you're turning into your father.

Some of the music is pleasant enough if you hear it on the radio. But to watch these people perform produces a degree of irritation that is unendurable. Both Bono and Chris Martin lunged around the stage in the most bizarre bodily contortions as though they had cerebral palsy. Why, for God's sake?
The other night, an excellent documentary on the great Tony Bennett showed him standing completely still in his renditions, apart from a few hand movements. Yet his interpretation of the lyrics was mind-blowing and on one occasion moved me to tears.
Of course, with most pop music the lyrics are such incomprehensible or meaningless shite that there's nothing to interpret anyway, even assuming that the singer's diction is good enough to decipher the lyrics, which it seldom is.

The Red Carpet ritual for The Brits had one of the most unappealing backdrops imaginable: the urban wasteland of part of Earl's Court.
The interviews consisted almost entirely of the female interviewer and stars saying to each other "Oh my God! You look gorgeous!" Plus those strange contemporary constructions like "I'm loving the shoes!" (instead of "I love your shoes").
Do they really mean these fulsome compliments? (A rare correct use of 'fulsome'). Or are they thinking "Fuck me, who let the dogs out?"

Watching just the first twenty minutes meant that I saw that strange opening set with Mathew Horne and James Corden looking like two ladyboys who had been blindfolded and told to get dressed from a fetishist's wardrobe.
By this morning I'd just about got the image out of my head and then the Guardian go and put a photo of them on page 3.
According to the Guardian they're doing "the hand jive." I must take the word of the teenagers who write for the Guardian on that one. But if you'd asked me, I'd have betted that a 'hand jive' was a euphemism for something you wouldn't do on ITV at 8 o'clock in the evening. Well, a toss-up between that and something that Sharon the physio gets the geriatrics to do in the day room of the nursing home.
"Time for your hand jive, Mr Lupin."
"Ooh, Matron......"

Friday, February 13, 2009

I've been following some advice I thought I heard on the radio: don't blog unless your blog post is absolutely necessary. And I doubt that since blogging was invented there has ever been a blog post that was absolutely necessary. Certainly none of mine.
Anyway, most of the snow has now gone, apart from the tops of the hills. But while it lasted the silence was blissful. No morning rush hour, no buses running and the snow muffling footsteps. No postal deliveries so no bills for a week.

There was also the fun of joining the throng of people round the empty milk shelves in the supermarket, ready to pounce if a delivery should arrive. Some of these people that one didn't know from Adam actually started chatting. It's just like the Blitz, one thought. The second thought being: no, it isn't. A few inches of snow has stopped a milk delivery; the Germans aren't trying to bomb us to Kingdom Come.. And the few people in the village who might have experienced the latter are so old that they are trapped in their homes by the weather.
But still we cling to our 'folk memory'. So when the milk and bread was being rationed we said again: it's just like the war!


What bliss it must be to be alive at the moment if you're a Mail reader. First, it was Carole Thatcher being sacked for saying 'golliwog'. Then it was bus services cancelled on safety grounds because of the snow. The political correctness/health and safety gone mad brigade must be in an almost permanent state of orgasmic indignation.

Now today we have the publicity about a 13 year old father (12 when his baby was conceived). This has provoked the finest piece of Darwin-related idiocy I've yet heard. Someone told Radio Five this morning that our high rate of teenage pregnancy was caused by telling children "the fairy tale of evolution". So poor old Charles is responsible for every young girl that gets up the duff. Incredible.

A presenter called Victoria Derbyshire kept saying that at 12 years old you wouldn't have any idea how to have sex.
What planet is this woman on? The mechanics of sex are pretty simple and the practice of sex is fairly instinctive.
When I was 12 more than 40 years ago (before, according to Larkin, sexual intercourse had been invented) we knew how to have sex even if we had never done so. Most of us knew this even before we had our ludicrous sex education lessons. And, unlike today's kids, we didn't have access to sexual material on the internet.


The BBC's BAFTA 'Red Carpet' programme was presented by Claudia Winkelman, a woman who had not previously impinged on my consciousness. Her fawning over Hollywood film stars brought shame on the BBC and on the country.
She said to Jennifer Lopez: "You look so beautiful that I want to smell your hair. But I won't because that would be weird."
Ms Lopez said: "Yes, that would be weird", and glared at her with a mixture of bafflement and extreme distaste. As well she might since this woman was clearly deranged - like so many TV presenters today.

Televisual highlight of the week was Paxman's appearance on The One Show. He viewed the proceedings with all the disdain of an Evangelical Christian who had accidentally wandered into a gay sauna.
Giles Brandreth delivered a report on the House of Lords. Paxo said he thought Brandreth was already in the Lords because there must be some reason why he constantly appeared on television (the implication being that talent was certainly not the reason). Then, as Brandreth spoke about the Lords, Paxo rolled his eyes and eventually exploded with: "You don't really believe all that rubbish, do you?" It was wonderful to see someone cut through the blandness of The One Show.
I think Paxman is much misunderstood because he is very rarely actually angry and most of the time he is joking, as he clearly was on this occasion.

The great problem with magazine shows like The One Show is the juxtaposition of diverse items and how you link them.
Not so long ago I saw Christine Bleakley laughing uproariously with a guest who was a comedian, then turn to another camera, switch to a serious face and say "And now, Thalidomide....."
I laughed so much that I choked on my dinner.