Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Say no to the televised 'Evil Games'

I will support any legal disruption of the London Olympic Games that I hear about – such as the trade union Unite’s recently announced intentions.

But my reasons are nothing to do with the undoubted economic hardships many of us – not just trade unions – are facing.

No. I object because the Olympic Games – with their foul record of corruption, drug abuse, nationalism, physical narcissism, PR whoring and capitalist sponsorship – are evil.

My poem, below, shows how I feel about this issue …


‘Citius, Altius, Fortius.’ *
It’s really most unfortunate
when athletic masturbation
reaches its biennial climax
and fools at full-tilt seek
spurious sporting windmills.

Each man and woman
and in-betweeny
wants to be seen here.
It’s what they’re all about –
moving ‘swifter, higher, stronger’
than the next man or woman
or hermaphrodite chancer
or drug-raddled body enhancer.

It’s the arena of small ambition
that reduces the human condition
to physical exhibition.
The phrase ‘disgusting displays’
was tailor-made
for these Olympian days.

Tarnished gold
is the tarts’ grubby target,
above all else,
above all else.
more desperate than ever.

Come on! COME on!
Peel of the Lycra suits.
The drugs don’t work.
They just make it worse.

Too late! Too late!
They have to take part.
If they didn’t they’d fall apart -
so poor and incomplete
has been their human formation.

They’re corrupted,
like the Olympics itself,
by being about
winning instead of the
important stuff of life,
which is mainly about losing.

On the podium they stand,
grinning like go-getters,
facile pace-setters.
Some people cheer.
Some wave the bunting
of freedom-crushing states
as athletes are rewarded
with the motherland’s
rancid anthem.

And nothing now can redeem
a movement professing to be noble,
while doing what the ignoble
always do – by crushing the
humanity, humility,
poetry and eloquence
right out of people.

‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ (Latin for Swifter, Higher, Stronger)
Is the fascistic motto of the Olympics.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Seriously crap – the Brit Awards

Even if I was still a hip young gunslinger, rather than the rancid old fart I’ve become, I’d still say the Brit Awards (ITV1) was seriously crap.

The presenter was James Corden. Why? He is neither comfortable with nor capable of hosting a live TV event. Having said that, British telly has a strong tradition of using inarticulate dorks to front high profile shows. Dermot O’Leary anyone? No, thought not …

And what about the ‘artists’? Well, clearly most women singers long ago realised that pop music has used up all its good melodies. So they’ve settled instead for prancing around in their knickers and pouting at the cameras. To hell with the music!

And Rihanna, after your lumbering raunchfest of an overlong set, don’t bother ringing me, pet. I’m not impressed. What a mess your dancers made with all that paint! It was all so … underwhelming.

How different, and much better, women singers were years ago, when they didn’t dress like sex industry workers, when they could sing really well, and when they had decent songs. Think Dusty Springfield, folks. Class.

Adele, from what little I’ve heard of her stuff, can sing, but her public persona, and her voice when speaking is awful. Seriously, her voice is so common and stoopid-sounding. And that American-style hair ... does she wear it like that for a bet?

Thankfully, Adele wasn’t allowed to say much at the end of the show when she picked up her Best Album award. She was ungraciously cut off by the oaf Corden. Then, as if to confirm her status as being as common as muck, she gave a one-fingered salute to TV execs. They deserved it, but even so as a gesture it lacked charm.

Just before that, George Michael gave an incoherent, mumbling talk. He should have been the one ushered off stage.

Sadly, there was no attempt to censor the sententious Damon Albarn . He was allowed to crap on and on and on in his oxygen-stealing acceptance speech for Blur’s Outstanding Contribution To Music award.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we had to endure Blur performing, looking way too old and middle class for the role, doing their hits of yesteryear, which I – and anyone with any musical credibility – never liked anyway!

Albarn pranced about like a teenager, wearing what appeared to be Tesco Poohead branded jeans, his voice as strained as a useless teacher struggling to establish control of an unruly classroom.

Almost inevitably, this very white and pretentious band did a song featuring a black gospel-style choir. What a f***ing cliché!

And the nail in the show's coffin was the clip of Louie Spence dancing like a tit. As if the viewer hadn't suffered enough!

This dross was presumably shown around the world, bringing derision to our once admired national culture.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Noel Fielding’s indulgently unfunny show

Well might Channel 4 desperately need street hoardings pasted up everywhere to promote Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.

Left to its own devices the show is unlikely to get many viewers because (a) it’s on Channel 4 (now perceived as a distinctly “uncool” station) and (b) it is pretentious art house rubbish.

A psychedelic mess of live action and animation, Mr Fielding’s latest offering makes the classic mistake of believing that startling presentation is a satisfactory substitute for talent. It isn’t, and particularly it is no substitute for quality writing.

Again and again British TV chiefs make the mistake of thinking that telly is mainly a visual medium and that the writing doesn’t really matter as long as you chuck in a few smutty phrases to keep the audience tittering.

Noel Fielding is playing to his strengths with this show – he is striking to look at (if somewhat gender-ambiguous) and he has good eyes.

So you’ll notice he does a lot of acting with his eyes – as do the other people involved. It’s predictable and it’s not clever enough to carry the show.

The result is a less than riveting comedy, and one which has very few of the philosophical overtones that really great comedy has in spades.

Only once did a recent episode make me laugh, when a minor and desperate character pleaded: “I’ve been to college”. Looking back, I’m not sure why I laughed, but I did, so a tiny bit of credit where it is due.

OK, a basic lesson for the clueless wallies who commission network TV comedy in Britain … it’s all about the writing!

Not nearly enough attention is paid to writing in British shows. We could learn a lot from the Americans in this respect. American TV takes writers seriously and invests in great script talent.

As far as animation goes, you can be as surreal and Fancy Dan as you like with it, but if the writing is as pisspoor as it is on this Noel Fielding outing – then it’s not going to have any cultural impact or resonance.

The reason Family Guy – an American cartoon with quite strong British cultural references – is such a monster hit is that the writing is fantastically strong, and so are the voices, aurally. The animation element, by contrast, is really quite basic.

But like I say, the visual on TV isn’t actually that important. What matters is writing of quality, and the great ideas that usually go hand in hand with it.