Thirty Thousand Streets

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Night TV

Having decided not to go to Manchester for the Bank Holiday Weekend, Saturday was decidedly low key. Got up, bought bacon from kennedy's (5 rashers, no smoked alas) before jumping on the 12 into town.

Checked out UNIQLO (the clothes store from Japan) and discovered that apart from their usual quality basics, they've got a set of t-shirts in designed by Tokyo's Power Graphixx. Unfortunately, on further inspection, they were 68% polyester, and would probably itch like the clap, so I left it, which was a shame, as standing at the intersection between effortlessly crisp vector styling and misappropriated Japanish (I just made that up) the designs themselves were cool like the 70's, which is also, unfortunately, the only excusable cut off date for shirts constructed from man made fabrics.

It would also seem Oki Ni on Saville Row has shut up shop in London, which is aight by me as their shop seemed almost soley predicated to flogging a vast surplus of naff Duffer shirts on my last couple of visits.

Was looking for an album so trawled round Soho to no avail for an hour or so. Bumped into Gemma and her beau just off Kingly Street, who were drinking coffee and waiting to go and see Avenue Q, which is, as far as I understand it, a 'Muppet Musical' or somesuch, though by today's standards, the idea of hiring someone with a furry mitten to act the fool seems curiously antiquated when you could probably get Big Brother's Nikki for half the cash.

The rest of the evening was ok. Stayed in as due to the alignment of certain stars, I didn't have shit to do, which resulted in me watching a whole mess of Saturday night TV.

I don't watch too much TV these days. About the most entertaining thing right now seems to be Dragons Den. Lost had me interested for a while, but it's intricately silly plot twists and tortuous flashback sequences left me choking dust a while back (by now, no doubt, the maroonees have discovered all the Earth's missing socks have been hoarded on aminiaturee Death Star presided over by a mysterious blah blah blah all in a concealed cavern, somewhere under the Island etc).

Saturday night tv, like endemic alcoholism, is a problem england is all to familiar with, but no-one ever talks about, because all the people who actually give a shit are doing something interesting. Like going to the pub. The fact it really is enough to drive you to drink makes me wonder whether there isn't some kind of agreement in place between breweries and programmers, in order to lever people from their seats and send them to the Dog & Duck for ten pints of Brainfuzz.

First up was Casualty, which has been a metronomic constant in the Beeb's programming over the last couple of decades, though I've not watched it for a bit. In fact, the last time I saw it, the guy who, ironically enough, got stabbed in the neck by a broken bottle in 'The Long Good Friday' (by Bob Hoskins, no less) was still riding the BBC's drama gravy train, averting his eyes heavenward in a worthy attempt to combat bureaucracy on the floor of the A&E Department. Charlie I think his name was. Yawn. I sort of watched its spinoff Holby City for a bit, but it got shit when Dr.Meyer slithered off into the sunset, and his stubbly protege went off do do the tiresome Peugeot ads with the 'French' girlfriend (you know the one, "Fwance", "Ze Eifell Tower" and so on).

It was all boringly worthy and Beeb. But worse was to come in the cringe shaped 'How To Solve a Problem Like Maria' which lurched over the hill at nine o' clock, featuring a studio lit up like a particularly power hungry Christmas tree, and a hooting, baying mob, presided over by the puce jacketed demagogue Graham Norton, himself as camp as the festive season.

Also present was director/criminal Andrew Lloyd Weather, excreting thespian pronunciations from a mastermind style swivel seat like a turtle headed Pez dispenser: ("You're no Maria"). Scouse bore-next-door Clare Sweeny was also on hand to offer such germs of advice to the contestants during the farcical 'endurance test' as: "Stamina is so essential girls", though presumably her true role in the programme was to reassure them that anyone with one head could feasibly get as close to the nation's heart as cholestorol.

The wobbly fulcrum over which the programme's format labours it's fat arse seems to be them all taking turns to regurgitate nuggets of pop trash in an increasingly histrionic mode, and on a serious note, what is the current broadcasting obsession with this shit? Who cares? People often allude to the Japanese love of Karaoke as eccentric, but at least they've got as far as hiring private rooms to do it in with friends rather than broadcasting it across THE WHOLE FUCKING NATION and masquerading it as primetime entertainment.

The climax of the show was all the contestants lining up in pinafores and colour coded dresses, singing their fame hungry hearts out like a troupe of competing Teletubbies. No-one won. One of them lost, and retired to the sidelines to weep and be cajoled by the victors in some weak semblance of professional sisterly solidarity and oh god it's fucking rubbish. It's like a variety show without the variety, so come back Morecombe and Wise, all is forgiven.

Then it was the news, which despite being quite depressing, was actually an effective palliative to the supperating wound that was the night's television, as it did actually make me feel genuinely grateful to be alive and well in England. I didn't much fancy New Jack City at half eleven though, so staggered upstairs to bed, to reflect on my non-eventful evening.


Peter Gasston said...

Jeebus... that's desperation. I would rather have stayed on my computer typing 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' in a variety of fonts and styles for six hours than put myself through that.

Zeno Cosini said...

I hate that fucking Peugot ad. Apart from the grizzly climax ("ze most womantic city-in-ze-world, etc") it's the idea that, of course, any French person asked what she considered the zenith of her nation's achievements would earnestly say "The Eiffel Tower."

Not the birth of modern art, Rousseau, Baudelaire, the Republic, impressionism, the seperation of church and state, no no - The. Eiffel. Tower.

Just as the Dutch are proud of their clogs and tulips, the Italians their pasta and the Australians their boomerangs. As a Londoner, for instance, I love Big Ben. Best clock in the world mate. British workmanship that.

Actually, it's not even that I find so offensive. It's that the ad company think WE'RE so stupid that WE think that the French think that the Eiffel Tower is the best thing about their country.

Anyway. I did glimpse a bit of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" (Is that a rhetorical question or what?) How the mighty have fallen. From being Channel 4's gay Dark Prince Graham Norton seems to have become a sort of generic lickspittle stand-in host for when Bruce Forsyth isn't available. Fawning and genuflecting gently over Andrew Lloyd Webber's bloated corpse for fuck's sake.

gridrunner said...

Lloyd Webber is like some repulsive creature out of Star Wars. Only too realistic. And more of a twat. I too have seen that show. It won't be happening again.

Nice Saturday Night TV diagram by the way. Very nice.

The Eyechild said...

Yeah I was desperation personnified that night. When I find myself marooned in the cultural desert of the living room of an evening, I find myself uttering such internal consolations as: "Be alright, I'll just chill out and watch some weekend TV, relax, enjoy it." Unfortunately it's wilfully unmitigated tripe.

Also, one thing I forgot to metion is, all the contestents in HTSAPLM have mic's glued to their cheeks, (presumably to better facilitate their flouncy theatrics) which makes it look like they've all awoken from some cryogenic luvvie slumber in the dressing room with cotton buds identically plastered to their faces.

Presumably after the show, all the losers are sundered into their constituent atoms and re-fed into a lake of brooding biomass somewhere under Television Centre, until next the supposed whims of the British viewing public coax forth new forms from the protean goo.

I like to think so anyway; it makes it more intersting.

And yeah, fucking annoying ad.

gridrunner said...

The most romantic city in the world?

Hull, I reckon.

Lord Bunty Chunk said...

'child, to the discerning organ your last post reveals that you have either bin reading Signor Charlie Brooker's magnificent 'Screenburn' TOO MUCH, or, he has secretly taken over your mind. Which is it i wonder?

Zeno Cosini said...

You're right, Bunty, the Child is becoming Brookerlike in his satirical wit. Even better though, I'd say.

The Eyechild said...

Not intentionally, honest! But I'll come quietly, it's a fair cop etc.

My defense is your honour, the man like Brooker has pretty much set the benchmark when it comes to slagging off lame tv, and with a deftness mere blogonauts such as myself can only aspire to.

So I'll try to be less like Charlie Brooker in future. Can't promise anything though.

'Guardian Columnist Charlie Brooker' said...

Hi, I'm Guardian weekend columnist and satirical scriptwriter extraordinaire Charlie Brooker, and not the author of this blog as is almost certainly the case.

I'd just like to say: "The Eyechild taught me everything I know."

And just to recap, I'm definitely not Camberwell's perambulating inebriate blogger 'The Eyechild' posting under a different name. No way.

Lord Bunty Chunk said...

Your not the real C Brooker! Your an imposter!

C Brooker, a less hi-tech mind hacker alla 'Ghost in the Shell' making everyone write like him, I find I slip into Brooker mode every fucking day (see, it's happenin' 'gayn)and this is because I have been mind hacked too - just like you Brooker impostor, and da 'child as well. Whose next? Help us!!!!

Anonymous said...

I see he 'as stolen y'r apostrophes too.