Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stop The Clocks

Welcome to the last day of October 2010, dear blog reader. And, for those of you who have the misfortune to be in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, I hope that you remembered to put your clocks back late last night (or early this morning). If you didn't, I have some bad news for you. It's an hour earlier than you think it is. Or, is it later? I always get confused with this stuff. I've got no idea how the Doctor copes with all that time travel malarkey and shenanigans. Anyway ...

TV Comedy Moment of the Week: The return of Xander and Ben in The Armstrong & Miller Show, the highlight of which was a dazzling song-and-dance routine about Farmers Markets. One which included, amid the sharp observations about middle class wankers who shop there, not only a really funny lyric about A-Ha singer Morten Harket (because, obviously, it rhymes with 'market') but, also an appearance by him as well! The 'massive cock' sight-gag was pretty good too. It's great to have Britain's best comedy double act of the last decade back.

Karren Brady has revealed that she was 'horrified' when young girls told her they aspired to be WAGs during a recent school visit. The Apprentice co-presenter insisted that schoolgirls need to be encouraged to have ambitions of their own and to aspire to have successful careers, rather than simply marrying a footballer. She told the Daily Lies, a newspaper that's done more than any other to foster the climate in which WAG-culture has flourished: 'Recently I did some work in a school and when I asked the young girls what they would like to be when they grew up, a lot of them said they wanted to be married to a footballer. I was horrified. I said, "Why do you want to be married to a footballer when you could own a football club?" I think we have to remind our young girls you need substance in your life, you need motivation to get up every morning and you need to be rewarded for what you do. All of those things come from having a career.' Brady, the vice-chairman of West Ham United, added: 'I want to make a difference to working women. It is something I am passionate about. When I had children I had to find somebody to look after them, and getting high-quality childcare is the barrier holding women back in business.'

Citizens of Peru have reportedly 'spoken out' against a recent episode of the US comedy series Modern Family which included dialogue describing the country as violent and bizarre. Angry Peruvians took to the Internet - rather than to the street, which might be seem as progress by some - to complain about the ABC sitcom after Sofia Vergara's character Gloria Delgardo-Pritchett was shown slighting their country while defending her own Colombian heritage. 'Because, in Colombia, we trip over goats and we kill people in the street,' Vergara says in the offending line. 'Do you know how offensive that is? Like we're Peruvians!' Milagros Lizarraga, the founder of a Peruvian online community, told The Associated Press: 'It's incredible that in a country where everything is politically correct, ABC would have a line of this sort.' Can't argue with that, really. Although whether that's a good thing or not is a matter so some debate. Regarding Vergara's controversial dialogue, Lizarraga continued: 'Many Peruvians think this is no coincidence, that she knew what she was saying, because an actress has the power to say, "No, I can't say this because it would hurt my image." Unless she agrees with what she said.' ABC has yet to comment on the controversy, although Vergara responded to the row by posting 'Get A Life!!!' in Spanish on her Twitter account. Which, I'm sure is going to really help clam the situation down a lot. Good gracious. Next we'll have Australians complaining about The Simpsons disrespecting them, I suppose. Oh.

X Factor contestant - and Our Aly's favourite to win - Matt Cardle has reportedly criticised his fellow contestant, Katie Waissel, describing her as 'fame hungry.' Wow. What a surprise because I wouldn't have thought anyone who goes on The X Factor could've been accused of that. According to the Daily Scum Mail, the singer denied claims that the pair had been found in bed together earlier in the competition and admitted that, actually, they are no longer on speaking terms. He said: 'That stuff about us being in bed together was absolute bullshit. Katie's a fame hungry twat. I can't say any more about it because nothing happened. I would never go near her. I'm not speaking to her, I don't have anything to do with her in the house. I've made my feelings absolutely clear and if she doesn't get it by now then she's more stupid than I thought.' Asked what Waissel could do to repair their friendship, he said: 'The only thing she could do is leave the competition. I don't care if she's in or out of it, as long as she's out of my face. I'm concentrating on the competition, not all that shit.'

The ex-wife of X Factor finalist Wagner - you know, Stephen Fry's favourite - has labelled him a 'menacing, possessive bully.' Wagner, that is, not Stephen Fry. I don't think even Piers Morgan would try to suggest such a thing. Speaking to the Sun, Trudi Brass (that's never her real name?!) claimed that Carrilho 'changed' soon after they married in 1992, causing her to take out an injunction against him just weeks later. Brass, fifty five, said: 'He was lively and fun, but soon became very possessive and I thought, "This isn't what I want." I found him menacing, he was so intense it was scary. Even on our wedding night we went to a pub and he started to become possessive. I was talking to a man and he said, "Why are you talking to him?"' She also claimed that she paid for Wagner to return to Brazil, but he came back to the UK soon after. They eventually divorced in 1996. Speaking about Carrilho's appearance in the X Factor finals, Brass said: 'I felt sad for Wagner really, that this beautiful man was now being portrayed as a joke. He had such a wonderful voice, but on The X Factor he just shouts and they give him silly songs. I wish him well' - really sounds like it, love - 'but it's all rather sad. He had a wonderful life in Rio, now he's in a bungalow in Dudley.' Carrilho reportedly responded to the comments, saying: 'I was married to Trudi eighteen years ago. Unfortunately the marriage broke down. These allegations are untrue. I am not possessive.'

A number of musicians including New Order's Bernard Sumner and Suede frontman Brett Anderson have joined Sir Elton John in taking aim at The X Factor. Elton provoked a terse reaction from Cowell earlier this month when he described the music mogul's singing contests 'arse-paralysingly brain crippling,' although to be fair to Elt he did qualify his comments during a recent appearance on The ONE Show and say that if he were a seventeen year old now, he would probably try to audition for the talent show. Now Sumner, Anderson, and Madness singer Suggsy have joined in the fun, all voicing their displeasure at shows such as The X Factor and American Idol. Barney said, 'I think people are interested in image and the kind of bullshit you get on TV in shows like The X Factor. I think it stinks because it's more about the people who are making the programme than the people they are purporting to promote. I like real music. I'm not interested in how well you can sing. It's not how you sing, it's what you sing that interests me. What they're singing is other people's music and it's not creative. I think Simon Cowell is supplying a market and that market is completely uninteresting and boring.' Anderson insists he believes the show is 'strangling' the music industry, adding: 'I think, on the plus side when you have a kind of awful mainstream thing like The X Factor and all that talent show rubbish, it means that there is always a kind of reaction to that.' And Suggs concluded 'I don't think there is a lot of room for young bands in the charts and they have been filled up with people who don't really have any real interest in music.'

Emma Bunton has become the latest Spice Girl to dismiss rumours that she has signed up for I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! Earlier this month, Melanie Brown denied tabloid reports she would heading to the jungle for the next series of the hit programme, which sees celebrities struggle to survive in the Australian rainforest. A notorious tittle-tattle had, hilariously, suggested her name along with those of Chico, The Chuckle Brothers and John Leslie as potential jungle fodder. And, yes, dear blog reader that does sound like the punchline to a Mad Frankie Boyle joke, you're right. Brown almost immediately described the claims 'wrong.' Her former band mate Bunton - now a notorious TV flop in her own right on Five's watchword for unimaginative lowest-common-denominator television Don't Stop Believing - has also been linked to the show by a tabloid. But she has brushed off the latest rumours, writing on her Twitter page, 'I'm not going into the jungle!'

Sharon Osbourne has fired off a foul-mouthed rant at an American journalist over an article in which she criticised overweight actors on TV - calling the reporter 'a discredit to other women.' Osbourne, who has struggled with her own weight issues in the past, was outraged after reading an article by Maura Kelly, which was posted on on Monday. The piece, titled Should 'Fatties' Get a Room? (Even on TV?), discusses the problem of obesity and refers to US sitcom Mike & Molly, which focuses on a couple who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group. In the article, Kelly claims she would be 'grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other' and that she finds it 'aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room.' What a charming example of humanity this woman is. Osbourne spoke out about the controversial piece on American chat show The Talk on Wednesday, labelling Kelly 'a bitch' and vowing to cancel her subscription to Marie Claire magazine. She said: '[Kelly is] a discredit to other women - and I think she is a bitch and I want her arse here. I am now cancelling my subscription to the magazine, because apparently, this Kelly said it was on the advice of the editor of the magazine to do this piece, and I think it is absolutely [deplorable]. I am so close to tears. If this woman was here, I tell you, she would get such a mouthful from me.' Well, she was getting a mouthful from you anyway, Shaz, she didn't need to be there in person for that. 'People like this are adding to the problem that we have today with our kids - boys and girls - about being anorexic, about having low self-esteem. I'm thirty pounds overweight right now, should I not be allowed to kiss my husband or my children, or walk across a room?' Kelly has since, reportedly, apologised for her 'insensitive' comments.

Jersey Shore's Angelina Pivarnick has claimed to have been attacked at a Staten Island mall. The reality TV regular claims that she was approached by a rowdy gang of youths during a recent shopping trip, where she was attacked from behind and struck in the back of the head. A friend of Pivarnick is also alleged to have told police that a bottle had been thrown by an onlooker, skimming her lip. However, mall security personnel reported to TMZ that Pivarnick and her friend were being filmed when a gathering crowd got overexcited, resulting in the MTV regular being accidentally hit in the face. Despite the conflicting reports, the website claims that Pivarnick has visible injuries proving the extent of the attack and is still talking to police about the incident. Earlier this month, Pivarnick allegedly punched her driver after he allegedly attempted to seduce her alleged mother.

A California woman is entitled to the near one-and-a-half million dollars that her former employer and its insurance carriers agreed to pay her to settle her sexual-harassment lawsuit, a Fresno County Superior Court jury ruled on Tuesday. The verdict gives Janet Orlando, of Clovis, more ammunition in her fight to get some of the damages which another jury awarded her in 2006 against Alarm One Inc., where she once worked as a salesperson. Alarm One and its insurance carriers have declined to pay, saying that the settlement contract depended on finding a bank willing to finance the payment. 'I don't know if this is a conclusion,' said Jonathan Cole, who represented Carolina Casualty Insurance. Orlando and her attorneys - Nicholas Butch Wagner and Larry Artenian - said that's fine with them. The $1.4 million has already drawn six hundred thousand dollars in interest, Wagner added. That's Butch Wagner, not Stephen Fry's X Factor Wagner, just in case anyone was getting confused by all these Wagners. Blimey, there's more Wagner going down today than at a performance of Die Walküre at Bayreuth, complete with encores. If the case is prolonged, Orlando's damages will likely grow by at least two hundred thousand dollars per year. 'I have the best attorneys in town,' Orlando said. 'We're never going to give up.' Orlando was a saleswoman for Alarm One, a home-security company, for five months in late 2002 and early 2003. She said that she quit after she was humiliated by company practices which included spanking employees with a competitor's yard sign - all in the name of 'helping build camaraderie' among the company's sales force.

And, to conclude, the sixth episode of yer Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. This time around we've got just about the best record ever to come out of Birmingham - UB40 and Slade might argue differently, but I'm sticking with this - from one of Britain's most under-rated bands. 'Friends all seem to laugh/I fear I'm apt to make a compromise.' Dur-dur-dah-dur-dur-dur. I picked this one up for all of ten pee in a second hand record shop on the Isle of Wight in 1979 when I was on holiday with me mam and dad. And bled the bugger white over the next ten years. Two great choices for the video for this one. The first, in black and white from 1968 and Top of the Pops complete with Dave Cash introduction when they were still a five piece. The other, from a year later in colour, and live in the studio after Ace Kefford had left and Trevor Burton had switched to bass from Colour Me Pop.