Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Wrote Elegiac Stanzas For You

Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and hairy-hands Richard Keys are at the centre of a sexism row after a recording emerged in which they appeared to question whether a female assistant referee knew the offside rule during a Premier League match. Bit of an own goal that, gentlemen! The commentators, who apparently believed that their microphones had been switched off, were recorded making disparaging remarks about Sian Massey during Liverpool's Premier League clash with Wolves on Saturday. They also criticised The Apprentice contributor and West Ham United vice-chairperson Karren Brady, who had written about sexism in football in a newspaper column on Saturday morning. Commenting on Massey, Keys said: 'Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.' Gray, a former Scotland striker and Aston Villa assistant manager, replied: 'Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don't know the offside rule.' Keys replied: 'Course they don't. I can guarantee you there will be a big one today. Kenny [Dalglish] will go potty. This isn't the first time, is it? Didn't we have one before?' Later in the exchange, Keys said: 'The game's gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love.' I think you might've just proved her point with one five-word comment there, Richard. That is, of course, if these reported comments are true. Which they might not be. Brady had said that she had 'experienced sexism at its rankest, lies about my personal life and a level of calculated mischief that is simply appalling.' Asked about the pundits' remarks, she said: 'I think this just sums up everything I said in my column.' Hey, Karren, I just said that. During the game, which Liverpool won 3-0, Massey angered Wolves by refusing to rule Raul Meireles offside before he set up Liverpool's first goal. Subsequent replays showed that she had made entirely the correct decision something which Sky Sports own Goals on Sunday show went out of its way to make a big deal of. When the Scum Mail on Sunday put the transcript to Keys, he reportedly said: 'I have no recollection of that. I have no idea what you are talking about. My recollection is that I wished the young lady all the best.' When told a recording existed of the conversation, he said: 'If you have a tape then you don't need me to talk to you.' Ooo! Get her! The Scum Mail on Sunday sent a transcript and a copy of the recording to a Sky Sports spokeswoman on Saturday night who was not able to confirm or deny the veracity of the clip, provided to the newspaper by 'an anonymous source.' And, a troublemaking one, it would seem. Although, good on 'em for picking on such PC-loving newspaper as the Scum Mail to share it with! That's comedy. Kenny Daglish's daughter, Kelly Cates, mocked the two presenters’ comments in a message on Twitter. Cates, a former Sky Sports News presenter herself who now works for ESPN, wrote: 'Phew am exhausted. Just read about something called "the offside rule." Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.' Heh! Nice one, Kel! It is not the first time Keys has been caught making unguarded comments on microphone. In 2010, he was recorded mocking Arsenal's Theo Walcott, saying: 'Get up you stupid little boy. You've been shite, son, in your daft pink boots - absolute rubbish.' And, in 2007 he was caught ridiculing the Tórsvøllur stadium in the Faroe Islands during an international match between the Faroe Islands and Scotland, saying: 'Daft little ground, silly game, fuck off.' Charmless nerk. Allegedly. Yer Keith Telly Topping doesn't know if the audio clip is genuine or not, dear blog reader. Although, if it isn't then there are a couple of quite superb Richard Keys and Andy Gray impressionists out there. Here it is, you can decide for yourself.

The newly crowned Queen of Comedy, Miranda Hart, has set her heart on a West End debut. The comic, who picked up three awards at The British Comedy Awards, said the ceremony was 'surreal. but completely lovely.' Speaking backstage at the event at the O2 in Greenwich, she said: 'To just do something completely different would be really nice. What I'd love to do is make my West End debut. That would be lovely and then I could write in the day though that is probably completely unrealistic.' Hart, who was voted Queen of Comedy in a public poll during the awards, said she would love to play the part of the alcoholic orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan, in Annie.

Charlie Brooker has said that Sky News' coverage of the Raoul Moat saga was a 2010 comedy highlight. Speaking at the British Comedy Awards, Brooker mocked the broadcaster for its round-the-clock footage of events last summer. 'I loved the Sky News coverage of the Raoul Moat saga. Parts of it. Not all of it,' he said. 'You just turned into a camping trip's channel. You had nothing to report so you just camped out in the woods. You had Jeremy Thompson walking around with a man who was tracking and all he could find was an Argos bag. That's funny!' Brooker's Newswipe's piece from last December on the Moat saga, and the media circus it created, can be seen here.

Jane Austen's idea of good company, she wrote in her novel Persuasion, was 'the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.' Well, I've got you lot, dear blog reader. It's good enough. And, speaking of Jane Austen, yer Keith Telly Topping was rather intrigued by a description in the Miami Herald recently of a convention for 'Janites.' Not over the actual convention itself or indeed the fandom, specifically. Hell, who am I of all people, to throw stones at people who have a passion for a particular universe. Rather what caught my attention and tickled my funny bone was author Hannah Sampson's assertion that 'the British writer, who died in 1817, [and] whose works continue to inspire chick lit and romantic comedies.' I now have stuck in my head, sad to report, the image of a thousand bad chick-lit authors who seriously believe that they are the heirs to Jane Austen! Or, indeed, the concept of Jane Austen herself writing a sequel to Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth gets bored with Mr Darcy's annoying habits around the house, goes for coffee with her BFFs and then sets out on a journey of Bond Street's most exclusive stores in her quest to find the perfect pair of fuck-me shoes. I'm telling you, it's got potential.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has refused to appear in court to answer questions about alleged sexual misconduct. Berlusconi and three of his associates are being investigated by prosecutors over claims he paid for sex with a seventeen-year-old girl and several prostitutes during parties at his Milan home. The girl, nicknamed Ruby - who is now eighteen - has denied the claims and said they were 'nothing more than friends.' Wiretapped conversations of participants at the parties, printed this week in Italian newspapers, have described the villa as 'a brothel with topless girls.' It is claimed that at least on one occasion girls were offered nurse uniforms and police outfits to wear. Tasty. How come I never get invited to parities like that? Berlusconi has repeated denied the allegations and accused prosecutors of a politically motivated witch hunt against him. His opponents claim his lack of co-operation to attend court is a sign of guilt. The Italian premier has also been criticised by the Catholic Church over his alleged dalliances. The Pope declared officials must offer good moral examples and Italian bishops plan to discuss the scandal. Benedict XVI did not mention the scandal or Berlusconi by name. But, during an audience with Rome's police chief and police officers, he said public officials must not influence society with 'a weakening respect of ethical principles that are the basis of law.' Oh dear. You should know by now, Silvio, once you've lost the Pope, there's simply no way back! The church's criticism is a blow to the Prime Minister who has tried to establish his conservative coalition as supportive of the church's key positions on family, life and social issues. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian bishops' conference, said the scandal would be discussed on Monday at a meeting of the conference's main decision-making body. Italian prosecutors are investigating Berlosconi's relations with a string of young showgirls. News of the criminal investigation forced the seventy four year-old to go on TV and insist he'd done nothing wrong. For, what is it, the sixty eighth time? Anyway, because it'll probably be a good long while before we'll see Mad Frankie Boyle on TV again(!), here he is, during his days on Mock The Week (you know, when he was good), on the subject of the Italian PM. With Italian subtitles!

There's a very good piece on the subject of Ricky Gervais by Carole Cadwalladr in the Observer which argues that 'America can't decide whether he's funny, cruel or just British.' Or, indeed, none of the above but, definitely, smug. 'Was Gervais funny?' Carole asks. 'Who even cares? He was rude, bitchy, made potentially actionable statements about celebrity Scientologists, sent Robert Downey Jr into a teenage hissy fit, and all things considered, deserves an OBE for Services to Ego Deflation. More than that, he presented an alternative vision of British manhood from the other examples on display last week: Colin Firth, who won a Golden Globe for best actor, and Piers Morgan, whose chat show launched on CNN, and who both come from the Hugh Grant School of Vowels and Hair Management. (It sounds posh, I know, but I'm told it's somewhere outside Epping.) On the Deadline Hollywood website, beneath an article which reported that after three nights Morgan had dropped to third place in its time slot, after FOX News's Sean Hannity and MSBC's Rachel Maddow, a number of commentators made intelligent, reasonable points. Such as: "What sort of stupid name is Piers, anyway?" And "wasn't Piers Morgan the WORST Bond ever?"' Thought provoking stuff!

The Misfits cast have claimed that there will not be a big screen adaptation of the Channel Four show. Speaking to Digital Spy at the British Comedy Awards, Iwan Rheon said that the show's creator Howard Overman felt strongly that it would be ripping off the fans if they cashed in with a movie spin-off. 'Howard has said that he doesn't think it is right to make people pay ten pounds to see something they could see on their TV screens and just regurgitate the same old stuff,' said the actor.

FOX has rejected another proposed Super Bowl advert, this one from the conservative comedy site, according to published reports. The spot features two bobblehead dolls: one of Jesus, arms crossed in front of him and a furrowed brow, and a smiling President Obama. Presidential music plays, and the Obama doll falls into a fish bowl, with the implication that Jesus has caused him fall. Which is, sort of mean, and probably not the kind of thing that Jesus would do, frankly. So, not only is it not funny and hideously inappropriate, it's also potentially libellous against The Lord. FOX reportedly deemed the advert unacceptable. Although, they agree with every word of it. Earlier on Thursday, FOX had rejected an advert for, an online dating service for those looking to have affairs, which features porn star Savanna Samson in a bra and underwear.

DirecTV is the latest US network to pass on picking up troubled miniseries The Kennedys. It was reported last week that DirecTV were considering taking up the historical drama, following the History Channel's decision not to air the series. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the company have now decided not to pursue their interest in The Kennedys, and have since ended discussions with the show's producers. DirecTV's decision mirrors that of fellow networks Showtime, Starz and FX, who have all declined to pick up the drama series. The mini-series features Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear as presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy, but has faced criticism from the press over its historical inaccuracies.

'Octomom' Nadya Suleman was 'tricked' into filming a video in which she spanked a man dressed as a baby, her lawyer had claimed. Celebrity news website TMZ posted a video on Thursday which shows Suleman wearing a tight, black corset as she chases an adult man in a nappy. Just go to YouTube if you're interested, you'll find it. Her lawyer, the quite brilliantly named Jeff Czech, released a statement saying that it was filmed as 'a joke'. Well, the bloke getting his ass whipped didn't look like he was laughing, to be fair Jeff mate. 'I, personally, had nothing to do with it and find it disgusting, unfunny, bizarre and just plain dumb,' the statement said. 'I believe Nadya was somewhat tricked into filming the video and I know for certain she deeply regrets her actions.' Suleman gained fame when she gave birth to octuplets in 2009, when she already had six other children. Recently, she has been plagued with money problems and has reportedly been threatened with eviction from her Southern California home.

Eight months after she was caught trying to sell access to her former husband for half a million pounds, well known drag the Duchess of York is on the verge of a shock return to the Royal fold with an invitation to the Royal wedding according to the Scum Mail on Sunday. 'I'm told Prince William and Kate Middleton will invite Sarah Ferguson, who has been persona non grata with the Royal Family since her divorce in 1996 from Prince Andrew,' writes the Scum Mail's Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl. Frankly, anything that keeps the grand old Duchess of York (she had ten thousand quid) away from making any more of her appalling, patronising horrorshow TV series in which she visits the poor to rough it for a bit is a good thing. So, more power to yer elbow, Willie. And, if you could have a quiet word with your aunt and ask her, nicely, if she can promise not to do any more series of The Duchess on the Estate, you'll be the most popular monarch since ... which was the one who got his head cut off again?

Total vajazzler (and babe) Megan Fox 'strips down to her underwear' in a sexy new Armani advert according to press reports. And, because yer Keith Telly Topping knows how much you like to see that sort of thing, dear blog reader, here's an image sample. Blimey. is that a tattoo? Anyway, the former Transformers actress is photographed in just a lacy bra and a thong with her arms raised above her head in this 'steamy' shoot. Another one of the photos in the same collection shows her posing topless wearing just a pair of white Armani jeans revealing all of the tattoos on her back. Rafal Nadal also appears in the campaign - replacing Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as the male face of Armani underwear. The photos will appear on billboards next month. And, presumably, cause plenty of traffic accidents. Fox took over from Victoria Beckham as the new body of Emporio Armani lingerie last year. At the time, a spokesman for the designer said that he chose Fox because 'she embodies the spirit of the women of today: free, confident and seductive. Her beautiful features reveal femininity, sensuality and strength.' And, tattooed.

And, speaking of vajazzlers (my thanks to my old mate Danny Blythe for this excellent new word to play with!) a German adult movie star, aged twenty three, famous for taking part in the German version of reality show Big Brother, died after undergoing a sixth plastic surgery on her breasts. According to Bild newspaper, Cora Berger died on Thursday at a hospital in Hamburg, after spending nine days in coma following a breast implant intervention. German prosecutor Wilhelm Möllers confirmed the death of the young woman. He added that an investigation for involuntary manslaughter will be initiated, targeting the plastic surgeon and the anesthesiologist who performed the cosmetic surgery. Cora, who had her body all covered in tattoos, has starred in several porn films under the name Sexy Cora and became famous in 2010 when she participated in Big Brother. Her husband said doctors had warned him, after complications arose from the surgery, that his wife had no chance of survival. Cora had been subjected to five previous plastic surgeries in a private clinic in Poland. The doctors there refused to perform a sixth surgery for her.

The legendary outdoor Spike Island gig by Manchester band The Stone Roses is to be the backdrop for a new film. Nearly thirty thousand people went to the 1990 concert near Widnes, which was a high point in the band's career. The film, being made by one of the writers of Channel Four's Misfits, Tom Green, will follow a group of young council estate hopefuls in an unsigned band. Actor Chris Coghill - who played Happy Mondays dancer Bez in 24 Hour Party People - has written the script. Filmmakers have said there will be cameo appearances in the yet-to-be-named movie. The Spike Island concert - known as 'the baggy Woodstock' - came as the Madchester scene was at its height. The Stone Roses were flying high on the back of their hit single 'Fool's Gold' and their highly regarded eponymous debut LP. They had played a major show at Blackpool Tower's Empress Ballroom a few months earlier, then went one better with their own mini-festival at Spike Island. Tom Green said: 'This is a raw and truly authentic rites-of-passage story. It's full of the humour, heartache, dreams and fears of being part of a brotherhood of mates, and set to the greatest record ever written.' Then, referring to one of the band's best-known numbers, he said: 'The Roses died in '95. This is the resurrection.' Co-producer Fiona Neilson, of Fiesta Productions, said: 'The Stone Roses changed our teenage lives and Chris has captured that perfectly, creating a screenplay that will appeal both to fans and to a broad audience who will fall in love with the characters and their story.' Filming will begin later this year.

Matt Damon has described psychics as 'charlatans' following his work on Clint Eastwood's supernatural drama Hereafter. Damon plays a psychic in the film, but claimed that he refused to meet with any actual practitioners during his research for the role. 'Had I found a good one I would have,' Damon told Bang Showbiz. 'What I was worried about was that it was just going to take me down this rabbit hole of charlatans. I think a large part of that space is occupied by pretenders, which is not to say there aren't people out there who are genuinely touched in some way,' the actor explained. Damon claimed that he did however talk with Martin Sheen in preparation for Hereafter, due to Sheen's claim to have had a near-death experience after suffering a heart attack. 'He told me his incredible story one day when we were working on The Departed together,' Damon added, suggesting that he wasn't a complete cynic.

Harriet Parkinson was feeling the cat's whiskers this weekend after her missing pet cat was found almost three hundred miles from home. Star disappeared in October 2009 and despite a frantic search, leaflet and poster campaign Harriet had given up hope of ever seeing him again. But now the black cat has been reunited with Harriet and her children Isobel and Austin after he was handed in to a rescue centre in York. Which doesn't sound all that remarkable until you find out that Harriet and her family live on the Isle of Wight. Star's journey from its home in Ryde would have taken it across both land and sea. Harriet said: 'We had him since he was a kitten and he disappeared when he was only about nine months old. The kids were so sad. We searched all over, put up posters and handed out leaflets, but we didn't hear anything. We feared the worst, there are some very busy roads around here.' Then, eighteen months later Star was handed in to York Cats Protection Centre in York, where staff scanned a microchip that revealed the cat had originally come from their centre on the Isle of Wight. 'It shows how important it is to have your cat microchipped,' said the centre manager James Hodgkinson. It is still unclear how Star ended-up in York, however it is thought that he may have been taken in by someone, who then moved to the town. Harriet thanked Wightlink after the ferry company gave her a free ticket so she could drive up to Yorkshire and collect Star.

A crocodile at a Ukrainian aquarium has apparently become sick after swallowing a mobile phone which a visitor accidentally dropped into its enclosure. The BBC reports that fourteen-year-old Gena has been refusing to eat since the incident and is lacking energy. Rimma Golovko had stretched out her arm to take a photograph of the reptile when her phone slipped. 'This should have been a very dramatic shot, but things didn't work out,' she said. Workers didn't believe the accident had occurred until the woman's phone began to ring while inside the crocodile. A member of staff at the Dnipropetrovsk aquarium told the Associated Press: 'He moves very little and swims much less than he used to.' The animal may need to operated on after refusing to eat live quail injected with a laxative. Golovko says that she would like her SIM card back as it contains all her contacts.

Earlier this week in Nuneaton, a chicken was thrown into a KFC restaurant. A video posted on YouTube shows a man carry the chicken to a drive-thru window whilst being filmed. After waiting until the service hatch opens, he then puts the chicken inside before he and the cameraman run away quickly. The RSPCA noted of the incident, which reportedly forced the establishment to close temporarily: 'It's just completely irresponsible to abandon an animal in this way. It's shocking what some find funny.' The man who carried out the deed, however, told the Digital Spy website: 'It was just a bit of a joke. Obviously I'm not a dog beater or horrible to animals.' Obviously. 'It was just for a laugh.' Probably not for the chicken, I'm guessing. The chicken has apparently been renamed Mrs Sanders by staff. Now, that is sick.

The Royal Mail has stopped deliveries to a street in Northampton after claiming that a Yorkshire terrier attacked a postman. Residents were sent a letter informing them that no post would be delivered after 7 December because of the actions of the small yappy-type dog, named Peggy, who has been dubbed 'The Beast of Dorset Gardens', the Associated Press claims. Although, dubbed by whom, they fail to elaborate. 'Because of the dog's behaviour, [the postman] believes your mail cannot be delivered safely and in the circumstances I have instructed him not to deliver mail to your address,' the letter read. However, owner Kathleen Joyce, told the Northampton Chronicle: 'Peggy has barked at the postman but she wouldn't hurt anyone. She is only little. She has been in this family for ten years and there is no way we are going to get rid of her.' However, an unnamed neighbour who has been forced to make a twenty mile journey to pick up his mail claimed: 'It is a vicious little thing and I have seen it going for the postman.' The local council has warned that Joyce and her family may lose their rented home if they refuse to rehome Peggy.

Katie Price has reportedly been pictured partying with polo players in Swiss ski resort Klosters. The model - and shameless self-publicist - apparently enjoyed an evening of what a tabloid newspaper describes as 'provocative dancing' with several men in the Casa Antica club on Friday night. A witness told the News of the World: 'You'd have no idea the woman was only just separated from her husband! She was really going for it with the drink and the dancing. She was clearly determined to have a good time. As for some of the dance moves, they were X-rated! When Rihanna's 'Rude Boy' came on, out came the rude dancing. Jordan's very, very flexible and used that to be incredibly provocative. I didn't know where to look at times.' Another added: 'She was really going for it, throwing herself on any man in tight white polo trousers. She's a man-eater.' This, ladies and gentleman, constitutes 'news', apparently.

For the next couple of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, firstly in relation to the earlier story about the proposed Stone Roses movie, it seems like a worthwhile opportunity to remind you all of this twelve minutes of brilliance and the Godlike genius of John Squire. And, we follow that with one of the - many - bands that they inspired. A particular favourite of yer Keith Telly Topping, this one. 'He found God/In a Wiltshire field/Whilst you did not!'