Wednesday, January 31, 2007

He's armless enough

Tory MP for Gravesham and ex TV Reporter, Adam Holloway seems a decent enough cove and, as witnessed by myself and Hepatitis Boy, has a decent sense of humour to boot. Hepatitis Boy, as some of you will know, has recently departed these shores but I had the pleasure of bumping into him and stopped to chew the fat for a bit. As we amiably chatted, who should walk past but Adam Holloway and do my eyes deceive me or has he got his jacket on his shoulders without having his arms through the armholes? What a man! I think we all did this at junior school running around trying to get unsuspecting people to shake your hand and then dumbfounding them with: "Hahahaha, I've got no arms." Great fun, sir. Made the two of us laugh anyway.

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Today is a good news day!

Eyesore blight on the Square, Sonia Jackson is leaving Eastenders. It is a little kept secret that Sonia is my least faovurite character. And with her leaving and Pauline Fowler having respectuflly shuffled off this mortal coil (with a little bit of help from Mr Benn - the guy who did the voice rather than the Deputy Prime Minister aspirant), Eastenders will be a far more pleasant place. Now it is not only Sonia's aesthetics that abhor me, but to be honest, they are a substantial contributing factor. It is also her caring and compassionate side. I hate the way that she is portrayed and think that if characters on Stenders were given the vote Sonia would turn out for Labour. This is a major embarassment. But just to relive her years of glory, Sonia's highlights (the Walford years) include playing the trumpet, being bullied at school, having a baby and giving it away, marrying the man who accidentally run over her then beau, breaking poor Gus' heart, various secretive skullduggery in re-entering her child's life, being too busy to go down the Vic 'cos she had college work, becoming a lesbian, ceasing from lesbianism, kidnapping her daughter and being ugly.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gays! And this time it's personal

It must be with a slice if irony that the word gay originally met happy, for happy and happiness are the same as joy and enjoyment; but today the subject comes up more and more: what rights and liberites are gays permitted to enjoy.
The most recent case being the right of gay couples to adopt children. In the past it has been the right of gays to have their relationships recognised on the statute book, the ordination of gay clergy, the raising of the age of consent for gays and before that the legalisation of homosexuality. It doesn't take a historian or sociologist to pick the common theme. Gay people's rights have been abused and abused again, time after time since time immemorial.
Couple A can give birth thanks too a straight sexually active relationship, Couple B cannot as they are in a same-sex relationship. Therefore, Couple A are blessed with children and couple B are cursed to be without children. This, of course, is irregardless of whether Couple A are a couple of paedophiles, alcoholics, murderers or Conservatives. So nature gives the straight couple the ability to give birth, it does not necessarily mean that the straight couple will be the better, or more equipped (emotionally rather than physically) for parenthood. It is as if nature has played its role and now turns its back on any possible negative repercussions.
So it is with interest that I see the Catholic Church's stance on gay adoption. Not for them, the musings of conscience and curiosity but rather a (sometimes) further developed view that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
Of course, it is written in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. I confess I have never read the Bible page to page (hey, take it easy I tried once but there were so many begots that I (be)got very bored and didn't make it through Genesis - strangely I have no time for the Gabriel/Collins variant of the first book of the Old Testament either) but I believe it is either written in plain English (translated from plain aramaic) or alluded to that homosexuality is a no-no. The problem being that the Bible is a man-made creation, it was written; and it was written by people with preconceptions of what a just and ideal society should be. For instance, if the Bible was written today it would be more reflective of equality between the sexes. This is where I begin to have issues with religion: because homosexuality is not wrong even if the people who wrote the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Koran, Book of Mormon whatever think it's wrong. The taboo of homosexuality is a reflex of the era in which these religious texts were conceived. And this is where you draw the line. There are homophobes and there are homophiles. Just because you are a homophobe does not mean you are going to try and cull every gay you come across in the same way that if you're a homophile you're not necessarily going to want to shag everyone of the same sex you come across.
Another common misconception is that in an ideal world, a child would be lovingly raised by a mother and a father. Ah, pish-posh. In an ideal world a child will be raised lovingly, brought up to achieve their full potential. Whether that child is raised in a conventional 2 point 4 children scenario, a gay relationship, a single parent family or by the Wu Tang Clan does not dictate any form of idealism. It is so easy to make these brash statements and generalisations, but they are so very flawed. If I, as a straight guy, have a kid and for the rest of my life lead a sin-filled life, a selfish pursuit of my own happiness (or happyness to induce Will Smith feel good Oscar nominee factor) does that mean that my kid is better off than being raised in a same-sex relationship? Of course not. Sure, I am taking extremes as examples, but it is these extremes that demonstrate the need to challenge these 'norms' that society has passed down from generation to generation.
Therefore, I draw the conclusion that it is no surprise that religion is becoming an ever-decreasing factor in people's life. It is because the tomes upon which organised religion is based singularly failed to reinvigorate themselves in line with the evolution of humankind's spiritual side.

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MP in pointless Motion shock - Part III

It is always intriguing to have a good old trawl of the EDMs every once in a while to see which MPs are putting down pointless Motions. Well, I was delighted to see this offering from Andrew Pelling, the Tory MP for Croydon Central:

EDM 685


Pelling, Andrew

That this House expresses its sympathies to Rick Stein and his family on the passing away of their characterful Jack Russell, Chalky, acknowledging the heartache and distress that losing a family pet can cause.

Now this is no reflection at all on Rick Stein (an interesting character whose wife hit his mistress with a turnip and who is also the uncle of Judge Jules) or his dog, or the relationship between man and dog, but really? This one is banal even by EDM standards.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Wednesday lose that Magic feeling

Despite the air of inevitability, I am very sad to see Madjid Bougherra leave Sheffield Wednesday to sign for Charlton. Despite playing only 29 times for Wednesday, he really did look the business. When so much credence is given to Rio Ferdinand's alleged ability to bring the ball out of defence, I think people will be surprised to see Magic actually do this. For the records Magic cost Charlton £2.5 million and Rio Ferdinand has demanded transfer fees currently totalling £48 million. Yes, Magic is prone to give the ball away after skipping around about 3/4 opposition players, but he'll improve and I hope he does enough to keep Charlton up.
He'll be sorely missed as will Drew Talbot, who signed for Luton and made his debut in the televised match at Blackburn. Luton were hopelessly outclassed, but I thought Talbot looked very capable and a snip at £250,000.
Magic's place in the Wednesday squad looks set to be filled by Mark Beevers, who apparently has oodles of potential. The 17 year old may even make his debut at Southampton on Wednesday. And the last time Wednesday played Southampton? Well look here - and Hepatits Boy, you cannot hate this man!

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I'm not a quitter, says John Reid

more's the pity say most of us.


How old is too old?

Of course, it is the case of Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara, the 67 year old Spanish lady to have given birth to twins. Alas mother nature can take no praise for this one, as she received IVF treatment. Ah, the wonders of modern science. There is a moral dilemma of is it right for a 67 year old to give birth given that in all likelihood she'll be 6ft under before the kids reach 6ft.
Another, perhaps more pertient reason, would be that Old Mum (to abbreviate her) lied to get the treatment. The cut-off age being 55. What a wonderful example to set to the kids. "Can't get what you want? Well lie, lie and lie some more." Perhaps here a question or two should be raised about the security precautions involved in getting IVF, for instance do you not need to prove your age?
I don't know if things are getting on top of her already but she is certainly looking stretched. Like really stretched. Stretched in the same way that Barry Manilow and Anne Robinson look stretched.
Defending her decision, Old Mum simply said: "That’s life. I have my motives." Of course she said this is Spanish, but the important point being is that it isn't life at all, is it? No sir, it is science. Fair enough but let's get the facts straight. Just a minor quibble there. The old age already seems to have played its hand with Old Mum calling one of her twins 'Pau', obviously a poor name. Apologies to any readers called Pau. Little Pau and twin Christian were born at a weight of only 3 1/2 pounds. Must've been like having china in your hand. Albeit little china.
How is Old Mum going to be able to take part in the Three-Legged Race at Sports Day? Oh the ramifications, I tell you.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Upset? Insulted? Bit of a pyro? Part III

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that conveys a feeling of total hate and anger as burning an effigy. Burning effigies is, in effect, a convoluted version of a voodoo doll. I have documented this phenomenon before both here and here and it seems that it is not restricted just to Pakistan. Or maybe someone did actually put it on Dragon's Den and it's now spreading westwards, becoming rampant in India. And what has caused this furore? The treatment of Shilpa Shetty in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Jeez, you really got to be careful how you act nowadys, or some twat will get an effigy up and torch it. I mean does anyone really give a flying f*ck about Celebrity Big Brother? I am all up for the punishment fitting the crime, but does this really follow? It's Big Brother for goodness sake. Although, in their defence it seems that the effigy of Jade Goody was fat, had fake tits and was really, really annoying and stupid and apparently had it coming.
But just to avoid having an my own effigy torched (although I doubt this would happen if the bull carries as much gravitas as the cow) I'd like to congratulate Shilpa on winning and I am over the moon it's off our screens now. Now the important question is, that after raising the issue at PMQs, will Keith Vaz table a congratulatory EDM?

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Personal disclosure

It may come as a surprise to some of you that myself and fellow blogger, the Lord Lucan are having a love affair. It's early days at the moment, but is going excellently and we are both very, very happy. At this juncture, I suppose I should point out that our affair is not with each other, but rather with the freeview channel, Ftn. Ftn is like a compilation of highlights from Living TV, Challenge, Trouble and Bravo.
Over a jar and a game of arrows, I mentioned how I had been surfing freeview and found this channel that was banging out some quality classic Bullseye and the good Lord knew exactly what I was talking about and replied that Ftn also shows the Krypton Factor. Ftn can, and does, additionally boast old episodes of the Crystal Maze. Great stuff. So today, I have watched Bullseye, the Krypton Factor and also Derek Acorah, a guy who gets possessed by spirits - tonight he was hunting round after Matthew Hopkins, the old witch-hunter. Another highlight will be Thursday's episode of Booze Britain focussing on Canterbury, my old university stamping ground. Oh to see what I missed out on during my student days.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Milan make massive signing to improve toothless attack

The man who can eat an apple through a tennis racket is making yet another big move. Yep, it's the news that tonnes of fun is off to Milan. Milan, thus far, have only managed to bag 25 goals in 20 games. If Ronaldo completes his move, he will be the only player ever to have played for five teams to have won the European Cup/Champions League but to have never won it himself. The clubs in question being PSV Eindhoven (1988), Barcelona (1992 and 2006), Inter Milan (1964 and 1965), Real Madrid (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002) and AC Milan (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003).

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jesus Christ, it's Tom Cruise (again)

I imagine being the Son of God must be a trying profession. Perhaps there's not much scope to have a laugh being somewhat preoccupied with, well you know, like saving the world and enriching the lives of everyone and everything. Imagine how hard it must be then if you are a loon and part of a nutty, nay implausible, religious sect who turn around and say:

"Hey you're really rich and famous, fancy being the Chosen One"

It's tempting to nod and consent. So imagine that you are the anointed one, a Messiah and then you find out that some bastards have made a butt-plug shaped like you. I imagine that would knock your credibility. Thank you to John Wrathall for bringing this tickling piece to my attention. This brings to mind that Valentines Day is fast approaching.

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Let them eat Zimbabwean beef

For those of you without flash photography, we are living in dangerous times. But by criminy, we are. I don't know about you, but I regularly fear for my safety. And that's just when I'm on the Tube.
Given these thank God above, that I work in the House of Commons and that I am on hand to see - at first hand, no less - how the wonderful male and female representatives work tirelessly for the security of our nation. Now one thing that really has been playing on my mind has been Zimbabwean meat in the NHS.
You too? It sure is refreshing I'm not alone on this one. That scourge of the hopeless and hapless, John Wrathall has drawn the following question to my attention. And full credit to John Hayes, MP for South Holland & The Deepings who has got his finger on the pulse. Aint no doubt about it.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what currency the NHS uses to purchase Zimbabwean beef; who the NHS purchasers are of such beef; and what volume of beef was bought by each purchaser in the last period for which figures are available. [107069]

Andy Burnham: As far as we are aware there is no central sourcing of beef from Zimbabwe on behalf of the NHS.

Yeh Burnham. Who? I want some bloody names. And what currency do they use? What answer does he truly expect?

Andy Burnham: The Honourable Member will be interested to learn that Dave picks up the beef off some dodgy type down Spitalfield. He pays for it with old drachmas he's found down the back of the sofa.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Celebrity Tit Wank to be shown on Channel 5

Tony Blair often talks of a legacy, he wants to leave a legacy; the Blair legacy. A legacy about which your children and grand-children will eulogise most fondly whilst sipping on their GM hot chocolate many years off in the future. A Government that introduced a Minimum Wage; brought children and pensioners alike out of poverty; cut Third World debt; 16 weeks door-to-door treatment on the NHS...
Or will they? The more sinister types, the kind who would vote against our glorious leader would have us, the Great British folk, believe that the Blair legacy is of a war-torn Iraq; extremists blowing themselves up on the Tube (not if they're running as inefficiently as this morning...Ken, you did it; you scuppered any terrorist attacks today. Because none of the bastard things were moving this morning); hoodies knifing you for a laugh; pensioners being alternatively mugged, raped and locked in freezers. Ah those salad days?
As with most things, the truth lies eleswhere. What will be the ever-lasting legacy of the Labour Government (1997-)? Reality TV, of course. Remember Survivor being hosted by Mark Nicholas? Or Big Brother as won by that scouse lad Craig? Yeh I watched it too. Much like Frankenstein's monster things have got a slight bit out of control.
'Celebrities' in a house? Check. 'Celebrities' on an island? Check. Non-celebrities on an island? Check. 'Celebrities' in a jungle? Check. 'Celebrities' learning to dance? Check. 'Celebrities' learning to dance...on ice. Check? You got a shit ugly partner. Wanna swap? Check. 'Celebrities' doing karaoke? Check. Non-celebrities doing karaoke? Check. Chavs becoming 'ladies' under the instruction of the People's Butler? Check. That bird David Beckham shagged tossing off a pig? Check.
Virtually, every fathomable idea (and plenty unfathomable...Dean Gaffney, Samantha Fox and Richard Blackwood trying to competitively run bars?) have made it on to our screen. What is left? Off the top of my head CELEBRITY FUCKING IN BUNK-BEDS and CELEBRITY TIT WANK but little else.
So where now for the beaus and belles, the youth of our fair nation fairly chomping at the bit at the prospect of sharing 15 minutes of notoriety (not even fame now) with a bunch of equal non-entities? Well...let me think...hmmmmm...they have no discernible use, never mind talent; nobody (perhaps family aside) care about them; people do not find them funny, or even a character...nah still struggling...I KNOW - how's about encouraging people to say inflammatory comments. Stupid? Bigotted? Come on our show! Hell bring your mum and boyfriend too!
Much like our soap operas invariably steal one plot after the other off each other and recycle them with about as successful a disguise as some c*nt character showing up in a Shakespeare play with a cloak on suddenly being unrecognisable to all asundry.
I refer, of course, to Lucy Buchanan, currently starring in Shipwrecked who has caught the bug of making inflammatory, attention-seeking comments off Jade Goody (Baddy). Buchanan, no relation to Mitch, referred to black people as 'bad' (not even in a good sense); mutli-racial Britain as 'bad', lesbians don't escape either. They're 'sinister'. Buchanan continued: 'I'm for the British Empire and things. I'm for slavery, but that's never going to come back.'
Quite so. I knew some chaps who were up for recolonising the Commonwealth (I have referred to them in the past) but even they stopped short of recommending a resumption of slavery. Who is this idiot? Why does the media get so het up about reporting this.
"But Barry are you not getting het up and reporting it too." Fair point. Why am I 'reporting' this? Succinctly put, if these twats insist on invading our screens it should be reported accurately, honestly and with the minimal of actual interest. As a case in point, I would have it as: "Stupid fucking bitch speak shit on Dickheads' Hour show". Now you can expect a speight of fuck-wit outbursts: give an idiot the freedom of speech and, bugger me, if they don't go and talk. Shit.
And the funniest thing? Bristol University, from where Lucy Buchanan has deferred a place, is considering withdrawing their offer of education. I don't think this will happen and I don't think it should, but wouldn't it be fucking hilarious if they did??????
Rant over.


Barry goes to watch Al Murray and gets a taster of what Room 101 holds

Any one who knows me would know two fundamental things: 1) I enjoy comedy and 2) I have a hell of a lot of hates. Last night I went to the London Studios in Waterloo to see the filming of Al Murray's Happy Hour chat show. I quite like Murray's schtick and although I hadn't seen any of the previous shows I thought it would be good to go. Wrong.
As we filed into the studio, it became apparent that Queen was being played in the background (I have pretty keen ears for background music). This is bad as I have a bordering on the pathological hatred of Queen. I commented as much to Dudley Eyebrows (25) "I have a bordering on the pathological hatred of Queen" said I, assuming Eyebrows not to be a mind-reader.
Anyway after one song I thought I had coped valiantly and awaited for the next tune. Queen again. Not good. And then Queen again. By this time it dawned upon me that they were playing a Queen album. Nothing gets past me.
It was horrible. Not only do I loathe their music, I find it very hard to physically cope. I get agitated and irritable. Eventually, the show started and it was pretty good. In an OK kind of way. And then there was to be live music from...McFly. Oh f*ck me, what a treat. The enfants terribles of sh*te music. Oh well. One song is tolerable, after all I had just tolerated about 3/4 of a Queen album without puking. Not even a single dry wretch. So they go through some tune with the little lads leaping around intermittently like the angry, young rockers they are.
And then it got worse. Much worse. As bad as the feeling one gets when England are losing in a World Cup Quarter Final penalty shoot-out and Jamie Carragher steps up. Apparently, in this series Al Murray gets every musical guest to do a version of a Queen song. Sorry, I've misheard. Surely not. Hopefully not. Oh f*ck, no. Not only that but everyone in the audience is obliged to get to their feet and dance. Whilst waving a Union Flag. I would say it was the most uncomfortable 3 minutes of my life but memories of Nicholas Cage dressed as a bear and punching women are still fresh in my mind.

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Alternative film titles

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to the cinema to watch Rocky Balboa; but if I wasn't so intent on watching the final installment I may well have been tempted by these two tasty morsels. Play along with Barry and see if you can find the two films to which I refer. Firstly, it's Casino Roy. What's that then? The biographical story of Roy Castle, ex of Record Breakers, highlighting his gambling tendencies? However, I prefer The Pursuit of H - imagine scantilly clad females running after H from Steps to the accompanying melodies of the Benny Hill tune. Did you know that the H in H (from Steps) stood/stands for hyperactive. Just a little fact for you there.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Live and in technicolour: 'The Dazzler' Bobby George

You may recall that a while ago I said that I had the opportunity to e-interview Bobby George, 'the Dazzler'. Well here's the result. What a nice fella, eh? Is kind of cool that Bobby George used to play in my local. Shame he didn't get into the bitchiness of saying who he doesn't like and didn't seem sold on a game of arrows in the Sports. Can't say I blame him, mind. Will hopefully have another interview in the not too distant future, and just to clarify that the 'Alex' mentioned in the last answer does not refer to Mr Monkey, whose extensive network seems to fall short of the competitive world of darts.

Bobby, you only started playing darts when you were 30 (I think), how did you get into it?

I was on a fishing trip in Southern Ireland - the sea was very choppy so we decided to call it a day and go to the pub - some guys were playing darts and the guy I was with persuaded me to play! I found I could hit all the targets he told me to go for - Yes I was 30 years old.

Did you already have all the jewellery?

No, the jewellery came a few years later.

One of my first darts memories was your semi-final against Magnus Caris in 1994. Now you came back from 4-1 down to beat him 5-4. How? I mean this in two ways: 1) do you think Caris choked? and 2) how did you physically do it with your back problems?

Caris missed double 18 to beat me 5-2 - I dont know how I did it but I forced myself through the pain barrier and found myself winning the next 9 legs it physically drained me.

How bad was your back? You were in a corset for the final, if you were fully fit do you reckon you could have done John Part?

It was in my quarter-final against Kevin Kenny that I jumped up in the air came down wrong and heard my back snap! The chiropractor advised me not to play that final - the corset was so tight that I could hardly move and when I did the pain was so bad it felt like I had knives being stuck up my arse! Yes, I certainly do feel that I would have beat John Part - if you look back at the video I was down to a double well before him but couldn't move my body to get them.

We haven't seen you grace the oche of the BDO Worlds for a few years now. Do you think you can rediscover the form for one last charge?

I got to the semi finals of the worlds international play-offs in October so yes I still have something left in the cellar!

Is it true that you used to play darts in the King George V pub in Gants Hill? Just that I drink there a bit and it would be kind of cool if you had. By the way, the board is now only kept firm by plastic fork in the back.

Yes, I played in the King George V, I represented the King George in the News of the World Championships the first time I won it in 1979 - great pub for darts in them days.

Darts is undergoing soething of a renaissance nowadays. What do you put the increased appeal of darts down too?

There are a lot of youngsters in the game now and the game is buzzing also the entertainment value is being realised.

I think you have referred to the PDC as Phil's Darts Championship. Do you regard Phil Taylor as the best darts player ever? If not, who would you pick?

Phil Taylor is, without doubt, a great player.

Who were/are your mates on the circuit? Who can't you stand?

I only really see the players once or twice a year as I dont do the circuit - I play exhibition darts. I still in contact with Keith Deller.

I was away on holiday and missed the BDO this year. You must be happy that Wolfie finally won through. Who is Phil Nixon?

Wolfie's wheels nearly punctured again - to lose 6 sets after being 6 sets to nil up!! I thought here we go again! Phil Nixon was fantastic. Phil has been around lots of years and there are so many 'Phil Nixons' around waiting for their chance so it was no surprise.

Now the three young Dutch lads have defected to the PDC. Does the BDO have a future? What's your spin on the division. Is it good for darts?

Freedom of choice. Just dont slag off the organisation you leave.

Rumour has it that even in the boozy world of darts, you're a bit of a boozer. What's your favourite tipple?

I like a couple of lagers now and again like everyone else.

How was Celebrity Fit Club? Have you cut out the early morning chocolate and the fags? Was Anne Diamond as close to a nervous breakdown as it appeared on TV?

Fit Club was hard work - have the occasional choco - Anne Diamond was a very clever lady!

You seemed to pal up with Mickey Quinn. I have just read his autobiography. Did he encourage you to write a biography?

Got on great with Mickey - we had loads of laughs together! I started my autobiography about 5 years ago before he started his I believe so no he didn't encourage me.

Did you enjoy playing Dick Caborn at darts. Do you think he could move into darts. Some don't rate him too high in his current job...

Richard was a really nice down to earth guy and seemed very enthusiastic about the game.

Should darts be a sport? Should it be in the 2012 Olympics?

Darts IS a sport! hopefully it will be an Olympic game but I dont think it will happen for 2012 games.

Now when I am not doing my blog, I work in Parliament and we have a Sports and Social bar with a darts board. I fancy myself as a bit of a darts player. What you say?

All walks of life play and enjoy darts - good to hear you do!

You built your own mansion George Hall. I have heard some things about your pad that I would like to clear up. 1) From the sky it is in the shape of a dart; 2) you have your own Chinese take-away on site called Wok this Way and 3) you initially wanted to call it Fuck All rather than George Hall

a) It is the shape of a flight b) yes, I do have my own Chinese kitchen and it is called 'wok this way' c)
prior to building George hall we lived in a portacabin on the land - we asked the council if we could call it fuck'all but they wouldn't let us!!

How did the opportunity to star in One Man and His Dog come up? Is acting a path you see yourself following? I could imagine you as Frank Butcher's younger brother in Eastenders: Bobby Butcher - knocking out a bit of bling on the market and having a flirt with Peggy and Pat.

Whilst doing my punditing on the world darts on BBC I was spotted by a producer who had written a film about gangsters and thought I would be ideal - yes I would love to do more acting - eastenders would suit me down to the ground!

What football team do you support?

I'm not into football but if I had to choose a team it would be West Ham.

If I give you my address is there any chance of a complimentary signed copy of your autobiography?

Alex will arrange the book!!

Bobby you're a top man. Cheers pal.

Thanks mate!


Rocky Balboa

How good was Rocky Balboa? Just quality. I know they're bollocking on about how the Queen is going to win the Best Film Oscar. I mean, it was good but who would pick the Queen playing Helen Mirren over this blockbuster? The schmucks who give out the awards, I guess. By the way, if the Queen wins; who accepts the Oscar? Helen Mirren or the Queen? I think it would do a lot for the monarchy's popularity to have an Oscar winner. They already have BBC Sports Personalities of the Year in Princess Anne and Zara Phillips. Anyway back to Rocky. Basically the man hasn't lost it. And he can still dish out some blunt force trauma. I know I am quite a big fan of the Rocky series, but I think most people who enjoy this effort, unless they are total pricks, of course.


Jesus Christ, it's Tom Cruise

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
But I suspect you may well become the Christ-like figure of Scientology.

Yes, it's the news that head Scientology honchos have hailed Tom Cruise as 'the Chosen One' who will spread the word and message of Scientology. Cruise's mission, should he choose to accept it, is to spread the truth, i.e. that extra terrestrial beings were sent to planet Earth by intergalactic ruler Xenu, who then blew up the aliens with hydrogen bombs in a volcano. Put it like that, being a prophet seems a lot harder than it first sounds.

Although, I'm not a believer I don't think Cruise is Christ, in fact he's not the Messiah; he's A very naughty (and little) boy!

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Colin Wanker

Now I'll admit this freely, I cannot stand Sheffield United. The Pigs are already stinking up the Premiership, but similarly I'll admit my view may well be tainted as I am a Sheffield Wednesday supporter.
I would, therefore, appreciate your comments on this: Is Neil Warnock the biggest twat to ever grace the Premiership? Every Match of the Day, Colin is there protesting his innocence, protesting his team's innocence and generally getting on my tits.
He strikes me as such a smug prick. This weekend's offering was a spat with Reading coach, Wally Downes which could lead to a one-month touchline ban. However, Colin will probably get off because he is viewed as a 'character' with 'passion' instead of the moaning wanker he is. Can't he just been banned for life and then the BBC could follow suit and ban this arsehole from our screens.

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Can't beat a bit of Barry

If you want to read any article I write on sport, but written professionally without grammatical and spelling errors then check out the Sportingo site here. Although this is pretty cool, I am a touch worried that the first article I wrote accrued mistakes. The version I submitted and which you can find below clearly has it down as Katich yet the chappie/chapette at Sportingo has it down as Mark Katich. None too impressed. Any the how you can read the new and (sort of) improved article here

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Friday, January 19, 2007

"The worst film I have seen in ages. It made 'All the King's Men' look good", Barry Beef (27) bored shitless commuter on Gulf Air

I am no particular film buff, I know what I like and as that includes Jean Claude Van Damme I wouldn't make it onto the panel to decide the 100 Most Inspirational Films. Now the one thing that excited me about the prospect of spending near-on two days on a plane to Sydney and back (don't get me wrong, it wasn't non-stop; I mean I stayed in Oz for a while) was the cornucopia of films available at the touch of a button.
On the way out I watched the entirely predictable and sort-of ok, The Accepted and the pretty good The Departed (I mean any film where Leonardo Di Caprio and Matt Damon get shot in the head scores decent enough points with me). On the way back I caught School for Scoundrels which was quite a lot better than I expected and the Queen which I thought was pretty good. You know, the Queen looks so much like Helen Mirren and that Tony Blair, what a guy!!
And then it all took a turn for the worse. All the King's Men starring Sean Penn and Jude Law amongst others really stunk the plane up. Just two hours of tosh, but that appeared an Oscar winner when compared with the Wicker Man. I am not much a fan of the genre, but I have been told that the original is an excellent, innovative film. Well the remake is absolutely dreadful. If you would like to see Nicholas Cage dressed as a bear punching women then this is *THE* film for you. Really. Just so very bad.

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Who says footballers are stupid?

Even in his heyday of stupidity, David Beckham ("My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about 7") was never caught stealing bathroom settings, including a toilet seat, from the B&Q in Dartford. So step forward Glen Johnson together with Millwall forward, and fellow idiot, Ben May.

How can you be so stupid? How? How? What a prick. As is the nature of these stories it's always the anonymous store worker who steals the show:

"We all recognised Johnson. No one could quite believe a bloke like him, with all that money, would be moronic enough to nick a toilet seat. But that's what him and May were doing.

"They were spotted by one of our security guards, a chap of 74, and cops arrived as they were trying to leave."

What the source negated to mention was that the sprightly 74 year old stripped Johnson for pace and beat May in the air to claim the catch. The old adage rings true, money maketh not a brain.

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Scumbags of Europe Unite

Whilst killing time at Bahrain airport en route from Sydney, I thought I'd pick up a paper and see what joyous offerings I had missed. And I was attracted by the front page of the Independent (first time for everything) and read how the Fascist MEP representatives of the European Union have united in their own little fascist club. The catchily titled Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS) group combine fascist MEPs from West European nations like France, Italy and Belgium together with their loony counterparts in such forward thinking countries such as Romania and Bulgaria. My favourite quote of the lot being attributed to Alessandra Mussolini, grand-daughter of Il Duce himself, "I'd rather be a bigot than a faggot". I guess I'd rather be a bigot or a faggot rather than the grand-daughter of a Fascist f*ck whose brilliance and patriotism was rewarded by being hung in a public square (Saddam got off light).
And then conceive of my surprise when the actions of the ITS were being replicated in the micro-bubble of the Big Brother house where the Piss Family Goody are reminding me of the charming people it was my honour and privilege to canvass in last May's Local Elections.
As tempting as it would be to outlaw this new sect, I reckon give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves (hopefully literally as well as figuratively). It's hard to keep a political party going when you don't have a grain of sanity between you.

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Doom and gloom? Are England as bad as it seems?

To answer in one word: no. As the England team wave a fond farewell to the Ashes and the Aussie one-day team continues to dominate England, it is tempting to join the nay-sayers; those who love nothing more than panning England.
When England won the Ashes, realists were quick to note that the matches we won were when McGrath didn't play. From the Aussie team mark 2005, out went Katich, Kasprowicz, Gillespie and eventually Martyn and in came Hussey, Clark and Symonds. That is a definite strengthening of the team. Compare that to England whose '06/7 version had lost Ashes heroes Vaughan, Trescothick and Simon Jones. The only improvements in the England team were Monty and Read coming in for the King of Spain and Geraint Jones, but even these didn't happen until England were as good as down for the count.
To me it is no surprise England lost. We simply do not have enough world class players. So we have KP, Freddie (on a good day)and Monty (potentially). Strauss looked to have his nose out of joint after being looked over for the captaincy and Cook, at times, had the look of a rabbit caught in the lights. Personally, I do not hold Collingwood in the same high respect as some do. Handy for sure, but world class? I'm not so sure I'd have him in my team. Ian Bell is no number 3 and this was proved time and time again. Mahmood has potential to be an excellent bowler, simply put he isn't all that at the moment.
Whereas the Aussies bat all the way down to 10 (to some degree), from 7 down England looked as stable and safe as Tories in Scotland and Wales in 1997. So where do we go? For me, one key mistake was not selecting Mark Butcher when it became clear that Trescothick and Vaughan were not going to play in the Ashes. He offers experience and pedigree. Monty should have clearly played in front of Giles. This is no slur on Giles, but Monty is the better bowler. What England clearly lacks is a number 8 batsman. Saj Mahmood? Matthew Hoggard? Hmmmmm? Given the travails of England's pace attack, the most sensible solution would probably have been Jamie Dalrymple. Yes, this would have given England a slightly lop-sided looking attack, but at times Mahmood, Harmison and Anderson looked about as much use as a chocolate teapot. So who can pick up the poisoned chalice of the number 8 slot? Stuart Broad looks capable if unproven, but the cupboard looks decidedly bare. Time for Mahmood, Plunkett, Broad and even Monty to prove that they are good enough to bat at 8 in test match cricket.
What would help would be some realism from commentators and supporters alike. England hadn't won the Ashes since Gatting's '86/7 vintage, yet some appeared shocked to their core that we haven't regained the treasured urn. I went on a tour of the MCG a couple of weeks ago and there was the old urn. I came as close as any Englishman. But look around the world now. South Africa have just collapsed against Pakistan (who have Shoaib Akhtar batting at 8), India look shot to bits at the moment, New Zealand and the Windies flatter to deceive. England are, in my mind, the second best team in the world; possibly third behind Pakistan. It is easy to be hard on our boys, indeed it could well be a national trait. This Aussie team is something special, very special and they had the hunger and motivation to beat us. I think key selection errors and some truly woeful preparations did nothing to help England, but when you lose to the best - even if you get thrashed - it is important to keep everything in context. It's not a matter of 'you can't polish a turd', but rather you face Mohammed Ali and you are going to get knocked out whether you are Mike Tyson or Frank Bruno. First is first and second is just another number.
And one point in leaving, for whatever reason that Chris Read appears to be about as popular with the England heirachy as Jade Goody would be at Diwali celebrations, what is wrong with James Foster? Geraint Jones isn't good enough and I feel Foster is better than both Prior and Nixon.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back in Blighty with memories of the Ashes

Two things that become abundantly clear about Australia when you spend anytime out there. Even when it's not all that sunny, the weather is good and they are very, very good at cricket.
On my first whole day in Oz, I went to the Syndney Cricket Ground to watch the penultimate day of the Ashes series. And it was off to the perfect start as Hussey edged one through to Chris Read in the second over of the day. Then came Gilchrist to spank the bowling around. Andrew Symonds (the bloke with the daft hair and the Coco the Clown protective lip salve) lost his wicket giving Monty the charge bringing in the maestro Warne for his last ever test innings. First ball slog sweeps Monty for 4. Second ball slogs sweeps Monty for 6. Soon after Monty gets his own back forcing Warney to glove one to Read and that's game over for Warney. Or not. The umpire (can't remember which one) gives it not out. Fate levels out when Billy Bowden gives Gilchrist the dreaded hooked finger of doom, caught behind to one he very, very clearly missed. Brett Lee, to my mind the most-overated test cricketer around at the moment, is in and out in quick order, only for Stuart Clark to bludgeon a quick and frustrating 35. Seriously any good ball outside off he swung ad missed, yet anything on target was duly deposited to, or over, the boundary. Clark eventually got out and McGrath came in for his lat innnings - a typically classy 0* as Warne gave Monty the charged missed and was stumped by a huge margin (equivalent in size to KP's ego).
And then the England collapse. Cook out hooking shockingly. Bells caught behind slashing. Strauss plumb lbw. Collingwood caught sharply by Hayden. Freddie stumped off the bowling of Warney. And stick a fork in her, England's done.
The next day, England duly meekly caved in. And 5-0 to the Convicts. However, I am not all doom and gloom. It is increasingly easy to poke fun at England, to deride her efforts and for ex-professionals to come out of the woodwork and criticse every element of English play. Although, it is not only the ex-players but a large chunk of the fans who are the worst culprits. England is blessed with the Barmy Army, the most impressive, dedicated and imposing travelling support of any cricket nation. Yet what you don't hear of is the other Pommies. I was sitting in the family enclosure, something I would voluntarily never choose to do and had the pleasure of some real moaning bastards behind me. These folks were the kind of plummy arses who sounded posher than the Radio 4 Test Match Special team. Every England bowler who comes on is slagged off to the hilt, the most sustained target being Saj Mahmood. They are the kind of people who are not happy unless England win every test match. And even then it should have been by an innings.
So it was with immense joy and satisfaction that, at luch, I upped sticks, left the family and went to enjoy a couple of beers (albeit lights - the only sold at the SCG) wit hte Barmy Army. Wearing a Sheffield Wednesday topped I was greeted by loads of Weednesday fans and was surprised to see how many footie teams were represented (Liverpool, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Burnley, Notts County, Leyton Orient, Coventry and Newcastle) and there was one Piggy Bastard (Sheffield United fan to the uninitiated) who was blessed with layers of fat and hairy molls.
All in all the day was a great experience. And to see Shane Warne's last test innings, a breezy 71, was an honour and a privilege I shant forget. On one last note, I got quite badly sunburnt at the SCG and my knee was very burnt - an ailment I named Sydknee.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Barry's Flight of non Fancy

Greetings Comrades and it's welcome part deux from Australia. In Sydney now and it's 29 degrees, please don't feel too cold back in Blighty. This post relates to a flight undertaken a few days ago between Sydney and Melbourne.
A 1 1/2 hour flight for which I was perversely required to check-in 2 hours before departure. Being English and of a regulatory disposition I duly turn up 2 1/2 hour early and en route to the check-in help some old girl with her luggage. Of course, by old I am understating it somewhat. This lady outdated Captain Cook and probably Captain Cook's mother for that matter. Any the how I check in and go through security where I am required to take off my trainers, which in all honesty comes close to being qualified as a security risk. Alas being bored I decided to leave the terminal for a stroll and upon re-entering the airport realise that I need to go through security again where this time I do not need to remove my trainers. Either there exists little rhyme nor reason to domestic international security policy or it was a case of once bitten twice shy.
So onto the plane and well quite frankly the stewardesses are a bit on the ropey side. I know it's not important, but it is one prejudice that I have failed to overcome. I cannot abide ugly people. Mingers, munters, the aesthetically challenged whatever. I even prefer posh people, indeed blogging this evokes memories of the uber-right sub-faction of fops and barbour jacketed that constituted the renegade Monday Group tearaways from the UKC Tory society; a group so sublimely off to the Right so as to make John Reid appear a moderate. Off on a tangent. After getting settled, I was surprised when a third stewardess emerged from the rear of the plane and bless she's older than the other two none too junior staff. Combined. I didn't know if you had to reset your clock (as it turned out you don't) but I could only assume she'd set her's back. To about 1940. These three were more dinner ladies than trolley dollies and each one rougher than the first sketch of the Mona Lisa. However, having the knack of finding a silver-lining I tuned into a quite splendid soul/motown station pumping out Wilson Pickett and other such classics.
Nothing more to stay really, got there fine got back fine and currently back in Sydney. Off to Bedfordshire now, something I would like to do in more than one sense.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Crap TV...on a plane!

Greetings from Australia: the land of sun; convicts and sickenly good cricketers. Yes, it's Barry Down Under. G'day! Where to start? As with everything the beginning. The flight. On the Bahrain-Sydney stretch of the flight, I scanned the television channels and happened upon a quite wonderful little soap opera/film. Sadly, I didn't catch the title, my Arabic in all honesty not being quite what it should be. However, I caught the protaganist's name: Basyuni Basyuni among his colleagues was the hapless Hazim Hazim. Has someone got a stutter around here? I was half-expecting Boutros Boutros Ghali, but alas no.
Basyuni Basyuni (Basyuni as he is known to his friends) is a policeman or customs officer - some low-life like that - and he is charged by his boss to infiltrate an improbably Western looking gaggle of students some of whom are involved in filtering drugs into the University. Drugs in university whatever next? Fundamentalists in Finsbury Park? Anyway Basyuni sports a whopping great moustache, but to be down with the kids he has a shave and digs out some funky t-shirts, so funky that they're the kind donated to charity shops that you see the poor refugees in harrowing news reports wearing.
Confused? Trust me, I'm simplifying this now. Our now clean-shaven hero embarks on a friendly little coach trip with these university types into the dessert, where they improbably disembark to continue on foot. At this point I should say that it is subtitled but I might as well have been on speed for the amount of sense I can make out of it. Luckilly for me sense and fun are not necessary bed partners. Eventually, the gang are around a camp fire (as in encampment rather than effeminate) and like any bunch of 20-something horndogs in the middle of the dessert, they play truth or dare. And the bottle falls to the obligatory fat girl (I give you no camels for this woman) who has a quick mental breakdown saying that all her male friends like her like a sister and she really wants to love and to be loved. Like a woman! Well put the fork down love, you're the size of a truck. Suddenly, it becomes apparent that there's a love traingle involving Boutros Boutros Ghali, I mean Basyuni Basyuni, Tarek (who sports a beautifully clipped goatee) and Anji, the femme fatale with a nose reminiscent of a ski slope in the Alps. How do these love triangles sort themselves out? A drunken heart-to-heart? One male finding out a heinous secret about the other bloke and telling the woman? No sir! Not here. Tarek tries to rape Anji in the ocean (no euphemism, I promise) and Basyuni Basyuni happens upon the scene to save the day and whoop Tarek's ass.
So eventually bored out the their brains by this ludicrous script nad plot, they get back on the coach and get to the university where the head honcho policeman, a shady looking character if ever I have seen one, is furious that there are no drugs on the coach and Basyuni Basyuni is outed as a copper. The fact that he is suddenly walking around looking like an extra out of An Officer and a Gentleman offering a subtle clue. Anji flips. Quite why nobody knows. Maya (the fat girl) consoles herself by eating. Tarek laughs.
In the next scene one of the students is laughing maniacally about how he fooled the police and how he has the drug shipment coming in any minute. The bastard. Then Basyuni Basyuni storms the area and puts a gun up to the villains head. Enter stage left another baddie with gun to the head of Anji. Oh no. Basyuni Bayuni is fucked. Not quite because here is Tarek, the former attempted rapist who has completed his volte-face in the eyes of decent people by decking baddie number 2. It's then happily ever after. And I'm done. What an experience. Makes Eastenders look like the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Well I'm off out in a minute, bu rest assured there'll be more to come including: humiliation and sunburn at the SCG and retro Qantas trolley-dollies.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Arfur's Rest in Peace spoilt by moaning old cow kicking the bucket

This Yuletide saw the deaths of not only James Brown and Saddam Hussein, but also Pauline Fowler, the old bitch on the Square (is that not a J-Lo number?). To nick a joke from Harry Hill's Christmas TV Burp: Why did Pauline Fowler cross the road? To have a brain haemorrhage.
So after 22 years of scowling Pauline Fowler is no more. Martin Fowler finds himself like Chingachcook the last of his people, but where as Chingachcook was the Last of the Mohicans, Martin is Last of the Fowlers.
It was with untold glee that the nation watched the old hag (who coincidentally votes Tory in real life) collapse, or more accurately fall to the ground in carefully choreographed stages (you could almost imagine it pictured on an airplane handbook...if you feel you are about to die please collapse like this).
Earlier in the episode it was Sonia, the dastardly ugly ex-lesbian fattie who slapped the taste out of Fowler's mouth. She decked Pauline and Pauline smacked her head. Murder! Murder! Downgraded to manslaughter (womanslaughter) on appeal perhaps? And just watch the clip below, who is the first to see Pauline's limp, lifeless and grey body? Yes, it's Betty the Dog. Two bitches together, almost poetic.
And where in the blue blazes is Eastenders supposed to be set? I live in East London (well the Essex part thereof) and there was no snow but down the road in E20 (supposedly next to Bow) there is more white stuff than the WAGs Christmas Party.
Now shut it Lola, I really must go and do my packing. Yes I am off on holiday E20. To find evidence against Betty.

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