Friday, May 27, 2005

Great expectations 

So DFA 1979 weren't all that. In fact, we left halfway through. What sounds loud and lovely and rocking on record just sounds like a big wall of cacophonic noise live. Good if you're a wee mosher up the front just wanting to head-bang your tits off (is that anatomically correct?); bad if you're actually there for the music. The gig almost showed signs of turning around when hot drummer Sebastien strode out shoulder-high into the crowd and gyrated sexily in the spotlight during the more melodic Romantic Rights, my favourite track off the album and the musical highlight of the night (of what we stuck around to see). But soon it was back to the muddy thrash-thrash-thrash - and we were off down the pub.

Shame - they promised so much. Perhaps a better sound tech could have rescued them, maybe we're just too old. Don't care. We're partying with Shane McGowan and the Alabama 3 boys on Sunday, and it doesn't get better (messier) than that.

And check this weather!

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder (surely the ultimate feelgood summer track?)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

DFA 1979 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTonight we will mostly be seeing these two (<--) at the Scala. As the Pointer Sisters once sang, I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. Alas we'll probably get there too late to see the support, in the shape of the world's best-named band, Test Icicles. But what can you do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Popping to the pub 

A raising of the pint glass to Britpop at Camden's Good Mixer on Sunday, plus the ongoing patronage of our new secondary local, the Clash-beloved Crown on Streatham Hill, has triggered a yearning to pub-crawl more of London's rock'n'roll history. But where to start? Over to you, fact fans... Grigg? Onionbagger? Diamond Geezer?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Top Ten Tuesday: looney tunes 

A kind of follow-on from last week's Top Ten for the tracks that cropped up during the (cough) 'research process', but were dismissed as too daft for inclusion. NB: I am not advocating ever playing these tunes in public unless you are among friends and are fully aware of the consequences of dropping what is mostly utterly ridiculous cheddar.

1 Grange Hill Theme
I remember once playing a fairly shite bootleg of this and Eminem's My Name Is at the end of a night, and the crowd went mad. (I say 'crowd' - what I actually meant was "the three people sweeping up and one old drunk passed out in the corner". I say 'mad' - what actually happened was someone was heard to remark, "Shit, I haven't heard this tune for ages. Whatever happened to Zammo?")

2 The Muppet Show Theme
I wasn't at the Whitehorse the night DJ Leon dropped this during one of his infamous Bomba nights (RIP), spurring barwench Ms G to launch into an all-singing, all-dancing impromptu bartop performance. But I hear it was quite something.

3 Grandma's Feather Bed John Denver
However, I was in my room the night (well, morning really... er, make that well after lunch) Ms G, the Huester and myself hoedowned up a storm to this knee-slappin', arse-slappin', foot-stompin' festival of foolishness, which prompted the grumpy downstairs neighbour to grab her broom (the old witch) and start banging it on the ceiling. She could at least have tried to get it in time.

4 Duelling Banjos (Deliverance Theme)
See above.

5 Bang On Your Face Greenskeepers
Er, more hoedown action. Basically, the lesson we learn from this is that hoedowns = daftness. Guaranteed.

6 Deeply Dippy Right Said Fred
Quentishtown busted out a few house remixes of this over a riotous dinner on Friday, but really, you can't top the original (although lord knows it pains me to write that). Heard some great gossip about the Right Said Fred boys and their partying ways too, if only I hadn't been too drunk to remember it.

7 I'm An Indian Too Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band
Tom-tom drums and a disco beat - August Darnell, aka Kid Creole, takes an old Irving Berlin song from Annie Get Your Gun, and creates the campest dance tune known to man. Genius. In fact, Mr Darnell's getting his own Top Ten next week. I love him, in all his myriad forms.

8 C Is For Cookie Larry Levan remix
The disco-house meister's first remix ever. A true gem, almost up there with The Pinball Song on the flipside - still surprising how many people don't know the Sesame Street funk classic was sung by the Pointer Sisters.

9 The Gambler Kenny Rogers
In Wellington some years back, thousands of city residents signed a petition asking the council to reinstate an old busker bearing a remarkable resemblance to Kenny, who new by-laws had forced out. I recall hearing it garnered more signatures than any other petition in the town's history. Hey, it could be true. Anyway, I now hate this song due to the number of times I've had to endure old Kenny strum it out after slurred requests from boozed-up birds staggering along Courtenay Place, but I realise I may be in a minority here.

10 The Benny Hill Theme
The ultimate in stupidity. Cue much running around and chasing of women, and heaven help you if you're a slaphead - you'll now find out the literal meaning of the term... Proper dumb.

Honourable mention: My 80s Baby compilation album - 80s pop tunes played in a slow lullaby nursery fashion - very surreal.

Dishonourable mention: The Crazy Frog Axel F remix, as contributed by a 'friend' (now 'associate'). NO ONE is ever going to dance to this - people will only throw things at whoever cued it up. It will never, ever be funny. Got that?

Brighton strikes again 

Just what it is about Brighton? I've mentioned before on these pages how the twin-town by the sea seems to exude a strange and sinister power over me - I'm cursed to always have a disastrous time as soon as I venture within its city limits - but now it seems the bad luck also extends to those around me.

I was woken at 3.30am on Saturday morning by a phone call from the Scottish Dobber - or at least from the Scottish Dobber's phone. He'd ventured to Brighton on Friday afternoon, and the last text I'd received from him indicated he was well on the way to merryland.

"What time do you call this, fool?" I grumbled on answering the call.

"What are you doing?" came the reply.

"I'm sleeping, of course, it's half past fucking three. Duh."

"Are you in bed?" I realised the accent wasn't Scottish. "What are you wearing?"

"Eh? Who is this, and what have you done with Dobber?"

"Who's this?" the Cockney voice replied, with muffled sniggers in the background. "And what are you wearing?"

I laughed and rang off; they rang back, laughing harder and repeating the question of what I was wearing - was it silk? Satin? Ugh. I turned my phone off. I'd assumed it was the Dobber's mates having a laugh, but either Dobber's mates were creeps or his phone had been nicked. Which it transpired it had been.

Bizarrely, not only did the thieves make off with his phone, they also continued to call me all weekend from it. Excellent. Which presumably means they probably called a lot of other numbers. Which means Dobber's gonna get a whopping great phone bill next month. Oops.

Crims, eh? They ain't what they used to be.

(The curse has also extended to my Mac, which crashed, seeing the Top Ten I'd spent so many hours compiling yesterday vanish into the ether. Grrr.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Good Times, Risco Connection & Joe Isaacs

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hot fun in the springtime 

It may be grey and blustery today, but luckily the Guardian has thought ahead and compiled a superb celeb summer selection (including many of the tunes of last month's summer Top Ten on these very pages, coincidentally enough) to banish the bad-weather blues.

There are some wicked cuts in there - of special note are the Magic Numbers (gah, where have these guys been all my life? Can't wait to see them at Glastonbury), the much-heralded Antony & The Johnsons - and HOW good is Amerie? Mmmm.

Speaking of summery music - and I know certain people get pissed off when reggae's described as "perfect music for summer" because of course it's perfect for winter too, but just shut it for now, ya dobber - there's an ace gig happening tomorrow night at Jamm (formerly Bar Lorca, formerly the (other) White Horse of early Clash folklore), Brix-Town, featuring a DJ set from the Specials' Jerry Dammers, 40s swing from El Nino (Lady Luck), and a live ska set from the Top Cats. We're there. With (tight) bell(bottom)s on - and maybe a too-wee trilby...

EDIT: A late (and reluctant) addition to my summertime playlist - Signs by Snoop Dogg ft Justin Timberlake. Lord knows I love the Dogg, but Lord also knows I hate the Trousersnake - however, this Neptunes-produced ditty is a work of genius, pure and simple. Damn you, Timberlake, and your woolly-haired, beatboxing arse, for making me eat my words. Again.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: 1 Thing, Amerie

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Big long-winded Futureheads review... 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYou knew it was going to be a good night when the lights started to dim and the strains of Sparks' classic This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both Of Us rang out through the Astoria. Or at least I, as a crusty 30-something, knew it was going to be a good night - as the average age of the bright and chipper types surrounding us was approximately 16, they probably thought 'Sparx' was some new boy band. (God, I'm sounding like all the fogeys I swore I'd never become. Sorry. Oh, how I envy the young folk...)

Anyway, as the track climaxed, the crowd's screaming built to fever-pitch and the lights strobed furiously to near-epilectic effect - then the banner unfurled and The Futureheads bounded on stage, launching into a rollicking rendition of Decent Days And Nights. Hurrah!

Having been firmly stuck in a 70s/80s timewarp for most of my musically-aware life, I've been a staunch fan of the post-punk-influenced foursome since their album found its way onto my desk halfway through last year. Shamefully, I was recently heard to remark that the band "weren't going to win any beauty contests", but after seeing singer Barry and bassist Jaff on Zane Lowe's MTV2 Gonzo show the other day, I eat my words and apologise profusely, because A) why do bands have to be pretty anyway? and B) they are actually rather cute in their little top-buttoned shirts - and how sexy are their Sunderland accents? Rrrraow!

But I digress. As usual. The Futureheads were never going to disappoint - their driving rhythms and furiously energetic songs were made for thrashing out in a live environment. Which is exactly what they did, storming through much of their self-titled album, interspersed with a few new songs which, with Joy Division overtones, seem to indicate a deliciously dark new direction.

Hit single A To B came early on in the set, with an electrifyingly thunderous wall-of-sound breakdown whipping the crowd into a frenzy, before the opening strains of Meantime saw an exodus to the front and subsequent moshing explosion (this was especially appreciated where we were, at stage right, as it meant we could finally breathe again and avoid throwing a whitey in the stifling heat of an extremely-rammed Astoria).

By this point I was frantically tapping into my mobile phone all the influences I imagined I could hear - well, they do wear them on their sleeves practically - Gang Of Four, The Clash, Television, Talking Heads, XTC, Buzzcocks, Devo... A roll call of most of my favourite post-punk bands, basically. Thankfully, at this stage a not-at-all-annoying bloke behind me who had been singing at deafening volume in my ear (thus demonstrating his superior level of fandom because he knew all the words and could guess the song from the first four bars) chose to read over my shoulder and took it upon himself to correct me: "I think you'll find this tune is more early Cure than early Clash, guffaw, guffaw." Luckily for him, I like my new phone too much to have jammed it down his throat. But it was a close call.

Back to the music - and He Knows had the fans chanting along like there was no tomorrow, which proved to be a more-than-suitable warm-up for the next song, Hounds Of Love. In true rock tradition, the band split the crowd in half for a good old-fashioned singalong. Their best-known track, it may not have been the best of the evening, but it certainly had its anthemic charms.

Carnival Kids and Man Ray rounded off the set, before the band returned for one of the best encores I've ever witnessed. My favourite track off the album, Le Garage, was blitzed through at lightning speed, losing a little of its sublime janglyness but more than making up for it in sheer bravado. This was followed by Danger Of The Water, personally my least favourite track on the album - but then I'd never heard it live before. The exquisite harmonies and slower pace were superbly handled and put a whole new shine on the song for me. A brief break from proceedings while guitarist and japester Ross introduced the band members, with the help of his "glasses to define the classes", and it was on to the last song of the night, the excellently rocking Piece Of Crap, before the lights went up to the obligatory chorus of "one more".

The Futureheads are the quintessential garage band. You just know they've have been rocking out in squalid digs for years, and their sheer unbridled joy to be playing a venue like the Astoria is evident in every gesture, from the jovial chattiness between songs, like something you'd find at a tiny student gig, to the sweet shout-out and effusive thanks to all the tour crew at the end. Here's hoping fame doesn't corrupt them, because these boys are bound to go very far indeed.

Much love to Ms G for the pics xx

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Ooh, ooh, ooh, HOW good were the Futureheads at the Astoria last night? I've got a wee review all ready to transcribe from the sketchy notes I tapped in to my mobile - which very annoyingly, a chap standing behind me insisted on reading over my shoulder and commenting on ("I think you'll find that song sounds more early Cure than early Clash, guffaw guffaw"). He would go on to sing at deafening volume in my ear, obviously demonstrating his superior level of fandom because he knew all the words and could guess the song from the first four bars. IDIOT.

So er, yes, review coming soon (don't worry Mr Speakers, I haven't forgotten about you either), and hopefully Ms G will feel free to contribute some pics - if she ever makes it out of bed...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Le Garage, The Futureheads

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Top Ten Tuesday: unexpected dancefloor pleasures 

The seeemingly inappropriate tracks (hopefully without descending into the territory of secretary favourites or novelty tunes) that ignite a dull housey dancefloor when dropped randomly into a dull housey set, acting as a firecracker under the arses of its dull housey inhabitants and making them dance and prance about like loons. Basically, anything you can play air guitar to can't go wrong. And yes, as Nick Speakers rightly points out, any good DJ should be cutting it up with these kind of tunes anyway, but now that everybody's a DJ nowadays, we can't always get what we want.

1 Black Betty Ram Jam
Perennial favourite, craziest axe breakdown in recorded history.

2 Mr Brownstone Guns 'N' Roses
Air-guitar/head-banging heaven.

3 9 To 5 Dolly Parton
Or in fact, any Dolly. Is there nothing the ample-chested one can't do. Ahhh...

4 Personal Jesus Johnny Cash
Or, in fact, any Johnny.

5 Killing In The Name Rage Against The Machine
For unleashing one's inner bogan.

6 Wouldn't It Be Nice Beach Boys
3am on a New Year's Eve Glaswegian dancefloor and this comes on. Cue beaming faces, much hugging and jumping up and down like loons. Was it the best night of our lives? Probably not, but it certainly felt like it at that moment.

7 Lazy Sunday Afternoon Small Faces
Indeed, wouldn't it be nice to get on with your neighbours? Usually inspires lots of elbows-akimbo, mock-spoons-playing, doffing-of-imaginary-cap, rumpy-pum-pum-style tomfoolery. Genius.

8 Wuthering Heights Kate Bush
Never would have picked it as a stormer, but heard this one at White Heat a year or more ago as their last track of the evening. And yes, we jumped up and down and hugged like absolute loons.

9 Burning Down The House Vienna Boys Choir
Cheers again, Optimo.

10 Heard It Through The Grapevine The Slits
Especially for Nick Speakers, who cites it as his No 1 booty-shaking track of all time. Or something fairly close, anyhow.

Silver linings 

Far be in for me to enjoy profiting from others' personal tragedies, but when I heard Kylie Minogue's breast cancer has meant she's had to pull out of Glastonbury, I couldn't help uttering the tiniest whoop of joy. Here's hoping they get someone *good* to replace her. And yes, I know I'm going to hell etc.

EDIT: For the record, I've had my own breast cancer scare plus my mum had it a few years back, so all the pasters in the comments box can fuck off back to self-righteousland. Yawn... Love and kisses xxx

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ooh! Ooooh! 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMetro Riots are playing down the road at the Windmill tomorrow night! The best live band I've seen in recent months, if not years, if not ever. I love 'em, so should you. See you there, with any luck.

Smackie in Wonderland 

I feared I was turning blonde yesterday as I drifted off into ditz-world on boarding the Northern Line at Stockwell and sat down to aimlessly scan the Metro. More concerned with preventing the irritating over-the-shoulder peeper sitting next to me from viewing my newspaper, I paid no heed to the announcement that "This train is now a Charing Cross train, repeat, this train is no longer going via Bank, but is now a Charing Cross service", and didn't look up until I was at Tottenham Court Road - miles away from my desired destination of Canary Wharf.

I say "desired" - I of course mean "required", for who in their right mind would actually want to go to Canary Wharf. My accidental diversion did, however, allow me to see the latest Wharf marketing campaign - and a loaded gun is on its way to whoever dreamed up the current slogan: "Canary Wharf - it's your wonderland". Hah! Canary Wharf is no more a land of dreams and wonder than Milton Keynes. It is a surreal nightmare of cheap suits and secretaries, the featureless buildings hemming you in so you feel you may never escape from this capitalist dystopia...

But I digress. I've got a cold so I'm in no fit state to think or make any sense. Ignore me. Have some more offensive jokes instead.

• Two women are caught short walking home from the pub, so decide to pop into a cemetery to answer the call of nature. Sans toilet paper, one of the women uses her knickers to wipe herself with and throws them away. The other finds a ribbon from a nearby wreath and uses that.
The next day, their husbands are talking. One says, "We'd better keep an eye on our birds - mine came home last night with no knickers on!"
The other replies, "You think that's bad? Mine came home with a card hanging out of her arse that said, 'From all the lads at the station - we'll never forget you...'"

• What should you do if a bird craps on your car? Don't take her out again.

• A black baby dies and goes to heaven, where God gives it wings. "Am I an angel?" asks the baby. "No," says God. "You're a bat. Now fuck off."

• What did one lesbian vampire say to the other lesbian vampire? "See you next month."

• Why are lesbians so fat? Because they eat out a lot and don't do dick.

• What do you get if you cross an elephant with a spade? Dawn French.

• Why did Harold Shipman hang himself in jail? Because he didn't get a nan with his curry.

• David Hasselhoff walks into a bar and says to the barman, "Just call me Hoff." The barman replies, "Sure Dave, no hassle."

• What's black and screams? Stevie Wonder answering the iron.

Groan. All apologies etc. Hopefully that's the last of a bad bunch...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: That Joke Isn't Funny Any More, The Smiths

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Quitting the city 

As summer approaches, all good Londoners' thoughts turn to... how to get the fuck out of London. Actually, that's not strictly true, for nowhere is more beautiful or vibrant than London on a clear summer's day, but hey, don't leave town til you've seen the country, as those old ads used to say, and if there's a chance to go forth and explore these shores, naturally I'm going to jump at it.

With this in mind, we've been spending the last few days' procrastination time investigating day trips and weekend getaways - and have uncovered a wee treasure trove in the form of this site. Just £15 scores you a quality day trip to all manner of destinations. Last weekend, the venerable Ms G and Scotty the Weegie headed to the Cotswolds for a day of shopping, sightseeing and cider-drinking; this weekend, we're all off to Stratford On Avon and Warwick Castle; and next month the canine-obsessed Scottish Dobber is being rewarded for good behaviour with a trip to Leeds Castle and its Dog Collar Museum. (Hopefully it's actual dog collars, as in neckwear for hounds, as opposed to a collection of vicars' vestments.)

I've also rediscovered the joys of the press junket, and thus have been merrily blagging myself weekend jaunts all over the country under the guide of hotel spa reviews. First stop, the Isle of Wight. I can't wait to see the Dobber sporting a mud pack...

Lastly, some more random bits and bobs that have been helping fill in the hours this week:
• an all-too-familiar DJ guide
• the stupidest love fool on the planet
• the year's best festival line-up
• and some international Barleyism...

And big thanks to Pure Evil, who, due to running out of my requested grey 'Anti-Glitter' sweatshirt, replaced it with a swank new black 'Anti-Glitter' hoodie and threw in a baby blue 'Bunny' tee for free. Result! Pure Evil, we love you...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: City Country City, War

Friday, May 06, 2005

Comic relief 

One of the reasons I've not been posting terribly much of late is because my mind has been on other things - the weather forecast for the weekend, the best garden bar to down snakebite in, whether to opt for gorgonzola and oatcakes or hummus and pitta bread for picnicking in the park... It's a hard life as summer approaches, obviously.

I've also been indulging in a rather enjoyable spring fling/flirtation/romance/thing, which has seen my phone bill rocket to ridiculous heights - what did we do before the advent of text messages? In typical Smacked Face style, however, it's not sweet nothings being fired through the ether, but jokes, every hour on the hour.

And yes, they're stolen from all over the show, Popbitch being the main source of comedy loot, but there are still some right treats which are far too good not to share. So without further ado, welcome to Textable Joke Friday (part 1 - there are far too many for one post). Take these, go forth and prosper at all tomorrow's parties, for the world loves a clown... (Actually, the world hates and fears a clown, but that's a whole other story.)

• Two seals walk into a club.

• David Blunkett walks into a bar. The blind bastard...

• A pirate walks into a bar. The barman says, "Do you know you've got a steering wheel sticking out of your fly?" The pirate replies, "Aye, it's drivin' me nuts."

• What's the difference between a wank and an egg? You can't beat a wank.

• What's the difference between oral sex and anal sex? Oral sex makes your day, but anal sex makes your hole weak.

• A chicken and an egg are in bed together. The chicken rolls over, lights a fag and says smugly, "Well, I guess now we know the answer to that question."

• What's worse than being picked up by the fuzz? Getting swung round by the tits.

• A man says to his missus, "Why don't you tell me when you have an orgasm?" She replies, "I would, but you're never here."

• A scientist has invented a bra that stops breasts jiggling about and keeps nipples hidden. His colleagues have knocked the shit out of him.

• What's blue and fucks grannies? A) Me in my lucky blue coat. B) A dead granddad. C) Hypothermia.

• What do you get hanging from banana trees? Sore arms.

• Two condoms are walking past a gay bar. One says, "Shall we head home or go in and get shit-faced?"

• A woman goes to the doctor complaining of chest pains. The doctor calls her husband in and says, "Your wife has acute angina." The husband replies, "Yeah, she has a great pair of tits as well."

• What do you call a black man flying a plane? A pilot, you racist.

Erm, that'll do for now.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Don't Blame It On I, The Congos

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Happy campers 

There comes a time in every raver's life when they finally realise it's time to hang up the glowstick. Not that I have ever raved or possessed a glowstick, of course (apart from those heady days at a certain famous clubbing magazine, when at 5pm every Friday, we'd join Clubs Ed Nick as he donned a mask of the marketing manager's face, grabbed a glowstick from the bulk boxes in the corridor, put on the worst promo received that week and threw shapes like his life depended on it), but you get my point.

Festivals are for the young. Oh yes, you'll always find a few wizened oldies looking like Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride putting in a valiant effort, or super-keen parents trudging through the mud with baby on their backs, but it sure ain't the life for me. I hated camping as a fresh-faced teen - you can bet I hate it even more now as a crackwhore 30-something, without access to showers, hair straighteners and full-length mirrors. I'm not at all vain, I just don't want to turn fellow punters to stone on crawling out from my tent/under a rock in the morning.

Anyway, with this in mind, I've come to the conclusion this is probably the last year I can lose my marbles in a muddy English paddock with any dignity at all (cough) - so I'm making the most of it. Here's my hastily cobbled-together lowdown on UK summer festival action.

Glastonbury, 24-26 June
The daddy. No explanation required. Not the greatest line-up this year, but with the Dance Lounge Tent, the Pussy Parlure, the Left Field Stage and Lost Vagueness, we're happy. I still want a campervan though. Sulk.

Glade Festival, 15-17 July
Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Squarepusher, The Bays, Crispin Dior, Sancho Panza, all manner of twisted nuttiness. In the country. "An English festival. A proper one."

Secret Garden, 19-21 August
A "garden party gone crazy" with DJs in tree houses, giant hammocks, space hopper races, mahogany pubs and pirates all set in the grounds of a beautiful country estate. The friendliest, craziest, most boutique festival you're likely to find. Ms G went last year and hasn't still shut up about it, the tedious cow... ;)

Bestival, 9-11 September
A newie from the Sunday Best lot but the smash hit of last summer. Line-up includes the Super Furry Animals, 2 Many DJs, Smacked Face fave Ulrich Schnuass, next big things the Magic Numbers, Tom Vek, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Terry Hall, Hot Chip, etc etc etc. All Wight!

And best of all...
• Countrysidesoul, date TBC
Like Southsidesoul! But all weekend! In a country mansion! With your hosts Smacked Face and Ms G! And a cast of maniacs! Oh yes, you heard it here first. More details to be announced - watch this space...

EDIT: Duh, and the Big Chill (5-7 August) which somehow dropped off the page when I was cutting and pasting from Word. Although I can't attend cos that week I've got to pretend to be a grown-up while the boss is away and the lunatic (me) takes over the asylum... But if I could get time off work, I think I'd probably go to Fiberfib anyway. Mmmm Spain...)


Yesterday was Tuesday which by rights means there should have been a Top Ten gracing these pages rather than some drivel about a TV magic man, although I don't seem to recall getting round to doing one last week either. How standards have slipped around here. I'm going to blame it on the long weekend doing my head in with dates and would remedy the situation forthwith but, sans iPod, I'm at a bit of a loss, so it'll have to wait til later tonight, tomorrow, or more than likely, next week. Sorry etc. (As if you care.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Sparkle That Shines, Straitjacket Fits

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Video nasties 

I don't watch a lot of TV at the best of times, but due to the Sky box going tits-up last month, the past few weeks have been especially television-free. However, the flatmate managed to fiddle a few wires on his return from foreign climes and crank the thing back into action, so last night I spent an evening relaxing in front of the box, trying to deal with the disappointment of having to trade sunny afternoons of indolent lazing in a park for the humdrum existence of the normal 9-5.

WHAT was going on with last night's telly? I swear it was like stepping into Bizarro World, and let's not even start on why there were so many ads for nappies. After watching the last hour or so of Meet The Parents for some much-welcomed dumb stoner humour (we'd farewelled the long weekend with a long, luxuriant jazz cigarette - criminy, what's got into me?), we flicked over to E4 to catch Derren Brown. And this is where it all got very weird indeed.

In brief, Mr Brown wired up a special arcade machine in a pub which would put the player into a catatonic trance after a few minutes of the shoot-em-up zombie game. It duly did, and said victim was then bundled out of the pub to specially-built premises down the road (much to the shock of his bemused mates), where he came to seemingly INSIDE THE GAME, with "dead bodies" strewn about and "zombies" closing in on him. Cue five minutes of the most disturbing TV ever seen, as this poor chap screamed and panicked as he valiantly attempted to battle the dark forces with his blanks-shooting gun.

Meanwhile, we're sitting on our sofas wearing Moe Syzslak-like "A-wha!" expressions, wondering if we'd perhaps overlaced the smoke or whether we were actually seeing what we seemed to be.

Afterwards, the guy remembered nothing, and in fact described the game as the best he'd ever played, before being shown the footage of what he'd just gone through.

What are the long-term effects of this sort of thing? And what kind of insurance does Derren Brown have to take out? Did this chap sign a disclaimer policy beforehand, or agree to being manhandled and psychologically exploited in this manner? OK, so he can't remember it now, but this poor bloke suffered pants-soiling terror, the kind most of us will never experience (unless 28 Days Later comes true and London is overrun by flesh-eating creatures of the night - all good if Cillian Murphy is about, rrraow...). Surely a lifetime of nightmares beckon?

Anyway, Ms G and I were most shaken up by it all and had to change channels, to something equally surreal we've thankfully now forgotten, but were still so shellshocked after half an hour of channel-surfing that it took us a further five minutes to work out we'd ended up watching Bumfights. Gah. It was definitely time for bed. And no more smoke for this girl, even if it is almost summer in Brixton...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Police & Thieves, Junior Murvin

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