Digital pixels might be better for your health than fast food, but I wouldn't recommend either.
(aka A left-leaning look at the world of celebrity)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Golden Globes 2006

2:16am: Not looking good for Brokeback Mountain, though George Clooney nailed Best Supporting Male for Syriana. Thankfully. More soon.

3:03am: Brokeback Mountain won best screenplay, and best original song.. Memoirs of A Geisha scooped Best Musical Score. Commentary in the morning.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Liz Dawn in hospital

Source: Digital Spy. Click.

Just heard on the RSS feed that Liz Dawn, Corrie's Vera Duckworth is back in hospital due to chronic emphysema, an incurable lung disease which can cause heart failure (no, really).

It isn't the first time Liz has been in because of her lungs. She has been battling with emphysema for a while now, according to various press reports.

She is also a lifelong Labour Party member - and a keen Blair/Brown supporter, FYI.

Kill Bill O'Reilly

Oh man, I hate Bill O'Reilly. In fact, the American right just sucks in general. No, sod it, let's go for broke here; the political right is divorced from reality. And humanity. Have you ever seen a bunch of hysterical madmen (and madwomen, don't want to be sexist and discriminatory here) in your entire life?

For ages and ages, it was seen as hip and trendy to slag off the "loony left". But soon the "loony" left started winning the arguments. First it was gay rights. Then it was women's rights. Currently the "loony" left is winning the arguments over the Iraq war. Soon the left will win the arguments full stop, and the right wing of the political spectrum as we know it will cease to exist. And, I tell ya what, I can't wait for that day to come. No siree.

I remember a picture of a t-shirt critical of former "Spare" AMICUS General Secretary Roger Lyons (he of the "25p Bun" fame) made by this site being worn by a site's supporter next to the aforementioned Lyons. Unfortunatly, I can't seem to find the picture, but I was suddenly reminded of it, and a thought came into my head, like they don't for O'Reilly and his ilk (they wait for their thoughts to come from the Republican spin doctors on Capitol Hill).

So, here's the scoop. Pictured above is a new t-shirt available in the DETB store. It's only US$17.99 - just a shade over £10. Factor in shipping, you're probably looking at around GB£12. That's fuck all for a T-shirt. In any case, you should buy it (Hey, I'm not doing this for the money, I probably make less than a buck each on the shirts) and take it with you when you go to New York City. Go to the Avenue of the Americas and find Fox News' studios there, and you can probably see right into them.

The first person to get the t-shirt seen on screen wins.

If you don't want to shell out for the t-shirt, and would rather make it yourself, then email me and I will willingly send you the artwork, but you could also probably re-create the artwork yourself.

Come on, world. It's time America's largest news channel actually reflected the views of the majority of ordinary Americans for once. Do it, not for me, or for you, but for the good of humanity.

NB. This site does not endorse the killing of right-wingers. Though we won't shed any tears, we don't encourage it either.

Update: It seems someone has complained to CafePress.com about the "Kill Bill O'Reilly" shirt, and the artwork has been barred, so naturally I've been forced to delete the shirt and withdraw it from sale.

There are some serious implications to this. There are hundreds of thousands of shops on CafePress.com and, unless they employ an army of people monitoring what's on sale (which I assume they don't) then it took someone to spot it and complain to CafePress.com.

First things first - what I did, in the UK at least, is not illegal. Using copyrighted material for the purposes of satire is allowed, under the Copyrights & Patents Act. Commercial exploitation of such material is also allowed. Indeed, there is a thriving market of such tee-shirts in markets and online, and of course such material is carried every week in Private Eye.

Of course, the laws might differ in the US and this might be the reason why CafePress.com barred it. But I can't see that being the case (and I'd really appreciate legal advice on this).

My real issue is that someone, rather than have the guts to tell me that they disagreed with the t-shirt, just told CafePress.com. They could have emailed me. They could have left a comment - hey, I've got anonoymous commenting enabled here.

Let me repeat what I said above:

This site does not endorse the killing of right-wingers. Though we won't shed any tears, we don't encourage it either.

Killing right-wingers is a dumb thing to do, and I certainly don't endorse it (despite O'Reilly calling for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis through his fanatical support of the Iraq war - oh, irony). I don't think that anyone who would buy the shirt would have killed O'Reilly either.

But someone's just trampled on my free speech. For all their blathering about defending "freedom", they've just crushed mine. Nice going, jerk. Don't you ever, ever, talk about freedom again. Rip it out of your dictionary.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Shelley Winters: RIP

Source: BBC News Online. Click.

One word: gutted.

In many ways, Shelley Winters was ahead of her time. She was outspoken, never afraid to say what she thought and took no shit from anybody.

Soparnos creator: Show will end

From BBC News. Click.

It seems that the rumor mill works much better than any TV network's press office ever could. And it wasn't for want of trying, either: HBO denied it and denied it, but it seems that the long-running, and critically acclaimed gangster series The Sopranos will finally come to an end.

The show, which made a household face (more so than name) of James Gandolfini (Left) is to see 12 more ordinary episodes, and 8 "bonus" episodes. This came from the horse's mouth, or the mouth of series creator David Chase, in a press conference in Pasadina, California, USA.

I would be quite sad to see The Sopranos go. It was one of the most intelligent dramas ever. Rather than resorting to cheap stereotype and using the same old tired plotlines of gangster shows of yore, it took an original tack. It owed more to shows like Six Feet Under and black comedies, and wasn't afraid to make humour in what is usually seen as a more "serious" genre of drama.

But, Gandolfini says he's ready to move on, and after so long in the show, you can't blame him. He says:
"I'm too tired to be a tough guy or any of that stuff anymore. We pretty much used all that up in this show."
According to the BBC article, his next project is a feature film about Ernest Hemmingway and his wife, Martha Gellhorn, which should be quite interesting because they met whilst reporting the Spanish Civil War, and were both quite political. I'm quite confident that Gandolfini won't forget this and do Hemmingway and Gellhorn justice.

Friday, January 13, 2006

First eviction from CBB

Which one of the lunatics is about to leave the asylum?

A good way of putting the first eviction from the Celebrity Big Brother house, as Davina McCall put it. George, Jodie and Pete are all up for eviction. Get George out there. Please vote. There is still time.

Phone 09011 32 33 04 or text GEORGE to 84444.

Calls & texts cost 50p, t/c available from www.channel4.com/bigbrother.

I'll let you know the result as and when it comes in.

Update @ 9:28 Lines now closed.

Update @ 9:34 Jodie has been evicted. More info coming soon.

Update @ 9:37 Well, what the fuck was up with that? Of course, the "catch-up" shows are heavily edited to put across an editorial viewpoint, but it was quite clear that all Jodie was to the more mature, male housemates was a punching bag. Especially Micheal Barrymore, his attitude towards her (over the Quorn) was disgusting.

Actually, who gives a fuck about George Galloway? It's Micheal Barrymore who should be booted. Go on son, on your fucking bike, you sexist wanker.

Update @ 9:51 I feel quite sorry for poor Jodie Marsh. The nominations spread Channel 4 have just shown (about 15 mins ago) was pritty disgusting. She says that she gets a lot of stick (which is true) and the fact that she is exploited somewhat for what she was born with (you all know what I'm on about) has made this woman, who was probably happy-go-lucky and quite a positive person, into someone who now has a negative outlook and an agressive stance.

I mean, the poor woman is not seen as anything more than just tits-and-ass, but has an IQ of 138 according to Davina McCall - higher than Traci Bingham, the Havard graduate.

Oh my god. They're putting Jimmy Saville in the house.


And in the entertainment news: Nothing to report.

Apart from rapper Ms Dynamite admitting to beating up a copper in court, and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has been given another chance to win £1,000,000 for his chosen charity as Celador give him another shot on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and that Escapologist Jonathan Goodwin is going to look as if he's hung himself for E4, I can't say that there is much going on in the world of entertainment.

So, with the help of the ITV Online Listings page, I'm going to plan out tonight's televisiual viewing. Glorious.

(All listings apply to the ITV London Region)

Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show, 1700, ITV
Think of Richard Hammond, and most people will be stumped. However, he's the pint-sized co-host of Top Gear (BBC Two) and Brainiac (Sky One). He's quite the lad, and not someone who you could imagine doing post-Children's programming. However, Paul O'Grady pulled it off and people came flocking back to ITV.

I like Hammond as a presenter. He's got charm and that cheeky little smile which most people find irresistable. If he hadn't had done Top Gear and Brainiac before, then I don't think there would be such an issue, but I've not seen this yet.

The Simpsons, 1800, Channel 4
Homer pawns the TV set to pay for family therapy. It's been on before lots of times, but it's always worth watching.

Celebrity Big Brother Live, 1830, E4
Always worth dropping in on the housemates. Currently the bookie's fave to go first is Jodie Marsh. Come on people, get rid of that fat pompous tosser. Text GEORGE to 84444 (Texts cost 25p, see www.channel4.com/bigbrother)

And then back to Channel 4 for the rest of the evening, and if I'm still up, then there is always the chance that I might see the fairy blogmother on A-Z and VH1 All Access on TMF. (But I don't know for sure, since MTV never release listings for their stations)

In all, a good night's viewing for a growing lad like meself.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sony to launch LGB record label

Source: BBC News Online. Clicky.

It seems that, right off the bandwagon started by MTV Networks and their launching of LOGO, an LGB cable station in North America, Sony is planning on launching it's own LGB-specific record label, in conjunction with a "media firm" called Wilderness.

Now, an LGB television station is somewhat understandable, and from what I can see on the LOGO website, it seems they're making some pretty ground-breaking television, and I suppose there is a need for LGB programming that doesn't include the likes of Graham Norton or Julian Clary (who seem to provide caracaturesque representation of gay people in mainstream programming for straight people) or isn't just limited to more minority stations like Channel 4 (think CBS, just more cutting-edge and unofficially liberal). And any sort of advance for the recognition of gay people in mainstream society is to be welcomed, naturally.

The creation of an LGB-specific record label (called, "Music With A Twist". I think that could do with some more work there, boys and girls) throws up some interesting questions. For a start, the music industry hasn't had too much of a problem, from what I can see, with musicians who are gay or lesbian. The problem seems to be more with press representation and the marketing of a particular artist.

The case of Alex Parks springs to mind. In my mind, Alex rocks. She's a damn good musician who writes good songs, and can play. Otherwise, she wouldn't have gotten a place on BBC's Fame Academy series. Now, if you didn't know already, Alex is gay. She's gay and she's proud, dammit, and I say more power to her for it. She did quite well in the contest, and not much was made of her sexuality, and for some reason, I watched that show religiously. (Hey, I can't stand Pop Idol. These kids really can perform.)

Alex had a real talent, and eventually won the competition. She deserved to, in my view, but this is when the trouble started. In her own words:
The day we meet Parks gets her first proper - if minor - taste of post-victory tabloid gossip. The Mirror would have us believe that at a party in London thrown by Pink, the American pop star "had to fend off advances from Fame Academy winner Alex Park (sic)". Rejected, Alex eventually "sulked off".

"It was nothing like that," she exclaims. "I got there and was chatting to people at the bar. This woman knew who I was and asked me who I was with. I went on my own because I had two friends up from home and I could only get one more ticket so I couldn't take one and not the other. So she said, come into the VIP area and we'll see if you can meet Pink. I think I said about three words to Pink; I sat and talked to this guy called Andy all night. It was hilarious when I saw the paper next morning. People just don't get ..." She pauses, searching for the right words. "It's like, anyone who's gay must be after someone …"
She continues:
She is already weary of constant media descriptions of her as "spiky-haired lesbian Alex Parks". "You don't put 'Mariah Carey, American straight singer,' do you?" She sighs. "I don't care. I can't really do anything about it."
She makes a very good point, but from what I can gather from a search (albeit a too breif one) on Google, it doesn't seem that it was the BBC who were making the big issue about her sexuality. It was, to my surprise, the usually more progressive Mirror and their red-top bretheren who were making the big fuss. Not the BBC, and certainly not Alex herself. She strikes as the kind of person who doesn't see her sexuality as the dominant feature of her personality, and tries to put forward a more dynamic and multi-faceted image, only to have it wrecked by such crass journalism.

While some artists do choose to use their sexuality as a part of their image (a good example of this is gay rapper Q-Boy), it seems that many do not. Even the quite openly gay George Micheal and Sir Elton John do not use their sexuality to sell records. In fact, any mention of it in their music or press work (except when they're pressed on it) rarely surfaces.

So, why do people say "the gay singer..."? It doesn't seem to be the artists themselves, or even their record companies. It's the press, and not just the right wing press, either. Nearly every newspaper, celebrity magazine, etc. does it. Which makes me ponder: if most current LGB artists choose not to define themselves on their sexuality, then what are the chances of sucess for Music With A Twist? Of course, given the current right-wing aura surrounding popular culture and media (Bill O'Reilly's constant snapping to "SHUT UP" can't help) and the fact that there is still a long way to go in achiving full equality for gay people may force many artists to simply keep quiet about it. But is an LGB label going to help in this? Shouldn't we (by that I mean LGB people and people who fight for LGB equality) be taking the fight to the label fat cats and the bigots in the media, rather than trying to create some "safe space" for LGB artists?

Like I say, it poses many questions. I do want Music With A Twist to suceed (despite the awful name) but I also think that we should be breaking down barriers that exist for LGB people in wider society.

What do you think? Comments are always welcome.

Well, who'da thunk it. George Galloway, RESPECT Coalition MP for Bethnal Green and Bow is in the Celebrity Big Brother house and has already tag-teamed with Micheal Barrymore (shamed for taking lots of cocaine at a man drowning in his pool during a drug-fuelled party) to be meanie-weanies to Jodie Marsh and Chantelle, who was recently outed as a non-celebrity spy for Big Brother.

Above: George Galloway entering the Big Brother House. (c) Getty Images/BBC News Online

I can't honestly say that I'm too surprised. I'm sure that most people would have their own Georgie horror story to tell, and my grudge, apart from the political reasons, is somewhat personal. I used to be a member of RESPECT, before I left over a year ago (Wow, that's a long while ago) and one of the reasons is because he insinuated that I am a fatty fat fat. Of course, I'm not exactly svelte, but have you seen the size of this guy? The phrase "People in glass houses..." springs to mind.

I digress. I think it's somewhat indicative of our modern society when people like Chantelle, and even Jodie Marsh, should be dismissed as "children" (Marsh is 28, hardly a child) because they have what I'll describe as looks which conform to what people think a pritty girl should look like.

It seems that Channel 4 and the company who make it, Endemol, have managed to get a good mix into this year's house, but what saddended me is that, for a bunch of people who have been branded as "C-list" celebrities, I knew who each one of them were.

If you don't (and I can't say I blame you), they are:

FARIA ALAM: Shagged England footbal team boss Sven Goran-Eriksson.
DENNIS RODMAN: basketball player. Quite flamboyant, known for crossdressing and dating Madonna at one point, IIRC.
GEORGE GALLOWAY: Left-wing MP. Kicked out of the (ruling) Labour Party for calling Bush & Blair "wolves". Likes cigars, and has a holiday home. Called me a fat bastard once.
JODIE MARSH: Lad's mag pinup and "glamour" model. Likes to get her breasts out.
RULA LENSKA: 60's icon and actress.
PETE BURNS: Cross-dressing and surgically enhanced lead singer of 80's synth-pop group Dead or Alive ("You spin me right round, baby right round, like a record baby...")
MAGGOT: of Welsh comedy rappers Goldie Lookin' Chain.
TRACI BINGHAM: Former Baywatch babe.
PRESTON SAMUEL: From the band The Ordinary Boys.
MICHEAL BARRYMORE: Shamed ex-entertainer, came out as gay and dumped his wife, and someone was killed at his house at a cocaine-fuelled party.

My current favourite is Maggot, because he seems like a nice enough bloke and, unlike a lot of the other residents of the Big Brother house, doesn't take the entire thing seriously.

Left: Goldie Lookin' Chain member Maggot entering the Big Brother House. (c) Press Association/BBC News Online

There seems to be an enigma about him and his band, the Goldie Lookin' Chain. They set themselves up as stereotypical "chavs" and play up to an idiotic, working class yob. While there are real doubts that this is the case (hey, it sells records, who wants to spoil a good thing?) his band-mate Eggsy was on a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. And despite his image of being an idiot, he came second in the entire quiz, only getting a couple of his questions wrong.

I have to admit, I was quite impressed. I do wonder if the boys of GLC sometimes get a bit bored of it, but they seem to be making packets of money out of it.

Like I say, a good thing. For them. I'm not so sure.

Update: It seems that I'm not alone in my disapproval of the bullying of poor Jodie Marsh. Leading feminist icon Germaine Greer (and former CBB contestant) has also picked up on the baton. It seems DETB! is leading the way already.