When something or other turns out to be a little bit popular, it is sadly inevitable that even moderate success will attract imitators, copyists and blatant plagiarists.
Whenever talent and originality emerges or gimmicky notoriety makes money, there are legions of bandwagon jumpers looking to cash in. Hence we had decades of everyone trying to sing like Kate Bush, then Bjork, then the Hemidemisemiquaver 64th note urban yodelling of Whitney Houston, then the artificial removal of the glottal stop in the style of Lily Allen and now the pop star as harlot Lady Gaga persona. When Abba won, other nations decided that the only hope of winning the Eurovision Song Contest was to be represented by two ugly blokes and two attractive women who might or might not be moonlighting from the adult film industry. Thus the nervous nation was on the receiving end of Save All Your Kisses For Me complete with its own funny little dance and Making Your Mind Up with disturbingly kitsch skirt ripping. It is surprising that former minor celebrities up before the bench on serious charges have not cited ripping off someone`s dress in front of a live TV audience of millions as evidence of the period`s zeitgeist. (more…)
Hello? What? Yes I`ve tried that.
As a family, we are experts at dealing with unexpected calamity and the occasional crisis but Sunday proved to be cataclysmic as the full horror of the collapse of internet network connection visited our humble home.
The first horseman of the apocalypse crashed through the roof when an anguished scream was heard coming from an upper storey of the east wing of our small to medium mansion at about lunchtime. Engaged in “blowing away” cyborgs to reach the next level of some surrogate game designed to replace a more sensible passage to manhood, the son and heir issued a loud frustrated expletive when the internet crashed just before he had achieved enough kills to entitle him to deploy cluster bombs. On a previous occasion when male bonding was deemed necessary, I ventured the proposition that if it were a cyborg, then the screen should not be covered with just blood, brains and gore, but that the gloop should also contain the occasional microchip, PCB and possibly a resistor or two. He shrugged, saying that “it`s not real” and then quoted Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and even Descartes. I managed to resist the temptation to slap him round the back of the head. (more…)
Decades before Will Smith`s fictional Fresh Prince migrated from West Philadelphia to Bel Air, singer and pianist Nat King Cole tried upward mobility for real.
As the first African American entertainer popular enough to have his own television show in the 1950s, Nat King Cole`s success brought him enough money to buy a large house in an affluent, all-white suburb of Los Angeles. Soon after moving in with his family, his wealthy, white neighbours invited him to a party to welcome the famous newcomer. However, the invitation made it very clear that he was expected to play and sing and as a reward might be able to have some chitlins and corn bread with the servants in the kitchen. Ever the gentleman, Cole politely declined, explaining that he made his living by playing and singing and helpfully included the contact details for his agent and manager should the host and hostess wish to arrange an engagement subject to a binding contract and the usual fee. The host and the hostess did not make a booking. (more…)
Via Beau Bo d`Or
There was no ring of the doorbell or a knock on the door but the sound of a metallic slap was definite evidence of something coming through the letterbox.
Under normal circumstances, the addition of a bundle of pizza leaflets, a bin bag attached to a card inviting me to donate unwanted clothes to the provisional IRA and the offer of a one-to-one consultation with a “world famous” clairvoyant would provoke nothing more than a passing consideration of the fullness of the recycling bin. However, on this Saturday morning I was expecting a package to be delivered and so I hot-footed it to the front door in the hope of finding the long-awaited, small and expensive spare part thingy that would make my beloved wotsit work again. (more…)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The larder is bulging with buy one get one free boxes of minced pies and the fridge is packed with poultry and trimmings; the last thing we need is some Middle Eastern, homeless refugee giving birth to yet another scrounging baby.
One day this child might grow up to become some ranting lunatic demanding equality, an end to war, freedom for all and might even suggest that the greed of individuals is less important than the benefit of the many. God forbid that this should come to pass and even more horrific is the thought that this anarchist should reside in Hackney, or Handsworth, or Govan, or Byker, or Moss Side, or Walsall or Westminster. A revolutionary daring to question the rich being rich and the poor being poor should not be something to spoil the adoration of our Christian decency when pushing each other out the way to get to the discounted brandy butter. (more…)