OK!! Stop… I’ve got to tell you about this before
I forget. Bear with me because I do like going off at bizarre tangents
but the payoff...wow, you’ll love it. My mother recently
returned from a trip to Italy, and being the typical mad Italian
brought back a whole load of insane things. Among these were a cake
dish and an ice cream tub full of fresh tomatoes – tomatoes
being almost impossible to find in this country, as you know. Now, the
cake tin was dented in several places, but (and this is where it gets
interesting) none of the tomatoes were even slightly damaged. Hmm, you
may be thinking, what’s your point?
Here’s my plan. We construct all aeroplanes out of tomatoes.
Genius! Now, if a plane crashes, everyone will be unharmed, as the
strength of the tomato covering will keep everyone alive. This also
means that if the plane crashes on a mountain in the middle of nowhere
(see Alive, or better still, see Survive. No, better than that, copy
the first 15 minutes of Alive, then add the last 60 minutes of Survive
for the ultimate movie), you won’t have to eat fellow
passengers because you can eat the plane. Or if you fancy the look of
stewed stewardess you can flavour the pot by chucking in some tomatoes.
I’ve not looked at the pros or cons of other fruit/vegetable
plane construction techniques yet, but I do know that making a plane
out of tomato ketchup just won’t do. Too much glass, you see?
Mark my words, this time next year, some enterprising aerospace giant
will be launching the Tomato 747 and you’ll be able to say,
“I heard it here first”.
I feel it only fair to point out the following facts.
1. I have never spoken to a French man and enjoyed it.
2. I have never spoken to a white South African and not wanted to punch
his face off (smug fuckers)
3. I lied about number 2, there was one, Stephen, but I’ve
not talked to him since he went back to South Africa so he could have
turned into a wanker.
4. I actively look forward to the return of soap opera Crossroads
our TV screens.
5. I can give it out, but oh boy – I most certainly
can’t take it.
6. I can take an instant dislike to anyone, but, perversely, they must
all love me for the god I am.
7. Nick, Nick, Nick. There, see I told you I’d shoehorn your
name in again somewhere.
8. When Jim moves to the States, will there be a bloody power struggle
between himself and the lovely Chris as to who becomes the
“Official Trash City American correspondent”? Yes,
I know, that’s not a fact, but I’m waiting for my
coffee and you’re not really caring are you?
9. I give it approximately 2 weeks before every lame 4th grade British
comedian starts pathetic “Wazzzzzzzzup?” skits or
10. While I enjoyed the movie version of Oliver!
don’t like slicing tiny pieces off my ears.
Right, don’t you feel closer to me now?
me tell you a little something about the crazy world of television home
shopping. That was the plan, until last night anyway; channel hopping,
I found a channel that all-out, balls-out headfucked both QVC and Ideal
World (the pretender to QVC’s throne –
I’m not going to mention Shop! in the same breath for reasons
I’ll go into later). The channel I’m talking about
is called, wait for it, wait for it: Bid-Up TV. Broadcasting from 8pm
till midnight on Sky digital channel 647, BUTV as I shall call it, is
an insane mix of the worst home shopping channel presenters, Paul Ross
and 60p a minute premium rate call madness.
How does it work? Well, from what I can work out, BUTV’s
extensive line up of three presenters will show you a product, and
again, from what I can work out, the products consist of bottles of
wine, Dunhill watches (as was made clear last night, these are real
Dunhill watches, not those dodgy ones you get from the market) and
mountain bikes. The presenters will wheel out a mountain bike and say,
quite proudly, that is costs £400 in the shops - quite what
shop I’ve not been able to work out yet, I’ll get
back to you - and that they will open the bidding on this bike (of
which they have the grand total of two) at £200. Then we get
one of three promos hosted by wacky Paul “I wish I was my
brother” Ross, telling us that we call the 60p/minute phone
line with a bid, and we really, must call now (I think they get paid
extra for shouting every second word). Then there is a surreal 5
minutes, where one of the presenters stands there looking off-screen
saying arcane things like “Oh, come on now, Steve,
you’ll have to bid a little more than £201 for that
lovely bike – show them the seat again Linda” and
“Oh, this is all very exciting”.
not been able to watch any more than 10 minutes of it (Paul Ross every
two minutes is too much even for me), and as BUTV only ever seems to
sell 2 of any particular item, I honestly can’t see it
lasting very long. Somehow though, the experience is hypnotic (even as
I type this I want to go home and see what they’ve got next).
Check it out and let me know what you think, but hurry!!
Elsewhere on the shopping channel front, QVC seems to be getting
attacked from all sides. For a long while they were the kings of home
shopping, essentially having stolen the format directly from their
American cousins (although dropping the little counter in the corner of
the screen that lets you know how many of the “Hand powered
steam cleaning diet carpet cleaning night lights”
they’re selling). Things started to change around a year ago
when Shop! - yes, with the exclamation mark - started. Owned mainly by
Granada, this poor excuse for a shopping channel (or should that be
Shopping! Channel!) is still limping along, presented by all sorts of
fourth-grade (QVC employing third-grade or higher only) ex-local news
presenters and, quite frighteningly, Anthea Turner for a while, trying
to get rid of some awful clothes line – no, not for washing,
but a line of clothes she’d designed. Romper suits and split
crotch panties, I think. It was, and still is, no competition to QVC.
Then, in April, Ideal World appeared. For those who didn’t
see the fascinating documentary on Channel 4 a while back,
it’s the brainchild of a couple who run a company which
shoves those shonky mail order catalogues through your door (you know
the sort of thing: sub-Sharper Image type stuff, plastic winter shoes
etc). The ace up their sleeve though, was to poach some of
QVC’s more popular presenters, namely Paul Lavers (kind of
like the Uncle who scared you slightly), Debbie Flint (loud woman) and
most interestingly of all, Steve Watley, who used to present on QVC
until he was dumped from the channel just after Lady Diana’s
death. Why? He tried selling a ring by saying something along the lines
of “It’s just the sort of thing Lady Di used to
wear” which was considered bad taste. They’ve also
poached some other minor presenters, an annoying ginger fellow, etc.
The most frightening face on Ideal World is not, surprisingly, Steve
Watley – though he is the most amazingly camp presenter on
any television station, even if he does mysteriously mention his
“wife” occasionally. It’s the DIY
“expert” who they’ve called Bill the
Drill. This man is truly the stuff of nightmares, a huge
1970’s German porn star moustache and an evil cravat-type
deal, which obviously hides some sort of nasty DIY accident. Bill does
nothing more than scare people into buying items.
of the products they’ve sold so far? Let me see: there was
the Audi TT sportster they tried selling in their first few weeks on
air (no, not a model – the actual car, a snip at
£34,000. I bet the phone lines were burning up at that one);
the plastic toilet roll holder; and only yesterday, the Dracula fancy
dress outfit (good, we were told, for Christmas and New
Year’s Eve parties as well as Halloween) for a low, low price
I do believe that Ideal World (channel 642 on Sky Digital) is the best
in “road accident” television: no matter how bad it
gets, you just can’t keep your eyes off it. So much so, I
think it’s taken over as my number one shopping channel
choice. Other pretenders to the throne have also recently appeared,
being nothing more than infomercials strung together, or in the case of
“Shop America” having the worst in “self
improvement” products sold by the worst in plastic presenters
– nothing quirky enough to keep me watching there.