Sunday, July 31, 2005


'Balding' And 'Paunchy' Advertising Standards Authority Workers Wish To Feel Better About Themselves

Perhaps. That's certainly one possible reason for this, anyway. If you can't be bothered with the link, here's the story:

The Advertising Standards Authority have the power to ban adverts upon the most spurious of excuses. In the past, they, and Ofcom before them, were not exactly averse to using these powers to push forward a politically-correct agenda. This week, they have decided an advert for Lambrini goes beyond the limit, as it shows a handsome young man being 'hooked' by three women. The ASA suggested that in future men in alcohol advertisements should be 'balding' and 'paunchy', in order to counter the shocking idea that alcohol makes people sexy.

It hardly needs saying that this ruling is an illiberal outrage, but here's why anyway:

1) I know what I find sexy. Everyone has a different view on this, obviously. 'Balding' and 'paunchy' may be deeply sexy to some.

2) This ruling comes worryingly soon after the British Medical Association, who, as usual, represent only their members interests and fuck everybody else, voted at their annual conference to ban alcohol advertising, a la tobacco. It may very well happen sooner than you think.

3) The rules for advertising alcohol are already preposterously strict. For example, you cannot show someone buying 'rounds.' Why? Who do they think they're fooling?

4) Every other week, various busybodying organisations like to remind us that we have the worst (or best, in my view) binge drinking culture this side of the Urals. Do they really think that rulings like this will have the slightest effect on the number of us getting wankered?

5) The public are intelligent enough to make their own choices. We certainly don't need the unaccountable representatives of an unelected quango telling us how to view alcohol.

6) Many witty and intelligent adverts for alcoholic products have been based upon a premise of sexual attraction. It scarcely needs saying, but: censorship always stifles creative impulses.

and finally:

7) I rather liked the advert in question.

This story seems to have caused a bit of a stir, and intelligent analysis can be found here, here and here.

The ad was altered with a balding man the regulators found acceptable.

This is why viral advertising is the future.

Friday, July 29, 2005


It's My 150th Birthday!

Well, sort of. Actually, this post is the 150th post on this blog. I'm quite proud of this. Sadly, however, this post is to say that I'm going away for a few days, so until the end of next weekend, posting will be sporadic at best. I have no idea what the Internet facilities are like in Denmark. What I can promise is that I will be back, great as ever, with some or all of the following:

A rant about the ASA.
A rant about the uselessness of public transport in the Midlands.
A film review of 'The Descent,' and a cautionary tale about the promises of politicians.

Plus the usual drivel, I suppose.

Don't go away!


Political Sex Comedy: A Film Review Of 'A Dirty Shame'

Red states, blue states. Should we allow gay marriage, or is it unholy? Is abortion acceptable and sometimes necessary, or is it infanticide? Sex, and issues surrounding sex, are political in America in a way entirely dissimilar to almost every other nation in the developed world. Film director John Waters is hardly afraid to enter the debates in his latest film, 'A Dirty Shame', and it should be pretty obvious to anyone familiar with his previous work what side he would be on.

Political sex comedy.

The plot, unlike the average sex comedy, is actually pretty important. A blue-collar Baltimore suburb is split between 'neuters' and 'sex addicts', and a battle starts to rage between the camps. Each is looking to recruit more members, and convert their opponents. People start, by and large, as being neuters, until they receive a blow to the head, which causes, basically, sudden nymphomania. Those who receive this blow to the head, such as Sylvia (Tracy Ullman), the heroine of the story, fall under the spell of RayRay (Johnny Knoxville), a local car mechanic, who doubles as a sort of Christ-like sexual visionary, on a divine quest to find the one remaining sexual position yet undiscovered.

Waters' ability, as seen in most of his previous works, such as 'Pink Flamingos' and 'Hairspray', to create very bizarre characters and give them life, clearly hasn't deserted him here. Ullman and husband Chris Isaak have a daughter, Caprice, played by Selma Blair, with approximately ZZZ sized breasts, while Isaak's mother, Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd), and her assistant Marge The Neuter (Mink Stole), are excellent characterisations of the 'neuter' idea.

Selma Blair's breasts are a pretty impressive technical achievement, all things considered.

Unfortunately for Waters, many of his ideas simply don't gel. The gallery of perversions he offers are as impressive as ever, from a love of dirt to sexualised infantilism, to a love of public masturbation, but the range is in fact so impressive that we spend very little time with each character, meaning it's rather hard to care whether or not they end up allowed to indulge in their fetishes or otherwise. Indeed, frequently the gags fall flat, simply because the fetishes on show start to seem so odd that they almost become other-worldly, and rather disconnected from any reality at all.

A sex-addicts group shot. The Knoxville Disciples!

When not attempting to impress the viewer with his encyclopedic knowledge of fetishism, Waters proves that he can master an excellent joke. Some of the verbal comedy, in particular, is truly hilarious. After hubby Isaak pays a little trip 'downtown' on Ullman, she announces ecstatically, 'now that's what I call sneezing in the cabbage!' Some of the verbal repartee shows a real wit, and it's a bit of a pity there wasn't rather more of that razor-sharp dialogue, and a bit less of the more hit-and-miss physical comedy. Nonetheless, there are genuinely funny moments of physical comedy, such as Chris Isaak's rather delightfully naive astonishment at his neighbours way of answering the door:

The swinging neighbours (Paul DeBoy and Susan Allenback) were amongst the least odd of the streets residents.

It has to be said that Isaak and Ullman were probably the best thing about the film. They actually do have a decent chemistry, and seemed like a plausible-enough couple. This, in itself, was quite fortunate, since some of the other performances lacked a little sparkle. Johnny Knoxville, for example, is a very good looking man, and nobody can deny he really does look the part in a tux, but he still seems wooden to me, and I reckon it'll take him some time to cast the 'Jackass' shackles off. Similarly, Selma Blair seemed rather on autopilot to me, and her segments, which could have been the highlights of the film, instead seemed a rather trivial time-wasting exercise.

Tracy Ullman and Chris Isaak had a good screen rapport, and turned in praiseworthy performances - all the better when you consider acting is not actually what they're primarily known for.

It is in the film's politics that a punch is really packed. Waters provides an well-timed satire on sexual repression, which is as irreverent in its approach to authority figures as you would expect - it is the local police chief, for example, who is the infantilist, and there is a rather childish delight in seeing a fat policeman wearing a nappy and a dummy. By the films conclusion, it would be hard to feel that no blow had been landed upon the rather overly prurient society Waters sees in modern America. Perhaps the most potent attack of all is on the vigilante antics of the neuters, who stir up hatred in the suburb on the basis of hyperbole and lies, ably demonstrating how easy it is for the voice of the extremist to be heard over the voice of the moderate.

The neuters come up with a plan of attack.

In the end, however, the film goes perilously close to failing, mostly because of its finale. While the 'which-way will she end up' plot twisting between neuter-Sylvia and sex-addict Sylvia is interesting to a point, the fact remains that so many characters receive so many bashes to the head by the end of the film that it's rather difficult to remember who is on which side, and when they switched. I was, I have to say, pretty confused, and that fact wasn't helped by the raucous nature of the ending which has the order and the tempo of a particularly violent riot.

Further, there's an enormous plot-hole in the ending which I just have to point out. Sylvia does eventually find the last sex position, which is head-butting, in a sort of fight-of-the-triceratops style. However, if being bashed on the head is the switch between libertineism and prurience, wouldn't every act of this cause the change? This is simply never explained, and it really should have been, because it's so obvious, I can't believe nobody else realised it in continuity.

Still, a nice appearance from The Hoff in an all-crucial cameo.

Ultimately, it's not terribly dirty, and not all that shameful. 'A Dirty Shame' is worth your time, but once you've seen it, you may not be bothered about revisiting.



Tomorrow I'm going to end 'sex season' here on 'Dr Feelgood' with a review of 'A Dirty Shame.' In the meantime, I thought I'd bring you some pictures I've seen recently online that particularly amused me for one reason or other. They're not too shocking, and they certainly aren't erotic, but they probably aren't work-safe.

I've put them on my old blog because I am actually starting to take this blog seriously, and I'm not sure they're wholly befitting a 'serious' blog. Strangely, it's almost exactly one year since I posted the one and only previous entry on that blog.

Anyway, here are the pictures.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Thinking About Tit - Why Don't Celebrities Do Hardcore?

I was reading this post the other day, which raises a fascinating question. Namely, why will no celebrities ever consider doing hardcore, yet never think twice about doing softcore?

At first glance, the answer, for many at least, is obvious - lose respect, cease being seen as a 'family celebrity', become seen as sleazy, a real danger of people losing interest. Yet, for some, there are real and clear advanatges.

Consider, for the sake of argument, that flat-chested, equine-looking, no-good, boring waste of oxygen that is Paris Hilton. On the face of it, she's about as attractive as a toothless Welsh farmer, but people are actually interested in her. Why? Because she was in that video with that rich bloke who no-one remembers the name of, promptly disproving my point. To soldier on, however, it's obvious that her career would simply not exist without the hardcore. No hardcore, no 'House Of Wax.' After all, who would want to see her meet a particularly gory conclusion if they hadn't heard of her?

Other advantages are obvious, too. It would force magazines like Hello! and OK! and all those other needless causes of death for innocent trees to start to earn their keep. They'd end up becoming top-shelf in and of themselves, and the prudes would end up buying Maxim for clean entertainment.

Further, it would quickly become a mania. My celebrity-obsessed work colleagues would finally shut up about which member of Blue has the most tasteless decor in their bathroom, and would talk about something of interest for a change.

Finally, it would surely mean that we never hear from Paris Hilton again - if they all travel down that road, who's going to be interested in the most ugly one?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


A Very British Farce

The other day, I passed comment upon the VAC verdict about nine hardcore sex films whose distributors had applied for 18 certificates, but whose works had received R18 certificates. Since I wrote that piece, more details about the decision have come to light. Further comment upon the decision was made by Mark Kermode here. I want to offer a few thoughts:

'According to the ruling, the Board's guidelines state that in general "if the video work shows simulated sex without graphic detail it will be classed as 18, but if it shows real sex the category will be R18." Yet both 9 Songs, and the Euro-shocker Baise-Moi, were passed at 18 despite containing images of "unsimulated sex", and this, according to the appellants, was proof of an "inconsistency" in the BBFC rulings.'

The Board need to draw up new guidelines for the distinctions between 18 and R18. If they're happy to pass works which contain real sex at 18, provided they have a 'story' then fine. Both 9 Songs and Baise-Moi were correctly certificated, in my view. Certainly, in the case of the latter, where the real sex forms a part of the 'horror' of the piece, selling it in a sex shop would have been to clearly send the message that the images of rape and defilement contained therein were intended to be erotic. If, however, we accept that films like 9 Songs and Baise-Moi should be certificated at 18, then there needs to be very clear explanations as to why, so that if, in future, porn producers wish to get a product on the shelves at 18, they know how far to go. Why, for example, can 9 Songs get an 18, yet Tinto Brass can't? Fascinatingly, when submitted in 2004, the BBFC imposed cuts on Tinto Brass 4, and in their explanation, said:

'The context in which explicit imagery occurs is a key factor in the BBFC’s decisions. But every work is different and it is not possible to list the sort of situations which justify real sex at ‘18’.'

Little help of clarification soon then.

'Referring to the porn tapes, the VAC concluded that they "contain no story line" and "are really nothing except a vehicle to show graphic sex." Viewers of 9 Songs, which consists of a series of graphic sex scenes intercut with rock concert footage and pretty views of Antarctica may be surprised to hear that Winterbottom's self-consciously arty movie actually had a "narrative".'

Too true. Of course porn films are vehicles to show graphic sex - we all know that. The crucial point, however, is that all real sex appears in films self-consciously. Filming real sex, as opposed to simulated sex, requires a whole different approach, and no real sex ever got in a film by accident. Therefore, 9 Songs and Romance are as guilty of being vehicles to show graphic sex as catering For All Tastes - Finger Buffet For Six.

'In his traditionally flamboyant submission, Robertson also made two marvelously ribald assertions which bear repeating. Firstly, he pointed out that masturbation has been proven to reduce incidences of prostate cancer, and since pornography was an aid to masturbation, porn by default effectively "provided protection against prostate cancer". Brilliant!'

Looks like the law of tangential connections at work. I mean, come on: when has porn been needed to masturbate? Whatever happened to a bit of imagination?

'For the moment, the BBFC can relax, safe in the knowledge that it's back to business as usual for the R-18 certificate. As for Ben Dover, presumably he's out there right now, shooting snowbound landscapes and grainy concert footage to splice into Cumming Of Age Volume Three in the hope that someone can be bamboozled into thinking it's art.'

You've just got to love that paragraph.

Anyway, in a rather hilarious twist, some have been proposing that pornographers should start pretending to have stories again. Hmmm. Let's wait and see, shall we?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005



Following the success of alien season here at 'Dr Feelgood', which like all good things was so succesful that I had to apologise for it afterwards, I've decided to run another season. I have a few posts I want to do on one subject, and that subject is - sex! I'll put a film review at the end like last time, too. So turn those frowns upside down, because I'm having a shit week too, but at least thinking about fornication can cause the world's troubles to recede.

'You know, we never did get round to painting this wall last spring.'


An Open Letter To Michael Ledeen

Dear Pillock,

I had a dog's cock of a day yesterday. It was genuinely awful, and I was in a pretty foul mood yesterday evening, when I read your article insinuating that all British people are anti-semitic. To be honest, it was pretty much the shit in the sandwich. I had just found out that, owing to various accidents of timing, I'm going to be spending my birthday by myself - and you think the Jews have problems! - so I wasn't in a great mood for an article that already been described as 'hateful' and 'stupid.'

Let's have a look at what you wrote shall we, you silly palookah?

'It was widely noted, most passionately by the Iraqi blogger Hammorabi, that when Tony Blair reminded the House of Commons that many countries had been scourged by the terrorists in recent years, he omitted Iraq from the list. His speechwriters had Iraq in a different part of their database; Iraqis weren't victims of terrorism in the same way as Brits, Americans, Kenyans, and Indonesians. One's instinct is to let it go as an oversight, but there was another country missing from the list, and this case was somewhat less widely noted: Israel. And at this point, one is forced to do some thinking. What do these two countries have in common, that they should both be ignored in the British government's response to the London attacks?'

Ah, so we start with a profound misunderstanding of how MPs see themselves, and a considerable lack of knowledge of how electoral politics in Britain works. Might it conceivably be that Blair left Iraq off the list because he correctly believes that most of his countrymen hold him responsible for the terrorism in Iraq? Their belief may or may not be correct, but a belief it is, and it doesn't take too much to link the invasion of Iraq and the terrorism thereafter - again, whether correctly or otherwise. By contrast, you'd have to hate Blair rather more than most Brits do to hold him responsible for terrorism in Kenya.

As for Israel, is it just a possibility that the reason it was left off the list is that everybody knows that terrorism goes on all the time in Israel, and the public just take it as read? There's no chance that you're making mountains out of flat plains is there?

'In the growing recent literature about Great Britain's appeasement of Islamic terrorists over the past decade and more, we've come to understand that London was, in many ways, the epicenter of the terror network.'

You might have leapt to that conclusion, but I certainly haven't, and I don't believe that most other commentators have either. Britain certainly hasn't 'appeased' terrorists - 'appeasement' is what we did to Hitler. I have the horrible suspicion that what you mean by appeasement is that we haven't stopped freedom of speech for imams preaching horrible stuff, or that we haven't started deporting people convicted of terrorism offences in absentia back to lands where they were unlawfully convicted. You might call this appeasement - I call this 'the rule of law.'

'Terrorists wanted in other countries were given safe haven in the United Kingdom, and the most amazingly hateful language was spewed out, openly and proudly, by various sheikhs and imams, all left to incite the faithful to terrible acts against innocent people the world over.'

Yes, I was right. Don't you just hate that horrible freedom of speech? Wait a moment, I thought you septics had something similar, written down somewhere. On something you hold pretty dear. What was it? Ah yes. The start of your fucking constitution, that's where.

Next, let's a do a compare and contrast. In this sentence, you accuse Brits of 'disdain' for Arabs:

'Moreover, there was a traditional disdain of the Arabs, born out of long experience and expressed in open doubt that "those people" would ever constitute a serious threat, or indeed anything serious.'

Ok, I get it. One moment though - in your previous sentence you wrote:

'There was a reluctance to offend "the Arabs," the richest of whom had long used London as a home away from the sand, and as their financial and banking center of choice.'

If the phrase 'home away from the sand' doesn't say disdain, I don't know what does. Furthermore, don't get me started on the scare quotes around 'the Arabs.' Let's carry on though, shall we?

'Further, there was a long tradition of open and boisterous political speech, which reflexively protected even terrorist preachers from official rebuke or punishment.'

This is called freedom of speech. My ancestors fought fucking hard to get that freedom, so I don't need your stupid septic sniping from overseas destroying it.

'The final component of British blindness on the subject of the Middle East is one we are not supposed to talk about in good company: the Jews. Yet I don't know any country this side of the Levant in which there has been so much anti-Semitism, so many complaints that "Zionists," "Likudniks," "Jewish hawks," and — the single epithet that sums up all of the above — "neocons" had manipulated America and its poodle Blair into the ghastly blunder of Iraq.'

Fuck off. My company is amazing, and you can talk to me about the Jews if you please. Further, I have simply never heard anyone in this country ever use the words 'zionist', 'likudnik' or the phrase 'Jewish hawk.' Not once. Not ever. I don't believe I have a single friend, colleague or occasional acquaintance who believes that some sinister Jewish conspiracy forced Blair into the war in Iraq. Further, I think that's a gross and disgusting allegation, and both unfair, untrue and uncalled-for. If you had the faintest decency, you'd never have written anything again after that sentence.

Sadly, you carried on:

'The BBC has devoted hours of radio and television to slanderous misrepresentations of places like the American Enterprise Institute, where I sit, and of such Jewish luminaries as Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz. Sometimes it seemed one was reading translations from the Saudi or Egyptian or Iranian press, so total was the hatred of the Jews.'

I'm no expert in libel law, but I should think you could have a case to answer for the accusation that the BBC have a 'total hatred of the Jews.' What's more, it simply clearly isn't true. Further, if you seriously believe that a news organisation taking an editorial slant of dislike against a think-tank seriously constitutes anti-semitism, then I think it may be time for you step out of your cocoon and into the real world.

'This fit [sic] nicely with the desire of the British establishment to carry on their special relationship with some Arab leaders, and many British elites often seemed a micro-step away from saying that the world would be a better place if only Israel weren't there. The Middle East would be so much easier, you know. And when London was bombed, you can be sure — indeed you can read it — many of these people blamed Israel and the Jews, both those in the Middle East and those in New York and Washington.'

Prove it. You offer no proof that this accusation can be read, you link to no articles, no speeches, no memos, no anecdotes about what some bloke said in a Westminster toilet. Nothing. Zip, niet, nada, niente. So, once again, I'm afraid I'm going to have to treat this allegation as a lie, and further evidence of your disconnect with reality.

'Indeed, within minutes of the attack, a story appeared according to which the Israelis had advance notice, and had instructed Finance Minister Netanyahu to stay put, instead of going to give a speech. The story was as false as the one according to which Israelis had stayed away from the World Trade Center on 9/11, but they both reflected a state of mind. An anti-Semitic mind.'

A story 'appeared', did it? I never heard any such story, but I don't live in Westminster village, so ok. However, even if such a story did appear, which I doubt, do you seriously believe that is conclusive proof that British people are anti-semitic? Get a grip.

'All too many Brits (as some Americans, albeit far fewer) would prefer to devote their national energies to the elimination or "taming" of Israel, and, as they see it, the silencing of their own Jews, rather than fighting Islamic terrorism.'

What I want to know is how can you conceivably write this crap for a supposedly respectable website and not be forced resign, or at least issue an apology? The number of Brits who believe that we should eliminate Israel is almost none at all. Maybe a few people in the BNP, and the memberships of a couple of extremist Islamist groups, but no-one else. The reason being that British people are not heartless bastards, and by and large would prefer to see Israel and Palestine live peacefully side-by-side. That is, when they express an opinion. Fortunately, unlike America, most British people couldn't give a toss about the Middle East, which is just as well since thinking about it for too long clearly turns people into monomaniacs, as evidenced by, ooh, I don't know, yourself. You make a serious mistake by confusing apathy with hatred. Unsurprisingly, you're seeing what you want to see.

'Iraqis — the New Jews?'

In a word, no.

'In the enormous hate literature directed against the neocons, Ahmed Chalabi is part and parcel of the anti-Semites' hateful vision. No matter that he is a Shiite, and no matter that he was rudely dismissed by the Israeli government before Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was in cahoots with the Jewish cabal, and was therefore "one of them."'

What the hell are you wittering about?

'When is the last time you read anything about the incredible performance of the State of Israel, similarly under siege and similarly stressed by the crisis that surrounds it?'

Well, every time I read the crap a writer such as yourself comes up with. If, however, you mean by British people, I can tell you exactly. I read a whole load of glowing tributes about Israel after the bomb in 'Mike's Place' in Tel Aviv. So there.

'It is therefore not surprising that Iraq and Israel were omitted from Blair's list; it is a symptom of the corrupt and self-destructive patterns of emotion (I will not call it "thought") that led Great Britain to house a vast terrorist infrastructure.'

Because British people don't think? We're mindless automatons? Impulsive creatures like the worm? Further, we don't house a 'vast terrorist infrastructure.' Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

'This sickness is certainly not limited to Great Britain; we find it here as well, in such personages as Pat Buchanan and Juan Cole, along with their acolytes. But in America, by and large, such venom is relegated to the margins, probably because American Jews are a lot feistier than their British co-religionaries (think timid).'

I find it pretty astonishing that you go from taking offence on behalf of British Jews at the start of this stupid column to insulting them at the end. Is it possible that British Jews are a little more politically 'timid' because they are smaller in number, as opposed to some pathetic pansiness on their behalf, which you seem to be implying?

'And so it is. The absolutist interpretation of the First Amendment — free speech extends even to license — stops us from taking proper steps to shut down the terror factories. Justice Holmes taught us that the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and that no one has the right to scream "fire" in a crowded theater. London taught us that these principles require vigorous application.'

I've got to admit, I was impressed by this conclusion. if you're going to write a very stupid column indeed, you need to end it with a spectacular bang of stupidity - and you did it! Firstly, you attack freedom of speech. Then you take one judicial judgement made many decades ago, and apply it to today's very different world. Finally, you completely misunderstand what the London bombings 'taught us.'


Friday, July 22, 2005



Had a bad few days. I'm British, and we're part of the EU, obviously. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to Denmark. Consequently, I have to be in possession of an 'E111' form so I can be treated should I fall ill. This has been standard proceedure for years, but recently the form has changed. Instead of a form you just filled in and then had signed, it is now read by a machine. This means that, when filling in the form, you have to meet certain requirements. All you need to do is write your address, but:

1) The first time I altered a number, because my '5's look like my '6's. This wasn't allowed.
2) The second time one of my numbers went slightly outside it's box. This wasn't allowed.
3) The third time I wrote it in blue ink. This wasn't allowed.
4) The fourth time my writing was 'too faint.' This wasn't allowed.
5) The fifth time I didn't allow enough room for my National Insurance number. This wasn't allowed.
6) Lastly, I finally completed it in a permissable fashion, and promptly lost it.

When I finally handed in an acceptable copy, both me and the lady at the Post Office were heartily sick of each other. I hate officialdom.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Ashes To Ashes

Cricket buff Norm reckons England are going to win the Ashes, which of course start tomorrow.

Me, I wish I was coming to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, I reckon that the Australian bowlers now have our top order pretty-well pegged. Watching Marcus Trescothick face Glenn McGrath is like watching a miscreant schoolboy shuffling before a disciplinarian headmaster.

By contrast, our own bowlers have been relying upon rather more luck in getting people out. Of course, Test matches are very, very different, and the one bright spot for us is having Hoggard up our sleeve. If we do do as the Professor predicts, it'll be in large part because of him.

No pressure then.

Meanwhile, read this preview, because it's much better than I can manage.

One thing I do know is, it'll be damn good television, no matter who wins.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


We Don't Mind You Showing Fucking On Film, As Long As It's French Or Pretentious Or Both

Well, the decision has been made, and it's what I predicted. The Video Appeals Committee have ruled that nine films that were rated R18 by the BBFC, after requesting an 18 certificate, were correctly certified, and may only be sold in licensed sex shops.

This excellent piece by film critic Mark Kermode was written before the verdict. Read it.

As he says, 'they're going to have to explain why Michael Winterbottom can show people shagging on tape, but Ben Dover can't.' Too right they are. Just a couple of weeks ago, the BBFC passed '9 Songs' uncut 18 on video. As anyone who has seen the film will attest, it consists of little more than hardcore sex with the nine songs of the title interspersed within. Given the censors complete ease with Winterbottom's work, we have to wonder what it is that the producers of the nine films appealing (Lubed, The Secrets Of The Karma Sutra, Ben Dover - Cumming Of Age Volume Two, Heart Of Darkness, Queensway Trailers, Dungeon Diva 2, Semi-Detached, Catering For All Tastes - Finger Buffet For Six and L'Elisir d'Amour) did to deserve their hypocritical classification.

The obvious answer has to be that, unlike Winterbottom's work, or Catherine Breillat's 'Romance', which got only a token cut, these films aren't considered 'art' by the BBFC. Yet why are '9 Songs' or 'Romance' considered art? They're both crap. Is it because one is French, and the other was at Cannes? Is it because most broadsheet film critics are so out of touch with the world of R18 that they know they can get a free pass, as long as they give '18s' to the hardcore sex films that have forced themselves across the critics radar by appearing at festivals or applying for wide cinematic release?

Not so long ago, the indispensable Kermode criticised the BBFC for taking such a contradictory line about 'Last House On The Left', insisting on more cuts than were previously enforced, at the same time as passing 'Irreversible' uncut. The suspicion at the time, and clearly it was right, is that the BBFC will treat films differently depending on whether or not they feel it is 'art.'

I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. One man's art is another man's trash, as any fool knows. I can't stand most modern art, but Charles Saatchi clearly sees a lot in it. By a similar token, no matter how the film turns out, all films are made of basic components, like building blocks. If one film features hardcore sex, and so does another, if you strip them down to the bare bones, both contain a hardcore sex scene. One could be brilliant, one rubbish, but they contain the same building block.

Ultimately, I'm not too angry at the verdict. I'm disappointed, of course, but in reality the situation is simply the same as yesterday - we haven't gone backwards, at least. However, what I want, and what I suspect the producers of softer hardcore want, is clarification. Simply, what is permissable at 18, and in what context?

Here to stay.


Mr Faggot's Brains

You will, I'm sure, vividly recollect yesterday's post about faggots, amongst other things. Well, I undertook some research about 'Mr Brain's' for you, ably assisted by 'Anonymous' in the comments for that post.

What I found was this.

The company who made said faggots, Hibernia Foods, went into receivership. A deal was underway in an attempt to save jobs. Did it work? Who knows.

Anyway, since Hibernia Foods were bought by Kerry Foods in December 2003, it probably means that the Doody family were the first and last 'Faggot Family.' I love this story.

First of all, a little background. Yesterday, I wrote:

''Mr. Brain's Faggots.' Call me childish, but I was laughing for fully five minutes after reading that. I haven't a clue what they're on about, but it's still creasing me up.'

I should like to make something clear. I wasn't meaning the faggots themselves - I know what a faggot is, I'm from the Black Country. I was referring to the brand itself.

Now, on to the article.

The Doody's. Boy, do they love faggots!

They even look like they come from Wolverhampton. Anyway, this family won the right to represent Mr Brain's throughout 2003.

'The Doody family were chosen to front the campaign after impressing judges at the Savoy Hotel in London in November.

They displayed their fanaticism for the delicacy during quizzes, role-plays and mock commercials.'

What kind of parents put their kids through the mill of appearing in role-plays based around faggots? Even if it weren't for the constant double-entendre, it would still be just a little sad. Furthermore: they held this competition at the Savoy? No big premieres that week then.

'The family, including Lewis, 13, and Grace, 7, eat faggots twice a week, with mashed potato and mushy peas, and will be launching the awareness campaign on Tuesday at Liverpool University, followed by visits this week to Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.'

Still, it all became worthwhile for the Faggot Road Trip!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Identity Crisis

One of the most difficult to bear aspects of recent events has been watching people who don't live in Britain empathising with some fictional, make-believe land that doesn't actually exist. Take this post, for example. I do appreciate the sentiment, honestly I do, but this list has about as much to do with life in modern Britain as John Major's witterings about maids on bycicles and cricket on the village lawn did a decade ago.

A quick glance at the list reveals why. Goofy hats? Who wears goofy hats? If he means, as I think he does, bowlers, the only people who wear them are people in indie bands attempting an 'ironic cool' look. Gone are the days when your bank manager wore one. Gone are the days, too, of mad cows. I know this made us rather famous for a while, but to take one example, I'm pretty sure that 'things that live in the wild' (by which I mean flora and fauna in total, not just cattle or anything) are more likely to be actually edible here than, say, Australia, yet nobody spends way too much time on copy about ciguatera or dengue fever or whatever.

Similar story about The Beatles. Two are dead, one doesn't make music any more, and the fourth is a very rich nonentity. Let's move on. Beefeaters? This matters to non-Londoners how?

To be fair to the writer, however, the list they produced is considerably better than those of some of the commenters. Here are some of the highlights:

1) 'Occam.' I actually had to Google this. It appears to be something to do with a razor, though fuck knows what. This is one of the best things about Britain?

2) 'Guy Fawkes.' It's pretty funny that someone thought this was a great aspect to Britain, but even more funny that it was deleted by the blog owner as being 'a bit offensive.' You know, four hundred years after the Gunpowder Plot, I think we're over it.

3) 'Tweed with patches on the elbows.' I think you'll find this is the province of the slightly too-liberal substitute teacher everywhere, not just Britain.

4) 'I like Beefeaters. I have family that raises beef.' I love this one, because if it's sincere, it's so daft that it's hilarious, and if it's a joke, it's so bad you've got to laugh at the writer anyway.

5) 'Lyle's Golden Syrup.' This reminded me of that 'Fast Show' sketch where Ron Manager talks about how things were better in the olden days, as he always did, and he mentions 'Bartlett's Pear Halves.' There's nothing quite like food product nostalgia.


6) 'Mr. Brain's Faggots.' Call me childish, but I was laughing for fully five minutes after reading that. I haven't a clue what they're on about, but it's still creasing me up.

That only goes half way down the comments. You may wish to go further in order to find out from Johnny Foreigner just exactly what it is he loves so much about Britain. If it's better than number six, though, I'll eat my toes.

In fairness, however, instead of just carping from the sidelines, I thought I'd provide the definitive list of the few things to be thankful for in modern Britain:

1) Marmite.
2) Pub crawling.
3) Me.
4) Cynicism.
Most important of all,
5) Alan Partridge.

That's it, really.

Take the left-overs from vinegar making. Add salt. Sell as a sandwich spread. If we can be nationalistic about anything, Marmite is it.


In Praise Of Sam Leith

I was reading the paper the other day, and it occurred to me that Sam Leith is the best writer at the Telegraph. Despite his fresh-faced, yet still somehow disturbing picture, which makes him look like a rather over-earnest door-to-door soap salesman, he almost always comes up with the goods. This, in particular, is excellent. How can you beat it? I spent most of last week drafting a film review of 'The Descent', which I absolutely loved, and Leith has come up with a far more interesting passage using about 5% of the words. Not only that, but he name-checks Stephen King's excellent book 'Danse Macabre' too.

Can you name one other writer at the Telly, except for film reviewers, who could actually enjoy a gory horror? More to the point, could you name one anywhere on Fleet Street?

He then goes on with a sensible attitude to the old Wayne/Colleen business. Amazing.

Yet there I was, thinking this was unbeatable, when I read another that beat it. With all the continual, boring, boring, boring, oh so boring droning on about religion, and particularly Islam after 7/7, who should write the following, which is not just exactly how I feel about religion, but also expressed infinitely better:

'For my money, the oldest and most pernicious form of kipple is spiritual kipple - and it was very much in evidence in the aftermath of the bombings. We got the old "Islam is a religion of peace" routine - and, in most of its manifestations, I guess it is. It's not the "peace" bit that's the important operator, though; it's the "religion" bit. There's nothing wrong with Islam that isn't, for my money, wrong with any system that gives God (as it chooses to understand him) a leading role in moral decision making.

The benevolent manifestations of religious conviction (church fêtes, charitable giving, love for one's fellow man and so on) and its malevolent manifestations (putting bombs on buses, burning the evil spirits out of eight-year-old girls with cigarette ends and so on) are a world apart in practice, but identical in principle.

The fact that moderate Islam and Anglican Christianity both look a lot like liberal humanism is, we can all agree, a mighty relief. But in both cases, the moral code is predicated on an appeal to something other than the human. That's what makes them religions.

And that's what - with the final court of moral appeal not here, not subject to negotiation - makes them no more answerable to their fellow man for the bad than for the good. We're constantly asked to "respect" people's faiths. "Tolerate" is as far as I'd go. Nonkipple needs to push back.'

Let's just repeat that for emphasis: '"tolerate" is as far as I'd go.' How come this man is a columnist, and not replacing any of the dunderheads who run this country? He definitely needs at least a website of his own.

I'm all out of snark today, so witty captions in the comments please!

Monday, July 18, 2005


I Honestly Think You'd Look Better On Death Row

I was reading this post, and in particular this comment, when a memory hit me of something I'd been meaning to moan about for absolutely ages.

I should think that there are few people in the world who go to the cinema quite as often as I do without it being their job. I usually go five times a week, although I've been a bit slack lately. In the time I've been doing this, I've noticed certain facts about cinema-going. Firstly, there is simply no way of knowing, after a films first night or two, which films will be busy and at what times.

Secondly, and most importantly, seeing a film with a big crowd is guaranteed to spoil your enjoyment. I'm honestly coming to the conclusion that if, by the time the film starts, the auditorium is full, I might as well leave and come back later. I can trace many of the films I've hated, and I saw most with a big audience. The worst case was 'The Edukators', which I thought was hateful tripe, particularly because it was political, and it proposed an ideology without ever even bothering to challenge it. Nonetheless, there were a couple of laughs in one section of the film, which were completely ruined by the lady next to me. For starters, she was grotesquely fat, which had pushed me onto the very edge of my seat, practically falling into the aisle. Worse, though, was her laugh. She didn't even laugh properly, she snickered. I couldn't have found her more hideous if she'd performed a striptease.

Still, she was just the worst of a bad bunch. Nearly everyone in the cinema was a student, and because the film was one of the most left-wing you'll ever see, they all felt the need to validate their own political views by continually chortling at lines that weren't even slightly funny. By the end, I was so angry, I was gripping the bottom of the seat, and when I got outside, a knuckle inspection revealed they were completely white. I didn't get any colour back for hours.

It isn't just laughing that annoys me, however. Obviously, talking is dreadful, and I would welcome bringing back capital punishment for offenders, and don't even get me started on people who scream in horror films. Worse than those, though, is people who go to the toilet. I drink a lot in my life, but I will not drink alcohol before going to a movie because I don't want to ruin the fun of everyone else. If, by some accident of fate, I have had a couple, I'll only sit in the back row. I saw 'War Of The Worlds' the other day, and I quite enjoyed it, but I'd have gotten much, much more out of it if the blokes in the row in front didn't keep going to the bathroom. They talked a lot too. Unbelievably, at one point, one of them got up to scratch his arse. Had I a pump-action, I'd have blown him away.

I, on the other hand, just don't make trouble. Even if I'm watching a comedy on telly with my mates, I try not to laugh out loud. I very rarely do, actually. I find many things absolutely hilarious, but to watch me you wouldn't know it.

The next time I'm in a job interview, I'm going to list that as my main quality.


Unemployed? Help Nigella!

I've finally started a new job, but I don't work Mondays, so today seems an excellent chance to see Nigella Lawson's new TV show. It is, of course, aimed at a female audience, but so what? It's being panned, and I feel sorry for her. Besides which, it doesn't seem to be completely hated. The last, and most important reason, of course, is that she's well fit.

I don't know how much money those teeth cost, but it was money well spent!


I'm A Big Enough Man . . .

The other week, during the start of my alien season, I wrote a post about favourite alien films. The post was, as a considerable number of my posts are, written when drunk. During the course of the post, I described one particular reviewer ('bob the moo') on IMDb as its 'idiot-in-residence.'

Hold that though for a moment, while I divert for a second. Even longer ago, I wrote another post, about the screening of 'Deep Throat.' After posting it, it was pointed out to me that I had called Brighton 'Brigton', and so I went back and corrected it. Afterwards, I was at the pub with these fellows, and they pointed out to me that if I was to go on about freedom of speech and suchforth, it behove me not to go about changing posts after they were published. I considered this, and agreed with them. Now, after posts such as this, I can hardly go back.

So, anyway, after calling someone an idiot, I felt little guilt. I couldn't change it now, it was on record, and anyway the poor fellow would never read it.

Today, I found an email in my Inbox from him. It would appear that his mate had read the post and alerted him to its presence. I'm not going to go through all the contents the email, because I haven't asked his permission, but suffice to say he was actually pretty friendly about the situation. I was mighty impressed. Two points struck me:

1) It would appear that I have more readers than I previously thought. The post in question doesn't seem to appear high on any search engine listings, so it would seem his mate is an actual reader here. I had always fondly imagined that I had about half a dozen readers, since I only get comments from about that number. I must be popular. Yay!

2) If the tables had been turned, and it had been him calling me an idiot, the email in his Inbox would not only not have been civil, it would have been full of threats about burning down his house. Consequently, I have to say I'm somewhat humbled by his niceness.

All in all, he seems a reasonable bloke.

With bad taste in films.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


'Dr Feelgood' Not Going Global

I have a sudden problem. I was going to Global Gathering, but my friend has decided she doesn't want to, and if she doesn't, I can't, so now I have a ticket I need to get rid of. Do any of you schlubs fancy a one-night ticket to a pretty decent dance festival? I'm willing to sell well below asking price.

If you do, send me an email by about eleven tomorrow morning, and I'll send it to you. If not, I shall have to run the eBay gauntlet, and I really don't wanna do that.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Time's Up At The Trailer Park

Apparently, Eminem is going to stop making music. I think I speak for everyone with an ounce of taste when I say, 'we'll live.'

No matter how hard he tried, he just never was frightening. Compare and contrast:

Cecilie De France models 'circular saw chic' in 'High Tension.' Now, that's frightening!

Part of the reason, I reckon, is just how establishment our trailer-park friend always was. Check it out:

Everyone was proud when Mathers won the election for control of the Municipal Waste Disposal Board.

Still, he did make a shed load of cash. Fair play, then.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Just What The Hell Does 'You Can't Have A Knees-Up Without a Joanna' Mean, Anyway?

Undountedly the best parts of the Internet are those which are so astonishingly useless. My new favourite time-waster is 'The Dialectizer', which takes the address of any site you give it, and turns the contents into any of several dialects, like Redneck, Cockney or Moron. This is, for a while at least, deeply funny. Here am I in Cockney. To sample:

'Here's the idea: evry geezer 'as the bleedin' same annual carbon quota. Any fuel yer use above and beyond yor quota, the government charge yer frough the bleedin' nose for. It were obvious from the get-go that this would be tacked onto the chuffin' Identity Card. I find it pretty amazin' that the government 'aven't even managed ter get the Identity Card bill passed, yet already they're dreamin' up new uses for it. Yer can't 'ave a knees-up wivout a joanna.'

I'm so glad I don't live in London. I couldn't stand all that 'awright guv?' cheeriness. One of the few good things about Dudley is that everyone here is deeply miserable and cynical. I love 'em to bits.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Nanny, Could You Turn The TV Down For Me?

This is beyond ridiculous. Apparently, Five's advert breaks were 'too loud' during the screening of 'Groundhog Day', according to the ASA (previously discussed here).

Apparently, the possibility that people could turn the volume down on their sets simply never occured to them in the decision.

Remind me: just what is the purpose of the Advertising Standards Authority?


'Thunder Horse' Falls At First Hurdle

I must say, I do love a really good, really expensive disaster.

According to reports, the platform is 'listing.' I'd say 'fucked' would be more appropriate.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


God, I'm Bored

I really haven't got much to say at the moment. How about a joke?

A Welsh/New Zealandish/Canadian/hick of your choice farmer comes into the bedroom. His wife is lying on the bed. The farmer has a sheep under his arm. Suddenly, he says, 'you see, this is the pig I have to sleep with when your not around.' 'You fucking idiot', his wife replies, 'that's a sheep.' 'I was talking to the sheep', says the farmer.

That was a bit shit, wasn't it?

Hopefully, I'll think of something to say soon. Hold on in there. I'll be back later.


Pubic Examination

It would seem, from afar, as if the Aussie 'Big Brother' is distinctly more interesting than our own, to judge from this story. The offending details:

'The camera zooms in on housemate Christie singing the national anthem in the shower while shaving her bikini line.

Later, two of the male housemates use the same shower to indulge in displays of genital origami.

Rita, one of the new "intruders" in the house, is in the lounge room trying to impress the boys with her talent for noisily expelling air from a certain part of her body.

In another room, Vesna, one of the other female housemates, lies on a bed plucking at her bikini line and share intimate conversations about personal hygiene.

After an hour of simulated sex, sex talk and profanity, and minutes devoted to toilet humour and pranks, the 9.40pm show ends with two of the girls using their microphone battery packs as sex toys.'

Shaving, masturbating and, um, farting. If only ours were as interesting. It's been so dull the last few days. I might even have to give up watching it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


What Do Marla Sokoloff, Victoria Koblenko, Fantasia Barrino, Samantha Mumba and Christina Aguilera Have In Common?

If you answered, 'Dr Feelgood hasn't slept with any of them', you'd be right. Of course, where you would be wrong is that I should be sleeping with them. Why? Well, my biorythms say I should, that's why. See, the handy folks at CelebMatch can tell you based upon nothing but the oh-so scientific basis of your birthday. The lucky ladies (or gentlemen's!) appropriateness is expressed in percentage points. Like so:

Marla Sokoloff99%Victoria Koblenko99%Fantasia Barrino98%Samantha Mumba98%Christina Aguilera98%

(Actually, you get the results in a little table, but man have I been struggling to reproduce that!)

As you can imagine, the obscurity of some of these characters meant that I had to call in all the power of IMDb to sort me out.

1) Turns out that Marla Sokoloff is an actress, who has appeared in a bunch of films I've not seen. She's marginally attractive, although the she does look about thirteen. Apparently, we have 100% intellectual compatability. Not of we have to talk about one of her early works, 'Dude, Where's My Car?', we don't. It's one of the worst films ever made.

2) Victoria Koblenko is basically not a celebrity. Her entire canon of work is a Dutch TV programme, and some piece of neo-feminist garbage called 'Stille Nacht', which sounds like 'I Spit On Your Grave', but not as much fun. Since she has no picture either, I think I'll give her a miss.

3) Fantasia Barrino apparently won American Idol 3. That's a bit of a turn-off to start with. As is the fact that she looks like she might give me a powerful right hook if I were ever to annoy her. She looks terrifyingly boxer-ish. Still, if she can actually sing, I suppose that would be okay - I do like a woman with a powerful voice.

4) Samantha Mumba is the first one I've actually heard of. She had a few minor hits, and has since been acting in films I've never heard of. She's damn good looking, though.


5) Christina! God, Christina. I'm not gonna pretend I'm a fan of the whole Mousketeer thing, and not particularly of the whole trampy slut thing either, but she is pretty gorgeous. Let's put it this way - I wouldn't say no. Why?

Ah, the old bin-bag-with-tassles look. Still, just remember I have 100% physical compatability with that rack. Score!

There isn't just good news, however. I only have 80% compatability with the world's most fantastic woman, Franka Potente. Bugger. Still, I have good intellectual compatability, so I could at least hold a conversation with her, even if I'd be shit in the sack.

Beautiful. I love you, Franka!

There's more bad news, too: I'd make a crap gay man, since my best matches would be Ashley Cole and Robbie Keane. I'd be a footballer's husband. Ugh!


'Thoroughly Conventional Four'

God save me, I do love a good trashing. Particularly when an especially annoying acquaintance of mine is praying for it to be great because, sad bastard that he is, he loves the comics.

Doesn't look good, mate!

Life was bad for Bill. Not only was the caked-on mud impossible to get off, but now he'd got constipation as well.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Your Sordid Tales Won't Be Slytherin My Snitch, You Can Be Sure Of That

Of course, I'm sure you will by now be aware that there is yet another book about that accursed Potter. It's out in just a few weeks, and the hype is predictably huge. I live not far from a shopping mall. The mall opens at nine in the morning, and closes at nine at night. Simple. However, Potter is changing all that. Now the book shop have been granted a special licence to open at midnight on the day of its release in order that people, who presumably can't wait the eight or nine hours until the shops open in the morning, can get it hot off the press. It's not a book, it's a public spectacle - nay, a public orgy.

One thing sadly lacking amongst the hype, however, is 'Potter porn.' Seriously. Try and read as much of it as you can. I got through about five emails (don't they use owls at Hogwarts, anyway?) before vomiting in the wastepaper basket. I'd be impressed by anyone getting any further - it's rather like Lewis and Clarke negotiating the (literary) wilderness.


Maxed Out

So, Maxwell is evicted. This, after I advised getting rid of Science the other day. Yet again, the public ignore my sound advice. Gah!

Gooner goodbye!



The other day, I wrote at a decent length praising the BBFC. Yet for all the good work done there, another regulatory body in Britain is frequently the negative opposite. That body is, of course, the Advertising Standards Authority, and it is frequently the source of some pretty ridiculous decisions.

The latest of these is the decision to insist upon the new Fanta Z advert being screened only after the watershed.

Apparently, it received the grand total of 272 complaints, including one from a headteacher who claimed it had caused copycat behaviour in his school (yeah, right).

What's the big offence? Well, it shows a few people spitting. In modern Britain, it seems, this is beyond the pale, and kids, who of course always copy exactly everything that's on the screen in front of them, are sure to turn into surly, badtempered degenerate cretins because of it. Surely that's obvious?

Anyway, to do your bit to make this decision a bit less nannying than it is, watch the advert.

Scientists were gobsmacked when they discovered a couple who pee through their mouths.


Cognitive Connections

I met a fellow yesterday by the name of Chhatchhi. Remind you of anything?

Anne Uumellmahaye, the ideal partner for Dr Hfuhruhurr.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


twenty20 Vision

So I went to the twenty20 game between Warwickshire Bears and Worcestershire Royals on Friday. The game was astonishing - I'd never been to a twenty20 game before, but after Worcestershire pulled a victory out of the bag, after apparently throwing away an apparently unassailable lead, in the driving rain, I must confess I'm hooked.

Warwickshire, who were batting second, required 23 runs of the last over to win. Nadeem Malik bowled a no-ball, and then two dreadful balls which Heath Streak rightly thumped for six. By one ball left, Warwickshire required two, but were run out one run short. Amazing. There was literally something of everything - a dozen sixes, a score or more boundaries, several run-outs, some great bowling, particularly from Streak for Warwickshire and Mason for Worcestershire, and two dropped catches in the rain. I really hope it catches on all over the rest of the world, because I hear all the arguments about it lacking purity and suchforth, but it really is just great fun, and I've never seen Edgbaston so full when England aren't playing.

While on the topic of cricket, what about that final on Saturday? For the second time this year, England take a one-day game that they seem to have lost to the final ball, and pull a draw out of the hat, after the previous occasion against South Africa when Kabir (Kabeer?) Ali bowled the-over-from-hell-that-ascended-to-heaven. This time was even more dramatic, partly because of the occasion, but mostly because of the opposition for nothing, nothing feels as good as pulling a victory from the grasp of the Aussies.

I was doing cartwheels.



I can't decide whether I want Maxwell or Science to be evicted from 'Big Brother.' On the one hand, it would be quite nice in a saccharine sort of a way for Maxwell to be evicted so he can get back to Saskia, who according to today's Sun (sadly not online) is really missing him (who cares? She's got a two-page spread of her in lingerie, and plenty of bitchiness. Marvellous!) . On the other, the longer she has to wait, the more likely that topless magazine deal sounds. Also, Science deserves to go firstly, for being an annoying, argumentative cock who starts rows for the sake of it, and secondly for dubbing himself 'Citizen Science.'

Some things are just unforgivable.


Hateful Spiel From The Daily Mail

One of the joys of being interested in censorship issues, and film ratings, in Britain is the sight of our moral guardians inevitable apoplexy after they lose yet another controversial decision.

This guilty pleasure comes home to roost, however, when suddenly the tables turn, and certain of the more reactionary parts of Fleet Street get nasty in their own inimitable way. The set-up is this: the BBFC, the classification body for film in Britain, have awarded a '12A' certificate to Steven Spielberg's adaptation of 'War Of The Worlds.' I wrote a little about the 12A/12 certification issue here.

Basically, the Daily Mail have become upset because they feel that the film is too violent for a classification that potentially means under twelves can see the film on the big screen.

That, by itself, would be fair enough. I don't agree, but then nobody would expect me to. I have no problem with the Daily Mail being angered by a film rating - after all, I get angry about them too, though always the other way around. What I can get angry about, however, is their attempt to 'name and shame' the examiners responsible. This is outrageous behaviour, and should be condemned. The BBFC is more than open to criticism, and as the quote from the Mail itself makes clear, is prepared to have its director answerable for all decisions.

Contrary to popular opinion, the BBFC is an excellent classification body, better than, to the best of my knowledge, any other anywhere in the world. Not only does ot run its own excellent website, far better than, for example, the MPAA, which gives no information on controversial decisions at all, but it also runs two other websites, the Childrens BBFC, which is a wonderful little website for kids interested in film, and the Student BBFC, which is designed for film students and other, older folk with plenty of information on recent and historical controversial decisions. As is pointed out here ('the BBFC are the most open and transparent of regulators' - fully agreed - Ed) and here (once again, 'the BBFC are actually very open and transparent, and more than willing to give reasoned responses to any of their decisions') and here (finally, 'the BBFC who, for all their faults, do provide in-depth answers to questions about policy and decisions'), no film regulatory body in the world is as open to outside scrutiny.

The real disappointment is that a bunch of MPS have got in on it, demanding naming and shaming too. This disgusting behaviour by supposedly responsible elected representatives is precisely the reason I spoiled my ballot in the election.


'Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire, Gimme That Which I Desire!'*

The ever-helpful British government have come up with a new way to make my life a misery. The latest idea from the Brains Trust down in Westminster is a personal 'carbon allowance.'

Here's the idea: everyone has the same annual carbon quota. Any fuel you use above and beyond your quota, the government charge you through the nose for. It was obvious from the get-go that this would be tacked onto the Identity Card. I find it pretty amazing that the government haven't even managed to get the Identity Card bill passed, yet already they're dreaming up new uses for it.

According to the particular group of unelected busybodies this latest scam has emerged from, the Sustainable Development Commission, it would provide a "virtually guaranteed" way of reducing fossil fuel emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

According to Elliot Morley, the minister responsible, we should not be afraid to "think the unthinkable." Since Elliot appears to be great at thinking, I've come up with a little question for him. Why do you think the idea was 'unthinkable' in the first place?

There's some excellent analysis here. Here, I think, is the money quote:

'For some time now there has been a hubbub of grumbling among the chattering classes about the vulgarity of "cheap air travel" with its attendant and intended benefit (or, in their eyes, problem) of modest earners being able to jet off to all manner of exotic destinations at the drop of a hat. "But it's destroying the planet!" they all exclaim. This is not, I should add, a charge which is ever levelled at the organisers of global rock-concerts for Africa despite the fact that just distributing the various members of the Rockocracy to their appointed warbling-posts consumes enough energy to light up a medium-sized land mass.'

'But saving the planet is not the point or the object. The real cause of this latest drive for forced austerity is the abundance of something that, only a few short years ago, was an expensive luxury enjoyed by the privileged few. But when tattooed builders, single mothers and lowly clerks can spend several weeks a year wallowing on sun-kissed South-East Asian beaches or sampling the epicurean delights of Tuscany then they are obviously living far better lives than they deserve and something must be done to curtail them.'

There is an astonishing, snobbish elitism prevalent in the continual moaning about cheap flights. Frequently, those who moan loudest are amongst the worst offenders, as, per the link, erstwhile Green Party candidate Julia Stephenson jets around the world several time a year, because she is one of 'nature's nomads.'

Presumably, the 'carbon allowance' would be made to stretch to fashionable left-wing newspaper columnists. My question, however, is will it be transferred to our own Mr Blair? I merely ask, because I saw him this evening on the news sitting in a room with a lot of other pompous blowhards waiting for the result of the London 2012 Olympic bid, which is being decided in Singapore, half the world away. Given the number of delegates from Europe who have flown to this event, the results of which having not even been announced yet (and nor will they before Blair leaves), I can comfortably say that Tony and chums have used at least two years of my carbon allowance already, without the dratted proposal having even come into effect.

*Metallica, 'Fuel.'

Friday, July 01, 2005


A Quick Announcement

There won't be any updates here for a couple of days probably, as I'm heading to this remote wonder:

'Tis a very small place very far away where there will be no computer (or not for me, anyway). A few days R & R should wash away all the stresses and strains of unemployed living, don't you think?

Anyway, I'll be back the early hours of Monday morning. Ta ta!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?