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November 4, 2001
[cheggers] The show must go on [Part 1 | Part 2] … Louis Theroux meets Keith Chegwin. ‘I look up and there’s a man standing there, with short legs and receding grey hair, he looks like Keith Allen, the actor. Then I realise it’s Keith Chegwin. I must be tired. He changes into his stage gear: blue shorts and an orange Hawaiian shirt. We head for the stage. As we’re puffing up the stairs, past the pipes with bubbles in them, Keith says: “Do you do gigs? You should!… Coronary classic, these stairs! I want somebody from St John’s, now!” I part ways with Keith as we approach the main dance floor, where Keith will be performing. The club is loud and packed with drunk students. The energy is great – despite being tired, I’m caught up in the swell of excitement. Keith hits the stage, and screams through his microphone, so loud the sound is distorted and barely comprehensible. “Have we got anyone here who can’t stand the effing sight of me?” There’s a huge roar.’
October 26, 2001
[search requests] People keep visiting via Google searching for this — so here you go…

The Sopranos... Just tell us where bin-Laden is and fuhgedaboudit...

October 25, 2001
[tv] It’s nearly ten o’clock on a Thursday Night… time for Attachments Everybody Hates Attachments. The script for the final episode has been leaked apparently: ‘JON: FUCK! Gareth’s faxed all our HTML to a chatroom! DYSON: No problem! Just re-route it, stick it on a floppy and save it as an animated gif! JON: I can’t! I’m too busy reformatting the coffee machine! TESS: Oh Christ! We’re really IN THE SHIT!’
October 22, 2001
[distractions] Check out:
October 17, 2001
[tv] Edie Does It — William Leith interviews Edie Falco (Carmela from the Sopranos). ‘If you haven’t seen The Sopranos yet, you should. Filming is about to begin on the fourth series and the third will air on Channel 4 in November. How good is it? Well, the New Yorker magazine recently reported a conversation between two real-life mobsters who were being bugged in just the sort of police operation you see in The Sopranos. One mobster says, ‘What’s this Sopranos? Is that supposed to be us?’ The other replies, ‘What characters. Great acting.’ ‘
October 8, 2001
[profile] Saint or Skinner? — interview with Frank Skinner. ‘…the smile of a ubiquitous, tousle-haired, 44-year-old who tells jokes about anal sex and oral sex, but mostly anal sex, and still manages to be something of a housewives’ and grannies’ favourite. Frank Skinner is the chat show host who famously balanced a mentally precarious Tara Palmer-Tomkinson on his knee, creating the catalyst TV moment that sent her packing to rehab. He is a smutty, talented, slovenly, porn-video-watching, teetotal, divorced practising Catholic with an undying passion for West Bromwich Albion football team and Elvis Presley.’
October 3, 2001
[distraction] Could You? — Amusing spoof on recent UK Police TV Ads. [via Wanderers Weblog]
September 17, 2001
[distraction] Clerks TV Pilot Episode — a twenty-one minute on-line episode from Kevin Smith’s cancelled animated TV show … ‘This job would be great if it wasn’t for the fucking customers.’ — Randall, From The Film. [via Feeling Listless]
[tv] Trivia pursuits — interview with Adam and Joe‘…a criticism that is frequently levelled at the duo: “We are unfashionably middle class and too posh,” Cornish says with a bristle in his voice. Buxton jerks back in his chair with irritation: “It’s just because we are this sort of nebulous item, so people fixate on the school we went to and think, ‘Oh, they’re not northern, they’re not stand-up, they’re not really anything, so let’s make them slacker toffs.'” After a two-second pause they both shrug self-mockingly: “Fair enough, really.”‘
September 2, 2001
[tv] Family secrets — the Observer goes behind the scenes of The Sopranos‘I heard David Chase say one time that it’s about people who lie to themselves, as we all do. Lying to ourselves on a daily basis and the mess it creates.’James Gandolfini on what the Sopranos is really about.
August 29, 2001
[tv] Theroux tipped off by Hamiltons — brief inside story on Louis Theroux and the Hamiltons … Theroux: ‘Journalists can dish it out, but we’re not very good at taking it. Maybe it’s because we know what it’s like being in the media spotlight. We’re the last to sign the release form.’
August 27, 2001
[distraction] Tony Soprano Soundboard — flash soundboard with soundclips … ‘Two years ago I thought RICO was a relative of his.’ — Dr. Melfi.
August 26, 2001
[bb2] Behind Big Brother — Elizabeth on the BB2 experience … ‘For the moment, us housemates have been set apart. We have become a kind of product, a brand. It is ironic, as people think they know me, that I sometimes feel I have become de-personalised by the experience. I am no longer just Elizabeth, but Elizabeth from Big Brother. I am now part of the exclusive brand.’
[distractions] Ask Professor Yaffle‘Nyek, nyek, nyek. Good day to you, young seekers of enlightenment. I, Professor Yaffle, have been specially invited here as an acknowledged expert on many topics, in the hope that I may serve as a source of wisdom to those less informed than myself; to whit, the viewing public. I believe that several people have already written in with questions of great import, upon which they wish to seek my humble opinion. ‘ [Related: Profiles of Professor Yaffle and Bagpuss. Link via Found]
August 3, 2001
[tv] The inside story on Elizabeth from Big Brother‘On Friday morning, after Elizabeth’s eviction , Druitt’s mobile phone is almost constantly engaged. The horror on her face at her exit interview, when nude pictures from the Star flashed on the screen, was, says Druitt, a big sham. “She loved those pictures.”‘ [via Popbitch]
July 24, 2001
[tv] The Life of Chris — the Guardian profiles Chris Morris’ career.. ‘The animal rights campaigner Carla Lane is still disgusted, four years after her encounter with Morris (“Prison’s not good enough” for animal abusers, she told him. Morris replied: “Prison’s too good. So what about jail?”) “These trendy people seem to think what they do is very funny,” Lane says today, “but most of it is beyond the 40-year-olds who are looking for Only Fools And Horses or Are You Being Served.”‘ [Related: Cook’d and Bomb’d]
July 16, 2001
[tv] Hi, I’m Big Brother — behind the scenes at the Big Brother 2 Studio… ‘On the wall are instructions on how to be Big Brother. “Always be calm, dispassionate and businesslike,” says one. “Don’t offer solutions,” reads another. “Don’t refer to things we’ve seen. Wait until they mention it.” A separate posting instructs them on how to react in the case of a threatened walk out: “1. Show understanding. 2. Dwell on the positive experiences. 3. Tell them they are strong. We think they can cope. 4. Suggest talking to the housemates.”‘
July 10, 2001
[distractions] Sounds, wallpaper and other digital stuff from the BB2 household…. Amma Farting / Liz Burping. [Just Announced: Josh and Helen up for Eviction]
June 25, 2001
[tv] The Second Noel — entertaining interview with Noel Edmonds…. ‘I sneeze a couple of times. “I don’t know that this carpet can absorb that amount of moisture,” Edmonds says in that famous squeaky voice. “Can you do me a passport photo?” he asks the photographer, who nods. “That was a joke,” Edmonds says, disappointed.’
June 23, 2001
[music] Michael Daddino blogs 24 hours of MTV‘R&B videos just delight in nice interiors, don’t they?’
June 17, 2001
[soap] Walford gets its golden boyGoldie’s appearing in EastEnders‘Fame, he says, no longer has the same appeal. He spent his whole life wanting to be somebody, wanting to tell his story. ‘I wanted it so much it made me sick. But ultimately you think, “Goldie, they understand. You can stop now.”‘ He screams out loud, a long howl of pain. ‘I’ve been screaming since I was three.’ But now, the screaming might stop. What he’s learning is patience. ‘When you have rejection all of your life, you expect it. And you want to give it. But sometimes you’ve just got to say, someone owes me out there, there’s some kind of karma. And you’ve got to wait for it to come.’
June 10, 2001
[tv] Male haterosexuality — Barbara Ellen looks at Men Only (a drama on Channel 4 last week). ‘This, we were told in booming, none-too-literate tones, was ‘THE TROOF’ about men when they are alone, away from the civilising influence of women. There were some upsetting and graphic early scenes depicting men enjoying a game of football, and then it was straight on to the hard stuff. If the male characters weren’t lying, cheating, stealing, taking drugs and fighting, they were leering at women like high-street Vikings, swaggering into massage parlours a full 20 minutes after their groins, socking prostitutes on the jaw and (treat yourself, it’s Saturday night) gang raping helpless nurses, with a camcorder running. Recognise anybody you know? Because no man I know did, though a few confessed to owning camcorders. One man I know called it “Cold Feet on ketamine”.’
June 8, 2001
[brilliantly cruel] John’s Not Mad fan-page… ‘In 1989, QED obligingly produced the programme “John’s Not Mad”, featuring John Davidson, a young man from Galashiels who simply couldn’t stop swearing. We now know it as Tourette’s Syndrome – and no self respecting wag hasn’t feigned a gutter gob-rush at some point in their lives. At the time, however, the beauty of a condition which simply made you rude was a new one to the children of Britain. We also never had swearing on TV. LA Law had a defendent with Tourette’s in one episode – but he said nothing worse than bitch and slut. John Davidson, however, said fuck. And he said cunt. And he said big nose.’ [Sound: Fuck Medley]
June 4, 2001
[tv] I’m losing the will to live — 12 hours watching the Big Brother house. ‘1.05am Bubble asks Amma if she swallows. Amma says she doesn’t then suggests that the boys swallow a cup of “it”. Their own or someone else’s, she doesn’t specify. Paul says he is well up for a game of strip poker. If the fact that he is reading the Posh and Becks biography wasn’t enough of a hint, here is another that Paul is one classy bloke. Elizabeth is still in the kitchen washing and wiping things. She is perhaps thinking about feeding her boyfriend his rusks. 9.35am Penny fears that when she leaves the house, the crowds there to see her may be so large there could be “a Princess Diana moment”. Yes, and they’ll all be holding flaming torches and shouting “Burn the witch”.’
May 30, 2001
[tv] Grange HillThe Gripper Stebson Years. ‘Off-screen, Mark Savage found his on-screen persona a nightmare. Wherever Mark went, people challenged him to fights and at a football match supporters told him: “Oi Gripper, you’re gonna get your ‘ead kicked in!” To make matters worse, there was a wave of copycat bullying sweeping the nation. “It was open season on Gripper”, Mark told Now magazine in 1998. “People really thought I was Gripper and pulled knives on me and all sorts.”‘ [Related: What Gripper Stebson Did Next]
May 28, 2001
[film] The Independent profiles Jerry Bruckheimer. ‘… [Bruckheimer] was one of the originators of high concept in Hollywood. We are talking high not as in high art or high church, but as in the height of a pile of $100 bills starting from the floor and reaching up to the top of Bruckheimer’s utterly groomed grey hair. Mention what critics say about his movies and he gives a shit-eating grin in which his heavy lower lip falls further. Critics don’t have points on the gross, he says. And critics aren’t necessary in show business. As befits any apostle of high-concept movies, Jerry Bruckheimer is instantly understandable: mystery, doubt, ambiguity and concealment are anathema to him.’
May 19, 2001
[tv] Tony Soprano’s female trouble — excellent profile from Salon of The Sopranos. ‘If you haven’t seen “The Sopranos,” which this Sunday will conclude its third season, you’re missing something extraordinary. It’s arguably the cleverest and most entertaining extended drama that’s ever been on TV. Tony is expertly played with a gruff masculinity by Gandolfini; his emotionally and morally compromised wife, Carmela, is done to a ruined turn by the infinitely expressive Edie Falco; mother Livia, now departed with the death of actress Nancy Marchand, exhibited oceans of pain and scorn in a massive, equine face; proud and bitter Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese), forced to cede power to his nephew Tony, is a study in aging gracelessly.’
May 8, 2001
[tv] Big Brother goes digital. ‘The new series of Big Brother will run for up to 21 hours a day on digital network E4, Channel 4 has announced. Fans will be able to spy on the house on TV all day long, and many will be able to make their weekly eviction votes through their remote control.’
May 4, 2001
[distractions] You are… The Surrealist Link. ‘You are the most gutless cassock. Goodbye!’
April 29, 2001
[more comics] Tim Bisley’s list of Top Ten Collected Comics‘Those are my fave reads of the moment. Whenever I get a coffee break from serving the great unwashed at Fantasy Bazaar, those are the books I take into the bog. However if I do not need the loo, I go into the storeroom and mutilate Jar Jar Binks dolls.’
April 26, 2001
[cyberpunk] The Guardian previews a new documentary about the life and work of William Gibson‘”He’ll talk until the cows come home about literature,” explains Neale. “But the stuff he hasn’t gone on the record about in the past, things like the loss of his parents, his dodging of the draft and taking drugs took a long time to get out of him. I had to go back and ask him those things several times. But drug culture was such a big part of his life. “He decided to go on the record in a way that he has very deliberately avoided for a long time. Bits and pieces of his story have come out in interviews over the years, but the full story hasn’t been told in its entirety. I suppose he has always been a bit of a recluse”.’
April 23, 2001
[tv] My Mobster Days Are Over — interview with James Gandolfini from The Sopranos. ‘Although the Soprano family is a fictional one, its doings are closely monitored by its non-fiction counterparts, who do not hesitate to pass their verdicts on the show and let the actors know if their behaviour does not ring true. “I talk to some gentlemen who have friends who are these poeple and most of them enjoy the show,” says Gandolfini. “They get a good laugh out of it, although once when I wore shorts in a barbecue scene it was relayed to me that it was not something these gentlemen would do, even at a barbecue.”‘
April 19, 2001
[tv] The Independent profiles Dom Joly‘he has decided to abandon his trademark giant mobile phone and hunker down to other projects that involve less public humiliation.”I don’t want to become the nation’s prankster,” he reflects. “Because they tend to be arses, really.” And also, maybe, because the prankster’s moment of hubris cannot be deferred indefinitely. “I had this terrible thought yesterday when I was taking my baby daughter for a walk in her stroller. I did a joke in the first series where a baby gets pulled into the air by a balloon. And I just thought, what if someone runs over the stroller in a car, and leers out the window and shouts ‘Aha! You don’t fool me!’ It would be dreadful. And I’d deserve it.”‘
April 11, 2001
[tv] You ask the Questions to… David Soul. ‘There’s a classic moment in the credits of Starsky & Hutch when I come running down some stairs, step on to a wall and do a “seat-drop” on top of my car. It is, without a doubt, the stupidest, most painful self-inflicted stunt I ever did. No stuntman would have been that stupid. Two years later, it cost me back surgery. Big price for the sake of a little ego.’
April 6, 2001
[soap] The Guardian reviews last night’s Eastenders…. On Lisa: ‘She is pregnant, and you consider with horror the frightful future fruit of Lisa’s womb and Phil’s loins. It will not, you suspect, be the nicer kind of child.’ [Related Link: BBC Episode Update]
[weblogs] There goes the neighbourhood…. Seethru has got it’s own weblog. [via Rebuke]
April 4, 2001
[soap] Who Shot Me? The Guardian interviews Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell). ‘”Working-class interests are not seen as having the same intrinsic value as middle-class ones. Opera is a middle-class interest, and it’s seen as high art. “I don’t see that as being of more worth than getting 20 million people to watch Roy tell Pat that her earrings are horrible.” He is referring to a seminal moment of ordinary pain when, as their relationship disintegrated, Pat Butcher’s husband took her to task over her gruesome jewellery. “I think that’s much more poignant, when a man tells a woman: ‘All this time I’ve lived with your earrings but they do my head in, and I’m man enough now to tell you I can’t cope with them anymore.’ It really took my breath away, that.”‘
March 26, 2001
[tv] The Guardian interviews Mary Whitehouse. ‘On Wednesday mornings, the hairdresser visits. And at lunchtime, the dining room of the Essex nursing home is a sea of high set curls. Mary Whitehouse surveys the wispy throng with a gimlet eye, then leans across the table. Her huge bead necklace swings precariously close to the plate of brown stew and swedes boiled senseless. “Some of these dears don’t have much hair to do,” she whispers.’
March 20, 2001
[tv] Anne Robinson: Cruella of prime time — a interesting profile from the Independent. ‘Anderson, then a junior hack on the Echo, remembers Robinson as “gutsy” even in the hard, recovery years. He recalls the moment she discovered her copy was being “blacked” by sub-editors because she was not a union member. Sheweighed barely six stone at the time. Anderson says she tottered up to the sub-editors on platform heels. “She stood in the middle of these guys and demanded to know who was blacking her copy,” he says, with some fondness. “Suddenly they were all taking great interest in their shoe laces.” There was never a problem with her copy again.’ [Related Link: Anne Robinson Version 3.0]
March 17, 2001
[tv] Mob Rules. Interview with Sopranos creator David Chase. ‘The one big problem with a TV series — and let’s take The Sopranos out of it, because one hopes this doesn’t apply to it — is that the leads of a TV series aren’t going to die. They just aren’t. And they’re certainly not going to die after the fifth week. So once life and death is taken out of a story about life, how pressing is it? In our lives, there’s life and death all the time. We’re afraid we’re going to get sick, we’re afraid we’re going to get hit by a bus, or someone we love is going to die. But in television that fear doesn’t exist, so the whole thing becomes rather . . . uninvolving. You have cops running around getting shot at, but by and large you know that these cops are not going to get killed.’ [via Guardian Weblog]
March 15, 2001
[tv] The Sopranos – easily the best thing on TV at the moment…. ‘Uncle June and I, we had our problems, with the business. But I never should’ve razzed him about eating pussy; this whole war could’ve been averted. Cunnilingus and psychiatry brought us to this.’ — Tony Soprano. [Related Link: Ray Liotta Turned Down ‘Sopranos’]
March 14, 2001
[distractions] Ah… the Muppaphone. So distracting and clickable…. [thanks to Brainsluice] and Safeplaces — a ‘digital playground’. [thanks to Chris]
[gun fish barrel] So bad it’s good — Julie Burchill on Celebrity Big Brother. ‘The pathos of the short-term presenter is summed up heartbreakingly in the persons of Anthea Turner and Vanessa Feltz, the twin occupants of the lowest rung of the Big Brother ladder; as they fall apart – Vanessa messily and swiftly, Anthea more photogenically and professionally – it is horribly compelling, like watching a John Cassavetes film or hearing your neighbours’ marriage break up in gory detail through the wall. They are the flimsiest, most damaged and most compelling creatures in the house, with none of the confidence born of talent that Dee and Sweeney possess, or the dumb macho swagger of Eubank and Duffy.’
March 13, 2001
[crippled emotional needs] My email .sig circa 1994: ‘My every path is shrewn with cowpats from the devils own satanic herd.’ — Edmund Blackadder.
March 12, 2001
[tv] Tony Soprano must die. Another interesting profile of the next season of The Sopranos. ‘There’s more symmetry in the resemblances between the Feds and the wise guys: each have their rituals, their uniforms, their beer guts, their professional argots, their codes of masculinity and their fatal delusions. And both value systems, Chase suggests, are equally full of shit, with Tony whacking whoever needs to be whacked and the FBI breaking the very laws they’ve sworn to uphold in order to nail their man. Their crudity and invasiveness very nearly puts us on Tony’s side.’
March 9, 2001
I'm free![tv] Old BBC interview with Louis Theroux‘…Weird Weekends rested on the tremendous generosity of the Americans – they love British people, and don’t regard Britain as a threat. I’m actually half American but I have an English accent, and I capitalised on the reservoir of kindness and goodwill towards the British. I interviewed the Aryan Nations in Idaho, an ultra-extreme, radical right group, who talk about how there’s going to be a race war, and have swastikas all around their church. They wouldn’t let an American in there to interview them, but because I was British the guy let his guard down and talked about how much he loved Are You Being Served?’
March 6, 2001
You get that bus out, Butler![tv] The On The Buses Drinking Game… God forgive me… I’ve always liked On The Buses. I’m a child of the 70’s… I have no taste. From the Amazon review: ‘There was always something faintly dirty about On The Buses–and not just the humour, which was simply more of the polite strand of “blue” that British audiences had come to expect in the mid-1970s. It was the whole look: grey and miserable. And the setting: a dismal suburban bus depot, and an equally decrepit family home. Or perhaps it had something to do with Olive, and her lank greasy hair, and the knowing leer of Jack, Stan’s lecherous fellow conductor and partner-in-crime. A working-class comedy, one step up from the Beckett-like squalor of Steptoe And Son, it starred Reg Varney as Butler, a larrikin bus conductor with a hopeless romantic track record, and Stephen Lewis as “Blakey”, the inspector who tries valiantly to bring him undone.’ [Related Links: Blakey On-Line]
March 1, 2001
[hutch] Louis Theroux meets David Soul… interview from The Idler. ‘What do you want to be in life? I want to be happy, I want to be happy, I want to be happy, I want to be happy! You push push push push push. Happiness, it seems to me, is you kick back and you say “I’m happy!” It’s not something that you make, it’s something that you realise, that you come to. And it can be in a moment, it can be in a relationship, a day or a lifetime, but we’re not always happy, so why do you try to be happy? It’s trying! Trying! Pah! Don’t!’ [Related Links: Everything I ever needed to know I learned from Starsky and Hutch]
February 28, 2001
[tv] Sympathy for the (Jersey) Devil. Salon looks at the start of the third series of The Sopranos… ‘…the first season’s cunning plot architecture rested on the clash between Tony’s patriarchal mob world and his matriarchal family world. At work, Tony was a virile thug; with women, he was soft. His mother pushed his buttons, Carmela nagged him to be a modern, sensitive father and Melfi forced him to get in touch with his freakin’ feelings.’
February 27, 2001
[tv] Revealing portrait of Esther Rantzen in the Independent… ‘When she appeared on In the Psychiatrist’s Chair in 1993, Anthony Clare asked her: “How would you describe yourself?” “As a human being, do you mean?” she replied. “Well,” he said, with concern, “what else are you, Esther?” “A series of functions,” she answered. This is a woman with no inner life. Despite being so conscious of her image, Esther Rantzen is not the least bit introspective. “Introspection is a very narrow landscape for me,” she has said. “I don’t turn my attention inwards.” As a result, she doesn’t always see beyond the surface of the effect she is trying to create so as to discern the impact she’s actually having.’