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The Royal Baby Boy [The Prince of Cambridge]…So much news about so little news (Part II)

23 Jul

Yesterday was just like an appetizer for today. Today the news networks and BBC went over and above the call of duty in their attempt to report on every little facet of information about the new Royal Baby…HRH Prince No Name.

And when there was nothing to report we were treated to lingering shots of hospital doorways where people of import may or may not be entering or exiting.

Occasional they did hit jackpot when they grabbed an interview with either one of the royals (major or minor) or  the Middletons.

On the Middletons, I am sure the they would have been ecstatic about a grand daughter whatever the circumstance but when they were being interviewed today I couldn’t help but think this scene from Eddie Murphy’s  ”Coming from America” must be running around in their heads.

He got his own money and, baby, when I tell you he’s got his own money, I mean the boy has gotten his own money!

A prince. He’s a prince!Oh, Lisa, you did it this time. You hit the jackpot. Your little goat herder makes Darryl look like a welfare case!

The Royal Baby Boy [The Prince of Cambridge]…So much news about so little news.

22 Jul

The British People have a new future king as Prince William and Kathrine have they first baby boy…and that is essentially the news tonight. So why has the BBC spun in out into a never ending rolling news special so far clocking up 2 hours with no interruptions.

They are telling us over and over either things we already know, have no interest in knowing or simply don’t want to know.

All sorts of  special guests, experts, royal commentators are being rolled in front of the camera largely telling us the same thing in different ways and invariably it is an opportunity to replay endless clips from the archive about Princess Diana.

Congratulations to William and Catherine. To the media it has only been 2 hours and we are already drowning in the media saturation.

77 Years and finally Andy Murray delivers…Wimbledon comes home

7 Jul

Sometime one picture says it all. The moment of pure, raw and unadulterated joy!




Congrats to Andy Murray, it was well deserved.


Quick note to Alex Salmond, dude there is a time and a place. Andy Murray’s victory ending 77 years of waiting I suggest is not the place for a political point winning. Even if it is slightly amusing how David Cameron is totally unaware of what your getting up to. It is like the political equivalent of “Bunny Ears”



The Apprentice its back as brash and as narcissistic as ever – BBC1

7 May

Sometimes when I watch the Apprentice I think it is a mix of Big Brother and a specialist holiday programme that takes you on a tour of business parks, warehouses and retail spots of London.

Every year the bitchiness starts earlier and earlier. We have got a new series and already one of the boys Neil Clough stands out as the man who seems best able to combine all round bitchiness with the now mandatory “how good am I” look. As smug as he was, he clearly was not stupid enough to volunteer to be the first project manager, always a poisoned chalice.

That “honour” fell to a Jaz Ampaw-Far  on the girl’s team and Jason Leech on the boy’s side. First week is difficult to tell who is who, as it is largely just a random collection of faces. The lesson is clear at time like this with no credit to your name never, never put your hand up to be Project Manager, there is only a downside. You win, no one remembers by week seven because it is so long ago. You lose, you’re toast. Have you people not watched the programme!!!

Sadly for Jaz that is just what she did and months from now people will pass by her at Supermarket thinking I know her from somewhere, but just would never be able to put their finger on it.

For the rest of us we watch to see if the this series will give us an apprentice legend like Stuart “The Brand” Baggs, Raef Bjayou (my all time favourite), Tre Azam or Katie Hopkins.

Live At The Apollo…How ethnic do you have to be to tell ethnic jokes?

3 Apr

I am a big fan of comedy shows especially live stand up and love comedy in all its guises, with the odd exception. Yesterday I caught an episode of Live at The Apollo. It was fronted by Simon Brodkin better kno’wn as Lee Nelson who gave a pretty good performance as host and link man. He is quite funny but you do wonder how many jokes you can milk out of the “chavvy lad about town” persona.

Anyway it was not Lee I wanted to talk about. It was an aspect of  Paul Chowdhry‘s performance. Now despite Paul being an incredible Doppelganger of pop rocker Prince I think it would safe to say Paul is of a heritage that has roots in the Indian sub continent. If the name was not a give away the jokes were. Last night we got a lot of Indian jokes all quite funny and entertaining.

Now having done the Indian jokes his humour sat nav moved further to the east as he regaled us with jokes about a perpetually exasperated Chinese takeaway Restuaranter - “Wha you wan? One rye’ or 2 rye’?  Make up your mine!”.

Now I have often thought there is an unspoken, but widely accepted rule  in comedy, if you are of a given ethnic origin or racial background you can do jokes about your background, but if you are not then you are threading on dangerous ground. So we have black comedians engaging us with jokes about the Black British, African or Caribbean experiences. Same with Iranian comedians with Iraninan jokes, Jewish comedians, Irish Comedians and so on.

I don’t know if this really the case or just my perception, but if it is true how wide is the “remit” of a comedian with extra-heritages as it were. Paul reached out into the Chinese community, but if he told jokes about Somalian  could that be deemed offensive?  Anglo-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili for instance does Nigerian jokes, albeit fairly poorly, and don’t recall him getting any grief for that.

Or is this rule something I have just dreamt up and comedy is really universal with no boundaries.

Movies on TV….Lesbian Vampire Killers (BBC1)

8 Feb
Lesbian Vampire Killers

Lesbian Vampire Killers (Wikipedia)

Imagine if I you were a hormonal 17 year old lad and the star of a hit TV show that enthralled the nation and turned you into a star across the country.

Imagine if some film dudes came along, looking to cash in on your new found popularity and offered to make any film you like with you as the star. I can imagine a film like Lesbian Vampire Killers would be top of your list, but surely not if you are in your 30′s with thoughts of a serious career.

Well Matthew Horne and James Corden stars of hit comedy Gavin and Stacey did just that, leveraging their fame from the BBC3 cult hit into one of the worst films to grace our TV screens in a long while.

The premise is very simple, two lads find themselves in the middle of the Norwich countryside late at night and spend the next hour and half stitching together every conceivable horror film cliche.

From the darkly lit pub with a bunch of unfriendly, inbred looking locals warning the two lads to be wary. The priest fighting a lone battle against the forces of evil. A camper van of exceptionally fine looking Swedish girls happy to party with the boys. The absence of any women over the age of 25 (we can’t have any actresses not there for anything other than their looks and youth). The lipstick lesbian vampires. It’s all there

What was missing was a discernible plot that made much sense, even for an outlandish horror movie.

It turns out that somehow this little village has a curse that turns all women over 18 into lesbian vampires. The only thing standing in the way of their  total domination of East Anglia is the character played by Matthew Horne who unknown to him is a descendant of a legendary vampire slayer.

The boys party with the girls, the Swedish girls get killed or turned into vampires one by one, till we are left with the two heroes, the last of the Swedish girls and the final not-so-epic battle with the forces of evil at a graveyard.

If you have been out on the lash, and struggled home with a doner kebab stuffed with salad and lashings of chilli sauce you may well think this has Oscar winning potential, but when you wake up in the morning you’ll quickly realise the film was just slightly more memorable than the remnants of last night’s Kebab.



BBC1…Graham Norton…The Red Chair is simply the best.

1 Feb

Graham Norton’s show is tops. His rapport with his guests is great, not too obsequious (except the Madonna special last year) and not too full of himself, but irrespective of who he has on his show the highlight is always the Red Chair.

This week the guests on Norton’s show were Dame Helen Mirren, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Little Mix.

First up on the Red Chair was a woman who worked as GP’s receptionist, she seemed remarkably chirpy especially because in my experience GP receptionists are generally from the more miserable end of the happiness spectrum, but I digress.

Our lady started telling a story of how she went to get a hollywood wax. From the looks on he faces of Leslie and Paul I am guessing the phrase has not crossed the ocean, or may be not made its way to Hollywood (kind of ironic if so). Even the girls of little mix seemed a bit unsure of what this entailed, that was until Leigh-Anne Pinnock blurted out “Is that when you get an “H” down there”.

Graham Norton is normally the utmost showbiz professional but that even he could not keep it together after that and was left creased up with laughter. Poor Leigh-Anne she tried to explain but it was best left alone.

The second Red Chair ‘victim’ was a twenty something American lady from Kansas, incidentally the same state as Paul Rudd. She turned out to be also to be from the same town, it was a looking like she might be here to tell a riveting Paul Rudd anecdote and Graham asked the obvious question “Does she know Paul Rudd?”.  Her response “No but her parents went to high school with Paul”

I had rarely seen the chair lever been pulled so fast as she was tipped over.  There I was thinking Paul was at worst in his late thirties.

BBC..Africa. The Sahara where survival trumps the love of dung.

30 Jan

Over the last few weeks I have probably used all the superlatives at my disposal in describing just how good BBC’s Africa documentary is. Well this week I had to dig into my superlative reserve, because it tonight’s episode was positively biblical.

The opening scenes with massive sandstorms rolling across the Sahara were like some biblical plague come to life, I almost expected Charlton Heston to step up in his robe and staff crying out to “let my people go”.

This week we moved away from the large herds and prides of eastern and southern Africa to a more delicate and precarious battle between life and the environment, but no less intriguing.

The lonely Grevy Zebra roaming the fringes of the Sahara  living a lonely existence for months at a time, and then literally out of the blue along come a herd of female Zebras and an opportunity for our lonely lad to end his dry spell so to speak. It turns out there are were another bunch of male Zebras in the vicinity with similar ideas.

Cue a bit of handbags between the male Zebras which saw our lonely lad come up tops giving him just enough time for a quick bit of ‘how’s your father’ with a lady Zebra before once more returning to his solitary existence.

There were the  two million Barn Swallows of southern Nigeria who undertake an epic journey from the wet grasslands across the vast Sahara to Europe an epic journey  that given the biblical theme can best be described as an exodus.

Like any decent exodus they need to refuel on their journey and the Sahara offers some surprising options, like the ‘oasis’ in the Ubari Sand Sea – Umm El Mar.

On the surface it looks like a miraculous refuge for any weary thirsty traveller  the cool waters shimmer in the sunshine. This is however deceptive, a cruel trick player by nature.  Years of evaporation have left the water so concentrated with salt that it would drinking from it would be fatal.

Swarms of desert flies also inhabit the lake but here nature plays another card, the flies are able to drink the water and filter out the salt, so they are effectively plump little sachets of water just the refreshment the swallows need.

Sometime though the ferocity of the Sahara makes survival trickier. The Dung Beetle survives on collecting camel dung and in one trip can collect enough to last a life time. The problem though is getting it to storage,  in their trademark approach the dung beetle use their hind legs to roll it along. The problem with this approach is you can’t see where you are going, and can end up down side of a sand dune.

Try as you may rolling up  a ball of dung up a sand hill is a Sisyphean task and in temperatures of 50C, the love of dung wanes quickly.

Probably better suited for the searing temperatures of the Sahara are the amazing silver ants whose reflective body coating allows them to endure the hottest temperatures of the desert for brief burst of time. We see an amazing segment where the ants go a “mission impossible” to hunt a stricken fly and get it back to the den.  Amazing footage.



BBC…Africa. Something very fishy is going on

24 Jan

The cinematography of this week’s episode of Africa was as usual peerless, the stories informative and thought-provoking all in all a masterclass in how to make great and timeless TV.

It reminded us that there is so much we have learnt and seen about nature from the comfort of our living room sofas, but there is still an incredible amount we don’t know.

Like the mysterious journey of giant King Fishes. These enormous fishes which grow to the size of a  man, journey from the oceans around the South African cape and travel deep inland swimming upstream along the fresh water rivers to they reach a point where they stop.

The stop not to feed, not to spawn but seemingly to swim around in a form of synchronised swimming. Why? No one knows.

They are best known as a national symbol of South Africa and we were treated to beautiful shots of  springboks ‘pronking’. This is something springboks are famous for, but why they do it? Again no one knows.  Against a beautiful backdrop of classic music the ‘pronking’ was soothingly balletic.

We also returned to a recurrent theme of the series – the circle of life. A reminder that for all it’s beauty nature is harsh and for some to thrive others must perish.

We saw baby turtles making a dash from where they hatched across beach for the ocean. In scenes that were reminiscent of the Normandy landings in Saving Private Ryan (except it was in the reverse direction), the turtles were subject to aerial bombardment from hawks and other birds who fancied a light snack. There also hazards on the ground as treacherous crabs lurked.

The chances of survival for the hatchlings was something like 1 in 1000, so I was intrigued how the filming was able to pick out one hatchling and follow it from birth as it successfully navigated the hazards of the beach and made it to the safety of the ocean. Was that just luck?

Off the coast of the South Africa cape where the warm waters of the Indian ocean’s Aghulas current meet the cold waters of the Atlantic oceans Benguela current we meet another chapter in the circle of life.  Thousands of sardines are being chased through the Benguela current by a school of dolphins and a nabulus whale. Despite their massed numbers the sardines and nimble and proving difficult to catch. That is until they hit the warmer Aghulas current, suddenly they froze, it is not explained why.

What ever the reason it result  is fatal for the sardines, as an incredible feeding frenzy ensues. Dolphins and the whale swooped from within, birds attack from above, it is a free for all feeding frenzy.

After a somewhat underwhelming episode last week, Africa was back to its best.


Springboks ‘pronking’ to Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers

BBC…Africa. The death of a baby Elephant and the reality of Nature

9 Jan

Africa is back this week and we are given a lesson in the realities of nature. We all know nature can be fantastic, magical and present visions and sensations that mankind can only dream of creating, but it can also on the surface appear cruel, very very cruel. In two poignant moments this week we were reminded just how harsh nature can be.

This week we moved northwards leaving behind the Namib and heading into eastern Africa. Here we saw how the fertile ash spewed by the great volcanic craters of the rift valley supported the creation of a vast Savannah teeming with millions of wildebeest, and where there is wildebeest there are lions, and it seems where there are lions there very brave agama lizards.

We watched the tiny but extremely nimble agama lizards brave almost certain death crawling amongst the sleeping lions to get at flies which hovered close by. It was daring but captured quiet brilliantly by the film crew.

Further away in Swamps nestling in the shadows of the Ruwenzori mountains we come across the shoebill and our first poignant moment. The shoebill was a mother to two chicks, one three months older than the other. The elder one was bigger and thriving but food is in short supply. It meant a harsh decision had to be taken and the mother just did that, feeding and providing water to the bigger chick while ignoring the pleading cries of the the smaller one. To aid its own survival we also saw the older shoebill chick pecking away quite viciously at its smaller sibling.

The vast plains of the Amboseli was the scene for the second poignant moment. The rains had not been kind to the Amboseli leaving the land pretty much a dust bowl. The elephant herds were struggling to find food, the adults could just about survive on twigs brushed up from the soil but  for the young calves this would barely sustain them. We saw one calf in particular suffering so badly from the food shortage and left struggling to stand let alone walk miles in search of food. His mother faced a stark choice, stay behind with the calf or keep up with the rest of the herd. She stayed behind as life ebbed out of her calf.

Later on in the program the rains came back and nature sprung back to life as nature flourished so once again did the elephant herds, like the song from the Lion King musical it is the circle of Life.

We also saw a pretty scary three day fight between two bull elephants which after the giraffe fight from last week is becoming a bit of a theme.

Across the Savannah at the massive lakes of caustic soda tainted water we came across one of the great sights of Africa millions of pink flamingos gathered by the lake from the sky it looked remarkably like tourist descended on one the more popular costas in Spain.

All in all another great episode from a great series.