Archive for January, 2011

Loudribs Curmudgeonry Corner Post Question Time Match Report #35


 

Question Time Report #35

 

 

Good morning Lemmings and boy what fun have I been having with the Internet this week. To cut a long story short, I signed up with Google Webmaster Tools to try and find out how people arrive at this blog through searches and the results are somewhat… illuminating. Here’s a random selection of some of the more colourful search terms that visitors have used of late:

Lesbo lick

Big tit pervert

“my tits”

Big hairy bollocks

Shark tits

Drunk big tits

Super lesbian.

I must confess to being somewhat baffled by the emphasis on ‘tits’ and ‘lesbians’ as I’m pretty sure that neither of these words feature that regularly in my Post Question Time Match Reports (although I’ve probably just doubled their frequency by listing them here… more unsavoury search traffic plz), but who am I to argue with the omnipotence of google?

Enough of this and onto the matter in hand: Since I had so much fun last week turning Question Time into a marine tragedy I thought we’d keep it vaguely surreal this week and try to figure out what sort of pub this week’s episode would be and what sort of booze would represent each of the panelists. I know, I know, it clearly sounds like some straw clutching is afoot here, but let’s face it, this was a bollocks episode.

 

Health warning given, let’s start with Chris Huhne who I’ve always thought (with the addition of comedy teeth) would make a serviceable chipmunk impersonator (see Fig.1). It’s those big old cheeks of his: They just cry out to stuffed full of policy initiatives that can then be wheeled out in times of cognitive famine. Anyhoo, if Chris Huhne was to be a drink, I’m guessing he would be something along the lines of Directors Bitter. I say this because there’s nothing inherently offensive or unreasonable about him, it’s just that he’s hardly the most thrilling brew in the world, what with always being vaguely dependable but never really in the Zone of Excitement. Take this week’s performance: It was all pretty straight forward, ‘doing my best for the team’ sort of thing that never seemed in danger of ruffling any feathers (although his repeated banging on about how he used to be a journalist did grind my gears a little) and although he did seem to win the day over Chuka Umunna in the civil liberties question, it was such a protracted and well-behaved exercise in I’m Quietly Making A Pointery that I completely zoned out and nearly nodded off before I remembered that I’d agreed to buy a house the day before and had a complete ‘OH FUCK’ moment. Even the repeated open goals that Katie Hopkins so gracefully offered up were dealt with such understated peevedness that I wondered whether it might be worth getting a runner to check that he still had a pulse. So yes, that’s Chris: A thoroughly mundane pint that tries ever so hard to pretend it has a whiff of something special about it. Chris, you’re fooling no one.

 

Chris huhne chipmink

Fig.1

 

Moving swiftly on we have Chuka Umunna who, by rights, should be a mojito. Think about it: He’s fresh, he’s got the looks (as Will Self pointed out in a rather disturbing episode of gushing) and he’s very Zeitgeist, ja? Well, unfortunately for Chuka there’s a small problem in that someone forgot to put the bloody rum in. All the other ingredients are there in that he appears cogent, clever and refreshingly young but the spark’s missing and as a result, his performance (like Huhne’s) was technically fine but ultimately sterile, particular for a week when the opposition were holding all the cards. Sort it out Chuka… There’s the makings of something great in you, but nice packaging and popularity with the in crowd will only get you so far. You need rum. Lots of rum.

 

Bringing up the rear of the party politicos we have Edwina Curry who I think may well be the subject of my earliest political memory: The Salmonella Crisis. Maybe it’s because it was on heavy rotation with John Craven’s Newsround or maybe it’s because I’m a massive egg fan (I REALLY like eggs. I can’t tell you happy I was when the ‘only 2 eggs a day’ rule was recently pooh-poohed), but for some reason the salmonella story has always been a very enduring memory for me. Anyhoo, in stark contrast to both Huhne and Umunna, Curry’s signature drink certainly isn’t lacking in the hard stuff and if I had to guess it would probably be a potent and slapdash combination of gin, blood, stomach pills and cranberry juice (please, don’t try this at home. Blood is quite difficult to get your hands on without receiving a call from your local mental health services). Technically, it wasn’t the best and we’re politically miles apart, but it had plenty of what the other two were missing and that’s vim (I even caught her air-punching at one point). Sure, it’s a little tart and long-term use would certainly lead to some pretty profound health risks, but hell, it gets you pissed and it seemed to work for John Major. Oh…. Ew.

 

Sally forth and we get to the non-politicos, the first of which is the ever vexing Will Self. Now, in drink terms he’s difficult because on the face of it, he seems very top-shelf, like some triple refined, 40 year matured boutique bourbon that you have to take a Coolness Test in order to buy. The packaging is reassuringly recondite, the marketing on your wave length yet when you actually crack the bottle open you don’t find bourbon. Instead, you find piss and vinegar. And that’s what annoys me about Will Self (as I’ve mentioned in the past): I totally agree with him. I want to like him. I want to be in his gang, but as soon as he opens his mouth all I can hear is the nails-on-blackboard sound of belittling and too-cool-for-school sarcasm dribbling down his chin. On paper, there’s nothing he said which I wouldn’t have totally endorsed myself but the manner in which he said it stripped away all the meaning and just left you with the acrid stench of self-satisfaction. So, I for one won’t be knocking back any of Will’s patented juice in the foreseeable future, what with it essentially being an overpriced and over-hyped measure of human waste and mouldy wine… But I’m sure it will be massive in Shoreditch.

 

Still with me? Well done. Here’s your reward: Ladies and gentlemen, I gave you Katie Hopkins, plumbing new depths in an already packed field that includes the like of Vorderman, McKenzie and Griffin. Trying to figure out what sort of drink she is turned out to be an exercise in simplicity and I arrived at the answer within a matter of seconds: Clearly, Katie Hopkins is a bucket of sick. Here’s why.

Equating everything to how it is in some way bad for small business in the same way that the Daily Mail equates everything to cancer/house prices.

 

Condemning near universally accepted civil liberties as somehow being a case of “terrorists over taxpayers”.

 

Scandalous deployment of the overly dramatic *sigh*

 

Accusing womankind of being in a “flap”.

 

“Cleggypoos”?

 

Having a pop at Karen Brady for being the leader of “the Sisterhood”.

 

And the real kicker: Claiming that “women couldn’t handle equal treatment if they got it”. Awesome. Well done, Fucknut. You thoroughly deserve the loudest torrent of boos since the fabled BNP encounter.

 

So yes. Katie is a bucket of sick. A bucket of sick with no redeeming features. Not a cocktail umbrella, not a straw. It’s not even fresh sick. It’s been in the bucket for weeks. Suck it up Katie, you’re an absolute monster.

 

Wow… that was kind of fun! Unfortunately, it is not to last as I now have the sad duty of now trying to figure out what sort of drinking establishment this Question Time would be. It’s a sad duty because it was a pretty poor show last night and miles away from the giddy heights of last week’s Burnley outing. So, Cambridge, it is with heavy heart that I decree your effort to be analogous with… a Beefeater Carvery (or to readers of a certain age, a Berni Inn). By rights, this should have been great week for Question Time as we’ve had phone hacking, double dipping and sexism, but somehow the combination of panel and crowd led to a stultifying mish-mash that looked like it really couldn’t be arsed. Ok, so people got a bit vocal when Hopkins started undoing centuries of work towards gender equality, but given just how awful she was, I think she got away with it lightly (she would have been tarred and feathered if it had been anywhere else). So yes, it was like a Toby Carvery: Somewhere where you’d never go by volition but end up obliged to on account of some unavoidable yet wanky social situation (the office Crimbo meal springs to mind). The food is heavy, the drink is flat, the toilet smells of pensioners and there is nothing to do to kill time except cramming multiple servings of the carvery down your throat in an effort to gain the maximum value out of your suffering. Bollocks to this, I’m off to get pissed.

 

TL;DR

 

Huhne: Yawn.

 

5/10

 

Umunna: Yawn.

 

5/10

 

Curry: Air-punch!

 

7/10

 

Self: Why?

 

4/10

 

Hopkins: Worst.Person.Ever

 

1/10 (a first!)

 

The Crowd: Kill me.

 

3/10

 

 

So there you go. As I mentioned earlier, I have actually just agreed to buy a house so I’m off to pace nervously and fret about interest rate. If you need me, I’ll be reading the Daily Mail.

 

Next week Lemming, next week…

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Mid-week posting? Madness, I tell you…


In a further bid to destabilise your already fraught lives here’s a rare mid-week, non-Question Time related post to steam your collective beans. Anyhoo, the long and short of it is that Toby over at A Load of Stuff That Happened has very kindly posted up a live recording of a set we played at Santo’s a couple of weeks back enabling you, The Great Unwashed, to vicariously experience the thrills of being in a punk rock band… that’s been going for over 6 years and still only has 12 songs to rub together… and has been described as “Leeds’ most random looking band”… as well as once playing to a crowd consisting of three people… I could go on.

 

Enjoy, Lemmings.

Loudribs Curmudgeonry Corner Post Question Time Match Report #34


Morning Lemmings. So then, the traditional title picture and title itself all seem to indicate that things are back to normal at this end, right? Wrong! No Lemmings, I’m afraid to say that I’ll be messing with the format yet again, mainly in the interests of keeping these reports a little shorter and thus emancipating me from 6 hours chained to a keyboard every Friday night. As a result, those of you with strong OCD tendencies may find themselves all at sea but my advice would be to view this as a form of treatment: We’re pushing the boundaries, breaking new ground, feeling the fear and doing it anyway…this is our Brave New World. Anyway, if this sudden wrenching away of the familiar leaves you feeling out-of-sorts, please feel free to let me know but if you couldn’t give a toss (and I strongly suspect that 99.9% of you don’t) then sit back and prepare thyself for what turned out to be quite the epic Question Time last night. Welcome, Lemmings, to Burnley.

Perhaps the best way to describe last night’s Question Time is to look at it as some fraught tale of maritime woe. Imagine if you will a dingy, probably named ‘Coalition’, adrift in the ocean and occupied by the now very guilty conscience of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes and the ever fishy (what with all the expenses, nannies and whatnot) Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman. Life on the Coalition isn’t that fun. Neither of them really wanted to sign up for this trip, the dingy appears to have sprung a few leaks of late and there is no disguising the fact that Hughes and Spelman clearly can’t stand each other. Nevertheless, here they are and for the most part, they at least try to make a pretence of some united front, even if that means extended bouts of lying to themselves.

But wait a second…what’s this? Two triangular fins, poking above the water and moving erratically? Clearly they were shark fins and if I’m not mistaken, they belonged to the well-known man eaters that are Gorgeous George Galloway and Malcolm Tucker Alastair Campbell! Sensing that some first class flesh tearing and access to carrion action could be in the offing, a flock of seagulls began to gather whilst another boat containing Clever Footballer (purely on account of appearing on Countdown… the bar’s pretty low, OK?) Clarke Carlisle approached from a safe distance.

I nearly went with "FUCKCHOPS"

Fig. 1

Oi! You guys down there!” squawked the gulls, “What do you think about Alan Johnson resigning and Ballsy getting the job?”

We bloody love it!” growled the sharks in unison. “Balls is just as sharky as us and he’s going to duff Osborne up good and proper! Go sharks! Go sharks! Go sharks!” Sensing that things probably aren’t too rosy when the killers of the deep circling your boat start chanting “Go sharks!”, Spelman did her best to look imposing and immediately launched into the now well-past-it’s-sell-by deficit/’living beyond means’ spiel, but failed to convince anyone that she wasn’t heading for a sticky fate in a matter of moments. Hughes however, knew that this was a doomed venture and instead tried to placate the sharks (by paying “tribute to Alan Johnson in passing”… He’s resigned Simon, he’s not dead) before bopping the marauders on the nose with a well delivered ‘Balls = Brown’ jab, much to the amusement of the seagulls.

Then something weird happened: Just as it seemed that it was only a matter of time before the good ship Coalition would be condemned to a toothy death, another onlooker (called David Starkey no less) chirped in with a question about the Iraq Inquiry and all hell broke loose. Suddenly, the sharks lost interest in mauling the Coalition and instead squared up to each other, much to the visible relief

of both Hughes and Spelman. The first to lunge was Gorgeous George who lost no time in popping open a bottle of Vintage Dastardly Rhetoric from which he poured references to “establishment stooges” and “war crimes” before climaxing with a shower of likening Tucker Campbell to “Goebbels” and “Lord Haw Haw”. This drove Tucker Campbell into a frenzied semantic defence (and a hairy moment where narrowly avoided confirming that he should stand trial if the Inquiry found him to be a big fat liar) whilst Spelman and Hughes looked on with bewildered delight. Surely these sharks are drunk! Also notable at this point was Clarke Carlisle’s first intervention (that wasn’t based on purely sports based analogies) which involved a rather impassioned tract about his cousin being in the forces and how those in power should be “held responsible”. The seagulls loved that and heartily brayed their approval before throwing him completely off-balance with a question about the NHS (“I’m not familiar with the complete mechanics”).

Sadly for Hughes and Spelman, the respite did not last and by the time the NHS question got round to Tucker Campbell, both he and Gorgeous George swiftly sobered up, dusted themselves down (if you can ‘dust yourself down’ underwater) and returned to original object of their blood lust. First up was Tucker Campbell with accusations of “broken promises” and the seagulls all bundled in, dive-bombing the coalition in formation whilst Galloway harried their flanks and got Lansley’s name wrong (“Stuart” Lansley?). Presented with this renewed onslaught Spelman did the political equivalent of clicking her heels three times whilst repeating the phrase ‘there’s no place like home’ by claiming she was delivering a “message of hope”. No-one bought it and the beasting continued. Even more interesting was Hughes who was clearly aware of how much trouble he was in and began flat-out pleading with his assailants: “I’m not a Tory!” he wailed to which Tucker Campbell replied “you’re getting there…”. Ouch.

By now, the once pristine dingy was rapidly being reduced to matchwood but worse was to come when one of the seagulls chipped in with a question about youth unemployment, driving his brethren into a maelstrom of murderous intent. Tucker Campbell got the ball rolling by shifting the argument in the direction of EMA’s but to be honest, the sharks were pretty much surplus to requirement as the gulls descended to peck out the eyes of Spelman (who was just whittering bollocks at this point) and Hughes (who finally gave up pretending that he was in any way on board with most of this and was consequently spared quite the hammering Spelman took). Broken, battered and listing heavily, the dingy managed to limp onto the final question about Oldham, but it was clear that they had only just escaped with their lives. Moments later, the gulls dispersed, the sharks got bored and went to look for something else to bite whilst Carlisle weighed anchor and pootled off into the sunset leaving Spelman and Hughes to ponder just how much fun the next four years of bailing/arguing over the freshwater/watching each other pee/mutual loathing would be. A cautionary tale if ever I heard one but a ripping yarn nevertheless.

TL;DR

Spelman: 3/10

I try very hard to be impartial, but something about her just stinks. Lucky to leave the studio alive.

Malcolm Tucker Alastair Campbell: 6/10

Yes, he’s an unrepentant ball of belligerence with a book to plug and possibly a war criminal too, but you have to admire just quite how proficient he is in the Dark Arts.

Hughes: 5/10

A valiant and spirited effort, but it’s actually rather disturbing to watch a man rend his soul apart on live television.

Gorgeous George: 7/10

Pompous and self-serving rabble-rouser that he is, it has to be said that he still represents Question Time Value For Money on a par with Farage.

Clarke Carlisle: 6/10

Actually quite good, despite the nervous start, occasional manglings of his own arguments and inherent sportiness. Kind of makes me feel a little guilty for doing a sarky pshop of him (see Fig.1).

The Crowd: 9/10

A well deserved whopper of a score for the most awesome crowd I’ve seen in ages. Reet Northern, reet pissed off and reet keen to get amongst it. Burnley: Walk tall this week… you’ve bloody well-earned it.

So that’s that. If this slightly different format has left you pining for the old/enthralled by the prospect of a brighter future, feel free to let me know. Oh, and just before I go, remember how I said ages ago that Ed Balls is probably the world’s least effective liar? Well, I think I might have just found the most compelling piece of evidence to date…

Next week Lemmings, next week…

Loudribs Curmudgeonry Corner Super Time Pressured Post Question Time Match Report #1


I did try to make an animated version of this. I failed.

 

Morning Lemmings and welcome back from the Festivus break. First things first, the good news: My leg is now repaired and fully functional after my pre-Crimbo high velocity ground/Loudribs interface (apparently I bruised the bone in my hip. I never knew you can bruise bones, but who am I to argue with the good people at A and E or my own pain receptors?). In outpourings of further joy, I am pleased to announce that I have a new telly and the ghostly green shroud has now been lifted from the Heavenly Visage of Dimbleby. I was blind(ish) but now I see. So yes, rejoicing all round.

Now, just in case you thought you got away with it, here’s the bad news: Owing to other commitments, I have literally an hour to cobble something together so it’s going to be a super short QT Report tonight. I realize that this is a rather ominous start to the new series, but my sick note is in good order as I will be playing a gig with popular beat combo Achtung Everybody in a matter of hours. For all those who live in Leeds and fancy getting themselves down to Santiago’s for about 8.00, I salute you. I can’t promise that the music will be to your tastes, but as it’s only two quid on the door all subsequent complaints will be filed under ‘P’ for ‘Po-Faced’.

 

Right…. To the show. First up we have Michael Gove and his anatomically perplexing face (I wager that if you were to punch it, your fist would be sucked in by it’s putty like qualities and become stuck which in turn would lead to a rather awkward post-attempted assault situation where you either both freak out or end up simply standing in bewildered silence, fist still implanted in face). I must say I was quietly impressed with his outing, especially as a throng of teachers who had voted Conservative formed an orderly queue with the intention of giving him what for. This motley crew were mostly dealt with a combination of appropriately pitched humour and a very impassioned monologue that saw him get quite hot under the collar, both of which proved reasonably effective. However, he did get caught out by an early play of the “son of a fish merchant” card which Charles Kennedy then trumped with his own deployment of the “son and grandson of a Scottish crofter” gambit. Gah! Damned reformed alcoholics! Always spoiling everyone elses fun!  A similar scenario later unfolded when he poked fun at Dimbers’ rapidly advancing years (seventy-goddamn-two! He’s as old as Moses!) which was swiftly counter poked with a quip about some maths he had just got wrong, leading him to retreat into a confusing little passage where he may or may not have claimed to fancy Celina Scott. Oh, and before I forget, he also came out with this humdinger. “Facts are chiels that winna ding”. According to google, this is a Burns quote. According to everyone else, it’s the incoherent rantings of a maniac who’s minutes away from being sectioned. So that is he and despite the fact he’s clearly a True Believer in something quite potty (and I find True Believers of any ilk to be terrifying), he did pretty good.

Moving swiftly on we have Dianne Abbott making her ten trillionth appearance on recent QT’s, a fact that now leads me suspect that she is having some sort of sordid affair with Dimbers. Little to say here as I’ve expended most of my Abbott material in previous reports but it was your usual concoction of affable head nodding, exacerbated appeals to reason and reassuring mumsiness. All well and good, but beware Dianne, your well deserved familiarity is getting dangerously close to generating a smidgen of contempt. Bringing up the rear of the party political end is Charles Kennedy who tended to answer questions at great and rambling length but did so in the style of reading a bedtime story, thus cementing his position Person I Would Most Like To Offer Me A Cup of Tea Upon Waking From A Hangover. Also of note were his extensive efforts to put an ocean of clear blue water between himself and the government, an exercise that involved repeated reminders of his backbench status and his vote against Tuition Fee’s. Do you know something we don’t, Charlie? Actually wait, it’s blindingly obvious: The Lib Dems are fucked.

Finally, we have the two non-politicos, Jeanette Winterson and James Caan, both of whom adopted massively contrasting QT techniques. On Winterson’s side it was a case of delivering every withering broadside (and there were many) with Old Testament levels of certainty and brimstone (assuming of course that the Old Testament had been written by a high-profile lesbian) and she even took the trouble of pouring of her Special Reserve Scorn on Vince Cable, thus ushering in the finally act of The Passion of St. Vince. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Generally speaking she was pretty good fun although the way she takes a sharp intake of breath at the end of every sentence left me feeling a little disoriented. Caan, on the other hand, was an entirely different kettle of fish and a kettle of fish that I 68.5% approve of. On the plus side, his natural suaveness and gentle tone are a nice break from the usually rabid entrepreneurs they have on but the remaining 31.5% I don’t approve of was largely accounted for by his insistence on making every answer somehow business related (or in the case of the Jack Straw question, his flat-out refusal to answer it directly at all). Still, not bad.

All of which leaves us with the crowd who were fairly rowdy, although slightly stymied by Charles Kennedy’s refusal to be a Lib Dem sitting duck. Audience members of note include a woman who’s body language was so jerky that I feared for the vertical hold on my new telly, another woman who appeared to be wearing a forage cap which actually turned out to be her hair and a serious looking banker type who seemed to have solved the entire economic crisis in a matter of sentences. Good work there, Serious Looking Banker Guy.

A fair to middling 6/10

Ok, I’ve got to go and shovel some food down my neck before rocking my socks off. Sorry for the brevity but needs must and by way of compensation here’s a link to some vintage Dimbleby footage kindly made available by Adam Curtis.

Time for a picture of Beefy? Time for a picture of Beefy.

Yarrrrrrr.... Thar she goes...

Sober bassists are bad enough...

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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