Archive for November 1st, 2013

Questionable Time #76

questionable time 76 david dimbleby pumpkin

Good morning Lemmings and let’s start with some joyous news: Energy prices were not the first question of last night’s show and despite their subsequent appearance in Question #3 I think we’re probably out of the woods when it comes to Energy Prices Time. The bad news however is that HS2 got the #1 spot and that worries me because a) it’s just as dull an issue as energy prices and b) we’re probably going to have at least 20 years of this as the project lurches from one inevitable delay to the next. So here’s a small request to all future QT audiences: Pace yourselves as you’ve got another couple of decades of this to come and we wouldn’t want to have all our HS2 ‘fun’ at once now would we? Anyway…

I had a killer opening line for Jeremy Browne all figured out…

Who’s this jolly trouser press of a man?” was how I thought I was going to start this week’s section on Jeremy Browne and very pleased I was with myself for it is a good line that adequately conveys what Jeremy Brown usually looks like when he’s on QT – you know, all very upright and formal yet with a splash of affable bumbling, much like a meerkat at an award ceremony. Unfortunately, that line’s not going to work any more as it appears that poor old Jeremy Brown has yet to recover from the rather rude surprise of being sacked for no good reason – other than to make space for one of Parliament’s odder-balls – and as such he no longer resembles a jolly trouser press (I toyed with ‘deflated trouser press’ but that really doesn’t work because it implies the existence of an inflatable trouser press and that in turn sounds like the sort of thing you send the YTS kid out for after they’ve failed to secure the tartan paint or bucket of pixels you originally requested). I’m chalking this up as another black mark against the Deputy PM’s name… Thanks for ruining an otherwise great opener Cleggers!

So yes, this was Jeremy’s first outing since being unceremoniously heave-hoed off the front benches and you know what? I felt really, genuinely sorry for him. You could see it in the listlessness, the downcast face and the lack of wobble in an otherwise pleasingly wobbly head. Sure, he answered questions that were asked of him and did his best to look like his heart hadn’t broken into a thousand tiny pieces but you could tell that he was only there in order not to let the side down (whichever side that may be). Basically, he resembled a man who’s had the crap kicked out of him in a very random assault and that lingering sense of bewilderment just struck me as terribly sad.

However, there is one ray of sunshine in this otherwise bleak picture: No matter how roughly he is treated, now matter how raw his deal, Jeremy Browne can always take solace in one thing – he still has his panda… And I still have my panda cutout (see Fig. 1).

jeremy brown panda homeless

Fig. 1

I do so love a happy ending.

Something sketchy this way comes…

Here’s a question I tend to ask myself when observing a QT n00b on their first outing: Would you lend this person a tenner? In the case of George Osborne’s ex-Chief-of-Staff Matthew Hancock I’d say ‘no’ and here’s why. First off, he looked shifty. Now I’m aware that this is his initial QT sortie and I do give a dispensation for first time nerves but his shiftiness appeared more congenital than circumstantial. However, the thing that really gave me the screaming jibblies was the way he kept juxtaposing faux sincerity with actual sincerity. Take the Unite question: Here he started by trying to convince us that he’s a strong supporter of the unions but you got the feeling that he had to physically push those words out of his mouth because let’s face it, close allies of George Osborne are not exactly famed for their love of labour movements. Still, you often have to say things you don’t actually mean on QT so I’d be willing to let that slip if he hadn’t  followed it up with a line about what utter monsters Unite are and delivered with the most forthright conviction – that just made the initial porky look all the porkier. The same happened on the energy question – ‘I really like green energy BUT THESE WINDMILLS ARE MADNESS!’ was the jist of it and the implication was exactly the same: ‘I’ve been told I should appear to like green energy YET IT ACTUALLY ME MAKES WANT TO PUNCH HIPPIES’.

And that, dear Lemmings, is why I won’t be lending Matthew Hancock a tenner.

Episodes of QT you want Chris Bryant on vs. Episodes of QT you don’t want Chris Bryant on…

Episodes you want Chris Bryant on…

The ones where the main topic is something he likes getting his knickers in twist about conducted in front of a combative panel and an audience riven by factionalism.

Episodes you don’t want Chris Bryant on…

The ones with so-so topics, a panel who looked blitzed from the train ride to Cornwall and a crowd who politely clap every point whilst behaving in a reasonable fashion.

Things that make the bad episodes marginally better…

Watching the expression on his face when Paris Lees said that Ed Miliband “has real oak in his penis”. ‘Shocked delight’ is the best I can come up with.

And the other two?

I’ve got to say that despite working for the wretched Mail, I thought Harriet Sergeant was actually rather good last night and the only panelist to be consistently on the ball throughout. We may differ in view-point but at least she’s got the gumption to go out and see what life is like on the other side of the fence. As for Paris Lees, well it was a jerky start with her repeated ‘nationalise all the things’ responses but she found her feet with the probation question and followed it up with an oaken-penissed flourish on press regulation. That’ll do for me Paris…


Hancock: 4/10

(Wears a) Cloak (of shiftiness)…

Brown: 5/10

(Looks like a) Broke(n man)…

Bryant: 5/10

(Isn’t the sort of) Bloke (you want on a low-intensity episodes)…

Sergeant: 7/10

Woke (me up when I was in danger of dropping off)…

Lees: 6/10

Oak (and penises)

The Crowd: 5/10

(Nearly) Choke(d when they heard about Ed’s oaky penis)

Well, I can’t say that I was overly enthused by it all last night but at least I got to bust out the panda again… That’s got to count for something, right? Anyway, I’m off but before I go here are two very shameless plugs:

  1. What happens when you cut Morrissey’s brain in half.
  2. A rather nsfw t-shirt I designed that’s just gone on sale. I feel like I should be saying “I’m not proud of this” but in actual fact I’m really rather proud of it.

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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November 2013

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