Posts Tagged 'Russell Brand'

Questionable Time #118


qt 118
Good morrow lemmings and a very merry Dimblemas to you all! We’re in Canterbury for this edition, and lemme tell ya, it’s a real doozy. What even is a doozy. I don’t know. This is merely the first bout of confusion and distress you are no doubt about to experience in this week’s razzmatazz rendition of Questionable Time. Onwards!

There are actually more women on this panel than men, but who cares about that! It’s time to let the chaps speak for once. Where would we be without them

First up is a question about petty adversarialism. It is somewhat predictably answered by…petty adversarialism? Actually, no, for these are the five minutes at the beginning where everyone pretends to be ‘mature’ and ‘diplomatic’ before inevitably descending into the standard shit-slinging that goes on every week. When will they learn? At this point panellists shouldn’t even try to fight it, but should get their shit in early.

Panellist number one is Niggle Farridge. This is a man who needs no introduction, so I won’t give him one. He looks like the hhhehehe lizard of some internet repute. He also mentions that he experienced twenty years in business, which he no doubt spent most of heheheing. With, like, a cigar…and a pint…or whatever…yeah. Quality satire!

Panellist number deux is Russelly Wusselly. He has the wild hair and eyes of a discombobulated lion being poked in an illegal zoo. He calls ARE NIGE a ‘dude’ and then a ‘fella’ while bemoaning the state of absolutely everything. He gets a little too carried away about, oh…[checks watch] seven minutes in and Mary Creagheyyeyaaeyaaaeyaeyaa has to smack him down to remind him not to call women he doesn’t know ‘love’. Russell apologises. He is working on it. He tearfully tears away a page in his calender – it now reads ‘there have been 0 days since your last mildly sexist incident’. Tragic. And he was on such a winning streak.

Penny Mordaunt is also here. I have no idea why. She was plonked on immediately after her truth-or-dare swearing in Parliament fiasco, where she made copious references to a rooster, as I seem to recall. Apart from this COCKsure upstart (look ma, I can demean democracy too!) we also are in the presence of Camilla Cavendish, Times columnist, who will be performing the role of ‘obligatory even-handed journalist type’ for the duration of tonight’s programme. Riveting!

Speaking of swearing, Nigel waxes lyrical about Australia – not just their immigration policies but the way they all flip each other off in the chamber. Meanwhile, in contrast, Penny continues to be boring. ‘There are many great debates in Parliament’, she says, or something like that. I don’t remember. Probably not any of the ones she was in. Unless she started going on about poultry again.

I think it was here my troubles began

The next question is when people clearly started to hallucinate due to the spiked QT sandwiches. It’s about overcrowding – Nigel agrees that we are far too full, like post-Christmas dinner bloat, and it’s for that reason he can’t get anywhere on the motorway.

Dimbleby turns his head. It is time for a response.

…Does anyone else have the sneaking suspicion that Russell Brand is not a great fan of Nigel Farage? There’s only one way to find out: FIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTT!

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

While Russell declares Nigel to be the biggest meanest rotten old racist in the world, Nigel bites back by rolling his eyes – but not even with any particular malice, which is just rude, to be honest. At least give me some classic insults to work with here. Russell even comes out with an admittedly great line about Nigel being a ‘pound shop Enoch Powell’ which I predict will be all over Twitter graphics in the weeks ahead. He even reads a teeny tiny pre-prepared note, which is quite cute, and tries to get the other panellists to acknowledge some rather alarming statistics, which they of course all valiantly fail to do. Nigel even chortles and shakes his head along the way! OMG, rude! Look, I don’t care if you also think Russell is being rude, this is exactly the kind of petty adversarialism you all tutted about ten minutes ago. Somebody please take the moral high-ground, quick.

But apparently this was not to be. Two audience members almost get in an actual, real-life fight. A Kippery sort of gentleman rails against Russ – apparently in order to campaign for/against anything you have to actually get elected to Parliament first, so I guess we should all start working on our election pledges – before a woman in the back row goes for him. And I mean freakin’ goes for him.

‘ES A RACIST

‘ES NOT

I’M COMING FOR YOU FARAGE

What does it mean to truly live a life?

This woman is bafflingly not escorted out of the premises, but needless to say a great many Kipper Komplaints to the BBC were made tonight as well as many warm-throated drunken student cheers. Grievous Bodily Harm Woman is now a living legend in the making. I’m A Celebrity 2015 awaits.

Camilla calms us all down, and Mary mentions Labour balancing the books or whatever new wacky catchphrase they’re trying to force now. Nigel thinks Labour are a bunch of WEAK BABIES. Then GBH woman interrupts another person, who was going on about vetting and not the type that has kittens.

David Dimbleby is clutching his head in pain.

Where are the Lib Dems? Crying in a corner

Time for some NHS screeching! Hooray!

Mary mentions the Conservative and Lib Dem health bill – wait a minute, there aren’t any Lib Dems on the panel for her to point the finger at. Where are they, anyway? Well, someone had to get kicked in order to make room for Ye Blessed Nige. Sorry Libdibs, that’s life!

What is privatisation? We just don’t know. Dimbles repeats something the Lib Dems pulled out of their bums about a privatised hospital which still had an NHS bid in the running when Labour left office. I mean that’s not the greatest argument in the world, sure, but it is in fact an argument. This is something more than Camilla can do, who doubts that proper privatisation exists ever and that it’s not so bad even if it did. Even Nigel disagrees, what with his new MP posse voting for the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act in a recent debate ‘n’ all. The whole ‘looking at different systems’ thing was just an idle daydream he had one day. Like a homosexual fling at university, he’s over that shit now.

After Russell’s brief drift into becoming a werewolf earlier in the programme, he’s back to acting sensible again. He points out some more figures, which he’s becoming surprisingly adept at doing, about the 70-odd MPs who stand to gain from the privatisation that definitely isn’t happening. Penny reminds us all about how much she cares about a four letter word staring with c: care. An old man in the audience then raises the subject of NHS workers’ pay being crapola while MPs dance naked under golden champagne fountains. “I completely understand that,” says Penny, to general giggles.

Five minutes remain, which is apparently enough time to tackle the subject of grammar schools. Russell answers with something entertaining but off-topic, while the others try for boring but on-topic. Nigel of course is in favour of bringing grammars back, because they are apparently completely classless and 100% meritocratic. Heckus yeckus.

Meanwhile: Penny sends us back to sleep, Camilla demonstrates middle-of-the-roadism to an almost unbelievable degree, and Mary is basically your sensible aunt trying to soothe the array of crying children back into watching Frozen for the 357th time. The usual holiday cheer.

Then it ends.

Thank you. Thank you for ending.

(Immediately afterwards there’s an advert for a programme on drugs starring…Russell Brand. Looks interesting actually. More interesting than this programme.)

Time for the scores, and they’re a little special this week to celebrate the sheer ridiculousness of this episode and to prevent Nigel Farage’s fanboy fraternity from coming after me with torches and tweets.

Farage: Bathtub/10

(His party is no longer) Small

Mordaunt: Wombat/10

(Good at) Stall(ing with naughty words)

Creagh: Space Jam/10

(In for the long) Haul

Cavendish: π/10

(Has an unchallenging type of) Drawl

Brand: Heat death of the universe/10

(Gawd bless ‘im,) Y’all

The Crowd: 10/10

(All-out) Brawl

We’ll be back on the 8th January for some more Dimbletastic fun. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Season’s Bleatings from all of us here at Questionable Time! Do let us (that is to say, me) know what you thought of this first run under new management. If I suck, I’ll go and retire like Gordon Brown and make a mint on after-dinner speeches. It’s the honourable way.

Next year Lemmings, next year…

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Questionable Time #66


 questionable time 66 david dimbleby goth

Good morning Lemmings and I hope you’ve brought provisions with you (sandwiches would be a start although booze will ultimately be of greater utility) because we’ve got an awful lot to get through today. Right, no messing about, let’s get cracking.

So Mel finally went off the deep end…

I was going to start with Brand but seeing how this site’s being absolutely hammered by people arriving from the search term ‘Melanie Phillips Question Time’ – not to mention the fact that my twitter feed has become a solid wall of people going on a Mel bender – I thought it prudent to bow to the wishes of the great unwashed. Anyway, prior to last night’s show I was feeling somewhat ambivalent about Phillip’s being on as she’s been relatively well-behaved of late. Granted, she’s managed to maintain an underlying level of bonkersness and there’s always some sort of societal windmill she’s been able to tilt at but compared to the uber-rabid Londonistan-era Mel, I rather feared that she was losing her teeth.

Nor did her answers early in the show do anything to dispel this feeling and in actual fact, most of what she came out with was pretty tame: On bankers she was so-so (although did manage to slip in an obligatory dig at nurses… well done there) while the drugs question saw her going through some hard-line motions but it was all the fairly predictable, doom-laden stuff that she routinely churns out. ‘That’s it.’ I thought. ‘The old girl’s finally cashed in her chips. Godspeed Mel, may you while away your days in crotchety grumpiness’. However that was before the question about Syria landed.

It all started innocuously enough – a dig at Cameron here, a failed state or two there – but then went sideways as she arrived at her two ‘I’s: Israel and Iran. The first sign that things were becoming unstuck was when she demanded that Iran be “neutralised” but that was just a warm-up. No, what really sent her over the edge was the bally gall of the audience to offer a collective tut at this idea. That was it. Out came the finger, jabbing away like a little spear of crazy as she laid into the “defeatism of the British people”. Naturally, slagging off 60 million people in one effortless little sentence did little to sooth the crowd and the tutting soon became the ominous rumble of boos, but Mel wasn’t finished. Not by a long shot.

HOW TRIVIAL OF YOU! HOW IGNORANT OF YOU!” was her next line and with it went any hope that the show might remain tenuously anchored in reality. The ominous rumble escalated, insults were traded and the good ship Question Time proceeded to turn turtle before finally disappearing beneath the unrelenting waves of farce that swamped its decks.

Twelve hours have passed since that incident and as I now peer at the fuzzy sonar scan of the show’s watery grave I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, this is the sort of thing that Questionable Time should thrive on – you know, bangs and crashes, bells and whistles, that sort of thing – and a part of me is quite pleased to see that Mel’s back and as unhinged as ever. Yet there was also something about the pure bitterness behind it all (from both Phillips and the crowd) that makes me feel a little queasy. Is this what we really wanted? The spectacle of a woman who’s essentially given up on humanity reaching snapping point in front of an audience of millions? The base, impulsive side of me says it is but deep down I can’t escape the feeling that we’ve traded in a stable, long-term relationship for a dirty little grope in a stationary cupboard.

You know something’s gone deeply awry when Boris starts looking like a voice of reason…

Believe me, I’m just as shocked as you by the above statement but I’ve got to admit that it’s essentially true: Boris was – in the main – actually pretty level-headed last night. True, he couldn’t sustain this new and rather disconcerting look for the entire show and by the end of the it he had assumed his more familiar form – that of a Rube Goldberg contraption brought to life (please click that link as it contains some pure brilliant). But still, I can’t deny that for the majority of it he actually resembled what can only be described as a ‘politician’ and when it came to the Syria, I was pretty much in total agreement with him. I know, I know… This is all a little difficult to take in but trust me, it happened and again, I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s like the QT I know and love just got its ears pierced, bought a motorbike and told the kids that Daddy needs some time to go and ‘find himself’. In short, confusion is reigning in my head right now along with a troubling sense of abandonment.

Will the real Russell Brand please stand up?

My one great hope for last night’s episode was that I might finally be able to form a definitive opinion about Russell Brand, something that has so far eluded me despite repeated attempts to peg him down. Here’s the thing – behind all the sex and drugs and Dickensian wibbling you do occasionally catch a glimpse of a thoughtful, sensitive and actually quite vulnerable man. Remember when he gave evidence to the Home Affairs Committee about drugs policy? That was one of those rare, fleeting glimpses and that’s the Brand I’d like to like.

But they are so rare and while you’re waiting for them you have to endure the contrived dumbing down, the ‘awight mate Mr Dimbleby sir me lord’ and the nagging feeling that his ego may be reaching the point where it can’t support its own weight any more. And that, frankly, upsets me off because he doesn’t have to do it. Yes, I get that this may all be part of a grand plan to make politics ‘accessible’ and ‘relevant’ but I can’t help feeling like I’m being stealthily patronised whilst simultaneously being force-fed a year’s supply of low-hanging fruit.

Fundamentally though, there’s a more profound problem I have with Brand and it’s about trying to work out where the persona ends and the real man begins. I hoped that last night might bring me a little closer to sussing that out but alas, it was not to be.

Reasons why I’m quietly falling in love with Ed Davey…

  1. I think he’s in politics for the right reasons. True, he doesn’t offer much in the way of thrills and that streak of inevitable careerism is hard to ignore but I genuinely get the feeling that he’s a sensible man who wants to make a sensible world using sensible means. We sort of need a few of them kicking about.
  2. He and Jowell were about that only things that reassured me that I wasn’t in fact watching a Year 9 drama group attempting to perform a parody of Question Time.
  3. When I take notes for the show, I refer to the panelists by their initials – Davey’s being ED. Pleasingly, whenever I read the notes back in my head his name always comes out as ‘Aer-Der!’. It’s the little things that count in life.

And just in case you were worried that Tessa Jowell might neglect to mention the Olympics…

…She manages to squeeze one in during the dying seconds of the show. Phew! For a second there I thought we were in trouble. Anyway, it was a good innings from Jowell last night, particularly as Dimbers did seem to have it in for her at the start of the show. It was also the first time that I’ve heard a convincing apology for Labour’s failure to regulate the banks coming from someone who was very much at the heart of that ill-fated project. And that dear Lemmings may even warrant an extra point.

Tl;dr

Johnson: 6/10

Odd(ly restrained)…

Phillips: 3/10

(Rode rough)Shod (over any sense of proportionality)…

Brand: 5/10

(Is a tricky) Sod (to pin down)…

Davey: 6/10

Plod(s sensibly on)…

Jowell: 7/10

(Gave a knowing) Nod (to Labour’s culpability)…

The Crowd: 6/10

(Did a good job at being the Awkward) Squad…

Right, this has to end because I’m way over my thousand words and need to sit in a darkened room for at least a week. Before I go there’s the small matter of this week’s pshop which I’ve stuck below (see Fig. 1).

boris-johnson-russel-rand-hair-swap-gif

Fig. 1

Yeah, it’s not my finest work but that’s probably because I wazzed all my pixels up the wall making this rather beautiful Farage design which may just be available in t-shirt form in the none-too-distant-future. Watch this space. So anyway that’s your lot and let’s hope that Daddy returns next week – minus that ghastly leather jacket of course…

Next week Lemmings, next week…


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