The Darling Collective and more…

Hey readers,

Have you ever wanted to start a business? Its one of my personal dreams for the future, and whether its a patisserie or a media empire I can probably see myself going a similar way as Charlie Beall, who tried out a few different careers before launching online boutique directory the Darling Collective, where users can find quirky, high quality local businesses and services. After growing up in South Africa, Charlie moved to the UK in his teens and studied at Cambridge, after which he became involved in the arts rather than business. He worked as a musician and actor before mixing creativity with entrepreneurship to make what he describes as “a place for unique activities delivered by amazing, uncompromising people”. His background, which includes time working for a talent agency before retraining in marketing in the media and publishing sectors, means that Charlie brings an interesting skill set to his new business, which combines a fair trade approach and unique services. But how does Charlie’s business actually work? I found out from the man himself.

Can boutique chic convert Generation Pile Em High?

– How did the idea come about for the site? 
While I’ve always been interested in digital technology, I spent most of the time after leaving university doing one small-scale artistic project or another. I was an actor and played in a couple of bands. I organised club nights, DJ’d, worked on music videos and hung out with a lot of creative people.
A number of my friends were really skilled in areas such as photography, acting, jewellery making and wanted to use these skills to make a bit of extra money or to start a business. It struck me that they didn’t have a platform where they could market themselves… certainly not one that curated only the best.
Yes, there’s editorial and press, yes there are classifieds or listings sites, yes there are daily deal sites but we try to do something different – somewhere our users could come because its a trusted source of great things to do.
So that’s what we’re doing. We’re not there yet but we are creating a community of businesses (often individuals with a skill) that support one another under an umbrella of quality, loyalty and uniqueness. That takes time to build but it’s time worth investing.
– What is your personal favourite of the services up for offer on the site? 
That’s like asking a parent which is their favourite child – even if I have one I couldn’t possibly tell you which one it is 😉
Xanthe Milton (Cookie Girl) runs baking and cake decorating classes which can be booked via Charlie's site
– What has been the most fun to test out? 
Quite simple… the Chocolate Ecstasy Tour of Mayfair was pure indulgence. We were really lucky that there was some walking in between each venue, just to work up enough of an appetite to keep going. Here’s our review:
– Your motto is “nothing corporate, nothing standard”…how does this fit in with your own ideology as an entrepreneur, and what is your background business-wise?
‘Nothing corporate, nothing standard’ is as much my own personal ethos as it is the motto of the site and the types of things we list. I’m increasingly meeting other people who share this view – there is growing dissatisfaction about the one-size-fits-all high street shops that we have to shop in, the mass produced food we have available to us and the poor service we receive from people who have no vested interest in the job they’re doing. When people work on a small scale, for themselves or for a business where their personal input makes a difference, customers are treated better and usually they deliver a great experience or product.
Granted, industrialisation has commodified what were once luxuries, delivering economies of scale that allow more people access to things like televisions and washing machines at cheaper prices and I think that generally this is a good thing. However, the flip side is that more people now work in soulless call-centres or scanning barcodes rather than doing something that’s connected with what they’re producing or offering. The result is disenchantment, bad service, poor product quality and ultimately a bad customer experience.
I’m not advocating a return to pre-industrial times, just a bit more balance… I think we have been guilty of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, in that by increasing the efficiencies and processes that go into making and doing things, we’ve lost some of the personal touch that brings meaning to our lives.
That’s why I built the site- as a conduit for these types of people to thrive. You may not necessarily pay more for the artisanal services we list, but you will always receive a personal service of the kind that some people idealise in reminiscences of days when people knew their local butcher or tailor.
The Darling Collective allows you to shop with a clean conscience, knowing that what you’re getting is of a really high standard, but also supports a local small business by giving them the price they deserve for their service.
As far as my business background is concerned, I’ve always gravitated towards smaller organisations run by passionate people. I try to surround myself with dynamic, energetic, positive people. I’ve never been at home in the corporate environment. I am fascinated by people who have an idea and then make it happen.
– Finally, what’s next for the Darling Collective in 2012? 
We have four goals for 2012…
1. Expand the categories: we don’t have enough bee-keepers or gin tasters on the site yet!
2. Find more hidden gems: we have rigorous standards so can’t list every business out there, but I know there are more than the ones I know about so please do get in touch if you’d like us to review what you do.
3. Go national: we decided to test the idea in London first but my goal in 2012 is to expand to other areas in the UK.
4. Keep doing what we’re doing: we’re proud of the start we’ve made and my message to all of the Darling Collective team and our partners is to stick to our guns, despite tough economic times. The good will out.
*Business success or gone bust in 2011? I’d like to hear from more entrepreneurs in 2012 – mail me, hannah [at]

Discrimination isn’t right, but the future isn’t necessarily orange…


French dating site Adopte Un Mec (Adopt A Guy), has just hosted a rather unusual promotion. It’s quite an odd site to begin with; women are invited to add potential dates to an imaginary basket, all of whom are ranked by tongue-in-cheek categories like “ease of use”. Rather than feeling like an exercise in female liberation, however, it smacks of gimmickry. As a result, unlike sites like eHarmony, which boasts of being able to match up couples so well that they often end up getting married, or even Tastebuds, which relies on the slightly more tenuous methodology of musical compatibility, Adopte Un Mec’s flippant layout is the of dating sites., if you like. It’s so subversively stupid it’s gotta be a postfeminist joke, right?
I digress – the tagline for the site’s unusual promotion read “série spéciale carottes, cultivez-les avec soin” (carrot special, cultivate them with care), and encouraged women to contact redheaded guys “pour voir la vie en orange”. An obvious joke, the website banner boasted a picture of a Napoleon Dynamite lookalike and was an adept marketing ploy shared with the site’s 100,000 or so Facebook fans.
It was a campaign that aimed to laugh
with redheads rather than at them, but it left me feeling uneasy nonetheless. As a lapsed redhead (years of intervention to have titian tresses = less pre-Rafaelite, more post-apocolyptic), I’ve never understood the random abuse and ridicule associated with red hair. South Park’s “soulless” jibes circa 2005 are about as funny as eugenics, e.g not at all…
One thing I understand even less than unprovoked jibes, however, is overcompensating for this form of ignorance. X Factor’s ex-ginger Kitty Brucknell whining to the tabloids about being forced to dye her hair blonde was an insincere waste of column inches. Likewise, articles championing Lily Cole/Prince Harry/Christina Hendricks/Florence Welch (delete as appropriate) can seem saccharine when they reference hair colour in their opening paragraphs, and only two of those are real redheads anyway. People aren’t talented/pretty/interesting etc. 
because of their hair colour, but it feels as though the message is that they’ve succeeded in spite of it. Unnecessary pity only seems to undermine the egalitarian world (jk) we supposedly live in.
A note to Adopte Un Mec, then: 1. your concept might be inventive but subjecting redheads to positive discrimination is patronising and certainly not de rigeur. Imagine if the US brought back affirmative action towards African Americans – a slightly more drastic example here but a worrying regressive comparsion nonetheless. We should be judging people on their merits, not giving them a virtual leg-up they probably don’t want… or need. 2. A joke is supposed to be funny. Nul points. 

Lily Cole - supermodel, first from Cambridge: we shouldn't laugh at you Lily, nor give you special treatment

Happy 2012

Three years of and counting. Major thanks to everyone I’ve worked with this year, and to you for reading. Have a brilliant new year.
P.s. I’m in Word magazine out on Jan 12th reviewing a fresh look at Bob Dylan, wahey!



Singles Apr/May + Royal Wedding

If I wasn’t boring I’d be at the Camden Crawl blogging with Vice, enjoying fringe events such as the Nightjar (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cumberbitches take note) and the film festival curated by Guillemots, as well as obviously listening to music from the likes of Tom Williams and The Boat, Little Comets and Beth Jeans Houghton. Except I’m cripplingly boring and my A Levels (officially) start this week.

Instead I’ll just churn out five of these babies:

“You never review new singles!” “Done” (Apr/May)

The Shoes – Cover Your Eyes (Crack My Bones LP released March, single TBC on Southern Fried)

Late night French radio is good for two things as far as I’m concerned. Besides the super-detailed meteo, sometimes a gem slips through the wireless with all the ease of a Parisian breeze. They’ve mixed for a menagerie of indie bands and had their music featured on Gossip Girl but that’s where the comparisons with serial remixers Justice, samplers Daft Punk and advert song duo Air respectively should end. As brilliant and French as those acts are, Cover Your Eyes is a brooding, dramatic slice of indie which leans more towards the pop than the electro. Seemingly taking its lead from Gaelic influences as well as British indie, its main hook and lyrics (e.g.: the “mathematics of a heart laid bare”) could have been plucked from 80s new romanticism…but how fresh it sounds. I think the whole album could be a winner, as long as I don’t hear “Cliche” on a cliche-d Toyota advert before 2016.


For fans of: Delphic, Zach Hill, Sebastien Tellier.

Japanese Voyeurs – Get Hole (was released 18th April on Fiction)

It’s not very often that I get ridiculously excited about a band who were formed before about 1997, or a band like Japanese Voyeurs who are possibly all talk. Question: is it possible to be a grunge band in 2011? Question: is it possible to have a pain-inducing riot grrrrl wail when the only Veruca Salt of your childhood probably courtesy of Roald Dahl? I’m going to stop asking questions because its ruining the crazy contrast between Exorcist-girl vocals and irregular Pantera-esque chords. Japanese Voyeurs aren’t Japanese but they’ve definitely been doing some voyeurism into Courtney Love’s back catalogue (is “Get Hole” actually a ridiculously obvious ref?!) … and, coupled with even more angry postmodernism, it works. Question: is this for real? Answer: I stopped caring after the first 30 seconds. Memo to Taylor Momsen: watch and learn from Romily Alice, Little J.


For fans of: the 90s, Rolo Tomassi.

The Sound of Arrows – Nova (was released 25th April on Geffen)

Winner of the most self-indulgent video ever award (they made it themselves), this is most certainly a guilty pleasure from the Swedish pair. This is Basshunter and MGMT collaborating at a party hosted by a porn baron, and it fails to conjure up the 80s vibe of Hurts because its a join-the-dots attempt at mainstream electronica with a homoerotic vid I think was intended to go viral. Controversial its really not, however it is strangely compulsive thanks to their Scandinavian pronunciation and predictable themes of stalking (“I’ll never stop following you”). The Top comments on the video sum it up…at the tenth play, I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.


For fans of: Saint Etienne, Pet Shop Boys, The Teenagers

Barbara Panther – Empire (Album to be released 16th May on City Slang)

Barbara Panther is a Rwandan singer from Brussels via Berlin, mixing potent electronic beats with poetically gothic lyrics, however because she is black she will ultimately draw superficial comparisons with that other black electronic pop singer, Santigold. I personally think any such comparisons would be a waste of time…Barbara Panther sounds like she’d be far more at home among the 70s and 80s artists on my favourite leftfield compilation ever, Disco Not Disco from Strut (which I’m lucky enough to own in physical form). She is vintage and trance-like without wearing her influences too obviously. The Lom remix of Empire deconstructs and reassembles this colonialist anthem (just kidding) with ease, and it is possibly better than the (utterly crazy) original.


For fans of: Flykkiller, Bjork, Summer Camp

Frankmusik – Do It In The AM (released May 3rd on Cherrytree/Interscope)

Club 18-30 choon which is the wrong side of electronic. Frankmusik’s polished-up vocals plus an appearance from Far East Movement (“who?” I hear you cry) can’t save this turgid cross between an X Factor winner’s third single and the theme tune of a BBC3 documentary on safe sex. Do it the morning kids, in the AM, before your parents find out or you fail your GCSEs! Oh, how the (relatively) mighty have fallen. On the subject of this vacuous piece of Americana, Mr Frank told some kind of Far East Movement fansite that “this new record has got a bit more finesse to it”, which I’m assuming he thinks is the French word for overproduced.  “I’ve finessed the songwriting, the songs are a lot more punchy”, he continued, before defensively adding that his critics could “suck a dick”. FYI that would be in the PM because the AM is far too jam packed with bitches and hoes and Facetime with the lads back in East London. Pitbull circa 2009 he ain’t.


For fans of: Rohypnol

Got me feeling like a royalist…or not

Watch!! There are royalists and republicans alike in VBS’ latest production Rule Britannia: Royal Wedding. I loved the wedding myself (softy at heart), as well as tat like this  , but this vid shows the crazy extremism of some and the anger at what is seemingly a symbol of conspicuous consumption by the firm during crazy austerity era 101, as well as the view from the Kings Road and the set of a porn film which really does have the crown jewels. Another great doc which explores the politically sensitive relationship from the point of view of the great unwashed and beyond – some royalists, others ready to burn the palace.

*For what its worth, I love them, and genuinely wouldn’t have had any objection to them shredding quantitively-eased money into beautiful confetti and endless rainbows.

HJ x

My top ten and bottom ten of thousand and errm ten

Hello reader, 

This week has marked the second birthday of my website – how time flies! Not so long ago, I was blogging about salad cream, Hello Kitty and how much I wanted to be Glinda from Wicked and drown in a sea of Barbie dolls (under an awful assumed name – the blog in existence is still on Google three years on) and now I am blessed with a blog which has been so much fun to write and hopefully to read as well. I digress – today you’re getting my TOP TEN as well as my BOTTOM TEN of the singles which 2010 served up. International readers: this list encompasses the best and worst of the year’s UK releases, but feel free to point me towards music in your loci via an email to 

Shall I start with the good news, or the bad? Oh, the bad, you say? Yeah, its probably better to end the year on a high, so I’ll kick off with the year’s 10 worst singles (again, I should stress, in MY opinion). 

I’m bad, I’m bad (really, really bad) 

10. All Time Low by The Wanted

Another manufactured and ethnically-diverse boyband to add to the scrapheap, The Wanted were about as wanted as herpes. In 2010, they hit the mainstream with their so-very-boring-and-predictable eponymous album and debut single “All Time Low”, which was so boring and predictable that the most interesting thing about it was a Coldplay sample (really saying something about the mundanity found therein). Five-part harmonies and a Powerpoint ref aside, the real question here is why The Wanted sound clinically dead during a song which is presumably supposed to be a soul-searching and string-laden piece of unforgettable pop (the type which N Sync were famed for delivering in the late 90s, for example). The question: how DO you get up from an all time LOW? Instead, the boys plumped for insightful lyrics (just kidding) and aforesaid Office lyric “I’m late for work, a vital presentation”, so much so that the song might as well have been called “All Time Low Supply of Meatball Marinara at Subway, Not Sure What To Do”. Not awful per se, but proof in an All Time Low for songwriting. The disappointing hype machine which was The Wanted’s debut single is in at number ten. Oh, and they weren’t even that fit. 

9. Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

I am a teenager. Nothing in this three minute, forty-eight second mess will ever appear in my dreams. I’m not the biggest Katy fan in the world, but this single combines three of my least favourite elements of noughties pop. One: breathless vocals which kind of sound like symptoms of some kind of respiratory condition. Two: a strongly repetitive nature. Three: boring lyrics to the power ten (see TheWantedGate above). Oh, and did I mention that Katy Perry sang it? Number nine in my worst songs of the year is this pile of faux-hormonal hogwash. 

8. Let’s Start Marching by The Agitator 

Proof that it really isn’t all of the money, glamour and Autotune which makes music tacky and worthless these days, The Agitator proves that you can make awful music from the comfort of your own home! Without the backing track, Let’s Start Marching could’ve passed for a folksy protest song and thus joined the en vogue folksy crowd of Mumford…, Little Comets, The Villagers et al. Instead, Derek Meins decided to throw together his shouty vocals with some beats which sound oddly like something from a “now you as well can play guitar”-type magazine circa 1997. Clumsy and turgid, which is a shame because the idea behind it is pretty current (what with The Man increasing uni fees against all of us poor students and taking away free books etc) and at least Meins has spoken to some teenagers lately, something which Teenage Dreamer Katy (see above) hasn’t done since the 90s.  Still, this tune ends up sounding like a hollow karaoke parody of what could have been the military-esque protest anthem we desperately needed this autumn/winter. For this reason, “Let’s Start Marching” troops galliantly into eighth place in my list of 2010’s worst songs. Stand at ease, Meins..

7. The Time (Dirty Bit) by Black Eyed Peas

For those of you who’ve just scrolled down the page a little, this is my list of the worst songs of the year. Let me repeat – worst songs of the year. “The Time (Dirty Bit)” initially sounded rather perplexing. What’s dirty about The Time, eh? What dirty secrets did The Time have to reveal to us? Was it a rude joke involving the word’s clock and cock? No – it turns out that The Time was the innocent party in all of this. The Time was in fact 80s smash hit and all-round brilliant party song “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, which was dismembered beyond all recognition by Fergie and the gang, leading to the seventh worst song of the year. Will.I.Am should go back to being a character in Dr Seuss or whatever he used to do. Sax-sacrilige (the removal of the best sax solo ever, period) cannot and shall not be tolerated. Yours sincerely, the Jennifer Grey fanclub.  

6. I Need You Tonight by Professor Green (ft. Ed Drewett)

Another dreadful piece of sampling at number six. I put Ed Drewett’s name in brackets because he is not the problem here. At least he sings the main refrain of the sampled song without changing any words (Fergie above – take note) a few times before his awful brand of creative license slips in and he’s rhyming “me” with errm “me”. No, the problem here is brazen-as-a-Californian-raisin Professor Green, who raps and talks his way around Drewett’s choruses with his tale of pursuing an obviously disinterested female and how he is definitely a “pimp” rather than an “eeeejet”. Remember Pro, there’s only one letter between talking and stalking… Anyways, as somebody who took part in the BlackBerry Live & Lost tour and then bragged about owning an iPhone, I don’t think P.G Tips was exactly against this obviously corporate idea of sampling a band he’d obviously never heard of…and who noone can fully appreciate now. Cheers ‘mate’. 

5. Billionaire by Travie McCoy (ft. Bruno Mars)

A second graduate of the school of “featuring another guy to take the fall too”, Travis “Travie” McCoy drags Bruno Mars into this mess, and the drug-possessing, hat-wearing Mars falls flat on his face. Remember when mum said “if x jumped off a cliff, would you?”, well it seems as though B.M didn’t grow up around such useful idioms. A surfer-ish tribute to financial aspiration just doesn’t translate when you’re loaded…and boasting of making money off this very song. Tacky and disingenuous or just a great piece of irony? Either way, it’s my fifth worst song of the year…so there.

4. Airplanes by BOB (ft. Hayley Williams)

Call me anal but the word is aeroplanes. Aeroplanes. NOT airplanes. Hayley Paramore is unremarkable, and BOB, bless he tries to make a serious monetary point (unlike Travie above), even namechecking his ex-employers Subway. Even though the whole thing smacks of  labelmates-therefore-easy-collabo-junk, turns out they’re on different labels. Which begs the question of why you would go out of your way to make such a pointless, beiger than beige track. Even though Hayley’s part sounds like something which Avril Lavinge rejected a few albums back and which Kelly Clarkson co-wrote, it turns out that they actually wrote it especially. I won’t even start on part two of this muddled, passe nonsense…

3. Acapella by Kelis

A contender for worst song of the decade. So bad it is actually serving life in prison AKA I am never letting it out of my speakers again. Stop being “lo-fi” and gimmicky and invite us for a Milkshake at your yard, Kel! Remember the old days! Your fake eyelashes and “Rihanna hair” are about as cutting edge as a tape deck and gold body paint is best left to street performers… This mundane and monotone offering is tragically dated… so much so that I think I might actually be travelling back in time listening to it…Welcome back to my list of the best songs of 1987, where was I?! Cheapest hypnotherapy session of my life. 

2. Barbara Streisand by Duck Sauce 

Suicide is more attractive than listening this song. So catchy but so, SO wrong in a multitude of ways, this odious “disco choon” is responsible for hours of bad whistling. A plea to DJs in 2011: Leave. Barbie. Alone! Not even for a “worst singles everrrr” playlist in 2018. 

1. Christmas Lights by Coldplay 

The worst song of the year came along really late in the day…but boy is it bad. Hideously bad. Rule one of Christmas songs: do not use every cliche in the book. Rule two: forget the theme song from the movie Notting Hill. Rule three: do not let Chris Martin sing. Who didn’t get the memo? Coldplay (or “Radiohead for those constantly three years behind everyone else”) ruined my Christmas with this serving of shit (no) surprise and shit brandy butter. Horrid. “Night”, “fight,”, “light” conclude my verdict on this single. It’s so juvenile that perhaps Apple and Moses Martin should get a songwriting credit and a TV show called “Are You Smarter Than A 33 Year Old Rock Musician”. The answer it seems, would always be YES. 

The ones which made the grade, if you’re interested

10. Find Your Love by Drake 

Hello Drake, is it me you’re looking for?

9. Do It Like A Dude by Jessie J 

Not an original sound, but a fresh premise from young Jessica Cornish. Weirdly empowering anthem which takes white-girls-singing-like-black-guys far, far away from certain X Factor contestants and puts it in a gutsy but danceable form. Ok, so she’s not Emmeline Pankhurst, but this is a song for the girls. 

8. Bittersweet by Sophie Ellis Bextor

SEB can do no wrong. Cut-glass accent and strong beats prevail into the 2010s. Oh, and the song premiered on Gaydar radio, ergo she can still be niche and not have to do a huge TV launch covered in corporate sauce and tassels. Demure and polished. 

7. Hollywood by Marina and The Diamonds 

2010 was Marina’s year, and my seventh favourite song came from MATDs debut The Family Jewels. Deep and dark versus light and breezy, this track tackles some cliched material but keeps it current thanks to Marina’s unique vocal style and although I did find myself wondering whether it was a parody of this song, I’m pretty sure its not. Now I too need to invest in much American paraphenalia…

6. I Need Air by Magnetic Man

Filling a dubstep-shaped gap which I wasn’t sure existed before they came along, this project created an unforgettable song in 2010 and the sixth best of the year in my opinion. Magnetic Man; your name sounds like a toilet cleaner from the pound shop, but luckily you didn’t give me chemical burns. Quite the opposite. Featuring vocals from Angela Hunte, who wrote Empire State Of Mind, this is a perfect pop package which delectable dub roots courtesy of MM’s trio of Benga, Skream and Artwork who have been on the scene since the 90s.

5. One Time by Justin Bieber

Don’t look at me like that! Not like I fancy him or anything… Justin Bieber, the pre-pubescent sweetheart of singing fame brought skater-esque side fringes into the hair world once again this year. He’s a brilliant performer/entertainer who has divided opinion…once again, I do NOT have a soft spot for the Bieber, he just happens to be the singer who made the fifth best song of the year. Encompassing tweenage romance of the butterflies-sort (Katy P above – take note!) and maths (remember, its me plus you, no multiplication or division innuendo is allowed til his third album at least!), this track is bound to give you Bieber Fever. Or to make you really, really mad. Choose your own ending, reader. 

4. Ballad of Big Nothing by Elliott Smith 

Sneaky re-release in at number four. Phenomenal work of songwriting, phenomenal vocal performance and a stunning track from a sadly departed talent called Elliott Smith. A posthumous NME cover star in 2010, Smith recorded tons of tracks before his tragic death in 2001. BOBN is taken from compilation “An Introduction to Elliott Smith” (also 2010) and is an unconvincing goodbye to love which is driven by a cyclical, slowburning melody. A haunting brand of romantic poetry. 

3. I Think I Like It by Fake Blood

Fake Blood – I think I like you. Take me on a tour of bars in Paris, get me drunk, buy me drag wigs and let me do the conga home. Not to be confused with our tracks of the same name, I Think I Like It by Fake Blood is a self-indulgent sample-fest which is both kitsch and current. Disco past and disco present collide in a way which is decidedly disco future. Is that even possible? Yes. I win. 

2. Wonderful Life by Hurts

Eighties enough to seem Eighties. Noughties in delivery. Nineties in cult-status. Stuck somewhere between the past thirty years and yet timeless, Hurts prove that a well-made dance track can straddle a few genres, remain ambiguous and still pack a synth punch to match more “sophisticated” offerings (i.e.: Muse, who have tried a similar tack with poor results of late). This song is purposely old-school meets new, and Hurts don’t exactly conceal their influences *cough cough* Simple Minds *cough*. The drama of this track, however, makes it an undeniably great one. 

1. DRUMMMMMMMMMROOOOOLLLLL. My favourite track of the year is…

Whip My Hair by Willow Smith. 

Ok, so I MAY have blogged about this track before but that is only because it is incredible. How can one so young be this talented?! How can one so young be hitting the haters with this amount of passion and nonchalance?! I Just. Don’t. Get. It. My favourite song of the year was Whip My Hair, here it is with its shiny new video, au revoir, ta ta, see you in 2011…



Welcome to 2009…oh, wait its the 5th of January…I do apologize for being late, but as you can tell I am not in my right mind…too much of thison New Years Eve, coupled with far too little of this …sleeping, not androgynous mullets, lippy and dandruff sharing as I think the picture might imply. Anyways, who else saw Lenny Henry making an arse of himself on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny? Could Len possibly be THE unfunniest man to have ever had a BBC comedy show comissioned?

This got me thinking…my New Years resolution should be to stop crappy shows getting made and taking up airtime…here’s a few that I think should go…


The acting is like an impromptu theatre school at a morgue. The storylines (dead policemen in lakes, stupid inbred brutes setting fire to things) are primitive and lifeless. I am never, ever going to be swayed on those two things. Not even Paddy – a parallel-world Peter Griffin in Damart apparel – can sway me.

2) I was out of the country when Heroes began – maybe that’s why I’ve always felt frozen out of the hype which has surrounded this superturkey for a few years now. Sloppily written, sadomasochistically smattered with a pervy and fat villain, starring a blonde girl who designs handbags for Coach (similar to Gap, Abercr0mbie, Juicy etc…) but NO, the reason I hate Heroes is simply because it is 45 minutes long, and then it is immediately followed by a 15 minute episode showing you how they did all the effects and badly wrote the dialogue. Spoiling the magic, moi?

3) ’nuff said I think. Stupid, talentless, bimbos…and that’s just Dannii and Cheryl. I’m here to rate, rather than slate, so I will tell you something which the X Factor is good at. Ruining TV.

Ditto Strictly come dancing, with its foppish winner, Tom somebody or other? Rather than thanking the crew, the home audience who wasted their pennies voting for him even when it was a blatant fix or the poor Vietnamese kids who I’m sure worked pretty damn hard sewing sequins onto all those dresses, selfish mummy’s boy Tommy gushed about his wife, and then danced atrociously and awkwardly with her on stage. It was like some kind of bad wedding reception at a hotel next to Heathrow…the kind where you fill your plate with spring rolls and crisps, and sit in your best dress/waistcoat talking to a 90-year-old ‘relative’ whilst everyone else gets drunk and does the conga.


Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that TV is poor at the moment, very poor indeed…cinema isn’t much better, as I discovered at Twilight. Vampires…lust…vampiric lust…that’s it basically. Save your money and watch a real horror film, rather than a gushy pseudo-horror romance where the central love interest is suppressing the urge to suck the main girl’s blood 24/7. Edward Cullen – Robert Pattinson – is a socially inept weirdo, whilst the rather horny Bella Swan is played by Kristen Stewart – a Zooey Deschanel/Liv Tyler-look-a-like who I can only remember for playing a moody bitch in Jamanji-esque flop Zathura. It’s sloppy, it thinks its an action film and there are far too many cliched polt devices…generously I’ll go with a 3/5, as it was truly laugh-a-minute during the more ‘lovey’ moments.

I vant too suk yurr bludd: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart getting a bit too close for comfort in Twilight

Currently listening to: Elbow…a lot of Elbow…One Day Like This is a string-laden, heavy affair which reminds me of an alternative Christmas carol somehow, and the effervescently cool Grounds For Divorce combines a sultry riff with dark lyrics and some edgy production and mixing.

Toodles, I’m off to eat noodles and poodles. Just joking about the poodles bit, I should make it clear that I love all creatures great and small. Even Lenny Henry *shudders*


x x x x