Thursday, 28 May 2009

Bye Then, Granada

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Don't let your rich 79 year history hit you on the arse on your way out. Reports that the local news in the north-west of England is to be rebranded ‘ITV Studios Inc Reports’ are said to be ‘made up’. On the positive side, it will mean that the horrible typeface used atop the studios in Quay Street (pictured) might finally be taken down after forever.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Heeeere’(wa)s Johnny

Due to what can only be described as ‘circumstances’, the BrokenTV gang found themselves sat at home for most of today watching old telly programmes. One of which was a compilation featuring prime cuts of ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’, taken from the 1960s and 1970s, which only added weight to our theory that Johnny Carson might just be the greatest television personality of all time. Relentlessly warm, quick-witted, but always willing to allow the guests the lions share of the limelight when it would be more entertaining. Even when they’re of the feathered variety, as this clip shows:

A good example of Carson’s lightning-quick wit comes from 1973. Tonight Show announcer and sidekick Ed McMahon was fronting a live advert-within-the-show for Alpo dog food (as used to happen with big US TV shows, referenced excellently in the Larry Sanders episode ‘The Garden Weasel’). The spot entailed McMahon scooping some of the dog food out into a bowl, where it would be gobbled up by a grateful pooch in order to highlight the beef-based magnificence of Alpo.

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“The real beef could be the reason Hernandez here… c’mere boy… come on….”

Live television being what it is, the disinterested mutt merely sniffed at the food before buggering off, leaving a floundering McMahon looking around for rescue. Now, normally, that would be enough for a nice big laugh and a smattering of applause from the audience before moving on to the rest of the show. Column inches in the press might bring some extra attention to the programme, and the whole event would make for an easy ‘best of’ clip the next time a compilation show is put together.

However, that wasn’t enough for Carson. The second it became clear the camera-shy canine wasn’t going to return, Carson trotted across the set and bounded into shot on all fours, recasting himself as the hound, like some sort of quadrupedal Lucy Robinson. Reaching down, Carson picked up the bowl of dog food and pretended to wolf down the marrowbone jelly coated chunks within, to howls of laughter from the audience and crew. Wagging his ‘tail’ appreciatively and gratefully nuzzling the leg of McMahon, within ten seconds he’d selflessly rescued his friend from an embarrassing moment, saved the blushes of the show’s sponsor (not to mentioned handing them a minor PR coup), but most of all, quadrupled the merriment quotient for everyone involved.

And, speaking as an unpopular television blog unable to go anywhere near the smell of dogfood, the fact that one of US television’s biggest ever stars would be willing to shove his face so close to a bowl full of the stuff on a whim is especially laudable.

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Layering on a few extra scoops of pleasure from any situation was pretty much the trademark of Carson, but there were also plenty of moments where Carson could push at the strict boundaries of what the network deemed ‘acceptable’. Perhaps his most celebrated bit was his Carnac the Magnificent character,

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Carnac, donning a hugely ornate turban, would take a ‘hermetically sealed’ envelope, place it to his mystic forehead, and using his special psychic powers announce the answer to a question printed on a card inside the envelope. Once the answer had been read out, Carnac would open the envelope, remove the card from within, and tell everyone the question he had just answered. A cut price mock-up of Jeopardy! would have been a less elaborate way of doing the same bit, but would have been a lot less fun.

Now, much of the time, the questions and answers would relate to current events (well, then-current events. He wasn’t that psychic), such as California Governor Jerry “Aber Alles” Brown dating singer Linda Ronstadt, or the antics of Soviet Foreign Affairs Minster Andrei Gomyko. Gloriously however, they could just as easily be a bit of silly wordplay, such as the following exchange:

Carnac, putting the envelope to his temple: “Dippity doo!”

Ed McMahon: “Dippity doo?”

Carnac shoots McMahon a withering glare as he opens the envelope to read out the unseen question.

Carnac: “What forms on your dippity early in the morning.”

See? A good joke, repeated utterances of silly made up words, and it turns out to be a gag about smegma! On NBC! In 1972! Happily, YouTube is awash with pieces of Johnny Carson magnificence, so here’s one of said clips. This, and the many similar clips on YouTube are well worth a look. If nothing else, they might give a bit of valuable background for jokes in old episodes of Larry Sanders and The Simpsons.

Update:

We’ve now found a quick and easy to use video splitter program that isn’t hateful, so here’s that dog food clip in full. From now until the legal department of a faceless corporation demands its removal, enjoy:


Obviously, the whole thing works more effectively when you're not expecting it, but just appreciate that expert timing. A master of his art.
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Friday, 22 May 2009

Friday! Night! Kicks!

Friday night telly isn't what it used to be. It used to be the case that the BBC and Channel Four would do strive to outdo each other by putting out the very best comedy shows they could muster. Father Ted, Friends (no, it was good when it started, shut up), Frasier, Friday Night Live, QI, Absolutely, Vic Reeves Big Night Out, The Friday Night Armistice, Hippies (again, no, it was good, you're wrong), Black Books, The IT Crowd, The Adam & Joe Show, Peep Show, TV Offal, A Bit Of Fry and Laurie, Fist of Fun, KYTV, The All-New Alexei Sayle Show 2 and many others that we'll kick ourselves later on for not mentioning have all seen new episodes going out on Friday nights in the past. What do we have on the Friday night schedule at the moment?

A 'best of' compilation show of Wipeout, which was only on a few bloody weeks ago. And to compound matters, the links by Richard Hammond were seemingly recorded at the same time as his original links (though there isn't a new commentary), and if you're going to do this sort of thing it really ought to be unexpurgated coverage of the Big Balls obstacle, from every contestant who took part and nothing else, because that's the best bit. Frankly, they should have listened to us and flown everyone to Japan to take part in Takeshi's Castle instead. Have I Got News For You?, back for its 935th series, and now with a massive 90% reduction in the panel just laughing at clips from YouTube. Thing is, if you like the show, you're more likely to watch the longer edit on Saturday nights, because that includes all the business with soundchecks and retakes. So, why bother with the Friday night edit? Similarly, QI XL. (Yes, we know more people watch the Friday night versions. Leave us alone.) Reggie Perrin, which we'll save comment on for now because we've not watched any of the show since episode one. But hey, we haven't felt compelled to watch any of it since episode one, so "go" "figure".

Meanwhile, on Channel Four: Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares USA. Well, you could always close your eyes and imagine the voiceover by Gordon Kennedy is a really long-winded Absolutely sketch. Oh, and a film.

Well, thanks to YouTube's Applemask (who, we're now going to speculate, fights crime on the mean streets of Uttoxeter whilst concealing his identity with a mask that looks like a Golden Delicious) here's something to watch. It's all three parts of his In The Face look at ITV continuity in the South West of England over the years. We like it, and if you don't, you're doing it wrong.







Mask-o has also recently filed similarly lovely reports on Granada and TV-am, but we'll embed those when we're looking for another easy upd... er, a new opportunity to offer alternative viewing to disgruntled terrestrial viewers. Or, you could visit his YouTube profile, which is here, which pretty much prevents us from getting another update out of them. Hey ho, they're well worth watching all the same.
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Thursday, 21 May 2009

An Open Letter to **AWKWARD JUMP CUT** More4

Hello there, More4. Long time viewers, first time authors-of-an-open-letter-to-you.

So, we’re sitting back and finally catching up on the last few weeks of Daily Show goodness, as broadcast on More4. One of these episodes was from the 28th of April, which saw an interview with Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Now, quite often, More4 will need to make subtle edits to the show (which goes out at 11pm in the US, but at 8.30pm in the UK), such as snipping Jon Stewart’s outro to any commercial break that we don’t have, or masking the already-censored word “F***” so that' it’s just a blurry blob. To reiterate, Mr More4, those are Comedy Central’s asterisks there, we have no qualms about using the word ‘fuck’.

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Occasionally, especially daft edits are made. For example, when Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos guested on the show to plug his films revamped e-book reader, the on-screen caption for More4 viewers was changed to “Jeff Bezos, Amazon.[blurry blob]”. In addition, the pattern of Amazon logos on the huge screen at the back of the set were blurred out. We know why this was done, Ofcom has stringent rules on product placement outside of commercial breaks and sponsor bumps, meaning things like this have to be limited. But all that was slightly undone when the interview itself mentioned Amazon and Amazon.com several times, not to mention that the entire reason well-known people allow themselves to be interviewed in such programmes is to sell their most recent product. And that applies to each and every single chat show since about 1981.

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Meanwhile, huge amounts of in-programme advertising go on during most sporting events, with logos splattered over everything larger than an atom, whether it drives around a track, kicks a ball or is made of wood. Of course, there’s probably a footnote somewhere on Ofcom’s website to allow all that (jiggered if we can find it though, their search function doesn’t seem to like looking for broadcasting regulations whenever we go there). We’re guessing you’ve got a paper copy of it, More4. The relevant piece of legislation has probably been chiselled numerous times into the granite that makes up the walls of your edit suite.

Forgive us, we’ll meander back to the actual point, to Cliff May and Jon Stewart’s interview of him. We’ve transcribed the full introduction to the interview, as seen on Comedy Central. We’ve also transcribed the version that you saw fit to broadcast.

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COMEDY CENTRAL EDIT:

Jon Stewart, addressing the home audience: "[I've] just interviewed Cliff May. It was, er, supposed to be a six minute interview, erm, about torture, and it went, er, eight thousand."

THE STUDIO AUDIENCE LAUGHS POLITELY.

Jon Stewart: "So, all we could give you is a little taste of it, the rest of it is on the website. Er, very spirited discussion, very enjoyable, er... here it is."

CUT TO INTERVIEW.

MORE4 EDIT:

Jon Stewart, adressing the home audience: "[I've] just interviewed Cliff May. It was, er, supposed to be a six minute interview, erm, about torture, and it went, er, eight thousand."

THE STUDIO AUDIENCE LAUGHS POLITELY.

Jon Stewart: "So, all we could give you is a little taste of it"

MASSIVE JARRING CUT INTERRUPTING STEWART BEFORE HE CAN PROPERLY PRONOUNCE THE 'T' IN 'IT'

Jon Stewart: "very spirited discussion, very enjoyable, er... here it is."

CUT TO INTERVIEW.

So, More4, what the jiggery fuck was that about, hey? Foreign broadcasters mentioning websites too outrageous for you, especially when they aren’t polite enough to read out the URL? Do you think the More4 audience, the very same audience you’re asking to take on Tony Robinson in a pub quiz, would be baffled at the concept of a website that isn’t Channel4.com? Were you hoping that it might lure viewers away from your own video-on-demand catch-up service 4OD, which of course is located online at http://www[MASSIVEJARRINGJUMPCUT] nd isn’t as popular as iPlayer? Really, stop doing stuff like this, it demeans the viewer, and cheapens your channel.

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Yours belatedly,
BrokenTV (Mrs).

PS. We’ll forgive you if you buy up the rights to The Colbert Report now that FX don’t want it any more.

As for everyone else, here’s the video of the unexpurgated interview More4 seemingly don’t want you to see.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

[Footnote: there’s an episode of The Larry Sanders Show where the blurry logo tactic was used on Larry’s sweatshirt on non-terrestrial broadcasts (erm, not in-show, in the real-life broadcasts). When we watched the episode, this distracted us so much, we couldn’t concentrate on the dialogue until we’d identified which logo was being censored. After a few seconds work – it wasn’t very well hidden – we’d deciphered the branding as being a Nike swoosh. We must have watched the episode in question over ten years ago (it was the first time the show was repeated on Paramount), and yet we still remember the very thing that was trying to be hid from view. We can’t remember anything about corporate logos from that period that weren’t censored. This suggests a couple of things. Firstly, we’re a bit tragic. Secondly, the whole practice of doing this is stupid.]

Right, we're off out to get unduly angry about misplaced apostrophes on signs at car boot sales.

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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Eurovision 2009 Live Blog!

[20.00] It’s about to start. Refresh for updates, and expect semi-regular micro-updates on Twitter too, on the #twumpet hashtag (please feel free to follow us, as long as you’re not a stupid Twitter spammer, in which case you should shove a pine cone down your windpipe instead).

First, a warning. If you’re thinking of buying this:

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Don’t, because it’s not very good.

[20.02] An early apology from Graham Norton for not being Terry Wogan. We reckon Norton will be a good host here, and he’s certainly refraining from enforced wackiness as the bollocks opening ceremony gets underway. Will this opening ceremony be as bollocks as the bollocks ceremony which opened the first semi-final? Well, it’s already broken the first rule of opening ceremonies, by being the second one of it, if you know what we mean.

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Note to selves: be more interesting. And don’t end up just uploading screen grabs that have been on the BrokenTV PVR for months, like this one of Geoffrey Palmer looking annoyed from The Long Walk To Finchley.

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[20.14] Different hosts from the semi-finals. Hopefully less annoying hosts, too. Anyway, first song, from Lithuania, and it’s… a dull ballad that your mum would probably like if it wasn’t all in foreign.

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We have noted this on our scoreboard, more of which later.

[20.20] Israel’s song is performed by a Jewish lady and an Arabic lady, and about how peace is lovely, while war is bad. Is it *very* wrong to think that a prolonged and bloody conflict is actually preferable to "togetherness anthems" like this? It is? Oh.

[20.24] France’s go. We really like loads of French music, from Air, to Gainsbourg, to MC Solaar, to Stereo Total, to France Gall, to Sebastien Tellier, who was last year’s entry. Plus, one of our easily-disproved half-baked theories is that French is the best language to sing in, so we should like this song. It’s a bit meh, actually, but the best one so far, and performed in an admirably low-key way.

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[20.27] Sweden’s turn, and it’s a great big overproduced disco/opera crossover. The sort of tune you’d expect ITV Sport to choose as a theme for a European Championships tournament.

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It’s very daft, the singer looks perpetually surprised, and it’s quite good fun.

[20.32] Croatia’s tune sadly isn’t co-written by Adrian Chiles, which is a shame. He’s fluent in their tongue, y’see. It’s another dull ballad, performed by a smug bloke in a tight shirt.  He does an occasional bit of business with one eyebrow, as if auditioning for the Croatian remake of the Cadbury’s advert. There is also a backing singer given undue prominence on the stage, possibly because she’s very pretty and wearing a flowing silky white dress.

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[20.35] Portugal’s entry kicks off with a lone guitar almost as if it’s going to be ‘First Day Of My Life’ by Bright Eyes. Sadly, it isn’t that, but the ensuing tune does have accordions in it, and is quite jolly. If nothing else, it deserves a prize for Most Demented Series Of Images Broadcast Onto The Set.

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So bright and jolly it could even cheers up Jack Dee on a rainy Monday.

[20.40] Iceland. Will it sound like Sigur Ros or Bjork? Neither, it’s Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir (we’ve opened up the Wikipedia page on the final, so we can start quoting names now), doing – hnngh – another ballad. Come on, we want stupid bollocks electropop!

[20.43] Splendidly, here come Greece, with Anastasios "Sakis" Rouvas. No sooner had we mentioned stupid bollocks electropop, too. And he has props.

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It’s the first song we’ve seen tonight that is crying out to be remixed by the Pet Shop Boys.

[20.46] Armenia’s Inga and Anush drop their science on those assembled. Best outfits of the night, and a nice little pop tune, too.

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If anyone with an ounce of musical talent is reading this (indeed, if anyone whatsoever is reading this, we have our doubts), can someone do a mash-up of this combined with Andrew WK’s I Get Wet. Pretend it’s still 2002, and that mash-ups are still fashionable, it could be a winner.

[20.51] It’s Russia’s song, performed by Anastasiya Prikhodko. Russia’s the nation that gave the world Tatu, and some other decent pop bands too probably, yet this is the best they’ve got to other. Suffice to say: it’s a dull ballad, even if there is a bit of shouting at the end.

[20.54] The Azeri entry kicks off with sexy dancers dressed as lady vicars. Promising. It’s a big bouncing bollocks disco number. Also promising. Sadly, like a firework left in a plastic bag on the wet grass for too long, it sort of fizzles away to nothing. Pfft. Still, those dancers, eh?

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[20.57] Graham announces the next track as being a ‘storming anthem’. Sadly, Bosnia and Herzegovina's entry seems to be a rubbish boy band, doing a rubbish ballad. Good time to put the kettle on, though.

[20.59] While everyone else gets adverts, we get Sexy Russian TV Presenter talking to some singing Moscovites. Jolly enough, but we’d much rather get to dip into deranged East European television commercials.

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[21.04] Moldova’s turn, with Nelly Ciobanu. Traditional outfits, and a song that probably qualifies as ‘traditional’. Not especially interesting, and it doesn’t even provide us with an ‘in’ for mentioning how Front 242 once did a song called Moldova. We think.

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[21.06] It’s Malta’s Chiara, providing Graham with an easy opportunity for a ‘Malteser’ gag. The only interesting thing we know about Malta is that their addresses are possibly the shortest in the world. “27 Smithson Road, Malta” is an actual, viable address for something being sent to Malta. Oh, hang on. That’s not very interesting. The song is Another Dull Ballad.

[21.10] Estonia’s ‘Urban Symphony’, which is a teeth-gnashingly bad name for a band. First on-stage string section of the night, which means the song is… you’ve guessed it. We’ll just use the abbreviation ‘ADB’ from now on.

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[21.14] Denmark’s track, penned by Ronan Keating. Surprisingly, it’s a barnstorming electroclash versus hip-hop epic, with go-go dancers on stage breathing fire. Well, in our imagination, anyway. In reality, it’s a song written by Ronan Keating.

[21.18] Here come Germany! Land of Scooter, Tok Tok vs Soffy O, U96, and half of Stereo Total. It’s called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and it’s a ridiculously catchy bollocks swing-disco number. This is a good thing. We want this one to win, frankly.

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And that was before Dita Von Teese turned up. Frigging heck, this is good. Graham Norton hated it, meaning we now hate him.

[21.22] Turkey, more entertaining pop nonsense. A bit like a track on an Shakira album that wasn’t deemed good enough to be a single.

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Also: us recording Have I Got News For You on BBC Two means that screencapping is more difficult from this point on.

[21.27] Norton slags off Albania’s entry before it begins (God, how we hate him). It’s not actually that bad, at least you could dance to it, if you’re particularly drunk. The breakdancing mimes can frig off, though.

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[21.30] Norway, one of the favourites to win. Only, of course, IT’S ALL A CON, ALL THE EAST EUROPEAN STATES VOTE FOR EACH OTHER, IT’S ALL A FIX WAH WAH WAH. It’s a young bloke with a good singing voice playing a violin while his mates do press-ups. While we don’t really like it that much, it is the sort of song that does really well in Eurovision. And we know our stuff, we’ve now watched a total of one-and-a-half Eurovisions.

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If there were a special prize for Daft Expression Of The Night, that bloke on the right would win.

[21.34] Anarchy! It’s the Ukraine! A-ha-ha-ha. It’s by Svetlana Loboda, and it seems to be interesting Kylie-lite breathy pop, which is a good thing. Excellently, the song is called "Be My Valentine! (Anti-Crisis Girl)”, which we like because it sounds like the title of a Japanese movie where a high-school honey has to contend with keeping two boys interested at the same time as being a part-robot crime fighter.

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Don’t die on us now, screencapping program!

[21.38] Romania, with another glitzy bouncy pop effort. It as if they’ve saved up the interesting songs until the end. Man, whichever country is the next to put in Another Dull Ballad right now is going to get buggered right up the scoreboard! We’d hate to be those guys!

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[21.40] Boh.

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The background entertainment for the song from Ukraine – best song of the night – was camp blokes on wheels dressed as gladiators. The UK has lizard king Andrew Lloyd Webber sitting at a piano. As Dull Ballads go, it’s not that bad, but y’know, we’re going to finish fourth from bottom at best, aren’t we?

OR ARE WE? Big reaction from the crowd, but there’s no way we’ll win with that song. Really, The Powers That Be, get Ladytron involved next year.

[21.45] Here come Finland, and it’s another magnificently catchy pop song. That one could win, and Waldo's People is the best band name of the night.

[21.48] Last up, Spain. An earnest pop track that isn’t as good as the offerings by Germany, Finland and Ukraine.

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Next up: the scores, i.e. the only bit we used to bother watching.

We did start compiling a table of how many genres were represented tonight, but we have up halfway. In summary: Dull Ballads in first place, gabba techno woefully snubbed for the 54th consecutive year.

[22.05] A straw poll of the BrokenTV office has come up with the following top three:

1. Ukraine,

 

2. Germany,

 

3. Finland

Fingers crossed those YouTube clips don’t make Windows Live Writer fall over.

[22.16] Cutaway segment to an interview with Andrew Lloyd Webber. If this means we’re missing out on Tatu performing (well, miming) live on stage again, we’re going to set fire to Television Centre.

[22.18] Scores. We’re not going to bother commentating live on those, as it’d be hugely dull, but we do like the progress bar at the bottom of the screen, as if we were ‘installing’ the results onto a computer or something.

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[22.33] The UK is doing surprisingly well, while all of our favourites are languishing in mid-table. That shows what we know, but we do take some comfort in the fact we’re right and everyone else is stupid. Twitter highlight of the night is certainly Graham Linehan’s method of announcing his own scores:

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Yay for @glinner!

While all this is going on, it’s abundantly clear that Norway have won, which is annoying because it means everyone else is going to try and copy that song for next year’s contest. At least when Lordi won it, it meant lots of countries tried thinking outside of the box for the next few contests. Now the security blanket of mediocre balladry seems to be the way forward, we feel a Wogan-style rant brewing. We may well not bother live blogging Eurovision 2010. Yeah, take that, society!

[22.41] As part of a score-break, we see a traditional folk band playing a cover of Not Gonna Get Us by Tatu, a fact pointed out by Graham Norton. Not sure Terry would have noticed that. We like Norton again now.

[22.45] Scariest national points-announcer of the night: Bosnia-Herzegovina. At a frigging canter.

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[22.57] It seems, thanks to a Tweet from @divaschematic, the scary points bloke from Bosnia-Hertzegovina was last year’s entry from the former Yugoslavic region. And quite right she is too, how could we have forgotten?

 

Where were all the entertainingly deranged acts like that this year? NOWHERE, that’s, erm, not where.

[23.08] Well, Norway won, and Graham Norton proved to be a likeable enough commentator. Not as good as Wogan was, but it was his first stint, and he was certainly much better than the commentator BBC Three used for the semi-finals. We only seem to have lost two followers on Twitter after three hours of mindless Twattering on about Eurovision, which is a minor win for us, but it was a shame the songs we liked most did so badly. Now to listen to some credible music (the new Jason Lytle album is very good, pretty much another Grandaddy album) and play online GTA4. And for any regular readers of the blog who don’t give a flying toss about Eurovision, we promise not to mention it again for at least another fifty-one weeks. G’night!

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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Eurovision Live Blog Preview Show

Just two days to go until our LIVE EUROVISION BLOG special. Will there be any songs as good as Luxembourg’s winning entry from 1965?

 

 

Well, no. But tune in anyway. If we’re lucky, t.A.T.u, performing with the Red Army Choir might be on it again, like they were on Tuesday’s semi-final. Whether the BBC will bother showing more than ten seconds of it is another matter. In case they’re not, here’s a video of that as well:

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Eurovision Semi-Live Blog

Yeah, semi-live, as we’re not really that enamoured about it so far. We’ll still be liveblogging the final itself on Saturday night, so tune in for that. For tonight, it’d be hard to come up with much. “This Swiss rock band make Razorlight look like fucking Sepultura”, for instance, who’d really need to read that? Instead, we’re going to stat up some data on last year’s acts and see who made it big. Mmm, look excited – all the fun of Eurovision, and the promise of a big chart at the end.

How it works:

We do a YouTube search for each song. We note down the number of views for the most popular search result. That’s about it. We reckon Sébastien Tellier is going to do well here, so here it is:

 

Here’s the rundown from last year:

Dima Bilan - Believe  (Russia, 272 pts)
Ani Lorak - Shady Lady  (Ukraine, 230 pts)
Kalomira - Secret Combination  (Greece, 218 pts)
Sirusho - Qélé, Qélé  (Armenia, 199 pts)
Maria Haukaas Storeng - Hold On Be Strong  (Norway, 182 pts)
Jelena Tomaševic - Oro   (Serbia, 160 pts)
Mor ve Ötesi - Deli  (Turkey, 138 pts)
Elnur and Samir - Day After Day  (Azerbaijan, 132 pts)
Boaz Ma'uda - The Fire in Your Eyes  (Israel, 124 pts)
Laka - Pokušaj  (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 110 pts)
Pirates of the Sea - Wolves of the Sea  (Latvia, 83 pts)
Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come  (Georgia, 83 pts)
Vânia Fernandes - Senhora do mar (Negras águas)  (Portugal, 69 pts)
Euroband - This is My Life  (Iceland, 64 pts)
Simon Mathew - All Night Long  (Denmark, 60 pts)
Olta Boka - Zemrën e lamë peng  (Albania, 55 pts)
Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila el Chiki-chiki  (Spain, 55 pts)
Charlotte Perrelli - Hero  (Sweden, 47 pts)
Sébastien Tellier - Divine  (France, 47 pts)
Nico and Vlad - Pe-o margine de lume  (Romania, 45 pts)
Kraljevi Ulice and 75 cents - Romanca  (Croatia, 44 pts)
Teräsbetoni - Missä miehet ratsastaa  (Finland, 35 pts)
No Angels - Disappear  (Germany, 14 pts)
Isis Gee - For Life  (Poland, 14 pts)
Andy Abraham - Even If  (United Kingdom, 14 pts)

And here is a table of our two-thousand-and-ninely adjusted scores.

Song Nation, Score YouTube Views
Dima Bilan - Believe (Russia, 272 pts) 4,606,622
Ani Lorak - Shady Lady (Ukraine, 230 pts) 3,924,121
Kalomira - Secret Combination (Greece, 218 pts) 3,227,716
Sirusho - Qélé, Qélé (Armenia, 199 pts) 1,332,180
Maria Haukaas Storeng - Hold On Be Strong (Norway, 182 pts) 778,108
Jelena Tomaševic - Oro (Serbia, 160 pts) 528,896
Mor ve Ötesi - Deli (Turkey, 138 pts) 412,169
Elnur and Samir - Day After Day (Azerbaijan, 132 pts) 881,863
Boaz Ma'uda - The Fire in Your Eyes (Israel, 124 pts) 1,327,393
Laka - Pokušaj (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 110 pts) 823,111
Pirates of the Sea - Wolves of the Sea (Latvia, 83 pts) 424,139
Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come (Georgia, 83 pts) 190,967
Vânia Fernandes - Senhora do mar (Negras águas) (Portugal, 69 pts) 96,703
Euroband - This is My Life (Iceland, 64 pts) 216,917
Simon Mathew - All Night Long (Denmark, 60 pts) 167,553
Olta Boka - Zemrën e lamë peng (Albania, 55 pts) 141,852
Rodolfo Chikilicuatre - Baila el Chiki-chiki (Spain, 55 pts) 6,896,963
Charlotte Perrelli - Hero (Sweden, 47 pts) 1,391,624
Sébastien Tellier - Divine (France, 47 pts) 1,514,851
Nico and Vlad - Pe-o margine de lume (Romania, 45 pts) 515,531
Kraljevi Ulice and 75 cents - Romanca (Croatia, 44 pts) 92,947
Teräsbetoni - Missä miehet ratsastaa (Finland, 35 pts) 623,008
No Angels - Disappear (Germany, 14 pts) 325,092
Isis Gee - For Life (Poland, 14 pts) 506,378
Andy Abraham - Even If (United Kingdom, 14 pts) 439,150

 

And so, sorting them by YouTube views, and shoving them into a chart, here’s the result.

 

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Woo, yeah! We were wrong about Seb Tellier, but this does give us a perfect excuse to post a video of Spain’s premier Rolf Harris impersonator. Everybody do El Robocop!

 

See you on Saturday! (Or, more accurately in a bit, because we’ve got another, non-Eurovision, non-charty update to put up.

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Sunday, 10 May 2009

On The Knee Of Popular Culture

When someone is said to have their “finger on the pulse”, and they aren’t employed in the medical sector, it means they are adept at keeping in with modern trends and such. Well, our finger is somewhere around the knee area, because we’ve finally got around to starting a Flickr page. And here it is.

And what have we put on our Flickr page? Well, we’ve seen the recent trend of redesigning contemporary films, albums and videogames as if they were Penguin paperbacks from the 1960s, and shouting “us, too”. We’ve idly knocked up some album covers as if they were old paperbacks, which we present here. If we were clever, we’d have thought of doing TV shows instead, so we could make this post relevant to the blog’s remit, but there you go. Here are the pictures we’ve done. Each one links to the Flickr page for that image, where you can download the higher resolution versions.

 

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Pet Shop Boys, April March and Tatu, there. We quite like the look of those, and will be doing more.

UPDATE: We’ve done another two:

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Friday, 8 May 2009

Polish Movie Poster Quiz Time

While it’s a bit of an elderly meme in the terms of The Inter-Net, we’ve just stumbled across a wonderful site called PolishPoster.com. Amongst other types of unframed wall-mounted artwork, the company sells copies of the delightfully weird movie posters used throughout Poland.

At this point you might very well be pawing madly at your eye sockets, having decided the searing pain of scooping out your own eyeballs is slightly preferable to reading how the Polish poster for Terminator 3: Rise Of The Whatevers has the name of the actors in a different font or something. However, you’d be quite stupid to do so – the thing about Polish movie posters is that they are utterly and majestically deranged, as this post from the vastly good blog Well Medicated proves.

The nice thing about PolishPoster is that they prove, with typical Polish pluck, that the fifty posters on view at Well Medicated are by no means the exception – they’ve got hundreds of the blimming things. And that brings us to tonight’s quiz -- we’ve taken the names of the films out of twenty Polish film posters - can you guess the titles of each cinematic offering portrayed below?

1. Stop Or M. C. Escher Will Shoot!

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2. Attack Of The Killer Telephones

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3. Sketchy McDraw and Crayon Girl’s Blue Gun Bang Off

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4. Bikini Bang-Bang

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5. Rush(ed Pop Art) Hour

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6. Rush(ed Pop Art) Hour 2: How Long ‘Til Deadline?

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7. Revenge of the Corona Bubbles

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8. Error At The Printers: Rejected Cover Design From 1983 Spectrum Text Adventure Used By Mistake

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9. Snakefilm McFluteytongue

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10. When Patriotic American Chameleons Eat Money

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11. Confessions Of A Really Pink Cartoon Character

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12. The Pink Panther Gets Bootylicious

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13. My Hand, It Has A Lady’s Face On It!

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14. Yellow Submarine II: The Really American Train

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15. Shouty Moustache Guy’s Shoulders Are Exploding Implausably

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16. The Red Snake That Looked Like It Was Climbing Up A Tree, But Was Actually The One Being Climbed Up By A Tree 2: The Sapling

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17. Sympathy For Mrs Hiveface

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18. Stick Figure Theatre Presents: High Noon

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19. The Artist Who Couldn’t Draw Legs

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20. Stabby Nostrilguy Goes Bananas

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Okay, while you’re puzzling over that, here’s the first episode of 1984’s BBC Two George Cole Communist-com Comrade Dad, in three parts. No special reason. The answers are below the embedded videos.

Those answers.

Man, you’ll kick yourselves when you see these. Each film title offers a link to its page on PolishPosters, so you can see that we’re not making up the answers, so you can buy a copy of said poster should you want to, and in the hope that they don’t take legal action against us. IMDB links also added, in case you’re not quite sure why some of the images are so mesmerisingly inappropriate.

(Yes, we know we’ve even blanked out the names of the films when they’ve been written in Polish. No free rides for Polish speakers.)

1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (imdb)

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2, Capricorn One. (imdb) – Remake due of this next year, it seems. Have these people no shame?

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3. Star Wars. (you don’t need an imdb link for this, surely)

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4. Blade Runner. (imdb)

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5. Sex and the City. (imdb)

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6. Pulp Fiction. (imdb)

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7. Aliens (imdb)

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8. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (imdb)

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9. Silent Movie (imdb)

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10. Trading Places (imdb)

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11. Boogie Nights (imdb)

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12. High Anxiety (imdb)

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13. Big Trouble In Little China (imdb)

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14. Silver Streak (imdb)

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15. Revenge Of The Pink Panther (imdb)

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16. The Exorcist (imdb)

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17. The Elephant Man (imdb)

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18. Reservoir Dogs (imdb)

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19. Jabberwocky (imdb)

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20. ChinaTown (imdb)

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And with that, we draw a curtain on Polish Movie Poster Quiz Time. If you got all twenty of them correct without peeking at the answers, award yourself with a pat on the back and a tasty plateful of nice hot pierogi*. You know, boiled dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients. While you’re waiting for them to cook, we’ll mention PolishPoster.com once more, as it seems to be a really good site, and hopefully when they check their backlinks they’ll offer us some free posters. Ahem.

(*Or cold pierogi. We’ve no idea how it is meant to be served, we couldn’t be bothered reading the entire Wikipedia entry.)

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