Monday, 28 April 2008

A Thinly Disguised Excuse to Wax Lyrical About Supermarkets

But anyway.

Here's something we've noticed about supermarkets lately: occasionally, when you've laid your shopping onto the little conveyor belt, there's no spare 'next customer please' divider. The next shopper comes along, and proceeds to leave a gap of between twelve and eighteen inches between your shopping and theirs. Look, Lord Fucking Snooty, we might purchase groceries largely comprising of ready meals, yoghurt, wine and fizzy pop, but OUR SHOPPING DOESN'T HAVE FLEAS. There's no need for a sodding 'safety zone' between the two sets of groceries, and there's very little chance we're going to mistake your sodding organic muesli for our huge bag of Monster Munch, you massive pointless waste of skin. Honestly, it takes real effort not to beat some people senseless with the 'next customer please' divider once it's finally passed on to you.

Also, people who chuck supermarket baskets into the little depository stands, but either leave them with one of the handles covering the middle section of the basket, or even thrown onto the pile at an angle, either of which forcing the subsequent basket-shopper to bend down and position them correctly before being able to place their own empty basket in the stand, should be kneecapped by shotgun-toting cashiers. It may seem harsh, but quite frankly, it's the best way to maintain a polite society.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Really Quick Newstopia Update

If, like us, you've spent a tiny portion of today cursing the fact that Proxy4Free doesn't have any working Australian proxy servers today, which means you can't watch the current episode of Newstpopia just yet, here's a tiny consolation prize. Episodes from the current series are starting to leak onto Google Video and YouTube. Here's ep three in one chunk on Google video (handily including a download link for the mp4), and parts one and two of episode seven (although - gagh - with sync problems). These will have to do for now, at least until someone offers us an invite to Diwana. Ahem.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


The return of the prodigal irritant George Lamb earlier today got us to thinking. How do people like him get their radio gigs? Clearly, it isn't talent. It's something quite different: 'talent agencies'. After a few stops, our train of thought reached a point where we were wondering - just who represents the people who play the records on our favourite radio station, putting them where they are? Then we realised it would quite hard to find out that sort of thing about everyone on WFMU, so we looked at the presenters for 6Music instead. Arf.

Is there some sort of correlation? Or even something excellently dark and sinister that we could uncover and get mentioned in MediaGuardian's Media Monkey column? And will our special strain of OCD-lite hold out long enough for us to work it all out? Well, a few trips to Google, our new trial Imdb Pro account and several felt-tips later, we have our answers.

Here, for your edification, amusement or indifference is a pretty colour-coded chart showing who represents whom on the 6Music schedule. Hmm... wonder if anything will stand out?

(Where we've listed "No Agent?" we can't find any record of the presenter having representation, but that doesn't necessarily mean they haven't got a Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms 15% - feel free to leave a comment correcting us, and we may update the chart the next time we're putting off doing something important.)

Draw your own, gentle viewer. We suspect even the most myopic listener will notice a bit of a trend going on during Monday to Friday daytimes. What odds would you give on Lamacq leaving in the next few months, only to be replaced by Leigh Francis?


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Clarifications and Corrections

In a blog post dated Friday, 11th April, BrokenTV wrote about how Stephen Fry topping the podcast charts was:
a pretty good sign that all is really rather corking with the Britain of 2008's intellect, we'd say.
With the news that Fonejacker has just won this years BAFTA award for Best Comedy Programme, we would like to distance ourselves utterly from our previous statement.

Fonejacker, for fuck's sake. We're moving to Norway. Top tip for 2009: Alex Zane Presents Hidden Camera Footage Of Abandoned Babies Left In Shopping Centres, Only When Members Of The Public Stop To Check They're Okay, They're Actually Fake Exploding Babies Filled With Soot, Ha Ha, Look At Their Stupid Bewildered Faces, The Idiots!

Admittedly, Harry Hill also won an award, but as he's pretty much the TV comedy equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo right now, that was a given.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Thought For The Moment

We've now received three forwarded copies of that email where someone has erroneously attributed a bunch of excellent Tim Vine jokes to the late Tommy Cooper. Despite the fact that one of the jokes is
"I went to the local video shop and I said, 'Can I borrow Batman Forever?' He said, 'No, you'll have to bring it back tomorrow'"
Tommy Cooper died in 1984. The movie Batman Forever was released ELEVEN YEARS LATER, and wouldn't have been available to rent until 1996. UNLESS THE JOKE WAS PERFORMED BY A ZOMBIE TOMMY COOPER, IT CANNOT HAVE BEEN HIS JOKE.

It is now our life's mission to force everyone we know to watch Tim Vine's live DVD.

I was playing the piano in a bar and this elephant walked in and started crying his heart out. I said "Do you recognise the tune?" He said "No, I recognise the ivory"


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Not That There's Neccessarily Anything Wrong With Dumb

From Digital Spy:
BBC One bosses are considering developing a gameshow series dubbed "human Tetris". The show, called Hole In The Wall, was first made for Japanese television then watched around the world on the internet.

Contestants have to fit their bodies into differently-shaped holes in a wall as it moves towards them. BBC One has ordered a pilot of the show from distributor Fremantle and may take it on for Saturday primetime, according to Broadcast.
Here's a clip of the Taiwanese version. Or, (for the benefit of those fearful of being Rickrolled) here's how it works in pictures.

Contestant stands in the Play Area, and strikes what they hope will be the correct pose.

The target pose is unveiled.

The wall containing the cutout target pose is propelled towards the contestant. Or if you prefer, 'victim'.

As the Wall O'Doom rushes toward them, they must use their brain and limbs to stand in a perfect facsimile of the cut-out, so that the wall can pass around them. Be wary gentle contestant! There won't be a lot of 'wriggle space' in the cut out, and the required shape may not necessarily be physically possible to anyone who isn't Neo off of The Matrix.

If the hapless contestant fails to strike the right pose, the wall crashes into them with as little remorse as might reasonably be expected from a huge pink oblong constructed out of thick foam.

And into the water they go. YOU FAIL. We'll forgo a rant about it not really being anything like Tetris, as the wall doesn't mysteriously disappear when they succeed.

This, of course, is clearly magnificent. And no, that's not us being sarcastic as usual. Stupid television can be a wonderful thing. Hardly anyone took notice of the European Football Championships in the 1970s, because they'd had their fill of Europeans in shorts falling over dramatically from Jeux Sans Frontieres. Indoor League included televised shove ha'penny, and it was still popular enough to receive a DVD release last year. There's always room for stuff like this on our screens, as long as they're done well (and not, say, Balls Of Steel).

Problem is, television often spends too much trying to be 'cool'. See how BBC One endlessly promotes Hotel Babylon, which to our mind comes across a bit like your mum trying to get you to listen to a new rock band. Even when it comes to game shows, shiny chrome and glass sets seem to be of a higher priority than good old 'being fun'. The Nick Hancock helmed Duel is reasonably enjoyable (even if it does occasionally cause us to double take when we look at the listings, because we think for .a second they're going to show the classic Spielberg film), but we're saying it'd be twice as enjoyable if the poker chips were three feet in diameter and made of foam, and the answers to cover up were on the other side of a bouncy castle.

Sadly, too many television programmes spend too long trying to be Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, when they'd be much better trying to emulate Super Mario Galaxy. Or - hey! - Tetris.

Friday, 11 April 2008

"Ram That Up Your Pipe, Dacre"

If you listen to people who pay too much attention to what their tabloid newspaper tells them to think, God's Britain is irrevocably messed up. 104% of teenagers now carrying flick-knives, ghastly foreign rapists pouring into our neighbourhoods with impunity, the BBC pumping raw sewage into our living rooms like the foul left-wing conspiracy they are, house prices not rising as rapidly as those who'd just bought a fourth home in order to make a quick and effortless buck would like, we're all quite literally going to hell in a handcart. Oh, and British society is 'dumbing down', and the only reason 'A' Level results improve year on year is that the exams are getting easier, the 2006/7 Sociology 'A' Level paper included an essay question on Beyonce, y'know.

Except: no they aren't, no they aren't (just look at the official figures from the United Nations and you'll see that there's a much higher proportion of immigrants 'flooding' into those renowned easy-touches Jordan, Israel, Liechtenstein and Western Sahara than the UK*), no it doesn't and isn't, and if that is the case then good. And we'll get to that.

(*Seriously, we can quite easily chuck out ten thousand words on this subject if the need arises. Don't think we won't.)

Being of an eternally sunny disposition, we don't really agree with the school of thought that Things Were Automatically Better 'Before'. With this in mind, let's take a look at the current iTunes podcast chart for These British Isles. Of course, anyone with an iPod and an internet connection can obtain podcasts, for free, on any subject they so desire, and what with your modern iPods costing as little as, well, nothing, everyone from lovely Tory councillors to those horrid People On Benefits can enjoy them. You don't actually need an iPod anyway, any computer connected to the internet will do. With that in mind, we're fully expecting the top few places in the chart to be taken up by recordings of an annoying teenager making fart noises, and his idiot mate chortling approval. Here's the rundown, or at least as much of it as we can legibly crop into the main blog window without looking ghastly.

Crikey, eh? Two Radio Four programmes making the top five, a wordy fop at number three (Russell Brand's Radio 2 show), but most impressively, the top spot taken by official national treasure Stephen Fry talking about (in this week's edition) the story of Oscar Wilde's first visit to New York. Ram that up your pipe, Dacre. Meanwhile, there's only one Radio One podcast in the top ten (compared to two from Radios Four and Two), Melvyn Bragg's history podcast also makes to top twenty, the excellent Richard Herring/Andrew Collins podcast is in a higher position than the Fonejacker podcast, and the Nuts Magazine Video Podcast is less popular than The Archers Podcast. That's a pretty good sign that all is really rather corking with the Britain of 2008's intellect, we'd say.

In case anyone reading this hasn't yet tuned in to (or whatever the appropriate term would be - downloaded out?) Stephen Fry's wonderful podcast, do so immediately. If you do listen to his inaugural podgram before the later ones, please don't be disheartened. For reasons that are explained within, Stephen is clearly unwell, not to mention sedated during the recording of Podgram One, leaving the listener in the slightly uncomfortable position of feeling like you're preventing him from the recuperative powers of a lovely warm duvet because he's got to talk to you instead.

A slightly alarming feeling that we're preventing one of our personal heroes doing just this is what we were experiencing while listening to Podgram One. We still feel bad now. Oh, and that picture is from here.

Things hit the road properly in the second Podgram onwards, where Stephen Fry off of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie drops English on the subjects of dance, the America-versus-irony cliché, and the phrase "off of". All splendid stuff, as you might expect, and well worth listening to. For once, popular is unquestionably good.

With the reassuring discovery that Stephen Fry has the most popular podcast in the UK, we feel compelled to see what tops the charts in other nations around the world. Join us now, and we roguishly log out of the iTunes store (even though we're not really sure we can remember our password for it, how's that for rock and roll?) and see what other countries have in their podcast charts. It'll probably prove to be crashingly dull, but we're guessing our readers have got used to that about now. We were very nearly tempted to do an update about the relative competitiveness of the top two divisions in every national football league in Europe instead of this, so you're still getting off pretty lightly. Yes, genuinely. And we've got a stinking cold and a full cup of hot Vimto at this point, so we haven't got much else to do.


Number One: Oprah and Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" Online Class (Genre: Spirituality)


Other Things Of Interest: The BBC's World News Podcast is at number sixteen, making it the highest rated source of non-fictional news. That's not a pop at Fox News, it's just that The Onion's podcast is at thirteen. The most popular podcast from an American news provider (CNN) only clocks in at thirty-one, with ABC News at forty-eight. Excellently, on the dedicated US comedy podcast chart, Stephen Fry's Podgram is at number seventeen, beating Ricky Gervais by three places. And the BBC Radio Four Friday Night Comedy Podcast and Russell Brand both finish above Tom Green and (surprisingly) Tim And Eric. Hats off, the USA.


Number One: ECC Podcasting (and some characters that don't display properly in our iTunes software).

We don't know what that is. Or most of the things on here, really.

Other Things Of Interest: The BBC World Service's 'Six Minute English' podcast is at number two. We're more than happy for lots of people from Japan to visit the UK, especially if they being copies of Fantastic Plastic Machines 'Sound Concierge' mix albums with them, as they're really hard to track down over here. We're a bit surprised to see that there aren't any tentacle porn podcasts in the list at all, though. Way to confound our expectations, Japan.


Number One: Summer Heights High

Clearly it's an Australian teen drama of some sort. We bet it's nowhere near as good as Rick Alessi-era Neighbours, though.

Other Things Of Interest: The Chaser's War on Everything, which is excellent from what we've seen of it, is at number three. Wonderfully, the video podcasts seem to be full episodes of the show. Less wonderfully, it seems the downloads are only available for people within Australasia, iTunes isn't as easy to fool as Firefox when it comes to things like this. Gah. Stephen Fry's Podgram is at number twelve, mind. The Brainiac Podcast is at number 28, suggesting the show is a lot more popular down under than it is here - we're sure it hasn't even made the top hundred over here. Looking at the comedy chart. Wake Up To Wogan is more popular than HBO's Entourage, and Daniel Kitson is more popular than Chris Moyles. Which is the way it should be.

Oh, meanwhile, why can't someone work out a way to get Australia's excellent Triple J radio station onto digital radio over here? And criminally, there is no Shaun Micellef podcast. Boo.


Number One: Oprah and Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" Online Class (Genre: Spirituality)

Jiminy, again. We'd have expected more from North America's version of Wales*.

(*What? Bi-lingual, incorrectly perceived as slightly backwards by their more populous neighbours, not very good at football. The analogy works, damn it.)

Other Things Of Interest: Stephen Fry's Podgram in the top ten. That's the full top ten, not just the comedy chart (he's at number three in that). Wonderful. Also, Radio Four's 'Start The Week With Andrew Marr' is twenty-one places higher than the American Idol Podcast. We take it all back, Canada. You truly are the Lisa Simpson of your sub-continent.

In summary, then:

The BBC's output is popular and respected throughout the rest of the world, which is something we're pretty proud of, to be honest - after all, we are helping to pay for all this. Furthermore, Stephen Fry is now something of an international treasure. Suddenly, the world genuinely is a slightly nicer place.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Exciting News For All Readers Inside!

We were going to write a lengthy introduction to this statement, but as we're so dispirited by our failed quest to find a picture advertising the merger of one IPC comic with another, we can't really bring ourselves to type a lot here. Really, you'd think Flickr would be awash with scans of the least unpopular characters from School Fun wandering across a schoolyard to meet the main characters of Whizzer and Chips, but it isn't. Bah. There's not even a record of which became ones became Chip-ites and which joined the Whizz-kid camp. Did Young Arfur make the cut? We don't know! You've failed us, science. We've had to improvise, quite badly, as the hastily assembled jpeg just up there will attest.

Anyway, seeing as how BrokenTV's sister blogs, BrokenFM and Booked (Dissent) are currently seeing less action than, oh we don't know, Peter Crouch or something, we're going to include any musings we might have on football or music on BrokenTV. It'll save the hardy crew of our most loyal reader (no typo, there) having to click on different bookmarks, if nothing else.

So, erm, consider this a 'BLOG CLOSED' notice for BrokenFM and Booked (Dissent), and expect slightly more regular updates to BrokenTV in the near future. But it's not all bad news! As everyone knows, the first post-merger edition of a comic has to include a SUPER FREE GIFT FOR ALL BOYS AND GIRLS, and we're no different. Click below to recieve (i.e. visit) your FREE! BrokenTV mixtape ( mix), lovingly compiled (illegally uploaded) by BrokenTV's Mark X (erm, or not him, if you're the BPI).

If your free tape is missing, contact your newsagent


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

No Need To Shout


Picture the scene. We're sitting in front of the BrokenIndustries three-bar heater, flicking through the contents of some MORALLY LEGITIMATE video files we'd plucked from the binary ether, via the BrokenIndustries DivX-compatible DVD player. One of the files was a promo clip for a night's wholesome entertainment on BBC-1, from the days before John Birt got rid of it's hyphen in order to reduce the cost of continuity.

Right. We know there are better, slightly less tragic ways to spend an evening. But we're simple folk, with simple needs. And it was pretty much that, or Carry On England.

In case you've got your pointers hovering over the "Next Blog" button at this moment, be assured that this update isn't going to be about how much more exciting continuity was on the BBC when the designers had an utterly free rein to be interesting, long before they were ordered to do everything in Gill Sans Regular.

Lord, no.

Floundering as ever for something to write about for the blog, we'd delved into Channel Four teletext 'entertainment' section, finally giving up after a non-story about the Brit Awards non-furore, leaving our Teletext tuned to page 141. As we'd said earlier, simple folk (plus, our Sky HD box was playing up). You can keep your Facebook, as far as we're concerned. Lovely old teletext doesn't trick you into spamming all your friends every time you want to see which Simpsons character you are. But anyway, when trying to mute our telly just after selecting the above clip from our DVD menu. And, because we're hamfisted idiots, we'd pressed the wrong button. And saw this on our screen:

Oh-ho-ho, yes. It's Ceefax, circa 1984! Ceefax from the 1980s! On our 21st Century television! With quite a few errors on screen, but something pretty darned marvellous nonetheless. We had no idea DivX files could contain the 'hidden' teletext data. This is clearly this month's Best Thing Ever. Yes, really.

Overcome with a kind of rather pathetic euphoria, we'd forgot to take a mobile phone snap of more than one page. WE SHALL REMEDY THIS. Annoyingly, when we tried this on a different clip on the same disc, it didn't seem to 'take'. The same applied to the other files on the disc. Our uneducated guess is this - as everyone knows, trying to view the teletext signal from a standard VHS recording, you get a really glitchy, barely viewable version of teletext. But, from an S-VHS tape, the 'hidden' teletext data lines are recorded properly, so they can be viewed in full. The encoding process to a digital format manages to chop out the teletext data completely on recordings ripped from VHS, but from an S-VHS source, much of the teletext data survives the trip to the ripper's PC.

Lamentably, even though we've actually got proper, grown-up things to do every evening this week, we're now committed to ploughing through much of our digital archive, just to see what we can find. Be assured gentle reader, until we get to see Blue Suede Views on Oracle one last time, we shall not rest. Hopefully, it'll be one where Jon Homer does a swear. We all know what that would be, don't we?

Splendid. That's what.

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