Friday, 28 November 2008

Kashing In On Kristmas

That's it. It is now officially Almost Christmas. How can we tell? Why, the annual Peter Kay DVD Featuring Absolutely No New Content Whatsoever is in the shops, that's why. If you hold the DVD case up to your ear really, really closely, you can almost hear the sound of distant sleighbells and people in bad knitwear clinking together glasses of QC sherry.

This year's offering is "Special Kay", a compilation of what the back cover describes as "a golden cluster of the finest and funniest comedy moments that have made Peter Kay one of the UK's favourite comedians". Further down the blurb, this is revealed to actually mean "from early appearances on Granada's The Last Laugh Show to cameos in Coronation Street; uproarious banter with Parkinson and Jonathan Ross; scintillating stand-up on Children In Need and Comic Relief, the hugely popular and award-winning John Smiths ads and so much more!"

Now, just before any Peter Kay fans reading this rush off to Amazon to write a review of the disc including the word "dissapointment" (sic), just hold on a moment. While it may seem that repackaging your performances in charity shows and selling them on for your own personal profit may *seem* wrong, it... erm, we can't think of a proper ending for this sentence. Put it this way: if The Flaming Lips or The White Stripes or a similar band put out a rareties compilation disc, including live appearances on their local TV news show "KBBXLTV37 Action Eye Live At 6 News", not many of their fans would be registering their displeasure via the medium of smiley-strewn missives on the Digitial Spy forum, would they? Well, why should Peter Kay be any different?

And it's not as if - chuckle - the people behind this compilation will be scraping the barrel so hard they'll be dredging up Peter Kay dying on his arse at Live 8, is it? Eh? Of course not! The thing is, were someone to put out a compilation like this, compiling guest appearances, chat show outings and adverts featuring Morecambe and Wise, Peter Cook, Spike Milligan, Kenneth Williams, or Mayall and Edmondson, it'd be a genuinely essential purchase. Just because it's Peter "Three Hour Prime Time Advert For Cash-in Single On Channel Four" Kay, does that really make it any different? Plus, much of the material on offer is from when Peter Kay was still funny - surely that has to count for a lot?

It really does appear that he is repackaging his performances for charity shows and selling them on for his own personal profit, though.

Well, we're conflicted. There's only one way to sort this out. Stopwatches and spreadsheets will show us the way in our special Peter Kay's Special Kay Obsessive Compulsive Breakdown Special! Erm, which we would have done here, but it took so long to put together the fake DVD covers, we really can't face it right now.


Saturday, 22 November 2008

One Hit Wonderland*

*Apols to Tony Hawks, and to anyone annoyed by overuse of the word 'concept'. You'll see.

As you may very well not be aware, aside from being an increasingly irregular contributor to BrokenTV (which is a bit of a shame, because he's the only one), BrokenTV's Mark X is also the conceptual mastermind behind an entirely new concept that has taken (at least twenty-nine people on) the internet by storm (legal notice: internet may not have been taken by storm. Conceptual concept may not entirely be 'new', although all reasonable evidence suggests that it is). This concept being The Song Wars, the central tenet of which is that the free market should decide who the best person on the internet at liking music is, and that from that point on it is they, and they alone, who can dictate what everyone else should like. It's a shamelessly Keynesian approach to music criticism admittedly, but we're sure Mrs Thatch would agree with it, if only she were still in full possession of her marbles.

The contents of the conceptual nutshell are as follows: Twenty-nine people are taking part, grouped into groups of seven or eight. For any given week, apart from the first few and the last one, one person from each group will choose a musical 'theme', such as "Songs with numbers in the title" or "Songs that are appropriate for our economy taking a nose dive", and each group member is expected to put forward a song fitting in with the chosen weekly theme. At a given time, a streaming link to each thematic track is put up on the Be Excellent To Each Other forum, and members of the public vote for the three songs they like the best. At the end of the week, the scores are totted up, and points allocated accordingly.

After ten weeks it becomes a knockout between the top two players from each group, and then some other stuff happens. It's still a bit vague, because we're only up to week eight of the group stage, but all of this doesn't really matter right now. Suffice to say, it's a brilliant and groundbreaking concept, and while you may argue that it's stealing elements of both Adam & Joe's Song Wars from 6Music and Mark & Lard's Cheesily Cheerful Chart Challenge from Radio One When It Was Good, it isn't, so there.

BUT ANYWAY, this isn't about that. Well, not completely. Recently, a topic of "One Hit Wonders" was chosen (for Group A, if you're really that interested), leading BrokenTV's Mark X to wish he'd submitted the fantastic "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe" by maligned Swedish genre-straddlers Whale instead of the track that he did submit, which in turn posed a further, a very pertinent question. What exactly does constitute a One Hit Wonder? BrokenTV's Mark X claims that anything reaching the UK Top Twenty can justifiably be classified as "a hit", while other quite staggeringly wrong people are willing to claim that the 'hit' in question should chart more highly. But... who is right? There's only one way to find out!


That's right. Here's how we've rolled for the following analysis:

* A list of fifty acts regarded, both correctly and incorrectly, as One Hit Wonders has been compiled. Some taken from the BeEx Song Wars Group A Week Eight Poll, some culled from the brain of the BrokenTV collective, but the majority from Channel Four's "50 Greatest One Hit Wonders" poll.

* For each act, the performance of their "One Hit Wonder" hit has been measured against the popularity of their next most popular track.

* The data chosen reflects not on the respective chart positions of each artist, but rather on the number of plays they've accumulated on in the last six months. This has the clear benefit of measuring the actual popularity of each record. After all, if you're going by chart positions, "Mr Blobby" by Mr Blobby (highest chart position: No 1, in peak-sales period December) gave better unit in the singles chart than Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (highest chart position: No7, in the less-peak month of November). Going by six-month listen-numbers, the score is Nirvana: 152,615, Mr Blobby: 109. So, despite Mr Blobby selling more singles with his best-known hit, the Nirvana track is over 1,400 times more popular, thereby dispelling the hit parade as a worthwhile reflection of actual worth.

* With the system meaning that only records people still listen to are worth including, tracks categorised as 'one-hit wonders' that no-one listens to any more have been dispelled from the survey. And really, even though some tracks have got to number one in the last thirty years, the fact less than twenty scrobblers have listened to Rene and Renato in the last six months means they genuinely aren't worthy of inclusion in our survey.

* It's worth noting that some records classified as being the "one hit" of certain artists aren't even the their most listened-to track. This goes some way to proving that Channel Four don't know shit about shit, but the fact Balls Of Steel still stinks up their weeknight schedule makes this something of a moot point.

* Numbers. We've taken the aggregate total of plays for Hit One (the "One Hit" attributed to each act) from, including any wrongly-tagged plays in their listed "Top 15" on the "last six months" chart, and compared them to their second most listened-to track, which is recorded as "Hit Two". The plays for Hit Two, divided by plays for Hit One, and expressed as a percentage gives an overall OneHitWonderousness percentage. In each case, the lower the percentage, the greater the case for them being a true One Hit Wonder. After all, if your biggest hit scored one hundred times the number of listens for your next biggest hit, then well... perhaps that "Ultimate Collection" compilation isn't going to be a viable concern after all. Conversely, for well-regarded bands who almost accidentally spewed up a chart smash, they're more likely to attain a higher percentage figure, and leave with their artistic integrity very much intact.


Tsk. So terse. Here are our findings for the top fifty oft-wrongly-credited-as-one-trick ponies:

Admittedly, that really isn't wholly legible, and we blame our restrictive 460 pixel width template for that. We can only offer to make up for this by offering the same in an equally unhelpful barchart:

Not that much clearer, is it? In any case, the executive summaries for the above can be expressed with the following bullet points:

* If you're not concerned with what could justifiably by described as 'popular' acts, Denise LaSalle is has the most rounded career of all OHW artists.
* If you are, it's Alphaville.
* If you really are, and are taking the rest of their six-month chart into consideration, it's They Might Be Giants who have the best overall career plan out of the above acts. This is pretty demonstratively true, even without the benefit of maths.
* No, t.A.T.u. don't count for this. They've had three top ten hits, you berks. And we've just received the Russian edition of their new album - while it's a bit sketchy, once the English language version arrives, they will very much be 'back', don't you worry. With a bit of fleshing out, "Fly On The Wall" could be their next pop smash.
* Yes, we have accounted for tracks recorded under the names of both "The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band" and "The Bonzo Dog Band".
* Chesney "Turned On Wrexham's Christmas Lights In About 2002" Hawkes really is the UK's King Of One Hit Wonderdom, whereas The Weather Girls take the global crown.
* OR DO THEY? We're willing to accept evidence to prove us wrong with all the above. Register your own counter-claims in the comments section. Personally, we've had backed Skee-Lo to top the chart, and we were very wrong.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Irony Is Almost Sickening

So. There's this really big rugby match we'd bought tickets for. Quite good tickets, too. Only for events to materialise that mean we won't be able to go to it.

The tickets arrive, their arrival coinciding with our credit card bill reminding us just how much we'd paid for the damn things. We decide to put the tickets on eBay for someone else to buy. We look at some other listings to see what they generally go for, as well as some other websites to get a bit of inspiration for writing up a description. Our search takes us to one of many profiteering scumbucket ticket scalping websites. Sorry, websites specialising in "providing premium, hard-to-get or sold out International and Six Nations Rugby tickets". We're not sure the classification for "hard-to-get" means "able to go to Ticketmaster's website on a Friday morning a couple of months ago", but then we're not experts.

Some rugby men, yesterday.

Looking at the pricing on said scumbucket ticket scalping website, tickets in the same area of the ground as ours are going for £150, before VAT. That means anyone buying four tickets exactly the same as the four sitting just to the left of our keyboard right now will pay a total of £705. The face value of each ticket? £55. That means (not their real URL) has plonked a markup of almost £500 on four pieces of card with a shiny hologram in one corner. Of course, this does mean that, were we to be similarly evil, we could pocket ourselves a crafty £500 profit. That would be enough for 50,000 penny chews!

Unfortunately as far as our bank manager is concerned, we're not evil, and we decide to list the four tickets, including Special Delivery postage, at £300. After accounting for the tickets, booking fees, eBay and PayPal charges and interest on the BrokenTV credit card, that probably only leaves a fairly modest profit with which to buy enough stale bread and "Whoops!"-stickered own-brand pineappleade for the BrokenTV collective's dinner for a whole week. Plus, of course, it means that four fellow rugby-likers will get to watch the match at a reasonable enough price to prevent Jesus in His heaven from crying himself to sleep.

A few more rugby men, the day before that.

Us being us, we decide to idly fill out our product description with a dash of whimsy, and a smattering of faux-outrage. Viz:

Six Nations (and de facto European) Champions Wales take on the mighty All Blacks at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. The All Blacks will be keen to regain their rugby credentials after their capitulation against France.After a thrilling (if ultimately futile) comeback against World Champions South Africa, Welsh confidence couldn't be higher, which makes this a tantalising match-up.

Ticket scalping websites are shifting the cheapest Cat 3 tickets for this match at around £90 each, with tickets along the side like these (block L33, as per the map below) going for £150 each. £150! Ruddy hell. That means these four tickets would be £600 in total before VAT and postage. After VAT and postage? You're looking at £176.25 per ticket. That's a princely £705 for the four. It's not as if a fresh-from-Las Vegas Tom Jones is playing on the wing and you get a complimentary half-time lapdance from TV's formerly hot Sian Lloyd! £705! "Good Time Entertainments"? "Buying Up Block Bookings Of Tickets With Which To Fleece Honest Rugby Fans Entertainments", more like. I would rhetorically ask how they all sleep at night, but the answer is clearly "on expensively bought mattresses funded with the hard-earned wages of honest sports fans".

Sorry, got carried away. Where was I? Oh, yeah. I'm selling my four tickets (to reiterate, all four seated together in block L33) for a total £300, including postage by Special Delivery. That's a much more reasonable £75 each, and will be sent out by Royal Mail Special Delivery as soon as the listing ends, to ensure they arrive in plenty of time.

Of course, if it turns out that a fresh-from-Las Vegas Tom Jones really is playing on the wing and you genuinely do get a complimentary half-time lapdance from TV's formerly hot Sian Lloyd, I'm going to be looking pretty darned stupid at around 17:16 on the 22nd of November.

Granted, the above invective hardly makes us the new Max Boyce, or even whatever the rugby equivalent of Tim Lovejoy is, but it filled a space in the listing, maybe gave someone a bit of a chuckle, and cleared out a bit of angst-steam from our valves. If one-tenth of the seventeen people likely to read that listing are amused by it, we've satisfied one person, and provided another with 0.7 of a good time. We set the BuyItNow listing to five days, click 'Submit', and relax at 8:36pm.

At 8:43pm, our tickets have been sold and paid for. To a ticket scalping eShop that, if a sample listing of theirs is any indication, will be selling our tickets for around £140 each. And our listing was up for a fraction of the time it took us to take photos of the tickets, watermark them with our username, upload them, type out the description, and all the other stuff. And no-one, other than us and the buyer of the tickets (who almost certainly didn't bother reading the listing) paid attention to our lazily-typed description.

Another picture of rugby men. (Reader's voice: "That's rugby league, you dolt") Look, we don't know that much about it. Leave us alone.

Ah, crap.

(Oh, and the match in question will be live on BBC One, so this is in keeping with the BrokenTV remit.)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Vidal versus The Dimblebum

Because the video in the version everyone seems to be linking to stutters badly on our computer.

We really should change the site header back, shouldn't we?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Day The Laughter Might Die

A bit late with this, but Digital Spy reports, in a piece claiming Harry Hill is under consideration to present this year's Comedy Awards, "Graham Norton, Dara O'Briain, Piers Morgan, Al Murray and Jimmy Carr are also apparently in the running for the job."

A quick note to Michael Grade: If this story turns out to be true, and Piers Morgan is ever chosen for such a role, we will NEVER watch ANY ITV channel ever again. No matter how enticing your programming might become, even if TV Burp is broadcast as frequently as Emmerdale, it would be a matter of principal. ITV would be dead to us.

A quick note to Piers Morgan: You're rubbish. No-one actually likes you. It's worth mentioning at this point that there are a lot of celebrities often lazily dubbed as "celebs we love to hate", but when they finally shuffle off this mortal coil, like Jeremy Beadle, everyone feels a genuine sense of loss that their talent really had gone unappreciated whilst they were still around. Celebrities such as Paul Daniels and Jimmy Hill are likely to fit into this category once they reach the great departure lounge. You however are going onto the other pile. The one with all the racist comedians and murderous dictators. Yes, Pol Pot does count as a celebrity. If Piers Morgan counts as a celebrity, Pol Pot counts too.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The World Is Now, At Least A Bit, Better

And he's getting a new puppy for his kids! Trendy new-meeja cynicism aside, this is a pretty huge thing right here. Four and a half years ago, we watched the DNC National Convention coverage around the time of John Kerry's presidential nomination speech, and noted commentators stating how Barack Obama wouldn't be a likely prospect for 2008, but one to keep an eye on for the future. It seemed John Edwards would be the more likely candidate at the time. But here we are, in a situation quite probably aided by the shambolic Bush administration, but a hugely exciting situation nonetheless. And not just because it all means we all know it's really annoying Ann Coulter, who seems conspicuous by her absence on the Fox News tonight.

This is probably going to come back and quite roundly bite us in the arse (and thank heavens that this isn't a print medium), but from where we're sitting right now, America is doing a damned good job of redeeming itself right now. Barack Obama has just made reference to the moon landings and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event happening right now is firmly up there with those two landmarks.

[update 5.23am: CNN and Fox News have both quite commendably broadcast the sound of audience cheering for around fifteen minutes after the end of Barack Obama's victory speech before chipping in with any actual commentary. And Fox News have an alert title of: "Pres-Elect Obama - This Is Your Victory" and are carrying on with coverage while CNN International have cut to adverts. The cynics amonst us might have expected them to go with an editorial line of "TEH SOCIALISMS! YOU WILL DESTROY US ALL!!!1". Now, should we stay in to see if Karl Rove will stay on to offer his personal congratulations, or nip out to buy some newspapers? Even though the newspapers know a lot less than we do right now? Hmm.]

[update 5.30am: Right now on Fox News, Brit Hume is hurriedly pissing the goodwill of seven minutes ago up the wall by trumpeting him aboard as a "new Clinton". Whatever your individual opinion on Bill Clinton is, the tone of his commentary makes quite clear his intent. Can you imagine David Dimbleby announcing the election of David Cameron in 2010 with the words "...and David Cameron is duly elected Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Shit. No, really. In the name of Jesus Cocking Christ! What were you all thinking? You STUPID ARSEHOLES!"

In the world according to Brit Hume, Barack Obama is only President because of the Credit Crunch, and for NO OTHER REASON. Oh, and because Sarah Palin is a "dumb-ass bitch". We'll grant you, that's not a verbatim quote.

A more accurate slogan for Fox News would be "Fox News: It's Like Picking At A Scab".]

[Update 5.50am: Karl Rove is still in the Fox News studio. Ultimately, it was all about funding. While it could be argued that if the Republicans were in the right all along, they wouldn't have been funded so badly by actual fundraisers, you, erm, shouldn't. In the interests of balance, we should probably state that we haven't heard Fox News pin the whole thing on The Liberal Media yet. Come to think of it, where is Bill O'Reilly anyway?]

[Update 6.11am: Bed? Yeah, that's probably a viable proposition right now. Night all. And to think, we didn't even need our 24-juice.]


Well, at least until it all turns out like it did with Tony Blair. But, until then: hurrah.

Barack Obama now predicted to take 51% of the popular vote. We were wrong earlier, Jimmy Carter took 50.1% of the popular vote in 1976, but even JFK only took 49.7%. If it stays around 51% for Obama, this will be huge. Should we put the word 'huge' in bold capitals? Yes: this will be HUGE.

[edit] Ah, 1964 would be the last time the Democrats had a notably past-50% percentage of the popular vote, and that on the back of assassin-o-mania. Let's hope we don't see that again soon. We've a sneaking suspicion President Biden won't be quite as popular.

Fox News: Karl Rove Speaks and McCain Concedes

"America has had a black First Family for years. The 1980s had The Cosby Show."

Because that's the same as electing an African-American to the White House for the first time in history.

We know that's not Karl Rove. By the time our mobile phone camera focused, we missed him.

But anyway. McCain concedes. This is really happening!

Even some of the Republican faithful are applauding Obama as McCain makes a genuinely sincere message of congratulation to the Democratic candidate. Fair dues. The two sides of the Republican party, there.

[update] Fox News report that President Bush has called Barack Obama to congratulate him on becoming president. They're also claiming that no Republican supporters at the McCain speech booed the announcement of Obama becoming president. That's certainly not what we heard.

CNN Declare Obama President of the USA

This is probably quite big news. There are certainly around a million people in Chicago getting quite excited about that on our television right now. Paddy Power have already stopped taking bets on it, so it's entirely fair to say they beat CNN to the punch.

In all seriousness, even though it's messed up an update we'd half-written about something more trivial (BBC News putting out a report in the wrong aspect ratio and a now out of date chart of current projections), this is genuinely up there with man landing on the moon and D-Day in the annals of history. Whatever annals actually are. We're quite pleased. And not just because we could now go to bed. It's probably time to start drinking. And how often can you legitimately say that at 4am?

Breaking Non-News

The Democrats retain control of the Senate. What could this mean? Well, after the DNC captured seats held by retiring GOP senators in Virginia and New Mexico, they're sure to... erm... hey look everyone! It's a YouTube video that mentions Spiro Agnew!

Betting Update:

If you put a penny on McCain, and he won, you could buy Europe.

(Two thousand BrokenTV kudos points on offer for anyone spotting where we're stolen *that* line from.)

"You Brought A Spoon To A Spork Fight!"

The Live Daily Show/Colbert special on NOW, video streaming people/Americans who found this blog by mistake. That's where we're stealing all our jokes from for the next six hours.

Betting update:

Obama: 1-1000
McCain: 80-1

And how stingy does that 80-1 seem now?

[update not worth a new post]

BBC News reporting Obama with 50% of the popular vote, to McCain's 49%. While that sounds close, it's (we think) the first time the democrats will take more than 50% of the popular vote since 1960. We may well be wrong on that.

Important Confectionery Update

The Fox News crew are looking a little perplexed as it transpires Karl Rove has sent them each some specially made cookies, in the shape of "a widescreen, hi-def television broadcasting Fox News". See, even Karl Rove isn't all evil, in the same way the Margaret Thatcher helped invent butterscotch flavour Angel Delight.

Fox News now reporting Obama on a projected 200 Electoral College votes. Brit Hume does not look happy. Brit "Fume", we call him.

Projections Update

Well, it's safe to say Obama is going to win, especially now ITV News are claiming he has won Ohio. It's time for a large scale round-up of the projections.

All over the place, there. Hey, we haven't done any charts yet.


The Worst News Of The Night

Jon Culshaw is on ITV News. He can do an impersonation of Barack Obama. Bollocks - the main reason we wanted Obama to win is that it might mean less of Jon Culshaw's inaccurate 'act' on our screens. Can we go back in time six months and rig the primaries so that Hillary wins instead?

We can at least take some solace from the fact he can't 'do' Joe Biden. Speaking of whom, we'd forgot to link the YouTube video earlier on where Senator Biden does arguably the worst gaffe of the entire campaign.


Over on Fox News

It's like the funeral of an especially beloved family pet. However, a bit of a discrepancy with the projections.

ITV News

McCain 34, Obama 103

BBC News

McCain 34, Obama 103

Meanwhile, on the News International networks:

Sky News

McCain 32, Obama 39

Fox News

Obama 81, McCain 39

All of the networks have stated that they're not using exit polls for the figures, but rather early counts in each state. Make of that what you will.


Obama 1-150
McCain 25-1

Over On Sky...

There's a little Street Fighter II-type icon in the lower right of the screen. Note the way the two portraits are leaning violently into each other, as if it's a boxing match.

Oh Sky, can't you think about something other than sport for five minutes? They've just clumsily crashed into the middle of an advert, mid-sentence.

What Manner Of Devilry Is This?

Here's a screen grab we'd just taken after mistakenly assuming the Beeb had messed up and were projecting McCain to win the election. We then realised that the "Kentucky" didn't refer to where the current live footage was being shot - it being being transmitted from a plane, so such a caption would need to be continuously updated, so it's clearly meaning they're predicting McCain will win the vote in Kentucky - only to spot something even more sinister:

What the? TWO McCAINS? What are they planning? It's time to put our tinfoil helmets on, we smell a sinister conspiracy.

Live Via Hologram!

CNN don't care what people think any more. Wolf Blitzer is currently talking to Jessica Yellin "Live via Hologram from Chicago".

Yes. Instead of having a correspondent just appear on a 'screen', the CNN boffins have overlaid a three-dimensional representation of Jessica Yellin onto the picture. Wolf is talking to her as if her hologram is actually in the studio. The 'hologram' is even deliberately glitchy, like in Star Wars, just so you really believe in it. Bloody hell.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Things Are Almost Happening Now

Well, that was a useful time for our internet connection to go down. It did give us an excuse to sneak a couple of hours of kip.

Now we're awake, and it's time for the 'proper' coverage. While Dimbleby (D) is on BBC One proclaiming how a lot of people are claiming they know who is going to win, until results come in no-one actually knows anything, Alistair Stewart is on ITV1 with a graphic saying that Obama has already won. We can see this thanks to the split-screen feature on our Freeview box.

Meanwhile, CNN are trying to break the world record for most pundits on a desk. Somehow, by their watch, McCain is currently winning eight to three. Maybe it's time for the first of our pointless charts.

Live Betting Update: Paddy Power have stopped considering it a contest, with Obama on 1-33 and McCain on 10-1. Once the first few results trickle in, and it becomes clear Obama isn't just John Kerry squared, McCain's odds will lengthen a lot further.

More Old Election Result Night Awards


Winner: ABC News This Morning, 1984

What exactly was behind the mad craze for chucking an outrageous bevel behind every bit of caption text on mid-80s US television? It looked garish, clumsy and all-round nasty. Just because you've found the setting for it in Quantel doesn't mean you have to do it.


Winner: WTOP Washington, 1972

All the budget went on the demented drawing of the donkey and the elephant, it seems. Did they just fire some letraset out of a cannon?


Winner: Cleveland City Camera News, 1976

That is fantastic, isn't it? It's like they're about to anchor Olympic ice skating or something. If the BBC has a desk like this tonight, we'd be absolutely delighted.


Winner: CBS, 1992

Poor old Ross Perot.

Live Or Not Live From The Stump

LIVE UPDATE TICKER: We're watching the streaming MSNBC coverage now. John McCain has just welcomed his 96 year old mother up on stage. Wonder if Jon Stewart will be picking up on that. UPDATE UPDATE: He's just made the "Mac Is Back!" comment again, so this might be a repeat of yesterday's last minute rally. It's hard to tell, as there's no "LIVE" or "RECORDED YESTERDAY" InfoCaption on screen. About a third of the screen is plastered with useless text, but not that. Hey, McCain's Dad is there t... no, that's Joe Lieberman. Hey, now he's telling people not to be afraid of scare tactics! The ironing is delicious.
[edit] It is live, even though he seems to be rehashing last night's speech.

Now, who wants to dip into ten minutes of the CBS coverage of Reagan pummelling a hapless Walter Mondale?

We're sure we won't need to lazily embed YouTube videos all night.

Obama: 1-20
McCain: 8-1

It's slipping the way of the Dems right now. It seems that even everyone in America who hasn't already voted finding out just how crazy Joe Biden really is won't be able to save the GOP now.

LIVE US08 BLOG: Betting and Drinking

When you're staying up until the stupid hours watching coverage of the US Elections, you may well be peeking onto Fox News to see just how they're handling the fact the EVIL SOCIALISTS are very likely to sweep back into power and introduce things like SOCIALISED MEDICINE, HAND OPPRESSIVE POWERS TO ALL THE UNIONS and LET THE GAYS MARRY EACH OTHER. You know, exactly the same as when they didn't even remotely do that after the 1992, 1976, 1960, 1932, 1912, 1892 and 1884 elections. But all that means you'll need to stay up super late. How will you stay awake? Or more importantly, how will you stay awake whilst remaining in a Fox mindset?

What you need is 24: The Energy Drink. WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS UP.

We bought a can of this earlier today. We haven't tried it yet, so expect a full review later on, when we're especially tired and desperate for material. With any luck, we'll be on our feet and torturing people who might just be terrorists in no time.


Obama: 1-16
McCain: 7-1

Don't forget, at this point four years ago John Kerry was very much the bookmakers' favourite after a strong showing in the exit polls. This could go similarly awry. We shall monitor the situation.


LIVE US08 BLOG: And off we go

We've been tormented by the endless coverage for what seems like an entire year. Barely an hour's television viewing would pass without being reminded of the monumental battle between them. But as last, it seems we're nearing the sweet merciful release of a conclusion. Could it happen? Could we really dare to dream? Will we finally be able to retire to our nightly beds, our collective subconscious breathing a huge metaphorical sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe, everything will go the way we're hoping and that we'll soon be living in a somehow slightly more peaceful, sunnier and goshdarnit all-round better world? Yes, that's right. Maybe - just maybe - the couple in those BT adverts could be getting back together. Ooh, fingers crossed!!!

[A distant crack rings out, and a sniper's bullet whizzes just past BrokenTV's ear.]

Oh, please yourselves. It's the massive BrokenTV US Election Live Blog Special!

Only about 726 hours until the first meaningful results start to trickle in, so we're first going to look at some of the results night coverage of the past. And it wouldn't be a BrokenTV selection of pictures from things that happened in the past if we weren't going to dish out some spurious awards, now would it? And we're very lucky to have with us a special guest. Fresh from working with CNN during the live presidential debates, please welcome to the blog... The CNN Uncommitted Ohio Voters Live Opinion Line Chart!

First up:


Winner: WTOP Washington, 1972.

Whoa! The sixties are over, people, quit it with the LSD-infused imagery.


Winner:Tim Taylor et al, WJKW-TV8, 1984

Replete with signatures from each part of the team.

Sports guy Dick Goddard looks especially pleased that they've let him take part, even though sporting events are traditionally thin on the ground around election night. We suspect he didn't look quite so pleased the time his credit cards were nicked, and the criminals had been able to mimic his signature perfectly.

So, the first couple of awards, and with them the start of our live results night blog. What do you think of the show so far, CNN Uncommitted Ohio Voters Live Opinion Line Chart?

Yeah, not the best start. Nice to see the Ohio ladies perk up a bit once they caught sight of Dick Goddard. Possibly he's America in 1984's version of Gary Lineker.


Monday, 3 November 2008


We've just time for a quick update on this before our US Election Special knocks everything else off the front page. Last week saw a welcome return to form for Newstopia after a couple of slightly sub-par episodes (which were, in themselves, saved from the doldrums by at least a couple of brilliant sketches per episode, cementing Shaun Micallef's place alongside Peter Serafinowicz as one of the world's best impersonators, if only that particular comedic genre wasn't utterly beneath them). Here are some of the highlights that, erm, highlight just why Newstopia SHOULD, MUST and (when we finally get our way) WILL be on the television screens of the British public. Come on, Channel Four Television. If you can broadcast an hour per week of Rory Bremner being pleased with himself on your main channel, you can at least shove this onto one of your digital tentacles.


There's an extended intro featuring musings on how the US Presidential Race mirrors the plot of Trading Places. SPOILER! "In the end, the combined efforts of Obama-Murphy and McCain-Ackroyd wipe out the share value of all the stocks owned by the people who put them where they are."

Newstopia's delightfully eccentric South American correspondent Cesar Romero returns, which is great news. Not least because of the great reveal gag at the end of the piece. Which we're about to ruin. A pity Pilger Heston won't be returning, though.

A spoof documentary purporting to be about a GOP think-tank looking into sexing up the McCain campaign that involves Val Doonican, Roger Whittaker and NWA. "What about the Food Fighters?"

The global weather forecast.

And more of the Newstopia team's admirable campaign to revive the tradition of "pretend adverts and trailers sneaked into a genuine commercial break". Including a shot of the back of Kevin Keegan's shoulder in 1997!

Plus a smashing bit played out over the end credits, which doesn't even remotely work with a screenshot.


This Is For Uncle Sam!

One day to go, and we must admit it's a real pity we don't get to see the attack ads from each candidate running on our TV. After all, what about the hundreds of thousands of US citizens legally eligible to vote in the Presidential Election currently situated in the UK? Well worth a few low-cost slots on daytime Sky Sports News, surely?

But anyway, in the 1940s they did things properly, with the strangely compelling Hell-Bent For Election. There's little need to try and paint your opponent as "the biggest celebrity on the planet" alongside footage of Paris and Britney, when you can just as well imply they're IN LEAGUE WITH THE NAZIS. It's especially helpful when you've got the legendary Chuck Jones on board, too.

Part One:

Part Two:

Total number of election campaign adverts depicting McCain and Obama as trains: zero. A missed opportunity, we're sure you'll agree.


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Cold Dead Eyes

This is, we believe, what is technically known as a 'teaser'.

Aye, we know. Lazy. Obvious. Unfair. Possibly even misogynistic. But... those dead out of focus eyes! How could we not?

(NOTE TO SELVES: Updating the blog on a Saturday night whilst on the wrong side of a couple of bottles of wine, a poker tournament we almost won but didn't, and a James Stewart film about an imaginary rabbit = not the best idea in the world. Although trying the exact same thing on the night of Tuesday 4th November 2008... well, maybe we should find out the hard way.)


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