Saturday, November 17, 2007

More from the scurrilous back passages of Wikipedia, this time from Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac's page:

"Annie's brother Davey MacManus is in the British band The Crimea. Annie also has a sister named Rachel and one other brother. She is also very close friends with fellow DJ, Edith Bowman. They have been known to finger each others vagina while presenting radio shows together. Pictures had been posted on her Flickr picture thread. Only to be taken down from webmasters due to rile violations."

What on earth are rile violations? I adore the fact that there's a link to the vagina page, just in case you were unsure. If you see any similar mash-ups and derailments, do please alert me. I can usually do with a laugh.
It seems to be a long-standing BBC rule that great occasions can only be entrusted to a Dimbleby. However, between the untimely demise of Pa Richard in 1965 and the coming to maturity of the Boy David some years later, another broadcaster held the fort with great panache. When the Harold Wilson went to the country in 1966 and 1970, it was Cliff Michelmore, of Tonight and 24 Hours, who helmed the BBC's results coverage, and a fine job he made of it too. Here's an example of how superbly agreeable he was:

Now nearly 90, he's back on our screens for one night only this Sunday, linking six (count 'em) hours of archive material about the 1967 devaluation crisis. BBC Parliament is the channel, and, quite frankly, I believe the evening's programming justifies the cost of a Freeview box in its own right.

The running order is like this:

6pm - The Pound In Your Pocket - new intro material from Cliff Michelmore
6.10 - The Money Programme (original tx: 17/11/1967)
6.55 - Our Money (original tx: 19/11/1967)
8pm - Edward Heath's response (original tx: 19/11/1967)
8.15 - 24 Hours (original tx: 20/11/1967)
8.40 - Panorama (original tx: 20/11/1967)
9.15 - 24 Hours (original tx: 29/11/1967)
9.40 - Roy Jenkins outlines spending cuts (original tx: 16/1/1968)
9.55 - 24 Hours (original tx: 16/1/1968)
10.35 - Roy Jenkins' Budget broadcast (original tx: 19/3/1968)
10.45 - Iain MacLeod's response (original tx: 20/3/1968)
10.55 - Budget '68 (original tx: 19/3/1968)
11.15 - 24 Hours (original tx: 19/3/1968).

I appreciate that this isn't everyone's idea of a great night's viewing, but it'll do for me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

As a stickler for accuracy, I should deplore anyone who puts false information on Wikipedia deliberately. Sometimes, however, it's just plain funny. This evening, for professional reasons, I found myself perusing the entry on Westlife. I found the following on the subject of Bryan McFadden's departure from the group:

"On 9 March 2004, just three weeks before Westlife were due to embark on their fourth UK and Europe tour, moon faced buffoon Bryan McFadden (Otherwise known as the lummox)left the band due to an uncomfirmed report of goat fiddling..."

Feeling immediately grateful that I wasn't drinking anything at the time I saw the above, I went to the history page to see how long that nugget of utter misinformation had lasted. About 3 hours, it appeared. The same contributor had also changed:

" The group's roots are in Sligo in the north west of Ireland, where Egan, Feehily, and Filan were in a six-member vocal group named IOYOU..."


The group's roots are in Sligo in the north west of Ireland, where four tramps were found by Louis Walsh at a bus stop. They were singing drunkenly whilst wetting themselves stuffing thier faces with donuts. WHO ATE ALL THE PIES!!"

In this case, I actually find the made-up version strangely plausible.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Going through some assorted DVD-Rs the other day, I found the collection of clips that I prepared to illustrate a talk that I gave at Glasgow School of Art in June. The theme was something to do with networked societies and the creative persona. No, I haven't a clue either - a friend is a lecturer there and I think he booked me as the equivalent of bringing board games in at the end of term. Certainly some of the other sessions seemed pretty hardcore in cultural theory terms. Taking a wild stab in the dark, I presented a celebration of the awkward buggers in entertainment history who took the greatest risks, played with the possibilities of the media in which they worked and played havoc with their paymasters' blood pressure in the process (cue long section about Milligan). Roger Ordish's story about the night when Sammy Davis Junior turned up midway through a live Dee Time, & took the house band through an unrehearsed, but utterly magical performance of 'This Guy's In Love With You', went down particularly well - If you don't mind, I'll save that one for now, as it's one of the best bits of my forthcoming book.

As a continuity nerd, it was with great glee that I knitted together a montage of spoof continuity announcements, programme menus and station idents from, respectively, Look Around You, End of Part One, Rutland Weekend Television, Inside Victor Lewis-Smith, a Jerry Sadowitz Without Walls special on swearing, Alexei Sayle's Stuff, the Kenny Everett Video Show and the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show of 1983. I left Python out because time was limited and I thought it would be more fun to dig out some relatively obscure items. In particular, End of Part One strikes me as one of the great unsung TV comedy series - composed almost entirely of deadly send-ups of late 1970s television and a very early peak for Andrew Marshall (of Lowestoft) and David Renwick. Almost nobody watched it. Certainly it was scheduled badly, in a Sunday teatime slot usually reserved for undemanding children's shows, but maybe it was just years ahead of its time, TV not being quite as ready to eat itself then as it is now. They carried on messing about with the language of the medium a decade later in Stuff, but there's a special magic to seeing Play School's Fred Harris impersonate Nationwide's Michael Barratt. Anyway, here it is:

Incidentally, I shared the lecture slot with Anne Ward, the thoroughly good egg who runs I Like, and a rake of other rather wonderful sites. If you've never visited any of them, go now. No dawdling.