JoeBusiness ::: The End Of An Era But We’re Fighting On The Streets Again

Baroness Thatcher death

Margaret Thatcher died this week. And some people had parties. That doesn’t seem right to me. I am aware of Thatcher’s reputation as the ogre of the right in British politics and while not knowing a great deal about her or her policies (I know enough to where I stand), my opinion of her was always, frankly, low. My political views always drift to the left and often to near-socialism – that being said I am incredibly vain and love cash, glamour and all the fleeting trappings of the entertainment business so I guess I’m one of these annoying little turds that claims to be a righteous lefty but maybe am about as close to Che Guevara as Donald Trump masturbating into a pile of dollar bills, anyway I know enough about Thatcher to know that many, especially those in the industrial north, have genuine and legitimate grievances against her and her policy-making.

 

My point however, is that it’s almost always wrong to celebrate someone’s death. There are some cases when it’s ok. For example when, deep beneath a ruined Berlin and the tramping of Red Army boots, Hitler bit down on a cyanide capsule at the same time as firing a pistol into his brain, hence ending any lingering German desire to prolong a war (that he started) that claimed 55 million lives not to mention removing from existence a soul who’s entire emotional and intellectual outlook had been based on hatred, then yes, the world became a better place. But Thatcher wasn’t Hitler. I don’t believe in the term ‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’. If we did that we’d have no history as we’d constantly say be saying how Grrrrrreatttt everyone was and just because someone dies doesn’t mean you have to change the opinion you had of them while they were alive.

 

So if you didn’t like Thatcher in life, then that opinion remains the same. However, to actually celebrate someone’s death feels like the height of bad taste. An 87 year old lady dying after a stroke has no impact on your life. Feel free to continue disapproving, disliking or even hating what she did in life but now she’s dead don’t your celebrations feel a little empty not to mention ‘wrong’? The problem is there are grieving family and friends left behind and how do you think they feel when they switch on the telly, see shots of the Ritzy Picture House in Brixton with the official news reading ‘Margaret Thatcher is Dead’ and underneath a hastily constructed homemade banner bearing the legend ‘The bitch is dead’ while people dance in the streets in front of it? Those family and friends didn’t create her policies. They didn’t take your milk or send soldiers to the Falklands so why don’t you show those grieving for her the respect that you felt she denied you and many others in life? No matter what terms you couch it in, whether it means that’s the ultimate victory and shows that deep down you’re better than the Tory governments you so hated or simply you believe it’s the right thing to do, isn’t it better than throwing a party because someone’s no longer alive?

 

Many politicians have left a mixed legacy and Monday’s events made me wonder what fate awaits the demise of Blair and George W. Bush, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was nary a piece of agitation on the streets when these two men who contrived one of the most controversial wars in recent history pass away. Despite my empty respect for shiny showbiz baubles I am deep-down and inexorably a lefty and had I lived in Thatcher’s Britain I believe I would have openly disdained her and her government but I also genuinely believe I’d have kept the bunting in the loft yesterday. What do scenes of violence and destruction on the streets of Brixton and Glasgow achieve but to drive yet another divisive wedge between two ends of the political spectrum that had gone some way towards healing the old wounds and prejudices exacerbated during the Thatcher era? And what’s to be gained by celebrating the passing of someone you thought of as ‘bad’, apart from to make you a little bit worse too?

 

Bit serious this week I know and not exactly ‘showbiz’ but I was struck by something I dearly wanted to write about and often it’s best to go with this instinct but never fear back to tits, Taylor Swift and TOWIE next week.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 11th April 2013

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JoeBusiness ::: Fighting Your Mum, Boob Tattoos And Sticking Up For Bieber

Justin Bieber, monkey

Isn’t Lindsay Lohan great? Why’s everyone always having a go at her? LiLo’s latest escapade has seen her photographed slumped drunkenly under a table in a Rio nightclub during a publicity trip to Brazil. The thing is we: the media, the public, the people who rant about them, love ‘out of control’ stars. Ok I accept there are those who take it too far and these are the real addicts. Amy Winehouse and to a lesser extent Pete Doherty are among a few who represent a tragic waste of potential and in the worst cases, life. I’m not saying Amy’s musical legacy isn’t extraordinary but who knows what else she would have achieved had she been free from the demons of addiction and self-destruction, and not least a young woman would still be alive. However, these tragic cases are not what I’m talking about. The people I’m talking about are the candyfloss rock stars who do what so many of us would do when given extraordinary riches, fame and undue deference at a young age and that’s go a little bit mental.

I don’t know why when Keith Richards gets wasted (for 50 years!) it’s cool but when Lindsay does it, it’s disappointing. Ok so getting in your car when pissed isn’t cool and Lohan, as does anyone else who’s done it, needs to stop it but you don’t need me to tell you that. But being pissed under a table, anyone who hasn’t done that has clearly never drunk gin; fighting over a boyband member in a bar makes you a boozy legend and having a punch up with your Mum… What a Spartan! She even Tweeted on April 1st that she was pregnant – prompting near orgasms from hacks everywhere but it was an April Fools ruse that show’s, whether consciously or not, LiLo is aware of the hypocrisy of which she’s a part.

Another example is One Direction’s Harry Styles, who’s penchant for tattoos and sleeping with lots and lots of attractive women is apparently a worrying trend in his lifestyle. Ummmm he’s 19 and millions of women all over the world would gladly give up a limb for a glimpse of his left nut so if I were Hazza I’d be out getting a giant tattoo of a pair of tits across my back bearing the legend: I’ve see more than you!’ and then having an orgy to celebrate. Even Simon Cowell, a man who’s wealth and the glamour surrounding him don’t detract from the fact that he’s far too uncool to ever act like a rock star, has come out in the press and said he would act the same if he was in 1D’s position, so let’s just get behind Harry as he gets behind some groupies.

Part of the reason that we frown upon the decadent antics of those in the public eye is envy. I admit, many’s the time I’ve seen a snap of Harry, or some other hunky little twerp, surrounded by a harem of attractive and more importantly ravenously keen young ladies and thought: ‘For fucks sake!’ And so redoubled my efforts to find some sordid grainy video and then had to pop the kettle on as I wait for it to buffer. But I’ve realised why should these young stars give a shit? It’s not their fault that we’re jealous so crack on I say lad and do it for Blighty!

Another issue is that in a world of plastic pop stars and coma-inducing actors it’s nice to have some personality and see people acting in a recognisably human way. Even Justin Bieber, who I had pegged as a grinning little gimp, has recently been eliciting my admiration now that he’s fighting paparazzi, attacking his neighbours (allegedly) and participating in failed attempts to smuggle monkeys into Germany (not a euphemism, check this out).

There are no real rock stars left and the behaviour of these young stars is not only completely understandable but makes them more human and more interesting. So yeah it’s annoying but the point is who would you rather hang out with, Taylor Swift and talk about boys or Lindsay Lohan and get in a drunken brawl with a group of circus midgets? And what would you rather do, sit around the hotel room with the other four out of One Direction or hit The Bearded Oyster with a pocketful of notes and your man Harry Styles?… I know where I’d rather be.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 4th April 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Presenting: The Amateurish Future Of Television

Mark Wright TMO

Something alarming happened while I was watching Lorraine this week, something I do every morning as one of the idiosyncrasies of my job is that I work almost exclusively in the evenings and hence one becomes quite the daytime TV afficionado and Lorraine, incidentally, is a cracking watch. I was tucking into my boiled eggs and soldiers, I have a variation of this every morning – sometimes poached, sometimes scrambled, often featuring mushrooms… my life is very much like the early days of Motley Crue I know, eating a variety of egg and bread based breakfasts is in fact the modern equivalent of doing a line of coke off a groupie’s bare bottom. Anyway I was watching Lorraine and thoroughly enjoying Ross King’s showbiz report (my favourite part of the show) when they showed some clips of Tom Daley (the Disney Prince-faced diver) and Ross informed us he has a ‘big presenting career’ ahead of him.

Now I’m sure Tom Daley’s a nice lad and a bloody fine diver and may even make a good presenter but this does rile me. It’s part of a recent trend of people ‘off the telly’ being allowed to present high-profile and lucrative gigs. Daley did Splash! (fair enough) but that was widely deemed to be the among the worst shows ever to grace our increasingly dire television schedules and hence TD should never be allowed to present anything that’s not directly related to diving. I feel the same about Mark Wright presenting Take Me Out: The Gossip. Again, I’m sure he’s a perfectly affable chap and I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s talentless but a presenter he ain’t. I was once sitting in a major agent’s office when I pointed out that I thought Mark Wright was ‘one of the worst presenters I’ve ever seen’ and the agent promptly turned to me and said with a flourish of conviction ‘He’s the worst anyone’s ever seen!’. Even worse, Gemma off TOWIE doing the fashion segment on This Morning, I mean piss off universe!

The reason this cheeses me off so much and I know I’m not the only presenter who feels like this, is that these people haven’t had to pay their dues. A lot of presenters are qualified journalists, with finely honed skills of research, written and verbal dexterity and a nose for a story. Many others (myself included) have clawed their way up through a torrent of shit, making bugger-all money, chatting to abject bell ends and standing in the pissing rain on red carpets for hundreds of hours, often to get a 30 second conversation with someone who thinks you’re a dick anyway. So obviously, when you do your first big interview with a huge star or get to work for a worldwide media outlet, you’re justly proud. But then you open the paper and see Mark Wright gets to go out with Michelle Keegan and you feel a bit miffed, then you turn on the telly and there’s a random woman from Essex telling you what brogues are ‘in’ this winter and your weary eyes illicit a lonely tear, so you change the channel and there’s Gaz out of Geordie Shore presenting The Weakest Link and you’re fucking head explodes! Ok s that one’s not happened yet but sadly it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I don’t hold anything against these people personally. Tom Daley seems like a good bloke and a respected athlete but why does he get to go to Hollywood and try and bamboozle sorority girls into bed while I’m counting out the dosh for my Child Travelcard to go and interview someone I’ve never heard of? Same with the Reality-TV-Drama-Soap-Brainmush stars. If they want to bear their souls to the world so some fat geezer with a roll-up hanging out his gob will want to take their photo outside a tacky nightclub then good luck to them but they’re not journalists!

If this article sounds bitter it’s because it is but it’s also resigned to a world where arbitrary fame itself justifies skipping numerous steps on a slippery career ladder, where in order to be good enough to progress you have to experience each level and it doesn’t feel fair. The respect for fame without achievement is a theme I have consistently returned to in JoeBusiness and more than my own personal foibles I think it’s a worrying and unhealthy societal trend. What’s next, you go in to have your emergency triple bypass and as the doctors remove their surgical masks, to explain this life-threatening and miraculous procedure you realise the faces leering down at you are Arg, Diags and Joey Essex, because the hospital’s having a ‘Scars from the Stars’ day?

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 31st March 2013

The Buzz Of Breaking News And Why To Watch The PM Around Your Pets

Benedict Cumberbatch

I ‘broke’ my first news story this week. In my line of work, chatting to celebrities and doing my best to stay on top of Harry Styles penile activity… hang on, I don’t get to ‘break’ many stories in the conventional sense of ‘Hold the front page Hank, this one’s big!’ I am often among the first to find out exciting information from someone about a secretive new project, or who they’ll be working with or whatever it may be but what happened this week was different.

 

The story is, in the taxi coming from doing the backstage interviews at the Southbank Sky Arts Awards, I tweeted:

 

‘Benedict Cumberbatch confirms to @RedCarpetNewsTV that cast already signed on for 4th season of #Sherlock … Video released this evening!’

 

And Twitter went bat shit. Now this is all relative and fairly small potatoes to what major political journalists must experience on a regular basis but I was party to a reaction I’ve never witnessed before. Within hours there were nearly 500 ‘Retweets’ and 200 ‘Favourites’ and my followers jumped by 25%. There are a few reasons for this and they are firstly, Cumbers rarely does press and if he does he’s famous among presenters as being erudite, pithy and incredibly elusive about anything that could be a ‘story’. Secondly, he is involved with two franchises, Star Trek and Sherlock, that have… ahem… incredibly ‘dedicated’ fans with a voracious appetite for news. Check out this story in the Telegraph incidentally. I did a full interview with him as well as the snippet described above and I must say he’s comfortably the most articulate and intimidatingly intelligent person I’ve interviewed… and I’ve done Jedward and Keith Chegwin.

 

The point I want to make though is how addictive that feeling of releasing some previously unknown news into the world is. I don’t mean stuff like you say to people every day like ‘I had a boiled egg for breakfast’ or ‘I can’t maintain an erection unless a sparrow is gently pecking at my balls’ but something that will interest and affect a lot of people and their moods. The responses I got back were uniformly of delirious happiness and being able to give that feeling to so many people makes one feel like a God, or at least a benevolent puppeteer of the human soul. I can’t imagine how a newsreader must feel when he gets to say ‘This just in…’ and then release an extraordinary piece of information into the world such as ‘This just in, the Prime Minister has been spotted in London Zoo bumming a chimp, Number 10 yet to comment.’ And I bet Jeff Stelling must kick out a little pellet of man muck every time he gets to break the news of an important goal on Soccer Saturday. I reckon the underside of that desk must look like a plasterer’s radio by the time 5 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon rolls around.

 

The whole experience let me peak through a window and sample the giddy thrill of cutting edge journalism and for a moment I empathised with those journalists who fabricate news stories to get a greater response. I have slagged off lazy and even made-up journalism in JoeBusiness before but I felt what it must be like to chase that buzz. Then I remembered what a grubby little business mass publicising lies about people is and ceased to feel sorry for those snivelling little scrots but I admit even I was a bit heavy-handed with the wording of my Tweet, as Benedict didn’t explicitly say that series 4 is definitely happening, more just let’s slip that he thinks it probably is. Judge for yourselves here. He was even interviewed a couple of days later by a colleague of mine at Red Carpet News TV who said poor old Rhubarb Cumble (as I fondly like to call him) was happy to have the opportunity to set the record straight about what’s happening with Sherlock after the media furore. Thanks Cumberland Sausage, now I feel bad. My point is I got fractionally carried away in the excitement of the moments immediately following having unearthed a ‘story’ and have momentarily glimpsed the murky world of hyperbole and half-truth that, sadly, so many journalists have tumbled into.

 

That being said, I’m pretty sure from that video they are doing series 4 so up yours world and now I’m on the hunt for my next scoop. So if you happen to be passing London Zoo and you see a man in a suit who could be David Cameron, rutting away at a lovely little chimp like the furry little primate’s colon contains oil and his todger is a drill bit then contact details are below. We can bask in the glory and the shame together.

 

For my full interview with the erudite, witty and charming Mr. Cumberbatch please see here…. Think you might have found yourself a new very ‘dedicated’ fan Benny boy…

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 14th March 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Rihanna’s Bum, Famous Boobs And Terrorism

Rihanna bum

So Rihanna put a lovely photo of her bum on Twitter this week. I enjoyed it, as did millions of others I’d imagine. My question however, is why did she put a snap of her rump on the internet? She was trying to emphasise how delighted she was with her new pair of Prada boots, writing:

“Gotcha b**ch tip toeing on my marble flo’!!! Sick ass custom Prada boots! Miuccia you RULE!!! Thank you,”

Ummmm yeah. Anyway, chatting to a colleague about this he said maybe the entertainment industry is inherently sexist, referencing Seth McFarlane’s ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ song at the Oscars, where the Family Guy creator pointed out various scenes where famous actresses (most of whom were present and pictured looking shocked) had got their kit off. I disagree however, I don’t think the entertainment industry is sexist towards women, I just think it’s utterly obsessed with sex, as is humanity in general.

The fact that ‘sex sells’ is hardly big news but it was only when I started thinking about it that I realised almost everything is couched in terms of sex. Ryan Gosling, a fine actor, is rarely ever mentioned without someone pointing out what a dish he is. Just look at Claudia Winkleman’s preview for his new movie The Place Beyond the Pines on this week’s Film 2013, where her only comment was ‘Bleach blonde, I love it.’ … He has dyed his hair for the movie. Or Harry Styles. The media is absolutely obsessed with where his willy has been or will find it’s self next. Even when we talk about Islamic terrorism, how many times is there a reference to the 72 virgins supposedly awaiting martyrs in heaven, often accompanied by a snide gag. So even when it comes to blowing up innocent civilians, we can always find the shagging angle.

As I say, there’s nothing new about being obsessed with sex but it is sometimes detrimental to our understanding of what’s important. Whether it be chuckling away as Silvio Berlusconi oversees a horribly corrupt and poorly-run country because it’s pretty jokes that he has those crazy ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties or failing to ever truly appreciate what a superb actress Angelina Jolie is because we’re constantly thinking ‘Please let her get her tits out, please let her get her tits out’ and then when she does ‘YESSSSSS!!!’ and promptly texting our mates. The fact that our obsession with naked flesh often colours our perception of those who bare it is something Mila Kunis and Emma Watson shrewdly recognised when they turned down the movie version of cultural phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey. I don’t get why that book became so big anyway, I’m just into boobs and bums and thinking about them… a lot. Hence whips, chains and psychological dominance don’t really get me rubbing my thighs and calling for the lube. Mila and Emma both realise that the last thing a rising Hollywood star needs is to expose their bare arse to a spanking on a 50 foot screen in front of a leering audience.

The point of this week’s article is… well I’m not sure really. I just feel like I’ve had an epiphany and realise how much we prioritise sex over substance. I do the same and will continue to do so, even while writing this article I heard from the property show playing on the TV in the background ‘We’re off to see architect Simon Rimmington.’ And I laughed… out loud. I didn’t think, ‘Ooh why are they going to see Mr. Rimmington?’ But rather ‘Hahaha he likes to rim people!’ Maybe it’s a limitation of our human brains or another manifestation of the evolutionary prerogative to procreate that ultimately no matter what we’re thinking about or it’s context ultimately, it all comes down to bonking… And that’s why Rihanna automatically decides to pop a pic of her arse on Twitter to tell us how much she likes her new footwear.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 7th March 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Oscars 2013… Daniel Day-Lewis Is Funny, Jennifer Lawrence Tumbles And Ben Affleck Gets Back Up

Argo Oscar

Welcome to the JoeBusiness Oscars special you lucky little sods. That’s right, last Sunday (24th Feb) was the 85th Academy Awards and this is what it’s all been about. We’ve sat through the lesser awards shows for the past few weeks, talked about it endlessly, watched enviously as Bradley Cooper comforted and charmed every pissed-up woman in showbusiness and here they finally were and you know what, they were good. Proper good. For the first time in a long time there were a number of heavyweight films, some of which were actually very good, battling it out for the top honours and they were spread fairly evenly and in my opinion, mostly correctly.

So let’s go through the boring stuff of who won what but more importantly why that matters:

 

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln

Say what you like about DDL but the man is astonishing. This is his third Best Actor Oscar, something no one else has ever achieved, which makes him – if we treat Oscars like Ballon D’Ors (World Player of the Year for all non-football nerds)  – the Lionel Messi of acting and quite simply the greatest actor ever to have lived. It is of course not a stats game and movies, by their very nature, are subjective but blimey it’s still impressive! He now has one too many Best Actor Oscars to make a set of bookends while I’m still using those two lovely Filipino lads to hold my tomes in place. People are always slagging Danny Dizzle off as well for being too much of a pretentious method actor ponce but just have a butchers at his acceptance speech both on Sunday and at the BAFTAs. He’s a funny little sausage.

 

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

She’s only 22 years old and already a versatile powerhouse. If she carries on like this she’ll have a whole chess set of those sodding statues by the time she’s done. Oh and she fell over on her way to collect the prize, just a couple of weeks after her dress fell apart on her way up to collect a SAG Award (Screen Actors Guild Award) which makes her seem human and that it might be worth a go trying to impress her with your UK Garage 2 Step if you saw her down the Fez Club on a Friday night.

 

Best Picture – Argo

A cracking film and director Ben Affleck’s speech about a refusal to quit when an unforgiving industry has written you off was extremely moving. The message about following your dreams no matter what, because that’s all you know how to do, is something that I hope resonates with everyone.

 

Other notable winners:

Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Director – Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Best Original Screenplay – Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

 

Click here for a full list.

 

The self-congratulatory opulence of the evening is something that I would normally pour scorn on but I felt this year’s Academy Awards represented a truly positive trend in filmmaking. Nearly all the movies that contested the big prizes went away with something that was representative of their strengths. Lincoln is a bit a stuffy but Daniel Day Lewis creates a president so lifelike and believable that, as with all his movies, you totally forget DDL’s even in the film; Django Unchained is a rip-roaring story with crackling dialogue; Life of Pi is achingly beautiful, Anne Hathaway does some good singing and that… and so on. The only dampener is the lack of recognition for Kathryn Bigelow’s astonishing Zero Dark Thirty which was conspicuously overlooked throughout awards season. It was a film hounded by controversy as some commentators (slobbering bell ends) claimed it endorsed torture merely because it showed it, in which case Schindler’s List must be a promo film for the Nazi Party?

 

That aside, this year’s Oscars show that lots of people are still making good movies, with genuine talent in front of and behind the camera and more importantly that the Academy recognises this and is willing, to a point, to reward bold filmmaking. I don’t know what it is about the Oscars, it seems the tacky nonsense of all the other award ceremonies is stripped away and you’re left with something that the nominees genuinely care about. More than the money, the fame and the uncanny ability to convince nubile Dutch students to go into disabled lavatories with you and perform acts that normally require 19 Jaeger Bombs and a healthy dose of bad decision-making, this is what they all want. The Oscars are important because they mean something, in an industry where we so often focus on things that don’t.

 

Don’t worry, next week it’ll be back to tits, tattoos and slagging off German schoolteachers.

 

Oh and I was lucky enough to be invited to do the Oscars round up on Vanessa Feltz’s BBC London radio show after the ceremony and you can listen again here… if you skip to 2 hours 51 minutes… and you care… which you probably don’t.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 27th Feb 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Tulisa, Danny’s Film’s Dire Performance, Back Tattoos and Ben Fogle on Acid

Ben Fogle

Yes it was The Brit Awards this week and yes some people won and some people got drunk but blah, blah it was right boring weren’t it? So instead let’s chat about old JoeBusiness favourite Tulisa! Apparently Simon Cowell is set to axe her from the next series of The X Factor amid claims she was ‘distracted’ last year. Aaaaaahhhhh!!! This has prompted news that Sharon Osbourne could be set to take her place after Mel B appearing to usurp her on the panel of America’s Got Talent. Oh the turmoil! What’s Simon going to do? He now has stories running in every tabloid newspaper and glossy magazine on either side of the Atlantic about two of his biggest shows, almost as if the sneaky flat-headed rascal has masterfully manipulated the world’s press for his own benefit… again. This has prompted some rather interesting debates about who would replace Tulisa, who won’t leave by the way, I’d bet my left nut on it and that’s my favourite one, with everyone from Jay-Z to Simon’s favourite horizontal naked wrestling buddy Dannii Minogue being touted. I think there should be a random election system, much like in The Hunger Games, where every series of The X Factor a random member of the public joins Gary, Louis and Nicole as the fourth judge. I tell you what if Keith from Orpington was in charge of the over-28s he could have Robert Mugabe singing Gay Bar every week and I’d still vote for him.

In other news, poor old Danny Dyer. His new movie, Run For Your Wife, took between £600 and £750 over it’s opening weekend depending on who you listen to… either way, it ain’t good. Over the same weekend, the new Die Hard flick took an estimated £4.5 million but both films were panned by critics, so why the disparity? Ok, obvious reasons aside – Hollywood blockbuster, legendary franchise/leading man etc, the gap still seems enormous. Bruce Willis was slated for his bizarre, zombie-like appearance on The One Show while Danny Dyer, when I interviewed him at his movie’s premiere, at least answered my questions without doing an accurate impression of the geezer off the Stroke advert, so why did his movie tank while the brilliantly titled A Good Day to Die Hard didn’t? I actually think the Hollywood leviathan is genuinely a worse movie. That being said, The Shawshank Redemption put in a famously uninspired performance at the box office but went on to become a huge seller on video and DVD and is now recognised as one of the masterpieces of modern cinema. So maybe Dyer’s film, in which he plays a bigamous cab driver married to both Sarah Harding (off Girls Aloud) and Denise van Outen (off Strictly), trying to avoid either wife finding out about each other with the help of hilarious best pal, played by Neil Morrissey …. oh, I see.

On another note, this week posh telly man Ben Fogle apparently had his drink spiked with a substance thought to be LSD. Now this isn’t funny and is a serious violation but my god it’s intriguing isn’t… Ben Fogle… on Acid! According to reports, Foges tried to jump out of a window and had to be restrained during a ‘psychotic episode’. The doctors later found no neurological cause for BF’s behaviour so put it down to the fact that his drink must’ve been interfered with while the TV host and his wife enjoyed an evening in Gloucestershire pub with friends. So I’ll set the scene: you’re in a country pub, you and your pals are tripping off your nut having scored some LSD from the kid in the year above with the lip ring and then… that lanky posh geezer off the telly walks in. Only you can’t be sure, I mean you’re out of it, you were playing the ItBox with Rasputin and Super Mario earlier, so why not pop a little tab in his pint of real ale? You can see how it happened right? I would however like to reiterate that drugs and drugging TV presenters is bad ok? Except Eamonn Holmes. If you see the Big Dog himself it is customary to offer him a honk on your crack pipe. It’s just rude otherwise.

And finally, after mentioning a thigh tattoo sported by a German lady of X Factor winner James Arthur a couple of weeks ago (after which, rather satisfyingly, I received some abuse from the lady herself) I’d like to just touch (literally) on Cheryl Cole’s new ink. The Geordie lass stunned the Newcastle crowd on the opening night of the Girls Aloud tenth anniversary tour, by showing her rather large new back tattoo of some roses. I for one don’t care that she looks like a member of a Californian prison gang I still defo would… Which is incidentally why I was so popular during my stint at San Quentin Federal Penitentiary.

 First published on IAmMusic.TV, 24th Feb 2013

JoeBusiness ::: The BAFTAs, The Grammys And Katy Perry’s Boobs

Mumford and Sons - Grammys

Awards shows are weird aren’t they? This whole culture that’s grown up around them so that the show outweighs the meaning. I watched two last week: the BAFTAs, hosted by Stephen Fry – a man smarter and more British than Stephen Hawking’s stiff upper lip in a tux and the Grammys, hosted by LL Cool J (‘Ladies Love Cool James’… that’s honestly what it stands for) – who’s incredibly earnest and forceful hosting style gives him the demeanour of a 19th Century Hip Hop missionary.

 

What was most striking was the style of the two shows. Fry conducted proceedings in an unapologetically tongue-in-cheek and cerebral fashion, delivering his renowned verbal tongue-twisters and seemingly drawing from a bottomless vocabulary. Most of it was at the expense of the American guests, who seemed to take it quite well – there was an extremely eerie silence following a Tom Cruise/’Scientology is bonkers’ gag – while the Brits thought it was all rather funny. The go-to close-up of the night (bar George Clooney looking good-humoured, unruffled and dishy in the front row) was of Tom Hiddleston pissing himself at every one of Fry’s gags and fair enough, they were funny. So when I watched the Grammys a couple of days later the difference between the hosts couldn’t have been more pronounced. LL Cool J began the Los Angeles show with a long and righteous piece to camera about how the Grammys belonged not only to the attendant stars and those actually in the theatre but to us watching at home and everyone in the world! What even us shitty non-famous people, sitting around picking our bums while wanking over Backstreet Boys album covers? Thanks LL! I’m sure the fact that FUN. Won Song of the Year cheered the subversive Chinese prisoner no end as he glimpsed the ceremony reflected in a dirty piece of broken glass outside his cell, as his captors watched, out of breath from thrashing him… Maybe that’s a bit heavy but my point is that anyone watching who isn’t American must have done the same squirm and shudder that I did and that the rest of the world employs for American schmaltz. LL Cool J appeared to piss off for the remainder of the ceremony and the guest hosts did that thing that famous people do when handing out awards and that’s to look like a couple of Year7s giving a sex education Powerpoint presentation to their Nan, incidentally they are all world-famous performers so why are they shit at this? The same was true of the actors handing out awards at the BAFTAs, why get these people to do it if their shit at it? The exceptions between the two shows were Samuel L. Jackson (cool), Prince (weird), Katy Perry (tits/I admire her forthright and confident nature/tits).

 

However the most important distinction for me was that the Grammys looked like a right bloody laugh! For all Fry’s wit, charm and subversive jokes at the BAFTAs, the Grammy’s looked really fun. Jay-Z was in the front row swaying to the tunes and drinking what looked like Budgens own brand whisky but I’m sure was $10,000 a bottle quadruple-distilled unicorn jizz or something and every time there was a performance, most of which (especially Bruno Mars and Sting’s collaboration) were thoroughly entertaining, there was a myriad of close-ups on various stars (Adele, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Nicole Kidman, even Neil Patrick-Harris off How I Met Your Mother) all boogying away. Imagine if you’d gone to watch musical smash hit Mamma Mia! with your Mum, your aunties and your nan and they were all proper pissed and singing along to ABBA’s catchiest hits. It was like that but instead of your Mum it’s Kelly Clarkson and instead of your Nan it was Beyonce! Good it was.

 

This got me thinking that for all their faults, our cousins across the pond like what they like and they don’t care what anyone else thinks. Maybe the self-awareness and self-deprecation that we Brits are so proud of is not such a good thing. Yes the BAFTAs was classier, yes Fry is a more erudite and in many ways more admirable host than LL Cool J and yes being able to take the piss out of an industry that so often lacks perspective is a good thing but I tell you what, if you’d have asked me to choose which ceremony I’d like to attend I’d much rather be drinking horny-horse muck with Jay-Z and trying to take surreptitious snaps down Katy Perry’s top… that sounds like a party.

 

On another note, I should probably mention a couple of awards actually given at each ceremony. Argo took Best Film, Director and Editing at the BAFTAs, undoubtedly more well-deserved recognition for the oft-dismissed Ben Affleck.  Meanwhile at the Grammys British beard enthusiasts Mumford and Sons won two prizes including Album of the Year for Babel. However, the travesty of the evening was that Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe failed to pick up a single award! You bastards. I don’t mean that in an ironic ‘Hey, we’re music journalists, let’s pretend not to like mainstream Pop music’ way but in a ‘That is the single greatest song ever written and anyone who disagrees is a throbbing bell end’ sort of way… Still at least Drake won Best Rap Album and Chris Brown didn’t get a sausage, so the world’s not all bad.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 15th Feb 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Pop Reunions And How James Arthur Can Ruin Oral Sex

James Arthur tattoo

People are bang into reunions at the moment aren’t they? I interviewed Sarah Harding out of Girls Aloud this week about their reunion, which is kind of understandable given the barnstorming success and continued relevance of the group but at the same premiere I also chatted to Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten and she told me they’re also getting back together, as are B*Witched, Steps and 5ive for a show on ITV2 called The Big Reunion. Now this will have little or no impact on my life, apart from I may start seeing these faces from my childhood bounding up to me on the red carpet for interviews and that can only be a good thing as firstly, it’s always fun to interview people you grew up watching and who’s dance routines you know off by heart (I’m still harder than a coffin nail alright so back off you mug!) and they are also aware of the fleeting and fickle nature of fame and fortune and have known the unforgiving wilderness of a fall from favour and hence, are more likely to give considered, grounded and meaningful answers to my inane queries. I just wondered, why now?

 

I think the answer could be that these people, when put back together, are often a bubbling pot of neuroses and long-buried resentments which means they’ll argue, cry and embarrass themselves, at least that’s what the producers are hoping. The simple fact is that these people have faced significant personal demons and by-and-large hate each other’s guts, as what would have been run of the mill rows between friends and co-workers over who left stragglers in the bikini wax tub were distorted into conflicts to resemble the unrest in the Gaza Strip, at least in the participants heads anyway. ‘Gaza Strip’ is incidentally the name of my new themed gentleman’s lounge… I don’t anticipate any trouble.

 

Not all of these people have faded from the public consciousness, Liz has had a successful TV career while Kerry Katona’s post-Atomic Kitten highs and lows have been well-publicised but by and large their fans have grown up and people have forgotten. The perfect example is the appearance of Sean Conlon on The Voice, where none of the judges picked him and Jessie J, a young girl at the height of his band’s success, proclaimed ‘You were the first concert I ever went to!’ before sadly watching her former idol traipse away unsuccessful from her vantage point of contemporary fame. Sean’s experience is surely a microcosm that sums up the last decade or so in the lives of most of the individual members of these groups. They’re a spent force, it happens in music, their songs ceased to be relevant or profitable, they fell out, they moved on and that’s ok, you don’t have to be famous you know. But now they’re being chucked back together for our amusement, so I for one certainly have time in my life for one more rendition of Slam Dunk da Funk and wish them all the best of luck but shall probably be cackling like a pissed hyena when they release the futility and indignity of their undertaking and break down like marionettes with cut strings.

 

On a separate note, I feel compelled to mention a mad German (that’s the technical term) named Ines Koch (hehe!) who has got a tattoo of last year’s X Factor winner James Arthur tattooed on her thigh as he ‘inspired’ her with his rags to riches story. I’ve never understood why people do this, if you like someone or what they represent can’t you just remember that in your brain instead of getting it branded on your flesh? What if one day he says something well racist or it turns out he wanks in people’s letterboxes and runs away? I’m not saying he does… he probably doesn’t. In that case his fans will be able to take a step back from their admiration but poor old Ines will forever proclaim her stout Teutonic thigh to be the property of a bigoted postal spunker. I also feel sorry for any fella (or lass) who squirms down there, intent on taking his pink mouth eel for a drink in Miss Koch’s poon saloon, only to have to bring her to the point of ecstasy with James Arthur’ morose northern boat race in their peripheral vision.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 11th Feb 2013

JoeBusiness ::: Utopia, Moral Outrage And Deciding What’s Appropriate

Jessica - Utopia

How good is Channel 4’s potty new conspiracy thriller Utopia? I’ll answer that. It’s bloody brilliant! Yet ‘bloody’ is the operative word. For those who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a confusing whirlwind of shady operations perpetrated by shadowy organisations, where utterly befuddled innocents are sucked into the process, while government ministers, spies and even a wise tramp tear around being generally sinister and adding to the confusion, while all the while the key to it all is the ‘Utopia Manuscript’, a sort of bizarre comic book that predicts the future that was penned by a scientist-cum-mental patient. Confused? Good, that’s the point, as the enjoyment here (and it is proper toe-curling, snack-munching telly that turns you into a gawping child) is in being tripped up and shocked at every turn. It’s three episodes in to its six episode run and I still haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on or who the bloody hell anyone is and I’m totally content with this, as I trust such consummate programme-making to steer me along the path of greatest enjoyment.

 

In terms of performances they are all excellent and every character oozes the right amount of terror, confusion, paranoia or menace depending on what’s called for but the stand-out performance is undoubtedly Neil Maskell (he was Danny Dyer’s best mate in The Football Factory) as the dead-eyed, shuffling scruff bag of a hitman, who describes himself as a ‘specialist’. Few performances have so unnerved me and with it being award season you can’t help but feel Maskell’s performance stands him in good stead for next year’s accolades.

 

It looks amazing too and just shows that a great writer needs a director that understands and adds to the vision and on that note, nuff respect to creator Dennis Kelly and director Marc Munden. Not only does it have the feel of a graphic novel come to life but there is also a hyper-realism which somehow feels utterly surreal and the thematic use of the colour yellow is almost exactly the same as the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz, which all adds to the squirmy discomfort.

 

Utopia has come in from some criticism however. With episode 3, without question the most shocking and uncomfortable so far – and that’s saying something, airing this week people are complaining about the violence. It’s inevitable that parallels to recent tragedies will be drawn but it’s worth pointing out the show was filmed before the events it resembles and if anything, with that added context it highlights more poignantly the horror and tragedy of taking the lives of innocents and from a story point of view adds to the terror, sympathy and outrage we feel on behalf of the ‘heroes’. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you’ve seen it. However, people were complaining before episode 3 and this I don’t get. Utopia is undeniably a violent show but the violence serves a clear purpose and that is to add to the atmosphere of fear and disbelief we feel on behalf of the protagonists – if the violence was off screen, it wouldn’t be such gripping telly.

 

But who are these people who like to complain? No one’s making them watch it and if you feel moral outrage on behalf of the rest of us don’t worry about it mate, I’ll save mine for actual evil in the world or any time I see a footballer who looks likes a pimply scrotum stepping out with a model… bastard. There is a line that can be crossed but I’ve never bought into this clap trap that movies, TV or computer games are responsible for the moral decay of society. People have always done hideous things to one another, just as they’ve always been kind to one another and they’ve always had sex. The proliferation of readily-available pornography has not meant people have more sex, it just means the range of material available to teenage boys has led to a much a richer onanistic experience and is responsible for, if anything, the death of imagination as you no longer have to desperately attempt to conjure up a pair of boobs – you can see loads at the click of a mouse! The same goes for on scree violence.

 

However, I do believe television or film where the sole purpose is to shock is pointless. In a movie where the point is specifically the violence, or anything separate to the plot, it ceases to become a story. It’s like asking someone to get emotionally involved in a porn movie:

 

‘My god I do hope Mrs. Veronica Ulva manages to sort out her plumbing issues. Aaah good, here comes the plumber but I’m not sure wearing his overalls like that is up to health and safety standards but hang on, OH GOD! They’ll never find out why the bathroom cistern’s leaking like that!’

 

But in Utopia the violence is a key and relevant part of the plot, as it is in so many films or pieces of television or any other art form for that matter. These complainers were responsible for The Russell Brand Show being removed from Radio 2 and the general castration of the BBC over the past few years which has, to some extent, had an effect on programming in general. Writers and directors need to take risks, to confront issues and above all to tell stories and if some moral crusader whips out the typewriter and fires off a complaint every time they feel offended then there will be no good TV and we may as well be strapped to our chairs, have our eyelids pinned back and watch repeats of Strictly Come Dancing and The One Show until our brains begin to cry.

 

Utopia is one of the best pieces of television I have seen for a long time, beautifully conceived, acted and shot and emblematic of the sort of TV we should try to make in this country and if you haven’t seen it, then do and please send all complaints directly to me.

First published on IAmMusic.TV, 31st Jan 2013