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What’s Eating George & Mildred
By Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy
George – Jaded Media
Jade Goody RIP. No, I didn’t give a fuck one way or the other either because I didn’t know her personally and whilst any death at such a young age is tragic, there are countless other victims of cancer who can’t rely on the media’s obscene interest to help pay for their kid’s education once they’ve died. What I do object to however, is the media’s not so hidden agenda to vilify young working class women whilst excusing, condoning and even celebrating similar behaviour from the upper classes. Take Jade’s use of the ‘P’ word that got her into so much trouble during Big Brother and resulted in the likes of racist hate rag, the Daily Heil condemning her for using such insulting language. Prince Harry uses the same word about one of his colleagues and suddenly the media are bending over backwards to excuse the inbred plazzy squaddy prick. Ditto his aul fellar and his granddad. Is Prince Charles a gay rapist? Is Prince Philip a debauched murderer? Don’t expect the media to go digging there mate.
The sneering at Jade’s ‘Dianaesque’ funeral procession from Bermondsey to Buckhurst Hill (that’s Cockney rags to riches in a nutshell) highlighted just how obnoxious these middle class sycophants are. Diana’s funeral procession was as equally tacky and insincere and cringeworthy, an act of populist piss taking that only served to remind the world just how the media controls and contorts ‘the national mood’ and uses propaganda to cover up less attractive aspects of royal personality and behaviour. I’d prefer a statue of Jade to one of Diana or the Queen Mum any day. At least Jade was honest.
This hypocrisy also extends the likes of Kerry Katona, whose wreck of a life has become something of a Daily Heil obsession, a sorry symbol of their crackpot ‘Broken Britain’ ranting. Ofcourse Kerry doesn’t help herself but let’s face it, she’s a semi-educated, damaged kid from a Warrington council estate who’s made some bad ‘life choices’ but is she any worse than Tara Palmer-Tomkinson for example? TPT is exactly the kind of Middle English pin-up whose excesses get excused as ‘high spirits’ and ‘eccentricity.’ What they really mean is Tara’s a cokehead slut but a rich cokehead slut who’s pally with Prince Charles, so that’s OK then.
Colleen Rooney is another example of the media’s double standards. Vilified as a vacuous, gold-digging scouse upstart who has no right to wealth or fame, the right wing cranks who get so angry and uptight about her are the same people who worship at the altar of aristo-crumpet and heiress fashionistas. What’s the difference between Colleen’s brand of bland ‘Girl Power’ and that of Trinny and Susannah, apart from a cut glass accent and friends in very high places? No, what they really resent is a normal girl from a rough council estate having the temerity to use her husband’s wealth -a wealth earned through skill and talent not inherited privilege let’s remember – to forge a career for herself as a consumerist symbol of Modern British Femininity.
What it all boils down is that deeply rooted middle class fear of having their petty little social advantages being usurped. That’s why they hate it when ‘chavs’ and ‘criminals’ win the lottery and conveniently forget that half of Britain’s wealth is still controlled by the moronic offspring of William The Conqueror’s chums. They want some kind of morality test to ensure that lottery winners are Daily Mail approved, a twisted morality that at once condemns the very behaviour that they voyeuristically contaminate their pages with, as long as it’s the rich and famous doing it.
Jade Goody is dead, how they’d love to see Kerry or Colleen join her.
Mildred – Solve This!
There used to be a bit in Private Eye that poked fun at all these companies and products who re-branded themselves as ‘Solutions’ as a way of tarting up what they actually did. One I remember sending off to them was Co-Op’s Ready Prepared Italian Meal Solutions ie frozen pizza. Every fucker was offering solutions to non-existent problems; window cleaning became visibility access solutions, humble plasterers became Plastering Solutions. This has now reached its height with some headache pill that declares; ‘we start with solutions not problems!’ Now, as a neat corporate slogan I suppose it’s as meaningless as any other yet also highlights the way in which these ‘Apprentice’ schooled fuckwits operate. You can’t start with a solution and work backwards you utter cunts. Imagine if Einstein had started with E=MC2 and then took it from there.
‘Got this great formula here but fuck knows what it’s about. Could be the solution to the theory of relativity here but equally could be directions to my sock drawer, who knows?’
This shower would have us believe that they developed a concoction of chemicals and placed them in pill or powder form and then miraculously discovered that people with headaches would benefit if they swallowed two of these ‘solutions’ with a glass of water. Here’s a conundrum; an advertising agency has to sum up in a few words, the ‘pro-active’ ‘can-do’ ethos of a pharmaceutical brand, how do they do this? They do it by starting with an idiotic corporate slogan and applying it randomly to any product, that’s how. Problem solved!
George – Red Riding/The Damned United
Peace out! Don’t get me wrong, in one respect it’s good that TV and cinema are devoting resources to the works of one of our finest new writers; David Peace but –fuck’s sake – they really don’t get it do they? First Red Riding got the whole atmosphere and density of Peace’s 74/77/80 trilogy all wrong; for all the actor’s self-indulgent boasting about ‘upping their game’ to do justice to the material (sort of gives you the impression they coast on most things then that), only Mark Addy’s performance was really noteworthy. Sadly Paddy Considine seemed out of his depth and was utterly unconvincing as the moralistic cop determined to route out the corruption at the heart of the story. For all the hype and fanfare surrounding this series, the production values weren’t much better than say, Wire In The Blood with phoney 70s clobber only one stage removed from Life On Mars. The direction was confusing with different timezones and flashbacks from the third and first episode only highlighting how out of kilter the middle ‘Ripper’ episode was. Peace’s work is of course celebrated for this very reason, yet the TV adaptation seemed to be wilfully confusing but not in a good David Lynch way more in a ‘we can’t afford decent props’ way. The subject matter, whilst dark and disturbing; police corruption, paedophilia, murder and cover-ups, the usual stuff, only the final episode contained any real dramatic tension as Addy’s lawyer character unearths his own father’s involvement in the abduction, torture and murder of young girls by members of the ‘establishment’ – the police, the church and businessmen.
Sadly the truth of these matters wasn’t so much the brutality and endemic corruption of the police, although they were brutal and corrupt, but more a case of utter incompetence. Before DNA profiling has allowed many miscarriages of justice to finally come to light, the police would regularly fit up people for murders, knowing they were innocent. When the pressure is on, they resort to the tried and tested method of ‘Nail The Retard’ or ‘Frame The Weirdo.’ From poor Stephan Kiszko, alluded to in Red Riding to Barry George and Colin Stagg, the police’s hands are filthy. Red Riding atleast presented a bit of balance to Life On Mars’s gung ho revisionism of noble coppers fighting a losing battle against political correctness (gone mad!) but didn’t do Peace’s novels ‘justice.’
The Damned United also plays Peace’s dark foreboding account of Brian Clough’s doomed reign at Leeds United for laughs. In the Damned United, Clough comes across as a contradictory, obsessive, melancholy egomaniac who would belittle and sell out his friends when it suited him yet demanded loyalty from those same friends. It is not a sympathetic portrait but is probably closer to the truth than the self-engineered ‘Ole Big Ead’ persona Clough presented to the media. Whether or not as Johnny Giles states various conversations actually took place or Clough destroyed Don Revie’s desk, doesn’t matter; it’s symbolic! It’s fiction! Giles if anything comes across as the only person who can outsmart and out-manipulate Clough, so Peace uses his character as an equally belligerent counter-balance to Clough’s machinations. The Damned United isn’t an easy book to read so it shouldn’t be an easy film to watch. Yes Michael Sheen’s performance is great, but I’d worry if I was him that he doesn’t turn into a kind of cinematic Rory Bremner, a great ‘impersonator’ rather than a great actor in his own right. There’s an unsettling, voodoo spirit running through all Peace’s work, the north and Yorkshire in particular portrayed in various shades of grey and The Damned United fails to portray the gloom and inner torment of Clough and his alcoholic, messianic demons.
Mildred - Comfort Zone
I’m right out of my comfort zone writing this. Infact I’m so far out of my comfort zone, I’m fucking uncomfortable. But being out of your comfort zone is the latest ‘in-place’ to be. All kinds of people are now toally out of their comfort zones, from pop idol contestants to political leaders. So Mildred’s in good company eh?
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