Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Come Quietly

I think I'm on some police watch list now.

Well, yes. I've always been on that one for quite some time. And I do believe they are hilariously compiling a list for everyone who's ever posted an angry ferret to Daniel Bedingfield, but I gather there's a more serious one that my name may have cropped up on. It probably has headed paper.

Yes, it turns out you can order police gear over the interweb. Which was thoroughly useful, as I was at a 'Emergency Services' party last weekend and went as a fine British Bobby. The Wife went as a medic with a cape on, telling everyone he was a 'flying doctor' which was far funnier, and made me regret not going as a pharmacist. Well, any screaming mary worth his little blue pills has Pharmacist on speed-dial. Anyway, here's a picture to prove that I did.

PC 69!

Now. It's a criminal offence to impersonate a policeman, so you have to wonder why they're selling these things in the first place. Is it entrapment? If you buy enough they'll finally spring their cunning trap on you, just as you're joyously coveting your new ankle-boots? You see, I think I'm on their watch list as now they're trying to entice me into buying more of this militaristic millinery: almost every other day I've been sent a glossy catalogue of all these items that I apparently can't live without. It's very thorough. It's almost like the Bettaware catalogue, but with more tanks in it.

But you do find yourself glancing through the pages thinking "Ooh! Taser! The man of my dreams is merely a 'zap! thump!' away! And that marvellous riot gear would be just the ticket for the January Sales..." Lovely, lovely things! Why, there's an entire part of our community of the Gentlemen Who Can't Catch who are very much into their uniform you know - and it's only now that I really understand it. It's because it's so cheap and easily deliverable!

Well! I shall resolutely resist! They won't get me like that!

Right after I've checked out those stormtrooper boots. Well, they do have the most darling kicky little heel...
 

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Little Advice

Here is a list of things not to attempt at your company's corporate 10th anniversary birthday do.


Come in drag.

Use your name badge to weedle that sesame seed out of your teeth while talking to clients.

Talk, laugh and dramatically yawn and tap your watch all the way through the Important Presentation, while being within sight of the Managing Director.

Steal a waiter's canapé tray to use in a game of Frisbee.

Drop-kick a flamingo.

Proclaim one of the director's wife's to have a face "so ugly it looks like a raped girl's knickers" within earshot.

Bring your own cheerleaders.

Manage to charm a bottle of champagne out of a waiter. And manage to charm a straw out of another. Then putting the two together with hilarious results.

When your tuxedoed manager states that you haven't made an effort, proclaim that, excuse him, but you're actually wearing underwear. For once.

Ask everyone you stumble into for a new job.

Set up a rival party in the venue's kitchen, saying 'Only the cool people can come in'.

Deny access to said party to your Line Manager.

And do any or all of this the day before your six-month appraisal.



Oh bugger.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Heatwave!

 
Enter Comedy Housemate Jay, fanning himself with liberalist literature.

LEE: Gallagher!

JAY: Beardface!

LEE: You're off the phone then.

JAY: Yes. Lulu.

LEE: Sixties pop starlet Lulu, formerly of the National Lottery's 'Red Alert'? What are you doing chatting to Lulu?

JAY: You're not the only one with celebrity friends you know.

LEE: How is the old bird?

JAY: Oh, too drunk to breathe.

LEE: Sounds like her.

JAY: Anyway, where have you been, you bearded buffoon? I haven't seen you in far too long. I was planning to sell off your mucky videos.

LEE: Oi!

JAY: Or build a sizable fort out of them, one hadn't decided.

LEE: I just had to get out of London. The heat, man! The heat! My Gay Brain is melting!

JAY: It is far too hot, Beardface. Do fix this.

LEE: Is there a number we can call?

JAY: Well, that's why I was on the phone to Lulu - but she's being remarkably elusive about it.

LEE: I haven't been able to get to sleep in days.

JAY: Likewise. Lying awake you hear the strangest of noises at 3am.

LEE: What? Why you looking at me like that?

JAY: Oh nothing. I think we have a ghost though.

LEE: This isn't about that time when you woke up and insisted that you'd been possessed?

JAY: No. Not at all.

LEE: ...and the spirits hadn't really stolen your kidney..

JAY: Be quiet.

LEE: ... you'd just got more pissed than my gran's mattress...

JAY: Shush.

LEE: ...and then you tried to pass off whatever that was in your hair off as 'ectoplasm'...

JAY: Oddly, I'm staring at you and for some reason you're still not bursting into flame.

LEE: OK, so what's all this about a ghost?

JAY: Was it you who was up in the night wailing like a banshee?

LEE: No, I've lost my harpoon.

JAY: 'Wailing', not 'whaling', you hirsute fool.

LEE: Oh, right. No. Though I did have some chicken go missing the other day.

JAY: I don't believe a ghost would do that.

LEE: It would if it were a poultry-geist.

JAY: No. Still not bursting into flames. Do try harder, Beardface.

LEE: I reckon that wailing was you just leaving your stereo on during the night. You do have a penchant for somewhat ludicrous music.

JAY: Oh, what's this? It's a call for you. Hold on - it's a Mr Pot. He says he's got a message for Mr Kettle...

LEE: Oh very good. Though I do like what you're listening to now. What is it?

JAY: Some ruffians called The Kaiser Chiefs. At the moment, we're listening to 'I Predict A Riot'. Which almost certainly necessitates a nice hat, don't you think?

LEE: Er...

JAY: Speaking of clothing, explain to me the reasoning behind three-quarter length trousers the youths of today seem to be sporting. Are they long shorts or short longs? What is the point of a finely fitted trouser if it stops half-way between the ankle and the knee?

LEE: It's fashion.

JAY: It's ridiculous, that's what it is.

LEE: And I'm sure it's cooler to wear.

JAY: That as may be. But have you seen the people who wear them? Pallid legs, always pallid legs, thinner than matchsticks, bandying them around first thing of a morning when I've just eaten

LEE: It's a look...

JAY: I mean, would you like to see eight inch of milky-white flesh staring at you first thing of a day?

LEE: ...

JAY: Stop grinning like a Special and get your mind out of the gutter, you bewhiskered idiot.

LEE: Sigh, alright.

JAY: Oh Beardface, it's far too hot for all this. We shall simply have to lie here and boil to death in our own fabulous skins!

LEE: Yes. All that will be left is a slightly tarnished pile of glitter...

JAY: ...smoking slightly, smelling lightly of expensive champagne...

LEE: We could, of course, go wild and take off these starched three-piece suits and opera capes.

JAY: Are you mad? The Empire will fall and civilisation will come crashing down around us!

LEE: Right-o. Just a mad, mad idea. Ignore me.
 

Friday, June 24, 2005

That Woman Again

The Wife every now and again climbs down from his Ivory Tower of sensitive Oirish singer-songwriters to come and see what we're up to in our paddling pool of pop. His latest mini-obsession is Marah Carey, a Glitter for Brains favourite from ages back.
"I tell you, the woman can't live without a wind machine," he said, pointing at her latest movie-length, $50 million dollar magnum opus video. "Look, she's plastered against her headboard by a wind tunnel!"
So joy and happiness abound this weekend gone when this turned out to be the start of back-to-back Mariah vids on the music channels.
"Perhaps her head is so full of puppies and kittens that she forgets basic motor functions and needs a wind machine to actually breathe," he mused, trying to toss his golden locks in a similar manner without cricking his neck. Well, if that was the case, her last video means she was in desperate need of artificial respiration: the gust throwing her straw-like hair back was like she was flying in a MIG with the cockpit hood off.
"She did a collaboration with Westlife?" he exclaimed as the next video popped up, clapping like a schoolgirl who got all the Valentines cards.
"Oh yes," I said. "It was the answer to that immortal riddle 'What do you call a dog with five dicks?'"
He shrugged.
"Mariah Carey and Westlife," I reiterated.
But he was already gone, mesmerised by the cheap handheld camera footage of Mariah and the boys to appreciate my Wildian wit. A video so discounted there's not even enough cash for her beloved breeze.
"Tsk," he grumbled. "Couldn't they get a runner to puff on her or something?"
"Do you reckon she's even on the same boat?" I asked, noting the marvellous lack of Westlife in any of her 'emotive-to-camera' shots.
"Oh honey, Mariah's been on a different boat aaaaall her life," he said. "And it's sailing all the way to Fantasy Island. Now shush and plug in the hair dryer - I've got some hair to toss!"
 

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Glitter For Brains TeleMarathon: Doctor Who Season One!

Warning: Contains Spoilers!
We've been watching things so you don't have to! Today is the turn of Doctor Who, fabulous British sci-fi back from the dead!

THIS SEASON IN 25 WORDS OR LESS
Billie Piper and her cut-glass Cock-er-ney accent are picked up by a Time-Travelling 'eccentric' Space Northerner called The Doctor. Together, they fight crime! In space.

DOES IT CONTAIN A MACHIAVELLIAN BITCH?
Disappointingly few, thus throwing a whole world of SpaceDoubt on to whether Russell T Davis is actually a screaming mary or he's just said so for the tax breaks (we get a 20% discount on shoes, you know). What we did get was Margaret Slitheen - a flatulent sassy SpaceMonster hiding in the portly skin of a woman who appears to need her sturdy foundation garments made by the engineers of the Glasgow ship yards. She endeared herself to us by a) eating the scenery when she was in a scene and b) trying to destroy Wales.
But top of our list is Cassandra - a wafer-thin stretch of skin with a brain attached, the result of innumerable plastic surgery procedures to make her 'thin and beautiful!' Cassandra is, of course, is a whole world away from Victoria Beckham. Why? Well, there's no brain attached to that stretch of skin. Arf!
But lo, what we lost in the fur-coated, Machiavellian, cigarette-smoking villainess, we gained in the form of Penelope Wilton's fabulous Harriet Jones, MP for Flydale North. A fine, upstanding woman who still retained her grace and etiquette when faced with seven-foot SpaceMonsters. "You pass to the left," indeed!

MOST POINTLESS DEATH
None this year - unless you're counting the I'm-dead-now-I'm-not exploits of Captain Jack in the final episode. So we're going to change this to Most Fabulous Death - that of 'Lynda-With-A-Y'. Exterminated in silence by the Daleks through a SpaceWindow. Why, those sneaky little buggers!

FUNNIEST MOMENT
When the audience figured out that the final two-parter was set a century after a previous adventure because the cash was running out and they needed to use the same sets. Painted in a futuristic black, naturally.

Second place now going to the production office softly insisting they may have planned the regeneration at the end of Season One aaaall along. Titter.

Third place is when the TARDIS opens its boot and shines the Vortex on Billie Piper in the last episode and she suddenly becomes hilariously posh. Time gives people Home Counties accents, it seems. Shame, as we always thought Time should speak with a Yorkshire twang: "Ay-up loves. Yau is reet small!"

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER
For a couple of episodes, you can shockingly nominate either the Doctor or Rose. Well. They were smug, they high-five'd and they scoff at people for not being cool enough to be in their little SpaceGang. But thankfully the Daleks show up en masse and they soon put a stop to that.
No, who really got on our tits was Captain Jack, a one-dimensional character who only spoke in innuendo.

What?

Why are you pointing and laughing?

MISSED OPPORTUNITY
'Watchdog GelthCheck'.
British Safety Standards stalwart Lynne Foulds-Wood is transported back to Victorian Cardiff to evaluate whether saucy ethereal beings The Gelth are actually telling the truth about being helpless, or unhelpfully really out to take over the Earth.

SUM IT ALL UP IN A FABULOUS LETTER!
'Dear composer Murray Gold,

Next time you're on the phone, we're going to stand behind you and bang saucepans together and sing really loudly, so can't hear a word anyone's saying. And then you'll know how it feels.

Lots of love and earplugs,
The Gays xx'

FINALLY...
Well! We weren't expecting that!
Despite show-runner Russell Tiberius Davis's insistence of wrapping everything up with a magic pair of space trousers or the internet or something, we had character development, effects that were indeed special, and one or two Great Moments Of Television. Scary, too! And Billie Piper's a revelation - and we never thought we could ever say that.
But for every Billie Piper, you get a Christopher Eccleston. We're glad he's gone. And hurrah! Now we have David Tennant and his new teeth, who looks a lot more fun!
But one of the best - and most surprising - things is that everyone loves it. I know people who haven't been out on a Saturday night for aaages just so they can get their fix of Billie's chip cravings. One of the worries about it coming back is that we, as fans, had been looking after it, incestuously keeping it going, and upon it's return we would still have to sit around and justify why we like it to people. No fear with that now - people love it again. And that's almost as much fun as watching it.
Well, almost. Grin.

Thank you for watching!
 

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Glitter For Brains TeleMarathon: Alias Season Four!

Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Only a day late - we're having a heatwave over in London at the moment, and Gay Brains tend to melt in anything above the temperature that Cosmopolitans start to bubble. So we stayed in and did jigsaws instead. But now, we've been on a WigWatch for the fourth year running - here's what we thought of Alias this year!

THIS SEASON IN 25 WORDS OR LESS
We're following 'Lost'? Better throw out the daffy plot arc that even we can't understand! Still no Lena Olin? Eep! Make up another evil sister!

DOES IT CONTAIN A MACHIAVELLIAN BITCH?
Ah, something Alias never skimps on! This year, we're thrown lovely old Sophia, a black-laced homely woman who used to run an orphanage. And if the fact that she's frumpy and used to run an orphanage didn't tip you off she was ultimately out to destroy the world then you don't know this show at all. Merely a few episodes later, she's head to foot in black leather and commanding a crack team of flesh-eating zombies out to destroy downtown Russia! Brilliant!

MOST POINTLESS DEATH
What do you do when an actress integral to your plot arc decides she's had enough of silly wig-related antics? Something we personally we can't even come near to comprehending, but there you go. No, dear Lena Olin, the noted screen actress who played Sydney's Machiavellian murderess mother decided she wasn't coming back for Season Three, leaving the production crew to fill the hole she'd left by having her played by a MSN chatroom, a couple of letters, and a hilarious pair of beeping earrings.

And after a year of trying to get her back and being firmly told 'No!' by her agent, they decide to do the noble thing and kill her off-screen at the hands of Syd's very own father, meaning most of this year was about Sydney getting over losing her mother again in that manner that only Syd can: by sobbing in a bubbly-bath to a soft-rock montage because She's All Woman (tm). Bless. But then, as the fourth year came to a close, Lena changed her agent! So:

FUNNIEST MOMENT:
"Syd... it's your mother... She's alive!"
Oh for goodness' sake.

Though coming a close second is the moment when you realise that all the AWOL arc plots have finally shuffled in eight episodes late and looking rather sheepish, clutching a Starbucks coffee and muttering something about the trains being delayed. Which then proceeds to phone its friend in Finance for an hour going "Oooh, I know..."

Rattling in a solid third is the show's cliffhanger final moment. After plumbing the depths of Syd's character, having her father being evil/not evil at the toss of a coin, the script writers turn their attention to the only other character they haven't messed with yet. So: 'Syd... My name's not really Michael Vaughn' indeed. Arf!
We bet he tells her it's really Michael Vartan and he's an actor on a TV show, and then it all goes weird.

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER
Not the 'most annoying' par se, Eric Weiss still troubles us as he's so obviously and madly in love with Vaughn. Call us cynical, but it looks like Weiss is only staying over with Nadia so he may get a glimpse of Vaughn dashing to the shower in a towel in the morning.
Still, we'd be the same in retrospect.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Selling advertising space on Jack Bristow's huge left ear. Have you seen it? Once you notice it, you'll never stop looking.

SUM IT ALL UP IN A FABULOUS LETTER!
'Dear Michael Vaughn,

If that really isn't your real name, why on earth did you spend half of this season looking for your father Bill Vaughn? If there's a scene next season when you go, 'You know, if I'd really wanted to find my father, maybe I should have used his real name' there will be the most trouble.
Because, most probably, everyone will be going, 'Oh, Mr Kindle, yes, I knew him well. He lives over there in the fortified nuclear fallout shelter. Why didn't you say the first time?' Tsk, sir!

Love, the Gays. xx
PS - walk past the bedroom in that towel again, would you?'

FINALLY...
Last year, we prematurely said that 'Alias had jumped the shark'. Well, this year proves that they merely tripped over it - Season Four is hilarious nonsense that proves you don't need huge arcs about Your Evil Family to keep it going. It's even easier to watch these days and can be expressed by this formula:

Syd (plus) wig need 'ITEM X' which is stored in a) compound or b) a nightclub. Syd (plus) 'ITEM X' escape through bizarre means which (multiply) ratings. Sloane (equals) secretly evil.

And poor Syd - last time someone proposed to her, he ended up in the bath with his guts hanging out. This time, Vaughn presents a ring and the next second they're in a car crash! The poor woman's cursed! Oh yes, roll on Season Five for more hilarious 'I'm secretly evil, me!' shenanigans!

Next: Ooh! Tune in for Doctor Who Season One!
 

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Glitter For Brains TeleMarathon: 24 Season Four!

Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Well, look! It's that time again. Over the last couple of weeks, Glitter for Brains has been plugging away at the TV, watching all the nonsense so you don't have to. How unfathomably generous! Well, here's the first of a triumvirate of assessments for what we have been watching with today being the turn of pot-boiler nonsense 24.

THIS SEASON IN 25 WORDS OR LESS
Quick! Maybe no Season Five! Throw every threat we have left in! Improbable plot? Just bolt it on top of last week's for wobbly entertainment!

DOES IT CONTAIN A MACHIAVELLIAN BITCH?
Well, who could ever fill the Evil Golfcart of the sadly departed Sheri Palmer? Step forward uber-terrorist Dina Araz, a woman so in the now, she can prepare a hearty breakfast for her whole family as well as discuss multifaceted plots to overthrow the US! She's a modern gal!

With hair like dry grass and a voice that could kill 90% of all household germs, Dina Araz is our New Favourite Thing, plotting to kill son's girlfriend while at the back of a scene slyly folding napkins. Unfortunately she does mellow somewhat as she tries to save her son being shot (and getting shot in the arm herself in the process) but still retains a captivating spark when being examined. Here's the gist:

DOCTOR (concerned innocence): Hmm, looks like a gunshot wound.
MRS ALMAZ (voice like nails down chalkboard): It was a rusty nail. I backed into it while I was thinking about taking over the wor- I mean, doing gardenings and pie-bakings like all you pitiful yankie pig-dogs.
DOCTOR: Are you sure? I mean, there's an exit wound and-
MRS ALMAZ: Rusty nail!
DOCTOR: Gunshot wound!
MRS ALMAZ: RUSTY NAIL!

Ah, Allah love her.

MOST POINTLESS DEATH
We'd like to say Maya Driscoll, who tops herself purely for a cliffhanger, but we didn't like her anyway (see Most Annoying Character) so yay!
So we're kicking up our heels and throwing caution into the wind by changing the category to 'Most Pointless Sacking'! Well, we all know that CTU is a fast-paced world of unbelievable promotions and demotions, where former criminals can become director of the whole building in a matter of hours. But this year excelled itself with dear CTU employee Sarah Gavin, who was tortured for no other reason than a) no-one had been for the past hour and b) her name had come up at random in the company lottery.
Once vindicated, she practically blackmails her boss Erin into promoting her - which she hilariously agrees to! Imagine that paperwork: 'Reason for promotion: 1) hard work 2) dedication to duty and pulling YET ANOTHER thankless 24 hour stint at your desk, or 3) to keep quiet about being tortured' Tick!
But when 'surprise' guest-star Michelle Dessler takes over, Sarah's dreams of a corner office and a pot plant are somewhat dashed. Queue a big row in front of everyone and Sarah being forcibly asked to leave in a scene that just reeks of 'I was only employed for 12 episodes - bye!' What larks!

FUNNIEST MOMENT
Well, as the whole thing is a comedy from beginning to end, it's oh-so-difficult to choose. But what caused the most milk to come out of our nose at Chez Glitter was the revelation that someone had not only built a device to control all the nuclear power plants in the US, but had also thought this was A Good Idea. What fools! Even the normally outlandish 24 Official Site tries to justify everything that appears in episodes with Cold Hard Facts (explaining that yes, it is possible to put Chase's hand back on with Gloy and macaroni) wasn't even touching this one with a bargepole.
But here's a quick note to the device's designers - if you're ever going to make a device like this in the future, why not sub-contract it to Apple? The chances are if anyone tries to meltdown everything again, 70% of the plants will be incompatible, and you'll have to send off for a special lead at $39 direct from the manufacturer. Hurrah! The US is saved!

MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER
Maya Driscoll.
Well, yes. It's meant to be a brave move giving CTU director Erin a daughter who's bi-polar and on more medication than everyone Chez Glitter - if only to illustrate there's a woman under Erin's cold, hard haircut. But we only have limited patience for characters who flap around and refuse to get into bed when told - hell, we're like that with our men! - so huge, heartless cheers all round when she took a scalpel to her own wrists. Ooh, we're cruel. But meanwhile Dina Araz was mowing the lawn or something. Evilly.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Very little totty this time around, though. Heller's son is alright in a certain light. But it's telling he spends a huge amount of his screen time in the dark with a helmet on, so we're probably clutching at straws.

SUM IT ALL UP IN A FABULOUS LETTER!
'Dear Any Characters in 24,

'Whenever you are leaving a building, DO NOT pull a character aside and tell him/her that you love them. This will, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, result in your immediate capture and possible death within a few minutes. Just a casual word of warning!

'Love, The Gays xx'

FINALLY...
It's all back! Unrealistically high-res security cameras, CTU moles (do they have a interview process at all at CTU or do they just let anyone in wearing 'I'm A Fanatic! Ask Me How!' nametag on?), that ringtone and improbable plots lashed together with spit and tape. Brilliantly yet mindlessly entertaining, this is one of the few shows it's as fun to point at as it is to view - cheer like a Special whenever indulgent, overly-staged cameos from previous years arrive! Roll on Season Five - if you haven't used up all your ideas, that is!

Tomorrow: tune in for Alias Season Four!
 

Friday, June 17, 2005

Me And My SpaceBrain

About a year ago, I visited a psychic.
"Is there anything you wanted to ask about?" she said, laying out the cards with a deliberate air. I slowly shook my head, wrinkling up my nose at the overpowering joss sticks that were beginning to make my head swim. She smiled and pointed at the tape recorder with a blood-red nail, inviting me to speak.
"No. No, not really," I reiterated. My voice sounded very far away.
She carried on laying out the cards, uttering an "ah..." with every third turn. I blinked to clear my stinging eyes, finding myself utterly mesmerised by her huge hair. The Wife would describe it as being like 'a mad woman's breakfast - all over the shop'. I think she'd tried to tame it once - there may have been the handle of a long-lost afro-comb poking out near the back. Perhaps it was her aerial.
"Oh," she said, poring over the deck. "You're slightly psychic."
Well, that had to be wrong. I'm far too self-centred to even think about being psychic.
"In about a year's time, you'll get an opportunity to expand your abilities. Do so."
I nodded, feeling a little woozy. Psychic. Yeah, right.

About two months ago, Anne and I were down the pub. This is not unusual.
"We could do pottery. That'd be a laugh," I said.
"We'd end up doing that scene from 'Ghost'. Or you'll make a giant clay willy," she said, completely and utterly correct. "How about dance classes?"
"I have a lovely pair of pink Fame-era leg warmers! Yes!"
"No," she said firmly.
"Oh. Alright. What about this? Evening course in 'Foundation of Psychic Studies'?"
"Yeah, go on then."
I had a sudden flash of a huge black expanse of hair and an afro-comb.
"Are you alright?" Anne enquired, placing a hand on my arm. "You looked like you were about to fall out your chair."

One month ago, we were in the class, learning to meditate.
I was still inwardly smirking, thinking this was a load of old crock. But they cleverly ask for the fee up front, so just crossed my legs and got on with it.
"And we're breathing... breathing..." came the hushed, rhythmic tones of the teacher. "And we're clearing our head of everything we don't need to take with us..."
I could hear the distracting nasal breathing of the girl next to me. Anne and I had Taken Against Her in the first couple of minutes of the class - she knew all the right words, always stuck her hand up and had the right homework. We planned to flush her A-Ha pencilcase down the loo at break-time.
"And you're going down a corridor... a corridor of light... and at the end... is a big door..."
Right. Check. I can see a door.
"And when we open the door... you're going to see your own mind... Now, open the door."
I grabbed the handle, flinging it back.
I was standing in the middle of a fairground, banks of lights flashing, noise everywhere. Overhead, two planes looped-the-loop carrying banners across the sky. Screams of joy came from dodgems to the left of me. Chaos.
"It is a calm place..." stated the teacher. "One of rest..."
Oh, I thought and closed that door. Fortunately, another door appeared to the left of it marked 'LAKE', so I tried that one.

"Do you think there's anything to all this?" I asked after the lesson.
Anne shrugged, holding her folder to her chest. "I think so. I did manage to get something about my leaf."
We'd been holding leaves to find out about people. Every ten minutes I had to bite my lip to stop laughing as reality kicked in.
"Though did you see the sign?"
"What sign?"
"'Next Week's Psychic Lesson Is Cancelled Due To Unforeseen Circumstances'," she said.
"You're kidding. "
"Nope."
"Oh..."
Perhaps we should have stuck with the giant clay willies.
 

A Word of Warning

DO NOT leave the house on Saturday evening. The finale of Doctor Who is on.
It's a brilliant episode. You will need two tissues: one to wipe your eyes, and one to mop up the spangle.
 

BlakeWatch: Ultraworld

Meanwhile, I have mostly been watching Blake's 7, a sci-fi show I've mysteriously managed to avoid for most my life. This is what I have learned from the episode 'Ultraworld':

Vila is teaching Orac SpaceJokes. Orac is a humourless computer that looks like - well, you know that box of tinsel and Christmas lights currently in the attic? Like that if it was made of Perspex. Meanwhile, the Liberator has come across a Mirrorball In Space. You will notice that there's a lot of this in Blake's 7 as the future appears to be Very Gay. I approve.

Cally doesn't like the Mirrorball, but Avon does - as every time they see an artificial planet, he is drawn to it like a fat secretary to a wine bar. Cally gets herself possessed. Again.

Possessed Cally is teleported over to the Mirrorball and placed in a 'Sleep Chamber'. Her colleagues go after her, examine her, but are not clued in to the Sleep Chamber having more flashing lights than a mobile disco, and therefore not really that conducive to sleep. It is also noticed that when Paul Darrow talks into his bracelet, he makes little dove hands.

Soon everyone is being held captive by people who look like middle-management. And Avon is also placed in a Sleep Chamber. They still haven't figured out that these things are no good, despite The Ultra having painted the outline of a coffin on it. Hmm. Avon will have his mind sucked out and placed into the Core as soon as he falls asleep. "I will not sleep... I WILL NOT SLEEP!" he yells, ironically stirring the audience.

Dana and Tarrant are running around the underground. The Ultras try to stop them by using The Evil Pointing Stick. This causes small theatre flashes to go off in the corridor, and causing Dana and Tarrant to get captured.

The Ultras request that Dana and Tarrant do SpaceShagging. 'We have no data on the Human Bonding Ceremony,' they say. Ultraworld is outside the broadcast range of BabeStation, clearly. Then the world moves for the Ultras and they Dana and Tarrant escape. Cally has dandruff and Orac saves the day. The end.
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Old Commotion

"Oh here we go," said one. "Old Comptons Street. This is where all the gays hand out."
"Heh. Backs to the wall," said the other.
"Heh," agreed the first.
You had to worry about their intelligence if they were wandering down here with that sort of attitude. They weren't that big, and they certainly weren't that clever. A gang of us could easily take them - or at the very least, encircle them both and point out how cheap their shirts were until they burst into tears. Interested, I fell into step behind them as they walked.
"We call it Bummer's Alley in the office."
"Heh."
"Hey, don't let them touch you. You may end up shagging one of them!"
I raised my eyebrows. Well. This was getting a little too much, even for me. I felt it was time to do my bit for Equality everywhere.
"Excuse me boys, but you do have nothing to worry about, " I said, swishing past. "You are, in fact, perfectly safe."
Their jaws slackened, unaccustomed to the idea that We May Talk.
"No, there's nothing at all to worry about at all. We do only sleep with the attractive ones."
That shut them up.
 

Get Your Plums Out

We at Glitter For Brains have a deep love for that pop-clotheshorse Rachel Stevens. You can throw anything at her, and it seems to stick - which is slightly unfortunate considering with all her mucky photoshoots she's found in, you can imagine what's usually being tossed in her general direction. She's the very pinnacle of what can happen when you haven't got time to think of any new ideas of your own and on a Matalan budget, spending your entire career veering from the recording studio to the photography studio via mediocrity. How fabulous.

Want a new video for your semi-generic single? Why not nick the backgrounds to Kylie Minogue's 'In Your Eyes'!

Lo! Can't afford the high-tech computery to power said flashing screens? Why not quarter the budget by having nine flashing lights behind you!

Want to look like you're at the cutting edge of choreography? Why not pinch the moves Dame K does for that Chocolate video, but speed them up slightly!

No new ideas of your own? You must be Rachel Stevens! Come in!

You'll be pleased to know we have a Credibility-O-Meter in Our Glittering Office, installed when Kelly Osborne announced she was doing a single (it's a hardy machine set to industrial standards, yet still quivered alarmingly when we played it 'One Word'). We point it at the TV these days, and watch it smoke and try to go into minus figures every time Mz Stevens pops up with something 'new'.

So should I be surprised when dear reader Owen found out that she's doing this then?

Filthy slag.

Ooh. Hang on.

How odd.

The Credibility-O-Meter went up a notch and stopped twitching. Hmm.

It probably means with her veering into soft-core, her next single is going to be fantastic...
 

Monday, June 13, 2005

Birmingham in Four Parts

PART I: They've Really Done The Place Up.

Not Photoshopped!

PART II: The People Are Really Unfriendly.
"I like your shoes," she said.
I had no idea who she was, just a goth girl wandering by with her friends. I grinned inanely, completely taken aback. One should respond... though 'Aren't they, though!' seemed a little facetious and possibly Gayer Than Christmas, so I let that one by.
Whirr. Crank. Beep went my brain. I couldn't well say 'I like your hair' because it was plastered to her skull with black dye and grease. On the plus side, it was very shiny, but 'Wow! I bet I could see my face in your hair!' just didn't seem right. What was left? Her outfit was a voluminous lace affair without shape or style, and I couldn't see her own shoes from the grubby train of her dress.
"Er. Thank you," I said, and grinned like a loon. She smiled the sweetest smile and went.


PART III: You Will Do Well Here.

Nor this one!

PART IV: There Are Some Nice Places To Stay
My sister is always late, always loud and always about her.
We kicked around in the hotel reception for a while, waiting for her apparently imminent arrival. Of course she'd been given directions, and of course she'd lost them, so was phoning Mother every two minutes to find out the next thing she should do. So I passed the time by flicking through the in-house magazine, snorting at an article that was trying to tie in the hotel's name with that of 'Prada', 'Coutts' and 'Stolichnaya' by mentioning them in the same sentence in an almost hypnotic rhythm.
Well. Four star it may be, but come on: It just happened to be posh for the Midlands - though the queue of Jodie-Marsh-a-likes trying to get into the cocktail bar with their Restraining-Order boyfriends the previous night did put a new spin on this. There was one girl who waited outside for an hour in a skirt that looked like the off-cut of some turned-up jeans, and a top that wouldn't keep a tit-mouse dry in a drizzle. And you'd think with the rate she was gulping down some costly 'Flirtinis' that her boyfriend could afford to buy her a coat.
However this morning the hotel seemed quiet, almost stately. Scraping the last of the blonde bombsites out at 2am had done wonders for the place, and the still atmosphere of the reception was edging towards refined.
"She's here," pointed the Wife, pointing at the double doors. He seemed to be taking a deep breath.
"Look at this!" screeched a voice across the foyer, holding up her hand-bag. "Six quid! Six quid from Matalan!"
I bounded over and hugged my sister, mostly to shut her up.
She hugged the Wife. "I'm a right chav, me," she said. "Love Matalan." I noticed he was holding her at arms length, ostensibly trying to get a look at her, though with the subtly of someone holding an electric eel.
"You must tell us all about what you've been up to," steering her away from the hotel.
"Ere," she said. "What do you call a chav in a white tracksuit?"
I shrugged.
"The bride," she said and cackled on.
 

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Derren Brown

Two coffee mugs slammed down on the table.
"So what did you do this weekend? More imaginary things?"
I raised an eyebrow, slightly affronted. "How very dare you. I went to see Derren Brown at the behest of my friend Katherine. Obsessed, you know."
"Derren Brown?"
"No, her."
"Ah. Who he?"
"The stage hypnotist."
"Oh 'im. I've Taken Against Him."
"Is it because of his spooky powers" I waved my fingers in a suitably mystical way. Neil flinched.
"Naw. It's the name. 'Derren'.
"What's wrong with that?"
"It sounds like something a posh badger would live in."
"Hmm."
"So was he good?"
"I'm not sure. He spent the whole time subtly hypnotising you so the finale would work. So perhaps I was hypnotised into thinking it was a good... "
"You don't sound sure."
"Well. You do have to pay attention to be hypnotised, don't you?"
Neil sighed. "You silly bugger."
"Don't you start. You attention span is legendary in its shortness."
"Watch it," he rumbled.
"Come on! Last time you popped to the Gents, we found you three weeks later with a sticker for Majorca on your forehead and a wedding veil on!"
"That's not true," he said, making a great show of stirring his coffee. "It were Malaga."
"Although I do recall you came back with a good tan. Your shaved head made you look like a giant baked bean."
"You're getting a thump, Binding."
"Anyway. I don?t think the hypnotism worked on me because I had this tune stuck in my head."
"Oh I get that all the time."
"Really?
"Yes. 'Copacabana'."
"'Copacabana'? Just 'Copacabana'?
"Yup. There's not much room for anything else."
He returned my gaze with a smile. I harrumphed.
"Well, while he was working his Dark Magic, I had current exciting beat-combo The BodyRockers in my noggin. You know, with their new hit tune 'I Like The Way You Move'."
He didn't until I sang a bit, managing to hit one of the notes and injuring several others. We finally agreed that this was A Good Song.
"Unfortunately," I continued, "it slowly devolved into a Victorian vaudeville version."
"Eh?"
"Well. It was sort of more polite. It went ''My dear lady. There are so many things I'm quite smitten with about you, One.. One just doesn't know where to begin. One likes the way you, perambulate. One likes the way you, beat the maid. But most of all. Why yes... Most of all... One likes the way you move! One likes the way you move!'"
I stopped, lowering my arms, acutely aware that the other patrons of the coffee shop were staring. I coughed and pretended to wipe sleep from my eyes.
"They changed their names to 'The BodyOscillators' and everything."
"Shut up."
"Ok."
My mug was now empty so I pushed it idly around the table.
"So he did he or did he not hypnotise you then?"
"Not. I think. Well, maybe. I think there was an odd side effect with only half-concentrating."
"Like what?"
"I think I fancy him now," I said, head unintentionally low.
"Derren Brown? The badger man?"
"Don't call him that."
Neil crossed his arms. "That's stupid."
"Well. The biggest trick of the Devil was to convince us all that he didn't exist."
"So the biggest trick of the hypnotist was convincing us that his short, balding frame is kinda cute?"
"It's a good talent to have."
"I can hypnotise a rabbit, you know. Perhaps I can upgrade from that slowly."
"You can't hypnotise a rabbit. Can you?"
"Yes. Unfortunately I can't remember how to de-hypnotise it."
"Oh."
"My poor eight-year-old neighbour was traumatised after that party."
"You know that thump? You're getting two now."
"Back off! I have powers!"
"Like fun you do."
"...and when I click my fingers, it's your turn to get the coffees."
Click!
Neil stared on. I sighed and got up. "Yours is a skimmed latte, right."
"Right."
And I sloped off towards the counter.
 

A Fabulous Letter

Dear The Oasis.

You may go away now. We've all got the joke.

Love, The Gays.
 

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Harry Potter 4 - Here I Come!

 Look! Look at the Pretty!

And quite possibly literally.

Goodness. Thank you - oh thank you - dear casting directors at Warner Bros. Why I've always had a soft spot for the book version of Viktor Krum - well, more of a semi - and it's nice to see that you've honoured us by casting the Teutonic, barely-legal beauty Stanislav Ianevski.

'Champion Beater' you say? Really? Well, he's more than welcome to have a go at shooting up my hoop any day of the week.
 

Monday, June 06, 2005

Batman Begins

 
Meanwhile, in a cinema somewhere:

"You got all excited when I said I'd got preview tickets to 'Batman Begins', didn't you?"
The Wife nodded. "I thought you'd said 'Brother Beyond.'"
"Ah." This, at least, went some way to explaining the 'Nathan Moore is Innocent' t-shirt he was wearing.
"I didn't think you'd come, though," I said.
"Why on earth would I miss Christian Bale bouncing around in black rubber?"
"Someone you hate is in this."
"I don't hate anyone."
"You hate Ka-tie Ho-holm-es," I said in a sing-song voice.
"Oh come on! Everyone hates Katie Holmes!" he snapped.

We watched the movie for a bit.

"There she is," I said with no small amount of glee.
The Wife had shrunk down in his seat a little. "Look at her. Her head's too big for her body."
"Hmm. Her forehead does protrude too much. She looks like one of those fishes."
"...there she is, running along. With her enormous head. Bouncing around like a bladder on a stick."
"You really don't like her, do you?"
"Do you?"
"Naw. Not really."

We watched some more.

"There's something wrong with Bale's mouth," I opined.
"There's nothing wrong with that mouth. Apart from-"
"Apart from it's not attached to yours?"
The Wife grinned sheepishly.
"No, look," I said. "It appears he's sucking in his cheeks, but his lips are sticking out like two surfboards."
"Will you two please be quiet!" hissed the elderly female journalist beside us.
We raised our eyebrows and looked at each other. Ooh, someone else to hate.

We watched more of the film.

The Wife turned to me with his cheeks sucked in, and a marshmallow jammed between his teeth and his lips.
"Mook-at-me, I'm Cwistiam Bay-le" he said, muffled by confectionary.
I bust out laughing.

There was more film.

"If you two don't be quiet, I'm going to call the usher," said the cat-smelling journalist next to us.
"What, Neil?" I said, pointing at the man with the torch near the doors.
"Er..." she said, torrent stalled.
"Oh I know him," I said. "He's an ex. Still got a pair of my Calvins, so I think he owes me a favour. Do you want me to get him to move you?"
"I, uh, well. That is to say... I'll go and see his manager."
"He is the manager."
"Oh."
"Alright then. Lets just keep things as they are, shall we?"

More film happens.

"You don't wear Calvins," the Wife whispered.
"I know."
"I see. And you've never met that man before in your life, have you?"
I shrugged.
"You're naughty."

We watched the end of the film.

"I quite liked that," I said.
The Wife was already jumping down the corridor, pretending to be Batman. That means he loved it - when he starts pretending to be the star of the show, you know he had a good time. Although we had a heck of a problem when we went to see 'Saw'.
I caught up while he was pretending to stand on a precipice, looking manly.
"Shame Katie didn't die," he said, clambering down from the low wall.
"You still have that Dawson's Creek where she drowns."
"Oh yes!"
"I liked the Scarecrow, though."
"What, the moth-eaten old cloth that terrorises all?"
"Yeah. Kinda reminded me of a young Joan Rivers..."

We walked towards the train.

"I can't wait for the next one," I said.
"I wonder what they'll call it? 'Batman Beings'... 'Batman Starts More'?"
"'Batman Almost Ready'?"
"Batman About To Go...'"
"'...But May Have Left The Iron On At Home.'"
"Batman Jerks Forward."
"Lorks, I'd pay to see that!"
"Oh. Likewise."

And then we went home.
 

Friday, June 03, 2005

Size Does Matter

 
Enter Comedy Housemate, avec les Dremel Multi.


JAY: Beardface!

LEE: Gallagher!

JAY: Well. That's a nice new shirt.

LEE: You did notice you say 'nice' like most people say 'skin disease'?

JAY: A mere coincidence. So where's it from?

LEE: Some expensive little boutique you've probably never heard of.

JAY: It's Gap, isn't it?

LEE: No.

JAY: Isn't it?

LEE: No.

JAY: Isn't it?

LEE: Yes.

JAY: Thought so. And I'm always right.

LEE: How do you know what's going on in Gap?

JAY: Oh, we people in a certain pay bracket get sent a brochure of what not to wear. Gap had a centre spread.

LEE: Oh come on. Even Top Man advertises in Vogue!

JAY: That's not an advert, that's a warning. Anyway, what are you going in there for? You told me you despised it.

LEE: Are you sure? Despise is rather strong...

JAY: You said you'd rather, and I do quote, 'eat a bowl of your own hair' than visit that 'emporium of enforced cheeriness'.

LEE: Ha! That's very funny.

JAY: Well don't think you are. We'll start having all sorts of trouble with you if you start thinking you're funny.

LEE: I am funny!

JAY: You see this?

LEE: Your expensive training shoe?

JAY: Yes.

LEE: Ow!

JAY: Now. Let's hope that's knocked some sense into you.

LEE: Oowwww! That really hurt!

JAY: Now stand up and tell me why were you shopping at Gap? Hmm? Hmm?

LEE: Look at that! I've got PUMA stamped backwards on my forehead!

JAY: Yes, and all I have to do is write 'PET' at the end for it to read 'A MUPPET'. Now why were you shopping at Gap?

LEE: I like the colours.

JAY: You hate the colours.

LEE: The staff are really friendly.

JAY: Your hackles visibly rise whenever a functionary even within ten feet of you!

LEE: It's bright and cheerfu-

JAY: Shut up.

LEE: Alright. Alright. I like it in there because I'm a jean size lower in there than everywhere else.

JAY: I beg your pardon.

LEE: In Gap I'm a 30-inch waist. Everywhere else I'm a 32.

JAY: If you're a 32, I'll eat my WarHammer figures.

LEE: How very dare you! I've lost over two stone in the last year!

JAY: And yet last night you sat in the bath and ate Hagan-Daaz ice-cream until you were almost sick. That's not conducive to a diet, you know.

LEE: How do you..?

JAY: There was a brown tide mark on the bath.

LEE: It may not have been chocolate.

JAY: You disgust me.

LEE: The only thing about these Gap jeans is the other measurement. I mean, yes, it's nice to now be two inches less around the waist, but...

JAY: But what?

LEE: I also seem to have lost two inches in height.

JAY: How concerning. Although you did lose a lot of weight.

LEE: It's probably that no-one in Gap has a decent tape measure.

JAY: You did used to have really fat ankles. Perhaps they deflated two inches.

LEE: Bitch.
 

Kylie Minogue - In Your Eyes

'What on earth am I meant to do
'In this crowded place there is only you
'Was gonna to leave now I have to stay
'You have taken my breath away'

You know, for years, I've been singing 'breasts' instead of 'breath'.

Oooh. Psychic Lee.
 

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Patty Griffin Vs Girls Aloud

Completely by accident, I happened to find myself in London's whizzy Hammersmith on two consecutive nights, and all to see live music. Rare indeed! Well, er, one of them was Girls Aloud, so 'live' is pushing it slightly. The other was The Wife's choice of entertainment, the lovely Patty Griffin. And as I pointed out this bizarre coincidence and similarity to the Wife while we queued, he seemingly had cause to spit his decaf soyabean tea with a cry of 'Incomparable!'

So. Shall we compare them for a laugh, boys and girls? Shall we? Lets!

Bark! The Act Pedigree:
Girls Aloud: shamelessly manufactured pop act, somewhat cruelly described by a friend as 'four girls, and a ginger Liverpool Echo competition winner who triumphed in having her photo taken with a band, who just sort of hung around...' Songs tend to be about boys, putting on make-up to get boys, and getting drunk and snogging boys.

Patty Griffin: kooky sensitive-singer-songwriter who wears a lot of natural fabrics. Songs tend to be about songbirds, trees, bombs and, er, making pies. Probably has a cat.

Long Life Milk! Been Around Since:
Girls Aloud: A few Christmasses ago.

Patty Griffin: since wool was the only fibre, seemingly. She knows what she likes and she's sticking to it! Possibly literally.

That's Entertainment! The Pre-Show:
Girls Aloud: Whizzy graphics, and some red carpet footage shown on a large video screen. Cheers as Brad Pitt, Dennis from Eastenders and Eminem are shown; hilarious booing when Angelina Jolie is put up.

Patty Griffin: A smattering of applause, some polite coughing and the high-noted rattle of someone trying to unwrap a Mint Imperial surreptitiously.

Who's in Tonight! The Audience:
Patty Griffin: Several Alice Bands, some sensible bobs and some racier denim on a couple of occasions. Why, The Home Counties must have been empty!

Girls Aloud: stonewashed denim, stretched t-shirts (riding up over belly, and unsuccessfully hiding man-boobs) and glittery belts. Why, the G-A-Y Bar must have been empty!

Nice Frock! Costume Changes:
Girls Aloud: Four.
1. Glittery bras over denim skirts that could kindly be described as 'clopper pelmets'
2. Glittery schoolgirl outfits
3. New Look eveningwear for the ballad section (polyester by the look of it - don't get it near the electrics, girls!)
4. Reworked leather and glittery denim for the fabulous finale!

Patty Griffin: None, alas. Natural fibre throughout. What we thought was going to be a costume change turned out to be a nip off stage to get a cough sweet, bless.

How Top Of The Pops! Miming:
Girls Aloud: Three songs, so Nicola could concentrate on her more complicated dance moves and count out loud without her mike picking it up. Bless.

Patty Griffin: Ah. Note-perfect live singing from start to finish.

Practical! Most Noticeable Technical Aspect:
Patty Griffin: Had colour-coded guitar straps for ease of choosing between each song.

Girls Aloud: Had colour-coded bit of tape on microphone to avoid confusion. To further avoid bewilderment, the tape didn't have names on, but matched the Girls' dresses. We're not joking.

All The World! The Stage:
Patty Griffin: Spot-lit black piano against a black stage, giving the look of carved onyx, all to emphasize the star.

Girls Aloud: Back-projected screensaver graphics and a bit of scaffold, whizzy lights and several glitter explosions, hopefully to detract from one of the backing dancers forgetting where he put his tambourine.

In The Foyer! Merchandise:
Girls Aloud: A cavalcade! Glittery cowboy hats left over from Madonna's last show, some glowsticks and whistles, with numerous t-shirts in sizes '4-year-old', '7-year-old' and 'Gay-Who-Should-Know-Better'.

Patty Griffin: A packet of Malteasers.


So! As you can see! Completely similar - in fact, I'm going to tell the Girls Aloud lawyers that someone's ripping off their act.

Although one does wonder what would have happened if they had sold the glittery cowboy hats, glowsticks and whistles at Patty's gig. It would have looked like there was a Hen-Night crashing the do. Rather than being on stage, as per the Aloud gig...