TV

Comment: The Ugly Face of Disability Hate Crime

Following the documentary on BBC Three last night about disability “Hate Crime” I feel I must add my comments. Sorry this is a little long.

I hate the term “Hate Crime” Gene Hunt expresses this best.

How are we ever going to move on, live together and integrate as a society if crimes against any group of people are labelled in such an insane way. It’s justifying why someone committed a grievous act against someone else, reporting a “hate crime” produces two groups of people. Those who support the victim, and those who support the perpetrator as they agree with his or her politics. If a murder is reported as a “murder” one person killed another, we can all pull together and agree that that is a bad thing regardless of our backgrounds.

This approach removes the often incorrect assumption that “he only killed him because he was disabled/white/black/green/gay” No he got killed because he was sleeping with his wife/husband/girlfriend/mother/tortoise/guitar.

Last nights show was presented by Adam Pearson who has neurofibromatosis which causes excess growth of the skin. Which gives him a striking and unusual appearance like many disabled people. Now I like to think that when I’m sat down or propping up a bar I look pretty “normal” I don’t of course, the way I hold myself up, my movement that is both ponderous and jagged are both clear giveaways that I am “different”.

As kids we stare at “difference” it’s a survival technique present in most inhabitants of the earth. Don’t believe me? Walk slowly into a field of cows. They will all look at you, “Who are you? Will you feed us? Will you kill us? Where are your trousers?” If no-one batted an eyelid at things out of the ordinary we and the cows would get killed.

Of course we like to think we have evolved, it makes us feel superior and for the most part it helps us fit in and not be different as the environments we inhabit are largely about inclusion and acceptance, on the surface anyway.

A place where our true feelings are often is expressed is here on the internet. This very page has a comments section. Upon which you are free, with varying degrees of anonymity to call me whatever you like. The comments section can bring out the very worst in people and statements or poor attempts at humour can be misinterpreted.

One of Mr Pearsons TV interviews was posted on YouTube and seemed to be a significant part of the programme. One comment was nasty suggesting that he should have been burnt to death at birth. Harsh you have to say, but the comment was sent to YouTube who didn’t do anything about it. Mr Pearson mentioned “genocide” and I turned off.

It’s a comment on YouTube! The person who made it is probably 12 and as he accompanied his comment with “lol” he was hardly suggesting people hunt you down and burn you. So to suggest genocide is giving this comment much more credence than it deserves. Much better to laugh at it or reply back taking it further “Yeah hideous burns might improve my looks” Thus disarming any malice and perhaps leaving the commenter with a “See him there, he looks a bit weird but he’s alright” feeling winning him over and maybe stopping such comments in the future.

There are times in everyones life where we need to pack our thickest skin (no pun intended) regardless of which groups we align ourselves with. There will always be people who prey on easy targets or promote hatred but we should never underestimate the power of our response.

If you are in the UK or use a VPN (shh!) you can watch the program here.

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Bases Loaded: MLB.tv Across the Pond

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs and the count is 3 and 2. It’s all down to this, if the ball is despatched into crowd, via the inky black night sky. The game is won. Miss, and the glory is theirs.

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there... well maybe

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there… well maybe

My first brush with baseball came with the launch of Channel 5 in the mid 90’s. Late night, after the low rent porn movies, I would sit and watch. I chose a team, based on name only; The Royals of Kansas City. The Royals also being the name of Reading FC.

Both sets of Royals during this period were less than good.. Also I can’t recall Channel 5 showing a single one of the KC Royals games. Now however, thanks to the glory of my Apple TV I can enjoy, every single strike out or homer of the MLB season regardless of whether I can stay up to see the games or not. My allegiances have changed somewhat. The draw of the Yankees and the influence of a friend who is far too wonderful for her own good, means that I now follow the boys from the Bronx.

MLB.tv is included on all Apple TV’s second gen onwards (and 39 other devices). It is a subscription service in the UK it costs £89 per year. I didn’t sign up for the whole year, because I wasn’t sure I’d get into it or if most of the games would be at stupid o clock so I signed up via MLB.com which lets you use Paypal to pay monthly. From there you sign into your account via Apple TV and you are good to go.

The MLB.tv subscription includes access to the great MLB At Bat App for mobile devices, which allows you to follow more action than you’ll ever have time for, wherever you are. You can enquire about that hitter whilst on the shitter if you so desire. You have stats, video and audio feeds.

Baseball itself for the uneducated English gent; Forget comparisons to Rounders, yes this is where the game originates but to compare it now is like comparing an iPad to a Newton. Think Cricket, think T20. If you stripped some of the English away from that and replaced it with some American English terms you’ll be halfway there. (My favourite term from last nights game was “Nowhere man’s land.” So no mans land then!) The game itself is not typical of American sport, there are long periods of action, at a low level (like cricket) but then it can change in a split second and be over quicker than an excited virgin. This is an American showcase but without the usual need to score a point every other second.

Yankee2WM

Thanks for the images.. you know who you are 😉

The Premier League take note. This is how sport should be delivered, all the games (for UK viewers, blackouts are in effect in North America) whenever you want. No adverts (yes really!) I want to be able to watch my team play, be it at the ground or via Apple TV in my pants. If you like Baseball or even have a passing interest. Well worth a look.

Your Scheduled Programming Shall Never Resume

The 80’s a fine decade. Well maybe I don’t really remember it, being born in June of 1980 as I was I pretty much spent half of the decade crapping my pants. I’ll let you decide which half that was. In the UK we had no remote control on the TV and when you got up to change the channel (Yes kids) you had the choice of 3 channels plus the new upstart Channel 4 from 1982 onwards.

On demand TV was how loud you shouted “I want to watch…” and your Sky Plus was a scuzzy Scotch VHS tape that allowed you to watch one thing and record another. The Internet was around in university computer labs, although Netflix was a while off and even if it was around they would still be waiting around now to see the opening frame of Breaking Bad given the speeds of the connection.

Fast forward to now and we have a multitude of things to watch, on a plethora of channels, platforms and devices. The BBC at the time of writing has ballooned from 2 channels in 80’s to 9 channels. All of which air via digital TV in the UK. It was announced yesterday that one of those 9, BBC Three, is going to go “online only” prompting lots of twitter outcry and #SaveBBCThree hashtaggery.

Why save something that isn’t going?
BBC Three is the corporations “Youth” offering, serving a demographic which I am still just part of. The same demographic (to generalise) have access to a smartphone, are computer savvy, have access to high speed broadband, regularly watch on-demand content. So for BBC Three’s target audience very little will change, especially if they have a smart TV. If it was BBC 2 or BBC Four I would understand the concern. Given the older target audience, again to generalise.

I believe that in the next fifteen to twenty years the only programming that will be scheduled, as it has been since the very start of TV, will be live sporting events and news programmes. Everything else will be delivered as you want it when you want it, in a similar way to how Netflix works now. So BBC Three is ahead of the game on this one, and although it will still run to an online schedule, if viewing figures are good I see other channels following suit.

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be downloaded.

(WMB4X) Numbers. Oh My (Time) Lord

Numbers ruin things. If you can remember the amount of times you have done something you either haven’t done it enough or it was terrible when you did. Numbers are devoid of emotion and feeling, they cannot be used to convey anything other than hard facts. A constant in the world of grey areas. At times bringing un-needed order to the world.

One of the main fall outs from the wonderful “Day of the Doctor” and the less wonderful Doctor Who Live: The After Party, seems to be “Is Matt Smith the 12th Doctor now because of John Hurt?” Or varations upon that theme adorning many a fan forum or podcast. As arguements go it’s pretty stupid. Numbers again ruining it. You see and this is a point that even the most ardent fan will miss (or argue with me about).

There is only one Doctor.

In a similiar way that there is only one James Bond or Joey from Bread, Eric Draven from The Crow or Miss Marple. Only one. There have been multiple actors who played the part bringing with them different facets of the characters personality. When it comes down to it at a core character level there should be no differences between the Bond of Sean Connery or the Bond of Daniel Craig. The same should apply to the Doctor, he only changes based upon life experience in his relative time strand. Hartnell, Hurt, Smith and soon to be Capaldi all playing the same man at different points in that characters life.

The numbering then, Hartnell 1, Troughton 2 etc given that the Doctor is the same man, matters not a jot to the story. Yes there is a limit to the amount of times the Doctor can re-generate but that will be explained away in the clever writing of the Moff maybe in the upcoming Christmas episode (The only Christmas TV I want to see) It only matters when referring to the actors who have taken control of the TARDIS.

It seems strange to me that given that this show is about an alien with two hearts who can travel through space and time that such a mundane debate has emerged. I am aware of the irony of me writing this piece about it, adding to the debate. If you really must organise “timey wimey” may I suggest a better system. Names. In the same way no-one says the 3rd Bond when they are referring to Roger Moore’s James Bond, I suggest we adopt the same system. Matt Smith’s Doctor, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor etc. Doing away with the numbers and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Doctor Who Experience (8105543304)


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(WMB4X) 5 TV Cops

I was watching Life On Mars earlier so here for no reason other than the fact the Internet loves lists and in no particular order. Are a few of my favourite TV cops.

1. Gene Hunt, Philip Glenister (Life On Mars)
Trust the Gene genie. Life on Mars and spin off Ashes to Ashes were both superb shows, true event TV in a era of nothingness. DCI Hunt was the closest thing you would get to a ‘coppers copper’ taking bad guys off the streets in any way he thought got the job done. His dry Manchester wit made this show for me. I laughed for 10 solid minutes at this. Un-PC yes. Offensive no. If you have not seen this show. It’s on Netflix in all it’s glory.

Another three words from me on the US remake of the show. Fuck. Right. Off.

2. Sarah Lund, Sofie Gråbøl (Forbrydelsen AKA The Killing I-III)
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows how much I love this Danish show (it’s almost their best export beaten only by Bacon) I have not yet seen all three series of this yet and that’s why it doesn’t get it’s own blog piece. Lund is very observant, and seems to always pick the correct line of questioning that her male counterparts miss. She has a dysfunctional social life and is rather stereotypically “married to the job” but in the TV climate of TOWIE etc it’s great to have not only a show with a compelling story arc but a very strong female lead.

I haven’t watched the US version of this. Largely thanks to the mental scars gained from Life on Mars US. Forbrydelsen I & II are available again on Netflix (who are not paying me by the way)

3. Andy Sipowicz, Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue)
The marvellous NYPD Blue. Sipowicz like Gene Hunt is an old style police man. He gets bad guys, not the fittest or the fastest not the most PC in early seasons. Dennis Franz portrayal made this show infinitely watchable, a flawed character a diamond in the rough. I wish I’d watched more of these but in the UK Channel 4 buried them in the schedules, I remember one of the later seasons starting at 2am. In the days before Sky+ meant NYPD blue got me in trouble with my Mum come the morning when I couldn’t get up for school.

4. Patrick Jane, Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Not strictly a police officer but it’s my list and I can include who I want. Red John killed his family, largely because Jane was passing himself off as a psychic on TV. Jane sees the error of his ways and leaves the facade behind in pursuit of his families killer. He does it with such charm and humour too. Ticks so many boxes for me.

5. Inspector Morse, John Thaw (Inspector Morse)
Colin Dexters epic English gentleman copper with a love of Opera (not the web browser) and real ale. From a era when ITV made good shows. Morse has a special place in my heart, as the one show the teachers let me and my friend stay up and watch whilst we were on a school trip. Morse is a miserable old sod. Bit like a vastly more intelligent version of me really.

So there you have it? I bet I’ve missed some out, please hurl abuse at me below.


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Sex On Wheels (Channel 4)

Sex, now here’s a post that will get me lots of hits. (Hello disappointed people looking for porn.) It’s a very powerful thing. Everyone likes it anyone who disagrees with that is lying. It’s a base urge, we must procreate otherwise humanity will die out, we were built to like it. Although where liking dressing up as an Adult Baby comes in to saving humanity I’m not quite sure. But each to their own.

Sex is a surefire ratings winner for TV. Fictional Sex, “Sex and the City”, “Girls” and “Californication” all have strong sexual content and all are ratings winners. Reality sex also sells, “The Sex Clinic”, “The Joy of Teen Sex”, and “The Sex Inspectors” to name but a few. Step forward (or rather roll forward) “Sex on Wheels” a documentary point and laugher that aired yesterday on Channel 4 in the UK. This followed the sex lives (or lack of them in some cases) of a few disabled people.

Disabled people like to fuck too. Wow who knew!

Sex Dice

All of the people featured I have no doubt are real people living independent lives. It is difficult to comment on the show without judging them. It would be interesting to see their real responses to the show now it has been shown, if they feel the edit portrayed them in a favourable light.

As with all “documentaries” it would seem these days there is no room for subtlety. People going about their lives telling their real stories. Therefore it would seem Channel 4 (edit aside) chose their participants for this documentary in the same way they would choose housemates for Big Brother. So with a sweeping a few sweeping generalisations we have our cast:-

  • The Nympho: Sexually active and adventurous but, she says wants to “settle down”. She has a nice rack and is only in her early twenties and someone settling down makes boring TV so she will be shown constantly flirting.
  • Reformed Jack the Lad: Alpha Male. Spends all of the time talking about his penis, until the spiritual sex therapy (Sham Science) lets him find himself.
  • You are a Wannabe and everyone is laughing at you: Wants to be a porn star because he “likes sex” Gets to visit a porn set like a little boy who wrote in to Jim’ll Fix It “Dear Nonce, Please can you fix it for me…”
  • The peoples Champion: For every panto villain there needs to be a hero. A good guy, a guy which we are all routing for. He is depicted as the most Normal of the ensemble, hell he even loves his mum and takes good care of animals. What a nice guy.

Remember this is not what I feel the people are actually like. Just how I feel how they were depicted. I haven’t mentioned their disabilities at this point because they are largely irrelevant. All of them are in wheelchairs bar the peoples champion (because he’s gotta look normal kids), Jack the Lad because of accident which has limited his sex life, the others are all disabled from birth.

This was a chance for the world to see how disabled people fuck or try to fuck. Disabled people in general are not viewed in a sexual way, so depicting them as sexually active showing a “healthy” level of desire would in itself made for a eye opening documentary for most people. However the editorial decision to show extremes, like the injured guy masturbating trying to gain an erection (yes really) and to allow the patronising treatment of the Wannabe Pornstar by everyone only serves to give something else for people to laugh at. If you don’t believe me search twitter for #sexonwheels.

Dave Allen

BBC 2. Home of Top Gear and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Showed something awesome tonight, very good. If you missed it or have not heard of it’s subject matter. Stop reading this, go seek it out now. BBC 2 showed, Dave Allen: God’s Own Comedian.

Dave Allen is without a doubt my favourite comedian, yes I will talk of Hicks (who even has the honour of adorning this page) I will talk of the genius of Pryor. But Dave Allen, the first TV comic to make a young Sudo laugh. In 1990 I was 10, my Mum (she of Ed McBain influence) would tell me about Dave Allen. I was allowed to sit up late, probably about 10:30pm and watch. The Classic theme tune would start and a grey haired man, aged to a 10 yr old, would walk past a backed bar stool to the microphone. He would then begin to talk in a captivating irish tone.

I always wondered why he never sat on the stool. Only later thanks to the wonders of VHS would I find out that Dave used the stool on his earlier shows. I remember my whole family laughing at the stories this one man on his own on stage would tell. Exposing the absurdities of life long before the likes of Michael McIntyre, doing it in such a subtle nature that is nowhere in comedy these days. The pauses, the timing. The anger, the vitriol.

The show the BBC showed tonight was great because I have made every attempt to learn about the work of Dave before I was even a twinkle in my Dad’s eye. Dave hated repeats, so nothing is ever shown. This documentary showed footage of his early break in Australia, which I had never seen. Also featured was Dave’s documentary making which had past me by.

What however prompted me to write this blog piece was this there is a very small segment of this around 52 mins where Dave is being interviewed by Clive James where he says that language (swearing) is emphasis. I have always used this to explain when challenged on my own filthy fucking language, not sure where I got it from. It surprised me, how much of the wisdom of Dave Allen I picked up.

Allen like Hicks, I feel is needed in todays world. In the 8 years since he died the world, religion, politics and every aspect of life needs someone to poke away at it more than ever. Make the common helpless man feel sane for at least half an hour a week.

Thanks for reading and…. may your god go with you.

National Poetry Day: Poem: Twinkle Twinkle

By Acerview54 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Twinkle Twinkle little star,
What has become of you?
Has the fame gone to your head,
Or merely changed your view?

The song brought you fame and fortune,
Rivalled only by the Sun,
If you could only kick the Charlie,
You’d be number one.

So you are up above the world, so high,
Produced nothing new in years,
Tell your friends, you are burning out,
All your selfish fears

Like a diamond in the sky,
Or do you go by Crystal?
Why did you have the sex change op?
Simply for double D Bristols?

How I wonder where you are?
Where now can you go?
Your phone nearly stopped ringing,
Cept for that Celebrity Jungle Show,

Twinkle Twinkle,
Media whore,
No one loves you,
Like before.
You’ll be dead and you’ll be gone,
Then they’ll wheel the next one trick pony on.

 

National Poetry Day in the UK. Theme for this year Stars.

Network Issues

The land of the free and the home of quite a few good people. People who are intelligent, well read, witty, sarcastic and maybe more knowledgeable about cultures different to their own than I am.

Yes the land of Apple Pie and the cheeseburger. The United States of America. Loved and loathed in equal measure throughout the world. Where do other cultures get an impression of America? Well before the invention of the interweb that answer was undoubtably TV and Movies. The american police man to the rest of the world was a cross between Kojak and Dave Starsky. The american barman, Woody from Cheers. Every cabbie was somewhere between Andy Kaufman and Robert De Niro.

But where does America get it’s impression of the rest of the world? England for example. Pre-Gervais the Americans appeared to think that we were all either Hugh Grant or John Lennon the influence of film and music. But what about TV? Well this side of BBC America UK TV doesn’t get shown. Shows that are successful here, get re-made and Americanised for that market. “Steptoe and Son”, became “Sanford and Son”, “Til death do us part” became “All in the Family” more recently “Life on Mars” became a US TV car crash that bared no resemblance to the wonderful UK series.

News today that CBS are planning a modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Well to quote Steven Mofatt.

Why do American TV execs feel the need to remake? Looking at this short list of shows that have gone the other way the only things we appear to remake are quiz shows, which makes sense because who wants to see Yolanda from NYC win $100,000 when you are having a brew in Peckham. We don’t remake Cheers and stick a guy called Barry Malone who used to be a fast bowler for Kent in charge of a east end pub. We show the original. (Incidentally where the hell is the rest of the series for DVD release in the UK)

UK network execs seem to believe that UK audiences have the intelligence to be aware of and translate any Americanisms in these shows. They also know that. getting real for a second, to buy a show is cheaper than re-making UK Cheers or a UK ER or a UK Family Guy but it would lose something. Just as another wonderful Mofatt creation “Coupling” lost all the subtlety in the ill fated US network run. A UK “Friends” it was not. Note to US TV execs.. at the very least please leave Doctor Who alone, you made a mess last time.

Photo courtesy of http://idiotphotographer.wordpress.com/ visit for more fantastic images. Click for more of the set

Freak Show

The bearded lady, Tom Thumb, mermaids, lobster boy,Lazarus Colloredo and Joannes Baptista Colloredo , elephant man. Peter Crouch..

All freaks!

By Agnieszka Mieszczak (Cropped from Image:Liverpool Crouch.jpg) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

All freak show acts from down the ages, well aside from Peter Crouch (who unbelievably has lots of International Caps for England.) End of the pier type attractions who carved out a living with old time carnivals or circus side shows. The popularity of these attractions declined over the years, through advances in medical science and the hold of the political correctness movement.

Yes it’s wrong and un-sophisticated to point and stare, in the modern world of iPads and “Idol” we are too evolved as humanity to need to throw money at the hirsute lady. Yes we now accept her into society and she has a “normal” life with a good job, loving husband and 2.4 beautiful children. Everyone is happy.

This wonderful woman enjoys TV, her favourite shows are Extraordinary People, Two Ton Teen, I Used to be Fat, Kellie: The Girl Who Played with Fire and Small Teen, Big World. Yes Brenda the bearded lady goes in for the documentaries in a big way.

They are not documentaries as I remember them. In the 1980’s because I watched far too much TV I watched documentaries on a great number of things. Channel 4 had Despatches, BBC had Panorama and ITV World in Action or the action packed The Cook Report. Each fronted by journalists of the day, each presenting the facts in a unemotional way, each although having an agenda and a message leaving the viewer to make up their mind based on facts presented. Telling you something you didn’t know.

Documentaries now, encourage you to point and laugh from the comfort of your own home, under the guise of “watching the brave boy/girl as they struggle to be accepted” in fact as the compassionate voice over says that you are busy sat there pissing yourself as the fattest guy you ever saw has to get a fork lift and a mirror to check his nutsack.

Documentaries have had their territory eaten into over the years. Reality shows now rule the roost, I remember watching a compelling film about a guy who had been sentenced to death, he didn’t do it but the witness who could save him refused to speak out and the guy got the chair. If that aired tomorrow people would expect a phone vote, or at the very least some harrowing music, which would then be available for download on iTunes after the show had finished.

Tabloid TV documentaries serve no purpose. Except to be the modern day PC freak show. If the TV producers wanted their subjects to have a normal life why stick a TV camera over their shoulder, why not make a proper well balanced film about something interesting and donate money made to charity? Oh yeah where the fun in that.