Archive for September, 2008

Secret Mission

September 30, 2008

I’m going away – and I may be some time.

I’m off somewhere which has no internet connection for a few days, so won’t be posting anything till probably early next week.

Ladies should be assured that the work I’m engaged in is both dangerous and sexy and regularly involves me taking my shirt off and exposing my rippled torso. Gentleman – all you need to know is that I could kill you in a heartbeat if I chose to.

Adieu

The Virgin Daughters

September 29, 2008

 

To the outsider, teenage American girls appear to be split into two camps. Half of them are starring in Spring Break videos getting gang-banged by drunk teenage boys. The other half are members of various Christian purity movements. Luckily, we have girls like Sarah Palin’s teenage daughters, to bridge the gap between the two. She’s a fundamentalist Christian, but her daughters are apparantly forever getting knocked up by gas station attendants and bag-boys. And they say Palin isn’t a unifying candidiate.

This documentary followed various fathers and daughters in Colorado Springs as the daughters prepared to make their pledges to stay virginal and pure, promising not to even kiss or hold hands with a boy until their wedding day. They do this as part of the annual Purity Ball and they start as young as five.

Now, most guys I know who have daughters, know what horny little bastards teenage boys are. And most of them can see the merit in trying to make sure your daughter feels loved enough at home not to go off and date the town ’bad boy’ just to piss off daddy.  (As US comedian Chris Rock says, your only job as a father is to keep your daughter off the pole.) But there is surely a better way of doing this that doesn’t involve emotionally blackmailing a five-year old. 

The main character we met was the ball’s organiser, alpha-male fuckwit Randy Wilson.  As Randy and the other fathers in this movement sat hovering over their daughters as they spouted their rehearsed purity speeches to please daddy, my skin began to crawl. Randy has 7 children and he and his wife have had 5 miscarraiges. His wife, by the way, was a weeping basket-case. But bearing in mind the poor woman’s been pregnant 11 times, she was obviously physically and emotionally worn-out. And she probably doesn’t have five minutes peace where the aptly-named Randy isn’t showing her some of his good ole christian lovin.’ As part of a weekly household ceremony, the children line-up and Randy tells them one-by-one what they mean to him. To me, this just looked like an overly-dominant man asserting his patriarchal role in an ugly display of power. But I guess Mrs Randy must have been glad of the rutting break.

I’d be interested to know how much Randy makes from these purity balls and how much of it he gives back to the church. Having said that the New Life Church which hosts these things, was conveniently founded  by Randy himself. So who knows if he can tell the difference between the two.

‘Why the church needs a brand-new red Camaro. Hallelujah!’

We also met Khrystian Wilson (these americans with their whacky mis-spellings) who had once been Miss Teenage Colorado and had taken one of these purity covenant’s herself. Being a very nice-looking girl and Miss Colorado an all, she’d obviously attracted the attention of the boys. And having had virtually no sex education, she soon found herself pregnant. She was all set to marry the boy in question and then she lost the baby and they seperated. Thankfully, she’s now living with a nice guy. But her mother still treats her like a fallen woman and refuses to have anything to do with her partner. Christian love and forgiveness in action.

 I understand parents wanting to protect their children, particularly their young daughters, from the worst excesses of our morally bankrupt and demoralised culture. But anyone knows that if you want to make something seem more appealing to teenagers – just ban it. Just ask every stripper who went to convent school. Everyone knows little girls will do anything to please their daddy. But father’s taking advantage of this fact, simply because they can’t handle the idea of their daughters growing up into sexually-mature women is pretty depressing.

Disclaimer: Having said all of that, I should confess I have previous in this area myself. With a long trail of broken relationships behind me, I’ve disilussioned so many women that a group of my ex-girlfriends have now got together and started their own nunnery. I’m thinking about opening up my own monastery nearby. This might just be the perfect relationship, you know. I just need to convince them all to take the Mingles Pledge at my annual Monastery Ball. I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

Something For the Weekend

September 26, 2008

Well, the weekend is almost upon us.  If by any chance your day-job is bomb-disposal expert and you fancy knocking off early, take a tip from these chaps above.

Have a good weekend.

PS: my thanks go to the Reverend Laird for this clip.

Red Laurie, Yellow Laurie, Other Laurie

September 26, 2008

I’m re-watching House on Five US at the moment. I didn’t really like this series at first, but now I love it. Okay the storyline is pretty much the same every episode, and the same key moments happen at about the same point in the action each week. But who cares. The cast are all great, and the comedy dynamic between House/Cuddy/Wilson is just excellent. Three brilliantly deadpan comedy performers having a great time playing off one another.

In fact, Hugh Laurie does such a great job as cool, witty House, you’d almost forget there was ever another Hugh Laurie – a younger, skinnier, geekier, but equally funny Hugh Laurie.

So let’s go back in time to some earlier versions and remind ourself how talented he really is. Also, for those of us getting on a bit, we can comfort ourselves with the fact that sometimes men really do get better-looking as we get older – and that the ageing bearded social-mitfit with the cane sometimes does get the cute girl. (That’s House I’m talking about there, in case you were wondering. I shaved my beard off some time ago.)

The top clip is a great Fry & Laurie sketch from their A Bit of Fry & Laurie series which ran from 1989-95. This is a great sketch about linguistic academics. I know, not another one. If only there were more dick jokes on the internet instead.  (Thanks to the Urban MILF http://theurbanwoo.blogspot.com/ for reminding me of this one.)

The middle clip is Hugh Laurie in his guise as the Prince Regent in Blackadder the Third. It’s hard to pick a favourite clip from this series, as just about every moment is comedy gold. But staying on the theme of language, this scene is from the Dr Johnson episode, Ink & Incapability. This isn’t so much of a clip, more 1/3 of an episode, but there isn’t a weak line in there.

The bottom clip is how the world knows him now – as dishevelled, misanthrope & master of the acerbic one-liner, Dr Gregory House MD.

And … Clear!

Lost in Austen

September 25, 2008

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is excitedly check under the duvet. So far – no change. No shrinking, no swelling and my nipples aren’t getting any bigger either. Perhaps I should explain.

I’m obviously turning into a woman. What other reason could there be for the fact that I’ve really enjoyed watching this ITV1 series where a 21st century girl who loves Pride & Prejudice suddenly finds herself inside the Jane Austen novel. It’s sort of like Life on Mars, but with heaving bosoms.

I keep hoping that there’s some logical explanation for my compulsive viewing of this thoroughly girly nonsense. I keep hoping that, rather in the same way that the show’s heroine Amanda Price suddenly and inexplicably finds herself inside the book – I’ll wake up one morning and suddenly and inexplicably find myself transformed into a woman. It’ll be a bright sunny morning, the little birds will be singing and overnight I’ll have grown a shiny new vagina and a cracking pair of tits. It’ll all make sense then. I just hope I’m not a hound. I want to turn heads rather than stomachs.

In fact, just to make sure I’m fully prepared for the inevitable when it comes, I’ve already started browsing the internet for appropriate lingerie. The powder-blue stockings bring out the colour of my eyes. But then again the black fishnets are far more daring. Is red too tarty? And shoes! Don’t get me started on shoes.

I’m even hoping to pitch the idea to ITV, Lost in Fanny by Charlotte Mingles:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man upon waking to find himself in possession of a vagina, must be in want of a wife. Or at the very least some hot lesbo action with the chambermaids …

ITV would almost certainly be interested and would probably want a first draft as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I very much doubt I’d ever get round to writing it as I’d be far too busy doing research. To be frank, I think the next you’d hear of me would be about six months later when the Fire Brigade have to break my door down – after friends and family have shown serious concern for my welfare.

No doubt I’d be found alone, dribbling incoherently, a giant smile on my face, my once-beautiful withered body lying slumped and exhausted on a bare mattress – with just some tissues, an industrial tub of vaseline and a full-length mirror for company.

But enough of this flowery romantic talk. We gals do like to go on. The review …

As I say, I have been quite enjoying this show. Nice idea, well executed and some very good deadpan performances. Great to see Hugh Bonneville redeeming himself so beautifully after Bonekickers, playing a blinder as Mr Bennet. Alex Kingston as the complex neurotic Mrs Bennet, Jemma Rooper as Amanda, Elliot Cowan as Darcy etc, they were all very good. And there were some funny scenes.

One of my favourites from this week’s final instalment was when Amanda arrives back in present-day London to find Elizabeth Bennet is now working as a nanny for some posh yuppie couple. Elizabeth opens the door sporting a short trendy hairstyle and looking every inch the demure noughties girly.

ELIZABETH (looking Amanda up and down): Miss Price. You are wearing my dress. Well, no matter. It would not fit me now. I am macrobiotic.

A really charming and enjoyable show. And I can’t remember the last time I watched anything on ITV for reasons other than pure shadenfreude.  So can I be the first (and perhaps the only) man to have the courage to stand up and admit it to the world. My name is Charlie Mingles and yes, I watched Lost in Austen and I quite enjoyed it. And not just for the  heaving bosom’s, though they of course did help.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, those frilly black negliges won’t order themselves.

If you’re interested in watching this series, all four episodes are available now on the ITV catch-up player here: http://www.itv.com/CatchUp/Video/default.html?ViewType=5&Filter=27362

While we’re at it, can I also direct you towards my original Lost in Austen preview here: https://charliemingles.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/lost-in-austen/

DVD Extra

September 24, 2008

On with the comedy. The top clip is a scene from the second series of I’m Alan Partridge. Apart from being a great example of the comedy of embarassment with Alan’s idiotic notion of what it means to be Irish, it’s also worth watching because the two guys playing the Irish tv producers are the creators/writers of Father Ted, Graham Linehan (far right) and Arthur Mathews.

The bottom clip is the under-rated Simon Day with his Billy Bleach character from The Fast Show. He has one of those faces that just makes you want to burst out laughing. If you watch Charlie Higson, who is playing the barman, you can see him trying not to laugh.

DVD Extra

September 23, 2008

Another couple of great comedy clips until I can find another tv programme worth reviewing. The criteria for reviewing is quite precise: they have to be shite enough that I can attempt to be amusing, but not so shite that I rip my bollocks off with my teeth in the hope that I bleed to death before the adverts. Not so easy now, is it?

The top clip is Steve Coogan from his short-lived, il-feted, not-as-funny-as-your-other-stuff-you bastard, Tony Ferrino period.  It was always going to be hard to parody something already so absurd and I think this character had a very lmited shelf-life. But the best bits are still funny.

This is Tony with the beautiful Bjork singing ‘Short-term Affair’ for Comic Relief back in the late 90’s. One of my favourite clips. ( Like you give a fuck what my favourite clips are. What is this – This is Your Life? Twat)

The bottom clip needs no introduction …

Okay, the bottom clip needs little introduction. It’s My Lovely Horse from Father Ted. Written by Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy, it’s actually a really great catchy song and an excellent production. Way too good for Eurovision. 

A folking-bastard friend of mine’s informs me that this song is actually a parody of Ride On by Christy Moore, which sounds plausible. That song is also about a lovely horse – but he was serious apparantly.

We have to lose that Sax solo …

Strictly Come Dancing

September 22, 2008

Nobody could touch Bruce Forsyth in his Generation Game heyday. He was warm and witty and spontaneous and ridiculed members of the public without being at all cruel or superior. Nowadays, I just wish the daft old bastard would retire. The only gimmick they could come up with to make him look less like a doddery old grandad, was to team him up with Tess Daley – a women so spectacularly uncharismatic, she thought marrying Vernon Kay would make her seem more interesting. Vernon Kay appears to have had a similar idea and I hear they sit at home together in the dark every night, rocking back and forth – waiting for the ‘interesting’ bit to kick in.  

The new series started on saturday and as usual sixteen celebrities (8 men and 8 women) are hoping to re-launch their flaccid careers and tighten their flabby buttocks by learning to dance. This week it was just the men dancing, but here’s the full runners and riders:

Jessie Wallace – ex-Eastenders star, whose face always appears to have been coloured-in by a small child using black and orange marker-pens.

Tom Chambers – pretty-boy actor from Holby City. Bookie’s favourite to win.

Gillian Taylforth – Ian Beale’s mum from Eastenders. Got caught sucking some guy’s cock on the motorway. (It’s what she wants on her tombstone, apparantly.)

Phil Daniels – short-arse cockney actor best known for starring in Quadrophenia and doing the vocals on Blur’s Parklife. He was also in Eastenders for a while.

Lisa Snowden – Model-turned actress. Once shagged George Clooney, never stops going on about it. Lisa, everybody’s shagged George Clooney, give us a break. Once appeared in an advert for something or other.

Don Warrington – camp middle-aged black man who played Philip in the excellent Rising Damp. Terrible dancer. but seems like a nice enough guy.

Rachel Stevens – the tiny little cute one from S Club 7. So small, she has recently been reclassified as a leprechaun and has had to get special dispensation from the King of the Faeries to appear on the show.

Austin Healey – some English rugby player who I’ve never heard of. Joint favourite.

Heather Small – Lead-singer with tedious 90’s power-balladeers M People. Hard to be objective here as I fucking hated that song they did ‘Search for the Hero Inside Yourself.’ She’s probably a perfectly nice woman. Just so long as she doesn’t sing. According to the car advert that song appeared in, searching for a hero merely seems to involve driving round the Peak District in a family saloon car, changing gear.

Gary Rhodes – TV chef and complete cock. Thankfully, when he takes to the floor he has all the poise and elegance of a wet cardboard box drenched in tramp’s piss. So hopefully he won’t last long.

Jodie Kidd – tedious model and socialite made even more unbearable by the fact she remains oblivious to the fact that she is merely a tedious model and socialite, and appears to think we are interested in the shite that comes out of her mouth.

John Sergeant – Retired political journalist and loveable old-buffer. The dark horse.

Cherie Lunghie – Actress perhaps best-known for playing Guinevere in the original 1981 movie of Excalibur. You might also recognise her from her title role in the 1989 tv series The Manageress, about a feisty female football manager. At 56, she’s more GILF than MILF, but she still looks pretty good in a catsuit.

Andrew Castle – identikit breakfast tv presenter and Nick Ross-lite. He kindly brought along his teenage daughters, presumably in the hope that watching dad gyrating around with a young blonde woman would put them off sex for life. Having seen him dance, I think it might have worked.

Christine Bleakley – Adrian Chiles’ genial irish co-host from the dreary One Show.

Mark Foster – likeable Olympic swimmer, tall and gangly like an aquatic Peter Crouch.

So far as the dancing goes, no real surprises. The young ones who had trained as professional actors and sportsmen did better than the old ones and the journalists. Who would have thought it. Reuters must have closed down their ballroom dancing division. Such a waste too.

I remember the glory days, Kate Adie and John Humphries reporting from Beiruit in a makeshift foxhole. There may have been shelling coming from all corners and dead soldiers all around them, but they still managed to do their piece to camera for the 6 0’clock News and complete a perfect foxtrot at the same time. Now, that’s what I call dancing.

Slapstick – Take 2

September 19, 2008

After me going on yesterday about how much I hated slapstick, I’m going to contradict myself and post two more great comedy clips that are quite slapstick in style.

The top one is a Tommy Cooper martial arts sketch from the 70’s. If you watched yesterday’s clips, you’ll notice that this sketch has almost exactly the same plot as the Jim Carrey one. Tommy Cooper was one of those old-school comics who came up through the theatres and he wasn’t always comfortable on tv, although his best performances are considered classics.

From this performance, I’m guessing that Cooper was somebody who didn’t always stick exactly to the script. Both the director in deciding which camera to cut to, and the actor playing the interviewer (sorry, can’t remember his name) are having to adapt to his little improvisations.  Some of the humour does date,  but there are some really funny gags, including the immortal:

Interviewer: Now, I believe you have a black-belt.

Cooper: Yes. And before that I had a brown-belt. And before that I had a white-belt.

Interviewer: And before that?

Cooper: My trousers used to fall down.

You can’t argue with gags like that.

Keeping with the martial arts theme, the bottom clip is one of my favourite Monty Python sketches. Monty Python are a bit like The Beatles – everyone says how great they are, but nobody actually listens to their stuff anymore. Many of the sketches look dated now, but the best of their stuff is still inspired.

This sketch, with John Cleese as a lunatic self-defence teacher obsessed with soft-fruit, is still one of my favourites. And it includes one of Cleese’s trademark ‘oooh, gettin’ all high and mighty, eh?’ lines.  

We’re all supposed to eat more fresh frr-oot. Consider this sketch your 5-a-day.

Slapstick – WTF?

September 18, 2008

I should hate Jim Carrey. He is everything I normally dislike in a comedian. I hate all the gurning, the prat falls, the mugging into camera, the strangulated voices. I loathe Johnny Vegas on chat shows, who just seems like an autistic chimp let loose. I don’t like Jerry Lewis, I hate Charlie Chaplin. And whenever hyper-manic basketcase Robin Williams comes on screen I want to kick a hole through the tv set. 

But Jim Carrey makes me piss myself with just about everything he does. He’s everything I hate about comedy, but he does it so well I don’t care. I guess he’s the exception that proves the rule.  I know some of his comedy movies are patchy, but he’s great in Ace Ventura and Dumb & Dumber. He has of course very successfully reinvented himself as a serious actor since The Truman Show, and he was brilliant in Eternal Sunshine amongst others. But at his comic best, usually in sketches, short comic scenes or impromptu chat show appearances, he is hilarious.

The top clip is a classic sketch from his early days on Living Colour, the Fox network’s lesser-known version of the hugely-successful NBC show Saturday Night Live. It’s almost 20 years ago now but it still stands the test of time effortlessly.

The bottom clip is from 1998 and the last episode of the peerless US comedy satire The Larry Sanders Show. It’s Larry’s last show and he’s invited his ‘good friend’ Jim Carrey (played here by Jim Carrey) to come along and say goodbye. There’s a moment about 1 min 7 secs in where Carrey stands up to run into the audience. You can literally see the moment where he flicks a switch in his brain and turns the charisma all the way up to eleven. It’s as if someone has poured rocket fuel onto the crowd.

These days, he seems much happier with serious roles and thankfully he does those very well. But it’s great to remember him as he started – a grinning, gangly tornado of pure comic energy. You wouldn’t want him in the house, but on screen he’s unstoppable.