Feb 27. TO be a successful model you have to appear alien, according
to The Model Agency. So it’s a shame Janet Street-Porter never
tried the catwalk, because she looks like something that just
lurched out from behind a rock on Star Trek... The agency only
wants birds from Planet Beanpole. “They don't look like girls
you went to school with or people on your street,” explained senior
booker Paul. “They have to look like they were born in a different
world.” In other words tall skeletal waifs resembling Munch’s
Scream in a skirt. Paul brusquely told one 5ft 5 wannabe she was
too short and then boasted: “No hostages today” - an admiral attitude
when confronting terrorists, less so when dealing with teenagers
armed only with harmless dreams.
Carole White, of Naomi Campbell diamond trial fame, and her
brother Chris run Premier Agency. We joined them at their busiest
time, just ahead of the New York season. New girl, India Farrell,
16, was set to be the smash hit of the year. She was perfect:
strikingly beautiful but definitely other-worldly. Add a shade
of blue and she could have walked straight off the set of Avatar.
But as Carole explained “Your product is not a bottle on a shelf.
It talks back.” And India was having second thoughts about the
whole back-stabbing circus.
The agents had the raving hump – it was a lot of commission
to lose. Annie (head of new faces) wept like a monsoon. India’s
attitude was “jaw-dropping,” fumed Chris. “Outrageous.” But
was it so hard to believe that a sane person who dipped a toe
into this poisoned pool would think twice about plunging in?
Much of the modern fashion industry is hateful, not least the
barking mad attitude to female body shape – all flat-chests
and no arse. It’s an odd mix of glamour, hissy fits, drama queens,
hypocrisy and twisted values. At the agency, bitching about
models being too fat or too old is common-place. It’s like a
camp version of Sky Sports.
*THE Model Agency: less The Devil Wears Prada, more The Bookers
*SEPARATED at birth: Carole, The Model Agency, and Iggy Pop’s
dummy? One scary, hard-faced and haggard; the other a dummy.
NEW comedy monster Agnes Brown is like Mrs. Doubtfire after
ten pints of Guinness and a Chubby Brown swearing course. Everything
is feck this, feck that and f*ck the feckin’ other. Irish comic
Brendan O’Carroll plays the foul-mouthed Dublin matriarch whose
humour is as broad as Beth Ditto’s arse. Here’s Agnes on fruit:
“That’s a banana not a willie; it won’t get bigger if you squeeze
it.” On marriage counseling: “We didn’t need a counselor, we
needed a feckin’ referee.” And when the doctor tells grandad
he needs a sample of his urine and his stool, Agnes explains:
“He wants your underpants.” Mrs. Brown’s Boys is gag-based filth,
as subtle as a hurley in the groin but as warm as a hot toddy.
Oddly, English blue-collar comics like Jimmy Jones have cracked
similar jokes for years but have always been deemed too risque
*OH gawd. Masterchef has brought in X Factor-style dead dads
(“Dads don’t get any deader than this!”). It’s Britain’s Got
Cooks now. For Britain’s Got Tarts, see Take Me Out.
My aunt’s cooking is also a tribute to her late parents. Everything
she dishes up is cremated.
*JULIE was horrified to discover that Corrie’s Molly had used
marathon running as a cover for shagging Kevin. “I sponsored
her £2 a mile,” she moaned; which by my reckoning is an awful
lot of six inches...
HOT on TV: Maria Botto (Mad Dogs)... Mrs. Brown’s Boys...
Cilla Black (Benidorm)... Episodes finale... 30Rock Live...
The Chris Rock Show (Sky Atlantic).
ROT on TV: Giles Coren and Sue Bloody Perkins – smugger than
Peter Mandelson in a hall of mirrors... clapped-out Question
Time... Heather Trott - a fat lot of good; Trott off!
THE USA declared war on drugs in 1982, but on the evidence
of Ross Kemp: Extreme World, Chicago has surrendered. Heroin
is everywhere, even suburbia. Ross met junkies, dealers, hookers
and cops. Needles went into veins, junkies had seizures and
we saw inside a ‘chop house’ where pure smack was being cut
with crap by topless women in surgical masks. I guess you know
you’re too far gone when you don’t notice they’re topless...
It was good as far as it went, but didn’t ask if the misery
stems from the drug itself or the black market on which it is
*RE Anne Robinson on My Life In Books, shouldn’t that be My
Life On Botox?
*BIG Brother’s Makosi has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
The first clue came when cops watched her on Big Brother.
*KATE Garraway, discussing allergies on Daybreak, revealed:
“They don't do the prick test anymore.” Which I suppose explains
how Adrian Chiles ended up on there...
*TOLD Only Way Is Essex dimbo Amy went to private school,
Alan Carr ad-libbed: “I hope you kept the receipt.”
*BIG Love features a Mormon with three wives, one played by
Jeanne Tripplehorn. Tripplehorn? That’s what he needs!
*AS we finally (!) rescue our people from Libya, spare a thought
for British citizens stranded in another hostile environment:
Walford. These poor wretches are either robbed or corrupted
by evil hell-cat Janine, or terrorized by local despot Phil.
Revolution is the only solution.
Mysteries: why wasn’t When Teenage Met Old Age a Peter Stringfellow
documentary? Why did Cameron go to Egypt? At least Lord Strathclyde
would’ve joined the Nile High Club.
SMALL joys of TV: The midget hit-man on Mad Dogs. A happy
ending for Corrie’s Leanne after her Big Flat Dipso Wedding
blessing disaster. Kate Walsh (OK!TV). An Audience with Ken
Dodd. Distinguished broadcaster Michael Buerk being required
to read the words “open a can of whoop-arse” on Louie Spence’s
RANDOM irritations: size-zero fashion freaks. Andrew Marr
being paid £600K a year – that’s about £1 per viewer. Janine
Butcher remaining unslapped. TV’s one-sided reporting of the
busy-body campaign to drive up the price of booze. (I drink
as much as the next man, as long as the next man is Shaun Ryder).
Feb 20. COMICS have a hard time fronting the Brits, so this
year ITV hired James Corden instead. The result was one of the
creepiest moments ever seen at the annual pop industry bash:
Corden stroking Justin Beiber’s face and telling the sixteen-year-old:
“You smell amazing.” He went on: “How old are you? Wow, look
at your eyes.” It was like he’d been possessed by the spirit
of Jonathan King. Just as well his sister Ruth wasn’t on hand
with a bucket of lube.
JC did get one laugh though, when he described the new Vivienne
Westwood-designed statuette as the “Stop Climate Change Brit
Award.” I thought it looked more like it should come with batteries
and a multi-speed setting, but eco-awareness was the key. Presumably
that’s why James grinned his fat head off when Cee-Lo Green
told him he’d flown in from LA by private jet... It’s hard to
imagine a bigger ‘F You’ to the green lobby, unless he’d stopped
off in China to open up a few new car factories on the way.
It’s unlikely that Rihanna came by sailing ship either. Or that
she was too chuffed when Corden charmlessly invited home viewers
to take solo pleasure in her performance. You never got that
kind of wit from Tim Rice. Or even RuPaul.
Over-all, it was a dull evening; even the voice-over woman
sounded bored. Only the choreographers took chances. Take That,
receiving their 197th Brit award, turned up with sixty dancing
riot police presumably fresh from the streets of Cairo. Tragically
they failed to either kettle Arcade Fire or turn water cannons
on Fearne Cotton. Plan B staged a theatrical arrest-and-trial
routine, where a cop ended up on fire. Shame Gaga wasn’t there
in her egg. They could have poached her.
The blazing copper went down well. Very bold, very dramatic.
How the industry bosses cheered. But will they be quite so happy
when some toe-rag nicks their Bentleys?
There were no autocue disasters, no drunken disgraces, and
nothing remotely like rock music. Tastes change of course, but
it’s hard to believe the nation’s youth are hooked on such gutless
pap. Simon Cowell’s narrow definition of what popular music
should be has infected the whole industry. I can’t have been
the only viewer who as well as hoping for a Jarvis moment, was
also praying for a quick blast of Five Finger Death Punch.
*WHAT was Plan B’s plan A by the way? Was it to speak in a
normal London accent?
*AT least Bafta had a little incompetence. Rosamund Pike and
Dominic Cooper coped so badly with autocue problems that even
Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood were laughing at them. Hey Ros, you’re
an actress, love; would it hurt to learn the lines?
*ON MasterChef, a female contender revealed: “I’m experimental
at home with my husband.” Talk about over-doing the sauce! Somewhere
Richard Keys was asking who’d smash her potatoes... The show’s
been given an X Factor (Eggs Factor?) make-over, complete with
tears, fake tension, and anxious relatives. It’s an awful lot
of fuss about knocking up a bit of tea.
*GREGG was excited by the idea of cooking fish in a thin layer
of bread. It’s an entirely novel concept that culinary experts
like to term ‘fish-fingers’.
*HERE’S how bad EastEnders is: even their fat bird isn’t jolly.
Poor Heather Trott’s life is going right down the Benghazi:
broke and desperate, unable to keep her baby warm, living off
biscuit crumbs, tempted to steal from her friends, overcome
by carbon monoxide fumes... Truly you’d need a heart of stone
not to laugh. Tuesday’s episode was meant as a savage indictment
of life in Coalition Britain. Except why exactly is Hev so hard-up?
She does three jobs, one of them cash in hand; she gets money
from Darren and is entitled to benefits, tax credits and income
support. Surely that’s not all going on cheese and Wham memorabilia?
Asthmatic Hev abandoned George and caught a tube to her Mum’s
old flat. Then she ran all the way back. It was part Mike Leigh,
part Fit Club audition. Miraculously she reached her baby before
Ronnie had time to swap him for a dead one. Even more miraculously,
the cash Shirley had pinned to her front door hadn’t been swiped.
There have been worse episodes, but not many. Judging by the
shaking, the cameraman had to down a quart of gin just to get
*HEV’S life was endangered by a dodgy old boiler. Insert the
Shirley gag of your choice here...
HOT on TV: Stephen Graham as Al Capone (Boardwalk Empire)...
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)... Robson Green (Being Human)... Jane
Danson and Chris Gascoyne (Corrie).
ROT on TV: MasterChef – more over-egged than Lady Gaga...
The Brits: pop’s gift to rhyming Slang... Heather’s torment
(EastEnders) – like “Dickens for today”, we’re told; yeah, Bleak
*LADY GaGa arrived at the Grammys inside a giant egg. Why
didn’t Madonna think of that? She was always over-easy.
*Beth Ditto had a similar costume: a giant Scotch egg perched
on top of a wheelbarrow full of chips. Unfortunately by the
time she got there the entire ensemble had mysteriously vanished...
*TREME? Wonderfully made, but not for me. If I want trad jazz,
indecipherable accents and rambling stories I’ll go to Ronnie
RANDOM irritations: Jimmy Carr’s laugh. Graham Norton’s laugh.
10 o’Clock Live’s lack of laughs. Stephen Fry getting Led Zeppelin
walk-on music at the Baftas. Fry’s hair – if he’s that smart,
he’d buy a sodding comb. Sally Bercow – berk; Kathy Lette –
SMALL joys of TV: Jodie playing Twister (EastEnders). Lorraine
Pascale’s hot buns. Eggheads featuring a team of sexual health
nurses and one of the answers being “Clapometer.”
SEPARATED at birth: Terry Scott and Kat Moon? One a popular
big-faced clown; the other Terry Scott... One’s screen partner
was Whitfield, the other’s is just whiffy. Alfie’s worn the
same clothes for eight years.
*SO refugees fleeing doomed planet earth on Outcasts remembered
to pack vinyl records and confetti, but forgot: lipstick, blusher,
pastel-coloured clothes, walkie-talkies, and a sense of humour...
They would have brought along one of those old-fashioned gramophones
with the large horn attachment, if anyone in the cast was worth
having a large horn for.
*THOSE Corrie Valentines in full. Leanne to Peter: ‘Oh Pete,
I’m always thinking of you, no matter who I sleep with.’ Nick
to Leanne: ‘Valentine, would you be mine – if I paid you?’
*UGANDA is officially the World’s Worst Place To Be Gay. The
best places? San Francisco, Hampstead Heath, the House of Commons,
Feb 13. Hermione Norris plays stern security chief Stella
Isen in new sci-fi series Outcasts. Not the kind of ice-cold
Stella you’d need to get through BBC1’s latest let-down.