Friday, December 22, 2006

The Sloppy Dog 2006 Honours List

And so we come to our final countdown of 2006. We had initially decided to compile two separate Heroes and Villains lists, but in the spirit of Christmas, we realised lil baby Jesus wouldn’t approve of such negativity, plus we figured the Villains list would probably just read exactly the same as Santa’s naughty list – Grace, Javine, Harvey, Galloway... we’re predicting coal in a few stockings come Monday.

So instead, behold The Sloppy Dog 2006 Honours List, where we celebrate ten radiant examples of humankind. Bear in mind though, this is The Sloppy Dog – if you’re looking for war heroes and charity workers, we suggest you wait for the Queen’s selection.

Also, FYI, we decided Roseann McBride was exempt from our Honours List – we couldn’t justify the inclusion of someone for reasons of evil.

But enough chit-chat! Without further ado, we bring you, in no particular order, The Sloppy Dog 2006 Honours List...

Kevin Smith
Aside from being the official favourite filmmaker of The Sloppy Dog, 2006 has proved that this genius does not require celluloid to showcase his superiority. His blogs alone – mere ramblings via MySpace – are both thought-provoking (if you revel in sarcasm, irony and low culture, as we do) and hilarious (if you’re a sewer-minded juvenile, as we are). Emperor Kevin of New Jersey, we bow down to you.

Shining like a bleached blonde beacon in a houseful of pricks, pariahs, princesses and pretenders, Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace was the one true star of this year’s Big Brother. We’ve heard that a number of BB7 housemates will somehow be involved with the upcoming Celebrity edition – we’re crossing fingers, toes and vital organs that Ash will be partaking. 2006: the year the world was told to know itself.

Lady Sovereign
One of the most refreshing artists to emerge in aeons, a bizarre lack of interest has delayed her proper launch countless times. Hard to believe it’s knocking on three years since Sad Arse Strippa had us rolling around with laughter, and we’re only just able to get her album on small-scale release now. Tut-tut, music industry. Authentic, amusing, talented and very, very British, the Sov will inherit the Earth.

That random whale in the Thames
...who never actually seemed to pick up a name, which is fairly bizarre considering we live in a place where cars, giant bells, and lottery draw machines all have human monikers. The whale’s inclusion in our list is more of a memorial than anything else, though we can’t help but respect the colossal enigma he gave as a parting gift. An entire city was left questioning where exactly the whale was going, which is quite an achievement for something with a blowhole. Our money’s on Hampton Court – there’s a Zizzi’s with a lovely river view there...

In the odd little world that exists in our mind, this gem of a bloke has just been crowned the winner of The X Factor, and is releasing a self-penned pop/rock classic, as opposed to a poor man’s Beyoncé churning out an insipid cover. We much prefer that little world in our mind – it’s a fun and fucked-up place. Y’all come visit us there sometime, ya hear?

Alex & Alexa
We have no problem addressing our aversion to Simon and Miquita. The former is a two-trick pony that once stole a joke from us, and the latter is nothing more than the pathetic grooming bird to his African elephant. Thank the Lord, then, for Alex Zane and Alexa Chung, the saviours of terrestrial pop television. Highlights include Daz Sampson’s oblivion during a pisstake centred entirely on him, and Nelly Furtado’s Big Ones which saw her leaving the set in hysterics, having dumped a plate of mini Scotch eggs over Alex. The torch of hangover TV burns bright.

The Cast of Avenue Q
Well, maybe this should be more dedicated to the creators of Avenue Q – but again, in that crazy place in our minds, Avenue Q and its residents actually exist. That said, we’re not sure what’s more worrying – that we realised we’re cruel enough to relate to every single lyric of the hilarious Schadenfreude song, or that we agreed so fervently with the opinions of puppets.

Melanie C
Aside from her presence during one or two Emma-encouraging stints on Strictly Come Dancing, us Brits haven’t seen a whole lot of Sporty this year, and that’s precisely why we love her. Rather than allow the UK scabloids to piss her off, she’s conquered the rest of the continent, having scored Number Ones all over Europe through 2006. We were lucky enough to catch her during the Live @ Sunset festival in Zurich, looking and sounding better than ever, prompting us to think of this whole process as her own dignified way of saying “eat shit and die, Victoria Newton”.

E4 Music
Granted, some of the presenters are crying out for a good hearty slap in the gob, but look past the chin, nostrils and smugness, and you’ve got the best music channel in Britain today. Tearing up predictable playlists in favour of a fresh, intelligent mix; worthwhile, relevant music programming; sackloads of personality courtesy of the outstanding on-air material... this is how music telly is done. *cough*MTV UK*cough*

Richard Hammond
And to conclude, our tenth and final medal and scroll (albeit a symbolic medal and scroll – on our wages, a commemorative Toffo would be pushing the boat out). However, it should be pointed out that surviving a particularly nasty car crash isn’t the reason for the Hamster’s appearance. Although we’re cockahoop that he’s all mended (go surgeons), his placing is a simple effect of being the most likeable bloke on telly. Seriously, can you think of anyone the nation would rather go for a pint with?

So, there we have it. A year’s worth of rantings, adoration, bitchery, fawning and general jibba-jabba noises in print form, all summarised in a selection of neat little lists. Well, about three months short of a year, but who’s counting?

We’ll be back in the New Year, just in time for Celebrity Big Brother (fine-toothed comb and thesaurus of insults at the ready). Thanks for reading, commenting, emailing, or just surfing in by accident and fucking right off again.

See you in 2007. Merry Christmas! xx

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Worst of 2006: Singles

If we thought narrowing down the ten greatest songs of 2006 was a tough job, trying to determine the worst was even harder. Man alive, was there some SHITE released this year.

10. Fergie – London Bridge
What should have been a one-single gimmick for the Black Eyed Peas soon engulfed the entire band and its music, before heading out on a geographically-retarded solo career that bled the ears of the world. We take consolation in the fact that the painful Fergalicious never reached the shelves, but the dire London Bridge more than made up for it. The tuneless stamp of a pramfaced, handicapped Gwennabe, Fergie needs to get back to fluffing Will.I.Am before she’s beheaded at the Tower of London (which, incidentally, she probably thinks is either Canary Wharf or the Gherkin).

9. Infernal – From Paris To Berlin
Faceless, meaningless Euro-pus such as this would normally go in one ear and out the other, but there was no escaping the putrid stench of the Infernal ogre. As if the nightmare wasn’t bloodcurdling enough as it was, the World Cup “remix”, transposing Paris for London and focusing on manpig Wayne Rooney’s injured trotter, took the concept of shit to alarming new levels.

8. Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man
We’re not quite sure whether we’re more sick of hearing the track itself, or the wretched, badge-wearing banshee repeating ad nauseum how it’s a throwback to the 20s, 30s and 40s. Just to be clear, that’s a throwback to the 20s, 30s and 40s. Every fucking interview, people. Irritating, repetitive blasts of hellish horns provide the worst possible backdrop for a voice that leaves the most durable double-glazed windows in mere smithereens with her torturous vibrato. Back to the red lights of Hades with thee, whore of Satan.

7. Ne-Yo – So Sick
You’d think a boring song would just go straight over our heads, wouldn’t you? However, So Sick achieves such unfathomable new levels of boredom, indifference is altogether impossible. Being a genre where cliché and obviousness are rife, R&B has to be bloody good to escape the formulaic doldrums – yet in So Sick, Ne-Yo could almost be providing a parody that deliberately includes each and every one of these trite chestnuts.

6. Justin Timberlake – SexyBack
Sounding like four entirely different tracks playing at once – four shit tracks, it goes without saying – it’s a wonder how producer extraordinaire Timbaland even allowed his name to be attached to this tragedy, never mind be responsible for it. Once again, the supposed wonder of Justin Timberlake completely misses us. Tell us, is it us that’s wrong? How does no-one else hear this as utter novelty pigswill?

5. Orson – No Tomorrow
Demonstrating that the spirit of the vile New Radicals is alive and well, Orson spewed out this piss-poor example of shandy-swilling frat pop back in March, although the clueless radio stations that make up approximately 95% of Britain’s FM spectrum still haven’t found that stop button. And, in a further echo of the New Radicals slaying the career of Melanie C, the revolting behind-the-mixing-desk witchcraft of Orson has been let loose on the poor unsuspecting Sugababes. Good luck outside the Top 40, ladies.

4. Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Looking and sounding like the cheapest, nastiest pantomime in your local armpit of a theatre, the funniest part of I Write Sins Not Tragedies is the band’s fervent belief that they’re telling some sort of profound story. Their pockmarked little faces egotistically hanging on every uninspired lyric and irksome melody is truly a spectacle of hilarity. You’d have found more musicianship in The Noise Next Door.

3. The Dykeenies – New Ideas
“I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas / I’ve got a wealth of new ideas.” Well, fucking use a couple of them then, you tiresome, faux mid-Atlantic whingebags.

2. Robbie Williams – Rudebox
After more than a decade of unflagging arse-licking, the clueless British public finally open their shit-caked eyes to the horrors of Robbie Williams. The arrogant swagger that carried him through catastrophes such as Rock DJ and Radio finally ran out on the abhorrent Rudebox. The record company must shiver with dread every time he suggests including a rap, but his attempts on Rudebox carry him to new lows. Please Lord, let this be the backlash he has so long deserved.

1. Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker
It will come as no surprise to our regular readers to see the twisted, phantasmagorical, distressing acoustic abnormality that is Sandi Thom claiming the title of the year’s worst single. A song where she expresses her wishes to encounter her own parents in hormonal teenage form, complains about the length of footballers’ hair for no apparent reason, and gripes about the Internet despite it supposedly being the reason anyone even knows the name of this incompetent slagbeast.
Still, there is one thing that Sandi Thom does teach us – not only does God exist, but that God is a vengeful God. His anger knows no boundaries. First came the thunder and lightning, followed soon by plagues of flies, frogs, boils and locusts. Fire and brimstone hailed down upon the Earth, and just when the sinners had hoped mercy had been granted, then came I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair). REPENT! REPENT!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2006: Singles

In spite of some of the downright sickening discharge to seep into the charts this year, there’s also been an immense assortment of terrific music. Which undoubtedly is a good thing, but it made our final selection process all the more difficult.

Just a few of the magnificent tracks missing out on a placing include The Fratellis, We Are Scientists, Pink, The Upper Room, Amy Winehouse, Zero 7 and Lostprophets, but after much scrupulous forethought, we found our ten. Behold!

10. All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
Dismissed by many as part of the ominous emo influx, the same way they were dismissed a couple of years back as a post-Wheatus keg-rock cabaret joke, the All American Rejects power through regardless, transcending the lazy pigeonholing to make a contented, lively, casually genius work of art.

9. Outkast - Morris Brown
The fact that this breezy hip-pop lullaby didn’t even scrape the Top 40 is frankly preposterous. Nonetheless, Morris Brown is yet another envelope-pusher for Big Boi and Andre 3000, further proof that Outkast stand alongside Muse as one of the most ground-breaking, gifted and plucky acts in current music.

8. The Delays – Valentine
The mythological curse of the second album was all but obliterated by The Delays, replacing their grey echoes and wistful gazes into middle distance with a mightily ballsy pop album. Leading the charge was the awesome Valentine – overloaded with catchy hooks, brandishing a thumping bass, and headed up with soaring vocals, involuntary hip-jigging was invoked in anyone with functioning ears.

7. Arthur Baker & Tim Wheeler – Glow
This had the honour of being our Single of the Week twice in a row, and surprisingly not due to our own ineptitude (a postponed release date was the actual culprit). The harmonious handiwork of Tim Wheeler complete with added jet fuel made Glow one of the pivotal rock songs of 2006. And with the next Ash album due in Spring, we’re putting down the proverbial plastic sheets with excitement.

6. Beyoncé – Irreplaceable
Widely regarded amongst urban circles to be the worst thing she’s ever done, but since we don’t exactly have a residency at one of Oakland’s premier hip-hop venues, that shouldn’t be a problem. Between this and Ring The Alarm, Beyoncé Knowles has created the two greatest tracks of her solo career so far. Incidentally, if anyone happens to bump into MC Harvey over the holidays, feel free to serenade the tosspot with a verse or two of Irreplaceable. To the left, horse-fucker.

5. The Feeling - Fill My Little World
Given that 2006 was owned by The Feeling, at least one example of their finely-crafted musical perfection had to make an appearance here. It was an incredibly tough choice between this, Never Be Lonely and Sewn, but the rock sensibilities, jangly sunbeams and cordial longings of Fill My Little World eventually won out. We fully accept responsibility for any degree of overkill that may be on the horizon.

4. Phoenix - Consolation Prizes
Tuneful, handclappy pleasantry peppered with bursts of sober rock, Phoenix have crafted their ongoing labours into their finest creation so far in Consolation Prizes. It’s a wonder how so many of this year’s greatest tracks – Consolation Prizes included – went largely unnoticed, while some unspeakable tripe saturated playlists and ruled the charts. But we’ll save our bile for the Worst Singles list...

3. Guillemots - Trains To Brazil
Despite being lifted from the most depressingly disappointing album of 2006, Trains To Brazil is a man-sized portion of pure enchantment. Its initial release went over our heads, but luckily we were snagged second time around. It might be higher up our chart had it not encouraged us to purchase the puny album, but perhaps the untamed grandeur of this single is to blame for the rest of the album’s major inadequacies.

2. Cerys Matthews - Open Roads
Far from pioneering; boldly simple; uncharacteristically temperate; and a million miles from the vigorous, Cymrucentric, finely-tuned Catatonia. But when you’re presented with the most captivating, amiable, honest music ever to come out of the mastermind that is Cerys Matthews, you realise all of the above were mere quirks. The picturesque Open Roads set the benchmark for all female artists this year.

1. The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me
And finally, we arrive at the topmost track of 2006. Not content with putting in an appearance in our Albums list, one particular jewel in the crown of The Best Party Ever gleams ever so slightly brighter than the rest. From the bashful twinklings that open proceedings, to the merriment-heavy melody, to the adorably magnetic lyrics, to the screwball electro-country breakdown, Be Gentle With Me is, by an extensive margin, the greatest song of the year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Best of 2006: TV

With our rocky voyage through the unwelcoming ghetto of television’s worst bits complete, the return journey sees us sat in first class, with breathtaking views, reclining seats and complimentary champagne. It should be noted that this list was compiled prior to the outstanding Ghosthunting With Girls Aloud – a spectre taking orders from an impatient Cheryl Tweedy must surely go down as a truly legendary moment in televisual hilarity. But we digress – there’s a countdown to get on with....

10. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
It’s always nice to see entire pillocks given a kick-up the backside, especially when it’s dressed up in culinary prowess and business sense rather than for plain amusement. Gordon Ramsay himself is pure entertainment bullion in Kitchen Nightmares, displaying far less self-indulgence than on The F-Word, although each sentence remains punctuated with gratuitous profanities. Having once worked with him, we can report he’s actually jolly nice – one can only assume the interaction with complete imbeciles (i.e. people that aren’t us) induces the furious green Hulkage.

9. Big Brother
We couldn’t have become more involved in this year’s Big Brother if we’d have applied (citing the crucial passwords “I’m a hairdresser, but I want to be a presenter”, “I’m mad, me” or “I’m like Marmite – you either love me or hate me”) and entered the madhouse ourselves. While Davina McCall’s increasing lack of impartiality is vexing (sit back on your fence, woman – you’re the bloody host), the line-up of preposterous creatures inhabiting the house pooled with the sheer wickedness of the producers made for one demented summer’s viewing.

8. The Catherine Tate Show
It’s been justly argued that the third series has been considerably hit-and-miss, but from where we were sat, the faint misses were far outweighed by the hysterical hits. Among the memorable series highlights were Georgie, the Mother Teresa of the North-East; Mrs Taylor’s appearance on The Paul O’Grady Show; the Northern Irish gay-friendly mother (quotes from which we strive to drop into everyday conversation since), and by far the greatest moment of Tate’s career since Lauren vs McFly, the ‘translating’ woman.

7. Equator
Heavens above! How did this get in here? An item of highbrow, enlightening television? We thought the Sloppy Dog telly had a filter for such filth! Alas, our learn-proof blinkers are clearly defective, but Equator verifies shiny floors and pyros don’t have a monopoly on entertainment. Helmed by the comparatively young ‘n’ trendy Simon Reeve (effectively Clark Kent sans superpowers), this voyage around the waistline of the globe made for a fascinating watch. Still, we feel like we need to dumb it down to fully justify its appearance here, so we’ve chosen to interpret this as a grown-up version of Willy Fogg.

6. Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe
Slagging off the worst of today's television with a panache we can only froth over, Charlie Brooker’s precise and hysterical investigation of contemporary telly translates across every form of media. His US special was a particular highlight – the American audience responding to The Bill and Birdwatch prompted a million Union Jack flags to crumple in on themselves in shame, but his forthright analysis of R. Kelly’s near-indescribable genocide-in-DVD-form Trapped In The Closet was worthy of a knighthood. Ironic how some of the best telly comes from insulting all the rest.

5. Torchwood
It was a incredibly tough decision between this and Doctor Who, as we only wanted to include one of the two in our Top Ten. C’mon, we’re not sci-fi geeks here at The Sloppy Dog *stuffs Once More With Feeling soundtrack down side of sofa*. However, it was the grisly fantasy of Torchwood that ultimately won out, solely because we’ve witnessed it turn a 29-year-old man into a giant trembling globule of anxiety.

4. My Name Is Earl
With the departure of Friends and the excellent Arrested Development being fatefully light years ahead of itself, US sitcoms – once a mighty staple of The Sloppy Dog’s visual diet – had few representatives on these shores. Mercifully, the genius My Name Is Earl cements its place as one of the greatest imports in years. Jason Lee proves his versatility as an actor, taking on the guise of hee-haw hero Earl Hickey in an inspired comedy which ticks every single box ranging from reserved satire to brilliantly-executed slapstick.

3. Little Miss Jocelyn
Another example of a sketch show with a somewhat haphazard consistency, but when Jocelyn Jee Esien is good, she’s exceptional. Jiffy the traffic warden was a brilliantly-observed tale of jobsworth cuntery; in the Omwokwopopos, we had a trigger word that when uttered would produce an eruption of agonising laughter; and no other person on Earth would even think of – let alone get away with – asking Floella Benjamin if she’s Mutya. But the real money shot of the series was the uproarious weave-off, a sketch so visually hysterical no words can begin to describe. So go buy the DVD here instead.

2. Lost
You’d be hard pushed to find a more frustrating, maddening, confusing television show than Lost. But in fairness, we wouldn’t get as frustrated, maddened and confused as we do if it wasn’t so damn good. Exhilarating, astounding and mesmerising at the same time, we can even excuse the involuntarily hilarious Brixton scene amidst the overall brilliance. Having seen the first few episodes of the third series, it seems the aforementioned confusion levels tower above all other facets – expect us to be a wibbling mess clutching fistfuls of hair by the summer.

1. Kath & Kim
A slow-burner for some, and entirely unfunny for others, we can appreciate that Kath & Kim isn’t for everyone. But to those people, we say, quite frankly, fuck you. The wittiest, cleverest, most original and most quotable television show in years. Take note, readers: for Christmas, we want a nice statue of little baby cheeses, a man-bag, a kardonnay, a threw for our carch, a plunger in our Bodum, and to be effluent. Long may the foxymorons of Fountain Lakes induce boisterous, bellowing laughter through the corridors of Sloppy Dog Towers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Sloppy Dog's Worst of 2006: TV

Right, time for some full-on seasonal bitterness. Come with us, dear readers, on a journey across television's rotting, reeking wastelands...

10. Boys Will Be Girls
It would be easy to stumble into a cliché along the lines of how this sounded like a good idea, but let’s call a spade a spade – a girl band assembled from the carcasses of obsolete boy bands is one of the worst ideas in the history of the small screen. They should have hedged their bets when a member of bloody VS made his excuses at the last minute – when the undernourished, flea-riddled rodents jump ship, you know it’s time to lower the lifeboats.

9 & 8. Top of the Pops and CD:UK
It actually saddens us to include two once-great shows in our hallowed list o’ shite. The world’s finest and longest-serving music show, and its cheeky, fresh, pretender-to-the-crown that became an iconic pop institution in its own right. However, both went to the great digibeta recycling facility in the sky when the respective production teams failed to generate a lone original idea between them or know a single thing about current music. Rather than bow out with dignity, both CD:UK and Top of the Pops ended on the lowest, trumpeting wet fart of a note conceivable.

7. Eastenders
Admittedly, not a show we’ve seen a great deal of this year, yet the few occasions we’ve been exposed have had a devastating effect, not unlike that topical radiation stuff we can’t recall the name of. Dire scripts, long departed characters continuously playing the bad penny... but the ultimate shark-jump comes via the downward spiral of Pauline Fowler, from barrow-forged matriarch to grousing fishwife to sinister over-matured fraudster. Next stop, sexual deviation, crack addiction, wiccan dabblings and cannibalism.

6. The Jeremy Kyle Show
We adore the Tittybangbang sketch featuring the pramface sea-monster desperate to appear on Jeremy Kyle – speaks volumes about the calibre of guest and presumably the viewers. Essentially a platform for an arrogant, condescending tosspot to candidly shit upon humanity (a social group which he apparently transcends), never has one man prompted use of the word “cunt” from so many people. The modern-day equivalent of a public hanging, though the one person with the noose around his neck should be Kyle himself. Cunt. (See?!)

5. Unanimous
Perhaps if we had an explanation of how this format actually works, we wouldn’t resent it so much. Is it a reality show? Is it a quiz show? How exactly do they win the money? Why the hell can’t they just split it and be done with it? Who’s the all-knowing Zordon-like guy in the monitor? Have Endemol fucked up once again? Do we actually give a flying fuck?

4. All You've Got
MTV’s atrocious tale of high school volleyball team rivalry genuinely displayed some of the worst acting and dialogue we’ve seen in years. Believe us when we say you haven’t seen bad television until you’ve witnessed All You’ve Got’s horrendous training montage, which not only ticks every high school movie cliché imaginable, but features the Hail Mary being recited over 1 2 Step. Seriously.

3 & 2. Hollyoaks and Hollyoaks In The City
Another tie in our list, these twin-headed trolls of Merseyside, massacre and masturbation continue to plummet to new depths. As if the low-rent, gauche, desperate teatime show wasn’t making us throw up in our mouths enough, we’ve cruelly been bestowed with a late night spin-off (namely the above with the odd tit and tenuously-uttered F-words). Starring the finest offal of the acting world, including professional undresser Philip Olivier, and Grim Kym Marsh ‘playing’ a discounted prostitute, it’s time one of those perennial budget-busting explosions wiped this God-awful franchise off the screens for good. Still, it’s always intriguing to see how many cup sizes Gemma Atkinson has increased by since her previous scene.

1. The Frosties ad
While not actually a TV show, it’s been head and shoulders above its nearest rivals the single worst thing to pollute a television set throughout 2006. The song that refuses to vacate your internal jukebox for a month after just one listen, the grave mistake of confusing “bowl” for “plate”, the wildly-flailing arms atop the cherry-picker that you so desperately yearn to malfunction and send the little twat into orbit... if this alone didn’t send sales of advert-skipping hard drive recorders through the roof, nothing will. “They’re gonna taste great”, you say? After this devastating cesspit, we can’t imagine Frosties to taste like anything other than a compound of mud, earwax and PURE EVIL.
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