Thursday, May 31, 2007

Honking Box Review: Big Brother 8 Launch

You know, it's actually scary to consider how many of the Big Brother cliches mentioned in our glossary were uttered throughout last night's launch episode. Every year, you can rely on the consistency of that neverending supply of fame-hungry imbeciles willing to throw themselves to the lions. Fingers crossed it never dries up.

So, what of this year's Housemates? The all-female twist is certainly an interesting one - and would have been even more so had it not been leaked by the scabloids - although could get old real quick. And not least because of the actual selection of ladies chosen to inhabit the day-glo asylum...

Sam and Amanda - effectively Lauren Laverne split in two, sneezed upon by Claire's Accessories, and possessed by Chip 'n' Dale - have already proven to be criminally annoying, and are likely to last approximately half an hour. Annoying on a somewhat different level is so-called 'rave hippy' Tracey, who at this stage, appears to be equal parts Donny Tourette and Jackiey Budden.

While we'd rarely condone the booing of Housemates before they've even entered the house, it was hugely amusing to see self-appointed It Girl Charley jeered for not having a job. Perhaps this is the start of a new national pastime - hordes of loons waving banners sporting Scott Mills Show in-jokes gathered outside the Social Security office, hollering pantomime abuse at anyone trudging in to sign on.

The opening note alone of Truesteppers' Out Of Your Mind invoked a high-pitched squeal of Spice-related excitement. Had we known it was to illustrate someone named Chanelle, we might have held back. That said, we feel a strange affinity with Chanelle - as one of the three other people to own Victoria Beckham's criminally underrated first album, it's difficult to feel anything other than unfaltering solidarity.

But our favourite at this early stage is 60-year-old Lesley, whose expression began to scream "what am I fucking DOING?" louder and louder as yet one fuckwit dolly-bird after another tottered through the front door on glittery heels. But we feel the entire night is summarised in a text received from a friend approximately 45 minutes in: "I am dry-wretching watching these sad scutters", a sentiment presumably echoed by the majority of the viewing audience. And yet, we'll nonetheless be glued to the box once the lone male enters Oestrogen Towers on Friday. Let the dry-wretching commence.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Honking Box Preview: Big Brother 8

It may have escaped your attention that a show called Big Brother is making its return to our screens tomorrow night. Actually, sarcasm isn’t necessarily required, as the launch of Big Brother 8 has been upstaged by the ongoing aftermath of the last Celebrity Big Brother, where it’s finally been confirmed that Jack Tweed was indeed a filthy racist and a generally repulsive pig-fucker. Not that the latter required any corroboration.

Then again, all the negative repercussions of Celebrity Big Brother are, in turn, generating further publicity for Big Brother 8. Curse you, blasted irony! *waves fist*

…Yeah, as if we’re not worryingly excited for the launch of the new series. Each year, we swear blind that this will be the series that we’ll skip, but the lure of the opening night is always too great. So this year, we’ve chosen to concede defeat early on and turn The Sloppy Dog into the Big Brother vehicle that it’s destined to become anyway.

While the scabloids have already begun to speculate on the Housemates, citing the usual suspects including “model”, “sex-mad gay bodybuilder” and “drag queen”, we’ve decided to go for a more useful tool to aid viewers during the launch night.

Those audition videos played prior to each Housemate’s entry supposedly provide an insight into their character, but history tells us that it’s rarely accurate. Take slack-jawed eejit Bonnuh from last year’s edition – an audition that will go down in history as the greatest one-minute VT of all time, yet, during her entire stay in the house, she uttered approximately three words. Only one of which was comprehensible.

So, with this in mind, we bring you The Big Brother Audition Tape Glossary – what you’re likely to hear, and what it really means…

“I’m mad, me! I’m just mad! You know how you can just be, like, mad? That’s what I’m like. I’m just totally mad! All my friends say I’m mad. And I am. I’m mad!”
“I’ll be voted out first.”

“My goal is to be a millionaire by the time I’m 30.”
“Yates’ PAs must bring in a few thousand quid a pop, right?”

“You either love me or hate me.”
“It’s safe to assume you’ll hate me.”

“I’m a model and promotions girl.”
“I work in a call centre, and once a month I hand out samples of Robinson’s Fruit Shoot in Manchester Piccadilly Station.”

“I don’t take no shit from anyone. If anyone fucks me off, I’ll get in their face and fucking tell them. I’ll absolutely rip you to fucking shreds if you get in my way. If I hate you, I’m gonna fucking tell you exactly what I fucking think of you.”
“Would you all like to share my Galaxy?”

“Why does everyone have to be either gay or straight? There’s no such thing as gay or straight or bisexual. We are who we are, and I’m not willing to live in a pigeonhole.”
“I’m a big ol’ bummer.”

“I want to be a presenter.”
“Are my norks big enough for a Nuts spread?”

“My little boy is the most important thing in my life, and I’m doing this for him.”
“Oh fuck it, the little shit lives with his Nan anyway. Who wants a butcher’s at me flange?”

(Be sure to keep an eye on The Sloppy Dog for regular occasional updates rants on the Big Brother 8 devastation shenanigans.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Single Reviews 28/05/07

So, this has been a miserable pissflap of a Bank Holiday weekend, hasn’t it, readers? But fear not about the rain, for The Sloppy Dog is about to bring some sunshine into your lives, via this week’s Single Reviews. Well, not so much sunshine as a wind-battered brolly, but still.

Kiss You Off wisely sees the omnipresent Scissor Sisters utilising the vocals of Ana Matronic, relieving any potential overkill by placing Jake Shears’ falsetto trill on the back burner. After last year’s most overplayed song plus two worryingly substandard singles, it’s a much-needed return to first album grandeur.

Bob Sinclar’s recent years have seen him get progressively more shite with each single released. Continuing his vertical career plummet is Sound of Freedom, effectively some oafish thumping and a whole shower of fuckwits shouting, gelled together around Everybody’s Free by Rozalla. Truly repellent.

Speaking of faceless 90’s dance, anyone remember Grace? A random blonde bird cooing a song called Not Over Yet over a chart house generi-fest? Well, scratch it from memory. Rehashing the name for much better purposes are… um… Grace, whose first-rate, pop-severe guitar nugget Slowly rightfully lays claim to our Single of the Week.

Lastly, the latest wispy Tampax singer to follow in the Birkenstocked footsteps of Lucie Silvas and Sandi Thom is 22-year-old Laura Critchley, whose debut Sometimes I is the lowest form of weak, content-free fluff. Like a Natasha Bedingfield CD decorated with ribbons, seashells and glitter using an eight-year-old bottle of Gloy Gum, it’s highly unlikely we’ll need to worry about this one hanging around for long.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pussycat Dolls: The Search For The Next Doll (27 May)

The calamitously shitty Bank Holiday weekend weather means that possibly more people than usual will have seen the chronically non-grand finale to The Search For The Next Doll, a show undertaking the hunt for a new Pussycat Doll. We’d have tackled it earlier, but we didn’t want to ruin the cataclysmic ending for those of you still watching. Unlike Popjustice, who revealed a few weeks back that Asia bafflingly nailed the job.

Yes, Asia Nitollano, who at 19, is technically young enough to be Carmit’s daughter. And as a mother herself (in every sense of the word), highlights that Carmit could, in principle, be someone’s grandma. Asia spent the best part of the show sporting a permanent pussybum about songs, routines, burgers, fellow competitors, and presumably the fact she looks like a Torchwood weevil appearing on Stars In Their Eyes as Brandy.

A truly bizarre result, we’re sure you’ll agree. Then again, the judging panel included pillocks such as apparent industry deity Ron Fair, who chided Sisely for being “like Debbie Harry”. Hang your head in shame, Sisely! How dare you attempt to bring the spirit of one of contemporary music’s greatest females to a band completely bereft of artistry? Notable other Ron Fair gripes: $100 bills for their high value, and water for being too wet.

Heaven forbid Anastacia - who positively reeked of genuine star quality - made it into the group. She ATE, for Christ’s sakes! Surely any viewer could see she had a problem? A shot of her eating some toast, followed by a scene from two weeks earlier of her enjoying a salad, chased by a shot where her hair was considerably longer, tucking into an apple. Well, the blubbery old Biffa!

In hindsight, Asia claiming that spare spot at the back next to Kimberly is a blessing. As long-term loathers of the Pussycat Dolls, enjoying this series to such an extent made it a rather uncomfortable pleasure. And had one of the more likeable characters made it, we’d have to re-evaluate our opinion of the group altogether. So, while it remains a mystery as to how she actually did it, the fact that the nastiest contender won the show means we’re given a fresh gallon of bile to direct at the Syphilis Six (or Seven now, assuming Melody’s still in there somewhere).

In short: congratulations, Asia. Long may every Pussycat Dolls song, video and live performance continue to resemble Band of Gold: The Musical. You’ve made the world’s shittiest girl group a whole lot shittier, and for that, we thank you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Single Reviews 21/05/07

Prior to this week’s Single Reviews, a brief open letter to Lily Allen: stop your whining, you miserable cow. It was Gordon Ramsay that implied you had a penis, not Cheryl Cole. We therefore challenge you to take Ramsay on, purely because we’d much prefer to see your awkward carcass flopped over his shoulder in the opening scene of next week’s F-Word, rather than a shot deer. Thanks! Love from The Sloppy Dog xx.

Somehow, Infernal are still going. Didn’t we cordially invite them to eat shit and die a second after we’d heard From Paris To Berlin? And yet here there are, squeezing out another foot-long curler of a turd onto the turntables of Romford. This one’s called I Won’t Be Crying, unfortunately not a sentiment that’ll be shared by anyone unlucky enough to actually hear it.

We’ve never taken Rihanna too seriously, even less so since it was pointed out to us that she looks like a token ethnic Bratz doll. Which is why we’re barely batting an eyelid at the arrival of Umbrella, hailed by numerous lesser other web outlets as nothing short of amazing. Aside from the fact the song is largely unremarkable in itself, her pronunciation of “um-ber-ella” is almost as grating as someone who pronounces chimney as “chimley”.

Let’s plaster over the fact Rihanna was once our Single of the Week - thankfully, we’ve come to our senses since then, and are pleased to bestow that honour upon the Pigeon Detectives this week. Shifting pace throughout, and bombarding your lugs with a frenzy of drums, I’m Not Sorry runs rings round the listener. Ending just as you’ve got your head around it, it provides a fantastic excuse to skip back to the beginning and allow the fun to recommence.

Seemingly in an attempt to distance herself from the devilish mugger persona carried throughout her Sugababes career, Mutya Buena comes over all kinds of affable in the breezy, sugary Real Girl. We actually quite enjoyed ‘street’ Mutya, and are hoping she hasn’t dissolved into a syrup of feminine affirmation and Lenny Kravitz samples.

Well, this makes things easy - a song that reviews itself in the title. The Kaiser Chiefs would have to pull something incredibly special out of the bag to excuse the abysmal Ruby, which was on a musical par with passing wind and following through. Everything Is Average Nowadays, sadly, does exactly what it says on the tin. Get thee back to the drawing board, Wilson, we want another Na Na Na Na Naa.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Honking Box Review: Joey

Writing about Joey long after it's been given the chop in the States makes this Honking Box entry something of an epitaph. But with the second series finally commanding an airing on Five, we’re donning our black tie and comedy widow veil to examine closer…

Six episodes in, and it’s actually beginning to dither already. Sure, the first series was shakier than Judy Finnegan sat atop an Indesit in the throes of a particularly violent spin cycle, but at least it felt like there was a bit of enthusiasm behind it.

While comparing it to Friends perhaps isn't hugely fair, we're going to do it anyway. C’mon, merciless is fun. The climax to the first series of Friends saw Rachel at the airport ready to reveal her feelings to Ross, blissfully ignorant that he was on the other side of the Arrivals gate with Julie. The series cliffhanger between the first and second season of Joey saw Joey and Alex about to shag. Well, that'll bring the viewers back, eh?

The high expectations of Friends’ first cliffhanger were seen through exceptionally well. The superb timing, the cringe-inducingly awkward dialogue, the brilliantly-executed slapstick… it was merely the tip of the iceberg in what became one of Friends' greatest storylines. Joey, on the other hand, launched Series Two with a diluted feeling of clich├ęd morning-after embarrassment. Hardly likely to warrant any form of watercooler dialogue, let alone an Emmy, now is it?

Still, the characters remain hugely likeable - Gina, by far and away, is the star of the show, a sentiment carried over into Series Two with ease. Meanwhile, Alex, having spent the first series floundering as an uncomfortable presence of pointlessness channelling equal parts Rachel and Monica, is finally coming into her own as a needy singleton who fits effectively into the fold. All futile, of course, but credit where credit’s due.

Despite being a simple, easy-to-swallow light-hearted comedy, it feels uncannily like wandering through an infirmary. It has the stench of despair wafting through it, perhaps as a result of the guillotine being readied at the time of production - a similar feeling invoked when watching Lisa Kudrow's unspeakably brilliant The Comeback, though to a significantly lesser extent. Perhaps that's because, unlike Joey, they were ignorant of their imminent doom at the time. Or, more likely, because it's a far superior piece of television, but that’s neither here nor there.

Perhaps taking Joey out of the over-comfortable setting of Friends wasn’t something the public were going to warm to so soon after its end, but a bit more faith on the part of NBC would have answered whether that could change. On the evidence of recent episodes, it could well have done. But, once again, faceless TV bosses would rather watch a bar graph relating to inward-flooding revenue than anything resembling decent programming.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Single Reviews 14/05/07

Apologies folks, for it’s been yet another quiet week here on The Sloppy Dog. Now, what excuse can we give this time? We can’t even think of a suitable fib. Tony Blair steps down and all of a sudden, the nation loses its ability to bullshit - perhaps there's some sort of mythological connection, like that shite about Britain turning to dust if the ravens leggit from the Tower of London. Yikes. Single Reviews, then?

Jeez, Big Brovaz. Defeatist much? Sure, you got dropped and lost a couple of members and resorted to a shot at Eurovision where you finished below fucking Scooch. It’s not the end of the world - dust yourselves off and give it another shot. Don’t expel your female members to Booty Luv so they can half-arsedly release house twaddle like Shine, which frankly is something that could have been recorded 14 years ago by Alex Party.

Returning clumsier and more jarring than before - if that’s even feasible - The Cribs gob out another thick, oafish mess, this one entitled Men’s Needs (their bad grammar, not ours). The limp content is helped in no way by the bizarre mix of unwashed, mildew-caked pretentio-rock and horribly homosexual pronounciation. We don’t know what they’re more in need of - some new ideas or a good bath.

Snow Patrol’s first new material since last year’s underachieving Eyes Open comes in the form of Signal Fire, the theme tune to Spiderman 3. Given its role in pushing an epic, explosive action movie, it’s not quite fitting as the lead single. If you can endure the flimsy, flyaway verses and the all-too-literal references to rescue and safety, the chorus holds just enough gusto to see the track through.

And finally, the wondrous Mumm-Ra have successfully managed to claim Single of the Week yet again, with She’s Got You High reaffirming that they’re a band to get very, very excited about. A summery waft drifting beneath an affably jagged surface, the upcoming album couldn’t have asked for a better advertisement.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Single Reviews 07/05/07

Don’t you completely heart Bank Holidays? A whole extra day of holiday; a day’s break from working for The Man; not having to go into work; a full day off… it’s not the strongest argument in the world, granted, but we‘re probably not having to work too hard to convince you, eh? Plus, you lucky sons of bitches, you get the Single Reviews early…

It’s somewhat depressing to consider that a band containing members still in their teens are considered stalwarts of the modern music scene. Still, you can’t begrudge them - McFly remain one of the most consistent and capable pop acts of the moment, a sentiment underlined by the double A-side Baby’s Coming Back/Transylvania (the latter of which, if slightly gimmicky, easily wins a proverbial toss between the two).

After a deluge of heavily-indie Single of the Week choices, this week’s title goes to a woman who effortlessly towers above her R&B contemporaries. Amerie presents the ingenious Take Control, the perfect example in how to stage a comeback. Much like 1 Thing, the blasts of ballsy horns give this song its personality, though special mention must also go to the slinky vocals and the dirtily-twanged riff running beneath the whole circus.

The Maccabees sneak out from beneath the clumsy buzz piled upon them to provide us with a tune ironically worthy of the aforementioned buzz. The intense, violently-rattling drums sprint Precious Time along at an interstellar rate, making for a tremendous - if bloody knackering - four minutes.

Seriously, when did Faithless go from resolute champions of the mainstream dance genre to composers of BBC ident music? Music Matters is a low-key, lifeless affair that sinks into the background before it’s even begun. Though it’s novel to hear Cass Fox borrow the lead from Maxi Jazz, who’s somehow morphed into a half-trick pony in recent years, it’s just all very unexciting - perhaps not a major trait of house music…

Finally, take cover, as a commercial jet manned by cocksucking shop dummies and fuelled by mucky innuendo is about to explode somewhere around Helsinki this month. Yes, fucking Scooch are still back, despite our hopes that Justin Hawkins would take them out with an axe fashioned from guitars he no longer has use for. We’re not sure what’s more embarrassing - the fact that unjustifiable shit like Flying The Flag (For You) exists, or that it’s gearing up to represent Britain to a worldwide audience…

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Honking Box Review: The Apprentice

We're fully aware that The Apprentice has no shortage of coverage, most of which is far superior to The Sloppy Dog standard (particularly Grace Dent's outstanding commentary). Still, that's precisely why we're addressing the reality show it's ok to watch - we know how you scummy buggers love a bit of lowest common denominator.

After the hilarious gallery fiasco, the teams were this week challenged to sell British food to the French, which is like trying to sell pork to a Muslim. Oh, hang on...

Following on from our declaration during the Single Reviews that it's good to see Delores O'Riordan representing Ireland in the UK charts once again, it would seem that Kristina Grimes is an even better ambassador for Celtic aceness - multiple hats off for such an effective use of the word "eejit" on prime-time British television. Kristina now joins Tre on our list of favourite Apprenticees, although she's got her work cut out if she's to match the legendary "stupid titties and fish" genius of last week.

We're also waving a metaphorical banner for Adam, a man who's equal parts underdog and puppy-dog. Sure, he's a bit of a gobshite, but he's arguably the hardest-working and most level-headed contender in the boardroom, evidently traits spotted by Sir Alan, who's spared him the chop three times. Rather more worrying, though, is that Adam was once again the recipient of what appears to be some form of classism. The snorting, horse-faced trinity of Katie, Paul and Simon took immense pleasure in braying about Northern accents and car sales. Sorry Paul, would it help if he shared your magic ability to cook sausages over an ice cube?

Yes, this would be the same Paul who was described by fellow in-bred Sloanite and co-bumper-of-uglies Katie as "intelligent, capable and mature", a soundbite which was spectacularly well edited to accompany a shot of him dribbling. Can't put a plastic cup to his mouth, but believes he can herald in the new golden age of Amstrad.

But requiring a Winnie The Pooh sippy-cup was the least of Paul's problems. Sir Alan, his hench-pensioners, and most of the contenders were curious as to what sort of imbecile goes to Makro and comes out with their body weight in mass-produced cheese anvils. Sod that - what sort of imbecile goes to Makro and doesn't come out with a vat of Haribo sweets for just £3.29?

Fittingly, Paul got the boot. Katie's forlorn Moomin-face on learning the news was priceless. No more making foals in the attic for you, bitch. It's actually thoroughly satisfying to see the right people go each week, particularly when they think plummy accents will save them above someone 'regional' (perish the thought!). Of course, this theory will only hold weight until someone we like gets fired (although we're certainly not going to contest any decisions and risk facing the wrath of Margaret Mountford). *shudder*

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