Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | September 9, 2012

7th September, 2012

Well, that was quite a summer wasn’t it? I personally learned a lot. For example, I learned Ken Brannagh makes for a badass-looking industrialist. I learned that Boris Johnson and harnesses don’t mix. I learned that Prince Harry makes Charlie Sheen look Richard Briers. I learned that The Doctor’s new companion is brilliant and gorgeous. I learned that Catholic Archbishops can deliver messages from beyond the grave and regular Catholic bishops are ridiculously naive. And I learned that Russia is bloody terrifying.

But now, September is all up in our grill and everyone goes back to normal apart from Green Day, who use this month to have a good long kip. Perhaps the busiest man of the week is David “Every Two Years I’m Shufflin’” Cameron, who no doubt spent the early part of this week moving Subbutteo pieces with pictures of Tory MP’s around his table. When you’re dealing with about 100 government positions a full-scale reshuffle must be as unwieldy as Alan Partridge’s Soccermeter, and while he didn’t undergo a night of the long knives, he did do what every tourist does when walking from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street: he walked down Whitehall, then turned right. Justine Greening has been flown off out of Transport to International Development, replaced by midlands dweller Patrick McLoughlin, who would have to be proposing a ruddy big third runway to be personally affected by the current hot and heavy Heathrow debate. Elsewhere Kenneth Clarke has been replaced as Justice Minister by neo-Tebbit and traditional lifestyle advocating B&B enthusiast Chris Grayling, with Ken being made that strangest of things, a Minister Without Portfolio. Hopefully he’ll be given one before he goes back out on the canvas.

Of course the biggest move of the cabinet though was Andrew Lansley being shifted out of Health. “Great!”, shouted his many opponents, “A clean break from the dangerous meddling of the past!”. At least that’s what they might have been thinking before they realised amateur campanologistJeremy Hunt would be taking over, and not just because of his love of homeopathic medicine. They say politics is a numbers game, but in this case it’s very much of one of letters: a few months ago Hunt CC’d his BFFs the Murdochs about BskyB, now he’s running the NHS.

While the ministers on British government’s Magic Roundabout just about get their bearings, over in the States the national convention circus has been in full swing of late. Last week it was the Republicans’ turn, the highlight of which was Clint Eastwood causing viewers the world over to sniff their tea and wonder if something psychotropic had somehow slipped into it with a double act so bizarre it had everyone yearning for the good old days of Clyde The Orang-Utan. There are two types of people, said The Man With No Name in The Good The Bad And The Ugly, those with loaded guns and those who dig. Clint shot the GOP in the foot, and then kept digging.

But this week another elderly legend was causing the Republicans trouble. Philomena Lynott, the mother of Thin Lizzy legend Phil, has taken serious exception to messrs Romney and Ryan using his track The Boys Are Back In Town. Phillo, a woman never backward at coming forward anyway, chastised Romney for his anti-gay people, pro-rich people views, lengthening an historicallysprawling line of musical numbers that Republicans use to the chagrin of the people who actually recorded them. Meanwhile the Democratic convention, save for some controversy and embarrassment accommodating the comedy mother in law of American politics (God and Israel), was a much more lucid, genuine and passionate affair and had intro music from Stevie Wonder, Sly And The Family Stone, Chic, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Fleetwood Mac, The O-Jays, Daft Punk, Prince, The Temptations, Martha And The Vandellas and Bruce Springsteen. Turns out the DNC, like hell, is where all the good music is. They almost certainly have the next President too.

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Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | July 27, 2012

Olympic & Mix: Opening Ceremony Live Blog Special

12:40am – Well that was awesome. And now, as Paul McCartney plays us out, I shall bid thee good night. Don’t let those bogeymen from earlier interrupt your sleep too much.

12:30am – Now would not be a time for sweaty palms.

12:27am – Here comes the torch! Ali not lighting it this time, but he’s still The Greatest. Meanwhile, David Beckham’s life is just one big episode of Miami Vice.

12:12am – In other news, a Tory MP made a real prat of himself tonight.

12:04am – How nice, a Beatles song with Wings.

11:58pm – And now we’re finished, with So Sold Crew / Team GB coming out. Meanwhile, The Queen and Prince Philip cannot give two solid fucks.

11:37pm – Camilla Parker Bowles’ WTF face is amazing.

11:28pm – Puerto Rico came out wearing all white, including hats. They looked like they were extras from Smooth Criminal, but it totally worked for them.

11:25pm – Great to see Palestine out there, taking pride of place. And to Mr Bluesky no less!

11:20pm – Man, seeing all these South Pacific teams really make me want to go there. Is there an open-top bus tour that do that kind of thing?

11:16pm – The Mexican team’s costume designer is presumably Jorge Campos.

11:12pm – This sure is taking a long time.

11:06pm – And here comes The Bolt! Wearing a flag holster though, the big pussy.

11:03pm – I now pledge allegiance to the proud nation of Independent Athletes.

10:59pm – Guinea-Bissau is so-called because it is located to the, eh, Bissau of Guinea?

10:54pm – Heh, Fiji’s walking on to The Bee Gees.

10:52pm –  Estonia looks like they’ve come from the future.

10:43pm – I can’t wait til Smack My Bitch Up is used as walking out music.

10:38pm – Cameroon: wearing wicked local costume. Canada: wearing awful Hollister stuff.

10:29pm – This whole element of the ceremony combines by two great loves: flags and walking.

10:19pm – Emili Sande there, extracting all your goosebumps by force.

10:12pm – And now it’s time for the flame. David Beckham has mad boating skills.

10:04pm – Reckon they’re getting it on in real life?

9:59pm – All the British classics here: Led Zep, The Kinks, The Beatles. Mud.

9:54pm – They better include Desmond’s in their TV montage.

9:50pm – Tonight, the Chariot of Fire is a yellow mini. Brilliant.

9:44pm – How are those kids supposed to get a good night’s sleep with blankets like that?

9:40pm Well this is terrifying. Sleep well kids!

9:35pm –  And here comes the dancing!

9:32pm – Obviously, Bond didn’t survive that parachute.

9:27pm – It took The Queen 17 takes to do that line, I bet.

9:25pm – Somehow, VT’s like this seem lacking without Terry Wogan being a smart alec over them.

9:22pm – Ken Brannagh’s character is awful bloody proud of himself, isn’t he?

9:18pm – London may run out of razors tonight, with all the actors pleased to finally have off their mutton chops.

9:12pm – “And now, the Industrial Revolution…THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF DANCE!”

9:10pm – This is just one big prog rock concert, this.

9:08pm – Danny Boyle including subliminal messages for rugby union to be an Olympic Sport by the looks of it.

9:05pm – Jesus, no pressure young fella.

9:03pm – Two balloons didn’t explode! The whole thing is ruined!

9:02pm – I bet all this was filmed by putting a camera on a duck.

8:59pm This is a very cool countdown. Ayeeeee!

8:57pm – All the orchestra people are wearing converse. Boyle, you renegade!

8:52pm – Andrew Marr: what a boss.

8:44pm – I presume this whole background is a loving tribute to Geoff Hamilton.

8:42pm – Those poor women have won three silvers in a row. That would really have to fuck you off.

8:39pm – BBC Three will be showing live coverage from 1am til 11pm. Those two hours in between will be HELL.

8:31pm – Paddy Power are taking bets on whether the Olympic Village will run out of condoms. Seriously.

8:26pm – Amir Khan’s watch had a patently unnecessary amount of jewels.

8:23pm – The chocolate and crisps spread here in the house is officially out. There are red, white and blue M&M’s, very confusing. Chocolate shouldn’t look like mints!

8:15pm – Pfft, The Red Arrows. That British Airways ad was way better.

8:11pm – Those fake clouds going past reminds me of the time I played a storm cloud in a school play. Feel a bit annoyed I wasn’t asked to reprise.

8:06pm – The GB track and field team are going to be in Portugal watching the opening ceremony. Suppose falling foul of shire horse effluence would be hard to explain.

7:58pm – Fanny Blankers-Koen won an Olympic medal while pregnant? And we were impressed that Usain Bolt won a medal on chicken nuggets.

7:53pm – Has Peter Jackson anything to do with this ceremony too? Because The Hobbit Village is looking well.

7:48pm – My prediction for the massive British name to be final torch-bearer tonight: Roger Bannister. Either that, or Great Uncle Bulgaria.

7:45pm – Here we go! Settling down to a good night’s watching. I’ve bought a good bit of sweeties in, because nothing says paying tribute to athletic achievement than chocolate buttons and fruitella.

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | July 15, 2012

15th July, 2012

On Twelfth Night, Belfast is hardly ever a midsummer night’s dream. Plenty of toil and trouble though.

It’s the kind of thing that would render a visiting committee from another planet speechless. One group of people celebrate culture by burning posters of Polish people and using Beach Boys tunes for evil outside a Church, while another group either get the hell out of Dodge or make an absolute hames of everything. And all for the love of having a good long walk, passing some shops and sitting in a field for a while.

That said according to the half hour highlights show I watched on the 12th The Orange People had a ripping time doing Orangey stuff in most parts of Northern Ireland. But while in the fields with the ice cream van and flute bands were in all was dandy, up at the field where their preferred football team play – Ibrox – all was far from Roy of the Rovers. Yup, in a move that most Celtic fans recklessly playing a footballing manager game deliberately would struggle to engineer, Rangers will be playing in Scotland’s third division, where the standard of play is such that Fr Romeo Sensini could probably be top scorer. But not to worry though, because Gazza is well up for playing. Someone pass the beer and roast chicken.

In a big week for controversial football announcements, it turns John Terry is not in fact racist, as “black cunt” must be a term of endearment in his village. Thankfully now he’s not racist he could always join The Fugees, as lord knows “Four Times!” will be his new nickname following a bizarre misunderstanding of what counsel was asking him.

Liverpool fans were up in arms at the ruling, comparing Terry’s case with that of Luis Suarez, but most of the miscarriage of justice fury was funnelled toward Mauritius, as the Michaela McAreevy trial ended with acquittal for the two men charged with her murder. It’s been a wrenching 18 months for her family and the case at times verged on the ridiculous, but you’d hope that people would, despite the obvious high emotion of the case, appreciate that locking any two guys up in the name of getting a conviction is hardly justice. Apparently not.

Over in the States Mitt Romney, who has made garbled, disingenuous political philosophy and distorting the truth something of an artform recently, may finally be bang to rights. Romney’s Presidential narrative goes that after years of being a job-creating white knight at the totally not evil-sounding Bain Capital, he left in 1999 to take over the Winter Olympics, where he created even more jobs, established peace among nations and shot brilliant light from his hands to light beacons for all mankind. But as with everything about Romney, not everything was quite as it seemed.

Democrats had been hitting Romney about Bain’s conduct outsourcing jobs abroad and asset stripping, and Mitt claimed he had nothing to do with any of that, because he had left by then and had nothing to do with the enterprise after 1999. Apart from still being its CEO and sole shareholder until 2002 that is. And now because this slight enormous discrepancy and massive hedge maze of lies is filed in government financial returns, he may have committed a felony. Usually Republican Presidents wait til they get to The White House before breaking the law.

Romney’s chances of getting the biggest job in the world are now amoeba sized, but Canadian student Vanessa Hojda might have some tips from him in turning around a bit of a disaster into a personal plus. While going about her summer job hunting she sent a cover letter and CV to a prospective employer, but something was amiss. Because instead of sending her CV, she attached a picture of Nicolas Cage.

Doing an instant mea maxima culpa she posted the mistake on her Tumblr, and in no time flat became an internet sensation and even got offered some jobs. Now excuse me while I send the head of Radio 2 a picture of Marisa Tomei.

 

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | July 8, 2012

8th July, 2012

Dear News Gods, thank you for your bounty this week.

I’m not one for hyperbolic statements, but this week’s news has possibly been the best, bizarrest, most lunatic string of stories ever. First, to the politics section.

In Poland the Mayor of Poznan guaranteed a seat on any council in Ireland after he put up ads round Dublin thanking the Irish fans who held camp in the town during Euro 2012 for being such a great bunch of lads. Coincidentally enough the Mayor of Limerick reached out to his his eatern European  subjects this week by floating the idea of having road signs in Polish. The spirit of the proposal is very progressive indeed, but he also expressed a wish to put up “African” signs. Either he means this, or we’re going to need bigger signs.

Staying with Mayors and in the Big Apple Michael Bloomberg may have all the money in the world, but it seems like he’s been scrimping on the pun writing division of his speech writing division. Elsewhere in American “who wrote this shit” news Joe The Plumber, the fifteen minutes of famer from the last Presidential election, is running for Congress. As is de rigeur, he’s released an ad. And it’s bloody terrifying.

You expect a conservative Republican gun-toting redneck pandering to constituents to register pretty high on the WTF scale, but you certainly don’t expect it from an Australian government minister. In the middle of a perfectly normal interview, Craig Costello was apparently overcome by the spirit of Richard O’Brien and Tim Curry, and started singing and dancing (well, sort of) right on the spot. Presumably, the chief whip was on his ass within minutes barring him from talking to the media ever again, or carrying around a boombox ready for musical set pieces for that matter. Meanwhile in North Korea Kim Jong Un has been busy making a song and dance of his own – quite literally – with the release of a new theme song. It’s not bad, in an 80’s kids TV programme about a superhero duck kind of way.

Normally that amount of japery alone would be enough to last you months, but this week the ridiculous news bucketed from the heavens in the way actual rain bucketed from the heavens all over England. Unsurprisingly, Tom Cruise is a major contributing factor.

After 6 years of marriage (though it seemed much longer than that, what must it have felt like for Katie Holmes?) Hollywood’s finest Stepford couple finally parted ways, with Katie appearing to cite “irreconcilable distaste for creepy cult boats” as the reason.  The next few weeks will be so sensational and wall-to-padded-wall bananas, it’ll make Dr Conrad Murray’s court case look like an hour long keynote speech about sandpaper.

If Katie wins her custody battle and gets all she’s entitled to, she may move to Ireland to avail of some of supermarket Centra’s amazing Children’s Allowances offers. Things like discounts on fruit and veg, lunch treats and, eh, booze? It may seem unorthodox, but it’s good to get kids into a routine: dinner time, bath time, bed time, Miller Time.

I’d be inclined to wonder what regenerated pro-life hallions Youth Defence think of such daft suggestions to use a youngin’s money, but it’s unlikely they have an opinion as they seem to be disproportionately obsessed with the pre-natal variety of children. They’ve been making an impressive nuisance of themselves of late with an obnoxious billboard advertising campaign, a nationwide roadshow and a considerable media and online presence. The online element (where they use an Irish Times quote describing them as “the cutting edge of the pro-life movement”, a quote from 1997) is particularly interesting, their website and Facebook page a mix of schlocky sentiment, having a go at “self-styled liberals” (as opposed to their preferred audience, conservatives dressed by their mothers) and frightening attempts at jocularity reminiscent of the camp counsellors in the Addams Family. Much has been made (by Youth Defence themselves) of their 58 thousand followers on Facebook, but it emerged this week that 38,780 of those are from The States, with a mere 9,280 from Ireland. Not that that will put any of them off, as Youth Defence are, in the words of one woman commenting on an article they recommended, “I can’t believe that so many people think it is okay to kill innocent babies!! Its not new news, but I am dumbfounded by the idiocity of people!!” Indeed.

Finally it may not be crazy news exactly but CERN in Geneva being almost certain the Higgs Boson particle does have some mad implications for the future of science. The discovery of the particle will give huge insight into the mysteries of the universe, and yet at the same time, Ulster Bank still can’t figure out how to pay people.

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | July 1, 2012

1st July, 2012

It was, by all accounts, a momentous occasion.

Two more unlikely people you could not imagine meeting, and while it got a bit awkward at times it truly was an honour to witness such an historic reach across the spectrum. I am of course referring to will.i.am meeting Miriam Margolyes, but in Belfast this week a similarly momentous conflab took place, between Queen Elizabeth and Martin McGuinness. A short couple of years ago the notion that those two would shake hands and be shown round a theatre together was about as unlikely as Babe joining the Air Force or Satan heavily investing in air conditioners, and its symbolic significance can’t be overestimated. But, by the time Queenie had hopped back for tea and EastEnders with the corgis, parts of Belfast had been submerged in kayak-through-the-streets levels of floodwater, and nobody was quite sure which of the various government organisations were responsible. In spite of all the residual problems years of turmoil has caused, maybe Northern Ireland isn’t that different from most democracies anymore.

Of course, not everyone was happy with Liz coming, so much so that a bunch of lads took a massive ruddy great tricolour and, in a sentence that sounds like it was lifted directly from an episode synopsis of Xena, placed it ceremonially on Black Mountain and pledged their loyalty to the goddess Eriu.

Such tribal rituals may seem a bit daft in this day and age, but compared to The States the Spides of Tiocfaidh (you may need consult a Belfast-Irish-English dictionary and have a working knowledge of 80’s horror titles for that one) are toga wearing supreme beings radiating light. This week the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare, a black-robed full stop at the end of one of the craziest sentences in American history. It now means that millions upon millions of people will have access to health insurance previously out of reach, although that won’t include treatment for dealing with Bolshevik Apocalypse Caterwaulers Sydnrome. In their firing line was Chief Justice John Roberts, who surprisingly voted against type and sided with the liberals on the bench.  Already they’re shouting SPLITTER! at him, so it’s only a matter of time before they claim he used the word Jehovah in his written opinion and stone him to death.

But even if they don’t get that lily-livered book-learned Chief Justice, US conservatives can always play the long game and just make sure the next generation end up as suggestive brain-dead automatons. The Republican Party in Texas (sure where else?) has included in their policy platform a resolution to scrap critical thinking, which apparently undermines students’ fixed beliefs and parental authority. Better still, even though the party now “regret” adding the resolution onto their platform (i.e. getting international press about it) since the proposal passed it can’t be changed until 2014. It’s hard to hear party hacks give out about critical thinking when their own isn’t even stable.

Across state borders in Louisiana, the Loch Ness Monster has made an unexpected appearance…in a science book. A textbook for “Accelerated Christian Education” (it’s more likely they just cut the brakes) is using Nessie as proof that God made the world in less time than it takes to get over a cold, thus disproving evolution. Although using a cartoon monster to disprove science is itself a pretty good example that Darwin was spot on. That said, I rather like the idea of being given an exam on this.

Speaking of reptilian dwellers of the depths, Barclays and a host of others banks (but mostly Barclays) are in a spot of trouble in this week. To be honest in my head most of the financial sector’s dastardly dealings have been consolidated into one unpalatable, unmanageable nightmare, but the thrust of it seems to be that Barclays fixed borrowing rates and colluded with other institutions to do so, pushing it down to make the bank look stronger than it was, and pushing it up to make more money. My financial education only extends to Junior Cert Business Studies, but that sounds like something that should be very illegal. And yet, while stock-reading gangsters evade genuine punishment for the umpteenth time, a man who flippantly tweeted has to hire a senior counsel to tell judges that he didn’t actually intend blowing up an airport.

For just the right balance of making a point and righteous indignation though look no further than Evelyn O’Connor, 2012 Irish Teacher of the Year and world-beating chopsbuster. For her acceptance speech she eschewed the normal three-page list of thank yous and Sally Field histrionics and instead took the state of Irish education, set her verbal charges and blew the shit out of it.

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | June 22, 2012

22nd June, 2012

There’s been a lot going on this week, almost as much as there is at this year’s Westport Festival which I am going to this weekend, the reason why this week’s edition has been brought forward. Ahem.

But I’m not the only one who’s in the mood for a bit of a jolly, as the G20 took place in some beautiful resort or other. I’ve always maintained that if they held these type of events in a hostel in the centre of Mexico City and not off in luxurious Los Cabos, there’d be a whole lot more achieved rather urgently.

Of course, seaside resorts have their benefits too: some of them can assist you in paying very little tax. Jimmy Carr was the surprise (yet somehow not exactly shocking) beneficiary of a tax avoidance plan on the island of Jersey (previously most famous for suave detectives) that has propelled him to the top of the news cycles. Carr has apologised for his “error of judgement” (read “error of being found out”) but, like the returns on a K2 scheme, the story just keeps getting bigger. David Cameron made an inexplicable error by commenting on, claiming his actions were immoral. This from the man who has entered the cone of silence when it comes to similar behaviour from his supporters Gary Barlow and Philip Green, inherited money from such immorality himself and has a marry-their-attractive-cousins-style relationship with the Murdoch press who broke the story about Carr in the first place. Talk about your error of judgement.

Speaking of unfortunate calls, Amnesty International can pat themselves on the back for a good concert well done dedicated to Burmese democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi, although it was lacking in close to the bone jokes by Dean Martin and Don Rickles. They probably wish they’d handled things a bit differently with Sinead O’Connor though. Amnesty it seems asked her to sing at the concert (Nothing Compares To Suu, perhaps) but added the rather cheeky caveat that she not say or do anything too mad, like endorse a brand shampoo on stage or say how much she likes Craig Doyle Live. Almost inevitably, chaos ensued.

Hilarity was also to be found on hard-to-swallow Irish tabloid TV3 this week, as they made a celebrity of Psychic Wayne, the, um, star of a late night phone in show where he gives callers vague generalities in exchange for loads of money. Maybe if he was on a better timeslot and analysed bond markets instead of tarot cards he’d be seen as more credible, but instead he gets hilariously trolled by a pretend Will Smith. Bet he didn’t see that coming.

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | June 17, 2012

17th June, 2012

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, Edith Piaf once famously vocally vibrated.

But while not being bogged down by past errors is a refreshing notion, sometimes you really just have to be ashamed of yourself.

If this week’s news is anything to go by, The Outdated Attitudes Society presumably all had “Go after the gays” scribbled at the top of the week’s entry in their diary. Diaries that were probably real fur-lined and had illustrations of men frolicking in blackface. First the Church of England had a go about gay marriage, with the at least honestly self-interested reason that it wouldn’t leave them with much to do. The Presbyterian congregation are also getting in a tizzy over it, with Glasgow’s St George’s Tron (disappointingly not, as I first thought, Scotland’s first virtual reality church) splitting from the Kirk. But of course if you really want a fine swill of laughable prejudice best to head straight for Northern Ireland, the premier region in the world for producing vintage whine. Ulster Unionist Peer Ken Maginnis went on BBC Radio this week and described gay marriage as being a rung on a ladder only slightly higher off the ground than bestiality. Although maybe his retrograde views are understandable, given how the last time he had anything resembling relevance George Michael hadn’t even come out yet. Simpler, less gayer times, man.

This call to flailing arms has been prompted by the UK government’s proposal to legalise same-sex marriage, a proposal that could stand to split the Tories in two. Among the most vocal dissenter is former Defence Minister Liam Fox, who castigated it as a policy of the metropolitan elite (but not the section of the metropolitan elite who show up at events like this.) After all, bringing a man friend round the world with you to highly sensitive meetings at the taxpayer’s expense for his own business advantage is one thing, but if they instead wanted to get married? Don’t be disgusting!

Conservatives often say that gay marriage will have a damaging effect on the social fabric and the family unit. More damaging, even, than leaving your kid behind you at the pub. Yup, poor Nancy Cameron got Macaulay Culkin’d after a lunch outing and everyone thought she was in someone’s else’s car. Might be a useful excuse to use again if he ever gets tired of a minister on a foreign summit.

Meanwhile Ireland’s big trip abroad to Poland has been curtailed in decisive faction, having had our arses lovingly presented to us by Spain. In spite of the early ejection Irish fans were defiant and sang their hearts out and generally partied like it was 1988. And sure why wouldn’t they, when the news back home was mired in yet another sickening blemish on the record of the Catholic Church, dormant account money used for important social programmes being turned over to add a drop to the Troika’s ocean and unusual mayhem over an economic report?

But not amused by all this stoic merriment was eternal humbug sucker Roy Keane, the man so professional he walked out on the eve of an international tournament, fulminating about the Irish being content for a sing song every so often. The team may have lacked invention and tactical nous but hey, at least one Irish guy did get enthusiastically stuck in.

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | June 10, 2012

10th June, 2012

I really hoped the days of Irish politicians diddling their taxes were over. But…

Oh, Mick Wallace. You rode into town promising new politics and a square deal for the common man, but instead we got something saddeningly familiar and a large round figure tax settlement. Even though he admitted that his VAT receipts were as conspicuously unkempt as his ridiculous hair, he still seems to think he can carry on as a TD, with the apparent basis if you cheat your taxes to stop your business going kablooey that somehow makes it OK. Why he doubled his and his son’s pay around that time though is anyone’s guess. He’s reacted to the scandal by going to Poland to watch the football, but he’s still got supporters who probably wouldn’t be so forgiving if he was a Fianna Fáil TD. That he’ll go from pink shirt to pink slip however is now all but inevitable.

Politicians being up to no good has been a truism of life since we emerged out of the primordial ooze, but it’s a big shame some of them still seem to be swimming round in it. In Greece a member of neo-Nazi lowlifes Rising Dawn (who with a name like that sound like they spend their time thinking of ways to kidnap Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder) threw water at one female left wing MP and took swing at another. Somebody needs the Les Grossman treatment big time.

Speaking of raining down a firestorm, that annual Irish masochistic education ritual the Leaving Cert started this week, and students taking the English exam raised utter hell. The reason? Sylvia Plath, who it seemed every student prepared a question for, didn’t feature in the poetry section, making the person who set the paper even more reviled than Ted Hughes. How these Leaving Cert dead certs come about is a bit of a mystery, but it probably starts with someone who loves the sound of a whole gymnasium gasping.

Ireland’s school leavers were so mired in their exam purgatory starting on Wednesday that they missed the Olympic flame going through Dublin, although it was carried about by ubiquitous cans of hairspray Jedward so maybe they caught a lucky break. Northern Ireland had custody of the torch for about half the week previous and was enthusiastically welcomed save for the churls who staged a protest at the Peace Bridge in Derry about political prisoners, which makes about as much sense as picketing an Elton John concert because your shoes are too tight. For the people who got to run with the torch it was undoubtedly a great honour, but also a great potential moneyspinner, as one person has flogged their torch (which they gallingly had to buy for £200 in the first place) for near a quarter of a mil on eBay. Meanwhile filmmaker Noel Clarke has had to alter his upcoming athletics drama Fast Girls to omit references  to the Olympics, because it’s copyrighted. That’s the spirit.

It’s been quite a week for big marquee celebrations, with The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee filling up our senses and TV guides, the runaway highlight being Nicki Minaj’s Fairy Godmother Grace Jones hoola hooping the shit out of Slave To The Rhythm. It also filled up the BBC’s complaints box, as their “Hey, Let’s Look At Boats!” programme was roundly panned. Complaining for different reasons was Amarillo tourism ambassador Tony Christie, who was insulted by Peter Kay’s gag about him being a Centre Parcs-spec performer. Christie’s son responded with the best comeback/boast  I’ve ever heard: “His next performance will be in St Petersburg for Russian President Vladimir Putin.” So there!

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | June 3, 2012

3rd June, 2012

IT’S SO HOT!

Ah yes, June is busting out all over and so is the sweat of anyone trying to walk more than ten minutes, but the sensational weather belies the gloomy spectre of the news.

For months and months now, the despotic horror taking place in Syria has been allowed to carry on unabated, and this week the west’s inertia has produced the most ghastly results conceivable. Meanwhile the EU, set up from the ashes of a divided continent blighted by preposterous debts, rank unemployment, brutal extremism and a discredited centre ground, which has in the last twenty years witnessed ethnic cleansing in its own backyard, are busy sorting out penalty protocols for countries that exceed 3% of GDP. Stability, indeed.

While the options in Ireland’s referendum may have seemed pretty dismal, over in Egypt where once a short time ago hopes were so high, voters are now facing a classic frying pan v fire vote-off: A member of the Muslim Brotherhood or a former Mubarak hired goon. First the Arab Spring, now recoil.

On a happier note at least the European Championships are coming thick and fast, too fast for a limping Frank Lampard to catch up with in fact. Poor old Kevin Foley has been left behind too, to much controversy and mutual hurt. The Ginger Destroyer Paul McShane replaces him, but the really big news from Group C is that Italy are embroiled in yet another matchfixing scandal, with some of their team implicated in it. Oddly enough it may do them no harm: the last two big matchfixing scandals they were involved in were 1982 and 2006, and won the World Cup both times. Makes you wonder how big a bet they put on themselves.

The Italian football team have nothing on the British government of late though, which has gone all HBO on us. Secrets! Lies! Texting! With his erstwhile closest advisor Andy Coulson being done for perjury, and Jeremy Hunt being as impartial and balanced as a parent on the sideline of a children’s football match, this isn’t going to be a very happy Jubilee for Rex Banner. Sorry, Cameron.

Meanwhile over the Leveson enquiry, morally hollowed out smooth talker Tony Blair was in the chair, and found himself heckled by a very forceful albeit quite polite heckler as he gave his testimony. How he managed to bust in is anyone’s guess. It doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence in this age where Al-Qaeda are supposedly one earth wire away from blowing us all up at a terminal, but high-profile and high-security men like Blair or Murdoch aren’t safe from a harangue. Or a meringue.

Over in the States Republican candidate Mitt Romney has been self administering pies to his face with hilarious frequency, this week alone making headlines on three separate occasions. Jumping back into the birthers pool with majority shorn Cousin It Donald Trump was bad, but somehow worse is this fundamental iPad app spelling error. It’s stuck so much that if you type “Romney Amercia” into a Google search it doesn’t even suggest you made a mistake. In fairness, he stands a much better chance of becoming President of Amercia.

Mitt could do better than taking lessons on how to run for things from wee Xiaosa, the bestest doggie in the whole wide world. A Chinese stray who was thrown a scrap of food by a passing convoy of cyclists, he ended up following them for over a thousand miles. Aww!

Posted by: whatkindofweekhasitbeen | May 26, 2012

The Night The Music Died: Eurovision 2012 LIVE!

11:20pm – And there’s a mercifully sans Jedward headpiece Grainne Seoige wrapping things up. Thanks a million to everyone who’s looked in tonight, hope you’ve enjoyed the night’s craic. Stockholm next year, yeah?

11:13pm – They’re probably sending couriers with bits of the set to Sweden already.

11:11pm – They don’t even have Lena doing the results in Germany! Motherfuckers!

11:08pm – It’s a good thing yer man from Lordi is caked in face-blcoking make up, because he made an awful berk of himself there.

11:05pm – Englebert has moved to the dizzying heights of second last. Please Release Me, indeed.

11:03pm – Never mind Germany, Estonia is bailing all sorts out tonight.

11:02pm – Lithuania: Anyone remember The Mike Flowers Pops?

10:59pm – FUMBLE! MAN DOWN! This is Sweden’s version of Cupid Stunt, right?

10:57pm – Holland is my new favourite country. Ahem.

10:55pm – The Macedonian woman appears to have a grammaphone head on her left shoulder.

10:54pm – Slovakia: my favourite country in Europe.

10:52pm – To say Serbia are punching above their weight is like saying The Incredible Hulk is a bit tetchy.

10:45pm – Moldova: where the main export is cleavage.

10:44pm – Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners with the Bosnian votes there.

10:43pm – See? Henry Kissinger has nothing on my foreign political knowledge.

10:42pm – Azerbaijan getting 12 perhaps?

10:40pm – France have presumable been giving points for the songs that sent their kids to sleep.

10:39pm – San Marino get votes at Eurovision? It’s basically just suburban Bologna like. Cork and Lancashire and Brittany should get votes too like.

10:36pm – I wonder is Graham told to refer to the UK as “us” or is he just currying favour?

10:35pm – UK get a point and Ireland get four from Belgium. Take that, Eurosceptics!

10:33pm – Jesus, this Ukranian fella is all business.

10:32pm – Celine Dion has been reduced to presenting Austrian TV I see.

10:31pm – Already the geopolitical quid pro quo is starting.

10:29pm – WOO, COUNTING!

10:28pm –  Nothing says showbiz like a Scandinavian bureaucrat.

10:25pm – This has “toilet break” written all over it.

10:21pm – Hark! Be it an angel? No, it be a regional celebrity!

10:18pm – This is the bit in the adventure film where the hero makes passionate cave love to his woman and rides off to battle.

10:16pm – My eyes! I’m not supposed to get strobes in them!

10:12pm – Jesus, at this rate there’ll be more recaps than actual songs.

10:08pm – My favourites are The Average White Pants Band (Romania), Lene Marlin 2.0 (Denmark) and The Feta Fitty (Greece).

9:59pm – And there we are! The tightest two hours in showbusiness, that.

9:55pm – Moldova: This is essentially a song from the Jungle Book with sexy backing dancers.

9:53pm – Ukraine: Ah, some nice pep pills to balance out those Serbian sleeping tablets.

9:51pm – Serbia: I have nothing to say about this.

9:47pm – Ireland: Jesus, even Party Posse sans-NASA engineering didn’t sound that off key.

9:44pm – If Richard The Lionheart had crusaders like these boys, they’d never have taken Jerusalem.

9:42pm – My ears! They’re not supposed to get screeching in them!

9:40pm – FYR Macedonia: This bland, ersatz Jim Steinman number will only serve to make Jedward look even more insane.

9:38pm – This is the night, Malta? You keep telling yourselves that, you twisty heeled lunatics.

9:36pm – Brace yourselves: The Ritalin Brothers are coming.

9:34pm – For someone who sang Standing Still he never bloody stopped fidjetting the whole time.

9:31pm – Germany: Every syllable just painfully emphasises the fact Lena isn’t here this year.

9:27pm – This sounds like music accompanying an ad preventing cruelty to animals. Time for a tea break.

9:26pm – I’ve definitely heard this song before. In a cheese dream, I think.

9:22pm – Sacha Baron Cohen rocking the leather look for the Turks tonight.

9:21pm – Is that lad supposed to be there? Cos he’s full-on making a prat of himself.

9:19pm – Sweden: Where Calvin Harris and MC Hammer collide.

9:18pm – The Greek song could win. And if they do, it’ll probably have to be set on the set of Mamma Mia!

9:14pm – Greece: I would happily write off any manner of debts for this girl.

9:12pm – That fella playing the cello turning up in a hoodie…the state of him!

9:11pm – Denmark: I’ve definitely hummed this tune in an elevator before.

9:08pm – And Gok Wan on bagpipes too, by the looks of it.

9:07pm – Romania: A supergroup consisting of Tulisa, Lou Bega, LMFAO and a collier brass band.

9:06pm – Azerbaijan with a terrific example of well-sang gubbins there.

9:03pm – We’re half way there, and Russia are the best so far. What a time to be alive!

8:58pm – On A serious note, why do singers of this ouevre always insist we “work our bodies”? It’s a Saturday dude, I’m fine to sit here with some tea and a Boost bar.

8:56pm – Norway: Yer man from JLS and will.i.am should feel very aggrieved.

8:55pm – Estonia: I have nothing to say about this.

8:50pm – It’s a shame Silvio still isn’t in power, this girl would be a shoo-in for a major cabinet post.

8:48pm – There’ll be bar fights over whether the Italian girl or the French girl is better looking.

8:45pm – France: C’est un corset jolie.

8:43pm – And after she gets off that table of books, she’s going to stack them up and use them as a fort.

8:41pm – Cyprus have ditched the “send your biggest nutter” philosophy in favour of the “shake dat booty” strategy. Daring.

8:39pm – Actually, I take it back, this song is stultifying.

8:37pm – I’ve nearly been doing this forty minutes, somehow. Time flies when you’re having fun!

8:36pm – Iceland: This is like Evanescence, but prettier.

8:35pm – Ah bless, they even made biccies!

8:34pm – This is EXACTLY what Schuman and Monnet had in mind, ya know.

8:33pm – Russia: This Spice Girls reunion is going better than expected.

8:31pm – And here come The Grannies!

8:30pm – Bosnia: Wasn’t this song a Disney soundtrack theme for a film where a goat meets a better looking goat or something?

8:28pm – This is all very mellow and introspective. Somebody fire some lasers from their bra!

8:27pm – Love Is Blind. And Tone is Deaf.

8:26pm – Bulgaria: What he was trying to do was this.

8:25pm – None of these ballads are a patch on Fr Dick Byrne’s The Miracle Is Mine.

8:24pm – Baku: city of lights. makes you wonder what they’re hiding in the shadows.

8:22pm – I don’t see what the big deal is with her powerful voice, I did that this morning when the shower got hot all of a sudden.

8:21pm – This is where power ballad meets power surge.

8:20pm – Albania: How did she smuggle the Fabergé egg out of the museum to put on top of her head?

8:16pm – Hungary: This is just Savage Garden converted to Euros.

8:15pm – Nice end note there. He’s gonna get so much ass later.

8:14pm – Being fluent in dance, I’m enjoying this song in two languages.

8:12pm – This is Danny O’Donghue’s future, this.

8:08pm – Good news for equality: two female presenters tonight. Bad news for equality: Andy Gray and Richard Keys are doing commentary for Talksport.

8:06pm – The costumes for this number were nicked from Johnny Logan’s house. They took his curtains for the woman’s dress.

8:04pm – A nice little tribute to Azerbaijan culture here. Drums! dancing! Trapeze wires! Human rights violations!

8:02pm – Here we are, the 56th birthday of Eurovision! They’ll probably buy a Ferrari and run off with one of the backing singers.

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