The Tuppence-ha'penny Punch and Judy Show

The Chewing Gum for the mind on the sole of your shoe.

By: Sertraline (Other listings magazines are available)

Mysteries of the Coronation Street Universe No. 3650

Pause for one moment and consider the following if you will. Fred Elliott has a car - a Rover if memory serves; Ken Barlow has a car famously joy-ridden by "bad boy" Aiden Critchley ; The Duckworths have a car as do Curly & Emma, Kevin Webster,  Dev, Les Battersby and Ashley. Now Jason Grimshaw is the proud owner of a Golf GTI cabriolet ( a car that would cost a King's Ransom to insure for a lad of his age, but don't get me started on that) In fact it's safe to say that almost everyone on the street owns a car. So where do they park them?????? By rights the whole street should look like the M25 at rush hour because my experience of people is that they're so bone idle that if they could park the car just inside the front door to save themselves the walk across the pavement they would do. So why do the good citizens of Weatherfield not do the same? Instead they appear to park their cars somewhere nearby so that their narrow street doesn't become congested and it follows that  like Disneyland or Alton Towers there must be a huge car park covering several hundred acres just around the corner where the nice local council do not charge extortionately high sums to park and it's safe to leave your vehicle unattended for long periods of time without the concern that it might be broken into or stolen. If you find that difficult to believe then perhaps they park their cars alongside the railway line that goes nowhere after it crosses Rosamund Street. There's a sign ahead; you're approaching the Twilight Zone!

A day now has twenty six hours: Official.

If like me you have for many years laboured under the illusion that a day has twenty-four hours then you are clearly in for a shock because when Einstein dreamed up the concept of time-dilation he clearly had in mind the effect on time of the BBC's Freudian preoccupation with balls. The brilliant American series 24 is, for the uninitiated, based in real time so that one hour of screen action takes place in one hour of real time and the whole of the series covers events taking place in a single day, hence the title - the number of hours in a day. It would appear that this week there is no Four Nations Basket Weaving Tournament or World Championship Marbles because 24 is back on our screens having been taken off the week before so that the BBC could televise hour after hour of snooker. a "sport" that makes a pensioners' bingo session seem exhilarating. A few weeks previously it had been removed from the schedule to make way for golf, yet another tedious procession of balls dropping into holes. So that series, which started 14 weeks ago and should under ordinary circumstances have a further ten weeks to run still has twelve weeks before reaching its conclusion and with the summer approaching and such visually scintillating treats as cricket and tennis in the offing who knows how long the series could run; perhaps we could see the finale as a Christmas Special. After all which do you think is more exciting: Kiefer Sutherland trying to stop terrorists from exploding a nuclear device in downtown LA or wondering whether Ronnie Sullivan will pot the next red? Mmmmm tough call that one. If you said the latter then you need to get out more. Sport is for doing, if you're so keen on it drag yourself off your lager drenched arses and go out there and play sport and leave the TV for unashamed couch potatoes like me.

Present Company Excepted.

One of the things I found most interesting about the latest trainspotting exercise for a Saturday night, 100 Worst Britons, was the programme makers' choice of pundits. Once again I was struck by the total absence of irony in a programme that set out to present a list of the most vilified people in the country by canvassing the views of such personable and well-loved figures as Will Self, Nina Myskow, Stewart Hall and Chris Moyles. The words "kettle" and "pan" spring to mind methinks. What's more I couldn't believe that Tony Blair was voted number 100 whereas the AntiChrist herself, Thatcher, was only deemed bad enough to warrant number 3. What short memories people have!

 But then again that's the inherent problem in programmes like this where the public is asked to nominate people to either fawn over or tar and feather - it's entirely subjective. In this instance your response to the results depended entirely on your relative position to the individual in question. If you dislike them then you are cheering the programme on but let them dare to criticise someone that you have even the vaguest liking for and the judgement is regarded as a personal attack on your individual viewpoint. Unless like me you dislike virtually everyone in the public eye and feel that they are all fair targets. This point was best summed up by the appearance of Bernard Manning whom I dislike both as an individual  and a comedian whose humour invariable fails to light up my face. When interviewed he addressed this duality by making the following joke. Two corgis at the Queen Mother's funeral and one says to the other, "I'm glad she's dead, now we won't keep getting blamed for pissing on the sofa."  Do you hate the Queen mother more than you dislike Bernard Manning? If so you, like me, are probably pissing yourself now. A perfect fusion of form and content.

1984 revisited

There is a misguided belief amongst the decision makers in television that the onset of British Summertime heralds a mass exodus into the back garden to fire up the barbi and swallow enough lager to float the Titanic in and whilst this may be true of many places it certainly does not happen in the Sertraline household. This is largely due to my being a Guiness drinker and hating barbecued food but that's neither here nor there. The point is that as soon as "summer" arrives they believe that people stop watching television. This is a belief based on the principal that because the weather is nice they will spend all their time outdoors and demonstrates how out of touch these comedians really are. Since they spend most of their summer at their cottages in Provence they clearly have no conception of how crappy the average English summer is and this is why they inflict endless hours of tedium on the viewing public. Take Big Brother for instance I wiled away a happy five minutes last night watching one of the housemates picking his nose in the shower before giving up the ghost and clearing his nostrils by simply blowing his nose without the assistance of a handkerchief. Old Alex Sibley will be turning in his grave; after he went ballistic after someone pissed in the shower, imagine his response to finding a slug trail of dried snot gracing the shower screen. Right cynical bit over with and I confess that I generally get hooked on Big Brother simply because this sort of TV is the true descendant of Gladiatorial Combat involving, as it does, a group of people contained within an arena armed with only their guile and duplicity  to assist them in stabbing, metaphorically in this case, their opponents in the back. Witness, if you will the feminist indignation of the four remaining girls who whisper conspiratorially in the bedroom that "Something's very wrong" after two of their gender have been voted out in successive weeks. Are the people outside trying to get rid of all the girls, they wonder. Wouldn't it be awful if another one of them went this week leaving only three of them. Then watch as two of them nominate the awful Sissy for eviction. Just as I've always suspected scratch the surface of every belligerent, vocal feminist and there's a vacuous lager  swilling lad with tits on the inside trying to get out. Any road up it appears that even as I write there is every chance that the migraine inducingly strident scouser Sissy will be bidding farewell to the big brother house on Friday due in no small part to the efforts of her two sisters in adversity. Ironically the Ginger Whinger said in her taped interview before the programme started that the quality she would bring to the house was " 'avin' a good laugh " If by that she meant crying on a routine basis and going off into the bedroom to sulk whenever she didn't get exactly what she wanted then she's as good as her word.

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