Friday 25th November


After an unseasonably warm November today it feels like the winter has finally arrived. Last year at this exact time was when the snow started falling and more than outstayed its welcome hanging around until early January causing mayhem, distress and general discontent. There really is nothing like a little bad or inconvenient weather to get the gander of Scots folk up providing endless sources of conversation that invariably all lead to the same conclusion i.e. the weather here is generally pretty shit. Apparently not as shit as life in the public eye however as the Leveson inquiry  has been revealing this week whether you are a celebrity or just a poor unfortunate who has been unwillingly thrown into the coliseum-like arena of public attention. The phone hacking scandal at the centre of this inquiry looks set to run and run and usually the whinging of multi-millionaires and self obsessed celebrities who seek out what ever attention they can when it suits them often comes across as self pitying bleating. This case however has awoken that several do have legitimate complaints as the methods deployed by the media in the search for a story are despicable. None of these tales however compare with the tragic tale of Milly Dowler’s family who due to her voicemails being hacked mistakenly believed their daughter was still alive due to this interference. It also hindered the police investigation at a crucial stage and this alone is wholly unforgivable and those responsible need to be held to task.

Coincidentally an early victim of press intrusion and instantly created media celebrity Joyce McKinney is the subject of an excellent film, Tabloid, showing at the Filmhouse at the moment. I would wholeheartedly recommend this film to anyone not simply because it contains lurid tales of kidnapping, bondage, accusations of male rape, impersonation-of on different occasions two deaf mutes and Indians- incarceration in prison, Mormons and so much more. It is taken to a higher level due to the appearance of the central protagonist herself who makes such a willing and incredible witness and re-teller of the events that still remain at the films denouement somewhat clouded. Giving a testimony that seems at odds with those around her McKinney reportedly armed with a gun and chloroform apparently kidnapped and repeatedly raped an unwilling Mormon who had caught her eye and established himself as the object of her unquenchable lust. The story is surreal, fascinating and totally compelling and proceeds to the present day where Mc Kinney reveals she has had five pit-bulls cloned from the dog who saved her life after her guard dog attempted to kill her and they now seem to fulfil the role of slaves-answering the phone, fetching her drinks etc.- within her bizarre life. If you can catch this film I would suggest you do. A full review can be found here.

This weekend also sees the release of My Week With Marilyn that details the uneasy working relationship between Monroe and Laurence Olivier on the 1959 film The Prince and the Showgirl- which BBC2 are very kindly showing on Saturday afternoon to tie in with the films release- which led to her befriending a young stage hand as a means of escaping her turbulent life at this time. It looks like a fascinating document of an interesting time in Hollywood history and Monroe is someone else who has suffered at the hands of the press though in her case it has been as much, if not more, since her untimely death therefore she has been unable to defend herself. During her lifetime it is clear that happiness constantly eluded her and this film focuses on a time when still in the throes of a new marriage to her third husband  playwright Arthur Miller–the film trip doubled up as a honeymoon of sorts- she should have been blissfully happy but clearly wasn’t.

Also this weekend is the Neu! Reekie End of Year Screemer at the Scottish Book Trust in the Royal Mile this evening that promises to be a worthwhile event. Featuring spoken word, musical interludes and animation among tonights contributors are Davy Henderson-of Fire Engines and Win fame or infamy if you prefer- Richard Jobson, Billy Liar and several others. Presenting a collective array of local talent this night is essential in that it draws together various outlets for different artistic threads and draws them all together. Certainly worth risking adventuring out on what feels like will be the first truly wintry night of the year.

Over in Laid In Chelsea this week things limped to a rather dull conclusion despite the fireworks display and the fireworks generated by the fact that uber-sneak Rosie- she of the stary eyes and the need to take the moral high ground in everyone else’s affairs- had been sleeping with Hugo behind supposed close friend Millie’s back. Cue lots of actual tears from Millie accompanied by a face that crumpled and resembled that of a three year old having her favourite toy taken away from her. The Spencer and Caggie faux-mance dragged on –and on- and surely cannot continue into the next series. Please. Francis bored, Amber unconvincingly vamped, Jamie irritated-a lot-, Proudlock stayed in the closet and Mark Francis dazzled. Glad it’s over but Monday nights will seem empty without it.

On recommendation I was told to turn my gaze to the new series of Shipwrecked which I dutifully did and was fascinated what I encountered which was little more than a collection of self  obsessed, buffed up and bronzed idiots all vying for a prize that can only be attained by shafting each other. In a metaphorical sense that is although some seem to take it literally without realising that every time a couple does this on one of these ‘reality ‘ programmes their days are inevitably numbered as aligning and ostracising yourself in this fashion generally alienates the others. The token ‘weirdo’ among this group is a young guy going by the name of Kitten who prances around in a fur coat-on a tropical island- and seems to have studied at the Pete Burns school for being obnoxious. Unfortunately unlike Burns he has no charisma to speak of and merely comes across as an irritant although in comparison to some of the others – the ladies man and all around Jack the lad Bear and his concubine the abrasive Anna seem particularly vile and struggling to maintain a civil façade to the others- he is a bit of a, well, kitten actually. What is it with TV and the need for people to suddenly adopt ridiculous names such as Kitten, Bear, Caggie, Cheska Binky etc, etc ad nauseum. Personally if I was the producer of this programme I would open a phone vote to see whether  the contestants of this ‘competition’ should be allowed to leave this remote island or whether they should be forced to remain there and indulge in even more Lord Of The Flies staged scenarios. I personally would opt for leaving them there indefinitely.

Have been watching the last three episodes of My Transsexual Summer and must admit that Channel 4 have approached a highly sensitive subject with great sensitivity and warm intelligence. It initially seemed like a random idea to house male to female and female to male transgendered people together over a series of weekends over the summer but it has been an interesting journey both for the viewers and the participants. No silly stunts or contrived situations to create tension and aggro-read boost ratings- but just a group of outsiders who initially had little in common aside from their various sexual dystopias but have bonded to forge strong alliances and in probability some long-term friendships as well as providing some information for those who were previously unaware, ignorant or simply uninformed concerning this state of being. Well done Channel 4 for taking a subject still considered relatively taboo and granting it some normality.

So what is going on in X-Factor world this week? Is it still on? Has Gaaaary Baaaarlooow finished his sentence from last week yet? Is anyone still watching?…. No, me neither.

For those staying in tonight and in anticipation of Prince night on BBC4 here is something for your delectation.


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