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Posts Tagged ‘London’

The Hour; or the BBC does Mad Men

Posted by idetest on August 5, 2011

Greetings Possums.

Well, it’s a warm day outside,  my landline won’t work so I can’t ring the tax department and demand money from them (a pastime I’ve grown to love), so instead of going out and getting a life I’ll stay inside and write to my non-existent readers on the internet.

Because they won’t judge me.


Today, we shall speak of the BBC’s latest attempt at pretending it’s not a vacuous, populist shadow of its once great self and can still churn out TV shows that don’t want to make your eyes vomit blood.

This show that they’ve made is The Hour; nineteen-fifties set period drama about the backstage drama of the first ever current affairs show on the aunty. It takes place with the Suez crisis as its backdrop and also seems to have a whole Cold War/espionage/secret spy murder story going on as well.


They are very pretty though. And at least they got the smoking in.

Its first episode, I’m sad to say, was crap. It was annoying, clichéd, had terrible music and presented its two leads (Romola Garai and painfully weedy Ben Whishaw) as little more than walking vox pops for the plot devices they were shoving down our throats. Did I mention the irritating incidental music?

It goes as thus: Spunky, posh bit of a crumpet Bel wants to be hard hitting journo but is bored to death in fuddy-duddy newsreels showing debutantes, so she and man boy Freddie decide to pitch a current affairs show that’ll have middle England gasping into its cocoa.

Unfortch. Freddie is a pleb and Bel has breasts so they aren’t good enough and need the help of slimy, mediocre but oh, so posh and connected Hector. Who, despite being married to a brain-dead trophy wife, spends a good thirty seconds trying to seduce Bel; before she drops her knickers and they make sweet nylon sheeted love all over her ugly nineteen-fifties Formica table.


Coupled with this is the actual plot of the Suez Crisis which it keeps on forgetting to include properly and the murder mystery thing. Which is so bland and so generic  a spy thriller that I can’t even remember it. Oh, wait; someone got thrown down a stairwell last episode.


Anyway, some thoughts about plot and the show in general;

1) It has Anna Chancellor, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw. Three actors I love. Why is it not better? It could have been fabulous but they’ve obviously dumbed it down and focus grouped it out of any depth or originality.

2) Is Freddie supposed to be a virgin at nearly thirty? That’s the way they make him sound in the conversations.

3) Regarding the plot; was brain-dead wife’s hunky brother supposed to be the gay lover of the secretly-flaming actor/fiancé of the deceased debutante in the bathtub? Who knows?

4) That blond guy from Green Wing is ageing terribly.

5) I know it’s the BBC and so therefore has a budget of £2.70 and a bus fare but if they’re going to set something in nineteen-fifties London could we get a look at nineteen-fifties London, please?

6) Next time do better.


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Real Housewives of The Service Industry

Posted by idetest on April 20, 2011

I went to my work party last night.

The theme was ‘retro glamour’

I ended up looking like a gay pirate who was going to boarding school.

And was dismayed to find out it was actually nothing more than a heterosexual breeding experiment in an overpriced basement bar.

Also, my friend got cheated on by a Hungarian barman and I saw someone getting a handjob on the dance floor.

Like the countess says, money can most definitely not buy you class.

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Summertime, When The Weather Is Fine…

Posted by idetest on April 16, 2011

I’m not saying where I live is vastly superior to the country bumpkin-ass hole you reside in… but does your local park have an 18th century stately home in the middle of it that was built by the Rothschilds?

No, didn’t think so.

Au reservoir.

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Posted by idetest on March 21, 2011

I know I’ve been neglecting you lately little blog. But it’s only because I’ve been of being fabulous (read working and crying in a corner, cutting myself and wondering when this torment will end) but now I’m here with yet another fucking video. Which’ll totes make up for everything, right? RIGHT?


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My life, is Like, Really Hard, Y’know?

Posted by idetest on January 17, 2011

Hola chicos

I hear you, asking, nay, berating yourselves over your callous ignorance of my suffering and what causes it. I shall tell you.

My next door neighbour snores like a banshee getting a Brazilian wax. Like a freight train in a Bruce Willis movie. Like the screams of a Catholic Priest at the end of  a swimming lesson.

And yes, even though he may live next door I can hear him. At midnight. At 1am. At 2am. At 3am. You get the picture. The man is my constant companion in life. I may civil partner him just to get me through these long winter nights.

Anyho, these are the steps I have taken so far.

1) Bitter ranting

2) Screaming abuse

3) Banging on the wall (Useless as the wall is made of stone or some shit and rock solid. It sounds like I’m hitting a fish against a fat person’s thigh).

4) Earplugs. I, your humble narrator has to wear these hot, sexy and yes quite daring and avant-garde orange earplugs to be able to get one’s requisite thirteen hours of sleep every night. It’s hellish.

And they don’t even work. But why am I surprised. They’re Boots own brand.

Here’s what I shall try next

1) Alcoholism. I won’t care if I’m passed out by 9pm.

2) Drug addiction. See previous. Also may take up ganja again to help me cope with the stresses of modern life and city lying which are currently driving me to empathise with serial killers.

3) A small animal impaled on a spike left on the doorstep with a note written in blood reading ‘STOP SNORING OR YOU’RE NEXT’.

Obvs. I’m keeping this all in perspective.

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Period Drama Fanboy

Posted by idetest on December 27, 2010


No, in all seriousness this will be a post about the new BBC remake of the 1970s classic Upstairs Downstairs.

Some thoughts.

  • It’s lost its comma, and is now just Upstairs Downstairs. Kind of like Kylie.
  • The kid who was the schizo emo (it’s okay, it’s not un-PC to call those mental freaks that) on Hollyoaks got a new job and is now a poor northern child with a dark secret. Big career move for him then.
  • Keeley Hawes got a job! She no longer has to try and flog Boots make up. The poor lass, she looked so miserable in those ads. and now look at her, she gets to wear hats and boss servants around! Is that a cool gig, or what?

I never watched the original, obviously; I was born a dozen years after it finished and unfortunately it did not remain in consideration for ‘television’s greatest masterpiece of all time’ like Brideshead Revisited or that one about the Indians (Indians Gone Wild? The name’ll come to me) so I can’t compare. But on reading some of the commentary about it one can say that it would have frustrated me.

It spanned thirty years yet no one aged or mentioned the fact that they’d never had a an ounce of character development over several decades. It’s that sort of thing which pisses me off about tv shows. That and token ethnic characters. But I digress.

This one however, lacks the original leftist bent that the two ladies what wrote it had originally intended and instead is portrayed as a glossy new drama full of Jane Austen moments of escapism from the drudgery of recession and snow blighted England circa 2011, dawn thereof.

The first epeisode…well, it was all a bit nice. The matriarch’s a bitch but she’s just old-fashioned and respects the servants, the wife is a bitch but she’s in over her head and feeling out of place-and probably (gasp) infertile and I’m sure by the end of the season her sister (her of the holey knickers. and not in the Catholic way) will have gone all political and banged and boffed the rather hunky blond chauffeur. Lucky cow.

Also what is it with hunky, blond politically aware chauffeurs? (cough theIrishoneinDowntownAbbeywhowastotallydoable cough)

Other than that, I can’t say I care a jot for the tweeny romance between aforementioned Schizo emo and the maid who is all crying and really overacts and does an incredibly annoying Cockney accent. Srsly. Bitch needs to sort that shit out.

I will of course wait patiently on the fence before I cast judgment though, it could be better than Downton Abbey, which drifted off course terribly towards the end of the season, it could be worse. But at the moment I’m just left thinking “Is there a point? Will they get to it soon? And why is everyone being so nice? Will someone say something CLASSIST?!”

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We’re all getting older.

Posted by idetest on October 16, 2010

Hola chicos

So I noticed something as I gout out of bed at 5.30am everyday this week to go serve sandwiches to a bunch of investment bankers (you wish I was joking, don’t you? Or at least my bank balance does) that it was now too cold to run back to my room in a towel after my shower. Which officially means it’s winter in my book.

Unlike everyone else I love winter. I’m not sure why but here are my reasons for why cold weather is better.


1) This a purely personal reason; I honestly believe my body thermostat is higher than everyone elses. I am always too hot and sweating. I have the heating in my room turned off and notice I am walking around in a t-shirt while others are bundled up in coats. It might just be caused by my ability to walk abnormally fast or my constant neurotic worry but I doubt it.

2) I don’t tan. I don’t burn either…I just don’t change colour. Even on beaches of tropical islands. It’s not fair. My father is an olive-skinned Arab (in all but name) who constantly gets asked where he’s from or if he’s Maori – he is nothing exotic but merely a farmer who has been working outdoors in a black singlet since he was sixteen. My mother meanwhile is a rosy-cheeked Englishwoman with reddish hair and green eyes. She didn’t get her first proper tan till she was in her thirties and she was forced to come to the colonies.  and yet now she runs around the place yearlong in sleeveless shirts gently illuminated by a golden tan. And no, it’s not just the over-priced moisturiser with bronzer in it she uses. But alas, despite this my older brother (who unfortunately does burn. Even when covered in sunscreen and indoors) and I did not inherit these genes. It’s not fair.

I have spent several years of my life sitting on beaches and back gardens attempting to tan only to come back inside with a headache and vague hope of having changed colour from “vanilla yoghurt” to “apricot yoghurt”. I am still waiting. Although once I did get terribly sunburnt on a beach while spending the afternoon attempting to read Anna Karenina. Not only did I have to sleep on my stomach for two weeks but I still didn’t get very far through it.

3) I grew up in New Zealand. Which thinks it’s a lot hotter than it really is. Adjust your love of summer accordingly.

4) I love beaches but I’m not in love with them if you get me.

5) Long black coats, scarves, gloves, fireplaces, pubs…stop me when you need to.

6) Have you ever tried to sleep in a small bedroom on a hot summer’s night? Especially when where you live is mosquito central and you may die of blood poisoning if you keep the window. My father’s response to this was to buy a small cheap portable fan for me to use in the night. It didn’t work. I couldn’t feel any breeze from over a metre away and it wasn’t exactly quiet.

7) Like I said, I walk fast and am neurotic and spend my life sweating an embarrassing amount anyway, I don’t need blazing sunshine added in to the mix.

8 ) Me? Shirtless? Warn your children.

9) My summer outfits require a certain amount of ‘grin and bare’. I don’t really have the build for them. Also I look silly in shorts and my head is too big for most sunglasses. And how are you supposed to go to work in summer? Because everywhere I’ve worked during a summertime since reaching adulthood requires a uniform or some other source of sartorial problem which leads me to becoming a dishevelled and perspiring mess on my way there. I arrive looking about as ready for work as Pammy Anderson would if she got a job at a book store (God, that was a great TV show, right?).

10) Summer is for the beautiful people. I hate the beautiful people. With their six packs and their lack of chest hair and their tallness and their slimness and their blonde hair and their tans and expensive beach attire and ability to look good in sunglasses and jandals. Fuck ’em all.

11) Barbeques. ‘Nuff said.

12) Salads also. I love a good salad but it’s too hot to eat much else between November and March in the old country.

13) Schooltime. Who the hell designed the school year so as we return to sitting in classes with thirty other pubescent BO-ridden adolescents in fucking JANUARY?

14) My birthday is in summer. Between Christmas and New Years. There was never anyone else around for me to have a  party. Tis something that carried on into adulthood. I spent most of my birthday’s alone in front of the TV. Drinking. Also, summer itself is lame because everyone leaves on holiday and if you can’t afford to go anywhere (ahem) you end up left in town with no one to talk to.

15) Family holidays. My family loved to go camping.

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All about my new whare*

Posted by idetest on September 22, 2010

*in the voice of a gin-soaked widow after being awoken early by the help one morning* Hoooola chicos.

So, after a thrilling shift by the river serving drinks and canapes to a bunch of noise pollution consultants (if I was joking, wouldn’t I be laughing?) and last night’s shambles at the Roundhouse Theatre in Camden, in which we all had our facec painted and had to serve dinner to a bunch of drunk northerners who ran pizza parlours (once again if I was joking…) and I was forced to deal with stroppy Essex girls and my secret Italian lover (he’s gay and he wants me…it’s just that he doesn’t know it yet) apparently having his hotness DECREASED tenfold by the face paint, I retire to my new abode.

I’ll tell you a little about it shall I: Well it’s in a place called South Ealing, which despite my eternal longing is still far enough out that the tube splits one station back so I will still have to spend many precious late-night minutes standing on freezing platforms waiting for the train for my branch. Also this area is served by the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line. Any Londoners that will ever read this just grimaced. Everyone else was all “que?” Yeah I totes saw you.

London is very strange in the fact that everyone discusses transport in intimate details. In other cities you would never say in response to someone telling you where they lived “Oh, that’s on such and such tube line, zone 2?” and then begin to dissect the journey from there to your whereabouts: “You should take the flippity-do-da Line to Fluffington Square and then change on to the Wango-dango Line up to I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter and then take the Bakerloo Line to Elephant & Castle” (spot which one of those is real. Go on. I dare you.) It’s all very derivative and makes us look strange. Whatevs.

And for the record; the Piccadilly Line: overcrowded, slow and with seventeen million stations so a journey on any other line that would take 20 minutes, takes twice as long. Also it’s filled with tourists with suitcases. Also the Uxbridge branch is never on time and lies: A train every ten minutes? Fuck off.

And just for the record: The Northern Line- overcrowded to hell; you won’t even get a seat at 11.20 on a Sunday night.

The Central Line: dirty but fast (Like your mum).

The Bakerloo Line: looks like you’re about to go back in time to the Blitz on some low-budget BBC mini-series. God, people don’t you know about a good makeover and soft furnishings? Particularly ones from, oh, I don’t know, this century?

The Circle Line: where does that even go?

The Jubilee Line: which is never open.

The Hammersmith and City Line: I have never taken this, nor met anyone who has.

The District Line: the most unreliable and slow Line. Expect to grind to a halt every 3 seconds with the driver on the intercom going “Err, not exactly sure why we’ve stopped…we’ll be on the move…soon…ish.”

And the Victoria Line is all of the above. It’s awful. who exactly had the bright idea to put several of the busiest train stations on one line? You’re a cunt.

ANYWAY. My house. It’s on a very pretty terraced nineteenth century street with lots of little trees attempting to stay alive. It’s got parks at either end and a council estate with the obligatory terrifying looking tower block. At the nicer end there is a motorway and an All Boys Catholic High School. I prefer the council estate.

Also despite being in a not all that remarkable area it seems to be filled with posh people. Which is surprising as a) we’re 5 minutes down the road from a large university(which is one of the wrost in Brtiain – wihich I’m not surprised as it criteria for entrance is ‘did you get expelled from your high school and have possibly seved jail time? Then, boy, have we got a place for you!) and b) Um, well we’re in a suburb of West London. Tacky and rundown yes. Full of Polish and Indian migrants and bemused looking Antipodeans and South Africans? Most definitely. Posh? On this side of the river? I think not.

Also I’m living with three girls: a Kenyan with a boyfriend who resembles a chubby Erkel (In a nice way), A cockney who resembles the woman who got Phil addicted to crack on Eastenders (the woman from Pulling; and if you’re a soap fanatic: Family Affairs) and an as of yet unidentified Antipodean.

I’ve only had one conversation with each of them; one involving recycling bins and one involving TV remote tutorials. Neither were deep conversations. I feel that I could quite happily go two months without having to really talk to either of them. seems reasonable, no?

*Look it up you racist imperialists.

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The shoebox phenomena (nomena nomena..) Part Uno.

Posted by idetest on September 20, 2010

*In a slurred drunk voice like your mother when she came back from book club* Hoooola.

Well, here I am buckaroos in my new home for the next two months. It’s an exciting house; a pebble dash Victorian double gable (look at me with me architecture terms) with high ceilings and creaky old floor boards. O, and those old-fashioned windows that you have to heave and push up like they do on American tv shows. It’s all v. exciting.

Howevs, (there’s always a however with moi. I’m like a nay-saying Tyra Banks. Also, I have never yelled at a girl like this in my life, either.) because I am a poor, poor, poor person who forages in dustbins for food and sells my ass on a street corner I am of course in what the British not-so-euphemistically refer to as The Box Room.


This room, despite it’s lovely big window, with its Ikea-riffic wooden blinds and bare floor boards and high ceilings is around 1.5-2 metres by a bit over 2 metres (what? I’m not good at maths). In essence it is in fact a walk in wardrobe with access from the corridor. Oh well.

It’s not like it’s my first one. When I was six we moved to the House of Wax-esque place I am forced at gunpoint to call my hometown (Imagine Star’s Hollow from Gilmore Girls but without the charm, warmth, picturesque scenery or standards…In fact y’know that show My Name is Earl?? Yeaahh…). We lived in a damp, cold hell hole where the landlord tried to make my parents buy back the de-humidifier they bought for the place when we left (my dad tried to punch him. It was awkward-it was his boss). This house was a horror show; my parents had mouldy asbestos type substance on their ceiling which they had to remove themselves after the landlord tried to charge them for it (yes he made a habit of it), then there was the marauding stags, cows and other farm animals who we would wake up on a Saturday morning to discover had broken into the garden and were now standing on the balcony eating my mother’s azaleas (my mother gets fucking worked up when bitches touch her foliage. It’s a British thing apparently). Anyway, my room here was perfectly nice – if dark and with creepy mould patches.

When I was ten and we were forced to vacate this house…due to, oh fuck knows really…actually they ordered us out with only two weeks notice because they wanted to convert the house in to an office for some unknown reason. We then moved to another house- a 120 year old cottage where my brother was given a bedroom the size of Belgium, with all sorts of exciting things (he got the computer in his room as well! Remember this was the 90’s. This was a huge deal.) where as I got a normal sized bedroom. Remember in rural NZ there’s not exactly a limit on space…it’s fairly empty …but this house was still a shithole; the shower had a concrete floor where bugs the size of small animals would crawl out of. Also there was nothing in the kitchen except an oven- no benches, just an oven. My mother cried. And then got down to preparing dinner…on the ironing board.

Eventually we moved out and my parents bought a house; the first time in my life. My parents became very house proud. However I was miffed as fuck- not only was the house a dump that my parents thought had unlimited potential (as what? A crack den?)- I however saw the following: a bathroom with more mould than wall, a kitchen with no ceiling, a garden with bits of old wall being used as a path through the mud – there was no lawn or garden to speak of, just an empty field with a house in the middle of it- and my bedroom: the piesta de fucking resistance.

My brother once again got a nice bedroom; his was normal sized and even had a stained glass window (it bought out the tiny 10-year-old proto gay in me). Mine however was the size of a postage stamp with a leaking window and a huge set of built in drawers that were glued shut and took up half the room. I took this room because my papi promised me he would knock out the bathroom and make that into my bedroom (In case you were wondering the bathroom would go where the laundry was…my mother is English as mentioned: she thinks a WHOLE room for a washing machine and a dryer is unparalleled colonial decadence. In her world you have a front loader under the sink in the kitchen. Odd woman – also we had a garage the size of a 3 bedroom house so y’know it was going out there).

Now you may think this whining is odd: my parent’s had invested in what was little more than a shack but we lived in a house with 3 acres of garden and a garage that was the Monica’s apartment from Friends style of spacious, but if you ever lived in rented accommodation you’ll understand: It made me very angry at Uni when I was forced to listen to the whining of people who were having their first horrific experience with rented housing. I wanted to say ‘Yes, now try having a family live here under these conditions. And unlike here, your parents or friend’s parents don’t own the house. It’s some bastard who wants to screw you out of as much money as possible.’ (I’m not bitter. But there’s a reason I’m a socialist.)

The rant shall continue.

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Dear Diary. I’ll never stop talking. (Part 2)

Posted by idetest on September 13, 2010

So, of course all this only allegedly (Hola, Kathy Griffin).

So there I was for three days covering for an alcoholic klepto Polack and having to carry ou tables and chairs up six flights of stairs while being interrogated by elderly men in tweed who were wondering where the regular staff were. All I could do was cry.  And sweat. I may have lost weight. Which is great. But I had to do work to do it. Which is bad. It’s like my own Sophie’s Choice.

Anyway so that night after managing to screw up everything that day and having the Portuguese banqueting manager speak in very slow sentences to me as she thought maybe they don’t speak English where I’m from, or that maybe I’m just retarded (I wonder myself, sometimes), I went to visit a flat in deepest, darkest Shepherd’s Bush. Where no one can hear you scream. Well, they can they just can’t understand because no one there actually does speak English. I’d like to drop Nick Griffin in there and watch his head explode, while a bunch of Somali girls with chavvy accents wearing skinny jeans, headscarves and bling try to mug him. It’s a fun place.

This all to see a flat.

The flat was in one of those lovely old red brick, Victorian places that’s about five storeys high and split into ten different flats. The flatmates=anti-social and were all couples. As usual the only person I could like living there was the person moving out.

The next day, after crying myself in to a sweaty, restless sleep I awoke and went back for another day where I was once again ranted at by Salazar’s less warm daughter about how could you be so stupid as to set a table for a business meeting with a WHITE tablecloth? Everyone knows you set them with a RED table-cloth! Honey, I assured her, the empire will survive, the sun will rise, and Jordan will live to spray tan another day.

That night I was invited to go view a flat in the distant lands of South Ealing where they simply scrawl ‘here be monsters’ on street maps. It’s one of those places where the farther you walk from the tube station the less civilised it becomes and you soon begin to wonder what the footsteps behind you are all about (this is a lie. It’s painfully suburban). Anyway, Leigh the chummy Australian who showed me around all but gave me the flat there and then. More about this next week when I move in. Kill me now.

So on Friday I awoke in tears and tried to suffocate myself with a pillow and went to work. I’ll not bore you with details of horror involving commutes and elderly rich people with diamond wedding anniversary’s. Lest to say…how I hate them.

On Saturday, after a fateful trip to the park I went to work at a place called Leadenhall Market which is in the city again and is a place that looks like they set for a movie set in oldy timey London town. Honestly expected to Moll Flanders, a Dickens character or Jude Law with that poofy moustache to come wondering out from some sort of smoke machine-made fog.

This shift was for a Norwegian PR or something type firm who were having a corporate team building  weekend in London. And they was drank. They were pissed when they were arrived and were positively paralytic by about ten past seven. Example: dancing on tables, sitting on each other’s shoulders, knocking over tables filled with glass ware, random hook ups, urinating on the cobbled semi-enclosed street that the market is on.

Also there are apparently INDIANS in Norway. Several were of the Sub-continental variety. I had no idea of this. I knew in an Of Montreal song entitled “Oslo in the summertime” he mentions “Pakistani children playing in a courtyard” but I thought y’know, they were refugees that socialist Norway had adopted in a Angelina Jolie inspired piece of bureaucratic guilt. Nope there are actual ethnic minorities in Norway. Who knew?

It was quite helpful as well as everyone else was blonde and tall and good-looking. Except there were a lot of sneans. So many sneans. And they were the token bogan goth rockers who are a strangely Scandinavian – heavy phenomena. Also, no word of a lie there was Karl Karlssen there (they had nametags). A Karl Karlssen. I. nearly. died.

I spent the rest of the night looking for Olaf Olaffson, Johan Johanssen and Erik Eriksson (spellings obviously not unsure of).

And that’s it for this week, next week I get to work for the Queen (again. Yawn) and David Cameron (or will he still be in France? Hmm) and hopefully will have some posh ridiculousness to report.

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