Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Would You Want To Spend An Evening In With These People?

T Mobile have been playing catch up to the highly successful Orange Wednesday two for one cinema promotion by teaming up with flagging video rental chain Blockbuster. The result has been a TV ad campaign where idiots from the public get to make their own (cheap budget) ad, advertising the sort of theme night they would host for their film night. Now T-Mobile has a long and proud history of making some really grating adverts; the flash-mob dance in Liverpool Street being a shining example of this whimsical communal bullshit. So in that way these ads are a continuation of the brand’s tradition.

The people in the clips are eye-poppingly annoying, especially as they don’t look like the types that would have friends, and would sit at home alone acting out scenes from their favourite films with puppets made of their own faeces.

Don’t believe me? Then watch this 101 lesson in psychotic behaviour. The woman is having a conversation with a home-made mannequin with a balloon head – and which bursts for god’s sake! Now are the advertisers trying to say that mild mental delusion is all a big joke? I guess in that sense we’ve gone back to the nineteenth century where it is acceptable - nay fashionable – to go to a nut house and laugh at all the silly dribbling ‘crazies’. But this is the twenty first century of course, so why not go to watch a film with one of them?

Another frightening look into the nights in of the future involves a crazy mumbling cowpoke, on an inflatable horse. To be fair this chap doesn’t look as mentally unwell as the previous film night host, but instead he just seems incredibly annoying. Also how does he expect to sit down and watch the film with the inflatable horse, which would almost certainly get in the way? Is he planning to stand up for the two hours of the film?

Now I generally can see what the advert makers have tried to do here. They’ve clearly tried to make these commercials seem light hearted and a bit funny by letting the public take control of the creative content, remembering the Big Brother maxim: stick a camera in front of a member of the public and they will relinquish all dignity just to be noticed. Well this is a classic example of that. That is if it is just a ruse from the ad makers to make us believe the public is generally this deliberately idiotic.

So how would a night go if I was to go for a movie night with either the erstwhile cowpoke, or the insane woman and her balloon headed concubine? Well I could see myself arriving at the door, maybe bringing a bottle of wine as a friendly gesture; a few awkward silences would take place; we play a game of charades where the host switches between all their schizophrenic split personalities; a few hours pass; I get brutally hacked to death and buried under their patio, and/or cooked. Failing that I’ll be asked to join a cult of some sort. If the theme of the night is cannibal horror then alarm bells will definitely start ringing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top Gear Revs Back Onto Our Screens

Good News! Top Gear is back! Everyone’s favourite car magazine show, hosted by three bickering children in the guise of middle aged men. This time we are faced with a new dawn as Top Gear becomes ‘more serious.’ A fact that the presenters repeated – probably to remind themselves, let alone us – that they have toned down the excessive sillyness that’s been seen in the recent series.

Now don’t get me wrong as there is a lot to love about the OTT antics of Hammond, May and Clarkson, such as:

· A chance to see men live out their craziest fantasies involving cars – like for instance car darts, racing a car against a train, build-your-own- stretch limos and, of course, the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle.

· It’s like what Heston Blumenthal’s trying to do to food, but a lot more fun!

· The director get’s to indulge in videographic opulence, as he throws about every artistic visual trick in presenting the actual car reviews, resulting in stylish and atmospheric little featurettes.

· We get a neo-mythical beast/ racing driver (aka the Stig) testing the reviewed cars to see how fast they can get around the Top Gear track.

· We get to see who the fastest celebrity is in a reasonably priced car.

· The three main presenters make the perfect foils for each other, as Clarkson spouts un-PC grumblings and constantly insane similes, Hammond (who is becoming more and more like Jeremy’s side-kick) preens himself and bounces around like a psychotic imp, and May engages with the others with the wit and temperament of a hermit-like crackpot scientist, who lives in a shed.

Anyway, it’s back! And it’s now more ‘serious’ than ever. Or at least that’s a fact that the hosts are trying to convince themselves to believe in. True enough, the show began with a relatively serious look a new Bentley sports car, but as soon as they sat the Stig in the car to test it all delusions of seriousness were shattered; as they cut away from the lap to show Japanese superminis ‘playing football,’ while Clarkson reeled off ridiculous commentary of what we were ‘supposedly’ missing. From there we witnessed James driving a Toyota Hilux up a volcano, Hammond giving the old Chevy reasonably price car a “Viking funeral” by dropping a large chimney on it, and Clarkson reaffirming the dangers of the Robin Reliant’s single front wheel. It was pretty much as crazy and silly as usual in short. But at least we learned that: Volcanoes are hot and shouldn’t be driven up, the new Bentley is good - although not as good as an Aston Martin DBS - cars and chimneys do not mix and you should never EVER accept a lift from Jeremy Clarkson if he’s driving in a Robin Reliant.

Basically the “serious” brand is an empty threat, and is banded about as sincerely as Corporal Jones waving his arms and screaming “Don’t panic” continuously. Now I don’t see it as a bad thing that the show is continuing as it was, as for the most part it was fine and they do seem to have toned down the scripted laughs, which were becoming more and more frequent in the previous series. Thankfully in doing so they haven’t cut down on the “ambitious but rubbish” prattling around that has endeared fans to the series.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a game of football not an international conflict.

It’s not often I stick my oar into football related matters. But today I’m going to ponder on the upcoming England verses Germany match this coming Sunday.

Now the England V Germany rivalry is something written into national football folklore in this country, and it’s a subject many English fans love to bathe in nostalgia about. Like there was the time we beat West Germany and won the world cup in 1966, and of course when we beat the Germans 5 -1 in 2001, and err… that’s about it – although we still try to brag for some reason, despite nearly always losing to Germany. Sadly the rest of the dewey-eyed nostalgia is made up of xenophobia, which tends to link into to old World War Two jingoism such as: the ‘Dunkirk spirit’ and ‘the Blitz,’ like everyone has suddenly forgotten 1945 was sixty-five years ago and not last week. Well, that is when we aren’t resorting to sillier stereotypes like referring to the Germans in terms of sausages, lederhosen, and sauerkraut; something I can actually appreciate the humour of (It's more like harmless fun as every nation has it's quirks. I’d be interested to hear what they call us).

What makes our attitude sadder is that the Germans seem to be unaware that such a rivalry exists. I spoke to many Germans during my travels and occasionally made reference to the rivalry; nearly all of them were surprised by this revelation. To be fair the Germans are more concerned with their rivalry with the Dutch than with little England (renamed ‘Ingerland’ for the duration of any international football tournament) up there in the corner of Europe, shaking it’s isolated fist at its oblivious neighbours and being glared at by its fellow island inhabitants (yes I mean you Wales and Scotland!). What does faze the Germans are allusion to the Second World War and Nazism in general (I once absent mindedly referred to Deutschlandleid – the German national anthem - as “Deutschland uber alles” which led to a German friend declaring “We don’t sing that bit any more” with some alarm), as for football they tend to be a bit more down to earth than us. Well, unless they’re playing the Dutch (who do act a lot like us when they play Germany, it has to be said).

Still, despite the futility of our one-sided rivalry, it’s certainly something that has got the country talking. Listening to Radio 5live recently, I was quite pleased to hear that so many people phoned in and were as equally bemused by the WWII comparisons that are made, and that we are normally whipped up into a patriotic fervour by the media when we play Germany. Unfortunately there was still one moron who phoned defending the schtick with the phrase “never forget”. Whilst he is right that we shouldn’t forget the atrocities of World War Two – committed on both sides I might add – we shouldn’t condemn a country that did something bad over half a century ago and that hasn’t been able to live it down since. Also I’d imagine the man who had phoned in was more interested in perpetuating petty xenophobia rather than a true anti war message.

The ‘we’ll fight them on the beaches’ side of the rivalry still really irritates me however. Not many people, least of all those watching the match in South Africa or at home, were born with any living memory of the Second World War. Sure, my grandmother remembers it well, but it’s not like I personally had to put up with constant bombing or rationing. I do live with the legacy of the allies winning the war – for which I am rather grateful – but that doesn’t mean I feel the need to pour salt on the wounds of something that happened decades before my birth.

Ultimately I do hope England win and I will be supporting them one hundred per cent on Sunday. However, being realistic, I don’t think we are going to win; the Germans seem a much more solid unit, rather than our efforts which have been as disappointing as a BBC Three comedy sketch series (aside from the Slovenia match last Wednesday. But that was still no world beating performance). Sadly for us English, the world cup is probably going to end at the hands of one of our historical rivals as if we do beat the Germans we then play the Argentines, who almost certainly will knock us out if the Germans don’t.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Once again Britains 'bingo-ing' mad.

Being an unemployed drain on the state as I am at the moment; I have found myself watching more and more daytime TV. It’s not a fact I’m proud of, but they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Anyway, the sudden re-exposure to midday television has made me aware that there are rather a lot of online bingo adverts on during this time.

Bingo in general is a game that confuses and infuriates me. Firstly the name conjures up unpleasant illusions of ‘bingo wings’ (the fatty rolls you get under your upper arms due to age or, more likely, being too fat) or annoying songs about illiterate dog owners. As for the game itself that just makes me think of a group of cackling, demented elderly women, sitting in a tacky dilapidated hall, staring blankly at their game cards whilst a fat bald man in a sparkly suit jacket reads off numbers in an annoying rhyming slang.

As you can tell I’m not a big fan of the game. But now the old images of shabby old halls and overweight callers have been replaced by the magic of the internet, so that the venue is now your own home - which unless you have the explicit desire to make it look like a bingo hall will be a rather more average setting. This seems like a disastrous idea as bingo players always seem like shut-ins who’s only social event is bingo and now they don’t even have that. Also this has unfortunately that’s led to a rise of adverts for the subject.

Having looked at a few of these daytime fodder ads I’ve established two things. Firstly their target audience are women and secondly they are painfully annoying.

Yes indeed, from the advert where a frenzied ‘gal pal’ with a seemingly melting face forces her way into the house of a friend and using agonizingly obvious persuasion gets her friend hooked on Paddypower bingo. After all that’s what friends are for? I think my problem with is that it’s not just unrealistic but it seems like bad manners. You don’t just burst into someone’s home, get out a laptop and start autistically talking about some lame gambling fad – this is England after all.

Another offender of this type is Foxy Bingo. This is just as cringe inducing, but in a musical way. To set the scene we see a man-sized fox, in a suit, start a musical duet with Mandy a checkout assistant we are supposed to know for some reason? Is she a minor celeb or a character for the ad; well search me because it’s never explained. This advert is horrible as I am allergic to musicals for a start and the man-fox starts off by claiming he’s “got balls”, which makes you wonder if something truly degrading is about to happen. Also why is no one freaked out by the man-fox anyway? After all you’d be more than surprised if a giant human-like squirrel knocked on your door asking to donate money to charity.

So, as you can see the housebound during the middle hours of the day (read unemployed or housewife/husband) are being force fed this cheesy, cliché ridden rubbish, but you do wonder where are this demographic getting the money from. If they’re like me shouldn’t they be incredibly tight on money? If people are this ham-fisted with money then you don’t have to look far to find why our country is in £100 billion of debt. I know gambling is an opiate of the people; but for god’s sake don’t give them home access to it like this! But then people don’t often think this far ahead and it probably won’t be long before we are living in a society where we have an economy based on the bingo formula, bingo callers are our leaders, and people start speaking in bingo colloquialisms like a kind of newspeak.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Why I don't get Glee

I guess it’s indicative of the fact that I am a bitter, twisted little man with a blackened soul, but I don’t like Glee. Yes true, it is the latest big thing on TV and is sweeping across the public consciousness like a cancer, but it’s something I just don’t get. I just see it as another sign that I’m a cynical bastard unable to appreciate things which are happy and joyous, but then that’s what working in media will do for you.

Glee from what I can tell is an all singing, all dancing version of High School Musical, but is in episodic format. It’s the epitome of comfort food television, as it indulges people who watch it with sickly sweet kids, simple villains, and pop songs galore to bludgeon them into twee oblivion. The only thing worse would be if Taylor Swift and N*sync formed an alliance.

I have never made it through an entire episode, mainly because the precocious bastards keep singing all the time. “You’ve missed the point!” you may cry, but that is the biggest flaw in the show for me. I just hate shows that sing at me. I don’t know why it is, but I just get really awkward watching any musicals (Disney’s Aladdin seems to be the only exception) – Footloose made me wish dancing really was banned and as for the Rocky Horror Picture show, well I don’t think those emotional scars will ever heal. Maybe it’s that I detest performing arts, but every time one of these teens starts droning into song I break out in a cold sweat and feel the desire to jump out the nearest window. To hell with the fact it may be a two floor drop outside, I just need to escape their horrible grinning stares.

Glee makes this problem ten times worse as it insists on ditching the narrative sometimes to jump into its bewildering show tunes out of context, so that just when you feel safe the characters seem to drop out of the plot to shamelessly rip off a famous music video. You sometimes don’t know when one of the songs is coming. Considering my adverse reaction to musical show tunes this is even more traumatic.

Normally when they DO sing it’s also at the expense of a quite good song. It’s telling that the makers have sensed the opportunity to make a quick buck from their wannabe stars, by getting them into the recording studio so that they can market these remakes, and as yet no bands have denied them the rights. More to the point, who is buying these CDs? You wouldn’t you want a screechy poppy remake of something like Back in Black by AC DC after all, so why a screechy poppy remake of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey? They deserve better than that.

I think the biggest issue is that when these kids perform, they do so with so much bloody spirit it makes me grind my teeth. Their singing is so high pitched and happy it’s like someone is pouring boiling treacle in your ears. Also they gurn, and prance, they strike poses and play on about every other little show-offish trick you could imagine. It’s so hopelessly camp. We’ve had to contend with idiots like this pratting around since the time of Fame, and more recently Britannia High flailing their arms hither and dither; to all intents and purposes screaming “Look at me! Look at meeee! I’m a performer!” and doing it with a big vindictive smile on their smug mugs. Another thing is that one of the boys in the group looks a bit like Rick Astley (in that he’s got beady little eyes and a gingery Tin-Tin style quiff) so I feel like I’m being constantly Rick-rolled.

Whether you like it or not the final episode in the series is tonight at 9, which normally would allow me to take a sigh of relief, that is until I remember Big Brother is still hogging the scheduling.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I wonder if they drew whether it would go to penalties?

In recognition of the opening of the world cup this week the TV planners have been doing their utmost to schedule shows that would build anticipation. The zenith of which was a special Come Dine with Me, everyone’s favourite voyeur and fine dining miss-match which this week put on a footballer’s special where four ex-England players cooked for each other.

The players chosen for this fusion of football and food were Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock (who was stretching the criteria somewhat considering he had only two international caps), John ‘Awooga’ Fashanu, Frank Worthington and Carlton Palmer. It was an eclectic bunch: considering we had the disgusting in Ruddock (who answered the door for some reason wearing nothing but an apron), the old in Worthington, the condescending in Fash (who seemed to think of himself as a street philosopher) and the stupid in Carlton Palmer (who masterfully deduced that a banoffee pie was a kind of pie).

The concept at first did could conjur up some weird ideas: like that the hosts might prepare some kind of England themed courses, such as a ‘Butcher cut’ for a main (a bloody steak named after human blood pack Terry Butcher), or Roony-potatoes - so called because the star striker looks a bit like one. Sadly the best we got was ‘Razor’ Ruddock preparing a pasta dish called ‘big boys pasta’, which only seemed to be named after the fact he served up such huge portions of the stuff to his guests.

The rest of the show was a whirlwind of has-beens, banter, some cringeworthy antics and the unsurprising revelation that footballers aren’t generally very good cooks. Well, except for Carlton Palmer who turned out a fine, and a rather more complex meal than his counterparts who were knocking out nothing trickier than prawn cocktails and spag bol. There was the odd disaster, like Ruddock burning his entrée much to the screeching panic of his Barbi-I mean wife, or ‘Worthy’ pouring straight vinegar onto his starter instead of the vinaigrette he’d just prepared. None of this however, topped Fash’s menu, which was incredibly average, although that didn’t stop him heartily congratulated himself for making a top class meal. He came last.

However, an interesting point about Come Dine with Me Footballers Special that made it distinctly different to other Come Dine With Me episodes, was that it was a very good tempered affair. There was none of the bitching and petty rivalries, such as one snooty guest nit-picking ever miniscule fault with the food, or having one twattish guest winding up everyone with foul or arseholish behaviour - Neil Ruddock did come close, but none of the others seemed to mind that much. Also I couldn’t help but chuckle every time Fash appeared as I couldn’t stop thinking of the foreboding music used the in Day Today skit on him.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Some things are best left on the drawing board.

I found myself wondering recently why there has been such a fad for real life adaptations of cartoon series. The Flintstones, Dragonball, Garfield and the Chipmunks - they’ve all been done before; not to mention there are real-life remakes of The Smurfs and Avatar: The Last Airbender also in the pipeline.

The one thing most of these remakes hold in common is that they are disappointing, if not mind bendingly awful. They only seem to exist as an answer to a vague “what if this cartoon character was real” thought occasionally pondered upon by people, and picked up by a film exec sensing a profit making answer. Unfortunately that never ever translates to a film with substance although It’s a fair question to ask though. We all wonder what it would be like if the Simpson or Family guy were real, hence the increasing number of adverts I see on YouTube offering just that possibility – although most of these look like they were created from the nightmare case files of patients in the psychiatric wing of Great Ormond Street hospital.

Also we’re forgetting that real-life recreations of cartoon characters could have unfortunate ramifications.
After all imagine if Super Mario came to life. With his red plumbers cap, and his bushy moustache he could accidentally be confused with Josef Stalin. Walk him around a Russian neighbourhood he’s either going to cause a panic, or mass adulation; perhaps both. Also what about Popeye? A man with an appearance that exaggerated (yes I am referring to his seemingly malformed forearms) would come across like a modern day elephant man, and probably be granted his own ‘gawk at the freak’ style Channel 4 documentary about his condition. I’m sure there’d be an audience for: The man whose forearms are ginormous.

So what’s next in the live-action remake market? I’ve compiled a short list of possible cartoon remakes that still could be made – it’s a depressingly short list considering how many cartoons have been given a reality makeover – and note down a few comments on why they should really be left as they are:

· Pokemon

You couldn’t complain about the plot being bad, as historically the plots have been terrible for Pokemon movies - and for the TV series in general. Actually I would be hard pressed to say that anything Pokemon (aside from the games) has a plot anyway. In that sense maybe this is a prime candidate for a CGI remake? The downside may be that real-life looking Pokebeasts may terrify the kids in the audience. Look at a weird Pokemon like Geodude: the rock with fists? The kids are going to bloody wet themselves if he comes on the big screen! Expect councellors to do a roaring trade if this is ever released.

· Spongebob Squarepants

This is another nightmare inducing idea. Also who would play the lead? I couldn’t take an actor who played a real life Spongebob Squarepants very seriously; the voice would be all wrong too.

· Duck Tails

I guess there’s little impetus to make this into live-action movie as it’s no longer very culturally relevant. Still it would be quite entertaining seeing a realistic world inhabited by ducks and other waterfowl. Also it might finally end the discussion as to what in God’s name the Beagle Boys actually were? I think they’re dogs (hence their name) but they look hairless, which I am sure beagles are not. Well, unless they’ve been subject to abuse, but that might be making the premise a bit too realistic. I guess it goes to show Walt Disney animators can’t draw dogs for shit. Just look at Goofy after all (if in fact he is a dog, I just don’t know).

· Tom and Jerry

Just because I don’t think I could bear seeing a realistic cartoon cat having its face warped by running head first into an iron. Also I’m sure that kids WILL copy this version and have their pet cats and mice fight to the bloody death in comic fashion.

· Yogi Bear

“Eh Boo Boo! I am thinking that people – even children – will question why no one in this film is surprised by a talking bear, even if he smarter than the average bear”. The chipmunks pushed the limit, but if you have a friendly talking bear nicking your ‘pick-a-nick’ baskets I think people will start complaining that it’s unbelievable, if not very annoying. Then again, maybe it’s just me that expects a live action Yogi to be a bit more like his ursine counter parts, complete with a grizzly demeanour and bloodlust when confronted by man.

· Johnny Bravo

The saddest thing is a studio did actually attempt remaking this as a live-action movie, and with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the lead role. This just wouldn’t work as it wouldn’t be able to recapture the pace of the original cartoon, and they wouldn’t get the hair right either.

Hollywood inevitably will keep making these lame spin-offs, as long as a fan idly wonders what the scribble on the screen would look like as someone down his local supermarket - and would pay for tickets for the subsequent big screen remake. Still, I wonder if one day the tables will turn and they’ll start ‘cartoonising’ real-life series. I hope they do the Apprentice first. I’m curious to see how an artist would caricature Lord Sugar, and how craggy his face would be.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Food for thought.

Now I love a good food show. More often than not it’s just a case of me staring longingly at a recipe being made, before getting realistic and realising I can’t be bothered to go out and buy the normally very extravagant ingredients. It’s true to say that most of the time these shows just tempt us with what we can’t have, but that doesn’t stop us from getting hooked.

So today I’m going to have a look at few recent foodie outings.

Heston Blumenthal:

The foodie’s equivalent of a mad scientist, Heston is more of a chemist than a chef. This is the reason I’ve found him gradually start to grate on my nerves as his food; whilst being wonderfully creative, is ultimately a complete pipe dream for anyone not possessing a laboratory. I for example, make use of a relatively cramped kitchen, with an electric oven that has a broken hob panel. Where do you think I’m going to fit in a centrifuge machine Heston? Also, what’s up with the idea of snail porridge? I think I’ll stick to pasta.

I was willing to overlook Heston’s opulence, and to enjoy the programmes for what they are: a flight of fancy in food experimentation. That was until I saw Heston’s idea of a perfect Chilli con carne.

Chilli is a simple recipe which can be prepared by anyone from a gastronome to someone who’s new to cooking, and whose idea of a complicated meal consists of a pot noodle (so most students basically). Well when Heston arrives on the scene, he shatters that illusion with a recipe so unnecessarily complicated, and with so many stages, it could be mistaken for a freemason initiation process. I can’t honestly believe that a chilli, that seems to take three weeks to prepare, is going to be so much better tasting than an average attempt that it justifies that kind of effort and time to make it.

The Delicious Miss Dahl:

Sophie Dahl is a relative newcomer to the food world, although it is not the first time the Dahl name has been used in conjunction with a cookery programme. I distinctly remember “Roald Dahl’s revolting recipes’ when I was child, and it was quite an entertaining idea which translated food from Dahl’s books into real recipes. Also it was presented by human cactus Gary Rhodes, which lended it some credibility.

The Delicious Miss Dahl on the other hand follows in a similar vein to Rachel Allen, and Nigella Lawson style programmes – giving us ‘an attractive woman can cook’ kind of motif. Still, I can’t really argue with that logic as I think the name of the show is rather apt, and that Miss Dahl is delicious (remembering that controversial opium advert from when I was a teenager of course), I am a man after all. Unfortunately as it is similar to Nigella and Rachel, it falls prey to overusing adjectives like ‘desire,’ ‘indulgent,’ and a word I despise using in the context of food: ‘naughty’. How can food be naughty, unless you subscribe to the idiotic view that eating itself is a sin? Surely the only food that can be realistically described as ‘naughty,’ is the type bought from an erotic bakery.

I think I like this programme though, as the food Sophie makes isn’t in-your-face extravagant, and shows you recipes you can enjoy for a bit of a treat.

Saturday Kitchen:

This is the logical replacement for a young adult when he or she has grown tired of Saturday morning kid’s shows. I have to admit, when I was 13 I always wondered what would replace SM:TV in my Saturday morning entertainment affections when I reached my late teens and twenties. Saturday Kitchen was my answer. It’s got all the best aspects of a live Saturday morning series, with presenter links and cut-aways to other programmes, but instead of stupid games like on the likes of Ministry of Mayhem (or whatever the hell it is nowadays) we have cook offs like Food Heaven and Food Hell, or the speed omelette making challenge.

In that sense it’s easy to make the transition from anarchic weekend entertainment for 10 – 15 year olds, to the quite silly antics of this gem. We have light-hearted hosting from James Martin, an array of guest stars and chefs, and some really interesting recipes. It is for grownups but it’s still good fun and a bit silly too. Still the good thing is it isn’t too silly, and I’ve yet to see Dick and Dom in da Kitchen advertised yet, so for that I thank my lucky stars.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

This is England, and here we express our pride with a cheesy novelty single.

I’m not sure what the logic is? Whether it’s an attempt at shameless money-spinning behind the shield of charity, or a deluded belief that it will actually be good; despite how shocking it looks on paper? Whichever is the case, the fact remains that I have learned today that James Cordon and Dizzee Rascal are teaming up to record a World Cup song.

Now I am more into the World Cup than any other football tournament, mainly as I actually feel I can get behind the England team - because I’m, you know, English. However, there is one thing that persistently bugs me when every tournament rears its head, and that is that the vendors are willing to flog us tacky crap featuring the three lions on it. Whether it’s official or unofficial, people lap it up with gusto, so long as it purports to serve our beloved ‘Ingerland.’

It is unsurprising that celebrity world cup songs come as part and parcel with this trend, and over the years we have seen many pitiful attempts, which share in common: the butchering of a once-loved hit tune, a B – Z list celebrity and/or musician, and reams of cheesy England world cup romance.

So I suppose when you consider those archetypes, this new attempt looks better than most. Dizzee Rascal is still a very big deal in the music world, and James Cordon – despite the spectacular critical and ratings failure of his sketch show with Matthew Horne – is still a popular fixture on TV.

Despite our two high-profile ‘strikers,’ we have a sinister ‘manager’ lurking behind the scenes. I am of course talking of Simon Cowell. Now old SyCo has been generally going around recently and vocally giving a vaguely nationalistic ‘thumbs up’ to people and things he likes in the press. This is much like when he stuck his oar into the recent election and backed David Cameron for Prime Minister - despite living in America and having no stake in day-to-day life in Britain. Well, he’s at it again. And this time he’s assisting the oh-so important show of support for England in the World Cup campaign. Funny as I thought he was just releasing a tawdry charity single. Talk about a true patriot.

On my first listen to ‘Shout for England’ (based on eighties hit Shout, by Tears for Fears) I had to ask the question, is this what a genetic cross-hybrid of James Cordon and Dizzee Rascal would sound like? Although, with the monster sharing a split consciousness between Cordon and Rascal, and with both at different intervals seizing control of the creatures brain? It’s certainly the closest we’re going to get to that.

Also the backing tune has been cranked up with cheap sound effects of cheering England fans, and something sounding vaguely similar to the England supporter’s brass band accompanied by air horns. The eighties-esque keyboard chimes of the original melody are in there somewhere too, but it sounds like they’ve been trapped in a kind of musical purgatory, and just want escape their prison of mediocrity.

The only musical direction James Cordon seems to have been given is to shout, and that’s probably because the song’s called ‘Shout’. All of this while Dizzee raps: "Leave the wags alone, set aside your ego, we're tired of bragging about 40 years ago - which is sound advice, but considering so many people have been echoing this sentiment you have to question whether he’s just mirroring public opinion.

This song is horrible full stop, but of course that won’t prevent it from doing well of course. Not while the public are lured in by celebrity appearances, actually listening to Simon Cowell, and buying up anything with an England sticker on it like a moth to a flame. Also it’s for Charity, which just about excuses it, but it’s a cop-out of an excuse.