30.6.11

BAD TEACHERS

Today, in England it is expected that hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will go on strike in protest at changes to their pensions, including around 600,000 teachers.

It's expected that about two thirds of all schools will be affected in some way - one third to close entirely and one third to be "partially affected".

The British Chambers of Commerce have said that many parents would lose pay for taking the day off work to look after their children, and productivity would be hit.
All because of greedy teachers...

Greedy, grasping teachers.

I don't know about you but I bloody hate teachers.


I hate the way they lord it over everyone and hold the country to ransom. I hate the way that nobody appoints them yet they take it upon themselves to be in charge.

I hate the way that we have to pander to these scumbags by awarding them more and more bonuses otherwise they'll take their expertise to rivals.

I hate the way they can vote to give themselves pay-rises and how they make a mockery of the expenses and allowances systems or claim the rent for their second homes that are subsequently found out to be owned by their spouses or their children.

Or the way they steal taxpayer's cash by pretending to live with their dead mum.

I hate that they can take on extra consultancy work for massive multi-nationals and I hate the way they try and get their partners to take the blame for their driving misdemeanours.


Teachers are right freeloading parasites.

They swan around the halls of their palaces in their ermine gowns, falling asleep at conferences, spouting libel about footballers safe in the knowledge that they are above the law, claiming money for duck islands and having their moats cleaned - they make me fucking sick.

I hate the way they talk so casually about rape, the way they want to halve the sentences of convicted criminals, the way they use rent-boys, the way they father illegitimate children with their staff, and how they have extra-marital affairs with their husband's bodyguards or sometimes with the wives of international arms dealers.

I hate how they award massive contracts to their friends and take charge of entire departments, without having any specialist knowledge in that area, and then fill the place with their cronies.

And I don't think I can ever forgive them for taking us to war in Iraq.

Bloody teachers. I don't know how they sleep at night....

That was teachers, wasn't it?

Yeah. I'm sure it was.

At least I think it was.

Anyway, thank fuck for Michael Gove! He's got the measure of these greedy bastards. Oh yes. he's not going to take any shit from them.


(Which is odd, looking at him. The little Pob-faced dweeb looks EXACTLY like someone who spent his school days hanging around the staffrooms trying to ingratiate himself with teachers by spragging on his fellow pupils... 
I just bet he was a Hall Monitor.)

No, PobGove has let these evil, selfish teachers know exactly what he thinks of bloody teachers by writing a massive article in The Sun saying that they are letting down the children of Britain by making them have a day off - as opposed to a couple of months ago when they all had a random spattering of public and religious holidays followed by a day off for a Royal Wedding.

But that was different.
That was a distraction from politics.

But now Teachers are trying to make people interested in politics. It's like they just can't stop themselves from teaching all the bloody time.

When I was a kid I was told that teaching was it's own reward - so why are we even paying these people??

Thankfully, PobGove isn't going to back down.

Unlike previous times when he's shat his mouth off (no that's not a typo) and then had to do a complete about face. You know, like he did over the academies, and the faith schools, the cuts in the school-sports budgets, the free books scheme or the suggestion that teachers who couldn't make it into their own schools during the snowstorms earlier this year should just turn up at any school they like on the way and take over a class.

I mean, how hard is it to be a teacher?

Anyone can do it, according to PobGove, and what's more anyone SHOULD do it. PobGove thinks we should all rock up to any schools that are closed today and, y'know, just teach the kids. Doddle.

What could possibly go wrong with that?


Ah...


Anyway, it's all part of the Big Society, you see. We do our own jobs then spend a few hours doing the simple things like running libraries, being a civil servant, work in the armed forces or teach.

In The Sun, PobGove explains, with the help of a visual aid of a massive wad of cash, that teachers pensions could reach a £24,000 per year - based on a pension pot of £400,000 that they would have accummulated over 40 years of constant nurturing and educating.

The greedy shits.

How dare they?

If they want to make a load of money why don't they just do what PobGove does and decorate their homes to an elaborately luxurious extent and then claim all the money back?

Or simply charge the public £14,000 for moving out of that home after just 5 months?

Or claim for coffee spoons? Or elephant lamps? Or patio furniture? It all adds up...

It's not like he can afford to buy all this stuff himself. An Education secretary only makes around £64,766 a year.

But teachers, pfff!, they just want something for nothing.

And what do they do for all that money?

They lounge around in over-sized classrooms full of out of control, barely literate, knife-wielding little hoodies with anti-social and behavioural problems, get physically, mentally and verbally abused on a daily basis by pupils and parents, all the while they are patronised and condescended to by the people who are constantly constraining them with new guidelines and an ever-changing curriculum.


Oh yeah.

That's teachers isn't it?

If the teachers want to strike they should. If they feel that the way that they are being treated is untenable then they have a democratic right to withhold their skills.

The Government should be on the side of teachers, it should be supporting them rather than blaming them.

As for Labour? It's disgusting that they cannot ally themselves with the people who mould the Nation's future.

  Public sector workers (civil servants, local government workers, NHS staff, members of the armed forces, teachers, police, firefighters, judicial and atomic workers) who the government proposes should lose their final salary pension schemes and move to career-average schemes
  Public sector workers (MPs) who the government is not proposing should lose their final salary pension schemes and move to career-average schemes
(courtesy of Private Eye)





It's no wonder there is little interest in politics these days when both sides act EXACTLY the same.

There's a popular FB status going around at the moment which kind of sums it up:

"Remember when teachers, nurses, doctors and lollipop ladies crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? 
No, me neither. 
Please copy and paste to your status for 24 hours to show your support for the strikes against the government's latest attack on pensions."

It's not teachers who are letting the nation's children down, it's the mixed messages they are getting from our leaders.

If you're going to be corrupt then be massively corrupt.

If you're going to be bad at your job be massively bad at your job to the extent that you bring down the institution you work for.

If you're going to steal - steal billions.

If you're going to lie or libel - become an MP.

As one brilliant Twitterer put it - "Thatcher took my milk. Now Cameron wants my pension!"

I think people are finally getting sick of being told to tighten their belts by people in much more expensive trousers.


Trousers that we've probably paid for.

Twice.

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If you enjoyed this post you might want to read the excellent
  Independent column by comedian Mark Steel.
In fact, you should read it every week as he is consistently brilliant.

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28.6.11

NO MORE HEROES, ANYMORE...

As a self-confessed comic book nerd I have to say -

ENOUGH WITH THE COMIC-BOOK FILMS!!


Batman Begins, Blade, Superman Returns, Batman Returns, Spiderman, Blade 2, X-Men, The Hulk, Spiderman 2, The Incredible Hulk, X2, The Green Hornet, Daredevil, Road To Perdition, The Spirit, The Shadow, 300, Darkman, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Superman II, Elektra, The Fantastic Four, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Judge Dredd, Hellboy, Spawn, Blade: Trinity, Superman III, Spiderman 3, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Supergirl, The Phantom, Rocketeer, The Punisher, X-Men 3, Iron Man, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Fantastic Four 2: Rise of The Silver Surfer, Catwoman, V For Vendetta, The Watchmen, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Iron Man 2, Ghost Rider, Jonah Hex, Punisher: War Zone, Thor, The Dark Knight, Kick Ass, The Green Lantern...


The Green fucking Lantern??

Sweet Jebus, are there ANY comic books that haven't been turned into a mega-squillion-dollar-movie?
It's beyond a joke.

I love a good action film as much as the next man-in-a-vest, but this is getting ridiculous. I mean, The Green Lantern? The Green fucking Lantern?? Who the fuck wants to see The Green fucking Lantern??
Nobody, that's who.

It was like a two hour Muse video - and I like Muse!

But I'm not going to wade through yet another bloody version of the monomyth The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

There are some excellent examples of superhero movies, from the original Christopher Reeves' Superman in 1978 to the re-booted Batman series and the first X Men films, but Green Lantern??

What's next?
Fucking Aquaman??

The problem lies with the technology available. Just because you CAN create a world of aliens doesn't mean that you have to - ARE YOU LISTENING, GEORGE LUCAS??

"No. I'm setting the next Indiana Jones on Tattooine. 
Short Round becomes Howard the Duck and marries Jar Jar Binks. 
Think of all the TOYS!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-HAAA!!!"
CGI technology really isn't all that good. It can fool people into seeing something that isn't there or (in the case of  Forrest Gump's Lieutenant Dan's legs) it can take something away, but it is an illusion. And like the best illusions it should be glimpsed at and believed wholly. It does not bear close scrutiny.

Also, CGI is developed by computers and so has that glassy, reflective quality that very few people or places actually have, so the legendary Halls of Valhalla in Thor or the various other Green fucking Lanterns in Green Lantern look like shitty cartoons. Cartoons not drawn by Steve Ditko or Bob Kane, but by pricks who work at Lucasfilms or WETA. People who simply sketch an outline and let the machines do the rest.

And that is the problem.

There have now been TWO attempts to make the Incredible Hulk into a decent movie, and as it is based upon the Jekyll & Hyde stories of Robert Louis Stevenson you would think it wouldn't be that difficult a story to tell? But the insistence of the studios of using a CGI Hulk instead of Lou Ferringo in a pair of tattered purple beach shorts means that absolute nobody is convinced of any threat to the protagonist.


A cartoon Hulk cannot act, either. No matter what you think of Lou Ferrigno's acting abilities, you cannot escape the fact that in the 1970's and 80's he was The Hulk. He made you believe in the massive green chaos machine, he also had rare moments of gentility, but he mostly made you believe that HULK would SMASH!!

Nowadays, if the Hulk gets hit with a truck - who cares?
It's not a REAL truck. It's not a REAL Hulk. He'll be fine.

We all know it's a pixellated puppet and so we don't care about it as much as we would if it was a person in a latex mask and green body paint or even, ironically, a real puppet like Kermit The Frog!

There is something in us that will project emotional characteristics and invest ourselves in the trials and tribulations of the Muppet puppets in The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth that we refuse to do to  recent CGI creations.

The thing that made us fall in love with Superman was Christopher Reeves, not the back-screen projection. Yes, it added to the specatacle, and Yes, for a short-time it DID make some of us believe that a man could fly, but ultimately it was his portrayal of the alien Kal-El trying to fit in that tugged at out heart-strings.


It's why the X-Men was such a resounding success. It had actors, PROPER actors like Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Patrick Stewart, making the silliest premise sound implausible plausible. It even made a bad-ass action hero out of musicals luvvie Hugh Jackman, simply because we believed that he could tear your head off, not because of the silvery cartoon knuckle duster-extensions.

It's also the reason we rooted for Spiderman - he wasn't a conventionally attractive Hollywood clone. He was that nerdy, awkward kid from The Cider House Rules and Pleasantville.


The Batman series are a good illustration of this. In the 1960's Adam West and Burt Ward played their roles with deadpan sincerity whilst the likes of Burgess Meredith and Cesar Romero tore up the scenery.


 As a kid, you believed in Batman and Robin as they, despite dressing like a flying rat and a camp Christmas card, were the sane and sober heroes.

In the 80's and 90's Batman on screen tried to emulate the tone of the books - dark, malevolent, vicious, psychotic. But that doesn't sell toys or funk-rock soundtracks - so we get an uncomfortable, awkward hero who is at once moral and uptight and at other times a murderer who kicks a random villain into a cellar with a bomb attached to him.

The Christian Bale Batman is altogether more satisfying. While the first film bridges the gap between the awful Joel Schumacher shite of the 90's, The Dark Knight plays like a much better version of Michael Mann's vastly overrated Heat - but in fancy dress.


When Batman finally meets the Joker it blows the whole Pacino vs DeNiro thing to dust.

But now the heroes are everywhere. For every Christian Bale in Batman Begins we have Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet. Who the fuck is going to put THAT on their LoveFilms list??

There are different heroes for different age groups, for example, The Fantastic Four films are great for kids and I would think that Blade and Hellboy are quite good for Emo-teens, but surely there are other stories around that don't require someone in a mask or a cape flying about trying to be a franchise to be turned into lunchboxes?


Because that is the point. It doesn't matter about the stories, it doesn't matter about the quality of the acting talent, it doesn't even matter that you've lured a Shakespearean classicist to direct your second-rung filler - what matters is the merchandise. The toys, the posters, the lunchboxes, all that other stuff that detracts from the source material and makes comic book fans annoyed.

The comic books that spawned these fucking terrible movies are now just the merchandise that helps sell them.

Which is why we have Green fucking Lantern.

Nobody wants this film.  Well, nobody except Ryan Reynolds - that poor fucker has already been in two terrible superhero films (Wolverine and Blade: Trinity).

He's a good actor.
He deserves better than this fucking firework display of a movie.

But it looks a bit like Ben 10 and kids love Ben 10. I have yet to see any of my friend's kids or my nephews play at being Green Lantern.


Still, the Poundshops should be full of Green Lantern toys in about a fortnight so who knows?

As the peerless satirical spoof-news site The Onion would say - Good luck, Greg Lantern.







So, Hollywood, don't just make a movie just because it will sell toys.


Try and have a good story - remember these are comic BOOKS.

There are a thousand and one different stories to choose from - you don't have to keep making the shite ones.



That said, I can't wait for the new Judge Dredd movie.

Or Captain America... have you seen the trailer?



>sigh!<

Fuck's sake. I'm a 40 year old man.

When do I grow out of this??

DAMN YOU, HOLLYWOOD!!!



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23.6.11

GLASTONBURY & WIMBLEDON

This week is quite a significant one for the Middle-Classes of Great Britain as it is the combination of two massively important social events in their calendar, two events that they absolutely love, two events that are simply known by their geographical locations - Glastonbury and Wimbledon.


Both events were founded by middle class men to entertain their middle-class friends, dairy farmer and former Wells Cathedral School old-boy Michael Eavis started the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival in September 1970 whilst the fantastically-named Major Walter Clopton Wingfield introduced lawn tennis to the 'The All England Croquet Club' in Wimbledon, almost a century earlier in 1875.

They even look the same.

Both events underwent a name-change within a few years and both are now unrecognisable from their humble-ish beginnings, yet it is important to realise that these were Middle and Upper-Middle class pursuits from the very start because it makes it so much easier to completely ignore the accusations of either of them "selling-out" in recent years.

The 1970 Glastonbury Festival, for example, ran at a loss for Mr Eavis, costing him £1,500 to stage the event. The 1971 Festival, widely regarded as the 'proper' festival, was moved back from September to the week of the summer solstice and was  bankrolled by "rich hippies", according to the funky farmer and started to make money.

Glastonbury and Wimbledon have something else in common, in that there isn't a team of wild horses bred strong enough to get me to go to either one of them.

For a start, Wimbledon is for people who don't like sport and Glastonbury is for people who don't like music.

How else would you explain having both U2 and Coldplay on the same bill??
 
They are social events to be SEEN at, which is why every single Sunday supplement and lifestyle magazine and programme ignores the tennis and the bands and concentrates on the glamorous side of being noticed at these events.

Let's take Glastonbury first. Years ago you may have got your camping equipment from the Army & Navy Store or Milletts, but now they have to be from Cath Kidston and the Hunter wellies have to have prints of roses all over them. The Daily Mail and The Daily Express love Glastonbury because it allows them to run pontless articles on Festival Fashion & 'glamping' (a phrase that makes me physically retch) and to print pictures of young, horsey, blonde, girls frolicking in the mud.


It's all Pimms and picnic hampers while all the time dismissing the music.

"Urgh, Jay-Z doesn't belong at Glastonbury" they yelp, forgetting that the largest social group that actually buy rap albums are middle-class university educated white-kids trying to look rebellious.

It's, like, soooo amaaayzing, yah? 
Sooo, like, todally, something their parents couldn't possibly understand, yah?

It's like a Junior Con-Dem conference - in a swamp.

But this is nothing new, there's always been a snobbery attached to Glastonbury, like it's the ONLY music festival there is. It doesn't matter if you've been to Reading or Leeds or T In The Park or the Isle of Wight or Bestival or Creamfields or Donnington or Cropredy or Ozzfest or Knebworth or All Tomorrow's Parties or Latitude or Meltdown or Phoenix or Limetree or V or Benicassim or Womad or Live Aid or Lollapalooza or bloody Woodstock... the implication is clear, if you haven't been to Glastonbury then you haven't truly been to a Festival.

It's also the only UK Festival that doesn't even announce its line-up before demanding the cash-up front.

Also, Festival Fashion is a contradiction in terms, yet for this week it is all the papers have to pad out the space between the dwindling numbers of advertisements they have secured.


There's nothing fashionable about Festivals, especially not what you wear at them, as this is England.

You have to pack for every conceivable meteorological eventuality. You have to pack thermal socks, sandals, shorts, rainproof trousers, umbrellas and sunblock.

You have to have a woolly hat, Hawaiian shirt, fingerless gloves, sunglasses and your swimming cossie.

And much of the time you will be wearing all of them at once to stop anyone from nicking them from your unguarded tent or from disintegrating in the toxic mud-flood.

A more truthful guide to Festival Fashion would tell you to put all of your clothes in a ripped binbag, piss on them, empty a growbag into them then stand them next to a smokey bonfire. Then put on every item that you own, spill at least three pints of supermarket budget lager on them and have one of your friends be sick on one sleeve - hey presto!

You look just like Kate Moss!

It's ridiculous, if you packed everything that you could possibly need for four days of socialising and looking pretty in a field of mud, you'd forget something important like two of your tent poles.

Which is what I assume my friend Thom did when we went to Reading in 1993...

This is my friend Thom

..otherwise my friend Thom is just a complete fucking idiot.

The cost of going to Glastonbury, of getting to Glastonbury, of getting equipped for Glastonbury and of surviving four or five days of Glastonbury runs into hundreds of pounds.

You could afford a couple of weeks in Spain for what you lay out for a few days sleeping next to an organic falafel stand surrounded by moon-faced jugglers... and that's the other thing that puts me off.

The middle-class anarcho kids.

The knit-your-own yoghurt, Rizla-rolling vegans in rainbow-coloured hemp-pants, spouting a terms-worth of sociology while shirtlessly flicking a flaming fucking Diablo about on a unicycle.

This is NOT my friend Thom

We should take advantage of the  impenetrable security wall at Glastonbury and padlock all those fuckers in.

You could never accuse Tennis of selling out simply because nobody working-class ever plays the game. Despite acres of municipal parkland across the British Isles being converted into tennis courts, nobody plays this tedious fucking sport.

The ones that do play go to Spain to learn how to play it properly (like our very own soon-to-be-Scottish-as-soon-as-he-loses-again British No1 Andy Murray) while we give most of our disused courts over to skateboarders and BMX-ers.


If you asked someone to come up with a list of things they associated with Wimbledon the actual sport of tennis would come some way after strawberries and cream, rain, Henman Hill, Pimms, Robinson's Barley Water, attractive Russian teenagers and the Wombles.

The Wimbledon Championships are simply an opportunity to be caught on the BBC's cameras, sat quite close to Pippa Middleton or Elton John or JK Rowling, eating a Waitrose picnic while wearing the right type of sunglasses and summer outfit.

In 3D.

When the highlights of the past fifteen years has been an impromptu singalong led by Sir Cliff Richard and the installation of a mechanised sliding-roof you know that sport is the last thing anyone is actually there to see.

This is Wimbledon trying to be cool. 
This is what happens when the middle-classes let their hair down.

In fact they try to convince us EVERY year that there is something ultimately cool and sexy about tennis, when the only thing that has ever been remotely sexy about tennis was that Athena poster of the girl with no knickers on scratching her bum in the 1970's.

They've had Anne White in a lycra catsuit, any number of lesbians, Anna Kournikova doing sexy videos, one of the interchangeably-devastating Williams sisters in a Gladiator dress and this year it's the turn of complete unknown American player Bethanie Mattek-Sands to fail to inject glamour into the proceedings by turning up dressed as Foghorn Leghorn.


Labelling herself as the "Lady Gaga of tennis", the current No31 in the world rankings, made a ball-covered tit of herself impressing nobody with either her clothes or her tennis.

You're not the "Lady Gaga of tennis", love, because Lady Gaga is good at what she does. That's why we all know who she is. And we have NEVER heard of you.

What??
Do you think I'm being mean?

Can you honestly say you've remembered her name without scrolling back up the page a bit?

Thought not.

Don't worry. You don't have to remember it.
She lost.

So off they go, out to the country or up into town, the Middle-Classes vainly trying to be cool.

And while they waste their money on fifteen-quid punnets of strawberries that have been picked by migrant workers ruled by Gangmasters or sleep in patterned tents made by children in the far east the rest of us will watch the highlights in the pub.

Yeah, it's on telly, you idiots.

That's the one good thing about Glastonbury and Wimbledon - at least we know where all those braying in-bred pillocks are going to be this weekend.


Let's hope it doesn't rain, eh?


"COME ON, TIM!!!"


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21.6.11

57 CHANNELS AND NOTHING ON

When I get home from the late shift there's not much on TV apart from the twenty minute advertainments about gymnastic equipment that can flatten your stomach quicker than a steamroller or programmes about fat sullen people in sunglasses playing a glorified version of Go Fish.


And so, as 24hr TV often finishes at 10pm I often turn to the On-Demand services for some light entertainment.

I've long since given up on trying to work out the logic that generates the feeble brains of TV channel schedulers, those moronic people who would put Seinfeld on at 11.30pm as if it were a drama about paedophiles, insist that all dramas and documentaries play second-fiddle to motor racing & snooker or would scatter a brilliant series like 15 Stories High like confetti in a hurricane for no good reason (the final episode of which came with the announcer actually saying "..and if you've just joined us for 15 Storeys High - well done!"), so to my mind On-Demand telly is one of the great advances in the 21st Century.

Unfortunately, sometimes you get programmes without any information on them as they're not in the TV listings on the actual TV and so you find yourself taking pot-luck, which is no bad thing, "variety being the spice of life" and all that.


So I get home, flick through the 57 channels to confirm what Bruce Springsteen said in the 90's and once I've exhausted the variations of dead-eyed girls in cocktail dresses pleading me to play virtual roulette, poker, sudoku, Snap!, Paper Scissors Stone or "Guess Who Has A Shit Agent?", I press my On-Demand button... ooh, how very modern!
 
The On-Demand menus are odd in that they promise a world of televisual treats whilst simultaneously playing three trailers for programmes you would never watch in a fucking million years up in the top right hand corner of the screen in a little box, like the screaming Kryptonian supervillains trapped in a prison-prism in Superman II.


While you are trying to decide between a documentary on the history of British music festivals or Coronation Street or a classic Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes some trans-Atlantic twat keeps burbling on about the new season of fucking Glee or that it's Hoosiers Day on the music channel or that there's a generic cop show starring the bloke from The Watchmen on a channel called Why Aren't You Watching The Bloke From The Watchmen's New Cop Show?

Eventually, if you are anything like me, you get bored of flicking through the three word synopses of programmes that appear on the drop-down menu and plump for something just to stop that fucking Tony Blackburn-with-adenoids-voice saying "Great Movies! Great Prices! All The Time! Whenever YOU Want!" for the umpteenth time.. and so it was that I found the brilliant sci-fi apocalypse show Four Rooms.


If you haven't seen it, you should. It's like a Ken Loach morality-play with unlovable Mike Leigh characters directed by David Lynch... in space!

Set on an abandoned prison ship miles away from humans, a beautiful Asian woman from Bradford must spend her time parading the last remaining, and seemingly random, artifacts from a dead civilisation to four terrifying alien hybrids who can only converse in denominations of old Earth currency.


Why she does this we are not told, but it must be some form of penance as she is the only beacon of light in this unforgiving world that is offered to the disposessed who must now, ironically, dispose of their only posesessions.

Perhaps she is a visual metaphor for all that is good and beautiful in human nature?

Perhaps by showing these creatures that people can actually love simple objects, however tatty and naff, then maybe they can learn to love and understand compassion?

It's a bleak and unsettling vision of the future where the unloved aliens feather their nests with things that they do not understand but feel that they should acquire.

Each episode starts with the beautiful Asian woman from Bradford talking to some poor survivors of an un-named Event who have managed to find themselves within the cold, unforgiving concrete dwelling place of these inhuman creatures.

They have lost all hope and have unfortunately replaced it with a shitload of face-smacking smugness.

Once they have described their most treasured posessions they then have to part with them or they cannot leave. To do this they have to endure a series of terrifying Face To Face conversations with the monsters that dwell within the Four Rooms of the title.

Even though they are amalgams of various other more famous characters from popular culture, The Four are played with horrific realism.

You can feel the disgust of the survivors as they face the taunting, sneery, gay Jabba The Hutt in a Yasser Arafat-scarf who mocks their existence and barks insults at them along with his pathetically low offers...


....you feel the unease as they slowly realise that The Dead Husk Of Phill Jupitus has been emptied of all traces of humour, wit, intelligence or human warmth and is simply a cold and vacant vessel....


...and you sense their despair as they try to communicate with the broken, glass-eyed Pleasure Doll who looks as if she will, at any moment, finally stop twitching her sad, android head to one side as she tries to process  the nature of human emotion - and the light in her eyes will grow dim...


I can't remember the Fourth of The Four but that is because I think they are portrayed as a sentient Gas Creature in a Suit, or are a bit like The Silence on Doctor Who in as much as when you turn away from the screen you forget that they were ever there.

In each episode the Survivors parade their junk-shop shit - a stuffed turtle, a bit of wall, a table from a cafe or a bag of clown hats - in front of these futuristic Steptoes and await a valuation on their dearest posessions.

The Four look on in a mixture of contempt, desire, hate and, ultimately, greed, their cold dead eyes scan the objects brought to them by this rag-taggle group of post-apocalyptic scum, like futuristic concentration camp guards bartering for grandpa's gold teeth....

Nope.
Hang on.


I've found the listings.

My mistake.

In much the same way that aerobics has been rebranded Zumba to appeal to hen parties it would appear that Four Rooms is just the rebranded Antiques Roadshow - but for twats.


The Four: Gassy, The Husk, Gay Jabba & The Rubbish Sex Doll

It's Cash In The Attic for people who are even more fucking annoying than the Tarquins and Tamaras that are already on Cash In The Attic, the ones that use a Chippendale cabinet for storing paint in their barn or have an original prototype of the Salisbury Clock as a fucking paperweight that they simply must sell if Jocasta is to get the right fences she needs to help her win her fucking gymkhana...


It's Dickinson's Real Deal - for dicks.


With the exception of Antiques Roadshow, which is a great programme that at its heart is more concerned with the human history, creativity, art and love of objects, there seem to be a lot of these shows that are nothing more than televised car-boot sales.

Or as Charlie Brooker once so memorably described them "Wanking For Coins".


Often you can understand why the people selling the objects are doing so, they may not like them but have inherited them, they may have bought them in a second-hand shop and are hoping to make a tiny profit, or they may just be down on their luck and need the cash in order to survive the Coaliton Government's ongoing plans to kill the poor, the old and and the sick.

The thing about Four Rooms is that you don't give a flying fuck about either the people selling the items or the ignorant, greedy bastards that want to buy them.

In the Antiques Roadshow you will often have an expert whose sheer joy at coming into contact with a rare vase or silver pocketwatch makes you understand how they retain such obscure knowledge within their boffiny-heads. They admire the craftsmanship, they love the romanticism of the period, they feel they are touching a part of history.


In Four Rooms you have four utter shits wanting to hoard things in their cavernous warehouses so that no-one else can see them, like petulant brats at a birthday party - "These are my things, you can't play with them. Go away. You're on Free Dinners."

The premise is that people bring modern objet d'arts with them and that they have to play a kind of poker game with the, for want of a better word 'experts' who have no fucking idea what they are worth.

If this happened on the Antiques Roadshow it would be over in about five minutes as they know what they are doing!

But as this is a modern programme and so we have to endure endless blue-tinged close-ups of the salivating Jabba or the frozen-faced doll-woman to the accompanying heartbeat-stabs of sub-Apprentice orchestra music, all the while the cameraman is having an epileptic episode, his camera whizzing around the gun-metal grey charmless bunker trying to focus on a raised eyebrow or bead of sweat from the drag queen trying to sell his/her collection of gaudy Vivienne Westwood clown hats like a nervous pantomime dame at a pawnbrokers.

Honestly, I preferred my version.

Ah well. That'll teach me not to buy a Radio Times.
Still, what else is on at 3am?


Ahhhhhh bollocks!

Just missed it...

WHY CAN'T THEY PUT IT ON AT A DECENT BLOODY TIME???


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