Irritation of life

"Wait 'til you see me in colour"

Look at this man. I challenge you to find someone half as attractive post 1959. You will lose – it’s written all over his face.

This ridiculously good-looking individual is an actor called John Gavin. So good-looking, in fact, he was lined up to play James Bond before people discovered he was a bit, you know, American. Turns out not even looks can hide an accent.

Go back a few years and Gavin is in high demand on the silver screen, starring in Hollywood epics such as Spartacus and Psycho. But now to discuss the one I saw this evening: Imitation of Life. Or should that be irritation?

Every single person in that film was sickeningly handsome. Lana Turner, who plays struggling Broadway actress Lora Meredith, couldn’t walk out her flat for the cameos falling at her lipstick while showgirl actress Ann Robinson makes ginger almost becoming (NB: not to be confused with a certain face lift).

Even Gavin’s alter ego, ‘Steve’, was simultaneously able to rid and ride the connotations of his name (Van Driver, if you will). Though I still think ‘Harry’ or ‘Clark’ would have been more apt: ‘Oh, Harry, your side parting and head tilts just made me forget my lines!’ etc.

The only person hit with the ugly stick was the poor milkman who looked as if he’d just left Budgens and taken a wrong turn onto a 1950’s film set.

I wonder what Steve & Co. would have thought of our unholy modern-day celebrities? As I wrote here:

‘Remember the glamorous stars of yesteryear, how boring were they? You’d never read about Judy Garland’s ‘crazy antics’ in St Lucia, or Clark Gable’s fashion faux pas as he nipped out for a pint of milk.’

Someone pass me the hair curlers, I’m off to Asda.


Blessed fortune

"Something you can't buy in a supermarket" "Oscar Wilde"

There are few things in life more bizarre than Brian Blessed’s appearance on All-Star Family Fortunes. The game show format has become so outdated that the only way to sustain the audience’s attention these days is to stick the word ‘Celebrity’ in front of it.

This irritates me. It’s the equivalent to TV Mutton – it’s Brenda from Stockport dressed as Gavin Henson against her own volition (she never was a fan of the fake tan).

It’s rare you see Brenda on game shows these days (bar Deal or No Deal, a general anomaly). On shows like Family Fortunes you got to meet her husband, brother and second cousin in the bargain. Now “real life” families are found on dire reality TV shows such as Jeremy Kyle. Look at you, you disgusting excuse for a poor person!

While ill and browsing mid-afternoon television, my knee-jerk reaction to All Star Family Fortunes was to switch off before it further infected my head. No sooner had I reached for the remote than the eccentric Blesseds appeared on-screen. I have always found booming Brian’s voice amusing; I was soon shamelessly cheering them onto ‘Big Money’ and beyond.

“Name something that moves very slowly,” Vernon enquired.

Brian thought for a moment.

“The MOON!” he boomed, provoking much laughter from The Kay.

“It’s a poem!” Brian justified, proceeding to quote literary genius.

“Brian, this is Family Fortunes, it’s the equivalent to The Beano!”  The top answer read ‘Snail’… he wasn’t wrong.

The above dialogue didn’t stop the Blesseds from reaching the final – sadly they failed to score full points (he thought people kept yoghurt in the freezer and that it snowed predominantly in November, oh Brian). Nonetheless I was entertained and glad not to see another hollow celeb on-screen for a change.

Next up: Jeremy Kyle on Countdown:

“I only managed four with these pathetic excuses for letters: S-C-U-M!”

Ashes to bashes

Forgive my black humour but it is not often I pick up The Metro and come away ironically cheerful. Yesterday proved the exception.

So there it was: the feature on ‘Death’ nestled cosily beside the feature on ‘Life’. The latter was pleasantly informative; eat this, don’t eat that, Stay Away From The Cliff (rock & Richard).

But what if you do, ya know, die? Does the party end there? “Hell No!” says The Metro. On the contrary; this is where things get lively. Where life forces you to pick out a T-Shirt, death demands your metamorphosis – into a Catherine Wheel.

"Uncle Bernard was always such a colourful character"

According to  *insert forgotten death expert here* one’s ashes can be incorporated into a fireworks display post mort. Urns are so passé and generally overlooked by your average Wilkinsons unlike, say, the common sparkler.

Even so, I was skeptical about the whole idea  (I’m messy enough without bits of me scattered all over London – it’d be a nightmare to hoover). That is, until I read Getting creative after cremation. Apparently, they’re not so self-concious in America. Well, quite.

Nick Drobins, whose Angels Flight company in Castaic disperses remains in fireworks shot over the ocean, had this to say:

“Often, it’s the person being remembered who did the choosing. They line up the service ahead of time, picking the song and the color of the fireworks. (The Irish like green.)”

Asking for Rocket just took on a whole new meaning.

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