Not exactly a requiem

Bit of a catty theme today.

Spare a thought for Mark McCarthy, bass player for The Wonder Stuff. His cat Susan died the night before last Wednesday’s gig in Islington. She was the grand old age of 18 and “very well cuddled”. There were no wreaths, no pictures, no words. Just a very simple tribute:

Susan the cat

Goodbye Susan.

Jess gets her own series. Good news? Bad news? I don’t know

I’m not sure whether my heart should be warmed or chilled by the news that Jess the cat from Postman Pat is to get her own show.

On the surface, “Ah! How sweet! Cats!”

Underneath, the terrible fact it’s going to be computer-generated.

In the wake of the terrible Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin debacle, can we assume there’s some new international school of soul-removal that children’s TV executives are being sent to?


What’s wrong with Bill O’Reilly?

Bill O'Reilly

In case, oh British readers, you don’t know who Bill O’Reilly is, he’s the most watched news anchor in the US. The O’Reilly Factor, which airs on Fox News – yes, you can watch it if you have Sky – lets O’Reilly interview and generally abuse people who don’t share his right-of-centre vantage point. He does it well, but he does get a little carried away some times – calling anyone who disagrees with his views in favour of the Iraq war, for instance, “a traitor to the country”. He is the man US lefties love to hate. Or just hate.

As well as videos on the Fox web site itself, there’s a great “Brief History of Bill” over on the New Yorker to help you get up to speed with Bill. Most interesting of all, it includes some excerpts from a novel he wrote. I thought I knew enough about and had been amused enough by O’Reilly that nothing could faze me, but if that’s an insight into his mind, there are some worrying, worrying things going on.

Consider this, the means of execution chosen by the anti-hero journalist (an obvious alter ego of O’Reilly) for the man who stole his Falklands War story (something that also happened to O’Reilly):

The assailant’s right hand, now holding the oval base of the spoon, rocketed upward, jamming the stainless stem through the roof of Ron Costello’s mouth. The soft tissue gave way quickly and the steel penetrated the correspondent’s brain stem. Ron Costello was clinically dead in four seconds.

Let’s back away from Bill slowly.

Am I now a “BBC4 viewer”?

It’s a question I’m grappling with on two fronts.

Front one: I’ve an invite to a BBC4 audience focus group, in which BBC4 viewers can comment on the network and be paid £50 for the experience. I’m grappling with the ethics of that one: can I, a media journalist, not only influence the content of a channel but be paid for it?. I suspect, despite the allure of £50 (there’s very little I won’t do for £50), that I’ll have to duck that one.

Front two: A new BBC4 game show is on the way, according to The Stage. Hosted by Julian Fellowes, Never Mind the Full Stops is all about the exciting world of punctuation, bad grammar and misspellings. Hmm. Must avoid severe temptation to mock pedantic middle-class gameshow hosted by a man called Julian.

However, I’d quite like to watch it. When I wear my sub-editing hat, these are exactly the kinds of issues I have to watch out for (hey, I’m off to the Royal College of Nursing next week to ensure all manners of naughtiness don’t sneak into their magazines). A nice show with pointers like this is just up my street.

So does that make me a BBC4 viewer? Am I becoming one of ‘them’? What a worrying idea.

You have to love the South Park guys

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park and all-round comedy gods, are running into trouble with the Scientologists over an episode that took the Michael out of the money-earning con job religion.

First, Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef and noted Scientologist, resigned in protest. Tom Cruise has also brought his power to bear with various threats of legal action, etc, which caused a repeat of the episode to be replaced with another one from the first season.

But whatever you think of Parker, Stone and South Park, you have to appreciate guys who can withstand the pressure by issuing this official statement:

“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!

”Trey Parker and Matt Stone, servants of the dark lord Xenu.“