Stuff I actually like

It's finally 2007 and major changes are afoot in the world. Tony Blair will be leaving his post as Prime Minister, the novelty value of Noel Edmunds will finally wear off, and all non-British immigrants will be rounded up and shot in the street. The sobering fact, however, is that most people are petrified of change. They are not equipped to cope with even the smallest disruption to their mundane, worthless lives. This is a curious flaw of the human condition which has interested me for a while, not least because the whole concept of existence and evolution revolves around a constant state of flux; a perennially changing environment where the prosperous adapt and those who do not yield to the differences simply fade away. Darwin's Finches evolved so that their beaks could consume the various types of food on their respective islands, yet the mighty human struggles with accepting a one percent rise in rail fares or the repackaging of their favourite confectionary.

It would be very easy for me to stand aside and throw about idle observations and hyperbolic fallacies about this sorry state of affairs. However, in the spirit of the New Year, I have ordained upon myself the noble duty of doing something about it. I am going to prepare the few people who read this website for the inexorable changes they will encounter over the coming year. How will I perform this feat? Simple. By now you will be used to what to expect on this site: misdirected, thinly-veiled political rants and puerile jokes about masturbation. In this blog post, however, I intend to discuss things which actually bring pleasure to my life. This is something you will not be used to, but hopefully it will not be enough to cause any permanent cranial damage. You can also rest on the assurance that by next week I will have returned to my old, wicked ways of highly offensive borderline slander (coming up: mockery of Princess Diana's death). So with that highly grandiose and largely irrelevant introduction out of the way, all that remains is to get on with the meat of this bloggy feast.

1) The Wire

The Wire

Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale are two drug dealers up to no good, but Sergeant McNulty's got their number!

As recommended by the also-genius Charlie Brooker, The Wire is a TV show like no other, in that it's actually entertaining to watch. A meticulous drama which documents the investigations of the Baltimore police department into the city's omnipresent drug trade, this is not the sort of show you're going to enjoy if your regular fare is Big Brother or Friends. The Wire demands patience and attention yet it rewards its faithful viewers with some fucking amazing acting and a genuine insight into the problems which still exist in society. If that made me sound too much like a soppy reviewer from the Guardian, let me also assure you that The Wire also contains copious amounts of swearing, violence, lesbians, drug overdoses and dead prostitutes. It is simply a must-see for anyone with an iota of intelligence and fifty hours to spare for watching all four series. Buy the DVD, download the torrent, or swim to America and shoot up a Walmart: do anything you can to watch The Wire. It genuinely has made me a happier person, albeit fleetingly. The only problem is that every other TV show you watch subsequently will suck so much in comparison, you may be driven to suicide. But don't let something minor like that dissuade you.

2) Dexter

Dexter

Dexter's a bloody genius.

Did I just say that The Wire was the only entertaining TV show in existence? Obviously I did not because saying such a thing would be bloody stupid. Dexter is another show which is certainly worth your time if your time happens to be solely spent collecting bottles or chiselling fossilised bird shit off your knackered Ford Escort. Though rough around the edges, it has a charming premise: the main character (Dexter) is a forensics expert who moonlights as a serial killer, dispensing his unique brand of justice to those who have otherwise escaped it. Forgoing the traditional examinations of the morality of vigilantism, Dexter instead attempts a case study of a psychopath, focusing on Dexter's attempts to fit in to society whilst also satisfying his murderous urges. Some of the episodes feel like they should be 45 minutes instead of one hour, but no one can fault the acting (especially of Six Feet Under's Michael C Hall) or the disturbing murder scenes which seem sexualised to the point of ejaculation. Dexter's not out on DVD over here so I suppose you'll simply HAVE to pirate it if you want to see it.

3) Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry's in trouble again, the schmuck!

The best way I can describe Larry David is as a millionaire version of Victor Meldrew. In Curb he plays himself: a very successful yet very bored comedian who commits such gross faux-pas on such a regular basis that the whole show may just as well be an autism awareness campaign. Larry refuses to sing 'Happy Birthday' at a party ("I don't like the happy birthday song"), comments on the size of a friend's son's penis ("That kid's got some penis on him!"), and in my favourite episode hires a prostitute so that he can drive in the car pool lane and get to 'the ball game' on time. Needless to say, hilarity almost always ensues. Larry's problems are often exacerbated by his annoying wife, docile manager and a slew of celebrity guest stars including Ben "Still Here" Stiller and David "Dimmer" Schwimmer . Sometimes it's too contrived to be funny but more often than not it hits the mark.

4) Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci

Armando the Great

By now this you may be thinking that all I'm doing is iterating through a list of TV shows I like and lavishing them with hitherto unthinkable quantities of blind praise. That may be true, but I think we'd all appreciate a change of tack, so now I'll talk about several TV shows in one go and clump them together under the banner of a single person.

Armando Iannucci is one of the few men who has brought me pleasure in a strictly non-sexual way. Aside from being involved with the popular genius of I'm Alan Partridge and Knowing Me Knowing You, he's also created or produced many less-viewed programs which may have slipped under the tasteless radar of you, the common fool. I'm particularly fond of The Armando Iannucci Shows, of which you can find many clips on YouTube. Armando uses the shows to explore a range of existential issues and novel situations ranging from the office which employs an elephant as its intern to the idyllic Home Counties village which is terrorised by a friendly Croatian sniper. He's also responsible for Time Trumpet, The Thick Of It and The Day Today: three more programmes deserving of your attention provided that you have the requisite brain and eyes. Armando is a very funny man and it's a shame he has to steal so much of his material from me.

5) Fat-Pie.com

Salad Fingers

A real pleasure for the tips

I feel like I should do five things because five is a nice, round number. So here is the fifth which got in with a clinch, mostly because I'm sure most people are already aware of it so any incessant drivel from me would be of limited benefit. On the off chance that you've never been introduced to the genius of David Firth and his various associates, I can only say that Fat-Pie is always hilarious, often disturbing and occasionally clever. Its three most popular memes are the 'chav' Devvo, freaky vegetable Salad Fingers and useless superhero Burnt Face Man. There's plenty more than that though, including one very pleasant little piece which involves insects raping the corpse of a dead old woman (I won't tell you which one as that would ruin the surprise). Give it a spin, go on!

And with that I conclude this surprisingly positive and refreshingly different blog. I trust that, as with Darwin's Finches, the sudden change in tone has helped you better yourself and evolve accordingly. Maybe you won't stop to moan about the length or pointlessness of this article, but instead go outside and tend to your flowerbed. Maybe you'll even go and spend some time watching what I've told you to watch. I certainly hope so.

As for me, five things seems like an awfully small amount of flames that will keep my hope alight, but you can rest assured there's plenty of other stuff I like too. Most of it is populist crap like Lost, the viewing of which, incidentally, is one of the best ways to lower your IQ besides quarrying for tin with your head. If I have succeeded in piquing your curiosity for some lesser-known stuff, you may also want to sample the delights of the following series which are all very good but escaped my full attention this time:

Permalink || Posted 3/1/2007 by Pete

15 comments »«

  1. tim - 3/1/2007 - 1:03am

    1) football manager 2007
    2) pro evolution soccer 6
    3) fantasy football
    4) real life football
    5) football manager 2006

  2. Phil - 3/1/2007 - 6:07pm

    While you were writing this blog, I was sat in a stupid office with a bunch of retards ensuring black people can't get car finance. Life isn't fair.

  3. ray - 3/1/2007 - 10:15pm

    5 is my favourite number. does this mean you love me?

  4. Holly - 3/1/2007 - 10:33pm

    You watch a lot of television :)

  5. Noel Edmunds - 4/1/2007 - 1:12pm

    Cunt.

  6. Noel Edmonds - 4/1/2007 - 5:42pm

    Thank god it's only Noel Edmunds whose novelty will wear off!

    Viva Deal Or No Deal

  7. Noel Edmonds - 4/1/2007 - 5:48pm

    PS. Human existance changes a hell of a lot more than any other animal. Considering we are above evolution and that our lifestyles have changed dramatically within the last few centuries, and all this compared to the negligable amount of evolutionary change any other species has gone through within a millenium, I conclude that your first paragraph is utter bollocks in order to get cheap chuckles from your ignorant readers.

  8. The Natflap - 4/1/2007 - 11:27pm

    Humanity as a species may have changed dramatically, but the average human detests change in all its worldly forms. We are creatures of habit; it is the few exceptions to this rule who drive civilisation forward.

    I also don't necessarily agree that we are above evolution. It's something I like to think about whilst I'm trying to avoid conversations with idiots. Have we genuinely evolved past the need to evolve, or does evolution just take different forms depending on the level we are at? A fascinating philosophical question and one which I have motivation to answer, but not something you should idly write-off as fact, 'Noel'.

  9. Noel Edmonds - 5/1/2007 - 1:16am

    You say that very matter-of-factly for someone who is a self-confessed evolution-agnostic.

  10. The Natflap - 5/1/2007 - 7:21pm

    Not once have I expressed the slightest doubt in evolutionary theory. I am very much an evolution-evangelist.

  11. Noel Admonds - 5/1/2007 - 7:40pm

    I admit I couldn't be bothered to read your blog, so I paid one of my butlers to to do it for me but I don't have the time for him to tell me about it. I present daily for fuck's sake!

  12. Mrs Bigley - 7/1/2007 - 11:33am

    My poor Ken's head doesn't change though!

    Though I suppose it does rot a bit. Maggots.

  13. Kenneth Bigley - 7/1/2007 - 6:35pm

    I SHOULD HAVE BEEN TIME'S MAN OF THE YEAR FOR 2004. Cunts.

    PS. That is not my wife as my wife is thai and cannot speak English or use the internet.

  14. phil - 22/8/2009 - 12:45am

    "It's finally 2007 and major changes are afoot in the world....the novelty value of Noel Edmunds will finally wear off" ... It is now 2009 and this still hasn't happened. I really wish it would. I hate that bearded knob and his smarmy, smirky face and his deal or no deal crappy programme.

  15. phil - 22/8/2009 - 1:11am

    i've just seen that a "noel" has made comments before me - but my previous comment is just aimed at actual noel edmunds, the big annoyance :)

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