So I'm watching the morning news...

and on the one hand we have the Government proposing that Lone Parents should have their benefits cut to 'encourage' them to go into work.

Yet at the same time one of the newspapers is carrying headlines that childcare costs are already soaring with people spending up to a THIRD of their weekly wage on it. Er, and that's presumably for a married couple with a double income...

(On top of which wasn't there research a while back reporting that children farmed out to nursery places often ended up developmentally backward -or something like that?)

Maybe a lot of these lone parents can pair off and become self-employed child carers and swop over children? - that might work.

So let's run through this: despite there being no evidence that the job market is even there, and given the high likelihood that what few jobs there might be are going to be fairly low-skilled low-paid/minimum waged ones (especially so considering that if there's a sudden influx of people on the job market that employers can pick and choose and pay as little as they can get away with). Yet child care costs are rising -and again if there's to be a massive influx of potential clients - they too can pretty much charge whatever they like. So if that happens there's going to be pressure on the Government to provide some sort of subsidy or tax credits or something equally lame to help people pay for that - which will, given their track record will be a spectacular cock-up and eventually end up costing the taxpayer tons more than just leaving things as they are. So whichever way you slice it - it looks like a lot of people are going to be forced into poverty - whether it's from being penalized for not having a job by having their benefits cut (oh yeah, that'll help a child stay on in school - just as they're also discussing plans to raise the school leaving age!) or force people into the 'working poor' which is a ever growing segment of UK these days. And set to grow further with other brilliant plans to 'force' those with long-term illnesses and disabilities to work (because it's supposed to be good for them or something. (In fact it so isn't.)) along with plans to punish long-term unemployed men by cutting their benefits too. As if the existing benefits were ever enough to live on in the first place (and they're not - not by a long shot. You can expect the crime rates to boom if they follow through on that one. As more and more people will be forced into crime just to make ends meet.)

In short, there's an awful lot of poorly-thought out, non-joined up thinking going on here -and it's going to a lot of people's lives even more miserable than they are now. And at the end of the day it wouldn't surprise if they're just doing this to appeal to the rabid right-wing, Thatcherite-nostalgic crazed 'I'm-all-right-Jack' voter.

Arbeit macht frei...

other links:

Government Policies are Failing Britain's Workforce.
Bryan Fuller interviews.





He's in my mind becasue the UK Sci-fi channel is showing Dead like Me series one and in the wee small hours of the morning Sky Two is showing the second series, and Heroes is about to start some time soon on the Sci-fi channel.

Talking of Teee Vee I really liked the pilot episode of 'the Lost Room'.
The Jade saga trundles on.

Now she's off to India to apologise. (Without a TV crew? Wha...? Surely she doesn't exist unless there's a TV camera pointed at her at all times?)

Except she's been there before.

Sigh. This one will just run and run.

Just about the only bit of this year's show that I've liked was the housemates doing a showgirls song and dance number. That was fun. There's so little fun in BB generally. Ever since the programme started to go all out to generate controversy and conflict - it's been a grim spectacle. I'd like to see them put a complete halt to that now. The number of times they've had the police involved now to keep a check on things - is ridiculous. It shows BB to be just nasty and cynical and exploitative and totally lacking in imagination, new ideas and well, compassion.

If they continue in this vein - having caused an international incident - I'm scared to think what will come next - probably World War three!

Yet more random CBB observations.

It looks like Jade Goody’s new career is in full time round-the-clock crying. I’m wondering just how much one person can cry. Won’t she dehydrate, turn into dust and blow away soon?

If Living TV persists in giving her programmes you can expect the ’Jade goes into Anger Management’ reality show, followed by the ‘Jade takes a trip to India and other countries to learn about their cultures’ reality show. Please spare us.

Last Friday’s pre-eviction night show was so stage managed as to be painful - all parties briefed and told to make up…. Danielle apologising to Shilpa for something that she could never have overheard anyway. An open apology from Jade for anything that might be seen as being racist - but not I notice for the bullying -nor any apology for her over the top screaming ranting frothing rage about chicken oxo cubes. Totally fake pally-pally hugging and pairing up to declare how the air has been cleared between them… (Pass me the sick bucket.)

Then there’s CBB itself - it’s hard not to ignore the monumental arrogance of the programme makers now…
Last year’s programme was the first show of their growing hubris - with them playing their first trick on the legitimate has-beens celebrities with Chantelle. This was having a double edged joke - one poking fun that even the old lags can’t keep track of who and who isn’t famous anymore - and the turn-over these days is so quick it’s hard for anyone who doesn’t work for the press to keep track. The second part was CBB saying - “we have all the power now - it’s us that make the celebrities” and that’s just what they did. They made a celebrity out of a unknown no-talent girl. A Cinderella story for the plebs to lap up.

Drunk on that success - they upped the ante this year. Bringing in Jade - the woman who they made into reality show celebrity and her tacky family and make them into royalty while making the genuine celebs play their servants. It back-fired. Heavily. Somewhere along the line the power went to Jade’s head and over-loaded her already quite delicate grasp on reality. Boom.

Now Endemol have blown it for themselves - that one storyline has dominated everything and from now on all else is going to be a bit of an anti-climax - it’s going to be a long slow boring final week in the CBB house.

Shilpa may well win - although it will be out of a sympathy vote more than anything else. I still want Cleo to win - well, because I see CBB as a rehabilitation course for faded old artistes who need a big of a kick-start to their careers.

Meanwhile he's another interesting article about the future of Channel 4 in the Guardian:
Duncan's darkest hour.

*Sigh* I remember the early days of Channel 4 when it was genuinely brave and innovative...

To evict Jade...

It can't be denied it's going to be an interesting night on CBB tonight. There's to be no baying crowds for one thing.

Davina will be pouring on the soft soap by the ton, and Jade is either going to be shouting to all and sundry how she's not a racist and a bully - because it's just not in her nature, or else she'll be in floods of tears, or both.

And then after a few articles in the weekend papers it'll be all forgotten again.

But what I want to know now is - what's to become of Jack? He's not a celeb, he has no business being there. Are they going to waste another weeks eviction to get rid of him? Is he going to get an interview with Davina? Isn't he going to EXPLODE without Jade around to help him relieve ...of his tension?

A Zzzz-list scandal.

Big Brother bother shows value of Channel 4.


- sounds interestin'

links: one two three.

Gawd knows when and if any UK channel will pick it up though.
Oh dear.

Endemol (the makers of Big Brother) have really have got themselves into trouble now haven't they? The Carphone Warehouse have now withdrawn their sponsorship. That's a big, big deal - apparently they poured something like four and half million pounds into the show every year. There's been questions in Parliament, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and Tessa Jowell forced to give a reaction -on a programme they've obviously never seen. Talk about spin.

The usually silly and rather frivolous tie-in show Big Brother's Little Brother has turned into a sort of version of Question Time Lite -as Endemol is furiously back-pedalling in it's efforts to keep the show on air.

Myself - for all her faults, and there are many, I don't think Jade has been openly racist in any of her long ranting diatribes. Although calling her "Shilpa Poppadom" etc. behind her back doesn't help her case much. It's actually been the wag Danielle that's been making the overtly racist comments. BB should have had the sense to have slapped her down the minute that started. At least she's already started to get her comeuppance. She certainly doesn't deserve to be in the public eye after this. Who is she anyway? I still don't know - and I don't want to know.

As for the utterly vile Jade - this little snippet from the last Popbitch newsletter sheds a lot of light as to why she hasn't been hauled out of there pronto:

C4 - How low can you go

Since Jade Goody shot to fame on Channel 4
she has had the same management as Celebrity
Big Brother host Davina McCall, and both
Big Brother spin-off show hosts, Dermot O'Leary
and Russell Brand, as well as last year's
Celebrity Big Brother winner Chantelle.
So is it any surprise that C4 and CBB
producers are so reticent about condemning
the racist bullying, led by Jade, on their
show? They have their own interests to protect.

Her management must be reconsidering her contract now. She's damaged stock.

Some random observations about this years Celebrity Big Brother.

Once again Grace Dent of the Radio Times has put most of the things I’ve been thinking far more eloquently and succinctly than I could.

I’m very glad Ken Russell and er… that rock singer (what’s his name - darn I’ve forgotten already) had the good sense to walk out.

Leo Sayer. Well, Leo - omigod, what was it with the security guards stopping him from leaving - I thought they were all in there voluntarily? Doesn’t this count as false imprisonment?

At the time writing the most famous member of the Celeb Big Brother house is by far - the gold diary chair.

‘H’ stands for homosexual? My god. Who didn’t see that one coming? *cough*
I’m disturbing myself that I’m mesmerized by his bare torso. He’s got a nice body - it’s a pity that his face seems to be aging very quickly. No more pretty boy status for him.

Jade & co. Mistake. Big, big mistake. So on her first appearance BB we saw Jade naked in a strip drinking game, then give someone a blowjob and now we’ve seen her boyfriend spill his seed over her (albeit under a duvet). That’s enough now. Go no further. I also totally fail to see the fascination the media has with her, nor why the Living TV channel needs to keep giving her her own reality shows one after the other.

The Face/Dirk. I’ve only ever seen about two episodes of the A team -(one of those when Boy George was a guest star - that was very bizarre) and he was the one I could never remember.

Jermaine - what is wrong with his skin? What is he doing there? Does he even know himself? He could walk out during the night and no one would know he’s gone.

That journalist woman - I’ve forgotten about her already. Isn’t she just a professional bitch on paper? But she was alright - she was the mother figure - if she was in there still this whole bullying thing would never have happened. She would've slapped them down before it could've begun.

Shilpa - I only know what I’ve been told about her. Her maintenance of her dignity in the face of such a relentless onslaught is admirable.

Which leads us to Jade’s gang - I don’t know who those girls are but I know enough now that I don’t want to know. WTF is their problem? I had more than enough of last year’s BB with Grace(less) and her tiresome bitching. Is this what girls are like nowadays? Vain, empty, shallow, concerned only with their appearance, (probably having a boob-job addiction (I mention this because BB itself seems to have an addiction to women who‘ve had boob-jobs)), whose only entertainment lies in ganging together to bully and bitch about someone else. If this is the case then call me a born-again misogynist.

(Update: Here's Grace Dent -again on this issue.)

Meanwhile Endermol -as ever, will be laughinng all the way to the bank - even if the Carphone Warehouse does pull it's sponsorship.

Saving the best until last. Cleo - she’s actually very classy. I want Cleo to win.


CBB offical site. (Beware of evil pop-ups. Channel 4 has an evil overly ad-heavily site.)

Germaine Greer in the Guardian.
Wow. Like apple is this great innovating company… miles ahead of everyone else… mmmmm.

And the US is still playing catch-up with the Japanese anyway.

(When it comes out I wonder if it'll scratch and the screen will break as much as the first batch of new nanos and iPods did? And if it doesn't what was so hard about them making ones that didn't scratch and break in the first place?)


Originally uploaded by groc.
likes invading dinosaurs.

wonder why that should be?
I'm sat watching 'The Story of Dibley' - and I'd forgotten what an almighty massive fuss there was over ordaining women vicars. But that might be something to do with me generally considering how irrelevant and backward and totally out of touch with the modern world Christianity usually is. So along with yesterday's big silly fuss about various Christians ranting and moaning that they won't be able to openly discriminate against the gays because their invisible friend in the sky says they should...

well, lets just say I don't hold them in high regard.
Yay. For once the fuckwits have lost the day.
Isn't it interesting that whereas usually the 3 big middle-eastern religions are at each other's throats (in their oh-so-mature 'my god is better than your god' way) - the one thing that brings them all together is their mutual loathing of the gays?
Milk in Tea.

It's one of those things that everyone does that I find downright weird.
I can understand putting tea leaves etc. in water to make it taste nicer to drink. I can understand drinking milk. But putting just a little bit of milk into a drink - what's that about?

Now new research suggests that having milk in it might be stopping any health benefits drinking black tea has. So ner.

The History of tea.

"Things can only get better..."

"Education, education, education."

I've not seen this video for P-machinery before -I love it. *sigh* I miss the 80s. They were so wacky and zany.

And Klaus ... lovely Klaus.
Mmmmm - interesting.

I know - I was reaching. But I had to type in 'Lazlabs' into the browser - just incase I came up with one of those microsites that tie into the series somehow. I mean there must be a whole new batch out there just waiting to go live...
Oooh look - Rathergood did an advert for a place that makes toasted sandwiches (why do they call them 'subs'?) In America-land.

Torchwood season 1 finale


The last two episodes of Torchwood were just fine and dandy. Lots of male on male kissing - and an awful lot of crying. (Seems Torchwood is all about the crying. But they do all live in Cardiff - maybe that has something to do with it?) Nice surprise ending to whet the appetite for when Doctor Who comes back ---whenever. The spring?

[Update: and then in Doctor Who - they go and completely change it!]

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Well, as a Doctor Who spin-off goes - that was more bloody like it.

I loved it. It’s got everything - engaging characters, a mature woman as heroine (where else can you see that on TV these days?) A wonderful villainess (Samantha Bond). Kids that aren’t teeth-grindingly annoying for a change. Great gadgets - sonic lipstick! How brilliant is that? An attic full of wonders. A talking computer. Great monsters. Pathos - (Sarah talking about her life with the Doctor.) and lots of humour. ‘Drink it, drink it, drink it’. It's overall sense of optimism.

On the other hand -as it’s darker spin-off Torchwood has wound on - I’ve found myself getting more and more wound up. Last week’s episode 'Combat' -the yuppies doing ’Fight Club’ with aliens really annoyed me on many levels.

A quick rundown:
it’s obviousness. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of sci-fi, and that ’being kidnapped to be put in a fight club’ plot has been done before - I didn’t like when ST: Voyager did it, I didn’t like when Angel did it. It’s a really crap plot and there have been a few too many of those in the series.

That it was written by Noel (Mickey/Ricky) Clarke (he was probably given it to write as a favour). Sorry - but I’m never going to forgive him for naming his film ’Kidult’ - Kidult is the name invented for me and people like me thank you - it does not mean ’teenager’.

Why does everyone in Torchwood have to be so miserable and tortured? they’re all crying nearly the whole time. It’s a real downer. Remember me mentioning optimism in SJA - Torchwood has got none of that. The opening lines by Jack drive it home that everything is about to change and it’s not for the good. It can only mean more misery and crying is on the way. Oh spare us.

Doe-eyed Gwen is really starting to annoy me. If anyone else says how ‘special’ she’s supposed to be, when she so plainly isn’t - I might well scream.

There’s a relentless downbeatness and a dire lack of humour in Torchwood which I’m finding depressing -is that which is supposed to make it ‘adult’? That and all the bi-sexual bed hopping? Because it’s just not working.

Oh well, it’s got tonight’s double length episode to try and win me back… it had better be good.

There’s another part of the equation I’ve yet to mention, the thing is you see - I have to secretly admit sci-fi is a bit childish. So I’m willing to suspend belief a lot more and be more forgiving for things in a ‘kid’s show’. Whereas it’s harder for me to be bothered much about the weevils in Torchwood because I know it’s a bloke in a mask.