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Tuesday 19 May 2009
Thursday 14 May 2009
In the latest twist in a scandal that has rocked an American beauty pageant, a former Miss USA has resigned as co-executive of the Miss California USA competition following owner Donald Trump's decision to let the state's controversial title holder keep her crown.
Thursday 30 April 2009
"We've already watched a lot of television tonight," moaned Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, flinching from the prospect of a marathon viewing of The Thorn Birds with Deirdre. Ken doesn't really approve of television, thinking there are better ways to spend your time, and who could gainsay him given the immeasurably more interesting drama you can get just down the road at the Rovers Return, a kind of Epidaurus with bitter on tap. Dynastic curses, incest, blood feuds and murder are stacked up behind the bar, alongside the pork scratchings and dry-roast peanuts. Last night, for instance, Colin – Rita's box-fresh fiancé – was revealed to have impregnated Julie when she was just 14 years old. Colin, rather unwisely in the circumstances, tried to argue his corner, pointing out that Paula wasn't exactly a blushing innocent at the time, but Rita was having none of it: "What you did is unforgiveable... you abused a child." She then went to sit in the dark in the Kabin, mascara streaming down her cheeks while her friends tried in vain to get her to pick up the phone. Rita declined, which won't really surprise you if you've ever seen her phone, a grim piece of faux-sophisticate tat that looks as if it's been made out of raw liver and prompts me to offer a word of congratulation to that unsung team of geniuses, the Coronation Street set-dressers. Ken, meanwhile, was off down the canal towpath looking longingly at a barge crowned with a stone Buddha, from which classical music was seeping through the net curtains. For Ken, this represents nirvana, and though he turned away from it last night I don't think it will be long before he succumbs to temptation.
Thursday 23 April 2009
"We've had a bit of depression in this boardroom over the last few weeks... it's time for a bit of laughter," said Sir Alan, dispatching the winning team at the end of the latest episode. Something similar might have been said of The Apprentice itself at the beginning of last night's programme. So far, it's been fine, but not exactly vintage stuff... and decidedly short on YouTube gold, the sort of jaw-dropping, did-you-see-that-bit moment that gets a series talked about the next day. Last night, made up for it, with easily the funniest episode so far. The task facing the teams was to brand and advertise a new breakfast cereal, a worthy- looking combination of bran flakes and dried fruit. The teams had to come up with a concept, and a cartoon character that might persuade parents to buy this mixture, and their children to swallow it. The fun started almost immediately. "Has the cereal-killer thing already been done?" asked Philip. His team-mates gently steered him away from that mysteriously unexploited territory, where children's breakfast and mass-murder meets. But that deranged proposal was only marginally more misguided than what he came up with next. Thinking on his feet, which were by now lodged squarely in his mouth, Philip outlined his stab at advertising surrealism, a campaign that centred on the comic potential of underwear: "It's so natural that you feel naked... but with pants!" he said, in a eureka tone of voice. Creative excitement gripped him and he stood to audition the jingle he'd composed to accompany his concept: "When you waaaake up and your belly's rumberling... You've got to dance in your pants till you get your belly filled. If you are off to work or you are off to school, you got to dance in your pants until you get in the mood".
Thursday 09 April 2009
If The Speaker hasn't already shaken off most of its audience by now it can hardly be accused of lack of effort. An elimination contest intended to find the best young speaker in the country, The Speaker began, logically enough, with the first sifting of young hopefuls – and the by now familiar vocabulary of knockout television – long queues outside regional town halls, dodgy audition tapes, swing doors batting open to reveal the exuberant or the crestfallen. Where else would you start, you might ask, given that all such enterprises must sharpen to a point? To which one would simply say, "Much later, please." This might not make make sense with the more vulgar manifestations of the talent-show genre, since they relish the electronic bedlam of the opening rounds and the opportunities they offer for judicial astonishment and scorn. But it would have made sense here for several reasons.
Monday 23 March 2009
Sunday 22 March 2009
I'm looking forward to the new series of The Apprentice, which begins this week, not least because it will be interesting to see how the format has been tweaked to take account of the credit crunch.
Friday 20 March 2009
Wednesday 28 January 2009
As a couple, Brangelina are worth far, far more than the sum of their parts. So what do you get when you factor in their travelling caravan of six children? Well, it may not be the most scandalous paparazzo shot, but to celebrity watchers, the shot you see here is worth lingering over. It's not often that you get to see the whole clan, in the same place, so unguarded. But yesterday, as they made their way through Tokyo's Narita Airport, none of the Pitt-Jolies had been left with the nannies. It gives us an opportunity to learn a little about looking effortlessly cooler than anyone else in the world ever.
Tuesday 30 December 2008
Donald Trump has shelved plans to build hundreds of homes at his proposed golf resort in Aberdeen because of the slowdown in the property market. The US developer's lawyer George Sorial said: "The homes could take several years. We're not going to build anything until it feels right."
Monday 22 December 2008
Sunday 14 December 2008
Wednesday 05 November 2008
Tuesday 17 June 2008
An ecologist advising Donald Trump on his planned £1bn golf resort in Aberdeenshire admitted yesterday he did not believe the course should be built on environmentally sensitive land.
Thursday 12 June 2008
I regret that during my many trips to Scotland I did not visit the Menie Links in Aberdeenshire. From the photographs, it seems a very beautiful corner of the kingdom – unspoilt, unpolluted, undeveloped. It is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which sounds even more, well, special and natural.
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