On 26 February, Spitting Image will celebrate its 30 birthday. BBC Four will mark the occasion with a special episode of Arena which promises to tell the “vexed and frequently hilarious story” of the sketch show which ran for 21 series between 1984 and 1996 and marked a high point in British satire.
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Tuesday 02 June 2009
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a British comedian posing as a gay Austrian fashionista landing on Eminem's face.
Monday 01 June 2009
Eminem stormed out of the MTV Movie Awards after an incident with Sacha Baron Cohen's flamboyant alter ego Bruno.
Friday 29 May 2009
I have fond memories of watching Lewis Black record one of his television specials on Broadway in 2004. Among the many grouches of this grumpy old man of American comedy was the weather. "What is all this about the wind-chill factor?" growled Black. "Why do I need to know what temperature it could have been if it hadn't been for the breeze?" Now arriving here for a brief tour, Black may have to get used to Britain's favourite obsession.
Tuesday 19 May 2009
Friday 01 May 2009
By rights, I ought to loathe The Way We Live Now. It starts with a withering portrait of a woman author writing begging letters to three different literary editors about her new novel. It's unremittingly racist about Jews and respectful to posh people.
Friday 03 April 2009
If ever there was a book of two halves, it is this, Geoff Dyer's first novel for over a decade. His last fictional excursion (though for Dyer the division is largely artificial) was Paris, Trance, a druggy elegy for 90s romanticism that was partly a reworking of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
Tuesday 17 February 2009
Proving that life can sometimes come up with punchlines with which no satirists could compete, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook have both been in the news this week. Moore, who died in 2002, is being remembered by his rather odd-sounding last wife, Nicole Rothschild, who is reported to be writing a memoir in which Cuddly Dudley is presented as drug-addled sex addict.
Tuesday 06 January 2009
He has persuaded MPs to campaign to keep the fictitious drug "cake" off the streets, and musician Phil Collins to warn children against paedophiles while wearing a "Nonce Sense" T-shirt. Now the satirist Chris Morris is tackling his most controversial topic yet: wannabe suicide bombers.
Wednesday 17 September 2008
The Erotica show is the ulitimate adult lifestyle expo and takes place at Olympia London from 21-23 November 2008. This year the show is 11 years old, and to celebrate there are even more fabulous events taking place with everything from live burlesque and cabaret shows to an eclectic exhibition showcase.
Friday 01 August 2008
Friday 04 July 2008
Since the deaths of Frank Zappa and Warren Zevon, satire has become a vanishingly small part of the rock music scene – though lord knows, there’s far more to be cynical about in the current music biz than ever before.
Saturday 07 June 2008
Extreme violence and misogyny are the last things you'd expect to find on a holiday in France, but that's what you get a dose of in the puppet shows of Lyon. This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Lyon's most famous puppet, Guignol, the French equivalent of Punch, who for 200 years has been accompanied by his cantankerous wife, Madelon, and the endearing drunkard, Gnafron.
Friday 06 June 2008
Writer-director-actor Christopher Jaymes's comedy of familial meltdown tries for the taboo-breaking satire of TV's Curb Your Enthusiasm without understanding what makes it funny.
Monday 21 April 2008
Sunday 30 March 2008
Friction is about six characters in contemporary-ish Manchester who've all been deadened after too much stimulation and by consumerism's false promises. (Even its narrator, who is in a cell somewhere in a totalitarian future, can't always be bothered to explain things. Peripheral characters are designated Boy 1 or Girl 2; he tells us that "they blah-blah for a bit", and to do the job of imagining it for ourselves.) Still, animal urges remain, so these characters embark on an adventure into libertinism and depravity. Justin, who formalises the plan, thinks of it as an experiment. He wants to save us all by discovering "brand new ways of having sex". He's young – early 20s – so doesn't realise that it's all been tried before: by Sade, obviously, but also in strikingly similar ways, by the characters in JG Ballard's 1960s and 1970s books such as Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition. Justin and his accomplices go to an event called "Fuck Power", a masked orgy wherein the masks are of famous world leaders. Carly discovers a new electro-mechanical sex toy and sets about pleasuring herself to death. The experiment that goes the most wrong – recreational abortion – is, though, so far as I'm aware, entirely of their own devising.
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