Monday, 26 April 2010


UK release date: 30 April 2010
Starring: Robert Downey Jr and a delightful plate of delicious dumplings.

In a film producer's office, many years ago...

Screenwriter: Thanks for seeing me, I'm really excited about pitching this idea for -

Producer: Have you had lunch?

Screenwriter: Sorry?

Producer: Lunch. Have you had it? Because I'm starving. I'm going to order in some lunch. You go ahead, I'm listening.

Screenwriter: Right, well, here's the idea: when I was young, I loved the classic comic, Iron -

Producer (buzzing intercom): Maggie? Can you order me something? (to Screenwriter) Go ahead, I'm all over it, classic moments in ironing...

Screenwriter: Um, as I was saying, I was always a fan of classic comics and as soon as I heard an Iron Man film was in production, I started thinking about the sequel, so -

Maggie (on intercom): What do you want?

Producer (into intercom): Not sure. I'm in the mood for dumplings. (to Screenwriter) Are you hungry? Go head, I'm totally with you, classic dumpling comics sequels.

Screenwriter: Yes. I mean no, thank you, I'm not hungry. As I was saying, I'm sure someone is going to make Iron Man 2 -

Maggie (on intercom): Did you say you wanted mantu?

Producer (into intercom): What the hell's mantu?

Maggie (on intercom): It's a dumpling dish. It's popular in Central Asia and Turkey.

Screenwriter: No, wait, I didn't mean -

Producer (into intercom): Sounds perfect, go for it. (to Screenwriter) You were saying: you think it's time for Iron Mantu.

Maggie (on intercom): One Iranian Mantu. coming up.

Screenwriter: But, no... I...

Producer: I think it's a great idea. It has drama, it has action, it has flavour and it's topical. Very meaty subject matter. Something for everyone. I'm thinking... Robert Downey Jr in the lead. He's perfect: healthy but doughy. When can you show me something?

Screenwriter: *blank stare* Tuesday?

Producer: Fantastic, it's going to be huge. One thing: can we make the mantu American?

Screenwriter: Um, sure.

Producer: Excellent. (into intercom) Maggie, get me Jimmy Cameron on the phone. (to Screenwriter) I've heard he's dabbling in 3D, sounds interesting. Not sure if we're ready for 3D dumplings, to be honest, but it'll be huge anyway. Is it just me or are you as starving as I am right now?

Must-see? 3D dumplings going after terrorists? Hell. Yes.
Shatner Scale:
Full-on Kirk. No question.

Monday, 19 April 2010

REVIEW: Lady Gaga - the myth (or mythter)

So here's the thing: I don't know anything about Lady Gaga.

This isn't usually a problem. Normally, when I'm looking for something to review, it has to be something I've never seen or heard or read, intentionally or otherwise. It must be something I know very little about, so that nothing influences my opinion, like knowledge or enjoyment or nausea. It keeps things honest.

But the fact is that I really don't know anything about Lady Gaga. Not a thing. Nothing. Nada.

I couldn't pick Lady Gaga out of a line-up, assuming they went out and found a bunch of other people who look a bit like Lady Gaga. Then again, I'd struggle to find her if she were surrounded by a band of midget penguins and she was wearing a big sign that said "Hi! I'm Lady Gaga! Ask me how!"

So little, in fact, that I don't know where to start. But as my old writing teacher once said: "Write what you don't know". (Then again, he also smelled of poo and used mouthwash, but I still think he had a point.)

So here are the top ten things I do not know about Lady Gaga:

1. Her real name.
I'm pretty sure it's not Lady Gaga, though you never know these days. It's possible that her family - the Gagas - decided to call her "Lady" when she was born. Maybe she had delicate ladylike features as a baby. Or maybe they really liked Walt Disney and confused their newborn child with a Cocker Spaniel. If so, I feel sorry for her brother, Tramp Gaga. Both for the name and for those awkward moments when mom served up a heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and told the kids to share.

2. Where she's from.
I mean originally. Not just her home town - I don't even know what country she's from. Or planet, for that matter. Even though I'm pretty sure she would pass unnoticed in Amsterdam, from what little I've read and seen about her, she could be from Pluto. Maybe she moved to Earth when Pluto was downgraded to dwarf planet, in search of whoever decided to downgrade it, so that she could smack them with what I assume would be a shiny Diamante Plutonian stiletto? Or maybe a telephone? I understand she has a thing for telephones.

3. What she looks like.
I've seen pictures captioned "Lady Gaga", but they never look like the same person. More like contestants in an International Transgender Robots of The Future contest.

I thought this was her receiving an award, but I might be wrong. I don't speak Swedish.

I do know she wears sunglasses a lot, presumably to protect her tiny Plutonian eyes from the endless flashbulbs. And I believe those sunglasses sometimes have telephones or televisions attached to them. I've seen this photo floating around, but it could be a still from a lace bukkake porn scene – and you can't even see her face so there's no way to be sure it is Lady Gaga.

4. Her gender.
I always assumed she was a she, but I've been fooled by the whole "Lady" thing before - never pleasant - so I've learned to be cautious. I've seen headlines saying things like "LADY GAGA'S GOT A PEE PEE" which I thought meant she had a weak bladder, but it could mean she has a penis, and I've also seen many men who look like her so maybe she is in fact a he.

For example, this could be her for all I know and I don't know whether this is a he or a she or the offspring of a he and a she and a horse - the jury is still out.

5. Her age.
She could be a very confused 16 year old boy. Or a youthful 90 year old woman. Possibly a middle aged superhero who recently retired and just can't give up the outfits. Who knows? It's very difficult to tell without more to go on. Like a birth certificate.

6. The name of any of her songs.
Seriously. Gun to my head, I couldn't name one. I don't even know if anything she's done has been in the charts, but that's less surprising since the charts are shite and I haven't looked at them for decades.

I've heard rumours that she has a song about a telephone but that's obviously a misunderstanding and they mean the 1978 classic "Hanging on the Telephone" by Blondie. So that's one myth busted.

7. The name of any of her albums.
For that matter, has she actually released a full album? I should add that to the list.

8. Whether or not she's ever actually released a full album of songs.
See above.

9. What her music sounds like.
In my mind, something about her name suggests that the music of Lady Gaga sounds like a dinosaur gargling a bunch of kittens. Others claim she could be the vocal reincarnation of Bonnie Tyler. The fact that Bonnie Tyler is not dead doesn't seem to matter.

The thing is, I may have in fact heard one of Lady Gaga's songs. Her music has probably already featured heavily in some massive ad campaign, so there's a chance, just a chance that my brain has been exposed to it at some point, even though every ad these days seems to feature "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + the Machine. I don't watch TV much and skip ads whenever possible, but it's a powerful medium, hard to avoid.

But if I have heard a Lady Gaga song, I didn't realise and it made no impression on me. This doesn't mean that, in years to come, I won't be sitting in a retirement home, drooling down my shirt, when the young staff will pipe in some nostaligic music "from the noughties" to keep us sedate, and somewhere between Coldplay and Oasis, a Lady Gaga track will come on.

And in that brief moment, I may be lucid enough to ask: "What the fuck is this?" A nearby orderly may stop long enough to say, "That? That's Her Majesty Lady Gaga old man - where've you been?" At which point I will lunge for his throat and my blanket will become tangled in his hoverboard, dragging me to a horrible but long-overdue death.

Apparently, the following is an example of Lady Gaga music - and it's not the only one. But if her music actually provokes this kind of behaviour in young and defenceless children (even those wearing what can only be described as a totally awesome ensemble), then I'm really surprised something hasn't been done to stop her/him/it. Some kind of restraining order or something. Anything, really.

10. Why she's popular.
The thing is, most of the time, I understand the reasons behind empty fame. Paris Hilton (boring zombie-green sex tape followed by not caring about boring zombie-green sex tape), Lindsay Lohan (onset of sudden lesbianism), Jamie Oliver (fat tongue and subsequent potential for mockery of same), Prince Harry (red-headed royal most likely to be involved in a bizarre self-immolation incident) - I get it, some people with no demonstrable skills are famous for being famous. But popularity usually requires a combination at least two of the following:
  • Charm
  • Talent
  • Sex appeal
From what little I know, Lady Gaga struggles to tick even one of these boxes. No charming personality. No talent to leave a lasting impression. And so sexless that three pieces of duct tape and a bit of lace suffice for a modest wardrobe. Why the popularity?

The answer is clear as the flimsy gauze barely covering Lady Gaga's cha-cha: she's popular because she's not real. She's a fiction, a product of mass hallucination on the part of a world desperate for good news and uncomplicated entertainment. She is an empty vessel. She is a half-baked fashion magazine come to life.

What does all of this mean for my No Show review of Lady Gaga? Simple: Lady Gaga does not exist. And because she does not exist, there is nothing for me to review. QED.

My work here is done.

PS: Based on The Usual Suspects ("The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing he world he didn't exist") and following on from the above, there is another possibility: Lady Gaga is the Devil. QED. Or possibly Bonnie Tyler. Either way, hide your children.