Blog Marley and the Wailers

I have said it before – and I am about to say it again – I love crappy TV.

I think this is, in part, due to the fact my job tends to be quite serious and stressful at times, and raising two children isn’t always a barrel of laughs, either (particularly when one of those children happens to be Isaac), but I also think my love of terrible TV is helped by the joy I get from laughing at stupid people.

Now, in the interests of keeping the peace, I should stress that I don’t like to make fun of the clinically dense in real life (unless they really bring it on themselves), because it would not be fair to mock anyone whose elevator perhaps doesn’t go all the way to the top floor, but as soon as said thicko chooses to appear on television, particularly where their inadequacies in the brain department are likely to be exposed, it’s open season as far as I am concerned. Joey Essex, I’m looking at you (not that he would be able to read this, even in the unlikely event he stumbled across my blog).

Image result for joey essex gif

As a result, there are certain television programmes I particularly enjoy winding down with after a busy day/week (although I should stress, having just mentioned Joey Essex, I have never seen a single episode of TOWIE), sometimes with a glass of wine or two, in order that I can sit and feel smug about having all of my batteries included. The fact I am knitting with both needles. That all the lights are still twinkling on my Christmas tree. Ok, you get the idea.

Consequently, I’ll freely admit that I like The X Factor (but only in the early stages, when they have the dreadful singers who genuinely think they are the next big recording artist), and, in March 2016 – [gulp] was it really that long ago? – I wrote an entire blog entry about one of the finest programmes to come from these shores in recent years, Take Me Out (, so you get an idea of my level when it comes to watching TV. Essentially, my standards in choosing something to watch of a weekend, are on a par with the United States standards in electing a president.


You might think, therefore, that the latest crappy singing competition to grace our screens for 2020, The Masked Singer, would be right up my street, and in some respects you would be right (as I’ve watched three shows now, and I will have to finish the series to find out who everyone is), but I cannot deny even I am struggling to tolerate it, and there are certain aspects which are now getting on my usually-very-tolerant nerves (oh, shut up, I’m a fucking delight and you know it).

If you have mercifully dodged The Masked Singer thus far (and, if that is the case, please don’t start watching it now on my account, as I don’t want to be responsible for any of my followers slipping into a catatonic state, or, worse, doing something stupid with a machete in a shopping centre), let me explain the concept: Twelve celebrities (and, I should immediately stress here, only three singers have been revealed so far as I write this week’s entry, and the word ‘celebrity’ has never been more abused), dress up in overly-comical costumes to sing for a panel of four judges, who then have to try and work out who the singer is from their voice and the clues supplied to them.

Honestly, it’s like the bastard love-child of Stars in Their Eyes and Through the Keyhole.

To give you an idea of the costumes the viewing public are treated to, the twelve ‘contestants’ are: Butterfly, Chameleon, Daisy, Duck, Fox, Hedgehog, Monster, Octopus, Pharaoh, Queen Bee, Tree and Unicorn. And here they are:

Of course, when selecting twelve overly-elaborate outfits for someone famous to disguise their identity and sing for the viewing nation, a tree is a natural (excuse the pun) choice, isn’t it? Oh, how I would dearly love to have been at that production meeting:

“Ok, so we’ve got a butterfly, a unicorn and a hedgehog. Any other ideas?”


“Excuse me?”

“A tree…. oooh, and a Pharaoh.”

“Fuck off, Dave.”

It would be fair to say ITV have pulled out all the stops with the judging panel, too (yes, this is sarcasm), as they comprise the following ‘A-listers’: Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall, Rita Ora, and ‘head judge’ Kim Jeong (who, if you aren’t familiar with the name, played Leslie Chow in the Hangover trilogy). A strange choice, perhaps, but if it helps to explain his particular involvement, he has already appeared on the US version of The Masked Singer, and it is our cousins from across the pond that we have to ‘thank’ for the format reaching our screens.

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Now, the judging panel should give you some idea of the calibre of celebrity behind the masks, but just in case you had an inkling the budget was perhaps spent on persuading movie stars to get dressed up incognito and belt out a show tune or two, there have been three ‘celebrities’ unmasked so far, and they were, in order of fame:

The Chameleon….

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Justin Hawkins from ‘The Darkness’ (yes, this IS in order of fame)

the Butterfly….

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Patsy Palmer (who, for the unitiated, played Bianca in Eastenders)

And the Pharaoh….

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Alan Johnson (Former Home Secretary). Yes, honestly.

I mean, fuck me.

What makes the first three reveals even more incredible, is that the panel genuinely offered guesses including Tom Cruise and Lady Gaga, only to be thoroughly disappointed when Alan fucking Johnson, a man who might not be recognised by his own children, was paraded around like the Dalai Lama.

Now, perhaps it is pure coincidence that the first three singers to be revealed (i.e. those deemed to have the worst voices), are simultaneously the three least famous among the characters, and we can only dream that the remaining nine participants are the real budget-stretchers, but I fear not. After all, would Tom Cruise really have a better voice than the fella from The Darkness?

Nevertheless, in the interest (and I have never used the term more loosely), of maintaining some, erm…. interest in the rest of the series, I have decided to come up with my own wild predictions of who might be behind the nine remaining masks. However, unlike the majority of those still watching this utter pish, and the British press for that matter, I am not going to take my guesses too seriously (as should become immediately apparent).

So, in alphabetical order, I have now determined (based on the pointless clues provided thus far), the remaining nine masked singers are as follows:

Daisy = Pope Francis

Argument For: His Holiness probably likes flowers

Argument Against: Daisy is clearly female

Duck = Bob Marley

Argument For: It justifies my use of this week’s blog title

Argument Against: He’s slightly dead

Fox = George Clooney

Argument For: George once played the lead in ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’

Argument Against: Would probably demand a higher appearance fee than, say, Former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson

Hedgehog = Pep Guardiola

Argument For: As the manager of Manchester City, he is used to being surrounded by pricks (I thank you)

Argument Against: Notoriously allergic to striped trousers

Monster = Vladimir Putin

Argument For: Requires little acting, as he is already a monster

Argument Against: Ol’ Vlad isn’t exactly known for embracing campness, is he? Well, not deliberately

Octopus = Prince Andrew

Argument For: Known to be ‘handsy’; diary is currently empty

Argument Against: Claims he cannot sweat, so would undoubtedly struggle in a heavy costume under studio lighting

Queen Bee = Beyonce

Argument For: Well, it’s her nickname, isn’t it? Plus, the bee can actually sing

Argument Against: Obsessed with Jonathan Ross, and not allowed within fifty feet of him

Tree = Tom Hanks

Argument For: Plays ‘Woody’ in the Toy Story films (woody = tree, geddit?)

Argument Against: Famous for his sense of humour, but even he has limits.

Unicorn = John Barrowman

Argument For: It’s clearly John Barrowman

Argument Against: None. Did you not hear me? It’s clearly John Barrowman

Disclaimer: The Middle-Raged Dad accepts no legal liability whatsoever, should someone reading this week’s entry choose to place a bet on any or all of the above predictions. If, however, aforementioned bet pays out at ridiculous odds, said reader is obliged to provide Middle-Raged Dad a ‘prediction fee’ of 35% of the sum paid, within 14 days of being placed in receipt of funds. Cash, or the equivalent value in Jaffa Cakes, are the only acceptable methods of payment. This does not affect your statutory rights. 

Thanks for reading, folks x


Herbie The Love Blog

On Monday, the televisual juggernaut that is ITV’s Love Island rolled back into town for a brand-new series.

Despite having never watched it before (well, I watched Celebrity Love Island about a decade ago, but all I remember is Jayne Middlemiss having a breakdown, whilst trying to mount anything with a penis for two weeks – including Calum Best, who appears to be nothing more than a tanned penis with nice hair), I think I have a pretty good idea of the format.

The fact I have never watched Love Island has nothing to do with snobbery – because I thoroughly enjoy Take Me Out and Celebrity Juice, which are hardly highbrow – it has just never really appealed to me before. It still doesn’t, frankly, but I have chosen to give it a try, purely for experimental purposes.

My reasons for taking on this challenge (and it is a challenge), are:

  1. I want to see how it will affect my intelligence;
  2. I’m an old romantic, and like to think there is someone out there for everyone, no matter how superficial they are;
  3. I have no blog material this week. Honestly, not even a shitty ‘top ten’;

If science lessons at school taught me anything, it’s that I should watch at least a week of Love Island to form a balanced view; but since my blog is always posted on a Friday, and because I genuinely fear for my mental health, I have decided to just watch the introductory show, where we meet this year’s guinea-pigs.

If, by some miracle, I love it, the experiment may be extended; but I am writing these opening paragraphs first, so no promises. To be honest, I suspect my getting hooked is about as likely as Donald Trump getting four more years, or England making it through the group stages of the World Cup, but you never know….

Episode 1 – Monday 4th June


To start, we’re introduced to a Big Brother-style house, where the contestants will live (and love) – only it’s in Majorca, so the weather will be better. The producers clearly selected a Mediterranean island (over the likes of Wight, Man, and Canvey) because there is a far greater chance of the contestants ‘bumping uglies’ if they aren’t wearing much.

The first contestants are both women, wearing what were presumably once bikinis, before they shrank in the wash. As the first in, they embark on the obligatory ritual of high-pitched squealing, despite clearly hating each other already.  Makes sense, as I hate them both too, and I don’t even know their names yet. Ah, here we go…

First up is SAMIRA, 22, from London. She claims to be a ‘performer’, which I initially assumed meant ‘stripper’, but it turns out she has performed actual musical theatre. Now that she has stopped squealing like a mid-orgasm pig, she seems ok.



The other girl is HAYLEY, 22, from Liverpool. She is a model (shock), and in her VT explains that she only knows one word in Spanish, which is the word for ‘prawns’ (although she is never tested on this). I’m not sure how much a diet of prawns is going to help her find love though.

When it comes to her own language, Hayley admits she ‘doesn’t use big words’ (another shock), and claims to have only slept with one person – presumably she means today.



Next to arrive is KENDALL, 26, from Blackpool. She’s quite pretty, but in a ‘Carol Vorderman meets Sophie Ellis-Bextor’ kind of way. Christ, I thought the other two could squeal, but there will be dogs going nuts as far as mainland Spain now. Kendall appears nice, but with a name like that I cannot help but detest her.



Contestant four is DANI, 21, a barmaid from Essex. Looks thick, sounds thick. I’ve already heard about Dani because, apparently, she is Danny Dyer’s daughter. Yes, Dani Dyer is Danny Dyer’s Daughter (say that three times whilst drunk). She just tried to quote Shakespeare, and got confused. Play to your strengths, love.



Here’s LAURA, 29, from ‘Scotland’. How delightfully vague, Laura – are you on the fucking run or something? Or do you think those of us South of the border won’t have heard of Falkirk, or Dundee? Laura’s chest appears to have entered the villa a full minute before the rest of her. Honestly, you could hire out her boobs as a bouncy castle for children’s birthday parties.



Enter the presenter, Caroline Flack (many have), who has come dressed as Big Bird for some reason. Great, now she’s squealing. I’m going to fast forward (ah, Sky+, whatever did we do before you?)

Here come the boys…

NIALL, 23, from Coventry is first. He claims to be a student AND construction worker; but presumably he is a police officer, cowboy and native American, depending  on who gets to the Village People dressing-up box first. Niall is obsessed with his hair, has a Harry Potter tattoo, and ‘used to be ugly’ – which implies he finds himself gorgeous now. Prick.



This is interesting (and, by that, I mean ‘not-very-interesting’). Now that Niall has arrived, the girls have to decide whether they are attracted to him or not, by lining up and then stepping forward if they would like to have his babies. I do hope no one moves, and his colossal ego takes a battering…. ah, screw you for stepping forward Kendall (and he probably will).

Boy number two is ALEX, 27, from Wales (another one who doesn’t like to give away his location). Did he just say he’s a doctor?! I half expected him to follow that with ‘a doctor of lurve’; but, no, he’s an actual doctor.



Despite Alex being well-educated (I assume), not a single girl has stepped forward. Hayley even admits that she’s not keen on him because ‘he doesn’t have a tan’. Not that she’s a shallow heartless bitch or anything.

Apparently, Alex now gets to pick from the four girls who rejected him, and he’s opted for Laura. I wonder what first attracted Alex to Laura? Actually, I can think of two things (and the attraction was most likely their gravitational pull).

Next is WES, 20, who only moves in slow motion. He claims to be a ‘design engineer in the nuclear industry’, which sounds important, but since it took him three attempts to even say it, I call bullshit.



Laura, despite being ‘coupled’ with Alex, has decided she likes the look of Wes more (although I get the impression she’d have preferred a warthog to Alex); so she’s ditched the pasty-skinned doctor for a guy who clearly Googled ‘what sounds like a clever job?’ (then forgot the answer). Alex has been resigned to the ‘subs bench’, apparently, and looks like he might cry.

Dani is talking constantly. I’m not sure why, as she’s only making herself even less attractive, and it was a pretty dire (pun intended) starting point to begin with. She needs to shut up.

EYAL, 22, is next (pronounced ee-yaal, apparently, which is how you address someone called ‘Al’ in Yorkshire). He says his best feature is his hair, which means he’s in big fucking trouble, because his hair looks like someone shaved the pubic region of a ’70s porn star, then glued the results to his head. Think ‘Mika cameos in Baywatch’.



Eyal is a model (obviously), and claims to be ‘spiritual’, because he mistakenly believes this makes him irresistible. All three unattached girls step forward, because in the seven minutes since they arrived, they have become terrified of being left alone. Eyal chooses Hayley (pube-head meet thick scouser, thick scouser meet pube-head).

Lastly, JACK, 26, makes his entrance. It’s hard to see what Jack looks like, because of the tremendous glare from his teeth; but at least no ships will crash into the coast, should bad weather descend. I imagine you’d spot those gnashers from space, long before the Great Wall of China. Jack sells pens for a living, and says ‘innit’ every three seconds.



Needless to say, the two remaining girls start fighting over Jack in desperation; visions of being spinsters by their late twenties flashing through their tiny minds – and it’s Samira’s turn to taste bitter rejection, as Jack opts for Dani over her.

Samira and Alex are now (reluctantly) thrust together, as the rejects who nobody else wanted – which is the Love Island equivalent of being picked last in P.E.

Hang on, there’s a sixth lad, which means either the producers are shit at counting (entirely plausible), or we’re about to have more boys than girls. ADAM, 22 (like hell he is), appears to have been chiseled out of granite, and doesn’t he just know it. I don’t think it would be possible for him to love himself any more, if he was licking his own photograph.



I wouldn’t last two minutes on this show. I mean, I’m nowhere near good-looking enough, obviously, and would probably come across as relatively intelligent compared to this lot (which hasn’t done Alex any favours), but I just don’t have the ego.

This is Greg. He’s 38, but looks and feels 48. He has two kids, has to pee at least once every hour (and prefers to do so sitting down), and his right hip crunches when he tries to climb stairs. 

Form an orderly line, ladies.

Hang on, did they just say this is on for eight weeks?! The bloody world cup is only four weeks. I can already feel my brain decomposing, and I’ve not made it through episode one yet.

They’re now spending some quality time in their couples. Hayley is trying to pronounce Eyal’s name, but it turns out she struggles with short words as well as big ones. She has managed to say Eyal fifteen different ways (all of them wrong), and with her high-pitched voice she sounds like a cat who is desperate to be let in. She just asked what ‘superficial’ means.

Meanwhile, Laura – who paired up with Wes less than an hour ago (having already ditched Alex) – is now attracted to latecomer Adam. Brilliantly, Laura informs Dani that she fancies Adam, to which Dani replies ‘You fancy him, don’t you? I can tell’. She literally just fucking told you, Dani. Try to keep up.

To win Adam over, Laura appears to be applying vast quantities of blusher to her chest, which could easily result in global shortages of the stuff, if she’s planning on covering them entirely.

I swear, if one more person actually says ‘hashtag’ before something, I’m going to fly to Majorca, invest in a chainsaw, and not regret my actions for a second.

Hashtag bloodbath

I can’t watch any more, I’m losing the will to live. Sorry everyone, I couldn’t even make it through the first episode.

I’m done.