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).

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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 (https://middlerageddad.com/2016/03/11/let-the-blog-see-the-rabbit/), 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.

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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?”

“Tree?”

“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 here 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

 

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Mince Pies and EggBlog

Well, it’s December, and that can mean only one thing – it is now acceptable to discuss Christmas.

I know some people begin getting all festive before the embers have fully died out on the bonfire, but for me you need to wait until midnight has ticked by on 30th November before you scoff that first mince pie, or even consider braving the loft to retrieve those decorations (which, incidentally, I am convinced I only shoved back up there about a month ago).

We all know Christmas is a magical time, particularly for the kids, but the real magic of Christmas, is that it is the one time of year when anything goes. You will eat, and drink, and behave like a totally different person from now until Boxing Day, all with one simple excuse – it’s Christmas. Christmas is like a month-long ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. In short, at Christmas time, the unacceptable suddenly becomes acceptable.

Here are seven examples of unacceptable Christmas behaviour, that no right-minded person would even contemplate at any other time of the year….

1. Fancy Dress

 

There are only two categories of adult human being who consider fancy dress as normal acceptable behaviour – actors, and the medically unstable.

Look, I am willing to turn a blind eye when it comes to Halloween, because I get that some parents will dress up for their kids, and I suppose the occasional stag/hen party is permissible, so long as they show some imagination (although, the last hen party I encountered – in Stockport – had clearly opted for the theme ‘drunken slags’), but for the remainder of the year fancy dress should be restricted to children only.

Not at Christmas though. Oh no. Once 1st December arrives, all bets are off, and you won’t make it through a twenty-four-hour period without encountering a Santa Claus, a ‘Mrs Santa’ (note for the ladies, not all of you can actually carry off a ‘sexy’ Mrs Santa outfit, so proceed with caution), a snowman or an elf.

I should know, because I hate fancy dress, but if you are reading this on the day of publication (Friday 7th December), then I am currently dressed like this for the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘National Elf Day’ (which I’m pretty convinced my colleague made up, to make me look like a twat in front of clients):

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As you can see, I’m delighted about this. Ah well, it is Christmas, I suppose.

And I guess some festive fancy dress is ok…..

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2. Sprouts

No one in their right mind would consume these evil little balls of foulness at any other time of the year, so why do we allow them to infiltrate our dinner plates come Christmas? They smell of fart, they taste of fart, and they make you fart.

And, before you pipe up with ‘I honestly like them!’, no, you fucking don’t. You’re either lying to yourself (and the rest of us); or, worse, you honestly believe you like them, in which case you are a danger to society, and should be quarantined post-haste. See also: granola, kippers, olives (black and green).

Sprouts are awful, and disgusting, and my dinner plate come Christmas Day will be absolutely crawling with them. Because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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3. Christmas Songs

26th December to 30th November:

“Shall we put some Mariah Carey on?”

“Fuck off.”

 

1st December to 25th December:

“Shall we put some Mariah Carey on?”

“I-I-I DON’T WANT A LOT FOR CHRISTMAS, THERE IS JUST ONE THING I NEEEEEED!”

4. Breakfast

For eleven months of the year, I will hazard a guess that your daily breakfast consists of something like cereal, or toast, or fruit. Now and again, you may treat yourself to sausages, or bacon, or eggs – or even all of the above, in that most glorious of treats, the full English breakfast.

Then, December begins, and any sense of self-restraint goes straight out of the window. You will justify that third bacon sandwich of the week, because it’s nearly Christmas. You might even scoff a mince pie, or a chocolate bar, before the school run, because it’s nearly Christmas.

But this is nothing, and I do mean nothing, compared to Christmas Day itself. On Christmas Day, all sense of decency vanishes, and sheer, unadulterated gluttony takes over, as you devour an entire Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or half a tin of Quality Street (orange creme, thanks for asking) before 7am.

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Even at Easter, a religious holiday now seemingly devoted to chocolate (amazing how the chocolatiers – and, to a lesser extent, the bunny community – managed to wrangle control of that one), most sensible adults wouldn’t dream of scoffing every last bite of a giant Toberlone before sunrise, yet at Christmas we seemingly think nothing of it.

And, best of all, we get to wash it all down with…..

5. Weird Alcohol

Assuming you are not an alcoholic, then aside from Christmas, there are only two other occasions when drinking alcohol first thing in the morning is considered acceptable: when you are at an airport about to fly away on holiday, and on your wedding day (when the bride may have a glass of champagne with her Maid of Honour, and any bridesmaids of sufficient maturity, and the groom will neck something a little stronger, to numb the pain of the horrible mistake he is about to make*).

*joke, dear.

However, it is not the timing of the alcohol consumption which really worries me about Christmas, it’s what we drink. For example, at no other point throughout the year, would I even entertain the notion of sipping a glass of sherry of an evening, but I can easily clear a bottle by myself during Christmas week alone.

Look, I know it’s not a manly drink in the slightest, but I don’t think downing a litre of Harvey’s Bristol Cream in the last week of the year is going to make me seem any camper than I already am, so I’m not overly concerned.

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Then, ladies and gentlemen, we have eggnog. What in the name of all things sacred is eggnog? And don’t say ‘Advocaat’, because we both know full well you haven’t got a fucking clue what that is either. You can’t explain one mysterious drink with another mysterious drink.

Even the name concerns me, because no alcoholic beverage should ever feature the word ‘egg’ (or, for that matter, the word ‘nog’). A nog, for those unaware, is a small block of wood. Nowhere else in the off licence would we accept a drink with a name formed from a dairy product and a small block of wood. Anyone fancy a quick cheese-peg or cream-wedge? No, didn’t think so.

And don’t even get me started on mulled wine.

6. Rubbish TV

I don’t watch soap operas, apart from with my mother-in-law at Christmas. I don’t tend to watch reality shows, except at Christmas. And even though I don’t mind the Queen, if someone offered me the option of watching a woman in her 90s give a meaningless speech in June, or July, or even on any other day in December, I’d politely decline or make up an excuse not to.

But this is Christmas, and so help me God I need to find out who shot so-and-so on Corrie.

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7. Christmas Shopping

Christmas has been almost entirely commercialised, whether you agree with that or not, but for someone who has never been a huge fan of shopping anyway, schlepping around stores looking for gifts at the same time as the rest of the country is not my idea of fun. In fact, I would far sooner drizzle my gentleman’s area with honey, then dangle it in front of a bear’s face.

Yet people seem to tolerate, no, love, pushing their way from one shop to the next in the build up to Christmas, fighting to grab those last minute gifts for relatives you don’t even like, and won’t see again until the same time next year (if any of my relatives are reading this, I don’t me you, obviously).

Even my wife, who treats Christmas shopping as her all-time favourite sport, and who once spent three days in the Trafford Centre buying gifts (honestly, we had to set up a ‘base camp’ outside Clintons), now avoids the place once December starts. It’s ridiculous. The Trafford Centre is so vast that it is twinned with Luxembourg, but if you visit on a Saturday throughout December, you won’t find a spare parking space among the 47,000 available if you don’t arrive before 9am.

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No, I much prefer to do my Christmas shopping in my underwear*, and since the Trafford Centre kicked me out the last time I tried it there, I now purchase nearly all of my gifts online. Not that I have many to buy, as my wife takes control of purchasing for most of our family.

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Of course, nowadays we also have the ‘Christmas Markets’ to contend with, where cities and towns have taken the concept of crowded shopping, and moved it outdoors into the freezing cold.

Never mind, at least we can all stay warm with a steaming cup of disgusting hot wine.

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Thanks for reading x

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