World of Chig   


Chig is very saddened to hear of yet another celebrity death which makes me think, "It's the end of an era." Richard Whiteley has died today. He had been on TV in the UK for more hours than any other living person - quite an astonishing feat. Afternoons will never be the same again. And I mean that most sincerely. I'm a big fan of Countdown. It's the most comforting thing when you're off sick from work, and a rare example of entertaining television that's educational at the same time. Can it survive without him (apart from the current run, filmed with guest presenters, because of Whiteley's illness, but always in the hope that he would be back)?

One of the horrible ironies about this is that only two or three days ago, Channel 4 showed one of their promos; the one where they ask a lot of C4 celebrities the same question. The question was clearly, "how would you like to be remembered?" Richard Whiteley was the last person shown, and his answer was, "as the first face ever shown on Channel 4". He may never have won a Bafta or a National Television Award - a subject much discussed on Countdown itself - but at least no one can take that honour away from him, nor the OBE that he was at last given last year.

I wonder how many times in the next 24 hours we're going to see that clip of Whiteley being bitten by the ferrets on Yorkshire's Calendar programme?

Chig's sympathies go out to Whiteley's partner, former Eastender, sometime dictionary corner resident and Loose Women co-host, Kathryn Apanowicz. I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and a gypsy cream in silent tribute to the many happy hours, bad jokes and even worse ties that Twice Nightly Whiteley brought into my life.

The Countdown page.
BBC's Richard Whiteley obituary.

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Chig's guide to camping.

Especially for those 'lucky' people at Glastonbury this weekend.

Tip number 1:
Pitch your tent on higher ground, so that any rain will drain away from the tent.

Doh! Too late!

(Thanks to Roy D Hacksaw for the link.)

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Golden Oldies' Night

I don't watch Top Of The Pops very often these days, but I'm watching it right now. Let's see what hip'n'happening young bucks are on this week...

1st: Nancy Sinatra, singing 'Bang Bang' on screen. First hit single: 1966 (as was Cher's hit version of 'Bang Bang').
2nd: Shirley Bassey, singing 'Diamonds Are Forever' on screen, from 1972. First hit single: 1957.
3rd: Shakin' Stevens, singing P!nk's 'Trouble'. The most successful chart act of the 1980s. First charted in 1980.
4th: Elton John, on video. First hit single: 1971.

I know Doctor Who has finished (sadly), but I think I'm stuck in a time warp...

5th: Hooray! Fearne announces Army Of Lovers! Fabulous re-formed Swedish campery revival! Oh shit. It's only former Elton collaborator, Lee Ryan. 'Army Of Lovers' is the title of his new solo song. (You'd think, after all those TOTP performances with Blue, that he'd be quite good at miming, wouldn't you? Seemingly not.)

6th: George Michael & Elton John from Live Aid, 1985.
"I love playing with young kids," says Elton, interviewed in the present day. Oh dear. Have you learnt nothing from Jacko? No, it seems he's actually talking about Pete Doherty, who looks about 12 and is as mature as a child, so it's almost the same. It seems Dame Elton and the smackhead are going to do Baby Ford's classic, 'Children Of The Revolution' (also done by T-Rex) at Live 8. Having borne the brunt of all the criticism he received for duetting with supposedly homophobic Eminem, I guess Elton will have no qualms about glamourising heroin chic for the kiddiewinks in the name of eliminating world poverty. Drop the debt! People in Africa are so poor, they can't afford smack! But hey, at least they're thin, like Kate here. Lucky bastards!

7th: James Blunt. At last, the first artist on tonight who hadn't had a hit before 2002.

8th: Eminem (video) - Ass Like That. A very sophisticated song about donkeys (or carrots, perhaps?) But there are no donkeys in the video, just some women wiggling their bottoms. How do they get away with showing this before 9pm?

9th: Glenn 'Pop!' Ball is still so embarrassed about having to go back to dancing since Pop! went pop that he's still wearing a hoodie and shades. It's no use Glenn, I recognised you in week one, dancing to that Crazy Frog rubbish (and now, depressingly, it's week four for this chart-topper). This is a man who has waved neon lighting tubes around the arse of Kylie. How the (Al)mighty are fallen. Then again, he did have his photo taken with Chig back in Spring 2003, when Glenn was a dancer for Mimi in A Song For Europe, so he's had to take the rough with the smooth.
(PS. Glenn, You should have released your version of Xanadu before Pop! split up. It's fab.)

So, there you have it pop kids. There is, officially, nothing new under the sun. Or very little, at least. So, next week, when people are moaning about Live 8 and how it's all white man Dad rock, just point out that the average time since all the acts on this week's TOTP had their first hit is over 20 years. And that average includes James Blunt and the fucking frog. So much for yoof TV (although, secretly, I'm quite pleased).

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Going there tomorrow, me ducks.
Staying in a hotel this time, to enjoy a Saturday night of clubbing.
Not at Glastonbury this year, but my raindance seems to be working...
Oh bugger, it's going to rain in Leicester too, isn't it?

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The management at work are conducting a cruel human experiment on us. We're being subjected to 'extremes' of temperature, as the useless air conditioning sends the office temperature on a rollercoaster, rocketing at one point today to 29C, then plummeting to 22C as we reduced the thermostat display by just one degree in an attempt to lower the temperature. This has been going on since last week, and tempers, in our already fractious and divided office, are getting frayed as well as frazzled.

What's worse is that our boss seems to think we are being impertinent by even mentioning that there might be a problem, and some people have adopted the 'anything for a quiet life' approach, even if this means being reduced to a pool of sweat. As I walked into the sauna today at the start of the late shift, I went to ask our manager almost immediately if we could take the thermostat down a notch. All the other muppets (from the early shift) were sitting there, too afraid to say anything, but as soon as I mentioned it, our manager became annoyed and snappy (which I didn't much care about), but everyone else admitted they were too hot as well. I really do work with a bunch of wet lettuces. I wonder if some of them can wipe their own arses.

The annoyance with this unpredictable temperature situation - at times we're having to go outside to keep warm, as the ceiling blows Arctic draughts onto us - manifested itself yesterday. Yes, even Mr Calm and Controlled Chig found himself being inappropriately acerbic with the new temp. She's only been with us for two weeks. She has been inadequately trained by the WORST person in the office to train a newie. (The one who cuts all the corners himself and infuriates us with the lack of information on anything he writes. Or doesn't write, to be strictly accurate.) The induction booklet for new temps STILL doesn't exist, two-and-a-half years after we started recruiting new people occasionally. And unfortunately, she's one of these people who thinks that because she's been with us for a fortnight, she knows everything and doesn't need to listen any more. She's not the sharpest tool in the box - I even had to show her how to use a hole punch properly. My patience was at its lowest ebb yesterday, when her phone was ringing out on the desk (next to me) as I was doing something urgent on screen. She stared at the phone for several rings and said, "Shall I get that?" "Yes, please," I replied, as chirpily as I could muster to what seemed like a really dumb question. She stared for a few more seconds at the number of the incoming call displayed on her phone, as it continued to annoy us all by ringing out, then came out with a classic. "But I don't know who it is," she whined. I said "There's a really good way to find out," without even turning away from my screen. I think she then answered it. She probably found out who it was then, and the world didn't end.

Another colleague laughed and said, "Ooh, that was catty", but honestly, what do you expect? I said to her, "I find I don't know who 100% of my calls are from at home, so I answer them to find out. Amazing, isn't it?" You just can't get the staff.

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Ciao, Italiano?

Oh pleeeeeeeease let it be boring Roberto who's evicted tomorrow. I don't like Derek that much as a person, but he's funny! Okay, so we're laughing at him, rather than with him, but he's providing quality entertainment. And I do a good impression of him in the office, which makes people laugh. Roberto is providing nothing except dinner and some curiousity from us viewers as to his sexuality:

Kemal "Have you ever had cock, Roberto?"
Roberto: "Not really, no."

I'm sorry, but that was a question that deserved a yes or no answer.

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Arise, Sir Terence of Eurovision!

Wogan has been given an honorary knighthood. It's 'honorary' because he's Irish - a fact which even he seems to forget sometimes during his Eurovision commentaries - so, like Bob Geldof, he can't have a proper one and can't be called 'Sir'. Presumably, Wogan's honour wasn't given for his services to international relations. Denmark still hasn't forgiven him for 'Dr Death and the tooth fairy'.

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I'm sure Chig wasn't the only Villa fan to be shocked by last night's news that our beloved Chair'man', Deadly Doug was in hospital for surgery on his heart. We didn't think he had one.

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Well done viewers!

So, Lesley, you are the least popular of the twelve housemates. How does that make you feel? Really small, I hope, you horrid cow. Still, look on the bright side. It's Friday night - there's still time to put on your stillies, tie a couple of handkerchiefs around your tits'n'arse and get 'out on the town' in London for a few Bacardi Breezers, before picking a fight with some innocent girl for 'looking at you in a funny way', then going for a kebab which you can throw up all over yourself later. Why should tonight be any different from a normal night out in Huddersfield?

Have fun! Good riddance. My faith in the public vort (sic) is restored, after last week's terrible error.

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"Try to do it onto a tissue, and then just scrape a bit off."

Gastroenteritis - it's shit. That's what I've apparently been suffering from for the last two weeks, with two visits to the doctor, and several days off work. (I made the mistake of going back to work too soon on Monday, then had to come home after half a day on Tuesday, feeling sick again.) The quote above came from the nurse at my doctors' surgery. She asked me, over the phone on Tuesday, to bring in a stool sample for my appointment the next day with the doctor, which I duly did. At the risk of going into a little more detail than is really required, I'll just say that "scraping a bit off" is all very well if you're already IN a medical establishment, and have been provided with one of those specialist jar/tube thingies, with a proper pooper scooper inside it, but it's not so easy in the discomfort of one's own home. Suffice to say I won't be using that particular empty potato salad tub again.

So, random thoughts ahead...

Obviously I've been watching a lot of telly, including Big Brother. Until two days ago, I'd hardly noticed Sam was in the house. Then she started annoying me with her sulkiness. Then I sympathised with her, when I realised how VILE (to be said in a 'Linda from Gimme, Gimme, Gimme kinda way) Lesley is being to her. My god, Lesley is really horrible. I hope the nasty bitch goes tomorrow, but I doubt it. She has big tits, after all.

This is how I rate the Big Brother contestants at the moment, from my favourite to my least favourites:

1st Makosi. She's lovely, lively and fun. I could listen to her lovely Zimbabwean accent all day. She was given the perfect chance to shine by being the 'unlucky' 13th contestant, and completing her task successfully (just about). Loving her.

2nd Anthony. For purely aesthetic reasons. He doesn't seem to have done much, or have much to say, but he hasn't offended me either.

3rd Derek. As I said on day one, loving and hating him at different times, but he's very entertaining, hilariously self-righteous, and amusingly pompous. So (and I'll say it before someone else does), of course I can relate to him in many ways.

4th Kemal. Needs to calm down a little sometimes, but I do like his wonderfully opinionated rants, mainly because I usually agree with what he says. He was totally justified in having a go at insensitive Roberto, when he had the cheek to tell Kemal how he (Kemal) should handle his parents. Bonus points to Kemal for standing up to the bully.

5th Mary. Yes, I know she's gone, but she was better than all the other 8 below.

Well, that's all the ones I like or could give a toss about. I just don't like the others:

Science. Too moody. Speaks in a 'street' language that the others just don't understand, which is causing a huge communication barrier between him and them. Too argumentative for my liking. The others seem to think he's hugely intelligent, which says more about the bunch of thickos who have been thrown together this year than it does about Science himself.

Saskia. Has she said anything interesting?

Maxwell. Too London. Too geezer. But okay sometimes. Clearly holding himself back and thinking too much about what his mates might say.

Sam. Too miserable, but perhaps she will improve if Vile Lesley goes.

Roberto. Loudmouth, insensitive, bully. Won't get nominated for a while though, for as long as he continues to cook their dinners.

Craig. Whinge, whinge, whinge. Me, me, me. Oh shut the fuck up.

Vanessa. I'm not fooled by the tears. She was too stupid to realise she was talking about nominations, then made it all worse by NOT APOLOGISING for getting everyone up for the public vote.

Lesley. I'm not a violent man, but she's so horrible that I have had a desire to punch her in the face and drag her around the garden by the hair until her huge boobs burst.

In other TV news, there is a new love in my life. Gino D'Acampo, one of the chefs on Too Many Cooks on ITV Day. (It's a new concept in programming, don'tcha know?) Don't be fooled by the unflattering pictures here, just watch the programme and listen to the man speak. Swoon!

And finally, for today.

In these depressing times, where children are killing each other during fights in the park, or hanging toddlers from trees, I have a heartwarming little episode to report. I was gardening in my front garden yesterday (as you do when you're off ill). It's always very sociable on sunny evenings in my street, as children are out playing, and adults sit outside. I'm lucky to live in an area where I actually know the neighbours, and we talk to each other. Late in the evening, a brother and sister were eating something outside their house, and my curiosity made me ask them what it was. They were eating mangoes, which smelled lovely, and I said as much. I wasn't angling for one though. About half an hour later, I was tidying up and taking the gardening tools back inside, when I opened my door again, to find the four year-old boy and his slightly older sister just about to knock my door. The boy had a fresh mango wrapped in a tissue, and handed it to me, saying, "This is for working hard in your garden." Bless! Four years old! What a sweetie. It restores your faith in human nature. (The mango was delicious.)

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And the answer is...


But the question many times shall I enter?

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Look At Me (but don't take photos)

More often than not, at about this time on a Saturday night, I ring Upton from the Nightingale and ask to go on tonight's guest list. Tonight I have done that, but he has warned me that the act doing tonight's PA has insisted on no press photographers. If they spot any in the audience, they will apparently walk off stage. This is the first time this has happened. So I'm going out without my camera. We all know damn well that dozens of people in the crowd will have cameraphones, and it will be impossible to stop them taking photos. So, this act presumably thinks it's okay to have loads of crappy little cameraphone pics of them in circulation, but not okay to have some relatively decent shots, taken by pro and semi-pro photographers. They have even turned away TV crews who were interested in attending tonight.

So, who is this camera-shy act who doesn't need the publicity for their presumably blossoming career? I am reminded of a quote from the late, great comedian, Malcolm Hardee, who often used to say, on stage:

People say you play this venue twice in your career; once on your way up and once on the way down. It's good to be back.

Popbitch has already invited e-mails this week, to find a use for tonight's pop star, whose career will probably be deemed to be over tomorrow when their new single fails to enter in the top 15 of the UK singles chart. So, have a guess - who is it?

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Quite contrary

Day 8 in the Big Brother house. First eviction day, and the first Oh! My! God! moment of the series so far. General public, what have you done? Have you not watched Big Brother before? The idea is: keep in the interesting ones, throw out the dull ones. You idiots have evicted the unpredictable and unfathomable Scary Mary, who was freaking out the others very nicely thank you, and kept in dull, whining Craig. I'm very, very disappointed in you (not least because it would have made my comment about Craig on opening night - 'first evictee, hopefully' - seem particularly accurate, in a Scary Mary psychic kind of way).

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Say, say, say

Some memorable and bizarre quotes from Birmingham Pride weekend. Chig could reveal who said some of these, but a sense of self-preservation (and concern for friends) has determined otherwise.

1) During the Boots bar v. The Fox 'It's A Knockout' competition:

"Is Boots bar where all the ugly men in Birmingham go?"
"Why do you think it's dark in there?"

2) During the egg and spoon race at the aforementioned games, wherein all competitors were particularly useless:

"They're not very good at holding the eggs are they?"
"Lesbians aren't used to holding onto eggs - they're usually selling them."

3) Outside Angels bar. Conversation between a photographer and a particularly sexy young Hispanic man who was promoting the bar with some writing across his chest:

"Excuse me, can I take your photo?"
"Yeah, sure."
"Can I just do something first?"
"Er, yeah, what?"
"Can I get rid of that fucking apostrophe?"

(Photographer licks finger and rubs out the errant apostrophe in "Angel's", maintaining bodily contact for slightly longer than was strictly necessary, but producing the desired effect.)

Standards, dear reader, standards. Er, I mean, whoever the photographer was. Mind you, the BBC had had no such qualms earlier.

¡Hola, Guillermo! ¿Que tal?

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