World of Chig   

And so, the end is near...

The final day of Big Brother 7 arrives, and for the first time ever, after seven twelve series, I will say ‘not a moment too soon’. (Yes, tonight’s winner will be the twelfth to emerge from a UK BB house, not the eleventh. Maybe you didn’t watch the youth version for Channel 4’s schools programmes? I did.)

I realised within a couple of weeks that BB7 was shaping up to be the least interesting of the lot, and so it has proved to be. Not content with having a badly thought out mix of housemates and some of the vilest representations of womanhood that I’ve ever seen on television (foulmouthed Lisa, nasty Grace, flatulent Jayne and childish, pathetic Nikki), Channel 4 then robbed us of money that we spent on evicting people, by allowing them back in. I’m waiting for the Ictsis ruling to give me my refund, and I hope it hits Endemol/C4 hard (but it won’t - it will hit the service providers instead). They’ve conned us, they’ve betrayed us, and they’ve made voting irrelevant because you can’t trust them, which is why I’m not voting for a winner this year.

There was something seriously wrong with Endemol’s selection process this time around. It makes me wonder why they bother with the auditions and the video tapes. People clearly lie on them, or play characters that they just don’t deliver when in the house. Mikey’s promise to ‘really shake things up’ proved to be particularly ludicrous, and pointless in the first place. I didn’t notice him shaking anything more than a bottle of ketchup and his messy hair in his entire eleven weeks. His raison d’etre, in his audition tape, was that he was an anti-feminist (yawn). Oh whoopee do. He then spent five weeks subserviently fumbling with Grace, proving nothing except that he’s a bad judge of character, and the remaining time flirting with Imogen. Radical!

The failure of the selection process this year isn’t just my humble opinion; it’s borne out by the fact that Dawn, Shahbaz and George were all thrown out or walked very early in the run, which makes you wonder why they didn’t just pick a dozen people off the streets of Borehamwood the day before the series started. There’s every chance they would have picked a more interesting random bunch of people. If you’ve forgotten about Dawn, thank your lucky stars you don’t live here in Birmingham, where her presence in the papers was maintained for weeks as the poor demented soul bleated on about how it was all a fix, without saying exactly what was being fixed, and how she’d been badly treated.) How Sezer ever got in, given what’s happened to him before and since, should be a serious cause for concern. What psychological testing did he have, and how did he get past it? (Don’t Endemol run police checks either?)

They even managed to set up a process which meant that Jonathan, who would surely have been one of the most interesting housemates ever, was booted out before he even saw the main house; a ridiculous state of affairs, especially given that Jayne, one of the people who got a place instead of Jonathan, had no regard for the rules of the house at all. Strangely though, unlike Dawn (and Nasty Nick), she was allowed to stay. Why?

On top of that, Sam and Lea (although I liked them both) were carrying emotional issues (lack of self-confidence and emotional neediness respectively) which would be better sorted out with a psychiatrist than on national television. Lea’s statement at the start that she wanted to be ‘accepted’ by going on TV for thirteen weeks should have set alarm bells ringing at Channel 4 before she ever got into the house. It was bound to end in tears, and it frequently did.

Nikki needs a lifetime’s supply of Ritalin, a bed in a psychiatric unit and the key thrown away, not her own TV series. More than anything though, Channel 4, because they’ve already promised her the E4 series, need her to be the most successful female contestant tonight. Hence the negative editing of Aisleyne over the last two nights in the highlights show, to suppress her vote.

Whoever wins tomorrow, for the first time ever, I won’t be watching. I’ll be in Edinburgh, watching a play called 'Jack The Lad’, which is described thus:

Once upon a time, a gay hustler forces his sado-masochistic client to listen to his brutal childhood story - with tragic consequences. A disturbing white-trash version of a classic 'fairytale' to give grown-ups nightmares.

Sounds fun, doesn't it?(!) For all we know, it could well be the story of Richard from Big Brother, but he (or the editing) never revealed anything that interesting about his life at all. I never once even heard him talk about Canada. Why?

It looks very much as if, like in Australian Big Brother 18 days ago, the contestant with the hugest cock will win. (Watch the other contestants discuss his penis in awe here. See it for yourself here.) But the bookies’ favourite didn’t win down under, so you never know if Pete will fall victim to the complacency factor, whereby people don’t vote for the contestant who they already think has won, because all media are pointing in that direction. This is known in TV circles as Gareth Gates Syndrome, the Andy Scott-Lee Factor or the Javine Incident.

Do I care who wins? Not really, but Pete’s emotional blackmail this week over his deceased friend has, after twelve weeks of me hoping that he does, now reversed my opinion. Grace Dent sums it up perfectly in her Radio Times BB blog, so I don’t need to. That leaves Glyn as the deserving winner, because he has been constantly excited and challenged by the whole experience in a way that none of the others have been (and, I must say, in a way that I would wholeheartedly embrace if I were thrown in there). It’s also been a delight to hear all the exposure the Welsh language has been given in the last thirteen weeks, so I think Glyn should feel very proud. His falling off the diary room chair when the female Big Brother first spoke Welsh was a series highlight for me, as was his swimming on the floor to the Baywatch theme. I will never be able to hear Snap!’s ‘The Power’ again without smiling, and remembering his hilarious, drunken dancing to it, also in the diary room chair.

And thereby hangs another problem with BB7. Many of the highlights this year (and most of Nikki’s lowlights) have been in the diary room. Two people said to me half way through the run, ‘do they ever talk about anything with each other?’ and I drew a blank. It’s hard to think, in thirteen weeks of 24 hour filming, of any interesting conversation that anyone has had, about anything at all. In previous years, there have been debates and memorable quotes aplenty, but what can you remember from this year, discounting Nikki’s incessant whining (which she even caricatured herself in this final week, as if it wasn’t ridiculous enough already)? They were all so lacking in intelligence or so inward-looking that they had nothing to say for themselves. The whole ‘he said, she said’ atmosphere was irritating and tedious in the extreme, especially when one entire midweek highlights programme was devoted to bitching about something that someone might have said, but didn’t, and the housemates’ reactions to each other discussing it. Boring!

Aisleyne also deserves to win, if only because she’s been given a hard time by Big Brother and the other women in the house. It would be worth her winning, just to see the faces on Grace and Nikki. Aisleyne hasn’t always covered herself in glory - the melodramatic wailing after she evicted Jonathan really got on my nerves in particular - but at least she has developed and seen for herself that she has changed for the better. She is the exact opposite of ‘fake’, which Grace accused of her of being; she has been ‘real’. (Being ‘fake’ is seemingly the biggest crime possible in the world of female airheads like Grace, worse than being a spiteful, stirring liar, apparently, although they never seem able to define what being ‘fake’ is. It’s just a word they throw around to each other.)

Every single person in that house has done things they should be ashamed of, but we all would. We all do. None of us are mad enough to volunteer to submit ourselves to such scrutiny, but when you watch a bunch of people for thirteen weeks with so little to say to each other and such a lack of social skills and empathy, it does, to those of us who actually like other people, who have opinions about things and can, occasionally at least, be entertaining, wonder if there will ever be another series, or if we, sorry I mean ‘they’ have left it too late…

End of rant.

Just two more things nagging at my mind:

The doubt over the whole ‘Susie fix’ incident. Why were we never shown that there were balls in the bingo machine with every ‘lucky ticket’ winner’s number on? We’ll never know whether or not all the balls had Susie’s number on, so C4 have left themselves open to continued speculation on that one.

In the real world, why does Richard have no male friends? On every programme, every eviction, it’s always been women. Notice that no one has been saying he ‘has the gay vote’. He just doesn’t. Gay people don’t seem that bothered about him, one way or the other (my extensive research has revealed). He’s just ‘there’. He did, however, produce my favourite moment of the entire series, when he argued with potty-mouthed Lisa in the bedroom and infuriated her so much that she threw a bike in a strop. He imitated her attention seeking, ‘running on the spot’ tantrum and I applauded, because I would have done exactly the same thing. She deserved, at that moment, to be made a fool of, and he did it very well. Well done Richard.

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You learn something every day...

Oh, how I just laughed when Big Brother's Glyn said he wanted to be "the first Welsh Prime Minister"! Good god, I thought, doesn't he know about David Lloyd George?

Well, what do you know? It turns out the great 'Welsh' Prime Minister was born in Manchester! I take it all back...

However, Glyn, if you are going to follow that path, we do expect a Prime Minister with better judgement than someone who thinks that Grace is "the nicest girl I've ever met". She's a horrible, lying cow. You'll need to open your eyes a bit before you become an MP. Good luck.

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More hilarious pictures of Boy George just doing a normal day's community service (surrounded by photographers and film crews) here.

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Return to Auld Reekie

After far too many years away from the Festival and Fringe, Chig is going to Edinburgh this weekend, staying with friends who live right in the thick of it, in the West End. I worked at the Fringe for (I think) four of the five years from 1988 to 1992, mainly at the Pleasance, with one year at the now burnt down Gilded Balloon, but haven't been back during August since then. (I've only been back twice since then at any time of year, but my visit last Autumn for my friends' wedding rekindled my desire to go back for the Festival. I remembered how much I love Edinburgh.) A return is long overdue. I am very excited, but I haven't booked any tickets for anything yet.

Is there anything I should definitely be seeing? Any recommendations? Realistically, we're talking comedy, short plays and possibly music. Three hour operas and ballets are probably out of the running, this time at least.

I'll be in Edinburgh from mid-afternoon this Friday, 18th, until 18:00 on Monday 21st. I'm hoping to buy some tickets tomorrow, so please feel free to mention any likely shows in the comments. Thanks.

Possibilities so far include:

The Laramie Project
The Gaydar Diaries
Bloggers: Real Internet Diaries
We Don't Know Shi'ite

I did want to see The Goodies Still Rule OK!, but it's sold out for all of this weekend's performances. Ooh, Ecky Thump!

Likewise, Boom-Bang-A-Bang! Blimey, I really MUST book some shows right now...

Browse all the Fringe shows here.

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“David, you have been evicted. Please leave the England squad!
David, you have been evicted. Please leave the England squad!”

An Ode To Becks
By John Chigley (Poet In Residence at Chig Mansions).

Oh David Beckham, we are sad.
You’ve left the England squad.
They took your captain’s armband off,
And gave it to a yob.

(Although, to be fair, that John Terry,
He is quite a hunk.
The King of Shaves in TV ads,
He makes me shoot my…penalties.)

David, you came from Leytonstone,
So you’re a real Eastender.
Your voice is high, so some people
Think you might be a bender.

You creamed yourself over Spiceworld
And said you’d like to meet
The skinny one in the black dress
And never let her eat.

You’ve had three boys with her so far,
Gave each a stupid name;
The Bronx, Juliet and Cruz, which is
A name for girls – the shame!

You fumbled with Rebecca Loos,
We thought you were a loony.
We heard she’d wanked a real pig,
And thought that it was Rooney

But Becks, oh yes, we loved you lots,
Except in ‘98.
Sent off! You Argie-kicking fool!
The object of our hate.

But we forgave you later on,
When you did shave your head.
Posed for Arena Homme Plus mag,
By writhing on a bed.

You were the god of our free kicks,
A wizard on the grass,
And in this shoot, it looked as if,
You’d take it up the arse.

You challenged England’s view of men,
By wearing a sarong.
You even wore pink nail varnish,
Though some did think it wrong.

But now they’ve gone and kicked you out,
Of the new England squad.

Brand Beckham needs a miracle,
Much like the Hand Of God.

So, gorgeous, sexy, Becksy man,
We’ll shed a little tear,
That no more England games we’ll watch,
Hoping you might be queer.

But David Beckham, don’t be sad,
That En-Ger-Land’s no more,
Come round and visit Chig sometime,
And he’ll make sure you score.

But make it quick, for even though
We may still get you back
Chig’s heart has gone to a new beau;
Fredéric Michalak

The End (of a career).

(Spooky! This was written last night. Little did we know what Diamond Geezer was going to do today, inspired by the same news story. We are slightly freaked out by this coincidence.)

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Love is...

...squeezing the spots on your boyfriend's back.

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Endemol & Channel 4: thieving, lying scum.

And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Except: When do we get our money back?

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Hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday

It's time for Brighton 'and Hove' Pride again. Hurrah! I'll be driving dahn Sarf later today for a long weekend camping in the land of Sugar Rush and The Kooks. It's Chig's third year running at Brighton Pride, but the first where I'll actually be 'working'; I'm doing photos for that well known magazine. Quite how I'm going to make two charged camera batteries last for the weekend when I'm staying in a tent that's a little short of mains electricity, I'm not sure. So, if you work in a gay pub in Brighton, and a man comes in, probably on Sunday, asking to plug in a charger, that may be me.

The weather forecast says 'Scorchio!', although you wouldn't know it this morning here in Brum, where it looks like it's about to rain. If it's hot, we'll be expecting more of this tomorrow...

...and more chilling out like this on Sunday and Monday...

While I'm gone, here are some things you could do:

1) Vote in Troubled Diva's annual Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? thingy. Mike will be revealing the number ones today, but you can still vote on the whole top ten until he closes it in (I'm guessing) a few days.

2) Watch silly Mikey's eviction tonight from the Big Brother house. Rarely has a person turned around his own destiny so negatively in the space of three days. Susie was hot favourite for the chop, but then Mikey started arguing with everyone. Why? Did he find a hidden stash of creatine? Whatever it was, he's a fool to himself. Goodbye! Only two weeks until Pete and Glyn fight it out for the hundred grand. I don't think it's all in the bag for Pete; Glyn continues to race up on the inside...

3) Telepathically will the remaining housemates to choose the lovely Jonathan when they vote a housemate back in tonight to replace the TWO who are rumoured to be going. He was the best of the 'secret house' flatmates and has been sorely missed. He deserves a chance, not that vile child Nicki.

4) Keep your fingers, toes and everything else crossed that, for once, the rumours are true, and that Martin O'Neill really IS set to become the Aston Villa manager in the next few hours/days. This really is officially Too Good To Be True (until next year, of course, when we regret his passing because he couldn't live up to expectations.) But for now, bring him on!

5) Wonder if Scissor Sisters' record company really are going to cock up the release of the group's new album. 'Ta-Dah!' is a great album title for Scissor Sisters, full of dramatic flourish (to go with the picture of Jake Shears exposing himself on the cover). However, it looks as if the muppets at Universal are about to mess up the whole impact and, unless they rectify it quickly, the album will just be called 'Ta-Dah'. That exclamation mark is the whole point of the title, It just doesn't work without it. Idiots. Popjustice agrees - see the Universal version and Popjustice's 'corrected' version here. Universal, sort it out!

6) Hope that the third World War hasn't broken out before I get back.

"Does anybody know the way to World War Three?
I've gotta know, I wanna book me holi-dee"

'Tom Hark'- - The Piranhas

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