I was planning to write a more serious blog post tonight, but as the in-laws are in town, staying at my house, I’ve been indoctrinated into the frightening world that is ITV1 prime time, where no common denominator is too low, no barrel is too near the Earth’s core to be scraped, and where the commissioning editors must surely be having a massive giggle at our expense. And while enduring this nuclear wasteland of TV scheduling, I caught one of those shows that makes me think that Chris Morris is the new Nostradamus…
Popstar to Operastar.
Of course, the name’s a misnomer, but then “Washed-Up Z-List Crooner to Wannabe Gino-Ginelli Jingler” is less catchy. Anyway, the show’s mental. Featuring a variety of no-hits-for-forever talent, including her from Hear’Say, him from McFly, and a Nolan sister, it’s clear that no stone was left unturned in finding the best possible cast for this valuable televisual feast. The actual content of the programme is as you’d expect, with our heroes gamely tackling an opera track each week and being cheered at by their showbiz pals as well as the more obese members of the DigitalSpy forums, and kept in (or chucked out of) the competition by the means of a nationwide phone vote.
So far, so every other “celebrity” (massive inverted commas) reality show involving singing, surely, but the real jewel in the WTF crown here is Alan Titchmarsh. Titchmarsh is one of the hosts of the show (along with Now-Let’s-Put-Her-In-Everything Jungle Showergirl, Myleene Klass). Let me say that again to emphasise it some more: ALAN TITCHMARSH IS HOSTING A FUCKING SINGING COMPETITION. Much as I may laugh at the BBC for turning Graham Norton into a revolting husk of mediocrity by throwing him at the worst shows that Saturday night can buy, I have never, ever in all my long years seen a presenting decision as baffling as this one. It’s like the commissioners looked at Strictly Come Dancing and thought, “I know, Brucie worked to bring in the older demographic there, let’s do the same here! Who have we got on our books? Shit, nobody. Hang on, I know: that successful gardener chap turned pisspoor chat show host! Brilliant!” No: barking.
And then there’s the judging panel. An Italian tenor (probably paid a tenner! Ha ha! Oh) with the most wig-like curly hair I’ve ever seen. Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen (seriously), who looks like he’s walked off the set of a particularly opulent costume drama. The ultra-fit but ultra-tedious Katherine Jenkins. And Meat Loaf, who’s genuinely awesome on the show and must sack his agent, stat.
So there I was, watching this car-crash of a show, wondering how anyone could possibly get high enough to commission it (yes, yes, I realise it’s a massively cynical Element A + Element B + Element C = MASSIVE RATINGS tickbox kinda process, but let’s keep the illusion alive, eh?), when I saw that very-tall Darius was first on to murder an opera classic. “Quick, to the blog!” I pretended to think. For now we can finally get back to the promised subject line:
I almost killed Darius.
I was at a White Stripes gig at the Brixton Academy a few years back, on the upper floor looking over the balcony. It was a great night, right up until someone new decided to stand next to me and talk really loudly on his mobile phone all the way through the fucking encore. That someone was Darius. It wasn’t thirty seconds or a minute – this conversation went on for over ten minutes! At a gig! Breaking one of the unwritten rules of life! Completely oblivious to the furtive glances and dirty looks of everyone around him. Anyway, I had a thought: Darius was standing very near to that balcony, wasn’t he, and it really wouldn’t take much force to propel the gurning, gangly twat over the edge. It could even be made to look like a tragic accident. Or maybe I could just grab his phone and throw that over instead.
I did nothing, of course. Far too politely I didn’t even ask him to shut the fucking fuck up, you talentless trumped-up twerp. But to this day, I know and he knows that he owes me his life. I let him live. Without my mercy, he’d be dead. And more importantly, ITV1 would have had to get H From Steps for their win-free opera instead.
And that, ladies and gents, was the night that I could, and should, have killed Darius. I’m truly sorry for letting you all down, I really am.