Peaky Blinders: I am In Love

Cillian-Murphy-image-cillian-murphy-36646986-470-240

Internet! World! MOTHER! It’s happened! I AM IN LOVE AGAIN! *throws arms back* *Loving You by Minnie Ripperton starts playing* *balances butterfly on finger* *skips through meadow giggling*

Yeah, fuck you Marcus, Lionel, Justin.. whatever their names were. YOU’RE ALL HISTORY TO ME NOW.

My heart has melted like a cheese toasted sandwich.

His name is Tommy Shelby. It’s ok, he’s a bookmaker and business is booming. He works extremely hard, does a couple of things on the side *cough*, runs a nice little pub, it’s all good. We’re happy.

Of course he’s entirely fictional; also he’s currently existing in 1922 and I in 2014, but these are minor details really.

Peaky Blinders. Where do I start? Shall I lay down the tarpaulin? I better.

Peaky Blinders is my new passion, Peaky Blinders is what I daydream about as I stir my tea, stare out of the window and serve my cats jellied animal body parts in a bowl.

Peaky Blinders is the TV show I have been waiting for, for years.

Set in 1920’s Birmingham, it follows the life of main character Tommy Shelby played by Cillian Murphy. That hair, those razor sharp cheekbones!… *gets out smelling salts*.. ahem sorry.

Tommy is from ‘gypsy stock’ and he’s a gangster, the leader of the Peaky Blinders (based on a true story, these blokes actually did exist, fun fact there). A bookmaker, he rigs races and takes part in all kinds of ‘gangster business’ in order to keep him and his family afloat and keep their criminal stronghold on Birmingham. Brum is PEAKY BLINDERS COUNTRY YEH? GET OUT. Of course FAMILY is what it’s all about though, Tommy is accompanied by 3 siblings and Aunt Polly, who took on role of matriarch after their Mother died.

A special mention for Polly: I fucking love her. She’s intense, protective and hard but has a soul that is as soft as a slice of bread drenched in gravy. A real rough diamond, just the way I like them. No one will mess with “Her boys” and “Her boys” won’t mess with her either. They respect her.

Convinced of Tommy’s association with communists, the IRA and various criminal activities, Tommy has constantly been pursued by bent copper and all round Love To Hate arsehole (sorry bit passionate there) Chester Campbell, played by the fabulous Sam Neill. Chester was sent over from Belfast by Winston Churchill to ‘clean up the city’, despite being unscrupulous and relatively scummy himself (OOOOH THE BASTARD).

Tommy is Chester’s nemesis, with his smart and sneaky ways. What didn’t help matters was that in Series 1, Chester got himself pretty police informant Grace to monitor Tommy’s activities and get close to the family. What happened? TOMMY AND HER FELL IN LOVE WHEN CHESTER LIKED HER HIMSELF. Nothing quite like hurt pride to induce the violence and bitterness in a good period drama.

Now let us get all high brow for about 2 seconds: Peaky Blinders’ cast is incredible. Sam Neill, Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory and most recently Tom Hardy (god’s sake wipe your mouth, Freya). There’s some real talent going on here. Also the soundtrack is flawless, we’re regularly subjected to the most powerful, intense scenes which are lovingly accompanied by the musical genius of Nick Cave, Jack White, The White Stripes and PJ Harvey to name but a few.

The costumes are beautiful, especially the menswear and the whole thing oozes so much glamour it makes Elizabeth Taylor’s golden years seem positively grey and obsolete. The cigarette holders, the waistcoats, THE FAKE FURS! These people walk the walk and talk the talk but they live in poor, deprived Birmingham at the turn of the century. For everything they’ve got, they’ve had to fight and make sacrifices, some moral (of course).

What I love, however is that it isn’t contrived. Peaky combines aesthetic pleasure with a fuckton of sleaze, relatively explicit violence and deep melancholy.

Tommy and many of the other men are plagued by Post Traumatic Stress due to their service in World War 1. This makes for dark flashbacks and moments of lost control. It also seems to be the catalyst for Tommy’s opium habit, something apparent in the first series.

But Tommy Shelby ah Tommy *dreamy eyes* Tommy steals the entire show for me. He is brooding, intense and reflective. He’s outwardly cold and detached, but inwardly desperate to be understood and vulnerable, however his occupation and dangerous life means most of the time he is unable. His life is a constant succession of betrayals, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. THIS is his life, this is the choice he’s made, so he takes it with strength and a contemptuous smile.

Tommy has a swagger and a dirty glint in his eye, but he’s quietly confident. He doesn’t need to be gobby about it. He has charisma and charm, but he uses it for more than just getting women into bed (that’s too easy, he has bigger fish to fry) though it does work sometimes.

We’re currently on Series 2 and I’m pretty convinced Tommy Shelby is The One. I just want to be a sleazy barmaid in his pub The Garrison. I want to lean over the bar pouting and pouring us both whiskeys as he gives me a wink and passes me a handgun for my own safety.

“Stick that in yer corset, Freya. Think there’s gonna be a bit of trouble.”

There was a scene in Series 1 where him and (unbeknown to him) police informant Grace (who he’d employed as barmaid and right hand woman) took out two members of the IRA together. After a violent tustle and lots of broken furniture, Grace shot one dead and Tommy managed to beat one to death.

Covered in blood, they collapsed into each other’s arms. It was at that moment they realised their feelings for each other and kissed. For me this will always remain one of the most fucked up, romantic telly moments I’ve ever witnessed and I fucking LOVED IT.

Grace ended up betraying him however, which.. well she better just back the fuck away from my man.

What do you mean Tommy Shelby isn’t real?!

He’ll always remain a beautiful part of my fantasy world. Never will I witness him farting, pebble dashing the toilet or disappointing me in any way. With this I am fine.

FREYA LUVZ TOM 4EVA 2K+14 XXX

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The Great British Bake off: I LOVE THE CAKE! I am not ashamed.

Like almost 13 million people last Wednesday I sat down to watch The Great British Bake Off final.

If you’ve been living on Mars or simply do more high brow things with your life, GBBO is what my friend describes as “Gentle and lovely.”, she’s not far wrong. It’s the most twee and relaxed programme on TV, akin to Pete Doherty laid slumped and drooling in his flat wearing his Fedora after a particularly satisfying hit of Heroin or an afternoon hanging off your Grandma’s apron strings in her kitchen as she bakes copious buns just for you with a maternal wink and a smile.

It’s more English than repressed emotions, colonialism and asking “More tea, Vicar?” during a suburban, Conservative lunch on a lawn greener than a snotty child’s tissue.

Week by week, accompanied by the “fun”, witty narration and presenting by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (the none offensive kind that your parents chuckle to themselves at and that’s painfully suitable for children), 12 contestants are put through their paces and made to bake an array of goods for professional judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.

Hollywood with the grey, heavily gelled hair, thick bread pummelling arms, piercing blue eyes and solid, ‘bull in a china shop’ type demeanour. He doesn’t have sex, he ruts you like a Stag while snorting like an angry beast. He’s an arrogant bastard and difficult to please, constantly looking down his nose and harping on about ‘good bakes’ and ‘perfection’. You can only imagine how flustered he makes your Auntie Sue and housewives across the country, how they’d love him to have a taste of their peach pie… or something.

Next we have Mary Berry with the kind eyes. You can tell she smells like flowers, musk and clean laundry. Like your Grandma, she merely tuts and looks disappointed if a contestant’s tart au citron isn’t quite up to standard, she’d never have the heart to be as cruel as Paul. So we love her and want to sniff her hair.

While the nation crams their face with crisps, blows off and glugs cans of Fanta (I say the nation, but I basically mean me), we go through bread week, pastry week, cake week and god knows what else week. We see the contestants, all regular ordinary people, I REPEAT ORDINARY PEOPLE, with a passion for baking, sweating like pigs on spits in dazzling white tents on the grounds of a stately home being put through their paces. Builders, homemakers, IT consultants, teachers, retired doctors, we’ve had them all and they’re all just regular people, I REPEAT REGULAR PEOPLE who just ruddy bloody love baking.

In true English fashion we’re also accompanied by a lot of tongue in cheek innuendo that’d make Kenneth Williams proud. ‘Soggy bottoms’, ‘I can’t wait to get it inside’, ‘hot baps’, ‘good forking’, are just some of the nuggets we’ve had this series and boy does the nation love them. Not only does Twitter explode with guffaws, but your Mum laughs into her hand like it’s 1975 all over again. TEEHEE, TEEHEE euphemisms.

I’ll be honest, GBBO is basically food porn. There’s also The Great British Sewing Bee, but for me that’s a step too far. A bunch of people hurriedly knitting sweaters does not create voyeuristic pleasure for my tummy, which is a force so unbelievably powerful that I’ll even put up with feeling like an uncool saddo for at least 50 minutes. Ganache, meringue, doughnuts, pasties.. watching them ooze and brown just makes me want to stuff all the items into a soiled bin bag and drive barefoot to Dundee where I park on a cliff edge injecting all the items directly into a vein and dying in a heap of custard and sticky jam. I’m happy to be found a substantial amount of time later all bloated, but with a smile on my face like a windy baby. Dignity, what dignity?

The show is so devoid of any vulgar drama too, it was seen as an absolute travesty when contestant Iain’s Baked Alaska was removed too early from the fridge by other contestant Diane and left to melt, which resulted in Iain being voted off that week. In true GBBO stye, Iain did not curse or cry, he simply stomped off like the dignified, “true Brits” the entire show represents, with Diane cowardly smirking in the corner with guilty eyes. Like a disagreement on a bowling green or a snarky dig during a chess game, no dirty laundry or blame round these parts, people. I expect Iain simply ended up crying loudly to himself in a toilet cubicle while looking longingly at the reel of toilet roll wondering whether he should attempt to hang himself. The people who should truly feel ashamed, however are the people on Facebook who joined the ‘Justice For Iain!” page. Not only was the show pre-recorded during the summer, but aggressive plights are not what the show’s about. You’d never have got a murder on Heartbeat for example, or a sex scene during the Antiques Roadshow, so angry campaigns involving Baked Alaska are just weird, if you ask me. Iain putting up and shutting up while quietly reading a book about Winston Churchill is what the show’s all about. Tsk. Weirdos.

There’s also the ‘informative’ segments, where soft voiced Mel and Sue wander around the country meeting various bakers and food historians and we learn about the invention of the fruit cake or the reason ring doughnuts have holes or how Queen Victoria often nibbled a Battenberg with one hand and smoked a joint of cannabis with the other (or something, I may have made that one up a bit).

I’m not gonna say The Great British Bake Off is cool, it is not. Neither am I going to say it isn’t the same reality poo we’re subjected to constantly. Mostly because I have a soul and I’m not a snob and also the tattoos I’ve just got on my arm are currently really hurting (I’m cool now, yeah?) but boy do I fucking love cake and for that, I will NEVER FEEL ASHAMED.

Let us all rejoice on behalf of cake and baked goods and CHOLESTEROL!

Wahay!

Oh wait ow… my arm.

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Eastenders, Danny Dyer and cry wanking.

Danny Dyer first entered Eastenders on Christmas Day 2013. I say entered, but it was more like this:

“Danny Dyer swaggered onto the nation’s favourite TV soap in a haze of stale Benson and Hedges, with mid tones of Lynx Africa and base notes of warm testicles, cheeky banter and a hint of B.O.”

Most of us British folk are aware of Danny Dyer. He’s that vaguely amusing tabloid thick bloke with a contrived COCKERNEY neanderthal “masculine” image that always manages to end up as the butt of everyone’s joke. Whether it’s his absolutely appalling list of budget films or his ‘Advice Column’ in Zoo magazine (which incidentally worked as a vehicle to promote his ‘personal brand’, despite heartfelt letters he received from troubled men who liked a side order of counselling with their tits.) where Dyer took the time to throw as many ‘mates’, ‘pals’, ‘birds’, ‘crumpets’ as he could fit into his one paragraph answers. I say “his” but we’re all aware he probably had a ghostwriter who took up the job solely because they were struggling with their gas bill.

Dyer has also continuously done promotion for brands/events which a mid life crisis period Alan Partridge would be proud of; go to Youtube and there’s many videos of him awkwardly doing a ‘geezer’ dance with a lager in his hand in a small, sleazy nightclub that probably reeks of piss and sexual assault doing his best “I’m having a great time” face, he also narrates the advert for ‘Mattessons Fridge Raiders’ meat snacks that are probably 92% processed scrotum. “FOR WHEN YER ‘ANK MARVIN’” Dyer growls in our ears.

However, let us not forget his occasional moments of genius:

Twitter: “Can’t believe it’s been nearly 11 years since them slags smashed into the twin towers it still freaks my nut out to this day 9/11 ch 4 10 00.”

Danny Dyer: probably the first person in history to call al-Queda “slags”, such a wonderfully odd understatement with some completely unnecessary misogyny thrown in. Bless him.

To many Dyer was set to be the ‘saviour of Eastenders’. With dropping viewing figures and some lacklustre story lines that often meant many of us decided to go for a long poo 10 minutes into an episode, only one person could sit us back down and persuasively encourage us to clench our buttocks together; the man was Danny Dyer, the character MICK CARTER.

Mick Carter ended up taking over the Queen Vic pub and accompanied by his ditzy wife Linda, the kind of woman you imagine takes copious amounts of Diazepam in order to run the hoover around, apply her lipstick and stick her curlers in and kids Johnny, Lee and Nancy (pretty unremarkable young adults; one gay, one ‘feisty’, one a source of pride due to his Army service).

Now I’ll level with you, Mick is pretty likeable and his character is a million miles away from Dyer’s own persona. Mick is a loyal, protective family man who always puts the needs of his FAYMILEE first. However, you can’t help but feel Mick Carter is an exercise in ‘rebranding’ thought up by Dyer’s (probably grey haired and sleep deprived) public relations team.

One such example being Mick’s ‘oh so Metrosexual’ image. We’re regularly subjected to him wandering around in his wife’s pink dressing gown, he was also the first on the scene to give tons of empathy and support when one of his sons admitted he was gay and constantly pushes the ‘respect women’ schtick. You also couldn’t know anyone more loyal to their wife, you imagine he regularly kisses her feet, feeds her grapes and cries into clothes she’s placed in the laundry basket if they have a row. Next he’ll appear behind the bar in a future episode with a green highlight dyed into his hair and a ‘SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!!!” t-shirt.

He’s also on the scene immediately if there’s any peril in order to ‘help people out’. The man almost has the ability to walk on water, revive the dead, feed the 5,000 and part the ocean. Mick was there immediately with his homemade banner and a flask of watery tea when they threatened to close down Walford market (GOD FORBID!! WHAT ABOUT WINSTON?!)

His image as a ‘sex symbol’ is also pushed. Dyer was nominated for ‘sexiest male’ at the soap awards and God did we know about it. In the months leading up, not only did we get scenes with him in his sinister looking black briefs (legs parted. GAG.), but there was a noticeably growly, brooding grimace ‘I want to fuck you’ face which he constantly pulled at other characters, at one stage even his elderly on-screen Father (disturbing).

As I watch Mick’s life unfold; my brain slightly dribbling out of my ear on a weekly basis, I often find myself forgetting that Danny Dyer isn’t actually Mick Carter. This is troubling for many reasons, but Dyer isn’t a hideous bloke and frankly some of the tailoring and coats he wears are pretty sexy. I’m also a sucker for the ‘brooding’ thing, I like to think when Mick Carter isn’t behind the bar he’s reading literature, drinking whiskey, writing poetry, playing with knives and weeping about the state of the world while slightly biting his fist.

Possibly over imaginative, I like to call this ‘sexual riffing’. It’s where my sexual attraction is so embarrassing I comfort myself with surreal scenarios which I add to reality like a sprinkling of glitter and fairy dust on a white dog turd.

The reality is Danny Dyer goes home, gets into his West Ham t-shirt and probably sits watching Sky Sports in his greying, seamy boxers with one hand down them playing with his balls. A copy of the Sun on a nearby table, he orders himself a kebab, eats it with his mouth open and proceeds to wipe the greasy residue from his hands down his front.

Mick is a figure of a well crafted imagination. A lie! A fraud! A likeable character made to further Dyer’s career and get him out of his constant portrayal of dim, heartless hooligans.

Never has cry wanking been more apt.

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X Factor: It’s just Herpes really.

It’s like the worst Herpes flare up you could imagine, but you’re not alone. Most of the nation is talking about it, what’s worse is most of them enjoy it. Everyone has an opinion on your Herpes, some are very passionate. It dominates chit chat in pubs, at bus stops and an awkward silence mid conversation can often be met with a pause before someone says THOSE words:

“So.. you watch X Factor on Saturday night?”

Now I say Herpes cos… well cold sores are embarrassing. Everyone can see them, they’re a nightmare to cover up, it feels like forever before they heal. They also hurt, but you can’t stop giving them a pick and a prod now and again. This to me, is like X Factor.

Now I’m in no way above shit TV, in fact I enjoy it for all the wrong reasons. There’s nothing I love more than sitting in my armchair and feeling a combination of anger, justified misanthropy, superiority and childish amusement. It’s basically like a 6 day bender with Keith Richards circa 1976 without the terrible consequences (except of course a little of my soul withering away and dying every series, but this is a separate issue).

The X Factor is unintentional irony and satire central, of course some of the super lolz begin with the judges: Simon Cowell; with the general appearance of a grilled Moomin who can only ever adequately masturbate if he can see his own face in the mirror. Louis Walsh; A meek, little old Irish man with an intense interest in how pubescent the contestants are. “15, 15 WOULD YOU CREDIT IT? YOU’RE ONLY 15. WELL OF COURSE YOU’RE 15. AHH WHEN I WAS 15.”, Cheryl Cole; Bland Geordie girl band member with a singing voice that has the strength of a baby’s fart and Mel B; Former Spice Girl who expresses her love of Leeds every 15 minutes and has a voice like a broken electric whisk whether singing.. or not actually. God knows what her snoring is like; probably a speed boat repeatedly crashing into a pier.

It seems every year we can predict the kind of contestants we’re gonna get too. Like our old friend Herpes, the turn out is always the same.

Fresh faced girls that sing like… well each other; you know the drill, their vocal chords go up and down more often than Russell Brand’s trousers meaning tiresome gasps from the judges. If you could look inside their brains you’d see an array of cheap tat they imagine promoting with their face on.

Moany, clean cut blokes with an acoustic guitar who are… *quivery lip* oh so sensitive and your Mum really likes them and wishes you’d marry them (probably).

The SURPRISE middle aged talent who’s a married parent but who never in a million years is ever gonna actually sell any records cos 14 year old Chelsey from Croydon doesn’t want a picture of Sam Bailey on her wall innit? Not cool.

The ones who are either A. Deluded, B. Mentally fragile, C. Possibly a sex offender, D. Foreign (poor lambs, coming to this hell hole).

Let’s not forget the sob stories; now to be honest these are increasingly giving me frustration because I really wish at least one person would go all the way. If they’re so desperate for fame and their Grandma has just died, why not stuff and mount her and bring her along on wheels? If your little brother is really cute, why not get him to blackmail one of the judges and then have an extreme tear fuelled tantrum if they don’t let you through? It’d be hard saying no if a 5 year old screamed that you’d ruined their life and their Mum never loved them.

This past Sunday we were subjected to 31 year old Rain. Of course there were tons of other contestants but this woman stood out for being an insufferable prick who hogged at least 7 minutes of air time. Rain was like an aggressive Alanis Morissette whose head rotated around her own ego. With fame apparently happening in Europe….*cough* and demonic eyes strangely reminiscent of Rodney Trotter’s (I’m serious), which pierced into Simon’s psyche so intensely that he probably had a little Botox haemorrhage going on somewhere. Her singing was a bit like a teenage boy doing an impression of a banshee, there was a lot of unnecessary arm waving and she insisted on auditioning not once, but TWICE.

“I SPEND 14 HOURS A DAY IN THE STUDIO. PLEASE!! PLEASE!!”

I really wanted her anger over not being initially accepted to make her melt like a witch into a steaming kind of…. jam. Of course it wouldn’t be a sweet jam, more one that smelled and tasted of desperation and bitterness. Maybe the jam could run its way towards Simon’s foot, crawl up his leg and offer him a blow job in exchange for 4 yeses. In the end she didn’t need to do that, which was a shame as her second audition was so nauseatingly heartfelt they were won over… *eye roll*

I don’t believe I’ve said anything enlightening here, nor have you learned anything new but hopefully the sheer joy of making libellous suggestions and alternate scenarios at least gives you some understanding of why I watch it.

TV is a platform of constant unintentional comedy and satire, which although subjecting you to an absolute flurry of piss often makes for some priceless laughs. Try watching Brass Eye and ever watching the news in the same way again. It changed my life, although some of the snorting is terribly inappropriate.

You can’t polish a turd, but you can repeatedly insinuate it fell out of Cher’s bum for cheap laughs.

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