Monday, 28 November 2011

Nothing is too tacky for Essex?

Nice quote from Amy Childs, soon to star in Channel 5's All About Amy, in the Daily Mirror:

Amy has treated ­herself to a new white Range Rover with an “AMY22” number plate. “It’s all white,” she says. “But you should see the inside. There’s fake tan ALL over the seats. But I love a nice car and I want spinning rims on the wheels. My mum say it’ll look too tacky but nothing is too tacky in Essex. I’d love ­diamonds on them as well. And I want blue neon lights. Mum reckons that will look chavvy but I’m going to go for it."

Friday, 25 November 2011

Bard of Barking

Saw the ever-excellent Billy Bragg at the Forum on Tuesday night - great to see him back with just his guitar and strange how relevant a lot of those older songs, such as It Says Here and To Have and Have Not, sound in days like these. There's even a new song called The Battle of Barking about the last election.

Although Bragg now lives in Dorset, it's good to see that innate Essex wit is still there. On Greetings to the New Brunette he sang the line "How can you lie there and think of England when you don't even know who's in the team?" before exclaiming "Bobby Zamora!!?"

Billy advised us to buy his CD otherwise he'd have to do the John Lewis advert next year and also explained that you now hold up i-phones with a lighter app rather than a lighter. And he dedicated the magical St Swithin's Day to "all the David Nicholls fans" (the song partly inspired his novel One Day) but explained the song wasn't on the film soundtrack "because of the blatant wanking reference in the second verse".

As our politics veers back to 1984 it's good to know Billy Bragg hasn't gone away either.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I'm an Essex Celebrity

Three of the contestants on I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here! are from Essex, which has to be a record. Mark Wright is of course from Abridge, Dougie Poynter of McFly is from Corringham and Fatima Whitbread is from Shenfield. Meanwhile Harry from McFly, a Chelmsford lad, is impressing all on Strictly Come Dancing. Just been on the Dave Monk Show on Radio Essex, discussing the prevalence of Essex on TV and whether Essex Man has gone a bit soft, what with all that dancing and even moisturising from Mark Wright.

Does Essex really have more B-list celebs than any other county? Do they work harder? Or is it, as Her Indoors claims, that they're all show-offs?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Freddie Starr ate Mark Wright

It's not often you feel sorry for Mark Wright, but on I'm a Celebrity he had to face human waste disposal chute and famed hamster-eater Freddie Starr, who scoffed down mealworms, a rotten egg, mice tails, a pig's anus a camel's toe and turkey testicles. Not even Arg would eat that lot. Freddie claimed that a man with a bandana and spray-tan would never be able to compete with him and was proved right. Though Wrighty made a commendable effort completing four of the courses. Makes a change from King William IV or Sheesh in Chigwell, eh?

Now Freddie Starr, 68, has had an allergic reaction to something he ate and has been taken to hospital for tests, while Mark is apparently still standing and dreaming of one of Arg's steak baguettes.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Childs in time

Amy Childs probably chose the right time to leave TOWIE. She has a lot of, erm, Essex front and like most Essex people can laugh at herself. Watching her on Never Mind the Buzzcocks she could easily compete with the likes of Frankie Boyle, host Greg Davies and Tinchy Stryder, who indeed made an offer of both a pejazzle session and marriage. She even survived saying that at her private school in Essex she "come first in elocution". Amy will go far - possibly as a chat show hostess or the next Barbara Windsor.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

There's only one effing Essex...

Quite an end to season three of TOWIE. It's the moments where it veers from scripted naffness to genuine emotion such as the quivering lips of Lucy and Mario that the viewers love. You can't really imagine a scriptwriter coming up with the very Essex dialogue of Lauren and Sam with its epic "F**k off!" and "F**king w***er!" denouement.

Meanwhile Mark's gone off to do something by himself away from Essex (surely not in Australia, Mark?) and got all Brokebank Mountain in the farewell scene with Arg, before shuffling off at the end like James Dean as a rebel with a spray tan.

While Gemma declared that no-one in Essex travels on a bus because 'It's embarrassing" and Joey Essex thought that Guy Fawkes died on the cross and that the Queen lived in the Houses of Parliament, while his cousin Chloe used to think that the Moon and Sun were "the same planet".

Mastermind's loss has been Essex's gain.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Joey Barton's Modern Warfare: Good night Silly Nuts

Don't mess with Essex. While the Eurozone collapses there's a Twitter war of words between QPR's Joey Barton and TOWIE. Barton started it by tweeting that the launch of computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was full of "z-list freaks" and that "all the TOWIE helmets were there".

Arg responded with: "Only person there that everyone looked down on is u. Should we beat our TOWIE cast mates up & go down for you to like us!? Mug!"

Barton's riposte was to call Arg "Stonehenge teeth" and tweet "TOWIE firm don't mess with big boys, u and ur shallow, fake, pretentious lifestyles. In a year u'll be opening sh***y poundshops if ur lucky."

Then came a nice put down from Mark Wright "Joey where can I get ur hair cut ? Also u no that arg wants he's teeth done so thanks 4 watching the show!!" and then at 1am, "Good night silly nuts".

All a bit much from Joey Barton, a Scouser with both a criminal record and haircut. And how come he too was at the iffy launch for z-listers? His other tweets revealed he knew an incredible amount about the show for someone who doesn't like it.

Meanwhile the TOWIE cast took time off from recording their Christmas single to pose for a photo giving Joey the little finger and with Nanny Pat holding up a sign reading "Jel Joey Barton".

David Cameron is thought to be about to announce a NATO intervention to prevent Joey getting a sausage plait over the bounce.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Back in the night

Went to see Wilko Johnson at the Oyster Fleet hotel in Canvey Island last Sunday with my mate Robert. We had an agreeable pre-gig drink at The Lobster Smack, past the gas silos down Haven Road.

It’s a lovely old pub, clad in white weather boarding and sheltering beneath the huge earth banks topped by the concrete sea wall. A sign outside revealed how the pub was used by smugglers, who could nip out of their boats through the back door and take their dodgy goods to Hadleigh and Rayleigh. So nothing much has changed there then.

It’s also featured in Great Expectations as The Sluice House, the riverside pub where Pip and Magwitch stay when they attempt to return the transported felon to Australia. It still has low ceilings and old beams and apart from the laminated menus can’t have changed much since Dickens time. From the pub you can climb up on to the sea wall and view the tide lapping impatiently at the other side waiting for a breach. And see the tremendously long and useless old jetty designed for the never-completed Occidental oilworks and the marshland stretching off towards Coryton. A great place to have a drink.

As for Wilko, the former Dr Feelgood legend and greatest living Englishman comes on stage with a minimum of fuss. He has the most amazing face these days; a bald veiny head, huge eyebrows and mad stare. No wonder he recently got a part as the mute executioner Ilyn Payne, in fantasy series Game of Thrones. All he had to do was look dangerous, which comes easily.

His first song, Everyone’s Carrying a Gun, adds to the general feel of lunacy as he careers across the stage with his trademark guitar bursts. An added plus is that we also get Norman Watt-Roy on bass, famed for his time with another Essex legend Ian Dury. He performs some amazing funky solos and you realise just what a good musician he is. He also has a bald head, staring eyes and like Wilko looks like he would make an admirable villain in Harry Potter. Meanwhile there’s a younger drummer working admirably hard to keep up with the old codgers.

The room is sweaty and packed with 300 people. The old Feelgood favourites are there, starting with Sneakin’ Suspicion and the Canvey lyric of Wilko looking at the flares by the river. It’s not quite the same without Lee Brilleaux of course, but Wilko is a great performer in his own right. Then Wilko brings on a harmonica player for a storming Roxette.

“This is a song I wrote in those brilliant seventies,” he says before performing Back In The Night, scattergunning riffs into the night. There’s She Does It Right too, with Wilko holding his guitar up by his head and machine gunning the audience. Then a great Paradise and an impassioned cry of “Irene Irene Irene!”

It feels like some mad convention of Essex eccentricity with electricity as Wilko puts his guitar behind his head and plays it backwards. What’s also striking is how hard the band are working, they’re all covered in sweat – it’s a very Essex characteristic to put in a proper shift in your night-job. Somehow the sea walls hold as Wilko encores with Johnny Be Goode.

It’s a special moment to have seen Wilko in his home town where he’s still very much loved. Like Canvey he’s in a place apart, a geezer metaphorically a few feet short of sea level, but strangely addictive and still loved by the locals.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Towie at the Irons

Harry Durbidge and Amy Childs from TOWIE appeared on the West Ham pitch at half-time last night. Maybe Amy believes Bristol City is a new cosmetic salon in Brentwood. Harry was wearing an “I only kiss West Ham fans” t-shirt. Though Big Sam Allardyce probably thinks “Shu’ up!” is Harry’s plan to see the game out.

After a couple of drinks in The Central we returned past the players’ car park and saw Harry leaving with a child on his shoulders and surrounded by autograph hunters.

Could Harry be the solution to West Ham's injury crisis? The lad’s only 17, wonder if he can play a decent through ball… Shu’ up!