Tag Archives: x-factor

No.73: Feel Big love For Gary Barlow

Gary Rachid. Hang on. No... Ah whatever. He's LOVELY.

Most of us vagina-ry masses (and quite a few of the penis-toters too for that matter) are spending quite a lot of time currently doing this. It’s excellent, that’s why.  He’s not Simon Cowell for a start which basically makes anyone brilliant. And if your criteria for fancying someone is also ‘they’re not Simon cowell’, then you’ve probably been single for about as long as this blogger.

FFS, who cares that GB once took drugs?  Kelly Rowland once shat herself you know. Ok, so she was 5 days old, but the press* don’t seem to be able to stop themselves from separating a past event from its present relevance by means of a rational criteria based on time, age, common sense or plain human decency. Probably because it’s more fun their way.

‘Everyone with a fanny and some people with a penis love Gary Barlow!’

‘Ohdearmeno. We can’t have that.’


‘…Because…look over there! An albatross with a vicar in its mouth!’

‘wha – ?…Oh it must have gone. What were we saying?

‘Dunno. Slice of toast?

‘Ooh – lovely!’

So what does this mean, besides that fact that you can distract anyone living and breathing with the promise of toast? What this means is that the minute a human sets foot on English entertainment soil, success stops inspiring praise and starts being considered a good time to start psychologically beasting them.

The English seem to have the social group mentality of Ted’s father, police captain Logan,  in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and praise means you get SLACK and TOO BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS and YOU MUST  be destroyed within 3.5 weeks for your own good because do you know what success means in this country?! It means you’ve FAILED. So give it up, loser! Or go to America immediately (except to Ted’s dad’s house) where they like success and that sort of caper. The poofs.

The rise and rise of Barlow Hotness (do not use this phrase out of context in case someone thinks you mean Ken or HEAVENS FORFEND, Deirdre) has brought with it a parallel experience for many women. And that is the experience of fancying someone that your mum and your grandmother fancy as well at the same time.  Thanks to Gary, women of 16 and women of 79 have a shared love that isn’t (a) being grumpy, (b) being selectively deaf and (c)  screaming at figures of authority whilst covered in food.

Gary also eats food, has some transferable skills, has a fluctuating metabolism, doesn’t seem mental at all and you know he secretly hates Robbie. He’s a normal human being on all the 5 Internationally recognised counts.

It’s hard to work out why Gary is suddenly so very lovely. True, he’s nicer than an X-factor beanbag camply repeating the same sentence until you want to scoop your eye out with a melon baller (Walsh), a person that just tucks their hair behind their ear whilst holding a pen (Minogue), another person made of card (Cole) or someone so smug that if you licked them they would even taste of smug (Cowell).  But then again, maybe he bought a bag of handsome at Lidl and ate all of it. Which is my favourite answer.


*Not all press. Lots of them are lovely. Like CC, WR, CM, ME, HB and the like.

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No.19: Box Sets

Want to see a  hard-nosed, cynicism-riddled, un-emotive, misery-guts of a flancer scream and flap their hands about in deranged joy?  Tell them a new box set is available*.  I kid ye not,  even most stoicly tomb-faced flancers ever to grace Christendom’s green earth are transformed into the sort of ninny that makes Stacy, the hyperactive labrador puppy from X-Factor look like a  judge on Dragon’s Den by the simple announcement that House Season Six is within reach of their covetous mitts.  

Basically, a new box set means Something To Do – and not just an any-old Something. A-ho-no! A Something that slots into the brain compartment marked ‘PANIC – YOU HAVE NO WORK’ leaving not one iota of space for panic about anything (except a power-cut).  Most out of work flancers would rather get a box set than a knighthood or a Pulitzer. Or some work, unfortunately. 

It is virtually unheard of for anybody – let alone a flancer –  to wait for a whole week to pass in order to get the next, eagerly-anticipated fix  of a spectacularly entertaining tv show.  But impatience aside, box sets also give the flancer reason to, for once, worship at the altar of worklessness, because gorging oneself self sick on twelve back-to-back rendezvous with Jack Bauer, Stringer Bell, Meredith and McDo-Dah or Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall doesn’t feel like you’re doing nothing.  It feels like a job. ‘I can’t have a bath.  I HAVE to watch ’til the end of this disc!’ extorts the flancer,  with all the passion, determination and vim of an author on a deadline with their latest blockbuster.   And neither would you have to look overly far for a flancer guilty of rescheduling appointments with the bank manager, dates with the boyfriend, their own wedding or a funeral in order to ‘hole up with The West Wing ‘; coffee, biscuits and catheter at the ready.  I mean – what’s more compelling: the real, actual dead aunt? Or [SPOILER ALERT!]   the only possibly dead Kima who’s just been shot by a drug dealer?! (By the way,  if you’re reeling at the cold-heartedness of this comparison, you obviously haven’t started watching The Wire yet.)

 In any other context, closing the curtains and crawling under a duvet until your leg muscles have atrophied and your brain has devolved back past Cro-Magnon man would be cause for alarm.  But not if you are facing a TV showcasing the latest CSI series.  In fact, replacing Prozac with Season five of CSI:NY on the NHS would be a fantastically excellent idea.

As long as there was a help centre to check into whilst your over-worked DVD is at the menders.


*Never fake it just to see what happens. You will end up unconscious in a pool of your own blood.

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No. 16: Twitter

Oddly addictive, bizarrely pointless – no, not Jedward – but Twitter AKA: ‘Inescapable sentences from my dull life.’  It is the mysterious site upon which not just bored, ego-fuelled flancers can inflict the aforementioned upon the eye-owning world at large but any old boring git in possession of hands and a keyboard.  Social Networking has plucked many a flancer away from the precipice of alcoholism and depression (and arguably has driven many to it, if they have erroneously FBe-friended someone from a murky past that insists on constantly informing them ‘What Sort of Fluffy Toy They Are’  and relentlessly demanding that they do the same.  SOD. OFF.) 

We get it, of course: Social Networking is a reality that we can  merrily hack and slash like some kind of virtual plastic surgery of our lives so that we look prettier and sound wittier (or have more work) than we actually do in good old (real) life.  Everyone spends at least 20 minutes of their day editing and re-editing their ‘status update’ with more care and attention to detail that a sub with OCD, so that its hilarity and adroitness will make people fancy them*. 20 minutes.  That’s longer than most of us spend on personal hygiene.

Given this, Twitter (which is effectively  ‘status updates’ without the Facebook) still doesn’t make sense and I must be the only flancer in living, workless memory that doesn’t get why**. I experimented with it, thinking that perhaps, like The Wire, you had to persevere with it for a while before it all became clear and you wet yourself on numerous occasions, so engrossed you were that your body permanently gave up trying to alert you to its fundamental processes.  Six months on: blank drawn. 

As previously pointed out on TTDIFWYB***, flancers try not to reveal the extent of their social networking for fear that everyone will find out that they don’t do anything all day. Twitter makes discovery even more inevitable yet astonishingly, they still embrace it with open, er…fingers.  Arguably, the inherent vanity of the flancer (or any human being actually) means that they can’t help wanting to announce every single pointless thing they do, textually parading  everything from the ego-fuelled perceived impressive (‘did telephone interview with Stacey from X Factor!’ ) to the actually definitely un-impressive (‘best breakfast ever’****) to the obliquely unnerving (‘Fanny caught Potsy by surprise. BIG DEATH APPROACHES!’)

For me, FB still romps home with Gold in the great Big Procrastination Olympics.  But I make sure there’s at least 3 hours between every entry so I don’t look utterly sad and workless.


*Go on, deny it. Surely this is the point of Social Networking?

**shamelessly promoting a blog, aside.

***The ultimate anti-acronym: ie. it takes as long to type as the actual title in full. 

****Actual Tweet. From Stephen Fry, from whom we expect bigger things than this.

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No. 7: Experiment with a new computer font

Experimenting with Font is a great way for a flancer to inject a day riddled with disappointing content and uninspiring raw material with excitement. The same old thing, jazzed up with new packaging. It must be how Louis Walsh feels every working day.

There’s nothing like a bit of Helvetica to get the juices flowing, because at least you can pretend that maybe the person who’s writing this drivel is someone other than you. Sure,  flancers can generate a small amount of personal consolatory enthusiasm by shifting to American Typewriter for an afternoon.  But  – and this is key – one must never, ever submit any work to an external body written in a ‘fun’ font in the hope that the excitement will rub off on the feature editor,  who will then suddenly think that another piece on ‘recessionistas who cut coupons’ would be an INSPIRED idea and commission you forthwith.   This is because there is nothing more guaranteed to make someone hate you, than inflicting your adventures into exuberant font  upon them. Just ask anyone that has ever received a CV written in ‘Lucinda Calligraphy’ on yellow paper, with a ribbon holding the pages together through a hole punched through the top left-hand corner and they will tell you. They’ve never even <met> the candidate and they wish they were dead.

Suspicion is also immediately aroused by people who sign the bottom of their email in a joined-up font (as if they really have ‘signed’ their email!)  Coloured font is also vaguely disturbing as is anyone that opts for ‘Broadway’ ( the 1920’s thick-and-thin style lettering which makes any press release look like  a playbill/ invitation to a murder mystery party/optician’s sight test.)

And so – even though it’s as dry, male and uninspiring as  a Tory conference – when writing for public consumption always stick with Times New Roman. At least no-one that reads it will want to punch you in the throat.


Tomorrow: No.8: Indulge in Schadenfreude

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