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“I DISCOVERED rap from a young age,” says David Palmer, 25, who performs under the name Dave In Charge. He’s the grandson of Monroe and Susette Palmer, now life peers Lord and Lady Palmer of Childs Hill, Barnet, London.
The nebbishy looking rapper who recorded his song from his parent’s The Vale, Golders Green crib and the video on the mean paths of Hampstead Heath, goes on:
FLASHBACK to November 18, 1978:
Rioting Tottenham Hotspur fans tear down a section of iron railings in a bid to reach the Chelsea supporters before a Division One game at London’s Stamford Bridge ground.
Were you that lone fan on the roof?
ADAM Weinstein says Climate change deniers should be “arrested”. He says so on Gawker:
We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths.
Contributing to deaths seems to include creating pollution, as the picture by his story implies.
THERE are three important questions about climate change: is it happening, is it us causing it and how bad is it going to be? It’s the answers to those three that determine what, if anything, we should try to do about it. My answers to those three have been yes, yes, and maybe not as bad as people think for some time now. It appears that I might even have been right as well:
It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade (or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government.
That is a rather large change, isn’t it? And we need to also put that into context against what Stern said we should be spending now. Which is that we should be willing to spend 1-2% of GDP a year now to avoid that possible 20% loss. You can agree or not agree, as you wish, with that plan. But it’s obviously very different from spending 1 or 2% of GDP for a century to then avoid a 2% fall in GDP.
There is, of course, no certainty in any of this so one single calculation isn’t going to be enough to change all of our plans. But we almost certainly should be starting to think about scaling back the plans and the spending we’re currently undertaking.
A FIFTH of BBC Radio 5 Live listeners, when asked, said that they wouldn’t attend a gay marriage (thanks to legislation, now known as ‘a marriage’) and that men were twice as likely to not to attend a same-sex wedding as women.
The first Marriages That Happen To Have People Who Are The Same Gender will take place across England and Wales on Saturday, with some tying the knot on the stroke of midnight, after the government’s legislation received the Royal Assent.
WITH nearly 3 million films in their database, it’s quite a dubious accomplishment to be ranked in IMDb’s Bottom 100. That’s the bottom of a very deep barrel – the bottom 0.003% in fact. I’d love to explore all the members of this exclusive club; but, in the interest of time we’ll start with the 1960s.
The 2000s are the most represented decade with over 40 films in the Bottom 100. At the moment there are 12 from the Sixties: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961), The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964) and these 9 truly awful films (proceed at your own risk):
Monstrosity (1963) AKA The Atomic Brain
IMDb rating = 2.5
An elderly woman hires a mad scientist to transplant her brain into that of a nubile young au pair girl. Somehow this is done without surgery using only the mysteries of radiation. The only way this film could get any worse would be if it starred Adam Sandler.
“Mrs. March had not realized her future body had such a satisfactory shape. Perhaps not as spectacular as the English girl but in excellent taste. She couldn’t help being amused. The stupid girl was not only modeling Mrs. March’s future wardrobe but Mrs. March’s future body: so firm, so nicely round in places men like.”
As luck would have it, some of these films have fallen into public domain, and now you can watch the whole thing for free (the only price you’ll pay is your sanity).
Monster a-Go Go (1965)
IMDb rating = 2.5
The movie begins with the narration: “What you are about to see may not even be possible, within the narrow limits of human understanding.” Oh, how painfully true.
This is the only film in this entire list that defies description because there is literally no plot. It is one random scene after another, with main characters inexplicably leaving midway through the film never to return, and with a twist ending that even M. Night Shyamalan would be ashamed of.
The Starfighters (1964)
IMDb rating = 2.4
There’s a miserable little plot in here somewhere, but this film is basically just stock footage of aircraft lazily pieced together. In fact, there are several – I repeat, SEVERAL – scenes of airplanes refueling… in real time, without edit. It may not have earned the honor of being IMDb’s absolute worst, but it is likely the most boring film in the entire database. When a plane refueling is the highlight of your film, there’s a problem.
For wondrous refueling footage, watch the clip below, but beware of the mind-numbingly infectious “Doo Wah” background music.
Body in the Web (1960) AKA Horrors of Spider Island
IMDb rating = 2.3
“There’s absolutely no reason yet to fear the worst. Until now, we only know that the plane caught fire and we’ve lost radio contact.”
I appreciate his optimism, but that seems like bad news. Indeed, the plane crashes and a troupe of beautiful dancers are stranded on a deserted island. Their routine of skinny-dipping and devising new skimpy outfits is interrupted when a radioactive spider bites their manager and turns him into the dumbest looking monster ever. Recommended for the vision and hearing impaired only.
IMDb rating = 2.1
There’s a serious debate in the film community about whether Arch Hall, Jr. is the worst male lead in the history of cinema. In other words, of the approximately 3,000,000 films in IMDb, the esteemed Arch may officially be counted as the absolute worst. I think Crow from Mystery Science Theater 3000 said it best: “I’ve figured it out. He’s a cyst with teeth and hair.”
Girl in Gold Boots (1968)
IMDb rating = 2.1
A girl with a more than passing resemblance to Angelina Jolie goes from waitress to center-stage go-go dancer. Think Showgirls (1995), but with no gratuitous nudity to redeem it. To quote a reviewer on IMDb: ‘This movie is a big, steaming pile of continuity errors and bad acting.” Truer words were never said.
The Wild World of Batwoman (1966)
IMDb rating = 2.1
The IMDb synopsis pretty much covers it:
A busty Batwoman enlists her beauteous bevy of Batgirls (when they are not dancing the jerk) to help her regain a mad scientist’s invention (an atom bomb made out of a hearing aid) before a costumed ne’er-do-well, Rat Fink, can glom onto it for his own purposes.
Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961)
IMDb rating = 2.0
Again,IMDb explains it best:
A bunch of kids who look like rejects from the Japanese version of ‘Lord of the Flies’ run around while aliens (from Neptune, presumably) blow up stock footage, including a building with a giant mural of Adolf Hitler. After much technobabble and shots of radar displays, they are defeated by a wispy bachelor named Space Chief who has a wobbly flying car.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
IMDb rating = 1.9
A family gets lost and winds up staying with this creepy midget, Torgo, and his caped master who worships the deity Manos. Like most people who’ve seen this film, I came by it via Mystery Science Theater 3000. The plot itself is terrible, but what makes this rock bottom is an almost preternaturally awful execution.
IN her Times column, Caitlin Moran highlights BBC Radio 4 Today host John Humphry’s interrogation of Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of Centrica, the biggest of the six leading British energy companies. Humphreys turned to discuss raising fuel bills.
Laidlaw seemed to suggest that the major companies found it difficult to effect change in the market, causing Humphrys to exclaim: “You have 97 per cent of the market, you … big six.”
Moran notes that “You . . . big six,” is now a diss, up there with “Your mum”.
I’d like to draw your attention to former BBC news reporter Kate Kate Adie discussing Co-op Bank’s ex-CEO Euan Sutherland on New Zealand national radio.
Listen closely at around the 4mins 25s marks. What’s that she says of Sutherland? He’s a what..?
Seedy 1970s TV: Petula Clark And The Scorpio People, Starring Jimmy Savile And Diana Dors’ Swimming Pool
IT’S hard to explain how peculiar TV was in the 1970s. Better to show you kids what the olds had to watch.
On November 16, 1974, Petula Clarke starred in The Sound of Petula. . .The Tale of a Scorpio, Petula sang about people born under the Scorpio star sign.
ONCE upon a time, we had the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles on British TV because on these shores, everyone is far too chicken to use the word ‘ninja’. Mercifully, times have changed and now, we’re all set for a brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.
And the new trailer for it has been released.
Of course, there’s only one man childish enough to have fun make a TMNT film, and that’s Michael Bay, who also rummaged through the toybox in his mind to direct the Transformers films.
So how are Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Leonardo looking?
THERE’S an old saying that goes: “if you’re going to take a shot at the king, make sure you don’t miss.”
Such words of wisdom also apply to the movie monsters of the 1980s.
Thirty years ago, in 1984, Wes Craven’s “bastard son of a hundred maniacs,” Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) rose up to become the reigning king of the horror film with the theatrical release of A Nightmare on Elm Street. The Gloved One took New Line — “The House That Freddy Built” — straight to the top with him.
MEET 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl of Lørenskog, Sweden. He’s got a tattoo on his arm of the entire McDonald’s menu.
IN “Strike forces parents to find emergency child care”, ITV’s Simon Harris, has news of the teachers’ strike. He speaks with a victim of those striking teachers:
Tens of thousands of parents were forced to adopt emergency child care plans today as the teachers’ strike hit schools in London and the Home Counties. Some parents were forced to book a day’s holiday from work, some relied on the trusted fallback of grandparents while others ended up with a bill from a professional childminder.
One who paid the price for teachers exercising their right to demonstrate for better working conditions was Fiona Jull. She’s “the director of a public relations company who lives in Wimbledon”. And she paid £75 for a childminder to care for Max, her 5-year-old miniature schnauzer (oh, come on, Max is a dog’s name, right?).
ARE you aware of the ITV2 series, The Big Reunion? Thus far, the show has brought Blue, Atomic Kitten, Liberty X and more, back together.
Now, voice of the show – Andi Peters – has said he wants to do a Britpop version. Just imagine. All those 30somethings fishing out their velvet blazers and flared cords out of the bedding box!
“I think there’s a Britpop version to be made,” Peters told Digital Spy. “There’s all those Britpop bands of the same era as the bands on this series. Of course, the adoration wasn’t the same. People didn’t adore them in the same way as they adored pop bands. But, oh my God, they’d have loads of stories.”
THIS is perhaps a bit unkind of the IRS over in the US, issuing new tax guidance about Bitcoin in late March when everyone has to have their tax returns in by April 15th. But that’s what they’ve done and the ruling isn’t a surprise to anyone except those with the most absurd ideas of what Bitcoin actually is:
Twenty days: that’s how long American virtual currency users have to comply with newly released tax guidelines if they want to meet the April 15 filing deadline. The IRS today released an official statement declaring that virtual currencies – including, but not limited to bitcoin – will be treated as property.
In short, this means that bitcoin will be treated the same way shares of stock, real estate assets, and other investments and will be subject to capital gains taxes.
DIANA Dors is in the news. When the tittering had died down in court, Max Clifford told the jury in his sex crimes trial that he attended “sex parties” hosted by the actress Diana Dors. Mr Clifford denies 11 counts of indecent assault against seven women and girls.
Dors was one of the country’s biggest stars. Dors was billed as Britain’s Marilyn Monroe.
Her real name was Diana Fluck – but her mother said she should change it because there was always the chance that her name would be up in lights outside a cinema – and one of the letters might fall off.
And she had hosted sex parties at her Orchard Manor home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.
* It really is terrifying how gullible and naïve I was and still am,” she confessed to author Clive Hirschhorn in 1968. “I fell for hard-luck stories the way boys fall for girls. To make things worse I surrounded myself with gangsters, conmen and phoneys!”
She had a turbulent love life.
Rob Baker takes up the story.
She married her first husband, Dennis Hamilton, at 4.pm 3rd July 1951 at Caxton Hall registry office in Westminster. She was just nineteen and already a film star. Her parents, not over-enamoured with the proposed union, decided not to come, and Diana, who was still under the, then, legal age of 21, had to forge their signatures on the form that gave permission for their daughter to be married.
The Caxton Hall wedding between Diana Dors and Dennis Hamilton wasn’t the smoothest of affairs. Before the ceremony the couple had posed for pictures outside (Hamilton had tipped off the press) but eventually the registrar tapped Hamilton on the shoulder and asked for a quiet word. The official discretely told him that he had received an anonymous phone call with the information that the marriage application had been forged.
Hamilton, furious, grabbed the registrar by the throat and shouted: “You’ll marry us, all right, or I’ll knock your fu*king teeth down your throat.”
They had met just five weeks previously after Dennis had chatted Diana up when asking her for a light. She was instantly charmed. Although Diana already had a boyfriend, a man of dubious morals named Michael Caborn-Waterfield, Hamilton sent her flowers almost daily. Unfortunately, Michael went to prison for a fortnight after one too many shady business deals and Dennis pounced. He proposed to Diana at the end of June 1951 and they became Mr and Mrs Hamilton just four days later.
Dors was in the middle of working on a film called Godiva Rides Again [see photo above] so there was no honeymoon after the wedding, just a meal in Olivelli’s in Store Street. The guests all paid for their own meals.
“There would have been parties from my younger days when I was friends with Diana Dors because Diana had parties. hey were not orgies. Not everyone went there and took their clothes off.”
The sex parties became a feature of her life from her first marriage.
By the time of her wedding she had already been a contract girl for J Arthur Rank for five years and had made some fifteen films including a role in David Lean’s Oliver Twist.
She was certainly not untalented but had always struggled to find real noteworthy roles and a rather turbulent private life certainly didn’t help her cause. She had been renting a small flat off the Kings Road from 1949 for six guineas a week but was eventually thrown out after complaints from the neighbours for the endless parties, late nights and loud music. The nights must have been very late and the music very loud because she wrote in her first autobiography in 1960:
“I didn’t realise it but the cute flat was slap dab in the middle of one of the worst areas I could have established myself in, for Chelsea in those days, just after the war, was much wilder than it is today.”
In 1950, while seeing Caborn-Waterfield, she also had a traumatic illegal abortion, performed on a kitchen table in Battersea, for ten quid.
The ‘interesting’ private life didn’t disappear now that she was married to Hamilton. Not long after their wedding he introduced her to, what were basically, sex parties.
Just a few months after Diana and Dennis’s wedding, Bob Monkhouse, then a 24 year old up-and-coming script writer, was invited to one of their parties. The lights were very low when he got there with almost the only lumination coming from a 16mm projector showing hard core porn (stag films or blue movies as they were known then) and there was a faint smell of Amyl Nitrate in the air.
Monkhouse was quickly invited to bed by a very attractive and comely young dancer. It was a little too quickly and he soon realised that something wasn’t quite right. After his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw that there was a false mirror on the ceiling and the other party guests were watching behind it. Furious, he stormed out of the room, with the ‘dancer’ shouting, “I think he’s a homo”. He was met by Dors in the hallway who said:
“Some people absolutely adore putting on a show, they come back to my parties just to do that.”
The following year Monkhouse and Dors met again at a Sunday evening radio show and they had a brief affair. Diana lied that her husband was in New York to lower Monkhouse’s guard. Eventually Hamilton found out about the affair and threatened Monkhouse with a cut-throat razor screaming at his face:
“I’m going to slit your eyeballs!”
Monkhouse only escaped by kneeing Hamilton in the groin and running away, but he once wrote that he had spent the next six years continually looking over his shoulder. He only had to worry for six years because in 1959 Dennis Hamilton suddenly died. His death was initially blamed on a heart attack but the day after the funeral Dors found out that he had died of tertiary syphilis. It never came to light, despite many autobiographies, whether she had contracted the disease herself.
Her career floundered:
Diana Dors made one acclaimed film in the fifties called Yield To The Night – a movie that was loosely based on the Ruth Ellis story but it’s not entirely unfair to say that she starred in some of the worst films ever made. After an unsuccessful foray to Hollywood (a public affair with Rod Steiger and and an incident where Hamilton beat up a photographer unconscious didn’t help), her film career, despite the very early promise, never really took off.
Dors would later complain that while Marilyn Monroe was making How To Marry A Millionaire in Hollywood, she was up in Manchester making It’s A Grand Life with the alcoholic northern comedian Frank Randle. Diana Dors was always a household name but it was her television guest appearances and roles in saucy sex comedies such as The Adventures of a Taxi Driver and Swedish Wildcats, that eventually kept her in the public eye.
She became the diet guru on GMTV in 1983 – where apparently she would weigh herself with all her heavy gold jewellery so it would look like she lost weight the following week. She died of protracted cancer the following year in 1984.
Her son Jason Lake would recall:
“My Dad [Alan Lake] used to get drunk with Richard Harris and Oliver Reed. I’d come back from school and they’d all still be in the living room talking rubbish with the room smelling of cigarettes and alcohol. Lionel Bart had a cocaine habit, so he’d get trashed. I remember him coming out of the loo with cocaine all down his sleeve and Oliver Reed and Dad having sword fights on the lawn.”
* “There were no taboos in our house. I was only seven but I was free to wander in and out of my mum’s parties, no matter how hot they got. I would walk around in my pajamas chatting to John Lennon and Keith Moon. Mum would wander around serving cups of tea and trying to get people up into the bedrooms. She loved having friends round to watch the porn films made at the parties. They would sit around giggling as couples groped each other and made love on the bed. Most of them didn’t even know they had been filmed.”
Lake and Dors acted together.
At home, sex was a commodity:
“It was a more up-to-date version of the two-way mirror. Some of the girls were wise to it. Mum just said: ‘This is what happens’, and I thought it was completely normal.’ Diana got her kicks by watching others having sex and procuring young women for famous men.
* Dors… admitted in a series of newspaper interviews to hosting sex parties at her home in Berkshire attended by celebrities including Bob Monkhouse. Guests would be encouraged to have sex with aspiring young actresses and Dors’s son Jason Lake alleged that the bedrooms were rigged with 8mm movie cameras and that his mother would enjoy watching the films later.
Naturally, she knew The Krays.
We’ve nothing to add about Maxwell’s trial, other than that he maintains his innocence.
The man who made a fortune with selling kiss ‘n’ tells about the great and good to the newspapers may take some of the stories he knows to his grave.
Adam Curtis has a nice aside about how Dors was tabloid gold:
The News of the World was in trouble – it’s circulation was falling. Part of the problem was television, but also its tradition of titillating court reports – randy vicars caught with their trousers down – was feeling tired and out of date. So early in 1960 Sir William Emsley Carr, the alcoholic proprietor of the News of the World appointed a new editor called Stafford Somerfield.
On his first day as editor, Somerfield called his staff together and – as he described it – “pushed the boat out”.
“What the hell are we going to do about the circulation? It’s going down the drain. We want a series of articles that will make their hair curl.”
In a brilliant book about the British Press, the writer Roy Greenslade describes what Somerfield introduced – “two new forms of provocative content: kiss-and-tell memoirs and saucy investigations”
And right away he found the perfect combination of these in Diana Dors.
Somerfield persuaded her to tell the intimate secrets of her life in a series of articles for the News of the World. He had been fascinated by the Yeardye – Hamilton guns and sex drama and was convinced there was far more to be mined from her life. To get the story he paid Diana Dors £35,000 which was an extraordinary amount for that time.
But he got what he wanted. He sat Dors down with a journalist who recorded everything – and then, as Dors later plaintively complained, took “all the mucky bits” and wrote the story of a scandalous, violent and seedy life.
IT shouldn’t be a big deal when a familiar actor or actress is abruptly replaced on a TV show. Yet audiences are often unable to cope. I suppose it’s due to the fact that a subconscious connection is often developed between audience and actors. When, suddenly, an interloper appears in his or her place, all hell breaks loose.
The textbook example is Darrin from Bewitched: when Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent audiences were left confused and disoriented. What happened to Samantha’s husband? Did she remarry, or did she magically transform his physical appearance? What in the name of all that is holy is going on?!?
The problem is compounded when the original character was particularly beloved. Audiences got used to the “New Darrin”, but sometimes the shoes are just too hard to fill. Here are a few examples of when replacements had a particularly tough time filling in. Television audiences are an unforgiving lot.
Jenilee Harrison (as Cyndi Snow) replaces Suzanne Somers (as Chrissy Snow)
Somers, in a mad grab for cash, demanded more money and the network execs dropped her like a bad habit. The very nature of the show demanded that there be a third roommate. Enter Jenilee Harrison, a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader with no acting experience. Not surprisingly, it was nothing short of an abject failure. The following season, Jenilee was let go, and Priscilla Barnes (as Terri Alden) took over for the final seasons (1981-1984). Priscilla succeeded where Jenilee could not primarily because she didn’t play a similarly imbecilic character, but had a good head on her shoulders. However, nothing ever captured the magic of Suzanne Somers – “jiggle TV” at its finest.
Linda Thorson (as Tara King) replaces Diana Rigg (as Emma Peel)
In season six of The Avengers, Linda Thorson replaced Diana Rigg (a replacement herself). It would prove to be the show’s last season. American audiences didn’t seem to care, and French audiences actually preferred the replacement; however, British viewers would have no part of the change. Linda was roundly thrashed by the press as being a poor substitute – all looks and no brains, a damsel in distress rather than a strong heroine.
Some of the criticism was well-founded – Linda was very inexperienced as an actress and she got the part because she was the girlfriend of then-producer John Bryce. However, I think it’s clear the criticism was pretty unfair. Linda did a respectable job, and the show was already slipping before her arrival. I’m not sure who could’ve replaced Rigg and saved it. The show failed because it became dependent on US audiences, and it was lined up against Laugh-In (a show which also killed Star Trek).
Finally, it should be noted that Season 6 was actually an IMPROVEMENT over the previous season. Few will argue that Rigg’s last season was lame – it was becoming a spoof like Batman. In the final season, things started to get back to being serious.
Cheryl Ladd (as Kris Munroe) replaces Farrah Fawcett (as Jill Munroe)
It’s hard to comprehend what a phenomenon Farrah had become after her single season on Charlie’s Angles. Her shoes were impossible to fill, and it’s a testament to the likeability of Cheryl Ladd that the show survived. Far from being mortally wounded, the show strolled along for four more seasons…. but it just wasn’t the same. Even though Farrah was only there for the first season, when you think of Charlie’s Angels, you think of the Farrah year.
Certainly, there were other shows which lost a star but kept on truckin’: Welcome Back, Kotter lost Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta), Alice lost Flo (Polly Holliday), M*A*S*H lost Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) and Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stephenson), etc. However, those were shows that lost actors and actresses. Charlie’s Angels was a show that lost an icon.
CHICO AND THE MAN
Gabriel Melgar (as Raul) replaces Freddie Prinze (as Chico Rodriguez)
I will go on record and say that Freddie Prinze is among the top five stand-up comedians of all time. You’re certainly free to disagree, but there was just something truly special about his presence on stage. None of the jaded, cynical, self-deprecating stuff we come to expect from today’s comics. His was pure optimism and energy… which makes his 1977 suicide all the more unfathomable.
One thing I think we can all agree on is that Chico & the Man should have ended with Prinze’s death. The very notion that they would try and keep the sitcom rolling blows the mind. Poor Gabriel Melgar, recruited to fill the void, simply never had a chance. It was an awful idea that ended with predictable results – abysmal ratings and cancellation.
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD
Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer (as Coy and Vance) temporarily replace Tom Wopat and John Schneider (as Bo and Luke Duke)
Dukes of Hazzard audiences tuned in to the new 1982 season only to find their beloved Bo and Luke Duke replaced by obvious clones. Schneider and Wopat had refused to come to the set, demanding more money. In response, the network replaced them with two guys that looked suspiciously similar. Audiences didn’t fall for the ploy, and so Schneider and Wopat got the contracts they wanted and returned.
In the end, the series wasn’t significantly impacted by this bizarre interlude. However, when it was all over, viewers were left scratching their head, wondering what the hell just happened.