Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell, And The Art Of Pretending To Know What The Brits Are On About

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

This weekend was supposed to be chockablock of random little projects getting wrapped up because of the shitty weather – from getting a big chunk of the Great Music Tag Project (getting anal about having the correct metadata on my music files is a pet peeve of mine), finishing something that is supposed to be what I started this blog for (no clues here, you’ll just have to wait!), and other things I’ve already forgotten.

Naturally, that didn’t happen…but not because of anything I had any control of…or that I’m willing to admit.

After successfully breaking the habit of checking my newsfeeds every five minutes every day, I caught up with several days worth on Saturday morning. By the evening I had gone through the interesting links and had just the videos left. One of them was a clip from some British show that had Patrick Wolf as a guest. I believe his tour is over now but I saw him two months ago when he was in Boston – and his show is so fantastic, I imagine it’s what a David Bowie concert from his classic period would be like if Bowie could play tons of instruments including children’s instruments. Seriously, if he has a show in your area, check it out – is music is great (The Magic Position, his most recent, is all excellent dense but beautiful songs).

ANYWAY so I watch the show and even manage to get the whole show on YouTube. Patrick Wolf wasn’t that great on the show but the host, the regulars, and the other guests were throat-hurting hilarious. Picture the show – called Never Mind The Buzzcocks*- like The Match Game, only its all about British pop music and culture and the guests are hopefully invited knowing full well that they will be made fun of, insulted, and ridiculed…all in good cheer. It’s a fake game show (i.e. the points really aren’t the point) where contestants are tested on their knowledge of pop star gossip, and pop star and music recognition.

Admittedly I only get about half of the references on the show – and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable of current British pop culture and especially well-versed in British music for an American. But that’s OK. The main draw of the show are the jokes, jabs, and insults at the expense of the guests. The host, Simon Amstell, is by far my favorite of the regular players. He can dress down any celebrity like nobody’s business. In fact, the most authentic people on the show are the ones who roll with the punches, and laugh at themselves. Insulting the regulars is next to impossible.

It helps that all three regulars – Amstell, Phill Jupitus, and Bill Bailey are all comedians. I do wonder how much of the stuff is scripted – some of it is obvious, but the others sometimes make me wonder.

I started with the Patrick Wolf episode, which turned out to be the most recent; and by the time I was finally tired of watching it was 2am. And yet…today I was still watching the show – even watching shows I had just seen! – stopping only to watch Help! with my roommate (it was a Hanukkah gift from me to her…the DVD, not the chance to watch it with me). A lot of the episodes are up on YouTube. The pre-Amstell shows are a little harder to find, but then again all of the ones I’ve seen were pretty bad.

My suggestion is if you can understand what those brits are saying, get some of their jokes, have at least a passing knowledge of British pop culture, and can read at a high school level (yeah, right!), then absolutely watch this show. Never Mind The Buzzcocks is fookin’ hilarious.

*Isn’t the title of this show just horrendous? I mean, I get it – they replaced Bollocks with a better-known band in the title of the Sex Pistol’s debut album…but WHY??? It’s like they forgot to replace the working title and ten years later are stuck with it. In my mind, the shittiest title of any TV show I’ve seen.

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