Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Summer blogging, had me a blast

This epic feat of endurance rolls on, as we find ourselves remembering July, with the same kind of fond recollection usually reserved for our first bout of tonsillitis. 

As usual in the summer months, our attention was focused on Hollywood. But as another year of tedious and uninspired blockbusters rolled out, it was the action behind the scenes that really made us sit up and take notice. Mel Gibson was this year's big celebrity casualty, plunging into a downward spiral, like Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Feltz and Michael Barrymore on a helter skelter. Christopher Nolan proudly unveiled Inception, despite its jittery studio worrying that it had blown $200 million on a film designed to make people think. 

Thankfully, the lowest common denominators were also well catered for, with Hugh Jackman offering a sweaty one-to-one workout, Robert Pattinson keeping people guessing about which bodily fluids he really likes to suck on, and Jeremy Boreing living up to his name, with a slate of films which depicted 'real American values'. And then there was the Human Centipede, a European arthouse horror movie which became the talk of dinner parties around the world (albeit after the chocolate souffles had been served). 

The Czech Republic saw a saucy calendar being released, showcasing its hottest female politicians in various states of undress. Critics were quick to point the finger that they were debasing their public roles by participating in the project; everyone else's hands were otherwise engaged. In the UK, we had to put up with Lembit Opik writing an impassioned defense of Phillip Coates, who had been arrested in Barnsley for riding a Segway on the road. Where's a cliff when you really need one?

The Scissor Sisters released their long-awaited third album, which sounded like a bunch of arse. Funnily enough, it looked like one too, with a cover that used a famous Mapplethorpe image of two snugly dressed buttocks. Speaking of which, Jedward continued their baffling recording careers even though they were dropped by their record label and injured on stage. 

Elsewhere in the deepest, darkest depths of the music industry, Katie Price managed to convince a record label that a sideline in singing was a good idea for the zeppelin-titted humility vacuum. She told the world that it was all in fun, a point that was missed by anyone with the misfortune to hear her output. Interestingly, her single's release coincided with a report on a baffling new trend called iDosing, as teenagers around the world started listening to 'repetitive drone-like music' in search of a non-pharmaceutical high. 

Innovation was also a big business in July. We had the Butch Bakery, which offered buttercream for blokes, beer served in the body of a dead squirrel, and a contraceptive with teeth. Now there's an episode of Dragons' Den I could actually sit through. 

The following month had its own fair share of clever products hitting the market, most notably the Brian Blessed edition of Tom Tom. Essentially the same old in-car navigation system, this software upgrade ensured that no-one would ever fall asleep at the wheel. We were also shown the wonders of Stashitware, the world's most voluminous pants, and the Lady Gaga Halloween costume range, which sadly debuted too soon to include the coldcut-couture she showed off at the MTV awards.

August was also the month when employees fought back, from the strippers who decided to protest outside a local church, to Steven Slater who gave an effective (and dramatic) demonstration of how to operate the emergency evacuation slide on a JetBlue aircraft. 

It was a case of better the devil you know for gay conservatives GOProud, who invited random hate generator Ann Coulter to give a speech at their annual conference. A decision that, in retrospect, seemed about as sensible as Lindy Chamberlain hiring a nanny from an ad in Dingo Weekly. But not all celebrities were as willing to grin and bear it for a paycheck - silver fox Anderson Cooper turned down a million dollars in exchange for dying his platinum barnet. 

When we weren't talking about the inevitable return of the X-Factor, we were speculating about the facts in the case of Gareth Williams, the MI5 agent who was found dead in his own suitcase. Rumours circulated that it was a bizarre sex game gone wrong, when it was more likely that he was just trying to avoid some of the gratuitous surcharges on a Ryanair flight. 

EastEnders courted its fair share of controversy this summer, as viewers complained about scenes of Phil Mitchell's descent into drug addiction. They complained that the show was too realistic, not exactly a familiar accusation for a programme in which Ian Beale has managed to marry three times. 

Lynne Rosenthal hit the headlines for not feeling the love in Starbucks, whilst Donald Duck was accused of feeling a little too much of it, when posing for a picture with one guest at the Magic Kingdom.  And finally, there was Pineapple Dance Studios, a show so gay it made Glee look like Match of the Day. 

All in all, it was a pretty good summer. 

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