I’m worried about Des. Two days into the ‘Barcelona bonanza‘ poor Mr Lynam was visibly wilting. ‘Bwanus notches’, he mumbled grumpin on Sunday night around midnight, suggesting that if he ever saw another tapas bar again it would be too soon. Perhaps the strain of keeping his pundits from each other’s throats during the European Championships is beginning to tell. Whatever the reason, the sight of Mr Urbanity cracking up and stammering through a relentlessly banal interview with a boxer was a disturbing one. You get the impression that Des has become an isolated Emperor who has forgotten who his minions are. ‘Over at the controversial volleyball tournament, here’s Hazel Errvyne,’ he slurred, introducing the relentlessly bubbly Sportscene presenter. So is the great man finally going the way of Dickie Davies, and facing a future of dubious game-shows and supermarket openings? Probably not. There’s a long way to go yet. Des is just experiencing the early wobbles of an experienced marathon runner as he adjusts to a hotter-than-expected pace. Before you know it he’ll be back to normal, scattering the innuendoes all over the shop and grinning facetiously at another David Coleman goof.

‘Drink substantial quantities and the most marginal of sports begins to seem fascinating. Within reasonable limits. The pelota and Graeco-Roman wrestling will probably be a three-case iob.’

and catering assistants, who train in the evenings after EastEnders, get creamed out of sight by muscular foreigners who are probably all on drugs anyway. Already the hard luck stories are emerging. Princess Anne didn’t make it to the opening ceremony because her children’s luggage had been mislaid at the

‘Grossman would be hard pushed to mangle the English language while writhing in agony on the studio floor in the company or the usual two oily gluttons he enlists lorthis televisual war-crime.’

My own approach to The Olympics (BBCl and 2) is substantially more laid back. The local Oddbins emporium is packed with a cheap but palatable Spanish lager called Estrella, the ‘official beer of the Barcelona Olympics’ so presumably Carl Lewis, Magic Johnson and Liz McColgan are getting regularly blitzed on the stuff in the village. What’s good enough for them is good enough for me. Buy substantial quantities and Oddbins give you a small discount. Drink substantial quantities and the most marginal of sports begins to seem fascinating. Within reasonable limits. The pelota and Graeco-Roman wrestling will probably be a three—case job.

The Olympic story so far is an amusineg familiar one: plucky British post-office clerks, schoolgirls

airport. That was the beginning of a less-than-scintillating first weekend for the Brits, as our much-vaunted swimmers barely got their trunks wet by the time the race was over, and our rifle ‘marksman’ managed to miss the whole target a couple of times.

My favourite moment came when Des lugubriously informed us that Maria Purves, our h0pe in the woman’s cycling, had been leading at one point but had developed a slow puncture. Picture the scene: there’s Maria by the side of the road, cheese and pickle sandwich in one hand, rubber solution in the other, working frantically as the peloton whizzes by and the Catalan campesinos grin in the background.

This time last year, I was moaning about the Masterchel(BBC1) final. Some daft biddy even wrote in to complain that I was too cruel to Lloyd Grossman, as if that could be possible. A submerged masochistic streak induced me to tune in again. This time words are not enough, action is called for.

The plan is to enter one of the regional heats of Masterchef ’93 with a rather original menu. A generous dollop of hemlock in the starter, arsenic in the entrée and strychnine in the dessert should ensure a diverting judging session. Grossman would be hard pushed to mangle the English language while writhing in agony on the studio floor in the company of the usual two oily gluttons he enlists for this televisual war-crime. And no jury in the land would convict. Mind you, the plan isn’t foolproof. I reckon the BBC might have rumbled me after I wrote to Jim ’11 Fix It asking if Jim could fix

it for me to impale the peroxide geriatric on a sharpened stake. (Tom Lappin)

Hot summer evenings. who needs 'em. Curl up indoors with a jug of margaritas and a couple or the latest video releases. What's new on the VHS

trout in the rental shops and on the sell-through shelves


I Barton Fink (15) The Coen brothers’ latest off-beat comedy is set in the movie industry, starring John Turturro as a playwright with a social conscience who finds himself writing wrestling films for Hollywood.

Writer’s block sets in. Perhaps the solution lies with the large and mysterious figure of the guy in the next room, played by the outstanding John Goodman. Weird, original and funny in places, perhaps more than a tad self-indulgent. (Columbia Tristar)

I Blonde Fist ( 15) Edinburgh Film Festival premiere one year, rental shelves the next. Frank Clark‘s distaff version of Rocky failed to set the box-office tills a-ringing and its blend of grittin realistic dialogue and rather daft plot makes its limitations all the more glaring. Sister Margi stars as the peroxide pugilist. (Buena Vista)

I Blame it Do The Bellboy (15) A bad time for British releases. This is one of those comedy-of-errors farces that weren’t funny in 1965 and are woefully poor in 1992. Dudley Moore hams it up as a clumsy real estate scout inadvertantly becoming embroiled with Mafia hit-men in Venice. Richard Griffiths and Patsy Kensit struggle in supporting roles. (Buena Vista)

I Return or The Living Dead (18) Gleefully nasty bad-taste schlock horror stuff directed by Dan O’Bannon. There’s more than a touch of broad comedy mixed in with the horror in an everyday tale of graveyard ghouls washed up out of the ground in a sudden storm and grazing on human brains when they feel a touch peckish. The extreme gruesomeness is

cleverly countered by the wit and panache of the direction. (Tartan)

I The Berlin Conspiracy (18) (Columbia Tristar) I Another You (15) (20:20 Vision)

I The Land 01 Faraway (U) (Columbia Tristar)

I Company Business (15) (Warner)

-I Hurricane Smith (18)


I Tales From The Crypt Volume II ( l8) (Warner) I Delenseless ( 18) (Fox) I Shining Through (15) (Fox)

I Past Mldnlght(15) (Guild)


I L'Argent (PG) (Artificial Eye £15.99)


I Padre Padrone ( 18) (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Melancholla (15) (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Baclng Driver Stirling Moss introduces a behind-the-wheel look at the world of high speed car racing, from karting through rallying right up to the ultimate challenge of Formula 1. Techniques discussed are not to be tried out on the A1 please. Each video comes with a £10 off voucher for racing instruction at one of the Brands Hatch racing centres. (Telstar£10.99) I HSPCC Children’s TV Favourites Volume 2 (U) (Abbey £10.99)

I Project A-Ko ( 15) (Island World £12.99)

I Easy Come, Easy Do (U) (CIC £10.99)

I Change or Habit (PG) (CIC £10.99)

I Cheers Volumes 9 and 10 (PG) Ted Danson and Shelley Long star in collected early episodes of the classic Boston bar-room sitcom. (CIC £9.99 each)

I Stepping Dot (PG) Liza Minnelli stars in an unimpressive showbizzy dance tale that smacks of a feeble and downbeat attempt to recapture the glitz of the 405 and 505.


I Cry Baby (15) Johnny Depp, pre-Scissorhands stars as a cool teen rebel in John Waters‘ fine tribute/pastiche of the 505 youth movie. (CIC £10.99) I Xanadu (PG) (CIC £10.99) I On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (U) (CIC £10.99) I A ltlss Before Dying (18) (CIC £10.99) I Henry And June (18) Soft porn biopic about the weird triangular relationship of Henry Miller, Miller’s wife June and Anais Nin. Director Philip Kaufman made The Unbearable Lighrness Of Being which was slow, explicit and rather fine. This is slow, explicit and really rather dull. (CIC £10.99) I True Colors (18) (CIC £10.99) I Lethal Weapon (18) Get Mel Gibson and Danny Glover being very violent and unfunny in the original wide-screen format. . . (Warner £12.99) I Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2 (18) . . . or would you prefer the bumper double-pack, with added Patsy Kensit? (Warner£l4.99) I Mad Max (18) More Mel. (Warner £12.99) I Mad Max 2 and Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome (18) Even more Mel with bonus (?) Tina Turner. (Warner£l4.99) I The Jolson Story (U) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Ladies or The Chorus (U) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Hudson Hawk(15) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Hamlet (15) (Columbia Tristar£10.99) I Pacillc Heights (15) (Fox £10.99) I Miller's Crossing (18) A Coen Brothers classic offering a spectacular revamping of the gangster-film genre, with Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro and Albert Finney. A must for the collection. (Fox £10.99) I The Crazy World or Benny Hill (PG) Bald men get slapped on the head, men with hoses are partially obscured by trees, and scantily-clad lovelies are chased for about twenty minutes to the accompaniment of a naggingly repetitive tune. Crazy world alright. (Video Collection £5.99) I Journey Di Hope (15) (Video Collection £10.99) I The Hasty Girl (15) (Video Collection £10.99) I .lulla has Two Lovers (18) (Video Collection £10.99) I Blue Velvet/The Sheltering Sky(18) A tasteful double bill from Lynch and Bertolucci. Ideal for the arthouse set with longer attention spans than the rest of us. (Fox £19.99 boxed set)

“The List 31 July 13 August 1992