The Front


Tam Cowan, TV and radio presenter and all round funny man, plans his new year by choosing the five things you should always do at Hogmanay.

1 Forget black bun and whisky Just turrt up at parties with a piece of mahogany so you can do an extremely topical joke with any dyslexic guests.

2 Bald your granny’s pantry

What would a Hogmanay bash be without Ginger Wine from the Co- Op?

3 Carry a pistol The only way to deal with people who. at an hour or so before the bells. think it's dead funny to say ‘You know. I don't think I'm going to have another meal/pish/shite until next year'.

4 Don’t accept any invites to Paul and Heather McCartney's house You'll only upset the hosts when you finally succumb to temptation and do the First Foot gag.

5 Buy a ticket for the Hogmanay party at the Brig O’Doon Hotel in Alloway The guest speaker looking back at the events of 2003 is a very handsome. devastatingly furtrty bloke . . .


I want to take you .m to a gay bar _ We all know the internet is a big excuse for fannying about when the boss is not looking. then getting caught. sacked and propelled into a life of alcoholism and depression. Fitting then that the website we kept coming back to was a ponal of the truly futile. Dancing kittens sporting flat caps. crooning monkeys and cartoons about Jamie Theakston‘s private parts. Stupid? Yes indeed. but Joel Veitch now has his own Channel 4 TV slot thanks to people like us wasting time over his daft animations.


.17. . i


Investing in home grown writers could be

creative quagmire. Words: Brian Donaldson

ltose side are you on‘.’ As yotr settle dowrt

this (‘hristmas for the annual feast of

televisual fun will yotr get the feelirtg that

you‘re beittg spoilt for cltoice or does the array of

channels on offer sccrtt to be dipping permanently irtto cold turkey‘.’ Once upon a time it was easy. All you had to do was buy the double burttpcr issue of the Radio 'Iintes irt mid-December artd all your festive watching requirements were there irt one concise package. Then uncle Rupert came along artd asked trs to keep watching the Sky. Now you can't even catch the rugby or that exclusive premiere of Friday the 13th Part 90210 without funnelling a srtakc of cables irtto your frortt roortt.

The bigwigs irt the terrestrial world reckoned such digital expansion was a jolly good idea. Btrt what did they decide to give us'.’ Lots of repeats. Sometimes evert repeats of repeats. And acres of normal people doing less than normal things. I‘m rtot picking on anyone irt particular here. though BB(‘3 artd li~l spring irttrttediatcly to mind. To give it some credit. BB(‘3 ltas produced comedic glories like [.5 Stmevs High artd Little Britain while using cynical sales techniques such as offerirtg art episode of 24 a week earlier than the paupers get it on BBCZ; over on dire old li4. showing American dramas sometimes rttorttlts before they rcaclt ('ltanncl 4 isjust about all it ltas going for it.

But as we reflect on another year of ‘reality' mayhem. since when did ‘rtormal‘ people make for great telly'.’ In Britain durirtg the good old days. Opportunity Knoekx seemed gerttrirtcly innovative. Now. we ltavc channels dedicated to watching your


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grease got so not

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the grease was

6 THE LIST ll Dec 2003 8 Jan 2004

chips. In the ertd the that the fries turned

hlack turds. alrttost killed n‘yself because

popping everyvultere.'



‘lhe papara/z'r don't have the right to .".Il".l(l(} on people's l:\.es. I really don't think they do. lhet, shouldn't he shot. but they should he severer beaten up rr‘arrtl\,.'

rm ot‘

Does the filth and the fury make for uncertain scheduling or innovative diversity?

is IW‘ 'itm m

crisis h

the only solution to British TV’s

neighbour being humiliated on rtatiortal television by music talent scouts or burly soap stars. Some people even give this kind of channel a specific name: [TV Reality television is the ntoderrt day equivalent of the medieval stocks. An assortment of common criminals (whether young. old. fat. poor. non-drivers. dog owners) are sertt out irtto a barrert wasteland (let's call it li-l after the watershed) artd ltavc another person‘s values chucked at them: more often than rtot. it‘s posh people: irt property. health artd safety. or a non-single tryirtg to make singles feel small.

And whatever happened to. dare I say it. great British writing'.’ (‘ontedy seertts irt good hands with the likes of (icrvais. Lock. Kay. Lucas & Walliartts flying the furtrty flag. But what was the last amazing British drama to sweep you away'.’ State olil’lav artd The Deal made sortie waves this year. but cltartces are botlt will be forgotten irt five year’s tirtte while The Singing I)(‘l(’('lll‘(’ artd Our Friends in the North are fondly recalled to this day.

L'ltimately. irtvestrttcrtt irt writers is the only way altead. Though wlto knows. maybe sortteortc scribblirtg away on drive] like The Pilot Show or Bt’ll.\'ll('()l)l will turrt out to be the rtext Dennis Potter. As for the cltartrtels tlterttselvcs. they seertt too busy copyirtg each other. ()r rtickirtg the worst bits of America. Maybe it‘s a tribute to (‘ltannel 4 that it can bring togetltcr llUlt' ( ‘lean is )btir Home artd The Sopranos under one roof. ()1: rttore likely. it's just the sign of a broadcaster that has lost its way artd disposed of its iderttity.

Do you think TV‘s better than ever?

George leader ‘Securtty is the essentai roadblock to achieving; the road than to peace.'


lolly/i liti,’

'She [Ms (Z‘ttistirta Agutlera] is azke a fucking leather I could pick her up and chuck lter across the room. She's a pussy. She has a mouth on her but shes all talk'