Monday, 30 May 2011

Britain's Got Cash!

An advert on ITV earlier said "ITV Bingo - You never know who the next winner's going to be!!"

Yeah... YOU don't know who the next winner's going to be, but we do.

Not that we're suggesting that following the telephone vote rigging scandals of a while back, ITV executives are still corrupt, swindling money grabbers.

We couldn't help noticing though that Simon Cowell is now back on Britain's Got Chesthair.

So, hand on... that means we have four judges in the live semi finals.

Which means that it's now possible for the judges to reach a tie.

Which means that they have to go the the viewing public to choose for them... by calling the 0898 vote line at £5 per minute and considerably more from mobiles.

What a surprise.

And the first act before Simon? Some scantily clad yet talentless girls. All front and no act. A bunch of nightclub dancers wearing as little as they can get away with, waving flaming torches in time to something, but not each other. Simon loved it, of course, but the girls would have screamed and jumped up and down regardless of his verdict.

"We're doing things that we've never done before in a performance"

Wait until the after show party, girls. Then you'll really know what it means to be hassled by The Hoff.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Britain's Got Judges...

...who seem to have a bit of a problem recognising talent.

Through to the semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent, we have a man whose eyes pop out and a woman with three random chihuahuas.

The dog act was, unfortunately, funny for all the wrong reasons. This means that she can't be funny on cue, and her act doesn't really go anywhere.

The bulging eyes man? It's a trick, not an act. He would be great for a 5 minute spot on some other TV show, and we're sure he'll get plenty of work in TV commercials. Maybe he could be the new face of Wonga!

He could pop his eyes out and say "3000% APR! Wonga!"

What about a woman with a singing dog? It's been done on That's Life, thirty years ago. It would make a nice 'and finally' news item to lift our spirits after hearing about the latest recession that the Americans have caused, but it ain't an act.

The dancers? The French guy, we have to say, was the better dancer, but the Matrix guy was simply more inventive, more unique.

And he cried, which always goes down well with the judges.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Farewell Focus

Focus DIY has gone down the toilet. Unfortunately for them, it was one of toilets from their £199 bathroom suite.

What went wrong?

According to The Telegraph,

Simon Allport, one of the administrators, said: "Focus will continue to trade as we look for a buyer for the group and its stores. It is very much business as usual."
He said the company has struggled due to low consumer confidence and a very weak housing market.

Erm... recession = dead housing market = people invest in their houses rather than moving = boom time for DIY stores

What went wrong for the feckless executives of Focus?

They sat on their backsides and let their competitors run riot, basically.

Homebase shifted their brand positioning upwards, aiming at people who live on piers at the seaside.

B&Q used their size to control costs, mainly by replacing much of their stock with cheap tat.

Wickes crept up from their bargain basement builder's yard image and started nibbling away at Focus' target market.

This has happened so often to so many corporations that you'd think CEOs would have learned their lesson by now. Yet, time after time, huge High Street names disappear because they sit still while their competitors nibble up from the bottom and squeeze down from the top.

Focus tried to broaden their product base, moving into pet products and other such junk, but taking on new product lines is costly, and if your bank balance is heading south, you need to reduce the product range, not increase it.

"Despite management's actions to tightly control costs and restructure the operations, unfortunately it has not been possible for the business to continue to trade outside of insolvency," Mr Allport said. The company, run by former Iceland boss Bill Grimsey, warned last night that it had defaulted on a loan and was preparing to appoint an administrator

Former Iceland boss? well, there's the problem then. The company's in trouble? Quick, sell a load of cheap tat and keep your fingers crossed.

Mums go to Iceland... Dads used to go to Focus... now they'll have to stick to reading the Auto Trader on the toilet.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A Thousand Readers!

Well, here's a wonderful thing; our modest little ramble of a blog now has over a thousand readers.

But who are they? Who are these brave people with too much time on their hands?

Seriously... Who are you and why are you following us?

We know that our readers come from all over the world, and that's not including the staff of the Indian call centre that we pay to read our blog, when they're not watching British soap operas so that they can make small talk when they call me to repossess my house.

So please, leave a comment and say hello.

And, for God's sake, tell your friends to come visit too. We promise there'll be something worth reading one day soon.

Time for a Pep Talk

Isn't it funny that Barcelona's football coach is called Pep Guardiola?

We suppose his coaching style is to give the players a 'Pep' talk!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Anyway, doesn't he look a lot like TV's Glenn Ward, Apprentice Contestant and Zoe-worrier?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Is the Beauty of a Spray Tan More Than Skin Deep? Or is it a Poke in the Eye of the Beholder?

This week, our tepid, sorry we meant intrepid gang of young go-getters were faced with the challenge of selling beauty treatments.

There's the first clue. Treatments.

Off to Birmingham, to sell fake tan. That's like taking coal to Newcastle, or sand to the sahara.

Susan jumped in immediately to rescue her colleagues; "It's what I'm good at, selling beauty products"

Yeah, you might want to try using some, love.

Next into the firing line steps Melody, putting herself forward as an expert on Britain's second city. And no, Manchester is not Britain's second city. Birmingham is. The Venice of the North. Or is it the Skegness of the West?

"The main shopping centre is right in the city centre"

Bloody hell - and we'd been looking everywhere for it!

Tom challenges Melody's recommendation of location. Melody doesn't like being challenged, "I envisage that it will be fine".

Tom asks if she's sure she doesn't want to read the location report a little more carefully.

"I don't need to read it. Thankyou."

Ooooh! Touchy! Pride before a fall?

The first product pitched to the teams is a 'chocolate facial'. They spread chocolate all over your face. Now come on, is there any other way to eat chocolate?

Next, a winge, which is, wait for it, a clip on fringe. We don't know where the 'W' comes from, maybe a winge is a Wearable frINGE? Winge? Geddit?

It's a good job they didn't market it as a Man-made frINGE. That would have sold well. Clip one of these to your faces, ladies.

Next up, a spray tan in a popup tent. Leon doesn't want to do it. A man in a paper hat waits patiently. Leon wants to hide under the stairs.

"Spray him Leon, it doesn't make you gay!"

No Leon. Spraying tanning a naked man does not make you gay. Wearing makeup is a bit suspect though, and Leon already tried that. It made him feel 'very uncomfortable'. Hmmm... Too close to home, Leon?

In the shops, Edna's doing a grand job of not noticing that the women she's talking to already have their own fringes. "You put it on and it looks like you've got a real fringe!"

She's already got a fringe!!!! Does she need another one? I suppose it is true what they say, a woman can never have too many shoes or fringes.

The first customer arrives in the treatment room. "She's running over", says Helen, "So I'll make sure she gives you a little bit extra"

That's the reason she's running over you fool!

Things hot up mid afternoon. Three clients in the treatment room at the same time. It's so busy that they're doing the lava shell massage with the client sitting in an office chair. Relaxing!

And on it goes. Feckless bickering, falling over each other, allowing customers to walk away without taking them to the treatment area, selling low margin products instead of high margin services, and as usual, paying too much attention to the gobby pratt who at the start of the task claims to be an expert in the subject area.

We think that, as is usually the case, all of the product pitches that the teams saw were red herrings. The task was selling treatments. Lord Al told them how he would have gone into the beauty business because of the high margins on treatments. Clue: Treatments.

In the end, the results were:

Team Spent Sales Profit
Venture £734 £937 £203.01
Logic £924 £677 -£246.28

Lord Sir Alan Sugarbabe said, "Felicity, get yo dumb ass back in dis here boardroom, gal"

Over in the cafe, Melody said that she wasn't an expert on Birmingham and it was everyone else's fault. Everyone pointed out that she had claimed to be an expert on Birmingham. That's the fall after the pride that we mentioned earlier. She responded by saying that no-one can say they're an expert on a town.

So, the big question. Who should Felicity take back into the firing line?

We think she should take back:

Melody for opening her gob before reading the location report and claiming to be an expert.

Tom for not pushing his point harder about the location report, and because he knew the situation up in the treatment room i.e. no customers, went down to the sales area to help out, and took the easy route of selling more hair extensions despite having done the margin calculations himself.

And of course, Felicity was a rubbish team leader. She didn't listen, she looked to the others to make decisions and, as children are prone to do, they ran amok and ate all the ice cream.

Oh! Oh! And when Ellie asked where all the customers were, Felicity said that she had sent loads up. Bare faced liar!!

Sadly, the worst contestant of all got clean away. Susan. Once again, claimed to know everything about everything and fell flat on her face, which probably explains why her face looks that way.

Felicity makes her choice... erm... what do you all think? Ellie?

Ellie jumps straight in; "Pick me! Bring it on, bitch!"

Surely, that was an indication not to bring Ellie back? But no, Felicity chooses Ellie and Natasha. Big, big mistake. That would be like Tony Blair entering a balloon debate with Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Felicity claimed to be a fab entrepreneur. "I can do figures, I have two small businesses myself!"

Felicity, if you could do figures, love, you'd have two large businesses.

She blames Ellie for not letting her know that the customers she sent up to the treatment room didn't arrive. Erm... and she would know that how?

So far, Lord Sugar Plum Fairy has a tough, tough choice. None of the candidates is looking good. And let's face it, at his age, would you seriously consider going into business with a 21 year old? No offence... but come on. What's he thinking?

Oh yes, we almost forgot. It's good for the ratings.

Of course Felicity was fired. Who else?

Hint for next year's contestants; when you're the team leader and you lose, go back into the boardroom, take the two most argumentative and abrasive contestants with you and take all the responsibility for the failure of the task.

It's the only way to go... we mean stay.

Where's Wally?

Here's a summary of 'Jamie's Food Revolution Hits Hollywood'

Jamie Oliver goes to America to tell them that they're a bunch of stupid, fat, lazy no-hopers who cram their faces full of greasy crap, day in day out, poisoning their kids and filling the sewers with their lard infested stench and should be ashamed of themselves.

They tell him to sod off.

That's all there is to it, really.

Four Rooms

First we had 'reality TV' where cheapskate TV producers saved money on having actual presenters by filming hapless members of the public doing stupid things such as living in a big house together or decorating each others' living rooms in a frenzy of revenge for not getting the lawn mower back. "It looks like a puff's boudoir", sobs the housewife as she surveys the carbuncle of MDF and pink chiffon that was once her pride and joy G-Plan sideboard.

Of course, we must take a moment to pay tribute to the original, the grand-daddy of reality TV - Antiques Roadshow.

Week after week, hopeful, wide eyed, bushy tailed, greedy little grandchildren peddled their tat to a gang of gaudily dressed experts, only to find that their hopes of inheriting a fortune had been dashed by the fact that they had used the Ming dynasty chamber pot to mix paint in and had therefore reduced its value from £1.5M to 50p.

But what happens when the viewing public get sick of reality TV? Or, more likely, what happens when everyone has actually been on TV and there's no reality left?

Yes! Fusion TV!

We've had Embarrassing Bodies meets Animal Hospital... Pet Shame!

We've had Gladiators meets It's a Knockout... Total Wipeout!

Big Brother meets Gardeners World... I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Alan Titchmarsh!

And now... Dragon's Den meets Antiques Roadshow... it's Four Rooms.

Every week, a bunch of greedy little ponces try and squeeze cash out of four greedy big ponces. It's everything we love! Greed! Tat! Ponces!

"If it costs you £100,000, that's the real buzz"

First, it's Gerard who is apparently a Flora Storer. He puts tubs of margarine away. Oh, hang on, is he a Floor Restorer?

Gerard brought along a Francis Bacon painting. Or at least what was left of it. It was a Francis Bacon painting that he bought for £4,800. It was a painting with the middle cut out of it. And by middle, we mean the picture. So what Gerard was in fact peddling was a tattered bit of canvas with a big hole in the middle. Well done, Gerard.

Apparently, Francis Bacon slashed his canvasses because the paintings weren't good enough. Well, if it's not good enough for Frank, it's not good enough for us.

Emma Hawkins, a kind of goth Deborah Meaden, sits on a big chair made of antlers. Gerard would be open to suggestion. Long silences. Close-ups on fingers. Close ups on Gerard dribbling. He wants £50,000. "Just imagine, if it wasn't torn, it would be worth £10 Million, £20 Million". But it is torn. There's a big hole in it. Emma offers £9,000. Well, maybe £30,000. £32,000, final offer. Oh, OK then. £48.000. One of the other dealers says he would have paid more than £80,000.

£80,000 for a bit of tatty canvass. Jesus. I have half a bus ticket that Van Gogh stuck up his nose here. Must be worth a bob or two.

"There was something inside me that inspired me to spend £48,000", says Emma. Was it the warm fuzzy feeling that you get from seeing a quick fifty grand profit?

Next, Princess Diana's Christmas cards. It's Emma again! She fails to offer enough.

Another room... a bloke in a suit wearing a big scarf. It's Geoff Salmon, apparently. He gets out a dice.

"If you throw odds, you'll take £10,000, if you throw evens, you'll take £25,000."

"I'm not a gambling man but the odds are good." says the man with the collection of Royal tat.

Erm... 50/50? Obviously not a gambling man. Just before the man rolls the dice, Monsieur Salmon says, "I've never ever lost". Um... how about we try it with MY dice then? Not yours with the lead shot taped to the bottom! So the hapless money grabber lost £5,000. Dope.

Moral, if a big fat bloke in a suit wearing a big gay scarf offers to play dice with you, say, "No thankyou. How about Twister?"

Next up, a bronze bust of Adolf Hitler. Apparently, it's illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in Germany. DENIAL!!

It was a heinous piece, apparently. Nobody should make money on it. Hang on.. the bloke selling it... there's something familiar about him. Swept over hair, beady little eyes, little moustache. Whoa! And how did he get the bronze bust??

"I won't make money out of something like this. It's inappropriate. OK then, I'll give you a grand for it."

We could go on... Churchill's cigar, a dalek, a golf buggy with 'Elvis' written on it... but it's the same old story over and over. "I'll give you a fiver", "no thanks", "OK then, ten thousand", "Oh, OK then".

We lost interest in this twaddle rather quickly.

"Will dealer Geoff Salmon believe Robert's story and give him the money he's after?"

Will viewers believe Channel 4's new program strategy and give them the viewing figures they're after?

Here's a quid. Now sod off.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Someone's Been at the Spirits

We know it's hard for you to believe, but we actually make a living writing, and so we do see requests like this from time to time.

"I'm looking for a ghost writer to write a book about my life. There were many ups and downs in my life, which also involved the supernatural being around me as well as many other things in my life"

Ghost writer... supernatural

Funny, innit?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

New Government Health Warning

We've seen it all now.

The government has in the past been accused of creating a 'nanny state' where citizens can't even cross the road without a MP having to come out and help. Not that we need any more MPs to come out, though.

On a bottle of 'Sol' beer, the following health warning:

 In case you can't quite make out the warning, here's a closeup:

That's right. Fat women should not do karaoke.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Should've Gone to Specsavers

This week's task on The Apprentice was to go out and buy a load of junk for as little cash as possible. Lord Sucre is having a flashback to starting his own business, maybe.

Yes, the marketing team at The Savoy have been hard at work again. First, they publicised their £200 Million makeover on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, offering the winner the job as a chef. Except she was refused a work visa.

Now they've publicised their £200 Million makeover by allowing the contestants on The Apprentice to buy them some toilet rolls.

Did we mention their £200 Million makeover?

The teams had to buy 10 items and still have change for the bus home. We don't know what all ten items were, because the editing of this year's Apprentice is shocking, really. I don't know what they devote the screen time too, but it ain't the task in hand.

The items we did see were:

Toilet Paper
Fillet Steak
Organza Silk
Top Hat
Light Bulbs
A brass 'wine cellar' sign

A Cuddly Toy

Unfortunately, by the time Gavin's team was ready to hit the shops, The Savoy had closed for another refurbishment. Gavin reckons he's a 'worthy partner' for Lord Alan because he's got two opticians shops.

Susan's team was as well oiled as the faces of the customers of her organic skincare products business.

Jim was on the case, sourcing the steak. "I'll be in to buy that steak and shake your hand, is that OK". "It would be sir, if this were a butchers."

Bloody hell Jim, is it OK if I come and buy some steak? Let me see.... I'll have to check with the manager.

Vincent didn't fare much better. "Can you tell me anyone in London who sells fillet steak?" Hmm.... In London, you say? Let me think. Hmmm... Tesco?

Gavin tried to keep his team under control by slipping back into his 'Slangatang' character, shouting "Calm down! Calm down!"

Jim says, "I'm an Irish bulldozer of charm. I don't know what rapport is. If I did, I would bottle it". Hmm... He doesn't know what it is, but he knows it would fit in a bottle. Suspicious.

Vincent turned on the sales charm. "What are we talking about in terms of a headline price?" Charming, but gibberish. Translated into English, what Vincent said was, "how much?" But, he is the Belgian Waffler after all.

Gavin's star move was to go into the Top Hat Cleaners and ask if they sold top hats. No mate, it's just the name of the shop. Next, Gavin went into Boots, but they didn't sell Boots. Then he tried Monsoon, but no joy there either. Dry as a bone. He stopped by Subway for lunch, but all they sold were sloppy, tasteless sandwiches. Finally, in desperation, he called into the Orange shop to get his five a day. You'll never guess what! He went next door to the Apple store. Gasping for air, he went to O2. Getting peckish, he popped into Currys. Frustrated beyond belief, he decided to go to the police for help, but couldn't find anyone on duty in PC World.

Ellie was on the hunt for toilet roll. "Have you got 500 rolls of 3 ply toilet roll?"

"Not today", was the reply.

Not today? Why? Did they all have a massive curry last night?

But the bargain of the day had to be a cardboard box, apparently full of 'rare' tea. £990. Nearly a grand for a box of PG Tips! She saw them coming! No, really, if you're in London and you see a bunch of louts in sharp suits talking like right nobs, trying to buy a list of random stuff then you know they're contestants from The Apprentice. The TV crew is a bit of a hint too. And since you know they're desperate, you might as well jack your price up and get yourself on the telly.

The char lady finally sold at £410. Rare my arse.

Susan allowed herself a little daydream in the car, "But what if we could have had it for thirty quid?"

What indeed, Susan.

In the end, the results were:

Venture bought 9 items for £1381.69

Logic bought 6 items for £1389.20

A difference of £7.51. Astonishing. If Logic had stopped arseing around in the office and got on the road a bit sooner, and bought just one more item, they probably would have won it.

Here's our top tips for next year's contestants.

Prioritise highest value items first, because if you miss the lower value items, it's less of a penalty.

Two cars, two teams of two. Get them out on the road as soon as you have a lead for them. The rest of the team stays at base, phoning round. And they don't just get addresses, they get prices, cutting down on negotiating time. They group leads geographically and control the mobile teams to cut down on travel time.

But, next year, it will be the same fiasco. Remember last year, the caviar? And Jamie's four metre kitchen worktop?

Back in the boardroom, it was arse covering time again.

Ellie "had made a lead for the toilet roll". What, was she taking it for a walk?

"I found a load of leads for the Aberdeen Angus". Jesus, how fresh was it?

Mind you, Vincent said, "I was the one who secured the beef". It must have been fresh if it was trying to get away!

Of course, all of this is a load of hyped up twaddle from a bunch of young go-getters, trying to impress the boss. When I come back from the shops with a bag of carrots, do I say, "I made a lead for carrots, and I actioned that lead immediately and followed up and I secured those carrots and now I have those carrots in my portfolio"?

No. I say, "I bought some carrots".

Do I say, "I've identified a lead for carrots, and I called ahead and had a tele-conference with the CEO of the shop and made an enquiry about his supply chain replenishment strategy and got a headline price for a significant quantity for an important client"

No. I say, "I called the shop and they do have some carrots, so I asked how much they were".

We think Lord Demerera's biggest challenge is going to be getting a straight answer out of any of these ponced up half-wits.

Is a winner emerging yet? We think it's one of the girls...

Given this year's limp, anonymous bunch of shop dummies, it's easier to pick who's going to be fired. For example, it won't be long before Edna's pompous, superior attitude and her complete lack of business acumen will come to light.

As for Gavin, he was a little short sighted, we felt. As a leader, he suffered from tunnel vision. He wanted to be PM this task, regardless of what the task was. Big mistake. You need vision to be the PM. You need to see the glasses as half full.

And a shave wouldn't go amiss, Gavin.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Another Interesting Job - Perfect For Both of Me

Here's another interesting job advert we've seen... it looks like the company is really trying to get their money's worth and squeeze every ounce out of their staff...

Two for the price of one?

Next, they'll be hiring insomniacs to work double shifts...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Pitching to UK plc

As you have by now probably realised, The Apprentice is back on television in the UK, and with it comes the inevitable media focus on entrepreneurial business skills and, in particular, the art of pitching.

Almost every episode of the popular, business based cross between a reality program and a game show features the contestants having to make a pitch.

They pitch for business, pitch for orders, pitch ideas and they pitch to keep their jobs in the boardroom showdown at the end of each week's task.

What does this say about the bigger world of business in 'UK plc' - that awful phrase coined recently by the cleaner in the Business Link office in Swindon? (Not really. They probably paid some consultants thousands to come up with that.)

For a start, pitching is something that everyone in a business needs to do at some point – even if it's only in their interview and annual performance appraisal. Most staff have to pitch ideas, pitch for resources and pitch themselves for promotions.

And one thing that we can say, having seen and delivered countless pitches ourselves, is that UK plc's HR department needs to invite Mr P45 round for afternoon tea.

So to do our bit and support our fantastic entrepreneurial business men and women by facilitating the enablement of a world class knowledge management and diversity led cultural alignment paradigm, we thought we would share our 'Seven Secrets to a Successful Pitch' with you.

Secret 1: You're Not Here to Make Friends

Small talk does our head in, really. Just get to the point. Seriously, though, small talk distracts from your pitch and sets up completely the wrong expectations in the audience's mind. Pack it in. Get down to business and stop wasting time.

Secret 2: Powerpoint? What's the Point?

We don't want to see slides. We don't want to see a picture of your Head Office. We don't want to be herded through your standard presentation. And most of all, if you say, "Oh that's not important, we can skip that one... and that one... and that one" then you'll be out the door with your laptop shoved where your projector doesn't shine. If you can't be bothered to even tailor a presentation for us then we don't matter to you, and you don't matter to us. Err on the side of caution and leave your laptop at home.

Secret 3: Time, Gentlemen, Please

Rehearse your pitch so that it lasts half of the time we've allowed you. With your waffling and repeating yourself, our pertinent and insightful questions and your meandering, nervous answers, your time will be up. Less is more.

Secret 4: Give Me What I Need...

Or we'll presume you don't have it. If we need facts and figures to make a decision, we don't want promises and assurances. We want facts and figures. If you don't have them, it's because your business plan is a pathetic, thinly woven web of lies.

Secret 5: If I Want to See a Performance, I'll Go To the Theatre

Edna's "To you. To you. And to you" made us cringe. It's dreadful. Unfortunately, many people think it's a good idea to learn presentation skills from a washed up, has been, out of work comedian, actor or news reader. Erm... they're out of work for a reason. Stop it. Talk to us like we're human beings and we'll treat you like one.

Secret 6: Keep Your Gob Shut

Oh, how many times we've seen sales people walking out of the meeting room, patting each other on the back, saying things like, "Yeah, you nailed it dude", and "It's in the bag!" Watch The Apprentice and we guarantee you'll see it happen. Keep your gob shut from the moment you get our of your car until you get back in it. Any loutish behaviour, undue celebration or inappropriate comments mean you're out of the running, because we want to do business with professionals, not louts.

Secret 7: Follow Up or F@#k Off

Not following up signals arrogance. Or apathy. Either way, you don't get the business. Arrogance because yours isn't the only pitch we've seen, and you expect us to remember what you said? Apathy because if you can't be bothered to send a follow up letter, why would we trust you with our money?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

McIntyre Hassles the Hoff

"I'm going to agree with David", says Michael.

The young Michael Buble impersonator looks utterly crestfallen.

"Only joking! Of course it's a yes!"

We think the Hoff is having a serious breakdown. He can't tell a good act when it's standing in front of him. That's not to say that we approve of young Michael Buble impersonators. We don't. Karaoke is not a talent. However, it does highlight the cultural gap between us and our Americano cousins. When we say 'cultural gap' that does of course mean that we have culture and they don't.

And a Brittney Spears impersonator? No. Definitely not talent. Unless you're going to fall out of a taxi in a drunken haze. And judging by the performance on stage, she had to be taking some recreational substances.

Right, here's an idea for an act. Have plastic surgery to make yourself look more like Brittney Spears, then take all your clothes off and dance around in front of David Hasslehoff, who is the judge least likely to notice that you're tone deaf.

Ace. The Queen will love it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

App-arently the App-rentice App-licants Have a Talent for Catchy Apps.... As It App-ens

And Vincent adds... "Have you had an App-le?"

(Cue tumbleweed)

Two days to develop a mobile phone app. How long are these things supposed to take? My new phone is obsolete in less time than that.

Leon's back! He wants to prove that he's not going to be put off his stride by an orange juicer. He's had enough of squeezing oranges. Now he's going to squeeze every drop of performance out of his team. Watch out boys, Leon's got a taste for power, and for squeezing round squidgy things.

Edna's back! Miffed by the team not asking her permission to make a decision in the last episode, she's taken charge of the team. Now she'll show them who's boss. And by boss, we mean scapegoat.

Team Logic went with the slang app. Basically, you pay good money to have your phone hurl insults at you. Great. Isn't it supposed to be the other way round?

"But we need to be really careful that we don't insult people."

Erm... Isn't that the point?

"I've literally just had this idea. And I think it's brilliant right. Imagine you're you and I'm me."

Yep. That's a great idea, girls.

How about an app that makes irritating noises to annoy friends? Girls, that's what your arse is for. Or in your case, it's what talking is for.

The boys think that "Have you seen my sheep?" is an insult in Wales.

The girls' app makes animal noises. The say "Meaow" into the microphone. Couldn't they find an actual cat?

Maybe it's like in the movies, where a cat doesn't actually sound like a cat on screen so they give a cow helium.

The girls only got 1 out of 3 technology websites to support them. "Now we're just going to do what we do best". What, lose? Blame each other?

Edna did a smashing pitch. To you. To you. And to you. She did a great job of sucking all the life out of her pitch. Still, she's a business psychologist. What do you expect?

The boys did an awesome job, giving a doughnut to anyone who downloaded Slangatang. Maybe they'll save one for Alan, it might just swing the top job.

"Alan, have you been eating doughnuts?"

"No sir"

"Then why is there jam all in your beard?"

OK said Al. Team Logic. Team leader?

Leon said, "That was me, Lord Sugar"

Hang on... Leon's not Lord Sugar!

Team Venture. Anybody not happy with the app?

Me. And me. And me. And me. And me Lord Sugar.

Oh dear. The team thought it was rubbish.


Slangatang 3,951

Ampi Apps 10,667

Why? Because the boy's app was biased towards the UK, and the girls app had global appeal. The girls also won the pitch with the biggest magazine, and that kind of exposure means hits means downloads.

What about the advert for the app? Jim wrote it. The team whooped their approval and said, "That's why you're in sales!" So what did Jim say when Alan asked who had written the ad?

"That was completely my responsibility"

What, all yours?

"Well, let me rephrase that. It was Leon's fault"

In the end, Alex could talk the talk but couldn't walk. After all, he is an estate agent. We think Alan had his fingers burned by Stuart Baggs last year and doesn't want to take a chance on someone who only opens his gob when he's having to justify his existence in the boardroom.

Next week, the contestants have to buy top hats for posh people. Riveting.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Theyyyyyyyre Back!

The Apprentice is back! Yay!

Hang on though... Is it a repeat? Oh no, it's a new series. It's just that all the contestants looked the same as last year.

"Don't tell me the sky's the limit if there are footsteps on the moon!"

The moon IS in the sky, you dopey cow.

"Underneath these glasses is a core of steel!"

That must be uncomfortable. Underneath my glasses is a nose.

"I'm a Sales Manager...come Director"

Yeah, the big daft brown clown shoes and pink socks gave it away.

"I'm a pain seeker"

Well, come round our house and we'll help you look for it... with a big stick

"I invented the world's first curved nail file"

That should come in handy for people with curved fingers...

Suggestions for team names?


What about "chrome plated"?

So we have 'Team Venture' and 'Team Logic'

It's logical, Captain.

Who's the leader? Of course, managing people is their forte. All of them. It's what they do. It's who they are. If you broke me in half, I'd have 'people leader entrepreneur pioneer power enablement' written through me. And 'mega'. Did I mention that I'm a great leader?

"I was personally taught by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Llama". Yeah, and I was personally taught by a man in a tutu and an alpaca. Big fat hairy deal.

"Does anyone actually know how to make soup?" Blank stares. Hint: Buy tin of soup. Open tin of soup.

"Buy produce, mash it up as quickly as possible and then sell it" Well in that case, just scrape it off the floor of the fruit and veg shop. Bargain.

The boys bought 1400 oranges. Their opening line was "Is this an orange?"

How much for a box of oranges? £9.50. How about £150 for 17 boxes? No, £9.50 a box. £9.25? No, £9.50. Tell you what, 16 boxes at £9.50 a box. Duh.

"We're maxing on oranges. Soup is harder to make."

Edna's in charge. And she's an expert in handling people. She's a people person. But other people are making decisions without asking her permission first. She's upset because she's the clipboard monitor.

"We are going to make soup like we've never made soup before!"

Ride like the wind, Bullseye!

(Note, a week after we wrote this, the next episode featured music from Toy Story. Someone must be on the same wavelength as us...)

1400 oranges later... and they've broken the juicer. Squeezing them by hand. 8:45. Everyone's already at work and the boys are still squeezing. 11:00. Still squeezing. "We need to sort this out. We need to get selling now. I'm doing your job, running around, telling people what to do". Wow, if that's all it takes to be Alan's new apprentice, I think I could do that.

Who's going to get fired?

We reckon either Ed or Edna.

Ed was a useless PM, failing to get orange juice out in time for breakfast. He utterly failed to organise his time, thinking he could make it up as he went along.

Edna failed to invest all the money and consequently failed to get the maximum return on the investment. She utterly failed to manage supply.

Hey! We know Leon! He went to uni in Huddersfield.

Logic sold £432.13

Venture sold £ 592.33 - shame, it could have been £871 if they'd invested the lot.

So we reckon Ed will go, especially as his application form said "If my team loses, I'll blame the PM". He admits that he underestimated the manpower needed to squeeze oranges. Leon broke the juicers. To be fair, he was stood there, staring into space, running them for too long rather than giving each a short burst to get the juice out. He even said that he was just 'kicking back'. A scapegoat!

Ed brought back Gavin and Leon. Leon broke the juicers! Get him!

"Why did you bring Gavin back in?"

Ed looks at Leon. Then he realises that Leon isn't Gavin.

"Gavin didn't put himself forward for PM. Well, he didn't really put himself forward. Well, he didn't put himself forward very strongly."

What was the vote for then?

"I'm the youngest in the team, and the shortest"


Leon said, "Lord Sugar, let's go!"

We think he prefers blondes, Leon.

Ed tried to make out he wasn't an accountant. All the contestants seem to want to prove what great entrepreneurs they are. They're not there to be entrepreneurs. They're there to be apprentices.

It was pretty much a re-run of last year's first episode, with that sales manager yelling at everyone in the kitchen to hide the fact that he was out of his depth.

The moral? When you're in the running to be next year's apprentice, don't be PM in the first episode.

More Job Hunting

Here's another interesting job we've seen:

Wow! Is it for MI5? MI6? M25?

No.... Carphone Warehouse.

It's 'Counter' as in shop counter, 'Agent' as in assistant, and 'Intelligence' as in feckless, spotty git who scoffs at you because you don't know what RAM is.

Did Piers Morgan Hassle the Hoff?

In a word, no.

In one of his amazing, in depth, probing, tough talking, sycophantic, pandering, luvvy TV interviews, Piers Morgan interviewed, ironically, David Hasslehoff, who has replaced Monsieur Morgan as a judge on Britain's Got Talent.

There is something seriously wrong with that guy.

He laughed at totally inappropriate times, talked extensively about all the women he's slept with, with his daughter in the audience, and gave an interview that sounded superficially emotional, revealing and authentic, but was in fact trivial and evasive.

Faced with questions about his alcoholism, he said that he 'honoured' the fact that his daughter had videoed him, allegedly just to show him how scary he was because she loved him and wanted him to stop being a pathetic wino, and somehow, the video ended up on YouTube. How could that have happened?

Then he had a little dig at Piers, saying that Piers had put the video on his website (as the editor of the Daily Mirror), and he thought that they had a personal relationship, and he was very hurt by that.

Well, if you don't want to be hurt, don't be an alcoholic. Simple.

Anyway, Piers replied in an astonishingly weasly way, saying that he didn't know they had put the video on there. He was the bloody editor!! We would have had some respect for Piers if he'd said, "I was the editor of a tabloid newspaper, what do you expect? If you don't want to be in an embarrassing video, get out and get yourself a job and don't get drunk you useless piece of whatever!!!"

Oh no, sorry, we were confusing Piers Morgan with Jeremy Kyle there.

Apparently, young David invented 'the Hoff' as a shield, a kind of caricature of himself to use as a public image. We didn't buy it one bit. David is the Hoff. It's his last ditch attempt to hang on to the limelight for just five more minutes.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease.... just five more minutes. Then I promise I'll go to bed....

Osama Bin Laden - Rest In Pieces

So the world police have finally tracked down their public enemy number one and sent him to meet his maker.

Oh dear.

First, President Osama, we mean Obama, said that the heroic Navy Seals had killed him in a fierce gunfight. It's amazing what they can teach animals to do.

Then, a few days later it transpired that there wasn't a gun fight. Unless you count the Americans firing their guns in the air, dancing on the spot and shouting 'Yee-Haa!'

According to their news releases, it wasn't actually a gunfight, but he did make some threatening gestures. And try to run away.

Finally, they released some videos of him practising to make his evil videos of terror. He was saying, "Hey, Abdul, how do I look? Is my beard clean? Does my bum look big in this?"

Apparently, the Americans want to portray Mr Bin Laden, not as the evil, powerful leader of a global empire of anti-democratic terror and destruction, but as a feeble old man who had to dye his beard black before going on camera.

David Cameron delivered a very carefully worded statement to the press, which we could paraphrase as, "We had nothing to do with it!"

And they won't release a picture of him to prove he's dead because it might be disturbing. No, here's what's disturbing - the Americans releasing pictures of what the nasty Iraqis did to their people, or what the nasty Taliban did, or what the nasty... erm... some other foreigners. Evil dictators who must be deposed.

The word you're looking for is PROPAGANDA.

So, what the Yanks are actually saying is that they broke into a harmless old man's house in someone else's country and shot him in cold blood because he stuck his fingers up at them.

A picture of a dead old man is really not that impressive. It makes the Americans look like bullying, unilateral dictators who think that the world deserves their very special form of democracy, where only 25% of the country vote for someone who then takes them, and half the world, to war and then thanks us by destroying the world banking system and screwing up all of our credit ratings. Thanks a  f*%$@#g bunch, you idiots.

God Save America. No really, please. They need saving, God help them.

The People Said No Thank YOU!

So here in the UK we had a vote last week. We had a vote to decide how we should vote. Before that, we had a vote to decide how to vote about how to vote. No, not really.

In the old days, we had two political parties. Labour and Conservative. You voted for one if you were a miner and the other if your Daddy worked in the City. Now the lines have become blurred, to the extent that we now have dozens of parties, some fitting in the gaps between and around the original two, and some independent candidates who stand on a single issue, such as the need for more dog poo pins in the park, or subsidies for ice cream in the summer.

And of course, we have the Monster Raving Looney Party, who you vote for when there isn't a box for 'none of the above'.

So the voting system was apparently too complicated for us lesser citizens. The concept that we have one vote each, and whoever gets the most votes wins, was too much. So the Liberal Democrats have harped on for years about a new, fairer system called AV or Alternative Vote.

Fair for who?

Well, if you look closely, you'll see that the only people AV benefits are... the Lib Dems of course!!

Here's how...

With the old system, when there were two parties, one was pretty much guaranteed to get more than 50% - a majority. As more and more parties, single issue candidates and practical jokers joined the fray, the percentage of the vote had to be spread thinner. A party could win, but not have an overall majority. This means that a party could not push through an unpopular policy, such as Labour's national security laws, without going through that rather inconvenient and obstructive process that we call 'democracy'. A party could technically be in power, but be powerless.

Hold on... Did we vote for them? Or are they in charge? All this talk about 'power' suggests that they think they're running the country. Wrong. We pay them to administer it for us. The whole purpose of the parliamentary system is that MPS represent us. They don't dictate to us. And they damn well shouldn't be voting according to party policy. They should be voting to represent the will of their constituents.

Anyway, so what about AV?

Under AV, the voters don't vote for just one candidate, they vote for some or all of them, ranking them in order of preference. Votes from losing candidates are redistributed according to that rank.

Imagine that you're going out for dinner with friends. Some of you want Indian, some want Chinese. You all go to the Harvester. It's not what anyone actually wants, it's just the least offensive option to the most people. It's a socialist's dream. Everybody's equally miserable.

Well, let's say you're the third biggest party. You have a few Guardian reading, smock wearing, home wine making, nettle tea drinking, bearded supporters, but you know there is no way you will ever get into power. Never ever. People vote for you because they feel they're making some kind of personal stand against the two major parties, but you'll always be a minority. They vote for you for the same reason that they buy organic cheese and weave their own armpit hair into scarves. The men too.

Wouldn't it be handy if you could, behind the scenes, offer that minority vote to a potential ally, in return for them giving you a bit of fame and fortune? Maybe even the promise of a top job? And all you have to do is say a few Labour friendly, or Tory friendly sound-bites on the news, and, under AV, your supporters rank you first, and your ally second so that your ally gets all your votes which would actually be wasted on you.

So AV is a way for the Lib Dems to increase their power in a very un-democratic, manipulative, underhanded way. What a surprise.

Thank goodness the British people voted to keep the good old system.

Or, on the other hand, thank goodness the British people hadn't got a clue what AV was about, why we needed to change a perfectly good voting system and what all the fuss was about. Let's face it, all we care about is scratch cards, diamond white and Jeremy Kyle.

Rule Brittania!