Monday, 28 April 2008

My favourite things on TV this weekend

No 1: Tim Burgess's hair on Later… 

It is a fact women discover sometime during their 20s: pretty boys do not always grow up to be pretty older men. In the early 90s, everyone was wild for the waifish charm of Burgess, Albarn and the like, their teeny snub noses and planed cheekbones. But fifteen years on? 

Most women shift their criteria of physical attraction as they get older, in response to their own softenings and widenings. They begin to feel increasingly warm about paunches and heavy jaws, overlooking bald spots and bad shoes, and indulging the kind of imperfections that would have been dealbreakers years before. The thicker-set and rougher-hewn start to take their turn in the spotlight of hotness, while the gamine-featured are left behind, like an ageing child star. As supporting evidence, I would refer you to the individual members of Take That. 

But in addition, I wonder if there is an element of self-sabotage at large with the once-cute. Johnny Depp has immersed himself in roles of steadfast oddness for years (though he is, strictly speaking, beautiful not cute). Mark Owen borrowed from the wardrobe of a clean-shaven Catweazle and the physical onstage quirks of Michael Stipe.  And how else to explain what on earth is going on with Tim from the ears up? The density… the gloss finish… and does David Copperfield know someone's stolen his foils? 

No 2: the world's worst escapologist, as seen on Britain's Got Talent. The first moment of brilliance: his name – Nicky Flash. The second: his interview in the contestants' waiting room, where he said with unwitting yet deadly accuracy, 'Tonight escape-apology will be done.' He pushed his equipment onto the stage in a supermarket trolley, knocking over a couple of floor lights as he went, and took the microphone to introduce his act, oblivious to the fact he was being upstaged by his trolley which had carried on freewheeling downstage towards the pit. He had pledged to break the world record and escape from a bound-up sack in less than 30 seconds, but ended up being unceremoniously dragged off stage some minutes later by volunteers from the St John's Ambulance Service and released from his predicament, now apparently battling some kind of panic attack, instead of his padlock. I'm only sad that the apposite YouTube clip does not yet exist but imagine if you can, conjure if you must from the darkest of places, a Frankenstein-like creation stitched together from Bobby Davro, Andrew Marr and Rhydian Roberts. 

Those are names I never thought I would type – well, at all. Never mind in the same sentence. 

Try not to have nightmares.

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