Speaking of Russell Brand

I’m tired of this brouhaha over his and Jonathan Ross’s phone calls to Andrew Sachs (Manuel of Fawlty Towers) — or, rather, to his answering machine — on Brand’s BBC Radio program. Neither one is known for being particular sensitive or mature so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that their phone calls veered off course.

It was all over the news, both in the UK and internationally. BBC News even provides a timeline of the events. I’ve heard the show — it was in poor taste but I suspect that’s what they were going for. Given some of the borderline things I’ve heard from other British comedians, what they did wasn’t even *that* far over the line. And I don’t imagine either of them meant anything malicious by it. I don’t imagine they were thinking much beyond entertaining their audience and the other people in the studio, much like Howard Stern. Being somewhat offensive is what they are all about, like teenage boys. 😉

I do find one thing a bit puzzling. The show was recorded two days before it actually aired. Andrew Sachs and his agent don’t appear to have gotten upset about the show until it aired. So clearly the messages that were apparently left on the answering machine weren’t actually left on the answering machine, since Andrew doesn’t appear to have known about them until the show aired. The BBC timeline says:

Meanwhile, Andrew Sachs tells the BBC the show’s producer called him on the day of recording to ask if he could use the sequence in question.

He continued: “The signal was poor and I couldn’t really hear what was being played down the line to me.

So I presume he never actually received the messages himself directly. (Having listened to the show, I’d wondered why the person who was in charge of dialling the phone didn’t press 1 for more options and then delete the messages as Brand and Ross left them.) If that’s the case, then IMO it’s even more of a tempest in a teapot.

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The Internet Roundabout

You might get on and off at different points but ultimately you’re just going in a big circle.

Back when Doctor Who and Torchwood were airing earlier this year, BBC broadcast a behind-the-scenes the shows each week. Most weeks, they turned me on to different pieces of music I might never have listened to. One week it was Kanye West’s Stronger, which in turn led me to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. The video for the Daft Punk tune is OK but nothing to write home about, unless you’re a Daft Punk or anime fan.

At the end of September, I’m watching Pink on Paul O’Grady and she talks about her appearance on the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. I’d missed most of the show somehow, despite the fact that Russell Brand was hosting. (As an aside, it’s annoying — and stupid — that MTV won’t allow you to watch any of their videos unless you’re in the US, despite the fact that the show aired outside of the US at the time anyway.) Pink mentioning it reminds me to check Youtube. Can’t find her performance there but what I can see and what I caught on various reruns of it on TV tell me Russell Brand didn’t go over very well with US audiences. Admittedly, he’s an acquired taste. One of the clips that I’d seen on TV was Tokio Hotel winning best new artist. I’d never heard of them before that, but I loved Bill’s hair. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why I like Russell Brand: the big, dark hair.) So, yesterday, I’m back on Youtube, this time looking at top viewed videos. Low and behold, there’s Tokio Hotel, in a music video that has been viewed 28 million times. So I watch it. (Yes, I am a lemming.) It’s not half bad. So I start watching other Tokio Hotel videos. And I realize that I have heard them before, earlier this year.

Then I remember what I was looking at originally and I go back to the top viewed videos. There I find a video called Daft Hands, which features someone doing a hand jive type thing to “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. It, like the song, starts off slowly so it looks like it will just be someone’s dancing hands. (Youtube’s top viewed are frequently complete and utter crap, like the Numa Numa guy and that incredibly nails-on-blackboard-annoying Chocolate Rain song, so it wouldn’t have surprised if that’s all this video was.) I almost didn’t watch it all the way through. That would have been unfortunate because it truly is awesome to watch. (There’s also a Daft Bodies video but it doesn’t seem as interesting to me, perhaps because I don’t find the bodies in question all that enticing.) How did I miss it back when I was looking for Daft Punk earlier this year? Apparently I was stuck on the roundabout.