Remember that scene in The Naked Gun, right after the assassin crashes his car into a fireworks store? As an eager crowd gathers to gawp at the spectacular explosions, Frank Drebin tells the onlookers "Move along please, nothing to see here."
It's a pretty apt metaphor for what's happening in the world of news media right now. According to News International and the Daily Mail, this story has been blown out of all proportion by a cabal of left-leaning Murdoch-haters. There are far more important stories out there, deserving of our full attention. And this has nothing to do with the potentially incendiary contents of Rebekah Brooks' Brabantia bin-liners. So, to keep them happy, this is what you missed while you were busy watching Rupert drinking unicorn blood from a bottle of Malvern Water.
Going in for the Kyle
The toughest thing about gardening leave, as I found out over the last three weeks, is resisting the temptation to channel surf during the day. One minute you're just having a quick look at Lorraine Kelly and wondering when she transformed from Groundskeeper Willie into a Celtic MILF, and the next thing you know it's four o'clock and you've got a banging headache from watching Jeremy Kyle scream at his guests until he suffers a rectal prolapse. Although I'm feeling pretty fortunate about resisting the inexplicable allure of televised Ritalin, it seems that I'm not out of the woods just yet, because ITV has now announced plans to bring the dark prince of confrontation to prime time broadcasting.
Kyle will no doubt add his own unique twist to the Q&A
Having singlehandedly berated everyone in the UK with a missing tooth or a pair of gold hoop earrings, Jeremy Kyle has been signed up to present a new game show. It's hard to imagine how Jeremy's aggressive, acrimonious style will fit into the chummy, encouraging world of light entertainment, but the clues lie in the descriptions of 'High Stakes'.
Promising viewers a 'totally new format', the show will see contestants competing for a prize fund of half a million pounds in a game involving "knowledge, risk and tension", as they try to answer questions and avoid 'traps'. The only difference between this and his talk show is that the traps won't necessarily involve blood tests and lie detectors.
Then again, don't be surprised if the contestants start off playing as a family team, only to have a paternity test reveal that two of the kids have to sit out the big money round. And forget about quirky sayings like "I've started, so I'll finish" or "It's good, it's not right", Kyle will no doubt add his own unique twist to the Q&A. If he needs to articulate the entire question before taking answers, he can just shout "Oi, I'm talking now, you fat bitch."
Taking a bite out of Apple
This week gadget fans got their headphone cables in a twist, following the revelation that a number of Apple stores in China aren't strictly kosher. The story first came to light when an American blogger visited one of the shiny stores in Kunming city. At first glance it looked pretty authentic - with all the right branding, blue-shirted staff and a distinctive spiral staircase.
But on closer inspection, BirdAbroad noticed that the stairs weren't particularly well constructed, the interior paint job was sloppy, and there was a tell-tale sign outside that read "Apple Store". As she pointed out on her blog, "Apple never writes 'Apple Store' on its signs - it just puts up the glowing, iconic fruit."
Even so, she described the retail unit as a "beautiful ripoff - a brilliant one - the best ripoff store we had ever seen". So if the products are genuine, the staff are enthusiastic, and the experience is a positive one, why is this a big issue? Because it's just not Apple.
As for the staff themselves, they may not have realised that they weren't working for the real article, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Unfortunately, this makes those of us who'd buy a shoe box full of possum skulls, if it had an apple logo and a couple of USB ports on it, look like the vapid, invisible-robe wearing wankers that we are. I can try and convince people that I choose Apple products because of their user interface, stunning design and quality finish, but the argument falls flat if I'm put off by the paint job in the store.
As for the staff themselves, they may not have realised that they weren't working for the real article, but maybe that's not such a bad thing. After the controversy about factory conditions in China where the iPad, iPod and MacBook are manufactured, you'd probably want to keep a nice, safe distance between yourself and that iconic fruit.
I'm gonna get you, sucker
When the licensing laws were finally relaxed in 2005, our papers had a field day predicting the widespread carnage and destruction that would ensue if we allowed people to drink Magners after midnight. Of course, once the initial hysteria about alcohol fuelled armageddon had died down, the reality proved to be somewhat different. People still got shitfaced, and our A&E departments continued to resemble the green room after a recording of Take Me Out, but ultimately, nothing really changed.
The police are now seriously considering permanently adopting the lolly solution
However, just in case the boozers of Britain are about to find their second wind, we should probably take note of a little experiment that the police on Vancouver Island in British Columbia tried out recently. They wanted to curtail drunken excess once the bars closed on Canada Day, so they took one Councilwoman's suggestion and handed out lollipops. She told the local paper: "The candy shuts people up and calms them down, both through the sugar hit and the pacifier effect. They got calmer after taking the lollipops." The police are now seriously considering permanently adopting the lolly solution, but only if they can persuade local bars to give out the sweets.
Since most of us act like disruptive five year olds once we've had a sniff of the barmaid's apron, why not pacify us with a Chupa Chup? And for those who like to round off their evening with something a little harder, maybe we should start lobbying Barratt to bring back the 'Dip Dab'. You know, just in case.
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