When my lovely gran had to move into a home, we were amazed to discover it had a hairdressing salon tucked away down a corridor. Nobody ever seemed to use it, so we did. Which is brave of her, because I’m very much an enthusiastic amateur. I’d cut her hair as she sat and swivelled in the chair like the cool woman she was (see left). That’s not MY haircut by the way, she’s a gay young thing here obviously, but I’d cut it along those lines when she was in her eighties. She looked great with the vague bob, which was all I could do, and she hated ‘salons’. So I’m loving watching Hair (Wednesdays, 9pm, BBC3) – in which a group of talented amateurs are set a series of Bake-Off like challenges. But instead of flour, spun sugar and Mary Berry, you’ve got blockheads, drawers of hair extensions and Alain Pichon (no I’d never heard of him either – he cuts David Beckham’s hair apparently). Also, floating presenter Steve Jones (not sure why he’s involved to be honest, he’s got no hairdressing background as far I can see, and he’s no Sue Perkins) and second judge, royal hair tweaker, Denise McAdam. Continue reading
Tag Archives: annie
Welcome to the rather bewildering world of Premier, one of the world’s leading modelling agencies and the subject of Channel 4’s fun new documentary series “Model Agency”. Which on this evidence seems to boil down to minicabs, high-spirited swearing and people in bad knitwear crying a lot. Familiar territory to anybody who’s ever been to a Velocity Girl family wedding, believe me.
Carole runs Premier. She is referred to as “Auntie Carole” and does genuinely seem to care about her staff (“the bookers”) and the models they all represent. However, she’s not above a temper tantrum every now and again, that is to say approximately every 30 seconds. “F***ING CALM DOWN!” shrieks her Managing Director brother Chris at one point, obviously adopting the “do as I do and not as I say” approach.
The funny thing is, for all the supposed glamour, the pressure of organizing models for the various Fashion Weeks, the glossy magazine covers etc, it’s just like any other office. People complain about their contact lenses, pretend to be interested in each other’s drab conversations and have petty vendettas against each other. What keeps it entertaining is the sheer wealth of fun characters who also seem to be pretty natural. Intense, nervy Head of New Faces Annie, the long-suffering Chris, Carole’s languidly beautiful daughter Sissy and lots more. However, an early stand-out is booker Paul, whose uproarious camp has me howling with laughter throughout. If there was a A Little Book Of Paul, I would certainly subscribe. Paul on language – “Nobody can say “Naff” like a queen can say it!” Paul on his colleague’s proposed tattoo – “It’s so tackyyyyyyy! What’s that?! It’s a load of old s***, it’s horrible!” If we really must live in a world where anybody who’s so much as walked past a telly camera for 3 seconds gets their own chat show, why not this bloke.
There’s drama too. Whilst anybody with half a brain is aware that supposed “reality” documentaries like this are more heavily scripted than any big-budget period drama or soap, it’s refreshing to see it done as well as the Model Agency manages it. The approach is one major “storyline” per episode. Episode 1 centres around the saga of India Farrell, a 16-year old bright young thing who has gone to New York for her big break and promptly broken down. We soon learn that this is most likely attributable to her having been told she was “too fat” by a casting agent on the first day. India is probably the same weight as I was when I was three years old.
Regular readers will know of my love for Being Human, primarily as being one of the only half-decent things on BBC3. And, as our dear friends at Smash Hits were wont to say, it’s back Back BACK!
We pick up from the end of the last series. Annie the Ghost (Leonora Critchlow) is trapped in purgatory and frantically appealing to her friends and housemates Mitchell the Vampire (Aidan Turner) and George the Werewolf (Russell Tovey) through a series of TV screens and radios. As charity appeals go, it’s not exactly Band Aid/Live Aid/Lemon Aid (oh come on, citrus fruits have rights too!) but it’s moving enough.
Meanwhile, the chaps and George’s girlfriend Nina (for readers new to all this, is also a werewolf, have been bitten by George in the first series) have fled Bristol and are being shown round an abandoned B and B in Barry Island. Well, if it worked for Gavin and Stacey. The singular charms of Barry Island are colourfully outlined by a heroically lugubrious Estate Agent (“I bet heaven doesn’t have chemical toilets”). George and Nina (Sinead Keenan) are particularly taken with the basement, as it provides the prefect space for them both to transform into werewolves in the comfort their own home. Stick that in your Sales Particulars and smoke it, Heroically Lugubrious Estate Agent Lady! Proceedings are nearly derailed by Mitchell frantically walloping a tv set in order to reach Annie. “She’s our friend! We don’t have much time!”. Fortunately, George is on hand to calm the situation by hurriedly supplementing “it’s our friend, she’s, erm, appearing on Midsomer Murders later…”
Indeed, following a somewhat dour second series, Being Human has brought the funny back in a big way. And it’s brilliant. Despite its attempts and indeed some level of success at being a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer equivalent, it puts its own peculiarly British slant on the whipsmart one-liners.
We take a break from the B and B to be introduced to what turns out to be two new werewolves having a conversation in a transport caff. So far, so bonkers. But even better still, one of them is a Jake Gyllenhaal lookalike and the other one is ROBSON GREEN! We follow Robson as he uses a pair of bolt cutters to break into a locked up fairground to pinch scrap metal. Insert your own tenuous Robson and Jerome/Unchained Melody joke here, dear reader (note that I have not been arrogant/unrealistic enough to pluralise this). Unfortunately, he is rudely interrupted by a transit van full of thugs and DENNIS PENNIS! I am loving all these cameos. Also nice to see the producers nicely fitting in with my “British Buffy” hypothesis (take that, Popper and your black swans) by making Paul Kaye look even more like a mangy Billy Idol lookalike than Spike From Buffy (yes I know he’s got a real name, but this is my lunch break here).
We switch back to the main action, which largely involves George and attempting to, erm, y’know but suffering a number of difficulties including that old glasses-tangled-in-hair chestnut and then Mitchell bursting in and stealing the radio. As well as being very funny, Being Human is also very sweet. Cleverly, for a programme allegedly about the supernatural it says a great deal about the human condition. This is best encapsulated by a scene where George and Mitchell sit at the bed of a hospital patient about to die so that Mitchell can follow him into the afterlife to go after Annie. They bicker about Jewish Prayers and attempt to do the crossword, but switch to touching tenderness when the poor bloke actually carks it and his puzzled spirit self enquires what is going on. “I’m so sorry” says George gently “but I’m afraid you’ve just died”. It’s a fine line to tread between black humour and compassion. Being Human may not be viewed as a serious programme in some quarters, but it does a better job of this than most dramas. Continue reading