Category Archives: Articles

Top Ten BBC3 Sitcoms of all-time (with clips)

With BBC 3 going off-air in the autumn of 2015, scores of terrible sitcoms will now likely never see the light of day. In amongst the tripe there have been some belters though, Dom Kureen shares his top ten BBC 3 sitcoms.

10. Uncle (Launch: 2014)

 

Loosely based on Man Stroke Woman’s ‘Uncle Jack’ sketches, Uncle follows the evolving relationship between a struggling musician and his until recently neglected 12 year-old nephew. A satisfying blend of dark humour and heart-warming narrative kept the first six episodes fresh, a second series has been commissioned.

 

9. The Smoking Room (Launch: 2004)

Written by Brian Dooley and starring Robert Webb, The Smoking Room won a BAFTA in 2005 and ran for two series from 2004-2005. Set in one room, the snappy repartee between characters never allowed it to drift.

 

8. How Not To Live Your Life (Launch:  2007)

Hitting screens in late 2007, How Not To Live Your Life ran for 20 episodes and focused on the futile existence of Donald “Don” Danbury (Writer and actor Dan Clark), a man stumbling through life with no clear purpose or direction.

 

7. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps (Launch: 2001*)

Although not to everyone’s taste, Two Pints had a nine series, 80 episode lifespan that started in 2001 on BBC 2 and moved to BBC 3 a couple of years later. The Runcorn based sitcom provided a springboard for the careers of Sheridan Smith, Ralf Little and Will Mellor.

 

6. Bad Education (Launch: 2012)

Starring and written by Jack Whitehall, Bad Education centres around the often misguided teaching styles of Alfred Frufrock Wickers and his relationships with other eccentric figures at the fictional Abbey Grove School in Watford, including sketchy headmaster Shaquille “Simon” Fraser (Matthew Horne.)

 

5. Him & Her (Launch: 2010)

A sitcom about a lazy 20-something couple and their run-ins with various irritating friends and family members. Joe Wilkinson’s portrayal of Dan Wilkinson – Becky (Sarah Solemani) and Steve’s (Russell Tovey) socially awkward neighbour, is the best thing in the show.

 

4. Pulling (Launch: 2006)

The brainchild of Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, Pulling was a creative success, even if the ratings were a little disappointing. The sitcom focuses on the lives of three single, female house mates and their attempts to…  erm, pull.

 

3. Gavin and Stacey (Launch: 2007)

 

Ruth Jones and James Corden hit the jackpot when they co-wrote Gavin and Stacey, a tale of a long distance relationship that brings the two lead protagonists together. Ultimately, a star-studded supporting cast outshine the colourless lead pair.

 

2. The Mighty Boosh (Launch: 2004)

After years of stage and radio shows, The Mighty Boosh finally hit the small screen in 2004, picked up by Steve Coogan’s company, ‘Baby Cow Productions’. Although sometimes panned as student-y silliness, the programme built up a decent following and created numerous vivid, memorable scenes for viewers.

 

1. Nighty Night (Launch: 2004)

 

A black comedy, Nighty Night follows the movements of narcissistic sociopath Jill Tyrell (Julia Davis) who has become obsessed with her neighbour Cathy Cole’s (Rebecca Front) husband Don (Angus Deayton.) The first series won a Banff award and Davis, who created the show as well as starring in it, received a Royal Television Society Award for her portrayal of the twisted lead.

Disagree with Kureen.co.uk’s top ten? Let us know which sitcoms you think should have been included or discarded in the comment section below.

 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Bo Knows – The amazing story of Bo Jackson

In the first of a two part look at those super-humans who have succeeded at the apex of more than one sport, new contributor Ken Irons sheds some light upon the extraordinary career of Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson.

Bo Jackson

It is sometimes easy to forget that certain individuals have actually reached the very top level in more than one sport simultaneously.

One such a super- athlete was Vincent Edward ‘Bo’ Jackson, born in Alabama in 1962 as one of 11 siblings. His mother was a lone parent. He was a naturally shy kid with a tendency to stutter and this could lead to anger and subsequent confrontation with other children. Such confrontations, however, were apt to be short lived as it didn’t take long for his peers to realise that baiting him was unacceptably dangerous.

Bo soon developed a superb physique. He grew powerful shoulders, partly due to his ongoing love of bow and arrow shooting, and had a sense of timing that enabled him to throw huge weights accurately and at lightning speed. His massive legs and exceptional lungpower ensured that, when he fully matured (at 6 feet one inch and 225 pounds), he was about as fast an athlete as you were likely to encounter anywhere.

Bo Jackson 2

He went into baseball, football and track, with word of his talent rapidly spreading, and won a baseball scholarship at Auburn University from 1982.

His natural talents and sheer athleticism guaranteed that spectators always got good value for their money when watching him. It was whilst at Auburn (which was his ‘home’ college) that he was approached illegally and signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers who wanted him to play football for them in the ‘off season’. this led to his dismissal by Auburn, an action that pleased neither party, but one that was inevitable under the circumstances.

Bo then signed with Kansas City Royals for baseball. Soon his enormous strikes and scintillating speed, coupled with a natural sense of balance, had the fans aghast.

Once, he sprinted at top speed toward the fence to take an astonishing catch over his shoulder and then, to avoid collision with the barrier, actually ran 3 or 4 steps up, and back down, the vertical structure.  This happened in one smoothly coordinated, unforgettable movement – small wonder that ESPN subsequently voted him the greatest athlete of all time, ahead of Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer et al.

Jackson’s football career commenced with L.A. Raiders. He declined further involvement with Tampa Bay, although he’d actually signed for them, feeling bitter about his enforced departure from Auburn and stating that he’d treat football as a “hobby” in the baseball off-season.

Only Bo, with his awesome qualities, could have adopted such a cavalier stance. His football skills matched his baseball skills and one could give no higher praise than that. He was, indeed, a superstar in both sports. Multimedia fame and highly rewarding advertising campaigns followed (see below.)

While playing football on 13 January, 1991, Bo was brought down from behind by a seemingly innocuous tackle which, it turned out, dislocated his hip.

Although he was optimistic about recovery at first, he subsequently underwent replacement surgery and, try as he might to recapture past glories, was never the same man again. He did play baseball with Chicago Whitesox (this, despite a false hip), but was a shell of his former self.

His legacy is well and truly preserved however. Indeed, if he had excelled in the modern era, rather than the mid-eighties to early nineties, such were his abilities that cynics would almost certainly be attributing them to the use of steroids.

Bo Jackson’s great tragedy was the cruelly shortened span of his domination.

Check back tomorrow for part two, where Ken takes a peek at a host of others who managed to excel at the zenith of more than one sport.

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

The Distraction War

The war on drugs continues apace, with a split between those championing a further crackdown and others who think it’s all a bit of a hullabaloo, Dom Kureen gives his two cents.

Psychedelic alien
Drugs are bad Dom!


T
he sentiments were well morally virtuous but misguided on a plethora of levels, as my girlfriend caught wind of my past experiences with Ayahuasca, a psychedelic medicine first reported by 16th Century Christian missionaries from Europe, who encountered South Americans using it and described it as ‘the work of the devil.’

Renowned for its healing powers, the brew, also known under the names Yage and Daime, acts as a hallucinogenic compound of the Tryptamine family – notorious for creating insightful, enlightening states of mind.

Where my former flame showed naïvety was in stating with certainty a debunked generalisation and refusing to acknowledge alcohol, cigarettes, preservative packed fast foods or prescription medication as ‘drugs,’ a view endorsed by the majority of mainstream media and a government whose best interests are served by demonising anything that falls outside of their constitution.

In addition, to claim that all of these illegal substances are ‘bad’ expressed an innocently jaded outlook, one that had been propagated for the benefit of big pharmaceutical companies, who bring a gargantuan chunk of change into the current system.

Albert Hoffman: creator of LSD is considered the Godfather of psychedelics.
Albert Hoffman: creator of LSD is considered the Godfather of psychedelics.

 

In September, 2012, Channel Four conducted their own experiment: ‘Drugs Live:  The Ecstasy Trials.’ In which 30 people from various backgrounds and cultural dispositions were taken to a medical lab on two separate occasions – alternately ingesting a placebo pill and one containing 83mgs of pure MDMA (the subjects were kept in the dark as to which was the active drug.)

Although it was difficult to gauge the credibility of the trial, due to the controlled doses administered and prohibitive conditions, 29 of the 30 people tested (including a vicar, actor, drug counsellor and novelist) found that their overall experience was a positive one.

The sole individual who reported negatively about the experience was a former S.A.S soldier who admitted that in retrospect he had resisted what he perceived to be a forced, artificial state of consciousness as a result of his ingrained training.

Mind-set plays an intrinsic role in the value of all medication; it’s the reason why sugar pills and empty capsules have cured ailments such as headaches, anxiety and nausea in the past.

Matters of the mind also account for why alcohol, tobacco and sugar are widely regarded as ‘safe’ staples of society, despite accounting for so much illness and death.

Alcohol is at the forefront of more than 8,000 deaths per year in the UK, whilst psychedelic drugs are linked to fewer than 20 – still, a person who can quaff copious amounts of booze is often revered, while one who sporadically dabbles in hallucinogens is too freely labelled a junkie.

‘Vice’ is a website that promotes a regular ‘On Acid’ series, in which an individual swallows a tab of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and goes to an event under the influence, with a camera crew documenting the narrative that unfolds as a result of this enhanced mental state.

Although, as with the Ecstasy Trial, the forced settings are probably not conducive to getting the best from Albert Hofman’s mellow yellows, it is a brave/foolhardy form of journalism that makes for engaging viewing.

The problem with heavily regulating psychedelics and other drugs is that it inevitably results in a surfeit of street vendors, who have been known to cut their products with household cleaning agents and other toxic ingredients that are far more harmful than a properly regulated batch of the desired prescription would be.

There are also ‘legal highs.’ These usually involve self-proclaimed kitchen chemists taking an illegal drug, slightly tweaking the atomic structure and printing some fancy packaging to take it to market, often with tragic consequences – bath salts were one such drug that set off psychosis in dozens of users and were the at the root of an array of  horrific, cannibalistic scenes.

McDonald's: Legally pump out their interpretation of food.
McDonald’s: Legally pump out their interpretation of food.

Then there’s the modern strand of Desmorphine, known on the streets of Russia as ‘Krokodil’, a lethal concoction of codeine, paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochloric acid, iodine and the red phosphorous from matchbox strike pads.

A cheap alternative to heroin, the home-made substance is injected into a vein and rots flesh from human bodies due to its toxicity. There are some graphic videos regarding this on YouTube if you think you’ve got the stomach for it.

Of course ad-libbed substances like these are destructive and addictive, but their rise is largely a result of tried and tested drugs being unobtainable, unless one decides to deviate from the prohibitive laws currently in place (which you shouldn’t, obviously.)

While Kureen.co.uk certainly isn’t endorsing the easy availability of ALL drugs, it does feel that, in light of MDMA’s promising track record as a tool for therapy, it could certainly be beneficial to experiment further with it under controlled conditions.

Cannabis oil is another potential remedy that has tons of research to suggest that it could provide a legitimate cure for some forms of Cancer and all manner of other illnesses. Sadly although it is legal, anything relating to ‘weed’ is too demonised in many people’s eyes for it to be considered a feasible option when burning the illness away temporarily is still a viable alternative.

Prescription: GP's are free to dish magic pills out at their own discretion.
Prescription: GP’s are free to dish magic pills out at their own discretion.

Ketamine, Marijuana and some forms of DMT obviously have benefits far beyond what many are aware of. It is when they are abused that they become a danger, nonetheless they’re all worth trialling extensively.

When you consider the data that’s readily available, the hackneyed phrase of “drugs are bad” is fuelled by ignorant conjecture. It only accounts for communique almost entirely reliant upon half-truths. This phoney fear mongering continues to serve its purpose, to distract the spooked masses from corruption elsewhere.

The war on illegal drugs is portrayed as fundamental to the sparing of dozens of victims each year…

And the conflicts that sacrifice millions of innocent lives just happen to be easier to lose in the shuffle as a result.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Physical Phenomenons: athletes who excelled in more than one sport

Ken Irons returns with the second part of his feature on that rarest breed of athlete who enjoyed success at the highest level of more than one sport – part two focuses on the Compton brothers, Herschel Walker and Rebecca Romero.

Denis Compton (left) starred for England at cricket and Arsenal at football.
Denis Compton (left) starred for England at cricket and Arsenal at football.

A man who arguably set the bench mark for multi-sport participation more than any other was Denis Compton (1918 – 1997).

He played cricket for Middlesex and England as a right hand batsman and left arm spinner. He was an attacking batsman with a swashbuckling approach and his post war exploits, which included scoring over 3,000 runs in the 1947 season, and playing outside left for Arsenal, ensured that he was as big a sporting hero as England has ever seen.

A pleasant, genuine personality added to his appeal and he was the first English sportsman to attract substantial advertising revenue. His face could be seen all over the country smiling down from billboards, earning him the affectionate nickname ‘Brylcream Boy’.

Denis’ brother, Leslie (1912-1984), also played football for Arsenal, as a centre half, and cricket for Middlesex as wicket keeper. He won two international caps at football, late in his career, and remains the oldest player to debut for England.

Although, perhaps, a slightly superior footballer, he could not hope to match his brother cricket-wise and always stood in Denis’ sporting shadow.

Herschel Walker has never been a man to bow to convention. An ex-American football star (1982 Heisman trophy winner), Olympic bobsledder, track and field runner and taekwondo black belt, he started a new career, aged 48, in martial arts.

7631297770_4db2ab72af_c
The great Herschel Walker

Walker won his first Strikeforce MMA fight, defeating a man barely half his age. His martial arts trainer can scarcely believe his dietary regime – he eats only one meal a day and as a vegetarian eschews meats as well as, amazingly, other proteins, reasoning that his forbears, from South Georgia, worked excessively hard, long hours without the need for such nourishment, so why shouldn’t he?

He will also, if in the mood, abstain from food altogether for 3 or 4 days at a time, this habit not appearing to detract from his heavy training program. For example he is always up at 5.30am for his 750/1500 push ups and 2000 sit ups, preparatory to a long, hard day.

Interestingly, like Bo Jackson (the subject of the first part of this article), Walker suffered with a stutter in childhood, which led to his being bullied, similarly finding confidence and self belief via his sporting prowess, although his obsessive outlook has led to occasional problems with personality disorder in later years.

Rebecca Romero: one of only two women to win gold in two separate Olympic sports.
Rebecca Romero: one of only two women to win gold in two separate Olympic sports.

Rebecca Romero (born 24/1/1980 in Surrey), has been an outstanding athlete who has accomplished fame both as a rower and cyclist. She was the first British woman to compete in two different sports at the Olympic Games and when she won gold in the individual pursuit at Bejing in 2008, she became just the second woman from any country to win medals in more than one sport.

Rebecca took up rowing at 17 and, startlingly, progressed from novice to under 23 international in a mere 8 months. Her career (favoured position – stroke) lasted from 1998 to 2005. She forsook oars for handlebars thereafter when her cycling career took off (2006 to 2011). She won the world championship individual pursuit in 2008.

There are others who have competed among the upper echelons of more than one sport of course, with the likes of the legendary Michael Jordan (basketball and baseball) and gargantuan  Brock Lesnar (wrestling and American football), whose failures provide evidence of just how difficult a feat it is.

For that reason alone fans should celebrate the smattering who have achieved glory in more than one sporting field. Against all the odds their desire and talent have raised them far beyond the norm and placed them within the sanctuary of an elite club with a heavily compressed guest list.

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Believing Is Seeing

Dom Kureen takes a look at the rapidly unravelling reality we’re faced with, as Rolf Harris becomes the latest high profile individual accused of sexual abuse.

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris CBE is the latest in a protracted chain of distinguished dignitaries to be hauled before judge and jury for alleged acts of sexual abuse, with many victims purportedly shy of legal consenting age when molested.

The 84-year old has long been depicted as an adopted English national treasure, with his art, TV programmes and light-hearted musical compositions providing easily consumable, tongue-in-cheek entertainment for the gratification of the throngs who have adored him for aeons.

For an esteemed icon to be ostensibly duplicitous with a generational circle of high profile deviants is profoundly unsettling – not least with regards to the superficial subject of heroes: sick revelations shift paradigms and shake perceptions. Individuals once veiled in prestige are suddenly exposed as nefarious reprobates.

The essence of Jimmy Saville’s cumulative obituary immediately in the wake of his death cut an epitaph to a selfless, wholehearted entertainer and charitable soul, whose unrelenting generosity raised several millions of pounds and enhanced a host of otherwise negatively afflicted individual existences.

A sympathetic portrait of a kind soul, despite the fact that hundreds of people were aware of deceit.

There was no mention of the free reign Saville’s position afforded him; blind eyes were turned and suspicions purposefully disregarded in order not to jeopardise the late DJ’s awareness spreading affiliation with various organisations.

To have known the horror that Saville was capable of and remain mute makes all of those observers who protected his legacy for their own prosperity complicit in sheltering a paedophile, and guilty of allowing hundreds of naïve, innocent children to suffer trauma.

While Saville was never brought to task during his lifetime, his unmasking did at least prove the catalyst for a multitude of subsequent convictions.

Inevitably this is merely the tip of the iceberg. ‘Operation Ore’ took place from 2002 until 2003, locating over 10,000 people guilty of paying to view images of child pornography online, many of whom were/are household names.

Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during 'Operation Ore'
Pete Townshend (with guitar): Came under scrutiny during ‘Operation Ore’

For legal reasons, kureen.co.uk cannot name any of the MPs, academics, musicians or other celebrities linked with the case (if you look in the right places you can find the information for yourself), but something serendipitous transpired just as the faeces were threatening to hit the fan.

With the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper preparing to print a list of names connected to the investigation, an eleventh-hour D-Notice was passed in the House of Commons, prohibiting the article from making first editions. Speculation suggested that then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, felt the timing of the piece was inappropriate, with British troops set to be sent to war in Iraq.

There were a couple of high profile individuals who did become exposed during the case: ‘The Who’ guitarist Pete Townshend, who cracked wise with police under interrogation, and comedian John Thompson, most notable for his jazz club skits on ‘The Fast Show’ just over a decade ago.

Both admitted to having paid to access child pornography websites – Townshend claiming he was doing research for a book and Thompson asserting that he had suffered abuse as a teenager and felt that this would aid his rehabilitation. Both remain in the public eye today and there is very little mention of their links with Operation Ore anywhere online.

The point of referencing this case is not to expose any specific individual; it is simply to highlight the fact that as a species we too often readily accept information that is filtered into our psyche subliminally by deliberate design.

Tragically as a society we have become conditioned to put more stock in social networks and emulating celebrity than querying the stream of data discharged from biased barrels.

Believing is seeing
Believing is seeing

The truth is out there for the inquisitive mind, it’s just buried deep beneath the superficial, and while it would be comforting to assume that the unravelling Illusion of a clutch of disturbed creatures, brought to justice in their twilight years, provides a glimpse of a shiny, progressive brand of informative media, it’s a notion fraught with nativity.

Politicians do not represent the masses; they spout half-truths and hyperbolic claims in different coloured ties. Their goal is not to unite a nation, it is to placate a restless society who are seeking revolution and ominously threatening to rebel against a shallow, stagnant order.

This is a tempestuous generation, albeit one currently under stoic hex. Around 35% of eligible voters didn’t enter the polling stations for the 2010 General Elections as a result of growing apathy or in some cases protest. Those who did place a cross in a box couldn’t decide upon a conclusive candidate, necessitating the farcical coalition that saddled the country with the most mis-matched double act since Pete Doherty and Elton John traumatised the ‘Live 8’ audience in the summer of 2005.

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga.

Do heroes still exist, or will observers continually be left nauseated by those they once revered?

The truth is… Maybe we can’t handle the truth after so many years of watered down reality. What we don’t know is unquestionably far scarier than the titbits that we do.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

11 of the most uncomfortable interviews of all time! (with videos)

Many dream of one day being able to mingle with the stars… But what about those times when it all goes horribly wrong? Dom Kureen takes a look at eleven of the most uncomfortable interviews of all time!

*WARNING: MOST VIDEOS CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE!

1. Michael Parkinson creeps out Meg Ryan

Parky’s usually affable nature seemed to desert him when he interviewed Meg Ryan on his show in 2006, with a patronising, banal line of inquisition replacing the usual charm.

Ryan seemed perplexed at what the veteran broadcaster was trying to achieve, later referring to him as a ‘nut’ and labelling it the most difficult interview she’d ever suffered.

2. Bill Grundy riles up the Sex Pistols

Visibly under the influence of several ethanol based beverages, English television presenter Bill Grundy could barely mask his contempt for ‘The Sex Pistols’ and their entourage during a segment for the ‘Today Show.’

Winding up the punk rockers from the get-go, the interview descended into two minutes of cuss words and provocation.

3.  ‘Dr. D’ David Schulz slaps John Stossel around the chops

Taking exception to what he felt was a disrespectful line of questioning, WWF wrestler David Schulz open hand slapped interviewer John Stossel twice, knocking him over with the force of the second blow.

Schulz later stated that the federation’s promoter, Vince McMahon, had sent him out with clear instructions to rough up the smug journalist, a claim refuted by the company.

4. Harry Redknapp ain’t no wheeler dealer!

Having witnessed his Tottenham Hotspur side lose to Wigan Athletic, Harry Redknapp was left fuming when Sky’s Rob Palmer labelled him a ‘wheeler dealer’ in the post-match interview, a reference to his transfer market acumen.

Redknapp didn’t see it that way and fired off a couple of f-bombs, before being persuaded to come back and conclude the conversation with the shaken interviewer in a more civilised manner.

5.  Crispin Glover goes loco on Letterman

Most famous for his role in ‘Back To The Future’, Crispin Glover appeared on  ‘The Letterman Show’ to promote ‘River’s Edge,’ his upcoming release.

Ludicrous scenes soon ensued, with the live audience and host not sure what to make of it all. Some speculated that the actor was tripping on a psychedelic drug of some sort… In actual fact he was promoting a character from another of his films – A fact that a miffed David Letterman hadn’t been made of aware of beforehand.

6. James Brown gurns and sings his way through CNN interview

Having been released on bail following serious spouse abuse charges, James Brown did an interview with Sonya Friedman for CNN’s ‘Sonya Live.’

Rapidly plummeting into a screeching, singing, slurred attempt to promote his upcoming tour, nobody was quite sure WHAT ‘Mr Dynamite’ had ingested pre-show, but he was clearly high on more than life.

7. The Bee Gees walk off Clive Anderson Talks Back

Taking umbrage to a couple of barbs from host Clive Anderson, eldest Bee Gee, Barry Gibb, became progressively more bothered throughout the interview.

The main bones of contention were probably Anderson insinuating that the band were ‘(s)hit makers,’ and making fun of their previous moniker, ‘Les Tosseurs’.

In one final awkward twist, Maurice was unable to detach his lapel mic’ and stood there tugging at his top long after his siblings had exited.

8.  BBC News interviews the wrong ‘Guy’

In May, 2006, ‘BBC News’ scheduled a live interview with internet guru Guy Kewney. When air time arrived however, they astonishingly called a completely different man, also named Guy, into the studio.

Guy Goma, a graduate from the Congo, had been waiting for a job interview when a BBC Executive mistook him for I.T buff Kewney, An uncomfortable few minutes unfolded live for the nation.

9. Mark Wahlberg gets sozzled on the Graham Norton Show

Hollywood A-lister and former boy band affiliate, Mark Wahlberg, appeared on the Graham Norton Show in early 2013, seemingly three sheets to the wind from the get-go.

Relatively composed at the start, he gradually became less coherent and seemed to have irritated fellow guest Sarah Silverman by the time the credits rolled.

10. Mike Tyson gets vulgar for no reason

Speaking to CNN’s Russ Salzberg prior to a fight against Francois Botha, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson didn’t appear to be his cheery self, responding to mild inquisition with a string of profanities.

Tyson went on to win the bout without too many problems, but behind the scenes (not for the first time) things were falling apart at the seams.

11. David Blaine mesmerises Eamonn Holmes

Widely considered the world’s greatest illusionist, David Blaine appeared on GMTV for an interview with irritating tub of lard Eamonn Holmes.

What unfolded over the next several minutes was widely reported at the time to be Blaine under the influence of alcohol and severe sleep deprivation.

It later emerged that the trickster may have been messing with the media, a stunt that he’d been known to pull previously.

There are numerous other interviews that warrant honourable mentions, including Andy Kaufmann and Jerry Lawler’s (staged) appearance on the Letterman Show – let us know in the comments below some that you think we should have included!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Top 10 British boxers of all time (Part Two)

In the first part of Ken Irons’ article he revealed the first half of his top ten British boxers of all time, this time we find out who made the top five (and more importantly the number one slot!)  So who did our man at ringside feel were the premier pugilists from the land of the Rose? Read on and find out…

5) Chris Eubank 

Middle & Super Middleweight (45-5-2, 23 KO’s)

London born Eubank moved, in his teens, to New York, where he eventually fought off drug, alcohol and shop lifting dependencies when he took up boxing. 

On his return to the U.K. he was undefeated world middleweight champion for over five years and unbeaten in all fights in his first ten years as a pro.

His lisping drawl, eccentric attire and foppish attitude antagonised some (including arch adversary Nigel Benn) but masked a steely character.

 4) Carl Froch

Super Middleweight (33-2, 24 KO’s)

Froch, from Nottingham, is generally regarded as the best pound for pound British fighter currently plying his trade.

Nicknamed ‘The Cobra’, the 38 year-old has won 33 of his fights (24 knock outs) and suffered his only defeats by decision, with a record of 9–2 in world title fights, four victories being by knock out.

 –

3) John Conteh           

Light Heavyweight (34-4-1, 23 KO’s)

Aged only 19 Lancastrian Conteh won a gold medal at middleweight in the 1970 Olympics.

On turning professional he won the WBC light heavyweight crown in 1974 and held it until 1977. He retired in 1980 with a record of 34 wins, 4 losses and a solitary draw.

Regrettably he was another superbly talented fighter who could have done better still had it not been for an alleged penchant for the high life.

 –

2) Joe Calzaghe CBE

Super Middleweight (46-0, 32 KO’s)

British Lionhearts v Italia Thunder - World Series of Boxing

Welsh southpaw Calzaghe held WBO, WBA WBC & IBF super middle titles and is the longest reigning super middle champion in history, retiring undefeated in 2009.

His popularity has since resulted in appearances on national TV shows, while a perfect professional record of 46-0 is one of the finest in the history of elite level sparring, trumped only by Rocky Marciano (49-0) and Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0).      

– 

1) Lennox Lewis CM, CBE

Heavyweight (41-2-1, 32 KO’s)

Born in West Ham, Lewis moved to Canada in childhood but retains dual nationality. At 6 feet 5 inches and around 17 stone, easy going, chess playing Lewis was a supreme boxer with a knock out punch in either hand.

He held the undisputed world title and never ducked a fight in an era (nineties) when there were plenty of dangerous fighters around, such as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko (all of whom Lewis subjugated.)

His only professional defeats were duly and emphatically avenged in resultant re-matches.

What do you think of Ken’s choices? Should Ricky Hatton have made the cut? How about Frank Bruno or Herbie Hyde (ok, the last one might be a joke!)

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Top 10 British boxers of all time (part one)

Britain has produced some incredible pugilists over the past century, but who are the cream of the crop? In part one of this article Ken Irons gives the first five of his top ten British boxers of all time, focusing on numbers 10 to 6.

Nigel Benn

It is inevitably difficult to assess athletes of any kind when comparing different eras; the contemporary boxer has the advantages of improved fitness levels, whereas fighters of fifty and sixty years ago, in the days before multi titles for each weight division, had but one world title to fight for.

They didn’t, like today, get a shot at a title when they’d only had to undergo a handful of fights. Taking these points into account, I have done my best to come up with a fair assessment of the top ten British boxers of all-time based on a series of criteria that includes longevity and performances on the big stage; the latter one reason why some notable names have missed the cut.

10) Sir  Henry Cooper OBE KSG

 Heavyweight (55 fights, 40 wins,  14 losses, 1 draw, 27 K.O’s)                                                         

Cooper, otherwise fondly referred to as Our Enery’, was arguably the most popular British fighter since the war and, although he held only Commonwealth and European titles as opposed to a world strap, is still remembered for his fearsome left hook.

It was this punch which, famously, floored Muhammad Ali in perhaps Cooper’s most notorious bout although Ali, aided by some alleged sharp practice from his corner to give him extra recovery time, went on to stop Cooper with a badly cut eye.

9) Barry McGuigan MBE

Featherweight (32-3, 28 KO’s)

McGuigan, born in Clones, Republic of Ireland, and nicknamed the ‘Clones Cyclone’, was a skilful boxer and powerful puncher whose 32 winning professional fights included 28 knock outs. 

He won the world title and successfully defended it twice. His career was at it’s height during the time of ‘The Troubles’ (a religion conflict mainly based in Northern Ireland) and McGuigan earned tremendous respect and admiration from both sides of the political divide, not only via his in-ring accomplishments, but also by his heartfelt, authentic neutrality. 

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8) Naseem Hamed

Bantam, Super Bantam & Featherweight (36-1, 31 KO’s)

Southpaw Hamed, born in Sheffield, was a very exciting, if unorthodox fighter who packed a great punch with either fist, knocking out 31 of his 36 victims (losing only one fight in his professional career).

He held WBC, WBO, IBF & WBA world titles but retired at only 28 years of age, this despite being hailed by some as potentially Britain’s best ever fighterwhose only fault allegedly was a limited enthusiasm for training camp.  

7) Lloyd Honeyghan     

Welterweight (43-5, 31 KO’s)

Jamaica born Honeyghan, a supreme combatant, was responsible for one of the greatest world championship wins ever achieved by a British fighter when, in 1986, he travelled to the USA to defeat their seemingly invincible champion Donald Curry in 6 rounds.

He was WBC, WBA & IBF champion from 1986 to 1987 and WBC champion 1988  1989, although he famously dumped his WBA belt in a trash bin due to their policy of allowing fights in South Africa.  

6) Nigel Benn

Middle & Super Middleweight (42-5-1, 35 KO’s)

Ex soldier Benn, born in Ilford, was one of the most exciting fighters Britain has ever produced and the crowds would flock to witness his aggressive, barnstorming approach to contests, which resulted in many knock out victories.

He won world titles at both middle and super middleweight and had two epic battles against his nemesis and arch rival Chris Eubank, the first of which he lost, with the rematch concluding in a hotly disputed draw.

Check back with Kureen tomorrow for the top five and let us know if you agree with Ken’s selections or not! 

Written by Ken Irons

I have always had a love of the written word and have frequently, over the years, exasperated editors, publishers et al with my copious submissions of work. My highly advanced years I find a plus, as it means not having to research so much - I can remember it if it's in the last century or so!

Retro Gaming: Top 10 Super Nintendo Games

Retro gaming is big business at the moment, everything comes back into fashion as they say – so what did Dom Kureen pick as his top ten Super Nintendo games of all time? Read on to find out!

Mario Kart

Of all the consoles that I’ve had the pleasure to own or experience, my favourite remains the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (AKA SNES.)

With the advances in gaming that have taken place in the past two decades, it would be easy to scoff at the simple graphics and limited depth of the 16-bit era, viewing it as an eyesore fit only as a reference for how far games consoles have evolved since, with the current power players, the Playstation 4 and much maligned Xbox One, hammering home that point.

Still, that would be to dismiss the simple fun and focus on gameplay that defined the SNES, it was a brilliant machine that was responsible for memorable titles being released with reassuring regularity.

The return of retro has seen a boom in popularity for the machines from the Megadrive/SNES/Gameboy era, as once again those vintage devices are dusted off and given an airing as some sort of ironic fashion accessory.

With that in mind, I felt that it was only right to do a top ten of all SNES games, let us know if there are any that you think should have made the list, but weren’t included.

Please note that games such as Earthbound and the breathtaking Chrono Trigger were never released on the UK SNES and are therefore not under consideration.

10. Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

Street Fighter 2 Turbo

With fighting games all the rage in the 1990s, the SF 2 series found its way to the forefront of the genre, despite the likes of Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct also making successful transitions from arcade to console.

The turbo edition of the game not only added an option to change the speed of combat, it also enabled the use of the four boss characters from the previous SFII game – of which M.Bison was undisputedly the most dynamic.

With slick cartoon graphics and easy-to-learn moves, this incarnation beats its sequel, Super Street Fighter II, on to the list, with the worthless additional characters adding very little to the latter. The only real competition comes from Mortal Kombat 2, but this just edges it out of the top ten.

9. International Superstar Soccer (1995)

As far as footballing games went on the Super Nintendo, most had followed a similar format, with small, pixilated graphics and muffled sound dominating games like Striker or Kick Off.

ISS changed all of that, with big bold sprites and even the occasional phrase such as ‘free-kick’, ‘throw in’ and best of all ‘gooooooooooaaaaaalllll!!!’ spouted by a wild commentator for good measure.

Easy to get to grips with and boasting international teams set up exactly as they had been in the 1994 World Cup, this added new layers to previous carts dedicated to the sport.

Perhaps best of all, the game had a scenario mode, which had matches set up at specific points, with the objective usually to overturn a difficult situation or hold on for dear life with a poor side against the likes of Holland or Brazil. One of these even has a biased referee who sent off two Italian players, so you begin your challenge with only nine men on the pitch!

Interestingly, this game was the predecessor to the more famous Pro Evolution Soccer series, which in 2013 still rivals Fifa as the must-own football game.

8. Donkey Kong Country (1994)

Donkey Kong Country - [Front]

A controversial choice, as most DK fans prefer the second part of the trilogy. For me, the incredible visuals and imagination of the original still give it the edge.

With a brilliant two-player mode, in which team-mates can tag to switch control midway through stages, this was innovative on numerous levels and reinvented a character who had for the most part been reduced to the role of a bad guy in doddery 8-bit games, something alluded to with tongue firmly in cheek during this version of the big ape’s antics.

Developers, Rage, spent 22 years designing this game and it shows. With its pre-rendered 3D graphics and three files to store progress in, DK Country was a must-own title, which helped to reinvigorate the Super Nintendo brand after sales had dipped during early to mid-1994.

7. Super Metroid (1994)

The third entry of the Metroid series, Metroid 3, better known as Super Metroid was indisputably the best of the three games.

A sideways scrolling platformer, which features run, jump and gun gameplay, players progress along their journey by adding new features and weapons as the difficulty increases, making the final embers of play a formidable prospect to overcome.

A huge challenge, with more than enough variety to keep any platform fan interested in the long term, Super Metroid is still considered one of the finest examples of what can be done with limited graphical and storage capabilities.

6. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

How do you follow a timeless classic such as Super Mario World? By revamping the setup and letting his dinosaur pal take over at the helm!

With pressure to produce a new Mario adventure after a three-year gap in Europe, Nintendo decided upon a prequel where Mario was a baby, as opposed to the plump plumber that had captivated his fans in the first four installments.

This shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The hand-drawn backdrops stand out a mile and if Yoshi is struck by an enemy there is a countdown to collect infant Mario as he drifts away and whines. This makes it a tad easier to recover from errors than the previous adventures.

5. Super Bomberman (1993)

What could be more fun than blowing up your enemies with strategically placed bombs? It’s the age-old question that most scholars eventually put forward in one guise or another. Super Bomberman finally gave SNES owners the opportunity to do exactly that, with this exciting and bold offering.

With a terrific multi-player option allowing up to four people to get involved at any one time, this is frighteningly addictive with three different modes and a captivating storyline to keep players on their toes.

The various items that can be picked up include a boot and boxing glove, which both add unpredictability to your attacks. Meanwhile, progression towards the holy grail of maximum acceleration and full compliment of bombs means that the story mode takes some time to defeat, virtually guaranteeing hundreds of hours of entertainment in the process.

4. Super Mario All-Stars (1993)

Super Mario 3

Yes, this choice might be a bit of a cheap shot with all of these games re-releases from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but to have the first three parts of the Mario story on one cart, as well as the Lost Levels addition, was a shrewd move by Nintendo.

Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3 are the standouts here, not losing any of their greatness in the conversion. The other two offerings are still above par and scrub up well.

With the graphics upgraded from the originals and the music revamped, there is no doubt that here we have a special collection, which helped to introduce newer fans of Nintendo to some of the classic games of yore, whilst gifting veterans a nostalgic journey down the railroad tracks.

3. Super Mario World (1992)

After releasing the superlative Super Mario Bros. 3 last time out, it would have been safe and easy for Nintendo to deliver something similar here, what they decided instead was to instigate a near 180 degree sea change and deliver a fresh take on things in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Bowser has once again captured the Princess and it is Mario’s job to save the day. This time his dinosaur pal Yoshi comes along for the ride, swallowing enemies and using different-coloured shells to acquire various special powers.

With over 100 ways of completing levels and tons of hidden pathways, there is little danger of getting bored until the task of completing the mighty game is complete. The only downside may be the lack of a two-player option, but that is a minor yawp in an otherwise terrific game.

2. The Legend of Zelda: A link to the past (1992)

Regularly cited as the best SNES game of all time and among the greatest ever on any console, Zelda comes within a gnat’s whisker of topping this list.

If you have enjoyed Zelda games in the past, either pre or post A Link To The Past, then the chances are that you’ll love this as well. As an adventure game Zelda is an explorative journey of discovery in which players uncover more with each phase of play.

With an original score to rival any computer game music of the time and graphics that are visually pleasing, this is clearly a game with which great care was taken. It isn’t all surface value though, as a substantial dose of carnage and vast array of bad guys to conquer ensure that this game should satiate even the fussiest fan.

1. Super Mario Kart (1993)

So we arrive at the peak of the mountain with Super Mario Kart, the most accessible, joyful and simple racing game ever created.

Where Mario Kart excels is the variety in courses, game modes and drivers. With Championship mode playable at either 50cc, 100cc or 150cc level, it offers the opportunity to gradually sharpen your skills until you are ready to face the epic struggle of courses such as Rainbow Road.

Better still, the battle mode offers a two player experience with few peers, with each driver aiming to inflict damage on their rival via shells, banana skins and magic stars, until one kart has managed the three hits required to secure victory.

With the karts all matched up fairly well (eg: big guys such as Bowser have a high top speed and can bash small ones around the course on impact, but lack acceleration and control and Toad vice-versa) there is always a new challenge awaiting as you try to master each skill set.

So there you have it. Do you agree, disagree or are you just confused by the retro scene? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

10 Irritating Facebook Traits

Facebook has enabled people to become connected at the press of a button, but has also compromised privacy, be it from prospective employers, random folk you stumbled upon in the street or that pesky Zark Muckerberg. Dom Kureen pinpoints ten irksome traits of the social media Mecca.

Facebook logo 2

1. Adults whose profile picture is of them as a child

Chatting to people online can be awkward (do they really laugh out loud when they write ‘lol’?) To garnish that with an image of yourself as a child in a diaper adds to the weirdness, making it difficult for the other person not to feel like they’re ostensibly chatting to a child, as well as extending a misery-fuelled ode for squandered youth.

2. Couples with a joint account

Inbred Couple

Morphing into one person might be sweet ‘n’ all for ‘Darrellucy’, unfortunately though, despite most people quite liking Lucy, they think Darrell’s a bit of a twerp, and have been forced to ‘friend’ him against their will. It takes the notion of couples eventually looking like each other and expands it to mortifying extremes.

3. Facebook Fads

“Look at me, I dumped a bucket of water over my head!” For charity? No, for the glorification of your own ego, ya blaady bastard. Whether it’s posting your first FB pic or some acknowledgement of an invented day (“sister’s day, post this if you love your sister”), they develop into glorified chain letters when inevitably losing sight of the original context.

4. Ambiguous status updates

We’ve all seen the “I can’t believe this happened to me” type status, followed by a string of sympathetic, inquisitive ripostes, only for the original poster to hang on until sufficient validation is gained before they PM a bunch of well-wishers to explain that they misplaced their bottle of Pepsi Max – you know who you are!

5. The most repetitive diaries ever

Fucking bored illustration

Some people keep Facebook as a form of journal, with the daily routine plastered all over everyone’s homepage (until they inevitably get hidden by the majority.) Sharing such witty anecdotes as what they had for breakfast, the bed being warm and the dilemma of deciding which hairstyle to plump for a week on Tuesday.

6. “2015 will be my year!!!!!”

Common are those who espouse about their future brilliance, only to slump back into the previous routine after a few days of proclamations. Who are they trying to convince? In the words of a famous sports brand: Just Do It!

7. The same damn pose

Tiger Leopard

One pose fits all, with the collective authenticity of surgical experiment Nicki Minaj guest speaking against entitlement. Be it funeral, party or selfie, these people can always be relied upon to pull out an identical facial angle and expression.

8. The demise of birthday cards

Facebook Birthday Card

It was once a delight to pick up 25 birthday cards on your anniversary, glance over the words, display them for a day or two and then sling the lot in the bin, safe in the knowledge that you were still popular. Now? 50 virtually identical messages plastered onto your Facebook account by unimaginative berks.

9. Misleading video titles

Weekly World News

“You won’t believe what she does next!…” AKA: We can’t believe you’re still gullible enough to open these links, with their several attached pop-ups and hyperbole crammed preface leading to oodles of anti-climax.

10. Tailored adverts

To this day I still don’t believe that Maggie, 22, from the Isle of Wight, wants to meet me. For a start she looks an awful lot like Belinda, 23 from Gosport and Sandy, 29 from Antwerp – all of whom continuously popped up in my sidebar until my single status was removed.

Did we miss anything? Should we really be resorting to countdown lists? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.