Friday, 21 December 2007

The First Noël

Well, we all know who the last one is, don't we?

Yesterday I received the festive boxed set of DVDs which Channel 4 hands out to all its staff at Christmas (today is my last day at the home of controversy, BTW) and couldn't believe my good fortune when I saw that the Deal or No Deal Family Challenge DVD was included in the pack.

I have never seen the programme, and don't have the faintest idea how it works, but I am astonished that anyone - even those who are habitual daytime TV watchers - could be stupid enough to pay good money to be involved with it. But then again, as Arnold would no doubt remind us, it takes diff'rent strokes to move the world. Yes it does. My main objection to the show is obviously that it is fronted by Noel Edmonds, who is as loathsome as it is possible to be without wearing a Nazi uniform or fiddling about with little kiddies, or perhaps even both at the same time. I must admit to quite enjoying Swap Shop for a while (and before anyone yells Tiswas, it was possible to watch both if one was a creative viewer) and I even liked Telly Addicts in its original incarnation. Noel's House Party was where it all started to turn sour, and the appearance of Mr Blobby was the straw that broke the camel's back. Crinkley Bottom. Ha ha ha.

It's a terrible tragedy that it took a man's death to get the twat off our TV screens, but at least he was off our TV screens. Around that time, I started work in a place in Kensington, and we shared the site with Edmonds' TV production company, the name of which escapes me. I never saw him while I worked there, but I did speak to some of the staff who confirmed that he was a complete and utter bastard. With a helicopter.

Then, something terrible happened. Interviews with the coiffured little shit started appearing in Media Guardian and elsewhere, and it became clear that he was back. How had this happened? Why hadn't somebody done something to prevent it? My boss at the time was in something of a meltdown and used to sit in her office with the door closed watching DOND on the little TV she had in there, whilst pretending to write spreadsheets. I knew then that the Power of Noel was once more on the rise. Last night, we had a go at the Family Challenge DVD and not only was it almost entirely incomprehensible, it was also unutterably tedious, and pandered to the worst aspects of human nature. We won £3,000 and my kids rather touchingly asked if I was going to ring in and claim the money! Santa isn't real either, I said.

Moving up the Noels, there was another in the news lately - the monobrowed Gallagher of course. He is the second Noel - neither wholly good nor wholly bad, but a little bit of both. He is a (sort of) City fan after all, and has penned some foot-tapping, if derivative, ditties. He annoys me sometimes with his overt slebbyness, but most of the time he's fine. He also speaks very highly of me.

"She's got a cousin,
'Fact she's got 'bout a dozen

She's got one in the oven,

But it's nothing to do with me..."

Before moving on to the First Noël - the only one on the list to actually use the umlaut above the 'e') there is a more minor Noel, at least in terms of the modern celebrity profile, which the denizens of the DOND online community (Noel Barber doesn't count, 'mK?) seem unable to identify. He played alongside Mr. Mitch Mitchell and Mr. Jimi Hendrix in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He is (or was, may he rest in whatever is the rock god equivalent of peace) Mr. Noel Redding.

The First Noël then (at long last! you cry) has to be Mr. Coward.

Virginia Woolf (no less) described Coward as: 'clever as a bag of ferrets and trivial as a perch of canaries', which is a splendid epitaph, I think. Winston Churchill vetoed a knighthood for him, despite the fact that he had been a spy for the British government during the war. His plays are sublimely funny, almost Wildean, and his epigrams delicious:

"I'm not a heavy drinker. Sometimes I can go for hours without touching a drop."

He coined the word 'cuntette', and he played Mr. Bridger in The Italian Job. Nuff said.

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