Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player

Death, But Not By Spider

Sunday, 18 January 2009

I know it was a joke challenge tonight, when the Big Brother contestants were split by gender to see “which is better”, but it’s depressing to see anything which groups the female housemates together and reminds the public that they’re all women. Jesus, imagine if our whole gender was truly reflected in that lot. Michelle bursts into tears every chance she gets. Ulrika, faced with three weeks in a centrally heated house with food, water and comfortable beds, whines constantly that “This will break me… It’ll drive me over the edge…” - and Mutya actually walked out, so arduous was the warm, safe, catered experience. Tina Malone is aggressive, can’t let anyone else finish a sentence, bites her toenails on camera, and if there is a direct opposite to Grace Under Pressure then Tina is it.
  Of the 5 women who were set the challenge of spending five minutes in a dark room with a loose tarantula “which might bite”, 3 refused to even attempt it, 2 went in and screamed throughout, and 0 managed to work out that there was no goddamn way that Channel 4 would ACTUALLY leave them alone in the dark with a spider whose bite might trigger anaphylactic shock. Don’t they remember signing an insurance form before they went in? These women aren’t just cowards, they’re idiots.
  Besides, if Tina wants to throw off the shackles of femininity when it comes to slopping around on camera in a dressing gown, screaming violent obscenities at her housemates and spitting her toenails onto the floor, she can’t suddenly turn into a girl when it comes to standing near a spider. Ugh, it’s embarrassing.  Thank God for LaToya, who (at 13/1) is not a bad long-shot bet to win it. She’s the only one exhibiting anything like the traditional female strength of being able to handle stressful situations and calm them down. That’s if you accept a fortnight in the Big Brother house to be a stressful situation.
  Anyway, it depressed me to see this mob (apart from LaToya) grouped in any way that suggested they represent womankind. So what were the plus sides of watching Celebrity Big Brother tonight?

(1) If I hadn’t watched CBB, I might never have watched Snakes On A Plane, which followed it on Channel 4. What a brilliant movie. Ticks every box.

(2) If I hadn’t watched Snakes On A Plane, and its commercial breaks, I might never have witnessed the historic moment when rock & roll died forever. Yes, it’s Iggy Pop doing an advert for car insurance.

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James Ogley at 7:51 am on January 18th, 2009

The Iggy Pop advert is pure art isn’t it?

As I recall, the last group to advertise that particular brand was a bunch of computer-generated chickens with brummie accents.  Great company for the esteemed Mr Pop (and his lack of shirt) to find himself in.

MarkP at 11:43 am on January 18th, 2009

I saw the Iggy Pop ad and was not as outraged as I thought I might be; it was John Lydon and the butter ad that did it for me. And did you get to see this ?

David R at 3:41 am on January 19th, 2009

I’m not sure about La Toya, tbh. If you look at the launch show, she was first in the house, and made straight for the private bedroom, which she bagged. So there seems to be wangling going on. The question is, where does the wangling begin, and where does it end (if indeed there has been any wangling)?

As for Iggy Pop and the death of rock & roll, here are two girls who are pro-sisterhood, trying to keep the spirit alive:

(This video contains entertaining use of profanity)

Mark J. Easton at 10:54 am on January 19th, 2009

While I’m sure the current CBB is tragically drab, I personally gained a lot from CBB 2007, the watching of which was enough to put me off TV completely.

Although the CBB participants might be bad adverts for their perspective genders, if their behaviour can drive just one person away from TV then their antics aren’t in vain.

Andy W at 12:03 am on January 20th, 2009

La Toya made sure she bagged the private bedroom ?  That’s it.  Now I’m sure it’s actually Michael Jackson in drag.

Dass at 3:26 pm on January 21st, 2009

Sorry to let the side down, but I like every other bloke I know wouldn’t enter any room that I knew contained a spider no matter how big (or small for that matter).
When I find one in the bath I immediately comandeer the nearest female to sort the situation and escort the visitor off the premises!!
Also, have La Toya and Michael ever been photographed together?


David R at 5:45 pm on January 23rd, 2009

Well, I always thought that Steven Seagal, Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze were the same person, so what do I know?

Victoria Coren

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