Five Star Fury

The Ultimate Review Site

* = Excrement
** = Stomachable
*** = Milky Tea
**** = Kool and the Gang
***** = Godlike

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Mediator in Art

Well respected Plymouth artist Daniel Paul has been commissioned to create a series of work on the subject of The Mediator. See the amazing product here:
Daniel Paul's Artwork

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tonality of Andrew Marr's Voice - BBC Radio 4 ****

According to my secret sources (the BBC) Andrew Marr's early morning round table chinwag Start The Week is now one of the most popularly podcasted radio shows in the galaxy. At least two thirds of the audience are thought to tune in purely to see if they can hear the echo of his voice rebounding off his elephantine ears. Many reviews of this show concentrate on irrelevancies such as "content", "liveliness" and "intellectual vigour". What you are reading, as far as I can tell, is the first absolutely scientifically objective review of Marr's vocal orgy. This review concentrates purely on the tonality of Andy's throat noise and is therefore completely and utterly undeniable.

Andrew Marr - the thinking woman's toby jug.

9:00 am: Marr says "Hello!". His voice is pitched somewhere between a smashing bottle and a jackhammer. He introduces today's guests. Terry Wogan sounds drunk. By the way - Terry Wogan is not actually on today's panel - he just sounds drunk. Period.

Andrew Marr - he thinks bad thoughts.

9:16 am: Andrew sounds possessed. He talks to a man about why most Islamic extremists tend to be attracted to people with no socks. He sounds like the girl in The Exorcist who pukes over her dog. His guests are mainly polite, although Professor Winston is almost certainly masturbating.

Andrew Marr - ex Political Editor of the BBC and ardent fan of peacocks.

9:32 am: Just after half nine and Andy sounds like a pensioner on crack. He's talking to Simon Callow about the breadth of dwarves. He seems to chuckle, but it could just be the sound of his ears flapping.

Andrew Marr - laughs at your lesser intelligence.

9:44 am: The Marr man finishes in classic Andy style by getting his voice to exactly mimick a smoke alarm. "We'll be back next week," he says and his voice sounds like a strained cat strapped to a burning violin. "When the panel will include Sir John Gielgud..." No one has told Andrew that Sir Gielgud is dead. They'll have to get Kate Adie in to impersonate his voice again.


Andrew Marr's voice still has the power to excite. His elucidation helps his listeners immediately recognise him as a pig loving man. Where would the nation be without Andrew Marr? Marching under swatikas and speaking bloody French, that's where! It's about time we gave this national icon the respect he deserves. Andrew Marr for Queen!

Rating: **** = Kool and the Gang

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Eric Cantona's New TV Commercial - Television - **

Eric Cantona is the most important philosophical poet working in the French today. His devotion to his art is incomparable. For over a decade he served as a foot soldier in Manchester United's ball kicking army just to try to "get a sense" of English working class consciousness in the 1990s. Unfortunately, he ended up kicking most people in the face. He also spat. Fire.

Eric Cantona: He's been thinking. And Eating. But not shaving.

So now Eric is back on our screens in a new commercial designed to sell rubber. He opens his thirty second slot by recounting the words to one of his worst pieces "La Infallible Grande Chirac":

"You have a face like an 'orse
You kick the ball like a camel.
This is the game I play,
On heroin"

Several other footballers can be seen in the background. They include Kansas City's Ronaldinho McDonald and Arsenal's
formidible Lenny Henry. They dribble.

We cut back to Eric who appears to be stuffing his face with fried chicken.

"Buy some shoes," he says. "They will help your feet puke."

Problem is, as with much of Eric's post 9/11 work, that the average man sitting at home is unable to decipher the deep Cartesian dualism inherent in the statement. Far from being interpreted as the call to revolution Eric obviously intended, the viewer is left with the distinct feeling that the world's greatest mind is talking, well, shit.

Only two stars for this one. If you want to get to know the real Cantona check out his latest collection of medieval verse. Leave the commercials to the professionals, Eric, you're no monkey.

Rating: ** = Stomachable

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dried Pasta Shapes - Orecchiette - As Rated

Orecchiette is a small, round, shell type pasta derived from the shape of snails. Leonardo DiCaprio (1452 - 1519; his was a painfully short life of only 27 minutes) is thought to have fed this to his model for the Mona Lisa. It is said that she provided his inspiration for inventions such as the helicopter and PSP.

Leonardo DiCaprio had four arms allowing him to paint and eat pasta at the same time.

Tesco - ***

Number of pieces per 500g box: 350

Number of deformed pieces: 7

Feels like: Leather

Tesco has always been excellent at drying wet wheat and this is no exception. Of the seven deformed pieces at least one resembled the face of Moira Stewart. When cooked, however, the pasta took on the consistency of a dead cow's skin. It took me three hours just to get through two pieces. Perhaps boiling would have been a better cooking method than grilling but no such instruction is provided on the box.

Rating: *** = Milky Tea

ASDA - **

Number of pieces per 500g box: 4521

Number of deformed pieces: 0

Feels like: Slugs

ASDA, every body knows, is the poor man's paradise. The same cannot be said of their pasta. Although you get rather a lot in each 500g box this stuff has the feel of latex. It also contains spermicide. When boiled for an hour it has all the allure of a bowl of wallpaper paste. I added jam and Tabasco® to this to no avail. The only positive is that it can be eaten or drunk, providing the consumer with a good variety of consumption options.

Rating: ** = Stomachable

LIDL - *

Number of pieces per 500g box: 425

Number of deformed pieces: 425

Feels like: Hell

LIDL is the only shop catering exclusively to tramps. The cooking instructions and ingredients are all in German (PASTALICHT WERK DIE VELD BOLL) so I didn't understand what to do with them. After inspecting each hideously malformed piece I plumped for deep frying. It tasted like the hard part of a lizard. After vomiting blood for twenty hours I once again inspected the box. My suspicion was confirmed. It did indeed smell like rabbits.

Rating: * = Excrement

Putting a Round Peg in a Square Hole - Anywhere - *

Trust me. Don't even bother.

Rating: * = Excrement

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Varnishing Nails - Living Room - **

What more is there to say on the subject of nail varnishing? The ritual, it's widely known, goes back well into the Turkish era but probably originated pre-Attaturk in what is now Peru. In those days thickened virgin blood made an appropriate consistency for painting finger-ending cuticles. We've come a long way since then and the substance can now be found in almost any Tesco or stately home. I purchased mine (COTY Street Whore Chic Shine) in the local Boots where the staff were very helpful in selecting the correct colour to match my cheeks. After a small misunderstanding ("Sir! Please pull your trousers up!") I was ushered to an empty till pod and my £16.99 transaction was complete. I am told this is very competitive.

One of the more difficult choices in the run up to using nail varnish lies in which page of newspaper to use in case of any accidents. After a quick scan I fell upon The Guardian's obituary pages which contained a very nice picture of a dead pianist.

The first thing to note about this experience is that nail varnish bottles are very smooth. Usually made out of some kind of glass or plastic they show the consumer exactly what is inside the receptacle through the magic of transparency. The gold leaf lettering was also nice: it puts you in mind of a high-end bible or other sacred text (such as the Holy Korean, but everyone knows that's read back to front, unlike the label on my varnish).

Nothing can prepare you, though, for the awful, eye-watering, chemical smell emitting from each open bottle. For a moment I thought a dirty bomb had gone off. When I realised there hadn't been a bang and that Petrocelli was still on the telly I dismissed this fancy and went immediately to the local Army surplus store to buy a chemical grade gas mask.

Once safely ensconced in the airway-liberating device I began to lift the brush out of the pot. I was more than a little disappointed to see that a few strands were sticking up in wayward directions. After telephoning COTY to tell them this (response: "If you don't stop with the heavy breathing I'll have to release this call!") I began to apply the paint to the back of each finger.

The sensation is a little like being massaged through cling film. Each wet sticky stroke layers the other in what can only be described as an "onion effect". After a little practice I was able to colour in each digit without going over the lines. The first part of the task was completed quickly and efficiently and without too much fuss.

The bottle clearly stated that the product was "super quick drying". This can't have been true because when I began rifling through my CD collection 15 seconds after application I managed to ruin most of the "G" section (Girls Aloud, Gainsbourg, Gang of Four and Garth Brooks were all affected. The Game managed to stay varnish free. He is filed under "T". For "The") and cursed rather loudly.

By the time I got to the sink to wash the blasted stuff off the varnish was rock hard. Normal soap and water didn't help. After boiling both hands to no avail I had to submit to a last resort. It took forty four minutes to clear each nail with a hammer and chisel. I lost the tops of three fingers in the process.

This isn't really something I can recommend unless you're into pain and waste. If the day proved anything it's that women who do this sort of thing habitually are lunatics and should be locked up for their own safety. On the plus side I have to say that for the few minutes that my hands were painted I actually felt rather attractive.

Rating: ** = Stomachable

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Conversation with Old Man - Bus - *

There was a time when, as a society, we respected the teachings of our elders. Wise old men and women handed precious and trusted advice down through the generations; they taught us everything worth knowing, they nurtured us and we were better off for them. It's a pity therefore that our modern olds are dribbling, mindless, skittish geriatrics with practically no understanding of the vital underpinnings of everyday life. Some of them even smell. Of mothballs. And shit.

This old man is typically unproductive. Pornography helps him while away the time before death.

When the old man sat next to me on the bus to work today I thought the best thing would be to feign sleep. Unfortunately for me this strategy backfired as the ancient codger began poking me with his bony, skeletal fingers. "Are you alright?!" he croaked, a sound not too far off a frog in a mangle. He introduced himself as "Arthur" (possibly not his real name) and began rambling on about childhood experiences of war. When I told him I had no interest in him or his pathetic remembrances he carried on regardless.

"All this used to be greenery" he said. "I can remember when all this was fields..."

It's possibly the least original line anyone his age could ever use. And he used it. On me. When I pointed this out to him and suggested he hire someone fresher to write his lines he ignored me once more. It was clear that this was one toothless cretin who wasn't going to give in.

"All this used to be greenery" he said. "I can remember when all this was fields..."

"You've already said that" I screamed.

"German fell in that tree over there," he went on. "'is brains was all down his shirt."

I corrected his grammar. He just looked at me. Then he opened his gum-diseased mouth yet again:

"All this used to be greenery" he said. "I can remember when all this was fields..."

He was starting to sound like a thirty second hip hop skit stuck on loop in iTunes. I'd had enough. I decided to vacate the bus three stops early.

Why such people are still allowed on public transport is beyond me. If "Arthur" put as much effort into his on-bus patter as he did into being heard at all costs I might actually listen. Until then it's just the same old same old. One star for the German story. Nothing for the rest.

Rating: * = Excrement

Boiling Kettle - Kitchen - ***

These days a superlative kettle boil is hard to come by. Way back when, before the advent of electiricity in the modern kitchen, kettle boiling was a much more enjoyable experience. Now we're considered to be mentally ill or worse if our water heating appliances don't come fitted with an expensive filter or space-age dock. Only the "poor" still do without those.

It came as a pleasant surprise, then, to hear that the sound of tap water running into the empty chamber of a DeLonghi Argento Automatic Cordless stainless steel kettle with an exclusive non-marking finish sounds much the same as the filling of any ancient boiling vessel.

Replacing the kettle on the dock is quick and simple and requires no special expertise. A small but rather unsatisfactory flick of a black switch sets the process in motion and the whole thing builds to the kind of anticipation you feel when waiting for U2 to come on stage. And this baby certainly rolls, rattles and hums!

Then you wait.

Then you wait some more.

Then you wait a little bit longer.

It's hard to believe that kettle manufacturers haven't addressed hardware issues such as this. Nothing is quite as excrutiatingly dull as watching and waiting for these automatic heat machines to perform their simple duty. Why, for instance, would it be so difficult for the kettle industry to produce units that play streaming radio or MP3s? What could pass the time better than a three minute blast of Tina Turner? Or, for that matter, Melt Banana?

As it is, it seems to take days to boil a modern kettle (actual time: 3 mins). One thing I did notice whilst whiling away the time - the amount of times I happened to blink was reduced by approximately one third - a dangerous thing: one's eyes could easily dry hollow and bloody.

Pouring was a simple operation. My selected beverage (Cadbury's Options - Tangerine and Lime Flavour) was satisfactory. All in all it's a distinctly average experience, worthy of no more than the three stars given here. When a kettle is as indispensible as an iPod maybe it'll be worth a second look. Until then the art of kettling will continue to suffer from a distinct lack of imagination.

Rating: *** = Milky Tea