Thursday, July 31, 2003

Bang the big drum - it's House Doctor!

It's bordering on an obsession and frankly I don't even care. This new series of House Doctor is proving to be unmissable television in this house. There's been one particular development in this series of which I particularly approve. Previously, Alistair was always the straight man (so to speak) to Ann Maurice's no-nonsense home-selling solutions. He turned up at the right moments, the epitome of nice-and-shininess, dispensing bon mots and providing a shoulder to cry on if necessary. But this series there's something more mischievous about him - whenever he appears with the tape that shows the unsuspecting vendors what the viewers thought of their house, he's squirming with glee at the thought of watching the tape and - more importantly - the vendors' reactions. Alistair's going to the dark side - and I like it.

1. Alistair falling off a skateboard whilst demonstrating that Milton Keynes has a large population of young people. Bless.
2. Longterm fans of the show will know that Alistair makes every effort to avoid actually doing any of the renovation. But on the return from the break we witnessed Alistair in one of the team's House Doctor T-shirts, getting ready to lend a hand - before he was asked to make the tea. It was a rather snugly-fitting T-shirt. He looked buff. We likey.
3. Elaine (one of the vendors) returning to the house to see Ann's handiwork, and being so chuffed that she shed a few tears. Heartwarming. (See, we don't just focus on Alistair...)

And there'll be more from my insane obsession with Alistair and Ann next week...

Things that are better than Alistair Appleton in A Big Scarf:

Alistair Appleton cooing over a cute baby. Much like he will over the beautiful children he and I will have together someday.

Whoops, almost forgot the gratuitous picture...

I declare today to be...

National Siobhan Day!

Please take this opportunity to use the TagBoard to make comments about how her debut single was robbed in the charts and how lovely her hair is.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A new hero of Reality TV is born...


Sadly she was denied a place in the Fame Academy, but kudos to hopeful Andrea, who decided the clear best song to showcase her vocal talents was....Life by Des'ree, possibly the most-mocked song in pop history.

For having the balls to sing that on live TV, Panda Pops salutes you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Things you might like to discuss on the Tag Board today...

Is it wrong for a 22-year-old man to enjoy watching Lizzie McGuire with no sense of irony?

Monday, July 28, 2003

Ha! In your face, Lawler!

An incompetent. Yesterday.

My sources tell me that apparently one Kate Lawler (you know, former Big Brother winner, host of RI:SE, the incompetent one, no, not Iain Lee, the other one) is gutted that Cameron won Big Brother this year because she thinks he's dull, didn't deserve to win, and will be crap to interview.

Well, Kate, now you know how we felt last year. Unsettling, isn't it?

Friday, July 25, 2003

We've not had a post about stupidity for a while...

...but that doesn't mean people have suddenly got more intelligent. Oh, no.

Some things, then.

1) Telephone users of the world, please note: if you dial a wrong number, and I am the one who picks up the phone, it is not my fault that I am not the person you want to speak to. It is particularly not my fault if you phoned me the day before, at which time I pointed out that I was not the person you wanted and put you in touch with them. Doing the exact same thing the next day and then huffing and puffing when I inform you that I am still not the right person makes you very stupid indeed.

2) Lift users of the world, please note: just because the doors have opened does not mean it's your floor. Most lifts are equipped with displays to tell you which floor you are currently at. Many even speak to you to tell you this information. Paying attention to it takes almost no brainpower whatsoever, so please take advantage of these wonderful considerations of Otis and their ilk.

3) People who are voting for Cameron to win Big Brother, please note: what the hell is wrong with you???

Where there's a Will...

They just showed an old interview with Will Young on This Morning. I'd forgotten how charming he can be in interviews, perhaps because he doesn't seem to have been on telly (or indeed anywhere in the media) for ages. And he has lovely arms. And a nice line in belts...

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Ring the bells from the tallest tower! House Doctor is back!

You can call me a big old mox if you like (I suspect many of you already do), but there can be no containing my excitement at the prospect of a new series of House Doctor. No other show can offer the combination of my two favourite television personalities, the divine Ann Maurice and the lovely Alistair Appleton.

It might be better for all concerned if I just changed the name of this blog to Steve Loves Alistair Appleton. But I'm going to stick with the subtle approach. If I may admit something shameful, I was slightly concerned that Alistair might not be back to present this series, that he may be too busy looking for cash in an attic somewhere, and that he may have been replaced. Perhaps with Tris Payne, who used to do it before, and whom I'm sure was perfectly competent, but didn't twinkle like Alistair. But when I saw that Alistair had returned, I squealed with glee and hugged the television. But you must promise not to share that with anyone.

Much as I heart watching Alistair on Cash in the Attic, it just doesn't compare to House Doctor, since Alistair and Ann are one of television's great double acts. As a friend of mine once said, and I hope he won't mind me paraphrasing, "she is the perfect foil for his posh campness."

Tonight's episode didn't disappoint. I won't blather on (much), but here are my top three moments:

1. Alistair arrives with the video of the potential buyers, chortling to Theresa (the vendor), "I bet it was fun showing Ann around here! Look at all the clutter!"
2. In a rather heartrending moment, Theresa running out of the room in tears after hearing what the viewers had to say.
3. Alistair's return after the house doctoring was completed, clutching one of Theresa's much-loved dolls that Ann had banished to storage, saying "Look who I've found outside. (High-pitched voice.) 'Please can I come in?'"

And of course the biggest trauma was finding out that despite glowing reports from the viewers following Ann's visit, 'Tre' and her husband put everything back shortly after Ann left and took the house back off the market.

But hey, that's the heady world of property merchandising, people. As long as Alistair's there to guide us through it, we'll survive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Things that Alistair Appleton should wear when it is cold:

A Big Scarf.

Things that Alistair Appleton should not wear when it is cold:

A coat without A Big Scarf.

This is, after all, what the public (i.e. me) wants.

Monday, July 21, 2003

I heart Kent Brockman

for uttering possibly the finest line ever in The Simpsons:

"This is Kent Brockman reporting live from Congress. How do you know I'm live? Penis!"

Friday, July 18, 2003

Thanks to the help of the über mighty Big Neil, my HTML problems may well be sorted. Sadly, I don't have Windows XP at home so I won't know for sure until Monday. If anybody out there has Windows XP and still can't scroll to the bottom of the page, please e-mail me.

And in true anal retentive fashion, I have rearranged my links into alphabetised sections. Please note the addition of the mighty Zbornak. Zbornak, thank you for the words. I'm touched.

Much as I love my job, it's not without its shortcomings. It's very rare, for example, that I leave my office on time on Fridays.

It is not good to still be in your office when Hollyoaks starts.

(It's also advisable not to be near a TV when Hollyoaks starts...)

My life got cold, it happened many years ago...

Well, it's not so much that my life got cold, more that I got a cold, and it happened several days ago. I'm a little annoyed by this, since how I can manage to come down with a cold during the hottest temperatures recorded since the mid 70s is utterly beyond me.

However, like many things in life, there is often an upside, and I think I may have discovered a cure for the common cold. And that cure is Family Xchange on BBC1 at 10:15am this week (sadly I don't think it's on next week. I appreciate this recommendation is annoyingly late for some, but frankly timely recommendations are not what this site is about. If that's what you're after, I suggest you head for the mighty Lowculture. But please come back when you're finished. Or I'll be sad).

The premise of this almighty show is that two families exchange lives for a week. If I may steal a billing from the also mighty Radio Times, "they'll swap homes, pets, jobs, schools, diet and even house rules." The premise is a little bit Wife Swap, I grant you, but the genius of this show lies in the choosing of families. One family have delusions of grandeur, live on a farm and have lots of mod cons. The other family are well-meaning scallies, with eight children with varying degrees of terrifying haircuts. And as one might expect, the women become fiercely territorial about their homes. Delusion of Grandeur Lady says "I don't know how anybody can sit around painting their nails all day". Well-Meaning Scally lady says "She never cleans this place." Each family is given a budget of £1000 for home improvements. Delusion of Grandeur Lady removes the drier and plumbs in a dishwasher. Well-Meaning Scally lady pulls down the hops from Delusions of Grandeur's lady's awnings, replaces them with artificial flowers, and buys her Sky TV for a year.

The best part, of course, was at the end of the week long experiment when the two families finally met face to face. I for one was sat clapping my hands and chanting "cat fight! cat fight! cat fight!" like - well, like an excited gayer. It ended, somewhat predictably, with Delusions of Grandeur lady storming out and having a blazing row with her husband, while Well-Meaning Scally lady shook her head sadly, clearly inwardly gleeful that while she may have less money than Delusions of Grandeur lady, she has a much more healthy approach to her home and family (sort of).

And whilst watching this perfect example of car crash television, I forgot all about my cold. The mind boggles as to why it was shown at this time of day - it deserved a peak-time slot so that the working masses who don't have tellies in their offices (I'd die if that happened to me) can enjoy it too. Seeing as it cures colds, we should put it on the NHS.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

*utterly lost for words*

durrrr....he purty.

Despite the fact that everyone in my office seems to be having a bad day (me included), my mood has been lifted by the fact that I've seen no fewer than two programmes hosted by the lovely Alistair Appleton today.

That sounds like an excuse for a gratuitous picture to me.

I like this picture. Even in a comedy pose, he's still hot.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Lunch, the universe, and everything

It has come to my attention recently that there is something wrong with my working day. No, it's not the fact that I actually enjoy my job (although that does make me some degree of a freak, I admit). It's the fact that I spend every lunch hour without fail at my desk, eating last night's leftovers and dicking around on the internet.

So I've decided to throw it open to you, the readers of this blog (Hi Michael! Hi Jessica!) to suggest other things that I could do with my lunch breaks. Sensible suggestions, please. So far my best suggestion was to run down the corridor and ask the Fit Guy who works in an office further down whether he wanted to have lunch with me, but I fear that in that situation I would have ended up eating my lunch on the pavement after being forcibly evicted from the building by security.

What a handsome time to test the TagBoard! Put your suggestions there, if you like.

Tag! You're it!

That's Tag from Friends. He doesn't concern us, other than for lame joke purposes. But you may wish to note that this blog now has a lovely Tag Board. Please use it kindly. Poor spelling, poor grammar, and derogatory comments about Alistair Appleton will not be tolerated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


The list of men that I *heart* has been discontinued with immediate effect. This is due to me having lost all interest in it.

No apologies will be made for any inconvenience caused, since if you do feel in any way inconvenienced by my failure to post pictures of boys on a web blog, then that really is the least of your problems.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

My body never knew such pleasure, my heart never knew such pain...

Back to the trash, then.

D is for:

David Paisley

E is for:

Ewan McGregor

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Get well soon, Delta.

We skate as we date as we slowly suffocate...

I know I promised an intelligent post today, but I think this is close enough. Every so often a truly momentous event takes place in this world that cannot pass without comment. The premiering of a new Girls Aloud video is one such case.

The video for Life Got Cold was premiered on The Saturday Show this morning, following months of speculation by the posters on the Popjustice Messageboard as to what shape the video might take.

At first, the video seems a little disappointing in comparison to the chills-inducing videos for Sound of the Underground and No Good Advice. There's no Tales of the Unexpected-style special effects, no tambourine-led dance routines and certainly no cages in sight. However, I'm not prepared to dismiss this as a bad thing. There's a stillness to the video that is somehow fitting to the song. It's sombre and thoughtful and just a little bit mournful. Admittedly, I don't think anyone would be surprised upon seeing this video (it's exactly the sort of video you'd expect to accompany a song like Life Got Cold), and it would have been nice for The Aloud to push a few boundaries in this video, but as long as they don't intend to rest on their laurels for long, they shall be forgiven.

Of course, by far the mightiest thing about this promo is the righting of six months' worth of wrongs by the inclusion of much Nicola. She may now be permitted to shine like the star we all know she is.

La Nicola: even on fire, she's still cool.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Spent the whole of Sunday sticking you together...

Well, the collection gathers apace. Time for B and C this morning, I feel.

B is for:

Ben Shephard

C is for:

Calvin 8
(It's sick and wrong, I know, but he's just so cute!)

Colin Farrell

Before you say anything, I'm aware that this feature is stripping away the intellect of anyone who reads this site in much the same way as would happen if you were forced to sit and watch Kate Lawler presenting RI:SE for more than five minutes, so when I post the next update I promise to include some vaguely intelligent commentary on the world as well.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Picture this, a day in December...

I've grown a little worried that on the basis of my last post (the now world famous Evanescence/Malibu Stacey theory) people may think this blog is somewhat highbrow. I don't want this to be an exclusive blog by any means, so I'm going to bring it right back down by having a recurring feature on Men That I *Heart*:

This week, A is for:

Alistair Appleton

Andrew off CBBC (in an unfortunately small picture)

More in this feature soon enough.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

He told me he'd built a time machine, like the one in a film I'd seen, yeah yeah...

It has come to my attention that my site does not seem to be fulfilling its remit; rather than being "The musings of a panda on the world of pop and trash culture", it has recently been more of "the rallyings of a panda against a world determined to get in his way." Now, of course, the easy thing to do here would be to just change my remit. But this panda does not take the easy way out, no sirree Bobette. So I shall attempt to get back on track.

This is the first in what will hopefully become a regular feature (that depends on me having more ideas, which at present is highly unlikely) demonstrating the link between television shows and music. This week/month/year/decade/century/time*: how The Simpsons predicted Evanescence.

Many of you may remember a Simpsons episode from what I believe was Season Five, entitled Lisa Vs. Malibu Stacey, where, disillusioned with the sexist stereotypes perpetuated by her Malibu Stacey doll, Lisa sets out to create a doll that will inspire feminism amongst young girls. The dramatic crux of this episode is a scene where the doll (Lisa Lionheart) is due to go on sale in the toystore for the first time, and thanks to some hype drummed up by local television, there is a crowd of excitable young girls (and Smithers) outside desperate to get their hands on one. That is, until a shop clerk wheels in the latest Malibu Stacey - complete with new hat.

At this point I paraphrase:
GIRL #1: They changed Malibu Stacey!
GIRL #2: She is better than ever!
LISA: No, she hasn't changed! The only difference is her stupid cheap hat. She still embodies all the awful stereotypes she did before!
SMITHERS: But she's got a new hat!

By this point, you may start to wonder what this has to do with Evanescence. Perhaps if I were to script it...

RECORD BUYER #1: They changed grunge music!
RECORD BUYER #2: It's different and ground-breaking!
VOICE OF REASON: No, it hasn't changed at all! It still embodies all the awful melodramatic self-indulgent rock clichés from before. The only difference is that stupid cheap girl on lead vocals!
SMITHERS: But she's got a new hat!

Evanescence are simply Malibu Stacey with a new hat. I have been greatly distressed about the number of people who have admitted that the song is pants, but they bought it anyway "because there's a girl singing, and you don't expect that", as if that were a good reason or indeed a reasoned argument. The thing that distresses me most is that I'm not even sure that this Malibu Stacey has a new hat. It may simply be Old Hat in a cunning disguise.

(* delete as appropriate)

Monday, July 07, 2003

I just lost all my links in a tragic new template accident.

If I linked to you before and the link has gone, or indeed you think I should link to you and I currently don't, e-mail the bush:

Will there be catastrophic circumstances if the e-mails and dot coms capture the world?

This was a question posed by Alisha's Attic some six or seven years ago, one which has largely remained unanswered until now. I think the answer to their question is an emphatic yes.

The reason for my certainty on this matter is that I had my desktop at work updated a few weeks ago, with the standard promise that it would revolutionise my working life. Sadly, it was one of those revolutions that turns out to be a bit pointless and succeeds only in stopping people from getting any work done. My computer now freezes every time I try to print a document in Word, and given that I am a paperwork lackey, I often have need to print up to 80 documents a day. Imagine my pain when this happens, and a simple job takes me about four hours.

It seems possible that I may need anger management therapy, as my general reaction to this situation was to throw my monitor and CPU out of the window, kick seven shades of arse out of my desk, and run around the IT department on a killing spree. The only way I could calm myself down was think of ways in which I could imagine myself torturing Kate Bloody Lawler. An all-purpose antidote if ever there were.

Saturday, July 05, 2003


The not-remotely-stupid amongst you can't have failed to notice that my links are now up.

Big shout out to regular reader, the lovely Jessica (she likes it when I do that) for telling me how to do it.

When I was younger, so much younger than today, (I never a-need) I never needed anybody's help in any way...

But now I'm old and incompetent and want to know how to put some links on the side bar. Anyone know how? E-mail the bush:

Thursday, July 03, 2003

If you could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts would tell...

I realise that at this point I am going to sound like the biggest geek in the history of the world ever, but I just want to announce my love for the art of sign language.

Let me qualify that. I have recently had the chance to learn BSL at work, and I am having rather more fun than a person should in those circumstances. I just love the fact that so much of the language doesn't come from the hand gestures, but rather from facial expressions. The facial expression for "where have you been?" is a particular favourite.

I have also recently learned how to sign "I am gay", so should I wish to chat up any deaf hotties, I am well on my way.

If I can get my digital camera to work (and more importantly, if I can be bothered), I may take some comedy pictures of me doing some sign language and post them up here so that my regular readers (Hi Michael! Hi Jessica!) can point and laugh.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

There is no point to this post, other than to show this picture of my future husband Will Young looking a bit camp.