121. Cake

Tapehead no 121 

Memo to Tapehead: “Following a searching editorial review at the highest levels, of both Brass Eye and its making, C4 is now satisfied there is sufficient public interest in the programme to merit transmission within existing guidelines.”

Yes, those wild and crazy characters at Channel 4 are at it again !

Last year’s media fuss over Brass Eye now looks as over-inflated as the East 17 palaver, although hoaxing Home office minister Tom Sackville into answering questions in the Commons about the dangers of a new drug sweeping the nation’s youth (called ‘Cake’) is pretty funny.

The good news is that Brass Eye is all Chris Morris, and no Armadillo Iannucci. The sight of his Paxman character jacking up what the Guardian calls “smack heroin” gives you an idea of the edge Morris gets, especially when he declares, “The heroin I use is harmless. But what about other people less stable, less educated, less middle class than myself ? Builders. Or blacks, for example.”

His piercing parody of the desperately pedestrian Pulp and an officer’s objections to gays in the Navy will surely become legendary: “Homosexuals…can’t swim. They attract enemy radar. They get up late. They muck about.”

Some of it may be too warped, but anything that pisses of Noel Edmonds this much constitutes a public service.

More strange goings-on in Forean TV with items on freaks of nature like “the day it rained straw in Norfolk” – an episode witnessed by a child, so it must be true. (Unless she’d been on the Cake.)

David Heppel – “the world’s leading authority on mermaids” – says the best-documented sightings of mermaids come “from the island of Yell”, which gets us off to a great start.

Heppel has “sworn affidavits” from fishermen who actually captured a mermaid but then let it go. Great going lads ! An actual nature-breaking world first ! Tapehead has a sworn affidavit pointing out how STUPID that was.

We witness the first autopsy on a mermaid’s remains – a fishlike skeleton with a demonic human head – with the experts destroying “this rare specimen” by removing its head to examine it. A fascinating exclusive marred only by the fact that it’s actually two pieces of wood joined by Airfix glue.

We learn in one town alone, in just six months, “the vampire goat-sucker of Puerto Rico known as El Chupacabras has slaughtered over 150 goats.”

“Panic has spread,” locals say. Especially among the goats…

The killer creature is described as “looking like a kangaroo, with the snout of a pig, huge slit eyes, and is, above all, strong and vast in a way that a kangaroo isn’t.”

Not very much like a kangaroo at all, then.

Travel insurance might be advisable in Kingston, too, if Jamaica ER’s sensational look at the city’s public hospitals is anything to go by. While sulphuric acid is the weapon of choice in what they quaintly call “domestic disputes” machetes get the job done nicely on the streets.

The doctors say things like: “this man have a big wound in him head,” then enthusiastically asking the patient/victim: “who chopped ya sir ?”

With dub-plates booming around the wards, whenever a doctor pronounces the word “lac-er-ation”, you expect him to follow it with “inna Babylon nation, seen ? Irie !”

One man with a broken neck has to be operated on in the ward under only local anaesthetic. A clamp has to be fitted (to his head) before – brandishing a nifty Black & Decker -the doctor prepares to drill some holes. (In his head !)

“Hello !” he says cheerfully, leaning over a surprisingly peaceful patient. “You should feel a little noise now. A lot of noise now…” as he revs up to a noise not unlike a small plane taking off.

All of which leaves Tapehead with only one thing to say: can anyone get some Cake ?


Brass Eye: Weds, 9.30pm, C4

Fortean TV: Weds, 9pm, C4

Jamaica ER: Mon, 11pm, C4