130. Flings

Tapehead no 130 

When the BBC has “A Panorama Special” it’s invariably about education or the Lebanon. A “World In Action Special” will focus on the NHS or the homeless. This week’s Cutting Edge Special, being Cutting Edge, is about One Night Stands – i.e. something much more important.

The film follows four one-night stand specialists out on the pull, demonstration the sort of inane perspectives that documentary -makers think make them great philosophers of our time.

“It’s the nineties, innit?” laughs one of them. “Liberated.”

“It does make me feel very independent to have sex with someone I don’t know,” muses another missing the point that you can’t be much more “independent” than single /chronically lonely.

Bonnie, a 24-yer-old Zoe Ball lookalike with a young baby daughter, says she has “always been single. Even when I was living with Layla’s dad, I was single.”

Her baby, she says is “like a husband” to her.

“I clean for her. I cook for her. I wash her” which makes you wonder what sort of husband she’s expecting.

The only relationship that Jean-Yvs, a delicate, softly spoken 34-year-old man, is looking for, is “with myself.”

“I like to look at a pretty man, but also a handsome man, a masculine man. I like men who look like men, behave like men…”

(Between you and me, Tapehead reckons Jean-Yves might be homosexual.)

Every Saturday he goes out cruising, ending up “totally screwed up, in a place like Bethnal Green”. (Good God.)

Watching him rubbing nipples with several strangers in a club called SubStation (as opposed to SubStandard), the tension as to where Jean-Yves will indeed have a one-night stand, er, mounts. 

In fact, the day Jan-Yves or anyone else ever manages to leave SubStation without scoring will be such a freakish even as to be worthy of an entire series.

Cocky Scouser Mark’s excuse for his aversion to serious relationship is that he did it once and “was always being quizzed about it”. 

His chat-up line is: “So, er, when did you last have sex, 

like ?” In Liverpool, this passes for suave.

Bonnie’s one-night stand ends, fittingly, with Cutting Edge looking longingly up at the curtains so we can only imagine what she’s up to and then goes sniffing around in the aftermath.

The worst thing that can happen to these characters is that they cop off with someone they genuinely like. A pretty sorry state of affairs, rally. Poor Jan-Yves can’t even commit to a second date.

Ron Wankling, the star of Mad About Machines, met his wife 125 years ago at the pictures by screwing up a ball of paper from the programme and throwing it at her.

Rather than a bordello for cunningly-equipped dungeon in Bayswater, House Of Tricks turns out to be about an old bloke in Warwickshire who can make lawn mowers form a Hoover handle, a pushbike brake lever, and the handle of a tea urn (whatever that is). He ruins perfectly good biscuit tins by turning them into light-fittings and has knocked up a kitchen-roll dispenser, a used plastic-bag holder, and an incredibly realistic cat.

His wife/assistant (“Betty, press the button”) explains his fanaticism by saying “He always has to be busy. He doesn’t like time on his hands.” 

Which seems strange since he’s invented so many time saving devices.

Masterchef is still the only food programme Tapehead can sit through, despite, the prevalence of the opinion that cooking is “The new Rock’n’Roll” (you might as well just say “The new Leprosy”). 

Judging this week are Anouska Hempel (“That’s just me as a girl, coming from my opinion”) and boring tosser Rick Stein (“He’s chosen exactly the right duck for that dish”, who join Loyd to waffle on about “the fashionability of fish”.

(Fish are the lead singers of the New Rock ‘n’ Roll.)

Contestants are Barry in the blue kitchen (“crayfish inter-levered with red mullet, aubergine crisps, and a chestnut parcel”), Ann-Marie from Virgin Records at Heathrow airport (“Mussel and butter squash soup and salsa stacks”), and Fred, a policeman in the (ho-ho) blue corner (“foaming crème anglaise, you have the right to remain silent…”). 

Fred’s experience of grilling prisoners, battering suspects, and cooking up evidence will no doubt prove invaluable.

Finally on Ricki Lake, we have You’re Too Fat To Be My Friend.

Quite right.


Cutting Edge: Tues, 9pm, C4

Mad About Machines: Thurs, 8pm, C4

Masterchef: Sun, 5.10pm, BBC1

Ricki Lake: Tues, 5pm, C4