2. Oddities

Jim Shelley prepares his 180 videocassette for another week of TV oddities, curios and dinners.

Tapehead no 2

Cookery makes for perfect TV – not to watch but to video. No more trying to keep up, dashing in from the kitchen up to your neck in lightly flambéed duck’s liver every 10 seconds to see how Delia is buttering her toast. Don’t bake it. Tape it.

As a great vegetarian, Tapehead is, understandably, furiously taping Great Vegetarian Dishes, every day this week. Aussie presenter, Kurma’s first appearance on screen in the opening credits is characteristically disconcerting, furtively milling around the markets fondling fruit, rubbing an aubergine, sniffing a kiwi, and nodding at the camera in decidedly suspect fashion.

There’s something faintly suggestive (not to say erotic) about everything Kurma says or does as he makes the dinner; a knack he has of letting little intimate details slip, with a deliberate hint of frisson.

“I like to stir my rice while it’s still hot and fluffy,” he demurs, absentmindedly. “I like to use a wooden spoon.”

The biggest of these revelations comes on Tuesday (Sweet and Sour Walnuts).

“I like to use a wok for practically everything – its so versatile.” (Dah-ling!!)

But the way Kurma cryptically mentions, “there are certainly so many nice things you can get from the cow” is faintly sinister.

Of course, if Tapehead could really peel potatoes and carve them into one-inch cubes, or sculpt cauliflower into “little florettes” (‘Cauliflower & Potato Supreme’), he would be a contestant on The Krypton Factor. Besides aren’t florettes what you suck for a sore throat ?

“I like to put a tape on and relax when I’m making my sweet rice,” says Kurma. “Consciousness is a very important item when you’re cooking.”

I suppose he means being conscious.

If Tapehead could invite someone to share a candlelit great vegetarian dish, it would surely be Alan Hansen, Match of the Day analyst, the Bryan Ferry of football, and a man whose resemblance to Captain Scarlet has caused many a striker to miss an open goal. Dressed as a high-class model or an assassin, Hansen deconstructs the day’s best moves with the seriousness, sexiness and stylishness of Derrida by way of a ruthless TV confidence. Like the rest of us, Des Lynam adores him.

After Elvis and Me (“Germany, a strange, foreign place”) and The Jacksons: An American Dream, TapeHead is here to advise you which moments of the four-and-a-half-hour mini-series, Sinatra, to get on tape.

The bit where Frank (who actually looks like Tom Hanks) reveals “there’s a baby on the way” by telling Bogart (who looks like Leonid Brehznev wearing a couple of those Richard Nixon masks) is obviously essential, as is the scratchy miming – by Hanks and a 60-piece orchestra (also miming). Lines include: “I just wanna be somebody, pa”; “Frank, as your friend, you’re killing yourself”; “Honey, I just don’t know you anymore”; and “I just want you to think about this self-destructive path you’re on.”

A path that is about to self-destruct. ? See if you can spot Frank Sinatra Jr’s “additional vocal performance”.

It seems to Tapehead that there’s a thin (fishing) line between going fishing and standing in the cold doing nothing, so presenting your own telly series, Go Fishing, is nice work if you can get it. Every time he catches something, the presenter moans, groans, laughs and says “would you believe it ?!?” as if he’s just spotted a fleet of spaceships flying overhead. Carl Hiassen, it ain’t. The last in the series, this is real interactive television: Go Fishing. No, you go fishing.

Worms abound in Charming Worms. Tom Shuffflebotham’s world record (511 worms form a three square metre piece of turf in half an hour) is under threat at Willaston’s World Worm Charming Championship. Channel 4 regards this as sport rather than documentary. An art, surely.

More art from Mr Magoo, a man who taught Tapehead everything he knows about style. Showing after Oprah Changed My Life, Mr Magoo make Sinatra and Hansen look, frankly, shoddy. Keep taping.

Film of the week to video: The Blue Dahlia, where William Bendix, a metal plate and jazz just don’t mix. Tuesday, BBC2, 10.25am-12.05pm.

Collector’s Tape Two:
• Changing Worms, Sat 11, C4, 12noon-12.30pm.
• Match of the Day, Sat 11, BBC1, 11pm-12pm
• Sinatra, Sun 12, ITV, 9.23pm-10.33pm
• Great Vegetarian Dishes, Mon 13, BBC2, 1.35pm-2pm
• Sinatra, Mon 13, ITV, 8.10pm-8.20pm