53. Sipowitz

Tapehead no 53

Somehow it seems the subject of failed romances and mad people getting married just will not leave Tapehead alone. (Why is that do you think ?)

Modern Times, the BBC’s replacement for 40 Minutes, begins this week with Mad About The Boy, a film about 52-year-old Londoner Carol, who goes to Gambia on holiday and comes back to Archway engaged to a dashing local boy, Lamina, 25 years her junior and bearing a distinct resemblance to Arsenal’s new striker Chris Kiwomya. Oooer missus.

“It’s the Deirdre Barlow Story !” you may think, and you’d be right. 

Carol’s best friend, Sylvia, obligingly plays the part of Vera Duckworth, with a terrifying yellow perm that even Vee would shy away from.

The scenario is an obvious recipe for disaster and at first things predictably go badly – with Carol’s friends sticking their oar in about Lamin’s age, colour, and race. As one of her mates diplomatically puts it on the day of the wedding, “You’ve got people saying – no disrespect Carol – why is that old woman with that young boy ?”

A good question as it turns out. At first, it seems our sympathies are being aimed at the (decidedly naïve) woman who has four kids from her two previous marriages, but no contact with any of them.

But from the beginning there’s something about Carol that Tapehead just doesn’t get on with. For somebody bearing the burnt of racist attitudes around her, Carol has an alarming way of seeing her husband-to-be, starting with the way she says Lamin’s skin “is so black, you’d think it was hard but it’s not !” 

When her friends all coo, “oooh, innee black?” she defends him on the grounds that “if I lived over in Africa for 27 years, I’d be black, wouldn’t I ?”

Lamin is obviously a bit of a rascal and when he goes AWOL, so does Carol’s logic. 

“He’s a completely different person since ‘e came to England,” she complains ignoring the fact the she doesn’t actually know him very well anyway. 

“I was quite prepared to be a proper wife – you know, not go out, or anything.”

The marriage, she eventually explains to Lamin, is not valid because “as we say over here, it’s never been constipated,” although her real reason could well be that Lamin doesn’t like playing pool. Poor Lamin. No wonder Carol and her mates all pronounce his name Lemming.

It’s all very sad of course, but, frankly, Tapehead had his doubts from the moment Carol sold her TV and video to pay for his plane ticket. From then on, in Tapehead’s eyes, she deserved everything she got.

Bookmark offers a glimpse into the weird world on Interview With The Vampire writer and Mystic Meg-lookalike, Anne Rice, the grossly over-rated vampire writer whose stories usually finish with “and then I woke up and it was all a dream”. 

Tapehead has also always had his doubts about Anne Rice – ever since he saw that she makes her staff dress up in Abbey National-style uniforms.

Bookmark swamps its profile with over-stylised recreations of local superstition and stories of the spirit world but Tapehead’s opinion is sealed by Rice’s other taste in spirits. Never trust an alcoholic whose favorite tipple is beer.

Tapehead couldn’t bring himself to watch last week’s heart-breaking break-up between Sipowicz and Kelly (David Caruso). In this week’s NYPD Blue, Sipowicz’s new partner, Jimmy Smits arrives. Note the way that ever since Kelly’s departure, all the tecs are doing David Caruso impressions – a veritable frenzy of “reaching out’s and “am I right ?”s and interrogations where the officer explains to the suspect that he is going to leave him alone for a moment and that when he comes back he hopes the suspect might have something to say to him that he want to hear.

Finally, in Revelations this week, Luscious Lips Lennie and estranged hubby, Mark, lie on the grass and have a roll in the hay. Mary, the nanny gives wild child chick Charlotte a dressing down. 

“Your mother has always done her best for you. For all of you, but you especially.”

“Bollocks,” says Charlie, who obviously takes after her father, the bonking Blaspheming Bishop.


NYPD Blue: 10pm, Mon, C4

Bookmark: 8.05pm, Sat, BBC2

Modern Times: 9pm, wed, BBc2

Revelations: 10.45pm-11.15pm, Thu, Carlton