Joe McWho?

The X-Factor is now fully up and running this year so Lies Lies Lies has decided to launch an investigation to determine what exactly was the ‘X-Factorness’ of previous X-Factor winners.

In 2004 the Saturday night entertainment show was won by Steve Brookstein from London who, after his victory, secured a deal with Sony BMG. It was a high coup for the pub singer who eventually reached number one with a cover of the film classic Against all Odds. It sold 250,000 copies but the success was shortlived and that was about it for Brookstein. He never released a follow-up single and now he’s just a bitter middle-aged man.

Sounds familiar.

Next year Shayne Ward won it. He went to number one with That’s My Goal then followed that up with No Promises, which went to number 2. Then he got to number 14 with Stand By Me. Ward’s album Shayne Ward was certified platinum after selling 520,000 copies in the UK and 200,000 more worldwide. Ward developed vocal cord nodules in 2006, a condition that stopped the career of singer Julie Andrews but was successfully treated. Ward is still singing.

Leona Lewis won the third series of X-Factor and is perhaps the most popular winner of the show to date. Her first single A Moment Like This broke music world records after it was downloaded 50,000 times in 30 minutes. Lewis became an international star in 2007 after signing a £5 million contract with an American record company.

Leon Jackson won the fourth series of X-Factor and his first single went to number one. He followed that up with a few more singles that failed to make an impact and Jackson was dropped from record label Sony BMG.

Alexandra Burke murdered Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah but, alarmingly, it sold 105,000 copies in one day, breaking the world record previously held by Leona Lewis. The song sold more than one million copies in the UK, the first time a solo female artist had achieved this.

Joe McElderry won the 2009 contest and recorded Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ but was pipped to the number one spot by Rage Against the Machine after a campaign to stop the X-Factor taking the Christmas number one.

So what’s the common thread here?

They’re all crap.

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Pork scratchings – edible?

Let's hope this wasn't at the Indian 'toilet'

There are those who tell me they how much they just ‘love’ pork scratchings and how well they go with a nice warm pint of ale. That’s horrific. The pork scratching, surely, has got to be the most disgusting prospect ever.

‘Why?’ I hear you ask

Well, first up, Yahoo tells us the pork scratching is in the top ten worst foods you can eat and I believe them. Secondly, a pork scratching is a bit of fried fat. That’s it. It’s a veritable double-whammy for arteries. I’ll have some fat please. No hang on, it’s not fatty enough, could you cook it in some fat? And you cannot ignore the rather unsavoury meat source. Now I’m not Jewish, but I feel the Jews do have a point since a pig is a thing that will happily eat excrement in large volumes, and I have evidence to prove it.

I have a friend who regaled me with a story about a toilet in India, which was, essentially, a wooden hut comprising a number of  cubicles. The whole building, if you like, was set at an angle and each cubicle had a plank of wood – a precipice on which the occupant would sit and then release the contents of his or her bowels. A makeshift gulley below would then transport the slurry, via gravity, to the end of the collection of cubicles to a small area where a pig had taken up residence.

Upon parking his behind on the plank, my friend described a disturbing series of bangs and snorts as the swine anticipated the next meal that was due to come….  from my friend’s arse. Legend has it, that the kerfuffle at the end of the cubicles would reach fever pitch if the pig got wind that diarrhoea was on the menu.

So, in view of this, I suggest you avoid pork scratchings, not only for the poor nutritional value, but on the basis that the above story should put you off this most appalling pub ‘snack’ for life.

As far as I am concerned a pork scratching is not food at all – it is a marriage of human faeces and fat and, never at any time, should you put it in your mouth.

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Anti-ageing cream

Anti-ageing cream: bin fodder

Unless you are Benjamin Button, Peter Pan or Dorian Gray there’s little use in buying anti-ageing cream. Don’t even bother with the less-hyperbolic anti-wrinkle cream either, because that’s crap, too.
You have to accept that age is a linear thing that goes in one direction only – the wrong one. You’re born, time passes, you eventually turn out looking like a rumpled hessian sack and then you die. The only real choice you have here is whether you choose to have your remains burnt or buried in the ground. Don’t get sucked into all that nonsense. Walk straight past the Revitalift counter that promises to fill in the cracks and ‘plump’ you up.
You know who you are.
You can’t stop the passage of time with something that rodents die for. And who wants to ‘anti-age’ anyway? I’m happy with the ability to snore at any given moment, pull out nose hair and talk, unprompted and at length, about my ailments. I get to be miserable without having to have an excuse (bloody hell I wish I taken out out that pound coin out of my jeans, before putting them in the washing machine – it’s driving me, and the whole of Crouch End, quite mad).
Anyway, where was I?
Oh, here we are.
Imagine if the anti-ageing product you bought was able to propel you into some sort of Tardis-induced time-warp where you’ll eventually find yourself sitting next to your childhood mate trying to crystallise salt with a Bunsen burner in a chemistry class. You’ll have no extraneous, unsightly hair in your ears or nose – indeed you’ll have no hair on your privates or under your arms and you’ll still not  know, for sure, what a mental breakdown is.
Blimey, where’s that pot of Revitalift gone?

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Health farms

A fat bloke at a health farm

Have you noticed how many fat people go to health clubs? These are the people who eat 10,000 calories a day for 363 days a year and then spend two days at a health farm eating rocket and displacing all the water when they jump in the sauna’s plunge pool.
These people breathe loudly, have hairy backs, wear gold jewellery and drive old Mercs that smell of cigarettes. They drink wine by the gallon and they eat foie gras in equal measure.
By going to a health farm for a weekend a year they can justify their gluttony.

So let’s recap: there are no healthy people at a health farm and there are no animals or arable crops to be seen there either.

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Car buying guides – idiotproof

Citroen Pluriel: never ever buy one of these

People think that if they consult a car buying guide they’ll make the right decision when they part with their well-earned cash at the car dealership. Trouble is, people buy with their heart and not their heads and they always buy rubbish cars.

Let’s consider the Nissan Figaro. Girls like it because they think it’s cute but it’s a quite dreadful car that nobody in their right mind should ever buy. Unbelievably, more than 20,000 have been sold worldwide. That’s 20,000 dunderheads who have ignored car buying guides right there.

Then there’s the Citroen Pluriel – an abhorrence. A skateboard will serve you better but still we know there are people who have paid cash money to buy them because we’ve seen them…. on the actual road.

A Pluriel should only be used for crash testing. If you want a car that leaks, handles like a goat on roller skates and where the convertible roof takes at least two hours to assemble and disassemble, then go ahead sign on the dotted line. Instead you can save your time by putting all your money on a well-stoked fire.

It’s galling – I work for a car buying guide called Parker’s and if somebody asks me what car they should buy when I am in a social situation, I generally tell them to buy a horse because any words I say after that sound like, “blah blah blah, buy a VW, blah blah blah, don’t buy a French car, blah blah blah”. Then they go and buy a Peugeot 308, which is like buying a terrorist who has unlimited access to nuclear weaponry.

People lose the power of reason when they set about buying a new car. They want something that they feel reflects their personality, which usually means their car of choice is fatally flawed and close to a breakdown. People who buy Alfas think they are passionate, artful and good in bed, but an Alfa will break down, isn’t particularly artful and it’s rubbish in bed.

No, this is what you need to do when you are thinking about buying a car: forget about anything that you think might reveal your character. Just buy a Japanese car and know that, although your journey from A to B will be dull, you will, in fact, get to B.

There is one exception, though. For the love of God, do not, at any point think about buying that Nissan Figaro in Duck Egg blue with 70,000 miles on the clock. If you do, you’ll be miserable for every breath that you draw and it’ll be like that until the end of your Godforsaken days.
Here endeth the lesson.

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