The Apprentice - Eureka moment

It's been bugging me (I know, I know, I need to get a grip/a hobby/a life etc.....), Leon really reminded me of someone and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I had a Eureka moment in the early hours of the morning, he is a dead ringer for Barbie's Ken!

The conundrum of Leon's immovable hair, is finally explained


The Apprentice - Did you know that Susan sells skincare products?

This week kicked off with a strangely unprepared Inspector Gadget (aka Tom), the courier arrived and he wasn’t wearing his suit. Was this an omen? I took it to be a bad sign. (He did, however, have on bright blue pants. Not sure whether that was significant, but you can never tell with this show….) Anyway for some bizarre reason, the team were chauffeured to the British Museum (which might have ‘dinosaurs and stuff’ according to Violet/Susan) to be told by LudAllen that the task was beauty, “A massive business” and they had to “get a piece of that action.” LudAllen added that there was money to be made "if you know what you’re doing." Unfortunately for LudAllen's bank balance, it transpired that none of the candidates (not even Violet/Susan who sells skincare products for a living) knew what they were doing...

LudAllen mixed the teams up a bit, moving Darth Jim over to Logic in the hope that they might break their duck and actually win something this week. Sadly the team also included Vince/Mickey and to add insult to injury, he put Felicity in charge. So despite the presence of the all powerful Darth Jim, things weren't looking promising for team Logic...

Meanwhile Team Venture was being led by Zoe, (so a girl was clearly going tonight...) whose voice could successfully be utilised as a method of extreme torture - In the event that her team won, I was hoping the prize would be elocution lessons, with an emphasis on how to modulate. (I had momentarily forgotten what a tight wad LudAllen has recently become with the prizes. It ended up being a dance lesson with a couple from the 'Strictly' team - Personally, I'd have preferred a trip back to the losers cafe...) Anyway Zoe got Violet/Susan (who by the way, sells skincare products for a living) on her team and as she later said in the boardroom, felt "all her birthdays had come at once." That feeling was to be short lived...

The Apprentice - I don't understand why this was allowed to happen...


Avert your eyes if you are of a nervous disposition or currently consuming food. Stuart Baggs "The Brand" in this months Cosmo......


I sincerely hope this isn't some sort of a set up....

Old, but I stumbled upon it today, hilarious. This is why I love old people. They genuinely couldn't give a monkey's! I say go Grandma, you only live once!!!

This may be almost as funny :-)


The Apprentice - Darth Jim surely this years winner?

Not only is Darth Jim in possession of the sexy Liam Neeson voice. He is also an "Irish Bulldog of Charm" and more importantly a Jedi. How can he possibly lose? It's only episode 3 and already I have a number of favourite Darth Jim moments - here are just a couple:

Darth Jim wins the selling task (episode 3), using mind control on Bob the accountant.

Darth Jim uses mind control on Leon to avoid being bought into the boardroom

Jim diffusing the situation (plus Ed's best bit)

The Apprentice - Darth Jim wins the day...again

This week the candidates had to buy 10 items for the recently refurbished Savoy hotel (yeah, like they’d rely on that lot for critical items days before opening). This task is usually one of may favourites and hot on the heels of one of the best episodes last week (Madam Edna’s glove must surely have they’re own following?) I had high expectations. I was cruelly disappointed, it had to be one of the dullest episode ever.…Side note: Inspector Gadget (Tom the Inventor) definitely does sleep in his suit, 6am and he was fully dressed. Gavin, (a scouser, who actually SAID "Calm down" in tonight’s episode), made the huge mistake of saying: “There is no way I’m going to lose the task”. Gavin, Gavin, Gavin, have you not watched this show before? You pretty much signed your death warrant with that statement. There was little doubt in my mind that Gav would end the episode wheeling his little suitcase into the waiting black cab. 

The King of Tonga wouldn't ask for a discount...
Mindful of the fact that the boys team had been rubbish for the last couple of weeks, LudAllen decided to mix things up a bit, sending Darth Jim, Glen and Leon to join Venture and Natasha, Zoe and Ellie over to Logic. Glen, forgetting that he had jinxed himself earlier, foolishly volunteered to be P.M. Vince, (who clearly hadn’t forgotten LudAllen’s “the future's bright” quip last week & wore the most hideous orange tie I’ve ever seen…) made his, now customary, half-hearted play to be PM, however, the team settled on the hapless Gavin. Back in camp Venture, Susan decided she should be PM because she’d worked on a market stall and had paid her Mum’s mortgage whilst doing her A’levels, apparently. The severe girl with the scraped back hair (and red dress in the promo pic) announced that she thought this was a task for an "organiser and a delegator". Given that Susan couldn't even organise her own thoughts last week (an app where "you're you and I'm me"??), it seemed more than a little foolish when the team supported her bid. I pushed my scepticism aside and started to take her seriously when Darth Jim seconded her, that man knows what’s what….

Susan’s team started off well, securing leads for pretty much all the products. Susan decided that their strategy would be to go ‘cheap, cheap, cheap”. “Whatever they say” she said; “say a fiver…” and “go East” as everything in London is cheaper if you go East (right....). Meanwhile Gavin’s team had no idea what they were doing, or what any of the products were – Apart from Filet Steak, which Vince later tried to buy from a Fishmongers (deep sigh). No one was surprised, we know Vince isn’t great at the identification of foodstuff…Natasha, who we hadn’t seen that much of before tonight, proved why she should have remained in the background. She did this by deciding to call The Ritz, a competitor of the Savoy and offering them the ‘win-win’ opportunity to just give her their suppliers list. The staff in the procurement department of The Ritz, unable to recognise a ‘win-win’ opportunity when they hear one, surprisingly declined…..


Slutwalk? I'm supportive, but let's not forget to focus on perpetrators of crime against women

So back in April, post the insensitive comments from a Policeman earlier in the year where he told a group of female students that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized",  Sonya Barnett organised a 'slutwalk'. The purpose being to reclaim the word 'slut' and to challenge the pervasive opinion that somehow when a women is attacked, it's partly her fault. The original walk has spawned many similar demos across the US and Canada and even a website dedicated to the cause.  Whilst I am of the opinion that a women should be able to wear what she likes, when she likes and am thus supportive of the cause, I worry that it may be detracting from the key issue i.e focusing on teaching men that it's not OK to rape. Women who wear burqas, old women, small children and women not in any way dressed provocatively are also, routinely raped. Rape is often used as a method of terrorism and control (the DR Congo being an horrific modern day example of this), I'll wager that what the women are wearing doesn't really factor into the decision to rape them.  I also worry that it may be reinforcing negative stereotypes that we (and more worryingly, our children) are subjected to on an alarmingly frequent basis.  An interesting article  in the Daily Beast details why a number of women think slutwalks might not be a great idea).  I was thus heartened to come across a piece written by a man that makes that very point. He starts as follows:
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don't rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
Read the rest  at http://tuxmann.blogspot.com/2006/02/dont-rape-her.html and forward it to all the men you know.  Meanwhile, if you are taking part in a slutwalk, go girl!


The Apprentice - App-arently Racial stereotyping ISN'T offensive - so there

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So last night saw the emergence of: Darth Jim the Jedi mind warrior; Leon’s hair; Madam Edna’s gloves (more on those later) and the not untimely demise of Alex Bitez Cabral. The task, delivered in Baron Greenback-esq style by LudAllen, was to “think big an’ go global” via designing, launching and promoting a new mobile phone app. The comedy potential was apparent from the off and the candidates did not disappoint...

Early side note: Does Tom the Inventor sleep in his suit? At 5am when the courier arrived he was fully dressed??? The candidates had 10 minutes to get ready and everyone managed to be out of the door, full make up, hair expertly coiffed. Is this year’s house a time machine? That’s just not possible. Glen, (who I’m thinking may be this year’s totty…) put on the longest tie I have ever seen. He could have wrapped that tie around the necks of the entire boys team and still had enough to tuck into his troons. Leon decided not to wear a tie, because apparently his juices can’t flow when he has one on… (Turns out his juices don’t flow with his tie off either, but more on that later)

The boys immediately started making ‘app’ jokes (I use the term 'joke' loosely..) ‘the task is fast app-proaching’ etc. oh how they laughed...It’s fair to say that none of them have a promising career in stand-up comedy, especially Vincent (who looked even more orange this week btw) who offered up: "did you have an app-le". Even the boys didn’t laugh at that one and they missed a huge opportunity determine whether Vincent knew what an Apple looked like....

Glen, in an effort to rally the troops declared to the boys that: “We have to get ourselves heard this time and not for the wrong reasons like last time." (The owner of this years brain cell possibly?) "We’ve got to put ourselves on the map. We’ve got to prove why we’re here.” Bullshit generator app anyone? I would soooo have won that task…..


The Apprentice - The youngest and the shortest person in the team went tonight, but he 'rolled with the punches'

The inaugural episode did not disappoint, everyone was every bit as stupid as promised by their interview videos (did I mention that you MUST watch them? They are truly hilarious). So far my favourites appear to have come up trumps: Alex Britez Cabral kicked off by announcing that he ‘takes cut throat & ruthless to a whole new level’ and demonstrated that by organising plastic cups and having a bit of a tidy up – terrifying - but more on that later. Not sure how I missed the badly misnamed Melody (has anyone ever had a more annoying voice?), she actually said "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon." She has, apparently been taught by Al Gore, the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, none of whom, as far as I am aware, cite successful project management on their CV’s. More importantly, do we actually believe her? Doesn’t bode well for mouthy Mel…Julie, the hairdresser/trained actress was disappointingly quite, but I still have high hopes for her in episodes to come. A potential new favourite emerged in the form of Susan Ma. Susan claims to be “happy, easy to talk to…very enthusiastic…and easily amused'. Susan appeared to be sweetness and light for most of the task, but then at the first available opportunity stuck knife between the shoulder blades of her PM. This years bitchy candidate in the making? She did say that she’s ‘short, sweet and smiley, but when I do business, I mean business…” code for “I f@ck people up?" I sincerely hope so! (Side note: Have any of you heard of Tiger Mom, Amy Chua? I suspect Susan’s Mum pioneered the technique…)

Susan Ma
So according to the narrator, this is "the business deal of the decade…Britain’s entrepreneurial elite" have come together to compete to become LudAllen’s partner. According to LudAllen he “looking for someone who’s got a brain…who’s gonna start a business with me…” Why on earth is he looking on this show? Hasn’t he been watching over the years?? You won't find a brain cell amongst them LudAl??

Anyway, LudAllen announced to the candidates that he was going to invest £250,000 into a company that the ultimate winner will initiate, from original idea, through to day to day running. (Yes, he said "idea" He definitely hasn’t been watching, in six series there hasn’t been an original idea between any of the candidates, why on earth would this year be different??) To make the prize seem even sweeter, LudAllen, told the candidates has no intention of offering the winner any help or support and if they mess up he’ll lay into them. “Look at it," he said “as a bit of an uncivil partnership. How could anyone resist such an attractive offer???? (Side note: Not sure if the candidates noticed, but LudAllen said he was going to invest £250,000 worth of cash and 'value'. Hellooooo, 'value'? That could be £10 thousand in cash and £240 thousand worth of old Amstrad units. Have any of them checked what they're staking their reputations on for the next couple of months?) 

So the first task, that would get them a step closer to the money, was to take £250 buy fruit and/or veg, make something with them and sell for a profit. As always, the team with the biggest profit wins. Simple enough concept? In the real world yes, but in Tom Pellereau’s world it was so complex, he was forced to take notes…


Apprentice 2011 starts tonight and...

… I am BEYOND excited!!! Can't wait to get home to watch it tonight. I will confess to having been a tad worried that the new format Apprentice would be boring. My apprehension being caused by: LudAllen's toned down behaviour in the last series, (seriously LudAllen needs to step up big time, we need 'Villages missing their idiots' or I will be forced to have words….); the fact that this year’s search is for a partner as opposed to an Apprentice. In my naiveté, I honestly believed that the new requirement would lead to an upgrade in the quality of candidate and a serious competition. What was I thinking???? I owe the producers a huge apology for thinking they would go down that road. No, the producers in their infinite wisdom have done the right thing and gone for the usual crop of numpties. So 16 weeks of comedy it is then, heaven!!

Stuart ‘the Brand’ obviously isn’t having as much success in business as he would have us believe (quelle surpris!) and has been hawking himself about, making facetious comments about this years group at every available opportunity. He has also, kindly, offered us his insights into how to succeed in business in the Guardian. Have a quick read, it demonstrates why he needs income form his newspaper articles. He genuinely has no clue…. My favourite tip “Dress to impress, but don't be afraid to innovate Perhaps wear a colourful Christmas tie in July. Show those office drones you understand fashion by grabbing it by the balls and twisting hard”. I’m almost sad he hasn’t been invited back…

Vincent Disneur
I said almost though as my early view of the contestants revealed that we probably have a more than a couple of contenders for Stu’s crown. Starting with my favourites:

Vincent Disneur - who if the oddly thin tache is anything to go by has obviously modelled himself on his name sake Vincent Price – but strangely, insists that he knows he’s good looking and a ‘bit of a show off. Bearing in mind that he also says he’s ‘best of breed’ – seriously, watch the audition tape, it’s priceless – perhaps he means good looking in comparison to an Afghan?
Alex Bitez Cabral

Alex Bitez Cabral who has committed the dual crime of having a pointlessly double barrelled surname and being an estate agent…Alex, like Felicity has memorised all the buzz word from previously seasons and his resultant description if himself literally utilises all of them…’ambitious, driven and extremely focused…relentless.’ (He forgot ‘with a face like a slapped arse’ – see pic below…) Apparently, he isn’t frightened of making enemies and has no problem being unpopular – which is a good thing as I suspect he will be. Alex, could possibly move up to the position of favourite on the grounds that he comes across as a right knob in his audition tape.

Felicity Jackson
Couple more deserve a mention: Felicity Jackson, who ‘worked in hairdressers as a teenager before becoming a trained actress’. Oh and she’s ‘an avid fan of soaps’, so supremely qualified for this show then…She’s clearly watched all the previous series and not learned a thing as she uses the word ‘passionate’ to describe herself and she apparently always gives 110% to all the companies she works for (grrrrrrrrrrrrrr). Yes, we already have her card marked………

Then we have Glenn Ward whose audition tape includes the statement “…to be honest... I am pretty great”. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will… I predict that everyone in the house will hate him, basis his plan to make friends with everyone and to paraphrase him ‘drop them like stones’
Glenn Ward

I shouldn’t show favouritism at this stage of the contest, so in the interests of fairness, I should point out that the vast majority of the candidate show some comedy potential. To view all of them follow the link... http://www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice/series7/candidates.shtml

Roll on tonight!!