It’s back for series two folks and as controversial as ever, the point. It’s Benefits Bingo from scene one as the viewer box ticks the welfare clichés one-by-one and at least a line called by the end of the opening episode. We have the tracksuits, the little urchins on BMX bikes, the tattoos, the bling and pink and the tattooed fat woman in the onesie that smokes. Channel 4 knows who is going to watch this and they set out the antagonistic narrative early on to secure those viewers. We want to see poor people behaving like poor people to make ourselves feel a whole better and smug in out not so interesting lives. Channel 4 has said these are real people with real lives and not what they are trying to do. The nation disagrees, why they are either watching it or not, as polarized as you can get participation.
The first series was set in Winsome Green, Birmingham in the most benefit dependent thoroughfare the producers could find, James Turner Street. This particular street was packed full of those poverty porn clichés committing benefit fraud and growing cannabis, enraging the audience with ever delinquent action. The series hero was ‘White Dee’, the token fat matriarch of the street that smokes a fag and knows everyone. Bizarrely she went on to live the life of Riley from her star status and media appearances but the dole couldn’t legally sign her off. She was on sick benefit after getting anxiety from being on the dole for ages but seemed fine living it up in Ibiza on a tabloid promotion. Anyone who has signed on knows you so much as miss an appointment under the Tories and they sanction you for 4 weeks money, effectively a £250 pound fine.
This series the producers have gone up north and found another welfare dependent street in Stockton, Middlesborough. Kingston Street is not quite the 90% welfare dependency of James Turner Street but close, yet again distinctive regional accents and another fat fag smoking matriarch (Julie Young) to anchor the series. Like Big Brother, the residents have watched the first series and figured out what they have to be the star of the show and be famous for 15 minutes and so maybe make some money, the way White Dee briefly did. Maxwell, the streets charismatic delinquent, is already making his play. Maxwell likes to smoke a bong on TV and be fashionably late for his court dates. The police are watching. Maxwell claims £700 a month on the sick for ‘memory loss’, presumably why he misses his court dates. Dot Taylor, a 48-year-old grandmother, has already been signed by White Dees agent to make her claim for fame. Her partner receives welfare and care allowance of £250 per month. Their household rakes in a grand a month. They have four kids. She likes sun beds and pink things and straight from Little Britain, a mix between Ting Tong and the ‘Yes but no’ character..
The first episode was polluted by external influences of the ghastly written press media, looking to get pictures and bios of the new bunch for BS2 to annihilate in the tabloids, which they did. The residents, agreeing to be filmed by Channel 4, took offence of being photographed by the tabloids. They thought the press was going to show them in ‘a bad light’. The director loved the publicity and filmed the press being harassed and having water thrown over them. Maxwell just loved the Sun’s expression ‘Poverty Porn’, expecting to be making adult films by the end of the month. Poverty porn was eating itself (there are websites for that if you are interested).
We learnt after 30 minutes of episode one that Julie wasn’t quite the benefit scrounger she appeared and was caring for her severely disabled 15-year-old son, who had suffered a heart attack at just 9 months old. Heartbreakingly so his life is probably better than the one he would have had if he was healthy in this street. Drugs and crime were everywhere. Julie was a full time carerer. Most of the other residents were exactly as they were being portrayed though, simply unemployable and not that bothered about that fact, having kid after kid to sustain their situation. The paradox of the long term unemployed is they have to try and generate more benefit payments to stay unemployed, like being on the sick and then caring for the sick.
Sanctions were also a concurrent issue in their lives, as was the bedroom tax, the Tories looking to somehow reduce this countrywide benefit dependency that is very real. The so-called bedroom tax was a bit cruel and simply hit people caring for relatives, as it will now hit Julie. The government claimed the tax had reduced housing benefit by 1 billion. The local councils claimed it had increased debt by one billion, mostly because residents didn’t move and simply borrowed the £25 extra they had to find. The rise of Wonga and sanctions are not unconnected. There is nowhere for them to go if they do surrender their house as immigrants have swamped the housing associations and council flats. The Tories policy is not to build houses so to drive up middle-class equity to secure votes. It worked, 25% of the country that have done well voting on exactly that, the other 75% that didn’t vote Cameron the losers for five more years. The 5 million affected by mass immigration voted UKIP, but got just one MP. The little Scottish SNP squirrel got just 1.5 million votes but 56 seats? This system is hardly democratic.
Like most people I detest this series as we know what it’s really about and how exploitative it is – of us and them. It’s designed to make us angry that these people claim so much money on the state and so hate them even more, targeted TV commercials in the break offering products to celebrate our status. Ok, some of them deserve it but the people on the show are happy just to matter and get some attention, aware, or not, the nation is laughing at them, why they do it. When did it become ok for license funded TV (yes, C4 is paid for by you) to make us hate with 70% of their output? C4 were not brave enough to do the show in a welfare dependent ethnic area like Tottenham or Maningham in Bradford as the pressure groups would swarm all over them and so continue to stereotype the white underclass, an easier target than Iraq for British Prime Ministers. When C4 did Big Fat Gypsy Wedding we did not see one traveler 9 I cant say gypsy, regardless of the title) sign on yet they have a 65% welfare dependency rate, why they build static homes so they can make a claim.
As a big metal music fan I like to listen to music around the house, especially when cleaning etc. I used to play cd's but changing them became annoying and I would get bored with the same band. The mp3 I hear you cry, yes I could but I don't want to wear earphones in the house and have nothing to plug it into, besides my review of this music channel may explain anyway.
Scuzz - ok so it's not the most beautiful sounding name for a channel but it does the job and you would tend to know it was a metal channel just from the title.
Scuzz is a designated channel on Sky and Freesat for heavy metal and rock music plus some punk/gothic/alternative styles. Surprisingly to myself at least Scuzz is actually British (I just assumed it would be American), launching in 2003 a few years after the predominant metal channel Kerrang it rapidly took over in the popularity stakes.
Scuzz provides the metal fan with a varied range of music from classic Iron Maiden and ACDC to modern greats like Metallica. They tend to incorporate a heavier selection into the mix much more than other channels like Anthrax, whilst still appeasing the newer market of bands like Chemical Romance and Paramore. This is greatly important as it gives youngsters a chance to get seduced by "older" metal and conversely gives the older rocker a chance to get down with the kids and see some up and coming bands they may previously have dismissed.
Scuzz has also been known to break some new bands onto the music scene by playing there music before others, giving them a wider coverage they may not have achieved so quickly in the last decade.
Fantastic sometimes theatrical music videos can be watched by the likes of Mariyln Manson some of which do have an adult content but parents breath a sigh of relief, before the watershed words are "beeped" and "bits" are covered, after the watershed however it is a free for all! The channel also gives a flash warning on screen for videos using lighting that may affect epilepsy etc.
Scuzz have defiantly come up with a strong hold on the metal music market. Not only do they have the TV channel but a digital radio station and website too. On the website you can find out what is playing on the TV channel, news of new bands, albums and gossip. They have a large community following not only on there website but on face book, twitter and at gigs like the Download festival.
Competitions are a big business with Scuzz on both TV and web, currently a simple text question gives you the chance of winning a Les Paul guitar signed by Slash (Ex Guns n Roses guitarist).
Personally I love the channel and in particular the Top 50 sections and the Versus hour where they play two bands songs back to back against each other, it will be rocking my house for a long time yet.
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under same username
Scuzz is another one of many music channels available on Sky and Virgin Media. It is a music channel that only plays rock, punk, indie and metal music.
Scuzz is one of the channels I listen to most regularly as I am a big fan of rock and metal music. There is usually a good variety of music available to listen to throughout the day, with "themed" shows, like bands who are playing at that years Download Festival, or the top tunes from a certain year. Some of the stuff they play I don't like, but then that will more than likely be the same for everyone.
There is a good selection of older music on the channel too, as well as the newer released stuff. They play a good amount of bands, including: System Of A Down, Disturbed, Korn, Kid Rock, Foo Fighters, Pendulum, Limp Bizkit, Shadows Fall and Pantera. They also play some newer bands including Avenged Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine and Panic at the D!sco.
There has been times when I have been able to leave this channel on for a couple of hours whilst doing housework, and not had to change the channel due to poor songs being on, something I used to be able to do with Kerrang, but alas no more. Personally I think this channel provides a good range of rock and metal music, and I think most rock music fans will enjoy listening to and watching this channel.
If you have Sky or Virgin Media (not sure if Scuzz is availabe on Freeview!) then this channel is definatley a good one to check out, and is almost what Kerrang used to be in its heyday. I recommend giving this channel a go, 5 out of 5 from me.