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Opinion: Niamh Cullen

Culture Vultures: Niamh Cullen and Emily Anderson review the week in Pop Culture - 5th February 2021

So… in a time of serious and depressing news, we think it is not just important, but vital, to tune out for a brief minute and indulge in the ridiculous circus of the pop culture world which, despite the universe’s best efforts (and our pleas), simply refuses to stop rising to the occasion. Buckle up!

@ 'Aled’s iPad' - I want a word


On Thursday 4th of February 2021, a certain video began circulating across social media. The video you ask? A recorded Zoom meeting of the Handforth Parish Council.

What happened you ask? Well.. let me break it down for you and outline why it was more intense and fast paced then a series finale of Line of Duty:


About 10 households, all severely lacking in dignity,
In fair Handforth, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil servants' hands unclean.


“Handforth PC Clerk” (title disputed by “Ian Ball" and “John Smith” (cannot be a real name that, seriously “JOHN SMITH" is this a SATS maths question?)) begins proceedings with pleading for assurances that he won’t be kicked off the meeting (“Peter Moore” comments he was “quite rightly” booted).

What on Earth is the context here? We are left guessing as things rapidly move onto grappling over the age old question - is “Jackie Weaver” acting in this Zoom as Clerk or Proper Officer- she simply MUST know the proper law on this according to antagonists “PC Clerk” and his band of Zoom anarchists. To not would be “ILLEGAL” one voice screams.

During this “Julie’s I Pad” - spelt in exactly this way- drifts in and out of view with her camera off, like the Phantom in the first half of the first act of Phantom of the Opera. After this, the back and forth carries on for a while “Jackie” does the zoom equivalent of an RKO and boots “PC Clerk” off the zoom, at which point one of the speakers from “Aled’s iPad” loses their cool.

“Sue” steps in and asks for some respect for Miss Jackie, displaying a real #girlpower #girlboss #thisgirlcan moment. Then I assume “Aled’s iPad” becomes possessed by the devil and starts speaking like that goblin thing from LOTR (I have never watched it nor read it but you know who I am referencing) because he believes HE is in fact the chairman, but “Jackie” does not agree. “Aled’s iPad” is promptly booted off as well.

Discussion moves onto the previously mentioned disputed title of the name tag of “PC Clerk” before he was booted off the zoom (RIP) as “Ian” and “John” discuss how actually that isn’t his title at all - he has pulled a Henry VII and usurped the title. “Jackie” jokes she should now be referred to as Britney Spears (#girlpower #girlboss #thisgirlcan).

At this point brave “Jackie” proposes something UNIMAGINABLE, bringing back evicted zoom members “PC Clerk” and “Aled’s iPad”. Everyone else reacts with shock that “Jackie" would dare propose such a daring move.

The real star is “Sue” with her gorgeous Laura Ashleyesque wallpaper behind her, offering pithy one liners and wise responses here and there. I eagerly await the Sorkin adapted film of the Chester East Handforth Parish Council meeting. (NC)

Emily in Paris, Golden Globe nominee

Ah, yes. The bells of awards season, phenomenally off-pitch, ring once more.

First up is the Golden Globes, the first stop on the Oscar train. This season was destined to be awkward, with a global pandemic that doesn’t seem to apply to celebrities (more on that later) still blaring on.

Some have asked: do we really want to see millionaires dressed to the nines to accept pointless awards after the year we, the masses, have had? Well, hand on my heart, gun my head, my answer is yes. Yes!!!! I say that with my entire being.

Besides, there is no point in arguing about whether the spirit of the awards is slightly out of touch when the nominations, released Wednesday, proved that awards are utterly futile anyway.

I say this after discovering, against my will, that Netflix’s successful but universally panned series Emily in Paris was nominated in the Best Musical/Comedy Series category.

The series, already renewed for a second season, follows American Lily Collins (Emily) as she relocates in a highly realistic and believable – not to mention fully-paid for - way to Paris, where she is a (disputed) social media extraordinaire, French illiterate and awful friend. She says “oui” and “bonjour” more times that the average French person, and that’s basically all that happens for ten episodes.

As an Emily, I do not claim this show.

The reaction to the nomination has been decidedly mixed, especially when stacked up against the brazen snubs. Michaela Coel’s universally acclaimed and gut-wrenching I May Destroy You received zero nominations, a slap in the face to one of the most moving pieces of television in recent memory.

Image: JustJohal from Wikimedia Commons

Something like this happens every year, a testament to the futility of awards like this, but it doesn’t make it any less of a blatant insult, especially as this is the shutting out of a Black British show from a majority-white list.

The Golden Globes runs a loose and archaic ship allowing a show that had such impact to be excluded. Or, on the other hand, to allow such mediocrity as Emily in Paris into its nominations.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen will happen on the night. All I know is if Emily in Paris, Golden Globe nominee becomes Emily in Paris, Golden Globe winner, I may have to look into a name change. (EA)

Dua Lipa has a gift for us to make up for her questionable travels...


Dua Lipa has announced an upcoming release next week titled “Moonlight”, which we presume will be the eagerly anticipated b-side to her incredible second album “Future Nostalgia”.

This title is probably lifted from the lyrics of her song “Levitating” but perhaps she is referring the infamous “Moonlight- you won!” incident from the Oscars a few years back.

Dua, like myself, is perhaps a believer of the conspiracy that that whole event was a set up by the Oscars to be a viral moment, much to the expense of the film in question, Moonlight.

Image: Henry W. Laurisch from Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, we turn to miss Dua’s Instagram to see the press for this album and cannot help but be distracted by the MANY shots of her JETSETTING around the world.

In a PANACOTTA, a PAN’S LABYRINTH , a here I am walking PRIMROSE no less! Celebs and rich people simply must be living in an alternate reality to the rest of us because all the travelling she’s been doing would’ve made me say “cor she’s out and about” in normal time, never mind the fact she’s been doing this in the time of Covid arm in arm with her boyfriend.

So, with all this said will I bop to the new songs? Yes. But I will do so from the safety of my household. LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS DUA! (NC)

So, another week of culture, come and gone. Here’s to another week of spice and intrigue. Until next time!