Sunday 19 November 2017

The Apprentice? It's enough to turn anyone into a communist

* The Apprentice, BBC1
* Music for Misfits - The Story of Indie BBC4
* Sunday Supplement SKY SPORTS

Ruth Whiteley
Ruth Whiteley
Apprentice contestant Selina Waterman-Smith revealed she used to be a podium dancer.
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

I have to admit, I've never been one for business. I don't have a head for figures, I have precious little get-up-and-go and I've always found money rather boring. Yeah, sure, it's great to have it, and I would certainly love to have plenty more of it. But money for the sake of money is something I've never been able to understand. After all, it is ultimately just a voucher which allows you to buy stuff, it has no inherent or intrinsic value. If you disagree, just look at the exchange rates between the euro and the dollar to see that its value is an arbitrary thing, fluctuating and bouncing around at the whim of the markets.

But every time a new series of The Apprentice starts, I'm reminded of another reason why I never dipped my beak into the murky world of getting rich - I'm not certifiably mad.

Yes, yes, yes. I know we need entrepreneurs and it's the small businessman (and let's not forget lady business people, either) who will keep any economy afloat. But do the people on The Apprentice have to be such idiots about it?

It was about 30 seconds into the episode when I realised that I wanted to burn my free-market principles, ring Paul Murphy to apologise for my previous mockery of his demented ideas and declare myself as Ireland's newest and most fabulous communist.

Because these people are everything that every right-thinking person, and plenty of the wrong-thinking ones as well, should deplore, despise and demonise.

The contestants' introductions and description of themselves was like perusing through the CVs from inmates of an asylum.

One of them loudly parped that she wakes up every morning with "a surge of adrenaline because I know I'm going to be a global phenomenon". Really? Most of us wake up and spend the first 20 minutes weeping and vomiting which, frankly, still sounds more reasonable than greeting the day with an announcement that you're about to become a global phenomenon.

Then one of them, Selina, revealed that she used to be a podium dancer before correcting any misapprehensions which might be had by stressing that this is not the same as a pole dancer.

Interestingly, nobody had actually confused the two jobs. There is obviously a weird hierarchy in the exciting world of sexy dancing but by being so strident in putting distance between herself and the lesser species that is pole dancers, she's probably lost the adult entertainment vote.

Meanwhile another bloke says he is the Godfather of business and wants to make 'Surrallan' an offer he can't refuse (although he probably will) and another eejit says that he wants to be the Hugh Hefner of the British business world. Why anyone would aspire to be an 80-year-old man who lives in his pyjamas and slippers is beyond me, but it's a fate that awaits us all, I suppose.

It's hard to know what the contestants actually want out of life.

Do they really want to become Titans of commerce or do they fancy making a name for themselves, a la Katie Hopkins or the undeniably pleasing on the eye Luisa Zissman?

In the end, the real winner of the new show is undoubtedly the scary new judge, Claude Littner, who looks like a dyspeptic boiled egg and has the nasty thing down to a tee.

Get used to looking at Claude. Because given the antipathy between Surrallan and his American rival, Donald Trump, the next obvious move for him will be to stand for election which, bizarrely, is even less bonkers than The Donald running for POTUS and the show will need a new host.

Everything you need to know about The Apprentice 2015 

Even if they had been around during the golden years of Indie music, I doubt The Apprentice fodder would have spent much time listening to The Smiths or The Cocteau Twins in their bedroom like the rest of us. No, you know their musical tastes would have extended no further than U2 and Bon Jovi - music for dull people who don't actually like music.

As the second part of Mark Radcliffe's engrossing three part documentary, Music for Misfits - The Story of Indie, reminded anyone who was watching, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Frankly, those of us who came of age in the late 1980s are too young to be swaggering down memory lane, but this was comfort telly for the 40-something generation - plenty of New Order and The Smiths, particularly their epic first appearance on Top Of The Pops in 1983 when Morrissey infamously waved a gladioli at the cameras.

That provided an invaluable lesson to a young O'Doherty but only because my father spent the whole time sneering at the great man and his flower, which was a bit rich coming from an old hippy who wasn't averse to a bit of flower power when he was younger.

Ah yes, never trust a hippy. Particularly when The Smiths are on the telly.

For the average football fan, Sunday Supplement is essential viewing. Ninety minutes of journalists talking about football is exactly as compelling as it sounds (or as awful, if you don't like the game) but last Sunday's episode was a disgrace. A disgrace, I tells ya!

Even when talking about Scotland failing to qualify for the Euros, they still didn't mention the Republic, inexplicably passing over our victory over Germany.

We're well used to the Republic being ignored by British media and that's fair enough - we don't pay a licence fee to the BBC, for instance, so any coverage is a bonus.

But we do pay our subscription fee to Sky and have a reasonable expectation of being analysed, particularly in the wake of the win over the Hun.

Bad form, lads.

Irish Independent

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