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26th April 1998

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Our Man in LondonWelcome to the circus

By Afdhel Aziz

You *^%*ing (*^&* !!!! ). On the television screen a large black man is being forcibly suppressed by two even larger security guards who are trying to prevent him from beating up his heavily made up girlfriend. The reason for his distress ? She has just informed him after two years of dating that she is actually a man. Apart from questioning the man's sanity (and eyesight) , the television audience is on its feet cheering and hollering while the riot erupts on stage. The bleep machine nearly burns out , trying to censor the swearing on screen. Smiling benignly as he watches the chaos is a slim man in horn rimmed glasses, microphone in hand, dressed in a well-cut double-breasted suit. Welcome to the circus that is America's biggest TV sensation. Welcome to the Jerry Springer Show.

Springer has had a chequered career - his past jobs have included laywer, country musician, news anchor and Mayor of Cincinnati. Since starting his show in 1991, he has been labelled the ringmaster of America's sleaziest, most vulgar television obsession , hosting a talk show with no holds barred and where frequently many other things are bared. It is the television equivalent of a trashy tabloid, except things happen live, in full colour and surround sound, always in front of an enthusiastic crowd that seems to be hopped up on crack and amphetamines.

To give you an example of an average show, here's a direct excerpt from the Jerry Springer Show web site, detailing what's in store for viewers ahead: 4/10/98 "You Can't Have Him!": Phillip can't seem to stop cheating on Tina. Maybe it's because she keeps taking him back. Today she'll confront Phillip's gay ex-lover. Next Chelsea, a transsexual, is here to confront her former friend, Lynn also a transsexual, for stealing her boyfriend of six months, Smoke. Chelsea says Lynn has turned Smoke into her personal servant and he won't make a move without her permission'. Fascinating ? Well, actually this is one of the tamer shows that Springer has done.

He specialises in doing things like putting members of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan on the same show as ultra-militant black nationalists The Black Panthers - and then stepping back while the action rumbles on stage . Even the television stations who lap up Springer and his ratings-gaining antics have drawn the line somewhere -the last was an episode featuring not one but three disgusting segments was a bit much. The episode included two sisters who have had sex with each other, a woman who drinks her own breast milk and a bondage segment with a transvestite dominatrix (from Tampa) and his love slave. Other hot topics have included shows with themes like "I'm Pregnant by a Transsexual," "I Strip With My Family" or "I'm a Breeder for the Klan.

"Springer defends his show as pure entertainment. He says that American TV newscasts are more violent and sensational than his talk show. "We don't have murders and other horrendous crimes. We only have people yelling at each other," he said. "And we say up front that these people are outrageous. Our audience understands that. "He calls his show a "cultural cartoon," a "silly little show" that some critics have taken way too seriously. He is definitely someone who takes his Freedom of Speech rights and bends them to the max - but he does provide an outlet for millions of working class Americans who sit back with a beer and watch the fireworks on screen with a lot of hooting and hollering. He has a major movie deal in the works, 6.7 million Americans watch his show every day and Worldwide his show is seen in over 30 foreign countries. What's the secret of his appeal? Well, on one of the many web sites devoted to him on the Internet, to wryly sum up why Jerry is Talk Show God 'Jerry is our guiding light in this ever changing world, keeping us focused on the things that really matter in life: friendship, love, and naked pedophiliac homosexual drug addicted white trash strippers.' God bless America. Thus ends this transmission.

Dear DaughterTell them now

My darling daughter,

A few days ago I went for the funeral of a distant relative. He was a good man and had helped many, but as he grew older and became more feeble very few would visit him - they had after all so many other things to do! Yet at the funeral there was a great deal of sadness displayed. One of his favourite nephews came to me and wept, "I wish I could have told him, how much he meant to me." Listening to him, I thought daughter how often we don't tell others how much we appreciate them. We tend to take everything for granted. In fact we appear to be reluctant to even say a "Thank You" as if all those who help us are obliged to do so. Sometimes I have heard people say, "It is his job to do this or that" but surely to say thank you, to smile and be appreciative is not that difficult. Then those in our own family how often the husband or wife takes the other for granted and children how seldom do they show their appreciation for the many sacrifices their parents make. I read a verse daughter, which I would like to share with you, "If with pleasure you are viewing any work I am doing,

If you like me or love me
Tell me now
Don't withhold your approbation
For no matter how you shout about it
I won't care much about it
I won't see the teardrops you have shed
If you think praise is due me
Now is the time to give it
For I cannot read my tombstone when I am dead."

Reading the verse I thought of the nephew weeping at the funeral, if only he had expressed his appreciation he would not have felt so sad.. So daughter as you go through life remember to show those around you that you appreciate the kindness, thoughtfulness and love.


The Untouchables live in Colombo

"They get it on like Marvin Gaye and they strut their stuff like James Brown". Colombo night life is being turned on by the arrival of 'The Untouchables', five multitalented musicians from the United States, who are now entertaining local audiences at the Cyclone Night club with their unique brand of musical showmanship.

The Untouchables who consist of Chad on vocals, Tony on lead, Reggie on bass, Mike on keyboards & Reds on drums, have between them, performed with a dizzying array of legendary R&B, soul and funk acts such as Stevie Wonder, Ice-T, Babyface, Pattie La belle, Latoya Jackson, and the Kinks. They have toured extensively in South-East Asia and played at famous venues such as the Hard Rock Cafes of Beijing, Jakarta & Singapore, The Hyatt Hong Kong, The Grande Sheraton-Riva's Bangkok and many more. The band are now looking forward to touring beyond Asia and hope to go all over the world.

The Untouchables will be starting off their tour here with a live concert on April 30 to be held at the Bishop's College Auditorium. The group have a fantastic repertoire combined with an explosive stage act that is sure to be very popular with local audiences.

Zone Productions Inc., the event management company that is handling production of the concert, say that the show will have a very retro theme which will be in keeping with the band's image and amazing repertoire of over 200 songs which include cover versions of popular 70's & 80's artistes such as James Brown, The Gap Band, Kool & The Gang, Marvin Gaye, etc., and even a few top 40 hits. Tickets for the show will be reasonably priced and are available in advance at the auditorium office.

The people responsible for bringing down this versatile group are Reign Entertainment who currently own and manage one of Colombo's most popular night clubs - The Cyclone. After the concert the group will stay on in Sri Lanka for two months and will be performing five to six nights a week at the club.

So if you're after an evening of world class entertainment, which will include some of the best music of the 70's and 80's, catch the Untouchables live in concert.

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