Sunday, February 04, 2007


BBC Four has started a three part series called Soul Britannia which examines the impact of black music on post war Britain.

I saw the first part, and enjoyed hearing Eric Burdon reminiscing about life in Newcastle in the 1950's (very good at spinning a yarn is Eric), or the effusive Geno Washington admitting that he lied his way into being a support act for Georgie Fame ("my cousin is Aretha Franklin", that sort of thing). Even the (suspiciously blacked up) Tom Jones and Kevin Rowland were quite entertaining, particularly as I didn't have to listen to them performing their recent material.

However, there was a problem.

There were contributions from Robert Elms.

Robert Elms has been annoying me for the past twenty seven years, and it has got to stop.

How long do I have to be inflicted with him gushing on about the beautiful sharply dressed inner city working class kidz?

How long can he get away with it?

Why do his face and voice form such a horrible alliance of smugness?

Many of you will not be familiar with Mr Elms. Lucky you.

This is the man who kickstarted the 1980's by introducing us to the best band of all time, Spandau Ballet Featuring Tommy Handley.

Remember that next time you have to tolerate listening to Gold or True on Magic FM in the office.

This is the man who once told Terry Wogan that he'd got a new home, but the only piece of furniture in it was one chair, because it was the only thing he'd found that was good enough to be in it.

This is the man who published a book in which he talked about his past as one of the beautiful sharply dressed inner city working class kidz.

Apparently, he was a skinhead.

Then he was a dandyish glam rocker.

Then he was a soulboy.

Then he was a punk.

Then he was a new romantic.

Then he was an arsehole in a zoot suit hanging around dahhn La Beate Route while writing gobby articles about Blue Rondo A La Turk (arf arf) for The Face.

Then he was just ... Robert Elms, social commentator and voice of the oppressed classes who have made good for themselves for the rest of his natural born.

Unfortunately, I can't find a clip on YouTube to illustrate exactly how annoying he is, but if you watch any television programme featuring talking heads yabbering on about the good old days, Robert Elms is bound to crop up at a few points in the show.

Knowing that Robert Elms is about to turn up on a television programme is a bit like waiting for the next wave of contractions when you're giving birth.

Yeah, I know, I've never had any children, but it's the best comparison I can think of.
UPDATE: Twinned with Geoff's Soul Britannia post. You scratch my back ...

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I've recorded part one but now will be sensibly forewarned with paw-on-remote-fast-forward to trim out the Elm disease.

I think the analogy of contractions caused by severe food poisoning would be more appropriate for Mr Elms. Anal-ogy in fact.
OMG Robert Elms! I thought he would have disappeared up his own bum by now.
Murph - I think he needs to be eradicated from all television programmes, so great is the risk of Elms disease. Probably best for him to be felled and the stump painted with one of those anti fungal treatments.

Kate - unfortunately he's still on BBC London (or whatever it's called these days) and does some writing. There's no justice in ther world, is there?
I can't believe he's still punditing either - he was already getting on my wick during his days at The Face (didn't he go out with Sade, or am I just imagining that?) I'm with Kate on this one!!
As you may well know Betty, Mr Elms hosts his own midweek radio show on BBC London of which I happen to be a listener, but only because of the educational content surrounding the talks on the history of London that are featured.

Elms is smug. Very smug. He laughs at his own jokes. He exagerates his working class accent and then hides it when he appears on late night telly shows on the BBC for people who want to learn Spanish.

But all that is just touching the tip of the iceberg.

He supports QPR...
He is a 100% smug git/plonker.
I once saw him in one of those posh interiors magazines and my hands went out to ring his neck.

But, I must confess I enjoyed his book.
It's OK though, because Stuart Maconie exists to balance him out.
300 has always been my lucky number.
happy 300th.

elms. twat, more like.
Elms, anagram of Smel.

I recorded it, but I can't watch it now. Can't risk even seeing him on fast forward. Shame.

My word verification is ELMSTWAT
Rhino 75 - yes, he did go out with that other '80's mediocrity, Sade, or "Sadie" as people's mums call her. I think he even chose his girlfriends because of how stylish they made him look!

Istvanski - good character assassination. He probably exaggerates his working class accent because his show is popular with cabbies (that's what it says on Wikipedia, anyway).

Kaz - I've considered buying his book just to laugh at him working his way through all of those cult movements as they went in and out of fashion, but I don't know if I could cope with the smugness.

Beth - it's the Wigan Casino boy in the high waister baggies versus the soft southern soulboy!

Billy - a pity I did my Lucky Number heading a couple of posts ago, eh?

Surly Girl - thanks! Robert Elms - someone must like him.

Holyhoses - it is worth watching, if you can just perhaps look through your fingers when Elmsey is on screen. I know it's difficult, but perhaps you could have some counselling to prepare yourself for it. Funny thing is - my word verication is KILLBOB
Yes - smug, self-appointed voice of his generation. Desperately wanting to be pure working class but not quite pulling the wool over our eyes. And yes he did go out with Sade and was apparently really horrible to her so even more reason not to like him. I'm sure alot of people find Jonathan Ross annoying but at least he is not trying to be something he is not despite his HUGE BBC fee's and a wife with nasty dyed red hair.
Rockmo' - yes, I think Jonathan Ross is from a fairly working class background as well but doesn't just go on and on about it as if it is the be-all and end-all. Both of them went to university and are wealthy now. At least Jonathan Ross takes the mickey out of himself - Elms just has to remind everyone how cool he is and was.
100% in agreement and congratliations on your tercentenary. Maconie could whup Elmseses little Sta-Prest arse. Maconie likes walking in the lakes - a concept completely devoid of meaning to Elms unless you count posing on the bridge over the the Serpentine.
Thank you for the postings.

(Sung to the tune of ABBA's 'Thank You for the Music')
I don't know who Robert Elms is (well, I do now, he sounds like a cunt) but I find Stuart Maconie strangely attractive.
I have no idea who Mr Elms is but I really want to watch this programme now. I know I am going to like him, I always like people that the critics hate. Is he like that other guy everyone hates, somebody Christian - I really like him.
How did I miss that prog, did it clash with Celebrity Ice dancing?
Richard - I think a better northern equivalent is Shaun Ryder. Same working class inner city background, teenage interest in clothes, clubbing and music. I wonder who would win that fight? Heh heh.

MJ - Thank you. I'm nothing special, in fact, I'm a bit of a bore. If I tell a joke, you've probably heard it before. Pretty good description of me, that.

Spinsterella - take it from me: Robert Elms, *wouldn't*.

Tom 909 - he isn't remotely like Terry Christian, who isn't as annoying as people say he is. Robert Elms is actually more annoying than you would think if you'd not actually heard or seen him.
I remember seeing Robert "Voice of Socialism" Elms, the inventor of the "Hard Times" fashion movement, being interviewed on The Tube about that most CRUCIAL! of 1980s topics, Original Authenic shrink-to-fit button-fly Levi 501s.

Rolling up one leg of his jeans to illustrate, Elms explained how CRUCIAL! it was to have the Original, Authentic red stitching on the inside, or else you'd look like - and I quote - "scum from Up North".

Nice man.
Happy 300th, Betty !

Robert Elms - what a tiresome wee shite he is.
Is Robert Elms still claiming that he invented the internet? Along with Pete Waterman, he's one of the biggest fantasists ever.
Mike - oh, yes, Hard Times. Throw out your zoot suits, it's time to dance to the Valentine Brothers in ripped Levis and sleeveless leather jackets because, apparently, money's too tight to mention. Even in London! Which probably meant that Blue Rondo A La Turk had been dropped by their record label ...

Sky - thanks! Elmsey doesn't seem to finding many people to defend him here, does he?

Lost Boy - did he really claim to invent the internet? Blimey. He's wrong anyway - it was Leonardo Da Vinci who invented the internet, as any fule knoe.
Happy 300th betty and can I just express my envy for those who had never heard of Robert Elms. Their world is a better place for it.
Realdoc - thanks. I feel about 300 years old at the moment. I was surprised so many people here had heard of Robert Elms. He's cast a shadow over too many lives.
here i just posted up a lengthy digression on how fantastic british television is and you post this. well crap. as long as it's just the one guy...i dunno. but i feel kind of disillusioned now.

puberty sucks.
First Nations - Fortunately Robert Elms spends more time on the radio than television, so it is easier to avoid him.

I dunno - a lot of the tv I like these days is American - The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm are the best shows anywhere of recent years. I suppose there's a lot of rubbish on American and British tv but we get to cherry pick the best of whatever's on the other side of the Atlantic.

Puberty never ends.
On no account use Covent Garden tube. I did today, and was surprised, as the lift doors shut, to hear the following recorded speech:
"Hallo and welcome to Covent Garden. I'm Robert Elms, the ubiquitous and egregious flaneur and poseur. Turn right for the correctly-pronounced Piazza, turn left for the scruffy street with no decent clothes shops."
I paraphrase slightly.
Boggins - welcome home. What a horrible thought: Elms as an announcer on the underground. He'll be doing the "mind the gap" announcements next ("there's a branch three doors from the exit at the next stop. They sell awful mass produced utility clothes for middle class, early middle aged people who have no sense or understanding of style").
I guess I can count myself lucky. I have no idea who he is. He sounds horrible!
Cheese - somehow, I don't think he'll make it big across the Atlantic. Everyone over here hates him, so it's not very promising for a career overseas, is it?
I listen to his radio show whenever possible. Great range of music, good chat/music ratio, always interesting, makes London seem such a fascinating place - which it is. For the radio he does a good job - can't think of another show I'd rather listen to.
I would guess that Robert is probably more talented, more successful and happier in life than most of the cretins who posted the above shyte. Get a life, get a fuckin job and quit sitting on your asses in your social housing poncing off everyone you layabout pricks.

Great show on Radio London Bob
Robet Elms and Maxwell Hutchinson trying to 'out smug' each other has to be witnessed !! BLEUGHHHHHHHHHHHH !
As a friendly Northerner I really do try to like and understand London folk and their funny ways. Then I remember that ponce Elms and it all descends into ugliness. Was there ever a more pointless and talentless waste of space?
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