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The Apprentice: has the world gone mad?

9 Dec

Now, we understand that a 12-week “job interview from hell” must take its toll. But does that really explain the madness of last night’s Apprentice? Yes, it seems no-one was beyond the realms of insanity in the latest tour bus task.

Tourists were not in the mood for a Cockney knees-up (Credit: BBC)

Liz tried to pull off Cockney impersonations (as we’ve established, she is in fact Footballers’ Wives Susie Amy and acting was never her strong point). Jamie thrilled tourists with his inside knowledge of Westminster Abbey: “It’s a church”. And Chris broke away from his trademark monotone to shower Stuart with expletives. Even level-headed Stella was reduced to singing a degrading rendition of Old Mother Brown.

But, as always, Stuart stole the show. Yes, after wooing tourists with lines such as “have a bite of my jellied eels” and charging them £35 for the privilege, we thought his time was up. This was, of course, before the boardroom speech of a lifetime.

“I’m not a one-trick pony. I’m not even a ten-trick pony. I’ve got a field full of ponies” – wise words from Stuart Baggs

Yes, the 21-year-old brand pulled out all the stops to secure his place in next week’s interviews. He regaled Sir Alan with tales of horses, declaring he was not just a one-trick pony but a “field full of ponies”. Even his shameful yo-yo antics came out of the closet, as he revealed the only money he’d ever taken from his parents was for yo-yo stock. Oh, and he’s going to start up a new company for Sir Alan (clearly not a fan of dodgy Amstrad electrics, then).

It was enough to leave us all feeling a little bemused. But while ponies and yo-yos may have confused us mere mortals, he was clearly talking Sir Alan’s language. “It makes sense to me,” he told Stuart, as Liz faced the full force of the tycoon’s index finger.

So, as Stuart survives another week, we’re left wondering if there’s anything the young whippersnapper can’t do. If his bewildering patter does make him the next Apprentice, here are a few suggestions of what his next venture with Sir Alan may involve:

  • Translation service: As we’ve seen, Stuart is the master of many tongues. Whether it be French, German or Cockney, the brand can adapt himself to any given situation with a simple “Das ist wunderbar” or inconspicuous beret.
  • Diplomatic relations: Stuart’s diplomacy skills may be a little on the unusual side, but we can’t help marvelling at how his management style hasn’t incurred so much as a black eye. Reverse psychology proved to be his forté last night, as he told Chris, “Go on, hit me then,” and asked the tourist information office to report him to the police. Remarkably, neither happened. We believe he could use these skills to achieve feats such as Middle Eastern peace and a ceasefire between X Factor feuding couple Simon and Louis.
  • Horse racing: Livestock is one area Sir Alan hasn’t dabbled in, but Stuart has a field full of ponies to offer. Plus his canny intuition and knack for triumphing against the odds mean he will always back the winner.

Of course, all this will come under Stuart’s unmistakable brand trademark. Unfortunately, previews of next week’s interview suggest the Baggs brand is still not recognised by everyone…


Strictly’s Ann Widdecombe to perform barn dance

7 Dec

So recent events have proved Britain is no country for old women, with X Factor’s Mary and Ann Widdecombe deemed past their sell-by dates. But fear not Widdecombe fans: your next fix may be closer than you think.

The epitomy of grace: Strictly's Ann Widdecombe

Yes, the Strictly contestant has announced she won’t hang up her sorely mistreated dancing shoes. And this time she’s taking her talents to a far less discerning audience: cattle.

Ann has divulged that she will relive the waltz on her regular country walks.  “Before the startled eyes of roaming cattle, I shall dance around the damp, uneven ground, imagining myself in a glittering gown, waltzing in the arms of Anton du Beke,” she told the Radio Times.

Now, normally we would refuse to envy farmyard animals, but this proves there is an exception to every rule. The idea of Ann performing her own, confused-Granny-style barn dance is nothing short of genius. In fact, it could even better her all-too-literal interpretation of the sinking Titanic.

Yes, she may be a Tory and have a fondness for words like “jolly”, but her unique routines have won her a place in our bewildered hearts. In fact, all MPs should take a leaf out of her book. Would David Cameron not seem infinitely more appealing if Anton du Beke dragged him around the floor like a bedraggled, canary yellow mop? I rest my case.

So Anne, we salute you. In fact, words are not enough to convey our admiration. Please accept our song as a poetic tribute to your superior dancefloor prowess:

The Right Honourable Dancing Queen

(Set to the tune of Abba’s Dancing queen)

Saturday night and the scores are low,

Anne doesn’t know where she’s meant to go,

Whether it be rock music,

Whether it be swing,

She does the same dance.

Anton was meant to be that guy,

His smile was fixed and his patience high,

He looked out for another,

Anyone would do,

But it was Widdecombe.

And then she got the chance…

To be the dancing queen,

Two left feet,

Scoring seventeen,

Dancing queen,

Feels no beat,

From the tambourine.

She can’t waltz,

She can’t jive,

Even if to save her life.

Oooh see her dance,

Don’t watch her feet,

And she is a dancing queen.

(Fade to a scene of Anton carrying Ann in a characteristically unceremonious lift).

So Anne, you will always be our dancing queen, trophy or not. Now we can only look forward to your bizarre partnership with Craig Revel Horwood on tour…

The Apprentice – even when they’re shit, they’re good

2 Dec

It was the quote that summed up Stuart Baggs’ entire stint on The Apprentice. Last night’s edition of You’re Fired saw ‘the brand’ tell the house: “How great is that – even when we’re shit, we win!”

Yes indeed, even when Stuart is aimlessly driving around race tracks, confusing Germans and telling them he has a white sausage, Stuart always manages to pull it out of the Baggs, so to speak. Which left the whole nation wondering: how? Is he just plain lucky? Or is he covertly using hypnosis on Karen and Nick (with Stuart, any skill is possible) to fiddle the figures?

Either way, he’s becoming compulsive viewing. Last night being French emerged as one of his many hidden talents, which so far have included a surprising number of voice-over personas and a complex German vocabulary. Then, on his trip to Paris, he stunned us once again by ordering wine with a suave “s’il vous plaît” and skipping around Paris in a beret. It’s times like this when we wonder why Anglo-French relations are so sour.

Footballers' Wives Chardonnay

But while we could wax lyrical all day about Stuart’s talents, a far more pressing matter has come to our attention. Yes, it seems boardroom favourite Liz is actually an impostor. According to our sources (by sources, we mean us) Liz is the exact body double of Susie Amy, best known as Chardonnay in landmark trash TV series Footballers’ Wives.

We believe Susie is hoping to escape her shameful Footballers’ Wives past by reinventing herself as business-minded “Liz”, a serious contender in Sir Alan’s boardroom. Only this will ever win back the respect of her colleagues, who reportedly shunned her after the end of her on-screen marriage to Gary Lucy.

The Apprentice's Liz Locke

The question is: will Sir Alan still champion “Liz” after he discovers her X-rated past as a Footballers’ Wives glamour girl? He doesn’t seem the type to approve of her character’s antics, which have included not-so-tastefully-done bondage sessions and several brushes with plastic surgery. Still, only time will tell.

The world’s first Bieber-loving gangster (that we know of)

30 Nov

Every so often, along comes a story that warms even the most cynical of hearts. No, we’re not talking world peace here. Or even unprecedented acts of human kindness. We’re talking about the world’s first ever Justin-Bieber-loving gangster.

Yes, that’s right – we talking sugary sweet Justin Bieber and the decidedly less saccharine-laden criminal. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – this is a mural of the teeny popstar found in the suspected druglord’s bedroom.

Justin Bieber: the gangster's celebrity of choice

In an unusual twist of fate, police found an elaborate shrine dedicated to Bieber in Brazilian gangster Luciano Martiniano da Silva’s house. It seems the hardened kingpin had a soft spot for the little tyke, boasting a hand-painted mosaic and numerous posters of the Canadian teen idol.

Of course, all this begs some serious questions on Justin Bieber’s connection with the criminal underworld. How did these two previously unconnected worlds ever collide? And what could be the consequences of such an unholy union?

It all sets a mind-boggling scene. Did the older gangsters pick on him for his taste in manufactured, pre-teen pop? Or were his underlings forced to participate in a painful charade, performing Justin Bieber hits to his every whim? And was Bieber’s “Baby” his torture method of choice?

Could crime-fighting be Wagner's latest venture?

Although we may never uncover the answers to these vital questions, one thing’s for sure: Justin Bieber is a great leveller. You can have as many heavyweight thugs, illegal firearms and recreational drugs as you like, but Bieber fans simply are not meant to be mob heavyweights. Attempting to mix the two is a little like setting The Godfather to the soundtrack of Alvin and the Chipmunks: the squeakquel. A few ill-fated, squeaky notes from either chipmunk or Bieber would shatter even the most carefully built reputations.

Still, we couldn’t help wondering what miracles these revelations could work for law enforcement teams. Just imagine – would Al Pacino have ever succeeded if he had supported X Factor’s Wagner? And could the Krays ever have built notoriety if they were outed as S Club 7 fans? Yes, planting a few choice tween CDs could be the policeman’s new secret weapon.

Who knows, Justin Bieber’s music may become a blessing in a very well-crafted disguise.

Stuart Baggs: the man behind ‘the brand’

26 Nov

So another week, and it’s another eye-wateringly embarrassing moment for Apprentice candidate Stuart Baggs. Yes, the one-man brand – a self-confessed “adrenaline junkie” who frequently reigns in his “extreme masculinity” – this time took his dubious talents to Germany. And what talents they were.

Yes, anyone who doubted his claims of superior memory and intellect were soon proved wrong. No sooner had the entrepreneur learned to count to zwanzig, than he showed his ability to insert the classic German GCSE phrase “Das ist wunderbar” into any given situation.

Are there brains behind 'the brand'? Credit: BBC

Despite his past grumblings, Germany appeared to bring out the optimist in Stuart. Failed appointments, communication breakdowns and sheer bewilderment were all met with an enthusiastic “wunderbar”. (Sadly the same couldn’t be said for Chris, who proclaimed “I hate the Germans” before even beginning the task. Cheer up Chris – whatever you’ve got against the Germans, surely exporting the Baggs brand is enough retribution.)

And finally, Baggs capped it all off with a rare moment of self-awareness: “I’m sure I look like an idiot to them.” Yes Stuart, das ist truly wunderbar.

Still, these powers of perception prompted us to look further into the enigma that is Stuart Baggs. Who is the man behind the brand? Could his powers of memory really render the written form redundant? And how does he respond to the rumours of his dodgy yo-yo selling past? This is what we found:

  • Stuart started wheeling and dealing as a young nipper, selling yo-yos in the playground. It was the beginning of a career full of ups and downs (sorry, it had to be done)….
  • His classmates clearly didn’t take kindly to his yo-yo peddling, as one of his school pals described him as an “egomaniac”.
  • At the tender age of 18, Stuart set up Isle of Man’s BlueWave Communications, which describes itself as “THE Island’s Communications Company”.
  • His antics on The Apprentice have prompted Ricky Gervais to brand Baggs the new David Brent. Does this mean we will see the boardroom’s first robot dance? We sincerely hope so.

Reluctantly, we have to admit a telecoms company and a David Brent comparison isn’t bad for a 21-year-old. So is there method behind Stuart’s apparent madness? Perhaps, as fellow 20something professionals, we should all take a leaf out of his book? Here’s our guide to doing business the Baggs way:

  1. Don’t write anything down: For Stuart, lists are a sign of weakness – the entrepreneur claims to store all

    Ignore facts and notes: business the Baggs way

    the information he needs inside his head. If colleagues doubt your powers of memory, simply show your pity for their writing habits by throwing around words such as “corporate” in a disparaging fashion.

  2. Facts are overrated: Facts, like lists, are for the weak. As Stuart said, he didn’t get where he is today by listening to information. All he needs is a strong sense of intuition, at its most acute when driving around Brands Hatch for no apparent reason.
  3. Talk about yourself as a brand: Stuart is no mere mortal, but a brand in his own right. When in work situations, talk about your superior qualities as if describing a product. Note: when you start using phrases such as “smooth taste” or “sparkling shine”, you’ve probably gone one step too far.
  4. Tuck your clothes in: Never one to neglect his appearance, this week’s Apprentice saw Stuart start a one-man campaign to bring back the anti-fashion of tucking clothes into jeans. When confronted by Stella for his unusual choice, he retorted: “Well, I’ve got to make an effort, haven’t I?” Our thoughts exactly, Stuart.

Disclaimer: Life in your twenties does not accept any responsibility for “accidental” injuries inflicted by colleagues while adopting the Baggs business model.