|World of Chig|
Quote Of The Day....
From Gareth Gates's Mum, warning her son (in the Belfast Telegraph) of the perils of fame:
"I told him: 'if anyone offers you drugs, you get straight on the phone to me'."
Can't she find her own dealer in Bradford?
Why Lithuania could win Eurovision
How did Ralph Siegel manage to get a song into the Lithuanian final without any of us noticing?!
I could hardly believe ‘We All’ by B’Avarija, and now I can’t stop playing it! It’s surely the best song released this week (apart from Mull Historical Society’s ‘Watching Xanadu’ of course, but sadly that’s not in contention for the ESC). It sounds like classic Siegel to me, only better. With an intro that has that Karnival/Can Can flavour all over again.
I know it’s early days, with lots of other songs to hear yet, but if Lithuania pick ‘We All’, I reckon they’ll have a fantastic chance in Tallinn, with them performing last.
1) It’s really rousing and catchy.
2) It gets going very quickly.
3) They sing “Now everybody sing along” and later “Now we’re together let us sing”, continuing the ‘party’ theme of last year (and the Olsens). You can almost see them encouraging the audience to stand on their chairs and join in.
4) The song makes oblique references to 11th September and the war in Afghanistan without actually saying so. It’s a ‘message’ song, but it’s not schmaltzy like ‘Millennium Of Love’ (or this year’s Israeli song, judging from the few lines I’ve read from it).
5) It has that ‘aspirational’, I’d-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing kind of feel to it.
6) It’s in English.
7) It’s performed last.
All they need to do is correct the small English mistake in the second verse (unless I’ve misheard it), which is easy; it could become “love’s the common thing”.) (Perhaps I’ll mention this to them at the first press conference. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.) ;-)
However, there are two Lithuanian songs which could stop this winning ;
‘Happy You’ is really strong (in a good way) and ‘I Wanna Hold You’ is a DIRE attempt to catch the mood of Estonia 2001. “It’s Summer time! It’s party time!”. And is that a shout from Shaggy thrown in there too?!
Hope they go for ‘We All’. Here is the complete lyric:
I know we’re far away, a million miles
I know that we can’t see your eyes
But just for you we wrote this happy song
Now everybody sing along
We all wanna brave the hardest highs
Wanna fly to higher skies
Wanna see a million smiles
We all wanna hold each other’s hands
Wanna laugh and sing and dance
We’re together, we’re best friends
And if we’re watching different TV news
Our different languages we use
That doesn’t matter, love is common thing (sic)
Now we’re together let us sing.
Kylie is taking over the world
You might know that a piece of music has taken on a status slightly above a run-of-the-mill pop hit when it starts being used in non-music TV programmes. Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' has taken over TV tonight! First it was the unlikely poledancing track which saw the introduction of the "new" (with septum) Sam Mitchell in Eastenders. Within ten minutes, same channel, it's Kylie again in the 'is is or isn't it?' gay club in Holby City, where we're introduced to new character, the cute gay midwife. It's the lad who had some very erotic scenes with a police officer in Tinsel Town. Tonight though, he's shagging Danny from Corrie, who I used to know back in 88-89. Very amusing.
Anyway, Kylie. It's back again, now in Broken Bones on C4, about gruesome cosmetic surgery. Not quite as gruesome as last week's Designer Vaginas though. I am still emotionally scarred by that programme, which provoked much discussion in the pub on Saturday. There were images in the programme which no gay man should ever have seen.
Lithuania better than the UK - shock assertion
I've had the pleasure of seeing Spain's drawn out TV programme to choose their Eurovision singer(s) tonight, Operacion Triunfo. It's a very long-winded process which I can't explain here. Also heard clips of all the Lithuanian songs in their upcoming final. Must say there are eight songs which, collectively, seem stronger than the UK's eight, revealed today. That's good for Lithuania, especially as they perform last on the night, and a good choice could snatch them a win.
Single Of The Week
Mull Historical Society - Watching Xanadu
....and single of the year so far, at least until Marilyn Manson's Tainted Love comes out. Jolly Scotpop which takes me back to the carefree days of The Bluebells and Aztec Camera. Joyous.
Enrique, Spanish #1s and the paternal Eurovision connection
So Enrique beats off a1 for the number one spot. Mmmm....let's just savour that image for a while, shall we?
That means instead of a1's third #1 ever, we get Spain's third #1 ever instead. And all of them have Eurovision connections, on the weekend that the first national contests were held to choose this year's Eurovision songs (in Finland and Estonia) and the UK's final eight songs get revealed on the Radio2 website tomorrow.
Baccara and Julio Iglesias (Enrique's Dad) are the only Spanish acts to have a UK #1 before now, and they both sang in Eurovision. Julio came 4th for Spain in 1970, but Baccara sang for Luxembourg in 1978. Neither of their #1s were their Eurovision songs. In fact, neither of their Eurovision songs charted in the UK, even though Baccara had hit the top with 'Yes Sir, I Can Boogie' only eight months before, and #8 with 'Sorry I'm A Lady' only four months before Eurovision. I'm guessing that their entry 'Parlez-Vous Francais' wasn't released here, which is a shame, because it's hilarious!
Amazingly, BOTH of today's #1 and #2 new entries have Eurovision connections through their Dads. Apparently, the father of a1's Christian Ingebrigtsen tried to represent Norway in their national contest, but unlike Julio, he never made it though.
A Song For Europe: Song 4: Fade Away
Writers: Stuart Hanna, Alistair Griffin
Very worryingly, the singer sounds like Cliff Richard. This is very Radio 2. Not my cup of tea at all. It’s well sung and all that, and quite rousing, but I can’t see this as a Eurovision song at all. Amusingly, the intro reminds me of Dean Friedman’s ‘Lucky Stars’, and he has a similar kind of breathy vocal style too.
“Hold me while I’m sleeping, in case I fall, in case I fade away.” So it’s a song about dying in your sleep. That’ll cheer us up in Estonia.
A Song For Europe: Song 3: When You're Around
Artist: Paula O’Neil
Writers: Ben Copland, Martin Bushell
The first few seconds sound promising, but then, oh no! It’s country rock. Yuk.
“I feel I can fly so high, that I can nearly touch the sky, when you’re around.”
It’s that ‘aspirational’ lyric again, that we all love so much (cf. No Dream Impossible, Love Shine A Light etc…) Oh god, it’s really catchy. Please, nooooooo, I don’t want to like this….
Songs 3 and 4 to come within the hour. And if that hasn’t whet your appetite, there’s a whole host of minor celebrities to come with the other six songs, including;
Jessica Garlick (9th place in Pop Idol)
Jonathon Maitland (TV presenter; formerly Watchdog, now House Of Horrors & Tonight With Trevor McDonald)
Tricia Penrose (formerly in Brookside, now very, very famous indeed if you watch Heartbeat, which I don’t)
D-list, or what?! More later….
A Song For Europe: Song 2: Never In A Million Years Artist: Zee Writers: Mark Jiggens, Zee Asha
This song has caused a HUGE fuss already on the Eurovision mailing lists. It has apparently been available for download from the internet since October 2000, so by no means qualifies as a new song. Normally, reasonable people (myself included) would expect that to mean disqualification, but no. The BBC seems well aware of the situation and their top Eurovision bod himself has apparently e-mailed someone on the list and assured him it’s okay. I think they must be applying a very precise definition of ‘commercially available’ and as it hasn’t ever been released officially or been on sale in shops, it seems to pass the test. Also, by the UK’s Eurovision standards, singer Zee Asha is ‘famous’ and verging on credible too. She’s had two top 40 hits under the name of Zee; Dreamtime (#31 in 1996) and Say My Name (#36 in 1997). She was also the featured vocalist on Butterfly, a #41 hit for trancemeisters Tilt in 1998. The cred bit comes from the fact that all three of these were on Perfecto.Now forget the credibility, there’s a chance that some of us have even seen her live. She was a backing vocalist with Culture Club at the time of their 1999 revival, and she is on the majority of tracks on their ill-fated Don’t Mind If I Do comeback album. I was flicking through some of my photos last week, and I think I have two pictures of her with Culture Club, taken at BRMB’s Party In The Park at Cannon Hill. So, after all that, what’s the song like? After two listens this morning, it’s clear that this is the now formulaic ‘typical Eurovision song’ of the modern era. It’s this year’s Sapphire, this year’s Nicki French, this year’s Lindsay. The kind of song which I really love, and would dance to in a club, but which only surfaces in real life in gay discos which don’t play trance or hard house. It’s a real dilemma, because although I like it, recent experience has shown that Eurovision doesn’t go for this kind of thing anymore. I can imagine this winning the UK selection, and then we’ll feel like we’re saddled with another no-hoper. Zee herself has a strong voice, very reminiscent of Horse, with a touch of Alison Moyet, and given that she effectively took on the Helen Terry role in Culture Club, this isn’t surprising. It has a good tinkly piano sound and a solid dancey beat, but it needs an ending with more impact if it gets chosen. Today’s version just fizzled out, very undramatically. On the positive side, if Zee was chosen, we wouldn’t be biting our nails, praying that she could hit the right notes on 25th May, like we did with Lindsay last year. She’s obviously an old pro!
A Song For Europe 2002
What’s Chig doing up at 08:30 on a Monday morning? Can it really be that time of year again? Why yes, the day has arrived when my radio gets its annual reminder of where Radio 2 is on the dial. As I grit my teeth and try to tune into the ‘humour’ of Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce, they reveal the eight hopefuls in this year’s A Song For Europe competition. Now it’s up to us to pick a song for Tallinn that will perform better than the last two miserable years.
So here we go with my thoughts on the first two, courtesy of Wogan:
A Song For Europe: Song 1: Lovestruck
Writers: Ben Copland, Yvonne John Lewis, Nicky Cooke, Phil Dane
One of two songs that Ben Copland has in the last eight. Spoken intro, acoustic guitar with stabbing power chords. Mmmm. Sounds surprisingly contemporary – I could even imagine this as a less poppy Britney track. The female voices sound quite sweet, but not sickly, and it’s very damn catchy. I’m quite impressed.
Single Of The Week: a1– Caught In The Middle.
The boyband is dead – long live the boyband! a1 are attempting a death-defying leap from boyband status to pop credibility, by ditching the dance routines, playing their instruments on TV appearances, and pointing out how much writing they’ve done themselves. I wouldn't like to predict how successful this strategy this will be in the long-term, but this song has lodged itself firmly in my head for the last fortnight, so their third #1 could be in sight. Despite the 'Another Brick In The Wall - Part Two' intro, it's a lovely, catchy acoustic guitar type thing. The big advantage of them NOT leaping around the stage like they're in an aerobics session is that you get to see more of their faces on TV. And with Ben and Christian in the band, that's very pleasing indeed.
One of the extra tracks is called 2:59, although it’s actually 3:10 in length. Ooh, isn’t life confusing? It bears more resemblance to an unheard Robbie Williams single than it does to any track on their first two albums. Reminds me a bit of Into The Valley, and you can’t say that of any previous a1 song. By Jove, I think they’ve done it!
Almost single of the week: Enrique – Hero. El nino Iglesias has clearly decided he’s famous enough to drop his surname. Artists such as him and Kylie do this just to piss off those of us with alphabetically filed singles collections. Whatever. Enrique’s candlelit performance of this was one of the most moving parts of the hastily-arranged Tribute For Heroes TV programme for those killed on 11th September. At the time, it felt as if it related to the New York firefighters, although lyrically it doesn’t at all. Whether it has that emotional resonance now is anyone’s guess, but does it need it anyway? This is Enrique’s first single for over a year, when we last heard him supporting the ailing career of Whitney Houston. It’s beautiful, and so is he (even if he can’t mime – see below). Nuff said.
Britney Spears – Overprotected. And here’s another one who’s doing all the UK TV appearances this week. After flirting with the Neptunes, R’n’B cred and animal torture with I’m A Slave 4 U, she’s gone back to the first mould and stuck it back together. Well sort of – this is really catchy and I’m surprised how much I like it already. Still can’t stand her though. Something about her in interviews just makes me think, ‘eeeeeevil’, and I don’t believe a single word she says, about anything. Not sure why.
Dirt Devils – The Drill.
If this was a real hardcore dance track, it would actually have the sound of drilling on it. And people screaming, like in Driller Killer. Or at the dentist. But it doesn’t, because it’s about a different sort of drill; the emergency procedure kind, hence there’s an ‘Evacuation Mix’. Do you see what they did there? Actually, it’s stretching a point to say this is ABOUT anything at all, but it’s the sort of mindless dancey stuff that I love. It sounds a lot like something else, but I can’t quite put my finger on it at the moment.
Mercury Rev – The Dark Is Rising
One that slipped through my net last week, but couldn’t be ignored after hearing it on the Top 40. Beautiful, and well deserving of their highest chart placing ever (#16). There’s a fantastic version of the Irving Berlin classic ‘Blue Skies’ on one CD, which is worth ten times the measly £1.80 that I paid for it. If you know why this has a Chopin piano piece on one CD and another one on the DVD single, please let me know. It’s very nice, but it’s not very rock’n’roll, is it?
Separated At Birth: Gordon Haskell & Gordon Cunningham
Radio 2’s favourite crooner and Hollyoaks’ councillor and shopkeeper; have you ever seen them in the same room at the same time?
Stop The Lying!
His ‘Hero’ single is out imminently, so Enrique Iglesias is doing the rounds of the TV shows this week. And hurrah for that! ¡Ay caramba senor! Muy bien to have you back and all that. This morning, it was The Saturday Show. Earlier in the week it was Richard & Judy. On these programmes, both Richard Madeley and Dani Behr said, during the preliminary chat with Enrique, that he would be singing live. Problem is, he wasn’t. Not on either programme. Personally, I couldn’t give a monkey’s, when artists have singles to promote, whether they mime or sing live. What I REALLY hate is the lying. Enrique, for all his charms, (and there are many, many of them) is useless at miming. Almost as bad as Bernard Sumner. He clearly knows this, and very obviously holds the mic around the bell end (do your own Freudian analysis) in order for his fist to hide his mouth from the cameras. If he was lucky, he would get away with it, but unfortunately, on both programmes (but at different points in the song), he has forgotten to open his boca bonita at all and yet, as if by magic, his voice has still appeared. Quite funny to watch, but very, very embarrassing for him.
So why the pretence? Is it some contractual ‘I will only appear if you say I’m singing live’ type obligation? TV producers must think we’re complete muppets. In the fabulous world of pop (specifically pop) there are few enough acts who will sing live on TV shows, which is why those who do, notably a1 and Hear’say, deserve a little respect for it.
Lo siento Enrique, pero no me gusta.
Chig suffers facial scarring accident – no pretzel involved.
Oh woe is me. Sunday evening, 17.55: All I did was bend down to turn off my little radio, which was on the floor, on the landing, as I was going to watch TV. Somehow, I then stood up too quickly and at slightly the wrong angle, and caught my head with an almighty whack on the corner of my CD shelves. I fell to my knees, gathered my thoughts for a second, and staggered to sit down at my desk. I sat there thinking, ‘I’m going to have an almighty headache later’, but worse was to come. A few minutes later, I realised blood was dripping from my forehead, so I went to the mirror and was genuinely shocked to see a 3cm vertical gash just below my hairline. Nice clean cut though – those CD shelves have really sharp corners, I realise now.
After I cleaned up my wound and stuck on a plaster to keep the two edges of the wound together, I felt very sorry for myself. I contemplated going to hospital to have it stitched up, but then remembered (a) my car is in the local garage, waiting to have its battery replaced and (b) last time I was in A&E I waited for several hours and (c) they would probably think this is really trivial. I therefore decided to just feel sorry for myself, but inflict a photo of the bloody wound, by e-mail, on my mother and nurse sister. (1001 Uses For A Digital Camera, no.837.) Nurse sister has said I will live. Thank goodness for NHS training.
Awoke this morning to hear on radio about George Bush’s accident. Laughed. Winced. Head wound has gone tight and it hurts. More blood in bathroom later. Still wondering if this should have been stitched.
UPDATE: Thu 17/01/02
Have had to avoid long periods at the PC this week, due to frequent headaches. Feeling crabby and irritable. Have only been out wearing baseball cap due to very obvious blob of congealed blood on forehead. Thankfully, have been growing fringe lately, which covers it quite well. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been out at all.
Harry, Charlie, Waccy Baccy
Can’t help feeling a wee bit sorry for Prince Harry today. It’s not his fault he was born, and has had to live all 17 years of his life, under public scrutiny. He’s old enough now to realise the full horror that he faces for the rest of his life; spending it in a goldfish bowl, and I’m not surprised the poor boy wants to get wasted once in a while and forget about it all. Add to that the horrific loss of his mum when he was 12, and all the public grieving that went with it, and the fact that he lives in the shadow of a brother who is universally loved and gorgeous with it, while he is, er, not.
Harry’s obviously been a bit of a fool, doing things so publicly, but I find it strangely comforting to find that the third in line to the throne is experiencing life as so many teenagers do. No one is surprised that drugs are easily available to the poor little rich kids at Eton, but it’s the drinking that’s more worrying than the dope smoking. How can someone so well known and underage be in a pub without the owners and other drinkers knowing about it?
I suppose the other shocking element to this is the realisation that little Harry, who we all remember as sullen and sheepish (and shorter) at his mother’s funeral, has actually grown up a lot in the last four years, but we haven’t really seen a lot of him. Well if ever he wanted to push William out of the spotlight, he's succeeded in spectacular fashion.
The big mystery about this story is – how on earth did it stay out of the papers for so long? I suppose it’s just the same as another royal revelation that all the papers are sitting on: that *******’s *** is gay, while all the gossips are looking in the wrong direction, royally speaking. Until the palace, or some boyfriend, spills the beans, it will remain unpublished.
Two interesting facts quoted on the news:
25% of 11-15 year-olds drink alcohol at least once a week
29% of 15 year-olds took drugs in the last year
Rosie was always going to be up for the chop tonight, based on previous performances, but tonight she made it very easy indeed for the voting public. I imagine she’ll be mortified when she sees tonight’s performance – she was absolutely dreadful. She performed as if she knew the pressure was on, and it had really got to her. It was so bad, I think the judges actually held back from criticising her too much – it just wasn’t necessary to point the voters in the right direction.
The odd thing about the judges’ comments tonight was how favourable they were to Darius. Were they listening to the same performance as I was?
Dead Pop Stars
If cd:uk’s #1 this morning holds on until tomorrow’s official chart, we’re in for the start of a disturbing trend. It looks as if to get a number one single in 2002 you need to have died recently. Aaliyah this week will surely be followed by George Harrison next week (although the P!nk single seems very popular too), which I think will be the first time we’ve had consecutive #1 singles by different deceased artists. (The ‘different’ is crucial here, as John Lennon did it to himself 21 years ago, when ‘Woman’ knocked ‘Imagine’ off the top.)
Predictions for #1s in February? Re-releases of ‘Unbelievable’, ‘In A Big Country’ and ‘Buck Rogers’.
Gratuitous bottom shots, anybody? You got ‘em in ITV1’s new series, ‘Footballers’ Wives’ last night. Not that I’m complaining. You expect (hope for?!) the odd shower shot or two in a programme about professional footballers, but this series seems to go the extra mile! A good start to what might may turn out to be a gripping series, if for all the wrong reasons. And was that really Gary Lucy’s cock in the showers, or just a strategically placed hand? Why wasn’t I videoing this?
According to three real Premiership wives on Richard and Judy today, the programme “wasn’t realistic”. No luvs, that would have been a documentary. This was a drama. Don’t make me reel out the Queer As Folk argument yet again.
There were a few Brits nominations which raised my eyebrows on Monday night:
Aphex Twin (Not exactly well known to the masses, or with any commercial success in 2001....or any other year!)
Craig David (Don't think he released anything in 2001. This is just a desperate bid by his record company to make up for his six nominations, no winners last year.)
Sade (one top twenty single...and an OBE two weeks ago! But not this, please.)
Mambo No.5 - Bob The Builder. (I'm not making this up!)
21 Seconds - So Solid Crew (I knew this was coming, but it still doesn't make it any good.)
Born To Do It - Craig David
No Angel - Dido
(Both released in 2000.)
Kids - Robbie Williams & Kylie Minogue (Stretching the definition of 2001 even further; released on 16/10/2000, having been on Robbie's album since August 2000 and Kylie's since September.)
That lot are bad enough, but this is by far the best.........
Wyclef Jean (Ha, ha!)
Dr Dre (Ha ha ha!)
Ryan Adams (Ha ha ha ha! You can almost smell the fear of the record company execs. 2001's great white hope, hyped to death, a fair amount of critical acclaim....and almost zilch record sales. Single failed to make the top 40, even though TOTP had recorded a performance in anticipation that it would - they showed it anyway, breaking their own policy. Album has hovered around the lower reaches of the top 75, and that's all.)
Bob Dylan (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....etc.)
Personally I think this award should be withheld this year, with all nominees given a certificate saying 'Not Worthy', but Shaggy will win it. Where's Eminem when you need a bit of controversy? On the other hand, the International Female Brit has five potential winners: Kylie, Nelly Furtado, Bjork, Alicia Keys and Anastacia.
Notice there are no nominations for Madonna (who had a year off) or Michael Jackson (who didn't). And PJ Harvey is the new Annie Lennox: it's compulsory to nominate her each year.
I printed off the noms from both dotmusic and Radio 1, but neither of them listed the usual 16th category; Best Original Soundtrack or Cast Album. I was hoping this one would have meant a Brit for the Pet Shop Boys. Has the category been dropped? I'm prepared to stake my reputation on one category: the Outstanding Contribution will be won by Sting.
How convenient it is for the organisers that the general public is obligingly voting people off in alternating boy/girl/boy/girl order (Korben/Jessica/Aaron/Laura). This enables them to continue showing the performances in alternating gender order, as they have up until now. Marvellous.
I sensed that support for William was huge in the studio tonight, and deservedly so. The guy has the looks, the personality, and a gorgeous voice that suits a wide range of songs. He positively sparkles. Gareth, on the other hand, is being exposed, just as Pete Waterman said he may be, when he sings uptempo songs. There's no doubt he has the voice of a little boyband angel, really well suited to ballads. He can sing in tune, but there's no power there.
ABBA songs next week, and I'm even more disappointed that Korben won't be there (he was my favourite of the original ten - and that was BEFORE I saw his underwear modelling shots from 1999!) I would have loved to hear him doing 'Dancing Queen'. What's the betting Gareth chooses 'I Have A Dream'? He'll be thrilled to find out it's not actually a Westlife original. Failing that, 'Chiquitita'.
Hayley and Zoe are also obviously strong contenders, and Darius shot up in my estimation last week, and again tonight, now that he has stopped singing his stupid twiddly bits. He really does have a good voice, with a nice tone.
That just leaves Rosie, by far the weakest of the six left, and she'll be out next week unless she picks a really lively, uptempo ABBA tune, and does it brilliantly.
How frustrating! Like (it seems) millions of other people, I've had 2nd Jan 2002 in my diary for nearly a year as the day the 1901 census goes online, and I can finally answer a crucial question regarding the number of children in my Gran's family. Even at 01.30 though, the search pages are not working, as they warned on TV today, because of the huge volume of people trying to access the site (www.census.pro.gov.uk). I wonder how long it will take before it's possible?
Crying At The Discoteque (sic)
New Year's Eve was all going so well....up until 11.55pm. Having positioned ourselves on the dancefloor with a view of the stage at the Nightingale, I chatted to someone for a minute and my two friends disappeared, without so much as a tap on the shoulder to tell me where they were going. I spent the next five minutes in absolute panic, as the build-up was orchestrated from the stage, and when the big moment came, I was alone on a crowded dancefloor, feeling like I was about to burst into tears. It was like going into battle, as I was covered in streamers and clouded in dry ice. Had the three of us stayed together, it would have been brilliant, but after being abandoned, in the end it was shit. I felt so let down, and was in a miserable strop from then on, especially as they came back grinning like nothing had happened, and didn't even apologise for abandoning me. One special moment when you want to be with your friends, gone for ever. I was on the point of going home straight after that, fuming with anger and yet depressed at the same time, but somehow I stayed on, and never returned to the party mood.
I woke up this morning feeling like I missed the dawn of the new year. I think I'll stick to house parties for future NYEs, like the last two years.