World of Chig   


Wed 27/02/02, 12.20pm
Friends S&R flew in from Hong Kong this morning, so I'm meeting them soon. Also have a date with a UK porn model later tonight. Things are hotting up out here! Three days to the big Mardi Gras parade and party. Fourth trip to gym yesterday, and I'm getting addicted. And, thankfully, feeling soooooo much better, physically and mentally, about myself and life in general. It's hot and muggy every day - even when it rains, which is often. Shaved all my blond hair off on Thursday and down to a #2 yesterday. Bye bye blondie! Just can't stand having hair when it's hot! C ya!

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Chig's Oriental Day

(Tue 26/02/02) Gorgeously sexy Hong Kong Chinese man in afternoon, gorgeous Japanese organic vegetarian meal in evening. Both succulent and tasty. This is what I call a holiday.
New nationalities added to Chig's 'Shags of the World' list: 2

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It's all gone blogging huge!

Help! If anyone knows why the text of my recent entries has gone bold and big, I'd really appreciate help in putting it right!


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Melbourne turns into TV trail

Pin Oak Drive - does that mean anything to you? Me neither, but if I told you we went to Ramsey Street at the weekend, would that impress? Half an hour's drive from Melbourne, it was worth it just for the photos. And on top of that. I have photos of me standing in the doorway of Evan, Kelly and Alex's flat from The Secret Life Of Us. The very place where Evan danced around the street at the end of series one. Cool. We saw ep 1 of series two here this week, and has it moved on? Yes it has, especially with post-11 September intro scene, which I suspect was tagged on later. Is Evan in it, or is he still at writers' camp? That would be telling....

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Melbourne: Chig is happy but heartbroken

Writing this out of order, but what the heck. I think the three of us unanimously decided that Melbourne is the place to be, not Sydney, after our 48 hour stay there this weekend. Chig made a particular fool of himself after 24 hours by declaring, after much thought and discussion with M, that he fancied our host R. Unfortunately, host R did not feel the same way, as Chig, N, and M had all wrongly assessed, and Chig was left feeling stupid and upset, Crying At The Discoteque. There's much more to the story than this, but that's the nutshell version.

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Of all the bars in all the world...

Well fuck me! First of all, we fly for an hour and a half to Melbourne for the weekend, which I suppose is roughly equivalent to being at home and flying for a weekend in Berlin. We're barely into Club Exchange when I spot a familiar face, then two, on the dancefloor. Nick and Brian from Bimingham are here! Dancing! There are several pubs/clubs in Melbourne where they could have ended up, but they're here. Spooky! I knew they were coming to Sydney for Mardi Gras, and we had arranged to meet, but I had NO IDEA they would be in Melbourne when we were. Our Aussie hosts M and R were equally freaked out by it.

And then tonight, M and I have a brilliant time watching Pam Ann in cabaret at Fox Studios - highly recommended. We call in at Gilligan's on Oxford Street for 'one drink' (as you do), and end up talking to this lovely lesbian couple (and having THREE drinks, getting in now, at 3.15am). And guess what? One of them is from Beausale, a hamlet, near Hatton, a still tiny village, about three miles from where I grew up. We know the same pubs in Leamington: it's all very surreal.

As if to add to this, mein host N went to the gym earlier (I postponed visit no. 4 due to gippy tummy) and was accosted by an ex-shag from Nottingham. It's a bloody small world, and no mistake!

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Aussie Chart update

(Thu 21/02/02) According to the HMV chart in their shop yesterday, Sophie Ellis-Bextor is #1 now with Murder On The Dancefloor, and Shakira's album (the not very sexily titled 'Laundry Service') is expected to enter at #1 after being released this week, displacing Usher. This is a different chart from the one I've quoted before, but I'm just broadening my sources...

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Brits continued

….Chig returns after reading the winners on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website first. So, no surprises really; all quite predictable, and if I read correctly, nothing for Gorillaz. I thought they would only win one – British Group, ahead of Travis. The lead Dotmusic story is a fight between Bryan McFadden and So Solid Crew (presumably not all of them).

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Kylie wins! Twice! Nothing else happens!

Well that’s the story of the Brits from this end of the globe. An hour ago, I was excited to see on the 11am TV news; ‘coming up after the break- Kylie Minogue at the British Pop Awards (sic)’ They said she performed CGYOOMH, and won International Female and International Album, and that was it. No other info at all.
I am gobsmacked that she won for the album, as anyone would admit it’s not the best international album, and I’ve got the damn thing, and like it. I thought Alicia Keys would get both those categories, or possibly Nelly Furtado would win the Female category. Or perhaps Alicia Keys won International Newcomer? . Oh, perhaps not – she wasn’t nominated! The Brit Awards had probably just finished about the time the news was on air, and that was an hour ago, so I’m just about to log on with baited breath to see what the other stories of the night are. Dotmusic here I come….

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Fulfilling day

Yesterday (Tuesday 19/02) was a fantastically healthy day (until late evening, at least, when we went for a meal at friends of M&N’s, and pigged out on ice cream.). I had a healthy muesli and banana breakfast, and went to the gym at noon with N for my second workout. I really pushed myself on some exercises, including trying some new machines, like the pec dec, which is a killer, but very effective. The good thing is that it feels good now, 24 hours later, and although I can feel where I’ve exercised, it’s a positive, firmer feeling, not aching or painful. I’m getting hooked. Pass me the creatine!

The gym was much busier at lunchtime than it had been on my first visit (at 10pm last Wednesday – the gym is open 24 hours). There were quite a few drop dead gorgeous, huge hunks, but there were others there more in my league, and even – gasp! – some women, so it wasn’t too bad. I’ve realised now that the muscle Marys aren’t likely to laugh at people like me for only attempting relatively measly weights, because they’re not looking at my machines, or me. They’re far more concerned with the mirrors that surround the whole huge weights room.

I finished off with 15 mins cardio cycling and a five-minute sauna and felt incredibly refreshed for the rest of the day. After making some sarnies for the beach, N drove the two of us (M was at Uni, working, the poor boy) to a beach about 20 minutes away. Well, two beaches actually. We stopped at Camp Cove. Now pay attention here, the name is not what it seems, but take the five minute walk along the cliff path to the next beach, Lady Jane, and there it all is – the gay nudist beach. Not quite all nudist, much to the delight of myself and N, as there were a couple of lads in very nice Speedos, but mainly, so I had to join in eventually. However, this is the British ‘I’m going to sit on my towel and take my shorts off very quickly and hope that nobody notices’ type of naturism. It was most definitely not the ‘Hey, look at my cock! It’s floppy, it’s still massive, and it’s SWINGING from side to side!’ type of naturism that one particularly hairy and pectorally-endowed man was displaying. It was so hot on the beach that going in the sea was a necessity, and it was lovely. The water wasn’t cold and there was no seaweed, turds or tampons. It’s so un-British, and the sand is golden too. So I added a bit of swimming and cliff-walking to the exercise regime of the day – there’s no way I’ll manage to keep this up.

In the evening, just as we were debating what/where to eat, we were invited round for drinks, then upgraded to dinner, with another couple called M&N. I’d met them last week at their new house, and they’re very nice, and good fun; one Aussie and his Canadian boyf. The food was lovely, as expected because N is a chef. They had their English friend there who only arrived yesterday, although we didn’t get to meet the friend’s boyf, as he was nursing a toothache back at their hotel. Have now realised that the group of eight who will be sitting together (and probably partying together) on Mardi Gras day includes a Nigel, a Norman, a Neil and a Nick, plus Mark and Martin. Too much alliteration already!

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Australia does it again!

Australian gold medals in Salt Lake City are seemingly (CLICHÉ ALERT!) like buses for the Aussies. You go for XVIII Winter Olympiads (that’s eighteen in real language) with no gold medals whatsoever, ever, ever. And then TWO turn up at once, and the nation can hardly believe its luck, even if no one had ever heard of the athletes, or even their sports, before this week. No matter. Steven Bradbury and Alisa Whatsername(?) are in severe danger of becoming national heroes if they’re not careful. Bradbury already had a congratulatory TV ad in his honour last night from one of the banks sponsoring the TV coverage. This success has caused a slight problem for Roy and HG though. The two guys who we only really know in the UK for their bloody awful ‘tickle it, you wrigglers’ Foster’s ads are a national institution over here, and in fact they are much more likeable, and funny, than I had thought. Their nightly TV show during the 2000 Sydney Olympics was apparently much better than the official coverage, and they were even allowed to brighten up the General Election results night in October with a live show! Imagine the Dimblebys being replaced by French & Saunders back home. Just wouldn’t happen, would it?

Roy and HG are currently on every night on Channel Seven, straight after the formal Olympic coverage, broadcasting from a log cabin in SLC, with a live audience, and surrounded each day by a table-load of whatever nasty American snackfood that they’ve picked up locally. The original idea was obviously to take the piss out of sports that Aussies can’t do very well, but now they’ve won two events, they just can’t help stirring up a bit of national pride too. They have interviews with the athletes – the ones who have finished their events at least – including a very funny one with a US two-man luge team. They show all the mistakes, falls and accidents of the day. They add their own commentary to whole ice-skating routines, taking the piss out of the Swiss ice dance pair (the Hugentoblers?) who are brother and sister, saying they have to act out being in love for the routine and they hope it wasn’t real, etc etc. But most importantly, they have launched Australia’s bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2010. Now I’ve never heard of Smiggin Holes, but the name is so ridiculous that I suspect it’s actually a real place. I also suspect that, if it’s where they say it is on the Aussie map (ie. in the middle), it’s one of the hottest, driest places on Earth, but no matter. Roy and HG have the logo, and as of two nights ago, they have 13,000 volunteers for 2010 who have signed up on their recruitment hotline.

Best of all though is the weather report just before the break. Each day, they persuade some hapless foreign presenter to stand in front of an easel in the snow, and present the next day’s weather for Australia. Only problem is that the map, which clearly shows Smiggin Holes, isn’t entirely accurate, although M did have to point out to me that Brisbane was on the wrong side of the country before I fully appreciated this joke.

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The Powerhouse Museum

Monday afternoon; only allowed myself two hours in here, which wasn’t enough, so I’ll have to go back. Properly known as the Museum of Applied Science and Design, you can understand why they changed the name. (It’s also in old power station, hence the name – shades of Tate Modern.) It’s one of those interactive, ‘please DO touch the exhibits’ kind of places. Some of the displays are fascinating, while some just next to them are really dull, but I guess you can’t expect me to be as interested in early lawnmower design (for instance) as your average country-living Aussie, can you?

Two of the temporary exhibitions particularly caught my eye; 50 years of Festival Records, and a collection of HIV & AIDS campaign posters of the last 20 years.

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Hurrah for Lithuania and Slovenia!

Really pleased with the results of two of the five national qualifying events for Eurovision which were held over the weekend. Lithuania made the right choice with We All (see my earlier posting), which should give them a very realistic chance of winning Eurovision itself. If nothing else, it means a rousing ending to the 24 songs, and the sight of what look like three attractive men to look forward to for my week in Tallinn. Slated by some people as a poor imitation of the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of Go West, that’s EXACTLY what I like about it. There’s no pleasing some people.

And as for Slovenia, well, well, well. I paid only slight attention when it was announced a while ago that one of the acts in their final was a group of transvestites (or transsexuals, depending on the source, as some people clearly don’t know the difference). I thought I’d never get to see them, what with not having Slovenian TV and all. But whaddya know? They’ve only gone and won, haven’t they? Oh deep joy! A legitimate angle for Gay Times coverage, an extra reason to persuade the BBC to let me have a press pass too, and possible money to be made by me in Tallinn. Fabulosa! What’s their song like? I have no idea. Does it matter?

All we need now is for the Weather Girls to win the German final – a distinct possibility, I would think – and Tallinn 2002 will be turning into a veritable festival of Euro-campery! Hurrah!

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Australia's charts

I'm sure you're dying to know what's Number One out here, aren't you? Singles-wise, the answer is Shakira, with 'Whenever Wherever' (AKA 'Suerte' in its Spanish version). She appears poised to take over the world, as S&R reported to me after their Christmas trip to Panama and neighbouring countries that this song has followed them around Central America. Think it's out in the UK very soon, maybe next week? Before I left, I also saw her perform the Spanish ' Suerte' version on Operacion Triunfo; Spain's Big Brother meets Popstars programme to choose their Eurovision entrants.Robbie Williams has a surprising hit in the Top Ten, with 'Better Man'. This track is 18 months old, and when it appeared on Sing When You're Winning, was pencilled in, and widely touted, as the 2000 Christmas Number One, but it has never been released at home. I will now have to import it. As at home, 'Come With Us' by the Chemical Brothers is knocked off the top of the album chart, but here in Oz it's a one place climb by Jamiroquai, not Enrique.

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What’s the news in Oz?

(Mon 18/02/02)
1) The disgraceful revelations that the ruling Liberal party lied about the ‘children overboard’ incident last year. Way too complicated to go into now…Is this being reported in the UK now?
2) Australia’s ‘accidental’ and slightly surreal first ever gold medal in the Winter Olympics. (Briefly, skater hangs back in semi-final, skaters in front of him fall over, he qualifies for final. Final: Aussie hangs back again, has no chance, coming in a poor fifth, all four others fall over, gold for Oz. Referee has the power to order a restart, but doesn’t. Referee is revealed to be Australian. Quelle coincidence!)

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Things I’ve learnt in Sydney:

1) Far too many men have enormous arms and chests, and washboard stomachs. It’s unnatural.
2) Most ugly Australian men have obviously been sent somewhere else; I suspect to work in bars in London.
3) Men’s clothes shops are brilliant, and very, very cheap. Have bought a sweatshirt, trousers, vest and sunglasses within my first week.
4) The gay scene is very pleasingly racially mixed.
5) You can’t buy beer in pints. Boo!
6) Some shops are selling two-month old copies of Gay Times. The shame!
7) The weather can change very quickly from hot and humid to torrential rain.
8) Bats that we have in the UK are just babies compared to the real thing.
9) Speedos were invented here. (Didn’t know that before.) They're also on 3 for 2 in Gowings, so I couldn't resist yesterday!

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Fair Day

(Sun 17/02/02) We celebrated troubled_diva’s birthday with a trip to Fair Day in Victoria Park. It was lovely, like a big village fete in hot sun, or like London Pride used to be - and free too! Highlight was the Mr and Ms Fair Day competition. This involved contestants playing a gloriously sick game of celebrity deaths. Drag queens, children, a drag king and some ‘ordinary’ people too. It really was very inclusive, including contestants named Metitsa Gorgeous, Nursie and Mr Wonderful. Each one pulled a dead celebrity's name out of one hat, and the title of a piece of music from the other. The music was either a Carmen Miranda track, or a times table set to music. Of course. So we were treated to re-enactments of the deaths of Princess Diana, Marie Antoinette, Tippi Hedren in The Birds (was she actually killed?) and Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure, plus several others. The 'audience request' death was Princess Margaret, as you'd expect.

One ten year-old girl did the death of Nikki Webster, in the manner of her choosing. She’s not actually dead yet, but she is the Australian Charlotte Church, only MUCH MORE successful, and she seems to inspire a love/hate reaction in people. She shot to fame by singing and flying over the heads of those on stage at the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony.

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Ozblog part two

Strewth! Has it been a week already? Seven days in Sydney has passed by in the blink of an eye, and I guess it's good that I haven't written, because it means I've been enjoying myself. And there have been times when it's just too bloomin' hot to sit anywhere near the PC anyway. Today is not sunny though, and as I write this at 7pm it's still very muggy and warm, so we'll probably have more rain, as we had for hours last night and this morning.

Managing to combine touristy stuff, gay sceney stuff and family stuff, and managing to sleep better over here and get out of bed in the mornings, which is nice.
Have even been to the gym; the first time (apart from a hotel in Chicago) that I have ever dared to exercise in public, outside of my own home. Have I succumbed to peer pressure? Quite possibly. The chances of it making a radical difference in the twelve days left to the BIG Mardi Gras party are precisely nil, but I'm just doing it for my own peace of mind. The most striking thing about the gay scene is the incredible amount of firmly pumped bods on display, and yes, it IS intimidating.

Holiday stats:
CDs bought: none (astoundingly)
Trips to Bondi Beach: 1
Photos taken of hunks on Bondi Beach: several
Family members met: 6
Cars driven: 2
Trips to gym: 1
Meals/drinks out in cafes: too many to count already
Men fancied: innumerable
Shags: 1
Internet dates arranged: 1, provisionally
Nights spent out drinking until daylight: 1

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Ozblog part one

00:40 Tue 12/02/02 (Sydney time)

Made it to Sydney! Touched down 17 hours ago, after managing exactly NO hours' sleep on the two plane journeys, and consequently was knocked out by a schooner of beer at lunchtime, and thankfully slept for three hours this afternoon.
First impressions of Sydney? Bloomin' marvellous. And lots of bats, which I wasn't expecting. Bloody big, scary, screeching bats. Have walked around a bit and ate in Darlo tonight. Still knackered now though, so more soon.

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Chig is overwhelmed
Invited a few people out for low key drinks tonight, to 'celebrate' my last night in Brum before a month in Australia, and thought only five of us were going. In the end, there were about twelve of us which was everyone I'd invited who'd not sent apologies already, plus one I hadn't even got around to. Went back to friends' house afterwards for tea and Entemann's chocolate cake, and have just made it home at 01:15. Very pleased with the night out. Australia here I come!!

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Forgotten Jubilee?

Happy Golden Jubilee Day! Yes, it really is today, 50 years ago, that the dear old King died, although you could be forgiven for not knowing it, even here in Blighty. What little focus there is seems to be on the Summer, not 6th Feb. Eee, it's not like the olden days (1977). This means that I have e-mailed my two British friends in Sydney, instructing them, as Her Maj's representatives in the Commonwealth territories, that they have a duty to make sure the local criminal descendants stand up every hour, on the hour, for a rousing chorus of God Save The Queen. Anyone caught murmuring Advance Australia Fair, or (god help us) Waltzing Matilda, will be transported at once to another dependency full of dangerous criminals. Yes, I personally will bring them back here to aid the Republican revolution.

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Hear'say go Boom!

Never mind Enron, Camp X-Ray, train strikes, measles outbreaks, murder trials and bad weather, there was still time on both lunchtime TV news progs for the most important news of the day: Hear'say's new member!

And guess what? The job hasn't gone to one of the thousands of unknowns who queued and auditioned over the weekend. Far be it from me to suggest this was all just a publicity stunt and the decision had already been made, but it's gone to Johnny Shentall, 23, from Doncaster. That's Johnny Boom! to those of us who keep an eye on these things, who just happens to be the fiance of Lisa Ex-Steps too (or The Steps, as Anna Ford called them, making them sound like a Russian geographical feature). Boom! spent three weeks in the Top 40 exactly one year ago with #11 hit Falling. They presented an edition of Eye TV, our local arts and listings programme, and then disappeared. I'd been wondering where their second single had got to.

Boom!'s Falling is very much a template for what Liberty have since gone on to do; pop/r'n'b lite. Oh the irony. Johnny is a good-looking chappy who has caught my attention before (although not as much as the skinhead who was in Boom! with him). Today though, he does look like he has taken make-up tips from Dale Winton. Johnny was unveiled quite literally - from underneath a grey sheet.

UPDATE: This momentous news story was even on Channel 4 News tonight. Pop culture gets everywhere. Not bad for a group put together by a rival channel, whose last album only scraped to #24 in the charts.

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Pop Idol - 3 become 2

Didn't need to watch the video of the Pop Idol result when I slithered in at 4am. The DJ at Missing (bar) had kindly announced the result to the assembled throng, whether or not we wanted to hear it. He did his best to wind us up though, by declaring something along the lines of "I have the result of tonight's Pop Idol and Gareth......[long pause for dramatic effect] safe." Then he confused us totally by saying that the result "wasn't what the papers have been saying this week", at which point J (see drunken blog below) and I felt gutted that Will was out. But no, ha ha! It was Darius after all! Very funny joke. Or did I miss something in the papers? Was anyone REALLY saying that Darius and Gareth would be left?

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Chig's (Post-) Chart Chatter

Just how dull was the singles chart today? What I said below was partly wrong, as Mary J Blige turned out to have the highest new entry, not the Cooper Temple Clause, but only at the lowly (and unlucky position of 13). In a week where the way was clear for a massive chart impact, the Mull Historical Society only managed #36. What is this country coming to? It's a classic. I can only presume it hasn't been getting much radio play, because if people had heard it, it would be HUGE. A damn shame.

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Do not operate your blog when under the influence of alcohol

The entry below - the one written at 03:57 this morning - is what I found on my PC when I got up today. Stupidly I left the PC switched on while I went out for the night, and when I returned at nearly 4am, there it was just sitting there, calling me to it. Write! Write! And I did. It starts off surprisingly coherent, and then deteriorates into....a mess, including unfinished sentences. The idea was to turn the drunken ramblings into some kind of sense today, but I've decided to leave it as it is. It will serve as a warning.

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Sunday 03/02/02 03:57

Well, I think tonight’s attempt to combine work and pleasure was a surprisingly successful trip. It’s always tempting, when a friend has a “friend visiting for the weekend” who I haven’t met, to think I wonder if he’s my type, will we cop off etc. and I hardly dare to do it, but tonight those thoughts turned out to be founded (if that’s the opposite of unfounded.)
Gingerprince had his friend J from Leeds coming for his first time out on the Brum scene, so my first meeting with them was when they called for me in the taxi into town. Initial impressions were good, but I didn’t really think anything of it, until he started getting tactile in DV8 later on. I thought, ‘a m I imagining this, or is he touching theback of my leg?” when we exchanging fragments of drunken conversation. Left alone in the taxi queue, we were

Gingerprince nearly go tinto a fight in the taxi rank. Or rather, not in the taxi rank, which id the problem – there isn’t one. Unfortunately I vaguely know th ebloke who grabbed hin by the arm and swung him away from the taxi. He obviouy thought GP had pushed in, but we had been waiting much longer, so it real;ly wasn;t fair.

They’re going to the sauna after lunch tomorrow, and as he got out of the taxi, said ‘maybe see you at the sauna tomorrow’ I was only slightly tempted to invite him back to mine because (a) the place is a mess and (b) Ii know what it’s like for a friend to come and stay and then NOT stay at your place. It can leave you feeling a bit deflated, and if said friends has gone to stay with one of your best friends, it camn feel like a bit of a betrayal, although logically it shouldn’t . It’s ahoppened to m ebeore, an my friendship with GP is more important to me than a quick shag. Maybe I’m not drunk enough. I did have a drinking break in the middle of the night, so it’s the foirst time in living memory ytht GOP has been more drunk than me, and I’v enoticed.

Vox Pop: people amazingly willing to talk, out of 18 approached, we got 16 interviews. I even got two phone numbers, unprovoked, without me asking for them, andI’m quite tempted to ring both of them.

Whjat was really heartening was the good stories that people had to tell, particularly of finding strenght in friends, but also sometales of suppoort from teachers, in the face of Section 28, although no one mentiond it by name.

Hope I dsee J tomorrow. He did day ‘you can never have too much sex’ in the taxi. I laughed and said , yeah more than once a week. HE said once a month would be nice, or sth like that.

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Chig's (Pre-) Chart Chatter

(17:08) We're so used to seeing five or six new entries in the top ten each week, that today's chart looks like being quite a shocker. Are we really about to see NO top ten entries, and possibly a highest new entry (from The Cooper Temple Clause) at 14 (their midweek position) or probably even lower?

a1's record company must be kicking themselves. If they'd waited seven days, they would surely have had a #1 with Caught In The Middle today.

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Pre Pop Idol

Half an hour to go until the 'three become two' heat starts, and can there be anyone in the country who doesn't think Darius will go tonight? I certainly hope we're left with a Will v. Gareth final. There will be weeping in the streets if one of them is booted out today, and that's just me.

I just hope that tonight, the three are given the chance to sing some complete songs, and not horribly abridged versions. It's not as if they're short of time.

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New hunks of the fortnight

Last week: Rav from C4's Eden.
Nice tats, nice bod, and a really sexy voice. Doesn't really seem like a Peckham plod, but he is. And he knows from an e-mail he's received in 'webhut' that he is a 'gay icon' (a much overused term IMHO). Not sure he felt that comfortable with it though. Still, if I was in his position, and heterosexual, I'd be a bit disappointed too. He was probably hoping for some fit birds to send him photos with their tits out, and instead he gets some gay man slobbering over him. (I'd just like to add that it wasn't me who sent the e-mail to Rav - I haven't got around to it yet.)

It's odd that both Rav and Jon have been labelled 'gay icons' by the viewers, but the other bloke, cute little Westley, who is, let's just say 'expressive', seems to have escaped. I think he's almost disappointed.

This week: the new boy in Spain in 'Eastenders goes to Eldorado' week. ie. Rula Lenska's son. Haven't actually watched it properly - will on Sunday - but he's CUTE. Rula Lenska said "fucking" this week LIVE on Richard and Judy. At teatime! The hosts nearly choked, and apologised more than I have EVER seen anyone on TV apologise before, in a desparate bid to avoid a ruling from the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. Dead funny though.

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Interesting dates

It's now 02/02/02, which is vaguely interesting in itself.
In 18 days it will be 20/02/2002, which is, like totally palindromic, man.
Just thought I'd mention it.

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Eurovision 2002: FINLAND’s song: Addicted To You - Laura Voutilainen
Review to come, but don't get excited - it's not much good.

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Eurovision 2002: ESTONIA’s song: Runaway – Sahlene
In the lead-up to Eurovision 2000, many people thought Estonia would win. They had a fantastic song, and struggled in about 4th. Last year, they had a song so crap that I struggle even now to remember the tune of it, and it won. This year, they’ve chosen a song which is more similar to the 2000 classic (Once In A Lifetime, sung by Ines), but sadly, it’s just a pale imitation of it. It’ll do okay, picking up a few ‘host nation’ gratuity votes on the way, but it won’t set Tallinn on fire, and their early draw (8th) won’t help either.

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Good old Grauniad

This taken from a Guardian press release on the result of today's A Song For Europe:
<< ITV presenter Jonathan Maitland has defied all the odds and made it to the final stages of the competition to find Britain's entry for the European Song Contest. >>

European! Ha, ha, ha!
Britain's! Oh god, will someone tell them it's the whole UK?

Jonathan says they were huddled around a radio, with a TV crew filming them, awaiting the results, when the successful songs were revealed in alphabetical order;
<<"and as soon as we heard I Give In, we knew." said Maitland.>>
Er, yes Jonathan, because that's the title of your song. Well done mate.

The article also says;
<<"technically the Eurovision Song Contest is a song-writer's competition.">>

Or even "a songwriters' competition". Strewth!

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A Song For Europe: The Final Four
(11.21 Fri 01/02/02)

20,000 votes were cast. I presume that's web and phone votes. Seems a bit low to me - not exactly the three million votes that Pop Idol claimed last Saturday, is it?)

These songs are through to the TV final on Sunday 03 March:

Song 2 Never In A Million Years - Zee Asha - (Mark Jiggens, Zee Asha)
Song 5 I Give In - Surf 'n' Turf - (Jonathan & Peter Maitland, Jackie Collins)
Song 7 DJ Romeo - Tricia Penrose - (Bea Eden, Simon Stirling, James Gordon)
Song 8 Come Back - Jessica Garlick - (Martyn Baylay)

Or, as concisely summed up by troubled_diva:
"Fag hag, journo, eurotrash and 'ninth in Pop Idol'."
I think that tells us all we need to know(!)
Jessica's surely the winner now. Hope so.

(I got 3 out of four predictions right and 3 out of four 'preferred' too.)

These songs are dumped:
Song 1 Lovestruck - Honey Trap - (Ben Copland, Yvonne John Lewis, Nicky Cooke, Phil Dane)
Song 3 When You're Around - Paula O'Neil - (Ben Copland, Martin Bushell)
Song 4 Fade Away - Pulse - (Stuart Hanna, Alistair Griffin)
Song 6 Every Step Of The Way - Level Best - (Graham Kearns, Howard New)

I think Ken Bruce (Radio 2 DJ) is trying to show Eurosolidarity (to distance himself from Wogan?) Just before the result, he played some track in FRENCH. Mon Dieu! On UK radio! The artist's name sounded like Alysee. (Please imagine an acute accent on that first 'e'.)

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A Song For Europe: Lovestruck Cock-up?
(10:30 Fri 01/02/02)

Something strange happened when Radio 2 played the UK songs this morning. When they played 'Lovestruck' at the start, it was the same version that was played earlier in the week. However, when they played the reprise (brief clips of all eight songs), the mix of Lovestruck was substantially different. It was faster, with a more dancey beat to it, rather than the slightly juddery, R'n'B rhythm of the first version.

Did someone at Radio 2 get their tapes muddled up? I've played my tape again to be sure of this, and there's no doubt the versions are different. I don't suppose the brief reprise clip will have any influence on the vote, but it's a shame, because the second, remixed version sounded much better. If it doesn't get through today, Honey Trap might regret their choice of mix. (Or they might be annoyed at Radio 2 for playing the wrong version!)

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A Song For Europe - pointless prediction
(made at 09.23 Fri 01/02/02)

And so, the UK's morning of decision has arrived. After listening to all the songs in order for the first time on Radio 2 just now, I realise I haven't made a pointless prediction yet, so here goes! I'm acutely aware that last year, the four chosen songs were actually closer to my 'personal choice' than they were to my 'predictions' of how the vote would go. This either means that (a) I should trust my own judgement or (b) that Radio 2 listeners and I are much more similar than I would like to admit. The second option is too frightening to contemplate, but it means my two lists only differ by one song this time!

Through if I had my way:

Song 2 Never In A Million Years - Zee Asha - (Mark Jiggens, Zee Asha)

Song 6 Every Step Of The Way - Level Best - (Graham Kearns, Howard New)

Song 7 DJ Romeo - Tricia Penrose - (Bea Eden, Simon Stirling, James Gordon)

Song 8 Come Back - Jessica Garlick - (Martyn Baylay)

My predicted result:

Song 2 Never In A Million Years - Zee Asha - (Mark Jiggens, Zee Asha)

Song 3 When You're Around - Paula O'Neil - (Ben Copland, Martin Bushell)

Song 7 DJ Romeo - Tricia Penrose - (Bea Eden, Simon Stirling, James Gordon)

Song 8 Come Back - Jessica Garlick - (Martyn Baylay)

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Lithuania in very old lyric shocker!

I had to ask the Eurovision rulebook experts a question today, after hearing one of the Lithuanian songs for Eurovision and immediately recognising the lyric. Shocking. I wasn't sure if all lyrics have to be original, or if you can get away with using something that's VERY old indeed and possibly out of copyright?

The lyric to one of Lithuania's songs IS very old indeed, and I don't mean the Lara Fabian track. About 80% of "If You Can" is taken from the very famous Rudyard Kipling poem "If". It starts with the second verse and uses whole chunks of the poem, with a few extra bits thrown in. Kipling died in 1936, so this makes Zee Asha's song very recent indeed by comparison. I haven't been able to find out when he wrote it, but he was born in 1865, so there's a good chance it's over 100 years old, and doesn't that make it free from copyright? Is this wholesale pillaging allowed? Surely not?

As far as the song's concerned, it's an interesting idea, but it's very poorly sung anyway, so I wouldn't have thought it stands a chance.

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Stars In Their Eurovision Eyes

Matthew Kelly: Please welcome on stage, star of The Sound Of Music, Julie Andrews! Welcome Julie, and tell us, who are you going to be tonight?

Julie Andrews: Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be Enya AND Dana!

Matthew Kelly: Ladies and Gentlemen, singing the lost theme song from the unseen Disney version of Titanic, Julie Andrews IS Enya and Dana!....

(Dry ice, applause etc, etc.)


Sounds unlikely?

Go to the Lithuanian site, listen to 'Find Your Song'. Then let me know what YOU think!

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A Song For Europe: Song 8: Come Back
Artist: Jessica Garlick
Writer: Martyn Baylay
You see, there IS life after coming ninth in Pop Idol! Poor Jessica lasted two heats, ending up on the ‘Settee Of Shame’ both times. She survived after Papa Don’t Preach, when the nasty, homophobic public (well, that’s what he says anyway) voted out Christopher ‘Korben’ Niblett instead. Week two, Jessica faces certain tragedy. She has chosen a Shakin’ Stevens song. And so it’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ but goodbye Jessica.

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A Song For Europe: Song 7: DJ Romeo
Artist: Tricia Penrose
Writers: Bea Eden, Simon Stirling, James Gordon

I think this is fabulously silly, and I laughed the first time I heard it. They're taking the piss of course, but this makes Lolly and Kaci seem like Leonard Cohen and Radiohead. The backing reminds me of a fave single of mine - a bleepy old rave track called Sugar Shack by Seb. Bouncy, bubblegum pop, and I now have this image of Tricia Penrose in a ra-ra skirt, looking like Toni Basil....

"Romeo, Romeo, on my radio. My secret lover, he lives in my stereo..." Classic!

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A Song For Europe: Song 6: Every Step Of The Way
Artist: Level Best
Writers: Graham Kearns, Howard New
People keep referring to this as a 'boyband song', and I must admit I didn't hear it like that at all. I can now though. I don't know whether Another Level 42 Best ARE a boyband. It seemed a bit boring at first, but the chorus gets you after a few listens. However, that's no good for Eurovision; it has to appeal immediately. You could imagine this as a Westlife album filler, but that's about all.

UPDATE: 06/02/02: This song has made it to the final four today, so we now know it came fifth out of eight, which surprises me. Zee Asha's song has been disqualified, which will surprise no one who's been paying attention here since last Monday (28th).

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A Song For Europe: Song 5: I Give In
Artist: Surf 'n' Turf
Writers: Jonathan & Peter Maitland, Jackie Collins
Very repetitive pub rock. The worst of the eight songs, but I’ve a horrible feeling that Radio 2 listeners will get this into the last four. Jonathan Maitland is famous to many TV viewers. He used to do Watchdog for the BBC, and now (apparently) does Tonight With Trevor McDonald for ITV. In between times, he has presented House Of Horrors, the programme where he hides in your attic while hidden cameras film the plumber who comes round and pisses in your sink. German readers probably think this is an entertainment show, but in fact it’s done to expose ‘cowboy’ tradespeople. Jonathan seems like a pretty nice bloke and his band is harmless enough, but the song is as dull as you would expect from a group who Maitland himself describes as a "crap wedding and Bar Mitzvah song". You have to admire their front, but not the song.

Further intrigue is added by the group's singer being called Jackie Collins, but no, it’s not that one.

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Pedantic Arsehole

Oh, deep joy! The website I had imagined creating for at least two years, but not bothered to set up, exists already!
Thanks to Richard & Judy today for revealing that there IS an Apostrophe Protection Society. I was the person who, when I worked in an office, was asked to write and circulate a guide to apostrophe usage. Our MD, who was fed up with the appalling standard of English that he kept seeing in company documents, asked me to do it because I was a "pedantic arsehole". Sad thing is, I was quite pleased to be asked. Which means he was absolutely right. I did it and of course the main offenders took no notice at all, possibly because READING wasn't their strong point either!

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