World of Chig   



I won't be here for the next four days. But I will be here and if there's an internet cafe at Glasto, I may be here after all, telling you what's hot and if the weather is too. This will be my third attempt at Glastonbury, after unfortunately picking the two mudbaths of recent years in order to experience it for the first and second times. The year after, 2000, I couldn't face the prospect of that ordeal again, and of course the weather was good in my absence. So then I thought I'd go in 2001, and it was called off. So, here we go again. Third time lucky? Quite possibly. No forecast of rain until at least Saturday, and possibly not at all. (But it's Wimbledon fortnight - surely it HAS to rain?) There are six of us going today, although I only know two of the other five, and they're all coming from London, so I'm driving down on my own this lunchtime. On Saturday, my married friends from Swindon are coming down to camp with their two young children, one of whom is just a baby who I haven't met yet, so it should be an interesting and diverse weekend. Bought all the essentials yesterday: disposable cameras, sunglasses, chocolate biscuits, tins of baked beans and veggie sausages (combined), bottles of Stella, Imodium, and a football. Just one query. How the hell do I get Friday night's BB eviction + all the Glastonbury coverage + the World Cup final onto one 8 hour video? On second thoughts, Sophie's really dull, so don't need to tape her eviction.

(and that's from the official website!)

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Life is a rollercoaster

What a difference half a football match can make. These pics were taken just after Michael Owen's goal and at the end of England v Brazil last Friday. I don't need to tell you which one is which.

Jumping for joy

Miserable Chig

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I think I'm in love...

Spaseeba (he said, phonetically) to Marat Safin for being unusually crap today. Had he won his match, as expected, I would never have had the pleasure of seeing Belgium's Olivier Rochus for the first time, giving an interview to the BBC. What a sweetie! What a sexy accent! None of these pictures do him justice, but if you saw his BBC interview, you'll know what I mean.
Swoon. Dasveedaneeya!

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Chig is

...the most active of the three young BelleKnight students.
...the alien featured in the television series “Space: Above And Beyond”.
...still a plumber today.
...the god of death, and the harvest.
...captured and commits suicide.
...a champion Frisbee dog owned by Rebecca Richards of Lewisville.
...steeped in mystery.
...watching the bird in the same way Cooper was earlier.
...fortifying near that particular area. twee jaar oud en al behoorlijk groot.
...a derrogatory (sic) human term for them.
...native to wastelands and wooded areas from the Kang Empire to Zandu.
...putting on a Short Race series in Epping NW. to the official party.
...derived from ‘chigger’, a mite larva native to the southern United States and the tropical Americas.
...on duty tonight.
...mine! AI.

But only one of them is really me!

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Goodnight, and goodbye

World Of Chig will be going quiet for three days now. Duty calls, and after a trip to Leicester Pride on Saturday to Sunday, I shall be doing family things. Back on Tuesday. Be good now.

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Ah, bless!

I must say that Spencer tonight was either mortified into speechlessness by nerves, or he is just the king of laid back cool. There are aspects of Spencer's personality which so remind me of me (not the laid back cool bit though). His lack of respect for authority is admirable. I'll miss him. There was something for everyone in his family too, wasn't there? At least one cute brother, but were there two? And what's this about Tim? A banner was implying he's a closet ginge, which would explain the strangely black hair, but I'm watching it live now, and if that's the case then he must dye his armpit hair too. Now that's dedication. Or vanity, at least.

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Glastonbury - are you going?

And do you, or anyone you know, need a lift from Birmingham? I have room in my car for one, possibly two people, so just click on the 'contact me' button on the left.

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Bad Day

Brazil v England, Germany v USA, Alex v Spencer.
Wrong result! Wrong result! Wrong result!

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Stop Crying Your Heart Out

So now we know why the aforementioned oasis single was released this week. It was so BBC One could play it at the end of today's match coverage and bring a lump to the throat of every English footie fan. Poor old David Seaman, he was inconsolable. Consensus around the urinals in the Pat Kav was that it wasn't his fault; it was just a fluke. If it was, then good luck to Brazil. Perish the thought that they may just have shown a moment of technical brilliance. If Beckham had scored with a free kick like that, would we have declared it a fluke? I don't think so.

I'm "gutted", and so is every football fan on the news, it seems. (We really must think of a better word than one which makes me think of filleted fish.) It had all been going so well. Seven of us at the pub by 7.05am, as I joined the Harborne posse. We laughed at the fact that CrystalTipps and Snapper were being fashionably late, despite being within spitting distance of the pub. They made it in about five minutes after kick-off. We had cups of tea, some people ate crisps, and the atmosphere was nervous, and expectant. The front room of the pub was packed when I got there, and the back room filled up later. We sat in the middle room with a good view of the TV, and I have never concentrated so much on a game as I did for the first half, although I did manage to exchange a few text messages with friends watching it in Sydney and Stockholm. It seemed to go so quickly, and Owen's slightly unexpected goal led to much jumping up and down (and me doing this while standing on a bench). Excellent start. I can hardly bring myself to describe the rest. Terrible timing for an equaliser. Half time. Outside for a breather. Over the road for chocolate fix at the newsagents. Bought Times, Sun and Guardian. Photos of David cause much billing and cooing with our group in the pub. (Our group, I've just realised, was seven women, one straight man, and me.) Decide to move from tea to lager. This early! CrystalTipps disappears but reappears with huge bag. Doughnuts all round! Second half. Mysterious, attractive, crop-haired man has plonked himself with our group, in the corner, as if his friends haven't turned up. Took sneaky picture of him. Nasty-looking injury for Seaman. Shocking free kick. Stunned silence in the pub. Stunned players on the pitch. Frustration, frustration, frustration. Cooperman turns up from nearby house. Wish him all the best for three months in Africa, which was the reason for the evening at Brum Uni/The Cross/Curry house last night. Friends all leave. I pick up my wad of papers and skulk off home. Moseley and Balsall Heath are having a unique 9.30am rush hour traffic jam, but there's no noise. Cars with St. George flags aren't beeping their horns. Kids who have bunked off school are now going in, some with mothers, not saying anything, some sitting on the wall, waiting for the bus, not saying anything. No one is looking anyone in the eye, just looking at the floor. God, this is miserable. I get home. This Morning on TV is having a phone in, with SIr Bobby of Robson and Sir Terence of Venables. Callers are proud, and sad. I well up. I blub.

Some fool here in Brum bet £100,000 on England to win the World Cup, in a local Ladbrokes betting shop. He stood to win £450,000 if we did. Now I imagine he is regretting it.

The longest day is a day of agony. The best we can hope for now is that the USA team shocks the world (again) this lunchtime and knocks out Germany. Please? And being fickle, as I am, my hope that Spain will win the whole thing has now been replaced by support for Brazil. Always better to say we were knocked out by the eventual winners.

Can I suggest this lyric for Baddiel and Skinner, for the next World Cup in Germany?
Three Lions 2006
Es kommt zu Hause
Es kommt zu Hause
Es kommt
Fussball kommt zu Hause....

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Here we go, here we go, here we go....

It's 14.35 in Japan, 02.35 in Brazil and 06.35 in Birmingham, and I'm off down the pub! We agreed last night to meet in Patrick Kavanagh's again. I couldn't sleep properly (although I did dream some lottery numbers - must buy a ticket later!) Got up at 6am, and the excitement on the radio and TV is enormous already. London Underground is reporting full trains, even though they have doubled the number of carriages on many of them. I just keep telling myself, losing to Brazil will be no disgrace - it's been fantastic so far. But I also know that England have a real chance of beating Brazil if they play to their best. Here's hoping....

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Leicester Pride to feature the filming of milking and cheese-making

Surely this is a ground-breaking move for a regional Pride event? According to their website, this Saturday's event in Leicester will feature a Pride Video Dairy Room. I can't wait! Will they be Friesians or Jerseys? Soft cheese or hard? Any clotted cream?

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Say, Say, Say

The beloved leader of our country has been holding a presidential-style press conference this morning. But enough of Sven. Tony Blair has been trying it too.

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Guess the year

A Beatle marries a blonde model.
The UK has a Labour government.
The World Cup holders are knocked out in the first round.
Man United finish third in the top division, and Man City are promoted to it.
It's the Chinese year of the horse.
There are three West Ham players in the England squad.
The England captain is a modest man from Essex.
The England manager is a quiet man who stays on the bench during matches.
The World Cup final is on the 30th.
A coloured ball is used in the final.
England beat Germany in Germany in the run-up to the finals.
France finish last in their group, with just one point and a player called Djorkaeff.
England beat Argentina 1-0.
England qualify for the second round after conceding only one goal.
Germany qualify for the second round with two wins and one draw, including a big win in their first game.

As if I need to point out where this is heading....and remember that if we meet Germany, it will be in the final....

...and, controversially, in both 1966 and 2002, the UK is preparing to change its currency...

In addition, the World Cup started in 1930. It took 36 years for England to win it. It's now another 36 years since 1966...

...and finally, numerologists will know that both years have the numerological number 4. Let me explain: 1+9+6+6 = 22. 2+2 = 4. And 2+0+0+2 = 4.

Nostradamus? No, these came from Radio 5 Live listeners this morning (with some help, I believe from the Daily Mirror). I'm not saying expectations are high for tomorrow, but as night falls in Japan and South Korea, at 13.00 here, I'm feeling nervous. And we haven't even decided where to watch the game yet. Lots of us are gathering at the pub tonight, and decisions will be made then. I have a feeling a few of us will opt for an early night....

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(S)he's a model and (s)he's looking good

About time too. I always felt there was something missing from last year's Channel 4 series, Model Behaviour. Namely, men. Thankfully, that has been corrected for the new series, for which applications are being invited now from both sexes. Can't wait. In fact, I think I know someone who should enter,and I just happen to have a few photos of him. Hmmm. [Wicked thought enters Chig's mind.]

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Here Comes The Summer

And how did I spend the football-free day? Trimming my bush. In the garden, I mean. Gorgeous day, brunch outside after a bit of a lie-in, then a severe pruning of the unruly plant-life that's taking over the L-shaped yard that I laughingly call a garden, throwing out some garden rubbish to make more space, and later on tackling a job in the house that I've put off for oooh, about 12 months. I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you ignore major household structural chores, they will somehow resolve themselves, but this, amazingly, often turns out not to be true. At some point last year, I couldn't open the window of my lounge. (The small window at the top is the only bit that opens.) The security lock on it, which had always been fiddly, just gave up the ghost one day. The bit which is supposed to pop up when you turn the key, enabling the window to be opened, stubbornly refused to pop up at all. At first, it could be resolved with a bit of key wiggling, but even that stopped working. Consequently, I haven't opened the window for about a year. Not that it mattered as Autumn and Winter drew in, and at least I knew the window was secure, permanently locked. This week, however, the sunshine, and my desire to fling open all the doors and windows to let in fresh air (and sneeze-inducing pollen) got the better of me. This evening, at the risk of breaking the glass, or falling off the window sill, or deafening my neighbours, I solved the problem the only way I could. I got a hammer, and I hammered and hammered and hammered until the screws twisted, the window frame began to split and eventually, the security lock came off. And boy, did it feel good. A wanton act of vandalism, like breaking into, or out of, my own home. And at last the window opens again, and I can breathe again, and not feel trapped indoors on Summer days. Tomorrow I will have to buy some new security locks, and use some wood filler and maybe a touch of paint. But it was worth it.

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Big Bore

I know it's not just me, but I'm finding Big Brother less than compelling this time around. I was glued to every minute of the first three (including the celebrity version), but BB4 has been ruined by the rich/poor divide. All it's done has created friction and unhappiness, and that's SO not good to watch on TV. It has drastically cut the number of permutations for interaction between the inmates, which they could ill afford to do, given that this lot are a lot more boring (and bored) than previous years. I think their selection procedure has been a failure this year, if this is what was left after 150,000 applications. They're clearly not using APPLICABLE criteria when sifting the applicants.

At least this week's eviction vote has provided something I do vaguely care about. If Spencer goes this week, I won't have any incentive to watch BB any more. Sure, I fancy him, which is easy through a TV screen, where we can't smell him, or get annoyed by his laziness, but Alex is just AWFUL. I can't stand the sound of his whinging voice any more. Worryingly though, Alex seemed to have quite a bit of support in Graham Norton's audience tonight. It's time to get on the phone.

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No footie

How will I cope? TWO WHOLE DAYS without any World Cup games on TV. Unless you count the full re-run on BBC One tonight of the last Brazil v. England World Cup match, from 1970. Which I don't. It's not a reason to get up in the morning, which has been one positive aspect of the World Cup timings.

Here are a few of today's World Cup snippets:

Bad losers: It's amazing how quickly you can lose respect for an entire nation, but I'm feeling that way towards Italy right now. The Italian newspapers and people connected with the team are having a collective "You looking at me?" De Niro moment. They're blaming the referee for yesterday's loss. They're blaming a FIFA conspiracy, along the lines of "one of the host nations had to be kept in the competition for advertising and sponsorship reasons". They're blaming Ahn Jung-Hwan, who scored the golden goal. He has been rewarded for his efforts by getting the sack. Unfortunately, he plays for Perugia, an Italian club. Club President, Luciano Gaucci has done himself and Italy no favours whatsoever, by saying "I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer." He means Ahn Jung-Hwan, just in case you thought he meant the Italian team, who lost two matches out of four, to Croatia and South Korea. But of course, it couldn't possibly be their fault, could it? True, they had quite a few goals disallowed over four games for offside, but it's just possible that Italian players kept getting into offside positions, rather than any vendetta by referees. Accept it Italy - you were beaten by the better team, and it hurts, but grow up and get on with it. And I don’t imagine Ahn Jung-Kwan will be short of offers

Adios los azules? England have won the first battle against Brazil today. We have won the toss (or however they decide these things) which gives us the right to be 'Team A'. The important consequence of this is that Brazil won't be wearing their famous yellow shirts on Friday, but their BLUE change strips. Excitable people have pointed out that all the fancied teams who play in blue (France, Italy, Paraguay and - stretching a point slightly - Argentina) have already gone home. We can only hope. Presumably though, this also means that England will be in the normal white strips, and not the 'lucky' red change strips. Also, Brazil have done well in previous tournaments while wearing the blue strips in many of their matches. Hmmm, perhaps this wasn't much of a story after all?

Brazilian winner tips England Well, someone has faith. Jauzinho, who scored the only goal in the aforementioned 1970 meeting of Brazil and England, has said today that he thinks England will win on Friday. That should go down well at home.

Hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday (possibly)
Tony Banks and a few other MPs (including some Scots, rather surprisingly), have signed an Early Day Motion calling for a national holiday on Monday 1st July, if England make the World Cup fibal the day before. I thought maybe he was getting a little carrried away, but he asked the question to Blair directly at PMQs this afternoon, and Blair said he will consider it if we beat Brazil. I'm sure he's mindful of 1970, when Harold Wilson blamed England's WOrld Cup exit (to Brazil, in THAT game again), for the lack of feelgood factor which led to him losing the General Election. Tony Banks, the former Minister for Sport, said "the Prime Minister MUST GO to Japan", and he had the support of another MP at PMQs, who said that "when we win the World Cup", Blair should be there, "to hold the cup aloft with David Beckham". Blair said he will "consider carefully" the proposition, but I believe he is due to be in Canada at the time, so it could be difficult. (Fact: We have fewer public holidays in the UK (8) than France and Spain, with around 12 and 13 each).

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Christopher Price inquest

If there could ever be any good news about Christopher Price's death, I suppose this is as reassuring as it could be. His inquest today has decided he died of natural causes. No drugs or alcohol were involved. For slightly selfish reasons, I suppose, I'm relieved to find that it wasn't suicide, because I really didn't want to think that someone who had so much going for him would have done that. Now it's 'just' a tragedy, and a horrible, unnoticed brain disease. Next time I have an ear infection, I'll bear this in mind.

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Pathetic cow

[22.20] Will the Big Brother producers please allow Jade out of the house now, without a vote? Then I could kill her.

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Glasto shocker

Worrying news today from the organisers of next week's Glastonbury Festival. They have apparently said that they are not going to show the World Cup final on the Sunday, EVEN IF England are in it. According to Radio 5 Live this lunchtime, they're trying to say that Glasto is a musical and cultural festival. Yes. And? Can't argue with that, but what's the most predominant aspect of popular culture at the moment? It's football.

I was taking it for granted that they were putting up screens, and I'll be absolutely appalled if this is true, and will probably drive off the site to go and watch it somewhere else. However, a music journalist on Simon Mayo's R5L show said he thinks the organisers will have to rethink this, because the village pubs in Glastonbury probably won't hold 100,000 people(!) I certainly hope they do, but they'd better hurry up about it. You can't just find huge video screens at a moment's notice, unless they were just going to
use those at the side of the main stage. At Glasto '98 though, we watched one of England's World Cup games in a different field, on a screen which I think was erected for the occasion. And bloody fantastic it was too, even though it was POURING with rain and it was only a first round group game. They can't deny us this time, surely? I'll be very, very angry if they do.

The other point to make is that the game is at noon, so it doesn't affect ANYTHING on the music stages, and the acts performing on the Sunday include Rod Stewart, Isaac Hayes and Roger Waters anyway, so no one under 40 will be very interested.

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Scary man

It seems that one of the Muppet monsters has mated with Christopher Biggins:

The bloke on the right is (perhaps surprisingly, judging by this picture) a gay porn actor, with his own blog. Looks like 22nd May 2001 was a particularly productive day.
Thanks to Charlie for the link.

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Arrivederci Italia! (or My Brilliant Korea)

[14.55] THEY'VE DONE IT! Italy are out! The whole of South Korea is going mental! Another of the favourite teams is going home. And the Korean player who earlier had his penalty saved, has scored with two minutes left of extra time. Bloody marvellous. You couldn't write a script like this. Can this World Cup get any more unpredicatable and exciting? It's FANTASTIC!
And now, the people who have been talking up England's chances of winning the whole thing can only be encouraged by Italy being knocked out too. But first, Brazil.

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[14.40] Such drama enfolding before my eyes in the World Cup. With South Korea just two minutes away from going out of the competition to one measly Italian goal, they equalised. I'm surprised a tsunami hasn't overwhelmed Japan, as it looked like the whole population of South Korea jumped for joy at the same time. The Koreans have definitely been the fans of the tournament. There were apparently 300,000 of them gathered somewhere in Seoul to watch their last game on a big screen, and authorities are estimating 1.25 million people are on the streets of the capital right now. They've reportedly sold five million of their Red Devil shirts in the last few days, and Korea ran out of red dye for a few days! Just listening to Nicky Campbell, broadcasting live from Seoul this morning, was making me feel quite emotional. If they win now, the country will go BONKERS, especially as Japan were jettisoned this morning, and for all their friendliness, Korea love to get one up on their neighbours. They've managed that already, just by scoring against Italy and forcing extra time, neither of which Japan managed against Turkey earlier today. And now, Totti has been sent off, so not only are Italy down to ten men, but Totti will presumably be banned from the next game if they get through. First half of extra time over, and still 1-1. I hate golden goal extra time, but if only South Korea could do it now....Fingers crossed. Italy have gone out of the last three World Cups on penalties, so they have an incentive not to go there again...

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America's most talented?

If I were a young actor in America, I would give my right arm to be cast in 24, which is surely the most compelling American TV drama since Twin Peaks, possibly ever. Similarly, I would give my left arm to be in 6 Feet Under, which is pure brilliance; dark, clever, funny, sexy, well-written etc. etc. Any actor in one of these two must thank their lucky stars (and their agent).

So how happy must Eric Balfour (below) be? He's the bloke who plays the computer nerd, Milo Pressman, in 24 AND the 'suck my toe' druggie, Gabe in 6 Feet Under. Lucky bastard.

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Chig’s World Cup Guide for Poufs

Bemused by all this football talk in the office? Feeling left out of conversations down the pub with your straight mates? Getting unreasonably excited by hearing them mention words like Totti, Janke and Jerkov? Haven’t paid any attention to football since running away from the ball at school, apart from lusting after Gary Lineker and David Beckham? Then you are clearly a big pouf! Some of my fellow homosexualists seemingly can’t get into this World Cup thing at all. (Mind you, living in Scotland is an acceptable excuse.) Never fear though, help is at hand. Entirely for your benefit, Chig has sat through about 40 of the 56 matches played so far (plus highlights of all the others), just to guide you through the pitfalls of World Cup conversation. So, brush up on these, try them out down the pub, and let us know how you get on!

DON’T say: The Italians definitely have the sexiest kits. They’re so clingy, and fashionably retro.
DO say: Did you know that England’s results are statistically better when their games are live on the BBC and not ITV?

DON’T say: Isn’t it funny that South Korea have a player whose name sounds like Hung Young Beau?
DO say: It’s a damn shame that Quim wasn’t playing in this World Cup for Portugal. I really miss Quim.

DON’T say: How could Nigeria play in that lime green colour? It was so vile.
DO say: I always knew Senegal would be the best African team – they only lost the African Nations’ Cup to Cameroon on penalties in the final, after all.

DON’T say: That skinhead Stig Toftig from Denmark looks so horny – he’s tattooed all over apparently; I’d like to have a good look.
DO say: It’s no wonder Toftig is such a hard bastard; his father murdered his mother when he was a kid – it must have really screwed him up.

DON’T say: Do you think Antiques Roadshow will still be shown on the 30th?
DO say: I can’t wait for the 30th – it could be England v Germany in the final.

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Another evening disappears...

[21.50] I had plans for this evening, I really did. I was going to write stuff. Funny stuff. Sexy stuff. Possibly. Maybe even answer a few e-mails. And what do I do instead? I start reading other people's blogs. Nothing new there, but the group of blogs which I'm now checking, and reading their new stuff in entirety, has expanded to five or six. As if that wasn't bad enough, I eventually get around to reading the Naked Blog, which so many others have linked to and recommended, and then.....oh and then it's an hour and a half later, and I realise I am completely hooked. Could people just stop writing stuff that's so bloody interesting? Please?

And now it's time for BB, Graham, and the utterly, utterly unmissable 6 Feet Under. Funny stuff will have to wait. Need cup of tea.

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Raul and the King of Spain

What's this? Has Chig found a link between two newsmakers of the last 24 hours, (other than them both being Spanish)? Is he going to make some clever connection between one of Spain's World Cup heroes (if you're Spanish, and not Irish) and the monarch of his country, who attended a luncheon party for the crowned heads of Europe with Lizzie Windsor today? Or did these two news items just make Chig think of an old Tears For Fears single, so he's trying to be clever, and possibly attract googlers who don't quite spell the title correctly, just for the hell of it?

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Chig's chart chatter

[17.30] In just over an hour, possibly the most important singles chart record of all is about to be smashed, after standing for nearly 25 years. Since August 1977, the title of Most Number Ones has been shared by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, stuck on 17 each. Today, with the help of the first ever remix sanctioned by Presley's estate, a film soundtrack and a Nike TV advert, he will claim that record for himself, for the first time ever.

It's been a real tortoise and hare race to get this far. From Elvis's first number one, All Shook Up, in June 1957, to his 18th today, A Little Less Conversation, is one week short of 45 years. The Beatles, on the other hand, crammed all 17 of their number ones into a period of six years and two months (April 1963 - June 1969), with at least one number one in each of those seven years. They haven't hit number one since splitting up, not even when three singles of supposed 'newly discovered' material were released in 95/96, with Free As A Bird getting closest, at number 2. (And do you remember which upstart had the temerity to hold onto the number one spot for six weeks to deny the Beatles? The answer is in the comments.)
Presley's approach was a little more leisurely. He similarly had an initial run of seven years (1957-63) where he had at least one number one each year, taking his total to fourteen. Then he failed to make #1 in 1964, and had one more in 1965 (Crying In The Chapel). It took another five years and two months to clock up his 16th (The Wonder Of You, July 1970), and it took his death another seven years and one month after that to make Way Down jump from #42 to #4 and eventually to the top on its fourth week in the chart.
Despite what some people think, it's not the Nike football advert (where Eric Cantona referees games on a ship between the world's top players), which has resurrected interest in A Little Less Conversation. It actually appears in its original version on the soundtrack of this year's Ocean's Eleven film. I am prepared to believe it was actually in the film, but I don't remember it, and as the full version was only 1' 39" long, perhaps it's not surprising. It's easy to forget that Elvis Presley actually went through a phase in the late sixties where his popularity had waned to such an extent that some of his singles didn't chart at all. This may have been one of them, as it was a hit in America in 1968, but has never charted before today in the UK.

Finally, the remixers of the Elvis track are normally called Junkie XL, but had to change their billing to JXL in order for the Presley estate to allow the release. Junkie XL are two Dutch producers, Patrick Tilon and Tom Holkenborg, who first hit the chart themsleves for a mere one week at #60 in July 2000 with a track called Zerotonine.

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Lunchtime drinking can ruin your weekend

[08.45] Three pints yesterday lunchtime after nothing more than a bowl of Sugar Puffs for breakfast, and I was decidedly merry after the 3-0 demolition of Denmark, but then knocked out for the rest of the day. Skipped joyfully back home, watched TV for the evening, and then had to go for 'a lie down' with a slight headache. I crawled under the covers before 9pm. Next thing I know, it's nearly 1am. The curtains are still open all around the house, and I think to myself 'I seem to have gone to bed then'! So I went to bed properly, and then woke up just about every hour, but at least it was easy to get up at 7.15am today, for the game I'm now watching; Sweden v. Senegal (a deserved equaliser from Senegal making it 1-1 as I write).

Lunchtime today will see a probable repeat of yesterday, as we gather once more in Pat Kav's , which has a large Irish following, for what could be a nail-biting, or just horribly unsatisfactory, game against Spain. I'll be amazed if Spain don't win in the end, but I'm expecting Ireland to really battle against them. If Ireland do win, then we're into fairytale territory again (see Japan, South Korea and Senegal for prior examples of this).....

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No one ever said it was gonna be easy...

[15.15] ...but it was! Shockingly so. I admit to feeling complacent that we would beat the Danes, but 3-0 by half-time? We thought we were dreaming. Still I imagined Denmark would pull back three miracle goals, and then beat us with a golden goal in extra time, but it was not to be. The atmosphere in Patrick Kavanagh's was just brilliant - really friendly and chatty, not at all like the testosterone-filled atmosphere of The Newt, where I watched the England/Argentina game. Moseley people are just so much more chilled. Where else would you end up chatting to a friendly rasta guy who told us he was Irish, while watching England play Denmark? Moseley's just so cosmopolitan. Managed to down only three pints of Grolsch, but feeling a bit pissed as a result. I walked home, leaving my car outside Cooperman's until god knows when. Cooperman and MCFC Dave were being complete wimps (or 'poufs', as I called them) after heavy drinking nights last night, and were on lemonade. Their two women friends, who accompanied us to the pub, didn't even stand with us; they had Diet Cokes and sat in the corridor. I predicted we would win 1-0. Cooperman said 2-0, and MCFC Dave said 2-1. We were all wrong! What I'm hoping now is that Belgium surprise us all and knock out Brazil, as I'm sure we have a better chance of beating the Belgians. Cooperman thinks we can beat Brazil anyway. I'm not so sure, but at least they showed in their exciting game with Costa Rica that they are vulnerable and can let in two goals in a game.

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2. Olof MELLBERG - SWE 02 (and the mighty Villa!)
3. Fredrik 'Freddie' LJUNGBERG - SWE 09
4. Shay GIVEN - IRE 01 Goalkeeper
5. Tomasz WALDOCH - POL 15
6. Torsten FRINGS - GER 22
7. Arkadiusz BAK - POL 17
9. Dmitri SYCHEV - RUS 22 (He's 18 and a half, okay?!)
10. Josh WOLFF - USA 15
11. Thomas SORENSEN - DEN 01 Goalkeeper
12. Radoslaw KALUZNY - POL 10

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Mystic Chig

It's time for Mystic Chig's extraordinary powers of prediction to be put to the test once again....I'm rubbing my huge ball....the fog is clearing....and I can see.....yes, I can see the future....I predict that by 15.00 today a team whose flag and white with a cross on it...will be through to the last eight of the World Cup....Don't ask me how I do's a gift....

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Saving our (Danish) bacon

[07.55] Up early, watching Germany v Paraguay in the first knockout game of the World Cup. Four and a half hours until England's game, which I'll be watching in the Patrick Kavanagh pub in Moseley. Here's a picture of what I don't want to see at 14.15 today!

Danes celebrating a win

Eurovision 2000 (c) Chig 2000

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Is that all there is?

You mean we got up early for THAT? Ho hum. To echo the (presumably) straight woman standing near me at the opening ceremony for Birmingham Pride, "Boring, boring". But still, objective one achieved, and surely we can't have a team less obviously threatening to meet than Denmark? Complacency is the worry now, which could lead to us losing 3-0 in a 'shock' defeat. What a weekend in store. England v. Denmark at 12.30 on Saturday and Ireland v. Spain at 12.30 on Sunday. Fathers' Day in Ireland will surely consist of most fathers being absent from their children, as the whole country's menfolk (he said in a very sexist, sweeping statement) will be spending the day down the pub.

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Six and a half hours to go...

[01.05]....until the big kick-off against Nigeria. I've just stuck my 'ickle St. George flag out of the bedroom window, as so many others have done. (We saw so many houses displaying flags as Bristolcream drove us back along the A34 Manchester-Birmingham on Sunday.) It's a rather tokenistic gesture here though, given that I live ten houses down a pedestrianised cul-de-sac and hardly anyone can see the house, let alone a poxy flag, but it's the thought that counts.

I'm going to fetch CrystalTipps at 7am, so she can come here and we'll watch the match together on my bigger TV. She's feeling bad that she missed the Argentina game as she was working. She has also confessed to not knowing much about football, but she's concerned that David Beckham gets his hair right. Obviously, that is the most important thing about the game.

Here's hoping we sneak that draw with Nigeria, but it ain't gonna be easy in the afternoon heat, which Nigeria will find easier to cope with. I also hope that Sweden beat Argentina, and then Argentina will be out, joining holders France from earlier today. Au revoir, les bleus! !Adios los azules y blancos!

Feeling nervous already...probably won't sleep.....

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Today's dilemmas:

1. Where to watch Ireland v Saudi Arabia at 12.30pm tomorrow?
Option A: At home, alone.
Option B: At home, with other people. But anyone vaguely interested will be at work. Scrap that one.
Option C: At O'Neill's in Moseley. A fine atmosphere, to be sure, but will there be any space after about 10am? Could I cope with it on my own?
Option D: At Patrick Kavanagh's pub in Moseley. See above.
Option E: At any one of the many other Irish pubs in this fair city. See above.
Option F: Decide really late on that Option C or D would be a good idea, walk up to Moseley, find that all pubs are full, walk back home again, in time to catch second half of match only.

2. Where to watch England v Nigeria on Wednesday at 7.30am?
Option A: At home, on my own, in dressing gown.
Option B: Invite a friend or two round tomorrow night, get up with them and watch it in a more communal atmosphere. Provide breakfast.
Option C: Get up really early and go to pub. But which one? Oh, forget that option. I'll never manage it.
Option D: (the 'nightmare' scenario): Go to bed tomorrow night, forgetting to set the alarm. Miss the match, find out result from Ceefax.

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Quote of the Day

Well actually, this is from three days ago (Friday), but I've only discovered it today while rewinding the video of the England v. Argentina game. Anna Ford's noon news summary on BBC One was evidently brought forward to 11.45am, as the football programme started at 11.50. She ended her five minute programme with this little gem;

"Well, that's it for the time being. There'll be more news at 1 o'clock and, because of the England Argentina match, that will be on BBC2, so I'll see all three of you then."


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Can someone please explain the reason for this strange behaviour?

How on Earth did Alison get voted out tonight? If Birmingham Pride was anything to go by, I thought she was going to win the damn thing (regional bias aside). How the hell can she have annoyed people more than Alex (or even Sandy, who I like, but I'm sure is annoying to some people)...

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Omedetoo-gozaimasu David Beckham-san

[01.15] Ohayoo gozaimasu! And I mean that most sincerely, I really do. Thank you Mr Beckham for giving me one of the most exhilarating, ecstatic (and yet drug-free) moments of my life around about 14.15 today. I thought the roof was going to lift off the pub when the final whistle went. We danced around the pub to Three Lions. We got wet as people threw beer, and we didn't care. We hugged complete strangers. It was magical. Who cares what happens now? It felt like we won the World Cup today!

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Now I wish I'd bet on it

Remarkably, I managed to tape all the Big Brother 'surprise' eviction night shenanigans from Friday, and then spend the whole weekend out at Birmingham Pride AVOIDING hearing the result. This is doubly remarkable, because when Graham Norton appeared on the main stage on Sunday, he talked of little else but Big Brother. Feeling obliged, in journalist mode, to listen to what he had to say, I thought, 'oh well, that's blown it, I'm going to find out now', but although he said, in his gleefully evil way, that Friday night had all got a bit nasty, he still didn't say who was out.

So, last night I watched it all on video as if it was live. And just call me Mystic Chig. Was my prediction (below, Fri 31/05) spot on, or was it totally accurate? I am in tune with the nation!

I also found myself feeling very uncomfortable watching Lynne leave. Before Friday, I was relishing the surprise eviction. I thought it would be really funny, and shocking, to mess with their heads and see how they reacted, but now I'm not so sure. I hope the eviction experience hasn't screwed up Lynne too much, as coming outside to boos and seeing at least one placard saying 'Evil Lynne' must have been quite a shock for her. But then, she saw the clips of her afterwards, and she WAS nasty. You reap what you sow, and if you can't face the level of exposure, or the way that the editing portrays you, then you shouldn't go in.

And now, of course, it's Jade who has the difficulty. She knows she is the most unpopular person in the house, as far as the public are concerned. That must be even more difficult to deal with than Lynne's problems, as she is at least away from the public glare now.

Person most out of touch with the other housemates = Lee.
I noticed that he is the only person who didn't nominate ANY of the three who face the public vote (Alex, Alison and Sandy).
I didn't see the nomination process, so who DID Lee nominate? And why did Alison get four nominations? I thought she was quite popular.

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Today I am mostly....feeling Irish

[12.30pm] Just about to settle down to watch Ireland v Germany, kicking off now, and I confess I feel slightly more excited and more nervous about this game than I did about England v Sweden. I am also feeling considerably less sick than I did on Sunday morning, when I drove to the Wellington in glorious sunshine for 10.30am, getting there three minutes into the game; not bad considering I'd been out clubbing until about 4am. I felt pleased with myself for having managed it, then tried to squeeze into the room with the video screen, packed as it was with lesbians and gays from the Gay Football Supporters' Network, visiting Brum for Pride weekend as their annual jaunt away. No sooner had I fought my way to the bar and bought a bottle of water, than the heat in the room started to cause a few waves of nausea, and then one whiff of a cigarette was enough to send me scurrying out of the room, and off pronto to the loo, where I had to sit for ten minutes, drinking water, until the nausea subsided. I wasn't actually sick, but it was close. I stood by the door for the rest of the game, able to see the screen, but not concentrating very well, and had to sit outside on the street during half time.

Today though, I am metaphorically putting on my Irish hat. Like many British people, I've always supported Ireland as my 'second' national football team. I've always considered myself to be one quarter Irish anyway, by virtue of one Irish-born grandparent (and likewise one quarter Welsh and half English). It's only in the last eighteen months though, since I started researching my family history, that I've discovered the true extent of my Irish bloodline. I now know that my roots go back to Ireland in three out of four directions, and I have details of my direct Irish ascendants going back to at least 1850. So I'm feeling more interested in today's game. I watched Ireland's first game, live on Saturday morning, in the comfort of my ex-boyfriend's hotel room, as he was up from London for the GFSN weekend. Obviously, I had just popped round for breakfast at 7.30am. Cough, splutter!

I was contemplating seeing this Ireland v Germany game up the road at O'Neill's pub in Moseley, which I'm sure will be rammed. However, I've only just this minute finished and e-mailed my 1,100 word Brum Pride report to Gay Times, so I'll have to stay in now. Oh bugger! Germany have just scored. Must go and sit by the big TV.

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Quote of the day

Despite the meticulous planning of every detail of today's Jubilee carnival in London, there are some things you can't control. Children, for instance. A small boy from Chicken Shed Theatre Company is being interviewed live on The Mall on BBC TV, by Philippa Forrester, as a thousand kids perform their song 'Together Talking' behind them. He tells her that they're going to do the song again in front of the Queen later, "but we'll only do a short version, because she can't stay awake for very long". Out of the mouths of babes.... Back in the studio with Dimbleby, the woman from Chicken Shed desperately tries to cover their tracks, and says "I don't know where he got the idea that the Queen is too tired. Must have been his mother." Ooh, get you. Are you after a CBE?

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[16.05] As I sit here, slowly tapping away, trying to sum up three days of Birmingham Pride for the readers of Gay Times, I have the TV on. It's been on for hours, as I switched from watching two superb World Cup matches this morning/lunchtime, to the coverage of Liz Windsor's sponsored walk, or whatever it is. It's been an intense weekend of Birmingham Pride, football and a few snatched moments of TV in the brief moments I've been in the house. It's been a seemingly successful one all round, with the one blip being England's underwhelming performance on Sunday morning. I saw James Whittaker, official royal snob to the nation, saying on TV last week that the success of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations would depend on the England v Sweden result. Thankfully, we didn't actually lose, and the nation seems to have risen above the disappointment of the feeble draw, if the enthusiam I'm seeing on TV right now is anything to go by. But I find myself wondering, is there a support group for homosexual, football-supporting, Eurovision-loving Republicans? Are there other people who are quite happy in one week to wave the Union flag in a concert hall in Tallinn, to wear an England footie shirt while watching the match, very hungover, in a Birmingham gay pub at 10.30 on a Sunday morning and then find themselves strangely glued to the coverage of the Queen's jubilee parade, while fervently disagreeing with the whole concept of the royal family?
Actually, I don't think I'm that contradictory really; it just feels that way sometimes. I'm very much in the 'let's reclaim the flag(s) from the fascists' camp, and wanting the flags of St. George and the Union to stand for the diverse reality of society in England and the whole UK (respectively) as it is today. And reflecting that diversity seems to be very much at the forefront of what they've arranged in London today for this Jubilee parade. The royals may well have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but what I'm seeing on the TV now has certainly moved on from what we would have seen in 1977. Yes, it's a real cultural mish-mash, and some of it is very tacky, but it fair warms the cockles of my heart to see so many people out partying together. I would like to think that what we're seeing is just proof that we love an excuse to party, rather than any real support for the idea of the monarchy, but that's probably my optimistic interpretation. At Birmingham Pride there was a lot of red and white on display, and a fair few Union Jacks being worn, and a lot of football shirts, but it's all very culturally mixed up. Some of it is probably deeply patriotic royalism. Some of it was the Birmingham Pride organisers just playing on the 'Queens' joke. Some of it was visiting straight football supporters from the mixed pubs like O'Neill's, showing the footie while in the roped-off confines of the gay village. Some of it is the Gay Football Supporters' Network, fifty of them, in town for their annual weekend away. Some of it is sports kit fetishism from people who wouldn't know Zinedine Zidane if they bumped into him in Tesco. And my point is....if I have a point at all.....that you just can't tell who's who. And that is the diversity of my life, and of living in Birmingham, that I love so much. And that's why I'm glad that we still have Pride in Birmingham, not Mardi Gras or Gayfest. On many occasions over the weekend, as I surveyed the scene around Hurst Street, pride is indeed what I felt. So many different people, all gathered together having fun. I just love it.

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Last weekend in Tallinn

I seriously recommend that you read Mike's account (two episodes so far, and more to come) of Eurovision weekend. Two reasons for that. Firstly, it's very entertaining and accurate and well-written. Secondly, it means I won't have to duplicate it, or promise to write a report which I'll never get around to doing....

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The weekend so far

Bloody knackering. It's 4.45pm on Bank Holiday Monday. Just about to go back to Hurst Street after having a bath and some much-needed food. I've only spent one of the last three nights at home, so I think I can say that Birmingham Pride/World Cup/Jubilee weekend is a success so far. Although I do have a slight headache. And the sun's come out at last.....Angels, here I come (again)!

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