World of Chig   


Some people have really dull jobs, don't they? I've just discovered that my good friend Disneyboy, who I'm staying with at the weekend, has spent the last week escorting George Clooney around London for interviews and parties. Soon he'll be doing the same with Colin Farrell. Life's a bitch, eh?

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I'm going to A Song For Europe, tra la la la la!! Got my ticket sorted this morning. Keep your eyes trained on the audience this Sunday, BBC One at 16.35 (straight after 'Stenders). I'm not promising that my dancing skills will be picked up by the cameras (especially as two of the songs are ballads) but you never know...!

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[09.05] God I feel shit this morning. Do you ever have one of those nights where you're just lying in bed, constantly aware of the time, until it gets so late that you know you're not going to get enough sleep, and get more and more tense about it? I went to bed about 12.30am last night, which is way too late when you have to get up by 6am.

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"You're twisted - you're Norman Bates with a briefcase!"

Ooh Granada, you are really spoiling us! Corrie last night - fantastic!

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War, war is stupid, and people are stupid

Well, who would have thought it? Last night's Brits ended up being the main discussion point on Radio 5 Live's breakfast show this morning, and on the news, and then the subject of the phone-in on the next programme with Jon Pienaar too. Not so much a discussion of the event itself - which I thought was rather muted and lacking oomph. More a discussion of the rights and wrongs of celebrities having a point of view and expressing them in public. It all ties in rather neatly with the story below about Belgium's (now former) Eurovision singer. Red Wedge and Band Aid were discussed, as Blue announced overnight (but not in the TV version of the Brits) that they are putting together an anti-war single with other artists. Hurrah for them! I suggest a long overdue cover of Culture Club's 'The War Song'. A simple message that shouldn't be too complicated for their core audience of under 10s to understand.
So much more I'd like to say about The Brits - Jeez, I even made notes while watching it - but too much to do. Bummer.

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Country which produced Lasgo and the Smurfs in neo-Nazi Eurovision shocker!

Chig is shocked. Not so much by the revelation that this year's singer of Belgium's Eurovision entry has a Nazi past. More by the fact that this story has appeared on the front page of the Grauniad. Good job there's nothing important happening in the world, eh?

UPDATE: Little did I know that Mike had already mentioned this in my comments yesterday. As he says, see Urban Trad's website (if you can read French or Flemish) and the BBC version of the story. It will be sad if we don't get to hear this song, as this is the one that's supposedly in a 'made-up language'. And I don't mean esperanto.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Someone on the Eurovision list at yahoogroups, to which I faithfully subscribe and occasionally send nonsense of my own, asked, in relation to this Belgian hullaballoo, how it would be if the BBC sent an IRA sympathiser to represent the UK. This got Chig going, leading him to compose the following reply:
But how do you know that the UK hasn't already sent an IRA supporter to represent us? The point is, we don't know the political views of 99% of Eurovision entrants. Most of them keep quiet about anything important, for fear of alienating any potential support, not just at Eurovision, but in the big wide world too. Any broadcaster has the right to choose who represents them, and HOW they are represented. If the Belgians don't like this singer's attitude, and fear she may embarrass them, who could blame them for ditching her? They only have to look at Ping Pong [Eurovision 2000, for Israel] to realise that sometimes the act won't follow the party line, and ends up embarrassing their broadcasters. Sometimes though, that's a good thing.

My other point is that we have to believe in the potential of people to change their views. If we don't believe that, then all election campaigning, and perhaps politics in general, is a waste of time, as no one would ever be persuaded to another point of view. Plenty of people who now work in anti-fascist organisations were once fascists themselves, but then saw the light. In short, it's up to Belgium how they judge Urban Trad's singer, but if they're going to do that, they should judge her on her views NOW, not when she was younger and more naive. Sermon over.

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Ever decreasing circles...

Ah, fame, such a fleetingly flirtacious beast. It gives me no pleasure to relay this morning's news, that the Girls Aloud / One True Voice tour (which was also due to include my favourite Transylvanian twins) has been called off, due to 'poor ticket sales'. We've lost interest in record time with this one, haven't we, boys and girls? No doubt the Great British public is just way too busy bracing itself for ITV1's next reality pop phenomenon, Reborn In The USA, in which has-beens from the 80s and 90s (that's the decades, not their actual ages) tour America in a bus. I'm not making this up. After each gig, the US audience votes on who should leave the tour and then 'we' (I use the term loosely as I don't foresee myself being interested enough to actually, like, vote) decides who to evict of the two with most nominations. Those signed up so far include two of the UK's former Eurovision chanteuses; Scouse Sonia and Glittery Gina (G), plus someone who has made half a living pretending to be in a Eurovision outfit, David Van Day. Burger sales must be down. His erstwhile Dollar partner, Thereze Bizarre Bazaar is also there, plus Leee John of Imagination, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet, Michelle Gayle of the Taverniers (ah, how we loved little Hattie and that Sweetness song) and that little Haydon Eshun of Ultimate Kaos, who's now not so little but is very forgotten. (Is he related to Ekow Eshun, former Face stylista and regular on Newsnight Review?) Add to that little lot Mark Shaw from Then Jericho and 'veteran' Elkie Brooks, and it should be a hoot. Cough, splutter. I just know I'll be watching though, as it's being presented by Davina. (What TV show isn't these days?)

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Chig's pointless Brits predictions

Ooh, the excitement! Only two days to go before the first Brits LIVE on the telly since the Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood fiasco! What can possibly go wrong? Hopefully, lots. But delightful Davina will no doubt take it all in her stride. Chig can't wait! Feel free to add your own predictions and comments. I've started adding mine, but it'll be done in fits and starts...

Chig's predictions in bold.
Chig's preferred winners in italics

Badly Drawn Boy
Craig David
David Gray
The Streets At least the Brits have decided on Mr Skinner's category - the NME awards had him as a group AND a soloist.
Robbie Williams
Sophie Ellis Bextor
Ms Dynamite
Beverley Knight - for being the best solo act at Glastonbury, and the eternal bridesmaid in various awards.
Alison Moyet - much as Chig likes Alf, an appearance on Graham Norton and a brief brush with the top 20 for her comeback album does not a Brit award winner make.briefiller
Beth Orton - filler.
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head - partly because it's the only one of this five that I've heard, or own.
Ms Dynamite: A Little Deeper Will probably win, but the Mercury Prize may handicap it and give this one to Coldplay instead.
The Coral: The Coral
The Streets: Original Pirate Material
Sugababes: Angels with Dirty Faces
Atomic Kitten: The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) - Please God, noooooooooooo!
Gareth Gates: Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake)
Gareth Gates: Unchained Melody Cover versions shouldn't really be in this category, as far as Chig's concerned, but the top 5 best-sellers of the year (by UK acts) get in automatically, so it's just unfortunate. This won Record Of The Year, but the presence of two Gareth singles could split the vote and hand it to Will instead.
Liberty X: Just A Little
Will Young: Anything Is Possible/Evergreen
Beverley Knight - urban Wolverhampton
Big Brovaz - urban, but terribly, terribly nice
Craig David - urban Southampton
Daniel Bedingfield - urban New Zealand. Hmmm.
Mis-Teeq - urban Lahndaaaahn
Ms Dynamite - urban pregnant
Romeo - urban hunk
Roots Manuva
So Solid Crew - urban criminals
The Streets - urban Brummoy, y'oroight?
Chemical Brothers - didn't do much in 2002
Groove Armada - likewise
Jamiroquai - what?
Kosheen - er, okay then
Sugababes - cool, but not a dance act
How about none of the above?
Liberty X
Ms Dynamite
The Coral
The Streets Just to share out the awards between Ms D and Mr S, he should get this one.
Will Young
POP ACT Voted by (cd):uk viewers and readers of The Sun.
Blue May edge out Gareth, purely due to their 4:1 hunk ratio.
Enrique Iglesias
Gareth Gates
Will Young

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Beck - Is he still going?
Eminem - Of course.
Moby - Will fight with Eminem.
Nelly - Please, no.
Bruce Springsteen - Lord! Mercy! No!
Missy Elliott
Norah Jones
Alicia Keys
Avril Lavigne
P!nk - Will no doubt open the show with 'Get The Party Started' before winning this one.
Eminem: The Eminem Show
Norah Jones: Come Away with Me
Alicia Keys: Songs in A Minor
P!nk: M!ssundaztood
Red Hot Chili Peppers: By The WayThe most definite of definite awards this time around, and Chig's #4 (or was it #5?) album of 2002, but once again swayed by the fact that he hasn't heard the other four.
Foo Fighters
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Royksopp - a close second, and no complaints here if they win, but they won't.
White Stripes
Norah Jones - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Avril Lavigne
Shakira - her album's better than you might think
White Stripes
Tom Jones I'm sticking my neck out here, but I predict the Tom Jones award will be won by...Tom Jones! Besides, there's a new Greatest Hits album to plug, on the Brits label. What a fortunate coincidence.
All categories are voted for by The Academy except:
Top five selected by the Academy. Winner voted for by Radio One listeners.
Top five selling British singles in calendar year are automatically nominated. Winner voted for by UK Commercial Radio listeners.
Top ten selected by the Academy. Winner voted for by MTV-Base viewers.
Top five selling British or International Pop artists are automatically nominated. Winner voted for by CD:UK viewers and The Sun Bizarre column readers.
Voting for the above categories is also via and takes place between Tuesday 14th January and Monday 10th Feb.
In the gift of the BPI Council.
The Academy comprises 1,000 representatives of the British music industry, including artist managers, retailers, publishers, promoters, producers, DJs, NUS entertainment officers, the media, Musicians' Union representatives, accountants, lawyers, venues as well as past winners, BPI members and other record companies.

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Glasto goes ahead!

Hurrah! Glasto Chig (top left) is particularly pleased, but what's all this about spanking? Anyone want to come with us?

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Chig's Choon

Pain Killer - Turin Brakes

A week devoid of big releases, so who can bet against a fourth week at the top for t.A.T.u?
Turin Brakes release a brilliant song, being played on both Radio 1 and Radio 2, but whose chart chances seem to be scuppered already. It's not even being stocked in my local record emporium. The problem is that my only available singles retailer in the depths of the Black Country is Asda, and Turin Brakes are probably a little too cutting edge to be listed in their top 40. A crying shame.

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A Song For Europe - all over bar the shouting, declares Chig

The UK's song in Riga will be 'Now And Forever' by United Colours Of Sound, just you wait and see. Tricity will no longer be in A Song For Europe, at least not under that name, as they have now renamed themselves Jemini (sic), presumably scared of legal action by the electrical goods company, as I pondered a while back.

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The Slovene Sahlene 'runs away' to Riga

Another Eurovision night - Slovenia chooses

Hi, it's 22.40, and I'm at Bryan & Kevin's house (on broadband), after watching tonight's EMA, live from Slovenia, on their super-duper TV. The EMA is Slovenia's live show to choose their Eurovision song, and last year it was so good that there are now ten of here watching tonight's. In fact, the album of the show was just top album of 2002 in my unpublished list!

Anyway, there were 16 songs tonight, in groups of four, punctuated by adverts. Two presenters; the very attractive Peter Poles (no sniggering at the back please) did the intro and the Green Room chat, with Misa Molk presenting on stage.

There was an international jury in the studio, which gave the usual 12, 10, 8 etc. votes, and the televote initially did the same. The jury and the televote were equally weighted (50% each). The jury included Marie N (last year's Eurovison winner for Latvia, who performed her song 'I Wanna' in the interval for the benefit of those of us who haven't heard it for 11 and a half months, and those who've forgotten why we're off to Riga in May. Also Paul De Leeuw, very camp Dutch Eurovision commentator (like Christopher Biggins meeta Anne Robinson.

It was quite a good selection of songs, certainly better than the recent Polish final, and after the sixteen songs, the jury's hunky spokesperson (no idea who he was) gave their votes first. Their top three were;
12 points to Poglec me v oci by Alenka Godec.
10 points to Ujel si se by Polona.
8 points to Zlata sestdeseta by Alenka Pintaric & Tulio Furlanic.

Readers may be interested to know that these were the last three songs performed tonight. Perhaps the jury were in the bar at the start, as they ignored my second favourite, song number two; a ballad called 'Mlado srce' (The young heart) by Ana
Dezman, giving it no points at all! I described Polona's song as "promising start, but then becomes a plodder". The duet was surely just a joke song, and I've no idea how it made the top three - it only came tenth in the televote.

Then the televote scores were added, and the Slovenian 'Popstars' group Bepop won it by a mile with 16,000+ votes. Now I love manufactured pop groups as much as the next person, but their performance was rubbish; a badly sung song, not poppy enough, with a tedious rap bit. Thankfully, the jury had given them no points, so they didn't make the top three play-off.

With the jury votes and the televote combined, we ended up with Nusa Derenda (really strong song, and my own favourite, albeit Energy part two), Karmen Stavec (again, with a song that's SOOOOOO derivative of Estonia last year that it's a joke) and the aforementioned Alenka Godec. This top three was exactly the same as the combined votes of ten people here had produced, so we were pretty pleased, adn couldn't really care who won out of Nusa and Alenka.

These top three were performed again, and then the phone lines were opened again, with all three songs starting from zero, and eventually Karmen won with just over 50%, so at least it was clear cut, if unoriginal. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again. It's her fourth time of trying, and she was incandescent last year at coming second to the trannies, Setstre after the phone vote (which she won) collapsed and was declared invalid. (Sestre won on the jury vote, but were not too popular in the televote.) You could almost SMELL the desparation, and see the relief on her face tonight. Actually, I didn't look at her face that much as I was distracted by the candy pink outfit, including pedal-pushers, that she wore. (Pedal pushers were a big theme of this year's EMA.)

So there we had it - 'Lep Poletni Dan' (which until yesterday was called Na Na Na, so you have some idea, is a good song if we hadn't heard it before, but we have. Christ, it EVEN copies the bit in Runaway where Sahlene sings, "Runaway to the [and then stops]...Runaway to the stars...." Just like Estonia's final last week, the best song doesn't win. ('Club 'Kung Fu'' came equal last, despite being utterly, fantastically brilliant - read all about it on Mike's blog, including a comment from one of the band, Vanilla Ninja. Jealous, moi? You bet I'm jealous!)

Latvia's still my favourite song so far. And now back to Bryan's buffet....

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This e-mail has probably been around every office in the country already this week, but just in case you haven't seen it, here it is again. I've no idea if this really did appear in the Observer on Sunday, but it makes its point brilliantly.

A letter to the London Observer from Terry Jones (of Monty Python).
Letter to the Observer, Sunday 26 January 2003

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what.

I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is. As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need ! to! do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want!

And let's face it, Mr Bush's carefully thought-out policy towards Iraq is the only way to bring about international peace and security. The one certain way to stop Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers targeting the US or the UK is to bomb a few Muslim countries that have never threatened us.

That's why I want to blow up Mr Johnson's garage and kill his wife and children. Strike first! That'll teach him a lesson. Then he'll leave us in peace and stop peering at me in that totally unacceptable way. Mr Bush makes it clear that all he needs to know before bombing Iraq is that Saddam is a really nasty man and that he has weapons of mass destruction - even if no one can find them. I'm certain I've just as much justification for killing Mr Johnson's wife and children as Mr Bush has for bombing Iraq. Mr Bush's long-term aim is to make the world a safer place by eliminating 'rogue states' and 'terrorism'. It's such a clever long-term aim because how can you ever know when you've achieved it?

How will Mr Bush know when he's wiped out all terrorists? When every single terrorist is dead? But then a terrorist is only a terrorist once he's committed an act of terror. What about would-be terrorists? These are the ones you really want to eliminate, since most of the known terrorists, being suicide bombers, have already eliminated themselves. Perhaps Mr Bush needs to wipe out everyone who could possibly be a future terrorist? Maybe he can't be sure he's achieved his objective until every Muslim fundamentalist is dead? But then some moderate Muslims might convert to fundamentalism. Maybe the only really safe thing to do would be for Mr Bush to eliminate all Muslims?

It's the same in my street. Mr Johnson and Mr Patel are just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of other people in the street who I don't like and who - quite frankly - look at me in odd ways. No one will be really safe until I've wiped them all out. My wife says I might be going too far but I tell her I'm simply using the same logic as the President of the United States. That shuts her up.

Like Mr Bush, I've run out of patience, and if that's a good enough reason for the President, it's good enough for me. I'm going to give the whole street two weeks - no, 10 days - to come out in the open and hand over all aliens and interplanetary hijackers, galactic outlaws and interstellar terrorist masterminds, and if they don't hand them over nicely and say 'Thank you', I'm going to bomb the entire street to kingdom come. It's just as sane as what George W. Bush is proposing and, in contrast to what he's intending, my policy will destroy only one street.

Terry Jones

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Chig's Choon

(Just about managing to name a single of the week each week of 2003 so far. This is gonna be one hell of a compilation album by Christmas.)

I Can't Break Down - Sinead Quinn
It's a 'greatest hits' single from someone who hasn't even had a hit yet; quite a remarkable achievement. The great, radio-friendly song she wrote herself while in the Fame Academy, the No Doubt song she covered brilliantly on Children In Need night, and her acoustic rendition of Macy Gray's finest moment. Next single, can we have Sinead's great version of Blondie's 'One Way Or Another' please?
Pointless prediction: #1. Move aside, fake Rusky lezzers, as Ms Quinn becomes at least the third Irish Sinead to claim a UK #1 single. Yes, you did read that correctly. I haven't forgotten about B*witched, you know.

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Jesus Christ, it's good!

More on this after tonight's finale, but last night's opening episode of The Second Coming left me dying to know how it will all pan out. Intriguing story, skilfully written by a unique genius. (Was that okay Russell? While you're here, could you tell Red Productions that their programme has in fact been broadcast - it's not in post-production, as their own website seems to think! Oh, and next time one of your oeuvres is on the telly, could you make sure it doesn't clash with Spanish TV revealing their Eurovision songs? Armageddon or not, some of us have set the video for it...)

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Paedo pop(ular)

"Bad, he's bad, he's very bad"
Further proof that there's no such thing as bad publicity. It was reported last week that Jacko was enjoying a sales surge here in the UK after last week's documentary, and now the full horror has been revealed in yesterday's album chart. Draw your own conclusions:
#37 Re-entry - Greatest Hits - History Vol. 1
#48 Re-entry - Thriller
#73 Re-entry - Bad
#93 Re-entry - Off The Wall

Oddly enough, not even this surge has brought the most recent Invincible album back to life.

Elsewhere in the album chart, it's a very good week to be dead, with new entries from Aaliyah, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole (who really ARE dead) Nick Cave (who just looks that way), plus Robin Gibb, whose brother has just died, Roxette, Billy Ocean and Lisa Stansfield (whose careers died ages ago) and Pet Shop Boys (arguably going the same way, as Disco 3 hobbles into the chart for quick visit at #36).

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Holy websites!

As a good Catholic boy, I am of course thrilled by this. And being a good Catholic boy, I should point out that I have never been tempted by online gambling or p*rnogr*phy. Or lying.
(Thanks to Elisabeth for the link.)

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Unrelated bits and bobs
Chig had a blinding revelation last night. I realised that I am actually fairly happy and contented with my life. And what caused this realisation? I watched Wife Swap and realised I don't have to come across such vile people as the white mother and her Cartman-like vile child. And that makes me very happy.

Micro reviews:
Catch Me If You Can; superb, highly recommended film, with absolutely brilliant, captivating opening titles that deserve an Oscar (TM) on their own.
Sinead Quinn's single: Brilliant, sounds great on the radio.
erasure's album: a bit weak, but has its moments

Only two days until The Second Coming...
And two days until the much-heralded death of BBC Choice and its rebirth as BBC Three. Chig LOVES the trailers!

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Chig's Choon

Single Of The Week:
Crimea Cry Me A River - Justin Timberlake

Good things come to those who wait, and the drip, drip effect of good reviews, radio play for the two singles and Justin's appearance on every UK TV show going should see this enter high on Sunday. His album's been #1 for the last two weeks, and this single should be the icing on the cake, giving him the #1 single he never quite managed with N*sync.

Pointless prediction: #1
[UPDATE Thu 06/02/03] Bugger! It seems those horrible, hairy Gallagher brothers are going to be #1 instead, with their single called 'Two minute nursery rhyme with no singing in the last minute'. Justin, you must be gutted, but if you'd like to be comforted, and also pick up your 21st birthday present from last week, my door is always open...

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Say, Say, Say What You Want...

Everybody's been talking today about Martin Bashir's superb Jacko documentary last night - it seems that everyone under 50 in the office watched it. What an amazing programme. It certainly changed my perception of him, but I felt my attitudes being tugged in several different directions at once. I no longer think he's mad, just deluded and very, very naive. Or was that what we were supposed to think, and in fact he's an evil master manipulator of (a) the media, (b) people's feelings and (c) children? Oh, it's all so confusing....

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Latvia makes the right decision
I've had the CD of all 15 of this year's Latvian Eurovision contenders for a week now, and I absolutely love 'Hallo From Mars'. Luckily, the Latvians love it too, and last night they chose it as this year's entry. Hurrah! All we have to hope for now is that Estonia has the sense to choose 'Club Kung Fu' which I heard for the first time yesterday and fell head over heels in love with, as I jigged around the lounge. In fact, I have already devised an appropriate dance to it, with which I will no doubt make an eejit of myself in the discotheques of Riga. I urge you to download both of these songs from the lovely Phil's OnEurope, especially if you need cheering up. (Follow my direct links in the song titles if you're not very good with flags!) 'Hallo From Mars' is just a lovely pop song, whereas 'Club Kung Fu', as you might expect, is utterly mad europop cheesiness.

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