World of Chig   


Je suis content, moi...

At least our rugby team managed to salvage some national pride yesterday, after the feeble football, but not even Jonny Wilkinson was as happy as my French fave Thomas Castaignede looks in this picture. Given what the French number 10 appears to be doing though, I'm not surprised he's smiling!

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25 down, one to go...

With Belgium's nonsense language (and now fascist-free) song being released on Urban Trad's own website today, we're only waiting to hear one more of this year's Eurovision entries. But boy, oh boy, (or girl on girl), what anticipation there is over that one. It's the Russian entry from t.A.T.u. Will it be any good? Will it matter that they cocked up and will have to sing it in Russian because they didn't submit the English version on time? Will they simulate lesbo sex on stage in Riga? Who cares about that, when what we really want to know is, will this new interest in all things gay at Eurovision mean that a certain blogger who is going to Riga for Gay Times be asked his opinion on Liquid News? Who knows? Only 60 weeks to go until Eurovision in Moscow...

Chig's guide to all 26 songs is almost completely written. (Well I had to do something interesting while half watching our dull football match on Saturday). Expect it here as soon as t.A.T.u reveal all (so to speak).

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Chig's Choon

This week:
Clocks - Coldplay

Chig's Choon

Last week:
Being Nobody - Richard X vs. Liberty X

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‘Chig’s been a bit quiet’, I hear nobody cry. So here’s the story of my last week. Try not to get too excited by the giddy whirl of it all.
Thursday: Slightly sore throat developing in afternoon.
Friday: Slightly dizzy feelings at work, feeling knackered by mid-afternoon, throat very sore by evening. Collapsed in front of TV after work and went to bed early.
Saturday: Forced myself to get up early, as had to go into city to buy birthday present for Dad, who I’m visiting later. Started to get headache and feel feverish while in town, having hot flushes. Popped home for half an hour and wrapped presents. Feeling slightly sick. Drove 25 miles to Dad’s and asked him for headache tablets. Left after two hours with migraine coming on. Home before dark, watched TV all evening. No appetite. Early night again. Terrible night’s sleep, throat red raw, lots of coughing.
Sunday: 10.30am, managed to crawl from bed to settee in dressing gown. Watched Hollyoaks and just about everything else on TV until it was bedtime again. Painful coughing. Too tired to even get up and put a videotape in. Another night of sleep broken by coughing fits.
Monday: Alarm goes off as usual at 6am. Texted work to say I won’t be in. Put bedside TV on and watched it in between dozing on and off. (Mel and Sue are very good on Ri:se, aren’t they?) Got up at 3pm to move to settee. Rang manager at 3.30pm – he’s off too with the mystery lurgy, as he was last week, which may be where I got it from. Stayed on settee watching TV until bed at midnight, too knackered to put in a video. Only got up for soup and a sandwich later. Didn’t even bother to shower or get dressed.
Today: Woke up in time for Mel and Sue again. Throat still sore, and now the sneezing’s started too. Dozed on and off again until getting up at 12.40pm.

It’s a real sod, isn’t it? I’ve been unable to move when it’s actually been nice and sunny outside. And despite not eating since Friday, I’ve only lost three pounds in weight. I mean, what’s the point in being ill if you don’t shed a few pounds?! I’ll have to go to work tomorrow, regardless of how crap I feel, as each day off costs me about fifty quid in lost pay, due to having no sick pay as agency staff. Oh shit, shit, shit. I’m feeling sorry for myself.

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The Doctor comes to call...

So, Mike gets a comment from a member of a girl group which should be representing Estonia at Eurovision (but isn't).
World Of Chig, on the other hand, gets comments from a bona fide number one chart star, who Chig has now been assured (in a good-natured e-mail from, let's say 'a source close to The Doctor') is perfectly endowed. Chig wishes to apologise for any inference that this is not the case, and fully accepts that the situation described was as a result of something unnatural. Doesn't explain why he wore trousers with crap zips though...

See the comments boxes below. The doctor will see you now...

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Lovely Latvians
It's official - Chig has had confirmation of official media accreditation for Eurovision from those lovely people in Riga. Expect the same kind of reports as last year, hopefully with photos this time, here on World Of Chig from Monday 19. May. All the news from the rehearsal week and the goss from the parties. Can't wait...

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[01.10am] Dear President Bush,
Chig here, from the UK. (That's the United Kingdom, the one next to Ireland, not the Ukraine, just to make that clear.)
If you are going to make any more of your oh-so-sincere war broadcasts (and I sense that you are), please could you make them before 1am GMT, as some of us have to go to beddy-byes? Round about your lunchtime would be nice, then we can watch you at teatime.
Thank you kindly,

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photos of youth boys in silk shorts
underpants footballers revealed
bondi shaved heads
Bosnian top 40 songs
latest Arabic popstars news and lyrics included

Just five searches which have brought people to this site today. No doubt they are very disappointed.

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New entries in yesterday's album chart:
#06 Daniel O'Donnell - Daniel In Blue Jeans (What a revolting thought.)
#19 The Dubliners - Spirit Of The Irish
#37 Ryan & Rachel O'Donnell - The Celtic Chillout Album 2

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody!

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The 1986 Acorn Incident

Now then, I promised an amusing anecdote, tenuously linked to Red Nose Day, by virtue of it being about one of the other acts who’ve hit number one with Spirit In The Sky, so here it is. Let’s all cast our minds back to the Summer of 1986. Chig was in his second year at a Midlands university. (Correction: his first second year.) Exams were looming at the end of the academic year, which Chig knew he was bound to fail. Not having done any coursework had a lot to do with it. Being in the drama society, DJing in the Guild of Students, writing for the student newspaper and being involved in student union politics also had a slight effect. But Chig knew that at least, when he left, he wouldn’t have to make up these things on his CV, as so many of his peers would do later. (Ooh, miaow! Not bitter about having a crap job are we, Mr Chig?)

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However, not all was doom and gloom. The country was rocking with Amadeus and waving chickens in the air while sticking deckchairs up their noses. Boys were booming out Lessons In Love from their Ford Escorts with fluffy dice. Rock Lobster was shimmying up the chart. Everybody was moving, everybody was grooving, baby. Chig didn’t really care about his course anyway, and chart-topping band Doctor And The Medics were due to play in the Guild Of Students. This was actually a much-anticipated event. The Guild had many gigs on over the years that Chig was there, of many musical flavours. Chig went to them all. Some were the old troopers (Gary Glitter, Q-Tips). Some were quite good tribute bands, at a a time when the idea was quite new (The Strolling Bones). Some were just past their peak (Imagination). Some never had a peak (Clint Eastwood & General Saint). Some had passed their peak before any of us remembered and were inexplicably revived (Jethro Tull!) Some had achieved a degree of success with a bit more to come (Amazulu). Occasionally, though, the idle hippies in the Ents office would turn up trumps and book a band that was actually quite cool (The Housemartins – twice!) or on the brink of pop stardom (Erasure, the week before ‘Sometimes’ hit the chart, Brother Beyond – twice!) In Chig’s first year, 1985, they had struck lucky by booking an almost unknown Coventry band whose first album was unheard outside the Midlands, but which Chig had on tape and copied over and over again for friends before the gig. The band was King, and as luck would have it, Love And Pride was spending one of its three weeks at #2 on the very day that they played in the student union. Chig had even taken his visiting sister across to the union in the afternoon, where they met Paul King, had a quick chat and took a fuzzy photograph of him. Oddly, he never once mentioned his forthcoming career as the ‘VJ’ face of MTV.

But what, I hear you say, does all this have to do with the supposedly funny anecdote you were promised? Actually, bugger all. I’ve gone wildly off the subject. It’s 22.50, I’m typing this while watching Comic Relief, I’m on my second can of lager, I’ve been up since 6am and got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home. I’m tired and emotional. I’ve (only!) blubbed twice so far at those little films that they’re showing which tear your heart out and make you stop laughing. (Will won! Hurrah! Robbie Williams got naked! Hurrah again!) Even worse, Chig is referring to himself in the third person again. Get on with it man!

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Back to the point then. With Doctor And The Medics, the Guild’s bookers had achieved one better than King, as they were the first act to actually be number one the week they played. Odd as it may seem now, it was BIG news that they were playing. Before topping the charts, I seem to remember they had already established a solid reputation as a hard-working live band. Seems strange now, when history judges them as a one hit wonder of the rather specialised niche market of post-punk/glam/Goth/pop which they inhabited. (A world in which they lived with only Strawberry Switchblade for company.) Actually, they weren’t a one hit wonder at all, but do you remember the title of their second hit? Or their cover of Abba’s ‘Waterloo’ with Roy Wood of Wizzard, who looked as if he was separated at birth from the good Doctor himself? Thought not. That was their third and final hit, later the same year.

So, it was with great anticipation that my 17 year-old sister came over to stay with 20 year-old me in our leaky student hovel in Erdington for the gig of the year. I had recently come out to her, and was feeling the relief of not having to worry which of my friends she spoke to, lest they should let slip that her brother was a poof. We were out gigging as equals, determined to enjoy ourselves, and get a good view, so we squeezed right down the front. The stage was about four feet off the ground in our Guild’s hall, so you could comfortably lean on it, although you were being crushed by the heaving, pogoing masses pushing your chest into the front. Still once you were there, you couldn’t be moved, and you had a fantastic view, right up the noses of whoever was on stage. When the singer is as tall as Clive Jackson (for that was the Doctor’s name), who was about seven feet tall in platforms, that was a very strange view indeed. But we loved it. We pogoed along for the first few songs. Or, more precisely, we rubbed ourselves up and down at the front of the stage. We were loving it. The fabulous poppy tunes! The mad women backing singers! The doctor’s HUGE hair! The scary make-up! His fabulously flared, tight, velvet loon pants! Oh, the loon pants. And then, it happened. Halfway through one of the songs, I noticed, to my horror, that the zip on the aforementioned doctor’s loon pants had burst open. Well, they were tight, it’s probably not surprising. What a trooper though – he’s carrying on as if he hasn’t noticed. Good job he’s wearing dark pants.

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And then, the penny dropped. He really hasn’t noticed, has he? I nudged my sister to gaze at the doctor’s crotch. He’s not wearing any pants. Other people in the crowd had stopped pogoing. They were now nudging each other and tittering. For there, on stage was a seven foot man with three feet high hair, in brightly coloured velvet loon pants, happily giving his all vocally, but with his zip now forming an oval shaped hole and, yes, you guessed it, his willy had popped out. Using the word ‘popped’ is actually exaggerating the drama of the moment and giving the doctor more than his due. With most men, I would have expected to use the word ‘flopped’, but no, not here. We stood. We stared. For there, nestling like a single egg in a bird’s nest, was the tiniest penis I ever saw (until the internet, at least). No one could quite believe it. The image burnt into my mind since that day is of a tiny little acorn, barely visible to the naked eye. So small in fact that the doctor was presumably unable to feel the rush of air across his exposed member. He only realised because of the staring, not because he felt anything. He hurriedly did himself up and carried on. With that much make-up on, it’s hard to tell if someone is embarrassed, but we were in shock. To think, my baby sister had come over to see that! Needless to say, it wasn’t the music we talked about coming out of that gig.

And so it came to pass that now, whenever I hear ‘Spirit In The Sky’, I can only think of one thing. A tiny penis. Sorry Gareth.

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TV highlights
Last night: Someone at the BBC deserves a medal. Did you see the Radio One trail that was shown after Comic Relief does Fame Academy last night? I was almost crying with laughter! They took the supercool Radio One trailer from a few months ago. You know, the one where Tongie, Trevor Nelson, Seb Fontaine etc.are having a 'battle of the DJs' in a deserted warehouse, with a real mix of fantastic dance music mixed over the top. Well, last night, in honour of this, they showed the same moody, arty black and white footage, but the music over the top included such hardcore dance classics as 'Making Your Mind Up' and 'Save Your Kisses For Me'. Absolutely bloody hilarious!

Tonight: I am soooooo looking forward to seeing Harry Potter and the Secret Chamberpot Of Azerbaijan, with its celestial cream of UK comedy and acting talent. If you don't know who's playing Hagrid (note to adults with no childern - he's the giant), I won't spoil it, but it sounds very, very funny.

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If you've been wondering what dizzy Welsh hairdresser Helen has been doing since Big Brother ended (apart from shagging Paul Clarke), the answer is here. Good to see she's being socially useful.

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Beautiful Day

I appear to be full of the joys of Spring today. Which is weird after only going to bed at 1.30am, waking up at 6.30 and being half an hour late for work, but hey, who cares? The sun is shining, the office is full of levity and Mr. Kipling's Red Nose Bakewell Tarts. This is due to it being (a) Friday and (b) Red Nose Day. Mike has been so spectacularly successful with the comments project that he appears to have exploded and covered his blog in blood. But no, it's only comedy tomato sauce. All is right with the world. And I finish work in one hour. Hurrah!

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Coming here later on Red Nose Day, a rude and amusing true story about one of the Spirit In The Sky hitmakers...
Have a comic day!

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Spirit In The Sky

It’s Red Nose Day 2003 – The Big Hair Do, and time for a little bit about this year’s fund-raising single, and its illustrious and appalling predecessors. If I’ve got this right, Spirit In The Sky is the tenth single to raise money for Comic Relief, and surely one of the best too. On Sunday it will become the fifth consecutive Comic Relief #1, and the seventh in all. With Gareth Gates doing the one hit wonder that Norman Greenbaum wrote for himself, it also, quite bizarrely, becomes the second Gareth and Norman combination to score a Comic Relief number one, twelve years after (Gareth) Hale and (Norman) Pace did it.

I’ve always believed that if you’re going to do a cover version, you should either stay faithful to the original as an homage or do it in a completely different way. Either is preferable to just tinkering around the edges. Thankfully, Gareth Gates & The Kumars have gone for the former option and, a mere 43 years after the ever-so-dodgy Goodness Gracious Me #4 hit for those well-known Asians, Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren, we at last have the first Asian-sounding number one single. Let’s rephrase that though – we’ve had British Asian people at number one before, so it’s perfectly correct to say that White Town, Babylon Zoo and Cornershop were Asian number ones, but the sitars on Spirit In The Sky give it a fantastic, bright, new sound that actually sounds Eastern. And it means Gareth gets to ‘dance’ on TV shows with six lovely young women in saris. (Dancing is actually the one stagecraft that Gareth hasn’t mastered yet, but we’ll let him off on account of his voice.)

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British Asian music is currently riding the crest of a wave in some respects (although try telling that to Asian Dub Foundation, whose sales are declining sharply, with recent singles failing to make the top 40). We’ve just had Coventry’s own Panjabi MC becoming the first all-Punjabi language single to crack the Top 40 with Mundian To Bach Ke, entering at #5. Of course I’m not about to claim that Gareth Gates doing a comedy single is the sound of the Asian underground, but it’s good to see that the success of East Is East and Bend It Like Beckham is now spilling over into another aspect of popular culture. We’ve had these cultural surges before though, with Monsoon’s ‘Ever So Lonely’ and ‘Shakti (The Meaning Of Within)’ hits in 1982, with My Beautiful Laundrette in 1985, even arguably going back to George Harrison’s dabblings with sitars and Eastern mysticism in the late 60s and early 70s. Let’s hope it continues this time. Many people don’t realise that Asian pop, bhangra and rap sells by the bucketload week in, week out, but because it’s not on major labels and sold through specialist, non chart return shops, it had no impact on the charts. Panjabi MC is the first artist making conspicuously Asian flavoured music to be signed by a major label.

Moving on then, here’s a little history of ‘Spirit In The Sky’ itself, which is about to become only the third song to reach number one in three different versions. Only ‘Unchained Melody’ has been number one four times. Spot the connection there? Gareth’s done them both! Norman Greenbaum used to call himself Doctor Norman Greenbaum and the second chart-topping version was by Doctor And The Medics. Gareth, however, has never been a doctor as far as Chig knows.

The funny thing is, no one else has ever had a hit with it, so it has never failed to reach number one when becoming a hit single. So, if you want a number one, record ‘Spirit In The Sky’! Whoever decided that a song about the joy of dying should be recorded this year by a very young artist to raise money to save the lives of people in the world’s poorest countries, is surely a warped genius?

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The three versions:

American songwriter Norman Greenbaum’s only UK hit was the 285th #1 single in the UK. It entered the chart at #33 in w/e 28 March 1970, climbing to #15, #6, #5, #2 and eventually #1 for two weeks from w/e 02 May 70. Norman is one of pop history’s most spectacular one hit wonders, never troubling the charts again, not even as a re-release. And yes, as his name and the religious content of the song imply, he was Jewish. Incidentally, his number 1 was sandwiched between Dana’s Eurovision winner ‘All Kinds Of Everything’ and the England World Cup Squad’s ‘Back Home’.

Sixteen years later, Doctor & The Medics claimed the 571st #1 on their fifth week in the charts, w/e 7 Jun 1986. The very tall Clive Jackson and chums were #1 for three weeks, mercifully deposing Spitting Image’s ‘The Chicken Song’ and eventually succumbing to Wham!’s ‘The Edge Of Heaven’. ‘Spirit In The Sky’ thus became the first song to hit number one in the 70s and again in the 80s. It was also the first song to be #1 for two acts with their debut hit.

On Sunday 16 March 2003 ‘Gareth Gates with special guests The Kumars’ (to give them their exact billing) will become the mildly historically significant 950th UK number one single. It’s Gareth’s fifth single and his fourth #1 (including the duet with Will). It puts him back on track after single #4, ‘What My Heart Wants To Say’ could ‘only’ make #5, to widespread record company consternation after his album didn’t make #1 either, although it’s weak and feeble, which may have had something to do with it. (Mind you, it’s been climbing the top 40 again for the last fortnight, since hitting the bargain bins; a massive nine places last Sunday). All this within 12 months too, as it’s exactly 51 weeks since Gareth’s debut deposed Will’s debut at the top of the charts. As mentioned, I make it the tenth Comic Relief Single. See below for more on the others.

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A brief history of Comic Relief singles

Entry date w/e - Entry pos - Title – Artist(s) - Peak - (wks @#1) - WOC

22 Mar 86 - #4 - Living Doll – Cliff Richard & The Young Ones featuring Hank B. Marvin - #1 (in 2nd wk) - (3) - 11wks
05 Dec 87 - #39 - Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree - Mel & Kim - #3 (in 4th wk) - 7wks
25 Feb 89 - #12 - Help! – Bananarama / La Na Nee Nee Noo Noo - #3 (in 3rd wk) - 9wks
09 Mar 91 - #10 - The Stonk – Hale and Pace and the Stonkers - #1 (in 3rd wk) - (1) - 7wks
04 Apr 92 - ?? - (I Want To Be) Elected - Mr Bean & Smear Campaign featuring Bruce Dickinson - #9 - 5wks
27 Feb 93 - ?? - Stick It Out – Right Said Fred and Friends - #4 - 7wks
18 Mar 95 - ?? - Love Can Build A Bridge – Cher, Chrissie Hynde and Neneh Cherry with Eric Clapton - #1 (in 2nd wk) - (1) - 8wks
15 Mar 97 - #1 - Mama/Who Do You Think You Are? – Spice Girls - #1 - (3) - 15wks
13 Mar 99 - #1 - When The Going Gets Tough – boyzone - #1 - (2) - 14wks
17 Mar 01 - #1 - Uptown Girl – Westlife - #1 (1)
22 Mar 03 - #1? - Spirit In The Sky – Gareth Gates with special guests The Kumars - #1?

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Relief from comic

And while we're on the subject, hearty congratulations to the BBC for realising it has a massive, charity money-making hit on its hands with the Comic Relief Lame Academy, and having the guts to fiddle around with the schedules at the last minute to fit in more of it at primetime. Chig applauds Auntie for ditching Changing Rooms last night to make a one hour special, and for shunting whatever it was that made way for tonight's extra 30 mins as well. Now, let's make it all worthwhile. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease vote for Will Mellor to win tonight. He can't be in Casualty for ever (unlike most NHS patients. Ha, ha! Comedy, see?!) And besides, that nice Lord Lloyd-Webber (cough, splutter) practically promised Will a career in musical theatre on last night's programme. Ruby Wax may well be the fourth funniest woman in the world (after Dawn French, Victoria Wood and Lynette Burrows - oh sorry, I was confusing the word 'funny' with the word 'laughable' for that last one), but let's face it, she's only made the final because she's so gloriously terrible. Vote for Will to win and he can be the new Michael Ball, because we've had enough of the old one. Or the new Claire Sweeney. 'Soap star's career rejuvenated by reality TV show.' Yep, it has a familiar ring to it.
Call 09011 154 003 or txt Will to 82200. (Imagine there's some legal gubbins here telling you how much it costs.)

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Shameless plug

I do a lot of work for charidee mate, but I don't like to talk about it...
Just when you thought that lapping up every second of Will Mellor's gorgeous chest, eyes, stubble, trackie bottoms Celebrity Shame Academy was your sole contribution to Comic Relief, now comes another challenge. All you have to do is visit Mike and leave a comment in his comments box. You'll see it has rather a lot of comments already (89 as I write this, at 22.05 on Thursday). See comment #38 for an explanation, but basically if Mike gets over 234 comments by the end of Red Nose/Big Hair Day, whatever they're calling it, all the 'ickle babies in Africa will be saved. Or something like that. It's your duty. Go. There. Now.

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Lordy, is it Thursday already? It's about time I got around to this then:

Chig's Choon

Spirit In The Sky - Gareth Gates & The Kumars

Oh come on, what did you expect? Placebo? Well, yes actually Placebo would be Chig's single of the week, it's just that not choosing Gareth's Comic Relief effort would be akin to killing small babies who are living in poverty, and we can depend on Bush and Blair to do that.

I've written loads more about Spirit In The Sky, and done a full rundown of the chart success of Comic Relief singles. Problem is, the disc I brought into work with it on doesn't want to reveal its contents on my work PC. Grrr. So it will have to wait until I get home later. Also coming up tomorrow in the World Of Chig Red Nose Day Special (raising no money whatsoever for charity), Chig will be telling an amusing anecdote from his student days which is tenuously related to Gareth's single, and deserves a public airing. You will laugh! Until tomorrow....

In the meantime, if you or your friends or colleagues are doing anything ridiculous and/or hair-related for Comic Relief tomorrow, do tell us about it in the comments box, as it looks like we're doing absolutely nothing here in the office.

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Portents of War

Was it just me who felt a terrible shudder of deja vu yesterday, with the assassination of the President of Serbia & Montenegro? Just as we're about to embark on World War 3, memories are evoked of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which basically sparked off WW1. Not that I actually remember 1914, I'd like to make clear. Must check my Nostradamus books to see if he had anything to say about all this...

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Lotto loser

I hardly ever forget to buy my monthly lottery ticket, but last week, being in London and with Saturday only being the first of the month, I forgot. No matter, my numbers didn't come up. One pound saved! And I had all week to get one for for the remaining four Saturdays in March. Tonight, it was only as Eamonn's balls were spinning that I realised I'd forgotten again, so I watched the draw, willing my numbers not to come up. Imagine my horror when two of the first three balls were from my six, and then another one too. Thankfully, no more than that, but I am now officially nine quid down. Boo hoo. That'll teach me.

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Budgie squawks

(Slightly tasteless, I admit, but I couldn’t resist.)

For some reason, ever since we did the 50 Number Ones Project at the end of last year, I’ve felt a duty to report the deaths of number one hitmakers. So, sadly here’s another one, with the man born as Terence Nelhams dying at 2am today, after appearing last night in a play in Stoke-on-Trent. He was born in Acton, which now gets its second mention of the week on this here blog! I last saw Adam Faith on TV on New Year’s Day, when he performed on BBC One’s ‘It’s The Number Ones Party’. It was a performance that reminded me of someone’s Dad doing ill-advised karaoke at a wedding reception; so painfully out of tune that I was moved to text the word ‘Ouch!’ to Mike. (Yes Mike, that’s what it was about – I never did explain, did I?) He had spoken to Orange Winton beforehand about how ‘What Do You Want?’, the first of his two chart-toppers, was the shortest number one, clocking in at under two minutes, and when he sang it again, I was glad. But it would be terrible if that were his epitaph. He should be remembered for being a pop singer in the pre-rock'n'roll era of the crooners, for two number ones, for eleven top ten hits in all, for his smouldering teen idol good looks and a successful acting career. Along the way he somehow became a financial adviser, but then became a backer of The Money Channel; a TV venture which ironically went bust, leaving him reportedly millions of pounds in debt. The title of his other number one? ‘Poor Me’.

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Germany goes gay

[21.40 at B&K's house] It won! Germany's song for Eurovision is the aforementioned 'Let's Get Happy'. The house has erupted - it won our vote (7 gay men) by a mile, and Bryan is now playing the remixes AT GREAT VOLUME. Yes, he bought the single two weeks ago on a weekend trip to Hamburg, so he's feeling very pleased with himself! He even printed out a lyric sheet (just the one song) which is now being used by some tuneless people in the lounge!

The funniest thing about tonight's programme, which has just finished, was seeing Markus, a lovely German guy who I've met at three previous Eurovision weeks, in the audiende in Kiel, at the front of Lou's supporters every time they were on screen! Go Markus, go!

Germany - possibly the new favourites, overtaking Spain. Must go now, we're watching the Croatian voting - day one of three....

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Let's Get Happy!

Another weekend of Eurovision qualifiers beckons. Two friends are in Germany right now for tonight's Countdown Grand Prix in Kiel. The rest of us are making do with watching it live on TV at B&K's, but it's always one of the highlights of the Eurovision season. One of the songs, 'Let's Get Happy' bu Lou, is just the campest, gayest thing you've ever heard. Bryan is cheerleading for it, but I'm not so sure. It does have a fantastic animated video (on the right) AND include the line 'let's get happy and let's be gay' and I do remember the tune after hearing it only once three weeks ago, but it's possibly just toooo camp. Germany tried the Big Old Gay Disco Anthem last year, and fell spectacularly from grace, so it will be interesting to see if the televoters dare go there again. All the songs are here.

Also this weekend, Ireland decides, Turkey reveals, France reveals, and Croatia revels - in three nights of songs on TV before choosing on Sunday. And to think we get 40 minutes for ours...

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Snaps for Europe

One of these people is in a pop group. She is holding the other one up.

The spirit of Buck's Fizz has highly influenced Jemini's choice of colours.

Chig's request to join Jemini was turned down. Too many 'earth' tones, apparently.

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Happy snapper

It's not every day that Chig's phone is being rung by the managers of Atomic Kitten, offering to buy photos off me, but that's what happened yesterday. You see, they're also the managers of our newly-crowned Euro-hopefuls, Tricity Jemini, so I had the pleasure of meeting one manager and one Kitten on Sunday. The manager particularly liked some of the photos I took of Jemma and Chris, and, perhaps surprisingly, they have no publicity shots done yet. So tonight Chig's snaps have been winging their way electronically to Merseyside. Possibly appearing in a copy of Smash Hits and Sneak magazines near you very soon. Hurrah!

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Chig's Choon

I Begin To Wonder - Dannii Minogue
Just like last week, Chig's gone all dancey for the single of the week. (It's Saturday night - hasn't worn off yet.) This one's fabulous, and if she's not careful she'll be as successful as her sister. Dannii has also, if you believe the goss, beaten Madonna to the finishing post with a whole album of splendid electronic disco. Whatever, this'll do for starters. Discotastic!
Chig's pointless chart prediction Interesting. I was going to say #5, but this was actually the biggest-selling single in Brum yesterday. Watch your backs, Eminem, Christina, Nelly, Justin et al...

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Chig's Choon

'Move Your Feet' - Junior Senior
The funkiest, happiest dance tune of the moment, and Jo Whiley seems to love it too.
Pointless prediction: #7
Runner-up: 'Eple' - Ro:yksopp

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A Song For Europe - goalposts moved AGAIN
Forget my previous prediction. United Colours Of Sound have been replaced by some bloke called Simon Chapman, who is presumably learning the song REALLY QUICKLY for Sunday's TV show. This song is now on its second title and THIRD artist since this whole shebang started, so the winner now is anybody's guess. I still have a soft spot for Help Me, but in truth I couldn't really give a monkey's which song wins this year. I get the distinct impression most people feel the same. No one seems to have a strong preference for any particular song. There is no groundswell of support for any of the four. That will presumably mean that it will all boil down to the best performance on Sunday. Keep 'em peeled for the dancing Chig! (BBC One, Sunday, 16.35)

LATE NEWS! Anyone going to G-A-Y in London tonight (Saturday) should also keep a lookout for the dancing (and drunken) Chig. I'll be there, as well as those Appleton sisters, but not neccessarily together.

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Missing Wives
It's a long shot, but you don't have this week's (final) episode of Footballers' Wives on video, do you? I fell asleep and missed it, after watching the whole series up to now. I will recompense anyone who can send me a copy on video. If that also included the Red Hot Chili Peppers' TOTP2 special, which I missed for the same reason on Wednesday, I'd be doubly grateful!

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