Now look, I pride myself on being so shallow that I am completely au fait with trivial celebrity gossip and non-happenings. I mean, I subscribe to heat magazine, fer gawd's sake. But I have to confess, I have no idea who this Catalina bird is, who ITV have just thrust into the Australian outback in the hope that she'll shag John Fashanu and/or Phil Tufnell at some point in the next fortnight. Is it a heterosexual thing? I mean, I'm well aware who Catalina Videoare...
EXCLUSIVE Eurovision news!
First they were Tricity, then Jemini, and then, it was reported in the Daily Star, they were threatened with legal action by an American act called Jemini. (There has already been a US R'n'B act who had minor success under that name in the late 90s, but it's unclear if it was them.) The Star invited readers (can they be called readers when they're just looking at the pictures?) to choose their preferred option from three: Sunrize, Jemani (note subtle difference) and Sapphire. The latter was actually the name of one of the UK's Song For Europe acts in 1998, so that was probably a non-starter anyway. I've just had confirmation from "sources very close to the UK's entry" that Chris and Gemma will now be performing in Riga under the name of....JEMINI. Yes, after all that, we're back there. Not Jemani, not anything else, just Jemini. You heard it here first.
[15:00] Ooh, this should be interesting. Not only is Steve Wright currently playing King's 'Love And Pride' (unheard by me on the radio for years and years), but he's about to have Charles and Diana Ingram on! I expect them to talk about how they have been the victims of a terrible miscarriage of justice. Then they may discuss other related topics; why the Earth is flat, how Saddam Hussein is a really nice guy and how Madonna's new album is well worth buying.
UPDATE: Couldn't hear the radio properly in the office, except for him saying there was no plan to defraud and her saying that her friends have been shocked at the way she's been portrayed in the papers. Why don't they just come clean?
Loneliness - Tomcraft Okay, so it's the not-so-distant cousin of Zombie Nation's 'Kernkraft 400', but what a stormer of a choooooooon. This had me cranking up the car stereo when I first heard Pete Tong play it about a month ago. A cracker and no mistake, from the German DJ with a barcode tattooed on his head (when he was 18 years old and bladdered). But why isn't it called 'Happiness'? Perhaps they thought people would assume it was a Ken Dodd cover.
Pointless chart prediction: #5
UPDATE - WED: Oooh, it looks likely to go top 3 - superb! Look out Craig David and Sting! And people, stop buying the Ronan single - it's dreary. Just because he looks absolutely bloody gorgeous on the cover - those eyes! (lenses, surely?) - it's no excuse.
Bee-ow-tee-ful Brummagem at night loike!
Tonight's the night! Birmingham will stake its claim tonight to be European Capital of Culture in 2008 in tonight's BBC One programme. (How inevitable was it that UB40 would be featured on the Brum page?!) I've voted already. I even have the badge! Fingers crossed. It will be interesting to see if the government takes any notice whatsoever of the BBC vote. I have a feeling that winning the poll could actually blight the winning city's chances, but I don't expect Brum to win the vote anyway, so it may benefit us in the end. My money's on Liverpool to get the final nod. Clearly Jemani (this year's Scouse Eurovision entrant for the UK) are at the forefront of Liverpool culture.
This is the sculpture that is now "damaged beyond repair", thanks to teenage boys playing with matches this morning. Birmingham, City of Culture? City of arsonists, more like.
During Maybe I'll cycle up there this weekend to take the 'After' picture. Melted fibreglass as art, anybody?
Three-way chart battle between Robbie, Madge and Blur? Who cares? We're going with this...
Train - Goldfrapp
Long after everyone's forgotten about electroclash, could this be the most electroclashy successful single yet?
Pointless prediction: #15.
Actual chart entry position: ?
Too much of an eye for detail?
Maybe it's because I've photographed him, or maybe I'm just tragically obsessed, but last night, watching the Salon on C4, I recognised one of their customers by their tattoo. He was having a facial on the massage table, and they didn't show his face properly at all. They didn't mention his name, or say where he was from, or anything at all about him. And yet, I am 99% sure it was Rob Conn, the current Mr Gay UK. That tattoo is quite distinctive:
So, where's that review of the Eurovision songs that Chig promised? Apologies - I had trouble finding an MP3 of Belgium, so only heard it on Monday. That night though, myself and twelve other poufs dedicated Eurovision fans watched the preview videos 'live' on Turkish TV, so I'm adjusting the reviews slightly to take those into account, and will reveal all in a few days. In the meantime though, I've made a list this evening of my 26 songs in rough order of preference. See below.
The official website is now a positive galaxy of useful stuff. Every song available as MP3 downloads, all videos available for download, photos of every artist and the lyric to every song. Go to Participants and pick your country from there.
The website also reveals in passing that there's a nightclub in Riga called the Pupu Lounge. Lovely.
Chig's list so far... Love 'em!: Latvia (Loved it the moment I heard it, and 25 more songs later, it's still my favourite - and then I saw the video. Swoon!)
Very good: Spain
Romania (Moving up after seeing the fantastic video - a self-fulfilling
prophecy if it wins?)
B&H (Rocketed up the list after seeing the homoerotic video. Oddly enough,
it won the combined vote of 13 poufs on Monday night too.)
France (Sliding down my list slightly.)
Good: Germany (Cute video)
Slovenia (Slumped after hearing how crap the English lyric is - should have
been left in Slovenian.)
Poland (Thought this was awful at first, now being sucked in by it and the
new romantic video!)
Not so good: Cyprus (but better than it was)
UK (It hurts me to say it.)
Appalling: Austria (Saved from bottom place by at least being original.)
Israel (No redeeming qualities whatsoever)
It's Tricky 2003 - Run DMC feat Jacknife Lee Pointless prediction: #10
Actual chart entry position: ?
UPDATE: Looks like the old skool revival revival hasn't taken off this time, as this flounders in the midweek chart at around #21=25.
Also in The Sun today....t.A.T.u, as Eurovision gets an early mention. (It was mentioned on (cd):uk on Saturday too, over a preview of the 'Not Gonna Get Us' video. 'We'll be bored of them by 24 May.) It says they have been warned not to snog or do anything on stage in Riga which brings the contest into disrepute. The Sun's columnist has evidently been reading my comments boxes.
Compare and contrast...
...if you have the UK tabloids handy (or are likely to see them in a shop). Take a look at The Mirror's front page and The Sun's back page. Two pictures of Wayne Rooney, both seemingly identical, taken at the same millisecond, from the same angle. And yet, credited to different photographers. Very strange.
Pop quiz and geography test
As promised, a challenge, brought to you in celebration of Chig's Choon this week, El Salvador by Athlete.
This hit joins a very small number of UK chart hits whose title is the name of a country, no more, no less. I've come up with eleven (and one of those is a bit cheeky!) Can you add to the list? My list is in the comments, so you can test your brains first without reading my suggestions, if you like.
But first, the ones that nearly made it, but not quite:
Greece: Grease - Frankie Valli
Oman: Oooh, so close, with 'wOMAN’ by John Lennon.
Turkey: No hit of that name, but we’ve had ‘The Chicken Song’. Ha, ha.
...and now, a completely unrelated pop trivia question: What do the following three singles have in common with each other, and no others?
It's OK - Atomic Kitten
Make Luv - Room 5 feat. Oliver Cheatham
Without Me - Eminem
...or at least t.A.T.u's Eurovision song is! Download Ne ver', ne bojsia here. I have, but can't listen to it yet. How frustrating...
UPDATE: I've heard it now! Just to put this in context, a friend copied the t.A.T.u album for me this week, so I only heard it for the first time on Tuesday night, and instantly fell in love with it. Played it again last night and in the office today, and now love it even more.
Have just played the Eurovision entry, and it sounds perfectly in keeping with the album. It's most similar to 'Not Gonna Get Us'; the next single. Musically, it's a shot in the arm for Eurovision. I can't remember anything sounding so much like a contemporary pop entry apart from Alsou in 2000 (Russia again - they sure do have their finger on the pulse!) This is much harder edged though - will it frighten the grannies? It has an almost techno instrumental section which will allow them to get up to all sorts of shenanigans - like snogging each other. Oh I can't wait! Latvia here I come!
Of course, I do have a personal reason for being pleased about this t.A.T.u hullaballo, as they have now given legitimacy to my media accreditation for Riga. For those who don't know, I write occasionally for a certain lesbian and gay news magazine, which is my raison d'etre for being accredited, but now at last there is a legitimate story to cover. (Even if the lesbianism is just a marketing ploy, it's a very successful one.) Who knows, foreign TV crews may even be after my opinion in Eurovision week, something which hasn't happened since Dana International won in 1998.
Incidentally, the Eurovision rules have now been changed, alllowing entries to be released anywhere prior to the contest, not just in their own country. So, theoretically, there is nothing to stop t.A.T.u releasing their Eurovision entry next month instead. Can you imagine if the song they performed in Riga on 24 May was actually number one all over Europe already? Is that fair? But would it actually help them win anyway, or will all the hype prove counter-productive? We shall see...
Of all the tragic ironies....
At a time when THAT song of his has regained its currency once again, Edwin Starr has died. A great shame. His three top ten hits made #3, #6 and #9; a pattern which makes it easy to remember, if nothing else, but he never did have a UK number one, as such. And yet, in a way, he did, twice. That's because although Edwin himself remains the only person to have had a hit with War (quite surprising, for such a well-known song), it was on the back of two #1s within two years; The Jam's Beat Surrender (in a double pack) in 1982 and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Two Tribes in 1984 (and also on Frankie's #1 album).
For reasons best known to BBC Midlands, they have allowed my friend Dean a page of their website to explain why he loves Eurovision. Like it needs explaining?!? That'll be the same Dean who was with me and ten other people on Friday night watching videos of this year's Austrian and Swedish finals, wine in one hand, pens in the other, and scoresheets on our laps....
Nothing of any interest at all released this week, so I'm changing the rules. Only Avril Lavigne and Atomic Kitten are likely to be sniffing around the top ten as new entries, and I doubt if either of them will get anywhere near troubling Room 5 at the top. So, this week's Chig's Choon is one of last week's new releases:
El Salvador - Athlete Catchy as the lurgy that's going around our office, and they seem like such a nice bunch of lads too. I fell in love with Athlete at first hearing last Summer, when they very ably supported Mull Historical Society at Shepherd's Bush Empire. They have a bunch of songs which I find impossible to categorise, so we'll just stick with 'catchy' for this one. It's their third single, and appearances on T4 and RI:SE should see this go a bit higher than the other two (#37 and #41).
Pointless prediction: I'll take a wild stab at a career best position of #31.
Actual chart entry position: Well, what do you know? It's straight in at #31. Mystic Chig strikes again!
Coming later this week.... a small pop trivia challenge! Well, it's been a while since the daily pop quiz ended with the 50 Number Ones Countdown - I need to test your brains again!
Is it my imagination, or is the new Madonna single absolutely crap? I think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly. Bleepy nonsense with a crap rap, and now she makes more capital out of the 'controversial' video by announcing today that it's being withdrawn? So why release it in the first place? It's not like there wasn't a war on last week, and then there is today. We are not impressed, or fooled by your desparate publicity stunts.
Oh bugger! Radio 1 has just confirmed the news I didn't quite believe on Liquid News last night - Glastonbury has sold out. Shit, shit, shit! It never normally sells out on the first day - in previous years, we've bought tickets much nearer the event. Is it the appeal of REM that's caused it? (Or the rumoured appearance of Dolly Parton?!) Whatever, several of us now have a spare weekend in June. Damn and blast. Bristolcream and I are gutted that we forgot.
10th, 12th, 14th May
Semi-Final 1 – Tue 20 May
01 Montenegro - Zauvijek volim te – Stefan Filipović
02 Israel – The Fire In Your Eyes (Ke’ilo Kan) – Bo'az Ma'uda
03 Estonia – Leto Svet – Kreisiraadio
04 Moldova – A Century Of Love – Geta Burlacu
05 San Marino - Complice - Miodio
06 Belgium - O Julissi - Ishtar
07 Azerbaijan – Day After Day – Elnur Hüseynov & Samir Javadzadeh
08 Slovenia – Vrag Naj Vzame – Rebeka Dremelj
09 Norway – Hold On, Be Strong – Maria Haukaas Storeng
10 Poland – For Life – Isis Gee
11 Ireland – Irelande, Douze Pointe – Dustin The Turkey
12 Andorra – Casanova – Gisela
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina – Pokušaj – Laka
14 Armenia – Qele Qele – Sirusho
15 Netherlands – Your Heart Belongs To Me – Hind
16 Finland - Missä miehet ratsastaa – Teräsbetoni
17 Romania – Pe-o Margine de Lume – Nico & Vlad Mirita
18 Russia - Dima Bilan - Believe
19 Greece – Secret Combination – Kalomira
Semi-Final 2 – Thu 22 May
01 Iceland – This Is My Life – Eurobandið
02 Sweden - Hero - Charlotte Perrelli
03 Turkey – Deli – Mor ve Ötesi
04 Ukraine – Shady Lady – Ani Lorak
05 Lithuania – Nomads In The Night – Jeronimas Milius
06 Albania – Zemrën e lamë peng – Olta Boka
07 Switzerland – Era Stupendo – Paolo Meneguzzi
08 Czech Republic – Have Some Fun – Tereza Kerndlová
09 Belarus – Hasta La Vista – Ruslan Alekhno
10 Latvia – Wolves Of The Sea – Pirates Of The Sea
11 Croatia – Romanca – Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents
12 Bulgaria – DJ, Take Me Away – Deep Zone & Balthazar
13 Denmark – All Night Long – Simon Mathew
14 Georgia – Peace Will Come – Diana Gurtskaya
15 Hungary – Candlelight – Csézy
16 Malta – Vodka - Morena
17 Cyprus – Femme Fatale – Evdokia Kadi
18 FYR Macedonia – Let Me Love You – Tamara, Vrčak & Adrian
19 Portugal - Senhora do Mar (Negras Águas) - Vânia Fernandes
Final – Sat 24 May
02 United Kingdom – Even If – Andy Abraham
04 Germany – Disappear – No Angels
19 France – Divine – Sébastien Tellier
22 Spain - Baila el Chiki Chiki - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
23 Serbia - Oro - Jelena Tomašević ft. Bora Dugić
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Chig66. Make your own badge here.
Chig's Gigs & stuff 2007-2008
11/12 Steel City Tour: ABC, Heaven 17, The Human League - Wolves Civic
21/01 Sing Live! - B'ham Symphony Hall
05/02 Mika - Berkeley Square, London
13/02 Shayne Ward - Nott'm Arena
21/02 X Factor - Nott'm Arena
04/05 Scooch-Nightingale, B'ham
12/05 Hosting Eurovision night @ The Nightingale
17/05 Jason Donovan-Nott'm Royal Concert Hall
25/05 Pet Shop Boys - Wolves Civic
26/05 Liberty X - Nightingale, B'ham
27/05 Scooch & Björn Again - B'ham Pride
16/06 Muse, The Streets, Dirty Pretty Things, Rodrigo y Gabriela & Zane Lowe - Wembley Stadium
28/06 Brotherhood of Man & Buck's Fizz - Nott'm Royal Concert Hall
14/07 Sing Live! - Summer in the '60s & '70s - Royal Leamington Spa Centre
14/09 Rise - Leek Wootton Village Hall
16/09 Erasure & Onetwo - Wolves Civic
17/09 The Twang & The Priory - B'ham Carling Academy 2 (private gig - Janice Long's Radio2 show)
20/09 Turisas & Abgott - B'ham Carling Academy 2
27/09 McFly - Wolves Civic
10/11 Buck's Fizz & Futureproof (The X Factor), Nightingale, B'ham
17/11 Vengaboys & Andy Williams (The X Factor) - Nightingale, B'ham
01/12 The Human League plays Dare! - Hammersmith Apollo
10/03 Gary Numan Replicas Tour & Daggers - Wolves Wulfrun
15/03 David Gray - Symphony Hall, Brum 18/03 Russell Howard, Alexandra, Brum
20+22+24/05 Eurovision Song Contest, Beograd, Srbija
10/06 Eurobeat-Almost Eurovision, B'ham Hippodrome
12/06 Yazoo - Wolves Civic
14/06-16/06 Bingham Cup, DCU, Dublin
24/06 Westlife & Hope - Nottingham Arena
07/07 Duran Duran & The Duke Spirit - NIA, B'ham
01/08 kd lang - Symphony Hall, B'ham
Who is Chig? Contact me: chig at cmdh dot freeserve dot co dot uk
Chig is Nicki French's official stalker...but she doesn't seem to mind.
Chig's life can sometimes be a right pain in the balls...
Dogtown, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, Robin Hood, The X Factor, Spooks, Extras, Mock The Week, Popworld, Ideal, Deal Or No Deal, Eggheads, Hollyoaks, Never Mind The Full Stops, Doctor Who series 2 repeats on BBC3, The Bill, Match Of The Day, Ant'n'Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
Chig has failed at two attempts to watch the whole series of Invasion, so if you have it on DVD...
Chig still fancies Jesse Metcalfe...
...and Brandon Flowers, Roman Sebrle, Jonas Armstrong, Matthew Fox, Stefan Booth, Stuart Manning, Gary Lucy...
Chig is directly descended from the following families. If you have one of these surnames, we're possibly related, so feel free to get in touch:
Crowe, Harborne/Harbourne, Higgins, Hutchins, O'Sullivan/Sullivan, Talliss/Tallis.
Above: My Gran with her Gran. Snitterfield, Warwickshire, c.1930.