World of Chig   


I'm off to a meal and house party in Moseley, to see out the end of the 21st century's first quinquennium. (It's amazing what words you can learn from watching the final of Hard Spell just now, isn't it?)

Happy New Year to all of you. How are you celebrating?

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Oh deer, oh deer.

So there I was on Boxing Day, at the annual Kenilworth Lions duck race in the shadow of Kenilworth Castle (what's left of it). To amuse my cousin's little boy, I greeted him wearing the atractive reindeer nose and antlers that you see below. The nose flashes, by the way. (The ensemble was bought for my sister by her boyfriend, just in case you think I would own such things). Child duly amused, I kept them on for a bit, because I realised they were making people smile or laugh on a cold Winter's day. Adults were pointing me out to their children, my own family were disowning me and walking several paces behind, and at one point I actually heard a child ask someone nearby, "Is that really Rudolph?". Aaah, bless.

Anyway, it was just a bit of fun, and I put the photo below just so that the half a dozen people who read this blog would be entertained. I did not expect to hear from my cousin last night that a similar picture of Chig is now featured in yesterday's edition of their local paper, the Kenilworth Weekly News! Oh deer indeed!

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Oh deer!

Chigmas Day photo

02.55 Just got in from a fun Christmas Eve at the Nightingale. That's the enjoyable part of Christmas over and done with then. This was taken in the early hours of Christmas Day. Season's greetings to all. I'll be back on Boxing Day.

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Let's call the whole thing off

Look, I just can't do this. Is it too late to cancel Christmas? The problem is, it's too damn warm! I can't do Christmas in the mild. It's not even cold in Scotland, fer cryin' out loud. I'm dreaming of a Spring-like, quite warm, not even cold enough to see your breath Christmas? I don't think so.

They promised us the coldest Winter in fifty years. I know we're only three days into Winter itself, but when exactly is this cold spell coming? I want snow and I want it now!

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Christmas fairies*

Special thanks to Wayne, Paul and Nathan who posed with those attractive hats on for Chig's Christmas photo this year. You can now see it on the left hand side. We lured them into Santa's grotto (backstage at the Nightingale) a couple of weeks ago for a special photo session. (This is one of the few pictures that can be seen in public. It's so much more fun than sending cards, which I stopped doing three years ago because I am a Christmas Scrooge, as I explained in Diamond Geezer's comments box yesterday.

*Actually, two of them definitely are and one isn't, but I'll leave you to work it out.

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The Northern lad wins, the black guy comes second and the blond(e) act finishes third.

There you go. Whether you were watching The X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, the result was the same.

It's now 01:45. I've been to a houseparty tonight. Our hosts, B & K, knew that I was coming after The X Factor result. Let me rephrase that. I was leaving the house after The X Factor. B is from Yorkshire, so I thought I'd mention Darren Gough's win when I got there. When I arrived, they both opened the door. "Who won?", said B. Knowing damn well that he meant The X Factor, I said, "Darren Gough", purely for comedy value and to give the unexpected response. K moaned, "Oh no!" loudly and they both looked horrified. Guess who was taping Strictly Come Dancing, to watch it tomorrow? I ruined K's birthday party. Oh dear.

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If only...

Chig wishes that yesterday's Daily Star headline were true and not just a desperately pathetic reference to Shayne singing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in tonight's X Factor final.

"EXCLUSIVE! Hunk Shayne Ward is hiding an amazing gay secret as he bids to win the X Factor final."

And the gay secret is? I am gagging to know. Oh, they've already told us. He's singing that song from The Wizard Of Oz. This will apparently elicit a Pavlovian response from The Gays, who will vote for Shayne in a dizzy pink trance after hearing that song. Not only that, but he's also going to do 'When A Child Is Born', which was once sung by Johnny Mathis (even though he didn't write it), who is also,,,get this...A GAY! Then, in a phenomenal piece of barrel-scraping, the Star says his third song is by Daniel Bedingfield, and I quote, "who also has a mass of male fans". I suspect that all of Daniel Bedingfield's male fans are god-botherers and not friends of Dorothy (a term which the Star helpfully explains to its readers.)

Just to clarify, I really want Shayne to win tonight. My bet on Journey South is just my insurance policy, so that I'm happy with the result either way, although I still think they will win too. Think of my nine pounds profit if the brothers Pemberton triumph.

Won't it be funny if Andy wins instead?

PS. X Factor fans may like to know that the fabulous Brenda has already been secured by The Nightingale in Birmingham for 7th January, with Rowetta the week after. That's two amazing pairs of lungs in eight days. Fab!

21:18 UPDATE There's a shock already! Andy's through to the final two with Shayne, and Journey South are out. One of my four bets is out the window and suddenly there's doubt in my mind. Andy can win this; most of Journey South's support will probably transfer to him rather than Shayne. At least Simon Cowell's not going to win for the second year, but Sharon's or Louis' act instead. Kate Thornton says that there's 0.25% between the votes for Andy and Shayne. Ooh, the tension! (I do wish she'd stop saying rubbish like "over six million of you have voted" though. Clearly bollocks. It's a much smaller number of people, some of whom have voted hundreds of times. She's misleading people.

22:01 UPDATE Yes! Well done Shayne! Only 1.2% in it, or so we're told. I will definitely be cashing in on my fourth bet, because in eight days' time, Shayne Ward's single, That's My Goal, will be deposing Nizlopi from the top of the charts and becoming the Christmas Day Number One. (In your shops on Wednesday.) Both contestants gave a strong performance of the song, which couldn't have been written to be more appropriate if they'd tried. It was lyrically apt for tonight's final, but it will also be bought by thousands of people for their other half for Christmas. It's a sentimental power ballad, but hey, it's not Mr Blobby or Bob The Builder, and for that we should be grateful...

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Honestly, such a fuss! All I did on Saturday night was go down to see some friends in Hertfordshire, where we had a small fireworks party. So, one of two of the bangers went astray - so what? It's not like anyone got hurt or anything...

But seriously...

There have been some amazing photos of the Buncefield fuel depot fire. The front pages of yesterday's and today's newspapers showed the awesome scale of the fire and the smoke plume, including pictures taken from aircraft and from space. But there's another side to the story. The individual, personal side. The view from the ground. And that's why I think this photo is absolutely brilliant. Bravo!

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Brenda's out! I felt sure Brenda would end up third in The X Factor and Andy would be out tonight, but she's gone instead. I think she blew it with her perceptible lack of enthusiasm tonight; the performances were great, but she seemed really downbeat when she spoke. Andy probably grabbed the necessary extra votes with that shameless display of affection towards his children. People like a bit of sentimental syrup on a Saturday night.

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We're In The Money...

Two bets out of two won so far. Westlife bring in the dosh again. They've won Record Of The Year for the fourth time! That's a £4.50 profit on a £2.00 bet at 9-4, slightly better than the 50p that Carol Thatcher made me.

The winning song, You Raise Me Up, although it has been covered by loads of artists, (including Brian Kennedy, who will sing for Ireland at next year's Eurovision and several people in the X Factor auditions), was written by Secret Garden, who won Eurovision themselves for Norway in 1995. They won it in Dublin. And where are Westlife from? What goes around comes around...

Next bet - The X Factor final next Saturday. I wish I'd done some doubles now.

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Drama at the Clotheshow earlier today

So far, so good. I placed four bets yesterday. (Oh, the joy of a Paddy Power account, opened for Eurovision purposes last year.) One down, three to go. Here they are, so you can track my progress and laugh be amazed at Chig's predictive powers.

Carol Thatcher to win I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! £3.00 at 1-6
CORRECT (and well deserved). The absurdly low odds of 1-6 mean a life-changing 50p profit!

Westlife’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ to win Record of the Year (Sat 10 Dec.) £2.00 at 9-4.
Serious competition seems most likely to come from the Sugababes or McFly, but if Westlife could win this meaningless award last year, with the really weak 'Mandy', they can win it with this, one of their most successful singles ever. And Irish boybands have won it more years than not.

Journey South to win The X Factor (Sat 17 Dec.) £3.00 at 3-1.
Yes, of course I want gorgeous, sexy, talented Shayne to win, but methinks he will 'do a Gareth' and come second to these two, who have supposedly been winning the televote most weeks already, with Shayne only winning once, quite early on. It won't matter a jot to Shayne, who will be the star of 2006 anyway. (Think Steve Brookstein, in obscurity with no record deal, versus G4, on a second album and all over the telly at the moment. Winning don't matter.)

X Factor winner (regardless of who wins) to have the Christmas Number One single. (Sun 25 Dec.) £3.00 at 8-15.
The Christmas Number One is going to be very exciting this year, as it'll be revealed on Christmas Day. (Pity the poor sods who'll be processing the data, as well as everyone in a record shop on Christmas Eve.) Not only that, but one single will go into the lead from Monday 19th, and then, only on Thursday 22nd, will the X Factor winner's single be unleashed, giving it just three days to overtake (probably) Westlife & Diana Ross (or The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, if there's an outbreak of nostalgic good taste). I can barely contain myself. If Shayne wins, I expect the single will be better than Journey South's, but will it matter? Will it heck. It's Christmas - the public will buy any old shite related to reality TV programmes, as long as it's within a week of the programme being on. Let's just be thankful that no other contestants are allowed to release their singles first, so we won't be having a Chico Christmas. A Cheeky Christmas was bad enough. (Sorry, I cannot lie. I secretly quite liked the Cheeky Girls. They once let me touch their bums. So there.)

So, do you think Chig's going to be in the money?
Who do you think will win these last three?

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I've said it before (two months and one day ago, to be precise) but, now that it's happened, I'll say it again. As of today, for the first time in my life, there is a leader of a major UK political party who is younger than me. Crikey.

I wonder how long it will be before there's a younger party leader who actually stands a chance of getting my vote?

"That's it darling, keep your head at that angle and it'll look like you're wearing a lovely little sailor hat. Now, look at my rabbit. LOOK AT MY RABBIT! YOU WILL OBEY! I AM THE LEADER!"

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Vote Thatcher!

There's a phrase I never thought I'd be saying, but now we can do it with a clear conscience. I hope Carol Thatcher wins I'm A Celebrity tonight, but even if she doesn't, there will be a deserving winner, as all of the last four have made great efforts on behalf of the team, been on journeys of self-discovery and been entertaining, so I won't be too bothered if Sid or Sheree win. The poll on This Morning today indicates that C. Thatch is running away with it though, on 62%. I think this has been the best series of I'm A Celebrity so far, and it proves that it doesn't matter how famous the celebs are, it depends how they gel with each other. Some TV execs think that you need a spanner in the works (like John Lydon in a previous run), but this series has succeeded because they've all been likeable people who have worked together. Even David Dickinson, whose naked ambition was rather obvious at times, was quite genial most of the time. Watching a bunch of people who get on with each other and who are able to have conversations that don't turn into fights is much more entertaining than people who are there just to cause controversy. Big Brother producers, please take note, and perhaps make next year's series a bit more like the first?

PS. Which of this year's I'm A Celebrity contestants used to be on Chig's bedroom wall on a 3ft x 2ft poster?

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Pop Quiz

Right then, pop kids, who is this former hitmaker? She turned up unannounced in the early hours of this morning at an event which I dragged myself out of my sick bed to see. It was rather a pleasant surprise! Answers in the comments box please.

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I heard two quotes on live TV yesterday which seemed strangely similar. At lunchtime, Calum Best read out a poem at his father George's funeral, which started with these words;

"You can shed tears that he has gone, or you can smile because he has lived."

Later, when Chico at last received his marching orders from The X Factor, he said this;

"Some people cry because things come to an end, I rejoice because they happened."

I find it unlikely that Chico prepared for his extraordinary performances last night by watching George Best's funeral, but that's a bit spooky.

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This weekend's mystery

Why have the date and time options disappeared when creating posts in Blogger? Is it just me?

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By popular request

Over at Swiss Toni's Place, he's having a little competition. He asked people to send in handwriting samples of a song lyric, so I did. See if you can guess which one is Chig's, and which belong to the other seventeen people. The deadline's tonight, unfortunately, but my bed-ridden state hasn't leant itself to much web-surfing, so I didn't realise the competition was up and running until today. Anyway, if you need some 'assistance' (cough, splutter), Swiss Toni has 'helpfully' brought in someone to do a bit of handwriting analysis on each sample. So, all you have to do to spot mine is read the analyses until you find the one that describes me best. Easy.

Good luck.

[Chig rolls around floor laughing uncontrollably. Then blows nose again.]

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Hurrah! We've got Take That tickets! We've got Take That tickets!

Mike and I have been trying since before 9am for NEC tickets, on the phone and on two websites. We watched as the two advertised dates quickly sold out. Then they added another one, and Mike got through on t'internet. Thanks Mike. So if you're seeing Take That at the NEC Arena on Wednesday 26 April, we'll see you there.

And now, back to my sickbed. I have 'flu. Not manflu (ie. just a bad cold, exaggerated for work purposes), but real, achy, snotty, exhausting, coughing, no appetite, no energy 'flu. I've spent the last 48 hours in bed. It's horrible.

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