World of Chig   


...Es kommt zu Hause,
Es kommt.
Fußball kommt zu Hause

Wow! What a start! The usual surreal opening ceremony, with - of course - men dancing in lederhosen! A superb opening game, with six goals and a bit of unpredictability before Germany eventually beat Costa Rica 4-2. A first goal from Germany's Philip Lahm that will be in contention for goal of the tournament. Eight goals in the first two matches. A shock result in the second game, as Ecuador beat Poland 2-0, giving Ecuador their biggest ever World Cup win. My sweepstake money on Poland already going down the drain.

Deutschland, es ist gut!

The real World Cup fun starts tomorrow... and we can't go to the Fan Park to watch the giant screen, because it's sold out! Damn. It's the pub then...

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Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

So, the big day has arrived at last! Forty years of hurt, about to be resolved, in exactly one month’s time. Yeah, right. Let’s not forget that England are only tenth in the FIFA world rankings. (But let’s not also forget that unfancied minnows Greece won Euro 2004, so anything is possible.)

One of my friends once described Eurovision as ‘like the World Cup for poufs’, and he has a point. (Except there’s possibly even more flag-waving at Eurovision these days than at any football match. It certainly felt that way this year when my view of the qualifier, in the hall, was frequently obscured by a huge Swiss flag, and Switzerland weren’t even in the qualifier, but I digress.) I am delighted, however, to be one of those people who get very excited about both events. The World Cup is here today and we’ve been told we can have the TV on in the office whenever there’s a match on, so all is right with the world. (It’s a shame the reception in the office is rubbish, but still.) Given that our German parent company is one of the major sponsors of the event, and there has been a second-by-second countdown on our intranet front page for over six months, and we have all picked online fantasy football teams to compete with our colleagues across Europe, it would have been indefensible if we had been barred from watching. (I noticed earlier this week, and pointed out to a few colleagues, that the countdown to kick-off was going to end an hour too late! It was counting down to 18:00 BST today, not 17:00 when Germany and Costa Rica really do get things going. I think our web people forgot to account for the change from GMT to BST back in March. Today, the countdown was mysteriously corrected, with an hour disappearing quite suddenly, with just a day and an hour or two to go!)

We’ve had a sweepstake in the office and I’ve drawn two Eastern European nations. I’m particularly pleased to have drawn Croatia, after supporting their Eurovision song wholeheartedly this year as my absolute favourite (and my Dad’s too on the night, as it turned out, with no prompting from me). It’s funny, but when I went shopping in Brum the day before flying to Athens, I toyed with buying a Croatian football shirt to show my support for their song. I even tried it on in a Bullring sports shop, but ended up putting it back, deciding that £31 was just a bit too much to wear a shirt for a couple of days at most in Athens. I wish I’d bought it now, and then I could wear it even more. Even in the office. I’ve also drawn Poland, but I don’t have much to say about them.

One colleague has drawn Brazil AND Germany, which I have a feeling may well be the final (if the draw allows it to work out that way – I haven’t checked).

If you’re having a sweepstake, do let us know here which team you have, so that we can laugh at you/cheer for you as the tournament progresses. For example, Stuart Kitchentable has drawn the hosts, Germany.

I’m also interested to hear from people supporting teams other than England, and from those of you who are UK citizens but not English, to find out who you’ll be supporting. Are you one of the ‘anyone who’s playing against England’ supporters? If you’re Trinidadian or Tobagan, but born in England, who will you be supporting when those two teams meet next week? These kind of issues, of nationality, race, national identity etc., fascinate me, so feel free to leave a comment. If you hate football, how are you intending to cope for the next month? By watching Big Brother? Or going on a long holiday to a country that rarely has much interest in the World Cup? Wales, for instance. Or do you actually have a life?

I have a feeling that, if the weather’s good for the next month, watching World Cup matches is going to be brilliant, mainly because we lucky people in Birmingham have this, the Fan Park, with the hugest screen in the country, food themed to fit in with the matches, and an enormous wallchart! This is within staggering distance of my house. I can’t think of a better way to watch the matches.

Here we go indeed!

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Lordiwatch (continued)

Blogger was down last night, so here's the news that I tried to post yesterday:

Disappointing news for Lordi on the UK chart front. They're only at number 29 in the midweek chart. Now this may be because 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' was only officially released yesterday (Tuesday 06/06/06, which included a quote from Mr Lordi on Radio 1's Newsbeat), so the midweek chart may only include one day of sales for Lordi, mixed in with two days of sales for all other singles. We'll have to wait and see on Sunday, but I am now beginning to wonder if the one I bought on Monday will count at all towards the chart, as it was before the official release date. Perhaps I should scratch it, take it back to Asda, get a refund and buy it again to make it count? Perhaps not.

If Lordi fail to beat the number 20 peak of Charlotte Nilsson in 1999; the last Eurovision winner to make the UK top 40, it'll be very disappointing.

Please let them be on Top Of The Pops anyway! They're in London next week to sign singles on Oxford Street, so it could happen.

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Today's big question

Sven-Goran Eriksson, today:

"I'm doing this in the best interests of Rooney, the England team and 40 million England fans."

So, does Sven somehow know that 10.1 million of the 50.1 million people living in England are NOT England fans? They can't all be Scottish, surely?

Or is it just that he can't be arsed to do his best for all of the population? Ah yes, I can see it now, at the civic reception at the palace, after England have brought the World Cup home, as Sven informs Her Maj, "I did it for 80 per cent of your England's population, ma'am."

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Like Sam in Big Brother, I'm very eclectic. I never throw anything away.

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Ever since we did our 50 Number Ones Project in 2002 (see sidebar), I've always pricked up my ears when I've heard about the death of a number one hitmaker. Sadly, there's another one today, with the death of Billy Preston, who hit number one with the Fab Four and 'Get Back' in 1969. The single was credited to 'The Beatles with Billy Preston'. It was the sixteenth of The Beatles' seventeen chart-toppers, and the only one that credits anyone else with the group. Billy Preston's only other top ten hit was the beautiful 'With You, I'm Born Again', his duet with Syreeta from late 1979, which would have deposed 'Another Brick In The Wall - Part II' from the top spot in January 1980, if The Pretenders' 'Brass In Pocket' hadn't got in the the way, keeping the duo at number 2 for a fortnight instead.

On a personal note, 'Get Back' is the single that was number one when my sister was born in May 1969. That's three of the five musicians who made that single now dead, with only Macca and Ringo left.

In one of those strange twists of fate, Billy Preston also played keyboards on The Beatles' 'Let It Be' (without being credited). 'Let It Be' forms the basis of The Streets' superb new single, 'Never Went To Church', which was released yesterday.

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No brainer

So, it's a straight choice for this week's Big Brother eviction; Sam (5 nominations) or Nikki (4)? Sadly, scum-of-the-earth Lisa has somehow escaped nomination, so the airwaves will remain blue for at least another ten days. I'm not sure my ears can stand it. Head witch Grace has also managed to cast her evil spell over the housemates, who don't yet seem to realise how much of a lying, manipulative bitch she really is.

Let's think then. Who shall we vote out? Princess Precious Poor Me, a dreadful, spoilt child who doesn't seem happy about anything at all, ever, and loves to whinge about it like a petulant child? Or Sam, basically a nice person who I feel we haven't really got to know yet and who appreciates how lucky they are to be on the show. Hmmm, tough one.

Nikki's face: funny, but we don't need to see any more of it.

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Happy devil's day to all of our Satanist readers!

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Monstrous lie

Well, what do you know? The Lordi single was on sale in my local supermarket today after all. This means either that Sony BMG created a publicity stunt by pretending that it would be released on the day of Satan, tomorrow (6/6/6) OR the staff at my local Asda didn't read the note on the box which said that the singles were embargoed.

Whichever is right, Asda have it as #8 in their pointless prediction chart. But what do they know? They have Sandi Thom, currently nestling, deservedly, at number one in the real chart, as number #16 in the prediction chart. Somehow I think that's unlikely on Sunday, even if she is swamped by the deluge of football songs which were unleashed today. There were about 8-10 of them on the shelves, which made Lordi stand out quite nicely as their sleeve isn't red and white. It stood out even more when I put it up at number one to block out Duncan James!

It seems highly appropriate that today also saw the release of the excellent 'Monster' single by The Automatic, so I bought that too (and the Embrace single, in official England football-shaped sleeve). It could almost be about Lordi; "What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Is it a monster?"

In other Lordi news...

They're touring the UK! This probably has very little to do with yours truly standing up at Lordi's post-win media conference in Athens and inviting them over to the UK as we gave them douze points, but I'd like to think it did. They're coming to my local too, Birmingham's Carling Academy on Friday 27 October. Only a tenner too (for you, dear public.) Obviously I'll be angling for a comp. Who wants to be my plus one?

The full Lordi tour is:
Nottingham Rock City, 26/10
Birmingham Carling Academy 2, 27/10
Manchester Uni, 29/10
Glasgow Garage, 30/10
London, The Forum, 31/10. I can't think of a better way to spend Hallowe'en!

Finally, do you fancy seeing and hearing Hard Rock Hallelujah performed by a male voice choir? Of course you do! If nothing else, I recommend pressing pause at 2:22 and marvelling at the beauty of that man on screen. Swoon.

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F**k me!

I could be wrong, but I think that I may have heard the repulsive Lisa utter a sentence in tonight's Big Brother that didn't include the words 'f*ck' or 'f*cking'. I may have misheard though.

She's vile.

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Hallelujah! It's a hit!

After their amusingly-introduced performance on C4's Popworld yesterday, Eurovision winners Lordi have entered the UK's singles chart at #59 today, on downloads alone. 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' is also at a very healthy #28 in the download chart.

That singles chart placing of #59 today is one place above the new entry from back-on-form Prince and four places above the always over-rated Mariah Carey (with Snoop Dogg). It means that Lordi have already beaten the #72 peak of Sertab's 2003 winner. Ruslana made #47 in 2004 and Helena Paparizou's winner from last year wasn't released here, despite the UK giving her 12 points, because record companies are run by idiots. None of the three winners from 2000 to 2002 were released in the UK either. We have to go back to 1999 to find the last Eurovision winner to make the UK top 40, when Sweden's Charlotte Nilsson made #20 with 'Take Me To Your Heaven'. The last Eurovion winner to make the UK top ten was Katrina & The Waves making #3 in 1997 with 'Love Shine A Light', which is the only one of our five winners which didn't also top our chart.

Just in case Lordi are aiming high, I should mention that Nicole's 'A Little Peace' from 1982 is the last Eurovision-winning song to become a UK number one.

The CD release of Lordi's single is officially on Tuesday this week, not tomorrow (Monday), so that they can release it on the devil's day, 06/06/06; the same day as the remake of The Omen, for the same reasons. This is quite odd really, considering how keen Mr Lordi was in Athens to distance the group from satanism. He pointed out that they even have a song called Devil Is A Loser, but I guess the opportunity was too good to ignore.

I would expect to see 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' jump into the top twenty next week, if not the top ten. Then perhaps Radio 1 might join the more enlightened people at Xfm and actually play it. Pigs might fly.

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[19:45] It's hard to believe, but I've hardly watched any of Big Brother so far. That seems to be what happens when you're out of the country for the first four days of it. I don't feel like I know enough about the contestants, because I missed all the introductions. (Does anyone have the opening night on video/DVD that I could borrow? Maybe that would help.) Last weekend I didn't watch a single minute of it as every waking second was taken up with Birmingham Pride.

It therefore came as a surprise yesterday to see how unpopular Sezer seems to be in the outside world and I was wondering why, considering he's the hunky one this year. (Sezer is a shocking 1/8 favourite for eviction, which is a dead cert in bookies' language.) I think I saw some idea of it in last night's highlights package though. He's convinced that it's Richard or Lea who'll be evicted tonight, and I think he may be in for a shock that will wipe the smug look off his face. Here at World of Chig, we're very keen on a muscular, hairy chest, but we don't like arrogance, so let's hope he's out tonight - it should make great TV if Davina announces his name. Is there something else I've missed? Why don't people like him, apart from his silly laugh? Is it his attitude towards women? Is it because the public likes to split up the couples? Or is it because he loves himself too much?

UPDATE @ 21:27: So, it happened - Sezer's out. And the look on his face was priceless. Just wait until he finds out he had a record 91.6% of the vote! That would be amazing enough in a two-way contest, but this was a three-way. He really is hated, isn't he?

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