World of Chig   

Yesterday & Tomorrow

I must apologise for a shameful omission yesterday. We neglected to mention that Chig's favourite living sixties icon, Sandie Shaw, was celebrating her 60th birthday. A belated Happy Birthday, your Eurovision-winning goddessness.

In a welcome reversal of the whole present-giving thing, Sandie has something for us, and it's not cakes. On her refreshingly first-person official website, there's a free download available. Not just any old free download, oh no. Dagenham's finest export (apart from the cars and the girl pipers) has 're-imagined' (my word, not hers) her finest hour and transformed Puppet On A String into something rather more laid back than it was in 1967. Now called 'Puppet's Got Brand New String', it is beautiful, and very soothing if you've just been listening to the Bulgarian wailing and throbbing (below). The intro sounds a little bit like 'Eternal Flame' in its Atomic Kitten version, which brings us nicely to...

Tomorrow, when Auntie Beeb has promised we will find out at last which lucky pupsters are volunteering for the firing line to have their music careers ended in Helsinki in May. Some of the speculation over who's in Making Your Mind Up IV has stepped well over the border into ridiculous territory. Most of the rumours are rounded up here. We'll also throw in the The Puppini Sisters, the almost forgotten Big Brovaz and a reformed Scooch (when what we really want is Deuce again), but we know it won't be Morrissey, Daz Sampson again or Billie Piper. However, there have been no denials from ex-pop groupers Brian Harvey (two solo hits, 2001) and Liz McClarnon (one solo hit, 2006), to continue the Atomic Kitten connection from above, so draw your own conclusions. There are also reasons for thinking that Queentastic with a Thomas G:son song may not be a complete flight of fantasy, but we'll see.

You'd be amazed how any people have sidled up to me in the last few weeks and asked me if I have any gossip on MYMU. You would think that I write about the contest for a well-known magazine, or that the producer is my ex-boyfriend's cousin and that the said ex-boyfriend stayed over at Chig Mansions last week. Actually, that's all true. But no, I'm privy to nothing. This is a very late announcement indeed, just ten days before the show is televised (if it's 10 March) and with 23 countries' songs already chosen and out there in the ether. (Indeed, Belarus's entrant, Dmitry Koldun, has almost completed his world tour of national finals to promote his excellent song. I've seen him on the telly/internet in programmes from Ireland and Spain, and he was the much needed interval act in the Montenegrin final on Sunday.) The Beeb's delay has only led to fans speculating that we're either in desperation territory or that someone fabulous is going to be announced.

Funnily enough, Liz McClarnon is no stranger to the UK's national selection programme, as the regular reader may remember. Four years ago, she was snapped with yours truly at the aftershow party for the last ever 'A Song For Europe'. However, I don't think that the phrase 'friend of Jemini' is going to do her too many favours, so I think she'll be playing down the connection this time.

For the record, although the inclusion of Brian Harvey opens up a debate on the morality of who we have representing us - it's already started in various Eurovision fora, as if no one who has sung for the UK before has ever taken drugs - what may surprise some people is that he really can sing. He impressed me enormously doing a gig at the Nightingale a few years ago. If the photos of that night weren't locked away on the hard drive of my dismantled PC, I'd be showing you some of them now. You'll have to make do with Liz and Chig instead.

Fingers crossed for something good tomorrow.

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