World of Chig   

A deserving winner

Well done to Edinburgh's John Loughton for winning Big Brother's Celebrity Hijack tonight. He deserved to win, but I wouldn't have minded who won really, of the six who were left tonight. They've been the most interesting bunch of Big Brother housemates for several years and this has been one of the best series of Big Brother ever. I don't want to see fame-hungry idiots arguing and swearing. I want to see interesting people getting along, joining in with the tasks and interacting positively with each other. That's exactly what we've had for the last month and it's been a breath of fresh air for the BB format. The celebrities have mainly been interesting too.

The Channel 4 group made just one mistake. This series should never have been hidden away on E4. They were overly cautious after last year's race rumpus. I'm sure I'm not the only one who just forgot to watch this series some nights. This bunch of people deserved a bigger audience. That aside, well done to all involved and goodbye Dermot, you'll be missed.

This is the first series of Bib Broither where we can be pretty sure we'll be hearing from most of the contestants again for all the best reasons, as they will no doubt go on to be even more successful in their chosen fields. I particularly look forward to seeing what Amy comes up with next as I think she's fascinating.

Finally, just because we can, here are a couple of souvenirs of Big Brother's Celebrity Hijack; two images of Anthony Ogogo. Knock yourself out!


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Celebrity drugs death shock

Amy Winehouse not involved.

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I'm back home...

...with a nose full of congealed blood. Thanks for the messages. I feel okay-ish. Not in pain, but a bit woozy and unbalanced, so I'm going to bed for the day.

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The Air That I Breathe

Every now and then, the endless fun and frivolity (it says here) on this blog has to make way for something serious. Actually, I can’t remember when that last happened, but it’s happening now.

As some of you know, I am going into hospital today for an operation on my sinuses this afternoon. It's called functional endoscopic sinus surgery. It doesn't bear thinking about, so I'm not going to write the full details, but the picture here is a clue. I have never been so terrified of anything in my life. I’ve been lucky enough to have only been in hospital once, to have my tonsils out when I was four. I still remember it, as I left on my birthday. For 37 years, I’ve never had a general anaesthetic, so I am fearful of that. I’m scared of the operation itself, which involves drilling and cutting the bones of my skull. I’m terrified of being conscious during the operation and of being in pain afterwards. I’m terrified of the possible side effects if things go wrong, which can include blindness, which has always been my worst fear. I’ve even made a proper, legal will this week, for the first time ever, and had conversations with friends recently that, in some ways, I would rather not have had, but which in other ways have been quite good to have.

Since October 2006, I have been suffering from sinusitis and been unable to breathe properly through my nose. Along with the thyroxine deficiency which was diagnosed at the same time, it has meant I have been constantly short of breath and short of energy. I am so grateful to my friends who have offered me amazing support and made allowances for me over this time. Thanks to everyone who has read or commented on all of the nonsense on here as well. It’s always a welcome distraction, even though the time I’ve spent in front of my PC screen has had to be cut down massively as it gives me awful sinus headaches.

Hopefully, I’ll be back home tomorrow, and then in isolation for two weeks, away from human contact, to avoid any exposure to colds or ‘flu. I love you all. Thank you for your support.

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Return of the 'E' word

We mentioned it once (back in November) but I think we got away with it. However, the self-imposed moratorium on mentioning it has now ended, so I would now like to declare the Eurovision season officially open! Some of you may now wish to look away until about 26th May.

We had our first gathering of the season on Saturday, to watch the Cypriot final and the first Danish semi-final. The good people of Cyprus decided that, even with only three countries’ songs for this year chosen and in the public domain so far, there is clearly not enough unintentional comedy heading for Belgrade, so they decided to make Cyprus this year’s laughing stock. To this end, they have chosen well. The song they picked on Saturday is destined to end up a long way short of qualifying for the final. The song, Femme Fatale, is the second in a row from Cyprus with a French title. However, unlike last year’s Comme Ci, Comme Ca from Evridiki, it’s not in French. It was, in fact, the only song in the Cypriot final in Greek, which probably had a lot to do with it being picked, and the fact that it's in a musical style which is very obviously going to appeal to a domestic audience. That's the problem though; its appeal won't travel much further afield than Cyprus and Greece.

There was a very interesting song called Moments of Madness, but unfortunately Cyprus had some and picked the wrong song. 'Femme Fatale' is a dog's dinner of a song/cabaret act, which can't make its mind up what song it wants to be and will end up near the bottom of the pile, no matter where it is drawn in one of the new semi-finals.

Watching the Cypriot final at B+K's, I wrote these notes on my scoresheet after watching 'Femme Fatale':

"Slow start, then v. Greek + v. gay. A mess. 4/10"

But when it came to our voting, I was laughing out loud, as I found myself giving a song that I'd described as "a mess" eight points, because the selection was so poor that only two were better. (Moments of Madness was by far the best choice, I thought.)

Here is the Cypriot winner. Please bear in mind that this is not a medley of former Cypriot favourites. It's just the one song, apparently.

Here are the other three songs destined for Beograd which have been revealed (Switzerland and half of Andorra's) or chosen (Albania) so far.

Do we already have the winner, from Switzerland? Or is a song in Italian never going to break through again? It's certainly damn good and he's not ugly either. Your comments are welcome.

Switzerland - 'Era Stupendo' - Paolo Meneguzzi

Albania - 'Zemren e lame peng' - Olta Boka

Andorra - 'Casanova' (audio only) - Gisela

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Leave him in!

It's a funny old world, isn't it? Eight days ago, on day one of Big Brother's Celebrity Hijack, the bookies made Victor favourite - to win. Tonight it looks like he'll be the first one out. It's probably hopeless, but I want him to stay in. I haven't finished looking at him yet.

Besides, Vittorio (Victor's real name) and his sister Amelia went to St. Teresa's Roman Catholic Primary School on Butler's Lane in Handsworth Wood, here in Birmingham, which is directly opposite my GPs' surgery. It's almost like we're close personal friends.

UPDATE: Oh my god! All the predictions were wrong and Biceps Boy gets to stay. Jade is out instead, the poor love. Victor and Amelia can continue spinning in the garden together without turning to flab. Hurrah!

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Separated at birth

2005 World Snooker Champion Shaun Murphy and Big Brother Celebrity Hijack's John Loughton. Uncanny.

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What Took You So Long?

He was due out of this here bump on 27 December, but at last the first baby produced by my friends Gill and Russ has made his way into the outside world this morning. Congratulations to you both!

Gill was carrying - and I hope she won't mind me saying this - the HUGEST bump I have ever seen. I last saw her at six months and couldn't believe she would last full term. This picture was taken at seven months, I think, and the ones I've seen from last month made me believe she was actually having quads, not a solitary boy. I'm amazed he was eight days late; he clearly didn't want a 'joint' Christmas or New Year birthday. Instead, he has chosen to share his birthday with a whole bunch of interesting singers: Michael Stipe, Tim Wheeler (Ash), Bernard Sumner, Beth Gibbons (Portishead), Mark Hollis (Talk Talk) and Cait O'Riordan (The Pogues).

Today is also the 72nd anniversary of the first music charts being published in America. Russ and Gill, I dare you to call him Billboard. Isaac might be a better idea, as today is the birthday of both Sir Isaac Newton and Isaac Pitman, whose shorthand writing system is named after him.

Best wishes to all three of you.

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So far, superb

Was that, or was that not, the best opening night of any Big Brother so far? A fascinating mix of people, none of whom I disliked instantly, and a very amusing task set by Matt Lucas, with Dermot all the way. An excellent start.

Just one thing spoilt it though. Channel 4 should throw out the morons in the crowd who were booing some of the young contestants on the way in. There was no justification for that tonight. Sure, do it later, when they are evicted, if the housemates turn out to be horrible people, but not when we don't know anything about them. There are some really pathetic people out there, and they shouldn't have been allowed to spoil the opening night for those participants. I'm sure they were nervous enough already.


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Goodbye, annus horribilis...

...and Happy New Year to all of you for 2008. Personally speaking, it can hardly be worse than 2007, which has been a terrible year, for health reasons, but a small improvement may be just around the corner, so bring it on!


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