Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jungle Love (oh-weh-oh-weh-oh)

gest starI've always avoided watching I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! - largely because of its dreadful title. It is a curse of multi-channel TV that all shows now have purely functional names so that, if you're flicking through the electronic programme guide, you don't accidentally watch a Dutch film about animal rape because it's been euphemistically titled Old McDonald 'Had' A Farm.

But this year I've been sucked in. And, as is the tradition round here, I haven't bothered to mention it until the series reaches its bitter end, because I like to pretend I'm totally above reality television. Of course, I am no such thing.

For those of you who don't know the concept, it is this: A dozen people who were relatively well-known (once, when you weren't looking) are dumped into the Australian jungle for three weeks and made to carry out humiliating tasks for food.

The ones that have attended English public schools tend to do better.

I started watching this year because I'd actually heard of some of the celebs taking part - in particular Liza Minelli's former husband David Gest. He's generally accepted to be "a bit odd", but it turns out he's a witty, personable lunatic. Although he is incredibly spoilt. And puts moisturiser on his cutlery.

klassy ladyThere are also three pop stars on the show this year, and they're ones I've heard of. I've even (whisper it) bought some of their records. Chief among them is Jason Donovan: better known as Kylie's ex-squeeze and Skye Mangel's step-brother. He is as fantastically cheery and boy scout-ish as you would expect.

His poppy cohorts are Myleene Klass - the sole talented member of reality TV show band Hear'Say - and Matt Outofbusted who, endearingly, believes his real surname is Willis.

The show ends tomorrow, so I thought I'd give you a quick run-through the bits I enjoyed most, just in case you want to catch up and watch the final. You'll only catch a chill if you go out, anyway.

:: David Gest claiming his maid is called Vaginaca Semen.
:: Gest telling a fully-trusting Myleene that one of his parents was a nun and the other a fisherman.
:: Oh, and that each of them only had one leg.
:: Jason Donovan's freaky, staring eyeballs of insanity.
:: The bit in the first episode where the contestants had to bungee-jump into the camp - from a helicopter hovering a million feet above a valley full of spiky poles, or something.
:: The 'trial' where ex-soap actor Dean Gaffney screamed like a girl because of a rat or two [youtube]
:: David Gest claiming his friend runs a hotel for Albinos.
:: Called Albino Heights.
:: Watching the producers' frequent, tortured, attempts to find reasons to show Myleene Klass in a bikini, culminating in Tuesday's show where she was forced to choose between stripping off and having a shower or never eating again. Actually, I'm going to put a video of that one right here:

(I will definitely be going to hell for posting this. Or so says mrsdiscopop)

Like I say, the show ends tomorrow and - holy foccacia! - the three musicians have made it through to the final. Maybe this is a good thing, because it proves the British people love their pop stars again. Or is it in fact sad, because being humiliated in the jungle is the only way for pop stars to get on the telly these days? Yes, I think it is sad. No, definitely.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Konichiwa, bitches!

robynHey! The tagline at the top of the blog has changed at last. For the past year, it's been a line from Girls Aloud's Biology (I've got one Alabama return that'll take me far away from you, fact fans). The replacement is a line from the Rakamonie EP by Sewdish pop starlet Robyn.

You might remember Robyn from her insanely catchy top 10 hit, Show Me Love, in 1998. The song was a big success in America, too, and Robyn looked to be on the brink of becoming an international pop star.

But just as she was about to embark on a tour with the Backstreet Boys she fucked off back to Sweden - having been diagnosed with "exhaustion". And there she stayed, releasing records that couldn't raise so much as an eyebrow outside the Scandanavian borders. Which is a shame, because they were really quite good indeed.

Consequently, Robyn went into a big huff and quit her record label - with plans to set up her own company. This is the point where such stories usually end... If you're George Michael or Prince, you spend so much energy wrestling control of your career from the big suits at Sony and Warner that you forget how to write good music and take the first bus out of town to the dumper. But Robyn has cuaght a completely different bus (or maybe she used a bike - I hear they have great cycle lanes in Sweden) and she's on track to reinvigorate her career.

The first three tracks on the Rakamonie EP, out last week in the UK, sound just like Missy Elliot doing Work It after drinking four litres of fizzy pop and inhaling a lungful of helium. Robyn, like Missy, has a knack for writing playful, inventive lyrics and a kooky approach to production. And, after the EP's initial triumverate of Euro-rap tracks, there's a touching torch ballad and a ragtime cover of Prince's perv classic Jack U Off.

You would not, it is fair to say, catch Kylie Minogue doing this sort of thing. Even in private.

Sadly, you will not be able to find this pop gem in the shops, because the shops are now shit. Instead, you can stream the whole thing on Robyn's website or buy it on iTunes. I recommend that you do.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

RIP Alan 'Fluff' Freeman

  • You made the Top 40 countdown the single most exciting piece of radio in the UK - every week for thirty years.
  • You said Not 'Arf and Pop Pickers rather a lot.
  • You genuinely loved the music you played. Unlike, say, JK and Joel.
  • Speaking of whom, you would never have spent a cringeworthy five minutes trying to chat up Nelly Furtado - every single bloody time she was on the show.
  • But then, she probably isn't that into wooly jumpers.
  • You were the only Radio 1 DJ who was simultaneously friends with John Peel and Noel Edmonds.
  • You pulled off the feat of making a piece of swing band music the calling card for the world's most exciting rock and roll music chart.
    Proof: download

  • You will be missed.

    PS: Read a proper obituary at No Rock and Roll Fun.
  • Labels: , ,

    Coca-Cola ruin Christmas

    Excuse me, but where has this advert gone?

    Dear Coca-Cola,
    Christmas doesn't officially begin until you wheel this advert out. Your current campaign is a schmaltzy pile of crap with monorails. I mean, seriously, monorails?! Please sort this out asap.

    PS: I swear this will be my last Christmas-related post for the next two weeks.

    Labels: ,

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Let the bells ring out...

    It's around this time of year that record companies and bored newspaper editors start to talk up the "race for the Christmas number one". Sometimes the race is a truly exciting marathon, as proper pop acts with real fanbases run as fast as they can towards the finish line. Other years - like this year - it's more like a round of It's A Knockout. Only without the laughs.

    The front-runner for 2007 (yes, I am going to keep the tedious racing metaphor up for the entire post) is the as-yet-unidentified winner of X Factor. This isn't necessarily as evil as knee-jerk spectators may imagine - Girls Aloud's Sound Of The Underground was Christmas number one way back in 2002 and it is a bona fide pop classic, after all.

    Unfortunately, however, the eventual winner is recording a Westlife-tastic cover version of Kelly Clarkson's American Idol single A Moment Like This, thus proving that when pop reality eat themselves, their shit sounds the same. (NB: Leona to win!)

    Because of the crushing inevitablity of the X-Factor "phenomenon" topping the charts, no-one else is really even entering the race. Slade and Cliff Richard are turning up at the starting line out of habit but, at their age, no-one really expects them to go the distance.

    Running as a relay team are Peter Andre and tits-out model Jordan his thoroughly respectable wife, Katie, who release their cover of A Whole New World, from Disney's Aladdin. Its a hell of a lot better than the version that was circulated on the internet a few weeks back, but it still sounds like two squirrels fighting in a tin bucket.

    Who else is under starter's orders? Ricky Tomlinson has a song called Christmas My Arse, which is every bit as bad as it sounds. And that Crazy Frog is murdering Wham's Last Christmas. Apparently, he missed the memo telling him to fuck off and die.

    Bookmakers William Hill have also taken bets from punters who desperately believe George Michael, Justin Timberlake or Eminem could make a spirited last-minute dash for the finish line. But it will never, ever happen. And not just because the three of them are permanently enveloped in a haze of smoke from 'special' cigarettes.

    In fact, the only decent song I can find in the starting list is Lily Allen's Littlest Things, and I don't even like it that much. Good video though:

    So, for now, I'm off to listen to my Phil Spector Christmas Album. Bah and, indeed, humbug.

    Labels: ,

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Have you seen this man?

    One of my friends just sent me the following picture, which he took on his camera-phone in Tooting, South London. I swear it is for real.

    seen in tooting


    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    Season's greetings

    Good grief, Christmas is just around the corner. And that's not just a turn of phrase - Christmas really is waiting around the corner, like a mugger in the shadows, ready to pounce on you and run off with your cash.

    Not that I mind. I've always been a sucker Christmas, from the carols and the holly to the turkey and the gaudy neon decorations. Don't believe me? Then check out the totally gay christmas tree I put up last year, motherfuckers.

    But with only 32 days to go, it's time to start writing your Christmas cards. And, courtesy of design blog Dfckr, here are some of the year's best festive greetings.

    By the way, if you’re the sort of person who buys charity Christmas cards, then worries about whether the money is really going to charity, you should read this report one of my mates put together. It tells you which cards have the biggest impact on the people you're trying to help. And if that's not a proper Christmas message, then what is?


    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Note to Nelly

    Dear Nelly Furtado,

    When the stripy topshop jumper you threw on just before rehearsals is more flattering than the skin-tight white dress you wear during your award show performance, it is time to sack your stylist.

    Best wishes,

    PS: You're welcome

    Labels: ,

    2 wiiks to go

    I've now placed two pre-orders for a Nintendo Wii, just to make absolutely sure I get one on release day (8 December).

    Does that seem a bit excessive? I admit that when I woke up this morning I was beginning to question my own sanity... Then someone sent me this video of a small child playing the boxing mini-game on Wii Sports and I realised why I'm so excited all over again.

    How could you not want something that makes you do that in front of your tellybox?

    Labels: , ,

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    MP3 Frenzy: The 'no theme whatsoever' edition

    Chrispix has a stunning new song by Common and that samples Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech for the hook. It has every opportunity to be rubbish, but ends up being great instead. [link]

    Arjanwrites gets the exclusive new song from the first former-Sugababe, Siobhan Donaghy. It's called Ghosts and it sounds like Kate Bush gone crazy in Goldfrapp's house with a hoover. [link]

    Jamie's Runout Groove helpfully posts a whole host of MP3s recalling the times when screamy fright-lady PJ Harvey visited mumbly farm-boy John Peel on his radio show. They are superb, of course. [link]

    And, courtesy of the Discopop Directory itself, an MP3 of Take That (*scream*) doing a cover of Every Day I Love You Less And Less on Radio One's Live Lounge. Is it any good? I'm not sure. It depends on your penchant for barbershop quartets. [link]

    Labels: ,

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Check yourself to respect yourself

    Remember that fabulous Timbaland track I mentioned last week? Well, Beauty from the Beauty N The Beat blog has taken issue with some of Justin Timberlake's lyrics. It's such a good post, that I'm reprinting a massive chunk of it here, starting with those lyrics in full:
    Could you speak up and stop the mumbling
    I don't think you're getting clear
    Sitting on the top it's hard to hear you from way up here
    I saw you tryin to act cute on tv "just let me clear the air"
    We missed you on the charts last week
    Damn that's right, you wasn't there

    If sexy never left, then why's everybody on my shi-it-it?
    Don't hate on me just because you didn't come up with it
    So if you see us in the club go on and walk the other way
    Cuz our run will never be over, not at least until we say

    Beauty says: "The first part is clearly about Janet who's not on the charts. The second part is about PRINCE who told the crowd at an Emmy Awards After Party August 27th 2006: 'For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!'. For the record, Prince just stated the obvious, Justin didn't bring ANYTHING back because 85% of his new album is nothing but Prince's 'LoveSexy' album with a Timbaland touch added to it. Justin is feeling himself WAY TOO MUCH. Dissing two legends in one verse? The very people whom HE TOOK HIS STYLE FROM? Hand that child a cup of shut the fuck up."

    Too true.

    Unfortunately, Beauty N The Beat has been out of action for a week, and a posting on the site yesterday suggests that the whole thing might be about to come to a grinding halt. I wouldn't be surprised if they've attracted the attention of the RIAA's assk-kicking, name-taking, granny-suing lawyers, given the amount of tracks they've leaked. Even so, it would be a shame to see it go as it's one of the highest quality and most intelligent R&B websites out there. Good luck to them all!

    Labels: , , ,

    This weekend in two pictures

    Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes get married in their secret subterranean lair, under the watchful, loving eye of Satan.

    Earlier, Katie made a desperate last-ditch attempt to escape the rat-infested dungeon she was locked in, pounding on the window and waving anxiously at the outside world as Tom her prepared her for a wedding "banquet" of toads, bracken and leeches.

    Labels: , ,

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Dear Jacko: A lesson from the planet humility

    Guess what? Another 1980s pop star was in the UK to pick up a lifetime achievement award this week. Like Mr Jackson, he failed to perform. Unlike Mr Jackson, fans left the concert with more respect for him than before.

    Let's take a look.

    (fast forward six minutes or so to get to the speech)

    Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of class.

    Labels: , ,

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    It's a Jacko fiasco!

    Last night, I was sent out by my "proper" job to Earls Court, where I was to witness Michael Jackson's comeback performance at the World Music Awards.

    Now, award ceremonies are never as glamorous as they look on telly, but last night really took the biscuit. Host Lindsay Lohan was having trouble reading, guests admitted they hadn't bothered to learn their script, and stage hands wheeled instruments on and off stage seemingly at random.

    Elle McPherson was under the impression that Kanye West was a group ("they're touring Australia with U2," she informed us) and on more than one occasion the hall went black for upwards of 20 minutes with no explanation.

    The music, from Beyonce and Nelly Furtado among others, might have been brilliant, but I couldn't really tell - as Earl's Court has all the acoustic clarity of a toilet in a cathedral in an aircraft hangar placed in the Grand Canyon on national echo day.

    But the audience didn't care about any of that. Last night really was a one-man show. Every pause in proceedings was greeted with chants of "Michael, Michael" and anyone who mentioned the former King Of Pop got a standing ovation.

    So when Chris Brown (who he?) filled Jackson's shoes in the promised performance of Thriller, and the eccentric pop star simply turned up to pick up some pointless award, the atmosphere took a sudden turn for the worst.

    "Michael Jackson can suck my dick and stick it up his nose. What a motherfucker," one fan said to me (not one of the quotes I was able to use in my official review). "We came here to see him perform and he didn't even stick out his leg," said another.

    Poor old Rihanna, who took to the stage immediately after Jackson, was all but booed off. And, credit where credit's due, she rose above the crowd's reaction and turned in a stunning performance of Unfaithful. If it was me, I'd have run away in floods of girly tears.

    And then - what's this?! A choir of children took to the stage... That could only mean MJ was going to perform after all! But, alas and alack, no. He came out and shook people's hands while the kids mimed along to a backing track of We Are The World. He eventually tried his hand at a couple of lines from the song, but he sounded as flaky as a Cadbury's flake and missed all the high notes.

    It was an utter, utter shambles. What had been a massive tide of goodwill towards Jacko - from both his fans and the press - instantly turned into tsunami of bad PR.

    Some fan sites quite rightly point out that Jackson doesn't have a manager or production company behind him at the moment to orchestrate a show-stopping performance. But that doesn't explain why the pop star led fans to believe he would be doing a routine.

    The Times reports he got stage fright. But quite frankly, I don't care. The man needs a good slap and, more importantly, a manager like Frank DiLeo who can force him to honour his commitments (fans of Jackson's court cases will be aware this isn't the first time he's pulled out of a concert at the last minute).

    Sad, sad, sad.

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    This is amazing!

    Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake - Give It To Me

    From Timbaland's new solo album.
    The low quality preview is via Spine Magazine
    Email me if you've got a high-quality version and I will repay you handsomely (with a bunch of grapes and a kit kat).

    Labels: , , ,

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Crikey, she's stunning!

    beyonceSo, I went down to TVC and managed to get into tonight's Beyoncé concert - and all I can say is WOW!

    While the R&B superstar is always impressive, what doesn't come across when you're sitting on a sofa staring at the TV is her sheer presence. She totally owns the stage. And, it would seem, her entourage (no-one has a name, they are collectively 'the dancers' and 'the band').

    She is also, it has to be said, gorgeous.

    Her voice was pitch-perfect throughout, despite several false starts and production hiccups. Bizarrely, the final show on BBC2 cut out Dangerously In Love, which was perhaps her best vocal performance of the night. Yes, Beyoncé is guilty of the over-emoting Whitney Houston-style warbling that so many Pop Idol auditionees attempt, but the truth is she can pull it off, with a level of pitch and control that few of her contemporaries possess.

    beyonce from my phone
    Yes, I took a picture on my phone. If it makes any difference, I am thoroughly ashamed of myself.

    A full and funky female band backed her up throughout the concert, giving it proper welly on Crazy In Love and Deja Vu.

    That said, there was a fair amount of backing track in use (I'm not sure the brass section were even miked up) and it's a shame Beyoncé doesn't see fit to employ backing singers. But maybe Kelly and Michelle are doing something else this week.

    What I found weird, though, was the level of adulation in the audience. When I saw Destiny's Child in 2002 there was a Beatlemania-esque level of screaming going on which I put down to the pre-teen audience. But it was there again tonight.

    At times it was impossible to hear the PA, and if my tinnitus is any worse after the concert it's solely because of the two girls behind me who, in all honesty, deserved a good slap around the chops.

    Screaming harpies aside, it was a fantastic gig - something that didn't necessarily come across on the TV (would it have hurt them to spend a day editing it properly instead of rushing it onto the screen less than an hour after taping?) It bodes very well for Beyoncé's full-blown UK tour next year.

    Consider my tickets booked.

    Labels: ,

    Free Beyoncé concert tonight!

    beyoncéHrrrrnnnnk!If you live in London and you can get to White City tonight, Beyoncé is doing a concert in the car park at BBC Television Centre.

    You won't be able to get in, but not even the BBC can stop you standing in the street and dancing. Although I'd watch out for the traffic.

    My source says it's due to kick off "around 5pm", so you might have to pretend to have a migraine and/or 'women's troubles' to get out of work on time.

    Wrap up warm!

    Labels: ,

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    A load of old garbage

    shirley manson out of garbage doing a unfortunately not the name of the Garbage greatest hits album, which has just been announced.

    Now, I was always partial to a bit of Shirley Manson and the boys. For all their growling menace and shocking noise, they always managed to sugar-dip their songs in pure pop melodies, like Blondie with a sequencer. Or Courtney Love with an ounce of talent.

    shirley manson as a cube Their videos, too, were something special - if only because Manson was at the same time beautifully photogenic and utterly horrific. She was a bit like that 3D cube illusion where your eyes can't decide what they're looking at and go all hurty.

    The tracklisting for the greatest hits CD ('Absolute Garbage') is a strictly chronological trip through Garbage's back-catalogue, which means you can pretty much give up after Cherry Lips.

    For some reason, though, it's missing the 2001 single Androgyny. Maybe because they finally realised it was a bit rubbish?

    Only Happy When It Rains
    Stupid Girl
    #1 Crush
    Push It
    I Think I'm Paranoid
    When I Grow Up
    You Look So Fine
    The World Is Not Enough
    Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)
    Shut Your Mouth
    Why Do You Love Me
    Bleed Like Me
    It's All Over But The Crying
    New track (untitled)

    As ever with Garbage, they've messed up the timing and the album is coming out in March - thereby missing the Christmas Greatest Hits rush. It's not like they've had a year-and-a-half to put it together or anything.

    Labels: ,

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Something Kinda Oooops

    they really can sing

    Despite all my prentensions to being (1) a serious music journalist, and (2) a massive Girls Aloud fan, it somehow managed to slip my attention that (1) they did an acoustic set on Jo Whiley's Live Lounge yesterday at the same time as (2) tickets for their new tour went on sale.

    Luckily, using the internet I can go back in time and hear the sublime Radio 1 performance for myself. But all the broadband cables in the world can't help me get a decent pair of concert tickets. Let's hope they add more dates soon, otherwise I'll cry into my cornflakes like a big girl.

    For those of you who are as dimwitted as I am, here are the Radio One performances in all their close-harmony glory. The cover version of Amy Winhouse's Rehab will send shivers up your spine.

    Love Machine - acoustic


    girls aloud live lounge

  • PS Ticketbastard still has some seats left in the rafters of Wembley.

    Labels: ,

  • MP3 Frenzy: Girls Aloud edition

    Nadine has a very thin arm, don't you think?Those of you who read the website reguarly (hello, mum!) will know that I can't let too many days pass without mentioning Girls Aloud.

    As luck would have it, the girls have just scored their first ever number one album with The Sound Of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits, thus providing me with an excuse to congratulate them. Perhaps I could send them a donut. They look like they could do with a bit of fattening up.

    If you haven't already bought the CD, why the hell not? It not only collects together nine of the ten best pop songs of the last of the 21st Century (the other one is Britney's Toxic) but it also has a bonus disc of rarities and alternative mixes.

    And, yes, that includes the version of No Good Advice where they say a rude word. (Clue: it's not 'bum').

    The problem is, there are a couple of songs missing. Two of the band's B-sides, Androgynous Girls and Crazy Fool, are widely regarded amongst obsessive fans as being superlative examples of the Girls Aloud oeuvre (that's french for egg, I think).

    But fret not! Discopop Directory is proud to present you with high-quality MP3s of those corking classics - for review purposes only, of course.

    Enjoy it, bitches.

    Androgynous Girls

    Crazy Fool

    Girls Aloud and some cash
    Shooting the video for forthcoming single I Think We're Alone Now. Yes, it's a cover of the Tiffany song and, yes, it's terrible.

    Girls Aloud straight out of the shower - not a good look
    Why would anyone let this photo be taken? What happened to aloof, inaccessible pop stars with a sense of mystique? (Hint: Girls Aloud are sponsored by Sunsilk.)

    Girls Aloud - after the towelling
    But don't they scrub up well?

    Labels: , ,

    Thursday, November 9, 2006

    Something special

    duke specialMy sister and her boyfriend (who have just left for an 18-month round the world trip, the bastards) have been raving about a new singer from Northern Ireland for absolutely ages. But being a musical snob who thinks he knows better than anyone else - hence this blog - I roundly ignored their recommendations and carried on merrily with my life.

    Crushingly, it turns out they were right all along and this guy - Duke Special - is really something, er, special.

    My initial impression was that he sounded like Sufjan Stevens with an Ulster accent. But, in the interests of accuracy, I listened to a bit of Stevens' last album this morning and discovered that I was, once again, quite wrong. Drat! And double drat!

    While Special does share some qualities with Stevens - most notably the bruised, romantic lyrics and lush string arrangements - he carves his own niche with a touch of ragtime piano and orchestral swing that calls to mind Gershwin and, perhaps, Rufus Wainwright.

    You might also have noticed that his image is a bit more Lister out of Red Dwarf than the immaculately-coiffeured Michigan musician. The Duke calls it "hobo chic". I'd go with "unkempt" myself.

    He's been gigging around Ireland for years, which is where my sister discovered him. He put out a couple of EPs on local label Hag Records, which were a bit rough round the edges, but now he's been signed to V2 (home of Liberty X!) and re-recorded the best bits.

    The resulting CD, Songs From The Deep Forest, is beautiful. Stand-out tracks include Last Night I Nearly Died, Freewheel and new song No Cover Up. It'll make a great winter album - perfect for listening to curled up in a smoky room with a glass of port in one hand and a classic Dickens novel in the other, while young urchins press their nose against the frosty window pane, begging for scraps.

    It'll still be alright if you listen to it on the bus home to Brixton, but I recommend recreating the above tableau if at all possible.

    In the meantime, here's some footage of Mr Special performing Portrait on Jools Holland last week:

  • Duke Special's website
  • Buy the album on Amazon

    Labels: ,

  • Wednesday, November 8, 2006


    Lawks-a-lordy, Britney Spears has filed for divorce from her husband / backing dancer, after a record breaking (for her) 777 days.

    That's 775 days - or 18,593, hours - longer than her previous marriage. Therefore, Kevin Federline was 339 times more successful at being Britney's husband than Jason Alexander. So, congratulations to him. Perhaps he can go back to his ex-girlfriend and their two children now.

    Britney, of course, is a classy lady with fine, upstanding christian morals. That's why she let K-Fed (henceforth to be known as Fed-Ex) know about the divorce proceedings the traditional way - by text message. While he was on TV. Ouch!

    See the "footage" - such as it is - below.

    Having dealt this cruel blow, Britney retreated into privacy to mull over her two failed marriages and how the divorce would impact on her young children.

    Not really! Instead, she went ice skating at the open-air and not-at-all-private Rockefeller Center in New York.

    In unrelated news, Britney has started recording a new album.

    Labels: ,

    Tuesday, November 7, 2006

    Fame at last!

    My "hilarious" Westlife ruse has made it onto the front page of the best pop website of them all -

    This proves that I am skill. It is a cold hard fact.

    That is all.

    Labels: , ,

    Monday, November 6, 2006

    Frowny faces

    Despite my heartfelt plea last week, Alesha's new single, Knockdown, went into the charts at a shockingly poor number 45.

    We canvassed some music fans for their opinion. Here's what they said:

    Sandra Green, Lab Technician
    I was so upset that I stuck my hand to my face with superglue.

    Anna Nomaly, Botanist
    Was I supposed to go out and buy it? Isn't it enough to add Alesha to my myspace friends? Sheesh.

    Alex Smalldog, Thermonuclear Scientist
    Woof! Woof woof woof! Woooooof!

    Toby Oxford, Metal Wrangler
    I worry that this will have a chilling effect on the careers of those other two out of Mis-Teeq.

    Jessica Fnaeuil, Kindergarten Student
    This cheese tastes a bit funny.

    Labels: , , ,

    Westlife heart you

    I'm not normally one to promote the seedy goings-on in the world of Westlife, but the band's new video is actually quite interesting.

    That's the video, mind you... not the song, or the group, or their braying, germ-ridden, coven of fans.

    Somehow, possibly by forming a covenant with the devil, they've come up with a way of personalising the video with your name. You simply go to their website,, enter your details and - hey presto! - your name appears right there on the screen.

    Kian - or Mick or Seamus or whatever he's called - sends you a text message (how modern) and invites you to a wedding (swoon). It is eye-poppingly amazing, and no mistake*

    Here are some scenes from my very own personal Westlife video:

    * Hang on. That statement may be a mistake in itself.
    The whole enterprise is, in actual fact, utter bollocks.

    Labels: , , ,

    Get lost!

    Eddie Izzard as a Christmas FairyAre you a fan of not knowing where you're going, and getting a machine to do all the hard work for you? Then you will have a Tom Tom or other satellite navigation system.

    But don't you find it a bit boring when the lady on it repeats in her soothing (irritating) voice (monotonous drone) "take the second exit" over and over and over again?

    Yes. Yes, you do.

    Well, luckily the Tom Tom has a function (gimmick) where you can upload the voice of your mum - or any other authority figure - to its memory bank and get them to tell you where to go. And now Eddie Izzard has recorded (made the hard decision to sell for a profit) a collection of his own witty and droll replacements for the driving instructions. You can test drive it(!) on Eddie's website.

    It's a bit crap, to be perfectly honest, but I do like the one that goes "Bear left... Monkey right".

    Labels: ,

    Friday, November 3, 2006

    The funniest thing you'll see today*

    nothing's fine, she's tornJohann Lippowitz is Austria's foremost interpretive dance artiste, if you're the sort of person who believes the first three results you get when you search for someone's name on Google.

    But the crazy dancer in a beanie hat is actually the comic creation of David Armand, a contemporary of Peep Show stars Mitchell and Webb at Cambridge - although, unlike those two, he never made it into the legenday Footlights crew.

    As Lippowitz, he's been performing an hilarious mimed version of Natalie Imbruglia's Torn in comedy clubs around the world for the past couple of years -- and last month he got the chance to perform the song on stage with the pint-sized Australian songstrel herself as part of Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball. Lucky bastard.

    It was shown on the telly earlier this week, which means it has finally made its way onto Youtube, which means you can watch it below - but only if you promise to support Amnesty by buying the DVD for Christmas.

    Make sure to stick with it to the bitter end - it just keeps getting better.

    I think my crush on Natalie Imbruglia has just got a little bit worse.

    *Unless you see someone slip over on a banana peel. That's pretty fucking funny.

    Labels: , ,

    Thursday, November 2, 2006

    Staring at the sun

    The U2 tomeI bloody love U2. For all their detractors (Bono is a twat, their music is preachy, Larry Mullen eats people's kidneys to stay young) they are one of the most consistent and exciting rock groups ever to pretend to be Irish.

    As it happens, I've just finished reading their new book U2 by U2, which tells the band's story in exhaustive detail.

    Some poor bastard had to edit down 150 hours of interviews with the rockers into a manageable manuscript, which dishes the dirt on everything from the thrill of appearing on Top Of The Pops to the shame of Bono wetting himself of Frank Sinatra's sofa.

    The whole story starts when Larry Mullen Jr pins a scrap of paper to the school noticeboard looking for musicians to join his band. By all accounts, the prototype U2 (Feedback, or The Hype, as they were known) were pretty shoddy, and struggled to make ends meet for years. They even tried playing gigs at airport hotels to earn some money.

    "It didn't work," Adam Clayton explains in the book, "because the bands that were actually making money there were almost showbands, doing cover versions... I think six people turned up, and that was only because they thought another band was playing."

    Edge rocksIt wasn't until Edge stumbled across an effects unit that they really hit their stride.

    "Edge acquired his echo unit and that changed everything," says Bono. "It was punk rock with a symphony - suddenly you're in outer space instead of suburbia."

    Later, with a few hit singles under their belts, the band made their first forays into writing lyrics with a political message. Edge reveals that the first draft of Sunday Bloody Sunday had a much more explicit anti-terrorist message.

    "If I remember rightly, my opening line was 'Don't talk to me about the rights of the IRA, UDA'," he says.

    The book is a hefty read. Indeed, it's taken me about a month to get through it (mostly because it's too big to carry onto the bus). But it’s a great little insight into the workings of a globe-straddling rock behemoth. Sure, the band are indulging in a certain amount of self-mythologising - they even admit as much in one passage - and there's only a certain amount of Bono's random association self-analysis you can take, but if you're interested in the band at all, it's a great peak behind the curtain.

    Live AidMind you, there is a better U2 book out there. Bill Flanagan's U2 At The End Of The World follows the band for two years as they record Achtung Baby and mount the stupendous Zoo TV tour. With the benefit of an outsider's perspective and full access to the band, Flanagan uncovers some really juicy gossip from a period in time when U2 were at the height of their considerable creative powers.

    He accompanies Bono as he steals a boat in Australia, and as the singer wakes up in Brezhnev's bed. But the best part is Flanagan's account of the Achtung Baby recording sessions in Berlin.

    "It has never been this hard for U2 before," he writes. "The band begin to consider that they have really reached the end of the line together.

    "Bono's wide-eyed raps about junk culture and disposable music are met with disinterest from Adam and impatience from Larry, who finally says, 'What the fuck are you talking about?' Larry says there is a simple problem here: 'You haven't written any songs! Where are the songs!

    U2 in a homoerotic knees-up round the piano"That really goes up Bono's ass sideways. When Bono and Edge started abandoning the U2 tradition of all four of them writing songs together and brought in songs on their own, Larry was the first to bitch that he and Adam weren't getting enough input… But now that Bono's laying the burden on the four of them again, Larry wants the songs written for him. There's a fight brewing.

    "Larry accuses Bono of not knowing who he is, which Bono throws back at him saying Larry always knows who Larry is because Larry never changes. 'You haven't changed your haircut in ten years!' Bono says."

    It continues in this painful vein for dozens of pages before the band accidentally record One, then kiss and make up before it all descends into a torrid night of homosexual love (I may have made that last bit up).

    After reading either of these books, you'll want to reappraise U2's songs. And by happy coincidence, they're releasing a new, compact, best-of collection on 20 November. The track-listing has just been announced, and it looks like this:

    U2 18
    1. Beautiful Day
    2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
    3. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
    4. With Or Without You
    5. Vertigo
    6. New Year's Day
    7. Mysterious Ways
    8. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
    9. Where The Streets Have No Name
    10. Sweetest Thing
    11. Sunday Bloody Sunday
    12. One
    13. Desire
    14. Walk On
    15. Elevation
    16. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
    17. The Saints Are Coming (with Green Day) - new
    18. Window In The Skies - new
    19. I Will Follow - UK Bonus Track

    There are a few glaring omissions - including three of my personal favourites (Angel of Harlem, All I Want Is You and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, since you ask). But you'd be hard pressed to find a better greatest hits CD Christmas - and I'm including the Girls Aloud one in that list.

    See? I bloody love U2.

    You can buy U2 by U2 and U2 18 from Amazon. You'll have to find U2 At The End Of The World at your local second-hand dealer.

    Labels: ,

    Wednesday, November 1, 2006

    Required reading

    :: The World's Best Lonely Hearts Ads
    For example: "List your ten favourite albums... I just want to know if there's anything worth keeping when we finally break up. Practical, forward thinking man, 35."

    :: The Gay Characters' Rules for Surviving a Horror Film
    Rule number one: You don't

    :: Jessica Alba has sex in the ocean
    I'd take that with a pinch of (sea) salt, if I were you.

    :: U2 and Green Day make a video
    In which they imagine what would happen if the US spent their war budget on clearing up New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

    :: What was the first song ever played on an iPod?
    I'd have expected some nerdo musical wankfest like Dark Side Of The Moon. But no! It was the totally popalicious Groovejet (If This Ain't Love). Nice!

    :: Dance Dance Revolution. With a Pen!
    Nintendo continue to release absolutely barking games that make no sense whatsoever and thereby land right on my Christmas wishlist.


    Hallowe'en fright

    In which a ghoulish, skeletal face appears out of the dark.

    Plus, someone in a Scream mask.

    This post brought to you by the old jokes retirement facility

    Labels: ,

    Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

    © 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage