Wednesday, 30 May 2007

"Oh my life!" Unashamed Big Brudder post.

I always enjoy the launch night of Big Brother so it'd be churlish not to mention it. *ahem*

As was reported, it's Big Sister; an all-woman house... I'll be enthusiastic about it in waves, so please bear with me! At the moment, riding on a wave of shiny new first night excitement, my level of interest is 9 out of 10. And obviously, anything I write about the inmates on the first night won't be true 12 weeks later. Here are three I actually LIKED on first impressions:

Love. Her. Everyone is going to hate this self-confessed 'it' girl from South London, (who the hell calls THEMSELVES an 'it' girl), therefore, I'm going cheer her on. For five minutes. She hasn't got a job and she doesn't want one, but she loves money, fame and clubbing. I hate her already but I like her.

A 53 year old activist from East London. I've seen her on the 106 bus! It's Millie Tant from Viz comic. "Beats not bombs". Fucking hell. I like her.

"I like cigarettes and electro". Even though I myself gave up smoking, I still like cigarettes and I love electro, and so, ergo, I like Nicky.

As for the rest, I hate them all, (the twins!!! The cheesey raver!!!!) but will probably love them next week. Ah. Welcome back cabbage TV.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Love that sweet sound

What a coup to get Candi 'The Source' Staton on your record. I FINALLY got a copy of Groove Armada's Soundboy Rock today and I FINALLY got to play this gem of a track all the way through. I'm still amazed at how GA have suddenly popped up onto my radar after skirting under it like a bad smell for years.

Love Sweet Sound - Groove Armada ft. Candi Staton (mp3 Download)

The London Gay Pride line-up

In a way, I'm glad that Gay Pride (or Pride London to be correct) is now a shrunken version in Trafalgar Square. I couldn't be doing with the monster it turned into: those ticketed beer tents, the Ford Ka and Virgin Atalantic stalls, the Z-list pop acts and the bug-eyed dance tents all in a park in the nether regions of North London.

And, for the 2007 version, we're back to a hotch potch of rubbish, OK-ish and Whereshebeen acts. Hoorah! The list, according to Pink News is as follows:

Darren Haynes (their spelling! Not mine. But still rubbish)
Jimmy Sommerville (Whereshebeen)
UnkleJam (Fab)
Dragonettes (Fab)
Axe Girl (OK-ish)
QBoy (OK-ish)

and the rest I haven't heard of...

Mz Fontaine
Kelly and The Kelly Girls
Aquilas Kiss

Three disappointments though. Where are Nikki French, Carol Kenyon and Hazell Dean?

Hazell Dean. Obviously "Searchin'".

Get out of our way. We're fabulous

Peter Tatchell is fabulous.

Richard Fairbrass is fabulous.

It takes more than a few well aimed punches and ignorant hatred to keep these queers down.

Isn't it funny how the anti-gay yobs, the Moscow police who protected them and the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov will forever be shooting themselves in the foot by reacting to gay people in such a violent way. They might as well run at a wall and be done with it. What would have been ignored by most of the world has turned into a mainstream media story generating nothing but revulsion for the homophobes. Well done them!

And even The Times were moved to admit, FINALLY, they and the rest of Britain could be "grudgingly proud" of Peter Tatchell. Hallelujah!

How come it wasn't hot enough...

...for Andy Love (right) to take his top off at the PSB gig last night like he did here in Brazil in March this year? Damn.
Tricky. This is for you.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Pet Shop Boys Live in London: The Greatest Hats Show

Pet Shop Boys, Fundamental Tour, London Hammersmith Apollo, 27th May 2007

I wish I could lay claim to the above pithy description for the Pet Shop Boys' world tour, but that goes to rent-a-quip meister, Paul Morley. The motif of Neil's top hat and Chris's baseball cap was picked up by the stage designer, Es Devlin and used throughout this hat-tastic show. There were hats on wheels, hats in silhouette, cowboy hats (in gold sequins, of course) and army hats (plumed, thank you). This is the Pet Shop Boys' world inside their hats; inside their heads. Mad as a hatstand but totally engrossing. At one point, during Always On My Mind, the tap-dancing top hat seemed quite a normal thing to have on stage. Barking.

Hammersmith Apollo is a tatty old art deco theatre which is deceptively large (a sell-out 9,000 at tonight's gig). But because it's positioned under a motorway flyover and accessible either by dodging fast traffic or through a piss-stinking underpass, it's never a venue that makes you go "Oh great! They're playing there! My favourite!". Despite that, the squally weather, and the fact that I had to wait under the flyover for my fella, I had such a Doris Day demeanour: all sunshine and darn excitement! It was also a good chance to check out the crowd. There were the usual liquorice assortment of gayers (something for all tastes) but also a real cross section of ages (from the Fundamental yoof to the trendy pensioners), genders, races and sexual preferences (with lots of groups of straight lads!!).

But, to the show. The set list AND the set design are different to last year's. The cube is gone and replaced by a proscenium set which, although flat, still manages to add a cinematic backdrop to the band and their troupe; especially effective during Dreaming of the Queen, when Diana's funeral procession is looped behind them. The light sabre tubes bordering the set cleverly moved to change the size and shape to which someone behind me commented: "They love their fluorescent lighting, don't they?". Colourful, cheeky nods to Gilbert and George with projections of dancing hoodie youths during the Se a Vida e/Domino Dancing medley are something you could ONLY get with the PSB.

The cheer that erupted when the 'false' Neil and Chris came on first in front their respective silhouettes was glorious (I did think, "Hmm, they're both in really good shape"), but bettered by the real (softer edged) ones coming on. The image of the Boys is so iconic, especially to a room full of fans, that it's such a pant-wetting experience to see them, there, in front of you. And no, I didn't, BTW. The clever cleverness was there from the outset: they even began with We're the Pet Shop Boys. Ha!

Apparently, the choice of songs from the enormous back catalogue had to dovetail into the Fundamental concept, hence, the brilliant segue of Minimal into their other spelling song, Shopping. But that meant no New York City Boy, What Have I Done to Deserve This? and countless others. But no matter. I only noticed AFTER the show. I've never heard Heart live before, so to hear it and be sung back by very vocal audience was magical. At times, taking his earpiece out to listen, Neil was taken aback at just how full of voice the crowd were. Chris even smiled. A lot. Which, according to the man himself, is a good sign.

* The neon yellow hoodie top worn by Chris and his Lookie-likies
* Left to My Own Devices - seeing the French girl in front go mad to the line "Che Gevara and Debussy to a disco beat"
* The fighting hoodies during Suburbia
* I'm With Stupid - sounds better in a huge venue than iPod headphones
* The Neil and Chris heads (complete with baldy bits) wheeled on to Always on My Mind and bumping into each other noticably: like an amateur dramatics version of the PSB

* Integral - another song that sounded better live: monumental and a bit scary, like George Orwell on the mother of all comedowns
* Songs that are just a joy to see live: Rent, West End Girls and Domino Dancing
* Songs that are the hands in the air, ABBA-like singalongs: Always On My Mind, It's a Sin and Go West
* The eye candy backing singer Andy Love, Arjanwrites was right
* The voice of Sylvia Mason-James - her voice is so integral to the PSB sound that she was sorely missed on the Release tour. The wah-wahs on West End Girls never sounded better and louder (drowning Neil out at several points)
* The backing singers' 'moments' doing So Hard and the medley right at the end

After nearly a year on the road with the show, it was slick, fluid and well tuned. Like the stage shows Neil loves so much, there are 'buttons' dotted all over and in all the right places. Buttons to get the emotions going, buttons to get the arms waving and buttons to get everyone singing along. The boys quite emphatically, went down a storm at Hammersmith. So much so that they came back for a third encore with the never boring Being Boring. They left the stage happy as anything knowing they had done it. The London crowd were awed. But Chris never once took his hat off.

Thank you to the following for the use of their tour pics: Monica (Pet Shop Girl @, Venduka Polivkova, Jan Bayer and Tomas Mosler

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Some Finnish Italian 'special' disco

Describing themselves as 'special disco', which I straight away took to mean something politically uncorrect, The Millioners are a magnificent retro/modern hybrid who wear their influences well. Cerrone, Visage, Duran Duran, Blancmange - they're all there. And just to balance the old with the new, is that Lorraine and Pleasure I detect? Well, The Millioners (love the name) are from Scandanavia as well, so I suppose it must be in the genes.

The four members don't have names, apparently, but they collectively have their own MySpace. They also have a new album, Most Sexiest Music, which you can pay good Euros for at the charmingly titled Stupido-Shop or the boringly titled iTunes.

Here's a couple of tasty little numbers of their most sexiest music:
My Great Regret is big, bold and beautiful with its confident bassline and sweeping chords. Lyrically it's very wistful, talking of missing out on the signs that could have lead to the BIG one. But it's not all looking painfully out of a Finnish window as one of the signs is that the singer's intended was dressed up in leather, in BED and in 'such hot weather'.

My Great Regret - The Millioners (mp3 Download)

Neon Sun sounds like Sylvester's come to play, but then, who else has arrived but Cerrone and the bass player from ABC! Fabulous! Where's the Malibu?

Neon Sun - The Millioners
(mp3 Download)

These are great songs with even better ideas and all self-produced. Imagine if these four lads were given the key to pop's golden door and ├╝ber-producers Xenomania got their hands on them? Hmm.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Hurry up, already!

Yawn. Teetering on the edge of the closet, waiting to admit SOMETHING we've all known for years, Kevin Spacey is still living his life like it's 1992 or something. It's not like it's hard these days. Oo-er.

There you go! It was easy peasy! Have a quiet word with Cruise and Travolta, won't you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

C30, C60, C90 GONE!

I was never taken with cassettes. The sound was so muffled, like the band were all under a big duvet. They were such a polava! If all you wanted to hear was the chorus on track 3, side B, you had to take the tape out, read the label, put it back in and guess-timate where you wanted to be. RUBBISH! The ad above WAS ALL LIES! And how many tapes were gobbled up and spewed out by crappy Bush or Sanyo systems...

Curry's are another chain officially chucking the cassette. Bauhaus's Pete Murphy kissed his TV ad repeat fees off a long time ago.

Another great band from Yorkshire

I just recently stumbled on York's Deltawave through the mighty Popjustice. They had made Neon, a track streamed here on the band's MySpace, their single of the day. They're like a chunkier-sounding version of electro band de jour, Pleasure, with nods to Human League, Depeche Mode and Altered Images with an Abba-like line up consisting of: Andrew Firth, Linda Blandine, Jessica Rose and Paul O'Keeffe.

Since then, having found other tracks, it's this one I can't stop popping.

Strychnine and Soda - Deltawave (mp3 Download)

For a throwaway interview with Andy, complete with the WORST intro ever, go HERE.

OMG. Here we go again.

Here's the diary room door for the freak show that is (from May 30th - gawd, that's come around quick!) Big Brother 8. Apparently a whole corridor lights up whenever the door is unlocked. Er. Wow.

Digital Spy has been given unique access to the new house (some jpgs were emailed) where the spanking new design is themed "modernistic sur-reality". In other words, some nice things cobbled together from a trip down Tottenham Court Rd taking in Habitat, Heal's and Purves & Purves. Cargo and The Pier don't even get a look in!

Echo-ey track of past contestants "Spunk! Wank! Jizz!"... "Who IS she!"...

Saturday, 19 May 2007

"How very dare you!"

There's been a nasty stench of homophobia in Poland for a while now due to this man, Lech Kaczynski (pictured below). As the President of Poland he still continues to back homophobic groups and legislation and all of this in spite of contravening rulings made by European Court of Human Rights. It really is shocking to have an EC member country continually attacking gay men and women and worse still, from the country's LEADER. Can you ever imagine Tony Blair saying about talks with Gay Pride organisers, "I am not willing to meet with peverts" or, on a state visit to Ireland pronounce that, "The human race would disappear if homosexuality was freely promoted".

Let's look at this little tit of a man shall we? Although he is married, his identical twin, the Prime Minister, Jaroslav isn't and still lives at home with his mum. After German newspaper picked up on this fact in a satirical article, Jaroslav declared "an insult to a head of state is a crime and there must be consequences." The gruesome twosome are so full of bile and anger on the gay rights issue that it begs the question, do the ladies prostest too much? A bit like Bobby Brown.

"Hmm, I fancy a bit of cock tonight"

It's all sounding too familiar. The words Catherine, Tate, Derek and Faye spring to mind.

"Who dear? Me dear? Gay dear? No dear! How impertinent! Just because a man lives with his mother and can recite the lines in All About Eve doesn't mean he likes to take delivery of his shopping round the back! How very dare you."

Despite Lech's obvious hatred of gays (and himself, probably) the current Mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz Walz, has for the second time, allowed the Pride march to go ahead in the city. So, to all those foot soldiers in Warsaw today:

H A P P Y G A Y P R I D E!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

The Human Furtado

D'you know what, I couldn't stand Nelly Furtado up until this time last year. Every time I heard I'm Like a Bird I'd change the words to "I'm like a turd, that will not flush away" and then she released a REAL turd called Folklore that did indeed flush right away along with, so everyone thought, her career.

But then she changed tack completely and Loose came out to the sound of jaws hitting floors. Maneater was the first single here in the UK. A couple of weeks ago, I found this little doozey. There are very few mashups that work, but this is one of the few. And because it's The Sound of the Crowd, it's an instant classic.

Maneater of the Crowd - Nelly Furtado Vs The Human League (mp3 Download)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Hear Rufus speak!

To take the name of the showbiz column in The Sun quite literally, how 'Bizarre' that Rufus Wainwright was on the front cover of this once homophobic rag. It was a banner ad for a huge Rufus interview inside where he said nothing new but did talk in depth about being in love WITH ANOTHER MAN. This wouldn't have happened even five years ago.

Anyhoo, checking that the interview might be on The Sun website, there, better still, was a podcast. Get to it HERE. I've heard Rufus speak before, but as it was on TV in the excellent South Bank Show doc, there were visuals to distract. Hearing Rufus talk in your headphones is very different; it attunes you to just how camp he is! I love it!

Kiki: the original cabaret terrorist

In fact, at times, I thought he sounded a lot like Kiki from Kiki & Herb. His friend, Justin Bond's Martini-soaked lounge singer character comes to mind at about 3:39 with a slurry piece about taking long walks in the park with his boyfriend. At 4:57, check out how he says 'Weetabix' with a Wainwright flourish.

As if that wasn't enough, Mark Lawson spoke to the boy de jour on Radio 4's Tuesday evening edition of Front Row. Get to it HERE and go to the column on the right. Either download the podcast of highlights from the week or Listen Again to the whole show from Tuesday (if you do listen again, you'll catch the camp theme tune to the Radio 4 soap The Archers at the beginning).

So it's been a mad old week...

...which explains the Paris post below. I'm probably a little over-sensitive at the mo', so to see La Hilton crying all over the shop for being sent to jail like a NORMAL person would, really gets my goat. Let me tells ya!

The only good thing to come out of Paris Hilton is Perez...

What with everything that's wrong with the world: raging California fires; missing 4 year olds; suicide bombers; let's just...

and be done with it.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

For my gorgeous Owen

I had some terrible, terrible news about a beautiful friend of mine, Owen. He loved Madonna, so when this shuffled onto my iPod this morning I knew he was there. I had intended to post the video, but seeing the lyrics written out seems more apt.


You must be my Lucky Star
'Cause you shine on me wherever you are
I just think of you and I start to glow
And I need your light
And baby you know

Starlight, starbright first star I see tonight
Starlight, starbright make everything all right
Starlight, starbright first star I see tonight
Starlight, starbright yeah

You must be my Lucky Star
'Cause you make the darkness seem so far
And when I'm lost you'll be my guide
I just turn around and you're by my side


Come on shine your heavenly body tonight
'Cause I know you're gonna make everything all right

You may be my lucky star
But I'm the luckiest by far

I'm just popping off for a few days because I honestly don't have the wherewithall. Anyhoo. Laters.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Worralorra music!

The sun's out and I'm in a 'giving' kind of mood so I've collated some gorgeous summer tracks. So, kick off yer heels, take yer wig off, grab yer Mojitos and enjoy...

Hotel room? Baseball bat? I'm intrigued...

First Class Riot - The Tough Alliance
(mp3 download)
A Swedish duo who I can't get enough of at the mo. This is a brand new track (new album, New Chance out on May 16th in Europe). I love the broken English diction: "Don't you diet, first class riot". At least, that's what I think he sings.

Marsheaux in lad mag repose

Regret - Marsheaux (mp3 download)
In memory of New Order (R.I.P.), here's a sweet version of one of their best songs by the even sweeter Marsheaux, my synth duo de jour.

Mike Monday overjoyed that everyone recognises his Harry Hill impression...

Zum Zum - Mike Monday (mp3 download)
This was a funkmeister summer track for me last year as we drove around gorgeous Majorca, windows wound down, getting a driver/passenger arm tan. The album, Smorgasbord came out in September last year and I still play it within an inch of its life.

I've got CDs older than this lot

The Hill - Bombay Bicycle Club
(mp3 download)
They haven't even turned 18 this lot, which makes the mature sound in this song even more remarkable. This is from their ep The Boy I Used to Be available on their MySpace. I love the vocals; unique, sincere and with a lovely wobbly bit at the end of each sentence. And the London Indian restuarant chain they obviously got their name from is divine too.

Just another night down at the bears' club XXL

Yours to Keep (ft. Neneh Cherry) - Teddybears (mp3 download)
I don't know much about this Brooklyn (?) based band who seem vare popular in the blogoshpere. All I do know is that it's got Neneh Cherry on it (yay!!) and the chorus is summery and lovely "We can drive around with the top down, stereo turned up loud with the phat sounds, 'cos I'm yours to keep if you want to".

Trust me. You don't want to see the two Dave Stewart looky-likeys in this band

Making Music - Chungking
Quite simply a monumental song. Sounding like the backing track for an expensive European car ad, Making Music was another played to death track from last year. The whole album The Hungry Years is the perfect accompaniment to that after-a-club-just-want-to-chill feeling!

Phew! And that's shallot!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Chart geek alert!

I know I'm one. And I know he's one.

I'm proud to admit it. I'm obsessed with the singles charts. Growing up, me and my siblings would huddle in front of the telly on a Thursday evening and during the Top 20 chart run down would cheer or boo depending on who came up. Later in the week, I would sit there with in front of the family 'music centre', hitting the clunky record button, whenever my favourite song appeared on the Radio 1 Top 40 show. Years later, if I'm home, I'll still put the radio on for the Top 40 show (trying to ignore JK & bloody Joel). The cheers and boos have gone, but I'll still wait with baited breath for the announcement of who is NUMBER 1!

Also, these days it's now a regular Sunday night habit to go read Chartrigger for his (vare funny) persective on the UK Top 10. Bengobaz/Chelsea Kelsey in his blog, Shang-a-Lang often uses the charts to, well, chart his life. In this post, his comparison between the 1988 Top 40 and todays as a signifier of his 18 year stint at Virgin Records is, as ever, inspired, funny and as detailed as only a chart geek can be.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

I dreamt I was back in uniform...

Every now and then I check this Wikipedia info for my old school. Not because I have any real affection for it, but because there are some funny minxes out there who vandalise the entry every two months and get told off by the internet authorities for doing so (scroll down to 'Important Staff' and 'Other Facts' hahahaha). It's interesting to note that the school recently celebrated their 125th birthday... when I was there, it was all about the Centenary shenanigans. *holds hearing trumpet to ear - what?*

Anyhoo, the education establishment in question is St Cuthbert's High School, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The same (public) Catholic Boys' school that the very reverend Neil Tennant went to - can you imagine how excited I was to hear that the year AFTER I left. I always knew Sting went to my old school too, which was never as big a thrill, but still quite an interesting pop fact. Actually, it might also be interesting that Dec (of Ant&Dec) went there, as did loads of Paddy McAloon's cousins (connection with all of them = catholic). Imagine. All of us wearing this MAROON blazer going: "What the fuck?"...

La Tennant penned two songs about his time at my school (BTW, we really did have Benediction every Wednesday afternoon). He didn't have a good time there, obviously, which I can empathise with. At school, all you want is girls around you because they're funny and great to hang out with, but instead all I had was boys, boys, boys. That's fine years later when you're shaking a tail feather in some club looking for action, but aged teen-whatevah most of 'em just stank of BO, stale jizz and were covered in burst zits. Nice.

It's a Sin was famous for being a dig at his Catholic education and This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave, says it all. Funnily enough, the lyrics ring very true for me, for instance, I have the recurrent nightmares of being 'a candidate for examination'. And I remember a teacher saying, at least a year before West End Girls, "Sting is the exception to the rule. He was my friend at this school and has made a career in music like no one else from here ever has, or ever will." That tit is now the Deputy Head (heaven forbid), of a place I waited years to leave.

It's a Sin (Disco Mix) - Pet Shop Boys (mp3 download)
This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave - Pet Shop Boys (mp3 download)