Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Walk in the Hark 

At this time of year everyone has their own special traditions, and here at Talent in a Previous Life we're no exception, even if our own tradition owes less to sentimentality and more to dogged obsession. So join us once again as we turn on the Christmas lights, sip a warming glass of mulled wine, before blasphemously rewriting a traditional Christmas song to cast Nicola Roberts in the lead role. This year, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Feel free to join in.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to our favourite Ginge,
Girls on stage and, mercy, wild,
And those gold hotpants? Nicely styled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
'Gainst the problem of hair dyes;
A proclamation mighty fine,
"Nicola's got a solo line!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to our favourite Ginge!"

Nic, by highest heaven adored;
Nic, who's always looking bored;
Late in song behold her sing,
She so clearly doesn't ming.
Pale in flesh, a beauty, she;
She's pretty much a deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Nicola, you're mighty swell.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to our favourite Ginge!"

Hail the Runcorn Born Princess!
Hail the Girl of Gorgeousness!
Light and life in all she sings,
When she's not stuck in the wings.
Sulky, sure, but my, oh my,
Born so that all men may sigh,
Born to be our favourite goil, (It's a mispronunciation of girl, work with us here)
Born to outshine Nadine Coyle.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to our favourite Ginge!"

As always, quite. And that's it from us for 2005. Thanks to everyone who's sent us e-mails, said nice things about us, linked to us, or just simply read and enjoyed the site. We'll be back in the new year with our predictions for the next 12 months, plus more 10 Things, more Top of the Pops, our countdown of the 100 Actual Worst Songs... Ever (And if you've not nominated your 'favourite' yet, then there's still time), plus all sorts of stuff that's so fantastic we haven't even thought of it yet (i.e. more of the same). Until then, have a very merry Christmas and we'll see you in 2006.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Talent from a Previous Month: Part 2 

The court is still out as to whether this feature best falls into the 'Lazy' or 'Self Indulgent' camp, but until they reach a verdict, why not join us as we take a look back at our thoughts, opinions, and peer pressure induced viewpoints on the second half of 2005

JULY - It was, as the opening Live 8 song informed us, twenty years ago today that the original Live Aid event took place, give or take a week or so, and, by the time we finished our live, blow by blow, coverage of the Live 8 gig, it felt like the start of the whole sorry affair was twenty hours ago. Even a good nights sleep failed to put us in a better mood about the whole affair, and we still stand by the fact that Joss Stone's dress was the best thing about the entire event. If Live 8 itself wasn't enough, we still had to contend with the line-up for the Edinburgh gig, but, despite expecting the whole affair to be a shit show of equal proportions, our home city's gig turned out to be the best of the bunch, probably because The Proclaimers were involved and UB40 weren't. Again we fell in love with a tune which failed to make the number one spot, Inaya Day's Nasty Girl in this case, while both Popjustice and the Mercury Music Prize attempted to tell us what the best records of the last year were. Popjustice got it most right, though both were flawed, mainly due to the fact that neither list gave even a passing nod to Fierce Girl's What Makes a Girl Fierce. Girls Aloud launched Long Hot Summer to a widespread chorus of "Come on, it's good, but you can do so much better", while Charlotte Church may or may not have been suffering from mental health issues. It was hard to worry too much about it though when she did insist on looking quite lovely on Top of the Pops.

AUGUST - As far as pop music was concerned, it was a dry month here at Talent in a Previous Life, as we were far too busy seeing Edinburgh Fringe shows to keep the site updated. While we found time to point out that, ummm, Mark Owen hadn't been shot, the bulk of our efforts were spent seeing nearly fifty shows over three weeks and, while we may not have contributed much to pop criticism, we did get to see Snoopy: The Musical which we think absolves us of any charges of laziness.

SEPTEMBER - The month started off with us being threatened with badly spelt violence from an aggrieved McFly fan, though as hate mail goes it failed to top the person who accused us of being racist as we were a bit lukewarm towards a Raghav single. The winners of both the Popjustice and Mercury music prize were announced, and both the winners turned out to be fully deserving of their respective accolades. Who'da thunk it? Speaking of Popjustice, we ripped off the site wholesale with our Ashes feature, but as we subtly rip them off on a daily basis this shouldn't have come as any surprise. Girls Aloud decided to show the world that they weren't just a plastic pop band by, umm, releasing a set of plastic representations of themselves, while Britney Spears gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, who has now achieved favoured fashion accessory status, just above one of her manky dogs.

October - Despite the fact that they dragged it out for so long it seems like it started in January, X Factor launched its live shows. If only we'd known how mediocre the whole sorry affair would have ended up. Equally disappointing was Lisa Scott-Lee's chart position. Legally she now has to leave the music industry thanks to her failure to get a top ten hit, but it's still under debate as to whether she was a part of it in the first place. Offering inspiration in the world of alternative employment was Adam Rickett, then we laughed at the thought of an inexperienced, yet charismatic and good-looking young man making his way in the Tory party. Now, of course, it seems that he'd be full qualified for the position of home secretary.

NOVEMBER - November found Girls Aloud announcing their second tour, and we found ourselves getting more excited than Ronan Keating when confronted by a country ballad, but our excitement for that was naught compared to the revelation that Take That were to tour. Unfortunately our ticket buying success varied inversely with our excitement level and we were left disappointed by our attempt to get tickets to see 4/5ths of the greatest boyband to ever dance aggressively towards the camera. Also leaving us weeping into our keyboard was the news that Maria got voted off of X Factor. The public are still, lest we forget, cunts. To take our minds of it we turned out attention towards Jenny Frost's appearance in I'm a Celebrity.. Get Me Out of Here, but given her apparent refusal to get involved in any way, shape or form, we'd have been as well turning our attention to a block of butter sitting in the fridge.

DECEMBER - And so we turn to the current month, and if you really need reminded about what went on then frankly, you're a goldfish. Most of it's still on the front page for Nicola's sake, but we did go and see Rachel Stevens supplement her dole money by playing live. Girls Aloud released a new album, and whole new words had to be created to sum up it's genius while, proving that every ying has its yang, Shayne Ward won Pop Idol X Factor and promptly released one of the worst singles of all time. Perhaps he'll do a Will Young and improve, but it's more likely he'll do a Gareth Gates and stutter out of existence. Finally, Mutya Buena decided that nappy changing was preferable to hanging around with Keisha and Heidi and, so, decided to quit the Sugababes, to be quickly replaced by Amelle Berrabah. Our main disappointment with this news centered around the fact Mutya wasn't replaced by Big Bird. After all, if he joined the team then they'd certainly be taller in more ways. Arf.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Talent From a Previous Month 

It's nearly Christmas! And, along with the rest of the country, we're beginning to wind down and can't really be bothered doing anything that actually involves putting some effort in, as yesterday's Sugababes piece amply demonstrated. Of course, we'd still like to provide new content for the site, so we've done a bit of thinking about what would be the best way to write something that seemed fresh and interesting, but which actually involves as little original thought as possible. It seems, to our minds at any rate, that the best way to disguise a whole host of rehashed jokes and opinions under the guise of top quality brand new writing is, of course, in the time honoured tradition of an end of year round up! So here is part one of our look back at this year's major pop events. Well, the ones we bothered covering at any rate.

JANUARY - The coldest month of the year found us turning our equally cold hearts towards the Brit Awards created shortlist for the best song of the last 25 years. 12 months later and we still can't work out why most of the songs, and Simply Red's Holding Back the Years in particular, were nominated. If, as we suspected at the time, it was all a big Space Cadets style practical joke, then they've waited far too long to do the big reveal. Fortunately we had other things to occupy our mind, as Kenzie entered the Big Brother house. What we figured would just be a one-off throwaway joke about the homoerotic nature of Jeremy and Kenzie's friendship swiftly became an overriding theme for his time in the show, and even our cynical mind became somewhat touched by the closeness of their friendship. Not touched enough to actually vote for him, you understand, but touched enough so that we felt a pang of sadness when they were finally separated. More sadness was to come when Busted split up, though as Busted news stories went it was as inevitable as one involving Pete Doherty. Elvis Presley, figuring that if rap artists can carry on making money long after they're dead, why shouldn't he, began his overlong campaign of re-issues, which served mainly to irritate Top of the Pops producers, while Destiny's Child released Soldier and promptly became one of the music world's most irrelevant bands, and as this month included released by Rooster and Darius, that took some doing. And finally, Girls Aloud turned up on Top of the Pops riding motorcycles. Hooray!

FEBRUARY - Busted had clearly set a trend, as Mis-Teeq, Pop! and V all decided to join James and Matt at the job centre, desperately trying to convince the assistant that being able to dance while moving their lips was a transferable skill. No matter though, as we fell in love with a girl band called Bloke who, after our rapturous write-up, promptly fell apart before they had a chance to actually release anything, at least Verbalicious managed one single before vanishing off of the face of planet pop. The Brit Awards happened, as they tend to do at this time of year, and for a change people who actually deserved the prizes got them. Well, Scissor Sisters won a couple of gongs at any rate. Valentine's Day came and went, and so did Matt OTV in the last Slash! piece we ever wrote. We might do more in the new year, though.

MARCH - March brought with it the exciting and surprising news that Javine was to represent us in the Eurovision Song Contest. If only the rest of Europe had shared our enthusiasm, then perhaps we wouldn't have suffered the ignomy of her not exactly impressive finishing position. Poor Javine. Again. And poor Vs, The 411 and Geri Halliwell, who also found themselves without record contracts, even if our inclusion of Liberty X in the list turned out to be more wishful thinking than anything else. Another band we declared our love for, The Faders also proved to be something of a lame horse in the chart success stakes, demonstrating exactly why we shouldn't gamble, other than the fact we don't understand anything about betting, of course. At the time though, we didn't know that, and our optimistic mood for them was buoyed by the fact we also enjoyed rather fantastic gigs by both Natasha Bedingfield and Mark Owen. We probably enjoyed Natasha more though, mainly thanks to the *sigh* factor.

APRIL - Rachel Stevens came back this month with Negotiate With Love but, despite it's brilliance and our best efforts, it headed towards the number one spot with a sponge bullet, eventually hitting the not exactly dizzy heights of number 10. Equally disappointing was the news that Girls Aloud were planning on releasing a cover of Wicked Game, as the howls of indignation and anger threatened to overwhelm pop music message boards the world over, this plan was quietly shelved and everyone was happy, except possibly Chris Isaak's accountant. ITV stumbled upon a new way to persuade the public to part with their hard earned cash by launching Hit Me Baby One More Time, a chance for washed up old school pop stars to have an opportunity to kick start their careers. Things started off well with Tiffany, but soon went downhill the minute Shakin' Stevens and Hue and Cry started to get involved. It wasn't all bad news though, as FHM announced their annual list of the 100 Sexiest Women, and all five Girls Aloud members made an appearance, even if the inclusion of Anastasia casts some doubt upon the credibility of the voters.

MAY - A month of such fantasticness it's hard to know where to begin. First of all the ever mighty Helen Love released a new single which was so many kinds of wonderful that questions would have been asked in parliament about the unfair distribution of said wonderfulness had all the politicians' minds not been focused on the General Election instead. And while Helen love releasing an amazing single isn't exactly new in itself - it happens every time they can be bothered going into a recording studio - the news that Kelly Osbourne had somehow stumbled upon one of the tunes of the year was so earth shattering that people began to ask questions about her whereabouts when the boxing day tsunami struck. Then - as if that wasn't enough - Girls Aloud went out on tour and proved to pretty much everyone - bar a few indie-hipster-snobs who wouldn't know a good thing if it came up to them and said "Hello! I'm a good thing!", while wearing a t-shirt declaring same - that they really are the most exciting thing happening in music at that moment. And we still get goosebumps when we think about their version of Teenage Dirtbag. And it was more than just the Girls, of course, as their supporting line-up also introduced us to Kute, who we also raved about and, as is now traditional with bands we rave about, have promptly released nothing whatsoever since then. In fact, the only down side of the month was the fact that Shakin' Stevens won Hit Me Baby One More Time, but given that the competition had pretty much faded into irrelevance at this point, it was hard to get too worked up about it.

JUNE - We were kept busy in June by the foolish decision to stage a second Live Aid concert and our equally foolish decision to try and provide 'hilarious' write-ups of every band taking part in the 8 gigs which took place around the world in July. As plans went, it started off quite well, before spluttering to a halt some point around Canada. Equally ill-advised was our 5 songs that changed the world mini-feature, of which only 3 appeared, a decision which was probably best for everyone involved.

Join us tomorrow for a look at the second half of 2005, featuring things which happened so recently they could almost have happened yesterday and, in the case of the Sugababes split, did.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hole in the Band 

(READER WARNING: The following piece can best be described as 'functional')

While it's always tragic when a band splits up - unless of course the band in question is The Noise Next Door, in which case it'll be hilarious - at least with the Sugababes we've already had a bit of practice as we've been here once before when Siobhan Donaghy decided that she'd had enough of the sniping and bitchiness and ran off instead to make a solo album whose magnificence was matched only by the level of public indifference in the project. Now, alas, it's Mutya Buena's turn to jump ship, and if the band continues to shed members at this rate, by the time they tour next year it'll be like going to see a sixties band whose only connection with the original line-up is that their drummer once stood next to the second bassist in a bus queue. Mutya was a bit more forthright about the whole affair than Siobhan was, however, and has released a press statement and everything and not just buggered off out through the bathroom window during a promotional tour of Japan.

Mutya is leaving as she feels she's unable commit to the band in the way she really needs to, and given she's recently had a baby we're not hugely surprised. After all, it's hard to fit in the three or four hours it takes to come up with a good range of insults to whisper behind Heidi's back when you have feeding times and nappy changing to contend with. Actually, that's not fair, while it's certainly possible to read between the lines and come up with a tale of in-fighting and bitching, we're going to give her the benefit of the doubt and trust her statement. It is Christmas after all, and stranger things have happened.

Since before the band had even formed, 'Sugababes To Split' stories were running in the press, so this news hasn't exactly come as a surprise and, given that she's been notably absent from promotional duties recently, citing illness, her decision probably didn't come as a surprise to the band's management company. Indeed, such is the speed at which the Sugababes bandwagon is rolling on, we're allowed just a 24 hour long period of mourning before we have to give a cautious welcome to the new member. According to Popjustice, she'll be going by the name of Amelle Berrabah, a girl of whom Google has no knowledge whatsoever, though that'll no doubt change by tomorrow. We wish her all the best of luck in the world, but we reckon it'll be just over a month before the first "Heidi and Keisha hate Amelle" story turns up in the press, whether it's true or not.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And it's practically Christmas as well. We watched Girls Aloud's Christmas-Mania on Saturday night and it certainly helped us get into the festive spirit. Well, it drove us to drink at any rate, which is much the same thing. Our favourite part was probably when Cheryl declared that "Everyone just loves Christmas", in a tone of voice which suggested that to her even the thought of the yuletide season finds her reaching for an overdose of sleeping pills. Still, they did do their covers of Jingle Bell Rock and I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday and wore some lovely dresses, so it would be churlish to complain, though we are generally quite churlish when you get right down to it. Anyway, to other matters of the pop television variety and let's have a look at what we learned from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Reign of Shayne Falls Mainly on the Plain 

After ten weeks of television that reached both the highest heights (Hello Maria doing Take Another Little Piece of My Heart!) and the lowest lows (Hello... well, pretty much everything else really) X Factor finally reached it's conclusion last night. Over seventy days we've seen hopes raised before being cruelly dashed, dreams shattered before our very eyes, Kate Thornton in a variety of unsuitable dresses and far, far more of Chico than we ever wanted to. We've seen petty bickering amongst the judges, desperate attempts to stir up controversy and more lukewarm ballads than you can shake a stick at. In short, we've looked into the abyss and seen the blazing fires of hell itself, but finally we can tear our eyes away, look up to the blue sky above and see hope for us all, as they finally crowned their winner and we can all go home and get on with our lives again.

As it was both the final and Christmas they decided to decorate the studio! Well, they stuck up a couple of cheaply decorated Christmas trees at any rate. Kate herself was also decorated, donning her poshest frock for the evening. We assume it was anyway, as the other possibility was that she'd worn her nightdress by mistake. Treating the show as if it was the most exciting event of the year and not just the final of a glorified Opportunity Knocks competition, Kate introduced us once again to the judges and the remaining contestants, before handing over to Simon to introduce his act for the evening.

As with all the contestants, Journey South - a band for who the phrase "Ugly brothers with bad hair and all the charisma of a pair of pebbles" might well have been invented and, indeed, was - had a homecoming this week, taking a private jet to return to Middlesborough. Upon landing either Robson or Jerome, we couldn't see which, knelt down to touch the airport tarmac as if it was the very soil of the promised land itself. The twat. They were driven home to be greeted by an entirely spontaneous and in no way pre-organised crowd of cheering fans drawn mainly, it seemed, from the local primary school. We're not sure whether the chance to holler enthusiastically at a pair of no marks was really worth skipping classess for, though to be fair there are many lessons that can be learnt from the boys, which mainly revolve around seeing what they do and then promptly doing the opposite.

They were joined for their triumphant return - "We want to go home and give something back", said one of the trip, not that they've shown that they've got anything whatsoever to give so far - by mentor Simon Cowell, who took the opportunity to have a private chat with the boys' mother, although by 'private chat', Simon seemed to mean "On camera then broadcast to the watching millions". We can only hope he shows more decorum when he goes to the toilet and other such moments in his life where privacy is generally expected.

Finally, they did a gig at their local town hall. "The reaction we got from Middlesborough was so humbling", said one of the brothers, which says a lot more about the quality of entertainment in Middlesborough than it does about the quality of a Journey South gig.

With that out of the way, they stepped up to the stage to give us their first song of the night, Elton John's I Won't Let The Sun Go Down on Me. Robson, in a misguided attempt to attract the female vote, had his shirt button undone a tad, while Jerome spent half the song reaching out his hand towards his brother in a way that made our skin crawl. Had he spent less time concentrating on that and more on ths singing, he might have stood more chance of actually reaching all the notes he was supposed to, a task which he seemed to find entirely impossible to complete. They stepped out from behind the mic stands for their big finish and, despite the fact that their entire performance was an object lesson in anti-showmanship, Simon still declared that watching their performance "really was such a buzz", which seems to imply that he's not getting access to the quality of drugs that a man in his position should have. We couldn't concentrate on Louis' comments as every time we saw him in his tuxedo we wanted to pull back his bowtie and let it twang into his face.

For Andy's homecoming, he eschewed the use of a private jet, presumably feeling it'd be a tad excessive given that he lives just down the road from the X Factor studios. Instead, the humble, normal, straightforward, plain old ordinary Andy decided that the best transport to go home and see his equally humble, normal, straightforward, plain old ordinary family in their humble, normal, straightforward, plain old ordinary home was, ummm, a stretch limousine. Andy introduced his mentor, Sharon Osbourne, to his family, while she happily took advantage of the opportunity to reprise her "annoying patronising woman" role from the Asda adverts. "So nice to go to a nice normal home and have sausages on sticks!", she screeched, before going on to ask the various family members what they did and telling them that it must be interesting before they've even had a chance to reply.

Andy's first song of the night was When a Man Loves a Woman and, while his game was undoubtedly raised tonight compared to his more, ahem, predictable performances previously on the series, it's still hard to feel any sort of connection or warmth from his performances. Especially when his face immediately reverts to its default blank expression the minute he places his microphone back into the stand. The judges, naturally, loved him, but given they'd already raved about Journey South's performance, it's fair to say that had a mop been placed on the stage which was jiggled around to the sound of Elvis Presley's greatest hits, they'd have been equally enthusiastic.

Finally for the homecomings, we have Shayne traveling back to Manchester in a helicopter, before getting a police escort to revisit his local school. Well, why should his Mum have all the fun of traveling around in the back of a police van? Again he was greeted by screaming schoolkids, and it was probably a wise move for him to visit a place of education as his success in this competition rides mainly on enough pay as you go vouchers being sold in the vicinity of high schools up and down the country. As with Journey South, he was also overawed by the crowd of people waiting to see him do a gig, the fact that he was doing a free gig in a shopping centre which meant that not getting an audience full of vaguely interested shoppers would have been an impressive feat seemed to pass him by.

For Shayne's opening song, he decided to reprise his version of Daniel Bedingfield's If You're Not the One from Week 2, a performance we orginally described as "a complete non-event from start to finish". This time around things were much the same, with a low key, one gear, uninvolving performance which so lacked passion that he might as well have been singing a song about choosing a puppy at the cat and dog home for all we cared. "Flawless", suggested Simon, while his mentor, Louis Walsh, excitedly exclaimed "He's so humble", as if that was somehow a good quality for a pop star.

Equally as lacklustre as their decorations, each act stepped up to the plate to give us a Christmas song in an attempt to get us into the festive spirit and, given that for many Christmas is nothing more than a season of misery and frustration, they did a damned good job of echoing that. Journey South gave us John and Yoko's Happy Christmas (War is Over) - well they would, wouldn't they - Andy missed a trick by giving us O Holy Night instead of Nat King Cole's Christmas Song, while Shayne took it upon himself to try and ruin any chance he might have of winning the competition by performing Johnny Mathis' When a Child is Born, one of the most vomit inducing tracks of all time. Annoyingly though, he actually did quite a good job, possibly because he resisted the temptation to arse around with his falsetto for once in his time on the show.

Labouring under the delusion that not only do we remember much about all the failed auditionees, we somehow care about the prospect of actually seeing them on stage again. A selection of some of the worst/embarrassing/misguided folk to face the X Factor judges, though quite why Chico wasn't included in this line-up we're not sure, got together to perform My Way, demonstrating once again, as if there was any doubt, that there are far too many people in the world who will happily humiliate themselves for little more than thirty seconds of screentime.

So, with that moment of pointlessness out of the way, we move on to a different moment of pointlessness and Journey South's last song of the evening. They chose to reprise Let it Be from last week's show - "they are in fact passion vacuums, managing to suck any sort of emotion out of every song they turn their clumsy, unfeeling hands to" - and performed it in an entirely identical fashion, even down to wearing the same suits, so if they can't be bothered coming up with any new material, we'll follow their example and point out once again that they are, in fact, passion vacuums, managing to suck any sort of emotion out of every song they turn their clumsy, unfeeling hands to.

Andy chose to redo Me and Mrs Jones, which he originally performed on Week 6 - "he wore a Saville Row suit in a rather uninspiring shade of grey. Very appropriate.". This time around he managed to do a much better job of it, even if you'd still find it hard to be convinced that he'd have the imagination to have an affair, even if going to the same cafe at the same time every single night rings a bit more true. "What would you like to say to the judges?", asked Kate after they'd sung his praises. Quick as a flash, and demonstrating the sort of wit and personality that would make him a boon to interviewers all around the world should he win the competition, he quipped "Dunno", before mumbling into his shoes.

"You're the reason why I love the music business", said Louis of Shayne in his intro footage. How interesting, who'd ever have thought that pretty young boys were the sort of thing that kept Louis involved in this industry. The things you learn. Anyway, Shayne gave us Somewhere Over the Rainbow in a very odd arrangement which seemed to bear little relation to the original tune, but against all odds - and given the song choices tonight, it's almost like Louis wanted him to lose - Shayne managed to pull it off and, with this song, managed to hit a high note, both literally and metaphorically. He got all emotional as the judges told him how wonderful he was, helpfully demonstrating his feminine side to any voter who might have been swithering about whether to call or not.

And with that, the performances were over, Kate wrapped it all up, exhorting us to vote for our favourite as the only way they could win was down to us. And, of course, the only way Simon and ITV can make their profits is by people constantly hitting redial to connect to a premium rate phoneline, something far more important to the whole enterprise. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire filled in the time to the results show and a nation waited with bated breath to find out what would happen next, though admittedly we're talking about that part of the nation which was tuned into Strictly Come Dancing on the other side, of course.

"It's a battle of the giants", Kate informed us on the show's return, and if she genuinely believed that to be true, we can only assume that she is, in fact, only 2 foot tall and virtually everyone in the world would appear to her to be a giant. Apart from Jamie Cullum. After various re-caps and updates, we eventually heard the news we'd all been waiting for. Journey South haven't won! There was a technical error at this point, as when they were shown their highlights package, they broadcast a selection of their performances throughout the series, rather than the blank tape which would have been more factually accurate. "Really gutted", was their response when asked how they felt, but who cares, we've got no time to hang around and focus upon your hangdog expressions! Andi Peters is hanging around a CD pressing plant and we simply must find out what he's doing there.

Yes, in a bid to add some sense of occasion and history to the show, Andi is indeed in a CD pressing plant, which is just waiting to fire up the machinery and go into action the minute the winner is announced. It was never made quite clear exactly why Andi was picked for this somewhat pointless presenting job, but we assume it's because he'd got a job at the plant on night security and the producers figured they might as well kill two birds with one stone. But if the CD's are already mastered and ready to go, it can only mean one thing: It's time for us to actually hear what the eventual winner will inflict upon us in the name of entertainment.

The track is called That's My Goal and sounds exactly how you'd expect it to. Both Andy and Shayne's versions are pretty much identical, though Shayne's performance probably just edges it as the song is more suited for his voice. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact we strongly suspect that this is a Westlife offcut, we'd almost be tempted to suggest that it had been written with him mind. Presumably there was a Journey South version ready to roll as well, but again we imagine there would have been little difference between that and the performances we heard, though Journey South's would probably have involved a tad more atonal grunting.

And so, with that out of the way, and after giving Andy and Shayne a chance to see both their journeys and some messages of support from their friends and family - Guess what! They all wanted someone they knew to do well! What a surprise! - it was finally the moment of truth. 10.8 million votes had been cast, so it's no wonder Simon was looking very pleased with himself despite having no acts left in the contest, and the tension in the air was palpable. Or at least it would have been had either of the two finalists been capable of expressing any sort of emotion whatsoever. After a pause which you could drive a truck through, Kate announced the winner: "It's Shayne!", to much celebration and happiness from himself and his family. "Thank you so much!", he exclaimed, while Kate went to commiserate with Andy: "You may be a binman, but you're certainly not rubbish!", she exclaimed. Just think, someone actually got paid to write that line.

Shayne then took to the stage for a final time to, once again, perform That's My Goal, a song which managed to be even less interesting the third time we heard it. As it reached its, for want of a better word, climax, all of the contestants from this year's series took to the stage behind him to join in, and we assume some sort of prize was available if you were able to name more than six of them. "I'm not going to change", were Shayne's final words on the show, once again entirely missing the point of being a popstar. One thing's for sure, while he might not have to sell shoes any more, his career from this point on is likely to be a load of cobblers.

And that's it! Ten weeks of our life have flown past like a penguin with concrete wings and once again we find ourselves despairing at what dregs remain in the talent pool of this country of ours. Despite the fact that until the current generation of children grow up there are clearly no more stars remaining in this country, the X Factor bandwagon rolls on regardless and they're already taking applicants for the 2006 series. While this year may have found, and hopefully not promptly lost, Maria, we also have to remember that disturbing the rock also caused Chico and Journey South to come scuttling out to see what all the commotion was about. Is it really worth the risk of a third trawl to find out if the nation's undiscovered talent should really have remained undiscovered? Who knows, but we're sure that there'll be more than enough people who not only believe that they have the so-called X factor, but that going on a TV show like this will actually give them a long term career and not just the opportunity to feature in "Where are they Now?" pieces every five years or so.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Brenda Asunder 

It's week 9 of X Factor and that can only mean one thing: Any vague interest which the contest might have held has long since evapourated to be replaced with a feeling of boredom and the only thing which makes you sit down and watch the bloody thing is a misplaced sense of loyalty and obligation. Oh, and it's the semi-finals. Last night the show also managed to win a prize at the Comedy Awards, which is quite appropriate really, given that with Maria's eviction the whole show became little more than a laughing stock, so to celebrate Kate Thornton went for a classy look in a strapless black cocktail dress, and very lovely she looked too. More importantly, though, how lovely were our four remaining finalists? Let's find out, shall we?

Andy, along with all the other finalists, got to go along to the King Kong premiere this week, and the proper premiere as well, not just an advance preview screening with free tickets he got from a Radio 1 competition. He was excited by the fact that people there were screaming his name and asking for his autograph. "Fans", he reckoned, oblivious to the fact that the people who go along to these sorts of things would scream at the top of their voice for anyone they even vaguely recognised, even their school's lollypop man. Despite this brush with 'fame', Andy soon returned to the earth from whence he came and gave us two songs, first up being an awful arrangement of Bryan Adams' Everything I Do (I Do It For You), which was so cynically picked to target his expected fanbase he'd have been as well doing an original song entitled "Lonely Housewives, I Love You So". To show that such a level of cynicism was no one off, he also plucked out his kids from the audience at the end. Did Chico's eviction mean nothing to these people? Secondly he did a much better performance of Lately - the Stevie Wonder track and not, alas, the surprisingly good Skunk Anansie track of the same name - giving it his all, occasionally missing the mark, but generally ticking all the boxes his contract requires him to tick.

When Journey South used to play the pubs and clubs, the best they could hope to get was occasionally having someone come up to them after a gig and say "That was alright". Most people at this point would have got the message and realised that they probably weren't cut out for this pop star business after all, but not Journey South! Oh no, they have the sort of thick skulls that not only give them a vaguely neanderthal appearence, but also mean that they're unable to absorb any sort of criticism and just carry on stumbling through life without changing direction in any way, shape or form, until they somehow manage to end up performing live on national television every Saturday night despite possessing all the charisma of a dead sheep. Indeed, it seems that rather than being human beings, they are in fact passion vaccuums, managing to suck any sort of emotion out of every song they turn their clumsy, unfeeling hands to. This week, Let it Be and Rod Stewart's You're in my Heart were chosen to face the soulless evil that is Journey South. Neither song was particularly strong to begin with, so it's no surprise that they both ended up battered, bruised, and defeated, wondering why they had to be punished so. "You haven't changed a bit!", exclaimed Simon, joyfully. We're not quite sure why he felt that was a compliment.

Sharon has been raiding the Cupboard of No Imagination in her bid to find the most uninspiring and predictable songs for Brenda to do. This week she was lumbered with Respect and Without You, not bad songs in themselves, but so utterly overused in shows like this that they might as well be performed by a pile of discarded dishcloths for all the interest they hold. Brenda did her best with them, but they're the sort of songs she can perform in her sleep, which may explain why she was wearing a silk dressing gown tucked into her trousers for her first song.

Finally, we have Shayne, a man with so little personality that Louis finds himself unable to introduce him by saying anything more interesting than "He's young, he's from manchester, he can sing", before falling asleep at the desk until Sharon elbows him and wakes him up again. This week he gave us a perfomance of If Tomorrow Never Comes, which owed a lot to the sort of stagecraft you'd expect from Mr Excitement himself, Ronan Keating, and finished up with Unchained Melody. Whatever did happen to Gareth Gates?

And so, with all the inevitablity of the winner's second single flopping, we come to the results show which, as with last week, is little more than a bloated mass of filler purporting to be a TV show. Eventually we got round to the announcement of who was to go, with Kate pausing far more than someone normally should, either to indicate that. This. Was. Exciting. Or because her autocue was sticking. Either way, she evenutally got round to giving the results and unfortunately our prediction a few weeks back has proven to be correct with Brenda being given the boot, a decision which, as with the Maria eviction, was once again booed by the studio audience. Of course, had they spent less time booing and more time voting for the poor girl we might not actually be in this mess, but never mind.

On Saturday, Andy, Journey South and Shane fight it out for the poisoned chalice of being the X Factor winner. Who will win and who, indeed, will care? Can you wait to find out? We know we can. Join us for our final rake through the rubbish bins of reality TV on Sunday. Or Monday, depending how hungover we are.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

Eminem is currently riding high at number one in the album charts for the second week running with his Greatest Hits. It stormed straight to the top in its first week of release, despite the fact it was only on sale for a couple of days. Admittedly those couple of days included a Saturday in the not exactly uncommercial Christmas shopping period, but still, it's a pretty impressive feat. To celebrate here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite misogynistic and homophobic rapper:-
  1. Marshall Mathers acquired the nickname 'Eminem' due to his fondness of turning up to MC battles dressed as a crispy shelled chocolate sweet. Normally a red one.
  2. Dido can thank Eminem for making her career a success, the rest of us can blame him. Then tar and feather him, force him into a car crusher, then a bacon slicer, before setting fire to the bits and feeding them to a lion.
  3. All of D12's record sales came off the back of their own talent and ability and definitely not because Eminem would occasionally wander into their studio and cough into a microphone.
  4. Despite his lyrics, Eminem has never actually murdered anyone or, indeed, even threatened anyone with violence. In fact, the closest he's ever come was arriving home once after a hard day of blonde haired swearing and saying "God, I could really murder a good Chardonnay right now", before loosening his cravat in a vaguely agressive manner.
  5. Whenever he finds it hard to come up with inspiration for his rhymes, Eminem wanders down to the nearest schoolyard and notes down what the kids are saying. These are then carefully edited to make sure they're not obviously more mature than his own output.
  6. Despite all the help and credibility that he gave him, Eminem once commited a cardinal sin and forgot to buy Dr Dre a present for his birthday. Naturally Dre was upset about this, but he remembered the advice of his psychologist and channeled the negative energy into a more positive, creative outlet, and wrote a song about the experience. Alas, That Bastard Marshall Never Bought me the Scalextric Set I Wanted was not a hit.
  7. Top linguists have gotten together and have reached the conclusion that "You make my pee-pee go b-doing-doing-doing", from Ass Like That, really is the worst lyric ever recorded.
  8. Though the self-pitying whine of Mockingbird came pretty close.
  9. Cleaning Out My Closet was written as a way of helping Eminem cope with the sadness and frustration caused when he realised that he couldn't enter the kingdom of Narnia through the back of his wardrobe.
  10. He has done some cracking singles though, when you think about it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's, ummm, Tuesday! And we didn't do this piece yesterday - though given our somewhat slapdash attitude towards this feature recently you should be surprised we're even doing it at all - as we spent Monday evening rushing towards Glasgow to see none other than Mark Owen perform at the Barfly, a venue somewhat more used to playing host to the sort of rubbish angsty emo indie rock bands who find favour in boys who proudly sport the sort of beards which demonstrate nothing more than their inability to grow one properly. Quite what they made of the more oestrogen based crowd that Mark tends to attract was unclear, but what the crowd themselves made of Mark was slightly more in the open, given that his every move, action, and note was greeted with an ear-splitting scream. As with the last time we saw him he was genuinely excellent, except this time he was even better, as not only where we there in a much less cynical frame of mind, but he also played a lot less of the ballady stuff this time and, if that wasn't enough, he also threw in a cover of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart which, yes, was exactly as fantastic as that sounds. It was a natural choice as, for both Mark and Ian Curtis, their career consisted of them being puppets of the music industry. Well, Ian danced like his limbs were being controlled by strings at any rate.

So, with his cover of Joy Division coming before the encore, and Clementine and Four Minute Warning having already made an appearence, what on earth could he do to top all that for his finale? Well, a quick stroll down the chorus of Robbie's No Regrets, perhaps? Not in itself, that impressive, except when you remember that No Regrets is Robbie's song about his time in Take That, so could that mean Mark's planning on... No, he wouldn't.. would he? Damned right he would! The intro to Could it Be Magic kicks in, the crowd go wild, and we all go home happy, alhough it did briefly raise then dash our hopes that he might do a medley of Take That's greatest hits, but then, we always hope, no matter what gig we go and see, that the performer will launch into a medley of Take That's greatest hits. Invariably we're disappointed, of course, apart from the time we went to see Billy Bragg that is. It almost made up for out abject failure to get tickets for the Take That tour, but not entirely, so if anyone would like to send us a pair of tickets then, please, feel free to get in touch.

Anyway, we had a point when we started this, now what was it again? Oh yes. Here's what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, December 11, 2005

So, Good! 

We've not had time to watch last night's X Factor yet - though we have heard the result and we're not at all happy - so our review will have to wait a couple of days, but what, you might be asking yourself, though in all fairness it's quite unlikely, was more important than watching a handful of no marks making a desperate last ditch effort to win the love and respect of the Great British public? Watching Rachel Stevens making a desperate, last ditch effort to win the love and respect of the Great British public, of course! She was playing at a student night in Glasgow, and here's what we learnt from the gig:-

Friday, December 09, 2005

Nicola Roberts' Guide To Keeping Yourself Amused When Everyone Apart From You Has Been Given Something to Do 


(It's OK, you can speak)

(No, really, it's safe, Nadine's not around to stop you. Don't worry)

(If you could just step a bit closer to the microphone, please, we're not quite picking you up properly)

(The microphone. It's the big black fluffy thing in front of you. They've really never let you near one before?)

(Really? Well chinese burns are quie nasty so we can understand your reluctance, but no-one's going to do that here, so feel free to start speaking)

*Ahem* Hi, I'm Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud. Yes you do. I'm the one at the back during most of our performances. No, I'm not an extra. I'm a proper part of the band, I get paid and everything! It's proper boss! Anyway, despite me being an integral part of the band, I often find that while the other girls are busy recording vocals, learing dance routines, doing interviews, and just generally hanging out, I'm left to my own devices and have to find something else to do to keep me occupied. Sometimes they even forget to tell me when and where we're doing the recording sessions, can you imagine! They're so absent-minded sometimes! Anyway, with all this free time I have while they're busy with important stuff, I've become quite adept at finding things to do to pass the time, so I thought I'd pass on some of this knowledge to you lot, so here's my Guide to Keeping Yourself Amused When Everyone Else Apart From You Has Been Given Somethng to Do:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sarah Harding's Guide to Men 

Hello. I'm Sarah Harding and, other than being blonde and a bit shouty, I don't really have much of a personality to speak of. Oh well. Even I'm struggling to keep myself awake as I compose this introduction, so I'm not sure how you're managing it. Or maybe you're not? Is anyone there? Hello? Well, if anyone is there, sit back, relax and enjoy my expert advice in how to get a man, lose him, then get another man, all before midnight!Join us tomorrow for Nicola Roberts' Guide To Keeping Yourself Amused When Everyone Apart From You Has Been Given Something to Do

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nadine Coyle's Guide to Fashion 

BEGORRAH! I'M NADINE COYLE, TO BE SURE. I'M PART FOGHORN, PART ORNAMENTAL TABLE, BUT ALL WOMAN AND I'M HERE TO GIVE YOU SOME FASH... WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I DON'T HAVE TO SHOUT? MY VOICE HAS TO BE HEARD ABOVE EVERYONE ELSES 'CAUSE I'M THE BEST AND NO-ONE ELSE IS GOING TO GET A LOOK IN, NOT ON MY WATCH... FINE, I mean, fine. I'll try and tone it down a bit. That better? Good. As I was saying before some eejit rudely interrupted me, I'm officially the best dressed girl in the band, and before you start claiming that this is just me on some sorta ego trip again, this was carried out by a democratic vote of all the girls. Admittedly I did twist each of their arms up their backs before I asked them, but they still all said was the best, so I must be. Sweet mother of Jesus. So, as a style icon to you all, I'm here to give you some fashion tips so you can look almost as good as me. Not as good as, of course, that would be impossible, but it's the best I can offer you... Nicola! Would you stop wriggling around. As soon as I'm finished typing this I'll stop using you as a seat, so the less you disturb me the quicker it'll get done and no, I don't care that your back hurts... Ahem. Here are my tips:-Right, Nicola, you can get up now, I'm finished. Go and make me a cup of tea. NOW!

Join us tomorrow for Sarah Harding's Guide to Men

10 Things We State About... 

With Chemistry not only being the greatest album ever to be released by by man, beast, or girl band, but also containing the not-quite-the-mega-hit-it-should-have-been single Biology, it's clear that Science is where it's at in the world of pop. But Girls Aloud aren't the first band to turn to half remembered school lessons for inspiration; the world of bunsen burners and frog disections has been an influence on bands for many, many years, and lets not forget the many bands who've found that certain branches of chemistry can help along the old song writing process. To prove our point, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about Science:-
  1. Olivia Newton-John's Let's Get Physical was comissioned by the Physics Marketing Board in an attempt to get more students interested in the subject. It failed, though interest in leotards soared by 1000%.
  2. Many scientists are interested as to what might happen if you dip Jamie Cullum repeatedly into a vat of acid. Despite the potential benefits to society, human rights lawyers have refused to allow permission as it is considered to be a cruel and unusual punishment. No judgement has yet been passed as to whether his music can also be considered as such.
  3. Despite what they may lead you to believe, medical exams aren't actually that hard, providing you can remember the lyrics to Dem Bones, Dem Bones.
  4. The blame for the declining number of students taking science classes falls squarely upon the shoulders of Coldplay's The Scientist single, for making the job sound compeletely dull and pointless.
  5. While many scientists, normally of the 'mad' variety, have been searching for a way to bring the dead back to life, most record companies are well ahead of them, happily disinterring the corpses of dead artists for the lucrative Christmas Best Of market.
  6. Diana Ross' Chain Reaction was inspired by her time working as a supervisor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
  7. We Are Scientists aren't.
  8. Busted, as recounted in their autobiographical song Year 3000 are the only people to have ever successfully built a time machine. Unfortunately their invention has yet to be used for public good as it's currently locked in the middle of a hotly fought copyright case between the band, Universal Studios and Michael J Fox.
  9. The Chemical Brothers got their name thanks to their enthusiasm for a My First Chemistry Set kit they got for Christmas one year. Unfortunately it had to be confiscated from them thanks to their habit of swallowing the iron filings.
  10. John Otway's Bunsen Burner is really rather fab.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Kimberly Walsh's Guide to the North 

Ey Oop! Depending on how much leeway you're prepared to give this piece, I'm either Kimberly Walsh or a vaguely offensive stereotype of a northern girl. Either way, it doesn't really matter as, save for a few dropped the's and u's replaced with a double o, it'll soon descend into the standard TiaPL house 'style', much as it's doing now. Well I'll go to t'foot of our stairs, etc. Many of you may have some misconceptions about what life's like oop here in t'north of England. Some of you may think that we all walk around all the time with whippets and wearing flat caps, but that's simply not true! Some of us are women after all, and as such only wear our flat caps on Sundays. See! What a learning experience this is turning out to be! Here are some other things you might not know about the North:-Hmmm. Join us tomorrow for the slightly better thought out Nadine Coyle's Guide to Fashion

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's a Girls' Thing 

It's Girls Aloud Week here at Talent in a Previous Life! Of course, given that we've not exactly been shy about expressing our fondness for the band in the past, some might suggest that pretty much every week is Girls Aloud week here. Indeed, some might even go so far as to suggest that given the many, many words we've devoted to the band since the site's inception, we might well have exhausted our stock of GA related material and devoting an entire week to the band might not really be considered a wise thing to do. Those people are probably right, but, despite it being all kinds of aceness, we did kind of ignore the Biology release, so we're now consumed with a desperate desire to make amends. And besides, how often do we get to celebrate the release of a new Girls Aloud album? Apart from every year, of course.

Chemisty is, of course, out today. As we've only had a chance to give it a quick once over so far, a full review will need to wait until later in the week - first impression: Fuck me, that's good - but we feel it might be somewhat redundant as not only should you all already have rushed out to buy your copy, but also because we feel it's unlikely that we'll be able to write anything anywhere near as good as Alexis Petridis' Guardian review, which is one of the best pieces of music journalism we've ever read, and we're not just saying that because he happens to be quite fond of the album. Also brilliant is the TV ad, which features fly on the wall documentary style footage of the Girls, revealing that not only do they all live in the same house - apparently in the fifties - they also all sleep in the same bed together wearing matching pyjamas. How fantastic!

We have lots of - i.e. some - Girls Aloud related nonsense planned for the next 5 days, but first up, what's this below? Could it be the first of five columns exclusively and genuinely written for this site by each of the Girls Aloud girls? Come on! Does that sound even vaguely likely...?

Cheryl Tweedy's Guide to Self Defence 

Hi! I'm Cheryl Tweedy! And, despite the fact that my stock facial expression is that of looking surprised after being caught doing something a bit naughty, I'm actually very rarely caught unawares. This is because I'm an expert in Wi Ai Man, a martial art which began life in the city centres of Newcastle and has since spread to find itself in use in any place where young men in short sleeved shirts gather. As the city streets these days can be a bit dangerous, mainly thanks, it has to be said, to the growing popularity of Wi Ai Man, I'm using this column to pass on some hints and tips to keep you safe and sound in the back of a police van facing charges of aggrivated assault. Isn't that nice of me? Yes, yes it is.Remember, Wi Ai Man should only be used in self defence against people who are genuinely attacking you, looking at you a bit funny, or offering you some lollipops. Thanks!

Join us tomorrow for Kimberly Walsh's Guide to the North

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chico! Walk Out The Door! 

It's Week 8 of the X Factor and, with only a fortnight left to go, the end is finally in sight. There were a few changes this week, firstly, and most importantly of all, Kate Thornton managed to put together an outfit which didn't leave her looking like she'd got dressed in the dark, looking rather fab in a purple top, black pencil skirt and, and! A side ponytail! The greatest of all hairstyles! As well as this though, there were a couple of changes in the show's set up. Firstly, all the acts got to perform two songs this week, though by "two songs", what they seemed to mean is a butchered runthrough of a minute's worth of each track, and secondly, the judges themselves have no say whatsoever in who stays and who goes, much as it should have been right from the start. As the show began the 40 a day voiceover man boomed "For the first time you are the judges", indicating to all those watching that they'd been wasting their time and money phoning in for the last 7 weeks. Oh well, given that for the first time our opinion does actually appear to matter, let's have a look and see exactly what it is we're judging.

"They deserve the big time", claimed Simon in his intro for Journey South. Certainly they deserve something, but we don't think that the golden gift of success is something that should be knocking upon their door when the boney hand of death would offer them something far more suitable. Moribund as always, first up they ran through Daniel Powter's Bad Day, with Robson's guitar seeming less a musical instrument, more a security blanket. As Jerome's dancing gets worse and worse and more and more laughable as the weeks go by, we can only assume that the pubs and clubs that put them on before they made their ITV debut were booking them under the misaprehension that they were a comedy act. For their second song, they came out dressed in suit jackets over jeans - what is this, the eighties? - to sit on stools and grunt their way through Elton John's Candle in the Wind, the marginally less mawkish original version. On stage throughout this were a number of burning torches, presumably so that there was something on stage with a spark of life and energy, either that or the villagers had finally had enough and were seeking to destroy the horrific monster which had been created. Jerome seemed to have only a passing knowledge of the melody line of the song and, throughout the chorus, insisted on doing a number of facial expressions which we imagine he felt were demonstrating raw emotion and passion, but actually made him look like he had a really bad case of piles and was desperate to get up off of his stool. "That is the X Factor", said Simon. No, Simon, "This is the X Factor", there's no excuse for sloppy grammer. Unless it's something we wrote.

"I've finally found who I am", declared Chico, no doubt after going to the toilet and catching sight of his business before he flushed it away. We also got to see a brief glimpse of him during his bodybuilding days. Urgh. We're very glad that we watched this week's episode on tape, rather than while we were having our tea, otherwise something very unpleasant could have occurred. Having proven in previous weeks that he's no Enrique Ingleasias, Michael Jackson or Ricky Martin, this week he decided to demonstrate, lest there be any doubt, that he's no James Brown either. He did I Feel Good, leapt down from the stage, sang to the judges, referenced Sharon, threw water over himself, undid his shirt and flexed his pectorial muscles. Or, in other words, every single trick he's already done in a desperate attempt to stay in the contest. For a man that seems to have such a desperate desire to succeed, we do worry about his apparent desire to electrocute himself at every given opportunity. When he returned for his second performance he was dressed in a shirt which had a clock and his name spelt out upon it in sequins, an outfit which, while garish, still posessed more style and elan than Nicholas' similarly self-centred belt. He gave us The Time Warp, which once again convinced us that it is, in fact, the eighties and, despite the fact that due to it's ramshackle nature we always figured it'd be quite hard to do a version of the Time Warp that could genuinely be described as bad, somehow Chico managed it, but at least he didn't wear stockings and suspenders, so we should be thankful for small mercies.

"I've found the missing 10%", claimed Brenda and, while she might be giving 100% now, the wardrobe department certainly aren't as for her first performance she was back wearing the pinstriped waistcoat outfit from a few weeks ago. I'm Outta Love by Anastasia was her first choice. Her performance was better than the original, mainly because she was able to inject a bit of femininity into her version of it, but overall it was a bit lacklustre. For her second track her chosen attire was a purple dress which started off looking fab but got markedly worse the further up her body it went. Fortunately her performance of I Know I'll never Love This Way Again didn't follow a similar patter, it started off well, finished fantastically and had a dammned good middle bit as well. Hooray!

If we were to put together a big long list of songs which we'd never have expected Shayne to do in a million years then, well, Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby would probably be at the top, followed by the entire recorded works of Barry White and other similarly deep voiced singers - such as Cher, for example - but after all those, the Scissor Sisters' Take Your Mama would probably rank pretty highly. We certainly imagine that a certain chunk of his fanbase, however, was more than happy to see him singing a song about coming out as one of the gays. He did a vague dance routine for this song and, despite the fact it wasn't a hugely complicated one, he still seemed to be concentrating very hard on getting it right. The dancing theme continued with his second song, George Michael's Careless Whisper, along with a pretty careless vocal at the start of the song, though tihs was rectified by the time he hit the chorus. Given his somewhat idiosyncratic approach to the medium of rhythmic moving, we feel that never dancing again can only be a good idea for him, no matter what state of mind his feet may be in.

Finally, we come to Andy. "I could hit the stars or just crash and burn", he commented, proving himself to be as clicheridden in speech as he is in performance. He then went on to ponder on what would happen if he was kicked out this week, "I'd be remembered as someone who didn't fulfill their ambitions". No, Andy, you wouldn't be remembered as that. You wouldn't be remembered at all. For his first song he gave us Phil Collins' Easy Lover, and it says something about how bad his performance was when we began to realise that we'd rather be watching Phil Collins. For his second song, When I Fall in Love, he went back to doing what he does best: sitting on a stool, crooning away and looking like he'd be the best entertainment ever if you were an incontinent 82 year old, which is probably why Sharon Osbourne loves him so. "I'm trying to sing it in a modern way", he declared after his performance, which is the third time tonight that someone has given us definitive proof that we are living in the past.

So, results time, and without a sing-off to fill out the bulk of a thirty minute show, Kate Thornton had to resort to desperate filler in a bid to keep the audience from switching over to the other side. Fortunately we were watching it on tape, so were able to fast forward through the bulk of it, which included a recap of what had happened earlier and some pointless banter with both the judges and the contestants, before we eventually got onto finding out the fantastic, glorious, beautiful truth that Chico had finally been given the boot! Sing Hosannah and various other exclamations of joy, the world is finally a better place. "I should have gone at the first audition", he said, with remarkable self-awareness. But no matter, he's gone now, no doubt off to appear in panto, then doing a round of nightclub appearences, before finally disappearing into complete and utter obscurity, or I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, as it's otherwise known.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

All The Records on the Radio Are Shite 

(It's a ballboy track, in case you're wondering)

Aren't you fed up with lists of the so-called worst records of all time that seem to imply that unless you're a particularly unimaginative, cardigan wearing Dad you have no taste in music? Lists that seem designed to try and make you feel embarrassed about your music collection? Lists that treat fun as anathema, excitement as an abominaton and any deviation from the standard guitar, bass, drums, vocals set-up as something to be spat upon? Lists that consider anything outside of the sphere of quality as defined by Q Magazine to be something to be treated with barely disgusied contempt. Lists, in short, that include the Spice Girls. We know we are, which is why we've decided to do something about it.

Here at Talent in a Previous Life we've decided to try and give a counterpoint to all the anti-pop snobbery that exists in these sorts of polls and are currently in the midst of compiling our own list of the 100 Actual Worst Records, Ever. Our list will include the singles which are genuinely bad, the songs that stir no emotion other than boredom, tracks that have about as much spark as a broken lighter and the CDs which no couple in a break-up, no matter how messy, would even think about arguing over, except in the "That's yours. No, that's yours" kind of way. In other words, a list which is likely to take in a lot of acts who have appeared on Later... With Jools Holland. Compiling this list is a big task and, while we could just listen to Virgin Radio for a day and write down everything they played, we've decided to ask you to help us out by submitting your own nominations for what you think are some of the worst records of all time.

A few rules:-E-mail your choices to talentinapreviouslife@gmail.com, and, if you like, you can also tell us why you think said track is a bit on the rubbish side. Get your suggestions in to us by the end of the year, and we'll start counting down the poll of pointlessness in January.