Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Every Body Talks 

Shakira is currently making a strong bid for the number one slot with the deep and philosophical Hips Don't Lie. But while we can ascertain from this that her mid-section bone structure is truthful, what else do we know about her body? Quite a lot as it turns out and, if you click on the picture to your right, you'll see that we've pulled all that info together into a handy, print out and throw away chart for you to use. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Keane are at number one in the album charts. To celebrate this turn of events they're this week's subject for 10 Things.... We realise that this isn't exactly a hugely inspired choice, but hey, they started it! Anyway, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nations favourite cherubic faced piano rockers.
  1. Cherubic is a euphemism for 'Chubby'.
  2. Keanes' Hopes and Fears are essentially filed under two categories: Fears that they'll get beaten up by the school bullies and hopes that they won't get beaten up by the school bullies.
  3. Keane are so posh that their underwear is handwoven from the finest cashmere and they still believe that the Big Issue is nothing more than an extravagant sneeze
  4. Tim and Tom are both massive fans of the Flintstones and both have hats crafted to look like their favourite character. Tim's is a replica of Barney Rubble, while Tom's is Fred shaped.
  5. Rice-Oxley is a popular style of Vietnamese cooking.
  6. Newie Under The Iron Sea is a concept album about how frustrated Tim had to deal with a massive pile of creased shirts.
  7. Like Chicks on Speed, they don't need guitars. This is just one of one ways in which Keane are like Chicks on Speed.
  8. Top audio scientists have invented a machine that can tell the difference between all of Keane's non single tracks. Due to the apparent impossibility of this, many are calling for them to be burnt as witches.
  9. Tom Chaplin isn't a real chaplin. He is a real Tom Tom satellite navigation system, though.
  10. Somewhere Only We Know was really ace, mind.


This is not a very nice story in oh so many ways.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's - yeah, yeah - Tuesday! But we were out seeing The New Statesman last night so we've got an excuse. As for an excuse for the somewhat less than prolific output of the last two weeks then, uhh, we were seeing the New Statesman then as well. Yes, that's right. Oh, never mind. Here's what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Muse have a new single out this week. Its called Supermassive Black Hole and, if we're any judge - which, given the amount of songs that we've tipped for greatness that have failed to make any impact whatsoever, we're probably not - it has supermassive pop hit written all over it. To celebrate this somewhat surprising turn of events, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about Matt Bellamy and his band of funsters:-
  1. Matt's unique singing style comes a result of him making his own underpants out of razorblades, broken glass and scissors.
  2. Debut single Uno was all about the band's love for the rubbish card game.
  3. The term 'Supermassive' does not appear in any scientific textbook. 'Bootylicious', however, does.
  4. The original Muscle Museum is in Dorset. It features wax models of people like Jean Claude van Damme, Arnold Scwharzenegger, Hulk Hogan, The Dad From My Parents Are Aliens, etc. Due to the nature of some of the exhibits it is open to over 18's only.
  5. Plug In Baby could recently be heard on adverts for Haze Plug Ins, but only for the Forest Pine scent.
  6. Famously, Queen Victoria was never really into the band. "We are not a Muse fan", she was often heard to announce.
  7. In a Pop Idol style publicity stunt, anyone wishing to purchase previous album Absolution literally had to Sing for Absolution at the check-out desk.
  8. Matt Bellamy is a world famous naturalist, whose bushy beard and slight speech impediment made him a fondly remembered figure of fun all over the world.
  9. He's not to be confused with his Dad, David, who's a world famous naturist.
  10. The album simply can't be as good as the single, can it?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Top of the Stops 

It's just been announced that, from July 30th, Top of the Pops will be taken off the air. This really is awful, upsetting, dreadful news for us. After all, we're going to need to think of something else to write about on Mondays now.

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Tuesday! And while we were up town at the weekend - that's right, up town. Like Chantelle we live the dream. This is just one of many ways in which we're like Chantelle. Another is the fact that we're also entirely unsuited to the job of TV presenter - we noticed that Clea have rather optimistically released a new single. We can only surmise that some sort of tax dodge is involved. Anyway, that's what we learnt at the weekend, but this is what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

In news which is surprising on more levels than an old school game of Gauntley, not only has Nelly Furtado has returned with Maneater a song as ace as a band made up entirely of Kiss guitarists, but she's managed to take it to the number one spot as well. She's probably as surprised as the rest of us. Anyway, to celebrate this impressive feat, here's ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite Canadian/Portuguese songstress:-
  1. She's, like, a bird.
  2. Nelly's Euro 2004 song was named after a shortened form of most people's reaction upon hearing it: "Forca sake"
  3. Nelly collects plastic bags. She currently has four, but is hoping, god willing, to add a fifth one before the end of the year.
  4. Maneater was originally titled Flan Eater. Because Nelly likes flans.
  5. Unsurprsingly "Furtado" isn't Nelly's real surname. It's actually "The Elephant"
  6. Her debut album, Whoa Nelly! was inspired by her time working as a horse on a Texan ranch.
  7. Turn Off The Light recently received a new lease of life after appearing on adverts encoruaging you to both save energy and, like Nelly, live in the sewers.
  8. Despite many attempts, retailers around the country refused to take back copies of Nelly's largely forgettable fourth single, no matter how hard purchases would Try.
  9. The above fact works a bit better if you're aware that Nelly's largely forgettable fourth single was actually called Try.
  10. The new album's probably a bit ropey, mind.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And we're all excited about the launch of the Edinburgh Fringe last week. Guess what, it's going to be another dry month updatewise here at TiaPL come August-time. But that's still ages away, so to keep you going, here's what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Apparently some sort of sporting tournament begins on Friday. The Under 14's Interscholastic Rounders Cup, we think it's called. Something like that, anyway. If you're inclined towards gambling, we suggest you put a bet on Wales to win the whole thing - trust us, you'll get fantastic odds - though personally, for reasons far too irrelevant to go into, we're backing Poland. Polska gola! To 'celebrate' this event - and why is it that someone saying they want to spend the whole month watching football is seen as perfectly normal and well balanced, but if you mention just once a desire to take the entire summer off to watch Big Brother, sleeping when they sleep, waking up when they wake up, getting drunk and having pointless, yet aggressive arguments when they get drunk and have pointless, yet aggressive arguments, etc, you're looked upon with a mixture of disdain and pity - here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about Football Songs:-
  1. Buying a football song doesn't instantly mark you out as a twat. Playing one, on the other hand, does.
  2. Given the vast amount of talent displayed on football songs, it's a statistical anomaly that no football players have become critically revered singers.
  3. That song by Blackfoot Sue, Standing in the Road, was written by the burly physio of non-league Farnborough Town.
  4. Vindaloo, Fat Les' entry in the canon of world cup songs, aggressively declares that "We all like Vindaloo". Our mate Nick from Durham doesn't. He hates it. Never trust Keith Allen.
  5. The Lightening Seeds Three Lions was offered to Scotland before becoming the English anthem it is today. The original opening lines ran "We're staying home, we're staying home, we're staying. We are staying home"
  6. The tradition of football songs began when the powers that be behind the clubs realised that not only were the fans keen to have a song that would unite them behind their team, but would also buy any old shit if it had the club colours on the front.
  7. When filmed in the recording studio, singing along to the chorus, there's always one member of the team who has one hand on his earphones, just because he saw them do it in the Band Aid video and reckons it makes him look like he knows what he's doing.
  8. If you're good at shooting you'll probably get a lot more out of a football song; pumping yourself full of so much heroin you can't even see is one of the few things that makes the experience of listening to one palatable.
  9. Football fans like to call the feral, aggressive, atonal grunting shoutfest that they like to partake in while watching the games 'singing'. Bless.
  10. Seriously, Polska Gola!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The 87th Actual Worst Record, Ever 

...and so wrong for us

Has there ever been a good band named after a racehorse? We doubt it. Not only do betting shops carry with them the sickly stench of broken dreams and desperate misery like the one out of Pussycat Dolls who can actually sing carries the rest of the band, but they're also home to either wizened old men with leathery skin, posh types who see nothing wrong with doing the moral equivalent of chucking £100 down the gutter, or Andy Capp. And not one of those entirely unstereotypical group of people exactly fill the pop heart with confidence. Rooster fell into the middle camp, taking their name from a racehorse called Rooster Booster and not because, as you might have suspected, they're a bunch of cocks.

They saw themselves as a 'real' band, and reckoned they were the natural step 'up' from bands like Busted or McFly. Bands who, if you follow Rooster's logic, must have been composed entirely out of fictional characters. We may be mistaken but we don't recall ever seeing Sherlock Holmes playing bass for McFly, Professor Xavier from out of the X-Men singing lead on a Busted single, or Huw Edwards drumming away happily for either band. Still, they must know what they were talking about as they clearly weren't desperately manufactured in anyway whatsoever themselves: they were all as ugly as sin for starters.

So desperate were they to be perceived as the sort of band that Mojo readers might like, they swiftly abandoned the almost - note: almost - enjoyable bounciness of their debut Come Get Some, turning instead to muddy rock-pop of the kind that even The Stereophonics might consider to be a little lame and starting talking about guitars in interviews. They even called one of their tracks Deep and Meaningless and you know for a fact that they genuinely believed that this was a really clever and interesting title, but it's third single You're so Right For Me which was the absolute nadir of their thankfully shortlived career.

You're So Right For Me is almost a love song, except because Rooster bloke is, well, a bloke, a lad, the sort of person who calls himself a geezer and doesn't realise why this makes him a twat, he can't actually bring himself to display any sort of passion or love or emotion of any sort. This is because feelings are for girls, not guys like him who play guitar and watch football and dance about on rooftops with all the grace of an injured deer. "You're so right for me", he declares, which is the sort of statement you'd make after scouring the Argos catalogue for a new TV, or you'd say to your local chip shop owner at 4AM when you arrive there drunk, desperate for a fish supper. It is not the sort of thing you'd say to a lady who you plan on having any sort of future with. It's also desperately one sided, but if Rooster bloke was to write a song listing all the qualities he has to offer a potential partner it may well end up breaking records by being the only song ever to have a running time in minus figures.

Rooster - You're So Right For Me, then. A load of old pony.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Monday! And we have a much quieter week ahead of us than the last seven days, which means we'll have plenty of time to spend writing top quality material for the site, won't we? Ha! Anyway, here's what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Show 

It was good. So good. So so good. So so so so so so good. So good, in fact, that there aren't enough 'so's in the world, nor an italic font slanty enough to emphasise just how good The Nicola and Friends Show, otherwise known as the Girls Aloud live experience actually was. Mere words are unlikely to do the spectacle anywhere near the justice it deserves, but our inability to express ourselves adequately using the English language has never stopped us in the past, so let's see what we can come up with.

While last year's show was a night of moments, 2006 gave us a night of sections, and the first of these was The Slightly Ropey Support Band Section. While we realise that the odds of them discovering a band as good as Kute two years running were somewhat slim, they could at least have managed to find one as good as Cookie. First up were Nylon, who were Icelandic, which gave them the twin advantages of both being very pretty and having lovely accents. Unfortunately they were also as dull as an iceberg and only really got going when they closed with a cover of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams, mainly because it was identical to the original, so for all we know they might have simply played the warm up CD too early and the girls, slightly confused, simply began happily singing along.

Following Nylon were Frank, from TV's Totally Frank and not TV's Eastenders. Despite having a setlist mainly made up of Mania off cuts, they were a bit rubbish too, though we did like the fact that the drummer girl insisted on pretending to play her drums, despite the fact whatever she was hitting clearly bore no relation whatsoever to the sound coming out of the speakers. Having said that, it was a pink sparkly drumkit so, y'know, swings and roundabouts and all that.

With that out the way, it was time for The Big, Exciting, Anticipation Building Intro Section. Except it seems that there was a bit of miscommunication going on somewhere as rather than a big, exciting, anticipation building intro section, we got some awful nonsense about "Professor Mad" creating the girls in some sort of laboratory. We were embarrassed for them and we were only watching it. As he was working on his scientific endeavor - which mainly seemed to involve tapping away at a laptop, looking up at the audience and gurning occasionally - profiles of the girls flashed up on the screen behind him. We were a bit disappointed with Nicola's as a) Her favourite thing to say was not "Botherd" and b) When she appeared on screen the girl behind us turned to her friend and said "Oh, I don't like that one". Grr, etc. Fortunately that was swiftly forgotten about as, rising up from under the stage like five beautiful, yet deadly, sirens were Girls Aloud themselves. Woo! Yeah! Clap madly! Etc!

As we began the Blimey! Look at Those Hits! Section, Nicola was, naturally, centre stage and did seem to remain there for the bulk of the show. And quite right too. The girls were dressed in black, white and red outfits, with a lot of horizontal stripes on show, presumably because if vertical stripes are said to be slimming, horizontal ones make you look as if you've had at least one meal in the last five days. Nadine. Nadine also managed to do what she's been threatening to do ever since the band started and went on stage without bothering to put on her skirt. We should also point out that, while Nicola never looks any less than lovely throughout the entire show, both her and Kimberly really need to leave the EZ Perm 5000 well alone. There is such a thing as too curly, you know.

But while we could happily have spent the evening drinking in their beauty, the girls had a more active evening in hand and without any further ado - or, indeed, any ado whatsoever - they quickly launched into Biology, barely pausing for breath before giving us No Good Advice, Waiting and Love Machine. Yup, that's right, while many lesser bands would save a quartet of songs that good for the encore, Girls Aloud are confident enough to open with them, knowing that there's still all manner of aceness to come. The performances were, of course, nothing less than brilliant, with No Good Advice including both the "shit might show" line and a sequence involving dancing, glow in the dark lab coats, though no tambourines :(,Waiting being a sass filled spectacular and Love Machine dropping in a slightly awkward nod to Amerie's One Thing before the final chorus. Biology itself is, of course, one of the single greatest moments pop music has ever seen, so perhaps there was a slight fear that they had peaked too early by opening with it. These fears were unfounded, however, as we moved into the Nicola in Tiny Hawaiian Print Hotpants Section

As the girls went off to get changed we treated to a sequence involving the boy dancers breakdancing to the Dandy Warhols' Bohemian Like You which, pointless as it was - and it was - wasn't anywhere near as bad as the Professor Mad video segments we had to endure for the later costume changes, but it wasn't long before the girls were back on stage, this time dressed in a California Girls style set up, all crop tops and shorts and, yes, those tiny Hawaiian print hotpants. Obviously this is quite a summery set of outfits, so it was only natural that they opened this section with Long Hot Summer, a song which we've grown to like much more than our original somewhat dismissive appraisal of it. It is still a bit GA by numbers, but when the numbers are that good, they can be forgiven. Next up was Whole Lotta History - the ballads were dotted all over the shop this time around, allowing no-one a chance to sneak to the bar for a quick one - and anyone who may have thought that the girls were having an easy time of it up on the stage would swiftly have been set to rights when a close up of a very sweaty Kimberly appeared on the screen. Ballads are all well and good - well, they're not really, but work with us here - but we prefer the more sultry sound of Watch Me Go, which is fair enough really as that was up next, along with it's slightly literal dance routine which involved the girls both holding up the appropriate number of fingers for the "Quarter past 1, 2, etc" bits and, quite fantastically, miming a trombone when that particular instrument got mentioned as well.

Now, covers. Despite our best efforts to avoid knowing what was going to be in the show, we were aware that they were going to be doing Kaiser Chiefs' I Predict a Riot. We weren't overly looking forward to this, but reasoned that had anyone told us they were going to be covering Teenage Dirtbag on the last tour, we'd have reasoned it would have been awful but look how fantastic that turned out to be, so we decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, and thankfully we did as, while it didn't reach such great heights as that particular cover did, they did a damned good version, with a lovely piece of shouting by Nicola for the "Not very sensible, either" line. And while they predict a riot, we predict another costume change, so with a tear in our eye we bid farewell to those tiny, hawaiian print hotpants and wait with bated breath to see what they'll come up with next.

"Erotic ballet school" seems to be the costume theme as we enter the F-ing Films Section, with tu-tus, basques and stockings all in evidence. Alas, not in evidence were the mic stands for Sound of the Underground, with the girls performing it using chairs instead, ala The Show, we also got our second ballad of the evening with See The Day, which does lose a certain level of emotional pull when it's performed by five girls dressed like Darcey Bussel on the game. The look worked a lot better once they moved into the musical medley section, where the themes from Fame, Footloose and Flashdance - presumably had they thought of any other dance related films beginning with 'F' they'd have been included as well - were performed. Perhaps unsurprisingly Nadine took lead vocals on Fame and seemed to take great delight in telling us that she'd make us forget the rest. Nic did Flashdance and was ace, obviously.

A slightly more staid set of outfits were chosen for the Racy lacey! Racy Lacey! Section though given that this is Girls Aloud we're talking about here, these terms are all relative and what is staid for them is still offering somewhat less that full coverage for your average girl on the street, even if it was during this section that Nadine, expressing delight and amazement that we'd all traveled so far to come to the gig - we'd only traveled 10 minutes from our mate's flat but we didn't feel the need to point that out to her - described the group as just 5 average girls who got lucky. We're not convinced, to be honest. Sarah, maybe, but the rest of them? Nah! But anyway, if the show so far had been an experience akin to wiring up all your pleasure sensors to the national grid, then this section involved them turning the power up to full as your body writhes and burns in a blast of pure enjoyment. Bang! The Show! Bang! Intro! Bang! Models! Bang! Racy Lacey! Whimper! I'll Stand By You! Bang! Biology reprise. If ever there was a physical manifestation of the phrase "All guns blazing" this was it. They even took the trouble to finish off Racy Lacey so that it now ends, rather than stops. Of course, after such a high octane performance, the girls need to take a bit longer to recover, so they say their farewells, convincing absolutely no-one, and we begin cheering, applauding, and generally taking the roof off of the building in a show of overexcited seal like appreciation as we await the start of the Encore Section.

And then, arriving from the back of the stage, dressed in robes and harmonising (or more likely miming) the words "Poor boy Peter didn't know how...", they're back! And they're doing Wild Horses. Woo-woo indeed! Realising that unflattering robes are unlikely to garner many column inches in the tabloids, these are quickly thrown off to reveal that the girls are dressed like a sexy female version of the Village People. A bit like Girls@Play really, only sexy. And female. Nic was dressed as a sailor girl, which was fair enough really, as her hair did have the look of someone who'd recently been dunked in seawater about it. Wild Horses was followed by Wake Me Up, though alas the slightly higher production values for the arena tour didn't extend to them riding around the stage on motorcycles as we'd hoped, nor did it extend to them flying around the arena on wires at any point during the gig, though there were plenty of fireworks and other similarly exciting things. Though we can't help but feel that the money spent on hiring whoever played Professor Mad could have been spent a bit more wisely, buying Nadine a meal, for example, or taking Nicola and Kimberly to a proper hairdressers, perhaps.

With Wild Horses out the way, there was only one song left they could close with and, while a brief frission of fear shot down our back at the thought they might genuinely consider Life Got Cold to be a good way to end the set, they knew as well as we did that it had to be Jump, and jump we did, albeit in a slightly awkward and constrained fashion. Silver confetti rained down on us as the show came to a glorious conclusion. We've never smiled, danced, clapped, cheered and generally enjoyed ourselves more at a gig, and are unlikely to do so again until they, fingers crossed, tour again next year. See you down the front for what will, once again, and we say this without any hyberbole or over-exaggeration whatsoever, undoubtedly be the single greatest live experience known to man.