Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Screen Burns 

This is Pete Burns.

Here he is answering a question which a number of people asked when he entered the Celebrity Big Brother house at the start of the year, namely "Does he have a pussy?".

Anyway, the reason we mention this is that since leaving said house, he seems to have decided that his future career lies not in creating epoch defining pop records that thrill the mind and move the feet, but instead in being filmed 24/7 for the purpose of filling in the hours between dodgy late night phone-in quizzes on cable TV. To this end he's about to appear in Pete Burns Unspun - or is already appearing in. Our surfing the wave of the digital television revolution began and ended with the purchase of a cheap Freeview box - on Living TV, which follows Pete as he gets bailed from prison and, under the conditions of his release, has to stay with the man who put up the money, a man who Pete has never met and is something of an obsessive fan of the man. Even if, as the set up sounds, it's entirely fake - much like Pete himself - it still sounds like an incredibly entertaining slice of television so, if you're a bit more technologically advanced than us you should probably keep an eye out for it. If not you can view a clip by clicking here, and our inability to 'embed' this video into our site largely demonstrates exactly why we're so backwards as to lack a cable connection.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

She might be Victoria Beckham now, but to us she'll always be Posh Spice, or Victoria Adams at the very least, but since the Spice Girls, there's no denying that she's become a global style icon. Unfortunately the life being married to a man earning a few squillion quid merely for having a kick around in the park every other weekend is an unfulfilling one, and so it is that Victoria has turned, as we all do at times of cultural vaccuum, to the world of literature in an attempt to gorge her soul with the good things in life. To this end she's written a book, entitled That Extra Half an Inch, in which she dispenses her wisdom on style and gives out a few of her secrets about how to achieve that perfect look, and face it, this is a book we all need. After all, we've all wondered how we could achieve that He-Man Nemesis look for Hallowe'en parties, haven't we? Anyway, as a teaser, we've kindly been allowed to publish ten entirely true and in no way made up tips from the book in a bid to encourage you to rush out to buy it. Here's what Vicky had to say:-
  1. When your hair is getting a bit too long, messy, and unkempt, instead of asking your husband to reach for the garden shears, why not try going to a Hairdressers where you can pay a lot of money to have someone professional hack away at your hair with garden shears instead. Remember, if it's expensive, it must be good.
  2. As a general rule of thumb, less is more. Unless hypothermia is a real and present danger, you should always wear the minimum amount of clothes necessary for public decency. And even if it really is that cold, you should still just grin and bear it. I can count the number of times an Eskimo's topped the FHM Sexiest women poll and I can only count up to 3.
  3. Shoes are important, and the higher the heels, the better. Not only do they allow you to get in touch with your inner meerkat by giving you a good, high vantage point from which to survey the surrounding land, but they also make your feet look pretty. Forget the fact that they'll cause bunions, blisters, boils, and other painful things that begin with 'b', if there's one thing my book will teach you, it's that it doesn't matter what the inside is like, it's what's on the outside that counts.
  4. If you can't fit into a pair of size 6 jeans you're a worthless human being.
  5. Not only do socks help keep your feet warm, but they can also provide a cheap and simple way of padding your bra. This is especially useful if you're so anorexic that your breasts have become entirely concave. I am not suggesting this from personal experience.
  6. When asked about what sort of girl they like, some men say that they like a girl with "Something to hold on to", which many girls take to mean "It's OK to be curvy and have some fleshy bits". Wrong. What these men are, of course, referring to when they say they want something to hold on to, are "rib bones", so you need to make sure that these are as obvious and accesible as possible. If you can slim down so far they actually burst out of your skin then so much the better.
  7. But remember, you're not dressing to please men, but don't think for a moment you're dressing fr yourself. You're dressing so that all the other women in the world don't look down their noses at your hideously unfashionable clothes, your laughable style, and your frankly dowdy, unflattering hairstyle. Don't think for a second that we're not laughing at you when you go down to the shops in your comfy jeans and t-shirt feeling relaxed and care free, cause we are. By god, we are.
  8. Remember and wear knickers when you wear a mini-skirt unless you want to attract unwanted attention. And if you do want to attract unwanted attention, make sure you telephone them in advance to let them know where you're going to be and at what time so they don't miss out on their chance to get their shot of you getting out of the car. It's the sort of thing that makes the difference between appearing on page 17 or page 1. Or being in The Star instead of The Sun.
  9. Make sure you dress your man up in your clothes. He may look stupid and become a bit of a laughing stock, but you're guaranteed to look fantastic in comparison. Unless he has better legs.
  10. Wear a nice hat. Guys love a girl in a nice hat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

And So We've Come To The End Of Eton Road 

Week 7 of X Factor and settling down to watch this week's show is even more of a chore than usual as we've just received the first 6 episodes of the new series of Lost to watch and frankly we're a lot more interested in what their Kate has been getting up to. Still, the voiceover man reckons we should be getting excited as there's only 5 acts remaining and the battle, or so he claims, is intensifying. Of course, it's hard to put much stock in his claims given that while we can happily go along with his statement that "There's been agony..." - we've sat through every single painful minute of the MacDonald Brothers' performances, remember - it's a lot harder to take him seriously when he declares that "There's been ecstacy", unless he's imply making a confession that the only way he can cope with watching the whole mess unfold week after sorry week is by necking loads of the world reknowned blood boiling, brain fizzing pill, but at least he's getting paid for it.

There's a few changes this week, as Kate (Dresswatch: Looking rather dapper in a gold halter top with black trousers and a nice belt. Other than the trousers being a little on the high waisted side, it was hard to fault. Hooray!) informs us that each act will be performing two songs this week. Two?! Most of the remaining contestants barely have enough personality to cover one song, let alone two, and we're still not entirely convinced that being an annoying twat actually counts as a personality. Each act will perform one ballad and one up tempo number, there being, of course, no other form of music, and the theme is music from the movies, which pretty much translates as "Do any song you like, we've given up caring".

First up is Leona and we finally get to see her do something which isn't a ballad as she launches herself into Lady Marmalade. Of course, we say 'launches', in actual fact, if she were a ship, she'd have just attempted to set sail at low tide and almost immediatly ran aground upon a sandbank, miles and miles away from her intended destination. She clearly wasn't comfortable at all with the song, studiously avoiding doing any sort of vaguely sexy dancing and changing the lyrics to what we assume - our french goes little further than "Parlesz vous anglais?" (obviously it doesn't extend to the correct spellings either) and optimistic pointing combined with the art of mime - were tamer than the more traditional "Would you like to sleep with me?". The backing track didn't help matters either, being so entirely lacking in oomph that we can only assume it was rescued from the demo tapes of an unreleased album of covers by Sade. Despite this, the audience seemed entirely amazed by the prospect of an artist doing something different to what they've done before and gave her a deafening round of applause, with Simon looking very smug at the reaction his act was getting "You got it all going on, girl", said Louis, who's never been in a branch of Netto, let alone the ghetto.

After a costume change into the obligatory nice dress, her second song was a return to her comfort zone and the almost equally obligatory cover of I Will Always Love You, chosen presumably just so she could hit that note and hit it she sure did, even if her eyes still continually dart about the stage like a frightened rabbit and there still being very little in the way of actual emotion about what she does. If it wasn't for the fear in her eyes, we'd be convinced she's a robot, and not the good, Ladytron, Miss Kittin-esque robots either. As it is, however, we reckon that if you cut her in half you'd not find a mass of circuit boards and wires, but instead you'd discover both the phrase "Technically good but dull" running through her like a a stick of rock and yourself on the receiving end of a murder conviction. "As good as the original Whitney version", reckoned Louis, which surprised us as we'd have felt sure he'd have an expert knowledge of Dolly Parton's back catalogue.

All the acts got to go to a film premiere this week, and The MacDonald Brothers were particularly overawed by the experience. "We're just a couple of lads from Scotland", they exclaimed breathlessly, presumably confusing their home country with some sort of backwards village were the inhabitants would be excited by the prospect of flashing lights and electricity, let alone this new fangled idea of moving pictures. Mind you, they do come from Ayr. First up for them was You Say it Best When You Say Nothing At All, which impressed us by managingo to sound even more anodyne than the Ronan Keating version. If Daniel O'Donnell had recorded this even he'd reject it for being a bit too bland and sexless, although they did attempt to inject a bit of raunch and manliness into it as they entered the final chorus, meeting with much the same success as a 14 year old boy growing a bumfluff moustache. "You look wicked", commented Sharon, who may well have cataracts, while Louis, ever confident about his act's prospects enthusiastically told them "You might even make the final!".

Feeling that perhaps they haven't quite hammered home the fact that they're from north of the border, they chose Scotland's unofficial national anthem, The Proclaimers' 500 Miles, a song so Scottish that even actual Scots have to put on a Scottish accent to sing along to it, for their second track of the night and, to be fair to them, they did a pretty good job of it, even Simon liked it. Of course, the fact that anyone can do a pretty good job of it - go to any city centre in Scotland once the pubs are closed for the awful proof - doesn't exactly shower them with glory, and they're now pandering even more to a shortbread tin version of Scotland that really doesn't exist outside of the Sunday Post and the imagination of Americans. There'll be bagpipes before the end of the series, we can pretty much guarantee it.

Ben by telling us about the pressure he's feeling, before banging on once again about bloody marquees. "He's what this contest needs", opines Sharon, presumably of the view that he'll be a handy man to have around when it comes to putting up the merchandise stand and the catering stalls during next year's X Factor tour. He was back behind the piano for both his tracks this week, starting off with Live and Let Die with big flame effects and all sorts of other exciting things, presumably intended to disguise the fact that there's not really a lot of actual words in the song, so we're not entirely sure what the point of doing it was, unless we're really supposed to be impressed by someone's ability to mime playing the piano.

Your Song was his ballad, and the strain of playing the 'rock' role on the show must be beginning to get to him as his performance was less like a man growling his way through the lyrics with the grit of a working man, more like a man trying to put on a husky voice in a hopeless attempt to convince his boss he's got a sore throat and so is full deserving of a day off work. Also, we're somewhat disturbed as we're convinced that the close up shots of him emoting as we reach - for want of a better word - the song's climax means that we've know seen what his sex face is like. Urgh. "The only way I'm going home tonight is if I don't get enough votes", he reckoned. Are the show's bosses so desperate to preserve profits that they won't even spring for a taxi?

Eton Road, who have gone remarkably downhill since we declared our support for them, got to return home to Liverpool and turn on the Christmas lights - we bet Ray was pissed at that - and, judging by the hysteria that greeted them, proved to be the most exciting thing that Liverpudlians have ever seen. Mind you, they reckon that Cilla Black is something of a national treasure, so it's perhaps best to treat their enthusiasm with a healthy dollop of scepticism. Their first song of the night started off as an unfortunate doo-wop version of Everybody Needs Somebody from The Blues Brothers which, nice harmonies aside, lacked balls, and we're not just referring to the falsettos on display, but the time they got to the bridge things were pulled back from the brink of disaster and we began to remember why we liked them so much in the first place. Louis called Simon "Mr Spandex", who we can only assume is some sort of superhero who appears in adult videos for the discerning gentleman.

Presumably hoping to cash in on the success of the Beeb's "Look how simultaneously cute and vicious animals are!" documentary Planet Earth, they decided to bang on about lions for their ballad, covering Can You Feel the Love Tonight?. Not their finest hour, really, featuring some incredibly wobbly vocals from the blonde one and a performance from Antony which appeared to come not from the heart, but from a desperate urge to go to the toilet and being unable to do so.

Finally, Ray - and we look forward to ending that sentence one day with the phrase "has been justifiably kicked out of the competition for being shit" - smugged his way through The Way You Look Tonight, presumably managing to get an emotional connection with the song only by picturing himself singing it to the one person he truly loves and imagining a gigantic mirror placed in front of him for the entire performance. He seems to picture Nicholas Lyndhurst in Goodnight Sweetheart as a role model - at least when S Club 7 went back to the fifties they dressed up in poodle skirts and embraced rock and roll - but his peformance tonight no doubt made a million grandmothers all around the country feel some downstairs feelings they haven't felt for a long, long time. "I just wanna keep putting smiles on people's faces", he claims, but if that really was the case then he'd be getting busy right now with a rusty saw and a mouthful of nails.

His final choice was possibly the world's most popular paean to prison rape, Jailhouse Rock. Few people wish to be told that they're the "cutest jailbird I ever did see" on their first night in jail, but fewer still would wish to have the ever smackable face of Ray grinning inanely as he sings a song about their plight. Proving that, along with the many, many artists he's already shown that he can't hold a candle to, he's no Elvis either - who'da thought - he attempted to do some sexy, pelvis based dance moves. When Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, they only shot him from the waist up for fear that the young audience would be driven wild by being reminded that people had genitals, but if only ITV had had a similar policy, the X Factor's young audience wouldn't have had to spend the rest of the evening wildly vomiting everywhere after the sheer unpleasantness of what they had to endure. At the end he leaned back and folded his arms as his to say "Job done". What an unjustifiably smug cunt.

After all that entertainment, it was time for the results and, after a performance from Il Divo for no apparent reason - and what, now we come to think of it, ever did happen to G4 - it was time for the results and once again the great British public prove conclusively that democracy simply doesn't work as Ray and The MacDonald Brothers find themselves safe, sound, and returning to demonstrate their clear hatred for music for another week. Leona joins them, and so it is that Ben and Eton Road find themselves fighting to stay in the last four. Somewhat foolishly, they both decide to reperform their worst song, with Eton Road's second rendition of Can You Feel the Love Tonight still suffering from some dodgy harmonies, the wobbliness of the blonde one's voice and the fact that Antony's Xtra Factor commitments hasn't allowed him the time to go and take the toilet break he clearly desperately needed. Our criticisms of Ben's take on Your Song still stand, although at least this time he'd stand a bit more chance of convincing his boss to give him the time off as he was no doubt feeling very, very sick indeed.

When it came down to the judges vote, there were no real surprises. Louis gave his usual, "oh, neither of these acts deserve this" spiel before sending home Ben. Sharon did goldfish impersonations before sending Eton Road home, while Simon built up his part, claiming to be deciding whether he should protect his acts by sending home the stronger act, or be true to the spirit of the show and keep the person with the most talent. Whatever his actual reasonings were, it was Eton Road who got the chop and, given they were unlikely ever to top their version of Does Your Mother Know?, we suppose we can't really blame him. Louis has, however, declared on live national TV that he will be sticking with the boys and getting them a recording contract, so with that in mind, this will probably be the last we'll ever see of them.

Again, Kate kept schtum about who might be guesting next week, but if it's someone on a par with Il Divo then no wonder they're keeping it under wraps. Who could take the excitement? We're off now to watch our Lost DVD's and discover, if not the truth about the island, then at least a whole new level of ignorance about it which had never even occured to us before.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stop the Cocks 

In a bid to provide some sort of closure to our Oasis vs U2 coverage - a week which, it has to be said, is unlikely to go down as showcasing the most impressive writing we've ever done for the site. We'll up our game next week, etc, etc - you may be interested to know that Oasis beat U2 in the album charts, but they were both beaten by Westlife's godawful Love Album, a CD which may well represent the most pointless and unecessary use of mankinds ever diminishing precious resources the world has ever seen and makes us want to leave all our TV's on stand-by in the hope that the advent of global warming is sped up, just to save us the misery of living in a world in which their existence is tolerated, let alone celebrated. But we digress.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Quiz Me 

So! While Bono can't quite make good on any of his promises to change the world, it seems he can master the relatively simple task of keeping an appointment, and so it was that he duly turned up at our offices this afternoon, keen to answer all the questions that have been sent in for him and only occasionally - by which we mean after every single question - did he pause in this endeavour to demand his sky high fee and a bucket full of ambrosia. Still, here's what he had to say for himself:-

Is it true that you've recently opened up a store selling climbing equipment to mountaineers, abseilers and other similarly foolhardy types?

Yes, we've got a place called vertigo.

What was it like duetting with Chrissie Hynde on your cover of I Got You Babe?

That wasn't us, that was UB40.

Do you ever get frustrated by world leaders appearing to listen to what you have to say, then promptly doing sod all about the problems you're trying to solve?

Sometimes, but whenever I do I simply go home to my mansion and spend a relaxing hour or so swimming in my gigantic swimming pool filled, much like Scrooge McDuck, with gold coins. I find that that quickly washes the cares and stresses of the world away from my tired old body.

Do you really think you're the best band in the world ever?

Well, I used to, but then someone handed me a demo CD by a band called Noise Next Door, and I have to admit that they're a damned sight better than us! I also got a CD that was filled entirely with the sounds of various lawnmowers in action and even that was better than our entire back catalogue.

Hey! There's a rat in my kitchen! What am I gonna do?

*sigh* Even if we were UB40, which we're not, that still wouldn't be funny.

"A mole, digging in a hole, digging up my soul": What were you thinking?

Well, I was thinking about how things can burrow down deeply inside of you and become so hidden away that only a seriously concerted effort can bring them out into the open. Thanks for highlighting that, it's a lyric I'm really proud of.

No, I mean, what were you thinking? If a 4 year old wrote that you'd be embarassed for him, but you're a grown man!


Is it true that you took your name from a benefit form?

No! How many times do I have to say this?! That was UB40. I took my name from a store in Dublin called Bono Vox and, hey, don't fall asleep while I'm talking to you.

Which brand of Cola do you recommend?

Pepsi. It's even better than the real thing.

Why do you persist in wearing those ridiculous wraparound shades, even when it's clear even to a blind man that you look like a twat in them.

Because one day the leg broke, and I used superglue to fix it, but put them back on again before the glue had dried and now I can't get the sodding things off.

If you could only solve one of the world's myriad problems, which one would it be?

I'd make it a hanging offence for any ex-member of staff to try and sell my old stage costumes on eBay. Talk about a liberty!

And finally, Holly asks What is your favourite song from your back catalogue?

Well, it's got to be a toss up between Red Red Wine or One in Ten.

Thanks for that, Bono!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

The U2/Oasis chart battle continues on apace, proving to be of absolutely no interest to anyone whatsoever spart from lazy, derivitive hacks, desperate for any sort of hook to hang their vaguely thought out opinions on. So, ummm, with that in mind, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the world's favourite Irishmen:-
  1. On the first day, Bono said "Let there be light", and there was light, and Bono saw that it was good.
  2. If the band ever wish to make their Zoo TV tour - which featured 36 video monitors, numberous television cameras, two seperate mix positions, 176 speakers, 11 Trabants, which all required 1 million watts of power to operate - enough to run 2000 homes and required 52 trucks to transport the 1,200 tons of equipment, 3 miles of cabling, 200 labourers, 12 forklifts and one 40 ton crane required to construct the stage at each of the 157 shows all over the world - carbon neurtral, conservative estimates suggest that they would be required to reforest an entire planet, roughly the size of Saturn. This hypocrisy, however, still doesn't stop Bono banging on about global warming as if he cared about it and wasn't in any way more interested in the raising of his own public profile.
  3. The original lyrics for I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For ended with the lines "Oh never mind, it's there on the coffee table/I'd forget my own head if it wasn't screwed on/Honestly! What am I like?!"
  4. Contrary to popular belief, there are no leprechauns in the band.
  5. The Bono (Pan paniscus), until recently usually called the Pygmy Chimpanzee and less often the Dwarf or Gracile Chimpanzee, is one of the two species comprising the chimpanzee genus, Pan. The Bono was discovered in 1928, by American anatomist Harold Coolidge, represented by a skull in the Tervuren museum in Belgium that was thought to have belonged to a juvenile chimpanzee, though credit for the discovery went to the German Ernst Schwarz, who published the findings in 1929. The species is distinguished by an upright gait, a matriarchal and egalitarian culture, and the prominent role of sexual activity in their society.
  6. Even Bono can't remember what the drummer is called.
  7. Bono would truely love to make a difference, but if he can't do that then a photocall of him meeting a world leader is just as good. He's a bit like obnoxious and awful music 'journalist' Billy Sloan in that regard. And one other.
  8. The only thing more irritatingly earnest than a U2 concert is a whole room full of Oscar Wilde fans going "A handbag?!" simultaneously.
  9. If you're ever going to pick a fight with Bono then don't do it if he's standing anywhere near the band's guitarist as he's bit handy with the old fists and will clock you one if you try it. As Bono himself once warned a fan who got a bit too lairy in his presence: "Don't push me cause I'm close to The Edge".
  10. He really is a sanctimonious cunt.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Find What You're Looking For 

We're quite excited here at TiaPL towers as Bono himself has agreed to pop in on Thursday afternoon and answer some questions. We're far too lazy to come up with our own questions for the world's most sanctimonious man, but if you have any questions or problems you'd like to see His Holiness put his mind to then please, send them to talentinapreviouslife@gmail.com by Thursday lunchtime and we'll put the best ones direct to him. Cheers!

Music Week 

So! Both Oasis and U2 have a greatest hits album hitting the stores today and, in a bid to stir up interest in what is little more than a competition to see which brand of beige and unexciting guitar music is slightly more popular, some people are making mutterings about there being a chart battle between the two bands, but given that this is those people's job we can't really judge them too harshly. That is for history to decide. But, as you should know by now, here at TiaPL we're never shy to jump onto a PR organised campaign if it saves us coming up with an original idea, so we're going to be focussing firmly on both those bands this week and treating with the sort of respect and appreciation you've come to expect from us by now. First up, Oasis are probably starting this fight in a weaker position, so they're going to have a busy week of promotion ahead of them, but what exactly will the brothers Gallagher be getting up to? Let's find out, shall we?

To mark the release of Stop the Clocks, their rather poorly titled best of collection, Noel will, in conjunction with Uri Geller, be travelling the country attempting to cause some of the nation's most famous timepieces to stop via the medium of willpower and Uri's strange and entirely genuine psychic abilities alone. This will come to an abrupt end When Noel is arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act after he is caught inside Big Ben, attempting to jam the mechanism while swearing profusely. Liam will spend a large part of today swinging from his tyre, before pleasing the watching crowds by taking a banana from his keeper and peeling it with his feet.

Undeterred by his treatment at the hands of the Metropolitan police, Noel continues on with his plan to represent all of his song titles in physical terms by travelling to China to wonder at the wall that can famously be found there. "Fuck me, that's a big wall", he tells the assembled media, before buggering off back to Manchester. Liam spends today stomping moodily about his cage, his knuckles dragging along the floor, before sitting down, back against a rock and masterbating openly in front of school party from Crewe.

Today Noel visits a small Welsh town which he wanders around for a couple of hours, staring straight ahead and never once turning around or looking over his shoulder. His satisfaction at a job well done swiftly turns to anger and upset, however, when an aide belatedly points out that the title of the song is Don't Look Back in Anger and not, alas, Bangor. He did have a lovely time, though. Liam throws a tea party today, and delights the crowd when he throws the teapot away bad-temperedly before wearing the sugarbowl as a make-shift hat.

In a bid to Live Forever, Noel attempts to discover what many have searched for, only to be driven mad by the attempt; the elixir of youth and the secret of eternal life. Alas, despite a search that started early in the afternoon, carried on through the evening and well into the early hours of Friday morning, he failed to achieve his goal. It seems that, despite his hypothesis before the start of the experiment, immortality cannot be reached by drinking copious amounts of premium lager, interspersed by smoking inumerable Benson & Hedges fags. But at least he's managed to cross Cigarettes and Alcohol off the list now as well. Liam blots his copybook today by flinging his faeces at both his keeper and a visiting local dignitary.

Noel's initial plan to spend today representing Acquiese was abandonded after he couldn't find a dictionary - other than a cheap rhyming one with all the pages other than the -ine one ripped out - to tell him what it meant, so instead sits around the house, doing nothing and not foisting any more half arsed new Oasis material onto the world, thus demonstrating The Importance of being Idle. Liam is allowed out of his cage today to make an advert for tea, but feels the nappy he is forced to wear undermines his creative integrity.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rob Smacked 

It's Week 6 of X Factor and the always excitable Kate Thornton (Dresswatch: a very nice knee length red shift dress, spoilt only by the thick black tights she chose to team it with) informs us that this week the show is going to be celebrating number ones, so who better to represent this than a bunch of number twos? Yes, that's right, our special guests for this week are none other than Westlife who, as the flashy statistics depressingly inform us, have had 14 of the buggers. This is the sort of fact that drives people to murder. Hopefully. But no matter, they're here, and not only will they be, oh joy of joys, singing us a song later on, but they've also spent the week coaching the acts and giving them the benefit of their years of experience in the music industry. We're not quite sure what advice they'll be offering the contestants: "No matter how much you may be tempted, remain seated until you hear the key change and not a second before", perhaps, or "Daz is the best for keeping your stage clothes brilliantly white", maybe.

Ray is first up this week, and he's having a bit of a moan about having been in the danger zone last week. "You don't wanna be in the bottom two, you wanna be the best", which frankly is setting his sights a little too high. Perhaps he should simply aim for being halfway tolerable. He can, after all, only work with what he's got. Simon decided to flesh out his decision to keep Ray in ahead of Nikitta, stating "I kept Ray in because I believe that's what the audience want". Presumably, then, Simon has access to audience profiling which states that the average X Factor viewer is a cloth eared simpleton which, given the sort of people who generally end up doing well in these sorts of shows, we can happily believe. Westlife were on hand to help Ray raise his game, and suggested that he needed to show more variety. Yes, you have read that correctly, Westlife, a band whose career is pretty much a solid stream of grey or, to be a little more accurate, brown, are telling someone else that they need to show a little more light and shade. Jesus wept. This is a little like an elephant telling a meerkat that need to come in a more varied range of sizes. No matter, Ray takes this advice on board and decides to perform Livin' La Vida Loca, resisting the temptation to turn it into a swing song. Hallelujah! Of course, there's one thing about his performance that refuses to change and while it may not have been a swing song, it was still insufferably shit. Horribly out of tune with some absolutely terrible dancing to go with it. There was a lot of arse shaking going on and, once the arse had finished shaking his arms, he began wiggling his bum a bit as well. It was a truly awful experience. "You remind me of panto boy", said Sharon, which is presumably some sort of very low rent superhero, while Louis praised him for his good work ethic, which isn't what most people would hail as a necessity for a pop star and hardly a selling point. Certainly we wouldn't rush to buy a single that had "Good Work Ethic!" written upon a sticker on the front.

"Last week's performance really got me back up there", beamed Robert, presumably thanking God that his sister died, thus allowing him a bit of an emotional back story. He was also quite excited about meeting Westlife, which does seem rather unlikely, but Sharon was quick to reassure us that "He's seen what they've done and he wants a piece of it", and who wouldn't? We'd all like to make such a little go such a long way. Having realised that acting like an arse gets him no votes whatsoever while pretending to be a bit vulnerable and emotional gets him the hormonal women block, Robert does You are Not Alone which is vaguely pleasant but hardly earth shattering and does, by the end of the song, incorporate the now traditional X Factor gospel choir, a tactic always used when one of the judges realises that one of their acts performances is as memorable as an episode of Play Your Cards Right. The judges were universally complimentary and Robert was quick to thank them all, before turning to Sharon and saying "Especially to you, mum". Eh?! We don't even want to begin thinking about that one.

Also impressed by meeting Westlife were Eton Road, who declared them to be "The closest thing to our dream". Their dream presumably being to have their sort of success, only actually deserving of it. Unfortunately the weakness of last week's performance carried over into this week's one - though apparently they've all been laid low by illness - and their take on the Scissor Sisters' I Don't Feel Like Dancing was more a nightclub sing-a-long than a slice of boyband fantasticness. The bloke who wasn't Antony really shouldn't have attempted a falsetto, but then Antony - wearing a pair of remarkably high waisted trousers - wasn't really hitting the mark either. It was all a bit of a disappointing mess really, and while Louis may reckon that they brought "Glitter and sparkle" to the stage, tonight they did so in much the way a five year old brings glitter and sparkle to a gluing project at primary school.

We still find watching Leona perform an experience not entirely unlike watching paint dry, or something even more boring, like watching Westlife sing live. Very good, musical, beautiful paint, admittedly, but still paint. Bridge Over Troubled Water was her song of choice and while, yes, she sang it brilliantly and there can be no quibbling over the notes she hit and her command of the melody line, there's just no personality or originality in that makes it a Leona performance, rather than just a performance. She could, frankly, do a good job singing pretty much anything, and that is kinda what the problem is. "Everyone is buzzing about you in America", claimed Simon, who'd been in LA for the week, something Louis was at pains to draw attention to at every possible opportunity in a rather irritating way, but we somehow find it hard to believe that anyone in America even knows that our series of X Factor is on air right now, let alone takes any sort of interest in the contestants.

Ben, apparently, is not coping with the pressure very well. If he's feeling this stressed at this stage in the competition then god knows what he'll be like if he does, as is being widely predicted, make it through to the final. Perhaps we'll see a live on-stage breakdown. But if the nerves are getting to him, then they didn't show while he performed A Little Help From My Friends - the Joe Cocker version, naturally - even if they did appear to be affecting his backing singers, who were awful. It was pretty much exactly what you'd expect from Ben, although Louis seems less keen to tell him not to be such a one trick pony, preferring instead to call him powerful and claim there's a gap in the market for such an act. Something we're not entirely convinced about, but what do we know? We still reckon there's a market for a Girl Thing comeback.

Last, and certainly least, we have The MacDonald Brothers who received a confidence boost after meeting Westlife, and we're not surprised. It must be nice to realise that it is possible to carve out a successful career in the music industry despite being a set of pug ugly, charisma free rocks with all the musical talent of a gerbil. Demonstrating once again their talent for finding the nadir of a groups recorded output, and finding the nadir of Wet Wet Wet's career is some task, but they managed it, choosing to give us Love is All Around (And yes, we know The Troggs did it originally, but there's was definitely the WWW version), with the sort of cheesy, embarrassing pointlessness we've come to expect from them now. The only thing that's around them is the stench of failure and the unpleasant hint of vague incest as they still insist upon singing their songs to each other. If they want to do a song which two brothers can sing why not do Two Little Boys, at least it'd be appropriate for both their relationship and their level of talent. The judges gave their usual comments and the brothers responded by saying that they were doing it for the public and not for Simon, which clearly isn't true. If they were doing what the audience wanted we'd all be waking up tomorrow to headlines about two brothers found hanged in their dressing room.

After Westlife and Delta Goodrem fulfil their contract by grunting unpleasantly through their version of All Out of Love it's time for the results and oh for fuck's sake, the first two acts that are safe are The MacDonald Brothers and Ray. What exactly do these two acts need to do before the audience turns on them? They could come on stage and drown a kitten and probably still have the public wanting more. Anyway, despite what should have happened, the actual acts facing the chop this week are Robert, hooray!, and Eton Road, boo! Simon, who has the casting vote, promises that he'll be judging purely on performances, "Which means Robert, you're slightly ahead", and Eton Road's faces promptly drop and we prepared to say our farewells to them. Robert's second performance was full of even more vomit inducing fake sincerity and attempts to make his performance moving, which it was, in the bowels sense. Eton Road didn't really up their game enough second time around and while it was definitely better, it still sounded more like four random strangers singing along, rather than a band. Louis was in tears as he sent home Robert, while Sharon was less fussed as she sent Eton Road home, but she did take the time to point out that they provided the fun factor for the contest. Simon, after a bit of preamble, decided that he was going to keep the act who would progress furthest in the contest and thankfully that meant that Robert, for whom this was his third week in the bottom two, was taking the long walk back to the obscurity from whence he came. His dead sister may have saved him last week but, as Nikitta can testify, deceased relatives can only carry you so far. Robert took his failure with the sort of humility we've come to expect from him, stating that "It's not the last you've heard of me, I've been doing this game for a long time". which may be true, but given that up until now every door has been slammed firmly shut in your face it hardly bodes well for the future.

Kate may or may not have mentioned who the special guest is next week. We got distracted by the Hitori puzzle we'd been attempting to solve during the commercial breaks. Sometimes our Saturday nights are just too exciting.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

M TV's Busted 

So, there you go. We've finally caught up. We've always felt that the main advantage of pubishing our work through blogging is the ability to be topical and provide instant critique on the events in the pop music world. Ahem. Normal service has now been resumed, although we have decided to drop the Matt Willis in I'm a Celebrity... feature, partly because we're too far behind now to make it relevant, but mainly because he's done the sum total of bugger all during his time in the jungle so far. Even if we had been in a fit state to do any writing we'd probably have come up with much the same content about his time there as appeared on the site this week. It does, unfortunately, mean, that we won't now get a chance to shoehorn our "Trashed the bedding" joke, which was, if we're entirely honest, the main reason for choosing him to focus upon, but c'est la vie. We're sure you'll cope.

We have vague plans to make next week an Oasis vs U2 special in 'honour' of them simultaneously releasing Best Of albums targetted squarely at the sort of person who is obliged to buy gifts for their family, but who doesn't actually like their relations that much. We might not do it though, you should know what we're like by now.

Fashion, Don't You Know 

All Saints have a new album out this week. We've not bought it yet - we're waiting for a second single which, judging by the sales figures, is a tactic followed by the rest of the British public - but Rock Steady was really rather ace so we're hopeful that the rest of the album is similarly good. To celebrate this, Fashion Correspondent Laura went off to persuade the girls to reveal a few of their style secrets. Here's what she got. Incidentally, we'd like to apologise for the poor quality of the pic which accompanies this piece, but we're not going to as we've taken it direct from their official website, so frankly it's all their fault and not ours for being too lazy to scan in our own copy. Ahem. Anyway, girls, take it away:-

All Saints' Guide to Taking Advantage of the Unprecedented - Yet Welcome - National Appreciation of Girls Aloud and Their Style.


Hi. We're the All Saints. We have decided to do this fashion column as a joint effort as none of us has enough personality to stand out on our own and make the next five minutes of your life anything other than coma inducing. Although, as Shaznay has just correctly pointed out, when we decided to reinvent ourselves with this mean'n'moody front, we didn't take into account how dull'n'insipid this would make us. Nicole has just asked how Shaznay has changed this time around then, and has been led out by "The Manager" for a talk. Again. She's been threatened with anger management classes unless she stops being faintly interesting.

Back to the fashion, then. Our manager told us that if we want to have amazing success this time round, we needed to take inspiration from a band who were doing well on the music scene currently. We went home that night, gave it some thought, then Mel suggested the Arctic Monkeys, which we all thought was a great idea! When we went into our label HQ on Tuesday morning wearing clothes stolen from the washing line outside the local care home, our hair unwashed and back combed, and four accents striving to be from somewhere around Sheffield, but instead covering a wide range including India, Mexico, China and New Zealand, we were sent back home and told to "try again".

On our way home, Natalie bought us the latest copy of Heat magazine to see if we could find anything fantastic in the What Were You THINKING? fashion section. Before we managed to flick to page 75, though, we came across an interview with Girls Aloud, where the gobby northern chav accused US, ALL SAINTS, of 'copying their image'. "That is totally outrageous," commented Mel. "I mean, look at what Nadine is wearing in that picture. I'm not wearing any underwear today, thank you very much!"

While the rest of us edged away from Mel, a plan was forming in our collective head. If we were being accused of copying Girls Aloud, well we might as well do it properly. Slowly we came up with a plan that was definitely not a rip off of our amazing blockbuster film Honest. We were going to ambush the Girls Aloud Style Bus, and whatever we found would form our new look. Shaznay would go and distract Nicola, who had been relegated to guarding the bus by Nadine while the others promoted their Greatest Hits album, and ask her which foundations she used to cover up her freckles best, as Shaz's are getting out of control again. Nic and Nat would sneak inside, grab some bits and bobs before running to the getaway car Mel was driving. Sadly, Mel got a flat tyre the day before the Great Robbery, so we had to settle for a getaway pick up truck.

Nonetheless, the plan went according to... well, plan, and we managed to grab a bin liner of clothes. Nat/Nicole - even we can't remember which one of us is which - can be seen wearing a dashing red jumper, rumoured to be made from the hair of Nicola Roberts, Mel is wearing a pyjama top that once belonged to Kym, and Nat/Nicole is wearing some of Tweedy's amazing bling which she can afford now she is a WAG and has all of Vicky Beckham's old cast offs. There wasn't anything in the bag for Shaz, so we just cut some arm holes out of the bin liner, and told her it was a poncho. She didn’t even realise.

And that's all there is to it. Our style, as stolen from Girls Aloud. Add a dodgy film plot, and a gold chain or two, and you too can have a smash hit album, rumoured to be debuting in the charts at an impressive #43 this Sunday.

See you soon for more in the crazy life of the Saints.

Shaz, Mel, Nic & Nat x


Week 5 of X Factor and the trauma continues on apace with the contestants tackling the somewhat vague genre of love songs. Julio Iglesias is the inspiration for this although he, as Kate Thornton (Dresswatch: Quite flattering black number along with a nice hairdo, spoilt only by her - and Sharon's - insistence on wearing a ridiculously large poppy, presumably to show how much the war dead meant to her. If she was that keen to show her love for the symbolism of the poppy she'd have been as well coming on stage monged out of her mind on Opium. It'd have been more dignified.) entirely failed to tell us, has far better things to be doing with his time than offering his views on the contestants or giving them some hints and tips during the week, and so will only be turning up for the results show where he won't bother his arse even interacting with the host in any way or form. And quite right too.

With a slightly less preamble filled opening than usual - though some time was made up with some "LAST WEEK" style deep voiced gubbins which may or may not have been useful or interesting; we fast forwarded our way through it - Ben opened the show and had he had any sort of gumption whatsoever, he could well have made something of a mark here by performing one of the great rock love songs. Whitesnake's Why Can't This Be Love?, perhaps. Or maybe even the full length version of Meat Loaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light - though to be fair Ben is likely to be even less convincing singing in the role of a teenager as he is as a credible rock star - but did he do either of those? Of course not! Why do something slightly unexpected when you can instead irritatingly growl your way through the entirely predictable, in every possible sense, Don't Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. It's ironic, really, given that he doesn't want to close his eyes for fear he might miss something, while we are all too ready to claw out our own eyes, safe in the knowledge that we've already forced ourself to see far, far too much. Following a VT in which he dissed his old profession of tent erecting - a little hastily perhaps, given that while 'gritty' voiced singers come and go, people always need marquees - he managed to put in a similarly workmanlike performance, even standing in front of a wind machine at one point, presumably in a bid to recreate the conditions in which he used to work in. Indeed, listening to him bang on in his intro footage you'd be forgiven for thinking that marquee erectors have the sort of squalid, unpleasant, horrible working conditions that we'd all thought had vanished from the days when kids where forced up chimneys and not just the minor travails of having to occasionally deal with slightly blustery weather.

According to Louis - a statement which pretty much instantly renders anything following it to be irrelevant - Simon owes the MacDonald Brothers an apology, which is hardly fair. After all, Simon wasn't the one who put them through to the final so he can't be held responsible for turning them into a laughing stock. Following the theme set out by Ben, the boys went back to the hotel where they'll soon be working. Sorry, used to work. As with Ben's performance, there were a couple of stools on stage. And those stools sat upon a couple of cushioned seats with no back support for their run through of Robbie Williams' She's the One. Now, to be entirely honest, their performance tonight was probably the best they've managed to put in so far, but remember that this is still the MacDonald Brothers we're talking about here, and comparing their performances is a little bit like comparing the relative strengths of fleas: sure, some will be stronger than others, but there's not really much chance of them challenging for the title of World's Strongest Man. However they receive a quite impressive, and presumably sarcastic, response from the audience. Simon's response was unsurprisingly lukewarm and Louis warned him that he should never go to Scotland, but we're not entirely sure we follow his logic. Since when has thinking that a shit band are a bit shit made anyone persona non grata North of the border?

Simon seemed unphased by the comment, declaring himself to be 25% Scottish, but next up is an act who is 100% cunt and that is, of course, Ray. "The bigger the audience, the better he performs", reckons that entirely unbiased judge of his performance, Ray's Mum. On the basis of the evidence so far, we reckon that Ray would need to perform before an audience comprising roughly 17 times the world's population before he became even vaguely palatable. Ray also went back to his old school for his VT segment, although slightly oddly there were no other pupils there, presumably for fear that he would once again be subject to the bullying that, if there is any justice whatsoever in the world, he was subjected to during his time there. He stood upon the school hall's stage and told us that the last time he was there he'd been dressed as a chicken, "The most embarrassing moment of my life", he added, despite the fact he'd just spent Saturday night performing a swing version of Waterloo. This week he performed, yawn, a swing version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love, imbuing his performance with all the passion and joy you'd expect from someone whose only experience of love to date is an encounter with the lingerie section of the Next directory. Appropriately enough, given he'd just been back to school, it was pretty much of the standard you'd expect of an act in a secondary school revue; dull, embarrassing, and of interest only if you're the kid's parents. Sharon wondered whether he would actually sell any albums, while Louis once again pointed out that he does the same thing every week before going to the backstage kitchen and telling the kettle it was black.

Nikitta was up next, and Simon admitted that he's managed to get it wrong every week for her, but Nikitta's not too fussed as she got to go home as well which can only mean one thing! Yes, more musings on her bloody dead mum. In between this, she managed to find time to muse upon her future in the contest: "I just don't wanna be sitting around this room just wishing". Don't worry, love, you won't be. Once you sign on you'll have to go for an interview at least every two weeks to prove you're actively seeking employment otherwise they won't give you your money. Once again it was a poor song choice for her, Last Dance by Donna Summer, and Nikitta once again failed to look comfortable, only ever looking relaxed once the song had finished and her ordeal had come to an end. The verses were better than the chorus, but there was a bit too much desperation there and the dancers simply highlighted her lack of stage presence, rather than disguised it. The judges seemed reasonably impressed, which made Nikitta happy enough to move away from the cliche of bursting into tears, instead settling on the even more annoying cliche of telling us that she's got so much more to give. We'd rather hear more about the dead mum.

Eton Road, who we are now firmly backing to win - which, gambling fans, means they're now a good bet to be voted off in the next couple of weeks thanks to our unerring reverse midas touch - decided, with the sort of predictability you'd expect from, well, Ray or Ben, chose to do From Me To You. Yes, that's right, a scouse band doing a Beatles song. What exactly is Louis Walsh paid for? On second thoughts, don't tell us. We don't think we want to know. On the plus side, at least it was an upbeat track and Antony - who in the kids photos we saw during their VT appeared to be dressed in drag - got to do a falsetto solo, but on the downside it was a very dated arrangement and the dance routine appeared to have been concocted in the bedroom of a teenage girl, but they just about managed to get away with it.

Ever since this contest started, we've held pretty solidly to the view that Leona has been, as you're no doubt bored to tears with us saying, technically a good singer, but has all the emotional range of a Grange Hill extra combined with a similar ability to merge into the background. This week, however, she managed to change our mind. Slightly. She still has all the stage presence of a mop and bucket, but if you closed your eyes for the first time she managed to not only hit all the right notes, but also connect emotionally with the song, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, and put in a damned fine, emotional, powerful, and impressive performance. All she needs to do now is learn that there's more to stagecraft than clutching at her dress every now and then and we might well have a worthy winner.

"We've saved the best to last", claimed Sharon, and our hopes rose as we prepared for her to announce that Robert had had a sudden flash of self awareness, realised he was a bit on the rubbish side and had withdrawn from the competition. But no, she apparently was genuinely just referring to the fact that Robert was about to perform. Having been in the bottom two for the last two weeks and realising that his irritating personality and not particularly impressive singing was likely to cause himself to be singing for survival once again this week, Robert has decided to go for a new tactic: emotional blackmail. "I sang this song at my sister's funeral", he declared, happily abusing a personal loss for his own gain, though at least it meant he would be unlikely to commemorate her memory by running around the stage like an arsehole. His version of Always and Forever was pleasant enough, but it's hardly the sort of thing you'd choose to listen to. Certainly we've got no desire to hear it sung at our funeral - we want James Blunt to be played. If we're dead we don't see why anyone else should have a good time - and if it hadn't been for the fact he'd announced the song's meaning to him before he sang it you'd have been hard pushed to have noticed any sort of emotional connection to it.

So, results time, and Julio Iglesias finally turns up, after the usual barrage of facts and figures - which, impressive though they may be, do not make up for the fact that he is responsible for the existence of Enrique Iglesias - to perform I Wanna Know What Love Is. We, not having much desire to wanna know what his version of the song sounded like, fast forwarded until we got onto the nub of the matter and it's Ray versus Nikitta and Simon was visibly shocked by this state of affairs. As, to be fair, were we, but we're always shocked when the final two fails to contain the MacDonald brothers, even if it's nice to see Ray finally end up in his rightful position. "I don't get that", said a confused Simon, while Louis and Sharon, proving once again that the show is about the contestants and not just the pointless, petty rivalries between the judges, put their feet up on the desk and made lazy, mocking comments about Simon's predicament.

Ray, first to face the judges, was almost, impossible as it may seem, even more irritating than his initial outing, ending the song by blowing kisses at the audience and nodding smugly. On the other hand, if Nikitta seemed desperate during her first performance, then she was practically on her knees and begging second time around, with a definite plaintive pleading tone being introduced as she was singing "last chance" lines of the song. It was slightly uncomfortable to watch in all honesty. Sharon and Louis rigged it so Simon was left in the uncomfortable position of having to choose which of his acts to send home, though despite this it should really have been an easy decision, what with Ray being, and we really cannot stress this enough, an annoying cunt. Simon, however, for reasons we can't even begin to fathom, instead decided to say goodbye to Nikitta. Yes, Nikitta has had a few ropey weeks, but she's had her high points as well and besides, even if you're the world's biggest fan of Ray, can you honestly say that he's got anything more to offer the competition? Though of course, it would be hard to imagine the world's biggest fan of Ray being able to say anything that involved words of more than one syllable. No matter, Nikitta got sent home and now her chances of having a career in music, much like her dead mum, are now non existence.

Next week it's Westlife. We were only joking when we predicted they'd be turning up. :(


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Video killed... 


Apologies for the break in transmission, but we're currently labouring under the difficulties of having a video player which, unless ITV genuinely did decide that ninety minutes of pure blackness was a more valid use of airtime than broadcasting the opening episode of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, a view which is certainly understandable, may be somewhat gubbed, a head cold which is making us even more bitter and grumpy than normal and we're not actually 'in' that much this week, so sorry to everyone who was expecting some of the things we'd, you know, promised to bring you this week. Normal service probably won't be restored by Thursday, but we should at least manage to bring you our X Factor review by then. Perhaps.

Aren't these slice of life posts boring?

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Five Faces of Girls Aloud 

We should probably have mentioned this on Wednesday - Mind you, the list of things we should have done with this site, with "Quite while we were ahead" ranking pretty near the top, could fill a dictionary - but Girls Aloud, a band who we're ever so slightly fond of, are heading out on what we're sure they'll be at pains to point out is definitely not their farewell tour. But if you'd like to go and see all five of the girls together for the very last time then you may want to make your way down to one of the following venues on the appropriate dates:-

Fri 18/05/07: Metro Radio Arena Newcastle Upon Tyne
Sat 19/05/07: SECC Glasgow
Sun 20/05/07: M.E.N. Arena Manchester
Tue 22/05/07: Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield
Wed 23/05/07: Cardiff International Arena
Fri 25/05/07: NIA Birmingham
Sat 26/05/07: Wembley Arena
Sun 27/05/07: Nottingham Arena
Tue 29/05/07: The Brighton Centre
Wed 30/05/07: Bournemouth International Centre

Of course, by now you'll have missed all the best tickets but at least you'll be in the same room as them, even if you only have a blurry image on the big screens to vouch for it, but that's what you get for not being quick off the mark. We're in the third row which is not only close enough to throw gifts onto the stage and valiantly shout out our phone number, it should also allow the entire arena to witness a quite impressive scene as the over zealous security guards attempt to throw us out for breaching the terms of our restraining order. Hooray!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The contestants for this year's edition of I Used to Be on Telly... Get me Back on Telly have now been announced and unfortunately, despite the rumours, Rachel Stevens is not among them, presumably having decided if the public showed a similar disinterest in her jungle based antics as they did for her pop career, the experience would be unlikely to shower her in glory, although it'd be pretty much guaranteed to shower her in flies, maggots, and other unpleasantness.

Instead, sticking up for the realm of pop, we have Matt Willis, who used to be in Busted, Mylene Klass, who used to be in Hear'Say, and Jason Donovan, who used to be in Kylie Minogue. Following on from the 'success' of last year's Frost Report feature, this year we'll be bringing you M TV, where we'll be keeping an eye what the ex-Busted boy gets up to during his time in the Australian and reporting back, saving you lot the hassle of actually watching the show. How will he cope without his hair straighteners? Will he attempt to impress his fellow campers by trying to do one of his trademark jumps over the fire, and more importantly, will we be able to resist doing a Busted Flush joke the first time he uses the camp toilet? All these questions - and possibly more, though it's quite unlikely - will be answered on Monday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

Kylie is back home in Australia, restarting her Showgirl tour which was rudely interupted when the small yet perfectly formed popstar examined her small yet perfectly formed breasts and discovered a small yet perfectly formed tumor lurking there. Still, she's better now and will no doubt soon be back with a new album, which we hope and pray is of the "Hooray! I've beaten cancer, let's party!" style and not of the maudlin, whiney, "Oh I've had cancer, doesn't it make you appreciate how precious life is" yawnsome sort of nonsense. Delta, we're looking at you here. Anyway, to celebrate this - and because, as a reader recently pointed out to us, we've not actually covered her yet, which is something of an oversight, particularly given we've now done Madonna twice - here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the world's favourite miniscule pop princess:-
  1. Without her global success, the word 'Antipodean' wouldn't be used nearly as much as it is today.
  2. 97% of the world's professional Kylie Minogue impersonators are male. The other 3% don't get much work.
  3. Recently Kylie replaced her old, antiquated, and somewhat rusty toastie maker with a brand new, modern, up to date model, but she was never truly satisfied with the results of her latest purchase. It's true what they say, it's better the Breville you know.
  4. On special occasions and state ceremonies, her gold hotpants can be seen flying proudly above the Australian parliament.
  5. Following a downturn in demand for foppish Englishman sort of roles, the 'actor' Hugh Grant found himself in dire circumstances and, in desperation, asked Kylie if he could live in her backgarden, taking shelter from the elements alongside her lawnmower, garden furniture and other miscelaneous items. She reluctantly agreed, but Hugh swiftly stopped paying the token rent she asked him to and she is currently involved in legal proceedings to evict him. Unfortunately he's now claimed squatters rights and, according to the law, he is fully entitled to stay there. She just can't get Hugh out of her shed.
  6. Like many other Australian popstars, Kylie once acted in the popular soap, Neighbours. Well, she was in Neighbours at any rate.
  7. Kylie songs are improved neither by being played on either acoustic guitar nor by being done in a thrashy punk style. Two bit indie bands please take note.
  8. The defiantly heterosexual Robbie Williams' duet with Kylie was definitely the sort of stuff red-blooded males dream of and any similarity between that and an aspiration held by more homosexually inclined men is merely coincidental.
  9. When walking down the street, Kylie is always careful to avoid walkng on the cracks in the pavement. Not out of superstition, she's just terrified she'll fall through one and end up trapped.
  10. Ace though she is, she'll probably never top Confide in Me :(

Monday, November 06, 2006

Parallel Lines 

So! Not only is The Sound of Girls Aloud the single greatest album ever to leave a pressing plant, but it also offers a glimpse into what scientists have long speculated upon existing but have never yet been able to prove; a parallel universe. Yes, lurking as the last track on the bonus disc and proving beyond any reasonable doubt that you can't polish a turd is Girls Aloud's version of One True Voice's Sacred Trust. To be fair, their version is better than the boys' attempt, in much the same way that having a dog piss on you is better than having it bite your face off, but it does offer a horrifying vision as to what might have been. What, you may be wondering, would a world were One True Voice did Sound of the Underground and the Girls did One True Voice would be like? Well...

Talent in a Different Site 

Those good people at Sweeping the Nation are spending each and every day this month seeking out the views of various music blog types on what they reckon the one song everyone should, if there was any sort of justice in the world, have heard is. In what we believe is known officially as 'making up the numbers', our own contribution is up today, so if you'd like to both download the track and read us waxing lyrical about My Life Story's 12 Reasons Why I Love Her then we can only urge to click here immediatly. We do, it has to be said, go on a bit.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cr-Ashley and Burn 

Our headlines get worse with each passing week, don't they? Anyway, it's Week 4 of X Factor and it's hard to believe that a month has passed since this year's contest kicked off. It feels like a lot longer. Fortunately, though, it's ABBA week this week and you'd think it'd be quite hard for even this sorry lot of contestants to totally screw up some of the greatest pop songs ever written, wouldn't you. Well... "They sound simple", said Bjorn Ulvaeus, referring to the songs and not, as you might have thought, the contestants, but, as he revealed to Kate (Dresswatch: quite pleasant knee-length purple number which had the unfortunate effect of giving her all the figure of a stick of rock. Nice hair, though.), they're actually a lot more complex than that. It should now be clear that he's definitely not referring to the contestants.

As Simon still has all four of his acts left, something which he's at pains to point out at every given opportunity, it was left to him to choose this week's opener and Nikitta was given this dubious honour. Bjorn reckoned that the her song choice was perfect for her and, given that she's young and sweet, and only seventeen to boot, there could be only one choice, really, and that was Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie (A Man After Midnight). But Dancing Queen wasn't too bad a choice either. Or it wouldn't have been had she not approached the song with all the startled nervousness of a rabbit caught in the headlights or our cat on hearing last night's fireworks. She was uncomfortable, awkward, vocally wayward and her dancing really didn't live up to the name. In short she was awful and all the judges, even her own mentor Simon, agreed on this. Fortunately for her though, it wasn't all bad news as from the audience a voice called out "It wasn't out of tune, Nikitta, it was fantastic". Let's see, a disembodied female voice, the harsh, Glaswegian tones it spoke in... Oh my God! It must be Nikitta's dead mother, offering support from beyond the grave! Quick, call Ghostbusters! At worst Dan Akroyd could reprise his Blues Brothers routine and give us something worth watching.

Except that might not be necessary, as next up are Eton Road doing Does Your Mother Know that you're out. In Antony's case, this is more than likely. Let's ignore the pink trousers that one of them was wearing, hard though this may be to do, and instead focus on the fact that they were fantastically ace, pure enjoyment in musical form and by the time they finished off with handclaps we're now entirely convinced that we've found our winner. Before rushing off to the bookmakers on the strength of this tip, it may be worth reminding you that we don't exactly have much of a track record in this sort of thing. Or, indeed, anything. But we loved it, the judges loved it, the audience loved it and if you didn't love it then frankly, you're wrong.

Robert believes that last week he managed to convince us that he's not "just a maniac running up and down the stage". We never once thought that, we just thought he was an annoying twat and he certainly hasn't convinced us otherwise yet. Take a Chance on Me - no thanks - started off slowly, before the backing track went more uptemp. Robert, however, decided not to go with it, preferring instead to sing the song like a lounge number and throwing in a couple of spoken asides of the "That's all I ask of you hun" and, jesus, "Let's Party" variety. If that really is his idea of a party then remind us never to accept any invitations from him, for that and many, many other reasons. "You're a natural performer", offered Louis, confusing "Natural performer" with "prick". Confusing must have been catching as when Simon disagreed entirely with Louis, calling it dull and mediocre, Robert seemed to believe he was still in the playground, offering "You liked it really" as his only defence, and later "At the end of the day I enjoyed it so it's all good", which is not a defence which most lawyers would condone trying. Though Saddam Hussein may today be wishing he'd given it a shot. "You nailed it", reckoned Sharon, and he did, in much the same way a butterfly collector nails his creations to a block of wood, destroying their beauty entirely.

We're not sure what's getting more boring, Leona being technically good but entirely dull each week, or us being unable to think of anything else to say about her performance each week, other than the fact that it was technically good but entirely dull. Yes, she can sing and all that, but for all the personality she exudes on stage she'd be as well just standing behind the screen and singing while we watch a teapot sitting on a stool instead. Not a particularly interesting teapot mind, just a functional one. But then, what do we know? The audience practically gave her a standing ovation and, other than a couple of comments about her overuse of vibrato, the judges were similarly positive. "You're prepared to take a risk", reckoned Simon. Really? We must have blinked when that happened.

Of course, given the choice between watching something technically good and dull and something that's just plain old dull, there's really not much contest, so it's unfortunate, then, that next up to try and entertain us are The MacDonald Brothers. Once again showing their unerring knack for choosing the absolute nadir of a group's recorded output, Fernando was their song of choice and it was, as you would no doubt have come to expect by now, absolutely cringeworthy and embarassing. We can only assume that the incestuous homoerotic undertones to the whole affair where some sort of misguided attempt at making the thing even vaguely interesting. They failed. We're now of the mindset that, as with Pop Idol when the public all got together to play a 'hilarious' practical joke by letting Michelle McManus win the contest for no other reason than she was 'a bit fat', this year the public are doing the same for the MacDonald Brothers, only for the reason that they're 'a bit shit'. Sharon, finally achieving a bit of self awareness, said "What I say doesn't mean anything", while Simon commented on the embarassing awfulness of the guitar solo, describing it as the worst he'd ever heard. "You know nothing about guitars and real music", was Louis's considered riposte. If that's what real music sounds like then we're glad we only listen to the 'fake' stuff.

"How on earth do you do a swing version of an Abba song?", questioned Simon in the VT proceding Ray's performance. Badly, as it turns out. Who'da thunk it? Yes, proving that he's not so much a one trick pony, more one that's lame and needs shooting to put it out of it's misery - multiple times, just to make sure - Ray gave us a swing version of Waterloo and it was pretty much exactly as awful as you'd expect. At least with Mike Flowers the joke was funny. It was the sort of performance that makes you wish you had no ears, except of course you'd still be able to see his smug face prancing about on stage like the biggest arse the world has ever seen, so we'd need to lose those as well. And even then, you'd probably still be able to smell the fetid stench of failure and embarrassment coming out from your TV so the nose would need to go instead. What we're basically saying is that we need to either invest in a sensory deprivation tank for next week's episode or we're going to end up resorting to self mutiliation in a bid to get through the rest of the series. "I've had enough of this swing stuff", said Louis, as a nation as one stood up and applauded this view, although Simon reckons that no-one cares about his opinion. Mind you, he also reckons that Ray took a risk this week. If someone would like to explain to us what exactly is so risky about doing the same sodding thing he's done every week since the show began then, please, feel free to do so.

It's been bugging us for weeks trying to work out exactly who Ben looks like and we've finally worked it out. It's Robert Englund of Nightmare on Elm Street fame. Seriously! They're pretty much identical. If anyone wants to prove it beyond doubt by burning him alive and dressing him up in a battered trilby and a manky old green and red jumper then you're welcome to do so, but don't bank on us turning up as a character witness for the subsequent court case. You're on your own. SOS was Ben's song of choice this week, and he actually started off quite well, giving it a bit of tenderness and subtlety which he'd previously avoided in much the same way he's avoiding a haircut. Unfortunately old habits die hard and the minute he hit the chorus he was back to his growly, shouty ways which we've all come to know and love. Well, know anyway. "Soft rock", reckoned Simon, while Louis felt he pulled it off. Clearly Louis used up his quota of correct opinions when he talked about Ray.

Ashley, who no doubt picked The Winner Takes it All without realising what side of the fence the protagonist is actually on, managed to pull off a performance which surprised many of us watching. He actually managed to be worse than he'd been in previous weeks which, as you'll know if you've been watching, is no mean feat whatsoever. There was no emotion, no delicacy, and not a lot of the notes were in tune either, not that Ashley would have noticed, as the only thing Ashley seems to truely care about is himself. Witness his comment on being in last week's bottom two: "My whole career was slipping through my fingertips". How soulless do you have to be to only be thinking of winning the contest in terms of units shipped. Well, as soulless as Simon Cowell. They're a perfect team, come to think of it.

Before finding out who the dog eggs in a basket full of bad eggs are, Bjorn is wheeled back on stage for his contractually obliged opinions on who he felt stormed it tonight. Conincidentally and entirely spontaneously, he picked a favourite from each category, with Leona, Eton Road and Ben all getting his approval. After a quick plug for and performance by the cast of Mamma Mia later - despite all the previous guest judges doing a performance it would take a show with slightly more clout than X Factor to sort out an Abba reunion - and some backstage chat, all of which was highly entertaining and worthwhile and not pointless filler in any way, shape or form, it's time for the results. Suprisingly Nikitta is not in the bottom two. If we were the betting sort we'd have definitely put money on that after her performance. Things like that are largely why we're not the betting sort. The MacDonald Brothers weren't there either and nor, even more shockingly, was Ray. Instead, fighting it out for the last remaining place like two starving men fighting for the last tic-tac are Ashley and Robert. Unfortunately for us, only one of these two can go and, after their sing off - Robert's pleas to take a chance on him were noticeably more plaintive, while Ashley did manage to sound a bit better, not that that was too hard a task - it was down to Louis to choose which on these 'singers' should pack their bags. As always Louis ummed and aahed about what a hard decision it was, but eventually, and much to Simon's disgust, he picked Ashley, which we were slightly surprised by as, while the pair of them aren't exactly shining stars in the pop firmament, Ashley does at least have a little bit more potential and could, possibly, have had one particularly impressive performance to come. It's unlikely, but it's a slightly more palatable option than watching Robert jump around on stage like some hyperactive five year old for another week. Ashley, as you might expect, took his defeat in good grace: "You're taking out the strongest team", he told Louis, presumably forgetting that the strongest team rarely ends up in the bottom two for two weeks running. The self delusional cock.

No idea who the guest is next week. Kate didn't say so we can only assume it's someone less than impressive if they're not bothering to plug it. Odds on it'll be Westlife. Or it will be at some point during the series. Now that will be a low ebb for the show. Well, lower, anyway.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Fashion, Don't You Know 

If the charts are anything to go by Emo, as we suggested last week, isthe new Pop. Here at Talent in a Previous Life we're never afraid to jump on any passing bandwagon in a desperate search for readers celebrate and appreciate any new trends that may happen so Laura, our intrepid Fashion Correspondent went out and about to persuade Brendan Urie of Panic! At the Disco 'fame' to write a few words on how you can achieve the emo look. Here's what she got:-


HELLO everyone out there.

It's Brendan Urie here. Yes you do. Reading Festival 2006? The bottle? The overdramatic reaction? SEE! you do know me. I'm the lead singer of the wonderfully amusing band PANIC! at the Disco. We got our name after a hilarious incident which was based solely around me, myself and I, a disco ('mais non!' I hear you cry!), and the panic attack I suffered after my poor ego took a bashing after some girl talked to one of my other band mates instead of me (she was a fat bitch anyway) which everyone found really funny. I suppose me collapsing and blacking out, breaking my arm as I fell is actually quite funny if you're someone else, as long as I'm the centre of attention, I don't really care what happens to me! TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!

Anyway fashion fans, I'm here today to tell you all how this totally self-important, totally cunty attitude can help YOU become the star of the show. We shall start this with an important lesson – your band mates do not need names. Simply refer to them as fags and emo s and we're laughing! Although technically, as we are a SERIOUS BAND with real EMOTIONAL PAIN behind our songs, we do not laugh. We stare in a serious manner. And pout.

The second way to push yourself towards infamity is to carry out all of your band's press single handedly. This means you must do all the interviews, personal appearances, etc alone, and don't ever mention the other emo fags. In fact, I always find it helpful to look confused and to pout slightly whenever someone says 'What about the other three guys?' As far as you are concerned, THERE ARE NO OTHER GUYS.

Now, for legal reasons which I'm yet to fully understand, the other band members APPARENTLY 'need' to be present in press shots. I don't know why, I think it's totally ridiculous personally, and you know, as I'm really the only cog in the PANIC! At the Brendon-Urie-Disco machine, my word should be law. But until my lawyers find out what's behind that particular loophole, I HAVE to let them have some camera time, so I'm going to give you some tips on how to make yourself look ace, and make the other faggy emo's fade into the background. Quite literally!

As you can see, the picture above is from the cover of a certain music magazine, which I won't name because:-
  1. You can all see what it's called.
  2. I'm not sure if I am allowed to name it, due to endorsement and shit.
Well, I demanded to be allowed to do the fashion and styling for this shoot, and threatened to make the next album even more random and incomprehensible than the debut if they didn't let me do it. Ha! Like I won't do that ANYWAY!

So, this was post Reading, and as my EMOTIONALLY GRIPPING, HEART BREAKING STORY about the bottle had hit many a headline (as it rightfully should!), I decided to echo this sentiment on Emo Fag #1. This is the only plausible reason as to why he has a faux black eye. Emo Fag #2 to the right of me I styled on Gerrad Way. This is why he looks exactly like him, just without the bleach blonde mess. I thought if people see the cover and see ME and G on the front, they will be overcome with emotion at the sheer amount of emotionally heartbreaking quotes inside from the pair of us, and buy the magazine. Or my…sorry, OUR album. Or at least start coming up with lots of exciting Emo Slash for me to read on the internet. Which I definitely don't do. As for the other guy, I just gave him a hat and told him to stare at the floor until spoken to. Sadly, when the picture was taken, someone in the dressing room yelled 'YOU'RE A CUNT!', and he naturally assumed someone was talking to him. He insists they were shouting 'URIE'S A CUNT!' but I told him if he said that again, I would fire him and no one would realise because he has NO FANS. He shut up.

Anyway Brendon fans, I have to dash. We re-released our debut single in the UK this week for what seems like the thirtieth time, but is apparently only the second, and I have to do some more SOLO PROMO because that is the price one must pay to be amazing. It brings a tear to the eye doesn't it?

Brendon xxx

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

10 Things We State About... 

It's Hallowe'en! Well, it was yesterday anyway, but we were to busy sitting with the lights off, studiously ignoring every ring of the bell and every knock of the door to mark the occasion. Instead here, somewhat belatedly, are the ten most horrifying things in music:-

10. Acoustic Guitars
9. Indie bands ruining perfectly good pop songs by performing them on acoustic guitars
8. Indie bands in general, with special reference to the Arctic Monkeys
7. Atomic Kitten (Post-Kerry)
6. The near simultaneous demise of both Smash Hits and Top of the Pops being met with little more than a half hearted shrug.
5. The potential for Pete Doherty and Kate Moss to collaborate on an album.
4. The public's insatiable desire for bland, vaguely tuneful, personality free nobodies on the X Factor. MacDonald Brothers, we're looking at you.
3. Q Magazine
2. The unaccountably successful music career of Jamie Cullum.
1. The smug face gurning above the piano throughout the unaccountably successful music career of Jamie Cullum.