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Monday, 30 November 2015

X Factor Jukebox Week - Results Show

Carrie Underwood is performing (I have her album) so is Sigma ft. Rita Ora ( I don’t have their albums). Caroline and Olly do a strange dance. I think it is an in joke. I’m fine being out of it.

Here come the judges. Rita looks normal. To compensate she is doing a ridiculous walk. Oh and while we’re not talking about it why is Bollie pronounced ‘Bow-lie’. Surely it should only have one L? Now the endless and pointless recap. Seriously just make the programme ten minutes long.

Group song! It’s Earth Song. Is this linked to the climate change talks? Or is it just appalling taste in music? I still can’t believe this song didn’t sort climate change.  Reggie and Bollie actually sing (just a line each) but it’s not awful. The contestants go in to the audience and start high fiving people. Oooh imagine high fiving an X Factor contestant. High five anyone, literally anyone, it’ll be the same.
Another recap.

Carrie Underwood performs. I love her but this  may not be her audience. Or from the sound of it, her song. She may have found it on the way in.

Random chat with the judges. Seriously just cut the show down. Simon has hiccups. That is the full link. Now Rita performs with Sigma. Is she wearing a tool belt? She can sing though. Could do without the fake ravers. Imagine the stage instructions – have fun! Now! More fun!

Adverts – Simon is giving away his own car? 

Results. Safe:
Ché – see all you needed to do was forget your words.
Louisa – Very happy
Reggie and Bollie – enough is enough.

I reckon Lauren will go. But first the sing off.

4th Impact.
What’s the betting one of them will be wheeled on in an iron lung? But they don’t want to talk about it? Oh grief they’re singing ‘I’m telling you I’m not going’. You might not get a choice dears.
I’m distracted by a pair of cropped flares one of them is wearing. She looks like a hulk sailor mid transformation. One judge will say ‘THAT’S how you sing for survival’. I still long for the days of Janet Devlin retching her way through Mmmmbop.
Lauren next. She needs to hoik the crotch of her jump suit down. Still may help her with the high notes as she’s singing ‘Vision of Love’. Bloody hell, she really can sing. Let her stay. No repeat of this though 

Rita sends 4th Impact home
Cheryl sends Lauren home
Nick sends 4th Impact home.
Olly bodges up the rules again
Simon sends Lauren home.

Bloody deadlock again. Caroline does it to avoid Olly sacking Rita or something. 4th Impact go home. See ya! 

X Factor Jukebox week - Saturday Night Show

Here come Caroline and Olly. Caroline is auditioning for a role in Chicago. Judges all come out with their acts. Except Simon who comes out to ‘All by myself’. This is actually pretty funny. Not as funny as Rita who has come as a male ice dancer. Everyone is singing two songs tonight. One chosen by the public (twitter, there weren’t elections) and one by the judges. This is in keeping with the policy of ‘any song ever written’.

Louisa is up first. The public allegedly want her to sing ‘Love Yourself’ by Justin Beiber. A song I inexplicably love. With any luck this performance could be the cure. In her pre-song VT her friend comes over and they have a staged conversation. Then she sings. It’s not as good as usual, weirdly awkward and stilted. Belt it out love. Oh here we go. It’s not really improved it. The jarring key change didn’t help, never mind, we can’t all be Westlife. Her face shows that she knows it wasn’t good.
Cheryl liked it. Simon thinks she looks tense. Apparently she’s not well. Didn’t do a VT about it though did she 4th Impact?
Nick liked it.

4th Impact are up next. This week they did an interview with Nick AND met Fleur East. Is Fleur stalking the new contestants? Popping out occasionally to say ‘A year ago I was you. Now look at me. In a years time you could follow X Factor contestants around and tell them that this could be them.”
They sing ‘I’ll be there’ dressed as bridesmaids. One of them hits a high note really badly. That is the best bit. Cheryl is loving it. Simon was pleasantly surprised. He must have been expecting Armageddon.
Nick liked it.

Bloody hell. Reggie and Bollie. If Twitter has any sense it will make them sing opera. Instead it’s ‘Whip Nae Nae’, which I am assuming is popular with the youth. Wow. This is a completely new break out style. Oh no. My mistake, it’s the same as every other week. They go to Winter Wonderland this week for reasons unknown and get this, they meet Fleur East. For the performance their kids come out and dance with them. They also, cunningly, stay on stage for the judges verdict. This is the equivalent of using your kids as a human shield.
Nick liked it.

Lauren goes to Essex this week and meets some orange people. She is not allowed to meet Fleur East. She’s singing ‘Light Up the World’ Which apparently is called ‘Firestone’. If they had any sense they’d use some of those orange people as stage decorations for a literal translation. Instead she’s standing on some tube tracks with a train coming towards her. Which is fine because she spends half the song pretending to be a siren. Simon thought it was the wrong song.
Nick liked it.

Human guinea pig Ché is next. He is clearly traumatised about last week but has to pretend he isn’t. He’s going to sing ‘The biggest song in the world.” Yes, he singing ‘One million Green Bottles’  ‘Hello’  by Adele. But this is Ché so he could well sing it to the tune of ‘One million Green Bottles’.
Has he screwed it up? Or is this a new style? I think he’s mucked it up. He claws it back, sort of. If that was an arrangement then that was pretty strange. He sung it in a way which implied he’d never heard the song before. Which as we all know is impossible. The judges solve the mystery, it wasn’t planned but Rita congratulates him on making up his own melody. This is the same school of thinking that claims that ‘all spellings are valid’. This is how we end up with kids called Bephany.
Nick liked it.

They all sing another song. 4th Impact first. They’re actually singing a ‘mash up’ oooh sounds the alarm (Lauren will do). They’re hoping to use these songs to explain who they are. I’m hoping for SClub 7 style intros, including Rachel doing her thing. Note: This is Rachel’s thing:
They pretend to be dolls. It’s not that bad. Simon gets a clap for knowing their names. They’re written in huge letters behind them.
Nick liked it.


Ché meets his dad. Not Fleur East. He sings ‘Try a Little Tenderness’. It’s sticking to what he knows. And it’s fine. His jacket however is beyond foul. If they were hoping for slimming stripes they failed. He looked like Sandi Toksvig. It’s dull and boring but on the positive side he knows the words and 70% of the tune.
Nick liked it.

There is an ominous threat in Lauren’s VT. They are going to make her look uber glam. Her hair and make up are actually OK. Her dress is not. No idea what the song is. Sounds like an Andrew Lloyd Webber filler song from a lesser known musical. One you sing in front of the curtains whilst they change the scenery. She turns in to a car alarm again. She can’t walk in her dress and heels. Glam! Cheryl thinks the song makes her relatable. Who hasn’t dressed up like Joan Collins and bellowed power ballads from a fire escape?
Nick liked it.

Reggie and Bollie go on Nick’s breakfast show. They’re singing ‘Dynamite’ out of time and badly. But they jump nicely and they were able to use the same drum track from every other song they’ve sung. They’ve written their own rap, it includes the words ‘We’re on X Factor so we can’t complain’. I’m not and I can.
Nick liked it.

Louisa is singing a power ballad. I have no idea what the words or tune should be but it sounds about right. She clearly means it as she’s doing the ‘mean it squat’. Everyone knows you only mean a song if you squat like you’re pooing in the woods. Simon and Rita give her a standing ovation. Cheryl thought it was better than her first song AND she’s ill. No chair demands though.
Nick liked it.


Based on that Ché can get out and take Reggie and Bollie with him. But it’s actually going to be Lauren and Ché. 

X Factor - Love and Heartbreak Resutls Show


My word Rita loves a wide leg trouser.

After a mini recap we immediately go to the group song. They’re singing ‘Fell in Love in a Hopeless place’. Worth watching for Anton bellowing like a hip Grandad. Then another recap for those with amnesia. Or for anyone who’s been watching for three months without having a clue what’s going on.

Nathan Sykes performs. He’s from the Wanted apparently. He plays a jazzy piano and plays a song that is legally different from ‘All of You’ by John Legend. There’s then some awkward chat with the judges before Olly performs.

Hey Olly. If you’re trying to do a new job it’s probably best not to come out and do something you’re infinitely better at. The only downside was that he accidentally stumbled in to an aerobics class to sing but is carrying on bravely.

Why do the dancers have to wear up the bum swimming costumes? Olly is allowed to wear clothes. They could do their job and be clothed from the waist down. Shit like this is why I keep showing my nieces Bananarama videos. ‘Look they’re pop singers and they’re allowed to wear dungarees’. I’ve decided I am going to become a pop  star. JUST  so that I can wear jeans and a t-shirt and lead Olly Murs around the stage by his penis. For no reason at all. The song will be about catching a bus or something but for staging reasons he has to have his lad hanging out his trousers for all live performances. In an awful post song chat with Caroline Olly pretends he chose those outfits himself. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH UGH. Olly couldn’t choose bloody pick and mix.


Results.
Safe
Lauren – Goes bananas.
4th Impact – Happy and wavy
Louisa – Jumpy
Reggie and Bollie – Oh dear. Anton angry.

So the bottom two are Anton and Ché. Do we need to bother with the sing off?
Ché sings Alicia Keys. He makes it his own. Unrecognisable and warbly. Then he goes nuts. Impressive but do you have to do it all the time? Just sing.
Anton sings. He is intense to a powerful degree. Don’t make him go back to being a West End performer and backing singer. The horror! He sings that George Michael song about turning stuff down. Exclusively heard on talent shows. Wisely there are few close ups. He’s chosen to sing it like someone squaring up for a fight in a car park.
Nick saves Ché
Simon saves Anton.
Rita saves Ché
Cheryl saves Ché. She says it’s not personal. Anton clearly thinks that’s bollocks. Congratulations Anton. Although you’re officially not a winner you have stayed true to the spirit of X Factor which is the belief that even if you sing songs that are twenty years out of date in the style normally seen in crap cabaret, you STILL believe that you are a credible and viable recording artist.
Keep on believing. That kind of thinking leads to this:


X Factor - Love and Heartbreak. Saturday Show.

Sticking to the normal over-arching theme of ‘Any song, ever’ the official theme this week is ‘Love and Heartbreak’. So unless someone is going to sing that one about a moped by Macklemore they can sing literally anything. It’s a double eviction again tonight (they may have spent too long faffing around wit

h judges houses and six chairs) but in a twist – one act goes tonight. Ooooh. Olly can’t say elimination. This is the funniest thing Caroline has ever heard.

Here come the judges. Rita is doing this on purpose now. Today she is Liberace inspired by Pat Butcher. It is beyond foul. We enjoy some awkward banter and then comes the first contestant. Human guinea pig Ché.
This week his girlfriend has come to visit and inspire him. Well it is love and heartbreak week. He’s so inspired by seeing her that he decides to sing a song about a dead relative. He’s singing ‘Yesterday’. Now there is generally a rule. If you are at a national event, live television show or bingo on a Wednesday it is decreed that Paul McCartney will turn up with a piano and sing ‘Hey Jude’. Singing a Beatles song is like saying ‘Candy Man’ five times in a mirror. Paul will appear.
Hang on, he might not, as this is completely unrecognisable. Ché has decided to change the tune to some howling and warbling. Fair enough, the Beatles weren’t known for their tunes. You often listen to the White Album and think ‘what this needs is a fifth round X Factor contestant to add some polish’.
Just sing the tune you be-suited Guinea Pig.
Nick and Cheryl stand up. Perhaps they have piles. Rita forgot who he was singing. This is a compliment. Backstage Paul is packing up his piano. No ‘Hey Jude’ for you.

Anton is next. In his VT we immediately learn that Anton is sad. We know this before we see him because of the sad music. To cheer him up his dog comes to visit. Anton is singing ‘One Sweet Day’. He’s singing it in the style of a constipated serial killer auditioning for the role of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It’s terrifying. And not enjoyable.
Nick doesn’t love it. Anton loudly and bizarrely claims that he’s not putting on an act. If Nick goes missing check Anton’s floor boards. Rita says it’s awful and Anton is fine with that as she didn’t say he was fake (neither did Nick). Anton then repeatedly apologises to Nick. This is uncomfortable. And it’s still going on. GO TO ADVERTS. Adverts. Thank heavens.

Now it’s 4th Impact. We re-live the medical drama from last week and then they skype the family. Who are very far away. These two things are just randomly mentioned by the way. They are not in any way a cynical ploy for votes. They are singing ‘Ain’t No Other Man’. For love and heartbreak week. Not your traditional first dance. It’s fine if you like growly singing and slightly awkward flirting with the camera.

Now Lauren. She met Fleur East and Alan Carr this week. So she’s peaked. Lauren is singing a song that has helped Rita through heartbreak. I have literally never heard it before. Oh yes I have it’s ‘We Belong Together’ by Mariah Carey.  It’s very ‘Roxies Nightclub in 1997’. Mixed bag from the judges. Simon criticises the backing dancers. Like Lauren has spent the week choreographing them. Her face reflects this opinion.

Now Mason Noise. For some reason he is filmed pretending to work at his old job and then (to show how much his life has changed) he goes to Westfield.
He’s singing ‘Jealous’ by Nick Jonas. I am jealous of people who haven’t heard this. Now he’s dancing sexily with a lady dancer. They’ve paid her Mason, she doesn’t really like you. Don’t get any ideas.  Judges are not thrilled. Bye Mason.

This week Louisa goes to see her Dad at a building site. It’s no Alan Carr. But gosh doesn’t this show me how down to earth and relatable she is? No. She’s  singing ‘Let it go’ by James Bay. She’d be better off with the Frozen version. The judges love it. But they were going to weren’t they really.

Oh grief. It’s Reggie and Bollie. They go and see their family . They seem like nice people. Perhaps they should spend more time there and stop singing dreadful songs on the X Factor. They’re singing ‘Shut Up and Dance with Me’. Romantic. It’s shouty and all it’s missing is a vuvuzela. Simon predicts they are going to be in the final. Remember – Simon thought Bupsi was a credible finalist.

Who’s going to go tonight? Anton.
Who’s going to go tomorrow? Mason.

Lauren will be in the bottom two as well. Now a performance by Rudimental and Ed Sheeran. There’s lots of ticker tape and this rather derails the post performance interview. The judges ignore the multi million selling Ed and instead throw confetti at each other. Those krazeee guys. Ever the professional Olly Murs continues the interview and manages to get an exclusive: Ed Sheeran is looking forward to Christmas.
Now it’s the flash vote.

Lauren is safe - bang goes my predictions
Ché is safe – Screams yes to a completely unrecognisable tune
Louisa – goes nuts. I doubt she is that surprised.
Reggie and Bollie – play vuvuzelas.

So it’s down to Anton, Mason and 4th Impact. Mason goes. “How would you sum up your time on the show Mason?”

“Sorry”

Monday, 16 November 2015

X Factor Week 3 Results Show. - One Direction and Jess Glynne

It's a double eviction again this week. I'm guessing they have to keep culling contestants to give more airtime to the endless recaps. One Direction and Jess Glynne are singing this week. No Cee-Lo Green but I guess we'll struggle on. 
Here's the judges! Rita has forgotten her trousers. Everyone remembers their manners and no one mentions it. 
Group song! It's 'What a Feeling' from Fame. What a weekend for premier gangsta rapper Mason Noise. Hold that head high Mason, sing your line from your heart. I'm fairly certain that Reggie and Bollie's mics are off. As they finish the song all the contestants congratulate one another. Monica looks sad. Some may think she doesn't want to go. I think it's more likely that she's having a terrible moment of clarity. 
Recap. Read the previous post at half the speed you normally would. 
Now Jess Glynne. Is wearing a suit and a bra back??? SOUND THE SPICE GIRL KLAXON. 
 Jess is carrying on bravely despite having come off worse in an argument with a chip pan. Nice enough song. Good voice. Not the most dynamic interviewee. Likes the word 'yeah'. 
Then One Direction. Oh they are proper pop stars. I do like them. They also very clearly need some time off. 
Now the results. It is explained in excruiating detail how this works. It's the 12th series. 
Safe 
Mason - Looks surprised and immediately says sorry 
Laura - Screams 
Ché - Eats lettuce and squeaks 
Reggie and Bollie - I combust with rage and miss their reaction 
Louisa - Goes bananas 
4th Impact - Cry. One of them makes a lemsip 

Max is immediately eliminated. He's as bland in going as he was in the competition. So it's Anton and Monica for the sing off. Anton is going to be insane. 
Monica sings as her best bits play in the background. I have never heard the song she is singing. I may not be the target audience for this programme. She's very good. She also means every word - this is shown through squatting. 
Anton is singing 'If you don't know me by now'. He is nowhere near as good as Monica. It is also insane. He is showing emotion through mumble shouting. This is when no word is identifiable but very loud. 
So it goes to the judges. 
Nick sends home Monica. For reasons unknown. 
Rita sends home Anton  
Cheryl sends home Anton 

Olly interjects to explain the rules. Except he gets them wrong and it's all a bit awkward. 

Simon sends home Monica so it goes to deadlock. 
Except in Olly's mind Monica is going home and he has the microphone so he tells her goodbye. Caroline corrects him and Olly apologises non stop for five minutes.
Turns out he was right any how and Monica is going home. You're well out of it love. 

Olly's turn in Headmasters office Monday morning. 
Who is voting for Anton? Who? 

X Factor - Live Show Week 3 - We're Gonna Sing Some Songs From The MOVIES (sort of)

It's never easy for an entertainment show to come on air shortly after terrible world events. But, all credit to the X Factor, they handled it pretty well. Change any songs which could be considered controversial, short and heartfelt statement from Simon and then business as usual. 
It was movie week on the X Factor. Also known as the usual category of 'any song, ever heard'. This was hammered home in series 6 of X Factor when Jamie Afro sung 'Crying' from the world famous film 'Gummo'. Name a song that is not in a film. There's your theme. The standard for the evening is set at knee high level when Olly and Caroline attempt to recreate a reasonable double act the lift from 'Dirty Dancing'. 

Oh here come the judges. They all look disappointingly fine. Except Rita. Who is wearing something that probably seemed like a good idea at the time. She also can't walk in it and has to be guided on and off the stage by Nick. It is reminiscent on the final years of the Queen Mother. 

Finally it's time for some actual singing. Mason Noise is up first He survived the sing off last week so has to prove that he can be a credible and relevant artist. In his VT he goes home to Birmingham and his Dad tells him that he has to be himself. "You're on that show 'cos you're Mason Noise''. Well technically you're on that show because you auditioned, you got through, you had a tantrum and you were deemed preferable to other people who are better than you.  Anyway to prove himself and be himself he decides to sing 'Men in Black'. Nick declares that it is 'Criminal not to use his gift'. Presumably this is a gift for novelty rap. Now correct me if I'm wrong but if the trip to Birmingham and his declaration that he wanted to  be himself means anything then he should be singing 'Funky Moped'. Instead he's being himself by rapping in a fake American accent and exactly replicating someone else's work. This may not be the culmination of Mason's dreams. 
This is dreadful. But Rita loves it. Look at Rita's dress. She can't be trusted. Cheryl loves it. Simon thinks that Mason is 'different'. Well no one else is singing this. Nick loved it. He found it 'exciting'. Nick screams on the teacup ride. 

Next up is Max Stone. What's he going to sing in a reggae style tonight? I'm guessing 'We Don't Need Another Hero' on a ukulele. I'm wrong. It's a song by Bruce Springsteen from Jerry Maguire. Max and his permanently worried face are in a fake forest for unknown reasons. Oh the songs called 'Secret Garden'. Very good. 
This is also appalling. 
No ukulele. 
These two statements may be linked. It sounds a bit like he's singing along to the radio but isn't too sure of the words or tune. 
Nick liked it (shocking) but wanted more emotion. He wanted it to directly recreate the film. 
Rita liked the pace. I don't know if she expected him to sing it faster than the music but as long as she's happy. 
Cheryl has never heard the song before. What a shame this was her introduction. 
Simon reveals that Max sang this for his girlfriend. If I was her I'd be packing my bags. 

Oh it's the Mog Sainsburys advert. Oh this is nice. Doesn't really encourage you to get a cat though. 

Louisa Johnson is next. She wants to sing 'Lady Marmalade'. She is seventeen. Rita wisely tells her that she can't. This is the best decision Rita has made. Instead she sings 'Everybody's Free' from Romeo and Juliet (and aqua aerobic classes up and down the land). 
Rita says this makes her feel like she's just had a roast dinner. Louisa wants to be an inspiration...like Leona Lewis. 
I'm just going to leave both those statements there. Do with them what you will. 
She's very good. It makes me sad that she is judged alongside Reggie and Bollie. The judges love it. As they should. Oh grief, after the break it's Reggie and Bollie. Let's have an advert break to prepare. 

MUPPETS. And they're advertising giant crumpets. I need both these things. 


Monica Michael. 
Hopefully this week she is wearing something that makes her look less like a Madam. She had to change her song at the last minute. She's now singing 'What is Love'. I have no idea what film this is from. It's also not the Howard Jones song. I thought it was and she'd just really made it her own. It's good. No idea what it's from though, and neither does google. Judges like it to. There's an overwhelming sense of relief that she's not been styled like last week. 

Reggie and Bollie are next. Cheryl wants to show their voices off. Oh Cheryl. They sing 'My Heart will go on ' before segueing in to 'Who Let the Dogs Out'. This is forced fun. See also glamorous granny competitions and anything involving whipped cream and balloons. You feel you should be enjoying it and don't want to be a bad sport but you hate everything about it and want to go home. 
Best summed up as 'Who let the dogshit out'. 
Simon refuses to believe there is a film called 'Rugrats the Movie'. From a man who released a Power Rangers song. 

Now Anton. Just when you think it can't be any worse than last week it is announced he's singing 'I have Nothing' from the Bodyguard. Anton watches back last weeks performance which includes an excellent plug for Talk Talk. Unless his TV has been hacked. Anton wants a standout performance. For some reason this involves everything being in black and white except for his blue jacket. He sings in the manner of a toddler having a tantrum, lots of breath holding and bearing down. Nick loves it but doesn't like people closing their eyes. Fun fact, every time Nick closes his eyes he wonders where the world has gone. 
All comments are positive - bye Anton. 

4th Impact next. One of them collapsed back stage but is still performing. SHE DOESN'T WANT TO MAKE A FUSS. They sing 'Work it Out' from Austin Powers. I have the same issue as always. Great harmonies but individually they're bloody awful. I have no idea what the backing dancers are doing. They get a standing ovation and as if on cue the ill one has to sit down and sip water. Never mind that she was twirling around minutes earlier. Just get off the stage love. She's like the ill person who insists on coming to work then spends the day telling you how ill they are. Draping themselves over printers and sighing and coughing. GO HOME. 

Laura Murray's VT is a strange thing. They make her walk the streets of her home town to see people's reaction. She goes to where she has her nails done every week. She comments that everyone knows who she is. Yes love, you go there every week. She is singing 'One Last Time' by Ariana Grande. It's good (in a bellowy way) 

Then Ché. I'd forgotten him. I have dedicated whole hours this week to trying to find a picture of a guinea pig in a suit. I couldn't. So I drew one. You're welcome. 


He's wearing a leather jacket. Oooh he's a bad boy. Or a market trader. 
He is singing 'When a Man Loves a Woman'. The only note I have written for this is 'Sing the fucking tune'. I completed a level of candy crush whilst watching this. 
He gets a standing ovation - ugh. 

If there was any justice it would be Reggie and Bollie and Mason to go. 

There isn't so it will be Anton and Mason with Max saved. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

We Faced the Music - Sunday Night Results Show

As sure as night follows day. A result show must follow a night of distinctly mediocre karaoke. Here come the judges. They all look fine. Except Rita. She is dressed as Celine Dion at the Oscars. Nick could stand to do a few buttons up. 
Now it's time for the best part of the night. The Group Song. This week it's something 'very special for Rememberance Sunday'. Also translated as 'something horrific with members of the armed forces made to stand on stage'. They sing 'Fix You'. Which includes the lyrics 'Could it be worse?' Well I could be there live and not have access to a mute button. All the contestants are trying hard to show just how much they care. This unfortunately has the affect of making them look like they care about nothing other than themselves. 
There follows an endless recap. Please immediately re-read the previous post. For once the recap is handy. I had completely forgotten about the existence of Kiera. Probably won't be a problem for much longer. 
Fleur East performs. I didn't watch the X Factor last year so I have no idea who she is but she came second and now she's back to prove she's a pop star and perform for the judges and show the contestants what they could one day be. Much like returning to your old school. Although you don't have to go back to your old school in a glittery leotard and gyrate on the teacher's desk. She's very good. Oddly obsessed by sax. Is this something from last year or a recent development? 
Then Cee-Lo Green sings. That must have been a proud day in the bookings department. He's wearing a onesie made of flowers and looks like Babarpapa. I can't understand a word he is singing. Apart from 'woah'. It's something about fried eggs being music to his soul. He also has some contestants from Double Dare as his backing singers. Least he's enjoying himself. It's worth noting that he's the only celebrity I've seen who's gone to the effort of remembering ONE of the contestants names. So when he's asked who he likes he can say a name. Rather than mumbling that he likes them all. Well done Cee-Lo. 



Finally it's the results. Bottom three are Kiera, Mason and Seann. Seann? Kiera is swiftly dispatched without even a best of. Think of it as a blessing Kiera. You would have been made to sing 'Sweat (lalala long) whilst wearing salopettes if you'd stayed in much longer. 

The sing off is between Mason and Seann. Mason sings 'End of the Road' in annoying wobbly voice while his best bits play in the background. Sorry appears in large letters. Just go. 

Nick sobs. 

Seann sings a song I have only heard on talent shows. He shits all over Mason. Not literally that would be a staging decision too far. 
Simon sends Mason home. 
Cheryl sends Mason home. 
Rita remembers to make it interesting and sends Seann home
Nick has a breakdown and sends it to deadlock. 
Bye Sean. The only interesting talent in the whole thing. 

Rita and Nick are going to be told off by Uncle Simon. 

It's Time to Face the Music. X Factor Saturday Night Show

If it’s Autumn it must be X Factor. We’ve sat through weeks and weeks of auditions and they never found anything as good as this. But finally after auditions, boot camp and judges houses (why did Nick Grimshaw go to Center Parcs? Budget cuts?) we finally arrive at the Live Shows. Well actually we arrived last week but here we go with a run down of week 2. Last week Bupsi and Alien left. No great loss to anyone but as we catch up with the remaining contestants they all have to pretend to be sad about it less they appear unsympathetic.
It’s reinvention week. A theme up there with ‘This is Me’, ‘1980s’, ‘Songs from films’ and ‘Songs I once heard once that time’. This theme is a chance for the contestants to ‘make a song their own’. The equivalent of borrowing your neighbours dog and not giving it back. This is the only time that ‘That was unrecognisable’ is a compliment.
Caroline Flack and Olly Murs take to the stage. They seem to have finally mastered not speaking at the same time and now exude all the confidence and relaxed natural vibe of Prince Charles enjoying a break dancing display.
Time to meet the judges.  As usual Simon’s shirt is slashed to the waist. Unusually he has a black eye. This is credited to Anton having got overexcited and headbutting Simon. Given that the rest of his face looks like a collapsed bean bag and he can’t open his downward turned eyes it’s possible he has indulged in a spot of botox. Cheryl looks good. Nick looks like a child who’s won a competition and has borrowed his cousins suit. Rita’s dress proves that Mrs Rochester made it out of the attic and started a fashion line.
Finally. We are allowed to watch some people sing.

4th Impact
Their VT shows them losing their minds at the words ‘Mash Up’. Unlike last week they are not dressed as the Muppet Babies and are attempting to be current. They do this by singing a Girls Aloud song from 10 years ago. They sing ‘Sound of the Underground’ but get this, they do it in front of an underground train. You could put me in a room for seconds and I wouldn’t come up with that. They’re alright. I think they sound horrendous on their own but fine when they sing as a group. I see no indication that they made this song their own. Perhaps the reinvention is not being dressed as four year olds.

Mason Noise
See what he did there? Enjoy it, that was the peak of his creativity. Mason has a strop at the six chair challenge. He now has to apologise every week and do VT’s about how he’s not a dick. Mason is singing ‘Footsteps’. He makes it his own by developing a facial tic. This could be sexy winking. Rita comments that ‘Confidence pulled you off.” This could explain his facial expressions.

Oh it’s the John Lewis advert.



Anton
Anton used to be a backing singer. We are expected to feel sympathy for Anton. To fit the theme Anton is being reinvented as Wagner. He is singing ‘All About the Bass’ whilst girls dressed as gold speakers dance next to him. From the look in his eyes he’s hating it as much as I am. Bye Anton.

Kiera Wethers
She survived the sing off last week. To punish her Rita is making her sing ‘Return of the Mac’. IN A MAC. That coat will be off half way through the song. It’s a bit cack. They keep making her dance. The coat stayed on which was a nice surprise. Cheryl declares it ‘Good enough’. Nick claims that ‘if you’re having fun, we’re having fun, everyone watching is having fun.’ Nick is wrong.

Ché Chesterman
I am distracted whenever I see Ché as he reminds me of a guinea pig in a suit. He has decided to be ‘all about the voice’. This is because Ché can’t dance. He decides to make ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ his own. As is traditional and showcased in every single John Lewis advert to make a song your own you sing it really slowly over a plinky plonky piano. This is radical and different and I will fight anyone who says differently. I make a cup of tea, the judges go slightly over the top in their praise.

Louisa
Louisa is seventeen. Make a note of that. It will be mentioned seven million times before this competition is over. She sings ‘Billie Jean’ and is made to dance with a chair. My favourite part was her looking over her shoulder to find the chair before she sat down. According to the judges this is her acting her age. Sure. Who wasn’t competing to become an international pop star at 17? We’ve all been there.

Seann Miley Moore.
The extra N isn’t a typo. We learn from his VT that it is ‘harder to sing the classics’. Right. After nearly singing ‘Downtown’ he ends up singing ‘California Dreaming’ whilst holding a leaf. Strangely it works. Saturday night actually benefits from a man in a kimono singing a Mama’s and the Papa’s song in the style of Bonnie Tyler. Rita is so thrilled by it that she decides to try out a few new words. Some of which she had only heard that day and isn’t entirely sure what context to use them in or what they mean.

Monica Michael
Monica is the wildcard. She is singing Beyonce and to make it her own she is singing it slowly. But in your face Monica, Beyonce already did that in Fifty Shades of Grey. For some reason they decide to have her recreate the Bond Titles and put her in a dress which makes her look incredibly uncomfortable. Think it is summed up by Cheryl’s comment ‘How did you feel about that performance?’

Max Stone
Did I miss a bit where it was established that he can only sing whilst accompanied by a ukulele? He has a nice voice. He’s singing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. He’s making it his own by singing an exact replica of  Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version. Oh hang on he’s segued in to ‘What a Wonderful World’. For some reason his staging involves a group of people sitting at his feet and looking at him. According to the judges ‘It’s a bit different’. How dull are their lives if this is a bit different?

Reggie and Bollie.
Remember how for years we’ve all been saying that we need a new Chakadeemus and Pliars but with all the humour and flair of the Chuckle Brothers? No? Well you’ve got them. Deal with it. I think it’s crap. The judges think it’s amazing. Be careful public, this is how we got Jedward.

Laura Murray
Bellows a song. Bit like someone from Geordie Shore doing karaoke. Again I am wrong. Apparently she is the future of music. Much like Anton she has to be saved from her appalling former life. She’s a dental assistant.

You may notice that the theme stopped being mentioned a few contestants ago. This wasn’t my decision.


Who will go? Keira. Keira will go. And if there is any justice Reggie and Bollie. But there isn’t so it will be Anton. Simon stitched him up for head butting him and ruining his beautiful, deflated face. 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Ballooning

Hot air ballooning actually happened. 
Sometime ago now but I had to cancel writing this blog post four times before actually writing it. Little hot air ballooning joke for you there. Us balloonists laugh at these things. 
There are few things worth getting out of bed at 4-30am for. Perhaps a house fire but otherwise it's almost always better to stay put. But if you ever get the chance to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon then leap out of bed. Or wait, go at sunset and imagine it in reverse. 

This spot of hot air ballooning came courtesy of my friend Emma who had been given it as a Christmas present from her mother a couple of years ago. The idea is that you ring the ballooning people about 8 hours before the flight and they tell you whether it will go ahead or not. Our trip was rearranged 4 times and was put on hold when I left the country for 6 months, so neither of us has really factored in that it would ever actually happen. Therefore the fact that Emma wasn't well didn't really worry us as we were convinced the flight wouldn't happen. 
And then it did. 
And Emma couldn't come and it was too late to cancel. So myself and another friend used the flight - Happy Christmas Emma! 
Oh but it's magnificent. Although I am terrified of flying I felt no fear being a few thousand feet up in a wicker basket with a flame thrower. The only slight moment was when we crossed Luton Airports flight path and the balloon pilot kept pointing out the planes above us and telling us that we didn't show up on radar. Not really something I needed to know, but what was I going to do? Get out? 
What was strange was how quiet it was. You couldn't hear motorway or traffic noise, you could occasionally hear pigs as we flew over farmyards (loud bastards) but mainly it was just quiet. It was also gave me a good chance to see how many giant trampolines there are - answer: tons. It would seem that if you have a back garden you are obliged to have an enormous trampoline taking up most of it. 
We floated around for about an hour. We were steered mainly by the wind and then depending on where we ended up we had to look for somewhere to land. We found a field and then hunkered down for landing. It was all remarkably smooth and we then wandered around in a field until a minibus appeared to pick us up. We then toasted ourselves with champagne and were given certificates. We thoughtfully got one for Emma but changed it to reflect her non participation. 
If you get the chance to do it then go for it. There really is nothing like it. 

So What Have You Been Up To?

There are few phrases that inevitably strike fear in to someone's heart. 
"Did you manage to get all that done for the meeting this morning?" (Meeting? What meeting? What was I doing for it?) 
"Let's go round the circle and get to know each other. Tell us something interesting about yourself" (I am not interesting and I doubt you are either, let's just keep quiet). 
"Come to my interpretive dance show! It's very emotional". (No.)

But the one that is said more often than any other is one that I also fling at other people. "So what have you been up to?" 
To be fair it's a fairly reasonable conversation opener. It implies (faked or otherwise) interest in the person's life and it allows them to go in to as much or as little detail as they like. I chuck it around like it's going out of business, but when it's turned on me I have absolutely no idea what to say. I think my reticence comes from giving up a full time job to freelance and write. I feel like I should in some way defend this decision. I also feel that I should some how explain how I spend my days (I sometimes go to work, I sometimes sit in my pyjamas and write, I spend too much time on buzzfeed). Ultimately I feel that I haven't really done anything. Much like everyone else. 
So what is up with me?
 I have got very in to crumpets. 
I keep accidentally going on holiday. 
It would seem that I celebrated the arrival of spring by burying all my jumpers somewhere. Winter is coming and I am cold. 
I witnessed a car accident which is now going to court. I had to draw an account of what happened. The picture is so bad the crash investigators are going to have their work cut out trying to establish what happened. 
I have yet to unpack from holiday. 
I have successfully avoided going to any interpretive dance shows. 
How about you? What have you been up to?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Not Air Ballooning

I didn’t go hot air ballooning yesterday. This may not sound that remarkable. There were many other things I didn’t do yesterday. I didn’t do any lion taming, I didn’t go to Canada, I didn’t drink a pint of my own sick. The difference is that I had an appointment to go hot air ballooning at five o’clock in the morning and fully intended to see the sun rise whilst standing in a wicker basket inches away from a flame thrower. However, it was cancelled. For the third time.  Each time has been because of ‘weather’. Each time it has been different weather and one of them I am convinced the pilot just wanted to sit in the sun and eat an ice cream.
It is getting to the point that I feel quite confident that I could be a hot air balloon pilot. There is no actual flying involved, you simply have to leave a message on an answerphone saying that it’s been cancelled. I could do that.
I am possibly being slightly harsh and I am still very much looking forward to our rescheduled flight. Weirdly, although I am terrified of flying, I have no fear at all about being in the air in a basket. It seems quite a gentle way to see the countryside and bimble about. Of course I’d imagine that it could turn nasty quite quickly if a huge gust of wind got you (I suppose that’s why they cancel so many flights) or if the bottom fell out the basket (I suppose that’s why they make you tell them your weight). But unless it’s Richard Branson related you don’t here much about hot air ballooning gone wrong. There’s certainly no ‘Hot Air Ballooning’ disaster movie genre. Perhaps this has lulled me in to a false sense of security.
Imagine how differently we would view things if there was a series of ‘Balloon!’ films. They’d certainly be easier to cast and be able to be made on a much smaller budget. ‘Snakes on a Balloon’ would be thirty seconds long as the offending snake could simply be picked up and thrown over the side of the basket. In turn this could lead to the sequel – ‘A snake fell out the sky and landed on me’. I honestly think that the worst thing that could happen in a balloon would be that you haven’t worn enough warm clothing. Which, given that they cancel flights if it’s not a perfect 22 degrees with no wind speed and no moisture in the air, is unlikely to happen.
Whilst we’re on the subject, please don’t take time out to send me the details of all the horrific things that can happen in a hot air balloon. I really don’t want to know. I have to get on a plane in 3 weeks and I am already wetting myself about that. I don’t have the time for another fear. I am too busy writing the screen play to ‘Snakes on a Balloon’. Set deep in the heart of the British countryside, balloon pilot Samuel L Jackson gets the shock of his life when he actually has to pilot a balloon (the weather conditions being favourable). But this is no ordinary flight. There’s a grass snake on board. Samuel and his three passengers have to decide what to do as their balloon flies dangerously close to the M25.

It’s a winner. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Heatwave!

Heatwave! A proper, honest to God heatwave. Not our usual four days of 18 degrees and we start putting fire warnings out but a solid week of temperatures around 30. Peaking at 38, which was slightly unnecessary but if you’re going to do it then you might as well do it properly. It also meant I was able to sit in a park at 9-30 at night, not freeze and see a beautiful sunset. 
Not that everyone else thinks that we are doing it properly. Australia launched the slightly saracastic hashtag #prayforLondon as they mocked us for issuing advice on how to deal with the heat. Apparently in 38 degrees they don some Uggs, wrestle a dingo before heading home to eat hot soup under a duvet. It possibly escaped their notice that they are built for heat in a way that we are not. Air con is more of a novelty than a necessity here. It’s also a bit rich coming from people who think 19 degrees in winter is cold.
We also didn’t really help ourselves. We had the obligatory pictures of people jumping in the fountains at Trafalgar Square, of an over crowded Brighton Beach and the Daily Mail telling us we were going to die and issuing screaming headlines telling us that London was ‘Hotter than Johannesburg’.  Well yes Daily Mail, it’s winter there.
I’m sure we’ll all calm down soon. But lets enjoy it’s while it’s here. Let’s just all drink a bit more water while we’re doing it and I’m sure we’ll be fine. It’s probably best to ignore Paul Gascoigne’s tweet: “ If you know of any old people try&get them out the house today as some might find it hard to breath indoors plus try to check there ok xxx” That’s not a thing. I admire the sentiment and would encourage you to check in and get to know your elderly neighbours, but please don’t drag them out of their cool houses and in to direct sunlight. It won’t be appreciated.
It’s also best not to do what I did either. I headed to the beach with thirty thousand other people (we weren’t all in the same car) and got stuck in traffic. Whilst sweating away in the car I decided to drink two litres of water. Just to let you know, drinking gallons of water in a traffic jam is not a good idea. And no, if you put the windows up and try to make the water ‘evaporate’ out of you, it won’t work.

However if you are heading to the beach this summer can I make a recommendation? Take my book with you. It’s not out in paperback and can be purchased on amazon. Do it. You might regret it but I won’t. Buy the 'Joy of Depression'
And if you do like it... leave a review! 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Dancing. English Style

I went to a wedding recently. It was a lovely day, the bride looked stunning, the ceremony was touching and the company was outstanding. Really wonderful. It was in Edinburgh and brilliantly, in the middle of the reception, the Celidh music started up and everyone got up to dance. I stumbled my way through the ‘Gay Gordons’, I was slightly hindered by the fact that I was wearing a strapless dress and was aware that it was working it’s way down to reveal my bra and working it’s way up to reveal my spanx. As pretty much all the dance is spent with your arms above your head it is hard to get a moment to rearrange your dress. I sat out the ‘Dashing White Sergent’ and ‘Strip the Willow’ and I think that was wise. My co-ordination is not the strongest and I could see my partner starting to think I had issues when I couldn’t remember the three moves to the ‘Gay Gordons’.
I used to go to Celidhs at University. Back then I always wore trainers and pretty much relied upon just getting flung about and being drunk. The next day there would always be some kind of dance related injury. I would like to stress that the wedding was far more civilised and no one was thrown off the dance floor and in to a crowd of people. But everyone (save the English) knew the moves and everyone joined in. It was lovely.
…and not something you get an English weddings. I think we’d all be pretty disconcerted if at somepoint in the proceedings a maypole was broken out and everyone was given a hanky and we all broke in to some English country dancing. This makes me sad.
If you fancy a dull challenge, ask someone to name an English Country Dance move other than the ‘dosey doh’. I don’t even know if that’s how you spell it. Perhaps it’s that traditional English dancing involves too many props. Hankies and sticks and special bell straps that you tie above the knees. You also seem to have to wear an all white ensemble and as we all know, only the bride should wear white at a wedding. It would also mean picking a wedding venue based on where you could comfortably situate a ten foot pole with a load of ribbons hanging off it.
I did country dancing at Primary school and I just remember being terrified that the pole was going to topple over and kill us all. Then we skipped around tying ribbons in to knots, then dropped the ribbons and walked off. Never to communally dance again until the school discos kicked in and we could shuffle around to Rick Astley whilst drinking a panda pop.
We’re missing out. Let’s start a dance troop. Let’s storm Britain’s Got Talent. Let’s make leaping around to fluglehorns whilst trashed on cider the new Ibiza. We can do it.

Alternatively – go to more weddings in Scotland. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Art of Self (ie)

I'm not sure I have an opinion on Kim Kardashian. I am torn between 'oh good on her, what harm is she doing' and 'Oh for the love of Pete bog off and take Kanye with you'. (On a side note is it CAN-yey or KAHN-yey? It would seem that which ever one I say people laugh). She seems to have made a fortune out of getting married and being followed around by a camera crew. It's difficult to type that sentence without it sounding judgemental but I honestly don't care. I wouldn't want to do it (and no one is offering) and it looks flipping awful but she seems to be good at it and we're the ones buying photos of it. But now she has a book out. A book of selfies. 

I haven't read it, I shall wait for the local library to get a copy, but it has been handily condensed in many newspapers and websites. For example this one:  Buzzfeed Kim Kardashian.  Now we've all seen the Paper Magazine pictures which broke the internet and we could be justified in wondering what on earth there is left to show us. The answer is about 3000 pictures of herself. In cars, in loos, in changing rooms, that's a lot of self. But, damn it, she takes a good selfie. 

She must have the arms of Mr Tickle. Every normal person (Non internet breakers) attempts to take a selfie, drops the phone, tries to get their whole head in plus a little bit of background, fails. At the same time you try and remember if it is taking the picture from above or from below that makes you look all cheekboney and sultry. You end up taking one from both angles. From above you have an enormous forehead and have accidentally included an acre or two of cleavage in the photo. From below you have seventeen chins and the view of an ENT doctor straight up both nostrils. 

You find the right angle and then blind yourself with the flash. 

Whilst still dealing with the temporary cataract you've given yourself you flick through the 72 photos you took. You have one usable one. But what the bloody hell are you going to do with it. Us mere mortals can rarely get away with posting a picture of our faces on the internet and captioning it 'Make up looked good today' or 'LOL' (Both classic Kim captions) we therefore have to include something interesting in the background to justify why we have taken the photo. Which leads us back to the massive head problem and Mr Tickle arms. Why we think a picture of the Eiffel Tower would be improved by us shoving our head in to shot is debatable. 

If there are a group of you these problems are multiplied by the number of people trying to get in the photo. At some point you will realise it's easier to simply take it turns to take the photos. These photos are also easier to display. Unless you have a wall of photos of yourself in your house. Which I kind of suspect Kim does. 

And on that note here is my favourite selfie of Kim and Kanye. It is brilliant for many reasons. 
1. They are in a public (or badly decorated private) bathroom. 
2. The photo is rubbish, half the sink, towel dispenser all in shot. 
3. Kanye. He looks like Tony the Frosties Tiger forced in to clothes. 
4. Kanye. He has voluntarily worn that. 
5. Kanye. That's an eagle vest top from Harlow market and a necklace that was last seen on the Queen Mother. 
6. Kanye. From his stance he was in that bathroom to use it not have his photo taken. 
7. Kanye. This is his 'cool' face. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mentoring

There's a new post coming (honest) but in the meantime here is something I wrote for Bridget Whelan's Creative Writing website. I can't recommend her website enough as a resource for writers. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Wonder of the Modern Age

Inevitably when I came to write this post, a post extolling the wonders of technology and all it can offer us, my computer crashed. I thought it had died and as I stared at the black screen I was vaguely impressed that I had backed up everything. I had only backed it up as someone had shouted at me, but still everything was backed up. My itunes has backed itself up to the cloud. I do not understand the cloud. Please don't explain it to me as I simply don't care. From my understanding it means that every time I want to purchase some kicking tunes (perhaps some Paula Abdul) my itunes will insist on transferring all purchases to my computer so that each song is saved a million times and 'my documents' folder is filled with weird album artwork. Nothing can be done to stop this. It also means that no purchases will actually be put on my ipod, presumably because it's all in the cloud. Still there seems to be no solution to this problem. It is similar to the time I managed to make an entire post production script my default word template. There was no point trying to find a solution, it was far simpler to start every session by deleting 40 pages of work. 
This wasn't meant to be a rant, I just happen to be multitasking and trying to buy some music and failing. (I am buying 'Uncle' the music by the way. An excellent purchase that I recommend you all make). I think I have bought it. I just can't access it. What I actually wanted to say when I began was that technology is marvellous. Pretty much every technological term I used in the first paragraph didn't exist five years ago. If my computer died, which it did after I poured a cup of tea in to it, I had to wait for it to dry out before I could see if anything had been saved and accept that perhaps it had all gone. Now, I'd have to dry it out again but in the meantime 

Sorry to interrupt but Itunes is being an absolute bastard. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. 

Anyway. But in the meantime I would be able to access it EXCEPT ALL MY BLOODY MUSIC WHICH IS TRAPPED SOMEWHERE BY FUCKING APPLE. 

I have now lost everything. No music for me. As this is with Apple I am not allowed any actual help. So I have sent some feedback. I would imagine this feedback has gone to an unmanned help desk. 
Perhaps it has something to do with drones. 

I was going to write a post about how I have been enjoying Skype chats with children in Canberra who are reading a book I wrote as their class reading book. This post will now be delayed while I groan and wail in to a cushion. 
Technology is sick and wrong. It is the enemy. Bring back cassettes. 


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A Strange Return

Before flying back to the UK from LA I warned my friend that there are reasons why I normally travel alone and try to always fly alone. This is because in the run up to the flight fellow passengers are treated to me moping around with a look of impending doom plastered across my face. I also only have one topic of conversation. Correction; I only have one sentence of conversation "I really don't want to get on to that plane." I really, really didn't. As we left our hotel I was offered a complimentary whiskey. I took it. It was disgusting, I now know why I've not drunk it before. I then took three sleeping tablets. I then stopped self medicating as I was about to do a Marilyn Monroe. 
I was awake for the entire flight. I have the constitution (and arse) of an ox. 
Just before take off my friend tried to take my mind of the journey by showing me news stories on her phone. Sadly she showed me pictures of dolls. I saw no need to replace one intense fear with another so carried on fretting about the flight. Fretting so much that I ignored the announcement that said we would have a flight time of just over nine hours rather than nearly 11. I took it as good news. 
What it meant was that we were powering along at the speed of light on the bumpiest trajectory known to man. We were clearly caught up in some 'fronts' that were blasting Canada and the Eastern US so we skipped and hopped our way across the Atlantic. I had a breakdown (and a revolting dinner) and wondered what on earth I would have been like without the drugs and alcohol. 
Now I am home and I am not going to fly for a while. 
However I would recommend the above combination as preparation for going on the radio. Fifteen hours after landing I went to Three Counties Radio to talk about my book (STILL available on Amazon). I loved it. I think not really having time to think about it helped and I would imagine jet lag and drug comedown also played it's part. The DJ was such a nice man and I hope I came across OK. They asked me back and I went back again on the Wednesday to take part in a panel discussion show. All in all a weird way to spend your first week back in the country. 
It's also probably worth pointing out that despite what it says in the photo above, I am not an audiologist. But I am happy to shout at you to check you can hear.