Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Brits 2013: James Corden-blergh

Well, this is going well before it's even begun. One: I've got laryngitis so can't speak. Not being able to speak is rubbish. It makes me realise just how much crap I talk and how much I like giving my opinion on EVERYTHING. So I have a feeling that might make me channel all my anger through my fingertips into a giant splurge. I'm also coughing up bits of the back of my throat and look like something off the Walking Dead. I didn't even blog the Speidi doc (sob). Two: my boyfriend has stomped off into the bedroom declaring 'I won't have it on in the house.' Make that the same room. So now I've got feeling like crap, plus feeling guilty on my hands. Three: it's the Brits. It's my tradition to write a bilious blog about it, and I'll be damned if I let a horrible illness stop me. I'm already suffering, so what's a little extra?
So I heard James Corden might be ill, too, and that Chris Evans might be hosting. At least Chris Evans was relevant once, right? Even if he does write that really smug column about going to country pubs and playing golf now.
So opening the show in usual understated style is Muse. Remember Plug In Baby? That was a good song. Not sure how many light years ago that was now. I used to have a poster out of Just 17 on my wall of the guy from Muse, and he looked attractive. I'm serious!
Ugh, Corden is there. Isn't Russell Brand in the country? Shall I just say ALL THE SAME THINGS I say EVERY YEAR? Well if they will wheel out this far prick every year, what do you expect? Oh my God. Mumford and Sons. I'm strongly considering joining the resistance in the bedroom.
Mumford #1 says he 'enjoys doubling the size of the window people get to look in.' That will come in handy in your next job. I always say it, but I honestly thought they were a joke band at first, and they've done nothing to change my opinion. Plus James Corden says he loves them. Enough said. I thought he'd lost weight? Also, why have they redesigned the Brit Award as Cath Kidston's vibrator this year?
Taylor Swift. Where's Kanye on the only occasion you'd EVER need him? Cut to 1D's Harry Styles. Taylor looks like Bug Bunny. She's introducing Best British Female Solo Artist. Has anyone ever heard a Paloma Faith song? Me neither. She's just famous for wearing bits of old carpet. Amy Winehouse? Pretty sure she died over a year ago, are we that hard up? Mitch Winehouse is more relevant. Oh my god, Emile Sande. That is the worst type of music on the planet. I'd rather be forced to watch that programme about a chicken shop on a loop for 24 hours than listen to one of her pathetic, middle-of-the-road dirges. Can't WAIT for her acceptance speech! She makes Corrine Bailey Rae look like Pussy Riot. James Corden attempts to talk to those little slags out of One Direction. They are REALLY EXCITED about the tour starting. Yeah, really excited about all the pussy, to quote that little runt Styles. That's twice I've used the word 'pussy' in one paragraph now (three times, now, actually).
OMG Robbie Williams. This is too much. Someone up there is trying to finish me off. I hope he falls off that step and knocks his front teeth out. I actually mean 'breaks his neck' but I'm trying to build up to that level of vitriol, and he's stealing my thunder. Is this the 'Ring of roses' one? FFS. Shoot me now. Just take me out with the horsemeat burgers and donkey lasagnes and dump me in a fucking ditch. I should DEFINITELY have started watching this half an hour early. I've really fucked myself. There are people playing tubas onstage and Robbie Williams is still the most odious thing in sight. Revolting. Someone drop the bomb, quick, you get him and James Corden for the price of one.
What the hell has happened to Simon Pegg? He looks like a little rat. I used to like him. Back around the time I used to like Muse. And what's he doing with Liz Hurley? Best British Group. Is it someone I hate? Who the hell are Alt-J? The XX, that's a bit last year, isn't it? I'm vaguely up on new music thanks to Song Pop, now, ha. And One Direction and Mumford and Sons doesn't really cover it. Mumford and Sons sounds like a business Alex Polizzi goes to sort out on The Fixer. Like a failing furniture shop.
Nick Grimshaw: are they actively trying to put people on the stage who are more odious than James C? They still failed but only just. Best British Breakthrough. Why are there only four nominations in every category? Rita Ora's been out for ages. Seriously, is this the best they can do? Someone who looks like they're trying to cover up their bald patch with an elaborate comb-over won it.
Oh dear, I've got a bad feeling I'm not going to have a good word to say about this whole night.
Christ, Dave Grohl's just turned up plugging something or other. Kurt Cobain's 46th birthday perhaps? Cue Courtney: 'when the drummer tries to sing!!!!' LOL. It's lucky my boyfriend has left the room. He really wouldn't tolerate this. He was upset enough when Dave Grohl didn't get a slap off that deer in that 15-year-old QOTSA video. Fucking hell, is Dave Grohl sitting with Simon Cowell?
Plan B, don't give up the day job! No seriously, I sat through a bit of that Sweeney, and I've sat through several Danny Dyer films, and you can't even compare. To Danny Dyer. Or Jason Statham, even.
LOL to the person behind James C looking at his watch as he introduced old spud-face himself, Justin Timberlake. Seriously, I thought this guy's wheeze would be up years ago; he makes Spencer Pratt look attractive, and the high point of his career was splitting up with Britney before the umbrella period.  All of his songs sound exactly the same. Lord knows what's going on with his hair right now. I'm guessing he's had it relaxed because we all remember the NSYNC-advert-for-Frizz-Ease stage. This twat has also got a tuba. 'So smooth'? He never used to be. You can't airbrush a hairdo like that out of history, Trousersnake.
The way Paloma Faith talks gets right on my wick, and I bet I'm not the only one. The human condition; oh go fuck yourself. She's like a human condition: dandruff. What sort of music is that anyway? The sort no one likes.
Oh dear, Ed Sheeran, ginger and that shiny suit really do not go well together. Best British Male - Ben someone. Who is this mumbler? Yeah Emeli, please do have some time off, I'm sick of the sight of you. Oh dear, my boyfriend just came in as Ed Sheeran was on TV, the one person he specifically said he would not tolerate. This Brits is actually more trouble than it's worth, it's like being caught watching some race hate or something.
Dermot and Sharon Osborne are the first two people who've turned up on that stage that I haven't felt searing hatred for. Sharon is sniffing like she's just been backstage with Conor Oberst. International Solo Artist. Anyone but Alicia Keys? I'm glad Lana Del Rey won it out of that lot. Although I'd say her bubble burst last year.
I always disliked One Direction, obviously, but at least I used to fancy Zayn. I can't even fancy him anymore since he's been revealed as a love rat. Are they murdering Blondie? Oh well, rather her than something I hold dear. They're struggling with the low notes somewhat. Oh it's a medley. Teenage Kicks as well? I'm sure Twitter is up in arms. I'm not bothered. Teenage Kicks gets on my nerves. Teenage pricks.
Sorry, I just paused to try and think of something positive to say. But I can barely breathe through my nose or mouth. Positive thoughts is just pushing it. Oh God, aren't we done with Emili Sande already? *cries*
I am ambivalent towards Jack Whitehall just because he wants everyone to hate him. Best British Live Act. Is it Muse? It normally is. Oh no, it's Coldplay. Has Chris Martin not even bothered to show up? Too busy covered in poster paint, no doubt.
OK I'm really losing the will to live now, I'm not sure I'm going to make to the end of this. Best British Single. Is it Stooshe? Isn't that the one about loving someone who beats you up? That's a good metaphor for this stupid programme. Except without the love. I've never even heard that Adele Skyfall song. She couldn't even be bothered to show up. I don't blame her. Oh how we laugh at the 'controversy' of last year. Zzzzzz.
Taylor Swift looks like she's just risen from the crypt. Oh, is that the idea? I'm seven minutes behind now and it's hard to know whether to fast forward this or the adverts. Oh, she went all Ann Summers at the end. Original! Madonna just called, she wants her panties back.
My boyfriend has just joined us with the remark: 'only a licensed cunt would watch this.' Then Robbie Williams came back on.
James Corden on Dave Grohl: 'men want to be him, women want to be with him.' I think you'll find 99 out of 100 women would rather be with Kurt Cobain's 46-year-old corpse. 
I made a sandwich during James Corden's cringeworthy 'conversation' with Alt J, but they were characters weren't they? Like Union J without the looks, or a LCD Soundsystem police line-up. It was even funnier when they started talking.
Seriously, who got James Corden back after last year? He's useless. He's never made me laugh once. Ever. He makes Sam Fox look competent and Mick Fleetwood look like he can read.
My boyfriend is now declaring he is a 'war child' and watching this is worst than anything those kids went through. Ha, is that Damon Albarn. Alex James is looking rough, LOL. I'm surprised they've got Albarn back after last year. My boyfriend is now chanting 'Parklife' and going 'James Corden could do with a bit of famine.' I think it might have been easier when he was in the other room.
I just told him my Mumford and Sons joke from earlier and he went, 'Even Alex Polizzi would draw the line at this.' Have they got a ukelele? I used to think they were American, then it seemed like the fashion was slightly more forgivable. The lead singer looks like an alcoholic Tony Hadley.
'Pay some respects to Brian Ferry!' cried James Corden, to which my boyfriend replied, 'shall we start with the stag shooting, or the fact he's married to his son's girlfriend?' See, this is why I needed him here for the whole of this blog - so he could write my jokes for me.
1D win the 'Global Success' award; or as it used to be called when Russell Brand won it, 'Shagger of the Year.'
There's only one positive thing I can say about this whole affair and that was that I didn't have to look at Florence or her Machine this year. That's it.
Can you imagine how sadistic you'd have to be to watch the ITV2 show? Almost as sick as if you just ploughed through this blog, you loony. Thank you!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review: Desaparecidos live at the Electric Ballroom, Camden

So last week I went to see Conor Oberst perform solo at Barbican, and it was a really lovely gig. A great venue, and a good mixture of Bright Eyes, solo and new songs. White Shoes had me in floods of tears and You are your mother's child had me crying for my pregnant mate who couldn't be there. Even my boyfriend, who was a stand in, and doesn't LOVE Conor, enjoyed it (or at least didn't moan the whole way through). The only downside was it was all seated, and although the view was good, we were a bit far back and you never quite get the atmosphere of a proper gig. I was jolted towards the end gig, though, when Conor said 'my other band is playing next week'. And he didn't mean Bright Eyes, who I've seen numerous times. No, he was talking about Desaparacidos, his best and loudest side project. The band only has one album so it would be guaranteed they would be playing all my favourite songs on it, and they haven’t played for 10 years! But tickets had sold out ages ago. I had to dig around.
After a close call with a conman on Gumtree (don't ever put a request for tickets on there!) I finally got a ticket for £50 on eBay. Quite a lot over the face values of £15 but £15 seemed very low in the first place (it was £30 for Conor solo). I would have paid up to £100 if I'd had the money!
So I met up with the guy selling the ticket outside – thank god he turned up! – and then there I was, at my first ever gig I'd been to alone. I did a smooth manoeuvre to the front; there was a guy at the barrier obviously saving a space for a friend, so I kind of slid into the spot over a period of about five minutes. Come on, you can’t hog barrier, be there, or be usurped. I could tell he was a bit grumpy so I offered him a Tic-Tac (I was on a strict no fluids policy, as I have a pathetically weak bladder) and then I felt I’d made my peace. When his friends did finally turn up there were about 12 of them, so I didn’t feel so bad.
I hadn’t heard of support band Johnny Foreigner, but I admire their name. I think he said, ‘we’re from Chicago’ when he came out in a very-non-Chicago accent, but at the end he admitted they were from Birmingham. I’d describe their sound as a yelpier Bloc Party, and the band had a girl and a black bloke, so it covered all bases. Was good to hear a woman screaming (hold on, that doesn’t sound quite right) and they looked the part. She reminded me of Kylie off Corrie. I enjoyed them and I rarely say that about a support band.
Desa (can I call them that for now, I still struggle to spell it) came on about 9.15, and the place KICKED OFF.
They opened with a new song Left is Right (thanks to Lee who sold me the ticket, because I only had two of the new songs, and he alerted me to two more! I'm a bad fan) and the energy was just crazy. I felt like a young person again!.Conor came out in some hideous stars n stripes sunglasses and the long hair he’s got at the moment and a little stars and stripes neckerchief. I hate his long hair but that’s beside the point. I can honestly say, I think I had the best spot in the house, right in front of where Conor finally came out, and just on the edge of the mad moshpit so whilst I got jostled a fair bit, I didn’t want to kill someone (an occupational hazard at gigs).
Probably the most amazing song was the second one, Happiest Place on Earth, which is one of my favourite songs of all time, it just has the most amazing lyrics, a song about war that you don’t resent for being a song about war. Actually, he’s good at those (see also No one would riot for less and the silly When the President talks to God - notable for me going 'I DOUBT IT!' quite a lot). It was just perfection, and everyone was going mad. I was even headbanging – WTF.
Probably the best thing about Desa is they don’t have any slow songs, every single one is a screamer. So it was a nice contrast to the acoustic gig of the week before. Also, as they only have one album, you knew every song. It’s quite cool to go to a gig where you’ve been listening to that one album for 10 years, never expecting to hear it live, because the band had disbanded. And then when they get back together it’s not a tired old money-making racket like Pulp, for example.
At one point Conor  played the song $$$$ and limp-wristedly threw some money in the air, that never even got as far as the end of the stage, and at the end of the gig, the bouncer stole it! What a git. It was £35 as well because I could see it sitting there (hey big spender) – that would have covered the extra cost of my ticket! Conor also said he'd been shopping on Camden Market; wish I'd gone there that day!
All of the songs were good (there was a Clash cover which I wasn’t fussed on, but it beats Moon Over Kentucky or whatever crap Morrissey normally tries to inflict). But my favourite has to be Man and Wife, The Latter (Damanged Goods). I must have played that song in my car over a thousand times. It’s just pop perfection. So to hear them play it seemed slightly unreal. The crowd was literally bouncing all over the place, I haven’t been to a gig with energy like that in years. And thank fuck I was on the barrier, or I would have had to run for cover.
It was so nice just to be that close to Conor and not to have to worry about anyone else, but just to do exactly what I wanted. I would definitely recommend going to a gig on your own, it’s fun.The crowd was small as well; there wasn't even a queue. I thought Conor fans would have turned out in droves.
I really pray that Desa put out a new album now, Conor is at his best when he’s screaming or heartbroken, and about as far away from a country guitar as possible. He promised to come back sooner, so don't let us down!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Big Brother Australia 2012: I need a Valium

Well, it took me about six months, but I just finished Big Brother Australia. The miracle was, I avoided the result until today, too. Avoiding the result of the winner of BBAU might sound like a breeze to you, but as an active member of the 'Big Brother community', it was a fucking arseache. I had to cover my eyes, turn podcasts down, avoid Twitter at certain times. Still, I'm so glad I did. I saved the final episode until tonight because I knew it was going to be a Friday night on my own, and I was absolutely thrilled with the result.
I couldn't get into the show AT ALL at first, and nearly gave up a few times. My boyfriend gave up after two episodes. The accents drove me mad. The host was annoying. Everyone seemed about ten years behind the UK. The 'secrets' secret task went on way too long and the protracted entering of housemates got on my nerves. In fact, I think it was just how cool the house looked that kept me interested for a week. I wanted that house to be the BBUK house. I also liked the wildlife - the weird birds in the garden.
But then something happened. Nothing in particular, I just wanted to watch the next episode, and the next. I didn't even particularly like ANYONE for at least a month. They were all so inoffensive they blended into one, and I felt like they had nothing interesting to say. But I'm so glad I stuck with it.
And what kept me with it was the production. Yes, the production! This show is lovingly made. The tasks were imaginative. The nominations were creative. They fiddled with them, in the form of a 'nominations superpower' and you still didn't object, because they did it in a smart way. The had the 'naughty corner' where you got sent for not wearing your microphone and they'd make you do ironing for a few hours. Big Brother didn't take no shit. I liked his style. 
Some of the tasks were absolutely brilliant and they should definitely steal them for our show. The David Attenborough task (WAS it David Attenborough? Sure sounded like him) where the housemates had to dress up as different animals and the voiceover said things like 'Angie is a monkey who likes to smear honey on her face. And through her hair. And then she sits and waits.' and 'Josh has cooked a delicious meal, but George the naughty monkey comes along and steals it' the housemate had to do whatever he said. It was hilarious! The 'unwelcome guests' task was also imspired, where housemates had to ignore people coming into the house, including the narrator of the show who sat on the bed and narrated what happened around him. I'd like to see Marcus Bentley do that. They also had to ignore their own parents and friends. Obviously it breaks the 'no contact with the outside world' rule but that drum broke long ago, didn't it, Rylan?
There was also an amazing 'Tree of Temptation' character (he even spoke like him on a cockney accent) in Surly the puffa fish who set the housemates secret tasks and got insanely jealous of the pet dog (more on her later). He was really funny. What happened to Surly after the show!? The host made a joke about battering him!
The nominations were inspired; housemates stood in a glass nominations booth with the other housemates sitting directly behind them, and had five points to nominate, and they could give one housemate 4 and another 5, or 3 and 2, and so on. It added a great Eurovision feel to the show. Also, Big Brother was really sarky to them when they were nominating, strict on their reasons for nominating, and threatened to throw one housemate out merely for saying 'hello Australia'. They also told them how many points they got, so it was very clear how unpopular you were.
The other weird part was the strangely positive feel to the show. BBAU is a family show, which sounds off-putting, but it meant they weren't constantly trying to make them kick off. They weren't even allowed to swear. There was slightly too much emphasis on the showmances, but there was enough bitching in the house to put our housemates to shame.  
Where to start with the actual housemates? Luckily, some of the annoying housemates got kicked out first; the sanctimonious Sarah and the thicker-than-two-short-planks Ryan (supposedly good looking, but he looked cross-eyed to me).Layla was the thick-but-pretty Brit, who I was CERTAIN was going to win. Estelle 'I'm mad, me' was in turns annoying and sympathetic, especially when the others turned slagging her off into a sport. Michael was another one I was thought had a good shot of winning, but he ended up sidelined and flailing. Then there was Josh, the supposed 'hunk of the house' who I didn't find remotely attractive (are the standards different in Australia?). I didn't like his personality and I found his 'ladies man' schtick quite annoying. He seemed popular within the house until he hooked up with a new housemate, who sucked the life out of him. He spent two weeks snogging her in a corner, which was excruciatingly boring to watch. She was a complete wet fish. I can't even remember what the girl was called and I just watched the final. I've never known a housemate come in and suck more out of a house, except maybe Rex's girlfriend in our series. The other 'intruder' Sam, was also a boring bastard. Housemates who come in late are never welcome. Sam well outstayed his.
There was one more intruder, Delilah the dog. She was absolutely beautiful. Can you imagine them being given a dog in the UK show? They'd accidentally kill it within a week. Delilah stayed for the whole show, and was rehomed in the final week, at which point I cried as if a dear friend had died. She was sooooo lovely.
Then there was Stacey, who we were constantly told was hilarious, and was about as funny as slamming your fingers in a door. I was thrilled with her 'shock' eviction. Bradley was the 'Ian from BBUS' of the show, socially inept and stuttering. I wish he'd gone further. Ray and George were both evicted too early, in my opinion. Ray was a Tom Cruise-esque vet who threw a strop about chocolate milk on his first night and had a hilarious arrogance. George was a nice-but-dim millionaire who said the word 'AY' at the end of every sentence. I almost switched off for all the 'ay's in the first two weeks. Then I got used to it. Angie was from the 'Gold Coast' which the others seemed to insinuate made her a bit of a chav. Zoe was the 'country girl' who the others all said was beautiful in their leaving speeches, because she wasn't. She threw her gameplan out the window by becoming Glen Close in the last two weeks.
About halfway through the show, Josh was called to the Diary Room to be told his brother had died. I thought the way the show handled this was absolutely brilliant. Obviously Josh wanted to leave to be with his family, so they switched off the cameras and let the others say goodbye to him. They showed a little bit of him waving goodbye (which he consented to) but it was very respectful. Can you IMAGINE them turning the cameras off in our show? I mean, seriously? They would milk it for all it was worth. They did milk it a few days later when they brought Josh back and interviewed him and generally fawned over him, but you couldn't really resent them (or him) for it. It was interesting to see how the housemates dealt with that, too.
The weird part with the bitching was, I didn't really take sides. I could kind of see everyone's point. Estelle was annoying at times. Sam was dull. Zoe went mental and started stalking Michael and blew her chances of winning. Ben went on too much and was moody. Michael was flaky. They all bed-hopped. It just seemed like a different sort of culture to ours, more free and easy. Layla had two boyfriends in the house and no one called her a slut. There felt like there was more of a dating culture, more fluidity between friends and romances and allegiances changed often. I think the showmance with Estelle and Michael at the end hurt his chances, and was just cabin fever on his part.
The final was a joy to watch. They are generally just more respectful of their housemates than we are and it was all geared towards a feel-good experience. Can you imagine the UK housemates doing a song and dance routine and singing along to Gangnam Style? Can you see Conor and Deana doing the conga? Me either. They'd be too busy giving each other daggers to be singing 'protein shake ala Luke S'.
The final three were self-styled 'gangsta' Estelle, who I'd flip-flopped over liking and not liking, and ended up in the 'not like' camp. She WAS desperate to win and her constantly going on about being 'weird' turned out to be a bit of a 'drainer'. I'm glad she went a long way though, because it drove the others mad. Layla, stupid, lovely Layla had chosen the most unflattering eviction outfit since Josie Gibson; she looked like a giant pink emu. Fair play to Layla and her woman's body, but it's that age old Big Brother problem that you go in and put on two stone (remember Jade busting out of that sugar pink dress?). Was Layla a princess (ie. a Prima Donna?) A bit. But I'm glad she came second. When Zoe moaned that Layla is just one of those girls who gets things, it's because Layla went out and got them, whilst Zoe sat there moaning.
And finally there was Ben. I'd wanted Ben to win for about six weeks now. Gay, bitchy, hilariously funny; he's everything you want in a Big Brother contestant. I don't think you could have been as big a shitstirrer as he was and won it over here. Some of the things he said were genuinely poisonous, but he always said it in such a funny way, and it was normally what I was thinking. I loved it when Estelle went out third and he threw this stupid toy horse she'd been hoarding since a task over the wall after her. Ben got away with murder. He was sanctimonious at times and he definitely didn't practice what he preached. But I loved him for it. I loved his flaws and his one liners, and his need to be loved. He was vulnerable. I also thought he was really cute, especially in his Jurassic Park t-shirt. 
It was wonderful to see his face when he won, and Layla was a really gracious runner up. I liked the fact they just showed him wandering dazed around the garden for ages; I always miss that bit of live feed where you see the winner freaking out on their own. I liked the fact he couldn't stop talking to Sonia. They sent his mum into the garden and he stood there gibbering, clutching the suitcase full of cash and went 'I need a Valium.' I could be friends with Benjamin. I even ended up liking the dopey host, and the So Good KFC Feel Good Moments, lol.
The best part was when Benjamin's boyfriend came on stage and Benjamin proposed to him and said 'I was going to do this even if I was chucked out first.' It was really like a fairytale, like when Danielle and Evil Dick made it to the final two; like I never thought Ben could win it. I always thought he'd come third. I'm so glad he had that moment - just when those pieces come together it's so rare but so nice.
So that's it. And I've realised what it is that Big Brother Australia has that our show doesn't, and it's charm. That's the ingedient we're missing, and it's not something that can be manufactured, and it's not something that the producers of our show even want. They want war. But that charm can be really powerful. That heartwarming feeling, and camaraderie, and positivity.
The Australian producers understand their own show. They understand the fanbase, whereas here we're completely disregarded. They have a long old season, too, 90 days! At the end of the show there was a good ten-minute trip down memory lane. It wasn't just 'thanks for your money, fuck off and see you next time.' When Benjamin won, there wasn't a boo in sight.
Congrats Benjamin, you deserve it. Even six months later. Next stop: Canada.