Saturday, 18 May 2013

Eurovision 2013

A confession: I was going to give Eurovision a swerve this year but everyone seems to be watching it, and my Eurovision blog is kind of a tradition, so here we are. I'm watching 30 minutes late which I hope will give me sufficient room for forwarding dull montages (check), choirs (check) and any dancing whilst they count the votes. But why do I have a feeling I should have started an hour and a half in?
The presenter is rocking a bubblegum pink dress with long sleeves and disgusting pink shoes. I have a Swedish friend; I'm pretty sure this isn't how Swedish people dress. Oh she's doing funnies. Ish.
First up, France. She's like Courtney Love, pre-nose job. I kind of admire the fact she hasn't bothered doing her hair. She even screamed a bit.
Lithuania: Has Eurovision gone rock this year? This is power pop. 'Because of my shoes...' WTF sort of lyric is that? This guy can't sing, bless him. He's also got a bit of a scary stare on him. What about his shoes?
Moldova: We've already got Lady Gaga. Move along. She's growing! She's a GIANT. Flames. It's like the Hunger Games. If you need those sort of theatrics, your song ain't good enough.
Finland: Sam Fox begging for a proposal. At least she's got a sense of humour. This is what Eurovision is about; tongue in cheek nonsense. 'Uh oh, uh oh a ding dong. I'll change my last name, do the walk of shame.' These lyrics are dynamite. Is it about gay marriage? I think that kiss was just gratuitous.
Spain: BAGPIPES. This woman is so orange she makes Michelle Keegan look pasty. This is also power pop. But duff.
Belgium: Eyebrows aloft. Is that combover hairdo not done yet? He looks like he's MIMING. WTF?! Love kills, over and over. Ooh, I think he's got wub wubs. Unfair advantage! My boyfriend is staring at the wall as *points at TV* 'there's nothing over there.' PARTY!
Estonia: A pregnant Disney princess. Dry ice. This girl knows how to sway.
Belarus: Coming out of a disco ball: is Brian Freidman choreographing this? Rylan style! This song blows.
Malta: Helpfully has the lyrics behind him so you can sing along at home. This guy is super smiley. How can you smile and sing at the same time? This is almost folky. Like Mumford and Sons on the Capri Sun.
Russia: Ballad. She's catching her breath after every line, which I sometimes like but not on this occasion; she sounds asthmatic.
Germany: I've heard of Cascada, they're an actual dance band. My boyfriend just made his first comment of the night at her singing the lyrics 'the world is ours' he piped up, 'she shouldn't say that in her shoes.' She's singing about being young, but I'm not convinced she is. I can't see her getting on an 18-30 holiday anyway. I like this 'oh oh oh' bit, it's like a Killers song.
Armenia: Did Bewitched really bring back double denim? Asian guy. Wind machine. Awful.
The Netherlands: I think this Anouk is a real singer. My boyfriend's second comment of the night: 'she's got some cheek, hasn't she?' Mean. This is fucking dreary.
Romania: Who let Dracula in? He's got some falsetto on him. I rather like him.
UK: Why can't we have an act under 70? Why are we the only county represented by geriatrics year after year? She looks like the lost Nolan sister and sounds like a frog. I hadn't heard this yet. I wish I still hadn't. Is this the best we got? And we said no to Morrissey? I'M ASHAMED. Has she got a leotard on? She's gonna get fucking trounced.
Just realised I haven't said anything about Graham Norton. He's so/so - I've laughed once or twice.
Sweden: Losing in front of your home crowd. This dude has got more makeup on than Bonnie Tyler. He's wearing clashing shades of cream. 'Youoooooooouooooooooooou' - who does he think he is, Brian Molko? It's quite catchy, I'll give it that. I think this might be my second favorite.
Hungary: I don't like the ones where they don't sing in English. I know. He's indie, too. Nice cartoon, though.
Denmark: Pan pipes! She's quite cute. This song's a bit duff, though. We just caught up and tried to press the red button and it WON'T LET US. GRRRR. We have subtitles, though.
Iceland: Justin Lee Collins is representing. Oh OK, the subtitles are translating. 'I have life,' and something about mountains.' Mountains are always good in songs, mountains, the sky, it being very high and so on.
Azerbaijan: 'If love is a mountain, we've hit our load and are about to explode.' Christ. His mountain tops your mountain, Iceland. It's quite dramatic isn't it? He's got a little copycat hanging out in a box but they're not in time very well. Grab a grand! KEY CHANGE! I like this one. It feels like he means it.
Greece: This is classic rubbish Eurovision, some old dudes doing folk songs. Oh god, it's gone ska. Horrendous. ALCOHOL IS FREE! Whoop.
Ukraine: Vikings. She looks identical to someone who sang earlier. It's like Cheryl Cole's long lost foreign sister. I prefer Gravity by Embrace.
Italy: All the men look the same shade of orange. He's got GREAT STAGE PRESENCE. He's like a fucking statue.
Norway: Kind of dancey and dramatic with strings; 'I feed you my love.' She's got the moooooooooooooves like Jagger. Oh, no she aint. She's got a JLO bum and she has 'the future on her tongue.' What does that involve?
Georgia: a gruesome twosome. Losing faith now.
Ireland: WHERE'S JEDWARD? They wouldn't allow themselves to be painted orange and sing over this trancey old trot. It's like Fatboy from Eastenders in leather trousers.
OK it's done. Petra, when people were asking what you were wearing, they meant it rhetorically, as in 'what IS she wearing?!'.
Oh here's the old dear who won last year. 'We got the power.' SNAP.
WTF is this Swedish 'smorgasboard'? My boyfriend is beginning to get a bit antsy. 'Mamma mia, Ikea.' LOL. They're dressed in the Ikea colours too. 'Meatballs seasoned with a hint of horse'!!! This host has actually been funny in parts.
Someone is singing my favourite Abba song! Is this Sweden's answer to Adele?
WTF why didn't we vote for Finland? UK's votes were whack. Why didn't we vote for Ireland, Graham? NO JEDWARD, that's why.
Graham on Ukraine bloke giving the results: 'It's sideshow Bob.'
They didn't even bother with the last lot of votes, ha. So Denmark won - she was cute but that's about it. Now theyv'e going back to the votes. WTF. That was a mess. I know who's won so I'm turning off.
I will say, that wasn't as painful as recent previous years, but I'm not sure why. Having said that, I thought this finished at 11 and when I saw it was 11.15 and my boyfriend called me a 'lying cunt'! CHARMING! He's only joking though, and has been very patient really. As have you, reading this after all that. Goodnight!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Album: Bo Bruce - Before I Sleep

I’m a bit late, but what’s new? I haven’t reviewed an album for AGES, mainly because I’m an old fuddy duddy who listens to the same old shit all the time.
I only just got round to listening to the whole of Bo Bruce’s album and I really enjoyed it. I have been following her since I went along and saw her on ‘X Factor-style show for indie kids’ Orange Unsigned Act– you can read this as ‘I liked her before you did’. She came second to the excellent Tommy Reilly (where’s he now, bless him?) Then of course, I was rooting for her to win The Voice as well. As it turns out, it’s probably a good thing she didn’t. No, definitely a good thing, although it seemed like a real injustice at the time.
The album is probably poppier than I expected, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Bo’s voice is the number one thing you’re listening to, and the songs are really catchy. Wouldn’t it be nice to see this doing well in the charts instead of the usual crap?
I really like opening song Landslide, it could have easily been the first single, too. I like ‘there’s blood on me/ there’s blood on you’ as a lyric. I can well imagine warbling along to this in my car, and having a ‘wooooo’ in your song is never a bad thing. The second song is the single, Save Me. Again, it’s great. I’m glad she’s not come out and done something radically different from her usual style. I suppose it’s not exactly a feminist anthem with the lyrics ‘why would you wake me, when you’re not going to save me?’ but it’s a pop song, so I should stop being such a snob. I like the drum machine kind of sound, the production kind of reminds me of You are the Quarry, and that magical moment when we thought Morrissey was going to be popular again.
The next song Alive continues in a similar vein, this could easily be a single too, it’s all soaring and anthemic. Speed the Fire is really lovely, it’s got xylophones which always makes me think of Bloc Party, and it’s a bit more moody. There’s a man doing back up vocals, I’m just going to look up who it is. I can’t seem to find it, but anyway, he adds a nice tone. This song is the biggest departure from the rest of the album so far.
After a super strong start, the album goes off the boil for three tracks in the middle (a bit like during a Morrissey gig, but make that six tracks). Telescope didn’t do it for me, then Ghost Town definitely felt like an album track, a bit dirgy.  I definitely prefer the poppier songs. I’m also not a great fan of On the Wire. I wish these three tracks had been interlaced with some of the others, especially as the first four songs were so strong. These three just didn’t have a strong enough hook for me.
Luckily, Holding the Light gets the album back on track. It’s quite stripped down, and her voice sounds lush on it. It’s just a lovely ballad, really. Lightkeeper is also good; heavy on the drum machine. ‘Miracles and chemicals’ as a lyric sounds almost Suede-esque. This song kind of reminds me of something off The Killers new album. Bo can easily hold her own amongst the indie boys; and being radio friendly is no bad thing.
The Fall is a bit filler-y again, but is followed by The Hands I Hold, which could easily be another single. Echoes kind of sits in the middle for me, but Golden is a bit more pacey. There are more lyrics about flames – has Bo been in a house fire recently?
How we’re made is really sad, it nearly got me blubbing, but I am a notorious soft touch. It’s just moving and pretty and the way she sings, ‘I just miss you’ is heartbreaking. This is the end of the main album and it’s a strong bow out.
There are three bonus tracks, which is quite generous on top of 14 songs on an album; I appreciate that because I hate it when I get an album and it’s got 10 songs on it, I just think it’s tight.
Bonus track Search the Night continues the sombre tone and the guy is back doing backing vocals. I like hearing a guy doing backing vocals for a woman as it kind of inverts the norm.
I like Another Life and there’s another song called Another Life by a band called NO that I also like. You should check that out. Over & Over (Run with the Horses) is good because one, it’s always good to have brackets in a song title, and two, it sounds a bit housey. Probably the only thing that could have made it better was adding a big of 'clip-clop, banging two horseshoes together' sound effects. 
On the whole, I think this is a great album, and exactly what I would expect from Bo. I liked 14 out of 17 tracks (including the bonus ones on the Deluxe version) which is really good for me. I’m sure I’ll be hammering these in my car alongside all my usual favourites.
I really hope people buy this album, and I hope Bo has a long and successful career. She deserves it.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Big Brother Canada: a post-mortem

Now that the shock of the frankly shambolic ending is over and I've had a couple of days to digest the sheer ridiculous of it all, I thought I'd wrap up Big Brother Canada for once and for all this season.
For those who don't watch it, the winner is decided by the last 7 housemates putting a keycard with the winner's name on in a slot. Doesn't sound too hard, right? Well, one housemate was too busy showing off to check which keycard she picked up and voted for the wrong person. Her single vote meant that the one person I wanted to win, and the one person who she'd been campaigning to win all season, came second. Meanwhile, an inscrutable (and dare I say it) boring person - Jillian - shamelessly took the hundred Canadian dollars, a car and 25K shopping voucher; whereas Gary (pictured above) the vibrant, funny, underdog, fighter - and let's be honest, star of the show - was left with twenty thousand dollars. I don't know how much twenty thousand Canadian dollars is, but it's not enough to make up for this almighty disaster.
It was car crash TV: probably the biggest fuck up I can remember since Terry Wogan announced the wrong winner in the Eurovision pre-rounds, and that's wasn't exactly something a lot of people remember. So how could this have happened? From what I've heard/read, the producers did check the keys, and knew full well that Topaz had voted for the wrong person, but kept the votes the same for 'dramatic effect.' Well I hope they're pleased with themselves, as the 'dramatic effect' it had was showing Arisa Cox can present about as well in a crisis and she can choose outfits that don't look like they're out of the lost property box each week. She was so far out of her depth that she'd probably reached the coastline of America. As Topaz begged and pleaded with her to change her vote, Arisa stood with her back to the camera (dur), repeating, 'I don't know what to do.' What they should have done is dragged Topaz off the stage and given her a slap. I can understand that 'all votes are final', but it made the last ten weeks completely and utterly irrelevant. All of the 'strategising and scheming' Arisa was constantly going on about amounted to nothing because of one simple mistake. Epic fail. 'Oops, I've done a Topaz' is already probably in common parlance in Canada. I watched the last 15 minutes of the show with my head in my hands, and the podcast we did straight afterwards pretty much consists of me going 'oh my God' and sighing loudly.
So a few thoughts on that, and the rest of the series, whilst I have a clear head. One: the way glorious Gary  handled it was absolutely beautiful. Classy, classy behaviour. He insisted the money didn't mean anything to him and it was more about him championing gay rights and getting his face known, but it MUST have hurt underneath. I suppose the only consolation can be that he will always be thought of the rightful winner by many, and he'll get sympathy wherever he goes. Jillian, on the other hand, will be treated like crap. I don't advocate that, but the first thing I would have said if I was her would have been 'I'll give Gary the car or the voucher.' She just stood there grinning inanely, which is pretty much what she's done all season.
A word in Jillian's defence though. It wasn't Jillian's fault it happened, it was Topaz's and the producers. I also got very annoyed at the suggestion that she 'rode Emmett's coattails' through the competition. Her and Emmett were at least equally matched as players; and in fact she won one more Head of Household (HOH) competition that him. I think it was for the last seven weeks, one or the other of them won the competition. You can't deny them that and the other housemates were idiotic not to evict them sooner. I even think BB fixed it slightly so Jillian didn't win the final HOH by making the endurance challenge about strength rather than stamina as it usually is.
I also want to say what a whiny little baby Emmett turned out to be. I liked him throughout the season, even when he was playing 'tough guys' with Tom, but the way he reacted to Gary evicting him was pathetic. Gary made 100% the right move to cut him at exactly the right moment. It's just a shame it meant absolutely nothing in the end. Emmett also seemed quite ungracious about his supposed girlfriend winning; surely he should have been happy for her, at least, especially as she won it as a complete fluke, and pretty much undeservedly? Even his message to her as he put the keycard in was a dig at Gary (Gary was evicted, but voted back in by the public, so Emmett said he didn't deserve it), and not something like 'Jillian, you've won the most competitions in this game, I'm really proud of you and you deserve this.' Douche move, Emmett. I don't think this is going to be a 'showmance' that's going to survive in the real world - I'd certainly tell him where to go after that. He thought he had it sewn up: he didn't. That's life, Emmett. Think how Gary feels! At least Jillian might take you out to dinner and buy you a new cowboy hat.
As for the rest of the jury, specifically Peter and Alex ('The Sheild', or even more embarrassingly, I saw Peter write it on Twitter as 'The Sheyld' - cringe) and their X Factor arms (see left) and neon shoes and smart-arsery: well did they get egg on their face in the end, or what? Peter, who I liked throughout the show (he has the same eating disorder as me), made a unnecessarily nasty comment to Jillian when he thought she was done for, calling her 'an awful player and an idiot': neither of which was true. She was 10 times the player he was; sitting back and playing shrewdly, unlike him. Peter made several schoolboy errors, from evicting AJ over the odious Andrew, and the worst of all, evicting Topaz (and her dressing gown of doom) when they could have teamed up and had a real run at it. The problem with Peter, and Alec, is they talked the talk but they didn't walk the walk. What about when Alec just gave up on that last veto competition? What really was his thinking behind that? The way he treated Topaz was also pathetic and childish. Both Peter and Alec went on like they were a pair of teenagers. You weren't power players, you weren't baddasses, and Peter was only elevated to a higher postition of cool by being Marsha the Moose's object of affection. Marsha (think Tree of Tempatation if you're in the UK) was a lovely twist, and a bit of comic relief, and will probably be the most memorable character of the series apart from Gary.
So, whilst we're on Marsha, what else did the show do well? I'd actually say, a lot. Whilst heavily borrowing from BBUS, it also used several ideas from BBUK and BBAU, such as the yes/no task, secret missions, and a more lighthearted approach than the full-on bloodshed of BBUS. There was humour and comraderie. The casting was excellent, and it was great to see all new players, not the recycled old people again and again from BBUS. I realised Canadians are really cool people, and I love the way they say the word 'out'. I did thoroughly enjoy the show, so to see it end in such a shitstorm was genuinely upsetting and disappointing as a fan. I hope the producers enjoyed their 'drama' because it really left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. I'm quite sure there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of people not watching again, because you think, what is the point if the rightful person isn't even going to win? What really was the point of all the comps, the social games, the fighting?
So do the right thing, BB Canada, and next year bring back Gary as host (we had a contestant in BBUK go on to become host). I'm sure he'd do a better job than Arisa, it would kind of be just desserts. Whatever happens; Gary will go onto great things, and Jillian... I don't know.But I would personally feel guilty spending someone else's rightful money.
Finally a shout out to Tom, a pound shop Marshall Mathers (right), and one of the most impressively stupid contestants of all time, who actually said on the live feed 'I don't wear condoms, condoms are for pussies' as well as calling Gary 'a faggot' before being evicted by his own alliance before we even got to jury house stage. What an almighty douche. Hats off. You're the new Jesse.
Will I be watching again, if they do even bring it back now? Of course I will! But for God's sake, get your shit together. They threw in so many 'twists' that had a major effect on the game, but they couldn't anticipate that the final twist of all could have seen them possibly digging the show's own grave. Let's hope that's not the case.
PS: Can I have Marsha now? Or even Marge the evil moose? I'm not fussy.