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Erm…2

Sorry, I’ve been a bit neglectful of late, inspiration hasn’t really hit me over the last week or so.  This is a combination of being ill and really busy, so no big idea or discussion, just what I have been reading, watching and listening to over the last few days…

Books – Just finished “One Good Turn” by Kate Atkinson.  A tale about a group of seemingly unconnected people brought together by a seemingly random road rage incident.  Oh for just a teeny, tiny sliver of that woman’s talent…

Music- Haven’t really had the Mp3 player out for a bit because I’ve just discovered Absolute Radio.  It’s a great mix of music, intelligent DJ’s and good guests.  Plays the good stuff without the seemingly constant Snow Patrol/Coldplay loop on Xfm.  Nice.

Have also purchased the new Jamie T and Hockey albums, not had a chance to listen yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Television – Last week was a jamboree for Hollyoaks fans (I’m back on the bandwagon, sorry).  We had 5 episodes of Hollyoaks Later, which is always a bit hit and miss, but seemed a bit better this time.  By far the most affecting story was that of Sarah, Zoe and Lydia, culminating in the very crunchy and bloody death of Sarah following a bout of parachute tampering, which was surprisingly emotional, even though it marked the end of one of the most annoying characters in Hollyoaks history.  On the end of this was – Hollyoaks – The Good, the Bad and the Gorgeous which was the most wonderful splicing of bizarre movie parodies and clips from Hollyoaks past.  I absolutely loved it.

Movies – Away We Go – Sam Mendes’ latest film, about a couple who are expecting a child who go and visit various friends and relatives to see where they would like to bring up their child.  Funny, lovely, sad and beautiful.  Please go and see it.  I also happened upon Akeelah and the Bee on Film Four during my couch bound illness period.   I was really surprised at the ending, which I thought I had figured out from about half way through.

Anyway, thats it.  Promise something funny or more interesting when the idea hits me.

A Bit Down Under…

What a sad week.  I have had minimal personal trauma, and work is shit, but that is boring and not for this blog.  I have begun to realise how much I rely on the sunshine in Australia for my personal happiness.  I don’t go there on holiday (although I’m saving up…yay!), nor do I rely on their climate for my happiness.

No, this week the sunshine lives in Summer Bay and Erinsbourough were turned cloudy by the deaths of Belle Taylor and Bridget Parker respectively.  Their deaths by toxic wastedump and Neighbours Killerhorse (TM) respectively cast a cloud over Home and Away and Neighbours this week.   This made for a depressing hour on television every night and has left me under a cloud of melancholy.

I need to see tanned and lithe youngsters having hilarious japes and looking fabulous on the beach.  I need stories so ludicrous that you laugh out loud.  I need Toadie being the life and soul of the party despite having a life so filled with tragedy it’s worthy of a ‘Take A Break’ front page.  I need children with ages that change because it says so in the script.  I want young men shirtless for no apparent reason.  I’d even prefer Karl and Susan comedy sex storylines.

But no, with the lives of two young characters, my sunshine treat was taken from me.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if they had both done it at once, but they did, and now I’m miserable.

Thanks Australia *sigh*

I absolutely love Jarvis Cocker, and have ever since I first heard Pulp as an outsider teenager, when the song Mis-Shapes captured my imagination and showed me the way.  I have seen Pulp live once, and Jarvis live earlier this year.  I was in the front row for both and can honestly say that both nights were amongst the most special in my life.  My musical tastes have leaned towards the dramatic ever since.

Like a lot of people, I started with Different Class, then worked backwards.  I’m so glad I did. I think that everyone looked back to His ‘n’ Hers, which is full of absolute stormers.

I would urge all of you who stopped there to go back a little further though.  Pulp were on the go for 15 years before they found fame, and finding the depths of their back catalogue is like being given a gift that you were not expecting.  Here is a guide to my favourite tracks on the oldies.

Intro – The Gift Recordings

Razamatazz could have fit nicely on either Different Class or His n Hers.  A cautionary tale to a dirty stop out, reminiscent of Lipgloss and I like to think about the same person.  It’s the acerbic lyrics that are my favourite part of this song, especially “am I talking too fast? Or are you just playing dumb? If you want I can write it down”

OU starts with a disco bleep, then the organ comes in, then the whole song becomes more frantic as it tells the story of trying to catch up with a girl who is leaving town.  Also has quite a substantial Stylaphone solo, which is always a winner.

Sheffield Sex City taught me everything I know about the geography of Sheffield, and is quite probably the sleaziest song ever written.  Basically about wandering the streets of Sheffield trying to get laid, it contains a monologue about contagious shagging in a block of flats and lots of trademark Jarvis groans.  One for the headphones.

Inside Susan –  A Story In 3 Parts Contains 3 songs centred around the eponymous Susan: Stacks, which is all happy handclaps about a young teenager trying to catch the eye of the boys; Inside Susan, a monologue over disco beats about the musings of Susan as an older teenager; and 59 Lyndhurst Grove which follows Susan as an adult trapped in an unhappy marriage, which is almost funerial in tone and has amongst the most quotable lyrics anywhere.

Seperations

Countdown is full of squelchy beats, which as far as I can tell is not about the TV programme, but impending adulthood and adult responsibilities with a singalong chorus.

My Legendary Girlfriend probably marks one of the weirder moments in Pulp history.  It has an almost military beat, then spoken verses and a cracking chorus.

Masters of the Universe

This album is extremely weird.  Not the weirdest, that’s yet to come, but pretty odd.

Little Girl With Blue Eyes is on the more croony side, and is an extremely painful and bitter song made to sound cheerful with sunny backing vocals.  I can’t illustrate it much better that this lyric “Little girl with blue eyes there’s a hole in your heart/and one between your legs/You’ll never have to wonder which one he’s gonna fill/In spite of what he says”

Dogs are Everywhere is another with embittered lyrics, delivered angrily.  It’s on the croony side too.

97 Lovers was probably the most kitchen-sinky of Pulp songs, before that really became their thing.  A peek behind the bedroom curtains.

Freaks

I promised you the weirdest album, and this is it by far.  Containing songs about Anorexia, circus freaks, submissive and obsessive lovers and being chased after a night out, it certainly lives up to its name.  Here are some of my favourites.

I Want You starts out about a song about desire for a particular woman, that becomes darker and darker.  It starts out about being too shy to talk to her and ends up about “still I’ll kill you in the end”  juxtaposed with plinky disco beats.  A gem.

Being Followed Home is absolutely epic.  A sprawling tale about being followed home (obviously) that changes pace and tone several times.  I love it.

Don’t You Know is another plinky one, with lots of crooning again.  Pulp at their most dramatic.

It

The first album, and unsurprisingly the furthest removed from what they did at the end.  It is almost devoid of the disco beats, more on the acoustic side, but is still marked by the amazing lyrics.

My Lighthouse is a song about love, and lighthouses.  I know it’s strange and he even says so himself.

Wishful Thinking is a beautiful love song.  It’s piano based and extremely dramatic.  You must know by the end of this post that I love drama! More about being given a chance to love than love itself, it’s painful at times but definitely worth it.

So there you go.  I hope I have managed to convert at least one reader, or at least have inspired you to try…


I don’t understand the Ghosthunting programme.  Yvette Fielding puts on too much eyeliner, then takes people somewhere spooky, does her best to freak them out, and Celebrity Psychologist (TM) Geoffrey Beattie sits outside in a taxi and tells us all why it’s a load of rubbish; rationalising fear reactions and spooky occurences.

Then the Happy Mondays got involved, and lots of things became clearer.  Apart from the slightly shaky ethics of putting ‘recovering’ drug addicts in to a situation of extreme paranoia, it was extremely entertaining.

Here are some of the things I learned…

1.  The Happy Mondays consist of more than Bez and Shaun.
2.  Bez dances when he is scared.
3.  Shaun has a “susceptible” personality type.  Who on earth would have thought?
4.  Ghosts are mostly angry. The best way to deal with this is clearly to anger them further.
5.  Brandy is the Happy Monday’s tipple of choice.
6.  Swearing is funny…
7.  …Although not as funny as Shaun randomly falling over
8.  Geoffrey Beattie is a famewhore.
9.  Yvette Fielding is not as scary as she thinks she is.  Seriously? What is with all that Schoolmarm stuff?
10. Night Vision cameras make everything look freaky.

Erm…

I’m not really sure how I want to go with this blogging business.  Do I go for a niche? If I was to go for a niche, what would it be? Telly? Music? Books? My very boring life?

Do I go all out and blog every minute detail of my life? As all-consuming my work and family life is at the moment, does the internet really need to know about it?

I often feel that I am repeating myself.  I’ll have a thought on twitter, and if it’s really good, I’ll put it on Facebook, and if it’s really sparkling and witty I may put it on a forum.  The problem is there are some people who follow me on Twitter, are members of said forum and are also my friends on Facebook.  Do they get me overkill?

Also, how often does one post on a blog? My brain, which likes to keep me entertained at night by whispering things that make absolutely no sense, tells me that I am not posting enough.  Then it tells me that there are not exactly hundreds of people on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment, are there?

I think for this blog post, I will talk about what I have been enjoying over the past few days…

Tellybox – Celebrity Four Weddings. Four Weddings was aceness on its own, but let’s face it, there’s nothing on telly that can’t be made more exciting by the addition of celebrities.  In this one it was some gay builder that I have never heard of, Nicola McLean (Vaccuuous page three model and former jungle inhabitant), Terry from East 17 (!) and Sandra Flipping Dickinson (!!!!ELEVEN)
The former two had magazine deals, and budgets of 100 and 200K respectively.  Terry “Plumber” Caldwell and the fabulous Miss Dickinson (marrying a hottie 20 years her junior) both had budgets of 15K.  I think you can guess which two weddings looked the most fun (clue, not the ones that had to pause for photo shoots).  Terry the plumber was permanently drunk and looked like the kind of guy you would enjoy a night with and Sandra was just Sandra (i.e. Amazing).  Nicola McLean proved to be the rudest person on the planet and won.

Books – Reading the Rebus series by Ian Rankin.  I’m on book eleven, having started from the beginning.  This is my 5th in the current run.  Nothing to say apart from that Rebus is the daddy.  Oh, and read the books.

Music – Revisiting Jamie T’s Panic Prevention in preparation for his new album, which I am slightly over excited about.  Well, not slightly…

Random thoughts…

How do Derren Brown’s partners cope with having a boyfriend that can read every nuance of their body language, knows what they are thinking and can detect every lie?
On Derren’s Lottery trick…How can a camera trick sustain an hour programme on Friday? There’s got to be more to it.
Exactly how wooden are the scenes between Sam and Peggy on Eastenders going to be?

I think I’ve expelled everything from my brain that I want to! I’ll decide what I want to do with this soon…

1. The Class system still exists in Great Britain.
2. Ditzy women with big boobs are more popular than intelligent women.
3. The cynicism of the viewer is matched exactly to the cynicism of the contestants.
4. Male manipulators are forgiven, female manipulators are given a character assassination on live tv.
5. When a man in a relationship kisses a single female, it is the female who is in the wrong.
6. They smuggle in an eviction outfit for you when you have outgrown all of your clothes.
7. Ditto hair extensions when all of yours have fallen out.
8. Davina swearing is all wrong
9. An Irrepressible Dark Horse can be repressed.
10. Arguing is much funnier when the people involved in the argument are in fancy dress.
11. There are people in the world who think ‘Negative’ is the worst ever insult
12. People who are trying to be funny are not.

Trouble in the Village

The-Hollyoaks-EyeI’m sitting here after a long, hard day at work and I decide to tune into one of my favourites, Hollyoaks.

Now, I’m a long term Hollyoaks viewer. I’ve persevered since the days of Jambo, Kurt and EvilRob Hawthorne. I’m not quite sure if I watch out of a sense of loyalty or enjoyment, but I watch it none the less.

Today though, I saw myself watching it.

Hollyoaks has worked hard to gain respect in the soap world. It has garnered praise and awards, and I’m sure I’m not the only long term watcher that felt a sense of vindication when it finally started getting some recogniton as a decent soap. It’s had groundbreaking moments, it’s had it’s tense moments, it’s had it’s hilarious moments and it’s had it’s heartbreaking moments. The cast may be patchy at best, with the focus being on looks rather than talent, but it was a nice balance of comedy and tragedy. The quality has been in a steady decline over the last few months though. The storylines sometimes feel a bit tacked on, and there’s lots of people that don’t have enough to do. The continuity is also extremely questionable, but they ignore it, so I will for now.

I can pinpoint exactly what it was that made me step back today. The comedy became so contrived and silly that it took on a form of ridiculousness.

Gorgeous mindvoid Carmel McQueen pretended to be her 16 year old cousin and went back to school, complete with sparkly pink folder and My Little Pony lunchbox. There then was a series of “Hilarious” misunderstandings around the difference between Orwell/Endemol Big Brothers. Carmel then started crying and ran out. Carmel returned to school because she did an IQ test on the internet that said she was a genius. Through the fog of tears Carmel returns home and checks the website. Turns out it wasn’t an IQ test after all, it was a LQ test, about lonliness.

LOLZ. or not.

I can’t beleive that it was this fuzzy little subplot that to me marked the nadir of this soap. I mean, the latest plotline involved a baby stealing couple. Of course I find this ridiculous, but it didn’t register like this storyline did. I have sat through a humungus amount of trash because Hollyoaks has always been charming. This storyline was not.

Must do better, Channel 4. I’m sure I’m not the only nostalgia-rooted viewer.