Obscure Film’s Football Soccer Special

Green Street HooligansI decided to have a football night, watching 2 recent football themed films. First, Green Street Hooligans, the gritty realistic modern classic starring Frodo Baggins as an American who comes to England and joins the West Ham “firm” of football hooligans. Right. A couple of things wrong with that last sentence; I’ve watched hundreds of films, I have readily believed that a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away Mark Hamill could act. I have watched, spittle mouthed, as Rocky beats Mr.T (bad example as Lt. Barkley regularly knocked out Mr. T with a glass of milk, but I press on regardless). I have even believed that Battlefield Earth was an actual film, but Hollywood has pushed me too far this time.

They want me to believe that was a cockney accent Charlie Hunnam had in this film? Mother of god… Think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins trying to impersonate a Eskimo and your nowhere near how bad his accent is. It’s a damn shame, it completely detracts from what otherwise was a decent film.

The basis of the story is actually not very far from a real modern classic, Fight Club and examines the thrill of the fight and honor amongst thieves. Sure, it’s predictable, you know in the first 2 minutes what’s going to happen in the last 2 minutes and it feels tacked on, but the middle bit is enthralling.

But, if you want to talk about predictability, let’s have a butchers at the second film Goal! The Dream Begins. It seems America is pulling out all the stops to try and get the massive cash cow that is professional football a foothold in the States. They tried Prime Time TV, they have tried introducing it into the college curriculum, with little success.

Bring on the Hollywood.

I am not going to insult your intelligence here. A poor Mexican illegal immigrant boy with asthma from L.A. with football talent has a shot at the big time, with a chance to play for Newcastle United (any cracks about big time and Newcastle being in the same sentence will be duly ignored). You can fill in the rest. You seriously can. Think of any cheesy rags to riches cliche you want, I can virtually guarantee it’s in there somewhere.

I can see the planning meeting for this film.

Director: It’s a story about an All American who becomes a soccer star.
Studio Mogul: Yeah, you know we kinda tried this years ago with Stallone, he played a, what they call them, Goal saver? In that war film, Bridge over River Kwon? Whatever, anyway it did nothing for soccer.
Director: Kwai?
Studio Mogul: Why? I don’t know why, probably because Steve Mcqueen didn’t make the jump.
Director: It was the Escape to Victory, McQueen was in The Great…
Studio Mogul: Shut-up. Look we are looking for a film about football that appeals to the mass market, all American boys? Nobody likes them, We need to decrease his image.
Director: OK how about a poor American boy?
Studio Mogul: Good good, Okay I think we need to increase his ethnicity 30%.
Director: Alright, how about a poor Mexican immigrant American boy?
Studio Mogul: We’re on the same the wave length here, make him an Illegal immigrant.
Director: OKay.
Studio Mogul: There’s still something missing, we are not appealing to the differently abled market, the statistics show those cripples make up 10% of our audience, that’s big bucks, you think we could make him an amputee?
Director: Um, probably not, how about we give him asthma?
Studio Mogul: Perfect. OKay, Adidas wants him to kick the winning goal in the last minute of the game of the last game of the season that will win them the world series.
Director: It’s set in England, in the domestic league, they only play teams that play England, not the rest of the world.
Studio Mogul: Your point?
Director: Can’t we stick with the original plot were the bloke who plays the new Umpa Lumpas is now the leading hard man of Milwall’s firm, storms the pitch and breaks the stars legs? Nobody is going to believe that he kicks the winning goal in the last minute of the game of the last game of the season that wins that wins them the world, I mean takes them to Europe? It’s Newcastle for Chrissakes!
Studio Mogul: You’ve seen Rocky? Now get on with it!

Anyway, all that said, its chock block full of cameos. The matches are shot well and I ended up punching the air when he, oh wait, I’m not going to spoil the twist at the end.

I enjoyed both of these films and recommend you to see Sin City at your earliest convenience.

ObscureInternet Mug – A Review

As an admin at Obscure Internet, I have recently received an OI branded mug to hold and dispense my beverages. I was asked to write some words (about it), and now this is a review (of it).

As mugs go, it’s excellent. It has no holes to allow drinks to escape, except for the large hole at the top which acts as an entry/exit point for the drink. The mug takes only the slightest angling to extract the tea or coffee, but this angling can change depending on the amount of liquid left in the receptacle.

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The OI branding is of the highest quality, spelt correctly and it hasn’t been removed after a good 20 washes in fairy liquid. Top marks up to now, you might think; is this the mug to top all mugs? Unfortunately, you’d be spectacularly wrong.

The extremely white nature of the mug is a problem. Just one cup of tea can reduce it to a browned mess, which is difficult to remove.

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But the branding is the main issue. You can’t see from the pictures, but it’s only on one side. So, when I hold the mug with my right hand, the logo faces toward me. This is no good for a promotional item! I want the world to see where my mug is from, without having to dislocate my wrist. Shoddy craftsmanship, if you ask me.

In conclusion, this mug is an adequate (if not excellent) piece of ceramic drinks-holdage-and-dispensage. But as a promotional item, it’s only doing half a job. Therefore:

7/10 – Could do better!

Review – Remix64 V3 Syntax Error

This album has a very different and fabulous concept, it combines famous 1980s tracks such as 19, Two Tribes, Too Shy, Billy Jean, Broken Wings and I Feel Love along with music from the Commodore 64 home computer. Tracks such as BMX Kidz, Comic Bakery, Sanxion, Arkanoid and Ghouls and Ghosts, resulting in completely new tracks which surprisingly use no samples from the originals.

The CD comes from Remix64, which is a website based community of people who write Commodore 64 and Amiga music remixes, and is available to purchase exclusively on C64audio.com.  When you purchase the album, you also get instant access to DRM-free downloads of all the tracks while you wait for the CD to arrive.

When you do get the CD, the first thing that strikes you is the excellent cover design, complete with the ultimate icon of the eighties – The Rubik’s Cube.

This CD is targeted at those who grew up during the eighties, listening to pop music and playing on their Commodore 64s. I’m not sure I fit that target audience, because I missed a lot of music in the 80s because I was too busy playing with my ’64 and didn’t really discover pop music until the late 80s’s/early 90s.

The main thing about this album, is it mixes these tracks, which makes this the album’s biggest selling point, as well as it’s biggest weakness.

I’ll give a brief review of each track below;

BMX Kidz

This is probably not the best tune to open with as, rather than a gentle introduction of the concept  it is a bit of awkward mix of the two tunes it is based on.  I am a big fan of both Rob Hubbard’s BMX Kidz and Paul Hardcastle’s “19”, but when they are combined we get something not as good as either tune.

Jethro Walrus

I’m not familiar with either source material, having not played Jethro Walrus or being able to remember Speak ‘n’ Spell by Depeche Mode. However this is a fun track with amusing lyrics, very much like Makke’s excellent Lazy Jones remix.. 

Comic Bakery

Comic Bakery mixed with “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister shouldn’t work, but it does.  It’s a nice laid back, excellently produced track.

Flight Path 737

Flight Path 737 is not a tune I remember, so all I can interpret from this track is Art of Noise’s “Moments In Love”, which the end tune is very much like. Even without knowning either of the original source trakcs, It’s a fantastic sounding track

Ghouls and Ghosts

This is a great track, mixing “Ghouls ‘n Ghosts” with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” works surprisingly well, resulting in a fun track.

Why Me

I don’t know either original track and not to fond of this track either, but I guess funk just isn’t my thing…

GemX

A highlight, somehow squeezing GemX into Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” produces a great track that is so catchy it makes me want to do the Milli Vanilli dance!

Formula One Simulator

Formula 1 Simulator, in the style of “Two Tribes” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood is another good mix. The track also features a strangle vocal from Alistair “Boz” Bowness and a sample Hubbard talking about the c64.

Tusker

Another great track.  The outstanding thing about this mix of “Tusker” and “Sisters of Mercy” by Black Planet, is brilliant and includes funny lyrics from Slaygon. Any song with the lyric ‘it’s like last ninja in Alaska” is always going to be well worth a listen

Sanxion

Next up is “Sanxion”, in the style of Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love”. Technically it works, the songs mix together well, but there is no real soul here and nothing to get too excited about.

Crazy Comets

The up-tempo LaserDance stylings of Crazy Comets from Sonic Wanderer, can be descibed as a lively upbeat track.

Arkanoid

Now this track, unlike coffee, really is a prefect blend. A prefect blend of Arkanoid and “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash, rather than coffee, obviously.

Ace II

The original ACE II is another track that occupies a place in my heart, so I was a bit disappointed when I heard this in the style of “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode. I thought the track was a little too slow and overpowered by the vocals.

Blackmail

This is quite a simple mix of “Blackmail” by PowerTrace with some samples from Black Box/Disco added. That being said, it works really well and is a good track.

Dominator

Now the Shamen’s “Move Any Mountain” is a track I am familiar with, mainly because it’s an early 90s track and not an 80s track, but I’ll forgive them all that because as soon I heard the “Shoot to kill, become a dominator” hook, as then this became my favourite track on the album.

Aspar GP Master

Romeo Knight manages the impossible on this track; he makes Kajagoogoo sound cool.  It’s another case of this shouldn’t work, but somehow adding Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” to Aspar GP Master gives a poppy, fun track.

Only You-Monotron/Vince Clarke

The final track on the album is a Commodore 64 style remix of Yazoo’s “Only You” with some great vocals from Eliza Zoot


In conclusion, a large number of tracks on the CD work very well. This album was an ambitious project and one that can be described as a great achievement and one that deserves congratulations. 

This CD has been put together with a lot of love and affection for both the 80s and the C64 music, and fans of either music should definitely check this out.

Review – Parkan II

The description of this fitted what I’ve been waiting for nearly 20 years. An open ended space sim with trading, pirating, bounty hunting, a wealth of missions and hundreds of ways to improve your ship, plus, and this is what I have been waiting for,  you can land on planets, get out of your space ship into a FTS game again with loads of improvements to buy and develop the avatar. With today’s gfx capabilities it should be mint, and the screen shots looked awesome -

10 seconds in, trying to change the resolution from 800×600 to 1680*1050 I get my first warning, 1680*1050 was off the screen, and unselectable, I ended up having to change the resolution incrementally 4 times, and forced to restart each time before I could get to my desired res, each time having to watch the 2 minute intro that would of been ashamed to call itself an intro 15 years ago. Finally though, I could play the game.

 After playing 30 minutes the awful truth started to dawn, and after a quick google it was confirmed, its a 4 year old Russian game that has recently been translated in English, really badly as well, for example when trying to get on board a wrecked ship my AI implant informed me that “The ship won’t open its beam, better exit into it another way”.  
 Bad voice acting I can live, in fact sometimes enjoy, as long as the game lived up to its description I would be fine.

<<INSERT CLARKSON PAUSE HERE>>

I was not fine.

The FPS portion of the game is fuck awful, the planets are covered in wavy 4 foot high grass but little else, each planet has 3 buildings on them, and a population of about 12 retards who start shooting as soon as I touched down, The enemy talents included the ability to turn on “Noclip” enabling them to walk through doors, walls and in one memorable gunfight to float up through the ceiling whilst shouting “Now we burn!” in a camp robotic voice. But still, this was only part of the game, I could in theory never set foot on a planet and still enjoy the space part.  

However out in Space it gets no better, the first thing I did in Space was answer a distress call from a freighter who thanked me for saving him before I had started to attack his perusers (Who in fact did not appear until I arrived and had contacted the freighter, a clever ruse on the part of the pirates? Or a fucked up mission trigger point, I’ll let you decide) Even better, as “soon” as I had dispatched the Pirates, I’ve put soon in inverted comma’s as the dog fights take forever, the freighter promptly flew into a star, thus not allowing me to talk to him again and screwing up the mission storyline, ah well, I’ll just go to the next mission…. what’s that Mrs AI….I can’t fly to the next mission till I have spoken to the freighter captain…how could you possibly know that I needed to speak to…  oh well there is nothing I can do as you can see he has inadvertently vaporized himself and the ship in that star over there…oh, your quite adamant I can’t progress until I have. I see.

Luckily I found a workaround to this by quitting the game, un-installing it and deleting the save game files and tossing the game in the bin.

Bitterly dissapointed. Marks out of ten? I’d give it a tumour.

Music Reviews – Pentasonic

Pentasonic logoBand members

Vocals – Vitez
Guitar – Rolland Rock
Keyboard – Lady H
Drums – Chun Leek
Bass guitar – Steve

Pentasonic

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of female vocalists in bands. I believe that very few ‘cut the mustard’ but Pentasonic’s front woman, Vitez, certainly pulls it off. With her strong bluesy vocals and unique style, she has the ability to belt out a tune.

The album boasts an eclectic mix; from the smooth ballad of ‘Six Years’ to the heavy bass line of ‘Show of Hands’. With its hypnotising intro from Chun, ‘Caveman’ is my personal favourite. ‘Apathy’, ‘What Do You Know’ and ‘Show of Hands’ are brilliant tunes which indicate the quality of this bands talent. You can listen to a selection of Pentasonic’s music if you visit their MySpace page: http://myspace.com/pentasonic

Pentasonic have spent most of August touring London and the South West.
I was fortunate enough to see them twice and this is one band who know how to perform. Vitez’s ballsy stage presence demands attention from the crowd. The obvious passion that each musician has for their instrument and each other is pure class. Too many bands consist of conflicting egos but the close rapport between these guys, both on and off stage, is truly something to behold.

Pentasonic have a number of free cds to give away. You can visit their MySpace page (above) or you can e-mail the guys with your name and full postal address pentapeople@googlemail.com

Missy :o)

TREO750 review.

I thought I’d better do a review of this new phone that I have for my work.

Treo 750I travel a lot and if I’m not physically travelling to meet someone face-to-face i’m basically on email and instant messaging. I don’t have a permanent desk at a company office, rather I have a home office. In essence I rely on being connected to email 24/7 and thus use the internet and my phone-device a lot.

Now just before I give you my thoughts on this treo750 thing, I’ve got to emphasize that I don’t use this device for viewing videos or playing games. I don’t download applications onto the device and play around. Its a work thing for me. I do use it to listen to music though; like sat on flight from Aberdeen listening to an mp3 file that I like.

So let me start with my ranting and raving. The little button on the top of this gadget that you turn off all sound with is extremely useful. No buggering about with menus and stuff, simply flip the switch and all sounds are muted. The phone now vibrates instead. Very very handy this little switch. When you go into a meeting, train, plane, taxi, restaurant, how cool is it that you just flip this little switch and your in “stealth mode”. Cool. It is soooo chavy and uncool if your phone can be heard by others when it rings… This little feature has got to be the coolest feature. Right, now, I’ve just boarded a plane, so I flip the switch and life is sweet. I’m cool, understated and my personality and smile is at the forefront. No chavy sounds coming from my phone. I contently find my seat, firm in the knowledge that the world is viewing me like a cool dude that isn’t measured by the volume of his ring tone or the need to be seen as sooo important that people phone me all the time so I have to shout stuff like “yeah I’m just on a plane”. Anyway, the stewardess does her thing of telling everyone to turn off transmitting devices such as televisions - ( n.b. if i had a portable television transmitter in my jeans I would be more than willing to show it off. What a cool thing that would be. The people who wrote the stewardess’s script obviously cant fathom what a TV transmitter is). Anyway, I realise that “please put your pda in flight mode” actually means me. So I whip out my unfeasibly cool phone/pda/gadget for all to see and roll my eyes to the guy next to me, in a gesture that makes it look like I’m still quite understated and cool. By the time we’re taking off however, I’m still pissing about with windows menus trying to find the screen that says “Bluetooth-off” and “Phone-off”. The stewardess tells me (so everyone can hear) to switch off my phone or transmitting device. In a completely middleclass/compliance driven frenzy I open the back of the phone, take the battery out and show it to the stewardess, who by this time is smiling in such a professional an rehearsed way that she manages to make the ‘handjob’ sign at me with her eyes so only I can see it – I’ve now been told I’m a wanker and any kudos I had built up by having a silent phone has now evaporated. As has the power to my Treo.

So sitting there with my Treo in one hand, the battery in the other and the social-interaction-status of a post-it note with the word ‘wanker’ stuck to my forehead for all to see, I’m now wondering how to insert the battery again without the phone turning on, making its chirpy palm/windows/vodafone welcome noises.

Treo 750Brilliant plan enters frontal lobes (just behind the postit note). If I attach the headset no one will hear. Now, of course, this brings me onto the second part of my long list of review items. The plug-hole-socket-thing at the bottom of the treo750 looks like a standard small ‘jack’. When I got the Treo it was very disappointing when I tried to plug in my swanky sony-mp3 headphones. This is not a regular phone jack plug socket thing. The only thing that will fit in that hole on the Treo is a Treo-headset; or possibly a cotton bud or a paper-clip. Anyway, with this knowledge to hand, but with a virtual postit-note on my forehead, I get out of my seat and disturb 8 people once we’ve taken off to get my headphones.

As you can imagine, I got hold of the wrong ones, and had to disturb people again to get into the overhead locker. While I was doing this the phone, which was lying on my seat ‘booted’ and through its magnificently clear loudspeaker my mail-notification sound of ‘Rimmer from red-dwarf introducing “hammond organ recital night”‘ – (look it up its a bit cult/nerd even for me). I was now pigeon-holed by the entire flight as not only being a chav trying his best to look important with his new fancy phone, but also as a middle-aged nerd. Only the theme tune to ‘lazy town’ could have made me look worse.

Anyways, I finally get the phone ‘transmitter’ switched off after finding the screen from the main ‘today’screen and simply clicking ‘menu’. Duh!. I’ve also found out that I could just have flip the cool ‘mute’ switch on the phone and all would have been silent…. User error? Maybe just too many ‘options’… Anyway, I’ve got my ‘these work only on a Treo’ headphones on and I’m now in gadget heaven. Huddled up in my seat with my little stylus and screen. Verdict so far is that the Treo does not make you look cool, hip or technically aware. But it is really groovy for doing stuff when ‘mobile’.

The first thing I need to do is turn on the music. For this, I simply fire-up “file-manager” and tap on the MP3 file I want to hear. Windows Media Player starts and my life is wonderful. I’ve just got to add here that the volume on windows-media-player is independent from the overall volume of the phone, so if you, like me, just like some background noise in the headset you’ll happily turn down the volume of the phone, realise that it isn’t low enough and then turn down the volume of windows media player as well. Imagine then, your surprise when in the middle of ‘sultans of swing’ by Dire-Straits an email arrives with a whopping 187dB and makes you drop your hot coffee over the keyboard of your laptop (a different but related story). This is, of course, another good reason not to bugger about with loud techno music ring-tones.. Anyway, I settle in to my seat and cocoon myself with stylus in one hand TREO750 in the other hoping not to get noticed anymore on the flight.

So, I fire up the ‘notes’ application and start typing on the keyboard. The keyboard is actually very handy I think. You really need a 2 finger approach on the TREO keyboard. I, personally, use 1 thumb and 1 finger, but depending on dexterity, gender and general ‘geekiness’ any amount of fingers can be applied I suppose. I think the keyboard is very good because its not spongy and it doesn’t ‘click’ annoyingly either – its just right in my opinion.

Anyway, back to the demise of my self-esteem. The stewardess arrives and asks me if I want something to drink, which I completely didn’t notice because I was typing and music was piping in full stereo (128k) into my ‘ear sockets’. A nudge from the guy sitting next to me alerted me to the eye-rolling-stewardess and in an attempt to be helpful and alert I sat up quickly and took the headset-plug-earhole-thing out of one ear and dropped the phone; the phone then proceeded to pull the other headset-plug-earhole-thing out and trying to catch the phone I banged my head onto the flip-down table of the guy sitting next to me who had just a few moments beforehand received a nice gin and tonic with ice and lemon.

Treo 750The guy next to me now hates me. The stewardess, however is now changing her opinion of me from ‘wanker’ to ‘tit’.

After a lot of mopping-up and “I’m sooooo sorry”, I embark on the sensible course of action which is to, again, take the battery out of my TREO and put it all away. I think this experience is not so much indicative of the TREO750; but more of a description of the misconception of how much “freedom” a nifty PDA-mobile-Gadget actually gives you. But that’s not what I’m reviewing here..

My overall verdict of the TREO750 so far is that it seems to work, but the user needs to understand that it works like a PC and not something that gives you the lifestyle the adverts promised you – like a PC. Now I’m not knocking the Windows-TM (bastXrd, fecking w+nker-tw*t, pr.ck software that it is); but I’m still of the opinion that if I had a separate MP3 player, a separate phone and left my typing to my laptop, then I’d be better off. Oh and the battery doesn’t seem to last that long…

I will be reporting back about the use of Email, attachments and how to sync the TREO with your PC. Oooh the irony eh? A pocket PC that you have have to ‘sync’ with your Laptop PC, which in turn is sync’ed with the windows-TM exchange server, file-server … ahhh I see where this is going… Clever! Very Clever.. How many swimming pools does that man need anyway?

SO, Until next time: qwrty.

Celebrity Big Brother 5

We all knew the big event of the week. We knew how it would develop.

The man at the centre of the storm was led, unsteadily, up the steps. All around him were cheers, jeers and obscenities, all aimed at him. He shrugged them off. He was safe within the courage of his convictions. He knew this was how it would be. But he would have the last laugh, by showing no fear.

Wobbling, he approached the summit of that dreadful walk. His short term future now all too apparent.

And then…the doors opened, and Ken Russell hobbled into the Big Brother house!

Fooled you eh? In the second big story of the week, some bloke is being questioned for having something of a sensitive video on his mobile, but I presume that it will be one of these “happy slapping” things, which I don’t understand. So I’ll leave that, and back to the star attraction.

Celeb BB was launched as per usual with the tabloids bringing extra hype to the party, by dropping the names of every slightly barmy celeb from here to LA, in the hope that the BB producers are reading. They weren’t, sadly, and these are the deadbeats and no-hopers that we ended up with:

Leo SayerDanielle Lloyd.

Apparently a former Miss Great Britain, but then stripped of the title in scandalous circumstances. She had, seemingly, had sex with Teddy Sheringham, then failed to do a hilarious “Dribble before you shoot, Teddy?” gag afterwards. Clearly a treasonable offence. Current odds: 20/1

Ken Russell.

Hugely eccentric film director. Apparently made some quite controversial films, but I’ve never seen  any of them. I’m in no position to comment, then. He did, however, come dressed as former Tito Santana alter-ego ‘El Matador’. Respect. May have been on the gin before arriving. Current odds: 10/1

Jo O’Meara

The non-eye-candy one out of  S Club 7. Seemed quite normal, and down to earth. Won it then eh? Current odds: 4/1 Fav.

Leo SayerLeo Sayer

his name is rhyming slang for an ‘all-dayer’ he was aware of this, and made reference to it on TV. For this, he must not be allowed to win. Celebs must be only vaguely aware of their cultural influence. Seemed to know everyone else. Scarf by Topman; hair by Scottish Electric. Current odds: 5/1

Jermaine Jackson.

5th choice from the Jackson 5 – coming in last behind Michael (too mental); Tito (doing Just the Two of Us on the Beeb); Marlon (Missing in action) and the ridiculously named Jackie Jackson. Jermaine now sports a ridiculous haircut, and committed the cardinal sin of wearing sunglasses in the dark, while it was raining. Current odds: a value-tastic 40/1

Leo SayerShilpa Shetty

Bollywood actress. No, I don’t know either. Current odds: 20/1

Carole Malone

Man-hating-isn’t everything-shit-except-in-my-middle-class-safe-haven columnist from the Daily Mirror. Clearly the most sexist, but far from the sexiest. Current odds: 50/1 outsider

Donny Tourette

Now I’m struggling. Supposedly in a band, but I fancy not one member of the general populace could name on of their songs. Thought he was Liam Gallagher. Wasn’t. First one out, I fancy. Current odds: 12/1

Leo SayerIan “H” Watkins

Why is he called H? It doesn’t even crop up in his name! Unless his middle name is Hubert. That would explain a lot. For those of you that don’t know, he’s the bowl cut sporting line dancing homosexual from 90’s cheese meisters Steps. Hopefully, he will die when in the house. Current odds: 13/2

Cleo Rocos

Cleo was in the Kenny Everett show. Kenny sadly died in 1995, possibly after hearing one of Cleo’s atrocious character voices. They all sound the same as her normal voice! She hasn’t been on telly since 1987! How can she be famous? My dog is better known than she is! Hey, he even does better impressions. Current odds: 8/1

Leo SayerDirk Benedict

The dull one from the A-Team. Still fondly remembered for his world championship double take during the opening credits, when that Battlestar Galactica robot walked past. He has, I think, gone a bit howling mad though, or he’d been sharing Ken’s gin. Current odds: 9/2

There you are then. A veritable ‘who’s that?’ of international glamour and style. This has been a bastard to type. You’re welcome. Jade Goody to win though, eh?

X-Factor Week Four

Firstly, if anyone does actually read these articles that is, apologies for missing week 3, I inadvertently misplaced the recording I had (ie: I recorded Lost over the top of it by accident), hey, we’re all human!

The “X” factor – lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to what exactly the X factor might be, well, maybe a few minutes the other day anyway. Is it really what the judges would have us believe, that someone can have a certain joi de vivre, mixed with a spoonful of va va voom, which results in producing a unique type of person who is not only talented, but has a magical appeal about them at the same time? Nah, course not, the X factor applies to the people out there that REALLY entertain us – the talentless, deluded individuals that bring a smile to our lips week after week while the auditions are on. I salute these weird, mad and wonderful human beings, who in my opinion, have the real X factor running through their veins! And what is it in our own genetic makeup that enables us to take such delightful satisfaction in other people’s misery? Well, maybe that’s one to ponder on till next week…

As usual, we start by touching briefly upon the actual talent, which I have to say was particularly thin on the ground this week, in fact I can only recall 2 that showed any signs of being able to actually hold a note. First we had Ben, great performance of a Sam Cooke classic followed by lots of gushy compliments from the panel that had him squirming with embarrassment, perhaps the gushiness was so over the top because of the re-appearance of plastic Paula and her cheesy American drawl. But who does he look like though? I’ve been racking my brains ever since watching it and all I can come up with is some kind of hybrid mix of Neil from The Young Ones and Michael Bolton, again, maybe it’s just me….

The only other notable talent of the show, came in the form of Robert, who this week raked in the sympathy factor by the bucket. I’ll say this once again, IT IS NOT NECESSARY, and is in fact getting very tedious, however, he was very good and deserves a mention. Perhaps the worst appeal for sympathy ever though, was the violins playing in the background for poor Janet, who’d broken her back several months ago…pulllease…and even more disturbing, she got through!

This week saw a reverie of Robbie Williams tunes being mutilated beyond belief, a horde of geriatrics, peculiarly getting through to the next round, and did anyone spot a brief appearance of Minty from Eastenders?!?!?

Now normally when we see 3 black girls, who sing at every family occasion and claim to be the equivalent of Alisha Keyes, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, we can kick back and enjoy a few minutes of soulful harmony, but what the…..”You Give Me Fever”, no chance, you give me that same feeling I get when hearing nails being scraped down a blackboard! It was like the 3 blind mice and metamorphosed into human form….

There was David, the warehouse worker and his spasmodic rendition of “Wherever I Lay my Hat”, had he swallowed his hat? Was he trying to cough it back up, is that why he constantly jerked his head on every second word? I have to say I didn’t even know what he was singing till over half way through!

Anthony – KNOWS he has the X Factor, after all he has the looks (?), the personality (?), and just wants to share his talent with the rest of us mere mortals….and once again, “Angels” is crucified before our very eyes. Anthony sees himself “abroad” and we can only hope….poor chap was simply broken hearted (his words) at not making it through, not sure what condition his heart is in, but his eardrums are certainly in need of a full examination!

This week’s award however, posed a quandary, I really was stuck between 2 stars of this week’s show. After much deliberation and cogitation, 2nd place goes to “Rockin” Rick, the 48 year old, side burned, seriously quiffed Butlins dishwasher, a career spanning 30 years no less! With his pulled up trousers, possibly to impress Simon of course, his yellow teeth and the biggest ears I have seen since Noddy and his “companion” turned their backs on Toy Town, his “Love Me Tender” had me chuckling away into my chenin blanc, ah, he was magic…

I finally decided 1st place however, just had to go to Trevor the security guard – the man is a legend, his zombie-like performance of “Let Me Entertain You” was absolute comic magic, as Simon stated, possibly the most inappropriate song ever chosen! Well Trevor, to me you are a star, please let him make it to the group of rejects they always get together at the end…!

X-Factor Week Two

54321… it’s week 2 and the loonies just keep on coming!

As usual, we must start with a nod in the direction of the proper talent and this week, there was no shortage. Firstly we had Darryl, very cool and a good voice to boot, but needs to steer clear of scary Sharon, must she really insist on cuddling all the cute young boys, it’s borderline molestation!

Next up we had the strangest rendition, or rather, narration, of “From Paris to Berlin”, which led nicely into the very cute, very talented, very YOUNG Paris in the flesh (and not of the Hilton variety, thank goodness!), who bravely fronted up to the panel and gave it her all, knocked them off their feet and then managed to achieve what no other auditionee, good or bad, has ever achieved before…she wiped every smug look from their faces and rendered each and every one of them speechless! Well done Paris, and good luck for the future!

Then we have Raymond. Cute smile, and definitely gave the judges a “kick in the head” with his rendition of the Dean Martin classic, certainly wasn’t what Simon was expecting from the look on his face, but although I liked him, I just couldn’t stop thinking that there was a good chance that he was David Sneddon clawing his way back under the guise of a scouse accent…maybe it’s just me.

Lastly, and I have to say my favourite, notable talent of the evening, was the extremely handsome Richard, what a smile! But again, must we cash in on the “sympathy” factor every time a contestant takes the producers’ fancy? After all, there is no need, if they’re good enough, they will last the journey, simple as that!

Right then, pleasantries out of the way, lets move on…

This week seen all kinds of weird and wonderful performances, from the young through to the old, but first mention though, just has to go to the delight that is (in his own words, granted) the raw-talented, singing, and dancing Warren! What a fringe, what a dazzling dance act, what a set of pins, what a vision of what a grown up Sophie Webster may turn out to be like, what a load of hysterical bollocks! Camper than a pink latex-clad Dale Winton, “This Time I know it’s For Real”, is he for real?!?!?!? As amusing it appears to the casual onlooker, it is with a heavy heart that I state, unfortunately, that Warren is indeed for real, and must surely have set himself up for a severe beating each time he turns up in a public place, still, maybe then he might stop mincing around believing he can sing and do himself, as well as the rest of the world a huge favour at the same time.

Moving on to Bristol, and Simon is feeling optimistic. Oh dear….along comes 57 year old David, the 5th Beatle no less, giving us his very own unique betrayal of “Sexy Lady”, all I can say is, whoever she is, poor lady…..John Lennon must be turning in his grave in regretful remorse at what the Beatles COULD have been if only David had been included in the line-up of possibly the most successful band of all time, bummer…Still, it’s nice to know that David knows his limits eh!

Staying in the older category, we are then presented with 62 year old George…now I’m not sure if George is actually quite clever, or whether he is possibly the worst potential contestant I have ever seen. I mean, his choice of song – “The Wonder of You”, says it all really, with it’s opening lines of “when no-one else can understand me”, of course no-one else can understand you George, you can’t even speak, never mind sing! Maybe next time he should try it with his teeth out instead, lets face it, it couldn’t be any more torturous to listen to could it? Or could it…

Kylie. I’ve thought long and hard about this one, but I cannot honestly come up with the appropriate words to describe this young lady, there are none that would do it justice! The only thing that I did wonder about, was whether her friends and family were actually crying at her awful, cringe worthy singing, as they all seemed to start the moment she opened her mouth, therefore, the only conclusion to reach is that yes, indeed, her singing reduced her nearest and dearest to tears of woe. However, at least Kylie appeared to be not quite as disillusioned as her mother, (I mean I know you love your children more than anything in the world, but is she blind?), until that is, she turned all “gangsta” on us and stormed off to live her dream, well to her a dream, to us a nightmare…

But, despite the efforts of all of the above, the award of the 2nd week extravaganza goes to Vicky, Louis Walsh’s number one fan…The look on Louis’ face when the chipmunk-like lass bounded into the room, heading straight for her hero was absolutely hilarious, he looked seriously scared to say the least. The poem that Simon kindly giggled out was genius and the girl herself turned out to be not too bad either, I liked her anyway and she gets my top award this week.

However, I cannot sign off without thanking the show for giving us an old Darren Day and a fat Brian May to end off a thoroughly enjoyable instalment, I’m loving it, roll on week 3!

X-Factor Week One

Well, no sooner has Big Brother left our screens, taking with it what has got to have been the weirdest, most bonkers bunch of contestants ever, than we can settle down on the sofa come a Saturday evening and delight in the exhibitions of even weirder and more bonkers members of the public.

By far the funniest and most entertaining part of X Factor, has got to be the audition stages, so lets make the most of this first few weeks of laughter and genuine hilarity as we thoroughly enjoy those people of our fabulous (if somewhat disillusioned) nation who truly believe they are talented, when generally speaking, they deserve to be locked away for crimes against humanity…!

I say “generally”, as occasionally, there are the odd exceptions who show similar potential to that of last year’s winner, Shayne Ward. Take the young chap at the end, whose name escapes me right now, but who provided a genuinely good performance of a swing classic, if only his success hadn’t been overly sugar coated by the congratulations received from his ailing mother, for whom he provides the role of full time carer…now don’t get me wrong, I admire the lad for this role he performs, but surely we could see him getting through on his own merits, and talent to be fair, without playing for the “sympathy” factor; the producers obviously like him and want him to last…

Anyway, back to the topic in question, the one that really satisfies the twisted, sadistic side to our nature that we all have – the nutter rejects!

Where do we start…? The odd young man who thought he was Michael Jackson who succeeded only in breaking the set, almost smashing his kneecaps and proving the only thing he had in common with Michael Jackson, was being odd?

Then there was the girl that just would not take no for answer, continually asking to “please” sing another song…get some self respect, a job in the local supermarket and accept the fact that you are seriously crap, woman!!

The middle aged man, who is most probably someone’s father (although if there are any higher powers that be, they’ll hopefully have forbidden the procreation of this particularly mundane gene), would he never stop???? He’s probably still droning on, abusing various eardrums across the land right now!

But the award of the opening extravaganza has got to go to the pensioner, supporting her Rose West look-alike daughter in law, who had about as much personality as a fork, for her single handed put down of the mighty Simon Cowell. Watching as her face changed from pleasant admiration upon meeting the panel, to the most stony-faced glare in the land, that could crack an iceberg at a thousand paces, pure TV gold, as Simon skulks slowly off behind the scenes, after a much deserved seeing to by aforementioned old lady, go girl! Through all of which, the plastic (Louis doesn’t like her, apparently) Paula Abdul continually giggled through her botox, but hit the nail right on the head when describing her experience on the show as “freakishly enjoyable”, which just goes to show that yes, the country that is “Great” Britain, still produces more nutbag fantasists than the one that chooses to have George W Bush as it’s leader…

I’m sure there are many more that I have overlooked so feel free to comment, and lets see what this week has to offer up!