Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Kate Bush Come Back...
Thanks to Bryan for sending me this article from The Times:

December 26, 2004
Profile: Kate Bush: Can she pull off the big sway-back?

In the cluttered loft that houses the memory of the average middle-aged bloke, a video flickers dully. It displays a child-woman of ethereal yet sexual allure who sways with beguiling swimming motions as her voice leaps the octaves of her 1978 hit Wuthering Heights.
The news that Kate Bush is planning a comeback after 12 years has lit up the captured moment when she erupted on the music scene as a 19-year-old, tangle-haired gypsy with a dazzling talent and a totally original approach to pop.
So agonisingly have devotees awaited her return that the writer John Mendelssohn penned a novel entitled Waiting for Kate Bush, published last month, featuring a Bush obsessive who has sent her 2,000 unanswered e-mails and is tormented by self-loathing.
Nobody would believe that Bush’s long silence was about to end had she not posted these words on a fan club’s website: “The album is nearly finished and will be out next year.” In a rare burst of garrulousness she added: “I hope you will all feel it’s been worth the wait.”
Now 46, the elusive Bush spent the interval at her home near Reading making sculptures, planning films and enjoying the company of Bertie, her six-year-old son, and his father, the guitarist Danny McIntosh, who played on Bush’s last record The Red Shoes.
A little more light was thrown on her absence by Peter Gabriel, her friend and collaborator on the hit single Don’t Give Up, who recently told a Canadian interviewer: “She’s being a mum and loving it. So music’s gone from being full-time to part-time (and) that slows you down.”
The doctor’s daughter from the London suburb of Bexleyheath altered the chemistry of pop in a career that produced nine albums and 13 hit singles, including The Man with the Child in His Eyes, written when she was only 13. Her unique performances combined musical theatre, dance, poetry and rock, crowned with a voice that could scale the upper registers with what has been described as a captivating screech.
Nobody had seen or heard anything quite like her before. One reviewer wrote: “It beggars belief . . . a stunningly original stage performance . . . it is devastatingly effective . . . a dazzling testimony to a remarkable talent.”
Her success was all the more notable because she was one of the few women to be taken seriously in the male-dominated world of pop, governed at the time by the aggressive sounds of punk. This 5ft 3in nip-waisted shy sprite not only composed and arranged her songs and produced her stage shows, but she also designed her costumes and was managing director of her management company.
Many female artists have claimed Bush as an inspiration, including Madonna, Björk, kd lang, PJ Harvey and Katie Melua. OutKast, the US hip-hop duo, want to do a song with her if they can track her down.
Male singers, too, owe a debt to Bush — perhaps none more so than Sir Cliff Richard. When he first saw her perform Wuthering Heights he was so impressed with her arm- flailing and gyratory motions that he incorporated them into his own static stage act. Like other Brontë aficionados, he probably imagined she had a detailed knowledge of the book, but it turned out she had not read it. The song was apparently based on her memory of the last moments of a television film.
In the studio, however, her perfectionism verged on control freakery. Recording the song Wow, she reportedly performed hundreds of vocals over several weeks, despite the producer’s insistence that he was perfectly content with the first take.
The experience led her to assume control of producing the album The Dreaming in 1982. Characterised by sound effects and animal cries, the record was not a success. Some blamed Rolf Harris’s contribution on the didgeridoo.
Catherine Bush was born in 1958, when British pop was waiting to be rescued by Elvis Presley. Her father was an English GP who played jazz piano, married to an Irishwoman who had been an accomplished folk dancer in Co Waterford. She was brought up in a comfortable home with two older brothers, John and Paddy. Both were fanatical about folk music and Kate imbibed their records of folk, sea shanties and Irish jigs.
She liked Buddy Holly and Presley, but her main inspiration was traditional music. “Irish airs, the uillean pipes — music like that affects me physically,” she said.
She also enjoyed hymns and took violin lessons at convent school, St Joseph’s at Abbey Wood, near Woolwich. “We lived in a farmhouse. I used to play hymns on an old organ in the barn till it was eaten out by mice,” she recalled.
By 11 she was writing poems; at 13 she was mixing music with the words. Her songs were intensely emotional, drawn from personal terrors and nightmares. “Horrible things fire my imagination,” she admitted. She had a particular fascination for films such as Don’t Look Now and The Cruel Sea, with “watery” themes.
Through her brothers, she joined a folk group called the KP Bush Band, playing pub gigs in the Lewisham area. When she was 15 she was introduced to Dave Gilmour, the lead guitarist with Pink Floyd, who encouraged young talent. “Absolutely terrified and trembling like a leaf, I sat down and played for him.” Gilmour liked her songs and put up some money for her to make three tracks.
The next year she was signed to Floyd’s record company, EMI, which was at first reluctant to let her record her preferred song, Wuthering Heights, until she felt ready to “handle the situation”.
She left school with a stack of O-levels, a recording contract and a windfall legacy from an aunt.
While getting more experience with the folk band, she started dance and mime classes. Emulating David Bowie, she studied with Lindsay Kemp, the mime artist and choreographer, and began to conceive of performing Wuthering Heights as a windblown figure with over-theatrical gestures.
The result was a sensation. On reflection, Bush said she was never too young to be a musician and her only ambition had been to get 10 songs onto a piece of plastic. “It couldn’t have happened fast enough. School inhibited me. It wasn’t until I left school that I found the real strength inside. All the rest was karma. It was meant to be.”
Ironically, the icon of Top of the Pops did not particularly like pop music, citing Chopin, Debussy, Sibelius and Erik Satie as her favourite listening. She also seemed oblivious to the effect her sultry performances had on audiences.
“I don’t deliberately try to be sexy when I perform,” she said. “I just concentrate on getting as much emotion and feeling into it as I can. I can feel myself switching on in front of an audience. It’s a very physical thing.”
The single’s success helped power her debut album, The Kick Inside, to the top of the charts and her sudden riches enabled her to set up home in south London with her cats Pywackit and Zoodle. In January 1979, accompanied by a troupe of dancers, jugglers and musicians, she set off on a scintillating tour. It was to be her last.
Instead she concentrated on studio work during the following decade and her hit albums included Never for Ever in 1980, the highly acclaimed Hounds of Love in 1985, and The Sensual World in 1989. There followed a four-year break until her collaboration with Eric Clapton on The Red Shoes in 1993, but the album was not well received and she vanished from view.
In recent years she has appeared in public a few times. She sang on stage with Gilmour at the Albert Hall in 2002 and appeared at the Q magazine awards. The industry tried to lure her back with the offer of a Brits lifetime achievement award but she turned it down because she would have had to have performed live.
Now she is ready to face the spotlight again. This, remember, is a female star whose versatility has perhaps never been surpassed, who pioneered the fusion of dance and circus entertainment in pop and conjured a new persona with each song. For fans, the anticipation is palpable.

Monday, December 27, 2004

We are taking it easy here at overyourhead this week. Kicking back and enjoying the holiday season. I have twelve days off work and intend to destress and have some fun.

Christmas was fabulous. We had a house full of people, a table piled with food and a fridge full of drink. Presents were happily given and gratefully received. Marky managed to genuinely surprise me with a gift which I didn't know I wanted as did my mother (more of those later).

We've just got back from staying with my family in Hertfordshire where we were treated to food, drink good company and lots of games.

So what if our car broke down yesterday? About time we dumped that rust-bucket anyway. It's all good.

So Happy Holidays to one and all.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Brain Teasers: The Answers...


2. A drawbridge

3. The number is 9. For example: 147 X 9 = 1323 1 + 3 + 2 + 3 = 9

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Brain Teasers...

1. What 5-letter word using all capital letters looks the same upside down?

2. What is open when it is closed, and closed when it is open?

3. What number, when you multiply it by any other number, does the sum of the digits in the answer always add up to that number?
Coka Cola...

[Thanks Guy]

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Kiki and Herb, a Valentines Concert...
Roll up, roll up for Kiki and Herb, a Valentines Concert at The Bloomsbury. The notorious Kiki and Herb are the creations of Justin Bond (vocals, slag drag) and Kenny Melman (piano), respectively, a psychotic sixty something lounge duo who dont cover songs as much as assault them! Book your tickets now! We're going on Tuesday 15th February.
[Thanks David]
Snow, Snow. Thick, Thick Snow...
For an Xmas message click here: A Happy Xmas to All My Readers

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Round The Horne: Revisited - Christmas Edition...
Paul and I went to see Round The Horne again last night. Well, when I say 'again', it's a different show from last time - this one is a special Christmas edition with two newly updated scripts. Just as funny as before. Gentle humour with just a hint of Carry On.

The show's actors are dead spits and dead sound-a-likes to the erstwhile radio stars, so full praise needs to go to them: Kenneth Horne (Jonathan Rigby), Betty Marsden (Kate Brown), Douglas Smith (Charles Armstrong), Kenneth Williams (Robin Sebastian) and Hugh Paddick (Nigel Harrison).

Best gag of the night (two actually):

The recurring and ever youthful phrase: "Snow. Snow. Thick, thick, snow." Followed of course by some quickstep music.

And: "Here are the answers to last week's quiz. We asked you to finish the title of a song. Number one: Gone With The... The answer was of course wind. And most of you had it (boom, boom). And no, Mrs Flangegobbler from Wales, the answer wasn't 'Christmas Club money'."

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pete Wylie and The Mighty Wah!...
On Saturday night Paul and I went to see Pete Wylie and The Mighty Wah! at the Islington Academy Bar. It was a short set (curfew at 9:45pm) but packed with great songs, both old and new. Sure enough we got all the hits including Come Back, Sinful and The Story Of The Blues.

Pete Wylie has the biggest mouth and biggest ego in the business but coupling that with a neat line in self-deprecation provides for quite an amusing line in inter-song stage chat.

"What are you doing there? Sending a text message? What are you going to say? 'Wylie's shit'?"

"'My life flashed before me. Only I wasn't in it' - that's a line from another one of my fucking songs you never bought!"

"I hope someone from the band pulls tonight. We're all single and could do with a shag. If not it'll be the six of us in the circle on the bus on the way home."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Coming Out Of The Closet...
It's our Christmas Party tonight so I need to wear a posh suit. It's also a jeans day at work. Major fashion crisis.

Bright idea: I'll wear my posh suit to work and changed into my t-shirt and jeans when I get into the office. I'll then change back before the party. Sorted. But where in the office could I strip off? Where indeed. I chose the rather cramped stationary cupboard in the corridor by the kitchen as for some (bizarre) reason it has a lock on the door.

It's semi-dark in there but I manage to change OK. Imagine my reaction then as I stumble out of the cupboard in my Fred Perry t-shirt buttoning up the flies on my G-Star jeans and two secretaries are walking past. "Didn't think you could come out of the closet twice" quips one. Bitch. She'll get red wine spilt on her tonight!
Margaret Cho...
Last night Paul and I went to see the sassy blogger Margaret Cho perform her show at the New Player's Theatre. We'd seen taped recordings of her before but never a live show. This was Margaret Cho's first performances in the UK and she went down very well. Better than well, she went down a storm. Shame the place wasn't busier.

The targets of her musings were perhaps rather broad - Bush, homophobia, moral majority, sexism, racial stereotyping etc. - but her timing was pin-point accurate. It was obviously a well written well rehearsed show; lot's of gags about gays, lot's of gags about the American Presidential election, lot's of gags about menstruation. But what exactly did I expect from a left-wing, fat Korean-American lesbian (as she described herself)? What else indeed?

She did start with a rather funny piece about David Blunkett: "I didn't know he was blind. Honest to God. And when I saw him holding Tony Blair's hand I went... GIRRRRL! I thought Blair was Bush's bitch!"

She did some very funny routines about being a fag hag, gay porn, lesbians who love whale watching (it's the blow-hole they like apparently) and a gay porn book her mother used to sell called 'Ass Master'.

At one point in the show she says rather wistfully "When I was young I always dreamed of being surrounded by men." She pauses and looks around the mainly gay male audience. "I should have been more specific."

A fun night out.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Keep staring at the picture and you will see a giraffe.
WiMAX vs 3G...
I've recently got a 3G card (384kb) for my laptop. First impressions? It's OK in that it'll seamlessly switch from 3G to GPRS but it's not as good, or as fast, as having a WiFi card (11Mb) and good old hot spot. If only WiFi wasn't restricted to such a small area... Well, now it isn't. Along comes WiMAX. WiFi on steroids.

WiMAX offers high-speed wireless data connections over a range of around 30 miles. The technology features both increased range and download speeds compared to WiFi (802.11x), which is intended to provide coverage over small areas. Along with WiFi, other fixed-wireless broadband systems currently exist, including hardware that can deliver services over several miles. But many of these also require "line of sight" between a transmitter and receiver to function - WiMAX does not.

So WiMAX and other new high-speed wireless technologies are likely to take market share from 3G as well as xDSL. In a white paper (yes, I do read such things) research firm TelecomView says that WiMAX will supplement and in some cases replace 3G, xDSL and other wireline technologies to provide broadband services. TelecomView estimates that WiMAX will capture more than 40%t of the wireless broadband market, leaving 3G with less than 60% in 2009. In addition to stealing market share from 3G, the report suggests that WiMAX will also be a threat to fixed-line high-speed broadband services.

Opps. That £22 billion paid for all those 3G licences looks like a bit of a mistake now, huh?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Erasure's Bell reveals he has HIV...
Andy Bell has made a statement on the Erasure web site about having HIV.

From BBC News: Erasure's Bell reveals he has HIV: "Erasure's Andy Bell reveals he has HIV. The star told a Finnish newspaper he was diagnosed six years ago after falling ill on a trip to Majorca. 'I found out I was HIV positive in June 1998 when I had a bout of pneumonia in Majorca,' the 40-year-old singer said in a statement on the Erasure website. 'Being HIV does not mean that you have Aids. My life expectancy should be the same as anyone else's so there is no need to panic.'

Since his diagnosis in 1998, the Erasure star has been taking combination therapy. 'I am feeling fine - in fact I have never felt better,' he told fans, thanking them for their concern. 'There is still so much hysteria and ignorance surrounding HIV and Aids - let's just get on with life, ie making music, doing a live tour and generally having a good time,' the statement said.

Paul Hickey, who has been Bell's partner for the past 20 years, has written about the singer's condition in a book due to be published next year.

Erasure, a two-man group made up of Bell and Vince Clarke, will release a new album, Nightbird, in January. They are due to embark on a European tour next year. 'With Andy's recent successful hip replacements, he is in better shape now than he has been for some time and we can certainly expect to see an outstanding performance from him next year,' the website continued. Erasure have been on the music scene for 20 years. Chart hits include A Little Respect, Sometimes and Ship of Fools.
Blue Chamber...
From the makers of Crimson Room we now get... Blue Chamber. Fab.

For those of you who may not have seen these online puzzles before, the basic idea is to get out of the room. But just how you do it is not explained. You have to click around the screen looking for clues to aid your escape. Totally addictive.
[Thanks Bryan]
Cat Fight!...
...He knows that I don't like to tour, that I smoke too much pot, and that my albums still have a habit of going to number one. George Michael hits back at Elton.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Christmas Tube Strike
Looks like there might be a Christmas / New Year's Eve tube strike. Bah, humbug!
Gay Popeye...

Popeye recently appearred in a Minute Maid advert as a gay man partnered with his arch-rival Brutus.

Which is odd. With his pipe, tatoos and bulging muscles...

...most people had him down as a lesbian. (Boom, boom).

[Thanks HIGNFY]

Monday, December 13, 2004

Erasure Breathe Video...
The complete 'Breathe' video can now be viewed online (in Real & Windows Media formats): http://www.erasureinfo.com/releases/singles/breathe.html
Which (Middle) Class Are You?...
Ten easy questions to determine: Which (Middle) Class Are You? You could turn out to be White Vain Man, No Sugar Babe, The Loft-Wingers, (Jamie) Oliver’s Army, The Notting-Pillbillies, The Suburberrys, The Normal Actuallys, The Hornby Set, The Saga Louts, The Fair-to-Middlings or (what I am apparently) alt.middles?

alt.middle: You’re tooth-achingly aware of other clichéd social behaviour, and try to avoid looking like a cliché at all costs. Even the simple act of reading a newspaper is fraught for you. Larger purchases such as cars provoke endless nightmares before you settle for the safe bet of a VW Golf. Your friends tell you to stop worrying - but how can anyone be conscious in the world today and NOT be worried. You could be a disaffected student, disillusioned fortysomething or bewildered seventysomething, and you are made wistful by the apparent innocence of the postwar generation. You thank God for BBC4. You feel an overwhelming desire to have been born at a different period in history. 1951, say.
[Thanks Bryan]

Friday, December 10, 2004

Richard & Judy's Book Club 2005...
I haven't read any of Richard & Judy's Best Read 2005 Shortlist. Can anyone recommend any of them?

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The American Boy - Andrew Taylor
The Promise of Happiness - Justin Cartwright
Feel - Robbie Williams and Chris Heath
The Jane Austen Book Club - Karen Joy Fowler
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Sixth Lamentation - William Brodrick
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson - Paula Byrne
Brain Teasers : The Answers...
Well done Jon and Bryan.

1. £38.

2. The answer lies in using Roman numerals. 1461 would be I IV VI I

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Brain Teasers...
1. A wine seller earned £532 in a day. Red wine cost 3 times as much as white wine. Of the 140 bottles sold, only one quarter were red. How much would 5 bottles of red wine cost?

2. I live at a house number (1461) and I want to place it on a clear piece of plastic in such a way that it can be viewed from both sides and still show the correct number using the number only once. How can I do this?
Google Ranking...
Indulge me a moment.

The Google Web Directory "integrates Google's sophisticated search technology with Open Directory pages to create the most useful tool for finding information on the web."

So if you were to search in the Society section under Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual (6097 entries) and then under Gay Men (718 entries) and then under Personal Pages (405 entries) and look at all the entries beginning with 'O' (7 entries)...

Sure enough, the top ranking is... (drum roll please)... me!

Over Your Head - http://www.overyourhead.co.uk/
A gay London weblogger.

This ranking uses a green ratings bars which according to Google: are a measure of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google's patented PageRank technology. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Recurring Dream...
I've been having a recurring dream recently. Which is odd as usually I don't remember my dreams let alone have recurring ones.

It's in a huge basement of a private members bathing club. There are low ceilings and hundreds of interconnecting rooms and passageways. There are individual bathrooms - candle-lit, plush red velvet, Victorian tubs, white porcelain, ornate gold taps - each tub filled with deep red blood. Two attendants, dressed in opulent finery wait in every room. These men are obvious to me as servants, formally dressed. I am lead weaving through the maze of rooms corridors trying to find one that's free. Peering into each room, all seem occupied. Eventually we find a vacant room where I bathe. Sitting upright in the blood.

So what's all that about then?

Apparently: "Blood in dreams is rarely a well-received image, unless it is connected with an anger object. The blood of another in this case may reflect seeing oneself as ultimately victorious. Most times, blood represents depletion, injury, or death. This depletion may be physical, or it may reflect the loss of other essential resources, including emotional or financial assets." Oh, dear.

I shall take some comfort from Blanche Deveroe (in the Golden Girls): I feel like I'm in the middle of an awful dream. But I know it's not a dream cuz there are no boy dancers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Take a look at Zoomquilt - a collaborative and very trippy art project.
[Thanks Andy]
Ho, ho ho...
An elderly man in Adelaide calls his son in Sydney on the week before Xmas and says: "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Brisbane and tell her." And he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

"Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts. "I'll take care of this."

She calls her dad immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "they're coming for Christmas, and paying their own air fares."

Monday, December 06, 2004

Mark's Birthday...
Sunday it was Mark's birthday. A crowd of us went out for beers, Turkish food and more beers.

A great time was had by all. Suffice to say Mark seemed to really enjoy himself and we have much documentary evidence - little of which I can share here (!)

Thank you to everyone who came and made it such a special day for him.

Happy Birthday, Marky!
Billy Ray Martin...
Last Friday night Darren, Ulrik, Jim and I went out to deepest darkest West London to the Cobden Club (http://www.cobdenclub.co.uk) to see the rather wonderful Billy Ray Martin (http://www.billieraymartin.com) present a showcase of fantastic (and, let's face it, more than moderately gay) artistes. We were treated to the warblings of skinhead Zerocrop (http://www.zerocrop.com), the high-energy gay rap of Fierce Girl (http://www.peoplesound.com/artist/fierce_girl) and, of course, the lovely and gorgeous Billy Ray herself. It was a great show, a great venue and a great ambience. Roll on the next one in February 2005.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Ice Skating..
Drew messaged me yesterday morning while I was at work. "Fancy coming ice skating today with my class?" "I can't I'm at work" "Well, if you change your mind, meet us outside Somerset House 10:45" By 11am, surrounded by 30 screaming brats darlings, we were on the ice. Fab. Thanks, Drew.
The Year Of The Blog...
According to Reuters a four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year. Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks," was one of the most looked-up words on its Internet sites this year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Microsoft have jumped on the bandwagon then with their own blogging effort called MSN Spaces.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Retroteasers Pop Quiz : Answers...
01. Jamie Cullum
02. Snoop Dogg
03. Any Winehouse
04. Big Brovaz
05. Lemar
06. Keane
07. Jamelia
08. Franz Ferdinand
09. Green Day
10. Libertines
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
12. Blue
13. Natasha Bedingfield
14. Robbie Williams
15. Girls Aloud
16. McFly
17. Scissor Sisters
18. Joss Stone
19. Dannii Minogue
20. Band Aid 20

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Retroteasers Pop Quiz...
Ian texted me yesterday afternoon, "In town for a bit of light shopping; fancy a pint c.1730?" (the only man I know who uses semi-colons in text messaging).

I had meant to be on time but as I was walking up from Piccadilly tube station I got knocked to the ground by a speeding rollerblader. Uninjured he just sat there on the pavement and laughed at me. More than a little taken aback I pick myself up, dusted myself off and responded in the only way I could think of: I kicked him. Quite hard.

Ian had a pint waiting for me. Bless him. We caught up and were soon joined by Elliott. A couple of pints later we whisked ourselves off to The Angel (just off Denmark Street) to meet Saunders et al who were themselves off to The Battle Of The Bands at the Astoria. Ian and I were not to be persuaded in that direction, but were in another. By David. David suggested Pop Quiz and so that's were the three of us found ourselves at 9pm wondering how we would do after be being away for so long. We needn't have worried.

The quiz was all about music that was popular, but no necessarily released, in 2004. We did rather well. Rather well? We won! 20/20. And we won the cash too. A measly £20. We celebrated in Bar Code.

Here are the questions. Why not see how you do?

01. What young crooner has a track out called "Everlasting Love"?
02. What gangsta rapper has a track called "Drop It Like It's Hot"
03. Free with last week's MetroLife Urban Voices CD who sang "Pumps"
04. "Yours Fatally"?
05. " If There's Any Justice"?
06. In Q's Best of 2004 who had a track "Can't Stop Now"?
07. "See It In A Boy's Eyes"?
08. "Matinee"?
09. "Letterbomb"?
10. "Can't Stand Me Now"?
11. "The She Goes My Beautiful World"?
12. All from 'Now That's What I Call Music 59' who had a pop track in 2004 "Curtain Falls"
13. "These Words"?
14. "Radio"?
15. "Love Machine"?
16. "Obviously"?
17. "Mary"?
18. "You Had Me"?
19. "You Want Forget About Me"?
20. "Do They Know It's Christmas"?
Danger: Men Working Overyourhead...

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

Spot the difference: Gollum, Appleton & Dobby...
Couch Potato...
It's been a lovely few days - I've been doing what I enjoy most. I sat my butt down on the sofa Friday morning and I bearly moved since; Paper Mario, Mario Kart: Double Dash, Fusion Frenzy, Mashed and Metroid Prime: Echoes. Thumb-achingly-tastic. Roll on Jak 3.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Whack Your Boss...
Having a tough day at work? Why don't you whack your boss? The coffee cup is my favourite. Needs flash.
[Thanks Mark]
I'm A Celebrity... Get Out Of My House!
Ozzy Osbourne is not the only celebrity to suffer having an intruder despite sophisticated security. This week police are looking for a woman who broke into pop star George Michael's north London home earlier this month. A female intruder was found in his Hampstead house on 4th November but had gone by the time officers arrived, the Metropolitan Police said. The break-in came eight days after a woman was cautioned for harassing the singer after being found in the house. Michael recently revealed a female fan hid under his floorboards for four days last year. Don't come 'Round Here'!

According to the latest British Crime Survey, only 3.2% of British households reported suffering a burglary in the last year, so Madonna can consider herself to have been unfortunate. In June 2000, raiders forced open the front gate of her multi-million pound Edwardian London home, and broke into the gardener's quarters, without being able to get into the main house. Less than six months later, thieves struck again, prowling round the same home while she and husband Guy were asleep upstairs. The burglars chanced upon the keys to Ritchie's Range Rover, which they drove away.

Other pop stars have also been plagued by criminals. Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was burgled in March 2001. It was reported at the time that the singer had to move into a hotel as the intruders had sprinkled milk and Ribena over much of her flat as well as daubing obscene graffiti on the walls. Bag it up, girl!

In August 2002, Icelandic solo star Bjork was the victim, having expensive audio equipment stolen as she slept in her Maida Vale flat. Big Time Bummer!

Footballers are also a common target for avaricious criminals. Chelsea footballer Juan Sebastian Veron was allegedly threatened with a machete during a burglary at his home in January this year.

But perhaps the least advisable intrusions were those in the Formby, Merseyside, home of Everton striker Duncan Ferguson. Carl Bishop, 37, was jailed for four years in February last year, after being apprehended by the 6ft 4in footballer. Ferguson punched Bishop in the face and grappled him to the floor, leaving the drug addict "battered and bruised". He unsuccessfully pursued an assault claim against the Everton star. Bishop should perhaps have been aware that Ferguson had dealt similarly with previous burglars in January 2001. Barry Dawson, 22, had to spend three days in hospital after Ferguson - who once served a jail term for headbutting a player - restrained him, again at his Formby home.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Get Bent...
Last night Simon, Paul, Drew, Sasi, Emma and I went to see Nottingham's finest, Bent, at the Islington Academy. Prior to a few weeks ago Bent had only just about registered on my musical radar. But over the past few years and after three albums (Programmed To Love, The Everlasting Blink and their newy, Ariels) I was surprised at how much of their stuff I knew. The place was packed and the crowd loved them. And I have to say my head was rather turned too.

Sounding somewhat down-tempo in the main (like Air, Zero 7 and Royksopp) they have in the past made surprising, but ultimately genius, collaborations with the likes of David Essex on 'Stay The Same', fleeting Seventies pop icons Captain and Tenille on the Balearic beauty 'Magic Love' and Billie Jo Spears on the country hoedown of 'So Long Without You'. They like a good sample do Bent. Rumour has it they've worked with Nana Mouskouri and Nicole Kidman is a big fan.

Last night they had just two women as singers who didn't look much unlike Jo and Susan from The Human League. However they sang like angels and did formatation dancing to the more up-tempo numbers. They did have this rather strange habit of sticking their thumbs up at the crowd after every song too which looked a tad comical at times. Very Bernard Matthews. Bootiful.

I'm not sure why Bent aren't bigger than they are actually. The music was great. The crowd danced and swayed. Maybe it's the 'kiss of death' journalism stuff like this that jinxes them:

BBC (2003): Nottingham's Bent are on the verge of making it big; even more so after the recent release of 'The Everlasting Blink'.

BBC (2004): Nottingham's Bent have been on the verge of making it big for the last couple of years. Now their new album Ariels is set to take them into the mainstream.

If you want to know more, their rather fabby teletext web site (http://www.bent-world.com/) is a joy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Old friends...
As I say it was a great weekend. But a bit weird too.

Saturday night Ian and I went to the Trash Palace, Duckie and finally D.N.A. We had a great time bopping and boozing and swapping anecdotes (no, I haven't forgotten what you said about Tom Robinson or Joni Mitchell, Ian).

But the weirdness started in Duckie.

Duckie (Sunday 1am): "Hello, you used to swim in Highbury Pool", said a tall dark buy greying stranger. "Er... yes.. 20 years ago though", I replied. "Remember me?" "Sorry, no" "David. You used to go out with a teacher" "Yes, that's right. Oh my God. Now I remember you. Bloody Hell! 20 years!" "How are you?" "Yeah, great thanks."

D.N.A. (Sunday 3am): "Well, hello Jonathan. How are you keeping? Not seen you in ages", said a muscled Adonis turning towards me on the edge of the dancefloor. "Well, well, well. Phillip. How the devil are you?", my eyes widened to take in his handsome face and smooth chest. "This is my new boyfriend. Jonathan, Paul. Paul, Jonathan." "Hi" "Hi" Turning back to my Adonis "So it was Sitges, right? 5 years ago?" "Yes. The last time I saw you must have been Summer '99. I was still going out with Dale then." "Yes, that's right. Seems like only yesterday" "Having fun?" "Oh, yes" "Well, great to see you" "You too" "Bye" "Bye"

D.N.A. (Sunday 4am): I was bopping away on the crowded dancefloor. "Hello, Jonathan. Remember me?", said a smiling ginger-haired bloke. "Oh my God, Jonathan! Of course I remember you. How are you?", I exclaimed. "Great thanks" "Wow! It must be what? 19 years?" "Yeah, 1985 at least. You haven't changed a bit. Well, not much." "No, you neither" "Great to see you" "Yeah, you too" "Wow! This is really weird" "Why?" "Oh nothing. Just bumping into old friends tonight" "Great to see you" "Yeah, you too" "Bye" "Laters"

A "Bar" (Sunday 5pm): Me chatting to a friend, "Yeah, it was really funny. Last night I bumped into three people I hadn't in ages; someone from 20 years ago, someone from 5 years ago and someone from 19 years ago." (one heartbeat later) Tap on my shoulder "Hello Jonathan!" "Fuck me! HENRY! How the devil are you? This is so weird! Another one! Great to see you!" "Yes, you too. Another one? What do you mean?" "Oh nothing" Henry looked at me a bit oddly. "I haven't see you since what? 1987?" "Yes, that's 17 years. This is so weird. 20, 5, 19 and now 17" "Sorry?" "Oh, I've been bumping into old friends all day. Not that you're old of course (embarrassed laugh as I check him out) but it just been such a weird weekend." "Well great tos ee you you." "Thanks, you too" "See ya later" "Yeah, you too"

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Chinese Whispers...
Lost in Translation - or what happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages.
Museum Piece...
What a great weekend it was. On Saturday during the day my sister, Jo-Jo, Martin and the kids all came up and we went to the Natural History Museum for a day out. We had great fun looking at all the dino-roars, pushing the buttons in the human biology rooms (hello? bit too graphic some of those pictures!) and being shaken about in the earthquake section. Great fun.

Later that night I met Ian for a beer and when relating my day mentioned the trip to the museum. "Oh", he said, "I made all the interactive dinosaur consoles in the main room." "Really?" "Oh, yes. I got a temporary job - someone else designed them and I constructed them all. Even did a refresh to them a few years later by myself."

Well, well, well. You learn something new about your friends everyday. I always knew you should be in a museum, Ian. Fnah.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Powerful Stuff...
You may know / remember Larry Kramer. He's an AIDS activist guy who also wrote the justly praised play The Normal Heart.

Well, he has just made a speech that is equally powerful, unsettling, controversial and compelling. Here is one section:

I have recently gone through my diaries of the worst of the plague years. I saw day after day a notation of another friend's death. I listed all the ones I'd slept with. There were a couple hundred. Was it my sperm that killed them, that did the trick? It is no longer possible for me to avoid this question of myself. Have you ever wondered how many men you killed? I know I murdered some of them. I just know. You know how you sometimes know things? I know. Several hundred over a bunch of years, I have to have murdered some of them, planting in him the original seed. I have put this to several doctors. Mostly they refuse to discuss it, even if they are gay. Most doctors do not like to discuss sex or what we do or did. (I still have not heard a consensus on the true dangers of oral sex, for instance.) They play blind. God knows what they must be thinking when they examine us. Particularly if they aren't gay. One doctor answered me, it takes two to tango so you cannot take the responsibility alone. But in some cases it isn't so easy to answer so flippantly. The sweet young boy who didn't know anything and was in awe of me. I was the first man who fucked him. I think I murdered him. The old boyfriend who did not want to go to bed with me and I made him. The man I let fuck me because I was trying to make my then boyfriend, now lover, jealous. I know, by the way, that that other one is the one who infected me. You know how you sometime know things? I know he infected me. I tried to murder myself on that one.

If this sort of thing interests you I urge you to take the time to read what else he has to say. Powerful stuff.
[Thanks to Mark for the link]

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bill Bailey : Part Troll...

 Last night Simon, Paul and I went to see Bill Bailey's Part Troll show at the Apollo in Shaftsbury Avenue. I like stand-up comedy and monsieur Bailey is at the top of his game. 

 BB used to be the lead guitarist in a rock band but then found a career in comedy was more his line - now starring in Black Books on TV, a regular on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, an intermitent blogger and all round funny guy. 

* Kraftwerk Hokey-Cokey? Inspired! 
* Comparitive theology? In a stand up comedy show? How does that work? 
* Dope cooked in baked alaska (contribution from the audience). Fab. 
* Drum 'n' Bush. Excellent. 
* Hillbilly style Bohemian Rhapsody. Marvellous. 

 And it was a clean show. Not one swear word. 

 At one point he asked us, the audience, 
"How do we measure time?". 
No one said anything. "Come on, someone must know. Someone knew it last night, how do we measure time?" 
As no one seemed to know the answer I shouted out "Caeseum!" (hey, I studied theoretical physics so why wouldn't I know that caesium atomic clocks accurately define a second as 9,192,631,770 vibrations per second?). 
"Correct! How did you know that?" asked Bill looking at me. 
Some wag shouted out , "Because he was here last night!" Ha, ha. 

 You can see a sample of Bill stand-up by clicking here. My favourite is the BBC News theme as a rave - Apocalypse BBC.
Faster, Baby, Faster...
8Mb ADSL for just £39.99 a month. Wow! Let's hear it for local loop unbundling!

I saw guy with a T-shirt on yesterday. It said: "I'll do anything for bandwidth. Anything."

So is bandwidth the new currency? Will you soon be able to borrow it, lend it or save it.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Band Aid vs. Morrissey...

'I'm not afraid to say that I think Band Aid was diabolical. Or to say that I think Bob Geldof is a nauseating character. Many people find that very unsettling, but I'll say it as loud as anyone wants me to. In the first instance the record itself was absolutely tuneless. One can have great concern for the people of Ethiopia, but it's another thing to inflict daily torture on the people of England. It was an awful record considering the mass of talent involved. And it wasn't done shyly it was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music.'

- Morrissey talking about the first Do They Know It's Christmas?
Animated CV...
A fabby animated CV by a cute French blogger guy.
[Thanks Rog]

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Band Aid vs. Band Aid II vs. Band Aid 20...
OK, my obsession with all things Band Aid is pretty much spent. But glory in the BBC's comparison of the three versions of Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? (Windows Media format) Other format versions available from video link here.
[From BBC]
Kiki and Herb vs. Erasure...
When Justin met Andy.

[(c) Andy Bell]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Band Aid 20 - Who sings what...
The new Band Aid 20 single got played on Radio One just now. It's actually quite good. A slightly different sound but essentially the same thing.

Here's who sings what:

Chris Martin (Coldplay) - It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid. At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade
Dido - And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time.
Robbie Williams - But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones. At Christmas time it's hard, but when you're having fun.
Sugababes - There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear.
Fran Healy (Travis) - Where the only water flowing
Fran Healy and the Sugababes - Is the bitter sting of tears
Fran Healy and Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) - And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Bono - Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
Will Young and Jamelia - And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
Ms Dynamite and Beverly Knight - (Oooh) Where nothing ever grows, no rain nor rivers flow
Group of 10 and Joss Stone - Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Tom Chaplin (Keane) - Here's to you
Justin Hawkins - Raise a glass for everyone
Dizzee Rascal - Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived, if the table was turned would you survive
Busted - Here's to them
Justin Hawkins - Underneath that burning sun
Dizzee Rascal - You ain't gotta feel guilt just selfless, give a little help to the helpless
Joss Stone and Justin Hawkins - Do they know it's Christmas time at all?
Tom Chaplin - Feed the world
Tom Chaplin and Chris Martin - Feed the world
Tom Chaplin, Chris Martin and Sugababes - Feed the world
Everyone - Feed the world, let them know it's Christmas time again (repeated)
Fran Healy - Wooo
Group of 10 - Feed the world
Everyone - Feed the world (repeated to end)
Joss Stone - Ad-libs over outro

Monday, November 15, 2004

Boris Johnson's sacked...
Our ex-neighbour, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, is now an ex-member of the shadow cabinet. The father of four was apparently 'less than candid' (i.e. lied) about his affair with Spectator columnist Petronella Wyatt. Tsk, tsk, Boris. Being caught with your trousers down is OK - but lying about it ain't.

So it's on your bike topical quiz show host, blogger, magazine editor, cyclist and the Tories' bumbler-in-chief.
Band Aid III 20...
Band Aid III will now to be called Band Aid 20 as it is 20 years since the original. It'll be out in two weeks time on CD for £3.99 and also for download. The complete line-up involved are:
* Chris Martin
* Sir Paul McCartney (bass guitar)
* Bob Geldof
* Midge Ure
* Radiohead
* Robbie Williams
* Dido
* Bono
* Daniel Bedingfield
* Natasha Bedingfield
* Turin Brakes
* The Thrills
* Will Young
* Katie Melua
* Busted
* Joss Stone
* Lemar
* Jamelia
* Keane
* Beverley Knight
* The Darkness
* Dizzee Rascal
* Ms Dynamite
* Snow Patrol
* Sugababes
* Travis
* Danny Goffey (Supergrass, drums)
* Rachel Stevens
* Estelle
* Feeder
* The Divine Comedy
* Moloko
* Shaznay Lewis
* Morcheeba
* Ash
* Damon Albarn (serving tea and biscuits)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Band Aid III...
The BBC is running a Band Aid blog with a blow by blow account of the recording process today. Nice snippets such as:

"Coldplay's Chris Martin has done the opening verse, originally recorded by Paul Young. That will definitely be in the finished version - but everything else is up for grabs.

In the rough cut, Dido has done Boy George's part, Sugababes have taken Simon Le Bon's place and The Darkness' Justin Hawkins sings Bono's famous line: "Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you," with a typical falsetto flourish at the end.

In fact "lots of people have recorded that line but no decisions had been made. They may even use Bono's original vocals. It's got to be the one that works the best, the one that's got that hair-standing-on-end factor."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Produced by Trevor Horn...
Last night David, Roberto, Paul and I went to Wembley to see the one-off charity gig: Produced - celebrating the career of record producer Trevor Horn. Trevor Horn dominated '80s orchestral pop and is my favourite producer bar none. He has produced and nurtured some of the best pop songs ever.

The show last night was absolutely amazing - a gazillion musicians flooded the stage to recreate, and in some instances better, the studio wall of sound that Horn would have spent days or weeks creating on the originals.

Here is last night track listing - with possibly a few omissions due to my poor memory.

Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star ("This is the first time we have ever performed this live as a group")
Buggles - Living In The Plastic Age (My favourite Trevor Horn song)
Dollar - Mirror, Mirror ("We haven't changed a bit, have we?" Ahem)
Dollar - Give Me Back My Heart (I welled up when they played this)
Propaganda - Das Testament des Dr Mabuse (The boys were looking daggers at the girls - tension, my lovelies?)
Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm (Did you know Ian McShane voiced the "Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Grace Jones" intro?)
Art Of Noise - Close To The Edit (And incredible live version)
Belle & Sebastian - Step In To My Office ('Fraid to say this was a bit lame)
Yes - Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Let's Prog!)

Pet Shop Boys - Left To My Own Devices (Introducing the soprano, Neil Tennant said: "She sang on the original, you know. We only met her yesterday!")
Pet Shop Boys - It's Alright ("We had the cheek to cover this")
tATu - All The Things She Said (Less lesbian than one might have hoped)
ABC - Poison Arrow (Martin Fry looking pretty good in a black frock coat. But where was the poof?)
ABC - All Of My Heart ("I didn't want the orchestrals. But Trevor insisted")
ABC - The Look Of Love (Out came the gold lame suit)
Lisa Stansfield - Say It To Me Now ("Redefines the term Soul Diva" Really?)
Seal - Killer (The audience rose as one)
Seal - Kiss From a Rose ("I knew Trevor was the man for me - (pause) - but not like that!")
Seal - Crazy (We danced like... er... crazy)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasure Dome (New singer did a good job)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax (With Trevor Horn joining the vocals)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Two Tribes (The crowd went wild)
Bea Aurther vs KFC...
If you eat Kentucky Fried Chicken you should take a look at what Beatrice Arthur has to say. I'm never going to eat there again. Unless I'm drunk. Or hungry. Or, as is usually the case, both.
(Needs Windows Media Player).
[Thanks Rog]
Happy Birthday, Sarah...
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday, dear Sarah
Happy Birthday to You

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Only Gay In The Village...
And straight from my sidebar... The Only Gay In The Village - The Musical.
[Thanks Pete]
Searching, Loving For Love...
Microsoft has just released the beta version of it's new search engine - it's trying to play catch up with our beloved Google. My first impressions of this pretender are (a) it's trying to look like Google, (b) it's slower than Google, and (c) at this very moment "This site is temporarily unavailable, please check back soon" so I guess they still have loading issues. Hmmm. Think I'll stick to the search engine I love. Google.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Have any of you tried the Firefox web browser? So good I'm surprised Google haven't bought it. Yet.

The installation was very easy, it copied all my all settings over and so far it seems to do everything I've asked of it i.e. to 'just work'. It hasn't crashed, is fun to use and has some nice features - there are loads of extensions.

It says here: "Firefox allows the pages of different websites to be arranged as tabs so users can switch easily between them. It blocks pop-ups, has a neat way of finding text on a page and lets you search through the pages you have browsed."

It obviously takes a little while for one's cache to get fully populated but then that's geek living for you, no?

Let me know if I find out anything bad about it - if not, why not give it a whirl?
Brain Teasers: The answers...
Well done David, well done Jon.

1. 2 x 2 = 4. It doesn't matter how many times you do the sum, 2 x 2 will always equal 4


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I've been approached to put adverts on my web site. Do you think I should? I'm thinking 'probably not' and guessing it would be a pointless and frustrating distraction to both you and me. But... I would get paid to do so (hurrah!) But probably not very much (booo!)

So they can sod off.

Screen inchage (is that a word?) is valuable enough as it is without all those ads cluttering it up and slowing page load times. Right?
Brain Teasers...
1. If you multiply 2 by itself a thousand times, what do you get?

2. The following proverb has had all of the vowels taken out and the remaining letters broken up into groups of four letters each. Replace the vowels and find the proverb. BRDS FFTH RFLC KTGT HR

Monday, November 08, 2004

Harry for King!...
Trash Palace...
This coming Wednesday the Trash Palace is opening. Simon Hobart's new bar is at 11 Wardour Street and promises 'great decor, cool music and cheap beer'. Let's hope it's a success. Hang on, did they say cheap beer? I guess it's bound to be a success, then. It'll be open until 12:30am during the week and till 4am at weekends (free to get in, £3 after 11pm at the weekend).

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Vigil for Sinders...
Last night Darren, Vinny and I attended Sinders' (aka David Morley's) candlelit vigil. It was a very moving service with tributes by some of his friends, a message from Ken Livingstone and singing by the Gay Men's Choir. Afterwards we walked down to the South Bank and placed some flowers where Sinders had been murdered. It was something we just wanted to do.

UPDATE: Three men have now been charged.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Like to test, sir?...
So former Chelsea star Adrian Mutu has been suspended for 7 months and fined £20,000 by the Football Association after testing positive for a recreational drug, believed to be cocaine.

Hmmm. So Rio Ferdinand gets 8 months for failing to take a drugs test and Adrian Mutu gets 7 months for taking and failing one.

A tough call for the FA but as I see that this is sending out two quite different messages to two different groups of people.

1. To all footballers: better to take the drugs test and fail than to not take the test at all

2. To everyone else: take drugs - you might get a lighter punishment

But, hey, why not argue the toss here?
Happy Birthday Ian...
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday, dear Ian
Happy Birthday to You

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Newsnight Gay Hate Crime Investigation...
Have your been affected by possible gay hate crime? Newsnight wants to hear from you for it's gay hate crime investigation. This is following the tragic murder of David Morley for whom there is a Candlelit March from the Admiral Duncan to the South Bank tomorrow night at 6:30pm (Friday). Bring candles and flowers.
Queen Of The Sky...
The US blogger Queen Of The Sky, an airstewardess for Delta, has been sacked for "inappropriate images" on her blog i.e. her in uniform.

In the postings, she made up fictional names for cities and other companies she mentioned to protect anonymity. But some postings contained images of herself in uniform. Of the 10 or so images only one showed Ms Simonetti's flight "wings". She removed them as soon as she was informed of her suspension. "I never meant it as something to harm my company and don't understand how they think it did harm them," Ms Simonetti said. I agree. Freedom of speech and all that. I guess I'll be avoiding Delta for a while then.

In (un)related news: Delta might have to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy prevention. Hah!
A message From Marc...

Marc has asked us to pass on his thanks for all the good wishes he has received from his fans. He is overwhelmed by the amount of support shown and says it has been a big help. He is recovering slowly in hospital but is confident he will get back to full health eventually, although he realises it is going to take time.

Theatre of Marc Almond

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Divine Comedy at the RAH...
Ben, Sarah, Paul and I went to the Royal Albert Hall last night to go and see The Divine Comedy do a one-off full orchestral gig. And what a great gig it was. The place was packed and Neil Hannon was in good form.

The evening started with a proper overture. Yes, a proper overture - all his hits in an orchestral medley. Fancy. And over the next two and a half hours we enjoyed each song only hinted at earlier in full. Amongst others we were treated to 'Generation Sex', 'The Certainty Of Chance', 'Everybody Knows (Except You)', 'Something For The Weekend', 'Bad Ambassador', more recent jhits such as the wonderful 'Absent Friends' and 'Our Mutual Friend' and of course the marvellous 'National Express'. Why, he even played songs from 'Liberation', their massively unsuccessful 1993 album.

Hannon influences are clear; Jacques Brel, Scott Walker and Michael Nyman. (Note to self: I really must get more Scott Walker - Marc likes him too.) He's a bit of a showman too. He chatted in between the songs telling jokes and relating weird stories, he drank beer too, he climbed on the grand piano, he threw flowers into the audience and he fell to his knees more often than a nun with a wonky knee.

Encores of 'Songs of Love' ('Father Ted' theme tune with lyrics added) and Fin De Siecle's 'Sunrise' finished the evening off perfectly.

Oh, and did I mention there was a proper interval too. One suspects it wouldn't be too hazardous to suggest that Neil Hannon is having by far the finest night of his entire sodding life.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Homophobic Killing...
A gay man who survived the Admiral Duncan bombing has died after a vicious 'gay hate' attack on the South Bank. Dreadful. Just dreadful. It's makes me sick to my stomach.
The Official God FAQ...
Everything you always wanted to know about God in one place: The Official God FAQ.

In the quite unlikely event that you were to discover any omissions or inaccuracies on this page, they may be reported to the international headquarters of The Official God FAQ, at aod@400monkeys.com, where they will be thoroughly investigated, submitted to rigorous scientific testing and, if substantiated, included in a subsequent update. Thank you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Jokes from Edinburgh festival...

The dodo died. Then Dodi died, Di died and Dando died... Dido must be shitting herself.

Colin & Fergus at the Pleasance

My parents are from Glasgow which means they're incredibly hard, but I was never smacked as a child... well maybe one or two grams to get me to sleep at night.

Susan Murray at the Underbelly

Is it fair to say that there'd be less litter in Britain if blind people were given pointed sticks?

Adam Bloom at the Pleasance

My mum and dad are Scottish but they moved down to Wolverhampton when I was two, 'cause they wanted me to sound like a twat.

Susan Murray at the Underbelly

A lady with a clipboard stopped me in the street the other day. She said, "Can you spare a few minutes for cancer research?"

I said, "All right, but we're not going to get much done."

Jimmy Carr at the ICC

I realised I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.

Marcus Brigstocke at the Assembly Rooms

My dad's dying wish was to have his family around him. I can't help thinking he would have been better off with more oxygen.

Jimmy Carr at the ICC

You have to remember all the trivia that your girlfriend tells you, because eventually you get tested. She'll go: "What's my favourite flower?"

And you murmur to yourself: "Shit, I wasn't listening ...

Addy Van-Der-Borgh at the Assembly Rooms

The world is a dangerous place; only yesterday I went into Boots and punched someone in the face.

Jeremy Limb, at the Trap

Cats have nine lives. Which makes them ideal for experimentation.

Jimmy Carr

I saw that show, 50 Things To Do Before You Die. I would have thought the obvious one was "Shout For Help".

Mark Watson, Rhod Gilbert at the Tron

I went out with an Irish Catholic. Very frustrating. You can take the Girl out of Cork ...

Markus Birdman at the Pod Deco

Got a phone call today to do a gig at a fire station. Went along.
Turned out it was a bloody hoax.

Adrian Poynton at the Pleasance

Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time.

Demetri Martin at the Assembly Rooms

The right to bear arms is slightly less ludicrous than the right to arm bears.

Chris Addison at the Pleasance

My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.

Patrick Monahan at the Gilded Balloon

Sleeping with prostitutes is like making your cat dance with you on its hind legs. You know it's wrong, but you try to convince yourself that they're enjoying it as well.

Scott Capurro at the Pleasance

A dog goes into a hardware store and says: "I'd like a job please"
. The hardware store owner says: "We don't hire dogs, why don't you go join the circus?" The dog replies: "What would the circus want with a plumber".

Steven Alan Green at C34

Hey - you want to feel really handsome? Go shopping at Asda.

Brendon Burns at the Pleasance

I like to go into the Body Shop and shout out really loud "I've already got one!"

Norman Lovett at The Stand

It's easy to distract fat people. It's a piece of cake.

Chris Addison at the Pleasance

I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation - but I'm not very good at it.

Arnold Brown at The Stand

If you're being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then on to a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire.
They're trained for that.

Milton Jones at the Underbelly

I was walking the streets of Glasgow the other week and I saw this
sign: "This door is alarmed." I said to myself: "How do you think I feel?"

Arnold Brown at The Stand

[Thanks Rog]

Friday, October 29, 2004

Happy Hallowe'en...
Marky, Paul, Drew, Carl and I are in Barcelona for a few days. We arrived last night and are here for a city break - to do a bit of sight-seeing and some much needed R&R (that's 'rest and relaxation' by the way not 'rock 'n' roll').

We're staying at the H10 Marina Hotel. It says here: "A new concept of a hotel which individuality consists of being a meeting point in the promotion of the fascinating culture of wine, and designed to provide an unforgettable stay for visitors to our city as well as the people of Barcelona themselves."

'Culture of wine'? Sounds like my kind of place.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Marc Almond out of intensive care...

Marc's family would like you to know that because of the progress he has made so far, Marc has today been moved out of the intensive care unit. His family have passed on to him the overwhelming amount of good wishes which have been received and Marc is aware of all the messages of love and support. He still has a long way to go in his recovery and his family have asked that his privacy continue to be respected. They would also like to thank the IT staff at the hospital for their work in aiding his recovery so far.

I'm sure you will all join us today in breathing a sigh of relief at this positive news.

Theatre of Marc Almond
Man erects 10ft origami penis...
Pornogamist Nick Robinson - practitioner of saucy paper-folding and author of new guide Adult Origami - has wowed Londoners by pulling off the world's biggest paper penis outside the city's London Assembly building.

Robinson took half-an-hour to erect the 10ft phallus, after which he delighted tourists and locals alike by waving it about from the Assembly's gallery as a stunt to promote his book. Rather appropriately, the London Assembly is known to some as the "Glass Bollock" in recognition of its ground-breaking testicular form. London Mayor Ken Livingstone's reaction to his authority's newest member is not known.
Washing machine sends you email when your laundry is done...
This smart tag reading washing machine developed by the Japanese Dai Nippon Printing Co. can read smart tags and inform users of the best method of washing of clothes.

The washing machine has a LCD panel and a internet connection. If smart tag enhanced clothing (All my clothes have of course smart tags) is placed into the washing machine, the machine will read the tags to identify the material and the number of past washings. When finished washing the machine can send a SMS or email.

Now if only I could actually get used to doing my own washing...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Pink TV...
The first gay TV channel in France - PINK TV. Oh la la.
Brain Teasers : The answers...

1. Rowing - the oarsmen face the stern of the boat and therefore move backwards, while the cox faces the bow and moves forwards

2. A towel

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

John Peel dies...
Legendary radio DJ John Peel dies. RIP.

I was never what you'd call a regular listener to his Radio 1 show but those times in my life when I did listen (when studying for exams usually) I used to love it. He just had that amazing knack of picking great songs - whether it was punk, techno, jazz, blues, rock, pop or rap. You may not like the songs he played but you had to admit they were the best in their field. The man had taste.

And that amazing sense of humour. On Radio 4 he could talk about the gravest of subjects and yet still keep the ability to see the lighter side - that ironic outlook. Top bloke.
A bit of fun for a Tuesday - Parking: Battle of the Sexes.
[Thanks Roger and the many others who sent me this link]
Brain Teasers...

1. In what sport do all the players except one move backwards?

2. What gets wetter as it dries

Monday, October 25, 2004

Roberto's birthday...
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Roberto
Happy Birthday to you

The lovely Roberto invited some of his nearest and dearest round for some pre-S.L.A.G.S. drinks and nibbles yesterday afternoon. We were celebrating his 36th one day early. We all had a grand old time followed by the short trip to the RVT to watch the fantastic Dame Edna Experience's show. And to round the evening off there was much minkering on the dance floor. All the gang were there including a few fresh faces too. Great night out.
The Producers...
Marky and I took Ian and Sarah to see The Producers in London's glitzy West End on Saturday night. It was just the second night of previews starring Lee Evans and the recently drafted in Nathan Lane.

It was an amazing show. We laughed and laughed. The songs were fantastic and the whole production left us lost for words. Go, go, go!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Band Aid III...
The Band Aid project originally came to life on November 25th 1984, when Do They Know It's Christmas? was recorded in London. Written by Geldof with Ultravox singer Midge Ure, the recording featured an damned impressive cross-section of the most successful British rock and pop acts of the time: Bananarama, Bob Geldof, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Human League, Kool and the Gang, Marilyn, Midge Urge, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Spandau Ballet, Status Quo, Sting, The Style Council, U2 and Wham! Other stars who were unable to attend, including David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, recorded messages of support which were included on the B-side of the single.

The song was re-recorded in 1989 as Band Aid II and released with the original recording on the B-side. This time there was more of a Pete Waterman influence in the line-up: Kylie Minogue, Bananarama (again), Big Fun, Bros, Rick Astley, Cliff Richard, Cathy Dennis, Jason Donovan, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Wet Wet Wet, Lisa Stansfield and Sonia doing the honours.

And now I hear it's to be re-re-recorded for 2004 as Band Aid III. This time round featuring Coldplay, The Darkness, Keane, Noel Gallagher, Travis, Jamelia, Beverley Knight, Katie Melua, Damon Albarn and Dido. And Thom Yorke and Robbie Williams are maybes. A sure fire Christmas number one again obviously. And hopefully loads of money for famine relief.

But I gotta say this, where's Bananarama's invite this time round?!
Junk Mail...
Here is a screen shot of the junk mail folder in Outlook on my PC at work. I've not deleted them since April. So that's 16,302 in just over 6 and half months - averaging just under one hundred a day. Leave me alone you bastards!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Goldfrapp vs Depeche Mode...
The Goldfrapp remix of Depeche Mode's Halo is finally out this week. It's beautiful. And yes, it's Alison singing on it too. Apparently Depeche Mode absolutely loved the fact she'd added her own vocals and it's become almost like a duet. Anyhow, it's on CD1 of Enjoy The Silence 04 in the shops now.
Mark, Andy, Drew and I went to see Gaffer! last night at the Southwark Playhouse. It's a play. About football. And homophobia. One-man show. Comedy. Very funny. And poignant.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Boris Johnson...
Our recent next-door neighbour, bumbling blogger Boris Johnson, is going to Liverpool today to apologise for his remarks in The Spectator this week criticizing the way Liverpudlians reacted to the killing in Iraq of the hostage Ken Bigley and accused them of "mawkish sentimentality". He also blamed drunken Liverpool fans for contributing to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. The trip is widely seen as the penance demanded by Conservative party leader Michael Howard. I would so love to hear the radio phone-in. Lamb. To. Slaughter.
Guilty Pleasures...
Last night the scrumptious Darren, the delicious Martin and I went to the club night of Guilty Pleasures at the Islington Academy Bar. It was a night of some of the most memorable, enjoyable and forgotten pop music ever. The kind of songs that leave a lump in your throat. All those tunes you hate to admit you love. We air-guitarsed, air-drummed and air-keyboarded the night away. Magic.

To top it all the wonderful Terry Hall was on the decks. It's going to a regular event for the next few Tuesdays with Saint Etienne taking to the decks next week with Adam and Joe.

To give you a flavour of the music that was played here's the track listing of the Guilty Pleasures CD.
Track Listings
01. Alessi - Oh Lori
02. Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together
03. Pilot - January
04. Electric Light Orchestra - Sweet Talkin' Woman
05. Climax Blues Band - Couldn't Get It Right
06. Ace - How Long
07. The Fortunes - Storm In A Tea Cup
08. Andy Kim - Rock Me Gently
09. Sherbert - Howzat
10. Carole Bayer Sayer - You're Moving Out
11. Marshall Hain - Dancing In The City
12. 10cc - The Things We Do For Love
13. Andrew Gold - Never Let Her Slip Away
14. Peter Skellern - Hold On To Love
15. Gallagher & Lyle - I Wanna Stay With You
16. Billy Swann - I Can Help
17. David Essex - Gonna Make You A Star
18. Jim Gilstrap - Swing Your Daddy
19. Brian Protheroe - Pinball
20. Helen Reddy - Angie Baby
21. Andy Fairweather Low - Wide Eyed And Legless
22. Colin Blunstone - Say You Don't Mind

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Richard Dreyfuss pulls out of The Producers...
We are going to see smash hit musical The Producers this Saturday. Bad news. Good news.

Bad news: Richard Dreyfuss has pulled out of playing Max Bialystock. Shame.

Good news: The role will now be filled by Nathan ("I'm not gay") Lane, who played the part when the musical opened on Broadway, winning a Tony award. Cool.
Lady Sovereign...
I don't know if you've heard Jentina's Bad Ass Strippa track but if you have you'll know what Darius is talking about here: If you hate Jentina, you might like Lady Sovereign´s answer record. After hearing it, you might not believe she´s a "lady" after all.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Marc Almond critically ill in hospital...
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Music | Singer Almond critically injured

From the BBC:

Singer Almond critically injured

Soft Cell singer Marc Almond is critically ill in hospital after a motorcycle crash in central London. The singer was injured after he was pillion passenger on a bike that collided with a car near Cannon Street station on Sunday. Both he and the rider were taken to hospital, where Almond, 48, was put in intensive care.

Almond scored his biggest hit with his group Soft Cell when their song Tainted Love went to number one 1981.

Police investigation

A spokesman for City of London Police said: "We can confirm that at about 4pm on Sunday there was a serious collision between a car and a motorcycle at the junction of Cannon Street and New Change in the City of London.

"Both the motorcycle rider and the pillion passenger are in hospital. The rider has severe injuries and the pillion passenger is critical.

"City of London Police are investigating the collision. Marc Almond was the pillion passenger."

The vehicles involved were a Suzuki bike and a Vauxhall car, the spokesman added.

UPDATE: Soft Cell singer Marc Almond is in a "stable" condition in hospital after a motorcycle crash in central London.
Duckie's Kate Bush Tribute at the ICA...
Friday night's Duckie Kate Bush extravaganza at the ICA was just so perfect. Fake Bush, Kiki & Herb, dressing up in Kate costumes, Kate make-up, Kate badges, bush shaving, Kate puppetry, Kate hedge clipping (!), Kate quiz - it had it all. But most of all we were there for the music. Something the London Readers Wifes brought us in abundance. High point for me? A tie between Kiki & Herb's The Saxaphone Song and hearing Suspended In Gaffa in a night club for the first time. Who knew she still had so many devoted fans?

Here is a picture of those super sexy boys David and Mark and co. - can you spot the video connection?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I wanna Ice Queen...
Saturday night. Royal Festival Hall. Siouxsie Sioux. Surrounded by a devoted crowd of aging skins, punks & Goths worshipping at the church of Sioux. All in black. 'Natch.

Our tickets said 7:30pm. Ms Sioux arrived on stage a little after 8:20pm. At least she turned up at all! She was suitably attired in flowing silk robes with what looked likes a cockerel on her head. Like Elvira in pantaloons. The High Priestess of Punk. She did look good on it though. The diva had arrived. The show had begun.

Siouxsie was in great voice. The sound was excellent too - she obviously was running a tight ship. We were treated to hits galore (who knew she had so many?). And it was all gratefully, not to say enthusiastically, received. Her fusion of jungle rhythms, Japanese drumming and eastern influenced music worked surprisingly well live - especially with a full backing orchestra. It was all quite infectious. Soon we were all up dancing. It was a great first half. Sadly the 15 minute interval actually turned out to be the 40 minute interval. Waiting again.

The second half was far more sensual than the first. The Ice Queen had melted. Pulsating drums drove the erotic thrust of the set list as each song had Siouxsie bumping, grinding and gyrating for the audience. She obviously has a sexual relationship with her fans while on stage. Never more so than when seductively singing Disney's Trust In Me. The climax of the show, Second Floor, had the crowd going wild for encores. We all left happy little bunnies.

Happy House, Spellbound, Cities In Dust, Peek-a-boo, Dear Prudence, Kiss The Girl, Christine - we got them all. If I wasn't a Siouxsie fan at the start I certainly was by the end.

Someone should buy her a witch watch though.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Duckie's Kate Bush Tribute at the ICA : The Denial ...
I would just like to state publicly that I did not, would not and could not do Kate Bush drag at the ICA last night. Anyone who says I did is a filthy rotten liar and will be receiving a legal gagging order very soon. The evidence has been destroyed, the negatives have been burnt and all witnesses duly tampered with. There is no proof QED it didn't happen. Believe me?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Google's Desktop Search...
Google have just released a desktop search engine stealing a march on Microsoft and others. Might be fun. I'll give it a whirl.
How To Give A Cat A Pill...
1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, have drink to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Open another bottle of scotch. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Have another drink. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus jab. Apply whisky compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Ring fire brigade to retrieve the ------g cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13. Tie the little bastard's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the A&E, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for RSPCA to collect mutant cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Unfortunately named authors...
Puerile humour for a wet Thursday. Those wonderful boys and girls at B3ta bring you: Unfortunately named authors on Amazon.co.uk. My favourite is Super Naturalism of New England
by John Greenleaf Shittier.
Retroteasers Pop Quiz: The Answers...
You're right, Mike, it was pretty tough. You both did about the same as us - Mike you got 8 and Jett you got 9 - well done.

01. Girls On Film - Duran Duran : reached number 5 - Top 5
02. This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us - Sparks : reached number 2 - Top 3
03. Make It Easy On Yourself - The Walker Brothers : reached number 1 - Top 3
04. Car Wash - Rose Royce : reached number 9 - Top 10
05. Fame - David Bowie : reached number 17 - Flop
06. Mad World - Tears For Fears : reached number 3 - Top 3
07. Rocker Fella Skank - Fat Boy Slim : reached number 6 - Top 10
08. Get Down Tonight - K C And The Sunshine Band : reached number 21 - Flop
09. Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin : reached number 4 - Top 5
10. LSI - The Shamen : reached number 6 - Top 10
11. Roxanne - The Police : reached number 12 - Flop
12. No Scrubs - TLC : reached number 3 - Top 3
13. Because The Night - Patti Smith : reached number 5 - Top 5
14. Girl From Mars - Ash : reached number 11 - Flop
15. Bedsitter - Soft Cell : reached number 4 - Top 5
16. Kiss - Prince : reached number 6 - Top 10
17. Georgie Girl - The Seekers : reached number 3 - Top 3
18. Virginia Plain - Roxy Music : reached number 4 - Top 5
19. Blame In On The Boogie - The Jacksons : reached number 8 - Top 10
20. Love Action - The Human League : reached number 3 - Top 3

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

RSS Feed...
I've ditched my Atom Feed and replaced with an RSS one. Hurray I hear you cry. If you'd like to subscribe it's free - simple use the address http://feeds.feedburner.com/Overyourhead in your favourite RSS reader.
Retroteasers Pop Quiz...
Last night the delicious Darren and I ventured along to The Retro Bar for the Retroteasers Pop Quiz. Why? We'd not been in ages, we had some bridges to build with Wendy and we just thought it'd be fun: we hadn't, we did, it was.

Joining us in team BOYZ PIN-UPS was hunky Boyz editor David Hudson and his glamorous boyfriend George.

The quiz was set by guest question setter Peter and was all based on official UK chart positions. There were four possible answers:

Top 3 (i.e. did it get to 1, 2 or 3)
Top 5 (i.e. did it get to 4 or 5)
Top 10 (i.e. did it get to 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10)
Flop (i.e. failed to make Top 10)

01. Girls On Film - Duran Duran
02. This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us - Sparks
03. Make It Easy On Yourself - The Walker Brothers
04. Car Wash - Rose Royce
05. Fame - David Bowie
06. Mad World - Tears For Fears
07. Rocker Fella Skank - Fat Boy Slim
08. Get Down Tonight - K C And The Sunshine Band
09. Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
10. LSI - The Shamen
11. Roxanne - The Police
12. No Scrubs - TLC
13. Because The Night - Patti Smith
14. Girl From Mars - Ash
15. Bedsitter - Soft Cell
16. Kiss - Prince
17. Georgie Girl - The Seekers
18. Virginia Plain - Roxy Music
19. Blame In On The Boogie - The Jacksons
20. Love Action - The Human League

How well can you do?

We failed miserably and got just eight out of a possible twenty. The winners got sixteen and walked away with the semi-booby prize of CD singles of Rachel Stevens' More, More, More, Marilyn Manson's Personal Jesus and DJ Casper's Opps Upside Your Head. Lucky them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Beckham admits deliberate booking...
I don't know whether you saw the football match on Saturday - England were playing Wales. It was good to watch. Nice goal by David Beckham. The shine was perhaps taking off a little by his accidental late tackle of Thatcher. This tackle was especially unfortunate as he had only been a yellow card away from a one-game ban. Now it was assured. He was to miss out on the next game against Azerbarjan tomorrow. What bad luck. And it was an accidental late tackle, surely? Surely.

Well, the surprising news today is that Beckham has admitted deliberately getting booked during the match in order to get his suspension out of the way. England's captain said he knew he had broken ribs in an earlier tackle and would be out for a month.

Beckham told the Daily Telegraph: "It was deliberate. I knew I will be out for a few weeks, so I thought 'Let's get the yellow card out of the way'. I'm sure some people think that I have not got the brains to be that clever. But I do have the brains. I could feel the injury. So I fouled (Ben) Thatcher."

So it was a deliberate foul, huh? Call that brains??? That should be a THREE match ban at least, you muppet! It's cheating!
The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly On The Plain...
The BBC has selected HTK for it's updated pronunciation database. HTK has added its speech synthesis system to an existing BBC database, creating a computer generated voice which accurately pronounces foreign words and names in English Broadcasting context so presenters can hear how to say them correctly before going live on air.

Shame. I quite liked it when news readers trip up over long foreign words. Jan Lemming's 'Robert Moo-gar-bay' was always a favourite.

HTK worked closely with BBC's in-house pronunciation research team to adapt the database, which has been compiled over 80 years of broadcasting and includes over 200,000 pronunciations. The original database relied on modified spelling, a technical language that shows each preferred pronunciation as a sequence of individual sounds and intonations in a simple format, much like a spelling. HTK has enabled the system with a spoken output that renders the pronunciation, so anyone with a networked computer can not only see the ?spelling? but hear it as well.

So it'll just be ITV who still pronounce Uranus as 'your anus', then?