Quote Of The Day

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

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hallowe'en 2005...

David held his Hallowe'en party on Saturday night and here are some shots. Click for a bigger version.

More Hallowe'en 2005...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

It's In His Kiss...

The voice-over man put on his best booming voice-over voice and announced to the waiting crowd, "Ladies and Gentlemen. Please welcome to the stage... straight from her successful tour of Japan... (you mean she's had an unsuccessful one?)... Linda Lewis."

Yes indeed, last night Stuart and I went to the Jazz cafe to see the rather marvelous Linda Lewis. Most famous perhaps for her hit It's In His Kiss Miss Lewis entertained us for a full 90 minutes with her own special collection of mainly self-penned songs taking in the delightful stylings that are calypso, soul, reggae, blues, lounge, doo-wop, gospel, scat, rap, pop, swing, country and western, rhythm and blues, and (let's not forget) jazz, jazz-funk and that old classic... jazz fusion. As Stuart remarked, "and all that in turquoise chiffon!"

Yes, she was a versatile little dynamo was our Linda, perhaps typified by one of her new songs I ddddddddon't do don't!. Great night. Thanks, Stu.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Homeward (I'll be) bound. Just having our final five star breakfast in the same room as previously occupied by Prince Charles, Neil Tennant and Whitesnake (although not concurrently one supposes). Then heading to Tallinn airport for our noon flight. It's been a fun trip but looking forward to being home.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our full day in Riga was full indeed; churches, cathedrals, castles, museums, markets, monuments, Parliament, food & shopping. I must say, nice place. But we didn't see one smile all day. Must be the cold. The highlight for me was the Museum of Occupation 1939-1991 - very moving. Naturally we finished off the day/night with a bar crawl & then a Balzam nightcap. Balzam is thick, sweet, uniquely Latvian & 45% proof. Think we will be driving back to Estonia with hangovers today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blimey! We finally arrived in Riga after a marathon seven and a half hour drive from Tallinn. Our Latvia experience hadn't started well with a stroppy boarder guard barking orders at us. Then endless roadworks on the A1 and the new winter-time speed limit of 90 km/h coming into effect last weekend further compounded our delays. To cap it all though was the 90 mins we spent circling round and round Riga's Old Town trying to find a way in. This was incredibly frustrating as it was not only rush hour but also dark and the delights of horizontal sleet were sent to taunt us too. Tired, cold and wet we did eventually get to our hotel - to be pleasantly surprised at how very nice it was. Naturally we then did what any tourist first does and flicked the TV channels to find some natural disaster on the National Geographical Channel while we unpacked. Minutes later we once again heading out into the freezing cold and driving sleet - this time in search of a bit of beer, a bit of food and a bit of gay nightlife. The beer we found was Dutch, the food Latvian but the gay nightlife very 1980's. We had fun though. At least the music wasn't Eurovision for a change. We must have made a funny trio propping up the XXL bar: the uncle, the nephew and the niece. A couple of Swedes tried to engage us in conversation but fell at the first hurdle. They came from Finsbury Park. As if.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Opps! Spot the deliberate mistake. At 3:30am The Balkans & The Baltics seemed pretty much indisquishable. Apologies to Serbs, Croats, Slovs, Estones & Lats alike. We are, of course, in The Baltics.

Tallinn was lovely. We did the tourist thang & did the Old Town. Then dinner, X-bar (what? Eurovision night again?) & bed. Up at the crack we motored down to Pärnu where we stopped to snack, wander & look at the beach. God it's cold here.

Next stop Riga.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Balkans Baltics...

Overyourhead is off on holiday again (What? Yet again? I hear you cry!). Drew, Nat and I are jetting off to the Balkans Baltics for five days. We're up at 3:30am to drive to Stansted and then taking the first flight to Tallinn in Estonia. Then on Tuesday we're driving down to Riga in Latvia doing a bit of sightseeing along the way. Thursday we'll be returning to Tallinn and then flying home on Friday. None of us have been to the Balkans before and we're all looking forward to it.

I'm not sure what the GPRS network infrastructure will be like so posting may be sporadic or the next five days. So if you don't hear from me... do feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Arts and Minds...

On Friday Stuart and I went to Arts and Minds, a charity event hosted by Core Arts at Chats Palace in downtown-not-so-glitzy Homerton. We were treated to a night of poetry, music and art that was sometimes odd, occasionally bizarre but always loads of fun.

Core Arts promotes the artistic and creative abilities of people who experience mental health issues and uses the arts to breakdown the prejudices associated with mental health.

All in all it was quite an alternative night out and all the better for that: cheap beer, performances with passion and a very worthy cause.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (An Abba Sample After Midnight)...

So Madonna had to beg Abba to use Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) as the sample in her new rather fabulously addictive single Hung Up, huh? Well, she's not the first to use an Abba sample in a track. She's the third.

Sure loads of people have covered Abba songs - perhaps most successfully was Erasure with their rather wonderful number one Abbaesque EP. But only three people have actually sampled Abba (that I'm aware of). Those Swedes are notoriously loathe to let people muck about with their songs.

The ones before Madge were none other than the rather marvelous Fugees who used The Name Of the Game in Rumble In The Jungle in 1996.

But the Fugees weren't the first. Oh no. Someone had been there before them. So who were the first people to sample Abba? Which brave pioneers took that first step?

Bill Drummond wasn't a newcomer to the British music scene when he formed KLF. He had been a member of the late-'70s Liverpool band Big In Japan (with later-to-be-frontman for Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Holly Johnson). Neither was Jimmy Cauty who along with June Montana and Killing Joke's bassist Youth was signed to WEA as Brilliant. But between them these two men created one of the greatest music duos to hit the music scene. They survived loads of name-changes (Justified Ancients of Mu Mu , Disco 2000, The Timelords, The KLF, K Foundation and 2K), a handful of number ones, a sampling controversy that led to the withdrawal of their first album, and an unfinished movie project that almost put them in the poorhouse.

Their debut LP, released under the name of The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, was unassumingly dubbed 1987 - WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. Recorded by Drummond and Cauty, under the aliases 'King Boy D' and 'Rockman Rock,' in Cauty's tiny apartment on a hip-hop inspired whim, the album was a complete homebrew in-your-face masterpiece, combining drum machines and loud Scots shouting with sound bites from everyone from The Monkees to Abba.

Unfortunately, Abba bit back. The JAMS, it seems, had lifted virtually every ounce of the Swedish disco band's hit Dancing Queen and dropped it unaltered into a track the JAMS has dubbed The Queen And I (predating the loop-and-sample antics of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice by three or so years). It wasn't so much a cover as it was an unauthorized remix, and the threat of an expensive lawsuit inspired The JAMS to 'Do The Right Thing' - burn all the unsold copies of the album. Shame.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Comedy Camp...

On Tuesday Ali and I went to Comedy Camp @ Barcode in London's glitzy West End. It was a long yet very entertaining night: four hours we sat in that basement. We laughed for most of it though. All good fun. Topping & Butch were headlining with Shazia Mirza, the rather hunky Greg Burns and Ruth Bratt supporting. Simon Happily was as usual compering. Does anyone else think he looks like Jack McFarland from Will & Grace?

Know Comment...

Yes, the comments feature is back at OYH. Blogback Comments is out (thank you for over three years of loyal service) and Blogger Comments is in. Unlike other more sophisticated commenting systems I've tried it's basic, it's easy and it just seems to work. I would of course welcome your comments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dr Who spin-off: Torchwood...

The BBC has announced plans to create a spin-off series from Doctor Who. Captain Jack, the maverick time traveler who guest stared in the latter episodes of the revived Doctor Who, will take centre stage in Torchwood, a "paranoid thriller" due to debut on digital channel BBC Three late next year.

Created by Russell T Davies, the writer who successfully revived Doctor Who, Torchwood will see super-sexy John Barrowman reprise his role as Captain Jack. The series - described as a cross between the X Files and lawyer drama This Life - will feature investigators solving human and alien crime, as well as chasing alien technology that has fallen to Earth.

The 13-part drama, aimed at a post-watershed adult audience, will be filmed and based in Cardiff. Each episode will last for 45 minutes. According to Davis the series will be markedly different from Doctor Who. "Torchwood is a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour," he said. "It's dark, wild and sexy." One of the confirmed writers is Sapphire and Steel creator PJ Hammond. Yay!

Blimey. So will Rose, the Doctor's latest companion, and Captain Jack renew their flirtation? Sadly not, because although Torchwood will be spawned in the forthcoming Christmas special of Doctor Who there will be no cross-over episodes between the two series. Boo hoo.

And why is it called Torchwood? It's an anagram of Doctor Who, of course.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What's the largest living thing in the world?...

What's that? A giant Redwood? No. Bigger than that. Did I hear you say the blue whale? That's a good guess too. After all, the average blue whale measures about 75-80 feet long and weighs about 110 tons. And you're right n part, the blue whale is the largest living animal on earth. But there is another living thing that's bigger. Much, much bigger. It stretches 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) across and covers an area larger than 1,600 football fields. And to add to it's mystery, most of it is hidden underground.

It's..... a fungus. Yes, a fungus with the scientific name Armillaria ostoyae. Known more commonly as the honey mushroom, this giant fungus was found in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon. I guess you'd have to call it a humongous fungus.

Don't say you don't learn something when you come here, punters.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Week 29 Inside The Big Mother House...

Cheesey grins going for a walk Three cheeky monkeys Big bump!
I spent a lovely weekend just gone with gorgeous mother-to-be Sarah-Jane. And I can report that she is getting even more enormouser by the day. There are just five weeks to go now and the triplets are moving around and jostling for position like champion jockeys. I felt some of the kicking and elbowing that was going on and they're going to be feisty trio I can tell you. We had a a really relaxing time (something I suspect we both needed) just going for walks, chatting, playing board games, drinking green tea and talking baby-talk. Broody? Me?
Ben was still in South Africa but due back today. He's spent three weeks treading the boards, earning a crust to support the three cheeky monkeys when they arrive; three times the joy, three times the fun, three times the noise!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Goldfrapp : Number 1...

The (perhaps optimistically titled) new single from Goldfrapp is Number 1. See the doggy style video here or elsewhere. Very funny.

Hair @ The Gate...

Stuart and I went to see the Flower Power hippy musical Hair at The Gate in Notting Hill last night. The reviews had been mixed but good to enough to warrant an extension to the run (Hair Extension, geddit?!)

We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves even though the production was ocassionally a tad am-dram. Sure it had gusto, energy and some pretty good ideas but was perhaps just a little niaive at times. Think Pet Shop Boys video meets Fame meets Rocky Horror.

The original story of Hair tells a story about Claude, young man from Oklahoma who comes to New York City. There he strikes up a friendship with the group of hippies, led by Berger, and falls in love with Sheila, girl from the rich family. However, their happines is short because Claude must go to Vietnam war.

Last night the musicial had been moved to a contemporary setting; New York street life in the noughties rather than the sixties. Vietnam was replaced by Iraq which was an OK idea in theory but really only worked in practice when the cast - playing captured Iraqis - were having their pictures taken doing obscenece things by gloating Amercian soldiers. Quite a powerful scene.

In seemed the cast of 20 or so were close to out numbering the audience (it's a small place is The Gate) but it did give you a chance to see a bit of cock and fanny close up - oh, did I not tell you there was lots of nudity in Hair?

But the real reason Stuart and I were there was for those songs. Everyone a gem; Aquarius, Donna, I Got Life, Black Boys, White Boys, Good Morning, Starshine and of course the sublime Let the Sun Shine In. We sung along and clapped our hands like loons. Great fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

No Comment...

Blogback closed down today so no comments for the time being. Will try and get something up and running soon.

Kate Bush : Aerial...

Disc 1: A Sea Of Honey
1. King Of The Mountain
2. Pi
3. Bertie
4. Mrs. Bartolozzi
5. How To Be Invisible
6. Joanni
7. A Coral Room

Disc 2: A Sky Of Honey
1. Prelude
2. Prologue
3. An Architect's Dream
4. The Painter's Link
5. Sunset
6. Aerial Tal
7. Somewhere In Between
8. Nocturn
9. Aerial

Kate Bush's Album Artwork Contains Cryptic Message Fans baffled...
by Daniel Melia, Daily Star

Kate Bush’s new album cover reportedly contains a hidden message that fans are desperate to decode.

Bush’s first album in more than a decade entitled ‘Aerial’ has a soundwave image on the artwork that contains the cryptic message, apparently it is a “visaul representation of spoken, or sung words over music.”

A source told this morning’s Daily Star: “Sound analysts and fans alike have been agonisingly attempting to work out the message. The current favourites are wildly different.”

So far the leading suggestion are ‘We paint penguins pink’, 'Elvis is alive’ and 'Wind and waves of love’ although its not known if any of these are correct.

The source revealed that the plan was to baffle and intrigue the fans, they said: All the artwork on the album is interlinked and the cover art is supposed to get people guessing. The true message will only be revealed when you buy the album.”

The insider also quashed rumours that the second cd of the album will feature one continuous song, saying: The second disc, or B-side, is a number of different songs all linked together by theme to create one fluid piece of music.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Text Addict...

My latest monthly mobile phone bill arrived today:
Rental £7.50
Calls £7.45
Text £128.88

It's not the fact that the bill is £143.83 (pretty high for me I have to confess) that I find scary. It's the fact that 90% of the bill is for text messages. Just eighteen months ago it was a 50/50 split. So taking into account that some texts were sent from the UK (10p) and some from overseas (25p) last month that's still averaging 25 texts a day. No wonder my thumbs are so sore.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Martin and I had a lovely weekend in Amsterdam. It was his first time so we didn't rush to do all the touristy things on Day One. That's not to say we didn't get out and about; canal tour, torture museum, design shops but we didn't go mad. It was just lovely getting to know Martin a bit better and we had a laugh. The less said about a certain dinner the better but at least it made us realise we're on the same wavelength about fellow diners behaving like wankers! Looking forward to another trip. Pix to follow.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Goldfrapp at Brixton...

Last night David, Simon, Paul, Drew, James and I went to see Goldfrapp at the Brixton Academy. A blinding show with music and lights and rock and (let's not forget) roll. Alison stormed it. God, I love that woman.

David: "She looks like Kate Bush on the cover of Live At The Hammersmith Odeon in that dress"
Me: "Yeah, she's the Kate Bush for the noughties"
David: "THE Kate Bush is the Kate Bush for the noughties"
Me: "Good point"

And if further comparisons were praise I'd say Alison Goldfrapp has the sexiness of Madonna at her peak, the sultriness and flair for high camp of Grace Jones and her backing dancers would give Kylie's a run for their money.

Great show.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Reissue: Do you have a favourite kids' TV show?...

I used to love kids TV. Still do in many ways. Here are some of my favourite shows - in no particular order - some from way back when and some are more recent.

Hector's House (Hector, Zaza and Kiki frog et al)
Captain Scarlet (The original puppets not the recent CGI update. I always thought Captain Black was so sexy)
Rainbow (with the Holy Trinity of George, Bungle and Zippy)
Live and Kicking (both the Andy/Emma & Jamie/Zoe versions)
Dr Who (especially the Tom Baker era although the recent series has got to be the best kids drama on TV at the moment)
Andy Pandy (I had his trousers!)
The Clangers (especially the Soup Dragon)
UFO (scared me shitless)
The Woodentops (I actually thought the dog was real)
Torchy The Battery Boy (which incidentally features a baby dragon called Sparky. No, not that Sparky)
The Tomorrow People (I once asked my mother for a jaunt belt for my birthday)
Hong Kong Phooey (I used to think all Americans were like Rosmary, "your friendly female fuzz". I wasn't too far wrong)
Blake's 7 (I actually organised Blake's 7 conventions at University. We had Paul Darrow and Jacqueline Pierce et al coming to give talks)
Wacky Races (Dick, Penelope and the gang. Actually most H&B cartoons get my vote as I've blogged at length on earlier ocassions)
The Singing Ringing Tree (that was when I believed in magic)
SM:TV Live (but only when Ant & Dec were on it)
Space:1999 (especially the first 'pre-monsters' series. Before 'the Americans suits' got their hands on it!)
Thunderbirds (natch. Still watch it today when I can)

Do you have a favourite kids' TV show?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Gordon Is A Moron...

Last night Ian treated me to a trip to the Bloomsbury Theatre to see Fawn Again starring the rather amusing Graham Fellows.

And who he? Well, Graham Fellows played a 'young man' in Coronation Street in Janaury 1979 who chatted up Gail Potter whilst she was waiting for Brian Tilsley outside a cinema. It says here. And he now lives near Grantham in Lincolnshire. None the wiser? Ok, well, perhaps you might know Graham better as Sheffield-born bon viveur and keyboard ace John Shuttleworth - star of radio, TV, film and now cartoon.

Shuttleworth's dry Northern humour is quite winning. And last night's show was as dry as a nun's snatch.

In fact Graham has a previous alter-ego too: Jilted John. Graham scaled the heights of the UK single charts in 1978 with the classic punk-esque single Jilted John. The song peaked at number 4 and another two singles followed, though they did not reach the charts. Also released an album entitled "True Love Stories".

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Top Ten Worst Movie Sex Scenes...

It's official: the pool romp scene from Showgirls - featuring Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan going at it like two dolphins caught in a tuna net - is the crappiest movie sex scene of all time.

In awarding the crown to Paul Verhoeven's lamentable waste of celluloid, Empire magazine has at least ensured that it will go down in history for something besides possibly being the worst film ever made. An Empire spokesman said of the outrage: "It's supposed to be the best sex in the world but, as Berkley thrashes around in the water, it looks more like the first ten minutes of Jaws."

The top ten went like this:
Showgirls: Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan (1995)
Damage: Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche (1992)
Killing me Softly: Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes (2002)
Body of Evidence: Madonna and Willem Dafoe (1993)
Crimes of Passion: Kathleen Turner (1984)
The Specialist: Sharon Stone and Sly Stallone (1994)
Gigli: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (2003)
40 Days and 40 Nights: Matt Sullivan and Shannyn Sossamon (2002)
Matrix Reloaded: Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss (2003)
The Stud: Joan Collins and Oliver Tobias (1978)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Gay Navy Keelhauling...

The Navy has threatened to court martial a serving officer who is a finalist in the Mr Gay UK 2005. Richard Cowell, 25, is weapons engineer on Type-23 frigate HMS Northumberland. He's also Mr Plymouth and in the running for the UK's top gay male accolade - much to the chagrin of the Senior Service.

Cowell has been ordered to withdraw from the contest or face a keelhauling, the Sun reports. The paper has pulled its defence correspondent off Iraq duty to cover this most pressing of issues, apparently without effect because top Navy brass has instructed Cowell not to speak to the press.

His 18-year-old boyfriend Sean Wright, though, is not bound by military law, and declared: "The Navy say they are pro-gay but it seems that's only if you don't act it."

For its part, the Navy says it's not about gayness, stating: "It isn't appropriate for an officer to participate in any competition with a sexual theme."

Ah, that's the old nautical favourite of "find the golden rivet" well and truly consigned to walk the plank, then.

Homosexuality in the armed forces was deemed acceptable back in 2000. Prior to that, it was very seriously frowned upon, despite Winston Churchill's assertion that Britain's entire maritime tradition consisted of "rum, sodomy and the lash".

Cowell, meanwhile, is still a participant in Mr Gay UK 2005 and appears unwilling to quit. The man who wrote the Village People's In the Navy was unavailable for comment as we went to press.