Quote Of The Day

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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gay men (are) like straight women...

This being gay pride week I thought I'd reference a study carrier out recently at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. It has provided strong evidence that sexuality is a biologically fixed trait demonstrated in physical brain differences. Specifically, key brain structures in homosexuals which govern "mood, anxiety and aggressiveness" resemble those in heterosexuals of the opposite sex - something likely to have been "forged" in the womb and not the result of later learning processes. In particular gay men demonstrated symmetrical brains, in common with straight women. But we knew that didn't we girls?

Friday, June 27, 2008

BBC iPlayer Gets Radio...

I like the BBC iPlayer. It's a sort of one-stop shop for watching BBC TV programs over the past 7 days if you live in the UK. It comes as either a PC-only download service or an on-demand service using Flash. Well, now it has just got alot better. It's got radio (according to a BBC press release). In fact there are a raft of other updates to the on-demand service including the ability to rewind the new music radio stations online and a new Last Played feature which will remember where the session left off in case of computer crash or you have to stop watching/listening half way through. Also the Flash video window is boosted on the new iPlayer site to 640 pixels wide. The new on-demand radio streams will be 128Kbit/s MP3s, replacing the current Real and Windows Media Listen Again offerings. And live radio is coming soon apparently. Cool.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pop Quiz Answers...

Here are the answers from last week's pop quiz.

01. Forever In Blue Jeans
02. Sweet Caroline
03. I am... I said
04. The Stranglers
05. The Mobiles
06. Haircut 100
07. Olivia Newton-John
08. Visage
09. 1982
10. Kate Bush
11. Charles and Eddie
12. The Shamen
13. Usura
14. 2Unlimited
15. 1993
16. Meck and Leo Sayer
17. Sugababes
18. Kelly Clarkson
19. Dirty Pretty Things
20. Christina Aguilera
21. 2006

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sheila and Martin's BBQ...

On Sunday afternoon Stuart and I were invited over to Sheila and Martin's on Hornchurch. Kerry and Fergal were there too. We sat in the garden and ate a lovely feast with the meat prepared on the barbecue while we kept on eye on the nippers. Great to catch with everyone again.



More snaps here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Duckie...

Last Saturday night Stuart, Jane, Mark, Drew, Amanda, Kirsty and I went to Duckie for a bit of a kneesup.

We'd not been to Duckie in ages and flushed from our fun at the V&A earlier we thought it might fun.

The music was great the acts suitably left-field and a great time was had by all. In fact one of the act was so left-field it drew more than a few gasps. A guy putting hooks through his forehead and swinging weights. And the blood that dripped down his face after he took the hooks out seemed pretty real from where we were standing.

More snaps here.

Roll on Gay Shame at the Coronet in a couple of weeks time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Story Of The Supremes...

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart, Darren, Mark, Jane, Bruce, Tracy and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see an exhibition called The Story of The Supremes From The Mary Wilson Collection.

The display is open until October and features performance costumes of The Supremes, the group’s music, album covers and archive performance footage. Stuart, Darren and Bruce could stop smiling throughout.

Here are some snaps I took while we were there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yazoo (again)...

The lovely Andy called me yesterday lunchtime, "I know you saw them last night but I've got a spare ticket for Yazoo tonight if you fancy coming." "Yes, please", say I.

So there I was watching Yazoo all over again at the Hammersmith Apollo. And it was just as great night as the previous night but being their last night of the UK tour Alison was way more chatty.

She hugged Vince two or three times too. She danced way more. And just before Only You she shook her fist saying "Flying Pickets! Bastards!" Yes, dear reader she was acting like a right Basildon girl. And we loved her for it.

Still no The Other Side Of Love though. And sadly the much promised Hercules and Love Affair cancelled so we were stuck with Merz again.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yazoo...

Last night Stu, Paul, Mark, Darren, David, Andy, Kev, Tom and I (along with about 2000 other people) went to see Yazoo at the Hammersmith Apollo. And what a great night it was.

Alison and Vince have reformed for a tour and to promote In Your Room, a four-disc box set featuring the stereo remasters and 5.1 mixes of the albums Upstairs at Eric's and You and Me Both next to a disc with B-sides and remixes. Some of those remixes were in evidence last night with reworkings of classic hits such as Nobody's Diary, Situation, the you-could-hear-a-pin-drop Winter Kills, Don't Go and of course the sublime Only You. The remixes have given a fresh feel to these sounds (well, fresh for a band that split up 26 years ago). So there were quite a few audio pleasure on offer - especially satisfying for me when it strayed into Erasure territory.

Alf's voice was magnificent throughout. She sang. We sang. She danced (no, really). We danced. And the much reported stage frostiness between her and Vince was in little evidence.

The only song missing (thanks for pointing this out Mike) was The Other Side Of Love.

Pop Quiz...

Last night's Retro Bar teaser pop quiz was great fun. The excuse to go was that Daveo was over from NZ and jumping at the chance was David, Ian, Luca, Paul, Simon et al.

The winners got twenty and a half out of twenty-one. We 'came second' with eighteen. See how you do...

01. What Neil Diamond song starts with "Money talks But it don't sing and dance And it don't walk"?
02. What Neil Diamond song starts with "Where it began I can't begin to knowin' But then I know it's growing strong"?
03. What Neil Diamond song starts with "L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most the time And the feeling is 'lay back' Palm trees grow, and rents are low But you know I keep thinkin' about Making my way back"?
04. Who had a 1980s hit with Golden Brown?
05. Who had a 1980s hit with Drowning In Berlin?
06. Who had a 1980s hit with Love Plus One?
07. Who had a 1980s hit with Landslide? (Hint:Oz)
08. Who had a 1980s hit with The Damned Don't Cry?
09. What year were the above five songs all hits?
10. Who had a 1990s hit with Rubber Band Girl?
11. Who had a 1990s hit with Would I Lie To You? (Hint:American duo)
12. Who had a 1990s hit with Forever People?
13. Who had a 1990s hit with Open Your Mind?
14. Who had a 1990s hit with No Limits?
15. What year were the above five songs all hits?
16. Who had a 00s hit with Thunder in My Heart (both artists involved)?
17. Who had a 00s hit with Ugly? (Hint:a trio)
18. Who had a 00s hit with Because Of You? (Hint:a winner)
19. Who had a 00s hit with Bang Bang You're Dead?
20. Who had a 00s hit with Ain't No Other Man?
21. What year were the above five songs all hits?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From: 10 Downing Street...

From: 10 Downing Street
Date: 17 Jun 2008 11:10
Subject: Government response to petition 'SaveOurSoho'
To: e-petition signatories

You recently signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to "resist the ban on outside drinking and maintain the liberal culture of Soho." A formal response to the petition will be sent to you, and posted online, once the petition has closed. In the meantime, you may wish to know that Westminster Council has released a statement on the subject of the petition as follows:

Contrary to internet rumours, Westminster has no plans to ban outside drinking in Soho or in the city as a whole. This is an inaccurate and misleading rumour. Indeed, the council is actively trying to promote responsible alfresco-style dining and drinking in certain parts of the city by creating calm oases away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. We are, however, reviewing the licence for The Endurance pub in Berwick Street following a long history of complaints from nearby residents about noise from drinkers outside the premises. The Council has previously tried to work with this pub to resolve this problem and we regret that this review is now necessary. The review by the council's licensing committee is due to take place on June 26, 2008. We want everyone to be able to come to Westminster and have a good time, but we need to ensure that the interests of residents are protected and licensees must work with us to this end.

Petition information - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveOurSoho/
[Thanks Mark]

More Acts Announced for Electric Picnic...

We're really looking forward to this now as Santogold and Hercules & Love Affair will be playing too. Here's the press release:

The ever-colourful line up for Electric Picnic continues to blossom and fascinate as more of the most happening acts on the planet hop on board the magic bus to Stradbally this year. From some of the brightest young acts of 2008 such as Santogold, Crystal Castles and Hercules and Love Affair to emotional artrock stalwarts Elbow and the electro elite of Chromeo, Cut Copy and Tiga and the incredible 14- piece afrobeat orchestra Antibalas. From rock right through to dance electro, funk, world, and reggae these acts will provide something to suit all picnickers musical tastes at Stradbally Hall this August.

ACTS JUST ADDED:
Santogold
Crystal Castles
Chromeo
Elbow
Cut Copy
Digital Mystikz
Tiga
Hercules & Love Affair
Antibalas
Gomez
Gemma Hayes
Giveamanakick
Super Extra Bonus Party
The Black Lips
Carbon/Silicon
The Faint
The Presets
Digitalism
The Congos
The Herbaliser

BODYTONIC ACTS ALSO JUST ANNOUNCED:
Modeselektor
Roni Size presents Reprazent Live
The Count & Sinden Live
Rob Hood
Diplo
Toddla T
Trusme Live
Charles Webster Live featuring AtJazz, Emily Chick & Tera Deva
Kerri Chandler Live
Redshape
Sambatuc 20-30 Piece Samba Band
Benga
Prins Thomas & Lindstrom
Aaron Jerome Live
Bodytonic Soundsystem

For more details check www.electricpicnic.ie

This adds to the existing line-up:
Sex Pistols, Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine, Franz Ferdinand, George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars, Grinderman, Goldfrapp, Christy Moore, Wilco, The Gossip, Duffy, Underworld, Tinariwen, CSS, Tindersticks, Duffy, New Young Pony Club, Josh Ritter, Lisa Hannigan, Cathy Davey, That Petrol Emotion, The Breeders, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sinead O'Connor, The Waterboys, The Roots, Kila, Micah P Hinson, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Hayseed Dixie, Candi Staton, Juana Molina, Turin Brakes, Faust, Midnight Juggernauts, Tartit, Hadouken!, Silver Apples, Mark Geary, Teitur, Blitzen Trapper, Absentee, Balanescu Quartet, Lou Rhodes, Adrian Crowley, One Day International, The Yard Dogs, Tobias Froberg, Boss Volenti, Dawn Landes, Constantines, Yacht, Lionheart Brothers, Large Mound, Emmy the Great, Foals, Kormac (live show), Jape, Noisettes, Dublin Gospel Choir…plus many more to be announced.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Triplets...

Yestedray aftrenoon Mark and I went over to see Saran, Ben and the triplets. We had a lovely lunch, some time to play some games while the kids where napping and then lots of time playing with the kids once they were awake. They are two and a half now so full of energy, talking (some Spanish too) and great fun to be with. Below are some snaps. Click here for some others.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Save Our Soho...

Evil Westminster Council are trying to get outdoor drinking banned in Soho. Sign up to help defeat this ludicrous idea: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveOurSoho/
[Thanks Popbitch]

A Clockwork Orange...

Stanley Kubrick banned A Clockwork Orange not long after it was released at the cinema in the UK after all the negative publicity in the press. The ban was vigorously pursued during Kubrick's lifetime. The Scala cinema at Kings Cross in London defied the ban in 1993, and was sued and lost. Unable to meet the cost of the defence, the cinema club was forced into receivership. It's now the Scala night club. Shame really as we used to love going to the Scala cinema all-nighters back in the mid-1980s.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sir Alan picks his new Apprentice...

Season four of the The Apprentice finished at 10pm last night. Lee won. Unfortunately the BBC News web site let the cat out of the bag 1 minute early. Shame on them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

O2 prices up the latest iPhone...

O2 has confirmed its pricing on the new iPhone, and will give away the 3G version of Apple's baby for £45 a month from the 11th of July. Punters who only want to spend £30 a month will have to shell out £99 on the 8GB model, and £159 for 16GB of storage. Even those prepared to spend £45 a month will have to find £59 for 16GB, and only those willing to sign up to £75 a month will get the most storage for 'free'.

Summer Heights High...

Summer Heights High started last night on BBC3. I've seen most of them already on DVD but great to see them again. Very funny. Especially Mr G.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soft Cell - Heat : The Remixes...

Soft Cell have got a new album out soon:

The first duo of electro pop Soft Cell release a remix album entitled ‘Heat : The Remixes’ through Some Bizzare/Universal on August 4th 2008. The double album includes 26 brand new interpretations of many classic Soft Cell singles, plus key album tracks, b-sides and rarities. All the remixes featured on the album have been reworked by genuine fans of the band, resulting in the respectful updating of a seminal electronic era. A 40 track expanded digital edition, featuring additional bonus remixes and tracks not on the CD will also be available, and some of the key club mixes/dubs will possibly be released on DJ-only vinyl.
Final tracklisting is now confirmed as follows:
CD1 1. Memorabilia – Cicada Remix 2. Bedsitter – Manhattan Clique Remix 3. Tainted Love – Dakeyne Remix 4. Youth – The Memory Band Remix 5. Torch – Manhattan Clique Remix (Edit) 6. Where The Heart Is – Marcas Lancaster Remix 7. Seedy Films – Richard X Remix 8. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – Marcas Lancaster Remix 9. What – Simon Plastiq Remix 10. Numbers – Spektrum Remix 11. Insecure Me – Trevor Jackson / Playgroup Remix (Edit) 12. Soul Inside – Readers Wives Remix 13. A Man Can Get Lost – Marcello Remix CD2 1. Heat – Yer Man Remix 2. Meet Murder My Angel - Marc Almond & Kinky Roland Remix 3. Sex Dwarf – The Grid Remix 4. Baby Doll – Nitewreckers Remix 5. Secret Life - George Demure Remix 6. Chips On My Shoulder – Mark Moore & Kinky Roland Remix 7. Barriers – Dark Poets Remix 8. Surrender To A Stranger – MHC Remix (Edit) 9. Little Rough Rhinestone – Solvent Remix 10. Frustration – Punx Soundcheck Remix 11. The Art Of Falling Apart – Atomizer Remix 12. Her Imagination – Monkey Farm Frankenstein Remix 13. Martin – Nitewreckers Remix

Also watch out for brand new expanded editions of Soft Cell's classic albums 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret', which will also be released on August 4th 2008. 'The Art Of Falling Apart' and 'This Last Night In Sodom' will also be released at a later stage.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sparks...

Brothers Ron (keyboards) and Russell Mael (vocals) have been going as the outfit Sparks for thirty-eight years now. And Paul, Mike, Stu and I had the delight to go and see them perform on Saturday night at the Carling Academy Islington. Sparks were performing their seventeenth album Plagiarism, a sort of tribute album out in 1998 and probably the nearest thing they had to a greatest hits collection at the time.

Sparks have influenced many bands over the years - inventing the synth-duo-with-the-antimated-singer-and-the-miserable-keyboardist much copied by the likes of Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys and Soft Cell.

As it was, on Saturday night the boys didn't disappoint; Russ's voice was as good as ever and Ron stood there as stoic as ever. The sound was great too. A string section, a brass section and a lively band gave the electronic sounds a depth and vibrancy. We were treated to the Giorgio Moroder produced Beat The Clock, Something For The Girl With Everything, Popularity, Change, Funny Face, Popularity and the sublime This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us. As an encore they were joined on stage by Jimmy Sommerville to perform The Number One Song In Heaven. Magic.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Office Rage...

Probably not real but fun if it was. When office worker goes bonkers.

New contestants enter BB9 house...

Here are some of the texts I got last night:
"Christ fucking Jesus God Almighty wanking shitty Hell!"
"A dancer? He's the BMI of an elephant"
"Nutter. Another shebang. She'll last 5 mins"
"Responsibility dodging racist slut"
"It's between her and Helen Keller"
"Now they're all in I'm not watching for a week, Can't watch attention seeking screamers."

Yes, the ninth series of Big Brother is under way after a record 16 contestants pieces of pond life entered the Channel 4 show's house.

A theme in this year's show is "zero tolerance". Hmm. I wonder how often the producers will bend their own rules for the ones they think are popular (rating whores that they are)?

Shaun Mario Marconi
Lisa Appleton
Luke Marsden
Stephanie McMichael
Rachel Rice
Dale Howard
Sylvia Barrie
Dennis McHugh
Mikey Hughes
Alexandra De-Gale
Rex Newmark
Mohamed Mohamed
Rebecca Shiner
Darnell Swallow
Jennifer Clark
Kathreya Kasisopa

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hercules and Love Affair...

Last night David and I went to see Hercules and Love Affair at the Raymond Soho Revue Bar in the London's glitzy West End.

Sadly no Antony Hegarty on the night but the crowd (and we) didn't seem to mind. It was a great show. We got the whole album done in a segue fashion which I'd not heard done before. It meant the show had a degree of urgency to it and people didn't stop dancing.

Stand out track on the night: Blind
Close run stand out track of the night: cover of Blue Oyster Cult's (Don't Fear) The Reaper. Fab.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Santogold...

Last night Ben, Stu and I went to the Scala in London's increasing-upmarket-but-still-a-bit-edgy Kings Cross to see songwriter, producer, and singer from Philadelphia: Santogold.

Santogold's real name is actually Santi White and although she's been around for a while I had only come across her once before when she appeared on Mark Ronson's 2007 album Version, performing on a cover of The Jam's Pretty Green. Santogold was in fact the lead singer of Stiffed, but she was offered a solo contract. Her debut album, Santogold, then followed in April. Santogold’s style has been defined as a mix of dub, electronic, indie rock, new wave, and punk rock. It certainly has many 1980s influences: XTC... Siouxsie... Pixies... Musical Youth... which is a good thing!

Favourite song of the night: L.E.S. Artistes followed closely by Lights Out
Slight niggle of the night: late appearance on stage
Best position of the night: the single depth balcony view that we had

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The End of the CD Single?...

According to the BBC Woolworths have announced that they will no longer sell CD singles in their stores because of the "terminal decline" of the format. It could signal the end of the CD single as Woolworths is one of the largest music retailers, selling one in three of the UK's CDs.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Brain Teaser Answer...

40mph. Average speed is total distance/total time = 2 x Distance/((Distance/70mph)+(Distance/28mph))=2/((1/70)+(1/28))= 2/((70+28)/(70x28)) = 2x70x28/98 = 40mph