Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Brits 2014

Well, I did one for the Grammys, it's only fair I pick apart the Brits too. Though I have to say, as a kid The Brits were huge! It was all about which band were gonna have a fight, or who was gonna slag off Micheal Jackson, or who would swear on live tele. Oo. Naughty, naughty. But in recent years it just hasn't interested me, probably because I live in the past musically or partly because award shows are generally quite crap. Though I think it may stem from years ago when Kate Nash won best British female over PJ Harvey and Bat for Lashes. Say what?

Anyhoo, 2014 would be my re-entry to The Brits and their sparkly Britishness. So here goes.

Wow, it's at the O2. It's freakin' massive. I don't know where it used to be, but it certainly wasn't here.

Arctic Monkeys
Well, it was the monkeys of arctic persuasion to open and they were particularly out of time and tiny compared to the firey initials in the foreground. The lead singer was pretty sleazy looking with his fifties throw back slick quiff and his shadows jacket.
I don't know they just seemed a little lost in the venue. I mean it is massive and the fire letters sort of took away focus. Though I was watching it from a TV. Maybe it looked better live?
There were so many stops, rests, gaps in the music, so many places to make a mistake with the timing and they did. It was also a little mundane but then I'm sure fans of the freezing cold monkeys would beg to differ.
Fire. Burn. Danger.

James Cordon was our hilariously unfunny host for the evening, making unnecessary jokes to a live audience that couldn't give a shit, especially when you saw how much alcohol they had at their tables. Wowser.
(I honestly don't think I've ever used that word before.) So, he was on fire after the AMs played. He pretended not to know. Yes it was all hilarious.

Keeping it up to date, they had an award that could be voted for on twitter, as the show was happening. Now that's audience participation.

And to the first award, presented by Third Eye Girl and Prince. Prince is so small but very cool. When he mentioned that he was going 'up north' I screamed. I can't help it, when any one says up north I get very excited. Then he said Manchester and I whooped. You can take the girl out of the north but you can't take the north out of the girl.

I loved how professional James Cordon was, taking a selfie of him and Prince. I mean, really. You're hosting the sodding awards, you don't whap your phone out and start taking pictures of the artists.

Ellie Golding won it, though she struggled the long walk in those shoes and that dress. I never understand that. Surely if you're nominated for something, even if you don't think you're gonna win, surely you just wear something you can walk in without looking like some sort of half drunk penguin. Bless her though, she was completely stunned, very cute and ridiculously British about it all.

James Cordon made some sort of toilet joke, which again received no laughs from anyone.
(Now I've realised I'm padding this out too much. I just need to fling out what I jotted down last night. So...)

Katie Perry
Oh look, another overly elaborate affair to detract from the awful singing. And it's the same song from The Grammys though conceived differently. Maybe she hoped people wouldn't notice. This time we were treated to neon Egyptian randomness.

Another award and presenting it: Kylie and Pharell. She couldn't walk in the latex dress and had a massive bow that kept smacking her in the face and probably tickling her chin. And he didn't have a hat on. Hardly recognised him.

Bruno Mars won it, looking like a complete tool. I mean, had he just escaped jail? With his back up posse? Do you think he was trying a hat thing, like Pharell? Well, he can't pull it off, let's just say that.

Fearne Cotton and Tinie Tempah looking very cute, presented the BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT award to Bastille, who had some excellent hair, both on heads and faces. They were four giddy little boys.

Ah, 1 Direction. The bain of society and a bunch of ridiculously wealthy twats. Let's go talk to them for a while. Really James Cordon? And you wonder why I don't watch the Brits anymore. It did make me realise how dumb they both look and sound. Speaking is obviously something they find difficult but there were lots of unnecessary drug references and Bieber jokes. Kids watch this Cordon. Think about it.

Bruno Mars
His performance of the song Treasure was just pure cheese. He still looked like a funky convict and there were about 20 people on stage, who all seemed to be doing something, though there was no way those guys were actually playing the brass instruments.
Oh my God, The chorus is pants. It's cheese, topped with more cheese, layered with dripping cheese and some of my own vomit. Urgh!
A's comment was: "These guys have no self respect." Made me giggle.

Then Lilly Allen came on to announce an award and made herself out to be even dumber than 1 Direction. Do I just say it? Oh, no, I do the nominations. Do I just go straight into it? I have no idea what I'm doing and am probably, very likely, pissed out of my head. Well done love. Well done.

Th'Arctic Monkeys (as we would say up north, which is incidentally where they are from) won. It's a shame really because I do try to like most Northerners but the lead singer comes across as an arrogant cock.
Crap speech.

This seemed kinda harsh as it wasn't presented on the night, even though the guy who won, Sam Smith, was in the audience. I don't get it.

Hooray! Another ad break. I'd forgotten how irritating that is.

Some model with long legs and a prefect figure - well duh, she is a model - came to present an award proving that she too had issues both reading and talking. We are playing towards the stereotypes today. Come on people, help a girl out. Though I have to say I didn't appreciate the 'talk dirty to me' playing in the background as she walked on stage. That was inappropriate.

1 Direction won it and then looked really shocked, despite being the only ones shown in the video. Ha ha. Then one of them was 'having a wee' and didn't even know what they'd won. Well done lads. You might be millionaires with millions of fans but you are also a bunch of idiots.

Yay! She's not doing the offensive drunk love song.
Nice wig.
Her dress is all shimmery like a mermaid's tail.
The call and response gets a little old and the song doesn't allow her to move a great deal. You can tell she's dying to rip the dress and shake those thighs.
There are some hilarious lyrics though. 'Baby love me lights out. XO XO.' Not great.

James Cordon actually said shit, twice and Beyonce in the same sentence.

Katie Perry came on to use a fake British accent and plug her tour, but then while on stage thought she might as well present an award.

Rudimental won. I love the mish mash of style, fashion and look between the four members. They look like a fun group of guys.

Now, I would love to know what happens at The Brits when we are on commercial break. Hmmmmmmm.

Disclosure and Lorde
Another performance from the now 17 year old (still looking roughly 26) Lorde, looking creepy again all in black, with those thick black lips and barely any eye makeup. Weird remix version of the song but a pretty solid performance.
Then part way through, underwear woman with a weird voice came out. Apparently it's Allina George, though rather harshly she wasn't mentioned. All I will say is granny pants and a feeble voice.

I said it before they did. Daft Punk. Yeah alright, everybody bums this album. Whatever. Though the robots obviously didn't want to come to London to pick it up. Boo!

Then James Cordon visited Kylie to plug her new album, make some Neighbours jokes that if you weren't around in the 80's/early 90's would fly right over your head and report to us that she is single.Thanks for that.

Ellie Golding
Performing all in white with a hoodie and stomping boots; I had a feeling that was going to come off later in the song. She started with a massive guitar. When she did take her hoodie off, it must have been tropical in there 'cos out came the shorts and bikini top. Now the song is burn, but I hope she's not promoting sunburn, not with her lovely pale British skin. Put some sun cream on love.
She had to jump around a lot which made her voice kind of weak, especially for the intensity of the back beat, but still she had a lot of energy and she's cute.

Noel Gallagher came on to present an award: BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST, won by the great David Bowie, who of course was not there to pick it up. Noel then called everyone maniacs for thinking Bowie would go to the Brits. So instead they brought out every one's favourite druggy: Kate Moss. What the feck? I do not know what just happened.

Nick Grimshaw kissed James Cordon, because apparently that's hilarious, but he did also present INTERNATIONAL FEMALE. Lorde won with her lovely New Zealand accent.

During the next ad break I contemplated how much shitter the British awards are to the American. It's nothing against my wonderful country, but it's true. They are a little awkward, slightly uncomfortable and trying to make up for our relatively small stature.

Anyhoo, they let Jimmy Carr come on and not be funny! And he announced the winner of the twitter award. Sorry I mean BRITISH VIDEO AWARD, voted for on twitter. And guess what? 1 Di-frickin'-rection won. Thanks to everyone who voted and made me have to sit through another drunken, highly unintelligible acceptance speech.
I really would like to punch one of them in the face and I think you know which one. The one who thinks he's better than all the others. Ooooo.

Bastille and Rudimental.
Now for the performance of the night. They made us wait a while but it was worth it.
Nice start from Bastille. Loved the tiered staging with loads of drums, drum kits and drummers. Very cool. 
Then on came the lady singing with Rudimental. Bit pitchy but she was jumping around like a lunatic and in lycra. I loved the dude with the matching shorts and jumper combo. Awesome.
Very energetic. Lots of fun, verve and energy. Definitely performance of the night!

Emile Sande came to present an award in her coat. Bless her, it is cold in th'O2. BRITISH ALBUM went to the Sheffield quartet, Th'Arctic Monkeys. His speech was absolute bollocks said with his usual air of arrogance and he did appear to be off his tits.

I always forget Rita Orla's British. Shame isn't it.

And so we face the final performance, thank god and it's a fun one. Pharell and Nile
It's a good job Pharell has backing vocalists and later, a choir. He is pitchy but very cute and unbelievably 40. Wow. Nice medley of stuff and his voice is great on the lower stuff. I think he needs to write some lower melodies as he struggles with the higher pitches. But as usual it's all about THE HAT.

At the end, balloons were released from the ceiling. No expense spared in Britain, ha ha. Though it was nice that the Northern Soul Dancers from Manchester and the Young Guns Choir were able to perform with Pharell and Nile. Though, Northern Soul is a Wigan thing, I feel I must add as a Wiganer.

So that is the end of a slightly awkward, unprofessional, unfunny award ceremony of the British nature. I'm not sure it worked in the O2, people had too far to walk for things and there wasn't a sense of there's the stage, there are the audience, it was sort of all around.

Anyhoo, there's the Brits. Hope you enjoyed. If you haven't seen it yet you can catch up on ITV player and I'm sure half the stuff is on YouTube etc.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Vital Questions?

How expensive are tissues? 

No really, this is a vital question. And the answer is:  well expensive. It's only something you notice when you desperately need them.  For instance, A has had a cold for a couple of weeks and I finally caught it and I have to keep buying loads of boxes of tissues.

I don't want five ply, super soft, containing actually fairies who will massage your nose and make sure it doesn't go all red and crappy; I just want a tissue; a cheap and cheerful and highly disposable tissue. A snot rag. A mouchoir. A fazzoletto.

Unless you can get the Tesco Value or Sainsburys Basics, you're looking at the best part of £2.00 for maybe 80 tissues; if you're lucky. And those little individual packets which are great to take out with you used to have ten in a packet and now you're lucky if they've got 9, some have only 7 or 8, because they want to make them super thick and it's hard to fit the fairies in otherwise.

As my waste paper bin - or should I say snot rag central - is once again filled with used fazzoletti, carefully folded so as not to see any of said nose deposits, almost like strange and completely inedible tortolloni, I ponder the price of facial tissues.

Maybe the time for hankies has returned, even though it never left my dad. Yes, it's gross but at least you are just washing them and reusing. Hmmm. Still not convinced but let's face it, we all look at our snot once we've blown our noses. It's human nature. Let's see what just came out of me. Who knows what it might contain? Goblins, the key to the universe, blood - for the hypochondriac in us - or of course what colour is it?. If it's neon then you are ill or at least have a cold or something. If it's clear then you're fine, just drippy and if it's red then you'll probably freak out and go to the Doctors or just lean over a sink and wait till it stops. But if we look at it every time, then is there a problem with putting a snotty hanky in the wash? Definitely something to ponder.

Were we right to?

I just saw this advert for a programme on BBC 2 which is basically looking at whether Britain were right to enter World War 1. Now I realise it is the Centenary this year and it's a big deal and a huge part of not only British history but the whole world.
Isn't researching the reasons why we shouldn't have joined the fight or stating that we were wrong to and talking about what life would be like if we hadn't won; isn't that sort of shitting all over the people who fought on all sides. Doesn't that make all the sacrifice and lives lost, just a waste. Isn't that like saying, oh yeah, we made a mistake, sorry for all the people who died but we should never have taken it on in the first place.

It's just one of those what if situations. And it seems pointless to go back a hundred years and say, oh, yeah, we probably shouldn't have done that. Even if that is the case, you can't change the outcome, you can't change the decisions made and the brave soldiers and the lives affected.

I don't know, maybe it's just me but it seemed like a bit of a waste of time and a slap in the face. It happened. It can't be changed and maybe the money used to make this programme could have been used to make season three of The Hour, rather than telling everyone that Britain should not have entered World War 1.

Now history is definitely not my best subject and we were taught shit all in free school, so I know, I know nothing. But it just sounded like a bizarre concept. 

BBC. Make The Hour and make us happy!

Well I'll let you ponder those equally vital questions of the day whilst you think about my full bin. Ha ha.

Snotty, snotty, snot, snot, snot.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Adobe; The Great Divide and Manners Please.

Thanks Adobe for the third update this year already. It's only February the 12th and my computer is not only old, but slow and slightly senile. All this change is not good for him. Have a heart. I don't know how long The Beast will last.

Getting slightly annoyed with all the anti London speak at the moment on social media. People saying it's a shit hole and everyone is horrible and people use leery chat up lines. Well hello, people use leery chat up lines all over the world, not just in bars in London. In fact, once when I was walking to Piccadilly Station in Manchester, a guy came up to me put his arm around me and tried to kiss me. He didn't even try a chat up line. And I was on my way to meet my boyfriend, who incidentally many years later, is still my boyfriend, and even though I removed his arm and pushed him away, he followed me down the road. In the end I had to tell him to fuck off, scream at him and kick him away. I can safely say this has never happened to me in London.

Now I am not in any way trying to turn this back on the North because I'm a proud Wiganer and I lived there for 20 years before moving to Manchester for 5 years and then moving to London. I also went to Uni in Salford and in my own words 'Never wanted to live in London.' I think there is a very negative stance from both sides of the great divide. And having lived on both sides I can see both arguments. But there is so much beauty and creativity and wonder in our small Island country and I just don't see why there has to be this down right hatred, especially from many people who have never moved around, have always stayed in the same place - which of course is fine, my parents have done it and lots of my friends - and therefore don't know what it's like to live in London.

I just feel that there doesn't need to be a divide, except for of course, house prices, which are ridiculous! But you already know that in advance, so if you decide to move here, you take that into consideration. You may never be able to afford to buy a house and you may have to move back up North or outside of the capital, but maybe you came for the experience, or the chance to change pace and see how a capital city works. Maybe you moved for a job, an opportunity, to be closer to family or for love and friendship.  It doesn't matter, everyone has their reasons, just as people have reasons to move up North, or stay up North.

Now as for the matter of beer. Everyone whinges about that, but the amount of happy hours and offers there are and vouchers and whatnot, most Londoners don't leave home without a voucher or an app on their phone that gives them options. You barely pay full price for anything. And there are weatherspoons out there which are not much more expensive than Wigan or Manchester because trust me, I've been to them. In fact, I went for a meal the other week with my parents in Standish, just outside of Wigan, where I lived my first 20 years. And the main courses were £14-20. I nearly fell over. I don't pay that much in London. I would run away. And if we went to a place that expensive, it would only be because there was a toptable offer or it was half price with the tastecard. I mean £15 a meal in a village in Wigan and £5 a glass of wine. We're talking same prices if not slightly more expensive than London.

As for the friendliness of people. Yes I know London is renowned for its autonomy but my post man knows me. He waves across the street to me. And the staff in Iceland are lovely. The people in our building always talk in the lift and when you see them outside of the building, will smile and wave. And yes mostly the tube carriages are quiet but that is often quite nice of a morning. You can have a read, listen to some music and wake up before work. Sometimes there will be loads of conversation on the tube, groups of friends, tourists, kids. It is not always silence. And who cares if it is. It's not like everyone knows each other and every one's business like in some places both North and South. Believe me it's nice not having everyone know your business or your family. And some people might not have brilliant English so keep to themselves a bit and some people just like to be feckin' quiet. Yes it was strange at first, coming from a place where tramps sit next to you on the bus and shit themselves; (True Story. Happened to me in Manchester, thus my fear of buses for a very long time.) people try to chat you up on the bus and probably 9 times out of 10 you are going to know someone on the bus/train, but it's mainly when you travel alone that it's quiet. If you're with someone you talk. you don't just blank them. It's not a cardinal sin to speak and eye contact is unavoidable so it does happen. *sticks tongue out in most mature way possible*

As for being a shit heap. Erm. Whoever said that, clearly hasn't been to London. It is made up of some slightly scummy areas - true of any county, city, borough, town, village, hamlet -  but some really beautiful places. There are loads of green spaces and huge parks. There are loads of smaller community events that bring people together. And mostly you exist within your little segment of London, venturing out to other segments to visit friends, soak up the differences, take in a market or show and just explore. The traffic network is incredible and despite some ridiculous people complaining about the tube strike, most Londoners just find another route. Unless you live three hours away, there will be another route or three.

I just found it really annoying me. As a northerner, I still feel strongly about the North and how wonderful it is. And I would hate someone to be slagging it off from the South as they would probably just be holding their usual stereotypes. But then I also have to defend London to a lot of people up North, especially those that still refer to it as the big smog. I see both sides of the divide and I love both sides. I think this country is great but could be greater still if people just stopped slagging everyone else off and realised that there are pros and cons of every area. There are pros and cons of every city. Everyone has problems and issues and just because they are not yours doesn't make them any less relevant.

Please stop the hatred both sides. I love my Country and all the places I have lived and I return to my childhood home about once a month to see friends and family. I take the super fast train that wonderfully connects me to my old home and takes me back to my new one.

Okay, I should stop, I was just getting really riled up. Hope I've explained myself well enough to not cause a riot. Anyhoo, would like to say to the three suits who took up the entire pavement yesterday when I was struggling to carry a massive bag plus a keyboard, to my music class, 'Thanks for not moving out of the way and making me walk in the road.' Manners are something you learn early on. It doesn't matter where you live, if you weren't brought up with manners, you'll never know them.


Monday, February 10, 2014

When 2 Become 4; The Winter Olympics And More.....

Time for silliness. Let's start with a song. The melody is 2 Become 1 by the Spice Girls. Lyrics changed by moi. Oh and the premise is my ridiculously tiny kitchen and ways of utilising the most of your minuscule space.

*cough cough*

2 Become 4
Verse: My kitchen is frickin' tiny
          Things are strewn about the worktops
          No space to cut up, no space to bake in
          So I tried to change it round
          Move some things and tidy up now
          It can be done boys, it can be done boys.

Bridge: You're not as small as I remember, kitchen
            (Not at all, not at all)
           'Cause today, is the day when 2 become 4

Chorus: I need some shelves like I've never needed shelves before
            (Must create some extra shelving)
             I've got a lot of stuff, now I've got some more
            (Man I need some extra shelving)
            Set your kitchen free, you can store more cans of beans.

Outro: You can store more cans of beans. (Repeat and fade.)

Happy Monday everyone. Hope that brightened your day as my additional shelving brightened mine. It's surprising what two mini collapsible shelves can do for you, your kitchen and your sanity. Though we'll see how long it stays so beautiful and organised. I guarantee within a week there'll be clutter on the worktop and on the shelves, but at least for a few short days it will look as I want it to.

Moving on. I know not everyone is as excited as I am by the new shelving, but maybe you are enjoying the Winter Olympics? You should be, it's freakin' awesome. And not only the figure skating, which is my ultimate in guilty pleasures. Although, as the years go by it becomes less and less guilty and more and more just something I love to watch. But also the snowboarding and moguls and all those sports that you wonder how the feck they ever came up with them.

How cool are the snowboarders? It is slightly ridiculous. I mean they do these death defying leaps and spins and turns and they have their frickin' Ipods on. I'd love to know what their play list is for an Olympic final. Gold by Spandau Ballet? The theme tune to Going for Gold? (Old school game show in the UK.) We are the Champions by Queen? Or the shitty I'm Gonna Win song by Muse. Or I guess they could have Wuthering Heights by the mighty Queen Bush, they are pretty lofty. Oo, I just thought of another mighty Bush song: King of the Mountain. Now that's a good one.

You can understand why there aren't that many British ones though, not only due to lack of snow but we just aren't cool enough to carry off that nonchalant cockiness that you need for this sport. And we do sound a tad ridiculous when coming out with the lingo. The commentators were hilarious. So, so pleased for Jenny Jones though, our only medal winner so far. I was glued to the TV most of yesterday, whilst also tidying and producing additional shelving of course. But it really was amazing for her.

I love Canada and USA in these competitions. They really are too cool for school. They just have this way of being great at everything, annoyingly so, but also admiringly so. It must be so hard to even get where they are with countries as big as Canada and USA. So many people to choose from. So good on you and as always if there ain't a Brit in it, I'll likely be screaming for a Canadian or a Yank. Though I do tend to have soft spots for all the Countries I've visited. Basically I'll route for anyone for an abundance of reasons, but if they are also an underdog, then bring it on.

Having never really watched the Biathlon before - despite having visited the Whistler Biathlon shooting range, after the Vancouver Winter Olympics - I watched it on Saturday. How weird. Do you know what I love best? The penalty loop. Ha ha. If they miss a shot they have to do an extra loop of skiing and it just feels like some sort of time out on skis. Go on, you naughty boy, round the penalty loop, that'll cost you at least 24 seconds.

I have also realised just how much time you spend almost wishing someone to fall over, or mess up, or miss a shot and take the penalty loop. It must be even worse as a competitor. You know you're a little slower than them or can't make as long a jump or something, so you just have to hope something goes wrong with them, or there ain't a cat in hells chance of you getting on the podium. Still, I guess that's true of any sport or competition of any kind. You pretty much always have to hope you have the day of your life and everyone else doesn't. Ha ha. The inner workings of the human mind. Me pass, everyone else fail please.

Anyhoo, please support the athletes out there and take in some bizarre as well as pretty normal sports on ice, snow or icy track. Big up the tea trays for the British women and let's hope for some action in the curling. Go Team GB!!!!

Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to an awesome film which unfortunately seems to have not been released in cinemas in the UK, but is available on Itunes to rent or buy now! It's called Odd Thomas and is based on a series of novels by Dean Koontz. Check out the site here:

I had the pleasure of seeing the film adaptation at the Film Four Fright Fest last August and it was a lovely fantasy treat, sandwiched between some quite brutal horror, gore and suspense.We loved it and would love many more people to share in it's almost fairytale quality. The cast is fantastic: Anton Yelchin in the lead, probably best known from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Willem Dafoe, probably best not to remember him from Antichrist, eww, insertion. And Addison Timlin, seen recently in: That Awkward Moment.

The plot is full of dead people and demons and portals to hell, you know, the usual. The romance between the two leads is fantastical and over the top and the whole thing is just a fun fantasy explosion with plenty of twists, turns, awesome CGI and some sadness too. I feel terrible that I have yet to embark on the novels, but believe me they are on the list and will be devoured shortly. 

I love Odd Thomas and I hope some of you will check it out on my rather biased recommendation.

Alright, that's all for now.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Which Character Are You From Real Life?

Hello I'm Buzzfeed. I pick a random number, never a round number and follow it with a list of crap and then proceed to distract you from life and whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. I also create useless quizzes like: which character from some movie are you? Well, Buzzfeed, I'm none of them. I'm me and quite frankly I'm sick of the same fuckin' crap churned out every day. The questions are ridiculous and have nothing to do with said film/book/characters/TV show. They are all things like, how do you prefer your coffee? And which ridiculous acronym would you use? I don't understand half the bloody acronyms, being the wrong side of the youth line and I don't drink coffee.

Then you have to put up with every one you're friends with on facebook posting who they got, or sharing a link to another one. Maybe the first time was fun but the thirtieth one is just bullshit.

So how's this: I got Helen Richards in; which character am I from real life?. And I'm quite happy with that. I don't drink coffee. I live in London but retain my northern-ness because I'm a fuckin' northerner and proud of it. I don't use acronyms because it takes me longer to think of the letters than it does for me to actually say the words. I'm a writer and a music teacher and I have an innate desire to never grow up.

I ask the question: Which character are you from real life?

End of rant.