30 December 2009

Noughtie Beauties

With the end of the first decade of the 21st Century nigh there have not only been hundreds of list detailing 2009 but hunreds for the last ten years. There have been so many I haven't needed to compile any of my own. However, 2010 approaches and this is The Blog of Lists so I though I better start adding some.

For some reason this one caught my eye. Superdrug commisioned OnePoll to survey 3000 British women to come up with the top twenty most beautiful women of the "noughties". So here it is. It's not in any way sexiest or exploitative because only women were surveryed, oh no. And, to be frank, it's a pretty good list. A few wouldn't have passed muster for me and I'd have a different order but there are some very beautifuol women in this list.

The Most Beautiful Women of the Decade:

20 Charlize Theron

19. Holly Willoughby


18. Joanna Lumley

17. Eva Longria

16. Megan Fox

15. Kate Beckinsale

14. Nigella Lawson

13. Kelly Brook

12. Myleen Klass

11. Kate Winslet

10. Halle Berry

9. Liv Tyler

8. Boyonce Knowles

7. Keira Knightly

6. Scarlette Johansson

5. Cheryl Cole

4. Catherine Zeta Jones

3. Kylie Minogue

2. Jennifer Aniston

1. Angelina Jolie

19 August 2009

50 Bands I've Seen Live

I recently got sent a challenge on Facebook to name 50 bands or astists I've seen live. So always one for a challenge (especially when it involves a list) I wrote down the first 50 I thought of.

To maker it more tricky I tried to do it alphabetically and have two bands for each letter (that's why some aren't exactly my favourite acts!). I couldn't think of any for a couple of letters so some have more than two.

It showed just how much live music I've seen over the years, either at their own gigs or at festivals. This list is just the tip of the iceburg! How many can you list yourself?

1 Alabama 3
2 Airhead
3 Blur
4 Bjork
5 David Bowie
6 The Cure
7 Nick Cave (and the Badseeds)
8 Donovan
9 Dan Donnelly and friends
10 Ezio
11 Echo and the Bunnymen
12 Foo Fighters
13 Franz Ferdinand
14 Newton Faulkner
15 Goldfrapp
16 Gomez
17 Hot Chocolate
18 Inspiral Carpets
19 Jay-Z
20 Hobo Jones (and the Junkyard Dogs)
21 Kings of Leon
22 Kaiser Chiefs
23 The Killers
24 Leftfield
25 Lenny Kravitz
26 The Levellers
27 Paul McCartney
28 Manic Street Preachers
29 New Order
30 Orbital
31 Oasis
32 The Police
33 Pulp
34 Public Enemy
35 REM
36 The Raconteurs
37 Radiohead
38 Snow Patrol
39 Bruce Springsteen (and the E Street Band)
40 Squeeze
41 The Ting Tings
42 Travis
43 Underworld
44 The Verve
45 Velvet Underground
46 The Who
47 White Stripes
48 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
49 Neil Young
50 The Zutons

A pretty diverse list, I guess.

18 August 2009

Guilty Pleasures - 5 things I love but maybe shouldn't

Big Brother

Probably one of the guilty pleasures that most would be least likely to admit to liking, Channel 4's annual summer marathon on "reality" madness is one of those programmes you watch with the notion that maybe your life isn't quite as bad as you thought.

Britain's Got Talent and the X-Factor may get more viewers but they're only really any good in the auditions stages, watching people who think they have talent delude themselves. Big Brother is like that all the way through!

Originally quite an interesting social experient it's become more a freakshow of wannabe's and extroverts prepared to humiliate themsleves on national TV in the vain hope of winning a possible £100,000 prize or a mediochum on z-list fame. You always wonder what you woulod do in the situations the prisoners of the BB house are thrown into and which housemate you are most like (sadly probably a mixture of Marcus and Halfwit for me this year!). And gawp through your fingers in embarressment and wonder why they don't walk (or even why they applied in the first place).

It's compulsive and definately a fine arguement for the "dumbing down" of television but it's car crash TV at it's best, am I excused by the fact I usually turn over to Newsnight when it's finished?

Queen's Don't Stop Me Now

Bohemian Rhapsody gets all the plaudits and everyone knows the the words but Don't Stop Me Now is a thrilling, unashamadly upbeat belter of a sing-a-long. With lyrics so happy and upbeat it ahould have a warning label for diabetics Queen's 1979 hit always leaves me with a huge smile and a soar throat from "singing" along at the top of my voice.

It just edges out the whole of the Flash Gordon soundtrack! And I wouldn't even call myself a huge fan of Queen, I usually find them too overblown and overtly camp.

Double Deckers

If you asked someone to name a chocolate bar they'd probably say a Mars Bar or even a Dairy Milk. But my favourite chocolate indulgence is Cadbury's Double Decker. It's a proper hunk of a bar, not like many of these new variations on a theme which seem to be just a way of addind more air to the confectionary by making it a gimmicky shape or an "exotic" flavour.

The Double Decker is a solid bar of chocolate, nougat and crisping stuff, a thick bite of chewiness and a fulling lump of sugary goodness. You can keep your boring Twix and Wispa's, give me a Double Decker any day.
Though I'm also partial to a dark chocolate Bounty too.

Dr Pepper

Like the Double Decker, Dr Pepper "fruit flavoured spakling drink" is overshadowed by the behemouth that is Coca Cola. But as a non coffee or tea drinker I get my caffeine (and far too much of my recommended daily sugar intake) from this little brother in the fizzy drinks market. I think I might be addicted but hey, what's the worst that can happen? (Don't answer that!)

Top Secret!

Probably my favourite "crap movie", Top Secret! is a spoof war/Elvis/Blue lagoon film from the gang that brough us the Airplane! and Naked Gun movies. Like those films it's a mismash of slapstick, visual and gag-a-second stupidness, with hundreds of quotable linesand Val Kilmer as a World War Two rock 'n' roll rock star thrown in.
It's daft, idiotic and, in my mind, one of the funniest films ever made. The characters are stereotypes (the group of French Resistant fighters are named things like Deja Vu, Chocoal Mousse and Latrine) and the jokes aren't the most sophiosticated at times ("What phoney dog poo?") but the overall effect is just as clever as Airplane! and a damn site betten than the modern spate of spoofs and American "comedies" like Scary Movie or Dude! Where's My Car?

30 June 2009

Glastonbury 2009: The DeeDubya Awards

I got back yesterday from yet another majestic Glastonbury Festival. This year I tented it for the first time in about 8 years (rather than going in my campervan) which meant spendingh a lot more time with friends and hearing many more acts from the main stage from our camp. It was a lot more chilled this year, with less band chasing. Having said that I saw some brilliant acts, had wonderful sing-a-longs, great laughs, drunken dances, glimpses of random acts of weird and wonderness and generally getting away from the humdrum of real life for six days.

So, as this is The Blog of Lists, here are my "awards" of this year's best and worsts, based on last year's categories:

:: Best act:
Runners up: Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nick Cave and the Badseeds

:: Most disappointing act
Enter Shikari (not big and not clever!)

:: Best sing-a-long:
The whole of the Blur set! Truely one of the best sets I have seen at Glastonbury. I knew every song and the crowd seemed to be dancing, jumping,pogo-ing and swaying along to ever track. This is a high!

Runners up: Keep On Rockin' in the Free World chorus: Neil Young

:: Best cover:
Neil Young: The Beatle's A Day in the Life

:: Best food:
Thai stir fried chilli duck with vegetables
Runner up: The various uses of batter mix, used by BiggerHalls on his camping stove for breakfast everyday!!!

Best surprise: Bruce Springsteen joining The Gaslight Anthem on stage in the John Peel tent a few hours before his headlning set "Brooce, Brooce Brooce!!!!"
Runners up: Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon retuning the favour for Bruce during Born To Run, Damon Albarn getting "emotional" after This is a Low. Wanting to see all three headliners and really enjoying all their sets.

:: Loved:
Thursday night, getting so drunk I gained the nickname JellyDeeDubya, singing VERY loudly to (randomly) Queen's Don't Stop Me Now and Lionel Richie's All Night Long and trying to get the queue for the cinema tent (who were going to see Ferris Bueler's Day Off to sing Twist and Shout (and failing!)
Runners up: the view of a sunny site from the highest point in the flag field, the company, the atmosphere

:: Hated:
The fact that once past security in the Shangri-La area you couldn't turn back, had to walk all the way along the old railway track, running the whole length at the side of the area, THEN through the whole of Shangri-La itself although we didn't want to go in there, ending up coming out a few feet from where we started, if only we could have turned right instead of left.
Runners up: the trek to where we camped, but worth it in the end (great view, in ear shot of the Pyramid Stage)

:: Best improvement to the site:
The general organisation seems very good this year

:: Worst "improvement" to the site:
The lack of the "new" campervan field on the west side of the site. A couple of friends drove to this area only to find it wasn't there and they weren't allowed to sleep in the carparks (which was there). Luckily they had a tent and went onto the main site. It was advertised in all the official documkentation and maps so how many people were left queueing for hours only to find they'd have to go back out and do the same all over again on the other side of the huge site?

:: Glastonbury moment:
Neil Young's four reprises of Keep on Rockin' in the Free World.

Just as you thought he'd finished, he kicked off again (and it didn't seem indulgent or wrong, the crowd couldn't get enough). On the third he had the thousands watch waving their hands from side to side and the sea of arms was amazing, hands already in the air from clapping the "end" of the song only for Neil to start waving with a rye smile on his facing. Superb.

23 June 2009

Michael Eavis's top five Glastonbury festival moments

Well, I'm off to Glastonbury Festival (again!) tomorrow so I thought I'd add a list of the festival's head honcho's favourite Glastonbury moments (as seen on the Guardian web site)

T Rex (1970)
'The sun was ­setting, everyone was watching, it was ­brilliant. It gave me the ­courage to carry on with the festival'

John Martyn (1979)
'He was in a good mood for a change. He was always drunk and slagging me off, we had quite a stormy relationship really. But on that occasion, at that moment in time, he was perfect'

The Smiths (1984)
'We had no fence around the ­Pyramid but it was the last year we could do that, because everybody climbed on stage and the band couldn't finish their set. I think they had a good time but ­Morrissey never admits to enjoying himself'

Oasis (1994)
'Not 1995 or any later, because they ­deteriorated with age, I think. But they were fantastic in 1994'

Radiohead (1997)
'I really wanted them to play again in 2008 but I got mixed up with the dates and they couldn't do it. I just think their ­performance that night, particularly of the song No ­Surprises, was very, very moving'

08 June 2009

10 singing footballers

On this day in 793 Vikings raided Britain at Lindisfarne, off the coast of Newcastle. Today's list is about footballers who have, successfully or not, contributed their vocal "talents" to music:

  • Paul Gascoigne and Lindisfarne - Fog on the Tyne: Former England and Tottenham boozy football genius joins the old Geordie folksters on this god-awful charity single.
  • Kevin Keegan - Head Over Heels In Love: Another Geordie, only managed to reach number 33 in the British charts in 1979, though "It Ain't Easy" was a huge hit in Germany.
  • Andrew Cole - Outstanding: Big Kev managed better than this rubbish R'n'B effort by the former Manchester United striker, which only got to number 69 in 1999.
  • Michael Essien and Didier Drogba - Skin: The Chelsea stars get together and release an anti-racism benefit single
  • Morten Gamst Pedersen : The Blackburn player is in a boy band The Players in his native Norway.
  • Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle - Diamond Lights: The England and Tottenham stars missed a trick here, going under the name of Glenn and Chris with this tame slice of electro-pop
  • Terry Venable - What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?: Played for England, managed England, co-wrote a TV series (Hazell) and crooned. El Tel had it all.
  • Carlos Tevez - The Manchester United (?) favourite is the front man for an Argentinian shanty town music band, Piola Vago.
  • England 1982 World Cup Squad - This Time (We'll Get It Right): they didn't get it right, not the whole album or terrible tunes nor did they get past the first round in the World Cup.

06 June 2009

Rock that isn't actually rock.

Today is the anniversary of the day that Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" hit the top of the Billboard charts, in 1955. It is considered the song that really popularised the genre of Rock and Roll and led the way to the wide variety of pop and rock we enjoy today.

So, today's list is about "rock", or rather things that call themselves rock but are not made of stone!

  • Seaside Rock - long, hard candy, usually pink and with lettering through the whole length, down the middle, usually of the name of the seaside resort from which it was purchased.
  • Rock - slang term for cocaine or crack cocaine
  • Rock music - heavily amplified form of popular music, usually incorporating electric guitar
  • On the rocks (1) - in or into a state of disaster or ruin
  • The Rock (actor) - Nickname of Dwayne Johnson - former WWE wrestler turned actor and star of The Mummy spin-off "The Scorpion King
  • The Rock (movie) - action movie starring Nic Cage and Sean Connery
  • To rock (graphic arts) - to roughen the surface of (a copperplate) with a rocker preparatory to scraping a mezzotint
  • Rock Hudson (actor) - grizzly jawed actor (died 1985)
  • On the rocks (2) - a (normally alcoholic) drink with ice
  • Northern Rock - building society bailed out by the British government which signalled the start of the current "credit crunch"
  • To rock (verb) - to move or sway back and forth
  • To get ones rocks off (slang) - to have an orgasm, to enjoy oneself thoroughly.
  • Rocky - Oscar winning film starring and written by Silvester Stallone about a boxer called, er, Rocky Balboa.

23 April 2009

St George, the roman patron saint of England

Happy St George's day. Yep, St George, dragon slayer and patron saint of England is widely believed to have been a roman soldier. He is also patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia.

My first list for a while are people believed to be from one place but actually from somewhere else:

  • Russell Crowe, famous "Australian" actor was born in New Zealand.
  • Mel Gibson, also a famous "Australian" actor was born in New York, USA
  • Nichole Kidman, "Australian" actress, was, like Barak Obama, born in Hawaii (although if you believe some scurriolous web sites, Obama was born in Kenya - which is untrue)
  • and Olivia Newton John was born in Cambridge, England
  • Erroll Flynn WAS born in Australia though
  • Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister was born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Freddie Mercury, lead singer of British rock institution Queen, was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania
  • Cliff Richard, housewives' favourite singer, was born in India as was comedian, Spike Milligan
  • Natalie Portman, "American" actress was actually born in Jerusalem, Israel
  • Keanu Reeves , actor,was born in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Emily Watson, the quintessentially "English" actress of Harry Potter fame was born in Paris
  • Charlize Theron, "American" actress, is actually South African
  • Donald Sutherland (actor born in Canada)'s son Kiefer (star of 24) was born in London, England
  • Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City actress, was born in Widnes, England
  • JJR Tolein, "British" writer, was actually South African
  • Dominic Monaghan. "British" actor and Hobbit, was born in Berlin, Germany
  • Joe Strummer, from The Clash was born in Ankara, Turkey
  • Alessandro Del Piero, "Italian" World Cup winning footballer was born in Elgin, Scotland
  • Adolf Hitler, as everyone knows, was Austrian not German
  • Mother Theresa, altruistic "Indian" saint was born in Macedonia
  • Yves Saint Laurent, "French" fashion designer was born in Algeria
  • Joanna Lumley, posh "British" actress was born in India.
  • Eric Liddell, "Scottish" athlete who refused to run on the Sabbath, was born in China
... I could go on.

20 March 2009

Spring Equinox

Spring has sprung!

Today is the Spring Equinox, when the sun rises exactly in the east and sets precisely west and lasts for 12 hours, exactly half a day.

Here's a list of other names the Spring Equinox is known as:

  • Spring Meridian
  • Prime Meridian
  • First point of Aries Meridian
  • Pisces Meridian
  • March Meridian
  • Vernal Meridian
  • Midnight Meridian